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Taming the Hellcat...or not.
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Kang
Fleet Captain


Joined: 23 Sep 2007
Posts: 1947
Location: Devon, UK

PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pinecone wrote:
If they were a good crew, why wouldn't they get a bigger ship?

Also bigger is not necessarily better. Crews on the really big ships like DNs are 'historically' not generally as good as those on smaller ones, since the bigger ships are so expensive to run that they spend much of their time docked at a starbase.

The cruisers and police ships see much more action, and thus have better crews.
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Davec_24
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pinecone wrote:
If they were a good crew, why wouldn't they get a bigger ship?


Well, what I meant was it's a waste of trained personnel that could be put to better use than simply being put out into a fight as cannon fodder - not necessarily a waste of "crack" crews, although this may or may not also be the case.

Also, putting them in a bigger ship would require adding more crew to the ship (as usually the bigger the ship, the more crew are required) and these new crew would not be used to working with the core crew who had been transferred from the smaller ship.

Kang wrote:
Also bigger is not necessarily better. Crews on the really big ships like DNs are 'historically' not generally as good as those on smaller ones, since the bigger ships are so expensive to run that they spend much of their time docked at a starbase.

The cruisers and police ships see much more action, and thus have better crews.


This is very true, and also applies to actual historical ships to some extent. There is also the factor that a smaller crew is often more closely bound and know each other better and so function better together than the crew of a larger ship would.
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Dan Ibekwe
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Joined: 08 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies.

The one that caught my attention concerned the Iroquois. That ship costs (IIRC) 131 BPV, making her barely more expensive with two Stingers than the Dragoon is without any. The (in effect, fully refitted) Iroquois costs 1 point more than an unrefitted Dragoon, in SFB terms.

Plus the Iroquois has more conventionally useful HB firing arcs; otherwise the two classes are functionally pretty much identical. Firing HBs two-by-two across turn breaks can be an effective tactic in SFB, but given more rapid shield repair in FC, it's unlikely to inflict significant internal damage in this game.

So an Iroquois with two Stingers = 151 BPV, in the same ballpark as other heavy cruisers or command cruisers, while a Dragoon with three Stingers = 178 BPV and ends up fighting BCHs.

Basically, I think the Dragoon is overcosted. I'd hazard a guess that back when the Hydrans entered the game, in 1980 or thereabouts, hellbore-armed ships got high BPV's due to the shock and awe the new weapon inspired.

However, since then a combination of adapted tactics, refits and new weapons on the other side of the fence has made that obsolete, exacerbated by the doubling of ESG rate of fire between SFB and FC.

The Iroquois is a much more recent addition to the game, and her BPV seems more in line with her abilities to me.

I'm reluctant to give up the Dragoon's Stingers in duels. Since they fire as a separate 'ship', by shooting first - even at range 10 - they can dent a facing shield, allowing the Dragoon's phaser and HB fire (later in the same impulse) to be combined. Otherwise the target can take the HBs on a different shield, potentially avoiding any shield penetration.

My personal preference would be to see the BPV of Lyran ships increased to reflect the improvements in the ESG in FC vis SFB.

Also, I'd suggest re-costing the (refitted) Dragoon at about 130 BPV.
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Notalent
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Joined: 24 Oct 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 2:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dan Ibekwe wrote:

My personal preference would be to see the BPV of Lyran ships increased to reflect the improvements in the ESG in FC vis SFB.

Also, I'd suggest re-costing the (refitted) Dragoon at about 130 BPV.

The ESG range limit makes it much less useful for anything more than defence. It happens that the hydran is hindered by it the most, but I have yet to play anyone more than once that will let me get into range 1. Against plasma armed ships the lyran's ESG has little impact the LDR havethe extra toys to not fear plasma ships. The BPV is vs all races not just the bad matchups.
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Davec_24
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Dragoon is actually a very capable ship in the right hands, although as mentioned hellbores are particularly weak against ESGs in FC. This is only a huge problem when the enemy has as many ESGs as you have Hellbores (the Lyran BCH and DN for example) where they can pretty much soak up all your HB damage with ESGs. Other than this, Hellbores do not give you a big "first shot" hitting power and later in the battle when people have weak shields they are a nightmare to fight against.

Take the Dragoon Vs the Tiger CA, for example - in this case, the Dragoon is a very tough nut to crack and using your ESGs will not save you from all of the hellbore damage if he fires all four in a single turn, and in any event will use up lots of your power. I would have said the Dragoon certainly is as good as the Tiger (better in some cases of course, but this applies to most ships) - were it 130 points, the Dragoon would be significantly less points than the Tiger. If the Dragoon does need re-pointed, I would suggest it should be no lower than the BPV of the Tiger, though really 148 (i.e. the ship without its fighters) isn't all that different from other heavy cruisers anyway.
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Dan Ibekwe
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I would suggest it should be no lower than the BPV of the Tiger, though really 148 (i.e. the ship without its fighters) isn't all that different from other heavy cruisers anyway


In which case the Iroquios (actually 136 BPV, after checking) is a bargain.
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junior
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Dragoon's fighters should be viewed as a support element for a squadron of ships, and not something to boost the dueling capability of the ship. The simple fact of the matter is that the three fighters that the Dragoon carries simply aren't numerous enough to do serious damage to an enemy before they're shot to pieces with minimal effort.

So the problem isn't that the fighters bump the Dragoon up into BCH range. The problem is that the fighters don't really contribute to a duel.

It's best to leave them off the ship if you're dueling.
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Dan Ibekwe
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2008 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DaveC24 wrote;

Quote:
A Dragoon with no stingers against a Tiger CA I find to be equally one-sided but this time in favour of the Dragoon. It's the ESGs that make all the difference in this case, I think.


Er, no.

At range 9 or above, the Tiger's ESGs simply intercept all the Hellbore fire.

At range 8 or less, they only intercept *most* of the HB damage; in either case, the Dragoon is in effect reduced to a weak phaser battery against the Tigers' phasers and disruptors.

The best thing the Dragoon can do is allow herself to be gutted by overloads and phasers at range-4 or thereabouts to try to bring the gatlings to bear.

It isn't just unbalanced...it's boring.

Yes it's a 'bad matchup' - that would appear to apply to any HB ship fighting any ESG ship in FC.

Less of a problem in fleet actions, but I generally don't play fleet actions.

Frankly, I'm less than happy about having my favouite ship from my favourite race castrated when fighting one it's main historical adversaries.

I usually dislike houserules, but in this case, I'll make an exception.
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Requete
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Joined: 15 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 14, 2008 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dan Ibekwe wrote:

my favouite ship from my favourite race


Well, a little objectivity can go a long way! Wink
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Davec_24
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think ESGs are terribly effective at soaking up hellbore fire in FC, perhaps too much so. However, the Lyran hasn't got the power to run, power ESGs and fire a superior alpha-strike all in one turn. While the ESGs need only be fully powered every other turn due to the Hellbore arming cycle, this power deficiency means that the Hydran should eventually close to effective range - the question is will he be dead by the time he gets there? I wonder if playing on a location map would help solve the "infinite Saber Dance" problem, as eventually the Lyran would be cornered - might be worth a try. Don't get me wrong, I am a Dragoon fan (as well as a fan of the Tiger) and I would hate to see this ship castrated too!
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Davec_24
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I played this (Dragoon Vs. Tiger) duel last night with Kang, and the Tiger lost pretty badly. It stareted out as a Saber Dance but the Hydran piled on the speed and got to close range as the Lyran turned for the second disruptor shot, then unleashed the phasers and hellbores - no overloads as there wasn't enough power. This shot the Tiger up a little with minimal return fire to the Dragoon due to power and weapon arc problems, resulting in heavy shield damage but only a burn interally.

The Tiger decided to stay for the closer-range (3-4) phaser fight and just ended up losing out in the end, as after a few turns the Hellbores really started to hurt where shields had been dropped with phaser-fire. Although the strange hellbore arcs meant that a full alpha-strike never happened, it did mean that the Tiger pretty much couldn't get on the Dragoon's tail and out of the Hellbore arcs. The power advantage of the DG started to show when the Tiger began to take engine damage - even though the Hellbores are an immense power drain, the Dragoon lost a tube or two which meant it still had a fairly decent power curve. We stopped the game when the Lyran ship was heavily damaged (not quite crippled but not really combat-worthy either, obviosuly the battle was decided) and the Hydran had only relatively light internal damage (although the shields were battered of course, and just a few weapon hits started to tell - the DG's Achilles' heel.).

I'd like to play this fight again but swap ships, to see how much of that outcome was luck and/or player balance (to be honest we're both about as good as each-other so player balance probably isn't the major issue).
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Dan Ibekwe
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2008 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting, Dave.

I'm curious as to how the DG scored any significant HB damage past the ESGs - did Kang not arm them?

Unless my math is off, a HB will score a total of 10 damage (5+5) at range 9-15. That's 40 in total from all four...exactly enough to be absorbed by two ESGs.

If the Lyran starts turn 1 with with 37 points of power, plus 4 from batteries, that's 41;
6 to arm the globes (he gets 4 points in them for free on turn 1), 16 for speed, 8 for standard (sabre dance) disruptors, leaving 11 for phasers/shield re-inforcement/accelleration/batteries for next time, or even some overloads.

On subsequent turns, he only needs to use 5 points for the ESGs due to the Hellbore recharge turn - of course, if you delay firing the 'bores, the energy stays in the ESG cap.

To me it looks as if the sabre dance will pit four disruptors and five or six ph-1s against two ph-1s and four ph-2s.

What am I missing?
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storeylf
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Joined: 24 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well given he said that he piled on the speed and got close, with only power preventing the initial overload, I would say that he never fired at the 9-15 range. At close range not only do the HBs do more damage than the ESG can stop, there is also the Ph-Gs to worry about.

The HBs were also noted as firing in further turns, with no mention that he didn't overload. If I remember correctly at close range a single O-HB will do more damage than a full ESG can stop. Even if you only fire 2 HB a turn that leaves the lyran having to put 10 power a turn into ESGs and still take some HB damage. That seems unlikely if he also wants to fire his weapons (which he will need to if he actually wants to beat the other guy). By then of course he will have a 'weak' shield that the HBs will keep hitting.

It sounds like that there was no saber dance after a turn or 2.
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Kang
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Joined: 23 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are several other points I'd like to add.

Part of the difficulty was getting the Tiger's Disruptor arc lined up. I say 'arc' because that's what it is - it's a single, fixed forward firing arc and in the close-in knife fight we had, it was difficult to get the Dragoon in that arc. Added to that the Dragoon's 'over-the-shoulder' capability meant that the Dragoon was getting heavy weapon shots where the Tiger was not. A D5 would have fared better in this regard, for example.

Power was not really an issue in close, or not all that much, because in the speed-guessing game we pretty much matched each other's choices. This illustrates a paradox with knife fighting. Up close, if you have too much speed, you end up being forced out in front of the enemy ship unless you do some heavy decel, and that means having less power than the enemy because you have already paid for more speed than he has - although you would have the initiative.

However, up close, you really do need the initiative, and a very interesting part of that battle was the up-close guessing game. That's the paradox.

These two ships are exactly matched in agility; only the speed affects the initiative in that case. We had probably three whole turns of guessing in close. Scary!

However that's not to say that the Tiger didn't land some pretty heavy strikes. I'd all but knocked down two or three of his shields, with the remaining ones damaged to some extent. It is a tribute to Dave's manoeuvring skill, and a bit of luck too of course, that meant that he'd spread that damage over more of the shields - that's what they are there for. But that's the problem with the Hellbore; being on the receiving end I mean - is that if you have a weakened shield then it's gonna take a hammering, which to some extent reduces the importance of the in-close guessing game. It's only going to get worse over the course of the battle. And that's where the Hellbore really decides the close-in fight.

The other thing is that he had to avoid Range 1, otherwise he would have taken ESG damage. The Phaser-G and other weapons on the Dragoon are effective at Range 2, just outside the range of the ESG. Because of this, I did not get the chance, due to Dave's clever manoeuvring, to use the ESGs offensively against his ship. I appreciate his generous statement that we are pretty evenly matched as players - we are - but I do think he has a slight edge.

As for using the ESGs to prevent Hellbore damage, well, I did later on, but for the first salvo I did not realise that you had to call anti-Hellbore mode before the dice are rolled. Not that the first salvo was especially critical, but I will know next time.

What did I do right? Well, my first Disruptor salvo combined with Phaser-1's scored very heavily on his #1 shield, a factor which influenced his manoueuvring for the rest of the game. It was about 20 or so damage from Range 10. Impressive. I wanted to follow-up on that but I did not get the chance as he turned the shield away and then I didn't get the Disruptors in arc again for that shield.

What would I have done differently? Firstly, more manoueuvring away from hex-splines during a saber-dance, using the hex-grid to get Disruptor shots while not losing the arc. I hope that makes sense. I think it's better to stay right away from hex rows when saber-dancing.

Secondly, part of my early strategy was indeed to saber-dance, but eventually you need to turn in again. Storeyelf is right - there was no saber-dance after Turn #1. With the Hydran's speed right up, as was mine, the turn modes are horrendous and the closure speed terrific. This does not go well with a manoeuvre-based strategy. True, I could have done a weaving pattern while running away; having battered his #1 shield like I did, I could have run and continued to pound his forward shields with six Phaser-1's, while he had only the 2 Phaser-1's and the Hellbores with which to reply. Of course, my rear shields would have taken damage, but once the Hellbores were fired I could have turned back in again for the ESG ram.

There are a number of things I would have done differently, and will do next time, but I don't want to give Dave too many hints Wink

And here's another little tip too, that I have posted in another forum but got more-or-less put-down for - don't use decels until the end of the impulse or you will count as being slower, and thereby lose initiative. I have re-realised the wisdom of this. I was right. Tell your sister, I was right.....Smile

[with apologies to Darth Vader]

And finally here's a shot of Dave's excellent miniatures as used in this battle, posed, of course, before the commencement of hostilities. At this point they were friends, but then someone said something rude about someone else's mother, and, well, you know how it goes....


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Dan Ibekwe
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the excellent report.

I'm suprised the ships are so evenly matched; I would have thought a couple of OL disruptor + ph-1 volleys would have ended it once the range came below 8.

Humph. I need more game time...
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