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Interceptor SRS Rebalance

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if 1 token were counted as 1 model (contributing a minimum of one per token, not per wing) it could work, but your right...that would need new rule clarification, then again, we would be changing rules regardless. however, I realize now that that would still mean there is a minimal difference between 1 wing of interceptors, and one wing of bombers, both contribute 1 PD.

Another idea, leave SRS rules as they are, except that 1 token would count as 1 model (for purposes of linking) and that SRS may combine their PD with their parent ship/squadren, and can Link their PD, with all other squadrens, this allows low capacity ships (that only carry 1-3 wings) to still gain defensive bonuses, while still lowering overall fleet coveredge, while still providing said coveredge.

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Yes

You see very few bombers used for defense after turn 1. Having them to RtB just before being in range for a bombing run isn't worth the deal.

On the contrary peoples who played with PD mountain tactic tend to overdo even more when they can. In 1200+ points games they double the cover with 2 carriers but the investment is often too hight and they lack points for others more punchy units.

Sadly, the Fighters are even less used than before.

 

I'm not sure if this is the best way to go. Maybe we should add or replace this rule with the changes below:

- completely remove the interceptors from the game.

- change the bombers PD value to 0.

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Just to be clear did you mean that your group ran with SRS tokens forced to Return to Base in the case where they assist a squadron with their PD die roll?  I can't say I'm surprised by the result, although I am disappointed it really did perform poorly.  There is very little shortage on options presented to use in making your own patch to the game, but if those are your most desired options go right ahead, just please report back.  Feedback on the topic is certainly useful as evidence, or at least a reference to work with.

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5 hours ago, LBPB said:

I'm not sure if this is the best way to go. Maybe we should add or replace this rule with the changes below:

- completely remove the interceptors from the game.

- change the bombers PD value to 0.

Thank you for replying.  You can more simply achieve this by completely remove the ability for Tokens to assist Models with PD.  In this case, their PD stat only impacts other SRS.  If Fighters were allowed to Intercept as well, you might see more variety in SRS.

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What about untethering Intercepters from the carrier and make them free roaming.

This reduces cluster balling around the carrier since Intercepters are free to move and cover whoever. It also allows for countering , as it frees up your own Intercepters to fly in and dogfight on fair grounds.

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I've played another game with Dr_Vector's 1 combine otherwise link Interceptors. It changed absolutely nothing in that game, because It was an escalating engagement mission and Neither side was overly torpedo heavy to begin with. SRS and interceptors had very little impact on the game. I'll keep updating For each game I run with that rule type. 

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Interesting Misterbucket, the game type is certainly helpful and that's a good call including it, although I do have a recommendation.  I'm assuming that Interceptor coverage was used and that no significant damage was done by the engaged fleets.  Given that you mentioned neither fleet was relying on torpedo damage I'm making this assumption, but if you could, please include the faction(s) used and clarify that coverage against torpedoes with Interceptors was unbreakable, or broken.  Exact force composition isn't as important as quantity when it comes to analysis, it is certainly remains useful, but only if you have enough samples in the first place.  So, thank you for that of course.

 

Commodore Jones, I don't believe much can be achieved by simply removing the tether between carriers and SRS tokens.  Interceptor coverage remains the same distance circle, so we can assume two cases as I see it.  The carrier decides to use terrain on the board and remain at a long distance to keep Interceptors in play while effectively being a non-target.  The second case assumes the carriers still want the coverage and play continues as expected now.

If the opposing player launches Interceptors and try to use the lack of a tether to dogfight off PD Mountain it still won't be a turn 1 solution.  Even in turn 2 this may be problematic as you would potentially have to thread the needle of squadron PD fields to reach PD Mountain's source.  Even then that dogfight seeking Token will RtB back to it's own carrier, which may make further engagements difficult to fit into the remaining turns.  If it benefits the carrier to remain in PD Mountain, eventually the Carriers may not ever choose to use terrain to hide as being in the PD Mountain means they can re-launch coverage quickly.

I think Fighters would be better to remove the tether from, as they move faster to begin with for this solution to work faster.  Also, I feel this doesn't provide a significant enough change to how PD Mountain operates, and while it would provide new options, I believe many of the fundamental problems with PD Mountain remain.

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Directorate VS Xelocian

Directorate Fleet

Battle Station (admiral) had 3 wings of interceptors

Dread no escorts pretty stripped

Champion cruisers (3)

Heavy Cruisers (3)

Drones (4)

Light Frigates (6)

 

Xelocian

Dread(admiral) Escorts (3) 2 Interceptors wings, 6 bombers

Battleship MAY have had interceptors but I never shot torps at it and it was by itself so I simply don't recall.

Cruisers (4)

Frigates (5)

Frigates (5)

This is the best estimate and not exact.

My drones were gone turn 2. Turn 2/3 some torps are blocked by interceptors, but all he really has is cruisers to throw them so only 1 usage on 1 turn. Past there my ships out distance my station so interceptors never matter again(he never fires at my station) and his cruisers are dead by 3(crew all dead by 2). His dread didn't come in until turn 4 I think and shot my champions which were well out of interceptor range. My torps spread all across the map all game never at a t1 or really even near 1. By the end of the game I have nothing with torps left, just light frigates and both T1s(neither have torps) he has his dread which maybe has 1-2 damage on it. Escalating engagement VERY much altered how both lists would run and didn't give much use to interceptors for the most part. Still thought I'd share how it was different or not. 

 

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21 hours ago, Commodore Jones said:

What about untethering Intercepters from the carrier and make them free roaming.

This reduces cluster balling around the carrier since Intercepters are free to move and cover whoever. It also allows for countering , as it frees up your own Intercepters to fly in and dogfight on fair grounds.

I think everyone agrees that interceptors are too strong at the moment, buffing them further doesn't seem like a great idea

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3 hours ago, Nuck Fewton said:

I think everyone agrees that interceptors are too strong at the moment, buffing them further doesn't seem like a great idea

No, I don't think Interceptors are too strong.  I think they are just fine and DO NOT need stat reductions.  The real issue is that currently the only way to counter Interceptors is with Interceptors, and Interceptors are currently bound to their parent carrier and can't go out and do anything about enemy Interceptors until the carrier gets close enough 3+ turns into the game.

I will admit, I hadn't thought about the ability to Dogfight other SRS during their movement, that would be a bit much to give to Interceptors. Shows why I shouldn't post right before bed when I'm to tired to fully recognize the repercussions of what I'm suggesting :P

I still think Interceptors should get a limited form of Attack Run.  Interceptors can make Dogfight Runs but ONLY against other Interceptors. This way you it's a tactical choice, do you want to keep that PD coverage or are you willing to give it up for a turn to remove your opponent's Interceptors?

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The big issue I have with countering interceptors with any other form of SRS is the fact you have to dive into their ship line and eat all that PD to try to even engage their interceptors. Having something insane like a 48" range fighter doesn't save your fighter from running through 15 PD just to engage their interceptors. Positioning would just become a bubble of interceptor coverage and a bubble of ships covering the interceptors.  About the only way to change that would be have 1 type of ship(fighters probably) not destroyed as easily with ship PD. 

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34 minutes ago, Commodore Jones said:

No, I don't think Interceptors are too strong.  I think they are just fine and DO NOT need stat reductions.  The real issue is that currently the only way to counter Interceptors is with Interceptors, and Interceptors are currently bound to their parent carrier and can't go out and do anything about enemy Interceptors until the carrier gets close enough 3+ turns into the game.

30 points of interceptors grants you a 1 ft area that is immune to torps and most boarding actions, that seems too strong to me.

Quote

 

I will admit, I hadn't thought about the ability to Dogfight other SRS during their movement, that would be a bit much to give to Interceptors. Shows why I shouldn't post right before bed when I'm to tired to fully recognize the repercussions of what I'm suggesting :P

I still think Interceptors should get a limited form of Attack Run.  Interceptors can make Dogfight Runs but ONLY against other Interceptors. This way you it's a tactical choice, do you want to keep that PD coverage or are you willing to give it up for a turn to remove your opponent's Interceptors?

 

except your token now has to fight through all of his ships PD to even get to the enemy SRS, so you'll have a uphill battle no matter what

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Thank you for that follow up Misterbucket, that's exactly the kind of information that helps make a report clearly useful.  I can see much more precisely why you made the claim about neither fleet relying on torpedoes, and why they ended up not mattering much during the game.  The type of scenario run, escalating engagement  in this case, really can skew the constants expected when predicting results and details help define why.  Naturally such situations are possible and it's worth mentioning.  While the battle may not seem very relevant to how Interceptors work, unless none were taken, it can still stand as an example of Interceptors in play and their limitations.  Game theory alone could probably predict the outcome for torpedoes in that match accurately, but it is better to have some kind of sample just to prove or disprove even the extreme cases, well that's what I think anyway.

 

Honestly, if you really gave Fighter SRS that sort of, "go anywhere," level of movement a defending fleet would probably have to be more deliberate when creating PD Mountain to ensure no gaps are facing the enemy fleet.  After the first turn, any movement forward basically allows Fighters to find and thread the least defended gaps to dive onto the Interceptor Token.  Realistically PD Mountain fleets cannot ensure that Fighters are unable to make this trip, as a Fighter Token is likely to only encounter two ship bubbles on the way to the Interceptor hiding inside.  The problem would remain where Fighters may not be able to drive off that Interceptor due to probable wing losses.

Although honestly the Frigates in that fleet would be the worst defenders against Fighter Tokens, even with using smaller bases and tight formations they don't quite put out enough PD to severely threaten the Fighter Token with RtB on it's own activation.  If you consider the move a daredevil sacrifice bent on drive off results, I think reaching the engagement would be more possible than expected.  The problem lies in the amount of drive off dice a Fighter Token provides even at full strength.  Also the player using the Fighters should probably expect to lose at least one wing on entry during turn 1 and maybe 2, although they might not.  It may not be that hard however, given the rules allow SRS Tokens to move freely without turn constraints.  With a 48 inch allotment, well, the enemy fleet is going to have to create a very clustered position to deny that Fighter Token any free opportunities to engage.

Just a reminder, models only engage the SRS token on an individual basis without any assistance.  The Interceptor's options would include waiting and seeing what happens to the Fighters before potentially becoming engaged with them; or moving out of position to intercept the Fighters which may just benefit the Fighter's goal, as that makes their objective easier to reach and shifted them out of intended position to boot.

 

Heh, I can't help imagining there would be some very happy Terran destroyers just drooling over the target rich environment created by a highly clustered PD Mountain.  Also this presumes that one does not take Carriers with a full Fighter Token hell bent on decimating anything not cowering inside PD Mountain, or other such shenanigans possibly including cloak or stealth.  Although, really, using Fighters that way would be interesting.  It would allow potent attack runs even on models inside PD Mountain, since the Interceptors can only engage if they move out of position to do so.  Take the attack run, or shift PD Mountain?  Does create a dilemma, although I think this creates more potential problems than it solves.

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So another game in the books with same Interceptor change. Hold the Way Points. 1k lists this time Omnidyne vs Relthoza. I think it only came up 2 or 3 times that game and early on. but it did have some impact. Nothing monumental, but it did mean a nidus was killed when it probably wouldn't have been, as well as cyber damage on a battleship that probably would not have happened at all. The early battleship damage started a slippery slope of more torp damage too. It was an Omnidyne win.

Omnidyne 

Dread(admiral) 2 synergy cyber torps, 4 wing interceptor token and both types of torps 

Cruiser squadron (4) cyber torps

Gunship Squadron (3) cyber torps

Corvettes (6) cyber torps

Corvettes (6) cyber torps

Relthoza

Carrier(admiral) with 2 shunt cruisers 4 interceptors 6 bombers

Battleship with 2 frigates 6 bombers

Heavy Cruisers (3)

Nidus Frigates (4) with 4 interceptors

Widow Frigates (4)

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What we tried in several games was to simply strip Bombers and Assault Craft of PD coverage, so only Fighters and Interceptors could help models with PD. In our meta most players go for offence rather than defence and this forced them to bring either Fighters or Interceptors to defend fleet during the first two turns. 

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I personally like the idea of stripping bombers and assault craft of PD for the purposes of defending the fleet from incoming torpedoes for the reasons Kurgan expressed. Has anyone considered allowing Tier 3s the ability to fire at SRS tokens with direct weapons as an alternative? Or even allowing torpedo attacks target SRS tokens? The SRS tokens would still get their PD to defend themselves and it would create a new option and target opportunity in the early game without simply negating torpedoes altogether.

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3 hours ago, BluFlcn said:

Has anyone considered allowing Tier 3s the ability to fire at SRS tokens with direct weapons as an alternative? Or even allowing torpedo attacks target SRS tokens?

I did not test it or even think it through completely, but it was one of the first things to come to my mind when mentioning the possibility of new TACs up-thread.

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If I had anyone around here who played except for myself I'd test it out. :\ I wonder if SRS were treated like models after being deployed they could be shot at then. Not like shot at and destroyed but something like requiring 6s to hit and only result in drive offs. Limit shooting at them to Tier 3s since they wouldn't be so much bigger that their guns would be comically big in comparison to a fighter or bomber. Or the torpedo route, torpedoes vs just the SRS PD could result in the same kind of drive offs, allowing torpedo factions to not be shut down completely and have a shot at dealing with SRS PD Mountain while still making the SRS valuable since they're drawing fire instead of the big ships.

Side benefit to letting Tier 3s hunt SRS tokens is that it would force new strategic decisions. I never advance up my Tier 3s with the fleet, I either hold them back in cover until late game or shunt/flank them since they're so vulnerable. Being able to fire on SRS tokens might make it tempting to bring the Tier 3s out early in advance of the rest of the fleet, creating a risk vs. reward gamble. SRS heavy fleets will have to be more weary of losing their PD edge and the other fleet may risk losing frigates or corvettes in the process of removing SRS from the board.

I guess to me this is a simpler solution than attempting to completely re-balance SRS tokens, short of 3.0 coming out with a total overhaul.

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With regards to using AD against SRS, The Illosians have a MAR called Anti SRS that will allow them to do just that (as and when they drop of course;)). Don't really want to step on anyone's toes by letting everyone do that.

From what I've read on this board, the following seem to be the recurring ideas in some form or another:

Bombers/Assault craft can only use PD to defend themselves, not other models.

Interceptor tokens can only intercept/assist PD ONCE before RTB. Fighters can stay on board after a dogfight/intercept as they have extra fuel tanks (insert future tech equivalent).

I think both of those would fix the problems with SRS as they stand now. Fighters would become a far more attractive option and go some way to reducing the PD mountain. Would making Bigger Batteries a common Upgrade for Escorts or Frigates be another way? That being said, that's stepping on the Ryushi's toes...

As 3rd Ed is on the cards at some point, this is kind of academic unless the FFG want's drop a few tidbits

Just my 2p, anyway! There's enough walls of text as it is.

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While I can understand thematically removing PD assistance from Assault Craft and Bombers, it doesn't seem like a tool which affects game pacing in a significant manner.  I'll grant combined PD values are very valuable, but a major part of Interceptor PD dominance is the range of influence they have.  Also the former SRS are only going to loiter in a defensive pattern in the early turns of the game.  In later turns this won't happen unless something seriously makes PD more valuable than doing damage to the enemy fleet.  Countering SRS by firing at them seems illogical, especially at the long range distances the game is supposed to be simulating.

 

The other issue I have is the situational use of such a feature; if in the early turns your attacks would normally be ineffective, you could fire shots into the SRS Token to try driving it off.  Although now you've got to create and agree on rules determining exactly how the die roll are calculated and what the results do when firing at SRS.  In later turns you now have to consider shots to drive off SRS tokens against dealing potential damage to models, although certain fleets will do this job much easier than others.  Also consider this set-up, in a fleet which only has to deal with one significant source of PD Mountain with even a single good long range source of Attack Dice that SRS token is under serious strain not to crumble in one activation.  That can open up subsequent shots which normally would be ineffective into potential damage for the rest of the fleet.  Whether this shifts player meta away from launching PD coverage or doubling down depends on the fleets in play, and the player meta.

This also seems to open up driving off Bomber, Fighter, and Assault Craft which try to engage a turn earlier than normal by loitering at the maximum command distance.  Although it depends on the fleet and the opportunity cost of the activated squadron's shots.  Really, how much of a player meta shift are you trying to produce here?  I haven't played a game using this rule change, yet I can already see the advantage of driving off a 6 wing Bomber token for even a single turn of damage.  Firing at SRS with weapon systems on all models can open up a pandora's box of consequences considering the variety between fleets in FSA.

 

Finally I find it thematically absurd that an Interceptor could be out performed in its specialist role by a generalist Fighter; how is it that an Interceptor flies further and faster than a Fighter yet comes with the crippled fuel tanks.  Really it opens up scenarios where the Fighter suddenly is dashing around providing multiple instances of PD coverage while Interceptors go to the same engagement then run home crying immediately about empty fuel tanks.  In what future would someone mass produce such a niche military craft, PD Mountain isn't a threat simply because of it's size, but also because of it's durability.

Game system wise, If your options are wide coverage once, or smaller coverage as much as you want, which would you pick logically?  Also why not then bring multiple Fighter Tokens to deal with the smaller coverage?  You could use them to attack models as well, so I see the PD assistance just getting offloaded onto Fighter Tokens instead.  The end result appears to be removing the PD assistance relevance of Interceptors by laterally shifting it onto Fighters, which doesn't do anything for SRS diversity either.  Interceptors do still remain an effective counter to incoming SRS Tokens, but that becomes their primary purpose, with PD assistance only relevant for single uses in the early turns.

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Those are some good points.  I think a better approach is to ask, "Should SRS help defend against Torpedos or Boarding Assaults at all?"

i use a 5-Wing Interceptor token on my Battleship all the time now, because the defensive boost is absurdly useful, but I'm pretty sure the game was better (i.e. More fun to play, and more hard choices) for me and my opponent before I started doing this.

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