New SFO Special Orders Ideas

starbreaker
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Re: New SFO Special Orders Ideas

Postby starbreaker » Sun Jul 31, 2011 7:02 pm

Why would being under fire affect launch rates in a game where it has no effect on anything else? Real naval ships have historically suffered badly when under fire - their own shooting is disrupted, their formation maneuvering often goes to pot, and yes, carriers die horribly if caught while conducting flight ops - but SFO ignores all of that. The US navy emphasizes damage control procedures to limit those effects the way it does becasuse of lessons learned in WW1 clashes between German and British ships, and repeated in WW2. If you want to penalize carriers, you need to punish the gunships just as much - getting your sensors blinded or burned away by incoming fire shouldn't be any less bad than catching a plasma bolt in an open hanger bay.

The only space games I've ever seen factor in disruptive effects for being under fire are Battlefleet Gothic (where the effects were fairly minor) and Battleshift (where they were quite significant). A significant flaw in most rules, but a common one.

OTOH, I'll agree, halving launch rates for being crippled is fine and reasonable.

There's nothing anime-based about Battlestar Galactica or Babylon 5, BTW. Both of them feature fighter launch rates vastly in excess of anything seen in SFO. Fighter swarms aren't purely the domain of Macross and its kindred.

The Oz
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Re: New SFO Special Orders Ideas

Postby The Oz » Sun Jul 31, 2011 10:35 pm

Starbreaker: I think you misunderstood what I was getting at. The question about whether the carriers are launching under fire was to see if the carriers were launching their fighters "on the map", so to speak. Carriers, whether real or fictional, tend to launch their fighters before the shooting starts, not during the shooting. By asking the question about launching under fire, I was trying to see if the universe you are trying to simulate follows that historical/fictional tendency.

If the universe you are trying to simulate does have carriers routinely launching under enemy fire, then you have a case for a house rule for that universe to allow carriers to launch at double rate.

If the universe you are trying to simulate does not have carriers routinely launching under enemy fire, then you have a case for some rule(s) to allow carriers to launch fighters before the game begins.

IMO, if carriers appear on the map of an SFO battle, those carriers have been placed in an unfavorable tactical situation to begin with, and should suffer some problems with getting their fighters into space.

starbreaker
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Re: New SFO Special Orders Ideas

Postby starbreaker » Mon Aug 01, 2011 12:23 am

If I accept that, where's the big honking discount for the default situation being that carriers are at a disadvantage? Try playing big carriers against gunships with mildly extreme fleet configs - it's a debacle, with better than half the fighters dying in the bays. You can do a carrier fleet that works in the "default" setting, but only by building lots and lots of hulls that carry fighters equal to 1x or 2x their launch rate so they can get everything in the air ASAP. At that point a gunship fleet starts to struggle a bit, since stomping on fighters with guns is a slow process and the "soap bubble" carriers aren't worth many VP as targets themselves.

Large carriers shouldn't need "universe specific" rules to be balanced against pure gunship designs, especially when bubble carriers work just fine, and maybe even too well.

IMO, if carriers appear on the map of an SFO battle, those carriers have been placed in an unfavorable tactical situation to begin with, and should suffer some problems with getting their fighters into space.


Then where are the default rules for fielding "naked" fighters with their carriers off-table? You can't field fighters without carriers, there's no "FTL fighter" option in SFO.

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Re: New SFO Special Orders Ideas

Postby Enpeze » Mon Aug 01, 2011 12:35 am

The Oz wrote:If the universe you are trying to simulate does have carriers routinely launching under enemy fire, then you have a case for a house rule for that universe to allow carriers to launch at double rate.


For such universes (maybe a battlestar galactica or so) it would also be possible to introduce special equipment like launch bays or so which give an extra launch bonus per turn. IMO no need for a seperate special order of "double launch rate", especially if such orders are not really often in use in fighter-poor universes like traveller or startrek.

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Re: New SFO Special Orders Ideas

Postby The Oz » Mon Aug 01, 2011 1:05 pm

If I accept that, where's the big honking discount for the default situation being that carriers are at a disadvantage? Try playing big carriers against gunships with mildly extreme fleet configs - it's a debacle, with better than half the fighters dying in the bays. You can do a carrier fleet that works in the "default" setting, but only by building lots and lots of hulls that carry fighters equal to 1x or 2x their launch rate so they can get everything in the air ASAP. At that point a gunship fleet starts to struggle a bit, since stomping on fighters with guns is a slow process and the "soap bubble" carriers aren't worth many VP as targets themselves.

Large carriers shouldn't need "universe specific" rules to be balanced against pure gunship designs, especially when bubble carriers work just fine, and maybe even too well.


This is contradictory: first you say that carriers are at a disadvantage, then you say that "bubble carriers" work just fine, and maybe even too well. I understand what you were trying to say; carriers with small fighter groups (that can launch them all in one or two turns) can work in standard SFO if you buy enough of them, but carriers that carry nothing but fighters (the classic "soap bubble" carrier) cannot launch their entire fighter groups before enemy gunships get into range on the standard SFO map. Of course, any SFO carrier that can launch all her fighters in two turns is not a "bubble carrier" since she's using very little of her hull space for those fighters: a size 12 carrier uses only 600 of 4280 SUs (14%) to carry 24 fighters (as many as she can launch in two turns under the new launch rates), while a size 2 carrier (launching 3 fighters/turn) needs 150 of her 417 SUs (36%) to carry 6 fighters. These are not "bubble carriers" since they have plenty of space left for weapons and defenses.

Let's look at the most extreme examples: a size 2 carrier with thrust 3/2 and nothing else but fighters can carry 14 fighters. Under the new launch rates she needs 5 turns to launch her brood. Under your proposals (either Launch Tubes or the "Launch" special order) she would need three turns. A size 12 carrier with thrust 3/2 and nothing else but fighters can carry 116 fighters. Under the current rules she'd need 10 turns to launch all fighters, and even under your proposals she'd need 5 turns, and in a standard game of SFO she'd probably go under with many of her fighters aboard.

How about a different proposal?

Rapid Launch Rate

Carriers may be built to launch all their fighters in one turn by paying twice the cost in SUs for every fighter. This applies only to fighters, not to drones.

This rule only works well for the bigger carriers and lets them get a lot of firepower out there quickly, but they're limited in total firepower.

starbreaker
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Re: New SFO Special Orders Ideas

Postby starbreaker » Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:31 pm

Of course, any SFO carrier that can launch all her fighters in two turns is not a "bubble carrier" since she's using very little of her hull space for those fighters:


You're falling into the trap of thinking you have to fill all your available SUs when all that accomplishes is to increase carrier cost and therefore decrease the number of fighters you put into play. As it stands right now, a SFO bubble carrier will have minimal movement, few or no weapons or defenses, and exactly as many fighters as you expect to be able to launch in your brief lifetime - usually 1x the launch rate, maybe 2x if you feel optimistic. The actual size of the ship means very little except that it'll be at the bottom of a launch rate bracket for efficiency - size 2, 3, 5, or 10. The result is a classic bubble carrier - a hull that exists to serve as a fighter taxi.

Rapid Launch Rate

Carriers may be built to launch all their fighters in one turn by paying twice the cost in SUs for every fighter. This applies only to fighters, not to drones.

This rule only works well for the bigger carriers and lets them get a lot of firepower out there quickly, but they're limited in total firepower.


Possibly viable, I'll give it a try next time I feel like doing a serious carrier grind. I don't know if restricting it to fighters but not drones is a good idea or not - all the arguments I'm amking about carriers could be applied to "drone" fleets as well, and with similar justification. There are fewer genre-specific examples of that sort of thing (Forever War springs to mind, and if you regard the missiles on a Cylon base star as being drones in SFO terms, BSG) but I'm sure someone out there dreams of doing an all-AI fleet that fights with massive waves of drones or some kind of Tyranid-like biological nastiness full of one-shot seeking weapons. OTOH, drones are much, much scarier in short games where their single-strike nature means less, so amping their launch rate would help them more than fighters.

Rather see the "independent fighter" make an appearance as well - the old FTL fighter from Compendium days. That's a good way to model the "keep the carriers off-board" doctrine, but it relies on being confident that you've priced fighters correctly.

The Oz
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Re: New SFO Special Orders Ideas

Postby The Oz » Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:39 pm

Rapid Launch Rate

Carriers may be built to launch all their fighters in one turn by paying twice the cost in SUs for every fighter. This applies only to fighters, not to drones.

This rule only works well for the bigger carriers and lets them get a lot of firepower out there quickly, but they're limited in total firepower.


starbreaker wrote:Possibly viable, I'll give it a try next time I feel like doing a serious carrier grind. I don't know if restricting it to fighters but not drones is a good idea or not - all the arguments I'm amking about carriers could be applied to "drone" fleets as well, and with similar justification. There are fewer genre-specific examples of that sort of thing (Forever War springs to mind, and if you regard the missiles on a Cylon base star as being drones in SFO terms, BSG) but I'm sure someone out there dreams of doing an all-AI fleet that fights with massive waves of drones or some kind of Tyranid-like biological nastiness full of one-shot seeking weapons. OTOH, drones are much, much scarier in short games where their single-strike nature means less, so amping their launch rate would help them more than fighters.

Rather see the "independent fighter" make an appearance as well - the old FTL fighter from Compendium days. That's a good way to model the "keep the carriers off-board" doctrine, but it relies on being confident that you've priced fighters correctly.


I've used SFO drones enough to think that the current launch rates are more than enough. I want my space battles to take a few turns; I don't like "Battles of the First Salvo" very much. Allow ships to dump 24 drones on the map every turn and it could very ugly very quickly. If a lot of "missile" firepower is needed (as in the "Honor Harrington Universe" ships I'm designing) I like using your idea to have an "Interceptable" trait for weapon batteries that allows Point Defense to apply to fire by those weapons.

As for "independent fighters", I'm not opposed to them, but I think they should cost a little more (in VP) and there should be some mechanism for the carriers/bases to be attacked in return somehow.

murtalianconfederacy
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Re: New SFO Special Orders Ideas

Postby murtalianconfederacy » Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:13 am

One thing:

If the smallest hull size you can build is 2, why is there a launch rate for hull size 1 vessels?
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Re: New SFO Special Orders Ideas

Postby OldnGrey » Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:54 pm

murtalianconfederacy wrote:One thing:

If the smallest hull size you can build is 2, why is there a launch rate for hull size 1 vessels?

I am thinking page 14 is a Typo when transferring from Starmada, it is clear that minimum SFO hull is 2.

Paul

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Re: New SFO Special Orders Ideas

Postby murtalianconfederacy » Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:21 pm

Thats what I thought.
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"This door is alarmed"

:) :)


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