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Carriers
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DKeith2011
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Joined: 16 Jul 2007
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Location: Oklahoma

PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

storeylf wrote:
Mike wrote:
Storeylf: This quote was from DKeith2011. He was the one who said a single fighter significantly damaging a capital ship is ridiculous.


I read what he said, which wasn't whether a single fighter could penetrate shields. 30ish damage is signifcant damage to a cruiser, even if it was just to shields that is still significant to a cruiser.

Whether he meant it or not I don't know, but I didn't read it as a single fighter with nothing else to help it. I read it as a complaint that the fact that a single fighter could do that sort of damage was ridiculous, even if it is in combination with other stuff (fighters or ships). It made a single figher a significant threat, as opposed to other games where they had to be in numbers before they were a threat. In other space combat systems you can afford to leave the last fighter alone whilst engaging the main ships, in SFB that single remaining fighter can do significant damage to a cruiser so remains a high priority target.


Correct, individual fighter have FAR too much firepower imo. And that is coming from a diehard Hydran fan.

storeylf wrote:
Steve Cole wrote:
Well, they could do that if the cruiser wasn't trying to do anything about it. If the cruiser tries any defenses at all, it gets icky for the fighters. In SFB, fighters die in droves.


Certainly a fighter on its own is going no where against something undamaged shooting back. Though I would say that highlights another disconnect for me and the way SFB fighters worked, the amount of damage they could take. There were very few fighters that the supposedly awesome photon could actually kill without overloading, as I remember there were some fighters that wouldn't even be crippled by a photon. Against a ship the phton could take out a chunk of power and several weapons, against a fighter it just chips the paintwork!


Also correct, this is an issue I have approached with various house rules for years but never really solved.

The best result was from a rule that required a die roll every time a fighter took damage. Roll equal to or greater than the cumulative total of damage taken and the fighter functions normally, roll under that number and the fighter drops out of combat due to unspecified technical difficulties.

storeylf wrote:
Steve Cole wrote:
Sure, 12 fighters can overwhelm a cruiser, but 12 fighters out-BPV a cruiser too.


Most cruisers fall somewhere around 150 pts, I don't know about some of the SFB fighters, but 12 stingers don't out BPV a cruiser in Fed Com by any stretch, and they are in the list of really high damage output ones that I remember.


Don't have my books handy atm so I cant really comment.

storeylf wrote:
Steve Cole wrote:
You could argue that fighter phasers should be less powerful than ship phasers, but you cannot argue that a fighter drone is any less powerful than a ship drone. They're the same drone, and it's obvious tht they should be the same drone. So, to keep things in balance, we scale the other weapons to that balance.


Of course it's not obvious that they should be the same drone. There's no reason that a full size ship could not be shooting larger more poweful anti ship missiles than a fighter could possibly carry.


This is my major gripe with SFB/FC fighters. The ship mounted versions of some of these weapons are undoubtedly physically larger than the fighter in question.

Fighters, and by extension their weapons, are small. Referencing Babylon 5 Wars again, even the largest fighters had few weapons as large and powerful as something a ship would use as a point-defense weapon.

Think of it this way; a single bee sting is annoying but being stung by the whole swarm is life threatening.

storeylf wrote:
That's not to say that any of the above is wrong or anything, it was clear back when I played SFB in the 80s that it was trying to be some sort of cold war carrier action in space. Indeed, in some ways it was interesting to see space combat get away from the swarms of fast fighters that are a bit of a stereotype. The balance between weapons etc was nothing to do with why I didn't like fighters, which was because A) Carrier actions were as fiddly/time comsuming as hell and B) Carrier warfare was just not Trek.

That said, I'm always into testing anything, and playing around with the range 8 direct fire drones rules was certainly interesting in highlighting how 'weak' a fighter with range 8 drones is (direct fire or not). Even though many were worried about how overpowering the direct fire part could make them. I'm definately interested in testing any other fighter rules you may come up with (and I'm sure at least one other of my opponents is as well).


I seriously doubt any major revisions to SFB/FC fighters are going to happen any time soon, but some BoM rules might be an option.
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, they're not wrong, and they're not bigger than the fighter.

We're not going to convince each other and unless you want to buy the company it's not going to change.
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mjwest
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's keep in mind there are various situations we can talk about. Would it make sense to give fighters phasers that only harm other fighters (and drones)? Sure. Is that gonna happen in the SFU? No. Would it make sense to let fighters have one type of drone and ships use another, larger one? Sure. Is that the situation in the SFU? Not at all.

While we can discuss how you (or I) would set up fighters for Federation Commander all we want, the fact of the matter is that the SFU is pre-existent and must be respected by the Federation Commander rules. Will it be a direct translation? Obviously not. However, since it is already established that fighters carry the same drones as ships, fighter drones in Federation Commander must follow that. Likewise for other aspects of how fighters work in the SFU.

Whether one likes how fighters work in the SFU or not, how they work is already established. All that is being done now is making sure they are translated into Federation Commander such that they respect the established SFU information, but also work well in Federation Commander.

So, let's please keep in mind what is already in the SFU and what can be done with that in mind. There is no problem saying what you would do if you could change anything. Just please be clear on what you are expressing (what you wish you could change; not what you are suggesting to change) so that nothing is being misunderstood.
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DKeith2011
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Joined: 16 Jul 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Which is why I said this up above:

DKeith2011 wrote:
I seriously doubt any major revisions to SFB/FC fighters are going to happen any time soon, but some BoM rules might be an option.


I may have some personal gripes with the system as is, but it is balanced and consistant with the source material and thats the most important thing.

That said, an optional/alternate rule set could be a nice bit of content for some future Borders of Madness product.

Just a thought.
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Kang
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve Cole wrote:
We're not going to convince each other and unless you want to buy the company it's not going to change.

Could you really sell your Tolkien-esque creation, which has been a labour of love from start to finish, to someone else? Somehow I doubt it!! Wink
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mattruh
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
This is my major gripe with SFB/FC fighters. The ship mounted versions of some of these weapons are undoubtedly physically larger than the fighter in question.


I don't see a problem with this. Other fictional settings, such as Star Wars, allow fighters to carry capital type weapons. The Proton Torps carried by X-wings are the same used in some capital ships.


Last edited by mattruh on Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve Cole wrote:

replacing fighter-launched seeking weapons with something else or with some other way to trakc fighter-launched seeking weapons.


Following our various plays with fighter drones, and to be honest just games with lots of drones in general, I have thought of something more along the lines of pulling drones out of the standard sub-pulse system.

I.E. seekers do not move during the normal sub pulses, but rather have a single missile movement phase of their own between subpulse 4 and defensive fire. They move all their movement at this point, 3 hexes for a drone, 4 for a plasma, 1 for a shuttle.

Part of the problem at the moment is that going round every seeker most subpulses moving it 1 hex, checking where it can move etc slows things down. If they didn't move per subpulse then the subpulses woud be quicker as you don't have to deal with seekers at that point, and the drone movement at the end would be quicker as you move each seeker the full amount in one go.

The major tactical change using that system would be the change in shields hit - though that cuts both ways. There will be times that a ship loses the ability to force a drone to hit a given shield/facing, and there will be time the drone loses that option as well.


The other thing I've pondered if you used the above system is to just allow fighters to use drones as normal, but with the single change of any fighter launched drones are removed end of the turn they launched. This both discourages the very long range launch (they would be removed before they hit) whilst allowing any range launch if needed, but otherwise keeps drones keeping their current tactical uses (limiting enemy movement). It also saves some paper work, namely the dotting of drones at end of each turn. That could possibly put a lot of drones on the map, but I don't think that would be so bad if all seekers, or fighter based ones at least, only moved during a special seeker movement phase as above.

The main implication of the above is that fighters probably become too end turn dependent - launch on 8 is impossible, 7 would only be good if they are going to hit on 8 etc. You could switch to allowing a fixed number of impulses, but that introduces a lot of tracking as each fighter might launch on different impulses, which could be a nightmare.

Allowing more than a single turn of drone life gets rid of that problem, but also makes the sit back at range 25 feasible, and (unlike the current playtest rules) would make 2 drones out at once per fighter very likely (increased counter clutter). You could of course make all fighters like stingers and only allow range 10 as the max heavy weapon range, that's probably good for consistency and range 8 for launches sucks big time , range 8 is a major range breakpoint for ships that get to fire before the launch.

The other bug bear for fighter drones is the control mechanism, every time a fighter dies any drones it has die, which in turn means every one keeps checking what fighter to shoot at to see what drone would die. With short range launches this also makes fighters quite weak, as not only do ships get to shoot before they launch, but they also then get to close a bit more and shoot the fighter before drone impacts - in several of our games killing surviving fighters after launch was the way to stop the drones. Assuming all fighter drones are self guiding is the obvious answer to that and they don't drop at all on fighter death, the other is to go to some form of overall control amount rather than individual control, but given the Fed Com has dropped transferring control then it is probably a bit of a non starter - though it has some good points, not least simplicity and less paper work if it is just a simpe overall fleet control limit, no longer do we have to track who launched which drone. On the other hand out ranging the launcher becomes a non-tactic, and that happens a lot in our games.
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Kang
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

storeylf wrote:
Assuming all fighter drones are self guiding is the obvious answer to that and they don't drop at all on fighter death, the other is to go to some form of overall control amount rather than individual control, but given the Fed Com has dropped transferring control then it is probably a bit of a non starter - though it has some good points, not least simplicity and less paper work if it is just a simpe overall fleet control limit, no longer do we have to track who launched which drone.

I proposed the fleet control limit a few months ago, but the idea was tractored and then destroyed in the defensive fire phase Wink
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kang wrote:

I proposed the fleet control limit a few months ago, but the idea was tractored and then destroyed in the defensive fire phase Wink


I know you have raised it before, and I don't see it happening either. Some version of it, however, is one way of getting round the paper work that would come about from having say 24+ fighters on map and the slow down of checking which fighter is controlling which drone, and hence which fighter you want to shoot.

There are of course plenty of issues going for full fleet level control, using fighters as drone control channels for ships (keep the fighters safe rather than send them in) or non drone ships contributing drone control for full on drone ships etc.

I like the idea of avoiding the drone paperwork, it can get a bit heavy as it is, and interferes with the flow of the game at times, but I recognise that there are 'problems' with such a fleet level control system, though probably not insurmountable.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you move to fighter flights then you could have a mini group control. Each flight controlling all drones launched by that flight, no matter how many fighters are left. The fire control systems of each flight are networked to keep track of any drones launched by the network, so long as one fighter remains the flight can keep control of all 6 or so drones already launched by now dead flight members. It would be more a compromise between group level control and auto guided seekers I suppose.

The other way would be that the flight controls the number of drones equal to the fighters in it *2 (or whatever fighter control limit is). So a flight of 3 that launches 6 drones but loses 1 fighter can now control 4, the fighters choose which drones drop.

Reducing drone flight time to 1 turn + the turn of launch (they die the turn after launch) could work, you only need 2 sets of drones, color or other differentiator (back printed to flip over even), and you can just remove any set that was the one launched the previous turn when it comes to dotting drones, and it remains obvious to everyone all the time which drones are due to expire.

Flights of X keep down fighter clutter bogging the game down. Moving drones in a special seeker move as noted above makes the drone clutter less of an issue. Flight control helps minimise the tracking issues.


MM maybe I'll see if someone I know wants to play that out and see how it feels. Ditch the carriers, 24 F-18s and 12 F-15s vs a B10 is near enough even to see how mass fighters and drones goes.


Last edited by storeylf on Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:40 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Dal Downing
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Flights is a horrible ideal because you are making de facto carrier based bombers, a SFU no-no. If you want to reduce the number of fighter counters just use Heavy Fighters and call it a day.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dal Downing wrote:
Flights is a horrible ideal because you are making de facto carrier based bombers, a SFU no-no.


Funny, no one in our group can believe fighters weren't put into flights anyway as part of FedCom streamlining, clearly not everyone agrees it is a horrible idea. Whether it happens is another thing. There's not much difference between a counter representing 3 fighters and 3 seperate fighters, except you don't have to move and track 3 seperate counters and deal with the clutter of them.

As for the bit about bombers and heavy fighters, well you lost me in SFB history there.
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TrotskyTrotsky
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Joined: 15 Oct 2012
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We were discussing this topic after Friday nights game. As the newest player in the group, I stated I thought flights were such an obvious way of streamlining the game I genuinely thought they would already part of the game system. I was a long time player of SFB and the additional tracking of fighters and their drones was a major contributing factor to the slowing down of many games, and my gaming partners reluctance to use them. I am looking for a new experience with FC and am loving it, the relatively fast paced action is refreshing and the fact I am even playing a campaign that might even be completed is great.

I think flights would be a great compromise between keeping the SFB universe heritage, developed over decades, and the streamlined play of FC. I think flights could be flexible enough to allow different tactical approaches and so keep their flavour without the clutter. A flight of three fighters could be workable; looking at the Federation Strike Carrier from Captains Log 37 this would yield 12 fighter flights and the Klingon D7C 8 flights, surely that is enough! These numbers would permit a range of tactics to be used, at a most basic level, concentrated attack waves and dispersed attack patterns.

As for the rest of the discussion here, I have not had enough experience to comment really. I really do want to see carriers and fighters in FC, please make them manageable; this is a great game system play to its strengths.
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marcus_aurelius
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am happy overall with the power, balance and playability of Hydran fighters in FC. Recently I played Hydrans with a teammate (2 Hydran players total) against Lyrans. We had 4 ships and 16 fighters; I had 13 of the fighters myself. We had no problem with playability and they seemed balanced. Kill them before they get close or you die.

I don't think that "flights" of fighters are needed. They were useful in Starfire but those battles would have multiple dozens of fighters, not something I would expect to see in FC or SFB.

Remember that speed 16 (with no SFB booster pack) severly limits their power since ships can easily move faster and control the engagement range.

My hope would be that new fighters would be all direct fire weapons since that model works well already with the Hydrans. Fighters with photons, disruptors, plasma bolts would be playable; perhaps with weakening the range or damage of these weapons to make them more like the fusion armed stingers in range/power.

If direct fire drones are the path, perhaps something with a simple die roll like how anti-drones work. For direct fire drones a simple range/damage chart, not a page of rules about calculating vectors, etc.
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TrotskyTrotsky
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Joined: 15 Oct 2012
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Marcus, as I am relatively new to FC (old time SFB player) I am curious about how the fighter rules play out. I can see you are not a fan of flights and I am wondering how you employed the 16 fighters. were they stacked and effectively in flights or were they more spread out? I am trying to understand what would be gained or lost by each implementation of the different system.

I can see the benefit of a direct fire drone system but am wondering if drones are fired from flights then a flight's drone counter could represent more than one drone - have drone counters in different demarcations - just thinking out loud here.

I can see in your last game you controlled two ships and the fighters. I am thinking in general war carrier battles (not just Hydrans) a player may need to control a few more ships and still have the fighters. Anyway a good discussion to be had.
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