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Drone Tactics
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MajerBlundor
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Joined: 03 Apr 2009
Posts: 123

PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 1:13 am    Post subject: Drone Tactics Reply with quote

I think our group finally understands the drone rules. Each launcher can fire one drone per turn (not impulse). Speed 24, warhead 12, yadda, yadda, yadda.

While in flight drones can be engaged by phasers. 4 points of cumulative damage will destroy a drone. On impact the target can use phasers and ADD to shoot down the drone and a tractor to hold it (tractor can be employed at 1 hex or in defensive fire).

Here's the question: what are really good drone tactics for typical fleet-scale frigates to cruisers, our group's favorite scale and size? (We usually field 2-3 ships per side.)

So far, here's what we've concluded:

1. Launch first wave on impulse 8 and follow on wave on impulse 1

2. Concentrate drones on individual ships, especially those isolated from supporting ships to limit damage to drones.

With those items in mind it seems that against a calm defender drones at best soak up phaser fire and energy due to tractors being used. Rarely will they penetrate combined phaser, ADD, and tractor defenses (so far we've played with Fed, Romulan, Klingon, and Orion ships).

So, rather than a long range threat, under these circumstances they seem more useful as a short range distraction to weaken enemy phaser fire.

Advice and comments?

Tim

PS Other weapon systems such as phasers have a reload period. Has there been any consideration for doing the same with drones? At the moment, if you fire a drone in impulse 1 you can't fire again for 8 impulses. But if fired in impulse 8 you get to fire 1 impulse later. Maybe allow a drone launcher to fire every 4 impulses as a compromise?
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mjwest
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Joined: 08 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 2:05 am    Post subject: Re: Drone Tactics Reply with quote

Sounds like you have it figured out ...

MajerBlundor wrote:
PS Other weapon systems such as phasers have a reload period. Has there been any consideration for doing the same with drones? At the moment, if you fire a drone in impulse 1 you can't fire again for 8 impulses. But if fired in impulse 8 you get to fire 1 impulse later. Maybe allow a drone launcher to fire every 4 impulses as a compromise?

However, I do not understand this comment at all. What do you mean by "reload period"?

All weapons* that fire every turn may be fired on impulse 8 of turn X, then again on impulse 1 of turn X+1. That is true for drones, phasers, disruptors, etc.

Did you mean photons, which are two turn arming weapons?

[* Except for Particle Cannons. They work a little differently.]
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MajerBlundor
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 2:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Drone Tactics Reply with quote

mjwest wrote:


Did you mean photons, which are two turn arming weapons?



Yes, precisely, I suppose I was thinking of drones as being "heavy weapons" like photons. But, since disruptors and similar heavy weapons can do the "fire on impulse 8 and 1" tactic I suppose it's not really an issue, especially since drones seem to have a tough enough time getting through phaser and ADD fire.
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djdood
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Joined: 01 Feb 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 7:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Drone Tactics Reply with quote

MajerBlundor wrote:
With those items in mind it seems that against a calm defender drones at best soak up phaser fire and energy due to tractors being used. Rarely will they penetrate combined phaser, ADD, and tractor defenses


First off, my compliments to you and your group for distilling that key chunk of SFU wisdom so early in your playing careers. It took me much longer to get that through my thick skull Embarassed

In practice drones indeed rarely get to hit. They can act as "mobile terrain" though, influencing you enemy's movement and like you said, tie up his phasers and energy in defense.

Against my usual opponent (who is pretty well matched against me), I hit with maybe 1 out of 3-4 drones (I usually play Feds). He usually plays Klingons, and his dedicated ADD's (plus the common phaser and tractor defenses) can almost always deal with the paltry drone waves a small Fed squadron can generate.

At least the phasers he used go against expendable (and replaceable) drones.

One thing my opponent hasn't gelled with yet (and I luckily have) is coordinated fleet defensive fire against drones. He usually has each ship fend for itself (so very TNG Klingon...). This can sometimes allow that individual ship to get overwhelmed and either take hits or be forced to maneuver out of formation.

I take great care to distribute defensive fire among the available ships in my squadron, regardless of which one is targeted. This keeps some phasers from all ships available for use against the enemy. With some gentle maneuvering, I can also sometimes arrange to make the phasers being used against drones also be ones that would otherwise be useless (blocked from firing against his ships due to terrain, etc.).

Drones really start to get fun with the Kzintis. I never expected them to become a favorite of mine, but the first time you launch a wave of 16 drones against an opponent with a history of poorly coordinated drone defense... they become a favorite real quick. Twisted Evil
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pinecone
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ever try a squad composed of only Kzinti FFs? Twisted Evil
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MajerBlundor
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 8:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Drone Tactics Reply with quote

djdood wrote:


One thing my opponent hasn't gelled with yet (and I luckily have) is coordinated fleet defensive fire against drones. He usually has each ship fend for itself (so very TNG Klingon...). This can sometimes allow that individual ship to get overwhelmed and either take hits or be forced to maneuver out of formation.

I take great care to distribute defensive fire among the available ships in my squadron, regardless of which one is targeted. This keeps some phasers from all ships available for use against the enemy.



Excellent point! We saw that dynamic at work on Saturday. As a Federation squadron approached the "combat zone" in which some Klingon ships were shooting up some freighters and a commercial platform it managed to shoot down some drones targeting the freighters (which were fleeing towards the Fed patrol).

This coordinated, squadron-level, longer-range, anti-drone fire allowed the freighters to reserve their meager energy for movement and certainly frustrated the Klingon player's efforts to score long range drone kills. And by coordinating the shot between two warships neither was overwhelmed with by the effort (it also helped that the Klingon player didn't concentrate his drone fire in time and space.)

I know there's a thread about "direct fire drones" and I suppose that abstraction especially makes sense if one goes down the BoM road of fighter hoards, etc. But even though Klingon and Fed drones aren't decisive ship killers if properly defended against I really enjoy their presence as actual markers/"moving terrain". It adds another tactical wrinkle without excessive gameplay overhead, especially in fleet scale with just a few ships per side. Well worth the minimal effort imo.

Tim
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Hod K'el
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Joined: 21 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First: I am curious to know if you have equiped a SAL with all drones and engaged the enemy?

Second: Have you used your drones as an "also ran" system? By this I mean used them as an after thought deliberately following up after an alpha strike, thus making them a ship killer strike, especially if they get through a down shield. The Feds always disengage that ship. Just curious...
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USS Enterprise
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Correct, each drone rack fires once per turn.
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markgeorgetwo
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 2:18 pm    Post subject: post subject Reply with quote

I normally do volley fire with drones either targeting single ships or a group but mainly the single has i did against a single ca Twisted Evil .

When playing my friend in this ca encounter we was playing the first scenario in klingon attack against the hood so i hit the hood with drones he used tractors and phasers and adds but while dealing with this threat he left himself open to a pass attack this is when the attacking ships moving fast i was moving at base line 8+ and hit him with phaser 1s and the disruptors targeting the front and side shields. and hitting him with the other weapons by the time i turned the ca was heavily damaged.
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Requete
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Joined: 15 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also keep in mind that if your opponent goes into Evasive Maneuvers, his only defense against drones is to outrun them.

Drones may rarely hit but if used properly they can force hard choices on your opponent.
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Kang
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:35 pm    Post subject: Re: post subject Reply with quote

markgeorgetwo wrote:
When playing my friend in this ca encounter we was playing the first scenario in klingon attack against the hood so i hit the hood with drones he used tractors and phasers and adds but while dealing with this threat he left himself open to a pass attack this is when the attacking ships moving fast i was moving at base line 8+ and hit him with phaser 1s and the disruptors targeting the front and side shields.

I'd normally complain about a single sentence this long with no punctuation.

But this time I think you captured the 'feel' of your battle's pace with it, so you are excused Smile
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markgeorgetwo
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 07, 2009 9:11 pm    Post subject: post subject Reply with quote

What did you like the tactic kang?, also how are you my friend
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Kang
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Joined: 23 Sep 2007
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Location: Devon, UK

PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 6:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm fine thanks Smile Yes I liked the tactic; I have been working on drone and frigate tactics recently, with special emphasis on the K-F5 vs Z-FF. The six-drone wave is fine in this scenario; remember also that even when your opponent has dealt with the six drones, you can still lob another two at him in that second turn if you are flying any four-rack drone ship.

The problem comes if he charges in close and forces you to salvo the four drones early, then he can deal with them a little more piecemeal.

It is also a good idea to try to take one drone rack per turn off line in order to start a rolling reload cycle; this is fairly easy with a little thought. It generally involves launching two waves of three drones per cycle rather than a four and two. Have a think about it....
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markgeorgetwo
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:33 pm    Post subject: post subject Reply with quote

Yes king i have only fighting the kzinti and just using drone carrying war ships. but i have now a squadron that has cloaks and photons i cheated and used romulan ships. Twisted Evil and just changed the plasmas for photons what do you think my friend. Wink
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Kang
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 6:28 pm    Post subject: Re: post subject Reply with quote

markgeorgetwo wrote:
...and just changed the plasmas for photons what do you think my friend. Wink

An interesting idea but I tend to stick with the in-game ships; there's already a rich game system here in FC-World, without having to mod the ships. Then again, if that's what you enjoy doing, then experimenting like that can be really interesting; the rulebook does kind-of encourage this in places.

If it floats your boat, then go sailing! Smile
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