This is a thread that yours trully had a time ago on the Mekton Z Mail List with Jim Milligan (quoted on red) and Brian Gilmore (quoted on blue), authors of the SAC and ODF ships, regarding the performance of both fleets. What follows is a copy of the original post I made (with some typos corrected), plus the comments and counter-comments. It includes errata about the SBB ships.

Subject: SAC vs ODF (warning: longish rant. I mean LONG and I mean RANT).
Date: Sat, 31 Oct 1998 00:36:36 +0200
To: MZML <>

After last thread about SBB ships, I made a few notes betwen how SAC and ODF ships behave against each other (be serious, Jim, Brian, any SBB ship would wreack havock on the Invasion Terra setting. Humm... wath an idea!):

    Jim Milligan:Never said they wouldn't. =) We were specifically told to make these things nasty, large, and scary. We did.

- First of all, the number and size of torpedoes the SBB ships carry would make using them an "I die, you too" overkill no-win game... come on! the Wotan cruiser has 200 torps! and can fire ALL of them at the same time! and the Edelweiss has 600, the Legend has 300, the Master 100 (whimp!), and even the battleriders pack 30 and 40 torps each! Boy, that hurts! Since any (ANY) one-on-one battle involving torpedoing away your foe with so many ordnance and Unscaled G-Factor (UGF from there) :) would probably result into a "mutual K-boom!", I'm concentrating on guns (maybe the mecha screen and the gauss turrets are busy hunting torps off) for fun's sake.

    J.M.: A bit of errata that should have been mentioned (and in fact was) long ago. All the ODF gauss turrets are Anti-Mek/Anti-Missile. Makes survivability a lot more of a factor.

    L.L.: You can bet. Hell, you CAN bet.

- BTW, Jim complains about his lost Scaled armor, and I mourns with you, my friend, since with damage ranges ten times bigger than the ship's armor, things becomes like they were for WWII tankers against the suposedly "AA" guns :)

    J.M.: See my previous comment about Core Cannons.

    L.L.: As I said, I mourn with you :)

- Once we start with guns, the SAC cruiser is awfully outgunned there. With only three Starbolts with W-up time, he will dish out 1500K on the time the Wotan, with quad normal-firing Starbolts, is able of dishing 4800K (they will fire four times for each firing of the SAC's. If the Wotan manages to fire his FF Gauss gun, another 200+200K per turn that he's able of firing, things become worse, but as the Master turns faster this is improbable). The Wotan is bigger and sturdier, too, but since any hit on both ships will UGF the hit servo to Kingdom Come, this is not an issue.
Not even taking the cloack into acount and still... point for the ODF

    J.M.: Brian and I sat down and figured out what we wanted to do with our ships. We decided that the SAC had the following advantages, and we were going to stick with these in everything:

    1: Lots of guns.
    2: Big damage.
    3: Lots of resources.
    4: Very well made Seeking Missiles.

    The ODF, on the other hand, had this:

    1: Superior Energy weapons
    2: Amphibious ability
    3: Lots of armor
    4: Vogel/Danube fighters, with their wonderful world of ECM. Picket boats!

    ODF Starbolts cycle faster and have a longer range than the SAC. This is a major advantage. =) SAC ships, otoh, have far more locations, but have paper for armor.

    L.L.: Still, the Wotan is one of the best cruisers I've ever seen, and the Master... the Master... the Master... the Master... has a cool drawing. ;)

    Brian Gilmore: Well, I was actually told that the the SAC was supposed to have Suckmo' cruisers. The SAC cruisers hadn't been designed for dealing with anything more nasty than pirates, and were overdue for replacement anyway. However, the Supercarriers were supposed to be the biggest, baddest things ever seen in space. I endeavored to make them so.

      L.L.: Boy, you did. You did BOTH things (*shudder*)

      I left the Charybdys ships outta the comparison, but the Charybdis Raider could actually put a good fight to a Master cruiser... if it doesn't get blown to Hell by the first starbolt hit on the hull :) the Raider could send all his five rounds before the Master's second salvo and /hope/ for a main hull hit, which would disable the cruiser. Yes, the Master is a good antipiracy ship, and as a cruiser it could be a good first-batch Terran ship for Invasion Terra, but the SAC most definitely should rely on its carriers for the battles... :)

    There's more errata on my side as well, but I'd have to take a long look through my original designs vs what was published before I could name anything specific.

- Carriers: the Legend is BIIIG MEAN BOOGIE. And with twelve, TURRET mounted Heavy Starbolts, it can dish damage like a Wotan (6 'Bolts per turn are 4800K). Plus note its Core Cannon is listed as F Arc, this is 6800K total per turn. Ouch. 11200K if it fires an Alpha-strike. Re-Ouch.

Tip for ODF'rs: if you command an Edelweiss and meet a Legend, CLOACK, YOU NERD, AND STAY THIS WAY!!! You can dish 5600K/turn ( + another 2400K on AA Arc) counting both 'Bolts and Gauss, but these being only FF, you may not even be able of firing them. And your ship is almost half the servo size AND number than the SAC's.

    J.M.: Point 2 why I want my armor back. =P

    L.L.: Yep.

(If I had to pit a Edelweiss vs a Legend, I'd cloack RIGTH NOW, then use my superior maneuverability (although it's slower) to get into optimal fire position (read: same ex), after expending four, I say four, turns aiming carefully for the main Hull (counting the Legend to be so kind as to not to move), then rip away even with the antimecha gunners hoping for armor penetrating shots, and hope for a) as many Main Hull hits as possible, and b) UGF. If the Legend holds up, and I do not win Initiative next turn (to send yet another Alpha Strike), I'm toast.)

    J.M.: Yep. Tried and discovered.

    L.L.: Safer to do this with a calculator. 'Weiss is a good ship, but the Legend is wath the Master isn't :)

Plus, the Legend carries 5 times as much mecha than the Edelweiss. And this is the main measure of the efectiveness of a carrier. Yes, the ODF can hide his carriers, but the SAC doesn't need. TWO points for the SAC.

    J.M.: Um. not quite. Something that didn't get written down properly on the in book sheets, IIRC, is that the ODF carriers have /5/ Mecha decks. Do the math now. =)

    Damn, I really need to get that errata posted. =(

    L.L.: OK, so the last set is won by the SAC by only 6-3.

- The battleriders: they are more balanced. The 100K 'Bolt of the Journeyman is able of ripping into the Krieghund, but by the time it fires again the 'Hund will have fired eigth times his own 40K 'Bolts, although they aren't capable, at first, of penetrating the Journeyman's armor. The secondary weaponry of both ships is very similar (two 10K BV4's vs one 20K BV5). Assuming no called shots (if first turn salvos hits the Torso, both ships are UGF fooder), the Journeyman would take a SEVERE plasma beating but would conceivably hold for a few turns, and each 100K 'Bolt it sends is probably one servo less for the 'Hund. On a one-to-one battle, though, I'd bet for the 'Hund. Point for the ODF.

    J.M.: Brian and I tried to make our BR's fairly even. I think we did a good job.

      L.L.: You did.

    Funny, though, we didn't test these things out. One more thing, the 'hund carries /5/ Mecha to the Journeyman's 4, I believe.

      L.L.: Maybe another errata, it is clearly stated as having 4 (I just checked).

    <rest snipped because there's not much I can add>

- Fleet vs Fleet: OK, let's set it straigh rigth now; for same-sized fleets, if you uncloack one or two Wotans and the carrier after the Legend, and one Wotan after each Master (yes, that leaves one or two Masters unopossed) the battle ends really quick (after the ODF fleet mops up next turn what little could remain of the SAC). Break point, set point for the ODF. So I'm gonna leave alone again the cloack. Even so, the biggest part of a fleet battle is the cruiser vs cruiser issue, and this is ugly for the SAC. Still new break point, set point for the ODF.

First, the fragging battle is gonna be decided first turn, anyway, because of the aforementioned"shirt factor" (yet another WWII tanker joke). But let's asume it doesn't:

- Meks vs Ships. To put it bluntly, the antimek capabilities of all SBB battleriders sucks. Now, the antimek guns of the SAC have the -3 out- of-scale modifier, and the SAC cruisers have half as many of them as all the other big ships, while the ODF's guns are 20K ones (!) and are Var. Anti-Mek!. On the practic, they are almost as effective as a CIDS. The SAC's aren't. Point for the ODF. Still, the SAC has many, many more mecha on his carriers, so they may be many more of them, and suits tend to dominate space battles. Return Point to the SAC.

- Battleriders vs Cruisers (or, You Can Say Outclassed!): Send the 'Hunds to rearguard. His 40K 'Bolts can't even ABLATE a Master's armor. And a Master which just got hit 3 or 4 times and now has 30-40SP is probably fragged off, so don't even bother trying. Point to the SAC.

The Journeyman, on the other hand, can lend... well, journeyman's service? :) At least it has a gun big enough to rip into the armor and let the UGF do wath UGF does. And since the SAC carries many more 'riders than the ODF (16/carrier and 2/cruiser vs only 16/carrier), there are bound to be a big bunch of them out there. So, the best tactic for SAC 'Riders commanders would be to concentrate fire on those &%(/*_*$ Wotans to help their poor cruisers, and the ODF's captains would have to stop them. Interesting enough. New point to the SAC.

- Cruiser vs Carrier. I'm assuming two cuisers against a carrier, since a one-on-one ends with a single, cruiser-sized fireball real quick. :)

Two Masters against an Edelweiss may be fair. Since the carrier has only FF and AA guns, it would be a matter of staying outside the slower, clumsier ship's FF arc and firing for all they are worth. A good 500K bolt can UGF a 700K+90SP wing (i.e, half the carrier's firepower) easily enough. The opening volleys probably could cripple the carrier, but if they don't and the carrier manages to get the cruiser on its sigths, said cruiser Is No More. Point for the SAC.

Two Wotans against a Legend: Cruiser captains shall hope for a crippling first wolley; dishing 9600K to a ship should do the trick, but with guns that will do "only" 200K past the armor to servos large enough for not have to worry about UGF, this is gonna be dificult. Assuming the atack comes from outside the F arc of the carrier and inside the FF arcs of the cruisers, that will be about 8500K (once past armor) to a ship with 14300 internal Kills... and with the Legend turrets there may very well not to be a second turn. Still, with a full 1/3 of the hits going to the 2200 Kills hull, it may very well just blow up... Point for the SAC, again. But note that if they were THREE cruisers against a carrier, this point would have been for the ODF.

- Battlerider vs Carrier: Muahahahahahah
Now serious: a VERY cunning Journeyman captain could use its faster speed, lower turn mode, scale modifiers and better Initiative to stay away from the Biggunz and slooowly bit away at the carrier, but this would be SOOOO stupid...

So, let's count: first set ODF, second set ODF, third set SAC by 7-3.

    L.L.: Actually 6-3, as seen above

The SAC would win on a big battle by means of sheer numbers, but the ODF has so great quality superiority that things can come "interesting" for fleets of rougly equal size. Very funny, folks, this is like USSA, I mean USA and Solingen, I mean German armored armies on the WWII... Rommel vs Patton, anyone? ;)



Shirt Factor: Many of the earlier models of WWII tanks, spetially US tanks, suffered from inadecuate armor protection. Allied infantrymen joked at tanker's complaints saying it still was "better than the shirt". Tankers answered with the word "barely".

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