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Survey and communications at HT1

PostPosted: Mon 24 Aug 2015 17:57
by Caplin
Hi All,

So I'm trying to get an initial solo campaign going using the SM2 New Empires start, and I'm wondering how people handle communication in the survey process.

At HT1 there are no drones to carry messages, so the only way for the capital to know what's behind a given warp point is for something to come back and tell them.
One thing classic SF doesn't cover is standard operating procedures, as far as I can see. Do people write survey procedures anyway?

I'm thinking of something like this: when probing a system, if no populations detected, begin a rough survey. If populations are detected, advise the nearest ICC and wait for orders.

At the strategic level, SM2 in general seems to be much less finicky about timing than the ISF system. I'm just wondering how fast and loose people play things. I could kind of ignore the whole communication subsystem entirely if I wanted to, but that's no fun at all. On the strategic level, I'm thinking that it's safe to assume info can be passed in system in one pulse.

Thanks for any input :)

Re: Survey and communications at HT1

PostPosted: Mon 24 Aug 2015 22:32
by Cralis
Caplin wrote:So I'm trying to get an initial solo campaign going using the SM2 New Empires start, and I'm wondering how people handle communication in the survey process.


There is pretty much only one way to do communications at HT1: use a ship to carry the message. Most of the time players use EX or ES (depending upon which version of third edition, you should have EX with SM2) that have the maximum speed possible.

At HT1 there are no drones to carry messages, so the only way for the capital to know what's behind a given warp point is for something to come back and tell them.

One thing classic SF doesn't cover is standard operating procedures, as far as I can see. Do people write survey procedures anyway?


In multiplayer: absolutely a must. Many solo players don't because they just remember what they want each race to do, and it gives them some flexibility, but I personally always write them down because my memory sucks and I want to remember how I want each race to act. I do more than just SOPs, I write lots of notes on what I want them to do and be and act like.

I'm thinking of something like this: when probing a system, if no populations detected, begin a rough survey. If populations are detected, advise the nearest ICC and wait for orders.


What about contacting an unknown vessel?

What about a WP that your ships go in, and nobody comes back out?

What about your adjacent surveys when one of several groups encounters an alien population?

And there's more...

At the strategic level, SM2 in general seems to be much less finicky about timing than the ISF system. I'm just wondering how fast and loose people play things. I could kind of ignore the whole communication subsystem entirely if I wanted to, but that's no fun at all. On the strategic level, I'm thinking that it's safe to assume info can be passed in system in one pulse.


With SM2 everything is based on the StMP (Strategic Movement Point). Most people that I've seen play go one of two routes: they either completely do everything by StMP, or they calculate every movement, every communication, everything down to the tactical turn. Personally, by StMP is good enough for 9 out of 10 cases, and you can always do some rough calculations if the exact timing matters.

Thanks for any input :)


No problem!

Re: Survey and communications at HT1

PostPosted: Tue 25 Aug 2015 08:31
by Caplin
Yeah… Clearly i need to think more about different possibilities. :)

I guess what's tripping me up is that in the case of habitable surveys, for instance, ships will have to return through the WP to transmit messages about potential colonization sites etc. Do players routinely send non-survey escorts through with their survey groups to relay that kind of message back?

I'm probably thinking too hard about this stuff, but I have a slightly obsessive need to get it right. It's a symptom of how much I like something.

Re: Survey and communications at HT1

PostPosted: Mon 14 Sep 2015 03:00
by aramis
Caplin wrote:Yeah… Clearly i need to think more about different possibilities. :)

I guess what's tripping me up is that in the case of habitable surveys, for instance, ships will have to return through the WP to transmit messages about potential colonization sites etc. Do players routinely send non-survey escorts through with their survey groups to relay that kind of message back?

I'm probably thinking too hard about this stuff, but I have a slightly obsessive need to get it right. It's a symptom of how much I like something.

In general, in the games I ran, SOP was 1 went through, then sent a CD back at HT2, or came RIGHT back at HT1. The courier was usually close to one of:
(2) SAAAAAAHQs(I)(I)(I) (6)
(2) SAAAAAHQs(Ic)(Ic) (4)
(2) SAAADHQS(Ic)(Ic) (4)
The hold is for carrying maintenance.

If it didn't come back, another would be tried in about 3 turns. If that didn't come back, mark it as hostile.

Re: Survey and communications at HT1

PostPosted: Mon 14 Sep 2015 15:36
by Caplin
Ah, that clarifies things nicely. I decided to equip each of my survey fleets with a laser-armed escort, on the idea that it would be the escort actually going in and doing the probe. Unfortunately, I'm a bit wary of continuing too much further in my current game without a good way of dealing with system and tactical level movement. The example is certainly helpful though.

Re: Survey and communications at HT1

PostPosted: Mon 14 Sep 2015 20:40
by LordKron
If you're playing based on original 3rd ed, I would do the couriers as 8 HS ES designs to keep the cost down. If you're going with 3rdR, 7 HS EX class ships are ideal message boats.

Re: Survey and communications at HT1

PostPosted: Sat 19 Sep 2015 04:15
by aramis
LordKron wrote:If you're playing based on original 3rd ed, I would do the couriers as 8 HS ES designs to keep the cost down. If you're going with 3rdR, 7 HS EX class ships are ideal message boats.

agreed. As soon as one can (TL4), sending a tender in to lay DSB-Com seems appropo... once your EX WP=crasher has established you don't immediately die on the other side.

Let's see
Code: Select all
5 05 Hull
2 04 Ic
1 15 Qs
1 04 S
1 02 A
MGC 29

EX-Courier 29 MGC
(2) SAQs(Ic) (4)

It can and will die if attacked.
I made them (AC) when I used them, upping the cost by 0.5 MGC.

Re: Survey and communications at HT1

PostPosted: Sat 19 Sep 2015 05:39
by LordKron
In 3rdR that design isn't legal. Violates the 20% limit on military systems to be considered a freighter, and as a warship (even unarmed it needs a cargo hold). Swap out A for H (least expensive option) or (BbS) and a shuttle (not bad for surveys) and it works.

Re: Survey and communications at HT1

PostPosted: Wed 30 Sep 2015 14:30
by krenshala
While it has more than 20% military systems, it is still a valid design. Being more than 20% military just means it has to pay the military hull maintenance rate.

Re: Survey and communications at HT1

PostPosted: Thu 01 Oct 2015 03:08
by aramis
LordKron wrote:In 3rdR that design isn't legal. Violates the 20% limit on military systems to be considered a freighter, and as a warship (even unarmed it needs a cargo hold). Swap out A for H (least expensive option) or (BbS) and a shuttle (not bad for surveys) and it works.

It was paid for as a military hull, not a freighter.
There is no hold requirement for small military ships which mount the needed Qs for the Lh and Q requirement.

Now, when I first ran a campaign... it wouldn't be legal because it was too small... and would have been about the same cost... SAHDIIIIII was my 2E version...