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Tactica Concordia: an ISC tactics thread

 
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Nerroth
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:58 pm    Post subject: Tactica Concordia: an ISC tactics thread Reply with quote

Hi.


While the Andromedans have pretty thoroughly hogged the spotlight in War and Peace, the Inter-Stellar Concordium has also made its grand entrance into the Federation Commander game system.


Things are a little different for the ISC this time around, compared to their role in SFB. The different dynamic of play in FC might (or might not) give the likes of the echelon formation a renewed vitality; while the way in which the PPD operates here would have an impact on how they might handle in duels or squadron encounters.


So, I figured I'd start up a thread in which the finer points of what the ISC Navy has to offer; both in terms of dealing with other Alpha Octant ruffians, or with those dastardly intruders from M31.



One thing I'd be interested to talk about is how the difference between PPD and plasma variants plays out in FC. Under which circumstances would you rather have that CS instead of a CL, and vice versa?

Indeed, does the way the PPD work here make it a viable weapon against the Andros, or would you rather follow the SFB historical option of maxing out on plasma instead?
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DirkSJ
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't flown them enough to know for sure, but I actually suspect the "is plasma strong enough" question won't affect ISC nearly as bad as it does other races at least in 1 on 1 style battles. In larger battles some of the plasmas will need to hit and we return to the current debate.

The PPD is one of the most efficient and accurate long rage weapons around. You want people to stay away where you can realize reliable heavy damage every other turn and they are stuck with tiny and inefficient long range plinks. Maintaining this range is the job of your plasma. Make them choose between range 8 and a plasma S in the face, or not range 8. Make the decision more interesting for them by firing your PPDs at range on their nose as they come in.

I forsee the echelon still being very viable. To close with the PPD ships you must cross paths with the plasma armed destroyers who would love you forever for not HETing in front of them and running from their plasma.

This is actually why I have always loved the ISC. They have two heavy weapons systems. Only one is there to hurt you though...the other one is just there to scare you.
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terryoc
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 4:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what I understand of how plasma works in FC: I'd ALWAYS prefer the direct-fire option. With Andros flying as fast as they do, plus displacement, I just don't see FC plasma getting many hits as seekers on Andros.
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marcus_aurelius
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was involved with my first ISC battle very recently.

The ISC had 2 CS/CL (both the PPD variant for a total of 4 PPDs), 1 DD, 2FF.
The Klingons (my side) had a DWL, D5W, D5, F5W.

On the first turn the ISC went backward at speed 8 and the Klingons approached at 24+. The ISC almost took down the shield of the D5 with the 4 PPDs. The Klingon DISR response was fired at exactly range 15 but was far less effective than the PPDs on the DD.

On the second turn the ISC did a HET and then started moving forward and launched multiple plasma-F as we approached. The Klingon DISR response was again at around range 15 for most ships and heavily damaged a side shield of a CS/CL. The Klingons were able to phaser down the plasmas to just a couple of points of damage each.

We had to stop at that point since it was our 2nd game and it was getting late. On the next turn it was highly likely that the PPDs would have hit the D5 again with lots of damage (20+).

Usually I can put together a good strategy, but not in this case. I was at a TOTAL LOSS as to how to approach ISC with Klingons at similar BPV. The Sabre dance is not as effective as PPDs at a distance. At close range there are so many Plasmas that it is unlikely that a disciplined ISC player would ever run out.

I certainly saw a good ISC tactic played. Does anyone have suggestions as to how to beat the ISC???? Especially with disruptor armed races?
Perhaps I am missing something?
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pinecone
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 1:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let them PPD you, get closer while they reload, closer than range 4. If they HET, they will escsape, but not again without breakdowns. Hit them while their PPDs and Pl-Ss are still loading.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hope you don't mean you were just firing DISR, at range 15 you should have been hiting the ISC fairly hard, not just damaging shields. Arcs depending you should have been doing something in the region of 40-50 damage per volley.

What were your drones doing, you can have 16 out by turn 2, that should cause some issues for the ISC, they have 10 defensive plasma and can phaser the rest (reducing fire at you), but that would leave them plasmaless as the next 16 drones come in on turn 4 and also facing a power crunch as they re-arm. Even using the defensive plasma is not that easy - they have to turn round to get them all in arc.

Contrary to what you think you are better at the long (and I mean loonnng) range duel.

Stick at range 21-25, his PPDs are minimum damage and plasma is a non issue, you are still as effective as at range 16. On turn 1 he may not even fire PPDs, thinking you are going to carry on forward on turn 2. You can still put out ~25 damage a turn at that range, the ISC can't outshoot you with phasers, and even if he throws in the PPDs he is only scoring about the same average damage over time, but your fire is more focused than his. After a couple of turns when the side you are shooting out of (you are shooting out the side rather than the front aren't you?) is looking a bit knackered then turn round and shoot out the other side. You can spread your incoming damage across most shields whilst still enagging, the ISC can't - if he wants those PPDs he is firing out the front 3 shields. If 1 of your ships is looking bad then retire it beyond range 25 and repair shields whilst still shooting with the other ships. He can try and withdraw the CS's, but if they withdraw then his firepower drops quite a chunk and offers a chance to close the range and hit a smaller ship hard (at range 15 you can quite possibly crippple a FF in 1 volley).

Concentrate on a CS and more or less ignore the smaller ships, at that long range some 50-60% of ISC firepower comes from just 4 weapon boxes, once they are in trouble damage wise his fleet starts to fall apart. Only fire at the smaller ships if they get a lot closer, in which case try and put the CS out of range altogether whilst attacking the smaller ships (if they have sent the small ships ahead of the CS, 'echelon' style).

It will be a long drawn out affair, but if the ISC doesn't change tact then the odds favor the klingons, the attrition on the key CS's will hurt him more than the attrition you are suffering. The drones will keep making life slightly awkward every few turns (keep reloading them when empty) reducing his firepower at you. Once a CS is taking internals he is in quite a bit of trouble, the PPD are the lynchpin of that ISC fleet, he can't afford to lose them before delivering a decisive blow to the klingons.

Decisive opportunities may arrive on turn 4 and/or 5. If he used all defensive plasma to take out the first drone wave then on turn 4 he faces 16 drones with no plasma left, and assuming he is rearming them then on turn 5 he will probably be facing the 3 power per F arming turn. That may be a point to be think about following the drone wave in. Though probably only to range 15 to fire then pull out again, no need to make use of his offensive plasma easier by getting to close.

Obviously the ISC will get to a point where he realises he is probably on a loser engaging in the very long range duel, and probably do something like close at speed. You will have to then decide what to do. However, you have at least got over that intial hurdle - "I was at a TOTAL LOSS as to how to approach ISC". You don't need to approach them, they need to approach you.

One thing I wouldn't suggest is what pinecone suggested, thats a high risk gamble. Some fleets can lose a ship on the way in and still deliver decisive damage at close range, the klingons are not really in that category. Keeping at range 3 or less is not that easy against plasma either.

I was going to suggest a game online with you as the ISC and me as the klinks, but noticed the ISC are not available, so instead this is my 2 penneth on how I would initially approach the battle you just had.
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terryoc
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Big problem here is that the ISC is basically running away (moving backwards at Speed Cool. You are under no obligation to fly right into his guns.
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marcus_aurelius
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the input! In our battle we were firing all the phaser 1s that we could (some were used against the plasma). We held our drones (mistake) thinking we would use them later when we closed. I think we may have rolled less then average too on damage.

Storyelf, I will try what you talked about, start at 21-25 and focus on a CS with mass drones (Turn 1 Imp 8 + Turn 2 Imp 1, etc) to try to drain the plasmas. I will keep that turn 4/5 potential decisive opportunity in mind and look for it (or try to engineer it) after the 2nd mass drone wave.

I think our oppontent also did a good job in picking a good fleet that maximizes the number of PPDs for the points / # of ships. Picking CSs instead of Star Cruisers or Command Cruisers does get the maximum PPDs on the minimum number of cruiser BPV.

I will be copying your comments into a Word doc for analysis before I play again and for reference during the battle. Very good points. Thanks.

Hopefully my opponent(s) are not reading this thread! Smile
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At home today not feeling well, but also bored, so some more musings on that match.

Just be aware that is only an initial tactic to try and force the ISC to change his approach. The klinks will still have a pretty tough game.

The 2 most obvious ISC counters are:

1) close the range obviously. But you can go speed 24 and fire all your weapons that you need to (disr, ph1, ph2s), that should make it hard for the ISC to close whilst still powering all his weapons, and even more so if he has lots of drones to contend with (he will have to rely on phasers for anti drone if he is wanting to close).

2) sit at long range and beat you in a battery war. With 4 ships firing at him a CS can potentially battery away 16 damage a turn. With 5 ships firing at you, most of your ships can battery 15 a turn in theory. Using batteries like that means going slow obvioulsy, like 0 or 8. You obviously don't want to see your damage output heavily negated without doing the same to his firing. On the other hand if he is going slow then he loses some flexibilty in handling your drones.

If you go very slow ready to battery his damage away then you won't be able to maintian range if he attacks you, watch out for a fast plasma attack run, His small ships can close very fast and fire everything.

If you declare a higher speed to counter the charge then you possibly face a turn of being out damaged after reinforcement.

If you do declare a higher speed vs an ISC slow speed and are close enough to getting range 26 on impulse 1 then after speed decs consider repairing shields on the ship he was targetting and move it to range 26, your damage output drops but with less ships firing so does the amount he can reinforce, plus he has to spread his damage to another of your ships. This of course really does become a death by a thousand cuts style of game, but as long as you are hitting the same CS all the time it should eventually go your way.



The other interesting aspect of this matchup is how the ISC start to use PPDs, fire all 4 then spend a turn rearming or cycle 2 a turn. Either way has possible weaknesses to exploit.

If he is cycling the PPDs 2 a turn then the range 15 exchange is not that scary, and may even favor you slightly. If you can use your manouvering edge (compared to the CS) and get the best arcs then you can deliver some ~50 damage, even without the best arcs you should stil be looking at about ~40 damage. The ISC with only 2 PPDs (+Ph1s) is looking at ~45 damage to the primary shield, plus more in splash. Obviously in the long run that splash is nasty, but your wider weapon arcs and manouvering edge do give you more ability to manage shields better. The idea is that you do not have to survive the 'long run' as a couple of turns of delivering that sort of damage should give you a reasonable chance of taking out a PPD or 2, or damaging the front shields so much that pointing them at you is terminal. Sure you will have taken as much (or more with splash) damage, but you are not relying on 4 'lynchpin' boxes. All other things being equal (which they probably won't be of course) then target the one that is still re-arming, you probably can't stop the other one firing this turn but you can make life more interesting for the ISC next turn. The downside of range 15 is obvioulsy that his smaller ships and their plasma become much more of an issue, on the other hand so do your drones as he will have less reaction time.

If he has started to alternate PPDs and is still at extreme range on turn 3 then I'd be tempted to maybe close on him then. Hopefully by then there will have been a couple of long range exchanges, the ISC may be looking at some shield damage to the front of a CS, whilst you are looking at some to one side of one of your ships. You might be able to close in with your good side visible, shoot at an already damaged shield at range 15 at the end of the turn, launch your turn 3 drones, promptly followed by turn 4 drones, whilst still being in a good position to either shoot again at range 15 or close in behind the drones. If he also happens to be rearming multile defensive plasma F from the first drone wave on turn 2 then bonus points, as on turn 5 he faces that power crunch which gives you another turn of being able to pressure him hard.

Firing all 4 PPD together delivers a lot of crunch, and you probably don't want a range <=15 exchange with that. Of course it isn't so good on the rearm turn when you can potentially close and deliver a good strike. At extreme range he can't deliver the sort of decisive crunch that really hurts, and running away is harder than at close range (plasma launches as he turns away are not that effective simply cos of the distance). You possibly have to close only 6 hexes from 21 to 15 to outdamage him over a 2 turn cycle - 40+ damage through a back shield will hurt somewhat, and make any further running painful. Even if he then pulls back round with a HET, as long as you are back at range 16+ it isn't that bad as he will have used up the free HET probably without really swinging the game. You can also consider EM as you pull back out if it really is likely to be an issue (that zero energy impulse 8 declaration can be amazing in such situations), though of course EM precludes drone use.



There certainly isn't some uber 'I win' tactic for the klinks, but I think they have enough flexibility such that anything the ISC do can be countered or mitigated. As long as you can turn the game into a roughly equal battle of attrition for long enough then I think the klingons will have a good chance, think about how the battle would look if you strip out a CS and your best cruiser. IMO the ISC lose more than the klinks, and it is likely you will be hitting key PPDs long before taking out the ship itself. Personally I think the ISC tactic of retreat or sit still at range is the worst possible tactic for him against klingons, I'd be more concerned about an agressive ISC. All his key weapons are FA, making them easy to use as a full on strike, neither does he have any concerns about overloading. The klink has a slightly inferior phaser suite that is also harder to fully bring to bear in an alpha strike, in order to max his close range ability he has overloads but that means power/speed/initiative issues. On top of that plasma launches will make life awkward in a closer range duel. The klink does have short range advantages (turn modes and wide arcs) but he may be too badly hurt early on to make them count. In most cases a competent ISC can significantly outdamage you at ranges 6-10, launch plasma and then turn away. Between the pounding you took and the plasma it may be hard to make it up on the PPD rearm turn. Thats not to say the klingons can't win against such an ISC player, but the more passive ISC player is really only heading one way - the knackers yard.
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