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S..Mike

3rd Edition Fleet Construction

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One of the interesting (and to me, somewhat odd) things about 2nd edition was the rules for building fleets.  It made some sense...navies don't consist on only battleships and carriers.  There are a multitude of ships fulfilling different roles, and from a financial standpoint, you can't just build the biggest ships.  Also, they weren't all the same.  Mostly, but there were some subtle differences.  A Dindrenzi Battle fleet could get 1 Assault Carrier, but the Relthoza could bring in 2.  The Ryushi could bring in a Gunship squadron in a patrol fleet, but the Terrans (and others) could not.  Well enough, except there hasn't been a GS released for the Ryushi yet.  And so on with other quirks that made fleet building aids (Battlescribe, Firestorm Fleet Manager, or spreadsheets) a necessity.

Fleet Construction in 3E is quite a bit more simplified.   Here are the rules:

  1. Set the Maximum Fleet Value (MFV) for the game.  Patrol Level is 1000 points or less, Battle Level is 1001-1500, and Warzone Level is >1500 points.
  2. Select the main faction being played.   The rules call this the Core Fleet.
  3. A fleet must contain at least one Small, Medium, and Large squadron.
  4. The flagship for the fleet (where the Fleet Admiral is) must be a Large or Massive ship.
  5. Each fleet must contain at least 60% of the MFV made up of squadrons from the Core Fleet.  Allies and Command Points (discussed later) come from the remaining 40%.
  6. The entire fleet is also governed by the following minimum and maximum percentages based on model size:
    • Between 10% to 60% of the overall MFV in Large/Massive squadrons
    • Between 10% to 60% of the overall MFV in Medium squadrons
    • Between 10% to 40% of the overall MFV in Small squadrons
  7. If desired, a player may designate up to 40% of the MFV as Reserve squadrons, which can shunt in after the game starts.  These can be from either the Core or Non-Core parts of the fleet.

And that's it.  Same rules for all factions.  Of course, scenarios may modify these rules, but this is the baseline.

The 3rd Edition of Firestorm Armada will use this percentage based system.  Once we have more play experience from the community at-large, we will evaluate if the min/max levels should be adjusted.

Specialist Squadrons

Three types of specialist squadrons may be included in a fleet:

  • Reinforced Cruiser Squadron. Up to one Standard Cruiser in a Standard Cruiser Squadron may be replaced by another Medium Cruiser of any type – The model replacing a Standard Cruiser is referred to as the Reinforcing Vessel. All members of the Reinforced Cruiser Squadron are considered to have the Elite Bridge Crew* MAR for as long as the Reinforcing Vessel remains on the battlefield. 
  • Rapid Response Squadron.  This squadron is formed by joining an attrition squadron of Light Cruisers (CL) to an attrition squadron of Frigates (FF) within the same faction.   Should this Squadron be placed in Reserve, the player may decide to re-roll any attempts to bring them in each turn. The second result must be accepted.
  • Escort Carrier Squadron.  Escort class models are generally limited to providing a support role for larger captial ships. A medium size escort carrier (CVE) may form an attrition squadron of 2 or battle-ready squadron of 3 ships. When fielded as an Escort Carrier Squadron, Escort Carriers may elect to combine their SRS in any combinations they wish when performing Carrier Actions in their Indirect Weapons Step of Ranged Attacks. This combination may not cause a Wing to exist above or below its minimum size. In addition, the models may only combine their SRS if they are in coherency. 

Note:  Attrition refers to the minimum squadron size, battle-ready to the maximum squadron size as defined in the ship statistics.

*Elite Bridge Crew MAR: A model with Elite Bridge Crew may remove a single Disorder Marker from themselves during the Command Segment of their Activation. 

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Seems simple enough. Would you be printing  percrntage breakdown tables for each level of game? Just to speed things up a little.

Oh, and a quick correction. Terrains can field a Gunship...they just call it a Heavy Cruiser :D

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Not a fan of it, for a number of reasons. 

First of all, it's based on false equivalencies. Not each fleet has the same type of vessels, assets, more. Not every fleet has the same options. So unless you want to rip all character from the fleets and give those without shields, shields. Those without railguns, railguns and more you don't want to do this. That's the ultimate end path for where this goes and what it means. 

Second thought, percentages? Really? How about running a consistent pattern of selections? Not just thinking about point values but in choices of formations, squadrons. How about keep it simple and keep it closer to 2.0? 

What's in your screening force is not going to be what's in your main battle line or in your reserve formation. What determines an escort is not what determines what's in your perimetre forces and what determines what's in your screening force. What the English call a destroyer is not what the Americans did. 

So why are you trying to create an equivalency where there is none to start off with? 

This is a very bad idea. Worse than the power core idea, worse than just about anything I've read and from what I can remember of Planetfall and its issues, even worse than that. 

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21 minutes ago, Bessemer said:

Seems simple enough. Would you be printing  percrntage breakdown tables for each level of game? Just to speed things up a little.

Oh, and a quick correction. Terrains can field a Gunship...they just call it a Heavy Cruiser :D

I haven't seen the final layout of the rules, so I don't know if a table or something would be included.  Pretty easy to do with a spreadsheet though.  If Spartan doesn't do it, I'm sure it will pop up somewhere along the line.  

11 minutes ago, LionofPerth said:

Not a fan of it, for a number of reasons. 

First of all, it's based on false equivalencies. Not each fleet has the same type of vessels, assets, more. Not every fleet has the same options. So unless you want to rip all character from the fleets and give those without shields, shields. Those without railguns, railguns and more you don't want to do this. That's the ultimate end path for where this goes and what it means. 

Second thought, percentages? Really? How about running a consistent pattern of selections? Not just thinking about point values but in choices of formations, squadrons. How about keep it simple and keep it closer to 2.0? 

What's in your screening force is not going to be what's in your main battle line or in your reserve formation. What determines an escort is not what determines what's in your perimetre forces and what determines what's in your screening force. What the English call a destroyer is not what the Americans did. 

So why are you trying to create an equivalency where there is none to start off with? 

This is a very bad idea. Worse than the power core idea, worse than just about anything I've read and from what I can remember of Planetfall and its issues, even worse than that. 

Fair enough, not everyone will like everything.  I'm not trying to be condescending, please don't take it that way.  But I don't see it as a 'very bad idea' per se.  You are correct in that not every fleet has identical choices available to them.  But how is this percentage based system really different from tiers in that respect?  I guess I don't understand the false equivalency argument.  Under the tier system, (say for Patrol Fleets for sake of discussion),  pretty much everyone could bring in a battleship squadron.  Now, if I bring in a battleship at 180 points, and you bring one in at 200...well, it's the point cost that balances, not the tier requirements from before.  I don't think we're arguing that all battleships are equal, obviously they are not.  So we try to set the point costs such that there is a relative measure of strength between ships and races.   

Anyhow, this is how fleet construction is set up.  Please don't take this as dismissive.  That's not my intent.  If we get down the road and everything has fallen apart, we'll have to evaluate things then.  It appeared to work well in Alpha and Beta testing, so this is what we are going with.

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I never liked % systems as they are harder to figure out than the v2 tiered system. I don't like the v2 that much either as it fails to do its job with just 3 tiers and 5 would be ideal. Also it is a bit more restrictive with allowed categories. Will see how the new system turns out. 

 

Have you considered system for 400-600 points fleets? The above one won't really work with mandatory large squadron etc. Currently 600 points is the most popular format around here using my own additional rules. Instead of trying to create a new rule set like Taskforce, why not include rules for these smaller formats in the game to simplify things?

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18 minutes ago, Spartan_FA_Mike said:

So we try to set the point costs such that there is a relative measure of strength between ships and races.   

 

Yes and a single measure of strength across every single faction is your only measure of success? 

How about using the fleet list themselves to tell a story about that faction? How about telling people how they should be using their fleet through the fleet list? How about telling players what a ship does through the list? 

From what I can see, you're throwing out the baby with the bathwater here. The tier system is not great, yet as it stands it tells players what the fleet is and how it should look. Why are you so keen to get rid of it? I can't see why you would trade off so easily the character of the fleet themselves. That's what you're going to lose here. 

At least if you don't count cooking things to the stage where you max out your best features and minimise your requirements. 

Being blunt, I don't think think there's a great answer here. What you do have is a number of answers which are good enough. One of those is to have a tiered system which is tied to the factions themselves. A system which values certain formations, units at these places, in that order of battle. So again, why trade that away and what are you trying to achieve with it being given up? 

Nothing good, from my end. 

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I'm not sure that allowing unlimited spamming of ships within size classes is going to produce a balanced game.  I can think of some extreme builds that would be possible under these rules that would not be much fun for an opponent at all.  Without the ship stats for v3 it's way too early to tell, but if the ships have the same general functions as in v2, think about some things you might see.  Each faction has a few standout ship classes.  This system encourages you to fill out an entire build level with nothing but those ships.  I think, at least for competitive players, this system is going to foster extreme min/max builds and greatly hurt fleet diversity both in faction choice and in squadron selection.  Hopefully everything in v3 is balanced to the point where this isn't the case, but it's going to be *exceptionally* hard to guarantee that using little else besides points.

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30 minutes ago, tansalus said:

@Kurgan I second your idea. We generally play 600-800 pt games to keep the time requirement low. It would be nice to have a tested system for running smaller games.

I've been playing 600 point games here, and just taking out the Large squadrons.  Makes for a quicker game, and different (in a good way) since the firepower levels are lower.  Corvettes and Frigates survive a bit longer. :)

13 minutes ago, LionofPerth said:

 

Yes and a single measure of strength across every single faction is your only measure of success? 

How about using the fleet list themselves to tell a story about that faction? How about telling people how they should be using their fleet through the fleet list? How about telling players what a ship does through the list? 

From what I can see, you're throwing out the baby with the bathwater here. The tier system is not great, yet as it stands it tells players what the fleet is and how it should look. Why are you so keen to get rid of it? I can't see why you would trade off so easily the character of the fleet themselves. That's what you're going to lose here. 

At least if you don't count cooking things to the stage where you max out your best features and minimise your requirements. 

Being blunt, I don't think think there's a great answer here. What you do have is a number of answers which are good enough. One of those is to have a tiered system which is tied to the factions themselves. A system which values certain formations, units at these places, in that order of battle. So again, why trade that away and what are you trying to achieve with it being given up? 

Nothing good, from my end. 

I see your point.  From what I understand here (and in your other post about wanting more background on the races, why they fight, what moral code guides them, etc.), the fleets should help to tell that story.  The character of the race does get revealed in the way they build ships, what weapons they are primarily using, etc.

Thing is...some players just don't care.  To some it's not about furthering the goals of the Zenian League.  It's about rolling 23 hits off of exploding dice.  And to others, it's about immersing in a story.  So, we try to strike a balance.  The fluff will take part of some, and ships will catch the other.  The Dindrenzi are always going to field Big Guns.  The Terrans will have their nukes.  The Directorate will keep hacking your systems.  

I think (and it's just me here talking now) that fleet construction was overly complex in 2E.  New players, casual players, they had a hard time wrapping their heads around the fleet construction side.  The grognards among us got it, but we're not the only ones at the table.  This change, I hope, brings the fleet construction part back to an easy feel.   Your mileage may vary, of course.

Mike

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I can see both the positive and negative of this idea.

I do think it first glance this percentage system will be a bit more "gamey/min/maxing".

BUT

It does look easier to interpret and more accessible in terms of simplification, which obviously everyone will have a different opinion on regarding how simple something should be.

I would have preferred a fleet construction system that was a bit more complex/faction mutable.

But I'm not going to slam this, even if it doesn't directly appeal to me.

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8 minutes ago, Paladin21 said:

I'm not sure that allowing unlimited spamming of ships within size classes is going to produce a balanced game.  I can think of some extreme builds that would be possible under these rules that would not be much fun for an opponent at all.  Without the ship stats for v3 it's way too early to tell, but if the ships have the same general functions as in v2, think about some things you might see.  Each faction has a few standout ship classes.  This system encourages you to fill out an entire build level with nothing but those ships.  I think, at least for competitive players, this system is going to foster extreme min/max builds and greatly hurt fleet diversity both in faction choice and in squadron selection.  Hopefully everything in v3 is balanced to the point where this isn't the case, but it's going to be *exceptionally* hard to guarantee that using little else besides points.

And this is an issue.  We've tried to 'break' things, and made some adjustments to that.  But you can only get so far with a subset of players (being the Beta team) working on stuff.  So, it'll fall back to tweaking stats as issues truly come up.

If you play Magic: The Gathering,  you know that in the early years, cards got banned or restricted because they were just too good.  There wasn't a way to control it otherwise.  Now we are not going to be banning ships.  I'm not suggesting that.  But if all the builds start showing up the same, then yeah, we'll be looking at changing stats. This is what real militaries do.  Someone shows up with a sling, I'll get heavy leather armor.  Then we get a shortbow, then steel swords, cavalry, and pretty soon your lobbing nukes at each other.  Going forward there needs to be a mechanic for battle feedback and where we need to make adjustments to stats and costs.  

You're right though.  Hopefully there is more balance in 3E.  Time will tell.  If it's not we'll react accordingly.

Mike

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Hi Folks!

I really do not see your problems with the new system and smaller games.

Example: 450 points:

large and massive 45-270p 1 Battleship aprox 180-200p

medium 45-270p 3 Cruiser aprox 165-195p

small 45-180p     aprox 70-105p for 3 fregates

Different fleets will fill the slots in different ways, I think some flleets will feel the 40% small restriction more than other, but overall it seemsto be a sound way to resolve the fleet building.

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In the *really* early days of Magic, there was no rule restricting you to 4 copies of a card.  You were free to implement whatever you wanted.  After the first tournaments featured nothing but turn-1 kills in the top decks, selection limitations were imposed.  I'm sure you guys will do your best, but it's going to be exceptionally hard to balance things under your proposed system.  You're also setting yourself up to *really* piss off customers.  People will be howling at having to face a fleet that's 60% of one overpowered option, and then the people that bought those are going to scream murder when you make them less than ideal and "force" them to buy new models to spam.  I don't envy you the task of walking through this minefield.

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11 minutes ago, Spartan_FA_Mike said:

I see your point.  From what I understand here (and in your other post about wanting more background on the races, why they fight, what moral code guides them, etc.), the fleets should help to tell that story.  The character of the race does get revealed in the way they build ships, what weapons they are primarily using, etc.

Thing is...some players just don't care.  To some it's not about furthering the goals of the Zenian League.  It's about rolling 23 hits off of exploding dice.  And to others, it's about immersing in a story.  So, we try to strike a balance.  The fluff will take part of some, and ships will catch the other.  The Dindrenzi are always going to field Big Guns.  The Terrans will have their nukes.  The Directorate will keep hacking your systems.  

I think (and it's just me here talking now) that fleet construction was overly complex in 2E.  New players, casual players, they had a hard time wrapping their heads around the fleet construction side.  The grognards among us got it, but we're not the only ones at the table.  This change, I hope, brings the fleet construction part back to an easy feel.   Your mileage may vary, of course.

 

No, actually, you don't. You really don't considering this reply. 

I did not find 2.0 in any way complex. I was even part of the team which built it. Sure, it took a few times over to get your head around and some of the time the squadron rules just plain got in the way. However, I knew that if it was a Destroyer, I could take so many units of them, cruisers, battle cruisers, more, that exact point. I knew what I had available and how it fit together. 

This turns it back into math. Unnecessary and overly complex math. Math is not the answer if you want to have something that works like a good tripod. You have the setting, model and system all working together to make your game. That they mutually support each other. This is playing to only part of your fan base and rather openly favouring their play style over everyone else. 

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1 minute ago, LionofPerth said:

 

No, actually, you don't. You really don't considering this reply. 

I did not find 2.0 in any way complex. I was even part of the team which built it. Sure, it took a few times over to get your head around and some of the time the squadron rules just plain got in the way. However, I knew that if it was a Destroyer, I could take so many units of them, cruisers, battle cruisers, more, that exact point. I knew what I had available and how it fit together. 

This turns it back into math. Unnecessary and overly complex math. Math is not the answer if you want to have something that works like a good tripod. You have the setting, model and system all working together to make your game. That they mutually support each other. This is playing to only part of your fan base and rather openly favouring their play style over everyone else. 

You have to do a lot of math with either system:

1) add together the cost and adons for each ship

2) multiply it to get the point costs for the squadron

3) keep the running total or deduct the cost from the MFV

4) and now the difrence: if you have spare points for the class you can add a new squardon or in the 2nd edition if you have a free slot you can add a further squadron.

sounds complicated? But if just take your old fleetlist and check if they stay legal, I did it with 5 lists and 4 are legal, Even my T3 Heay terrans
1x Tyrant with (Shield Projector, -1 Turn Limit, 2 Interceptor and 1 support Shuttles) (235p)  
3x Teuton Cruiser (Beam Weapon, Weapon Shield, +1 Shield, Aegis) (245p) 
6x Wayfarer (120p)
4x Missionaries (100p)
4x Missionaries (100p)
are perfectly legal.

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51 minutes ago, LionofPerth said:

 

No, actually, you don't. You really don't considering this reply. 

My apologies.  Sometimes I make too many assumptions, and this appears to be the case here.  I'm sorry.

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1 hour ago, Oramion said:

Hi Folks!

I really do not see your problems with the new system and smaller games.

Example: 450 points:

large and massive 45-270p 1 Battleship aprox 180-200p

medium 45-270p 3 Cruiser aprox 165-195p

small 45-180p     aprox 70-105p for 3 fregates

Different fleets will fill the slots in different ways, I think some flleets will feel the 40% small restriction more than other, but overall it seemsto be a sound way to resolve the fleet building.

The problem is not fitting those models in there, the problem always was if you allow big ships like Battleships in such a game they dominate the whole game and it only turns around their performance. I am not saying this will be the case in v3 but unless mechanics and stats change in a radical way, it will be the same. So most of us got to restrict these big ships simply to have more fun and more balanced games with the medium and small ships. They suddenly turn to be the big fishes in the sea and it's nicely, refreshing. 

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I was actually considering what I could do with a couple of Anarchists, as many Destroyers as possible, and a few shunt-bomb suicide squads of Enforcers for Directorate.  So evil. My impression is that the majority of v2 lists work; this would have two BB's with Stealth and extra movement and 6 squads of sniper Destroyers sniping at you.  Unless you play an exceptionally cluttered table, bad news.

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How about racial restrictions in the ORBAT's, where you limit certain more powerful  squadrons/ship types to a specific number? So actually a combo of v2 and v3, where you do away with the tier system, but keep the fleet composition limits.

That will give you an extra method to balance races and fleets at certain points levels, and it directy ties into the fluff. Also, if you have a list stating you are only allowed 1 squadron of ship x, and 2 squadrons of ship y for a given point bandwith, it should not be hard to interpret/understand at all.

Of course, you will need to add a provision for Very Large Fleets, like the v2 grand armadas.

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If you want to use percentages why not try something like in the "Marauders of the Rift" campaign guide.

All factions had it's own % of large / medium / small ships. It can take some time to adapt those value for each races but it was better lore wise as, for example a faction known for using small ships was able to field more of them (more points). Of course factions that used more heavier ships had less points for support.

With some tweaks It could be a good balance between using % and giving flavor to all lists.

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28 minutes ago, fracas said:

I prefer the v2 tiers system rather than % proposed.

i would also rescale

500 Pts

1000 pts 

1500 pts

> 1500 pts

There is certainly nothing from stopping you from playing at any MFV you want.  But yes, if you are going to do battles much lower than 1000, you should probably look at doing something with the Large percentage.  Give 600 and no larges a try, it makes for a good little skirmish.

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My big concern is that given the percentages listed, a legal 1000 Point Fleet is:

  • Large Ships 600 Points
  • Medium Ships 300 Points
  • Small Ships 100 Points

Unless there is a big improvement in Small Ship performance, they are going to get shifted to the side except minimum points of models to to meet the requirements.

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