Noble Armada Rules Errata: Gatling Lasers


This week’s article updates and appends the rules for using gatling lasers in Noble Armada. Regrettably, a few things get missed when we are working on rules, and this was a big one.

If you’ve ever faced off against a Hawkwood or al-Malik fleet, you probably have been looking for a clarification on how these are supposed to work and fleets with missiles, rockets, and torpedoes probably felt a bit overpowered. Certainly, this came up when I ran demo games, but none of the ships used in the demos were equipped with gatling lasers. 

Gatling lasers are meant to be a counter to fleets with lots of rockets, missiles, torpedoes, and fighters. While they list damage, normal torpedoes, missiles, and rockets are destroyed when hit with a gatling laser. The two damage that a gatling laser does is enough to destroy a light fighter, or severely damage a heavy fighter/bomber.

Using Gatling Lasers Against Missiles and Torpedoes

Missiles and torpedoes, with their think machine guidance systems often spread themselves out for maneuverability against incoming fire. Missiles are more agile and apply a -2 TN penalty to being targeted by gatling lasers. A gatling laser gets one attack against each missile and  torpedo that enters its rang and firing arc. If a ship has more than one gatling laser in that firing arc, each gatling laser may make an attempt to fire at the missile.

Using Gatling Lasers Against Rockets and Fighters

Even though each rocket launcher is an individual weapon system on a ship, because they are dumb weapons they are fired in clusters at their target. This clustering gives them some protection from gatling lasers. Treat all rockets as a single group, and the gatling laser destroys as many rockets as it does damage, usually two.

When targeting fighters, a gatling laser fires once against the wing, but only does damage to one fighter in the wing. It does not get a roll against each fighter in the wing. Fighters with a load-out that gives them a shield are immune to gatling laser attacks.

Example One: Thorn, a Decados Mantis-Class Frigate has outfitted its starboard firing arc with a single gatling laser emplacement in anticipation of fighting Hawkwood forces. It is targeted by a destroyer which successfully launches three missiles against the Thorn’sstarboard arc. When the missiles reach four centimeters from the ship, the gatling laser gunner begins firing. A single gatling laser attack would be made against each missile. Later in the round a frigate targets the Thorn with two more missiles. The Thorn would be able to target each of those missiles when they entered firing range as well.

Example Two: Thorn encounters a Hawkwood Destroyer outfitted with an array of rocket launchers rather than the standard light lasers. Six rockets are inbound. The gatling laser on the Thorn hits, but only destroys two of the rockets.

Example Three: As Thorn advances, it encounters a wing of fighters speeding for the fleet’s galliots. As one of the fighter wings passes within range of the gatling laser, the guns light up the fighter wing, successfully hitting. One of the fighters is destroyed.

Gatling Lasers and Activation

Gatling lasers ignore the rules of being able to only fire once per Activation, but they may only be fired on the same target once per activation. For example, if the Thorn from above were in range of a ship with no shields available, they could target their gatling lasers and fire once. If the Thorn then activated again before the other ship, the gatling lasers could fire again. Similarly, if it fired at a missile and missed, but the missile could not reach the ship, it could attempt to fire again if it activated prior to the missile’s movement.