April 2009


- Senior Lieutenant Benjamin Moldovan, USS Ohio

"Speed is life" is true in Federation Commander. Movement has been simplified, but there are still interesting options and game mechanics to consider. You can accelerate without complex accounting, and without increasing your turn mode, but only to a limited extent. You can decelerate more freely, at a price. So, the question is, should you move faster or slower? Let's look at both options.

Moving slowly has its good points. You have more power available during the turn, it is less obvious what your plan is for the turn, and your turn mode is lower. The key is, though, that you can only accelerate by one each impulse. If your opponent moves at a higher base speed, then the best you can do is match his speed, if you pay for acceleration. If he accelerates too, he will control the range.

Moving faster, on the other hand, is more expensive, and your turn mode is higher. But you can decelerate as much as you need to. You have a good idea where your slower opponent can move to, and you can control the range. You can possibly force an engagement, or delay a turn if that better suits your plans. Also, in Federation Commander you may have to deal with slightly faster suicide shuttles, drones screaming at you three hexes per impulse, or plasma at four hexes per impulse. Moving faster allows you to get away if necessary, or to optimize your defenses. The downside to decelerating is that you essentially pay two points of power to move zero hexes, not a great bargain.

Be careful, and as always take each situation on a case-by-case basis. The biggest disaster you can get yourself into is paying far too much power, rushing too quickly into danger, and then having to pay still more power to save yourself. That said, my conclusion is that generally, faster is still better.