A clearing house of designs and SSDs for new Full Thrust miniatures from Ground Zero Games

Beta Fighter Rules

These were originally posted to the GZG-L mailing list in March of 2004 after a long debate on fighters and they natually stirred up even more debate.  I have used them and like the way they work.
Original Posting


There were weeks, months and years of debate about fighter rules on the GZG-L mailing lists so go to the post linked above or go to the GZG-L Archive page and search fighters and see it all.


Skip to:
Proposed Beta Fighter Rules
Point Defense Weapon Stats
Comments and observations
Quick Summary


The UNOFFICIAL (Play-test Group) BETA LIMITED PUBLIC RELEASE Revised Full Thrust Fighter Rules


What follows is a Beta version rule set. Moreover, this is a Beta version rule set from the unofficial GZG play test group. These are a current, in development attempt to fix FT fighter rules, and do not have any Official standing at this stage. These rules have seen "limited public" play testing at ECC-VII and we would like to invite further such testing from the members of GZG-L and other GZG-oriented mailing lists. We think the changes have real potential, and invite and encourage the wider community's opinion and feedback, pro and con. Jon Tuffley has reserved the right to summarily go another direction, but is very keen on seeing how these rules shake out.



[Basic idea: Jon Tuffley, development: Oerjan with lots of input from both of the mailing lists]



One of the biggest gripes players have had with Full Thrust is that fighters don't work very well. Either you have too many of them relative to the enemy's point defence strength in which case you win, or you have too few of them in which case they get wiped out without making any impression on the enemy (and in each of these cases the game is pretty much decided when you choose the fleets); in addition the rules are complex, self-contradictory in some areas, and rather inflexible compared to how fighters behave in TV shows and movies.

The basic problem - the delicate balance between fighters and point defences - stems from the fact that fighters can only be engaged by point defence weapons, and most of those point defence weapons are rather useless against larger spaceships. The easiest solution (which was Jon's suggestion) to this to allow any weapon to shoot at fighters; however, since this would make fighters extremely vulnerable they need some way to evade incoming fire.

The turn sequence is re-shuffled once again (the fighter parts of it were changed both in MT and FB1...) to improve playability. Solutions to several other trouble spots in the fighter rules have been worked into this proposal as well.




The term "Beam Die" (BD for short) to denote the standard way of reading FT beam dice, regardless of whether or not the die roll is related to the firing of a beam weapon or not:

Result if target

D6 roll
Screen Level
0 1 2
3 or less 0 0 0
4 1 0 0
5 1 1 1
6 or more 2 2 1

If the game mechanic says that re-rolls are used, any unmodified roll of '6' is read off the table above AND allows a "reroll" - roll an extra die, read it off the table above and add the result to the previous score. If this reroll is ALSO a six, then roll another die, read it as above and add the result to the score. There is no limit to the number of rerolls you can make if you keep throwing sixes.

If the game mechanic states that it ignores screens, the roll is always read in the "Screen level 0" column. If it does NOT say anything about screens, any active screens or equivalent the target may have will affect the roll.

Beam Die rolls can be modified up or down by die roll modifiers (DRMs); thus it is possible to score less than 1 and more than 6. Note that the DRMs are applied to the DIE ROLL (ie. before you read the table), not to the final score! [FT2/MT already uses DRMs, namely the modifiers applied to Interceptor and Attack fighter attacks. This is a formalization and extension of that feature.]

[n]BD[DRM][*] means "roll n Beam Dice and apply the DRM to each of them before reading the result in the above table". An asterisk, if present, means that natural rolls of "6" score re-rolls in addition to any result already achieved. NOTE: while this may seem complex, it is actually just the die rules already used in Full Thrust gathered into one single place and given a formal description.

Examples: "1BD-2" means "roll 1 Beam Die with a -2 DRM" (thus inflicting 1 hit on rolls of '6' only) while "6BD+1*" means "roll 6 Beam Dice and apply a +1 DRM to EACH of them; any natural rolls of '6' score re-rolls" (an attack by an intact Interceptor fighter group against other fighters, for example).

* Re-rolls are only scored on NATURAL rolls of '6' (ie., before any DRMs are applied).
* Any DRM to a to-hit die roll which is related to the FIRER (eg. the +1 for anti-ship fire for Attack fighters) is also applied to any re-rolls.
* Any DRM or similar modifier to a to-hit roll which is related to the TARGET (eg. the evasive manoeuvres DRM for fighters, or the reduction of beam dice due to the target's screens) is only applied to the INITIAL roll. (Yes, this includes the "Heavy" modification for fighters. Don't interpret the re-roll as "inflicting damage inside the fighters' armour"; in this case it simply represents the number of fighters killed)

Example: An Attack Fighter (1BD+1*) shoots at a ship with level-1 screens.
The initial roll is a beam die with a +1 DRM on the "level-1 screen" column of the beam table. Any re-rolls still get the +1 DRM, but are read on the "level-0 screen" column - ie., they are NOT reduced by the screen.


Some of the newer direct-fire weapons - eg. large K-guns, or Grasers - are able to inflict massive amounts of damage per shot. In the new fighter/missile proposal all direct-fire weapons are able to shoot at fighters (though they may have problems hitting); but if these high-damage weapons are allowed to count each damage point as a separate "hit" they become *very* effective in anti-fighter/missile roles...

Fortunately these high-damage weapons all have two-stage hit/damage resolutions: first you roll to see if you hit (or in the Graser case to see how many D6s of damage you inflict), and then you roll to see what the actual damage is. From here it is a pretty short step to call the first set of rolls the "to-hit" roll, determining the number of hits scored, and then say that "each hit inflicts X damage on a target ship"; and furthermore say that each hit can only destroy 1 fighter/missile/PB level - ie., if you're shooting at fighters or ordnance you only need to roll for the number of hits, not for the amount of damage they inflict.

In order to avoid confusing rules wording, extend this concept to normal beam batteries, SMPs etc. that only roll beam dice to determine the number of damage they inflict: they now inflict 1 pt of damage per hit, so the beam die roll determines the number of hits just as for the larger weapons. (IOW there's no *actual* change in the way these older weapon types work on the gaming table; it is only the rules wording which changes in order to be consistent with the newer weapon types.)

"Ordnance" is used to mean "any kind of missile or plasma bolt".

An "ordnance marker" is one SM salvo marker OR one individual Heavy Missile OR one Plasma Bolt OR one Anti-Matter Torpedo (AMT).

"Missiles" without any further specification refers to both Salvo Missiles and Heavy Missiles (Heavy Missiles are a working revision of the 2-Mass Missiles from More Thrust).


All weapons can fire at a fighter groups and ordnance markers, but unless the weapon fires in a special Point Defence mode (PD-mode) the fighters/ordnance can use Evasive Manoeuvres to reduce the effect of this incoming fire. Those weapons that are able to fire in PD-mode are referred to as "PD weapons"; some examples are human PDS and B1 batteries, Phalon Pulsers and Kra'Vak Scatterguns. Note that many PD weapons have very different ranges and firepower values in PD mode and anti-ship (AS) mode; eg. the standard human B1 battery, which has 12 mu range and a firepower of 1BD* in AS mode but only 6 mu range and a firepower of 1BD*-1 in PD mode.

Fighter groups and Heavy Missiles have a number of Combat Endurance Factors (CEFs) which can be expended on various things.

The turn sequence is:

1) Write orders

2) Roll for initiative

3) Fighter/Heavy Missile primary move. Fighters within 3 mu of a ship may declare that they are screening that ship; fighters within 3 mu of a friendly fighter group may declare that they are escorting that group.

4) Launch fighters and ordnance

5) Move ships and screening fighters

6) Fighter/Heavy Missile secondary move

7) Fighter groups/ordnance markers declare attack runs against enemy *ships* (only) and evasive manoeuvres

8) Ships fire: players alternate firing one ship at a time, including that ship's anti-fighter/ordnance fire

9) Fighter and ordnance attacks:
    a) Fighter-vs-fighter/ordnance attacks: Those fighter groups that did NOT declare attack runs in phase 7 may fire at enemy fighter groups and ordnance markers
    b) Fighter-vs-ship attacks: Those fighter groups, which DID declare
attack runs in phase 7 now execute those attack runs
    c) Plasma Bolts, AMT's detonate
    d) Surviving missiles attack

10) Turn end (ship repairs, remove markers, etc.)


Let's take a closer looks at the various phases:

Phases 1, 2 and 5 (order writing, initiative and ship movement) are handled
just like in the current (FB2) rules.

Phase 3: Primary Moves
The players alternate moving one fighter group or Heavy Missile; the player who LOST initiative moves first.
Heavy Missiles pay 1 CEF for each PRIMARY MOVE they make. Heavy Missile Primary Move is 18 mu.
Fighters do not pay CEF for making primary moves.

A fighter group within 3 mu of a friendly or enemy ship at the start of phase 3 may declare that it is "screening" that ship instead of making a primary move. The fighter will not move in phase 3, but will instead follow the ship it is "screening" during phase 5 (Ship Movement). The fighter group ignores its normal maximum primary move distance, and must stay within 3 mu of the ship throughout the ship's movement. It may move to any other position relative to the ship as long as it remains within 3 mu from it. [NOTE: This replaces the old "screening" rules. Due to the turn sequence, these fighters will automatically get to fire at enemy fighters or missiles before they can attack the screened ship. Allowing fighters to "screen" enemy ships stops the silliness of fighters being unable to keep up with enemy ships that zip around at high speeds.]

A fighter group within 3 mu of a friendly fighter group may declare that they are escorting that fighter group. Both groups must then move into base-to-base contact during the primary move, and must remain in base-to-base contact throughout the turn. We'll return to "escorting" in phase 9a. Excorting fighters move at the same time as the group they are escorting (they don't count as a seperate group of their own in the iniative order). An escorting fighter group cannot itself be escorted.

Phase 4: Launch fighters and ordnance

The players alternate choosing one ship each to launch its fighters and/or ordnance; the player who LOST initiative goes first. A player may not "pass" a ship in order to delay his launches until after the enemy has launched his missiles; once one ship on a side has passed up the opportunity to launch, no other ships on that side may launch any further fighters or ordnance this phase.

Fighter groups launched this phase are placed in base-to-base contact with their carrier. They may not make a primary move on the turn they launch, but they may immediately declare that they are screening their carrier. Ordnance is launched as per the current rule (place the marker anywhere within range and arc of the launcher). Heavy Missiles count their launch move as a Primary Move (and thus have to pay 1 CEF) unless they are placed directly under the launching ship's base.

Phase 5: Ships' Movement

Remember that screening fighter groups follow the ships they're screening.

Phase 6: Fighter/Heavy Missile secondary movement

Fighters and Heavy Missiles may make Secondary Moves to get into a better attack position or to get out of dangerous spots by paying 1 CEF each. Fighter secondary moves are 12 mu; Heavy Missile secondary moves are 6 mu. The players alternate moving one fighter group or Heavy Missile; the player who LOST initiative moves first. Escorting groups move with the groups they are escorting, as in Phase 3.

Phase 7: Declaration of attack runs and Evasive Manoeuvres

First some PSB blurb:

An "attack run" is what happens when a fighter group or missile marker attacks an enemy ship. Plasma Bolts and AMT explsoions effectively attack everything in their area of effect, and may be targeted by PD fire. Declaring an "attack run" is necessary to allow a ship's PD weapons to engage fighters attacking that ship before the fighters get to fire, without having to track which of the ship's individual weapons fired in what phase of the game.

"Evasive Manoeuvres" are performed by fighters and missiles jinking madly in order to reduce the effect of any defensive fire directed against them. This doesn't any significant effect (read: too small for the game mechanics to notice it) against PD-mode fire since the range is so short and the volume of fire so high, but it seriously reduces the danger from AS-mode fire (which fires fewer but more powerful shots). Again, Plasma Bolts and AMT's don't make any "evasive manoeuvers" as such, but they are small and tough targets so get a similar level of protection.

Now the game mechanics:

Attack runs:

* A fighter group that begins this phase within 6 mu of enemy ships MAY declare an attack run against any one of those ships.

* Fighter groups may "break off" from a declared anti-ship attack at any point prior to actually resolving the attack, except during the resolution of enemy point defence fire against the group. (Ie., if the target has already allocated PDSs to fire at the group without using any FCSs to guide the fire, the group can't break off until the fire has been resolved - it obviously didn't break off soon enough!) Fighter groups whose declared target gets destroyed by ship-to-ship fire also count as having broken off.

*Fighter groups that have broken off an anti-ship attack (or whose intended targets have already been destroyed by ship-to-ship fire) may NOT declare new attacks against other ship targets this turn. They may however attack enemy fighters or ordnance in the fighter-to-fighter/ordnance phase (9a) if they want to.

* A missile marker that begins this phase within 6 mu of enemy ships MUST declare an attack run against the CLOSEST of those ships. This does not cost any CEF, but the missile will destroy itself during the attack.

* A Plasma Bolt marker that begins this phase within 6 mu of ANY ships (friendly or enemy) MUST declare "attack runs" against ALL of those ships.

* An Exploding AMT effectively declares attack runs as a Plasma bolt, even though it's radius of effect is smaller.

Evasive Manoeuvres:

* Any fighter group or Heavy Missile may spend any remaining CEF points on evasive manoeuvres. Each CEF point spent gives a -1 "evasive manoeuvres" target DRM (ie., it only applies to the INITIAL to-hit die) to any non-PD-mode fire against the group/missile. (PD-mode fire is not affected by the Evasive Manoeuvres.)

* Salvo Missile, Plasma Bolt, and AMT markers AUTOMATICALLY gain a -3 target DRM to any non-PD-mode fire against the marker.

Phase 8: Ships fire

Starting with the player who WON the initiative roll in phase 2, each player alternates in firing any/all weapon systems on ONE ship at one or more targets (ships, fighter groups and/or ordnance markers) subject to available fire control systems and weapons. All fire from a single ship must be declared before any is evaluated. As normal, no single weapon may fire more than once per turn, nor split its fire between multiple targets. Any damage inflicted is applied immediately at the end of that ship's firing, before the target is able to return fire.

Fire against ships is handled as per the normal rules: 1 FCS per target (or target system if you're using Needle Beams), etc. PD weapons firing at ships MUST use their AS mode (the PD mode shots being too low-powered and too widely scattered to harm full-sized starships).

Any weapon (including PD weapons) may engage a fighter group/ordnance marker using AS mode fire provided that the target is within the weapon's arc and AS-mode range and that the firing ship devotes an FCS to each such target (multiple weapons engaging the same target may of course share a single FCS). Any Evasive Manoeuvres DRM the target has is applied to the weapon's to-hit roll. Each HIT inflicted destroys one fighter or missile, or one strength level of a plasma bolt.

A PD weapon may instead engage a fighter group or ordnance marker within its arc and PD-mode range with PD-mode fire. PD-mode fire ignores the target's Evasive Manoeuvres DRM, but Heavy Fighter groups, Plasma Bolts, and AMT's have a -1 target DRM against PD-mode fire. Each HIT inflicted destroys one fighter, missile, or AMT, orone strength level
of a plasma bolt.

If the fighter/ordnance target has declared an attack run against the firing ship (or against a ship covered by an ADFC aboard the firing ship) this turn, no FCS is required (the weapon's on-mount fire controls are sufficient).

If the fighter/ordnance target has NOT declared an attack run against the firing ship (or a ship covered by an ADFC aboard the firing ship, the firing ship must dedicate an FCS to guide PD-mode fire against it. (The same FCS may also guide AS-mode fire from other weapons on the ship against the same fighter/ordnance target.)

An ADFC (Area Defence Fire Control) aboard the firing ship may cover ONE friendly ship within 6 mu of the firing ship per turn. This allows PD weapons aboard the firing ship to engage fighter groups/ordnance markers that have declared attack runs against the covered ship with PD-mode fire as long as the fighters/ordnance are IN ARC, even if they are outside the weapon's normal PD-mode range. Kra'Vak Scatterguns and Sa'Vasku Interceptor Pods may not use ADFC guidance.

This is both the core and the most complex part of these rules, and it is explained again below in the "Quick Summary" section.

Phase 9: Fighter and Ordnance Attacks

Phase 9a: Fighter attacks vs. fighters and ordnance

Starting with the player who WON the initiative roll in phase 2, each player alternates in firing ONE fighter group which has NOT declared an attack run against enemy ships. Attacking costs the fighter group 1 CEF. The fighter group may only fire at enemy fighter groups or ordnance markers, but each fighter in the group may engage a separate target. The fighters MUST use their PD-mode firepower, ignoring any Evasive Manoeuvres. Fire against Plasma Bolt, AMT's or Heavy Fighters suffers a -1 target DRM.

A fighter group that is ESCORTED by another fighter group may not be attacked by enemy fighters unless:

* the escorting fighter group has fired OR

* the escorted fighter group has fired OR

* the attacking fighter group targets each escorting fighter with at least one of its own fighters, with only the remainder able to fire on the escorted fighter group OR

* the attacking fighter group is prepared to take fire from the escorts immediately, out of initiative order, before its own attacks are calculated.

Note that once either the escorting or the escorted group has fired, the effect of the escort vanishes and the escorted group may be attacked normally by other fighters in the normal sequence.

Phase 9b: Fighter attacks vs. ships

Fighter groups that have declared attack runs against enemy ships now fire at those ships, using their AS-mode firepower. All fighters in the group must fire at the same ship. All fighter attacks from all fighter groups against a single ship in the same turn are resolved at the same time and counts as one single salvo for threshold purposes. Attacking costs each fighter group 1 CEF. (NOTE: The restriction on fighter groups to attack one single target is to keep the book-keeping managable. All fighter attacks against a single ship are resolved at the same time to speed up play; since all units which can fire at these fighters have already done so the initiative order is irrelevant in this phase.)

Phase 9c: Plasma Bolt, AMT detonations

All plasma bolts detonate simultaneously, inflicting (remaining level)*D6 points of damage on every unit within their volume of effect. Human-style screens or equivalent ignore rolls of '6' if level 1, or rolls of '5' and '6' if level 2. Roll the damage separately for each unit hit. Any fighters or missile markers within the volume of effect are automatically destroyed.
AMT's also detonate now.

Phase 9d: Missile attacks

Any surviving missiles that have declared attack runs against enemy ships now carry out those attacks. All missile attacks against a single ship are resolved as a single salvo. Salvo Missile salvoes hit their target with 1D6 missiles, minus one for each hit inflicted on the salvo during the previous phases; each missile that hits inflicts 1D6 pts of damage.


Summary of Point Defense (PD) weapon stats:
These are weapons which are capable of engaging attacking fighters or missiles at point-blank range relying on their own on-mount fire control; but their relatively high rate of fire and slew rates also make them better able than other weapons to hit fighters at longer ranges when guided by the ship's central FCSs. PD weapons have two different sets of to-hit rolls and damage mechanics: an anti-ship mode, and a point defence mode (or PD mode).

The most common PD weapons are:

Anti-ship mode: Range 6mu, scores 1BD-2* hits, 1 pt of damage per hit (yes, this means that PDS needs to succeed with a re-roll in order to damage a screened ship!)
PD mode: Range 6mu, scores 1BD* hits

Anti-ship mode: Range 12mu, scores 1BD* hits, 1 pt of damage per hit
PD mode: Range 6mu, scores 1BD-1* hits

Anti-ship mode: Range 30mu, standard K-gun to-hit roll and damage, ignores screens
PD mode: Range 6 mu, scores 1BD-1 hits

Scattergun (single-shot):
Anti-ship mode: Range 6mu, scores 1BD hits, ignores screens, 1 pt of damage per hit
PD mode: Range 6 mu, scores 1D3 hits
Note: Scatterguns may not use ADFC guidance.

Anti-ship mode depends on tuning:
   L: Range 36 mu, scores 1BD* hits, 1 pt of damage per hit
   M: Range 24 mu, scores 2BD* hits, 1 pt of damage per hit
   C: Range 12 mu, scores 6BD* hits, 1 pt of damage per hit
PD mode for any Pulser: Range 6mu, scores 1BD* hits

No Anti-ship mode
PD mode: Range 6mu, scores 1BD* hits
Note: Spicules may not use ADFC guidance.

Interceptor Pods:
No Anti-ship mode (or you could say that the IP is the Pod Launcher's "PD mode")
PD mode: Range 12 mu, scores 1D6 hits
Note: Interceptor Pods may not use ADFC guidance


Anti-ship mode: 1BD* hits, 1 dmg/hit
PD mode: 1 BD* hits

Anti-ship mode: None
PD mode: 1 BD+1* hits

Anti-ship mode: 1BD+1* hits, 1 dmg/hit
PD mode: 1 BD-2* hits

Anti-ship mode: Roll 1D6: '1'-'3' = miss, '4'-'6' = 1 hit, scores damage equal to the to-hit die roll
PD mode: 1 BD-2* hits


Normal fighters, Heavy Missiles:
  vs Anti-ship mode fire: - Evasive Maneouvers
  vs PD-mode fire: None
Heavy fighter:
  vs Anti-ship mode fire: - Evasive Maneouvers
  vs PD-mode fire: -1
Salvo Missile Salvoes:
  vs Anti-ship mode fire: -3
  vs PD-mode fire: None
Plasma Bolts:
  vs Anti-ship mode fire: -3
  vs PD-mode fire: -1

Normal fighters, Heavy Missiles:
vs Anti-ship mode fire: - Evasive Maneouvers
vs PD-mode fire: None

Heavy fighter:
vs Anti-ship mode fire: - Evasive Maneouvers
vs PD-mode fire: -1

Salvo Missile Salvoes:
vs Anti-ship mode fire: -3
vs PD-mode fire: None

Plasma Bolts:
vs Anti-ship mode fire: -3
vs PD-mode fire: -1


Comments and observations:

First, a reminder: these rules are an UNOFFICIAL BETA LIMITED PUBLIC RELEASE

This proposal completely changes the nature of Full Thrust fighter operations. Instead of having large numbers of fighters smash any enemy who hasn't massed enough ADFC-guided PDS with virtual impunity and any number of fighters dying like flies if the enemy *has* massed enough ADFC and PDS, fighters now become vulnerable to anti-ship weapons as well unless they spend combat endurance on evasive manoeuvres - which severely reduces the amount of combat endurance the fighters can spend on *shooting*. Under this proposal you're unlikely to see fighters being able to attack a target for more than two turns in a row before they have to return to their carriers to refuel (unlike the FB1/2 situation, where they could potentially attack things for up to six turns in a row)... and while the fighters are re-fueling, the carriers are vulnerable to the enemy's counter-attack.

With the fighters vulnerable to anti-ship weapons as well as PD ones, the defending ships don't need to mass as many ADFC-guided PDSs in order to survive. Sure, the fighters will still be very vulnerable to a fleet which *does* bring this heavy point defences, but that PD-heavy fleet will be at a disadvantage against fleets with weaker PD suites (and more anti-ship weapons) which still are able to take on a fighter swarm (and its carriers) with a reasonable chance of success. (Under the FT2/FB1 rules the PD-heavy fleets are also at a disadvantage against fleets with less PD, but the PD-weak fleets were totally wiped out by massed fighters - kind of "paper, rock, sub-machinegun", whereas these fighter rules give a more "paper, rock, scissors"-ish situation)

Being vulnerable to anti-ship weapons also means that the fighters need to take enemy arcs of fire into account. Good fighter manoeuvring (using secondary moves, usually to get into the target's (A) arc or similar) can often reduce the amount of fire the fighters take considerably; similarly the fighters can no longer afford to ignore enemy light ships, so good defensive ship tactics - eg. use of manoeuvrable escorts to protect the rear arcs of the capitals - can have a significant impact. Coordinating fighter strikes with ship attacks can also pay off quite handsomely. This closely resembles most examples of fighter/ship operations seen in contemporary SF movies, shows and literature.

Heavy Fighters become quite a bit tougher against PD-mode fire (their -1 target DRM is equivalent to level-2 screens) in order to compensate them for being just as vulnerable to AS-mode as normal fighters are. Their cost remains unchanged (+2 pts per fighter).

Plasma Bolts used to have their own special set of rules for how weapons could shoot at them; now they don't. This makes them a fair bit easier to shoot down; this is both a reaction to all those players who have complained that they are too difficult to shoot down under the FB2 rules and a way of simplifying the rules.

Scatterguns are toned down a lot against fighters (going from 1D6 vs standard fighters and 1D3 vs Heavies to 1D3 vs standards and 1D3-1 vs heavies), but they are more or less unchanged against missiles (where they usually scored a lot of overkills anyway) and slightly improved against Plasma Bolts (where they go from 1BD to 1D3-1). They have lost their inherent ADFC capability, which was quite a bit over the top - they can of course still be used for area defence, but they need FCS guidance to do so.

K-guns (and P-torps) become surprisingly effective anti-fighter weapons. In the tests so far this has pretty much compensated the FB2 Kra'Vak designs for the reduced power of their scatterguns.

The entire dogfight rules complex is GONE. All that remains of them is the bit about "each fighter in a single group may fire at a different fighter/ordnance target". Much simpler that way, much less confusion, and it works just as well, although you can no longer force an enemy fighter group to stay and fight, and you don't get any "parting shots" when it leaves, it usually isn't a problem to catch the enemy fighters - one side or the other will usually want to attack the enemy ships, and when they do so they will get close enough for the other side's fighters to attack!

Similarly the fighter morale rules are GONE. They were always dubious from a PSB point of view (why would robotic fighters be scared of being destroyed?), and with the above proposal they're also unnecessary.


Quick summary:

Fighters/ordnance are attacking firing ship:
* PD-mode fire: no FCS needed, (A) arc restrictions do not apply, ignore
* Anti-ship mode fire: 1 FCS per fighter/ordnance marker, (A) arc restrictions and evasion apply

Fighters are attacking other ship nearby:
* Each ADFC allows PD-mode fire against any number of fighter/ordnance attacking ONE other ship within 6mu (even if the fighter/ordnance markers are outside the normal range of the firing ship's PD-mode weapons fire)
* If no ADFC, PD-mode fire requires 1 FCS per fighter/ordnance marker attacked, ignoring evasion (as if the fighters were not attacking anything)
* Anti-ship mode fire: 1 FCS per fighter/ordnance marker, (A) arc restrictions and evasion apply

Fighters are not attacking anything:
* PD-mode fire: Requires 1 FCS per fighter/ordnance marker, ignoring evasion * Anti-ship mode fire: Requires 1 FCS per fighter/ordnance, (A) arc restrictions and evasion apply

And yes, the 1 FCS per fighter/ordnance marker can be shared between weapons firing in PD-mode and those firing in anti-ship mode.

Note that PD weapons may engage fighter/ordnance targets with AS mode fire (in which case they are degraded by the target's Evasive Manoeuvres) instead of PD mode fire if they want to. (Reasons to want to use AS mode fire are eg. that the fighters/ordnance is outside the weapon's PD mode range, or that it doesn't evade enough to make PD mode fire more effective.) PD-mode fire is ineffective against ships.

(*) I count the SV Interceptor Pod as the Pod Launcher's PD-mode rather than as a weapon type in its own right. Currently, the known Pod Launcher anti-ship modes are the Lance and Leech pod types.

So, summarizing the summary:
- PD-mode fire always ignores evasion
- PD-mode fire does not require FCS if the fighters/ordnance are attacking the ship, or attacking a nearby ship covered by the ship's ADFC
- In all other cases, PD-mode fire requires 1 FCS per fighter/ordnance marker engaged
- Anti-ship mode fire against fighters/ordnance always require 1 FCS per fighter/ordnance marker engaged, and is always subject to (A) arc restrictions and evasion.


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