Indication, Contact and Tracked

Ensign Murphy checking scan results

The sensor data told me something was out there in the sea of noise, something too weak to distill out. I decided to keep my sensor integrating, what you mudballers call a longer exposure. After keeping the visual scope open at the same patch of sky for an entire hour my hunch turned into real, a blip condensed out of the noise. No tracked target yet, but if we saw it more than once we could start guessing its future position and narrow our scans for better signal. Yep, after another hour we had him, tracked hard and no more guesswork as to what he was about to do.

How does this integration work you ask, doesn’t the noise rise as fast as the signal, twice the noise and twice the signal is the same, right?

No, noise is random, signal is not. Let’s say you have a hundred dice all rolling as they should except one that always roll a six. Roll all dice once and you’d get around 17 dice turning up six. Roll again and about three dice will have a sum of 12, one of them being the crooked die. Very soon you’d end up with just the crooked die, the one always rolling a six, the signal.

In Intercept we simulate sensor integration by giving the player a +1 for each previous consecutive identical scan up to a maximum +3. Identical meaning same size, position, sensor type, position and, most importantly, the same ship. This is rarely done with your original scan gave you not even an Indication but it is perfectly legal, just remember that your ship must be stationary. Scan + Signature = Signal which is what determines what you get to learn from the target.

Consecutive Identical Scan

All of these rules must be obeyed to get a consecutive bonus of +1 per turn, up to the maximum of +3.

  • Same Scan position
  • Same Scan size
  • Same Scan type
  • From same position
  • From same ship

-1 Signal or worse: Nothing

The target player tells you nothing, not even whether something was there or not, just silence. Sneaky players take their time answering this, asking again about the Scan strength etc, to make it harder for you to guess whether something with too weak a signal was there or just nothing at all.

0-2 Signal: Indication

Target player tells you only that something is there within your Scan, implicitly telling you that the Signal was 0-2. You can either guess at where in the Scan it really was located and start doing smaller Scans to get better Signal, or keep doing the exact same Scan to get that +1 per turn up to +3 for consecutive identical scans.

3+ Signal: Contact or Tracked

Target tell you its signature and what kind(s) such as Visual(Hull) etc, target will also tell you its position, but not vector. Target my now roll a sensor task to see if he can get a Tracked result or not. Roll 2D6 plus various modifiers (Crew damage, dualrole from previous Pilot task by the same crewmember etc). The task result determines what Signal is required to get a Tracked result.

Sensor task result

The sensor task result tell you what Signal is required to get a Tracked result. You will always need at least 4 but the worse your task result is the worse the required Signal become. If you miss the task roll you must get a Signal of 12+! Yes, Sensors may get a Tracked result automatically without a Crew doing the task, if the Signal is high enough.

VGood Signal 4+ is required to get a Tracked result.

Good Signal 5+ is required to get a Tracked result.

Fair Signal 6+ is required to get a Tracked result.

Miss Signal 12+ is required to get a Tracked result.

Tracked result

When a target is Tracked you will learn what kind of target it is, its vector, facing and rolled status, popped in or not, Silent running or not. Until Tracked status is lost he will do his movement on the common map before you make your own, so you can see exactly how he moves and act accordingly. An untracked ship always win Initiative against a Tracked one. For a ship to lose its Tracked target it must; have Crew or Sensors Critical or worse damaged, have a tracked target blocked bu planet LOS, have its target in the aft centerline or having its target beyond the Max tacked range table. Defending against attacks from untracked enemies, ships or missiles, have a penalty of -3 to defense rolls. Beam attacks may learn the position of the attacker under certain circumstances as follows (from page 16 of the rulebook).

Target learns attacker position if the target still have a working Optical sensor after the attack

Particle accelerators
Target learns attacker position if the target still have a working Optical sensor after the attack

Meson guns
Target learns attacker position if the target still have a working Meson screen after the attack.

That is all folks, next time I’ll talk some more on the new stuff in version 3.4.2. Keep the solar wind to your backside!

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