Miniatures combat

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NefariousDrO
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Re: Miniatures combat

Post by NefariousDrO » Sun Feb 01, 2009 8:50 am

Unfortunately, I have little experience with miniatures and table-top gaming (although I have played a ton of pen-and-paper RPGs over the years) but from what I've seen in the comics, you'll want your system to favor the capital ships not getting too close to each other. We've seen that their weapons can do scary damage in a very short time, and we've also seen how effective a properly kited-out scimitar can do to a larger ship, so you'll want your game to favor using fighters to keep the big and dangerous guns of the capitals ships at a safe distance. You won't bring your big ships in close until you've hurt the enemy's ability to fire back.

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Re: Miniatures combat

Post by SciFiGuy » Sun Feb 01, 2009 9:08 pm

So the map scale would be BIG, the carriers/capital ships would have slow accel/decell, fighters a hefty punch but light armor.

tactics: launch fighters before capital ships get in each other's weapons range/tracking solution.
Electronic Warfare ships - like Raptors on new BSG - can extend sensors and tracking solution to capital ship & Fighters.
(i.e. if a normal range to get a good weapons solution is 100 hexes, a EW Ship can relay tracking data to mother ship. So, if enemy capital ship is 300 hexes away and if an EW ship gets close enough (say, 50 hexes), the EQ ship can get a weapons solution on the enemy capital ship can relay it to the mother ship).

So, Capital Big Guns (i.e. long range cannons) can fire further than they can track. If an EW can get close enough, then targeting data can be relayed).

so, tactics again would be to:
launch CAP to protect Mother Ship - CAP stays minimum distance from Mother Ship (to stay out of it's Anti-Aircraft No Man's Land)
launch EW ships with Fighter Escort
launch Fighters to engage enemy fighters and Capital Ships

Obviously the side with the greater number of resources has a big advantage - i.e. overwhelming the AA & CAP.
You can assign Resource Points to ships (Fighters, EW) so that a smaller number (quantity) has a higher Quality.
So, Side A might have 200 fighters and Side B might only have 125 fighters, but Side B's has gutsier engines, a stronger punch and (some) armour plating.
i.e. Side B's Fighters have a longer survival time. Attrition will still take it's toll but not as fast as the other ships.

If you want to factor in Pilot Quality, then Side B could have Legendary Pilots that are worth 2 or 3 pilots of the other side.

That's my analysis of how the Colonials in BSG can keep winning - better pilots.

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Re: Miniatures combat

Post by NefariousDrO » Mon Feb 02, 2009 1:02 pm

I like the things SciFiGuy has said. It all seems to point along lines we've seen in the comic. One thing does puzzle me in the comic, though: autonomous or semi-autonomous missiles. The militaries of today are already trying very hard to develop pilotless aircraft capable of recognizing tank profiles and such and attacking on their own. I understand that human creativity/unpredictability would certainly be valuable in combat, but humans take a long time to train, while computers and missiles can literally roll off the line.

Plus, the sensor-range extending technology of an EW ship might be better put on a pilotless drone due to the fact that their emissions from radar, etc. would make them prime targets by the opponent. If you can afford to send multiples out and keep sending more as they get shot down you can spare your human pilots for the more unpredictable/judgement-heavy roles like interceptor duty, etc.

Just some thoughts on the tactics of war.

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Re: Miniatures combat

Post by SciFiGuy » Mon Feb 02, 2009 6:21 pm

Good input. :)

Remote drones are great.

However, in a Science Fiction Space setting, I have a hard time getting excited or worried over an Unmanned Recon Vehicle (URV). Something about a Human 'Out There', wearing a pressure suit, with just a thin layer of polymer between them and The Void.

Technically, an URV needs a person that can control it, presumably back someplace safer. That link is the choke-point.
If we put the maximum Time Lag at 1 second (i.e. if I throw the joystick hard left, how long do I have to wait for the URV to respond?), then that means the max range of the URV is 1/2 light second (150,000 kilometers).

That could work for small scales, but in massive fleet engagements, the enemy may be several light seconds distant.

I can see some URVs being used by the EW (Electronic Warfare) ships - to increase THEIR range, or some small skirmish where you aren't overly worried about the engagement range getting past the 0.5 light sec range.

Plus, there's nothing like having a pair of Mark I Eyeballs on the scene.

There could be something that an unmanned drone cannot be aware of (either because of sensor jamming or the AI of the craft just isn't up to the job all the time), and it never hurts to have a Human in the loop when pushing a button means you're unleashing kilotons of destruction.

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Hypothetical
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Re: Miniatures combat

Post by Hypothetical » Tue Feb 17, 2009 1:44 pm

This sounds like a fun idea, but using WWI WWII based combat sims would not work.

However, Star Frontiers, a table top game form years ago, developed some very good rules for Space Combat, that were close to actual physics, but only in 2D.

( E.G. Stop forward thrust, you continue in that direction, but can turn your ship using thrusters, so you are moving in Direction A but facing Direction B.)

I have yet to see a tabletop game that works really well with Null-Gee physics however. With the above Example, most games would have you begin to move in your new direction of flight as soon as you lit your main thrusters again, however, in real physics, you would still continue in your original direction but you would add a new vector...which would basically cause you to enter a loop-type trajectory.

Bah, it's nearly impossible to describe on here. Hmmm...OK, assume that ---- = nothing

----------------------------------------------------------/--------------------------------------------^
>>>>(Direction, momentum) >^>^( new thrust)= / ( New Direction)....Not new Direction ^

Well, that's the best Visual I can do for the concept. Looks like crap, and probably doesn't convey the idea very well...
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SciFiGuy
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Re: Miniatures combat

Post by SciFiGuy » Tue Feb 17, 2009 4:25 pm

Depends on how detailed you want to get.

There is nothing wrong with having sub-ordinate craft assume the vector of the launching ship.
Just say Fighter_Vector=Mothership_Vector instead of Fighter_Vector=0

I imagine there would be a Vector Log for each ship on the board. When a ship launches anything (i.e. missile or sub-ordinate craft), just copy the currect vector over to the newly launched object.

I really need to clean my notes up and put it up for review.

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Re: Miniatures combat

Post by Dhraakellian » Tue Feb 17, 2009 4:46 pm

Hypothetical wrote:I have yet to see a tabletop game that works really well with Null-Gee physics however. With the above Example, most games would have you begin to move in your new direction of flight as soon as you lit your main thrusters again, however, in real physics, you would still continue in your original direction but you would add a new vector...which would basically cause you to enter a loop-type trajectory.
An oversimplification I'm sure, but here goes...

for a 90° turn:
use maneuvering thrusters to turn 135°
use main thrusters to actually change vector
use maneuvering thrusters to turn -45°
Some pithy statement goes here.

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Hypothetical
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Re: Miniatures combat

Post by Hypothetical » Tue Feb 17, 2009 5:02 pm

SciFiGuy wrote:Depends on how detailed you want to get.

There is nothing wrong with having sub-ordinate craft assume the vector of the launching ship.
Just say Fighter_Vector=Mothership_Vector instead of Fighter_Vector=0

I imagine there would be a Vector Log for each ship on the board. When a ship launches anything (i.e. missile or sub-ordinate craft), just copy the currect vector over to the newly launched object.

I really need to clean my notes up and put it up for review.
Yes, this would be absolutely correct.

For a Null-Gee, vacuum launch the launched craft ( Fighter, or shuttle, or missile) would take on it's launching crafts vector, plus whatever Delta V was used in the launch.

This is where Space based combat becomes a nightmare. With no Absolute Frame of Reference, every alteration of vector for every vehicle in the battle adds to the confusion.
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Mercy Machine
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Re: Miniatures combat

Post by Mercy Machine » Thu Feb 26, 2009 9:34 pm

DWG wrote:Interesting thought. What suits best would to some degree depend on the scale of the battles. FT is the obvious choice for fleet actions, but for one-on-one I'd prefer something a bit more detailed. If I was doing it myself then I might kludge together a vector movement system with the combat and damage mechanisms from Sky Galleons of Mars/Ironclads and Etherflyers as I know the system and it's set up for the same sort of relatively close range actions we seem to see in CD.
I've played Full Thrust with my nephews, and there is an optional vector movement scheme. I think it's in the Fleet Book 1 supplement, but that's now a free download too.

Another generic set of rules with a bit more detail and less abstract handling of fighters is Starmada from Majestic Twelve in the USA. A demo version is free, but after that you have to pay for the book or (cheaper) .pdf download. The ship design system is much more crunchy than FT's and pretty much requires the use of a spreadsheet (an Excel template can be downloaded from M12's website).

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Mercy Machine
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Re: Miniatures combat

Post by Mercy Machine » Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:55 pm

SciFiGuy wrote:That could work for small scales, but in massive fleet engagements, the enemy may be several light seconds distant.<SNIP>Plus, there's nothing like having a pair of Mark I Eyeballs on the scene.
If the bad guys are "several" light-seconds distant (i.e. something over 900,000 kilometres away) I'm not sure how useful a Mk 1 Eyeball would be, especially peering unassisted through a plexiglass canopy (the usual SF model - futuristic space fighters are usually depicted with less sophisticated sensors and displays than those routinely installed in jet fighters today). I suspect our intrepid pilots would see very little, either because the enemy would be too far away, or because nearby nuclear warhead flashes (why use anything less in space?) would have permanently blinded them.

I agree that remote piloting would be impractical. Some sort of autonomous robotic missile with multiple warheads would be much more feasible. But who would want to read stories about that?
SciFiGuy wrote:That's my analysis of how the Colonials in BSG can keep winning - better pilots.
And there was I thinking it was because they were the good guys! :D

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