I took the CC Yorktown and the old CL Arizona out on a "keeping the cats out of the yard" mission against Apprentice Blaster's Kzinti BC and CM.
|End of Turn 1|
|Middle of Turn 2|
So the drones hit, I line them up for defensive fire and say "OK, four drones - " and Blaster says, no, that's four drones. "What, I have four drones out there-" No, there are eight drones he says. "OK, eight drones-" no, eight drones on this shield, eight drones on that shield he says. "Wait, those are four drones PER COUNTER?!" - yes, he says, "I wondered why you weren't shooting at them before."
Apparently at some point a few weeks ago I told Blaster to use one counter for all the drones he launched the same turn at the same target. He remembered this, I did not. I was so wrapped up in my own thoughts I didn't notice that his pair of ships with 8 launchers had only lunched 4 drones over 2 turns - at least going by the number of counters on the board. The outcome was pretty bad. I did manage to stop 7 of the 16 drones. I stopped two more with tractor beams though, and when I lost the tractors those two hit the ship as well. Been a long time since that's happened to me.
At the end of Turn 2 the CC is in pretty bad shape but still has some teeth. It's not going to outrun anyone but with a fresh shield towards the enemy and some charged phasers I should be able to stop drones long enough to get some more shots off.
(I did manage to rip up the Kzinti Battlecruiser before this happened - overloaded photons are still nasty up close (even with only 2 left) - but not as badly as the CC was hit)
Turn 3 was pretty much the game. We were still in close but I was reloading photons and the Kzin had disruptors and drones ready to go. The poor Yorktown did manage to turn a new shield but did not have enough phasers to stop the incoming drones. After a final volley of phaser fire the CC went down hard.
On Turn 4 the CL disengaged with no internal damage other than armor, ending the encounter.
It's been a long time since I marked off that many boxes on a Fed CC and an even longer time since I've actually had one blown out from under me. It was largely stupidity on my part with the whole counter-counting thing. All I can say is I won't forget that anytime soon.
One tricky thing with drones vs. old-school SFB thinking is that given the turn structure a drone can move 3 hexes before you will ever have a chance to fire at the thing. This makes the job of an "escort" quite a bit tougher as once the drones close to zero range only the target can shoot at them. That 0-3 hex range is where phaser-3's are most effective, and it can be tricky to make that work, especially on slow moving ships. I'll be puzzling that out more, especially since Blaster seems pretty attached to his missile boat Kzinti ships.
A dislike: Federation drone racks in Fed Commander are terrible. Most ships only carry one, and it's the hybrid-loadout type, i.e. the G-racks from SFB. Now in SFB they are fine - against the Klingons I could load up with all anti-drones, giving me an 8-shot defensive system. On the Romulan border I could load all drones, giving me an extra offensive system. In Fed Commander the Feds go halfway - 2 drones, 4 ADDs. Against drone-heavy opponents I can burn through the ADD ammo in half a turn and against non-drone opponents I only have two shots and then have to reload. It's inadequate either way. Beyond that, with only one drone on the ship, any halfway decent penetrating volley will kill it anyway. I've played a few battles with them recently and I'm not loving them at all.
|Not my lights, but a nice set.|
One big like: The Federation Old Light Cruiser - It's not terribly expensive, it has a lot of power, a solid phaser suite, and it can take at least one good volley from any direction thanks to the armor. I've always had a soft spot for these ships and so far they've worked pretty well. Sure, I expect to lose both torpedoes and the drone rack on any significant amount of internal damage but with 8 phasers and 30 power I should have enough energy left to move and take some shots afterward.