Jump Drives, Mines, Swarms, Hull Costs, etc.

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Re: Starfire without WP's?

Postby SCC on Sat 11 May 2013 03:01

Having only Solar I can't comment on the rules in Alkelda Dawn or other 3rd stuff but for Solar here goes: Warp Jump looks to lag behind weapons range so making those rules the norm doesn't get rid of Fortress and unless mines and and bouys are restricted to the tH they're located in instead of using normal weapons ranges they won't be affected very badly, just need to be further away from the WP
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Re: Starfire without WP's?

Postby Crucis on Sat 11 May 2013 03:30

SCC wrote:Having only Solar I can't comment on the rules in Alkelda Dawn or other 3rd stuff but for Solar here goes: Warp Jump looks to lag behind weapons range so making those rules the norm doesn't get rid of Fortress and unless mines and and bouys are restricted to the tH they're located in instead of using normal weapons ranges they won't be affected very badly, just need to be further away from the WP


SCC, there are (at least) a couple different ways to look at Jump Drives. One is the way used in Ultra/Solar where jump ranges are very limited. And another is like in Alkelda Dawn where jump ranges were up to 100 tac hexes, which of course would put ships far out of weapons range of any ships that were within weapons range of a WP. In the Solar style of jump drive, you might be able to jump over region where AW's are stationed and yet still be within weapons range of some of the ships around the WP. In the AD style, chances are good that you'll exit the WP so far out that the battle instantly turns into a deep space battle.

As for mines, in 3E, mines are a zero range weapon that you place in rings around a WP, and any ships entering the mined hex are attacked. But because mines are relatively cheap, they get deployed in great numbers, and their general purpose is less about causing damage and more about keeping the attacker penned up on the WP, preventing him from moving in-system. This is advantageous to the defender since it means that he'll know exactly where the attacker will be until he can clear a path thru the minefield. But a problem with 3E mines is that they're not particularly simple to use, and worse they're so potent that in 3E once mines are introduced, once begins to enter a time frame where "WP stagnation" sets in. WP Stagnation occurs when the defenses become so strong that no attacker can break them, and is forced to search for other paths into the enemy's star systems, or wait a few TL's until the counter systems to minefields arrive.


Of course, if jump drives were standard and jump ranges were on the long side, then automated defenses would become moot, but with the consequences I outlined in a previous post....
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Re: Starfire without WP's?

Postby SCC on Sat 11 May 2013 05:05

100 tH's? Not only would that draw out the engagement but it would give the defender time to gather forces from the rest of the system
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Re: Starfire without WP's?

Postby Crucis on Sat 11 May 2013 18:16

SCC wrote:100 tH's? Not only would that draw out the engagement but it would give the defender time to gather forces from the rest of the system


Not really as much time as you think. In AD, the Jump drive would randomly disperse the incoming ships at a range of 1d100 tac hexes and on a random arc (not simply 1d12, but 1d12, then a random # of hexes along the "orbit" at the same distance from the WP).

Still, the point is that depending on the random dispersal of the attacking fleet, the defenders, if they were close to the WP, might find themselves surrounded, but fairly concentrated, and could attempt to engage and defeat the dispersed attacking forces in detail, though the attackers might choose to avoid contact while they attempted to concentrate their own forces.

Or the defender might, if he knew that the enemy had these jump drives, might just choose to station his fleet at some other location.

In short, I think that the ability of the defender to pull in additional forces from the rest of the star system would depend in his ability to avoid engaging the attacking fleet. Also, if the defender is only threatened at a single WP, one would think that he could concentrate his defense forces at least somewhat near the WP, rather than dispersed around the star system.

Regardless, unless the attacker happens to have some ships jump into the system within beam range of some of the defenders, any battle that's going to occur is going to at least start out as a deep space battle rather than a WP defense battle, and LRW's will dominate the battlefield.
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Re: Starfire without WP's?

Postby Hawkeye on Sat 11 May 2013 23:24

Just to throw in my two cents (€) at this.

I like how warp points are now.

Yes, minefields/automated weapons can become a pain in the backside - ways to reduce their amount have already been discussed (put a hefty upkeep on them, for example)

I´d hate to have ships be able to avoid fixed defenses. Let me give you an example:

I have played "Distance Worlds" and I liked the game.
The one thing I didn´t like whas the "every ship can jump to every point in any system (fuel permitting).
Either you try to defend everything (and defend nothing as a result) or you focus on a few systems and loose a whole lot of "minor" systems as a result (as a german saying goes: Kleinvieh macht auch Mist - basicly: Small stuff adds up too)

Now, Alkeda Dawn drives aren´t exactly "jump everywhere in a system" but they are a step into that direction - which I realy, realy don´t like.


I realy like Vandervecken´s suggestion of reduced HS costs the bigger the ship gets (economy of scale and all that)
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Re: Starfire without WP's?

Postby Crucis on Sat 11 May 2013 23:38

Hawkeye wrote:Just to throw in my two cents (€) at this.

I like how warp points are now.

Yes, minefields/automated weapons can become a pain in the backside - ways to reduce their amount have already been discussed (put a hefty upkeep on them, for example)

I´d hate to have ships be able to avoid fixed defenses. Let me give you an example:

I have played "Distance Worlds" and I liked the game.
The one thing I didn´t like whas the "every ship can jump to every point in any system (fuel permitting).
Either you try to defend everything (and defend nothing as a result) or you focus on a few systems and loose a whole lot of "minor" systems as a result (as a german saying goes: Kleinvieh macht auch Mist - basicly: Small stuff adds up too)

Now, Alkeda Dawn drives aren´t exactly "jump everywhere in a system" but they are a step into that direction - which I realy, realy don´t like.


I realy like Vandervecken´s suggestion of reduced HS costs the bigger the ship gets (economy of scale and all that)


Thanks for the input Hawkeye.

I don't mind hull costs decreasing as hulls get larger, though I'd like some historical precedents that show that, for example, BB hulls cost less than destroyer or cruiser hulls on a per-tonne basis.
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Re: Starfire without WP's?

Postby Vandervecken on Sun 12 May 2013 02:17

Crucis wrote:I don't mind hull costs decreasing as hulls get larger, though I'd like some historical precedents that show that, for example, BB hulls cost less than destroyer or cruiser hulls on a per-tonne basis.


Comparing the two in a WWII era timeframe would be almost like comparing Apples to Oranges as the destroyers had little belt armor if any. Usually, a destroyer had a Belt thickness of 0.75 or 1 inch. A thickness of this amount wasn't armor in an active sense but just the needed thickness of metal for structural integrity. But battleships has anywhere from 11 to 18 inches of steel as belt armor. Thats a whole lot more metal per square foot, so simple conomy of scale will not work as well for that era. In Starfire, we are assuming that all hull sizes have the same general outer wall thickness. and that your external Armor 'A' adds to that. It also assumes that all military craft have whatever internal structure built in to get about the same damage ratio where as the civilian craft have less internal structure which means that their damage ratio compared to military ships is doubled. Note that the Titanic, which was a big vessel, only had about an Inch of what would be called belt armor although like the destroyer, it was actually the thickness needed for hull integrity. So battleships had all that extra steel thickness to protect themselves from the weapons of smaller vessels. Still, no battleship ever built was made with enough armor that it could protect itself from the broadside of another similarly armed battleship. As most of you know, modern navies went away from the heavy armor of the 'Battleship era' to much thinner armored and faster vessel designs as the weapon technology to penetrate thick armor got better and better. The cost (and some degree weight) to outfit a Battleship with ablative/reactive/ceramic alloy armors as seen on modern era tanks would make them even more of an expensive, big, fat, and slow target.

Now with that being said, from my minimal knowledge of real world analogs, there usually IS some savings when you buy more or bigger. The 'Economy of Scale' that Hawkeye mentioned and most adults have heard about. If you want to design a game with emphasis on the big guys and not swarms, then you have at least some basis in reality for making the cost of HS go down slightly. Just as Solar can say that the cost actually increases as HS goes up, because there are plausible reasons one could extrapolate that Hull integrity would need to be more expensive due to the High tech drives or whatever. Like 'Q' in ST:TNG, you can "simply change the gravitational constant of the game's universe" to fit the vision you are working for. As long as you don't do anything counter-intuitive, we'll all play along. We've all played and enjoyed games that bend reality so much more than Starfire ever did, so don't worry until the guy with a time machine starts giving his input, eh ?
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Re: Starfire without WP's?

Postby Crucis on Sun 12 May 2013 02:48

Vandervecken wrote:
Crucis wrote:I don't mind hull costs decreasing as hulls get larger, though I'd like some historical precedents that show that, for example, BB hulls cost less than destroyer or cruiser hulls on a per-tonne basis.


Comparing the two in a WWII era timeframe would be almost like comparing Apples to Oranges as the destroyers had little belt armor if any. Usually, a destroyer had a Belt thickness of 0.75 or 1 inch. A thickness of this amount wasn't armor in an active sense but just the needed thickness of metal for structural integrity. But battleships has anywhere from 11 to 18 inches of steel as belt armor. Thats a whole lot more metal per square foot, so simple conomy of scale will not work as well for that era. In Starfire, we are assuming that all hull sizes have the same general outer wall thickness. and that your external Armor 'A' adds to that. It also assumes that all military craft have whatever internal structure built in to get about the same damage ratio where as the civilian craft have less internal structure which means that their damage ratio compared to military ships is doubled. Note that the Titanic, which was a big vessel, only had about an Inch of what would be called belt armor although like the destroyer, it was actually the thickness needed for hull integrity. So battleships had all that extra steel thickness to protect themselves from the weapons of smaller vessels. Still, no battleship ever built was made with enough armor that it could protect itself from the broadside of another similarly armed battleship. As most of you know, modern navies went away from the heavy armor of the 'Battleship era' to much thinner armored and faster vessel designs as the weapon technology to penetrate thick armor got better and better. The cost (and some degree weight) to outfit a Battleship with ablative/reactive/ceramic alloy armors as seen on modern era tanks would make them even more of an expensive, big, fat, and slow target.


Actually, Van, from everything I've read, BB designers back in the WW1/WW2 era were trying to design their belt, barbette, and turret armors to withstand hits from other BB's using similar guns to the BB being designed.

In regard to my HS question, I wouldn't consider armor on BB's as part of the hull cost. To me, that's similar to the "A" that you're building on a Starfire ship, though admittedly along different conceptual lines. BB's didn't put that armor on the hull to hold the hull together after all. After all, the Brits built those 3 "heavy light cruisers", the Courageous, Furious, and one other whose name I forget that had next to no armor, but mounted heavy battleship grade guns, and were the same size as Royal Navy BB's and BC's of the time. And I doubt that the Japanese designers build all those tonnes of armor on the Yamatos just to protect them from mere cruisers. The Yamatos were build to take on at least 2 American BB's at a time, from what I've read. (Whether it would have worked out that way, we'll never know, of course.)


As for building modern BB's, there's almost no point in trying to build a modern equivalent of a WW1/WW2 style BB. Sure, you might be able to armor it up to prevent anti-ship missiles from penetrating, but I'm not sure taht you could do the same for modern torpedoes. And worse, even if you could build a real kickass modern BB that seemed all but invincible to modern surface vessels and air and subsurface threats, all an enemy would have to do is just fire a nuke at that super-duper BB and chance are pretty good that that super-duper BB gets turned into a french-fried BB.

I think that the closest thing I've seen to the modern equivalent of a BB was something the USN called an "arsenal ship" which would have been a big ship with hundreds of vertical launch cells. But it got canceled perhaps a decade ago.


Now with that being said, from my minimal knowledge of real world analogs, there usually IS some savings when you buy more or bigger. The 'Economy of Scale' that Hawkeye mentioned and most adults have heard about. If you want to design a game with emphasis on the big guys and not swarms, then you have at least some basis in reality for making the cost of HS go down slightly. Just as Solar can say that the cost actually increases as HS goes up, because there are plausible reasons one could extrapolate that Hull integrity would need to be more expensive due to the High tech drives or whatever. Like 'Q' in ST:TNG, you can "simply change the gravitational constant of the game's universe" to fit the vision you are working for. As long as you don't do anything counter-intuitive, we'll all play along. We've all played and enjoyed games that bend reality so much more than Starfire ever did, so don't worry until the guy with a time machine starts giving his input, eh ?


Well, I "could" go with a model where the per-HS cost decreased as hull size increased. But I have to admit that I'm a real fan of simplicity. And the idea of a single flat per-HS cost for Warship hulls, regardless of size, appeals to me. (Carriers have a different flat rate, and so do OWP's.) I'll have to give it some more thought, but it'll probably take a lot to get me off to chance from my simple flat rate model.
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Re: Starfire without WP's?

Postby Vandervecken on Sun 12 May 2013 04:24

I agree that from a K.I.S.S. standpoint a flat rate is the way to go, but since you already need a Basic Hull type table adding a line for HS cost wont gum things up to much, I hope. It all depends on if you want to favor the bigger classes to give them more appeal economics wise compared to the swarm tactics that many will use (effectively and annoyingly) if all things are even. I too prefer the ramping up to bigger and badder vessels, letting the "Age of Dreadnaughts' and beyond rule. Maybe not as fast or as many as Cosmic will produce but we both know our differences over that subject. I also might like to see Carriers and Fighter squadrons have their time in the sun too, but farther down the EL track than Starfire usually has them. Don't worry too much about what us people who KNOW what we like want; if we are playing a game like Starfire, we are probably smart enough to modify and 'House Rules' our own vision into the game. If on the fence, don't hesitate to ask us for our opinions. Just stay true to your own vision, Crucis, ain't that the reason you started this project in the first place? !!! You are in an envyable position. You have permission to take a game that you love and modify and mold it to the way you see it being done even better. Turning it, hopefully, into a game many others will come to love to play; and no game designer can really ask for much more.
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Re: Starfire without WP's?

Postby Crucis on Sun 12 May 2013 04:56

Vandervecken wrote:I agree that from a K.I.S.S. standpoint a flat rate is the way to go, but since you already need a Basic Hull type table adding a line for HS cost wont gum things up to much, I hope. It all depends on if you want to favor the bigger classes to give them more appeal economics wise compared to the swarm tactics that many will use (effectively and annoyingly) if all things are even. I too prefer the ramping up to bigger and badder vessels, letting the "Age of Dreadnaughts' and beyond rule. Maybe not as fast or as many as Cosmic will produce but we both know our differences over that subject I also might like to see Carriers and Fighter squadrons have their time in the sun too, but farther down the EL track than Starfire usually has them. Don't worry too much about what us people who KNOW what we like want; if we are playing a game like Starfire, we are probably smart enough to modify and 'House Rules' our own vision into the game. If on the fence, don't hesitate to ask us for our opinions. Just stay true to your own vision, Crucis, ain't that the reason you started this project in the first place? !!! You are in an envyable position. You have permission to take a game that you love and modify and mold it to the way you see it being done even better. Turning it, hopefully, into a game many others will come to love to play; and no game designer can really ask for much more.



Oh, I'm ALLLL for an "Age of Dreadnoughts" and an "Age of Carriers". And yeah, I do prefer a faster pace than many people. I guess it comes from playing so many of big Starfire campaigns in 1st and 2nd edition... (yeah, I'm dating myself with that...)

There's actually another significant thing that works against larger ships, and it's in the construction rules. It's the old requirement that you pay for a ships 100% up front, rather than with a pay as you go model. Those big ships are expensive, compared to the small ones, when you have to pay for them all at once. But if you had, let's say, a BC that would take 4 months to build, and you could pay for it in 4 equal installments over those 4 months, the cost of the BC would start looking less steep compared to the smaller ships. In old school 1E, 2E, and pure ISF, you didn't lack for money, so paying for big ships upfront wasn't much of a burden. But if money is a lot tighter, then I think that paying in installments is probably an option that should be made available to help players afford to build those large ships without having to bust their budgets whenever they want a couple of new BB's.


And you're really correct that in the grand scheme of things having a column for the per-HS cost of each type isn't a particularly complex deal. There are certainly much more complex things in the game.


Anyways, thanks for the continuing support.
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