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After-action report: frigate battles

 
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Mike
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 2:37 am    Post subject: After-action report: frigate battles Reply with quote

Today our group only had limited time, so we decided to do several frigate duels.

After two quick games at one table, it was generally agreed that the Gorn frigate was about useless against frigates of other powers.

The duel I was involved in had me facing off with a Klingon E5 Battle Corvette (point value 87) against a Romulan Battle Hawk (point value 8Cool. I always wanted to drive a corvette.

I debated about choosing the E5 instead of the F5, but I liked the facts that the E5 had a most cost of 1/4 (as opposed to the F5's 1/2) and more powerful shields. This was also our first time actually trying to use a Romulan with cloaking and plasmas.

The E5 closed quickly across the map (fixed map) as the Romulan started and continued running with the cloak. On Impulse #8 I managed to maneuver to be able to fire both disruptors overloaded in the adjusted range column of 5-8. Both hit and did 6 points of damage. The Romulan adjusted his shields at the end of the turn to spread out the damage over #2 and #3.

On Turn 2 the E5 used its A-class turn mode to maneuver behind the Hawk (turn mode of D) and got off another shot with overloaded disruptors, this time on shield #3. Only one hit and 3 more damage points resulted.

The tactics of the Hawk became clear on Turn 3. He had been loading his plasma-Gs and wanted to get to a turn when he could merely use holding energy. However, he had not counted on the huge difference in maneuverability between the ships. The E5 continued to run an evasive course to keep behind him. About midturn, the E5 again fired disruptors at the Hawk, causing more minor shield damage. The Hawk then began the fade-in process. The E5 responded by fleeing at top speed.

Both of us were looking foward to Turn 4 being a pivotal point in the game. The E5 had opened the distance considerably and only plotted a speed of 16 in an attempt to lure the Hawk into a chase. The Romulan took up the challenge and plotted speed 24. This was followed by a series of movements in which the Hawk tried to close and centerline the E5 so it could use both of its Ph-3s. The Romulan reasoned that launching the plasmas would not be a good move because the E5 could accelerate to keep the distance from closing very much and because it was late in the turn. On the last impulse of the turn, the Klingon ship crossed in front of the Romulan and let loose with its disruptors (overloaded again) along with a Ph-1. The Hawk fired all of its available phasers. The Hawk's forward shield collapsed, its armor blew away, and 3 internals were scored against weapons (2 phasers and a torpedo launcher). The E5's #6 shield disappeared and 6 internals were scored. No weapons or power were damaged. During launch phase, the Romulan launched a Pl-G from the damaged launcher and the E5 launched 2 drones.

At this point, time was up. We surveyed the situation and concluded that the game was a draw.

The guy playing the Hawk said that he was planning on tractoring my ship, but we discussed the tractor situation and he became more aware of the tractor rules. The E5 could have HETed or slipped, gone speed 24+, and still would have had enough energy to negative tractor all the energy the Hawk could have put into an anchor move. Had he gone the full amount in the auction, he wouldn't have had enough to stop the 2 drones from taking out either his #2 or #6 shield.

With his superior repair capability (4, as opposed to my 2), he could have had his weapons repaired and another Pl-G loaded and ready to go in three more turns. In that amount of time, I would have flown the E5 to a safe distance, repaired some of the internals, rebalanced shields, and perhaps have pecked away at him while he was cloaked. One thing I would definitely not have done again would be to move at speed 16.

The E5 was a pleasure to use. Not a whole lot of stopping power, but very maneuverable. His only comment about the Battle Hawk was that it was a tank.
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OGOPTIMUS
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good report. Smaller ships are always fun since even a few points of internal damage can be so important.

One minor thing; those disruptors that you fired when the Romulan was cloaked shouldn't have done as much damage as you're reporting. When ships are cloaked you reduce the damage of all weapons that strike the ship by 50%, IIRC.

I know it's rather small here since not a ton of damage was scored, and I do know it was the first time you were using the cloak, I'm just giving you a heads up.
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Mike
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The report of the disruptor damage was at half-damage. Two disruptors that hit at that range (including the +4 hexes added) do a total of 12 points of damage, so he only took 6 points of damage.

Not much compared to his whomping 25 box shields all around. He did a good job of spreading it out. I had to take the shots I could take since he was cloaked, it was usually late in the Turn, and I had the power to spare. I just didn't want to fire early in the Turn and let him fade in on me with no worry of reprisals.
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OGOPTIMUS
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, my bad (insert egg on the face emoticon here). I misread how you were reporting it. I was thinking that 6 was the damage for each. And I missed it the other time. Sorry.

Yeah, cloaked ships are a pain to deal with. You may get those good firing opportunities early, but then you leave yourself wide open to fade in and plasmas, which is frustrating. I remember the alpha strike from my centerlined Fed NCA did a whopping 12-ish damage. And then, on cue, the Romulans came out of cloak and forced me to run.

And many times, you need to keep your speed up at 24 to help avoid those plasmas, while he's down at 8 or 16 (plus cloaking cost).
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Mike
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On one turn of our match, I had a great firing opportunity early in the turn, but I let it go. I think he baited me to try it so he could start the fade-in. I turned and slipped out away from him and maneuvered so as to stay behind him. By the end of the turn I was back to a 4 hex range and fired with the same chances I would have had at a 1 hex range (range 5-8 on the disruptor chart). He was a little annoyed at my move to seemingly fly away and then come right back.

I think the next time I play in a situation like this I will try a different tactic. I'd like to try to get behind him asap and just stay there within a 2-4 hex range using deceleration if I have to. That way I can blast him on Impulse #8 of every Turn that he doesn't come out of cloak, or I can be ready to blast and run if he does.
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OGOPTIMUS
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 4:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That can definitely work for Klingons, or other ships with very good turn modes. But for those with worse ones (i.e. Feds and Gorns), you end up having the range be a bit larger so you can actually stay behind him since you have to move first. That also hurts since your primary weapons (phasers and photons) fall off more.

Gorns of course have the wonderful plasma carronade, and can use it very often since most (if not all) of their ships has at least one plasma-F.
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Mike
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 2:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And carronade can *only* be used with plasma-F launchers, right?
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OGOPTIMUS
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yup, just Fed Gorn and Orion and just plasma Fs. From rule 4J4c, and the update in Briefing #1 (also in the Rules forum here).
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junior
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 6:18 pm    Post subject: Re: After-action report: frigate battles Reply with quote

Mike wrote:
After two quick games at one table, it was generally agreed that the Gorn frigate was about useless against frigates of other powers.



The Gorn Frigate is actually their police ship. You might want to try the Gorn Destroyer to see if that provides a decent match-up.
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Mike
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 1:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We were planning play-testing something with Hydrans and Lyrans last Friday, but needed to do something quickly so we simply had a frigate free for all. Each player selected one of these frigates: Klingon F5, Fed FF, Gorn FF (yep, only 50 points), Lyran FF, Romulan SeaHawk FF, Kzinti FF, Orion LR, and even a Klingon E5 battle corvette. We all came on the map more or less equidistant from others on either side. The objective was to bag the most points in the time we had to play (about 2 hours).

I played the Romulan FF and really enjoyed it. I liked having the security of that cloak. I've also been learning more about the use of plasmas and how to know when to use them and when not to use them. The Lyran demonstrated how to use the ESG as a ram. The Fed used excellent photon loading tactics. We were the only three remaining as the time expired. The E5 player took some major damage on Turn 1 and then had to leave, so his ship basically went to the Fed player. The Fed closed on the Orion, who seemed to be "allied" with the Gorn. They crossed paths, I uncloaked and shortly thereafter unloaded on the unsuspecting Gorn. The Fed pursued the Orion and damaged him, but I swept in for the actual kill. By this time, the F5 and Kzinti had about beaten each other to a pulp and the Lyran moved in to finish them off. The Gorn fled across the map and the Fed and Lyran converged, but I suspected that the Gorn would turn off, so I cloaked and took an angular approach to the middle of the map. Sure enough, the Gorn slipped past the other two. I uncloaked, he turned, I accelerated and got him from behind.

It was different and went pretty fast. We used a computer program (Visual Basic) written by one of our club members. It automated all the die/dice rolling, so that helped with the pace. We also planned on using our Alpha Strike massive damage shortcut, but with only frigates in the game, there was only need for it once.
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Kang
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike wrote:
We also planned on using our Alpha Strike massive damage shortcut, but with only frigates in the game, there was only need for it once.

That shortcut sounds interesting. Would you consider sharing how it works, please?
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Mike
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kang: In answer to your specific request for more information about our shortcut for allocating large amounts of damage...



Alpha Strike Damage Allocation

Note: This shortcut has not been approved by ADB.


Motivation: Our playing group has found that when a ship takes a massive amount of damage, the game slows down for everyone as the Damage Allocation Chart (DAC) is consulted multiple times to allocate all the hits.

Observation: When a ship takes a lot of damage and ends up crippled, but still undestroyed, chances are that the damage is fairly well distributed equally across the various DACs.

Process:
1. Assuming random chance and equal probability of rolling the six possible results of one die (i.e. 1-6), an analysis was made of the DACs for damage results. As an added step, most ship systems were grouped into broader categories for simplicity's sake. For example, all Hull hits were simply considered Hull (meaning there would be no difference between forward hull and rear hull). Power, Systems, Control, and Weapons boxes were treated similarly.

2. A chart was constructed that gave the number of hits that would occur in each category based on the total number of hits scored. The damage shown for each category in this chart was based on the average percentage of damage for that type of hit across the six DACs.

Procedure:
1. When 20 hits or less are scored on a ship, damage allocation is done normally.
2. When 21 or more hits are scored, the Alpha Strike Table is used.
3. The table is set up so that hits are taken in this order: Hull, Power, Systems, Weapons, Control.

Example: A ship receives 28 "internal" hits. 9 would be scored on Hull boxes, 8 on Power boxes, 6 on Systems boxes, 4 on Weapons boxes, and 1 on a Control box. These numbers are based on the actual random average across the six DACs.

How the chart is used:
1. If a ship has no more of a particular type of box, but still has hits to allocate, 1 Frame hit is scored. The other remaining hits for that category "pass on" and are added to the next category. If the last group (Control) takes its hit(s) and there are still remaining hits to allocate, a Frame damage is taken and the procedure is repeated again. Within just a couple of "passes" through the order of the categories, the hits will either be allocated or the ship will be destroyed.
2. If there is only one box remaining of a given category, a player may take a Frame damage hit in its place. If there are still more hits to allocate for that category, however, another Frame damage hit must be taken before passing the remaining hits to the next category.
3. When Hull hits are taken, any hull box (or cargo) may be marked.
4. When System hits are taken, they must be taken in this order: lab, lab, shuttle, transporter, tractor. If there are more than these five, the sequence is repeated. On the 2nd time through this sequence, the probe takes a hit after the tractor.
5. When Weapon hits are taken, they are taken in this order: phaser, phaser, phaser, torpedo, drone. If there are more than these five, the sequence is repeated.
6. Control hits can be taken on any bridge, aux con, or emer bridge boxes (or flag bridge).
7. Charts were also made for Directed Targeting for Weapons and Power. If this option is chosen and all the boxes in a category are damaged and there are still more hits to allocate to that category, one Frame damage is scored and the remainder are skipped (lost; not passed on to the next category).

There are drawbacks to this system. Random chance is assumed. This eliminates the possibility of someone rolling one particular number an unusual number of times during damage allocation. It would not be advisable to use this system with small numbers of hits. Originally we planned on using it for 31 or more hits, but found that it worked fine for 21 or more.

The one advantage to this system is the speed of resolving damage. We have had several cases of ships taking between 30 and 50 hits and being able to resolve their damage in 45 seconds or less. Is the price of true randomness worth the time when a ship is going to be severely crippled anyway?
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USS Enterprise
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suppose not, but with, say, a Dreadnought, the number would be too low. I'd recommend increasing it per the type of ship-

Frigate- 21 or more

Destroyer- 31 or more

Light Cruiser- 41 or more

Heavy Cruiser/ Battle Cruiser- 51 or more

Dreadnought/Battleship- 61 or more

Or something like that.

Note- I have no problems with the system as is, just a helpful hint.
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MajerBlundor
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike wrote:

1. Assuming random chance and equal probability of rolling the six possible results of one die (i.e. 1-6), an analysis was made of the DACs for damage results. As an added step, most ship systems were grouped into broader categories for simplicity's sake. For example, all Hull hits were simply considered Hull (meaning there would be no difference between forward hull and rear hull). Power, Systems, Control, and Weapons boxes were treated similarly.


We did something very similar, but for all damage allocation. Essentially we made a house-rule DAC.

We did an analysis of the standard DAC but then did one of the actual ship cards which was even more informative! Counting boxes and putting the data into a spreadsheet we discovered the following based on common Fed, Klingon, Romulan, and Orion warships:

Power boxes account for ~45-50% of a ship's boxes (Warp, Btty, etc.)
Structure boxes account for 16-19% (Frame, Hull, Cargo)
Weapon boxes account for 16-19% (Phaser, ADD, etc.)
System boxes account for 16-19% (Bridge, Aux., Trans, Tractor, Shuttle, etc)

So, we built and new 1d6 x 10 hit DAC using these four categories. Basically, the first column divides the hit probabilities based on these percentages (1-3 = power hit, 4 = structure hit, 5 = system hit, 6 = weapon hit). Then across the entire table the proportion of total damage reflects these relative percentages with the 6 row having more weapon hits while the 1 and 2 rows have more power hits.

The player controlling the target gets to pick the specific box within each category. For example, for a System Hit the controlling player may pick Bridge, Shuttle, Transporter, etc. (Command + General boxes = System).

Playing Fleet Scale today we had 9 ships on the table and found this new DAC very speedy and with far fewer "skipped" hits. It's sort of a compromise between pure "pick your own" and the standard DAC which we've found to be somewhat tedious.

Tim
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Mike
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 2:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We did a "house rule" simplified DAC a couple of years ago that combined various types of hits into basic categories much as yours, but we followed the existing DAC and kept its basic structure. It was an interesting experiment, but we eventually went back to the regular DAC for small amounts of hits (20 or less).
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