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S..Mike

3rd Edition Boarding

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Are you guys getting tired of me yet? :)

Boarding wasn't immune to review either in 3rd Edition.  It was actually not something that got a lot of play in my sphere of players, for whatever reason.  But I know that others relish the idea of "Boarders Away!" and seeing the Marines on the prowl.

Here is what boarding is doing in 3E:

  • The AP statistic has been removed.  CP now represents the total crew strength for all ship operations.
  • There is no restriction on the number of times a ship can perform boarding, other than not having the CP available to do it.  Only one boarding action per ship activation though.
  • Boarding can be initiated when a ship is within 8" of the enemy.
  • Boarding Actions require a command point to perform the action.
  • When boarding, the attacking squadron cannot have fired on the boarding target this turn.
  • Resolution of Boarding attacks:
    • Declare the targets
    • Compile Assault Dice pool.  Other ships in the squadron (and are within 8") combine CP dice.
    • Compile Point Defense dice.  Add PD dice from the target ship, any interceptors attached to the ship (or within 4"), and link in other squadron ships PD.
    • Roll [RED] dice for the defender.  Each hit from the PD roll reduces the Assault Pool by 1.
    • Roll Assault Dice pool, and Defender CP pool.  Both are [RED] dice.
    • Subtract the number of attacker successes from the defender successes, and check this table:
    • boarding.jpg
    • Note that ships with 2 HP that suffer a Hard Victory or Seamless Operation are destroyed (from the 2 HP damage on the Sub-Systems critical table.

Relevant MAR's:

  • Assault Blitz :  All Defensive Fire against incoming Boarders launched by this vessel use [BLUE] D6 rather than [RED] D6 to generate a success. 
  • Defensible (Value) :  When defending against a Boarding Assault, this model may increase its Defensive Pool by the Value listed in the brackets. 
  • Frenzied Assault Forces: All Boarding initiated by a model with the Frenzied Assault Forces must re-roll any failed Initial dice rolls. Unlike other Boarding Actions, Boarding Actions using this MAR treat all Seamless Operation Results on the 
    Boarding Results Table as a Hard Victory result instead. 
  • Limited Resources : If a model with Limited Resources initiates a Boarding Assault, it receives a -1 ‘to hit’ penalty on its Assault Point Dice during that Boarding Assault.
  • Long Range Boarding Craft: A model with this MAR can initiate a Boarding Assault against a target within 12". 
  • Secured Bulkheads: A Model with this MAR may elect to force an Attacker to re-roll the result rolled on the Sub-Systems Critical Table when determining the effects of any Hard Victory Results of a Boarding Assaults directed against it. This 
    MAR has no effect on Sub-systems that were deliberately targeted by assaulting forces. 
  • Special Forces: If all the models initiating a Boarding Assault have Special Forces, their Assault Point Dice receive a +1 ‘to hit’ modifier. 
  • Specialist (Boarding Action) A model with this MAR may reduce the overall cost of performing the Action/Order listed in the bracket by 1.  Essentially, this makes a free boarding action.
  • Unmanned:  An Unmanned model may not initiate Boarding Assaults, but will defend itself as normal using its own 
    automated defences. Vessels with this MAR never lose Crew Points for any reason and cannot have Disorder 
    Markers applied to them from any source.
Edited by Spartan_FA_Mike
Missed a critical step regarding defender CP after the PD roll.

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Actually, I was pointing out that neither successful result for the Boarding requires a roll, so you can't force a re-roll. Is is it supposed to force them to roll instead of choose?

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Something like that.  In my head the "may choose" meant that the attacker could elect to roll instead of choose.  Which of course sounds silly now that I think about it.  But the idea is that the ship is locked down, so you can't get to Fire Control, so your marines have to settle with something else.

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The only things I could see this intent applying to is either forcing Fire Control Offline to be randomly rolled instead of chosen by the attacker; or A Model with this MAR may elect to force an Attacker to roll the result on the Sub-Systems Critical Table when determining the effects of any Hard Victory Results of a Boarding Assault directed against it.

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Seems alright. Marginally simpler than before. Boarding is a major part of the reason I chose to play Directorate and it's a shame to lose 'grand theft starship' or, as I played it, 'prememptive salvage operations'.

So long as I can still vent people into space first then board mostly deserted ships it'll feel similar, even if I'm not outright prizing stuff and Fold Spacing it away.

All of this ia ssuming that the Specialist (Boarding) rule will be liberally applied. If not then I suspect I will be exceedingly disappointed to be forced to buy tons of extra points ot be able to do what I was doing before. 2 boarding actions per core boarding ship per game was plenty already and the threat of one from the others was defnitely enough. An unlimited number of times per game but where the game really is unlikely to give me more than 2 opportunities per squadron is meaningless anyway.

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2 hours ago, Xystophoroi said:

Seems alright. Marginally simpler than before. Boarding is a major part of the reason I chose to play Directorate and it's a shame to lose 'grand theft starship' or, as I played it, 'prememptive salvage operations'.

So long as I can still vent people into space first then board mostly deserted ships it'll feel similar, even if I'm not outright prizing stuff and Fold Spacing it away.

All of this ia ssuming that the Specialist (Boarding) rule will be liberally applied. If not then I suspect I will be exceedingly disappointed to be forced to buy tons of extra points ot be able to do what I was doing before. 2 boarding actions per core boarding ship per game was plenty already and the threat of one from the others was defnitely enough. An unlimited number of times per game but where the game really is unlikely to give me more than 2 opportunities per squadron is meaningless anyway.

Well, my definition of liberal and your definition of liberal might be different. :)  As for having to buy tons of extra command points, that is a balancing decision you'll have to make.  I can tell you that having a small squadron in the rear of a battlecruiser makes life difficult, especially when it's boarding nearly every turn. :( 

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Well, the strange thing to me is that Crew Points for the boarded ship doesn't actually matter for the opposed roll.  It's just a check against linked CP pool from the attacker and the PD pool from the defender.  The difference of successes between these pools determines who won the boarding contest, meanwhile it seems only secured bulkheads throws a notable monkey wrench into this dynamic.

Doesn't matter if that Titan has 10 CP or 0 CP, it is the PD system which determines whether it goes down hard to a rinky dink fleet of frigates.  Which means PD Offline is God's Gift to Marines.  Which may also mean a single Command Point, zero perhaps with specialist MARs, targeted strike for a PD Network Disrupted could render that model wide open to be boarded to death.  If that ship has no, or little CP remaining then Decompression could end up with 3 HP losses per successful attempt, more for 4+ success.  Frankly, Directorate Justice against a PD Network Disrupted Tier 1 seems like a good way to deep six that ship in a blaze of glory.

 

Given that Disorder tokens against at zeroed out Crew Point target turns into hull damage?  Let's run that scenario really quick.

 

Targeted strike for a guaranteed PD Network Disrupted, if you hit CR 12 with a -1 to hit modifier.  A tall order, but some squadrons exist just for that sort of challenge, and Annihilation Gunships sound like a good crew to step up to the plate.  The odds aren't what I would call reliable, but the results are outstanding.  Without Interceptors or Escorts that Titan has a whopping 0 PD to defend with, thus 0 successes.

In swoops a squadron of 3 Justice, each having 4 Crew Points and MAR Special Forces (presumably still true).  Now here is where things get dicey.  Does a single CP pay for the whole squadron to activate for boarding assaults, as with other activations?  Otherwise, do you conduct separate, unlinked fire, squadron boarding affairs by paying through the proverbial nose for this?

If the cost is 1 CP for a squadron to activate boarding assault, with no limitation on precise break down of model linking or non-linking aside from only activating once, then tally ho Justice!

3 separate attacks at 4 AD pools that hit on 3+ with exploding dice?  Sounds like a solid triple hard victory (2-3 successes), maybe duo hard victory and a seamless operation (4+ success).  Let's just assume the former for conservatism sake; that's total of 2 HP for the targeted strike + 6 HP for the boarding actions.  If you choose to decompress 3 times that's -6 CP, which leaves 1 CP remaining with a paltry 2 HP clinging to, er, airlocks?

If you did however, get just a little bit more lucky and upgrade to one seamless operation that is 1-3 extra disorder tokens.  Which ranges in result from 0 CP and 2 HP all the way down to 0 HP at the furthest extreme.  Are the odds for this a long shot?  You better believe it is.  Is this impossible to pull off?  I don't know, how does paying 1 CP for a boarding assault work?  Does it basically work like activating the whole squadron does now, or does it only activate one model which the squadron can then support?  I would really like to know.

That, or if Justice class Directorate ships come with a Specialists MAR for boarding, as that would just work out fantastically for this despicable plan.  Unless you can only conduct a single boarding action in any round from a single ship, or some such limitation.  (Okay, look, my crews are salivating here.  If I can't get these men to turn a Titan inside out within the span of two activations, well I just don't know what I'm going to be telling them about Mega Christmas Bonus Pay!)

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@Dr_Vector  It's been a long weekend.  I missed a critical step in the process regarding defender CP.  I edited the procedure above to the correct method.

Basically, compile Assault dice, roll PD, remove AD based on PD success, then roll AD vs defender CP and compare the result.  Check the above for better detail.

Sorry, this was my miss.

@Polaris  Just a command point. 

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Hmm, you know, it is rather confusing to have Crew Points and Command Points abbreviate to CP.  Particularly since they're both relevant to boarding, although I don't have a better acronym on hand.

Well, I'm going to have have to break the news that Mega Christmas is off now.  Looks like overtime is going back into effect, we're going to be a black company for entirely different but equally despicable reasons now.  Twas far too good to be true, and way too easy to turn a Dreadnought into a Dreadweight given . . . a few well timed and moderately difficult rolls in a turn.

Far more reasonable that Crew Points matter most on both ends, and also doesn't leave a mile wide gap to thread enterprising souls armed with proton torpedoes through.  It would have been glorious though.

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Wow, new boarding is absolutely terrible compared to the previous version.  I'm not talking about not being able to thief a ship (which is worthy of griping about all on its own), but rather the intermittent step of removing dice from the attacker's pool based on PD rolls.  It's much harder to get a big score in boarding now.  I bemoan the terrible randomness of Exploding Dice often during games.  I still utilize them though, because those are the rules.  By pre-emptively removing dice from the Attacker Pool via PD results, you make it massively harder to "get lucky" when attacking a ship.  In the current system, if I have 10 attack dice versus your 15 combined defence dice, I'm down by a significant margin to start.  In the new version, unless your dice are almost completely from crew, I'm at an even bigger disadvantage.  Say you had 10 PD and 5 crew in your defense pool, which is a pretty good distribution in the current rules.  You'd roll 10PD dice, and mathematically remove 8 from my pool.  I'd then have 2 versus your 5.  Instead of being down by a factor of 50%, I'm completely outclassed.  This is made even worse if you have Special Forces and your dice are worth more than Defender dice.

I just don't see boarding being an interesting option in the new system with the current rule proposal.  You'd only be able to successfully launch attacks against ships that are completely outclassed in size, such as heavy cruisers versus Frigates (and without friendly Interceptors nearby) or against ones that are basically dead (and again without Interceptor coverage), or you need Assault Blitz (and still need a ship with low PD).  

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I just noticed too, that there is a risk of putting disorder markers on your ships (which can now kill ships) if you fail a boarding assault by enough successes, and being disadvantaged as is, now requiring a command point, and with the risk of failure threatening your ships, I suspect boarding may be seen even less then V2 if at all :unsure:

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I can see there being less 'speculative' boarding, where you use it like an extra gun on your Terran cruisers because you just happened to be in range. Or even a Sorylian ship.

However for those factions that like to board as a primary tactic I don't see this as much of a loss of effectiveness. Those dedicated boarding fleets tend to have special rules in place, large values for boarding, etc. and they also have ways of reducing enemy defences such as Cyberwarfare. The new Sub-systems damage table has 2/6 options that reduce CP and can also take out PD so 1/2 of your sub system hits should set up your boarding attacks.

For those of us who were boarding focused in 2.0 this is basically a change in execution rather than plan. I was typically picking a few targets and focusing their crew points away and hoping for a Security in Disarray result then boarding. Which is basically what I see myself doing now anyway...it's just dealing damage though rather than prizing.

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I have to say, the loss of the potential to capture a ship is a huge blow for me; I chose the Directorate not exclusively, of course, but also because they had the potential to do this, and i liked it for the flavour. 

Please bring back the opportunity to prize enemy ships. 

There, I tried :)

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Yes prizing ships was good fun.

Especially when you consider how you often had to go about doing it. Usually you had to spend several turns shooting the target with Cyber and ARTs, scoring critical hits and damaging hits to soften it up, then board to capture it.

If it took you...say...2 hits and 2 crits (with cyber/ART), then a successful boarding attack to capture it. Then Foldspace it away.

If you had just shot the ship with normal weapons you'd have done 2 hits (2 damage), 2 crits (4 damage) and a successful board (2 damage) for a total of 8 damage. So, for normal play, capturing a Tier1 ship would be around the equivalent to dealing 8 hull damage to the ship...which would have blown it up if you'd been firing normal guns.

So the end result was - usually, ignoring outlier exploding dice madness - the same as just shooting it...but it felt different and special to do it and gave certain fleet builds a very different flavour.

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6 hours ago, Paladin21 said:

 In the current system, if I have 10 attack dice versus your 15 combined defence dice, I'm down by a significant margin to start.  In the new version, unless your dice are almost completely from crew, I'm at an even bigger disadvantage.  Say you had 10 PD and 5 crew in your defense pool, which is a pretty good distribution in the current rules.  You'd roll 10PD dice, and mathematically remove 8 from my pool.  I'd then have 2 versus your 5.  Instead of being down by a factor of 50%, I'm completely outclassed.  This is made even worse if you have Special Forces and your dice are worth more than Defender dice.

Then this probably wasn't a good target for boarding, was it?  I know that sounds flip, but dude...really?  You know you're going in against a heavily fortified target...what did you expect was going to happen?  There is a little bit of complaining that a squadron of corvettes can't take down a dreadnought going on here.  A 15 dice PD level is on the order of a dreadnought or heavy battleship, plus escorts, and maybe interceptors as well.  Of course it's going to be hard.

I'm coming off a bit harsh here, but remember that all of these rules are working with other parts of the game.  If you really need to take down that beast of a ship, soften it up some.  Go for a targeted strike to take down the PD network; Kill crew via disorder or biohazard; Select an easier target that is threatening your Dreadnought.  None of this plays in isolation.  The beta team has tested some of this out, and found that boarding is a viable threat.  We haven't tested every combo, but the mechanics work.

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So, classic boarding match up is a Terran Battleship plus an escort vs Directorate Justices. AKA archetypal battleship vs archetypal boarding focused squadron from core factions.

Assuming the AP5 from the Justices gets ported over to CP5 (rather than their current CP4) and special forces.

Apollo has CP7, PD5+3 from escort.

Defensive fire get 5+3 = 8, *0.75=6 dice removed from Justice attack.

AP5*5 = 15 dice, minus 6 = 9.

9 dice with 3+ vs 7 dice at 4+.

9 dice on 3+ is ~9 successes (4/6 of a success, 1/6 chance of two so 4/6+1/6=5/6 plus 4/6*1/6 for explosions so 5/6+4/36 we get pretty close to each die rolled being a success)

7 dice is ~6 successes so Hard Victory for the Justices on an undamaged Battleship with an Escort. So 2 damage from the crit and maybe choose to vent some crew into space (does crew loss affect weapon systems and PD?) or shutdown the defensive system so they get 0PD next time.

Let's pretend we aren't crazy and shot down that Escort with those 3 big beams (9 dice from the squadron even when cloaked and rerolling 1s if you're in range to board.

5PD for about 3 dice removed from those 15 leaves 12, so ~12 successes on the attack vs about 6 on the defence from CP so Seamless Operation?

---

Now, the Justice and Anarchist and...honestly Abraxas/Executioner/Vanquisher with Spec. Forces are all pretty damned fantastic boarders. Integration Assault Carriers (with+6AP and spec. forces), Appropriation Assault Cruisers too. Terquai Akulkan get 18 dice with spec forces. Veydreth Stalkers get 18 dice without spec. forces.

But if you're not a specialised boarder? I don't imagine the big undamaged ships are your target of choice.

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8 hours ago, Skyhawk said:

Crew points to Crew Level(CL)?

No.  I've already got half the community riled up and calling for my head.  I'm not going to go for everyone by changing a basic game term. ;)

How about let's call the command points CO instead, for command orders?

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8 minutes ago, Xystophoroi said:

Now, the Justice and Anarchist and...honestly Abraxas/Executioner/Vanquisher with Spec. Forces are all pretty damned fantastic boarders. Integration Assault Carriers (with+6AP and spec. forces), Appropriation Assault Cruisers too. Terquai Akulkan get 18 dice with spec forces. Veydreth Stalkers get 18 dice without spec. forces.

But if you're not a specialised boarder? I don't imagine the big undamaged ships are your target of choice.

Yes.  And you're right about the calculations to get to the final boarding result.  Take down the PD Network, and now we've got a big problem. :o

 

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20 minutes ago, Spartan_FA_Mike said:

No.  I've already got half the community riled up and calling for my head.  I'm not going to go for everyone by changing a basic game term. ;)

How about let's call the command points CO instead, for command orders?

Or CMD for command. Just leave the point off.

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