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Author Topic: Balancing naval rules for interest  (Read 10256 times)

Lagrange

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Balancing naval rules for interest
« on: 14 December 2018, 12:38:42 »
What are the minimal easy houserules required to make naval combat interesting?  This is something I've been debating with marcussmythe in relationship to the warship design challenge.  I'm curious about other's take as well. 


Edit: We seem to have converged on attempt 9 with marcussmythe and UnLimiTeD in rough agreement around:

Standard scale damage does not affect capital scale armor greater than 10 times the standard scale value.  For standard scale weapon bays use the damage of the largest weapon in the bay.  For cluster weapons, use cluster damage (i.e. 5).  Where standard scale weapons can damage capital armor, add up all damage to a facing from an attacker and divide by 100, rounding normally.  Critical hits can only be delivered by individual attacks dealing at least 1 capital damage.

In addition, there was quite a bit of discussion leading to point defense rules which make more sense
  • Point defense standard damage equal to 4 * capital damage generates a 50% chance to kill a capital missile (or a flight from a capital missile bay).  Multiple 50% chances to kill the same capital missile(s) can be generated, but all point defense applied to a capital missile passing through a hex must be designated before rolls to kill the capital missile are made.   Additional point defense may be applied in successive hexes.
  • Antimissile systems and bays on smallcraft and largecraft may fire up to 6 times in a turn, generating heat and consuming ammunition each time.
  • Antiship missiles do 1 capital damage.
There is no convergence around nuclear weapons rules.



The problem: The current rule set (and all previous as far as I know), suffer from severely overpowered standard weapons compared to capital scale weapons.   As an example, a clan ER Large Laser doing 10 points of standard damage with 10 tons (=4 base + 6 tons of double heat sinks) is comparable to an SCL1 doing 1 capital damage (=10 standard scale damage) with 162 tons (=150 base + 12 double heat sinks).   This disparity in damage/ton gets only worse with larger scale naval weapons.  As a consequence, standard scale weapons tend to heavily dominate in naval warfare anywhere they can be applied.  Furthermore, since aerospace fighters are much more mobile than capital weapons ranges a game with design collapses into a single kind of combat warships and dropships: carriers. 

Aerospace fighters do radically more damage/ton at a radically larger range than capital weapons and their cost is easily amortized by the high cost of warships and dropships.  The only notable weakness of ASF is a lack of SI which make thrust beyond 9 (=4.5g ) cause structural damage for all but light scouts.  This hole is easily filled by somewhat more expensive fast combat smallcraft.  You could still try to make a combat warship or dropship based on standard scale weapons.  For both dropships and warships of any significant scale it's easy to carry enough ASF to destroy any plausible assault/battleship of a similar scale in a single round making the number of weapons on standard scale weapon assault/battleships irrelevant.  In addition, fire control tonnage grows quadratically with the number of weapons, so only quite light warships could even benefit from heavy use of standard weapons.  These observation makes all warship designs based around capital scale weapons easy pickings for carriers.

Solution attempts:
Attempt 1: standard scale / 100 = capital scale.   
Effects include:
  • Capital weapons have damage/ton only modestly lower than standard scale weapons.  This seems pretty reasonable in the context of greater range.
  • ASF and smallcraft are typically killed by any hit from a capital scale weapon.  Only those with particularly heavy armor can survive an SCL1 and a Barracuda is extra deadly with the bonus to hit.  This change partially degrades carrier-based warfare.
  • Even heavily armored dropships are destroyed by modest capital scale weapons (e.g. NAC/10).  This is reasonable in real life as a NAC/10 is a 2000 ton gun but it's a little bit questionable in Battletech where crazy-good ablative armor is the norm.
  • ASF and Smallcraft have difficulty damaging capital scale armor.  Using TW rules (page 238) with errata page 42, each attacker must inflict 50 standard damage on a location to inflict capital damage or it's rounded down to 0.  With normal dispersion of fire and to-hit penalties this is typically difficult for ASF.  For smallcraft, this is more feasible with the use of bays but it requires specialized designs.  Even with specialized designs a carrier is potent but perhaps not more powerful than battleship types of designs.
  • Jumpship armor becomes respectable since many ASF can't penetrate that easily.
The above generally seems like what we are looking for, but there are problems remaining or introduced as well.
  • Warships still have a problem with critical hits because massed fire from many standard scale weapons is likely to result in many rolls of '12'.  Appropriately designed fighters could again make carriers win through critical hits.
  • Antiship missiles (TO page 358) are devastating since they inflict 3 capital damage and require 3 capital damage from point defense to destroy as per other capital missiles.  These weapons plausibly make a carrier with well-designed strike fighters capable of carrying 2 antiship missiles again dominant.
  • Point defense is heavily degraded against capital missiles because 10x more point defense is required than under current rules.  200MGs, 134SLs, or 67 AMS shots destroys a Barracuda (or a factor of 2 better if you play rounding games).  Missile boats are kings so long as MGs and SLs are only available for point defense.  With particularly deep heat sink reserves, AMS can effectively counter missiles.
  • Ortillery hits like a nuclear weapon.  Multiplying by 100 rather than 10 has a devastating impact when interacting with land-based units as even the lightest of capital scale damage essentially kills every land-based unit in a direct hit.
  • If individual weapons rules are used (SO page 114) for standard scale weapons the random roll to do capital damage would need to be modified as it does not make sense at a 1:100 ratio.
Points 1 and 2 still leave carriers dominant while drawbacks 3&4 seems undesirable.  Further changes to scale (e.g. 1000:1) do not address this issue and exacerbate the drawbacks so we need some new rules.  The best I've come up with is:

Attempt 2: Standard scale / 100 = capital scale.  Only capital scale damage from a single event can cause a lucky critical hit.  Capital missiles require standard damage = 10x capital damage in point defense to destroy.  Ortillery operates according to standard scale = 10x capital scale.  Remove the individual weapons rule for stochastic capital damage. 
Looking at the issues again, we see:
  • An ASF can cause a critical hit on a warship through a ramming attack or a high speed engagement with an AC/20.  There are not common tactics for several reasons.
  • Antiship missiles (TO page 358) are still devastating but it's possible to defend with AMS.  It's still ridiculous to have a 2 ton missile inflict 3 capital damage so downgrading to 30 standard damage is reasonable.
  • Point defense remains as-is with 20MGs, 14SLs, or 7 AMS shots destroying a Barracuda.  A warship could easily mount 320 SLs in an arc providing a modest point defense and appropriately designed ASF or small-craft could contribute point defense in excess of a missile boat's capacity.  When AMS becomes available it can completely nerf missile-based attacks at some cost with a carrier executing an alpha strike with Antiship missiles at the high end.
  • Ortillery hits as normal.

Edit: This leaves dropships unable to effectively contribute in combat against warships as Atarlost says.  I don't see how to cope with this other than via another rule.
Attempt 3: Standard scale / 100 = capital scale.  Only capital scale damage from a single event can cause a lucky critical hit.  As an exception, standard scale damage remains only 10x capital damage for the purpose of damaging dropships, shooting down capital missiles, and ortillery.  Remove the individual weapons rule for stochastic capital damage. 

This modification allows assault dropships to modestly threaten dropships while consolidating the rules from attempt 2 and otherwise functioning as before.

Edit again:  Attempt 3 fails because a smallcraft carrier is still overwhelming.  We need a new approach.  I like the damage reduction idea, but we've established that -5 damage reduction isn't adequate and it seems desirable to avoid the need to recompute damage statistics.

Attempt 4: Standard scale damage by a standard weapon bay or a unit not using bays against capital armor is reduced by the amount of capital armor on a location before it is applied.  Only capital scale damage can cause a lucky critical hit against capital armor.

Examples: An AC/20 does half damage against a jumpship with 10 capital armor and no damage against a space station with 20 capital armor.  A warship mounting a 70 PPCs in a bay would do no damage against a warship with 700 capital armor.   A smallcraft with a bay using 12 medium lasers would do no damage against a warship with 60 capital armor. 
  • Capital weapons have damage/ton much lower than standard scale weapons but they are not reduced by capital scale armor so they always remain relevant in warship combat.
  • ASF have difficulty damaging capital scale armor.  Using TW rules (page 238) with errata page 42, you add up all the standard scale damage against each location before converting to capital damage.  Now, after adding you subtract the amount of capital armor, then divide by 10 and round normally to get the amount of capital scale damage.
  • Smallcraft have difficulty damaging capital scale armor because the weapon bay's damage is reduced by the amount of capital scale armor.
  • Dropships have difficulty damaging capital scale armor with standard scale weapons as smallcraft.  However, they can mount heavier standard scale bays which can damage larger warships and sub-capital weapons which damage any warship.
  • Standard weapon based warships have damage reduced to zero by sufficiently large opposed warships.  This point seems the least satisfying because there remain a broad range of warships for which a 70 PPC bay remains effective.
This seems to fail by leving standard weapon armed warships too powerful

Attempt 5: (From monbvol) Standard weapons don't damage capital armor.  Advanced Point Defense, Missile Waypoints, and Bearings only launches are no more.  Antiship Missiles are backdated to always be available. 

This seems to leave ASF carriers dominant.

Attempt 6: here Capital damage by standard weapons is equal to the damage on a facing by an attacker / 100, rounded down.  The maximum number of weapons in a weapons bay is 6 for Smallcraft, 12 for Dropships, and 40 for Warships, Jumpships, and Space Stations.  Critical hits on capital units can only be caused by individual attacks dealing at least 1 capital damage.

No counterexamples yet exist although it is odd that standard scale units have an easier time doing damage to capital armor than capital structure.

Attempt 7: from marcussmythe.  Non-capital weapons effect capital IS at 1:10, but cannot harm capital armor.  Fighter carried ASMs deal 1 point of capital scale damage. No optional rule for AMS.

This eliminates ramming as per cannon and it makes missileers to powerful.

Attempt 8: Standard scale damage does not affect capital scale armor. 

This again eliminates ramming as per Miraborg.  It means that jumpships are very robust against ASF although they can be easily boarded by smallcraft.  ASF still have roles to play in naval battles via Antiship Missiles, in damaging exposed structure, or in electronic warfare.

Attempt 9: Standard scale damage does not affect capital scale armor greater than 10 times the standard scale value.  For standard scale weapon bays use the damage of the largest weapon in the bay.  For cluster weapons, use cluster damage (i.e. 5).  Where standard scale weapons can damage capital armor, add up all damage to a facing from an attacker and divide by 100, rounding normally.  Critical hits can only be delivered by individual attacks dealing at least 1 capital damage.

Under this rule:
  • Capital armor of 50+ is immune to standard scale cluster weapons and capital armor of 250+ is immune to all standard weapons including the heavy gauss in normal play.
  • Jumpships generally remain vulnerable to standard scale weapons although they may have immunity to particularly light weapons and a particularly large jumpship may achieve immunity to cluster weapons on some facings.
  • Warships short of the Leviathan III are vulnerable to a standard scale AC/20 used in a high speed engagement.
  • Warships can take damage (and a critical hit) from a ramming attack as per the Miraborg ram.
  • Critical hits can only be delivered by a ram attack or a hit during a high speed engagement with a particularly heavy weapon (i.e an AC/20).
  • When standard scale weapons can damage capital armor, the damage they inflict is inline with naval weapons on a damage/ton basis.
  • ASF can inflict capital armor damage (i.e. achieve 50 damage on a threshold) even in the Age of War with a well-built heavy ASF.  More modern ASF can be lighter/faster or potentially inflict 2 capital damage.
  • Capital structure is more vulnerable than capital armor, since 15 standard scale damage inflicts 1 point of capital structure damage as per existing rules.

Am I missing effects of these rule tweaks?  Do side effects seem intolerable?  Once you start tweaking rules it becomes tempting to tweak many more, but it seems important to minimize tweaks.  Is there a better alternate set of tweaks which is no larger?
« Last Edit: 06 January 2019, 09:10:46 by Lagrange »

Atarlost

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Re: Balancing naval rules for interest
« Reply #1 on: 14 December 2018, 13:44:00 »
I would suggest sticking to the 1:10 scale because you failed to recognize two side effects: 
1) Assault dropships are too fragile to operate in eras with warships.  Since most of them are either from the SL era before warships went away or after warships returned post-Helm this is a serious lore problem.
2) Capital missiles and fighter launched ASMs are massively overpowered in dropship vs dropship combat. 

Instead, I would make two or three less extreme changes:
1) standard damage is reduced by 5 per weapon before being applied to capital armor (but not to missiles).  MLs and AC-5s do absolutely nothing, AC-10s half a point, standard gausses one point, and AC-20s 1.5 points.  LRMs hit in 5 clusters so they also do no damage to capital ships.  Fighters can be optimized as anti-capship platforms, but most aren't and an anti-capship plaftorm cannot spam weight efficient lasers. 
2) Through armor criticals are always based on single weapon damage.  Squadron rules I believe already do this, but it prevents massed standard scale weapons on warships from being powerful and makes otherwise disfavored naval gauss and naval autocannons more useful. 
3) optionally, capital weapons TAC on armor/5 instead of armor/10 to make it possible to TAC large warships again with the right weapons.  This depends on how lossy you want capital ship fights to be.  If you want the Royal Navy sparring with the High Seas Fleet indecisively and only thin skinned battlecruisers being lost don't use this rule.  If you want to see the Bismark blowing up the Hood do use it. 

Lagrange

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Re: Balancing naval rules for interest
« Reply #2 on: 14 December 2018, 14:19:09 »
I would suggest sticking to the 1:10 scale because you failed to recognize two side effects: 
1) Assault dropships are too fragile to operate in eras with warships.  Since most of them are either from the SL era before warships went away or after warships returned post-Helm this is a serious lore problem.
2) Capital missiles and fighter launched ASMs are massively overpowered in dropship vs dropship combat. 
Good, that seems correct. 

Instead, I would make two or three less extreme changes:
1) standard damage is reduced by 5 per weapon before being applied to capital armor (but not to missiles).  MLs and AC-5s do absolutely nothing, AC-10s half a point, standard gausses one point, and AC-20s 1.5 points.  LRMs hit in 5 clusters so they also do no damage to capital ships.  Fighters can be optimized as anti-capship platforms, but most aren't and an anti-capship plaftorm cannot spam weight efficient lasers. 
2) Through armor criticals are always based on single weapon damage.  Squadron rules I believe already do this, but it prevents massed standard scale weapons on warships from being powerful and makes otherwise disfavored naval gauss and naval autocannons more useful. 
3) optionally, capital weapons TAC on armor/5 instead of armor/10 to make it possible to TAC large warships again with the right weapons.  This depends on how lossy you want capital ship fights to be.  If you want the Royal Navy sparring with the High Seas Fleet indecisively and only thin skinned battlecruisers being lost don't use this rule.  If you want to see the Bismark blowing up the Hood do use it.
W.r.t. 2).   This seems to take care of critical problem fine, but do you mean to remove capital missile criticals as well?  Also, NACs aren't disfavored in my experience as they generate pretty good damage/ton. 

W.r.t. 1), carriers are still left dominant.  A heavy fighter with 2 Ultra AC-20s capable of overtaking most warships is pretty feasible implying they could deal 1.5 capital damage  up to 4 times in a round.  Given the way that rounding works with capital armor, this implies an average of about 5 capital damage if everything hits---maybe call it 4 capital damage taking into account the chance of a miss at short range.   That means 250 ASF taking up 37.5K tons of bays are capable of generating 1000 capital damage/round.   Comparing, the same weight in Heavy Naval PPCs might generate 165 capital damage/round if everything hits.   But they won't hit against the carrier, because it will just stay out of range and send the piranhas ASF to kill the warship.

KaiserDunk

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Re: Balancing naval rules for interest
« Reply #3 on: 14 December 2018, 15:16:52 »
I prefer the idea that standard weapons do not have the potential to cause a 'Golden BB' cascade through critical hits.   If a heavy ASF squadron can carry a couple of Barracuda missiles like WWII torpedoes each, then I could see that working.   Chucking 37mm anti-tank cannon rounds at the Bismarck or the Yamato should not have the capacity to score a lucky TEP shot.   It would also give larger DropShips the ability to act PT boats when armed with Barracuda tubes.

I like the idea of decreasing the capital weapon damage of standard weapons to 1/100 for the same reason.   Maybe decrease the point-defense hits needed to shoot down incoming capital missiles to make systems like AMS more valuable.   

Lagrange

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Re: Balancing naval rules for interest
« Reply #4 on: 14 December 2018, 17:22:21 »
I put up attempt 3 to deal with the dropship concern.

If a heavy ASF squadron can carry a couple of Barracuda missiles like WWII torpedoes each, then I could see that working.   
The Antiship missiles aren't Barracudas but they seem to have the same sort of function.  They seem a bit ridiculous to me in that Barracudas weigh 30 tons and have (effectively) 1.25 tons of armor (at 16 points/ton) while doing 2 capital damage.  Antiship missiles weigh 2 tons (7%) and have (effectively) 1.875 tons of armor while doing 3 points of capital damage. 
Maybe decrease the point-defense hits needed to shoot down incoming capital missiles to make systems like AMS more valuable.
I'm not quite following this--AMS is super-valuable already because it can fire repeatedly until you run out of heat sinks or ammo.

KaiserDunk

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Re: Balancing naval rules for interest
« Reply #5 on: 14 December 2018, 19:50:57 »
I stand corrected in regards to the differences between Barracuda and ASMs; the only thing I can think of between the two is that the Barracuda has a much longer range than the ASM, hence the greater mass.   Still, I like the idea of ASFs having the ability to pose a threat to capital WarShips, making point defense and anti-ASF weaponry necessary.   Maybe change the rules to allow aerodyne small craft to carry external ordnance, giving assault small craft the ability to carry ASMs as well.

As to the AMS, my point is to make it easier for an AMS to take out a given capital missile in as few shots as possible through hitting components of the missile.

Another idea is to maybe give the Streak SRM system the ability to fire at capital missiles, similar to the RAM currently in use by several navies today.

Atarlost

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Re: Balancing naval rules for interest
« Reply #6 on: 14 December 2018, 23:16:37 »
W.r.t. 2).   This seems to take care of critical problem fine, but do you mean to remove capital missile criticals as well?  Also, NACs aren't disfavored in my experience as they generate pretty good damage/ton. 
I'm not sure what you mean about capital missile criticals.  NACs have less range and with crits by bay the large values are not more valuable.  With the 70 per bay limit, in fact, the NAC-40 can only be single mounted, severely penalizing it for TAC threats.  Every single other capital weapon can achieve a larger bay. 

W.r.t. 1), carriers are still left dominant.  A heavy fighter with 2 Ultra AC-20s capable of overtaking most warships is pretty feasible implying they could deal 1.5 capital damage  up to 4 times in a round.  Given the way that rounding works with capital armor, this implies an average of about 5 capital damage if everything hits---maybe call it 4 capital damage taking into account the chance of a miss at short range.   That means 250 ASF taking up 37.5K tons of bays are capable of generating 1000 capital damage/round.   Comparing, the same weight in Heavy Naval PPCs might generate 165 capital damage/round if everything hits.   But they won't hit against the carrier, because it will just stay out of range and send the piranhas ASF to kill the warship.
Shutting out fighters entirely is impossible without also shutting out dropships and from a lore standpoint is undesirable. 

You're also miscounting ultra autocannon damage.  If using the normal rules an ultra autocannon does 0.75x rated damage per cluster, which amounts to 1 capital after the 5 damage reduction per hit.  If using individual weapon rules Each weapon must roll on the 2s column of the number of missile hits table.  If you are firing 500 UAC-20s using the individual weapons rules there is no saving the game. 

To put your 800 damage 250 fighter strike in perspective, the same weight would get you 57 Killer Whale launchers with 579 missiles.  With bearings only launches these have the same ability to be used outside of the range of all other capital weapons.  They collectively do 2316 damage. 

The way canonical ships are designed you won't have this sort of problem unless you let one player bring a Potempkin with a full load of Vengeances or Titans. If you're designing your own ships look at Screen Launchers.  If you still have issues consider increasing the naval laser anti-fighter mode bonus or backdating subcapital weapons to the Age of War. 

Lagrange

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Re: Balancing naval rules for interest
« Reply #7 on: 15 December 2018, 00:49:06 »
I stand corrected in regards to the differences between Barracuda and ASMs; the only thing I can think of between the two is that the Barracuda has a much longer range than the ASM, hence the greater mass.   
The range has some significant value, but it's hard to swallow at x15 tonnage.  A Light PPC has 2x the range of a medium laser (similar to BC vs. ASM) and requires only 2x the mass.
Still, I like the idea of ASFs having the ability to pose a threat to capital WarShips, making point defense and anti-ASF weaponry necessary.   
I think we are there with the proposed houserules.  ASMs are certainly threatening at 3 capital damage each.   Even if it's only 30 standard (on a 100:1 scale), an ASF could carry two and very plausibly manage to do the 50 points of damage on a location necessary to inflict a point of capital damage.  Even without that somewhat specialized heavy ASF can often reach the threshold of 50 damage on a location in a round.  Consider for example a heavy fighter with MPL + TC using called shots (SO page 99) to target a location.  They should reach the 50 point damage threshold consistently at short range. 
Maybe change the rules to allow aerodyne small craft to carry external ordnance, giving assault small craft the ability to carry ASMs as well.
This seems doable but not necessary as ASF can function in this role.
As to the AMS, my point is to make it easier for an AMS to take out a given capital missile in as few shots as possible through hitting components of the missile.
I don't see the motivation I guess.  AMS on largecraft is already incredibly effective.
Another idea is to maybe give the Streak SRM system the ability to fire at capital missiles, similar to the RAM currently in use by several navies today.
There is already the 'Targeting Capital Missiles' rule on SO 117 which allows this.
I'm not sure what you mean about capital missile criticals. 
Capital missiles have a bonus chance of causing criticals---see TW page 239.
NACs have less range and with crits by bay the large values are not more valuable.  With the 70 per bay limit, in fact, the NAC-40 can only be single mounted, severely penalizing it for TAC threats.  Every single other capital weapon can achieve a larger bay. 
A NAC-40 does almost twice as much damage/ton as an HNPPC and can be paired with a NAC/30 to create a 70 point bay.  See Alsadius's analysis for details.
Shutting out fighters entirely is impossible without also shutting out dropships and from a lore standpoint is undesirable. 
Attempt 3 in the (edited) original post tries to do this.  Do you think that doesn't work also?
You're also miscounting ultra autocannon damage.  If using the normal rules an ultra autocannon does 0.75x rated damage per cluster, which amounts to 1 capital after the 5 damage reduction per hit.  If using individual weapon rules Each weapon must roll on the 2s column of the number of missile hits table.  If you are firing 500 UAC-20s using the individual weapons rules there is no saving the game. 
My impression was that under standard rules UAC-20s deliver a flat 30 damage/hit in ASF? 

Anyways, no matter how you slice it, twin UAC-20 ASFs from a carrier warship are far more deadly than a comparable battleship under the 'standard-5' rule because 250 of them generate far more capital damage than a comparable weight of capital-scale weapons.
To put your 800 damage 250 fighter strike in perspective, the same weight would get you 57 Killer Whale launchers with 579 missiles.  With bearings only launches these have the same ability to be used outside of the range of all other capital weapons.  They collectively do 2316 damage. 
This is way worse than the ASF carrier for several reasons.
  • The ASF do a factor of 4+ more damage/round.
  • The ASF can adjust course when the enemy moves.
  • The KWs inflict no damage on a warship that invests in 14 AMSs + 400 heat sinks + 665 tons of ammo.
  • Thr ASF themselves can easily mount sufficient point defense to shoot down every KW.  You need 7 small lasers or 10MGs per ASF.
The way canonical ships are designed you won't have this sort of problem unless you let one player bring a Potempkin with a full load of Vengeances or Titans.
I mostly agree here although the Thera is pretty capable as a carrier.
If you're designing your own ships look at Screen Launchers. 
Screen launchers are great.  The area effect damage is also absurd and they are only available 600 years after warships are a thing.
If you still have issues consider increasing the naval laser anti-fighter mode bonus or backdating subcapital weapons to the Age of War.
Subcapital weapons don't fix the issue because they just don't generate enough damage in the standard rules to kill many ASF.  Similarly, Naval Lasers in anti-fighter mode need to be operating on a one-hit-to-kill basis in order to really put a dent in a carrier's ASF swarm at an appreciable rate.  This is approximately what the 100:1 ratio for standard:capital damage is doing.  You also need to make the warship more robust since it essentially dies in one round when attacked by the ASF swarm under either default rules or the standard-5 rule.

truetanker

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Re: Balancing naval rules for interest
« Reply #8 on: 15 December 2018, 01:47:25 »
Not a tech head, so following...

Interesting none the least...

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idea weenie

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Re: Balancing naval rules for interest
« Reply #9 on: 15 December 2018, 15:54:53 »
How about for standard damage, if you get a critical, you instead do double standard damage?  You then roll again to see if you actually got a critical hit

So a 4-strong ASF squadron does a total of 8-12 standard damage (2 Gauss Rifles per ASF = 2-3 standard damage per ASF).  The attacker rolls for to-hit, and gets a critical.  The ASF squadron now does 16-24 pts standard damage instead, and the player rolls 2d6 again to see if they actually got a crit.  Warships firing capital weaponry can choose to do either the doubled damage or score the critical hit (declared before firing, but they don't need to confirm).

This will require knowing how many weapons are in an arc.  For example, the following weapon setups appear to deliver identical standard (ignoring ranges):
Nose - Laser - 40 dmg
LW - Laser - 40 dmg
RW - Laser - 40 dmg

But if you look at the design, you see that the nose is 5 Large Lasers (8 standard dmg per), while each wing is 8 medium lasers (5 standard damage per).  Without that knowledge, if you just reduced the standard damage by 5 pts you would still have 35 pts of damage per arc.  Halving the damage would not be effective either.  Needing to look up the design during the game is definitely not practical (since there may be multiple designs flying around).

But if you make a note about how many weapons are per arc:
Nose - Laser (5) - 40 dmg
LW - Laser (8) - 40 dmg
RW - Laser (8) - 40 dmg

Then if you subtract 5 pts of standard damage from each weapon, you know how many weapons are per arc, and you effectively get:
Nose - Laser (5) - 15 dmg
LW - Laser (8) - 0 dmg
RW - Laser (8) - 0 dmg


For ASF, they should only do full standard damage once all the armor in a location is gone.  So you can send them after wounded ships, but you should really use combat Dropships and Warships to kill other Warships.

What I would want to see is a way that squadrons get better benefit than an ASF on its own.  This encourages the players to keep ASF in squadrons, instead of trying to keep track of every ASF on the map.  (on the scale of Warships and Dropships, ASF should be considered as infantry is compared to Battlemechs).  Perhaps a bonus on the dice to determine if you got a critical, based on the number of ASF not firing?  So if a 4-strong ASF squadron has 2 fighters not firing, it would do half damage, but as long as the squadron hit, it would count 2-4 as permission to roll for a critical?

The problem is that you might get someone who tries to have a single giant ASF squadron, so anti-fighter weapons would need a bonus when firing at a squadron based on the size of the squadron?  You'd have to figure out a way so that 4, 5, and 6 are their own 'steps' in this calculations, to reflect the Inner Sphere, Clan, and C*/WoB squadron sizes.



I also want to make a unified design system for Jumpships/Warships/Dropships/Spacestations/Monitors.  You can design whatever you want, and use nearly the same rules for everything. 

As an example, the final multiplier for the different designs is based on the following options (in increasing order of price):
1) dis/assembly capability (so multi-part items built elsewhere cost more, but it means you can build that 2.5 MTon station in an unpopulated system, then take it apart after the job is done)
2) FTL capability (carried externally) or FTL capability (jumping) (can only select one)
3) multi-atmosphere capability (aka Dropships, plus they have to use the 6.5% engine mass instead of 6% space-only engine mass)

Lagrange

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Re: Balancing naval rules for interest
« Reply #10 on: 16 December 2018, 00:40:41 »
It seems like attempt 3 fails.   To understand this, we need to setup some notional opponents.    Let's pick 600K ton warships as a mid-sized mid-cost choice and use introductory tech.   At this level ASF can't reliably manage to do 50 points of damage to a location, but smallcraft can.  So our notional ships are all 600 ton 3/5 150 SI with 135 capital armor/facing and either:
  • a smallcraft carrier able to carry 432 smallcraft.
  • a missileer.  Given that the smallcraft will be incredibly robust, we'll want the missileer to use Killer Whales as nothing else guarantees a kill.  We can put 22 KWs on each of 7 arcs and fire them all at a single target using preprogrammed waypoints.
  • an Antifighter. NL35s also autokill smallcraft so they are a good choice.  We'll cornerpost with 33 in each of Front/Aft side arcs.
The smallcraft we'll look at is:
Code: [Select]
Antiwarship Smallcraft
Base Tech Level: Standard (IS)
Tech Rating: D/D-E-D-D 
Weight: 200
tons BV: 2,788
Cost: 16,090,100 C-bills 
Movement: 5/8
Heat Sinks: 24
Fuel Points: 400/400 (5.0 tons)
Tons Per Burn Day: 1.84 
Structural Integrity: 16

Armor
Nose 296
Left Side 246
Right Side 246
Aft 196

 
Weapons Loc Heat
24x Small Laser NOS 24
   
Crew
Officers 2
Enlisted/Non-rated 1
Gunners 4
   
This smallcraft can provide point defense almost sufficient to destroy a Killer Whale or inflict one point of capital damage at the 100:1 ratio as per attempt 3.  Paying for the smallcraft essentially doubles the price, so we should consider 1 carrier vs. 2 missilleers or 1 carrier vs. 2 antifighters.  Against the missileers, the smallcraft can simply use point defense to destroy every killer whale (308/round) with about 90 left to attack.  Against the Antifighter configurations, the smallcraft can evade while closing so the NL35s can really only hit at short range where the smallcraft can hit back.  Taking into account aspect penalties (+1) and the AAA fighter mode penalty (+3), only about 55 smallcraft are killed/round so it looks like:
Round 1: 55 smallcraft killed, 1 Antifighter warship has a sides eviscerated with 312 capital damage on target.    Interestingly, _no_ damage to structure occurs because each smallcraft can only inflict 1 capital damage which is halved and rounded down to zero against the structure.  Nevertheless, many critical hits from a variable crit threshold render the warship nonfunctional.
Round 2: 28 smallcraft killed, the other Antifighter warship loses the aft side with about 272 capital on target. 
Round 3: ~14 smallcraft killed, the last Antifighter warship is rendered nonfunctional.

How about for standard damage, if you get a critical, you instead do double standard damage?  You then roll again to see if you actually got a critical hit
Reducing critical hits to a .077% chance could be effective.   I'm a little bit wary because the rule adds complexity.
So a 4-strong ASF squadron does a total of 8-12 standard damage (2 Gauss Rifles per ASF = 2-3 standard damage per ASF).
By 'standard', I think you mean 'capital'.  If 4 ASF do 8 capital damage then a notional 3/5 600K ton carrier could launch fighters to generate over 1K capital damage/round.   It still generates the collapse to carrier warfare.

The squadron bonus on criticals and the unified design system ideas are also interesting but not the problem I'm trying to solve here.
« Last Edit: 16 December 2018, 12:11:49 by Lagrange »

marcussmythe

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Re: Balancing naval rules for interest
« Reply #11 on: 16 December 2018, 01:21:32 »
Can anyone name a naval combat system, that allows customized ship design or even customized force composition, that incorporates fighters in an anti-ship role... where fighters dont ‘blow up the game’?

Off the top of my head, I cannot.

Atarlost

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Re: Balancing naval rules for interest
« Reply #12 on: 16 December 2018, 02:21:14 »
Capital missiles have a bonus chance of causing criticals---see TW page 239.
I still see no connection.  Changing how bays interact with armor thresholds also has no effect on crits from rolling boxcars or crits from hitting a location from which the armor has been stripped. 

A NAC-40 does almost twice as much damage/ton as an HNPPC and can be paired with a NAC/30 to create a 70 point bay.  See Alsadius's analysis for details.

Odd, Alsadius makes a point of considering the bay size for various weapons.  He even notes a bay size above the common 600 as an advantage for the MNPPC.  How sure are you about mixing weapons? 

Attempt 3 in the (edited) original post tries to do this.  Do you think that doesn't work also?

You're using a different scale conversion for different targets.  This is incredibly inelegant. 

Anyways, no matter how you slice it, twin UAC-20 ASFs from a carrier warship are far more deadly than a comparable battleship under the 'standard-5' rule because 250 of them generate far more capital damage than a comparable weight of capital-scale weapons.

This is way worse than the ASF carrier for several reasons.
  • The ASF do a factor of 4+ more damage/round.
  • The ASF can adjust course when the enemy moves.
  • The KWs inflict no damage on a warship that invests in 14 AMSs + 400 heat sinks + 665 tons of ammo.
  • Thr ASF themselves can easily mount sufficient point defense to shoot down every KW.  You need 7 small lasers or 10MGs per ASF.
1) Damage in a round matters little when the missiles are already in flight. 
3) Infinite AMS is another problem you should be fixing, not invoking as an argument.
4) Now you're not only putting two UAC-20s but 7 SLs on your antiship fighter.  This is an extreme level of munchkinry.  If you have a munchkin at your table willing to roll 500 jamming rolls for one round of combat you should refuse to game with him to achieve an advantage in a tabletop game where money is not at stake you should neither play nor even be friends with him. 

For that matter, you have a friend who is running 42 squadrons.  Regardless of whether or not he's using weapons that require jamming rolls you should not be letting someone bring that many individual units to a Battletech game.  Maybe Alpha Strike if you have all day, but even then it's a lot of units.  That's a fair few units for one side even on a simple hex and counter wargame. 

To solve all of your alleged problems simply institute a unit cap.  Your examples of cheese are so absurd in the amount of dice rolling it would require to use them that I do not believe you have ever actually had anyone try to use them.  If you had you wouldn't be complaining about balance but about the lack of an aerospace rule set sufficiently abstract to operate under the weight of that many units. 

Also, remember when the UAC-20 was invented and where.  The Clans almost never involved warships in trials other than entirely simulated internal Snow Raven trials due to their value and rarity.  There was the Wolverine Annihilation, but Clan prototype UACs enter widespread use only in 2825, too late to participate in large numbers.  Prior to that you'll cap out at 3 damage from twin AC-20s which come with shorter range as well.  By the time warship vs warship combat is possible screen launchers not only exist but have lost their faction restriction. 

Lagrange

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Re: Balancing naval rules for interest
« Reply #13 on: 16 December 2018, 12:03:14 »
I made an attempt 4 around a form of damage reduction in the OP---reducing standard scale damage by the amount of capital scale armor.  Does that seem viable?

Can anyone name a naval combat system, that allows customized ship design or even customized force composition, that incorporates fighters in an anti-ship role... where fighters dont ‘blow up the game’?
If I recall correctly (it's been 20 years), Masters of Orion (the computer game) managed this.  One of the species allowed you to design big regenerating ships which allowed you to whittle down fighter hordes. 

I still see no connection.  Changing how bays interact with armor thresholds also has no effect on crits from rolling boxcars or crits from hitting a location from which the armor has been stripped. 
I see---your language seemed more absolute.

Odd, Alsadius makes a point of considering the bay size for various weapons.  He even notes a bay size above the common 600 as an advantage for the MNPPC.  How sure are you about mixing weapons? 
I'm quite sure. TM page 195 says "Unlike fighters, however, these aerospace units may combine weapons of different sizes (such as a mix of medium and large lasers) in a single weapon bay..." referring to smallcraft and dropships.  SO page 154 says "the weapons usable by advanced aerospace units are sorted into weapon classes in the same fashion as for Dropship units. These weapon bay classes are..."   There is no indication of a rules change from smallcraft/dropship except that more categories of weapons bays are available.
You're using a different scale conversion for different targets.  This is incredibly inelegant. 
I tend to agree.
1) Damage in a round matters little when the missiles are already in flight. 
Why not?  Damage in a round controls how many missiles can be shot down consistently.
3) Infinite AMS is another problem you should be fixing, not invoking as an argument.
It's a minor issue compared to the one we are looking at here.
4) Now you're not only putting two UAC-20s but 7 SLs on your antiship fighter.  This is an extreme level of munchkinry.  If you have a munchkin at your table willing to roll 500 jamming rolls for one round of combat you should refuse to game with him to achieve an advantage in a tabletop game where money is not at stake you should neither play nor even be friends with him. 
On one hand, I totally agree---500 rolls/round is not reasonable.  On the other hand, I want a rules set which doesn't break and which can be reasonably abstracted for large scale battles. 
To solve all of your alleged problems simply institute a unit cap. 
This doesn't work either.  To see this, the same notional 600K ton 3/5 150SI warship can mount 490 PPCs in each of Aft/Broad/Fore sides creating 7 70-capital bays/arc and bringing 21 70-capital bays to bear in the broadside.   This is a factor of 3 more than the damage generated by mounting NAC-40s while having the same range.
Prior to that you'll cap out at 3 damage from twin AC-20s which come with shorter range as well. 
Sure, but it's still to much.  We've established that 1 capital damage/smallcraft is to much so 3 capital damage/ASF is way to much.
By the time warship vs warship combat is possible screen launchers not only exist but have lost their faction restriction. 
There is plenty of warship vs. warship combat in the 2500s.

KaiserDunk

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Re: Balancing naval rules for interest
« Reply #14 on: 16 December 2018, 14:38:53 »
My bottom line would be that ASFs should not be able to do anywhere near as much damage as capital weapons save for the aforementioned ASMs.   The ASMs are there for a reason; standard weapons should not have any or at most very limited punch vs WarShip armor or crits.   The only way for an ASF without ASMs to impact a WarShip should be with a suicide ramming; otherwise I would expect the weapons of an ASF like a Sparrowhawk or Transgressor to have on a Warship would be comparable to gnats hitting a car's windshield.

I like the idea of having a 1:10, 1:50, or 1:100 ratio for standard weapons to capital weapons, with ASMs having 2 damage per successful hit.   It keeps the use of standard weapons where they belong, as ASF and CIWS defense batteries.

monbvol

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Re: Balancing naval rules for interest
« Reply #15 on: 16 December 2018, 14:51:42 »
As presented the analysis does not indicate it takes the following considerations into full account:

Small lasers(and other non-AMS Point Defense Weapons) can only fire once at incoming missile attacks and must be declared to be in Point Defense mode and halve their damage to do so.  This mode change is declared in the end phase.(Strategic Operations pages 96 and 97)

Evasive movement prevents firing offensively.(Total Warfare page 77)

Capital range brackets are not the same range as Standard range brackets.  They are double.(Total Warfare page 235)

Bracket Fire would actually be the better option for the laser armed Warships, at least until SCL-1s become available then swap those for the NL-35s and use AAA mode for a Gunnery+Range+3 to hit and hitting at medium or even long range isn't out of the question.

All that said I do not disagree that everything space needs a lot of work to be made more sane and reasonable.

Lagrange

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Re: Balancing naval rules for interest
« Reply #16 on: 16 December 2018, 17:23:10 »
My bottom line would be that ASFs should not be able to do anywhere near as much damage as capital weapons save for the aforementioned ASMs.   The ASMs are there for a reason; standard weapons should not have any or at most very limited punch vs WarShip armor or crits.   The only way for an ASF without ASMs to impact a WarShip should be with a suicide ramming; otherwise I would expect the weapons of an ASF like a Sparrowhawk or Transgressor to have on a Warship would be comparable to gnats hitting a car's windshield.
Attempt 4 generally has this property for any warship mounting 50+ capital armor on a facing.  For jumpships, and particularly lightly armored warships, or space stations the ASF weapons have reduced (but significant) effect.
I like the idea of having a 1:10, 1:50, or 1:100 ratio for standard weapons to capital weapons,
Attempt 1,2,3 had 1:100, but that seems to be inadequate and, further, caused other problems.
with ASMs having 2 damage per successful hit.   It keeps the use of standard weapons where they belong, as ASF and CIWS defense batteries.
ASMs do 3 capital damage/hit in the current rules.  I don't expect the distinction between 2 and 3 to be particularly meaningful for game balance here.  I would say that ASMs seem rather ridiculous at 2 tons in comparison to other capital missiles.  At 20 or 30 tons they would make quite a bit more sense. 

As presented the analysis does not indicate it takes the following considerations into full account:
I'm aware of all of these and I believe they are taken into account w.r.t. the suggested outcomes.  If you are worried about otherwise then let's pick one and expand it in more detail. 
Small lasers(and other non-AMS Point Defense Weapons) can only fire once at incoming missile attacks and must be declared to be in Point Defense mode and halve their damage to do so.  This mode change is declared in the end phase.(Strategic Operations pages 96 and 97)
So, a smallcraft with 24 small lasers in a bay can do 36 damage to missiles and if you have a large number of smallcraft then a fraction of the smallcraft can be in point defense mode to achieve immunity to missiles for all while the remainder stay in normal mode and deal capital damage.
Evasive movement prevents firing offensively.(Total Warfare page 77)
Which is completely fine when you are using evasive movement at ranges beyond short where small lasers can be used.
Capital range brackets are not the same range as Standard range brackets.  They are double.(Total Warfare page 235)
Potentially, this would give the NL35s an extra round of fire before the smallcraft could counterattack, depending on closing velocity.  This does not appear to alter the outcome. 
Bracket Fire would actually be the better option for the laser armed Warships, at least until SCL-1s become available then swap those for the NL-35s and use AAA mode for a Gunnery+Range+3 to hit and hitting at medium or even long range isn't out of the question.
I'm skeptical about this.  Bracketing fire requires bays of 4 to get a benefit in to-hit over AAA mode.  This implies reducing the number of shots by a factor of 4.  Consider: 11=4(base)+2(Medium)+5(capital vs. smallcraft)+1(nose)-3(Bracketing fire)+2(evasion) vs. 12=4(base)+2(Medium)+3(AAA)+1(Nose)+2(Evasion).  If every shot kills, you would rather use 4 shots in AAA mode than 1 shot in bracketing fire mode.

KaiserDunk

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Re: Balancing naval rules for interest
« Reply #17 on: 16 December 2018, 19:08:19 »
I don't see the problem with standard weapons having 1/100th of a single point of capital weapon damage, especially light weapons like small lasers.   As to the armor limit, it makes sense regarding DropShips and JumpShips.   As to space stations, use the same armor concept regarding WarShips.   ASF weapons should have no significant impact vs WarShips; they just don't have the 'oomph' to do anything other than scuff the paint.

As to the damage potential of ASMs I think you may have a point, though I also think that no ASF should have any ability to damage a WarShip without ASMs unless the armor has been stripped away by previous damage.   Even then, it should be very limited damage; WarShips are just too large to take any significant structural damage from ASFs.

monbvol

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Re: Balancing naval rules for interest
« Reply #18 on: 16 December 2018, 19:42:28 »
Made my own error there in the reading of 96-97 of Strategic Operations.

The halving of damage is in regards to standard missile attacks.  So an LRM-20 goes from 12 standard to 6 standard if a point defense bay intercepts it but capital missiles work different.  The wording in the AMS section could be a little better as it does make it sound like you're supposed to halve point defense damage values.

Which only leaves two problems for those Small Craft.  No matter how many missles come in they can only engage once and by putting all their Point Defense in the nose the missile armed ship can potentially use waypoints launches to not even have their missiles intercepted at all unless some turn to cover the flanks/rear and if they do that it creates interesting variables about maintaining attack group cohesion and pursuit.

Which already raises interesting variables about exactly how this scenario goes down for either Warship design.

Evading may seem fine but it does take dedicating thrust to maintain.  Thrust you can't use to close.  If fuel consumption and high thrust rules and the gravitational effects it has on crews are in play that does change those aforementioned variables and makes it a good question if your Small Craft crews will actually be in any shape to fight by the time the range is sufficiently closed.

For how many extra times a Capital weapon can engage thanks to it's increased range is much more variable than just one extra turn of fire and saying that is all you're going to get does show a fundamental lack of considering the range advantage and how closing the distance actually works with the rules as currently written once minis are actually on the map sheet.  Now don't take that for me saying it isn't entirely too easy to close the distance but it is not without consequences that do make it far too variable to say only one extra turn of fire is all you can expect.

Bracket fire though I'd go ahead and go for the TN of 11 instead of 12 because while 1:12 odds versus 1:36 don't completely close the gap due to the drop in volume of fire it does make it more likely I'll get some and each time I do get some that is two critical checks(one for threshold and one for a standard scale unit taking capital damage) but certainly switching to AAA as they get closer or if you have SCL-1s instead and just using AAA from the get go certainly does make more sense.

Still I don't disagree that as things are now is entirely unacceptable in how poorly balanced it all is.

Like if you do look at SCL-1s instead of NL-35s for the anti-fighter ship.  You can easily mount four SCL-1s in place of an NL-35.  You'll actually have more firepower and more tonnage to do other stuff with while maintaining range and that TN of 12 is now for Capital Long Range thanks to subcapital weapons only taking a +3 instead of a +5.

All that said though I feel like I've gotten distracted from some of your proposals and thus need to go back and re-read them to see how you propose solving what I consider a bigger problem than Warship's ability to perform orbital bombardment, when anything with Capital(or sub-Capital) grade weapons manages to engage a troop carrier.  Which is something that will come up at some point no matter what.

HobbesHurlbut

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Re: Balancing naval rules for interest
« Reply #19 on: 16 December 2018, 22:55:23 »
Quote
Potentially, this would give the NL35s an extra round of fire before the smallcraft could counterattack, depending on closing velocity.  This does not appear to alter the outcome.
Except, the double range bracket mean they generally have better accuracy at greater distance in certain brackets.
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Lagrange

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Re: Balancing naval rules for interest
« Reply #20 on: 16 December 2018, 23:38:36 »
I don't see the problem with standard weapons having 1/100th of a single point of capital weapon damage, especially light weapons like small lasers.   
The claim here is that 1:100 is not enough.

I think we are in agreement on everything else.
Made my own error there in the reading of 96-97 of Strategic Operations.

The halving of damage is in regards to standard missile attacks.  So an LRM-20 goes from 12 standard to 6 standard if a point defense bay intercepts
In my reading: not quite.  The exact text is:
Quote from: Advanced Point Defense
It reduces the effect of enemy missile attacks ... by an amount equal to half (round up) the point defense weapon/bay's capital scale attack value.
So, 24 small lasers with a capital attack value of 7 would reduce missile attacks by 4 (=7/2 round up) capital.  In other words, 3 LRM-20s would have all their missiles shot down but 4 LRM-20s would still deliver 1 capital damage.
it but capital missiles work different.  The wording in the AMS section could be a little better as it does make it sound like you're supposed to halve point defense damage values.
It looks like an errata happened w.r.t. capital missiles here page 5.  The errata expands things so any point defense weapon can attack a capital missile, not just AMS.   It does seem unclear whether the 1/2-damage rule applies to capital missiles since, when introduced, it applies to just standard-scale missiles.  I was assuming the 1/2 damage rule does apply since capital missiles is a subheader after the 1/2 damage rule is introduced, even though it's introduced in the context of standard-scale missiles. 
Which only leaves two problems for those Small Craft.  No matter how many missles come in they can only engage once and by putting all their Point Defense in the nose the missile armed ship can potentially use waypoints launches to not even have their missiles intercepted at all unless some turn to cover the flanks/rear and if they do that it creates interesting variables about maintaining attack group cohesion and pursuit.
Waypoints can only be used within 3 hexes of the launch location so while closing with a warship, all fire is effectively coming from the same direction.  This must be used with a Bearing's only launch to actually have all the arcs able to hit.  Since the missiles only detect in their nose cone and are moving away from the launching warship, they only attack the nose of an actively closing opponent. 
Evading may seem fine but it does take dedicating thrust to maintain.  Thrust you can't use to close.  If fuel consumption and high thrust rules and the gravitational effects it has on crews are in play that does change those aforementioned variables and makes it a good question if your Small Craft crews will actually be in any shape to fight by the time the range is sufficiently closed.
I was assuming the High-G maneuvers rules were in effect (TW, page 78) which says that crews can take up to 6g before risking damage.  Since the smallcraft max out at 4g there is no danger. 

W.r.t. closing, if the enemy warship moves 3/5 and the smallcraft move 5/8, then the delta-v is 1 for closing while evading.    The tactically faster ship can generally choose the closing velocity so something relatively high (20?) seems advantageous for the smallcraft.  They only need to make 2 passes to knock out 2 warships.
For how many extra times a Capital weapon can engage thanks to it's increased range is much more variable than just one extra turn of fire and saying that is all you're going to get does show a fundamental lack of considering the range advantage and how closing the distance actually works with the rules as currently written once minis are actually on the map sheet.  Now don't take that for me saying it isn't entirely too easy to close the distance but it is not without consequences that do make it far too variable to say only one extra turn of fire is all you can expect.
I'm sympathetic to the idea that playing on mapsheets introduces some issues, but I expect these are mostly due to the finite nature of 1-2 mapsheets.  If you have no 'borders', then there is little issue with having the smallcraft build up a closing velocity of 20 so each side gets one short range shot / pass.  This may not be the way it is typically done, but it seems like rules for space combat should function with the borderless nature of space.
Bracket fire though I'd go ahead and go for the TN of 11 instead of 12 because while 1:12 odds versus 1:36 don't completely close the gap due to the drop in volume of fire it does make it more likely I'll get some
The probability of hitting at least once with 4 1-in-36 chances is .1066.   The odds of hitting once with a 1-in-12 chance is .0833.
and each time I do get some that is two critical checks(one for threshold and one for a standard scale unit taking capital damage)
Unless we are playing with a 1-in-100 capital to standard scale damage ratio, the situation seems utterly hopeless for the warship.    And if we are, criticals are irrelevant because one hit kills the smallcraft. 
but certainly switching to AAA as they get closer or if you have SCL-1s instead and just using AAA from the get go certainly does make more sense.
SCL1s in AAA mode are iffy since it takes many hits (~7) to kill the smallcraft, even at a 1:100 ratio.  Maybe taking into account criticals, this is only ~5 on average?  But there is not real advantage here. 
Like if you do look at SCL-1s instead of NL-35s for the anti-fighter ship.  You can easily mount four SCL-1s in place of an NL-35.  You'll actually have more firepower and more tonnage to do other stuff with while maintaining range and that TN of 12 is now for Capital Long Range thanks to subcapital weapons only taking a +3 instead of a +5.
Again, SCL-1s are a bit weak, even at a 1:100 scale.  Also, fire control starts kicking.  Altogether, I end up getting only 105 SCL1s per arc on the notional 600kton 3/5 150 SI warship so overall firepower is marginally degraded compared to 33 NL35s/arc.   The +2 attack bonus is very welcome, but if SCLs are around we should probably also take into account advanced smallcraft/ASF systems which adds complexity.  I'd like to avoid that complexity with the observation that the rules should be reasonably balanced with basic tech (and also reasonably balanced with advanced tech).
All that said though I feel like I've gotten distracted from some of your proposals and thus need to go back and re-read them to see how you propose solving what I consider a bigger problem than Warship's ability to perform orbital bombardment, when anything with Capital(or sub-Capital) grade weapons manages to engage a troop carrier.  Which is something that will come up at some point no matter what.
I'm not following this.   Troop carriers are generally dropships which should generally stay away from enemy warships.

Except, the double range bracket mean they generally have better accuracy at greater distance in certain brackets.
There is no better range bracket than short and short is the only range at which the NLs can hit reasonably often. 

If there are serious doubts about the smallcraft being able to take out warships, even at a 1:100 scale, we can work it out in more detail.

truetanker

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Re: Balancing naval rules for interest
« Reply #21 on: 16 December 2018, 23:45:30 »
In our, now defunct game, we had Anti-Ship and Anti-Fighter Missiles...

ASF fighter carried what, 1 ASM or 2 AFM capital weapons each, How much would a Small Craft be able to carry, 1 more?

Would they have been allowed 1 each? ... just thinking out loud again!

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monbvol

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Re: Balancing naval rules for interest
« Reply #22 on: 17 December 2018, 02:18:47 »
Two errors.  I'm losing it.

I can get some of the missiles(how many depends on the approach angle determined by the initial positions) to not cross the single hex of the nose covered by your Small Craft's point defense with only three hexes from launch point for waypoint launches and thus force choices about do you continue pursuit and take loses, turn to engage and break up your attack force, or turn to engage and lose thrust advantage and all ability to actually close.  Not enough missiles on the missile armed Warship to ensure kills with 432 Small Craft in play if properly deployed but I could get the Warships out of there alive by discouraging pursuit enough times.

Also double checking the bearings only launch rules and I absolutely can use those to get the attacks to come from directions not covered by your Small Craft's point defense at engagement time also forcing decisions about if to let up on the acceleration or take loses.

Got caught doing existing math there versus your revision for Bracket firing for the critical considerations.  I can admit it is a less than ideal solution but at least having a chance to start landing hits at Medium Capital range and possibly break up the formation or reduce it's functionality is something to consider.  Having more shots doesn't change the individual probabilities but I can concede it does make it a reasonable choice as end of the day the overall probabilities do seem to indicate the same number of overall hits can be reasonably expected(1 of the 33 NL-35s each being fired individually or 1 of the 8 bracket fire shots).

While I don't entirely disagree that the system should be reasonably realistic where possible the simple fact is that play space is always going to be limited and a primary concern and it does present a fair number of considerations of how the variables involved can change depending on the situation and makes it impossible to count on building up enough of a velocity advantage to keep it one turn of fire exchange due to the range advantage Capital Weapons currently have over Standard.  It also makes it unreasonable to expect that players will agree to start with different starting velocities to make up for it.

True scattering to other facings could be a problem for the SCL-1s but the extra hit opportunities combined with their weight savings means you can actually get more than 4:1 even with fire control penalties and thus would be a much better choice if they are available.

That said yeah while I might be able to get the Warships armed with missiles out alive by discouraging pursuit I'm not sure I can get the NL-35 armed ones to kill enough to get out and even going to SCL-1s instead almost certainly wouldn't be enough but would definately increase Small Craft loses.  So even 1:100 doesn't seem to be enough there.

Troop ships getting jumped by units carrying capital weapons is a distinctly likely scenario as capital grade weapons are not confined to just Warships.  Dropships have been able to carry capital missiles since the Battlespace rule set and sub capital weapons being added to the mix as a valid option only makes it more likely as multiple factions deploy such equipped Dropships.  Surface to orbit batteries could also be in play with their own capital grade weapons.  As I've established I'm willing to accept that it is easy to push ranges so a Warship can also push past escorts and kill troop ships.

Cannonshop

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Re: Balancing naval rules for interest
« Reply #23 on: 17 December 2018, 11:18:26 »
simplify.

alright, let's look at what the developers were looking at when they concieved of this; Anime and World War 2.

Simplest solution, therefore:

1/10 with standard weapons per the rules, but no crits with standard weapons.  They just don't cross that threshold.

Fighter-scale antiship weapons are the exception; aka your underwing hardpoints are now valuable spaces because they can carry bombs, big-bore missiles and other weapons that can actually harm a warship beyond slowly abrading the paint.  THEY can crit, in other words, on the following scale:

Arrow-IV/antishipping: Critical hit on 8 or more per the standard crit rules
AC/20: Crit on an unmodified 12 (boxcars crit), does 1 critical chance.
Alamo: doubles critical hits (it's a Nuke, after all)
"Heavy bomb": a high-explosive bomb does 1 point capital with criticals of (1 at 8-9, 2 at 10-11, 3 at 12). (Note: bombing requires being in the same hex for release as the target ship).

everything else? no crits, but if it can do at least 1 point of cap damage, it will do that point to the hull.

This still lets your fighters/smallcraft do their damage.

Now, moving on to 'patrol boats' (Dropships and such)

These crit normally and have no restriction beyond doing at least one capital point of damage.  Reason: better targeting software, better aiming software, better supports for the weapons, better weapons of equal or greater weight, take your pick.

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Lagrange

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Re: Balancing naval rules for interest
« Reply #24 on: 17 December 2018, 11:31:54 »
I can get some of the missiles(how many depends on the approach angle determined by the initial positions) to not cross the single hex of the nose covered by your Small Craft's point defense with only three hexes from launch point for waypoint launches and thus force choices about do you continue pursuit and take loses, turn to engage and break up your attack force, or turn to engage and lose thrust advantage and all ability to actually close.  Not enough missiles on the missile armed Warship to ensure kills with 432 Small Craft in play if properly deployed but I could get the Warships out of there alive by discouraging pursuit enough times.

Also double checking the bearings only launch rules and I absolutely can use those to get the attacks to come from directions not covered by your Small Craft's point defense at engagement time also forcing decisions about if to let up on the acceleration or take loses.
It looks like you are right---in particular you can use a preprogrammed waypoint + bearings only launch to put 3 arcs of missiles into the side arc. 

However, there is a design response---only 18 SLs are needed in the nose to inflict 1 point of capital damage so it's easy to put about 6 SLs into each fore-side arc.
Code: [Select]
Antiwarship Smallcraft
Tech Rating: D/D-E-D-D 
Weight: 200 tons
BV: 2,630
Cost: 15,777,600
C-bills 
Movement: 5/8
Heat Sinks: 24
Fuel Points: 400 (5.0 tons)
Tons Per Burn Day: 1.84 
Structural Integrity: 15

Armor
Nose: 347
Left Side: 200
Right Side: 200
Aft: 145

Weapons Loc Heat
18x Small Laser NOS 18
6x Small Laser RS 6
6x Small Laser LS 6
   
Crew
Officers: 2
Enlisted/Non-rated: 1
Gunners: 5
This more optimized design can:
(a) Survive a direct hit from an NL35 61% of the time at a 1:100 ratio.  This shifts the optimal antifighter NL weapon to an NL45.  However, optimizing the NL warship a bit more we can put 18 NL45s into each arc and bring 54 to bear on the broadside.   This means that 2 NL warships kill
  • Expected 3 smallcraft/round at medium range (to hit 12=4(base)+3(AAA)+2(medium)+2(evasion)+1(Nose))
  • Expected 18 smallcraft/round at short range against evading smallcraft.
  • Expected 45 smallcraft/round at short range against nonevading smallcraft.
(b) Put side-arcs into point defense mode.   I asked a question here about point defense damage vs. capital weapons as it seems ambiguous whether you should halve damage vs. capital weapons or not.  If you don't, the 432 side-arc bays can dispose of 216 KWs/round while if you do it's only 108.  Two of the 600Kton ships can put 132 KWs into the side arcs so the exact outcome is ambiguous until we have an answer.   Which do you think is correct?
While I don't entirely disagree that the system should be reasonably realistic where possible the simple fact is that play space is always going to be limited and a primary concern and it does present a fair number of considerations of how the variables involved can change depending on the situation and makes it impossible to count on building up enough of a velocity advantage to keep it one turn of fire exchange due to the range advantage Capital Weapons currently have over Standard.  It also makes it unreasonable to expect that players will agree to start with different starting velocities to make up for it.
I'm not sure how I feel about this.  On the one hand, yes you want balanced play with boundaries.  On the other hand, you also want balanced play without boundaries because boundaries feel super-artificial in space.  I've played in some games where players use relative velocity and position on a virtual board. 
True scattering to other facings could be a problem for the SCL-1s but the extra hit opportunities combined with their weight savings means you can actually get more than 4:1 even with fire control penalties and thus would be a much better choice if they are available.
The real issue with SCLs is that your opponent is going to use advanced tech (double heat sinks, FF armor, more damage efficient systems, etc...).  Perhaps stick with basic tech for now?
That said yeah while I might be able to get the Warships armed with missiles out alive by discouraging pursuit I'm not sure I can get the NL-35 armed ones to kill enough to get out and even going to SCL-1s instead almost certainly wouldn't be enough but would definately increase Small Craft loses.  So even 1:100 doesn't seem to be enough there.
Ok, we see the same thing here.

The damage reduction approach seems to be enough for these scenarios, but I'm worried about massed use of standard weapons on warships.
Troop ships getting jumped by units carrying capital weapons is a distinctly likely scenario as capital grade weapons are not confined to just Warships.  Dropships have been able to carry capital missiles since the Battlespace rule set and sub capital weapons being added to the mix as a valid option only makes it more likely as multiple factions deploy such equipped Dropships.  Surface to orbit batteries could also be in play with their own capital grade weapons.  As I've established I'm willing to accept that it is easy to push ranges so a Warship can also push past escorts and kill troop ships.
Where is the balance problem?

1/10 with standard weapons per the rules, but no crits with standard weapons.  They just don't cross that threshold.
The carrier wins overwhelmingly with this through raw damage (no crits needed). 

monbvol

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Re: Balancing naval rules for interest
« Reply #25 on: 17 December 2018, 13:57:36 »
Then the Warships in question should get design responses too.  The missile armed one is simple.  Take two launchers off each facing put 20 teleoperated Killer Whales in the nose, swap all the others to teleoperated versions, and it still isn't optimal as it generates a third design response in the Small Craft where it covers all it's facings with point defense but by then firepower could be so diluted for them to not be as much of a threat.

Not all players are going to have access to virtual table spaces or large play areas.  While people may agree to starting velocities it's something that can't be counted on to be the norm.  So any rules need to account for not having access to or using such things.

I'm starting to suspect it is less important to worry about the damage aspect and may actually be more important to worry about how easy it is to close ranges.

I'll admit it is less of a balance issue exactly for worrying about how vulnerable troop carriers are and more of a practical consideration.  If taken to their logical extremes the rules as they exist now already make focusing on the ground aspect of the game and setting kind of silly.  Changing the scales just makes it worse.

Lagrange

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Re: Balancing naval rules for interest
« Reply #26 on: 17 December 2018, 15:30:20 »
Then the Warships in question should get design responses too.  The missile armed one is simple.  Take two launchers off each facing put 20 teleoperated Killer Whales in the nose, swap all the others to teleoperated versions, and it still isn't optimal as it generates a third design response in the Small Craft where it covers all it's facings with point defense but by then firepower could be so diluted for them to not be as much of a threat.
Doing warship design responses makes good sense, but the KW-T only exists at 3056+.  Do you agree that carriers dominate with Attempt 3 prior to that?  Or can you find a redesign using older tech?
Not all players are going to have access to virtual table spaces or large play areas.  While people may agree to starting velocities it's something that can't be counted on to be the norm.  So any rules need to account for not having access to or using such things.
I agree, and furthermore believe we should have rules which also account for having access to such things.   
I'm starting to suspect it is less important to worry about the damage aspect and may actually be more important to worry about how easy it is to close ranges.
An interesting thought...

A 7/11 warship would have 1/3 the armor/weapons load but could keep the range and roast most smallcraft with NLs. 

Responding with smallcraft design, a 9/14 smallcraft is the minimum necessary to close with evasion.  Armor is necessarily compromised so that 2 capital damage autokills implying warships could use NL35s (6/arc or 18 in the broadside) or Barracudas (10/arc or 70 with waypoints).   The Barracudas seem hopeless since <1/3 of the smallcraft would be needed to for point defense.    The NL35 7/11 warship would also kill only 1/3 as many smallcraft as the NL45 3/5 warship.    There's also a difficulty in bringing a broadside to bear while minimizing closing velocity.

Overall, I don't see how to make this work although it does seem you could reduce the effectiveness of the carrier somewhat by randomizing the speed of the opponent warship so the carrier must bring a mixture of smallcraft to deal with opponents. 
I'll admit it is less of a balance issue exactly for worrying about how vulnerable troop carriers are and more of a practical consideration.  If taken to their logical extremes the rules as they exist now already make focusing on the ground aspect of the game and setting kind of silly.  Changing the scales just makes it worse.
I think people intrinsically like giant stompy humanoid robots so I don't expect making space combat rules work effectively will detract from that aspect of the game.

monbvol

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Re: Balancing naval rules for interest
« Reply #27 on: 17 December 2018, 18:54:22 »
No disagreement from me that swarm tactics do seem to be far too superior in general and really looking at what it would take to fend off any C-Bill balanced force of 499 ton or smaller forces does leave very few reliable options and most of said options I do admit may not actually be reliable enough/cost effective enough.

The interesting part is that the rules as written can already support the idea of virtual table spaces and starting velocities.  That they are not presented in that way in Total Warfare should be telling as TPTB certainly have more market research data on the matter than you or I.

Increasing thrust of the Warships would be a fairly straight forward way to make the swarm tactic less effective, especially against lower tech ASFs and Small Craft.  Still I suspect it may be necessary to actually re-work the construction rules because of how much they impact the game play.  It also raises questions about what the desired end goal is.  Personally I think gathering up 400 some Small Craft should be able to threaten a Warship or two.  Even fairly big ones but that it should also be a fairly major effort to do so.  Where I'm undecided is how many of the swarm should get swatted for various tonnages/capabilities of Warships being swarmed.

One of the hurdles of making the space aspect of them game less of a niche of a niche is that it already creates a disjunction with the more popular portion of the game.  Changing the Standard:Capital conversion rates I can only see causing that disjunction becoming worse and thus making it harder to get people into the space portion of the game.

Lagrange

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Re: Balancing naval rules for interest
« Reply #28 on: 18 December 2018, 09:48:25 »
Attempt 4 seems to fail.   It fails in a new way and it seems to take out damage reduction with published statistics (i.e. standard weapon bays).

The failure mode is a 5/8 600kton warship optimized for high speed intercepts using 350x AC/20 in the nose and fore side arcs.  This provides 10 bays/arc doing maximum damage which would be reduced to "only" 57 capital damage/bay by the damage reduction approach in attempt 4.  Altogether, the warship can put out 1140 capital damage against a single target.  Add to this a regiment (108) of fighters with 20 small lasers each for point defense. 
  • Against a 3/5 carrier, none of the carrier's ASF/smallcraft can attack due to damage reduction.
  • Against a 3/5 NL battery, 243 capital damage is far lower.
  • Against a 3/5 missileer, the fighters can eliminate all missiles.
  • Against a 3/5 NAC battery, 480 capital damage is far lower.

Doing damage reduction on a per-weapon basis would fix this, with the downside that damage would need to be recalculated.

The interesting part is that the rules as written can already support the idea of virtual table spaces and starting velocities.  That they are not presented in that way in Total Warfare should be telling as TPTB certainly have more market research data on the matter than you or I.
Maybe, although I don't know how practical the existing rules are on actual maps.  100 hexes at 1"/hex is 8 1/3 feet.  Obviously, you could go smaller, but then the weapons with more range gain no meaningful advantage from that. 
Increasing thrust of the Warships would be a fairly straight forward way to make the swarm tactic less effective, especially against lower tech ASFs and Small Craft.  Still I suspect it may be necessary to actually re-work the construction rules because of how much they impact the game play.  It also raises questions about what the desired end goal is.  Personally I think gathering up 400 some Small Craft should be able to threaten a Warship or two.  Even fairly big ones but that it should also be a fairly major effort to do so.  Where I'm undecided is how many of the swarm should get swatted for various tonnages/capabilities of Warships being swarmed.
Attempt 3 seems close.   Maybe it can be modified?
One of the hurdles of making the space aspect of them game less of a niche of a niche is that it already creates a disjunction with the more popular portion of the game.  Changing the Standard:Capital conversion rates I can only see causing that disjunction becoming worse and thus making it harder to get people into the space portion of the game.
You may be right, but right now the solution to all combat problems in all eras is "add more ASF" which seems rather one dimensional.  Maybe with a more interesting game it would attract more interest?

monbvol

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Re: Balancing naval rules for interest
« Reply #29 on: 18 December 2018, 13:06:23 »
Might be able to solve some of the issues by dropping the optional Advanced Point Defense rules altogether and just use Total Warfare's.  Under those rules not even dedicated AMS can intercept Capital Missiles but that doesn't seem too much of an issue if also taking away Bearings Only and maybe even Waypoints.  Might also have to take away the tele-operated versions just to make sure it isn't possible to make up for their poor damage to weight ratio by just spreading them out and taking advantage of their just plain low weight(at least compared to other Capital grade options) to make up for it by having more launchers.

 

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