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After-action report: Three-way Frigate action
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Kang
Fleet Captain


Joined: 23 Sep 2007
Posts: 1950
Location: Devon, UK

PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 7:13 am    Post subject: After-action report: Three-way Frigate action Reply with quote

Here is an after-action report for a recent battle involving Klingon, Kzinti and Fed ships. Time for me to put something back in to these forums rather than just asking questions all the time Smile

Venue: BayCon 2008, Exeter, UK. Showcase game so that loads of geeky 'business management' boardgame players get to see a real game being played.

Scenario: Home-brew 'Battlefest', a multiplayer game that will be familiar to Starfleet Command players but which can't be published [I did offer!] by ADB for copyright reasons - fair enough. Ships start in opposite corners at least 25 hexes apart; there is a floating map extending 50 hexes from a small planetoid in the centre which exists solely to transport crew to so that the owner can self-destruct a crippled ship and so get the next ship in the sequence. Free-for-all, last man standing wins. Used small hexes and ships due to the 'large' map and limited space. If you've been to BayCon, you'll know what I mean.

Players: Myself, my son Dave and his wife Ann, playing Kzinti, Fed and Klingon respectively.

Ships: The scenario begins with a frigate from each race: I had a Kzin FF, Dave had the Fed FF and Ann had the Klingon F5. Once a ship is destroyed, the player gets the next ship in sequence CL, CA etc. Played the game in Squadron Scale.

SVC, if this is too much scenario information for copyright reasons, please pm me and I will edit the post and remove as much detail as you want me to.

Turn 1: Ships run in with a nearly head-on approach, exchanging long-range direct-fire [DF] weapons as you'd expect. Fed has two full overloads ready and holds them. Minor shield damage to me and the Klink.

The background here is that already there's a 'holy alliance' [well, they are married!] between Dave and Ann; they've decided to gang up on me. Partly I'm honoured because they obviously see me as a threat, partly I'm annoyed to see Dave using his unbelievable Diplomacy skills in Fed Comm. Well, he did win Young Player of the Year at World Diplomacy Championships in Birmingham, UK, 2004.

Towards the end of Turn 1 I released my first wave of four drones, targeted on the Fed. Those photons had to go....

Turn 2 saw my drone wave wiped out by the combined defences of the Klingon and Fed ships, as they'd joined up into close formation late Turn 1. My first mistake: launched only one wave of drones instead of following up early in Turn 2. Turned off to my left at range 15 or so with both enemy ships in hot pursuit [everyone speed 24], launching my second drone wave as I did so - made my second mistake in dividing the targeting of the drones between the two ships, two on each. Idiot. Exchanged DF weapons fire again [minimal shield damage].

Turn 3 I ran [everybody plotted Speed 24] but lobbed another wave of drones over my shoulder; even though the last turn's wave had been split-targeted, they were still dealing with them so these four drones provided useful cover for me to begin a turn back in. Much better trouble caused on the receiving end due to their defences being overstretched, although still no hits mainly because of the split targeting of the earlier wave. Running in because I wanted to hit the Klingons hard because their slightly weaker shielding gave me a better chance of getting some hits, and many of their weapons had been fired for drone defence duties. Plus I wanted to tempt the Fed into a long-range photon shot so he'd be unloaded and vulnerable to a counterattack. So much for that Sad

However I made my third mistake of getting too close. It was harder than I thought to judge the closure rate with such hight speeds, and I grazed Range 4 to the Fed. How on earth did I let that happen? Like I said, closure rates at high speeds and I also turned in a little too early Sad Both full overloads connected, ship gutted. At this point, the Klingons betrayed their erstwhile allies and loosed off an unreplied broadside on the Fed FF [Dave: Bah! Wait till I get you home!!!]. Moderate internal damage to Fed. I ended the turn about ten hexes away from the Fed/Klink pair, who were a couple of hexes apart.

Turn 4 saw my ship limping away to the planetoid for beam-out. Total power remaining: one Warp box. Total weapons: three drones left on three racks. Hmmm, interesting possibilities here..... of course the Klingon and Fed exchanged close-in fire, the Fed's heavier phasers scoring well against the Klink but receiving reasonable damage in return from overloaded disruptors etc. Klingon ship gutted [she was hit on a weakened shield but fortunately the photons had been fired last turn], Fed ship out of phasers. Saw my opening, lobbed all three remaining drones at the Fed and gutted him as he'd used all his power and weapons on the Klink. Lol.

Result: three gutted ships, three-way Draw. We'd played the game in 3 hours and were ready for a break, so decided to forego the rest of the scenario [with the bigger ships].

Lessons: 1. Concentration of fire. 2. Launch drone waves near each other [it works!]. See Lesson 1 regarding drone targeting Smile 3. Separations, closure rates and the timing of turns are much harder to judge at higher speeds - surprisingly so in fact. 4. Even if they're married, the best alliances can crumble Wink 5. Two ships together can stop a decent amount of drones, albeit at a serious cost in DF firepower. 6. A Tigerman can still bite unless you have pulled all his teeth....

The Kzinti FF is, I think, one of the most powerful frigates in the game, if not the most powerful; certainly well worth its point value. Lots of power, big drone waves for such a small ship, and tougher than it looks too. I would pick a Kzinti frigate any day, despite being a Klingon at heart Cool Still, it's hard to beat two ships combined, despite this.
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DNordeen
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Joined: 05 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good report. Liked the lessons learned. I'm a little surprised that you closed into overload range against two ships and overloaded photons. You only had a single disruptor on the FF, with the same to-hit and damage at range 5-8 that you do at range 9-15. Was there an advantage to try to close into the 5-8 range bracket?
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Kang
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Joined: 23 Sep 2007
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Location: Devon, UK

PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DNordeen wrote:
Good report. Liked the lessons learned.


Thanks! Glad you liked it.

DNordeen wrote:
Was there an advantage to try to close into the 5-8 range bracket?


No, like I said the speed kind of caught me by surprise, that and turing in too early. The idea was a) to get in close rather than running away all the time and b) to get close enough to the Fed to entice him into firing his overloads off with only one hit or preferably none, c) to try to hit the Klink on her weaker shield.

Of course, one-on-two is not a healthy situation to be in anyway so really I was low on choices!
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DNordeen
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That makes sense. It probably was the best option available. As you said, it would have worked out better if the range hadn't caught up with you.

It was still a good ending for you.
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Kang
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Joined: 23 Sep 2007
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Location: Devon, UK

PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah but it was more a case of capitalising on his mistake than creating the situation myself. Still, sometimes you gotta take what you can Smile

Plus remember it was kind of a showcase game and I didn't want to spend the whole game running! At least there was plenty of action Laughing
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Mike
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always like to read "after-action" reports, and yours was very interesting. Thanks for posting it! I also liked the "lessons learned" part at the end.
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Mike
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is interesting to note your high regard for the Kzinti FF. Just about all of the players in our group thought that it was a flimsy ship because of only the one disruptor and the weak shields. They thought that until we played a scenario with 3 of them going up against 3 Klingon F5s with an asteroid field in between, that is.
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Mike
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A scenario for 3 players that prevents the 2-on-1 teaming up is "Out of the Frying Pan" in Briefing #1.
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Kang
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Joined: 23 Sep 2007
Posts: 1950
Location: Devon, UK

PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike wrote:
A scenario for 3 players that prevents the 2-on-1 teaming up is "Out of the Frying Pan" in Briefing #1.

....and would you be its designer, perchance? Smile

Just got Briefing #1 with a pile of other FC stuff, in fact I had it next to me as I read your posting - so thanks for the heads-up. Looks very interesting too, especially since it features the Kz-FF. Plus I prefer actions involving smaller ships; I feel they take more skill.

I will try to have the Kz-FF again but I rather think that Dave will want it. He's the one who was saying most of all what a good ship it is. (Can't remember if he said that before his FF got gutted or after Wink)
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pneumonic81
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Joined: 23 May 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

good report. I think had I been the cat, then I probably would have ran. See how long they want to help eachother before getting itchy trigger fingers.

at the very leats i would have weakened sheilds at range 15 hoping to make one of them look more tempting to the other.
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TJolley
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike wrote:
They thought that until we played a scenario with 3 of them going up against 3 Klingon F5s with an asteroid field in between, that is.


Really? I've thought that Kzinti were especially weak in asteroid fields against a skilled opponent using the asteroids as drone soaks.

How do the Kzinti prevent this tactic in and around asteroid fields?
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Mike
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There were "alleys" in the asteroid field. Perfect timing, close range launching, and no extra energy on their part led to their demise.
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DNordeen
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 6:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A few things to note about the FF...

Move cost is better (1/4 vs 1/2 for F5)
Turn Mode is the same
Has 1 more battery
Main weapons (4 drones) don't cost energy
Has 4 drone racks!! Most cruisers don't have that many
At full speed the FF has 12 power left while the F5 has 10.

It wouldn't be very hard for the FF to have a 6-drone stack headed toward the F5. The most phasers the F5 can bring to bear in any one arc is 4 to the L or R. If the F5 manages to take out 1 drone with each phaser shot and its ADD, that leaves 1 drone. It's only got one tractor beam, but the last drone could also have been taken out with the F5's drone (it'd be embarrassing for that drone to hit the F5 too though). So best case is that it has 1 drone tractored, has used up 3 power, and if the FF followed the drones in, the disruptors cannot fire into the L and R arcs and the FF gets a free shot. That's the best case.

If the drones come in from the front, only 2 phasers can fire, which if both hit and the ADD works, leaves 3 drones and only 1 tractor. Even if the F5 uses it's 1 drone to take out a drone before they impact that leaves 1 tractored drone and 1 drone that hits (or 3 if the F5's drone hits the F5). The F5 could fire a disruptor prior to impact and take out a drone. That would leave it with 1 drone tractored, but once again the FF gets a shot off with 2 Ph-1 and 1 disruptor and the only thing the F5 has left is 1 disruptor. The likely outcome is that the F5 takes out 1 drone with it's drone, kills 2 with it's defensive fire (Ph and ADD), tractors one, and takes 24 damage which depending on the shield (#1, 2, or 6) causes 3 or 8 internals (-2 reinforcement if used). So in the likely case, the F5 has a down shield facing the FF and probably lost a disruptor to the damage (or tractor Shocked ). The FF has full shields and is about to fire 2 ph-1, 1 disruptor, and 1 or 2 Ph-3s at very close range for nothing but internals. Bye-Bye F5 especially on a tractor hit (of course that's what frame hits are for). After that firing pass, the F5 is crippled or destroyed and the FF has some shield damage and can immediately fire 2 drones in the Launch step! That might be a little mean though Twisted Evil

The best way for the F5 to win is to saber dance, keep the range open to give him time to take out the drones before they impact, and prevent the FF from flushing his drones at a range where they will impact before the F5 can fire. The FF can't reload very fast (takes 2 turns) so once that catches up, the drones are less of a problem and the F5 can close in.

Unfortunately, asteriod fields cause everyone to close the range which is exactly what the FF wants and the F5 doesn't.

Bottom Line (assuming competent captains): F5 vs FF with full drone racks at close range = FF wins. FF vs F5 saber dancing = even match.
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DNordeen
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 6:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just noticed that the FF in fleet scale lost all its Ph-1s. With the "half as many" theory, shouldn't it have 1 Ph-1 and 1 Ph-3 both 360? Instead of losing both Ph-1s and keeping the Ph-3s (LS/RS). Does that strike anyone else as strange?
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Kang
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep. Struck me as most odd. At Fleet scale, the Kz-FF is not much more powerful than a Kzinti fighter out of SFB, at least not on a one-turn's firepower level. In one turn, it can fire 2 drones, 2 P-3's and a Disruptor.

Hmm.

Think I'll stick to Squadron scale with this ship.....
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