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[sf] Questions about Reload Weapons and Accurate

Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:09 am
by Ardith
Last night I pitted my 750pt Fed Fleet against a friends Klingons.

During play a question arose that we couldn't find a answer for (we diced off for interpretations)

Does the Accurate trait make it easier to punch through shields?

for example a Phaser-1 at 14 inches gets +1 to hit (-1 over half range, Accurate +2), in previous games we ran it as 3+ to hit, only goes through shields on a Natural roll of a 6. Whereas last night, in the above example rolling 3 or 4 hit shields, 5+ punched through. we found this sped up the game hugely.

We came to this interpretation, as reading the Attack phase page it says "A roll of 4 or more on each Attack Dice is a hit" (p.7) which is modified by the accurate rate.
Under the shields section "Every Attack Dice that rolls a 6 will ignore Shields completely" (p.7), Similar wording so we assumed Accurate modified that as well. Is this correct?

Also, Why does the reload weapons special order cause power drain? I'm sure its a balance decision, but would love some clarification.
Reload weapons already have a drawback in the fact you need to reload them with an special order (which takes an entire turn). We might try a game where the Reload Weapons SO doesn't cause PD to see how that affects it and another where if you pass a CQC of 8 the RWSO doesn't cause power drain. thoughts?

Thanks in advance

Re: [sf] Questions about Reload Weapons and Accurate

Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:26 am
by locarno24
No. Only a 'natural' 6 punches through shields. Bonuses and penalties to hit don't affect this - so equally, it's possible to imagine a situation where only a 6 hits, but that any hit you do manage will punch through shields.

That's the main reason it's independent of modifiers; being unable to punch through shields at long range would really screw over photon torpedoes relative to disruptors, for example (especially given their range isn't great to start with).
Also, Why does the reload weapons special order cause power drain? I'm sure its a balance decision, but would love some clarification.
Reload weapons already have a drawback in the fact you need to reload them with an special order (which takes an entire turn). We might try a game where the Reload Weapons SO doesn't cause PD to see how that affects it and another where if you pass a CQC of 8 the RWSO doesn't cause power drain. thoughts?
Short answer; It just does. ACTA descends from Starfleet Battles, and Federation Commander. Charging up heavy weapons was one of the most energy-intensive things you could do. Personally, I agree; or would like to be able to reload and fire, or....I dunno, something. I get how horrific plasma torpedoes have the potential to be (A first-time player didn't believe that it could be "that bad", didn't hold any phasers back for point defence and had an undamaged fast cruiser flambé-ed in a single plasma torpedo shot) but photons always feel like they've got the short end of the stick.

Re: [sf] Questions about Reload Weapons and Accurate

Posted: Fri Oct 11, 2013 5:57 pm
by Iain McGhee
Plasma does usually take a huge chunk of available energy to load in the SFU games, so Power Drain is justifiable. I suspect that the Photons have Reload since it's (faster) one-turn arming and this game doesn't differentiate between partial loading and loading all torps, unlike SFB/FC. Maybe there's balance issues there too ?

I'd have maybe gone with giving Photons the B5:ACTA Slow-Loading trait instead (i.e. takes one full turn to rearm with no Power Drain), except perhaps on power-poor ships like the old "lollipop" DD.

Re: [sf] Questions about Reload Weapons and Accurate

Posted: Sat Oct 12, 2013 11:19 am
by billclo
Iain McGhee wrote: I'd have maybe gone with giving Photons the B5:ACTA Slow-Loading trait instead (i.e. takes one full turn to rearm with no Power Drain), except perhaps on power-poor ships like the old "lollipop" DD.
Sounds good. Photons take 2 power per turn for 2 turns. Disruptors also take 2 power, but you don't see disruptor ships having to take a power drain to fire Disruptors.

Example:
Fed CA wants to reload 4 Photons, in the source games, 8 power required, but suffers power drain in ACTA:SF. Klingon D7 with 4 Disruptors wants to fire, 8 power required, but does not suffer power drain. :?

Re: [sf] Questions about Reload Weapons and Accurate

Posted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 9:50 am
by storeylf
You're too focused on raw numbers on not how FC plays.

FC:
Klingon has to commit no power to disrupters until point of fire, he has lots of power and hence options all turn. He chooses whether to accel, EM, HET, decel, fire weapons based on arc he is in etc. If he doesn't fire then he has used no energy and can save it for batteries. The 2 power he needs to fire disrupters doesn't particularly limit him in anything like the sane way as Feds.

Fed player must commit 2 energy to start reloading photons. He won't be able to use them this turn and that 8 energy has a fairly major effect on what he can do that turn.
On the second turn of arming he will be able to fire, but he still has a serious disadvantage compared to the klingon - he must commit his 8 power up front which can be a serious downside. Again his options are now limited, he may not even get to fire even though he put the power in.

Sure it costs the disrupter the same power to fire, 2 power each, but the way each weapon works has a major effect on what each player can or cannot do in a turn. The Fed being far more restricted than the klingon.

It may not be a perfect representation, but in many ways the ACTA power drain for reload on the photon is capturing that feel of playing Feds in FC after you have fired your first photon strike. Reloading is not always a simple decision, in particular on that first turn of rearm when you are down so much power against someone who has so much.

Re: [sf] Questions about Reload Weapons and Accurate

Posted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:12 am
by Ardith
Okay i see it has thematic reasons drawing on FC, i couldn't make those comparisons myself as this is my first SFU game.

on the night it seemed to me horribly unbalanced to have photons purely power drain. when i get back from holiday and can meet up with my regular a opponent i'm going to try the other ways to reload photons (sans power drain or a 50% chance of causing power drain.) it may make feds OP but i think its worth a look.

Re: [sf] Questions about Reload Weapons and Accurate

Posted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:22 am
by storeylf
By coincidence I was replying to a thread about tactics on the FC forum re: D7 vs Fed CA. That made me think of another point where the power drain sort of reflects that way FC plays, or at least provides some way of covering something ACTA can't easily do.

In FC most Fed ships really struggle to move at max speed and arm photons after the first volley (actually some struggle even with the first volley). The Fed CA for example has only 36 power, for the most part Feds fighting Klingons need to go speed 24, so that 8 power for arming photons leaves only 4 power left, that is 4 power less than he needs for max speed. Even the better NCA is 2 power short. Whilst it doesn't seem much, those couple of points less speed can have a huge difference on who is in the driving seat. That is made so much worse due to what I said above - they have to commit to spending that power up front. By the time they have used some power mitigating drones they are realy struggling to keep up. The Klingons are not so badly affected, a D7 will often be using max speed and firing disrupters, and even if he can't the fact that he can decide on where to put that 8 power as the turn progresses gives him a tactical advantage. He is also far less likely to be the one defending vs drones.

ACTA real can't mimic that subtle difference that a couple points of power makes. However, the power drain on Photon reload at least makes that constant photon firing an issue in a way that is not that far from how FC plays. In FC constant photon barrages do indeed force you to give up phasers or speed, and importantly plan up front for it due to the need to commt energy. You simply can't close on klingons, deal with drones, shooting phasers and keep the photons going.

The thing that ACTA doesn't do, and is one area that Feds lose out on compared to FC is the initial overload. As the photon overload is cheap to hold the common FC tactic is to fully overloaded on turn 1 whilst safely out of range (if the scenario allows such) and then charge in at top speed, or at least as fast as normal. It is that aspect of photon overloading that makes Feds really scary in FC, no other empire has a cheap overload holding like that. But it is something that ACTA doesn't represent. On the other hand it also makes Feds fairly tediously boring on closed maps.