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-   -   Battle Rider for T5 BCS (http://www.travellerrpg.com/CotI/Discuss/showthread.php?t=34690)

robject July 21st, 2015 03:09 PM

Battle Rider for T5 BCS
 
Don's Adage: Determine how you want combat to work, THEN design the design rules.

Take Mayday, replace the computer rules with social rules such as leadership, morale, and veteran status, then add detection rules and squadron counters. What do you have?

You have Battle Rider.

I've looked at BR and Mayday off and on now for a couple years, and I like how they are relatively uncomplicated, keep the things that work, and embody the Traveller rules rather well.

Let's see how one might use that as the basis of a wargame for Traveller5.

1. Mission, Name, ID number, configuration, maneuver, jump, and TL.

The most important data is Maneuver and TL. These need to be clearest.

As in BR, BCS relies on a mission code -- usually two letters -- and a ship class name.


2. Weapons

Battle Rider counters are cluttered with weapons. The major detail of TNE weapons is effectiveness at range. T5 moves this complexity into the Task Difficulty, getting rid of a lot of clutter. Thus, maybe we can get away with just a TN (Target Number) which is related to the weapon's TL, and "Advanced Rules" tables when we want to impose range limits on weapons.

Weapon type is significant, too.

What about the number and size of emplacements? I suspect these are design considerations whose complexity gets baked into a weapon descriptor -- perhaps modifying its type or target number.

3. Sensors

Sensors resemble weapons, but it seems to me that ALL LARGE COMBAT UNITS will have adequate sensors -- keyed on TL. So it seems to me that EXCEPTIONS should only be noted, in terms of task inability. Either you got it, or you don't, for the purposes of this sort of combat.

Thus, TL is a proxy for Sensor capability.

4. Armor Value

A useful measure of damage soak, but is probably more like High Guard than ACS.

And while I'm here, a word on auxiliary bridges. Any capital ship which doesn't have sufficient auxiliary bridges deserves to be killed in round one. I'm just saying, why model that when essential survivability requires it? If necessary, attach that "Advanced Rules" detail to an external table and keep it off the counter.

5. Active Defenses


I'm going to assume ALL LARGE COMBAT ships have ALL TL-APPLICABLE DEFENSES at REASONABLE LEVELS keyed on TL. Thus only EXCEPTIONS get put on the counter. Otherwise, leave it off.

Thus, TL is a proxy for active defense capability.

6. Missiles. Missile load is probably situation-driven. Just saying.

7. Carried Craft. Of course.

8. Point Value. This may be "RU" in Traveller5 parlance.



EXAMPLE: Azhanti High Lightning [Squadron]

Azhanti High Lightning FI-14 U J5 2G 1 RU
AV 2
PA Spine
Off: Missile, Fusion, Laser
Def: Damper, Screen, Grav

David Johansen July 24th, 2015 12:47 AM

I always liked Battle Rider in principle. But the reality was always a little too much detail for the size of battles it represented.

Doesn't Ad Astra have a Traveller ship to ship game in the pipe?

robject July 24th, 2015 10:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by David Johansen (Post 512354)
I always liked Battle Rider in principle. But the reality was always a little too much detail for the size of battles it represented.

OK, I agree.

But, I've never played BR, so I don't know how many hours it takes to "learn" the game.

I do prefer very short learning curves, probably because I have little free time.

The weapons detail looks complicated to me. I never liked range effectiveness for weapons, because it stepped over a line of complexity I didn't want to go.

I do think the task mechanic is simple to use, well thought out, and bakes in a lot of complexity.

I'm impressed that vector movement is so highly thought of. It made me reconsider -- until reading through BR a couple times, I had settled on plain-old movement instead. Now I'm on the fence. Vectors aren't hard to learn, just slow(er) to play.

I like the 'task force' idea. It, like the task system, bakes in Traveller concepts into one straightforward mechanism. And it helps mitigate the overhead of vector movement.

After re-reading the rules (short rules are good!) I can live without Fire Control -- at least as written there. I'll edit my OP accordingly.

David Johansen July 24th, 2015 09:49 PM

Personally logged vectors like they used in Brilliant Lances are a bit easier to work with. As are Triplanetary style vector lines.

aramis July 24th, 2015 10:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by David Johansen (Post 512434)
Personally logged vectors like they used in Brilliant Lances are a bit easier to work with. As are Triplanetary style vector lines.

I found two counter per ship plus a placeholder for during movement to be the best; mayday, essentially. Tho' I found the vector rules for Full Thrust pretty playable, too.

I found both BR and BL to be annoyingly cumbersome to work with.

robject July 25th, 2015 12:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aramis (Post 512440)
I found two counter per ship plus a placeholder for during movement to be the best; mayday, essentially. Tho' I found the vector rules for Full Thrust pretty playable, too.

I found both BR and BL to be annoyingly cumbersome to work with.

That silly little thrust marker sounds like a problem. I had decided to ignore it completely and see what that changes.

mike wightman July 25th, 2015 02:46 AM

Ok so you have a movement system of sorts.

Now how about:

scale - is this just a fleet vs fleet tactical resolution or are you after the cat and mouse of manoeuvring squadrons around a system map before switching to tactical resolution?

combat resolution - how to handle the tasks to hit and damage resolution.

robject July 27th, 2015 10:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mike wightman (Post 512452)
Ok so you have a movement system of sorts.

Now how about:

scale - is this just a fleet vs fleet tactical resolution or are you after the cat and mouse of manoeuvring squadrons around a system map before switching to tactical resolution?

combat resolution - how to handle the tasks to hit and damage resolution.


Movement

The movement system also took care of launch/recovery implicitly. That, I think, was brilliant. And since it functioned on the Task Force level, you got aggregation, which sped up the game, which I always appreciate.

Aaaaand, let's not forget that BRILLIANT application of Fleet Tactics skill, which represented the maximum number of ships per Task Force. BRILLIANT!


Scale

BR seems to me to be tactical. The map included small planets and asteroids, but it seems that the intent was always to model tactical combat space, and not operational space.

It is likely that operational space is a completely different game.

So given that I'm noodling on Battle Rider here, operational thoughts would be in a separate thread.


Combat Res

BR had Diff Mods for all the defenses and offenses and actions, which boiled down to a target number. Task resolution was then by drawing a card, which additionally had an occasional modification for crew quality. Brilliant, says I.

T5 simplifies range effects, which declutters the counter. Mass fire further simplifies task force fire, while adding tactical richness. Other diff mods do the same thing they did in BR -- raise or lower the task difficulty.

Missing, and needed, is crew quality.

I have been thinking about TL and space combat. We already know that three TLs of advantage is typically decisive. But in particular, TL contributes one and only one thing: Capability. And that is completely expressible through design constraints on your ship -- which is part of preparation, and not a part of the combat rules at all. Done right, TL never is used on a counter, because the equipment stats have taken TL into account: the amount of equipment, the type of equipment, and the quality of equipment. Thus I hope to bury TL in the QSP, and never use it directly. The weapon's capabilities should account for that already.


Damage Res

I liked how BR handled damage. Crits as markers on the affected ships. Very nice.

robject November 12th, 2015 06:18 PM

Here you go, Craig. This is the Battle Rider thread. If you are wanting a wargame with counters, map, tactics, etc etc, here's your place to post.

Also, you can talk about what goes on a counter. From what I gather, Battle Rider ought to have you running for the border, screaming like a little girl!

Magnus von Thornwood November 12th, 2015 06:41 PM

I scream like a big girl. :p
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by robject (Post 521844)
Here you go, Craig. This is the Battle Rider thread. If you are wanting a wargame with counters, map, tactics, etc etc, here's your place to post.

Also, you can talk about what goes on a counter. From what I gather, Battle Rider ought to have you running for the border, screaming like a little girl!

Yeah, as I said before BR counters are still too cluttered. On the other hand I do like your idea to bake in TL so as to remove that from the counter.


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