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In-system manouvers

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Dan Ibekwe

Joined: 08 Mar 2007
Posts: 452
Location: Manchester UK

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 2:56 am    Post subject: In-system manouvers Reply with quote

FC scenarios tend to assume that ships encounter each other at distances of about one light second and all ships in the neighbourhood rock up for the fight.

Solar systems are actually pretty big, and a ship orbiting Saturn may take a significant length of time to get into a fight happening near Mercury.

This is just an idea at present, and needs a lot of fleshing out. Apologies for it being so long...

The first thing you need are two maps, any arrangement of map boards to give 40-by-30 or more grids.

One of these is the Outer System, and is at a scale of one hex = one Astronomical Unit (AU).

The second is the Inner System map, and is at a scale of one tenth of an AU per hex. This represents the central seven hexes of the Outer System map in greater detail.

The local star is in the centre hex of both maps, the Inner system map will include Hot and Life zone planets (out as far as Mars in our Solar System), the Outer system map would contain our Gas and Ice giant planets.

Of course, each alien system will be unique. Each system will also have a number of targets - a colony planet, asteroid mines, dilithium mines orbiting gas giants, a COMPLAT, et.c

Each player moves their ships on one or another map exactly as per FC. Impulses, sub-impulses, turn modes, acceleration, deceleration, HETs - all work just the same.

However, all ships are able to move at upto their maximum sustained speed - at this point they will not be arming or firing any weapons.

The difference between the Outer and Inner maps is time - due to the hugely greater distances, one full turn of movement on the inner system map equals one *impulse* - upto four hexes movement - on the Outer System map.

And...one FC game turn equals one impulse of movement on the Inner system map.

Each squadron of ships moving together is represented by one counter.

On the Outer system map, enemy ships can scan counters from two hexes away to determine the number and movement costs of ships on the counter, and identify individual classes from the adjacent hex.

On the Inner system map, the respective ranges are twenty and ten hexes .

When opposed counters enter the same hex (either scale), an FC game is played out using the ships represented by each counter.


So what's the point of all this?

It's a scenario generator. One side is the defender, holding the system and trying to defend it. They may deploy their ships as they wish.

The other side will decide/be given a mission - destroy the mines, capture the COMPLAT, bombard the colony planet, whatever, but without telling the defender. Their ships enter the Outer system map on turn one.

The attacker now has to mislead and draw off the defender's forces with feints and decoys, and the defender has to second-guess the target of the raid.

This can determine whether the battle takes place in open space (use a floating map) or near a planet or other static (relatively speaking) target (use a location map).

It generates games that are not always balanced, and also determines when re-inforcements will arrive.

None of this is 'necessary', it can all be done with a bit of scenario design and dice-rolling. I'm thinking of this as another (entirely optional) layer of depth to the game.
We are Hydrans! NO ONE LIKES US!
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Fleet Captain

Joined: 23 Sep 2007
Posts: 1967
Location: Devon, UK

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 6:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is similar in a lot of respects to the system used by JD Webster in his Fighting Wings series of games, 'Over the Reich', 'Achtung-Spitfire!' and 'Whistling Death'.

There's a 'strategic' scale, where each 'notch' is about 50 miles (actually I think it might be called the 'mission map' or something like that), then a 'tactical' scale where the aircraft jockey for position very much like in your idea above; this map is abstracted and is based largely on the fact that one side has spotted the other first. He who sees, wins, and all that.

As soon as the 'defenders' have spotted the attacking aircraft (presumably with shouts of 'Achtung - Spitfire!'), the battle proper begins at 'combat scale' where the aircraft are represented in proper detail - turns, altitude, speeds and so on.

The relative positions occupied by the aircraft at the end of the tactical scale encounter dictates the relative starting positions. Granted, it would not work quite like this for starships, but the principle is similar.

The strategic and tactical scales are very fast-moving and are really designed almost entirely to get the aircraft into position for the fight 'proper' in a small amount of time.

Dan, I wonder, if you flesh this system out, it would be a good thing to contribute to Captain's Log?
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Joined: 07 Oct 2006
Posts: 1380

PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2011 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Achtung - Stinger!"

Fixed that for you. Wink Very Happy
"Captain" Terry O'Carroll, fourteen papers published including six best of issue
"Man, Terry, you are like a loophole seeking missle!" - Mike West
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