6.0.0 Construction


During a game of Fire On The Suns players will want to build new starships and freighters to expand their fleets and their empires. Each player starts with a list of starship hull types and bases that he can build. As the game continues, this list of hull types can be expanded through Research & Development.


All starship construction is handled through the use of a limited number of shipyards. Each shipyard is rated according to its capacity, which is the number of hull points that a shipyard can work on simultaneously. Once constructed, shipyards may not be moved intact, although they may be disassembled and then moved.


All new construction in previously un-colonized or unexplored areas requires the transport of the RPs necessary for the new colony or installation via freighter(s).


New construction in previously-colonized star systems or on previously-colonized planets does not require the transport of RPs via freighter.


The costs for construction are always calculated in RPs. The size of the ship in hull points determines the time necessary to build that ship or installation. The calculation for construction time is as follows,


Construction Time = Hull Points divided by Build Rate


Construction time is normally calculated in the total number of turns required for constructing the ship or item. In all cases, incremental amounts of a turn more than 10% of the entire turn should be counted as requiring the entire turn (i.e., if the calculation shows that a ship or installation requires 3.2 turns then the actual construction time would be 4 turns). Incremental construction time is allowed only in the case of fighter construction and for items which would be completed in the first one or two weeks of the turn and, for those items only, only if there can be shown to be a direct, emergency need for the item. The extra time required should be considered as "shakedown time" for ships and installations.

Construction time is also required for ground forces. In the case of ground forces only the construction time should be considered training periods for the men and their equipment.


Ground forces may be built as untrained in 50% of the normally required construction time.


Construction time may be decreased for ships and installations through increasing an empire's build rate or by crash-building. Crash-building has important drawbacks as outlined in rules section 6.8.0, below.


All 2nd Gen empires (except where specified in setup files, modified in race design, or otherwise modified by the GM) begin Fire On The Suns with a build rate of 6 hull points per turn. As a standard, this is halved for each full technological generation lower than 2nd and raised 3 hull points per turn for each full technological generation above 2nd Gen levels.


6.1.0 The Role Of Shipyards

All starship construction must take place at a shipyard with the capability of handling a ship of that hull size. A shipyard that a player plans to have building 3 heavy cruisers of size Hl=11 each would need a capacity of either 11, in which case the shipyard would build 1 cruiser every few turns, or a capacity of 33, in which case the shipyard could build all 3 cruisers at the same time.

Shipyards are bases with shipyard bays or free-floating facilities. The number of shipyard bays determines the capacity of the shipyard. A base serving as the shipyard for the building example above would require 11 shipyard bays (for a base cost of 36.6 RPs) to build the cruisers one at a time, or 33 shipyard bays (110 base RPs) in order to build all three at the same time. The time to build the shipyard is simply the time to build the base containing the shipyard bays.

Free-floating shipyards are not attached to bases, but do consist of shipyard bays. Each shipyard bay in a free-floating facility costs 5 RPs per hull point of capacity. Note that this is different from the method of calculating the cost for a base with shipyard bays. Building times for free-floating shipyards are determined at one effective hull point per point of shipyard capacity. For example, with a build rate of 6 hull per turn, 6 free-floating shipyard bays could be built or added to an existing shipyard complex per turn.


Shipyards may be placed in orbit, in deep space, or on a planetary surface. Once placed, a shipyard cannot be moved unless it is completely disassembled. Starbases, fortresses, and/or space stations all have the ability to act as shipyards as long as they are constructed with shipyard bays as part of their equipment spaces. One shipyard bay will hold 1 hull point worth of starship under construction (i.e., a ship of 11 hull points in size would require 11 shipyard bays to be constructed).


The homeworld of any empire has the capability to act as a C-40 shipyard (i.e. a shipyard with 40 hull points of capacity)


Shipyard capacity may be pooled within the confines of an empire. While specific shipyards should still be located at specific locations within an empire, it is not necessary to track exactly what ships are being constructed at what shipyards. It can be assumed that the empire's inviible infrastructure handles the mundane tasks of scheduling and routing components parts. So long as the total shipyard capacity is not exceeded, the pool of all shipyard spaces within an empire can be used for construction.


When and if necessary the GM will average construction across an empire to determine what ships are being constructed at any specific location that comes under attack or is destroyed by an enemy.


6.1.1 The Role Of Subassembly Plants

A Subassembly Plant is a specialized facility for boosting a shipyard's building rate. Subassembly Plants are attached directly to shipyards and function by assembling subsystems and modules for bulk installation on starships. Each Subassembly Plant costs 200 RPs. A maximum of 1 Subassembly Plant can be attached to any base or shipyard.


Each Subassembly Plant boosts a shipyard's build rate by +1 hull points per turn. Subassembly Plants can be constructed according to the rules for heavy industrial facilities in Section 5.1.0 of these rules.


6.2.0 Starship Design & Construction

Players will (generally) begin Fire On The Suns with a short list of the types of ship hulls and their specific designs that they are capable of constructing. In all cases, the build rate of any type of ship is exactly the same as the player starts with (ie. there are no special build rates for individual ship types, with one or two very special exceptions that need not be discussed here). This list will include the costs and any special characteristics or capabilities of any particular type of ship (ie, does the ship carry fighters, have a special weapon, etc.).


The calculation used to determine the cost of a ship is as follows,


RP Cost = Total RP cost of all items of equipment (round mathematically) – See examples below


All ship construction must take place in a shipyard or a shipyard substitute in some specific cases. If a shipyard is not available then a ship may not be started.


Any number of any type of ship hulls may be constructed during a turn (i.e. there is no limit to the number of any specific type of ships that a player may build during a turn), limited only by a player’s economy and shipyard capacity available.


Deficit spending is strongly discouraged although it is allowed. However, deficit spending will require the repayment of RPs equal to 1.2 times the amount of RPs overspent (i.e. if you overspend by 100 RPs then you have to pay back 120 RPs the next turn) or the deficit will continue to accrue and grow until it begins to directly affect your economy and satisfaction ratings (any deficit spending will have an effect on a player’s satisfaction rating, but larger deficits can result in bankrupting the player’s empire and have serious social consequences).


The time required to build a ship (in turns) is determined as follows,


Construction Time = Hull Points/Build Rate (round up)


Players may also design new ships to the limit of their known hull size. In most Fire On The Suns games, players will be able to construct ships of up to 20 hull points in size. Ships may not be constructed using asteroids or planetoids unless and until the player has discovered a method of doing this through R&D efforts.


Each ship is constructed in accordance with a strict design template recorded on the player’s Unit Roster page of his workbook. For example,


Heavy Cruiser (CA) - Hull: 13; Equipment: 26 (6x1-pt beam weapons, 11x1-pt shields, 4x1-pt energy torpedo launchers, 2 cargo bays, 1 LR scanner, 1 survey bay, 7x-pt armor, 3 levels improved firing arcs (beams only), 20% improved fire control, 3 levels improved FTL mobility, 2 levels improved tactical mobility); Stats: 6,11,4,20,[6 target 15][4] DEFENSE 10; Tactical Spd: 8 (26.67% c, 80 thousand km/sec); Tactical FTL Limit: 0.5 light hours; Strategic Cruise Spd: 8 sections/turn; Max Strategic Spd: 16 sections/turn; Mass: 260 thousand tons; Volume: 598 thousand m^3; Crew: 520; Cost: 258 RPs


In the example shown above, the ship is 13 hull pts in size, has 26 equipment spaces, and costs 258 RPs to construct. The ship requires 13/6 or 2.1667 turns to build as at 2nd Gen baseline construction rates (6 hull/turn). If the ship is started in Turn 1, the ship becomes available in the middle of Turn 3 (6 hull pts constructed in Turn 1, 6 more in Turn 2, and the final 1 hull pt is completed in Turn 3). To simplify things, the GM will likely make the ship available in Turn 4.


The ship has six 1-point (pt) beam weapons, eleven 1-pt shields, four 1-pt energy torpedo launchers, 7-pts of ablative armor, one long-ranged scanner, one survey bay, two cargo bays, three levels of improved firing arc for its beam weapons, two levels of improved tactical mobility, and three levels of improved FTL mobility. It is a 2nd Gen design and thus has strategic cruise and maximum speeds of WF 5 (8 sections/turn strategic cruise speed) and WF 6 (16 sections/turn strategic maximum speed), respectively. It has a tactical of 8 hexes per tactical turn rather than the standard baseline for 2nd Gen ships of 6 hexes/turn  

(increased +2 hexes by improved tactical mobility) which also allows the ship a DEFENSE 20 tag. It has three levels of improved FTL mobility which allows it to dive deeper into a star system than the normal 3 hour limit from a primary star (the limit in this case is only 0.5 light hours from the primary star). Three levels of improved firing arcs on the beam weapons only allows the ship to fire its beam weapons in a 240-degree arc and gives it a TARGET 15 tag. Note that this also represents the amount of thrust the ship has in tactical combat for altering its course when using vector-based movement. The ship’s mass, volume (in cubic meters), and crew size is also shown in the example.


Outfitting a new ship design, such as the one shown above, is done by choosing items from a list of available technology elements or using the FOTS Ship Design Spreadsheet provided with the GM CD or free of charge to any player in a FOTS game.


Any ship, base, gunboat, fighter, or ground force has a specific number of equipment spaces dependent upon the ship’s technology level and hull size. Standard 2nd Gen equipment spaces are two times the hull size. All ships, bases, gunboats, fighters, and ground forces are also limited as to the energy output the ship can provide for weapons and shields. This is limited by the ship’s Power Systems Technology, or PST, and is shown on the FOTS Ship Design Spreadsheet as a calculated cell.


All units in Fire On The Suns are constructed with a number of assumptions that do not have to be accounted for in the design sequence. These are primarily as follows,


1) All mobile units have both FTL and real space drive systems or “engines”,

2) All units have crew quarters and life support systems sufficient for their full crews and missions,

3) All mobile unit FTL and real space tactical speeds are established primarily by the unit’s technological generation plus any special mobility options.


For all practical purposes, all units are constructed exactly alike. They have a specific hull size which provides them a specific number of equipment spaces. which must be filled in exact accordance with a design recorded on the Unit Roster page of the player’s workbook.


Costs for units are automatically calculated by the FOTS Ship Design Spreadsheet. When and where questions arise, the GM should be consulted for final unit cost.

6.3.0 Ground Units, Special Rules

Ground forces personnel are recruited from planetary populations. Ground units require training time. The training time required for any type of ground force is 1 turn. Psionic units are an exception and require 2 turns. Regardless of construction time, as soon as a unit is paid for the ground force is considered to be on the ground and armed at the specified location, albeit untrained initially.

Trained ground forces begin the game as regular units with a standard DAMAGE level of 45%. Morale grade may be bought to crack (DAMAGE level=40%), elite (DAMAGE level=25%), or guard (DAMAGE level=20%) status by paying 1/2 the unit's initial cost in RPs for each level above regular. For example, a Guard Space Marine division might cost 32 RPs for regular grade plus 16 RPs for crack grade plus 16 RPs for elite grade plus 16 RPs to guard grade for a total cost of 80 RPs.


Ground forcesmay be bought asuntrained for 50% of thenormal RP cost. Untrained units have only 50% of their normal beam, shield, and torpedo ratings, and all of their base hull rating. Untrained units have a DAMAGE 70 tag. Ground forces that have not completed their training when attacked are considered untrained if they have completed less than 75% of their total training time.


Natural bonuses for non-mechanized troops are added on top of the calculated stats for the unit and are received free of any RP cost. For example, if a race has 2 points of natural weapons, a hull-3 non-mechanized unit will receive a 2-pt bonus on top of whatever value it has for beam or torpedo strength (2 pts total, not each, but the 2-pts could be distributed between the two stats). Only non-mechanized troops receive any sort of natural bonus.


Ground forces may influence starship combat only when the combat occurs in orbit, and then only if the ground units are capable of orbital fire. Orbital fire capability carries a 15% unit surcharge. Ground forces may influence any boarding actions that occur during starship combat. Ground forces must be transported to any planet they are intended for by starship, freighter, or troop transport. Ground forces do not have any form of intrinsic transport capability with the exception of those ground forces that are space drop capable (and they can transport only from their troopship(s) to the planetary surface from orbit). Drop capability carries a 15% unit surcharge.


Ground units require for transport one barracks or cargo space per 1500 personnel. For example, a hull-5 basic mechanized unit with 4500 personnel will require three barracks or three cargo bays for transport. In addition, mechanized units require 1 cargo bay per 10 base hull points for the equipment. These transport rates assume quite austere living conditions. Untrained troops, without a real grounding in the soldier's lifestyle, require double the transport provisions but no more for training. Troops transported in cargo bays are unavailable for combat for 4 days after unloading, but may do garrison duty in that time. Troops transported in barracks are available immediately. However, even barracks transport is a trial for seasoned troops, and GM's may inflict penalties in their performance should they be kept in transports more than one turn at a time. Space for indefinite comfort, health, combat readiness, and training requires one barracks space per 500 personnel points.


Aerospace forces may be transported in aerospace hangar bays at a rate of 8 base Hl of aerospace craft per equipment space, or 4 Hl per equipment space for 1st gen races. Wet navy ships may be transported only as cargo and require a turn’s reassembly time at a wet navy yard. Oceanic attack craft (OAC’s) may be transported in OAC tender bays at a rate of 8 base Hl of OAC per equipment space, or 4 Hl per equipment space for 1st gen races.


There is no limit to the number of ground forces a player may have on any single planet. Nearly 9 thousand hull points of non-mechanized troops would constitute only 1% of the population of a planet with a modest 4 billion inhabitants.


Ground forces equipped with missile launchers and/or hangar bays follow the same rules as do starships, bases, and gunboats regarding these systems (i.e. missile launchers come filled if bought pre-game, unfilled if bought in-game, etc.)


6.4.0 Other Types Of Construction

New designs of starships, bases, and ground forces (see Construction of Starships, above) or modifications of existing designs is permitted during the game.


Players may shift the beam, shield, and/or torpedo values around on any ship they possess in any fashion they desire through a process called refitting. All refits cost the difference between the new cost of the ship being refit and its original cost, assuming the cost increases. In case of a same cost or lower cost new design, there is a minimum 1 RP refit cost. The hull size of a ship may not be changed once the ship is completed. Refits require 50% of the time required by new construction. Refits may be performed in any facility capable of building or repairing that unit.


As the game progresses and as players conduct Research & Development programs, their maximum values for beam, torpedo, shield, and hull may increase (probably will, in fact) and the players may develop new capabilities to add to their starships and bases. As these new systems are added to existing vessels, the cost for these vessels in RPs may change. The addition of these new systems and technologies is considered to be a refit to an existing starship and must be paid for. Refits may only take place in a shipyard and the full RP value of any such refit must be paid in full on the turn the refit is conducted.

New unit designs which differ radically from existing designs or utilize foreign technology must be Developed via an R&D program. Starship Design Bureaus and flexible engineering eliminate the necessity of this Development step.


6.5.0 Crashbuilding Starships, Bases, Gunboats & Fighters

Players may, at various times during the game, desire to force certain ships, bases, fighters, or gunboats through their shipyards and factories by crashbuilding them. Crashbuilding ships, bases, etc. has drawbacks in that the new construction will operate at less than peak efficiency.


Crashbuilding cuts the construction time for ships and bases by 1 turn. This cannot be reduced below 1 turn (i.e. there is a 1 turn minimum construction time).


Crashbuilding increases the cost for ships, bases, gunboats, and fighters by 50%. For an additional 50% cost, the construction time can be reduced by a maximum of 1 more turn (to a minimum of 1 turn – i.e. a ship can have its construction time reduced by 2 turns to a minimum of 1 turn by paying twice its original cost).


Crashbuilding results in the following drawbacks to any construction,


1) 20% less usable Equipment Spaces (e.g. if ship is Hull 8, Equipment 16, then only 13 Equipment Spaces are actually usable)

2) Cruise Speed reduced by 1 Warp Factor


Crashbuilding may not be conducted via deficit spending (the contractors want their money up front).


6.6.0 Scrapping and Mothballing Units

Units may be scrapped. Scrapped units return 75% of their base cost in RP’s. Units may be scrapped anywhere, without need for special facilities. RP’s from scrapping are available for spending in the turn after the unit is scrapped.


Spacecraft can be mothballed. A mothballed unit returns 25% of its base cost. A mothballed unit can be destroyed with trivial ease should it come under enemy fire. To remove a unit from mothballs, the 25% base cost must be spent on it once more, and the unit must spend time in a build or repair facility as if it were being refitted. If the unit is getting a refit at the same time, the times may be spent concurrently; the unit does not require de-mothballing time in addition to refit time.

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