Rear firepower


Ok so this has spawned in my mind due to the always touted:
"But the Prefect has no rear firepower, thats a real weakness.."

I think that rear firepower is something thats nice to have, but since this is a fleet game, it should be up to a devious admiral to think of a way around that.
AKA Drazi dont get any rear of even side firepower to speak of, yet the fleet! is conisdered balanced.

Also there are some ships with serious rear firepower Nova and Bimith spring to mind immediately. But other ships like Omega or Hyperion, are in a fuzzy middle. Yes they do have an aft beam, but apart from that, the aft firepower is rather laughable. The problem being that you will be rarly able to get both beams firing at once, means you will either fire the front or the aft boresight beam. Other good ships like the Avioki have nearly no aft firepower at all. For me this reduces those weapon batteries to the fire and pray category, not liable to to anything serious but you might get lucky criticals....

And then ofc theres ships without aft firepower at all. Meaning that all of their good firepower is directed at the front, where you want the enemy anyway. Giving you a good chance of cleaning up with enemies in your front, and then just killing everyone at your back.

Now what are your thought on that, and of that in concert with ambush JP tactics. I decidely leave AJP out of this, because those ships get to fire right away, which is a huge difference in my book. Do you have a good chance of catching the enemy off guard, or in a weak arc so that he will actually have to worry, instead of the problem: "Well i kill ships in a certain order, so i dont shoot at them anyway and kill others first." Or do you run into danger of Triggys signature, simply giving the enemy extra arcs to fire from?
Good topic here and it could generate a pretty interesting discussion if I'm not mistaken.

I'm generally with you on aft firepower not generally being a big deal but there are several situations where it has a real effect that I can think of as being at least fairly common. The first is the Bimith/Nova/Tigara type ship that tries to float into the middle of a furball and simply unload on as many enemies (3+ arcs per turn if you can) as possible. These ships tend to be slower and more heavily armoured to survive the journey there and are often easily outmanoevred. They tend to work best if the rest of the fleet can work around them at the centre rather than having an entire fleet of them.

The other really common situation is unfortunately the one you said you wanted to leave out but is pretty common and necessary to address in any look at aft weaponry (yes AJP is decidedly better than JP but that just means it's used even more often). Here fleets like Drakh, Minbari and ISA can really catch their opponents in a pincer-like attack and their opponents better have some serious all-round firepower or be able to turn otherwise they'll potentially be at a significant tactical disadvantage. Having already briefly addressed the brawler type ships that work roughly the same as above, the ships you bring up as quite interesting are the Hyperion and Omega where their rear fire is more a bonus than a tactical option. I've occasionally had a Hyperion being chased and its rear guns are actually very effective if you have the initiative to make them count and certainly not worth turning the ship around. Compare this to a Centurion, Vorlon Destroyer or Tinashi and you have a whole different ball game. Normally these ships have enough turns and speed to keep on top of their enemies but jumping in behind them generally gives you two turns (one if using a regular JP) of free fire. This then can be used to shoot your other ships past the enemy and force them to turn and meet you. Ironically the best counter to this, as the person being surrounded, that I've found is to ignore the ships behind you and take on the ships head on as quickly as possible, trying to break up your opponent's fleet in chunks. With the ships split, sometimes you can cause significant damage before having to turn, hopefully now against an outnumbered foe...of course, if you're a Drakh Cruiser, Sharlin, etc. then you can simply shoot at both at once and it's a foolish opponent who even allows you the chance to shoot your forward and aft weaponry together!

BTW, thanks for the nod to my signature :)
I've found rear and side arc weapons to be big players in a few games I've played. In Triggy's Vassal tournament that petered out a few months back I had a Dargan destroy four Drazi patrol ships in a turn of firing, one in each arc. All because he was trying to surround me and pushed in close so the twin arrays could fire.

In a friendly game with Katadder I found my Tertius' rear guns very helpful against a Vree Xill that overshot my fleet and landed right in the middle of the Tertius' rear arc. It wasn't much of a threat after the guns fell silent.

Having no rear firepower can be a huge disadvantage if your enemy plays properly. There's lots of ways to outmanuoevre an enemy fleet and get ships into the rear arcs of a few enemies. If you're there and they can't shoot back, you own them.
That's another point Lord David's thrown into the melting pot - having side weapons is a big bonus (I concur here very strongly as it's easy to get side arcs to fire) and whether good side weaponry is present or not has a large effect on how the aft weapons are used.

e.g. A ship like the Bimith or Nova couldn't operate nearly as well if its guns were split front and aft rather than all around (but with the same firepower), however a ship like the Hyperion thrives on having its firepower all in the "chase or be chased" category.
Well, rear weaponry is more of a bonus, in my opnion. Even secondary weapons facing backwards are nice, but if their are hvy weapons back there... you could really suprise an opponet that doesn't know.

The G'Karith and Altarian both have realatively heavy weapons that can fire. Both ships would be good at holding an objective AND defending against surprise rear assaults.

Although the Hyperion and Omega will almost NEVER be able to fire their beams (mostly cause they are preoccupied with an enemy in the fron to worry about the one in the back) the fact that they have that option is still reassuring.

No, I usually look at rear weapons and say, "hey! I have rear weapons. Cool," but almost never think of them exclusively.

I do wish MP would do what BFG has with weapons that can fire in 2 or 3 arcs. It adds some tactical flexibility in my opinion, which I think is nice. That way, you can take something like a Primus or Secundus and give it 20 or so AD but in the port/for/stb fire arcs. That way the player can choose to bring all guns to bear or be like the Secundus in "Fall of Night", splittig it up between multiple targets. Same with the Omega, but make it 8AD in the port/stb arcs.

I think I wrote too much... and I don't even know if it is answering the question. Sorry.
Ahh yes all very good points, love the discussion.

I only wanted to leave AJP out, because its simply very powerful compared to standard JP.
Its normally a very good option to use AJP if you have very few long ranged weapons. AJPing a Sharlin will probaly not be such a good idea, but a Tigara is WAY too fun. 100% firepower on turn 2 WOW.
Also i wanted to leave it out, because games where the enemy will have alot of AJP are a totally different ballpark than other games. And this discussion would only effect the "take all comers fleet".
Wont stop anyone from commenting though. I just feel that AJP heavy games are more like SFOS Minbari, if you didnt adjust for them, you had less chance of winning.

I totally agree on the side weapons, as its really easy to get there. Thats also why i have Rothans operating in pairs.

Its just that i have rarely seen rear firepower being used to big effect. Normally i try to cover that up with my fleet. I just want this thread to work as a tactical discussion, and maybe as an eye opener :D
Have it seen on other fora. Would like it here as well.
yes having no rear firepower can be a big hindrance.

One fight i lost, because the center of my fleet (octurion)
was destroyed and then my left flank of two centurions
was on its own aginst two whitestar ships.
Since no "come about" succeeded i only got a few
shots of the weak side batteries off on them.
Both were destroyed with only minor damage to the whitestars
(which mostly regenerated).

Now i use only single Prefects with a dargan escort. Or i
use the Prefects to support my Octurion in larger battles.

In my minbari fleet i nearly always succeeded in using the
sharlins rear weapons. They are alwasy good to have
and a nasty surprise.