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Stacking
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Brazouck
Lieutenant JG


Joined: 03 Jun 2010
Posts: 67
Location: France

PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 12:28 pm    Post subject: Stacking Reply with quote

Hi,

In my current game for the FCOL tournament, I play my three ships in formation in adjacent hexes, and my opponent keep all his three ships in the same hex, always at same speed, well, always in the same hex in fact, moving them as a stack.

So several times my fire was lightly scattered and I have to manoeuver before each shot, and him is always firing with all his weapons bearing on one of my shields.

So I can't find a minus of flying all ships in one big stack, but it seems strange, why is not everyone playing like that if it is a so good tactic ?


To be clear, I don't want advice to play against my current opponent to have and advantage over him (it would be really unfair, and French are fair, you know ? Very Happy ) , I just wonder why everyone is not playing like him if it works so well.

Regards,
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The FC rules limit a stack from firing more than 3 ships in the same direction, so stacking 3 ships has an advantage, stacking 4 (or 10) not so much. SFB has a problem with stacking in that explosions (FC doesn't have an explosion rule) tend to mean you blow up the smallest ship in the enemy stack and the explosion damages all of the other ships in the stack. SFB also has mines, which make stacks kind of exciting.
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Brazouck
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Joined: 03 Jun 2010
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Location: France

PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok so in a 3 ships tournament, almost everyone will do that ?
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mjwest
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Joined: 08 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brazouck wrote:
Ok so in a 3 ships tournament, almost everyone will do that ?

It is entirely possible. It all depends on what they are trying to accomplish. I doubt everyone will do it, but I imagine many will.
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Scoutdad
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Joined: 09 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After 20+ years of playing SFB... I still have a hard time stacking all my ships in the same hex.
Even though there are some advantages to doing so at times, it just doesn't feel right.

Besides, if you get usedto stacking, you have trouble adjusting when one unit is damaged and can no longer keep up.
If you're used to manuevering separate ships toward advantageous positioning, then it's not so hard to do when one of those three ships is forced to hang back.
It also makes it easy to drop a ship targeted by multiple drones baclk a bit. this forces the drones to traverse a point blank range firing corridor before reaching their target.
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duxvolantis
Lieutenant SG


Joined: 16 Nov 2010
Posts: 185

PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:55 am    Post subject: Re: Stacking Reply with quote

Brazouck wrote:
Hi,

In my current game for the FCOL tournament, I play my three ships in formation in adjacent hexes, and my opponent keep all his three ships in the same hex, always at same speed, well, always in the same hex in fact, moving them as a stack.

So several times my fire was lightly scattered and I have to manoeuver before each shot, and him is always firing with all his weapons bearing on one of my shields.

So I can't find a minus of flying all ships in one big stack, but it seems strange, why is not everyone playing like that if it is a so good tactic ?


To be clear, I don't want advice to play against my current opponent to have and advantage over him (it would be really unfair, and French are fair, you know ? Very Happy ) , I just wonder why everyone is not playing like him if it works so well.

Regards,


In a three-ship squadron there is little benefit, at least initially, to do anything other than stack all three. If you do not stack you open yourself up to all kinds of bad maneuver consequences, the chief of which is that your opponent can manipulate range brackets to get advantageous exchanges in firing.

For example if you are sabre dancing and on each pass he gets to fire all 3 ships at range 15 while you fire 1 or 2 at 15 and but one ship is in the 16+ range bracket then over time he will come out ahead. Same situation at range 8, but even worse because he will be able to fire all his overloads and you may have a ship that cannot fire much at all because it never gets in range.

The *disadvantage* of stacking is that all of your ships are available as targets at the same time. If you want to control which ships are presented as better targets (protecting the command ship, the scout, the carrier, etc) or want to present more expendable targets (frigates and destroyers) you can gain a lot of benefit by pushing them out a couple hexes in front. This works particularly well against seekers as if the seekers are launched at one of the smaller ships up front it you can have it run backwards through the fleet to scrape off all the weapons (or just run them out--his firepower won't be missed). If, on the other hand, the target is a capital ship back in the formation then the escorts of front can kill and tractor the seekers on the way in preserving the capital ships weapons and power for the alpha strike.

Damaged (but not crippled) ships are also good candidates to let fall back a little bit. Force the enemy to shoot at longer range at the damaged ship or punch through a fresh shield on the closer one. And so on.

Different races have different situations too. Plasma races do not need to concentrate their ships to concentrate their offensive firepower. And in large engagements they may not even want to.

But yes, in your basic 3-ship duel with 3 roughly equal ships there is usually no reason not to stack and lots of reasons to do so.

Edit: Shield facings are also a potential weakness of spreading out. An opponent who is good at maneuver can put you in a situation where, even if all your ships are in good range, one of them is on a different shield boundary. I have found this to be MORE true in FC (than was the case in SFB) due to the order of play presenting a high likelihood that you can turn a damaged shield out of arc before the next fire opportunity.
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Brazouck
Lieutenant JG


Joined: 03 Jun 2010
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Location: France

PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 8:18 am    Post subject: Re: Stacking Reply with quote

duxvolantis wrote:

Edit: Shield facings are also a potential weakness of spreading out. An opponent who is good at maneuver can put you in a situation where, even if all your ships are in good range, one of them is on a different shield boundary. I have found this to be MORE true in FC (than was the case in SFB) due to the order of play presenting a high likelihood that you can turn a damaged shield out of arc before the next fire opportunity.


I think that's the more important point.

Thanks all, I wil stack now Very Happy Too long habit of ASL "don't stack rule of thumb.
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Blammo
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Joined: 01 Mar 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe it is just me, but something about this I don't like. Even when I read it in the manual the first time I just don't like it. It seems to take away the real maneuver factor and reduce the battle to stack versus and who can field the best stack. Instead of maneuvering a squadron/fleet, you are just maneuvering a single super ship (in essence).

That said, it is what it is. I have also fought SFB battles with all ships in a single stack (it usually ended badly for my ships, although one time we did wipe out a star base in one impulse. Just seems to me if you allow three to do it with no penalty, why not allow all ships to fire out from the same stack? Three seems sort of arbitrary. And why is the limit to ships of the same side/alliance? If it is about warp field interactions, aren't all of the ships using warp drives?

Just not entirely comfortable with the logic or gamey-ness of this rule. No rant intended, just my humble opinion.
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duxvolantis
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Joined: 16 Nov 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blammo wrote:
Maybe it is just me, but something about this I don't like. Even when I read it in the manual the first time I just don't like it. It seems to take away the real maneuver factor and reduce the battle to stack versus and who can field the best stack. Instead of maneuvering a squadron/fleet, you are just maneuvering a single super ship (in essence).

That said, it is what it is. I have also fought SFB battles with all ships in a single stack (it usually ended badly for my ships, although one time we did wipe out a star base in one impulse. Just seems to me if you allow three to do it with no penalty, why not allow all ships to fire out from the same stack? Three seems sort of arbitrary. And why is the limit to ships of the same side/alliance? If it is about warp field interactions, aren't all of the ships using warp drives?

Just not entirely comfortable with the logic or gamey-ness of this rule. No rant intended, just my humble opinion.

As SVC mentioned. Mines and ship explosions took care of stacking in SFB. Neither is in FC. Hence an "artificial" rule for playability.

In a large fleet battle it was possible for a disruptor fleet, for example, to pop a destroyer at range 15.

I understand why mines are gone (requires hidden record keeping) but ship explosions were always hugely fun so I kinda miss them.
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Blammo
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Joined: 01 Mar 2011
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

duxvolantis wrote:
I understand why mines are gone (requires hidden record keeping) but ship explosions were always hugely fun so I kinda miss them.


Man, no kidding. I remember in Commanders edition where one exploding ship in the middle of a group of ships meant pain and suffering for all. Yeah, I miss that Wink
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Blammo
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 2:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Speaking of stacking, any noticed the serious disadvantage that the Lyrans are at in regards to stacking? Sad
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duxvolantis
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 2:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blammo wrote:
Speaking of stacking, any noticed the serious disadvantage that the Lyrans are at in regards to stacking? Sad

Stacking was always a problem for Lyrans due to ESG interactions.

Lyrans are strong in FC.
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Savedfromwhat
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

THEY STILL HAVE Esg interactions in FC.
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Blammo
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 5:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

duxvolantis wrote:

Stacking was always a problem for Lyrans due to ESG interactions.

Lyrans are strong in FC.


Stacking was never a big issue for me in SFB with ESGs. One ship could could cover several flying inside the bubble and, when it was about to expire, a different ship could raise ESG(s) to provide cover. The only time it was an issue was when I was ramming with them and then I had the ESGs at range zero usually. But, it didn't matter much at that point (unless someone tractored one of my ships to discourage others from ramming).

I didn't say the Lyrans are weak in FC, I just see the ESG as not as tactically flexible. Power management wise it is interesting, but limited in regards to range or when you want to kill something at range 1 it still has to "hit" anything in the owning ship's hex (friendly or not) first. So, it blows up like a balloon instead of being raised at a set range.

And, you get one full strength burst of ESG as opposed to up to 32 impulses in SFB. I used to love to use my screening ships (frigates, destroyers, light cruisers) for just that purpose--to run in with ESGs up taking out drones and fighters and allow my big guns to get in close.

I don't know...just different. And if I had never played them in SFB I wouldn't know the difference. But it still means that a Lyran cannot stack and retain full flexibility with their ESGs (as other races can with all of their heavy weapons).
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Iorwerth
Ensign


Joined: 20 Apr 2011
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are there any house rules to limit the effectivness of stacking? I played a test game with someone else and, while I enjoyed the game, I didn't like it that the best tactic with 3 undamaged ships was just to stack them - it just didn't seem right to me. I am contemplating buying the game for myself, but this stacking business is putting me off a bit.

What are the consequences of just not allowing stacking? Or introducing collisions, though no idea how they would work!

Also, how do you handle stacking if you are using miniatures?
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