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What if you didn't halve dice when linking?

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I preferred the idea of summing the dice for the ships linking ignoring their damage. I.e.: it's mostly fixed for the squadron's different firing solutions.

Then, once you've got that mostly fixed dice pool, you remove dice from the final pool equal to damage taken by all the ships linking.

E.g.: Sorylian cruisers normally fly in 4s and fire a 4 linked broadside for 20, 2 2 linked for 12 or 4 unlinked for 8 so you've got basically 3 fixed dice pools.

You then remove the damage from that total pool as it feels simpler.

E.g.: 4 linked for 20, one has taken 2 damage and one has taken 1. Therefore 20-3 damage = 17 dice.

Rather than 8+((8/2)+((8-1)/2)+((8-2)/2))/2 = 18 dice.

So it ends up as the following common firing solutions:

20 minus damage

or

12 minus damage

or

8 minus damage

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Looks like you guys didn't quite understand what I was contemplating, so I'll back up and explain and then provide some supporting math. Prepare for wall of text!

The Combinator took the idea that we don't want to do Linking Math, so let's reduce AD to have squadrons operate under Combined Dice mechanic without gaining AD (at least not much AD). It has the unfortunate (IMHO) side effect of eroding the ability of a single ship to from a squadron from doing damage due to reduced AD. I decided to attack the problem from the other end. Instead of reducing the AD of attack, reduce the amount of damage successes cause.

Combined Dice with Reduced Critical Damage

All ships use the Combined Fire Mechanic. Just add up the AD of all attacking ships and roll away. No need to change the AD (at least by more than a point on occasion). However, this would result in ships being blown off the battlefield with regularity unless we reduce the amount of damage reaching multiples of CR does. Instead of each multiple of CR doing a 2+ HP Critical Hit, they just add 1 HP of damage. So DR = 1 HP, CR =2 HP, CRx2 = 3 HP, CRx3 = 4 HP. This is not a problem for squadrons of multiple that are combining fire because they are rolling so many more dice that reaching higher multiples of CR is not difficult. I have provided some Cruiser samples below, but the take away I have found in the math is:

  1. Single Ships are not impacted by these rules, except in the amount of damage they can do on rare Double Critical Hits. Not a real issues for Cruisers, but will be an issue to resolve with Tier 1 Single Squadron Ships, although it might be wise to reduce AD on Tier 2 ships a point or so to balance out the percentages for HPs damage closer to Linking.
  2. Squadrons of Cruisers have little impact on their ability to blow and entire Cruiser off the battlefield, but are more likely to cause 1, 2, or a now available 3 HPs of damage. Might be worth investigating adding a Hull Point or two to ships to keep them from dying too fast. Or maybe we want them to die faster!
  3. Tier 1 Ships will need to be looked at as it becomes easier for smaller ships to damage them and their current AD totals will be much less impressive.
  4. Tier 3 Ship Defenses will need to be looked at as more dice means they become much easier to get Hits on for doing damage.

Thoughts?

Sample Attacks Profile Results

Directorate Cruisers vs Sorylian Cruiser

8 AD per ship vs DR 4, CR 7

FSA 2.0 Linking

  • Single Cruiser (8 AD): DR Hit (1 HP) 83%, Crit (2 HP) 44%, Double Crit (4 HP) 2%
  • Squadron of 3 (16 AD): DR Hit (1HP) 99.9% , Crit (2 HP) 94%, Double Crit (4 HP) 40%

Combinator (Reduce DR to 3)

  • Single Cruiser (6 AD): DR Hit (1 HP) 64%, Crit (2 HP) 23%, Double Crit 0.42% (4 HP)
  • Squadron of 3 (18 AD): DR Hit (1HP) 99.97% , Crit (2 HP) 97%, Double Crit (4 HP) 54%

Combined Dice with Reduced CR Damage

  • Single Cruiser (8 AD): DR Hit (1 HP) 83%, Crit (2 HP) 44%, Double Crit (4 HP) 2%
  • Squadron of 3 (24 AD): DR Hit (1 HP) 100%, Crit 99.8% (2 HP), Double Crit (3 HP) 86%, Triple Crit (4 HP) 37%

Combined Dice (-1 AD) with Reduced CR Damage

  • Single Cruiser (7 AD): DR Hit (1 HP) 75%, Crit (2 HP) 33%, Double Crit (4 HP) 1%
  • Squadron of 3 (21 AD): DR Hit (1 HP) 100%, Crit 99.25% (2 HP), Double Crit (3 HP) 73%, Triple Crit (4 HP) 21%

Sorylian Cruisers vs Directorate Cruiser

8 AD per ship vs DR 4, CR 7

FSA 2.0 Linking

  • Single Cruiser (8 AD): DR Hit (1 HP) 83%, Crit (2 HP) 44%, Double Crit (4 HP) 2%
  • Squadron of 4 (20 AD): DR Hit (1HP) 99.99% , Crit (2 HP) 98.85%, Double Crit (4 HP) 67%

Combinator (Reduce DR to 3)

  • Single Cruiser (5 AD): DR Hit (1 HP) 70%, Crit (2 HP) 15%, Double Crit 0.14% (4 HP)
  • Squadron of 4 (20 AD): DR Hit (1HP) 99.99% , Crit (2 HP) 98.85%, Double Crit (4 HP) 67%

Combined Dice with Reduced CR Damage

  • Single Cruiser (8 AD): DR Hit (1 HP) 83%, Crit (2 HP) 44%, Double Crit (4 HP) 2%
  • Squadron of 4 (32 AD): DR Hit (1 HP) 100%, Crit 100% (2 HP), Double Crit (3 HP) 98.95%, Triple Crit (4 HP) 79%

Combined Dice (-1 AD) with Reduced CR Damage

  • Single Cruiser (7 AD): DR Hit (1 HP) 75%, Crit (2 HP) 33%, Double Crit (4 HP) 1%
  • Squadron of 4 (28 AD): DR Hit (1 HP) 100%, Crit 99.97% (2 HP), Double Crit (3 HP) 95%, Triple Crit (4 HP) 60%

Terran Cruisers vs Dindrenzi Cruiser

7 AD per ship vs DR 4, CR 8

FSA 2.0 Linking

  • Single Cruiser (7 AD): DR Hit (1 HP) 75%, Crit (2 HP) 23%, Double Crit (4 HP) 0.27%
  • Squadron of 3 (14 AD): DR Hit (1HP) 99% , Crit (2 HP) 82%, Double Crit (4 HP) 14%

Combinator (Reduce DR to 3)

  • Single Cruiser (5 AD): DR Hit (1 HP) 70%, Crit (2 HP) 9%, Double Crit 0.02% (4 HP)
  • Squadron of 3 (15 AD): DR Hit (1HP) 99.82% , Crit (2 HP) 86%, Double Crit (4 HP) 19%

Combined Dice with Reduced CR Damage

  • Single Cruiser (7 AD): DR Hit (1 HP) 75%, Crit (2 HP) 23%, Double Crit (4 HP) 0.27%
  • Squadron of 3 (21 AD): DR Hit (1 HP) 99.97%, Crit 98% (2 HP), Double Crit (3 HP) 57%, Triple Crit (4 HP) 9%

Combined Dice (-1 AD) with Reduced CR Damage

  • Single Cruiser (6 AD): DR Hit (1 HP) 65%, Crit (2 HP) 15%, Double Crit (4 HP) 0.09%
  • Squadron of 3 (18 AD): DR Hit (1 HP) 99.86%, Crit 95% (2 HP), Double Crit (3 HP) 37%, Triple Crit (4 HP) 3%

Dindrenzi Cruisers vs Terran Cruiser

8 AD per ship vs DR 4, CR 6, 2 Shields

FSA 2.0 Linking

  • Single Cruiser (8 AD): DR Hit (1 HP) 63%, Crit (2 HP) 39%, Double Crit (4 HP) 3%
  • Squadron of 3 (16 AD): DR Hit (1HP) 97% , Crit (2 HP) 90%, Double Crit (4 HP) 45%

Combinator (Reduce DR to 3)

  • Single Cruiser (6 AD): DR Hit (1 HP) 43%, Crit (2 HP) 21%, Double Crit 0.79% (4 HP)
  • Squadron of 3 (18 AD): DR Hit (1HP) 98% , Crit (2 HP) 95%, Double Crit (4 HP) 58%

Combined Dice with Reduced CR Damage

  • Single Cruiser (8 AD): DR Hit (1 HP) 63%, Crit (2 HP) 39%, Double Crit (3 HP) 3%, Triple Crit (4 HP) 0.08%
  • Squadron of 3 (24 AD): DR Hit (1 HP) 99.82%, Crit 99.28% (2 HP), Double Crit (3 HP) 87%, Triple Crit (4 HP) 48%

Combined Dice (-1 AD) with Reduced CR Damage

  • Single Cruiser (7 AD): DR Hit (1 HP) 53%, Crit (2 HP) 30%, Double Crit (3 HP) 2%, Triple Crit (4 HP) 0.03%
  • Squadron of 3 (21 AD): DR Hit (1 HP) 99.43%, Crit 98% (2 HP), Double Crit (3 HP) 75%, Triple Crit (4 HP) 31%

 

 

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I used to play BFG before I got into FA, and while FA is a better game in general, BFG’s principle balancing system, using blast markers versus shields, beats FA’s linked fire versus DR/CR system hands down.

The reason why is because it achieves the same goal with less complexity, gets rid of the need to field maximized squadrons, and looks cool on the tabletop to boot.

Oh, and not needing a maths degree in order to be able to play is always a plus in wargaming.

So in my opinion it would be better to get rid of this whole linked fire concept altogether and go for something better.

 

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On February 19, 2018 at 5:33 PM, Frans said:

I used to play BFG before I got into FA, and while FA is a better game in general, BFG’s principle balancing system, using blast markers versus shields, beats FA’s linked fire versus DR/CR system hands down.

The reason why is because it achieves the same goal with less complexity, gets rid of the need to field maximized squadrons, and looks cool on the tabletop to boot.

Oh, and not needing a maths degree in order to be able to play is always a plus in wargaming.

So in my opinion it would be better to get rid of this whole linked fire concept altogether and go for something better.

 

I'm not trying to insult you but is this honestly too complicated? I didn't think it was that hard but if players are having trouble then sure, let's simplify it

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@Wolfgang Jannesen, it's not so much that it is too complicated to figure out, its the time that it takes during the game.  Although small per attack, it does add up.  Plus, there are some more involved calculations when you start ships in different range bands, with different damage.  It doesn't need to be a coin flip, but it does need to be simpler to explain and play.

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Having read the comments here I find myself leaning towards the "linking minus total squadron damage" approach.  But I have to agree with some of the comments here in that I really don't find the math angle very hard and it doesn't take up any time at all in games.  Admittedly we're like 3yr olds lining up all our dice and doing "physical" math instead of mental math!

Out of interest though, since the topic is based around making the game easier and therefore, ultimately, faster - what length of game are people hoping to achieve through these efforts?  For me and my group, a typical 1200pt game will take a 2-3 hours, but then so does a typical 1500pt (or1850pt if your that way inclined) 40k game.

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I'd agree with ~3 hours for a 1200pt game lasting around 6 turns. Right now it takes us 4 or 5, but we're also still adding elements each time we play (this time lets give boarding a shot, let's add moving terrain, etc) so we've got our faces in books more than an experienced player

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12 hours ago, Wolfgang Jannesen said:

I'd agree with ~3 hours for a 1200pt game lasting around 6 turns. Right now it takes us 4 or 5, but we're also still adding elements each time we play (this time lets give boarding a shot, let's add moving terrain, etc) so we've got our faces in books more than an experienced player

Now you mention it, the bulk of our stoppage time is spent reading the less known rules only after we're able to find them!

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If Firestorm wants to grow and flourish in today’s gaming environment, it’s really important to design around tournament play.  Most tournament games are ending around the 60-90 minute mark, so I’d aim for that.

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On 2/23/2018 at 2:09 PM, Wolfgang Jannesen said:

I'm not trying to insult you but is this honestly too complicated? I didn't think it was that hard but if players are having trouble then sure, let's simplify it

It isn't about complicated, its simply a better mechanism, and it works without restricting squadron sizes.

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3 hours ago, Frans said:

It isn't about complicated, its simply a better mechanism, and it works without restricting squadron sizes.

Perhaps, I'll have to play around with it on the table some more to determine which fits game flow better. The nice thing about these changes is theyre almost universal, and dont immediately give one fleet an advantage. The math involved is (at least i feel) mostly to keep double critical hits from being as common as a single critical hit is currently. What do you mean works without restricting squadron sizes?  Its not going to be a 1:1 ratio due to rounding but any ship linking with or without these rules would still be recieving linked attack dice

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18 hours ago, Wolfgang Jannesen said:

What do you mean works without restricting squadron sizes?  Its not going to be a 1:1 ratio due to rounding but any ship linking with or without these rules would still be recieving linked attack dice

Linking fire is a crucial part of the mechanism the game uses to balance small units against big units, but it only works for maximized squadrons, severely restricting your options when building a fleet.

Because of that it also restricts you when buying miniatures (can I get enough of them to field a maximized squadron).

And for those who aren’t into tournament play, but like to play in a campaign environment instead, for instance, it imposes a severe restriction on the type of campaign you can set up, because losses suffered will have a disproportional effect on total fighting power.

With the BFG system you don’t have these restrictions, simply because units don’t decrease in value with decreasing squadron size like they do with the FA system.

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On 2/19/2018 at 4:33 PM, Frans said:

BFG’s principle balancing system, using blast markers versus shields, beats FA’s linked fire versus DR/CR system hands down.

This is good feedback and exploring other game systems allows us to compare pros and cons.   I will check out BFG rules.  Thanks!

If linking fire as a concept in FSA does stay, whether a person finds it easy, fast or not, IMHO there is no reason to halve, subtract and half again if we can get a similar result without doing so.  

As for max squadrons, it’s not just an issue about linked firepower.  Unless the Regroup card is planned for use, bringing less than a full squad is a also battle log liability.  

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My vote is for linked AD to be a separate stat line that you just add after removing damage from.

No math, just adding, and keeps the tactical flexibility of the current linking system.

Straight combining sounds like it removes too much choice out of firing options for my taste.

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Status update: I've playtested this three four times now with different guys who are casual FSA players, owing a fleet or two, some of who now prefer other games.   Presumably thousands of people bought FSA, maybe tens of thousands, but they're largely silent and not part of the few-dozen diehards currently active on these forums.    They are customers nonetheless and their opinion no less valuable in fact maybe even more so...if we want to grow and revitalize FSA.  Therefore I'm trying to reach out to get their perspectives.   Everyone is entitled to an opinion, please understand I'm not taking that right away from anyone - I'm just sharing what these guys said.

They all found simply combining AD together (3 ships  x  3 AD = 9AD) to be preferable to halving AD in the linking pool (1 ship at 5AD and 1/2 of 2 ships at 5AD = 10AD). 

During these tests I've:

1. used the same 2.0 stats, but if their ship/squad can combine fire, instructed them to use the AD value listed in RB1 or RB3, which is generally a few dice lower, as a simple rough estimate of the 'combinator' concept.  Ships which cannot combine, such as a Dend Battleship, continue to use RB2.

2. dropped DR by 1 across the board, to a minimum of DR3 to compensate and make sure 1on1 engagements can still result in damage.  If you roll less dice, for example, you should still be able to meet the DR of a ship of roughly equal value at least half the time, that's my rule of thumb.

Whether attacking as singles or in groups, the system was without complaint.   One was relieved, two commented that the former linking mechanic is simply not necessary.

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