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Damage Comparisons Between FC and ACTA-SF
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mjwest
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now, back to the topic of photons and disruptors in Federation Commander and SFB.

First, yes, it is the proximity fuse, which does not exist in Federation Commander, than makes the photon a sniping weapon in SFB. The lack of the proximity photon in Federation Commander means that the photon is functionally useless outside 12 hex range. However, because of how Federation Commander works, this is not actually a big deal. Also, the Kaufman retrograde was really killed by the lack of proximity photons as much as by just the double movement cost for reverse.

Second, disruptors are effective weapons (for what they are) all the way out to 25 hex range (in Federation Commander; in SFB the range is 22). Ignoring overloads, the disruptor does the same damage (3) for the same hit probability (1-4) over the entire range of 5-15 hexes. And from 16-25 (16-22 in SFB) the disruptor does 2 damage for 1-3 to hit. That is still quite useful, especially if those ranges are being maintained. (And with the famous Klingon maneuverability, they can on very large or floating maps.)

Third, don't forget that in SFB and Federation Commander, what keeps the Federation from sniping much is that reload turn. If they fire at any range over 9 at their opponent, they leave themselves open to having the enemy dive into much more effective range and unload while the Federation has no effective response. Klingons don't have this disadvantage because they can fire every turn. They can snipe with impunity because even if they lose the range advantage, they will still be able to return fire appropriate for the range.

How does this apply to ACTASF? I dunno. I am going to heed my own advice from the prior post and not comment on a game system I know nothing about. I just want to make sure that what is said about game systems I do know about is correct.
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Nerroth
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It has been suggested over on the Mongoose boards (and in prior conversations) that one option could be to give disruptors the same kind of Killzone trait as phasers (Killzone 12, in this case), so that the weapon only has Multihit 2 out to that range. That, coupled with the 6" range restriction on overloads, could allow for a de facto set of range brackets for this weapon.

Also, in the same post, it was suggested that phasers lose the Accurate Trait when trying to shoot down plasma, in order to better represent the rate at which plasmas can be phasered down in FC or SFB. (If there is to be a V2.0 of the core rulebook, I suspect that the question of what, if anything, to do with plasma will be a hot topic of debate. No pun intended.)


There is one other thing I wanted to note, aside from the raw game mechanic aspect of this discussion.

The impression I get on the Mongoose boards is that the kind of delay which there has been in trying to tackle these kinds of issues (which has already been quite a long time relative to when the game was first printed) is not helping the game. If this logjam is left to linger for too much longer, the level of entusiasm or confidence in the game's viability might end up that much lower.

Of course, both Mongoose and ADB have a slew of other game lines and interests to try and cater for, which will inevitably cut down on the amount of time and effort spent to settle matters and allow the game to begin (re-)expanding, rather than focusing on revising what is there for the game already.

I'm concerned that, if things are left too long before they are settled, it might be too late to win back some of the interest that has been lost over the last year or two, or some of the enthusiasm for the product line in general.

I for one am still hoping that what we are seeing is the kind of "teething trouble" that will be long forgotten five or ten years from now, at which point the joint venture will have had enough time and experience to prove that it is here to stay. (Not least since the empires I want to see in the game wll need at least that long to be started on.) But I am concerned as to how much longer it might be before ACtA:SF gets "over the hump" and starts really moving forward.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2013 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gimp wrote:

I don't play FedCom, but arming in SFB is an important consideration. You may not arm all of your photon torpedoes at once, but you are foolish not to arm any. That same holds true for the Klingons, though they have the advantage of being able to choose turn by turn whether to arm or not. Photons counter this advantage by being able to be armed and held for far less energy.


And in FedCom the klinks don't even have to make the decision until they decide to fire, they may have to think up front about having the energy, but they don't have to pay the cost up front, where as the Feds still do have to do that. In that respect the reload action is giving single turn armers the advantage they have over multi turn armers in FedCom. Plus in FedCom whilst it may be unusual to not arm any photons if you are intact, once you have taken damage, power in particular your decision to rearm gets a lot harder when you are not even sure you will be around in another turn. So again the reload action is providing that 'cost' to the two turn armer that reflects other aspects of FedCom that may not be directly obvious.

Quote:

For ACTA:SF, the difference is 16" for the D7 compared to 48" for the Fed CA. That's a huge shift from 18 to 24. With the limited turns allowed in ACTA:SF, that's four turns compared to less than two, while both can accomplish it in two turns for SFB or FedCom.


As I noted earlier though, in fleet level games I didn't find this such an issue. The first few ACTA games where we kept it small then it seemed like klingons were unbeatable with their agility. But as you head to the sort of size the game seems more aimed at then it becomes much less overpowering.

That's not to say I'd be bothered if the Klingons lost agile, or the larger ships anyway.

Quote:

The photon being a weak mid-range weapon is rather questionable, as it is still doing eight points of damage where the disruptor has dropped to three.


It does do 8 if it hits, but when it is hitting 1/6 of the time, and you are getting that close to someone with disrupters, and are only maybe 1 or 2 impulses away from range 8 overloads then in practise it is a very very rare shot to take. At range 12 it gets better hitting 1/3 of the time, but now you are even closer to someone who will be clobbering you whilst you rearm, and will possibly not even return fire as you fire, but hold to get closer and hit harder to you did. If you are going to fire at beyond range 12 then fire at range 25 so you at least have the extra time to handle the rearming. It is the range 12 shot that made me say it is weakish rather than just plain weak at mid range. Range 12 can work as a plan but you'd better have that plan.

It also makes a difference as to what size of battle you fight. The 1 vs 1 which seems the type of game SFB is good at has different tactics to larger battles. In our larger FedCom games scouts are a given, against them there is no such thing as a long range photon volley - you cannot hit beyond range 12 vs one. The Feds may have the 'best' scout in the game (debatable) but they are also probably the most heavily affected by scouts.

Quote:

Movement does need to be taken into account when considering weapon options, and that is where a 4.5" difference in short ranges becomes very significant. Ships can move 12" between firings, but the Klingons are far more capable of maneuvering to take advantage of that 4.5" due to their turn mode and agility. They can also boost speed to gain more advantage from their shorter turn radius, while all the Federation can do is move slightly further along the circumference of their turning octagon while giving up the ability to rearm their weapons.


That is about klingons rather than weapon ranges tough. All ships can move 12" at least (until damaged). Kzinti for example maybe somewhat more manouverable than Feds, but not on the same level as Klingons.

Quote:

Federation and Empire simplifies ships to core values, but I see no problem with that, as years of playing SFB has shown that any ship within a class, if played well, can defeat any opposing ship of the same class. All weapons are subsumed into a small range of numbers that actually does give a reasonable representation of their capabilities.

ACTA:SF simplifies, but changes the core ships far more than FedCom or F&E ever did.


The point being each system has a goal, the goal of ACTA is to provide a simple fast playing game that reasonably represents SFU battles (battles not duels). It is not about trying to represent the minutae of FedCom/SFB weapon details or ship stats. Those are things which may make sense to the SFB syle of play where you are the captain of a single ship and handling the minutae of every possible option at your disposal. What drone warhead, exactly how much power to put in the photon, what options to take on the disrupter, turn of life support, T-Bombs, where to put marines etc.

FedCom dispenses with some of them, more to simplify and speed up the game, but much of it fits with the move up to a more squadron level game. F&E dispenses with everything but some raw value as it is a stategic game. ACTA simplifies things, it is larger scale than FedCom and the detail like whether a disrupter does X, Y or Z over a gradaited range no longer fits unless you want a slower game, remember it is not just the apparent simplcity of the rules, but the more involved decsion making that can slow a game down.

If I was to use a sentence or so to decribe some things in an SFU battle what would I say. Obviously I'm influenced by the FedCom side of things, with bits I remember from SFB.

Disrupter - fast, long range, nothing special, but decent consistent damage.
Photon - Streaky as hell, shortage range, hurts a lot when it hits, slowish firing and energy intensive to use once you fire your intial volley.
Klingons - agile, little weak internally, great arcs especialy on newer ships. Older ships weak to the rear.
Fed - solid ships, good all round shields, good phasers, turn poorly.

On each I'd say ACTA provides a good representation. It may not be a slavish port of FedCom, but I recognise all the characteristics I expect, and the results don't seem to out of kilter.

Until you get to the Kzinti and Gorns who crush every one else when we played (more Gorns, Kzinti only had a couple of outings as I remember). That's an issue with SAs being 4+ IMO, and I posted quite a long post (you'll have noticed I don't do brevity much!) on the mongoose forums about the SA chances quite a while back. I really dislike 50/50 rolls for that type of thing.
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Gimp
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My point on DERFACS and UIM is not that they are allowed as options, but rather that the extended range hit probabilities reflect what you would see with their use more than if the disruptors were fired without them.

Both photons and disruptors gain the 1-6 hit ability at point blank range, though without overload damage. Disruptors never drop below a 50% probability to hit, which reflects DERFACS to me.

FedCom's hex scale is smaller than SFB's in some ways, with ships travelling a maximum of 24 hexes per turn compared to SFB's 31, so a 50% probability to hit to maximum movement range suggested the abilities of DERFACS, with its 50% chance to hit to effectively maximum movement range at 30 hexes.

There is not an exact correlation between SFB and FedCom, so my analysis is based on the above considerations filter3ed through my opinions. With the more limited firing options at extended range for all weapons in FedCom, I won't argue which is the most appropriate interpretation, because I can see rational validity in either stance. A choice had to be made, and it was made with obvious rational analysis. It simply wasn't the choice I would have preferred.

In a battle of fire and maneuver, which even a large scale fleet action is, one side being able to turn multiple circles inside the other can be a signficant advantage if played properly. That means the Klingon ability to turn up to 270 defrees through a 12" movement, compared to other ships turning only 90 degrees, can be used for significant advantage. Only when ships are not operated within their capabilities does that advantage fail to have impact.

I'm actually rather surprised you don't believe that, with an obvious level of experience with the game.

ACTA:SF is a playable game, but where I put SFB in the category of hard core tactics, and FedCom in the category of moderately hard core tactics to facilitate fleet actions, ACTA:SF only gets to rank as a beer and pretzels game that failed to reflect its heritage very well. A little more work could have kept ACTA:SF far closer to its heritage, and made it a better game.

Mongoose made far different choices than ADB made in creating FedCom to simplfy SFB, and I believe the game suffers for it.

I'm quite happy for those that enjoy ACTA:SF, but I will never be numbered amongst them. ACTA:SF brings interest to the SFU, which is a good thing. I simply believe they could have done a much better job of it.

It's little different than Flames of War. It increased interest in historical gaming, which I consider a good thing, but it is a failure as an accurate portrayal of WW2 combat. Fun and playable for those that like it, but not for someone who prefers better simulations of the core concepts.
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Derfacs and UIM are already subsumed into FC.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
ACTA:SF is a playable game, but where I put SFB in the category of hard core tactics, and FedCom in the category of moderately hard core tactics to facilitate fleet actions, ACTA:SF only gets to rank as a beer and pretzels game that failed to reflect its heritage very well. A little more work could have kept ACTA:SF far closer to its heritage, and made it a better game.

Mongoose made far different choices than ADB made in creating FedCom to simplfy SFB, and I believe the game suffers for it.

I'm quite happy for those that enjoy ACTA:SF, but I will never be numbered amongst them. ACTA:SF brings interest to the SFU, which is a good thing. I simply believe they could have done a much better job of it.

It's little different than Flames of War. It increased interest in historical gaming, which I consider a good thing, but it is a failure as an accurate portrayal of WW2 combat. Fun and playable for those that like it, but not for someone who prefers better simulations of the core concepts.


I happen to think that is good. You have a hard core game, a more modest but still fairly hard core game, and a much simpler game all based on the same back ground. I personally think it is a much better position than having 2 moderately complex games and a hard core game. Why limit your appeal to a more restricted hard core simulation market which you already have covered, when you can go for a wider market, doubly so given it more mini based as well.

Beer and pretzels, maybe, but at any rate a far simpler and easier game to get into than either FC or SFB. But weapon stats and klingon shields or agilty are not really what push it down there though. Beer and pretzels is not defined by whether ship stats or weapon stats were converted slavishly from SFB. If you had the same stats as SFB it could still be a beer and pretzel game as it relied on a few 50/50 special actions (making it far to random for anything of a higher rating).

At the moment the one thing IMO that pushes it down the beer and pretzels copmparison is that need for 8+ on 'basic' special actions. If they made them a 6+ I think the game would be a lot more tactical and less random (and hence less beer and pretzel).
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mjwest
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gimp wrote:
My point on DERFACS and UIM is not that they are allowed as options, but rather that the extended range hit probabilities reflect what you would see with their use more than if the disruptors were fired without them.

Both photons and disruptors gain the 1-6 hit ability at point blank range, though without overload damage. Disruptors never drop below a 50% probability to hit, which reflects DERFACS to me.

At the risk of contradicting Steve's comment, what you point to as examples have nothing to do with UIM or DERFACS. It is simply a result of simplifying the disruptor chart to fit into Federation Commander.

Disruptors in Federation Commander are identical to non-UIM, non-DERFACS disruptors in SFB in the ranges from 1-22. They do differ at either end, however. In the case of range 0, that is simply the elimination of the tiny myopic zone. It isn't UIM, as otherwise the to-hit numbers would change for overloads and 16-22; they don't. In the case of range 23-25, it is simply that the 16-22 range band was expanded to 25 hexes instead of creating a small 3 hex range band at the outside edge. I guess you can look at that as a sliver of DERFACS if you want to, but it isn't DERFACS; it is just simplifying the chart.
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lincolnlog
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gimp wrote:
ACTA:SF is a playable game, but where I put SFB in the category of hard core tactics, and FedCom in the category of moderately hard core tactics to facilitate fleet actions, ACTA:SF only gets to rank as a beer and pretzels game that failed to reflect its heritage very well. A little more work could have kept ACTA:SF far closer to its heritage, and made it a better game.

Mongoose made far different choices than ADB made in creating FedCom to simplfy SFB, and I believe the game suffers for it.

I'm quite happy for those that enjoy ACTA:SF, but I will never be numbered amongst them. ACTA:SF brings interest to the SFU, which is a good thing. I simply believe they could have done a much better job of it.

It's little different than Flames of War. It increased interest in historical gaming, which I consider a good thing, but it is a failure as an accurate portrayal of WW2 combat. Fun and playable for those that like it, but not for someone who prefers better simulations of the core concepts.


Without adding difficultly the game can be much better. When I was in my 20's I played on simulation level games (Combat Commander, Harpoon, Empire, SFB, etc)... I simply don't have time anymore, nor can you find many others that either have the time or are willing to expend the time. There is a need for a game with ACTA's simplicity.

The game is fun now, and it works. It just doesn't seem incredibly balanced. The question is can minds be opened to accept the possibilities of improvement. Victory at Sea is a prime example, it is mediocre naval wargame at best. On most forums it gets beat by games that are just as easy but are better. But, when you suggest improvements, you get told "then it wouldn't be Victory at Sea." By the way ACTA-SF is Victory at Sea in space. Same basic game engine, and the engine works much better for Sci-Fi than it does for historical.

It's been suggested over on the Mongoose board (as stated by Nerroth) that it has been suggested that Disruptors be made 1 AD, with a kill zone of 12". Great, that would partially solve some issues. It still leaves the Photon a useless weapon. On the Fedcom Weapons Chart to 8" the Photon hits 1-6 at 1", 1-5 at 2", 1-4 at 3-4", and 1-3 at 5-8". So 100% at 1" + 80% at 2", 66% at 3 & 4", 50% from 5-8" which is an average accuracy of [100+80+66+66+50+50+50+50=512/8] 64%. This means if an average accuracy was used 3+ should have been the short range accuracy. I agree however 5+ was correct for above 8" as the hit probability drops. It makes more sense to break the model slightly, get rid of kill zone as a trait, and have 3 range zones for each weapon. With weapons doing possibly more damage you can also get rid of devastating. Gee, 2 simplifications already.

If standard conversion formulas were used, we would already have the Lyrans, and would be close to getting Hydrans. But since they weren't and people seem to be opposed to standardization, I fear we'll never see and movement toward the other Empires. Because weapons and tech affects other weapons and tech, it doesn't fit the current conversion model. In order to make other weapons and tech fit they will have to special rule everything, and that does not keep the game simple or fast.


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Nerroth
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It should be noted that a revised edition of Victory at Sea is in the works, and it remains to be seen just how that version will compare to the original (or to the sub-set used for the Age of Dreadnoughts expansion).

Also, it seems to be lost in the shuffle in most discussions about ACtA:SF, but there is another game system (technically, two) which presently tries to tackle the issue of trying to make the SFU work in a non-native environment: the Admiralty and Nova editions of Majestic 12's Starmada. (And there'll be yet another in print at some point, once the Star Fleet edition of Squadron Strike is fit for publication.)

In the case of Starmada, it seems that Nova (which I haven't taken a proper look at yet) is the more abstract of the two; see how this sample of the Nova Klingon C5 compared to this PDF of the Admiralty edition Fed DNG. But in both cases, the focus of the game system is generally closer to what ACtA:SF aims at compared to what you see in FC or SFB.

I feel that, if there needs to be a serious debate on the pros and cons of how A Call to Arms can adapt to the SFU, it might be worth keeping an eye out on how well (or otherwise) both Admiralty and Nova editions of Starmada each make the same attempt.

(I would say the same for Squadron Strike, but that will be a different proposition due to its integration of the Z-axis.)
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
It's been suggested over on the Mongoose board (as stated by Nerroth) that it has been suggested that Disruptors be made 1 AD, with a kill zone of 12". Great, that would partially solve some issues. It still leaves the Photon a useless weapon. On the Fedcom Weapons Chart to 8" the Photon hits 1-6 at 1", 1-5 at 2", 1-4 at 3-4", and 1-3 at 5-8". So 100% at 1" + 80% at 2", 66% at 3 & 4", 50% from 5-8" which is an average accuracy of [100+80+66+66+50+50+50+50=512/8] 64%. This means if an average accuracy was used 4+ should have been the short range accuracy. I agree however 5+ was correct for above 8" as the hit probability drops. It makes more sense to break the model slightly, get rid of kill zone as a trait, and have 3 range zones for each weapon. With weapons doing possibly more damage you can also get rid of devastating. Gee, 2 simplifications already.


What you are suggesting there is not so much simplification, but 'SFB/FC has this chart, and I would like the same in ACTA'. That is different to simplification.

Getting rid of killzone and devastating, ok that is simplifying things, but adding an additional range is going the other way. The game is already very simple, does it need to be any simpler? If it was simplified to make it more like SFB/FC in terms of being just about inflicting enough raw hit points to kill stuff then it would lose a lot of its appeal IMO, it is things like leaks devastating and precise that make it much more interesting as game.

By the way, photons in ACTA are exactly as you just said they should be - 4+ at short range and 5+ at long range.

None of what you say takes into account the game system though, people keep saying the disrupter is too powerful at long range, the photon to weak etc. All they seem to be able to point at is the weapon chart in FC, but that is meaningless in isolation. You can't look at the range/damage of FC without accounting for the move system as well, and the way the ships actually die.

In ACTA you cannot fire and then run for 24 hexes ending facing the away from the enemy. In FC you are not forced to start to do a full move before seeihng what every other enemy ship will do. In ACTA shields are almost irrelevant to photons killing things, whereas disrupters nearly always have to go through both shields and hull. In ACTA you can't keep the enemy at arms length for a few turns even with the agile Klingons like you can in FC.

You say making disrupter 1AD and killzone 12" solves some issues - what issues are you trying to solve? Is there some issue with the disrupter itself, or is it really some issue with klingons (which is who people seem to complain about when talking disrupters)?

How many games of 10+ ships a side have you played in FC?

In a 1 vs 1 I can understand that someone might come away thinking the disrupter is weak at range. In such a game the klingon might fire at range 15 hitting for 7 damage with Disr + Ph1s combined, 4 is batteried away and the other 3 rotated to an off shield. The klingon gets another shot in at range 15ish which does 14 damage, a burnthrough, 5 rotated and some batteried. The following turn he facing the photon exchange having maybe done 13 damage spread on 3 shields, so the disrupter feels weak as a long range weapon, as in practical terms it has failed to do anything of note that will make the photon user worried about arriving with all of his firepower. The odd drone in a 1 vs 1 doesn't do much to halt a Fed advance.

At 10+ ships, you may have some small ships, some big ships and a cruiser main line. Over all the equivalent of say 10 cruisers. 40 disrupters and maybe 60 Ph1s. At range 25 you hit for 70 damage. No amount of shield reinforcement helps there, you have a nearly crippled cruiser which probably drops out in practical terms due to lack of speed How is that weak?. At range 15 the next turn you hit for 140 damage killing a cruiser. How is that weak? A well played klingon should get at least one more shot in beyond range 8 (but a lower on spare power) crippling another ship. The photon fleet could go for a range 12 shot, but if he does that he is losing, all that pain for a range 12 shot.. Getting to range 8 could well see a Fed down 3 ships or more (with drones causing some to give up range as well).

The above covers the simple raw damage, of course things like scouts, EM terrain etc all have their affects, but they also have their downsides. Plus ACTA covers such counters as well.

Balance in that sort of game probably requires the klingon be confined by a closed map.

Sure the disrupter looks weak as a single weapon if all you are doing is looking at the weapon line and thinking single weapon or 1 vs 1, but in the fleet level actions like ACTA is gaming it is amongst the best long range weapon around because it can do that every turn. It all comes down to thresholds like can you blow a shield in one go or kill a ship in one go, in small games no, in large games yes. Most heavy weapons can do that, maybe even better than the disrupter, but it does it every turn. In FC klingons do it better than anyone else because they have the ships with better arcs and better manouverability which gives them a big edge in keeping the range open for an extra turn or 2. Kzinti can keep range against those who struggle with drones, though they lack the Ph1s,

So if we are looking at ACTA what happens when the klingon tries to weaken the Fed player with a long range shot outside photon range. Well first he has the range problem, 9" extra range with enemies move 12-16", and his phasers only have a 3" range edge over photons. But lets assume that his uber skill gets him a range 16-18 shot. With 10 ships he is looking to kill a couple of cruisers at least if he was to match FC, and then have the photon/disrupter exchange next turn.

It takes the equal of 7 D5Ws centerlining a ship with stats like a Fed NCA to have an ~85% chance of a kill, or an 8th ship to bring it up to near enough guaranteed. That leaves too few ships to be doing much internals on another - you are looking a few leaks maybe.

Should ACTA be able to simulate the same result you see in FC in closing on a disrupter fleet? I don't know. If you are arguing for weapon stats to be the same I assume you are arguing for the results of using them in the same way to be the same?


Would it be bad to have better balance, of couse not. But not a single person arguing for the weapons or ship stats to be more like FC has ever provided any logical argument for how that makes things more balanced in a system that is so massively different to the game they are wanting to port those stats from. Porting stats more closely has nothing what so ever to do with balance. That is purely people getting hung up on the minutae of one game system.

I'm not against change, there are things I'd like to see changed as well, as noted the SA chance for most basic SAs. Apart from making the game less random it would (as I posted on the Mongoose forums a while ago) make seekers far less problematic as well I believe, more reliable IDF or evasive would tone down drones and plasma both of which seem very dominant in my experience. Gorn in particular seemed to wipe the floor with every thing.

Quote:
If standard conversion formulas were used, we would already have the Lyrans, and would be close to getting Hydrans.


We already have disrupters and phasers, why would Lyrans not be out apart from the ESG. Or Hydrans because of Fusion or Hellbore and stingers. I fail to see why current disrupter/photons rules stop them coming out. The ship conversion rules seems pretty easy as well.
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Dal Downing
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lee, it seems apparent that SVC has said the results have to stay consistent with SFB/FC for license issues. This means Disruptors can not do the same damage at 2 inches that they will do at 24 inches this will somehow need to be modified the question is how to do it with as little disruption as possible. Now one big thing here is ACTASF has a lot less granity in its damage system so it is alright if the wepons hit hard as long as they all use the same factor to figure how much harder they need to hit.

Now what I would like to see is everyone here take a deep breath.

Mongoose has provided ADB with a manuscript. What we need to do is respect what the have made yet find ways to smooth its results into the SFU a little better. Can we do that without rewriting what they have already put forth?

Going forward lets have a health discussion among the SFU enthusiast to find ways to make a better rule set. We need to stay focused right here on just what was provided in Book1. Don't worry about Lyrans, Andros or Omega stay focused right here. Also what we discuss here does not need to be relayed over the Mongoose Boards we are not hiding anything we just do not need to go over there and deliberately poke a hornets nest.

SVC and Tony will have their work cut out for them this fall if they want to get Book1 buttoned up and move on to Book2. What we need to do is provide reasonable and calm discussion for them to read up on. In the end they probably will ignore us all together but at least we can say we started a dialogue. We need to have a wide group of opinions discussing these issues and we need to stay away from the trap of say Staramada does it this way or this is exactly how it works in FedCom so we need to change ACTASF into FedCom. We need to look at ACTA as it own system and respect the KISS principle they are founded on and figure out how to make it work better as a SFU game.
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Dal Downing
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Joined: 06 May 2008
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Location: Western Wisconsin

PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok we have a lot of areas to look at but lets take a step back for a second and look at Hull Damage numbers. Is there a problem with them? What is it? How do we make it better?

Currently Hull Damage in ACTASF is (Hull * 2). For the most part I think that works fine where are the problems? We already diisccussed why the Police Cutter is of. Is there a nother ship that needs looking at and why?

I know some poelpe have put foreward the ideal of total box count divided by n. Well that has the problem of ignoring the Padding factor of Hull Damage so its not perfect but is it better?
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lincolnlog
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Joined: 18 Jun 2011
Posts: 107
Location: St. Louis, MO

PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lincolnlog wrote:
Gimp wrote:
ACTA:SF is a playable game, but where I put SFB in the category of hard core tactics, and FedCom in the category of moderately hard core tactics to facilitate fleet actions, ACTA:SF only gets to rank as a beer and pretzels game that failed to reflect its heritage very well. A little more work could have kept ACTA:SF far closer to its heritage, and made it a better game.

Mongoose made far different choices than ADB made in creating FedCom to simplfy SFB, and I believe the game suffers for it.

I'm quite happy for those that enjoy ACTA:SF, but I will never be numbered amongst them. ACTA:SF brings interest to the SFU, which is a good thing. I simply believe they could have done a much better job of it.

It's little different than Flames of War. It increased interest in historical gaming, which I consider a good thing, but it is a failure as an accurate portrayal of WW2 combat. Fun and playable for those that like it, but not for someone who prefers better simulations of the core concepts.


Without adding difficultly the game can be much better. When I was in my 20's I played on simulation level games (Combat Commander, Harpoon, Empire, SFB, etc)... I simply don't have time anymore, nor can you find many others that either have the time or are willing to expend the time. There is a need for a game with ACTA's simplicity.

The game is fun now, and it works. It just doesn't seem incredibly balanced. The question is can minds be opened to accept the possibilities of improvement. Victory at Sea is a prime example, it is mediocre naval wargame at best. On most forums it gets beat by games that are just as easy but are better. But, when you suggest improvements, you get told "then it wouldn't be Victory at Sea." By the way ACTA-SF is Victory at Sea in space. Same basic game engine, and the engine works much better for Sci-Fi than it does for historical.

It's been suggested over on the Mongoose board (as stated by Nerroth) that it has been suggested that Disruptors be made 1 AD, with a kill zone of 12". Great, that would partially solve some issues. It still leaves the Photon a useless weapon. On the Fedcom Weapons Chart to 8" the Photon hits 1-6 at 1", 1-5 at 2", 1-4 at 3-4", and 1-3 at 5-8". So 100% at 1" + 80% at 2", 66% at 3 & 4", 50% from 5-8" which is an average accuracy of [100+80+66+66+50+50+50+50=512/8] 64%. This means if an average accuracy was used 3+ (gah, typo 66% is not 4+) should have been the short range accuracy. I agree however 5+ was correct for above 8" as the hit probability drops. It makes more sense to break the model slightly, get rid of kill zone as a trait, and have 3 range zones for each weapon. With weapons doing possibly more damage you can also get rid of devastating. Gee, 2 simplifications already.

If standard conversion formulas were used, we would already have the Lyrans, and would be close to getting Hydrans. But since they weren't and people seem to be opposed to standardization, I fear we'll never see and movement toward the other Empires. Because weapons and tech affects other weapons and tech, it doesn't fit the current conversion model. In order to make other weapons and tech fit they will have to special rule everything, and that does not keep the game simple or fast.
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lincolnlog
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Joined: 18 Jun 2011
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Location: St. Louis, MO

PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

storelyf Wrote "By the way, photons in ACTA are exactly as you just said they should be - 4+ at short range and 5+ at long range."

Storelyf that was a typo on my post and I have edited in a new post. Embarassed 64% should round up mto 66% with 3+ at short range, 5+ at long range. The point I was trying to make, and due to my typo lost forever, was without a 3rd range bracket how do you drop from 3+ to 5+? I have also stated multiple times that the precise would remain, and that leaks and the critical system is the true genious of the game. And since you always ignore what I like about the game, you seem to think all I want to do is tear it down. What I want to do is improve them. Range already has to be measured before firing, so adding a third range bracket adds no complication. What it does, is allow weapon energy to disipate and allows accuracy to adjust multipe times. Photon becomes 2+, 3+, 5+, without applying weapons traits to explain why the accuacy changed.
Dirsruptor becomes 2+, 3+, 4+ with 3 Damage, 2 Damage, 1 Damage. But the bleed happens at 3" & 15". Dirruptor is 2 damage at 16-24" which should be 1 damage in ACTA. But it still has 3 at 15" and so averaging should remain 2 damage to 15". This is easier than applying kill zones, and accurates, and devastatings. But bleed through the shields and criticals and precise for phasers, absolutely, don't change a thing.
Dal Downing: To add future races and tech, the issue is consistent conversion modification. The model needs to be based on uniform conversion factors (yes, in my opinion that includes hull), the weapons and hull are all related.

You may have noticed they have not even provided rules/tech for Thorlian Web yet. If the game is not set on a consistet conversion model everything thats added will have to be special ruled. A special rule for Web Generators, andother Special Rule for Web Casters, Another special rule for ESG and it goes on and on. Where as if weapons and damage had simply been scaled, every weapon could have converted up front (which is what should have happened in the first place), and then only empire supplements would have been needed. The fact is, this game was rushed out and it's us that are now performing the in depth playtesting.

Starmada abstracts everything to the point its too abstracted. Now, some people like that. But, I have heard people say they don't like the loss of individual weapon systems. So the complaints I have heard are the over abstractions.

My play group is going to playtest the consistency model for a couple of months and see how it comapres. My mind is open enought to agrees with Storelyf and DAl to say, I might be wrong! Is your mind open enough to say I might be right?

Bob


Last edited by lincolnlog on Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:14 am; edited 1 time in total
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Bill Stec
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Joined: 25 Jan 2012
Posts: 230

PostPosted: Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dal Downing wrote:
Ok we have a lot of areas to look at but lets take a step back for a second and look at Hull Damage numbers. Is there a problem with them? What is it? How do we make it better?

Currently Hull Damage in ACTASF is (Hull * 2). For the most part I think that works fine where are the problems? We already diisccussed why the Police Cutter is of. Is there a nother ship that needs looking at and why?

I know some poelpe have put foreward the ideal of total box count divided by n. Well that has the problem of ignoring the Padding factor of Hull Damage so its not perfect but is it better?


I for one, would like to see the Klingon special front shield rule go away. No justification for it, IMHO. This would leave the Klingons with more or less comparable shields to everyone else, but they are still weak on hull damage points.

If we just remove the special Klingon front shield rule, the ship becomes less durable; there should be near-parity with the Fed ships. Hull just represents padding/waste space/luxury crew quarters, and non-essential stuff (at least in a tactical battle sense). Just because a D7 has fewer "free hits" on it than a Fed CA does not mean it can't take about as much of a pounding as a Fed CA overall. It just loses power and weapons faster than the Fed.

So perhaps we should not fixate on "hull" hits per se, but be more concerned about how many total hits the ship can take before being destroyed.

I would rather see hull damage points be some number like total hits the ship can take, divided by some convenient number. Because as we all should know, in SFB the D7 can take nearly as many hits as a Fed CA once you score all the non-hull hits. So something like total hits to destroy / 3 would get us in the ballpark. Fine-tuning would probably be needed for consistency of course.

Something that occurs to me that might help with "durability" issues, namely some Empires have ships that have more "padding" than others, is to simply adjust the number of hits needed until the ship is "crippled". Keep the same number of total hits needed.

So for example, the Fed CA would be 33/11, but a D7 might be 32/13 or 32/14. So the ship can take the same amount of punishment, but goes combat ineffective sooner. That would take care of the "hull hits = free padding issue", wouldn't it?

Now this will cause issues with freighters + cargo, and bases, so we need a way to value Cargo that won't make said units really hard to kill.

I have not played FedCom, nor SFB in ages. I do not recall generally speaking how many cargo boxes a freighter or base tended to have when it was destroyed, but I seem to dimly recall that frequently they were not all destroyed prior to the unit being blown up.

I think (someone please correct me if I mis-remember) that currently freighters/bases use hull +1/2 cargo total boxes?


Last edited by Bill Stec on Tue Jul 02, 2013 11:31 am; edited 1 time in total
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