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Call Out Notes

 
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Scoutdad
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 3:15 am    Post subject: Call Out Notes Reply with quote

For those not in the know, Every Star Fleet Universe game has a section of Captain's Log devoted to those hard learned tips and tactics that players find useful. SFB has the Term Paper, F&E has its Tac-notes, and even Fed Comm has Command Notes.

The tips, tricks, and tactics for A Call to Arms; Star Fleet will be called Call-Out Notes, and with the imminent release of ACTA: SF, ADB (and the fans) will be looking for Call Out Notes to print in forthcoming Captain's Logs. Two were printed in the Captain's Log #43, ACTA section and can be previewed HERE!

Post your Call Out Notes here:
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Scoutdad
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 3:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Special Action Escorts
Tony L. Thomas, USS Tennessee

With the quasi-direct fire manner in which seeking weapons are handled in A Call to Arms; Star Fleet, many old school SFU players are lamenting the lack of escort ships and Aegis fire control. Well never fear, with a bit of creative maneuvering and the Intensify Defensive Fire special action, the escort ability can be duplicated in A Call to Arms: Star Fleet.

By pairing ships up and assigning one the Intensify Defensive Fire special action, it can assist the other ship in defense against incoming seeking weapons. Ships with multiple AD of phasers in multiple arcs are the best choice for this role: the Federation DW, CL, and NCL and the Klingon D5 and D6 are excellent examples. As are teh smaller, less expensive frigates and the Fed POL. While not packing as many phasers as the light cruisers, they are comparatively inexpensive points-wise and a well designed fleet can contain a lot of them.

The key to a successful use of this tactic is in the maneuvering. Once movement is complete, the escort must be within effective range of the escorted ship and have phasers that bear. If you're very careful when maneuvering - you can use one ship to escort two regular ships in this manner. In larger battles (conflict intensity of War), this is even easier to accomplish as you can group the escorts and the escorted ship(s) into squadrons before the battle begins. This allows you to move all of them simultaneously which greatly simplifies the task of keeping them in arcs that allow mutual covering fire.
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Nerroth
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would there not still be room in the game engine for some sort of dedicated Aegis rule, for use if/when Booster #92 is ported over?
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gary, wrong place to ask that question. This is a place to post CALL OUT NOTES not a place to ask for Mongoose to port over this or that.
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Scoutdad
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2011 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Target That Explosion... No, target that.. no, that...

Tony L. Thomas - USS Tennessee

In most wargames the tendency is to take out the biggest, baddest guy around first. After all, once the champion is slain everyone else is easy pickings, right?

This is not always the case in A Call To Arms: Star Fleet. Let's look at an opposing fleet consisting of a DN, 3 CAs, 3 CLs, and 3 FFs. This comes in at right around 1500 points (depending in exactly which empire and which variants are selected). You lose the initiative roll so your opponent fires every weapon his DN has. Now it's your turn. You survived the fiery onslaught dished out by the DN and you're determined to make your opponent pay for his temerity and take out the DN.

Wait a minute there, you might want to think about that for a moment. The Dreadnought has already fired its weapons and is no longer a threat; at least not during the rest of this turn. Now you have aa decision to make: Is it worth more to take out a target that has already6 fired or to try to prevent some additional incoming damage by preemptively firing on one of the opposing vessels that has not fired at you? If you concentrate on the DN, you can probably take it out before it has another chance to fire, but then every other ship in the opposing line of battle will get a chance to fire at your force. If instead, you fire at one of your enemies ships, the DN may survive until next turn, but you may take out an opposing unit before it can fire at you.

If you have seeking weapons available and the DN has indeed fired everything but the proverbial kitchen sink, then the decision may be even easier. Fire direct fire weapons at opposing ships and target all available drones on the DN (or another ship with no remaining defenses). You may get lucky and take out the ship you're firing at and the defenseless ship.
And this works both ways. Should you win the initiative roll, consider firing the weapons on the ship you most want to save first. Your enemy just might leave it alone and concentrate on those ships that can still harm him this round.
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Scoutdad
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2011 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Initiative Sinks:

Tony L. Thomas - USS Tennessee

Initiative plays a very big part of A Call to Arms: Star Fleet. Although some players will disagree about its importance, I think it can be as big a factor in ultimate victory as can fleet planning and strategy. At the start of each turn, both players roll 2d6 for initiative. Whoever loses this roll must move first in the "you go / I go" alternating movement sequence required by the rules and whoever wins initiative is allowed to nominate a ship to fire first following movement. Taken together, these provide a pretty big advantage to the winner of the initiative roll. While there's not a lot that can be done about the first fire opportunity, short of not being in range or arc; there is something that can be done about movement order.

The loser will always have to move first, which allows the winner to react to his movement. Unless you happen to have more ships than your opponent. The force with the larger number of ships will have units left to move once the smaller has completed movement and these units then get to, and in fact must move before the turn can progress to the Attack Phase. Many times during fleet composition planning, it may be advantageous to stock up, as it were on small units. A Federation player for example, who already receives no bonus to initiative can take two Police Cutters for less points than one Heavy Cruiser. Having more units than your opponent means that if you lose the initiative roll and must move first, you can move one of the none crucial, smaller ships first. Then once your opponent moves his first ship - you can then react to his movement. But beware, a wily opponent may stock up on small units of his own...
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Scoutdad
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2011 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GREAT BALLS OF FIRE...

Tony L. Thomas - USS Tennessee


One of the best things about A Call to Arms: Star Fleet is watching starships go BOOM! And in this game, they do so in a spectacular fashion. When starships explode, they explode with a 4 inch blast radius and can potentially damage every ship within this area. That's over 50 square inches of death and destruction!!! Every ship within this area is hit by a number of Attack Dice equal to 1/2 of the exploding ships starting damage score (to a maximum of 20 dice). This means that the iconic Klingon D7 battlecruiser with 22 points of starting damage will explode for 11 Attack Dice.

The only problem is the amount of damage required to cause this burst to happen. Once a starship is reduced to 0 points of damage, the opposing player rolls on the Stricken Ships table to determine its fate. this is accomplished by rolling a d6 and adding +1 for every point beyond zero the ship went. On a roll of 1 to 8, the ship in question is considered an inert hulk that has no further effect on the game. On a 9-12, the ship runs adrift for one turn and then explodes. On a 13 or more, he ship explodes immediately. Destroyed ships cause no damage and adrift ships will cause little or no additional damage as most other vessels can remove themselves from the blast radius during the next movement phase.
If you desire to cause mayhem and confusion, then you need to score a 13 or more on the modified d6 roll. Assuming an average d6 roll of 3.5, you have a 50% chance to cause an immediate explosion at +9 points of damage and a 100% chance at +12 points of damage. Since phasers typically score 1 point of damage, it will require 12 additional phaser hits, or 3 additional photon torpedoes, or even 6 additional disruptor hits over and above that required to reduce the target to 0 points to guarantee destruction; although these number can be reduced by overloaded weapons... just be sure you're not in the blast radius yourself.

The main factor to consider is what are the chances of an explosion causing additional damage compared to the chances of causing additional damage by firing those weapons at another ship. If there's a large group of juicy targets within range, it might be worth it. If there's an already crippled ship that has no shielding and cannot move, it might be worth considering. If there are no other targets inside the blast radius, then you're much better off simply firing those additional weapons at a second ship.
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Rick
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BALLS OF FIRE AND SMOKIN' GUNS

This is almost an addition to Scoutdads excellent Call-Out Note above.
It is great fun and more than a little bit satisfying to see your opponents ships go BOOM! but if you are within that 4" blast radius when it happens, it can get painful for you as well!
This is where things get a bit tricky - obviously you want to cause enough damage to kill your opponents ship but not enough that you get bits of it slicing through one of your own - you might get REALLY unlucky and have your own ship go BOOM! as well, as a kind of chain-reaction.
In the firing phase, when you pick a ship to fire, you have to declare where all available weapons are firing before you roll any dice - thats where you have to be very careful. Too few successful hits and no kill, too many and you get caught in the BOOM! - you need to have a good idea of how many weapons you'll need to get the job done and aim the others at any other targets within arc. In the same way as you can hold ships back as an Initiative sink, it's a good tactic to slightly underestimate the number of weapons needed and have some other ships ready to fire only 1 or 2 weapons later to finish it off.
Don't worry too much about your target firing back - if you've estimated about right, it'll be crippled at the very least, so won't be firing very much anyway.
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Scoutdad
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Going A*P*E for ACTA: SF!

Tony L. Thomas - USS Tennessee

The game A Call To Arms: Star Fleet has 14 different special actions from which a ship can choose each turn (15 if you count Engage and Disengage Cloak separately). And while all of them have their uses, one stands out above the others in terms of flexibility; and that is All Power to Engines!

All Power to Engines (or APE, as the players like to call it) gives your ship the ability to move at roughly 150% its normal base line speed. This is handy for getting out of harms way; or even into if one of your other ships is in jeopardy and needs assistance.
You can use this special action to clear a damaged ship from the combat zone while it is still possible to rebuild its shields and then return to combat.
You can use this special action to get a ship into a favorable position that was left out of the action by the movements of those around it, both allies and enemies.
Since the turning ability of ships in ACTA: SF is based solely on distance traveled, going APE allows all but the most lumbering of ships to make additional turns and the most agile of ships can actually turn as much as 540 degrees in a single turn.

This mobility doesn't come without a price though. All Power to Engines is one of the power drain special actions. This means when going APE a ship can either only fire Phasers, or fire a single weapon system. When attempting to escape combat to allow for rebuilding of shields, this isn't often a problem as you are probably trying to avoid combat. When traveling into combat or especially when using the increased maneuvering ability going APE affords, these restrictions are worthy of consideration. Having the best firing position in the world does no good if you can't fire! Consider using the last bit of movement to line your target up on your most advantageous firing arc boundary and letting him have it with all phasers that bear. This will save your heavy weapons for next turn when using the Overload Weapons special action is a possibility.

So next time you're ship is in a bad way, remember that going APE is not always a bad thing.
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Scoutdad
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Asteroids or Disaster-oids? Which side are you on?

Many players of A Call to Arms Star Fleet use terrain to control their opponents movement or to provide coverage to their flanks. This is all well and good, unless your opponent happens to be a Romulan (or in some instances, Orion Pirates with cloaks). Most types of terrain completely block line of sight and some have potential penalties for passingthrough that are so severe that many people will spend turns going around rather than one turn going through.

So if you're on one side and your opponent is on the other. You can relax and take heart that you are realtively safe from enemy fire, right? WRONG! While asteroid fields and dust clouds can be of any size (up to and including the size of the entire map), most of us have created terrain pieces that are a few inches wide and about twice that many inches long. If you opponent is one side of the terrain and cloaked, he may decide to uncloak on his next movement.

When uncloaking, units may move up to 6 inches in any direction and make one turn in lieu of making a standard maneuver. If the terrain eperating you is less than 6 inches wide, you may sudenly find yourself facing an unexpected opponent. One who has suddenly crossed an entire asteroid field without having to face the risk of shield damage from collisions with wayward rocks, or has crossed a Tholian Web you thought would protect you for another turn or two.

So... if you have a cloaking device, remember this tip and you'll rarely have to worry about that bothersome terrain again. If you don't have a cloaking device.. then make sure your terrain pieces are at least 6.1 inches in each dimension, and you'll never have to worry about those pesky cloaking devices again!!!
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Scoutdad
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

More Phasers are More Better!

Tony L. Thomas - USS Tennessee

When fielding a set-point Pirate of Orion fleet, many people are perplexed by the seeming plethora of weapon configurations possible in the various units multiple option mounts. And opinions as to the correct and proper load-out are as varied as the permutations possible. But there shouldn't be any confusion. Always field Phasers... Phaser-1s if possible, phaser-3 when necessary.

Take your typical 1,000 point tournament legal fleet. Using just the units in the core rulebook, you can field 8 Raider cruisers. At four (4) Attack Dice of phaser-1s each (all capable of firing into the forward arc; you have a whopping 32 AD of Phaser-1s at your disposal. Get within the 8 inch Kill Zone and suddenly you're dishing out a possible 64 points of Precise damage that hits 83% of the time!

And that just with the units in the core rulebook. Just wait until the expanded Pirates of Orion fleet list comes out in ACTASF 2. Ina typical 1,000 point fleet, you can now have 4 Battlecruisers and 1 Heavy Battlecruiser. This suddenly brings your armament to 50 Attack Dice of Phaser-1s and 24 Attack Dice of Phaser-3s. That's a potential 100 points of Precise damage inside 8 inches from Phaser-1s alone. Add in a few forward facing Phaser-3s are you're talking serious damage!

Now why is this better than a mixed load-out of phasers and heavy weapons or drones you might ask? Two words - Special Actions. If you choose a Special Action with the Power Drain requirement, such as All Power to Engines, Boost Power to Shields, or Close Blast Doors; all you have to do is select the "Fire Phasers only" penalty. you get the benefit of the special Action and can still fire every single weapon on the ship!
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