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Old 01-23-2013, 11:35 PM   #1
Toltrin
 
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Default Starship battles - is there a simpler way?

I think I have found a simpler way to resolve large numbers of ships.
Simplified stats:
Attack: M1 E1 Missile attack and radioactive energy attack (Meson)
Attack: M3 E2 Nuclear missile attack and energy attack (beam or pulse)
Defense: (4)7 (Energy Shield) Hull
Hull = rounded up(tons of ship / 50.
Attack = rounded up(tons of ship / 40), divided among missiles and energy
Shields = rounded down(tons of ship) / 200
Thrust = original design thrust and jump as well
Movement: 2,000 km / 6 minute turn or 1 hex / turn. Thrust = hexes / turn.

Example:
100 ton Imperial Scout
Shields: 0 (100/200 = .5)
Hull: 2
Attack: 3
Movement: 2 Thrust and Jump 2.

800 ton Mercenary Cruiser
Shields: 4 (sand casters & repulsors)
Hull: 16
Attack: 20 (8 att missiles and 12 att energy weaponry)
Movement: 3 Thrust and Jump 3.

Range of weaponry: For missiles = (attack) x 2 / turn (max 6 / turn)
Range of weaponry: Energy weaponry = (attack) x 3
Notes on weaponry: Missiles are interceptable with energy weaponry with the missile's dodge defense equal to double it's attack rating. Nuclear missiles and energy weapons do crew hits and crew hits decrease the entire ship's ability.
Crew health decreased by 1/4 = No effect ... yet.
Crew health decreased by 1/2 = All systems, Thrust, Att and Def at 1/4.
Crew health decreased by 3/4 = All systems, Thrust, Att and Def at 1/2.
Crew health decreased by 1 = All systems, Thrust, Att and Def at 3/4.
The Att, Def and Mov can be decreased by 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and 100%.

The attacks and defense are resolved by an odds table

Yes, I know using a d12 dice will make people run out and have to buy a few more of these.
Never the less, the spread given by a d12 is just right for a 14 odd spread on a CRT table.
Explained:
(x1) 1/2 = One random location reduced by 1/2 (Att, Def or Mov) resolved by this dice roll:
1-2 = Attack hit (CRT against result rounded up)
3-4 = Defense hit (CRT against result rounded up)
5-6 = Mov hit (Thrust & Jump) (CRT against result rounded up)
On an attack hit all weapon systems are effected.
On a defense hit, the shields decrease any attack value by the shields value. If this decreases the attack to 0, then the attack does not have enough strength to penetrate the shields of the ship. In Travellers, the shields represent Meson screens, sand casters, black globes, nuclear dampeners or repulsors to effect missiles.
For defense, the shield strength will be 1/4 (rounded down) the Hull of the ship.
A 7 hull ship will be (1) 7 Corsair.
The attack hits the shields first and is reduced. The resulting attack odds are resolved against the Hull. All CRT results go to the Hull and other stats are effected, like Att, Def and Mov. The hull, structure and armor are combined into one stat, the Hull.
Maneuver may be used to increase the defense. For each 2 Thrust movement dedicated to maneuvering, decrease the CRT result against your ship by that number. The maneuvering ship loses that much Thrust next turn recovering from the evasive maneuvers (everything has a cost ... in space)
A 0 valued system is non-functioning or destroyed. If all three stats of a ship (Att, Def and Mov) are all 0, the ship is destroyed.

What do you guys think? I have play tested this and it's fun!
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Last edited by Toltrin; 01-24-2013 at 09:22 PM.
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:59 AM   #2
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Default Re: Starship battles - is there a simpler way?

This would be a typical entry for Starship records in a battle.
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Old 01-24-2013, 08:38 AM   #3
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Default Re: Starship battles - is there a simpler way?

I like it. The only thing I would add would be a scan stage. It's a little more rulesy/fiddly, but I think it is fun to not know who you are facing. Perhaps your system assumes that the two opponents have already made contact and are starting with full knowledge of each other and full knowledge of missile trajectories/types.

I like your hit location mechanic. I (personally) also kinda like the random hit location in TNE and Traveller 5. In large-scale combat like this, it makes sense to assign nuclear weapons to crew hits, laser batteries to hull hits and etc. Would you use sand casters or other ECM in this system or are they already included in your "shields" stage?

Would you include ship agility (T20), g-turns or Space acceleration as possible elements of your ship-to-ship combat? Otherwise, this system is great and needs to be play-tested and given an After Action Review/game summary somewhere in these forums. I think a playtest would really launch this thing into popularity.
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Old 01-24-2013, 08:52 PM   #4
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Default Re: Starship battles - is there a simpler way?

Quote:
Originally Posted by merry442 View Post
I like it. The only thing I would add would be a scan stage. It's a little more rulesy/fiddly, but I think it is fun to not know who you are facing. Perhaps your system assumes that the two opponents have already made contact and are starting with full knowledge of each other and full knowledge of missile trajectories/types.

I like your hit location mechanic. I (personally) also kinda like the random hit location in TNE and Traveller 5. In large-scale combat like this, it makes sense to assign nuclear weapons to crew hits, laser batteries to hull hits and etc. Would you use sand casters or other ECM in this system or are they already included in your "shields" stage?

Would you include ship agility (T20), g-turns or Space acceleration as possible elements of your ship-to-ship combat? Otherwise, this system is great and needs to be play-tested and given an After Action Review/game summary somewhere in these forums. I think a playtest would really launch this thing into popularity.
"Would you include ship agility?"
Maneuver may be used to increase the defense. For each 2 Thrust movement dedicated to maneuvering, decrease the CRT result against your ship by that number. The maneuvering ship loses that much Thrust next turn recovering from the evasive maneuvers (everything has a cost ... in space).
g-turns or Space acceleration as possible elements of your ship-to-ship combat?
I think that 2,000km / 6 minutes is well enough and that acceleration would have to be starship sports car type performance to expect any more than that in an hour time frame for an engagement.
I think a playtest would really launch this thing into popularity.
Thank you for your attentions to this system. When I was younger and discovered Travellers for the first time in the 1980s, I found that there were precious few Avalon Hill CRT based wargame simulations for star battles. The star battle gaming systems I have found were so complicated and focused too much on the micro of each ship rather than viewing them as combat elements in a larger theater. So, I assigned simple attack/defense/movement/range to all the combat elements.
The only thing I would add would be a scan stage.
That's not a bad idea! I think there should be a separate value than attack. The problem that I have is how do you fit scan into the battle other than it just being 'flavor text'? I would assume that this is included in the roll to hit and looking at the CRT you would assume that it's actually a challenge to get a good solid hit on another starship!
Would you use sand casters or other ECM in this system or are they already included in your "shields" stage? Yes. In Travellers, the shields represent Meson screens, sand casters, black globes, nuclear dampeners or repulsors to effect missiles.
My aim was to have battles over in a less period of time without taking out some of the strategy and fun of a large scale starship battle. A starship war simulation should never be all about record keeping - it should be about mentally calculating odds ... or just about letting the dice ride and hope for the best ...
One thing I would include additionally would be range and size modifiers to the CRT.
The ship firing on a ship smaller than it would have a slight penalty. Also, a smaller ship firing on a larger ship would have a slight positive modifier somehow. This makes Scouts and Fighters not completely useless. I would think the more numerous and small the ships are the more dynamic the firepower as it can be split. If the enemy takes out a few ships of your force with it's overwhelming firepower you are out maybe 3%-7% of your attack strength.
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Last edited by Toltrin; 01-24-2013 at 09:36 PM.
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:49 AM   #5
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Default Re: Starship battles - is there a simpler way?

You know, it's funny but a lot of the individuals who enjoy the old Avalon Hill wargames also enjoy the record keeping and paperwork. A perfect example of this is in the game "The Rise and Decline of the Third Reich." Every player is given a set of assets, a set number of reinforcements per turn and so one. The paperwork is monstrous. Your plan is great

Could we just assume that missile identification could be instantaneous and ECM/sand be planned like a regular phase every turn? Maybe a simultaneous missile phase? This is what I was thinking for a typical turn. I thought phases would be fun. This idea is based on a typical hex and counter wargame

I. Scan Phase (identify all missiles and ship locations, Line-of-sight)
II. Defense and ECM are cleared (from previous turn)
a). sand launch
b). ECM and black globe spoofing (prepared but not resolved until phase V)
III. Laser batteries fired(resolved in phase V with spoofing and sand defense measures)
IV. (missile) barbette launch (both sides)
V. Resolve damage/spoofing from missiles, laser batteries and ECM
a). Player a resolves
b). Player b resolves
VI. Resolve derelicts/ Routing (assuming that this model is somewhat similar to a traditional wargame).
VII Communication/ all routed ships from previous turn are active again
VIII. Reinforcement and missile/ship movement


I know this may sound terribly nitpicky (and there would be like a note on a piece of paper) but I think it could be fast/easy. With all my stressing over agility and space acceleration, I didn't even include it here, but this is a plan and plans have to be critiqued to be any good. Thanks for having this here. :)
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Old 01-26-2013, 06:57 AM   #6
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Default Re: Starship battles - is there a simpler way?

Quote:
Originally Posted by merry442 View Post
You know, it's funny but a lot of the individuals who enjoy the old Avalon Hill wargames also enjoy the record keeping and paperwork. A perfect example of this is in the game "The Rise and Decline of the Third Reich." Every player is given a set of assets, a set number of reinforcements per turn and so one. The paperwork is monstrous. Your plan is great

Could we just assume that missile identification could be instantaneous and ECM/sand be planned like a regular phase every turn? Maybe a simultaneous missile phase? This is what I was thinking for a typical turn. I thought phases would be fun. This idea is based on a typical hex and counter wargame

I. Scan Phase (identify all missiles and ship locations, Line-of-sight)
II. Defense and ECM are cleared (from previous turn)
a). sand launch
b). ECM and black globe spoofing (prepared but not resolved until phase V)
III. Laser batteries fired(resolved in phase V with spoofing and sand defense measures)
IV. (missile) barbette launch (both sides)
V. Resolve damage/spoofing from missiles, laser batteries and ECM
a). Player a resolves
b). Player b resolves
VI. Resolve derelicts/ Routing (assuming that this model is somewhat similar to a traditional wargame).
VII Communication/ all routed ships from previous turn are active again
VIII. Reinforcement and missile/ship movement


I know this may sound terribly nitpicky (and there would be like a note on a piece of paper) but I think it could be fast/easy. With all my stressing over agility and space acceleration, I didn't even include it here, but this is a plan and plans have to be critiqued to be any good. Thanks for having this here. :)
OK, when I went about this I wanted to simplify the starship battles so we could have theater wide engagements of large number of ships. Wheat looks like 8-12 steps above, not to be rude or anything, does little to simplify the aggressive interchange of armed vessels. :)
I am looking at strategic encounters of dozens of vessels, hence the simplified attack/defense/movement values.
I was thinking more of:
1. Ships roll initiative and the ones with the higher initiative shoot first.
2. Missiles are launched and the defender versus the missile attack may spend their future attack NOW to defend against the missile attack.
3. Energy weapons are fired, either against a vessel or missiles in transit towards them.
4. Ships being fired at roll on d12 according to this formula: Attack/Defender's Hull rating/10 = roll at or under on d12 to dodge attack. This makes huge attacks possible to dodge if vessel is small enough.
5. Any shots that hit, roll on the d12 CRT table.
6. Put appropriate damage counter (1/4, 1/2, 3/4, -100%) and the appropriate damage location counter (ATT/DEF/MOV) with it. There will be some custom counters that have a combination of two on them.
7. Continue to next round.

Do you see any failings on the steps above? I tried to streamline the combat process and still keep the strategic focus of areas hit.
I also have a potential NEW CRT in the making where someone attacking may choose two options on the roll of d66 to decide what is hit. When a 24 is rolled on d66, the attack may choose 42 instead of 24, making it hit in a different location.
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:29 AM   #7
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Default Re: Starship battles - is there a simpler way?

Nice damage chart!

8 very long, very unintuitive very confusing steps.
My bad. A phased turned is awfully clumsy here. :(

I have some more questions/thoughts for you:

I didn't quite understand the hit location counters. Are they separate little things to be prepared (color-coded little chits)?

When do the ships move?

Do you like the thought of tactical nukes?

They might be interesting in a vast battle between dozens of battleships. Use a three-sided die ( or d10, d8) to determine number of ships affected and so on...

d66 seems to be a great idea for this. Could your d66 system be further nuanced to include other things than the "24/42 rule?" Maybe a "mishap table" as in Mongoose Traveller's "High Guard" (critical hits (66) and critical misses (11)?

How do you like flanking attacks in this system?
Would there be an advantage/disadvantage to flanking a single or group of starships?
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Last edited by merry442; 01-26-2013 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 01-26-2013, 12:03 PM   #8
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Default Re: Starship battles - is there a simpler way?

So many questions! Are you interested in my system for the sake of simplicity? I reason that the less time one is reading in a rule book or consulting a roster of information for each playing element, the information needed to determine the fate of said element should be on the board.
I took this idea for OGRE and combined the six sided die and the CRT chart. I happened to make many of them since I love GEVs since I found myself consulting the chart more often than the pieces on the board!
8 very long, very unintuitive very confusing steps.
My bad. A phased turned is awfully clumsy here.

I found your steps actually well thought out. The only problem is we are not writing steps for a computer to automatically execute flawlessly. Some gaming systems over complicate the game play (I am looking at you D&D 3.5!) to the point that you might as well have a lawyer playing with you. A game like this should not focus on details rather the story.
I didn't quite understand the hit location counters. Are they separate little things to be prepared (color-coded little chits)?
You can do two things with the hit locations. You can make up four separate chits for damage (1/4, 1/2, 3/4, -100%) and three separate chits for hit locations (ATT/DEF/MOV). You can make these chits or consult a roster with an entry looking like this. I prefer the chits as it states what ship is hit hard and which is not.
When do the ships move?
I would think after firing. It would be more strategic. Maybe make it so movement can be before and after firing?
Do you like the thought of tactical nukes?
Actually, the Travellers starship combat system would be incomplete without hard radiation weaponry. Meson guns and nuclear warheads are something to be feared by any captain worth his Belgurian Vespo-salt. I don't have the rules ironed out yet but I think a fourth hit location be created: Crew. For each crew hit at 1/4 , all outgoing attacks at would be at -1/4 hits (a 1/2 hit would be a 1/4 hit and a 1/4 hit would be a NE hit, etc.). Critical hits would be immune from this effect. This effect would subside after one turn for each crew hit. This represents the time needed for crew to be replenished from cryostasis and the computer to come online to take over slots filled by people. Example: three crew hits are made so next turn the ship makes all damage outgoing at 3/4. The turn after that is 1/2, and the turn after that is 1/4. Only the turn after that one can the damage be returned to normal. Nukes can ruin your day!
d66 seems to be a great idea for this. Could your d66 system be further nuanced to include other things than the "24/42 rule?" Maybe a "mishap table" as in Mongoose Traveller's "High Guard" (critical hits (66) and critical misses (11)?
I like the idea of critical hits and critical misses. Maybe make a critical hit to be +1/4 damage on a hit location of the target ship and a critical miss be -1/4 damage to any hit location on their next turn (sensor ghosts, gunner injured or incompetent, etc.)? Maybe make a double digit rolled number be a critical hit for that area? Each area seems to have a double digit represented each area. Maybe have 11,22,33 be critical misses and 44,55,66 be critical hits as all six combinations represent all three areas twice.
How do you like flanking attacks in this system?
You mean like coming up behind the other ship when they are facing the wrong way? I think that a ship that can move 2,000 km in 6 minutes can change their facing fast enough to alleviate this maneuver.
Would there be an advantage/disadvantage to flanking a single or group of starships?
I think that this addition would only complicate an already complicated strategic encounter. We need to keep it simple in order for more starships to get blown up! :)
Notice how Classic Travellers didn't focus on combat elements relative to each other - they just said to pay attention to range - and that's all? Setting up a grid or hex map for simple encounters would take away from the magic of role playing and complicate the game by focusing on information that does not ultimately matter.
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Old 01-09-2019, 03:06 PM   #9
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Default Re: Starship battles - is there a simpler way?

Dear Toltrin,

I LOVE this concept ! :-) Will try this out !
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Old 01-12-2019, 12:40 AM   #10
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Default Re: Starship battles - is there a simpler way?

What about counterfire? A counterfire package has to be economical. If for instance a standard missile is assigned a counterfire mission rather then an antiship one there will be less then one defending missiles of roughly the same value. Countermissiles should be in some way specialized.
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