Scouts and Supply

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Tyrel Lohr
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Scouts and Supply

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Sun Feb 22, 2009 4:35 am

In 2E, the current plan is to eliminate these "super-abilities" and distill their functions down and spread them across several component abilities. In the case of Scout, many of its original abilities will simply be removed.

Let's talk about the Scout ability a bit more. In 1E, units with this ability can do a great deal of things... some of them fairly unbalanced. For this reason, Scout will be principally replaced bythe following unit abilities: Electronic Warfare (EW), Electronic Countermeasures (ECM), Electronic Counter-Countermeasures (ECCM), and Sensors.

Electronic Warfare will encompass the combat-oriented scout abilities, but will be limited to increasing/decreasing Anti-Ship, Anti-Fighter or Formation Point values. This means no include/exclude functionality (which instead will be somewhat subsumed into a new concept called scenario intensity).

ECM and ECCM are abilities that strictly increase and decrease available Formation Points, respectively. Formation Points are used to increase the Formation Level of units in a squadron or strikegroup. These two abilities effectively replace Guardian and Disruptor in the current rules.

Sensors is a new concept entirely, and is of greatest importance when calculating detection chances. Detection will likely become a default part of the CSCR, and detection results will have an impact on scenario intensity and surprise. Sensors will also be used when performing exploration attempts.

The intent going into CSCR 2 and 2E is to make all of the abilities more granular, so that they will scale better both as tech increases and as unit size/capabilities increase. What you see above is a step in that direction.

As for the Supply "super-ability," Field Repair will become its own distinct ability, and will allow a player to perform repairs on units that are damaged but not Crippled (Crippled ships must be returned to a shipyard for repairs). We are still finalizing our new concept for supply in 2E, but the resupply functions of Supply will likely no longer be an "ability" but rather a function of units with the Cargo ability in that players will production actual "Supply Units" and transport them aboard their freighters and use them to resupply squadrons that are otherwise Out of Supply. This is still subject to change, but it should give you an idea where that is headed. While it sounds like more work, I believe in practice that it should eliminate some of the wonkier aspects of the existing supply rules. Playtesting will tell us for sure.

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Supply

Postby nimrodd » Tue Feb 24, 2009 3:59 pm

I have always disliked that 1 supply ship supports 1 squadron whether it is a squadron of 15 ships or 3 ships.

Combining SIZ with Supply, you can now state that 1 Supply Unit can resupply 10 SIZ points of ships. This would also allow you to create Explorer ships that can carry a supply unit (or two) to keep them supplied "beyond the rim" for several months. For example a SIZ 5 Explorer ship that has 2 Cargo with 2 Supply Units (supplies for 20 SIZ) could stay out for 4 turns beyond supply range before starting to go OOS.
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Re: Supply

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Tue Feb 24, 2009 4:20 pm

nimrodd wrote:I have always disliked that 1 supply ship supports 1 squadron whether it is a squadron of 15 ships or 3 ships.


Exactly. It was made all the more painful by the fact that you then had to track whether or not each point of Supply had been "used" or not. Treating supply as expendable cargo should make it easier to track.

nimrodd wrote:Combining SIZ with Supply, you can now state that 1 Supply Unit can resupply 10 SIZ points of ships. This would also allow you to create Explorer ships that can carry a supply unit (or two) to keep them supplied "beyond the rim" for several months. For example a SIZ 5 Explorer ship that has 2 Cargo with 2 Supply Units (supplies for 20 SIZ) could stay out for 4 turns beyond supply range before starting to go OOS.


This is a better method than what I had scrawled out, I think, though I would probably have each Supply Unit be consumed regardless if the full 10 SIZ was used or not. An optional rule could be added for tracking partial Supply Units, but I am not sure we want to deal with those by default (it would be kind of like tracking partial Census; a nice option to have, but some players just wouldn't want to do it).

The Explorer ship in this example should also end up having some Endurance Rating, too, which would extend the number of turns it could be out of supply before earning Out of Supply Levels.

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Postby Chyll » Tue Feb 24, 2009 6:43 pm

Why not just give each ship a Supply/Support characteristic. Then a ship with 1, 2, 5, or whatever could go that many turns out of supply. Any left over values on one ship could be transferred to another. Then you could design a supply hauler - no weapons, lots of supply value - or long range independant scouts/explorers.

One full turn spent back in supply refreshes the stores.
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Postby Tyrel Lohr » Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:16 pm

Chyll wrote:Why not just give each ship a Supply/Support characteristic. Then a ship with 1, 2, 5, or whatever could go that many turns out of supply. Any left over values on one ship could be transferred to another. Then you could design a supply hauler - no weapons, lots of supply value - or long range independant scouts/explorers.

One full turn spent back in supply refreshes the stores.


The first half of your description is exactly what the Endurance ability does, Noel :) As for transferring Endurance/supply from one unit to another, there probably should be some Supply Unit equivalency so that you could convert friendly Endurance into Supply to be consumed by other friendly units in order to keep them in-supply, but I would have to mull the best way to do this. I think I have rules for it in some previous campaign notes.

As for the reason why you wouldn't necessarily want Endurance to be strictly equal to or replace Supply Units is because there should be no reason why you couldn't build a cargo barge -- your supply hauler -- and then load it up with supplies for use later. The Endurance stat measures how long a unit can operate away from supply without earning Out of Supply Levels, and combines ease of maintenance with the ability to store enough supplies to operate for that duration of time. Supply aboard Cargo ships instead are pure consumables that can be used to extend a unit's effective range (and Endurance).

Here's an example of kind of how I see this all working:

The Demeter-class explorer ship Persephone is a SIZ 4 unit which has 7 Endurance and 2 Cargo. It is going to be accompanied by two SIZ 1 Tchaikovsky-class science vessels, each of which have only 2 Endurance and no Cargo.

Before leaving port, the Terran player opts to load 2 Supply Points (ed: sounds better than Supply Units) aboard Persephone. These 2 Supply Points occupy the total available Cargo Rating aboard the explorer ship.

For the first two turns, none of the three exploration vessels are affected by the negative effects of Out of Supply Levels, although they will still earn them. However, on the third turn, the science ships will see a degradation in function due to their current Out of Supply Level exceeding their Endurance Rating.

In order to prevent this, on the second turn, the player could order the Persephone to expend 1 Supply Point to remove Out of Supply Levels from itself (SIZ 4) and both T's (SIZ 1). Each Supply Point can be used to resupply a maximum 10 SIZ (as per nimrodd's suggestion), and the combined SIZ of these units is 6, so we are not over the maximum.

One thing we could do in order to keep Supply Points from being partially "wasted" would be to allow them to be used multiple times on the same units in order to reduce Out of Supply Levels. For example, 1 Supply Point could theoretically be allowed to remove 1 OSL from the Persephone (SIZ 4) and 3 OSL each from the T's (SIZ 1 x 3 x 2 = 6). That is probably a fair way of handling Supply Point spending.

In relation to the Sequence of Play, I think Supply Points should be expended BEFORE Out of Supply Levels are applied. That way Out of Supply Levels and their negative effects will take effect in a single step.

It is also important to point out that the Supply Points are being used to eliminate single Out of Supply Levels -- a unit will not be completely back in-supply until they are able to trace a supply line back to a friendly colony.

I am also thinking that the effects of Out of Supply Levels that exceed Endurance should be more permanent, taking the form of actual Damage or Critical Hits (this morning, I am thinking criticals would be a better result). This will force ships that have been out of supply beyond their Endurance to have to come back and undergo refit/repair to restore them to mint condition.

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Postby Chyll » Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:09 pm

Oh, I got it (or thought I did - the example just helped validate my understanding). 8)

I just advocate simple and be done.

Put me in "the-proposed-seems-a-bit-fiddly-but-I'd-try-it" camp. :lol:
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Postby Tyrel Lohr » Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:03 pm

Chyll wrote:Put me in "the-proposed-seems-a-bit-fiddly-but-I'd-try-it" camp. :lol:


Situations like this should only come up when fleets are operating in locations outside of their normal supply lines. In wartime, I would imagine that this wouldn't become an issue until the player starts driving deep into enemy territory without establishing some supply depots to keep their forces in supply.

The intent is to get rid of the equally fiddly Supply ability from 1E, and give Cargo ships something to do other than never be built in the first place. For the most part, I would expect players to build their patrol ships and explorer with enough Endurance to be able to operate away from home as they would feel natural. A small, insular empire would have little need for that extra strategic range, but larger empires that have more territory to patrol might find it worth the trade off.

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Postby Bandit » Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:41 pm

To me, it would seem like a exploration vessel should be able to stay out of the supply network for long extended peroids and function normally, assuming there was not an accident, or it got into combat.

Maybe a system that allowed a supply check roll at specific intervals would work better? For instance there is a random event that causes a system on the ship to malfunction. If you have a tech officer he might be able to fix it, roll his skill. If not, roll a supply check to see if you have the part in stores to fix. If you fail you earn 1 level of being out of supply.

I agree that the biological component of the vessal, ie crew, is what could run out of supplies first. Food and water comes to mind. In Babylon 5 the exploration vessel was supposd to be able to stay out on the rim for 5 years at a time. Did it have a ton of Endurance?

These are things that pop into my mind.
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Postby Chyll » Tue Feb 24, 2009 10:35 pm

Tyrel Lohr wrote:Situations like this should only come up when fleets are operating in locations outside of their normal supply lines. In wartime, I would imagine that this wouldn't become an issue until the player starts driving deep into enemy territory without establishing some supply depots to keep their forces in supply.


I've had fleets blockaded and supply dwindling away on more than one occasion.

And I can't remember a time my exploration ships weren't out of supply when they popped away to strange new worlds (though I certainly could be playing it wrong).


Bandit wrote:In Babylon 5 the exploration vessel was supposd to be able to stay out on the rim for 5 years at a time. Did it have a ton of Endurance?

These are things that pop into my mind.


Or the Galatica having enough water aboard to sustain itself, and its ragtag, for years (until sabotaged).

How long would the Enterprise operate outside direct support? Oh! Or Voyager for that matter?


Still firmly in the "fiddly" camp, but I haven't tried it yet so I'm just judging the book by the cover.

I do advocate testing in contrast to just Endurance by itself, however, and allow transfers within a TF for ships that run out/low.

edit: though, I guess it would have to be two numbers wouldn't it? Max/Current. Is there a non-fiddly way to model this?
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Postby Bandit » Tue Feb 24, 2009 11:33 pm

Chyll wrote:How long would the Enterprise operate outside direct support? Oh! Or Voyager for that matter?


For me it is a function of the high tech nature of the show.

As they can make food, water and just about anything else out of energy ... as long as the warp engines have fuel. For Voyager, which was using new(er) class 9 warp drives, that would be 3 years.

As for the Galaxy class;

These vessels were designed for unsupported missions of 10 to 20 years beyond Federation boarders, the first time starfleet ever attempted such an undertaking, and as such these vessels were designed to operate autonomously with little or no outside support from starfleet facilities.(Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual)

The Enterprise does seem to make a lot of pit stops during the run of the show. I look at it that while they may have been desgined to perform remote missions doesn't mean they ended up being assigned to do so all the time. Plus, a single ship on the fringe of space is boring without drama, combat and the guest star of the week. Those three things often lead to the ship being required to make port somewhere.

That is how I look at it.

I would perfer a system that is not fiddly ... I don't think we will realistically get one.
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Postby MarkNorfolk » Wed Feb 25, 2009 4:07 am

To make it easier to track and make the paperwork more intuitive, couldn't it be said that 1 Supply Point removes 1 SIZ's worth of OOS? (And that one Cargo holds 10 Supply Points). This seems easier in the head than sub-dividing a single Supply Point across various ships.

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