Some more thoughts, I was going to say something like this in the plasma thread, but here is just as good.
The problem with IDF, and to be honest all the special actions that require a crew check, is that it is far to unreliable. A properly trained crew fails important, but fairly basic, stuff 50% of the time. Apart from feeling rather odd that good crews fail so often at such stuff, it often means the game feels like a crap shoot, as to many important things rely on a small handful of 50/50 rolls.
It means that at the start of a turn it is hard to plan what you intend to do, there is way too big a chance of failure on any individual unit, and way too high a variance for any group of units.
IDF in particular is a bad one, and often feels useless unless you are playing in large games with lots of ships. If I have 1 ship then clearly IDF is useless. If I have 2 ships then IDF is probably useless - unless both successfully IDF then the drone user just shoots the one who got IDF. The same happens even at 5 or 6 ships, you start the turn not being sure who will or will not make it, and if an expected 2 or 3 make it then the enemy 5 or 6 ships will target 2 of them. On the other hand you can roll well and the poor plasma user wonders how he is meant to damage you having just got in range.
Now it may be situationally useful with just a few ships, for example if you can be sure the IDF ships will be at 18"+ and therefore poor targets. But even then, you roll for ship 1 and fail - do you now move him on the chance the other will succeed or not?
I like the SA idea, it is nice mechanic and I'm not against it maybe failing. But the 50/50 for the standard crew is just way to luck dependent. I'd like to see trained crews perform the SAs with a 2+ to succeed (i.e target number = 6). That makes it possible to actually make plans for what you want to do with some expectation that it will more or less go as you want. The chance of failure still means that something can go wrong, but if you have allowed a bit of redundancy in your plan then you can cope in most cases as there is far less variance.
Veteran crews and elite crews would effectively be auto succes for SAs, but that feels OK to me, they are your best crews and can be expected to always perform 'basic' actions. Poor crews are where the chance of failure goes up and are crews you can't rely on, especially if they have the -1 from a crew crit. Vets and Elites are differentiated by the -1 crew check (elites still auto a SA whreas Vets don't), repairs, or the roll of 9+ to stop escalation.
Evade is even worse, currently you have 50% chance of success (standard crew) but, for seekers, that is only to allow you about another 50% chance of success. With a lower target roll then evade may become a more useful SA against seekers if you are running out of mutual support.
Having IDF be a lot more likely would go a long way to reducing the damaging effect of drones, they will still soak up phasers like nobodies business, which is more their main purpose in SFU. Indeed the 3 drone ship limit could probably be removed as it is a clunky rule (and requires tracking who has drones who, which slows things down and we like simpler games!) to compensate for easier IDF and evade.
It would also effect plasma as they would be shot down much more, but plasma could be boosted to compensate, increasing AD to say:
F = 3AD
G = 4AD
S = 6AD
R = 10AD
That makes big plasma look scary, whilst smaller plasma is more just a phaser soak, or a finisher when no one has phasers left. As has been said this is a fleet game, and with better odds of IDF and evade the overall effect would probably not be to different to now.
Changing the Energy Bleed to quarter range brackets, so:
0-4 = 0
4-8 = -1
8-12 = -3
12-16 = -5
A fleet of 6 cruisers has about 36 phasers, obvioulsy fair variance by empire/ship, but about ~6 phaser per cruiser are likely in arc. Currently that means with IDF you might get 18 phasers on IDF, but very variable so anything from 6-30 is quite possible. The high variablity is bad for both sides, roll high and the plasma player is screwed and wonders how plama can be seen as good, roll low and the defender is dead due too bad luck.
A target score of 6 would make that about 30 IDF phasers, and its very unlikely you will get less than 24 and a very decent chance of all 36. A Gorn fleet of 6 cruisers would currently have 72 plasma AD, that would increase by 36AD at point blank range, by 12AD from range 4+, whlst being 12AD worse than now at range 8+. So plasma would increase by about the same as the number of IDF phasers at range 4-8, but be scary at closer ranges, and not as good beyond half range. Alternatively energy bleed of 0, -2, -4, -6 would leave plasma very scary up to 4" but weaker at all ranges beyond that to compensate for the close range killing power.
The lower variance on IDF/Evade means both sides can play in a way that feels more like their decisions have been the main factor in victory or defeat, and less about a few 50/50 rolls going right/wrong. No new rules have been introduced, 1 could be dropped, it would just be different numbers on the existing rules.
Last edited by storeylf
on Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:33 am, edited 1 time in total.