about the universe forum commander Shop Now Commanders Circle
Product List FAQs home Links Contact Us

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Same, but Different

This is Steven Petrick posting.

Star Fleet Battles and Federation Commander share much of the same technology even if they operate differently. The result is that scenario ideas for one game can often be adapted for the other, However, you have to be careful when doing so as the differences can be very different.

One recent scenario designed for Federation Commander and being converted into Star Fleet Battles required an Orion Raider Cruiser to destroy two targets. Both of these targets required 50 points of damage to destroy, and so the Orion was given a free pass on Turn #1 to damage the first target before the Federation could intervene on Turn #2. The Orion had two drone racks and a photon torpedo in his option mounts, so he had a good chance (after overloading the photon) of destroying the first target. The Federation ship would be able to intrude to protect the second target before the photon could be reloaded, forcing the Orion to fight for his victory.

While this works in Federation Commander, it does not work in Star Fleet Battles. In Star Fleet Battles the Orion has many additional options: heavy (type-IV) drones, scatter-pack shuttles, and T-bombs for example. If you simply used Star Fleet Battles technology, then on Turn #1 the Orion would enter near the first target (there were six total, evenly spaced around the map and they are all stationary). He would drop a scatter-pack shuttle (with two type-IV drones) at Speed Zero two hexes from the target, and fire an RA phaser-3 at pointblank range as he passed the target (minimum of three points of damage). Nine impulses later the scatter-pack would release the two type-IV drones which move two hexes before the turn ended and score another 48 points of damage on target #1 (total of 51 points of damage minimum . . . target destroyed). Before that happened the Orion would have reached target #2 (moving Speed 31 since he can double all of his his engines), and performed the exact same maneuver (fire rear arc phaser-3 and drop a scatter-pack with two type-IV drones); Target #2 is destroyed. But the Orion does not have to stop there, he can proceed to target #3 (which he can still reach on Turn #1), launch two type-IV drones from his drone racks and a fire a single phaser-1 as a phaser-3 and destroy target #3, all in a single turn (and he only needs to destroy two targets in the Federation Commander version of the scenario).

On Turn #2, with the Federation ship present, the Orion could destroy two more of the targets. He will reach the fourth target with his drone racks ready to launch again, and can fire an RA phaser-3 to finish off the target. Then he can race to target #5 lowering a shield (being careful not to let the Federation ship get a shot at it). As he nears the target he transports two T-bombs adjacent to it (in separate hexes) such that they will arm before he reaches them, and raises his shield. His own movement will then trigger each of these in succession (20 points of damage), the overloaded photon torpedo will hit at point-blank range (now at 36 points of damage, although the Orion has now scored 24 points of shield damage total on his own ship, and four points of warp and two points of impulse damage by the end of Turn #2 as a consequence of doubling his engines). At Range Zero (as he overruns the target) his four phaser-1s fired as phaser-3s will score a minimum of 12 points of damage (total damage now a minimum of 48 points). If the four phaser-1s score only 12 or 13 points, then as the overrun is completed the Orion can fire his last RA phaser-3 to complete the destruction of the fifth target.

At the end of Turn #2 our Orion has only two type-IV drones (or maybe four type-I drones) remaining in his type-B drone racks, the same in his reload storage, and (assuming he never put any energy into his phaser capacitors since the scenario began) a half point of power in his phaser capacitors (so he could have been using all of that extra power above movement simply to reinforce his shield facing the Federation ship and possibly five points of ECM so that even if the Federation ship is running six ECCM there would still be a die roll shift of one against him).

Now, if his victory condition required him to destroy all six of the targets, he would have a chance to do so, but by this time the Federation ship would probably be parked right on top of it and more than a little miffed.

The differences between the two game systems make for a very different tactical situation which, when converting the scenario has to be accounted for. This also applies if you are converting a Star Fleet Battles scenario to Federation Commander. When making such conversions you have to be very cognizant of just what the differences are and adjust the scenarios accordingly.