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ST v SW

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jaimehlers
 Post subject: ST v SW
PostPosted: 2011-04-20 01:03pm 

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Interesting site you have here. I enjoy good arguments, and ST v SW is almost guaranteed to be as rancorous as a political debate between Republicans and Democrats.

Personally, I prefer Star Trek to Star Wars, but that's like saying that I like mint chocolate ice cream better than chocolate ice cream (I like both but prefer the taste of the former). And in any case, personal preference should have no bearing on this argument.

Unlike most Star Trek fans, I am not going to try to argue some sort of innate superiority which 'proves' that the Federation is stronger and/or would win a fight with the Empire. The side that wins a war is almost always the side with the greater ability to inflict damage; it is quite clear that the Empire has the technological edge (ships are bigger, faster, and more damaging weapons) and the productivity edge (at its height, the Empire exercised political dominion over most of a galaxy, even with the Rebellion; that's a lot of planets to get resources from and lots of space to produce ships of war in). In fact, if it ever came to an actual war where the Empire could bring most of its strength to bear, the Federation (and indeed, most of the Star Trek civilizations) would rapidly be defeated.

I'm also not going to try to argue that the Federation has some kind of moral superiority. Moral superiority most often exists in the eye of the beholder, and I don't consider the Federation to be particularly impressive in that regard. I am not fond of the interpretation of the Prime Directive used by many Star Trek writers; it most often strikes me as a way to 'morally' justify leaving "less advanced" peoples to their fates.

Anyway, having said all that, I think that there would be little point to actually playing out a confrontation between the Empire and the Federation as they stand. I think it is a safe bet that the one-sided curbstomp that the Empire would give the Federation would not be particularly interesting overall, even for people who support the Empire. Winning without effort isn't all that much enjoyable in the long run.

What I would actually be interested in seeing was a scenario where the two were put on approximately equal footing; namely, scale the Empire back to roughly the Federation's tech level and size (since it's rather difficult to have a battle between two galaxy-spanning civilizations, if nothing else due to the sheer distance between even close galaxies), and then play things out from there. Also, no 'hero' advantage to the Federation - as far as I'm concerned, that defeats the purpose of putting them on similar footing. Think along the lines of a war game.

Just thought I'd throw the idea out for consideration.
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NecronLord
 Post subject: Re: ST v SW
PostPosted: 2011-04-20 02:02pm 

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Joined: 2002-07-07 06:30am
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I'm approving this one even though the ground's been trodden before just to see what people think about the naval high commands of each power...
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Eleventh Century Remnant
 Post subject: Re: ST v SW
PostPosted: 2011-04-20 02:58pm 

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Joined: 2006-11-20 07:52am
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The first thing that comes to mind about the respective high commands is Napoleon's dictum about one bad general being better than two good ones.

I can easily believe that the Federation high command, however unmarked by genius it might be, routinely has more of it's ducks in a row- more of it's shit straight if you want to put it that way- than the gaggle of backbiting, feuding prima donnas that we see far too many of in the Imperial Starfleet.

In terms of a solid, mediocre, sufficient performance, without disabling friction and destructive fratricide, point to the Federation.


Dropping them both to the same tech level, on the other hand, I am not enthused by, largely because so many of the human factors that make the Federation and the Empire what they are can be derived out of that. Think about it like this;

in the Empire, there is no outside. Not really, not that matters. Every war is a civil war, every conflict one between old neighbours. The great rationale of the modern warrior- "the true soldier fights not because he hates what is before him, but because he loves what is behind him"- simply does not apply. It's commonly said to be a different kind of personality who puts in for front line soldier and who goes for internal security. If there isn't a difference between protect and defend and chainsaw the neighbours, something's wrong. The Empire wants, and chooses, people who can kill their kin.

In the Federation, there very definitely is an outside, and it's dangerous. The core may be nigh on utopian, but further out the galaxy throws new, confusing, dangerous things at them on an unpredictable semi- routine basis. They need warrior-explorers. Some are individually happier at one and some at the other, but they do have at least some.

There is also relatively little change in the Empire. Many things may be tactically unexpected and have to be guarded against, but how many real strategic and technical surprises can there be, at the technological end of the line? Most of the ruses and tactics that can be tried have been- almost all, many times, in fact. Everyone knows all the tricks. Superior competence at them may be enough to win, but the edges of the envelope are solid. Drill and routine matter massively, flexibility- not so much. That would breed conformists, even without exploitation from above.

The Federation may have the prime directive for us to point at them and scream "hypocrite" about, but the Empire has the New Order, about which mere hypocrisy is no longer an adequate term- the depths of cynicism and corruption embodied in that are so profoundly awful, they're actually realistic. And you can bet that a lot of those involved know it. Again, there is no outside- the principles are up for sale as well.


Size isn't that much of an issue; an outpost net, an outlying sector, a small fringe segment of the Empire is easy enough to think of. I'm not sure how much the technology can stand to be changed before seriously changing the drivers that define the human factors, though.
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jaimehlers
 Post subject: Re: ST v SW
PostPosted: 2011-04-20 04:39pm 

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I hadn't thought of the ramifications of the Imperial high command vs Starfleet high command, but that's a good point. You don't really need geniuses to win a war, just people who do their jobs with reasonable competence.

As for the tech change, how about just scaling down the power levels (as in, you have the same general kind of technology, but dramatically less powerful)? For example, hyperdrive operates based on its same general principles, but at slower speeds; weapons operate along the same lines but aren't as destructive. As for the rest of the universe (and the unknown thus implied), maybe have it be abstracted? Shogun 2 Total War, for example, basically abstracts the rest of the world into trade routes and the occasional European caravel; they exist, but don't make much of a difference to the actual setting.

Also, would it be reasonable to impose a "no advances" rule on both sides? As ECR said, the Empire is near the end of the line in tech development, while the Federation isn't. It would be manifestly unreasonable to come up with new Treknobabble science stuff, since that would completely change the paradigm (and it would also defeat the purpose of scaling the Empire down so that a war between the two wouldn't be a one-sided curbstomp).
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Serafina
 Post subject: Re: ST v SW
PostPosted: 2011-04-20 05:49pm 

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If you suddenly reduce the Empire to Federation technology and size, the Federation would obviously win because the Empire would have to adapt to an entirely new situation, while the Federation would already be familiar with it's technology and strategic situation.
Even if we give them as much time to adapt as we want, their command staff, strategies, doctrines and so on would be too changed to make any reasonable comparison.

Then again, i suppose you could compare cultures. The Empire is generally more warlike and more familiar with warfare, so they'd have an advantage here. But again, they'd change a lot because they now suddenly have travel times of weeks instead of hours and days.
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Batman
 Post subject: Re: ST v SW
PostPosted: 2011-04-20 06:01pm 

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I think the original poster was thinking more along the lines of the Empire always having been roughly on par with the Federation so they would be used to the situation.
Of course, as ECR pointed out, they no longer would be the Empire for a variety of reasons. Even an Empire reduced to, say, Borg tech levels (there's no way of having a galaxy-spanning empire with UFP level stardrive speeds) is not going to look anything like the Wars Empire we know, leave alone one reduced to parity with the Federation.
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Simon_Jester
 Post subject: Re: ST v SW
PostPosted: 2011-04-20 06:22pm 

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I don't know.

Some of the loonier advocates on this forum in ages past seem to have proposed that the Star Wars galaxy is some kind of tiny dwarf one, in which "everything there is" is really not very large.

I can imagine an Empire-like polity evolving on a vastly smaller scale, so long as two basic realities are preserved.

1) There is no outside
As ECR says, the Empire must be the biggest fish in the pond to such an extent that it defines the pond, and is identified with the pond. Imagine a culture that evolved in a globular cluster tens of thousands of light years from the parent galaxy- it might actually not be all that much bigger than the Federation, and be limited to Star Trek travel speeds, and still be (in effect) "all there is" as far as its inhabitants are concerned. Whatever else in the universe exists is as out of reach for them as other galaxies are for Star Wars.

2) There is nothing more to learn...
Or nothing they know of. Technological stagnation isn't really a feature of the Star Trek milieu, but it's soft SF in either case. We can easily enough imagine that the level of technology exhibited by the Federation (or the Borg) really is all there is- creating the same kind of stagnation in social and technological terms that we see in the Empire.

So we could set up terms on which the competition would make sense, were we determined to do so.

Imagine a 'scaled down' Empire, as described above. One which has achieved cultural dominance over a globular cluster comparable in scale to the Federation and its near neighbor-states, but lacks the drive technology to cross the ten thousand light years or so between it and the neighbors in any meaningful sense- colony expeditions might be sent out but they would never stay in touch, and would no longer be part of the Imperial social structure..

Sociopolitically, they might look very much like they do in the movies, with 'the galaxy' replaced by 'the cluster' and a few other such changes. Technologically and in terms of scale, they'd be a much closer match for the Federation.

Then the infamous Great Crossover Wormhole opens up, or some kind of super-drive technology is made available to one or both factions that makes jumps across galaxy-scale distances and permits interaction (Borg slipstream or the like).

Now what?
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Batman
 Post subject: Re: ST v SW
PostPosted: 2011-04-20 06:28pm 

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Or we could go with that :D
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Vehrec
 Post subject: Re: ST v SW
PostPosted: 2011-04-20 07:16pm 

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So, we have an Empire that is more warlike and more prepared for war, albeit not the war they are about to fight, and a Federation that is more flexible but less unified, and must contend simultaneously with all it's other borders as well lest the Klingons, Romulans and other hostile border polities decide that a readjustment of territory can happen right now in a way that is favorable to them. Additionally, while the Empire has some very good higher ups-Vader, Palpatine, Marik Steele to name a few, the middle management are unimaginative, inflexible and have meter sticks surgically inserted up their backsides. So all orders to the genetically and hypnotically conditioned troops are fed through a filter of "DURRR-CLANG" On the other hand, the default reflex of those troops will be to find the nearest hostile or foreign civilians and shoot them. That can work against you, but it's seldom a bad thing in a war of extermination.
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jaimehlers
 Post subject: Re: ST v SW
PostPosted: 2011-04-20 07:47pm 

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What Simon_Jester said is reasonably close to what I had in mind, and I would be willing to go with it. Perhaps a galactic 'collision' would work, in that case? That is, the mini-Empire's globular cluster gets close enough to permit meaningful travel and communication between the two without requiring a wormhole or a super-drive.

Beyond that, I hadn't given much consideration to the idea (I only came up with it a day or two ago). Here's some things I think would be reasonable to set up as initial conditions:
    1. The mini-Empire is larger than the Federation (approximately equivalent in size and productivity to the Federation and its close neighbors) and has more warships, even though some portion of those would be needed for internal control.
    2. Both sides have equivalent weapon power (though not equivalent weaponry or weapon mounts); a Star Destroyer turbolaser can deal the same approximate damage over time as a phaser array, but Star Destroyers have more turbolasers mounted than Federation ships have phasers.
    3. Hyperdrive is faster than warp drive, but not as flexible (hyperdrive courses have to be plotted in advance, whereas warp drive courses can be adjusted mid-flight). For the sake of argument, I would rate maximum hyper as being at least three times faster than maximum warp.
    4. Imperial technology is less prone to failure than Federation technology, due to the fact that it has had longer to be refined (due to being further up the curve).
    5. The Federation general staff is significantly less prone to backbiting (and works better together) than the Imperial general staff.
    6. Imperial shields operate on similar general principles as Federation shields (including their effects on transporters), with the exception that Imperial shields are a series of individual shield 'plates' powered by separate generators whereas Federation shields are a single bubble.
    7. The only technological improvements allowed are to copy from the other side and (possibly) refinements of existing technology as long as they do not significantly change the paradigm.
    8. Only the close neighbors of the Federation (Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians, Ferengi, etc) are able to have a military effect on the situation, and they would all start out neutral (except maybe the Klingons); long-distance powers such as the Borg and the Dominion are effectively barred due to setbacks they suffered previously (the Dominion being blocked from using the wormhole and the Borg losing their transwarp network in Voyager's finale).
    9. The mini-Empire's win condition is to conquer the Federation and its close neighbors; the Federation's win condition is to eliminate the Empire's ability to prosecute such a war.
    10. The mini-Empire starts before the War of the Rebellion, and for purposes of this scenario, the Rebellion would not happen on schedule, if at all (the rationale would be due to the sudden appearance of foreign and presumably hostile powers). The Federation starts just after Voyager returns to Earth.

Think those are reasonable?
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Eternal_Freedom
 Post subject: Re: ST v SW
PostPosted: 2011-04-20 08:21pm 

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That seems very reasonable. This is probably the best "mini-Empire/scaled-back Empire" scenarios I have seen.

Well, first off, the Empire still has a strategic speed advantage. Their ships can move, as you said, 3x as fast at max speed (is that "maximum possible speed" or "max safe cruising"?) so they can strike further in the same time. Not as tactically flexible but the strategic advantage is, I think, significant enough to outweigh the tactical disadvantage.

The Empire has more ships, and each ship carries more weaponry and weapon mounts. So each ship is more dangerous and there are more of them. As a result, the Empire might be able to dump, say, two or three ISD's per federation starship in an open battle, or a more likely scenario would be to use part of the fleet to engage Federation border forces whilst the rest uses their strategic speed advantage to strike deeper into the Federation.

Clearly, they can't strike as deeply as they would if they had their normal tech. But they can strike 3x as far. So hitting rear-echelon starbases whilst thier forces are engaging the other ISD's becomes feasible. This reduces the ability of the Federation to muster forces in their border regions, allowing the Empire to seize planets and set up garrisons and so forth.

I hate to say it, but even scaling the Empire back a great deal, the situation still looks grim for the Federation. Whilst you say the Empire's win condition is conquering all of the main AQ powers, "island hopping" from one to another makes the most sense.

The only way I can see the Federation pulling off a victory in such a situation, with no "choke-point" wormhole to barricade, would be a defensive coalition, to win through weight of numbers and attrition, and that would be iffy as this Empire out-numbers and out-guns the Federation, the biggest kid on the AQ block.
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starfury
 Post subject: Re: ST v SW
PostPosted: 2011-04-20 08:22pm 

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Quote:
So, we have an Empire that is more warlike and more prepared for war, albeit not the war they are about to fight, and a Federation that is more flexible but less unified, and must contend simultaneously with all it's other borders as well lest the Klingons, Romulans and other hostile border polities decide that a readjustment of territory can happen right now in a way that is favorable to them. Additionally, while the Empire has some very good higher ups-Vader, Palpatine, Marik Steele to name a few, the middle management are unimaginative, inflexible and have meter sticks surgically inserted up their backsides. So all orders to the genetically and hypnotically conditioned troops are fed through a filter of "DURRR-CLANG" On the other hand, the default reflex of those troops will be to find the nearest hostile or foreign civilians and shoot them. That can work against you, but it's seldom a bad thing in a war of extermination.



Strangely I think the Dominion of DS9 was a sort of min-empire relative to the Federation, the big battleship and it's later scaled up relative actually fits the ISD and SSD at least the lower 8 KM length for the executor relationship pretty well, though they were rather vague on the dominion's industry vs the federation and it's allies.

This does seems to look very much seems another similar matchup, because I thought in a way the Dominion was the empire weakened and scaled down into the star trek Universe.
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Simon_Jester
 Post subject: Re: ST v SW
PostPosted: 2011-04-20 09:14pm 

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Um. Basically, I think this scenario still gives the Empire a great deal of advantage (equivalent to that enjoyed by, say, steam-powered warships firing exploding shells against sailing ships firing solid round shot). The Imperials still have a large margin of technological superiority in all relevant areas, which greatly undermines the point of the scaledown- the Federation will be scrambling desperately just to come close to matching them.

If the Imperials have a technical edge but we want the scenario to be "balanced" in terms of the physical correlation of forces, the qualitative and quantitative superiority need to be whittled down. Say, hyperdrive is theoretically three times faster than Trek warp drive, but maximum safe speeds in unfamiliar territories are relatively low- you have to make short hops and recalculate frequently, because you can't stop the ship in mid-flight if an unexpected obstacle looms in your path. Over the long haul, warp drive becomes more competitive.

Likewise, Imperial ships may have more firepower, but should be at least within shouting distance; Imperial forces may be numerically larger but they do have domestic problems of their own to worry about and the Federation has a credible chance of rallying allies against them...

You get the idea.

Giving the Imperials greatly superior advantages in terms of 'heavy metal' (superior speed, superior guns, superior numbers) in all respects, even if the advantages are slimmer than in the 'real' Empire, doesn't change so much.
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jaimehlers
 Post subject: Re: ST v SW
PostPosted: 2011-04-20 09:14pm 

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(editing)
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jaimehlers
 Post subject: Re: ST v SW
PostPosted: 2011-04-20 09:54pm 

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Okay, I don't seem to be able to edit my old post, so here's what I was going to put (apologies for the double post, I did not realize that was the case).

Quote:
First off, regarding speeds, I would say that a ISD's hyperdrive would have a max rating of about 5000c (for this scenario). By comparison, the max rated tech manual cruise speeds of the Galaxy class and Intrepid class are Warp 9.2 (which equates to about 1650c). Please also note that the point about hyperdrives in the unfamiliar territory of the Alpha Quadrant is a good one and that hyperdrives could lose half or more of their rated top speed due to having to deal with the possibility of obstacles.

Also, don't forget that the mini-Empire is going to have to use some portion of its fleet to maintain internal order and repress dissent. Part of the reason the Rebellion became a factor is because the Empire couldn't afford to spread its fleet around in penny-packets in order to keep everyone docile. That, I believe, is one of the cited reasons for the Death Star being constructed in the first place. If the Empire sends too much of its fleet in to crush the Federation, then they run the real risk of getting hit from behind by the Rebellion.

How much, I don't know. But it would probably be enough to keep the Empire from being able to both engage the Federation's border fleets and hit systems behind their lines with massive forces (raiding fleets, though, would work).

Also, one thing that needs to be considered is sublight speeds. Star Trek impulse drives, at least according to the Galaxy-class tech manual, can maintain speeds of at least .5c without losing too much efficiency. I have no idea how Imperial sublight propulsion works, but the Federation might have the advantage there.
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Batman
 Post subject: Re: ST v SW
PostPosted: 2011-04-20 10:06pm 

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There's no such thing as a 'Galaxy-class Tech Manual'-if you're referring to the TNG Tech Manual, that one doesn't say beans about maximum speeds (sublight or FTL) and anyway, since we've already arbitrarily reduced the Empire to UFP levels, what exactly are we supposed to determine their STL performance by? All the canon examples are out.
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jaimehlers
 Post subject: Re: ST v SW
PostPosted: 2011-04-20 10:35pm 

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Batman - Yes, the TNG tech manual (sorry), which I own a copy of, bought when I was much younger (one of my brothers bought the SW tech manual and it never occurred to me that I might need a copy till now).

And actually, it does specify Warp 6 until fuel exhaustion, a maximum cruising speed of Warp 9.2, and a maximum top speed of Warp 9.6 for twelve hours (page 57). On page 55, it gives approximate values for warp factors, and Warp 9 is listed at 1516c. That's just under 50% more speed than Warp 8 (1024c), so I extrapolated from there (1.09 * 1516 = 1652).

(upon looking at the main site, it's highly probable that Federation ships are probably closer to 2000c max cruising speeds, which would put the ISD at about 6000c under hyperdrive. Please understand that I am not as concerned about the exact numbers as I am about the relative differences)

Page 75 of the TNG tech manual states that the Galaxy-class can exceed .75c with its impulse engines, but on the next page it states that normal impulse drive is usually limited to .25c due to relativistic concerns.

From the stuff on the main site, it looks like Star Destroyers can move at at least .2c (60,000 m/s) STL, and can accelerate more quickly. I'm honestly not sure there's much if any need to reduce SW sublight speed tech for this scenario.
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Batman
 Post subject: Re: ST v SW
PostPosted: 2011-04-20 11:08pm 

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Can anybody verify this? Because the german iteration of the TNG TM flat out refuses to give actual speed values for the mentioned Warp factors. It has the Warp factors alright, and the endurances they could maintain those Warp factors for, but never any actual speed.
Nor does my iteration of the TNG TM mention anything about Impulse speeds that I can recall.
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dworkin
 Post subject: Re: ST v SW
PostPosted: 2011-04-20 11:18pm 

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The big question, in fact, the 80 km radius question is:

Can and is Mini-me Empire building a Death Star?

They definitely have the will to do so, presumably Mini-me Tarkin and his technocrat buddies are all out in force clamouring for something like this. And while a Death Star is big it's not so big to be out of the league of everyones favourite fascists. And it's a large, grandiose project which appeals to these types.

Mini-me Death Star probably started life as an attempt to mount a planet based weapon (like the ion cannon in 'Empire') on a ship and it grew from there. While it (presumably) lacks the ability to turn an planet into twinkly lights it's still a mobile battlestation with a BFG.

If conflict breaks out, what would be the Federation's reaction to this monstrosity being built?
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Darth Tedious
 Post subject: Re: ST v SW
PostPosted: 2011-04-21 08:26am 

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dworkin wrote:
The big question, in fact, the 80 km radius question is:

Can and is Mini-me Empire building a Death Star?

They definitely have the will to do so, presumably Mini-me Tarkin and his technocrat buddies are all out in force clamouring for something like this. And while a Death Star is big it's not so big to be out of the league of everyones favourite fascists. And it's a large, grandiose project which appeals to these types.

Mini-me Death Star probably started life as an attempt to mount a planet based weapon (like the ion cannon in 'Empire') on a ship and it grew from there. While it (presumably) lacks the ability to turn an planet into twinkly lights it's still a mobile battlestation with a BFG.

If conflict breaks out, what would be the Federation's reaction to this monstrosity being built?
Wouldn't an Eclipse Class SSD fill the role perfectly? It seems scaled about right...

This scenario is definitely the best scaled-down SW vs ST I've seen. Though, I'd have to agree, things still don't look good for the Alpha Quadrant- Ground warfare always favours the Empire.
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Simon_Jester
 Post subject: Re: ST v SW
PostPosted: 2011-04-21 09:46am 

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Ground combat favors the Empire but is not necessarily the decisive question. The Federation may turn out to be better at other factors which are, in practice, at least as important if not more so: diplomacy, industrial efficiency (replicators have to count for something), political unity (so long as there is an Empire, there will always be a Rebellion giving them trouble in their home territory; from the way the place is governed, it's practically inevitable). You get the idea.

Quite important: can the Federation play Athens in a 'Delian League' composed of its own neighbors? Will their tradition of adaptability and flexibility in the fleet serve them in good stead, or does it just make them unwarlike and feeble?
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jaimehlers
 Post subject: Re: ST v SW
PostPosted: 2011-04-21 05:31pm 

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Batman wrote:
Can anybody verify this? Because the german iteration of the TNG TM flat out refuses to give actual speed values for the mentioned Warp factors. It has the Warp factors alright, and the endurances they could maintain those Warp factors for, but never any actual speed.
Nor does my iteration of the TNG TM mention anything about Impulse speeds that I can recall.

Certainly.

http://www.stardestroyer.net/Empire/Tech/Propulsion/Propulsion1.html

The second sentence under the Impulse Drive heading, and the table under Warp Drive. In fact, that table is actually more up-to-date than the TNG tech manual that I own, as the tech manual only covers up to Warp 9.
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Batman
 Post subject: Re: ST v SW
PostPosted: 2011-04-21 06:01pm 

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My question was about the TNG TM giving the actual speed figures, which mine does not. I have no problem with the figures themselves, they jive reasonably well with what we see in televised Trek, I was just wondering why they would have been dropped in translation if the original TNG TM had them. Also note that those figures come from the TNG TM and the Star Trek Encyclopedia.
I was wrong about the TNG TM not saying beans about impuse speeds, it indeed does mention .75c in the impulse drive section.
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dworkin
 Post subject: Re: ST v SW
PostPosted: 2011-04-21 11:15pm 

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Darth Tedious wrote:
Wouldn't an Eclipse Class SSD fill the role perfectly? It seems scaled about right...


It's the Empire mentality. Death Stars, ATATs, gleaming white uniforms. It's all about strength through intimidation.

An Eclipse is a 10 mile long starship. While very dangerous it is well within peoples limits to concieve. It's still a ship. A Death Star is just too big. What are you going to do about 160 kms of death? Especially if it's orange :twisted:
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Norade
 Post subject: Re: ST v SW
PostPosted: 2011-04-22 05:16am 

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It seems to me that even with a greater parity of forces the Empire would still likely win this scenario simply by virtue of being ready to engage in combat. They have, though scaled back to reasonable levels, planetary shields, ground based weapons and multitudes of defense stations as well as large forces deployed to protect key worlds. The UFP leaves even key worlds and shipyards undefended or defended by at most a handful of star ships. Even if we take down the fleet counts to a 1:1 parity, the Federation still has to deal with a greater number of space stations, planetary shields, and other stationary defenses than the Empire does.
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