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Fleets 2025: East China Sea» Forums » General

Subject: Additional Designer's Notes rss

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Christopher Taylor
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Here are some additional notes about the design:

Okinawa
Kadena Air Base in Okinawa is, currently, a large US military presence in the area. In Fleets, Okinawa was not selected as an allied airbase since it is scheduled to be closed or reduced in size by around 2015. The local government and population are against the presence of US military bases. Some units and personnel are being moved to Guam.

UCAV
UCAV (Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle) are robotic planes, equipped with weapons, that are capable of flying and fighting without human intervention. They can be be pre-programmed to fly a particular route and will automatically attack any hostile forces that it finds. They are also useful as scouts, being able to send real time video back to area commanders. UCAVs are operational today. The UCAV unit in Fleets represents the next generation of aircraft.

The PLAN player does not receive UCAV units. The PLAN will operate UCAVs by this time, but it was a design choice to limit the UCAV unit to the USN player as the effectiveness of PLAN UCAVs is unknown. The UCAV Replacement card represents the ability to quickly prepare backup UCAVs for operations.

Search
The Search mechanic was added after the first public display of Fleets. It was based on some excellent player feedback.

Searching now represents the "cat & mouse" of stealth unit operations versus detection. Even surface ships will be operating under restrictions to reduce their detectability at distance. Subs and B-2B stealth bombers have the ability to return to stealth, due to their increased stealth characteristics. F-35Cs have increased stealth properties as well, but their being able to return to stealth would have played havoc with game balance. (They are already an extremely strong unit.)

F-35C
The F-35C was a problematic unit to balance. It originally had a 2 strength with 1 air combat bonus symbol. It tore through PLAN ships like a bull in a china shop. After extensive playtesting, we tweaked it to be a 1 strength unit with 2 air combat bonus symbols. This made it a strong air combat unit but balanced it better against ships.

Here are the original counters if you'd like to try them out:
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Steve Carey
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Thanks Chris!

Do you think this system is adaptable to WWII?
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Christopher Taylor
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Steve Carey wrote:
Thanks Chris!

Do you think this system is adaptable to WWII?


I sure do!

We've been playing a lot of Pacific theatre games in the last few months and discussing what the scope of a WWII version would be.
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Steve Carey
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Solomon's Campaign.
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Rob Bottos
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Chris, just curious as to what other potential flashpoints you're looking at for games in this series? What about a conflict in the Arctic between the Rusians and the Canadians over Arctic sovereignty. How about a return to the Falklands with a clash between Argentina and Great Britain? Or a clash between Argentina and Chile over control of fishing grounds? Or a clash between Canada and France over control of the fishing grounds off St.Pierre/miquelon.
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Jim Adlard
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Invulnerable US stacks-

Keep one SSN with two DDG or CGX and 3 F35 together at all times. It gets ten defensive dice against surface and Subs and 16 dice against planes. Everything not in these stacks are placed behind in stacks where possible. These stacks go anyplace they want and do anything they can, and the best the Chinese can do is make a 4 die attack with being vulnerable to counter attack or they can make 3 die SSN strikes and be invulnerable to counter attack.

Ok, so they are not invulnerable, but they are near to it. Is there a game mechanic to deal with this?

On another note, the subs do not feel lke Subs. The subs should have better survivablity when alone.
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Christopher Taylor
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That sounds like a perfect hex to drop a nuke onto. Or use Land-based Cruise Missiles. Or a regular attack backed by Command and Control Confusion.

Yeah, that's a nasty stack, but there are cards that can ruin the USN's whole day. And the USN doesn't have a lot of spare units, so any loss is deeply felt.
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Jim Adlard
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Thanks for the reply so quickly.

We've played a couple of more times, just the Training Exercise scenario though, but the Chinese have their own strong stack of a SSN, 2 x DDG, and 3 x the 2-4 aircraft for 13 defensive dice and 15 verses aircraft.

The usual turn involes the Americans moving their stack to 4 hexes from the Chinese stack and on their operation doing a 4 die attack with their DDG. They usually add in 2 dice with a card against 13 defensive dice. The Chinese don't even have to pplay a card.

For the Chinese, they move the SSN to within two hexes and attack with 3 dice. They play a card to get to 5 or 6 dice against 10 dice for the defense. THe Americans usually play a card to get to 12 dice if they can.

Then the events happen...

We lowered the American start moral to 7 which gave the Chinese a 2 out of 6 win ratio.

My opinion is that it's too hard to restealth the subs. They shaoild be able to restealth anywhere as long as it's deep water for SSN and shallow water for the SS. This would help the Chinese cause because they operate last.

Lastly, it is a good little game and has a lot of potential for expansion.
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Brian Berg Asklev Hansen
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any firm plans for an expansion or another game using the same system?

Brian
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Christopher Taylor
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brian asklev aursen wrote:
any firm plans for an expansion or another game using the same system?

Brian

Nothing firm at the moment, but there is something squishy in the works. Maybe.
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Jim S.
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Quote:
The F-35C was a problematic unit to balance. It originally had a 2 strength with 1 air combat bonus symbol. It tore through PLAN ships like a bull in a china shop. After extensive playtesting, we tweaked it to be a 1 strength unit with 2 air combat bonus symbols. This made it a strong air combat unit but balanced it better against ships.


Reading this today, I think a variant with the F-35C having 2 strength and 3 air combat bonus may not be out of line! UCAV, stand aside!

-Jim

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Ron A
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stear wrote:
Quote:
The F-35C was a problematic unit to balance. It originally had a 2 strength with 1 air combat bonus symbol. It tore through PLAN ships like a bull in a china shop. After extensive playtesting, we tweaked it to be a 1 strength unit with 2 air combat bonus symbols. This made it a strong air combat unit but balanced it better against ships.


Reading this today, I think a variant with the F-35C having 2 strength and 3 air combat bonus may not be out of line! UCAV, stand aside!

-Jim



That article wasn't very well written. It implies that the F-16s are being converted to UCAV use. F-16s are being converted to use as target drones, not UCAV fighter attack aircraft. Drone conversion to targets is something many generations of US aircraft have been subject to. Surplus F-86s were expended as drone targets, F-102 and F-106 a/c were used as unmanned targets, and lately it has been F-4s used as targets. The F-16s are being converted because they've pretty much shot up all the flyable Phantoms that were stored at the Davis-Monthan boneyard.

As far as the F-35 combat factors in Fleets, I think there is room for discussion. Remember, the F-35 is designed for mud moving first, it is called the Joint Strike Fighter. It just so happens that it can dogfight as well, but very few people outside of Lockheed are calling this the ne plus ultra of fighter designs. It certainly cannot maneuver vs a 'pure' dogfighter like the F-22. In fact, some fighter pilots are saying the 5th Generation F-35 is inferior to some 4th Generation aircraft.

Me personally, I would give the F-35 unit a '2' strength and take away its air combat bonus.
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Christopher Taylor
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SBGrad wrote:
As far as the F-35 combat factors in Fleets, I think there is room for discussion. Remember, the F-35 is designed for mud moving first, it is called the Joint Strike Fighter. It just so happens that it can dogfight as well, but very few people outside of Lockheed are calling this the ne plus ultra of fighter designs. It certainly cannot maneuver vs a 'pure' dogfighter like the F-22. In fact, some fighter pilots are saying the 5th Generation F-35 is inferior to some 4th Generation aircraft.

Me personally, I would give the F-35 unit a '2' strength and take away its air combat bonus.

That seems eminently reasonable. I would certainly agree with that change.
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Ron A
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anarchy wrote:
That seems eminently reasonable. I would certainly agree with that change.


...and Chris, my comments are in no way a criticism of how the game works now. The game came out in 2008, before the aircraft had even been turned over to the Air Force (I caught the 1st pre-production F-35A AA-1 at Edwards Open House in 2009). I'm sure we'll learn more about the aircraft's capabilities as time goes on.

I am REALLY hoping that VPG lets you do an expansion/upgrade so we can have Japan vs China, China vs Phillipines, etc. fighting over the Spratlys, Paracels, and Senkakus Islands. Of course, you've heard me say all of this over at Consimworld.


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Scott Walschlager
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I would love to see this game system adpated to the 1980s era Cold War NATO vs WARSAW PACT type hypothetical conflict. Another great option would be a more fully fleshed out version of the current game as a full on boxed edition. Any chance of this making it out as a Gold Banner reprint?
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