Power Projection

21 August 2004

Day Game Attendance: Glenn, Erick, Scott McDonald, Kris
Evening Attendance: The day gamers plus: Matt & Karen Hoskins; Rany, Millia & Elliott Ison; T.C. Niedzielowski, Lisa; Rima; and, Mark McDonald
Menu: hamburgers, potato salad, cole slaw, Rima's homemade peach cobbler for dessert

Game Summary (by Glenn Goffin):

Tactics-0 did a Power Projection: Fleet scenario on Sat 21 Aug 04. I prepared and refereed the scenario. Kristian Miller and Erick Christgau handled the Imperial ships, and Scott MacDonald handled the Zhodani ships.

We got a late start, so we only played one of the scenarios that I had prepared. The game ended when Kris's wife Lisa and Erick's girlfriend Rima spotted a mountain lion on the hillside by Kristian's house. Everyone went outside to try to get a look (only Lisa and Rema actually saw it), which no doubt encouraged the mountain lion to hide. Total playing time from setting up the table to stopping the game was about 3 hours.

Imperial forces were Children of the March (Azhanti High Lightning class cruiser) and Zukhimie (Ghalalk class cruiser). Admiral von Mossadegh (Fleet Tactics-7) commanded the squadron, with Children of the March as his flagship. Capt. Dakhkhuefak was captain of Children of the March, and Capt. Amin had Zukhimie.

Zhodani forces were Eieizh and Zdensh (both Kefchenz class armored cruisers), under Fleet Officer Ziafebsteber (Fleet Tactics-5) aboard Zdensh. Captain Tliatloatl had Zdensh, and Capt. Chozienzhe'iashav had Eieizh.

The scenario was set during the Fifth Frontier War. Both sides had the same orders: jump to the gas giant, refuel, and jump back out. Dice rolls determined (1) that the Imperial force had completed refuelling and was leaving the gas giant when the Zhodani force jumped in at the jump limit and (2) that the outbound and inbound vectors of the two forces were two clock points apart (Zhodani inbound at 12 o'clock and Imperials outbound to 10 o'clock, with the gas giant as the center of the clock).

The gas giant system was based on Neptune/Sol. A penny represented the gas giant (50,000 km diameter would be 2/3 MU, or 2/3 of an inch, about the size of a penny), and a very small, white, pebble from beside Kristian's driveway served as the nearer, larger satellite of the gas giant, set about 4in from the gas giant, at 9 o'clock, moving clockwise.

The Zhodani force emerged from jump with no velocity, facing 10 o'clock, 60MU from the gas giant. The Imperial forces had a velocity of 1MU and were about 4MU from the gas giant.

Turn 1: The Zhodani turned toward the gas giant and began accelerating. The Imperials accelerated and turned toward the Zhodani. The Imperial ships began to increase distance from one another. All forces were out of weapons range.

Turn 2: Zhodani accelerated toward the gas giant. The Imperials accelerated toward the Zhodani. Zukhimie launched BPL missiles, anticipating that Eieizh would come within range in the next turn.

Turn 3: Movement was the same as turn 2. Zukhimie's BPL missiles detonated 9MU from Eieizh, causing significant damage. Zukhimie and Children of the March launched more BPL missiles. Zukhimie's spinal meson gun hit Eieizh, but was neutralized by the meson screen.

Turn 4: Movement was the same as turn 3. Both sets of Imperial BPL missiles detonated within 6MU of Eieizh, and Children of the March fired its spinal particle weapon. Eieizh suffered massive damage (4 threshhold checks), notably the loss of all damage control parties and having its bridge knocked out for 9 turns, rendering it incapable of changing direction or firing offensive weapons. The mass damage table was very helpful.  Both Imperial ships fired more missiles.  Zdensh fired BPL missiles at Zukhimie.

Turn 5: Movement was the same as turn 4. Zdensh deployed sand between Eieizh and the Imperial ships.

Analysis and comments:

The rules and the quick reference guide are confusing in spots, but will be ironed out as familiarity increases. For example, "resolve damage" actually means, "shoot; determine hits; determine damage." Also, it took some detailed reading of the text of the rules to determine that the row of the Secondary Weapons Table is adjusted up or down for crew quality and agility. It seems that those items should be included in Table 7.

The threshhold check rules are a little ambiguous.  We concluded that all threshhold checks are conducted after all fires are completed, with catastrophic checks going first. 

I will prepare a more detailed turn sequence chart and more complete combat charts for future games. 

The SSDs were fairly easy to use, but I will either prepare a quick reference sheet identifying the symbols, or I will write the
identification right on the SSDs.

I prepared supplemental SSDs, which had the SSD, a picture of the ship, and a form with supplemental information, including ship name, fleet and task force assignments, admirals and captain, crew quality, an spinal mount shots record. 

Scale seemed wrong. The sand cloud was some 100,000km in diameter, much larger than the 50,000km gas giant. A sand canister weighs about 50kg. What is the minimum density of sand that is still effective at degrading beam weapons fire? How many sand canisters are required to produce that density in a 100,000km sphere?

Kristian, Lisa, and Chris Tann did some post-game numerical analysis of the density issue. Kristian and Lisa concluded that even if the entire mass of cruiser itself were spread into a sphere 100,000km in diameter, the sphere would still be a virtual vacuum, providing no effective laser defense.

Chris considered 1m3 of sand, or about 50 canisters. He found that if that amount of sand were distributed into a 100,000km diameter sphere, the sand would degrade the power of a 1m3 aperture laser passing through the center of the sphere by about 3%.  Individual ship lasers have much smaller apertures, so each might be degraded more.

Ships can engage at 40MU, or 10 light seconds. 20 seconds of movement at 50 meters/second/second acceleration is a long way. A ship with maneuver 5 is in a 2,000m diameter sphere at 40MU.  In order to hit, beam weapon shots will have be dispersed.  This analysis supports lower density for sand clouds.  Kristian worked on these issues during the development of TNE, and may have more to add. 

I will work on seeing whether scale can be adjusted. My preliminary thought is to reduce distance scale to 1MU = 7,500km. 1 turn would then be about 20 minutes, if my rough calculation is correct. That is, a ship would move about 7,500 km after accelerating at 10m/sec/sec for about 20 minutes.  The sand clouds would then have a diameter of only 10,000km. 

Unforunately, no pictures were taken, but I should have my digital camera back tomorrow, and will be taking and posting pictures of my recently completed ships soon. 

We are looking forward to some larger engagements and working with the task force rules.