Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

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kyrolon
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby kyrolon » Sat Oct 19, 2013 7:07 am

You must be better at rolling for IDF than I am. :) My ships have to fend for themselves.
storeylf
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby storeylf » Sat Oct 19, 2013 9:26 am

I have to agree with the other guy who said the Fed is doing something wrong.
Our Klingon players are canny. They sit at that nice range where PH-1s are at long range and Disr are at prime range (9-12").
How does any Fed get consistently caught in a range band of just 3" in a game where you can move 12" or more per turn. Sorry, the klingon player may be canny but the Fed player doesn't sound like he is.
See the Zeta Epsilon batrep for an example of how the feds in large games have a choice between fighting and dying or just not fighting and dying more slowly.
I found the battle report you noted, I struggle to follow a narrative style and see what was actually happening game wise, but looking at the pics (which don't provide a wide view to see the full situation, and I'm not sure if it is 1 photo per turn etc) I see the Feds just sitting around the planet getting pounded. Not to mention it looks like it may have been a scenario where the Feds start spreads all over the place and the klingons all together, hardly surprising the Feds lost when they seemed to make little attempt to not get picked off piecemeal. Looking at the pics it appears the klingons hardly moved after the first turn when they grouped up - that implies the Feds never put much effort into making life hard, it certainly doesn't look like klingon agility was the issue at any rate. Maybe reverse the conditions with the klingons spread all over the place (defending a planet?) and have the Feds come in together next to it.

Of course a single battle report proves nothing either way.
kyrolon
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby kyrolon » Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:41 pm

The Klingons did group together, and move rather slowly. We (as the feds) were trying the recommended tactic of staying spread out to get flank shots. All of our ships were within supporting distance of one another for IDF, and we were getting flank shots as planned.

As for how the Klingons maintained range, they always won initiative. Once the BB went down (in that particular game) they had a +2 to the roll, and had more ships at that point. By using F5s as initiative sinks and having the initiative they were able to make us move a ship, then move to within that magic 3" band. If you note, we were able to close with 1/3 of the Klingon formation, but by the time we flew through the 24" and 12" disruptor range bands while using 1/3 to 1/2 of our facing phasers for drone defense (we were out of ADDS by turn 2 in most cases) there wasn't much left. Lastly, getting close to the Klingons is no better. They have more phasers, so when I move to 8" they close to 4" and use all those PH-2s (which do as much as a ph-1) to kill us. In short there is NO range where the Feds are better.
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby Stu-- » Sat Oct 19, 2013 6:22 pm

The problem with the fed/klink matchup is not only that the klingons are too agile (though removing agile does much to reduce this) but that also the feds are slow turners.

They are not as slow to turn in the source material.
I think the designer put this in to emphasise the differences between the nations, but the penalty the Fed player suffers is too high.

Their lack of maneuverabity is also made worse by phots requiring a power drain to reload.

In reference to your tactics, as the feds you want to get in close and flank, not flank from a long way out. Being close it's easier to flank and you'll get a better photon hit ratio.
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby Iain McGhee » Sat Oct 19, 2013 6:57 pm

Aye, but most Fed ships have wide enough fire arcs that they don't have to keep the target in the forward arc to be effective, unless firing torps (what, twice a game usually ?). And if you're going in close, try using evasive action or boost shields to reduce damage. Unlike SFB/FC, the firing ship doesn't have a firing penalty when evading.
kyrolon
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby kyrolon » Sat Oct 19, 2013 7:10 pm

In that particular scenario with 2 C7 and a C8 out there we needed IDF more than evading. We also closed as quickly as possible. The game only went four turns.
storeylf
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby storeylf » Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:23 am

As for how the Klingons maintained range, they always won initiative. Once the BB went down (in that particular game) they had a +2 to the roll, and had more ships at that point. By using F5s as initiative sinks and having the initiative they were able to make us move a ship, then move to within that magic 3" band. If you note, we were able to close with 1/3 of the Klingon formation, but by the time we flew through the 24" and 12" disrupter range bands while using 1/3 to 1/2 of our facing phasers for drone defense (we were out of ADDS by turn 2 in most cases) there wasn't much left.
So its not that klingons maintain that 3" band. But that some ships are in it. Well that is always going to happen no matter who you fight, just as you'll always get ships in your best range. What is also going to happen is that you will lose ships in a fleet game. Accept that and move on. If he moves to 4" to kill you with Ph2s then he takes damage if you explode. It is a lot easier to get Ph1s in range 8 than Ph2s in range 4", plus they hit more often, and at really close ranges you will be hitting weaker rear shields with a number of ships, so your damage goes further as well, not to mention you have very good phaser banks with good arcs.

I can't understand how you can be out of ADD at this point (closing to range 7-15 on turn 2). At range 18"+ there are so few drones hitting that a few phasers and shield boost negates them. Even a C8 and 2 C7s only puts 4 drones on target a turn on average, hardly enough to warrant risking ADD when you have plenty of phasers (that you don't need for shooting at that range), tractors and a shield boost. You shouldn't have rolled a single ADD at this point, barring some major luck on the enemy dice rolls.

You do have ranges you are better than klingons at. When photons are up then 0-15" is your better range. At 12-15 you have a major advantage in ship killing ability, even at closer ranges you are a lot better than him. Longer range is easier to do and will happen sooner usually giving you an early lead. He may get to fire next turn when you are reloading, but he is just making up for the damage you already did in one fell swoop.

E.g.
At range 15" 16 photons have about a ~20% chance of killing a D7 and ~20% chance of crippling it, so ~40% chance of effectively rendering it ineffective. Depending on points/ship selection a 12 ship fleet may be getting 3 such volleys in.

It takes about 44 disrupters to achieve a similar 40% figure against a Fed CA, and even then that is mainly cripple chance and only a small chance of a kill. Even at ranges less than 12 it takes about 35 disrupters to do what 16 long range photons do.

At long range you also out phaser him, accentuating your heavy weapon advantage. Throwing in Phasers with the photons more than doubles your kill chance (depending on how many Phasers, I'm assuming 6 phasers per 4 photons). However, at long range many Fed phaser banks are barely affected by klingon shielding, so it may be worth just shooting at a different target with them. If you are using phasers in banks of 2 then you only lose ~10% damage at long range. Concentrating photons on 2 targets will often kill/cripple those targets, and mass Ph1s will take out another target. Someone above said take out the smaller klingon ships, which is a valid tactic as it gives you movement advantages in future turns.

The main point though is that at long range you are barely affected by klingon shields. Fixating on how to bypass klingon shields and agility via flanking early in the battle is just wrong. Your weaponry already counters his shields and agility. Certainly photons are streaky, they are in the source game as well. But if you are rolling bad with photons then Klingon's having tough shields is rather moot.

If you are finding it awkward closing on klingons then ACTA has done a good job of representing the SFU - certainly in FC a fleet level game would often see the Feds down a ship or 3 before they got anywhere near photon range. In FC a 12 ship Klingon fleet can cripple a ship at range 25* and kill one at range 15. They have the agility to probably maintain range long enough to take out (kill/cripple) 2 or 3 ships before facing serious return fire. Klingon drones were an issue as the Feds were the ones having to close through them to avoid getting hammered at long range.

* I should add that is without scouts. That would be very unusual in my experience where pretty much all games involving more than about 6 or so ships have included scouts since they became part of the standard rules. Scouts help mitigate the long range fire, they also gut the photons as well though. I haven't played with a scout in ACTA yet.
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby Pete » Mon Oct 21, 2013 2:06 am

For what it's worth, my response to the Klingon front shields has been to adopt an Admiral Farragut mentality, and charge right down their throats. My brother generally prefers the Klingons because of their range advantage, but we usually play on a 4' by 4' board (4' by 6' at most), with a 6" deployment zone on the edge, so as a Fed one only has to endure a couple of turns of enemy fire before unleashing photons at a painful range. Granted, we haven't yet made much use of the drone-heavy ships, which might make a difference.
kyrolon
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby kyrolon » Mon Oct 21, 2013 2:59 am

Our Klingon players laugh at photons. With a 50/50 chance to hit and half damage (when closing from the front) you do about 4 points of damage every 2 turns with no other special orders.

Meanwhile the Disruptors get to shoot every turn, hit 2/3 of the time, and don't get halved.

Once in a blue moon you get a photon to both go through the shield and do criticals where its special rules actually matter. I've seen (in 15 or so games) exactly one ship actually die to a photon volley. The Klingon player then managed to win anyway having never played the game before against an experienced player.
Iain McGhee
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby Iain McGhee » Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:25 am

I don't see many photon volley kills either (last game a BCJ - playtest version with Shock - did manage to hit a D7 with all six, four penetrating and taking it's impulse engines to Critical Score 6 which was enough to finish it off). We do usually get a few penetrating torpedoes most games though. Buy new dice :)

We tend to play them quite differently, I like to hold them to dictate enemy movement and tactics to a degree* whereas my occasional Fed (usually plays Klingons) likes to volley/reload/volley early on trying for penetrating criticals across the fleet.

* The threat of a volley through a flank and/or overloaded can be more useful than actually firing the things :) Most of our games use the campaign rules, so ship conservation matters. More so as it goes on and we have a number of ships with higher CQ, rerolls and perhaps a few refits too (there's a particularly annoying D5 with Precise disruptors and CQ6 I'm determined to kill !). Dropping a ships shield, bringing it near crippled or causing serious critical damage can be enough to encourage a ship to disengage while it still can. It still gets XP, which can be more important than a win sometimes.
Last edited by Iain McGhee on Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Nretnimoc
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby Nretnimoc » Mon Oct 21, 2013 5:56 pm

Iain McGhee wrote: * The threat of a volley through a flank and/or overloaded can be more useful than actually firing the things :) Most of our games use the campaign rules, so ship conservation matters. More so as it goes on and we have a number of ships with higher CQ, rerolls and perhaps a few refits too (there's a particularly annoying D5 with Precise disruptors and CQ6 I'm determined to kill !). Dropping a ships shield, bringing it near crippled and causing serious critical damage can be enough to encourage a ship to disengage while it still can. It still gets XP, which can be more important than a win sometimes.

Very Rarely do I ever get a kill from Photons but on the same flip side they are always effective either as something my friend always has to be wary of or he gets hit and usually the vessel is either mauled or crippled.

Granted my friend and I have not played a lot of games but from what we have seen so far is that while the Klingons have the forward shields and agility, they are unforgiving. Their Firing Arcs dictate that they have very little room for error when it comes to movement. Im certainly not saying that a Federation fleet can out maneuver a Klingon fleet but when you get within close quarters range the Federation player can find way more overlapping flank fire then a klingon player can.

Again, we may not be experienced but I find it balanced. The Federation ships can take the abuse that klingons dis out but the Klingons even with their shields, cant take the abuse Federation can dish out. I do know that I think with the exception of extreme range I have never once fired my drones offensively.
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby Reynard » Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:25 pm

Let me get this straight, it may possibly be all about... tactics?
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Re: Is ACTA SF a good analog for SFB or FC?

Postby Nretnimoc » Tue Oct 22, 2013 1:21 pm

Reynard wrote:Let me get this straight, it may possibly be all about... tactics?

oooooo...I wouldnt go that far. Tactics is an incredibly strong word to throw around.

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