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2nd FC Online Tournament Feedback
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JimDauphinais
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 2:29 am    Post subject: 2nd FC Online Tournament Feedback Reply with quote

The purpose of this topic is discuss what folks liked about the 2nd FC Online Tournament and what they did not.
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JimDauphinais
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 2:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mojo_jojo asked:

Quote:
I'm curious about the details of a Gorn/Hydran draw. That's not a matchup that seems likely to end in a draw.


The_Rock responded:

Quote:
T1: I move 24, Jim moves 8, but cancels all his movement. Launches an R-torp.

T2: I move 24, he moves 8, but again cancels all but one of his moves. He launches 4 S, 4 F and fires some phasers. I evade the torps. Near the end of the turn, he launches a total of 6 Suicide Shuttles.

T3: I move 24, he moves 0. Near the beginning of the turn, he launches the rest of his Suicide Shuttles - a total of 14. I leave.

T4: I move 24, he moves 0. I destroy a bunch of his shuttles.

T5: I move 16, he moves 0. I destroy the rest of his Shuttles.

T6: I move 24, he moves 0. I close to force launches. I offer to continue past the 6-turn limit. This offer is declined, so the game ends as a draw, neither of us having damaged the other.

At this point the game can last another 2-3 turns. T7 will involve him launching about half his torps to keep me away. I will evade/gattling them. T8 will be the same. T9 will be me over-running and destroying all three ships. The outcome was certain, so I was not surprised when Jim declined to play past the 6-turn limit.

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JimDauphinais
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 2:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mojo jojo wrote:
Interesting. A Hydran fusion fleet might be the only one where a Gorn/Rom can hide in a corner and get away with this strategy.

1) Another Plasma/Drone race would be suicide hiding in a corner

2) A Dis/PC/IC/PPD/Hellbore race can carve them up over 6 turns at long range

3) Andros can easily get a few internals at long range while taking damage that's easy to dissipate

4) Feds are a little trickier, but I have to believe that even if they only get to range 12, they would still win an exchange of Phot/PH-1/Drones over just PH-1 alone for the Gorn/Rom


The_Rock wrote:
I think you over-estimate the abilities of the other Empires.

"A few internals" is not going to cut it.

Excerpted from the victory conditions:

If the point totals differ by more than 30 points, the player
with the lower total "loses" the battle. If the player with the
higher total has earned at least 150 victory points, he "wins" the
battle, otherwise he earns a "draw" (the other player still earns a
"loss").


So, a "few internals" remaining at the end of the game on at least 300 points of ships (assuming points are "the same" - they won't be, so there is some wiggle here) will put your opponent into the "loss" category, but it won't get you out of a draw. When squadrons get to 450 points, to get the +150 points you need to get a win, you are going to have to destroy 1/3rd of the fleet, or cripple 2/3rds of it.

This is just not very likely with any fleet - with the possible exception of a lucky Fed/Orion at R8 - against a plasma opponent playing for a Draw.

I agree with your comment as to playing against other plasma, but everything else is probably do-able. Against a Drone heavy force - mostly really only Kzinti, but some Klingon forces as well - you are in a better position to defend the drones if you are not moving. Your plasma and one-time horde of SS will still keep the opponent away.

There is no way your category 2 fleets will do anything to a squadron of plasma ships with no power concerns and 5-8 batteries per ship. there will certainly be no "carving up" over only 5 turns (the first turn in a tournament game, where one person is just sitting, sees range 25 at best and EM is available to make that worthless if deemed necessary). over 20 turns - maybe. But not over 5 effective firings (or worse yet, 3 for all those multi-turn arming weapons you listed).

If all you are doing is playing for a draw (or a win if your opponent decides to ram himself down your throat), a Loss/Draw, with a Draw/Draw being more likely, is pretty much your best case scenario in a 6 turn tournament game.

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JimDauphinais
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 2:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mojo jojo wrote:
Ok, didn't read the victory conditions. I didn't realize you needed 150. Having to make up 150 to get a win would be tough. 30 would be very doable.

1) Plasma I think we both agree would slaughter Gorn in corner.

2) Kzinti can get 24+ drones in the air with a typical 450 pt force. That should tie up the Gorn phasers at the very least. 3 ships can typically do 2-3 burnthrough in all except turn 1 on average since each ship probably has 4 dis and 4-6 PH1 which averages over 10 pts of damage at range 15. So you should be able to inflict 10-15 internals over the course of 6 turns just on burnthroughs which should be faster than he can repair. If you reach range 10, you can target weapons to make his repair more difficult. On turns where the drone wave hits, the 3rd Kzinti ship that's not targetted by plasma can get the range 8 shot and inflict even more damage.

However if you concentrate on 1 ship, you can get better results. His small ships are HDDs which have 3 batteries each, so he can block 9 per turn from 3 ships. Your ships do 12-14 on average at range 15, leaving 9-11 damage net per ship, even more for a ship that reaches range 8. 3 ships would do in the high 20's of net damage per turn from turns 2-6. I don't think a HDD can stand up to this punishment even if he constantly rotates shields. Other than his 1 shield, he only has 24 shields in each direction and eventually the damage will start degrading his ability to defend drones and maintain a plasma threat against a close approach.

3) Klingons would have to follow Kzinti strategy except they have fewer drones and thus might not risk 1 ship at range 8 since the Gorn might be able to fire back effectively.

4) Lyrans/Selts have more PH-1 so a higher net damage per round. A Lyran force at range 15 can average 14-16 per volley or 11-13 net after batteries to a HDD. A Selt force of DNL and 2 NCA has an astounding 11 PC and 30 PH-1. The HDD is completely toast over several turns.

5) ISC would have an easy time. Their fleet would hae 3-4 PPD plus plasma. Even without plasma, 3-4 PPD and about 20 PH1 should be able to damage a Gorn fleet at range 15 enough to win. With plasma, it's a cakewalk. IMO, they have the best chance at the 150 pt victory condition.

6) A Hellbore fleet likely has 12 HB, or 36 shots over 6 turns plus lots of misc PH shots. I can't see a HDD stand up to that kind of punishment.

7) The most likely Andro fleet is Int + 2 Cob. What they can do is to use a displacement attempt at Gorn ships and hope to draw it out of the corner by a decent number of hexes. If that succeeds, they should be able to inflict enough damage to win. It helps that the Int has 2 DDs, but there are only 2 directions that benefit the Andro for the displacement attempt.

Cool Fed/Vudar have to get lucky with a range 8 shot. They tend to have lots of PH-1 to chew up Plasma, so they might be able to get to range 8 and unload Phot/IC without taking significant internals.

Bottom line, they might not get a win, but they can assuredly give the opponent a loss. And 20 turns seems like an unbelievably long time to defend against my Cat 2 fleets.

The_Rock wrote:
Yes, to most of the above, but none of those scenarios get you a win. They get your opponent a loss and you a draw. It is what I said would be your best case scenario.

If you are trying to win the tournament in most situations that is not going to matter much. In some cases, giving your opponent a loss might be worse, since that means you are adding a "0" to your tie breaker, rather than a "1".

I don't think those are the sorts of calculations that benefit a tournament.

mojo jojo wrote:
Well, the Rom/Gorn/ISC would win against a Rom/Gorn hiding in a corner. But I understand your point. However, most of these scenarios guarantee a loss for the Rom/Gorn hiding in a corner. A rational Rom/Gorn simply wouldn't use this strategy except against a Hydran fusion fleet or maybe an Andro fleet. Not unless he was determined to screw his opponent rather than trying to maximize his record in a tournament or perhaps try and help a buddy who has close to the same record as his opponent.

The fix might be to not have a 150 pt minimum to win. If you get 30 more than your opponent, you win and he loses. I think you still need the 30 minimum since fleets are of different point values and otherwise a fleet of 449 pts would have a small advantage over a 450 pt fleet. This fix might not help in the Gorn/Hydran matchup, but it should fix everything else.

storeylf wrote:
The_Rock wrote:
In some cases, giving your opponent a loss might be worse, since that means you are adding a "0" to your tie breaker, rather than a "1".


Mmm, thats a good point. Not wanting to cause a loss for your opponent because it will lower your score is .. bizarrre.

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JimDauphinais
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The_Rock wrote:
To me the only thing missing is a system of adjudication. I don't think points are a good way of dealing with things. I am, personally, not fond of turn or time limits, either, but I accept I may be in the minority there. As flawed as the adjudication system for SFB tournaments may be, having produced some controversial results over the years, it is still a lot better than a turn limit + points.

there are a host of odd things that happen or to which the TL+points is susceptible. There are games like the one in question - the actual outcome was never in doubt, only the time to execute it. There are also other odd situations. If I am a plasma player, for example, and I have played stand-off most of the game, and it is now turn 6. Since the game ends on turn 6 - why no just go for a range 10 bolt shot bananza and hope things work out.Chances are very good my opponent can't really respond in time and if I get lucky, maybe I can pull off a win. This is true of a bunch of other situations - all involving firing multi-turn arming weapons in a situation where they are not tactically warranted - in fact where doing so would be affirmatively a bad choice - but for the game artificially ending.

An adjudication system solves all of those oddities. You can leave the draw in (since we play swiss) so that the judges don't actually have to make hard calls - that should eliminate some (probably not all, or even most) of the controversy you'll find in people disagree about the right result. It allows for the judges to listen to the future plans of the players and then decide for themselves who is most likely to win. Again, the draw will be available for calls the judges feel are too close to make and while there will undoubtedly be some disagreements, it will still be better than what we have now.

It will also allow the judges to specifically discourage completely defensive play. Again, here, some judges will likely have a different take on what is or is not aggressive, but again, I think there will be a broad consensus in may cases.

In SFB, in my many many years of playing tournament SFB, I have only been in a very small handful of adjudications. Usually the players work it out for themselves. In SFBOL tournaments, this is more often than not resolved by just playing the game to completion, but for those that hit the time limit (or in this tournament's case - turn limit) and do not wish to play further, adjudication would be an option.

storeylf wrote:
Personally I woudn't play if there were any subjective opinion about winning/losing, and that is what adjudication is. Time/Turn limit and points is very clear and objective, everyone can work out what they need to do and how different matchups may or may not work out given those very clear conditions. We know up front what we have to do to win, and how long we have to do it, and can choose a squadron and tactics accordingly.

Neither would I consider playing in a system that got you disqualified for using tactics that someone didn't like. If someone is playing defensively and you can't beat it then accept the defeat/draw. If I want the points for a win then I should actually have to win, not complain to a judge and get into some argument with the other player who probably disagrees.

Then of course you get to the issues of who decides what was 'non-aggressive', that issue has come up before in discussion about plasma, why is launch and running whilst rearming potentially 'non-aggressive' and banned when fire photons and run is not? Or running from an overloaded photon ship 'non-agressive' whilst running from plasma is not. (Rhetorical question, can be a different thread if someone wants to discuss that sort of detail).

As to the odd scoring. Either get the rid of the possibility of draw-loss or change the points to:
0 = loss
1 = draw-draw
2 = draw - loss
3 = win

Which rewards handing the other player a loss at least. I favor getting rid of draw-loss personally.

The_Rock wrote:
Personally, no matter what system is used, I never like arguing from or against "I'm going to take my ball and go home."

storeylf wrote:
The ball isn't mine to take home. Other people come with the ball and I decide whether I want to play that particular ball game.

For a tourney/league/competition I just prefer games where both sides know upfront precisely what they have to do to win, and that there are going to be no third parties handing out win/loss based on their own subjective assessment. When I say prefer, I mean I'm not interested in an adjudicated game at all.

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JimDauphinais
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The issue from the game Paul and I played is now revealed (it is the issue I previously indicated would be discussed in a future topic).

Paul has fairly accurately laid out what happened in our game.

I don't feel my play crossed the line of being too passive until the last 3 turns where I should have been pursuing Paul's ships rather than sitting in place to reload Plasma. I will also say I am also not a big fan of adjucating whether play is too passive or not (especially in an online tournament). However, I do think with only 6 turns the ability to dump out tons of suicide shuttles with no reprecussions (sp?) is problematic in the tournament.

I believe something needs to be done to address the distortion caused by being able to use suicide shuttles as a successful delaying tactic in a 6 turn game. The three main options I see are as follows:

- Add more turns

- Prohibit the use of suicide shuttles

- Have each shuttle be worth 5 VP worth of the total printed VP value of its mother ship (excluding Stingers). For each shuttle that is either destroyed or launched as a suicide shuttle, 5 VPs (adjusted by the applicable empire multipliers) would be awarded to the other player


The first of the candidate solutions -- adding more turns -- is not going to entirely remove the problem unless we went out to maybe 10 to 12 turns. Moreover, based on our experience to date, there is no way we would be able to fit more turns into one month rounds. Also, I really don't want to see longer rounds because the faster players will lose interest if they have to wait around much more than a month between rounds for the slower players to catch up. So, I am not real warm to the first candidate solution.

The second candidate solution is the simplest and might actually speed play. However, it may be going too far to outright outlaw the use of suicide shuttles in the tournament because there are other uses of suicide shuttles that do not amount to delaying tactics.

The third candidate solution is the most elegant of the three as it allows the use of suicide shuttles at a cost, which hopefully would be enough to discourage their use as a delaying tactic. I like this approach because of its elegance and because I have really never understood why we are allowed to so easily throw away our shuttles.

Thoughts?
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had to raise an eye brow when I read Pauls comment about being put of by lots of suicide shuttles. At speed 24 vs a speed 8 shuttles I just can't work out how they were so decisive. I regularly skip past drones, going past speed 8 shuttles that cannot even HET onto the target seems childs play. You can end up next to them and still not be impacted.

I didn't say anything as I wasn't there and didn't see the detail, and the devil is in the detail as they say. Can you provide some more info on why the shuttles were such an issue? e.g. Were they aimed at one ship, or across a number of targets. What other factors made them the 'nail in the coffin' so to speak for any plan to close and kill the Gorn? Based on the 1 sentence overview I can't help but think that Paul missed the chance to end the game on turn 3.

I'd also note that very few fleets apart from Gorn could dump that many shuttles. In fact in this tourney probably only the fleet you were facing in that very game could equal that (and that was a 4 heavy cruiser force).

Certainly in more general play I can't think of any reason to penalise shuttles, barring speeding up play if that is an issue.

I'd disgaree with dumping shuttles with no repercussions, you need a lot of power to dump a lot of shuttles (or its a lot of piddly shuttles). It may have suited you in that game, but it won't suit other matchups.

I'd also add that I don't think there is a 'to passive' aspect. For a competitive tourney game I would say any tactics are acceptable. I certainly can't understand how you could have been declared passive because you were not pusuing whilst you are rearming plasma yet you were not passive earlier, when you were not pursuing either yet had plasma ready to fire. The idea that having already fired heavy weapons (any, not just plasma) you are for some reason obliged to aggressively attack someone who can wipe you out in the blink of eye is just something I can't grasp.
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Patrick Doyle
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am reposting this here:

I would propose that we start off by simply increasing the maximum number of game turns to 10 to align it with the origins tournament. 6 turns is not enough. This is the first case of what SFB called "non-aggression" in 5 years of FC tournaments. The only reason we have a turn/time limit in the FC tournament was due to a 13 hour game at Origins about 4 years ago.

Nobody likes adjudicated games. I know Paul isn't crazy about them and frankly if you talk to the SFB judges, they don't like them either, it's simply a necessary evil in SFB tournaments. If we can avoid it in FC I think that is good.

Also, i think there is a weakness in the point system...it is not granular enough. There is a huge difference in the capabilities of a ships with 51% damage vice 99% damage, yet the point system only awards 50% of the value of the ship. I think it goes to incentive.
My opinion is that if this point system is more detailed, then it can be used more effectively to break ties and keep them to an absolute minimum. Combined with a 10 turn time limit vice 6 turns, I think we will have a fair system. if more adjustments rare needed in the future, we can make them.
Also, I believe points should ONLY be use if necessary and should only be applicable to the game being played to determine win/loss/tie outcomes. The points should not be cumulative over multiple games.

OTHER Tentative Suggestions: Perhaps we reduce the required 150 points to win down to perhaps 120 or something else agreeable.

I do really like Jim's set up with point value adjustments. We should keep that, I think the reasoning for it is obvious and sound.

The basis for the discussion must be, "what is the best solution for the sake of the tournament so that it is fair?" One person stating that they will not participate if a certain course of action is chosen is not necessarily a good argument against a certain course of action. Presumably, any set up could alienate a few people. That threat should not be used to end a discussion.

Well, thats my 2 cents.
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terryoc
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That "launch a boatload of SS" tactic is one that I have never considered before. Like Lee, I don't see why you considered the shuttles such a threat. You can simply let them impact, tractor them, and they are automatically destroyed by "death-dragging" the third time you move on the next impulse. You're expending one point of power and one tractor beam to kill one shuttle. And Hydrans tend to have plenty of tractors. Or, of course, dodging them is easy enough. Each Gatling on each of your ships/stingers kills two SS per turn.

In the SFB tournament at least, moving Speed Zero for three consecutive turns would be considered "star-castling" and Jim would certainly be dq'ed for these tactics.
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Patrick Doyle
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just read the other suggestion. I don't think any change to the rules about suicide shuttles is warranted, either in the ability to use them or point cost to launch them. There are very valid tactics involving them.

90% or more games will be resolved in under 6 turns based on my experience. The 10 turn limit is simply there for times that it is necessary. (12 turns would be even better) Given Paul and jim's game, I think they played through their 6 turns very fast because not very much was happening, so I firmly do not believe that the tournament rounds need to be lengthened.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

terryoc wrote:
That "launch a boatload of SS" tactic is one that I have never considered before. Like Lee, I don't see why you considered the shuttles such a threat. You can simply let them impact, tractor them, and they are automatically destroyed by "death-dragging" the third time you move on the next impulse. You're expending one point of power and one tractor beam to kill one shuttle. And Hydrans tend to have plenty of tractors. Or, of course, dodging them is easy enough. Each Gatling on each of your ships/stingers kills two SS per turn.

In the SFB tournament at least, moving Speed Zero for three consecutive turns would be considered "star-castling" and Jim would certainly be dq'ed for these tactics.


Unless I'm missing something (and Paul is by all accounts a top player who probably had reasons for what he did that I'm missing), in this case I don't see how the Gorn managed to get to the end of 3 turns in the first place.

I wouldn't even waste weapons or tractors on the shuttles.

Its' probably quicker to explain my thinking for Paul to then shoot down....

Like I say without seeing the actual position its hard to be sure, but given what little we know I'm wondering why the hydran didn't simply meander around early in the turn whilst the shuttles continued to be launched. Then charge in for an impulse 8 point blank exchange. I reckon by then they could have skipped past the vast majority of shuttles. It sounds like the Gorns had 2 Fs and a possible 2 turn F to launch, and about 18 Ph1s on the centerline. The hydrans can rake up enough average fire power at range 0-1 to just kill all 3 gorn ships (with the power left after speed 24), whilst losing 1 cruiser themselves. Even allowing for some lost weapons to the plasma impacts, and shooting a few shuttles, the Gorn position by end turn 3 ought to have been dead or about to die next impulse. The shuttles from the dead ships drop tracking anyway.
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JimDauphinais
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like Patrick's thoughts. I think he has half convinced me that adding turns might not necessarily require longer rounds as the turns are generally going faster when those extra turns are needed. As a result, I might be supportive of going to 10 turns if others also concur that is a solution that doesn't require us to go beyond one month rounds.

I also like his proposal to increase granularity in the point system and to possibly lower the win threshold to accumulation of 120 points versus 150 points.

Lee - Let me post the Turn 3 starting positions and add some more explantion to what happened on Turn 3.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JimDauphinais wrote:

Lee- Let me post the Turn 3 starting positions and add some more explantion to what happened on Turn 3.


That'd be useful, or indeed if you have a save game for others to load up. I'd certainly be interested in seeing what this game looked like at that point.
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JimDauphinais
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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Start of Turn 3 -- Paul (Hydran) vs Jim (Gorn)



Paul has four Mohawks (he had to substitute 2 Mohawks for his 2 Rangers due to a screen jitter bug in FC Online that occured when the Rangers were used). Mohawk 3 & 4 each have one Stinger aboard and are in 4116. Mohawk 1 is 4011 and Mohawk 2 in 4114. Up to this point in the game, Paul has not fired any of of his Fusion banks. Mohawk 3 has 8 damaged boxes on Shield #2 and 5 damaged boxes on Shield #3. None of the other Hydran ships are damaged.

I have a T-Rex DN (Thunder Dragon) and two HDD (Justicar and Tyrex). All three are in 4128 (near the lower right corner of the map which I have rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise in the screen capture above) facing the same direction (toward the Hydrans). The three ships have only earned 3 points toward meeting turn mode requirements. None of the Gorn ships have any damage. The Thunder Dragon has 2 x S and 2 X F available for launch on Turn 3. Thunder Dragon's R will be on its 2nd Turn of loading. On the two HDD, all tubes will be on their 1st turn of loading this turn.

Three 18 strength Suicide shuttles (one from each of my ships) are in 4127 and targeted at Mohawk 3. Another three suicide shuttles of 18, 12 and 9 strength (again, one from each ship) are in 4128. They are also targeted at Mohawk 3.

I felt I was in a bad position at the start of Turn 3 since Paul was only 12 hexes away with two of his Mohawks, I was in the corner and I had only accumulated 3 points towards making the next turn with the T-Rex and the HDDs. I seriously considered moving to open the range as I felt a Fusion/PL-G crunch run was coming. However, I ultimately decided against it because Paul had consistently been running 24/24+1 and going to a lot of effort to avoid my Plasma torpedoes. So, I elected to stay put and select speed zero. Paul intially turned toward me and that led to me putting up a ton of additional shuttles as I felt he was going to try to get to 3 hexes or less. I think I may have launched at least one of the ready S torpedoes as well.

The large number of oncoming shuttles (I was ultimately able to place them so that were running at Paul's closest ships three shuttle stacks abreast) appear to have made it too hot for Paul and he turned off. I got in some Phaser shots at his rear when it was clear he was heading far away from me. While I was not aware of it at the time, he was intending to cause all of my shuttles to be removed by running his ships out more than 25 hexes away from my ships. Unfortunately for him, he was not aware that in FC that does not cause Suicide Shuttles to lose their target. The only requirment in FC is that the Suicide Shuttles remain within 25 hexes of their controlling ship.

(Paul -- Please correct anything above that you feel I got wrong. Thanks)
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JimDauphinais
Commander


Joined: 22 Nov 2009
Posts: 765
Location: Chesterfield, MO

PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As an aside, the core of my Gorn strategy is to put up either 1 X R or 2 X S EVERY turn with a planned impact by the third impulse in flight. I similarly try to put no more than 2 X F up a turn and only do so when it is likely they can impact in two turns. My aim is to put up enough Plasma such that it could do some serious damage to (or drain significant energy from) my opponent, but not so much as to drive off my opponent. I will deviate from this strategy when I feel it is appropriate to do so (e.g., when it is smart to carronade the Fs or I am about to be hit with overloaded multi-turn loading weapons). The ability to launch a G/S/R torpedo on the first turn of the game has aided this strategy.
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Jim Dauphinais, Chesterfield, MO

St. Louis Area Fed Comm Group: http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/STL_Federation_Commander/
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