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Still learning
15-07-2007, 01:00
Hi all!

I'm looking at getting into the game and want to start an Imperial Navy fleet.

Can you give me the gist of the pros and Cons of some of the planes, what thier weaknesses are, what they are good at..

-Thunderbolt
-lightning(s)
-Maurauder(s)

Any help will be most appreciated!

Thanks in advance.

fattdex
15-07-2007, 04:15
Thunderbolts- good core unit, lots of shots at medium-close, can make an entire list out of them if you wished.
Lightnings- good to take 2 or so, agile, good for getting in a firing position at medium-long range to support the others in dogfights. I don't rate the strike very much.
Marauder- cheap enough to buy two without extra weapon loads when bombing for higher level carpet bombing runs.
Marauder destroyer- great for low level strafing with hellstrike missiles, autocannons are nasty, turret and rear assault cannons are good defensively.
Also- Thunderhawk gunship, 6 hits and lots of weapons.

Still learning
15-07-2007, 04:43
Thanks alot Fattdex, this will not be forgoten!

LordOfDarkStuff
15-07-2007, 05:45
I know the Thunderbolts are the primary fighter for the Imperial Navy, but could Lightnings be used in a similar role? It has less firepower up close when compared to the thunderbolt, but its auto cannon has more range, and more ammo. Plus, the lightning is cheaper, and more maneuverable. Could a squadron of lightnings perform as well, if not better, than the thunderbolts?

Still learning
15-07-2007, 06:55
Are you talking about in the game?

Fluff wise:
I'm guess that the T-bolt is sort of an all rounder and is more steady, probably cheaper to produce and larger weapons and fuel tanks make it a more obvious chioce agaisnt the lightening which looks alot more hightech and harder to fly. Plus the T-bolt looks so much better.

fattdex
15-07-2007, 15:09
They could, but you just don't have the same bucket of dice that the thunderbolts can throw down when the fighting inevitably gets close-in.

And yes fluff wise lightnings are much newer and rarer.

Tyra_Nid
16-07-2007, 02:36
Lightnings are for pilots who like to fly, Thunderbolts are for pilots who like to kill.

This is reflected in the game very well. Lightnings have the extra maneuverability that allows them to use spiral (best maneuver in the game for dogfights, imo), but have nowhere near the firepower of a Tbolt.

They will get into a position to shoot much more easily (assuming a competent commander), but are unlikely to do as much damage as a Tbolt.



I know the Thunderbolts are the primary fighter for the Imperial Navy, but could Lightnings be used in a similar role?

A similar role? Probably not. Tbolt is a front line, core fighter... It is the tank of the skies. Durable, packs a mighty punch. Lightning is a much more long-range fighter, more fragile, better for scouting and recon. They could be used, but wouldnt be as effective in an air-brawl. The Tbolt is the best basic fighter in the game for big brawls I believe.


It has less firepower up close when compared to the thunderbolt, but its auto cannon has more range, and more ammo.

The problem is that you are rolling much less dice, and the few dice that do hit need 5+ instead of 4+ to damage. Its not really an Autocannon, its a Pussycannon (as we call it in our group). If you have played AI a fair bit, you will realise that shooting is EXCEEDINGLY tempramental. Very difficult to actually do damage, and that 4+ -> 5+ makes a MASSIVE difference considering the rarity with which you will actually hit. In addition, the Lightning perfoms optimally at longrange (Las + Auto + Skystrikes), so thats only 1 shot with AC...



Plus, the lightning is cheaper, and more maneuverable.

This is true. But you need to give it Skystrikes for effectiveness, and at that point its as expensive as a base Tbolt.

However, maneuverability is great :)



Could a squadron of lightnings perform as well, if not better, than the thunderbolts?

In summary, not in the same role, which is superior air-brawler.

kris.sherriff
18-07-2007, 19:00
In the role of air intercepter though I belive that in the hands of a compitant player that a sqn of pure lightnigs would be able to do just as well, if not better than bolts.
It is all about how you use them.

Tyra_Nid
19-07-2007, 07:24
In the role of air intercepter though I belive that in the hands of a compitant player that a sqn of pure lightnigs would be able to do just as well, if not better than bolts.
It is all about how you use them.

Got to disagree with you here, both anecdotally and statistically.

Assumption 1: Air Interceptor
=> Pure plane-to-plane role.

Assumption 2: Competent Player
=> Can get into an optimal alt and range band for each shot, and will use all ammo in a game.

Assumption 3: Pure Lightning vs Pure Thunderbolt
=> Equal squadron size.

Assumption 4: No Additional Weaponloads
=> Skystrikes on both will increase damage, but increase it equally since the weapons are the same.

Now, using Hodges calculations (http://z8.invisionfree.com/Airspace/index.php?showtopic=173), with Assumption 2, you get this table here:

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b251/tyra_nid/Aeronautica%20Imperialis/FighterWeapons.jpg

That basically calculates how much damage a plane will do, according to Assumption 2. More details can be found in his thread at above link.

I did my own calculations, in comparison between Tbolt and Lightning in total cumulative damage with multiple planes for equal point value games.

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b251/tyra_nid/Aeronautica%20Imperialis/tbolt_ltng.jpg

Looking at that, you can see that assuming a competent player is in charge, at equal point values Tbolts will have less planes, but do more damage.

80 pt game: 19.88 vs 11.55
160 pt game: 39.75 vs 23.1

And so on.

As you can see, this is a significantly higher proportion. Of course, there are a few assumptions, as outlined above.

The only real benefit of Lightning is the fact that Spiral will be able to get it into an *ideal* position more, but even then I doubt it would be enough to recoup the 150%+ damage that an equal point squadron of Tbolt will do (this is very difficult to quantify, however). Remember, its a competent player, so they will make use of the Tbolts maneuverability even if it isnt quite as good as a Lightning. In addition, the Tbolts durability will keep them firing slightly longer than a Lightning.

Im not a huge fan of stathammer, but it seems fairly applicable here.

Feel free to point out any flaws in my logic!

Still learning
19-07-2007, 07:29
puts alittle relief into my heart.. I just ordered Thunderbolts not lightnings :D

Tyra_Nid
19-07-2007, 07:50
puts alittle relief into my heart.. I just ordered Thunderbolts not lightnings :D

Oh, Lightnings are not without their merits, they certainly are handy to have around. However, they perform a different role to Bolts, and would not work as well (in terms of killing the enemy) in a pure squadron/flight.

Spaceraider
19-07-2007, 08:27
I'm no statistician and i'm not attempting to start an argument but can I draw your attention to:

Assumption 2: Competent Player
=> Can get into an optimal alt and range band for each shot, and will use all ammo in a game.

I was under the impression that lightnings are more manouverable, and therefore easier to get into range and alt bands as required whereas thunderbolts have higher rates of fire. As such your calculations only show one side of the story here, that of firepower NOT manouverability...

...also if the additional ease of getting a shot in is accounted for then skystrikes are better on Lightnings as a thunderbolt would be more likely to spend a whole game not firing them due to an opponent avoiding them at long range.

Charax
19-07-2007, 10:06
Oh god, first Mathhammer, now Mathematica Imperialis. Why can't people make choices based on what's fun, not what is a fraction of a percentage better in certain situations?

fattdex
19-07-2007, 13:11
i do think they are good for their cost, because most of the fighting ends up close, but if you can get them into their prime firing positions (medium, long), they are good when used as a 'maneuvered last, fired first' aircraft for a killing blow where you need it.

kris.sherriff
19-07-2007, 13:13
Got to disagree with you here, both anecdotally and statistically.

Assumption 1: Air Interceptor
=> Pure plane-to-plane role.

Assumption 2: Competent Player
=> Can get into an optimal alt and range band for each shot, and will use all ammo in a game.

Assumption 3: Pure Lightning vs Pure Thunderbolt
=> Equal squadron size.

Assumption 4: No Additional Weaponloads
=> Skystrikes on both will increase damage, but increase it equally since the weapons are the same.

Thanks for that.

People stated that when used in the role of Air Brawler that Thunderbolts were better than Lightnings. If there were a situation that says you have to both fly straight and level toward each other, engage VTOL mode in the center of the table and punch it out I would agree, a Thunderbolt is better.
Fortunately for people who like to use tactics, Forge world actually included some maneuver cards in with the book.
If these are taken in to account the game takes on an entirely different aspect.

I used the term competent player not to say that they can line up a shot as an incompetent player can fly in a line at the enemy and get shots off at optimum range. I would say a competent player would line up for shots at optimum range whilst getting in positions for tailing fire and minimizing incoming shots.

In an equal points game, Thunderbolts vs Lightnings I would expect a very close game but I would not expect one to be better than the other if both are played to their strengths whilst trying to exploit the others weaknesses, by competent players (see above for what a competent player is)

As for the tables, cheers. no really it is an interesting read. I would not use it to try to read anything in to it as it leaves out soooooo much of the actual game.
Why would you expand all ammo in a game, I have played many, many games where I have finished with ammo. Thats what happens when you are a competent player, you bide your time wait for the perfect shot and kill the enemy once they are all dead/ disengaging why would I keep on firring?

You do realize that just having more planes is a huge advantage on tis own, Being able to move after all of your enemy's have moved is not to be underestimated.

At the end of the day I am never going to convince you that my way of thinking is better than your way of thinking but also you have to accept that there is more to the game that braking it down in to statistics, even more so in AI that any other GW game system as it is not an I go you go system.

As I said and will continue to believe in the hands of a competent player the Lightnings can be just as effective as a Thunderbolt and could be even better (For Tyra_Nid's benefit I will add in the quantifier) in some situations.

fattdex
19-07-2007, 13:29
a swarm of lightnings would actually play a lot like chaos with better range. it's a bit unfluffy, but could be fun!

okri_the_blue
19-07-2007, 13:59
Lightning’s are quite handy but I really don’t think they’d be all that effective as a stand alone force. You really do need to give them the sky strikes making them 20pts( so there not really a swarm) and while this gives them a great long range fire power they only get two shots at this. Spiral is great but doesn’t help setting up the long-range shots much. After there sky strikes are gone and when there at close or medium range they are a joke the auto canon may as well not be there 2 shots with a 5+ to wound bahh. So while they pack a great punch when closing I don’t think there worth there point’s up close. They realy need to be used with bolts or bombers for you to get the most out of them.

MadDogMike
20-07-2007, 06:01
Solo I wouldn't really rate them as superior to the Thunderhawk, but in a larger force they can play a decent job menacing enemies who manuever for position on the tougher Imperial craft since they have the superior manueverability to get behind anyone not concentrating on the Lightning itself rather easily. So where the Thunderbolts are sluggers who can go in and mix it up it appears to me the Lightning works best at covering the T-bolts, leaving the enemy the choice of engaging the more heavily armed Thunderbolts and getting bounced by the Lightnings or being drawn away to deal with the Lightnings while the other Imperial fighters get the job done. You'll note most of the scenarios in the rulebook they appear in have them escorting something the enemy will normally want to target first; the Lightnings are there pretty much to start engaging far out from the escort and take out the enemy before they reach the primary target, and if the enemy blows by them to try to nail the primary the Lightnings can manuever and make them regret it. So don't throw them blindly into the crush of battle, have them hanging out on the fringe nailing targets of opportunity or firing at range to spoil enemy moves.

Tyra_Nid
20-07-2007, 08:41
Wow, this looks like its getting as passionate at the Nids in AI debate! :p

Its good to see that FW have created some units that people can debate about, rather than the whole community deciding one is better than the other.


I was under the impression that lightnings are more manouverable, and therefore easier to get into range and alt bands as required whereas thunderbolts have higher rates of fire. As such your calculations only show one side of the story here, that of firepower NOT manouverability...

Yes, their additional manouverability is only in the addition of Spiral though, they dont gain any additional Speed or Thrust. As such, its slightly easier to line up the shot (in a lot of situations), but no difference in actually getting into the right range band. Spiral is handy, but I dont think its quite enough to make up for the severe lack of firepower in a Pure Lightning force.


...also if the additional ease of getting a shot in is accounted for then skystrikes are better on Lightnings as a thunderbolt would be more likely to spend a whole game not firing them due to an opponent avoiding them at long range.

Not necessarily (see about point about Speed and Range). Even so, firing all Skystrikes is only going to equate to slightly over 1 point of damage per game, on average. That still puts Lightning at less points of damage per game, with 3.4 compared to 4.97. And by doing that, they are the same pts as a Tbolt and therefore lose the advantage of outnumbering.


Oh god, first Mathhammer, now Mathematica Imperialis. Why can't people make choices based on what's fun, not what is a fraction of a percentage better in certain situations?

Yeah, sucks doesnt it :p.
Im not necessarily a fan of using stats in this game, especially considering the massive proportion of luck AI has (not enough dice rolled per game for averages to come into play!). But, it helps to back up my points.

Remember, we are not discussing whether or not to use Lightnings (I often use mine!), but rather whether an All-Lightning force would perform better than an All-Thunderbolt force. What is fun/cool is not factored in when we are discussing pure in-game performance :)


they are good when used as a 'maneuvered last, fired first' aircraft for a killing blow where you need it.

Absolutely. This is one of their advantages when being used in a combined force, rather than an all Lightning force.

Tyra_Nid
20-07-2007, 08:42
Fortunately for people who like to use tactics, Forge world actually included some maneuver cards in with the book.
If these are taken in to account the game takes on an entirely different aspect.

I totally agree. However, the only difference here being that Lightnings get Spiral (and also Ultra High-G, but who uses that!? :p), and Spiral does not necessarily make *such* a huge difference. If Lightnings had extra Speed or Thrust to differentiate themselves from Bolts, I would be much more likely to agree with you overall.

Spiral will have some extra effect, BUT whether it is enough to recoup from the massive shortfall in firepower that Lightnings have is the question. I quite firmly believe that it does not make up for it, especially in my experiences using both types of planes.


I used the term competent player not to say that they can line up a shot as an incompetent player can fly in a line at the enemy and get shots off at optimum range. I would say a competent player would line up for shots at optimum range whilst getting in positions for tailing fire and minimizing incoming shots.

Sure, an incompetent player can get one round of shooting by firing and flying straight towards enemy. But after that, when the flights break, a competent player will have far more chance getting into a prime position. I concur with your analysis of a competent player though, in terms of tailing and minimising shots while maximising comparitive advantage. However, all that is moot if your planes cant do enough damage to consistently take down enemy fighters.


In an equal points game, Thunderbolts vs Lightnings I would expect a very close game but I would not expect one to be better than the other if both are played to their strengths whilst trying to exploit the others weaknesses, by competent players (see above for what a competent player is).

They would definately need to be player to strengths and weaknesses. In this case, it would be Lightnings extra numbers and Spiral ability, but lack of offensive firepower, vs Thunderbolts extra durability and firepower. Lightnings would attempt to attack from medium/long range (with 3/2 shots respectively), while Tbolts would attempt to attack from short/medium/ range (with 4/7 shots respectively). If Lightnings took skystrikes instead, significanly boosting their long range firepower to 4 shots, they would lose the massively important outnumbering bonus.

I expect the game would not be close, but one player would get into a dominant position early on, depending on who was luckier. Lightnings could certainly win with some lucky shots (my boys have performed some amazing feats, but not consistently), BUT over a large number of games the Tbolts would win a significantly higher number, I believe.



As for the tables, cheers. no really it is an interesting read. I would not use it to try to read anything in to it as it leaves out soooooo much of the actual game.

Yeah, I was quite interested to see Hodges analytical table!

All that you can read into it is the comparative firepower of each plane, and that is quite important in a game where the few shots that you do get, matter.



Why would you expand all ammo in a game, I have played many, many games where I have finished with ammo.

Lets see. You get more victory points for disengaging without ammo than with? :p

We are not talking about *practically* using all ammo, all those tables indicate are how many points of damage would be expected to be done if all ammo had been used. Hypothetical (since we arent actually playing a game here).



You do realize that just having more planes is a huge advantage on tis own, Being able to move after all of your enemy's have moved is not to be underestimated.

ABSOLUTELY! Outnumbering is a massive, massive advantage. Only problem in the Tbolt vs Lightning scenario is that Lightnings must give up that advantage if they want the additional firepower that Skystrikes will give them (and would be needed to stay competitive against the Bolt force).


At the end of the day I am never going to convince you that my way of thinking is better than your way of thinking but also you have to accept that there is more to the game that braking it down in to statistics, even more so in AI that any other GW game system as it is not an I go you go system.

Not true. I am more than happy to change my views if presented with an argument that will convince me. However, having a good amount of experience using both planes on the table top, as well as looking at the theoretical probabilities of damage, at this point I cannot believe that a pure Lightning force would perform to the same level across a significant number of games.

If there was evidence to the contrary I would happily change my view!

In terms of stats, I agree. I dont like looking at stats so much, but it is a good way to compare the planes in theory (without giving each other a few games with the two forces ;)).

Stats are not that useful in AI because of the low quantity of dice rolled. Much less chance for rolls to be allocated by probability.




a swarm of lightnings would actually play a lot like chaos with better range. it's a bit unfluffy, but could be fun!

I wouldnt say its unfluffy. It would be unfluffy to use an entire lightning navy, but a couple of flights would be reasonable I think.

And better shooting range, yes, but less chance of damage, and FAR less speed/thrust :p.

Id take a Chaos swarm any time!


After there sky strikes are gone and when there at close or medium range they are a joke the auto canon may as well not be there 2 shots with a 5+ to wound bahh. So while they pack a great punch when closing I don’t think there worth there point’s up close. They realy need to be used with bolts or bombers for you to get the most out of them.

Good points.


*Entire post*

Yeah, thats how they need to be used.


Lightnings are great in a combined force, but just wouldnt crack it in a pure force!

I think I should have a few games of 4 Bolts vs 5 Lightnings and see how they go.

SonofUltramar
20-07-2007, 09:19
I think I should have a few games of 4 Bolts vs 5 Lightnings and see how they go.

I think we should al give it a go, even if you proxy it, but i'm willing to bet that we'll have very different experiences as people will tend towards different strategies. I for instance like to go on the offensive as soon as possible as i'm used to using T'Bolts and being heavily outnumbered by Hell Blades? Some people may however may start off with a very defensive mentality and this would mean that Lightnings may work far better for them?

Besides that i'm going to say that while the T'Bolt is a better all round dogfighter, much like a P-51 Mustang or its namesake the P-47, rugged and mass' of guns. The Lightning seems to be a modern style "fighter" with a long range Interceptor role like the F-14 Tomcat or F3 Tornado? In AI a combination of the two types is probably the best though with a ratio of about 2:1 T'Bolts to Lightnings?

Right off to work then arrange a game for the weekend:)

kris.sherriff
20-07-2007, 12:52
Remember, we are not discussing whether or not to use Lightnings (I often use mine!), but rather whether an All-Lightning force would perform better than an All-Thunderbolt force. What is fun/cool is not factored in when we are discussing pure in-game performance :)


Sorry.
I have been trying to argue that taking an all Lightning force does not mean that you will lose, just as taking all Thunderbolts does not mean that you will win.
I am an advocate of combined arms and agree with everything stated that both types of aircraft will perform better with mutual support.
I wanted to get across that just because the Thunderbolt has a higher potential kill ratio, that does not mean that the Lightnings can't kill anything.
If I were to ever do an Imperial Navy squadron I would do all Lightnings buts that is because I like a challenge.

Also ultra high G turn is a very good and underused maneuver as it allows you to scatter away from where the enemy expects you to be remembering that you outnumber your enemy and will most likely be moving after they have finished.
I use it with my Hell Blades to act like TIE fighters.
Fly forward in formation and then scatter to the wind with normally one going left, one going right and the third either climbing or diving. This will force the opponent to either brake formation themselves allowing you to out maneuver them in one on one dog fights or stay in formation and target one of them in which case the other two can converge on the enemy formation for the easy kills.
Just ask SonofUltramar and Marv335 they will tell you that this is an effective tactic.

Tyra_Nid
21-07-2007, 09:04
In AI a combination of the two types is probably the best though with a ratio of about 2:1 T'Bolts to Lightnings?


Yeah, I would say that this ration would be reasonable... its what I often use :p


Sorry.
I have been trying to argue that taking an all Lightning force does not mean that you will lose, just as taking all Thunderbolts does not mean that you will win.

Oh, ok, fair enough, I must have been thrown off by these comments:


In the role of air intercepter though I belive that in the hands of a compitant player that a sqn of pure lightnigs would be able to do just as well, if not better than bolts.
It is all about how you use them.

And:


As I said and will continue to believe in the hands of a competent player the Lightnings can be just as effective as a Thunderbolt and could be even better (For Tyra_Nid's benefit I will add in the quantifier) in some situations.

I must have just interpreted those comments as RAW :)

If we are discussing that taking an all Lightning does not mean you automatically lose, then I totally agree. Its just that your comments above (esp "a sqn of pure lightnigs would be able to do just as well, if not better than bolts") seem to suggest a different argument.

Lightnings certainly would be useable in a pure squadron, and it is possible to win with them, but Thunderbolts are more effective both in theory and in practice (as argued in my previous posts :))


I wanted to get across that just because the Thunderbolt has a higher potential kill ratio, that does not mean that the Lightnings can't kill anything.

We both agree here. Besides, anything with a gun can kill stuff. I plan to kill stuff with my Aquillas when FW finally gets round to releasing them... Now THEY may be effective as a pure squadron ;)

kris.sherriff
21-07-2007, 12:11
About that:D, thats why I quantified my rather bold statement to include 'in some situations'. Fighting orks for example I would much prefer a defensive strategy of maneuvering for pot shots at range from the Lightnings than aggressively closing with Thunderbolts.

Kris