ESG

Something I've touched on in the past is the interaction of the ESG with plasma torpedoes...which is none. I'd like to solicit discussion on this. The rules for the ESG make it clear that it has a violent interaction with matter i.e. drones, shuttles, mines and of course ships (the ESG ram). The ESG ram against a ship is somewhat questionable as the shields are energy and not matter. The rules for plasma state clearly that plasma is a ball of matter on the brink of being converted to total energy. So the point is that plasma is 'matter', which should have a definite and violent interaction with an ESG.

Now I know that the argument is that it may affect game balance and that Lyrans don't typically fight Gorns. I don't agree necessarily with the 'game balance' issue.

I would toss out for consideration an ESG interacting with a plasma the same way a phaser does i.e. on a 2 to 1 basis. I don't think that is totally unreasonable. A fully charged ESG at R0 has a strength of 20 points and would take 10 points off a plasma warhead.

Thoughts...

ESG plasma

The technobabble behind the ESG is so shaky that it could be reasoned either way. But as far as game balance is concerned, I don't see a problem with the above in that it's not obvious who benefits most. I suspect the plasma users win out, but not by much and it'll depend a lot on the details. Maybe the biggest winners are chuck-&-duck Romulans who get to wipe out ESGs before they overrun a cloaked ship, but even that's pretty contrived.

One question: what happens with a PPT? Does it reduce the ESG? If so, it's a bit handy. If not, it reveals the PPT as a fake, though given the short range that's perhaps not such an issue.

Hadn't thought about the PPT.

Hadn't thought about the PPT. I would 'think' the PPT wouldn't damage it...but if so, how much? ESG would be a good way to show it as a fake though. But then an ESG would have much less effect on an EPT or even the shotgun. And I would say no effect at all on the bolt or carronade.

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ESGs vs Plasma

>>I would toss out for consideration an ESG interacting with a plasma the same way a phaser does i.e. on a 2 to 1 basis. I don't think that is totally unreasonable. A fully charged ESG at R0 has a strength of 20 points and would take 10 points off a plasma warhead.>>

I think this is a much worse deal for the Lyran than the plasma ship, generally speaking. One of the only thing that makes a Lyran have a chance at all against a plasma ship in a duel is the potential of an ESG ram. If both ESGs are taken down by a single plasma F, it's got nothing.

I'm not sure on that one

I'm not sure on that one Peter. Let's say its a tourney duel. Two ESG's are going to take out one F or 2/3 of an S. Let's say its the S that's fired. Two R0 ESG's take it down to a 10 point warhead if within the best range. Option to phaser it a little or hold on to the phasers. That means that BP is going to have to fire the other S and maybe an F to keep the Lyran from running into R8 of the OL shot. That leaves BP pretty low on plasma whereas the Lyran's disruptors are going to be hot for the next turn. And the ESG's will cycle before the plasma (or at the same time if fast loaded F's).

Even if the ESG's are used to draw out both S's and maybe an F the ESG's don't even have to be powered again as the Lyran is going to get at least two, maybe three good shots in on BP with the disruptors. The phasers either weaken whatever other plasma is launched or spent in the alpha strike.

T1 - BP lobs the obligatory SEPT at the Lyran. The Lyran raises both ESG's at R0. He runs a little bit to maybe bring it into the R11-15 bracket for 44 damage which brings it down to 22 damage which isn't that much off each shield (3 to 4 points). If the Lyran can run it past 16 then it's gravy. Lyran turns and heads into BP who either runs or lobs the standard S and maybe an F to keep the Lyran off him. The Lyran uses the ph-3's and maybe a couple of ph-1's on one of the plasmas to keep it from doing internals and then goes for it's alpha strike.

T2 - BP has one, maybe two F's. That isn't a whole lot if the Lyran runs them a bit, phasers them a bit or takes them on different shields. Lyran goes for another alpha with everything he can bring to the party.

T3 - BP either has nothing or at most a couple of F's. Like T2 that isn't a whole lot. Again, Lyran goes for another alpha with whatever he's got. Depending on the energy curve, the Lyran 'may' have some juice for another ESG (maybe both) which would put the screws to the F's.

Now of course that is a simplistic report and a lot could happen either way. But I think the Lyran would be advantaged in this match up. The ESG ram while nice isn't easy and especially against BP which is lobbing SEPT's at you. You either eat the SEPT's to TRY to get the ram or you never get close enough to consider it. They Lyran's strength in this match up, if he can avoid getting his shields sandpapered is the fast firing disruptors (with the UIM for the OL shot) and a pretty decent phaser suite.

It would be interesting to see a few match ups using this alternate rule to see what happens and perhaps some new tactics, possibly for both. You might see more bolting in this type of match up than you would normally. For BP that gets the right dice, that's a 50 point alpha strike if all the bolts hit within R5 (not counting phasers).

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Gorn vs Lyran

>>T1 - BP lobs the obligatory SEPT at the Lyran. The Lyran raises both ESG's at R0. He runs a little bit to maybe bring it into the R11-15 bracket for 44 damage which brings it down to 22 damage which isn't that much off each shield (3 to 4 points). If the Lyran can run it past 16 then it's gravy. Lyran turns and heads into BP who either runs or lobs the standard S and maybe an F to keep the Lyran off him. The Lyran uses the ph-3's and maybe a couple of ph-1's on one of the plasmas to keep it from doing internals and then goes for it's alpha strike.>>

Maybe? More likely what will happen is:

T1: Gorn launches an enveloper in the second half of the turn. The Lyran can either take 20 points off with 2R0 ESGs (and eat it for, like, 36 after a couple P3s, which is still a lot), or turn out and run it to 11+, which isn't super easy to do and then get back to R8 by the end of the turn. Best case situation, it uses both ESGs to avoid most of an enveloper, gets range 8 on a slightly reinforced, non #1 Gorn shield, and blasts most of it down with 4xOL and 6xP1, but takes, like, 20 some odd damage anyway.

T2: Gorn, now armed with 70 points of plasma and no need to worry about getting rammed by 2xESGs, is going to run down the Lyran and anchor it to death.

(I have played the Gorn vs Lyran game a *lot*).

Counter consideration ;)

T1 - The kitty raises two R0 ESG's. BP lobs the SEPT. Lyran (using a mid-turn speed change) decided to crash the EPT to get the R8 shot. Your 36 approx. damage sounds about right so the Lyran scratches off 6 on each shield. Trying to get BP's #1 (but probably getting one of the side shields) the Lyran blows the shield down. Maybe some internals, depends on the die rolls. But what he's hoping for is to draw out another plasma, preferably the S. If BP holds the plasma launch the Lyran only faces phasers at R8. If BP launches then that's one less for T2. If he really panics and launches a couple then that's even better.

T2 - Kitty tries to take the second plasma (if launched) on a side shield. Then tries to get in another disruptor shot to take a shield down + whatever phasers he can manage to bring to the party.

Now of course no plan survives first contact but it would be interesting to play a series of games this way and see what 'generally' happens.

As a side note, it might be a good idea to put a couple of points in each ESG on T1 to max it out. That way its easier to get some use out of them later in the game when power is much more at a premium. If you can spare it of course ;)

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Gorn vs Lyran

>>T1 - The kitty raises two R0 ESG's. BP lobs the SEPT. Lyran (using a mid-turn speed change) decided to crash the EPT to get the R8 shot. Your 36 approx. damage sounds about right so the Lyran scratches off 6 on each shield. Trying to get BP's #1 (but probably getting one of the side shields) the Lyran blows the shield down.>>

The Gorn, say, can have an EPT, an appropriate speed plot, and still, like, 5-6 reinforcement on a #2/#6 shield. If the Lyran has 4 overloads (I'll assume 2 off of battery) and is holding a couple shuttles (weasels, likely), that is 12 for disruptors (+ batteries), 4 to turn on the ship, 2 for shuttles, giving it 22 more for movement. Which is probably slow early, fast late. Meaning the Gorn has plenty of room to close till later in the turn, pitch out an enveloper, speed up, and keep a reinforced shield facing the Lyran. If the Lyran eats the enveloper for the 36 or so, it'll certainly get a R8 shot, but it is then trading 36 shield damage (and both ESGs) for maybe a down shield and a couple internals (4xOL+6xP1 at R8 with the UIM is likely about 36 damage in return, against probably a 5 point brick. If one of the disruptor misses, there is no chance of even breaking a shield).

>>Maybe some internals, depends on the die rolls. But what he's hoping for is to draw out another plasma, preferably the S. If BP holds the plasma launch the Lyran only faces phasers at R8. If BP launches then that's one less for T2. If he really panics and launches a couple then that's even better.>>

It is never a good plan to build a strategy around hoping your opponent panics and does something silly :-)

The Lyran can't really compel a second plasma launch *unless* it is moving speed 31 most of the turn (i.e. has few, if any, disruptors armed) *and* has ESGs to ram with (i.e. the only time I have ever launched more plasma on T1 other than a single enveloper, even against a Lyran who just ate the first one and closed aggressively, is against a Lyran who armed no disruptors and went for an insane T1 aggressive closing attack. It generally gets hit by a bunch of plasma and phasers and ends up getting killed a lot).

Without the ESGs to dissuade an anchor attack, the plasma ship is generally just going to go in for an anchor. As there isn't really a reason not to.

When the Lyran does well against a plasma ship (in a tournament duel setting), it is 'cause it gets a good ESG ram in (i.e. the plasma ship is chasing it down, it surprisingly HETs back, and ESGs them in the face. Which can happen. But is tough to pull off). If the ESGs are taken down by a plasma F, the Lyran is fighting a real tough uphill fight.

Another question is the interaction between PPTs and ESGs in this instance. If the ESG just instantly discovers a PPT is a PPT, that is then a huge plus for the Lyran, which may or may not be a good idea (it might even out in a tournament game, but in a non tournament game, that could be a huge disadvantage for plasma ship). If it doesn't, then a PPT just completely nullifies the ESGs. Which is even worse for the Lyran.

ESG & PPT

IKV said: But what he's hoping for is to draw out another plasma, preferably the S. If BP holds the plasma launch the Lyran only faces phasers at R8. If BP launches then that's one less for T2. If he really panics and launches a couple then that's even better.

But supposing that second plasma you draw out is a 50 stack? Do you crash it? You've used P3s, 2P1s and 2 ESGs to take it down to 36, so you haven't got much to reduce it further (or you have 4-6 P1s, but then your R8 alpha won't break the shield so you're not achieving much). If the S is real, you've eaten 20 internals. If it's fake, you've got an almost-down shield that may be facing 4 P1s and the Gorn still has a real S and an F. So while you are kinda better off than you would be just charging through the EPT, all it's really done is save you 3-4 damage to each shield, half of which are facing the other way.

In a long-range ballet / sabre-dance it might well help a bit, in that an R0 ESG kills plasma slightly more power-efficiently than an R1 P3 and twice as well as reinforcement, so you can soak the plasma quite nicely, but you're then relying on being able to keep the range open, and the Gorn won't oblige as soon as you empty the ESGs if he has Fs ready.

All this is probably moot, because the ESGs will inevitably die on the 3rd internal of each volley.

Alternatively ...

...The Lyran doesn't O/L. Fires Disruptors - standard - i25, p1s on i32. Ideally on the same shield, but what the heck. P3s and ESGs used on the EPT. Which means 4 O/Ls, w/UIM, T2 i1, same shield as the Phasers. And then run away. Sure, no ESGs T1 ... but that's been traded for a handful of internals. And with a few points thrown into phasers means a couple of P1 shots out the rear.

I see this change as a big advantage for the Lyran. It greatly reduces the ability of a BP race to play a plasma ballet. Your idea of running them down and tractoring them T2 - because they don't have ESGs - supports this idea. BUT ... you may end up taking internals T1. And the Lyran can wiggle its tail and get some P1 shots in ... if it was your #1 that got holed, that will hurt. In any case, the Lyran can skip the T2 Disruptors (assuming a T1 O/L shot), and keep the range open, while putting a few points into phasers and ESGs.
The T2 anchor isn't a sure thing, by any means, and, with significantly less shield damage, the Lyran is going to be in a much better position - tactically - on both T2 and T3.

Another way of looking at it: 5 pts of ESG energy = 10 pts of plasma reinforcement. General, without the halving. How many times have you seen BP lose because of an ESG hit, vs how many times they lost because of a better executed sabre-dance vs plasma-ballet? Giving the Lyran (or LDR) the ability to have 20 pts of plasma-specific reinforcement (for zero cost, T1) would hurt BP a lot.

Lyran vs Plasma

>>...The Lyran doesn't O/L. Fires Disruptors - standard - i25, p1s on i32. Ideally on the same shield, but what the heck. P3s and ESGs used on the EPT. Which means 4 O/Ls, w/UIM, T2 i1, same shield as the Phasers. And then run away.>>

Sure. If the Lyran doesn't turn off, it eats the enveloper for full, minus 20 from ESGs, 3-4 from P3s, and some reinforcement, presumably. That is still, like, 30 damage spread around the ship (which is significant). The i25 standard disruptors are unlikely to hit the same shield as the P1s on impulse 32. The OL disruptors will hit the same shield as the P1s, possibly doing a handful of internals. But then the Lyran is:

A) Facing the plasma ship.
B) Inside of R8.
C) Has virtually no power in phasers.
D) Has virtually no power in ESGs.
F) Only has 20 some odd power for movement (16 for OLs, 4 to turn on ship, 2 to presumably hold a couple weasels).

The Lyran knocks in a shield. Maybe does a handful of internals. The plasma ship is now running it down at high speed with 70 points of plasma, all its phasers, and some tractor power. The Lyran will be caught, tractored, and probably killed by the end of T2.

>>I see this change as a big advantage for the Lyran. It greatly reduces the ability of a BP race to play a plasma ballet.>>

The flaw here is the assumption that a plasma ship *wants* to play a plasma ballet vs the Lyran. It doesn't. It wants to (under normal circumstances) push it into the corner, make it commit the ESGs, launch enough plasma to make it turn off or otherwise waste the ESGs, phaser some shields, and then kill it when it has no ESGs.

>>Your idea of running them down and tractoring them T2 - because they don't have ESGs - supports this idea.>>

Sure. But that is all I wanted to do in the first place. If the ESGs go down protecting the ship from an enveloper, all the better, as I don't then have to worry about the ESG hitting me in the face.

>>The T2 anchor isn't a sure thing, by any means, and, with significantly less shield damage, the Lyran is going to be in a much better position - tactically - on both T2 and T3.>>

If the Lyran overloads on T2 and only moves, like, 18-22 hexes, the anchor is probably a sure thing. If the Lyran dives into the enveloper on T1 to get an OL shot (using the improved ESGs to save 20 shield damage), it is then trading the ESGs for an ok R8 (and 30+ damage spread around the ship) shot on T1, which isn't a horrible plan if it hits with all 4OLs, but still even then, it is now running away on T2 with no ESG threat. Which is all that keeps the Lyran from getting outright killed on T2 most of the time.

>>Another way of looking at it: 5 pts of ESG energy = 10 pts of plasma reinforcement. General, without the halving. How many times have you seen BP lose because of an ESG hit, vs how many times they lost because of a better executed sabre-dance vs plasma-ballet? Giving the Lyran (or LDR) the ability to have 20 pts of plasma-specific reinforcement (for zero cost, T1) would hurt BP a lot.>>

I really don't think it helps that much. Again, the faulty assumption here is that a BP ship wants to plasma ballet against a Lyran. It doesn't.

ESGs

Actually, even with this change, I would not charge an enveloper. Assuming stds, the Lyran should take whatever shot it can - if it hits R8, throw in the phasers - and run it out.

I think the ESG-as-plasma-defense would work best against standard plasma.

If you tossed an EPT T1, and followed up with a T2 anchor (risking the ESGs as weapons), your remaining 70 pts of plasma could be downgraded to 20 internals (30 from shields, 20 from ESGs) or less (batteries, P3s). Which would put the BP ship in a very bad position.

...so, if you launch the EPT, and the Lyran runs, what next?
Another EPT T2? - I'd charge that, take the shield damage, and run you down. (2 Fs left)
Piecemeal plasma launches? That's where the ESGs as defense could really shine. And the BP ship would still get run down, just wouldn't have to face the threat of an ESG ram.

Fight! Fight!

Only way to be sure. Try it.

I think that what you'll find

I think that what you'll find is that it will create new tactics for both the Lyran and BP. And like any other tactic, sometimes they will work and sometimes they won't. The best laid plan won't survive a bad roll of the dice. Peter for example is an excellent Gorn player (IIRC he's won the Gold Hat in the Gorn). So automatically he'll be thinking about what it takes to defeat this change. He'll be thinking about what he can do to force it to be a disadvantage. A Lyran player will be thinking about how they can make this an advantageous change to defeat BP. Play 10 games and see what the trend is, or if there is a trend. And of course the luck of the die has to always be taken into consideration as well.

Although we can't use 'realism' in looking at rules in a fantasy game, putting that to the side for a moment and just looking at the rules in-and-of-themselves, there is no logical reason that an ESG would not have an interaction with a plasma torpedo. At least beyond game dynamics (if one exists) or even game politics at some point in the past.

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Alternative thought: treat BP like mines

What if you treat BP like a mine. The ESG would do 1t1 damage to the BP and any remaining immediately impacts the facing shield. A regular PT might be blanked out, but it could also save a couple hexes of distance traveled. And think about an EPT doing all its remaining damage to one shield.

Disclaimer: this is more a question than a suggestion. I don't play either one.

Lyran vs Plasma

>>...so, if you launch the EPT, and the Lyran runs, what next?>>

Chase it into the corner with some tractor power. If it puts up the ESGs at R3, launch 50 plasma, take a phaser, F bolt shot on a flank at R5 or so. Lyran takes a few internals. Lyran still has to deal with 50 points of plasma, which will take down a shield and and do a few more internals, even though the ESGs. Or more likely, it just runs away from the plasma, giving me plenty of room to reload. Run, reload, launch the second enveloper on T4 when the Lyran is coming in to fight. But it has 2 down shields and probably no ESGs.

If it puts up R0 ESGs to defend against incoming plasma, go in for a R1 anchor. The Lyran probably doesn't have disruptors on T2 (as it fired a bunch of stuff on T1 and needs to both run and reload). The 50 points of plasma (after the ESGs) and follow up phasers likely does enough to make the Lyran hosed the rest of the game.

>>Another EPT T2? - I'd charge that, take the shield damage, and run you down.>>

Nope. Again, a second EPT isn't something a plasma ship wants to launch at a Lyran until later in the game.

Again, like, I have played Gorn vs Lyran something like 30 times in the last number of years. And have killed, like, 90% of the Lyrans. I'm not trying to say I'm some sort of super Lyran killing madman or anything. Just that the Lyran is pretty significantly disadvantaged vs BP, and I don't think making the ESGs (in tournament play) would help the situation much. It might do other things all together in non tournament play, however.

Obscure Lingo

>>What if you treat BP like a mine.>>

Heh--for the sake of clarity, "BP" is short for "Big Plasma", the general term for the main plasma ships in tournament play (i.e. the Gorn and the three Romulans).

One thing to point out is

One thing to point out is that many times in these discussions one, both or all side are thinking tournament rules rather than general SFB rules. There are some differences. While ESG's that work against plasma, the way they should the way the rules are written, will never be adopted officially in either tournament or regular SFB, I see no reason not to incorporate it into our FTF HR games.

IKVAvenger official FTF HR:

ESG's do interact with plasma on a 2:1 basis.

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