9.0.0 Combat

Combat, between starships, fleets, ground forces, and planetary defenses is supposed to be a common occurrence in Fire On The Suns. While the avoidance of combat might seem a wise move in most other games, in FOTS it is virtually unavoidable. This is, first and foremost, a war game. Conflict is at the heart of change in the game.

 

Combat can occur between individual starships, between fleets of starships, between fighters and/or gunboats, between fighters and/or gunboats and starships, or between any combination of these and bases, planetary defense installations, and ground forces. Combat may also take place between ground forces and between boarding parties aboard starships.

 

All combat is normally conducted by the GM using the FOTS Battle Engine (BE) which is capable of modeling a very high number of different combat situations. See Appendix 4 for a guide to the Battle Engine program.

 

At any time that spacecraft owned by 2 different players enter the same Section at the same time, combat will result unless the two forces are allied or the encounter is between two players who have not yet had contact with each other. In the second case, there will be an opportunity for the two players to negotiate with each other (i.e. an opportunity for diplomacy). Both fleets will cease moving and will stand-to with their battle lines until the next turn or until such point in time as the GM determines (via e-mail or direct contact with the players) that combat does or does not occur.

 

Assuming that two forces enter the same Section with the intent of bringing each other to combat, the GM will determine whether combat results. Intercepts and other encounters are strongly influenced by long range (LR) and very long range (VLR) scanning systems and detection systems.

 

9.1.0 Detection - General Concepts

FOTS detection rules are intended to be, in their basics, simple to grasp and to implement. If a unit has a phenomenon inside its detection range, it will usually detect it automatically or be unable to detect it at all at that range and under those conditions.

 

Detection rolls are an exceptional, not a commonplace event. Detection ranges are normally yes/no affairs. A unit’s detection capability is fairly uniform out to its maximum detection range and falls off drastically after that. (One would say totally, but things like stars remain detectable far beyond the range of sensors used to detect non-natural phenomena.)

 

The interesting wrinkles in FOTS detection normally come from the distinction between active and passive sensors; technologies and practices that can force 100% detection chances to drop to 0%, or, in some cases, somewhere in between; and the technologies and practices to be used to counter such concealment. Active sensors function by emitting something (typically some form of energy) and accumulating data based on the return of that something to the unit. Just what is being emitted and how it goes about providing data back are details with which game mechanics are unconcerned. The chief points regarding active sensors are that (1) they can provide data on targets that themselves emit nothing, and (2) they can provide data to such units as well, e.g., “someone over there is bouncing particles off our hull as part of an active sensor sweep”. Passive sensors are defined negatively, as sensors that function without any emissions. As such, they cannot provide data on targets that do not themselves emit, but they provide no data to such targets either. Concealment techniques and technologies generally have to do with avoiding normal starship practices that provide emissions, or using technologies that mask such emissions even when the systems are in use. Cloaking, for example, is largely a matter of having no FTL drive emissions below a certain FTL speed threshold.

 

9.1.1 Detection Ranges

Units detect phenomena only within their detection ranges. A 2nd generation VLR scanner has a range of two sections; a 2nd generation LR scanner has a range of 0 sections. The basic LR scanner is more useful for survey functions than for genuinely longer range detection, but can be assumed to have a detection range of at least eight light days. The basic sensors of FOTS spacecraft, those without VLRS or LRS, should be assumed to have a range a bit longer than practical weapons range, or 60 light seconds. The basic range of any of these sensors is unaffected by the decision to “go active” with them or stick to solely passive sensor usage. (Players may regard this as another simplification for convenience.)

 

9.1.2 Active Systems

Active systems are those systems that can be detected by passive sensors within range. Anything else on a smaller than astronomic scale can be detected only with active sensors. Active systems include, but are not necessarily limited to:

 

1) Most FTL drives while in use, or for a while thereafter

2) Colonies

3) Most starship combat weaponry while in use, or for a while thereafter

4) Active sensors

5) Electronic counter-measures (ECM)

 

Any unit, barring exceptional circumstances, has a 100% chance to detect active systems within the detection range of the sensors it is using. So, for example, starships will detect each other moving under FTL drive, or operating active sensors, when they come within 60 light seconds of each other.

Most units that will be in the business of detecting other units, or being detected by them, will be using active systems. This includes colonies, naturally, and any spacecraft patrolling at FTL speeds. As such, using active sensors does not ordinarily represent any compromise of sensor security beyond that to which the unit is already committed. Passive sensors are generally used when the unit is otherwise able either to conceal the use of active systems (as through cloaking, for example), or to do without them (laying in ambush, without the recent use of an FTL drive).

 

A unit using active sensors has a 50% base chance of detecting a target within its detection range if that target is using no active systems. This base chance is often modified by special circumstances by –50%, to 0% base.

 

Detection of almost anything, including specifically cloaked vessels or other units without active emissions, is automatic at extreme weapons range, or around 30 light seconds.

 

9.1.3 Detection Rolls

Detection rolls are made when the chance for a unit to detect a target is between 1% and 99% inclusive. Each group of potentially detecting units makes one detection roll at a time.

 

Any friendly units within one combat area, or formation element, constitute one group; you cannot get 47 rolls with 47 ships all clustered together. Each group of units potentially to be detected within one combat area or formation element represents one potential target for detection. Each group receives a detection roll opportunity at the time the target enters its detection range, or when the chance to detect it due to circumstance drops below 100% or rises above 1%, and it receives rolls thereafter against that target only once every game week.

 

Example, player A has 10 ships, each with range 1 LRS. Player B has one fleet in close formation laying in wait, drives down, sensors on passive, right on top of the course intelligence agents have determined player A will take through this section. When player A reaches a range of one section from player B’s fleet, player A’s fleet will have one 50% chance to detect B’s fleet. If they aren’t within automatic detection range within one week, or if circumstances haven’t changed to reduce to 0% or improve to 100% detection chances by then, A will have one more 50% chance. If A spreads those ships out into 10 different one ship groups outside of combat range of one another, he would get 10 detection rolls on B’s fleet. Similarly, if B were to spread out his fleet into 10 groups, A would get a detection roll against each of them. Spreading out is good for forces that don’t want to suffer surprises and don’t expect to spring them, and bad for forces with contrary interests

.

9.1.4 Concealment

The most basic form of concealment is turning off all active systems. It’s available anywhere with no RP cost or technological requirements. However, being seriously handicapped in detection with passive sensors and moving slower than light is usually contrary to unit objectives.

 

A unit using technological cloaking has the following advantages:

 

1) At or below a certain speed threshold (typically WF 5 to start), FTL drives used by the cloaked unit are not treated as active systems.

2) If the unit is using no active systems, the chance to detect it is reduced by 50% (to a 0% base).

 

Active sensor use is not hidden by cloaking; if the unit is to remain hidden, it will be using passive sensors. Nothing prevents the cloaked vessel from using active sensors occasionally, being detected, and then vanishing again by dropping back to passive sensors.

 

Units hiding in terrain such as nebulae, asteroid fields, ion storms, or the like, receive a 50% reduction (to a 0% base) in their chance to be detected if they are using no active systems.

Other forms of concealment are possible.

 

Psionic cloaking does not use these rules, as it operates on enemy minds rather than sensors. It has simply no effect on psi-immune observers, observers outside its range, or targets inside weapons range after an initial surprise effect. It totally conceals the unit from psi-vulnerable observers inside its range and outside of weapons range; no rolls are needed.

 

9.1.5 Target Discrimination

The rules above determine likelihood of mere detection of enemy forces at range and not what information is determined about them. This is Level 0 target information. A target known only at Level 0 is an active system source at a given location. At this range, the numbers of units in the target, their weaponry, and other system information is unavailable. Only drive type and location are known.

 

With active sensors, higher levels of information become available, as follows,

 

Level 1 information breaks the sensor target into a certain number of units, or at least an approximate one. (GM’s may fudge the number by a suggested 20% up or down).

Level 2 information breaks the sensor target into a certain number of units, each with a given hull value and total number of power-using systems active. These would include all and only those systems that count against generational PST limits. It also identifies units as fighters or equivalent craft, including drones; gunboats or equivalent craft; and among starships, freighter designs versus warships.

Level 3 information is the information output a player gets from a battle report involving those forces.

 

Level 3 information is normally gained only through combat, although the combat does not need to be lengthy in duration. Level 1 and Level 2 information are gained at distances shorter than those for mere detection but longer than those of tactical combat.

 

A force receives Level 1 information on a target when that target is within the range of sensors one step shorter in range than those it has, and Level 2 information when that target is within the range of sensors two steps shorter in range. Range steps include tactical combat sensors, basic unit sensors, range 0 LRS, range 1 LRS, and so on. Thus, units with range 0 LRS would have Level 1 information on a target when it reaches basic unit sensor range and Level 2 information on that target once it’s into combat range. But in that case, it will have Level 3 information on the target anyway (and will be learning more the hard way). Units with range 1 LRS would have Level 1 information at range 0 LRS range, and Level 2 information at basic unit sensor range.

 

A target using ECM that exceeds the ECCM of the force attempting to scan the target reduces the effective range of those LRS by one step. In addition, there is a flat limit to Level 1 information outside of combat range if the scanned force has superior ECM. In sum, if the target has an ECM advantage, LRS can get only Level 1 information on it, and that only close enough to get Level 2 information normally.

 

9.2.0 Combat Engagements

Once forces have engaged, the GM will conduct the combat to its conclusion, basing the outcome of attacks, retreats, pursuits, escapes, etc. on the orders given to the individual ships and forces by the owning players.

 

The combat system reflects the designers’ opinion that combat in a vast three-dimensional arena will have the same qualities as an aerial dogfight with the two fleets coming together, becoming intermixed, and individual ships or groups of ships shooting at the closest engage-able target.

 

Players will not be allowed to micro-manage battles. Once forces have engaged, players are out of the command structure.

The GM will issue a copy of a Battle Report to each player with ships involved in the action. More than one round of combat will probably be fought depending on the orders, break off levels, and damage inflicted on or by each fleet.

 

The results of any battle action are FINAL. No appeals should be permitted, although GMs should attempt to correct any obvious mistakes he has made. Combat results may show some ships surrendering to the enemy. The only times in which a ship will not surrender is if there is a track record of atrocities committed against POWs by the winning side. In this case, the surrendering vessel will be scuttled with her crew.

 

Retreating forces or ships may be pursued only if the pursuing force has specific orders to Pursue or contingency orders that permit pursuit. Pursuit will always be conducted at the highest WF available to the pursuers and the pursued. This may result in breakdown rolls with the concurrent possibility of pursued vessels being "run to ground". No pursuit will be continued for more than 1 week without specific written orders otherwise.

 

Fleets or ships attempting to penetrate into enemy (or even friendly) territory may be intercepted by fleets or vessels with React orders. Reaction movement is limited to one week's travel time at the highest WF ordered or available. No reaction movement will be conducted for longer than 1 week.

 

Breakdown rolls will be checked and the results determined by the GM for each ship in the pursued and pursuing fleet(s).

Fleets or ships with Reaction orders will return to their base of operations before conducting another Reaction move. Damage to starships and fleets will detailed in the battle report. Damage will be expressed as the actual amount of hull points of damage suffered by the ship as well as the ship's percentage of damage. Damage will be carried over from one battle to another unless it is repaired.

 

In addition to normal battle damage, all ships will suffer critical hits at 20%, 40%, 60%, 80% and 100% damage. At 100% damage, starships are destroyed. (The extra crit is thrown in to see how spectacular the ship's exit was.)

 

Cloaking devices allow the side possessing the device to obtain surprise or the first-shot in any battle. Ships may not re-cloak until the battle has been completed.

 

Long-ranged weapons allow the side possessing these weapons to obtain the first-shot in any battle. Following that first shot, LR weapons are treated just like standard weapons.

 

Some ground forces have the capability of engaging starships in orbit. Starships must move within range of these forces in order to engage planetary defense, including most bases and other installations.

 

Ground forces carried aboard starships may also conduct boarding party combat or defend ships against other boarding parties. This is factored into the BE.

 

Each round of combat lasts just 30 seconds. Combat in Fire On The Suns has been, historically, marked for its deadliness, overkill, and the short duration of battles.

 

9.3.0 The Mechanics Of Combat

The mechanics of the combat system implemented in the Battle Engine represent the designer’s viewpoint that space combat will resemble aerial dogfights with two or more opposing sides coming together, becoming intermixed and then fighting independently rather than as a coordinated part of the massive whole. This has been referred to as the “battle cloud” method of combat modeling.

 

The battle cloud model stands in stark contrast to the modern naval concept and WW2 style of battle wherein ships in a fleet generally stay together to support one another. In a vast, 3-dimensional battlefield, it seems only logical that battles should resemble those of the only real 3-dimensional experience we have: the aerial dogfight. The FOTS Battle Engine is capable of handling many concepts as ranged weapons, varying yield weapons, ship placement, and a number of other key factors in the combat model.

 

The mechanics of battle also represent the designer’s viewpoint that combat at this level will undoubtedly be extraordinarily deadly (considering that a standard 1-pt weapon is roughly equivalent to a 20-kt nuclear yield). While ships might be able to survive several battle rounds, they will most likely have suffered sufficient damage by that time to have been rendered inoperable or at least be put out of action. Massive overkill is also a trademark of this system. The battle cloud model has been likened (by a few unscrupulous wags) to a no-holds-barred bar fight with machine guns and hand grenades.

 

The Battle Engine simulates our viewpoint by using “fleet files” (see rules section 9.2.1, below) to match the 2 opposing fleets against one another.

 

Each ship in a fleet file is matched with a randomly determined ship of the opposing fleet. The firing ship’s Bm and Tp ratings are totaled and a random roll is made to determine the total percentage of the firing ship’s firepower that actually hits the target ship. This random roll can be (and is) modified by the fleet’s ECM/ECCM or targeting modifiers, special capabilities such as shaped-charge or enveloping warheads, special effects such as virational or high energy, and many other factors. The firepower can also be modified by a number of other circumstances depending upon how an individual ship is set up (e.g. individual ships can be set to perform individual missions such as Antifighter (Flak), Multitargeting, etc.). Under circumstances where a ship has no special capabilities or the ability to split its firepower among several different targets, all of a ship’s firepower is directed against a single target (exception: all missiles fire on randomly selected individual targets simulating a self-targeting system aboard the missile itself)

 

The firing ship’s total modified firepower number is then applied against the target ship’s Sh rating on a 1:1 basis. If the firepower striking the target exceeds the target’s Sh rating then damage is applied to the target’s hull (Hl) rating on a 1:1 basis. Random critical hits are applied at 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, and 100% hull damage. Ships that suffer 100% hull damage are destroyed; the extra critical hit applied at 100% damage is for game color to see how the ship died. Note: Game color is very important in a campaign. Without this color, many games will lose their interest for the players quickly. Game color cannot be easily defined – it consists of those little extra things a GM throws into the game to keep the players interested and coming back for more turn after turn.

 

9.3.1 Fleet Files

While some additional examples are available, it would be impossible to set up every possible fleet file for every possible contingency or fleet that was available to the players because they will change with the game, the campaign, and the player as well as with the technology and systems available to each race and player. Upcoming utilities may simplify the process of generating fleet files.

 

Fleet files have 2 primary components, the Fleet Data Line and the Ship Data Line. Each of these lines will be addressed separately.

 

9.3.1.1 Fleet Data Lines

The Fleet Data Line (FDL) occurs once only in a fleet file. The FDL is composed as follows,

 

Race, Fleet Name, Break off Level, No. of Ships in Fleet, No. of Hull Points in Fleet, Bonus To-Hit, Targeting Priority (in size of ship (i.e. hull points) specified as primary target),Undefined”

 

A typical FDL would appear as follows,

 

Saurian Alliance,1st Fleet,50,15,123,15,10,0

 

This FDL specifies the following information about the fleet,

 

1) it is a fleet of the Saurian Alliance

2) it is the Saurian Alliance’s 1st Fleet

3 it has a break off level of 50%

4) there are 15 ships in the fleet

5) there are 123 hull points in the fleet

6) the fleet has a +15% to-hit bonus

7 )the fleet has orders to target ships with Hl=10 as priority targets.

 

The last “0” is an undefined placeholder for future expansions or add-ons to the system.

 

It should be noted that the fleet’s break off level relates directly to the fleet’s size in hull points. In this example, the Saurian fleet has a break off level of 50% and a fleet size of 123 hull points. This fleet will, therefore, attempt to retreat or surrender when it has suffered 61.5 (62) hull points in damage.

 

9.3.1.2 Ship Data Lines

Each ship in a fleet, including all fighters, bases, gunboats, special weapons systems, independent systems, minefields, etc. in a fleet must have its own Ship Data Line (SDL). The SDL for each ship must appear as follows,

 

Ship Name or ID, Maximum Beam Rating, Current Beam Rating, Maximum Shield Rating, Current Shield Rating, Maximum Torpedo Rating, Current Torpedo Rating, Maximum Hull Rating, Current Hull Rating, Current Damage % (if any), Status Code (“0” placeholder as of Bev3.9), Ammunition (“0” placeholder as of Bev3.9), Special Status Code (“0” placeholder as of Bev3.9), Additional Tags (usually as of Bev3.9)

 

A typical SDL might appear as follows,

 

CA Black Talon,9,9,10,10,9,9,13,13,0,0,0,[9][9 mis0011 ammo 13] DAMAGE 30

 

This SDL specifies the following information regarding this ship,

 

1) her name and/or designation is the heavy cruiser (CA) Black Talon

2) she has a maximum Bm rating of 9 points

3) she has a current Bm rating of 9 points

4) she has a maximum Sh rating of 10 points

5) she has a current Sh rating of 10 points

6) she has a maximum Tp rating of 9 points

7) she has a current Tp rating of 9 points

8) she has a maximum Hl rating of 13 points

9) she has a current Hl rating of 13 points

10) she has 0% damage to her (naturally)

11) she has a 9-pt beam volley

12) she has 9x1-pt missile launchers

13) she has 13 combat rounds worth of ammunition

14) she will attempt to flee an engagement when she has taken 30% damage.

 

As a comparison, a typical fighter’s SDL would appear as follows,

 

Ftr 1,1,1,0,0,4,4,1,1,0,0,0,[2 mis0011 ammo 2] FIGHTER

 

In the fighter SDL example, it should be noted that the status tags indicate 2 things about this vessel - 1) that the ship is a fighter and therefore takes no critical hits, 2) that it has a limited amount of ammunition, and 3) that its ammo load is limited to 1 battle round.

 

As can be seen a typical fleet file would have the following appearance,

 

Saurian Alliance,1st Fleet,50,15,123,15,10,0

CA Black Talon (flag),9,9,10,10,9,9,13,13,0,0,0,[9][9 mis0011 ammo 13]

CA Bloody Talon,9,9,10,10,9,9,13,13,0,0,0,[9][9 mis0011 ammo 13]

CA Ripping Talon,9,9,10,10,9,9,13,13,0,0,0,[9][9 mis0011 ammo 13]

DD Poison Spine,8,8,7,7,8,8,10,10,0,0,0,[8][8 mis0011 ammo 10]

DD Impaling Spine,8,8,7,7,8,8,10,10,0,0,0,[8][8 mis0011 ammo 10]

DD Twisted Spine,8,8,7,7,8,8,10,10,0,0,0,[8][8 mis0011 ammo 10]

DD Piercing Spine,8,8,7,7,8,8,10,10,0,0,0,[8][8 mis0011 ammo 10]

DD Cutting Spine,8,8,7,7,8,8,10,10,0,0,0,[8][8 mis0011 ammo 10]

DD Jutting Spine,8,8,7,7,8,8,10,10,0,0,0,[8][8 mis0011 ammo 10]

DD Killing Spine,8,8,7,7,8,8,10,10,0,0,0,[8][8 mis0011 ammo 10]

DD Ripping Spine,8,8,7,7,8,8,10,10,0,0,0,[8][8 mis0011 ammo 10]

Ftr 1,1,1,0,0,4,4,1,1,0,0,0,0,[2 mis0011 ammo 2] FIGHTER

Ftr 2,1,1,0,0,4,4,1,1,0,0,0,0,[2 mis0011 ammo 2] FIGHTER

Ftr 3,1,1,0,0,4,4,1,1,0,0,0,0,[2 mis0011 ammo 2] FIGHTER

Ftr 4,1,1,0,0,4,4,1,1,0,0,0,0,[2 mis0011 ammo 2] FIGHTER

 

Note that in this example, there is not a carrier available for the fighters. Normally, this would not be allowable although the carrier could be held outside of combat or be shown as being in the RESERVE, but is done here for the sake of showing GMs how fleet files have to be constructed.

 

The data line for a ground force would be set up in a similar manner to that of a ship, but ground forces also do not take critical hits. Ground forces are identified as such by a GROUND tag.

 

We recommend using a spreadsheet program to create fleet files. The file is first created then it must be saved as a CSV (i.e. text & commas) format in order for the BE to read the file. This CSV may be located anywhere, but it is most convenient if the file is located in the turn folder in which the battle is occurring.

If you have difficulty creating and editing your fleet files and then running them, please feel free to contact us and we will help in any manner possible.

 

See Appendix 4 for a more complete example of how to set up fleet files and status tags in the BE (the BE User’s Manual so to speak).

 

9.4.0 Planetary Invasions

The only way to capture a planet is to land ground forces on it. Starships may rule the planet from orbit, but only ground forces can impose a player's will upon an enemy population (although starships can always bombard the planet into surrender or destruction).

 

Any pair (2) of warships in orbit around a planet that has no defenses or none that are capable of attacking orbit can blockade the planet. Blockading a planet means that that planet’s RP production cannot be counted towards the total for that Empire; it can only be used locally. For this purpose, armed gunboats and ships with an armed fighter complement count as warships, while fighters of themselves and ships with neither fighters nor weapons do not.

 

A blockaded world can produce items locally. Blockaded worlds cannot produce items in orbit, however.

 

Capturing enemy colonies is nearly the only way for a state to gain materially from a war. Sheer space is almost always otherwise available, and that space includes any number of planets that are suitable colony worlds. Colonies are what enemy space has that empty space does not. Winning a war involves ridding enemy space, locally or entirely, of warships, leaving colonies vulnerable to capture. These colonies are essentially open to the victor at that point, requiring only reusable invasion forces, occupation forces, and their transports to snatch up. Enemy colonies are, in effect, free – you just pay shipping and handling.

 

Invasions take place in "Phases",

 

Phase 1) Assault Phase/Invasion

When faced with an invasion a defending player/-NPR can opt to concede the planet-head or to defend against it. Conceding the planet-head means that Phase 1 is automatically successful for the attacker (i.e. the defending forces retreat from contact and do not defend against the landings).

 

If the defender concentrates his forces against the attempt by the attacker to obtain a "planet-head" (as opposed to the standard "beachhead" terminology used today), the defender and attacker fight out a single round of combat with their assigned forces. The attacker is limited to drop-capable forces and fighters and any ship conducting planetary bombardment. If the attacker places troopships or other vessels and/or small craft in the initial drop, any troops aboard those craft are not available for the initial assault phase. If these ships are shot down any troops they are transporting are lost.

 

If the defender succeeds in repelling (by forcing to retreat or surrender all attacking forces) or destroying the attacking forces, the attacker can either retreat or attempt a second assault/invasion phase.

 

This phase lasts not more than 3 hours (2 low orbit passes over the same patch of real estate). Starship missile (not beam) orbital bombardment could be used here at full effect.

 

Phase 2) Consolidation

If an attacking player succeeds in Phase 1 he can elect to retreat off-planet or consolidate his planet-head. Consolidation is accomplished by landing additional forces using troopships, transports, etc., etc. Only defending aerospace fighters, standard fighters, artillery units, and orbital-fire capable units may defend against these landings. Any vessel shot down while attempting to land more troops is lost along with all forces carried onboard them.

 

This phase lasts not more than 24 hours. Starship missile (not beam) orbital bombardment may not be used here.

 

Phase 3) Expanding the Planet-head and/or Counterattack

At any time during Phase 2 a defending player/NPR can elect to open Phase 3. During Phase 3 the defending player can elect to counterattack against the invading forces using any and/or all available forces including aerospace fighters, standard fighters, and/or other forces. The attacking player is limited to only those forces landed on-planet at the time when the defending player opens his counterattack. Any vessels in-transit are open to being attacked and destroyed along with all forces being transported at the time.

 

At any time during Phase 2 an attacking player can elect to attempt to expand his planet-head. When the attempt is launched the attacking player is limited to only those forces that have landed on the planet up to the time the attempt to expand the planet-head takes place.

 

If at any time a counterattacking defender is forced to retreat, the invasion moves on to Phase 4.

 

If at any time an attacking players attempt to expand his planet-head fails, the invasion moves back to Phase 2.

 

This phase lasts for up to 4 days (96 hours). Starship missile (not beam) orbital bombardment could be used here at 1/2 effect.

 

Phase 4) Engage & Destroy

If an attacking player succeeds in Phase 3 (i.e. the defending player is forced to retreat), the invasion moves on to this phase. In this phase, both the defending player and the attacking player are actively engaged with seeking to engage and destroy the other side. Both sides allocate their forces and combat proceeds normally as per standard FOTS battles with the following exception - each battle lasts for only a single battle round after which both sides are allowed to review their battle results, reallocate forces, add in new forces, etc., up to and including the possibility of surrender or retreat.

 

If at any time the defending player no longer has available military forces with which to defend the planet the invasion has succeeded and the standard rules for pacifying a planet take over.

 

If at any time the attacking player no longer has available military forces with which to continue attacking the invasion has failed.

 

Each battle round of this phase lasts 4 days. Starship missile (not beam) orbital bombardment could be used here at 1/4 effect.

 

Note that starships assigned to the orbital bombardment role must be available in orbit to accomplish that role. If they're called away or reassigned they're out of the picture.

 

Also note that standard and aerospace fighters must have hangar bays from which to operate and be rearmed. This usually means a carrier or a base of some kind.

 

The defender may elect during phase 4 to cease combat and “go to bush”. Such defending units are considered to vanish into the colonial population, unless the colony does not have a standard garrison on the following turn. If the colony does not have a garrison of that size or larger and there are surviving defenders, there is an automatic uprising (see below) with the surviving defenders added to the rebel forces.

 

 

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