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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sublight Squadrons Win Using the Rules

This is Steven Petrick posting.

Games give us opportunities to find solutions. The game mechanics and situation can place us in a difficult situation where success on the surface appears illusory at best. This gives us, however, an opportunity to work within the game's framework to find solutions.

Romulan sublight ships are obviously severely handicapped when facing warp powered ships. So much so that victory seems unlikely. Winning with them takes more thought and patience and you have to optimize the rules affecting them.

The fact that they move so slow makes it difficult for an opponent to gain and retain a lock-on if they are cloaked. However, that does not mean the opponent cannot simply fire without a lock-on to gradually wear away the sublight ship's defenses. Given the long range of the plasma-R torpedo, the opponent may be forced to operate at fast speeds in order to fire and "get out of dodge" before the long range plasma-R can catch him. He also has the advantage that the Romulan sublight ships are designed for "offensive" use rather than defensive, at least in space. All of the weapons on the Eagles, Hawks, and Snipes are designed to fire forward, there is not much to protect the vulnerable tails of these ships.

There is also nothing that keeps you from operating a few ships in a squadron of sublight Romulans in reverse. Whether moving not at all, or their maximum speed of one, has no effect on their ability to move one hex a turn by impulse power.

There is also the fact that they can hold off on moving at all until almost the end of a given turn. They should always, in battle, use only reserve impulse power to move. Whether that movement is a sublight tactical maneuver, or actually leaving the hex will depend on the enemy's operations. In the interim, it is somewhat harder to get a lock-on on a cloaked ship that is at Speed Zero most of the turn, except at most the four impulses at the end of a turn, and retaining a lock-on gained is problematic at such speeds, especially if you are fleeing from a Romulan plasma torpedo meaning you are opening the range.

No, this is not going to help in a duel situation. Lone sublight ships are extremely disadvantaged and one can imagine many a Romulan picket ship lost to raiders. But Romulan sublight squadrons can still prevail over small groups of enemy ships by optimizing the advantages the rules give them.