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Battleship Star Castle

 
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Patrick Doyle
Lieutenant Commander


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

PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 1:47 am    Post subject: Battleship Star Castle Reply with quote

First, I want to start off with a warning. I have not tried this tactic. I thought I would post it and see if anyone else has tried it, or to get comments to see if there are any holes in my reasoning. As I said, I haven't tried this so it may very well be suicide.
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Brief Description of Star Castling for those who haven't played Star Fleet Battles
There is a tactic from Star Fleet Battles (SFB) known as Star Castling. The rules in Federation Commander effectively make Star Castling impractical (or suicidal). The general idea behind the Star Castle was to stop, and use Tactical maneuvers to make facing changes as necessary. The ship remained in the same hex. The power saved by using Tactical Maneuvers, instead of moving, allows ships to use a large amount of shield reinforcement, and overloaded weapons.
In SFB, Tactical Maneuvers allowed four (or 5?) heading changes, unlike the 1 heading change allowed in Federation Commander.
Shield reinforcement in SFB was not limited to the number of functioning batteries as it is in Federation Commander. A player could allowcate any amount of available power to a shield during the energy allocation phase.
There were other rules such as Electronic Warfare and Wild Weasels that facilitated this tactic as well. In SFB a stationary/slow (moving 4 or less) ship would be protected from seeking weapons by wild weasels. Wild weasels would attract any seeking weapons preventing them from hitting the stationary ship. Basically, Star Castling offered a strong defensive position.

Star Castling for Battleships
Star Castling may be a practical option for battleships in Federation Commander when faced with numerous smaller opponents who can outmaneuver the battleship. I do not believe it would be a great tactic against other large vessels such as enemy battleships and dreadnoughts. This tactic would therefore be limited to situations where it has few if any escorts and is fighting a more numerous enemy force composed of cruisers or smaller ships. That's my THEORY anyway. Now for the "How To..." portion of the article.
During the energy allocation phase, set a base speed of zero. You will have the option of remaining in the same hex by acelerating, making a turn, and then cancelling the movement point for another 2 points of power. Basically a battleship will spend 4 points of power every time it turns and remains in the same hex.
At a base speed of zero, you also have the option of moving one hex each impulse. This offers some flexibility to the battleship. The only unfortunate thing is that because the battleship is moving at a base speed of zero, it will have to make its turn before enemy vessels move.
A battleship (or any ship) could in theory make 8 accelerations and cancel 8 moves. This would use a lot of power, defeating some of the purpose, but the option is there.
Another advantage of a base speed of zero is that even battleships have a turn mode of 1.
During a key impulse, or anytime a turn needs to be done on impulse 8, the battleship can emergency decelerate and make an actual Tactical Maneuver (2D1). This has several advantages. First, it only costs one point of power regardless of the size of the ship doing it. Second, the battleship will make its facing change AFTER all other vessels have moved. But, once you use your Tactical Maneuver, your battleship will be done moving/turning for the rest of the game turn unless it does a High Energy Turn.
One key element of the Star Castle is the use of Shield reinforcement. Cruisers and even dreadnoughts simply do not have enough batteries to stop a significant amount of damage through shield reinforcement. Most battleships have about 12 batteries, which represents a reasonable fraction of the damage output from vessels such as Frigates and destroyers. When fired at by multiple vessels, it may be possible to stop a significant amount of damage.
Lastly, there is one huge danger to this, and that is seeking weapons. Make sure you will not get wrecked by drones or plasma torpedoes before trying this tactic. Seeking weapons may be an insurmountable hurdle to this tactic in most situations.
Battleships have numerous tractor beams, and phaser-3s. Many have lots of drones that can be used to shoot down enemy drones. You'll have to do the math and determine if your battleship can handle the seeking weapons that are likely to be thrown at it.
In certain narrow situations this may be a workable tactic. Experience will determine whether or not this is just something that sounds good on paper.

Note to SVC: I'm working on a Basic Battleship Tactics article for you, but this tactic is not in that article since I have no idea if this is of any value or not.
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Mike
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Joined: 07 May 2007
Posts: 1562
Location: South Carolina

PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you add to your "FC Starcastle" tactic the fact that a battleship ought to have smaller support craft nearby, their phasers could add to its drone defense.
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Patrick Doyle
Lieutenant Commander


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

PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree completely. The more escorts a BB has the better. The escorts (depending on the situation) could maneuver, or remain stationary with the battleship, or a little of both.
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junior
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Joined: 08 May 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2007 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really only see this tactic being feasible against the disruptor races. Because they require more volleys to do an equivalent amount of damage, they are more vulnerable to shield reinforcement taking a large chunk of the incoming damage.

Races with weapons that take two or more turns to arm, on the other hand, will have a strong enough punch per volley to get a significant amount of their damage through. If you stop 12 points of damage from a Federation FF that's firing two overloaded Photon Torpedoes, then you've still got 20 points of damage to deal with after the reinforcement. And that doesn't include the Phaser-1s. Hydran Fusion Beams will hurt as well, especially when backed up by Gatling Phasers.

On the other hand, what Star Castling doesn't stop in Fed Com is shield burn through. If you take 12 points of damage and you have 12 batteries, you can only spend 11 points on shield reinforcement. One point still gets through. In a duel situation, this isn't a big deal. But in a "quantity vs. quality" fight like this one, it can add up quickly - particularly when the hits tend to be against the same systems over and over again (i.e. the stuff that occupies the first column on the DAC). It's still not as good as actually blowing down a shield, of course. But it's more than the battleship will be able to repair in a turn.

Finally, there's the power issue. Doing damage is always cheaper than stopping damage. It costs two points of power to arm a disruptor, and two to five points of power to reinforce against the damage from that same disruptor. If your battleship has 12 batteries, and you're fighting against 5 frigates (quite possible, given the relative point values of the two different kinds of ships), then that's 60 points of power that you're spending on shield reinforcement. You'll still have power left over, but you won't be able to fire all of your weapons. And if you're moving slowly (or not moving at all), then the frigates aren't under much compulsion to move fast either. After all, they can move at speed 16 and still outrun you. That means fully overloaded weapons, every last phaser on-board the frigates, and 18 point suicide shuttles (since you're not moving very quickly).

It would be interesting to game out, but I can see a number of problems with it.
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Robert Knoke
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Joined: 13 Jul 2007
Posts: 49
Location: Aurora, CO

PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would prefer not to stay in one place, nor would I choose to rely on shield reinforcement to solve my problems. For a BB, I find that evasive maneuvering is a pretty feasible solution. You get to keep your speed up, and you get to turn as well. Sitting in one place, even with a TAC has only worked for me in a few cases. Plus, you always have risk with a HET-- fail that roll and you are in a lot more trouble.

In general, it is better to keep your speed up and your options open. If you stay in one place, it's all too easy for all of the smaller "mites" to eat away at your internals.

Besides, if your sheild gets blasted through (in a BB), chances are good that you did the same back. All those marines and transporters can go a long way to rubbing salt in a wound. You might even take their ship (if the target is small enough), giving your opponent something else to consider (like how to make up for the lost VP differential).
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Patrick Doyle
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Joined: 18 Aug 2007
Posts: 208
Location: Norfolk, VA

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All in all I agree with you, I would rather keep moving. However, I did use the ideas in the above article to good effect on a couple of occations. Both times I was in the B-10 facing against Tholians.

In both cases the B-10 was being attacked by more numerous smaller enemy ships. To be sure, I don't recommend this tactic against a dreadnought or battleship, they can make quick work of any shields and reinforcement that a battleship can put up.

In the first case, the B-10 was attacked from a range of 4-8. By using shield reinforcement, the entire attack was blunted, with only about 5 internals to the B-10. This used up almost all of the power of the B-10, but its escorts were then free to inflict serious damage on the attacking Tholians.

In the Second case, the B-10 was moving slow (0+1 or 8, I can't remember.) and used Evasive Maneuvers once the Tholians were in firing position. The Tholians had charged in at Speed 24 to make a phaser attack behind their web, with a photon cruiuser coming to point blank range (not behind a web).

In this case the Tholian decided not to attack the B-10 for fear that little or no damage would be caused. He was in the unfortunate situation of moving fast, so his attack was expended on the escorting F-5s. On the following impulse the B-10, with loads of power left over, performed emergency deceleration, and a tactical maneuver and blasted the Tholians as they went past. Both the Tholian Heavy cruiser and photon cruiser were eliminated after the pass, to the loss of 2 F-5s.

So, when used in the RIGHT (emphasis) situation, this tactics can be useful. I have found that it is very useful. Keep in mind that this Starcastle is a TACTIC that can be used in battle, it is not a battle strategy in itself.
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Robert Knoke
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Joined: 13 Jul 2007
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Location: Aurora, CO

PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2007 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

With all of those Tholians buzzing around, how were they approaching? Were they in three ship stacks approaching the same shield? Were they approaching from different directions? Did they have any Neo's with them (to web cast/fist and such)?

I especially found, playing a Fed BB vs. a bunch of F5's and E'4s that a massed attack on one shield tends to slow down a BC by limiting power use for weapons. The Tholians can further complicate this situation with webs (both influencing/limiting movement and firing opportunities). And there is always the issue of burn through per each 10 damage. Even with reinforcing a shield with reserve power, a point of damage should always get through. If weaps or power were to be targeted, a bias of damage will undoubtedly result.

I'm not saying that it's a bad tactic... starcaslting can be useful. Hell, the Orions can do sort of the same thing with their engine doubling and spending power for shield repair at the beginning of the turn. It may not work against seeker races that well... I tend to think that starcastling is useful depending on the mission. And of course, if you have a plethora of energy left after a turn, then perhaps you were'nt using all of your assets. Come to think of it, the race you are fighting has a tendency to dictate your tactics as well. What works for the Tholians may not work against the Gorn/Romulans/Kzinti etc.

And finally, you have to consider maneuver. Almost every ship in the game can outfly an opposing BB. The turn modes are way too high-- that and a failed HET can really cost you. It should not be that hard for smaller ships to get on a down/lowered shield and keep pounding away. Sure, smaller ships will die in the process... Again, it all depends on your mission.
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Patrick Doyle
Lieutenant Commander


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

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BATTLESHIP STAR CASTLE
by Commodore Patrick J. Doyle

This tactic is an adaptation of the tactic by the same name from Star Fleet Battles. While the Star Castle could be useful to any ship in Star Fleet Battles, the rules of Federation Commander make Star Castling nearly useless and much more dangerous to nearly all ships. However, battleships, by virtue of the amount of batteries and shield power they have may find it useful in certain situations.

Star Castling for those who haven't played Star Fleet Battles

There is a tactic from Star Fleet Battles (SFB) known as Star Castling. The rules in Federation Commander effectively make Star Castling impractical (or suicidal). The general idea behind the Star Castle was to stop, and use Tactical maneuvers to make facing changes as necessary. The ship remained in the same hex. The power saved by using Tactical Maneuvers, instead of moving, allows ships to use a large amount of shield reinforcement, and overloaded weapons.
In SFB, Tactical Maneuvers allowed four (or 5?) heading changes, unlike the 1 heading change allowed in Federation Commander.
Shield reinforcement in SFB was not limited to the number of functioning batteries as it is in Federation Commander. A player could allocate any amount of available power to a shield during the energy allocation phase.
There were other rules such as Electronic Warfare and Wild Weasels that facilitated this tactic as well. In SFB a stationary/slow (moving 4 or less) ship would be protected from seeking weapons by wild weasels. Wild weasels would attract any seeking weapons preventing them from hitting the stationary ship. Basically, Star Castling offered a strong defensive position.

Star Castling for Battleships
Star Castling may be a practical option for battleships in Federation Commander when faced with numerous smaller opponents who can outmaneuver the battleship. It would be a dangerous tactic to use against other large vessels such as enemy battleships and dreadnoughts, as they can shoot through any shield, reinforced or not.
The use of this tactic should be limited to situations where the battleship is fighting a more numerous enemy force composed of smaller ships, and where seeking weapons will not be too much of a problem for the battleship to handle. If the battleship is properly escorted during this maneuver, it may be able to handle the problems posed by seeking weapons.
The procedure for Star Castling is quite simple. During the energy allocation phase, set a base speed of zero. You can sit in the same hex and make turns by accelerating, making a turn, and then canceling the movement point. Basically, a battleship will spend 4 points of power (2 to accelerate and 2 to cancel the movement) every time it turns and remains in the same hex.
At a base speed of zero, you also have the option of moving one hex each impulse. This offers some flexibility to the battleship. The only unfortunate thing is that because the battleship is moving at a base speed of zero, it will have to make its turn before faster enemy vessels move.
Another advantage of a base speed of zero is that even battleships have a turn mode of 1. A baseline speed of zero may be useful to simply turn the battleship around.
During a key impulse, or anytime a turn needs to be done on impulse 8, the battleship can emergency decelerate and make an actual Tactical Maneuver (2D1). This has several advantages. First, it only costs one point of power regardless of the size of the ship doing it. Second, the battleship will make its facing change AFTER all other vessels have moved. But, once you use your Tactical Maneuver, your battleship will be done moving or turning for the rest of the game turn unless it does a High Energy Turn.
Another key element of the Star Castle is the use of shield reinforcement. Cruisers and even dreadnoughts simply do not have enough batteries to stop a significant amount of damage through shield reinforcement.
By remaining stationary, the battleship saves a lot of power. Most battleships have about 12 batteries, which represents a reasonable fraction of the damage output from vessels such as frigates and destroyers. When the battleship is hit by multiple small volleys (from frigates and destroyers), it may be possible to stop a significant amount of damage.
To optimize your use of shields, try to maneuver to force the enemy ships to attack you from two different shields. If the enemy is stacked in one hex, look for opportunities to put the enemy on a shield border (so that you can choose what shield each ship hits).
There are dangers to Star Castling. Make sure you will not get wrecked by drones or plasma torpedoes. Seeking weapons (even suicide shuttles) may be an insurmountable hurdle to this tactic in many situations.
Battleships have numerous tractor beams, and phaser-3s. Many have a lot of drones that can be used to shoot down enemy drones. You'll have to do the math and determine if your battleship can handle the seeking weapons that are likely to be thrown at it. It is possible that enemy plasma torpedoes are being recharged, or enemy drone supplies are running low. If the battleship has any escorts, they should stay nearby to protect the battleship from seeking weapons.
Another danger is a coordinated attack by numerous smaller ships. If the enemy has maneuvered properly and has his ships stacked so that they attack the same shield, even a battleship’s shield reinforcement may not save it. However, often times in a fleet battle, ships get scattered and disorganized.
When using this tactic, consider how much power you wish to save for offensive purposes. One idea for the use of this tactic is to stop, use enough shield reinforcement to render the enemy’s attack ineffective, and then save enough power shoot down an enemy ship or two. You should find a way to make the enemy pay a price for his attack on your battleship.
Finally, before trying this tactic, consider what race you are flying and what race you are fighting. Doing a Star Castle against Federation ships may be very dangerous, as their ships have a huge punch, and they love the opportunity to get to range one. On the other hand, if the Federation player hasn’t run away while he is re-loading his torpedoes (never a good move on the part of the Federation), Star Castling may be ideal.
As with any tactic, don’t do it just for the sake of trying it out. Do it when and if it makes sense to do so. In many cases it will be too dangerous due to seeking weapons or the presence of other capital ships. The Star Castle does not possess the usefulness that it did in Star Fleet Battles, but when done at the right time and against the right opponent, it can bring decisive victory.
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Once again I have proven that even in the future, your photon torpedoes are built by the lowest bidder.

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