New SFO Special Orders Ideas

mikeaxe
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Re: New SFO Special Orders Ideas

Postby mikeaxe » Mon Jul 25, 2011 10:19 am

As an agitator for faster fighter launching I think I will wade in with my 2ds worth ;)

There are I believe two points on the subject. Firstly in conversions from Starmada and secondly the general fear of too many fighters and the massive Alpha-strike in SFO.
1. The conversion actually increases the number of fighters any carrier will carry. So for those afraid of too many fighters , allowing faster launches would reduce the overall number of fighters available.
2. Concerning SFO in general, it was only yesterday that I realized that you could top up a squadron over a number of turns. I had interpreted the 'squadrons may not combine' as meaning a squadron had to be launched in a single turn and this limited the strikes from smaller hulls. The idea of fighters circling a carrier as the Alpha strike forms up is one I for one am very happy with. :)

Now for some actual numbers:
The largest number of fighters a ship with 4 thrust and 2+ DEF can carry is 99, which would take 13 turns to launch in 16+ squadrons.
If we allowed launch tubes the ship could carry 80 which would take 5 turns to launch 13+ Squadrons.

You pays you money and takes you choice.
Mike P.

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Re: New SFO Special Orders Ideas

Postby starbreaker » Mon Jul 25, 2011 4:49 pm

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


Which is about 15 hits at short range. Barring countermeasures, Def 3+ ships are in trouble, Def 4+ hulls need to be biggish to survive, Def 5+ stuff are maybe going crippled. Sure isn't a one-turn guaranteed kill versus normal-Def targets. And it doesn't allow for the target using Run Silent to halve those attack dice right back down to 22.

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?


Haven't played 2nd ed ACTA in too long to recall well. Accurate is a +1 to hit weapon trait these days. The max firepower special order lets you pick a single target currently within 10" (before you move). You get double your AD versus that target but can't shoot at anything else, and can't score critical hits at all. It's situationally useful but much less of a go-to option than BFG's Lock On was - if you didn't need to turn or sprint or reload, rerolling all your to hit dice was a gimme. Of course, you had to pass a quality test to get onto any special order in BFG, where SFO doesn't require that at all and ACTA:NA only requires it on some things.

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Re: New SFO Special Orders Ideas

Postby starbreaker » Mon Jul 25, 2011 4:56 pm

mikeaxe wrote:2. Concerning SFO in general, it was only yesterday that I realized that you could top up a squadron over a number of turns. I had interpreted the 'squadrons may not combine' as meaning a squadron had to be launched in a single turn and this limited the strikes from smaller hulls. The idea of fighters circling a carrier as the Alpha strike forms up is one I for one am very happy with. :)


I'd be fine with that myself if the map wasn't so small and static. The default scenarios make it impossible to avoid an enemy who's determined to rush your carriers. While you may hurt him badly with short-ranged guns and screen the carriers briefly with escorts, if you've gone big-carrier heavy and they get sunk with 60-80% of their fighters still on board, you're still going to lose. You can't even run away effectively - space is not only small, it has corners. I come from a Starfire background, where floating maps and scaling out to strategic distances were the norm, not a house rule.

I suppose you might be able to do something abusive with minefields to make a rusher hurt even more, but even if that sort of cheese works it'll just get the mine deployment rate changed next edition. :)

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Re: New SFO Special Orders Ideas

Postby The Oz » Mon Jul 25, 2011 5:16 pm

I suppose you've thought of using larger maps....

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Re: New SFO Special Orders Ideas

Postby starbreaker » Mon Jul 25, 2011 6:33 pm

Yes, obviously - I'm playing gridless anyway so a 4'x8' or 4'x6' using 2" distance units is the likely table, but I know the locals - some of them will kick about not playing strictly by the book. An alien mindset, but widespread, and until I'm confident nothing is going to break down by usinga bigger and/or floating table, my willingness suggest it is limited. Presumably there was some playtesting with larger/floating maps before release? Any problems noted, Dan?

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Re: New SFO Special Orders Ideas

Postby underling » Mon Jul 25, 2011 6:47 pm

starbreaker wrote:Presumably there was some playtesting...

Playtesting?
;)

mikeaxe
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Re: New SFO Special Orders Ideas

Postby mikeaxe » Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:26 am

Don't think I have ever played a 'standard game' :o . My map is always larger and I play games of 700+ points. I take the scenarios in the book as suggestions not must do instructions.

If however due to other people ;) you have to play the rules as is with small maps and 450 point games then the impossibly large carrier 'Enterprise' I designed, as an experiment, with 99 fighters is worth 510 points and could never be deployed. The carriers in the book take about 5 turns to launch a full fighter wing. There should be enough time unless some one full speeds across the map in which case that's what the escorts are for.

Generally I do think there is room for more orders and a 'Launch' would be good but with more limits such as
The ship may double the number of fighters/drones launched but may not turn (even if agile) and must move full distance. Basically the ship must assume 'carrier operations' to launch its full alpha strike and is not able to change speed or direction.

As far as the Fire all weapons I agree with Paul I think its too powerful. I would suggest that if you can only play the game as written (due to others), then arguing for a floating or larger game map would be easier to get officially endorsed than an order that doubles the number of attack die and that solves the carrier problem as well :) .
Mike P.

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Re: New SFO Special Orders Ideas

Postby starbreaker » Tue Jul 26, 2011 4:33 pm

The carriers in the book take about 5 turns to launch a full fighter wing. There should be enough time unless some one full speeds across the map in which case that's what the escorts are for.


Not IME. Scouts will sprint across the board by turn 2 (they can do it on turn 1 if they're built right, but there's not much point until the heavy artillery ships are in range) and if they don't pierce the escort screen so the range 10 gunships can start gutting the carriers, by turn 3 fast attack boats with one-shot weapons will bust key escorts (and carriers) by shooting instead. Five turns is a long time in SFO, and a large-carrier fleet doesn't have the gunpower to repel a gun fleet with only 20-40% of their fighters deployed.

mikeaxe
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Re: New SFO Special Orders Ideas

Postby mikeaxe » Sun Jul 31, 2011 7:27 am

I was limiting the discussion to the ships in the book rather than home brewed ships, because we needed some common ground and there is always a better tailored fleet out there.
Starmada and SFO are designed to allow us to play in many different ways. I don't play 'competitive design' games, all mine are set within a context because I don't like (and nor do my friends) the paper/scissors/stone aspect of competitive designs. You appear to play with competitively designed fleets and within a relatively small 'arena'. However carrier based combat is all about extending the engagement range. For carriers to work they must have at least one of the following:-
1. Have a floating map to extend the range.
2. Deploy off-table to stay out of range
3. Exist in a 'universe' with relatively short ranged weapons and slow ships, to give the space on table. Don't forget that we do not know how big a hex actually is.

In the 'real' world different weapons systems come and go due to circumstances. In WWII for example the Americans where reluctant to send carriers into the Mediterranean, doing so only occasionally, the circumstances were not right for their concept of carrier warfare. I would suggest the circumstances of your game play with its lack of maneuver room is very similar to the Mediterranean and therefore a carrier fleet is a bad design choice. In a 'universe' with high speed ships, long ranged weapons and limited space you really should think about why you would have fighters at all!

Playing earlier this week however a few thoughts about balance and the carrier did occur.

A. FULL SPEED is very powerful particularly on a limited table and has little down side. In the game I was trying to defend a convoy so leaped across the table at FULL SPEED to engage the attackers before they could engage the merchants. The range closed rapidly as we both attempted to close the range. As I used FULL SPEED and he did not the first rounds of combat took place on his side of the table. If my opponent has not closed the range the effect would have been less marked but then the convoy would have escaped. Perhaps FULL SPEED should have a penalty in combat. Due to lack of maneuvering on the behalf of the target a ship with a target that is at FULL SPEED has a +1 on the to hit die. (that will slow the b******ds down :twisted:) .

B. Should a crippled carrier not suffer some limits on its ability to launch compared to un-crippled? My opponent actually forgot to launch his fighters :roll: and I managed to cripple his carrier before he began launching but he was still able to launch at full speed. I have visions of what a crippled carrier would be like and the ability to carry on unrestricted launching is not one of them. Perhaps ships should not be able to launch if crippled, (KISS :D ) or half launch rates (not so KISS :) ).

Finally If you want to increase the launch rate of carriers see this post
http://www.mj12games.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2823&start=10
Mike P.

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Re: New SFO Special Orders Ideas

Postby The Oz » Sun Jul 31, 2011 1:23 pm

I think halved launch rates (of fighters and drones) is good for crippled ships. That's how I've been playing it, anyway.

Part of the problem may be that Starbreaker is trying to simulate a particular universe (an anime-based one) where the carriers launch huge deckloads of fighters incredibly quickly. But I asked him if those carriers are launching those clouds of fighters =while the carriers are under fire= and he didn't reply.


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