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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Some Thoughts on Ship Design

This is Steven Petrick posting.

When looking at adding a ship to the game, look at other ships of the same category (if there are any . . . someone might come up with something entirely new that needs to be added) and see what such ships should generally have.

But also check the rules if the ship type has special rules.

You might decide to create a scout, and perhaps all you need is special sensors. After all, the Klingon D5S simply has special sensors replacing the disruptors. But go deeper than that. The D5S while looking good as a "Cruiser sized combat scout" has a significant deficiency: (G24.27) Gathering Information. It is not as good as a Federation NSC because it has only two lab boxes and cannot use two of its special sensors for that function while the Federation NSC (and many other war cruiser scouts) can. Yes, there are other war cruiser scouts that share the D5S's limitation. But if you are converting a ship of any type to be a scout, look at the rules on special sensors and consider if you should tweak some other aspect of the ship, maybe reduce something else to add a few extra labs.

Then there are minesweepers. Minesweeping can be done in two ways, with seeking weapons or with phasers (yes, you can fire other direct-fire weapons at mines . . . but that is pretty much like sweeping mines by running over them). If the empire you are creating the minesweeper for does not have seeking weapons (other than suicide shuttles), then you are going to be using phasers to do the job. So read the rules for sweeping with phasers and know that even if your minesweeper has a dozen phaser-Gs, it cannot sweep more mines in a turn than it has tractor beams (M8.11). In such a case it might be worth giving up some of those phasers for a few extra tractor beams so that you might be able to sweep more mines in a particularly dense minefield.

Troop ships look easy, replace a few things with barracks boxes and you are good to go, right? Not really. You need to make sure you have enough transporters to land the troops, and to land Ground Combat Vehicles. A shuttle bay large enough to accommodate a heavy transport shuttle is nice to land bulk items that cannot be landed by transporter and are too big to be carried by a non-heavy transport shuttle. And do not just think about "landing." Think about "extraction under fire." It is not nice to leave the Marines behind when things go south, and sometimes there is something on the planet that the Marines are fighting to hold a perimeter while the heavy transport shuttle lands and takes off with the big object (whatever it may be). Also you want labs (hospital facilities to treat your wounded troops) and cargo (to carry extra goodies to support the troops). Remember, the typical "warship troop ship" is generally called a "commando ship" because they are most often used for raids when the typical warships do not have enough troops or transporters to get the job done. And typically they do not have shuttle bays to support getting captured material up from the raid site, so the "commando ship" has to be able to do the job . . . and get out of dodge.

So, when you are considering a design, check the rules and look at how other empires do the job. And if you are onto something new, try to look at it from all sides.