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Author Topic: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race  (Read 77452 times)

Lagrange

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1410 on: 03 December 2018, 19:10:06 »
Yet there are.
I agree with the thesis that there are good and bad designs, but not the examples.
Like Naval Gauss,
Light Naval Gauss is actually of high interest to the TC.  Having more range than anyone else has significant value.  Medium Naval Gauss cost more than an HNPPC but has the same range and damage efficiency while doing wicked damage in a high speed engagement.   Granted, Heavy Naval Gauss is a lemon---it should really do 35 damage.
or lighter NPPCs,
Granted.
or Whiteshark Launchers.
A 29% chance of a critical hit per missile is actually quite good against heavily armored opponents.  So far, it seems like critical hits have not won the day, but in real battletech game massed use of Whitesharks could be effective.
We'll have to live with some of those. And unless he goes completely by what 'feels right', and doesn't play this out in any way, there will be superior approaches. And while range and other concerns might make NACs not the obvious and only choice, which I actually believe they aren't, I still think that focussing purely on sniping is a foolish endeavour before the advent of bracketing.
Base gunnery 4+6(extreme)+2(evasion) means that an opponent running away can be hit even if they try to evade.  On other aspects forcing the opponent to evade drains 2 from their thrust every round even if you can't hit... and Alsadius says he's not taking aspects into account.  Overall, focusing purely on sniping seems foolish as you say, but some focus seems reasonable given the duration of a system transit.

UnLimiTeD

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1411 on: 03 December 2018, 19:44:53 »
The medium N-Gauss is the best of the bunch, and it has 2 less range than a heavy NPPC with worse tonnage efficiency and higher cost. It certainly has it's niche.
The light is only useful if you want to focus on sniping, but those 2 hexes of range don't fillme with confidence, and the heavy... oh well.
I wasn't even aware that whitesharks have better crits than a killerwhale - I thought their only point is as T-Missiles.
Regarding the running away thingy, I doubt that'll happen much, because that would require a match wherein the opposition decides to turn tail.
Luckily for long range fire, no one will think of throwing random junk out the ship for another century or so.
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marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1412 on: 03 December 2018, 21:03:07 »
The medium N-Gauss is the best of the bunch, and it has 2 less range than a heavy NPPC with worse tonnage efficiency and higher cost. It certainly has it's niche.
The light is only useful if you want to focus on sniping, but those 2 hexes of range don't fillme with confidence, and the heavy... oh well.
I wasn't even aware that whitesharks have better crits than a killerwhale - I thought their only point is as T-Missiles.
Regarding the running away thingy, I doubt that'll happen much, because that would require a match wherein the opposition decides to turn tail.
Luckily for long range fire, no one will think of throwing random junk out the ship for another century or so.

RAW Screen Launchers are -way- too good.  Like ‘why not have 10 on every facing, fire control permitting’ good.  Thats before we get to the ‘lets make fighters extinct’ angle (mind you, RAW Fighters are way, way, way too good...)

Alsadius

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1413 on: 03 December 2018, 22:52:48 »
Turn update: Still going, but this weekend was vastly busier than anticipated, so I didn't get much done. No ETA yet. Sorry. I'll keep you posted as I make more progress.

Alsadius:  This raises a couple of concerns to me:

1.)  Shipboard missile launchers are, in the utter absence of PDS, still very poor weapon systems past about 10 rounds per launcher.  If you see fights as lasting hours before decision, shipboard missile launchers have no role.

2.)  Ship manuvering speeds and weapon ranges, in tabletop, allow at least the idea of decisive long range engagement.  If fights last hours, any advantage of long range fire is rendered trivial, as the range will certainly be closed in the first 10 minutes of the 6 hour fight.  Assuming of course a range advantage is not coupled with sufficient thrust advantage to hold the range for all six hours.

Given the above, and knowing now your underlying assumptions, the reason behind  some of my perceptions about combat thus far (shipboard launchers are a bad use of tonnage, NACs are the decisive weapon, the bigger the better) is now made clear.

1) I see a few roles for missiles. Alpha strike possibilities(for high-speed engagements or thickening up a fighter strike) are a natural role, albeit one that implies a small weapon load. Barracudas are still fairly effective anti-fighter weapons. The different constraints on station designs(mass is cheap, weapon cost is expensive) also give missiles a natural role there. But things like the canon Monsoon's 3x White Shark with 20 missiles each have no place in this setting. I kind of wish they did, but I think the missile system works much better here than under canon rules, so I'll accept that as a loss to make it happen.

2) On tabletop, how long can you really hold open a range advantage? A 4/6 chasing a 3/5 with the goal of overhauling ASAP will go from 57 hexes away(beyond range of any weapon) to 2 hexes away in the space of 10 rounds. And that's basically the worst-case scenario - no initial closing velocity, they do nothing but run away, you have the smallest possible thrust advantage, and you're using nothing but Mech-scale short-range weapons to hit them with(since anything else would be in range before then).

And to be fair, NACs are the decisive weapon in most fights. NPPCs and NGauss can fit that role sometime, but those make the most sense when you want long-range fights, and most people haven't built around that. If we ever got a fight between a Caesar and an old-style Tyr we might think differently, but the ships to make a fight like that happen aren't easy to come by. The closest we've come was the Ancile group in the Echohawk coup, and that did pack an impressive punch, but they were badly outnumbered and lost despite it.

I am actually thinking about transverse velocity as generating the to-hit penalty.  Not using aspect penalties makes it a bit easier to have combat at extreme range.

That's fair, and I'd agree. But it's the motion that matters, not the facing. If you're moving on an oblique path with respect to a ship, it'll be harder for that ship to shoot you no matter which side of your ship is showing. (If I'm not mistaken, the canon rules here were mostly built around atmospheric combat, and this is one effect of that. Vacuum is different, and I don't think that translates well).

That's a good point not fully captured in the above.  It means that NAC/40 boats like Rapid Ventilation are not quite as effective as high intensity combat would suggest.

They are, but the range restrictions to get them into that situation are harder to accomplish. A NAC/40 is like an AC/20 in Mech combat - it packs a wallop, but you need to be knife fighting.

Even the game rules have this---it's just much rarer to have a systemically disabling critical hit from a side aspect.

For the purpose of this game, are systemically disabling crits equally likely from every aspect?
...
However, it's important to note that I'm including structure for a side aspect (consistent with rare systemically disabling critical hits) and not for the nose aspect (consistent with common systemically disabling critical hits).  Should that change?

I don't get to that level of granularity, so I have to give the somewhat frustrating answer of "I don't know". But let me look through the canon lists(ignoring ones that are mostly just nuisances or long-term headaches):
Nose: CIC is very bad, and Sensors and Weapon are both moderately bad. CIC and Sensors are 5/36 each, and Weapon is 11/36.
Aft: Fuel is an instant kill, Engine is pretty bad, and the rest is the same. Fuel is 1/36, Engine is 10/36, and Weapon is 11/36.
Side: As above. 2/36 Sensors, 1/36 Engine, and 11/36 Weapon.

Weapon is the same all around, which seems fair. But the others are 10/36 nose, 11/36 aft, and 3/36 side. That seems too lopsided. Sensors should be spread all around, since you need to see in all directions, and stuff like CIC should be central enough that it's not easy to hit from any angle. If anything, because of the depth of the ship, it'll be easier to get deep enough to hit the core from the sides, not the ends. Conversely, something punching deep into the hull (once it's past armor) can do more damage as a raking shot than a side-on shot, because there's more stuff in its path.

The system is kind of abstract, and armor weights are so ludicrously low that it can't possibly be taken literally. But my gut feeling is that the big advantage to side fighting is offensive(the ability to mount more weapons), not defensive. And the biggest defensive advantage would probably be the ability to generate cross vectors when moving evasively, not damage control. I'd count SI for both, though for low-intensity I'd drop it some to count crits in. Maybe SI*1, instead of the SI*2 of actual hit points? (That is not a statement, to be clear. I'm just musing) For high-intensity, it's of course the full HP value of SI*2, because crits don't matter.

I'm presently not including an aft aspect in low-intensity battle.  In terms of Battletech, the aft-side armor will already be gone by the time you get to it with gun bays typically critted out and aft armor significantly depleted. 

Thinking further, perhaps I've missed a battle type: the chase.  Force A is chasing force B out of the system.  Force A must have a speed higher than force B and force B can only really use their aft aspect unless they decide to give up on fleeing.   We haven't seen any chases, but it's easy enough to imagine them happening if (say) a fleet of NAC boats is threatened by a faster fleet of HNPPCs.[/quote]

Aft was why I specified "relevant aspects". And chases are tough to keep up for long, because an acceleration advantage opens up the range much faster than a speed advantage(like wet-navy ships have).

If there isnt an increased vulerability to the fore and aft aspects, logically would not a concentration of capital firepower on a single aspect (fore or aft) with a matching armor concentration, be the ideal result?

I ask because this looks like almost nothing in cannon, but the 10% fire control tax from putting, say, 40xNAC 40 on the nose, rather than 20 on each side aspect, coupled with sufficent speed to close, would be trivial compared to the massive advantage reaped in firepower and effective armor.

Yes.   Equal crit vulnerability from all aspects implies the optimal design places heavy armor + weapons in the nose.  The battletech crit & aspect rules seem to have been engineered to allow for that to not be the optimal strategy, at least not always.

How much armor can you put fore before one squadron of fighters will rip apart your ship from aft? I sort of see where you guys are coming from here, but I'm not convinced it's so simple as that.

I think a battle between warships is more akin to a duel between Helicopters or jet fighters, dependng on the size and speed. Those ships are relatively fragile, and relatively fast.

Using rules as written, yes, but that's insane in any plausible setting. Why would you spend so much tonnage on armor(well, SI) in that case? I'd rather these be battleships that can handle a bit of a slugging match.

I really don't see long battles happening that ofte unless both fleets jump in near the edge of their range, or the engaging faction spends a few hours on heavy deceleration, because they require speed to meet in the first place, and they might as well use some of that speed to quickly close the range (snip) I believe a sea battle doesn't normally have this dynamic.

Sea battles don't, and there's some truth to what you say, but crossing engagements have drawbacks. You can't protect a fixed point(like a planet) that way, and if you're the more maneuverable side, you also give up the ability to chase defeated enemies. Crossing engagements allow fairly easy retreat, which is hardly the goal.

Regarding individual weapon ranges: That's nice now, but has a few issues in the future - say, subcaps, where some of them will have plain worse range than standard weapons for no gain - and I'd like to raise the point of what is the niche of smaller sized PPCs? They have the same tonnage/damage ratio, same with heat, if memory serves right, and they are shorter ranged.
I wonder if very large capital weapons should maybe have a bigger difficulty to hit relatively small targets, say, small dropships?
Ballistics do that by range, but energy weapons Invert that dynamic.

Subcaps are so efficient that their range being nerfed seems fair to me. Small NPPCs are harder to justify, admittedly. They do anti-DropShip work okay, but they're nothing special. No solution comes immediately to mind.

One subproblem is: How well can a faster fleet control separation from a slower fleet?
(snip)
So, an overtake of 1.5 (the most common case) on a 3/4.5 fleet (also common) implies a separation distance variation of +/- 4.5 space hexes.   

Remember that this isn't tabletop - it happens in continuous time, not discrete time. As such, calculations like this are more affected by reaction time etc., not by the turn-by-tun nature of the board game.

We'll have to live with the fact (probably for the better) that the space combat we engage in is in no way realistic.
Just take a look at the fuel consumption. Within the rules corset we have, fleets that rely on range will probably require superior training even before the advent of ECM, as you need to both have good gunners and be able to consistently win initiative.
So as much as we might all like to, skirting the range envelope and plinking away is unlikely to work, barring designs so optimized for the task they can do absolutely nothing else. .. I'm starting the get aggravated by my tablets keyboard.

Of course, if we do have newtonian movement, which I hope we do, there might still be some interesting tactics available.

Movement is Newtonian for sure. This was a big part of Marcus' problem at Vega - his fighters were agile enough, but delta-V limited by their small fuel tanks, so they needed to do a high-speed engagement and do a slow deceleration in order to have enough fuel to return to their carriers safely. That's why it was such a long delay. And "fast plinker" designs are like most hyper-specialized designs in history - if they get the engagement they want, they work shockingly well. If they get any other kind of engagement, they give a real shot in the arm to the local scrap metal industry.

Yet there are.
Like Naval Gauss, or lighter NPPCs, or Whiteshark Launchers. We'll have to live with some of those. And unless he goes completely by what 'feels right', and doesn't play this out in any way, there will be superior approaches. And while range and other concerns might make NACs not the obvious and only choice, which I actually believe they aren't, I still think that focussing purely on sniping is a foolish endeavour before the advent of bracketing.

NGauss have reduced range penalties - my mental math is that they get half the range penalties of other weapons, so they're only +3 at extreme. (This is a rule adjustment I also advocate on tabletop, FWIW). Small NPPCs, no answer to them yet(as stated above). White Shark(and Killer Whale) launchers, I'm thinking of adding "minelayer" rules to the game, which was originally thought of as a fixced defence option for planets. But there's no reason that we can't use existing missile launchers as the deployment tool for these mines. I'll mull over that.

RAW Screen Launchers are -way- too good.  Like ‘why not have 10 on every facing, fire control permitting’ good.  Thats before we get to the ‘lets make fighters extinct’ angle (mind you, RAW Fighters are way, way, way too good...)

How so? The screening aspect is good, but that's not much reason to use them in great bulk. If we get rid of the quirk of them being the only AOE weapon in a game with fighter squadrons, they don't seem that good after the first few.

marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1414 on: 03 December 2018, 23:30:56 »
1.)  You cant hold the range open all that long in tabletop.  What you can do, in fleet engagements, on the table top,  is start wrecking ships very very fast even at extreme range..  Lets take a trained gunnery fleet (3 gunnery), extreme range (+6), closing aspect (+1).  Thats 10s... which is high, Ill grant.  But thats still 1 shot in 6 hitting.  If you have 6, say, Buri in a line - thats 600 damage to someones nose aspect.  Even if it survives, it isnt showig its nose again.  *

So its now 5v6.  Another salvo at the HNPPC extreme (out of nac range) and its 4v6.  Once the NAC boats get extreme, the HNPPCs are at long... the NAC boats are firing at 10s, now, but hull losses means that both sides have about the same firepower... and the HNPPCs are firing at 8s now...  40% of fire hits...  and the NAC fleet is down to 2 ships, maybe 3.  The HNPPC fleet may lose one.

The rest is math.**

Now, get your closing velocity up past 10, and you might close quicker, but your still gonna take unreturned volleys, and still have worse THNs most of the time... and your blowing through the engagement range pretty quick.

*Evasive action is a trap, here.  Assuming Buri is the target, a 3/4.5 cant creat an advantageous delta-v after going evasive.  A 4/6 can, but not much - and its paid a huge price in armor, warload, or both to get that .5G of delta-v after evasive (consider that  2/3 is ~36% SI and Guns, while a 4/6 is ~24%.  A 4/6 NAC boat is about even to slightly disadvantaged against a 2/3 NPPC boat if it starts off at range 1.  Everything else is worse.  Speed has value - but that value is in forcing or declining engagements (which is incredibly valuable!) but not so much in winning them.  It must be so - because if the same speed that lets you choose or decline engagement also let you win them, then we have no trade-offs, and the design space collapses again.

**Above Analysis takes place in bed on Iphone.  Ill try for something more detailed if people care.  But I maintain that barring a closing speed that starts us i to the realm of high speed engagement, long range, decisive, energy weapon fire is possible.  McKenna was built for a reason.  Note that the above fleet is 3 gunner - chosen to make point more decisively, but so long as fleets have equal gunners, poorer gunners just move the decisive range closer, and the longer ranged fleet will still hit theirs first.

Finally note that in duels and squadrons, all bets are off - NACs are in their element, as decisive fire outside medium range is less likely.

2.)  Nose Only Armament
Oh, yould want to tile your off-arcs in AAA/PDS.  But since your putting your anti-ship load on your nose, your flanks are free to carry massive AAA/PDS fits to ward off fighters and missiles, along with a respectable killer whale battery to fire off-bore at ships and a barracuda battery to further help solve fighters.  Frankly, what I fear most on a high speed NacNose is not fighters behind me, its fighter missiles on my nose when i burn in under high speed engagement rules.

What I fear most on an NPPC nose is that I cant fight to hold range open - but looking at 1.) above, Im wondering if the efficiencies of the ‘spinal mount ship’ arent still worthwhile - at least until size/mass climbs beyond a certain point.

‘You can put more firepower on the side’ doesnt hold true under the rules we have.  Maybe if we were limited to NL/35s... but HNPPCs and NACs are individually heavy enough that the firecontrol penalty for putting then all in the nose is far less than the waste of putting half your guns on an unengaged side.

Wile abstract, and maybe unrealistic, I think the developers got it ‘right’ here.  The hideous vulnerability of the aft aspect to crits killing speed (or the ship!) serves as a deterrent to the degenerate ‘Lasertail’ - the runaway boat risks losing the ability to run.  Similarly, the ‘Nacnose’ or ‘Lasernose’ crusher/artillery pice gets a firepower advantage, but accepts a great risk of losing the use of that firepower in a couple of sensor/cic crits - possibly through armor if missiles get their crit value!

3.)  NGauss Range Penalties - This changes the above equation radically.  The NPPC is, I believe I display above, a potentially decisive weapon at squadron size and becomes more so as the engagement size increases.  If its half range penalty, then the extreme range engagement, closing aspect, trained gunner... the NGauss fleet needs 7s instead of 10s.  The move from NPPC to LNGauss costs you 1/3 of your fire, but your hitting with half of your weapons (and then some!) rather than 1/6 of them.  That would take the first salvo in the above example from 600 damage to 1200.

4.)  Screen Launchers - given that I dont know your movement  a if screen launchers exist, I want enough to ensure I’m as covered as possible all the way in until I unmask my NAC/40s at point bank and wreck your navy in one round.

The mass efficiency of the NAC/40 might let me do some strange things here... like a 4/6 ship with 180 SI - sure, its weapons are a tiny mass fraction, but if their all NAC/40s in a nose arc (which I didnt event ake fire on on the way in cause screen launchers) then I can get by with a tiny mass fraction in guns.
« Last Edit: 04 December 2018, 00:04:32 by marcussmythe »

Lagrange

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1415 on: 04 December 2018, 04:26:56 »
I kind of wish they did, but I think the missile system works much better here than under canon rules, so I'll accept that as a loss to make it happen.
I'm actually not sure of this.  The possibility of massed fighter strikes has rendered shipboard missiles relatively obsolete.   Also, it seems like we keep rebalancing the effectiveness of point defense.
That's fair, and I'd agree. But it's the motion that matters, not the facing. If you're moving on an oblique path with respect to a ship, it'll be harder for that ship to shoot you no matter which side of your ship is showing. 
I thought about this a bit more and there is an important bit of finesse.   Radial unpredictability seems like the key thing in not being hit, rather than velocity.  Velocity, particularly velocity through a vacuum, has very predictable consequences which a computer could easily adjust for.  Radial unpredictability is generated through thrust, and significant thrust is only generated aft.  If radial unpredictability is the key, then you can best generate it by presenting your side and using thrust.
Fuel is an instant kill
It's only a 1-in-6 instant kill, so a 1-in-216 chance.
armor weights are so ludicrously low that it can't possibly be taken literally.
Yeah, it's so bad that swapping the definition of armor and structure helps.
And the biggest defensive advantage would probably be the ability to generate cross vectors when moving evasively, not damage control. I'd count SI for both, though for low-intensity I'd drop it some to count crits in. Maybe SI*1, instead of the SI*2 of actual hit points? (That is not a statement, to be clear. I'm just musing) For high-intensity, it's of course the full HP value of SI*2, because crits don't matter.
I'm still mulling on things here myself.   The fact that low intensity => holding a long range with superior thrust => you lose control of facing wasn't calculated originally. 

I'm also somewhat hesitant to depart from the rules overly much, as it would (a) be more interesting if it applies to battletech in general and (b) I'm hesitant to give even more preference for nose-only warships.
And chases are tough to keep up for long, because an acceleration advantage opens up the range much faster than a speed advantage(like wet-navy ships have).
A long run chase could happen if:
(a) the chased have some hope of getting somewhere safe (able to jump?  other forces in system?)
(b) the chaser has superior long range weapons or gunnery.
(c) the chaser has superior thrust.
How much armor can you put fore before one squadron of fighters will rip apart your ship from aft? I sort of see where you guys are coming from here, but I'm not convinced it's so simple as that.
Judging from the Kutai vs. 200 fighters fight, quite a large portion of armor could be invested forwards on heavier warship designs.
Remember that this isn't tabletop - it happens in continuous time, not discrete time. As such, calculations like this are more affected by reaction time etc., not by the turn-by-tun nature of the board game.
That makes sense.
NGauss have reduced range penalties - my mental math is that they get half the range penalties of other weapons, so they're only +3 at extreme.
This moves NGauss from situationally useful to required on many designs other than a knife fighter... I'd advise against it.  Light NGauss is already good with the longest range and Medium NGauss is already reasonable in comparison to HNPPC (lose 7% damage / ton, cost x2, but gain damage in high speed engagements). 
White Shark(and Killer Whale) launchers, I'm thinking of adding "minelayer" rules to the game, which was originally thought of as a fixced defence option for planets. But there's no reason that we can't use existing missile launchers as the deployment tool for these mines. I'll mull over that.
This can be designed with satellites as per TO.
How so? The screening aspect is good, but that's not much reason to use them in great bulk. If we get rid of the quirk of them being the only AOE weapon in a game with fighter squadrons, they don't seem that good after the first few.
  • The AOE aspect is amazing.   Imagine if each Atago had a couple and fired on the fighters before just before they launched----it would kill every fighter.  Not even a Barracuda-N, which sprays around more mass at a higher velocity, gets that.
  • As Marcussmythe says, mobile LOS blocks are the knife-fighters delight.
  • Blocking LOS would also limit the ability to hold a range because you can't react quickly to a change in the other force's heading.
The move from NPPC to LNGauss costs you 1/3 of your fire, but your hitting with half of your weapons (and then some!) rather than 1/6 of them.  That would take the first salvo in the above example from 600 damage to 1200.
The MNGauss is the more direct competitor to HNPPC as it has the same range.  Rerunning with the exact odds for 7+ the 600 damage HNPPC changes to 1900+ damage with the MNGauss.   And if you rearrange for nose only as is being encouraged...

UnLimiTeD

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1416 on: 04 December 2018, 04:37:54 »
Using rules as written, yes, but that's insane in any plausible setting. Why would you spend so much tonnage on armor(well, SI) in that case? I'd rather these be battleships that can handle a bit of a slugging match.
We're not. We're not allowed to by the rules. If we could, I'd cover a Heracles in 50000 tons of the stuff. Warships in BT are eggshells, in a startling and completely unfitting fallback to what a real space battleship would look like.

NGauss have reduced range penalties - my mental math is that they get half the range penalties of other weapons, so they're only +3 at extreme. (This is a rule adjustment I also advocate on tabletop, FWIW). Small NPPCs, no answer to them yet(as stated above). White Shark(and Killer Whale) launchers, I'm thinking of adding "minelayer" rules to the game, which was originally thought of as a fixced defence option for planets. But there's no reason that we can't use existing missile launchers as the deployment tool for these mines. I'll mull over that.
Or we could just use actual minelayers. They are in the game, and work somewhat similar to screen launchers, without any of their defensive qualities.
I intended to put them on the Heracles Engineer that I didn't build because of the cost of repair bays.
In fact, I have them on nearly every design that I considered putting into service in this scenario - they just happened to not be part of the design that I ended up adopting.

The range brackets would indeed make for a very juicy weapon. Almost a bit too good, but as the early adopter o those things I suppose I should just shut up and take em.
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marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1417 on: 04 December 2018, 08:23:11 »
As for how long battles are/arent:

Sure, Jutland was a day, a night, and the following day.  But the vast majority of this time is manuvering outside engagement ranges - not on a tactical map or in combat turns.

The Run to the South is about an hour of firing, and in the Battleship engagement, only about an hour passes between the Jellicoe deploying for battle and the second time the Germans turn away and are lost.

Oddly, the third battle I checked times on - Surigao - also looks like about an hour under big gun fire.

So, despite our perception of these ships as monstrously tough - these things are decided very quickly indeed in the real world.  That does not mean, in fact, that such ships were not monstrously tough - they had to be as tough as they were to survive as long as they did, rather than being lost in the first shell hit.  But for all efforts, naval battle consumes men and machines at a -terrible- rate.  The whole output of cities and years of the cream of a nations crop, men and material, gone in hours.

The point of armor is not to let you sail around for hours, impervious to fire.  It is to buy your guns enough time to win.

Amusingly, I cant find the offical duration of a ‘Warship’ turn in Battletech.  If its 10 minutes (which sounds right, but so many years and so many editions), then the whole run to the South is 6 turns, complete with there being something wrong with our bloody ships today!

EDIT:  Looks like space turns are 1 minute.  RAW, space combat is even more terribly fast once engagement range is reached - similar to Honorverse Energy Range.  Perhaps 10 Minutes (with ranges and speeds modified to match) would be better.

RE LNgauss vs MNGauss - I chose the light for my example because of the extra range.  Once the light is in service, the decision making for a long range fleet designer gets interesting.  Mediums are far more damage efficient, but in continuous time, Lights not only have more range (and thus more accuracy) but will fire -first-.  Similarly, the 4 range lost between the Medium and Heavy mounts means a fleet mounting mediums is at at least some risk from a very high speed light NGauss ‘Executioner’ design - though such a design strategy is extremely fragile - Id still be sorely tempted to mount either a mix of LNGauss and MNGauss, or go all light and do honors to attacking, effectively, first.

-1 range penalties might be better for NGauss, TBH - I think we see above why ‘half’ would cause them to start obsoleting all other weapon systems (we encountered this problem early with the hyper-accurate Barracuda, but reduction in barracuda damage against capital vessels, coupled with high PDS efficacy, has addressed this)
« Last Edit: 04 December 2018, 10:11:07 by marcussmythe »

Alsadius

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1418 on: 04 December 2018, 11:36:42 »
2.)  Nose Only Armament
Oh, yould want to tile your off-arcs in AAA/PDS.  But since your putting your anti-ship load on your nose, your flanks are free to carry massive AAA/PDS fits to ward off fighters and missiles, along with a respectable killer whale battery to fire off-bore at ships and a barracuda battery to further help solve fighters.  Frankly, what I fear most on a high speed NacNose is not fighters behind me, its fighter missiles on my nose when i burn in under high speed engagement rules.

What I fear most on an NPPC nose is that I cant fight to hold range open - but looking at 1.) above, Im wondering if the efficiencies of the ‘spinal mount ship’ arent still worthwhile - at least until size/mass climbs beyond a certain point.

‘You can put more firepower on the side’ doesnt hold true under the rules we have.  Maybe if we were limited to NL/35s... but HNPPCs and NACs are individually heavy enough that the firecontrol penalty for putting then all in the nose is far less than the waste of putting half your guns on an unengaged side.

Wile abstract, and maybe unrealistic, I think the developers got it ‘right’ here.  The hideous vulnerability of the aft aspect to crits killing speed (or the ship!) serves as a deterrent to the degenerate ‘Lasertail’ - the runaway boat risks losing the ability to run.  Similarly, the ‘Nacnose’ or ‘Lasernose’ crusher/artillery pice gets a firepower advantage, but accepts a great risk of losing the use of that firepower in a couple of sensor/cic crits - possibly through armor if missiles get their crit value!

I can see your point. It's still much worse if you're surrounded, but if you can control the engagement it's promising.

Out of curiousity, what would your max-minning brain do if I said that asymmetrical ship loads were allowed, but that(aside from engines) aspect didn't affect crits to any meaningful extent?

3.)  NGauss Range Penalties - This changes the above equation radically.  The NPPC is, I believe I display above, a potentially decisive weapon at squadron size and becomes more so as the engagement size increases.  If its half range penalty, then the extreme range engagement, closing aspect, trained gunner... the NGauss fleet needs 7s instead of 10s.  The move from NPPC to LNGauss costs you 1/3 of your fire, but your hitting with half of your weapons (and then some!) rather than 1/6 of them.  That would take the first salvo in the above example from 600 damage to 1200.

Depends on which class of NGauss, IMO. A LNGauss is so inefficient that it's probably not overpowered even with that rule - it'd be much better than a HNPPC at extreme range, but at long range it's almost a tossup, and at medium or short the PPC wins easily. MNGauss and HNGauss are much more efficient, and while they lose a bit of range it's not much. (Max range is 56 for LNGauss, 54 for HNPPC, 52 for MNGauss, and 48 for HNGauss).

I think my rule is fair for LNGauss, but mediums and heavies might need a weaker version of it.

4.)  Screen Launchers - given that I dont know your movement  a if screen launchers exist, I want enough to ensure I’m as covered as possible all the way in until I unmask my NAC/40s at point bank and wreck your navy in one round.

The mass efficiency of the NAC/40 might let me do some strange things here... like a 4/6 ship with 180 SI - sure, its weapons are a tiny mass fraction, but if their all NAC/40s in a nose arc (which I didnt event ake fire on on the way in cause screen launchers) then I can get by with a tiny mass fraction in guns.

The obvious fix here is that screen launchers mess with things, but (imperfect) countermeasures exist. Anything that amounts to a perfect defence is going to be OP, of course.

I'm also somewhat hesitant to depart from the rules overly much, as it would (a) be more interesting if it applies to battletech in general and (b) I'm hesitant to give even more preference for nose-only warships.

Fair point. I don't think there's a preference for them now, but it's a valid worry, and I'll tread carefully.

Judging from the Kutai vs. 200 fighters fight, quite a large portion of armor could be invested forwards on heavier warship designs.

That fight seems to have been badly misunderstood. The reason the Kutai survived was that a lot of those missiles weren't aimed at it in the first place. A lot of the firepower went against DropShips, and even then the ship nearly died. In battles since then, ~200 fighters has been shown to kill a Black Lion.

This moves NGauss from situationally useful to required on many designs other than a knife fighter... I'd advise against it.  Light NGauss is already good with the longest range and Medium NGauss is already reasonable in comparison to HNPPC (lose 7% damage / ton, cost x2, but gain damage in high speed engagements).

I think you're really overstating the value of the LNGauss' range advantage. The extreme is 56, vs 54 on HNPPC and NL55. That is not worth losing a third of your damage/kton. They're functionally identical on range - it's like talking about the range advantage of an IS Pulse LL over an IS ML. 3/7/10 is better than 3/6/9, yes, but it doesn't really affect your tactics much.

FWIW, I ran some numbers. Under canon rules, assuming THN of 4+range mod, the only ranges where any Gauss beats a HNPPC is the LNGauss at ranges 27-28, 40, and 55-56(where it's a bracket up on the PPC). Using a proposed rule set of LNGauss getting halved range penalties, MNGauss getting -1 penalty at long/extreme, and HNGauss getting no range mod but 35 damage, the layout looked way better. HNGauss wins at 1-12 and 14-24, HNPPC at 13 and 25-26, MNGauss at 29-39, and LNGauss at 27-28 and 40-56. Adding up their damage/kton at each range:
HNPPC: 140.83
LNGauss: 141.65
MNGauss: 147.42
HNGauss: 133.07

The HNPPC and MNGauss are all-arounders, the LNGauss is a sniper, and the HNGauss has slightly better range and efficiency than a NAC-10, with a giant single-point impact to get crits. This seems pretty good to me. My original rules, with flat halved penalties, gives totals for the medium and heavy north of 180, which is clearly too good.

We're not. We're not allowed to by the rules. If we could, I'd cover a Heracles in 50000 tons of the stuff. Warships in BT are eggshells, in a startling and completely unfitting fallback to what a real space battleship would look like.
Or we could just use actual minelayers. They are in the game, and work somewhat similar to screen launchers, without any of their defensive qualities.
I intended to put them on the Heracles Engineer that I didn't build because of the cost of repair bays.
In fact, I have them on nearly every design that I considered putting into service in this scenario - they just happened to not be part of the design that I ended up adopting.

The range brackets would indeed make for a very juicy weapon. Almost a bit too good, but as the early adopter o those things I suppose I should just shut up and take em.

I regard SI tonnage as being armor tonnage, they just call it something else to keep their math more in line with their stated damage and tonnage ratios. 

Re minelayers, also an option, but frankly those rules seem less interesting (and less in line with existing design practice) than our missiles.

As for how long battles are/arent:

Sure, Jutland was a day, a night, and the following day.  But the vast majority of this time is manuvering outside engagement ranges - not on a tactical map or in combat turns.

The Run to the South is about an hour of firing, and in the Battleship engagement, only about an hour passes between the Jellicoe deploying for battle and the second time the Germans turn away and are lost.

Oddly, the third battle I checked times on - Surigao - also looks like about an hour under big gun fire.

So, despite our perception of these ships as monstrously tough - these things are decided very quickly indeed in the real world.  That does not mean, in fact, that such ships were not monstrously tough - they had to be as tough as they were to survive as long as they did, rather than being lost in the first shell hit.  But for all efforts, naval battle consumes men and machines at a -terrible- rate.  The whole output of cities and years of the cream of a nations crop, men and material, gone in hours.

The point of armor is not to let you sail around for hours, impervious to fire.  It is to buy your guns enough time to win.

Sure. But as you said below, the battles in BT are less than ten minutes long, which is still far too short even with that info. And the maneuvers should be able to take some time as well.

EDIT:  Looks like space turns are 1 minute.  RAW, space combat is even more terribly fast once engagement range is reached - similar to Honorverse Energy Range.  Perhaps 10 Minutes (with ranges and speeds modified to match) would be better.

RE LNgauss vs MNGauss - I chose the light for my example because of the extra range.  Once the light is in service, the decision making for a long range fleet designer gets interesting.  Mediums are far more damage efficient, but in continuous time, Lights not only have more range (and thus more accuracy) but will fire -first-.  Similarly, the 4 range lost between the Medium and Heavy mounts means a fleet mounting mediums is at at least some risk from a very high speed light NGauss ‘Executioner’ design - though such a design strategy is extremely fragile - Id still be sorely tempted to mount either a mix of LNGauss and MNGauss, or go all light and do honors to attacking, effectively, first.

-1 range penalties might be better for NGauss, TBH - I think we see above why ‘half’ would cause them to start obsoleting all other weapon systems (we encountered this problem early with the hyper-accurate Barracuda, but reduction in barracuda damage against capital vessels, coupled with high PDS efficacy, has addressed this)

Modifying turn time sounded good for a second, but the problem is you need to change a lot of other things to match. 1g for 1 minute is ~18km moved and a total speed of 36km/min. BT simplified that to just adding the speed at the beginning (Kiv and I have been known to make "Dirac Delta Drive" jokes about this"), so 2 thrust = 2 hexes = 18km hexes. With 10 minute turns, the distance would be 100x as long, so you're up to 1800km hexes. That means you can hit things from ~100,000km away at standard weapon ranges, so a fleet in geostationary orbit is well inside bombardment range. That makes defensive stations over fixed points on the surface possible, which totally changes planetary defense considerations. It also makes screen launchers something of a joke - no way they could fill that much space. And launching a missile salvo within a 10-minute period will hardly saturate someone's defences. There's a lot of problems that crop up, which are easy to address with a blank sheet of paper, but hard to fix here.

Re Gauss rules, check out my numbers above.

marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1419 on: 04 December 2018, 11:52:35 »
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Warships in BT are eggshells, in a startling and completely unfitting fallback to what a real space battleship would look like.

Depends on your source material.  Enterprise and Reliant exchanged very few salvos.  The warships of the Honorverse are vast multi-mega tonne assemblages, with meters of unobtanium armor - energy range engagement is decisive in seconds to minutes.

Were I designing the game from the ground up, Id have done 10 minute turns, with the concomitant increase in ranges, etc - but I was not consulted.  Then again, I liked the old Aerotech ranges...

I can see your point. It's still much worse if you're surrounded, but if you can control the engagement it's promising.

Out of curiousity, what would your max-minning brain do if I said that asymmetrical ship loads were allowed, but that(aside from engines) aspect didn't affect crits to any meaningful extent?

Im not sure its much worse if your surrounded.  Sure, you dont have guns on the sides, but youve got them all on your front.  You blow up the guy in front of you with a concentrated punch, while he and his friends chop small pieces off all your armor facings.  Then you turn, or ECHO, and blow up the next guy with a concentrated punch...

As for what Id design?  Depends.  If we are hand-waving accuracy down to allow ships to line up and pound each other for 60 turns, then I go 4/6, I put BIG NACs on my nose, and I engage in high speed combat every time I can.  If I cant, I still point my nose at the enemy and close - because Ive got so much armor slathered on my nose, and such a concentrated punch, no balanced fleet, no long range fleet, and no broadside fleet stands a chance.  My only possible opponent is an equally concentrated opponent, with less thrust.  But from him, I can disengage today, and come back tomorrow when Ive ended up with a numerical advantage - I choose when to fight, and I choose only fights I win.

If we play by the tabletop rules for time and engagement ranges, with meaningful hit %s per 1 minute turn, I may still use the above design, or I may put NPPCs on the nose of a slow design - or spread across just the 'port' of a slow design, depending on fire control penalties.  Consider a Buri with all 80 NPPCs on one side. 

Or I put LNGauss on the port aft of a 5/8 or 6/9 hull.

I really feel, here, that having increased nose vulnerability as a counter to the firepower, armor concentration, and increased ability to close the range of the all-nose design is a positive, and leaves us with ships that look kinda like the source material.  Nose-focused designs may still happen, but they will be a much smaller part of the universe, for special applications - also fitting the source material, as a handful of ships in the source DO favor heavy forward batteries (though not so specialized as here suggested).

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That fight seems to have been badly misunderstood. The reason the Kutai survived was that a lot of those missiles weren't aimed at it in the first place. A lot of the firepower went against DropShips, and even then the ship nearly died. In battles since then, ~200 fighters has been shown to kill a Black Lion.

An NPC Black Lion that eschewed meaningful point defense.  We've seen fighters engage at best moderate point defense.  We've never seen fighters and missiles try to fight through 'I spent a few % of my ships mass on PDS and now Im really serious' AAA/PDS belts.  Current battle results do not make me sanguine as to their efficacy when faced with such, though I've hope that the doctrine change of combining the fighter/missile strike in the same battlespace as the gun-duel will rescue the fighter/missile load as a worthwhile investment.

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Using a proposed rule set of LNGauss getting halved range penalties, MNGauss getting -1 penalty at long/extreme, and HNGauss getting no range mod but 35 damage, the layout looked way better. HNGauss wins at 1-12 and 14-24, HNPPC at 13 and 25-26, MNGauss at 29-39, and LNGauss at 27-28 and 40-56. Adding up their damage/kton at each range:
HNPPC: 140.83
LNGauss: 141.65
MNGauss: 147.42
HNGauss: 133.07

The HNPPC and MNGauss are all-arounders, the LNGauss is a sniper, and the HNGauss has slightly better range and efficiency than a NAC-10, with a giant single-point impact to get crits. This seems pretty good to me. My original rules, with flat halved penalties, gives totals for the medium and heavy north of 180, which is clearly too good.

This seems reasonable and to create choices.  Ill note that Ive viewed HNGauss and NAC/40 with some interest, given your statements about the greater critical ability of very large weapons vs. massed smaller ones.

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I regard SI tonnage as being armor tonnage, they just call it something else to keep their math more in line with their stated damage and tonnage ratios. 

In my head, SI is all the normal metal in the ship, and the 'Armor' is the thin layers of unobtanium face-hardening that require structural bracing behind them. 

Quote
Sure. But as you said below, the battles in BT are less than ten minutes long, which is still far too short even with that info. And the maneuvers should be able to take some time as well.

Modifying turn time sounded good for a second, but the problem is you need to change a lot of other things to match. 1g for 1 minute is ~18km moved and a total speed of 36km/min. BT simplified that to just adding the speed at the beginning (Kiv and I have been known to make "Dirac Delta Drive" jokes about this"), so 2 thrust = 2 hexes = 18km hexes. With 10 minute turns, the distance would be 100x as long, so you're up to 1800km hexes. That means you can hit things from ~100,000km away at standard weapon ranges, so a fleet in geostationary orbit is well inside bombardment range. That makes defensive stations over fixed points on the surface possible, which totally changes planetary defense considerations. It also makes screen launchers something of a joke - no way they could fill that much space. And launching a missile salvo within a 10-minute period will hardly saturate someone's defences. There's a lot of problems that crop up, which are easy to address with a blank sheet of paper, but hard to fix here.

Re Gauss rules, check out my numbers above.

You are probably right, here.  I think we may have to accept that mechanically things play out in 1-minute turns, and get decided in 5 or 10 minutes tops - because otherwise we have arbitrarily multiplied the power of maneuver, and left the table top rules so far behind that they are no longer even guidelines.

Closing Question, because this is very, very important:

1.)  You have stated that turns are 1 minute, cause attempting to get away from that 1 minute has a lot of follow on effects that are too large to change at this point.

2.)  You have stated that you dont like 6-10 minute battles - you like hour long fights.

3.)  Are we thereby reducing hit probabilities from tabletop to roughly 1/10th their tabletop value, for direct fire weapons, to allow those hour fights?  If so, this has... large implications for armament choices and maneuver profiles.
« Last Edit: 04 December 2018, 12:28:35 by marcussmythe »

Alsadius

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1420 on: 04 December 2018, 13:02:50 »
Depends on your source material.  Enterprise and Reliant exchanged very few salvos.  The warships of the Honorverse are vast multi-mega tonne assemblages, with meters of unobtanium armor - energy range engagement is decisive in seconds to minutes.

Were I designing the game from the ground up, Id have done 10 minute turns, with the concomitant increase in ranges, etc - but I was not consulted.  Then again, I liked the old Aerotech ranges...

I'm in agreement, but it's not a practical change to make for this game.

Im not sure its much worse if your surrounded.  Sure, you dont have guns on the sides, but youve got them all on your front.  You blow up the guy in front of you with a concentrated punch, while he and his friends chop small pieces off all your armor facings.  Then you turn, or ECHO, and blow up the next guy with a concentrated punch...

It's not the damage concentration I'm thinking of, it's the armor concentration. Any surrounded ship can fire as many shots as it has heat sinks, regardless of positioning. But there's a lot more vulnerable bits to hit if half your armor is on the nose than if it's spread evenly.

I really feel, here, that having increased nose vulnerability as a counter to the firepower, armor concentration, and increased ability to close the range of the all-nose design is a positive, and leaves us with ships that look kinda like the source material.  Nose-focused designs may still happen, but they will be a much smaller part of the universe, for special applications - also fitting the source material, as a handful of ships in the source DO favor heavy forward batteries (though not so specialized as here suggested).

This discussion is bringing me around to your viewpoint somewhat.

This seems reasonable and to create choices.  Ill note that Ive viewed HNGauss and NAC/40 with some interest, given your statements about the greater critical ability of very large weapons vs. massed smaller ones.

Yeah, running the numbers I decided that my initial proposal was clearly too aggressive a buff. But the tweaks suggested in various comments came together into something pretty clean.

In my head, SI is all the normal metal in the ship, and the 'Armor' is the thin layers of unobtanium face-hardening that require structural bracing behind them. 

That's how it should work, in principle. In practice, it's obviously a hack they've brought in in order to keep consistency with the mech scale and a simple 10:1 damage ratio.

You are probably right, here.  I think we may have to accept that mechanically things play out in 1-minute turns, and get decided in 5 or 10 minutes tops - because otherwise we have arbitrarily multiplied the power of maneuver, and left the table top rules so far behind that they are no longer even guidelines.

Closing Question, because this is very, very important:

1.)  You have stated that turns are 1 minute, cause attempting to get away from that 1 minute has a lot of follow on effects that are too large to change at this point.

2.)  You have stated that you dont like 6-10 minute battles - you like hour long fights.

3.)  Are we thereby reducing hit probabilities from tabletop to roughly 1/10th their tabletop value, for direct fire weapons, to allow those hour fights?  If so, this has... large implications for armament choices and maneuver profiles.

tl;dr, no. I'm grumbling, and stretching things a little bit, but we're talking maybe a 50% stretch, not a 10:1 stretch. I can't do it in any way that makes sense and keeps consistency with past results.

marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1421 on: 04 December 2018, 13:30:56 »
RE: Stretching -

A 50% stretch still, IMNAAHO, really tilts the board towards NACs, but Id have to math a Buri v Buri NAC clone to find where the inflection point is, in terms of number of engaged units.

Its also possible that the greater accuracy at all ranges outside ‘close’ will keep the NPPC fleet competitive - and that any speed built to create a close engagement will have been built at the cost nose armor and fire control - fire control youll miss once you get to close range, and nose armor youll miss once you go flying past due to the overtake velocity and have to point towards enemy AGAIN if you do want to slow down and continue the engagement.

Funny thought - in SFC, Hydrans had less range than the federation, but more firepower.  At an early point, they doubled the hull strength - which should result in the Hydrans performing better, as they could better survive to close range.

In theory.

Before the change, the Hydrans took it hard on the nose on the way in, but often had sufficient remaining firepower to close the deal at point blank.

After the change, the Hydran took less on the way in, but still lost some firepower.  It then dealt some damage, but the Federation ship survived to open up the range and reingage - usually hurting the Hydran badly enough on its second pass to finish it off, before the Hydran could take its point blank shot...  especially because the Hydran, needing to close, has to offer its front shields (here, armor) leaving it exposed if it tries to close again.

Its possible that relatively higher armor values over time, and decreased accuracy, will have unanticipated results when rubber hits road.
« Last Edit: 04 December 2018, 13:40:14 by marcussmythe »

marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1422 on: 04 December 2018, 13:51:34 »
It's not the damage concentration I'm thinking of, it's the armor concentration. Any surrounded ship can fire as many shots as it has heat sinks, regardless of positioning. But there's a lot more vulnerable bits to hit if half your armor is on the nose than if it's spread evenly.

In theory, the nose armor, nose guns design was exploiting that firepower and armor advantage before it was surrounded, by losing nose armor while its opponent was losing ships.  Then, once surrounded, its taking parital fire on multiple weaker armored sides, while putting full fire onto one, somewhat thicker, side - and the opponent is down hulls to get here.

I can think of few instances when you are better off surrounding your opponent.
« Last Edit: 04 December 2018, 13:54:46 by marcussmythe »

Lagrange

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1423 on: 04 December 2018, 16:05:39 »
Depends on which class of NGauss, IMO. A LNGauss is so inefficient that it's probably not overpowered even with that rule
This rule would make Light N Gauss have a greater weight of fire and greater range than an HNPPC at extreme and long range.   A mixture of NAC-20 and Light N Gauss seems like it would beat HNPPCs in terms of weight of fire at every range.
(Max range is 56 for LNGauss, 54 for HNPPC, 52 for MNGauss, and 48 for HNGauss).
Where do these numbers come from?  My SO says 52 for the HNPPC and I don't see an errata?  (Is the Errata incomplete?)
That fight seems to have been badly misunderstood. The reason the Kutai survived was that a lot of those missiles weren't aimed at it in the first place. A lot of the firepower went against DropShips, and even then the ship nearly died. In battles since then, ~200 fighters has been shown to kill a Black Lion.
The assumption that the Kutai was the primary target is pretty reasonable when only 4 dropships were killed.  In the Kutai battle, the fighters also focused on exposed structure rather than plowing through armor the hard way.  And the fighters lost.  I'm not sure which is the Black Lion battle (Kentares IV?).
They're functionally identical on range - it's like talking about the range advantage of an IS Pulse LL over an IS ML. 3/7/10 is better than 3/6/9, yes, but it doesn't really affect your tactics much.
If your opponent only has range 9, it has a quite significant effect on your tactics. 

LNGauss is the bane of stations everywhere without any modification to rules.  An opponent can move to extreme range and sniper a nigh-unlimited number of stations.   And, you can't easily respond by giving the stations LNGauss since the x5 price multiplier bites extra hard.
THN of 4+range mod
Your numbers agree with my intuition but the assumption that the only THN modifier is range seems wrong on a battlefield.   Aspect and evasion can easily come into play and later ECM.   When they do a bonus to hit has a much more significant effect on weight of fire than your calculations. 

Overall, I see no pressing need to modify the rules for NGauss as they are already an interesting option that will certainly be used. 
1) Giving the HNGauss 35 capital damage makes it not a lemon but it's ok to have a lemon or two (mass drivers!).
2) The MNGauss does impressive ballistic damage at impressive range.  Remember that long+ ballistic weapons already get a bonus to hit and damage in high speed engagements. 
3) The LNGauss needs no help at all---that range advantage means it always has a niche.    Halving range penalties reminds me of clan LPLs.  Long range + bonus to hit is a devastating combo so there is a well-earned reputation for it being a munchkin weapon.  The LNGauss rules change seems like it's doing approximately that (more range, more bonus to hit at extreme range, less bonus to hit at short range).

marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1424 on: 04 December 2018, 16:56:55 »
I ran a discreet salvo model of the Buri vs. a NAC armed opponent, closing range/overtake scenario, assuming overtake speeds of 5, 10, 15, and 20, once with 3 gunners, no EM, no ECM, once with 4 gunners, ECM, EM.  10 units per fleet, ships are assumed to have a combat life of average armor facing plus 2xSI.

The NAC Opponent was a Buri Clone, with engines uprated to 3 Safe Thrust, and SI and armament tonnages reduced to cover this (150 SI vs. 180, armament slightly cut).

Trials with various NAC sizes removed NACs other than 20 from my consideration - larger than 20 loses range faster than it gains firepower, and smaller than 20 loses firepower faster than it gains range.  Larger NACs MAY have a place in the point blank overrun style trial, but I have not tested them.

Assumptions were that ships begin firing as soon as in range, and again as soon as they can reload, though where appropriate fire might be held a few seconds to allow a better bracket.  As time IRL is continuous, not discreet, one cannot use high speeds to 'teleport' into range.

For the 'high accuracy' condition (No ECM, No Evasive, Gunner-3) a 20 speed closing engagement has salvoes at R53 (PPC), 41 (NAC), 33 (NPPC), 21 (NAC), and 13 (NPPC).  Damage at all ranges is high, but firing first at short allows the PPC boats to wipe out the NAC boats, while retaining just over half their force.

A 5 closing speed, unsurprisingly, is far worse for the NAC Boats - 3 unreturned volleys wipe out more than half the NAC fleet before it even gets to fire.  The remainder cripple one PPC boat in their only salvo, before the 9 remaining PPC boats take their first shot at mere 'long' range, and reduce the NAC boat force to a cripple.

So far, so good - we expect a shooting gallery when a longer ranged force meets a shorter ranged one with great shooting conditions.  So what about the 'low accuracy' condition?

In low accuracy conditions, the ONLY range band that matters is short.  Fire at E and L brackets are impossible, and fire at M range requires 12's - it cannot generate meaningful damage.

Again, the 'attack effectively first' maxim came into play.  Though the NAC boats are advantaged in firepower by 33%, while only disadvantaged in resilience by 20%, the fact that the NPPC will fire effectively first was in all conditions decisive.  High speed overruns resulted in light losses to both sides, (formally losing 1.75 NAC ships, while 1.4 NPPC ships are lost) - at those THNs, noone can accomplish anything in a single exchange.  Lower speed allowed more and more exchanges of fire, but when I ran a speed 5 exchange, with a total of 6 volleys, NPPC first, starting fleets of 10 on each side were reduced to respectively 4.8 PPC vessels and 2.4 NAC vessels as the ruined remainder slid, likely out of control, out of range of each other.

Lessons learned:
1.)  Attack Effectively First.  The ability to be the first one to deliver ship-killing fire turned out to matter more than a 33% disadvantage in raw firepower - because each kill is less return fire.

2.)  Speed is expensive.  A 2/3 NAC boat would handily defeat the 2/3 NPPC boat, within its ideal range - but it will have trouble getting there.  Something between 2 and 3 safe thrust MIGHT be able to both control the range AND bring a killer fire advantage into close range - but that is a dangerous set of assumptions.  It should be unsurprising that a ship with more tonnage devoted to armor and guns is better in a fight than one with less - it must be so, or the faster ship would be the only ship, as speed also gives advantages off the board.

3.)  The shorter ranged opponent should close as quickly as possible, but will need ever advantage to do so and still win, given equal tonnage.

4.)  This does not address high speed engagement rules, which a more agile ship can potentially force (depending on detection ranges), nor does it address the ability of a more agile ship to force or decline engagement.

Ive put the homework in quotes below - I dont promise that its very clearly presented.

ERROR CORRECTION/EDIT:  Realized I over-armored the 2/3 Buri, giving it about 100 armor it didnt have, and thus extending its combat life by about 15% over what it should have been.  This changes the 'high speed, point blank, max ECM, EM' condition to an effective mutual destruction draw, and lowers (but does not remove) the 2/3 vessels advantage on the other conditions.

Counting only one armor facing (when damage is is usually split evenly between both broadsides) artifically reduces ship lifespans, but also helps capture the effect of critical damage/mission kills.

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A simple closing-engagement salvo model:
1.)   We assume that as between two forces, at least one will generally want to close.
2.)   If the faster force does not wish to close, it will not be closed, and may engage from whatever range it desires.
3.)   If the faster force wishes to close, it may set whatever closing speed it desires.
4.)   We assume no significant change in speed within the engagement envelope.  The closed force will not go erratic – it wishes to fire at long range.  The closing force, if it goes erratic, allows the closed force to use velocity for flight.  Designs are assumed to be broadside for simplicity.
5.)   We assume weapons fire as soon as within range, and fire again one minute later.
6.)   Weapons will therefore fire at their maximum range, and again every (closing Velocity) units closer.
7.)   For purposes of this example, ships are run with ‘3’ Skill Gunners, closing aspect (+1)
8.)   Model ships are Buri (for the HNPPC Condition) and a 3/5 Buri Clone (150 SI, similarly reduced weapons fit) for the ‘NAC - Closing’ Conditions.  The generic ships have respectively 318 Armor and 265 Armor per facing.  NACs Smaller or larger than 20 are omitted, as the NAC/20 is the ideal NAC for this exercise.   We assume 10 ships per side (fleet engagement), and that respectively 780 and 565 Damage will result in a kill.
To Hits:
E:     10 (16.67%)
L:    8 (41.67%)
M:   6 (72.22%)
S:    4 (91.67)


HNPPC Firing Cycle: 40 HNPPC, 600 Damage                  
Closing          20      15      10      5      SalvoDam
E:           53      54      54, 44      54,49,44   100
L:          33       39      34      39,34,29   250
M:                24      24, 14      24,19,14   433
S:          13      9      4      9,4      550
Total Damage:      900      1,333      1,866      3,449
UnansweredDamage:   100      100      200      300      


NAC/20 Firing Cycle: 40 NAC 20s. 800 Dam
E:          41            42, 32      42, 37, 32   133
L:                31      22      27, 22      333
M:          21      16      12      17, 12      577
S:          1      1      2      7, 5      733
Total Damage:      1,443      1,643      1,909      3,685




At a 20 closing speed, 10 Buri-P fire at R53, dealing 1000 damage, killing 1.75 Buri-N
At R41, the remaining 8.25 Buri-N fire, dealing 1100 Damage, killing 1.4 Buri-P
At R33, 8.6 Buri-P fire, dealing 2,150 damage, killing 3.8 Buri-N
At R 21, 4.45 Buri-N fire, dealing 2,570 damage, killing 3.3 Buri-P
At R 13, 5.3 Buri-P fire, dealing 2, 915 damage, overkilling the remaining Buri-N

At a 5 closing speed, 10 Buri-P fire at R54, 49, and 44, dealing 3000 damage, and killing 5.25 Buri-N before they return fire.
At 42, 4.75 Buri-N return fire, dealing 631 damage and forcing a retreat from one Buri-P, crippled.
At 39, the 9 remaining Buri-P fire, dealing 2,250 damage, killing 4 Buri-N, and leaving the ‘.75’ to likely strike its colors.

Lesson:  Unreturned volleys kill.



9.)    For purposes of this example, ships are modeled with 4 skill gunners, ECM (+3) and Evasive Action (+2) on a closing aspect (+1)

To Hits:
E:     -
L:    -
M:   12 (2.7%)
S:    10 (16.67%)


HNPPC Firing Cycle: 40 HNPPC, 600 Damage                  
Closing          20      15      10      5      SalvoDam
M:          26      26      23      23,18      16
S:          6      11      13, 3      13, 8, 3      100
Total Damage:      116      116      216      332



NAC/20 Firing Cycle: 40 NAC 20s. 800 Dam
M:          21      21      21      21,16      21
S:          1      6      11,1      11,6,1      133
Total Damage:      151      151      287      440

The Speed 20 and 15 closing conditions are simple – there is an exchange of medium range fire which at most force a ship to roll, followed by a point-blank exchange that results in a volley first from Buri-P, killing 1.75 Buri-N, and a return volley from the 8.25 Buri-N, killing 1.4 Buri-P.

A second volley (the speed 10 condition) has 8.6 Buri-P firing, killing 1.5 Buri-N, while the remaining 6.75 Buri-N return fire, killing 1.15 Buri-P.

The third volley (speed 5 condition) has 7.45 Buri-P firing, killing 1.3 Buri-N.  5.45 Buri-N return fire, killing .93 Buri-N.
This process will continue as the fleets, having overrun one another, diverge. 

Volley 4 has 6.52 Buri-P killing 1.15 Buri-N, then the remaining 4.3 Buri-N kill .73 Buri-P.

Volley 5 has 5.79 Buri-P killing 1 Buri-N, and 3.3 Buri-N kills .56 Buri-P

Volley 6 sees 5.23 Buri-P killing .9 Buri-N, and the 2.4 Buri-N take out .4 of a Buri-P, leaving 4.8

Thus formally, even in highest ECM/EW situation, the relative value of greater armor and (in a discreet volleys situation, where range matters drastically) the ability to fire effectively first, the close range armament vessels are unable to decisively close and destroy an opponent without taking more than commensurate losses.  In a fast pass scenario, the NAC Boats make it in-and-out and take losses little worse than they deal…  but as the engagement continues, the situation worsens.

This ignores the actual ‘High Speed Engagement’ rules (though the overtake 20 condition comes close!).  Inflating the damage of NACs on the first pass may give victory to the NAC boats – but the NPPC boats will still fire first, and then fire again after the NAC boats pass.
« Last Edit: 05 December 2018, 10:25:28 by marcussmythe »

UnLimiTeD

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1425 on: 04 December 2018, 20:06:25 »
Depends on your source material. 
My source material for that statement ("realistic")is mostly an elaborate discussion involving lots of math on the forums of a 4X game called Aurora, which was planed to receive a spinoff with newtonian physics.
In short, and vastly simplified, the result was that the speeds required for combat to actually happen would require weapons, and result in projectiles, that would missionkill just about everything; Armour is useless. Energy shields could even be counter-productive because they would shatter a projectile, and a cloud of kinetic dust would pulverize a ship while a slug would just cause a large hole traversing it's chassis.
And the only defense is not being hit, meaning being large is a death sentence and humans have no business in the actual combat as they can not survive the sustained acceleration required for reliable evasion.
While you could find it and look at the math, this has really no connection with battletech at all, and isn't even relevant due to us having jump drives based on points. That newtonian spinoff didn't happen in the end.
To something completely different:
I think LGauss would even be worth it if they just had -1 starting on medium, or maybe also -2 at extreme. They do offer the utility of firing at a long distance, and if they can do so effectively, that is an advantage worth sacrificing raw combat power for.
Btw, did you factor in heatsinks and ammo? If so, at what numbers?

And do you have similar plans for increasing the utility of smaller NPPCs?
« Last Edit: 05 December 2018, 04:43:27 by UnLimiTeD »
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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1426 on: 05 December 2018, 10:27:20 »
Capital Missiles on Fighters, Capital Armor Scaling, and Alternate Solutions

A Worked Example

Ive been thinking that, despite my early endorsement of the idea, capital ship immunity to standard weapons, coupled with fighter carriage of capital missiles, has lead to a deleterious series of knock on effects.

1.)  Fighters carrying capital missiles generate truly monstrous missile waves.

2.)  In response to those waves, ships end up mounting insane PDS belts, and we start adjudicating PDS as so effective that it bears no resemblance to the base game.

3.)  PDS belts then extend onto off-board fighters and small craft, which require their OWN special rule, lowering the effect of off-board PDS.

What if we just expand on the 'Warship Scale != Fighter Scale' issue, enough to dent fighter firepower, while at the same time removing the 50 ton missile on the 50 ton fighter?

Lets consider these assumptions:
1.)  Fighter Damage is 30 damage (about right for a 50 ton fighter)
2.)  Fighter lifespan is 60 damage before its combat ineffective/going home (again, in my play experience, about right for a 50 ton fighter).
3.)  Capital Damage to Standard Damage is 1:100 - but there is no immunity.
4.)  An attacking fighter 'flock', moving second, can always choose its target facing and relative aspect.  The Warship cannot, but benefits from ECM bubbles baked into the warship rules.  Call it 50% accuracy each way.
5.)  The attacking fighters will always draw fire from their 'target hexside' and the two adjacent ones.  This has an advantage of making 4-corners designs worse (recieving 1/4 of their AAA firepower, vs an all facings design which would get 3/8)
6.)  Missiles, firing off-bore, may defend all aspects.
7.)  NLs kill fighters in one hit, and hit about 1/3 of the time (AAA mode).  The same is true of Killer Whale and White Shark Missiles.
8.)  Barracudas kill fighters in one hit, and hit about 1/2 the time (accuracy bonus)
9.)  All other capital weapons kill fighters in one hit, and hit about 1/4 the time.

Hypothetical Walkurie deckload:  700 fighters, ~ 210 capital damage possible, average of 105.  60 Standard Scale Lifespan each.  Firepower is lost as fighters die.

Target:  Hypothetical PDS-Improved Buri:  200 LRM 20 per corner, 180 PPC per corner, 40 Barracuda per corner. (Other corners remain NPPC heavy) ~680 Capital Scale Lifespan.  Firepower is preserved until ship loss.

Salvo 1:  105 Capital Damage to Buri. 20 Fighters lost to LRMs, 15 to PPCs, 80 to barracudas.  585 Fighters remain.
Salvo 2:  88 Capital Damage to Buri.  Same 115 fighters lost - 470 remain
Salvo 3:  70 Capital Damage to Buri.  355 Fighters remain.
Salvo 5:  53 Capital Damage to Buri, 240 Fighers remain. (Armor fails during this salvo - criticals now possible)
Salvo 6:  36 Capital Damage to Buri, 125 Fighters remain
Salvo 7:  19 Capital Damage to Buri, 10 Fighters remain

Fighters destroyed, Buri loses all armor on one facing, takes significant SI damage and likley resulting critical effects.

Complications: 
1.)  The 40 HNPPCs would kill an additional 10 fighters per turn.  This is likely trivial.
2.)  In fleet engagement, warships would be lost as fighters focus on first one ship, and then another.  This would degrade defending firepower.  However, the focused warship could perform evasive manuvers, reducing its damage sustained, while all other warships are free to make a turkey shoot of the fighters focusing on a difficult target.
3.)  Rules allow an ECHO turn, for 2 thrust, AFTER other movement (I believe after fighter movement).  This could allow the warship to turn a better aspect, or preserve armor, in the face of 'all fighters stacked in one hex at range 1'.
4.)  Incoming damage would actually hit not just one armor side, but several, depending on engaged side.  However, this also helps capture the impact of criticals by artificially foreshortening ship lifespan.

Impacts: 
1.)  Lacking massive fighter-borne capital missile salvos, 'Tabletop' PDS efficacy (20 MGs knock down 1 Barracuda per turn, 30 for a White Shark, 40 for a Killer Whale) is sufficient, and sane numbers of PDS are sufficient, because as noted, capital missiles are of limited value in an anti-ship role after about 5-7 salvos loaded.

2.)  Barracuda Tubes become the weapon of choice for an anti-fighter role, against massive strikes.  AAA standard scale weaponry and dual purpose NLs will support this effort, but the real 'Anti-Fighter' choice will be Barracudas, due to accuracy, capital scale damage creating instant kills, off-bearing fire, and long range fire (degrading inbound strike before arrival).  Ease of support of nearby warships is a bonus.  I hear an Aegis cruiser in the distance.

3.)  In the worked example, ~9.5B of VERY PURE Carrier+Fighters loses 3.5B of fighters while badly injuring, but not killing, an 11B BB which carries an extensive, but not prohibitive, AAA array.  This seems 'about right'.  A Heavy 'AAA' Escort, notionally a Tyr Refit, carrying 640 Barracuda Missile Tubes, would cost less than either the carrier or the BB, and would quickly destroy a Walkurie strike.  It would also be crippled or killed doing so, and would exhaust ~60% of its missile supplies in doing so.  This seems reasonable. 

If the same Tyr-CG tried to engage 'normal' warships, its huge long range throw weight (1280 potential damage, more than twice what Buri is capable of) would be potentially powerful - but soon exhausted (5 rounds per launcher), with all the problems of having a known limited endurance - enemies would use EW, EM, and long range to draw fire and empty magazines, or the ship would have to accept unanswered volleys.

Rather than a stand alone system, missiles would serve a role as anti-fighter (of course), and as additional short-duration punch in support of some other strategy, due to low reloads, but would have problems if relied on as a primary weapon system.

This looks like tabletop.

4.)  Reigned in PDS efficacy (as it is no longer necessary to inflate MG Anti-Missile prowess, as there will be no more Vega Strikes) allows for meaningful shipboard carriage of missile launchers - shipboard missile launchers are special case rather than general case anti-ship weapons (due to ammunition restrictions, etc), but this would allow them at least some use.

5.)  Fighters would likely work better as part of a fleet, rather than the all-or-nothing approach of Walkurie.  Some fleets might carry more or less, and the best defense against a fighter would likely remain another fighter - but fighters in conjunction with shipboard arms would seem to work better in this model than fighters attacking alone in massive missile waves.  The author considers this a net good.

Retconning, or 'But they definitely carried missiles 20 years ago...'

A concern can be raised that such reversion to the original rules breaks continuity with what has been observed in universe.

I see a few easy options to deal with this:

I.)  Technological Advancement:  Perhaps newer missiles are coming into service.  These missiles coordinate via light-speed links with their fellows, and with their mothership, to engage in evasive action, counter-electronic warfare, etc.  Such missiles much more effectively penetrate PDS arrays (thus requiring 20MGs to kill a Barracuda, as in tabletop, rather than the current much much lower total), but active links to the launching ship are required, and the control computers, links, EW, etc. are a part of the launcher tonnage.  Fighter carried missiles lack this support, and such missiles are slaughtered in such job lots by  improving PDS that they are no longer worth firing and wasting the missile, or tasking the fighter to carry them.

II.)  Doctrine/Tactics Changes:  Perhaps AAA Fire and Fighter on Fighter tactical doctrine has evolved to the point where a fighter, burdened with a 30-50 ton external missile, is simply too cumbersome to survive in the tactical environment.

Such changes in technology and doctrine might also explain why standard scale weapons are suddenly able to threaten capital armor, which they could not, before... either computer linkages focusing fire on single points, or training and tactics to do the same, might represent a successful effort to improve fighter performance against warships, as the fighter-borne missile is rendered obsolete.

Advances in both technology, AND doctrine, seem a reasonable thing to happen in the decades after Vega, as the missile users go 'How do we make missiles kill more of their things', and the missile targets go 'how do we make missiles kill less of our things'
« Last Edit: 05 December 2018, 12:03:51 by marcussmythe »

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1427 on: 05 December 2018, 13:10:41 »
...
I'd support this as it reduces the number of house rules, simplifying the game from the perspective of Battletech.   

I'm a bit cautious about the analysis though since if heavy striker fighters (i.e. Cyclone/Rager/Shu/Yari) were substantially more effective they would simply be substantially more used, and if you plug in their stats, they seem substantially more effective.

Another concern is that you generally want the defense against a particular offense to be notably easier than the offense because there are multiple dimensions to offense. 

Both of these concerns can be addressed simply with damage reduction at the 1/1000th level.  The Kutai (20 capital armor = 2000 standard armor) would be immune to machine gun fire.  A warship with 50 capital armor would be immune to AC/5s and take half damage from AC/10s.   A warship with 200 capital armor would be immune to AC/20s.  The largest warships will be flat out immune to ASF, but most warships will have some vulnerability and variable damage threshold can leave even large warships vulnerable to ASF damage.   This also makes large-damage standard scale weapons be clearly desirable and makes massive batteries of standard scale weapons by warships be ineffective.  Theoretically, a warship with 1000 capital armor on a facing would be immune to an SCL1, but I don't expect that to come into play.

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1428 on: 05 December 2018, 13:21:53 »
I'm a bit cautious about the analysis though since if heavy striker fighters (i.e. Cyclone/Rager/Shu/Yari) were substantially more effective they would simply be substantially more used, and if you plug in their stats, they seem substantially more effective.

Another concern is that you generally want the defense against a particular offense to be notably easier than the offense because there are multiple dimensions to offense. 

Both of these concerns can be addressed simply with damage reduction at the 1/1000th level.  The Kutai (20 capital armor = 2000 standard armor) would be immune to machine gun fire.  A warship with 50 capital armor would be immune to AC/5s and take half damage from AC/10s.   A warship with 200 capital armor would be immune to AC/20s.  The largest warships will be flat out immune to ASF, but most warships will have some vulnerability and variable damage threshold can leave even large warships vulnerable to ASF damage.   This also makes large-damage standard scale weapons be clearly desirable and makes massive batteries of standard scale weapons by warships be ineffective.  Theoretically, a warship with 1000 capital armor on a facing would be immune to an SCL1, but I don't expect that to come into play.

Weve said were going with a generic medium fighter, to avoid the GM having to track designs across time and 10 nations.  Heavier strike fighters might be better, but this is close enough.

Im agnostic on damage reduction.  If it helps you reconcile larger, better strike fighters down to smaller damage, I get that - but it means were tracking floating point decreasing armor values, or at least having to worry about them.  Idk if juice is worth squeeze, could be convinced either way, though.

At 100 Normal to 1 Capital, standard scale weapons are a poor anti-warship choice.

As for defense v offense - 10 tons of machine guns kills a 30 ton missile (and only has to shoot at the ones that were going to hit, IIRC.  So call it 60).  That missile also has a heavy launcher.

Then again, that launcher and its missiles kill more than their cost in fighters and fighter bays.

So again, specific defense cheaper than offense.

*EDIT*  On reconsideration, regarding damage reduction.

Soon enough 200 armor will be considered low.  At such time, fighters would stop existing - barring external ordinance - which is how we got here.
« Last Edit: 05 December 2018, 13:40:33 by marcussmythe »

UnLimiTeD

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1429 on: 05 December 2018, 18:20:21 »
I'm somewhat confused.
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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1430 on: 05 December 2018, 18:46:14 »
I'm somewhat confused.

In the beginning, we said 'Fighters are too powerful, because at 10 Standard Damage to 1 Capital Damage, Fighters murder everything.

We then said 'well, machine guns dont hurt battleships.  Wouldnt it be cool if standard scale weapons couldnt hurt capital armor, just like machine guns on fighters bounce off real-world battleships, but instead we let fighters carry capital missiles!

And we did this.. and we discovered that fighter carried capital missiles do crazy things to the game.  Weve had to deviate from tabletop not only in letting fighters carry missiles, and in making fighter weapons not hurt battleships, but then we made Machine Guns be MUCH BETTER at killing missiles than they were in tabletop... but we cant ever seem to get a good grip on HOW much better, and then some people wanted to put huge clusters of machine guns on small craft (cause fire control rules are terrible), so then we had to say machine guns on fighters and small craft are LESS good than machine guns on ships, and then we looked at putting 100s and 100s of machine guns on ships, and we had to say 'machine guns are super better in our game than in table top, but they have diminishing returns'...

Along the way, we got so many machine guns on ships, and they were soooo good (cause they had to be, or otherwise the missile wave from a swarm of fighters destroys everything) that we basically had to give up on ships that carry missile launchers (because any PDS array that will save you from 5000 fighters launching missiles will make the 10 or 100 missiles a ship can launch look like a joke). 

This left us with fighter launched missile swarms that we as players have really no idea how good they are or how to project their peformance, and defenders having no idea whether they need 10MGs, or 100, or 1000, or 10000...

So I suggested above 'what if instead of having capital ship armor be immune to standard scale weapons, and then letting fighters carry missiles so fighters can still do something, and then let Machine Guns work suuuper better than they do in tabletop so those missiles dont kill everything, we instead take a step closer to the table-top fighter rules, just having it be 100 standard damage to match 1 capital damage, rather than 10'.

I then did a test case, showing how such a fight looked, and it seems (to me) good.

Now, Alsadius is doing the work, and I'll go with whatever, I just wanted to throw this out there.

Does that help?
« Last Edit: 05 December 2018, 18:48:42 by marcussmythe »

UnLimiTeD

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1431 on: 05 December 2018, 20:15:12 »
Yes, that helps.
But let me throw this in here:
What about dropships?

How on earth you decided that fighters would be OP at a time when the worst they could mount was an AC/5 is one for the history books :P
That said, you could have just used the rules for anti-ship missiles. Though I suppose those are balanced for an environment with screen launchers and AMS.

At the risk of sounding like a knowitall, in light of your explanation, I feel like this is exactly what was bound to happen. It's kind of satisfying, in an odd way.  ^-^
Just having a 20/1 cap/std dmg ratio would have really been sufficient to balance things - and if not, wouldn't the easier avenue be to increase the armour a ship can mount?
« Last Edit: 05 December 2018, 20:33:55 by UnLimiTeD »
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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1432 on: 05 December 2018, 20:51:09 »
Yes, that helps.
But let me throw this in here:
What about dropships?

How on earth you decided that fighters would be OP at a time when the worst they could mount was an AC/5 is one for the history books :P
That said, you could have just used the rules for anti-ship missiles. Though I suppose those are balanced for an environment with screen launchers and AMS.

At the risk of sounding like a knowitall, in light of your explanation, I feel like this is exactly what was bound to happen. It's kind of satisfying, in an odd way.  ^-^
Just having a 20/1 cap/std dmg ratio would have really been sufficient to balance things - and if not, wouldn't the easier avenue be to increase the armour a ship can mount?

1.)  What about dropships?  Id leave them where they are - their atmosphere capable craft like fighters, leave them on the fighter scale.

2.)  Fighters dont stay at AC/5 long, and its not hard to read the writing on the wall.  At 10:1, a single, 2 AC/5 Medium fighter does 1 capital damage.  That means a CV Deckload does ~700~ capital damage.  This is bad.

3.)  A 20:1 Ratio is insufficient - as I think my example above illustrates, a 100:1 ratio still results in fighters being very, very dangerous to far more than their cost in warships.  Ship-Mounted ASMs, below Capital Missiles, might well be usable at that 100:1 ratio - but I think they are best swept up into 'general armaments, 30 average damage, .3 capital damage per fighter'.  The GM has enough stuff to juggle when he runs a fleet engagement.

4.)  Eh, theres always gonna be second order effects when you change things.  They cant be predicted, may be good, may be bad.  Here, while they create some problems, they arent deal-breakers for me, and Im hardly stamping my foot and screaming 'change it back'.  Im just suggesting 'hey, maybe this would work better'.

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1433 on: 05 December 2018, 21:11:31 »
At 100 Normal to 1 Capital, standard scale weapons are a poor anti-warship choice.
I think you are right, although maybe not entirely on the low end.  I can make a 250K ton warship with banks of 900 MLs in all side arcs generating generating 135(=45+45+45) capital damage at a 100:1 ratio in the broadside arc.  That's modestly better than what you can do with NLs but the tradeoff in range seems unlikely to make this worthwhile.  And of course at larger warship sizes standard scale weapons only get worse.  It would be a very mean antifighter ship.
As for defense v offense - 10 tons of machine guns kills a 30 ton missile (and only has to shoot at the ones that were going to hit, IIRC.  So call it 60).  That missile also has a heavy launcher.
Remember that the MGs require ammo (a ton) and 4 quarters making that really 31-39 tons.  MGs are effective in conventional rules against missiles, but that's a factor of 3-4 higher than you are imagining.
Soon enough 200 armor will be considered low.  At such time, fighters would stop existing - barring external ordinance - which is how we got here.
a) Improved warship armor will help the warships, but improved fighter weapons also steadily improve the the fighters.  What happens if you rerun your simulation with clan weapons and LFC?
b) I kind of like having a design paradigm which does not require we avoid the heavy strike fighters we design. 
c) I'm skeptical that fighters go away.  They are always useful in a (counter)invasion paradigm.  Fighters with active probes can plow a hole through ECM fields making it much easier for naval weapons to hit.   Fighters can finish off wounded warships, even if their armor hasn't been fully penetrated, allowing the big guns to focus on fresh targets.  These are each extremely useful ancillary roles for which not filling them results in potential lose situations.

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1434 on: 05 December 2018, 21:21:22 »
I think you are right, although maybe not entirely on the low end.  I can make a 250K ton warship with banks of 900 MLs in all side arcs generating generating 135(=45+45+45) capital damage at a 100:1 ratio in the broadside arc.  That's modestly better than what you can do with NLs but the tradeoff in range seems unlikely to make this worthwhile.  And of course at larger warship sizes standard scale weapons only get worse.  It would be a very mean antifighter ship.Remember that the MGs require ammo (a ton) and 4 quarters making that really 31-39 tons.  MGs are effective in conventional rules against missiles, but that's a factor of 3-4 higher than you are imagining.a) Improved warship armor will help the warships, but improved fighter weapons also steadily improve the the fighters.  What happens if you rerun your simulation with clan weapons and LFC?
b) I kind of like having a design paradigm which does not require we avoid the heavy strike fighters we design. 
c) I'm skeptical that fighters go away.  They are always useful in a (counter)invasion paradigm.  Fighters with active probes can plow a hole through ECM fields making it much easier for naval weapons to hit.   Fighters can finish off wounded warships, even if their armor hasn't been fully penetrated, allowing the big guns to focus on fresh targets.  These are each extremely useful ancillary roles for which not filling them results in potential lose situations.

I was responding presuming your ‘200 Naval Armor is immunity to AC/20’ paradigm.  Few clan weapons do more than 20 damage.

You have a point on machine guns - but Ill note again that you could strip PDS out entirely and the shipborne missile launcher is still not a superweapon.  The anmo is just too heavy.

In my head, the nice, sexy, 10M C-Bill strike fighters are used - but for this shared game, I think generic is better.  If we want to peg that generic at a 90-100 ton superfighter, with more damage and costing more, I can live with that.

Clan Fighters with Clan Tech probably double the damage of a fighter, and gives it likely a bit more agility and armor.  (Thats a ballpark)  Standard Armor to Lammelor Ferro-Carbide triples the resilience of ships.  I think, though it will see-saw, ending fighter performance looks not radically different than current.

Nite also that the XL engined superfighter costs 3x as much.  The fighters alone on a Walkurie would cost more than a Buri.

Lagrange

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1435 on: 05 December 2018, 22:56:59 »
If we want to peg that generic at a 90-100 ton superfighter, with more damage and costing more, I can live with that.
This seems to be the plausible default for direct warship combat.  The Rager was 5.4M and the Rager II was 5.9M.  The Yari is 5.1M.  The Cyclone/Cyclonas is 4.8M.  The Shu is 5M, and the Shu-3 is unclear.  Overall this is reasonably close to the 5M.  The cost of the more expensive fighter seems well-justified in the context of warship-based transport and the additional robustness/weapon load created. 

Another issue with the simulation is that the Barracudas could be shot down by the ASF.  We can houserule that ASF point defense can't shoot at missiles, but the defensive use of ASF has been important in several engagements and seems likely to be important in that role if we remove house rules towards the standard rules (which I generally approve of). 

W.r.t. clan-scale weapons I'm not sure that XL engines justify themselves cost-wise, but double heat sinks + clan weapons surely do.  You are right about LFC armor----the x2.5 multiplier makes up for fighter weapon improvements pretty well. 

Taking into account heavy strike fighters what works to leave an interesting game? 
1) Capital = Standard/100 alone probably does not.  ASF win consistently.
2) Capital = Standard/100 + damage reduction at the 1/1000th scale seems like it would.  Some warships are invulnerable to direct fire, but ASF are left with the important roles listed previously.
3) Capital = Standard/100 + ASF can't do point defense might be viable?  It's borderline.  I'm hesitant to go with this, because several navies have been using ASF defensively as their primary role and it seems somewhat brittle.  What happens to smallcraft point defense?
4) ?other?

marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1436 on: 05 December 2018, 23:07:50 »
1.)  I know weve done it, but I just cant, in my head, make an F-18’s 20mm cannon do the same job as a CIWS. 

2.)  Switching to heavy strike fighters, with no damage reduction, at 100:1, moves the mean fighter damage and health to about 50 and 100.  This will put more emphasis on barracuda and fighters as fighter defense, and less AAA - but I think were looking at a slighty different ideal weapons mix, not an unstoppable advantage for the fighters.  Consider also that -noone- else builds anything as insane as my CVs - and Im planning on refitting half that fighter carriage away ASAP.

3.)  I think weve probably taken this as far as it can go, without Alsadius weighing in.  He may be happy with the fighter-capship-missile paradigm, or simply not interested in more radical changes, all while hes trying to develop a map tool, add army forces to the mix, and write turns.  That said, I do think this has been fertile territory, and good fuel for a starting slate of house rules, either for use at home, or in something like this if another one ever happens.

Lagrange

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1437 on: 06 December 2018, 00:19:51 »
Consider also that -noone- else builds anything as insane as my CVs - and Im planning on refitting half that fighter carriage away ASAP.
The Walkure is 9.6M/fighter bay.  The Taurus I v2+Tick+Mother is 9.0M/fighter bay :)  With the standard 24 smallcraft complement (12 point defense, 12 for marines) however, it ends up being a bit worse.
3.)  I think weve probably taken this as far as it can go, without Alsadius weighing in. 
You're probably right, and thanks. 

I think my set of houserules for home play is now:
  • 100:1 standard:capital.  This produces reasonably similar weapon size to damage ratios.  For coherency, increasing the number of tons of armor by a factor of 10 while dividing the capital armor/ton by 10 seems reasonable but that has no significant impact on designs.
  • 1000:1 damage reduction.   This offers an easy proof that ASF cannot overwhelm.  It appears there still remain useful roles for ASF as naval spotters clearing ECM, in land operations, and in finishing off large warships.
  • 80 fuel points / .1% fuel mass as makes sense by physics.  Learn to use the pirate points for this to be practical.  Your astrogator should be putting in the hours every week refining calculations to avoid misjumps rather than the 1 day work week they have in the BT universe.
I'm not quite sure how to handle the absurd critical every time you roll a 12 rule.  Maybe just ignore unless the attack inflicts 1% or more damage?

UnLimiTeD

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1438 on: 06 December 2018, 07:03:40 »
1.)  What about dropships?  Id leave them where they are - their atmosphere capable craft like fighters, leave them on the fighter scale.

2.)  Fighters dont stay at AC/5 long, and its not hard to read the writing on the wall.  At 10:1, a single, 2 AC/5 Medium fighter does 1 capital damage.  That means a CV Deckload does ~700~ capital damage.  This is bad.
1.) Dropships are useless for everything but troop transportation already, and you want them to die to a single NL/35? I disagree.

2./3.) I honestly don't see the problem. A Fighter strike of that size, dealing 350 Capital, seems fine to me in practice.
Someone calculated in the past, in detail, how subcaps would usually be better weapons than conventionals against nearly everything despite their far worse dmg/weight ratio. Effective range is everything.
They made a McKenna copy with higher speed, armed exclusively with clan Lasers, and faced it off against a standard. The standard won, even though it nominally did far lower damage.

Yes, carriers have a high damage potential - but they should. If the carrier dies, all those fighters go down the drain. It's also a force that's guaranteed to not go without losses.
And they need a lot of fuel, while Warships run on fairy dust.
And similar to how MLs have far better damage output for their weight and size than an AC/20, that AC/20 has it's use.
A large NAC will tear huge, bloody chunks out of a warships hide. A large fighter strike, by standard rules, will at best scatter their damage evenly over as many as three different facings.

In short, I think fighters are usually too effective against Warships, but not on that scale. Besides, as they will be dwindling away during combat, they could just be countered by allowing warships to mount, say, 50% more armour.
Most capital weapons have more than enough endurance for that, fighters do not.
Savannah Masters are the Pringles of Battletech.
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Smegish

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1439 on: 06 December 2018, 08:10:31 »
The problem is when he fields 5000+ fighters in one fight, they either work as per TT rules, wipe the floor with everything they encounter and are the #1 right answer, may as well end the game now.

Or they get nerfed to make their opponent competitive, which makes fielding them in any number under 5000+ pointless

 

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