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Ideas for cloaking tactics?
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Pinkfluffychicken
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Joined: 08 Aug 2007
Posts: 217
Location: Kingston-upon-Thames

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 11:52 am    Post subject: Ideas for cloaking tactics? Reply with quote

There seems to be only one cloak thread and all that does is ask if the cloak is worth it. Which is a fair question, but the answers really only amounted to "er, sometimes..."

Now there's a bit more experience around I thought it might be worth posting a thread for this topic again. It seems to me to be important since the Romulans in equal BPV situations are 20% smaller than the opposition and given an opponent of roughly equal ability they will always lose UNLESS they can make the cloak pay. This is in addition to the problem (in tournament) of having only F torps until turn 2 on a fixed map.

HOW?

You can cloak outside range 25 of your opponent and use that to hide t1, but unless you've got to the middle, your opponent can simply run away from plasma on the map. If you uncloak you are vulnerable to drones and plasma, because you can do nothing about them while cloaked and even at half strength six drones or so are going to mash your Fleet scale ship. So you can't cloak until you've dealt with the drones (the SKA is good at this, but most Rom ships have too few phasers and tractors, and things like the WE haven't the speed, either) by which time the enemy fleet has blown your doors off with direct fire...

Obviously I'm just seeing the difficulties, and am almost certainly suffering from SFB attitudes. There must be ways to make the cloak work, or you are never going to see Roms in equal BPV games and certainly never in tournaments.

I have noticed that the Rom small ships all seem to be able to cloak all turn, run at speed 16 and arm their plasma (though not fire phasers - fair enough) and the big ships generally the same at speed 8.

Any thoughts, or better still, actual tactics?
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Patrick Doyle
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Joined: 18 Aug 2007
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Location: Norfolk, VA

PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 3:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hers's a simple tactic for you. I can work in a duel and probably adapted to a fleet action.

Preferably, this should be done when the enemy is running from you (maybe you launched a plasma to get him to run away).

Bolt all of your plasma and fire all phasers at your enemy and target engines. There are no guarantees that you'll score engine hits, meaning there are things that can go wrong.

Then, cloak and run. If you hit engines, your enemy will have a hard time chasing you AND doing significant damage while you are under the cloak. Recharge your plasma. With engine damage it will become harder for the enemy to run from plasma and have power left to fight you with.

Obviously you'll have to think about timing things appropriately depending on who you are fighting. A disruptor armed opponent won't be able to do much damage to you because 4 is added to the range and damage is halved and rounded down while you are cloaked. Watchout for drones, but even they MAY not be a big deal.
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Pinkfluffychicken
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Joined: 08 Aug 2007
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Location: Kingston-upon-Thames

PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr Doyle: Very Happy Thank you! Ok, Let's try this on a theoretical run through.

Needs to be a multi-plasma ship. Let's say NHK (192 BPV) vs Fed BC (189 BPV) which is the closest BPV match I can find and involves traditional enemies so it's a battle the cloak is designed for.

T1 NHK pays second turn arming of plasma. This isn't a tournament game so it's a location map and the NHK can run and stay out of range for the turn so we do. Might well have enough power to cloak Imp 8 so Imps 1-3 are prepaid for T2.

T2 the NHK pays 6 to arm up the Heavies as Gs and the Fed has steamed across the map but is still outside 25 and can't launch drones (he's got 4 available). They plot speed 24. NHK is doing 16 and still has some space to run.

With 4 drones available to the Fed we're probably not going to get a torp on the map to force a turn away (we'd need to be outside 25 to avoid the drone launch so the Fed would just run through it with maybe a few phasers) so we cruise in and uncloak at about 18 for the R10 bolt: it's going to take two impulses because Direct Fire comes before the fade in is complete.

Fed launches 4 drones. Ships now facing eachother's 1 shields at range 10, NHK bolts 2xS, 2xF (brilliant manoeuvre to get the Fed centrelined!) and fire 6 phaser 1s scoring exactly average damage of 26 points. The Fed marks 26 shield damage on his front shield of 36 and keeps on coming towards the now completely unarmed NHK which faced with the prospect of staying out and soaking up the full Fed Alpha decides to accept the drone hits and go under.

Either at the end of T2 or the start of T3 the drones hit for 24 points and since the Fed is also doing 24 he's got his range 8 shot (including range penalty). We'll say he hasn't been able to fully overload, and does average damage: one 8 pt and one 12 pt Photon hit for 10 points and the 8 phasers do a point each. If the Fed has managed to get on the same shield as the drones the NHK is distinctly unhappy - ok, only 10-14 internals but we've not done much back so we'd better hope we managed to manoeuvre him off that shield (we ought to be able to) and we end the turn one and a half shields down vs one shield mostly down, under cloak with the Fed on top of us..

Have I been unfair here? Sad I'm a bit depressed about cloak at the moment and that may be colouring my interpretation of your tactic - clearly it has worked for you.

Best I've been able to come up with is: Cloak. Get behind him. Uncloak. Fire Heavies and phasers up his bottom, maybe launch Fs. Cloak. This takes some co-operation in a single ship game but is (I think) practical in a multi-ship game, but eveyone takes drones against the Romulan and the drone issue is worse in a multiship game...
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Patrick Doyle
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Joined: 18 Aug 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pfc,

Your analysis of the situation was fair. I'll be a little more specific than I was in my first post.

Range 10 bolting probably won't yield the results you are looking for unless you have several ships participating against one target, and depending on the situation that may be not be wise.

Go for range 5. Against a Fed or disruptor armed ship, range 5 is good.

This won't cause an astounding amount of damage, but you are hoping for enough to weaken his combat ability. From range 5 the stats are not as neat. If you have 2 S torps and 2 F torps, three of them might hit. Combined with phasers against a 24 point shield, you may score engine hits.

Next I would say that a ship with excess power like a fast cruiser or Heavy battle cruiser would not be the ideal targets for this tactic. They are cruisers with extra power.

If the Fed approaches you head on, then let him get as close as possible. If you are in a situation where it makes more sense to LAUNCH the plasma, then you should do so. Unfortunately he can still HET away.

This tactic is better if the battle has already developed some and if for some reason he isn't facing you directly. I'm not sure I would try this tactic as the opening move. Though you may come up with some combination of approaching on evasive to get to the desired range.

A more useful variation on this tactic would be that you launch an S torp, get him to turn and run, then bolt the rest into his rear shield, fire phasers, cloak and run. Repeat. If his rear shield is down, running will be harder in the future. You can do this at range 5 or 10. Drones complicate things, but you can shoot some down then cloak. The idea is to do a little more damage than he does to you with each exchange, not necessarily get away without taking any hits.

Consider it a tool in the toolbox, and wait for the appropriate time to use it. When I play a plasma shooter I always target engines anytime I fire, so that over time, it will get easier to hit the target with launched plasma.

On a side Note: (it is HARD, very very hard to win an equal BPV fight with a plasma shooter. Launched plasma simply doesn't hit if the enemy knows what he is doing, and not being able to launch heavy plasma on turn 1 is a HUGE disadvantage when starting from tournament positions. It's possible that even this tactic may not turn the tide enough. To hit with launched plasma, the target must be cornered, so you should develop ways to corner him. ).
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Pinkfluffychicken
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Joined: 08 Aug 2007
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Location: Kingston-upon-Thames

PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr Doyle: Thanks again.

Point taken that NHK vs BC wasn't ideal, but I don't have that many ship cards (rely on friends:)) and this was the best I could do. Bit worrying if we are saying it's not good because the BC is fast - most ships are, in FC. Noted engine targeting. Must make more use of it.

My current conclusion (largely based on your input and chat to the Romulan in our local campaign) is that I've been thinking of the cloak FAR too defensively, and the move to uncloak so you are fully out at range 4 and launch heavies is a better option than bolting. New Fleet Tactician Admiral Maximus Aggressor soon to be appointed. Shocked

Also, in multi-ship actions you needs to split your forces up so that a ship that isn't in FA of the opposition can uncloak and launch - creating what that famous Ancient Romulan Horatius Nelson would have called a "pell mell battle". Razz

Has anyone played Roms in a tournament game? How did they go?

BTW, are we the only Romulans around, or are all the other Romulans jealously hugging their tactics to their chests and refusing to share them?
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Savedfromwhat
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Joined: 23 Aug 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Romulans are my favorite, not so much for their capabilites but more for their pure awesome grit. I mean they lost and regained warp power all while fighting internal squabbles and giant lizard men... Thats character.
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jmt
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Joined: 08 Oct 2006
Posts: 394
Location: Plano, TX

PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One thing to remember is on the east side of SFU, things take longer. If you're used to flying the Disruptor and Drone guys (D & D? Nah...) then things don't feel right over where the Plasmas roam free.

In my experience, the Western powers tend to have much faster combats - initial turns are quick and bloody and then things start to slow down. With the Easter empires, it's a plasma ballet. That means you're looking and longer games between players of equal skill.

So, there should probably be two sets of tactics - one for the neighbors and one for the guys from cross town. Personally, when flying Romulans, my use of cloak really depends on the ship. If it's a Eagle class, then I use cloak like a submarine to get in close and launch plasmas, relying on armor to absorb the initial damage.

If I'm flying a Kestrel, I rarely use the cloak. Given the weapon arcs and the maneuverability of the Klingon hulls and their expensive cloak costs, its only for special cases that I "submerge".

As for the Hawks, I bounce in and out of cloak to confound my opponents.

I will not that the Kestrels are my favorites and this is due to a combination of my favoring Western empires and not being as good on cloak as I'd like. Embarassed
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Pinkfluffychicken
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

savedfromwhat: Yes. The Universe is ours. The other, lesser, races simply haven't appreciated this yet. Cool

jmt: I think you've given a pretty good general overview of the three generations of Romulan ship and the general difference in style between East and West. Only catch is that the historical side of things doesn't mean much: in SFB I played against Hydrans most (that's just how things ended up in the campaign I was part of) and almost never cloaked, ditto in plasma ballets against the Gorn (3rd gen ships).

Chuckle. One of the best games I ever played was a plasma ballet which began at 6pm and was still going on at 8 am the next morning (neither of us was prepared to back down) when I won it with a two S torp one F torp bolt doing about 20 internals (first of the game iirc), cloak, weasel, at which point he overran me but didn't get through the shields. Ah. Great days. (smug)

Thing is, under FC rules the cloak is VERY different and there are no weasels, ECM or speed yoyos and so drones and plasma go from "not very dangerous if you plan for them at all" to "you can do NOTHING about these under cloak they WILL hit for half damage", which in the case of drones is a HUGE turnaround. Given that there are already vast numbers of ships with drones and there's every sign the specialised drone ships are going to be added, how do cloaks deal with drones? The addition of the escorts helps - perhaps every Romulan fleet must start with an SPM and then you add WEs, Kestrels, or whatever to taste, but you never, never, never fly without the SPM? ( Sad hope not)

In the case of the first gen ships there's a serious question in my mind as to whether they can be played at all. So far the only theory I've got (and this definitely applies to first gen, but may be relevant for the other two as well) is that most if not all phasers must be reserved for anti drone work.

Second gen, as you say, uses cloak only in desperation. Third gen can use it in theory, but as far as I am aware no-one has come up with tactics yet - certainly not ones they are prepared to share.
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DNordeen
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're right the phasers almost have to be reserved for dealing with drones.

I'm always pretty aggressive with the Roms. I stay way out of range and uncloaked the first few turns until my torps are charged. Once I've got them charged up, I get super aggressive. I don't bother cloaking on my way in to the target. Anyone willing to play chicken with my Rom deserves a point blank torp launch in their face. Usually, my opponent sees the full torp load and tries to run. I'm good with that since that puts his heavy weapons facing the other direction. If I can catch him, he gets a torp, if I can't I give him a bolt. Either way, I usually only fire a portion of my plasma every turn so he'll keep running.

I usually reserve the cloak for defensive purposes. For example, if I end up doing an overrun, I'll cloak prior to overrunning him if 1/2 damage drones will do less damage than his alpha strike. The best example I can remember is when he took my full torp strike which destroyed all but one drone rack prior to the overrun. Since he had most of his heavies and phasers left, I cloaked.

When I play Kzinti, I'm usually running scared from those big plasma torps. Sure I'm lobbing drones like crazy, but I don't have a lot of phasers. If the Rom won't cloak, he just keeps knocking down my drones with his phasers. And I've got to save my phasers to weaken any torps he throws my way. Also, I can't fire disruptors without playing chicken. I'd rather take on a Gorn than a Rom. The Gorn can't fire very many phasers out of the same shield so my drones work a little better.
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Pinkfluffychicken
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gosh. You go away from the site for a few weeks, and look what happens!

GNordeen: Thanks for that. It does seem that the massively aggressive Rom is the way ahead - just haven't been able to playtest it recently. Will report when I have.

Must admit to being a bit surprised by the lack of comments about cloaking tactics. Still can't work out if I'm being dim ("No! No!" I hear you cry Wink) or if people just aren't playing Romulans very much.
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USS Enterprise
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't played Romulan border yet but I played Klingon Border and changed my Klingon Heavy Cruiser to Next Gen Style (Switched Photons for disruptors and added a cloaking device) I seemed to agree with cloaks being difficult to use. However, here are a few things I came up with by this game's experience:

1. Romulans can fire plasma torps and then cloak. The torps will continue to seek (Drones won't)

2. In situations like my Klingon, you can keep away and cloak while loading Photons, then uncloak and fire when you have your Photons.

3. When your soon to die, or you havve no weapons and leftover energy, those cloaking devices come in handy.

By the way, I was using this Heavy Cruiser against a Federation Heavy Cruiser (In this game 156 Points VS 147.) I won the game, but I really only used the cloak once. However, these are a few tactical notes I've come up with.
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Savedfromwhat
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

you need to add abouT 20% more BPV to the klingon to cover the cloak, did the cloak help? (the trick is to decloak and launch while your opponent's direct fire still has a +4 hex penalty during fade in.
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Kang
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Savedfromwhat wrote:
...the trick is to decloak and launch while your opponent's direct fire still has a +4 hex penalty during fade in.

I don't have my rulebook to hand [at work!] but I think you have to be fully decloaked before you can shoot, even with seeking weapons. It may be worth checking it out.
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Scoutdad
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

(5P3a) During a fade-in/out Impulse, or when fully cloaked, the ship cannot: fire or launch any weapons or probes...
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Pinkfluffychicken
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kang, scoutdad: Awww. Spoilsports! Razz
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