Author Topic: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules  (Read 4074 times)

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Offline crucis

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Re: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules
« Reply #30 on: March 15, 2013, 10:05:20 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 buoy would be useless against assaulting ships, but would be effective against SBMHAWK pods.....

Comments?


Hi Matt!  Long time, no "see".


Some points vis-a-vis a "basic decoy buoy"...

First, given that Deception ECM (as part of ECM-3) doesn't show up until TL11, it'd be difficult to argue in favor of a basic version of deception ECM, even in a larger ship-borne version, at an earlier TL, let alone a smaller buoy mounted version.  Mind you, having the deception ECM buoy 2 TL's after ECM-3 seems about 1 TL too much.

Actually, let me step take a step back.  I suppose that one might be able to argue in favor of a ship-borne version of a basic deception ECM (with no cloaking) at perhaps TL10, possibly ... possibly TL9.  I'm not sure what being a "basic" version of deception ECM would mean in game terms (compared to what ECM-3 does in deception mode), but it might be possible.  As for then developing a smaller version for buoy use at least 1 TL later, I do not know.


Also, a lot of PaulM's concerns about the effectiveness of SBMHAWKs has to do with races having lower TL's than a SBMHAWK using race, i.e. TL8 or lower.  So, even a TL9-10 decoy buoy wouldn't do them much good, unless one was going to allow for some sort of "threat response" development rules (which IIRC, PaulM has no fondness for) that would allow a slightly lower TL race (perhaps TL7-8?) to develop a counter-tech to missile pods (decoy buoys, for example). ((Of course, I suppose using ISF's perceived threat development rules, a TL6-8 race could develop its own SBMHAWK technology, though that's not exactly a defense against your enemy's missile pods, only an ability to respond in kind.))



 

Offline Paul M

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Re: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules
« Reply #31 on: March 16, 2013, 03:04:00 AM »
SBMHAWKs have issues.  Adding in the buoys before you get deception mode on your ships seems an odd solution and the trouble is the buoys would have to fool pinnances, and by definition any ship not equipped with Xr since the SBMHAWKs have basically small craft sensors.

To my thinking the problem that SBMHAWKs are supposed to prevent is a huge warp point assault that costs the attacker a lot to win.  Personally I doubt that those happen often enought to need a specific system to defeat.   What is also clear is that the SBMHAWK only does this when it is used against a lower tech race, or when only one side has them.  Then the attacker forces the defender to conceed the near WP enviroment to him.  Except for mines and buoys or cloaked ships and bases.  Cloaking is not that useful for close to the WP but for control bases/ships it is fine.  It will block SBMHAWK attacks though since you need Xr to see through the cloak.(Added in edit:  checking the rules this wrong but for units without Xr the detection chance is a lot lower...basically you need to be on top of the target to see it.)

So for a very narrow window of time the SBMHAWKs are overwehlmingly powerful for the attacker.  Allowing him to advance fairly quickly and invalidating the defenders long strategic assets.  (added in edit: to be utterly clear the only thing SBMHAWKs are always good against is bases...so if SBMHAWKs are the solution the problem is bases.  And that is a load of cow dung.  Only on either a long running games highly developed systems--with clear strategic value or in most games the races homeworld will there ever be sufficient bases piled up to be an issue.)

On one hand against the unprepared the invalidate strategic planning stretching back god knows how long.
On the other hand they are stalemate weapons once both sides have them.
On the third hand the best use of them (slaved to ship fire control) or use en mass against limited numbers of well defined targets is easiest for the defender to achieve.

At higher tech levels their main effect is to force the defender to keep their ships back from the warp point or to operate in deception mode or cloak nearly continously.  And that is allowed in the rules.  Not to mention that even as early as in the theban war it was routine to do so.  In ISW4 both sides operated extensively under cloak.  As for the TFN not using pods defensively...*sigh* to put it mildly the TFN isn't populated by the sharpest spears in anyones armoury.

The idiotic part of this is that the things pods would be good for "minesweeping" you don't get for a long time.  I don't see why you can't strap an AMBAM to a SBMHAWK1 and tell it to blow up after moving through the warp point.  Or for that matter why telling it to fire the missile at a specific point in space on the other side is so hard to do.

Ultimately what makes the pods dangerous is that they fire in a single group.  This makes no sense since they would all target the same ship...as they all have the same target program running.  The only way to spread fire is to communicate their target choices to each other and then adjust.  However, even saying they fire in 6 pod data groups doesn't change the outcome at the end it only makes it take more pods.

Once the defender has the pod then the concentrated attacking force near the warp point is a lot easier to target with pods then a dispearsed, mobile and not well identified defender.  Add in deception mode, fighter CSP to kill pinnace probes, cloaking and IDEWa and the attacker is faced with a further nightmare, only this nightmare takes no real effort to set up.  It is also worth pointing out that I've never seen this sort of attacker whimpers like little girl warp point defence either in Steve's or Kurt's ficton, any other AAR or in a game.  Heavy defenses yes...but almost always restricted to the homeworld.  Outside of the homeworld the logisitic effort to build up massed warp point defences is generally un-available.  And if you have sufficient yards to build big bases in quantity then you can snow the attacker under in pods, IDEW and MF.

The worst part is that if you break through a strong WP defence as the attacker usually you have done something and acquired freedom of action, now you fight through a bunch of AW and then the next WP you know they will be there again unless you have astrogation data and can advance quickly.

So you have a system intended to aid the attacker that does so only so long as the attacker alone has it (it is worth pointing out this is what Webber assumes).  After that it is more valuable defensively as the defender knows where the attacker will be (the WP), with mines can pin him to a small area for the time needed for the pod controling ships to activate the pods and the pods to move to launch position.  At the same time the attacker ships are degraded by IDEW and transit effects.  Then nothing stops the defender from mounting a pod-counter attack to catch the assault fleet at the WP in the system they are attacking from, and frankly I'm dubious it will be that effective but it will damage the assault force even before it transits and can catch things like carriers.  There are other ways that the defender can use the pods that the attacker can't: pre-positioned pods can be locked up by pod-missile ships and used with shipboard fire control without requiring the pod-missile ships drop shields and drive field to roll pods.  I'm certain that other possibilites exist.

In this sense I guess we shall see in our current game if the money I invested in the RMs pod roller designs pays off.  It won't be long before everyone has them...and the podfire part starts.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2013, 05:19:52 AM by Paul M »
 

Offline MWadwell

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Re: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules
« Reply #32 on: March 16, 2013, 03:47:49 AM »
Hi Matt!  Long time, no "see".

Some points vis-a-vis a "basic decoy buoy"...

First, given that Deception ECM (as part of ECM-3) doesn't show up until TL11, it'd be difficult to argue in favor of a basic version of deception ECM, even in a larger ship-borne version, at an earlier TL, let alone a smaller buoy mounted version.  Mind you, having the deception ECM buoy 2 TL's after ECM-3 seems about 1 TL too much.

Actually, let me step take a step back.  I suppose that one might be able to argue in favor of a ship-borne version of a basic deception ECM (with no cloaking) at perhaps TL10, possibly ... possibly TL9.  I'm not sure what being a "basic" version of deception ECM would mean in game terms (compared to what ECM-3 does in deception mode), but it might be possible.  As for then developing a smaller version for buoy use at least 1 TL later, I do not know.


Also, a lot of PaulM's concerns about the effectiveness of SBMHAWKs has to do with races having lower TL's than a SBMHAWK using race, i.e. TL8 or lower.  So, even a TL9-10 decoy buoy wouldn't do them much good, unless one was going to allow for some sort of "threat response" development rules (which IIRC, PaulM has no fondness for) that would allow a slightly lower TL race (perhaps TL7-8?) to develop a counter-tech to missile pods (decoy buoys, for example). ((Of course, I suppose using ISF's perceived threat development rules, a TL6-8 race could develop its own SBMHAWK technology, though that's not exactly a defense against your enemy's missile pods, only an ability to respond in kind.))


G’Day Fred,

I’ve been checking both the Aurora and SDS forums daily, but I haven’t been posting much….

To address the ECM-3 point. ECM-3 includes a LOT more then just decoy mode. A DSB-?db wouldn’t have cloak, ECM-1, ECM-2, or ECCM. In fact, the decoy mode is also a “lite” version – as it lacks the ability to drop the deception mode and avoid missile salvo’s that way.

So I don’t see a problem with this (extremely) basic version of decoy mode turning up a TL or two before ECM-3.

As to a ship-borne version turning up, that too make sense. Personally I would include cloak with the decoy mode (to avoid a massive step up between this “lite" ECM-3 and the full ECM-3).

As to “threat response” development, I can see two reasons why DSB-?db would be developed – a fighter-led WP assault, or a SBMHAWK pod attack. So developing either fighters OR SBMHAWK pods would spur the development of DSB-?db…..

 
Later,
Matt
 

Offline Paul M

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Re: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules
« Reply #33 on: March 16, 2013, 06:04:01 AM »
Hi Matt, this reminds me I have something to do for you...*sighs*

On buoys, the problem is that the attacker just needs to sequence his fire.  So he knows that there are say 30 base 4's on the other side of the WP but he figures that is a load of malarky so he sends through 400 pods plus 30 pods.  The 30 pods fire in turn 2 and take out the majority of the targets that don't have point defence (the buoys) and the next turn the remaining pods fire on the surviving targets.

At this point, the real joy is that the defender can now force the attacker to expend pods against non-existant targets.  Basically waste money trying to kill things that are not there.  But the defender always has the advantage with podfire because he knows where the attacker will be during an attack.  He can see the enemy ships as well so he has hard targetting data.  The attacker is always going to be dealing with fuzzy data (at least for things that are not solo games) so has to accept that some pods will be wasted.

The effect of the SBMHAWK is to just stop the use of warp point defence bases (outside of fighter equipped ones) and turn the battle into a fight largely involving AW, fighters and armed small craft (warp capable on the attackers side).  The attacker gains entry into the system but if the defender has sufficient pods simply looses his ships to pod waves.  If the defender has sufficient pods to destroy the entire assault fleet before they can breach the mine fields (and I don't mean just one ring but multiple rings)...they win.  If the attacker can survive the defenders podstorm (possibly by simultaneous transit) they loose ships to the grinder but break in.  At this point the battle goes into a either a deepspace battle or the defender retreats to the next WP to rinse and repeat.   At some stage the attacker gains ambam launching pods and can pre-open lanes which complicates the issue for the defenders but the whole thing moves further and further from battles between ships to just who can pile up the most small crap, the attacker or the defender.

As far as I am concerned pods and lacs destroyed the herringswine books and the equivelent in starfire does the same thing.

So far as I can see the problem they are supposed to fix isn't an issue in a real game.  Then they introduce exactly the same sort of stalemate (but now the defender no longer requires active effort and planning) that they were intended to alievate.  In situations were you have a monopoly they are, if deployed in sufficient numbers, an I WIN button par excellance.  If both sides have them their primary effect for the attacker is to force the enemy to conceed him the warp point...the threat is as good as the reality.  For the defender they open up a lot of silly bugger things that they can be used for. 

In our game one of my assault BB's takes 100 HS of constuction capacity and 2200 MCr (more or less) to build.  For that I can build 92 SBMHAWK1 pods (and that only take 46 HS of construction capacity) or 58 SBMHAWK2 (with now only 29 HS capacity of a 20% increase in missiles).  How do you balance one against the other?
 

Offline crucis

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Re: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules
« Reply #34 on: March 16, 2013, 08:13:44 AM »
Paul, a problem that I have with your posts at this point is that you've expressed your opinion that you personally don't like automated weapons in general (as well as fighters and presumably gunboats), but you have yet to give a logical justification for why some form of automated weapons wouldn't exist. 

I'm of the opinion that automated weapons are simply too logical a technology to not exist in the game.  Oh, I suppose that one could say that WP transits permanently fry the systems of automated weapons.  But it seems to me that that explanation wouldn't hold water because it'd also wipe out the idea of courier drones, not to mention possibly making it difficult to wonder why the electronics on starships don't also get permanently fried.  Beyond that, such an explanation would only hold true for automated weapons intended for transiting WPs.  It wouldn't hold true for AW's used in a defensive role at WP's, or for that matter, offensive AW's used in situations not involving WP transits.


So at this point, I think that it's incumbent upon you to try to give us a logical reason beyond personal preference for why automated weapons (and perhaps armed small craft as well) should not be able to exist in this space warfare environment.

 

Offline crucis

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Re: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules
« Reply #35 on: March 16, 2013, 09:18:28 AM »
To address the ECM-3 point. ECM-3 includes a LOT more then just decoy mode. A DSB-?db wouldn’t have cloak, ECM-1, ECM-2, or ECCM. In fact, the decoy mode is also a “lite” version – as it lacks the ability to drop the deception mode and avoid missile salvo’s that way.

So I don’t see a problem with this (extremely) basic version of decoy mode turning up a TL or two before ECM-3.

Yes, I understand that ECM3 is a "swiss army knife of ECM goodies".  But two of those goodies, ECM1 and ECM2 are known quantities.  So it's only cloaking, deception, and ECCM that are new to the mix.  And for what it's worth, deception and cloaking seem to me to be rather closely related, given that both represent a manipulation of the drive field to adjust what an enemy's sensors perceive.  So if one wanted deception alone, would that really be of a lower TL than all of the goodies in ECM3?  Is ECM3's TL11 justified by the 5 HS combination of those 5 goodies or is it justified by it being the TL when cloaking, deception, and ECCM become possible?  I don't have a good answer for that question, though I somewhat tend to lean towards the latter explanation.





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As to a ship-borne version turning up, that too make sense. Personally I would include cloak with the decoy mode (to avoid a massive step up between this “lite" ECM-3 and the full ECM-3).

I tend to agree with you on the idea that cloak and deception to hand in hand, though I'd probably suggest that they should be TL11 technologies.  I have to admit that I'm not a big fan of the ECM3 swiss army knife approach.   Oh, there are certain aspects to the swiss army knife that make some sense.  Cloak and deception tend to for long range usage, while ECM1 is an all-combat ranges usage and ECM2 is a close combat range usage.  The synergy between cloak/deception and jamming is quite good since it'd be highly unlikely to have any need to use cloak (or deception) and jamming at the same time.  ECM1, OTOH, is probably worth installing separate from ECM3 simply so that you don't have to choose between jamming and ECM1 once you start closing the range.  Also, I could see wishing that ECCM was split off into a separate unit, since it could be a technology that you'd want to use a lot in combat, but having it in a swiss army knife requires you to either choose which tool to use or mount more swiss army knives.



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As to “threat response” development, I can see two reasons why DSB-?db would be developed – a fighter-led WP assault, or a SBMHAWK pod attack. So developing either fighters OR SBMHAWK pods would spur the development of DSB-?db…..

I think that you're missing one thing on fighters.  Yes, if they're not mounting fXr, they're going to be rather myopic.  However, they were launched from a carrier that could very well have Xr mounted and know which of those targets were real and which were decoys, though I suppose it may depend on exactly WHEN in the series of events in a carrier led assault that knowledge could become available.  

That is, on turn 1, the carriers make transit and their Xr units (if they had them at all) are disrupted by transit effects.  On turn 2, sensors are back up, but do they sense which targets are decoys or real soon enough to let their fighters know before the carriers do a U-turn back into the WP?  If one was being rather nasty, one could say "no" they don't have enough time.  However, the issue could be made moot, if the attacker included some Xr equipped warships in the assault wave or simply had some of the fighters carrying fXr.  (Heck, who knows ... every carrier might have 1 of its squadrons be a recon squadron with internally mounted fXr.)

So, it seems to me that the value of decoy buoys against fighter led WP assaults is problematical and likely very temporary, since it's easy enough to counter without any new tech once you learn about the decoys.  

Also, there are a number of options for "counter tech" against fighters.  An upgraded version of point defense with enhanced anti-fighter performance, anti-fighter missiles, or fighters of your own are 3 obvious possibilities.  On top of that, if you're getting sliced and diced by fighter lasers, one might argue that better armor is a legit anti-laser counter tech option.  Counter-tech development is a real can of worms because one could probably argue that there might be legit counter tech options for a lot of different weapons in the game, and perhaps counters to various defenses as well.  And what is a legit counter tech may be a highly subjective thing, with different people having different opinions.  I'm not outright against the idea of counter-tech development, but I am wary of it and its implications.


Decoys buoys are probably much better against SBMHAWKs, since the pods aren't going to be able to tell which are decoys and which are real targets.  OTOH, as Paul correctly pointed out (and was described in The Shiva Option), the way to deal with decoy buoys is to simply fire a small wave of missile pods that would spread its fire amongst all the potential targets, and let the real targets easily survive and the decoys get blasted.  Of course, with enough time and money, the defender could emplace a LOT of decoy buoys and simply turn on another batch of them once the first batch was nuked.  And once the attacker got smart to this, he could just fire wave after wave of small attacks to try to burn off the decoys before firing the real bombardment.  Of course, then I suppose the question becomes who ended up spending more money on that little shell game, the attacker or the defender?  (And a really smart attacker might even use only cheap nuke missiles to smoke out the decoys rather than ones with AM or AAM warheads, since the decoy will be just as dead from 1 nuke hit as it'd be from one AAM hit.)


 
 

Offline crucis

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Re: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules
« Reply #36 on: March 16, 2013, 09:52:33 AM »
At higher tech levels their main effect is to force the defender to keep their ships back from the warp point or to operate in deception mode or cloak nearly continously.  And that is allowed in the rules.  Not to mention that even as early as in the theban war it was routine to do so.  In ISW4 both sides operated extensively under cloak.  As for the TFN not using pods defensively...*sigh* to put it mildly the TFN isn't populated by the sharpest spears in anyones armoury.

Yes, well, I won't disagree with you on this point.  These are the same guys who didn't consider using Energy Beams and Cap Energy Beams against the Thebans and their composite armor.  Sure, maybe in WP Assaults, it might be better to skip shields and got for the armor.  But in deep space engagements, where the opening phase of any battle will involve fighter strikes and missile bombardments, unless you're using laser torpedoes (which didn't exist during the Theban War), you're probably going to have knocked down a lot of ships' shields before you get into beam range.  And at that point, those E-beams would come in mighty handy.


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The idiotic part of this is that the things pods would be good for "minesweeping" you don't get for a long time.  I don't see why you can't strap an AMBAM to a SBMHAWK1 and tell it to blow up after moving through the warp point.  Or for that matter why telling it to fire the missile at a specific point in space on the other side is so hard to do.

Paul, I agree with you on this 100% ... 1000%.  In fact, I'm not entirely sure if I were developing SBMHAWKs whether my first choice wouldn't be an AMBAM version or even a CAM version over a longer range version.  And for that matter, I don't particularly buy into the idea that one needs separate versions for different missiles, at least as long as the missiles in question were of the proper size for the pod.  And for that matter, even if they weren't, would it be such an incredible technological leap to simply make a slightly bigger version of the missile pod for AMBAMs rather than SBM's?  It just cannot be that tough!

Anyways, you're absolutely correct.  Missile pods would be perfect for minesweeping, since you wouldn't have to either a) risk any minesweeping ships going into the fields to sweep mines that hard way, or b) have ships using their Wc launchers for minesweeping if they're coming under fire from enemy missile fire, or c) (the ultimate worst case) pre-AMBAM2, using XO-mounted AMBAMs and risking the total loss of a ship to a single laser buoy hit on an XO rack carrying an AMBAM.  Option "C" is stupid.  Option "A" is highly risky.  And Option "B" can be a waste of perfectly good magazine space for AMBAM2's, as well as a mis-use of perfectly good warships, if a minesweeping missile pod existed.





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Ultimately what makes the pods dangerous is that they fire in a single group.  This makes no sense since they would all target the same ship...as they all have the same target program running.  The only way to spread fire is to communicate their target choices to each other and then adjust.  However, even saying they fire in 6 pod data groups doesn't change the outcome at the end it only makes it take more pods.

Actually, I think that there's a slight flaw in your argument above.  One, I'd say that all pods in the same hex and with the same target type (i.e. SD, BB, BS4, etc.) might ... might target the same unit.  But if your pods were split into different groups, whether by intent or by the random chance of an unsurveyed WP's grav stresses, I think that pods in different hexes, even with the same target type, might end up targeting different ships.   Two, it would seem that a wise admiral (player) would target multiple hull types, if he knows that the defender uses multiple hull types.  Not only that, but one might intentionally give ones' pods different movement orders to spread them out and force them to spread their fire.


 

Offline Starslayer_D

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Re: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules
« Reply #37 on: March 16, 2013, 01:51:44 PM »
I think one problem of automated weapons is not their existance, but their cost efectiveness compared to buld times for ships. I can emplace automated weapons very quickly.

But if, to counter that, they would cost nearly as much as the ships they can destroy, they would be used way more selectively. Then their advantage would shrink to being emplaceable very fast, and the lack of maintenance cost.
 

Offline crucis

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Re: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules
« Reply #38 on: March 16, 2013, 02:19:02 PM »
I think one problem of automated weapons is not their existance, but their cost effectiveness compared to buld times for ships. I can emplace automated weapons very quickly.

But if, to counter that, they would cost nearly as much as the ships they can destroy, they would be used way more selectively. Then their advantage would shrink to being emplaceable very fast, and the lack of maintenance cost.

Starslayer, I don't mean to be a wet blanket, but AW's are supposed to be a lot cheaper and quicker to build than things like ships.  That's the reality of things, whether we're talking about AW's in starfire or their modern day equivalents.  And complaining about it seems to fly in the face of reality.

I would suggest that the lack of maintenance cost is a better whole to close, since it's a lot more logical to me.  Requiring AW's to pay maintenance would a) reduce the funds available to buy more AW's and b) make it more difficult and expensive to keep increasingly large active forces of AW's.

Another problem of AW's that doesn't get talked about enough is the ridiculous ease with which the CFN rules allow them to be moved from their shipyard to the destination system to be placed. Allowing the CFN to do this work avoids the entire calculus of requiring an empire to invest in minelayers, and in having enough of them to move one's mines, buoys, and/or missile pods.  The CFN allows one to move nearly unlimited numbers of them.  But if one requires actual military ships to do the work, one has to invest in their construction, maintenance, or paying to demothball them in time of war, and to have enough of them to move useful numbers of AW's.  And even then, you're not likely to be able to move as many as one's CFN. I actually think that requiring military vessels be used to move AW's would go a long way in preventing ridiculously large and fast buildups of AW's in the game.

Another thing that could help on the SBMHAWK front would be to make all SBMHAWK pods single use only, so that one has to build new pods after every use.  Doing this would make SBMHAWKs more costly, and it would make using them a bit slower since you'd have to build new ones after expending the old ones, since it would prevent you from increasing the size of your supply of pods.

 

Offline Paul M

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Re: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules
« Reply #39 on: March 17, 2013, 02:27:23 AM »
Paul, a problem that I have with your posts at this point is that you've expressed your opinion that you personally don't like automated weapons in general (as well as fighters and presumably gunboats), but you have yet to give a logical justification for why some form of automated weapons wouldn't exist. 

I'm of the opinion that automated weapons are simply too logical a technology to not exist in the game.  Oh, I suppose that one could say that WP transits permanently fry the systems of automated weapons.  But it seems to me that that explanation wouldn't hold water because it'd also wipe out the idea of courier drones, not to mention possibly making it difficult to wonder why the electronics on starships don't also get permanently fried.  Beyond that, such an explanation would only hold true for automated weapons intended for transiting WPs.  It wouldn't hold true for AW's used in a defensive role at WP's, or for that matter, offensive AW's used in situations not involving WP transits.


So at this point, I think that it's incumbent upon you to try to give us a logical reason beyond personal preference for why automated weapons (and perhaps armed small craft as well) should not be able to exist in this space warfare environment.



Why is it possible to make a buoy that can fire a beam weapon even only once ever 30 min that does the damage of a 4 HS (plus one assumes the power generators in the ship itself) weapon system?  Why can you do so with a primary beam and yet not for the needle beam or a capital beam?   If you want a "IDEW-F" make a fort that looks like HsFQs and be done with it.  All DSB are the same size at 25 csp (making them 1/25 of a HS) whether they are armed or not...that is utterly illogical.  IDEW and IDEWa are the same size but perform completely differently.

Fighters and other armed small craft are not airplanes engaging ships in the water.  And even so by 1943 shipboard AA defences made such attacks exceptionally expensive in terms of planes, in modern situations do not even think about closing on a battlegroup with your planes armed with iron bombs, they will be blown out of the sky.  They are instead some form of armed speed boat (E-boat, PT-boat, etc) which the ships should be able to swat from space without much in the way of effort.  There is no reason you can't shoot at fighters with beam weapons with the same to hit as starships.  Point defence should be significantly more effective against them since they aren't that much more robust (any amount of damage will mission kill the fighter after all) and they are a larger target.  Fighter have no advantages in space combat.  Gunboats are just nuts.  The point defence suite they mount is bigger than the gunboat itself and why can they datalink and ast2 and pn2 not?

As for mines, I created mines for my first starfire game when we were playing with maybe 2nd edition rules...and they had a pathetically low chance to hit the ship, but did a lot of damage if they did.  Space is large afterall.  The current version is even more effective then modern land minefields...where to be honest there are fairly efficient ways to breach them.  I'm not sure about ship based mines but they are mainly designed to defend fixed harbor entrances or areas where the space is limited.

There is no logical justification for missile pods.  They aren't big enough for fire control...yet the missiles aren't degraded in performance even though they recieve no guidance (they fly the whole way on onboard systems) if I fire a HAWK missile into my ships blind spot it is -5 to hit SBMHAWK missiles or not.  The pods are hard to engage, they are difficult mine targets when the game says otherwise about fighters and pinnances.  To carry 3 missiles in XO racks would require 15 HS of ship yet you can seemingly stick 3 in a pod the size of a pinnance.  Why can't I stick missile pods to my hull or arm my pinnace with full sized missiles?  The SBMHAWK2 is 10csp larger than the SBMHAWK1 and is both faster and carries twice the missiles...that is rather difficult to accept from an engineering point of view...especially since the SBMHAWK 3 is a further 10 csp larger but only carries an additional 2 missiles.   The required holds per size rating of small craft is also foo-bar since pn2 and ast2 aren't larger than the original version they just need more space (for whatever reason) to re-arm them...but consider that a SBMHAWK is about the size of a pinnance yet instead of taking 2-3 H to move it is packed in several to the H.  Also consider a crated fighter is 20 csp...really???  1 H per fighter uncrated and 25 to the H crated...that is astounding packing.  Apparently the amount of wasted space in a fighter is astronomical.

I have to admit that I came up with, in that first game, also a way to fire missiles from "frames" though these things were immobile and I think they fired like 3-5 missiles.  They were one use throw away systems for defending warp points.

My main point is that that the AW aren't logical outcomes of developing technology...they are anomalies.  They are in reality something cludged into the game system and then the players have to sort out the whole mess of confusing rules that apply to them but not ships.  Also even though things are possible in buoys/AW/SC...the ship board technology doesn't gain anything from it.  An F1 squadron at 0 range can do 18 points of damage with fL...1 HET can do 8...less than half....or why can't I put fL on a buoy?  I would like a buoy that fires like one much better than one that does 3 pts of damage every half hour.

At the end of the day fighters exist because "all space games have to fighters", mines exist because they are used in navy's today, buoys and pods exist because someone thought they were neat ideas I would guess.  Logic had nothing to do with any of it.

Also the fact is the build rate for buoys is the same whether I build a navigation buoy, a communications buoy, a armed buoy or a sensor buoy...that is illogical.  The build rate of a SBMHAWK is also fixed at 0.5 HS per item.  Odd a pinnace takes me 1 HS, an armed pinnance/pn2 is 1.5 HS.   There is no logical rhyme or reasoning behind the build rules for AW.  The result of the current rules is that you can build them in job lots as a standard TL9 SY will have a build rate of 28...that is 280 buoys or 56 sbmhawks or 28 minefield patterns.  Even if you have only 3 SY's with your advancing or defending fleet you can do a good job keeping your forces in AW...  Even SYM are pretty impressive: 90 buoys, 18 sbmhawks, or 9 patterns of mines at TL9.
 

Offline crucis

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Re: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules
« Reply #40 on: March 17, 2013, 04:21:05 AM »
Paul, I hesitate to reply to the details in your post (though I will do so to some degree).  The problem I have with your post here is that I was looking for logical justifications for why AW's shouldn't exist, and you seemed to based your arguments more on why the existing AW's were bad or questionable or whatever, which really wasn't what I was looking for.  I agree that the existing 3E AW's are flawed in various ways, but that isn't a logical justification to my mind for why AW's could not exist IN SOME FORM and not necessarily the 3E form.

Why is it possible to make a buoy that can fire a beam weapon even only once ever 30 min that does the damage of a 4 HS (plus one assumes the power generators in the ship itself) weapon system?  Why can you do so with a primary beam and yet not for the needle beam or a capital beam?   If you want a "IDEW-F" make a fort that looks like HsFQs and be done with it.  All DSB are the same size at 25 csp (making them 1/25 of a HS) whether they are armed or not...that is utterly illogical.  IDEW and IDEWa are the same size but perform completely differently.

The problem with the needle beam regarding its use with beam buoys is that it is IMO an illogical weapon in 3E to begin with.  Either you use an Needle Beam (couple with Xr)
against an unshielded target to target an individual system (or system type, I don't recall at this hour), or it acts like a 1 dp force beam.  That seems rather lame to me.  But for the purposes of buoys within existing 3E rules, it'd be a relatively useless weapon.

As for cap beams, a problem is that IDEW's only become able to generate sufficient power to fire a single standard sized beam once per interception turn at around TL11 (+/- 1 TL).  Within that limitation (and within 3E's rules), one might argue that within a few TL's, one might see a DSB capable of mounting cap beam weapons, well at least the 6 HS ones.  A problem though might be the sensor range of the buoy's own sensors, given that some cap beams have ranges greater than 20 tac hexes.

As for your thought about a small mini-base, compared to IDEW's it might be a better option insofar as those mini-bases would be able to fire every turn, rather than only every 60 turns.  However, from a role playing PoV, those mini-bases would be deathtraps for personnel, unless one could come up with a way to run the mini-bases remotely (say, from large base or ship using a system somewhat like DCS).  The point of armed buoys is sort of to be an unmanned mini-base so that you don't have to risk personnel on such inherently vulnerable units.

Regardless of these points, nothing here argues against the possibility of reasonably logical, well-designed armed buoys.



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Fighters and other armed small craft are not airplanes engaging ships in the water.  And even so by 1943 shipboard AA defences made such attacks exceptionally expensive in terms of planes, in modern situations do not even think about closing on a battlegroup with your planes armed with iron bombs, they will be blown out of the sky.  They are instead some form of armed speed boat (E-boat, PT-boat, etc) which the ships should be able to swat from space without much in the way of effort.  There is no reason you can't shoot at fighters with beam weapons with the same to hit as starships.  Point defence should be significantly more effective against them since they aren't that much more robust (any amount of damage will mission kill the fighter after all) and they are a larger target.  Fighter have no advantages in space combat.  Gunboats are just nuts.  The point defence suite they mount is bigger than the gunboat itself and why can they datalink and ast2 and pn2 not?

Sigh.  I think that anyone who's ever played knows that Starfire's fighters are not like aircraft relative to wet navy vessels.  It says so in the 3E rules, as I recall.

As for there being no reason why you can't shoot at fighters with beam weapons with the same to-hit as starships, I disagree.  It's an underlying assumption of the game that you cannot do so, probably because fighters are simply considered too small and too nimble to be targeted thusly.  You may not like the assumption but that's what it is.

As for GB's, I don't disagree with you.  I don't like PD on GB's or on any smallcraft for that matter.  I would suggest that PD mounted on those craft should probably be considered as a single laser cluster without any counter missiles, but should have its own special PD anti-missile and anti-fighter numbers to reflect that.  Having said that, I still wouldn't like PD on any smallcraft.  Furthermore, I agree with you about datalink and ast2 and pn2 ... except to say that I don't like that the ast2 and pn2 have those darned fXO racks either.  I don't think that general purpose smallcraft should be armed at all.  By making them armed, it then begs your entirely logical question as to why shouldn't ast2 and pn2 have datalink.



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As for mines, I created mines for my first starfire game when we were playing with maybe 2nd edition rules...and they had a pathetically low chance to hit the ship, but did a lot of damage if they did.  Space is large afterall.  The current version is even more effective then modern land minefields...where to be honest there are fairly efficient ways to breach them.  I'm not sure about ship based mines but they are mainly designed to defend fixed harbor entrances or areas where the space is limited.

Minefields were actually part of 1st edition's STARFIRE III: EMPIRES strategic rules, and were in roughly the same form as in 3E, IIRC.

Wet navy mines are designed to be used at choke points, like harbor entrances (or in Starfire, warp points).


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There is no logical justification for missile pods.  They aren't big enough for fire control...yet the missiles aren't degraded in performance even though they recieve no guidance (they fly the whole way on onboard systems) if I fire a HAWK missile into my ships blind spot it is -5 to hit SBMHAWK missiles or not.  The pods are hard to engage, they are difficult mine targets when the game says otherwise about fighters and pinnaces.  To carry 3 missiles in XO racks would require 15 HS of ship yet you can seemingly stick 3 in a pod the size of a pinnance.  Why can't I stick missile pods to my hull or arm my pinnace with full sized missiles?  The SBMHAWK2 is 10csp larger than the SBMHAWK1 and is both faster and carries twice the missiles...that is rather difficult to accept from an engineering point of view...especially since the SBMHAWK 3 is a further 10 csp larger but only carries an additional 2 missiles.   The required holds per size rating of small craft is also foo-bar since pn2 and ast2 aren't larger than the original version they just need more space (for whatever reason) to re-arm them...but consider that a SBMHAWK is about the size of a pinnace yet instead of taking 2-3 H to move it is packed in several to the H.  Also consider a crated fighter is 20 csp...really???  1 H per fighter uncrated and 25 to the H crated...that is astounding packing.  Apparently the amount of wasted space in a fighter is astronomical.

Again, Paul, you're only poking holes in why existing systems aren't well designed and consistent, not stepping back and arguing against why missile pods could not be a logical system even if well designed and properly sized, etc.


Quote
My main point is that that the AW aren't logical outcomes of developing technology...they are anomalies.  They are in reality something cludged into the game system and then the players have to sort out the whole mess of confusing rules that apply to them but not ships.  Also even though things are possible in buoys/AW/SC...the ship board technology doesn't gain anything from it.  An F1 squadron at 0 range can do 18 points of damage with fL...1 HET can do 8...less than half....or why can't I put fL on a buoy?  I would like a buoy that fires like one much better than one that does 3 pts of damage every half hour.

I disagree with your opening sentence.  I'd say that they are logical concepts that were simply poorly designed for the game.  I've seen nothing here to argue against AW's not being logical developments, nothing at all other than reasonable arguments about why the existing systems are badly designed within the game ... which is an entirely different kettle of fish, in my book.


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At the end of the day fighters exist because "all space games have to fighters", mines exist because they are used in navy's today, buoys and pods exist because someone thought they were neat ideas I would guess.  Logic had nothing to do with any of it.

Fighters exist because all space games have to have fighters?  Oh the horror!!!  That's hardly a logical argument against the concept not being justifiable.  Come on, you can do better than that, can't you?


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Also the fact is the build rate for buoys is the same whether I build a navigation buoy, a communications buoy, a armed buoy or a sensor buoy...that is illogical.  The build rate of a SBMHAWK is also fixed at 0.5 HS per item.  Odd a pinnace takes me 1 HS, an armed pinnance/pn2 is 1.5 HS.   There is no logical rhyme or reasoning behind the build rules for AW.  The result of the current rules is that you can build them in job lots as a standard TL9 SY will have a build rate of 28...that is 280 buoys or 56 sbmhawks or 28 minefield patterns.  Even if you have only 3 SY's with your advancing or defending fleet you can do a good job keeping your forces in AW...  Even SYM are pretty impressive: 90 buoys, 18 sbmhawks, or 9 patterns of mines at TL9.

Again, an argument about why existing AW's are badly designed, not an argument to justify why well designed AW's could not logically exist.

Seriously, Paul.  You've gotta step up your game here.   ;)
 

Offline Hawkeye

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Re: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules
« Reply #41 on: March 17, 2013, 06:03:56 AM »
Can I jump in here, even if I am still a Newbe at Starfire?

Fighters:
This is a space combat game. From a realistic point of view (I assume that is what is being asked for?), fighters in space simply don´t make sense - period.
A space-fighter is just a small ship. It is as nimble as its power to mass ratio allows
(yes, I know, SF assumes reactionless drives, but if we think that concept through to the end, nothing will ever hit anything, realy, because if I can move a hundered km in any direction in the blink of an eye, my ship will _never_ be where you are shooting your laser beam at once that beam reaches that point).
You could trade some mass (mostely defenses/weapons mass) for more engines and make the fighter more nimble, but then you would have a fighter with basicly no armament at all.

I guess, what I am trying to say is:
If a fighter devotes 50% of its mass to engines and I build a ship which devotes 50% of its mass to engines, those two units will behave exactely the same in the "nimble" departement.

Now, I am not arguing against fighters in SF, but, IMO, there is no logic/realism involved in space-fighters at all (or not for special rules for them, anyway).


IDEW/Pods:
I agree that there is no logical reason that IDEW/Pods should _not_ exist. There are, as Paul pointed out, logical reasons that IDEW/Pods should not exist the way they are _now_.

I´ll use the IDEW-F as an example.
Now, a regular F is size 4.
Given that the IDEW-F only has half range and damage, I think it reasonable, that it would be half that size too (damage being a function of range (or energy density/whatever) here, basicly).

As the power generater is a lot smaller too, lets reduce the size again by 50% (this is assuming that the power generator isn´t the major but neither a negligible part of the gun), leaving us at a weapon-size of 1 HS.

As is, an IDEW-F has a size of 1/20 HS, which, francly, is pretty stupid.
If that weapon is realy only 1/20 HS, I will build a ton of DD/BS-1 with 240 (space equivalent of 3 standard F) of those, put them close in to a WP and annihilate anything coming through. Who cares, that each gun can only fire every 30 minutes. Each DD/BS-1 will dish out an insane amount of damage, before every gun has fired. After that, I will gladly let the DD be blown away, as it has already killed 3 SDs.
Once we get to the Advanced IDEWs, it gets even more ridiculous (a weapon with the same performance (aside from ROF) as the regular one, but with only 1/80 the size? That´s what I call miniaturization  :).

So, my suggestion would be:
Increase the size of IDEW/Pods - at least to 1 HS and increase their cost - not sure by how much, but looking at the real world, building something the size of a car that can handle one megawatt is not that tough and probably rather cheap. Building something the size of a cell phone, that can handle one megawatt, oh boy, that is gonna be expensive, if at all possible!

Hm, an easy mechanic could be:
Half size (i.e. 2 HS) --> double the cost
Quarter size (i.e. 1 HS) --> 4 times the cost and so on.
Basicly, giving you the choise of how large you want your IDEWs to be. If you are willing to pay a ridiculous amount of money, you can still get your 0.05 HS IDEW. It would be crazy, but you _could_ do it.

Ok, I admit, I haven´t realy thought this through. Perhaps a starting point.   




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Offline crucis

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Re: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules
« Reply #42 on: March 17, 2013, 08:40:53 AM »
Can I jump in here, even if I am still a Newbe at Starfire?

Feel free!   :D

Quote
Fighters:
This is a space combat game. From a realistic point of view (I assume that is what is being asked for?), fighters in space simply don´t make sense - period.

A space-fighter is just a small ship. It is as nimble as its power to mass ratio allows
(yes, I know, SF assumes reactionless drives, but if we think that concept through to the end, nothing will ever hit anything, really, because if I can move a hundred km in any direction in the blink of an eye, my ship will _never_ be where you are shooting your laser beam at once that beam reaches that point).
You could trade some mass (mostly defenses/weapons mass) for more engines and make the fighter more nimble, but then you would have a fighter with basically no armament at all.

I guess, what I am trying to say is:
If a fighter devotes 50% of its mass to engines and I build a ship which devotes 50% of its mass to engines, those two units will behave exactly the same in the "nimble" department.

Now, I am not arguing against fighters in SF, but, IMO, there is no logic/realism involved in space-fighters at all (or not for special rules for them, anyway).

Saying it doesn't make it so.  ;)



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IDEW/Pods:
I agree that there is no logical reason that IDEW/Pods should _not_ exist. There are, as Paul pointed out, logical reasons that IDEW/Pods should not exist the way they are _now_.

Except that wasn't the question that I asked of Paul.  I asked him for a logical justification why they shouldn't exist at all, NOT what's wrong with the existing ones.  (Not that I mind him detailing what he sees at their flaws.)

Quote
I´ll use the IDEW-F as an example.
Now, a regular F is size 4.
Given that the IDEW-F only has half range and damage, I think it reasonable, that it would be half that size too (damage being a function of range (or energy density/whatever) here, basically).

As the power generator is a lot smaller too, lets reduce the size again by 50% (this is assuming that the power generator isn´t the major but neither a negligible part of the gun), leaving us at a weapon-size of 1 HS.

As is, an IDEW-F has a size of 1/20 HS, which, frankly, is pretty stupid.
If that weapon is really only 1/20 HS, I will build a ton of DD/BS-1 with 240 (space equivalent of 3 standard F) of those, put them close in to a WP and annihilate anything coming through. Who cares, that each gun can only fire every 30 minutes. Each DD/BS-1 will dish out an insane amount of damage, before every gun has fired. After that, I will gladly let the DD be blown away, as it has already killed 3 SDs.
Once we get to the Advanced IDEWs, it gets even more ridiculous (a weapon with the same performance (aside from ROF) as the regular one, but with only 1/80 the size? That´s what I call miniaturization  :).

You're forgetting one thing.  1st gen IDEW's only get to fire once per interception turn.  Aside from any question of miniaturization, they don't have the powerplant available that a shipboard beam weapon does.  They seem to have a big battery or capacitor, and a small powerplant that requires 1 Int Turn to recharge before the buoy can fire again... which pretty much makes IDEW's into something that can only be used once per battle.

Aside from that, I will readily agree that beam buoys do appear to be undersized.  Of course, I'm not really keen on beam buoys that only get to fire once per battle either.  Oh, explosive laser buoys are one thing.  You expect them to be one shot deals.  But it'd be nice if buoys that didn't explode to power their beam weapon could fire a bit more often.  (In Ultra Starfire, beam buoys can fire every 5th turn, which seems reasonable enough.)


Quote
So, my suggestion would be:
Increase the size of IDEW/Pods - at least to 1 HS and increase their cost - not sure by how much, but looking at the real world, building something the size of a car that can handle one megawatt is not that tough and probably rather cheap. Building something the size of a cell phone, that can handle one megawatt, oh boy, that is gonna be expensive, if at all possible!

Hm, an easy mechanic could be:
Half size (i.e. 2 HS) --> double the cost
Quarter size (i.e. 1 HS) --> 4 times the cost and so on.
Basically, giving you the choice of how large you want your IDEWs to be. If you are willing to pay a ridiculous amount of money, you can still get your 0.05 HS IDEW. It would be crazy, but you _could_ do it.

Ok, I admit, I haven´t really thought this through. Perhaps a starting point.   

Don't worry about it, hawkeye.  I appreciate the input from another voice.

Another option might be to create smaller, shall I say, fighter scale beam weapons for beam buoys that could fire more often, but be significantly less powerful.  Of course, a flip side to this is that fighter scale beam weapons for buoys would also be significantly shorter ranged than their full sized counterparts. 

A key point here is how often do that beam buoy weapons fire. 

Another might be what sort of range should one reasonably expect out of a beam buoy.

Anyways, that's all I have for now.  Thanks for your input, Hawkeye!  Feel free to do so again. :)

 

Offline Hawkeye

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Re: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules
« Reply #43 on: March 17, 2013, 09:39:07 AM »

Saying it doesn't make it so.  ;)


I should have said

Quote
From a realistic point of view (I assume that is what is being asked for?), fighters in space as they are depicted in most movies and in many games (including SF) simply don´t make sense
[bold part added]  i.e. anything a space fighter can do, a space ship can do too.

Quote
but, IMO, there is no logic/realism involved in space-fighters at all (or not for special rules for them, anyway).

The bold part, was what I was getting at. Space Fighters are fine, as long as they are treated as just realy small space ships. No special rules required.



You're forgetting one thing.  1st gen IDEW's only get to fire once per interception turn.


This

Quote
As the power generator is a lot smaller too, lets reduce the size again by 50% (this is assuming that the power generator isn´t the major but neither a negligible part of the gun), leaving us at a weapon-size of 1 HS.

and this

Quote
Who cares, that each gun can only fire every 30 minutes. Each DD/BS-1 will dish out an insane amount of damage, before every gun has fired. After that, I will gladly let the DD be blown away, as it has already killed 3 SDs.

was meant to adress that   ;)


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Offline crucis

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Re: Opinion on SBMHAWK house rules
« Reply #44 on: March 17, 2013, 10:25:52 AM »
Yikes!  The embedded quotes got nuked!


I should have said


[bold part added]  i.e. anything a space fighter can do, a space ship can do too.

The bold part, was what I was getting at. Space Fighters are fine, as long as they are treated as just really small space ships. No special rules required.

If that were the case, fighters would be all but useless.  And given that fighters are intended to be a superior weapon in Starfire, forcing fighters to just be small starships and be targeted on the normal starship vs starship weapons table would make them useless, and thus is a non-starter.




Quote
This

and this

Quote
Who cares, that each gun can only fire every 30 minutes. Each DD/BS-1 will dish out an insane amount of damage, before every gun has fired. After that, I will gladly let the DD be blown away, as it has already killed 3 SDs.

was meant to address that   ;)

Sorry for missing that.

The thing is that some of the underlying pseudo-science of 3E apparently assumes that drive fields attenuate beam weapons to some degree ... which is why fighter beam weapons cannot be mounted on starships.  Their beams are designed to work through a much weaker fighter's DF, not a starship's DF.  (Of course, it would be a fair question to ask why couldn't a fighter beam weapon work just as well on a buoy, which should also have a weak drive field.  And I think that the logical answer would be that ftr beams probably should be able to work well enough on buoys since DF attenuation shouldn't be an issue in this case.)  The same thing is true of fighter ordnance, like fR and fighter missiles.  They're designed to function through a fighter's weaker DF rather than a starship's vastly stronger one.





 

 

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