Citizens of the Imperium

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jrients November 26th, 2005 11:28 AM

When's the last time anyone here played in a TCS tournament? I'm just curious if the expanded tournament parameters from the adventures reprint is seeing any use. Anybody play out an entire Islands Cluster war? How did it go?

I'm not a big fan of High Guard big ships in my rpg games, but as a wargame it looks kinda neat.

jrients November 26th, 2005 11:28 AM

When's the last time anyone here played in a TCS tournament? I'm just curious if the expanded tournament parameters from the adventures reprint is seeing any use. Anybody play out an entire Islands Cluster war? How did it go?

I'm not a big fan of High Guard big ships in my rpg games, but as a wargame it looks kinda neat.

Whipsnade November 26th, 2005 12:57 PM

Jeff,

I ran several TCS campaigns, some concurrently, during various operational deployments while in the Navy. This was in the early to mid 80s so no personal computers were used either.

Take it form me, TCS is a record keeping nightmare, especially for the GM/referee who must have copies of EVERYTHING the players have. Computers will make this easier; I've seen a TCS starter kit of sorts complete with ship designs on line in some sort of MS database format.

Early on, the battles are die rolling - record keeping headaches, especially if you don't limit the number of pilots somehow. The HG2 weapon tables create optimal design solutions at every given TL. Most of those solution favor smaller hulls over 'deathstars' thus requiring more pilots. ForEx: Before powerplants reach a certain power density, nuc missiles are your best bet. That means most naval budgets will have HORDES of missile boats carried by armored tenders. (Even the much maligned sub-100dTon fighter is a ship killer below a certain TL, ~12 IIRC.)

I ran all the campaigns like 'Strat-o-matic' baseball tournies. The players were responsible for two sets of orders per week. They could either fight the battles against each other or have the referee crew fight them according to simple instructions; i.e. break off after X amount of damage, refuse to engage if Y occurs, etc.

For most of the battles we used the statistical battery resolution rules published in JTAS. That let us handle the huge numbers of 'to hit' and 'to penetrate' rolls huge numbers of batteries required. Rolling for 100 laser batteries per each battleship will break your wrist.

As much of a record keeping nightmare as TCS is, you'll be glad that certain things like supply and planetary assaults are either ignored or handled by simple/simplistic rules.

One result I did notice over the course of many games is that new builds; ships laid down after the war begins, rarely proved useful. TL 'leeching'; you take and hold a port with a higher TL than yours long enough to build there, NEVER happened either. Most wars were fought with what the parties brought with them. While repairs mattered, new builds and new tech did not.

Counterpunchers seemed to fair better in many games. There were laways those fellows who would open the game with an all or nothing assualt on a rival. It made for a huge battle and lots of scrap iron. It also usually failed because most folks had monitors in their OOB. (You must build a certain percentage of your budget at TL-1, monitors are a nice way to meet that requirement.) The death or glory boys would always prove easy meat for the counterpunchers.

Many players struck on the idea of hi-gee, double jump, heavily armored 'scouts'. They'd jump into a system and immediately break off from combat by either acceleration or jump after getting a peek at the opposition. (Remember, at long range all you know is the rough size and actual number of ships. However, you can ferret out just what is what after you engage in a few battles.)

Hope all this helps. You're in for a lot of work and a lot of fun!

Have fun,
Bill

Whipsnade November 26th, 2005 12:57 PM

Jeff,

I ran several TCS campaigns, some concurrently, during various operational deployments while in the Navy. This was in the early to mid 80s so no personal computers were used either.

Take it form me, TCS is a record keeping nightmare, especially for the GM/referee who must have copies of EVERYTHING the players have. Computers will make this easier; I've seen a TCS starter kit of sorts complete with ship designs on line in some sort of MS database format.

Early on, the battles are die rolling - record keeping headaches, especially if you don't limit the number of pilots somehow. The HG2 weapon tables create optimal design solutions at every given TL. Most of those solution favor smaller hulls over 'deathstars' thus requiring more pilots. ForEx: Before powerplants reach a certain power density, nuc missiles are your best bet. That means most naval budgets will have HORDES of missile boats carried by armored tenders. (Even the much maligned sub-100dTon fighter is a ship killer below a certain TL, ~12 IIRC.)

I ran all the campaigns like 'Strat-o-matic' baseball tournies. The players were responsible for two sets of orders per week. They could either fight the battles against each other or have the referee crew fight them according to simple instructions; i.e. break off after X amount of damage, refuse to engage if Y occurs, etc.

For most of the battles we used the statistical battery resolution rules published in JTAS. That let us handle the huge numbers of 'to hit' and 'to penetrate' rolls huge numbers of batteries required. Rolling for 100 laser batteries per each battleship will break your wrist.

As much of a record keeping nightmare as TCS is, you'll be glad that certain things like supply and planetary assaults are either ignored or handled by simple/simplistic rules.

One result I did notice over the course of many games is that new builds; ships laid down after the war begins, rarely proved useful. TL 'leeching'; you take and hold a port with a higher TL than yours long enough to build there, NEVER happened either. Most wars were fought with what the parties brought with them. While repairs mattered, new builds and new tech did not.

Counterpunchers seemed to fair better in many games. There were laways those fellows who would open the game with an all or nothing assualt on a rival. It made for a huge battle and lots of scrap iron. It also usually failed because most folks had monitors in their OOB. (You must build a certain percentage of your budget at TL-1, monitors are a nice way to meet that requirement.) The death or glory boys would always prove easy meat for the counterpunchers.

Many players struck on the idea of hi-gee, double jump, heavily armored 'scouts'. They'd jump into a system and immediately break off from combat by either acceleration or jump after getting a peek at the opposition. (Remember, at long range all you know is the rough size and actual number of ships. However, you can ferret out just what is what after you engage in a few battles.)

Hope all this helps. You're in for a lot of work and a lot of fun!

Have fun,
Bill

Cymew November 26th, 2005 06:43 PM

If someone would put together a TCS with a more interesting combat system than HG, and remove the idiotic "best build" in the ship generation I think it would be the coolest thing imaginable to play online via submittable orders on a webpage.

If I somehow find myself with 1 year or so of free time I might even be tempted to design it myself...

Cymew November 26th, 2005 06:43 PM

If someone would put together a TCS with a more interesting combat system than HG, and remove the idiotic "best build" in the ship generation I think it would be the coolest thing imaginable to play online via submittable orders on a webpage.

If I somehow find myself with 1 year or so of free time I might even be tempted to design it myself...

mike wightman November 27th, 2005 08:14 AM

So we need a combat resolution system inbetween High Guard and Imperium/FFW/DN/IE.

Attack factor - split into spinal, bay, and turret factor

Defence factor - agility, screens, defensive bays, defensive turrets, and armour.

A damage resolution system that can degrade each of the above factors before killing the ship, or a big enough hit could mission kill a ship outright.

mike wightman November 27th, 2005 08:14 AM

So we need a combat resolution system inbetween High Guard and Imperium/FFW/DN/IE.

Attack factor - split into spinal, bay, and turret factor

Defence factor - agility, screens, defensive bays, defensive turrets, and armour.

A damage resolution system that can degrade each of the above factors before killing the ship, or a big enough hit could mission kill a ship outright.

The Oz November 27th, 2005 09:36 AM

I find myself thinking of a combat system built on Avalon Hill's old classics, War at Sea and Victory in the Pacific.

Ships are rated for:

beam firepower (spinals)
missile firepower (bays and turrets)
screens (meson and nuke damper)
point defense (all other bays and turrets)
armor

The value is how many dice they throw when using that rating.

When attacking, ships roll the dice for the attack attribute they are using (missiles at long range, both missiles and beam at close range). Missiles hit on a "6" and beams on a "5" or "6".

Each hit produces 1d6 of damage. Screens are the only defense against beam damage. Screens, armor, and point defense all stop missiles.

Each die of defense "hits" on a "5" or "6" and if it hits it stops 1d6 points of damage.

Here is a possible ship counter for such a game (thanks, Berka!!!!)

http://home.comcast.net/~steveosmanski/Tigress_WAS.gif

The Oz November 27th, 2005 09:36 AM

I find myself thinking of a combat system built on Avalon Hill's old classics, War at Sea and Victory in the Pacific.

Ships are rated for:

beam firepower (spinals)
missile firepower (bays and turrets)
screens (meson and nuke damper)
point defense (all other bays and turrets)
armor

The value is how many dice they throw when using that rating.

When attacking, ships roll the dice for the attack attribute they are using (missiles at long range, both missiles and beam at close range). Missiles hit on a "6" and beams on a "5" or "6".

Each hit produces 1d6 of damage. Screens are the only defense against beam damage. Screens, armor, and point defense all stop missiles.

Each die of defense "hits" on a "5" or "6" and if it hits it stops 1d6 points of damage.

Here is a possible ship counter for such a game (thanks, Berka!!!!)

http://home.comcast.net/~steveosmanski/Tigress_WAS.gif


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