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Frigate and small-ship tactics

 
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Kang
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Joined: 23 Sep 2007
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Location: Devon, UK

PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 2:28 pm    Post subject: Frigate and small-ship tactics Reply with quote

I have started this thread for a number of reasons. Firstly, there is a dearth of small-ship tactics on the forum. Secondly, I am currently writing an article on frigate tactics for the proposed Federation Commander Tactics Manual, and I am after ideas. Contributions are therefore invited from forum members. Any such contributions to this thread may well be incorporated into that article, and if I do incorporate any ideas I will issue a general credit, something like ‘This article is composed from ideas from members of the Federation Commander forums’.

Here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling. In most cases I am assuming that we’re fighting a small-ship duel; small ships in fleet actions call for a different set of tactics entirely. Such tactics are, of course, still most welcome is anyone has some to contribute!

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

Damage on a frigate takes so much more time to repair, so this means that all damage can be critical. Damage is particularly bad for drone-armed ships because the repair points are required for reloading the racks.

Losing one power point on a frigate reduces that frigate’s speed, all other things being equal, by the inverse of the movement cost. By this, I mean that a frigate with a movement cost of ¼ loses a possible four hexes of movement per turn, as opposed to two hexes of movement for a ship with a move cost of ½. Not all frigates have the power curve to cope with this, especially given the slow repairs on frigates.

A breakdown is catastrophic on a frigate. If you have used your free high-energy turn, only perform another if you are desperate.

Remember to take hits on critical systems on Frame, especially important for those systems where you have only one, such as your Tractor. Ok, it increases your chances of blowing up your ship, but by the time you get compulsory Frame hits, your ship is going to blow up anyway.

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.

If you can get a close-in shot at a downed shield - at one hex range - use a phaser-3 [or phaser-1 or 2 downfired as a phaser-3] with directed targeting of your choice. It costs only half a point of power and not only will you have a 50% chance of hitting the systems of your choice, but you will also hit the first three rows, which are always the meaty ones. If you are short on power towards the end of a turn - or even the game - this can be a really good tactic. Of course, if there is any chance he may want to tractor you, it would be better to do this at two hexes’ range!

Move proportions. If a cruiser accelerates, it uses power equivalent to firing a phaser, which means that it may have to choose between the two options. For a frigate, an acceleration is not as power-hungry and may leave enough power for other functions even if the ship is short on power. This means that frigates in some circumstances may be able to capitalize more on their manoueuvrability in more ways than simply by having a good turn mode.

When running away to reload, maximize your rear shields by rotating five boxes from adjacent shields. The proportion of your shield restored is greater for a frigate than for a cruiser, and given that you will likely be under fire from another small ship, this may well be more than sufficient to deflect his pursuit firepower.
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Mike
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Joined: 07 May 2007
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Location: South Carolina

PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Directed Targeting

As hinted at in the first post, use directed targeting against opponent frigates wisely. If your opponent has already used his heavy weapon(s) against you in the current Turn and there are several more Impulses remaining, consider directing against his power systems. The power won't be reduced until the next Turn, but you have a 50% chance to cause damage to 3 power boxes. That will cost him 9 repair points on future Turns. Two of those power points would be required to fire a heavy weapon, so even though you may not have damaged a heavy weapon, you will force him to choose between not using a heavy weapon on the next Turn so he can do other things with that power, or using the heavy weapon and not doing those other things.


Last edited by Mike on Wed Jun 24, 2009 2:39 am; edited 1 time in total
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Mike
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Skip to a Frame

If you are taking damage and see that a crucial system will be hit after some "skips" in the DAC (Damage Allocation Chart), consider taking Frame hits instead of some of the skips. Since an overwhelming close range alpha strike can render your ship all but useless anyway, taking a couple of Frame hits to protect a valuable system box might be a good trade.
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USS Enterprise
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Joined: 27 Feb 2009
Posts: 376
Location: Vulcan

PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am assuming these are "In a vaccum" Tactics. If so, you seem to be right on, but here are some tactics for the individual frigates in FCKB (Squadron scale.)

Fed FF- The easiest Frigate to play IMO. Try to catch hem straight ahead of you because then all weapons can hit. Don't overload both Torps at once because of power limitations when firing at 5-8, but inside the Range 4 Rubicon, the Photons are your best weapon.

Klingon F5- One of the hardest Frigates to play, your Klingon F5 Article covers it better then I could.

Kzinti- Drones and Phasers are your best friend. USe drones to lure the enemy away (Fed, Orion) or closer (Klingon, thloian) when playing the Klinks or Tholians overload DISR otherwise not.

Will return with more.
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Mike
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Photon Fling

Lots of damage all at one time can be devastating to a small ship such as a frigate. If you are using a Federation frigate (with 2 photons) or some other small ship with photons, consider using the "Photon Fling" tactic. Launch your photons from a range of 8 to 10 hexes.

Firing photons at an extended range could have dramatic effects. If they miss, or if only one out of two hit, you can always turn away. With a power-to-movement cost ratio of 1:4, just about any frigate can turn tail and accelerate away from an opponent without allowing the opponent to get much closer.

Photons do 8 points of damage regardless of the range, if they hit. Two hits by standard photons can be enough to severely weaken a shield and perhaps even bring it down completely. Add to that the possibility of directing the targeting against weapons and including one or two Ph-1 shots in the volley and you could be looking at almost disarming an opponent in one shot.

You're probably going to run and reload after using photons anyway, so consider firing them from a range your opponent doesn't expect and can do little about in retaliation.


Last edited by Mike on Wed Jun 24, 2009 2:40 am; edited 1 time in total
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Mike
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Turn on a Dime

Don't forget about deceleration to advance your Turn Mode count. If you need to turn without moving farther from or closer to an opponent, use deceleration to skip those Sub-Pulses in which you are supposed to move. That advances your Turn Mode count. Since frigates typically have low Turn Mode counts, you'll be able to turn your ship in no time and move on in a different direction.

In addition, if you want to keep ahead or even in the order of movement, use acceleration at the start of an Impulse. A speed of 24+ is faster than a speed of 24 and rewards you with the ability to move after seeing what your opponent will do in a 4th Sub-Pulse. Acceleration combined with selective deceleration can give you cheap maneuverability.
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storeylf
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Joined: 24 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike wrote:
Turn on a Dime

In addition, if you want to keep ahead or even in the order of movement, use acceleration at the start of an Impulse.


[edit] I think I was misreading your post.
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Kang
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Joined: 23 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike wrote:
Turn on a Dime

Don't forget about deceleration to advance your Turn Mode count. If you need to turn without moving farther from or closer to an opponent, use deceleration to skip those Sub-Pulses in which you are supposed to move. That advances your Turn Mode count. Since frigates typically have low Turn Mode counts, you'll be able to turn your ship in no time and move on in a different direction.

In addition, if you want to keep ahead or even in the order of movement, use acceleration at the start of an Impulse. A speed of 24+ is faster than a speed of 24 and rewards you with the ability to move after seeing what your opponent will do in a 4th Sub-Pulse. Acceleration combined with selective deceleration can give you cheap maneuverability.


...and because of the 'Move Proportions' point above, this comes much cheaper on a frigate, especially on those with a 1/4 move cost.
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Kang
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can I just ping this topic once, to make sure I've got all the contributions folks would like to make.

Thanks!
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terryoc
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In general, frigates can be treated just like large ships if the frigate is facing an equivalently-sized opponent. It's in major battles they fly differently.

Frigates in FC are the equivalent of PFs in SFB... eggshells armed with sledgehammers. A squadron of three frigates has the same firepower as a DN, but far more maneuverability. On the other hand, seventy damage points will blow up a frigate, permanently reducing the squadron's firepower by a third. 70 points in one hit on a DN will blow down a shield, take out some weapons and power, and chew through a bunch of stuffing, but not even come close to crippling it...
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