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Damage Comparisons Between FC and ACTA-SF
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Nerroth
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

storeylf wrote:
I never understood fleet scale. It doesn't fill any gap that I can see.

Games are not really much faster - ships are half as big, but shoot half as much at each other. It is, however, a crapshoot - the smaller number of weapons makes it very variable - photons in fleet scale are very uber streaky when even a cruiser only rolls 2 dice, 25% of no damage, 25% of max damage.


Perhaps the idea of a scaled-down version of the ruleset would only work with the kind of abstraction seen in Starmada Nova; where you're rolling based on the combined weight of fire from a battery of weapons, as opposed to rolling for each weapon mount separately?

(That said, there's no guarantee that Nova is that any more popular than Admiralty when it comes to the Star Fleet adaptation. I recall reading somewhere that at least one SFU play group went back to Admiralty Edition, having found Nova unsuitable for them. So even there, such abstraction is by no means an unqualified success.)

Dal Downing wrote:
Squadron Scale - There was not a lot of wildly enthusiastic support for a Squadron Scale ACTASF when Mathew brought it up on the Mongoose Forums. Any speculation or discussions for such a thing really should be driven over on those boards.


I don't quite follow. ACtA:SF is already based (mostly) on Squadron Scale. Do you prefer to stick with that scale of ship (so that a Fed CA has 4 photons, a D7 4 disruptors, etc)?

Quote:
Nerroth wrote:
*Should faceted shielding be brought in; and if so, should it be based on either Squadron or Fleet Scale Ship Card facings?


No, ACTASF regardless how it may be marketed is NOT a Tactical Simulator it is a Fleet game. Multifaceted shields really should not concern an Admiral running a battle.


The Star Fleet adaptation of Starmada has a similar level of play to ACtA:SF, and it has faceted shields. (Well, Admiralty Edition does, at any rate. Nova I'm not so sure about. Is anyone here familiar with how shields are handled for Star Fleet Starmada in Nova Edition?)

Quote:
Nerroth wrote:
*Should the rules for boarding actions be lifted out of ACtA:NA, re-adjusted to better suit the SFU, and plugged in to ACtA:SF? (And, for that matter, should the number of Marine squads on each ship be adjusted or not?)


No, Mathew has rules that work real well for that already in 3 other systems. When Mathew is good and ready I am sure we will see Boarding Action and Commando Ships but the Book 1 revision is not the place to discuss them. However some thought should be given to upping the Marines to match the Squadron Scale complements of the respective ships now but that really is a Chicken and a the Egg discussion.


Boarding actions are already in FC, even in the absence of commando ships in that game system (for the time being, at least).

And as I was saying, the boarding rules in A Call to Arms: Noble Armada could be brought over mostly as-is, so long as the rules governing the use of grapple guns were swapped out and replaced with ones covering offensive transporter operations.

And even in the absence of commando hulls, putting boarding actions back in would allow Orion pirates (or enemy commerce raiders) to capture freighters and transports. Boarding operations would, in the right circumstances, allow a group of warships to try and capture an opponent of its own kind; but there are other uses for such actions which, at present, ACtA:SF cannot emulate.

Quote:
Nerroth wrote:
*And should there be a distinct Cargo Trait, offering a consistent means of converting cargo boxes from FC (and to potentially allow campiagn-minded groups to make use of it)?


Cargo has already been touched on. In the end I am sure Cargo and Repair will wind up being Traits like Scout and not used for Damage Calculations.


Repair I'm not so sure about. Aren't such boxes on an SFB SSD converted to Hull boxes on a Ship Card, before being further moved on to ACtA:SF?

(For example, the three blocks of Repair boxes in the outer pods of a Base Station SSD are converted to blocks of Hull Boxes on the BS Ship Card.)

But then, it would be fair to point out that whatever changes (if any) are made to the conversion formula should be able to handle bases and freighters as smoothly as they can handle line warships. Considering the problems generated in the pre-errata version of the first printing, this is a topic worth bearing in mind when it comes to establishing just how tough such units should be to crack.
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fleet scale is faster because there is half as much work to run each ship.

But ACTASF should have nothing to do with fleet scale.

Marines are five guys to a unit. If ACTA and NA are ten guys, that is why squad numbers were cut, not because of fleet scale.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fleet scale ships don't have half a much work to run.

EA - same amount of time, there may be less power and move cost may be half as much, but that makes no difference to time. You may make a very minor shaving in time deciding how many photons to arm when you have 2 photons rather than 4. But see next note for why it may take longer.

Moving - fleet scale makes no saving what so ever to the movement aspects, if anything there may be a very minor increase as you will have all your ships having fractional movement, which depending on your maths skills may make accel/decel/EM/HET and generally trying to plan how much energy you need for the rest of the turn more awkward (and its an extra paper clip to keep shifting Sad ), applies during EA as well.

Firing - less weapons may take a bit less time, but not much. I can roll 4 dice at once as fast as I can roll 2. The biggest possible saving in fleet scale, however, is the DAC. Rolling half as much damage means you get through each volley of damage much faster. This, however, is offset to fair extent because you hit skips so much quicker which is when DAC stuff gets much slower.

Seekers possibly give you faster moves as seekers can really bog the game down. I'm not sure how much saving you get here though, that depends a lot on how you use seekers. But it is the one area where you may actually half the effort compared to squadron scale in larger games.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I agree with Dal on most things.


I don't like running out of ammo (drones or ADD), even less when it is incremental. It may not seem like much, but it means both sides have to keep checking who is or is not at what level of ammo before deciding whether to lob seekers or decide how to defend. The disconnect though is the way ADD runs out and drones don't, both run out (especially Fed ones) and both are reloadable in FC. As currently implemented ADD have to run out as they are impervious per use. Changing ADD to never run out with a different defense mechanic would remove the record keeping which would be nice.

A possible (haven't thought it fully through yet) ADD mechanic may be to roll a dice per attacking drone (as you do now). On a 6 you stop one. However, add your ADD rating to the roll. So ADD 1 would need a 5-6, ADD 2 a 4-6. A fed ship with 4 racks would only leak drones on a 1. Feds with 5+ racks would be immune until they lose the drone racks (or have 1 as auto fail), but they'd sacrifice the drone waves to do that.

So a klingon D7 facing 3 Kzinti shooting at him, with 12 drones altogether he would expect to ADD 4 drones down, whilst a D5W would drop 6. Against a Fed lobbing 2 drones per ship, the D7 stops an averge 2 out of 6 and the D5W 3 out of 6.

In isolation that appears not a bad representation of FC, but of course it ignores the ACTA context of being hit by way more drones than you'd ever get hit by in FC. You could tweak the target number to make ADD more effective, and have 1 as an auto fail to stop Feds being utterly immune. If however, you were making SAs easier, and also have drones launches done before SAs then that may mitigate against that anyway.

So if the target D7 sees it has 3 kzinti drone waves incoming it may go evasive, that should on average drop one wave. The ADD 1 then on average gets another 2-3 drones leaving 5-6 to deal with, which its phasers ought to handle. The D5W in the same case is left with about 4 drones to deal with using phasers.

Prima facie that seems not to bad, and has both drones and ADD being the same in not needing reloads which cuts back on record keeping and midturn checking each ship to see who can do what based on current ammo status.


Allowing 2 actions per turn is interesting, in the past I had wondered about using multi power drain actions so long as you take different penalties each time. But I'm not keen on multi actios per turn though, I think it would increase decision making too much and slow the game down trying to work out the best combos in each case, not to mention there would be way to many markers down on ships (or otherwise tracking it all).

I would like to see overload and evasive change from a 6" move to a power drain though. First, these actions do not limit your movement in FC, they limit your power. How you deal with that is up to you. Prety much all ships can go speed 24 and EM, and many ships can do 24 and overloads (if they don't throw in phasers etc). Secondly, I think power drain is a good way of representing how FC works, and I see no reason why SAs in ACTA shouldn't just stick to having that as the standard penalty for those that represent power usage.

I would also like to see the Power Drain become fire any one weapon type, rather than weapon system. Weapon system gets in the way of ships that have the same number of weapons split across different lines.
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Gimp
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eliminate the extreme diversity of turn radii. If you want the Klingons to go with 4", that's fine, but adding agile skews the maneuverability of ships into something completely outside the normal SFU. Alternatively, because most ships are capable of rapid turns in the SFU, give most of the ships agile.

Before assigning the turn radii, actually look at what the ships are comparitively capable of for a full 360 degree turn in the other SFU games at various speeds. It might help make the assigned values make more sense.

Give photons a special action for proximity fusing to balance back to the original SFB concept of long range photon fire. It fits far better into ACTA's engine than FedCom's as an easily workable concept.

Lowering crew quality test numbers doesn't work if they are supposed to represent well trained units. Going to a 2d6 test, and only failing on a roll of two or three, would represent just under a 10% failure rate. That low would make all of the rolls largely a waste of time (applying one time in twelve), and still be too high a failure rate for many tasks. Random effect die rolls are far easier to deal with within the game, and give a reasonable representation of crew effectiveness. Get rid of crew quality checks unless a way can be designed where they actually make sense instead of just add rolls.

If you want to represent early Klingon shields, instead of giving a boost to the forward shields, give a damage bonus against attacks from their rear. If you want to represent later Klingon shields, acknowledge they are little different than the other races' and skip the special rules just to have special rules.

Drones could be limited as easily as other ships to requiring reloads. If they go to two kinds of special actions per turn, it would not even be overly complex or taxing. While it may not represent the full firing capability of drones in the other SFU games, it would give a quick and simple simulation of drones being caught by tractor beams, or run over transporter bombs, or outrun (when ACTA:SF doesn't give the maneuverability of other SFU games for that tactic), or caught at control limits, etc. Completely accurate; no, but workable for a quick and simple game play style.
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lincolnlog
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2013 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been giving this a lot of thought. And after completely prepping my WWII game for this weekend, I played with the thought a little.

Warning: This is not ACTA

What if you could take processes from the Fed Com and simplify them to point were it plays almost as fast as ACTA.

Convert the 8 Impulses down into 4 Action Sequences. Get rid of the Sub Pulses, all movement for the entire Action Sequence happens at once.

Simplify power allocation into a percentage, every ship starts with 100% of it's power, and then they use power in 5% increments.

There are no special actions.

Every 3rd damage point with is indicated by a yellow box on the ship requires two rolls against an internal damage chart.

Two shields, front (shields 6,1 &2) and rear (shields 3,4 &5), shields are averages, then multiplied 1.25. Ship damage is halved. No criticals, your ship gets messed up by the internal, loss of weapons, accuracy, turn mode decreases, etc...

Here are sample CA and D7 ships cards:

http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/83257390/sn/1295425706/name/Fed+CA.jpg

http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/83257390/sn/819188505/name/Kling+D7.jpg

Sorry had to fix the link, the PDF doesn't look as good as the Excel document.

Power reduction/availability is next to the hull, and power used is in the power plan at the bottom of the chart.

Still working out a lot of details, but this will work well as an open table fast play miniatures game.

Steve, would you be interested in looking this concept over?
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2013 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I have no interest in the concept, if others do it might find a home.
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Mike
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lincolnlog,

Other than the exceptions you noted, does your concept use the ACTA game system otherwise?

As a FC player (and not an ACTA player), it seems as if I'm missing out on a lot (e.g. confusing).
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lincolnlog
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike wrote:
Lincolnlog,

Other than the exceptions you noted, does your concept use the ACTA game system otherwise?

As a FC player (and not an ACTA player), it seems as if I'm missing out on a lot (e.g. confusing).


Mike,

As you can see reading back through this thread, no one really agrees on what wrong with ACTA, let alone how to fix it. I thought about this concept about a year ago after playing about 10 games of ACTA. This is actually a completely different concept than ACTA. Can't send this to Mongoose, because there is simply no similarity. It's closer to Federation Commander. But, it is even different enough from FC to be a different concept.

As you know as a FC Player, FC is 8 Impulses with 4 sub-pulses (so in a sense it still has the same 32 impulses of SFB with few decision and action points (you can only fire at the end of an impulse, and so on).

In my concept for an overly simplified FC played with mini's on an open table top:

1. Combine 2 Impulses (divide the turn into 4) to make four Action Sequences with no sub-pulses.
2. Simplify Power Allocation by splitting it into percentiles. This is called a power plan, and everything you can spend power on is on the ship chart. You check your actions, then spend the points on a power graph. If you spend 100% of your power then there is none left for the rest of the turn. All the ship's power plans are unique based on power available and how much it cost the ship to do things. This is averaged to 5%, so you're only tracking 20 power spaces per ship. There are no rolls to take actions, simply pay the energy. There are break downs for HET after 1st HET.
3. Movement is in inches, turns are 45' (hard to do 60' with minis), every ship can move up to 24" per turn, if you're willing to spend the energy to do so. Threw out Accel and Decel, to much record keeping for too little gain.
4. Ships take half the damage as in Fed Com and weapons do half damage. No energy requirement to hold charged weapons.
5. In each action sequence, you can move, defensive fire and Offensive fire.
6. Movement is by initiative and speed moved (slowest ships move first). So, power plan A initiative loser moves first, power plan A initiative winner moves, power plan B initiative loser moves, then B winner and so on until all ships have moved. Then shuttles move, then seeking weapons move.

This will not play as fact as ACTA, but it will play faster than Fed Comm and you won't need a hex grid. All record keeping is performed on the ship card.

By the way the ships don't take critical damage, and they don't become crippled. The yellow hull boxes on the ship cards will have a number in them. When you cross out a yellow box, you will roll on an internal damage table, and thereby loose weapons, ship control areas, labs, tractors, etc. What speeds things up is, you aren't rolling against the chart every time your hit.

If anyone is interested in the concept, and with Steve Coles permission would like to try it, I would be happy to e-mail the materials.

This is a first rough draft, so there will be holes in it. If we can find them and plug them I'll send it to Steve when it's complete. I have already charted 17 Fed ships, and 11 Klingon ships.

I'll be trying this on Friday with our local group. I can let everyone know how it works then.

Bob
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Nerroth
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It almost sounds a bit like a half-step towards the kind of concept which Catalyst Gane Labs have gone with for Quick-Strike/Alpha Strike; which is a more abstract level of play compared to "classic" BattleTech, but still works in a way which more of less scales with BT in a way that MechWarrior: Dark Age/Age of Destruction did not.


But even so, I might suggest that what you are trying to create ought to go into its own thread over here, rather than risk derailing discussions in this thread regarding what to try and do about ACtA:SF proper.
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lincolnlog
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 20, 2013 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

New thread opened at above location.
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kiloton
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:41 pm    Post subject: A Call to Arms: Star Fleet Reply with quote

So I have played the game a few times (Feds vs. Klingons only) and the immediate turn-offs for me were as follows, not in order of significance:

1) Klingon front shield rule: This is a misguided attempt to simulate something that was relatively minor in SFB and inadvertently makes Klingon ships much stronger than is reasonable.

2) Klingon maneuverability: While Klingons should be more maneuverable than Federation ships by virtue of having a shorter distance between turns, having them also turn 90 degrees to the Feds 45 degrees when they do turn is just too much. Klingons are not THAT much more maneuverable than the Feds in SFB/FC.

3) Federation reloads: Feds having to choose between reloading heavy weapons and doing any number of other useful things while Klingons get to fire their disruptors every turn AND do those other useful things is not reasonable. If Klingons don't have to spend a special action to load their Disruptors then why do Feds need a special action to reload their Photon Torpedoes? Are there enough crew members to do more than one thing per turn!?!? I know special actions are a hallmark of the A Call to Arms game engine but it seems misused here and hampers the Federation (and I would guess any other multi-turn arming empire?).

4) Special action die-rolls: Basically having a 50-50 shot to do many things that change the complexion of the game this much is not reasonable, in my opinion. I know we roll dice for phasers and heavy weapons and a lot of things but to roll for some of these seems...excessive.

I don't believe that the game needs to feel exactly like SFB/FC. I want it to feel like it is in the Star Fleet Universe but it should retain its "A Call to Arms-ness," as it were. There is room in the SFU for all manner of games. But it should be fun to play and reward good tactics with players/empires having roughly even chances of winning. The times I have played it so far, I have not found it to be fun or balanced. Repeated playings may break through that barrier but I am reluctant to do so given the first experiences and seeing little movement to fixing the game. Starmada, while using the same source material, does not feel exactly like SFB/FC but it is a fun game to me for what it is. While I may not agree with all the design decisions that were made I can see why they made them. Not so with ACtA: SF.

My gripes above may seem like I am pro-Fed but that is not the case at all. I prefer Klingons, actually, but saw some real issues with balance when we played. If people enjoy the game and feel it is balanced the way it is then that is great. More importantly, if it has a thriving player base and is selling well then that is even better. I see significant issues but it may just not be my cup of tea. I think different design decisions could have been made that would still feel like A Call to Arms and the SFU.
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Bill Stec
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it were up to me, I would change the crew quality checks for standard crews to 6. This way there is a 1/6ths chance of an error, doing things that the crews ought to be able to easily. The game is too much of a crap shoot as it is. 1/6ths chance of a screwup allows one to actually make plans and expect that most of one's ships will actually do as ordered. Veteran or Elite crews would make the check unless they had crew critical hits.

I would get rid of the Klingon special front shield rule, give them their proper hull points. Perhaps some rule can be included to reflect how "tough" a given ship is before being crippled. IE, a Fed CA would be be a 32/11, but a Klingon D7 would be say a 31/15. The higher crippling threshold is to reflect that while the D7 can actually take as many total hits as a CA before being destroyed, it has less "padding" to give it more free hits before being battered into combat ineffectiveness.

I also agree that a Klingon cruiser ought to be a Turn 4, but lose the Agile. Agile can go away completely, IMHO.

As for the Reload Special Action, I agree that it is strange that Klingons get an auto-reload effectively, but Feds, Gorns, and Roms have to issue a special order. I would rather see a new token/chit saying "reloading" placed upon the ship's base the turn after firing, and leave the ship able to use Special Actions normally. This way the ship still has to wait until the second subsequent turn to fire the heavy weapons again, but has the ability to use Special Actions in the meantime.

It's not as if you have to order the crew to reload their weapons; it's probably automated anyways, not like a modern submarine where the crew has to manually man-handle the torpedoes into the tubes. It is simply automatically done, though it still should take a full turn to accomplish.

I am okay with the way Drones/Plasmas work for now, though some of the suggestions that have been made in this thread have lots of merit as well.
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Nerroth
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the D7's Hull score is based on the amount of Hull boxes on the SSD, not necessarily due to its shield adjustments.

If the front shield rule were to be removed, what could happen is for the Shield score to go up to 22, to match the #2 facing on the D7 Ship Card.

(Actually, if there to ever be a conversion of the Middle Years ships from Briefing #2 to ACtA:SF, there could be an opportunity to turn the shield rule on its head - by giving pre-refit Klingon and Lyran hulls have their "regular" Shield scores, but have them be only half as effective in the A arc.)


One thought that came up on the Mongoose boards - if Agile were to go away, would it be worth considering having Turn Mode C translate to Turn: 5? That would allow the other Turn scores to remain as they are, even with Agile taken out. (Plus it would allow for a more even gradient when moing from one Turn score to the next.)

Now, whether or not Agile should go away is another matter in and of itself; but if the concept ends up gaining enough traction, Turn: 5 would still give Turn Mode C ships a notable (if slight) advantage over Turn: 6 ships, but allow for more agile hulls to cross the turn-three-times-in-twelve-inches threshold.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
As for the Reload Special Action, I agree that it is strange that Klingons get an auto-reload effectively, but Feds, Gorns, and Roms have to issue a special order. I would rather see a new token/chit saying "reloading" placed upon the ship's base the turn after firing, and leave the ship able to use Special Actions normally. This way the ship still has to wait until the second subsequent turn to fire the heavy weapons again, but has the ability to use Special Actions in the meantime.

It's not as if you have to order the crew to reload their weapons; it's probably automated anyways, not like a modern submarine where the crew has to manually man-handle the torpedoes into the tubes. It is simply automatically done, though it still should take a full turn to accomplish.



I sometimes wonder about the photons reload. But I don't think it is as clear cut. In FC reloading photons do have the same cost of 2 power per turn as the disrupter, but the disrupter has far less effect on your power, or more particularly, your options each turn.

As a photon user I have to pay 2 power per photon during a turn when I can't use them, for a cruiser that is 8 power which is fairly noticeable. I have to commit to it largely before I know what the enemy is going to do. I then have to pay 2 power on the turn I want to use it, and I have to pay it up front. Again with no surety that I will use it nor way to change my mind and get back my power. Rearming that photon is hindering my ability to function whilst I'm doing it.

The disrupter ship on the other hand only pays at the point of fire. Where as the Fed must always commit up front the disrupter user doesn't. That gives him a lot of freedom in what he does that the Fed player doesn't have. There are certainly times when the disrupter user won't use all disrupters in FC each turn due to power issues, and there are times in ACTA that happens - power drains and phasers only seems somewhat common.

So whilst the disrupter gets a 'free reload' (as you put it) in ACTA he doesn't always use his disrupters, and that seems to reflect FC quite well. In both games he has plenty of freedom of choice. The photon player may not have to spend any more power, but the up front commitment required does impact on what he can do, and that seems to work in both systems. What ACTA doesn't reflect is that in FC you may just reload 2 or 3 photons, in order to keep your power (and hence options) open whilst rearming but still having something to fire at the end.

The other factor that is noticeable as well, is that the photon player is much more hit by the the damage system in FC. In FC there are much more weapon losses, and losing a photon will lose the energy in it. If you lose a photon then repairing it won't allow you to fire again for 2 turns after more up front commitment of power. If you lost a photon during rearming that is 2 power wasted. For that reason it is not that uncommon to leave at least 1 photon empty as a damage soak for the TORP hit you are expecting and save the 2 power. A disrupter ship on the other hand has no such issues, he can't lose power he committed up front because there was none, and repairing it will allow immediate firing again. In ACTA losing weapons is a lot rarer, so the disrupter user has lost an edge he had over multi turn armers, making a bit harder for them to get reloaded is a way of balancing that out.

So whilst I do sometimes think the need to reload seems harsh in ACTA, I can't help but think auto reload would be way to far the other way. The current reload is not IMO that far from FC if you look at it in a wider overall sense. Gorns and Roms of course should be rejoicing - 2 turn rearm of the games most powerful weapon is amazing.
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