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Author Topic: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race  (Read 47459 times)

marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1470 on: 12 February 2019, 09:06:30 »
My god... its the bastard love child of Leviathan, Battletech, and Full Thrust....

(Play all three, love all three, not sure if those streams should be crossed!  But interesting)


Back to Alsadius’ question:

1.)  I think we suffered badly from mission creep.  The simple early turns grew longer and longer.  I loved the writing, but this increased the load on the GM.  It also distanced me and my choices from the outcomes.

2.)  I feel dice mattered too much, and rules changed too freely.  I understand that there is an impetus to avoid min-maxing, and to keep everyone in the game - but by game end I was amusing myself by designing the wackiest of things, secure in the knowledge that most of what mattered was dice, and after that armor and NAC counts.

3.)  I think the inability to force political action or choose battles was a strength.  Sure, the Archon is an idiot - but its fun being ‘just’ the CNO, not an all seeing God-Emperor
M
So, if we do again:
1.)  Limit mission.  And enforce that limit on everyone.
2.)  If it is a design exercise, design should be the most important factor
3.)  Rules need to be consistent.  Fiction amusingly requires more consistency than real life does.
4.)  Side Thought - Maintenance needs to be cataclysimicly higher.  On the order of 50% build cost per turn.  This allows losses and recovery from losses (a Navy takes a long time to build - but not 50 years to rebuild!).  It also encourages turnover. 
It also matches something I read which suggested the life cycle cost of a naval vessel over 20 years is about the same as its build cost

Lagrange

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1471 on: 12 February 2019, 10:18:44 »
3.)  I think the inability to force political action or choose battles was a strength.  Sure, the Archon is an idiot - but its fun being ‘just’ the CNO, not an all seeing God-Emperor
M
I'd second this.

I also think that 'narrative' was a fine means (plausibly the only good means) of resolution at this scale. 

UnLimiTeD

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1472 on: 12 February 2019, 13:09:19 »
Trace's post reminds me a bit of Aurora.
That said, it's far enough removed it may as well be an entirely new system. Not sure I like simplification, because it actually changes a lot more.

Regarding the now sadly deceased game:
It was a blast for the little time I was in.
As to the rules, I'd be in favour of establishing a firm framework that everyone can look up and know, because it just doesn't have any loopholes to be exploited by min-maxing.
This would require some minor changes to the base rules of the game, but probably for the better. If, then, half the outcome is roll of the dice and artistic freedom of the Gamemaster, maybe with stratified randomness where a faction that got hit bad the last turns "has learned from past mistakes" and gets limited protection from very bad rolls, the game can still stay balanced.
Of course, this wasn't possible. Only after having this experience have we gathered enough data points to worry about that effectively.

Feedback on how it was done:
I actually thought it great that we didn't have all the choices in hand. We were Naval High Command, and if the Head of State orders an All-Out Assault, we do it. We were also just most of the people in there, and we couldn't simply control all the forces as we saw fit.
I think something that would have helped, long term, is to get a secondary writer to fill out minor events, so that the Game Master, in this case Alsadius, can concentrate on the broad strokes, of how he wants to universe to go on.

Lastly, let me give a flaming plea for complexity: 

... ok, maybe not really. But I'll argue for it.
Basically, I believe that, in a game like this, that is mostly between highly interested parties that are already willing to spend multiple hours a week filling spreadsheets and many more hours debating over it with strangers on the internet, complexity is ok.
And it could be higher than it is now.
Point defense could be a mathematically challenging system of diminishing returns tailor-fit to the game we're having (see the thread about that, and how what we sort of agreed on in the end was focused on making it playable on a real table).
Maintenance could factor in design complexity, logistics, and the bureaucracy of the faction.
Individual weapons could have strengths and weaknesses against specific types of enemies, and every faction could very well have their own fighers, dropships, and favourite grub on board.

"But", I hear you ask, ", ..but why?".
Simple. (No pun intended)
"Complexity" does not mean "complicated". We work with digital tools, and f.Ex. maintenance could very well be calculated for a single ship based on everything that ship is comprised of, then multiplied with the factor for that faction. Indeed, a player could play around with that and see what he/she gets out of their spending, without even grasping the intricate underlying rules.
The base game is a board game, and we run with that, but the background we've built could go deeper. And if well designed, it wouldn't overwhelm the game master.
Of course, this might indeed require additional tools that someone would have to create.
I still intend to try myself at something like that, but it may well be a year until that happens. I plan on spending the next autumn in Asia.

All in all, thank you for both the idea and the organization, Alsadius.

Lastly, a little bit of faction background:
The original FWL plan (not mine) was to boost a yard up to 2 Megatonnes, then create a massive battlecruiser armed largely with NACs and build as many as possibly. Those pesky neighbors wouldn't leave him alone, though.
My idea was, over the course of the next 2 turns, to get IFA and LF-Batteries asap, and then build a new, 1 megaton battlecruiser that would basically be a better heracles - I planned for 3.3 base speed with a mixed armament of N-Gauss, NPPCs, and NLs. They would serve as a highly mobile, highly trained cavalry fleet to be employed where needed, with the base fleet staying the way they are, but uparmoured and augmented by 1.5 mt ships used as anchors in battle.
I even had plans on how to survive the numberless fighters.
I also believe strongly in fluff, and would have ordered a few Heracles to just generally patrol border worlds, including towards the periphery, and I would not have just created massive balls of structure - that little bit of fragility, by now, was actually part of the factions character.
Had I taken over the RWN, as originally planned, I would have for minefields and massive boarding parties.
« Last Edit: 12 February 2019, 13:19:42 by UnLimiTeD »
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Alsadius

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1473 on: 12 February 2019, 14:14:52 »
As to the rules, I'd be in favour of establishing a firm framework that everyone can look up and know, because it just doesn't have any loopholes to be exploited by min-maxing.

In principle I'd want to do that, but the fact that I chose to limit it to canon BT designs made that really hard. You simply cannot come up with a good way to balance the canonical rules without making major changes somewhere. Canon ships are balanced enough when fighting each other, but if you're allowed to customize them, the construction rules are just insanely unbalanced. Missiles cease to exist, capital-scale weapons are a joke compared to standard-scale, NPPCs are trash at anything but extreme ranges, NGauss are trash even at extreme ranges, ASF are grossly overpowered, DS are hilariously overpowered on a tonnage-based system and hilariously underpowered on a cost-based system, and so on, and so forth.

I tried to patch that. But the need to keep patching it, and to make the patches work within both BT and the way people max-minned their designs, was just too much to make it work. This needs a new ground-up combat system, I think, because the existing one just doesn't allow for the 'firm framework" that you're asking for. Or if it is possible, it'd take a better designer than I to make it happen.

That said, I do kind of regret using canon costs. That's more fixable than most, and the C-bill costs were just crazy. I could have balanced that better, if I'd done it up front.

Lagrange

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1474 on: 12 February 2019, 15:00:38 »
In principle I'd want to do that, but the fact that I chose to limit it to canon BT designs made that really hard. You simply cannot come up with a good way to balance the canonical rules without making major changes somewhere. Canon ships are balanced enough when fighting each other, but if you're allowed to customize them, the construction rules are just insanely unbalanced. Missiles cease to exist, capital-scale weapons are a joke compared to standard-scale, NPPCs are trash at anything but extreme ranges, NGauss are trash even at extreme ranges, ASF are grossly overpowered, DS are hilariously overpowered on a tonnage-based system and hilariously underpowered on a cost-based system, and so on, and so forth.
Patching broken rules is certainly hard. 

This was the thread where we tried to figure out a small set of house rules addressing balance issues, partly based on experience here.  Under those rules:
  • Missiles continue to exist and are devastating against fixed fortifications because they are the only mechanism for off-board fire.
  • Capital Scale damage is the only way to damage heavy capital armor so capital weapons are required.  Even light capital armor (i.e. warships) is much more resistant to standard scale weapons.
  • Given the above, ASF are complementary to capital ships but never a primary force against.
  • Antiship missiles shift from absurdly effective to merely absurdly effective against opponents neglecting defense.
  • Point defense is stochastic and works better layered.
  • Antimissile systems can no longer shoot down nigh-infinite missiles in a minute.


I somewhat disagree w.r.t. Naval Gauss.  The Light Naval Gauss has more range than any weapon except missiles which meant that I thought it would be required on several designs despite the cost and inefficiency.   The Medium N Gauss offers similar damage efficiency to an HNPPC in a high speed engagement friendly package so it has a niche as well.  The Heavy N Gauss is a lemon.   

I also somewhat disagree w.r.t. HNPPCs.  Particularly in a narrative game like this where actual space tactics can be used, you can make a pretty mean fast battleship which keeps the range open and pours in fire from extreme range that cannot be effectively answered.  Note also the Buri, which was the output of an optimization process by marcussmythe.

In any case, having a few lemon weapon lines doesn't really cause a balance issue. 
« Last Edit: 12 February 2019, 15:29:51 by Lagrange »

marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1475 on: 12 February 2019, 20:05:38 »
Note also the Buri, which was the output of an optimization process by marcussmythe.

Operational theory behind Buri is that what matters is effective fire (misses do no damage!) and that massed fires and first effective attack is what is decisive.  3/5 NAC can close 2/3 HNPPC, but will take unreturned fire on the way in, and will take accurate fire before it can reply with the same.  Further, 2/3 HNPPC has greater mass fraction for resilience and firepower - between having 20% more mass in weapons and 20% more mass in defenses, the loss in mass efficiency is outweighed by the combination of greater weapons mass, armor mass, and weaopns accuracy (and thus EFFECTIVE damage).

2/3 NAC cannot close 2/3 HNPPC, and 3/5 HNPPC flat loses to 2/3 HNPCC.  4/6 and higher NAC boats give up too much firepower or armor for their speed, and cannot win if teleporting to range 0 (in fact, my calculations had 3/5 NAC having trouble if teleported to range 0, if I recall correctly)

NGauss cannot play the same game (damage efficiency is too poor to save it from the NACboat), but after its invention, a 2/3 HNPPC will have to mount at least enough NGauss to keep another NGauss boat honest.

This is paid for by an ABSOLUTE inability to force or decline engagement, and poorer performance in high speed engagement rules.  Nothing is perfect.

Tyler Jorgensson

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1476 on: 13 February 2019, 06:22:55 »
As a spectator I want to say bravo to everyone: you guys did an excellent job and I enjoyed both the fluff and the designs you put out for the RP. I wish I had the time/energy/Warship software (aka a pen, paper, and calculator lol) to join.

I don't necessarily think the Ground portion was needed, only maybe a couple of random events based on canon or your method of building that added to your turn. I think the idea of you being Archon/Cordinator/etc would actually make it run smoother: the DM giving the players the total amount for their turn for the entire realm and they deciding what percentage goes into their Naval Budget, and the realm having 'events' according to said budget.

I also think is said scenario one might consider two DM's: to sort of streamline the process to crank out turns faster by splitting the workload. Alsadius you pulled off quite a lot and well done.

Finally I do think that only the five major powers should be contenders with the DM taking control of a TH with maybe a reduced role in overall galaxy wide events: maybe sway the Fiction towards a sixth house instead of the Star Leavue.

Just my two cents: again nicely done everyone.

truetanker

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1477 on: 13 February 2019, 23:30:50 »
I would have been the ultimate winner here, sure I played a lemon faction, but I controlled vast more territory than you guys did... I didn't have that many sides to defend either... well I did, they were just on one side...

In other words, I controlled a sweet beauty of a realm that could have been...

TT

(By vast more, I meant planets conquered and controlled... Most of you absorbed yours... ;))
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marcussmythe

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1478 on: 15 February 2019, 12:47:25 »
So, closing question:

Is anyone interested in taking over the GM position?

Trace Coburn

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1479 on: 15 February 2019, 20:52:11 »
  I’m muddling my way through starting a similar game with a 2300 start-date, but it’s over on SpaceBattles.com.  :-\

Smegish

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1480 on: 16 February 2019, 00:20:45 »
As I said before, I can continue to assist with the spreadsheet and occasional fluff pieces, but lack the time to run the game entirely.

Alsadius

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1481 on: 17 February 2019, 09:02:33 »
Trace: Mind posting a link? I've definitely got both time and inclination to continue as a player, just not to GM.
EDIT: Found it. https://forums.spacebattles.com/threads/rule-the-stars-a-battletech-naval-race.726259/

Also, you PM'd me asking for my notes. I didn't have much that you can use, aside from what's on the master spreadsheet. But the two I did standardize might be of interest to people here, so I'll post them instead of PMing.

Maintenance:
- At 100%, use the dice as rolled.
- From 50-99%, subtract one from the dice for every 10% (or part thereof) below 100% maintenance. Subtract from the higher of crew or command first, then alternate. If both reach 1, subtract from luck. Below 75%, consider mutiny rolls if things go badly.
- From 0-49%, the unit is in reserve. 49% can easily be restored, 10% will take a couple years, and anything lower is likely useful only for parts.
- From 101-150%, add one to the dice for every full 10% above 100%. Add to the lower of crew or command first, then alternate. Add to luck if both reach 10.
- From 151-200%, same as above, except add one for each additional 25% over 150%.
- Over 200%, same as above, except add one for each additional 50% over 200%.

AMS:
Each unit gets a certain number of full-effect AMS. 160 for a WarShip or station, 20 for a DropShip, 4 for a small craft, and 0.5 for an ASF. Divide the total AMS count into a number of groups, each of the given size. Each group is 20% less effective than the previous group.
100% of base value = 100% effective. (E.g., a WarShip with 160 MG has 160 effective MG)
200% of base value = 180% effective.
300% of base value = 244% effective.
500% of base value = 336% effective.
1000% of base value = 446% effective.
Infinite MGs = 500% effective.

As a few examples:
- The Tanto-2(light fighter) and Wakizashi-2(medium fighter) have 4 MG each, which is 2.08 effective MGs. The Cyclone (heavy fighter) has 6 MGs, which is 2.33 effective MGs, so a 50% increase in MG count gave a 12% increase in efective defensive firepower.
- The Fireshield (screen small craft) has 36 MG, which is 17.3 effective MGs.
- The Nova (TC station) has 1000 MG, which is 600.8 effective MGs.

Surprisingly, that's all of my notes, other than keeping a list of which leaders die when in canon, and the stitched-together map which I didn't get a chance to do much with. (Not sure if you can get the full high-res version off Imgur - PM me if you want an emailed copy)
« Last Edit: 17 February 2019, 09:28:16 by Alsadius »

UnLimiTeD

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1482 on: 17 February 2019, 10:34:11 »
Looks intriguing, trace, but darn that also looks like work.
I feel like this might die even faster unless there's less happening in total.
I would recommend taking some of the wisdom attained from this game, however. Like higher maintenance and modified construction costs.
F.Ex. heatsinks and fuel might as well be abstracted away, so little do they matter on the larger ships. There's also no real incentive to have reasonable cargo fractions for the most part. Increasing their weight or cost would help make that an actual decision.

As for shipyard upgrades:
I've attached a spreadsheets of suggestions that I would have eventually proposed here. While I don't know your current system well, the second page is basically a re-imagination of the shipyard upgrading process.
While the formula is more complex, every spreadsheet can do it, and such a spreadsheet can be provided.
This essentially allows upgrading the yards in steps of 50k tons, potentially giving people a reason to not only build cookie cutter sized ships.

I might be interested in partaking in that game, and looking at the factions available, I'd probably go for the RWN*. However, I am rather busy until about 10th of March.
*edit: As it's a fun, fluffy faction with little influence on the game come the next 20 turns.

Edit2: @Trace Coburn Guess your roster's full anyways, but a question: If I understood that right, you'd basically need multiple tools now to create a ship? One for the base rules, then another one to set the placement?
« Last Edit: 18 February 2019, 18:35:30 by UnLimiTeD »
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Trace Coburn

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1483 on: 19 February 2019, 01:58:24 »
  Players can submit detailed designs like the spreadsheets deliver, or even HM:A if anyone still runs it (I think I have my install-disc around here somewhere), but honestly, I’m converting these ships by hand and going for ‘best fit/that looks about right/spirit over detail’, so counting every last kilogram is wasted effort.   :-\  Hitting me with a summarised stat-line like “total tonnage, jump-drive, thrust profile, SI, armour type and profile, weapons layout, parasite complement, special notes about intended role and ‘character features’” is a lot easier on everyone involved.  :D

UnLimiTeD

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Re: Group Design Challenge: WarShip Arms Race
« Reply #1484 on: 19 February 2019, 06:53:22 »
Alright.
Just figured, if there was a system involved that would give you even less work. Especially on a theoretical level.
Anyways, let me know if at some point a spot opens.  :)
« Last Edit: 20 February 2019, 10:15:43 by UnLimiTeD »
Savannah Masters are the Pringles of Battletech.
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