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Romulan vs Fed Thoughts

 
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duxvolantis
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 5:24 pm    Post subject: Romulan vs Fed Thoughts Reply with quote

I've now played 3 scenarios against Federation and here are my initial observations on Romulans (ie: cloak and plasma) vs the flatheads.

First, two caveats here. One: I am an experiencedl SFB player (but new to FC) while the Fed players are new to the game with about 10 battles or so total experience. They are good wargamers however. Each successive battle has been closer than the previous one.

Caveat two: The campaign has several house rules with significant implications: 1) most scenarios have started at the old SFB equivalent of WS III (everything armed and held at players decision). This is pretty much a wash as both Fed and Rom benefit. 2) as a campaign, we are playing with progression for key officers. One of the Fed players has, for all practical purposes, the ability to fire one spread of weapons per turn at -1 on the die. This is a major p.i.t.a. Razz 3) Each race has one "special ability" drawn from SFB. Plasma races can use SFB-style "rolling delay" and fire envelopers. The Feds have a huge list of ships to choose from meaning they can take losses and still have good ships to fall back into for the next scenario. If I lose my K7R will be replaced with a KR or maybe even a WE.

That being said here are what I have taken away so far:

1) Unless the scenario forces it, on a floating map the Fed player only gets to shoot photons if the Romulan wants him to. I have not made heavy use of cloak (due to campaign rules I've been flying a Kestrel), choosing instead to use speed and maneuverability. The KRT/K7R has a great power curve so I've been able to keep speed up even when re-arming and control the range.

2) When running at 24 a Fed CA only has 4 points of power. To date the Fed players have been hauling around full overloads meaning they have to choose between a few impluses of 24+1 or firing phasers. The Romulan power curve has let me keep plasma in the air and still unload phasers and accelerate with wide flexibility.

3) Plasma is very powerful against bases--as was true in SFB.

4) The Kestrel class cruisers have a huge problem making much use of the cloaking device against the Federation. Speed and distance (maybe with EM now and then) is just as effective and less expensive. The Eagle-class Romulans have a lot more use cases for cloak. I have yet to have the luxury of flying a Hawk (too early in the campaign).

5) When it can be used, however, the cloak is pretty effective against Feds. As long as you avoid range 0 they cannot get a better hit chance than 1-3 and even those that hit are halved. There is still a chance for hot photon dice to make it hurt the Rom badly, but hot photon dice have always been a factor when playing Feds.

6) Against waddling Feds getting plasma bolt shots is pretty easy. Honestly I've been trying very hard to use fine tune my use of seeking plasma and saving bolts for later, but I've seen many situations where I could easily get a range 10 shot with an S and and F and several P-1s and safely turn away due to the nice Kestrel turn mode to avoid the range-8 shot. In Hawks it will be even more compelling due to the FP arcs on the heavy plasma.

7) The strategy of focusing on the Fed's rear shields has been so-so as the new shield shifting rules really dumbs down some of the subtler benefits of good maneuver skills. This goes double for the elimination of the facing-phaser damage rules. In SFB you could get on a Feds tail, nip away at the weaker rear shields and kill his rear-firing phasers and then do all sorts of nastiness while he has to choose between either just taking it or HET'ing into plasma. (I am always happy when a DF race HETs. Worst case I HET away. Best case he eats some plasma for his troubles.)

Cool A Federation ship cannot win a tractor auction if speed is high. In squadron/fleet actions this means that the Fed might end up trading a crippled Rom (which can still launch his plasma!) for a destroyed Fed. The anchor is still riskier for the Romulan as he is not durable, but if the Fed has fired there is no downside for having a ship run in and tractor it.
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mojo jojo
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are some obvious counters for the Feds:

1) Bring some Kzinti allies... Twisted Evil

2) If it's an open map, don't hold overloads. A spread of Fed torps from 12 hexes can still be extremely nasty. Or maybe fire 2 per turn and be ready to zip in close if the Roms run out of plasma. On a closed map, it's ok to hold overloads since you're pretty much guaranteed an 8 hex shot at some point.

3) If power is a problem, just use a CS instead of a CA. The CS was also historically used on the Romulan front and is simply a better ship than the CA. Also the smaller ships such as the NCL, DW, and FF are pretty damn good.

4) Save the few drones you have until either the Roms start cloaking, or they have a low speed and have shot out their phasers or maybe to finish off a cripple.

5) Don't forget that you can chew up a ton of plasma with your phasers. A 3 NCA/CA/CS squadron can probably chew up about 60-70 pts of plasma and still have direct fire superiority with photons over a corresponding Rom fleet. Force the Roms to burn more than that much plasma to make you run.
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duxvolantis
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mojo jojo wrote:
Here are some obvious counters for the Feds:

1) Bring some Kzinti allies... Twisted Evil

2) If it's an open map, don't hold overloads. A spread of Fed torps from 12 hexes can still be extremely nasty. Or maybe fire 2 per turn and be ready to zip in close if the Roms run out of plasma. On a closed map, it's ok to hold overloads since you're pretty much guaranteed an 8 hex shot at some point.

3) If power is a problem, just use a CS instead of a CA. The CS was also historically used on the Romulan front and is simply a better ship than the CA. Also the smaller ships such as the NCL, DW, and FF are pretty damn good.

4) Save the few drones you have until either the Roms start cloaking, or they have a low speed and have shot out their phasers or maybe to finish off a cripple.

5) Don't forget that you can chew up a ton of plasma with your phasers. A 3 NCA/CA/CS squadron can probably chew up about 60-70 pts of plasma and still have direct fire superiority with photons over a corresponding Rom fleet. Force the Roms to burn more than that much plasma to make you run.


1) Yup. That's up to the guy running the campaign. I'm sure I'll have to deal with them sooner or later. But Kzinti are a LOOONG way from Romulan space.

2) I agree with this wholeheartedly. Indeed after the last fight I suggested to the Feds that holding full overloads is a mistake. (I hate giving advice to someone I don't really know well that I just beat--it can be received negatively.)

3) CS not yet available in their pool of ships. I agree however, as that ship has a better power curve.

4) Yes. This has been a factor in limiting my cloaking options although, TBH, 1 drone per turn is not a big deal to deal with unless the entire fleet cloaks.

5) Yes. However that is not easy to do at speed 24 in the ships they currently have at their disposal (note that I don't have the best ships either, although I am growing fonder of the Kestrels).

And, much boils down to the captain. I think I can beat Romulans with Feds Razz But then I'm incredibly overcompetitive Smile
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mojo jojo
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you don't mind me asking, what ships are available and what are the parameters of your typical scenario? I can probably give a more educated response once I know this information. Smile
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duxvolantis
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mojo jojo wrote:
If you don't mind me asking, what ships are available and what are the parameters of your typical scenario? I can probably give a more educated response once I know this information. Smile


Right now it is still pretty early. No carriers outside Hydran space. No scouts are available to players (not sure if that is because they are attached to major fleets or because scouts are not yet being built).

I don't have a ship list (just joined the campaign) but it looks to me like Feds have CA and a very few CCs (two less than they started with *evil grin*). No BCs yet. They do have access to the DN once they accumulate enough points. This is early enough that the scenarios will include old CLs at times.

The best ship available to me is the K7R. No D5 variants yet and KRCs are not yet available to me. I can access pretty much all the Eagles (except the Vulture.. not enough 'command status' to get a DN). None of the Hawks have rolled off the line. I can get as many War Eagles and Snipes blown up as I want but the Kestrels are limited in supply.
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Nerroth
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you using any of the unrefitted Middle Years ships from Briefing #2, or just the versions from the Main Era?

Also, I'm not too sure how well some of the experience here might help elsewhere; allowing things like envelopers makes things quite different for the plasma empires, especially in the absence of some of the SFB rules that might potentially counter-balance it (such as proximity photons).
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duxvolantis
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nerroth wrote:
Are you using any of the unrefitted Middle Years ships from Briefing #2, or just the versions from the Main Era?

Also, I'm not too sure how well some of the experience here might help elsewhere; allowing things like envelopers makes things quite different for the plasma empires, especially in the absence of some of the SFB rules that might potentially counter-balance it (such as proximity photons).


I don't really know what the guy running the campaign's rationale for choosing what ships are in and out. We are not using the unrefitted Middle Years so it is all Main Era.

As for the envelopers, I see your point. So far they have yet to be a factor (other than costing twice as much energy to cause the Fed to run away). We'll see how they work out if I get to use them decisively. It is a shame that along with simplification of the rules for faster play so much of the variety got chopped as well.
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terryoc
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you can't invite Kzintis to the party, an NCD will do. Also favouring the drone-armed variants would help: strike cruiser (2 racks), BCG (4 racks). Edit: NCA has two racks too.
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duxvolantis
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

terryoc wrote:
If you can't invite Kzintis to the party, an NCD will do. Also favouring the drone-armed variants would help: strike cruiser (2 racks), BCG (4 racks). Edit: NCA has two racks too.

Not available to the Fed players yet.

As soon as they get the newer ships and learn how to fight plasma better I think life will become very hard for me.

Drones seem to be the ultimate cloak nullifier. Which is unfortunate since 80% of the galaxy has them.
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Nerroth
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 4:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it's any consolation, the galaxy is a bigger place than it used to be; the ratio of drone-chuckers out there isn't as high as you might think.
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duxvolantis
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nerroth wrote:
If it's any consolation, the galaxy is a bigger place than it used to be; the ratio of drone-chuckers out there isn't as high as you might think.


Very nice.
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Nerroth
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sure is.

(Both within and beyond the Milky Way, SFB has a lot of different empires by this point. With the Omega Octant, the Lesser Magellanic Cloud, the Triangulum Galaxy and elsewhere, one is certainly not shy of choice...)


Speaking of Omega, the plasma comparison is one thing I found interesting with the ongoing FC conversion project. In SFB, Alpha Octant plasmas have things like pseudos, envelopers and sabots on offer; the plasma-like weapons used by the likes of the Trobrin and Probr don't have many of those features (though they do have cool tricks of their own). In FC, where the likes of pseudos don't exist, things might go a little differently...
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duxvolantis
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:09 pm    Post subject: More thoughts Reply with quote

Okay going to weigh in now. We've now played probably 20 scenarios involving plasma and *seeking plasma* is just plain broken due to the power curves in FC.

Ships are just too fast to ever be struck by plasma and even if struck it is at a time and with an amount of damage that is totally within control of the direct fire race.

Let us compare what a Fed CA can do in FC that the same ship in SFB cannot hope to do:

Turn 2, all weapons armed, full overloaded photons held, batteries recharged.
Energy Plot:
Speed 24
Hold Photons 8
Unallocated Energy: 4
Batteries: 4

That leaves enough energy to get the best possible shot (range-8 probably, maybe range-4) and then use a HET (likely if close) or simply a turn and accelerate. If there is no HET, Fed can go 24+1 the entire turn. If there is a HET the Fed can go 24+1 for 3 key impulses to drag F's down to nothing and S's down to minimal.

Facing this reality, the Romulan has a couple of choices (assume, for a moment here, no bolts):
He can launch at a range that forces the Fed to eat plasma to get a Range-8 shot. The problem here is that such a launch will literally throw the torps away (and it has to be an S+F or it is no real deterrent) because the Fed can make one turn or even just sideslip some and drop the plasma down enough to just use a batt or two for phasers and take it on a side shield.

If he holds plasma and lets the Fed close hoping to force a turn-or-accept-damage decision at range 5, he runs the risk that the Fed shoots at 8 and HETs to run out the plasma. Really there is nothing (other than scenario) preventing the Fed from doing so. If he gets lucky, game over. If he hits average, down shield. If he misses, the fight just got two turns longer and maybe the Romulan plinks his rear shields some (which is made much less effective by FC shield shifting).

The Fed can rinse-repeat these tactics and will eventually win and there is nothing (short of bolting... please stay with my premise for a minute) that the Romulan can do if the Fed has the right combination of patience and aggression.

The reason this is a winning scenario for the Fed is the very high speed curve while holding full OVL (or worse, a smart Fed with a couple partial overloads) and the lack of so many of the tools that used to be in the plasma toolkit to bridge the gap during re-arm, the key being pseudos.

In SFB the same Fed ship with full overloads (note that in SFB phasers are charged and then held at zero cost, let's assume Weapon Status 3 for now, which means phaser capacitors full):

30 Warp
4 Impluse (cannot be used for photons. 1 pt for movement)
2 AWR (reactor that can be used for photons but not movement)
4 batt

Energy Plot
Total Power: 36
Discharge Batteries +4
Recharge batteries from Warp -4 to create 4 Reserve Warp

Total effective power after "battery cycle":
26 Warp
4 Impulse
4 Battery
4 Reserve Warp (some ppl would do 3 reserve warp and 1 reserve imp)
2 AWR
Energy Plot:
Mandatory expenditures:
Hold Photons: (Cool 2 AWR + 6 Warp for photons
Housekeeping: (4) 4 Power (the 4 discharged Batteries)

Remaining power:
20 Warp
4 Impulse
4 Reserve Warp

Max Movement (number of hexes that can be moved that turn): 21
Max Movement with Reserve Warp: 25

Okay, that is still pretty fast but what other effects might we need to consider?
ECM, Tractor beams, Charging a Wild Weasel, etc.

So realistically the sustained speed of a Fed cruiser in SFB was based around the 17/24 speed plot with the ability to go much faster once.

In FC the same ship can plot 24 and accelerate to 28 without discharging batteries.

Sure, he can't fire phasers if he goes too fast, but he doesn't really need to. All he needs to do is head straight in and decide how to react depending on how much plasma the Romulan launches. If the Rom launches enough that you have to turn away, he's disarmed himself for 2-3 turns. If he doesn't just eat the plasma (with selective sideslips and phasers) on a non-front shield and keep coming in.

Conclusion?
Against the Federation, if he wants to do internals, the Romulan is a direct-fire ship with a 3-turn arming cycle.
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Nerroth
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you considered experimenting with a sabot plasma upgrade?

In SFB, late-era plasma ships (Alpha ones, that is; Y180 or later) have the ability to pay a certain BPV premium to upgrade their torps to sabots; this allows them to travel at speed 40.

I don't know the exact cost formula, but to give one example, the King Shrike in Captain's Log #41 pays an extra 18 points for its sabot refit, while the Gorn and ISC BBLs pay 17.5 and 13.5 (for the 4-PPD variant; the 4-Pl-S version pays 17.5 instead) respectively.

Not sure whether or not there ought to be a specific movement sub-pulse the fifth movement point should be used. It should probably be used in tandem with the speed-32 late drone option, though.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 9:28 pm    Post subject: Re: More thoughts Reply with quote

Quote:

Sure, he can't fire phasers if he goes too fast, but he doesn't really need to. All he needs to do is head straight in and decide how to react depending on how much plasma the Romulan launches. If the Rom launches enough that you have to turn away, he's disarmed himself for 2-3 turns. If he doesn't just eat the plasma (with selective sideslips and phasers) on a non-front shield and keep coming in.


What change do you make against a Sparrowhawk that can out run you, out turn you, hold plasma and fire all phasers (5*1s and 4*3s) without dipping into 5 batteries just decides to out phaser you instead beyond range/arc of your overloads? Running around with range 8 weapons on a bad turn mode and not enough power for much else does not always translate into a game winning tactic even against plasma races.

A Fed who has HET'd away is probably never going to get his target back in FA again without another more risky HET. The Rom of course has his HET for whatever purpose suits him, the Fed is not in quite the same position - e.g If he HETs on a ship behind him he can't readily HET away from the plasma that follows. If he HETs for another reason that isn't game winning he hasn't got it left for an escape from plasma.

A plasma ship behind you is nasty as hell, you must go fast to outrun any plasma, you are probably getting out phasered due to arc and/or power issues, and you can't turn out of it easily. Once a few power is down (and the plasma ship should usually be aiming at power) and the ship is finding it more difficult to run ...
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