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Direct Fire Drone Rules
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junior
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Barry Kirk wrote:
Could someone tell me if the problem with massive amounts of drones on the board from fighters happens when fighters launch 2 turns before the drones hit?


The problem is when you've got multiple fighters launching at different targets, and need to keep track of what's chasing what. For instance, two groups of 12 fighters each are approaching each other, and launch drones at each other. Then both groups scatter.

You've now got two groups of 12 drones flying in wildly different directions (since the fighters have scattered), and each individual drone needs to be tracked against the fighter that it's targeted at which means that you've got 24 new objects to push around the map (which, after moving half a dozen hexes, are probably going to be one drone per hex). To further complicate the mix, some long range direct fire by warships at 12 hexes away (disruptor-armed ships that didn't have anything better to fire at) takes out three of the fighters. Now three drones have just lost tracking, and you have to check your notes to see which specific drones go inert.

It can get very cluttered very quickly, even if the things are only in flight for a short period of time.
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Mike
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With the DF drone rules as they now stand, no DF drone would exist for more than 2 Impulses anyway. Therefore, no need for a rule that says they exist for only 2 Impulses.

If the target is range 4 or less, they hit at the end of the next Impulse. If the target is range 5-8, they hit at the end of the 2nd Impulse after launch. No need for counters, markers, minis or any such clutter.

A small separate track could be used to keep up with them. Here is one idea:

For each ship, have a separate form showing a generic ship symbol with the shield numbers (1-6) around it. For each shield, have space to record drone I.D. #'s and the Impulse # that they impact...wait, that won't work. We wouldn't know which shield given DF drones would impact until the end of the Impulse in which they impact because the target ship can turn.

Anyway, somehow the launch hex has to be recorded and the number of drones and their targets have to be recorded.

Anyone have a good way to do this with the rules as they now exist?
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Kang
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Barry Kirk wrote:
Could someone tell me if the problem with massive amounts of drones on the board from fighters happens when fighters launch 2 turns before the drones hit?

I think that one of the things that will happen is that players will not necessarily launch all their drones at once, thus creating a 'rolling' situation where there are loads of drones on the map at the same time.

Earlier, I said I didn't like the DF drone rules. However, that was partly because I didn't realise that this was BoM stuff, and partly because I'd seen the loss of some defensive options like turning a new shield.

But I'm sure these things are not insurmountable. If we are not to have swarms of fighter drones, then DF drones are the way forwards. It's good that we get the chance to give some input on the subject; some designers would present it as a fait accompli. Certainly it's better to thrash things out in the forums before they become set in stone.

For myself I'd prefer that DF drones work as pure DF weapons, so there are never any drone counters on the map, not even for one impulse - for the reason in my first paragraph above. As long as there are counters to be placed, players will find a way of cluttering the map with them, like it or not Smile

I would also like to reiterate my suggestions made in earlier posts with regard to either the defender choosing a new shield, or getting a free turn to bring a new shield to bear as used in SFB Supplement #1. Did anyone think of those as being feasible ideas?
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike wrote:

Anyway, somehow the launch hex has to be recorded and the number of drones and their targets have to be recorded.

Anyone have a good way to do this with the rules as they now exist?


Nothing has to be recorded, solutions have have already been suggested - resolve the whole lot at the point of fire. i.e. make them either more like DF weapons, or actually DF weapons. Whether you consider them good...??

e.g. Going back to my earlier suggestion

1)Fighter declare launch
2)Allow anything in range of fighter to 'me to' shoot the drone based on range to fighter
3)Roll to hit, based on range, speed and heading difference (see earlier post)
4)place drone as an impacted drone on target shield that was shot at, to be dealt with as normal drone impact.
5)anything in range of target may 'me to' shoot the drone based on range to target (this could either be now, or durig defensive fire)

My suggestion doesn't treat them as pure DF weapons, but does ensure that having launched there is nothing to track over the next impulses. It accounts for target speed, heading etc with a to hit roll and allows defensive fire by target and other stuff that would have shot it 'en route'.

And remember the original proposal did say they were an optional way of doing drone fighters - those wanting the normal drone procedure can still use that for fighters as well. That fact is also another reason, IMHO, not to worry about trying to get overly realistic/detailed as you already have the realistic/detailed option anyway, the optional way of dealing with them I think should be for those of us who really do want it kept streamlined with as little off map tracking as possible.

One of the great things about FC is that we are able to play (and do play) games with a fair number of ships per person in just 2 or 3 hours, which is about our time limit. I tend to view rules suggestions not in the context of a cruiser duel but in terms of what it will be like handling half a dozen vessels per person. Whilst we are talking BoM here, i would hope that it is going to work in the same spirit of FC and allow us to play whole carrier group battles in under 3 hours.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PS:

Its been to many decades since I played SFB, was there any range restriction on fighter based drone launch?

Just trying to get it straight in my mind the pros and cons to each side (firer and target) of DF drones.
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Kang
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

storeylf wrote:
Nothing has to be recorded, solutions have have already been suggested - resolve the whole lot at the point of fire. i.e. make them either more like DF weapons, or actually DF weapons. Whether you consider them good...??

e.g. Going back to my earlier suggestion

1)Fighter declare launch
2)Allow anything in range of fighter to 'me to' shoot the drone based on range to fighter
3)Roll to hit, based on range, speed and heading difference (see earlier post)
4)place drone as an impacted drone on target shield that was shot at, to be dealt with as normal drone impact.
5)anything in range of target may 'me to' shoot the drone based on range to target (this could either be now, or durig defensive fire)

My suggestion doesn't treat them as pure DF weapons, but does ensure that having launched there is nothing to track over the next impulses. It accounts for target speed, heading etc with a to hit roll and allows defensive fire by target and other stuff that would have shot it 'en route'.

And remember the original proposal did say they were an optional way of doing drone fighters - those wanting the normal drone procedure can still use that for fighters as well. That fact is also another reason, IMHO, not to worry about trying to get overly realistic/detailed as you already have the realistic/detailed option anyway, the optional way of dealing with them I think should be for those of us who really do want it kept streamlined with as little off map tracking as possible.


I think he's got it. And we do need to account for relative speeds, using a table probably as already suggested.

The only other suggestion from me would be to have some sort of 'choice of shield' rule, to compensate for the lack of opportunity of turning a new shield. Given we are not going to get a 'free turn' like in SFB Supplement #1, and that's fine.

Perhaps we could say that either a) the drones are hypervelocity and impact the facing shield always - in which case, no change - or b) we could let the target take it on either the facing shield or one of the adjacent shields.

For a split-shield boundary, leave it as defender's choice as it is already. No doubt that would give rise to attacking tactics where the attacker will try for a split-shield shot to give the defender less choice of shield.
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Kang
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

storeylf wrote:
2)Allow anything in range of fighter to 'me to' shoot the drone based on range to fighter

Just another thought - defensive 'me-too' fire as described here could be on the basis of range to the nearest point of the drone's straight-line track, rather than the fighter, with dubious cases as to where the drone actually 'flew' [lines of fire are never quite straight, are they!] being the defending player's choice - that is, the owner of the target ship.
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asguard101
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Storeyelf has a good system, and I agree with Kang, but I hope there is a plan to put a range limit on this, I would hate to have a fighter to do direct damge from 11+ range away. The "me too" shooters would be at a disadvantage off shooting them if the range is considered the fighter.



Also would the damage for the drone be the same as any drone or would it have a reduced warhead?
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Savedfromwhat
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

seems like the big problem is drones targeting fighters. Why not make it so drones cannot target fighters because their warp signatures are too small?
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Hod K'el
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 5:47 pm    Post subject: DFD Reply with quote

AH! Now we want to change the whole basis of play! NO! A drone that is ship board can be a large drone such as an ICBM. So how does it attack its target? By ship control...thus drone control limits! The drone can be targeted on a fighter by the controlling ship, so your idea does not fit into the 'play' of the game.

This is also why I suggested the smaller, 'Hyper' drones of the fighters, which would also explain why they can go four hexes in one turn. Because they are smaller, their warhead is smaller. Because their warhead is smaller, they do less damage, thus the four points of damage I mentioned. (Think of it as a tactical nuke.)

I seriously believe this is the only around the current game restrictions, but moreover, these could then be introduced to the main frame of the game. I believe this would be especially good for campaigns.
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Dal Downing
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

storeylf wrote:
PS:

Its been to many decades since I played SFB, was there any range restriction on fighter based drone launch?

Just trying to get it straight in my mind the pros and cons to each side (firer and target) of DF drones.

Just read through my SFB Rulebook "J" Section, to be sure but there is no Range Limit on Drones. The only limit is on DF Weapons, which is 12 Hex, Drones (Type I) are only limited by launch Rate and Endurance which is 3 turns.

I know when we use to play the Fighters usually launched a massive wave of Drones from like Range 25 then followed them in so the drones soaked up damage.

Steve Cole wrote:
Remember that BoM is for SFB players, not FC players, so they can use faster FC rules for bigger SFB battles.

That is from the Border of madness Thread in the General Disscussion Section.

These rules then should be a compromise between 2 different systems to some degree. If that means in Borders a FedCom rule loose some of it streamlines so that a SFB Rule can be streamlined. So be it.

One more thing that might be considered is, and I hate this ideal, limit drones on fighters to Type VI or Dog Fight Drones. In SFB Type VI drones had a Endurance of 1 Turn (24 Hexs in FC), a Warhead Strength of 8, only took 3 points of damage to destroy, But were Half the size of normal Drones so you could carry 2 of them in place of one drone. This would cut down on counter clutter to a degree by eliminating drones after 8 impulses of movement..
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Jon Lawson
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding Fighters Firing Drones.
I like the idea of the hyper velocity drones but there are other ways you could implement the way they fire without making it a strict direct fire weapon.

You could for example fire the drones at a designated target and immediately move them 2 hexes towards their target but then treat them like normal drones that track the 'nearest' enemy target.

You could say that you actually fire them in the direct fire phase before all other shooting, thus allowing nearby ships a chance to use directed firing as an offensive action before the drones hit.

This would allow you to take them out and react to them like a normal drone unless you are really close, allowing the Off. fire option from other ships as well as the Def. fire as usual. Also, though many drone markers would be on the map, keeping track of them would not be a great problem.

It depends on what the range capabilities are intended for these drones but with the 2 hex move and a full impulse moving at 32 would limit the range to 6 and do away with the need keep track of how many impulses they are in flight. Or you could have a traffic light system that you replace drones at the end of an impulse with a different colour warhead to show how long before it fizzles out.
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Mike
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 2:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think we're getting away from the original Federation Commander BoM Direct Fire Drone rule.

Quote:
(5QM3c) Special Drone Rules: To avoid "map clutter", players may elect to use these special rules. When a fighter launches a drone, do not track the drone's movement on the map. Instead, record the hex from which the drone was launched and the identification of the target. If the drone was launched from four or fewer hexes, then during the final sub-pulse of the next impulse, the drone "impacts" the target on the shield facing the original launch hex. If the original range was five-to-eight hexes (or the ship is 5+ hexes from the launch hex at this point), this is done on the final movement sub-pulse of the second subsequent impulse. After impact, the drones are treated as normal drones except other units (allied to the target) may fire normal offensive weapons fire at fighter-launched drones (to reflect those units firing at the drones before they impacted).


Note 1: The target ship has the ability to turn and have the DF drone impact a shield different from the one that was originally facing the launch hex. And the target ship can do this whether it was originally at a range of 4 or less OR from 5-8 hexes.

Note 2: The range limit of fighter launched DF drones is 8 hexes at the time of launch. The DF drones can still impact a target after they have "traveled" more than 8 hexes if the target is 5 or more hexes away at the end of the Impulse after launch.

One problem with the rule as it has been presented is in regard to ships that could outrun a standard drone. If a targeted ship could move 24 to maintain the distance interval or even 24+ to outrun these drones, then the question is 'Should DF drones have the ability to impact?'

The rest of the DF drone rule is pretty good. It eliminates map clutter and keeps DF drones like all others in the game (i.e. damage and defensive strength). They definitely are different in their endurance.
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mjwest
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike,

The easiest way to solve the problem you see is to only check the range at the last sub-pulse of the following impulse.

So, record the target and hex of launch in the launch phase of Impulse X. During the end of the last movement sub-pulse of Impulse X+1, if the target is four hexes or closer, the drone strikes the shield currently facing the hex of launch. If at range 5 or greater, then wait. During the end of the last movement sub-pulse of Impulse X+2, if the target is eight hexes or closer, the drone strikes the shield currently facing the hex of launch. If at range 9 or greater the drone misses.

That gets you everything (target can move a new shield, target can get away with speed, is not an auto-hit, influences target movement, keeps basic rules from CL37). The only negative is needing to keep records for a potential two impulses.
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Mike
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like that idea a lot. The little bit of recordkeeping could even be included on a "ship card" with the fighters themselves. No extra paper would be necessary and existing ship cards would be left alone.

The only thing remaining to be done is to design a card that would contain a fighter group and space for the recording of the launch hex, the target designation, a box to indicate the exact Turn and Impulse # of launch, and perhaps a box to indicate a delayed impact (X+2).

Going by the fighters shown so far, they can only carry 2 drones apiece at most, so each fighter would need sufficient space for that.
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