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Reloading drones, a proposal

 
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rulesjd
Lieutenant JG


Joined: 06 Feb 2007
Posts: 48
Location: seattle

PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reloading drones, a proposal Reply with quote

I appreciate the simplicity of the drone/reload rule in Federation Commander. It certainly is simpler than SFB.

However, drones are already nerfed heavily. Why?

A) They only go speed 24. Speed 32 upgrades are optional for late war only and only by agreement. Maneuvering and power curves in Fed Comm are greatly enhanced to the detriment of drone races.

B) Targets are all known. While I do like the rule it promotes easier drone defense among squadrons.

C) The new defensive fire segment allows something like aegis systems with ADD/Phaser/Tractor sequencing. Also, all defensive fire is at range 1. This means that drone defense is much easier and more effective in Fed. Comm.

D) drone control rates are generally limited to 6, even on most Kzinti ships. Further the 3 turn limit is actually shorter since partial turns on the board are counted as full turns.

E) There are no armored or HE modules, let alone ATG, starfish, etc. And especially for the Klingons, no scatter packs. Drone performance envelopes are therefore much more predictable.

While it is true that there are no T bombs to kill swarms and no wild weasels, the volume of fire is simply not high enough for this to be a problem.

Now in addition to all of this, drone rack reloading takes much longer in both fleet and squadron scale than in SFB. Deck crews could usually achieve reloads much faster.

Klingons and Kzinti ships have a much harder time being equal in this environment.

I would suggest a relatively simple fix. Instead on using damage control on a single rack to reload. Allow damage control to reload one drone per turn. In this way, a cruiser which refrained from firing a full turn could reload one drone in each rack. Fleet scale ships could still get 2-3 racks back in action for a turn in this way. It would return some flexibility to the drone races but, still not be overly complicated.
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MajerBlundor
Lieutenant SG


Joined: 03 Apr 2009
Posts: 123

PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We felt that using "damage control" to reload drones was a little weird. So here's our house rule...

DRONE RELOAD
During the "arm torpedoes" step at the start of a turn a drone rack may reload 1 drone. If it does so it is not available to fire during the current turn.

MB
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pmiller13
Lieutenant JG


Joined: 12 May 2009
Posts: 64

PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
We felt that using "damage control" to reload drones was a little weird. So here's our house rule...

DRONE RELOAD
During the "arm torpedoes" step at the start of a turn a drone rack may reload 1 drone. If it does so it is not available to fire during the current turn.

MB


I would think that this gives away to much to the opponent. What I mean by that is that, since there is nothing secret in FC, at the beginning of the turn you are telling your opponent that you are taking one of your drone racks offline.

Also since (5G5) allows you to reload an entire rack as long as it did not fire then it would be better to have the possibility to fire the rack and no do so than to tell your opponent at the beginning of a turn that you are not going to fire the rack at all this turn.

The only possible reason to do it the other way is that a Kzinti cruiser has 4 racks and using the above rule instead of (5G5) would allow one to perpetually keep all of the racks in service. This is accomplished by being able to fire them every other turn indefinitely. Drone are already powerful enough, IMO, without giving them this power as well. Drones already cost no power and do as much damage as a partially overloaded photon. While rulesjd has a point about no scatter packs or special drones there are also no wild weasels and drone defense boils down to range 1 pretty much. I feel that ADDs are not nearly as powerful in FC as in SFB. In SFB ADDs started firing at range 3 with a 1-4 chance to hit, at range 2 the chance was 1-3 and then at range 1 then chance was 1-2. Since both the ship and drones are moving and the ship gets a chance to fire every movement impulse it was very hard, read next to impossible, to get drones to jump 2 hexes toward the ship in one impulse and completely impossible to get them to jump 3 or more hexes. This lead to ships getting multiple shots with ADDs at stacks of drones making it much hard to overwhelm a ships defenses, this is why scatter packs and special drones existed in SFB. Since a ship has a lot less firing opportunities in FC I do not see a need to change FC's drone rules.
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Kang
Fleet Captain


Joined: 23 Sep 2007
Posts: 1949
Location: Devon, UK

PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another idea could be to allow a ship to use its damage repair points to BOTH repair and reload to the full value each turn. Assume that different crews are performing these tasks; after all, why should crew detailed to damage control, be also detailed to reload drones?

For example, a ship has a damage repair rating of 2. At the end of each turn, it can apply two points to damage repair AND two points to drone reloads.

Having said that, I find that it is a play-balancing factor about drone reloading. If the Kzinti frigate can lob four drones per turn ad infinitum, then it is nearly impossible for other frigates to fight it; making it run and spend time reloading its racks is fair enough imo. See my F5 vs. Z-FF thread at http://www.starfleetgames.com/federation/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?t=2172 for more on this.

Also don't forget that while it takes more time to reload in FC, you do have infinite reloads. That's something to balance out the reloading speed 'problem'.
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Godeke
Ensign


Joined: 07 Apr 2009
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't noticed a problem with drones in fleet scenarios: the volume in the clouds the Kzinti can throw is sufficient to make the target take notice and they seem to win often enough around these parts.

Even in a dual they can be OK, although often there is simply a "trade" between drones where the player with fewer drones (and thus lower odds of connecting anyway) uses their racks to negate that many inbounds.

Either way, the Kzinti and the Klingons are winning their fair share of battles around these parts (if anyone is having a bad streak of it is the the Federation... who don't use drones well).
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MajerBlundor
Lieutenant SG


Joined: 03 Apr 2009
Posts: 123

PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 2:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
and do as much damage as a partially overloaded photon.


Only if they hit which is a very big "if". As another thread states anti-drone measures in FC allow squadrons to act like Aegis cruisers. In "official" FC I generally think of drones as an annoyance and rarely decisive.

But we're definitely FC heretics and prefer this simpler reload-one-per-turn rule since it doesn't require tracking the allocation of DC turn-to-turn. We also ignore 5G5 in light of this change.

We did something even more heretical to the Damage Controls rules to eliminate "paperwork" but won't reveal it here...don't want to give Steve a heart attack! Smile Let's just say we don't incur "paperwork" with our house rule and DC efforts can be "tense".

As for firing every other turn, yes, assuming you don't have targets. In our experience it's simply not an issue for practical purposes. We usually end up firing continuously and then trying to break contact to reload based on the tactical situation.

And it is true your opponent can see that you're taking a Drone rack offline. Just like they can see the reload status of torps. We do that for two reasons. First, it's easier to remember to reload since torps reload at the same time. Second, it mitigates the "fire every other turn" issue since you need to anticipate the opportunity to use a partially re-loaded rack in the upcoming turn. If you allowed reloads at the end of the turn then it's way too easy for the drone player with partially loaded racks.

Therefore, it's usually best to NOT reload partially reloaded racks when in the heat of combat and to only do so when contact is broken to some degree.

MB
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