Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Ships Of The Rense pt5: The Argus Carrier

SeerK here once again with the "Ships of the Rense".  In this installment we break into the tier one vessels of the Rense System Navy. Argus in Greek mythology was a giant with 100 eyes.  He was a watchman of sorts.  The Argus is such a vessel in the Rense navy.  With is multitude of wings it can act as a fleets lookout and fearsome guard.  The Argus class carrier is what I like to call a "True Carrier".  There are very few true carriers in the game.  What is a "True Carrier"?  Its a ship with the capability of carrying 12 wings.  Not many of the games carriers can carry two full SRS tokens.  Although this can be deadly it is not as hardy as a Battle carrier or battle ship.  It must have support.  This generally means like modern aircraft carriers it is almost completely dependent on its strike craft and escorts for defense and a bulk of its attack power.  I feel the Argus falls into this category.

I feel as though the Argus got slightly nerfed in transition from 1.5 to 2nd edition.  The nerf was needed though as it would have made the Argus way better than any other carrier in the game.  I speak of course about how the Deck Crews and Quick Launch MARS changed between editions.  Essentially to have both MAR's you have to go all in.  Since you only have 2 hard point spots on a carrier you cannot take both Deck Crews and Quick Launch as well as having +1 shield or +4 wings.  You could have your cake and eat it to in the previous incarnation of the ship, but that would have made it pretty over powered in 2.0.

So that begs the question, How should I outfit my Argus?  Well its honestly completely situational.  There is no end all beat all combo.  I do tend to run my Argus the same way though.  This is because of the roll I usually have it fill on the table.  The real questions you have to ask yourself is, What Do I want?  What do I want the Argus to do in the game?  What is its roll?  This helps you for a base.  You are not going to equip a Fleet Marshals vessel in the same way as a Carrier supporting another tier 1 vessel.

When I run the Argus as my main command vessel it is loaded for defense.  I give it the +1 shield and Deck Crews MAR.  I load up on interceptors and support shuttles.  I give it the torpedo spook MAR and a pair of Spooks to escort her.  In this way my command vessel can attack at range and protect the vessels around it.  A 6 pack of interceptors is pretty nice for protecting your flotilla against torpedo and SRS attacks. As long as one survives you can replenish the token thanks to the deck crews MAR.
If I am on the attack I still give it the spooks as escorts, but I give the carrier +4 wings and the Quick Launch.  I then load up on fighters and bombers.  I usually shunt deploy this set up as the quick launch gives me a few extra inches so I can get early attack runs from my SRS.  Now you have be be careful with the shunt deploy.  As you can only launch one token at a time you will have to choose wisely for your initial strike, both with positioning of the squadron and which target you are hitting with the SRS token.

So the real key to using the carrier successfully is making sure you are clear as to its role in the list.  if its geared for attack it makes no sense to have it sit back and plug away with torpedoes.  You might as well have taken a whole squadron of cruisers. I know its hard sometimes as you need a relatively inexpensive tier one vessel to act as your Fleet Marshal.  A carrier all by itself is a sitting duck though.  I am firm believer that you must have escorts with it.  Those escorts being Spook cruisers.  By the time you figure in theses guys, flights and upgrades you might as well use a Spectre as your tier one vessel.  In very small games you can kinda get away with a lone carrier, but you have to be very sure and very cautious with it.

Carriers have a very niche roll in the game.  They are specialty vessels.  The only ones that can really go toe to toe with other tier one vessels, besides other carriers, are Battle Carriers.  Sadly the Kurak Alliance has a lock down on the good Battle Carriers.  The Ryushi in particular.  Never try and go toe to toe with a battle carrier with a regular carrier.  You are going to have a bad time.

When you build a list with a carrier as your primary tier one vessel, you must build the list around the carrier.  This is kinda like how most modern navies are built.  The U.S. Navy is basically divided up into carrier groups.  You have a large fleet built around the carrier.  It acts as the main HQ as well as the eyes and ears. It also provides the long range striking power in the form of its aircraft.  Fire and movement is the basis of any modern military tactic.  Avoiding detection and striking enemy positions without giving away position is key in navel warfare.  So we want swift ships that can "avoid detection" as it were, when we are building a fleet around a carrier.

We also want to establish a battlespace around the fleet, that is an area where you are confident in your ability to detect, defend, attack and neutralize threats before they can cause harm to the group.  This would generally mean in game terms using ships that can hit hard and avoid getting hit.  It also means operating in a formation and maintaining the formation with the Admiral at its heart.  This means you need room to maneuver.  Open space gives you lots of room.  Avoid giving your opponents cover in the form of debris and asteroid fields.  Get them into open space to fight them.  Running a successful carrier list relies on making sure you engage the enemy fleet on your terms.   No plan survives combat so have some contingencies.  

Well that's my two cents on the Argus and carriers in general.  Next time in "Ships Of The Rense" we get down to our final two vessels.  Up first is the backbone of any RSN fleet.  The usual choice of most Fleet Marshals.  The Spectre Battleship.

Until then, Crush the Alliance and as always....


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Clash At Epsilon Indy: Sunday Tournament Results

This past Sunday at Evolution games The Clash At Epsilon Indy went down.  Spellduckwrong once again was our T.O. and Uber Vanguard. We had 10 players this time around and again we had a decent mix of Kurak Alliance and Zenian League fleets. If you are curious as to how the battle log went and any trends popping up I am pretty sure Spellduckwrong has the full statistical work up over at the Spartan Games Community, or will be putting it up soon if he has not posted it.  I am sure you are a bit curious as to who our top finishers are though.

So this time around the winners were....

1st. Dave Wangen aka "SMD_Vogrin", Directorate
2nd.  Austin  Proux aka "Demomaster", Sorylians
3rd Josh Linde aka "SeerK" , Rense System Navy

That is right I placed this time round.  Booya!  I played Demomaster in round three and it was rough.  We had hold the Waygate for a mission and he had almost maxed out his tier three choices.  I had so many small ships to deal with it was borderline ridiculous.  I ran two different lists, as is customary when tournaments take place in this particular area.  I ran the same list in round one and round three, both times against Sorylians.  I am still confused with why many on the interwebs hate on the Sorylians.  They are a solid faction with a lot of variety and killing power.  In fact, the frigates have earned my number 2 spot in most hated ship in the Kurak Alliance.  Right behind the Hawker light cruiser....I mean Frigate.

Those of you curious about what I ran , here you go.  The tournament, and me thinks our future ones, was 900 points.  you can bring two lists.  Both lists must use the same primary Fleet.  I, of course, ran RSN.

List 1

Spectre Battleship x1
-1 turn
Special Forces

Cerberus Heavy Cruisers x3

Cerberus Heavy Cruisers x3

Bulwark Frigates x3

Bulwark Frigates x3

List 2

Banshee Dreadnought x1
-1 turn
+1 shield
Special Forces

Spook Cruisers x3

Spook Cruisers x3

Bulwark Frigates x3

Bulwark Frigates x3

I was trying to go for a balance between number of activation's and fire power.  This can prove difficult for RSN fleets.  Many Kurak Factions outnumber and our gun you .  The real weak points in both lists were the three ship squadrons of Bulwarks.  In groups of three they loose effectiveness for some reason.  I think I may do two minimal squadrons and use the tac card that allows you to combine like ships to make one uni then have a squadron of Works Raptor corvettes to add some scout to the list.

I am finding it is very handy to have scout to redeploy units.  You can use a valuable unit to bait your opponent into bringing his big guns into whatever location you want basically.  The real trick is not to make it to obvious that is what you are doing.

I am also finding it very annoying that Sorylian frigate squadrons can contain 5 frigates and have pack hunter as an option.  This seems a little unnecessary to me.  The dice pool is pretty big and not duplicated by any small ships in the Zenian League that I am aware of.  Makes the Frigate squadrons very deadly to cruiser sized vessels, in fact it makes them kind of deadly to larger vessels as well.

The one game I used the list two in was actually against another RSN player.  It was very informative match though.  I think from now on my spooks will be traveling in packs of 6.  Operating in concert, my two squadrons manged to inflict quite a bit of damage despite my lackluster rolls in the first two turns with the torpedoes.  I hammered a squadron of Cerberus Cruisers with the torpedoes until I reached beam range and then dropped the cloaks and went full bore.  One heavy did manage to survive until the bitter end though.  I always for get what its like to be on the receiving end of a Cerberus squadron.  Spooks on their own are not bad but lack the one two punch when you have just one squadron.  The two squadrons ganging up on one target really was effective, especially once I reached beam range.

I have to say I am never running my big ships without escorts of some kind ever again.  It really never occurred to me how much fire they actually draw.  The Siren is also pretty robust for an escort so that helps.  My big ships took a fair bit of fire being all by themselves.

I am still working with good ways of taking down point defense to really make my torpedo attacks count.  Since there is a lot of cloaking shield equipped ships out there.  I have not been using a lot of SRS craft for the same reason, at least when on the attack.  That will be the experiment for the coming weeks until the next tournament.  Well that does it for my current thoughts post tournament

Next time I will be continuing with the Ships Of The Rense.  The Argus is up as our first Tier 1 vessel.  I also plan on doing an unboxing of Rivet Wars.  Evolution games gave me their demo copy to open up and read up on so Farseer Re-rolls and I can give the game a whirl.  More on that next week.

Until then crush the alliance and as always


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Ships Of The Rense pt 4: Cerberus The Guardian Of Hades

SeerK here after a little break to let people catch their breath. Its been a furious pace the past month in regards to posts. I thought I would continue our coverage of the Rense System Navy. We are almost done. We are now breaking into the big boys. Tier one vessels are the biggest and the most deadly. The Rense Navy, and other Zenian League alliance fleets, have a bridge between tier one and tier two. I speak of course of the heavy cruiser. Specifically I am talking about the Cerberus / Hellhound heavy cruiser.

The Cerberus is quite a beast. Although it has the typical damage and critical rating of a heavy cruiser is packs some above standard weaponry that has a very long range. It can reach out with its kinetic and torpedo weapons to 48 inches. This is pretty impressive. Whats more impressive is what a full squadron can put out in its optimal range band. Range band two is lethal distance for a squadron. 18 dice from its kinetic weapons makes it dangerous for even dreadnoughts to get this close.

As with all RSN vessels you benefit from the Elite Crew MAR. You also have the option of giving the Squadron the Special Forces and Torpedo Spook MARs. Although these later two MAR's are there to allow the Cerberus to mix with Spook squadrons and act as a capital accompaniment for the Spectre Battleship, these make Squadrons rather resistant to boarding actions and makes their torpedoes much more lethal. Although you can also give the squadron Precision Strike, I have not made much use of this particular MAR. I plan on trying it out more in the future though, especially after SMD_Vogrin showed me the potential of it with his Directorate. I found my point defense systems off line way more than they should have been.

The Cerberus is though and can stand toe to toe with larger vessels when you have more than one in a squadron. In a patrol fleet its also a tier one choice. In larger fleets it gets bumped down to a tier two. I like to use the Cerberus as my tier one choice in a patrol fleet, mainly because of the fire power a squadron of 3 brings and how hard it is to kill all three ships. This does put your admiral on a ship that is less resilient than a Spectre Battleship, but for the points, 270 for a squadron of three with no upgrades, you get more firepower and more hull points spread out over three vessels. It is harder to gain battle log for your opponent in this situation.

In larger fleets I always take at least one squadron of Cerberus and send them out to hit priority targets. I will go one to one versus cruiser sized vessels and I will concentrate fire on heavy cruisers and battleships. They are a hunting pack and gain target priority rather quickly. This can be beneficial as this brings ships into lethal range and keeps the heat off of your larger ships. They are ideal for hunting admirals and hitting problem squadrons. I really like using them to pick off Gunships as that class of vessel usually cannot play the range game with the Cerberus. You are able to soften up a Gunship squadron pretty well before you get into optimal range. If do it right you are dealing a killing blow by the time you reach 24 inches away. Using your Bulwarks in support can really enhance your ability to pick off larger targets. I am all about synergy, maybe its from years of playing Eldar.

The Rense Navy is similar. Points wise you tend to be outnumbered against many different fleets and builds. So you have to use your squadrons in support of one another. The Cerberus is a hub of sorts. They are tough and heavy hitting, but must be used in conjunction with your smaller vessels to really get the one two punch. I have noticed that the Rense Navy as a whole lacks a major punch. The larger vessels can deal damage, but you really have to hit targets with more than one squadron. This usually takes the form of a capital ship squadron hitting a target then a frigate squadron finishing it off. Once again an example of the Rense Playing at being a core fleet but really should be mixed with other Zenian League ships to get the one two punch or fill a gap the Rense are lacking for the given scenario.
This is why people should really design their fleet after determining what kind of game you are playing the rule book says to do. This would also be why when doing tournaments we like using a format where you make 2 premade lists that you can use over the course of the tournament. Given the missions before hand you can plan your two fleet lists accordingly.

Well thats all for now. I hope everybody had a good 4th of July. The Liberation of Omicron Theta went well until our Terran Grand Admiral was summoned by home command IE the Wife. We did manage to make it through 3 turns though. I will go over it some more later. Spellduckwrong may have some musings on games of that size as well. It was a good first try as experiments go.

Next time in “Ships Of The Rense” we will delve into the first of the tier one vessels. The basis of modern American Naval groups and the home to my 89th Pioneer Bomber Group also know as “The Angry Angels”, The Argus carrier.

Until then crush the Alliance and as always,


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Liberation of Omicron Theta And Other News.

SeerK here to start July off.  As you may or may not have noticed we have added a couple of new writers to
the staff.  Oninotaki Joins us.  Oni is a GW ex pat and rabid war gamer and miniature collector.  He is going to be talking about a bunch of different topics including his own game which is currently in the works.  Everybody should be familiar with the up and coming Melcon VP of Acquisitions SMD_Vogrin.  He is joining us full time to share his wisdom in navigating the ways of the directorate.  He was also a Press Ganger for Privateer press.  So welcome the new additions and I look forward to posts in the future.  I also look forward to some posts from our less heard from authors...wink wink.

In celebration of the 4th this year we are doing something a little different.  Instead of the usual fireworks and adult beverages we are going to throw down this Friday at the FLGS, Evolution Games.  The Omicron Theta system is on the edge of the storm zone and is in need of liberation from the hands of the Terran oppressors.  what better way to celebrate Independence day than to send in a massive battle fleet to liberate the good peoples of Omicron Theta and bring them into the protection of the Federation.

6 players will be deciding the fate of the system this Friday.  Myself, Spellduckwrong and SMD_Vogrin will be bringing our Dindrenzi, Rense System Navy and Directorate forces, respectivley, to battle the Forces of Dreadbeard, Bigmek SkrapKlaw, and AAron, I apoligize I forget his forum handle.  Terrans, Sorylians and Kurak Alliance vessels shall be making an attempt to repel a heaping dose of freedom.

Each Player will be bringing 1600 point grand fleets.  Every player has an admiral with one being the overall force commander and worth extra battle log.  We will be playing on a rather large board as well in a neat configuration that Dreadbeard came up with as we were planning this shindig this past week.  Its going to be an "L" shaped with some special rules that we will talk more about this weekend when the battle report hits the blog.  So stay tuned.

Before Friday I will also be continuing my "Ships Of the Rense" series and starting into the Tier one vessels.  Next up is the bridge between tier two and tier one.  The Cerberus Heavy Cruiser.

Until then crush the Alliance and

REMEMBER DRAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!