Archive through May 22, 2012

Star Fleet Universe Discussion Board: Star Fleet Battles: Star Fleet Battles Online: Tournaments: SFBOL World League 2: Archive through May 22, 2012
By Paul Scott (The_Rock) on Monday, May 21, 2012 - 01:59 pm: Edit

Because it is certainly almost, and possibly truely, broken. It is only obvious, however, from a statistical analysis. It has the heavy weapon of least concern. Has a small to moderate drone load and has no drone points and no SP. Has a middle turnmode. Has a perfectly normal total number of internals. And it has no unusual defensive or offensive systems.

It can be reasonably described as either (or both) a less interesting Klingon or less interesting Kzinti. As it turns out, a better description of it would be a Kzinti or Klingon that has "tunred in" the advantages of those two ships in exchange for also turnign in their weaknesses.

As a result, what it has is the ability to take a large number of internals without significantly degrading its combat abilities. This includes power as well as weapons. That sort of advantage, even as large a one as it has (apx. 15-20 internals over the median ship - not total internals, but damage taken before significant imparement of operations), can really only be sussed out over a large number of games (or by someone, and I did not initially do this before seeing the actual play data, running simulations of 20 internals across a number of ships, then repeating at 25, then 30, then 35, etc.).

If you look at Robert's data, however, you will see a ship with a significant skew in performance, both generally and in Ace v. Ace. Once you notice something like that, you can start pndering why. Based on thousands of simulations I ran, I am pretty sure the reason for that is its damage sponge abilities.

By David Zimdars (Zimdarsdavid) on Monday, May 21, 2012 - 02:53 pm: Edit

Paul gives a good summary.

Another Shark advantage is its phaser arcs. The BB version can get all of its phasers to bear on the #2 and #6 hex line, which is the most common approach for seekers. It is also the most common R1 knife fight facing.

Kli p1=4, p2=2, p3=1, tot=7, expected=33
Zin p1=4, p3=4, tot=8, expected=36
GBS p1=6, p3=5, tot=11, expected=50

The Fed can only do this in its #1.

By David Zimdars (Zimdarsdavid) on Monday, May 21, 2012 - 02:57 pm: Edit

Fixing the GBS?

Delete 2 hull
Convert it's FA p1s to 2fa, 1lf+l, 1rf+r

By Peter D Bakija (Bakija) on Monday, May 21, 2012 - 05:38 pm: Edit

Paul wrote:
>>Because it is certainly almost, and possibly truely, broken. It is only obvious, however, from a statistical analysis.>>

You certainly may be on to something. Like, as noted, on paper, it doesn't seem that oppressive. And in my experience, it doesn't seem that oppressive; sometimes it wins, and sometimes it loses, but it never seems to totally dominate a game. But looking at the Schirmer data certainly seems to indicate that there is something amiss.

By Josh Driscol (Gfb) on Monday, May 21, 2012 - 05:48 pm: Edit

How do you justify deleting 2 hull when its just anohter 8 forward 8 aft hull ship. Lyran, ISC, Seltorian all have 16 hull in the same proportion.

By Peter D Bakija (Bakija) on Monday, May 21, 2012 - 05:50 pm: Edit

I suspect the biggest issue on the ship is the 5x FX/RX P3's.

By Josh Driscol (Gfb) on Monday, May 21, 2012 - 05:57 pm: Edit

That certainly protects the phaser 1's longer than on most other ships.

Wonder if the simple change to FH RH wouldnt do the trick. Remove the overlap in the arcs and its not anything special.

By Paul Scott (The_Rock) on Monday, May 21, 2012 - 07:56 pm: Edit

It is a mistake to try and identify "the problem" with the GBS as any one system on the SSD. The problem is that it maintains, to a much greater degree than its comparables, most of its capabilities after sustaining significant internals. It is a combination of: 30+4+4, of 8+8 and of the totality of it's phasers.

So, what about the Lyran, ISC and Selt?

Good questions. Possible answers:

1. The Selt is a terrible ship because its weapons are just poor. It is like the Fed in its complete lack of terrain generation, but unlike it in that it lacks the heavy fire-power. It has some of the durability of the GBS, in that no one weapon hit is all that significant and it should retain a significant portion of its offense and movement after a significant volley. It, however, pays for that ability by having low capabilities to start with. Also, slightly inferior protection for the p-1s, since, unless it is centerlined, a significant volley could remove 2 p-1s.

3. The Lyran - it has good hull, like the GBS, that allows it to retain its power after significant internals, but it's weapons are not similarly protected. It has only 2 ESGs and each ESG represents a significant reduction in offense (or defense). It has only a total of 2 p-3s, so that a large volly will take it from 8+2 to 6+0. That shark will go from 6+5 to 5+1.

4. The ISC. Good hull to protect its power systems. Slightly inferior phasers (see Selt). Most importantly, however, the Drone/Torp rear plasma F's mean that it will lose its heavy weapons very quickly. Thus, while it maintains its power, it does not maintain its weapons.

5. A similar observation can be made of the Gorn and Hydran, both of which have superior hull to the GBS, but both of whom have significantly inferior protection for their weapons.

Care must be taken, if modifications are going to take place, however. Durability is the Shark's only special feature. It is, otherwise, an inferior version of the Klink or Kzinti. Modifications should be small and proceed stepwise. Personally, I would start by removing 1 p-3 from the FX bank. Then let Rob collect data for another few years and if it is still too good, remove 2 hull.

By David Zimdars (Zimdarsdavid) on Monday, May 21, 2012 - 09:23 pm: Edit

Comparing the Kzinti to the GBS is instructive. The question is, how valuable to the Kzinti are the SP, and the 4 drone points, and the extra heavy drone. Against a good player's defense, perhaps not so much. Both the Zin and the BB have 4 drone racks, so just on the basis of keeping up cloud of phaser sponging drones and presenting some sort of anchor threat, the Kzinti and the GBS are about equal. If the defense forces the Kzinti to get no more use of the special drone toys, then in most cases the superior fire arcs and extra P1s are and advantage to the GBS. The Kzinti (in 1984) did in fact have 2 more RHull. The Kzinti is considered durable, but the GBS may be more durable in most situations than the Kzin. Perversely, the Kzin may be a better saber dancer than the GBS, as the disruptor arcs present a threat against chasing ships. At close range, the Kzin can fight out of its #5 and #3 to some degree. Though this requires the game to proceed in a subtle way. The GBS requires less subtlety to exploit.

Another factor is the prevalence of the 4/14 WW, which pretty much nullifies the KLI and ZIN SP and associated drone mass. You may all recall all the talk about WW being bad ju ju in the tactics manual. The 4/14 is often painless. Furthermore, the change in the unlplotted acceleration rules have vastly aided the stoppers (both plotted and emer decel). A combination of rules changes and tactics evolution has made it much harder to get an effect with these weapons. Of course you can unload a SP, which is nice in a long game vs. BP. If you begin to think of a SP as a pain, and you'd rather just have the shuttle, then the BB is nicer. Just slow and steady with 4 drones each turn. Doesn't draw the WW. Gotta shoot. Or tractor. Or counter drone.

Lastly, the GBS has a dual shuttle bay. If it over runs, it can tie up to 32 points of damage with drones and 2xSSS. The ZIN has on 28 points of tie up (with 1 SSS and 3IV) and the KLI maybe 21. The only defense agains most R1 SSS launch is phasers.

Consider how you need to handle the 2SSS, 2IV and 2I. You don't know which are I. That's 12 phaser 3s to be sure. Who's got that?

By David Zimdars (Zimdarsdavid) on Monday, May 21, 2012 - 09:38 pm: Edit

What I was pointing out about weapons arcs and so forth on the GBS and comparison to the ZIN and KLI was that most ships are driven to do some awkward things to maximize the use of its weapons and firing arcs. The LYR and FED, for example, will turn to bring its other side P1s in arc, thereby resetting their turn modes and becoming vulnerable to Mizia. Or exposing their #1 for a FCL shot. The GBS can preserve its 1 for the chase and then trade the 2 or 6 for its shot, with no loss in firepower. The GBS is not driven to do anything awkward maneuver wise defensively or offensively in most circumstances.

When you combine this lack of awkwardness with the durability Mr. Scott correctly describes, I think this explains why it feels like for many match ups you have to work harder than you at first expect facing a GBS. Its hard for the GBS to make a mistake. You have to increase your risk of a mistake.

The backstory of the GBS has sort of preserved it vs. scrutiny with regards to its lack of awkwardness. After, the WYN GBS is supposed to have ironed out all of the awkward features in other ships. The Schirmer evidence suggests that this design theory is more successful than it may first be presumed.

By Peter D Bakija (Bakija) on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - 04:28 pm: Edit

Yeah, that the GBS (bb) can fire all of its guns out of #2 and #6, and all but 2 of its guns across the FA (and take damage on the same) is a serious advantage over both the Klingon and the Kzinti. The Kzinti has all those P3s to take damage on, but with only 4xP1 to start with, it is really easy to end up with only 2xP1 after a single volley. The Klingon has all those blind spots where it loses padding phasers; in a significant chunk of the FA, the Klingon only has a single P3 to take hits on. The GBS always has 3xP3 to take hits on, and occasionally 5 of them.

The Kzinti can never get all of its phasers to fire on a single target (4+4 is the best you can get everywhere other than directly backwards where you can get 2+8). The Klingon can only get all of its phasers to hit you directly aft; I think it's best forward volley is going to be on the #2/#6 spine out past R1 where it can fire 5+2+2, but there are plenty of places in FA where all it can shoot you with is 4xP1 and a P3.

I think David is certainly onto something with the 4/14 weasel, and more importantly, the "I plot speed 4 all turn, and use batteries to jump up to 14 during the second half of the turn if it seems like a good idea" maneuvering that was either enabled or made more obvious by the clarifications to the unplotted mid turn speed change rules making the Kzinti and Klingon SP advantage less of an advantage over the Shark as well.

By Andrew J. Koch (Droid) on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - 04:35 pm: Edit

You always talk about the 4/14 with such bitterness.

By Peter D Bakija (Bakija) on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - 05:00 pm: Edit

Heh--I just totally got a leg up in my game vs Zimdars with a 4/14 which totally foiled his SP...

It's the other one that I find more problematic (i.e. the plot speed 4 all turn and when your opponent turns off 'cause they don't want to run into your entrenched and weasel ready position, you speed up to 14 off batteries for the second half of the turn). Which was the one that wasn't possible (or at least wasn't obviously possible) till the unplotted speed change rules were clarified--if you plotted speed 4 all turn, the best you could manage paying 2:1 was a jump to for the last half of the turn. Which was much less good of a deal.

By Josh Driscol (Gfb) on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - 06:10 pm: Edit

Shyhawk defeated by GFB in our game.

By David Zimdars (Zimdarsdavid) on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - 06:33 pm: Edit

The rule was definitely that the cap was the cost for moving the higher speed the whole turn. I will agee that almost nobody could figure out what that implied or what the calculation was. Basically, the cap meant that for most of the turn a move cost 1 ship could accelerate 5. For the last 2 gained hexes it could go whatever it's normal c12 limit would be by paying 2 or 4 togain 1 or 2 hexes.

So the 4/14 or the 0/10 with bats is only declarable on i27 ( costing 4). Otherwise 4/9 or 0/5. And even then you pay for moves you didn't use. The rule was meant to cost you extra energy. Claims to the contrary are ret-conning.

By David Zimdars (Zimdarsdavid) on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - 06:42 pm: Edit

The low cost speed change also sets up the seekers at r1 or r2 on i32 for the 4/14. This is much easier to do if you can gain 5 extra moves than 2. In addition to harming the SP it hurts the std S plasma torp stack. There rarely are opportunities to launch that early in the game anymore.

By Paul Scott (The_Rock) on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - 06:44 pm: Edit

Yeah, that was the way I always (and everyone I knew) interpretted it as well. Want to increase your speed by 5? No problem, the cap was 5. So going from 4 to 9 was the best you could do and have the cap be 1:1. The rule "clarification" was definitely a rules change to me and everyone I played with. I have no comment as to which was better. The 4/14 from batts certainly hurts SW races trying to hit with SW, but also gives them greater flexibility to plot lower speeds.

Probably the best example I can think of from teh perspective of the TFH is that I used to burn all my betteries on turn 1 to move fast and to EPT. Now I just do a Fast/Slow (usually 29/14) plot and EPT and if I need to jump back up, I use batteries.

So, from my perspective, I don't see anyone as worse off from the rules change. At least not dramatically so.

From a game design perspective, I have a mild preference for the new rule. I think its application is complicated and generally more options that are not obviously good/bad are things that reward better play. Rewarding better play is generally a good thing for a game. So much of SFB is determined by choices made in EA. While there is certainly some value in making hard EA decisions, you don't want the game to come down to "who guessed right among a series of equally reasonable choices." We already have that game, it is called rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock.

By Josh Driscol (Gfb) on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - 06:52 pm: Edit

But thats not anything exclusive to the Shark, and yes I have to agree it is a common tactic.

These changes were before I really started playing so I dont really know what the other way was like.

But this is unplotted acceleration your talking about, 4/14 thats plotted and uses no batteries would still be possible. I personally dont think changing the unplotted acceleration limits would have much effect, players would simply learn to see into the future better and plot it at EA where the cost was less.

And I know in lots of games when ive thought oh ill use the 4/14 to shed myself of drones or provide a shift, if the player waits and you have a plotted speed change you can have to ED to stay slow enough to use the weasels.

But if this is a problem its as much a problem for regular SFB as tournament SFB.

By David Zimdars (Zimdarsdavid) on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - 07:04 pm: Edit

Josh, I think I raised the point that the KLI and ZIN SP wasnt as interesting or effective as it may have been. So if you want 4 drone racks, or 2 there is less to think you might leverage taking a KLI or ZIN over the GBS. That is if as a ZIN you are reduced to fighting like a GBS BB would; then why not take the GBS to begin with?

By Josh Driscol (Gfb) on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - 07:54 pm: Edit

Well theres double drone control and 8 fast drones, 2 labs, a transporter, am extra heavy drone, vastly different Disruptor and phaser arcs, and the most weapons of any tournament ship in the game. Sure 8 of them are phaser 3's, and its true the only place they can all shoot is directly aft.

When the ZIN loses 4 phaser 3's it can switch to the other side, the GBS's more limited number of phaser 3's have to cover both sides. Thats a good and bad thing because repaired phaser 3's are probably going to be able to protect the phaser 1's. The ZIN will probably be using its undamaged side, and the repaired phaser 3's wont be as likely to be in arc when the next fire hits.

I dont see the SP as the Kzinti's only strength. And when unloaded it can provide the reloads to actually make CDR on a drone rack more of an option.

But can you see that a plotted 4/14 would do exactly the same thing, sweep those pesky drones away. And no change to the unplotted acceleration rules would help that, sure with the current unplotted acceleration rules it lets you have almost infinate flexibility as to when you change from 4 to 14. But the tactic can be used with no reserve power at all, all it takes is good timing in your EA.

I personally dont mind the unplotted speed change rules as is, but that could be because I didnt play enough before the rule was clarified.

I think the ZIN and GBS are always going to fight a similar fight there weapons are not that different. The Klingon at least has UIM and an ADD to give it a bit more options.

And really in the old days did many ships get hit with scatter pack drones, when I play against a scatter pack ship its always on my mind not because its how they always win but because I know if i fire everything your free to deploy that sucker and the following turn ill have to deal with it.

My question is why is the 4/14 with or without a weasel, not considered cruising the map at slow speed waiting for some fool to impale himself on your non agressive, yet armed to the teeth ship.

My feeling is that its a fine line and nothing good ever comes from any accusations of non agression. Yes, I used that taboo word.

Anybody care to give me there thoughts on how 4/14, or 0/10 are agressive. There agressivly removing your seekers. What would be irritating is to have others use the 4/14 and have it called non agression only when you do it.

Any time you weasel your cruising around at low speed, clearly you could be said to be non agressive, but you have a good reason to go slow why even have weasels if the speeds that you need to go to use them are non agressive speeds.

Ive probably dredged up a forbidden topic here but I would really like to know why 4/14 is so much more legitamate than cruising around at 8 or 9 for turn after turn.

By David Zimdars (Zimdarsdavid) on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - 08:15 pm: Edit

Josh, I recognize all of the differences you mention between the ZIN and GBS. They are all not without merit.

I wasn't bringing up Voldemort as part of the argument (one way or the other). Though rules changes may encourage Voldemort or discourage him, as the case may be, from time to time. In truth, I believe we all fly our ships in service of the dark lord from time to time.

I wouldn't say speed 8 is less legitimate, or honorable, or unsportsmanlike. Just not as effective as a 4/14.

Agreed, in ships rarely got hit with SP drones outside of the anchor. What it did do more often was tie up phasers; or leave a stopped player vulnerable to a knife fight.

A 4/9 or 0/5 are far more disadvantageous for any opponent of a D&D ship. They are more likely to allow a knife fight, or get caught in 2 turns of OL'd disruptor fire.

IMHO the mid turn speed cap change has removed some of the awkwardness of being slow.

I am not necessarily advocating anything. Just discussing and analyzing.

Paul Scotts defense of it as being more attractive to advanced players in balance is probably accurate.

By Peter D Bakija (Bakija) on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - 08:24 pm: Edit

Paul wrote:
>>Yeah, that was the way I always (and everyone I knew) interpretted it as well. Want to increase your speed by 5? No problem, the cap was 5. So going from 4 to 9 was the best you could do and have the cap be 1:1. The rule "clarification" was definitely a rules change to me and everyone I played with. I have no comment as to which was better.>>

I think the current rule is vastly easier to understand than the old rule--under the old rule, yeah, you could increase your speed by 5 and it would cost 5 if you gained 4 hexes or 3 hexes, but if you gaines 2 hexes, it cost 4. But you couldn't go from 4 to 14. The current rules are a lot easier to follow and understand, but allows you to increase your speed by 10 and pay 1:1 for doing so. Which means a lot more flexibility when moving slowly.

I'd never claim that one is *better* than the other in an absolute sense (although the current one is certainly easier to suss out just by reading it). But the current one was a significant change that tweaked the environment in subtle but important ways.

By Josh Driscol (Gfb) on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - 08:42 pm: Edit

I think it was I brought up the dark lord Voldemort. Mostly because I dont understand how its not cruising at low speed with overloads, forcing your enemy to use power to get to you and then be outgunned when fire is finally exchanged.

I like the speed change rules plotted and unplotted as they are.

And just to be clear Voldemorts not been an issue in any of my games in WL. If it was I surely would be smart enough to bite my tounge.

By Andrew J. Koch (Droid) on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - 11:08 pm: Edit

Hulk Smash Puny Kzinti! (AKA Droid(Lyran) over ScottishEngineer(Kzinti.))


After some killing of drones with esgs, I got multiple shots on the Kzinti's down #4. Tough for anybody to take. Good game and good luck the rest of the way Mike, as long as it's not against Team Avengers :)

By Mike Kenyon (Mikek) on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - 11:31 pm: Edit

Team Avengers vs. Team Colorado

Droid [Hulk Smash] (LYR) over ScottishEngineer (KZI)

Yep. No doubt about it. Hulk smashed me.

T1: I was coming in expecting aggressive play from the Hulk. We both started at 20, I played speed games to 19 and back to get 21. What I wasn't expecting was his immediate corner dodge. That put me off and changed my game out-right. I was figuring him to be trying to waste my overloads (it did) and/or have the SP lose tracking (had he waited two more impulses it would have been out and probably would have). As was, I spend the better part of the turn chasing him to the NW corner and then to the middle of the western wall. SP out on 19. I took a pot shot at 25 with 2 stds and jackpotted .. for four (put them on the battery). I blossomed on 28. I errored in not getting another 4 in the air in turn 1. At the end of the turn three were 6 at range 10-15. Hoped he'd weasel so I could draw out the limits.

T2: He played speed 14, and I repeated my prior plot. I was figuring him to figure me coming in. I had plotted a couple overs and played a gamble that ended up being the downfall of me. I figured he was holding 4 overs and gambled coming to R8, taking my shot and cutting him out of overload range before he could respond (not CFF). That didn't work. On 10, he popped both ESGs. I figured he was going to speed change up to 20+ later in the turn and attempt to close. Use one-both ESG to take out the drones and trade shots. This made me nervous, but I put him on having later speed change (with an earlier one, he could have avoided the drones). I misguessed. On 12 the speed popped up to 26 while I was at R10. I took the shot on 14, and again jackpotted. I turned out and he followed, I got a R6 shot with the P1s right before they went out of arc to give me an internal on the #6(LWarp - my only meaningful internal). For reasons I don't know, hit the drones rather than avoid them. Took down one ESG and left 16 on the other. Gave him 4 more to play with on 2.20. He took out one with phasers and let the other three hit (down to 2-pt ESG) on 2.23. On 25 he gutted me up the bum for 25 internals, nothing serious - 1 DISR, one power, 1/3 of my rear firepower lot of padding). On 26 I cleared a shuttle out before I lost the bay. Same impulse he mizias with the remaining two phasers for 7 (an inordinate amount of phasers rear firepower is down to a pitance). I turn and too early. He immediately negotiates to get back on the down shield and that's my downfall. 30 he slips into that shuttle and takes 18 from the SS on the other shoulder (#2). I launch another shuttle on 31. We end at R3.

T3: I plot 16/8/4 for 8 total movement. He goes 0. I clear the bay and the racks on 3.1. I get the drones heading on a course to hit the down shield. I know he's going to WW (if he has one), but he's also R3 centerlined on my down #4 so I'm about to be toasted. I fire what's active (1 p1) and in arc as it's about to go. He guts me good ... down to 20 or so internals, lose all the racks but 1 and 1 disr. HET on 2, but now I'm down a LOT of firepower. WW comes out. I negotiate for the shot off his down shield, he TACs, I slow down and negotiate, he TACs, tractors me now we're dirt slow. My shuttles (now the fastest thing on the board) hit his down shield twice. He tractors me and I now know I'm not going to get the down shield. I erred again and got impatient. I squared up for my best (remaining) shot and took it. Sadly, leaving him enough time to get his remaining shuttles out and get me off the down shield. I was left with 5 power and 1 DISR and 3 phasers (2 p1) on a partial up shield. One phaser platform. I would have gotten some shots in, but only by firing on passive with no shields. I was toast. I ceded on 3.32.

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