In the last battle I went toe to toe with both opposing forces and came out ahead. How did this happen?

All the ships had three heavy weapons. With only speed-8 and -12 drones available, a drone rack isn’t as good as a disruptor, and the Z-FF has two drone racks and one disruptor. With four phasers, the Z-FF had fewer phasers than most and no more than the E4. The E4 at least doesn’t waste two of them as ph-3s. The only advantage was that they had the only ph-1s there, and one on each ship was a 360.

So with this in mind, my plan was to stay fast, try for good ph-1 ranges and look for an opportunity. Mark then made two mistakes. First, he split his force after one FF was damaged. Second, he fired off his disruptors at long range before I had made any commitment to staying at range. Even without his disruptors I didn’t really want to deal with his ESGs, and probably would not have gone close if all three Lyrans were present. With 3-to-2 odds, this was obviously the best deal I’d get, and I went for it.

The pass against the Klingons was much iffier. They were still in a group, and I was damaged. It came down to firepower again. Thanks to their spacing, I could come in on the rear of the formation and largely cut the E4s out of the deal. I’ll also admit to expecting to take a lot more punishment coming in.

I guess the moral of the story is that once you fire your main strike, you eliminate the main reason why the other guy shouldn’t get closer to you. So when you do, make sure one of the following is true: a) you have an escape plan. b) you can do decent internals that should take out weapons. c) he’s already fired.

I’ve been fairly successful with [c] lately.

A little more Klingon-specific: There are two rules that tend to favor the Klingons that we aren’t using. One is Scatterpacks (which are in Advanced Missions), which make up for the low launch-rate of Klingon drones. The other is Hit and Run Raids (Klingon ships usually have more transporters than anyone else, and they’re energy cheap to operate), which is something I’ve been moving us towards.

But, ph-2s and weak shields. With anyone you need to emphasize your strong points. Disruptors have one of the flattest damage curves in the game, so Klingon ships need make sure these are causing concern to the other fellow. Most Klingon ships have a superior number of phasers. Most of them can fire down the hex spines 60-degrees off the center, and all (? need to double-check wing phasers) can fire down the hex-row directly behind the ship.

So… a D7 vs a F-CA: You do an oblique pass (this is the term for doing a battle pass where you put him on one of those off-center hex-spines instead of centerlining him) at range 5 making sure you have the speed advantage to get away [a]. At range 5 photon torpedoes aren’t so nasty, and you probably trade your #2 for most of his #1. You turn away, he chases. Next turn he’s reloading photons and is on your weak #4 and you’re on his weak #1. 6xph-1 vs. 9xph-2: who wins? Possibly you, if you can get him back on your #5 or 6 by turn 3.

Moral: Shield #1 is the most important one on the ship. If you can trade one of your off shields for his #1, you’re ahead. This is especially true for ships that like to centerline. In the long run that’s almost everyone other than the Klingons.

Problem: what if he doesn’t fire, and waits to see your rear shield? Don’t give it to him. Slideslip out and turn in, use your maneuverability to try and keep that #2 on him as long as he can keep FA arc you. Better yet, do that anyway. The disruptors and phasers can take down another shield next turn. You’ll have to get fancy on the shields, but rear arc coverage of a CA is minimal.

Or drop a T-bomb out the hatch. The CA is four points more than the D7, and you don’t have to spend it on drones.

So there’s some thoughts, applied to the ‘classic’ duel.