Everything wrong with the Alamo Defense Outpost…

So what’s so wrong about this big old space station? Well – believe it or not – quite a bit!

The hardest thing about ANY of the stations in the FASA manuals is the fact that there is no corresponding equipment beyond the computers and weapons. To figure out what the matter/Anit-matter generator weighs, you have to extrapolate. Do that with the impulse generator AND the shields – and you’ve got some pretty wide margins. Even so – a good bit of math (and some trial and error) and you get a fairly usable set of data. This is what we did ever-so-long ago to create our tables and equipment lists.

That being said –there are some pretty crazy gaps and inferences that make little sense. Space station are – of course – significantly larger and more powerful than a single starship. In fact – in game terms – they’re meant to be a fixed point that requires a major fleet to assault. If the defending team has a squadron of gunboats or a couple of destroyers handy, it can REALLY make things interesting to the attacking team. FASA has done a pretty good job of making the Alamo fit this model…you’d need a whole fleet of D-7’s to even attempt to assault a single Alamo.

Lets start with the power systems. For the Alamo, that the FMAPG-2 and FMAPG-3 – both of which produce a WHOPPING amount of power (155 and 180 points to be exact). With the FIPG-2 impulse power generator – you’re looking at some REAL power to spare. But the first real issue become the weight of the M/AM power plant. Even for 150+ points of power – you’re talking 2,000,000 for the generator. That seems extremely excessive. In fact – the WORST power to weight engine is the FWE-1 – which works out to about 5,000 mt per point of M/AM power. That STILL would only get you about 770,000 mt. No matter how you slice it –that a WHOLE lot of weight for each point of power. BUT! I can live with that – since there are no rules for stations in general – you could probably come up with some good “treknobable” reason why the M/AM generator is SO heavy.

Next is the computer – and that’s only a problem on the Mk IV. The M-7 has a limited WDF of 150…yet the Mk IV has a listed WDF of 198. While there ARE other ships that go outside the listed WDF range – non do it QUITE so much as the Alamo Mk IV.

Speaking of WDF – that where you REALLY get a problem. Lets start with the Mk III – you’ve got 12 FH-3’s (5.8 x 12 = 69.9) and 6 FP-1’s (4.4 x 6 = 26.4). Add em up and you get 96.3. This is a little short of the 111 listed in the manual. Best I could manage was changing the FP-1 to FP-6 – this gives you 69.9+40.2 = 110.1. Not too far off.

The Mk IV is a bit more challenging – your FH-9 (6 x 18 = 108) and FP-4s (12.5 x 6 = 75) give you a total of 183 – again, off from the listed 198. The only weapon that comes close to filling the gap is the FH-13 (6.5 x 18 = 117) – this with the torpedoes would be 192. But the FH-13 have a shorter range. Seems somewhat inconsistent.

The long and the short of it is that some modification is needed, especially if you’re going to be somewhat accurate. I’m not sure exactly how we’re going to handle this when we start re-posting the Federation SDS’s…do we leave it, do we correct it or do we update it. Stay tuned for more and check the Yahoo group for a possible “Poll” in the near future.

(BTW! Keep checking back over the next few months – we’ll be adding a number of new stations by Christmas!)

Captain Kirk

One Comment

  1. Back when I used to play this game in the 80s, I had a devil of a time trying to make an upgrade for the Romulan version, the X-3 Aviary, because I declared it a POS, and wanted to change out all the plasma weapons on it because plasmas are a complete waste of energy compared to the punch of torpedoes. Each plasma is strangely worth so much WDF that, at the time, it seemed like a typical Romulan Plasma was worth like three torpedo systems, and I just thought that was rubbish.

    When you’re playing the Romulans among friends in a strategic campaign, and you’re going up against the mighty Federation, the Aviary is not going to do you much good against Enterprise-class or Miranda-class cruisers, let alone the Excelsior. The cruisers and battleship can just sit back and lob torpedoes at it from a distance safe enough to negate the plasma weapons.

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