Register Register

Author Topic: Stupid project that will go nowhere; Let's rewrite warship combat for the table!  (Read 5504 times)

Charistoph

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 1549
You can avoid revamping construction by just declaring a change in capital vs. standard scale, yes?

Not without completely throwing the balance of the game off.  And to be fair, Battlespace already provides a change in Capital vs Standard scale.  Naval Laser-35s do 3.5 damage in Capital Scale, but 35 in Standard.  If you change their damage to 7 in Capital Damage, there will be some "WTF?" going on.  That's a problem with how the original game was designed, just like the Autocannons, and TPTB aren't even considering making adjustments there.

Is very simple start with nothing but two units on a table or map sheet and no rules. Then figure out what you need to do to start playing and make rules for that. Obviously your going to need a movement system so what is the bare minimum movement system requirements. As you move on in doing this your going to go back and revisit rules to try and find more elegant rules that give you most of the result with less rules effort.

But there are still problems with that approach, which units are you talking about?  Sure, we can have them talk about Warships to start with, but Warships are really really rare, but Dropships are ubiquitous.  So should we start there?  Even with that, ASF are as much a part of Battletech Space combat, that they should be considered as well.
Are you a Wolf, a Sheep, or a Hound?
Quote from: Megavolt
They called me crazy…they called me insane…THEY CALLED ME LOONEY!! and boy, were they right.

Charistoph's Painted Products of Mechanical Mayhem

Lagrange

  • Warrant Officer
  • *
  • Posts: 785
Not without completely throwing the balance of the game off.  And to be fair, Battlespace already provides a change in Capital vs Standard scale.  Naval Laser-35s do 3.5 damage in Capital Scale, but 35 in Standard.  If you change their damage to 7 in Capital Damage, there will be some "WTF?" going on.  That's a problem with how the original game was designed, just like the Autocannons, and TPTB aren't even considering making adjustments there.
Oh, I see---I was imagining leaving the capital damage unchanged and simply increasing the standard scale damage to a factor of 100.  We used this the Warship race thread---it seemed to work well.

HobbesHurlbut

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2954
  • Live Free or Die Hard
Not without completely throwing the balance of the game off.  And to be fair, Battlespace already provides a change in Capital vs Standard scale.  Naval Laser-35s do 3.5 damage in Capital Scale, but 35 in Standard.  If you change their damage to 7 in Capital Damage, there will be some "WTF?" going on.  That's a problem with how the original game was designed, just like the Autocannons, and TPTB aren't even considering making adjustments there.
The capital vs Standard scale is 1:10. if you were change it to something like 1:100. You need standard weapons dealing at least 100 damage points to have one capital point of damage to write off one point of capital armor.
Clan Blood Spirit - So Bad Ass as to require Orbital Bombardments to wipe us out....it is the only way to be sure!

Daryk

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 22057
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Well, 50 points if you round normally...  ::)

Charistoph

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 1549
Oh, I see---I was imagining leaving the capital damage unchanged and simply increasing the standard scale damage to a factor of 100.  We used this the Warship race thread---it seemed to work well.

Well.  That would still massively throw off balance because:
"The capital vs Standard scale is 1:10. if you were change it to something like 1:100. You need standard weapons dealing at least 100 damage points to have one capital point of damage to write off one point of capital armor." - HobbesHurlbut.  It is a rare ASF that can do that much damage alone, and there are too many ASF squadrons that couldn't even do that.

Even then, by not changing Capital Weapon damage, Warships are still incredibly tough (as their armor is based on the same scale), so that just leaves Dropships and ASF as completely nerfed.  This is considered "Not Good".

To even come close to a more "WWII"/Dradnought-style of armament, weapons like Heavy Naval Gauss, Heavy Naval PPCs, and NAC/40s should be individually devastating to anything that isn't a Cruiser, and not easily shrugged off by even Battleships.  They should be massing proportionally as well so that having only a few of these guns in a broadside of heavier Battleships should be the rule.

Beyond that, ASFs should have the opportunity to drop of the equivalent of "torpedoes" so that a squadron could be an active threat to Cruiser sizes without just slowly picking them apart with criticals from pop guns.  However they'd be far more vulnerable to "light" weapons fire due to its weigh.
Are you a Wolf, a Sheep, or a Hound?
Quote from: Megavolt
They called me crazy…they called me insane…THEY CALLED ME LOONEY!! and boy, were they right.

Charistoph's Painted Products of Mechanical Mayhem

Lagrange

  • Warrant Officer
  • *
  • Posts: 785
That would still massively throw off balance ...
Let's commune with the rules for a moment. 

Consider a Heavy Naval PPC doing 15 points of capital damage and weighing 3000 tons.  I can replace an HNPPC with 20 ASF.  An ASF doing 50 standard damage is a reasonable target---you can go a fair bit higher and shouldn't be much lower if it's the kind of ASF that attacks warships.   

When standard:capital is 10:1, this trade looks like:
HNPPC: 15 capital damage out to range 52 with zero additional armor.
20 ASF: 100 capital damage with a range of 1000 that has ~1000 points of additional capital armor (i.e. 500 points of standard armor/ASF).

We can quibble about the details, but under any reasonable quibbling, these do not look like balanced alternatives to me.

If we instead make the standard:capital scale 100:1, it looks like:
HNPPC: 15 capital damage out to range 52 with zero additional armor.
20 ASF: 10 capital damage with a range of 1000 that has ~100 extra points of capital armor.

This still doesn't look balanced to me, but it's at least close?

Daryk

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 22057
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
I think you're missing the qualitative value of 15 capital points to a single location.

Charistoph

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 1549
Let's commune with the rules for a moment. 

Consider a Heavy Naval PPC doing 15 points of capital damage and weighing 3000 tons.  I can replace an HNPPC with 20 ASF.  An ASF doing 50 standard damage is a reasonable target---you can go a fair bit higher and shouldn't be much lower if it's the kind of ASF that attacks warships.   

When standard:capital is 10:1, this trade looks like:
HNPPC: 15 capital damage out to range 52 with zero additional armor.
20 ASF: 100 capital damage with a range of 1000 that has ~1000 points of additional capital armor (i.e. 500 points of standard armor/ASF).

We can quibble about the details, but under any reasonable quibbling, these do not look like balanced alternatives to me.

If we instead make the standard:capital scale 100:1, it looks like:
HNPPC: 15 capital damage out to range 52 with zero additional armor.
20 ASF: 10 capital damage with a range of 1000 that has ~100 extra points of capital armor.

This still doesn't look balanced to me, but it's at least close?

Let's think about this comparison here, where does one find a naked HNPPC?

And that HNPPC is always doing damage at range 52, while those ASF usually have to get in close to do the most of their damage, and risk getting damaged along the way.  Meanwhile, that HNPPC can leave those ASF without a ride home as it pounds their Dropship to scrap.  That's 150 Standard damage to their Dropship per hit.  How much does the average Dropship carrier have, again?

Too much bubble with no consideration for the forest that it popped up in.
Are you a Wolf, a Sheep, or a Hound?
Quote from: Megavolt
They called me crazy…they called me insane…THEY CALLED ME LOONEY!! and boy, were they right.

Charistoph's Painted Products of Mechanical Mayhem

Lagrange

  • Warrant Officer
  • *
  • Posts: 785
I think you're missing the qualitative value of 15 capital points to a single location.
An IS ASF could have (say) 10 MPLs + a targeting computer (a 35 ton load) and use called shots at short range with a target number of 5 to have everything hit a _chosen_ location rather than merely a single location for an expected 50 points of damage.  You'll agree that 100 points of capital damage in a chosen location is more effective than 15 capital points in a single random location?

...Meanwhile, that HNPPC can leave those ASF without a ride home as it pounds their Dropship to scrap...
I must have been unclear, as a dropship isn't relevant for the comparison.

My claim is: give me any warship with a HNPPC, and I'll give you a better (=more effective at fighting) warship with 20 extra ASF instead.

Daryk

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 22057
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
That ASF has to get to Short range to be effective.  A single hit from the NPPC will destroy it.

Lagrange

  • Warrant Officer
  • *
  • Posts: 785
That ASF has to get to Short range to be effective.  A single hit from the NPPC will destroy it.
Indeed, you might overcome a +8 to hit penalty against ASF with a nose aspect which evade when they can't return fire.  With a closing delta-v of 10 you get about one shot at a target number of 12 at short range.  It might also hit the wing, which for a normal spread of 500 points of armor (i.e. 27 tons of HFA armor) would result in ASF destruction. 

After that 1-in-100 good luck, it's still 95 points of capital damage at a chosen location vs 15 points of capital damage at a random location.  I really don't see how we can call this a fair fight.

monbvol

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 11381
  • Flogging will continue until morale improves
Indeed, you might overcome a +8 to hit penalty against ASF with a nose aspect which evade when they can't return fire.  With a closing delta-v of 10 you get about one shot at a target number of 12 at short range.  It might also hit the wing, which for a normal spread of 500 points of armor (i.e. 27 tons of HFA armor) would result in ASF destruction. 

After that 1-in-100 good luck, it's still 95 points of capital damage at a chosen location vs 15 points of capital damage at a random location.  I really don't see how we can call this a fair fight.

This is a pretty large portion of the reason why I think we do need to consider ASFs as part of the whole drop the current construction rules and current stats idea I support that I consider very likely to be required to truly fix the current state of affairs.

Because let's be honest, a lot of the problem is properly executed to their logical conclusions ASF represent a very real capability to make the ground game largely a foregone conclusion one way or the other just as much as Warships can.

Cannonshop

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 6568
The discussion on ASF vs. Warships has me thinking. (Yes, that's not a healthy thing, lol)

what if we take a page from the ground game here, and ASF squadrons do damage like infantry platoons, how does that change your comparison with the HNPPC without mandating major changes to the build system?  IOW making that cap scale damage scatter the same way it does for infantry vs. ground targets, instead of being confined to a single location as happens with the larger weapons?
"If ye love wealth better than liberty,
the tranquility of servitude
better than the animating contest of freedom,
go home from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or your arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains set lightly upon you,
and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."-Samuel Adams

Nicoli

  • Master Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 289
But there are still problems with that approach, which units are you talking about?  Sure, we can have them talk about Warships to start with, but Warships are really really rare, but Dropships are ubiquitous.  So should we start there?  Even with that, ASF are as much a part of Battletech Space combat, that they should be considered as well.

Why, would you care what type of unit they are, we don't even know how they are going move yet? That is the point, your worrying about details well before you even know the basics. One of the first things you design in game development is the field that units are going to move on for example. Till you design that what the units are is fairly irrelevant. Your not going to know how a specific type of unit is going to move till you know how ALL units are going to move. Unless you want a disastrous mess where every unit might as well come with it's own rule book.

Charistoph

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 1549
My claim is: give me any warship with a HNPPC, and I'll give you a better (=more effective at fighting) warship with 20 extra ASF instead.

No, you missed my point. 

There is no such thing as a naked HNPPC.  It is always connected to something.

In the same way, ASF are either connected to a Dropship or a Hanger.  While the HNPPC sucks really bad at taking out ASF, it can do a dang good job at making sure that whatever launched that ASF won't be available for their return.

Why, would you care what type of unit they are, we don't even know how they are going move yet? That is the point, your worrying about details well before you even know the basics. One of the first things you design in game development is the field that units are going to move on for example. Till you design that what the units are is fairly irrelevant. Your not going to know how a specific type of unit is going to move till you know how ALL units are going to move. Unless you want a disastrous mess where every unit might as well come with it's own rule book.

Because designing things in a vacuum is bad game design.

While Warships do operate in the relative vacuum of interplanetary space, they do not operate in a vacuum of operations like Mechs do.  Many Warships carry Dropships.  Some Warships carry ASF (and a lot of them in a couple cases).

This needs to be taken in to account, because Dropships don't need Warships to be in a theater.  ASF can launch from an airfield or a moon-base, but that only works for defenders.  For an attack, ASF need to be carried in to range by either Dropship or Warship.

While having a starting point is good, it is still important to be aware of what other factors will be in the game, as they will have to be introduced at some point, no matter what you start with.  That starting point will affect adjustments across the board, and this is noticeable in Classic Battletech as well as Battlespace and Aerotech.
Are you a Wolf, a Sheep, or a Hound?
Quote from: Megavolt
They called me crazy…they called me insane…THEY CALLED ME LOONEY!! and boy, were they right.

Charistoph's Painted Products of Mechanical Mayhem

Lagrange

  • Warrant Officer
  • *
  • Posts: 785
There is no such thing as a naked HNPPC.  It is always connected to something.
I understand that I wasn't explicit about the HNPPC being on a warship, and I'll try to be more explicit in the future.
In the same way, ASF are either connected to a Dropship or a Hanger. 
... or a warship. 

Again, my claim is that if you give me a warship with a HNPPC I can always turn that into better warship with ASF fighters. 

Nicoli

  • Master Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 289
Because designing things in a vacuum is bad game design.

While Warships do operate in the relative vacuum of interplanetary space, they do not operate in a vacuum of operations like Mechs do.  Many Warships carry Dropships.  Some Warships carry ASF (and a lot of them in a couple cases).

This needs to be taken in to account, because Dropships don't need Warships to be in a theater.  ASF can launch from an airfield or a moon-base, but that only works for defenders.  For an attack, ASF need to be carried in to range by either Dropship or Warship.

While having a starting point is good, it is still important to be aware of what other factors will be in the game, as they will have to be introduced at some point, no matter what you start with.  That starting point will affect adjustments across the board, and this is noticeable in Classic Battletech as well as Battlespace and Aerotech.
Your not designing in a vacuum. your starting from scratch. The problem with most of the Battletech ruleset is that it is design from a patchwork of rules that are bolted onto each other exactly because they were more concerned with having something represented then deciding what NEEDS to be represented.  You see this in the Fan rules forums as well, with some of the discussion on infantry where they start having a discussion on doing individual infantry strength to determine individual loadouts carrying capacity per soldier for an infantry platoon on a game with the scope of Battletech.

This method of starting at base mechanics is exactly how professional game developers work. They do it this way because it helps eliminate the "cool to have" things and focus on the "must have or I don't have a good ruleset" things.

Very rarely is the theme a concern till later in development. Your not going to have a game that works for Warship, dropship, and Fighters at the same time do figure out a good space rule set and then figure out which scale works best for it.

HobbesHurlbut

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2954
  • Live Free or Die Hard
HobbesHurlbut.  It is a rare ASF that can do that much damage alone, and there are too many ASF squadrons that couldn't even do that.


Beyond that, ASFs should have the opportunity to drop of the equivalent of "torpedoes" so that a squadron could be an active threat to Cruiser sizes without just slowly picking them apart with criticals from pop guns.  However they'd be far more vulnerable to "light" weapons fire due to its weigh.
Which is why in the setting the Alamo has been the go to for the fighters to "sink" the WarShips.
Clan Blood Spirit - So Bad Ass as to require Orbital Bombardments to wipe us out....it is the only way to be sure!

Charistoph

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 1549
I understand that I wasn't explicit about the HNPPC being on a warship, and I'll try to be more explicit in the future.... or a warship. 

Again, my claim is that if you give me a warship with a HNPPC I can always turn that into better warship with ASF fighters.

And a Warship with both will be even better.

Your not designing in a vacuum. your starting from scratch. The problem with most of the Battletech ruleset is that it is design from a patchwork of rules that are bolted onto each other exactly because they were more concerned with having something represented then deciding what NEEDS to be represented.  You see this in the Fan rules forums as well, with some of the discussion on infantry where they start having a discussion on doing individual infantry strength to determine individual loadouts carrying capacity per soldier for an infantry platoon on a game with the scope of Battletech.

This method of starting at base mechanics is exactly how professional game developers work. They do it this way because it helps eliminate the "cool to have" things and focus on the "must have or I don't have a good ruleset" things.

Very rarely is the theme a concern till later in development. Your not going to have a game that works for Warship, dropship, and Fighters at the same time do figure out a good space rule set and then figure out which scale works best for it.

You asked why knowing what the units was important, and knowing what to start with was important, which were the questions you were addressing.

Yes, I understand about what is NEEDED to be represented.  I kept it to the main 3 representations in space combat, Warships, Dropships, and ASF, and even noted that Warships are far less likely to be represented, while Dropships and ASF almost always are.

And if we're not working on changing the construction paradigm (per the OP), then there are only the individual mechanics that can be concerned.  That much is an incredible challenge to consider if we can't make adjustments to ship construction, and I would say even changing the standards or weapon stats would be making adjustments to ship construction.

Which is why in the setting the Alamo has been the go to for the fighters to "sink" the WarShips.

Can we consider a weapon that isn't so all or nothing?  And I seem to remember the Alamo being forced in to retreat without using one.

Also consider that the Alamo isn't a common weapon.  While Warships are rare, Alamos are even more rare and were considered in the equivalent of Tac Ops when they were first introduced.
« Last Edit: 19 October 2021, 02:04:53 by Charistoph »
Are you a Wolf, a Sheep, or a Hound?
Quote from: Megavolt
They called me crazy…they called me insane…THEY CALLED ME LOONEY!! and boy, were they right.

Charistoph's Painted Products of Mechanical Mayhem

HobbesHurlbut

  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 2954
  • Live Free or Die Hard

Can we consider a weapon that isn't so all or nothing?  And I seem to remember the Alamo being forced in to retreat without using one.

Also consider that the Alamo isn't a common weapon.  While Warships are rare, Alamos are even more rare and were considered in the equivalent of Tac Ops when they were first introduced.
There is the Anti-Ship missile but it has a barracuda's chance to cause a crit. (+11)
You could have a heavier AS missile that is like Alamo in that ASFs 50 tons or greater can carry only one heavy AS missile while a 100 tonner can carry 2 of them and have the crit chance of a White Shark. So a Squadron would be firing 6 white shark-like AS missiles for 6 chances on a 9+ of causing a crit. (or 12 if the squadron is all 100-tonners).
Clan Blood Spirit - So Bad Ass as to require Orbital Bombardments to wipe us out....it is the only way to be sure!

Lord Cameron

  • Patron Saint of GenCon Goodies
  • Catalyst Demo Team
  • Captain
  • *
  • Posts: 1730
Well.  That would still massively throw off balance

Agreed

The discussion on ASF vs. Warships has me thinking. (Yes, that's not a healthy thing, lol)

what if we take a page from the ground game here, and ASF squadrons do damage like infantry platoons, how does that change your comparison with the HNPPC without mandating major changes to the build system?  IOW making that cap scale damage scatter the same way it does for infantry vs. ground targets, instead of being confined to a single location as happens with the larger weapons?

There is a better way I think.
If we're trying to make the system workable  without trashing everything and starting over, a few things should be fixed.
The killer swarms of ASFs should be brought down to manageable levels.

Instead of increasing the scale of capital vs standard, a better solution might be a minimum threshold to cause damage, perhaps 1% per weapon.
 
In WWIi each of the King George V's 14" guns fired about a 2,000 lb projectile, capable of damaging or destroying (by ammo crit) another battleship.
However if dozens of speedboats armed with .50 cal MGs attack, they can't machine-gun a battleship to death, even if they fired 2,000 lb of MG ammo.


So if you needed to exceed 1% of target armour to cause damage, a Congress frigate (with about 70 points capital armour) would be unaffected by an LRM, SRM or medium laser, but affected by a PPC, AC 10. or anything heavier. A Black Lion battlecruiser with about 160 capital armour would be unaffected by any standard weapons except AC20, Heavy Gauss or Thunderbolt 20

« Last Edit: 18 October 2021, 18:16:55 by Lord Cameron »
Agent #395, West Coast CDT Lead

Daryk

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 22057
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
All or nothing is a bad concept in general for game design, but a common one.

Lagrange

  • Warrant Officer
  • *
  • Posts: 785
Instead of increasing the scale of capital vs standard, a better solution might be a minimum threshold to cause damage, perhaps 1% per weapon.
This works against ASF.  It implies there's a hard transition around 200 points of capital armor.  Below that, the capital craft are roadkill for appropriately armed ASF, and above that the ASF are irrelevant. 

But what about Smallcraft?  A killer swarm of smallcraft could each have a weapon bay which inflicts (say) 60 damage in a single hit.  That would leave all but the largest warships highly vulnerable?

Charistoph

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 1549
So if you needed to exceed 1% of target armour to cause damage, a Congress frigate (with about 70 points capital armour) would be unaffected by an LRM, SRM or medium laser, but affected by a PPC, AC 10. or anything heavier. A Black Lion battlecruiser with about 160 capital armour would be unaffected by any standard weapons except AC20, Heavy Gauss or Thunderbolt 20

Something like this could work... maybe.  If anything, it would encourage the use of equivalent to a torpedo that would have that chance to do more damage, but is pretty much a one-shot for the individual ASF.
Are you a Wolf, a Sheep, or a Hound?
Quote from: Megavolt
They called me crazy…they called me insane…THEY CALLED ME LOONEY!! and boy, were they right.

Charistoph's Painted Products of Mechanical Mayhem

woofwoof

  • Recruit
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Unfortunately, all my ideas are on the construction rules, but I'll cheerfully read along here...  :)
I was going for a, massively simplified, re-set myself.

(Mixing in a bit of Starfire and Battlefleet Gothic.)

Daryk

  • Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 22057
  • The Double Deuce II/II-σ
Here was my attempt at Small Craft (to start; also linked in my sig block, near the bottom of the index): https://bg.battletech.com/forums/general-discussion/battletech-how-and-what-would-you-change/msg161586/#msg161586

Daemion

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4590
  • The Future of BattleTech
    • Never Tales and Other Daydreams
Playing Catch-up.

A lot of Battletech Universe, "This is really stupid" comes from very poor descriptions of what the rules represent instead of a bad rule in the first place.

I actually agree with this sentiment, and I think that, yes, it can be abstracted in a good way.  I'm not so sure the 'armor blanket' per location is it, especially if some of the key items are spread out over 250 to 1000m or more. 

That's half a BT ground map to two, just to give you an idea of scale for warships versus ground units.  Strike attacks on a low altitude map can only target 30 meters.  Also, most Warships have a mountain's worth of girth. 

Finally, while barracks and hallways might not be worth tracking, crit-wise, they're still attached to the spine of the ship in some way, and thus their loss can effect structural integrity on a whole. 

I don't know if he's finished his rules revisions yet, but Kirk Alderfer's Galactic space combat game seems to start with the assumption that the SI will take damage more often than not.  This is why WorkTroll's Leviathans: Monsters in the Sky is another good alternative, but would need a massive re-skin to accommodate space combat.

But, I digress.  Time to focus on mechanics, as CannonShop said.


And if we're not working on changing the construction paradigm (per the OP), then there are only the individual mechanics that can be concerned.  That much is an incredible challenge to consider if we can't make adjustments to ship construction, and I would say even changing the standards or weapon stats would be making adjustments to ship construction.

But, we do have options.  Why don't we focus on that and quit picking nits on construction and unit representation.  We're trying to tweak the existing rule-set to make it more entertaining, and making WarShips 'worth it'.

As such...

The discussion on ASF vs. Warships has me thinking. (Yes, that's not a healthy thing, lol)

what if we take a page from the ground game here, and ASF squadrons do damage like infantry platoons, how does that change your comparison with the HNPPC without mandating major changes to the build system?  IOW making that cap scale damage scatter the same way it does for infantry vs. ground targets, instead of being confined to a single location as happens with the larger weapons?

I like this.  It seems simple enough.  Especially if we're not going to change the damage scale.



On the flip side, should capital weapons be treated as 'Space Artillery'?  (This brings up the question of scale and range, but I'll tackle that later.)

So, a HNPPC only does 35 points of standard damage. (Five Points shy of causing a Tac Handbook crater? Pshaw!  Heck, it can't even knock a TW Heavy Woods hex flat anymore!  Double Pshaw!!) 

WarShips and DropShips are, in many ways, mobile structures.   

Don't naval weapons doing ground attacks have a blast radius with splash damage?

What if, keeping the damage the same, Naval Weapons cause splash damage like artillery on Warships and Dropships?  Maybe have half-damage splash onto either adjacent locations (say, for dropships) or adjacent critical items on the hit chart (say, for warships). 

Like for ground artillery, we could also have close misses where you still get the blast radius nicking a target or multiple targets in the same hex.  Again, this comes back to what scale of game we're playing at.
It's your world. You can do anything you want in it. - Bob Ross

Every thought and device conceived by Satan and man must be explored and found wanting. - Donald Grey Barnhouse on the purpose of history and time.

I helped make a game! ^_^  - Forge Of War: Tactics

Daemion

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4590
  • The Future of BattleTech
    • Never Tales and Other Daydreams
On Damage Scale and Potential Changes
One last thing on changing damage scale.  If we do decide Warships should be working at MegaDamage level difference to standard BT damage, then I posit that DropShips work at the abandoned capital scale. 

Honestly, one of the things I don't see enough of is Fighter Bombers along with screening fighter escorts.  You have it represented in other sci-fi, like the Tie Bomber or Y-Wing in Star Wars compared to the Tie Interceptor or A-Wing.  40k definitely has strict examples of each, for every faction. 

With the glut of AeroSpace designs in BT, the role of a dedicated ordinance carrier seems unnecessary.  Especially with the current damage system.  A heavy fighter with lots of standard weapons can jink its way into strike range and do a lot of damage to dropships and warships.  There's no need for the specialized missiles unless you want to hit at a better range.

If we do a step-up for different ship classes, then maybe we can bring the Bomber/Torpedo boat back.

Then, maybe, small-craft can be re-classified to fill in the spot left by light droppers.  I've picked up some nice Micro Machine Space vehicles that I would love to field as combat shuttles.
It's your world. You can do anything you want in it. - Bob Ross

Every thought and device conceived by Satan and man must be explored and found wanting. - Donald Grey Barnhouse on the purpose of history and time.

I helped make a game! ^_^  - Forge Of War: Tactics

Daemion

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4590
  • The Future of BattleTech
    • Never Tales and Other Daydreams
A Question of Range and Scale

Not only am I looking at sizes of maps, but I'm also looking at potential engagement ranges.

Let's look at some concepts, first.

Keeping it on a table – Most Ground games are played on a 2x1 map layout.  Each ground map has 17 hexes on it, give or take half-hexes, making for only 33 to 34 hexes for the longest ranges to deal with.

Most gaming tables can barely handle that and still have room for sheets, places to roll dice, and areas for snacks and drinks.  It is a common thing across a hand-full of gaming groups over many years. 

50 hexes for Naval Weapons seems a bit overmuch with those numbers in mind.  This means that your naval weapons aren't being fully used to the fullest of their ability.

The standard range bands work pretty well with this map scale in mind, but there needs to be a change for Warships.  (This is from personal experience, having played a few interception games for landing ground forces.)


Realistic Expectations
A space hex is currently scaled at 18 km.  Now, while you may not have the issue of atmosphere impeding vision, things are still very small to the naked human eye.  This means that all space combat is BVR (beyond visual range), even inside the same hex.

(Just for reference, the 18 km hex is roughly equivalent to two Low Altitude maps in length.  Probably a 2x2 configuration.  Remember that each hex on the Low-Altitude map is half a kilometer, or one standard BT ground map.)

If ground combat has ambient ECM that limits range and accuracy, let alone any concept of 'fly-by-wire' defensive algorithms, we could assume that such defensive measures, and even stealth, can apply to space combat, too.  If we do make that assumption, then the notion of precision strikes at anything beyond visual seems highly unlikely.


Matching Paradigms and Fun Through Risk/Reward
Sometimes, the most entertaining aspect is having to get into range of a target's guns in order to do that maximum damage.  You risk taking heavy damage, even destruction, to be rewarded with obliterating the target. 

Not only does this happen in the ground game, it doesn't just apply to Mechs.  Infantry have to risk getting close to a tank or Mech to really hurt it.  And, they risk being annihilated by any dedicated Anti-Infantry guns.  Thankfully, for them, those guns have a similarly limited range to wipe them out, as well.  So, there's a twin jeopardy there. 


I hope you see where I'm going with some of these.  There are two aspects I think should be tackled.

Fighters as Infantry
First, if we're going to treat Fighters like Space Infantry, the notion that they can still engage at short range and get precision attacks seems to be over-much.

If we go 'as infantry for fighter formations', then let's go all the way.  Precision Strikes against locations on war- and drop-ships should be like anti-Mech or Leg attacks by anti-Mech trained infantry.  Otherwise, at any other range, they should do scattered damage like CannonShop proposed.


Capital Weapons as Artillery
Because of the inherent range of capital weapons, a Warship's presence in a battle fleet should be similar to having artillery assets on call.  They don't have to be on a map where there's an engagement to participate, bringing off-map strikes to designated coordinates.

Then, you can take advantage of the weapon's range, allowing for more damage output before someone does a counter-battery attack or a fighter/small-craft/dropship group is sent to silence the guns.


Different Map Scales for Different Ships
If the ultimate extreme band for capital weapons maxes at 50 hexes at the current space scale, but we want something a little more strategic to fit that inside 30 hexes to fit on a gaming table, we will want a  slightly larger scale of hex. 

What if we stick to map equals hex as the standard expansion up or down?  Starting with the ground maps, we then have the low-altitude maps where each hex is a map.  Then, standard-space hexes would then be a map's worth of low-altitude maps.  And, then we have Capital-space, which has each hex being a standard-space hex.

So, it would go like this:
Ground: hex = 30m
Low-Altitude: hex = .5km
Standard-space: hex = 8 to 9km (depending on how you want to round.)
Capital-space: hex = 136 to 153km (depending on which standard space value you went with)

Since the current space hex is 18 km, it would make conversion easier if we round to Standard-space being 9 km.  That would make the current capital range band with an extreme range of 100 hexes, which would round to around 6 capital-space hexes.

Much more manageable, don't you think?

Just For Fun
But, wait!  There's more!

I only brought up the suggested space scale changes not just to have things playable on different scales! 

Personally, I'm fond of using a higher scale to set-up battles on the smaller scale.  It allows for choices to be made, and for uneven fights.  If you mis-guess your opponent's plans, you will pay for it when he or she happens to pile-up on a smaller force, or slip something around to muck around in your rear area.

I think it would be fun to do the same between capital and standard scale, or even capital and low-altitude.

So, if we go with my earliest suggestion, that almost all space engagements, let's call them dog-fights, happen inside a space hex (of current size, but we could go to the 9km), then we can get some detail that would be a little more satisfying.

For one, the space turn is a minute long, but you only get one attack roll per bay. 
This could have things to do with:
- the huge BVR ranges and firing solutions,
- heat management,
- allow for the 'Armor Blanket' damage system we currently have to be put into full effect with movement
- and help explain why ships can potentially use their full thrust to slow down and then still retain a particular facing that seems to be away from it's main engine's output.

However, some will point out the capacity for faster rates of fire, considering that in the low-altitude engagements, the turns drop to 10 seconds.

My suggestion would be to have all dog-fights and anti-ship attacks take place at the low-altitude scale in space combat.  If a warship happens to be included at that scale, you could have fun with it's full length being slightly mapped out over 2 or 3 hexes.

You could then bring in rolling maps, if you want to keep a fight going.  Rolling maps wouldn't be hard to emulate for space, since there'll be next to no terrain to track, just combat units and wrecks.

You could time things at different levels so that any unit that falls of the map when the main target leaves can then be placed on a higher map and try to catch up.

Stew on that a bit, and let me know what you think.

But, having a 'strategic' scale for space, with warships being more of a strategic asset, we can get into things like combat doctrine, which includes acceptable loss ratios and target priorities.  And, that brings us to Factions and role-playing your fleets. 
« Last Edit: 22 October 2021, 14:33:28 by Daemion »
It's your world. You can do anything you want in it. - Bob Ross

Every thought and device conceived by Satan and man must be explored and found wanting. - Donald Grey Barnhouse on the purpose of history and time.

I helped make a game! ^_^  - Forge Of War: Tactics

Daemion

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4590
  • The Future of BattleTech
    • Never Tales and Other Daydreams
So, factions!

Contrary to what some have said, factions should be more than what unit list you can draw from, especially during the 3rd and 4th succession wars, where everyone has practically the same list with mere differences in availability.  With only a few exceptions, a lot of things are out of the Star League.

And, it also doesn't have so much to do with what numbers are fielded, either, even though that can be a thing.  We all know the most extreme examples in the Clan star/cluster/galaxy formations or the Word of Blake Levels, or the lesser known Marian Legions format.

There's a faction's general combat doctrines which need to be looked into, and how that can be represented in tactics and other little things.

For example - How much does even the most basic house force emphasize certain things like movement symmetry?
Davion is know more for esprit de corps, where it's the integration and cooperation of a force more than its actual combat units.  As long as a lance of Mech pilots work well together, it doesn't matter that one Mech in a scout lance happens to be an Atlas, among a pair of Stingers and a Valkyrie.

What is the command's view on expending assets.  Are a lot of Kurita space fighters expendable over the transport with the fancy samurai Mechs?  Or, maybe the fighters are just as heroic and honorable, but chain-gang expendable prisoners can be used to man throw-away small craft?

How competent is the command structure?  Does the Steiner penchant for social generals extend to their star command?

What kind of target priorities would be expected of a particular faction?  In the case of interdiction, would a faction force prioritize hitting a strategic asset to demoralize the attacker?  Or, would they focus on trying to down as many transports as possible at the cost of high casualties?

How mission oriented would they be on the fly?  Would they focus on orders until told otherwise?  Or, would they be slightly fluid, willing to change plans at a moments notice and disengage from a fight to race to a new front?

How much does a faction's ground doctrine match its space doctrine?  (Outworlds/Raven Alliance, anyone?)

None of the great houses or periphery are exact duplicates of each-other.  All have variations in all this and more.  And, even though there may be exceptions to the norm in each faction, there is still a general tendency due to tradition and culture.

Sadly, we have only glimpses of this in the ground game and regimental write-ups, but not so much in the space department.  So, this would be a good place to have a little fun.
It's your world. You can do anything you want in it. - Bob Ross

Every thought and device conceived by Satan and man must be explored and found wanting. - Donald Grey Barnhouse on the purpose of history and time.

I helped make a game! ^_^  - Forge Of War: Tactics