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Faking an Echelon?

 
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Nerroth
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:12 pm    Post subject: Faking an Echelon? Reply with quote

Hi.


With the Inter-Stellar Concordium inbound, and the rules in FC (not least the lack of a superstack) being what they are, I was wondering about the feasibility of the Echelon formation in the game system...

...but not just for the ISC.


For those who haven't heard of it, the Echelon was a fleet formation designed for use by the historical ISC fleet, used once the Plasmatic Pulsar Device was put into service. The idea is to have one's fleet aligned in various lines, with the smaller frigates and destroyers in front (the gun lines) and heavier ships at the back - with PPD-armed units, such as the DN, anchoring the entire formation. The echelon concept wasn't just for larger fleets, though, as one could have a PPD-armed CS lead, say, a DD and FF in a mini-ehelon.

The principle is that the gunline protects the heavier units, while also providing a degree of stay-away presence with its array of plasmas, while the long-range PPDs can reach out from behind them to gradually reduce the capabilities of their opponents to cause trouble. Historically, the ISC ran into trouble trying this formation against the Tholians - and to a far greater extent, against the Andromedans.

This fleet type seems to have fallen into disfavour in SFB, but then there are things that happen there (such as superstacking) which aren't a factor here in FC.


However, I was wondering if there were other fleets that could perhaps 'fake' their own echelon, if they so wished.

One example noted over in SFB is the Hydrans. In principle, you could use frigates and destroyers to screen your larger ships, with hellbore-armed capital ships taking the place of PPD-armed vessels.

Another could be the Tholians - either the post-312th fleets in Alpha, or perhaps the pre-Revolt Will fleets in M81. The former could use heavy units mounting web casters in core positions, screening using the Holdfast's array of smaller vessels. The latter could rely on units as large as the NBB as their lynch pins, but with NDDs, NFFs, or perhaps Seltorian destroyers and frigates (with no web breakers) filling the gun line. Indeed, from a Tholian perspective, using the Selts as cannon fodder might be preferable anyway... and could be one more reason for the bugs to want to stick one over on their former masters.

Also, what about the Orions? In theory, you could mount PPDs on ships like the BC and DN, while using plasma-armed LRs or DWs in a pseudo-gunline. You might need to explain what it was that 'convinced' the gunline captains to go along with this, but it could be interesting to see...

(On a smaller scale, you could echo the mini-echelon with the M81 Pirates, by giving an OGR a PPD or web caster, and using a pair of OGDs in a mini-gun line.)


Any thoughts on how any of these ideas might work in FC?
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Goonius
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:16 pm    Post subject: Faking an Echelon? Reply with quote

Hey, I have tried a Hydran Echelon and it worked well. The gun-line was very intimidating once the stingers were launched. No one wanted to get within two hexs of it. The gun-line was also good at "straining" seeking weapons targeted on the anchor ships. The major problem is that the fusion armed ships and fighters on the gun line have a well known optimum firing range of 2 or less. This means that the enemies can fire on the gun-line from range 3 or better and know they will get the better of the exchange in spite of the hellbore anchor ships.

The other difficulty the Hydrans have is that many of their larger ships, the anchors, have both fusions and hellbores. This means that some portion of the anchor ship's heavy weapons are not being used (unless the gun-line is breached).

I also saw a Fed player use prox. photon anchors and a plasma armed gun-line. That was somewhat effective. The Vudar might do it better, with if they keep some kind of ECM effect with their ion pulse generator.

Allied fleets may have a greater effect, ie Fed gun-line (photons) and Kzinti anchors (drone/disruptor) or Lyran (ESG) gun-line with Klingon (drone/disruptor) anchors. And, as always, anything Lyrans can do LDR do better.
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Nerroth
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to bear in mind, this is for FC tactics - so no proximity photons or EM shifts to turn to/contend with...


When it comes to Hydran gun lines, would it help to throw in a few hellbore-armed ships to keep a few options at range, or is it better to go all-fusion and cram in as many Stingers as you can?
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HappyDaze
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2010 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The lack of a superstack isn't a problem in most games as the number of ships is typically only 3-5. Hydran Stingers are about the only place I've seen it come up. Otherwise, the rule only creates two or perhaps three smaller stacks that stick together, so it's not really too much different unless you have a lot of weapons where the effect is massively adjusted by one hex of difference in range (again, the Hydrans but also the Lyrans too).
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dreamingbadger
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

okay i'm a long time out of the loop for SFB, whats a superstack?
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Scoutdad
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dreamingbadger wrote:
okay i'm a long time out of the loop for SFB, whats a superstack?

A superstack is a stack containing more than 3 units.
In SFB, there is no limit to what can fire when and where...
In FedComm, rule (4A3) limits you to no more than 3 units firing their weapons out of a single hex face in a single Impulse.

You can still stack more than 3 units there, and they can fire at multiple targets out of multiple hex faces, but only three may fire out of any single hex face during a single Direct Fire Phase.
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dreamingbadger
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scoutdad wrote:
dreamingbadger wrote:
okay i'm a long time out of the loop for SFB, whats a superstack?

A superstack is a stack containing more than 3 units.
In SFB, there is no limit to what can fire when and where...
In FedComm, rule (4A3) limits you to no more than 3 units firing their weapons out of a single hex face in a single Impulse.

You can still stack more than 3 units there, and they can fire at multiple targets out of multiple hex faces, but only three may fire out of any single hex face during a single Direct Fire Phase.


Thanks Scoutdad Smile i always called that just a "stack" did superstack only come in to paralance after the relase of FedCom?
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Scoutdad
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't recall hearing the term super-stack until Fed Comm came along, but that doesn't mean ADB / SFBOL / others weren't using it before that...
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Mike
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What do you do if you have, say, 6 ships in one hex and a target vessel lies a couple of hexes away exactly along the "hex spine"? Can 3 of the ships fire out of one hexside and the other three fire at the same target out of the other hexside?
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Scoutdad
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike wrote:
What do you do if you have, say, 6 ships in one hex and a target vessel lies a couple of hexes away exactly along the "hex spine"? Can 3 of the ships fire out of one hexside and the other three fire at the same target out of the other hexside?

Why do you have to go and be difficult! Shocked

I honestly haven't considered that aspect of it, since I rarely have more than three units in a single hex now.
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Goonius
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 12:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scoutdad wrote:
Mike wrote:
What do you do if you have, say, 6 ships in one hex and a target vessel lies a couple of hexes away exactly along the "hex spine"? Can 3 of the ships fire out of one hexside and the other three fire at the same target out of the other hexside?

Why do you have to go and be difficult! Shocked

I honestly haven't considered that aspect of it, since I rarely have more than three units in a single hex now.


The defender chooses which shield is hit when fire is along the spine, right? So, the defender should be able to choose which hexside to have the fire come through.
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Scoutdad
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 3:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

(3C6c) declares that only the target player determines which shield is hit in split shield instances... that would prevent a stack of six ships from firing at two different units in the same hex, as the target player would just select congruent shields on both ships.
This means the fire would leave the initial hex from the same hex face, meaning only three units could fire.

I can't think of a situation where more than three ships could fire from the same hex on a split shield decision point as the target player always has the option to choose the target shields before dice are rolled... and they can always select shields which would prevent the extra units from firing.
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Mike
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay...I must respond to Tony's response. Why? He tasks me! Wink

To keep this simple, lets use just two ships. The point of the example is to show an inconsistency in allowing the target ship to determine which shield is hit when comes along a hex spine in every case.

A Klingon D7 is in hex 0406 (small hexes) facing C and a Fed CA is in hex 0606 facing A. The Fed CA fires its two FH Ph-1's at the D7. The firing arc for those phasers is FH, so they must fire along the hex spine. Common sense would tell us that the D7's #6 shield should be the one that is hit, but according to the rules the Klingon player can choose to take the fire on his shield #1 because it is coming in along a hex spine and he can choose which shield is hit.

I've read all the stuff about how the hexes represent 10,000km of space and the ship could be here or could be there to rationalize something like this. In terms of game play though, it is difficult to see how the CA's fire from those FH phasers could hit shield #1.

I really don't have a problem with the rule. Just pointing out a seeming inconsistency.
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Bolo_MK_XL
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The firing computer just added too much lead -- why it hit #1 ---
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