Fixing CAV

Evilmonkey and I got together for a 5,000 point game of CAV yesterday to try out some ideas I've been percolating in my noggin for some time now. Particularly Indirect Fire, Jamming, and Target Lock. The Jamming and Target Lock ideas are in the right direction but aren't ready for prime time yet. Indirect Fire I think we have a good solution for.

Currently in CAV2 Indirect Fire is a fairly convoluted process that involves at a minimum two die rolls. The first roll is to determine whether or not the shot hit the target point (which will not happen for most models); if the shot did not hit the target point a second roll is to determine the direction and distance the shot drifts, and finally the third roll is for damage to models in the AoE.

My method combines the the Target Point and Drift rolls. In essence you add all the Target Point roll modifiers to a d10 roll and subtract the result from 10. If the number is positive that's the drift distance in the direction indicated by the die.

example: An undamaged Specter with Target Lock, and no jamming effects rolls 1d10 and gets a 7. Add two for FRS, two for TC, and two for the Target Lock for a result of 13. 10-13 is -3, zero or less, so the attack hits the Target Point. If the roll had had been a 2, the final result would have been 8 (2+2 for FRS+2 for TC+2 for TL). 10-8 would result in 2 inches of drift distance.

What we eventually came to the conclusion of was that it was even faster and yielded about the same results was to calculate the modifiers and roll equal to or less than the result of the calculated modifier and if the roll was higher the difference was the drift distance.

Using the same Specter with a Target Lock and no jamming, the final modifier is 6. If the d10 roll is a 6 or less then the attack hit it's target. If the roll was higher than 6 (we'll say 8 for the sake of an example) then the die roll minus the total modifier becomes the drift distance (8-6=2 inches of drift).

End result is this:
  1. Calculate target number
    1. Add TC of firing model, FRS/# value, and Target Lock bonus
    2. Subtract 2 for each range band beyond the first
    3. Subtract Jamming penalty
  2.  roll 1d10
    1. If result is equal to or less than the target number calculated in Step 1, the attack hits the Target Point
    2. If the result is greater than the target number calculated in Step 1, the drift distance is equal to the die roll minus the target number in the direction indicated by the tip of the d10
Damage is rolled using the RAV and appropriate SAs against the DV of models in the AoE.

The effects of the CFP and Salvo Barrage fire are unchanged.

So, to test these ideas I set up a force using the Children of the Storm doctrine:

Armor Section
3x Dictator 70
1x Kahn 74

Armor Section 2
2x Tyrant
2x Vanquisher

Specialist Section
3x Conqueror

Mortar Section
3x Armored Heavy Mortar Team

Recon Section
4x Warden
2x Jackal

1x Artillery Strike

Evilmonkey set up a force of Terrans using the Artillery Support Doctrine:

Armor Section
2x Starhawk VI
Starhawk V

Armor Section
2x Naginata
2x Wolf

Specialist Section
3x Rifle Team (one with MG-42 upgrade)

Mech Inf Section
2x Merlin
4x Rifle Team w/ AT-23 upgrade

Fire Support Section
2x Raptor
1x Talon

5x Artillery Barrages

If I weren't testing the new ideas I would've swapped either the specialist or the mortars for probably an armor section with tanks (Despots and Malefactors).

The table was set up with an urban area across the center and canted at roughly 40 degrees from the table edges so that there was no LOS across the table from the starting areas. The only places with LOS all the way across the table were the main street and the river. One thing that we had forgotten up until this game was that recon models get a free move. This is mostly because recon sections don't really have much purpose to exist, as the deployment deck manipulation isn't really enough to justify the cost in points of a full recon section. Couple that with that the only  other reason to take a recon model is to form the nucleus of the Huddle, and you don't want your nucleus out ahead of the rest of the Huddle. The crux of the changes for jamming and target lock were that the recon model had to be close to the enemy models (similar to the 1.5 beta rules) and that TL could be granted to any friendly section, so I was using a full recon section to test the theories. The first turn involved some skirmishing between recon elements, the lobbing of strikes, and positioning of elements. There was a couple exchanges of IA that resulted in a well damaged Talon. The Second turn saw the Charge of the Dictators which with the combined effects of Run'N'Gun, Target Lock, Children of the Storm, and Overdrive saw the one-activation killing of the Thunderhawk. Shortly thereafter in the same turn we saw the Terrans reinforce their flank with the mechanized infantry, which obliterated two of the Dictator 70's in a single activation. The third turn resulted in the loss of my second armor section, his loss of the Starhawk VI. We played a fourth turn which saw the elimination of the remainder of my recon section save one Warden, the loss of a mortar team as well as the reduction to one of my specialist section, the loss of one of his Starhawk VI's, and the loss of his Mech Inf section. We came to the conclusion that with only a Dictator 70, a Conqueror, a Warden, and two Armored Heavy Mortar teams that I didn't have the staying power to contest two Naginatas, a Wolf, a Starhawk VI, a Regent, and a Raptor (all undamaged).

As I said before, we're happy with the results for the IA changes. I know some people would prefer to institute opposed rolls for the jamming and target lock, but I'm aiming for streamlined play to get through IA more quickly without making it overpowering. In this game all the IA was done by Fire Support models, so most of the shots didn't drift. Next time I'll be trying to take some pot shots with Attack models that have an IA weapon.

Here are some pictures

The Terran reinforcement of their right flank after the Thunderhawk was "violated" by the Charge of the Dictators

The crumpling of the Rach right flank to four tanks and two Starhawk VIs

General Table Layout


 Ashley said...

What is it with mech gamers and their need to fix their favourite games?

I find myself doing this with BattleTech, and I've just started looking at Heavy Gear, and guess what?

Yes, I think I will have to fix the rules to suit me.

Ah the madness...

Sergeant Crunch said...

I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that no set of rules will perfect match what each player envisions in their head. Best you can hope for is something that mostly matches what most people believe their mecha playground to be. In this particular instance, almost everybody who has played CAV2 and posted about it online has stated that the indirect fire rules are confusing and/or overly complicated. Also, in my mind the rules didn't match how I perceived the CAV universe.

By and large though I think this has more to do with the person than the genre of preference. Though in my experience most mecha gamers like to tinker with rules a little more than others. But you can go on TMP or any other online hangout and see where people are proposing changes/house rules/mods for just about every set of rules in just about every genre or period.

In my particular case, I like to tinker with things. I also recently have bolted on a lot of extra stuff to FUBAR to make it more interesting to me. I've toyed around with movement in Starmada (though everything else that I'd like to mess with seems to already have an optional rule for it in that game). CAV2 has actually survived the longest without me trying to "fix it", other than some suggestions for one of the official updates to it about four years ago. On the deck for future modification is the In the Emperor's Name/Blaster rules for squad sized skirmishes for a variety of things, namely z-apoc, post-apoc, cyberpunk, and Firefly-'Verse. But there's a lot of other things in the works too, like OGRE when it arrives, Dreadball when it arrives, and all the other projects I have sitting around half-done or half-imagined. I need to work out a way to get paid for thinking this stuff up.