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The Fleet Ship designs, strategies, and tactics.

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  #1  
Old December 6th, 2005, 06:17 AM
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At TL12-, fighters easily overwhelm almost everything in "vanilla" HG; at TL13+, they are simply useless. I'd like to unite my High Guard small craft (especially fighters) into squadrons (6-12 craft each, depending on weapon) for both the sake of simplicity (less die rolls) and in order to balance fighters in HG. The weapons are not an issue; I know the HG2 Battery rules well enough. But I want each squadron to be treated as one "ship", commanded by the leading pilot, and subject to hits/damage as one "ship" as well; help will be more than welcome.
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  #2  
Old December 6th, 2005, 05:24 PM
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Here's some house rules I played around with once upon a time. They were generally thought of as being too much in favor of the fighters. Maybe they will spark some ideas.

Fighter Squadrons (VFS)-10 identical fighters may be grouped into a fighter squadron. They move and fire as one unit. A VFS has an effective computer rating of the computer rating of that fighter type plus 1 per fighter in the VFS, to a maximum USP no greater than the best computer available at the fighter's TL. The weapons of the fighter type comprising the squadron are gathered together into firing batteries, one for each weapon type, each battery consisting of as many weapons of that type as carried in all 10 fighters of the squadron.

Fighter squadrons should be written up as small ships with their own Ship Data Card. They take damage just like a ship, except that all hits are treated as Weapon hits. A VF Squadron is destroyed once any one weapon battery it has is reduced to factor-0. All weapons of a VF Sqdn always bear on any target.

Once formed, a VF Sqdn may not be voluntarily broken up by the owner.

Example: 10 ten-ton TL-13 flattened sphere 6-G fighters with Mk 1 computers, armor-3, one missile rack, one sandcaster and one beam laser would form a VF Sqdn with a USP of:
</font><blockquote>code:</font><hr /><pre style="font-size:x-small; font-family: monospace;">VFS #001 VF-0606772-370000-60004-0
1 1 1</pre>[/QUOTE]Note that the size code did not change, the fighters still get the full benefit of their small size for the to-hit die roll modifier.


Fighter Wings (VFW)-Fighters may grouped into Fighter Wings of 100 fighters (10 squadrons of 10 fighters each). The entire VFW moves and fires as one unit. A VFW has an effective computer rating of the lowest effective computer rating of any VF sqdn in the VFW, plus 1 per fighter squadron, to a maximum USP no greater than the best computer available at the TL of the lowest TL fighter in the fighter wing. The squadrons comprising a Fighter Wing do not have to be identical. The lowest USP for acceleration of any VFS in the VFW is used as the acceleration USP rating for the entire VFW. The armor rating of a VFW is the average armor rating of all the VFS in the Wing, rounded down.

Example: a VFW is composed of 1 squadron with armor-12, two with armor-10, four with armor-5, and three with armor-0. The VFW's armor USP will be 5 (52/10=5.2 rounded down).

A VFW should be written up as a small ship with its own Ship Data Card. They take damage just like a ship, except that all hits are treated as Weapon hits. A VFW is destroyed once all weapons it has are reduced to factor-0. All weapons of a VFW always bear on any target.

Once formed, a VFW may not be voluntarily broken up by the owner.

The same TL-13 fighter formed into a full-strength VFW would look like:
</font><blockquote>code:</font><hr /><pre style="font-size:x-small; font-family: monospace;">VFW #001 VF-0606773-370000-60004-0
A A A</pre>[/QUOTE]Note that the size code did not change, the fighters still get the full benefit of their small size for the to-hit die roll modifier.
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  #3  
Old December 6th, 2005, 06:42 PM
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Please explain the reasoning behind the additive nature of computers in your suggestion.

My thought would be for the squadron (which has to be identical ships in your rule) to have the computer rating of this fighters as individuals, reduced by one to account for light speed lag, extra software to deal with fighting as a unit, and processing time. (ex. 10 identical fighters each have a Mod/2 computer, so the squadron would have an effective computer of Mod/1). I would agree with your idea on the weapons batteries though. I would not limit damage to the "collective" to be limited to weapons, but allow the normal damage to apply collectively during the battle and then be apportioned out separately after the battle.

For simplicity, I would only allow fighter wings to be made up of identical ships, just like the squadrons.
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Old December 6th, 2005, 09:17 PM
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Well, the rationale for increasing the size of the computers is that the separate machines are datalinked together to form a "virtual" supercomputer of greater power.

The real "reason" is that without some mechanism to increase the computer rating of fighters, they are virtually useless in HG combat at higher TLs, even with their weapons grouped into higher-factor batteries.

The idea behind converting all hits to "Weapon" hits is to keep things simple: each hit is assumed to mission-kill one fighter and remove that fighter's contribution to the overall firepower of the squadron/wing. When enough fighters have been killed/driven off to reduce all the weapon batteries to factor-0 the collective unit is considered to have had its cohesion destroyed and the whole unit is out of action until the fighters can be reformed into new organizations.

I should have pointed out that these rules were only used with small craft fighters; vessels under 100dtons with only one weapons mount.
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Old December 6th, 2005, 10:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by The Oz:
The idea behind converting all hits to "Weapon" hits is to keep things simple: each hit is assumed to mission-kill one fighter and remove that fighter's contribution to the overall firepower of the squadron/wing. When enough fighters have been killed/driven off to reduce all the weapon batteries to factor-0 the collective unit is considered to have had its cohesion destroyed and the whole unit is out of action until the fighters can be reformed into new organizations.
THAT makes eminent sense! Though, with that line of reasoning, you would have to degrade the "computer", too, as those nodes are dropping off line with mission-kills.
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Old December 7th, 2005, 12:57 AM
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Your damage rule is elegent and was the one sticking point I always had with grouping.

I'd always envisioned fighters firing in formation to be tightly grouped, certainly within 1 light second. By this rational I wouldn't impose a penalty on computer rating but neither add a +1.

I'm wondering if you thought of an "electronic warfare" figther for the squadron. It would mount the large computer and direct the fire of the remaining fighters. I have a soft spot for these kinds of specialty fighters so my thinking would be to make the computer rating that of the highest ship in the squadron.
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Old December 7th, 2005, 06:18 AM
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Fritz:

We did that, though I see I forgot to include it in the writeup of the house rules. Since there were usually "extra" fighters in the squadron (more fighters than needed to bring the "virtual" computer rating up to the TL max) a squadron could usually take a few losses before the computer rating began to decline.

Ptah:

Yes, fighter squadrons would have to work very closely grouped together, certainly within a fraction of a light-second.

You could have "EW" fighters, the trouble I always had was that the enemy would want to pick them out and shoot them first, which sort of negated their effectiveness.
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Old December 7th, 2005, 10:23 AM
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The Oz
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You could have "EW" fighters, the trouble I always had was that the enemy would want to pick them out and shoot them first, which sort of negated their effectiveness.
I agree. This may be easier said than done by an enemy. A couple of thoughts. (1) The enemy can target the EW fighter so the pilots/AI brains in such ships are on a suicide mission so to speak, nevertheless in the right tactical circumstances they provide a great first shot until hit. This may be more useful for missile armed groups. (2) The enemy would love to target the EW fighter but over the distances involved and the constant movement of the target it is impossible for one ship to be selected, just like the attacker can not choose the system to hit on a ship IIRC. (3) As 2 above except the attacker can target the EW fighter if it is "sufficiently different," i.e. varies in configuration, emission or tonnage from the others to some degree. The result is EW fighters are placed in the same frame, with the same drives as the squadrons they serve in. With this restriction they usually don't have room for weapons themselves. (4) Modification of 2 and 3, individaul ships in the squadron can be targeted if close enough, if using an abstracted combat system the only ships that might be able to close would be other high-G ships, i.e. other fighters. (5) Afterthought to 2,3 and 4. The rationale behind 2,3 and 4 can apply to both beams and missiles. With respect to missiles they may be able to better choose targets on closing but I would imagine the improved comp/EW of the EW would counter this making hits on the EW fighter not any more or less likely. (6) A "game balance" idea. The EW ships is not any more likely to be hit IF the player treats the squadron size as that of the total tonnage of the squadron, not that of an individual ship. This forgoes the "defensive bonus" in favor of an "attack bonus."

One reason I like the above EW concept so much is that the rules now support various fighter roles. For example, with 3, EW fighter variants are favored instead of EW ships, and with 4 an interceptor that is to seek out and destroy EW fighters is favored.

I'm leaning to trying 3, 4 and 6, with 6 up in the air depending on how powerful the grouping is or is not. From a wargame perspective I also like 6 as it provides a layer of tactical choice.

Just some ideas.
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  #9  
Old December 7th, 2005, 05:51 PM
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Option 6 would be rather powerful; the fighters might be gaining +3 or more in the computer rating in exchange for a mere -1 in the target size modifier.
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Old December 7th, 2005, 06:01 PM
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This all makes me think of how the fighters work in the new Battlestar Galactica series...

there are some very interesting ideas here [img]smile.gif[/img]
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