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Federation / Photon Tactics

 
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Patrick Doyle
Lieutenant Commander


Joined: 18 Aug 2007
Posts: 208
Location: Norfolk, VA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2010 8:29 pm    Post subject: Federation / Photon Tactics Reply with quote

Since the online tournament has seemed to favor the Kzinti so far, I am posting som info to help the Fed players out a little. The Tactics section was the more appropriate place for this post, but it is a continuation of a discussion going on in the FC Online thread.

THE FINE POINTS of PHOTON TORPEDOES
Timing Your Attack - As a Federation ship holding overloaded torpedoes and moving at speed 24, power will be in short supply. If you can time your attack so that you attack in the beginning of the turn, you will likely have more power available because you will not have spent most of the turn using accelerations trying to get into firing position. This additional power can be used for phasers, or after you fire to accelerate away and reload.
On the other hand, if you fire on impulse 8, you will only be 9 impulses away from reloading your torpedoes and being able to fire them again.

Disruptor Armed Opponents - Once fully overloaded torpedoes are being held, Federation ships will have more firepower than disruptor armed ships. You will also be able to move at speed 24, while most disruptor armed ships must usually slow to a base speed of 16 to fire overloaded disruptors their and phasers. You must not waste this advantage because once you fire, the tables will be turned. While you are reloading you will be short on power and firepower.
Disruptor opponents will often want to engage at the end of the turn. This lets them follow up with another attack on the next turn, and allows the Klingons and Kzinti to launch back to back drone waves. If your torpedo tubes are empty, most opponents can outfight you in a close in battle. Avoid the temptation to stick around and dogfight. Leave and re-load.

Always Have an Out - When you make your attack you must do so with an escape plan in mind. This means you need to be able to get as far away from the enemy as possible. Distance will minimize the amount of damage you receive while you are reloading. You must know how you will survive your rearming turn before firing. Will you run away using evasive maneuvers? Will you move fast and only re-load a couple torpedoes or will you move slowly and fully reload all of your torpedoes?
The Smart Opponent – This is the opponent that knows the weaknesses of the photon torpedo and will not be intimidated by it. They will not turn and run in a vain attempt to get away. He or she will not obligingly fly into point blank range and give you the perfect shot. This opponent offers you shots, but not good shots. They ensure that they end an impulse at range 5 rather than range 4 or range three rather than range two. In a fleet battle they make sure to end impulses on shield boundaries so that fire from ships in the same hex must be distributed over two shields. They may send escorts ahead using evasive maneuvers to get close before they attack. These are some of the things you must prepare for and counter when you see them.
For example, you are approaching an opponent head on and both of you are moving at speed 24. You end an impulse at a range of 5 hexes, so you choose not to fire. The following impulse your enemy accelerates. If you continue approaching, your enemy will be 2 hexes behind you at the end of the impulse. As a Federation player, you must be prepared to cancel movement points to ensure the enemy cannot deny you a close shot. This requires you to look ahead. Unfortunately, cancelling movement will use power that could have gone into your phasers. The wily opponent will make you pay for a good shot opportunity.
Finally, beware of the Klingon (or anyone else with more transporters than you, which by the way is everyone!) at range 5. They will use marine raids to disable torpedoes while they are being reloaded or, even worse, raid them before you have had a chance to fire them. The bottom line is that a savvy opponent will make you work for a good shot and focus on disabling torpedoes. Be ready to avoid these pitfalls, nobody said it would be a walk in the park.

Firing Half Now, Half Later – Some people will only fire half of their torpedoes on a ship and save the other half for next turn. One of the advantages of the Federation is that they can produce a large amount of damage in a single burst. This firing plan simultaneously negates the Federation’s firepower advantage and mitigates the disadvantage of reloading. Basically the enemy always has a reason “to kind-of fear you, but not really”. Tactics is about successfully applying your strengths. This plan, while seemingly safe, does not meet that standard when fighting a duel.
Also, since you will always be reloading and trying to overload half your torpedoes, you will be held to a slower speed and possibly forced into close in dogfighting. This is not a place where Federation ships excel.
While individual ships should not follow the half now-half later plan, this idea has some merit when employed by a fleet of ships. One ship can fire all its torpedoes and another ship can save its torpedoes to cover the escape of the reloading ship(s). This means that any enemy ship getting too close will always have to consider the possibility of being hit by torpedoes in addition to the phasers from the reloading ships.
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newportgames
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Joined: 03 Jul 2011
Posts: 4
Location: Covington Kentucky

PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Enjoyed your article. I just opened Federation Commander box a few days ago I am trying to consider which side to play at the moment. My first impulse is Federation but I tend to be drawn to the dark side of the force (Klingon).

I will read up on the Klingon weapons tomorrow. Maybe we can play a game sometime. I am just on the other side of the river from you.

PS. We have a historical game club which meets on the second Sunday of the month from 1:30 PM to 6 PM. Stop by.
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Patrick Doyle
Lieutenant Commander


Joined: 18 Aug 2007
Posts: 208
Location: Norfolk, VA

PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had not updated my profile for a while. I am actually living in Norfolk, VA right now but still make to Cincinnati sometimes. I am glad you enjoyed the article. Fed Com is a tactically rich and fun game so I hope you enjoy it.
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Kang
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Joined: 23 Sep 2007
Posts: 1955
Location: Devon, UK

PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 7:17 am    Post subject: Re: Federation / Photon Tactics Reply with quote

Great article as always, Pat, and thanks for sharing your wisdom with us.

I wonder if you could please clarify one point you made which, pardon me for being dense, I could not quite grasp -

Patrick Doyle wrote:
On the other hand, if you fire on impulse 8, you will only be 9 impulses away from reloading your torpedoes and being able to fire them again.


- although I understand the impulses aspect, I couldn't work out if this is a Good Thing or a Bad Thing. Personally I can see the benefits - I think - in that you maintain the credible threat for longer, and it's not going to be too long before you can fire again. But the converse is that you may have had to run around the board burning power to no visible purpose short of chasing him into position - was that what you meant?
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semperatis
Lieutenant Commander


Joined: 07 May 2009
Posts: 275
Location: Glasgow,Scotland

PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that it really on depends on whether or not the last volley hit or missed.If it hit,then the target is going to be low on either power/weapons or both,so it's easier to reload and hit the target again,(that's the good point). If however,the photons missed,then 9 impulses is a long time to be trying to run/recharge/maneuver,( the bad point).

I think that's what he was getting at Kang.
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storeylf
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Joined: 24 Jul 2008
Posts: 1876

PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
But the converse is that you may have had to run around the board burning power to no visible purpose short of chasing him into position


From a post I made yesterday - our Fed vs Klink campaign.

Quote:
At the start of turn 2 I closed to range 12. I had a good number of drones coming at me and was lacking in power to keep up with the klinks through out the turn (I really wanted to be at range 12 at end of turn 1)


Note this was a fully floating map, so it was somewhat different to Patricks article which I think is aimed at a tourney map, holding overloads on a fully floating map vs klingons is largely out of the question.

The reason I said I wanted the range 12 shot at end of turn 1 was for precisely the reasn patrick stated. It means that I only have 9 impulses to go before I have photons back up. Whilst the klingon can close he will not be able to do much during those 9 impulses, as all his power is going into movement, unless he is just going to accept the long range shot at your back shields rather than try and close. At the end of the reload turn there is a chance you will find the klingon has closed and now is in overload range just as your photons come back up. But he will not have punished you due to lack of power in the intervening turn.

On the other hand I lost that game because I took the impulse 1 shot and then had 16 impulses to go before photons were up, and 7 impulses with naff all power or weapons to use on that turn. I had still had to use what little power I had left to accelerate, so I didn't really save on accel power by firing early. In fact my other mistake in that game was that I fired photons and phasers on impulse 1, that left me with too little power to accelerate with, and I was eventually caught by an E4 and tractored with 10 drones right next to me.


Last edited by storeylf on Sun Jul 03, 2011 11:29 am; edited 1 time in total
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Kang
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Joined: 23 Sep 2007
Posts: 1955
Location: Devon, UK

PostPosted: Sun Jul 03, 2011 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm, yes, interesting. Thanks, Lee. A real life example makes it much clearer, thanks.

I need to get my thinking brain into gear (with apologies to our friends across the pond who don't know what gears are Wink) because I'm trying to finish off an article for the Tactics Manual. No good if the brain's not in gear....
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