flying off the map


I wanted to propose a change to the rules on fighters flying off the edge of the map. Right now, if your fighter careens off the edge of the map, you take a loss of experience points and you are out of the dogfight. Now, maybe that's preferable as a retreat action, just point at the edge of the map and afterburn out of trouble...but, for incidental moves, it's extraordinarily harsh. In the scenario 2 game, that's a whole sartha that's GONE from the game. In our furball, that could be the difference between one side winning or losing (the ships are REALLY well balanced, IMO, in that scenario).

Can we try something different?

What I'd propose is splitting things a bit:

1) Retreat action... you must declare a retreat action at the start of the combat phase before the movement phase on which you attempt to make it off the map. After that, you cannot launch any attacks, no point defense (except turrets). You have to make it to the edge of the map and off without there being an enemy ship within 5 hexes. In the event there's a fighter within 5 hexes, you get bumped to bullet #2 (running away from a fight is difficult and perilous...small, fast fighters are better able to get clear...broadswords, not so much)

2) Incidental flight off the board... if your fighter flies off the board, you are unable to take part in the remainder of the current round and you are unable to move on the next movement phase (your fighter is having to autopilot back to the engagement area or something like that). You are placed on the grid where you left the battlezone on a reciprocal course at the beginning of the combat phase. All missiles that were locked on lose their locks (it could be used as a last-ditch evasive maneuver). Your shields get a maximum of 1 recharge (the end phase while you're off the board).

That's an approximation of the idea...comments? Questions? Critiques?
Possibly not a bad idea.

I'm put in mind also of a rule from Star Warriors (the old Star Wars tabletop starfighter game), which in the advanced rules had a "rolling tabletop" -- if you hit the edge of the map, move back one full movement, and move everyone over as much to shift the map into place -- if it'd move someone OFF the map, then one of them still leaves the mapboard.
There's a problem with this idea. Our objective in Scenario #2 is to survive 15 turns. What stops us from simply 'hiding' off the map and only popping in every second turn? Where do we pop in? Is it declared ahead of time? (during the turn we're gone?) etc.

I think in a campaign game, the gamemaster should be able to set the 'out of zone' rules, but in a scenario like this, (or a dog-fight) the edge-of-map boundary makes sense to me.
First off, let me state something concerning Panda's "unintentional retreat": Panda tried to perform a risky maneuver close to the edge of the map. He was aware of that risk before, and I even emailed him after I had botched the maneuver roll. (I asked him if he was aware that failing the planned maneuver would take him off the map and thus out of the game, and he confirmed his orders. Although at that moment, I guess he already suspected that something had gone wrong.) So this was a decision made on purpose, and I think Panda stands to his decision.
[Note: After reading this part again, I found it almost sounds like I'm pissed off. Actually, I'm not - I just wanted to deliver an explanation. :)]

And now my two cents on floundericiousMI's idea: While it may not seem very "realistic" to limit space, I think the "edge rule" is a necessary part of the game mechanics themselves. (Talk about realism in WC anyway... Newtonian what?!? :p) I've already designed a similar game prior to WCTO, and there I had experimented with "rolling maps" (see Pip's post) and even two different battlezones at the same time (representing both ends of a jump point). To cut a long story short, I've come to the conclusion that limiting the battlezone makes sense - it would just lengthen any combat engagement otherwise.
It's a whole new ball game in campaign missions, of course, where you have several nav points and (almost) total freedom of choice - but as Avacar said, in dogfights and scenario missions, I prefer the arena-like limitation of the map.

Doesn't mean you can't convince me at all, but I promise it's going to be very hard. ;)
Yep. I knew what I was getting in to. Have any of you ever pulled the burn towards a capital ship, flip, and burn back maneuver? It can be very effective for getting people off your tail, but it's really risky. If you mistime it, you're dead. Same for dancing in and out of an asteroid field.

I realized the risk, but we needed to hurt the Confed ships a lot, and quickly, or they'd tear us to pieces with their missiles. So I screamed and lept. It was a very Kilrathi maneuver. Sometimes it doesn't work...that's OK. sounds like you've worked it out the way you want it and that's fine.

I'd be interested to see how this will be handled in a campaign.
I am with Avacar and Ironduke. I see that's it's bitter sometimes to lose just to bad luck (I mean 5+ - I would have taken the same risk and not even considered it a real risk) but it's necessary. Already, games in TacOps can take a very long time. Making the off-map some sort of safe haven would be bad for game dynamics.

Also, it makes for more fun stories this way, see Panda's and floundericiousMI's posts in the Scenario thread ;).