Monday, March 24, 2008

Book 2 Ship Tactics - Fast or Slow? II

Did a little smoketesting, modeling two similar ships: One chooses the tactic of closing at high speed and attacking with lasers, the other responding with missiles. I'm not convinced either way, yet, mainly because I'm not finding it too easy to scale book 2 combat at the distances called for. With detection ranges as far as 2 light seconds (6 meters!) and with the fastest accelerations at 6G (adding what, 600mm per turn, 60,000 km?) being able to have ships maneuver at the fringes of detection in any kind of meaningful way is difficult in a NYC apartment.

I've tried scaling differently. I had hoped Mayday would be a straight 'port of Book 2 to a boardgame setting, but unfortunately it changes both the time and distance scales drastically: each hex is a light second, each turn about 100 minutes iirc, and detection ranges are ignored. There's a whole different approach to laser fire. (Heck, back in the day, i'd hoped that High Guard would just be an amplification of Book 2, and might have completed the Book 2 combat model to actually finish explaining how missiles worked. I was disappointed to find otherwise.)

I've tried scaling the mayday rules down to LBB2 sizes, with each hex representing 10,000k (what 1G acceleration can add. ) That's doable... but still, at about half an inch per square, the distances are terrible. Not bad at all for Merchant combat (tail chases and minimal jinking around) but two warships operating at range are hard to get a grip on.

It's almost, but not quite, enough to make me want to experiment with adding High Guard to Festeria. That's a slippery slope, though and I want MTU to have gallant fighter pilots and small warships.

I might see if I can get a satisfying result by trying to massage Book 2 and Mayday together some more at Mayday's scale.

What I am hoping to determine is this: is it possible for a ship armed with lasers and operating at speed to get within effective laser range against a military craft armed with missiles, and avoid harm.

If it goes straight in, I'd have to say no. Missiles seem to be good at tackling straight line maneuvers. But if the attacker were travelling obliquely, so that when it got within 250,000km it was travelling with a long vector, it seems it might be able to stay within laser range a few rounds and end up avoiding salvoes. But that's going to need considerably more space or a different model for me to show how it all works.

2 Comments:

Blogger Omer Golan said...

Concerning HG, it has both advantages and disadvantages over LBB2.

Advantages:
1) More varied weapons, screens (shields) and other systems. Ships could be of any size you like.
2) You can build small craft.
3) With the help of HGS (http://www.downport.com/amv/
software/hgs.html), ship design is painless and easy to modify.
4) No vectors during combat; no need for a large playing surface.
5) Battery rules greatly reduce the amount of to-hit rolls required per turn.

Disadvantages:
1) Big-ship ultra-warship universe; not necessarily what you want. The typical PC ships are dwarfed by even relatively small military craft (Destroyers being 2,000dton-5,000dton, Cruisers in the 20,000dton-75,000dton range). Also, this means that most warships would be too large to deckplan.
2) The Sweet Spot Syndrome. While you have a wide variety of options, very certain combinations are far more effective than others; this also changes by TL. You have to know the system's many secrets in order to design effective ships under the combat rules. You could start here (http://www.travellerrpg.com/CotI/
Discuss/showthread.php?t=15432)
or here (http://www.travellerrpg.com/CotI/
Discuss/showthread.php?t=3597&page=3) in order to learn of some of these "sweet spots".
3) Combat has only two ranges and doesn't really deal with maneuver. HG combat feels like a group of huge warships pounding each other with their cannons.
4) HG combat is not very PC-ship-friendly. However, you could look here (http://www.travellerrpg.com/CotI/
Discuss/showthread.php?t=3895&highlight
=PC+scale) for a proposed solution.
5) HG fighters are effective up to TL12 especially if they carry nuclear missiles. At TL13+ nuclear damper technology makes fighters more or less useless.
6) HG uses a different TL progression than LBB2 - instead of limiting ship size per jump rating according to TL, it limits you highest possible jump rating. It also means that large ships could be fast under HG - as fast as fighters.

The super-size ship problem could be mitigated by the fact that YTU is small and has recently undergone a major war; you'll have a far lower budget and far lower total tonnage than the OTU (you should test this idea in TCS).

12:42 AM  
Blogger Festeria said...

I think I'm on the edge with HG sorta. I like it, really. I even like the "group of huge warships pounding each other with their cannons" image. I have enjoyed it on its own. And I think that probably, I could even make it work IMTU well enough to fit. With lower budgets, but still the need to spread resources, ship sizes will still have to be smaller than the humongoloid things that sometimes appear, and fighters would still have a role - much of Fester's competition would still be low tech enough to be harmed by fighters.

What mostly stops me is the deliberate limitation of myself to LBB123, is all.

4:39 PM  

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