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fleet scale, fleet fire
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Lieutenant JG

Joined: 12 Jan 2009
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:52 pm    Post subject: "formation of doom" Reply with quote

Paul, I am afraid I do not understand. How do shields affect the desirablity staying in formation?

I would think, off hand, that rotation to spread out damage might incline one to abandon formations more often. Please elaborate.

On formation variable: in a large enough battle, wings can attempt flanking manuevres, the Armada crescent may have some utility, but line abreast does seem best (although not easy on hexes, and thus the wedge).

Running out singularly does seem to be inviting destruction.

Formations allow concentration of fire, mutually supporting arcs of fire, and (although not represented in the rules) improved command control.

Roll Blunts

Last edited by rockyr on Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:39 am; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 07 May 2007
Posts: 1565
Location: South Carolina

PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think in some other game based on Star Trek (it might have been Star Trek by FASA) the Klingons received some kind of shield bonus for staying in a wedge formation. It's been a long time since I saw that. I don't know if that's what he was referring to or not.

In FC there is really not much advantage to spreading out a formation. Why not just put the ships in stacks of 3 and move them identically together?

This is what makes FC and naval combat games vastly different from land combat games. In a land combat simulation there are limits on how many forces can effectively occupy the same area (hex) because of command and control reasons. In a space or naval combat simulation, such limitations are almost nonexistent, but especially with a space combat simulation. At least a naval simulation is limited to the surface of the ocean (aside from subs). In space, two ships could be in exactly the same position from one perspective and yet be above/below one another from another.

Star Fleet Battles has the explosion rule that makes players think twice about how close their ships are to each other. If one ship explodes it can do damage to others in the same hex or nearby hexes. Federation Commander does not have that rule. I guess that's why the rule limiting fire through one hexside to 3 ships in a single hex was imposed.

So, the use of formations is almost moot. Other than looking "neat" or "cool" as they approach, what is the advantage?

Let's suppose two players battle with 3 light cruisers apiece. One player stacks his into one hex and moves them identically every sub-pulse. They each have the same energy allocation, fire at the same time with the same weapons, the whole 9 yards.

The other player puts his 3 ships into a wedge formation (or inverted crescent or whatever other formation...the point is that they are in different hexes). As the ships approach, the stack will be able to inflict a triple alpha strike if they so desire or they can split their fire. The point is that they will be able to all fire at the same time with the same desired range and with the same firing arcs. If the stack is somehow able to get on one side of the wedge that it is battling against, they can concentrate all fire onto the closest ship of the formation. If the other 2 ships of the formation wish to fire during that same Off. Fire phase of that Impulse, they will have to take slightly longer ranged shots with decreased chances for success. The stack formation does not have that problem.

Another thought on this. In a meeting engagement such as above, it would be near suicide to use an inverted crescent formation against a stack. The stack would simply pick any one of the ships in formation to close with, blast it with a triple alpha strike rendering it either destroyed or crippled. If it chose a flanking ship in the formation to attack, the other two that would be left could only fire at the stacked ships at a facing shield totally different from the one that the flank ship fired at. This would dilute the fire of the 3 ships in the crescent formation.

It could be even worse if the stack charged straight ahead and alpha'ed the center ship of the crescent formation. Now the flanking ships would have to fire from opposite sides through two different shield facings diluting their firepower even further.

This is exactly why I do not care to play in fleet engagements with the only objective being to "control a sector of space." And if both sides decide to "stack 'em up" then what's the point? We might as well pull out a deck of cards or play dice or something like that. It all boils down to luck.
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Lieutenant JG

Joined: 04 Dec 2006
Posts: 29
Location: Memphis, TN

PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2009 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lot depends upon the races that are fighting. With seeking weapons, there is a distinct advantage gained by not stacking up.

If you have a ships with plasma closing on an enemy ship, the stacked plasma ships shoot their plasma, and the enemy ship will turn tail and run. Chances of a hit are low (obviously depending upon launch point, etc.).

However, suppose you have two ships that are on each side of the enemy ship as they close. If they both launch plasma or drones at the ship, your chances of a hit are much higher. If the ship turns away from one weapon, he is turning into the other. So either he turns towards one, increasing the chances of a hit, or he has to HET to get out of the situation.

Further, by splitting your forces slightly, he cannot implement an ideal attack approach for all your ships. He has to choose one or the other, and you may very well be able to extricate that ship using any dirty underhanded tricks you have up your sleeve. It might also open up attacks for your other ships. For example, if he turns towards your left ship, your right ship might be able to get in behind him and stay on his six, etc. However, that depends on the exact nature of the battle.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2009 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Drat! Now why didn't I think of the downside to stacking when battling against drone-using ships?
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Dan Ibekwe

Joined: 08 Mar 2007
Posts: 452
Location: Manchester UK

PostPosted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lyrans shouldn't stack, or fly in adjacent hexes, if they want to use their ESGs in offensive mode.
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