Ramming in ACTA NA

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Ramming in ACTA NA

Postby pars-claws » Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:13 pm

I'm pretty much a newbie so I've been reading the forum to get a feel for the game. I've noticed that quite a few threads have mentioned ramming in their tactics which got me thinking. (Ouch!)

Why? Don't worry I get the damage it does and I'm all for wholesale destruction (that's why I bought the game) but ramming as a standard tactic from the NA universe point of view doesn't make sense. The ships are valuable resources and what kind of captain is going to tell his crew that he's going play bumper cars with their craft and "you're all going to probably die"? As the special actions states "A desperate captain may decide to make the ultimate sacrifice" but it almost appears to be the standard captain's tactic in some quarters.

Kamikazes came about when Japan was begining to loose WWII and cost them valuable pilots and planes. Ramming should not be a tactic for a successful admiral, only for one who is about to loose everything.

In the same vain; the Kurgan Khangard Martyr Fighters -Come on guys that's just distasteful and bordering on xenophobia!
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Re: Ramming in ACTA NA

Postby Da Boss » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:32 pm

As I understand it ramming was also used by convoy escorts against submarines in WWII.

I must admit it does seem strange in the NA universe especially since it seems such an effective tatic?
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Re: Ramming in ACTA NA

Postby Rick » Sat Mar 10, 2012 1:24 am

It was also used repeatedly during the cold war by Russian warships - it rarely resulted in lots of damage, however. The idea that ramming into another ship is racist is unfounded, however - unless you happen to know something about the ancient greeks that the rest of us don't? :twisted:
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Re: Ramming in ACTA NA

Postby pars-claws » Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:20 am

I'm no naval historian but with the ramming a submarine was not the first choice of a captain. That's why ships have guns and depth charges. Ramming as a desperate act is understandable and frankly I can understand if all you have left is frigate and your opponent has a cruiser and he's about to win. In fact it's a great way to finish a game by going out in a blaze of glory!

Collisions in the cold war might had been to intimidate the other other side but again not as the main weapon. Ancient Greek ships had a spike on the front so they would damage the other ship and minimise the damage to themselves. If it's such a great tactic why don't modern warships have them -because they guns and missiles and they're very expensive.

My original last remark was not to say ramming is racist but where you have a group call the Kurgan Caliphate using Khangard Martyr Fighters on suicide runs. I wonder which sterotype group that is based on? Somehow I don't think it's the Ancient Greeks or Russians... Way to go guys, do you need a larger paint brush with that tar?
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Re: Ramming in ACTA NA

Postby Clanger » Sat Mar 10, 2012 10:42 am

In the 2nd Edition of Noble Armada by Holistic Games in the Fighters section, they had a short passage about the shock of a Hazat Captain of the Kurgan ramming ships. This is nothing to do with being xenopobic.

Also the Kurgan are not the only Fleets to have suicide fighters. Remember that the Fading Suns / Noble Armarda universe is a very religious one. There are those willing to die for their faith or redeem themselves in the eyes of the Pancreator. Li Halan due to their high religious nature have faithful which would do this and the Church is never short of the faithful who would die taking a heretic down.
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Re: Ramming in ACTA NA

Postby Rick » Sat Mar 10, 2012 2:41 pm

My original last remark was not to say ramming is racist but where you have a group call the Kurgan Caliphate using Khangard Martyr Fighters on suicide runs. I wonder which sterotype group that is based on? Somehow I don't think it's the Ancient Greeks or Russians... Way to go guys, do you need a larger paint brush with that tar?
I realised the point you were trying to make - but I have always considered the Kurgan Caliphate to be a fusion of the Cossack and Mongol stereotypes with a very slight dash of pre-Ottoman Turk. I realise you may have to get into the Fading Suns background a lot more to get that, but the parallel you are trying to draw really doesn't bear a closer scrutiny - once you start reading more about it, the similarities with Islamic extremism are virtually non-existent. There are probably a lot more parallels you could draw between early Christian extremism/Crusades and the Li Halan, given the whole Church overtones in the game!
"Understanding is a 3-edged sword" bit like a toblerone, really.
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Re: Ramming in ACTA NA

Postby pars-claws » Sat Mar 10, 2012 2:44 pm

As I said I'm new to NA so I've only read the rulebook and the articles on the Mongoose website. When I initially read the the material my impression was that the game covered great houses fighting between themselves and other institutions (including the church) for power. Great background for a war game and plenty of excuses to fight battles :D

I have no problems with religious fanatics going down and taking as many as their enemies with them but I merely pointed out two things:

1. Ramming ships should not be a standard tactic.
2. Why is it only the Caliphate have suicide martyr ships?

If I missed another group's designated suicide ships please let me know. Quoting the original source as a reason for the game not being xenophobic also doesn't cut it. It merely means the original source is stereotyping and the game is following suit. For example, if Mongoose (or another company) wanted to produce a Legend campaign using the Gor setting I don't think they would claim the setting was not sexist or misogynous as they just copied the original source. Although I might buy that for a dollar :wink:
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Re: Ramming in ACTA NA

Postby Iron Domokun » Sat Mar 10, 2012 3:20 pm

1. Ramming ships should not be a standard tactic.
Why not? Please supply a more substantial argument that that it conflicts with your preconceptions about what "realistic" tactics are.
2. Why is it only the Caliphate have suicide martyr ships?
Why not? For that matter, why are all the fleets so distinct from each other, each having radically different ship design philosophies that all work? It's as if they all have different laws of physics. If we're going to be "realistic", everyone's working with the same laws of physics and their engineering decisions are going to be more or less similar. Warships in the real world all look grossly similar, for example, because boat-shaped hulls just work and other designs don't.

From a game perspective, I think ramming is often too good. (The Vuldrok had some play balance issues with that. Their Myrkwyrm explorers were way too good at it, for example.) From a fluff perspective, I don't see why not. It's a fictional game with spaceships, and "reality" can be whatever the fiction writer decides it is.
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Re: Ramming in ACTA NA

Postby miggel » Sat Mar 10, 2012 4:23 pm

1. I also think ramming should not be a normal tactic. That's because in the FS background spaceships other than fighters are rare and valuable, they can't be replaced easily. Ingame imo ramming is too powerful, buts that's just me and not the topic of this topic.

2. The Caliphate is the only one we have stats for suicide ships. The Church and Li Halan ones just aren't released yet. All the religious fundamentalist factions have access to them.
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Re: Ramming in ACTA NA

Postby pars-claws » Sat Mar 10, 2012 4:40 pm

I think we have come off topic slightly. I feel ramming is a valid tactic just not a standard one. I was trying to put ramming into perspective. Great fiction whether book, film or game depends on internal logic. Babylon 5, Star Trek, BattleStar Galactica, etc. were more than just big ships fighting each other. They had a 'believable' setting with 'believable' characters even though they are clearly fictional. When the crew of Galactica become suicide bombers (sorry for the spoiler) you saw the reason if though you might not agree.

Iron Domokun is absolutely right about NA is a work of fiction and not all 'realistic' rules apply. But if fluffy the space rabbit was introduced who had the ability to kick ships into space rabbit holes would you still play? I know it's a silly example but for me a great piece of fiction has logic even when that logic involves spaceships and magic. Actually I think we are in agreement that ramming is too good mechanically . I was just trying to justify the problem with it in terms of internal logic.

If more fleets have suicide ships then I can't accuse the game of stereotyping (-at most, poor timing).
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Re: Ramming in ACTA NA

Postby Rick » Sat Mar 10, 2012 4:55 pm

From a background fluff point of view - I agree with some of the comments that ramming would not be a first resort attack - in a 'one-off' game, it would be difficult to balance - in a campaign game, the side that uses ramming as an effective tactic will run out of ships quite quickly, so that should balance its use.

In fairness, although we have playtest rules for the Kurgan, the official rules for both them and some of the other factions martyr fighters should be released at the same times, in Fleets of the Fading Suns (eventually... :? ).

As for the background material being xenophobic in and of itself, I still don't really buy that argument. The background is more like a sci-fi mediaeval-era game. When I mentioned the Kurgan seeming to be Mongol/Cossack/early Turk - there were virtues of being a warrior in those societies that might resemble a kind of fanaticism in our era (think of the ferocious fighting at Hakata Bay, for example!).
I think you may be reading too much into the games stereotypes - for example, the fact that the Decados resemble a Machiavellian Borgia-style faction is a stereotype, but I've yet to see many (serious) complaints about that.
"Understanding is a 3-edged sword" bit like a toblerone, really.
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Re: Ramming in ACTA NA

Postby pars-claws » Sat Mar 10, 2012 5:02 pm

Having read Miggel's post I believe I owe an apology to people about stereotyping. Sorry guys I apologies for my comments and retract them immediately.
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Re: Ramming in ACTA NA

Postby Corsair117 » Sat Mar 10, 2012 6:12 pm

You can see the martyr fighters that li halan and the church will get here(scroll down):
http://blog.mongoosepublishing.co.uk/?p=42

As for ramming, I'm still getting into the universe myself and have only read a few of the fading suns books so far mind you, it seems to be more of a game thing than a background thing with only the martyr fighters being deliberately built for ramming (maybe some vuldrok but I haven't read much on them). It wouldn't be the first time(nor last) a game mechanic causes battles on the tabletop to seem nothing like they do in the background with weird tactics that only really work because of game mechanics.

I've only gotten to play a few games myself so far but I haven't seen much ramming yet (my only opponent right now plays vuldrok) but from the few times it has happened I do think ramming needs to get toned down a bit, maybe be a bit harder to pull off.
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Re: Ramming in ACTA NA

Postby Nerroth » Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:57 pm

There does seem to be a discrepancy between how much emphasis (if any) the RPG side of the shared Fading Suns/Noble Armada setting puts into space combat (or rather of anything squadron sized or upwards) than the tabletop game does. For example, the RPG crowd seem to be much less keen on seeing carriers show up everywhere (in the Phoenix Empire, at least).

But then, I guess there is more of a jump in emphasis compared to, say, what we'll have once PD: Traveller comes out. The SFU has a more progressive range of scales, with some games tailored more to duels or smaller suadron actions, and others more suited to full-on fleet ops. I don't know what kind of scale Holistic's original Noble Armada engine was set at, but it does seem there is a window open for some sort of system that allows the current range of minis to be used in a more close-in encounter; akin to how the Starline 2500s are intended to work with SFB and FC, as well as ACtA:SF (and Starmada).
The above post is 100% unofficial.
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Re: Ramming in ACTA NA

Postby Rick » Sat Mar 10, 2012 10:12 pm

Nerroth wrote:There does seem to be a discrepancy between how much emphasis (if any) the RPG side of the shared Fading Suns/Noble Armada setting puts into space combat (or rather of anything squadron sized or upwards) than the tabletop game does. For example, the RPG crowd seem to be much less keen on seeing carriers show up everywhere (in the Phoenix Empire, at least).

But then, I guess there is more of a jump in emphasis compared to, say, what we'll have once PD: Traveller comes out. The SFU has a more progressive range of scales, with some games tailored more to duels or smaller suadron actions, and others more suited to full-on fleet ops. I don't know what kind of scale Holistic's original Noble Armada engine was set at, but it does seem there is a window open for some sort of system that allows the current range of minis to be used in a more close-in encounter; akin to how the Starline 2500s are intended to work with SFB and FC, as well as ACtA:SF (and Starmada).
The Fading Suns Rpg treats starships in a very Traveller-esque manner, the Al-Malik Odyssey class explorer being used in a similiar way to the Type-S Scout; as an entry-level party ship. That said, the original Noble Armada has more detail than ACTA:Noble Armada and is probably best used at 4-6 ships per side maximum. I think the main objection of the 'Rpg crowd' to seeing carriers is that they are seen more as a 'faction weapon' rather than in general use (Kurgan and Vuldrok mainly, I think).
"Understanding is a 3-edged sword" bit like a toblerone, really.
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Re: Ramming in ACTA NA

Postby Nerroth » Sun Mar 11, 2012 4:35 am

Yeah, I noticed how Star Crusade presented the Mujahidin-class raider as the sample craft for the Caliphate, and the Myrkwyrm explorer for the Star-Nation. (As it happens, the art for the Vuldrok explorer looks not entirely dissimilar to the Mongoose design, but the Kurga ship is significantly different. But then, there's no reason not to say a yard at, say, Khayyam wouldn't built a different-looking raider to one at Irem or elsewhere.)

The Traveller comparison might be even more interesting if it turns out that the space combat engine in the Prime Directive adaptation ends up most suited to handling the likes of Free Traders, Armed Priority Transports or Workboats; since even FC and SFB can be a bit too high up in terms of scale to give these smaller units a good run of things (since, in those games, cruisers are king).


Oh, speaking of the relevance of Khangards, I would imagine one way to tailor a Kurga fleet to a given sub-faction within the Caliphate might be to allow, or ignore, that (or other) craft. One might imagine less politically committed worlds like Khayyam being far less likely to have enough locals willing to strap into a suicide fighter than ones from more devoutly "Kurgan" planets (or sub-groups).

I do hope that enough of the info from Star Crusade which helps flesh out the Caliphate and Star-Nation makes it into Fleets of the Fading Suns to help people realyl sink their teeth into the various sub-groups both powers have to offer; though of course, it doesn't hurt that the original file isn't so expensive to get as a pdf on DriveThruRPG.
The above post is 100% unofficial.

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