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Damage Comparisons Between FC and ACTA-SF
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Dal Downing
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Savedfromwhat wrote:
Lincoln did you mean Romulan and Kzinti are phaser light empires? Because last I checked the Gorn phasers were pretty good.


No he meant Gorn and Kzinti these two races are the fewest phasers per ship in the game.
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IainMcG
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lincolnlog wrote:
Remember, Romulans get that 6" free de-cloak move, and 6" more of regular movement.


Actually, the rule clearly states that you don't move any further after the decloak move.

Anyway, I'd have to agree with Storyelf's thoughts on Drone/Plasma launch upthread. As far as CQ checks go, I'd suggest that IDF and the first HET would be better as an automatic success (which just leaves Evasive Action from the main book as a check and possible opposed check). You'd then have to change Phaser damage vs Plasma I'd think (half, like FC, perhaps - although you may also need to kick up Plasma AD a little too ?) and drop or increase the range threshold of the long range drone hit rolls.
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Nerroth
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lincolnlog wrote:
ACTA is a game engine. When you use it in alternate realities (including Historical [VaS]) you have to concede some alterations from core processes. B5 was not based on another game, NA was based on another game. And VaS is and will suck after it is re-done. ACTA-SF is based on another game, there is existing IP. How do you honor the core material and stay with the exact content of the original ACTA engine. You can't and Matt didn't, he made alterations. The problem is, and this is a direct quote "If you change that it isn't ACTA". Yes it is, as long as the core game engine is left intact. And who really cares as long as it quick easy and fun, and the two companies make money off of it.


For those who are not familiar with the prior editions of the A Call to Arms ruleset, most of the miniatures (and some of the players) for A Call to Arms: Babylon 5 migrated over from Agents of Gaming's then-defunct Babylon 5 Wars system (which was more SFB/FC-like in its setup). I'm not sure how closely the weapons systems in ACtA:B5 were to those in B5W, but I'm sure some people over on the Mongoose forum would be in a better position to compare the two. (Notably, B5W seemed to have more of a "canon" air to it, in terms of how it was viewed by the creators of Babylon 5. While Mongoose's B5 tabletop and RPG material was "official" from a Warner Brothers perspective, it didn't seem to have quite the same level of approval that AoG enjoyed.)

A Call to Arms: Noble Armada is based on the original Noble Armada starship combat game from Holistic Design (who still hold the IP to Noble Armada and to Fading Suns, the universe in which NA is set). Indeed, it seems that FASA Games (the inheritors of RedBrick's license with Holistic for the development of the current version of the Fading Suns RPG) may end up launching their own version of Noble Armada, which would use a set of mechanics more directly related to those in the original NA (putting it closer to SFB or FC in terms of detail). If that happens, the "new" NA will use the same miniatures as ACtA:NA, akin to how the Starline 2500s are available to SFB, FC, and Starmada players as well as ACtA:SF ones.

There is a difference in degree when it comes to the elder games' influence, however. Since B5W and AoG were already dead by the time Mongoose aquired the Babylon 5 licence, the latter were not explicltly beholden to what came before rules-wise. While Holistic still exist as the IP holders for the Fading Suns/Noble Armada universe, they seem to allow a relatively free hand to both Mongoose and FASA 2.0 in terms of how the IP is moved forward (though presumably Holistic retain the final say). Whereas both Majestic 12 and Mongoose have to stay on board with ADB's vision of how the Star Fleet Universe is supposed to work, and so expect a more "hands-on" approach in terms of keeping things reasonably consistent from one game engine to the next.
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lincolnlog
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IainMcG wrote:
lincolnlog wrote:
Remember, Romulans get that 6" free de-cloak move, and 6" more of regular movement.


Actually, the rule clearly states that you don't move any further after the decloak move.

Anyway, I'd have to agree with Storyelf's thoughts on Drone/Plasma launch upthread. As far as CQ checks go, I'd suggest that IDF and the first HET would be better as an automatic success (which just leaves Evasive Action from the main book as a check and possible opposed check). You'd then have to change Phaser damage vs Plasma I'd think (half, like FC, perhaps - although you may also need to kick up Plasma AD a little too ?) and drop or increase the range threshold of the long range drone hit rolls.


Plasma was raised, phasers at short range are more effective (it's a base line statistical model from FC), and increased the effectiveness of long range drones to hit in 3+.
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lincolnlog
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nerroth wrote:
lincolnlog wrote:
ACTA is a game engine. When you use it in alternate realities (including Historical [VaS]) you have to concede some alterations from core processes. B5 was not based on another game, NA was based on another game. And VaS is and will suck after it is re-done. ACTA-SF is based on another game, there is existing IP. How do you honor the core material and stay with the exact content of the original ACTA engine. You can't and Matt didn't, he made alterations. The problem is, and this is a direct quote "If you change that it isn't ACTA". Yes it is, as long as the core game engine is left intact. And who really cares as long as it quick easy and fun, and the two companies make money off of it.


For those who are not familiar with the prior editions of the A Call to Arms ruleset, most of the miniatures (and some of the players) for A Call to Arms: Babylon 5 migrated over from Agents of Gaming's then-defunct Babylon 5 Wars system (which was more SFB/FC-like in its setup). I'm not sure how closely the weapons systems in ACtA:B5 were to those in B5W, but I'm sure some people over on the Mongoose forum would be in a better position to compare the two. (Notably, B5W seemed to have more of a "canon" air to it, in terms of how it was viewed by the creators of Babylon 5. While Mongoose's B5 tabletop and RPG material was "official" from a Warner Brothers perspective, it didn't seem to have quite the same level of approval that AoG enjoyed.)

A Call to Arms: Noble Armada is based on the original Noble Armada starship combat game from Holistic Design (who still hold the IP to Noble Armada and to Fading Suns, the universe in which NA is set). Indeed, it seems that FASA Games (the inheritors of RedBrick's license with Holistic for the development of the current version of the Fading Suns RPG) may end up launching their own version of Noble Armada, which would use a set of mechanics more directly related to those in the original NA (putting it closer to SFB or FC in terms of detail). If that happens, the "new" NA will use the same miniatures as ACtA:NA, akin to how the Starline 2500s are available to SFB, FC, and Starmada players as well as ACtA:SF ones.

There is a difference in degree when it comes to the elder games' influence, however. Since B5W and AoG were already dead by the time Mongoose aquired the Babylon 5 licence, the latter were not explicltly beholden to what came before rules-wise. While Holistic still exist as the IP holders for the Fading Suns/Noble Armada universe, they seem to allow a relatively free hand to both Mongoose and FASA 2.0 in terms of how the IP is moved forward (though presumably Holistic retain the final say). Whereas both Majestic 12 and Mongoose have to stay on board with ADB's vision of how the Star Fleet Universe is supposed to work, and so expect a more "hands-on" approach in terms of keeping things reasonably consistent from one game engine to the next.


I have both sets of rules and they are extremely similar in tech and mechanics. There are some differences. Our group has been looking at various possibilities for gaming Battlestar Galactica and B5 or NA would work. Once again similar tech. The tech in the SFU is way different and more diverse.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dal Downing wrote:
Savedfromwhat wrote:
Lincoln did you mean Romulan and Kzinti are phaser light empires? Because last I checked the Gorn phasers were pretty good.


No he meant Gorn and Kzinti these two races are the fewest phasers per ship in the game.


Kzinti have tons of phasers, the standard Kzinti BC has 12 phasers, even the phaser lite NCA has 10. There's 20 phasers on the Kzinti DN.

Quote:
Using the same rationalization as drones. People being engaged by plasma need an opportunity to react.


Do they though?

As I noted earlier with drones you often have plenty of time to react, but with plasma if you haven't planned in advance then you won't get time to react in anything like the same way. This is sort of obvious when you are comparing something that moves slowish and lasts a possible 122 subpulses in FC to something that moves at max speed and lasts in practical terms between 12 and 24 subpulses. Allowing time to react to that extent is going very against the way plasma works in the SFU.


Quote:
The Gorn have more firing options than the Romulans. They can fire carronades.


Oh yes, the explosion range direct fire multi hit 2 that only applies to at most 2 plasma per ship, where using it means you cripple any proper plasma volley. So much more option!

Quote:
But the biggest thing that made plasma weak was that you were losing attack dice from defensive fire. And Attack Dice were too random.


Plasma is not weak. It is the strongest weapon in the game. If you were using plasma appropiately then rolling a D6 20 times against a ship is not really that random. Indeed it is probably the most predictable weapon in the game. There is no roll to hit, a fixed number of AD to allocate, a reasonably predictable defensive fire at the point you launch it and no leaks. How could it be seen as too random? IDF is what is random, when you are rolling maybe 5-9 ships at 50/50 then you have a wide variation in result. It is not that phasers shoot down plasma that makes plasma difficult, it gets shot down in the core games as well. Halving the amount shot down, as some want, isn't necessarily going to alter much (beyond making it way more potent).

All seekers suffer from a threshold effect, the defender can put out X defense that shoot down AD, or other wise negate it (shield boost). In order to achieve anything you must put out X + 1 minimum to do any damage, any less means no damage. In order to kill a cruiser size ship you need X + ~17 AD.

Lets say my 3 ships weith 12AD each can put out X + 17 at range 8, X + 5, at 8-12 and at range 13 X - 13.

In this example a drop of 33% in plasma dice over the range 8 mark has given over a 66% drop in damage. Given the plasma needs reloading and will probably never get everything in arc again that is a bad shot to take.

A single side plama F per ship being out of arc would drop that to X + 11, X + 2 and X - 13. It only took a relatively small change in plasma to make a large difference in damage, losing 33% at range 8 and 60% at range 8-12.

A small change in X has a similar effect, 1 single missed IDF can drop X by 5 and hand the plasma user the equal of 9 or 10 disrupters hitting. That is partly why IDF having such a wide variance is so bad, a small change in X either way is potentially significant but the system produces wide variations in X, until you get to larger battles where the law of large numbers start to kick in.

It is understanding that affect that is what makes plasma so good at range 8. The extra 1AD per plasma you gain from no energy bleed makes an enormous difference to what you can achieve. Once you combine that with proper target selection it is capable of wiping out 1 ship per ~2.5 of yours on heavy weapons alone, a rate that no one else can hope to match in one fell swoop. Indeed its quite possible you will kill a cruiser per 2 of yours if the enemy can't keep the ships on IDF out of range 8.

An additional thing that makes plasma somewhat hard to use is that it comes in 1 weapon per mount, that means that unlike Feds/Klinks/Kzinti you can't power drain, take the 1 weapon system option and get stuck in. All the non plasma empires currently have a moderately useful option that allows then to go full speed with some SA and deliver decent offensive power. For example it allows the Feds to move in to range 15 easily whilst power draining on APE or shield boost, and fire the nasty photon strike. Gorns and Roms have no such option, yet they really need to get to range 8 to have any offensive power.

Do I think plasma is done well, no. Do I think it weak, not remotely. The problem is more that the maths makes it far to potent at range 8 and far to weak beyond that.

I sometimes see some saying that you should hold back some plasma to keep the other guy honest. Do they not grasp the maths? You should almost never do that, dead enemies are better than honest ones. Keeping back 12AD now could mean you achieve 1 less kill, whilst that 12AD will be useless on its own next turn.

Quote:
Both the Gorn and Kzinti are Phaser light empires. Yes, the Kzinti have disruptors, but the Gorn especially have to rely heavily on Plasma.


You slightly lost me there. Gorn and Romulan can't ever really hope to win without plasma actually hitting and taking out ships. Fed, Klingon and Kzinti all use drones as distration. The fact they are negated will not stop them winning with disrupters and phasers so long as the drones forced some loss of options/phasers, that is how they are designed to fight. Changing the way drones are handled in ACTA to handle them easier isn't going to fundamentally screw the drone users, it just makes them fight a bit more like they were intended. The same can't be said for plasma, if they can't hit due to launch and SA mechanics then they lose.
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Savedfromwhat
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dal Downing wrote:
Savedfromwhat wrote:
Lincoln did you mean Romulan and Kzinti are phaser light empires? Because last I checked the Gorn phasers were pretty good.


No he meant Gorn and Kzinti these two races are the fewest phasers per ship in the game.


Are you playing a different game? This statement of yours is strictly uninformed.

Code:

SHIP                            POINTS   PHASER-1   PHASER-2   PHASER-3
GORN DN                      325           10           0           2
ROM KC9R                     335           12           0           0
ROM CONDOR                   305            9           0           4
               
GORN BCH                     240           10           0           4
ROM ROYAL/NOVAHAWK           240            7           0           4
            
GORN BCF                     210           10           0           2
ROM FASTHAWK                 235            7           0           4
            
GORN CM                      210            7           0           2
ROM FIRE HAWK                225            7           0           4
ROM KRC                      230            5           4           0
            
GORN CL                      175            4           0           2
ROM KING EAGLE               175            4           0           2
ROM KR                       165            3           4           0
            
GORN HDD                     145            5           0           2
ROM WAR EAGLE                140            4           0           2
ROM SKYHAWK                  130            4           0           4
            
GORN BDD                     120            4           0           2
ROM SNIPE                    120            2           0           2
ROM BATTLE HAWK              120            4           0           2
            
GORN DD                      115            3           0           2
ROM KF5R                     105            2           3           0


This isn't even taking into account the fact that most of these Gorn ships have more plasma than their Romulan counterparts. The only time the Romulans actually pull ahead it is based on using Klingon Hulls.

So in effect if he did indeed mean GORN and Kzinti, he was
wrong.
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lincolnlog
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Savedfromwhat wrote:
Dal Downing wrote:
Savedfromwhat wrote:
Lincoln did you mean Romulan and Kzinti are phaser light empires? Because last I checked the Gorn phasers were pretty good.


No he meant Gorn and Kzinti these two races are the fewest phasers per ship in the game.


Are you playing a different game? This statement of yours is strictly uninformed.

Code:

SHIP                            POINTS   PHASER-1   PHASER-2   PHASER-3
GORN DN                      325           10           0           2
ROM KC9R                     335           12           0           0
ROM CONDOR                   305            9           0           4
               
GORN BCH                     240           10           0           4
ROM ROYAL/NOVAHAWK           240            7           0           4
            
GORN BCF                     210           10           0           2
ROM FASTHAWK                 235            7           0           4
            
GORN CM                      210            7           0           2
ROM FIRE HAWK                225            7           0           4
ROM KRC                      230            5           4           0
            
GORN CL                      175            4           0           2
ROM KING EAGLE               175            4           0           2
ROM KR                       165            3           4           0
            
GORN HDD                     145            5           0           2
ROM WAR EAGLE                140            4           0           2
ROM SKYHAWK                  130            4           0           4
            
GORN BDD                     120            4           0           2
ROM SNIPE                    120            2           0           2
ROM BATTLE HAWK              120            4           0           2
            
GORN DD                      115            3           0           2
ROM KF5R                     105            2           3           0


This isn't even taking into account the fact that most of these Gorn ships have more plasma than their Romulan counterparts. The only time the Romulans actually pull ahead it is based on using Klingon Hulls.

So in effect if he did indeed mean GORN and Kzinti, he was
wrong.


Savedfromwhat, your not comparing the right ships (since points were used as your point of reference), in many cases. Also look at weapons arcs. The Roms have the advantage of Cloaks which also drives up the point cost of the ships.

Sorry, I would like to go research this and put up and stupendous answer, but don't have time this week. A combination of work and prep for a WWII game for this weekend takes precedence. I'll try to check back from tirm to time.
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Savedfromwhat
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lincoln,
You're wrong. Have a nice day prepping for your other game.
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mjwest
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lincolnlog wrote:
Savedfromwhat, your not comparing the right ships (since points were used as your point of reference), in many cases. Also look at weapons arcs. The Roms have the advantage of Cloaks which also drives up the point cost of the ships.

Well, if he is comparing the wrong ships because he didn't factor in cloak costs (which, I want to point out, he totally did), then it would hurt your argument, not help it, as that would drive the size of the Romulan ships down. Meaning that the smaller the Romulan ship, the fewer phasers it has.

Again, I don't know ACTASF, so I can't do any comparisons with it. I do, however, know FC and SFB from which it is theoretically derived. And historically, Gorns do have more phasers than Romulans. (Doesn't actually work out every time, though.) If someone who is primarily familiar with ACTASF over FC and SFB does think that the Gorns have fewer phasers than Romulans, then that might be another issue needing fixed in ACTASF.
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lincolnlog
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mjwest wrote:
lincolnlog wrote:
Savedfromwhat, your not comparing the right ships (since points were used as your point of reference), in many cases. Also look at weapons arcs. The Roms have the advantage of Cloaks which also drives up the point cost of the ships.

Well, if he is comparing the wrong ships because he didn't factor in cloak costs (which, I want to point out, he totally did), then it would hurt your argument, not help it, as that would drive the size of the Romulan ships down. Meaning that the smaller the Romulan ship, the fewer phasers it has.

Again, I don't know ACTASF, so I can't do any comparisons with it. I do, however, know FC and SFB from which it is theoretically derived. And historically, Gorns do have more phasers than Romulans. (Doesn't actually work out every time, though.) If someone who is primarily familiar with ACTASF over FC and SFB does think that the Gorns have fewer phasers than Romulans, then that might be another issue needing fixed in ACTASF.


Doh! Of course this comes when I don't really have the time!

What I meant is that the cloak drives up the point value of the ship, so it gets compared with the Gorn HDD in stead of the DD. Also, the Romulans call the K5R a DD but in all actuality its a Frigate. Okay, so maybe I'm wrong on this one. When playing Gorn and Kzinti in the past it seems like you are awful short of Phasers. That was the original context of the message.

So when you compare in the list above the Skyhawk with the Gorn DD and not the BDD or HDD the Romulan has more Phasers. You can't compare Eagle ships with other modern ships, of course they'll have fewer phasers! But when you compare Hawks to Gorn or Kzinti they come out slightly ahead I believe. Now, once again perhaps I need to take the shoes off in order to count higher.

Looking at this from the Fed Com perspective:

Gorn DD 91 Points 3 PH-1, 2 PH-3
Rom Skyhawk 102 Points 4 PH-1, 2 PH-3

Gorn FF 50 Points 3 PH-1, 2 PH-3
Rom Seahawk 42Pts 2 PH-1 (you got me on this one)

Gorn CL 122 Points 4 PH-1, 2 PH-3
Sparrowhawk A 135 Points 5 PH-1, 4 PH-3's

Gorn CM 161 Points 7 PH-1, 2 PH-3
Firehawk 179 Points 7 PH-1, 4 PH-3

Gorn BC 160 Points 8 PH-1, 2 PH-3
Gorn BCH 192 Points 10 PH-1, 4 PH-3
Novahawk/ 192 Points 7 PH-1, 4 PH-3
Royalhawk

Even though points are equal, not sure it's fair to compare the Gorn BCH to to the Nova/Royal. If memory serves me there is a heavier Hawk after them, and they are chiefly command cruisers/battlecruisers.

Now understand that when you wront Fed Com you used a point formula for all of this. Matt hates point formulas. And earlier versions of ACTA used a priority system instead of points which would have made the ships above equal fleet selections. The current ACTA points are approximately 1.25 x the FC then adjusted by play test. The problem with that is you get different results from different play test groups. I'm sorry I just don't have time right now to go and look all this up for comparison. I'm not trying to be rude to Savefromwhat or avoid this subject. I'm not a single game gamer and I do have to prep this weekends game and I have a lot of research to do for that event. I think when you compare purpose built hulls CL'S to CL's, DD's to DD's, CA's to CA's and yes, I agree I can't quanitfy this right now, Gorn & Kzinti have fewer phasers at their disposal.

Bob


Last edited by lincolnlog on Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kzinti absolutely do not have fewer phasers than anyone else, they have MORE than anyone else, they have forests of phasers. kzinti should have been based on a hedgehog racial type because that is how it feels when you get close and stroke one. Now maybe you mean Phaser 1s, they have very few of them, but phasers generally, no way.
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Savedfromwhat
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lincoln,
Thank you for your response. I would say that it appears like the Gorn and Romulans have a comparable amount of phasers. I should not have overlooked the SparrowHawk as it is one of the best Romulan Ships (though it has 4 AD of plasma less than the Gorn CL).

The Gorn pay nothing to get the versatility of the Plasma Carronade but the Romulans have a 10% price bump for the Cloak which most people will admit is not incredibly useful (especially in ACTA where cloaking against seeking weapons is a death sentence). Also, the Gorn have equal or MORE plasma in every instance.

I think a lot of what is happening is people play Gorn and with those extra 4 to 12 AD of Plasma can just roast enemy ships, but as a Romulan player there is usually enough phasers to blunt my main attack. With a fleet consisting of a KC9R, KRC, KR, KR, and K5R I get 53AD of plasma. IF I min/max and just go for cruisers I can get 62AD with 5 King Eagles and a Snipe (of course I would then only have 62 points of Damage across my whole fleet compared to the 140 Damage with the first squadron).

So to sum up as a Romulan you have comparably the same amount of phasers as the Gorn, a higher cost due to a purely defensive cloak system that is very weak against seeking weapons, and also less Plasma to fling.
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lincolnlog
Lieutenant SG


Joined: 18 Jun 2011
Posts: 108
Location: St. Louis, MO

PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure why seeking weapons got the effectiveness they did against cloaked ships. Once again another research project! But I agree as things stand now, not a great prospect.

I'm not sure why a better pointing system can't be developed for ACTA.

Storeylf, we were refering to overall numbers, and once again, comparable except on the smaller hulls then less (with ratios flipped between 1's and 3's). I guess it seems less because of the fewer Phaser-1's. Takes away the flexibility between offense and defense.
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IainMcG
Lieutenant JG


Joined: 22 Jul 2011
Posts: 48
Location: Paisley, Scotland

PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Savedfromwhat wrote:

(especially in ACTA where cloaking against seeking weapons is a death sentence)


Why ? You've a 50/50 chance to ignore any hit on the turn you cloak and can't be targeted by seekers in following turns. Unless you're cloaking where a ship or ships can get into short range with full loads of Plasma or significant numbers of Drones, in which case you deserve to blow up Smile
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