I did a quick assessment.
Please note the math may be a bit off, but it serves the point near enough. I counted the number of eligible die roll results, i.e. 3 results = 3/36 chance of something happening.
I was wanting to ascertain what it took to have a 50% or better chance of getting at least one hit. here is what I found out.
In order to have a 50% chance of 1 step or more of damage, you need to be shooting on the 17-20 column.
Link to larger image: http://cf.geekdo-images.com/images/pic1044068.jpg
At 14-16 you have a 48% chance, which in my book is almost the same. Not too shabby. If you can pick up +2 column shifts in a combat, then 11-13 strength points is your goal for amassing force and have a 50/50 chance of putting the hurt on whilst only suffering a 36% chance of just a Morale check.
You would however have to go all the way to 26-32 column to be certain of 1 hit @ 47%, with a 78% or better chance of hitting for one or more steps.
Hence Artillery’s title of King of the Battle Field.
Now down at 9&10 column strength, yikes. you have less than a 33% chance to hit.
If you are looking to suppress units or force morale checks on badly bloody units then you are in luck. From the 9-10 column onwards you have a 42% chance rising to 47% of inflicting that result.
Naturally enough the MC rate drops as the Step loss ease to hit goes up.
This reinforces for me the need for good modifiers, combined arms, and positional advantage; the elusive crossfire.
Not sure what I did in the 9-10 Column, but the chance to obtain a 1 step drops then rises in 11-13, where as everything else makes a nice progression up or down.
Note from Ethan: “The table trades a 3-step result for a 1-step result in that column. Given that there are only 36 possible results, there’s an unavoidable bump. It does increase the average number of step losses by just about the right amount.”
One other fact that is noteworthy. The chance of nothing happenings is 33% and under from the 7-8 column onwards to the left!
This all confirms that SFA is just that, shooting til you get the enemy in a position where you can close assault in relative safety. Otherwise you require overwhelming firepower and positional advantage.