Dropfleet Houserules

2021-10-28 dropfleet / rules /

The two posts I most frequently referenced on the now deleted Hark Wargames Forum were a detailed guide to magnetizing, and Ravanar's Pendulum, a set of alternative ground combat rules designed by the old Hawk Talon community organizers to make the overall game resolve faster and make the fleet actions more important instead of what is, if we're being honest, a rudimentary hex-and-chit game you play at the end of every round. The Adepticon tournament organizers and beta testers had a great list of suggested changes in 2019 and most were adopted officially, except for Torpedo Bombardment.

Ravanar's Pendulum

Pages 27-28 - Replace 'Ground Assets' through 'Resolve Combat' & Page 32 'Dropships' and 'Bulk Landers' with the following rules:

Dropships

Dropships may only be launched by carriers that are in Atmosphere or Low Orbit if targeting a Space Station.

Dropships may target Ground Sectors or Space Stations within their Thrust (3").

When they do, they deliver one Armour or Infantry token to the Sector or Space Station.

Bulk Landers

Bulk landers may only be launched by carriers that are in Low Orbit or Atmosphere.

Bulk Landers may target Ground Sectors or Space Stations within their Thrust (6").

When they do, they deliver three Infantry tokens or one Defence Battery token to the Sector or Space Station.

Cluster Activation

A) The player with the lowest Initiative selects a Cluster and moves as many tokens as they wish within that sector that are not in Sectors with enemy tokens.

B) For each Sector, in order, the players perform the following cancellations. All possible cancellations must be made before moving on to the next step:

  1. 1 Armor token cancels 1 opposing Armor token. Remove both tokens.
  2. 1 Infantry token cancels 1 opposing Infantry token. Remove both tokens.
  3. 2 Infantry tokens cancel 1 opposing Armor token. Remove all 3 tokens.
  4. 1 Armor token cancels 1 opposing Infantry token. ONLY REMOVE THE INFANTRY TOKEN. The Armor token remains.

Design Notes: I could copy paste the old forum discussion of these rules, but instead I'll paraphrase. Significant time in tournament rounds was being taken up by what participants described as 'the busy work of resolving ground combat'. One of the fundamental axioms of game design (I need to make that blog post eventually...) is that games need to maximize the decision:resolution-of-decision ratio. Resolving decisions is tedium. These alternate ground rules mean if you want to win the ground game, you don't just blindly hope for lucky rolls, you drop more tokens. If you're opponent is ahead in a cluster, you kill his dropships or concede the cluster.

Torpedoes

Page 33 - Replace 'Torpedoes' section with the following rules:

Torpedoes complete their attack run just as bombers. If within thrust range the torpedo takes effect this turn. If the torpedo is within double thrust, it will resolve at the end of the targets next activation.

Point Defence has no effect against damage inflicted by Torpedoes.

Design Notes: 'The Whites of Their Eyes' rule, giving the lackluster (even after the damage adjustment) torpedo another tactical decision, to fire early or risk closing for better timing of attack resolution.

Torpedo Bombardment

Torpedoes can be used as a form of bombardment. Ships with available torpedoes can use them to target sectors when launching torpedoes in the launch assets phase provided the ship is within torpedo thrust range and allowed to launch assets. Only sectors not containing friendly tokens can be targeted by this. Torpedoes are well guided and protected so defense batteries provide no defense against them. Torpedo Lock values are not modified by atmosphere restrictions.

Design Notes: There's a very limited number of ships capable of bombardment (UCM:Tokyo,Madrid,Istanbul Scourge:Lamasu,Charybdis PHR:Remus,Ganymede,Medea Shaltari:Saphire,Jet,Turquoise Resistance:Senator,Newton) which has almost no overlap with the list of torpedo ships (UCM:New York,Havana,Rome Scourge:Dragon,Banshee PHR:Remus,Minos,Achilles Resistance:every BB). The idea is to allow for the possibility of bombardment/Razing in scenarios without being overly restrictive in force composition and also it just seems rather obvious that if torpedoes work against ships, they should work against sectors as well.

Scourge Torpedoes

If a sector or space station takes one or more damage from a Scourge torpedo you may add up to two infantry tokens in any one sector in that cluster.

Design Notes: Scourge torpedoes are described as being essentially boarding ordnance full of angry Razorworms, Eviscerators, Demolishers, and Screamers.

Raze Scenarios

Prior to the start of the game you must choose which scoring method (Standard or Raze) you are using and inform your opponent.

Raze Scoring

Each sector you destroy is worth 1 victory point on turn 4 and turn 6. You can not score clusters by occupying them, but you can contest/deny your opponent.

Space Stations destroyed by a player using the Raze scoring method score as follows on turns 4 and 6:

You may not intentionally destroy sectors on your half of the table unless that sector belongs to a cluster on the line that separates player table halves.

Station Bombardment

Page 45 - Replace 'Bombardment' section with the following rules:

Weapons with this special rule can only target ground sectors or space stations. In order to fire a bombardment weapon a ship must be exactly one orbital layer above the target (Low Orbit to fire on a ground sector, High Orbit to fire on a space station). A ship cannot use a Bombardment weapon while in Atmosphere, unless specifically stated. Bombardment weapons incur no penalties for firing through orbital layers or shooting through atmosphere.


Bonus - Correct Admiral Values

Admiral Value Minimum Engagement Size Medium flagship Heavy flagship Super Heavy flagship
1 0 pts 0 0 0
2 500 pts 20 0 0
3 500 pts 40 20 0
4 1000 pts 80 40 20
5 1000 pts 100 80 40
6 2000 pts 140 100 80

It's been more than 6 months now and TTC, despite me sending them the exact single value they need to change in one line of their builder code

t.av = 2,
t.cost = 20,
this.highestTonnage > 14 && (t.cost = 0),

to

t.av = 2,
t.cost = 20,
this.highestTonnage > **9** && (t.cost = 0),

still have their fleet builder fucking up admiral point costs (along with a bunch of other typos). And their values aren't even in the digital rules, though they are in the original print rulebook. So, mostly for my own reference, these are the correct admiral values for the size of ship you put them in, excepting unique stuff like the UCM dread bonus.