Author Topic: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules  (Read 4073 times)

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Offline Starslayer_D

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Re: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules
« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2013, 11:16:44 AM »
Mines, dsb and pods all share one problem. They lack a maintainance cost, allowing them to be piled up on any wp in huge numbers.
 

Offline crucis

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Re: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules
« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2013, 12:53:56 AM »
It's not whether or not SBMHAWKS should be able to used in their intended role, it's price:performance.  Picking an arbitrary number, If SBMHAWKS cost 4x as much, they could still do what they do now, but it would be a tough decision whether it was worth it or not.  It feels like they are better for cost than warships even if you can get warships through the point.  By 'capabilities are inappopriately high', i meant inappropriately high for how much they cost.   

TDS, I guess that I have to disagree that the issue is only about price:performance.  To quote PaulM:

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What are peoples ideas for toning down the SBMHAWK into something not quite so game destroying? 

I was thinking of limiting them to 6 pod datagroups that fire in sequence rather than the devastating single salvo which pretty much invalidates point defence.

If his only concern was price:performance, the question would have been "what do people think that SBMHAWK's should cost?"  However Paul is clearly asking here about the actual performance of the system apart from its cost.  And it was these final two sentences of his initial post that I replied... which can also be seen from looking up at my first reply wherein the only 2 quoted lines of PaulM's post were these 2 lines, rather than the lines about price:performance.


 

Offline crucis

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Re: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules
« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2013, 12:59:17 AM »
Mines, dsb and pods all share one problem. They lack a maintainance cost, allowing them to be piled up on any wp in huge numbers.

Starslayer, I agree that they share this problem ... for the most part  Pods don't really have this problem is you haven't deployed them (i.e. if you're keeping them stored in cargo holds on freighters).  You could build up a rather substantial supply of missile pods without ever deploying them until you intend on using those pods in an assault.  Of course, that's sort of true for mines and DSB, except that mines and DSB's are strictly defensive weapons whereas missile pods can be used offensively.  And it's the offensive side of missile pods that PaulM was concerned about in his initial post.

 

Offline Paul M

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Re: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules
« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2013, 03:33:55 AM »
Pods can be used offensively, they can be used defensively, if both sides have them the game tends to podfire.  I don't believe increasing the cost of something that pays no maintenance ever works because well eventually your economy grows to the point where the cost is acceptable.  AW in starfire are a problem because they don't pay maintance, and with the CFN you can deploy them willy nilly all over the place for peanuts.  They aren't a problem in Webber's fiction and in the Stars at War/Crusade because he put what amounts for an empire the size of the TF a trivial amount of AWs into those scenarios.  I don't think there is in his offical ship lists a buoy tender-minelayer.  Who doesn't build those when playing Starfire?

Pods have the problem that when they fire they form a missile swarm that is so large that point defence drops out of the equation.  This is for me the real issue, fix this and then sort out price:performance
Pods have the problem that the SBMHAWK 2 had double the firepower of the SBMHAWK 1 but only a small cost and size increase and negligable development cost and they are re-usable.  So the initial investment is actually effective lower since you can use the pod more than once.

For the situation where the pods don't simply blot the enemy out of existance they can inflict crippling damage.  That damage is inflicted to units that have a large accumulated maintance value to the empire, are slow to build and have to have a serious investment in logistics support to be fixed.  The only time you loose with pods is when you can't breach the targets shields...in this case arm the pods with laser warheads and scrub armour and XO racks. 

For an attacker the worst thing is that you can easily loose your assault fleet to nothing more than AW.  You pop through the WP there is a minefield, you are stuck sitting there to build up enough ships so that you can force the field, and the IDEW/CSP chew on you, then sometime around turn 3 a wave of pods appears and the 3 existing waves of transited ships vanish.  Another wave of pods wipes out the next transit wave and the next while an additional wave of pods goes through the warp point as the defender knows the enemy fleet is clustered around it, and if they have any idea at all what its composition might be you probably get some free kills.  The attacking player has to get a drone back from the fleet to stop his scheduled transit so they are stuck shoveling ships into the meat grinder.

If the attacker has pods they can of course send pods through first to sanitize the warp point but frankly there is a limit to this due and should the defender have half way decent designed (and not terribly expensive) military freighters they can largely keep their fleet out of range of the pods while deploying their own pods.  The pods can only engage target up to 20 hexes and will target only a single target type and fire on a specific turn...so blindfiring pods is where the highest chance of throwing money away comes into play.  The defender needs relatively fewer pods to accomplish the goal of blasting each transiting wave out of existance and this then means that in order to carry out an assault you are forced into mass transits, carrier assaults combined with mass transited armed small craft or something new and unique that I've not yet though of.  If the defender and attacker have pods as I said...it becomes complex: the defender is forced to deploy back from the warp point but their automatic weapons combined with a CSP can damage the attackers while the attackers pods can prevent the defender from closing on the WP (at least during the initial 10 or so rounds) but can't stop the defenders from sending in pods that are targeted much more accurately and have all the ships concentrated in a small area due to the mine fields.  Shooting ducks in a barrel.

Pods are extremely inexpensive for their firepower, they have no maintenance, and if deployed in any half way sensible fashion they will remove point defence from the equation.

If you up their price and charge maintenance is one solution but it is eventually trumped by Starfires compound interest ecnomy and so I don't see it as a viable one.
If you change how they work then they are dangerous, and useful but not overpowered "I win" buttons.  Only how do you apply the nerf bat without rendering them pointless.
 

Offline crucis

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Re: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules
« Reply #19 on: March 06, 2013, 02:52:52 PM »
Pods can be used offensively, they can be used defensively, if both sides have them the game tends to podfire.  I don't believe increasing the cost of something that pays no maintenance ever works because well eventually your economy grows to the point where the cost is acceptable.  AW in starfire are a problem because they don't pay maintance, and with the CFN you can deploy them willy nilly all over the place for peanuts.  They aren't a problem in Webber's fiction and in the Stars at War/Crusade because he put what amounts for an empire the size of the TF a trivial amount of AWs into those scenarios.  I don't think there is in his offical ship lists a buoy tender-minelayer.  Who doesn't build those when playing Starfire?

Paul, I agree 100% that increasing the price on something like SBMHAWKs (or mines or armed buoys) while those items pays no maintenance really doesn't accomplish much of anything.  Oh, it might slow down the rate at which someone could buy them.  But with no maintenance, you just end up building up your supply of those things a little more slowly.  Requiring them to pay maintenance, at least when they're deployed, is critical to keeping their numbers somewhat in check.


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Pods have the problem that when they fire they form a missile swarm that is so large that point defence drops out of the equation.  This is for me the real issue, fix this and then sort out price:performance.

As I pointed out, from my PoV the problem here relates to the fact that guided missiles are interceptable.  So if you limit the number of pods that can link into single salvo, you limit their ability against really large units such as huge OWPs or asteroid forts which can mount massive amounts of point defense without serious limiting their overall offensive capabilities.  But if the number of pods allowed to link together is high enough to be a major threat to a well defended AF or large OWP, then it's also going to be sl large that nothing any smaller that AF's or large OWPs has any hope of survival.

As I pointed out in an earlier post, perhaps a way around this might be to do away with missile pods that fire guided interceptable missiles, and only use pods that fire CAMs.  The advantage here is that you could then say that, for example, only 6 pods could link into a "squadron" for firing purposes without there being any serious disadvantage.  "Interceptability" is what causes SBMHAWKs to need to be able to be fired in such large volleys to make certain that large installations can't just swat the missiles away like flies.  But if all pods were firing uninterceptable sprint missiles of some flavor, volley size would no longer truly matter since swamping the target's point defenses would be a moot issue.





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Pods have the problem that the SBMHAWK 2 had double the firepower of the SBMHAWK 1 but only a small cost and size increase and negligible development cost and they are re-usable.  So the initial investment is actually effective lower since you can use the pod more than once.

I agree on the point of re-usability.  Being able to re-use missile pods makes the entire "system" much cheaper overall.  It also means that you don't have to expends a lot of time and money replacing expended/destroyed pods.  But if all pods were destroyed when used, it would make the "system" much more expensive to use, since you'd have to always build new pods.


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For the situation where the pods don't simply blot the enemy out of existance they can inflict crippling damage.  That damage is inflicted to units that have a large accumulated maintenance value to the empire, are slow to build and have to have a serious investment in logistics support to be fixed.  The only time you lose with pods is when you can't breach the targets shields...in this case arm the pods with laser warheads and scrub armour and XO racks. 

This point is only true if you don't follow up the SBMHAWK bombardment with your WP assault.  If you do, then that shield damage is still useful.  However, if you do not follow-up the bombardment with an assault, then you're correct.  The defender will just repair those shields and be good as new.


 

Offline Paul M

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Re: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules
« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2013, 04:38:46 PM »
There will always be leaks through the point defence and you can arm the pods with laser warheads.  This means that taking into account ecm 50% of the missiles hit and 30% of those will break through the point defence. 

So for SBMHAWK1 (listing pods surviving interpenetrations):
     if I send 120 pods through with LT1 against your big base: 6*3*.5*.3=2.7 pts of damage on average per group of 6 pods x 20 groups is 54 armour damage (unless they deploy anti-laser armour then it is 0).
     if I send 120 pods through with AM against your big base:  6*3*.6*.05=0.5 hits/groupx4 pts per hit x 20 groups = 40 damage.  Not particularily spectacular.

So for SBMHAWK2 (")
     if I send 120 pods through with LT2 against your big base 6*6*.5*.3= 5.4 impacts for 2pts or 10.8 damage x 20 groups = 216 armour damage (half that if all the armour is anti-laser)
     if I send 120 pods through with AM against your big base  6*6*.6*.05 = 1.1 impacts x4 pts per hit x 20 groups = 88 damage.  Again not spectuacular

So for SBMHAWK3 (")
     if I send 120 pods through with LT2 against your big base 6*8*.5*.3 = 7.2 impacts x 2 pts per hit x 20 groups = 288 armour damage (half that is all the armour is anti-laser)
     if I send 120 pods through with AAM against your big base 6*8*.6*.05 = 1.4 impacts x6 pts per hit x 20 groups = 173 damage.  I doubt they could not take that on shields.

However it is pretty clear while fighting the tech 12 base with tech 10 weapons is a bit hard...you could wear it down with 1500 pods or 32,000 MCr.  That is a stiff fee.
By TL11 that drops to 240 pods, and doesn't change if you are TL12.  240 pods are ~8000 MCr more or less and a SD costs half that...and a 1000 HS asteroid fort would be a lot more than 8000 MCr and 120 ship yard points.

I'm not seeing how the fact that you can intercept the missiles is actually stopping you from getting that base out of the way.  HT10 it is expensive but do-able but by HT11 it becomes cheap to do so.

If I could use CAMs

So for SBMHAWK1s
     if I send 120 pods through with CAM-AM against your big base 6*3*0.6 = 10.8 impacts x 4 pts per hit x 20 groups = 864 pts of damage.  I need 240 pods and it is gone.   That is around 6000 MCr and it gets worse when I go up in tech level as I double the number of impacts so 6000 MCr again does it.  That is hardly worth discussing in terms of cost to wipe out a 1000 HS asteroid fort.

   If I use the regular rules 120 SBMHAWK1 pods would release 360 missiles*0.6 to hit is: 216/6 = 36 Dcz's to intercept...  lets say for the sake of argument you can double up that is 22 impacts (90% intercepts) for SBMHAWK-a so 88 pts of damage.  But for LT1 you get 360*0.5 to hit is 180...assuming again you can double up is 9-3=.6 so 180*.4 = 72 points of damage.  But the advantage would be I could double the number of pods and suddenly the number you can intercept goes down and you probably get free hits as while 60-70 Dcz's maybe someone builds in that many...but I can't see many more and 240 pods is 720 missiles*0.6 to hit or 432 missiles impacting and at this point 12 missiles get in free and 420*.2 = 84 others join them for 96 impacts x 4 pts per hit = 384 damage.  Go to 360 pods and it goes up to 1080 missiles*0.6 to hit or 648 missiles impacting 228 of them get in free and 420*.2 = 84 other join them for 312 impacts x 4 pts per hit = 1248 damage and I would think scratch the base.
 

Offline crucis

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Re: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules
« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2013, 05:06:53 PM »
Paul, one thing that you left out in your calculations was the effect of EDM's on regular guided missiles.  Big bases could probably always be able to deploy the max of 3 EDM's and reduce the number of hits after point defense by 50%.

As for CAM's, a thing to remember is with their shorter range, if the big bases are stationed, say, 20 hexes from the WP, it'll take 2-3 turns of movement to get the pods into position to fire, during which time any CAP would have a chance to whittle away at the # of attacking pods.

Regarding big bases and PD, if you're at a TL where you can expect missile pod bombardments, it's probably money and space well spent to mount large amounts of point defense.  It might seem crazy to use 10-20% of the hull on PD under normal circumstances.  But if you're in an environment where you can see massive missile pod bombardments, if you have asteroid forts that you want to have any chance of survival, you might just have to mount that much PD.  OTOH, given the nature of the SBMHAWKs, an attacker with the time and money could simply buy so many pods that he can produce a salvo beyond the size that even a 1000 hs AF with half the hull dedicated to PD could even resist, staggering as that sounds.
 

Offline Paul M

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Re: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules
« Reply #22 on: March 07, 2013, 04:46:43 AM »
I decided to ignore factoring in EDM but probably should not have.  In terms of the LT warheads EDM is a non-issue as the the LT warhead ignores it.  Just means that the LT warhead is probably your best overall pod choice.

Also a non-issue is the concept of the CSP destroying the pods, unless you have available 4x as many fighters as the person can send through as pods they will not have that much effect.  If the CSP is armed for pod killing (gun armed) then they will be in-effective against ships, if they carry fL then they aren't very effective agains the pods unless you outnumber the pods signifantly.  The CSP is a factor but at the end of the day, the lack of maintenance on the pod trumps the fighters.  I can send through 300-400 pods...to maintain a CSP with 300 fighters requires a fighter pool of 1200 and that is 40-60 carriers...and carriers plus their associated magazines are anything but cheap.  The cost of the fighters/carriers and magazines dwarfs the pods.  The RM have been learning that it costs more to fill the magazine of the carrier than it does to build the carrier.

If the base is 20 hexs from the warp point it is dead in the second round to cam armed pods.  The pods transit in round 1, move 7 hexes from the warp point and stop.  Turn 2 in they move 8 hexes and are now at 5 hexs from the base.  Optimal firing range.  Nothing survives inside of the reach of small craft sensors once pods enter into the game...the pn can spot anything within 20 hexs...if it does a quick fly out and back it can get everything inside of 26 hexes from the warp point, once fXr is avaiable it is even more harry.  My rule of thumb is nothing that can't cloak would suvive within 30 hexs of a WP...after cloaking shows up, especially with deception mode you have a greater opportunity to play silly buggers with the offensive force.

Just to keep the discussion sensible here I was assuming 70 Dcz present on the base (21% of its hull space) I don't think you will ever put more.  But that is 11,200 MCr just for the point defence.   I would say even spending 30,000 MCr in pods is going to be very cost effective and with the higher tech solutions...astoundingly price effective.  That fort must cost around 50K MCr.  And every month you pay 2500 MCr more just in maintenance on it.  The pods only cost 3 months worth of maintenace to destroy it....and I can build the pods up over 3 months.

The other thing is that getting that base built (assuming it was not in your home system) was a monumental task.  You need either years of effort or else a large force of yard ships.  600 pods is only 300 shipyard points, plus a few hundred MCr of CFN transport fees and 1 or 2 military freighters to pick them up from the CFN.

It is here where I start throwing my hands up into the air.  When the RM attacked the Buer, they had to fight battles with what ammounted to a TL7 fleet against a TL4.5 defender.  The last battle was very close and they nearly suffered a serious defeat.  But it was basically ship on ship battles and while they lost few ships they had 2 years before they had their fleet fully repaired.  Now...they would obliterate each of those defences for minimal cost of pods.

I quite frankly don't see how to apply the nerf bat in this case.  One possibility is to change the construction cost in HS of the pods and the other is to increase the cargo size of them.  They are about the size of a pinnance but transportting a non-crated pn would take 2 HS or so...these things I get 10 SBMHAWK3's into a single H.  So long as the numbers of the pods is kept under control they are ok.  That is true of all AW in starfire...the problem is once you take the brake off...all hell breaks loose.  20,000 pattern mine fields...1500 IDEW-P...3000 pods...none of them are good for the fun factor.
 

Offline crucis

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Re: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules
« Reply #23 on: March 07, 2013, 05:05:50 AM »
Paul, do you have any thoughts on the automated weapons used in Ultra (i.e. armed buoys and drones, but no 3E style mines nor SBMHAWK missile pods)?


Also, while I basically don't disagree with any of your points in the previous post regarding the deadliness of SBMHAWKs, there's one point you have yet to address that I made earlier.  And that is, the given the mostly revolutionary nature of many tech developments in 3E, such as Cap missiles, fighters, and SBMHAWKs, why should a player have even the slightest expectation that the defensive tactics he used before the introduction of SBMHAWKs would remain viable after SBMHAWKs show up? 

This is something that sort of bugs me.  You can't fight a TL4 fleet the same way against a TL5 fleet that's armed with CM's as you would against a fleet without them.  You can't fight a sub-TL8 fleet against a TL8+ fleet armed with fighters in the same way that you would against a fleet without fighters.  Why should you expect to be able to stick with pre-SBMHAWK tactics after SBMHAWKs show up on the scene?  I don't think that you should be able to do so, at least not without using a lot of trickery and deception to avoid getting squashed.

I have to admit though, that even if you do hold your defense fleet back perhaps 1 interception hex or so from the WP to avoid the SBMHAWK bombardment, those missile pods are still unexpended.  And the attacker can probably get them back under control and still be able to use them against the defender if the two fleets ever come into combat range of each other.  (I suppose if the defender had fighters, he could send in fighter strikes to whittle down the force of missile pods.  However, given that the race with the pods is of a high enough TL to have its own fighters, it's likely that that "whittle them down" mission would be opposed, with the outcome largely dependent on who had the larger force of fighters.)



On a different but related thought....  Have you read the most recent Starfire novel, "Extremis" (by Steve White and Dr. Charles Gannon)?  I bring it up because in it, the Alliance has developed a way to deal with SBMHAWKs in a rather nasty way.  They fire AMBAM's at them, pretty much just like they were attacking minefields and blast them into dust bunnies. 

So that gets me to thinking that if one might use AMBAMs in this way, one might be able to develop some sort of advanced buoy or mine that was capable of doing much the same thing. (That said, I'm not sure that you'd want your regular anti-ship minefields in the same hex where you intended to detonate some truly massive anti-matter warheads capable of wiping out missile pods or mines in great numbers.  You might end up wiping out your own anti-ship mines in the same tac hex in the process.)

Anyways, just some food for thought.  There really is no reason why a technological counter for missile pods couldn't be developed ... at least one that's intended to destroy them before they fire.

« Last Edit: March 07, 2013, 05:27:56 AM by crucis »
 

Offline Paul M

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Re: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules
« Reply #24 on: March 07, 2013, 11:00:51 AM »
Paul, do you have any thoughts on the automated weapons used in Ultra (i.e. armed buoys and drones, but no 3E style mines nor SBMHAWK missile pods)?

I only have the 4thE rules and there the pods are limited to 6 pod datagroups and at least the intial ones are pretty limited due to the size of the XO racks and such.  The problem with no maintenance is still there and I suspect that in time the same issues that show up in 3rdR show up there.  As I have no experience playing with the 4thE rules beyond a relatively short solo game I find it hard to comment.  As they are data group limited though at least that is a plus.  But as my example above shows even limiting the pods to 6 pod volleys doesn't really change the end outcome.


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Also, while I basically don't disagree with any of your points in the previous post regarding the deadliness of SBMHAWKs, there's one point you have yet to address that I made earlier.  And that is, the given the mostly revolutionary nature of many tech developments in 3E, such as Cap missiles, fighters, and SBMHAWKs, why should a player have even the slightest expectation that the defensive tactics he used before the introduction of SBMHAWKs would remain viable after SBMHAWKs show up? 

None of the others invalidate years of effort, millions of MCr of investment and maintenance, and impose not the slightest penalty to the person using them.  Capital missiles are nice but they don't change WP defences that much...the RM was tech level 7 and the Buer were tech level 4.5 and they managed to inflict serious damage on the RM and the final battle came down to a shorter distance for the RM because if the Buer fleet had been on the WP they would not have taken it.  But they could have blotted it out of existance with a trivial cost in pods.

Fighters require a training school that limits your expansion.  The first carrier you get is barely effective, the first fighter is also barely effective and against a player race would be less so.  A solid warp point defence can stop cold a carrier led assault.  I did it playing "Wall of Fire, Wall of Steel."  Fighters are also terribly expensive toys.  More dangerous is armed pinnances.  But both mean you have to adapt your defensive arrays.

Pods invalidate them.  Nothing will survive inside of 30 hexs of the warp point until you develop ECM3 with both cloak and deception mode.  The effectiveness of the pods is just overwhelming.  Buoys and minefields are annoying, but you can come up with ways to deal with them.  But they don't invalidate assault ships...infact they demand specialized assault ships (Starslayer one time came up with a CL that cost more in DSB-L to kill than to build).

Pods are just without a down side.  They are Webber's wünderkind.  My personal opinion is they ruined the Herringswine books along with LACs and frankly I feel starfire would be better off without armed smallcraft and pods as well.  But armed small craft require expensive carriers, or else a lot of ships that you have to pay maintenance on.  A SBMHAWK3 pod has the firepower of a Superdreadnaught and costs 50 MCr. 

I play starfire to have fleet battles between ships, not to play accountant at war or podfire or whatever.

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This is something that sort of bugs me.  You can't fight a TL4 fleet the same way against a TL5 fleet that's armed with CM's as you would against a fleet without them.  You can't fight a sub-TL8 fleet against a TL8+ fleet armed with fighters in the same way that you would against a fleet without fighters.  Why should you expect to be able to stick with pre-SBMHAWK tactics after SBMHAWKs show up on the scene?  I don't think that you should be able to do so, at least not without using a lot of trickery and deception to avoid getting squashed.

It isn't about having to change tactics it is about invalidating a massive investment.  CM or fighters doesn't invalidate your investment in ships and bases, you just have to adjust and refit.  It also makes it impossible for an inferior opponent to even slow down an enemy.  Because of the pods you can't fight at the WP you have to conceed it and then what is your option?  Fight a deep space battle with inferior numbers of ships?  Starfire combat works as follows:  dA/dt = B and dB/dt = A so if you are inferior you loose and inflict not much damage to the enemy.  Worse if they pods they have fighters...so it is hopeless.  Trickery in starfire is nearly impossible to do unless you have a SM working to make the fog of war the fog of war or else you have ECM3...but you get that long after you get pods.  So trickery is limited to the time when the enemy first gets a working Xr into the system.  And you can spoof a pn probe as the basic pinnace sensors are limited.

It isn't hopeless as I managed to make "When Enemies Join Hands" into "Then Rigillians Dance on their Graves" but that was because the Righillians have F2 while the TFN and KON have F0.

And as I have pointed out if both sides have pods then it becomes podfire.  As the defender can smash the attackers initial assault waves with pods while staying back far enough that the deployment ships can't be hit before they activate their deployed pods.  And you can play silly buggers on the attacker here with mines, IDEW and Pods.  To the point that even though pods are introduced to prevent stalemates they generate an even easier to produce stalement that costs no maintanence and can be shifted around easily.  The carrier led assault is the best bet against that but nothing prevents the defender blindfiring pods throught the warp point to catch the entire assembled assault force sitting at the warp point.

And you have to ask yourself is the apn just as bad or for that matter the gunboat, which is essentially a manned pod.  But they at least have maintenance fees of a sort.  The only thing that limits pods is pure income...

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On a different but related thought....  Have you read the most recent Starfire novel, "Extremis" (by Steve White and Dr. Charles Gannon)?  I bring it up because in it, the Alliance has developed a way to deal with SBMHAWKs in a rather nasty way.  They fire AMBAM's at them, pretty much just like they were attacking minefields and blast them into dust bunnies. 

I have tried to read the book but stopped early in the book since it didn't even feel like starfire to me.   

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Anyways, just some food for thought.  There really is no reason why a technological counter for missile pods couldn't be developed ... at least one that's intended to destroy them before they fire.

The rules are written to make that exceptionally difficult to do.  Webber's wünderkind...  Theoretically though you can fire AMBAM at them in the current rules but an ABMBAM would kill ony 1-10 pods per AMBAM treating them as DSB...and 1-5 for the internal launched ones.  And you would have to close to a range where the AMBAM can even be fired.  Suicide riders would be more effective I'd think or smallcraft loaded with lots of warheads in the cargo bay. 
 

Offline crucis

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Re: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules
« Reply #25 on: March 07, 2013, 05:03:48 PM »
I only have the 4thE rules and there the pods are limited to 6 pod datagroups and at least the intial ones are pretty limited due to the size of the XO racks and such.  The problem with no maintenance is still there and I suspect that in time the same issues that show up in 3rdR show up there.  As I have no experience playing with the 4thE rules beyond a relatively short solo game I find it hard to comment.  As they are data group limited though at least that is a plus.  But as my example above shows even limiting the pods to 6 pod volleys doesn't really change the end outcome.

Ok, no prob.  Just an FYI, in Ultra deployed AW's do pay maintenance.




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None of the others invalidate years of effort, millions of MCr of investment and maintenance, and impose not the slightest penalty to the person using them.  Capital missiles are nice but they don't change WP defences that much...the RM was tech level 7 and the Buer were tech level 4.5 and they managed to inflict serious damage on the RM and the final battle came down to a shorter distance for the RM because if the Buer fleet had been on the WP they would not have taken it.  But they could have blotted it out of existance with a trivial cost in pods.

That's only because the other revolutionary advances aren't specifically related to WP defense.  SBMHAWKs are designed to break overwhelming WP defenses which are a significant part of WP stagnation, a problem that brings games to a grinding halt.




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Fighters require a training school that limits your expansion.

Honestly, I have no desire to create "pilot training school" facilities.   It's an unnecessary complexity to me.


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The first carrier you get is barely effective, the first fighter is also barely effective and against a player race would be less so.  A solid warp point defence can stop cold a carrier led assault.  I did it playing "Wall of Fire, Wall of Steel."  Fighters are also terribly expensive toys.  More dangerous is armed pinnances.  But both mean you have to adapt your defensive arrays.

The first fighters are lame because some dufus (actually, I do know the person's name) at Task Force Games back in the 80's totally nerfed the first generation of fighters for 2nd edition and DW failed to fix that abomination. I intend to fix that.

As for "armed pinnaces", I don't know if you mean the APN's from the UTM or the 2nd gen PN's from 3e.    I don't intend on keeping the 2nd gen PN's from 3E as is.  I don't like general purpose smallcraft being armed at all because I think that it causes players to abuse them.  And if there are going to be armed pinnaces, they should be honest-to-goodness combat pinnaces, not oversized shuttles pretending to be combat smallcraft.




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Pods invalidate them.  Nothing will survive inside of 30 hexes of the warp point until you develop ECM3 with both cloak and deception mode.  The effectiveness of the pods is just overwhelming.  Buoys and minefields are annoying, but you can come up with ways to deal with them.  But they don't invalidate assault ships...in fact they demand specialized assault ships (Starslayer one time came up with a CL that cost more in DSB-L to kill than to build).

Pods are just without a down side.  They are Webber's wünderkind.  My personal opinion is they ruined the Herringswine books along with LACs and frankly I feel starfire would be better off without armed smallcraft and pods as well.  But armed small craft require expensive carriers, or else a lot of ships that you have to pay maintenance on.  A SBMHAWK3 pod has the firepower of a Superdreadnaught and costs 50 MCr.  

I play starfire to have fleet battles between ships, not to play accountant at war or podfire or whatever.

I agree that a major difference between fighters (and also cap missile armed ships, BTW) and missile pods (and mines and beam buoys, BTW) is that you pay maintenance on fighters and cap missile armed ships, but you don't pay maintenance on deployed automated weapons.   IIRC, Marvin did this to simply the paperwork, but I think that it's a case where making thing too simply had an unintended effect.  In Ultra, he clearly recognized this problem because you do pay maintenance on deployed AW's now.




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It isn't about having to change tactics it is about invalidating a massive investment.  CM or fighters doesn't invalidate your investment in ships and bases, you just have to adjust and refit.  It also makes it impossible for an inferior opponent to even slow down an enemy.  Because of the pods you can't fight at the WP you have to concede it and then what is your option?  Fight a deep space battle with inferior numbers of ships?  Starfire combat works as follows:  dA/dt = B and dB/dt = A so if you are inferior you loose and inflict not much damage to the enemy.  Worse if they pods they have fighters...so it is hopeless.  Trickery in starfire is nearly impossible to do unless you have a SM working to make the fog of war the fog of war or else you have ECM3...but you get that long after you get pods.  So trickery is limited to the time when the enemy first gets a working Xr into the system.  And you can spoof a pn probe as the basic pinnace sensors are limited.

I guess that I have to seriously disagree.  To me is is entirely about people not being happy about needing to change tactics.  A massive investment has gone down the drain?  Cry me a river.  It's "massive investments" like these which create the problem of WP stagnation in the first place.  SBMHAWKs were just one way of breaking the gridlock of WP stagnation.  Besides which, it's not like we haven't see this happen in real life.  Think of all the money wasted on the Maginot Line that was made obsolete by modern artillery, etc.




I will agree that trickery and deception is of limited ability.  But of course, its value can also be related to how cautious or thoughtful or whatever the attacker is.  A reckless attacker might send in a missile pod bombardment without first checking out what's on the other side of the WP.

It isn't hopeless as I managed to make "When Enemies Join Hands" into "Then Rigillians Dance on their Graves" but that was because the Righillians have F2 while the TFN and KON have F0.

And as I have pointed out if both sides have pods then it becomes podfire.  As the defender can smash the attackers initial assault waves with pods while staying back far enough that the deployment ships can't be hit before they activate their deployed pods.  And you can play silly buggers on the attacker here with mines, IDEW and Pods.  To the point that even though pods are introduced to prevent stalemates they generate an even easier to produce stalement that costs no maintanence and can be shifted around easily.  The carrier led assault is the best bet against that but nothing prevents the defender blindfiring pods throught the warp point to catch the entire assembled assault force sitting at the warp point.

And you have to ask yourself is the apn just as bad or for that matter the gunboat, which is essentially a manned pod.  But they at least have maintenance fees of a sort.  The only thing that limits pods is pure income...


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I have tried to read the book but stopped early in the book since it didn't even feel like starfire to me.  

That's ok.  I only referenced it to make the point about there being counter tech to SBMHAWKs.  That said, I can tell you that the underlying story of Exodus and Extremis, i.e. the Arduan War, was originally plotted out with or before 3E by Dave Weber and Steve White.  It was always intended to be the next act after the Insurrection.  And I recognized almost all of the new tech referenced in those novels from DW's descriptions 20+ years ago.


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The rules are written to make that exceptionally difficult to do.  Webber's wünderkind...  Theoretically though you can fire AMBAM at them in the current rules but an ABMBAM would kill ony 1-10 pods per AMBAM treating them as DSB...and 1-5 for the internal launched ones.  And you would have to close to a range where the AMBAM can even be fired.  Suicide riders would be more effective I'd think or smallcraft loaded with lots of warheads in the cargo bay.  

I should say that when I said "AMBAM's" I was talking more about a higher TL version, rather than the original versions that are closer to TL10 or so.  And IIRC, I think that what passes for AMBAMs in the Exodus/Extremis time frame may indeed be more on the level of a suicide rider warhead.

But I think that you could also get a similarly useful effect if there was something like an anti-missile pod minefield.  Each mine might not have the power of a massive AMBAMM but taken together, the mineFIELD could probably wipe out tons and tons of missile pods as they tried to pass thru the tac hex.  However, this is a place where there's a problem when one compares the pure 3E readiness rules vs 3rdR's version or later versions.  The point I'm getting at here is that in pure 3E, you could have a portion of your fleet fully active.  But in 3rdR and Ultra and Solar, the best you can do is have a portion of the fleet at a state you might think of as "alert" (it's not called that, though), where it would take you 1-3 turns to get fully active.  The problem here is that the incoming SBMHAWKs aren't going to wait around for you to get activated, though of course, you can start the activation process once you see something like a pinnace come thru the WP for a look-see.  But if the the enemy doesn't make his attack within a short time frame, you're supposed to revert back to this "alert" like status.  But my point was that, with the exception of always active MF's, any sort of weapon that requires an activated ship to use will not be ready quick enough to do so before the attacking pods have fired their missiles.

This is a case where I can see why SDS wanted to not have defenders having lots of active ships around WP's ready to smash attacking ships as they made transit, to give the attacker at least a handful of turns to get a decent number of ships into the system.  But that same change makes the defenders much more vulnerable to SBMHAWKs because they are mostly forced to sit back and wait to get smashed.  Without any fully active ships or OWPs, there's no one able to fire AMBAMs at the attacking missile pods.  I guess that it's a damned if you do, and damned if you don't kind of thing.  
« Last Edit: March 07, 2013, 05:29:34 PM by crucis »
 

Offline Paul M

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Re: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules
« Reply #26 on: March 08, 2013, 06:10:05 AM »
Look, I don't think the problem is pods, the problem is automatic weapons in general and armed small craft (be they fighters or apn or pn2) plus the stupid smallcraft ramming rules where it turns out you can obliterate a major fleet with a minor investment in ramming shuttles.

A major problem is that Marvin simplified things so his 50 turn games would play easier without wondering if there is a knock on effect.  Removing the fighter training school is like not having crew grade they both "simplify" the game but in the one case it means you can spam infinite amounts of fighters (only limited by your income) and in the latter it allows you to mothball a huge fleet and invalidate the massive investment the other player has put into maintaining his active fleet.

I am going to be as clear as I can be.  SBMHAWKS do not unjam warp point assaults in general.  They do so if and only if only the attacking side has them and in this case the defender has virtually no options unlike with CM or fighters.  Once both sides have them or if the defender is the one with them they make a warp point assault all but impossible for the attacker since 3-6 rounds after the assault starts their ships on both sides of the warp point are likely to be hit by a bombardment of sbmhawks.  The attacker will loose ships to AW (mines, IDEW and pods) the defender will loose nothing but some AW.  Worse, this defence requires nothing more than the CFN to raise.  So if you say they are in the game to make a warp point assaultable again, I say they fail and fail big time.  A defender gains the most from having pods as they know where the attacker will be.  The attacker trades maintenance paying assets for ones without.  This is assuming the defender gives them nothing but the CSP, and AW to engage near the WP and makes their mine belt in such a way that even after the attackers pods wear it down it will still contain the attacker for long enough for his ships to send in their pods.  The attacker can have only limited numbers of ships (excluding simultaneous transit) on the warp point and all other ships must be in the immediate vicinity of the warp point in the other system.  It is the ideal situation for maximizing the effectiveness of the defenders pods.  Worse once the attack starts you just need clear out the attackers transisted ships then you are faced with a limited number of ships with degraded performance (no ECM, no datalink, degraded point defence) so killing each transiting wave becomes fairly simple.  If the defender is the one with the pod monopoly they could also have a standard warp point array or else have their fleet in closer to complicate the attackers situation even more.

AW favor the defence is basically the best way to sum it up.

The only fly in the pod ointment is ECM3 deception mode and cloaking.  Bases with ECM3 operating in deception mode can survive near to the warp point, cloaked bases can survive...but even so I think this is relatively limited as sooner or later you have to drop the cloak and I'd think that the attacker can eventually program the pods to engage you no matter what you do...may cost more pods to send them through but it works.  But cloaked bases/ships likely can be used to control IDEW.  Once you have this system then things get exciting to put it mildly.

The other thing about pods that is very different from any other revolutionary weapon (but not different than IDEW and minefields) is that it is something that one turn you don't have and the next turn you have lots of.  It takes a long time to refit your fleet to Rc armed, it takes an even longer time to build up a fighter force that is of any real value.  Also consider that IDEW are expensive, they are a weapon system that fires 1 time per battle (given their recharge rate), has a relatively poor chance to hit, and does fairly poor damge 65 MCr for an IDEW-P is more than the cost of SBMHAWK5, while the cheapest, the IDEW-L, is 45 MCr and is more than a SBMHAWK2 pod.  The SBMHAWK5 is capable of doing 72 pts of damage, while the IDEW-P can do 1 (admittedly through any level of shields and armour) and the IDEW-L can do 2 compared to 6 for LT1 armed SBMHAWK missiles.  Their price per hitpoint is very low, while IDEW have a high cost per point of damage (18 MCr/damage point for IDEW-F, 12 MCr/damage point for IDEW-Fa)...(2 MCr/damage point for anti-matter armed pod1s, and less than 1 MCr per damage point for the more advanced pods)...mines the most cost effective AW out there at 0.25 MCr/damage point, but given you need to cover 6 hexes...that is really 1.5 MCr/damge point.  So of all the AW pods really are exceptionally cost efficent.

I don't see where "changing tactics" comes in.  If a system invalidates things it should only do so if it adds something of value back to the game.  You want to invalidate warp point assaults what do you add back to the game?  A warp point fight is fun to play out and it can be damned exciting for both sides.  Also that a warp point defence cannot be broken by a conventional assault does not come because of the bases on the warp point, it comes because the minefields and IDEW are so thick that the attacker can't break out of the death zone near the WP itself.  Fundamentally it is due to a prolliferation of AW.  Even given the gross stupidity of the TFN during the Theban war they forced several heavily defended warp points.  Quite frankly they forced warp points with more defences on them than I've ever seen personally or read about in an AAR of an actual game.  Even in Kurt's I've never recalled too much in the way of extensive fortifications.

My feeling is that something that pays no maintenance should not be very effective in killing things that do pay maintenance.  Because the "opportunity cost" of building a warp point defence is huge, not giving the player value for that strikes me as wrong.  It takes a great deal of planning, logistics effort and what have you to build up a warp point defence that causes the attacker to whimper like a two year old child, invalidating that with a system that take no more effort then stealing candy from a sleeping baby is wrong.  That it isn't even a solution to the problem well that is just icing on the cake.

As for AMBAMing the pods, nothing should stop that working but if it works on pods it would be just as effective at killing fighters, small craft and so on.  But that is TL15+ tech then well there are a lot of tech levels to go through and for a TL8 race trying to stop the pods it is of zero value.  Also the rules for the suicide rider make it pathetically useless at killing IDEW...it only takes out 1-2 of them so I'm not sure why the AMBAM thing would be more effective.  The counter pod minefield at TL14 works but at 9 submunitions to max out your killls of pods and you get only 25 per pattern I can see that it takes a lot of them to kill a pod wave.  They also require a ship or base with a sensor that can pick up the pods...that base or ship had better be cloaked.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2013, 07:44:21 AM by Paul M »
 

Offline crucis

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Re: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules
« Reply #27 on: March 08, 2013, 02:09:00 PM »
Look, I don't think the problem is pods, the problem is automatic weapons in general and armed small craft (be they fighters or apn or pn2) plus the stupid smallcraft ramming rules where it turns out you can obliterate a major fleet with a minor investment in ramming shuttles.

Removing fighters from the game is highly unlikely (ignoring any question of canonicity), given that I strongly suspect that most people like them and expect fighters in sci-fi games such as this one.  As for smallcraft ramming, I'm already on record as saying that I think that aside from the presence of anti-matter in the mix, small craft hitting a starship's DF should be like a bug hitting a windshield.



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A major problem is that Marvin simplified things so his 50 turn games would play easier without wondering if there is a knock on effect.  Removing the fighter training school is like not having crew grade they both "simplify" the game but in the one case it means you can spam infinite amounts of fighters (only limited by your income) and in the latter it allows you to mothball a huge fleet and invalidate the massive investment the other player has put into maintaining his active fleet.

What's this "remove"?  There is no fighter training school in ISF.  IIRC, fighter training schools are a Galactic/Ultra/Solar thing.


As for crew grade, I'm on record as saying that I think that it's a massive headache that's not worth the benefit, and I stand by that.  

As for the lack of crew grade invalidating a massive investment in maintaining an active fleet, I don't entirely agree, though I see where you're coming from.  However, if the player with the active fleet attacks the player with the fleet mostly in mothballs, the defending player had better be able to hold off the attacking player long enough to get his reserve fleet activated, otherwise his reserve fleet may still be in the shipyards getting reactivated when the invader comes to visit his home system.  Regardless, I still believe that crew grade is such an massive headache that no justification for its use outweighs the paperwork headache it creates (and I do mean PAPERwork, not spreadsheet work).  There is no reasonable benefit that is sufficiently good that could offset the utterly ridiculousness of having to track each and every freaking ship in an empire's fleet for its crew grade!!!  Sorry, but I feel very, VERY strongly about this.

This isn't to say that there might not be some value to (non-accumulating) crew grade for certain NPR types as has been suggested in the past.  I can see where certain NPR types might be better than average and other might be worse than average.



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I am going to be as clear as I can be.  SBMHAWKS do not unjam warp point assaults in general.  They do so if and only if only the attacking side has them and in this case the defender has virtually no options unlike with CM or fighters.  Once both sides have them or if the defender is the one with them they make a warp point assault all but impossible for the attacker since 3-6 rounds after the assault starts their ships on both sides of the warp point are likely to be hit by a bombardment of sbmhawks.  The attacker will loose ships to AW (mines, IDEW and pods) the defender will loose nothing but some AW.  Worse, this defence requires nothing more than the CFN to raise.  So if you say they are in the game to make a warp point assaultable again, I say they fail and fail big time.  A defender gains the most from having pods as they know where the attacker will be.  The attacker trades maintenance paying assets for ones without.  This is assuming the defender gives them nothing but the CSP, and AW to engage near the WP and makes their mine belt in such a way that even after the attackers pods wear it down it will still contain the attacker for long enough for his ships to send in their pods.  The attacker can have only limited numbers of ships (excluding simultaneous transit) on the warp point and all other ships must be in the immediate vicinity of the warp point in the other system.  It is the ideal situation for maximizing the effectiveness of the defenders pods.  Worse once the attack starts you just need clear out the attackers transisted ships then you are faced with a limited number of ships with degraded performance (no ECM, no datalink, degraded point defence) so killing each transiting wave becomes fairly simple.  If the defender is the one with the pod monopoly they could also have a standard warp point array or else have their fleet in closer to complicate the attackers situation even more.

I don't disagree with some of what you're saying here.  However, SBMHAWKs were never meant to be a long term WP defense weapon.  To the best of my recollection, I don't recall the Alliance ever using SBMHAWKs as a static defensive weapon, except perhaps in circumstances when they ran thru a WP with the Bugs hot on their heels, and dumped out their missile pods into space because they knew that the Bugs would hit the WP within minutes.  I don't recall SBMHAWKs being used defensively at the Battle of Centauri, the "Black Hole of Centauri" battle at the end of In Death Ground, which would have seemed to be the perfect time to use them, given the desperation of the situation.




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AW favor the defence is basically the best way to sum it up.

With the caveat that I don't believe that SBMHAWK pods were ever meant to be allowed for use in long term static WP defenses, I agree with this statement.  Particularly since, if you remove missile pods from the mix, what's left?  Immobile AW's.  And immobile AW's are defensive weapons.



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The only fly in the pod ointment is ECM3 deception mode and cloaking.  Bases with ECM3 operating in deception mode can survive near to the warp point, cloaked bases can survive...but even so I think this is relatively limited as sooner or later you have to drop the cloak and I'd think that the attacker can eventually program the pods to engage you no matter what you do...may cost more pods to send them through but it works.  But cloaked bases/ships likely can be used to control IDEW.  Once you have this system then things get exciting to put it mildly.

Yeah, as nice a cloaking can be, as currently envisioned, it's not a system that's meant to be functioning all the time.  And that's where the ship or base would have a problem with cloak in a WP defense.  Of course, it also depends on what iteration of the readiness rules one's using ... pure 3E, 3rdR, or Ultra/Solar.  In pure 3E, you could have a portion of your fleet always being fully active, (say 1/3), so you could have the active third cloaked, and the rest of the fleet pulled well back from the WP at a lower readiness state, with cloak turned off.  (Bases are tricky here, since you could only pull them back if you supported them with a force of tugs to move the active ones into position and the normal state ones back out of range.  Otherwise, the normal state bases are dead meat.)  But in 3rdR and Ultra/Solar, you can't have any ships being fully activated, so there may be no ships or bases under cloak.


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The other thing about pods that is very different from any other revolutionary weapon (but not different than IDEW and minefields) is that it is something that one turn you don't have and the next turn you have lots of.  It takes a long time to refit your fleet to Rc armed, it takes an even longer time to build up a fighter force that is of any real value.  Also consider that IDEW are expensive, they are a weapon system that fires 1 time per battle (given their recharge rate), has a relatively poor chance to hit, and does fairly poor damge 65 MCr for an IDEW-P is more than the cost of SBMHAWK5, while the cheapest, the IDEW-L, is 45 MCr and is more than a SBMHAWK2 pod.  The SBMHAWK5 is capable of doing 72 pts of damage, while the IDEW-P can do 1 (admittedly through any level of shields and armour) and the IDEW-L can do 2 compared to 6 for LT1 armed SBMHAWK missiles.  Their price per hitpoint is very low, while IDEW have a high cost per point of damage (18 MCr/damage point for IDEW-F, 12 MCr/damage point for IDEW-Fa)...(2 MCr/damage point for anti-matter armed pod1s, and less than 1 MCr per damage point for the more advanced pods)...mines the most cost effective AW out there at 0.25 MCr/damage point, but given you need to cover 6 hexes...that is really 1.5 MCr/damge point.  So of all the AW pods really are exceptionally cost efficient.

IDEW's seem to be either overpriced for their existing performance, or underperforming for their price.  IDEW's really only get to fire once per battle.   And if you lose the battle, you lose the IDEW's and never get to use them again.  If you win the battle and repel the invader, you might get to reuse the IDEW, IF it survived the battle.

As for mines, unless we're talking about closed WP's, the cost per damage point can be a questionable value, given that mines usually seem more about preventing an attacker from entered the mined hex than in being a weapon that gets used.  Still, they are valuable, if only for penning up the attacker on the WP for a while and that's a value that can't be calculated in MC/dp.






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I don't see where "changing tactics" comes in.  If a system invalidates things it should only do so if it adds something of value back to the game.  You want to invalidate warp point assaults what do you add back to the game?  A warp point fight is fun to play out and it can be damned exciting for both sides.  Also that a warp point defence cannot be broken by a conventional assault does not come because of the bases on the warp point, it comes because the minefields and IDEW are so thick that the attacker can't break out of the death zone near the WP itself.  Fundamentally it is due to a prolliferation of AW.  

Of course the proliferation of automated weapons is the fundamental reason for WP stagnation.  That's not exactly an epiphany.   ;)

But I don't see any rational justification for not including automated weapons in the game in some form.  But "in some form" doesn't have to mean "in their current form".  

As for WP battles being fun, I'm not sure that everyone would agree with you.  When I did a survey a while back, one of the complaints was that there were too many WP battles.  Personally, I thought that that observation was a bit ignorant in a way, due to the nature of WP's as the perfect natural chokepoint.  Of course, many, many battles will be at WP's.  Where else would a defender want to fight, given a choice?  About the only reason for a defender to prefer a deep space engagement instead, would be if he felt that there was an advantage to be gained.  The Battle of Zapata in Insurrection would be a prime example of this.


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My feeling is that something that pays no maintenance should not be very effective in killing things that do pay maintenance.  Because the "opportunity cost" of building a warp point defence is huge, not giving the player value for that strikes me as wrong.  It takes a great deal of planning, logistics effort and what have you to build up a warp point defence that causes the attacker to whimper like a two year old child, invalidating that with a system that take no more effort then stealing candy from a sleeping baby is wrong.  That it isn't even a solution to the problem well that is just icing on the cake.

Not buying it.  I suspect that history is replete with examples where a great new advance in technology completely invalidated years or decades of investment.  Take battleship fleets during WW2 being made obsolete practically overnight (well, at least for the battleship admirals who didn't believe that fighters could sink BB's).


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As for AMBAMing the pods, nothing should stop that working but if it works on pods it would be just as effective at killing fighters, small craft and so on.  But that is TL15+ tech then well there are a lot of tech levels to go through and for a TL8 race trying to stop the pods it is of zero value.  Also the rules for the suicide rider make it pathetically useless at killing IDEW...it only takes out 1-2 of them so I'm not sure why the AMBAM thing would be more effective.  The counter pod minefield at TL14 works but at 9 submunitions to max out your kills of pods and you get only 25 per pattern I can see that it takes a lot of them to kill a pod wave.  They also require a ship or base with a sensor that can pick up the pods...that base or ship had better be cloaked.

I agree that the TL8 race trying to stop pods isn't going to get any value from a TL15+ solution.  But frankly, I'm not going to really have much sympathy for the TL8 race in that situation.  They're supposed to get squashed in that situation, though a TL8 (!) race could try building up a really large force of fighters or assault shuttles to attack the pods as they enter the system.  That's probably the best direct counter to SBMHAWKs they'd have.  



BTW, Paul, even though it's clear that we disagree about a fair amount of stuff (and agree on a lot of other stuff), I appreciate you taking the time to comment here.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2013, 03:03:46 PM by crucis »
 

Offline crucis

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Re: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules
« Reply #28 on: March 13, 2013, 09:53:09 PM »
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Paul, even though it's clear that we disagree about a fair amount of stuff (and agree on a lot of other stuff), I appreciate you taking the time to comment here.

For whatever it's worth, Paul, I hope that you didn't take the above comment from the previous post as a way of saying that I wanted to end our conversation, because it wasn't.  I was only indicating my appreciation of your willingness to take the time to discuss this stuff with me in depth.  But if you have no desire to continue the conversation that's OK too.

Just as an FYI, at this time, I am thinking about significantly changing automated weapons for Cosmic.  One of the problems I foresee however is that automated weapons are logical, so it would be hard to argue that they wouldn't be developed.  Of course that doesn't mean that they'd have to take the form that they do in 3E.  But it seems to me that there are certain logical issues that have to be considered.

First of all, one might want to rule that things smaller than starships can't survive transit, as a way of preventing the existence of things like missile pods.  However that would also rule out courier drones as well.  And if courier drones are possible, then it seems logical that some form of automated drone weapon would also become possible as well.  This doesn't mean that missile pods would necessarily be in the logical mix though...  It could be that something more akin to GSF/Ultra/Solar style drones might be an alternative here.

Secondly, buoys don't even face a potential limitation against WP transits since they're not meant to be mobile, let alone transit WP's. So, it seems likely that they'd be a logical development.  Of course, that does not by extension mean that 3E-style mines need to exist.  And as with drones, it could also be that something similar to GSF/Ultra/Solar style buoys might be an alternative.  Of course, 3E's laser buoys and IDW buoys aren't too terribly different from 4E style buoys.  It's more the 3E mines that are the real problem.


(Of course, AW's absolutely should pay maintenance.  That sort of goes without saying at this point.)


Another related issue is readiness states in WP defense situations.  In pure 3E, a certain portion of the defender's fleet could be at full battle readiness, which meant that if they chose to park on the WP to try to destroy missile pods as they emerged, they had a chance of destroying a pretty fair number of them, though once CAM-pods showed up, that strategy might get a lot more painful.  Regardless, in 3rdR and 4E+, readiness states were tweaked such that there were no ships truly at full readiness, which I think was done in GSF and beyond as a way of giving the attacker a chance to get a few turns worth of ships into the system before the defender could start shooting with significant numbers of ships and OWPs.  However, IIRC, in 3rdR, this gave missile pods the advantage that there were no ships able to at least try to attack missile pods on their turn of transit.

My point here isn't to debate the details of the various editions.  It's to point out that if defenders aren't able to have a portion of their force at full combat readiness the instant the first enemy ships make transit, then one has to be very careful about just how capable any attacking AW drones can be.  Otherwise, you either have a defending force of sitting ducks or the defenders are forced to sit well out of weapons range of the WP to give themselves time to get their units activated.    And on the flip side, one has to wonder if defending AW buoys should be allowed to always be active, since a sufficiently powerful enough force of armed buoys might adequately defend any WP, or at least defend it long enough to get the (distant) defending starships activated and into battle.  It also makes one wonder if armed buoys should have to be be activated by a defending ship or base.


Anyways, those are just a few thoughts I've had on the topic of automated weapons.

 

Offline MWadwell

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Re: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules
« Reply #29 on: March 15, 2013, 04:31:13 PM »
G'Day All,

Just to give my 2c on this.

I believe that everyone agrees that SBMHAWK pod's are overpowering - the disagreement is whether or not this imbalance is warranted or not (i.e. is it O.K. for a revolutionary weapon to be as effective or not....)


Just to comment here on a possible solution - what about developing a basic decoy DSB (i.e. DSB-?db)?

DSB-?d is a TL13 system, and was developed to counter SBMHAWK pods's. (I would question why it took 4 TL's to develop a counter - but that's neither here nor there....)

So there is room there to develop a "basic" decoy DSB, and place it in the TL9 to TL 10 range.

A suggested difference between the two, would be to only allow the decoy function to work against SBMHAWK pods. I.e. the (original TL13) DSB-?d can be recognised as a decoy by a ship within a hex (or 5 hexes if mounting Xr/Xrs), the (new TL9 or TL10) DSB-?db can be detected as a decoy by a ship within (say) 20 hexes (and within 40 hexes when using Xr/Xrs).

As a result, this bouy would be useless against assaulting ships, but would be effective against SBMHAWK pods.....

Comments?
Later,
Matt
 

 

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