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TKaz84

Firestorm with the Halo rules

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For those who haven't tried Halo: Fleet battles the biggest difference in the core mechanics is that instead of rolling extra dice on sixes you only get to reroll your misses, and in most cases ones can't be rerolled.  The biggest complaint about FSA among my gaming group is with the exploding sixes adding way too much variability, so this news was greeted with universal approval.

 

In your opinion would FSA be better with this version of exploding dice?

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I actually think the exploding dice mechanic is 'realistic' in the context of spaceship battles.

Assuming FAS weaponry performs likes modern weaponry with a 95%-100% kill rate in ideal conditions but under typical battle conditions this drops to, say, 40%-50%. I think that the AD of the models represents expected battlefield performance or about half what they would achieve on a test range, when dice 'explode' it just means that everything is going right and the weapons perform to their design specifications. The occasional really wild result I interpret as the target having some undetected flaw or failure.

 

In WW2 a surprising number of battleship fights were decided by 'fluke' hits:

  • HMS Hood was sunk by a shell that penetrated its powder magazines.
  • Bismarck was disabled by a torpedo that hit the most vulnerable point on its stern.
  • HMS Prince of Wales was crippled by a torpedo that caused a propellor shaft to flail around, ripping the bottom out of the ship.
  • Scharnhorst was slowed by a plunging shot at extreme range that reduced its speed, shortly before it could escape out of range.

edit: spelling, grammar.

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There is one subtle thing I'd borrow from Halo (and Planetfall, which uses the same mechanism).

 

In FSA, you take away AD for damage (or crew loss, whichever is higher) suffered on your ship before rolling an attack. But in Halo, you roll the full amount of dice and take away successes for damage suffered. I really like the latter method, and I think it's what contributes to HFB and FSP games being so tight down to the end.

 
Rolling the full amount of AD means that more exploding dice could potentially be rolled, despite having to remove successes afterwards. I'm anxious to play a game of FSA using the Halo method.

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I have been thinking about why is this different in FSA and PF and this is my explanation:

FSA degrading system - ships fire huge cannons/torps at each other and actual ship parts are being blown away resulting in huge gaping holes venting atmospehere and crew into space. This means you are actually loosing the weapons to fire and crew to operate them. Ships have from several to even dozens of cannons/turrets/lauch bays etc. so this really comes into play later during a battle.

 

PF degrading system - units fire relatively small caliber weapons (compared to ship mounted ones) and a single hit usually isn't enough to outright destroy them, but it's enough to severely hamper their effectiveness. This is represented by not losing usually the only weapon system they have (only larger units have more than one) as it is sturdy enough, but by crippling the targeting system, the optics, sensors, turret rotation motors etc. So they still have the same weapon to fire, they just usually can't fire it that effectively. Also the mounted weapons are powerful compared to mounted defences and if they hit, they hit hard.

 

This reasoning makes me happy enough not to get further into it. But if it was implemented into FSA it would result in faster game play as linking would be so much easier as you always link the same amount (for some players calculating the final AD is a pure nightmare).

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Really the only thing i would borrow would be the commanders/orders dice. I like TAC cards but ive found the commandee/order syatem more dynamic in Halo.

Other than that i tend to treat them like Bolt Action and Flames of War, or Epic and 40k. different scale of command reaults in dufferent mechanics that just work for me ar their resoective levels

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Must admit that it's the exploding 6's that make this game so damn entertaining.  Its the one element of the unknown that makes it all worthwhile.  Exploding 6's have all that lovely unpredictability that provides elements of "against all odds" and "fog of war" that exist in conflict that can only be mirrored in gaming using some such mechanic as this.  Sometimes a bit of luck can turn the tide - and that's why I'd hate to see it go.  Mind you, I've not yet played Halo.......I'm far too busy expanding my core fleets to include every model produced to date, plus there's so many alliance and league fleets to collect.

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They are both fun mechanics in their own rights and work very nicely for each system. I don't think FSA needs the Halo style dice but I have had a lot more fun playing Halo recently over FSA. Don't get me wrong FSA has been my no1 for 2 years for me but Halo is a much more smoother and more cinematic game overall. For a slower more tactical game with customisation galore then FSA is the better game.

Anyway... No FSA shouldn't use Halo style dice haha

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IMHO it largly has to do with being a less "technical" game.....things just kind of float around the table, explode, your board stuff, they explode more.......its co-equal to FSA for me, but it is very much like playing a movie or the video game.

I like the Epic - 40k comparison (or FOW and Bolt Action) 

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Really the only thing i would borrow would be the commanders/orders dice. I like TAC cards but ive found the commandee/order syatem more dynamic in Halo.

Other than that i tend to treat them like Bolt Action and Flames of War, or Epic and 40k. different scale of command reaults in dufferent mechanics that just work for me ar their resoective levels

Sounds like a good reason to give Halo a go.

I'll just blame you Lightcavalier when my wife sees my credit card bill this month!

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Ryjak what makes Halo more cinematic is the core breach explosion. You get more dice to roll for damaging ships within 8" of the exploding ship and this includes frigates. In FSA you only get double the initial HP to roll on and it's only 4" explosion. I had someone do a core breach on the large Capitol ship and it wiped out half the fleets around it.

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I don't think larger core breach explosions would be more cinematic or even good in FSA.  The bases represent where the ship is, kind of sort of, in a box that's hundreds of kilometers across.  For the explosion to be 8" would make it truly titanic.  I don't know Halo rules but do they have command distances and the like?  Fleets like the Directorate in FSA have a 4" command distance, putting them in the range of the explosion if a core goes kaboom.  And adding more dice to a system that already has exploding dice would be crazy.  An exploding ship isn't a directed rail cannon round, it shouldn't hit as hard in my opinion.  

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