Spaceship armor: rhyme and/or reason?

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
baithammer
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 866
Joined: Wed May 31, 2017 2:21 am

Re: Spaceship armor: rhyme and/or reason?

Postby baithammer » Tue Apr 02, 2019 10:48 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 1:18 pm
No? Crits can be repaired. You have to inflict enough crits to destroy something vital in a single round to mission-kill a ship. The next round most of the crits are probably repaired.

With the 1% rule there is no practical way to disable a ship with crits before you kill it with damage. Small well-armoured ships that can take crits from turrets are an exception.
The repair is to the effect of the critical, not the hit itself.
A Traveller on engineer duty can attempt to effect a
quick repair to the effects of a critical hit.
Which means if that location is hit again, then it takes new severity if greater than the severity already take or at minimum severity +1.
Moppy
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 405
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:42 pm

Re: Spaceship armor: rhyme and/or reason?

Postby Moppy » Wed Apr 03, 2019 3:27 am

Only disabled systems can be repaired in combat. Destroyed systems ("jump drive destroyed") can't be.

It's actually not clear if some of the hits are disabled or destroyed. Jump drive has separate disabled and destroyed results. Maneuver, power and life support don't. Sensors are unambiguously defined as immortal. Related question: Where do all the damaged ships in the RPG scenarios come from if you can continue making repair rolls until you succeed?

I've not got the naval campaign adventure (the one with the Element deckplans) but I'm told they defined skill levels as +2 for regular navy and +3 for crack crews.

"When to leave" is a somewhat nebulous thing as in the lore for the game they have no (edit: OK, few) fanatics and ships will attempt to withdraw. Most gamers shoot until one side is completely destroyed.
baithammer
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 866
Joined: Wed May 31, 2017 2:21 am

Re: Spaceship armor: rhyme and/or reason?

Postby baithammer » Wed Apr 03, 2019 5:08 am

The repairs in combat are temporary fixes and only remove the effect that critical resulted in, as they only last d6 hours if the ship doesn't have any further damage. ( Get back to a port with the right facilities allows full repair or replacement of criticals.)
locarno24
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3057
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 7:46 pm
Location: Wildly Variable

Re: Spaceship armor: rhyme and/or reason?

Postby locarno24 » Wed Apr 03, 2019 8:44 am

Sigtrygg wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:23 pm
My latest kickstarter package to arrive at my door is Squadron Strike: Traveller.
I would still love to see Mongoose dust off Call to Arms with a Traveller version - Call to Arms:High Guard.

I keep tinkering with adapting Victory at Sea to a space based big ship combat game for Traveller...
That'd be very interesting to see, especially if you had some appropriate scenarios and scaling (a gas giant being a 'board edge' rather than a planet marker, and trying to protect tankers from 'surfacing' SDBs, for example).

Getting more newtonian movement into the game would take a bit of work - I've never really seen one I liked because I'm lazy and don't like book-keeping, which newtonian movement tends to mandate.

A call to arms is a great game, and the new Victory At Sea version even better; the swap to escalating criticals and AD/DD/AP allowing a lot of variation with simple mechanics.

(It's a shame Fifth Frontier War as a board game seems to have folded, this might make a nice fleet action game to go alongside it).
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
phavoc
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4620
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:13 pm

Re: Spaceship armor: rhyme and/or reason?

Postby phavoc » Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:19 pm

My experience with gaming is that if you want to track individual systems per ship, fleet battles bog down quick. Traveller ships have far too many individual weapons, they'd need to be grouped into batteries and ships given a strength number. SFB could be fun with 1-3 ships per player, but after that trying to track energy every turn and then allocating damage on your SSD could get tedious. Renegade legion had pre-printed starship charts you just marked off showing ammo usage, fighter squadron status, armor and systems. It was easier to track than SFB. If anyone played starfire the damage allocation was pretty easy - shields, then armor, then you marked off the systems from front to back. Since Traveller is more RPG than wargame the fleet combat would need to be drastically changed into something much simpler. Depending on fleet sizes it might be easier to just have ships with Beam and missile strength, a damage factor (incorporating armor first) and how fast they go. Tracking newtonian movement is a big pain and its better to just hand-wave that on the playing board to make it less tedious and more fun. Spreadsheets-in-space is really best left for a computer.
Condottiere
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 6998
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Spaceship armor: rhyme and/or reason?

Postby Condottiere » Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:45 am

Which is why I think a lot of these type of game systems will eventually have a software component to it, perhaps even just an app for a handphone.

Or on the more physical level, models will have onboard counters, possibly just chattering with each other over Bluetooth.
Moppy
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 405
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:42 pm

Re: Spaceship armor: rhyme and/or reason?

Postby Moppy » Thu Apr 04, 2019 9:35 am

Condottiere wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:45 am
Which is why I think a lot of these type of game systems will eventually have a software component to it, perhaps even just an app for a handphone.

Or on the more physical level, models will have onboard counters, possibly just chattering with each other over Bluetooth.
I would like to see more app integration but I think we've hit a barrier due to business practises. (Also ignoring the quedtion of whether players want apps).

A small tabletop company can't pay the dev cost or provide the right work environment, so their apps all suck without exception. The apps that are free hobby projects are just better. Except that the company has no control over them and is afraid of them, as if everyone uses X app to resolve the game, and the app author makes a rule change, then you've lost control of your game. One day a tabletop dev will figure out how to use all the free programmer hobby time while keeping control (and work out the legal issues of a commercial company with volunteer "staff"), and corporate will let them try it, and we'll have good apps.

As for high precision smart counters (good enough for warhammer or x-wing): yes, one day, but not on this generation of phone sensors, unless you want a really expensive smart mat that doesn't like beer and people pressing on the table. Also GL finding power for 100 tables at a con and maybe 100 interefering boards need more separation.
phavoc
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4620
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:13 pm

Re: Spaceship armor: rhyme and/or reason?

Postby phavoc » Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:02 pm

Best bet is an app for a tablet or phone. Tablets have power to run for days w/o recharging.

Printed forms used to be the thing. SFB put out entire books of nothing but ship SSD's that you copied off and could put in a sleeve or mark up directly to cover damage. Renegade Legion did the same with some ships (though they had scads of others that didn't get the sheet treatment). For Starfire you did it yourself for the most part (though that game was very basic for combat).

People have shared spreadsheets they've designed for this, though the many iterations of Traveller have made it hard to keep up, let alone the many inconsistencies in the design rules and official ship designs.

It's not rocket science.
Moppy
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 405
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:42 pm

Re: Spaceship armor: rhyme and/or reason?

Postby Moppy » Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:42 pm

phavoc wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:02 pm
Best bet is an app for a tablet or phone. Tablets have power to run for days w/o recharging.

Printed forms used to be the thing. SFB put out entire books of nothing but ship SSD's that you copied off and could put in a sleeve or mark up directly to cover damage. Renegade Legion did the same with some ships (though they had scads of others that didn't get the sheet treatment). For Starfire you did it yourself for the most part (though that game was very basic for combat).

People have shared spreadsheets they've designed for this, though the many iterations of Traveller have made it hard to keep up, let alone the many inconsistencies in the design rules and official ship designs.

It's not rocket science.
Game record keeping apps are very different from game resolution apps.

Recording apps are simple, until they aren't.

Warmachine's War Room app (Privateer Press) will drain the battery if used for multiple games at a tournament. It displays cards, functions as a list builder and allows you to record damage. It also takes about 30 seconds to start up. It's not possible to just whip it out to look something up in a conversation.

Fantasy Fight Games X-Wing one (a list builder) is useless and everyone uses a 3rd party alternative (YASB or one of the others). Just recently the offical app accidentally erased everyone's hyperspace lists. List builders are difficult because army list logic is complicated and game companies keep adding new units. I have no idea why FFG find databases so hard, however.

Warhammer's ones just about work but GW have been a billion dollar company by market cap.

It's interesting you mention Starfire. Starfire's strategic is unplayable without computer assistance, and they have banned computer automation apps after Starfire Assistant (a player's hobby project) became so ubqiuitous that everyone used its rules instead of the official ones.
locarno24
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3057
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 7:46 pm
Location: Wildly Variable

Re: Spaceship armor: rhyme and/or reason?

Postby locarno24 » Thu Apr 04, 2019 2:25 pm

phavoc wrote:
Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:19 pm
My experience with gaming is that if you want to track individual systems per ship, fleet battles bog down quick. Traveller ships have far too many individual weapons, they'd need to be grouped into batteries and ships given a strength number. SFB could be fun with 1-3 ships per player, but after that trying to track energy every turn and then allocating damage on your SSD could get tedious. Renegade legion had pre-printed starship charts you just marked off showing ammo usage, fighter squadron status, armor and systems. It was easier to track than SFB. If anyone played starfire the damage allocation was pretty easy - shields, then armor, then you marked off the systems from front to back. Since Traveller is more RPG than wargame the fleet combat would need to be drastically changed into something much simpler. Depending on fleet sizes it might be easier to just have ships with Beam and missile strength, a damage factor (incorporating armor first) and how fast they go. Tracking newtonian movement is a big pain and its better to just hand-wave that on the playing board to make it less tedious and more fun. Spreadsheets-in-space is really best left for a computer.
Completely agree.
Starfleet Battles (old Starfleet Battles or Federation Commander, not A Call To arms) creaks with more than a single division of 2-3 ships.
Full Thrust maybe twice that, with Armada being about the same.
A Call To Arms and its descendants.....maybe a dozen or more major ships and it gets awkward to track damage and (especially) criticals.
Battlefleet Gothic was suited for slightly more but about the same scale - mostly due to the preponderance of ordnance and blast marker counters littering the board.

Starfire I've never played much of. It seems okay, but I've only played the intro game. Much like ACTA and BFG I feel you wouldn't want too many ships. Yes, the 'damage order' is fixed which makes it faster but you're still having to track individual weapon loss on each ship. Essentially, if you can't track the damage state with a couple of coloured D6 next to the ship, you're going to struggle with big games of more than a dozen or so major combatants.

The game I've seen most suited to large engagements was Spartan Games' Halo Fleet Battles - using a single 'base' as a destroyer squadron or a cruiser or battleship plus attached screen, and having combat capabilty degrade with 2-4 'damage levels' rather than individual criticals.

Whilst I agree that Apps do help a lot, they do have issues. Power, as identified, is a big one, and there is a tactile element you lose. One thing to admire about X-wing is the precision of movement of ships - such that, in theory, you can rewind several turns with complete accuracy.

I would like to see a 'good' newtonian movement game but I undertand how awkward it is. As you say, hand-waving it away and simply giving ships a mandatory speed (the 'ease' of changing speed seen in Victory at Sea and Starfleet A Call To Arms seems wrong) and making a change of base course require reasonably significant effort instead of being free might work.




A big part of it would be deciding the scale of the combat you want to represent. If it's major 5th Frontier War engagements, then the fleet units are big.

214th Fleet (would only be a single unit for a '5th frontier war' strategic board game) consisted of

2 BatRons
3 CruRons
1 Colonial CruRon
(6 'units' is not unreasonable for a tabletop game but it's going to be incredibly abstracted.....)

A BatRon consists of
4 Dreadnoughts
2 Fleet Carriers
12 Escorts (Destroyers, Destroyer Escorts and Fleet Escorts)

A CruRon consists of the same mix but replaces the battleships with heavy or light cruisers and the fleet carriers with strike carriers


Thing is, a 'game piece' could be a single dreadnought or a formation of cruisers, and you'd look at about the same tonnage of metal.

A single Kokirrak (200,000 dTons) is equivalent to 6 Gionettis (30,000 dTons each). The escort screen - even if they're all big, new destroyers or escorts like Midu Ashgaams or P.F.Sloanes - is only at best equivalent to a single cruiser in mass. Small ships will disappear into the noise in fleet engagements and provide little more than extra point defences and hit points.




If it is covering larger games, then abstracting away manouvre, individual weapons, arcs of fire and damage makes a lot more sense, and as you say basically abstracts it down to a single line entry for a given class of weapon. Much as with Traveller, arc of fire is irrelevant if you're looking at several minutes to a combat round because you can spin at will to line up any given battery - requiring a specific special action to fire spinal mounts (and hence not doing another special action, like changing your base course, more-than-normal evasion, or yelling "oh dear that's quite a lot of torpedoes" and hiding inside a black globe) making more sense than trying to measure a 0.1' wide boresight arc.

A game of range control and strategic movement and orders feels more interesting than 'who rolled initiative this turn and therefore gets to line up the infinitesimally thin boresight or boundary between two arcs of fire' - the initiative system combined with the precise directional edges of arcs of fire and the ease of moving 'just so' is probably the main weakness of the B5/SFB ACTA system - it really surprised me that the problems were imported wholesale into Armada (including initiative sinks)
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
Sigtrygg
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1209
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 9:23 am

Re: Spaceship armor: rhyme and/or reason?

Postby Sigtrygg » Thu Apr 04, 2019 4:50 pm

Triplanetary - rules available for free, Mayday, Power Projection are all games with a perfectly usable pseudo Newtonian movement system, and it is possible with additional optional rules to model true Newtonian movement. Stick to vector arrows and or future position counters and it is not exactly difficult.

GURPS Spaceships has a fully functioning Newtonian system, as does GT:ISW.

If you want real crunch then Attack Vector Tactical or Squadron Strike are actually pretty easy to learn if you stick with them.

For a role playing scenario you don't have to break out the boardgames, you just have to understand how Newtonian movement works - i.e. forget everything you have seen in Star Wars and the like. Starter Edition of CT has a range band system that is far superior as a dumbed down Newtonian movement system.
phavoc
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 4620
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 6:13 pm

Re: Spaceship armor: rhyme and/or reason?

Postby phavoc » Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:26 am

Moppy wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:42 pm
It's interesting you mention Starfire. Starfire's strategic is unplayable without computer assistance, and they have banned computer automation apps after Starfire Assistant (a player's hobby project) became so ubqiuitous that everyone used its rules instead of the official ones.
I haven't played Warmachine or X-wing, so I don't know anything about those.

Haven't played Starfire in a while. But we just used a spreadsheet when we were playing the strategic game. Worked ok. Making massive fleets, keeping track of supplies, warp point limitations, planetary economies, etc, etc.... you really need a tool to help out. At one point it just gets too big and it needs to be a computer game and not a board game. Space Empires was kind of like Starfire. Always loved researching the Wave Motion Gun. Gotta get my starblazers in da house!!

I did, once, play a good sized fleet battle in SFB between Feds and Andromedans. In our excessive zeal we tried to fight fleet against fleet. Over a dozen ships on each side. Turns took forever trying to allocate energy. It got less fun each turn we played due to the overhead. For fleet battles of more than a few ships one needs to generalize what a ship is worth. Many WW2 wargames you just ended up removing counters as you took damage and units were wiped out. There's probably a lesson in there somewhere for fleet combat resolution.

Has anyone played the Saganami Tactical simulator from the Honor Harrington universe?
Condottiere
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 6998
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Spaceship armor: rhyme and/or reason?

Postby Condottiere » Fri Apr 05, 2019 10:31 am

I think that tabletop gaming will evolve into two directions, dead simple rules that speed along play, can be learnt within an hour, that would include vehicle design if it's an option, and will allow gaming sessions to be completed in an afternoon or evening; and ones aided or based on technology.

If we don't plug ourselves into the net, we're likely will be placing on virtual reality goggles.
msprange
Site Admin
Posts: 14667
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2003 4:25 pm

Re: Spaceship armor: rhyme and/or reason?

Postby msprange » Fri Apr 05, 2019 10:47 am

Condottiere wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 10:31 am
I think that tabletop gaming will evolve into two directions, dead simple rules that speed along play, can be learnt within an hour, that would include vehicle design if it's an option, and will allow gaming sessions to be completed in an afternoon or evening; and ones aided or based on technology.
This is something we have given a lot of consideration to.

In the face of video games, RPGs today (by and large) concentrate on what they can do and computers cannot - which boils down to flexibility and creativity. Computers excel at crunching numbers in a way that tabletop RPGs have always been bad at (do you want to play a game or solve a maths problem?). This is why Rolemaster is not a huge thing any more. And why our Traveller does not have any equations for players to mess around with.

So, we believe the answer is likely to be the former example you cite. You may see RPGs aided on tech, but they will not be a huge thing because what video games can handle is better supported by a dedicated platform - an actual computer-based RPG like the Witcher or Mass Effect.

You can see this happening in Traveller today with a streamlining of rules and, perhaps more importantly, a focus on story rather than mechanics. The latter also sets us up to transition (in whatever fashion) to a pure computer-based platform once AI can wholly replace a referee. That day is coming, but I am not going to start worrying about it until an autonomous car can drive down the road without steering you into a truck and I can talk to Cortana without her butting into a conversation first.

Miniatures games, incidentally, very different. Until we get holo-deck quality holographic tables where miniatures march across the battlefield amidst explosions, the 'physicality' of the miniatures themselves will always have a strong pull beyond video games. This is why Warhammer is still a thing, even without pre-paints.
Matthew Sprange

Mongoose Publishing
http://www.mongoosepublishing.com
locarno24
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3057
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 7:46 pm
Location: Wildly Variable

Re: Spaceship armor: rhyme and/or reason?

Postby locarno24 » Sat Apr 06, 2019 7:41 am

msprange wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 10:47 am
Miniatures games, incidentally, very different. Until we get holo-deck quality holographic tables where miniatures march across the battlefield amidst explosions, the 'physicality' of the miniatures themselves will always have a strong pull beyond video games. This is why Warhammer is still a thing, even without pre-paints.
This. I guess it's part of why printed books are still a thing even amongst the epub explosion.

And yes, the advantage of the GM-and-paper over a computer RPG tends to be in the creative bits of the story. A computer based RPG has essentially only those resolutions 'thought up' by the writer(s). No matter how well prepared a GM thinks they are, at least once in a campaign - players being players - they tend to find their carefully scripted plot disappearing over the horison, or having to improvise rules and resolution for the PC's "Brilliant Plan" (TM) involving a fake Scout Service I.D. Card, six fresh avocadoes, a PGMP-12 and a recorded live performance of a popular Aslan opera.
Sigtrygg wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 4:50 pm
Stick to vector arrows and or future position counters and it is not exactly difficult.
No, provided the number of units for whom you're tracking velocity remain reasonable. Which is why I think a 'game piece as battlegroup' makes sense; a battleship and screen will be holding a comparatively 'tight' formation if the destroyers are doing their job and if they're not then frankly they're irrelevant given that they pack maybe a single bay mount on a battlefield with multiple 500 kDton monsters slugging it out.
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
AnotherDilbert
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3625
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:49 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Spaceship armor: rhyme and/or reason?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:33 am

baithammer wrote: The repair is to the effect of the critical, not the hit itself.
...
Which means if that location is hit again, then it takes new severity if greater than the severity already take or at minimum severity +1.
That is, I suppose, a possible interpretation, but I have never interpreted that way. You could just as easily call that an effect of the crit.
AnotherDilbert
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3625
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:49 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Spaceship armor: rhyme and/or reason?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:36 am

Moppy wrote: "When to leave" is a somewhat nebulous thing as in the lore for the game they have no (edit: OK, few) fanatics and ships will attempt to withdraw. Most gamers shoot until one side is completely destroyed.
It's difficult to leave a fight unless you jump.
AnotherDilbert
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3625
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:49 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Spaceship armor: rhyme and/or reason?

Postby AnotherDilbert » Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:40 am

phavoc wrote: Since Traveller is more RPG than wargame the fleet combat would need to be drastically changed into something much simpler.
There is a streamlined fleet scale combat system in HG (Capital Ship Battles)...
Condottiere
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 6998
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Spaceship armor: rhyme and/or reason?

Postby Condottiere » Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:02 am

As regards Games Workshop, they're sitting on a tonne of intellectual property, which is a combination of rip offs, camp and bad fan fiction; who knew that bad writing is like fertilizer a couple of decades down the line.

Electronically, they've been throwing stuff on the wall and seeing what sticks, Total War being obvious from the get go, modern/scifi skirmish will take a while longer to mature; I hope to get around to Armada Gothique eventually. Their problem was similar to other monopolists, in that they were afraid to adopt new technologies and products in fear of cannibalizing their existing product lines.

In any event, they, too, got ripped off electronically, if one recalls Warcraft and Starcraft, and I think after that they genericized their intellectual property, then branded it to fence it off with copyrights and trademarks: an orc is an orc.

Onboard physical counters on model bases seemed an evolution from us turning nearby dice to keep track of current stats; incorporating tiny computers with whatever wireless transmission protocol is then in fashion seems next, maybe with LED lightning for special effects showing firing of guns and glowing manoeuvre drives, then overlaid with artificial enhancements that can be viewed via tablet on goggles, which wouldn't necessitate creating holographic technology.

The difference between Traveller and Forty Kay, is that Games Workshop just didn't stop shovelling in fan fiction, which like Marvel and DeeCee comics, mean that they a vast library to draw upon for inspiration and financilization. It's rumoured that Disney may outsource or close their Marvel Comics division, which would be a mistake, since at worst it's a loss leader. It's also rumoured the recent bankrupt comic book company that licences stuff like Gee Eye Joe was banking on this happening, and then bidding for the corpse.

What is the future for Traveller? Pitching a series to Amazon's competitors, since they already resurrected The Expanse, the Orville seems to be doing well, Star Wars is tottering, and who knows what's going on with Star Trek. Successful series need serious money behind them, though not to the extent that had to be forked out for the Lord of the Rings. The window for mad money pushing anything that gets viewership will likely close within five years.

What direction Traveller rules will eventually go, I don't know, as there might be a reasonable assumption adopting another mechanic might change the ambiance and kill off the fanbase.
Moppy
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 405
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2015 12:42 pm

Re: Spaceship armor: rhyme and/or reason?

Postby Moppy » Sun Apr 07, 2019 3:22 am

It's public knowledge that World of Warcraft was originally planned to be World of Warhammer and they did go through negotations.

I'm not considering the computer games when I talk about GW apps, just about the 1st party software you use for 40K tabletop. I don't have current or inside information so this could be wrong, but my understanding of GW computer games is that the game creator funds the game and pays royalty to GW on sales. GW doesn't subsiside it.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests