Lyran vs. Kzinti

Traditional (non-tournament) duel (WSIII):

Lyran CA (133) with Plus refit (+2), Phaser refit (+4), UIM refit (+5) for a total of 144 BV.

Kzinti BC (128) with DERFACS refit (+0) and Y175 refit (+4) for a total of 132 BV.

Which would you take and why?

If you're the Lyran, what's your specialty shuttle load and why? What's your starting and total game plan?

If you're the Kzin, what do you do with the 12 points and why? What's your B&C rack load out and why? And of course, what's your initial and total game plan including initial shuttle load out?

What Year?

Are F drones available? Or just M? Or some of both?

And much like the Klingon vs Fed, what is the map like, and is EW in effect?

The Kzinti needs to spend a bunch of BPV on drone speeds--with just speed 20's, it is gonna spend somewhere between 8-10 BPV on speed upgrades. With F drones, that is gonna be 16-20.

Lyran Specialty shuttle would

Lyran

Specialty shuttle would obviously be a Wild Weasel, but I'd hopefully be holding it for a very long time. I'd prep a secondary specialty of Suicide Shuttle as my lone seeking weapon after I plowed over the Kzinti scum.

My plan would be to stay out around the 15-20 range, use ESGs for the drone defense, and take multiple shots at the Kzinti to reduce some of the shields.

Then, once the Kzinti had pumped out enough drones that they were nearing reloads, OR foolishly closed to within 7, I'd pump up the speed, turn the ESGs to a more offensively minded tactic, and either do an overrun (though they might be doubtful unless I managed to strip a fair amount of the drone racks in my close range shots) or a knife-fight pass and let him scrape my ESGs at range 1 or 2. After the theoretical weapon discharge at my ship, I'd then use my Suicide shuttle to hopefully mess him up enough to finish him off with another run or two.

The only thing that could screw this whole tactic up would be if the Kzinti bought some ECM drones or Slug drones (even MW drones could be problematic, but still workable).

Fixed map/Y180/no EW

As with the FED/Klink thread, let's go with fixed map/Y180/no EW. However, like in the other thread that is simply for general continuity for the thread. If someone wants to toss in their thoughts for a different year or EW or whatever then please do.

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Kzinti??

Not sure since that is another SSD (CL and/or BC) that I can't find. I have a CC, but don't know the differences. So I'll guess here.

But first, it matters if I have to pay for Spd-M drones in Y180. If yes, I'd the ones in the B-racks, 4 total points IIRC. Then upgrade the wing PH-IIIs to P-1s with - 2 points. (Guessing there is just 1 PH-III per wing). With the last 6 points, I'd get two NSMs to load into a shuttle or drop out a bay. Another shuttle would be a SP.

BV of 160

Been a while since I've played 'regular' SFB so bear with me. Let's cap the BV at 160 for the ships. That will allow some drone mods to M & F for Y180.

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BD, Kzin

BD,

Kzin BC:

4Xdisruptor
4Xph-1
8Xph-3
2Xdrone rack B
2Xdrone rack C
36 power

Both B&C racks have two reloads.

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Drone speed

As far as I can tell, if you're playing by (S8.0) pickup rules, you have to use (and pay for) the fastest general availability drones you can (or buy better ones). So in Y180, you have to take all Fast drones, on the basis that nobody is making slower ones any more. But apart from (S8.133) I can't find this stated unambiguously.

Of course, you're free to ignore that.

Drones And Whatever

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that drones have a time frame of being restricted/limited/general availability. And when they are general availability, you generally have to pay for that speed. So in y180, you gotta get F drones at 1 point each.

>>But first, it matters if I have to pay for Spd-M drones in Y180. If yes, I'd the ones in the B-racks, 4 total points IIRC. Then upgrade the wing PH-IIIs to P-1s with - 2 points. (Guessing there is just 1 PH-III per wing). With the last 6 points, I'd get two NSMs to load into a shuttle or drop out a bay. Another shuttle would be a SP.>>

For what it is worth, under the current rules:

-Ship modifications have been deleted as an option.

-NSMs cost 8 points each, and you can only get them if you are a mine layer or a Romulan.

Correct on the time frames for speeds

Found in FD:10.651

As an example, fast drones are limited in Y178, restricted in Y179 and General usage in Y180.

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Captain Ed = ADB tyrancy

>> -Ship modifications have been deleted as an option. >>

One of the reasons that I'm sticking with my Commanders rules. This is another example of going away from being a casual FtF game and being built more for tourney play. I can see why it is that way for sanctioned tourneys. But a pickup FtF game shouldn't have that restriction. Even JFK mod'd his boat with a cannon (to bad he didn't get to use it).

Ship Mods

>>One of the reasons that I'm sticking with my Commanders rules. This is another example of going away from being a casual FtF game and being built more for tourney play.>>

Nah. It's 'cause the ship mod rules were (are) completely bonkers, and make it amazingly impossible for making the game remotely balanced. We all went through that phase where we, like, removed all the warp engines from a War Eagle and made it into a War Bird that cost negative points and/or turned all the phasers on a ship into gatlings. That sort of thing was certainly hilarious when we were 15, but it doesn't actually make for a good game.

>> I can see why it is that way for sanctioned tourneys. But a pickup FtF game shouldn't have that restriction. Even JFK mod'd his boat with a cannon (to bad he didn't get to use it).>>

I mean, if you are just playing with buddies, and you can agree on things, you can do whatever you want. But in the long run, removing the ship modification rules went a really long way towards making the game work better overall, scenario/pickup/whatever.

we used to modify ships a bit

we used to modify ships a bit (long ago)

the one facet of it i really liked was being able to have a heavy cruiser carry two (maximum) fighters

mainly because we found a couple of fighters per side is manageable, but having "true" carriers (and required escorts) just got bogged down in a hurry

i've been thinking lately (as a way to inject a few fighters into battles without going overboard) to bring an escort ship with ready-racks and just have it carry the fighters

i wish each race had at least a few ships (other than the heavy war destroyers) which carried a couple

i like that aspect of some of the WYN fish ships (also why the Hydrans are fun to play)

Ship mods vs. ship balance

It's been nearly two decades since I've looked at S8 (I had Commander's then). Wasn't there certain guidelines you had to go by? I mean it's wasn't like you could replace a ph-3 with a type R plasma right?

If that is correct, then theoretically two ships of the same BV (+/-) a few points should still be balanced. Using this thread as an example, if you have a Lyran and a Kzin of about the same BV they should be pretty much balanced against each other (whether or not you've used Commander's option or S8 or both).

Again, been a long time since I've looked at S8.

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the rules extract is on the

the rules extract is on the official site (either under SFB play aids or errata)

along with obligatory admonishment for using 'em

Ship mods

We used to use them in a limited fashion. After all, it's fairly realistic for ships of nominally the same class to become subtly different over the years as things get replaced, new things are tried out, bits go obsolete and so on.

The problem is that it's too easy to fix the flaws on some (especially MY) ships and make them all rather homogeneous or a bit OP. Adding gatlings is an obvious example, but there are less clear-cut things such as adding a P3 for drone defence and to protect P1s (Fed CA) , or some front hull to pad the batteries (any Klink). Some ships need just that little bit of extra power (Kz CS, Ranger), or just one more battery (lots), or a bit of shielding (F5) to improve quite substantially. And some ships can become cheaper and more vicious (a Ranger with 6 Stingers replaced with suicide shuttles). So the S7 costs are only very approximate.

S7 Ship Mods

I was thinking that S8 was S7, which I see in the Captain's edition that there is no S7 (lists it as a future product). So was there an S7 in Commander's edition? I seem to remember a chart of what it costs to add stuff or change this to that.

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Yep, S3.3 is broken

Here's the link for S3.3 Modifying Ships from ADB's site. Had to google "S3.3 Star Fleet Battles" to find it.

http://www.starfleetgames.com/sfb/sfin/S3_3_Modifying_Ships1.pdf

We had fun with it back when I was in high school but then my brother found the Romulan KRC. Stripped of the cloak and several of the noncombat systems to make space and free points for improved phasers, power and shields, it was unbeatable at 150 pts. Entirely legit under the conditions of S3.3 but entirely "unrealistic" from an in-universe view and not the least bit fun to play against. He would play with nothing else and we got tired of it pretty quick.

The point costs were in Annex #6 of Commander's Ed. Many of the costs are the same (or similar) as for Annex #8H Heavy War Destroyer Options (Module R6). I think this Annex was revised in Module X1R for the Partial X refits. Which kind of reintroduces customization into the game. Haven't used it though. If we do use it here I think I'm gonna insist on a standard refit "package" which eliminates individual player customization. FWIW, Partial X Refits are one of SVC's "Rules We Regret"

S3.3 and U7.0

>> It's been nearly two decades since I've looked at S8 (I had Commander's then). Wasn't there certain guidelines you had to go by? I mean it's wasn't like you could replace a ph-3 with a type R plasma right? >>

Yes their are some good guidelines in Commanders. Rule S3.3 specifically covers it in VolI. Number of boxes you can add, number weapons, both by size class and max BPV (30%). It also states what weapons are small (PH-III) for .5 of a space (aka box) and what are larger (2 or more spaces). You can replace a PH-III with a type R, 4 space weapon. However, that is a plus of 3.5 spaces. So you can only do it on a size 2 or 3 ship. And if you do it to a size 3 that puts you over the size class limit of 3 spaces that you can add. This mean you have to get rid of something else to get another .5 space units.

IMO, you should also incorporate U7.0 Campaign Notes found in VolIII and VolIII Addenda. The most important part here is the technology transfer rules or "Who has What." The Addenda has the list off each races standard weapons. Use that to say what you can mod you ship with. Some weapons, even though you have them available are in Limited and Special. The Gat is mentioned specifically only the Hydrans and LDR have them unrestricted. The Fed has them limited. Since it is a Campaign Rule, it is up to the players to determine what Limited and Special are for FtF ship mod-ing. I like to think it can be 10% and 0% respectively. As in a Fed ship can have 10% of it's phasers be Gats. You can only have a Special if you 1) captured it in a previous game with the same ship and 2) you are going against the same opponent or 2a) a new opponent approves the captured weapons.

IMO, you have to play with both rules (S3.3 and U7.0). When you don't, things go crazy (Roms with Hellbores, Lyrams with Rs). I don't what Capt S8.0 was, but I imagine it was just Com S3.3. I can understand why it was yanked if it didn't include the race limitations.

Yep, S3.3 was what I was

Yep, S3.3 was what I was thing of. Blast from the past lol.

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>> Yep, S3.3 is broken

>> Yep, S3.3 is broken >>

Don't see it as broke. But yes you do have to put some common sense into it. One of our house rules was "Weapons for Weapons". We couldn't change 4 labs for 4 PH-Is... why would you put a phaser in the middle of the ship? But yeah, I changed me Labs for Trans and my Tran for a Lab. Then I bought more BDs.

Even without the "Weap for Weap" house rule, you are still limited to adding no more than 4 weapons to a size 2 and 3 ship; and no more the 3 to a size 4 ship.

Nah, S3.3 is broken

The problem is that it allows players to "fix" issues that were designed into the game. You can remove the somewhat redundant stuff and replace with useful combat stuff. For instance, under S3.3 you could take a Fed CA-delete Lab boxes and replace with APR. And since APRs cost the same as Lab under Annex 6, you get something FOR NOTHING. The designed balance of the ship gets thrown out the window. Similar issue with the KRC i mentioned above. Transporters and Hull were removed to make space for APR and better phasers with better arcs. The cloak was removed to free up BPV points for more shields and to reduce the BPV to our 150 point "limit". Kickass manueverability, even better phaser arcs, Non-Glass shields, Plasma-D drone immunity, and a typical Plasma cruiser armament. The only time it was ever beaten was in a three way battle where the KRC was ganged up on.

Wacky weapons combos are not the problem with S3.3; game balance is.

Edit: BTW, buddadude, I was replying to the post you made earlier, not the one you posted while I was typing.

Good Mod

That just shows me that you were better at mod-ing you ship than the other guys. I like to get rid of labs for transporters. It really surprised my opponent when I beamed over 5 BDs at once and a quarter impulse later on the first impulse of the next turn beamed another 5. That's why I have me a captured Klingon Battle Tug mod'ed to Hydran tech.

Possibly/Maybe

Edit: I decided to make this paragraph it's own post.

I think they might be made to be workable IF more stringent costs are put on items in Annex 6. I feel most of them are just to cheap. Just 2 pts for a Phaser-1? Also, the number of boxes on the original SSD should be the same, ie you can't add something; a box has to replace another box. And you shouldn't get a "credit" for the stuff you take off. That should be a penalty you pay for customization. Also, I would not allow shield bosxes to be added. Shield generators are shield generators and can't be "improved" upon. That would go along way towards allowing some customization while making it costly. You'd probably end up with over-costed ships but so what? That's the price you'd pay for customization. It would end up being a self limiting thing. But there is still the risk of having someone "fix" something that was meant to be that way and ending up with an unbalanced design.

There is, IMO, no real FAIR way to make S3.3 work; so it is broken.

Not saying it was done perfect either

It could have been done better if they went more in depth, but I guess they didn't want to spend the brain power on it. Here are a couple possible fixes.

1) Make a size chart for everything. The non-combat things like Labs and Trans (and some other non-useful stull like Emer) are .5 spaces like PH-IIIs. The Weapons sizes are good where they are. Some things need to be bigger, i.e. APR 1.5, IMP and Warp are 2 spaces. You have to get rid of 3 labs for an APR then.

2) Put limits on power systems (etc.) like the weapons. You can't add more than three APR/IMP/Warp(limit 1 per engine) to a size 4 ship.

Off topic for a quick question for Harrier

Does SK = Regina?

JC2.0

Looking at the whole thing carefully, I think that if we were going to 'mod' anything it would be to simply use JC2.0 Warp Gear Shift. This way, no SSD has to get changed, beyond using Commander's Options which would get used anyway in all probability. That way the actual balance of the ship is unchanged and the WGS affects everyone equally. I've been wanting to try the WGS out in a game for a while now to see how we like it. It can be used with speed changes easily, can provide a boatload of 'extra' power at high speeds and it's use was never 'discouraged'. It was invented by SVC himself!

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Mods

>>It's been nearly two decades since I've looked at S8 (I had Commander's then). Wasn't there certain guidelines you had to go by? I mean it's wasn't like you could replace a ph-3 with a type R plasma right?>>

As time went on, the rule got more and more complex and more and more limited, as the designers tried to address every possible loophole and absurd application. Eventually, it became so unwieldy that they just removed it, which was fairly sensical, from a game design sense.

As noted above, the modification rules, even if used in the most limited way (i.e. *not* to remove all the warp engines to make War Eagles cost negative points or whatever), it gives players the ability to remove all possible built in flaws to every ship. What ship can't use 6 extra shields in every direction, enough batteries to be able to make a HET off of reserve, or swapping in a few P3s for P1s? Or a couple more APRs added on or a third tractor (as 2 tractors are pretty easy to kill; a 3rd tractor means the tractor doesn't go till the ship blows up…). Even with the last iteration of S3 limits (something like, IIRC, no more than adding 4 total boxes to the ship, no removing hull or labs, only adding weapons by swapping out weapons, etc.), you still can totally optimize any ship out there.

I mean, like, if you are running a campaign, and everyone wants to be able to tweak up a single design or something, you can implement that without actual ship modification rules (just, ya know, everyone tweak up a ship). But the S3 rules as a blanket rule for pick up games or whatever was kind of a mad house.

There was a fairly well put together set of "build a ship from scratch" rules published in Star Fleet Times once, which operated with the completely different set of costs/points than BPV, so you could build a cruiser from nothing, and it would cost, like, 500 points, so there would be no possible way to try and balance it against a regular ship. But they were experimental and I don't think they ever showed up anywhere else.

Mod Rules

So I just went to go reread the most recent mod rules:

http://www.starfleetgames.com/sfb/sfin/S3_3_Modifying_Ships1.pdf

(Dixon posted that originally)

And even following them to the letter, you can do the following to any cruiser:

-Add 6 boxes to every shield (6 points)
-Add a battery (1 point)
-Add 2xAPR (4 points)
-Turn 2xP3 into 2xP1 (somewhere between 2-3 points, depending on arcs)

Which is spending about 14 points to make every cruiser in the game just vastly better. If one has the opportunity to do this, there is no reason at all not to, as even those minor upgrades are going to disproportionately make those ship much, much better than similar ships that aren't so upgraded for the same cost. At which point, the game likely becomes one of "every ship ever has these, or similar, upgrades".

I suspect that the original envisioned intent of the modification rules was to allow people to make those obvious variants that were a long way from being published (i.e. scouts and escorts and whatever), but even as limited as they were at last edit, you can still do some crazy stuff (add a second plasma R to a Gorn DN; add 3xPhaser Gs to a Ranger [although now that I look, the PG is notably absent from the equipment list, which might be an oversight, or might be intentional; it used to have a cost]; give any FF 2 extra P1s; etc.). Which is probably best to avoid if one wants to keep the game reasonable even.

Original intent for the modification rules

As I see it, the real intent was for scenario balancing. A way to even up two ship were close in BPV (~5 points) between players that are about equal in experience. As in making the lower BPV ship equal to the higher. It was not meant to see who could make the best ship. Even though it is interesting/fun to see what you can do.

We'd each pick a race. Then we would decide on a size class for everyone to fight with. Next, each would secretly decide what ship (and any fighters/PFs) they were playing with. Finally, the lower BPVs had 10-15min to equal the BPV of the highest guy. As it worked out, people usually chose lower mid-range BPV ships for the size class we were playing. This way you didn't give the other guys too many BPV to work with.

Balance

>>As I see it, the real intent was for scenario balancing. A way to even up two ship were close in BPV (~5 points) between players that are about equal in experience. As in making the lower BPV ship equal to the higher.>>

Maybe? They already had a way to do that built into the rules (if your ships were more expensive, your opponent got the difference as extra VPs; that was in the original set of victory point calculations). And then there were certainly ways to even out minor point cost disparity even in early Commander's rules (where I think the modification rules were first published) with what turned into commander's options (i.e. you could get some extra drones or boarding parties or t-bombs or whatever).

>>It was not meant to see who could make the best ship. Even though it is interesting/fun to see what you can do.>>

I suspect what they probably envisioned was that people would use this to make all those obvious variants that were a long way from being published at that time (i.e. scouts and carriers and mine sweepers and whatever). But what it turned into was "Let's turn all the hull into photons!" :-)

Sounds to me like many

Sounds to me like many who screamed it was "broken" because of removing all the warp to create a negative cost ship didn't read all the rules for the modifications.

"The ship’s BPV might actually be less after modifications are complete, but it cannot be reduced by more than 10% in any case" plus "No more than four weapons can be added to a ship of size class 2 or 3; no more
than three weapons can be added to a ship of size class 4.
These are net changes after removing systems as shown below."

Add in other limitations, such as "No more than 10% of the hull or cargo
boxes of a ship may be converted to other systems." and you find a person couldn't turn all the hull into photons.

As with many things, you have to use them reasonably. Unrestricted use, with no rationale, of things tends to blow balance out the window. Ever fought Jindarians in a Nebula? How about Tholians in a prepared "wedding cake" using equal BPV?

I'm not saying we used Ship Mods all that much (just a couple times, actually) but there were never any outrageous tweaking. But we kept a pretty tight rein on things like that.

Ship Mods

>>Sounds to me like many who screamed it was "broken" because of removing all the warp to create a negative cost ship didn't read all the rules for the modifications.>>

The rules evolved over a long period of time. What is currently listed in the link provided is the last iteration of the rules. They didn't always read like that. Were you looking at the link provided, or, like, say, the first edition of the Commander's rulebook?

>>Add in other limitations, such as "No more than 10% of the hull or cargo
boxes of a ship may be converted to other systems." and you find a person couldn't turn all the hull into photons.>>

Again, the rules. They evolved. A lot. Over a period of time. What is currently listed was what the rules ended up as after a long period of figuring out how they were broken. And they are still pretty unbalancing.

>>I'm not saying we used Ship Mods all that much (just a couple times, actually) but there were never any outrageous tweaking. But we kept a pretty tight rein on things like that.>>

That's great. I'm glad you enjoy them. But the rules, as presented even currently, still allow for an awful lot of wackiness (i.e. adding a second plasma R to a Gorn DN, say) and an awful lot of arms-racing. I don't find it remotely problematic that they were removed, and it really made the game a much more rational place.

Design

One thing that I find - across many game systems - is that many vehicles/ships/whatever are pretty poorly designed. That is, from a combat standpoint.

In the 'real' world, there are some examples of poor design ... and they tend to get 'fixed' fairly quickly. (With the exception of the Osprey: That CF POS can barely get off the ground, let alone carry any armor or weapons). Extra small weapons being added is common, from grenade launchers welded to hummers, to the large clusters of phalanx guns retrofitted on larger naval vessels.

Throwing an extra couple of P-3s on a ship often makes it a much, much better design. Even if it requires replacing a P1. There's the whole 'power curve' aspect to consider. A Fed DD has an amazing one-shot punch. And then gasps during reload turns. Four Photons, six P1s, 19 power (23 with 'refit') ... a Base model, non O/L reloading means 11 power (averaged over two turns) ... 2.5 for housekeeping ... leaving 5.5, or 11 speed. O/L ? 19 power for reload, meaning crew units die from lack of Life Support :)
So ... a) refit is kind of, absolutely, necessary, or b) change the !@#$ weapons mix to something a little more sustainable!
e.g. Replace 4 P1s with P3s. Drop a photon. Replace a photon with a pair of P3s. Adding power - as the 'official' solution has done. Replace a Photon with an ADD.

Star Fleet Times #1 had some ship building rules. With different costs for systems for each race. Eg Warp was 4 pts per, except for WYN (6) and Orion (8). And the cost increased geometrically. First two warp boxes were 4 pts, next four at 8 pts, and 16 pts each after that. The base ships also differed substantially. I highly recommend this approach - it kept the flavour of each race intact, and prevented abusive ships fairly well.