Single Squadron Task Forces

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Re: Single Squadron Task Forces

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:31 pm

murtalianconfederacy wrote:I'm assuming these will be optional rules rather than the standard rules?


That's going to be the most likely outcome, unless the rule really takes fire at which point I would consider folding it into a revised version of 2E. But it's early days.
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Re: Single Squadron Task Forces

Postby japridemor » Fri Sep 23, 2016 6:04 pm

I really like this option as well. I tend to view the game as Aelius does, again most likely because I played F&E in the past. I really like the single squadron option for combat with still having a variable CC based on size that would need me to spend more CR to issue orders to that unit.

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Re: Single Squadron Task Forces

Postby BroAdso » Sat Sep 24, 2016 12:45 am

Ran this short battle and another today. There are a couple of minor errors in my graphical representation, but you should still be able to follow along.

Issues I encountered:
1) When doing forced includes/excludes, it needs to be clarified when their forced inclusion and exclusion takes effect under the new rules. For example, if I use four scout functions to force-include an opponent's ship, can they then use their scout or guardian functions to raise that ship's formation level? Or do all the scout, guardian, and other "assignment" functions get assigned simultaneously, including those that force-include ships? Similarly, do force-include ships 'push out' another ship in the Task Force over the limit? Do the force-included ships have to go back to the Reserves pool after that round, if force includes and force excludes become a per combat round thing?

2) With fewer total ships, I feel like Stealth's double-damage might get under valued. Maybe undetected ships get their double the first round they are in combat, rather than the first round of combat overall? This is a pretty minor issue, and might be due to the particulars of this battle.

3) When shifting command ships, a clear order of operations can be established. In this battle, when the Romulans withdrew their War Eagle, I reset the task force CR before the next round started, for example.

So the battle I ran: I imagined that there was a small Klingon fleet moving to bring additional Ground Units to an ongoing combat. A Romulan fleet had been cloaked in the system they move into, and uncloaks. The Klingons decline the Deep Space scenario and flee, resulting in a pursuit scenario.

From the beginning, priorities are clear: the Klingons have decided they can afford to lose one transport squadron if they can eliminate some expensive Romulan ships lurking behind their lines. They want to keep at least one of their transport convoys alive to reinforce the ongoing ground battle next turn, and hopefully keep their Bat'Leh heavy fighters (with Assault 1) alive to deliver that ground unit to the fray. The Romulans want to prolong the ground battle in the neighboring system as long as possible, and keep their expensive command ships alive and non-disabled if possible, to maraud behind Klingon lines.
Forces (I forgot to list the Batleh fighters)
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Round 1-2
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In the first two rounds, both forces concentrated on their objectives reasonably well. However, the loss of two Scout functions from the Romulan Ibis cruisers in Round 1 and 2's firing meant almost all the strategic focus had to shift to including the convoys rather than diluting the firepower of the klingon ships or enhancing their own firepower.

Rounds 3-4
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With their War Eagle Mk2 class battleship taking significant damage, the Romulans shift it to reserve and let their Butcherbird cruiser take the Task Force Command role. This is a crucial decision, which limits their number of total ships and CC available to assign special missions. Since without the War Eagle Mk2 no ships have the Carrier special ability, there is also no way to assign special missions to fighters anymore, and the Task Force's three remaining squadrons can't get access to any AS firepower, so can't contribute. However, they've destroyed one transport squadron and are confident that with concentrated firepower they can destroy the next. The Klingons have seen good results from maximizing their firepower and lowering the FL of key targets in the Romulan fleet (like that War Eagle) to inflict directed damage on them, so they mostly keep doing that.

Rounds 5-6 and final losses counter
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No major changes to the rhythm of the fight, but as the initial +4AS bonus the Romulans gained from all their fight has worn off, and the Klingons strategically shifted their Minesweeper for another K'Tinga they had in reserve, the fight evened out. If the Romulans had been able to keep more of their (many) reserve ships in the fight by keeping the higher-CR War Eagle their Task Force Command Ship, or had rolled better, they might have disabled or destroyed the second troop convoy. However, instead their new flagship, the Butcherbird class IRW Ventrix, caught just enough damage to end the battle disabled - an unpleasant coda to the fight for the Romulan force.

I still really like these rules, but the more things I play with, the more I realize how many little special rules need to find a proper, balanced slot in them before they are complete - from the proper stats to base Flight Missions on to how to handle includes/excludes, Scouts, and Stealth.

Oh, and I do use a simple ___/___ system to keep track of DV. It's really not that much extra book keeping for me, and it gives an interesting and granular look at how much each ship has taken. It makes each player gamble - if I assign some of this undirected damage to these ships, do I risk putting them in easy reach of a surgical directed damage attack to disable them? I don't think it distorts my playtest results much, though.

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Re: Single Squadron Task Forces

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Sat Sep 24, 2016 4:28 am

BroAdso wrote:1) When doing forced includes/excludes, it needs to be clarified when their forced inclusion and exclusion takes effect under the new rules. For example, if I use four scout functions to force-include an opponent's ship, can they then use their scout or guardian functions to raise that ship's formation level? Or do all the scout, guardian, and other "assignment" functions get assigned simultaneously, including those that force-include ships? Similarly, do force-include ships 'push out' another ship in the Task Force over the limit? Do the force-included ships have to go back to the Reserves pool after that round, if force includes and force excludes become a per combat round thing?


I would like it if the order of operations needs to be such that a unit can be included but its owner can then give it a special mission to defend it, but I'm not sure that works without a lot of extra exceptions that are more trouble than they're worth.

In fact, given the situation, I would almost say that the include/exclude should probably be round-by-round and occur during the same step that Scout functions are spent (Electronic Warfare). The include/exclude would then represent the fleet outmaneuvering an enemy to bring ships in or out of the battle that are simply out of position and vulnerable. That makes it a great way to make an enemy ship vulnerable, or leave another enemy behind.

In that case, the include/exclude would last only that round. Included ships would not count against the squadron limit, and excluded ships would still be in the player's task force but couldn't fire or be fired upon for the rest of the turn. Any flights or minefields based from the included/excluded unit would be similarly affected.

Example: The Federation's Curry carrier has been crippled and moved to the reinforcements (along with its 4 flights of Peregrine fighters). The Cardassians want that ship dead, however, and use their Scouts to force the Federation to include the ship in its Task Force. The ship is now present, but can't perform any special missions or be aided by the rest of the fleet.

The Scout cost to include/exclude is equal to the unit's Command Cost. That makes it pricey to pull this off, but it can be really advantageous.

These scout missions can cut both ways. You can use Scout functions to include extra ships in your task force (beyond your normal limit!), or you can exclude friendly ships to prevent an opponent from bringing them in. For example, with enough Scout support the Klingons could continuously exclude their troop transports to prevent them from being exposed to Romulan fire. Of course, that could be abused, so we might be better off to limit to including or excluding enemy units exclusively.

2) With fewer total ships, I feel like Stealth's double-damage might get under valued. Maybe undetected ships get their double the first round they are in combat, rather than the first round of combat overall? This is a pretty minor issue, and might be due to the particulars of this battle.


I think that's a fair change. That way the units will always get a first strike. I'd also add that an enemy can't use an include or exclude Scout mission against undetected units because as far as they know they don't exist.

3) When shifting command ships, a clear order of operations can be established. In this battle, when the Romulans withdrew their War Eagle, I reset the task force CR before the next round started, for example.


I think squadron reorg could happen during the Assignments Phase (which might need to be broken up or renamed to make it clearer what happens when) at the start of the battle. That way you can have consistent rules for setting up the task force at the beginning of play, and rules for what to do when you have to reassign a task force flagship.

When the CR changes, then you would automatically add or remove units to meet the new command limit if you're short. That way if you suffer losses you can always bring additional ships into the battle. But if you want to voluntarily move ships to the reinforcements, that is when you will have to use CR. I'm thinking those kinds of operations would also happen at the start of the round, and the CR cost to command a "Retreat" action to the reinforcements would count against the CR you're spending on other special actions this turn, but it would take effect immediately.

In the first two rounds, both forces concentrated on their objectives reasonably well. However, the loss of two Scout functions from the Romulan Ibis cruisers in Round 1 and 2's firing meant almost all the strategic focus had to shift to including the convoys rather than diluting the firepower of the klingon ships or enhancing their own firepower.


I like this dynamic because it makes Scouts important, but for a different reason than they have been in VBAM up to this point. Now they are being used more to shape the battlefield and force action against enemy units (in this case the convoys). Losing or lacking Scout support also makes a player really consider taking some of their smaller units out of the fight and assigning them to Scouting missions to get those extra Scout functions they need to pull off an include/exclude.

The fact that convoys are going to end up being CC 1 units means that it is going to be pretty easy to pull them in if you want to. And for a defender, that means that they may not be able to shield them as effectively as they would like without including them as an integral part of the task force so that they can have a proper escort, rather than simply trying to keep the enemy away from them.

I can almost see a game of cat-and-mouse emerging from this kind of behavior. You include my transports, but I exclude your heavy cruiser (and most of your firepower with it!). The tempo of the battle changes and becomes much more tactical with how you apply your command resources.

With their War Eagle Mk2 class battleship taking significant damage, the Romulans shift it to reserve and let their Butcherbird cruiser take the Task Force Command role. This is a crucial decision, which limits their number of total ships and CC available to assign special missions.


Something that my brainstorming has come up with as another possible optional rule change is to have repairs be faster and/or easier to achieve. My first idea in this respect is to make Supply Depots a key repair center for fleet units, and have the repairs possibly take as little as a single turn. That would make decisions like the above even more crucial because the Romulan player would be balancing the time and expense of building a new battleship versus the fairly quick turnaround on repairing it. Repairing the ship will just require them to move the ship back to a friendly Supply Depot or Shipyard and have maybe a quick month of repairs, while it might take 6-8 turns to build a new one.

The reason I'm considering this is because then players don't have to track construction times for ships under repair (which can sometimes be forgotten) and because it makes crippling rather than destroying a much better option for the player, whereas destroying them becomes better for the opponent. I think the back-and-forth there could reinforce some interesting play. I'll be testing that out in my own playtest run.

I still really like these rules, but the more things I play with, the more I realize how many little special rules need to find a proper, balanced slot in them before they are complete - from the proper stats to base Flight Missions on to how to handle includes/excludes, Scouts, and Stealth.


And this is going to be the sticking point for really developing these rules: finding a good balancing point that strips away as much confusion as possible and makes it extremely clear what order everything happens and doesn't leave open questions as to how the battle should be fought. The special abilities all add wrinkles to the situation, and some may have to be adjusted to accommodate this system.

However, from what I'm seeing in your playtest and my own games, does it seem like it takes less time to set up the battles? And does the progression give you more or less significant decisions compared to the existing CSCR? To me it seems like I have more control over the battle, and the battle seems more "personal" because I am dealing with a limited number of ships at a time rather than everything fighting all at once.

Oh, and I do use a simple ___/___ system to keep track of DV. It's really not that much extra book keeping for me, and it gives an interesting and granular look at how much each ship has taken. It makes each player gamble - if I assign some of this undirected damage to these ships, do I risk putting them in easy reach of a surgical directed damage attack to disable them? I don't think it distorts my playtest results much, though.


Have you had an issues keeping track of damage this way? I used that system with my 1E Skirmish rules, but have been leaning back towards the simpler cripple/destroyed statuses for 2E to make it easier for players to keep track of what state the ship is in.
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Re: Single Squadron Task Forces

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Sat Sep 24, 2016 5:13 pm

Quick idea to throw out there for consumption: what if the command and scout actions were combined into a single concept, with the task force flagship automatically contributing a certain number of scout functions to the task force? Say CR / 2 (round down)? For example, I have the following ship as my task force flagship:

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Excelsior CA: DV 6, AS 5, AF 3, CF 1, CR 5

I would then get 2 Scout functions (5 / 2 = 2.5, rounds to 2) to use even if I don't have any other Scouts present in my task force. I can then use these functions to perform missions, be it includes/excludes, formations, combat buff/debuff, etc.

The command/scout economy would then be reduced to a single element, and something that could be easier to control. Then you would spend down in order, with includes/excludes being declared first, followed by other missions from there.

In the other instance, I would have the Excelsior CA plus up to 5 other ships in my task force (I think doing the flagship + CR # of ships tracks better). Let's say that I have 3 Miranda DD (CC 1) and 2 Constitution CL (CC 2). So no extra Scout functions in my task force.

I could then decide that I need to extra firepower in my fleet, and use my 2 Scout functions (from flagship CR) to include 2 Miranda CL (at a cost of 1 Scout each) in my task force. These includes would only last this turn, and then the ship would move back to the reinforcements. That way the includes/excludes would always be temporary and in addition to the normal task force arrangement (no including ships to then easily slip others out). Does that sound fair?

My opponent meanwhile does have some Scouts, and has 5 Scout functions to spend. He can't exclude my flagship (because that way leads chaos), but he doesn't want my Constitutions to be in the fight this round. So he uses 4 Scout functions to exclude both Constitution CL. Each of those ships probably had a flight of shuttles onboard, so those flights are excluded this round, too. My opponent then holds his remaining Scout function to use for electronic warfare missions (like raising/lowering formations).

At the end of the combat round, those excluded Constitutions would move back into my task force. They are still occupying two "slots" in my task force; I can't bring in reinforcements for free. They were just caught in a delaying action of some sort and separated from the fleet.

Now, my opponent could use his last Scout function to try and include one of my ships in the fleet, too. Maybe I have a colony fleet in the system, and they want to try and destroy it? 1 Scout function would be enough to include the convoy in the battle. I could have paid to exclude it, but includes would take precedence over excludes -- unless that should be a 50/50 die flip to see who breaks the tie? That might be more fair now that I think of it, but what do you guys think?

Scout missions will probably have to go away because I'm having trouble balancing that against some of the other actions. But maybe I'm being hasty. Just trying to work through the various issues that I can foresee or that we've all encountered thus far.

In other news, given the combat changes this is my proposal for a new ship scaling chart:

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This is close to what we have in 2E already, but with some size tweaks here and there to be more consistent. You'll notice immediately that Gunboats and Frigates are gone. I don't feel there is enough granularity to really make those classes work. You can do it, but I'd rather concentrate on having a better mix on the low end of the scale. So Gunboats are gone as a class (to be reborn as a special unit ability, more than likely), and Frigates are split between Corvette and Destroyer categories. The Corvette is now almost as powerful as a 2E Frigate, while the Destroyer is now a bit weaker.

Overall, this gives a fairly good scale of abilities with no strong advantages for any one class. The breakdown of task forces into a single squadron allowed me to no longer have to build around the CR/CC mechanic, as now it is more abstract and easier to control in battle. Before, there was such a fall off from going from CC 1 to CC 2 that you had to pad the construction point (CP) totals to make each class viable. Now, this delineation makes all units viable. A consistent construction time of Cost / 2 (round up) also meshes well, so it will take 4 turns to build a Heavy Cruiser or 6 turns to build a Battleship.
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Re: Single Squadron Task Forces

Postby wadewan » Sat Sep 24, 2016 7:51 pm

I like the Single Squadron Task Force concept better than the current rules as written. But...

So take the following comments as light-hearted based on 40+ years of gaming which doesn't make me smarter, wiser or whatever than anybody else, just means I have read A LOT of rules.

I am still fairly new to VBAM and occasionally find myself creating house rules only to find that it is already there in some form in a supplement. I have attempted to write my own game rules many times and have enormous appreciation for those that have done so. To write rules for any game concept with good organization, clarity and appeal is very difficult and the VBAM series meets my definition of good supported by a loyal following.

So with the above and the opening of this post's subject to explore changes to the combat system I would throw out my comments regarding my dislike of the limitation on force size and allocation of damage.

Why does VBAM place limits on the quantity of ships in a force? I believe F&E did it as a game balance crutch to try to replicate a fictional-historical(?) result whereas VBAM is open-ended. It feels artificial and perhaps I am not getting the design intent on this rule. For that reason I don't use the CC rules and use a modified CR for fleets.

I don't really want to game out a battle where one side has an overwhelming advantage but isn't that a basic principle of warfare? If the USN shows up in my system (ah I meant off my coastline) with a battle group with three CVAs with attendant escorts, air assets, ASW and surface combatants nobody I am aware of is counting up command cost or ships and holding something back. Force economics, logistics and maneuver warfare have as much to do with force size than anything else. Empires with large fleets should be weighed down with a heavy burden of logistical costs/problems, maintenance support/costs and unless at war, a discontented population. If one force has 30 ships and the other 10 with a ship or two being screened I would imagine the larger force would deploy resources necessary to fight the 10 and another force to chase down the others being screened if my Scouts detect and locate them first. Ultimately I will probably just use the rules and modify the task force size rules.

Maybe I will add a 'CIC Trait' that provides a Flag ship with expanded command capabilities, and/or perhaps explore Operations cost rules from some other games that provide cost to perform certain things with some races better than others which is probably close to what the CR/CC discussion is already. If anything the discussion regarding CC as a limiter to mission selection quantity sounds promising. Using Scouts to provide ECM/ECCM to assist targeting and having the ability to exchange AS for some AF or vice-versa makes sense.

Regarding allocation of damage I want a little more thematic feel somewhere between playing it out with miniatures and pushing a spreadsheet calculation. VBAM is pretty cohesive with its economics and ship design costs so I would prefer to just modify the results of combat per below than doing a ground-up house rule system.

Concepts from the old Victory Game Fleet series games including:
(1) Ships must be placed in a preferred order in a stack (list) deployed by mission (i.e. anti-ship, defensive).
(2) When allocating damage roll 1d6 if the dice roll is an even number damage can only be applied to ships in the top-half of the stack/list. If the dice roll is odd than the damage can only be applied to the bottom-half of the stack. Ships assigned anti-ship take damage first with over-kill flowing to ships assigned to defensive. Example, if I have a FF,CA,DD,DD in a stack assigned to anti-ship/offensive mission and roll a 3, the two DD's are going to absorb damage equal to their DVs first (see Critical Hit rule below) before the FF and CA take the remaining damage.

(3) Ships directly above and/or below another ship in the stack (list) can defend that specific ship (I am still working this through right now). Thinking about AEGIS or EW Scout ships defending a key asset.

Note - Directed damage remains unchanged.

Concept borrowed from a game called Mustang and Messerschmitt is their Critical Hit rules. When a ship sustains damage equal to its 50%, 75% and 100% DV and for each point thereafter it rolls on a Critical Hit Damage Table which has results from NE to Destroyed, with things like simple reductions in combat, movement and special ability effects in-between. The Critical Hit Table is formatted so that the 50% and 75% are very unlikely to result in instant destruction (ala HMS Hood) whereas that reverses at 100%+ where each additional damage point pushes the result down the table to the dreaded box-cars. I just like the idea of the Enterprise coming back to space dock all shot-up (120% DV?) and still got the mission completed, then again I loved the 12 O'clock High TV series when the B-17s came back on two engines.

Critical Hits would make repair/maintenance have higher time and costs than routine damage.

Four random House Rules to throw out there for fun:
(1) For long running campaigns (years), ships must be retired and placed into Reserves.
(2) For long running campaigns (years), Maintenance cost increase (double?) for ships older than x-years.
(3) Fate Table, add random logistics problems, accidents (ship suffers damage).
(4) Task Force operations have additional costs. Thinking increased Maintenance cost for ships participating in a battle (wear and tear).

Cheers Everyone!

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Re: Single Squadron Task Forces

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Sat Sep 24, 2016 9:54 pm

Why does VBAM place limits on the quantity of ships in a force? I believe F&E did it as a game balance crutch to try to replicate a fictional-historical(?) result whereas VBAM is open-ended. It feels artificial and perhaps I am not getting the design intent on this rule. For that reason I don't use the CC rules and use a modified CR for fleets.

From my own experience with the system, the purpose of the force limits (whether it be conventional squadrons or the single-squadron task force concept here) is to constrain the engaging forces enough so that a smaller force has some possibility of surviving the fight without losing absolutely everything. You can still suffer a stinging defeat if you're not careful, but it keeps it from being a complete rout with no survivors.

1E suffered from this to an extent with some engagements leaving very few crippled ships left. Everything was more or less destroyed at the end of the battle, unless you got lucky and managed a successful Pursuit scenario to retreat from the system as you were pursued by a more powerful opponent.

As you point out, that isn't necessarily a desirable outcome in all cases. If one player comes in with 50 ships and the other player has 10 ships, why WOULD the smaller fleet not be overwhelmed and destroyed in detail? I think with the single-squadron rules the penalty becomes that the smaller fleet won't have the reserves to call upon in their reinforcements, while the larger force will be able to continually cycle in undamaged units to maintain maximum firepower. With scenario length increased back to 1E levels, this will give most large fleets enough time to really batter each other.

Now, given your point, I think the situation could also be addressed by sacrificing the golden calf of (Stat x d6 / 10) and changing the die roll if we wanted to throttle up the lethality and turn the battles into more of a meat grinder. A 2d6 roll would do that, while also placing damage rolls on a bell curve (decreasing the randomness, which some players have stated they don't particularly care for). I would worry that doing this would make combat too lethal, however, and would lead to too many situations where the life or death of an empire would come down to a single battle, with no chance of there being any survivors that could limp back home and try to regroup and fight another day.

And I guess that is one scenario that occurs too often in these style of games: players love to create a limited number of "superstacks" of ships and then throw them at each other in hopes of breaking each other. Defeating the enemy stack leaves them more or less dealt out of the game, with the victor being able to run roughshod over them before they can hope to mount a response. That doesn't make for very compelling or fun game play, and is something that the squadron limits do seem to help with.

I would say, however, that I have only had a handful of battles in my VBAM campaigns where I ever reached the old command limits on squadrons. It does happen, but it's rare. Most battles would be handled using the single-squadron rules without changing the makeup of the task force that much. I do remember one big Klingon vs. Tholian game from WAY back that had about 8-10 squadrons per side and some ships left in the reinforcements, but that was a climactic battle that more or less determined the outcome of that campaign (the Tholians lost and were driven back out of Federation space by a Klingon fleet, who then proceeded to take ownership of those former Federation colonies).

I think your take on the "CIC Trait" is a good avenue for adding that kind of a "Command" special trait to the game. Make it a rated ability that costs 2 CP and adds maybe +1 Maint to a ship. Each point would then effectively increase the task force command limit. That way you could field a few "leader" units to your task force to increase the number of ships you could bring into the fight. I could see that being abused by a player putting the trait on all of their ships, so it would probably have to be restricted in some other way - but I could see it as a possibility.

Another solution would be to have a task force command limit bonus based on the size of your fleet versus the size of the other fleet, so that if you did exceed their size by 2:1 or greater than your own flagship CR could be doubled. That would let you bring in twice as many units to represent your fleet's numerical advantage. That system would also benefit wolf packs as then they could bring more of their ships in at once. For example, in your example of the 30 vs. 10, if the fleet with 30 ships had a flagship with CR 4 it would effectively be increased to CR 8 as long as the numerical advantage was maintained. Does that sound reasonable? It is kind of an arbitrary limit, but I like hard break points over more graduated options just because it's easier to remember and internalize. "Oh, I have twice or more the number of ships than they do, I get a task force command bonus." No charts to lookup, just a simple status check.

The Victory Game Fleet stack damage rules are interesting. I could see that working as an optional rule, especially if adapted to unit size so that you had a preference to what type of units got hit based on the random roll. I could see it going 1-2 Escorts (CT, DD), 3-4 Cruisers (CL, CA), 5-6 Capital Ships (CB and larger). I could even imagine a situation with this rule where the defender might have to roll before scoring damage each time. They would then damage (crippling or destroying) one unit of the indicated type, then roll again to see what the next target might be. If no valid target exists, then the defender chooses. That would make standard (non-directed) damage resolution more random, and lead to situations where maybe the target rolled is too large so the damage done isn't quite enough to take it out. That could lead to consternation if players are fighting against something like a Death Star (which VBAM already doesn't do a great job of simulating, so it doesn't worry me that much!), but in normal fights I can see it working well.

A lot of newer computer games have the idea of a "deathblow," so that units are fine until they hit zero health and at that point each subsequent attack has a chance of finishing them off. The Critical Hit rules could be integrated into VBAM in a similar way. Each time a ship is damaged (maybe even with partial damage that isn't enough to change its damage state?) it would roll on the Critical Hit table, with a penalty to the roll based on its damage state. You'd start with maybe a 1 in 6 chance of a Critical, but this would quickly escalate until you reach what is currently a "destroyed" state, at which point it might reach 3 out of 6 (50%). That would allow a ship to hold on longer than it should, but would also allow for a HMS Hood situation where it just blows up when it is crippled instead.

(1) For long running campaigns (years), ships must be retired and placed into Reserves.

I had to do this back in 1E with the Wartime Economy rules that reduced your income during peacetime. I just never had enough EP to maintain all of my forces. I think this could be enforced in 2E by having a standing limit on the percentage of units that could be active. Or economically enforce it by doubling maintenance costs so that it's in your best interests to put them into Reserves (to halve the maintenance and drop it back down to normal!).

(2) For long running campaigns (years), Maintenance cost increase (double?) for ships older than x-years.

I playtested a version of this where the total maintenance costs for a class increased by a % amount every campaign year. I think it might have been something like 5%? So over time you were inclined to replace the units with something else just because the older units were too expensive to maintain.

I think you're on the right track here, though, that the simplest way to do this is going to be to increase the class' maintenance cost itself over time. Maybe +1 Maint per 10 years in service? For example, a Destroyer (2/6) with ISD 3002 would have its maintenance cost increased to 3/6 in 3012, and to 4/6 in 2022. By that point they would be so economically disadvantageous to operate that players would rush them to the shipbreakers and get them out of service. Why pay the cost of a Heavy Cruiser to maintain a Destroyer after all?

This ends up being a double whammy in game, however, because the older ships are already less effective, and now they are less economically efficient, too. It's realistic, but not necessarily fun for everyone :)

(3) Fate Table, add random logistics problems, accidents (ship suffers damage).

This is a good idea for an update to the Random Events Table. And I have thought that in a lot of ways it would be nice if the Random Events were made a bit more standard, with outcomes that would have a small but noticeable effect on play but not completely derail an empire (unless they are just too small).

(4) Task Force operations have additional costs. Thinking increased Maintenance cost for ships participating in a battle (wear and tear).

I think Charlie had some thoughts at some point to have battles consume extra supply and earn extra out of supply levels for ships that are out of supply. Another thing I batted around at one point was having out of supply levels be persistent so that a ship would actually have to return to base and be repaired to get them running right again. It turned into a bit of a logistical nightmare, unfortunately, and it never seemed worth it to try and make that deep strike into enemy space.

One way that I could see this being implemented, though, would be to have a surcharge for operating fleets beyond a certain size. Like if you had 30 ships in your fleets, then that is costing you an extra 3 EP per turn (10% of total ships in the "stack"). It would be very hard to keep track of in larger battles, though.
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Re: Single Squadron Task Forces

Postby wadewan » Sun Sep 25, 2016 1:49 am

Appreciate the response.

I am not a fan of huge space battles in games or movies so limiting the quantity of ships in a force doesn't bother me much.

To me smaller ships such as frigates and destroyers are given defined individual missions and should have next to no command ability, whereas cruisers on up have increasingly larger staffs and capabilities for controlling more assets during operations. I have never served in the Navy and it has been years since I played Harpoon so I am ignorant to what the limiting factor on command and control is currently within the Navy. I guess the question is how would a real space fleet be organized and operate. Reading historical USN accounts of WWII and Vietnam, task force size could encompass quite a large number of ships and that is pre-digital technology.

I like the concept of winning the battle before combat with scouting assets to define what kind of battle is being fought. If I am facing a much larger force I would prefer to screen as many units as possible to jump out of system and live to fight another day with better odds.

What do Scouts represent? Are they ECM/ECCM assets? How are they forcing inclusion or exclusion of units? Seems like the game is reduced to who has the most scouting assets.

Regarding the comments on damage allocation. I am playing almost exclusively solo so randomizing events and results makes it more fun for me. Besides if you get to assign damage to expendable ships all the time then start painting them red and all the key assets gold. Because you know, god help you if you are wearing a red shirt.

I will post my fate table in another subject line.

Also just read that the Navy's newest carrier cost $8B to build, $5B in R&D and cost $2.3B per year (30% of cost) to operate with air groups. Considering a carrier is supposed to last around 30-40 years the construction cost is nothing. Operating it is another story.

The combat examples posted by you and others really helps us newer players to understand the flow of the rules. Really cool stuff being posted here.

Cheers.

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Re: Single Squadron Task Forces

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Sun Sep 25, 2016 2:16 am

wadewan wrote:I am not a fan of huge space battles in games or movies so limiting the quantity of ships in a force doesn't bother me much.

I go back and forth on wanting to have epic space battles and then hitting the reality that I don't want to have to manually manage the navies for empires that HAVE those kinds of epic space battles! :shock:

In most of my campaigns, I'm lucky to have three squadrons of ships on station in any given system. That works out to maybe 12-15 ships on the upper end, unless I'm playing a swarm / wolf pack fleet or am anticipating some sort of major fleet action.

The threat of piracy and attack by an unknown threat on other fronts typically forces me to disperse my forces and rely on rapid reaction forces to move into position to deal with issues as they arise. But I have been known to field major fleets when fighting down a jump lane chain where the only way to proceed is forward!

To me smaller ships such as frigates and destroyers are given defined individual missions and should have next to no command ability, whereas cruisers on up have increasingly larger staffs and capabilities for controlling more assets during operations. I have never served in the Navy and it has been years since I played Harpoon so I am ignorant to what the limiting factor on command and control is currently within the Navy. I guess the question is how would a real space fleet be organized and operate. Reading historical USN accounts of WWII and Vietnam, task force size could encompass quite a large number of ships and that is pre-digital technology.

As I continue to work on the problems presented by this single squadron task force concept, I'm finding that a slight redesign of the ship stats more in line with BroAdso's own Star Trek conversions are providing results where escorts don't have enough CR to command an appreciable force. This seems to reinforce the need for strong C&C units, specifically something of Heavy Cruiser or larger. You could design a smaller destroyer leader or dedicated C&C ship with high CR but poor combat abilities, but I'm doubtful that strategy would work once the enemy started eliminating those command ships first thing in each battle.

One the concessions that VBAM has always had to make was to playability, specifically to trying and keep the battles small enough that players could conceivably fight them on the tabletop using their favorite tactical rules. Some scenarios hew closer to that ideal than others, obviously. The base rules can generate some monstrous fights if the right conditions are met, but again I seem to see about a dozen in most average fights. Anti-piracy actions tend to be smaller, and those are the most common types of battles in a campaign.

As for extrapolating the size of space navies based on their terrestrial equivalents, I'm not quite sure what would be a good starting point for comparison. I think modern carriers would be about equivalent to large capital ships in VBAM. I'd have to take a look at the average size of a carrier group and its composition to get an idea for how that would translate into the game.

I like the concept of winning the battle before combat with scouting assets to define what kind of battle is being fought. If I am facing a much larger force I would prefer to screen as many units as possible to jump out of system and live to fight another day with better odds.

I think that's where having clearer engagement rules for encounters is going to help. Right now you can work through things fairly well most of the time, but then you start hitting the edge cases or where the flow breaks down. Pursuit scenarios for example are great to have available so that when you do find yourself over your head you could have a chance of breaking off and disengaging. And I still think we want to have Scouts be useful for manipulating surprise and scenario length before the battle.

What do Scouts represent? Are they ECM/ECCM assets? How are they forcing inclusion or exclusion of units? Seems like the game is reduced to who has the most scouting assets.

Scouts represent ships with long range sensors or innate speed/stealth that are good for performing reconnaissance; or that have strong electronic warfare suites that can support the rest of the combatants. We inherited our concept of Scouts from the Babylon 5 Wars tactical system, where they were called ELINT vessels and could do a variety of different missions.

The include/exclude behavior represents that the scouts are being used to locate a target vessel so that its fleet can either maneuver to intercept them (include) or else maneuver to avoid contact (exclude). Includes are used to force an opponent to expose a unit that he might be trying to protect, while excludes are used to keep away from some opposing threat that you really don't want to tangle with.

VBAM 1E suffered from the problem you describe of "he who has the most Scouts wins". I've tried to address that in VBAM 2E, and the rules being discussed in this thread seem to be getting us closer to making Scouts important but not all important. Changing mission costs to be based on the target's Command Cost, for example, is going to change the Scout economy significantly.

Another thing to point out is that Scouts pay a high cost for their abilities, both in terms of economic cost as well as lost combat power. In most battles Scouts are a high priority for elimination, but on their own they usually don't have that much firepower.

Regarding the comments on damage allocation. I am playing almost exclusively solo so randomizing events and results makes it more fun for me. Besides if you get to assign damage to expendable ships all the time then start painting them red and all the key assets gold. Because you know, god help you if you are wearing a red shirt.

Same here. I play solo exploration games, and that colors my outlook on the game system. The players often remind me that I am missing something obvious that would come up in more competitive play but that is a non-issue in my own campaigns (and vice versa!).

I still need to set up a test game this weekend to run through, but I'm going to try out reducing repair times to a single turn to see if that improves the cripple-or-destroy situation. The idea is if a crippled ship can be repaired more quickly, then it will be in the owner's interest to cripple more ships rather than simply destroy them.

Also just read that the Navy's newest carrier cost $8B to build, $5B in R&D and cost $2.3B per year (30% of cost) to operate with air groups. Considering a carrier is supposed to last around 30-40 years the construction cost is nothing. Operating it is another story.

That's in line with how maintenance costs for ships end up working out in VBAM. A ship might only cost you 6 EP to build, but it could end up costing you 2/3 EP per turn to keep it operational.

The combat examples posted by you and others really helps us newer players to understand the flow of the rules. Really cool stuff being posted here.

I'm glad that they've been helpful! I know these kinds of tests do end up with a mish-mash of different (and often conflicting) rules which muddies the waters, but it still gives an idea of how the system works -- especially since, despite the changes being bandied about, the core combat operations are still very similar. It's just rearranging elements to see where improvements can be gained.

I appreciate your feedback, and look forward to seeing your Fate Table!
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Re: Single Squadron Task Forces

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Sun Sep 25, 2016 3:28 am

The Battle of Capella

Scenario Length: 6 rounds

Key Rule Changes:
  • I allowed readiness modifiers higher than 6 to be rolled (2E caps at 6, 1E doesn't)
  • Leftover damage always has the potential to overkill; if leftover damage is greater than or equal to half the DV of the weakest enemy unit, then that unit take damage.
  • Crippled ships cannot be put on missions
  • Crippled ships halve AS/AF and round fractions up (instead of retaining fractions)
  • Flights can be crippled like ships, with the same effect. They auto repair at the end of the battle. This replaces the previous test rule where crippled flights simply dropout for the rest of the turn. Possibly allow Carriers to repair during a battle?
  • Scenario length is determined by rolling 2d6 + Readiness Modifiers
  • Task force flagship command actions limit should have been CR / 2 (round down). I used full CR here, and I probably shouldn't have. Fewer opportunities for command actions would have been better.

Image
Earth Alliance (Superb +2)
EAS Agamemnon (Omega: DV 8, AS 6, AF 4, CV 4, CR 6)
EAS Hyperion (Hyperion: Hyperion: DV 7, AS 5, AF 3, CV 1, CR 4)
EAS Atlas (Hyperion: Hyperion: DV 7, AS 5, AF 3, CV 1, CR 4)
Starfury #1 (Aurora: DV 3, AS 2, AF 3)
Starfury #2 (Aurora: DV 3, AS 2, AF 3)
Starfury #3 (Aurora: DV 3, AS 2, AF 3)
Starfury #4 (Aurora: DV 3, AS 2, AF 3)
Starfury #5 (Aurora: DV 3, AS 2, AF 3)
Starfury #6 (Aurora: DV 3, AS 2, AF 3)

Federation (Normal +0)
USS Yamato (Galaxy: DV 8, AS 7, AF 3, CV 2, CR 8)
USS Hood (Excelsior: DV 6, AS 5, AF 3, CV 1, CR 5)
USS Graf Spee (Excelsior: DV 6, AS 5, AF 3, CV 1, CR 5)
USS Amudsen (Miranda: DV 4, AS 3, AF 2, CV 0, CR 3)

Assignments
EAS Hyperion/Atlas Anti-Ship (+4 AS, -8 AF)

USS Yamato Anti-Ship (+2 AS, -3 AF)
USS Graf Spee / Amudsen Anti-Fighter (-8 AS, +5 AF)

Fire Phase One
EA: 20 AS x (6+2) = 16 damage
* DD Cripple Yamato (16 damage)

FED: 14 AS x 5 = 7 damage
* Crippled Atlas (7 damage)

Fire Phase Two
FED: 13 AF x 3 = 4 damage
* Cripple Starfury #1 (3 damage)
* 1 damage lost

Fire Phase Four
EA: 10 AS x (2+2) = 4 damage
* Cripple Amudsen (4 damage)


Image
Earth Alliance (Good +1)
EAS Agamemnon (Omega: DV 8, AS 6, AF 4, CV 4, CR 6)
EAS Hyperion (Hyperion: Hyperion: DV 7, AS 5, AF 3, CV 1, CR 4)
EAS Atlas [Crippled] (Hyperion: Hyperion: DV 7, AS 5, AF 3, CV 1, CR 4)
Starfury #1 [Crippled] (Aurora: DV 3, AS 2, AF 3)
Starfury #2 (Aurora: DV 3, AS 2, AF 3)
Starfury #3 (Aurora: DV 3, AS 2, AF 3)
Starfury #4 (Aurora: DV 3, AS 2, AF 3)
Starfury #5 (Aurora: DV 3, AS 2, AF 3)
Starfury #6 (Aurora: DV 3, AS 2, AF 3)

Federation (Normal +0)
USS Yamato [Crippled] (Galaxy: DV 8, AS 7, AF 3, CV 2, CR 8)
USS Hood (Excelsior: DV 6, AS 5, AF 3, CV 1, CR 5)
USS Graf Spee (Excelsior: DV 6, AS 5, AF 3, CV 1, CR 5)
USS Amudsen (Miranda: DV 4, AS 3, AF 2, CV 0, CR 3)

Assignments
EAS Agamemnon Anti-Ship (+2 AS, -4 AF)
EAS Hyperion Anti-Ship (+2 AS, -3 AF)


Fire Phase One
EA: 18 AS x (6+1) = 13 damage
* Graf Spee crippled (6 damage)
* Amudsen crippled (4 damage)
* 3 leftover damage destroys Amudsen

FED: 17 AS x 2 = 4 damage
* 4 leftover damage cripples Hyperion

Fire Phase Two
FED: 7 AF x 4 = 3 damage
* Destroy Starfury #1 (3 damage)

Fire Phase Four
EA: 8 AS x (3+1) = 4 damage
* 4 leftover damage cripples Hood


Image
Earth Alliance (Normal +0)
EAS Agamemnon (Omega: DV 8, AS 6, AF 4, CV 4, CR 6)
EAS Hyperion [Crippled] (Hyperion: Hyperion: DV 7, AS 5, AF 3, CV 1, CR 4)
EAS Atlas [Crippled] (Hyperion: Hyperion: DV 7, AS 5, AF 3, CV 1, CR 4)
Starfury #1 [Destroyed] (Aurora: DV 3, AS 2, AF 3)
Starfury #2 (Aurora: DV 3, AS 2, AF 3)
Starfury #3 (Aurora: DV 3, AS 2, AF 3)
Starfury #4 (Aurora: DV 3, AS 2, AF 3)
Starfury #5 (Aurora: DV 3, AS 2, AF 3)
Starfury #6 (Aurora: DV 3, AS 2, AF 3)

Federation (Normal +0)
USS Yamato [Crippled] (Galaxy: DV 8, AS 7, AF 3, CV 2, CR 8)
USS Hood [Crippled] (Excelsior: DV 6, AS 5, AF 3, CV 1, CR 5)
USS Graf Spee [Crippled] (Excelsior: DV 6, AS 5, AF 3, CV 1, CR 5)
USS Amudsen [Destroyed] (Miranda: DV 4, AS 3, AF 2, CV 0, CR 3)

Assignments
EAS Agamemnon Anti-Ship (+2 AS, -4 AF)


Fire Phase One
EA: 14 AS x (4) = 6 damage
* Graf Spee destroyed (6 damage)

FED: 10 AS x 1 = 1 damage
* 1 leftover damage is lost

Fire Phase Two
FED: 4 AF x 2 = 1 damage
* 1 leftover damage is lost

Fire Phase Four
EA: 8 AS x (5) = 4 damage
* 4 leftover damage destroys Hood


Image
Earth Alliance (Normal +0)
EAS Agamemnon (Omega: DV 8, AS 6, AF 4, CV 4, CR 6)
EAS Hyperion [Crippled] (Hyperion: Hyperion: DV 7, AS 5, AF 3, CV 1, CR 4)
EAS Atlas [Crippled] (Hyperion: Hyperion: DV 7, AS 5, AF 3, CV 1, CR 4)
Starfury #1 [Destroyed] (Aurora: DV 3, AS 2, AF 3)
Starfury #2 (Aurora: DV 3, AS 2, AF 3)
Starfury #3 (Aurora: DV 3, AS 2, AF 3)
Starfury #4 (Aurora: DV 3, AS 2, AF 3)
Starfury #5 (Aurora: DV 3, AS 2, AF 3)
Starfury #6 (Aurora: DV 3, AS 2, AF 3)

Federation (Normal +0)
USS Yamato [Crippled] (Galaxy: DV 8, AS 7, AF 3, CV 2, CR 8)
USS Hood [Destroyed] (Excelsior: DV 6, AS 5, AF 3, CV 1, CR 5)
USS Graf Spee [Destroyed] (Excelsior: DV 6, AS 5, AF 3, CV 1, CR 5)
USS Amudsen [Destroyed] (Miranda: DV 4, AS 3, AF 2, CV 0, CR 3)

Assignments
EAS Agamemnon Anti-Ship (+2 AS, -4 AF)

Fire Phase One
EA: 12 AS x (5) = 6 damage
* leftover damage destroys Yamato

=== END OF BATTLE ===

This was supposed to be a pretty even battle, but the Earth Alliance had the upper hand with their SUPERB readiness right out of the gate. That kind of turned this into a one-sided battle. The fact that the EA started at such high readiness and then rolled very well had a lot to do with that, but I think the Starfuries are probably under costed. Here were the unit costs, BTW:

Omega: 12 EP
Hyperion: 2 @ 8 EP
Starfury: 6 @ 4/4 EP
EA Total: 34 EP

Galaxy: 12 EP
Excelsior: 2 @ 8 EP
Miranda: 1 @ 4 EP
Fed Total: 32 EP

So the Federation was a bit under pointed, but I doubt that a few flights of shuttlecraft would have made a difference here. The Starfuries really weren't that effective, but they did just enough damage to deal the deathblow to several Federation ships, so their contribution cannot be wholly discounted.

One version of the units had the Starfuries costing 4x their current price, but I think that is too powerful compared to the competition. There is also the issue that I really don't want the 4 x Starfuries on the Omega to cost MORE than the Omega itself. I could probably get closer to true if I axed Ultralight flights and adjusted them down to Light (1 EP), Medium (2 EP), Heavy (3 EP), and Superheavy (4 EP), then possibly boosted the flight stats a bit to compensate.

If the Starfuries did cost 3x, that would have given the Federation +12 EP to spend on ships. That's +3 Miranda DD, which would have gone a long way towards dealing with the fighters (and EA ships both).

The flight crippling wasn't a problem in this small of a battle, and at least made it easier for the Federation to do some damage. Against the EA, the Federation would need some dedicated Anti-Fighter ships to screen them. They could have also benefited from having a few more escorts to help them.

The real pain point for the Federation was having the Yamato get crippled by a critical EA volley on the first turn. That immediately left the ship out of position and unable to be put on missions. The rapid depletion of the rest of the fleet left them nowhere to go. They were being forced to kill cruisers instead of escorts, too, which is not an enviable position to be in. Having another Miranda or two would have shielded the cruisers and kept them alive a bit longer.

The Federation just lost a full task force. The EA are sitting much better, but they still have two crippled CA that they need to run back to base for repairs. They also lost a Starfury, which if they cost 3 EP each would still be painful. The repair cost on the Hyperions would be 3 EP each, too, for a total loss of 9 EP. The Federation lost 32 EP, so the battle definitely came out in their favor.

I was going to Retreat the Yamato that last round but then realized the ship is crippled and couldn't accept an action anyway. There's also the issue that if the Retreat action costs 5 CR (the Galaxy's CC) then the Yamato wouldn't even have enough points to do that. Which means that we'd need an exception for situations like that, or else reduce the cost of a Retreat action. Maybe even have Retreats be free, but subject to a die roll as per the 2E optional rule. Maybe add Readiness to the d6 and hope for the best. Then you could order Retreats for free in the Assignments, and then roll for them at the End of Round Phase.
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Re: Single Squadron Task Forces

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Sun Sep 25, 2016 4:55 am

The Battle of Antares
Deep Space Scenario: 6 Rounds

Summary: The Narn Regime has sent a squadron of cruisers to attack a vulnerable Klingon border world. Unbeknownst to the Narns, the Klingons recently reinforced the system with a full light cruiser squadron. The Klingons are watching in the shadows, waiting for the Narns to arrive...

Image
Narn Regime (Good +1)
Ga'Toth (Flagship; G’Quan: DV 8, AS 5, AF 4, CV 2, CR 4, Disruptor 1)
Nu'ronn (G’Quan: DV 8, AS 5, AF 4, CV 2, CR 4, Disruptor 1)
Ka'Farr (G’Quan: DV 8, AS 5, AF 4, CV 2, CR 4, Disruptor 1)
Frazi 1 (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)
Frazi 2 (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)
Frazi 3 (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)
Frazi 4 (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)
Frazi 5 (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)
Frazi 6 (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)

Klingon Empire (Good +1)
K'T'inga 1 (Flagship; K'T'inga: DV 4, AS 4, AF 2, CV 1, CR 4, Stealth 1)
K'T'inga 2 (K'T'inga: DV 4, AS 4, AF 2, CV 1, CR 4, Stealth 1)
K'T'inga 3 (K'T'inga: DV 4, AS 4, AF 2, CV 1, CR 4, Stealth 1)
B'rel 1 (B'rel: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, CV 0, CR 3, Atmospheric, Stealth 1)
B'rel 2 (B'rel: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, CV 0, CR 3, Atmospheric, Stealth 1)
**K'T'inga 4 (K'T'inga: DV 4, AS 4, AF 2, CV 1, CR 4, Stealth 1)
**K'T'inga 5 (K'T'inga: DV 4, AS 4, AF 2, CV 1, CR 4, Stealth 1)
**B'rel 3 (B'rel: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, CV 0, CR 3, Atmospheric, Stealth 1)
**B'rel 4 (B'rel: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, CV 0, CR 3, Atmospheric, Stealth 1)

Assignments
Ga'Toth on Defensive mission [4 CR] (-2 AS, -2 AF)
Klingons undetected, get First Strike (double AS/AF)
Narn reduce Formation of K'T'inga 1 by 2, B'rel 1 by 1 using 3 Disruptor (FIRE ENERGY MINES!)

Fire Phase One
NARN: 13 AS x (1+1) = 3 damage
* DD Cripple B'rel 1

KLINGON: (16 AS x 2) = 32 AS x (6+1) = 23 damage
* Destroy Nu'ronn (16 damage)
* 7 leftover damage cripples Ka'Farr

Fire Phase Two
KLINGON: (8 AF x 2) + 1 AF = 17 AF x (2+1) = 6 damage
* Destroy Frazi 6

Fire Phase Four
NARN: 15 AS x (1+1) = 3 damage
* DD Destroy B'rel 1


Image
Narn Regime (Normal +0)
Ga'Toth (Flagship; G’Quan: DV 8, AS 5, AF 4, CV 2, CR 4, Disruptor 1)
Nu'ronn [Destroyed] (G’Quan: DV 8, AS 5, AF 4, CV 2, CR 4, Disruptor 1)
Ka'Farr [Crippled] (G’Quan: DV 8, AS 5, AF 4, CV 2, CR 4, Disruptor 1)
Frazi 1 (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)
Frazi 2 (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)
Frazi 3 (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)
Frazi 4 (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)
Frazi 5 (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)
Frazi 6 [Destroyed] (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)

Klingon Empire (Normal +0)
K'T'inga 1 (Flagship; K'T'inga: DV 4, AS 4, AF 2, CV 1, CR 4, Stealth 1)
K'T'inga 2 (K'T'inga: DV 4, AS 4, AF 2, CV 1, CR 4, Stealth 1)
K'T'inga 3 (K'T'inga: DV 4, AS 4, AF 2, CV 1, CR 4, Stealth 1)
B'rel 1 [Destroyed] (B'rel: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, CV 0, CR 3, Atmospheric, Stealth 1)
B'rel 2 (B'rel: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, CV 0, CR 3, Atmospheric, Stealth 1)
B'rel 3 (B'rel: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, CV 0, CR 3, Atmospheric, Stealth 1)
**K'T'inga 4 (K'T'inga: DV 4, AS 4, AF 2, CV 1, CR 4, Stealth 1)
**K'T'inga 5 (K'T'inga: DV 4, AS 4, AF 2, CV 1, CR 4, Stealth 1)
**B'rel 4 (B'rel: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, CV 0, CR 3, Atmospheric, Stealth 1)

Reorganization
Klingons add B'rel 3 to task force

Assignments
Ga'Toth on Defensive mission [4 CR] (-2 AS, -2 AF)
Klingons B'rel 3 undetected, gets First Strike (double AS/AF)
Narn reduce Formation of K'T'inga 1 by 1 (PULL BACK, PULL BACK!)

Fire Phase One
NARN: 6 AS x 5 = 3 damage
* Cripple B'rel 2

KLINGON: (3 x 2) + 14 = 20 AS x 6 = 12 damage
* Destroy Ka'Farr (8 damage)
* 4 leftover damage cripples Ga'Toth

Fire Phase Two
KLINGON: (2 x 2) + 7 AF = 11 AF x 6 = 7 damage
* Destroy Frazi 4 (6 damage)
* 1 leftover damage is lost

Fire Phase Four
NARN: 12 AS x (1) = 2 damage
* 2 leftover damage cripples B'rel 3


Image
Narn Regime (Normal +0)
Ga'Toth [Crippled] (Flagship; G’Quan: DV 8, AS 5, AF 4, CV 2, CR 4, Disruptor 1)
Nu'ronn [Destroyed] (G’Quan: DV 8, AS 5, AF 4, CV 2, CR 4, Disruptor 1)
Ka'Farr [Destroyed] (G’Quan: DV 8, AS 5, AF 4, CV 2, CR 4, Disruptor 1)
Frazi 1 (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)
Frazi 2 (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)
Frazi 3 (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)
Frazi 4 [Destroyed] (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)
Frazi 5 (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)
Frazi 6 [Destroyed] (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)

Klingon Empire (Normal +0)
K'T'inga 1 (Flagship; K'T'inga: DV 4, AS 4, AF 2, CV 1, CR 4, Stealth 1)
K'T'inga 2 (K'T'inga: DV 4, AS 4, AF 2, CV 1, CR 4, Stealth 1)
K'T'inga 3 (K'T'inga: DV 4, AS 4, AF 2, CV 1, CR 4, Stealth 1)
B'rel 1 [Destroyed] (B'rel: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, CV 0, CR 3, Atmospheric, Stealth 1)
B'rel 2 [Crippled] (B'rel: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, CV 0, CR 3, Atmospheric, Stealth 1)
B'rel 3 [Crippled] (B'rel: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, CV 0, CR 3, Atmospheric, Stealth 1)
**K'T'inga 4 (K'T'inga: DV 4, AS 4, AF 2, CV 1, CR 4, Stealth 1)
**K'T'inga 5 (K'T'inga: DV 4, AS 4, AF 2, CV 1, CR 4, Stealth 1)
**B'rel 4 (B'rel: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, CV 0, CR 3, Atmospheric, Stealth 1)

Assignments
Ga'Toth is Retreating

Fire Phase One
NARN: 3 AS x 1 = 1 damage
* 1 leftover damage is lost

KLINGON: 16 AS x 4 = 7 damage
* 7 leftover damage destroys Ga'Toth

Fire Phase Two
KLINGON: 8 AF x 4 = 4 damage
* Cripple Frazi 3 (3 damage)
* 1 leftover damage is lost

Fire Phase Four
NARN: 11 AS x 2 = 3 damage
* DD Destroy B'rel 3


Image
Narn Regime (Normal +0)
Ga'Toth [Destroyed] (Flagship; G’Quan: DV 8, AS 5, AF 4, CV 2, CR 4, Disruptor 1)
Nu'ronn [Destroyed] (G’Quan: DV 8, AS 5, AF 4, CV 2, CR 4, Disruptor 1)
Ka'Farr [Destroyed] (G’Quan: DV 8, AS 5, AF 4, CV 2, CR 4, Disruptor 1)
Frazi 1 (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)
Frazi 2 (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)
Frazi 3 [Crippled] (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)
Frazi 4 [Destroyed] (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)
Frazi 5 (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)
Frazi 6 [Destroyed] (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)

Klingon Empire (Normal +0)
K'T'inga 1 (Flagship; K'T'inga: DV 4, AS 4, AF 2, CV 1, CR 4, Stealth 1)
K'T'inga 2 (K'T'inga: DV 4, AS 4, AF 2, CV 1, CR 4, Stealth 1)
K'T'inga 3 (K'T'inga: DV 4, AS 4, AF 2, CV 1, CR 4, Stealth 1)
B'rel 1 [Destroyed] (B'rel: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, CV 0, CR 3, Atmospheric, Stealth 1)
B'rel 2 [Crippled] (B'rel: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, CV 0, CR 3, Atmospheric, Stealth 1)
B'rel 3 [Destroyed] (B'rel: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, CV 0, CR 3, Atmospheric, Stealth 1)
K'T'inga 4 (K'T'inga: DV 4, AS 4, AF 2, CV 1, CR 4, Stealth 1)
**K'T'inga 5 (K'T'inga: DV 4, AS 4, AF 2, CV 1, CR 4, Stealth 1)
**B'rel 4 (B'rel: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, CV 0, CR 3, Atmospheric, Stealth 1)

Reorganization
K'T'inga 4 moves into task force and decloaks

Assignments
K'T'inga 4 was undetected, double AS/AF this round

Fire Phase Two
KLINGON: (2 x 2 )+ 7 = 11 AF x 1 = 2 damage
* 2 leftover damage destroys Frazi 3

Fire Phase Four
NARN: 9 AS x 5 = 5 damage
* DD Cripple K'T'inga 2 (4 dmg)
* 1 leftover damage is lost


Image
Narn Regime (Normal +0)
Ga'Toth [Destroyed] (Flagship; G’Quan: DV 8, AS 5, AF 4, CV 2, CR 4, Disruptor 1)
Nu'ronn [Destroyed] (G’Quan: DV 8, AS 5, AF 4, CV 2, CR 4, Disruptor 1)
Ka'Farr [Destroyed] (G’Quan: DV 8, AS 5, AF 4, CV 2, CR 4, Disruptor 1)
Frazi 1 (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)
Frazi 2 (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)
Frazi 3 [Destroyed] (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)
Frazi 4 [Destroyed] (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)
Frazi 5 (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)
Frazi 6 [Destroyed] (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)

Klingon Empire (Normal +0)
K'T'inga 1 (Flagship; K'T'inga: DV 4, AS 4, AF 2, CV 1, CR 4, Stealth 1)
K'T'inga 3 (K'T'inga: DV 4, AS 4, AF 2, CV 1, CR 4, Stealth 1)
B'rel 1 [Destroyed] (B'rel: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, CV 0, CR 3, Atmospheric, Stealth 1)
B'rel 3 [Destroyed] (B'rel: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, CV 0, CR 3, Atmospheric, Stealth 1)
K'T'inga 4 (K'T'inga: DV 4, AS 4, AF 2, CV 1, CR 4, Stealth 1)
K'T'inga 5 (K'T'inga: DV 4, AS 4, AF 2, CV 1, CR 4, Stealth 1)
B'rel 4 (B'rel: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, CV 0, CR 3, Atmospheric, Stealth 1)
**K'T'inga 2 [Crippled](K'T'inga: DV 4, AS 4, AF 2, CV 1, CR 4, Stealth 1)
**B'rel 2 [Crippled] (B'rel: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, CV 0, CR 3, Atmospheric, Stealth 1)

Reorganization
Remove Brel 2 and K'T'inga 2 to Reinforcements (3 CR)
K'T'inga 5 and B'rel 6 decloak and are added to the Task Force

Assignments
K'T'inga 5 and B'rel 6 were undetected, double AS/AF this round

Fire Phase Two
KLINGON: (4 x 2) + 6 = 14 AF x 1 = 2 damage
* 2 leftover damage cripple Frazi 1

Fire Phase Four
NARN: 8 AS x 1 = 1 damage
* 1 leftover damage is lost


Image
Narn Regime (Normal +0)
Ga'Toth [Destroyed] (Flagship; G’Quan: DV 8, AS 5, AF 4, CV 2, CR 4, Disruptor 1)
Nu'ronn [Destroyed] (G’Quan: DV 8, AS 5, AF 4, CV 2, CR 4, Disruptor 1)
Ka'Farr [Destroyed] (G’Quan: DV 8, AS 5, AF 4, CV 2, CR 4, Disruptor 1)
Frazi 1 [Crippled] (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)
Frazi 2 (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)
Frazi 3 [Destroyed] (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)
Frazi 4 [Destroyed] (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)
Frazi 5 (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)
Frazi 6 [Destroyed] (Frazi: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, Atmospheric)

Klingon Empire (Normal +0)
K'T'inga 1 (Flagship; K'T'inga: DV 4, AS 4, AF 2, CV 1, CR 4, Stealth 1)
K'T'inga 3 (K'T'inga: DV 4, AS 4, AF 2, CV 1, CR 4, Stealth 1)
B'rel 1 [Destroyed] (B'rel: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, CV 0, CR 3, Atmospheric, Stealth 1)
B'rel 3 [Destroyed] (B'rel: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, CV 0, CR 3, Atmospheric, Stealth 1)
K'T'inga 4 (K'T'inga: DV 4, AS 4, AF 2, CV 1, CR 4, Stealth 1)
K'T'inga 5 (K'T'inga: DV 4, AS 4, AF 2, CV 1, CR 4, Stealth 1)
B'rel 4 (B'rel: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, CV 0, CR 3, Atmospheric, Stealth 1)
**K'T'inga 2 [Crippled](K'T'inga: DV 4, AS 4, AF 2, CV 1, CR 4, Stealth 1)
**B'rel 2 [Crippled] (B'rel: DV 3, AS 3, AF 2, CV 0, CR 3, Atmospheric, Stealth 1)

Fire Phase Two
KLINGON: 10 AF x 2 = 2 damage
* 2 leftover destroys Frazi 1

Fire Phase Four
NARN: 6 AS x 2 = 2 damage
* 2 leftover damage cripples B'rel 4

== END OF BATTLE ==

This was another brutal battle, and it taught me a few things about this new combat system. The number one most important lesson is that ESCORTS ARE LIFE. This is the second battle now where the lack of escorts seriously hurt one side's chances of survival. If I would have had a few destroyers or corvettes with me to soak damage I could have probably held on to my G'Quans longer. The first turn barrage from the decloaking ships hurt, there's no denying that, but the partial damage auto crippling/destroying my cruisers was brutal.

And that is a GOOD THING! That means that the issue I was concerned about in regards to big ships having an undue influence on the battle was unfounded. Capital ships without escorts are sitting ducks under these rules.

Not that I would always want to destroy my screen. If the enemy got a good lick in, then I would be tempted to cripple a battlecruiser rather than destroy a few escorts. But it's nice to have the option.

The other thing I learned is that while Stealth's first strike is powerful (boy howdy!) it relies on you rolling well to have any benefit. The Klingons rolled VERY WELL, but they could have just as easily botched the roll and ended up decloaking and doing absolutely nothing.

As the Narns, I desperately wanted to use my Disruptor ability to take out the enemy flagship on the first turn, but the rolls were just not there. I needed some heavy-hitting escorts to help maximize AS. A Rongoth or Thentus screen would have achieved that.

The fighters seemed to acquit themselves pretty well during this fight. They are the only weapon that really dealt any damage. With better rolls I could have expected to take out more ships, but for the cost I think they still did an okay job. The two flights that "survived" the battle would have been scuttled for lack of a carrier to take them home, but they fought bravely to the end.

The Narns could also have benefited from having a Sho'Kar light scout cruiser along to give them 2 Scout to detect at least two of the enemy ships during the Movement Phase and eliminate their bonus.

This was fought as a Deep Space Scenario, but knowing what I know now the Narn admiral should have refused that scenario and turned it into a Pursuit. Depending on the modifier used, that would have been either a -4 (1E) or -2 (2E) scenario length modifier. If the former, the Narns would have been able to escape with at least one ship and two flights of fighters. The Klingons would have been subject to the Pursuit command penalty, too, and would only have been able to bring Flagship + 2 ships in its task force. A group of 2 K'T'inga and 1 B'rel, more than likely. That wouldn't have been much of a Pursuit force, but it would have still been enough to bloody the Narns as they exited the system.

Speaking of the Pursuit command limit, given that a K'T'inga is only a CR 4 unit, it highlights that Light Cruisers are probably not very well suited to lead those sorts of missions. A larger ship with better CR would be tapped to lead the chase in most cases.
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Re: Single Squadron Task Forces

Postby BroAdso » Sun Sep 25, 2016 5:41 pm

Wow, this stuff is moving fast!

1) I really like the revised ship roster. There are many times where the difference between designing an FF, a CT, and a GB was just frustrating. Boiling the light classes down to CT and DD, and the medium classes to CA and CH, and the heavy classes to BB and DN is a good move. It does require a re-calibration of the whole shipbuilding system and all the rosters, though, so it might not be worth it despite being a good move in some ways.

2) Fighters remain a little tricky. Based on the battles I ran with the "deter" system and one with the "cripple" system, and your battle with the Earth Alliance Starfuries on the "Cripple" system, the best solution so far seems to be kind of in the middle - when ships are firing on flights with their collective AF, the player controlling the flights may assign damage equal to the DV of a flight to "deter" it from taking place in future rounds. If the player controlling the fighters wants, though, they can use up more of the opponent's total damage and assign double the DV of a flight to destroy it. However, when flights are firing on other flights, it merely takes the DV of the flight to destroy it, period. I like this solution because it makes flights the most viable weapon against other flights but allows a "flak wall" effect to diminish the effectiveness of bomber attacks. It means fighters are slightly tougher than in base 2E, but not so tough they need a re-costing.

3) I'm not sure I like the idea of getting extra scout functions from your command ship. It adds another extra step, another consideration in crafting unit stats, and might put too much significance overall on a unit's CR. After all, the total task force size, your ability to grant missions, and how many CC of ships you can move in and out at the end of each round already hangs on CR - I wouldn't want to overburden that one stat. Plus, lack of scouts doesn't seem to be a huge problem. In most situations, a player will have a task force of at least 5+2 or 6+2 ships (even with a crappy CR2 corvette in charge), and if none of them are scouts at all (bad choice on the player's part), it won't be devastating to use Missions to get a couple of scout functions at the cost of the AS and AF of two of the smallest ships in the fleet. Keeping it tied either to scout missions or scout functions also encourages mixed fleet composition - having at least a few small ships with a low CC are incentivized, because the cost to give them a Scout mission if needed is low (low CC) and the amount of firepower that your fleet will lose from their absence due to the scout mission is also low.

4) That said, here's a my most recent draft of a minimal-changes version of the one squadron rules. One of the purposes behind this one is to have it work well with no new or fundamentally changed other rules and formulas in the rest of the game. This allows it work as a truly optional special rule that just replaces the Campaign Combat System with something slightly different, rather than something which rewrites big chunks of the game.
Single Squadron Task Force Draft 3

1. Generate the Task Force and Reserve Pool according to the following procedure.
a. Create a quick reference of all the assets present in the system to reference.
b. Each player chooses which ship will act as the Flagship of the Task Force. This ship must be the ship with c. the highest available CR, and may not be crippled.
Each player may choose a number of ships up to 5+X, where X is the CR of the Flagship, to include in the Task Force.
d. Each player may choose a number of flights equal to the total CV of all the ships in the Task Force, to include in the Task Force. Additional flights beyond the initial number selected for the Task Force may be included in the Task Force by moving them in during the Reinforcements Phase (see below).
f. Each player may choose a number of mines equal to the total Minelayer rating of all the ships in the Task Force. Additional mines beyond the initial number included in the Task Force may be included in the Task Force by moving them in during the Reinforcements Phase.
g. If this is a Defensive Scenario, special rules apply. The Defending player may include a number of Bases equal to the planet’s Productivity rating. The Defending player may also include a number of mines equal to 6+X, where X is the Minelayer rating of any Bases in the system.
i. If this is a Pursuit Scenario, special rules apply. The Pursuing player’s total number of ships is halved. However, the Fleeing player must include as many damaged or crippled ships in their initial Task Force as possible before including other ships.
j. All ships not placed in the Task Force are placed in the Reserves for the battle.

II Pre-Fire Phases
a. Calculate Base AS and Base AF for each Task Force by adding up the AS and AF values of all the ships in the Task Force (not ships in reserve and not flights).
IIa. Missions Phase
a. During the Missions Phase, each player can give out a number of Missions. The Task Force cannot assign more CC worth of missions than the CR of its flagship, and giving a mission to a ship or flight costs that ship or flight’s CC. For each ship with the Carrier trait in a fleet, that fleet gains additional CR which can be spent only on Flight Missions equal to the CC of the ships with the Carrier trait.
Any ship can be given one of the following missions:
Antiship: The ship loses all of its AF for the turn. It gains additional AS rating equal to ½ of its AF rating. Round up.
Antiflight: The ship loses all of its AS for the turn. It gains additional AF equal to ½ of its AS rating. Round up.
Scout: The ship loses all its AS and AF rating for the turn, but the Task Force gains one additional Scout function to use during the Assignments phase.
Aggressive: The ship loses ½ of its AS and ½ of its AF (round up) but the Task Force gains one additional Disruptor function to use during the Assignments phase.
Defensive: The ship loses ½ of its AS and ½ of its AF (round up) but the Task Force gains one additional Guardian function to use during the Assignments phase.
Explorers (optional): Any ship with the Explorer trait has its cost to assign missions reduced by the amount of its Explorer rating. No ship may cost less than 1 CC to assign a Mission to, however.

Any flight can be given one of the following missions.
Anti-Ship: the flight may not use its AF rating this round, but gains a bonus to its AS rating equal to ½ its AS rating.
Anti-Flight: the flight may not use its AS rating this round, but gains a bonus to its AS rating equal to ½ its AF rating.

IIb Ship Abilities Phase
The player chooses how to distribute and use all the special functions available in their task force. This includes Scout, Jammer, Stealth, Disruptor, and Guardian functions. Task Forces often gain a large number of additional Scout, Disruptor, and Guardian functions during the Missions phase, these are all also “used” during this phase. They resolve in the following order:
a. Include/Exclude unts. A unit costs its CC to include/exclude, not the cost in the VBAM manual.
b. Double/Halve the AS and AF values of ships. Use the ship’s values without any changes based on the missions assigned in (d).
c. Reduce and increase the Formation Level of ships.

IIc Flight Assignments Phase
a. All flights must be assigned either to your Task Force (defense) or the enemy Task Force (offense).
b. Stealth Flights may be assigned in a separate step after all other flights have been assigned.

IId
Calculate final AS and AF values of each Task Force, now that all the modifiers from Ship Missions and Ship Abilities have been applied.

III Fire Phases of a Round

IIIa Ships vs Ships.
a. Calculate damage and choose between Directed and Undirected as normal.
b. All ships track total damage out of their DV, crippling when they reach half their DV. This means ships can be at 10/10 DV, 8/10 DV, and so on without being crippled. Alternatively, a ship is crippled at 5/10, 3/10 or 2/10 DV equally.
c. If enough undirected damage is assigned to destroy all the ships in the Task Force, damage assignment must carry over to ships in Reserve.

IIIb Ships vs Flights
a. When ships fire on the enemy flights on Offense, calculate damage as normal.
b. When the player whose flights took damage assigns those damage points, a number of damage points equal to the DV of the flight simply ‘deters’ a flight from participating in the following fire phases. It requires twice the DV of a flight in damage during this round to actually destroy it rather than just prevent its participation in the following phases this round. Any damage left over after crippling or deterring flights is discarded.

IIIc Flights vs Flights
a. Proceeds as normal according to the VBAM Campaign Guide. All flights in each task force fire on one another.

IIId Flights vs Ships
Proceeds as normal according to the VBAM campaign guide. All flights in each task force fire on enemy ships.

IV Reorganize
a. If the Task Force Flagship has been crippled or destroyed, a new one must be assigned. Players must always choose the highest non-crippled CR ship available in the Task Force.
b. If any ship was forcibly included or excluded, it returns to the reserve pool or task force now.
c. Make sure the total number of ships in the task force is not greater than 5+CR of the Flagship, plus any scenario modifications. Reconcile by immediately moving, free of cost, any ships over the limit back to the Reserves Pool.

IVa Reinforce
a. Each player may move ships out of the Task Force into reserve or into the Task Force out of reserve.
A ship costs its CC to move either from the Task Force into Reserve, or into the Task Force from Reserve.
A flight costs 1 CC to move into the Reserves from the Task Force or into the Task Force from reserves.
b. Mines may be moved free of cost into the Task Force from reserves, but players can only move two Mines per Minelayer function the Task Force ships posses.
c. Each Task Force cannot move more more combined CC than its flagship’s CR in this phase.


And here's a preview of the battle I'm finishing up now to see how this works in a maximum-abuse situation, where both players have lots of CC and special functions and a variety of ships to send on missions. Reminder to folks: you can right click and open all my images in a new window for a MUCH bigger version so you can see all the details and die rolls.

Image

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Re: Single Squadron Task Forces

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Sun Sep 25, 2016 6:13 pm

BroAdso wrote:Wow, this stuff is moving fast!

Striking while the anvil is hot! :D

1) I really like the revised ship roster. There are many times where the difference between designing an FF, a CT, and a GB was just frustrating. Boiling the light classes down to CT and DD, and the medium classes to CA and CH, and the heavy classes to BB and DN is a good move. It does require a re-calibration of the whole shipbuilding system and all the rosters, though, so it might not be worth it despite being a good move in some ways.


I think the current formula I'm using manages to keep the ships more or less in sync with each other (+-1 CP in most cases), which minimizes the amount of modification that would be required. I ran into the same problem you did with the GB->CT->FF->DD divide, but we had a few playtesters that were adamant that they really wanted the extra classes on the low spectrum so I shoehorned them in. I am not sure that was a good idea at this point as it does end up just muddying the waters.

As it stands, the CT is kind of halfway between the 2E CT/FF, and the DD is a halfway between FF/DD. That makes CT a bit stronger, and the DD a bit weaker, but they appear to slot into the system well.

Now, the existing ship construction system still *works* with the single squadron CSCR, I'm just a tinkerer at heart and if this new combat system proves wildly more popular, then I want to make sure that I've covered all of my bases :)

2) Fighters remain a little tricky. Based on the battles I ran with the "deter" system and one with the "cripple" system, and your battle with the Earth Alliance Starfuries on the "Cripple" system, the best solution so far seems to be kind of in the middle - when ships are firing on flights with their collective AF, the player controlling the flights may assign damage equal to the DV of a flight to "deter" it from taking place in future rounds. If the player controlling the fighters wants, though, they can use up more of the opponent's total damage and assign double the DV of a flight to destroy it. However, when flights are firing on other flights, it merely takes the DV of the flight to destroy it, period. I like this solution because it makes flights the most viable weapon against other flights but allows a "flak wall" effect to diminish the effectiveness of bomber attacks. It means fighters are slightly tougher than in base 2E, but not so tough they need a re-costing.

Fighters have been a thorn in my side for a long time because they are by their very nature an exception to the normal ship combat rules and trying to balance their cost and effectiveness has been a never-ending battle. I think we are getting closer, but I want to keep things simple and as consistent as possible. I'm going to need to play out some more battles and an extended playtest campaign to continue to adjust and play with our variants and see what turns out. I think between the two of us (and everyone else that wants to try it out to, hint hint) we should find the happy medium that is going to work great.

I'm going to continue pursuing the "No Maintenance + Cripple" model and see if that balances out, and if you use the "Base Costs + Deter/Destroy" model then we can keep comparing notes and seeing what the results look like.

3) I'm not sure I like the idea of getting extra scout functions from your command ship. It adds another extra step, another consideration in crafting unit stats, and might put too much significance overall on a unit's CR. After all, the total task force size, your ability to grant missions, and how many CC of ships you can move in and out at the end of each round already hangs on CR - I wouldn't want to overburden that one stat. Plus, lack of scouts doesn't seem to be a huge problem. In most situations, a player will have a task force of at least 5+2 or 6+2 ships (even with a crappy CR2 corvette in charge), and if none of them are scouts at all (bad choice on the player's part), it won't be devastating to use Missions to get a couple of scout functions at the cost of the AS and AF of two of the smallest ships in the fleet. Keeping it tied either to scout missions or scout functions also encourages mixed fleet composition - having at least a few small ships with a low CC are incentivized, because the cost to give them a Scout mission if needed is low (low CC) and the amount of firepower that your fleet will lose from their absence due to the scout mission is also low.

I worry about having two different resources that players have to manage at the start of each combat round (command actions + scout functions). Collapsing the two is an attractive option, but as you say it might end up making CR too important of a stat, and at that point we'll see the min/max brigade out with their dedicated +DV/+CR ships determined to bend the system to its breaking point.

I've adjusted my task force command limit to a straight Flagship + # of ships = Flagship CR for my current tests. This isn't a lot of ships, but if I can use the command/scout economy to add extra units using Include missions then I think it won't be a serious problem. Even at base tech, it's pretty easy to build cruisers and larger with 5-6 CR, which is enough to bring in a fairly decent fleet.

But it's still early days, and I'm taking elements from both our rulesets and testing them as I go so see which rules gel best together and require the fewest exceptions (both to existing rules or even internal consistency).

My two battles taught me that escorts are important, and it seems like you really need them to pad out your fleet and prevent that leftover damage from bleeding over to your heavy units and crippling/destroying them.

I'm going to start on my playtest game later today. I have some work issues that I have to take care of today, so I won't get as far as fast as I'd planned, but I will go update that other thread with the campaign info. I'll also be moving the... ahem... "special" ships from the end of the Galaxies doc to the new one so that all of the infringing material is in my personal playtest file instead of the rules doc. :)

And here's a preview of the battle I'm finishing up now to see how this works in a maximum-abuse situation, where both players have lots of CC and special functions and a variety of ships to send on missions. Reminder to folks: you can right click and open all my images in a new window for a MUCH bigger version so you can see all the details and die rolls.

Image

BTW, that looks like it is going to be QUITE the battle. Two formidable fleets, representing a significant amount of construction cost and firepower. I look forward to hearing how it goes, and how many survivors both sides have left when the dust clears!
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Re: Single Squadron Task Forces

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Tue Sep 27, 2016 3:27 am

Just as a quick unrelated update, I'm doing some more updates to the VBAM Galaxies "Community Edition" document to get more notes about various rules in there. Right now there isn't much in the way of definite rules, but a lot of commentary and notes added (out to 20 pages so far!).

I've given public users comment level access to the document, so feel free to go in and throw some comments in and get a discussion going.

My original goal was to revisit Encounters and the CSCR, but a rush of new ideas have hit me and I'm just going crazy comparing VBAM rules and what we've talked about since 2E has come and out seeing what other directions we could take things. But I'm liking the direction some of these things are heading.

I'll be sure to post specifics once I have some actual rules text "on the page", as it were, but in the meantime you can keep track of my mad ravings. One of the biggest failures of 2E was the lack of communication and community involvement, and that's something that I want to address going forward. Plus I think this is going to be a really fun project for us to all work on. We might find some good optional rules to add to our respective toolboxes!
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Re: Single Squadron Task Forces

Postby Tyrel Lohr » Tue Sep 27, 2016 9:01 pm

I'm going to continue working tonight on updates. I have lots of notes added, including open ended questions where I'm fishing for feedback from the community.

Also, before writing rules up in final form, I think I'm going to keep using the bulleted list format (see Colonization) to get all of my thoughts in order and step through the logic. That way we can look for edge cases or logic issues that need addressed before I convert those bullets into rules text.
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