Friday, 27 April 2012

Adeptus Titanicus: Guns, VSGs, and Bling

As I'm getting a handle on the turn sequence, I thought that I might also work on the nuts and bolts of Adeptus Titanicus, the part that players tend to pay more attention to: The Titans.

Firstly, a Titan can be considered to be composed of two parts, the crew, and the machinery. The crew will affect the turn sequence by allowing the Titan to engage in various actions. Essentially crew form a limit on the actions that a Titan can perform in a single turn. Actions themselves are trifurcated into Strategies, Orders, and Actions. Strategies are essentially conditions for certain orders and actions to take place. Likewise orders are essentially conditions for certain actions to take place. Actions affect the states of the game on the table-top.

Crew-wise, there's the Commander, who can engage in all three levels of action, the Officers who can engage in Orders and Actions, and the Crew, who can engage in Actions. Crew are a scarce resource, so that the players will need to be clever with how they order strategies, orders, and actions in order to maximize the output of their Titan. The number and kind of crew may be eroded by combat.

Most obviously there are the weapons. I think I'd like to keep the usual 40,000 arrangement of Range, Strength, Armour Piercing, Rate of Fire (number of 'shots'), and a range of weapon 'types' for various game effects. However, I think I'd like to affect the way that combat is resolved, particularly to take out the usual dice rolling.

Why take out the dice rolling? Well, firstly there's the random element of the turn sequence, in that players won't know exactly what actions they'll be able to pull off, and the way that actions interact to create events should provide sufficient 'gearing' to make the differences between variety of weapons salient.

Take hitting, for example. Instead of rolling dice to see which shots hit, the Acquire Target order will be used to place shots. However, the effects of these shots will not be resolved until that particular weapon has a Fire action played, in which case it will deliver fire to the assigned co-ordinates if it has sufficient ammunition and/or power to do so. Potential shots from the same weapon must be spaced up to 1" apart, and as much as 2".

Hence a shot that intersects with a Titan (or other unit) or terrain-piece will have an effect equal to its Strength and Armour Piercing, and that Titan's Toughness and Armour, or Coherency if the Titan is shielded. In this case I would reverse the relation of armour to toughness, since there's no saving throw for a defending player to 'respond' to any outcomes generated by hitting and wounding/damaging.

At first tack I would say that each hit results in a number of damage points, with points being equal to the difference in AP and AV, multiplied by the positive difference between S & T, and divided by the negative difference between S & T. So a S8 AP1 weapon hitting a T6 Av3 would take four points of damage. A S8 AP5 weapons hitting a T6 Av3 target would cause one point of damage. Shield coherency is therefore equivalent to armour (or Av, as written here), and damage to shields would be a reduction in shield coherency (on that facing - shields would have facings such as Front, Flanks, and Rear).

At which point I can either detail a partial damage system or declare fractions are rounded up as usual. I'm going with rounding. So we know how Shields would be affected, but what about everything else? I'm actually okay with randomization here, if something like an Aim action can be built into the action system to allow players to take control of the sort of damage they inflict. Which would be:

1. Crew
2. Shield Generators
3. Weapons
4. Drive Train
5. Reactor
6. Sensors

Notice that the Drive Train (basically legs, what-have-you) is separate from the Reactor. The Reactor provides a third level of resources alongside crew and game-state, and be controlled by Orders and Strategies. Essentially speaking the Reactor wouldn't be able to provide sufficient power for a Warlord Titan to move at full stride, firing four Volcano Cannons/Plasma Destructors, while maintaining full shields. In addition to generating power as a condition for other systems (usually one point, more for shields and energy weapons), the Reactor would be able to store power. Damage, of course, would reduce the amount of power that the reactor can generate and store, hopefully leading to dilemmas about how to square crew activity, power, and one's opponent trying to murder one's Titan. I think the ability to douse the reactor and to start up from stored power would be integral to an Ambush strategy.

Sensors would be necessary for things like Acquire Target orders, but also for certain strategic options like Ambush, or whatnot. 

Anyhow, that's what I have so far from the ground-up perspective.      

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