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Star Trek: Attack Wing» Forums » Variants

Subject: The Federation in the Babylon 5 Battle of the Line? rss

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David Griffin
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As you may remember, the Battle of the Line was the Babylon 5 universe invasion of Earth's solar system by Minbari forces. Just to create a little needless (but hopefully fun) speculation, how successful would the Federation be if they tried to help Earthforce defend Earth?

1. In the NX era?
2. In the Kirk TOS Era?
3. In the Kirk Movie Era?
4. In the Next Generation Era?

There is of course no real conclusion because there is no data to pull from so to a large extent, this is kind of wish fulfillment. But I'd like to know what people think. We don't know much. We know that the Minbari have anti-gravity (as do the feds in any era) and FTL drive (though speed is hard to quantify). Shields don't seem to be a thing in B5 though organic skins seem to help dissipate some damage. Plus the Minbari have a stealth system that makes lock-ons hard to make or does it? How does the stealth system match up to a Romulan cloaking device?

So how about some unverified speculation?
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K A
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In TOS Kirk era, McCoy would have discovered the Minbari/Human link and ended the war earlier.
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Bwian, just
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I'd put Minbari stealth systems around where STAW puts cloaks, actually: harder to hit, but still possible if you get close enough. I don't recall anyone having FTL drives in B5, though: younger races all use (probably Vorlon-inspired) jumpgates to enter hyperspace, which the Vorlons and Shadows also use. At a tactical level, though, everything is sublight. There's also more "active defenses" than I'm used to seeing in Trek: fighters and turrets are used in intercept enemy fire as well as damaging the enemy directly.

If we can use the stats from Babylon 5 Wars (and last I heard, JMS said Agent of Gaming's stuff was canon), then there are some races with somewhat effective shields. But IIRC ships get hit a lot, and the biggest defenses are armor and ablative blocks of hull. But one of the biggest problem in the Earth-Minbari War was that the Minbari tended to have better logistics and intelligence as well as technology: they would show up with twice as many ships to a battle, regardless of how much more capable each individual ship was. (The sourcebook with scenarios from that war used many "hypothetical" engagements: what would have happened if the Minbari hadn't spotted that trap, what if the humans had used a modified version of this trick.)

To answer your original question: I would put the Minbari around TNG-era Romulans, maybe? So, TNG-era ships would be near parity; if the Minbari lose their logistical advantages, Earth might even hold out without Valen Ex Machina. Before TNG, I think things get much more sketchy.
 
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Evan
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I dunno, I think I'd put them somewhere between ENT and TOS. Transporters are a potential game changer, though they're finicky enough that I wouldn't be surprised if they couldn't get through Minbari stealth technology. Trek sensors can do some pretty fancy things with tachyons and subspace and whatnot, but the Minbari are really old and powerful, so sure, we can throw them a bone vis-a-vis their Mysterious Space Tech. Still, Sheridan destroyed the Black Star with nuclear weapons, so "photon spread, over there somewhere" should be all it takes.
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Bwian, just
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Fair point on the transporters, although I'm never clear that anyone in Trek has great transporter doctrine. At least in SFB they use transporter bombs fairly regularly. (But that is not, of course, Star Trek. This message brought to you by the Star Fleet Universe licensing board.) If B5 shields actually stop transporters, suddenly the White Star fleet (and the Abbai, of all people) become much more powerful.

The Minbari stealth tech prevents target locks, so anything aimed over iron sights should be just fine. You could do that with either phasers or photons, as I recall, you just have better odds of hitting the closer you get. I could look up the standard weapon range of Minbari Neutron Lasers, but comparing weapon ranges between franchises is beyond my ability to suspend disbelief...
 
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Ben Wilson
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kobold47 wrote:
...the Minbari are really old and powerful, so sure, we can throw them a bone...




In all seriousness, this is something I've thought of a lot before, as both a Trekkie and a hardcore B5 fan... The Minbari are too fast and strong for Archer's Enterprise, especially without shields. Kirk's Enterprise(s) could stand up pretty well, I'd imagine. Sure, no weapon locks would be a handicap, but as we saw from tWoK, put the right gunner in the seat and you can inflict a lot of precision damage. I don't think antimatter warheads are ever mentioned in B5 but 2 nukes vaporised the biggest and baddest Minbari ship of all time so you have to imagine a barrage of photons would leave the Minbari reeling.

As such, with a century of added tech, Picard's Enterprise would easily take the fight to the Minbari, and the Defiant could deal a hell of a lot of damage.

Now if only someone will make a compatible B5-themed Attack Wing-style game, we'll be able to find out properly!
 
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Bwian, just
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Nebagram wrote:
I don't think antimatter warheads are ever mentioned in B5 but 2 nukes vaporised the biggest and baddest Minbari ship of all time so you have to imagine a barrage of photons would leave the Minbari reeling.

I don't know if antimatter weaponry is discussed on screen, but it is used in Babylon 5 Wars. The Minbari even have a few weapons that use it, although those are currently deprecated in favor of their fusion canon and neutron lasers. The Vree are the younger race that uses it the most.

I hadn't realized how high the yield on photon torpedoes was supposed to be, though. I figured they were in the sub- to tactical-nuclear range, but reading up reveals that isn't true. So, yes, once you get close enough to hit without target locks, those are going to do some serious damage.

Nebagram wrote:
Now if only someone will make a compatible B5-themed Attack Wing-style game, we'll be able to find out properly!

Honestly, there are other spaceship games out there. People have written up Trek and B5 ships for several generic systems, and once upon a time there was a decent community of people adapting ships for B5W. Actually, it occurs to me that A Call to Arms: Babylon 5 Space Combat has both B5 and Star Fleet Universe versions, which is pretty close to TOS Trek.
 
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Evan Burris
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Bwian wrote:
Minbari Neutron Lasers...


Lasers can't penetrate Starfleet navigational deflectors.
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Bwian, just
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PicardX wrote:
Bwian wrote:
Minbari Neutron Lasers...


Lasers can't penetrate Starfleet navigational deflectors.

Neutron Lasers aren't lasers. I forget all the technobabble that goes along with them, but they aren't coherent light. They might even be a collimated neutron beam, which would inflict crazy amounts of damage.

I did think of that, at least...
 
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Typheron Joyzxqk
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PicardX wrote:
Bwian wrote:
Minbari Neutron Lasers...


Lasers can't penetrate Starfleet navigational deflectors.


That's inaccurate based on a single quote from a single episode about a (relative to the Enterprise) low tech ship. Build a big enough lazer and even a starfleet ship cannot repel firepower of that magnitude.
 
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Steven Redfearn
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Typheron wrote:
PicardX wrote:
Bwian wrote:
Minbari Neutron Lasers...


Lasers can't penetrate Starfleet navigational deflectors.


That's inaccurate based on a single quote from a single episode about a (relative to the Enterprise) low tech ship. Build a big enough lazer and even a starfleet ship cannot repel firepower of that magnitude.


Yeah, not like its a central part of the plot to "Conundrum". Also, Minbari dont have Deathstars so stop trying to move the goal posts.
 
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Typheron Joyzxqk
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Did I at any point mention deathstars?

its a simple case of energy transference, put enough energy out of a big enough lazer and you can overwhelm a shield, they can only absorb so much energy before failing.

Anyone know the output power of a mimbari lazer?
 
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Steven Redfearn
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Typheron wrote:
Did I at any point mention deathstars?


Really,'firepower of that magnitude', no reason to use it if that wasnt an image you wished to evoke.


 
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Typheron Joyzxqk
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its a phrase that is linked to unstoppable firepower, perfectly acceptable in context. Its you that started talking about mimbari deathstars, you could have just addressed the lazers Vs shields thing.

Not that lazers in that universe are actually lazers, but thats another thing entirely.

Was there ever a tech manual or anything semi canon to Babylon 5 that lists weapon power or anything like that? or did it not get that geeky enough to warrant such a thing?

 
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Evan Burris
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Well ships armed with X-ray lasers were deemed no match for a Galaxy-class starship in "Suddenly Human."
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Robert Wood
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And a D12 BoP shouldn't have grounded the Enterprise-D. :3 One never knows how the lazer of another universe might be calibrated. Wouldn't it be crazy if it were tuned to just the RIGHT frequency? devil
 
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David Griffin
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EduSun Trebor wrote:
And a D12 BoP shouldn't have grounded the Enterprise-D. :3 One never knows how the lazer of another universe might be calibrated. Wouldn't it be crazy if it were tuned to just the RIGHT frequency? devil


Both universes have their tech-doubletalk and forcing their tech to serve the story. You could say the same thing about the original "sin" of the Earthforce ship shooting up the Minbari ship, hitting it with their pants down so to speak. Since Minbari don't have shields, did that mean their target lock scrambler was down too? Otherwise why did it do much damage in the first place? Because the story needed it to, no other reason.

Plus even in B5Wars, the Minbari were powerful, but good dice rolls could cut a Minbari ship to pieces. But that NEVER happened except for the Blackstar in the show? That seems implausible, but the story needed it to be true in order for Sheridan to be so famous. We can believe that the Minbari were a LOT more powerful but not so one sided as to not account for luck.

You have to take individual instances with a bit of a grain of salt I think.

And as others have pointed out, it could be that we mistake some terms we hear in the show like "laser". We don't really know what a phaser is or a neutron laser. We know it's not an ACTUAL laser because that would be invisible in space right? We don't know what a turbo laser is either for you Star Wars nerds.

That said, if one side doesn't have a particular technology at all (say transporters) it's unlikely that their existing tech blocks its use (it would have to be totally accidental right?). Now you could envision range being an issue but certainly it would be a nasty surprise if a Star Trek ship got close. Even then though it's just supposition. Fun though huh?
 
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Bwian, just
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Typheron wrote:
Was there ever a tech manual or anything semi canon to Babylon 5 that lists weapon power or anything like that? or did it not get that geeky enough to warrant such a thing?

I tend to use my Babylon 5 Wars stuff, but they were smart enough not to use real units. Less risk of silliness like accidentally planet-cracking weapons and stuff like that.

In that system, a neutron laser would deal 19-45 damage, at fairly long range. The antimatter converter (which converts less than the 1.5 kg ostensibly in a photon torpedo) could deal 80 damage or so at point blank range, but was very dependent on being at close range for the higher damage values.

(The actual planet-cracking beam in the Vorlon Planet Killer didn't have a damage value. If you are in it's 4-hex traverse, you are destroyed. Boom.)

carbon_dragon wrote:
Plus even in B5Wars, the Minbari were powerful, but good dice rolls could cut a Minbari ship to pieces. But that NEVER happened except for the Blackstar in the show? That seems implausible, but the story needed it to be true in order for Sheridan to be so famous. We can believe that the Minbari were a LOT more powerful but not so one sided as to not account for luck.

If you look at the prequel movie, the Minbari didn't fight equal point value battles. They showed up with half again or more ships than the EA, and each individual ship was much more capable. In that case, yeah, I think you wouldn't have a lot of casualties on the Minbari side. Even in the B5W supplement dealing with the war, most scenarios were a)"what-if" scenarios where the Minbari fell for tricks that they didn't "in real life", and/or b) balanced so the EA wins if they destroy a single Minbari ship. Because gaming out the battles we see on the screen just wouldn't be very fun...

carbon_dragon wrote:
That said, if one side doesn't have a particular technology at all (say transporters) it's unlikely that their existing tech blocks its use (it would have to be totally accidental right?). Now you could envision range being an issue but certainly it would be a nasty surprise if a Star Trek ship got close. Even then though it's just supposition. Fun though huh?

It is fun. But you do run into some weird corners. Like the afore-mentioned transporter combat doctrine: if every ship carries multiple strategic nuclear weapons (photon torpedoes with 60 MT yield), then no ship should ever survive losing their shields for even a fraction of a second. No need to bring in any bone-headed aliens for that to confuse things. robot
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Steven Redfearn
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Typheron wrote:
its a phrase that is linked to unstoppable firepower, perfectly acceptable in context. Its you that started talking about mimbari deathstars, you could have just addressed the lazers Vs shields thing.


You made the obvious Deathstar reference with the quote, making it seem like you think that the Minbari were building Deathstar like ships with 'big enough lazers' as you put it. Throughout the series, the Sharlins never destroyed anything in 1 shot so you can see how I might be confused by your previous statement.

I don't think any of the directed energy weapons have been quantified, but we do know that 2 nukes will destroy a Sharlin. We also know that the 1701 Enterprise took a nuke to the nose without much fuss in "Balance of Terror".
 
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David Griffin
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SMDMadCow wrote:
Typheron wrote:
its a phrase that is linked to unstoppable firepower, perfectly acceptable in context. Its you that started talking about mimbari deathstars, you could have just addressed the lazers Vs shields thing.


You made the obvious Deathstar reference with the quote, making it seem like you think that the Minbari were building Deathstar like ships with 'big enough lazers' as you put it. Throughout the series, the Sharlins never destroyed anything in 1 shot so you can see how I might be confused by your previous statement.

I don't think any of the directed energy weapons have been quantified, but we do know that 2 nukes will destroy a Sharlin. We also know that the 1701 Enterprise took a nuke to the nose without much fuss in "Balance of Terror".


Obviously you could do the same "how do they relate" thing with Star Wars. In fact I bought Armada and did up a few Star Trek ships. But there too, what happens is you decide based on your own prejudices how the two sides will "mesh" and you make the ship to match. You don't "find out" anything of course. By the way, I made my Sovereign and Galaxy classes to compete will with Imperial Star Destroyers.

When I did my Federation vs. the Shadows game using A Call to Action (B5) game with my own custom Fed ships, I set up the next generation to be a fair match for the shadows and vorlons. My Movie era ships were set up to be hard matches for the Minbari and the NX era and the TOS ships were more like what you might use against Earthforce ships of the Battle of the Line era.

This wasn't because I could figure out that's where they should be, I just did that to create some interesting potential games. By the way, my Feds managed to kill the Shadows after a hard battle but it could have gone the other way.

I hate the reasoning from conclusions though -- starting out with the conclusion you want and trying to justify it. It'd be nice to actually determine some way to gain some insight, and discussing it is good fun.

I'll also say that any of you who go to GenCon (I haven't been in a few years) might remember that there's a guy who does Full Thrust games with ships from all different Genres and I love that sort of thing. Even played in one once. It's so cool to see Star Trek, B5, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactical, and a bunch of others all on the board at the same time. I have quite a mini collection of all sorts of TV shows.
 
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