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Special Sensor Tactics

 
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Patrick Doyle
Lieutenant Commander


Joined: 18 Aug 2007
Posts: 208
Location: Norfolk, VA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 12:44 am    Post subject: Special Sensor Tactics Reply with quote

Has anyone come up with neat tactics or tricks for using Special Sensors? I'm familiar with the rules, I was just curious if anyone had any good tactics for using them. Any ideas welcome.
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storeylf
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Joined: 24 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We've used them quite a lot, either on bases (which we always use the sensor rules) or in our campaigns where a scout ship is pretty much an auto include, even though we have no strategic rules for them, but for larger battles they are just too good not to take.

I don't think there is much to them beyond the obvious. For the most part even a small scout ship will have enough sensors to cover a fair size fleet, and as they're cheap to use you don't have many power issues on scout ships making using them very easy. Although bases can be a little short on power by the time they factor in Ph4s other weapons and batteries.

It is obvious, but if you are using a scout ships rather than a base then keep it back behind the rest of your ships, preferrably in a further away range category. They can give EM ships in front of them a +3 shift approaching which can be nice sometimes.

If you are fighting against a fleet with sensors then there may be times where rippling your fire over several impulses may be better than firing all at once, this is mainly useful against bases as their rotation means you can be sure of hitting the same shield if you plan it. That at least can force a base to either use more of its somewhat limited power or let in some unadjusted shots.

Against fleets it is difficult, as rippling your fire will usually allow a target to switch shields over the impulse, firing at different shields is not that great a tactic in many cases, and sensors are so cheap that the ships (with fewer other demands) are more or less impossible to run out of power.
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Patrick Doyle
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Lee, that helps.
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mjwest
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Joined: 08 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, do be careful on which set of rules you want to write about. We (unfortunately) do have two sets: One from CL/Communique, and one from HA/RRB6. I recommend focusing on the latter set. (Which, I think, is what Lee is using.)

And I do agree with Lee. The tactics around scout channels is rather obvious. It is all around doing the shifts. That said, I do think you can work in some more subtle points, if you wish. Namely, there are some operational questions you can work with:
- How big of an attack warrants use of one or more special sensors?
- How to trick your opponent into wasting his special sensors before your "real" attack? (From the other side.)
- When to forfeit the opportunity for a shift to kill a drone? What is a good threshold to determine when to do that?
- Point out how to use the lab bonus to help with monsters. How does your approach change?
- Which is better: cancelling the penalty they gave you for an even exchange, or giving him a penalty, too, so both have the penalty? Which empires benefit from which approach?
- How does one handle fighting when the opponent has a scout and you don't.
- What does it really mean when a base uses special sensors? How much bigger of a force do you need to win?

Notice I don't actually have any answers on these. But I would really love to see them. Smile
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storeylf
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Joined: 24 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mjwest wrote:
Well, do be careful on which set of rules you want to write about. We (unfortunately) do have two sets: One from CL/Communique, and one from HA/RRB6. I recommend focusing on the latter set. (Which, I think, is what Lee is using.)


We use the one in the latest rule book nowadays.
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mjwest
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

storeylf wrote:
mjwest wrote:
Well, do be careful on which set of rules you want to write about. We (unfortunately) do have two sets: One from CL/Communique, and one from HA/RRB6. I recommend focusing on the latter set. (Which, I think, is what Lee is using.)


We use the one in the latest rule book nowadays.

Cool! I was correct.
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Patrick Doyle
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks all. If anyone thinks of anything earthshattering, let me know.

Mike, I liked the questions you posed, thanks. It provides good direction.

Pat
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Based on our experience:

mjwest wrote:

- How big of an attack warrants use of one or more special sensors?
- How to trick your opponent into wasting his special sensors before your "real" attack? (From the other side.)


These are the wrong way of looking at things IMO. The job of the scout is to help the fleet win, usually by providing +1 shifts, but any way the scout helps prevent the enemy smashing a ship means the scout is doing a good job.

There are only 8 fire opportunities, and a lot happens between those, firing arcs can be lost, ranges can shifts heavily, new shields can be brought in, drones or plasma can force someone to turn away. Not to mention, at some point the fleet with the scout will be opening fire on you, if that is at close range then you will probably need to me-to before you lose a ship.

This means that it is very hard to effectively ripple your fire against one ship over several impulses, either to trick the enemy into wasting a sensor or trick him into not using one.

A ship with 4 sensors can provide a shift for a ship for half the turn, power is not an issue as they are so cheap to use. There is no guessing on when to use them as they are me-to after fire decs. This means you have to remain in a position to deliver a good strike for a long time in order to trick the scout into holding back a sensor ready for the 'real attack'

From the scouts point of view, you are not interested in how big the current attack is, you are more interested in what could be shot in later impulses and how many channels you have. If I have 4 sensors then you would have to divide your fire into 5 even chunks in order to get a decent amount unshifted, it is isn't hard to work out whether to use a channel or not, and it is not usually too hard to work out that there will be one shot at a less favourable range or against a shield I'm not going to be so worried about.

Instead of rippling your fire over several impulses you can shoot at multiple targets. That can mean the scout has to use multi sensors each impulse, and requires that you are in a good shooting position for less time.

However, regardless of what you do, you need to consider what you have achieved. You have probbaly split your fire across shields, or maybe even ships (allowing more of it to be batteried), you have probably not fired everything at the optimal range, you may have let the opponent clobber you at a better range than otherwise. Against that you need to consider what the affect of the sensor is, at long range they can have a noticeable affect on the firepower you deliver, but as the range closes the +1 becomes less significant, if you are closing for a short range exchange you need to ask yourself is it worth dividing my firepower rather than just accepting the +1.

So even if you get some shots in unshifted by trying to trick the enemy you are usually fighting at a significant disadvantage, and the mere presence of the scout is paying dividends.




Quote:

- When to forfeit the opportunity for a shift to kill a drone? What is a good threshold to determine when to do that?


In many cases the scout will have more channels than he needs for shifts, and therefore can kill drones with the spare ones.

If you can allow a ship to get very close to deliver a good shot then it might be worth it. But a shift is only 1 sensor, and that 1 sensor will only kill 1 drone, so its going to be pretty rare that giving up a shift was the deciding factor.

Quote:

- Point out how to use the lab bonus to help with monsters. How does your approach change?


We have played a game where labs were important (but not with monsters), but I think the side with the scout and in need of labns were beaten off, so I have no great experience with this.

Quote:

- Which is better: cancelling the penalty they gave you for an even exchange, or giving him a penalty, too, so both have the penalty? Which empires benefit from which approach?


This isn't in the latest rule book or hydran attack. So isn't something we have used. But would such a question even exist? would the 2 things be mutually exclusive?

Quote:

- How does one handle fighting when the opponent has a scout and you don't.


If its a small fight then the guy with the scout is probably at a disadvantage, in a big fight the other way round.

There is a cost in fire power forfeited to take a scout, if you are playing a 3 cruiser battle then having 2 cruisers and scout is a large drop in firepower relative to what the scout will protect you from. By the time you are at 1000 points it isn't.

Obviously that differs some what for each match up. At long range a +1 shift is pretty good, and so Klingons need to get stuck in, fighting at their preferred 9-15 range against a scout is not good for them. Fusion Hydrans on the other hand probably couldn't care whether you have a scout or not, the affect at point blank range which is where they are heading for, is a lot less.

Quote:

- What does it really mean when a base uses special sensors? How much bigger of a force do you need to win?


Bases are so much more fun with sensors and make them more balanced than before, again different matchups affect that question a lot, and we don't play bases without defending forces either.
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paulgenna
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Joined: 21 Nov 2011
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:25 pm    Post subject: Sensors Reply with quote

We've used the sensors in a couple of battles and here are some of the tatics I have found:

Defense:
1) You have to choose wisely when to use the sensor. If the teams have not closed then you know you most likely have a few impulses that little will happen. Examine the enemies weapons. I'm playing the ISC and the PPD's do not feel the effects as much. However, my Fed opponent suffers badly when he gets -1 on his photon rolls. Phasers firing from a distance really suffer as well.
2) I'd save the sensors on drones until the last impulse if at all possible. Ships have phasers and tractor beams to deal with the pesky drones.
3) Protect the ships you need the most. For the ISC, I do not do much protection for Frigates and Destroyers. I prefer to save them for any ship carrying a PPD.
4) Limit the sensor benefit against Plasmas to the 'R' and 'S' ones.

Offensively:
1) Throwing all your eggs into one impulse basket against a fleet with a scout is inviting a bad impulse. Fire weapons over several impulses and against multiple ships. The only race that will have enough sensors will be a Fed fleet or an opponent with a base. Any other race can only protect four ships or reduce four plasmas.
2) Consider reducing your opponents rolls when you have multiple seeking weapons striking that turn. I learned this one the hard way.
3) Target the scout with seeking weapons to force them to manuever. If you are lucky they will let a ship get outside the 12 hex support range.
4) At the end of an early turn, and the fleets still have some distance, shoot at the scout. Any shield damage might force the scout player to stay back and be more cautious.

Hopefully these help.
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd suggest you email that to Petrick (Rules@starfleetgames.com) and let him put it in the command notes grading pool. He'll need your real name and state/country/province.
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