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.
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....