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Hey everybody, until we get the any updates, we still have 2.0, and as most can agree, SRS needed some balancing, I want to playtest some simple changes, and get feedback, in the topic interceptor SRS rebalance, alextroy made these excellent points.

1. both boarding and torpedoes are balanced in FSA without any SRS on the field, ships with good AP or strong torpedoes achieve expected results in an SRS-less environment without dominating the game

2. you get more PD that is more defensible per point spent on SRS, then you do from escorts, hardpoints, or upgrades for the same points

3. you can get more PD from SRS then from any other source in the game

4. only PD from SRS allows one squadron to defend another squadron with their PD

5. SRS are not universally available, with some fleets having them only available on carriers, while others have the widely available, this creates an imbalance in the forces

 

from my experience this holds up, who actually gets escorts, unless they have targeted resolution or linkable weapons? they are usually a waste of points, that can be blown up without too much trouble, for little benefit. 

SRS are strong, with even offense focused token of 6 bombers providing a 4inch buff in PD to rival a battleships native PD

few people use fighters.

token are almost impossible to drive off

interceptors can screen a fleet without ever returning to base

That said I would like help playtesting the following tweaks to get some feedback

1. SRS tokens are treated as a single entity, and now LINK PD thus an full interceptor token provides 6 PD, while a full fighter token provides 3 with one wing tokens providing the minimum of 1 PD

(this helps reduce the PD mountain, and as things are balanced without them, you do not need a ton of PD to swing things in your favor)

2. SRS may only link their PD with the parent squadren

(this seems only fair, as the coverage granted by SRS is so wide spread, with no way to couter it, until you get ships within 4 inches, or send your own srs, which not all races have as  wide an access to)

3. Interceptors can make an "intercept run" out of turn, allowing them to COMBINE their PD with any squad within flight distance for 1 activation, after which they Return to base.

(this allows interceptors to still defend high priority targets from potentially devastating assaults, while still incorporating a tactical decision of WHEN to use such a screen)

4. Bombers/assault craft will retain there PD rather then the previous rule of losing their PD

(Hive made some good points on the validity if fighters, and removing PD likely swings the pendulum too far, as I thought about it, fighters would become almost an auto-pick, this may change back based on playtesting)

 

5. Escorts all gain the option to take the Bigger batteries MAR as a 5pt upgrade  and Escorts may combine their PD with any model in range of their PD

(this provides a fleet with the ability to create a more consistant PD screen against boarding and torpedoes (such as is currently created by SRS) with the difference being that the escort can be engaged and destroyed, allowing teams to counter the screen, so as not to neutralize the power of torps completely (as is too often the case)

(Wolfgang pointed out that escorts would  likely be too strong with bigger batteries as an automatic upgrade) so bigger batteries are now an upgrade rather then a free pick, this brings escorts more in line with the cost kids a regular tier 3, allowing them access to decent fleet coveradge, without being so cheap as to be an auto-pick)

 

6. Escorts may combine with other models when firing upon SRS

(this gives a way to finally drive off the 6 wing bomber token, without being required to bring a 6 wing interceptor token,  while again as simple to counter as destroying the escort first, but this with the above change, will make escorts a viable option for the 15-25pts they cost)

7. add Escort squadron 1, to all fleet building rules, patrol, battle and grand fleets, so they need not be taken as an accompaniment.

8. add the following upgrades

a) stinger and wolf class escorts +2PD 5pts

b) Buckler and Retarius class escorts +1PD 5pts

(these escorts have 1 PD natively and as such, these factions would find themselves hurt by the escort boosts, that they cannot enjoy) the cost is the same, the benefit is not, and here is my reasoning)

compare the relthoza wolf to the directorate punisher, the cost is the same, the wolf has 2 AP 1PD, the directorate has 0 AP and 3 PD with a 5pt upgrade to gain 2 AP, as the wolf is considered a weak option, reciprocating 5pts to boost it to 3 PD seems a fair trade.

however the buckler only gains 1 PD for 5pts (the cost is not the same, but hey there are some ships who get extra PD for free, as a hardpoint) the reason is the the buckler has a gunrack.  giving the Buckler 3 PD  apiece (with new escort rules, providing a safety net to all nearby ships) and a weapon it can link for 8AD as a squadron that costs 60pts, is a little too sweet a deal, and the goal is to make escorts viable, not a must-pick.

also with relthoza focus on SRS, and these rules nerfing SRS, this gives a small concession to relthoza players, while dindrenzi have always had low torpedo defense, and few SRS, this ruleset both nerfs a tactic they do not use frequently, and gives them a method to defend against torpedoes. and while aquans will also be hurt by these SRS adjustments, I do noth think and further buffs are required, as aquans are largely considered the strongest race as is.

 

 

please feel free to leave feedback, and PLEASE  help me playtest this, and let me know what you think, as a directorate/relthoza player, I have been on both sides of the PD mountain, and the power of fighting with, or the frustration of fighting against superior SRS fleets.

this is an attempt to balance SRS to the rest of the game, without ruining there effectiveness, your thought?

 

Edited by Polaris
added rule 7. and 8. Removed rule 4. Altered rule 5.

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oh! and don't forget, escorts can be taken as there own tier 3 squadron, normally that's pointless, but  with these rules they can still screen the fleet, so if your one of those that has to take a tier 3 for fleet construction, escorts become a cheap and viable squadron to grant your fleet a defensive screen :) 

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That might be the only point I dont like. I ahree the escorts are completely overshadowed by interceptors but there is a pretty massive wall of PD to overcome whether or not SRS are screening larger ships. I worry that Bigger Batteries on escorts would be a step too far towards the overall PD barrier for torpedoes, 

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We've implemented playtesting of similar rules in our own gaming group with a few differences.

- SRS can Link fire their PD with any ship in their PD radius as though they were a squadron of models, (so they link with the 1 Minimum rule) effectively meaning that any SRS token (w/PD rating) only provides it's token/FW rating in PD to a ship/squadron when linking . But Interceptors haven't been completely gimped, see  the next point below. 

- Interceptors can make a second type of Intercept Move,  an Interceptor SRS can declare an Intercept Move and move to touch the base of any ship/model within it's 6" Defensive radius that is currently under attack from Torpedo or Ship's Boarding Assault. The Interceptor SRS  can then Combine it's full PD with that ship/squadron against said attack.   However an Intercept Move counts as an Interceptors  "Attack Run"  thus Interceptors  MUST return to base after making either type of Intercept Move. This brings Interceptors down to function exactly like any other PD capable SRS Token, you now have to choose whether to keep your SRS token out and about for a small amount of PD cover or make an "Attack Run" to use it's big dice and loose that cover.  We've found this eliminates PD Mountain and the Interceptors-never-go-away issue and brings them in line with other SRS types without having to resort to drastic measures like removing all PD from Bombers/Assaulters.

-Escorts Combine their PD with their parent ship (and each other) for ALL occasions, even against SRS. This makes Escorts a nasty PD screen against SRS, both for it's parent Tier 1 ship and for any other squadron when an SRS token has to fly though the Escort's PD range to get to it's target.

Also, I'm trying to convince them to test a rule where squadron's Link PD against SRS  (making a Driven-Off result actually possible) but haven't had much luck in convincing)

As for Fighters, if everyone realized how potent Fighters truly are, there would be posts here screaming to have them nerfed.

 

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I think SRS need a re-do not a re-balance, but that's just me.

@Commodore Jones keeping secrets about how potent Fighters are isn't helping anyone, especially Warcradle, improve the game.  Please spill the beans and give specifics and examples.

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Commander Jones it was actually some of your posts that helped shape some of these rules, the intercept action works much as you describe, but the coverage lasts for the activation, rather then 1 attack, this keeps the interceptors relevant

But when SRS link with all squads, most will never use an intercept action 6PD for all in 6 inches is better then 12 PD for 1 attack. This system allows others to relieve protection ONLY if an action is used that forces a RTB, and again we want to reduce PD mountain

The reason I think the escorts need the 8inch coveradge, is as a model, it will be very difficult to keep them in 4 inches, and they will provide wide coveradge, this for 2 reasons

1. We don't want people to have to bring 2 squads of escorts for protection

2. Where's interceptor coveradge was a problem you couldn't counter at range, escorts are fragile, and easy enough to shoot at distance, that if you don't like thier PD coveradge, destroy them :)

this still means they get their points worth though, escorts become a priority target, which helps the rest of the fleet arrive safely, they become a useful tier 3 squad, but easy enough to counter 

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Can I comment from the perspective of a Relthozan player? If I take SRS, I usually take Fighters, unless the max SRS token will be less than 6. If you have access to Deck Crews or a pseudo Deck Crews like the Relth repair TAC, that extra range is incredibly potent, even if your AD pool is reduced. The big thing with Fighters is they tend to drop off pretty quickly if you can't sustain the token's level. Think about what this means for ships with Cloaks or the Cloak/Stealth wombo combo, and then add to that what it means for Quick Launch or Split Berth capable ships with either of those defensive systems. The threat projection is absolutely insane. I'm not sure what @Commodore Jones is getting at, but I think there are very specific situations where they excel.

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This is where I'll havr to disagree because while I agree that interceptors outweight escorts in PD vs point value, at the 1200pt games we play and the 8" command distances a token of interceptors cannot screen a whole fleet at once. They can screen a facing of their parent ship and any other ship within 4". This is how i believe escorts should work as well. Regardless of how interceptors or escorts work currently, i would consider Point Defense to be a little too much of a barrier all around towards torpedo weapons. I would hate to see more point defense being thrown per torpedo attack, but I would like to see underperforming escorts buffed and the whole class of ships made more enticing with MARs and other stats such as the 2 AP on Relthozan escorts or Target Resolution on the RSN escorts. I like escorts as their own squadron being a shield due to proper positioning and I think a MAR like Bigger Batteries undermines that concept by making their positioning less important and letting them screen a much wider area

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I play directorate, works raptor, omnidyne, and relthoza, trust me when I say, I'm not trying to buff PD mountain, I'm trying to rebalance SRS to maintain usefuleness, while making escorts and torpedoes relevant, and I am not sure my solution is the best, it simply factors in my personal experience, as well as what I have read on the forums

And that's why I need help play testing this

As it stands, this rule set results in less point defense, as of now, you can pay 30pts for an interceptor token, and everyone within 6 inches gets 12 PD

With this rule set, even if you spend the 45-60pts (75 for rsn)  to get 3 escorts you only get 9PD within 8 inches, and the escorts are subject to primary fire, yes they still defend against torpedoes, but not as well as interceptors currently do, and again, the escorts can be shot at, and will yield battle log when destroyed, that in and of itself is a balancing factor :)

 

However I lack enoguh playtest data to say this is or isn't a good solution, if the other commanders out there would help me test it, we can come to a consensus on the individual rules, and we can remove or alter them

My Hope is we can come to a generally consensus as a community (I know we won't all ever completely agree ;) ) but if we can even get to the point where we can  agree, that the eventual ruleset we create is better then rules as currently written (even though they will not be perfect) I'll consider that a huge success :)

But we can't know for sure until we test this :D

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And hive, that is a good point you make on fighters, the range is an advantage, and currently I'm ok with it, the 2 factions most hurt by these changes will likely be aquan, and relthoza, as they field the most SRS, and as torpedoes ignore cloaks, the loss to PD is no small thing, most agree that aquans are strong enough, that this hopefully won't hurt them much, and if relthoza get the most milage out of fighters, I don't think that will be awful 

(My playstyle with relthoza is a little more up close and personal, even as a relthplayer I used bombers, but I can see what you mean, I may have been a little hard on bombers, but we will see after a few playtests)

 

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On 6/12/2018 at 2:57 PM, Polaris said:

1. both boarding and torpedoes are balanced in FSA without any SRS on the field, ships with good AP or strong torpedoes achieve expected results in an SRS-less environment without dominating the game

This shows how SRS were never considered an integral part of the game, and were instead thrown in as an afterthought.  That’s probably why SRS are so hard to counter without your own SRS.  The easy solution is to remove SRS entirely from the game; has anyone tried playing that way?

Why does the game need SRS Tokens?  How do they make gameplay better?  Or is it just a thematic thing that “feels cool”?

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They're an indirect weapons system that doesnt need line of sight to attack. SRS are the only conceivable way to hit you and hit you well from behind cover.

I don't think theres an inherent problem with idea but certainly some balancing to be done. Less so than tryibg to rebalance SRS heavy fleets to perform similarly with no SRS

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That, and there is the flavor of having carriers, dogfights, if nothing else the fluff is fun :)

at this point though, it would be difficult to remove them entirely

i did play a couple games last night, no one used escorts yet (we did dreadnought duals, no small ships) 

but with the house rules above, SRS were not insurmountable, we had an aquan and relthoza dreadnought, vs a Terran and sorylian. Torpedo hits were scored on all parties, with difficulty but despite the full bomber tokens, and the sorylian interceptor token, in the end the Terran shield proved the best defense from torpedoes in late game

If nothing else,  rule 1 worked well, torpedoes did not feel worthless despite heavy SRS presence on one side, they couldn't cover each other, and gained mereley 3 PD on approach

and bombers retaining PD was not an issue, especially once attack runs started

despite "nerfed" SRS aquan/relthoza won

(Granted we all know the sorylian dreadnought is awful, I tried to convince them to play something else) 

but even still it ended with both aqaun and sorylian dead, the aquan had 2 HP left, and the relthoza had only 1 HP of damage (it repaired 3 over the course of the game)

i would also argue that tactics were better for aquan/relthoza. (focused down sorylian, then double teamed terran, while Terran/sorylian spkit there fire between aquan and relthoza)

regardless, the Nerf to SRS isn't crippling to large ship engangements, we have games planned to test this on the patrol fleet level next :)

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As far as keeping SRS at all, we will see what v3 brings, as far as what they add here besides flavor

1.bombers/ fighters a way for capital ships to reliably hit smalls, especially elusive targetsas well as cloaked ships, without degrading providing an alternate to torpedoes, and providing cover in arcs you don't have ( like the omnidyne dreadnought being pestered by smalls I the aft arc) not integral, but I feel it does add something

2. Interceptors, allow the fleet to support each other, and counter other SRS, granted this would not be required if here we're no start, but there is tactics to bringing inyerveptors and covering otherwise vulnerable craft (this rulest seeks to alter while not entirely ruin the current effectiveness of such)

3. Assault craft they provide sustained boarding assaults, and are often a repo-fleet's only security, that all there work doesn't go out with one or 2 wiffs

They can be shot down, but provide a way to get repeated boarding (it hasn't proven OP in games I've played, you get nothing from capturing smalls, and cruisers have defenses enough, that it usually takes prep working, hardest part is driving off tokens of 6, which hopefully the escorts buffs here will fix

4.support shuttles, these are a great security measure vs bio hazard, and cyber heavy fleets, I don't like playing against them when I use directorate. ;) But I think it is a fair defense especially since their range is short, and they provide no offense or defense.

In fleet building this allows ships and fleets to customize there style and feel further, a carrier carrying bombers and assault craft, vs one with supports and interceptors, are very different things, while both remaing priority targets

I like the flavor of SRS, but I can certainly understand prefering a game without them

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Whether intentional or not, SRS provided two game-winning tactics each which highlight Tier imbalance:

1. Bombers being the only reliable way to finish off your enemy Tier 1 when your own fleet is weakened, because AD has decreased but Tier 1 DR/CR hasn't

2. Interceptors providing persistent and neigh-invulnerable PD mountain.  PD mountain benefits Tier 2 and 3 most, because we are forced to take them but they are most vulnerable to Torpedoes.  PD mountain keeps your cruisers potent until Round 3 when they can do their job which is throw a lot of dice and then die.  ;-)

@Polaris your idea has a solid basis if I may summarize: 1) give Interceptors less PD  2) make Interceptors return to base after intercepting 3) limit interceptor PD to their own squadron 4) make escorts more useful

1. As for problem number 1, reduction of DR and CR after being damaged for all Tier 1 (not just ablative plating) is the only way to make Tier 1s less dominant in the late game, and more vulnerable to attack, and that issue related to SRS but outside the scope of SRS specifically.

2. However, I don't see this solving PD mountain in rounds 1&2.   You still have plenty of PD to protect your most valuable asset and you don't need 12PD anyway to get you "over the hump" statistically speaking.  Solving PD mountain just makes Tier 2 and 3 more vulnerable and less useful than they already are.   I'd suggest making PD literally point-defense ...limited to a ship-by-ship basis only, yet making PD higher, meaning a single cruiser might have 4 or 5PD, and a Frigate might have 3 or 4PD.  PD also includes SRS and Escort-class in base contact with that ship, no bubbles.  The PD of interceptors is far far less such as 4 for a big token, but they never have to return to base.  When dog-fighting Interceptors get a big bonus (TBD) which is their primary purpose.

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I fear though, if frigates cover there own PD, but also get 3-4 they remain as hard to hit as if they linked, but this defense does not deteriorate with the squad, it could be done, but we would need to alter every ship currently in the game...

And, I think a little PD mountain early in the game is a feature not a bug, the fleet starts cohesive, and protected, but as time wears on, those torpedoes get more and more effective, and they don't degrade either, I've always seen them as alpha strike, and late game finisher weapons, if you have to dismantle an opponents fleet before opening up the way for consistent torpedo kills, I think that's ok, I do think torps could use a little more AD though, even with defenses stripped 6AD torpedoes (in the judgment battleship) are kinda laughable...

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A lot of good ideas here, but I want to add a suggestion of  my own.

FA is primarily a game of ship combat, and detailed rules regarding fighters and the like take away from this, bogging things down in a game that could stand to trim the fat.

To this end, the rules from the current iteration of Taskforce may be the way forward...Put the gallows away! Here me out!

For those unfamiliar, here's the rundown:

1.There are only 2 types of SRS; Interceptors and Bombers. Dice are not used to track numbers, ships have a number of tokens given on their profile along with AD/PD of those tokens. Example: Directorate Dominance Carrier has 2 Bomber tokens (AD 7) and 2 Interceptor Tokens (PD5)

2.Bombers are a weapon type able to targets ships up to 24". You declare Bomber attacks along with your other attacks, placing as many tokens as you want on as many targets as you want until you spend all tokens for that unit. When you declare to resolve Bomber attacks, roll the appropriate AD, opponent rolls PD. Once resolved, remove the tokens and place them to one side (the "Graveyard")

3.Interceptors are placed in reaction to Bomber attacks and Boarding attacks. When a friendly ship is chosen as a target of either within 24" of a vessel carrying Interceptors, you may place ONE Interceptor token on the chosen vessels base. When the attack in question is being resolved, add the interceptors PD the the targets. Once the roll is made, place the token to one side as with bombers.

4.in the End Phase, all spent tokens are returned to the appropriate ships.

(On the side, I must mention that in TF, penalties come off the number of success rolled, not the dice pools, and damage penalties from ships will also apply to SRS tokens they launch. Also, all pools are combined, no linking!)

This approach works...

1.Removes the extra fiddling around with small dice and the extra time moving tokens conventionally, speeding up play.

2.Mitigates the problems with dealing with SRS without your own.

3.Stops a lucky roll making a SRS token useless below a certain strength.

4.It lowers the PD mountain, although you would have to add the option to make Interceptors help against Torpedoes for FA, further making when to play your tokens a real choice.

Where it fails...

1. You can't make PD attacks, making Bigger Batteries useless in their current rules-The above suggestion of allowing Escorts/Bigger Batteries ad PD friendlies within Command Distance would be an effective solution, making Escorts more effective, seeing as you have to be picky with Interceptors in this system.

2. Makes current Hardpoint/Upgrade slots regarding SRS useless and in need of an effective replacement...I haven't even begun to look at that..sorry!

3. No Dogfight rules needed, again saving time.

4.Oversimplified? Assault Boats/fighter/support would have to be written back in, again adding to complexity. Suggested solutions (will replace bombers, one-for-one): Fighters- 36" AD pools lower AD than bombers;Assault Boats- AP instead of AD; Support-roll ONE extra repair Dice per Token. TESTING REQUIRED!

Sorry for another wall of text, but food for thought if nothing else,

 

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3 hours ago, Polaris said:

I fear though, if frigates cover there own PD, but also get 3-4 they remain as hard to hit as if they linked, but this defense does not deteriorate with the squad.

You say that like it's a it's a bad thing.  :-)  I think the linked-PD deterioration on a Tier 2 and 3 squad was the bad thing because these squads are already vulnerable enough as it is.   PD deterioration + squadron size limits + battle log results in a "tactical rut": squads getting 'picked on' to the point of uselessness and finished off with torps just to score points.   Rinse and repeat, yawn.  This is an understandable tactic if you want to win but it makes for boring, predictable, inflexible and repetitive gameplay.

@Bessemer Taskforce wasn't a fun game to play but it wasn't all bad and in fact had some good ideas some of which you mention.  FSA 2.0 SRS are too fiddly and weird ...Taskforce made some efforts to correct that - fair enough.   You have some good ideas in here.  There's no shame in incorporating ideas from other games if they work.  I'll be really curious to see what WC plan on doing with 'wings'.

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I guess you have a point there :D

i don't think it's bad to deteriorate a squadren, but I can definitely see your point

for me it was always there lack of firepower after losing even 1 or 2 ships that was frustrating, but oh well :)

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What if ships with SRS did not purchase them outright, but had their Wings automatically determined at initial purchase?

Obviously, there would be the option to trade a Wing here and a Wing there to another type.  So, a specific Carrier (like the Directorate Dominance) may be initially carrying 2 Interceptor, 2 Fighter, 2 Bomber, and 2 Support Wings, but could trade out a Fighter Wing for an Interceptor Wing and/or a Bomber Wing, and the Support for Boarding Shuttles.  For those Carriers who add Wings, they wouldn't trade out their Wings, but  could just add on their Wings as specific options.

This probably wouldn't change much for the 1-2 Wing Battleships, unless they had the option to change their Wings removed (or extremely limited).  The Directorate Eliminator starting with 1 Wing of Assault Shuttles or Fighters would make more sense in the long run.

This would reduce the PD Mountain a little by virtue of limiting the Interceptors over all, but still giving Carriers their special role.

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The problem is 1 wing of anything but interceptors or support shuttles, cannot meaningfully contribute, 3ad with 1 bomber, that can be driven off/destroyed by 1. Five or 6 respectively, isn't even worth the 5 pts :(

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