The Archer bomber's performance really needs to be cut back in some way, so I'm going to try imposing a limit on its speed -- no High speed travel is allowed. This will make it more vulnerable to Tigress and Interceptor attacks and more reliant on fighter escort. It'll also increase the difficulty of the bombing-only scenarios included with the Archer vehicle pack, especially when there's a time pressure.
I'll test this out and see if it's the balancing factor I've been looking for.
Post by futabachan on May 22, 2011 16:27:48 GMT -9
My group hasn't been as available as I've wanted, but we'll try this out.
The one scenario we've actually run so far was Bomb and Bail with a Tigress and an Archer bombing a target protected by three Tigresses. The escorting Tigress shot down one of the defenders before getting shot down; the Archer blew away a second Tigress with its rear cannon, then bombed the target and got away.
Post by futabachan on May 23, 2011 22:17:55 GMT -9
We played two more scenarios today. I'll write them up in more detail tomorrow with some thoughts, but we played a 5000-point Bomb and Bail, and the target died horribly both times. Slowing the Archer down did seem to help, though the overthruster on the Archer Classic let it zip right past the interception in the first scenario.
First scenario: the Archer used its overthruster to charge past the defenders (Tigress F + Interceptor). The Archer pilot misjudged the attack run, and only got off one round of bombs, which missed, forcing it to circle around to try to set up for another run. The Archer's escort (Tigress C) managed to get a mission kill on the defending Tigress (wrecked crew); the Interceptor suffered a self-inflicted mission kill from repeatedly rolling weapon jams.
Second scenario: The State had the Archer II this time, and loaded up the "escorting" Tigress with bombs, Missile Control, and overthrusters. The Tigress ran the gauntlet of the defending fighters, which went for it, and got past them at high throttle, bombed the target, and ruined it. That left the attacking Archer totally clear to fly in as well and bounce the rubble. State disengaged with 6 points of damage done to the target; if they'd been willing to risk the Archer more, they could have easily gotten into double digits. The attacking Tigress went down from fuel starvation after the scenario, but was recovered.
Summary: we have yet to shoot down an Archer, or prevent it from obliterating any ground target it's sent to attack. More tomorrow.
Sounds like the Archer is too tough, or it's underpriced. What changes would you make to it? We can drop armor, or make it more expensive. We can restrict its turning roll to 3 or 2, replace the heavy cannon with a light cannon, or remove it entirely. What do you think?
Post by futabachan on May 25, 2011 10:19:56 GMT -9
John (Strucke) and I were discussing this as we played. Two observations that we came up with were that rearward fire should cost something, and that the automatic damage control facility that can repair even ruined things gives the Archer a lot of ability to absorb damage.
One possibility: the Archer feels like it really wants to be a two-seater. Perhaps a back seat crewman, costing a few hundred points, might be optional equipment on both Archer models? You would get a second set of crew boxes, and one more action, for buying the rear seater, and that in turn could turn the damage control facility from a set of fancy equipment (in a world where technology has taken a step backward due to the EMP danger) into simply a set of maintenance access crawlways and a tool box. Firing a forward-mounted gun would be a pilot-only action; doing damage control or firing a rearward-mounted gun would be an observer-only action; other equipment including dropping bombs could be done by either. A lone pilot would need to fly straight to fire a rear-mounted gun or to fix the engine or control surfaces. The plane's tool kit would have spare parts for fixing two boxes of damage to the engine or control surfaces; a repair roll would be needed, but the consumables would only be used on a successful roll. And perhaps an auxiliary fuel tank could be mounted in one of the bomb bays; reserve fuel could be transferred automatically, but you'd need to make an explosion check if it was hit.
I hadn't thought of setting a maneuverability cap. That might make a lot of sense as a response to loading the thing with bombs. Perhaps the Archer starts with a cap of 4, and drops by 1 for each bomb bay that's more than half full? Or drops to 3 if the bomb bays, collectively, are at least half full? A maneuver cap of 2 is pretty severe, and makes circling around for another attack run if you've missed the target an exercise in applied masochism, but a heavily-loaded bomber, in a setting where it's a bit of a wonder that planes can fly at all, shouldn't handle as well as fighters do. The other option, I guess, would be to give the thing a checkered die for maneuvering, but it looks like it has a lot of wing area, which should let it do reasonably well when not loaded down.
One very obvious correction: take away the overthursters as an option for the Archer Classic. Nerfing the top speed back to cruising seemed to help, but the overthruster option undid that correction. A skillfully flown Archer I can slip past a head-on interception with no more than one, and possibly zero, rounds of incoming fire if it uses overthrusters, and it takes the intercepting fighters three or more turns (or a reverse loop) to get turned around and re-engage, by which time the target is toast. And the ability of the current damage control facility to repair ruined fuel takes away the risk of engaging the overthrusters.
Having a heavy cannon on the Archer is still giving me the heebie jeebies, though it wasn't as bad this time since both Interceptors wound up taking low angle-off shots rather than flying right up the Archer's tail. If the Archer had been willing to sacrifice its attack run to take a tail shot on the Interceptor, though, the heavy cannon would have matched or outgunned the lighter armament on the Interceptor (with better range, too, if you're using the prototype), and the Archer can take a lot more damage. I would limit the Archer II to a light cannon.
The next time we play, we're going to try a lone, unescorted Archer being intercepted by a single Interceptor... which is giving me an idea for an Archer scenario. We're also going to try a Mythbusters-style approach, and see how excessive we need to be with the defending force to bring down an Archer before it kills the target. It's possible that this is simply the old "the bomber will always get through" maxim at work; forcing the Archer to fly back out through the table edge from which it entered, at cruising speed, might have made life more hazardous for the Archer crews in the games we've tried so far.
I've rewritten record sheets for two variants of the Archer bomber -- an early and cheap version, and a later precision bomber. If you want to help playtest, just send me a PM or an email at email@example.com.
Textures are being worked on.
For the first time on a Solid State War thing, I'm planning to include multiple texture layers for the 3D paper models and 2D playing pieces.
The multi-layered PDFs might not work out. I just realized I need to set these up 4 different ways -- 3D, 2D, large scale, small scale. I'm gonna lose my mind trying to set up those up as multi-layered PDFs, so I'm going to stick with my usual approach.
Reworked the points values for the two variants of this jet.
The cheap, early model (the Archer) costs 900 points and needs significant investment (gunner console, motor upgrade) to be a heavy duty bomber. This version might be too primitive, but I'm sure our tests will help us figure out if it has value.
The later version (the Archer II) costs 1500 points, and has solved the low engine power issue (no need for a motor upgrade in order to carry extra bombs). This one seems pretty well balanced -- tough but slow.
This is going to break the page, but here's a selection of skins I'm working on. If you love or hate any of these, let me know (and why!). I'm not sure what I'll do with the "pirate" or "special ops" planes, but I'm throwing them in there to see if they stir up any ideas.
Post by futabachan on Jun 20, 2011 13:27:41 GMT -9
I've wondered about putting a checked pattern on State planes. I like 10 better than 9 in that regard. The pirate designs are a nice option for an elite squadron. For the special ops planes, if there were State and Rebel insignia that could be superimposed or left off, that would help.
And 1, 4, 5, and 8 are obvious solid choices for main colours.
Like futabachan said, I think 11 and 12 are more elite squad than pirates - too tame for pirates, I think, they'd probably paint the whole think dull black then add some ferrocious jaws or something like that.
I don't like the checkered pattern either, and for me it's practital reasons - painting different parts in different colors is fine, but having to rely on interns to paint boxes onto a plane - virtually every time it gets a scratch - would bother me.
I also like 1, 6 and 3, mainly due to contrats reasons, and the Special Ops planes look promising, although I'm not too connected to the game so I cannot tell what use they might serve.
Here's how the Archer looks after some more texture work. Still more to do. I'm going to add a white border around the plane numbers to make them stand out a little, and I need to design some Rebel insignia and maybe some more squadron markings.
Yep. We finally shot down an Archer! It was a one-on-one scenario at 2200 points against a Tigress. It still got through to the target and hit it for 3 points of damage, but the Tigress downed it on the way out. We'll do more testing, but the most recent set of revisions seem much closer to being balanced.
As always, my focus is on fun. Is it fun to choose the Archer's options now, even with the "must have this thing in order to get that thing" approach? I don't want it to be a drag.
I thought about revisiting the Tigress and Interceptor and giving them the same sort of treatment -- cheaper and less effective to start out with, with some pricey upgrades-enabling-more-upgrades. I could still do that.
Glad to hear that the Archer seems more balanced. I kept having to check myself to make sure that you're actually getting something useful with it, but nothing else comes close to its bomb carrying capacity. If that's about the only thing it does better than the other jets, I'll be happy with that.
I have a (slightly) OT request: Dave: have you never tough at designing pawns for some space fighter in a style similar to the old Galactica/StarWars/BuckRogers ? ( i feel the style of these shows very similar and compatible). The art and the coloring of your planes always remind me the X-wings, and i like your style. I don't like so much your planes just 'cause the squared nose, but i understand that they need to be consistent with the 3D models. What happens is that i always keep staring at your planes bodies, wondering about sci-fi fighters in the same style.
cowboyleland: Now I have seen it. It doesn't advance our hobby, but anyone with half a brain who wanted 2nd rate figures could easily figure this out for themselves so I guess he isn't doing any harm.
Mar 19, 2019 17:53:59 GMT -9
berneart76: well, this is fun, (not) transferring all my papercrafting sets into the cloud. The stuff I got from DriveTrhruRPG was simple with their library desktop app,but my other stuff, sometimes with multiple duplicate copies is entertaining.
Mar 1, 2019 15:44:32 GMT -9
berneart76: Vermin King I usually use a mix of drybrush/watercolor/photocopy and occasionally posterizing at different levels of opacity.
Feb 26, 2019 20:46:54 GMT -9
berneart76: Vermin King, that's similar to the enhancing that I do on my texturing. I've found that sometimes I need to scale up or scale down the image (usually by 50 or 25 percent down or 200 or 300 percent up) to make get the enhancements to look "right"
Feb 26, 2019 20:44:53 GMT -9
Vermin King: On the zebras, I did multiple enhancements and cartoon filters and used them at 100%, and they still didn't look that different than the photos
Feb 26, 2019 12:27:26 GMT -9
Vermin King: When I make a figure or terrain piece based on a photo, I clean it up and align things to look 'right', then I create another layer and do enhancing and cartoonizing on it. I then adjust opacity over the photo image until it looks good. On the zebras,
Feb 26, 2019 12:26:35 GMT -9
Vermin King: berneart76, do you mean giving them green or purple manes and tails? and a few piercings? maybe a cig hanging out of their mouths?
Feb 26, 2019 12:24:18 GMT -9
Vermin King: cartoonizing a zebra doesn't do much
Feb 20, 2019 5:59:28 GMT -9
Vermin King: And due to the snow, I'm off tonight. I am going to miss the cash on the paycheck, but I'm glad they want their employees to be safe
Feb 15, 2019 10:52:24 GMT -9
ignatious: Actually I was referring to the two previous posts. I was trying to be subtle in order to sublimate the crassness. Read them again, but in Mel Brooks voice while he is winking, and nudging the person to his right.
Feb 9, 2019 13:38:11 GMT -9
Vermin King: Sure. Euphemize us
Feb 8, 2019 18:40:48 GMT -9
ignatious: would anyone care for a euphemism?
Feb 8, 2019 13:40:27 GMT -9
cowboyleland: We hadn't had snow for a few days. Last night the plow came down my street and did nothing but fill every ones driveways back in. Just for practice, I guess.
Feb 8, 2019 7:48:16 GMT -9
Vermin King: In KC we had an ice storm (with thunder sleet) the other night. Left things drivable, but last night the plow came down my street. They took all the rough edges off. Might as well have ran a Zamboni...
Feb 8, 2019 6:42:32 GMT -9
okumarts: Vermin King... Mind Blown!
Feb 5, 2019 19:32:30 GMT -9