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Base Smashing, Romulan Style
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duxvolantis
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:00 pm    Post subject: Base Smashing, Romulan Style Reply with quote

All Starbase/BATS assaults are going to prove costly for the attacker. However there is a way to limit the damage taken by the Romulan fleet by taking advantage of the cloaking device to launch plasma from close range without facing overloaded heavy weapons in return.

[Note that the size, disposition and aggressiveness of any defending fleet will have implications but nonetheless this is a very sound strategy.]

Conditions:
All ships must be cloaked the turn before to allow a re-cloak.

Timing based on the rotation of the base is also a factor. Against a speed 2 base you will want to execute the maneuver to start on Impluse 1. Against a speed 1 base you will want to start the maneuver on Impulse 3. You can go later but you will need to complete the entire maneuver including the plasma impact without the base rotating. Ideally you will time it such that you can get 2 turns in.

Do not execute after impulse 5 no matter what. You will suffer disappointment.

Ships should be going 16. This will work for slower ships but you'll have to be able to accelerate for two impulses.

The approach:
Find a hexrow directly lined up with the base, it doesn't matter which one, and count 5 rows to one side or another. You will approach straight down this hexrow. If you have to turn make sure your turn mode is fulfilled before getting close.

Time your approach to arrive at a range of 10 on the impulse you want to start the maneuver. For example against a speed 2 rotation base we would want to arrive at range 10 on impulse 1.

The maneuver:
During the Other operations, announce Fade-in. Note that this comes before offensive fire so up to this point the base could have fired, but it would have been into a +4 range and at half damage.

On the next impulse move directly forward two spaces. This will place you in a hex where you can fire any plasma that is LP, RP, FA or FP. In other words, every plasma on just about every ship in the fleet.

During offensive fire we will of course do nothing. The base can choose to fire phasers or non-overloaded weapons (we still have +4 range so overloads are not going to help). At effective range of 12 phaser IV's are effective (avg damage 6.5) but hardly devastating. Obviously this will work particularly well against Feds who are likely (esp if they are playing lazy) to have just overloaded all the photons to deter an overrun). Against disruptor races this will hurt more as you'll take another 30 internals. But in either case if the base chooses to hurt a ship they will be accepting the fact that they are going to eat a lot of plasma.

During Other we come out of cloak.
During Launch we launch everything (well, launch enough that it will make this damage and risk of the run worthwhile).

[Figure his max defense is shield+reserve energy+10 per phaser IV. Against a Starbase this is going to be about 200 so this really is a "launch the kitchen sink" maneuver. One subtle point: if you launch so much the base is hopeless there is no reason for him not to just fire at your ships. If, however, you launch enough that he can avoid destruction but you can still hurt him really bad he might save his phasers to prolong the battle. You'll have to rinse-repeat but in this scenario the base will do almost no damage to you.]

4 King Eagles (600 points) can put 328 points of plasma into the base and with their good all-around shields and armor they make a good candidate. K7R's have a little bit more plasma (368 at range 8 ) but are little bit more expensive than the King Eagles. Either of these would be able to do enough internals that they could kill an unsupported Starbase.

[Note that the other beauty of the approach is that a ship with a down front or side shield can make the exact same approach and during the turn of the launch they will be able to choose the other shield as the one to take damage. Because of this, take any damage on a side shield first. That way you have 3 approaches worth of shielding (2/6 down first, approach from other side and lose the other shield, then can still approach the base under cloak behind a still-fresh #1.) Hexspines are your friend.]

Move your plasma carefully to avoid allowing any of the out-of-arc weapons to be used. You want to impact in such a way that the phasers he could have shot you with are the same phasers he has available to shoot the plasma with.

On the next impulse we will turn away from the base with the first move and then slip one further away putting us at range 9. We may either announce Evasive (so we can accelerate and get to a better place), simply accelerate and try to get some distance (eg: if we have some drones or plasma coming in to deal with) or re-cloak (if there are angry defenders bearing down on our now-mostly/fully plasma-less fleet.

This works stunningly well against Federation bases (who are likely to overload the photons as an overrun deterrent and likely to miss at range 10 even if they don't) and should work passingly well against disruptor races. You can't avoid the phaser 4's but you can limit their usefulness (and in a defensive-minded foe, encourage them to hold the phaser-4's to shoot plasma) and you can avoid overload range on the direct-fire races.

Against some races you might want to do range 12 instead of 8 as this will make some other things less effective (PPDs, plasma bolts).

Comments?
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Dux Volantis
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sensors, they are now technically a standard part of the rules, and we never play bases without them (they need the help). A starbase has 8 sensors that can reduce 8 plasmas by 25%. Against 4 KEs that is another 64pts (4Rs and 4Fs) of plasma negated. If you are right on another 200 pts of defense then 4 KEs are not going to do to much on the first run, but with unlimited time....

We never play base games without defending forces either, as you note that changes things a lot.


Last edited by storeylf on Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:36 am; edited 1 time in total
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terryoc
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Firstly, I think that it would be regarded as unrealistic to mass four command cruisers in one battle force for an attack. (KE's are CCs). Same with K7Rs, these ships are in short supply. The example cherry-picks the best ships for the job here. It would be more realistic to have a range of ship sizes, with the bulk of the force frigates/destroyers and some cruisers, commanded by a CC, BCH, or DN. Maybe with a specialty ship like the SpH-J in there.

Secondly, assuming the 4xKE attacking force, a defender with some guts may well hold fire until after you uncloak (and launch). Evasive action will not kick in until the impulse after you declare it, and you won't get a chance to cloak before he can fire at you. Even at Range 9, Phaser-4s are pretty good, doing a minimum of 6 damage each. If we are talking about a BATS, Five will almost knock down the shield of most Rom ships (taking reinforcement into account). With average-ish rolls, they should score internals on most cruisers. Throw in some photons and at that range you will cripple one if you are lucky (they really die pretty easily, those KE's).

Thirdly, I agree with Lee: the bases are somewhat overcosted in FC, and when setting up scenarios this needs to be borne in mind. One way of dealing with it is to use the special sensor rules.

Fourthly, the Admiral who left his starbase unprotected should be put up against a wall and shot. There's no capital punishment in the Federation, but that just means you can set the phaser rifles to "painful stun" and shoot him again. Over, and over, and over again.
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duxvolantis
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the comments.

First my presumption was a larger fleet combined and the tactical challenge is "when I am presented with the tactical opportunity to make an assault run at the base, how can I minimize my losses when I do it?". I probably should have mentioned this as a caveat up front.

In fact, the presence of, say, 450 or so points of defending ships likely makes this approach more effective if you can kill, cripple or drive off the defending ships. Whether or not you can do that is *highly* variable. That does not invalidate the usefulness of the maneuver if you are given the opportunity to use it. Indeed, if the opposition sets up or maneuvers wrong you might be able to significantly damage the base on the first pass. If you have 1000 points of ships to dump all their plasma into a 600 point starbase may be able to kill the base (at the cost of some ships)

Second, please don't focus on the example fleets. I just included as a way to relate the rough BPVs of the base to the BPVs of the attacking fleet. Clearly there would be both some defending ships as well as some additional attackers. If you want to min-max 8 Snipes is 416 points of plasma at range 8 for only 600 points Smile

Sensors are not a sole answer unless the base chooses to go total self-defense. If they choose to use sensors defensively then they will not get to use their phasers or heavy weapons offensively in any meaningful way because the fleet will either be back in cloak or under evasive before the sensors can be used to reduce the plasma. This affects the mathematics of the situation but likely not the end result as if the base does zero damage to the attacking fleet it will eventually die. The obvious extension here is that if the base has a fleet that has merely been driven away, or if the scenario has reinforcements scheduled or if the Romulan tries this as an early turn gambit then using everything defensively is the way to go. But if the defending fleet has been neutralized in some way then the base has a devils choice: die now with some payback or die later without it.

As for the base reaching out and doing damage, I did point out that the phaser IV's will can inflict meaningful damage (about 30-35 internals with phasers) if the defender chooses to shoot at range 9-10 after the plasma is launched or at range 8+4=12 before the launch. Adding in, for example, disruptors one cruiser will likely be in bad shape but not quite crippled from the additional 22ish damage but even then that's a trade you are willing to make because if the base fires the kitchen sink at the assaulting fleet it is going to get mauled by the plasma. PPDs or plasma bolts or other options obviously change this equation significantly and require careful consideration.

Finally, I personally do not subscribe to the "overload everything" school of Federation tactical doctrine. I've toyed with Fed fleets for far too long to place myself in a situation where I leave myself without the ability, if I choose, to reach out further than range 8. That being said I still *consistently* see this and have always consistently seen this since way back in the SFB days so there are certainly still a lot of Fed commanders choosing to overload everything. And, frankly, even if the starbase fires 11 standard photons the damage is likely to only be an additional 32 with 4 out of 11 hits (slightly better than average). Painful but not crippling. Of course if he throws a ton of 1's a ship is history, but if you want to kill stuff you have to be willing to break some eggs.

Hopefully my clarifications will make the intent of the post more clear.

I do not propose this as some sort of Romulan White Crane Stance. But hopefully it contains useful tips for Romulan commanders who need to assault a BATS or SB.
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Last edited by duxvolantis on Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Nerroth
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How differently would you handle assaults on Andromedan bases?

(Given the nature of the Andromedan invasion, the need to go after RTN nodes is far more critical an aspect of the war effort than base assaults against other Alpha Octant-based empires.)
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

duxvolantis wrote:

Sensors are not a sole answer unless the base chooses to go total self-defense. If they choose to use sensors defensively then they will not get to use their phasers or offensively in any meaningful way because the fleet will either be back in cloak or under evasive before the sensors can be used to reduce the plasma..


Not sure why use of sensors precludes use of phasers? If you mean channel blinding then remember a base is immune to that.

I wasn't implying they were a sole answer, clearly they are not. Just pointing out that as sensors are now part of the main rules that bases do get a decent boost from them, even more so if there are extra defenders who can benefit from the +1 jamming usage.

We've played a lot of base games over time, and always with extra defending forces. They are good games. A base makes a good backup for a well played defender, especially now they have sensors as well. On the other hand get it wrong and a (usually) larger attacking force will nobble the static base. As you say what happens in such games is highly variable.
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duxvolantis
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

storeylf wrote:
duxvolantis wrote:

Sensors are not a sole answer unless the base chooses to go total self-defense. If they choose to use sensors defensively then they will not get to use their phasers or offensively in any meaningful way because the fleet will either be back in cloak or under evasive before the sensors can be used to reduce the plasma..


Not sure why use of sensors precludes use of phasers? If you mean channel blinding then remember a base is immune to that.

I wasn't implying they were a sole answer, clearly they are not. Just pointing out that as sensors are now part of the main rules that bases do get a decent boost from them, even more so if there are extra defenders who can benefit from the +1 jamming usage.

We've played a lot of base games over time, and always with extra defending forces. They are good games. A base makes a good backup for a well played defender, especially now they have sensors as well. On the other hand get it wrong and a (usually) larger attacking force will nobble the static base. As you say what happens in such games is highly variable.


Good point on blinding. I forgot that. I will have to redo the math. Smile
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duxvolantis
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nerroth wrote:
How differently would you handle assaults on Andromedan bases?

(Given the nature of the Andromedan invasion, the need to go after RTN nodes is far more critical an aspect of the war effort than base assaults against other Alpha Octant-based empires.)


Dramatically I would suspect. I've not really studied or played against the Andros at all since picking the SFU back up with FC.

Now give me enveloping torpedos and we'll talk Smile
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andro bases (as they currently exist in FC) are pretty weak, and andros in large actions are even weaker.

A BATs (the largest base in FC at the moment, 500pts) has 60 point panels, and can muster 8 phaser 2s and 6 TRHs at best on any arc. Sure the 60 pt panel regens fast, but it will take a lot of damage on each attack from most attacking forces whilst not doing a huge amount back if they hold the right range. If it uses TTRHs then it is largely defensless for a turn rearming whilst the attackers close and finish it off.

Bases need heavy hitting firepower every turn to have a chance.
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duxvolantis
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

storeylf wrote:

We've played a lot of base games over time, and always with extra defending forces. They are good games. A base makes a good backup for a well played defender, especially now they have sensors as well. On the other hand get it wrong and a (usually) larger attacking force will nobble the static base. As you say what happens in such games is highly variable.


To continue the discussion, how would you array and maneuver your forces to defend a base against Romulans?

If one assumes, say, ~1000 points of attackers and ~500 points in ships to go with the base (for 1100 pts) what would be your overall strategy?

Attacking forces (1017): CNH (263), FHK (179), SPC (140), SPJ (173), SK (102), 2xSEA (160)

Defending Forces (1124): NCC (176), 2xNCL (250), DW (98 ), SB (600).
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mjwest
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

terryoc wrote:
Firstly, I think that it would be regarded as unrealistic to mass four command cruisers in one battle force for an attack. (KE's are CCs). Same with K7Rs, these ships are in short supply.

Quick note: You are making reference to SFB S8 restrictions. As such, do remember that King Eagles are a (actually, the) called out exception to (S8.36). As such, you can have a squadron of four King Eagles attacking a base if you want, and you can do it in SFB, too.

And, for the K7R, while there were "historically" only three of them, that isn't really much of a limitation in Federation Commander, where even the Battleships exist, and the Fed DDF gains more fame than it does with its short, ignominious life in SFB.

So, the 4xKE fleet is totally acceptable and the 4xK7R fleet is a decent theoretical discussion in SFB. Both are well within the bounds of Federation Commander.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nerroth wrote:
How differently would you handle assaults on Andromedan bases?

Way more quickly, for one. First, you just have to make sure you fill the PA bank for real internals. It isn't that high of a number. Second, its phaser defenses are pathetic, and will do relatively minimal damage against incoming plasma.

Simply put, against a plasma squadron, an Andromedan base is probably dead. With little fanfare.
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Klingon of Gor
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

terryoc wrote:

Quote:
Firstly, I think that it would be regarded as unrealistic to mass four command cruisers in one battle force for an attack. (KE's are CCs). Same with K7Rs, these ships are in short supply. The example cherry-picks the best ships for the job here. It would be more realistic to have a range of ship sizes, with the bulk of the force frigates/destroyers and some cruisers, commanded by a CC, BCH, or DN. Maybe with a specialty ship like the SpH-J in there.


Are War Eagles considered CCs? If not, one could have five of them for the price of four KEs, and it's an extra R torp. You're a bit slower, granted, but it's not like the base is going anywhere.

All of this assumes no guard ships. I love the KE, it's a great ship to fly, but if I thought I might have to tangle with enemy ships protecting the base, I might go with a force built around Hawk class ships. These are expensive, but they outclass any Eagle or Kestrel. Defending enemy ships will complicate my attack considerably, and a base assult is presumably a high priority operation, worthy of the best ships available. Of course the approach DuxVolantis describes is well thought out, and would doubtless work well, assuming the starting conditions obtain.
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The_Rock
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KE are not CCs, by the tournament rules at least, but are just upgrades to the WE.

Also, this scenario shows, once again, how ridiculous point values are in Fed Com. At some point we need a large group effort to actually balance the points (probably will never happen, but it is badly needed). A SB with 8 sensors and a SB without 8 sensors are exactly the same point value. That is just nuts.
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duxvolantis
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The_Rock wrote:
KE are not CCs, by the tournament rules at least, but are just upgrades to the WE.

Also, this scenario shows, once again, how ridiculous point values are in Fed Com. At some point we need a large group effort to actually balance the points (probably will never happen, but it is badly needed). A SB with 8 sensors and a SB without 8 sensors are exactly the same point value. That is just nuts.

The Romulans aggressively upgraded War Eagles to King Eagles when they got access to the Klingon warp technology from the Kestrel transfers because it was apparent that the War Eagles, even with warp technology, were not able to stand up to opposing cruisers. Early on they were used as command cruisers for groups of War Eagles but later they were used as mainline "heavy cruisers" as they converted a lot of them (and the War Eagles saw heavy attrition.)

Bases in FC are weak and require a defending fleet.
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