Sunday, April 24, 2011

Shockwave is to be shocked!

I was thinking the other day (yes, I know dangerous) and I thought to myself, there are different scales of large nukes a cruise missile could carry! So I came up with the system of assigning a cruise missile an attack strength and the attack strength would get 1/2 as strong for each hex it spread out. This is what I am talking about:
How it would work:
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Treat D0 targets as having 1/2 defense value for the purpose of this chart.
Now just find the hexes out, divide the victim's defense by the nuke's attack and you have your odds!

First one all one rule made clear, spillover fire does not apply to this nuke's attack at any range.
With that said, let's move on...
12 attack cruise missile:
Ground Zero......................100% of the Cruise Missile's Strength, in this case, 12 attack
1 hex away (1.5 km)...........50% or 6 attack.
2 hexes away (3 km)...........25% or 3 attack
3 hexes away (4.5km)........12.5% or 1 attack
4 hexes or more (6+ km)... No Effect

Let's try this with a 36 attack cruise missile now!
Ground Zero......................100% of the Cruise Missile's Strength, in this case, 36 attack
1 hex away (1.5 km)...........50% or 18 attack.
2 hexes away (3 km)...........25% or  9 attack
3 hexes away ( 4.5km)........12.5% or 4.5 attack (4.5 attack, you round up if you are attacking D1+)
4 hexes away ( 6 km)...........6.25% or 2.25 attack (2 attack)
5 hexes away (7.5 km).........3.13% or 1.13 attack (1 attack)
6 hexes away (9 km)............1.56% or 0.56 attack (0.5 attack, you round up if you are attacking D1+)
7 hexes or more (6+ km)......No Effect because half of 1.56 is 0.78 or 0.28 attack (you don't round THAT up)
Note: To solve the 'no armor' problem or 'D0' problem I just made it so D0 had D1/2 defensive protection. A D0 unit was not meant for front line action and it's ECCM, armor sheathing  (if at all) and maneuverability reflects this number. They really should have made the D0 stated at D1/2. This way a nuke would not eliminate all D0 units within 6 hexes (or 9 km).
Example for a D0 being shockwaved:
A truck is driving an undeployed L.A.D. in the it's truck bed down a road to a town where he will be unloading it with the help of a single squad of powered mobile infantry jump jetting down the road next to the comically, almost overloaded, truck. A flash in the distance!  Sensors show a small A Cruise missile has lit off! Seconds later both units are bathed in a wall of air the density of a brick wall...


The 6 strength nuke's ground zero 2 hexes away. The truck is targeted as a D0 (or DEF 1/2) unit and there fore is attacked at 3:1. The 1/1 infantry is not targeted as spillover fire and therefore is attacked with 2 strength, or 1:2. The truck rolls a 3, leaving a hulk behind with nothing powering it and the LAD in the back is destroyed beyond repair. The 1/1 infantry rolls a 5 on 1:2 with a DIS result that reduced this 'squad' to zero. Technically, the suit is now filled with the remains of what once was a lieutenant. A fully functional suit for the Paneuropeans to find, clean out, and put back into circulation - if the wearer does not mind the smell of heavy decontaminates...
Example 1:
A heavy tank is 3 hexes away from a strength 18 nuclear explosion. 12.5% of the 18 attack strength equates to 2.25 or 2. The heavy tank is attack at 1:2 on the CRT. That tank was JUST inside the blast radius to be destroyed. The tank rolls an unlucky 6 on the CRT at 1:2 and is disabled for one turn.
Example 2:
Since an OGRE is so large, only 1/2 of it's components (not treads) are attacked, rounded up. AS to the picture to the left, only one side of the OGRE is exposed to the shockwave. The Red parts of the OGRE are attacked normally. The Grey parts are eclipsed by the red parts of the chassis. According to this picture, this Mark III-B would have one it's mains, three of it's secondaries, four of it's AP batteries and two of it's external missile pods exposed to the blast of the nuke. The purple part are  the treads, the more vulnerable as explained below.

An OGRE Mark III-B is 2 hexes away from a strength 36 nuclear explosion. At two hexes, 25% of the nuclear explosion, equating to 9 attack strength, of the energy blasts the chassis in fire, heat and all sorts of radiation.
  1 of 2 Main Batteries attacked  
It's main is attacked at 9:4 odds or 2:1.
  3 of the 6 Secondary Batteries attacked  
Then it's six secondaries, well three due to the rule above, are attacked at 9:2, or 4:1 ... better roll a 1 for each one!
  4 of the 8 Antipersonnel Batteries attacked  
Then 1/2 of it's eight AP units are obviously all wiped out since 9:1 is waaaaay beyond 5:1 leaving four of them on the other side of the cybertank.
  24 of the 48 Treads attacked 
Then there is the tread loss.
As with the other components, only half of the OGRE's remaining treads (rounded down) are presented  to the nuclear blast as well. Therefore, a maximum of one half of the treads may be lost through a nuclear explosion. However if TWO nukes went off on either side of the OGRE, one nuke would take one side and the other nuke would take the other. The only exception to this is if the chassis structural points were exceeded. I will not go into that as it would take A LOT of energy to destroy OGRE armor (or breach it for that matter).  A 36 ATT nuke goes off near this OGRE. Since treads are not as hardened at other components, treat the explosion as one hex closer for treads. Then split up the attack among as many 1:1 CRT rolls as you wish. In this case, one hex closer is treated as 50% of the strength of the explosion, or 18 attack. Potentially 18 tread units could be lost.
My personal feelings is that these nukes should be simple. One rule to govern the game. A nuke explodes, the number is reduced according to range (blast radius) and then a CRT is rolled. Simple.
Example 3:
(Last one I promise). A squad of 3/1 Infantry is 1 hex away from a 24 strength nuclear explosion. Therefore only 50% of the energy reaches them. This equates to 12 strength. A 4:1 attack is then rolled and the lucky player rolls a 1 on the CRT resulting in a DIS. Of course, DIS on an OGRE/GEV CRT equates to a reduction of one infantry from that squad. One part of their 3/1 squad is blown into oblivion. The other 2/1 hunkers down, probably trembling in fear, fortunate to be alive.
Here is a map and some descriptions to make it more clear (I hope).
A more detailed example with pictures! WHoo!
 A:  (36/2/2) The forest is attacked with 9 ATT of force and absorbs the force of the blast with 3 points left for this turn to turn it into rubble.
Additionally, the road is attacked with 9 ATT to the 3 defense of the road. Roll on the CRT at 3:1 to see if the road becomes broken.
The road and forest behind are safe since no more than 12 strength of destructive energy was applied to this hex.
 B (36/2) 18 ATT on a road 1 hex away. Since the road has 3 defense, 6:1 odds is enough to break the road into many little pieces. Broken road!
The road 2, 3, or even 4 hexes away may survive better as they are farther from the blast.
 C:  (36/2) Rail line is attacked with 18 ATT. Since the rail line has 3 defense, 6:1 odds is enough to break the rail line  into bits of wood and rails.Twisted track anyone?
The tracks 2, 3, or even 4 hexes away may survive better as they are farther from the blast.
 D (36/2) 18 ATT on the two adjacent city hexes at 18:1 odds, reducing them both to rubble (absorbing 12 attack) and has 6 ATT left over.
 E:  ((36/2)-12)/2) Being two hexes away and having the city absorb 12 ATT, that 6 ATT is only 25% as powerful, so it's 3 ATT now. Half (rounded up) of all components of that OGRE is attacked at 3 ATT. It's treads are attacked at 6 ATT.
 F:  (36/2/2/2/2) Being hour hexes away and having nothing to absorb the nuke, half (rounded up) of all components of that OGRE is attacked at 2 ATT. It's treads are attacked at 4.5 (or 5) ATT.
 G:  (18/2) Being only one hex away and having nothing to absorb the nuke, half (rounded up) of all components of that OGRE is attacked at 9 ATT. It's treads are attacked at 18 ATT.
 H:  (18/2) The forest is attacked with 9 ATT of force and absorbs the force of the blast with 3 points left for this turn to turn it into rubble.
 J:   (18/2/2) The forest is attacked with 4.5 (or 5) ATT of force and absorbs the force of the blast with 7 points left for this turn to turn it into rubble.
 K:  (36/2/2) The forest is attacked with 9 ATT of force and absorbs the force of the blast with 3 points left for this turn to turn it into rubble.
I know it looks complicated, but it just this simple:
NUKE ATT STR -> Find ATT at each RNG -> Apply ATT to DEF -> Roll CRT
NUKE ATT STR -> Find ATT at each RNG -> Apply ATT to 1/2 of OGRE component's DEF (except treads which roll at one hex closer)-> Roll CRT
I really hope these examples helped. It seems like the application is much simpler than the explaination on how this game mechanic works.
But how much would it cost?
I did some quick and dirty calculations and it turns out that these nukes are not as expensive as I thought. If you factor in the strength summed up with excell for each size catagory, they range from 12 vp (for the 6 str nuke)all to way up to 107 vp (for the 54 str nuke). Divide this number by 6 and you have an armor unit equivilant. Now I did not take into consideration the fact that a cruise missile moves so fast that it only 'stops' if there is a unit nearby with anti-air capability. I will, one day, tackle this problem by making a part of a unit directly proportional to it's chance to shoot down the missile.
6 ATT=12 vp,
9 ATT=18 vp,
12 ATT=24 vp,
15 ATT=30 vp,
18 ATT=36 vp,
24 ATT=48 vp,
30 ATT=59 vp,
36 ATT=71 vp,
42 ATT=83 vp,
48 ATT=95 vp,
and 54 ATT=107 vp.
Maybe I will modify the missile's "size" according to it's yield ... naw.

Shocked, I need your help, math wizards!
Now, I could create tables to refer to and make exceptions to add flavor but this would bog down the game. Frankly, shockwave was my least favorite expansion. One cruise missile to rule them all? One warhead yield and no other to suit the situation? 
Enter the multi-variable yield nuke cruise missile (MVNCM ... naw ... no acronyms for this). The idea of a multi-variable warhead I believe adds both flavor to the game as well more realism. It will not only simplify the cruise missile nuke shockwave rules but also make them more fun to play. A player secretly writes down which cruise missile has what strength! One problem I ran into was the vp for each attack strength. There must be a math wizard out there to help me do that. I could easily make counters for a dozen cruise missiles with  for each to keep track of.
On page 108 of the GURPS OGRE book there is a list of yields and damage. Maybe if I could cross reference those to what they would to a, say, heavy tank - I would find my ratio of nuclear warhead strength to kTon yield. To know the kiloton yield would only be for flavor or for adding real life nukes into the game from an external reference source (like wiki).
I will leave it up to the reader of this article to give me some answers according to GURPS as to what nuclear strength point equates to what kT yield of the nuke inside that cruise missile.

There are always exceptions...
Now I know that GEVs are supposedly more susceptible to nuclear blasts more than tracked armor units and infantry are more resistant than both. Maybe account for this somehow? Suggestions? I am still working on this - but there has to be minds out there that are more thoughtful about this than I could be.
In my opinion, a game rule should be that, a game rule. That game rule should apply to almost all it was intended for with mercifully few exception (like the 1/2 ogre components and treads of an OGRE as above). If you have too many exceptions to your game rule you spend more time looking up rules and memorizing them than playing the game itself. This implies that your original game rule is flawed and the application of it needs to be compensated for. In other words, you have two train cars and you use rope to keep them together. Eventually, that rope will break, so connect up the trains as they should be.
Here is a white version of the chart above: