There is a great discussion on fighters and armor in this thread: http://www.positech.co.uk/forums/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=5295 But I think something is missing from that conversation.
That is, there is no distinction between fighters and bombers in the current version of GSB.
I’m going to put my thoughts out there as if they were the thoughts of the collective whole. Obviously I know this is not the case but it makes for a good discussion starting point.
Fighters should be not be able to hurt capital ships (frigates or bigger in the current game).
Bombers should be carrying weapons capable of hurting capital ships (they can also carry fighter weapons - making them fighter-bombers).
Assault boats do minor damage to capital ships (not represented in game play), only to inject or deposit their crew (who can inflict serious damage).
I have suggested a GSB 2.0:
As you can see bombers are considerably heavier than fighters, this is a common sci-fi theme. I would suggest new classes of weapons. We currently have Fighter, Frigate, and Cruiser class weapons. In a more varied assault craft (sub light craft) approach, I would suggest:
Fighter class weapons; carriable by fighters and bombers.
Bomber class weapons; only carriable by bombers (and the only weapons strong enough to hurt capital ships).
(Assault boats have no weapon slots/hard points)
Another common theme is the need for bombers to “line up” on their target. This “flying straight” is one of the inherent weaknesses making it easy for fighters to get a “kill”. Because of this I would make bomber weapons require straight flight before fireing, the straight path need not be right at the target, but when flying straight it should be easier for fighters to hit them (a bonus should be applied). Bombers could “peel off”, losing the chance to shoot at the capital ship but also breaking the “to hit” bonus. The flying straight would also have to end in range for the shot to hit (and may need to begin in range too).
Coupling this with the fact that you have to carry all your assault craft in bays (or strap-ons (to the outside of FTL craft)(strap-ons would have no repair unless you also had a carrier in the fleet, and only large craft could handle strap-ons (cruisers or bigger?))) choosing how many squads of fighters, fighter-bombers, bombers and assault craft would make for some great game play.
Side note: I think assault boats should have a short “line up” requirement as well. Much shorter than bombers because the craft self-destructs on a hit to deliver it’s payload and on a miss it has to fly out, turn around, and “line up” again.
Lastly and just for accuracy: The linear size of the capital ships is also a mistake. Volume increases exponentially (πr^2 times length (for a cylinder)) and surface area increases linear (dπ times length (for a cylinder)). The bigger the ships the more massive and long (going internally) the weapons systems could be. Also the greater surface to mount AA weapons and weapons in general. This would not create a linear increase in ship size but quantum jumps similar to what we have now with Cruisers so heavily out classing Frigates. You would have that same out-classed feeling at every hull type. Now give a sci-fi guy a chance to make up a plausable explaination: FTL engines scale exponentially eating up the interior space leaving a thin shell so each hull type has a linear progression in volume. But this really should be a discussion for another thread.