Friday, June 02, 2006

DRIFT missiles?

Suppose this: take the book 2 rules as written, and don't give a missile its own vector. Just take the ship's vector, and assume that a missile's fuel all goes to the swift, twisty, precise maneuvering of actually closing and hitting when it intercepts. That's still looking at missile ranges of something like 2500km, if we use SS3's assumption that missiles intercept at 25mm.

Missile tactics then look like this:

A ship at extreme range builds up an intercepting vector with the target, and releases a missile. It then corrects and releases another the next turn, and so on: or perhaps the ship decelerates and lets the missiles go on ahead. Those missiles, if they're well placed, will force maneuvers on the part of the target: maneuvers that overall will make the targets more vulnerable to laser fire: Slow ships won't be able to evade, ships in sand will be forced to leave it. Ships that do get intercepted by missiles will have to target them with lasers, that won't be available for targeting ships.

Even so, fast ships, even 2 or 3 gs, will be able to outmanevuer most missile tracks with ease. These ships must be engaged with lasers until they're disabled and drifting, at which point they're vulnerable to missiles employed as ship killers.

There's something attractive about this, isn't there? It means that ship maneuvering has to be really precise. It means that vectors really mean a lot: to make a missile hit, you really have to match trajectories carefully. Even so, a lot more missiles have to be expended to achieve hits. That's my next smoke test: Book 2 drift missiles ONLY.

In the end I'll probably settle on something in between: Actually, now that I'm using the calculator to build them, SS3 is growing on me again. But if I can make book 2 drift missiles work at ALL then I'll stick with them.


Blogger KenHR said...

You know, I think this is how LBB2 missiles are supposed to work, the more I think about it. In fact, this is how I thought they worked when I first read them. I really started looking at those rules when you mentioned them in an e-mail exchange a while back, and suddenly wasn't so sure anymore.

But, yeah, I think you could make the case that missiles are really supposed to be (in the basic books) straight-line projectiles. The "homing" feature is probably taken up within a hex/range band/25mm increment as they represent such vast distances.

It makes tracking vector movement meaningful; it's easy to overshoot your target if you're not steaming along at 6G and not thinking ahead.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this turns out! Back to work...

2:22 PM  
Blogger MTU: The Festrian Empire said...

I was leaning this way, until addressing MAYDAY, which features missile movement, and came out between editions 1 and 2 of LBB2.

I'm going to try it, but I think I might experiment more with SS3 now that I'm getting a better grip on it.

3:03 PM  
Blogger MTU: The Festrian Empire said...

So, I had two patrol cruisers go at it in a fight supplemented with drift missiles. it started at military detection range. Both deployed their Ship's Boats, also missile armed.

I can't say the missiles had *no* effect. They forced each ship to maneuver, however slightly; each ship only fired a single missile per turn, so as not to waste many missiles on what at best would be a chancy shot.

Patrol cruisers and SBs proved too maneuverable: no missiles contacted, and the game was a laser duel. The ship on the bad end of things was able to jump away. Drift missiles would be good against book 2 large targets (1 and 2 G ships) merchantmen, and derelicts. Not so very workable against anything with juice: but then, like I point out, straight LBB2 ships above 2000tons are seldom able to go much faster than 2G, and under those circs a drift missile might work.

But this is really enough to get me back onto some variant of SS3 Missiles again.

5:48 PM  

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