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PPD Rules Change Proposal
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The_Rock
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Joined: 16 Jul 2008
Posts: 240

PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 3:57 am    Post subject: Cross-Posting from Dicuss Forums Reply with quote

Here is a short conversation from the other BBS. It resulted in what I think is likely to be an excellent set of PPD rules that are both simple and reflect the reality of the PPD from SFB, so I am copying it over here to bring that conversation to this forum for further discussion. (Sometimes I wish we only used one forum...)

In copying over the posts, I took the opportunity to clean up some (but I am sure not all) of the typos.
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By Mike West (Mjwest) on Tuesday, July 22, 2008 - 10:29 am: Edit

Paul,

Would taking away the ability to do directed damage help with the balancing any?

Someone on the other site asked about overloads doing directed damage, as they are just extra pulses, not bigger pulses. But, I was thinking that maybe PPDs should be prevented from doing directed damage at all.

Just a thought ...
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By Paul Scott (The_Rock) on Tuesday, July 22, 2008 - 09:22 pm: Edit

Mike,
I cannot pretend to know what would be balanced in fact without playing it a few times at least. It may be that disallowing directed damage from the PPD is all it takes to balance it, though my gut tells me this is not so.

My initial suggestion of no overloads was based on my SFB experience as an ISC and the difficulty and rarity of actually getting 6-pulses in. Essentially, the only time I have found it possible is when I can cause the opponent to flee from torpedoes after arriving at R8. When I have been very good/lucky with predicting the impulse of engagement, I have been able to get 5 pulses in with both of us moving towards each other (the opponent at high speed, but missing a movement within 5 impulses of my firing, and me using clever/lucky speed changes to miss at least 2 or 3 moves in that same 5 impulses). For that reason, I really don't like the instant 6 pulse damage that is currently available. The idea of firing a PPD, especially an overloaded PPD, from the pure (or near pure) oblique or at range 4 is absurd.

I agree completely with you and Steve and others who mention that doing something to expand out the PPD fire across two or more impulses or sub-pulses is a bad idea. But at the same time it is clear to me that the current rule set is to good at the same SFB point cost for the ships. I am going to toss out some suggestions that I think might be both simple and reflect some of the SFB realities of the PPD, while keeping it within the current FC flavor/rules.

1. Don't allow overloads. (consistent with plasma and precedent in FC can be found in plasma)

2. Don't allow directed damage (I think this is a good rule in either case and consistent with HBs and spread damage - how can the damage be both spread out and directed?)

3. Restrict speed on impulse of fire (if allowing overloads) to be a maximum of 16 (effective - e.g. if going 24, require the canceling of at least one move). This finds precedent in teh Cloaking device.

4. When calculating points of ISC ships, increase their BVP to reflect the increased power of the PPD in FC.

5. Change the PPD firing arc so that it has the ship like a mauler. (There is no precedent for this and I don't like it because the arcs are not trivial and I think it makes figuring out if the device is in arc more complicated, but I thought I would toss it out as a suggestion for simulating the SFB difficulty of firing the PPD).

I think from the above guidelines, I would mix and match to find the right balance.

If it were me, I would start with the combination of 2 and 3, above, and playtest from there to determine proper balance.
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By Todd Warnken (Toddw) on Tuesday, July 22, 2008 - 09:32 pm: Edit

Paul: Building on point 3; how about the maximum pulses that can hit is equal to range minus hexes moved during the impulse of firing?
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By Paul Scott (The_Rock) on Tuesday, July 22, 2008 - 09:53 pm: Edit

I like that, Todd. For a number of reasons. Firstly, it generally applicable - no need to make a special rule for overloads. Secondly, it is simple. Thirdly, it takes away some PPD possibilities that I really did not like, such as firing at range 4 and getting full effect. Finally, it allows the imposition of both movement restrictions and skill in maneuver - both required of the PPD in SFB - that does a decent job of simulating the reality of the PPD.

I think this might be my favorite suggestion yet, and is definitely where I would start (and likely finish).

Stealing Todd's suggestion and Mike's to-hit rule, I propose the following for the PPD:

1. Use Mike's to-hit rule. The rule itself is more words than the "roll-until-you-hit", but I think game-play is faster.

2. Use Todd's max-pulse rule (distance-speed on impulse of fire = max pulses).

3. Don't allow directed damage.


Those are all simple and reasonable rules and I really think that combined that capture the operations and effectiveness of the PPD from SFB while capturing the simplicity and feel of FC.
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DNordeen
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see a problem with the max pulse rule (range - hexes moved = max pulses that hit).

If you're moving speed 16 (2 hexes) at range 5, you max at 3 pulses. why bother overloading the PPDs? You'll only be able to fully use those two extra pulses in the following circumstances:

Range 6 and not moving
Range 7 and moved 1 hex (Speed 8 )
Range 8 and moved 1 or 2 hexes (Speed 8 or 16)

If you're even closer, you start having trouble hitting at all. At range 4, you can only hit with 1 pulse at speed 24 or 16+1

That extremely limits the PPD tactics since there is only 1 range (range 8 ) where you can successfully fire at least one of the overload pulses at speed 16 and 24. So why would anyone overload them?

On the other side, I can move speed 24 at long range and all 4 pulses will hit (Range 9 - 3 hexes = 6).

The way this rule is currently proposed, the PPD will do much more damage at range than it does up close. At range 15, the PPD will hit all 4 pulses for 20 damage total, but at range 5 you'll only get 2 or 3 pulses (Speed 24 or 16) for 12 or 18 damage.

I like the idea, but it won't work as is. You'll need to take it back to the drawing board

I like the other two rules. Mike's to-hit rule is simple and speeds up the game. The no directed damage makes sense to me; I can't see the logic of a weapon that causes splash damage being able to be directed at certain things, either.
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The_Rock
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 7:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DNordeen,
What you are regarding as a problem is the exact result I was trying to achieve. "The PPD does a lot more at a distance than it does up close" is exactly how, in fact, the PPD behaves in SFB. You are right, at R5 and speed 16, you do at most three pulses. In SFB you would get the same.

So I think we are in complete agreement on the effect. The only departure seems to be whether the PPD should just be a completely different weapon from SFB (your view) or whether it should try to behave in FC in a similar manner as SFB (my view).
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The_Rock
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For what it is worth, I am agnostic, generally, on the "like SFB" thing. SFB is the basis for FC, but they are completely different games and not everything is "just like SFB, but simpler." That is I do not hold the view that the goal for FC should always be to try an mimic SFB as best as possible.

The thing with which I am most concerned was essentially posted in my first response to this thread. IF you are just going to import SFB BPV as FC points, then to make that valid (as anything other than a completely arbitrary time-saving device) then the assumed balance in SFB has to be maintained as best as possible in FC.

Sometimes it is by making the weapons almost identical to SFB (Photons are probably the best example) and sometimes it is by offsetting differences (Plasma - no EPTs or PPTs, but also no WW).

So far, the PPD is just the same weapon in SFB except a lot better (because it delivers all of its damage immediately). The rules I am proposing/supporting have the effect of maintaining the general play of the PPD in SFB and thus concerns of balance issues are subsided.
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Kang
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Three things:

1) This new system would skew the damage from overloads in the favour of those overloads, if I read it correctly. That is, we need to remember that overloads have a range limit of 8, so the chances of more of the pulses hitting is far greater.

2) Overloaded pulses are the same as normal loaded pulses. So my arguments about Directed Damage from the other thread [yes it was me] would apply here too - why should the pulses be limited in range when they are all the same thing? The 'stability' argument often applied to overloads would not be relevant.

3) I now think that Directed Damage should not apply for PPDs, despite my comments in the other thread. Any weapon that is capable of damaging from a wider direction [ie more than one shield] surely can't, almost by definition, be capable of having an increased chance of hitting specific systems.
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Sir Drake
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 2:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a idea for PPD in Fed Comm. It is different form any thing I have seen, but haven’t looked at every post on the topic. This is just a wild out there thought and if it isn’t workable I totally understand, just a thought.
The PPD is fired on lets say impulse #5 you resolve the first two pulses as usual at the range at time of firing. Then you go through then next impulse (#6) with all the movement , then you check the range and make sure the weapon is still in arc and resolve the third and fourth pulses at the range at time of firing. This would carry over some of the feel of the PPD from SFB with out adding a lot of rules to the game. Basically the PPD would pulse kind of like the ESG do now in Fed Comm over the way ESGs did in SFB. Yes it would be a challenge to keep your target in your sights but that seamed to be the case in SFB also just not as much. Not sure how overloads would or could work. Anyways that’s just a though I had and wanted to share hopefully it helps.
P.S. thought on over loads maybe they hit with 3 pulses per impulse

Sir Drake
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Kang
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 6:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Or how about this for another idea. Use the two-impulse feel as in the posting above, but somehow place the pulses on the shields like you would an impacted seeking weapon. Or allow the pulses to hit over the next four movement sub-pulses during movement, like with seeking weapons.
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Dal Downing
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kang wrote:
Or how about this for another idea. Use the two-impulse feel as in the posting above, but somehow place the pulses on the shields like you would an impacted seeking weapon. Or allow the pulses to hit over the next four movement sub-pulses during movement, like with seeking weapons.


Just to let you know Kang that ideal is at least getting kicked around over on the Legacy Board but who knows what they will come up with in the end.

Also I wanted to make a point about something I see from time to time over here in FC Land Very Happy FC is the suppose to be the Fleet Scale Combat System of the SFU so IMO FC should Mimic SFB not go its own way when it doesn't like the way a certian Weapon System works. Twisted Evil Yes we should look for a simpler way to do things but we need to make sure it maintains the feel of SFB.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First post from me. I only discovered FC about a fortnight ago - I was a big fan of SFB back in the 80s. It turns out someone I work with also used to play SFB and that got me on the web to see if the game even still existed as a currently published game. Not only did it exist there was this game (FC) which sounded like a much better game (SFB got way to big and complicated, even more so as you get older and have a family).

So I ordered FC about 10 days ago and have been playing it with my 11 year old daughter! every night since.

It has pretty much all the feel of SFB for a fraction the complexity and time to play. I see it as an 80/20 thing, 80% of SFB for 20% the complexity. I wouldn't have dreamed of introducing SFB to my daughter, but she really likes FC and has no great problem remembering the rules even if she is struggling with the tactics a bit.

Whats all that to do with PPDs. As the poster above said and I emphasised, the game has the feel, but it does so without to many rules or just as importantly to much 'slow down game' tracking stuff. The PPD rules as initially explained seem fine to me (with or without the 1 dice roll for how many pulses hit). That gives you 80% of the PPD feel for very little rules, and no cross impulse tracking . Adding in anything extra to provide the hit over multi impulses just adds extra baggage for relatively little gain.

When I think of PPD I think:

ISC
Heavy weapon
Multi turn arming
high power usage
long range
multi shield hitting
high chance of hitting with some if not all damage
multi pulse hitting

The basic rules as provided give everything bar the last bit for very little additional rules.

Adding in the last bit would need further rules/clarifications, which may get quite involved - cloak half way through, move behind planet, PPD loss half way through, go evasive, target turn, firer turn out of arc etc. Then there is the tracking, it means more notes or markers etc which in turn slows the game down. That ends up as 80% of the PPD rules would be to provide just 20% (or less) of its feel. I hope the game sticks to resolving all the damage at the point of fire.


Last edited by storeylf on Thu Jul 24, 2008 9:51 pm; edited 2 times in total
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defurusu
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't like the idea of resolving fire from a PPD over multiple impulses; it seems contrary to the "simpler is better" philosophy of FC.

I'm strongly in agreement with a prohibition on PPDs using Directed Targetting, not least because Hellbores have the same issue.

I'm in two minds regarding Overloaded PPDs. Hellbores, Photons, Fusion Beams, Particle Cannon & Disruptors can (so why not?), but Fusions don't have their Suicide mode and Plasma torpedoes can't Envelop or Shotgun (so Plasma technology can't?).

The possibility of 4 pulses hitting at range 4 doesn't stress me out, oddly. So long as it's not 6, I suppose.

I honestly have no problem with treating each pulse which hits as belonging to a separate volley (although I would like to see the first such pulse count in the same volley as any other weapons fired by the PPD-owning ship that impulse); the ability this might give the target to reinforce against each pulse bother me at all.

Somehow, the idea that something like this (each PPD pulse already being a separate volley) applies in SFB itself has gotten into my head - am I wrong here? Obviously, in SFB each pulse resolves on a different Impulse, so the weapon already exploits the "Mizia effect". Given that each firing ship's damage gets to count as a separate volley for these purposes, and given that a fleet won't feature all that many ships with PPDs (according to ISC doctrine), it seems like a deliberate weakening of the weapon's main "theme" to force all its damage into the one volley.

Come to think of it, bunching it all into the one volley exaggerates the chance of getting a burn-through point from firing a single standard-load PPD against an otherwise strong shield. Is this desirable in itself?

Paul Stovell suggested (on the legacy board) allowing a fast-moving target to move some of the main damage element into the splash element, the idea being that a fast-moving target could do this more/better than a slow-moving one. This may be the simplest way to include some limited equivalent to the SFB tactic of turning a fresh shield to face.
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defurusu
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I honestly have no problem with treating each pulse which hits as belonging to a separate volley (although I would like to see the first such pulse count in the same volley as any other weapons fired by the PPD-owning ship that impulse); the ability this might give the target to reinforce against each pulse doesn't bother me at all.

Oops. That'll teach me to preview my own posts better. Odd how it jumped out at me as soon as I'd posted it. Rolling Eyes
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junior
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

defurusu wrote:
I honestly have no problem with treating each pulse which hits as belonging to a separate volley (although I would like to see the first such pulse count in the same volley as any other weapons fired by the PPD-owning ship that impulse); the ability this might give the target to reinforce against each pulse bother me at all.


While the ability to reinforce against each pulse doesn't bother me much either (who has that much power to burn?), the idea that a single lucky shot could completely strip the heavy weapons off of the target ship does. I mentioned it over on the Discus board, and it bears mentioning again here. The new Damage Chart really isn't built to handle Mizia-type combat. The hull hits are buried in the middle of the FedCom chart (SFB stuck them in the first column for any roll of 6-8, and those rolls repeatedly hit hull and cargo until it was all damaged), and three points of damage on a roll of '6' will take out a Torpedo, a Drone, and a Phaser. Roll multiple '6's, and iirc 4 pulses at 3 points of damage each is enough to remove all of the heavy weapons from a heavy cruiser in one impulse. Similarly, rolling multiple '1's would heavily damage the power on the target ship. That's dangerous because there's no other single weapon in the game that has that capability (at least, not through a single downed shield).

The damage impacting each shield should be counted as seperate volleys, imo, just as is the case with Hellbores. But the individual pulses striking a given shield should be rolled up into one large volley for purposes of rolling on the Damage Chart.
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jmt
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Short BatRep (from a short game)
Lyran BCH vs ISC Star Destroyer

We weren't able to play a full game, but we did get in about 4 turns. The Lyran BCH was slightly higher PV than the ISC, but not much (about 7 points).

We played on a 3 x 5 large hex board, starting in opposite corners. Turn one was basic approach with the ISC firing the overlaoded PPD at range 8 on Impulse 8. The BCH returned fire with 6 overloaded disruptors. All but two of the disruptors missed but the ISC hit with all 6 pulses. The begining of the next turn saw the BCH run at speed 24 and the ISC bolt an S torp to damage the #5 shield.

The BCH then turned off and a chase began. The ISC maintained range 9-7 for the remaining 3 turns while keeping the BCH away with loaded S-torp. On turn 3, the ISC fired and hit with a fully overloaded PPD (all 6 pulses hit) The #6 shield was ravaged, leaving the BCH with only the #3 & 4 shields undammaged. The BCH returned fire with 2 OL disruptors, doing 8 points of damage to the #6 shield (after 4 points of reinforcement).

We had to call time before we could finish the game, but here are some thoughts:

1/ The BCH player was new to Lyrans and charged up all 4 ESDs, which were pretty useless. The BCH player also didn't take an option to get to range 0 early in turn 2. This would have severly damaged the ISC (even with 1 S torp in the tube.

2/ The ISC overloads were heavy, but the 2-turn cycle meant that only incidental internals were done. The BCH was diverting much power to repairing shields, so the game was setting up to be a long duel.

3/ The BCH maneuverability and superior power curve (+6 raw power, +2 extra batteries) meant that it could fly fast enough to minimize the plasma torpedoes and work off shield damage. Doing so, however, it was unable to bring crunch power to bear, usually limited to 2 disruptors.

Not conclusive at all, but not lop-sided either.

Oh, the Lyran player was the less experienced player.
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pauls
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 1:08 pm    Post subject: PPD running the numbers Reply with quote

Some figures....

For 24 power you could arm 3 PPD; 6 disrupters twice; or 4 hellbores

assume range 15 and they all hit or average damage

3 PPD do 12+36+12 total 60 average is about 11+32+11
4 Hell do 20+4+4+4+4+4 total 40 avearge is about 23
6 Disr do 18 and 18 total 36 average is about 12 +12

The PPD is clearly superior on straight power to damage. Of course in SFB it IS clearly superior but its numbers are limited by deployment rules.

IF as I expect no deployment limits are used in FC THEN the PPD needs to be reduced in its effect in FC in some way more than the minor reduction in the to hit roll Mike West has currently proposed.

The reduction required in my opinion is about 25% this would still leave it superior to other mid-range heavy weapons but with the lack of an overload function to offset this.

I propose the to reverse the to hit chart Mike West has suggested so that on the exact to hit number one pulse hits and for each number less than this one extra pulse hits. The OL function could even be left in then as the chance of rolling 5 or 6 under the to hit number is very small.


This would give average damage of 46 for 3 PPD at range 11-15.
22 at range 16-20
8.4 at range 21-25

Six disruptors give average damage of 18 and 18 for two turns of 9-15
and 6 and 6 for two turns of 16-25

Four helllbores gives average damage of 13 for range 16-22
and 1.1 for range 23-25
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DNordeen
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rock: I didn't realize you were going for that. If that's what you're going for you've succeeded, but you also kill overloaded PPDs. If their limited to only a few possible opportunites, most won't bother using them. Get rid of overloads, and your movement rules have no objections from me.
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