In the last Tactica we have presented the “small” ships: frigates and destroyers. Now it’s time to talk about the “big ones”, the warships: the class 3 cruisers and the class 4 battleships.
The class 3 cruisers
Resistant (18 hull points) and dealing massive damage (3), it has a better use of shields than the other ships. If the sector of your cruiser is under attack, you can change for free the direction of the shield die you use, as if you exclusively had multidirectional dice (except if you roll a special). This flexibility makes it almost insensitive to non-combined attacks, and stronger in the pack. Provided that you have stored shields of course.
This flexibility in the use of shields and its robust hull allow a cruiser to hold a flank by itself. It is a tenacious and fierce lone wolf, which will force the opponent to deploy all its forces to dislodge it. Cruisers often stand on the quare of a portal to deny access, or in a corridor between asteroid fields.
In line of battle, a famous admiral used to align two cruisers side by side in two sectors. He called it the ” jaws of Fenrir “. This formation often inflicted more damage than it suffered, and had the upper hand at the height of the fighting. But this multipurpose ship has other strengths. Many Fleet Commanders call it the “escort”.
Indeed, another capacity of this ship is to attract upon himself the damage of an attack. The attacker cannot choose the target he wants. The square becomes the ideal shelter for a damaged little ship, or a technical ship, even a class 2 like the Phoebean Salvation or the Amyclean Advantage which can then wander in the fighting without fear, at least until the hull of the escort holds on.
This ability has led to one of the most efficient combat groups that exists. By choosing 1 cruiser and 2 ship classes with it, you have a firepower of 5 that can bear 18 damage without going down. This is the only full battle formation (5 class) capable of achieving this performance. All the other formations will see their firepower going down after 6 damage points. Only Heavy Battleship can do better, and even much better, but that’s another story.
A Fleet Commander called this formation “Sky Shield”, and it is not uncommon to see two of these battle groups in a fleet . They then form the backbone and the spearhead of the fleet.
The cruiser is therefore a ship capable of the best, whether alone, in line of battle or in battle group .
The class 4 battleships
This impressive ship is included in the basic fleets of Fleet Commander 1 – Ignition. This is your flagship, the most powerful in your fleet, the one that largely defines your battle plan. Very resistant with 24 hull points, it deals 4 damage points in a single attack, the equivalent of 4 frigates in itself! It is the warship above all, capable of keeping for a long time its firepower at the height of the fighting. But its power is not only in its conventional weapons.
Its unique characteristic is to be the only ship large enough to be equipped with a special weapon. You can choose the one you want at the beginning of the Battle among the dozen available, including all the expansions. Smartly used, a special weapon alone can tip the victory on your side, but it may never be launched throughout the game. So do not put all your hopes in it. This is a topic for another article.
A battleship is both the backbone, the spine and the spearhead of your fleet. Its position in the combat zone often determines by itself the whole battle. Its destruction can be one of the main objectives of your opponent, who then will strive to destroy it as soon as possible, and then make your fleet more vulnerable in appearance. But you will also notice that you can win by destroying all the ships except the battleship. Therefore, It is possible that your opponent tries everything to avoid it and focus on the rest of your fleet. You have to figure out his plans in time and choose your tactics accordingly.
Its only flaw: a Fleet Commander could be overconfident and send it directly in contact with the enemy, too sure of the superior capabilities of its flagship. Even with its 24 hull points, under the heavy fire from the entire enemy fleet, it will do no miracle. It is also not uncommon for a beginner to lose his battleship only a few turns after the start of the fight.
For all these reasons, it is therefore important not to let it alone, and avoid exposing it to obvious combined attacks that could be too powerful, or to frigates skirmishes, or to a special weapon. Only three shots of Proton Ray are enough to destroy a battleship. Cover carefully its sides and place it quickly on a strategic square, for instance behind an asteroid field. This will deter your opponent from approaching, then bring it into the fight to launch attacks that will certainly reduce the firepower of the opponent.
If it has a long range weapon (vortex missiles are a typical example), you can also decide to stay away from your enemy’s fleet to preserve it, while using its firepower. Then you have to control the movement of your opponent with your other ships.
Good reactions to a battleship are:
- Avoidance as described above. Do not seek to cause him damage. What you want is to destroy all the ships except this one. Each damage point you inflict to it is a lost damage point that drives you away from victory.
- The constant use of a special weapon (Proton Ray is meant to destroy the battleships, but the Drones can also be very effective). For that you must have enough special results, and you will not use them for other things.
- The attrition, by raiding with frigates in “hit and run” mode or by remote bombings with your destroyers, and once its hull points are reduced (at least 50%), engage in close combat with all you got. In this case, it is your priority target which has to focus all of your attention and all your attacks.
Number and absence
Note that if you have enough miniatures, and this is the case with Genesis, you can build a fleet with several battleships. It is even possible to have three of them in a standard fleet of 12 classes. This gives a sense of exhilarating power. This fleet is definitely to be taken seriously as it can suffer a lot of damage but still keep all its firepower and with three ships only, it easily maneuvers. Still, it is rare to see it making exploits on the battlefield.
Indeed, as we have seen above, the battleships are vulnerable if they are not accompanied. They then suffer raids and bombings from the enemy without always being able to hit back. In addition, having various special weapons does not give you more special dice. Statistically, you will launch as many special attacks as your opponent, the only advantage is to choose the special weapon you want to use. You decide if you are comfortable with this kind of fleet.
Finally, the battleships are also conspicuous by their absence. Curious right? It is because of the rule which states that without special weapon (and therefore battleship), it is possible to roll again two special results (and only two) and play them immediately. This applies during the turn of your choice with two specials stored on your command bridge. With this rule, you can potentially play seven dice in a single turn! The three of the beginning of your turn, plus the two stored, plus the two special stored you roll again. It is therefore possible to play 3 movements and 3 attacks in the same round (the maximum for each). Just imagine the freedom of action you have, while your opponent cannot react! It is also not uncommon to see fleets without battleship, precisely to use this rule.
Thus, this is an extraordinary ship, which still influences the battle, even when its not there.
These four vessels (The 2 from this Tactica, and the 2 other from the previous one) form at the moment most of the available fleets. There are already numerous combinations, an therefore numerous tactical choices. Will you be an expert of swarms of harassing frigates, or master of heavy warships? You have to find your favorite style, polish your tactics and vary the gaming fun too. Be ready to welcome into your fleets new ships that will be introduced in the expansions. Assaultship, Gunship, Strategic Cruiser, each will bring a new way of playing. To be discovered in the next Tactica.