Turrets. Like 'em or loathe 'em, there does appear to some confusion about how they operate in Dark Future, especially if you're using White Line Fever as well. Do you need computers? Does the base cost include the computer? cupola computers?
Well, worry no longer, and I hope you find the following useful.
A turret is a fully automated piece of equipment, and one that an operator only has a limited impact on. In fact, turrets in Dark Future operate slightly differently from other games (like Car Wars). In most games, a turret is simply a way of mounting a weapon so that it has a full 360-degree arc of fire, but it is still under the full control of the driver or gunner. In Dark Future, weapons mounted in turrets do indeed have a 360 degree arc of fire, but the driver or operator of the turret does not actually aim the turret - the inbuilt targeting computers do that for you. About the only choice that the operator has, is whether or not to actually fire on the target the turret has selected.
A turret without a computer automatically chooses its own targets as per the basic Dark Future rules, page 27. This target will be the closest one to the turreted vehicle, and if there are several choices available, targets to the rear will be selected.
An operator of the turret has a maximum of two choices available to them. The first is if there are several closest targets available to the rear of the vehicle. Then - and only then - can a gunner select the target to be fired upon.
The second choice is whether or not to actually fire on the target selected by the turret. The turret will aim, but it will not fire the weapons, that is left to you.
As can be seen, in most road duels, a turret can be a good thing and if you're only up against one or two targets, the turret will generally get the one you need to shoot at. However, when facing multiple opponents, it is easy for a turret to be fooled into pointing in the wrong direction, and there is no way for the operator to change this.
Turrets are bought at the cost of $25,000 and they weigh 150.
A turret may carry either 1 heavy weapon or two medium or smaller weapons.
Turrets do not need to be bought with computers.
A single operator may have access to many turrets, and many turrets may be operated by a single person.
As can be seen above, a basic turret has a few flaws that can be exploited by a well-trained gang. To help alleviate these flaws, a turret computer can be bought which adds several modes to a turrets basic operation. These modes change the way that the turret chooses its targets. In addition, a turret computer takes the firing process away from any vehicle crew, making the turret a fully autonomous device not needing any input from an operator. This obviously has benefits in that the turret can control itself and a driver or gunner can spend their actions using other weapons or making other actions.
Finally, a turret computer has much enhanced targeting software. This means that any attacks the turret makes are at a +1 to-hit if at a range of 6 spaces or less, or +2 at a range of 6+ spaces. In addition, shooting through smoke is easier.
The computer software comes with the following modes as standard. These can be changed by a standard shoot action.
The system is off.
This means that the computer is not being used at all, and the turret will continue to function as per the basic Dark Future rules, page 27, but the accuracy modifiers of the computer are allowed and the system gains the bonuses for shooting through smoke.
The turret computer is in its standard firing mode. Each phase the turret selects the nearest target and will fire at it automatically. This is exactly like the normal rules for turrets save that no operator input is needed as the turret will fire itself. Useful if you have other considerations to think about.
In this mode, the turret will aim at one target selected by the driver, and will aim at that target only. The turret will open fire on the selected target at any chance it gets, and it will do this automatically without any operator assistance. This allows the operator to spend their time doing something else - such as driving the car while attempting to take out a selected target. Very useful if you're wanting to take out a particular target from a gang.
A computer does make a turret more useful, but it's still limited in what it can shoot at, and a good gang of bikers can still fool the turret into shooting at what they want it to shoot at, rather than what you want it to shoot at. Instead, the main value of a turret computer is that it allows you to effectively have another shoot action, which can be vital if you're going up against multiple targets.
The downside to a computer is that it is very ammunition hungry. A computer will try to shoot the mounted weapon at any chance it gets, which could be up to six times a turn. That's a chaingun out of ammo in one turn. There's no real way out of this unless you keep adding double-loads to a weapon. Lasers only fire once per turn, and if you're attacking a group, one shot per turn just isn't going to hack it.
A turret computer costs $10,000, and this is over and above the cost for a basic turret (making the complete cost $35,000).
If a vehicle has several turrets, then one computer must be purchased per turret. For vehicles with multiple personnel, only one computer need be bought per turret, not one per operator. Additional gunners have access to the turret and the computer through the controls that get installed with the gunner position.
cupolas are semi-turrets, that is, they're gunner controlled turrets, with the gunner actually sitting in the cupola itself. A pintle mount is the same, but it has a much reduced arc of fire for its weapons.
They have an advantage over normal turrets in that the gunner controls the cupola, so they can choose what target to fire on, when and how. The major downside is that the cupola or pintle mount may not function without the gunner. They may not be remotely controlled from another gunner position, nor may they operate without a gunner like a turret.
Cupolas and pintle mounts may use turret computers though, but you only get a limited function for your money. A turret computer on a cupola or pintle ignores all modes - the cupola isn't actually computer controlled. The only benefit that the computer will give is the accuracy bonus and the added benefit of being able to shoot through more smoke.
Thanks to the Games Workshop Trolls for their help in settling some of these points. Proof that they do still remember the game!