Are Fighters really all that effective?

The Universal Game of Starship Combat

Are Fighters really all that effective?

Postby jabba6z » Sat Dec 08, 2012 3:17 am

Hi everyone, I'm one of Beowulf's friends from Jacksonville. Although I frequently visit this forum, a game Beowulf and I played yesterday has inspired me to make my first post.

Last night, I experimented with fighters for the first time. Although Beowulf had used them previously, and was less then impressed, I wanted to try my luck with them. During the battle, I was forced to come to the same conclusion he did: Fighters just aren't all that effective.

In this battle, I ran a 1000+ point carrier, whose 30 fighter squadrons (20 fast/weak/fragile, 10 fast/strong/tough) barely managed to inflict 20 points of damage on a single vessel before being annihilated. I found myself wondering why fighters aren't able to be improved further, the way ships are. I know that in earlier editions of the game, this was most definitely the case. Why are fighters' options so limited now?
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Re: Are Fighters really all that effective?

Postby Duskland » Sat Dec 08, 2012 4:38 am

In my opinion fighters are not very effective. They combine two hits with a pretty terrible gun and come out to 25 pts each. If your opponent brought ECM or Stealth you shouldn't even bother deploying them.

I've been trying various methods to make them more effective. So far I've come up with either making them a small ship with hull equal to fighter numbers, short range weapons and a high thrust value (10-12) or making them a seeker type weapon and just abstracting things. The seeker method has the advantage of being simple and cost effective. The ship method has the advantage of being closer to how fighters worked in previous versions of the game, but the disadvantage of the "flight" being slowed by damage. If flotilla rules are reintroduced at some point that would be ideal.

Example one: (From Dockyard)
NAME:
Centauri ALTARIAN-class Destroyer (179)
ARMOR[_][_] [_] [_]
HULL [_][_][_] [_][_][_] [_][_]
THRUST [5][4][3][2][1] WEAPONS [_][1][2][3][4]
ECM [2][1][1][1][1] SHIELDS [_][_][_][_][_]
Hyperdrive
WEAPONS ARCS RANGE ATTACK DICE -4 -6 -8 -10
3× Matter Cannon [FX1][AA3] 4-8-12 12 8 6 4 3 2 2 1 1 1 0 0
4× Twin Array (Pnp) [TT2][FX2] 1-2-3 24 17 12 8 6 4 3 2 2 1 1 1
1× Sentri Fighters (Acr/Skr/Slw) [TT] 6-12-18 4 3 2 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0

Example 2: (also from Dockyard)
NAME:
Centauri SENTRI-class Fighters (36)
ARMOR
HULL [_][_] [_][_] [_][_]
THRUST [12][8][6][4][3] WEAPONS [_][1][2][3][4]
ECM [_][_][_][_][_] SHIELDS [_][_][_][_][_]
Stealth (2)
WEAPONS ARCS RANGE ATTACK DICE -4 -6 -8 -10
6× Ultra-light Particle Beam [FR] 1-2-3 12 8 6 4 3 2 2 1 1 1 0 0
Duskland
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Re: Are Fighters really all that effective?

Postby madpax » Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:11 pm

Personnaly, I cheated (shame on me) when creating ships with fighters. I feel fighters are an interesting dimension on Starmada. losing them because they are way too ineffective is too bad.
So I significantly reduced the CR of ships carrying them, because currently, carriers are way too expensive. I've played one game with them so far (from my own SFA ships), but ships were dying too early to see fighters action. Maybe my current game (hydran vs kzinti) will tem me more).
Also, I've begun to like the 'seekers' as fighters. It could be an interesting way to simulate them, launching from fighter bays, attacking, then coming back to refuel, rearm and repair.
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Re: Are Fighters really all that effective?

Postby BeowulfJB » Sat Dec 08, 2012 7:58 pm

Hello everyone,
The ships I played in the game here in Jacksonville Thursday were fairly typical ships of mine; they had no shields, no ECM, and no stealth. They did have good firepower tho. If you look in the B-Basin, you can get an idea of what my DNs look like.
I am puzzled with how ineffective fighters are in S:NE. In earlier editions, they were formitable, having good firepower. Here are some simple ideas to bring them up to par:
One idea is to give fighters "Accuracy", they will now hit on 4+ at no added cost. This will boost their firepower 50%, and will involve no changes to any ship designer programs.
If this is not enough, perhaps fighters can hit on 3+ at no extra cost. Again, I am trying to make them more cost-effective with as little trouble as possible.
:idea: Maybe we can try these ideas here in Jacksonville... What are other people's thoughts?
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Re: Are Fighters really all that effective?

Postby murtalianconfederacy » Sun Dec 09, 2012 9:53 am

Maybe do a similar step to what Beowulf is proposing, but instead add a +1 modifier to fighter attacks on ships, so they'd achieve a ~40% firepower increase? That, or allow fighters to ignore the first level of stealth/ECM against a target...?

TBH, I'm not that much of a fighter jock (as many will know, I'm a big gun battleship fan and I only put fighters on my ships to deal with the fighter swarms that seemed an instant-win button in earlier editions), so I haven't really noticed that much of an issue (unfortunately, I haven't been able to play a single game of Nova Edition because Real Life always gets in the way... :( )
Staff Door at my local Waterstones:

"This door is alarmed"

:) :)
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Re: Are Fighters really all that effective?

Postby BeowulfJB » Fri Dec 14, 2012 2:42 pm

We played another game of Starmada here in Jacksonville with my friend Jabba6z playing a swarm of fighters with his fleet. We kept the costs & hit points of the fighter-flights the same as in the book and on the DryDock, but let them hit on a 3+. Although the fighters did more damage, my fleet of 2 DNs and three DDs triumphed. I lost one DN and had two DDs damaged, but all the fighters were shot down and the ships escorting them were destroyed. Only the lightly armed & armored CV survived of the fleet Jabba6Z brought. This CV wisely stayed far away and descretely warped out.
:idea: What we may try next is giving fighters twice the number of shots. A regular fighter-flight gets 6 shots and a strong-fighter flight gets 8 shots. This might make the fighters Cost Effective.
No one here in Jacksonville used ECM, Stealth, (or even shields) so these things are not a problem. Perhaps a fighter-flight could half the ECM/Stealth rating, rounding down. So an ECM/Stealth rating of one would be ignored, a rating of 2 or 3 would give fighter flights a -1, etc. This would reflect the fighter pilots attacking at shorter range than ships do.
We will continue to find a way to make fighters cost effective without changing their cost, etc, but rather by adjusting their firepower.
Cheers
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Re: Are Fighters really all that effective?

Postby BeowulfJB » Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:45 pm

My friends and I are playing Starmada tomorrow (Thursday Dec19) here in Jacksonville.
We will use fighters, probably giving them twice the number of shots as they have in the Rulebook. This will give regular fighter-flights six shots, strong fighter-flights eight shots. We will have them hit on either 3+. This will probably make them cost effective, without having to change their CRs or SUs. This way there is no need to modify the DryDock or any of the ships in the supplements.
Any thoughts from anyone else?
We are determined to find the right combination of firepower and to-hit-number. I think we're close. 8-)
Darn the Fusion Torpedoes; full speed ahead!
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Re: Are Fighters really all that effective?

Postby BeowulfJB » Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:19 am

I think that we have been successful in increasing the firepower of fighters to make them more worth their cost.
:idea: We gave the fighters twice the number of shots as they have in the Rulebook. Thus regular fighter-flights have six shots, strong fighter-flights have eight shots. We have them hit on either 3+. This made them cost effective, without having to change their CRs or SUs. This way there is no need to modify the DryDock or any of the ships in the supplements.
Having them hit on a 3+ can be justified by the manuverability of fighters; the much-bigger ships are easier for them to aim at and fire at.
But more important is that this worked; this increased firepower makes fighters much more formitable. 8-)
Cheers
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Re: Are Fighters really all that effective?

Postby madpax » Sat Dec 22, 2012 8:26 pm

Great. I'm almost over reworking all my SFA fleets, and one modification involved making all fighters as seekers. Currently, slow fighters are range 12 seekers, fast ones are range 18 and average speed is range 15. Normally I play Starmada thrusday and will try them as they are. Maybe I will increase the range if I find that carriers are too vulnerable because they have to enter heavy weapon reach.
I can also propose the carrier in two flavour, normal fighters with your mods (double attacks, hit on 3+) and seekers.

Marc
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Re: Are Fighters really all that effective?

Postby madpax » Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:49 am

madpax wrote:I can also propose the carrier in two flavour, normal fighters with your mods (double attacks, hit on 3+) and seekers.

Marc

I quote myself, that's a first. :D
Finally, I won't. My problem was not -only- that there are not powerful enough, it's mainly that their cost is horrendous. Here are two versions of the same carrier:
- The common basis is hull 24, thrust 5, Shield 3+, armor 18, hyperdrive, 12 point defense phaser (TT, BAS .8, RNG 3, Pnp)
- Seeker mode: Add 24 fighters (TT, BAS 1.5, RNG 15, Skr, Gid, Dx2, Slw), cost 494
- Real Fighter mode: Add 30 medium fighters, cost 1157

Thus, filling the basis with fighters as seekers cost less than half than filling the same SU with real fighters. I can say that the fighter-mode carrier is more efficient, especially with twice the number of shots and 3+ (hence four times the power of official fighters), but my wish is to have carriers costing about the same as ships the same size. For instance, replacing fighters as seeker and point defense phaser with 6 x photon torps (FF, BAS 1, RNG 15, Gid, Dx2, Prc) and 12 x phasers (TT, BAS 1.2, RNG 9) costs 486.
Almost the same cost, two different ship using the same hull.
With a cost of 1157, I'm sure it will never ever be deployed on my table.

Marc
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