October 2009

Ask Admiral Growler (Continued)


- by Mike Filsinger

Christopher Alper asks: A Tournament Romulan Firehawk uses its two labs to identify Kzinti drones. Later in the turn, the Kzinti smacks the Romulan Firehawk hard, and kills both the labs. Can Romulan Firehawk use a control space on that same turn to lab another drone (i.e., use three lab functions in one turn)?

ANSWER: Rule (G4.32) states that the control space takes on the lab function at the end of the turn on which the last lab is destroyed, so no, he cannot do that.

T. Boelter asks: A ship uses all of its lab boxes to identify drones. Can the ship use (G4.1) to study an asteroid at the end of that turn?

ANSWER: Rule (G4.21) only allows drone identification if the lab is being used for no other purpose, so, no.

Rodger Burns asks: If I add special sensors to the option mounts of a ship that already has a split BPV, and use that ship in a fleet situation, how do I count the points? Add to combat BPV, add to economic BPV, add to both? For instance, if a Slaver (cost 83/60) were to have its two option mounts fitted with special sensors (ten points each), would it cost 80 BPV, or 103?

ANSWER: The cost of the special sensors would add to both BPVs, and as a scout, you would then use the 103-point economic BPV (G24.35) for both purposes in a fleet battle.

David Crew asks: At what point in the Sequence of Play are concealment panels blown? There does not seem to be a listing that I can find, so I am guessing it would go at step 6E.

ANSWER: Rule (D17.742) does not specify exactly when the panels are blown clear, but the 1/8th turn (four impulse) delay pretty much makes it clear that it is done at the same point in the Sequence of Play where the system behind the panel would operate, i.e., in the launch drones step for a drone rack or the announce direct-fire step for a phaser, etc.

Matthew J. Francois asks: Are purchased Commander's Options kept secret until the end of the game? Or do you have to reveal what you have bought at the start of the scenario?

ANSWER: Most Commander's Option Items are secret. You cannot access the chart side of an SSD to see if an admin shuttle is marked as having been traded in for a GAS or an MRS. But the ship side of the SSD is open to view, and obviously if he has a refit that was not part of the set up, he bought it with some of his Commander's Option Points. So it is a little of both, but obviously you should check your opponent's math at the end of the battle just as he should check yours and both of you should check each other's Energy Allocation Forms.

Seth Iniguez asks: Rule (D17.4E) ". . . seeking weapons launch can be accounted to a specific mount . . ." Does this mean fighter launch can be identified to a specific rail, giving away a dogfight drone launched from a dogfight only rail?

ANSWER: A fighter is a single "drone rack" for this purpose. Tactical Intelligence Level I only lets you can detect the number of weapons being carried on a fighter, it does not allow you to know what they are, or which rails are empty. If it launches a drone, you do not know if it was a type-IV, a type-I, or a type-VI; you only know that it launched a drone.

Robert Russell Lender-Lundak asks: Under (D17.0), when calculating S4 information for the approach of a battle, the number of ships as well as their individual movement cost is known. When PFs are moving under their own power (without a tender), I assume they are revealed as size 5 units with a 1/5th movement cost. Is this correct?

ANSWER: Yes, the PFs are generating warp fields, so the presence and strength is known.

2. Would they still be known if on mech links on a tender?

ANSWER: If the PF is still attached to the PFT, it does not affect the movement cost, so it would not be detected.

3. At what level under Tac Intel (D17.0) are PFs on mech links revealed? Are the specific hull or variant types known as well?

ANSWER: The presence (but not type) of a PF on a mech link is known at level D (D17.4D).

Pat Moore asks: Does the built-in ECM of a ship give away the identity of that ship? Orions and fighters, or any ship with a built-in ECM bonus, is pretty much identifiable at any distance because of this bonus. This seems unfair to me.

ANSWER: The built-in ECM cannot be dropped. Rule (D17.194) says EW status is always known, and it also states that the source of that bonus is always known as well. This may be a hidden disadvantage for Orions, but that is the way the rule is. Note that simply having ECM does not actually identify the unit as ECM may cause the unit to NOT be seen at all. An Orion sneaking up on a freighter gains a one shift to be spotted without expending any energy, as do fighters.

Andy Palmer asks: Using the Strategic Intelligence Level (S1-S5) in (D17.0), what information is gained on the presence of bases (BS, BATS, SB, etc.) and at what levels?

ANSWER: Bases are fixed installations and are usually already known since they take a year or more to build (six months to place a Mobile Base, another six to upgrade it to a battle station, and another six months to upgrade the battle station to a starbase according to Federation and Empire).

In a campaign where no bases are known at start, bases would have to be detected by "watching the enemy" and capturing information either by capturing ships or through spies. The problem is that if a base were easy to detect, then the Orions would not be able to build any. Now, obviously Orion bases are built in out-of-the-way areas, preferably with some sort of terrain feature to further mask them, and Orion ships take roundabout routes to reach them. So a campaign would have to handle bases by one of three methods.

The simple method is that all bases are always known. If player A begins construction of a Mobile Base, he must tell all the opposing players that it is happening. Simply assume an efficient intelligence organization with operatives inside the Merchant Marine, police, and fleet logistics commands.

The slightly more complex method is to allow players to construct bases with a good record kept of the resources (to prove that Base #4 did not suddenly appear when needed with no resources spent to build it) and have a moderator roll dice to determine if the base is spotted when the area is scanned. There might be a sliding scale; base spotted on a roll of one on a six sided die if a convoy arrived to resupply it, or if a squadron of warships resupplies at the base. Add one to the die roll if . . . and so on.
The third and more complex would be to actually track the movements of opposing units looking for the base (much the same way the police forces try to track Orion movements to find their bases).

All of this assumes that the bases want to hide. If they use their active scanners (not needed for the bases to track ships at strategic levels) they would be spotted, of course.