January 2013

Ask Admiral Vanaxilth (Continued)


After an 11-year tour at the Academy, Admiral Growler has returned to active duty. His successor is Admiral Vanaxilth, a visitor from the Hydran Kingdom. Although well-versed in military theory, rumor has it the Royal Family had him sent to the Academy on the theory he would do less damage there, after his fleets were devastated by the Klingons.
     Admiral Vanaxilth is assisted by Kommodore Ketrick and many staff officers, including Stewart Frazier, Troy Latta, Gary Carney, John Wyszynski, William Wilson, Ken Humpherys, Alex Lyons, and Terry O'Carroll.

      Andrew Granger asks: I am taking a Kzinti squadron into battle soon. I am not usually a Kzinti player and I am unsure how the percentages work. Could I get an example or two on how to fill the racks on a CM in Y175?
      ANSWER: Here is a quick example: Your Kzinti CM has two type-C drone racks and two type-B drone racks, for a total of 20 spaces of drones. It also has two 12-shot anti-drone racks, but these are not included in the calculation of drone percentages. Per rule (FD10.64), Kzinti ships can have 50% general availability, 30% restricted (and/or general) availability, and 20% limited (and/or restricted and/or general) availability drones. This means four spaces of drones can be any type, another six spaces can be restricted or general availability, and the other 10 spaces must be general availability. The Kzinti captain elects to fill the type-C drone racks with type-IM drones (general availability), and the type-B drone racks each with one ECM drone (restricted availability), one type-IM spearfish drone (limited availability). He also loads into his type-B drone racks two type-IVM drones with 1.5 spaces of explosive module and 0.5 spaces of armor module, sometimes referred to as the "8/18" drone (i.e., eight Damage Points and 18 points of warhead). Per rule (FD10.66), each of these type-IVM drones will count as one space of general and one space of restricted availability. Thus, the ship is using two spaces of limited availability, six spaces of restricted availability, and 12 spaces of general availability. The Kzinti captain could have taken more spaces of limited and restricted availability drones, but chose not to for tactical reasons.

      Peter Bakija asks: Seeking weapon drogues (G34.31) cost 10 points to replace a shuttle with. Does this 10-point cost include a single load of (slow) drones or plasma-D torpedoes, i.e., do you for, 10 points, get a loaded seeking-weapon drogue?
      ANSWER: The price includes the drones (but not any upgrades to them), per (G34.311).
      Follow-up question: Is there a list of when various drogues are made available? Rule (G34.0) says they were developed between Y178 and Y180, but there does not seem to be anything more concrete than that.
      ANSWER: All drogues are available to all applicable empires in Y178. If you are writing a historical scenario set prior to Y180, you might want to limit the availability of drogues for any non-Klingon forces, but in terms of tactical rules, there is no such limitation.
              Kommodore Ketrick adds: There is no existing data on when any given empire got any given drogue, and Y178 is simply used as the available date for all drogues. Their cost and the restrictions they impose on the ships was accepted as "the control" on their deployment. A ship which replaced all of its shuttles with drogues would be hampered in a campaign (lack of shuttles to land and support troops for example) and in "patrol" battles both sides would have access to use them as they saw fit.

      Alex Lyons asks: Spearfish drones are designed to punch through defensive systems and deal internal damage, so how would it react against an empire that relies on armor as its shields such as the Jindarians?
      ANSWER: Spearfish drones do not ignore armor.

      Troy Latta asks: A Speed-12 drone is targeted on a ship in an asteroid hex. The drone moves from a clear hex into the asteroid hex, impacting its target. Does the drone need to roll on the asteroid table to see if it hits a rock before it impacts?
      ANSWER: No. Per the Sequence of Play, seeking weapon damage is resolved in 6A3 before asteroid damage.
      Follow-up question: Assuming it survives the asteroids (or does not roll on them), is there an ECM effect from the single asteroid hex "between" them and their target?
      ANSWER: Yes. Per (P3.33), each asteroid hex between the unit guiding the drone and the target (including the hex of the guiding unit and the hex of the target) will produce one point of ECM, which could affect detonation proximity per (D6.361). Note that if the seeking weapon is self-guiding, the asteroid hex would still generate one point of ECM for the target.

      Phred Werenich asks: If an Andromedan ship displaces into a hex containing drones targeted on said ship, perhaps from a failed/random displacement or simply because of a (poor?) tactical choice on the part of the Andromedan commander, when do the drones impact? Rule (F2.313) indicates that impact is immediate, correct?
      ANSWER: Per rule (G18.0), second paragraph, a displaced unit does not "move," it appears at the new location. So rules (F2.312) and (F2.313) do not apply here; the ship has not "moved" into the hex of the seeker. While not quite the same as the case of same hex launch, the logic of (F2.32) applies here. Per the Sequence of Play, displacement happens during stage 6D5, which is after the 6A Movement phase. The impact will not occur until the following impulse, assuming both the Andromedan ship and the seeking weapons end up in the same hex at the end of movement.
      Follow-up question: If I displace into a hex with drones targeted at me, but because of rule (G18.69) some drones are now facing directly away from me, do they still impact immediately or must they use a high energy turn or turn in some way?
      ANSWER: See above. Assuming that you and the drones are still in the same hex the following impulse, they will impact; there is no requirement on relative facing, only that you and the seekers be in the same hex. See (F2.31).
      Follow-up question: What about an ECM drone escorting a ship. Does it have a random facing or share the ship's facing?
      ANSWER: By rule (G18.69), each unit in the hex would have a random facing relative to the displaced unit. There are no exceptions to this procedure. While this can lead to some funky results (Andromedan is in direction A from a Klingon, while the drone, which is in direction D from the Klingon, is in direction A from the Andromedan), you have to realize that any rule that attempted to cover all the possible facings in this case would be hopelessly complicated. There are limitations imposed by playing on a two-dimensional hex grid. So, for things like displacement into an occupied hex, and wild weasel collateral damage, we just use a random die roll.