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Evasive Maneuvers proposal
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mjwest
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 1:48 am    Post subject: Evasive Maneuvers proposal Reply with quote

Seeing the various tactics suggestions that leverage Evasive Maneuvers to screw over photons*, I thought there should be a minor change in the Evasive Maneuver rules to tone down the effect.

Basically, the change I would like to see is that after the Evasive Maneuvers are declared in the Defensive Fire Phase, that they don't take effect until after the Offensive Fire Phase.

This allows the photon ship one last chance to fire before having to fight through the +2 shift. (It also bears pointing out that the EM ship also has this opportunity.)

While this would remove the absolute immediacy of EM, it would not hurt very much. It would only require the ship performing EM to plan a little more in advance.

So, is this a good change, or is it pointless and unneeded?

[*] I say "photon", but it also applies to Hydrans and Seltorians (and Tholians). Any race without significant seeking weapons are affected by this.
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Bolo_MK_XL
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very pointless and unneeded --

Its anything but minor, if you change the start of EM to after Offensive Fire, you would also have to move the cancellation of EM to after Offensive Fire --

Which affectively makes it useless for the purpose its designed for (close to effective range of your weapons, while protecting your ship)
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OGREAI
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 8:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to tend to agree with Bolo on this.

An enemy using Evasive Maneuvers makes it a tougher decision for the "Direct Fire, Seekerless" empire's captains on the timing of when to let go with those heavy weapons. If the target has come in and declares Offensive Fire, maybe it is time to "Me too" because you will not get a better shot in the forseeable future. Maybe the tactical situation actually has the Photon user* in control of the maneuver initiative and they will be able to find a "better" shot that will have them even closer. Yes, a range 0 or 1 Photon shot is a 50% gamble, but the Phaser fire will be more effective than a normal (no Evasive Maneuvers) shot out in the 5 or 6-8 range. There is no correct solution.

Evasive Maneuvers are not cheap, power-wise, so some other trade off had to be made. Remember that the ship under Evasive Maneuvers has also given up many opportunities. Federation Commander as a game system does not provide as many "defensive" options to a captain as its older cousin SFB does. This is just another aspect of the tactical puzzle that is Federation Commander.

To address points made by Mike West:

As a Klingon commander I already have to plan ahead for my Evasive Maneuver use, since I have to fire "a little sooner" since I know I'll be going to Evasive next impulse. I need to make sure all those drones I carefully deployed actually hit and explode before I go evasive, or they lose tracking. I better make sure I've handled all seekers inbound on me before hand too.

I have to say I don't think this a good change, if for no other reason than it breaks the idea of "Keep it simple, smart guy" Very Happy in now we have somethings announced but not starting until "later". Remembering many of those "delays" are part of the reason I never stayed in SFB. Simple, smooth play... a Federation Commander trademark Wink

Ogre AI, stepping off an over used soapbox it seems Embarassed

* Photon User - again, a "Direct Fire, Seekerless" Empire

P.S. Mike, Keep up the strong work. I applaude the job you do here
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The_Rock
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is neither good nor pointless and unneeded. It is affirmatively a bad rule change. EM is part of what balances high-damage two turn weapons like the photon.
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junior
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bolo_MK_XL wrote:
Which affectively makes it useless for the purpose its designed for (close to effective range of your weapons, while protecting your ship)


Er... what?

It would still protect your ship. You'd merely declare it one impulse earlier than you did before. The only difference is that now the other ship would be aware that you were about to use EM, and would have a chance to unload his or her weapons at a longer range.

Or to put it in an example...


Current System -

D7 closes to 5 hexes on a Hydran Ranger, and fires his overloaded Disruptors and phasers. During the next four sub-pulses, the Hydran manages to close the range to 2 hexes. During the Defensive Fire Phase, the Klingon declares Evasive Maneuvers, adding a +2 die roll shift to the Hydran's fire, effectively gutting the Hydran's fire.


Proposed System -

D7 closes to 5 hexes on a Hydran Ranger. The D7 announces Evasive Maneuvers. The D7 fires his overloaded Disruptors and phasers at the Hydran. The Hydran then needs to decide whether to fire his weapons at range 5, or wait until he gets closer and fire with a +2 die roll shift. Both actions make things much worse for the Hydran, but the player is slightly more informed about what's going on and doesn't have the usual "gotcha" moment that EM usually provides.

Quote:
EM is part of what balances high-damage two turn weapons like the photon.


There is at least one race that has only single-turn weapons that also doesn't have seeking weapons (except the suicide shuttle) - namely, the Seltorians.


I don't know how much of an effect this would have on Fusion Hydrans. The range tables on Fusion Beams and Gatling Phasers are pretty awful (though it might make it easier for the Hydran to get to point blank range since the maneuvering penalty from EM would kick in sooner). To be certain, I'd need to have the damage charts handy to run the numbers. Hellbores wouldn't be affected as much as some of the other weapons, since Hellbores are fairly resistant to die roll shifts at close range (because they roll two dice instead of one). But it would help somewhat (particularly since Hellbores are accurate at fairly long ranges, meaning that it wouldn't hurt as much to fire an impulse sooner). This would be a big deal for the Feds due to the way that Photons work. Similarly, it would be a big thing for the Tholians as Disruptors and Photons (the two primary Tholian heavy weapons) both act similarly. I suspect that the Seltorians would also get a boost from it, though I'm not sure as I don't have my Particle Cannon damage charts handy and I've never played them before.
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mjwest
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just because the effect is moved back doesn't mean the termination has to be. It can still be keyed to the announcement, rather than the start (i.e. EM can still stop at the end of Defensive Fire). It just needs to be clearly stated.

To me Federation Commander is built around the abilities to "Act and React". With EM, there is no "React". The only counter available to EM is seeking weapons, and the Federation doesn't have near enough, and the others don't have any.

So, if this is a bad idea, fine. But I would prefer to remove a tactic that effectively neuters three entire races to a significant degree.
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Bolo_MK_XL
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
So, if this is a bad idea, fine. But I would prefer to remove a tactic



Tactics are countered by other tactics --- not rule changes -----

Point is, players know its an option allowed by the rules, its their place to find a way to beat it ---
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OGREAI
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To address mjwest's point on Federation Commander being built around "Act and React" using junior's D7 vs Ranger example:

The D7 closes to a 5 hex range and declares offensive fire (Klingon Action). The Hydran NOW has a choice to make. They can either chose to (1- React now) "Me too" fire having "clear" shots but less damage potential, or they can chose to (2- Act later) close the range and fire into a +2 die roll shift. Reviewing the damage tables shows that closing will slightly increase potential damage done from the heavy weapons and of course increases the damage from the gatling phasers.

The "gotcha" moment should only happen to a player once, or rarely, since once the tactic is used against someone, they will tend to remember it. Once playing experience is gained, the above Hydran should see (if they are watching the D7's energy) that Evasive Maneuvers are LIKELY upcoming, thus it is time to make a tough decision.

Second, I don't feel this neuters three empires (we don't use races as a term, right?) since this is only one tactical aspect in their arsenal. I will admit that both the Federation and Hydrans prefer to play to their stength of "close and hose" with devastatingly massive alpha strikes. I don't think anyone is arguing that this is their only tactical choice. Why not ask the question, "Why are these empires NOT closing the range under Evasive Maneuvers themselves?"

If you answer that question with "power limitations", well that was a tactical choice made by that captain. It has been argued that the Federation FF can do amazing things with its power. If the answer is "they didn't think of it" then we cannot fault the opposing captain.

My point here is that the current tool works for everyone, the same way. Use it to your advantage and know how it hurts you. Evasive Maneuvers are just another aspect of this game like weapons loadout, power curve/turn mode, ship damage resiliency that mean every battle brings differences to the map that make this an exciting game.

In closing, Mike, I don't think this is a "bad" idea. I just don't feel this fine tuning is needed.



OGRE AI

Seems like I'm fighting hard against the "me too" comments
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junior
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keep in mind that...

- mjwest's idea isn't meant to address the die-roll shift from EM (which would include the ability to approach with it), or any pre-planned useage of it that you have in mind. It's specifically meant to address the very frequent tactic of using it as a last second avoidance tactic. Most often when I see it, it isn't used when two ships close with each other and one fires and then declares the next impulse that he's going to EM. It's used to avoid the punishment that results from sloppy maneuvering by the player and superior tactical maneuvering by his or her opponent.

For instance, a careless Klingon D7 gets taken in by a canny Federation player who allows the Klingon to get into his rear arc, drops the range to just a few hexes away, and then performs a High Energy Turn. The Klingon has obviously blundered, and the Fed is now facing the Klingon at 2 hexes distance with fully overloaded Photon Torpedoes.

So of course the Klingon is going to declare EM.

In this case, the Fed is literally being punished for out-thinking and out-maneuvering his opponent because he has now essentially wasted his free High Energy Turn. And his opponent will then fly past him and use his free High Energy Turn to get back into the Federation ship's blind spot.

Simply put, it's far too common to see EM used simply as a cheap counter-tactic when someone realizes that he screwed up his or her maneuvering and got himself into a very vulnerable position vis-a-vis his or her opponent. The HET stunt is a fairly common version of that, but I see it get used pretty much anytime someone with "close and hose" weapons actually manages to outmaneuver their opponent. That's the primary issue that I personally have with it.

All that mjwest's proposal really does is make it so that you have to plan ahead a little bit when setting up your EM. If you want to use it to avoid the consequences of your face to face overrun, then that tactic is still very much available. You simply say that you're going to use it one impulse sooner. But it won't save you if your opponent pulls a clever ploy and outmaneuvers you - or at least not until next impulse.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

junior wrote:

For instance, a careless Klingon D7 gets taken in by a canny Federation player who allows the Klingon to get into his rear arc, drops the range to just a few hexes away, and then performs a High Energy Turn. The Klingon has obviously blundered, and the Fed is now facing the Klingon at 2 hexes distance with fully overloaded Photon Torpedoes.

So of course the Klingon is going to declare EM.

In this case, the Fed is literally being punished for out-thinking and out-maneuvering his opponent because he has now essentially wasted his free High Energy Turn. And his opponent will then fly past him and use his free High Energy Turn to get back into the Federation ship's blind spot.



The fed blundered as well, he knew the klingon could go EM, just as the klingon knew the fed could HET - maybe the fed was outmanouvered by a superior klingon who planned for exactly that to happen. The fed wasn't clever, just stupid in playing to the klingons plan.

How about delayed HET? announce the HET then it happens next impulse. If you aren't allowed to suddenly go evasive unannounced then why are you suddenly allowed to perform a ship wrenching move unannounced?

If evasive manouvering is an issue, then rather alter the mechanism for how you perform it why not alter the dice adjustment, dropping from +2 to +1. +2 on a boolean hit/miss rolls is a massive adjustment, I have to admit I find it hard to imagine a great big starship being that evasive.
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Bolo_MK_XL
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I have to admit I find it hard to imagine a great big starship being that evasive.


I find it more believable than the do or die Photon having a 100% chance to hit at range 1, when the Distrupter known for its accuracy at med/long range having only a 83% chance at range 1 ---
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Mike
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm curious. Mike West, have you experimented with the delayed EM rule that you proposed?
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The_Rock
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Feds are good enough as it is. I see no reason to change the game rules to give sloppy Feds a better chance.

Somehow I have manged to go 100% in both tournament and casual play when taking the Feds, in spite of this rule supposedly "neutering" the race.
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pinecone
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Feds have drones, and suicide shuttles.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bolo_MK_XL wrote:


I find it more believable than the do or die Photon having a 100% chance to hit at range 1, when the Distrupter known for its accuracy at med/long range having only a 83% chance at range 1 ---


med/long range is not really range 1 though is it. Thats like arguing that disrupters have a 50% chance at range 25 yet a photon known for its short range awesomeness has only a 16% chance of hitting.

Not that that has anything to do with EM.
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