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Klingon F5 vs. Kzinti FF
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Kang
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 2:27 pm    Post subject: Klingon F5 vs. Kzinti FF Reply with quote

I have made postings in other threads that state that I believe the Klingon F5 frigate to be merely a shadow of the ship it was in SFB. I would dearly love to disprove this point of view, despite it being my own, because I want to believe in this fine ship and I want to see it work in FC.

In view of this, I wanted to try pitting the ship against one of its classic foes, the Kzinti frigate, and see if I could develop tactics that would help it to hold its own in such a battle. Yes, I know that the F5 is supposedly a ‘small destroyer’, but still it has a lower point value than the Kzinti FF and, in any case, what more natural match-up for a classic duel apart from the Fed CA vs. D7? And surely a destroyer getting trounced by a frigate is going to spoil any respectable Klingon’s credibility!

Let’s begin with a brief comparison of the two ships. The F5 has more power: with batteries, the Klingon has 22 vs the Kzinti’s 18; 20 and 15 respectively without batteries. The Kzinti therefore has three batteries against the Klingon’s two; an important point as we shall see later.

The Klingon has shields that are roughly 50% stronger than the Kzinti’s. However, the Kzinti has only a ¼ move cost whereas the Klingon has ½. While the turn modes are the same at Class A, the weapons fits of the two ships are very different.

The Klingon has two disruptors, two phaser-1’s, three phaser-2’s and a drone rack and ADD.

The Kzinti, on the other hand, has four drone racks, two phaser-1’s, two phaser-3’s and a disruptor.

In a nutshell, the Klingon has more power but is not as movement-efficient as the Kzinti; this is important as the Kzinti has the ability to create large drone waves which fundamentally influence the Klingon choice of speed. The Klingon has to select a speed of at least 16, but preferably 24; this means that although he can outrun and outmanoeuvre the drones at that speed, he will usually not then have enough power to overload his disruptors or indeed even to use all his direct-fire weapons. Effectively this means that the Kzinti has something of a power superiority despite not having as much actual power points per turn as the Klingon.

The first strategy for the Klingon, then, is of course to saber-dance; the disruptors and two phaser-1’s should give a slight edge over the Kzinti’s single disruptor and two phaser-1’s. All this would have to be achieved at a speed of 24 with possible accels too, in order to get round the drones. I have not included the Phaser-2's in this analysis because at saber-dance ranges they are generally ineffective.

I have tried this in a two-player game and found that the strategy has the following disadvantages. Firstly, the single disruptor advantage is just not enough. The Kzinti has sufficient batteries, and power, to reinforce away any advantage that the extra disruptor gives the Klingon. The Klingon’s Phaser-2’s are generally tied up with drone defence. Also, moving at speed 24 plus accels leaves little power for effective shooting at the enemy ship even once you have got round the drones, since overloading both the F5’s disruptors, or even one, is difficult at speed 24. In addition, the Kzinti will usually have the advantage of moving last; he will be moving at Speed 24 much of the time, and even if both ships have the same speed, the Kzinti has the better turn mode so will always move last. Personally, I think that at medium ranges the initiative is actually with the guy who moves first since he can dictate the tactics; if the other guy is constantly reacting to you, then you can influence his moves to some extent. This is however very subtle.

Another problem with saber-dancing was that it gives the Kzinti the chance to reload his drone racks while the Klingon was repositioning.

Also, running at such a high speed means that sometimes the Klingon may inadvertently get into overload range. Here the Kzinti has the advantage; he can use his superior power to overload his sole disruptor – this is not a good way to saber-dance since an overloaded disruptor that hits is better than two normal-loaded disruptors, where you need to score two hits for the same effect. In effect it’s like a ‘narrow salvo’, and whereas the statistics are admittedly equal, the Klingon disruptor advantage is essentially negated. Although the Klingon’s shields are better, there are still the drones to contend with, and this on the Klingon’s limited power budget.

Another strategy is to take the drones on, again at a reasonably high speed, so as to deplete the Kzinti ship of ready drones. The weakest point of the Kzinti frigate is that once it has used all its drones, it’s properly outgunned by the F5. So, rather than running and gunning, thus allowing some drone reload time, it may be better to come in closer and tackle the drones, shooting them down faster than he can replace them on his racks.

Here’s the theory.

With proper manoeuvring, the F5 is capable of defeating perhaps five or six drones per turn – or possibly even more - as long as it does not have to shoot at something else: ADD for one or two, three rear phasers and one counter-drone, plus the tractor if necessary, or even accepting a drone hit on an intact shield, but leaving the forward phasers and disruptors to shoot at the enemy ship. It’s also better if the drones can be spread out a little so that the ADD has a chance of defeating separate drones in separate defensive fire phases. A judicious combination of Speed 16+accels, keeping some power for phasers and overloads, and relying on the rear phasers and ADD for defence while depleting the Kzinti’s drones, then using all the direct-fire stuff on the Kzinti, seems to work. You should also practice your approach in order to learn what angles are best for dealing with incoming drones. If you go at speed 16+1 for sufficient impulses, or speed 24, you need to watch the hex splines off your #2 and #6 shields. If you can get a drone to a position where it is on or behind that hex spline, at a couple of hexes' range, then it will not catch you provided you maintain the speed. Like I said above, perhaps even taking a drone hit on an intact shield would be acceptable, providing you can get through or past the drones to use the close-in firepower. Optimum range for engagement I would propose as 3 hexes, so as to avoid the phaser-3’s best ranges while keeping the F5’s phaser-2’s in effective range. This firing point should be achieved with the turn mode satisfied so as to be able to turn away immediately after firing.

In addition, the Klingon would need to begin any turn played at speed 16, at least 9-10 hexes away from the Kzinti, and in an oblique approach, in case the Tigerman selects speed 24 and attempts an anchor.

I decided to try this myself in a solo game, but obviously trying my best for both ships.

I found that the plan was reasonably successful for the Klingon. The following ideas may give some idea of what I have discovered – and not just for the Klingons….

If the Kzinti splits up his drones – they may well be in two waves anyway – then careful manoeuvring will let you deal with them piecemeal. Try to get them to impact over two or more impulses; that way you will get maximum use of your anti-drones.

Use your drones as one of the ways to shoot down the Kzinti drones - I think this tactic is called ‘counter-drones’. If there is any chance that the Kzinti can use drones against you, do not get within tractor range of him. Everything depends on this; if he tractors you, then you will lose.

Bear in mind that the Kzinti’s drone control rating of six, does not mean that he can’t have more than six drones on the map in any one turn, just not at the same time. Just because he has six drones in the air [or vacuum] at once does not mean that he cannot launch more that turn; if he has built up a six-drone wave comprising four and then two [launched on Impulse 8 of one turn and then Impulse 1 of the next], then he can launch another two on that same turn. This means that you may have to deal with eight drones in any given turn, then possibly another four on the turn after.

He can’t do this forever, though. Sooner or later he will have to reload, and that’s when you can get him.

Firstly, on the turn that you have dealt with his last major drone wave, you want to finish up at as close a range as you can. Since he will be running at high speed next turn, you will want to get off one last shot before he disappears into the Blue. Actually it’s the Black, but you get the idea…. Since you will be on the offensive and he on the defensive, he can afford to commit more power to running away because he’s not wanting to fire too much, just wanting to get his drones reloaded.

If you’re playing on a location map of say 50 hexes radius, you will eventually be able to run him into a corner when he runs to reload. Since he’s in a Frigate, it takes him two turns to reload each drone rack, which means he will have to run for a good amount of time in order to reload. Check out this thread http://www.starfleetgames.com/federation/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?t=2045 for my ideas on catching an opponent on a location map.

The idea is that eventually you will catch him, with your now-superior firepower. Since he has weaker shields and fewer weapons, you should do well.

Here are some more tips I have picked up - for both sides in the battle - while researching this match-up, that are more or less specific to this duel. Some of these tactics are repeated in the ‘Frigate and small-ship tactics’ thread here: http://www.starfleetgames.com/federation/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?p=26522

When running away to reload your drones, you can maximise his shield usage by using what I call the ‘shield rotation brick’, which works as follows. Since some of the stern-chase style fire that the Kzinti will be receiving will be blocked by reinforcement, and given that the rear shields are only 12 boxes, rotating up to five shield boxes from an adjacent shield to whichever shield you anticipate will need the extra five boxes, can buy you lots more time by increasing the strength of a shield by nearly 50% . When this trick is in use, it feels as if you have a rotating ‘gladiator’ shield like the Juggernaut! The proportion of each shield represented by a five-box shift is far greater with a frigate than it is with a cruiser.

Always use directed damage so that if there is a burnthrough, or if you drop a shield, there is a chance of hitting something important. This is far more effective against frigates than it is against bigger ships. Against the F5, the Kzinti should target power; this is because power is so much more critical for the Klingon in this fight. Against the Kzinti, the Klingon should target weapons. This is because not only does a frigate have only two repair points, but also the Kzinti needs all his repair points to reload his drone racks. Once the Kzinti frigate is damaged, then, it stays damaged, because all the repair points are tied up in drone reloads. All those drone racks do not come without a price!

Hit and run raids against the Klingon should be directed against his drone defences. The anti-drone, the tractor beam [he has only one], his phasers, you get the idea. Hit and run raids against the Kzinti should go against his drones and then his 360º phaser-1. Given the Kzinti superiority in numbers of transporters, it is most important that the Klingon avoids losing a shield. Use shield rotation as necessary.

Disabling a drone rack on the Kzinti is doubly effective since it will take four turns to get it back into action again – it’s effectively out of the fight, then, since as we have seen much of the repair points will be going to reload drone racks.

The Kzinti should perform evasive manoeuvres while reloading the drone racks. This is cheap at 1.25 points per turn and is well worth the power spent.

Finesse your repairs as in the thread http://www.starfleetgames.com/federation/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?t=2083

The Klingon’s optimum range for direct-fire weapons engagement is three hexes: good for the phaser-2s, phaser-1s and disruptors, but at the range where the Kzinti’s phaser-3’s are losing their effectiveness.

As the Klingon, wherever possible you should finish each impulse with your turn mode completed, or at least your slip mode, in case you need to turn away if he launches.

If your opponent has only one battery left, try to hit it with Marines so that he can’t take it on frame.

For the Klingon, if the speeds are equal, the Kzinti is short on power and you are not, consider accelerating. This means that he either has to match the accel or lose the initiative.

All in all, then, I have been forced to conclude that the F5 is capable of beating the fine Kzinti FF, but it must be handled correctly in order to do so.

I'm so glad; the F5 is a great ship after all Smile
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USS Enterprise
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 3:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Only in Squadron scale. In Fleet Scale, you lose the Disruptor advantage. The Klink does seem to have the tougher time, but there's always advantages, will try this matchup.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

While the turn modes are the same at Class A,
.....
.....

the Kzinti has the better turn mode so will always move last


haven't got the ships in front of me, but something is wrong with the above.


Interesting read. Reading through it, I was wondering about what seemed to be a fixation on avoiding drones by moving fast, but then you got round to doing what I would do - take them head on (or slightly off head on), outrunning drones that last several turns just seems daft, and it gives the Kzinti those turns to reload a rack given that he won't be able to put out more drones anyway, all the time taking pot shots at you.

Defensive fire with the Ph2s can be done as Ph3 to save power.

I would say the match up is a very tough one for the Kzinti, your drones are not going to be decisve on their own, so you can't just keep the range open and shoot them. But if you close you are facing a ship that could soak up 4 drones without firing any direct fire weapons at them. firing all of them on you instead.

Whilst it may require a slightly dozy kzinti captain to be caught out, as the F5 I woud be looking for the ideal situation to be where I face 4 incoming drones and the FF at a point where I can get to range 3 in the turn. 2 disr, 2 Ph1 and 3Ph2 is 9 power, 1 for a tractor leaves 12 power or speed 24 (or 16+). If you can wiggle to put the drones on shield 3-5 you can drone 1, ADD another, tractor the 3rd and let the 4th hit. If that will give you the chance to fire all weapons out the 2 or 6 spine then you will do something in the order of 20+ damage at range 3 (trying to remember the damage charts by memory), all of it directed, and minimising the Ph3 from the FF. That is enough to do some good internals to the FF. If you are not likely to get that shot then shoot the 4th drone instead. Your chance will come again, or he will run out of drones.


Last edited by storeylf on Tue Jun 23, 2009 6:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Mike
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Haven't the drone reload rules been changed so that partial reloads are now possible?

If so, the Kzinti could reload 2 drones in a rack for 2 Repair Points and do it in one turn.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

USS Enterprise wrote:
Only in Squadron scale. In Fleet Scale, you lose the Disruptor advantage. The Klink does seem to have the tougher time, but there's always advantages, will try this matchup.


If I remember correct (I might be misremembering) the kzinti loses his ph1s.

Range >3 fire becomes 1 Disr, 1 Ph1 and 2 Ph2 vs 1 Disr. The Kzin has only a FA weapon for that sort of dueling, whereas the Klink has 360 coverage. The klink still has better shields as well.

Whats more the Kzinti lost out relatively in the drone department. He went down to 2 drones, and the Klink retained both his zero power drone defenses (drone and ADD).

The Klink doesn't need to go fast, as long as he is aggresive enough he can take out most drones that will be fired without power expenditure, a power point held back in case a tractor or Phaser is needed to cover ADD failure. Reloading drones at fleet scale is a non starter, so the poor kzinti somehow has to out shoot the better armed Klink with his 1 Disr.
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mjwest
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike wrote:
Haven't the drone reload rules been changed so that partial reloads are now possible?

If so, the Kzinti could reload 2 drones in a rack for 2 Repair Points and do it in one turn.

Yes, this is correct.

However, the FF is still hurting as it can only reload two drones in a single rack each turn. In four turns, it can cycle through and have two drones per rack. But that means it is still running away for four turns, giving the opposition a chance to catch it.
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Kang
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't forget also with the partial reloads, you can only start loading another rack once your first one is reloaded. But yes, it is still a useful trick.

Storeylf, your points are all good ones. I too found that closing on tn 1 through a max of four drones is a good way to begin the battle.

I like the idea of downfiring the Ph-2's; I have done that but I hadn't calculated the odds. Thanks for the new slant on that.
storeylf wrote:
Kang wrote:

While the turn modes are the same at Class A,
.....
.....

the Kzinti has the better turn mode so will always move last


haven't got the ships in front of me, but something is wrong with the above.

Duh. You are quite right. Bad proofreading on my part, that.

And USS-E, yes, fleet and squadron scale will be very different; we always play Sqn scale for single-ship actions as we feel that the individuality of the ships is kinda lost in Fleet scale. However in a fleet action, there is no substitute for Fleet Scale; the flavour of the ships relative to each other is preserved when you don't look too closely. But I take your point.
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mjwest
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kang wrote:
Don't forget also with the partial reloads, you can only start loading another rack once your first one is reloaded. But yes, it is still a useful trick.


That only applies within a given turn. So, with two repair points and completely empty racks, the FF could reload two drones in a single rack, or one drone in a single rack and do something else with the other one (repair a hull box?). It could not reload one drone in two racks.

However, that restriction is "reset" over the turn break. So, on turn #1 you can reload two drones in a single rack. On turn #2, you can then reload two drones in a different rack if you want; you don't have to finish the original rack unless you want to.

The restriction is there for the cruisers and bigger ships. It is not there for the frigates and destroyers.
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Kang
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah. Cool, thanks for the clarification, Mike. I will revisit those rules and engrave them on my mind Smile
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Kang
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mjwest wrote:
...But that means it is still running away for four turns, giving the opposition a chance to catch it.

And therein lies the rub, as they say. That thread I referred to earlier about catching a running ship on a location map still applies. In four turns he will have been caught. And four turns is only eight drones, too. Plus while the FF is running, the F5 can be reloading his ADD rack too....
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Wolverin61
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When are you publishing the tactics manual, Tony? Wink
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kang wrote:

I like the idea of downfiring the Ph-2's; I have done that but I hadn't calculated the odds. Thanks for the new slant on that.


I initially quoted odds for the wrong thing.

What I was thinking about was 4 drones incoming. 1 taken out by the drone, 1 by the ADD (hopefully). If there are 2 left then you can spend 2 power to knock them out with the Ph2s. Or if power is needed more than the guaranteed kills then you can down grade to Ph3s during defensive fire. That leaves a chance of failing to kill drones though and falling back on the tractor and/or taking damage.

Use 2 Phasers for 1 power, saving of 1 power.
Chance of 1 leaker to be picked up by the tractor (net gain of 0) = <28%
Chance of 2 leakers, so tractor and take 12 damage = <3%

So you save a full power point about 70% of the time, but have a small chance of taking an unecessary hit (average saving 0.7).

Use 3 Phasers for 1.5 power, saving .5
Chance of leaker needing tractor (net loss of 0.5) = <19%
Chance of 2 leakers (net loss of 0.5 and damage) = <0.5%

about an 80% chance of saving 0.5 power, but with a chance of needing extra power and a very minor chance of being hit (average saving of 0.3).


If you have worked it correct and have got the drones to a shield that is not to important (and don't expect to become important) then you can probably take the hit. A burnthrough won't be taking out a tractor (holding the other drone) as long as you still have a Trans. Of course you also need to bear in mind the need to deal with a tractored drone at a later point, so the power saving is probably a case of 'buy now pay extra later'. I'd probably go for it if that extra point of power could give me the shot I really want with the accel it pays for or the ph1 it powers.
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terryoc
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Storeylf, the chance of one leaker is not less than 28%.

The chance of killing all three drones is less than 28%. For no leakers, you need to roll a 1-4 on d6 three times, so that's 0.666^3 of happening, which is around 0.28, or 28%. Roughly 72% chance of at least one drone getting through.

So relying on ADD & two p-3 will result in using a point of power 72% of the time, so the average power use is 0.5 +0.5 + 0.72 = 1.72... assuming you only ever get one leaker. One time in 27, or 3% of the time, all three will get through, forcing the use of three tractors or suffer 36 points of damage (ouch!)

Edit: crunching the #'s and taking the number of potential leakers into account, average power is actually 1.91 in total.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

terryoc wrote:
Storeylf, the chance of one leaker is not less than 28%.

The chance of killing all three drones is less than 28%. For no leakers, you need to roll a 1-4 on d6 three times, so that's 0.666^3 of happening, which is around 0.28, or 28%. Roughly 72% chance of at least one drone getting through.

So relying on ADD & two p-3 will result in using a point of power 72% of the time, so the average power use is 0.5 +0.5 + 0.72 = 1.72... assuming you only ever get one leaker. One time in 27, or 3% of the time, all three will get through, forcing the use of three tractors or suffer 36 points of damage (ouch!)

Edit: crunching the #'s and taking the number of potential leakers into account, average power is actually 1.91 in total.


Lol - I was wondering what you were on about needing 1-4, but I had a quick check of the rule book rather than 'correct' you first. All this time I've been playing defensive fire as it appears on the map (range 0) when it shoud be range 1, hence always took Ph3 as taking drones out on a 1-5.

My maths was right, it was just based on a wrong reading of a rule Embarassed

Ps I was assuming 2 drones left AFTER the ADD had worked (which it may not). i.e. ADD first, then make a choice based on what it did as to what you do with phasers.
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Kang
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 6:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wolverin61 wrote:
When are you publishing the tactics manual, Tony? Wink

Lol As soon as I finish it Wink Wink Actually, I'm just contributing; the manual project itself is in other hands. There is no deadline or anything yet, just a twinkle in its creator's eye Wink
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