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After-action report: H-Dragoon+3 Stingers vs. R-Firehawk
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Kang
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Joined: 23 Sep 2007
Posts: 1962
Location: Devon, UK

PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:07 pm    Post subject: After-action report: H-Dragoon+3 Stingers vs. R-Firehawk Reply with quote

This was a short and bloody encounter between these two non-historical opponents, with Jon playing the Hydran and me playing the Rom. Curiously, I was inspired to play the Romulans because I’d only that day seen a bloke in Torquay who was a dead ringer for a real live Romulan. Large [nearly] pointy ears, heavy brows, thick fringe, the works. All that was missing was the quilted jacket. But then it was a hot day….

On Turn 1, the Jon chose speed 16 and I chose speed 8; I chose this speed so as to get my plasmas armed before the first major pass, and to have plenty of power in reserve to reinforce against potential Hellbore shots at the end of Turn 1. By the end of the turn the ships had closed to just within overload range – the Hydran had the Romulan centrelined at 7 hexes, and the Rom had the #2 shield facing. The Hydran’s four phaser-2’s and 2 phaser-1’s were combined with two overloaded Hellbores, whereas my reply was all seven phaser-1’s. The #2/#5 hex spline on the FHK is not a healthy place to be if you’re the target. The Hydran rolled badly; one of his Hellbores missed and so did most of his Phaser-2’s. Light damage was scored to my shield #2, and the Hellbore scored most of its damage (5 points) on the #4 shield; much of the damage from the entire volley was taken on reinforcement. If you’re at the end of the turn and have kept your batteries, fired your weapons and everything else, there’s no point in NOT doing this. My return fire scored well and halved his front shield. Each of us scored one burn-through which was of course instantly repaired at the end of the turn.

Because our group does not have much experience in fighting plasma chuckers, I held off launching any plasma at this point so as to not remind him to pick speed 24 next turn.

This seemed to have worked; by luck or design, he picked speed 16, as did I. (Despite the Hellbores, I couldn’t really afford to even up my shields by repairing a few boxes because we were approaching knife range where every point of power is vital.) At the end of Impulse 1, I launched a Plas-S at four hexes’ range, and in Impulse 2 the plasma impacted his front shield having been reduced to fourteen points by the target’s phaser-G’s – he’d rolled well for once Wink while I took another Hellbore hit for some minor burn-through damage. After a couple of impulses, the ships were at one hex range [I closed the range once he’d fired his Gatlings] the Rom off the Hydran’s #2 shield and the Hydran off the Rom’s #3 shield. The resulting exchange of fire resulted in us both having downed facing shields, but I had more phasers in arc than he did and had targeted power too. I tweaked reinforcement so that his ‘targeting weapons’ fire scored only five or six damage, and thereby not reaching the second batch of weapons later in the damage table. This is a useful tactic; where practical [ie when receiving about 7-10 internal damage through a freshly downed shield] look at the damage table to see how far you want your opponent to get, and reinforce accordingly. Of course, if the shield is already down, then you can’t reinforce it so it becomes moot. Anyway I got ten targeted internals on power and so the Hydran lost five power boxes including a battery. Again, a useful tactic when fighting a Hellbore ship, because these weapons tend to be power-hungry and reducing his power is a good way of reducing his future options. It’s a sort of double-mission-kill; you reduce his power anyway so he has less options, but it also effectively kills one or two Hellbores because he can’t power them as easily.

Jon briefly considered tractoring my ship to hold it for the Stingers, but I had much more power left than he did, so that idea was abandoned. And I didn’t want to tractor him because then I’d be easy meat for the Stingers. However, in the hit-and-run raids that followed out mutual shield dropping, I got lucky and hit his remaining loaded Hellbore, which was greeted with the usual dismay Smile

In the launch phase, Jon launched his Stingers and I launched the right-side plas-F towards the downed shield – remembering the tactic of the ‘zero-energy anchor’ where a plasma launched from one hex range can’t be avoided. And he didn’t have enough power for a HET, so the torp went in through the downed shield for a further 20 damage.

Next impulse, I accelerated and managed to put some distance between my ship and the pursuing Stingers, although not much – one was at 1 hex range off my #5 shield. But the important thing was that I’d managed to turn better shields to the fighters through proper use of sideslips. Two fighters were at two hexes’ range and on a split shield 4/5 boundary, and the other one was off my undamaged #5 shield. Because of the rules for split-shield boundaries, I was able to accept the damage from the two fighters at two hexes range on two different shields. Anyway my #5 shield got dropped for about 10-13 internals; nothing too serious. Spending a point of power to accelerate and another to death-drag the closer Stinger, [a point of power well-spent!], I turned left as the Hydran turned right in a kind of horizontal scissor. We ended up with me centrelined by the Hydran at range 1 off my undamaged #6 shield, but with him short on enough power to use it, but with me about to launch my left-side F torp and my S-torp at his nearly-downed #1 shield, at which point we decided that the Hydran would be gutted and so we called it a day.

Lessons learned:

Several notes are already in the text above.

Jon felt that when flying against a plasma-chucker, there was not enough power to maintain a decent defensive speed [ie speed 24] AND arm his Hellbores to the required levels. The conclusion was that perhaps next game he’d arm only two Hellbores.

Once again, running out of power is lethal at close range.

If there’s any chance that you will be subjected to a ‘zero-energy anchor’, keep enough power for a high-energy turn. This has been submitted to Steve Petrick as a Command Note.

Where possible, tweak reinforcement to allow targeted damage to ‘progress’ only so far along the damage track. Of course this means that you have to assume that he will hit the targeted damage he wants, but it can be a worthwhile precaution.
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djdood
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kang wrote:
...heavy brows, thick fringe, the works. All that was missing was the quilted jacket. But then it was a hot day…


What, no anorak?!? Surprised

Kang wrote:
This is a useful tactic; where practical [ie when receiving about 7-10 internal damage through a freshly downed shield] look at the damage table to see how far you want your opponent to get, and reinforce accordingly.


Could you go into more detail on what you mean by this?

With reinforcement per-volley limited by battery-count, there isn't a lot of wiggle room that I can see. I must be missing something in your method. Granted Romulans tend to have bigger battery banks than others (to do the final turn of loading on those big plasmas).
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you can reduce the damage to 6 points against targeted damage then you will save yuorself either a battery (power) or phaser (weapons), assuming the other guy succeeds with his targeting. Positions 4 to 6 on those damage tracks are general systems and not usually immediatley critical to lose.

The other one worth noting IMO is reducing damage down to 2 if you can afford to, as the 3rd damage point is a fairly important system on 5 out of 6 tracks. (position 3 has LWarp, Reac, Torp, Batt, Drone)

Also remember that even larger amounts of damage can be played with this way. If you would take 14 points of internal damage, and are not expecting skips then pay to knock it down to 12 if you can afford it, as the second batch of damage will be reduced to 2 instead of 3 and again have a good chance of saving you a non trivial system.
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djdood
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm... I've always been weak at working the meta-game ("playing the charts to advantage" type things).

Surprisingly, the one set of "mainline" rules my group has yet to use is directed-targeting, so that explains my inexperience a bit.

Thanks storyelf.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To be honest ,whilst I'm well aware of those sorts of things I will often forget about such things in the heat of the action (so to speak). Whilst I love targerted damage, and nearly always intend to use it, I also often forget to announce it in time, rolling to hit then suddenly remembering that I wanted to do directed damage.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like at least one of you learnt a lot in that fight.

Personally, given the relative strengths and weaknesses of the ships I'm not sure why the Hydran closed in so fast.

The romulan is a fairly scary close range fighter - good phaser 1s and 4 plasmas. Whilst plasma may be readily avoidable if you are ready for it, it is certainly hugely better firing plasma at short range than longer range. The romulan offensive fire power drops quite rapidly beyond about range 5.

The Hydran on the other hand has one of the nastier long range weapons in the game. Whilst the phasers G and stingers are nasty at close range, there seems to be little reason to close and use them at a range that also allows the romulan to make good use of his weapons given his more limited ability to respond if you keep the range open and use the HBs.

Staying at 9-15 throwing out 2 HB a turn is not spectacular, but, you can do that whilst doing speed 31 if needed. The rom can't close the range, hold S, reinforce the damage and fire phasers. Whilst the first shots will be allocated where the rom wants, after a couple of volleys he'll find it increasingly difficult to stop him self having a weaker shield. Whilst the rom can do roughly similar amounts of damage with his phasers at that range, the hydran eventually has more control over the shield they hit and once you have the rom with a clearly weaker shield you are in a better position to move to a closer range with overloaded HBs. If done properly you will be turning back towards a closer fight with no front half shield damage, and him with no where to turn that can avoid the hellbores hitting a weakened shield. In other words you are sort of back in the start of the game closing in on each other, but with an advantage you didn't have originally.

Once the plasma is flying always think twice before using phasers on it, A phaser G in defensive fire can stop about 7 or 8 damage to you or do 15-16 damage to him. Is there a decent chance of that close range pass? is the 7 or 8 damage going to be critical if such a pass could be achived instead? Remember that a dragoons front shield is not quite as critical as it may be on other ships, the dragoon has good arcs for close range fights that fire out the sides so you never actually have to point at your target, so if taking a single plas-S on the front will allow a point blank PhaserG volley on him then don't shoot the plasma, just take it like a man (or 3 legged alien thing) then rake him with PhaserG fire.

2 overloaded hellbores will cost you 12 power, and do 30 danage at best through the weak shield. 3 stingers at point blank range will do well over twice that. Whilst it looks like the tractor was considered in the game, it is also well worth thinking about just dropping the hellbore arming for that turn (even if you do lose the previous 6 power as well) and having 12 extra power for a tractor auction if that looks feasible to ensure the stingers get the point blank shot.
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Jon Lawson
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 12:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I made few mistakes in this game it must be said,the main one is not taking into account just how good and how many phaser-1's the Rom ship could bring to bear. I seriously doubt that even arming only 2 hellbores that I could win a tractor auction unless Rom ship decides to whip it up to speed 24 which is fairly unlikely.

However I will only be re-arming 2 Hellbores in this ship after the first turn for the next few games to see how it pans out. The extra power would have been nice on a few occasions with the option to overload always being there anyway, and yes there is the tractor to leach away power too. I figure that directed targeting at weapon systems mean I can lose one Hellbore without any big worries/ power losses.

Also I tend to think that though the Hellbore is good at long range it still needs you to get in close to put the boot in first. My original plan was to get close, shoot lots, drop off fighters then run away very quickly. It was perhaps that last and most important part of the plan that I neglected, and the fact that Tony is a slippery little devil with his voodoo maneuvers and clever power management.

Maybe I will try a longer range tactic as suggested next time. The problem is the impatient Captain who is drawn by the chase and the need to shout triumphantly from his bridge as he rapidly closes on his prey,
"I Laugh at your Plasma"

I'll get you next time Gadget....next time...
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Forgoing HB for tractor power is obviously situational. But remember base speed is set before paying for weapon loading - so you don't have to decide till after you know where you stand in that respect. It is risky, but the payoff is that 3 point blank stingers is effectively terminal for anything cruiser size or smaller.
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Kang
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Joined: 23 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

djdood wrote:
Hmmm... I've always been weak at working the meta-game ("playing the charts to advantage" type things).

So have I. I just noticed this time that I could save a couple of important hits by playing with the reinforcement.

I was going to explain this trick as you requested, but it has been covered by storeylf - thanks for that! Smile
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Kang
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two other points come to mind as well after reading storeylf's comments above.

Firstly, the Stingers were nowhere near as scary as I thought they'd be. Granted, two of them only got to Range 2 which is not as bad as point-blank, but still, looking at the Fusion Beam table, they're not as destructive as once I thought, especially fired only one at a time as the rules allow. Guess I was thinking of ship-mounted overloads.... Still I wouldn't want to let them get too close.

Energy allocation. Before I began Turn 2, I carefully tallied my total power and planned it out. This is the first time I have done this. Now, I didn't necessarily use the power exactly as I'd planned, but still the thinking was there. Once I'd determined what I wanted to be able to do, I allocated my power mentally then declared baseline speed, with my other plans still in mind.

So, for example, the thought went something like this: He's going to let his Stingers out. So I need at least Speed 16, plus let's say another six for discretionary speed changes, making my top speed this turn 22, the lowest 10. Ok so far. Now, I need to charge up two Plas-S's in their third turn of arming [actually arm as 2 Plas-G's and add the last point upon launch] - that makes another 8. That's 30 power, leaving me 15 for the main phaser battery, tractors/neg tractor [the Hydran Anchor can be as deadly as the Gorn Anchor] and/or reinforcement as required. Cloaking - I don't want to do that when there's Stingers around, or they'll be waiting as I come back up again.

This was a useful little exercise which took me all of 20-30 seconds, time well spent. Ok Jon, that's my secret weapon - use it on me next time! I'm sure you saw me doing it anyway, sitting there counting my little pile of pennies....

"I laugh at your pennies!"

PS Energy allocation in this way is especially important if you are thinking of cloaking. Only then will you know the true cost with respect to your other systems that need power.
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Kang
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

djdood wrote:
Kang wrote:
...heavy brows, thick fringe, the works. All that was missing was the quilted jacket. But then it was a hot day…


What, no anorak?!? Surprised



And, you know, I realised later that I'd had my phone on me for once, and could have grabbed a picture of him. Dammnnn!
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djdood
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was going to post a picture of Duane Dibley from Red Dwarf, but I decided a lot of folks would misunderstand the joke.
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Kang
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

djdood wrote:
I was going to post a picture of Duane Dibley from Red Dwarf, but I decided a lot of folks would misunderstand the joke.

rofl Laughing
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Wolverin61
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kang wrote:
And, you know, I realised later that I'd had my phone on me for once, and could have grabbed a picture of him. Dammnnn!


Sounds like you're as good with a camera phone as I am Laughing
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Dan Ibekwe
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PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry for the threadromancy...

Were you playing on a floating or location map?

If the latter, could the Rom not have gone to speed 24+1 on turn three, once the S-torps are armed and held, and just run the Hydran into a corner and killed him, sorry, it? You'd be going fast enough to dodge the fighters, and one or two HB volleys won't do much harm.
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