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khaine1969

Starship combat system doesnt work

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I have to admit that for being a game (a good one) based on Star Wars, the space combat indeed is one of the weakest mechanics of the game. My experience with the game is that single crewed fast star fighters suck when compared to multy-crewed ships like the YT-2400.

 

And yes, sadly enough, being an awesome pilot does not make the difference at all in space combat. It gives a plus sure, but no more. If you for example compare what a fully trained marauder + vibro ax (or a  soldier + heavy blaster rifle) can do in personal combat to what a fully trained pilot can do with a X-wing in space combat... The marauder (or the ranged monster) will make the difference, the pilot will not.

 

With this I am not saying I am in favor of one or the other, but it is really discriminatory.

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Sure, the Ace specs focus differently, but if you take both gunner and pilot, you're pretty **** dangerous, add in a group member as squadron leader to boost (using Form on Me), and those fast X-wings are going to cause crazy havoc against a solitary YT-2400.

 

In addition the x-wings (should) have astromechs, which depending on how you run it, can really improve a lot of stuff, whether you run it as a basic assist thing, or give it its own initiative slot to do stuff, or some other solution.

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Sure, the Ace specs focus differently, but if you take both gunner and pilot, you're pretty **** dangerous, add in a group member as squadron leader to boost (using Form on Me), and those fast X-wings are going to cause crazy havoc against a solitary YT-2400.

 

In addition the x-wings (should) have astromechs, which depending on how you run it, can really improve a lot of stuff, whether you run it as a basic assist thing, or give it its own initiative slot to do stuff, or some other solution.

Not to kick this dead horse but wtf, why not.  There are simply some that are assigning too much emotional value to the Pilot skill.  This game is a fusion of Skills and Talents.  A Slicer can have a 5 Skill in Ranged whatever and they will pale against a BH/Gadgeteer with a 2 Skill and their whole Talent tree filled out.  Conversely the BH/Gadgeteer can have a 5 Mechanics and they will be nowhere near what a Mechanic with a 3 Skill rank and their tree filled out can accomplish.  Bottom line is you don't get the full monty from a Skill if you don't have complementary Talents and that's just how this game is put together.  It might not meet some folks expectations but that doesn't mean it's broken.

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My experience with the game is that single crewed fast star fighters suck when compared to multy-crewed ships like the YT-2400.

 

Considering the Falcon easily defeated four TIE Fighters, that kinda feels about right. However, we've done a few things to try and minimize the penalties for a single-seat astromech-less fighter:

 

1-Maneuvers to change the speed (Accelerate and Punch It) can be performed once per round as incidentals.

2-Co-Pilots can't perform Pilot-only maneuvers [i think this is RAW but just in case]

3-A pilots can fire two weapons at the same target using the Two-Weapon rules. [This was brought about by the "four hands" thread but we haven't played this way yet]

 

Is there anything else that would help?

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I suppose all I can say is that the next time I have a fresh group for this game I will be explaining and rolling out space combat in a very different manner. With my current group we were all kind of learning together and now a year in I'm not sure if I can salvage space combat with them or not. I definitely take ownership for my part, but there are also several mindsets at the table that are preventing forward motion. I think it's fantastic as written, if admittedly niche. But I also believe you get one shot at rolling this thing out in an interesting manner for old 3.5'ers and then it's curtains.

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I have to admit that for being a game (a good one) based on Star Wars, the space combat indeed is one of the weakest mechanics of the game. My experience with the game is that single crewed fast star fighters suck when compared to multy-crewed ships like the YT-2400.

 

And yes, sadly enough, being an awesome pilot does not make the difference at all in space combat. It gives a plus sure, but no more. If you for example compare what a fully trained marauder + vibro ax (or a  soldier + heavy blaster rifle) can do in personal combat to what a fully trained pilot can do with a X-wing in space combat... The marauder (or the ranged monster) will make the difference, the pilot will not.

 

With this I am not saying I am in favor of one or the other, but it is really discriminatory.

 

I'm guessing you've never played in a space combat where a pilot had Master Pilot. It is absolute murder in play, and creates a sizable difference in effectiveness between pilots that have it and those that don't. 

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I'm guessing you've never played in a space combat where a pilot had Master Pilot. It is absolute murder in play, and creates a sizable difference in effectiveness between pilots that have it and those that don't. 

 

Yes I have a player with this talent, an indeed it is a good one i.e. you may fire two weapons in one round. In single crewed ships is a must. Thing is that star-fighters are very weak (X-wing Armor: 3 Hull: 10) , 2 - 3 shoots from laser cannons or one torpedo and the risk of being out of combat is way too high for my PCs (may be I terrified them with space combat). On the other hand I have found that in multycrewed ships, where all the gun systems are filled by other crew members, master pilot is not that spectacular, but my players may have missed the most effective way to use it.

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Ok, I´m new here, but I´d like to give my two cents; apparently everybody is forgetting that according to the skills description, an opposed check is necessary to set what weapons can be brought to bear. Its clear that the description invalidates the "take the advantage" action, but the opposed check accounts for the pilot´s skill and ship´s maneuverability. So, you might not fire upon a ship that your weapons are not facing to, the game DOES pay attention to fire arcs. Another point, remenber that set distance also works in shoot and run tactics through the use of the "punshing it" maneuver. Shoot and run is essential to attack freighters and other heavy vessels.

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An A-Wing trying to Punch It to full speed would literally knock itself out of combat.

 

No, it wouldn't. Even ignoring for the moment the extremely unlikely scenario of an A-Wing attempting to accelerate to full speed from 0, the craft would only be disabled if the amount of system strain it sustained exceeded its System Strain Threshold. (Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook page 237)

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Pushing aircraft to their max limits and causing enormous Strain is completely realistic as well.  It costs like $16,000 an hour in flight maintenance costs to keep an F-16 combat ready and that's a bargain.  F-22s are upwards of nearly $30,000 an hour.  High performance fighters literally tear themselves apart.

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Pushing aircraft to their max limits and causing enormous Strain is completely realistic as well.  It costs like $16,000 an hour in flight maintenance costs to keep an F-16 combat ready and that's a bargain.  F-22s are upwards of nearly $30,000 an hour.  High performance fighters literally tear themselves apart.

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I have to admit that for being a game (a good one) based on Star Wars, the space combat indeed is one of the weakest mechanics of the game.

 

To be fair to FFG - the starfighter combat in all three systems, D6, D20 and here - all stink. While some stink less than others (the D20 was nearly unplayable), it's a condition that applies pretty universally and across the board.

Edited by Desslok

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To be fair to FFG - the starfighter combat in all three systems, D6, D20 and here - all stink. While some stink less than others (the D20 was nearly unplayable), it's a condition that applies pretty universally and across the board.

 

I am no expert of sc-fi rpgs, is there any sc-fi rpg where starship combat does not stink?

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One thing that took me awhile to figure out is that you have to actually perform a fly/drive maneuver to move your ship, regardless of what the current speed is.  A ship could be at speed 5, but if the pilot doesn't use the maneuver (or is incapacitated), it just stays dead in space.  That didn't (and still doesn't) make a whole lot of sense to me.  I can see it done mechanically just to match the way individual combat works, but objects in a zero-G environment have inertia and keep moving at their current velocity, unlike a PC on a planet surface who stands still when he stops moving his legs :)

 

Even considering that "speed" is an abstraction that takes into consideration acceleration and deceleration to maintain velocity and direction (I realize that Star Wars is light on physics), I'm forced to imagine a speed 5 ship spinning around in tight circles because it's pilot fell asleep :)

 

Of course, I could be missing something in the rules.  It wouldn't be the first time.

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One thing that took me awhile to figure out is that you have to actually perform a fly/drive maneuver to move your ship, regardless of what the current speed is.  A ship could be at speed 5, but if the pilot doesn't use the maneuver (or is incapacitated), it just stays dead in space.  That didn't (and still doesn't) make a whole lot of sense to me.  I can see it done mechanically just to match the way individual combat works, but objects in a zero-G environment have inertia and keep moving at their current velocity, unlike a PC on a planet surface who stands still when he stops moving his legs :)

 

Even considering that "speed" is an abstraction that takes into consideration acceleration and deceleration to maintain velocity and direction (I realize that Star Wars is light on physics), I'm forced to imagine a speed 5 ship spinning around in tight circles because it's pilot fell asleep :)

 

Of course, I could be missing something in the rules.  It wouldn't be the first time.

 

It's not dead in the water, it's just maneuvering more-so than moving in a straight line. Remember that being in the Close range band can be up to several kilometers in distance, so the pilot is swooping in and out, up and down, in and around trying not to get blasted.

 

-EF

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Yeah, I think the Fly/Drive issue can be a bit confusing, but whenever Sam Stewart has discussed it he tries to make it very clear that you don't NEED to be doing Fly/Drive every maneuver in order to by flying your ship.

 

I think it's designed to represent the relative distance between starships as they're flying through space. So if you and another starship are in a dogfight or in a chase, you might need to use Fly/Drive to get close enough to attack the other ship, or to get out of range in order to escape.

 

But that doesn't mean your ship is just hovering in space when you're not doing it--both your ships are zipping through space at high speed. They just might not be getting any closer to each other.

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When I was a kid, I used to lay my matchbox cars out on the ground and imagine there was a big race going on. Then I'd maneuver them relative to each other, based on who was winning. I was still imagining all the cars were speeding ahead at 300 mph, but they just weren't moving much relative to each other.

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But space isn't a racetrack.  The problem is the basic assumption, that if *nobody* is flying/driving then they're all moving at the same velocities in exactly parallel vectors and do not change position relative to each other.  This breaks "suspension of disbelief" immediately:  a TIE moving at speed 5 who does not "fly" will not overshoot or depart from a freighter moving at 2 who also does not "fly".  What is this mysterious glue that holds them together?  :)

 

There has to be a better way...

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They should have called Fly/Drive, change range, or even just move.  The verbiage is not helpful.  I cry every time I say Close and Short range aloud.  I cannot fathom why engaged had to be replaced in game jargon between space and personal scales.

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The verbiage is not helpful.  I cry every time I say Close and Short range aloud.  I cannot fathom why engaged had to be replaced in game jargon between space and personal scales.

 

I don't see why they changed the names either (perhaps Close was first and they changed the name of the personal scale to emphasis that it was melee range). I'm a big fan of game terms that can be said by characters as in-world speech. I can totally see a character saying,

 

"Engage those TIE Bombers before they get to the medical frigate"

or

"Red Leader moving to engage the TIEs"

etc. 

 

Rather than "move to close range with those TIE Bombers". Not as natural. 

Edited by Hedgehobbit

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But space isn't a racetrack.  The problem is the basic assumption, that if *nobody* is flying/driving then they're all moving at the same velocities in exactly parallel vectors and do not change position relative to each other.  This breaks "suspension of disbelief" immediately:  a TIE moving at speed 5 who does not "fly" will not overshoot or depart from a freighter moving at 2 who also does not "fly".  What is this mysterious glue that holds them together?   :)

 

There has to be a better way...

 

The better way is to not think of it as the pilot making an effort to fly away.

 

Think of it, instead, that the pilot is not doing some other maneuver that would change their course. If they don't spend any maneuvers, then they are flying around looking for a clear shot. 

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But space isn't a racetrack.  The problem is the basic assumption, that if *nobody* is flying/driving then they're all moving at the same velocities in exactly parallel vectors and do not change position relative to each other.  This breaks "suspension of disbelief" immediately:  a TIE moving at speed 5 who does not "fly" will not overshoot or depart from a freighter moving at 2 who also does not "fly".  What is this mysterious glue that holds them together?   :)

 

There has to be a better way...

 

The better way is to not think of it as the pilot making an effort to fly away.

 

Think of it, instead, that the pilot is not doing some other maneuver that would change their course. If they don't spend any maneuvers, then they are flying around looking for a clear shot. 

 

No, that's the point.  Why are they assumed to be flying around looking for a clear shot?  Why are they assumed to be trying to stay together at all?

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But space isn't a racetrack.  The problem is the basic assumption, that if *nobody* is flying/driving then they're all moving at the same velocities in exactly parallel vectors and do not change position relative to each other.  This breaks "suspension of disbelief" immediately:  a TIE moving at speed 5 who does not "fly" will not overshoot or depart from a freighter moving at 2 who also does not "fly".  What is this mysterious glue that holds them together?   :)

 

There has to be a better way...

 

The better way is to not think of it as the pilot making an effort to fly away.

 

Think of it, instead, that the pilot is not doing some other maneuver that would change their course. If they don't spend any maneuvers, then they are flying around looking for a clear shot. 

 

No, that's the point.  Why are they assumed to be flying around looking for a clear shot?  Why are they assumed to be trying to stay together at all?

 

 

Because it's combat. 

 

If they aren't, then they fly in a straight line (the player spends a maneuver) and there they go.

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