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The Gorn Anchor

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Patrick Doyle
Lieutenant Commander

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

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:34 pm    Post subject: The Gorn Anchor Reply with quote

Commodore Patrick J Doyle, USS Ohio

The concept of the Gorn anchor comes from Federation Commander’s predecessor, Star Fleet Battles. In this article we will discuss the Gorn Anchor as it applies to Federation Commander, and how it can be used by other races as well. Proper use and understanding of the tractor beam is the key to using the Gorn Anchor.

The purpose of the Gorn Anchor is to improve the effectiveness of the plasma torpedo by stopping or slowing the target with a tractor beam. This is especially important in Federation Commander due to the fact that the primary defense against the plasma torpedoes is to run away at high speed (24+1). The idea of holding a target in a tractor beam can also be applied to the use of drones and sometimes suicide shuttles.
Unfortunately for plasma races, most opponents are going to move at a speed of 24 and accelerate as necessary to avoid plasma torpedoes. If you can slow or stop the enemy, the plasma torpedo can be used to its full potential, and therein lies the heart of the Gorn Anchor.
To use a tractor beam you must get to a range of one. This can be difficult if the enemy moves fast and maneuvers carefully. You will probably have to move at a base speed of 24, but plasma armed ships usually have more discretionary power.
The next requirement for the anchor is that you must have more available power than your target. This may seem to create a “catch-22” situation. If you spend enough power to get to range 1, then you won’t have enough power left to tractor the enemy. If you save enough power for the tractor, you won’t be moving fast enough to catch your target. In reality, most battles don’t fit that description.
A large powerful ship tractoring a small, less powerful, ship is ideal. But in the heat of battle, ships, large and small tend to exhaust their power. Combat tends to leave ships short on power and vulnerable to the anchor. Obviously fleet engagements will provide more opportunities to anchor. Always keep an eye on your remaining power (and that of your enemy). You simply need to have more power at the point which you reach a range of one.
Though Gorns ships are ideal for this tactic, the Gorn Anchor can be performed by any other race with seeking weapons, or a need to pin down a target. Even suicide shuttles can be used against anchored targets. Romulans can anchor enemy ships as well, though their ships tend to be less durable than equivalent Gorn designs. Kzinti ships are also dangerous in close and can hit an anchored enemy with numerous drones.

This tactic does not come without its dangers. As stated, it can be difficult to anchor an unwilling opponent. That difficulty could cause you to fixate on catching your target to the exclusion of other tactical considerations.
There are times you should avoid trying to anchor an enemy ship. Even under ideal circumstances, anchoring an enemy ship will slow your ship down. In a fleet engagement, this may be an unacceptable risk. Do not anchor an enemy ship while you are reloading your plasma torpedoes. If possible, avoid your enemy’s forward arc when you anchor him.
If you are forced to chase an enemy ship in your attempt to anchor him, try to avoid losing your front shield.
There are also a few races that you should avoid trying to anchor. An Orion ship with doubled engines may be impossible to catch in a tractor beam. If you try to anchor a Hydran or Lyran ship, you are very possible doing them a favor by closing to range one. With fighters and gatling phasers (Phaser-G), Hydrans are ideal for in close fighting. Anchoring a Lyran will only give him the opportunity to try out his ESG on your ship.

Avoiding a range of one is the most obvious way to avoid getting caught in a tractor beam. Once the battle is joined, this may prove difficult, but should at least make a plasma shooter pay a high price to close to tractor beam range.
The next most obvious way to avoid the anchor is to maintain more power than the enemy. There is no guesswork here, simply look at the enemy’s ship card. As long as you have more power, you cannot be unwillingly anchored.
Evasive maneuvers are another way to avoid being anchored. The power cost of doing so may be significant. If being evasive prevents you from having enough power to outrun plasma torpedoes, it may not be a good idea.
In a fleet engagement, nearby friendly vessels can help prevent one of your ships from being anchored by using rule (5D5b) Tractor Auctions. If the enemy tries to tractor one of your ships, another friendly ship can engage in a tractor auction to prevent the anchor.
If you focus solely on avoiding range one, you will be in a defensive frame of mind. Be sure to make the enemy pay a high price for his attempts to get close to your ships. Make him react to you. Try to think a few moves ahead and you’ll be better off.

If all attempts at preventing the anchor the fail, you still have some options as long as you still have some power. In a fleet engagement, nearby friendly ships can offer some support as well.
If the anchoring ship spent more power on movement, the anchored ship has only 2 maneuvering choices. Most likely you will want to turn to face either a new shield to the enemy or to bring weapons to bear on the enemy.
If you have enough power, a High Energy Turn, may prove useful. If you have one point of power, you can use Emergency Deceleration to stop and change your facing with a Tactical Maneuver.
If you wish to escape (or disable) the tractor beam, there are several options. First, by targeting your enemy’s weapons during offensive fire, you increase the chances of knocking out a tractor beam if you can cause at least five points of damage.
Next, marine raids (5F1) can be very useful. They can be used to disable specific boxes on the enemy ship card. Enemy tractor beams are an obvious target when trying to prevent or escape a tractor beam lock. Due to the sequence of play, transporters are used before tractor beams.
The less obvious way to use marine raids is to disable the enemy’s control systems. While it is unlikely that this can be done to an undamaged ship squadron scale ship, some fleet scale ships (or a damaged ship) may be vulnerable. A ship that is uncontrolled cannot use its tractor beams. Also, as a bonus, an uncontrolled ship cannot launch seeking weapons.
Finally, as a last resort, you can wait until the enemy fires at your ship. The anchoring ship will likely spend most of his remaining power in the attack. If you are still alive, and you now have more power remaining than the anchoring ship, you can apply more power to “negative tractor” and break the tractor link (See 5D6a).

The basic idea behind the Gorn Anchor is to slow down or stop an enemy ship with tractor beams so that it can be damaged or destroyed by seeking weapons or another friendly ship. Different races with different weapons will have different reasons for using tractor beams, but the basic idea is the same. As with any tactic, there are dangers and countermeasures to keep in mind if you are to be successful.
Once again I have proven that even in the future, your photon torpedoes are built by the lowest bidder.

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Joined: 05 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2008 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One bit of advice for the old SFB players. There are no restrictions on a tractored unit. They can launch/fire anything at any ship. Reread the tractor rules, and don't assume the Gorn Anchor in FC is the same as the Gorn Anchor in SFB.
Speed is life; Patience is victory

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Joined: 13 Mar 2008
Posts: 24
Location: Columbus, GA

PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another note for former SFB guys: Ya can't rotate him, so don't count on that open shield.
"Confucius Say: Just because one end for eating, not mean other end for talking."
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