September 2007

Ask Admiral Growler Continued

Follow-up question: Are there any rules that allow type-IIIXX drones to be launched without fire control in active mode? I have looked through (FD5.2) and cannot find it.

ANSWER: See rules (F4.3) (ballistic launch) and (FD5.252) ("Tame Boar targeting").

Jim Davies asks: This comes in two parts:
a) Can I launch a ballistic seeker at a ground base on a side of a planet that I cannot see? I am assuming that I know where the base is, and have another unit (e.g., a shuttle) keeping a lock-on to it, should that matter. For example, the base is on side A of planet in 3408. Ship in 3509 launches plasma in direction B. Plasma goes 3608, 3607, 3507, 3407, 3408. This allows the ship to rain plasma on the base without fear of retaliation. We can do it in 2007 with ICBMs, so maybe it is correct.
b) Depending on how one reads (F4.11), this can be done by launching in direction A: 3407, 3307, HET, 3308. Here is the rule: (F4.11) If the ballistic unit enters a third hex adjacent to the target hex without having entered the target hex, it will begin "evading" the target hex from that point. Define "enters" in this context.
ANSWER: This is trying to be clever with the rules to try to do something that is not enabled. Ballistic weapons cannot be launched to target ground bases not in the line of sight of the launching unit. No other unit can provide the line of sight. Further, there is no provision in the rules for a ballistic weapon to turn, or to HET. Not even Wild Boar type-III drones can be launched outside of range five to target a ground base (R1.14C2) even though they can be programmed to make final turns before crashing into a planet. This is trying to twist (P2.713), and lacking a direct line of sight (and line of flight) to the target, the seeking weapon cannot be launched. In the case of (F4.11) the definition of "enters" is in fact enters the designated hex, and then moves directly away (evades). It does not allow the unit to enter the hex and then select a new direction through an HET.

Robert Eddy asks: Question for drone bombardment ships. Where in the rules do drone bombardment ships get their cargo capacity in free type-III slow drones? I can find it in the ship description the capacity to hold extra drones but cannot find if this capacity is filled with free Type-III drones.
ANSWER: You do not get free Type-III drones. Rule (S3.22) allows you to load your cargo boxes with drones for 25% of their total cost, but not for free.
Michael Powers asks a follow-up question: The way I read (S3.2), you can only load drones into the cargo boxes if you are using the "all type-IIIXX" option (and the cargo-box drones will be type-IIIXX). If you are loading the racks for general combat, then you cannot put spare drones into the cargo boxes. (You can buy spare drones, but only as Commander's Option Items; they do not get the 75% discount, and they do not need to be stored in the cargo boxes.) Is this correct?
ANSWER: If the ship description specifies that cargo boxes have spare drones, then they have free reload drones proportional to the loading in the racks, regardless of the drones in the racks. On the other hand, if the ship description does not specify otherwise, then (FD2.445) states that the boxes are not filled with free reloads. Rule (S3.222) is referring to the special case where a drone ship is loaded with all type-IIIXX drones, which would otherwise be in violation of the availability restrictions.

Paul Stovell asks: A question on type-III "bombardment" drones and whether they can acquire a satellite base sitting at level 9 of a temporal elevator. Looking at (G31.23) effect of range I would argue that "Tame Boar" or "Wild Boar" targeting (FD5.252) and (FD5.255) that look for targets within eight hexes would fly "under" a satellite base at level 9 and never pick it up as a target. Contrariwise, either drone might be allowed to enter the temporal elevator and proceed up it to find a target.
ANSWER: You are correct that the drone could fly under the base and never see it. However, the location of the base could be a known location, and type-IIIXX drones could be programmed to just circle (FD5.255) that location, waiting for the base to come into range or they run out of fuel. Those circling sharks could have some effect on other actions the base might like to take.

James Hallmark asks: On a ship with a type-G drone rack how do you account for the BPV if you choose ADDs. For example how much do you add to a ship's BPV during middle speed drone years if the Captain chooses two type-I medium speed drones and two ADDs.
ANSWER: You would only pay for the speed upgrades of the drones. The ADDs would be free, i.e., under Annex #6 you are trading a type-I drone for two ADDs, cost is zero. Note that in your example you have one drone that remains and it still a slow drone as each drone you replace with ADDs is replaced by two ADDs. The ship could have two drones and four ADDs, or three drones and two ADDs in the rack.