Sunday, July 30, 2017

StarCruiser Ship Killers

I spent a little bit of time designing a Federation guided missile cruiser.   The ship that was used in the games has been re-classified as a guided missile destroyer.  Its designation is DDG150  The 150 designation is the size of its power plant.

The two designs for the guided missile cruiser are CG300 and CG330.  The maximum size of a fusion power plant in the rules is 300MW.  However, the battleship in the game that is being used for the Panthari Imperium has a 415MW power plant.  Therefore I created a 330MW power plant  to provide full power for the 300MW drive (the largest in the game), sensors, and laser weapons. 

While investigating the various 2300AD websites I was able to find an excel spreadsheet for designing ships.  After putting all the components into the spreadsheet, it provides all the game statistics for the ship.  Using the design spreadsheet also allows you to verify that the ship has the correct volume for the design.

The two cruiser variations have a pair of 24 meter external diameter, 21 meter internal diameter counter-rotating hamster cages/spun outer hulls that are 12 meters wide.  There is no artificial gravity in the game so various types of spun habitats are needed for crew health and comfort.   In combat the spun habitats are stopped and locked in place.   Some ship designs in the rules including the DDG150 have habitats that are on pylons that are rotated around the main hull as can be seen in the view of the DDG150 below.

The forward 12 meters of the CG's house eighteen missile bays, the bridge, the tactical operation center, life support, medical bay, and sensor equipment.   The rear of the hull houses the other eighteen missile bays and drive along with part of the fusion plant.   Due to upgrading the missiles, each missile bay occupies 100 cubic meters instead of the original 70 cubic meters in the rules.  The fusion plant is rather large and occupies over 50% of the internal hull space extending from the rear of the ship to just past the rotating habitats.  This also includes the various engineering work stations for the power plant.  The image below shows the two versions of the guided missile cruiser.
The bow is to the right.  The larger power plant of the CG330 requires an extra three meters of length added to the rear of the ship compared to the CG300.   There are 24 laser turrets arranged in six rings of four along the length of the hull with alternating rings offset by forty-five degrees.  Statistics for the ships are as follows:

                                     CG330                 CG300                   DDG150
Diameter                       24m                      24m                       21m (main hull only)
Length                           54m                      50m                       70m
Mass                              20,576 tons          18,455 tons            7,213 tons
Power Plant                   330MW               300MW                  150MW
Move Distance              9                           9                             9
Armor                            9                           3                             1
Radiated Signature        5(8)                      4(7)                        4(7)
Reflected Signature       6/7                       6/7                          5/7
Target profile                 0/1                       0/1                          0/2
Active Sensor                2x15                    2x15                        1x15
Passive Sensor               2x10                    2x10                        1x10
Laser Turrets                  24                        24                            10
Missile Bays                   36                        36                           4
Crew                               177                      174                         100
Cost                                506.27mc            462.87mc                154.12mc

The cruisers also carry four sensor drones compared to the two for the destroyer.   While their cost is about three times that of the destroyer, their missile salvo is nine times more powerful.  The armor of the CG330 can be penetrated, but with difficulty.  It costs almost as much as a Panthari battleship, but can out run it and has much better armor.   The CG300 costs about the same as a Domain battle cruiser, has half the armor, but is faster and can launch nine times as many missiles.  The CG330 is more expensive, but is better armored than the Domain BC.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Encounter at Abbadon

Captain's Log

My squadron had been dispatched to the Chrisobel star system to counter an incursion by The Domain.   Tensions between The Domain and The Federation have increased recently with The Domain attempting to gain control of neutral systems on the border between The Federation and Domain.   Our squadron has two president class missile ships.  I command the Ethan Tavernier and our sister ship is the Louis Rosen.  

The Chrisobel system has five planets and an asteroid belt.  Three of the planets are gas giants, one is a rock ball, and the innermost planet, Abbadon, is a terrestrial world.   We had passed the FTL gravitational limit for the Chrisobel system some time ago, had received a radio message that the system was now under the control of The Domain.  As we advanced in system towards Abbadon we had detected two bogeys heading towards us.  We were now approaching engagement range.

"Captain, the bogeys are now within one light minute"
"Bring our squadron up five light seconds above the elliptic and have both ships launch a sensor drone"
"Aye, Sir"

"The bogeys have altered course to our port side and have launched what appear to be two drones."
"Light up the drones and lets see what we have"
"Drones have activated sensors and we have identification, Sir.  The bogeys are two Domain Planet class missile ships and the two smaller objects are sensor drones.  Separation is now less than 45 light seconds"
"Launch missiles'
"Missiles launched.  Approximately 20 minutes to intercept...  Sensors indicate that they have launched missiles also, sir.  There are eight of them headed our way.  They will arrive in 20 minutes"
"Move us to starboard and prepare point defenses"
"The enemy is now at thirty light seconds.  Missiles at engagement range"

As the enemy missiles approached our point defense batteries opened fire taking out two of them, but the other six targeted the Rosen ripping her to shreds.  Our missiles were just as effective leaving one of the Domain ships a shattered hulk.

"Bring us around to port and launch the second drone, activate its sensors and use it as a screen to hide us from their sensors."
The enemy launched another drone also sir and is now at 20 light seconds."
"Launch another flight of missiles and target their drones"
"Missiles launched and will engage drones in ten minutes"  "Drones destroyed.  We have a lock on the enemy."
"Launch another flight of missiles and continue to screen us with the drone."
"Enemy ship has been hit and looks like it has lost its sensors, Sir.  It is heading out system"
"Hold fire.  We may need our remaining missiles.  Lets pick up the drones and survivors from the Rosen."

Below is a picture that Mike took of the game.  The star field is from JoAnn fabrics.   They carry several different fabrics with star patterns.   I found this one and another to be what I wanted and at $20 for enough material to cover a five foot by six foot table the fabric is a lot better price than the space mats that are available.  The picture shows the "flight stands that are used to designate unidentified ships.  ship models were placed on them when identified.   Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of the game.   Fortunately Mike did take this one at the meeting.

The following diagram shows the relative positions of the two fleets during the game.  The federation is black and the Domain is brown.  It is not to scale.  The battle lasted for 80 minutes of game time before the remaining Domain ship fled.
Photo below is from the end of the game
The ships were the Kennedy class cruiser from the game for the Federation and the Hamburg missile cruiser for the Domain.  their statistics are as follows
                                            Federation                  Domain
Tonnage                                  7213                         12223
Movement                                 9                                3
Power Plant                          150Mw Fusion            65Mw Fission
Shields                                  none                               2
Armor                                        1                                3
Active Sensors                      30 light seconds          6 light seconds
Passive Sensors                     20 light seconds          14 light seconds
Missiles                                 20   (20 damage)          24  (12 damage)
radiated signature                  4(7)                               6
reflected signature                 7                                   7
point defense                          5                                  6
As can be seen the Domain ship is slower, but better protected by armor, screens, and point defense.  The Federation ship also has stealth material incorporated into its hull to cut down on its radiated signature.   The values for reflected and radiated are doubled to give the additional range that is added to the active and passive sensor ranges respectively for targeting.   There are no Romulan cloaking devices or similar items at this point so the presence of other ships is known, but it is necessary to use sensors to identify and precisely target opposing ships.   Previous blog posts have covered the modifications to the original board game and can be found by clicking on the StarCruiser label.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Adapting Starcruiser to the Human Space Universe

Following the game I ran at the South Bay Game Club, I spent some time revising the missiles and adapting the ships from the Starcruiser game to the Human Space setting.  For the previous game see starcruiser  and for the background see human space

During the previous games the missile movement rate was found to be too slow with the Federation cruisers being able to outrun any of them.  I was able to replace the power plants and drives in the missiles with improved and more powerful versions, increasing their movement rate to 14, while still being able to maintain a size that was close to or the same as the originals.  I also found an article on one of the 2300AD web sites that included revised stats for the missiles in the game that were done using the article from Challenge Magazine 36 on the anatomy of a missile.  This article is important as the missiles cannot be built using the data in the ship design manual that is included with the game.  While the revised missile stats from the website article had a faster movement the fastest one was only 11.  This was still too low to catch the American cruiser before the missile ran out of fuel, if the American ship decided to run before the distance was too close.
One item that was ignored when I redesigned the missiles was the hull mass.   In the game and the various supplement books for the 2300AD universe most missiles are shown as pointed nose cylinders.  Dimension vary from one to two meters in diameter and five to seven meters long.   A modern submarine torpedo is just over half a meter in diameter and about 6 meters long.
Since space has no atmospheric resistance missiles could be any shape and do not require a strong external hull to maintain integrity as the drives in the game do not create an acceleration stress.   The hull can be made of light weight plastic with some internal bracing/connectors between the components.   Cost and mass would be minimal for that type of hull.   As for shape, the missile could be a cylindrical can without the pointed nose, a cube, or shaped like a brick.  Cubes and/or bricks would be slightly easier to store than a cylinder
Starcruiser includes ships for the French, Germans, United States, Manchuria, Russia, and several other nations.  The more modern ships are in the French, US, and German fleets.  Since the French had the greatest variety of ship types I assigned them to the Panthari Imperium.  The US ships went to the Federation and the German ships were designated for the Domain.  
The German ships are not quite as advanced as the US and French which fits with the Domain's technological status compared to the others.  Their ships in the game are a battleship/battle cruiser type, a missile cruiser, a frigate, and a fighter.  The supplemental books provide additional fighters.
The French ships in the game are a large battleship, a cruiser, several frigates, and a fighter.   The "Ships of the French Arm" and "Invasion" books include another version of the battleship, a couple of frigates, and several fighters.
The Americans only have the missile cruiser and a fighter in the game, but a frigate was in an issue of Challenge Magazine, and a battleship was noted in the Invasion book.
The marauding aliens are covered by the invading alien ships in the game and other books.  They tend to use large, heavily armored and screened ships.  They do have a couple of fighters also.  Their heavier ships are 70,000 to 74,000 tons, their intermediate sized ship is 47,000 tons, and their smallest warship is 13,000 tons.   This compares to the Panthari battleship at 60,000 tons, the Domain battle cruiser at 27,000 tons, and the Federation cruiser at 7200 tons.  The Federation cruiser should probably be re-designated as a missile frigate.
The ships for the other nations in the game will be used for the various unaligned worlds as needed.
There is another spacefaring alien race in the books.  They use organic technology and their ships are living creatures.  At this point they are not included in the Human Space setting.
I ran a game at last weekend's Miniature Wargaming Society of Sacramento meeting using the increased missile movement rate.   The  game matched a pair of the Federation missile cruisers against a pair of Domain missile cruisers.   The after action report for that game will be in the next blog post.