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After - Action report: 'Cruiser action'
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Kang
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Joined: 23 Sep 2007
Posts: 1950
Location: Devon, UK

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 12:49 pm    Post subject: After - Action report: 'Cruiser action' Reply with quote

Venue: Jon's house in Exeter
Date: 11th January 2009

This battle was fought between a Klingon C7 heavy battlecruiser and three Hydran Cuirassier frigates. The idea was to try a ‘cruiser action’, with three smaller ships against one larger one with a roughly equivalent points value; in this case, the C7 being 192 points against the frigates’ 3x60=180 points. I played the C7 while Jon played the frigates. Ok, it’s three frigates vs. a heavy battlecruiser, but the ‘cruiser action’ principle still holds.

The game was set up with nine large-hex maps set up in a 3x3 pattern. A gas giant was in the bottom right corner but the flow of battle was such that the planet played no part. The Hydrans began in the bottom left corner in line abreast, two hexes between each ship. The C7 began in the upper left corner.

For the first turn, I chose speed 16 for the C7 and Jon chose speed 24 for his ships. His middle and left-flank ships headed more-or-less directly for the C7 while the right flank ship went right and away. Jon fired his Hellbores from the pair of frigates [each cuirassier has just one] at about range 7 or so; I reinforced for most of one of the Hellbores and the other missed. I manoeuvred the C7 so as to get the Hydrans to pass down my right side at about 3 hexes range. Exchanging fire at this point, I downed a frigate’s #5 shield [4 standard disruptors and several phasers] and scored about 25% internals, whereas the Hydran return fire damaged my #3 shield and scored one burnthrough which I repaired at the end of the turn. The damaged frigate plodded away while the ‘distant’ frigate swung back in again; the other frigate followed me as I turned my damaged #3 shield away.

Forgot to launch drones at end of Tn 1. Bah.

At the start of Turn 2, the two healthy frigates sandwiched my C7 and both hit my #5 shield with alpha-strikes [minus the Hellbores which were still reloading], at 1 hex range, scoring about 30 internals, whereas my return fire of 2 overloaded disruptors and seven phaser-1’s gutted the frigate that had gone away and then swung back in again. All remaining weapons on this ship were then finished off with hit-and-run raids. This frigate then drifted away behind my C7 for the remainder of the turn where it finished sitting dead in space....

Meanwhile, while still at range 1 after the fire exchange, I tractored the remaining healthy frigate and hit him with a full wave of four drones; he tractored one but the remaining three dropped his #1 shield and then gutted the ship. Next impulse, I fired three phaser-1’s through the downed shield and the frigate blew up.

For the remainder of the turn, I chased the previously damaged frigate and ended the turn at 3 hexes range. A hack-and-slash attack at the start of the next turn would have finished him off, then I could have gone and captured the dead-in-space cripple as well.

Lessons learned:
Maintain the threat by keeping some unfired weapons and the power to use them.

Use the fundamental FC principle of never using up all your energy unless you can gain a decisive advantage by doing so.

I made a mistake in letting the Hydrans get to Range 1; however this was not too bad as they’d used their Hellbores, but it's surprising how fast this can happen especially when the enemy has a speed advantage.

Apparently, over the doors of the Star Fleet Academy, it says ‘Use your Tractors, Dammit!’. Now, over the Hydran Academy, it says’ Remember they can tractor You, Dammit!’

Although concentration of firepower ['chase until you kill him'] onto a single target was high on my list, I did not actually do this very much except with single overwhelming alpha strikes; the principle here is that concentration of fire is all very well but if the opportunity to make a decisive strike on another target presents itself, go for it. Chasing the damaged frigate to the exclusion of the others would have lost me that opportunity!

Don’t get too close to a drone-armed ship with inadequate defences available. One tractor is not sufficient against a four-drone wave!

Ignore the FC victory conditions. Even this shattering win would be counted as a Draw or something using those rules.
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Jon Lawson
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Joined: 19 Dec 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes this was one of those scenarios that you really wonder if you should just stay at home at let the klingons have the stupid gas giant.

My original plan was to chip away with Hellbores at long range and speed away. but due to a healthy ability to reinforce shields and fire off lots of disrupters it didn't look like it was going to work out.

I made a few mistakes after getting up close and personal, I expected the drone wave to be nasty but I didn't get another shield to face for the next impulse of phaser fire, but to be fair I am not sure it would have made a great deal of difference. I was counting on at least one of my range 1 ships surviving to allow my other frigate a pop with his hellbore on the next turn.

That said and done it is a scary experience facing a C7 with 3 tin cans but I would be very interested to hear another battle report using the same ships.

The main problem I found was the weak shields on all faces but the front meaning that any volley hitting them equates to tasty internals and because you are Hydran that generally means your weapons are targeted. This is bad enough on larger ships but on a 60 point frigate it is enough to make a grown man weep.

Lessons Learned


If you see a C7 coming your way, turn around and go the other way.
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Kang
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jon Lawson wrote:
This is bad enough on larger ships but on a 60 point frigate it is enough to make a grown man weep.


To his credit, he didn't Smile

Also I could have spotted the Hydrans a Stinger to match the points more closely....

Seriously, though, you may well have guessed that much of the after-battle discussion centred on how to make this work for the Hydrans. If anyone else has any ideas, we'd be pleased to hear them.
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Vladimyr
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I were in this situation, I would ensure that all three Cuirassiers stay collocated until after the first battle pass. My plan would be to stay evasive at all times until able to close to range 2 or less (preferably range 0), attempting to centreline the C7 if at all possible.

On a fixed map, I believe that you would be able to accomplish this by not arming the Hellbores until after the first battle pass. That would allow speed 24+1 while evasive and still able to fire all phasers, if I'm not mistaken.

Drop evasive maneuvers at close range and alpha with all three, using all available phasers. The C7 should be seriously hurt. Expect to receive some serious damage in return, but I think the results would be well worth it. If able, hit-and-run the tractors and/or drone racks to minimize the anchor problems.
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junior
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

imo, the Cuirassier is more of a fire support ship (with just the one heavy weapon). As a result, I'm of the opinion that it's not the best ship for this sort of thing. For better results, I'd recommend replacing them with Hunters if you have them (which would mean that you'd be up against 4 frigates, iirc), which mount two Fusion Beams each.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My take on the matchup.

The Hydran is badly out gunned (and batteried/powered) at longer range, and the small ships are not tough enough to slug it out long enough to start whittling him down. So it comes to charge and hope the big alpha does the job at point blank range.

Quote:

I would ensure that all three Cuirassiers stay collocated until after the first battle pass.


Agreed, there is little reason to split your ships, so keep them together, that way he can't take advantage of split forces or split arcs, in particular you need to be hitting the same shield with all your phasers.

Quote:

I believe that you would be able to accomplish this by not arming the Hellbores until after the first battle pass.


Not feasible, you cant hold hellbores, nor the pre-load energy already allocated, and you have to pay during energy allocation. If you do not pay 3 energy on turn 1 then it will be at least turn 3 until you can shoot them, by which time you may be lucky to still have any.

Power wise for turn 1 I'd probably go, Start with pre-loads (no battery), arm hellbore (3), speed 24 (6), retain power for overload (3) leaving 4 power for PhG and 3 ph2 (or 2 and a tractor).

Quote:

Jon fired his Hellbores from the pair of frigates [each cuirassier has just one] at about range 7 or so; ..... to get the Hydrans to pass down my right side at about 3 hexes range. Exchanging fire at this point, I downed a frigate’s #5 shield [4 standard disruptors and several phasers] and scored about 25% internals, whereas the Hydran return fire


That sounds like the hyran fired hellbores at range 7 before any other fire had created a clear weak shield, and then continued to close where he fired phasers! Unless something was missed out of the report, that was about as inefficient as you can get with hellbores - especially in light of the fact that you may never be firing them again.

If he was going to keep closing (or couldn't avoid it) then there was no need to fire at range 7, 2 hellbores at range 7 can't do more than burnthrough against the C7 (IF they were Overloaded), and he starts with 3 shields all equal weakest so gets to choose which takes the main damage, more or less ensuring that it will not be the one you get to fire at the following impulse.

At range 3 on his back arcs you can still hurt him. Take advantage of the 'me to' style of declaration to try and find which of your ships he is concentrating on. If he goes for one ship then fire everything you can from that ship, and one other, but only fire ph2s from the third ship. When it comes to resolving the fire then use the phaser only ship to attack first. Even 3 phasers at range 3 do a minimum of 9 damage so he can't reinforce it all and now has a weaker shield - this is why you do not use a hellbore from this ship, as he can allocate another shield to take the brunt of that and reinforce each to equal them out. Your other 2 ships will now be firing 2 overloaded hellbores and 6 phaser 2s, it will all impact the facing shield as it is now the weakest, with 21 average phaser damage and hopfully another 22 hellbore damage against the same shield on that impulse, and a further hellbore next impulse from the ship that hasn't fired the HB, you should be doing a decent number of internals. If you can then close for PhG on the same shield then all the better, also hopefully you will still be close enough to fire at close range straight away on turn 2 (as it sounds like you were in the game played).

Ideally of course you get to shoot at range 1, you are going faster and have a better turn arc. Range 1 hurts the C7 badly (at range 1 with 9 ph2, 3 phG and 2 OL Hellbores you get to do about 125 damage to the facing shield), but no sane player will let you get all 3 ships to range 1 intact - even if he has problems stopping you getting to range 1 he can at least cripple a ship or 2 before you get there. The other counter for the C7 is to go speed 24 and accelerate on a key impulses as he has the power and the hydrans are hurting badly for power.
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Kang
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

storeylf wrote:
That sounds like the Hydran fired hellbores at range 7 before any other fire had created a clear weak shield, and then continued to close where he fired phasers! Unless something was missed out of the report, that was about as inefficient as you can get with hellbores - especially in light of the fact that you may never be firing them again.

Well, I wasn't going to complain Wink but I must say that I thought that too. The report is correct; that was how it happened. There was a real sense of relief when he'd fired the Hellbores!

Thanks for your input, storeyelf. As far as I could see, Jon wanted to use the Hellbore at medium range because a) it has a fair chance to hit and cause some damage; b) he wanted to see what would happen.

As Jon will be playing the Hydrans in a campaign [three-way, Klingon, Hydran, Orion on a map of his own creation] the idea of the battle was to give him some experience in fighting Klingons, so in this, it has at least given him some lessons to learn. Like not firing Hellbores until a clear weak shield is available.

I must say that I did appreciate the opportunity to choose which shield the main Hellbore damage landed on.....
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Kang
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also storeyelf, the way you describe your attack plan reads like a gunboat action. As it should do, of course; the principle is the same.

Thinking of how I would have felt to be on the receiving end of your plan, I wouldn't have felt too good I must say.

Apart from the fact that I could cripple one and tie up another's phasers with a four-drone wave, I think it would work.

In that case, another mistake of mine was to go at speed 16 not 24. the Hydrans could dictate the range, and it's a good job for me that they didn't use that advantage to its fullest as you describe.
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mjwest
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My comments for the Hydrans:
- You have the smaller ships; don't go in under-pointed like that!
- Do. Not. Split. Up. Yes, there are occasions where splitting up can be useful. Starting off in a battle against a much superior opponent is not one of them.
- Use "small ship" tactics. Evasive is your friend. Use it. Love it.
- Get a LOT closer than 7 hexes with the hellbores. They are the only punch you have; you need to make that first hit count.
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Kang
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mjwest wrote:

- Use "small ship" tactics. Evasive is your friend. Use it. Love it.

This is my only beef with your excellent ideas, Mike - evasive from my point of view would be a gift because then there's no defence against my drones.
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mjwest
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sure, I agree there are limits to what it can do. Effective use of drones by the Klingon is key to thwarting the use of Evasive. However, getting to a range inside 8 is pretty much suicidal for the frigates without Evasive to keep them alive.

So, no, it isn't as simple as doing this against, say, a Lyran. But, the "cover" provided by Evasive is still critical for survival. You can't spend forever under it. But, you will need to be ready to use it so that you (the Hydran) can have more influence on the range of the exchange.
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Kang
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sure, I agree totally. It's making the best of a bad job. Either that, or Jon's idea of running away......

I guess that for any short-range ships such as those fielded by the Hydrans, surviving to close to effective weapons range is always the key tactical problem.
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Jon Lawson
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 1:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My original plan was to try and fire Hellbores and stay over 10 hexes away, unfortunately I miss-timed my turn mode and at a range of about 8 or 9 (definately not Overloaded anyway) I got a full spread of disruptors in the face. It really is shocking the fire arcs on that ship I must say...and yes every single one hit.

After that I had to change my plan, Previously I split one of the ships with the intention of only firing Hellbores with it so it didn't matter where it was, (at the time quite safe(. Next turn meant I was too close to get enough distance away with my two grouped ships so I maneuvered them to both fire on one shield at range 1. I chose range 1 purely because PH-1 at range 0 would have been much worse and it doesn't really affect 'G's at all and it offered slightly more firepower on the same shield.

After that the ship keeping its distance came in to pop a Hellbore off. Blatantly too little too late. The simple fact is the frigates just don't have the power to get in close, quick and then fire all weapons. It's more a case of Hellbores or Phasers. It is actually quite difficult just to get an overloaded Hellbore off at the right time, that is about half your power just to fire one weapon on this ship.

This game was a definite experiment. It was not supposed to be an even fight in the strictest sense purely because you really get punished when you make mistakes in games like this and I really wanted the mistakes highlighted...they were Wink

It was fun though. It was my first time using the Cuirassiers and the usual tactic of showing a different shield every firing oppurtunity just does not work well enough when you only have 12 shields. I will definately be using these ships again but as previously commented by junior, as a support ship only. I really wanted to know how often they are likely to give a good fighting account of themselves in a matcthup like that. I did feel a bit naked without fighters but I think I may try Cuirasser supporting a fusion ship next time and see how that plays out.

May try evasive next time too, worry about the 4 drones later Smile I think I may have just convinced myself to try this scenario again.

Thanks for all the comments, 'I will assimilate, I will change, I will learn to use cuirassiers until they become the most feared ship in the octant'.
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junior
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try 4 Hunters for the next fight (they're 50 points apiece, iirc), and overrun him with 8 Fusion Beams and 3 Gatling Phasers (1 Gatling Phaser will be used to chew up the drones that he fires at you). The only trick will be figuring out how to arrange your ships, since you can't fire more than three ships out of the same hex in one impulse (though I suppose that depending on how he fires at your incoming frigates, this may not be an issue...).

All good Hydrans should be able to win with Fusion Beams. Hellbores are merely a crutch.

Razz
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Sneaky Scot
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As an Officer in the Royal Air Force I feel obliged to quote from Top Gun

"You don't ever leave your wingman."

Three ships could all fire from the same hex if required, and I think that any battle of cans vs cruisers it is pretty important to keep together. Still, sounds like a fun game with a slight touch of the Battle of River Plate in there.
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