Detecting PDCs

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Re: Detecting PDCs

Postby Xveers on Wed 25 Feb 2015 19:49

One thing that hasn't been mentioned is that all PDCs can datalink with other PDCs on the same hex-side and on each adjacent side. THAT's what makes PDC's truly evil: The ability to target specific units and entirely overwhelm their PD. if you're unable to take out all the PDCs in one go, you want to wipe every other hex-side clear. That will force them to break up their incoming salvos into far smaller and more manageable levels.
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Re: Detecting PDCs

Postby Cralis on Wed 25 Feb 2015 23:01

Xveers wrote:One thing that hasn't been mentioned is that all PDCs can datalink with other PDCs...


SDTroll mentioned unlimited datalink earlier. But that doesn't help against drones with Da, which can't operate over the datalink.

EDIT: Let me correct myself... that's what I get for going by memory. ULTRA 4-2009 D6.02.7, last paragraph, explicitly states that PDC point defense can operate in datalink mode without the datalink module.
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Re: Detecting PDCs

Postby SDTroll on Wed 25 Feb 2015 23:11

Cralis wrote:
SDTroll wrote:I enter the system, winning the WP battle. The enemy fleet retreats to the planet and waits for me under the cover of the PDCs. For the example, lets say the planet has 30 PDCs on each side, so 180 total. Each PDC has a Ptb, a Mg, and a Da.

That's it? No armor? What EL?


I deliberately didn't put armor on them to make them die with one hit. In reality, just a single point of armor would be a very good idea, since it would require two hits to kill them.

I bring my drone ships through the warp point and park out of range of the planet and the fleet on the planet. Once I have determined that the PDCs exist, either with a sacrificial fleet or a flight of sensor laden drones, I want to take out the planet in one shot, so I launch a huge number of attack drones, (each has 6 XObs with two Ptbs on them).


Ok, so you have to be using Drone2 (since Drone1 can't use weapons). So you have to be at least SL 6, right? I'm guessing you're a plasma race too... no other weapons researched yet?


Force beams, but they would have to be APew, which would work worse, I suspect, especially since the drones would have to face BASV fire to use them, assuming I understand the rules and the drones would have to enter the atmosphere to fire them.

I want to hit all six hex sides at the same time. Can all the drones fly in one stack and fire from the same hex, with targeting rules for which hex side they hit, or does each group need to fly around the planet to aim at the correct hex side.


You can only hit something you can see. At the very least, a PDC has a 180 arc of fire. So if you are facing one hexsides, you should be able to shoot into that hexside or the hexsides immediately to the clockwise and counter-clockwise positions.


D6.02.5 says an attacker can engage a located PDC even if out of arc. I'm just not sure I can program the drones to fire on different hex sides of the planet.

I'm not sure how sophisticated the drone programming can be. Could my programming directions be: Move at top speed to hex XXXX (something 12 hexes from the planet), then fire all XO racks at hex YYYY (hex with planet in it) targeting PDCs on hex side 1 only?


I don't have the ULTRA rules in front of me, but I think you can simply give it a targeting parameter for PDCs. If I remember correctly, D9 has the rules for that.

I hope that is clearer. Even with drones it is hideously expensive to take the planet out. If my calculations are correct, assuming no ships to come out and engage the drones, it will take around 80 drones per hex side to take out all the PDCs. That is something like 20,000 Mcr, not counting the ships to launch them and the maintenance. Heaven help you if you need to take out more than one planet. Unless I'm missing something, which is likely.


Unless you're just not telling me about dozens or hundreds of points of armor on those PDCs, those things should be toast in a heartbeat. Sure you'll have 90 of them able to fire into a hexside at any time, but Da can't assist datalink members and PDCs, once detected, are nearly impossible to miss...


Maybe I'm missing a rule on shooting PDCs (likely, since I miss rules a lot.) Here is how I got my to hit number. Base attack at range 12 is 4. I can't find any place that says plasma torpedoes get a bonus to hit PDCs, but I assume the +2 for targets without a drive field applies, just to help a little. -2 for firing at "located" PDC, -1 for XO racks on AP. That means a to hit number of 3. 70 drones is 140 plasma torpedoes. 30% hit, so 42. Since PDCs can datalink defensively with any point defense module (D6.02.6), all of them in the hexside can target the incoming PTs. With 90 shots, each PT gets about 2 shots ( yes, a few get three, but I'm going simple) To hit with Da is 3 +1 for extra shot, -1 for Point Defense in atmosphere, -1 for targeting plasma torps. That means a 2 to hit, taking out 20% of the plasmas. That leaves about 34 hits, which is slight overkill (need only 30, but that helps cancel the third shots). My initial estimate was about 10 high per hex side. So it takes 420 to take out the PDCs, again, assuming the ships don't assist. Still pretty expensive. And the numbers double if you add a point of armor, or even just a hull to each PDC. Not undoable, but a lot of drones and ships per planet. At least the ships are reusable. :D

I'd have to see you're exact setup and numbers, but my gut tells me that either I'm missing some information or you've made an assumption that is making this harder than it should be.

SDTroll wrote:Unfortunately, the tech level was pretty low when we were fighting. No W boxes, although the sheer volume of fire might work, if you could survive the counter attack. Of course, with Plasma torps, I need We just to use them. In the original scenario, we didn't even have point defense yet or AP yet. Now I'm just playing with the system to try to find a solution other than banning PDCs, which is top of the list right now.


There are other options as well, such as increasing the hull cost, requiring minimum and maximum sizes, increasing the maintenance percent (or just having a maintenance surcharge), etc. And as Xveers mentioned, GFFP always works and you can't miss.

The other option I've been looking at is shuttles with bombs, not sure how that would work yet, but at least they are really cheap.

Don't know... the point defense will be very hard on the shuttles, I believe the "bomb" was originally envisioned by Marvin to be a cheap way to destroy ground troops.

The diplomatic penalties of genocide make it pretty unattractive, but at least the people are easier to hit. :twisted:


Well, true. But if you do it to everyone, does it matter? After a while, there won't be anyone left to care (one of the the founding principles behind GFFP)


True, I suppose, but even in games the idea of genocide just bugs me. :oops:
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Re: Detecting PDCs

Postby Cralis on Wed 25 Feb 2015 23:38

SDTroll wrote:I deliberately didn't put armor on them to make them die with one hit. In reality, just a single point of armor would be a very good idea, since it would require two hits to kill them.


Ok, but I would like to point out that those 180 PDC are going to cost you 13,500 MCr to build. While not the cost you quoted for the drones, it's not insignificant either.

Ok, so you have to be using Drone2 (since Drone1 can't use weapons). So you have to be at least SL 6, right? I'm guessing you're a plasma race too... no other weapons researched yet?


Force beams, but they would have to be APew, which would work worse, I suspect, especially since the drones would have to face BASV fire to use them, assuming I understand the rules and the drones would have to enter the atmosphere to fire them.


Yeah... I was going to say that if you used R against them you'd probably do a LOT better. And Ptb are just about worthless against drones, so you only have to worry about the Da.

D6.02.5 says an attacker can engage a located PDC even if out of arc. I'm just not sure I can program the drones to fire on different hex sides of the planet.


According to D9.02.1.1 you simply set an engagement zone (in tH) and target type (PDC). All visible targets will be selected from randomly. BTW, see D9.02.2 for communications programs (as an SM I'd allow any drone to do that as long as it hasn't fired yet).

Maybe I'm missing a rule on shooting PDCs (likely, since I miss rules a lot.)


No worries! There are a few (ok, a lot) of rules. It comes with time. I designed and have led SSF for the last 4 years and I still forget stuff.

Here is how I got my to hit number. Base attack at range 12 is 4. I can't find any place that says plasma torpedoes get a bonus to hit PDCs, but I assume the +2 for targets without a drive field applies, just to help a little. -2 for firing at "located" PDC,


The -2 is only if you are outside of your sensor range or outside the PDC's arc of fire (2nd paragraph D6.02.5).

-1 for XO racks on AP. That means a to hit number of 3. 70 drones is 140 plasma torpedoes. 30% hit, so 42.

If you shoot from a range of 11, you add 1 to the to-hit value. That seems to be the sweet spot for you. That's 56 "hits."

Since PDCs can datalink defensively with any point defense module (D6.02.6), all of them in the hexside can target the incoming PTs. With 90 shots, each PT gets about 2 shots ( yes, a few get three, but I'm going simple) To hit with Da is 3 +1 for extra shot, -1 for Point Defense in atmosphere, -1 for targeting plasma torps. That means a 2 to hit, taking out 20% of the plasmas. That leaves about 34 hits, which is slight overkill (need only 30, but that helps cancel the third shots). My initial estimate was about 10 high per hex side. So it takes 420 to take out the PDCs, again, assuming the ships don't assist. Still pretty expensive. And the numbers double if you add a point of armor, or even just a hull to each PDC. Not undoable, but a lot of drones and ships per planet. At least the ships are reusable. :D


Assuming range 11 above, now you have 34 Ptb doubled on and 22 singled. That is 20% of the 34 (we'll call it 7 intercepted) and 10% of 22 (we'll call it 2 intercepted). That means you'll have 47 Ptb hits on average.

Now if you fire "in arc" and "in sensor range" (if your drones fire at range 10, they are in short range after you detect the PDC initially), you won't take the -2 on your to-hit value. That gives you a 50% hit on average, increasing this to 70 hits. 20 are doubled, 50 are singled, for a total of 7 interceptions ... 63 hits on average.

Assuming my late-night math isn't criminally wrong, it looks like you can reduce your drone swarm by a few drones and save some MCr :)
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Re: Detecting PDCs

Postby SDTroll on Thu 26 Feb 2015 05:19

If you shoot from a range of 11, you add 1 to the to-hit value. That seems to be the sweet spot for you. That's 56 "hits."


I was trying to avoid defensive fire, but it looks like it would be pretty ineffective. I never ran the numbers before, assuming the horde of shots would work better, but it doesn't look like it would.



Assuming range 11 above, now you have 34 Ptb doubled on and 22 singled. That is 20% of the 34 (we'll call it 7 intercepted) and 10% of 22 (we'll call it 2 intercepted). That means you'll have 47 Ptb hits on average.

Now if you fire "in arc" and "in sensor range" (if your drones fire at range 10, they are in short range after you detect the PDC initially), you won't take the -2 on your to-hit value. That gives you a 50% hit on average, increasing this to 70 hits. 20 are doubled, 50 are singled, for a total of 7 interceptions ... 63 hits on average.

Assuming my late-night math isn't criminally wrong, it looks like you can reduce your drone swarm by a few drones and save some MCr :)


Ah, I was assuming if you didn't have anyone else at range T, you had to get to 30% of short range again to get T. Range 10 shots, even with a round of BASV, would make it much better. So, the motto is, don't engage PDCs before you open the AP tree and get to drone2. :)

So, any ideas if you have bad luck on the breakthrough roll for AP? 8-) Since I've had games where I couldn't open a desired branch to save my life (Point Defense in one game. I was EL 12 with no D)
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Re: Detecting PDCs

Postby Cralis on Thu 26 Feb 2015 14:01

SDTroll wrote:
If you shoot from a range of 11, you add 1 to the to-hit value. That seems to be the sweet spot for you. That's 56 "hits."


I was trying to avoid defensive fire, but it looks like it would be pretty ineffective. I never ran the numbers before, assuming the horde of shots would work better, but it doesn't look like it would.


Hmmm... doesn't ULTRA limit BASV fire to a range of 9 tH?

Assuming range 11 above, now you have 34 Ptb doubled on and 22 singled. That is 20% of the 34 (we'll call it 7 intercepted) and 10% of 22 (we'll call it 2 intercepted). That means you'll have 47 Ptb hits on average.

Now if you fire "in arc" and "in sensor range" (if your drones fire at range 10, they are in short range after you detect the PDC initially), you won't take the -2 on your to-hit value. That gives you a 50% hit on average, increasing this to 70 hits. 20 are doubled, 50 are singled, for a total of 7 interceptions ... 63 hits on average.

Assuming my late-night math isn't criminally wrong, it looks like you can reduce your drone swarm by a few drones and save some MCr :)


Ah, I was assuming if you didn't have anyone else at range T, you had to get to 30% of short range again to get T. Range 10 shots, even with a round of BASV, would make it much better. So, the motto is, don't engage PDCs before you open the AP tree and get to drone2. :)


Look at the table again. It's "30% T -or- P" ... on e you've detected it, you are able to detect at 100% short range. Look up "P" targeting.

So, any ideas if you have bad luck on the breakthrough roll for AP? 8-) Since I've had games where I couldn't open a desired branch to save my life (Point Defense in one game. I was EL 12 with no D)


And you -can't- use Drone1 as a weapons platform so...

Datalink isn't going to make or break you, but it does help. If you can't crack "the shell" of PDCs you're really
limited to either bombing the population to cut-off supplies, or blockading the planet and burning down anything that tries to leave (or if tried to build SS in orbit or something).

Like I said, if it's that much trouble raise maint to 5% or 10% for PDCs...
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Re: Detecting PDCs

Postby SDTroll on Thu 26 Feb 2015 18:38

Cralis wrote:
SDTroll wrote:
If you shoot from a range of 11, you add 1 to the to-hit value. That seems to be the sweet spot for you. That's 56 "hits."


I was trying to avoid defensive fire, but it looks like it would be pretty ineffective. I never ran the numbers before, assuming the horde of shots would work better, but it doesn't look like it would.


Hmmm... doesn't ULTRA limit BASV fire to a range of 9 tH?


Note a on Table G7.01 gives bases and PDCs longer range (out to 11)





Look at the table again. It's "30% T -or- P" ... on e you've detected it, you are able to detect at 100% short range. Look up "P" targeting.


The line that threw me off was "P detection is lost as soon as the unit moves beyond P range from all enemies." (in rule D5.02.4) Since, before I launch the drones, no one has P detection, I assumed it was lost and had to be redetected by the same rules.

So, any ideas if you have bad luck on the breakthrough roll for AP? 8-) Since I've had games where I couldn't open a desired branch to save my life (Point Defense in one game. I was EL 12 with no D)


And you -can't- use Drone1 as a weapons platform so...

Datalink isn't going to make or break you, but it does help. If you can't crack "the shell" of PDCs you're really
limited to either bombing the population to cut-off supplies, or blockading the planet and burning down anything that tries to leave (or if tried to build SS in orbit or something).

Like I said, if it's that much trouble raise maint to 5% or 10% for PDCs...


I got Solar Starfire today, so everything might be moot anyway. I haven't read it yet. :lol:
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Re: Detecting PDCs

Postby Cralis on Thu 26 Feb 2015 19:26

SDTroll wrote:
Look at the table again. It's "30% T -or- P" ... on e you've detected it, you are able to detect at 100% short range. Look up "P" targeting.


The line that threw me off was "P detection is lost as soon as the unit moves beyond P range from all enemies." (in rule D5.02.4) Since, before I launch the drones, no one has P detection, I assumed it was lost and had to be redetected by the same rules.


Except that once a PDC's location is known, it's known to your whole fleet, both inside and outside of P range. The rule is a little ambiguous, but I'd say that it means T is permenant once discovered. Your fleet would have to die for the PDC's location to become unknown.

Just use some of the MCr you'll save from the smaller drine swarms and make some sensor drones to
detect the PDCs with.

I got Solar Starfire today, so everything might be moot anyway. I haven't read it yet. :lol:


Oh boy! We are working slowly on re-writing Section V, space-rto-ground interactions, and ground combat. When we finish that I think you'll be much, much happier since there will also be a number of additional, interesting options for planetary invasions.
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Re: Detecting PDCs

Postby Xveers on Thu 26 Feb 2015 20:30

Cralis wrote:Oh boy! We are working slowly on re-writing Section V, space-rto-ground interactions, and ground combat. When we finish that I think you'll be much, much happier since there will also be a number of additional, interesting options for planetary invasions.


Pfft! No invasions, just bombs!
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Re: Detecting PDCs

Postby SDTroll on Thu 26 Feb 2015 22:19

Cralis wrote:
SDTroll wrote:
Look at the table again. It's "30% T -or- P" ... on e you've detected it, you are able to detect at 100% short range. Look up "P" targeting.


The line that threw me off was "P detection is lost as soon as the unit moves beyond P range from all enemies." (in rule D5.02.4) Since, before I launch the drones, no one has P detection, I assumed it was lost and had to be redetected by the same rules.


Except that once a PDC's location is known, it's known to your whole fleet, both inside and outside of P range. The rule is a little ambiguous, but I'd say that it means T is permenant once discovered. Your fleet would have to die for the PDC's location to become unknown.

Just use some of the MCr you'll save from the smaller drine swarms and make some sensor drones to
detect the PDCs with.

I got Solar Starfire today, so everything might be moot anyway. I haven't read it yet. :lol:


Oh boy! We are working slowly on re-writing Section V, space-rto-ground interactions, and ground combat. When we finish that I think you'll be much, much happier since there will also be a number of additional, interesting options for planetary invasions.


Sounds good, more ways to invade planets is always good. Why blow up perfectly good workers? :twisted:
Now if you can just make X-ray lasers worth using, I'll be in heaven. :lol:

And thanks for all the help, by the way. I doubt these will be the last questions I have, but I'll probably be on the Solar forums after this.
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