Hi all, still only had a few games of CB and very much enjoying it so all good
We have had the 'maneuver vs gun' discussion in our group today that I'd like to share and see what others think. The basic synopsis is that maneuver is good, but the fire-arcs are wide and so bigger engines means less guns means you die..
Certainly this game allows quite a lot of maneuver which is a very good thing, but engines weigh a lot and it's extremely difficult to place a F/P/S gun equipped ship out of arc. So.. looking at the top of the tech chart (anti-matter 4) this doesn't sound good - an RDF BC with large engines... surely it will simply get itself killed whilst going very fast, and not having many guns
Post by captainquirk on Oct 29, 2014 13:29:20 GMT -5
There are a lot of different posisbiltiies in CBF.
One might be that the fast RDF BC carries a mainly missile loadout, for example. Missiles can be used to try to obtain direct kills. Or they can be used to saturate a part of the battle area, deny it to your opponent, and herd him somewhere else. So the battlecruiser could get into a position quickly, salvo a spread of missiles, and then bug out. Could be useful in something like a convoy scenario where you might want to put a large number of missiles between an enemy and the freighters to push the hostiles away from a direct approach.
So far I have never found an "ultimate killer weapon" or an "ultimate killer ship" in CBF. But I'm still finding interesting combinations, it's a rich game :-)
Though the ultrafast SDT ship I mentioned in another thread is a pretty nasty customer! It just doesn't have much stamina once it has volleyed the SDTs.
Post by warchariot on Oct 30, 2014 22:40:37 GMT -5
As the captain says, there are a lot of possibilities. It is hard to advise one on one battles, but if you have a fleet, then some fast ships to do what the cap is saying about missile carriers works. Also, if you have some gun heavies, the other side has to watch them and then match his fast ships against yours. Each ship has a reason for being, lite fast ships aren't made to fight heavy gun ships without help/support from their own heavy ships. try mixing and matching for your style of play, then when your buddy figures it out you'll have to start again.
On a side note, the unbreakable building system in CBF is set to help even things out. I have noticed some players who want to ignore the limits to build unbeatable ships, if you stick to the system, no ships is unbeatable which is one of the great things about the game.
Hi guys thanks for the comments, I agree that ships can be designed for particular jobs which might make them useful specialists.
I still have to say though that for the weight of a bigger engine, it doesn't seem to give enough if its not some specialist design. We had a few games today to try and test this theory and the ships with bigger engines and less weapons lost every game. I remember in years gone by the exact same thing in Full Thrust. NAC lost every time with their big engines.
I'm just not sure what can be done about it. On a 490 mass ship you can have +1 thrust or 4 rail guns with F/P/S arcs. To me it's a no-brainer.
Post by TheDreadnought on Oct 31, 2014 14:50:57 GMT -5
As Warchariot suggested. . . it's definitely worth trying out "for real" rather than making predictions about "paper starships". If you find something that works. . . odds are your opponent won't let it work a second time.
There is no single best design. . . just different approaches. If you build a one-dimensional fleet, you can obliterate your opponent. . . so long as he plays into your strengths. If he does something unexpected, you will find yourself getting obliterated. That's why a balanced approach is best.
But hey. . . part of the fun of the game is designing and trying our "super-ships". But note, the game is definitely balanced around small fleets/task forces. If you do 1-1 starship duels, anything can happen.
. . . and if your interest runs more to 1-1 starship duels. . . pretty soon I'll have another game to sell you.
Post by captainquirk on Oct 31, 2014 17:43:52 GMT -5
I have an opponent who always tries to build the heaviest possible battlewagons with the heaviest armour he can use, and the heaviest railgun weapon throw weight. I've trashed his task forces several times by using missile BCs and cruisers, mainly because he consistently fails to fit adequate point defences or deploy escorts to handle the missiles. Several times I've managed to use those fast ships to put down so many missiles in so many flightpath angles that he really has had no chance whatsoever to manouevre out of the way of all of them. In most of those games, he hasn't even got a shot off with the railguns because I've had several salvoes of 20-30 missiles in between his ships and mine.
The missile ships run out of ammo, but that doesn't matter if they've overwhelmed the targets anyway.
Once he figures out how to deal with them, I'll change my approach and deploy something else
Mind you, we also had a game (which I soundly lost) where he took out two of my heaviest gun-carrying battleline vessels with reactor criticals. In fact, the only reactor criticals we've ever had in all of our CBF games, and the jammy ***** rolled one, and then got the second crit on the next ship with the very next roll of the dice.
There's a lesson there too... no matter how big and spectacular the ship, it can still explode! At least, mine can...
We have been trying out for real all day, hence the post.. we've seen faster ships repeatedly killed all day. My opponent fielded a 700 mass BB with 12 mag cannons, which ragged anything near it.
How should I try to deal with it? (short of missile-boating which I would imagine works - but we don't want to really get into a constant design-redesign cycle - we really want to build 4 different fleets and fight them in a campaign based roughly on Full Thrust 'canon' ships) Small, manoeuvrable ships died as did battlecruisers. The only counter I could see that had any effect was my own BB..
Post by captainquirk on Nov 1, 2014 3:58:09 GMT -5
Some of the options could be:
An 800 mass BB with even more mag cannons...
Missile it! It's what missiles are for...
Strip the shields off it with grapeshot...
Be behind it, not in front of it...
Confuse it because it can't be in two places at once...
It's not necessarily a question of a constant design-redesign. CBF works well with a task force comprising a number of ships with different specialist roles, working as a team. This is quite different in my experience to FT, in which there really isn't any specific difference between battleline and escorts, or any limitations other than player agreement to prevent swarm fleets, superfighter nightmare carrier fleets and any of the other excesses of FT. FT doesn't really make escorts do a different job; they are just smaller ships. CBF does do that.
I don't know how well it all balances out doing a straight conversion of FT factions to CBF; I haven't tried it. The CBF factions that I have designed contain a mix of ships with different capabilities - battleline, RDF, area saturation, missile defence, anti-escort, minelaying, and so on. In a scenarios, I pick from those designed types according to the mission and the ships I think my opponent is going to field. Most of my thought didn't go into building a supership that would destroy everything it met. I thought of a fleet which had a ship for every need...or at least all the ones I could envisage.
Pretty much like a USN carrier group has a counter for submarine attacks, a counter for air attacks, a counter for surface attacks, a counter for small close-in surface attacks, and presumably a counter for land salvo attacks too - along with a capability to attack in several ways, including standoff and old-fashioned iron bombs. But if the carrier was by itself, it would very probably get taken down.
I'd only very rarely deploy a task force that didn't have more than one primary weapon type. My favourite faction generally utilises mag cannon and missiles to reach out and touch someone, and gatling lasers and grapeshot for flyswatting. My opponent tends to favour the heaviest railguns and armour rather than mag cannons.
Generally I'd be trying to whittle down his task force with long range missile attacks and not close with him at all until I'd done that. One of my mag cannon and missile task forces can probably launch three decent missile salvoes, and so far I have not only scared my opponent from closing, but have also pretty reliably obtained kills from long range fire (and I'm talking well beyond railgun or mag cannon range). I try not to trade broadside-to-broadside stuff with him until I outnumber his gunline. It's slightly easier in many of our games because that particular opponent also likes to deploy the biggest possible BB - so he often doesn't have much to spend on other ships after taking a 900 mass behemoth, and if I kill the others then his BB is all alone in the dark...
That 700 mass BB may be doing OK right now. But CBF also works well with scenarios. And if your scenario is, for example, "defend against planetary bombardment", then it isn't going to do so great against three smaller ships approaching the planet from radically different directions and all of them pumping out mag cannon slugs at the planet. The BB can probably only catch one of them, so it is goodbye planet. It may be the toughest and meanest ship around. But it isn't good at the mission.
Assuming you are playing task forces and not single ship duels, if you are simply going to go gunline to gunline head-on, then a lot is just going to come down to how many weapons bear, throw weight, and who has the luckiest dice. Which I think is what you are describing.
Yes I fully agree that CBF gives escorts a useful role - scouts help with spotting targets, screen ships help with Pdef and missile ECM. Light cruisers can fulfill an anti-scout/frigate role. The slight mismatch is that a heavy can reliably kill lights at range which negates a little of the need for escorts (wheras in WWII for example lights were pretty much immune to BB primary guns)
However.. we haven't used a lot of the weapon types and so might be missing many of the intricacies (a light ship with one torp isn't at all scary to a BB, but maybe with other weapons it could be, like grape?)
The reason I talk about design-redesign is that if I now go away and design a ship or two to take on his monster he will then (having lost to missiles for example) go and do the same thing; that's just ship design gone mad. But how do we avoid that?
Oh I also wondered what size table you generally play on? (hexes)
Post by captainquirk on Nov 1, 2014 15:48:36 GMT -5
Agree with you that escorts can be pretty fragile in CBF. I guess you could house rule a hit penalty when firing at them from range?
Grapeshot isn't going to be a serious shipkiller against the heavy capital ships. But it can soften them up by ripping the shields away so that another heavy CAN kill them. It's also pretty brutal to smaller ships.
I understand what you are saying about the potential for a design war. The best I can suggest is to play a few more games and try out some of the other weapons to get a feel for them. Then get people to design a range of ships. But encourage them thinking of the designs as a being individuals within a cohesive whole... the different ships with different jobs within the task force. Once a games series/campaign starts, there should be little opportunity to redesign everything.
There are some ideas if you look through the scenario chapter... using something like that puts restrictions on the new classes that can be introduced.
I am very much in favour of either campaign games, or scenario missions. Real world navies seldom fight solely for the sake of fighting. They are there to achieve something (albeit that at times that something actually is to destroy the opposing force). Much of the time though, there is something that one or other force wants to accomplish - protect/destroy a convoy, secure an area, bombard or protect from bombardment. This is an approach which helps a lot against people designing a heavy like the one you described and making that king - because it really can't do everything. In fact in some of the scenarios, it couldn't even be on the board, because I think there is one scenario in which only RDF ships can be chosen.
Hmm, off the top of my head I'm not too sure how big our game surface usually is. We often play with the larger hexes of the Federation Commander hex boards. Roughly from memory we would have been using a 4 x 3 board layout on a large coffee table, I think. But using those boards does allow us to float the map a bit if necessary.
The only way to perfectly balance things is to have the same designs on each side. This sounds terrible, but is more real life like as WWII navies show. But it is more fun to bring totally different ships and fight them out. I would just build your four fleets and try it. The game runs quick enough that you can always redesign and fight again. Our gaming surface is as big as I can get. We play on a 9x6 (ping pong) size table with 3 inch hexes because of the quick movement in CBF. Bigger really is better for this game.
We're looking at a few options to make escorts more worthwhile. The current top idea is: when shooting at a target with a higher delta, double the difference and remove the value from your to-hit die roll
Post by TheDreadnought on Nov 4, 2014 10:36:10 GMT -5
I would suggest playing around with the system more and trying out some of the other weapon systems before you start tweaking things. It sounds like you guys latched on right away to big gun designs. Honestly, the system is designed to reinforce those, but there are a lot of other options out there that might (or might not) change your approach to the game.
I'd say give those other options and combinations a try before you start tweaking the underlying mechanics. You might discover some things about the way the system works that you hadn't realized. If you both adopt a single design philosophy, fleet composition, and style of play, then yes, that's going to drive a lot of designs down a single path. But that doesn't mean there aren't other loadouts, fleet compositions, and play styles that will work.
Yea, as Dread says, this system has a lot to offer. Don't get stuck in one design. Some of the fun is discovering what works against what and why. Some of my favorite games are smaller ships fighting it out. The other piece that might help you out is terrain, Use some of those items to hide in or around. See how those work for you.
Just finished making some asteroids, so that should help.
I'm not quite sure though how having done the maths lighter ships can win against heavy ones. A large BC/BB is a death machine under this system (and that's fair enough) but an equal number of light ships (points) versus one heavy seems to go the heavies way in every fight.
Dread/Chariot can you be more specific? How should smaller ships (short of missiles) attempt to kill a larger one? The larger ship has every possible advantage.. even in maneuver, the fire arcs are very large - the smaller whip has little chance to stay out of arc
Post by TheDreadnought on Nov 5, 2014 11:19:06 GMT -5
The role of lighter ships is not to kill larger ships on their own. It's to support the attack of the big ships and act as a force multiplier.
If you engage with your lighter ships first, before the big ships get into range then you're just inviting defeat in detail. The enemy will just destroy your lighter ships, then your bigger ships when they get into range.
If everything is in range simulatneously, he is faced with the choice of shooting at your lighter ships, and leaving the big ships unopposed, or shooting at your big ships and leaving the light ones alone. Especially if the lighter ships are a little further out and require higher to-hit numbers.
Or you send in the big ships, and leave some light missile cruisers out of direct fire range in the rear to pepper the opponent's ships from afar while the heavies engage up close.
Light ships can:
Serve as stand-off missile boats for premptive strikes or area defense to control the engagement zone by limiting your opponent's ability to maneuver. Provide targeting bonuses Provide anti-fighter escorts Provide supplemental focused fire on shields depleted by earlier shooting Counter the enemy's lighter ships Or many other roles depending on fleet composition or scenarios.
Light ships are *NOT* just smaller battleships designed to take on bigger battleships. I recognize that pretty much every other space game has never drawn a distinction between the different types of ship and their respective roles. That's something you only get in Colonial Battlefleet.
Again, I'd really suggest you try some different approaches. Although the game is simple to learn, being really GOOD at the game is a skill that takes time to develop. So don't be surprised if you try some things and they fail. Maybe the idea was a bad one. Maybe you just didn't execute it well. Maybe the strategy was perfect, but the dice gods just weren't in your favor. That's what gives the game so much replayability, is trying out all the different approaches.
By design, the big ships are definitely the heavy hitters of the game. But the light ships have important roles to play as well. However, if your opponents are always presenting themselves as a nail. . . all you need is a hammer. That's when maybe some scenario objectives might help you guys see the need for some more diverse fleets.
. . . and as a final note, its always worthwhile to do a close reading of the rules. It's common as gamers to skim rules, but sometimes important details get left out that can significantly change the way the game is played. Not saying that's happening here, but its aways a possibilty.
Regarding basing your ships loosely on FT, I've already done conversions and if you want to get an FT feel you have to limit armour and give everyone D6 penetration weapons, only P-Torps and K-guns should have D10 penetration (which with armour limited to 5 makes them just as scary as their FT equivalents). My FT to CBF conversion can be found here. steeldreadnought.proboards.com/thread/286/ship-stats-fb1-unsc-oudf