Monday 16 April 2012

Aeronef & Brigade Games

I really like these models. I have a lot of them I bought for a Crimson Skies/Last Exile pesky pirate game that I never got off the ground. 

A British Aeronef battleship from the Brigade website.

Although their squarish spaceship models are a little dull and bland compared to their GZG cousins, Brigade seems to have made up for that imagination deficit elsewhere and their VSF stuff (aeronefs, landships, tank-trains and tripod alien walkers) are inspired and intriguing. 

Brigade games have goods pricing and cheap overseas shipping (if you are overseas, when they deduct VAT tax from the listed price at checkout it almost covers your shipping). In contrast to JR Minis that appears to charge 50% shipping; I bought a complete 1/300 town from Brigade for the cost it would take to ship sa similar amount of buildings to me from JR). Brigade is a company friendly to overseas purchasers and they are easy to deal with.

These are minis that are crying out for a good set of rules.  Yes, I know there is the Aeronef rules that comes with them.  However these rules basically involve throwing handfuls of d6s (with only '6's hitting and re-rolling as well - exploding dice in its extreme) and ticking off huge rows of hit boxes.  Basically, Yahtzee is more tactical.  David Manley is a great naval wargames designer but this is a bit of a casual effort.

It has no altitude rules (gravity, lift etc are as integral to aerial combat as vector movement is to space). As the '6' to hit is universal to all units, smaller nefs serve no purpose other than to be ablative armour to larger ships. 

I hear rumours that Steel Dreadnought Games is working on a ruleset. I doubt they will deviate from their formula that was successful in Colonial Battlefleet (a game for not-BSG minis that polished the Full Thrust formula but is still book-keeping heavy). 

Since nef combat simply seems to be predreadnought combat in the skies, I am wondering if a set of fast-play naval rules could be adapted . I think General Quarters 2 (the old, simple-to-play booklet not the clunky new one) or Battlestations! might be the ticket.

While I was thinking about this (and a way to do faster damage systems than Aeronef) this damage idea occured to me (a modified form may be useful for Delta Vector)                                                         
                                                            To hit
                          Extreme x4     Longx2     Standard    Close /2 (50% bonus)
D20 Roll             18+                   16+              11+              6+
Accuracy            15%                   25%            50%          75%
If a player rolls exactly the d20 score needed he rolls a critical hit as well as doing usual damage 
I replaced the old chart with one that flowed mathematically - if 50% is normal, then the chance to hit at double range is half that, i.e. 25%.  Handy for working out point values of ships when there is a coherent pattern....

As usual I want escorts to be survivable:
-2 heavy guns firing at escorts
-2 heavy guns tracking fast targets (undamaged escorts moving at flank speed)
-3 enemy in cloud/smokescreen
-2 target already took hits this turn from same side (explosions and smoke obscure spotting)
-1 target head-on or stern-on
+2 enemy stationary/slow/hovering

                                                     Damage Roll



50% (10)

100% (20)

Vaporized 200% (40)

% shows the percentage of firepower needed to inflict the damage
All you need to know is the dice number (i.e. 16+) which shows d20 roll or more needed to inflict that damage                   
50% (round up) firepower bonus if close
halve firepower if armour is heavier than gun level (i.e. medium gun vs heavy armour)

Roll a d20 each on the damage chart for Hull (mobility, lifters, hull integrity) or Systems (Weapons).
This new chart is pleasingly mathematically logical. I may use this damage system again in other games. 

Damage Effects:
Hull damaged = halve speed, cannot climb
Hull crippled = ship cannot turn; slows by 1 speed level each turn to the minimum possible; 'sinks' downwards 1 per turn; if not regain power by time ship reaches the ground, roll on damage chart with ratio = to levels fallen (i.e. 6 levels = 6:1, 3 levels 3:1...). Ship, if it survives the landing, remains grounded until repaired.

Weapons damaged = halve weapons
Weapons crippled = no firing allowed

Any hull damage at all after a ship is crippled results in it breaking up and being destroyed. 

Critical hits:
The hit automatically causes damage
Any rolls of "damage" upgraded to crippled
Any rolls of "crippled" instantly destroy the ship

Damage tokens can be placed under the clear base of a normal EM4 flight stand.

Repair: Ships can be repaired 1 level in either hull OR weapons IF they have not taken damaging hits that turn, and pass a crew quality roll. Ships cannot be repaired back more than 1 level from the worst damage taken (i.e a crippled hull can be repaired to 'damaged' but never fully repaired to 100% capability.

Ships have 3 speeds - 'hover'  'normal'  'flank'
Ships that are at flank or hover are marked with a marker.You may increase/decrease speed by 1 level per turn i.e. you cannot go direct from flank speed to a hover...
Hover = ship does not move, but can turn on the spot  and change levels
Normal = 1"-half speed

Flank = half-full speed
Ships may make a turn at the middle or endpoint of a move.
Escorts = 90d
Cruisers = 60d
Battleships = 45d

There are 6 atltitude levels, shown by microdice beside the nef stand.
Each level adds 4" range to any gunfire.  So a ship 3 levels higher must be 12" away to be engaged. 
Being above or below a target creates a deadzone that guns cannot aim through.  For every level above or below, a 4" dead zone extends in a radius around the ship.  Ships within the deadzone cannot be engaged with heavy batteries. 

Weather Effects
These are at levels marked by dice
Ships can see into a cloud, or out of a cloud (at +3 modifier to firing) but cannot see through a cloud

Ambushing forces can place ships in any cloud on the map.

Cloud Cover/Mist/Heavy Fog
Sometimes an entire altitude level will have restricted visibility range and gunnery modifiers.

High wind disperses smoke; wind is usually at high level ("jet stream"); ships flying into the wind can have speed reduced slightly

These interfere with gunnery as ships are thrown around; bigger nefs are affected less. Usually low visibility and the chance of a lightning strike (20 on d20) temporarily knocking out electricals.

Reduces visibility drastically, messes with optics; disperses smoke

Pass a CQ test on d20
You may test using the best CQ in a squadron
There will be no record-keeping - tests are rolled for on CQ table as needed
Make Smoke:  Ship uses plume of smoke that extends in a line behind it, that blocks visibility
Evasive Action: -2 to enemy fire but -2 to own firing
Rapid Fire: Add 50% firepower to close range attacks but pass CQ roll or have magazine jam until pass CQ check to unjam
Change Speed: Increase or decrease speed (between flank, normal and hover)
Hard Port/Starboard!: Make an extra turn at the middle or end of the move

Vent aetherium: Change 2 levels instead of 1 per turn as massive ship enters a steep dive.
Emergency Boost: Only lightly armoured ships (escorts, scout cruisers) may climb 2 levels per turn.  They halve their speed.
Ramming Speed: Ship may only move straight, but any enemies in their path can be rammed: Damage done is DF ratio compared to each other.  Ship must be at flank speed. The rammer is treated as having double DF.

Rules as per Delta Vector

Due to slow-moving ships and slow firing weapons, ships do not 'react' per se but may fire once at any time in their or their opponents' activation.  Fire is considered to be simultaneous if you 'react' to an enemy shot at the same range the enemy fired.   

Ships can split fire and fire half their main battery AF into opposite broadsides or fire twice at half power on the same side.  The may fire seconday weapons once at full power into each broadside.

Probably need small thin bars of card to mark this; place on base on side broadside was fired.
Red = primary battery full shot, used
Orange = Primary battery half power shot
Yellow = 2ndry battery full shot, used

Weapons & Armour
 Type                               Ranges
Very Heavy (11-12"+)  4/8/16/32
Heavy (7.5". 8-10") 3/6/12/24
Medium  (5-6") 2/4/8/16
Light (3-4") 1.5/3/6/12

Very heavy (battleship)
Heavy (armoured cruiser)
Light (scout cruiser)
None  (escort)

Aerial Torpedoes
These are short ranged but hard hitting. 

Aerial torpedoes have a 'attack counter' placed within the broadside arc of a ship.
Any ships next turn passing within range of the attack counter are attacked with the torpedo salvo.

Torpedoes can be engaged by machine-guns and secondary weapons.  

Proximity Mines
These are dropped by parachute and descent 1 level per turn.  They attack any enemies passing through their level and zone. They can be deployed to any level below or equal to the ship.  They have no IFF and will attack friendlies.

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