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Fighters in Borders of Madness
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mjwest
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dal Downing wrote:
"New" fighters are not going to work because SFB & FC use the same time line. Now if people want to call a F14DM a F22 or call a F18 a F35 then more power to them. Lets not go renaming things just because. And I thing a spiffy name for a Fed equivalent ZD would be a A4 or use a redesigned F18 and call it a AF18.

Dude, I have tried to get an A-18 for over a decade. In fact, I don't think I am allowed to mention it on the Legacy BBS anymore ...
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Dal Downing
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 3:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mjwest wrote:
Dude, I have tried to get an A-18 for over a decade. In fact, I don't think I am allowed to mention it on the Legacy BBS anymore ...


I know I have been there too. I mean everyone accepts High/Low for th Tomcats and Hornets, or F111s and F101s. But you suggest a alternate Torpedo Shuttle and people go absolutely berserk.
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Nerroth
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're always welcome to help swing the FRA a heavy fighter or two, so they can try a little Third Way-ery against their rivals' gunboat flotillas.

Just sayin'.
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Targ
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It looks like we have are first campaign game that involves fighters tomorrow, and on both sides to boot. It’s a Batts assault, we the Klink/Rom are fielding a SPH-B with 8*G-FSF and 8*G-III, The Feds, Storelf, a CVS with 12*F-18.

We are going to use the current play test rules for fighters that are in the sites resources section and use the ‘DF’ rules for seeking weapons along with mjwest pointers on the Roms from the 'Playtest fighter game' thread. ( how the hell do you Hyper link a thread?)

At present I’ve one question, dose rule 4A3 (page 29 Rev. 5) apply or not. Have the feeling not as the weapons are still seekers and are not true direct fire weapons. But I may be wrong.

Right now to sort out some fighter counters from the huge bag containing my old FSB counters Rolling Eyes Crying or Very sad and hopefully will be getting back with some feedback in the next couple of days Smile .
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mjwest
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Targ wrote:
We are going to use the current play test rules for fighters that are in the sites resources section and use the ‘DF’ rules for seeking weapons along with mjwest pointers on the Roms from the 'Playtest fighter game' thread. ( how the hell do you Hyper link a thread?)

Like this:
Playtest fighter game

(If you hit the "quote" button on this message, you can see the format for the link.)
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Targ
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mj, once again thanks.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just got back from playing our campign game, a BATs assault, in theory a 1100 pt battle, in practise due to campaign attrition I'm less than a 1000 pts. We haven't finshed yet, but it has been interesting so far.

I (the feds) had a CVS with 12 F-18, the Klingons had a Romulan carrier with 16 fighters (8 Pl-D and 8 Pl-F).

We use the existing DF rules.

I was able to cripple all the Pl-D fighters before they were able to launch after they got into range 8, but was then forced to turn away from my attack run on the base to avoid lots of plasma Fs.

Nine of my fighters manged to survive to launch at range 8 (i.e. a 2 impulse to impact) against a D7, but 3 fighters were then lost and therefore dropped tracking, the other 6 drones failed to score any hits on the target D7 as it and the D6 with it comfortably shot them down. The remainging F-18s were killed shortly afterwards.

The romulans fighers have retreated to the carrier to rearm the Pl-Fs and maybe repair the others.

The only damage actually scored by any fighters has been from Ph3 fire, both sides have delivered mass Ph3 fire. Though that was more potent than should have been due to a rules goof on our behalf.

As I said earlier I really cannot see DF drones as being more powerful than standard drones. Getting to range 8 intact to launch is pretty hard, and even once you arrive at that range, you are also clearly in the sort of range to be taken out quite fast (before the launch phase). Or even be vulnerable to having the fighter killed before a launched drone impacts


Their 'potential' certainly has an important impact on the game for both sides - I couldn't 'dive' past 16 plasma fighters to get at the base (and there were other klingon ships nearby as well), and had to turn away. Equally the F-18s caused the D7/D6 to change plan as they were pursuing a Fed CC.

Whilst it may not be very 'SFB' I have to say I do prefer that fighters are a more close in weapon rather than a stand off weapon. Apart from being a killer on counter clutter, launching mass drones at the same max range a star ship can shoot and then just sitting out there doesn't feel right to me. So I prefer the the current DF rules for that reason as well. Not that you couldn't impose a range limit on any fighter drones using more normal drone rules as well.
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Dal Downing
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 2:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

storeylf wrote:
I was able to cripple all the Pl-D fighters before they were able to launch after they got into range 8, but was then forced to turn away from my attack run on the base to avoid lots of plasma Fs.

Nine of my fighters manged to survive to launch at range 8 (i.e. a 2 impulse to impact) against a D7, but 3 fighters were then lost and therefore dropped tracking, the other 6 drones failed to score any hits on the target D7 as it and the D6 with it comfortably shot them down. The remainging F-18s were killed shortly afterwards.

The romulans fighers have retreated to the carrier to rearm the Pl-Fs and maybe repair the others.

The only damage actually scored by any fighters has been from Ph3 fire, both sides have delivered mass Ph3 fire. Though that was more potent than should have been due to a rules goof on our behalf.


So would you say that the fighters contributed no damage and take them out at range pretty effectively neutered them? Putting aside the influence Plasma had on your engaging the base. How do you think the outcome might have changed if the Fighters were allowed to fire from a range of 10 or even 12? With the lauch rate restrictions what would upping the number of Drones/Plasma D oon the individual fighters add?
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Dan Ibekwe
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 2:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another option might be to introduce a small-target modifier for shooting at fighters as per SFB.

Right now, it sounds as though the main contribution that fighters are making to fleet games is to absorb a turn or so's heavy weapons fire. That may be significant if only one side has fighters.

Storey, did you find they added to the tactics and enjoyment of the game, or merely to the complexity?
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JonPerry
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would it have made a difference with the fighters if they had been accompanied by an actual ship? I would think that if fighters have to get and stay within range 8 then you'd almost have to escort them with something more substantial. Something leading the fighters by a couple of hexes, forcing him to spend firepower on the ship (which can take it) before shooting at the fighters (which can't).

Of course then you have the curious sight of using a ship of the line to fly escort for what are supposed to be attrition units.
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Nerroth
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 6:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, that's one of the roles that Omega escorts played historically. Over there, the link between carrier and escort deployments was far less rigid than that typically shown for Alpha.

For example, the SFB R-section for the Mæsron CLE talks of how it was often sent to accompany fighter strikes to their targets (rather than hang back with the carrier) and sometimes flew in task forces which had no CV present at all.

Seeing that kind of trick tried in BoM might not be so far-fetched...
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Note Targ and me do have some differences of opinion on fighters/carriers, so he might come and post some other views as well.

In reply to the above.

Dan:

The fighters have made for quite an interesting and different game. They do add to the complexity somewhat, especially as the DF rules are a little 'rough' and questions come up.

I would note that whilst todays game didn't slow down too much with the fighters, I think that is because we forgot the stacking limits (we got carried away with the no stacking limits on launching). The last time we played with fighters the game seemed to slow to a crawl as the fighters spread out to accomodate stacking limits. When you spread out it becomes somewhat slower manouvering them as you try not to end up with too many in the same hex and be unable to fire, it also slows down manouvering against them a bit as you are looking at multiple groups of enemy. In this last game we each just had 1 counter on the map for most of the game representing the squadrons, only when we remembered the stacking limits for the Ph3s did we split up, by then the fighter action was mainly over.

I find the same thing with drones to an extent, the more drone counters on the board the more the game slows down. The target has obviously got far more to think about and we also spend more time trying to remember to move all the drone counters, or check who is controlling what etc.

PS I didn't fire any heavy weapons at the fighters, they absorbed a lot of phasers instead - I went from range 9 to range 3 against the enemy fighters and at that range 2 * ph1s cripple or kills 35/36 of the time (the PL-Ds ones anyway). As I can direct fire before he can launch I killed/crippled all the PL-Ds prior to them launching.


Jon:

In my case I did lead the attack with my entire fleet, the fighters followed in just behind. In the enemy case the Klingon ships were just a hex or 2 behind their fighters.

It's worth noting that we are playing a campaign where our ships are valuable and hard to replace assets and the fighters are easier to replace, that means that the way we play is not going to be the same as in a one off game.

The objective of the scenario and the type of fighters also have an affect, the klingons are probably a lot happier losing fighters defending a base, and the plasma fighters are uniquely suited to keeping me from the base. They certainly are not going to to lead with valuable ships against all the fire power the Feds pack, as they know that I'll quite happily wipe a couple of them and then disengage, which will hurt them campaign wise.

For myself, I wasn't really sure what to try and do attacking a BATs and being outpointed. The fighters ended up being behind my ships for the simple reason I didn't want to be hanging around with my ships next to the klingons and the base, so went speed 24 for the attack turn, not to mention the presence of plasma fighters 'encourages' a faster speed somewhat. It did however give me a credible follow up, the reason I got to launch was due to a large extent to the klingons having just fended off the ships.

On the whole, I'd say the fact that we are playing a campaign does mean that they are being used as expected, as expendble attrition units.

Nerroth:

In my case the carrier did follow in with the attack force. The Fed CVS is effectively a cruiser, I was already down about a cruiser in points to start with and wasn't going to leave another 'cruiser' hanging back, I just kept it back a few hexes, over range boundaries where reasonably possible, trying to make it a less obvious target. The Rom carrier remained cloaked near the base - as an allied unit in our campaign it is more 'valuable' than mine, and given the situation (me having to come at them) it seemed as good as position as any.


Dal:

I woudldn't say that they contributed no damage. Even if we had remembered the stacking rules for fighters early on, they would still have done a reasonable chunk of Ph3 damage, mine especially as they got very close. Even my last 5 fighters stacking properly took down the D6 rear shield and did internals just with Ph3s.

A longer range on the launch would have had a difference, I don't think there can be much doubt about that. There is a significant difference in ability to take out fighters (cripple all that is needed for the most part) once they cross to range 8. If you are going to extend the range out that far though then the DF stuff needs to be less guaranteed, as auto hitting from a standoff range is a bit too nasty.

As I've noted, I just wouldn't play a game with fighters using normal drone rules - I very much fall into the less clutter and record keeping camp. So with longer ranges I would expect some other DF rule, e.g. roll range or greater on 2 dice to impact. Range 8 seems to me a good compromise, getting there, and surviving to launch is quite hard and the auto hit is the compensation for that. As I found even after launch, the 2 impulse impact range (5-8 ) leaves you vulnerable to being killed before the drone impacts as well (killing the drone as well).

I don't see what effect extra ammo on the drone fighters would have. In each of our games with fighters so far no fighters has survived long enough to be able to use more than 2 - in fact no one has survived to use the second round from what I remember. A third or fourth round of ammo seems pointless in practice, at range 8 or less your chance of lasting that long is just to low.


Overall I am reasonably happy with the DF rules (or concept more than rules I suppose), They have a noticeable effect on the battle, even if it is not due to actually hitting anything. They are just 'potentially' too nasty to ignore. Range 8 just feels right to me, I realise that is probably sacrilege to many SFBers, but I'm not really interested in SFB and prefer the feel of close range fighters that are more commonly assosiated with Sci-Fi in my mind.

I would add that I'm not going to be bothered if fighters never make it into BoM. I can live without them, but if they do turn up then the DF drone rules so far seem a good way of doing drone based fighters IMHO.
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duxvolantis
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

storeylf wrote:


It's worth noting that we are playing a campaign where our ships are valuable and hard to replace assets and the fighters are easier to replace, that means that the way we play is not going to be the same as in a one off game.

The "lead with fighters" and "lead with ships" tactics have long been present. I tend to believe in the following: if you lead with fighters you are willing to lose an inconclusive engagement but are unlikely to lose a ships. If you lead with ships you may go from slightly losing to a smashing victory as your fighters roll in to mop up a bunch of ships low on energy and slowed down to rearm.
storeylf wrote:


A longer range on the launch would have had a difference, I don't think there can be much doubt about that. There is a significant difference in ability to take out fighters (cripple all that is needed for the most part) once they cross to range 8. If you are going to extend the range out that far though then the DF stuff needs to be less guaranteed, as auto hitting from a standoff range is a bit too nasty.

I agree here, even though I am in the opposite camp. Auto-hit with drones outside range 8 is just not going to work.

storeylf wrote:

I realise that is probably sacrilege to many SFBers, but I'm not really interested in SFB and prefer the feel of close range fighters that are more commonly assosiated with Sci-Fi in my mind.

Range 8 is not, to my way of thinking, close range. Smile Range 0-2 is close range.

If the DF drone fighters launched 6-damage "drones" that hit automatically ( or nearly automatically--maybe on a 1-5 the same as most heavy weapons) during offensive fire at very close range (0-2) I don't see a major problem with the idea. That's a fair approximation of the the fusion beam on a Stinger (which has to get to "close range" to do much damage).

My problem with range-8 Direct Fire drones is the presumption that the only mechanism to defeat drones is shooting them down when in fact maneuver should be important. Under the DF drone rules the fighters could theoretically auto-hit a ship moving directly away from the fighters at max speed.

How do drones (which go 24 in FC) catch a ship going 32? That's just far too much of a difference from how ship-based drones work for me to want to use it.

Why can't the Kzinti ships use these spiffy hyper-warp drones that they load on their expendable speed 16, 10 damage box fighters?

Reducing map clutter is all fine and dandy, but this rule needs to stay optional as it is not internally consistent with the "laws of physics" of the star fleet universe.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

duxvolantis wrote:

Range 8 is not, to my way of thinking, close range. Smile Range 0-2 is close range.


its all relative - I'm comparing to the range that normal drones (or any other weapons) can be fired (25), 8 is short and 0-2 is more like point blank.


Quote:
My problem with range-8 Direct Fire drones is the presumption that the only mechanism to defeat drones is shooting them down when in fact maneuver should be important. Under the DF drone rules the fighters could theoretically auto-hit a ship moving directly away from the fighters at max speed.


I believe that in a previous discussion it was proposed that a ship that is beyond range 8 at 'point of impact' would get away..

e.g. launch at range 4 - normally a 1 impulse impact, if next impulse you are at range 5+ then it is delayed an impulse (as it would normally be a 2 impulse impact at that range), then if you are at range 9+ it misses altogether.


Quote:
Reducing map clutter is all fine and dandy, but this rule needs to stay optional as it is not internally consistent with the "laws of physics" of the star fleet universe.


Normal laws of physics can accomodate the range vs acceleration difference.

Playing with normal launched drones coud be the optional rule for those masochistic enough to want them.
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duxvolantis
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

storeylf wrote:

Playing with normal launched drones coud be the optional rule for those masochistic enough to want them.


There are other problems. For example the RRB6 ADD rules (which basically go back to more like the old ADD rules).

Likewise Plasma-D racks which can erase a big drone wave in a turn with a little maneuver.

With either of these systems and some good maneuver one can string drones along for a while I can pick them all off at no energy cost.

Even saying "out of range 8 at time of impact" doesn't really work because with just a couple impulses of properly timed 24+1 movement a ship can "dodge" a drone stack and cause it to string along behind it allowing one to continue pursuit, fire phasers at the enemy instead of the drones, etc.

We clearly aren't going to agree and I see your points.

Personally I think most players will view Borders of Madness as a big book of optional rules---so put both options in and have some simple mechanism to make sure both are balanced (perhaps DF drones do 6, or 8, or whatever plays out to balance, while seeking drones do 12) and I'm cool with it even though I probably will not use it.

Even in SFB some groups played with EW and others hated it. Some groups thought you were a weenie if you didn't use pre-plotted movement while the majority used free movement, etc. Every group I played with deviated at least a little bit from the "rules" and picked and chose what they liked. Heck, even the 'standard tournament rules' used rules that weren't part of core SFB (eg: the tournament barrier, limits on PFs, t-bombs, etc, etc).
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