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Task Force Commander, a new concept
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We are not allowed to use FASa stuff.

Create your own that does the same thing.
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lincolnlog
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We will play the next Task Force Commander game this Friday. This will be an opposing squadron game. Klingons versus Federation.

The Federation will attempt to escort two unarmed freighters of Quatotritcale to Sherman's Planet, the Klingons will attempt to intradict and stop the shipment from arriving.
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lincolnlog
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The game scheduled for August 16th was cancelled, and will be played tonight.
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lincolnlog
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last nights game was a little unbalanced (my fault), but featured a squadron of three Klingon D6's against a Federation force of a DD, 2 x DDM, and 2 POL. The Klingons had to prevent the Federation escorts from getting 2 unarmed freighters full of grain across the narrow width of the board. The freighters were limited to 8" of movement per turn, so assuming a straight dash, this would be a 6 turn game.

The Klingons attacked the Federation escorts that moved out in front of the freighters in a tight line. This allowed the Feddies to take out one of the D6's in the second turn, from then on the Klingons decided to concentrate on the Freighters and set on adrift in turn 3 and then destroyed both in turn 4 and lost another D6. The third D6 was pretty beat up so the game was called. The Klingon's stopped the freighters, but the other condition was to leave no witnesses. So we called the game a draw, although it was strong Federation tactical Victory, and a costly Klingon Strategic Victory.
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Mike
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Leaving no witnesses"? Even if all the Federation ships were destroyed, wouldn't they have gotten off some kind of subspace message about the attack or left log buoys behind for friendly ships to pick up later?

The Klingons' victory condition was essentially to destroy every other ship on the map to win.
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kiloton
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:58 pm    Post subject: Task Force Commander Playtest Reply with quote

I have played three times with the new rule set Task Force Commander (TFC) and have enjoyed it a lot. My 12 year old son, while not quite grasping all the tactical implications, has picked up on the mechanics quite easily. He and I were the Federation in the last scenario, tasked with protecting the two freighters. The Klingons had a difficult job with their orders of denying the freighters passage as well as leaving no witnesses. This was compounded by the BPVs being out of balance (Feds had about 100 extra BPV). However, the Federation's job was not much easier as we could not win if the freighters were destroyed. The freighters were largely there to give us something to fight over. We all made some tactical errors and were suitably punished in game by the other side's weapons!

Task Force Commander is to me what A Call to Arms: Star Fleet should have been. It feels like a cross between ACtA:SF and FedCom. I have played ACtA:SF a few times and it have struggled with it. I want to like it but don't. It does not feel like the SFU to me. The mechanics and rules are muddled. There are things about it that seem broken (Klingon maneuverability) and others that are just unnecessarily complicated or mistranslated (Klingon front shield damage rule). To each their own. I have struggled with ACtA:SF and took right to TFC, while they take about the same length of time to play.

There is a lot more testing and tweaking to be done, especially as empires and weapons/systems are added but so far it looks promising. We are looking forward to the next playing. It would be great to get some more testers if any are interested and available in the St. Louis area!
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Bill Stec
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great to see progress being made on this. Since Mongoose apparently isn't interested in fixing the problems with ACTA:SF, I applaud you guy's efforts.

Maybe this game can be the game that ACTA:SF should have been. Smile Minus the baggage that came along with the Joint Venture with Mongoose.

Hopefully the game system is different enough that Steve could market it without running afoul of ACTA:SF. Don't get me wrong, I want ACTA:SF to continue, but it makes sense to have a replacement system lined up in case the Joint Venture goes belly up, you know? Very Happy

One question I have is how long are the games taking? Par with ACTA:SF, longer, shorter? I am mainly interested in faster playing games these days, due to much less time available. I want to pack in enough turns to actually fight battles to completion, not to have to stop and say "this side probably would have won".
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lincolnlog
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike wrote:
"Leaving no witnesses"? Even if all the Federation ships were destroyed, wouldn't they have gotten off some kind of subspace message about the attack or left log buoys behind for friendly ships to pick up later?

The Klingons' victory condition was essentially to destroy every other ship on the map to win.


Mike,

I miscalculated the points, as I said my fault. I think with the correct number of points this could have been a total victory for the Klingons. All the ships in Task Force Commander are straight port from Fed Comm so the D6 has no Phaser-1s. 3 D7's or perhaps 4 D6's would have changed the game.

Although, the Klingons made some tactical errors that could have made a difference even in this under pointed game. But I do think the deck was stacked against them.

By the way the ship charts and rules have changed beyond what I initially sent you. Since this is a work in progress they will undoubtedly change again.

We know that the basic combat, movement and damage system works. So the next step is lots of drones in a single fleet battle. Time to try Kzinti versus Klingon. That will be the next game, hopefully on or before 14 Sept.

What needs to be decided before then, is the final tweaking on seeking weapons.

Because 1 action sequence in TFC equals 2 impulses in Fed Comm (8 sub pulses), I decided drones had to move on the AS they were launched. Unfortunately this means if there is a target within 6" (8" for plasma) the only defense the target ship will be capable of is defensive fire from it's own weapons or from a nearby Aegis escort. We are thinking of changing movement to half for the first AS, and last AS the weapon moves. So, 3" for drones, 4" for plasma.
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kiloton
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 11:42 pm    Post subject: Task Force Commander Reply with quote

We do need to do the Kzinti ships in both duels and squadrons/fleets. It will be super interesting. These battles will be a good test of the drones. Several things to consider:

1) First turn seeking weapon movement: While I think it is too powerful to get a full first move upon launch, I am not sure if the half move will be enough of a change. I think this is more of an issue for plasma. Only one way to find out!

2) Drone toughness: I am wondering if drones are too easy to kill with just needing one point of damage. I auto-killed drones between 4-8" with P-1s Friday. We had discussed drones taking 2 points to kill and that might be wise. However, see #3.

3) Drone defense. With Kzintis coming along with lots of drones and some single ships with double drone control, killing drones is going to be tougher in big numbers. They cannot be outmaneuvered with the movement system and while they could be outrun, that would be kind of pointless. Lack of wild weasels makes this a potential issue to be dealt with. Few ships can withstand 8-12 drones on a single turn while fighting effectively and many Kziniti ships can build up 8-12 drones quite easily.

4) Drone reloading: I need to re-read the FedCom rules but drone rack/ADD reloading seems too easy in TFC with no real penalty other than costing some power. The reloading is instantaneous and the decision can be made spur of the moment at the end of the turn when you have leftover power. In SFB the rack is taken out of commission for a turn to reload and I like that as a "penalty." I can see Kzinitis just having a near unlimited drone supply and hardly having to worry about overloading disruptors, focusing instead on stacking lots of drones with multiple turns worth of launches. Is this a problem in Fed Com?

5) Max speed: I am concerned that the maximum ship speed is only 28" but I don't think that will become a big issue until we try plasma.
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kiloton
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 11:46 pm    Post subject: Task Force Commander - Mid-Turn Speed Changes Reply with quote

Bob,

I also need to show you my idea for simulating mid-turn speed changes. While it could be too complicated, I think it could work and might make plotting for the turn even more interesting with some extra decisions. Extra decisions also slow the game, too, so that has to be considered. It has to be worth the added overhead in tactical payoff.
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lincolnlog
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bill Stec wrote:
One question I have is how long are the games taking? Par with ACTA:SF, longer, shorter? I am mainly interested in faster playing games these days, due to much less time available. I want to pack in enough turns to actually fight battles to completion, not to have to stop and say "this side probably would have won".


Bill,

We think this game will play as fast as ACTA-SF. However, the new player complication level is higher. Not sure you will be able to play a big battle at a convention and get it done in 4 hours.

We played 4 turns in 4 hours. But we could have played faster. Players were waiting or the referee to roll their attacks, and there was a lot of tactical discussion.

Bob
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lincolnlog
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:47 am    Post subject: Re: Task Force Commander Reply with quote

kiloton wrote:
1) First turn seeking weapon movement: While I think it is too powerful to get a full first move upon launch, I am not sure if the half move will be enough of a change. I think this is more of an issue for plasma. Only one way to find out!

Maybe the solution is to launch in the current action sequence, after all fire is completed. Then the weapons move in the new movement phase. This makes getting full damage with plasma next to impossible.

2) Drone toughness: I am wondering if drones are too easy to kill with just needing one point of damage. I auto-killed drones between 4-8" with P-1s Friday. We had discussed drones taking 2 points to kill and that might be wise. However, see #3.

As things stand drones use up phasers that would have been fired offensively. Perhaps a mechanic that is not auto hit versus drones in offensive fire? Although I would really rather not special rule everything to make it work. And even a Phaser 3 won't kill a drone 1 out of 6 times at 0 range.

3) Drone defense. With Kzintis coming along with lots of drones and some single ships with double drone control, killing drones is going to be tougher in big numbers. They cannot be outmaneuvered with the movement system and while they could be outrun, that would be kind of pointless. Lack of wild weasels makes this a potential issue to be dealt with. Few ships can withstand 8-12 drones on a single turn while fighting effectively and many Kziniti ships can build up 8-12 drones quite easily.

4) Drone reloading: I need to re-read the FedCom rules but drone rack/ADD reloading seems too easy in TFC with no real penalty other than costing some power. The reloading is instantaneous and the decision can be made spur of the moment at the end of the turn when you have leftover power. In SFB the rack is taken out of commission for a turn to reload and I like that as a "penalty." I can see Kzinitis just having a near unlimited drone supply and hardly having to worry about overloading disruptors, focusing instead on stacking lots of drones with multiple turns worth of launches. Is this a problem in Fed Com?

I agree this needs to explored further.

5) Max speed: I am concerned that the maximum ship speed is only 28" but I don't think that will become a big issue until we try plasma.

Actually max speed in TFC is 24", It would be easy enough to add another speed bracket.

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kiloton
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 2:26 am    Post subject: Task Force Commander Reply with quote

With plasma, remember getting a full power hit in SFB and FedCom is very difficult, as well. You have to anchor, zero-energy anchor (launch at 1 or 0 when target ship does not move), or the target has to accept full damage willingly to trade for map position. So the only way in TFC you should be guaranteed full damage is when launching from very close range or the opponent accepts it willingly. The target has to be allowed to maneuver to mitigate damage. The plasma ship still gains something when the opponent turns off (position and/or time to reload). I also think TFC should include envelopers, which I believe that FedCom eliminated. I think it is worth trying with the half-distance first move and see how it works. It might work just fine. I do think a 28" move option needs to be added. Not sure why I thought it was already there. Shrug. Smile

For plasma, I would pay attention to the FedCom plasma debate as many think it is too weak. We should try and avoid the same issues. Adding envelopers and ship max move of 28" along with the immediate 4" move would certainly shake that up. I just want to make sure it is not too much. We just need to play it out and see.

With the impending proliferation of drones (Kzintis!) I say we leave them at one point to kill. It is working fine so far, really. I agree special rules are bad. It is still making targets shoot phasers at drones, which is the whole point. I am pretty sure there will be drone hits when the drone counts go up!
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Bolo_MK_XL
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 2:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Few ships can withstand 8-12 drones on a single turn while fighting effectively and many Kziniti ships can build up 8-12 drones quite easily.


That is probably an issue that can be changed. Fewer ships in SFB/FC can control more than 6. Though speed of drones can be curtailed also.

If your speaking of a Kziniti squadron, that's a different issue.
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lincolnlog
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, to add a 28" movement option, will have to add a Power Plan. To make space, I'm removing the letter, the plan is now the movement distance.

Total redesign of the power planning section of the ship chart!
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