Space Based Tabletop Wargame

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Space Based Tabletop Wargame

Postby The Colonel » Sat Mar 17, 2012 10:01 am

This is the skeleton of a tabletop game ruleset I'm developing. A partial revamp of mearker deep space warfare, an obscure /TG/ homebrew.
https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1yGjTXVgyyd9ZLGW-tfuZltsQTXpH8dDF2nf_Yt8HZ2Q
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Re: Space Based Tabletop Wargame

Postby tigerusthegreat » Sat Mar 17, 2012 6:04 pm

I'd be interested in this
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Re: Space Based Tabletop Wargame

Postby The Colonel » Sun Mar 18, 2012 7:14 am

Any advice on streamlining the wording?
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Re: Space Based Tabletop Wargame

Postby tigerusthegreat » Sun Mar 18, 2012 12:58 pm

To be honest, I would like to see it a little more complicated. I like the way warhammer fantasy and 40k are done where certain units are restricted because they are special or rare, and you have to have a lot more common units just to fill out the core of your army.

But recommendations as it is:

Rename Fleetcore to something else...Taskforce is a nice, as is something like Battlegroup. Look up some navy terminology as Fleetcore is a little weird.

Rearguard similarly might need reworked. It implies that it is defending the rear of the fleet. Units in space can theoretically be attacked from any direction, so such a force is fairly useless. I would rename it Vanguard, which technically is the forward elements of a fleet, more attacking in nature, and would make more sense in a battle between two fleet on an equal footing (the forward elements fighting it out before the big guns arrive).

Weapons IMHO needs a rework. Ballistics are going to be a guessing game unless they are high speed, and no intelligent opponent would stay in the square you are targetting with a multiple-turn ballistic. Lasers are instant hit, but poor outside of 1 hex combats (where ballistics would serve just as well). Missiles seem expensive to make effective.


My recommendation overall is to not allow a free form world with this stuff. It becomes a huge pain in the butt for balance as everyone exploits the rules to the best of their ability. The fun part of war games is using pre-designed elements to make the best force possible. I'd recommend making up a few "races" that have different specialites (i.e. one uses lasers, one uses missiles, one uses ballistics primarily) and play to their strengths (lasers have fast, small ships, missiles have big cruisers that can mount a crap ton of them, ballistics in the middle as a jack of all trades fleet). Give them options to upgrade stuff (3 points to make this a Megalaser that deals 2d6 instead of 1d6 damage). I'd also go with the core/special/rare rules that warhammer has (since you're using a point based system anyway). Rare and special are more expensive, better units, but have restrictions (you can only have one Beam Dreadnaught in your fleet and it has to be your Capital Ship, or whatever). I'd also have players designate a command ship, and make the command ship important to keep. Either have it give bonuses (best option as it means it will be in the fight) or a big penalty for loosing it (to damage rolls or morale if you decide to have morale).

I'd also add in morale or something like it. What about boarding another ship? Are you going to make us follow zero-g physics for movement or just move whereever we want at our speed?

I know it seems anal, but the things you don't think of come back to bite you in designing this stuff.

Looking at the ship sizes, I don't think there's a reason not to build either very tiny or super huge ships, with the preference for swarms of tiny ships. You get a 2.5 integrity+point quota per hull cost per ship, which is a better return on investment than any other ship type. Sure they are paper thin, but with enough of them, the enemy's guns can't deal with them. Make a small ship that is say 6 armor, a 2d6 laser (4 points), and 10 speed, and you have a hard to damage (without upgraded weaponry) 30-point vessel that is fairly quick.

Consequently, you could make a huge ship that has a speed of 501, albeit with no weapons. How large of a battle map are you planning? And does it make sense for a larger sized vessel to use so little of its resources to get a great speed when a small vessel couldn't attain it?
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Re: Space Based Tabletop Wargame

Postby The Colonel » Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:08 am

tigerusthegreat wrote:To be honest, I would like to see it a little more complicated. I like the way warhammer fantasy and 40k are done where certain units are restricted because they are special or rare, and you have to have a lot more common units just to fill out the core of your army.

But recommendations as it is:

Rename Fleetcore to something else...Taskforce is a nice, as is something like Battlegroup. Look up some navy terminology as Fleetcore is a little weird.

Rearguard similarly might need reworked. It implies that it is defending the rear of the fleet. Units in space can theoretically be attacked from any direction, so such a force is fairly useless. I would rename it Vanguard, which technically is the forward elements of a fleet, more attacking in nature, and would make more sense in a battle between two fleet on an equal footing (the forward elements fighting it out before the big guns arrive).

Done thanks

Weapons IMHO needs a rework. Ballistics are going to be a guessing game unless they are high speed, and no intelligent opponent would stay in the square you are targetting with a multiple-turn ballistic. Lasers are instant hit, but poor outside of 1 hex combats (where ballistics would serve just as well). Missiles seem expensive to make effective.

What do you recommend?

My recommendation overall is to not allow a free form world with this stuff. It becomes a huge pain in the butt for balance as everyone exploits the rules to the best of their ability. The fun part of war games is using pre-designed elements to make the best force possible. I'd recommend making up a few "races" that have different specialites (i.e. one uses lasers, one uses missiles, one uses ballistics primarily) and play to their strengths (lasers have fast, small ships, missiles have big cruisers that can mount a crap ton of them, ballistics in the middle as a jack of all trades fleet). Give them options to upgrade stuff (3 points to make this a Megalaser that deals 2d6 instead of 1d6 damage). I'd also go with the core/special/rare rules that warhammer has (since you're using a point based system anyway). Rare and special are more expensive, better units, but have restrictions (you can only have one Beam Dreadnaught in your fleet and it has to be your Capital Ship, or whatever). I'd also have players designate a command ship, and make the command ship important to keep. Either have it give bonuses (best option as it means it will be in the fight) or a big penalty for loosing it (to damage rolls or morale if you decide to have morale).

Makes sense. But this is a skeleton. It's my basis to compare different ships.

I'd also add in morale or something like it. What about boarding another ship? Are you going to make us follow zero-g physics for movement or just move wherever we want at our speed?

You can move wherever you want. For morale and boarding....... they'll come later

I know it seems anal, but the things you don't think of come back to bite you in designing this stuff.

Looking at the ship sizes, I don't think there's a reason not to build either very tiny or super huge ships, with the preference for swarms of tiny ships. You get a 2.5 integrity+point quota per hull cost per ship, which is a better return on investment than any other ship type. Sure they are paper thin, but with enough of them, the enemy's guns can't deal with them. Make a small ship that is say 6 armor, a 2d6 laser (4 points), and 10 speed, and you have a hard to damage (without upgraded weaponry) 30-point vessel that is fairly quick.

Consequently, you could make a huge ship that has a speed of 501, albeit with no weapons. How large of a battle map are you planning? And does it make sense for a larger sized vessel to use so little of its resources to get a great speed when a small vessel couldn't attain it?

What if I lower the prices? And how much would be needed?


Comments are in bold.
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Re: Space Based Tabletop Wargame

Postby tigerusthegreat » Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:03 am

Weapons: Not sure how to rework this, really. This is why I recommended factions and premade stuff because its easier to balance. I think your point values are probably okay as a starting point, but exploitable if you leave them freeform instead of making up a bunch of weapons. If you don't do the full premade, at least make up stats for weapons, things like small lasers, quick-fire lasers, long range missiles, fast missiles, fast ballistics, long range ballistics, etc.

I think making the hulls unique is the best bet. Make larger hulls more cost effective but easier to hit, and smaller hulls less so but harder to hit. In all, you want to find the balance where a player is willing to pick up a ship of any size and use it because it is what fits his fleet, not because its the best bang for his buck. Speed is the real issue, though, maybe have speed increases be a function of hull strength, maybe it takes one point per five points of hull strength to raise speed by 1. Or make speed itself have diminishing returns, so that for +1 speed it costs current speed + (current speed - 1)^2; so speed 1 is free, speed 2 costs 1 (1+(1-1)^2), speed 3 costs 3 points(2 + (2-1)^2), speed 4 costs 7 (3+(3-1)^2) etc
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Re: Space Based Tabletop Wargame

Postby Karadan » Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:49 pm

I have to agree with tiger. The completely free form build will lead to serious balance issues, because extremes tend to lead to real problems. I mean, imagine a force of 100 tiny ships all equipped with max strength lasers. They'd hit for 7d6+2 damage each, and you'd get 100 shots a turn with them. Or just do 7d6 but they each get 3 shots, giving you 300 shots a turn. Sure, they could be defeated by a ship that has 44+ armor, but barring that they'll annihilate anything even with the damage penalty for range. Then again, the largest ship has so many points, it could get 44 armor without a thought, along with 100 firing rate on its weapon and a couple hundred points worth of damage, while still leaving room for other stats if really desired, like 50 or so points of movement speed to get right next to people before unleashing its laser barrage (or missile or ballistic).

Actually, the original force isn't really a problem, because tiny ships are made completely worthless by any ship with an armor value of 44 or higher, smalls by a value of 50 or so, and even mediums are rendered near worthless by a ship with 70 or so armor, and that's only if the ship invests everything it has in damage. Looking it over it seems like fights will devolve into using nothing but the largest class of ship, because any smaller class can be made completely worthless by devoting a chunk of points to armor.

Oh, wait, ablative armor, so no, we're back to using 100 tiny ships to blast everything into non-existence. because they'll overcome any amount of armor that can be thrown at them. Sure a huge ship could have a 100 fire rate weapon and blast large swaths of them, but the fighters are likely to win.

Some ways to help alleviate these problems would be diminishing returns on stats, different values for different stats, and hard limits on stats.

Tiger pointed out the possibility of making speed more expensive for the larger ships, I think that makes sense. The small ships should be able to buy speed very cheaply, while the larger ships should be hard pressed to even reach double digits. You also may not want to make armor ablative, but make it very expensive, so that small ships would only have a point or two at best, while large ones might have 20 or so if they really want. Also, weapon damage and firing rate should be slightly more separated. For instance, instead of simply buying extra shots at the cost of a pittance of damage, make the ship buy multiple weapons, each of which gets one shot, and has to have damage paid for independently. This allows a huge battleship to have main guns along with some small weapons for picking off fighters without turning it into a death platform. Perhaps provide a bonus for only using one weapon type, or a penalty for having more than one to make people pay for a diversity of options on a ship and force their hands to make specialized ships.
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Re: Space Based Tabletop Wargame

Postby The Colonel » Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:07 am

Wow thanks. Retconning Firing rate out of existence. *waves hand*

Armour is now not ablative and more expensive.

Speed is more expensive for the larger ships.

Created a to hit system.

Once I finish the morale system, swarms of a hundred ship tiny will be illegal.

Weapon variety on a single ship is weakened.

Anything else? Anything new created by my changes?
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Re: Space Based Tabletop Wargame

Postby Karadan » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:35 pm

Looks much better, though of course it would need some playtesting to work out kinks. For instance I think you may require a slight increase of the speed of weapons, as a missile is going to end up costing a ton to get enough stats to ever hit anything, but that's something that will only really come out in play. I'd suggest setting up some games on the forum here with 3 people. 2 as the combatants, and a 3rd person as the ref to make sure people are keeping to their targets with their weapons, and possibly to roll the dice for them.
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Re: Space Based Tabletop Wargame

Postby The Colonel » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:06 am

https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1P2A3p503LsAVR25MronzQ7x0J31Sk-E2_cCDmVWJR0c

Some more rules. Any terrain you want? And how much should a carrier bay cost?
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Re: Space Based Tabletop Wargame

Postby Karadan » Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:36 am

I'm guessing that there should be a 'if your moral ever reaches 0 or below, you automatically lose the game because your remaining ships turn tail and flee' line in the moral section.

You might consider adding planets. They might have a move speed bonus/penalty based on if you're moving towards them or away from them. Could also provide a defense bonus against ballistic weapons since they have to factor in gravity affecting the trajectory. Might be more trouble than they're worth though. Things look good for now. You certainly did mostly eliminate the possibility of having a hoard of tiny ships. Or at the very least made it an exceptionally risky proposition. Oh, and since moral gained and lost for ship destruction is the same, you could condense that graph down a bit.
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Re: Space Based Tabletop Wargame

Postby The Colonel » Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:15 am

Okay added carrier rules what do you think? too much nerfing?
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Re: Space Based Tabletop Wargame

Postby The Colonel » Tue May 01, 2012 2:02 am

I'm thinking of adding facing. Any suggestions about that?
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Re: Space Based Tabletop Wargame

Postby The Colonel » Wed May 02, 2012 6:56 am

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Re: Space Based Tabletop Wargame

Postby turbler » Tue May 15, 2012 8:43 pm

Yeesh... I can never seem to stay here, huh? Well anyways, I have some free time on my hands, so I thought I'd pop by. And this seems like the sort of thing one can play a single game of and then stop, no strings, and until the summer that's basically all I'm able to commit to. So with regards to the rules:
I find it amusing that you can, in fact, run a horde of tiny ships. However, as soon as the battle tips out of your favor even slightly, all your ships ragequit.
When you Laser/Ballistics a hex, roll once for each ship in the hex? (So basically, you try to hit each ship individually.)
When you ram, does your armor block the damage that would be dealt to you by the ram? Does your opponent's armor?
Can you move through an enemy square without ramming them?
For missile collateral, does armor apply for the nontargeted ships (which happen to share a hex with the target)?
Is there anything wrong with the following statement?
Spinal weapons may shoot once/Attack (From the bow).
Broadside weapons may shoot twice/Attack (once from the port of the ship & once from the starboard).
Turret weapons may shoot once/Attack (From any side).
And lastly, when a ship fires, does it have to pick a weapon to fire, or may it fire all of them at once?
EDIT: range is for... viably hitting? is there some way to extend range at the cost of accuracy, or something like that?
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Re: Space Based Tabletop Wargame

Postby The Colonel » Thu May 17, 2012 5:24 am

Sorry busy

When you Laser/Ballistics a hex, roll once for each ship in the hex? (So basically, you try to hit each ship individually.)
Nope, Edited

When you ram, does your armor block the damage that would be dealt to you by the ram? Does your opponent's armor?
edited the doc

Can you move through an enemy square without ramming them?
yes

For missile collateral, does armor apply for the nontargeted ships (which happen to share a hex with the target)?
yes

Is there anything wrong with the following statement?
Spinal weapons may shoot once/Attack (From the bow).

no

Broadside weapons may shoot twice/Attack (once from the port of the ship & once from the starboard).
no

Turret weapons may shoot once/Attack (From any side).
no

And lastly, when a ship fires, does it have to pick a weapon to fire, or may it fire all of them at once?
Pick Weapons


EDIT: range is for... viably hitting? is there some way to extend range at the cost of accuracy, or something like that?
not at this moment
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Re: Space Based Tabletop Wargame

Postby turbler » Thu May 17, 2012 7:23 pm

That's sufficiently clear then. Another question, though: in almost all the games on here (although most are Erf based games) the units can have special abilities... is that something you plan to add at some point? Either way, I sort of want to try this :) (And that would probably help uncover any balance issues, as well.)
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Re: Space Based Tabletop Wargame

Postby The Colonel » Thu May 17, 2012 10:46 pm

Each faction will have a special ability. But not until the core mechanics are ironed out. so

[jedimindtrick]you shall playtest this game[/jedimindtrick]

one more thing, you may pick weapons or you may FIRE AT WILL!
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Re: Space Based Tabletop Wargame

Postby turbler » Fri May 18, 2012 5:00 pm

I'd absolutely love to playtest it... it's just I wouldn't really know how to go about doing so. (If you have any ideas I'd be happy to hear them).
Also, does that mean that for a ship with multiple weapons on it, you can fire any combination of them in a given attack phase?
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Re: Space Based Tabletop Wargame

Postby The Colonel » Sat May 19, 2012 12:32 am

Yes for a ship with multiple weapons on it, you can fire any combination of them in a given attack phase.

Just grab a friend and get him to build a fleet. Then fight it out. I suggest 500 points.

I may be exaggerating when I say ships will not get powers.
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