FWC II - the 'thorny' subject of Shields

Started by Big Insect, 31 January 2024, 11:47:11 AM

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Big Insect

31 January 2024, 11:47:11 AM Last Edit: 31 January 2024, 11:59:49 AM by Big Insect
I'm aware that this subject has been raised and discussed in a separate mixed thread previously, however, I'm keen to try and keep it as a distinctive thread of its own, as I want to raise some specific points.

My own thinking on Shield technology in the FWC universe, is that currently it works pretty much OK (?)

Shield technology operates currently a lot like shields in the 'Star Trek'or Asher universes - in that they accumulate damage (that would otherwise be inflicted on the unit they are protecting) and can be recharged in subsequent turns (as a Command action). Once they hit their maximum damage rating in a turn, hits start to go onto the underlaying unit(s).
In the Asher universe 'Polity' shield generators actually accumulate the offensive energy that they absorb and as a result can 'blow' and be ejected, and therefore cannot be used again. It's an interesting idea but probably too complex for us to want to replicate (although I have potential a mechanism to do this ... see below). Although this assumes that the shields are in-organic tech - unlike those (of the Vorlon or Shadows) in the B5 universe - which are in-organic and integral.

We also have the current distinction between a Shielded Unit (protecting a single unit) and a Shield Dome, that can protect many units under it and requires a separate shield generator to create it. My intention is to keep this distinction (as I think they work well) and add a third - which is a Shield Wall. This is either static or mobile but only offers protection from a single direction - so it can be used in a defensive situation or for example in Urban combat situations. It will operate using core FWC shield principals (e.g. absorbing hits & recharging).
There is also the idea (I cannot remember from which sci-fi universe) that you have to drop shields to be able to shoot out. Again, I think this is unrealistic for an FWC scale game, adding unnecessary time and complexity.

One thing I am not particularly keen on is that currently a Shield dome, can (in effect) be used as an offensive weapon. This is a bit of a 'gamey' use of shields IMHO - whereby a shield dome is deliberately advanced into an enemy unit and that unit takes casualties from being 'hit' by the shield. Personally, I think this is unrealistic and I'm more of a 'Dune'/'Star Wars' universe advocate of shields, in that (relatively) slow moving objects/vehicles will be able to pass through enemy Shields. To me this makes sense, as otherwise we'd have to have mobile Shield Domes mowing down swathes of forest or buildings as well (which they currently don't do).

A number of previous contributors have raised the idea that unlike the current mechanism, whereby a successful Command role is required to recharge Shields, that this should be able to occur as an Initiative action. Personally, I am not in favor of this as I think it will make Shields far to effective (as it makes recharging a certainty) and too easy to recharge, making them into a 'uber defense. Yes, it might be possible to increase their points cost to cover this, but the risk is that we'll just end up with something that has no real effective countermeasure.

One alternative to this Initiative recharge idea, would be that an Initiative action to reinstate shields carries a risk. With that risk being that the Shield generators might overload (a 1:6 chance) and burn-out permanently. Just a thought.

I am also proposing in FWCII is that Large & Massive units can have higher shield defense capabilities - but at an appropriately higher cost. I need to play-test this out, as again I need to avoid creating 'uber defenses - but the fact that an Average or (currently) Low/Small profile unit can have the same Shield factors as a Massive one, again seems odd & need rectification.

Again, all thoughts and input much appreciated.
Thanks
Mark
'He could have lived a risk-free, moneyed life, but he preferred to whittle away his fortune on warfare.' Xenophon, The Anabasis

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fred.

31 January 2024, 06:48:42 PM #1 Last Edit: 31 January 2024, 07:00:42 PM by fred.
My gaming experience of energy shields is mostly with Epic - where they are unit level. They can be taken down by fire, and regenerate (slowly) each turn. With these type of shields there is a definite tactic of firing lighter weapons first to take the shield down.

Which sounds very much like the FWC shielded unit. Whether you need a command roll to regenerate the shield, feels very much a preference thing. It certainly keeps with the style of the commander series, where command rolls are needed to do stuff. As I player though I'd be annoyed if recharging my shields lead to a failed order and the end of my turn. I suppose you could have better or worse shields that give plus on the command roll to regenerate?


As to shield domes or walls. To me these shouldn't be offensive. I think saying that once in place they can't move would be sensible. I think there needs to be a design choice on what they block - I'd be quite happy with them just blocking shooting attacks.

Having them as an impenetrable wall seems to have many issues with units (friendly and enemy) terrain, and air!

Shield walls seem fine - but I'd just treat them like shield domes, but linear.

Edit:
If players want offensive shield domes then cost them as an always on beam weapon!

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Big Insect

Quote from: fred. on 31 January 2024, 06:48:42 PMMy gaming experience of energy shields is mostly with Epic - where they are unit level. They can be taken down by fire, and regenerate (slowly) each turn. With these type of shields there is a definite tactic of firing lighter weapons first to take the shield down.

Which sounds very much like the FWC shielded unit. Whether you need a command roll to regenerate the shield, feels very much a preference thing. It certainly keeps with the style of the commander series, where command rolls are needed to do stuff. As I player though I'd be annoyed if recharging my shields lead to a failed order and the end of my turn. I suppose you could have better or worse shields that give plus on the command roll to regenerate?


As to shield domes or walls. To me these shouldn't be offensive. I think saying that once in place they can't move would be sensible. I think there needs to be a design choice on what they block - I'd be quite happy with them just blocking shooting attacks.

Having them as an impenetrable wall seems to have many issues with units (friendly and enemy) terrain, and air!

Shield walls seem fine - but I'd just treat them like shield domes, but linear.

Edit:
If players want offensive shield domes then cost them as an always on beam weapon!


Currently in FWC-I Shield Domes are large and will protect a number of units under them, depending upon their size, but you have to buy a specific seperate shield generator unit, that can be mobile or static, to generate the Dome.
All very similar to the Gungan shield dome in the Star Wars 'Phantom Menace' film, and (if they are mobile) they move forward as fast as the shield generator is Commanded to move. If the generator is suppressed or KO'd the shield dome is gone.
In the film, whilst the Shield Dome is protection against high velocity weaponry (similar to shields in the Dune universe), the attacking Droid army - walking slowly forward - can push its way into the dome with no ill-effects. It just slows them down a bit & makes them more vulnerable to fire directed at them from within the dome, whilst they do it
However, in FWC-I there is a section in the rules that means that enemy unit being 'run-down' by an advancing Shield Dome or attempting to assault through it, have casualties inflicted upon them by the dome. This has led (IMHO) to a rather 'gamey' use of Shield Domes as semi-offensive weapons. It makes no practical or logical sense, to me (as outlined above) and I'm proposing to remove this in FWC-II. So I'm being consultative here  :D

There is already an extensive existing array of high-tech exotic offensive weaponry in FWC this particular use of shield domes is an anomaly and a rules mechanism 'glitch'.
Thanks
Mark
'He could have lived a risk-free, moneyed life, but he preferred to whittle away his fortune on warfare.' Xenophon, The Anabasis

This communication has been written by a dyslexic person. If you have any trouble with the meaning of any of the sentences or words, please do not be afraid to ask for clarification. Remember that dyslexics are often high-level conceptualisers who provide "out of the box" thinking.

fred.

Then I agree with your proposed change. 

Perhaps make crossing the boundary of field dome the same as crossing a linear obstacle?
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Shedman

The "creeping death" feature comes from Joe Haldeman's The Forever War where they use "stasis field generators". 

Inside the field, no object can travel faster than 16.3 m/s, which includes electrons, photons, and the field itself. Soldiers inside the field wear suits with a special coating to prevent electrical activity within their body from stopping, which will kill them.

FWC Shields, both unit and dome level, work fine as they are IMO.

However I do agree that the creeping death feature should be removed. 

Big Insect

Quote from: Shedman on 01 February 2024, 08:50:30 AMThe "creeping death" feature comes from Joe Haldeman's The Forever War where they use "stasis field generators". 

Inside the field, no object can travel faster than 16.3 m/s, which includes electrons, photons, and the field itself. Soldiers inside the field wear suits with a special coating to prevent electrical activity within their body from stopping, which will kill them.

FWC Shields, both unit and dome level, work fine as they are IMO.

However I do agree that the creeping death feature should be removed. 

I'd forgotten the "stasis field generators" - good one Al.
The only change I am suggesting is the removal of 'creeping death' - so we are agreed  :)
'He could have lived a risk-free, moneyed life, but he preferred to whittle away his fortune on warfare.' Xenophon, The Anabasis

This communication has been written by a dyslexic person. If you have any trouble with the meaning of any of the sentences or words, please do not be afraid to ask for clarification. Remember that dyslexics are often high-level conceptualisers who provide "out of the box" thinking.