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Cav ground/time scale


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A typical CAV moves at about 1000 miles per hour! Ridiculous I hope I hear you say. Work it out. Time is 4 seconds per turn. Ground scale is about 1 inch represents 100 metres (yards if you prefer). Either the rules are stuffed, and a CAV would barely be able to move 1inch on the tabletop, or to move 20 inches that works out to almost 2000Kilometres per hour. ANYONE HAVE AN EXPLANATION?
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The ground/time scale only matters if it determines game mechanics (such as weapon ranges or vehicle speeds).  Almost all games are relational instead (the ranges/speeds are balanced against each other, not against the ground scale) and CAV is one of them.


Bottom line, the game mechanics are separate from the fluff.  Change the ground scale, the game plays no different.  Change the time scale, the game plays no different.



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For a wargame, scale is everything. Thats how you know how far something can move, how many shots you get, what actions you can take.


Change the ground scale, and everything changes. Change the timescale and everything changes. Everything.


CAV is masquerading as a simulation. But without meaningful scale, it is just a bit of fluff. An elaborate exercise to encourage teenagers to buy expensive models.


The solution is to loosely define turns as being several minutes long. Moving, scouting, watching, waiting etc take up most of combat. Actual shooting would only occur for a few seconds, or split seconds.


And assume that units don't actually hose down everything with a stream of metal, but only actually fire once they have a target lock. That way you avoid the annoying issue of ammo supply (the main rationale I suppose for saying turns were so short).


See, same rules. Same play balance. But it helps you play the game. After all, while playing any tabletop game, you constantly have to apply a bit of common sense to resolve some rules issue.


And finally, if the turns really are 4 seconds long, why the heck are there human pilots at all?! Human reaction times are way too slow for that time frame. For example, Phalanx anti-missile weapons systems act in time frames where each fraction of a second means the difference between success and failure - humans are way too slow and not involved. Its all automated. Even the most intense aerial dogfight will still last minutes (sure the actual firing will be over in seconds).


I've gotta say to Ed Pugh - why'd you do it. Please change it. Or did you think no-one would notice?

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It's a matter of comparison.  Look at 40K, with it's absurdly short weapons ranges and damages.  I could do better if I got out there with a spudgun.  Look at Battletech, with its (to me - don't want to start an argument here) very restrictive movement rules.  


Compare that with CAV.  It's like a breath of fresh air.  I'm personally satisfied with the scale fudging they had to do in order to make the game playable on a board that's less than a furlong to the side.  To me, the game is an excercise in tactics that also catches the imagination.

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Kam... How does it change? Huh?


If I say 2 Shots per every turn, and the turn scale is 4 seconds, or 4 minutes, or 4 hours, how does it change in terms of the game you are playing?


If I say you can move 4 inches a turn, again, how does it change anything.


So just come up with your own scale that produces 'reasonable' numbers... <:)


If 4 seconds yields 2000 mph, than 80 seconds/turn yields a more reasonable 50mph... ;)



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Here's the deal with CAV.


It is played in the scale of the mini's (1:160th) unlike many games, ie Battletech, with the mini's and ground scale being different.


The fastest CAV's (movement of 32mm) go 72.7 mph (117 kph).


The rub is that in order to play on a 4 x 8 table the weapon ranges (typically 36, but varying) have to be veeery short.  A range 36 weapon can only fire out to 146m.  It is ridiculous on one level, but the fluff and Reaper maintain that the intense jamming, etc makes it impossible to accurately target the vulnerable parts of a CAV at longer ranges so you just have to go with it as the game system plays so much better than anything remotely similiar, that its worth it.  


The most important thing is the results it renders are very realistic and believable, so suspend disbelief for weapon range, and you have the most fun futuristic armored combat game there is.

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kamovdown - You should read a bit more of the fluff and ask some questions before continuing your rant.  Not only is your ground scale off but your interpretation of what the CAV crew does and doesn't do is wrong as well.  Computers do a lot of the work in a CAV, but like any computer, it needs a human to make it truely effective and to make intelligent decisions.


I've gotta say to Ed Pugh - why'd you do it. Please change it. Or did you think no-one would notice?
I hate to break it to you, but if you think you're the first person who's ever brought this up, you're wrong.  This dance has gone around for quite a long time, and usually in circles.


Rebel Yell did a good job of explaining the scale and weapons ranges and most everyone agrees with Cryp Dyke in that there's always going to be some kind of concessions like these when making a table-top game.

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The fastest CAV's (movement of 32mm) go 72.7 mph (117 kph).
This is correct math.


The original playtest of CAV had no ranges, it was LoS only which produced a more "realistic" game.


For various reasons, that version was dropped in favor of ranges that allowed for a playable game on a typical tabletop surface.


The following is an OLD snippet from some playtest notes. Use it if you wish, discard it (as we did) if you like.


ìRealisticî Weapon Ranges

    One of the oldest problems in tabletop war-gaming is to what level will a weaponís range be reduced to allow a game to be played on a tabletop surface and still be fun.  Invariably, no matter what range/scale compression is chosen it will be considered too short by some regardless of how completely unplayable the game would have become. The following scenario rules are for players who want more realism, just a friendly warningÖ if you use this rule, we hope you have a huge kitchen table or have access to cell phones and a park.


(a) Ignore the Direct Fire situational modifiers listed on the CAV main rulebook page 92.


(b) Every weapon has a listed Range on the Data Card, this value is now the Range Increment Value.


© Weapons suffer a ñ1 cumulative penalty for every range increment past the second.


  Example: An infantry G-11 AP Rifle has a listed range increment of 12 inches. For that weapon its range increments are:

  00-12 inches = no penalty (increment 1, the listed value)

  13-24 inches = no penalty (increment 2, listed value x2)

  25-36 inches = -1 penalty (increment 3)

  37-48 inches = -2 penalty (increment 4)

  49-60 inches = -3 penalty (increment 5)

  61-72 inches = -4 penalty (increment 6)*

   etc.            = etc.


* This is about 300 scale meters, the typical range a modern combat rifle is sighted for because anything past this usually a waste of ammunition unless you are able to take up a position to brace and aim. Sniper kills at 2500 meters (52 feet in N Scale) have been recorded though 600-1300 meters is normal.


(d) You may shoot to whatever range you wish so long as you succeed in the dice roll with the appropriate increment modifier.


(e) Missile systems ignore the range penalties and all use the following (these numbers are already converted to CAV scale.)

     (1) Missiles move up to 7 yards per turn and have a maximum range in miles equal to its Soft Target value in the Missile Packís zero column.

     (2) Whisper Missiles move 1000 yards per turn, do not run out of fuel in 2 turns, and have a max range of about 10 miles.

     (3) Missiles from Missile Packs must travel 12 inches before the warhead is armed. Strikes inside 12 inches do no damage.

     (4) Whispers may strike any target after traveling a minimum of 36 inches (the minimum range needed to arm the warhead)


(f) If you use this Scenario Rule we suggest that you work up some sort of ammunition tracking system as well.



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I will add two points here... CAV or any other Mecha Genre Game are NOT a simuilation. Why? We do not have any of those pieces of equipment in any National inventory, last time I checked. Heck I doubt Skunk Works is working on any either.


You want a true simulation? Sure there are sims out there. First off pack a lunch, then go get your rules. Here is a list of games you might want to try.




The Grand Armee




Command at Sea


Johny Reb


See a pattern here? They are all historical games and they are all full of very extensive tables and other incidentals to simulate REAL WORLD Conditions. You want to play any Mecha game? Sure just do not assume it is a simuation. Last time I checked we had none in any national inventory and I will love to be proven wrong.


Now as to the claim that this is a way to get kids to play with extensive models... first off the Reaper Models are far cheaper than their main competitor. Second off... well you know what if this keeps those same kids off the streets, playing a game and painting some models sure why not? Third, you need far less models to have a good time than to play the direct competitor, and these are metal... 'nouf said.


Now let me check reality at the door as I paint some of my CAVs... gee that Starhawk Five looks like something out of the US Army inventory, doesn't it?





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Thanks to everyone who replied. Amidst the confusion and sarcasm there were some good intelligent views. Appreciated.


The summary seems to be that CAV chooses gameplay over realism. No problem with that. StarTrek for example will always choose to go with a good story rather than good science. Entertainment.


But this also means the game is completely abstract. Like Chess - no-one is going to pretend Chess is a realistic depiction of medievil combat - but gee, it can look really nice when you have a beautifully crafted board and exquisite pieces.


So, CAV is not a simulation.


Um... so does that mean there doesn't have to be any logic or realism? Yes and no. In science fiction in general, things can be invented. But within those rules, things DO have to make sense. You can have jump gates, but your invented universe must adhere to the internal rules you have made up.


The CAV universe has 30ft tall mechs that can run 100KPH. Now that takes some suspension of disbelief. OK, I am happy to go along with it. Because it is a fun concept. I am similarly happy accept cybertanks in the Ogre universe. But within that set of assumptions, the internal logic should be consistent.


... anyway, CAV is a wonderful kids game. Simplistic is good. I play Dirtside II and Harpoon myself. But I use CAV with my under 10 year old boys. We build Mech's out of Lego (Lego has some marvelous sets for making Mechs. In the same way that any resemblance betweeen BattleTech and CAV is purely coincidental). And as for scale differences, well, my boys couldn't care less.

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Hehehehe, I'll play it in the loading bay at work... should be big enough :o)


And it's got a roof :o)


Kam, on the consistency side of things, I wouldn't worry about. I'm a complete boffin when it comes to science fiction universe technology (I've given lectures on ST style warp drives and phasers :o))...... I'll keep it real :o)


Besides, I like the tech almost as much as I like the games etc :o)

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