April 2009

Ask Admiral Growler (Continued)
- by Mike Filsinger

Gary Bear asks: In rule (S8.47) are the terms "Drone Ship" and "Drone Bombardment Ship" inter-changeable, or can a ship be a "Drone Ship" without being a "Drone Bombardment Ship" (with the "DB" Master Ship Chart entry)? Specifically if a ship meets the (S8.47) definition of a "Drone" ship does the sentence in this rule, "DB ships with special sensors do not count against the scout limit unless the owning player voluntarily agrees to do so (in which case they could occupy the "free scout" slot)." apply even if the unit does not have a "DB" designation in its Master Ship Chart entry?

ANSWER: At least in this specific context, the terms are more or less interchangeable. Rule (S8.47) states "For this purpose, any bombardment ship with a 'DB' note on the Master Ship Chart, as well as any variant which replaces all of the base-hull's heavy weapons with drone racks is a drone ship." I cannot think of any drone ships with special sensors that do not meet this definition. Not all drone ships are actually drone bombardment ships (many are designed as direct-combat ships, e.g., Klingon F5D), but all of the ones with special sensors are.

Evan T. Pierce asks: I have an opponent who disagrees with me on the meaning of (S8.361) regarding leader/command variants. As I understand it, (S8.361) clearly indicates that for every command or leader variant, there MUST be at least two other "combat hulls" of the same basic hull type. So, for example, if my opponent deploys an F5L, he MUST have two other F5 "combat variants" in the fleet, while deploying two F5Ls, would require four other F5 combat variants, and so on. My opponent believes you get one "free" leader under this rule, but I do not agree. Rule (S8.363) addresses an exemption for a fleet flagship, which is the closest thing I can see to a "free" leader variant.

ANSWER: There are certain circumstances under which (S8.361) and (S8.362) will permit one unescorted leader in addition to the flagship. For instance, it is always permitted to have one leader in addition to the flagship, regardless of other ships. It only needs to have followers if you want to have a second leader of the same or a smaller type. Technically, a Fleet could be formed of an F5L as Flagship under (S8.21) and a second F5L as a squadron leader because the first, as the flagship, is exempt from the limits of (S8.36) under (S8.363). You could not add a third F5L (or an E4C, or G2C, or etc.) unless the second F5L was leading at least two other combat-variant F5 hulls (S8.361), e.g., an F5 or an F5D [but not two F5Ds due to the restrictions of (S8.47)]. Note that under (S8.367) the squadron the second F5L is leading might be composed of one or two E4s rather than F5s, or an E4 and F5. You could add a scout under (S8.25). A force of an F5L, F5L, F5, E4D, and D6S while odd is perfectly legal under the rules.

Evan T. Pierce asks: Admiral's Game question: I would like some clarification on (U3.422). There is no stated limit on how many ships the defender may assign to bases left in the rear. Is there a limit? Obviously, any attack or sally scenario resulting from this would be under the deployment limits spelled out in (S8.0), but is there any prohibition to assigning more ships above and beyond the command limits of (S8.0)? (For example, assigning twenty ships to defend a starbase left in the rear, which would tie down 26 of the attacker's ships.) If there is no limit to deploying defending ships to bases left in the rear, would the resulting scenario(s) be divided into several scenarios fought under the standard (S8.0) command limits? Or would the excess ships be declared as being in a sort of "tactical reserve", replacing ships in the scenario as they were destroyed or disengaged?

ANSWER: Each force would need to adhere to (S8.2) command limits. I would point out that, being a free-form campaign, the other provisions of (S8.0) would not necessarily apply. Rule (S8.0) was designed for pick-up scenarios without a strategic context.

Scott Tenhoff asks: Say I have an Andromedan Force with one mothership, a Conquistador with a Command Rating of six, and an Anaconda as its free scout (thus not counting towards its Command Rating). Can it have eight "satellite ships" in the battle with it, by using two "Command Points"? This is against a planetary defense system, so I am kind of going around the limitation of Displacement Devices and satellite ships floating around without motherships. So can Andromedans use "Command Points"? I have not seen a reason they cannot.

ANSWER: Under (S8.24), last sentence, the Andromedans do not use Command Points. Rule (S8.66) does not provide for the Andromedans to use their Command Ratings outside of an alliance with another race. Further, it retains the restrictions on displacement devices and simply creates a further restriction that the Andromedan units count against the overall command rating of the battle force. Thus, under (S8.221) the Andromedans might have two Dominators each with eight Vipers (a total of 18 ships), but in an allied battle one Dominator and its eight Vipers would count as nine ships against the Command Limits (S8.661). The scout for the force could be an Anaconda (using its own displacement device), and up to two allied ships could be added (using the Dominator as the flagship). As (S8.24) does not limit the use of Command Points to the race providing the most ships in a battle force, in theory the race operating with the Andromedans might add up to two more ships using its own Command Points. Otherwise, as the rules currently stand, there are no provisions for Andromedans to arrive in an area with more satellite ships than their motherships can carry.

Nick G. Blank asks: Rule (S8.221) says an Andromedan mothership is only allowed one Energy Module, and rule (G35.32) says Small Energy SSUs follow the energy module rules in general. Is the intention that you can only ever have one small energy SSU at a time or are you allowed more than one small energy SSU if your mothership is configured for multiple small support units? It seems odd that you would be restricted to one small energy SSU, when it would take three of them to equal a single small (normal) energy module. I assume that in no case could you carry a normal energy module and small energy SSUs at the same time.

ANSWER: In the absence of a specific rule to overrule the general rule (S8.221), you are restricted to only one energy module, whether it is large or small or an SSU. You might consider that while the SSU energy module has nowhere near the capacity of the small energy module, it represents an option that can be taken when the layout of the hangar does not allow the use of the larger ones.