New SFO Special Orders Ideas

starbreaker
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New SFO Special Orders Ideas

Postby starbreaker » Sat Jul 23, 2011 12:51 pm

SFO gives us two different "maneuvering" special orders and one (two if you count cloak) defensive SOs. I'm wondering if there isn't room for an offensive SO as well - something like Battlefleet Gothic's Lock On or ACTA:NA's Maximum Firepower? Would something like this work?

Maximum Power To Weapons - A ship with this Special Order doubles the number Attack Dice it rolls when firing. When moving, it may move only 1/2 it's normal speed and may not make turns (Agile ships may make one turn). The ship's Defense rating is reduced by 1/2 as well. This Special Order is incompatible with any other - remove any other order as soon as it (or Maximum Power To Weapons) is revealed.

How's that? Big bonus, big penalties, requires some thought. Probably needs a restriction so that it doesn't work with One-Shot weapons, and maybe with Slow ones as well?

On a related note, a possible KISS solution to the carrier launch rate issue:

Launch! - A ship with this Special Order doubles its launch rate for Drones & Fighters. When moving, it moves at its normal speed (minimum 1) but may not make turns (Agile ships may make one turn). This Special Order is incompatible with any other - remove the Launch! order if two orders are revealed on the same ship.

No need for launch tubes then, although they might also make a good addition for stacking to let really big carriers empty their hangers fast. 40/turn is fast enough even for me. :)

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Re: New SFO Special Orders Ideas

Postby mj12games » Sat Jul 23, 2011 5:11 pm

The Lauch! rule seems reasonable.

The double-dice one is likely VERY unbalancing -- might need to play with it, A LOT, before I endorse it.
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starbreaker
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Re: New SFO Special Orders Ideas

Postby starbreaker » Sat Jul 23, 2011 5:39 pm

So, you think a more mild version? I do think the game needs an offensive order option, and it's surprising it didn't get one built in. Run Silent is extremely strong on defense (even more as "half, round down" on attack dice, per your ruling on 1/1 weapon batteries) and needs a balancing act besides fighters and mines.

Bet even the current Max version isn't as bad as you think. Your maneuver and defense are both seriously weakened when using it. Move first and you opponent can maybe dodge some of that doubled firepower, or at least avoid short range. Move second and your paper-thin defenses should let the enemy kill or cripple you before your shot. Where it's most likely to break is long-range shooting in the early stage of the game, but Run Silent answers that pretty well - or going to Max yourself. It's got more drawbacks than Run Silent does right now - would doubling damage dice rather than attack help enough to offset your concerns? Damage is worth a little bit less, after all.

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Re: New SFO Special Orders Ideas

Postby The Oz » Sat Jul 23, 2011 9:12 pm

starbreaker wrote:On a related note, a possible KISS solution to the carrier launch rate issue:

Launch! - A ship with this Special Order doubles its launch rate for Drones & Fighters. When moving, it moves at its normal speed (minimum 1) but may not make turns (Agile ships may make one turn). This Special Order is incompatible with any other - remove the Launch! order if two orders are revealed on the same ship.

No need for launch tubes then, although they might also make a good addition for stacking to let really big carriers empty their hangers fast. 40/turn is fast enough even for me. :)

I don't think costing the carrier one 60-degree turn is enough penalty for doubling the firepower it can put on the map, but I can't think of what would be an effective penalty, since any decent carrier will be launching fighters well before she's in range of the enemy.

I still think the best way to handle the need to get the fighters into space is a scenario-based method, whereby as long as the carrier is not part of a surprised fleet, many/most of the fighters will already be in space as part of a "Combat Space Patrol" or a "Strike Package." For example, let's look at the scenario setups in the rulebook.

Standard - The simple way is to say that since this is a setpiece engagement where both sides know what's coming, both sides could have all their fighters launched at the start.

Breakout - The attackers know a breakout is coming, but not when, so their carriers would be maintaining a rotating patrol, with the rest of their fighters on alert. So the attackers could have 25% of the fighters in space at the start of the battle, with the rest available for launch. The defenders know when they are coming out, so their carriers could have all their fighters in space at the start of the battle.

Hit and Run - The attackers have just jumped in, so they cannot have any fighters deployed at the start. The defenders had no idea an attack was coming, so they cannot have any fighters deployed at the start, either.

Patrol - Both sides were expecting some trouble but the actual encounter is a surprise, so both fleets could have a rotating patrol of 25% of their fighters in space.

To the Rescue - The attackers and the initial defenders were expecting some trouble, and so could have 25% of their fighters in space. The defender's reinforcements know what's going on and can have all their fighters in space.

The Trap - The simple way here is to say that both sides were expecting battle, and so can have all their fighters into space. A more complex method would be to make it a die roll, which would allow for the issues involved in arranging such a complex battle. Make it a 1d6 roll, adding the flagship's Command rating, and with results of:

1,2,3 = 25% of fighters launched
4,5 = 50% of fighters launched
6+ = All fighters launched

Low die rolls indicate that side (even the attacker) was surprised by the sudden triggering of the trap.

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Re: New SFO Special Orders Ideas

Postby starbreaker » Sat Jul 23, 2011 11:02 pm

I really don't understand the objections people seem to have with carriers being able to launch all their fighters before they die, or at least having a decent chance to do so. They pay for them during the design process, and if the costs are right, restricting their launch capability is the functional equivalent of telling a gunship it can it only fire some of its weapons at first, then a few more the next turn, and so on. In fact, it's worse, since small numbers of fighters can wind up being shot down each turn, while that hypothetical "increasing shots" gunship wouldn't lose any firepower at all until it was destroyed. The current (very limited) launch rates encourage hybrid carrier-gunship designs and building to fit launch rate breakpoints, and make supercarriers a fairly poor fleet centerpiece.

And that's not even mentioning things like One-Shot weapons. If fighters are to strong to allow them all to be launched at once (which I'm not seeing so far), where's the restriction on One-Shot launch rates? They're even stronger on short-term offense, and even if they don't have the side effect of putting more targets on the table they still reduce the "target appeal" of the launching ship after they're fired - much like a carrier with empty bays, a missile boat that's shot out all its ammo is a less attractive target.

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Re: New SFO Special Orders Ideas

Postby underling » Sat Jul 23, 2011 11:37 pm

starbreaker wrote:I really don't understand the objections people seem to have with carriers being able to launch all their fighters before they die, or at least having a decent chance to do so. They pay for them during the design process, and if the costs are right, restricting their launch capability is the functional equivalent of telling a gunship it can it only fire some of its weapons at first, then a few more the next turn, and so on.
In fact, it's worse, since small numbers of fighters can wind up being shot down each turn, while that hypothetical "increasing shots" gunship wouldn't lose any firepower at all until it was destroyed. The current (very limited) launch rates encourage hybrid carrier-gunship designs and building to fit launch rate breakpoints, and make supercarriers a fairly poor fleet centerpiece.
And that's not even mentioning things like One-Shot weapons. If fighters are to strong to allow them all to be launched at once (which I'm not seeing so far), where's the restriction on One-Shot launch rates? They're even stronger on short-term offense, and even if they don't have the side effect of putting more targets on the table they still reduce the "target appeal" of the launching ship after they're fired - much like a carrier with empty bays, a missile boat that's shot out all its ammo is a less attractive target.

I'm definitely no "Starmada-head", but aren't the limited launch rates taken into account in the point costing?

In other words, when a ship buys 20 squadrons, and can then only launch X number of those squadrons per turn, don't they have some sort of reduced point cost due to the fact that some of them may actually not be launched before the ship carrying them is destroyed?

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Re: New SFO Special Orders Ideas

Postby The Oz » Sun Jul 24, 2011 1:43 am

starbreaker wrote:I really don't understand the objections people seem to have with carriers being able to launch all their fighters before they die, or at least having a decent chance to do so.

I don't have any objection to carriers being able to have their fighters all in space; if you look at the scenario-based rules I posted there were several scenarios where the carriers could have all their fighters into space at the start of the battle.

IMO, a carrier that still has its fighters aboard and finds itself within range of enemy gunships is either:

1. a surprised carrier, in which case it should take a while to get the fighters prepped, manned, and launched.

2. a carrier led by an idiot admiral, in which case that ship has bigger troubles that just having her fighters aboard.

I actually agree with you that a carrier should be able to launch all its fighters before it enters weapons range of enemy gunships; in fact I believe that a carrier that enters range of enemy gunships is being mishandled by its commander. I would not object to a rule that a carrier bought as part of a fleet could stay "off-map" and just send its fighters to accompany the fleet onto the map. But a carrier that has brought all its fighters onto the map should be under some restriction.

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Re: New SFO Special Orders Ideas

Postby OldnGrey » Sun Jul 24, 2011 1:59 am

Launch tubes can be done the way that they are in Starmada by changes to the construction stats:
Increases cost of Fighters to 30 SUs per fighter and Drones to 12 SUs per Drone.
ORAT: Drones #*48, Fighters #*120
DRAT: Drones # x 0.12, Fighters # x 0.3
Largest ships would then be able to launch 24 fighters per turn.
If anyone is worried about the carrier being lost quickly, give it an escort. Just like real ones.
An empty carrier destroyed still gives VPs. :D

Double Attack dice :!: nice if you want a one turn game. this is the difference between SFO and other games in which the ships are more likely to survive a "doubled" attack because the games design allow for it.
Big Badda Boom = no fun at all. :)
House Rules could allow anything.

Just my 2d worth (Old Money). I do not think that more bits of card are needed, just a couple of tweaks.
There should be Two extra rules.
1) Keep it Simple.
2) Keep it Fun.

Paul

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Re: New SFO Special Orders Ideas

Postby starbreaker » Sun Jul 24, 2011 3:45 am

In other words, when a ship buys 20 squadrons, and can then only launch X number of those squadrons per turn, don't they have some sort of reduced point cost due to the fact that some of them may actually not be launched before the ship carrying them is destroyed?


If they do, I can't see it in the math anywhere, and the combat performance of a really big pure carrier sure doesn't compare well to an equal value of gunboats, especially ones with significant One-Shot or Slow weapon arrays. There certainly ought to be some kind of cost variance at the hull size breakpoints if there is a "launch rate correction factor" - but there isn't.

I don't have any objection to carriers being able to have their fighters all in space; if you look at the scenario-based rules I posted there were several scenarios where the carriers could have all their fighters into space at the start of the battle.


I was more making a general comment regarding some of the other threads on this forum than responding to you specifically. Your scenario-modifier ideas are pretty good, although the random element might wreck some games.

Double Attack dice nice if you want a one turn game. this is the difference between SFO and other games in which the ships are more likely to survive a "doubled" attack because the games design allow for it.
Big Badda Boom = no fun at all.
House Rules could allow anything.


Are we playing the same game? SFO's damage output is actually lower than SAE's generally is, and with fewer ways to bypass defenses. You've got fewer hull points, sure, but your weapon accuracy is lousy and Run Silent is incredibly effective at defense. Most stock ship designs can't kill their clone in one volley even with doubled attack dice at optimum range - and optimum range is about 2-3 hexes for most ships. There are some exceptions, but they're mostly 2-3 hull wonders with Def 2+ or 3+ that evaporate easily anyway - and the Belligerent, with its excessive close-in firepower over the bow. Custom hulls are likely to be nastier, but they're also more likely to have heavier defenses.

Besides, any ship can go to Run Silent and more than offset doubled attack dice. If one ship's on Max and the other on Run Silent, the Max ship fires at normal attack and damage dice and maneuvers like a brick, while the Running Silent ship fire back at normal attack dice, half damage dice against half defenses, and loses no maneuver. Where are the complaints about Run Silent being overpowered, hmm? It sure slows the game down a lot, and there's no counter to it other than fighters and mines.

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Re: New SFO Special Orders Ideas

Postby OldnGrey » Sun Jul 24, 2011 11:46 pm

I thought it was the same game.

Double the attack dice would give ships up to 44 attack dice (a single battery in book ship data).

You don't work for a company making dice do you? :)

Mongoose must have changed a few things for the latest ACTA then, ACTA 2nd edition had "Concentrate All fire-power" which would be the same as the Accurate weapon trait. Have the rules changed much?

Paul


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