SFKH Mine Layer

AZ_GAMER's picture
AZ_GAMER
April 24, 2008 - 7:09pm
Admittedly my least favorite starship design, I don't know about anyone else but I feel this ship needs a serious rework. The original canon minelayer is described as medium sized slow Ion drive powered lightly armed and armored warship. Well as a rear line supply ship that may cut it but as a front-line warship sneaking about enemy territory sometimes as forward unit behind enemy-lines this will simply not do. If I were on the crew of a mine-layer I would like my ship to be fast and stealthy with a powerful jump drive for fast get aways if discovered. Nothing is worse then dropping a string of space mines and having a Sathar task force jump into your sector and have make a not so hasty retreat back to the fleet. With the improved speed of a new engine design I would expand the role of the mine layer to include orbital bombardment with "depth" charges.

An image of the minelayer from my campaign world. A step in the right direction as a faster medium sized warship but still not the stealthy redux I have in mind.
Comments:

Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
April 24, 2008 - 7:15pm
Sweet!

Orbital bombardment ideas:

Earth charge.
Planet charge.
Atmo charge.


Imperial Lord's picture
Imperial Lord
April 24, 2008 - 7:15pm
Actually I have been pleased by the fact that they have two laser batteries and some ICMs.


Stacked with other ships, they can contribute - even on offense.  And on defense...  Look out.

AZ_GAMER's picture
AZ_GAMER
April 24, 2008 - 7:20pm
Imperial Lord: I can agree that they can be very useful in their current configuration. However, a fleet only as good as it's weakest link the slow mine-layer can also be detriment and as sitting ducks in the event of a withdrawl or retreat they become sitting ducks. Lost ships cost money and resources, I would just like to see a more survive-able multi-role ship.

AZ_GAMER's picture
AZ_GAMER
April 24, 2008 - 7:21pm
Atmo charge - air burst yields and earth charges for those hard to reach spots

Imperial Lord's picture
Imperial Lord
April 24, 2008 - 7:26pm
In our SW2 game, we have noticed that most combat takes place at high speeds.  So the "weaknesses" of the minelayer are not as bad as you might think.  Plus, in a given stack, they are actually a low priority target.  Normally the Sathar have bigger UPF fish to fry.

Additonally, with 50 HP, they can take some punishment.

Having said all that, I could see where, with the proper supplies and time, that they could be converted into some sort of planetary bombardment vessel.

AZ_GAMER's picture
AZ_GAMER
April 24, 2008 - 7:43pm
With Mines and Seekers the Sathar Strategists are not thinkin' by leaving your mine layers as low priority. It only takes a few seeker missles to really wreck your weekend.

AZ_GAMER's picture
AZ_GAMER
April 24, 2008 - 7:47pm

As the Sathar, I'd drop a butt load of fighters on the minelayers so that they could not cover a retreat and then try to out flank you while my Heavy cruisers drove down main street to keep your capital ships busy. But hey, thats just me.Laughing


Will's picture
Will
April 25, 2008 - 8:02am
Imperial Lord wrote:
Actually I have been pleased by the fact that they have two laser batteries and some ICMs.


Stacked with other ships, they can contribute - even on offense.  And on defense...  Look out.


They can also carry seekers.

"You're everything that's base in humanity," Cochrane continued. "Drawing up strict, senseless rules for the sole reason of putting you at the top and excluding anyone you say doesn't belong or fit in, for no other reason than just because you say so."


—Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stephens, Federation

Will's picture
Will
April 25, 2008 - 8:15am
Nice strategy, Arizona.

Also good is to lay mines to slow down the opposing fleet and lay seekers in the minefield to home in and hit them.

My approach to minelayers is to do away with them altogether, instead equipping capital warships with mine racks and minelaying drone craft, while using specialized minehunting drones to sweep the area of mines.

"You're everything that's base in humanity," Cochrane continued. "Drawing up strict, senseless rules for the sole reason of putting you at the top and excluding anyone you say doesn't belong or fit in, for no other reason than just because you say so."


—Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stephens, Federation

Will's picture
Will
April 25, 2008 - 8:18am
AZ_GAMER wrote:

As the Sathar, I'd drop a butt load of fighters on the minelayers so that they could not cover a retreat and then try to out flank you while my Heavy cruisers drove down main street to keep your capital ships busy. But hey, thats just me.Laughing



Of course, I could always use assault scouts and frigates(possibly with fighter support, if I have an assault carrier) to snipe at your heavy cruisers while my cruisers and battleships formed a gun line to hold their attention.

"You're everything that's base in humanity," Cochrane continued. "Drawing up strict, senseless rules for the sole reason of putting you at the top and excluding anyone you say doesn't belong or fit in, for no other reason than just because you say so."


—Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stephens, Federation

AZ_GAMER's picture
AZ_GAMER
April 25, 2008 - 10:19am
So very true. Ok tell me more about the drone craft and how you use them for mine deployment. I too would probably just equip capital ships with mines but that would depend upon the resources and mission at hand. A dedicated mine laying vessel is often handy for mission specific work. Especially if it had a cloaking device....hmmmm (Mental wheels turning). Money mouth 

Sam's picture
Sam
April 25, 2008 - 12:05pm
As for the original Minelayer, I always thought it was just too slow. It doesn't really need a high MR, but ADF needs to at least be a 2 or 3. 

 

Imperial Lord's picture
Imperial Lord
April 25, 2008 - 12:49pm

Hey Sam - we actually did reverse it the the SW2 game - but only for strategic reasons: with a 1 ADF, the fleets can't Risk Jump, which is a critical part of the strategic game.


So we flip-flopped the two stats - MR 1 and ADF 2.


Will's picture
Will
April 25, 2008 - 12:55pm
The fighter/assault scout/frigate gambit is Sun Tzu 101, Arizona.

As for the minelaying drones, here's basic KH stats:

HS: 2  ADF:6 MR:6 HP:10 DCR:10

Communications/Detection: Energy Sensors, Subspace Radio

Weapons: LB(x2), Mines(x10)

Defenses: Reflective Hull

Crew: Level 6 robot brain


"You're everything that's base in humanity," Cochrane continued. "Drawing up strict, senseless rules for the sole reason of putting you at the top and excluding anyone you say doesn't belong or fit in, for no other reason than just because you say so."


—Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stephens, Federation

AZ_GAMER's picture
AZ_GAMER
April 25, 2008 - 8:03pm
very good, like the innovative thinking on the part of the drones. As far as Sun tzu, sneaking a vessel behind enemy mines to set mines to cut their forces, destroy their supply routes, and cut off their means of escape is very Suntzu (MUAAHHHHHHH evil laughter) see the chapter on using fire!!!! KissLaughing Thanks for the input : )

Will's picture
Will
April 26, 2008 - 8:23am
No problem, Arizona.

"Create cauldron battles...."

I prefer "uproar east, attack west," myself, but this works as well.

"You're everything that's base in humanity," Cochrane continued. "Drawing up strict, senseless rules for the sole reason of putting you at the top and excluding anyone you say doesn't belong or fit in, for no other reason than just because you say so."


—Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stephens, Federation

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
April 29, 2008 - 7:46pm
I've treated them as a defensive tool, and rather than associate them with SpaceFleet I have them as local planetary militia craft. Furthermore if treated as a system ship, it can be outfitted with chemical drives and retain the same ADF:1 performance, thus costing the local government less.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

Will's picture
Will
May 4, 2008 - 10:28am

A good idea, Shadow, tho' Spacefleet can use a few minelayers to leave a bundle of nasty little surprises along major interstellar routes.

"You're everything that's base in humanity," Cochrane continued. "Drawing up strict, senseless rules for the sole reason of putting you at the top and excluding anyone you say doesn't belong or fit in, for no other reason than just because you say so."


—Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stephens, Federation

Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
May 4, 2008 - 12:21pm
Will wrote:

A good idea, Shadow, tho' Spacefleet can use a few minelayers to leave a bundle of nasty little surprises along major interstellar routes.



How would space fleet clean up the mines to open up the space lanes again?

Also a related question: Looking at the AD Frontier map (where there are lines that connect each system) - I would think that ships traveling between systems would exit the Void in a predetermined area (based on their ADF), right? My point iS, pirates and SpaceFleet would know where the exit points are and I imagine it would be very very long and narrow. Here is a rough idea/sketch.





TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
May 4, 2008 - 12:57pm
w00t, that is a good point. And in reality it really would be a long, narrow "landing strip" in the system. Where "long" is 3 AU (450,000,000 km or 45,000 KH hexes, the distance traveled accelerating from rest to 1% the speed of light at 1g). It would really be more of a cone with the widest point at the most distant end and tapering down toward the planet. The further out you are the more time you have to correct slight deviations so you don't have to come in as accurately. And of course, the "narrow" strip of space is still hundreds of thousands if not millions of miles wide. Which means that ships aren't going to drop out right on top of you if you are lying in wait. Occasionally they will but not usually. As Clyde Tombaugh used to say when asked why there weren't more collisions between astronomical bodies, "Space is really, really big and planets are really, really small." Ships are even smaller. There is plenty of room to maneuver out there.

Of course, that assumes realistic, real world physics involved in spaceflight. Unfortunately (or not, depending how you look at it), SF has the concept of MR. This means that if you come out on the wrong side of the planet you just spend 3 MR (at most 30 minutes if you've only got an MR of 1) and turn yourself around. It reality that maneuver should require you to decelerate until you shed all your velocity away from the system and then you'd have to accelerate back toward the system, adding at least 8 days (at 1 g it takes 83h 20m to reach 1% the speed of light from rest which is 4.17 standard galactic days) and using up a good fraction if not all of another fuel pellet. (This is one of the reasons Art wrote up the Vector rules, he didn't like MR) But since SF does have MR, the extrapolation of that is that there isn't an approach vector for a jump, you just have to get in system.

Continuing the extrapolation, there isn't even an outbound vector even though you have to be headed toward the system you want to jump to. Again the MR concept allow you to accelerate in any direction and just as you approach jump speed you expend MR to get your ship pointed in the right direction. Which means you never know where an outbound ship that is trying to hide it's destination is headed until just before it jumps.

Practically speaking, most ships do enter and leave systems along these vectors as that is the simplist route to take. However, ships with hostile intent or who want to disguise their actions don't have to and can jump in and out from anywhere.
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Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
May 5, 2008 - 4:04am
At best it seems to me the minelayer would drop its load close to the approaching enemy's target...meaning near the space station or planet. This all depends on long range sensors detecting the approaching threat in time (remember the rules state that a radar unit has a 300K km range, or about the size of the game map) so it would pretty much be a crap shoot dropping mines in deep space not knowing if the approaching craft will travel through that vicinity. So it seems to me the best bet is to place the payload across the direct path toward the suspected target, near said target to ensure the invading craft will travel through them.

For example...if you look at the system deployment map found in Dramune Run there are two entry routes for the system. If you mine the far reaches of space on the Fromeltar route the enemy can still squeak in from the Cassidine side or vice versa. Not to mention the possibility that an inbound fleet can overshoot or undershoot the minefield, or even travel around it (such as "taking the long way" around the system toward its intended target). The Sathar, being the devious worms they are, would certainly drop out of the void and take their time getting to the target so as to confuse any potential long range scouts...after all anything the scout ship is in range of detecting the inbound fleet will also detect said scout ship. Once the scout ship bolts away to reveal the location of the inbound fleet, the fleet can always change course and sneak in through another route...changing course each and every time a scout ship is encountered.

Best bet is for long range scout ships to detect inbound threats and report the status via radio so that the minelayer can lay down a distant orbitting ring of surprises near the homeworld (say three to four hexes out), and then duck out of site so the enemy forces do not detect its presence (after all, once a minelayer is identified on the radar scope the fleet will suspect a payload somewhere).
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

Anonymous's picture
w00t (not verified)
May 5, 2008 - 5:53am
Is there a min/max speed for a minelayer to drop mines?
uhmm.... I think I answered my own question:

A mine layer droping mines at 30 hexs per turn would cause the mines to travel in the direction dropped at the same speed.

right?

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
May 5, 2008 - 8:01am
In reality you are completely correct w00t.  The rules however don't place a limit on speed.  The mines stay in which ever hex you deploy them in.  You could think of it as the launcher having enough power to fling the mines out with enough speed to counteract the forward velocity of the minelayer.  There probably should be a upper speed limit but the rules don't give one.
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Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
May 5, 2008 - 1:36pm
I've always held that the minelayer needs to stop in each hex to be mined. I do like Terl's idea though, but I would say that the craft can not be moving more than one hex per turn (or no more than the craft's ADF per turn if you equip it with atomic drives) for such implementations...as any aft "flinging" device would have to match current velocity to make it a stationary object and as such it would have to propel the mines at a tremendous velocity for any velocity exceeding the ADF. For example, if the minelayer were moving at a speed of 9 hexes per turn, the flinger would have to propel the mines in the opposite direction for them to be stationary. Since no craft can accelerate by 9 per turn it seems fair to say that the craft needs to be moving under its ADF value. Granted mines are much lighter than ships...but as far as equal action/reaction goes it just seems natural (not to mention easier to keep track of) to stick with ADF or less for current velocity.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

AZ_GAMER's picture
AZ_GAMER
May 5, 2008 - 6:06pm
While I really like the thought that went into your calculations about stopping time for dropping a mine so that it becomes stationary, which I do like btw. I would also like to propose a different opinion to save folks all those tedious calculations and get back to gaming and off the slide rule, in the advanced technology of the frontier it would be fare to assume that mines would be equiped with a basic RTS reaction control thrusters that like our modern day satalites could course correct and stabalize the mine to the intended drop location. This would also be a cost saving initiative and safety issue. 1st, mines lost due to collisions with spacial debris or moved by the effects of celestial occurances or jump events in the area are costly so they would need a means of self-stabilization. Secondly such events could eventually cause mines without RTS to drift into friendly space or shipping lanes and reek havoc un-intended. Third, When an enemy vessel enters a mine field, it is fare to assume that in the actual size of the hex in Kilometers that the ship and mine would probably in reality not be right on top of each other (unless the ship was giganitic..lol) so the mine would have to have an RTS system to encourage it to drift or gravitate towards targets in the hex to be at all effective as a weapon. Otherwise an assault scout or fighter could deftly fly right through a mine field with minimal piloting checks in order to just avoid the mines. What fun would that be......muhuhahahaa

AZ_GAMER's picture
AZ_GAMER
May 5, 2008 - 6:10pm
Or possibly each mine chit actually consists of a cluster of mini-mines and the counter represents their cumative damage if a craft enters the mined hex space.

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
May 6, 2008 - 1:25am
My rulebooks aren't handy at the moment or I'd verify...but if memory serves me the latter holds true: one "mine" consists of a large grouping of mines that fill one hex, and detonation results in damage to any/all ships within said hex.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
May 6, 2008 - 5:52am
That is what the rules say . From the UPF Tactical Operations Manual:

Mines - LTD / RA 0 / DTM -20 / HDR 3d10+5
The defending player can place mines in a hex before the game starts, or either player can drop them from a minelayer during the course of play. When a hex is mined, the player that placed the mines must record the number of that hex on a sheet of paper. When an enemy ship enters that hex, the mines detonate automatically at the end of all movement for that turn. If several enemy ships enter or pass through a mined hex on the same turn, all of them will be attacked by the mines (a mine pattern involves several hundred individual explosive devices). After the mines in a hex have exploded, the hex is no longer mined.
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jedion357's picture
jedion357
September 18, 2009 - 7:01am
I like the idea of a minelayer cooking along at 30,000 lm per turn and dropping mines (and seekers) and then reversing course. If the minelayer had stealthed sensor platforms available and the sathar thought they had not been detected and were trying a high speed raid on a fortified system planning to use speed to carry them out of range if the attack doesn't go well. The minelayer could boost up to speed on the balistic trajectory the sathar are using and drop its little welcoming present and then reverse course.

(I'm tinkering with stealthed sensor platforms in a game set 100 years in the future of the original White light mod. so with a command and control reach possible with a energy sensor net and subspace com relays. any militia could effectively mass its ships and assets to meet a sathar threat head on.)

Incidently use of vector rules and seekers make the new FTL torps mute. ship jumps into system and after checking is course and making some adjustments it launches its seekers. with them programed to go live just before reaching the planet (done by a simple timer) and its associated space stations and the large concentration of shipping. Everything depends on lining up on the planet. and being able to launch useful numbers of seekers as many are likely to go astray. with slight deviations at this distance will cause wide misses at the other end.
This could lead to a new tactic by the sather: system bombardment and a new class of ship HS 20 with 3 seeker missle racks (sure it'd have to be HS21 to have 3 racks but...) and massive space dedicated to reloads. this ship's job is to send wave after wave of seekers in system to soften up the opposition. the rest of the sathar fleet is decleartating to engage the defenders. At this size the ship could smoke through the system and feed the main battle fleet with tactical data from its sub 1% of light speed fly by of the inner system. load it up with 4-5 LB and some ICMs and its high hull points will see it safely through the inner system. though catching any size particle at that speed will likely punch right through the ship- so I'd expect the need for a ship sized forward inertia screen and a streamlined armored nose to help deflect particles and junk.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

AZ_GAMER's picture
AZ_GAMER
September 18, 2009 - 4:14pm
ok, nifty