Ships of the ... EA (Crusade Era)


Ships of the EA (Crusade Era)

Over the years Earthforce has evolved from a swarm-type fleet of plasma and pulsar brawlers to a more stately fleet of massive ships and long range lasers. For certain their experience with the Minbari had a marked effect, as did their many hostile encounters with other powers in the galaxy.

The new earthforce of the Crusade era features a blend of Earthforce defenses, Centauri flexibility, and Minbari firepower.

Big D
Earthforce has always been known for its active defenses (interceptors and anti-fighter) but now it takes this even further by utilizing the toughest hulls possible in all of their new ships. The tradeoff for this is that they have relatively fewer damage points than other ships of their level making them vunerable to beams, mini-beams, and e-mines.

Reach out and Touch Someone
From massive particle cannons to advanced missile racks, Earthforce has learned the value of striking hard while the enemy is far across the battlefield. Gone are the Nova and Omega Pulse Destroyer bashing their way into the middle of the enemy. Now the Apollo, Marathon, Omega, and Chronos M can engage the enemy from the very first turn of combat. There are still a few ships for close work like the Hyperion and Chronos but they are now the exception rather than the rule.

Missile Command
With the Chronos M, Apollo, Marathon, and Warlock the missile has made a real comeback in Earthforce. This means more varied use of the missile substitutions and thus more flexibility when engaging the enemy.

Avenged no more
With the loss of the Avenger, the EA no longer has a fleet carrier below the War priority level. This means that far more battles will be fought without the boost to Dogfighting and casualty recovery so common in earlier EA fleets. The Starfury is still a very strong fighter even in this age and nearly all ships of Raid level and above carry a few. Their role, though, is normally relegated to a more defensive role than before thanks in large part to the increased power of Earthforce vessels.

Stand Off
The move to larger and more powerful hulls has also led to increasingly powerful weaponry, at the cost of the traditional EA doctrine. Most ships now tend to do better at long range firing from a single arc than the old fleet preference for getting in the middle of enemy formations. EA:CE ships still have broadsides, but they aren't the featured damage dealers that they once were. This means that most earth ships want to keep away from the enemy, leaving a few hulls (and a pile of fighters) with the duty of closing and pinning down opponents.

EA (Crusade Era) Ships:
EA:CE ships have good defenses and moderate damage points. This means they can withstand firepower to an extent, but will fold under undue pressure. End a battle quickly to avoid allowing the damage to accumulate.

Auxiliary Craft:
While the focus on carrier operations has changed in Earthforce to include only the most major operations, the humans still enjoy a line of fighters superior to all but the most advanced fleets.

Aurora Starfury
This is still the fighter you've grown to love. The universe has grown up, though, and there are a few more contenders out there trying to take away your title.

Badger Starfury
Halfway between an Aurora and a Thunderbolt. Now that the dogfight boost from a fleet carrier is more rare, this may sometimes be a better choice than the Thunderbolt for an attack fighter.

Firebolt Starfury
The newest addition to the Starfury family has all the strengths of the aurora and the thunderbolt merged into one nearly perfect craft. Use it in any role and it will perform superbly. The only drawback is the hefty price tag, with only 2 flights per wing.

Thunderbolt Starfury
An economical attack fighter with above average performance. If you can be sure of owning the skies, take several of these to punish enemy shipping. Without the support of a fleet carrier they are mediocre dogfighters in later years.

Patrol Craft:
Earthforce never has been a big fan of patrol level ships. But one new entry has made an appearance in recent years.

Hermes Transport
This old soldier is still going strong after over 100 years of service. The missile rack combined with the fighter flight allow it to punch well for its weight.

Myrmidon Light Combat Vessel
If this ship survives to reach short range it has an impressive punch. A lack of Dodge rating may be a fatal weakness for a ship with so few damage points. Use terrain or jump points to get it into battle without taking too much enemy fire.

Skirmish Ships:
During the Early Years this was the primary strength of Earthforce. Now a series of support hulls dominate this bracket.

Chronos Attack Frigate
The name says it all. It is an excellent attack ship for its size, with a strong hull and active defenses. Keep it away from beams and it should survive long enough to inflict harm on the enemy.

Chronos Escort Frigate
The Escort returns with a vengence. This ship keeps the primary firepower, hull, and interceptors of the base hull and adds a whopping 6 Anti-Fighter batteries. Perfect for adding an extra punch to nearby Starfury flights or defending ships from enemy bombers. This ship fulfills and exceeds its intended roll.

Chronos Missile Frigate
The low number of AD in the racks of this ship make it a good platform for some of the more specialized missiles in the arsenal. Heavy and HARM missiles top the list of variants. Unlike the old Olympus, this ship doesn't carry much alternate weaponry so the one-shot Fusion missile is less appealing. Get into the midst of the enemy to leverage both broadside arcs.

Hyperion Assault Cruiser
When the Tantalus is too much but you still need to bring a few troops, this is your ship. It also has the most damage points of any Skirmish ship in the fleet which can be handy when facing beam heavy fleets.

Raid Ships:
Other than the venerable Hyperion, this class of ships is reserved entirely for specialist hulls.

Delphi Advanced Scout
The Delphi is a great scout with strong stealth rating and unlimited range for its Scout trait. This combined with its low damage points will encourage a player to keep the Delphi far away from the enemy. It would have been nice for this ship to keep the long range missiles of the Oracle rather than the short range beam weapon, but the fighter is a nice addition. Active defenses are also good. All this comes at a steep price, as spending a Raid point for a scout can hurt when budgets are tight.

Explorer Survey Ship
Another old trooper that is still a strange mix of capabilities. It is the only ship with the Command trait below Battle level but this is less critical with the improved initiative rating of EA:CE. In some situations it may be a better choice for your scout than the Delphi. Get its fighters onto the table quickly and soak up damage like a Narn. Criticals will usually disable this ship long before destruction is a possibility.

Hyperion Cruiser
A throwback to a different age, the Hyperion is still a solid performer in the all-rounder category. Good beam weapon and reasonable firepower in all directions coupled with active defenses and a fighter allow the Hyperion to make itself useful in most scenarios. It isn't fancy but it will get the job done.

Tantalus Assault Cruiser
This is the closest thing Earthforce has left to a Nova. While the primary mission of this ship is delivering troops it has good survivability and a strong broadside. Get it into the thick of the eneny both to utilize all guns and to be in position to exploit an opportunity to board an enemy ship.

Battle Ships:
Ship designers on Earth have been working overtime to come up with new, powerful ships. In this they have succeeded. These ships now represent the main battle line of EA:CE fleets.

Apollo Bombardment Cruiser
The Sagittarius...all grown up. This ship can rain misery upon an enemy fleet at extreme range. It has the same design philosophy as all new EA:CE ships: strong hull, active defenses, below average damage points. The Fore and Aft missile racks are excelent candidates for Missile Substitutions. I'm qutie fond of putting a fusion missile up front for the same 6 AD e-mine as the good old G'Quan. This ship is not Lumbering so with the help of a "Come About" action it can easily bring a new arc to bear when needed. Like its predecessor, this ship will be a top priority target for the enemy. Defend it as best you can and make its first shots count.

Apollo Strike Cruiser
An attempt to make the Apollo into a more well rounded fighting ship. This ship has a decent closing weapon in its missile rack and it has a strong broadside. In particular the railguns have the AP/DD traits - perfect for enhancing with scout redirects. Lack of beam weaponry means that active enemy defenses and strong hulls can prove problematic. The relatively low damage rating can also hamper this ship's endurance against beams or when the Interceptors are overwhelmed.

Marathon Advanced Cruiser
This is essentially a mini Warlock. Use it at range for as long as possible. When in close it does have the same broadside as the Warlock, but that isn't saying much for a ship this size. The Marathon has more damage points than an Apollo but is crippled more easily. So keep it out of brawling range and fly it like its big brother.

Omega Destroyer
Even in this age, the Omega is a bruiser of a ship. It is the toughest ship at Battle level in the fleet and the heavy laser is still a weapon to be feared. The broadsides aren't extremely powerful for a ship at this level but the light lasers can out-range most enemy secondaries at 15". Get the fighters out early, pound the enemy with the heavy laser, and don't forget your aft laser once things get close.

War Ships:
Earthforce found a set of winning ships in the Third Age. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Omega Command Destroyer
Like the Omega...only more and meaner. Once the enemy has closed range, look for opportunities to line up both fore and aft lasers. The unbeatable command rating will give a strong boost to initiative and the fighter wing is nearly the equal of an Avenger. It's hard to go wrong with with this ship in nearly any tactical situation.

Poseidon Super Carrier
This is now the only fleet carrier in the fleet. But it is ultimate expression of its purpose. The Poseidon brings a veritable swarm of the excellent Starfury fighters, along with fleet carrier support and the best command rating of any ship in the game. Don't be afraid to get in the mix with this ship. It has lots of damage points, superb active defenses and good broadsides at point blank range. Decide where you want to be when you deploy this beast, as it is only slightly more maneuverable than the Explorer.

Warlock Advanced Destroyer
The final word on long range firepower. While the Warlock can handle itself decently in close quarters it is best utilized at mid to long range where it can tear up enemy ships with its particle cannon and missiles. Load up Thunderbolts in the bays for even more stand-off offensive firepower. With the advent of the Apollo, this is no longer the primary missile ship of the fleet. This can free it to explore options without compromising fleet doctrine. If you know what you will be facing in battle, review all missile types to choose the optimal missile for the mission.

Armageddon Ships:
One entry in this, newest category of ships.

The Excalibur Destroyer
As would be expected for a ship of this size, the Excalibur is incredibly tough. Not only does it have the strongest hull and plenty of damage points, its Adaptive Armor halves all incoming damage. And that's after getting past its considerable Interceptor array. Look for an opportunity to exploit the Afterburner. Get in close to the enemy and let fly with the forward and turret weaponry. Only use the Lightning Cannon when you are sure it is worth the loss of this ship for the next turn. Everything but the pulse cannon is beam or mini-beam so enemy hulls and interceptors are of little concern. Not much else to say. It's a monster.

Missile Substituations:
The Apollo brings back the prominence of missiles for the EA:CE fleet. Other ships, like the Chronos M and Marathon also make use of missiles as primary weapons systems. This opens up more opportunites to customize the missile loadout of a task force to fit the mission and the enemy.

Standard Anti-Ship Missile
When you are in doubt about what you will be facing, this is an excellent choice. The traits of P/SAP mean that it has a good chance of inflicting critical hits, and the range allows a ship to do so while relatively safe from danger.

Flash Missile
This is the "middle ground" missile between heavy and standard. Use this against enemies with weaker hulls like the Vree, where the move from SAP to AP isn't as big a loss.

Fusion Missile
This turns any missile battery into a one-shot energy mine. The forward or aft battery of an Apollo can make use of this to break stealth or engage fighters.

Heavy Missile
This is useful in the special situation where damage is more important than criticals and the range is guaranteed to be close. Use these against Drazi (low damage points) or Abbai (to kill shields) or other enemies where these traits serve well.

Anti-Fighter Missile
This is essentially a 15" range Anti-Fighter weapon. This is less useful in the EA:CE fleet with the advent of the Chronos Escort.

Long-Range Missile
The extra 10" of range afforded by this missile is generally not worth it, unless there is a special mission that changes the situation. I've seen it used in Blockade missions where the defender may have half its fleet on the far side of the board.

Multi-Warhead Missile
This weapon is of great use against enemies with Interceptors (Centauri, Gaim, other EA Fleets). They are particularly frustrating to the Centauri with their Guardian Array.

HARM Missile
This missile can occasionally turn the tide of a battle by rendering a key unit unable to fire on your own important ships. The Crhonos M is again a good ship for this system, as the low number of AD do not significantly impair their operation.

Special Actions:
New ships mean new opportunities. The EA:CE fleet has a different approach to combat than its predecessors. Captains who realize this can leverage the strengths of the new fleet with the proper actions.

All Hands on Deck!
EA:CE ships depend on active defenses, particularly Interceptors, to keep them safe. With tougher hulls and larger ships, critical effects play a larger part than raw damage in reducing fleet combat effectiveness. This action can bring systems back online and get a ship back into the fight.

All Power to Engines! (APTE)
With the new "stand back and shoot" capability of the EA:CE fleet this is a less common order. Some ships like the Chronos and Hyperion will still want to close and brawl with the enemy, though. This order can get them there quickly in order that they may disrupt enemy formations and keep them from closing range with the main battle line.

All Stop!
More ships in the fleet are now equiped with long range weaponry. These orders can help keep the range open for an extra turn or two while delivering damage at a distance.

All Stop and Pivot!
Like the above, but with the ability to turn and bring a boresight to bear. For ships with multiple long-range weapons this might be a poor choice due to weapon restrictions.

Close Blast Doors! (CBD)
Earthforce ships have good active defenses, but they do not have an excess of damage points. When facing beam weapons or overwhelming firepower this order might keep a ship on the table. Ships with only one effective weapon bearing can use this order with little detriment.

Come About!
Many of the new, large ships in the EA:CE fleet are not Lumbering. This allows for more opportunites to make the Come About! action useful as a ship can make 2 turns and gain an advantageous position. For boresight weapons, know when this order or TTT is better.

Concentrate All Fire-power! (CAF)
With the more expensive scout, fewer redirects will be avaialable. While most weapons in the EA:CE arsenal are either beam or twin-linked, railguns and missiles can still benefit greatly from this action. The Apollo and Warlock are particularly good candidates for the CAF action.

Give Me Ramming Speed!
Earthforce ships are quite capable in the Crusade Era. This desperate action should be far less common, though against powerful stealth it is sometimes still a valid tactic.

Intensify Defensive Fire!
Sometimes it can help to boost the Interceptors of a ship. While CBD can mitigate damage, Interceptors stop criticals. Past a certain point you will hit diminishing returns. Close attack fighters rightly fear Earthforce ships giving this order, and the Chronos Escort is a terror when doubling its already impressive Anti-Fighter batteries.

Launch Breaching Pods and Shuttles!
EA ships tend to have average troops levels on their ships. But occasionally an opportunity will arise to capture a ship with few or no troops - or something will be silly enough to move slowly near a Tantalus or Hyperion A. Keep an eye open for such an occasion.

Manuver to Shield Them!
When facing weapons that bypass EA defenses it can sometimes serve the mission to have a ship play the blocking game. Ships with good defenses for their class, such as the Hyperion Assault Cruiser, can put this to good use. It can be embarrassing to see an Omega hiding behind an Explorer for cover, but not as embarrassing as loosing a battle.

Run Silent!
The scout can use this to become virtually Narn in its stealth. Most ships have better things to do than not turn and not shoot.

Scramble! Scramble!
Earthforce still has a winner with its Starfury fighters. Get them out there to do their duty as soon as possible.

Track That Target! (TTT)
There are an even greater number of powerful boresight beams in the new Earthforce. This order can ensure such weaponry doesn't go to waste. The mere threat of a TTT order can cause enemy ships to pull desperate manuvers to avoid being fired upon. This can work in your favor.
The Fusion Missiles do tend to make people cagey even on the Chronos Missile Frigate :D. Keep a Chronos with 1 of these bad boys back and it will keep fighters away until you fire it.

It is a good choice Missile for most ships as you can get in a devestating Alpha Strike.
Thanks for the feedback.

I suppose you have a point about a Chronos M armed with fusion missiles. Just one Olympus with a Fusion missile kept my fighters from working effectively in my last battle. A Chronos could do the same. I'm just wary of how useless it will be once it looses the only real weapons it has.

Fixed the Artemis references. Old habbits. :)

I'm torn on which EA fleet is my favorite. I love the new Battle level ships (especially the Apollo) and the Chronos Escort, but the Avenger was a mainstay in nearly every EA EY/TA fleet I built as it enabled my Auroras to take on any dogfighter around. In some ways EA:CE feels like the Brakiri, with lots of choices for huge ships but difficulty putting together a solid patrol force.