Peter Wiles
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So I got all the components basically done (except the for the main board.. my printer has suddenly decided it does not want to print red!) so I tried out a mission to better get into the rules. A few questions came up in my play. Well maybe more than a few. Sorry to throw so much at you..

1) My first question regarded firing on unidentified targets. Let me run through what I did and you can tell me if I did it correctly. The mission I was sent on involved me with 8 ships (6A and 2B) looking for a group of 6 enemies (4A and 2B). I loaded up and went out. I got lucky and picked out the objective chit right away, so I placed the contact markers (enemy side up) on the radar at L range. Then I got lucky again and didn't roll any other contacts.

So, since this was the only group I had to deal with, I figured I might as well let loose and fire everything I had. The enemies were in the 090-150 sector. So, if I understand the rules correctly, the ships I had in the 030-090, 090-150, 150-210, and HVU areas can all fire. So my question was whether this worked in the same way as an early detection scenario. The underlined sentence on page 10 seems to imply that this is the case (even though I did not actually roll for early detection, I guess the mission intel serves as the early detection). So I let loose.. it was A LOT of missiles (46 RGM-84Cs). One of my ships had two types of SSM missiles. I wasn't sure if a ship can fire off two types or just one at a time. Since I was already dealing with a huge number of missiles, I decided to hold the BGM 109Bs for later [on a side note, the USS Iowa holds 32 109Bs, but there are only a total of 28 accounted for in the counters. That ship is a monster compared to the other B ships!].

Since I was treating this as an early detection, I skipped to assigning the missiles to individual targets. I pulled out four A and 2 B enemy counters and put at the top. [On another side note, I didn't want to roll for each missile, so what I did was automatically assign 6 missiles to each, and then randomly assigned the remaining 10]

I rolled for SAMs, Point Defences and then assigned damage. One thing that isn't made clear in the rules was whether the enemies get to fire back in an early detection scenario. I assumed that they didn't. and skipped on to movement.

Does that sound right?

2) Enemy Targeting is not specified exactly in the rules. I can see two sensible options. One is to just randomly assign missiles to all the ships in the group. This is consistent to how enemies are targeted. The other option is for the enemy to first target ships in the screen band in its same sector, then if it is empty, target ships in the HVU area (I was thinking this because of the use of the word "screen" which implies some kind of defensive barrier in my mind.. but I know nothing about the navy so I may be way off here). If this is the case, though, what if there are no units in the HVU section? Do they fire through it and target screen ships that are on the other side? Do they target screen ships in adjacent sectors? Theoretically, I like the second option as it seems to make things a bit more tactical, forcing you to make decisions about how you are going to turn.. do you face the enemy with your ships that have better defense, or do you turn so that more offensive weapons are brought to bear.

3) A TAC card came up that I was unsure of, so I looked through the rest and found a few others that I had questions about
a. Two cards say that a number of "OPFOR Units" appear at Vlong range. I know that OPFOR means opposition force. I am actually stuck on the "unit" term. Does this mean than an enemy surface contact appears, or does this mean that I actually pick out an identified unit from the bag? In the rules, it seems that the word "unit" refers to the actual ships.

b. One card says to add another objective. What if the mission already has 2? I was thinking to just throw in a random counter in the bag

c. A card says that an extra ship is added to the objective. The second mission that I drew did not have any specific units known (the escort hospital ship mission). I guess I am hung on the word "extra". Does that mean that now there will be a type B ship waiting for me? Or since there was no objective force, is this effect ignored?

d. Some of the cards change the rules of engagement. In the Tac Card section, it says that a card stays in effect until a new one is drawn. So will the rules of engagement change back to the default once another card is drawn? If so, what is the purpose of the "weapons free before contacts are identified by type" card? Isn't this the default rule?

4) My last set of questions involves the issue of damaged ships. I was unclear about what happens to ships that take on damage, but aren't "damaged". As I understand it, if a ship takes on more than half its damage value, its card is flipped to "damaged". What if it takes on less than half? Is it considered damaged when going back to port for the purposes of repair? If not, does it keep the damage counters for future missions?

On a related note, since the damaged side of the card has fewer munitions listed, I am assuming that if these have not been already deployed, the extras are lost, correct?

5) I am sad to report that you have a mistake on the first counter sheet. You don't have the A, B, and C counter backs lined up correctly. It isn't a big deal for me, since you already have them color coded on the front. I thought you'd like to know, though.

Anyway, enjoyed trying it out. I think I will pick out a smaller scale mission to try out next.

[edited to fix typo]
 
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Pedro Barradas
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wilesps wrote:
So I got all the components basically done (except the for the main board.. my printer has suddenly decided it does not want to print red!) so I tried out a mission to better get into the rules. A few questions came up in my play. Well maybe more than a few. Sorry to throw so much at you..


All good, I do value your playtesting more than I can say!

There's lots of stuff here, so I'll take one at a time:


wilesps wrote:
2) Enemy Targeting is not specified exactly in the rules. I can see two sensible options. One is to just randomly assign missiles to all the ships in the group. This is consistent to how enemies are targeted. The other option is for the enemy to first target ships in the screen band in its same sector, then if it is empty, target ships in the HVU area (I was thinking this because of the use of the word "screen" which implies some kind of defensive barrier in my mind.. but I know nothing about the navy so I may be way off here). If this is the case, though, what if there are no units in the HVU section? Do they fire through it and target screen ships that are on the other side? Do they target screen ships in adjacent sectors? Theoretically, I like the second option as it seems to make things a bit more tactical, forcing you to make decisions about how you are going to turn.. do you face the enemy with your ships that have better defense, or do you turn so that more offensive weapons are brought to bear.


Usually missile engagements are made from a long distance, so the firing units cannot target specific units in a task force. What usually happens is that the missile salvo itself will acquire targets based on the target's radar cross section. Meaning, larger ships will be more likely to attract missiles than smaller ones.

Having said that, this is where the "screen" concept comes into play.
They are further out from the center of the formation, so their chances of being hit are greater. At the same time, the reason for them to be in the screen is twofold. To try to reduce the size of the salvo, and to give enough early warning to the core formation. This applies mostly in regards to submarine threats, because missiles are so quick that they fly the distance between screen and core very quickly.

That's why ships like the Ticonderoga class are usually pretty close to the high value units, not in screen positions. (This is debatable though)

All of the above would have to be taken into consideration for a game that dealt with individual units in detail (like harpoon), but in this case, some abstraction has to be made.

Your tactical reasoning is quite sound, but at this day and age, missile engagements do change things a bit. Real-life missile engagements have been limited to on-on-one situations (Israel-Egipt, 1967). Large missile engagements, have just been theorised.

Most ship-to-ship missiles use terminal radar guidance, which means they will fly to a certain position, then turn radars on and then acquire targets.
The firing ship's radar horizon is shorter than the range of the missiles, so they cannot target ships directly. Like I said above, most ship to ship engagements are long distance, beyond visual and radar range. There are exceptions though...

So in reply to your question, when it comes to missiles, the enemy fires the salvo at the task force as a whole.
I will consider what you said previously. Maybe the ships than will be acquired by missiles will only be the ones in the 3 screen zones facing the threat plus the HVU area. The other 3 screen zones would be "safe" from the salvo...


This leads to another problem, how to quickly distribute the salvo between target ships without wearing your dice!

The idea behind this is that some ships might get a larger distribution than others, and some might not get hit at all!
I would suggest that you treat large salvos in groups.
In the case you mentioned, 46 harpoons, I would suggest splitting this into groups of 4, therefore having to roll 12 times.

As far as naval doctrine goes, it is not a good idea to spend everything at once, but I guess that the way the mechanics implement objectives do lead to this... I might consider changing the system in order to "make" the player be more conservative when shooting:

1- At first I thought about having limited supplies of missiles, but that would be a bit cumbersome. I might revisit that idea, and have the player scribble down some easy logistics.

2- Another thought is to make sure the player goes through every chit.
Meaning, that if you find your objective in the first draws, you still have to conserve ammo for the trip back to port.

What's your opinion?
 
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wilesps wrote:
1) My first question regarded firing on unidentified targets. Let me run through what I did and you can tell me if I did it correctly. The mission I was sent on involved me with 8 ships (6A and 2B) looking for a group of 6 enemies (4A and 2B). I loaded up and went out. I got lucky and picked out the objective chit right away, so I placed the contact markers (enemy side up) on the radar at L range. Then I got lucky again and didn't roll any other contacts.


All good here.

wilesps wrote:
So, since this was the only group I had to deal with, I figured I might as well let loose and fire everything I had. The enemies were in the 090-150 sector. So, if I understand the rules correctly, the ships I had in the 030-090, 090-150, 150-210, and HVU areas can all fire.


Yep, fine.

wilesps wrote:
So my question was whether this worked in the same way as an early detection scenario. The underlined sentence on page 10 seems to imply that this is the case (even though I did not actually roll for early detection, I guess the mission intel serves as the early detection).


Not quite, early detection happens only if you roll. Indeed you had the intel, but you must consider that it's more like "I know where they should be, and how many", but not a "it's them for sure!"

wilesps wrote:
So I let loose.. it was A LOT of missiles (46 RGM-84Cs). One of my ships had two types of SSM missiles. I wasn't sure if a ship can fire off two types or just one at a time. Since I was already dealing with a huge number of missiles, I decided to hold the BGM 109Bs for later [on a side note, the USS Iowa holds 32 109Bs, but there are only a total of 28 accounted for in the counters. That ship is a monster compared to the other B ships!].


Usually the tomahawks are for land targets. I know I didn't make that clear. I will though. I will revise my notes, but I think that the BGM 109B are TLAM's (Land Attack Missiles). My bad!

wilesps wrote:
Since I was treating this as an early detection, I skipped to assigning the missiles to individual targets. I pulled out four A and 2 B enemy counters and put at the top. [On another side note, I didn't want to roll for each missile, so what I did was automatically assign 6 missiles to each, and then randomly assigned the remaining 10]


See previous post for this.

wilesps wrote:
I rolled for SAMs, Point Defences and then assigned damage. One thing that isn't made clear in the rules was whether the enemies get to fire back in an early detection scenario. I assumed that they didn't. and skipped on to movement.


That is correct.
They were surprised by the attack, but the next turn they will indeed fire. That only occurs because of early detection.

But the thing is, you didn't have early detection.
That only occurs with the radar roll.

Now, on page 7, at the top, regarding objective units, you can see:
"Because you already know how many they are, place the correct number of enemy Contact counters in the determined position. Note that you won't place the real enemy units there yet, you must positively identify them first!"

But this goes against what is said later in page 9:
"Contacts can be engaged once their side is determined. You don't have to know what specific ships are there..."

Sooo... my bad!

Again, we have two choices in re-writing here:

1-When we are trying to attack the Objective units, we must identify the ships by type. This does not apply to other enemy contacts.

The reason for this is that we have to make sure that our mission IS indeed accomplished. We do know that that's the objective chit, but in real life, a task group commander would have to make sure it's objective is the real one. It would be quite embarrassing to sink an enemy group that "looked" like the one we were after...

2-Get rid of what is in page 9. ALL Enemy units can only be engaged when identified by type. The only exception to this would be the "early detection".

Thoughts?
 
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wilesps wrote:
4) My last set of questions involves the issue of damaged ships. I was unclear about what happens to ships that take on damage, but aren't "damaged". As I understand it, if a ship takes on more than half its damage value, its card is flipped to "damaged". What if it takes on less than half? Is it considered damaged when going back to port for the purposes of repair? If not, does it keep the damage counters for future missions?


Good spot!
Yes, they are considered to have damage, even though they are not flipped (DAMAGED). I wasn't very clear.

In page 5:
"If a required type C unit is damaged and on Repair Box 3 or 2, the mission cannot be performed. Select another one without penalty. If it is on Repair Box 1, you can use that unit, but still using its damaged side and any damage counters on it."

I will change this part to reflect ALL unit types, and to make it clearer.

Meaning, if a ship has damage counters, it CAN go to repair.
If a ship is DAMAGED (as in flipped), it MUST go to repair.

Makes sense?
After all, it's your choice if you must send a slightly damaged ship into harms way or not...

wilesps wrote:
On a related note, since the damaged side of the card has fewer munitions listed, I am assuming that if these have not been already deployed, the extras are lost, correct?


That is correct.

wilesps wrote:
5) I am sad to report that you have a mistake on the first counter sheet. You don't have the A, B, and C counter backs lined up correctly. It isn't a big deal for me, since you already have them color coded on the front. I thought you'd like to know, though.


Darn! Thanks again!

wilesps wrote:
Anyway, enjoyed trying it out. I think I will pick out a smaller scale mission to try out next.


Thanks so much!
I'll reply to the tac card question soon.
 
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Peter Wiles
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pbar1469 wrote:

So in reply to your question, when it comes to missiles, the enemy fires the salvo at the task force as a whole.
I will consider what you said previously. Maybe the ships than will be acquired by missiles will only be the ones in the 3 screen zones facing the threat plus the HVU area. The other 3 screen zones would be "safe" from the salvo...


I guess I prefer this idea. It is consistent with who can fire out.



pbar1469 wrote:

This leads to another problem, how to quickly distribute the salvo between target ships without wearing your dice!

The idea behind this is that some ships might get a larger distribution than others, and some might not get hit at all!
I would suggest that you treat large salvos in groups.
In the case you mentioned, 46 harpoons, I would suggest splitting this into groups of 4, therefore having to roll 12 times.


If your intention is to have a more "uneven" distribution, then this method is better than rolling individually. When rolling individually for a lot of missiles, you will tend to have a more even distribution. Rolling in groups of 4 is certainly more convenient for using the counters, that way you don't have to do so much breaking up.

pbar1469 wrote:


1- At first I thought about having limited supplies of missiles, but that would be a bit cumbersome. I might revisit that idea, and have the player scribble down some easy logistics.

2- Another thought is to make sure the player goes through every chit.
Meaning, that if you find your objective in the first draws, you still have to conserve ammo for the trip back to port.

What's your opinion?


I'm not a big fan of having to keep track of missiles, but there is probably a way to do it that is workable. You could tie it into the vp system, where using up half more than half of the missiles incurs a vp penalty.
 
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pbar1469 wrote:

1-When we are trying to attack the Objective units, we must identify the ships by type. This does not apply to other enemy contacts.

The reason for this is that we have to make sure that our mission IS indeed accomplished. We do know that that's the objective chit, but in real life, a task group commander would have to make sure it's objective is the real one. It would be quite embarrassing to sink an enemy group that "looked" like the one we were after...

2-Get rid of what is in page 9. ALL Enemy units can only be engaged when identified by type. The only exception to this would be the "early detection".

Thoughts?


I like the idea that you need to identify the units by type in order to successfully accomplish the mission. Your reasoning here makes sense to me.
 
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pbar1469 wrote:

As far as naval doctrine goes, it is not a good idea to spend everything at once, but I guess that the way the mechanics implement objectives do lead to this... I might consider changing the system in order to "make" the player be more conservative when shooting:

1- At first I thought about having limited supplies of missiles, but that would be a bit cumbersome. I might revisit that idea, and have the player scribble down some easy logistics.

2- Another thought is to make sure the player goes through every chit.
Meaning, that if you find your objective in the first draws, you still have to conserve ammo for the trip back to port.

What's your opinion?


Another option would be for the stats on the ship cards to be the maximums allowed, and you have a certain number of points available to "purchase" weapons. This might be a fixed amount that you have for the whole campaign (basically your limited supply idea), or if you didn't want to have bookkeeping, there could be a fixed amount for each mission. I think the first option is kind of how Hornet Leader works.
 
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