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Author Topic: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race  (Read 22565 times)

marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1140 on: 06 November 2018, 00:04:56 »
1.)  Like turn.  Holy crap DC, he who dares, wins, I take it?  Thats a very audacious plan, high risk, high reward, and I like the way the writing discusses the multiple phases of the campaign, and a campaign it was.

It really looks like the Coordinator got everything he wanted.  All it cost him eas his navy.

2.)  Free Force Multipliers:   Historically, Invasion transports have been slow, fragile, and vulnerable, an albatross around the naval neck, hard to defend and hideously vulnerable and expensive in blood and treasure when hit, and... (flips through books look at Union class Dropship)... this appears to be the case in battletech as well.

Lets go to the numbers...

Union is a small dropship, and the most classic of military transports Shes got about 180 standard armor on most facings,, and carries about 230 total standard scale damage in weaponry.

Buri puts out ~2000 damage from her standard scale secondary batteries.  She has four - giving her the firepower of approx 30 Union Dropships - and the firepower (if half weapons hit) to kill 10 Unions a turn with a single set of secondary armament.  If the NPPCs get involved, fired in pairs - thats probably 10 more hard kills or 20 mission kills every salvo - assuming that we leave capital weapons at a mere 10:1.  If we scale that up at all, each NPPC hit is a hard kill, and thats 20 kills a turn.  30 droppers, worth 9B, and carrying 2.5 regiments - and thats a single turn’s fire, at range, with just one facing side.  Carnage.

 The fighters off Walkurie would do a guesstimate potential.. say 40 each... so about ~2800 damage, somewhere in that ballpark?  Union only has 100 rear armor.  One deckload off a Walkurie CV is going to, assuming more than half the shots miss, wreck a dozen Unions a turn, every turn, for some time.  Thats a dead regiment and 3.6 Billion in dropships every turn.  And thats after they used their missiles on something important like a warship.

Based on this, I dont see ‘Transport Dropships’ as serving any role other than high value targets, picked up in a moments convenience by warship or fighter weapons that dont have -real- targets at that moment.  Certainly not tough or well armed enough to be significant from a naval perpective. 

Now, pure Assault style droppers - Triumph or Achillies, or their bastard descendents like Tiamat and Dragau and thier ilk, are a different matter - but thats what I figure were buying at 300/500/1B a pop

TLDR:
You want your invasion transports to contribute anything to your side other than misery, suffering, and frustration, and repair bills, the naval aquisitions board should whip out their chequebook.
« Last Edit: 06 November 2018, 00:29:08 by marcussmythe »

Kiviar

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1141 on: 06 November 2018, 01:55:01 »
1.)  Like turn.  Holy crap DC, he who dares, wins, I take it?

Wins? Maybe. They spent 41b to kill 80b of unused yardspace but now their fleet is in shreds and Space Prussia The Federated Suns is pissed off.

I'd honestly rather we didn't just start gunning for yards though. Our budgets are already strained, and with the new research costs we have even less to spend on the actual point of the game, new warship designs. I'd rather we didn't add a further third of our turn in to a new mandatory overhead of keeping yards alive.
« Last Edit: 06 November 2018, 01:56:54 by Kiviar »

Smegish

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1142 on: 06 November 2018, 02:00:25 »
That was an expensive turn. Really should have put some more stipulations in that plan... like waiting for the Akagis to be built, or not doing it at all after the big fight with Steiner... oh well.

Total casualties for that turn: 4x Atago, 3x Minekaze, 2x Tate... very expensive...

And my budget has been adjusted, and the master sheet has been updated to show the damage to both my forces and the Suns.
« Last Edit: 06 November 2018, 02:58:55 by Smegish »

marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1143 on: 06 November 2018, 08:52:12 »
Wins? Maybe. They spent 41b to kill 80b of unused yardspace but now their fleet is in shreds and Space Prussia The Federated Suns is pissed off.

I'd honestly rather we didn't just start gunning for yards though. Our budgets are already strained, and with the new research costs we have even less to spend on the actual point of the game, new warship designs. I'd rather we didn't add a further third of our turn in to a new mandatory overhead of keeping yards alive.

By that I meant high risk high reward (from his PoV).   Here it looks like both risk and reward came true.

One thing I do anticipate seeing is some centralization of yards, and maybe some static defense over them.  I probably should revise my turn to start tossing static defenses over the Yards I Care About...  but with my major yard so deep in my space static defenses are iffy - and if I throw battlestations up over them, the Archon is gonna want some for the capital...

Alsadius

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1144 on: 06 November 2018, 08:59:30 »
Shipyard destruction was hinted in the Irian fight back on turn 2, and of course we all know the story of 1SW/2SW. This was always possible, and there's a reason why a few nations have invested so much into fixed defences for their shipyards and/or important worlds. This is definitely a thing that can happen, and preparations for it would be wise. A Maginot Line wouldn't be cost-effective for most(there's a reason that the late-stage SLDF is the only realm ever to try it in canon), but a few fortresses probably would be.

Also, in case it wasn't obvious, this battle was fought to a player's battle plan instead of an NPC's. You're allowed to submit your own, and player-created plans will be used in place of NPC plans when they're available. I don't promise success for your plans - if Layover had been one jump from Robinson instead of two, this probably would have been a total fiasco, for example - but feel free to PM me battle plans, contingency plans, or the like. It's also much easier to write the battle when I don't need to think of this stuff myself, so that's a plus as well.

Regarding the loss of the shipyards, the nominal cost is $65B, because the level 1 yard remains. (FWIW, that's a slight oversimplification - the yard space is all gone, but the support structure is better than a single level 1 would have - but I averaged it out) Most nations seem to have an excess of yard space, so the loss probably doesn't hurt the Suns nearly as badly as $65B of other assets being destroyed would hurt, but it's a big loss for sure.

Regarding research costs, I had a bit of a discussion with Kiv about this yesterday, so I'll post the math for all to see. In a given field of research, here are your chances of getting a new tech from research spending based on money spent in a turn, and the breakdown of the odds of which tech you would get (1st/2nd/3rd un-researched tech):
$1B = 25% (8%/8%/8%)
$2B = 44% (16%/15%/13%)
$3B = 58% (23%/19%/16%)
$4B = 68% (29%/22%/17%)
$5B = 76% (35%/25%/16%)
$6B = 82% (41%/26%/16%)
$7B = 87% (46%/26%/15%)
$8B = 90% (50%/27%/13%)
$9B = 92% (54%/26%/12%)
$10B = 94% (58%/26%/11%)
$11B = 96% (62%/25%/9%)
$12B = 97% (65%/24%/8%)

I suspect the typical great house will spend somewhere in the ballpark of $6B/turn between the three fields, but obviously that's your call.

Re TC questions, I'll answer those today, but I have to run to the dentist ( :-\ ).

marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1145 on: 06 November 2018, 10:33:27 »
Naval Estimates, 2410:

Federated Suns:

Naval Tonnage:  16.4 MT (pending builds, likely 20.4 after anticipated 4 x Crucis build)
Yards:  4/4/1/1

Currently suffering from limited total yard space due to the successful DC strike.   On the gripping hand, a lack of naval losses leaves the FS with (likely, after a turns production) the premier non-TH Navy.  Whether they chose to aggressively pursue this advantage while it lasts, or focus on rebuilding infrastructure, remains to be seen.

Free Worlds League:

Naval Tonnage:  14.25 MT (pending builds - may go a bit over 20MT)
Yards:  6/3/3/3/3/1

Almost a blank canvas.  The FWN has almost all of its tonnage in elderly but still serviceable Heracles class CAs, and sufficient yard space to lay and build more at phenomenal speed.  The FWN can go in almost any direction from here, and I for one am VERY curious to see what direction they choose.  Presence of Class 6 yard may not be as important as it appears - the high cost of designing, and then slowly building, 1.5MT heavy battleships might be a distraction from maximum rate cruiser production.  In any event, a lack of significant losses coupled with a consistently high budget and weaker neighbors leaves the FWL in the same ideal position it has held since 2350.

Lyran Commonwealth:

Naval Tonnage:  17.18 MT
Yards:  5/5/3/1/1/1

Presence of 2 BB Yards allows for relatively inexpensive tonnage, but limited CA and DD yards interfere with the ability of the fleet to make efficient use of its budget outside those battleships.   LC may be headed for a top-heavy fleet structure.  Jokes about a Lyran Recon Squadron will result in demotion.


Draconis Combine:

Naval Tonnage:  16.16MT
Yards:  5/3/2/2/2/1

The largest naval power before the heavy losses of this turn, the DCs continuing highest budget, coupled with a spread of yards (1BB, 1CA, 3DD) should allow it to regenerate its forces rapidly.  A broad set of designs allows for flexibility, but will make upgrading expensive and painful - some hard choices may have to be made.


Capellan Confederation:

Naval Tonnage:  13.5 MT
Yards:  4/3/2/2/2/2/1/1

1 BB, 1 CA, and 4 DD yards.  Best bet may be to take the Class 3 yard over Capella to Class 4, and build a hard counter to the Fed Suns Crucis.  Fleet composition is likely to be BB/DD mix.  Like DC, has a broad swath of designs giving tactical flexibility but complicating upgrade paths.
« Last Edit: 06 November 2018, 11:54:02 by marcussmythe »

Alsadius

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1146 on: 06 November 2018, 13:57:38 »
Some questions to finish the TC turn:

1) I was looking into an Independence (https://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=61764.msg1420220#msg1420220) refit and discovered the base design has way to much armor.  I'm also shaky on whether or not a 75K ton primitive core ship is legal given that you are supposed to use the warship rules by default and 100K tons is the smallest warship.  Obviously, this is a nonissue as long as it's mothballed, but it's tempting to reactivate and refit a warship given the Navy's recent budget increase.  I'm not sure what to do exactly here.  Advice?

Armor ratios increase at small sizes, so it may be legal? I'll have to look into the rules. If you want to re-activate it, I'll allow it to continue as-is, and grandfather it. I don't imagine anyone else wants to bother with a 75kton ship, so I don't imagine this will be a concern from a balance perspective.

2) Are the Siesta stations working?  In particular, are they effectively connecting the Spinward and Anti-spinward portions of the TC?  Previously, the claim was that merchants propagate information at the speed of a jump every day or two.   Is that roughly accurate along the Siesta highways?  And is this enabling merchant traffic itself (goods & people) to more economically move about the TC? Basically, I'm wondering if I need a formal jump circuit or is the highway system effectively providing the desired benefits?

Transportation infrastructure is always helpful. The TC is less dense in most senses than most other realms, but stations like that do encourage in-fill and speed up trade routes. In particular, bridging "in the black" can be good for speeding up travel even before the recharge speed bonuses from station batteries come into play, if they're cutting a jump off a given route. The 31st century era of the novels will be long after any such stations were abandoned to die a slow death, but in a more active era, they do good work if they're placed in the right spots.

3) Can we settle on standard designs for non-capital classes?  That helps pin down fleet needs more crisply and may force a refit for the TC depending on whether this leaves existent designs viable.  All the named designs are here: https://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=61764.msg1455413#msg1455413  An extra personnel carrier is here: https://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=61764.msg1449033#msg1449033 and 4 specialized dropships are here: https://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=61764.msg1449218#msg1449218 .

Yeah, this is a big to-do task for me. I wanted to get the turn done first, so I was intentionally putting this off, but I'll aim to do it before the next turn.

4) I don't want to belabor the DC/LC fight more, but there are several policy implications around it related to how robust fighters are, how effective Naval Lasers are against fighters, and whether or not we can expect to borrow near mil-spec dropships at will.  Whatever clarity you can provide after you do a more careful review this weekend is welcome.

In practice, I've treated Barracudas as one-shot-one-kill weapons against typical fighters. They do 2 capital damage, while a typical heavy fighter will usually have something like 60-80 armor on the nose. That means the ratio I've been using is approximated at perhaps 30:1 or 40:1. However, I'd argue that a really heavy fighter like a Hydaspes (138 nose armor) should probably survive, which means a 100:1 ratio is probably too high.

Extending this to other anti-fighter weapons, a NL35 would do 140 damage, and put a Hydaspes into structure even in the best case. A NL45 would do 180, and kill outright no matter what. However, something like a Battle Taxi (200t small craft, 248 nose armor) could survive a NL55 hit. Again, that sounds plausible to me. This means that the added firepower of bigger NLs won't do a lot of good in the anti-fighter role, but they do get better range and can use their higher damage against SC, DS, and WS just fine. That seems balanced to me.

The other point to consider re: damage ratios is DropShips, whose HP is measured on the standard scale. A Union has 180 armor on its front, and an Achilles 290. Those are going to die fairly quickly to typical small capital weapons - a Killer Whale hitting them will almost put them internal, and a NAC/10 will kill outright. I'm not entirely comfortable with that. Even when we get to the bigger ones, the heaviest armor I can find on a canon DropShip is the Conquistador with 462, which would die to 12 capital damage. That sounds plausible enough - a 17kt DropShip probably shouldn't expect to survive a NAC/40 hit with armor left over - but I wouldn't want typical medium or large DS going much below that if they're expecting to see combat.

Going the other way, a fighter strike with a hundred fighters each shooting an AC/20 under ideal circumstances(i.e., THN=4) should be expected to hit with about 83 of them, doing 1660 standard-scale damage. That'd translate to 41.5 capital damage at the 40:1 ratio, which is enough to make a small WarShip feel like it's been given a good tap, and even go internal on the really light ones(Bonaventure, Kutai, etc.). Again, that sounds about right. However, I'll still keep the rule that small weapons can't be expected to do meaningful damage against WarShip-scale armour, so 10x MG will not be as effective as 1x AC/20 for this role. (Even an AC/20 will probably bounce off a Crucis or Potemkin, for that matter).

In sum, I'll leave the ratio a bit fuzzy, to deal with the effects of crit rolls, thresholding, and so on. But a ratio between capital damage and standard damage of somewhere between 25:1 and 50:1 will apply for any purpose I can think of right now. As such, capital weapons that hit against standard-sized craft will do substantially more damage than the 10:1 ratio in canon would imply. This does not eliminate the small-damage-reduction rule for fighter strikes vs capital ship armour, but it does reduce the impact of that rule in practice.

Lagrange

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1147 on: 06 November 2018, 15:09:12 »
Armor ratios increase at small sizes, so it may be legal?
Armor points per ton increases with smaller size, but there are just plain to many tons of armor---about 1 ton per 9 tons of structure.
I'll have to look into the rules. If you want to re-activate it, I'll allow it to continue as-is, and grandfather it. I don't imagine anyone else wants to bother with a 75kton ship, so I don't imagine this will be a concern from a balance perspective.
I'd only reactivate with a refit as it's difficult to justify the maintenance cost otherwise.   A refit leaving the armor intact seems a bit unreasonable.   A refit to a warship core seems a bit unreasonable given it's subscale.  A refit to the correct amount of armor with a warship core at 100kt violates the refit rules.  Hence, I'm stuck.  I'll just leave it in mothballs by default, but if there is an alternative I'm willing to consider it.
Transportation infrastructure is always helpful. The TC is less dense in most senses than most other realms, but stations like that do encourage in-fill and speed up trade routes. In particular, bridging "in the black" can be good for speeding up travel even before the recharge speed bonuses from station batteries come into play, if they're cutting a jump off a given route. The 31st century era of the novels will be long after any such stations were abandoned to die a slow death, but in a more active era, they do good work if they're placed in the right spots.
Thanks.  Perhaps the crisp question is: What is the current mean average information propagation time from Malagrotta to Zanzibar (13 jumps, the longest highway)?  This should be pretty observable.  If merchant traffic propagates at 1 jump/day, that's 2 weeks.  On the other hand, if it's 1 jump/week that's 3 months.  In the former case a jump circuit can shave the time by a factor of 2 while if it's 1 jump/week, the improvement is by a factor of 13.   It would be a real shame to learn that half the TC was invaded only after that fact. 
... <capital weapons vs. standard scale armor>...
Thanks, that helps.  What about standard weapons vs. standard scale armor?  Should we expect 1000 AC5s to take out 100 fighters/round (with misses and imperfect focus of fire ~5 AC/5 hits to kill a fighter)?

UnLimiTeD

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1148 on: 06 November 2018, 16:11:39 »
Now I know I'm just coming into this:
Why not make use of the squadron rules for fighters?
With a few creative changes?
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truetanker

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1149 on: 06 November 2018, 21:10:04 »
Now I know I'm just coming into this:
Why not make use of the squadron rules for fighters?
With a few creative changes?

Thought these were being used?

Hence, I'm stuck.  I'll just leave it in mothballs by default, but if there is an alternative I'm willing to consider it.

I'll bite, for the right price that is...  :thumbsup:

What's our current budget costs for Turn 7?

TT
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Alsadius

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1150 on: 07 November 2018, 01:36:06 »
The tonnage ratio was what I referred to keeping. I think it was a rules quirk with primitive-core ships - one that's not actually valid under SO/IO rules, but that was accidentally grandfathered in by use of an old construction tool. One hull massing 75,000 tons is not going to affect the balance of the game, and I think that'd be the only plausible reason for you to re-activate it, so I'll let it slide (even if you refit it).

Typical information propagation time is about a day per jump with no special measures taken. Possibly less in the TC, because merchant density is lower. Recharge stations in the black speed up the movement of goods, at least as compared to anything besides a command circuit, but the passage of data back and forth among typical merchant traffic (all of whom will have a sideline in passing messages in the pre-HPG era) will usually be faster. On that route you have a few spots where you use one black station to avoid a three-jump route, and one with two black stations to avoid a six-jump route, but a single ship jumping takes like 4-5 days IIRC. You'll shave some time off by occasionally getting ships to line up their arrivals properly, but in practice the biggest advantage of that network is the motion of ships, not of data. That said, I'd estimate you've gone from ~20 days to pass a message along that route before (15 jumps with no shortcuts, including some through UHC space, with a penalty for thin Periphery traffic), down to 10-15 days in a typical case.

Standard weapons vs standard armor function just like tabletop, generally speaking. I'm abstracting a bit, rather than rolling zillions of hit location dice, but I don't have any big changes in mind there.

Squadron rules are a simplification for tabletop. I can't see why they'd be needed in a narrative-driven game. Is there a particular part of them that you had in mind? (I'll admit, I'm not that familiar with those rules, been a while since I read them)

Also, a reminder - the Ares treaty is still up for debate. I'll weigh in with NPCs when I write up their turns. Spoiler alert, the FWL is very tentative about restrictions on nuclear weaponry.

truetanker

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1151 on: 07 November 2018, 09:00:11 »
Stupid purple byrd!  Don't eat me!

I wonder if you'll have allow nuclear exchanges to happen? Or would everybody scream murder and launch?

TT
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TT, we know you are the master of nasty  O0 ~ Fletch on 22 June 2013
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marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1152 on: 07 November 2018, 09:38:46 »
The LCN position is:

Preamble:  The LCN is aware that it is currently the best positioned naval force in the inner sphere to use nuclear weapons to acheive naval objectives.  It is further, however, the position of the LCN that use of such weapons is incredibly destabalizing and would work to the detriment of all powers, the LCN included.  The LCN prefers a policy that strongly discourages such use, and thus its policy is that:

1.)  We will gladly agree to -reciprocal- non-use with any power willing to do so.

2.)  With such powers, we will not use nuclear weapons first, but reserve the right to use them second.  Second use will be proportional to enemy first use, plus enough to discourage the idea of ‘just this one time’ use for advantage.

3.)  Non-signatories are presumed to intend use of nuclear weapons.  Forces engaging non-signatories are at all times weapons free against -military- targets of such powers, including first use, in such fashion necessary to prevent enemy use against LCN forces.  Tactics, deployments, and force posture on such fronts will be adapted to such an environment. 

A study of the military outcome of the Vega Aerospace Fighter Strike, had such strike been armed with Killer Whale-N and Barracuda-N in place of conventional warheads is appended and may help to clarify the importance of mutual agreements aganst any use.
« Last Edit: 07 November 2018, 09:43:56 by marcussmythe »

Lagrange

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1153 on: 07 November 2018, 10:03:37 »
...stuff...
Thanks, that helps a great deal. 

Did you want to also update the passenger quarters cost?  Or are the changes to the design sheets finalized?   (Passenger quarter costs likely matter more to the TCN than other navies due to the heavy marine complement, but it's not a big deal either way.)

The other remaining concern is around standardized smallcraft for point defense and boarding ops.  The Taurus I was designed with the David and Crestbreaker in mind.  The Crestbreakers proved disappointing in testing causing the TC admiralty to emphasize on-board MGs in a redesign.  Switching to something like the Fireshield is not as significant a drop in point defense but if the drop in point defense for standardized designs is more severe that's important.   Similarly, if the smaller Centauro becomes the standard, suddenly many more marine boarding craft are required to effectively use the 1800 marines aboard a Taurus I.  With the larger Centauro, there is no issue.
« Last Edit: 07 November 2018, 10:05:29 by Lagrange »

UnLimiTeD

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1154 on: 07 November 2018, 11:01:03 »
Squadron rules are a simplification for tabletop. I can't see why they'd be needed in a narrative-driven game. Is there a particular part of them that you had in mind? (I'll admit, I'm not that familiar with those rules, been a while since I read them)

Well, squadron rules, in their simplicity, would fit the current situation well, and I think that'd allow us to balance their use even with just a multiplier of 2 for capital damage (20-1);
Squadron rules state kill criticals for incoming damage exceeding 1/4 of the fighters armour - if an NL35 deals 70 dmg, that'll be enough for a long while - and as damage seems to be rounded down. By just using clustering for the fighters, a 6 fighter squadron with 2x AC20s each would just deal (4x2x1) = 8 Capital damage.
I know I'm arguing for fighters when, no matter where I jump in, I'll be bordering plenty of them, but I'm at least concerned regarding dropships.
Because I sure won't use them outside of dropping troops.

Also, would it make sense to impose a limit on the maximum amount of firing gunners per facing? I've been pondering missile-defense designs and I'm feeling kind of silly with what I come up with.
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marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1155 on: 07 November 2018, 11:42:55 »
A thought from PM land, shared here -

IF the FWL stays with ‘nukes are good’ it will do crazy things to ship design.  Nukes dont care if Buri has 180 SI and MORE ARMOR THAN SENSE.  Nukes dont care about your broadside NACs.  Nukes dont respect ship size.  Nukes dont need a lot of weapons to kill anything in space - they certainly dont need the Vega Strike - nor will even fighters on the Vega Strike level ensure that your enemy doesnt get at least a few hits through.

Mind you, Im hoping that it doesnt go that way.  I think the conventional armament game is more interesting.  But Im also planning a nuclear environment doctrine and order of battle. 

And of course, once one power goes there, and its negihbors have to follow - will they be able to survive having to build two different navies, one for each border?  Will they be able to resist the temptation of employing their nuclear navy for certain victory against non-nuclear neighbors?  Its not for nothing that people in the real-world nuclear buisness had ‘If one flies, they all fly’ as a mantra.

Alsadius

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1156 on: 07 November 2018, 12:11:21 »
I haven't looked at the passenger costs again, but I recall thinking it was correct last time I looked. I'll review it by this weekend. (It'll also affect the TH, with that ridiculous Potemkin design, but of course they have the budget to handle it)

Re gun limits per facing, hard caps on gun count seem wrong to me. A 10m tall Mech, with front area ~30 m^2, can easily pack half a dozen of the relevant weapon types without being unduly burdened by it. A WarShip is like 800m long and perhaps 200m diameter, which means if we treat it as a simple cylinder it's got a surface area of about 565,000 m^2. That means it could carry a hundred thousand light weapons on its hull with the same density that's viable on a Mech. They'll be bigger, of course - a 5" naval mount is much larger than a 5" artillery piece, because it requires much more ammunition safety and heavy armour - but it's still not likely to be a serious restriction at our scale. I don't really like this dynamic, overall - I want limits imposed somehow, and fire control weight is a ham-fisted way to do it in practice - but I can't think of a change that's both sufficient to fix it and unlikely to be just as ham-fisted in its own way, while still in keeping with usual BT rules. (There's also the idea I posted some months ago, if you want to look at that, but that's far too big a change for this game)

Re nukes, I think I'll play with the fluff of tech changes a bit, to reduce their impact if they get used again. For example, I've been thinking that improved ferro-aluminum armor might well be more resistant to nuclear weapons than previous armor models(over and above its superior protection per ton). That won't fix things in the short term, but if we go full 1SW at some point down the line, it should still allow ships to survive passably even in a nuclear battlefield.
« Last Edit: 07 November 2018, 12:15:43 by Alsadius »

marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1157 on: 07 November 2018, 12:21:27 »
I haven't looked at the passenger costs again, but I recall thinking it was correct last time I looked. I'll review it by this weekend. (It'll also affect the TH, with that ridiculous Potemkin design, but of course they have the budget to handle it)

Re gun limits per facing, hard caps on gun count seem wrong to me. A 10m tall Mech, with front area ~30 m^2, can easily pack half a dozen of the relevant weapon types without being unduly burdened by it. A WarShip is like 800m long and perhaps 200m diameter, which means if we treat it as a simple cylinder it's got a surface area of about 565,000 m^2. That means it could carry a hundred thousand light weapons on its hull with the same density that's viable on a Mech. They'll be bigger, of course - a 5" naval mount is much larger than a 5" artillery piece, because it requires much more ammunition safety and heavy armour - but it's still not likely to be a serious restriction at our scale. I don't really like this dynamic, overall - I want limits imposed somehow, and fire control weight is a ham-fisted way to do it in practice - but I can't think of a change that's both sufficient to fix it and unlikely to be just as ham-fisted in its own way, while still in keeping with usual BT rules. (There's also the idea linked in my sig, if you want to look at that, but that's far too big a change for this game)

Re nukes, I think I'll play with the fluff of tech changes a bit, to reduce their impact if they get used again. For example, I've been thinking that improved ferro-aluminum armor might well be more resistant to nuclear weapons than previous armor models(over and above its superior protection per ton). That won't fix things in the short term, but if we go full 1SW at some point down the line, it should still allow ships to survive passably even in a nuclear battlefield.

I have been content from the beginning to assume that missile warheads are already nuclear, and that all other weapons are similar in their scale.  Given the ability of various units in battletech to absorb LARGE energy inputs without destruction (how fast is a Gauss Rifle round traveling on an aerospace map?  Whats the KE transfer in an Aerospace Fighter lithobraking - a survivable event!  Note the ability of heavy tanks in Battletech to survive ground scale nuclear weapons), I think that such resilience would not strain credulity, even if the rules as written (and what we have seen in game so far) suggest that nuclear weapons are orders of magnitude more destructive than conventional weapons.

I think transitioning warship armor over a series of upgrades, with each being more resistant to nuclear weapons than the one before (while maintaining only its listed resilience against conventional attack), to the point that by Lamellor Ferro-Carbide a Killer Whale (N) is no different than a Killer Whale (with perhaps behind the scenes tempest hardening, so nukes lose their 'you got nuked, all your sensors and computers are wrecked, ship is a mission kill effect) is the best solution, given that we have already defined in-universe that CURRENTLY, Nuclear Weapons are a trump card.

Lagrange

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1158 on: 07 November 2018, 12:32:45 »
I haven't looked at the passenger costs again, but I recall thinking it was correct last time I looked. I'll review it by this weekend. (It'll also affect the TH, with that ridiculous Potemkin design, but of course they have the budget to handle it)
Ok.  My present understanding is here.

UnLimiTeD

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1159 on: 07 November 2018, 15:38:58 »
If anyone of you is interested in the physics (you don't want to see here), there's a 4X game called Aurora out there, whose creator at one point entertained the thought of a newtonian physics model.
A few interesting observations:
A large nuke is mildly dangerous at 250 meters, and completely ineffectual at 500 m.
Energy shields might reduce survivability.
Chance to hit is incredibly low, so being big is a horrible drawback  --- I think we could take a part of that; shouldn't a very large ship be at least somewhat easier to hit at close distances?
In short, what ever makes for good gameplay should be considered, because space combat is brutal, there is no such thing as a mission kill, and taking part in it means you already lost. Would make for a bland game.

Re gun limits per facing, .... (There's also the idea I posted some months ago, ...
Fascinating proposal. Though we're probably more likely to oversimplify things at the scale we're playing at.
I originally thought about something like 20 gunners per facing, +1 for every 50k tons and maybe two facings (usually the broadsides) being able to exceed that limit. That'd be 120 std weapons on a 1m ton ship. With more guns and gunners, it could still be allowed, but not allowed to fire them at once.
But your proposal is interesting. What if guns above a specified limit just had a chance to be crit by fire that can't penetrate the armour? There's only so much you can install fully covered without turning your outer hull into something reminiscent of european cheese.
But if we were to impose actual extra rules, I'd be in favour of first raising the fuel cost. That strains suspension of disbelief far more than building a cruiser with several thousand guns.
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marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1160 on: 08 November 2018, 11:23:13 »
But your proposal is interesting. What if guns above a specified limit just had a chance to be crit by fire that can't penetrate the armour? There's only so much you can install fully covered without turning your outer hull into something reminiscent of european cheese.

It always seemed to me that the secondary weapons on warships (mech scale), would be outside the protection of the primary armor belt - much like the AAA/PDS armaments on their real world cousins - and could be targeted for destruction by mech-scale weaponry (and wiped away in broad swaths by non-penetrating capital scale strikes - this may point the way to fighter/capital weapon synergies in combined use - even if the belt armor holds up under NPPC/NAC fire, the PDS/AAA belt associated therewith might be degraded significantly)

Sensors and the like would probably be vulnerable to the same things. 

Capital weaponry would lack this vulnerability... the triple 18" mount on a Yamato cares little for .50BMG!

All of the above aside, it probably matters little enough at our scale, at least for major fleet engagements.  At the ranges of space combat, and with computers allocating fire, there is little reason for the classic 'each ship lines up and gun-duels its opposite number' - a fleet's weapons would likely be centrally directed, focusing fire sufficient (given conditions, ranges, anticipated accuracy) to kill as many targets as possible in a single salvo, with fire being redirected while the weapons cool and cycle.  Under such conditions, one mounts armor not to protect one ship (no one ship can be protected from an enemy fleets fire), but to minimize the total rate at which ships are lost - individual details of criticals and specific system resilience matter strongly in a duel, less so in a squadron engagement, and vanish almost entirely at the fleet scale.

Evasive Action can lower the impact of massed fire, if chosen intelligently.  For the LC, the Tyrs might go evasive early (due to their lower resilience compared to Buri) IF fighting an opponent who wants to target Tyr first (any opponent with significant NAC armament will want to kill Tyrs and close the range under Buri's guns before trying to outshoot Buri at point blank).  By using evasive action, the Tyrs preserve their NACs for use later on, once the foe has closed.  Against an enemy not inclined to close (say one with heavy or pure long range armament), the Tyrs would sail steady to maximize their fire output(not being a good target due to their NAC focused armament), while a Buri that started taking significant damage might well go evasive (to discourage further focused fire), yet remain in position to continue to fire to (reduced) effect.

((Note - if the above described fire coordination is NOT normal in the BTU, and NOT feasible under battlefield conditions, the LCN would like to know what expenditures in training and/or R&D would serve to make it so))
« Last Edit: 08 November 2018, 11:47:06 by marcussmythe »

Alsadius

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1161 on: 08 November 2018, 12:45:23 »
That's basically how I've been working it. The issue that the "strip the light guns" approach has in practice is that most of those light guns are anti-fighter, and the units best equipped to do the stripping are fighters. You can "school of piranha" down a ship's defences if you want, and it's happened in a few battles, but it either needs heavy numerical advantage or a willingness to take severe losses.

As for fire coordination, there's one important countervailing consideration that happened IRL - if you focus fire, most ships aren't under attack. If most ships aren't under attack, they don't need to dodge or worry, and they don't have any risk of losing the lightly-armoured stuff like rangefinders, and thus they can fight more effectively. There was also splash-spotting considerations in historical battles, which won't apply in space, but that could perhaps be a consideration for bombardment against Castles Brian or something. In game, I think that'll be a smaller consideration - a lot of that problem can be compensated for by tech in various ways (the motion of your own ship won't mess with your own accuracy nearly so badly, for example, so forcing evasive action on your enemy will be less important). On top of that, you have various problems with stacking things too tightly - overkill is one issue, especially with big salvoes, and having your missile exhaust blind your sensors (something something fight in the shade) is another.

On the whole, I'm assuming substantially more coordination of fire than WW2. But there is usually some spread, both as suppressive fire and due to the difficulty of getting everything onto the same targets at the same time in practical fashion. That said, you can easily play around with doctrine here - this is a default behaviour, not the One True Way.

marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1162 on: 08 November 2018, 12:47:02 »
That's basically how I've been working it. The issue that the "strip the light guns" approach has in practice is that most of those light guns are anti-fighter, and the units best equipped to do the stripping are fighters. You can "school of piranha" down a ship's defences if you want, and it's happened in a few battles, but it either needs heavy numerical advantage or a willingness to take severe losses.

As for fire coordination, there's one important countervailing consideration that happened IRL - if you focus fire, most ships aren't under attack. If most ships aren't under attack, they don't need to dodge or worry, and they don't have any risk of losing the lightly-armoured stuff like rangefinders, and thus they can fight more effectively. There was also splash-spotting considerations in historical battles, which won't apply in space, but that could perhaps be a consideration for bombardment against Castles Brian or something. In game, I think that'll be a smaller consideration - a lot of that problem can be compensated for by tech in various ways (the motion of your own ship won't mess with your own accuracy nearly so badly, for example, so forcing evasive action on your enemy will be less important). On top of that, you have various problems with stacking things too tightly - overkill is one issue, especially with big salvoes, and having your missile exhaust blind your sensors (something something fight in the shade) is another.

On the whole, I'm assuming substantially more coordination of fire than WW2. But there is usually some spread, both as suppressive fire and due to the difficulty of getting everything onto the same targets at the same time in practical fashion. That said, you can easily play around with doctrine here - this is a default behaviour, not the One True Way.

Well, I guess what it turns on is what modifiers are out there?

Rules-As-Written there is only 'normal sailing' and 'evasive action'.  Ships taking evasive action take a penalty to their fire, and fire against them is penalized.

So, assuming that normal sailing is in fact normal, there isnt really an 'unengaged ship bonus', like there was in theory in the real world - outgoing fire is not penalized by incoming fire, nor advantaged by its lack.

Then we get into the trenches of damage effects on ships:
1.)  IRL ships do not have ablative armor.  Each incoming hit is a (largely) independent event.
2.)  IRL ships were often rendered combat ineffective LONG before their destruction.
3.)  IRL ships were also often subject to sudden, total destruction from a low-probability hit.

4.)  Battletech ships have ablative armor.  Each hit is largely meaningless, save for the last few.
5.)  Battletech ships retain the majority of their combat power until very late in their effective combat lifespan.
6.)  Battletech ships are very unlikely to be destroyed by a single hit.

Now, as noted above, choosing to go evasive penalizes your fire, and your enemies, and any ship that anticipates RECIEVING more fire than it would be delivering, or otherwise serves as a high priority target, should consider evasive action.  However, normal sailing gives neither benefit nor penalty - and is here presumed to be the norm.  (If all ships are evasive at all times, save when they intentionally stop doing so, then there would be an advantage to even fire distribution, to discourage the enemy from having unengaed ships stop evasive manuvering).

That said, even with the evasive concern, I think points 1-3 (IRL ships) and 4-6 (BT ships) illustrate that while distributed fire made very, very good sense at Jutland (more chances for the golden BB, greater spread of damage reduces enemy fire more quickly), concentrated fire makes more sense over Vega under the Rules As Written (ships killed by depletion of SI, ships retain most firepower until SI is depleted).

The winning naval strategy is to silence as many guns as possible on the enemy side as quickly as possible.  Under the BT RAW, this is accomplished most efficiently by punching through the armor facing and depleting the SI, as hits to armor that do not impact rarely silence guns, and hits to SI do not silence very many guns until the last of SI is depleted.  Further, ships are most efficiently removed when destruction is sudden and total, denying a damaged ship the opportunity to roll ship, go evasive, or otherwise mitigate damage.

For the above reasons, it appears that under RAW, combined fire is and always will be the proper approach, assuming sufficient weight of fire is available to render at least one target unit combat ineffective per unit time.  If there is not such weight of fire, then a decision has to be made between broad depletion of enemy armor/hunt for lucky crits, or focusing fire on one target WITHOUT killing it - possibly forcing it out of line or into evasive action, but at the same time reducing the value of subsequent fires against that target, due to greater range or that evasive action.

In any event, as fleet sizes climb, the threshold for condition #1, one or more hard kills per salvo, will eventually obtain.  What fleet size and firepower allows that goes to underlying assumptions about engagement ranges, gunnery skills, and the actual armor and firepower of the engaged vessels - but it seems that at some point that threshold will be reached, if it has not already.  Similarly, longer range weapons will increase in value as fleet size increases, as they grow in ability to silence shorter ranged guns before the range can be closed.
« Last Edit: 08 November 2018, 13:03:18 by marcussmythe »

UnLimiTeD

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1163 on: 08 November 2018, 17:14:48 »
I think it's not as clear cut. Distances are significant, and, ignoring the SLDFs Blackbox for now, instantaneous communication isn't.
I think that's what Naval C3 is supposed to depict in later years.
Also, once ECM is on the table, hitting enemy ships that are not on the front line becomes more difficult.
Meanwhile, on the front you could very well have a corvette not worthy of your entire fleets firepower, performing evasive maneuvers.
Further, the question remains if keeping the fleet together was feasible.
If someone attacks you, and he just sends 10 fleets of two ships + a troop transport, how many can you intercept?
Sending no ships may be better than too few when trying to have your ships survive, or win a battle, but any warship is kind in an undefended system.
Regarding the armour: We do have penetrative crits, unlikely as they may be. Currently, an NAC/40 will roll for criticals even on the toughest ship.
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marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1164 on: 08 November 2018, 18:13:42 »
I think it's not as clear cut. Distances are significant, and, ignoring the SLDFs Blackbox for now, instantaneous communication isn't.
I think that's what Naval C3 is supposed to depict in later years.
Also, once ECM is on the table, hitting enemy ships that are not on the front line becomes more difficult.
Meanwhile, on the front you could very well have a corvette not worthy of your entire fleets firepower, performing evasive maneuvers.
Further, the question remains if keeping the fleet together was feasible.
If someone attacks you, and he just sends 10 fleets of two ships + a troop transport, how many can you intercept?
Sending no ships may be better than too few when trying to have your ships survive, or win a battle, but any warship is kind in an undefended system.
Regarding the armour: We do have penetrative crits, unlikely as they may be. Currently, an NAC/40 will roll for criticals even on the toughest ship.

Ive not percieved through-armor criticals be significant as of yet.

Offense is always going to be easier than defense - but dispersing your attackers risks having local superiority in most places, and total local inferiority in a few - its a raiding strategy, not a planet holding one, as I see it.

Stacked defensive ECM does make ‘back line’ targets harder, so your going to be wanting to peel the onion from the outside in.  But that doesnt I think change the docus fire calculus, just where the fire is focused each turn.  The ‘do I focus fire’ calculation is based on what I can kill each salvo (if anything) and whether a ships firepower degrades more or less rapidly than its ability to survive further damage (expressed as averages, of course)

Ships are a long way apart, but weapons ranges and the amount of space filled by the wall is small enough that I dont anticipate light lag being large enough to affect coordination within the engaged wall of battle.

Alsadius

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1165 on: 08 November 2018, 23:12:10 »
The United Hindu Collective has always believed strongly in armed neutrality, as part of a broader effort to ensure peace and trust between nations. The UHC's primary goal with the proposed "Ares Convention" is to ensure that it does not indirectly encourage war by concealing the inherent horror of blood being shed for the aggrandizement of princes. A sailor who dies in a missile strike is no less dead than one who dies in a nuclear strike, and a soldier crushed under a tank's treads is in the same place as one who died to orbital bombardment or in the sack of a city. Any treaty which does not acknowledge this reality is inherently ignoring the realities of warfare, and the Collective has no interest in lying about the glories of war.

However, for greater clarity, we do hereby affirm that the UHC's traditional policy against the initiation of conflict includes nuclear conflict and the use of other weapons of mass destruction. Under no circumstances will the UHC begin a war of our own accord, and we will only use weapons of mass destruction against those who have initiated their use, or in the final defence of civilian population against indiscriminate slaughter on a similar scale.

---

The UHC has initiated its own system defence station program. Dubbed the Raksha, the new station is intended for close defence of a planet, and is intended to be used in bulk instead of as a single standalone station in deep space like the Pratham. Unlike the popular trend in station design of having a "primary" facing like the Marathon, Scutum, or Ancile, the Raksha follows in the Pratham's footsteps and is intended for use against any axis of threat without needing to slowly turn about-face. Numerous cost-saving measures were included in the station, such as the smaller naval laser mounts, but the most obvious was due to an unexpected glut of small missile mounts on the market in Basantapur. Rather than using large missile mounts with expensive on-board fire control system, smaller and individually less capable mounts have been used in larger quantity instead. The proliferation of gunner's mates keeps the mess hall busy, and the numerous light turret mounts on the hull give the Raksha a somewhat warty appearance, but the cost savings were seen to justify it.

Code: [Select]
Class/Model/Name: Raksha
Tech: Inner Sphere
Ship Cost: $489,210,025.00
Magazine Cost: $52,876,000.00
BV2: 41,999

Mass: 225,000
K-F Drive System: None
Power Plant: Station-Keeping Drive
Safe Thrust: 0.0
Maximum Thrust: 0.0
Armor Type: Standard
Armament:
216 Machine Gun (IS)
216 LRM 5 (IS)
72 Naval Laser 35
72 Capital Launcher AR-10

Class/Model/Name: Raksha
Mass: 225,000

Equipment: Mass
Drive: 2,700
Thrust
Safe: 0.0
Maximum: 0.0
Controls: 225
K-F Hyperdrive: None (0 Integrity) 0
Jump Sail: (0 Integrity) 0
Structural Integrity: 1 2,250
Total Heat Sinks: 2640 Single 2,522
Fuel & Fuel Pumps: 500 points 102
Fire Control Computers: 27,576
Armor: 486 pts Standard 810
Fore: 81
Fore-Left/Right: 81/81
Aft-Left/Right: 81/81
Aft: 81

Dropship Capacity: 0
Grav Decks:
Small: 1 50
Medium: 0
Large: 0
Escape Pods: 40 280
Life Boats: 40 280

Crew And Passengers:
51 Officers in 1st Class Quarters 510
39 Crew in 2nd Class Quarters 273
216 Gunners and Others in 2nd Class Quarters 1,512
182 Bay Personnel in 2nd Class Quarters 1,274

# Weapons Loc Heat Damage Range Mass
36 Machine Gun (IS) Nose 72 (7.2-C) Short-PDS 18
36 Machine Gun (IS) Aft 72 (7.2-C) Short-PDS 18
36 Machine Gun (IS) FR 72 (7.2-C) Short-PDS 18
36 Machine Gun (IS) FL 72 (7.2-C) Short-PDS 18
36 Machine Gun (IS) AR 72 (7.2-C) Short-PDS 18
36 Machine Gun (IS) AL 72 (7.2-C) Short-PDS 18
36 LRM 5 (IS) Nose 72 108 (10.8-C) Long 72
36 LRM 5 (IS) Aft 72 108 (10.8-C) Long 72
36 LRM 5 (IS) FR 72 108 (10.8-C) Long 72
36 LRM 5 (IS) FL 72 108 (10.8-C) Long 72
36 LRM 5 (IS) AR 72 108 (10.8-C) Long 72
36 LRM 5 (IS) AL 72 108 (10.8-C) Long 72
24 Naval Laser 35 Nose 1248 840 (84-C) Long-C 16,800
24 Naval Laser 35 AL 1248 840 (84-C) Long-C 16,800
24 Naval Laser 35 AR 1248 840 (84-C) Long-C 16,800
24 Capital Launcher AR-10 FR 480 960 (96-C) Extreme-C 6,000
24 Capital Launcher AR-10 FL 480 960 (96-C) Extreme-C 6,000
24 Capital Launcher AR-10 Aft 480 960 (96-C) Extreme-C 6,000

Ammo Rounds Mass
Machine Gun (IS) Ammo 27200 136
LRM 5 (IS) Ammo 18000 750
Capital Launcher Barracuda Ammo 720 21,600
Capital Launcher Killer Whale Ammo 720 36,000
Capital Launcher White Shark Ammo 720 28,800

Number Equipment and Bays Mass Doors
20,000 Cargo, Standard 20,000 2
6 Bay Small Craft 1,200 3
48 Bay Fighter 7,200 6
2 Bay Conventional Infantry (IS), Foot 10 0


BUDGET: $26,000m
Maintenance (@150%): $10,620m
Raksha R&D: $489m
16x Raksha: $7,824m (Deployed 10 to Panpour and 6 to Basantapur)
600x fighter: $3,000m
100x small craft: $1,000m
Research: $3,000m (1A, 1S, 1M)
Remaining: $67m

---

Ok.  My present understanding is here.

Thanks for the link. Looking at it again, I think I'll keep it as-is. Steerage quarters are cheap (even on the Potemkin, they're only $160M of the final cost), so it doesn't affect all that much. It makes sense to me that quarters cost more than bulk cargo space, so while I suspect you'll probably be ruled correct by Xotl, I prefer the rules as the spreadsheet does them. Also, it's easier to be sure I don't break the sheet if I don't change it, and it means we don't need to re-calculate all those previous ships.

Well, I guess what it turns on is what modifiers are out there?

Rules-As-Written there is only 'normal sailing' and 'evasive action'.  Ships taking evasive action take a penalty to their fire, and fire against them is penalized.

So, assuming that normal sailing is in fact normal, there isnt really an 'unengaged ship bonus', like there was in theory in the real world - outgoing fire is not penalized by incoming fire, nor advantaged by its lack.
...
Now, as noted above, choosing to go evasive penalizes your fire, and your enemies, and any ship that anticipates RECIEVING more fire than it would be delivering, or otherwise serves as a high priority target, should consider evasive action.  However, normal sailing gives neither benefit nor penalty - and is here presumed to be the norm.  (If all ships are evasive at all times, save when they intentionally stop doing so, then there would be an advantage to even fire distribution, to discourage the enemy from having unengaed ships stop evasive manuvering).

RAW, a fighter going evasive gets +3 to be hit when evasive but cannot fire, and large craft (DS/WS) get +2 to hit and to be hit. So assuming flat dice across the board, any ship being targeted by more than its own weight of fire should go evasive. These are more generous rules than I remembered(I've only used them for fighters), as long as we're not up to kill-per-salvo fleet sizes, so I should probably work them into more battles. I was thinking that real evasive action was fairly difficult, but the tabletop rules make it surprisingly easy and effective.

Then we get into the trenches of damage effects on ships:
1.)  IRL ships do not have ablative armor.  Each incoming hit is a (largely) independent event.
2.)  IRL ships were often rendered combat ineffective LONG before their destruction.
3.)  IRL ships were also often subject to sudden, total destruction from a low-probability hit.

4.)  Battletech ships have ablative armor.  Each hit is largely meaningless, save for the last few.
5.)  Battletech ships retain the majority of their combat power until very late in their effective combat lifespan.
6.)  Battletech ships are very unlikely to be destroyed by a single hit.

I've been using "semi-ablative" as my rule of thumb. Crits happen - you'll note lots of mentions of turrets blown off, mission kills, etc. - and I've been assuming that if a ship takes enough damage to rip off whole facings of armour it'll lose significant amounts of combat power before its last SI goes away. It's more ablative than IRL on the whole, but less ablative than tabletop StratOps gameplay.

As for golden BBs, I've had a few of those, mostly to implement the results of the luck roll on the dice. Usually that's what happens in my head when a ship suddenly gets hit in the fusion reactor or the magazine. Again, I think I'm partway between TT and IRL here.

That said, even with the evasive concern, I think points 1-3 (IRL ships) and 4-6 (BT ships) illustrate that while distributed fire made very, very good sense at Jutland (more chances for the golden BB, greater spread of damage reduces enemy fire more quickly), concentrated fire makes more sense over Vega under the Rules As Written (ships killed by depletion of SI, ships retain most firepower until SI is depleted).

The winning naval strategy is to silence as many guns as possible on the enemy side as quickly as possible.  Under the BT RAW, this is accomplished most efficiently by punching through the armor facing and depleting the SI, as hits to armor that do not impact rarely silence guns, and hits to SI do not silence very many guns until the last of SI is depleted.  Further, ships are most efficiently removed when destruction is sudden and total, denying a damaged ship the opportunity to roll ship, go evasive, or otherwise mitigate damage.

Your last point is very important here, but a big part of that is the effect of TT breaking combat into rounds. There's a few parts of our battles that are normally done in rounds - missile strikes being the most obvious, but also high-speed engagements - but the underlying combat model is continuous. As such, there's more time to go evasive in response to being targeted here than there would be in a TT battle of similar scale. It's not perfect, and light-speed weapons should probably have a real advantage when fighting someone who goes evasive, but it's not as simple as "push button, kill his mans".

For the above reasons, it appears that under RAW, combined fire is and always will be the proper approach, assuming sufficient weight of fire is available to render at least one target unit combat ineffective per unit time.  If there is not such weight of fire, then a decision has to be made between broad depletion of enemy armor/hunt for lucky crits, or focusing fire on one target WITHOUT killing it - possibly forcing it out of line or into evasive action, but at the same time reducing the value of subsequent fires against that target, due to greater range or that evasive action.

In any event, as fleet sizes climb, the threshold for condition #1, one or more hard kills per salvo, will eventually obtain.  What fleet size and firepower allows that goes to underlying assumptions about engagement ranges, gunnery skills, and the actual armor and firepower of the engaged vessels - but it seems that at some point that threshold will be reached, if it has not already.  Similarly, longer range weapons will increase in value as fleet size increases, as they grow in ability to silence shorter ranged guns before the range can be closed.

RAW, combining fire is definitely superior. In this game, my gut is that it's probably better in most cases, but it's not a slam dunk the way it is in TT. And sometimes the strategies go the other way - your fleet escaped at Vega by going for massive crit spreading, after all, and not by Lanchestering down single enemies sequentially.

marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1166 on: 08 November 2018, 23:27:23 »
RAW, combining fire is definitely superior. In this game, my gut is that it's probably better in most cases, but it's not a slam dunk the way it is in TT. And sometimes the strategies go the other way - your fleet escaped at Vega by going for massive crit spreading, after all, and not by Lanchestering down single enemies sequentially.

Obviously.  And if the situation in your universe does not map 1:1 to the TT RAW in terms of damage effects, and damage per lifespan, Im comfortable leaving fire allocations in the hands of the NPC commanders, who (presumably) know how, exactly things work in their universe.  A disadvantaged force has to go for high risk high return strategies, which in this instance paid off.

While not 'push button kill mans', warships linked by laser communications and controlled by computers that are hopefully as capable as a C64 would seem to be able to arrange to fire weapons simultaneously, or within a few seconds of each other.  ToT Artillery fire was practiced in WW2 on equipment rather less advanced, after all - and they had to deal with a more complicated environment.

As I roll it around in my head, extending some accuracy 'edge' to energy weapons, beyond that baked into the rules, either in the Evasive Action condition or more generally, might help offset the numerous and painful drawbacks (Cost, Fire Control Inefficiency, poor damage per tonnage, inability to work to advantage in high speed engagement) that capital energy weapons suffer.

As for Vega more generally - the more I think about it, the more I think the best thing to do is lock Vega in a chest labeled 'not for publication' and throw it into the memory hole, given how many things we are looking at changing in light of Vega.
« Last Edit: 08 November 2018, 23:34:15 by marcussmythe »

Lagrange

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1167 on: 08 November 2018, 23:40:36 »
Thanks for the link. Looking at it again, I think I'll keep it as-is.
Ok, so the design sheet is finalized.  I'll recheck my designs against it. 

Lagrange

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1168 on: 09 November 2018, 09:57:20 »
The OP link sheet seems to still have buggy fire control (30 AC 5s should have 24 tons of fire control).  Should we use the Cryhavoc sheet instead?

Alsadius

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1169 on: 09 November 2018, 10:17:47 »
The OP link sheet seems to still have buggy fire control (30 AC 5s should have 24 tons of fire control).  Should we use the Cryhavoc sheet instead?

Yes. I'll update the OP.