TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Parts 1-2)

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ZedF
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TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Parts 1-2)

Post by ZedF » Sun Aug 10, 2014 8:12 pm

It's a violent universe out there! Every spacefaring being knows it. So nobody leaves home without being armed to the teeth -- at least insofar as they are able. Several basic weapons technologies are common knowledge amongst the stars.

Even so, there is no other faction so monomanic in their zeal for automatic firearms as the Dakka Attakk Tarka, to the exclusion of all other kinds of weaponry. And there is no other faction as obsessed with actually using their weapons as the Dakka Attakk Tarka. They've taken to developing customized and novel armaments, such as the Hypervelocity Assault Rifle, and MIRV ground attack submunitions for rack-launched atomic rockets. They've even exported such weapons to other races, and have become the defacto arms merchants of their part of the galaxy.

It's a good thing they are so proficient at making guns, because the Dakka Attakk Tarka are not nearly so good at making friends...


Setup:
------
- The following technologies are free for all races: Green Lasers, Green Beamers, Shaped Nuclear Warhead, VRF, Mass Drivers, Plasma Cannon, DF Racks, Sniper Cannon (aka Hypervelocity Assault Rifle)
- The following technologies are half cost for all races: Stormers, Heavy Stormers
- Sniper Cannon has been modified to fire 3 projectiles instead of 1. Damage per projectile is 1/3 of normal, so their combat effectiveness is roughly unchanged. This will allow the Tarka an eligible small mount weapon, under the variant restrictions.
- DF Racks have been given significantly more bombardment damage to put them on par with various mass driver technologies (depending on what warhead techs are available.) This will allow the Tarka a suitable bombardment weapon, under the variant restrictions.

Map Size/Shape:
- 8 Players, 120 Stars, Globular Clusters
Map Setup Parameters:
- Alliances on, Randoms 200%, 70/70 econ/research, defaults otherwise

Players:
- 1 Tarka (Player): 1 starting colony, $300k, 0 techs
- 3 Hiver (Difficult AI): 2 starting colonies, $300k, 0 techs
- 2 Zuul (Difficult AI): 2+1 starting colonies, $3.0M, 0 techs
- 2 Morrigi (Difficult AI): 2 starting colonies, $3.0M, 0 techs


Variant Rules:
--------------
1) Dakka!
- DATarka may only use weapons that employ burst fire or submunitions.
- DATarka may not use any other weapons, including assault shuttles or bioweapons.
- Basic missiles are allowed in mounts where no other weapons may be used.

2) Moar Dakka!!
- When facing rival empires, tactics are limited to "shoot the closest guy first, a lot!"
- Only the closest rival enemy ship may be targeted.
- Ships move only via CtA/Standoff/Pursue/Stop commands, except if no rivals visible on the map

3) Dakka Attackk!!!
- DATarka are xenophobic and poor diplomats.
- May not research xenotech above level 1 or negotiate treaties with other races or factions.

Map
Last edited by ZedF on Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Zed's TARs (sample):
Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

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ZedF
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Re: TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Part 1)

Post by ZedF » Sun Aug 10, 2014 8:13 pm

T013

Domestic report:
I've had some moderately dismal luck regarding settling prospects in my home cluster. There are only 2 worlds that are immediately colonizable, and both of those are relatively far away from my homeworld and consequently have only been discovered recently. I do have colony groups outbound to both worlds now, though. Beyond that, I have 3 worlds guarded by randoms -- an asteroid monitor and two crow wreckages -- which should also be colonizable eventually, but which I can't claim until the randoms are cleared. After that, everything has 400 CH or more, which will put these worlds out of reach for quite a while. At least I only have one lava world in my home cluster, so eventually I should have a good number of backline worlds to fill in.

Foreign report:
Since my home cluster is so short on colonizable worlds, I have to hope I can poach some territory from the pink Zuul in the neighboring cluster. The only upside of my homeworld being so far removed from the center of my own cluster, is that it's relatively near the next cluster over. I only have the one neighbor so far -- everyone else is in clusters beyond the Zuul -- so at least I have just that one border to defend, and pushing it forward seems reasonably possible. Another point in my favour is the closest world in the pink Zuul cluster is both large and quite hospitable, albeit low on resources. Hopefully I'll find further colony prospects there which I can settle and grow to maturity before the Zuul manage to bore routes to them.

Tech report:
So far I've researched Waldos and Gene Manipulation. Ordinarily I'd like to pick up another cheap economic tech or two such as Suspended Animation or Recombinant Fissionables, but I anticipate being at war with the pink Zuul in short order and will want some war techs to ensure I have the advantage. Given all the extra weapons techs everyone start with access to I am not sure what they will be packing, but it's safe to say they will want to close to short range where snipers might not be so effective. I opt to pick up Stormers next.

Dakka report:
Automatic snipers have been standing my scouts in good stead. I've encountered two Derelicts thus far; the first with multiple scouts, the second with just one. With several scouts to coordinate I found it easiest to sit at the starting point and plink away, but this worked less well when I just had a single scout to worry about. In that case, I got better results orbiting the derelict and shooting the most threatening weapons off first; this seemed to strip the turrets much more quickly overall. The main difference from my usual single-scout approach was the range at which my scout orbited the derelict, and consequently the speed with which it needed to do so.

Also, automatic snipers wound up helping decide my approach to dealing with the asteroid monitor guarding one of the colony prospects near my homeworld. When my scout first encountered the monitor, it turned out there was an asteroid near enough to the base that I could park the scout in its shadow and be safe from the monitor's missiles. It also turned out that this was a Mark 1 monitor and lacked snipers and armour piercing heavy drivers of its own, so my scout was able to snipe the missile turrets off over the course of the turn. Accordingly, my plan now is to destroy the monitor using sniper fire from a handful of scouts, over several turns. This will be slow, but still much quicker than hacking it would be, given this game's economic settings.

Destroying monitors rather than hacking them might also be feasible with other weapons. Habitually I tend to hack monitors, but in many cases it could be faster to just blow them up -- at least as long as we are talking about Mark 1 monitors. Taking off the missile turrets is job #1 and could be costly in terms of ship casualties, but after that any early weapon that outranges mass drivers would be adequate, from missiles to torpedoes, DF racks, green lasers or better, and of course snipers.
Zed's TARs (sample):
Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

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Re: TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Part 1)

Post by ZedF » Sun Aug 10, 2014 8:13 pm

T025

Domestic report:
Up to 5 colonies now in addition to the homeworld. All are relatively new; however, all but one are sub-100 hazard rating and should grow quickly. Two of these are poaching on pink Zuul's cluster, and I don't plan to stop there. Rankings have me first in colonies and 3rd in ships, but otherwise my rankings are pretty weak -- which is only to be expected, to be honest. These should climb in due course, as long as I can maintain my colonies rank and can keep those colonies safe. On the other hand, finding more worlds to settle in order to maintain my colonies rank could be a challenge, at least in the short term.

Foreign report:
So, two turns ago I moved a group of 6 sniper armours a light year out from Shoni and parked them there. (I don't have Hyperlink Comms, but I do have a tanker with auto-refuel turned off, so they automatically drop out of hyperspace to check for new orders when out of gas, and then I can refill them manually. Makes you wonder why they couldn't just drop out of hyperspace and check for new orders every turn regardless, but I digress.) While hanging out near Shoni, they spotted 3 groups of Zuul ships in orbit over that world.

Now I know the Zuul have similar optimal CH to my Tarka, and I know Shoni looked pretty nice to my scout before it got nuked, so probably one of those groups is a colony group. I think the second is the remains of a bore fleet, and the third is a defense fleet that probably went to Shoni in response to my own fleet headed there. So, I sat a light-year out in deep space and waited. Last turn, one of the Zuul fleets vanished, so I guessed the Zuul colonized Shoni with one of the fleets. This turn, I see that both the other fleets have also left to go perform other tasks.

So, now my fleet that's so harmlessly parked in deep space a light-year out of Shoni has free access to waltz in, vape the new colony the Zuul just planted there, and found my own in its place with the colonizer I brought along just in case something like this should happen, as I thought it might. Silly AI. I shall have to endeavour not to dislocate my shoulder whilst patting myself on the back for out-guessing an unthinking computer.

Tech report:
Stormers have come in, starting on Translate Zuul next for War sections. After that it'll be Battle Computers. Once I have those, I'll be able to adequately defend what I have, and to project power over unclaimed worlds and new Zuul colonies, if not their mature core worlds. At that point, more options will open up regarding next steps, whether economic or military in nature.

Dakka report:
Automatic snipers on a single scout ship aren't really all that useful when facing enemy ships, under the rules of engagement I have laid out for this game. Standoff orders are really inadequate for maintaining separation if your ship is being deliberately hunted down. A single scout of mine was only barely able to defeat a single Zuul ship in one-on-one combat, and then only because I got several lucky close range hits in. Snipers might do better against rival empire fleets if I have a fleet of my own and my ships are able to spread out to some degree such that they can't all be chased at once -- or if I have a proper organized fleet where some of my forces are designed to get in close with stormers, while others pepper from range with snipers. At least, that's my current theory, which I expect to be able to test at some point.

Automatic snipers also don't perform quite so well against colony traps, at least not unless I get a lucky hit in early before the trap drone has time to close the range -- this causes the drone to go evasive and slow down closing speed enough that it has a hard time catching a fleeing colony ship. Most of the time, though, even with the fast shot speed of sniper rounds they still aren't quick enough to catch the trap drones. They have similar problems with wreckage drones, and I don't imagine they'd perform any better against the swarm.

Map
Last edited by ZedF on Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Zed's TARs (sample):
Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

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ZedF
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Re: TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Part 1)

Post by ZedF » Tue Aug 12, 2014 11:19 am

T036

Domestic report:
The pink Zuul had a stray ship outside my sensor range but already enroute to Shoni when I founded my colony there, after taking out the previous Zuul claim. I killed it of course, but the Zuul did learn about my colony, and sent a pretty huge fleet of 49 ships to take it out. That's a lot more force than I could muster to defend the colony, so I had to abandon its defense. I did learn that the Zuul are using light emitters and plasma cannons on their most recent designs, though, and that they have Battle Computers already.

Foreign report:
On the upside, I now know where the main Zuul fleet is! My first Stormer-equipped ships are making their way into the cluster, so hopefully we'll be in a better position to put up a fight next time. While I wasn't able to save Shoni, I was able to take out a Zuul bore fleet attempting to survey Melnitz. Hopefully this will delay their efforts to bore a route to either Tiamat or Ka'Trothu, my two primary colonies in their cluster.

Tech report:
Stormers and Translate Zuul are finished, and we are currently working to achieve command and control parity with the Zuul. After that, I'd like to catch up on a few economy techs to help afford the fleets I need to fight off the Zuul. The first of these on the list is Suspended Animation, and I will likely get Cyber Interfaces after that. I'd like to slip in Recombinant Fissionables or Pulsed Fission at some point too, but those will have to be further out.

Dakka report:
Using snipers under these rules of engagement is a pain, mostly because standoff orders are so unreliable. This despite the fact that I am using it on ships with all sniper weapons, and have selected the nearest enemy ship as the target, so there should be little confusion about optimal engagement ranges. Nevertheless, confusion persists. Sometimes ships on standoff orders will travel toward a nearby targeted enemy rather than away from it. Sometimes ships on standoff orders don't turn around to re-engage when approaching or passing max weapons range, but instead just keep going long past max weapons range and take themselves out of the fight for an extended period. No wonder I never use standoff orders normally.

But, for this game, standoff orders are the only way I can actually attempt to open range on an opponent, so I'm stuck with them. At least, I'm stuck with them until such time as I can get CnC ships leading fleets using proper formations, so I can have my stormer equipped ships move in close while my smipers stay back. In that event, for the snipers I can use close to attack or pursuit to get just within max range, and then issue a stop order to remain there. Hopefully splitting my squadrons in two like this won't compromise the close-in group to the point where they die too quickly to keep the CnC and snipers safe; this possibility is something I'll have to watch out for.

Troubles with standoff orders aside, as long as my ships can maintain separation while still keeping most of their guns bearing on their target, automatic snipers do their job against rival ships pretty well at this stage of the game. Snipers don't do a lot of damage individually, but destroyers can have a lot of small mounts and they do add up! One caveat I foresee is that, for snipers to perform well, you really do need to dedicate all those small mounts to offense. Where a weapons loadout more centered on medium mount weapons for punch might pick up point defense in the smalls without much thought, I can see that adding point defense (when I get it) could have a much more direct cost for sniper ships.
Zed's TARs (sample):
Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

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ZedF
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Re: TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Part 1)

Post by ZedF » Tue Aug 12, 2014 11:20 am

T050

Domestic report:
All but one of my colonies are now mature or nearly so. Naturally I'm looking for further expansion opportunities, but pickings are slim at the moment. On the one hand, anything I try to colonize in the pink Zuul cluster will come with pressing defensive needs. On the other hand, everything I could attempt to colonize in my home cluster really needs more technology of one sort or another -- point defense to clear out crow wreckage drones over a couple relatively nice-looking worlds, or else biotech for the rest of it.

I also still have to worry about holding what I already have in the pink Zuul cluster; my foes have now bored a route to Tiamat, and could soon try to drill a route to Ka'Trothu as well. Those worlds are mature or nearly so now, and able to build and improve their own defenses, but actually doing so still takes time and money.

Foreign report:
I do have one colony that is new: the Zuul moved most of their defenders away from Shoni after they resettled it, so I sent in a squadron of destroyers (now with a CnC and an actual formation!) and cleared them out again, then resettled it myself. But the cost was higher than I would have liked; I lost 8 destroyers to kill 14. Largely, that's because the Zuul are using light emitters, and I can't reply in kind. Given those kinds of kill ratios, my total naval presence in the Zuul cluster is still dangerously low, but the shipyards at Tiamat will soon be fully online to help address that vulnerability.

Tech report:
Another thing that will help us build our naval presence in the Zuul cluster is Cyber Interfaces, which will complete soon. When it does, I'll need to look into a means for my fleets to reduce their vulnerability to light emitters. One possibility would be to pick up deflectors with an eye toward following up with disruptor shields, if I have them. However, this is a relatively unidimensional solution that focuses only on that one specific problem, and doesn't help me in other ways.

So before I entertain that approach, I plan on trying something else: getting Orbital Foundries and following with Cruiser Construction. Orbital Foundries gives me strafe sections for more sniper power. Cruisers are Tarkasian bread-and-butter for cost-effectiveness, especially with medium mounts like stormers. They also rely more on durability and less on evasiveness, so light emitters will hurt a bit less. Moreover, if I have one cruiser to lead the way with snipers well behind for support, light emitters will get few opportunities to arc, further cutting their overall damage output. With cruisers, I also get refinery bombs and cruiser ER bombs for no extra charge. And as I know well from experience on the receiving end, if there's one thing that can cripple a dense formation of short range destroyers in a hurry, it's a refinery bomb.

Additionally, fielding cruisers might encourage the Zuul to migrate to cruisers of their own. In that event, they would probably stop using light emitters so much and concentrate on plasma weapons instead, as the AI usually prefers to put medium weapons in medium turrets. Since plasma cannon are a lot less dangerous than light emitters, and since my stormers would likely perform better against Zuul cruisers than they do currently, a general Zuul movement to cruisers could very possibly be to my benefit, all things considered.

Further, getting cruisers opens up a lot of other useful things, like Biomes, Data Synergy, and Salvage Technology. The foremost of these is especially interesting to me given the hazard ratings of most of the worlds in my home cluster. As my worlds are spread about quite widely, and as my max trade range would be quite short even with Pulsed Fission (assuming I were to research both that and FTL Economics), I don't anticipate trade being a factor in my imperial economy anytime soon. Other than conquering Zuul worlds, Biomes are my best bet for economic growth in the near future.

Dakka Report:
Automatic snipers have continued to pull their weight, again with the usual caveat regarding finding a way to keep the range open. I am beginning to conclude that my earlier disenchantment with them stems largely from not using them to full potential in a fleet setting. With a single sniper ship or a small group of them, sabre dancing has been my typical tactic, and it works well in that context. But sabre dancing gets progressively harder to employ as the number of ships in a battle increases and as you use ships with differing maneuverability characteristics.

For snipers in a fleet setting, my most recent combat results seem to support the idea that, once in range, it's best to stop them in a defensive position, or in a number of such positions. This allows them to take advantage of superior accuracy from being stationary, and to maintain an optimal facing to maximize available firepower. While destroyers often have a lot of small mounts, they tend to be spread over the whole ship, and no small mount weapon does a lot of damage on its own. You can only do substantial damage with them if you can get a lot of them facing the same target and consistently keep them on target, without needing to maneuver much if at all.

Stormers, on the other hand, have always seemed like a very niche weapon to me, and nothing has happened thus far to change that opinion. They have about as many prerequisites and about as much cost to research as AP drivers, but don't have nearly the overall utility or longevity that the latter weapons do. When compared with other specialist close range weapons, the fact that light emitters and other early beam weapons outperform them during the era of the game where they are most relevant (i.e. before armour becomes commonplace) is pretty telling.

I have a hard time imagining a situation where research times and costs are relevant and in which stormers would be useful, where I wouldn't prefer to get beam weapons or just make do with mass drivers instead. At least with the latter weapon I would have a much lower upfront research cost, and that research would be opening up pathways to more generally useful weapons further along the line. The same argument repeats itself when heavy stormers is compared with heavy drivers, so even that potential motivation to research stormers is pretty weak one.

Map
Last edited by ZedF on Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Zed's TARs (sample):
Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

Strategy & Tactics Forum Archive -- More posts on strategy, tactics, and TARs

ZedF
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Re: TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Part 1)

Post by ZedF » Thu Aug 14, 2014 10:59 pm

Domestic report:
Not much has changed economically since my last report, other than Shoni continues to mature and is approaching the point where it will be able to defend itself. Unfortunately, that means my economy isn't exactly expanding rapidly right now. I do have one new colony I'm endeavouring to found at Zamara in the pink Zuul cluster, but it's perched at the top of the cluster and will be somewhat difficult to defend. Still, the Zuul haven't found it yet, so I'm hoping that trend will continue.

Additionally, cruisers are now available, which looks to open up a couple more colony prospects: there are two crow wreckages guarding worlds in my home cluster that look fairly hospitable. I don't yet have point defense, but as mentioned before, with cruisers I have refinery bombs, and those should take care of wreckage drones quite nicely. I plan to send a trio of RBomb CAs plus a CnC DD to each wreckage and see if that is suficient to clear the way.

Zamara aside, I think matters are now fairly well in hand defensively, all things considered. Still, the Zuul are likely to continue to stir up trouble. Their main fleet is now back on my scopes, 78 ships strong -- destination: unknown. They have bored routes to all 3 of my zuul cluster colonies now and I don't think any of those routes have decayed yet, so this could be an attack. Alternatively, I did just wipe out a Zuul colony expedition to Melnitz, a relatively unhospitable world, and this fleet could be a belated effort to defend or avenge that settlement. Either way, the fleet includes a rip bore and is moving slowly as a result, so I should have enough time to gather defensive assets wherever it intends to hit, should it attack one of my worlds.

Foreign report:
Now that I have a big enough fleet for regular local defense and enough production capacity to handle an emergency (at least if I can see it coming), thoughts turn to attack: taking over Zuul colonies, rather than just sitting back and defending mine. The difficulty here is that the ships I have built thus far aren't really capable of it; snipers and stormers are not well-suited for large-scale planetary bombardment. For that, I will need to build ships mounting DF racks, and preferably have point defense and repair capabilities available as well, as ships equipped with rocket packs tend to be pretty expensive and I won't be able to afford to treat them casually.

Tech report:
Of course, that means more tech is needed! After cruisers, I picked up Pulsed Fission, primarily to maximize my cruisers' maneuverability -- they need to be able to get out in front fast in order to keep my snipers safe -- and secondarily to reduce their fuel consumption. I plan to keep using fission on my destroyers for a while, though, at least until I can get several more worlds colonized and my economy starts to really heat up. Next, I have two different paths I can pursue; of course I will need to work on both, the question is prioritization.

On the peaceful economy side of things, Biomes is the big ticket item, but Expert Systems also beckons. My ships, cruisers especially, have still got some pretty hefty I/O requirements and this would allow me to build them significantly faster; not to mention the benefits to any new colonies I plan to found with biomes. Atmospheric Adaptation is another nice-to-have in this category that I will want to pick up at some point.

On the more martial side of things, if I am looking to go on offense then Point Defense and Salvage Technology are the biggest priorities, with Data Synergy closely following those. But if I start seeing Zuul cruisers, then that will bump up Data Synergy's priority since it's more useful defensively than the former techs. Point Defense in particular will allow me to start building up attack fleets in anticipation of getting repair ships and command cruisers to lead those fleets and keep them in good condition. Eventually, Gamma warheads would be nice to give rockets a little more oomph -- I might even get Fusion warheads before Fusion, which I don't normally do. But better warhead techs are a ways down the road; I need the fleets first, so for the moment they remain firmly in nice-to-have territory.

Prioritizing all these techs will be a bit of a juggling act. I decided to pick up Biomes first, because that will open up a lot of opportunities in my core, and I can probably improve my economy faster that way than by fighting the Zuul for their worlds. Of course, once I do start colonizing a bunch of worlds, funds for further tech advances will probably start to become tight for a while due to development costs...

Dakka report:
As mentioned, the Zuul did bore a route to Ka'Trothu, which meant repelling their 18 ship bore fleet. This gave me an opportunity to test my most recent sniper DDs -- strafe/war/fission models -- and they put on a good show. A volley from a half dozen of these guys will cripple if not outright destroy a Zuul DD, and they can fire a volley about every 6 seconds. Not as impressive as a full light emitter squadron, certainly, but not too shabby all the same!

Cruisers are now taking over the point role in my squadrons from destroyers. My first couple cruisers were built in time for the defense of Ka'Trothu, but before I had picked up pulsed fission. I was concerned about how refineries and armour cruisers would perform without it, vis-a-vis speed for the former and fuel range for the latter, so I opted to compomise for the first couple ships and test out ER cruiser bombs on point. It turned out that the Zuul didn't even bring a command ship in the fleet, so the question turned out to be moot; the snipers destroyed anything that got close to the ER fast enough that even when the mission section popped, it didn't catch much in the radius.

I don't think I'll be sticking with ER ships on point, though, even though they didn't really get a fair workout that time around. I am thinking that, for point duty, I either want a ship that's tough in a fight (meaning an armour or war cruiser) for situations where I'm not outnumbered and think my fleet can handle the enemy fleet well enough, or a really big bomb for when I am outnumbered and worried about being simply overwhelmed. Since I resolved to put no more than 2 cruisers in each of my squadrons for now, in order to keep maintenance costs under control, that means 1 armour and 1 refinery. The latter will also allow my fleets to venture a lot further from base than they currently can manage.

Naturally these cruisers are mainly equipped with stormers for now, since they are designed for fleet combat and not bombardment. The stormers did an ok job in the last battle and got a fair share of the total damage numbers, but I think this figure might have been inflated a bit by cleaning up Zuul DDs that were previously crippled by sniper fire. In that case, when the second section died, I think any leftover hit points in the remaining section may have been attributed as stormer damage, which isn't strictly accurate. This will bear watching as I continue to use stormers, though to be fair pretty much any close range weapon would be doing well under these circumstances, with snipers doing so much of the work to soften enemy ships and set up easy kills.
Zed's TARs (sample):
Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

Strategy & Tactics Forum Archive -- More posts on strategy, tactics, and TARs

ZedF
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Re: TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Part 1)

Post by ZedF » Thu Aug 14, 2014 11:00 pm

T075

Domestic report:
The wagons are rolling west! Zamara has now been colonized (using DD colonizers), but we're adding a lot more in relatively short order. Triple RBomb CA squadrons proved sufficient to clear the two crow ruins guarding colony prospects, so now the underlying worlds have been revealed to be pleasant places. Both have sub-100 hazard ratings, and are being colonized post-haste with pairs of biomes. More biomes are enroute to a pair of size 9 worlds near the homeworld; these both have 400ish hazard rating, but we'll knock that down under 300 with handfuls of biomes to give those colonies a big leg up. Meanwhile we'll continue working toward settling another size 6 world a bit further afield, closer to one of our other mature colonies in the home cluster.

If I'm being ambitious and settling a lot of worlds at once, it's because we really need more headroom in our economy. Building all these cruisers has jumped our fleet maintenance budget upwards something fierce... but we only have something like 30 of them in service altogether. That's not really all that much, spread over the whole empire. We're going to need more in order to take down Zuul colonies with any dispatch, too; relying on DF racks for bombardment means needing a lot of medium mounts, and that usually means cruisers. Normally I might stick with shuttles for bombardment when cruiser maintenace costs are a problem, but that's not an option this time around.

Foreign report:
The Zuul continue to move ships about my borders, and occasionally launch attacks, while I continue to defend and bide my time until I can scrape together the funds and tech and ships to start being more aggressive myself. They still have a quite large fleet apparently stranded at Melnitz, and an even bigger one is headed there now. Of course, Melnitz is the location of their rip to Ka'Trothu, so we are watching that closely; I could soon have over 130 ships descending on that world. I won't have nearly so many in place to defend, but I should nevertheless have enough, if they decide to make the attack run.

Tech report:
After Biomes came in, I had to turn tech off for a while in order to be able to afford to pump out several colonization fleets, so that's the only new tech since the last update. I've just now started in on Expert Systems for a much-needed general economy and growth boost. I considered Point Defense instead, to allow planetary assault ships to be built, but I can't afford them quite yet anyway due to biomes having priority at the moment. Expert Systems will speed both colony development now and fleet development later, so it seems like the best call right at this moment.

Dakka report:
A couple combats of note took place since the last report. The first of them was me suiciding my pair of ER cruisers against the biggish Zuul fleet at Melnitz, in order to do some research on the effectiveness of cruiser ER bombs. Turns out they aren't really any more damaging than DD tanker explosions would be, overall. Explosion damage falls off with distance, and enemy ships can't cluster as closely around an ER cruiser as they can around a DD tanker, so it's hard to get really solid hits in with an ER cruiser explosion. I traded 2 cruisers (and 4 death explosions) for 9 destroyers and several more damaged -- a pyrrhic victory for the Zuul, at best, but I can't help but feel that a single refinery might have done as much or more.

The other combat was a significant but not massive Zuul attack at Shoni, with 24 DDs. I had an armour cruiser up front, and it sucked up a ton of punishment, but still survived the round. Surprisingly, its stormers did nearly as much damage as the snipers did this time around; I wouldn't have thought swapping the ER section for the armour section would make quite that much difference. Nevertheless, it seems clear that stormers on cruisers are a far better counter for light emitters than stormers on war destroyers; the extra durability and greater proportion of medium mounts makes a big difference.

It doesn't hurt that the Zuul are diluting their emitter power with laser PD, even though I am not using missiles against them (apart from planet missiles.) I also noted that the Zuul continue to lack armour, and if they don't have it by now I suspect they don't have it in their tree at all -- or at least not the easily accessible links at the bottom of the tree. I would have expected my stormers to be blunted by now against any other race, but Zuul lacking armour are not that uncommon. Of course, unarmoured Zuul destroyers are pretty easy to kill with just about anything, so it's perhaps not surprising that stormers are dishing out a lot of pain, now that I've got ships and tactics designed to be emitter-resistant.

Map
Last edited by ZedF on Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Zed's TARs (sample):
Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

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Re: TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Part 1)

Post by ZedF » Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:23 am

T088:

Domestic report:
The new colonies in our home cluster are growing like weeds. Already one of them is modestly profitable, and several of them have populations over a million. Zamara in the Zuul cluster was settled before all of these worlds, but it's going to wind up maturing after most of them, as it was colonized before Biomes were available. There are still a couple more worlds I have yet to settle in my home cluster, but plans for that are underway, though proceeding a bit more slowly now. I may also colonize Melnitz in the not-too-distant future, assuming I can secure it from the Zuul.

Foreign report:
Speaking of Melnitz, it has become hotly contested territory recently. The 80-DD fleet the Zuul had sent there pushed on to bore a new route to Tiamat, without stopping to merge with or gas up the fleet they already had there. After that threat was dealt with, and given how successful our most modern fleets have been recently at repelling Zuul DD swarms, I decided to send a squadron to Melnitz to clear those destroyers out before they could be refuelled. As it turned out, my squadron arrived simultaneously with the Zuul refuelling fleet, and there was a large battle. Our forces were victorious and have withdrawn for repairs and replenishment, but now the Zuul have another group of 9 ships enroute to Melnitz.

One interesting thing to note about that refuelling fleet was that it contained a refinery; thus, the Zuul have now researched cruisers. So, ok, fine; my stormers and snipers will miss less. The pink Zuul still lack armour and Zuul cruisers without armour aren't that scary. However, if they also get Strikeforce CnC, then one cruiser on point probably won't be enough and I'll need Strikeforce CnCs of my own.

Tech report:
After Expert Systems completed, it seemed that while Atmospheric Adapation would be useful, it would have too high an opportunity cost just at this moment. I'll likely still want it at some point, but I've delayed doing something about the Zuul for quite a while now. With biomes landing, my fleet maintenance costs shrinking, and my economy growing again, I feel like it's time to start making renewed preparations for war. By now I expect the Zuul to have significant planetary defenses, and as I mentioned earlier my bombardment ships are going to be expensive. In a bid to keep them safe, I'm now over 50% done researching Point Defense. After that I plan on grabbing Salvage Technology and Data Synergy. I might try to fit in Polysilicate Alloys and some warhead tech in the near future, as well.

Dakka report:
The 80-DD fleet that attacked Tiamat was the biggest I'd faced thus far this game, but really wasn't any more difficult to face than the 26 at Shoni had been; it was just a longer fight. Over 2 turns of combat we traded 3 CAs and a DD for their entire fleet. I had both stormer war cruisers and stormer armour cruisers on point (one at a time, separately) in this battle; performance-wise they were pretty much a toss-up. The war cruisers had a slightly better ratio of damage given to taken, but the armour cruisers get into defensive position faster, are slightly tougher, and are cheaper to replace. In the end, I think the armour cruisers are just a shade better for this job.

For the follow-up attack at Melnitz, I knew I would be heavily outnumbered, as I'd only sent a single squadron of 11 DDs and 3 CAs to the fight. I figured I'd likely go through all 3 of my cruisers, so I put the refinery on point first. This removed the risk that it might explode over friendly ships or fail to get into position quickly as a reinforcement, and gave me a chance to compare its performance as a bomb to the ER cruisers I tested previously. As expected, one RBombCA did do about as well as 2 ER cruisers in this capacity, due to the much bigger explosion radius. It still wasn't as effective on point as an armour cruiser, but if it's likely to get killed anyway it might as well take some of the bad guys with it!

Over 2 turns we lost the refinery and one of the two armour CAs I had brought along; the other armour CA took heavy damage but managed to survive the encounter. In exchange we wiped out 69 DDs and a refinery cruiser; not a bad day's work for a single squadron!
Zed's TARs (sample):
Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

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Re: TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Part 1)

Post by ZedF » Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:24 am

T100

Domestic report:
Our colonies ranking is back up to #1, after having dropped as low as 7th and languishing in the basement for a while. There is still 1 more world we are in the process of claiming peacefully in our home cluster, as well as a small independent Hiver world named Scaramouche we will have to get around to conquering at some point. My Tarka are far too trigger happy to think of trading with them, so thus far we've been ignoring them. There's also one remaining crow wreckage over a lava world, but now that we don't need so many refineries in our home cluster to shuffle colonization fleets around, we're sending the extras to go clear that system. Our war chest could certainly use the cash boost.

Any further expansion opportunities at that point will have to be in the pink Zuul cluster. Funds previously allocated to Biome construction in the home cluster have now been shifted to Ka'Trothu. We have a number of proposed colonies to settle in the area, once we evict the Zuul squatters currently infesting the surface or squabbling for control over the orbitals.

Foreign report:
The Zuul have an attack incoming at Shoni, 46 ships strong and described verbally as "an armada", or a large attack. By the distribution of fleets orbiting Fornax before the attack was launched, I guess fleet is about half cruisers and half destroyers. We are in the process of launching an invasion into pink Zuul territory, and Shoni is our main staging point; we have plenty of ships on hand to repel such an assault. The main question is how many losses we will take, as this will determine how quickly we can counter-attack into defenses that have hopefully been stripped bare.

In other foreign news, we got an incoming transmission we couldn't identify, but the language being used seemed similar to the insects at the independent colony of Scaramouche, so we assume it's the same race. We have yet to see any evidence of them on our scanners, however.

Tech report:
Point defense technology has been integrated into some of our existing fleets, as well as all new construction. I've tried to minimize the cost to our sniper firepower on those ships dedicated to that role, so coverage might be a bit lighter than I'm normally accustomed to, but the pink Zuul don't have sophisticated warhead technology so this should not be overly problematic. Salvage technology was chosen as the next focus area -- for our slow ships, this is a critical tech to allow them to continue advancing rather than have to withdraw for repairs -- and that research has now completed as well. Next up is Data Synergy, in order to ensure we have command parity with the Zuul.

Dakka report:
Our new rocket war cruisers got their first test at Prism, where I noticed the Zuul had a weak defensive presence. This turned out not to be much of a challenge for our bombardment ships; Prism is only a size 2 world, and the Zuul presence there was quickly eradicated. We also had a number of snipers join the fray due to outnumbering bonus, and they helped to clear the satellites while the cruisers pounded the planet. We anticipate colonizing it ourselves shortly.

I expect we'll start seeing some bigger battles in the upcoming turns, that will give us a good idea of how our current weapons mix performs in a larger-scale venue.

Map
Last edited by ZedF on Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Zed's TARs (sample):
Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

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Re: TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Part 1)

Post by ZedF » Wed Aug 20, 2014 12:46 am

T112

Domestic report:
The war with pink Zuul has gone well enough that we now have colonized a couple former Zuul worlds: Prism, as alluded to in previous reports, and now also Shandor. The latter has only 1500 resources left, so it must not have had many to start with and the Zuul must have burned a lot of them Zuul-forming the world. But at least it has an asteroid belt so that will give it a boost later on, once we've researched Asteroid Mining.

Additionally, after finishing Data Synergy, we turned our attention to FTL Broadband and FTL Economics, so we are finally just now getting started on our trade networks. We still don't have a ton of routes to fill in our empire, in part due to short maximum trade range and in part due to having a lot of planets that have just recently finished maturing from an imperial perspective and are still short on civilian population. The latter will improve naturally in due course, but it will probably be a little while yet before Fusion is on the horizon.

Foreign report:
The pink Zuul, having lost Prism and Shandor, and having ceded control over the uncolonized systems of Pacem and Melnitz, are on the back foot and have lost the ability to seriously threaten us anywhere other than our main staging grounds at Shoni. They have a route bored there from Fornax, their last remaining front-line forge world, but we are in the process of wresting that planet away from them, with the intent to colonize it ourselves. After that, the pink Zuul will be down to their original two systems.

Of course, taking out the pink Zuul doesn't mean the wars will end. I haven't even finished securing the pink Zuul cluster but I already have a new opponent to deal with. The yellow Hivers have a gate in our territory and have started shipping more gate fleets into our cluster. They want to sign a NAP... well buddies, in another game I might jump at the chance to work toward an alliance, but not this time. My Tarka are far more eager to claim the spoils of battle in this cluster than they are to claim friendship with alien insects -- or with anyone else, for that matter.

Tech report:
With Data Synergy and FTL Economics under our belt, we're taking a quick pause in teching to pump out a bunch of freighters, but we won't be able to stop teching for long. Our admirals are paying for our navy's success in blood, as the Zuul have started to use their own stormers and our ships aren't as tough as they need to be to stand up to them well. Polysilicate Alloys and Tarka Living Steel are needed fairly urgently and can't be put off too much longer. Gamma and perhaps Fusion warheads are also priority military targets; I have the feeling Stormers are not going to impress the Hivers, and our rockets currently don't have a lot of punch. I am also starting to get the feeling we can't keep relying on automatic sniper power forever.

Dakka report:
Buckle up, 'cause this is going to be a long one.

There were two major battles during this reporting interval that each lasted multiple turns. The first was at the very beginning of it, when the Zuul attacked Shoni with a large fleet of 46 ships. My initial guess from the previous report that their fleet was about half cruisers proved to be accurate. I knew I was long on destroyers but short on cruisers at Shoni, so I had built a full ring of medium sats for this fight; light sats hadn't seemed worth the cost, but the cruiser-sized sats are more durable and Tarka get them cheap. I slapped on snipers and PD and hoped to get a reasonable contribution out of them; I figured they were worth about an extra cruiser on the field, altogether. Of course they cost a lot more than one cruiser, but I couldn't have fielded more cruisers if I had had them.

My fleet snuggled in amongst the sat ring for added PD and firepower, and as it turned out I needed it, as the Zuul had Strikeforce CnC and I didn't. They could field 7-8 cruisers at a time, to my one with destroyer support. I needed to arrange the battle so that they would quickly charge in and kill my point cruiser, and then get stuck in the planet's gravity well long enough for my replacement cruiser to interpose itself as an additional sacrifice, while my destroyers stood off and peppered with automatic sniper fire. At the end of the first round of battle I was lucky to only lose 2 cruisers and a destroyer for 12 enemy cruisers; it could easily have gone much worse. The second round of battle went similarly, costing another 2 cruisers for the bulk of the remainder of the enemy force.

I couldn't use the planet as a gravity trap in the second major battle sequence, which occurred just recently as I counter-attacked at Fornax. Fortunately, by this point I had both acquired Strikeforce CnC and significantly bulked up my fleets, but I still had to deal with the fact that my point cruisers were going to be sacrificial lambs and heavily outnumbered by the enemy formation bearing down on them. Moreover, my attack force was coming in two waves separated by a turn of travel time, so the enemy was going to get outnumbering bonus for the first turn.

I opted not to close on the planet at the start of the first turn of battle, so as to try and preserve my forces as long as possible. I wound up starting my point cruisers in front of my formation but quickly moving them off to the side a short distance, so they were still in range of supporting fire but not directly between my support line and the enemy force. This way, crucially, when the enemy line charged my cruisers and overrun them, they did not wind up right in the midst of my destroyers.

Another important tactic in this fight was staying in formation with my command group and snipers. This meant that when my initial stormer cruisers were inevitably destroyed, the reinforcing rocket war cruisers would appear in the spots they were supposed to be in formation, i.e. ahead of my destroyers, rather than behind them. From there, they could quickly move to engage the enemy cruisers, staying close to one another for mutual support, before the latter could reorganize and move in on my destroyer formation.

All this maneuver was critical to my fleets' performance in both of these battles, and was somewhat tricky to arrange given my variant restrictions in this game. I pretty much had to set everything up with move orders as soon as the battle started and before the enemy engaged, and then leave things alone until reinforcements came in and could be issued close to attack orders to get into position. Anyone who thinks maneuver is not important in a brawler slugfest has certainly never seriously tried to use snipers to their full potential.

I think I have a pretty good feel for some of the strengths and weaknesses of using snipers in major fleet actions as a result of these battles, and those of previous reports. When compared with the main ballistics standby of this era, AP drivers, they offer an interesting set of advantages and disadvantages. For advantages, you can get started on building your fleet sooner; the main techs you need (snipers, mass drivers or another close combat weapon, and orbital foundries for strafe sections) are all relatively inexpensive at 15k RP or less, and snipers have no pre-requisite. You don't need to wait for cruisers to have enough medium mounts to use your main weapon effectively, nor do you need to pay as much for cruiser maintenance costs. Your main weapons are longer ranged and even more accurate at long range than AP drivers are.

Snipers have their disadvantages too, however, apart from the obvious blind zone close-in. They don't pack as much punch as AP drivers do, although the difference isn't as large as one might think. They aren't general-purpose, so you have to worry about having different ships for bombardment; usually your close-in point ships will have to double in that role, vis-a-vis mass drivers, but you could also use shuttles. The fact that you are probably going to be relying on destroyer-centric armament for a relatively long time means your fleets will not be able to absorb as much punishment. If you use point ships rather than a dispersed skirmish formation, they will constantly be outmassed and outgunned at the point of contact, and a lot of them will have to die in the trenches. While sniper ships can provide substantial offensive support, they can't offer much in the way of defensive support via PD coverage or getting in the way and taking hits for wounded front-line ships that might want to withdraw for repairs. Heavy losses of point cruisers might mean having to build more replacements overall than you would for a full strikeforce of AP driver cruisers, and that could become a drain on your logistics and economy.

You will need to try to address these issues with use of maneuver and formation rules and roles, which automatically makes managing these ships a bit more involved than just charging into a furball the way brawlers often do. That can be a good thing for those looking for a change, but it's not everyone's cup of tea. In most games you'll probably want to transition to AP drivers eventually anyway, due to their greater versatility and stopping power, and due to their being more suitable cruiser weapons.

While making these observations, I also investigated old reports that small mount weapons in medium strafe mounts don't give double the number of guns, the way turrets do. I slapped a strafe section on my CnC cruiser, filled it with snipers, and watched it closely when it shot; I found the results inconclusive. Graphically, it does indeed appear as if you only get a number of shots commensurate with the number of mounts. However, in the design screen, the cost of the ship appears to still be calculated as if the number of guns were in fact doubled. So does this mean each strafe medium mount using light guns is firing a single double strength projectile, or two projectiles perfectly superimposed on one another? Or is this simply a bug in how strafe mount costs are calculated? I don't know any easy way to tell for certain.

As far as my other weapons go, stormers are about at the end of their lifecycle. I never got to heavy stormers despite their being half-cost, and if my fleets have to deal with Hivers, I don't think I ever will. Heavy stormers can power through Polysilicate, especially with snipers able to pop sections that the stormers can then fill with lead, but the yellow Hiver fleets are moving at Fusion speeds. To suppose they don't have Magnetoceramic armour, or can't easily get it, would be foolish. There is another Zuul in one of my other neighbor clusters, but it's unclear whether researching heavy stormers just to use against them would pay off.

From here on out, rockets are going to have to be my mainstay medium turret weapon, and it could very well wind up being rockets uber alles for the rest of the game. I just need to get around to researching some better warheads. I don't really like the lack of accuracy this implies, however; I'm not yet convinced Fusion warhead rockets actually outperform snipers, when it comes down to it, despite having about double the raw damage potential. But the defensive advantages of migrating purely to cruiser hulls for better mutual support might be critical. We'll just have to see.
Zed's TARs (sample):
Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

Strategy & Tactics Forum Archive -- More posts on strategy, tactics, and TARs

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Re: TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Part 1)

Post by ZedF » Wed Aug 20, 2014 12:47 am

T125

Domestic report:
Having lost their second-last world to our rocket cruisers, the pink Zuul surrendered their capital to us. We now control the entirety of our second cluster, with the sole exception of a Hiver colony perched on the edge of it, which we are allowing to remain there only so that they will terraform it into to something we can colonize ourselves. We did remove their gate in orbit, so any further Hiver fleets will have to cross the gulf between their home cluster and our territory. Eventually, when it is sufficiently habitable, we will claim that world as well.

Apart from Hiver incursion fleets, there is one other blight that has fallen on our second core. Just as we had nearly finished maximizing our imperial presence at Prism, a small world formerly occupied by the Zuul, a VN berserker paid the world a visit. The Zuul must have killed a mothership there at some point in the past. Of course, we were not expecting any combat at that world; by the time the VN came, it was well behind the front lines, and our defensive presence there was minimal. The VN sterilized the world, but we have since reclaimed it; we'll have to be on the lookout to see if the VN returns again in the future.

Otherwise, we are almost done with expansion for the moment. All possible worlds in the home cluster have been colonized. In our second cluster, there remains only one further small world which could be settled with Atmospheric Adaptation, and two more that would require Grav Adaptation. Accordingly, we are taking a break for the moment from lateral expansion and are instead concentrating on filling our trade networks.

Foreign report:
For the moment, all is quiet. We have dealt with all Hiver fleets that are visible on our scopes, though more are sure to come. We've also made contact with a Morrigi empire, but their systems are far removed from our second core -- even moreso than the Hivers. The central cluster is the one that is closest to us now, but its contents remain a mystery, as we have yet to visit there or to spot ships inbound from that direction. Rumor has it amongst our radioastronomers that another Zuul empire might exist in that region, however, due to a lack of distinctive emissions characteristic of other empires.

Our next project from a military perspective is not very ambitious, but it is nevertheless crucial. We need to set up a series of sensor platforms in the gulfs between our second core and neighboring clusters, so we have ample warning of inbound attacks and can gather intelligence regarding future conquest opportunities.

Tech report:
After researching Polysilicate Alloys and Gamma Warheads to help cover some immediate needs, our R&D community's thoughts turned to the future. Integrated Sensors and Advanced Sensors were acquired next, and since things are quiet at the moment, we plan to follow that with a longer-term project: Fusion and Shaped Hyperfields. These will be absolutely critical for our next generation of ships, since we'll need to cross the large gulfs between clusters in order to get anywhere. Fusion will also greatly expand our trade network and allow several of our large worlds, including the homeworld, to reach their full capacity of trade routes.

After Fusion and Shaped Hyperfields, several other advances beckon, that have been postponed thus far in favour of more urgent needs. Atmospheric Adaptation, Asteroid Mining, Deflector Shields, Fusion Warheads, Tarka Living Steel, Hyper-Link Communications, Advanced Robotics... the list goes on. New technologies will also become available, such as Mega-freighters and weapons based on Fusion power. But we likely won't be able to prioritize these until after our current priorities are near completion.

Dakka report:
As expected, the Hivers were not very impressed with my stormers. Most of their gate fleets entering or spreading through my second core before I took out their gate were small ones, capable of being taken out even by our older destroyer squadrons, albeit with some losses. But one of their fleets was a relatively large one, with about a dozen cruisers and a handful of destroyers. Just this one fleet of a dozen combat ships was more trouble than Zuul fleets twice its size. They were equipped with mass drivers, heavy stormers, and missiles with heavy warheads, and were protected by Magnetoceramic Armour at the least, given that even sniper and rocket fire was seeing some deflections.

Of course, in the end it was just one fleet travelling relatively slowly through our territory; even though we had to intercept the fleet, withdraw for repairs and reinforcement, and intercept it again, we had the time and production capacity required to do so. Even so, the venture was a costly one. If we have to repeat this sort of defense in the future -- and doubtless we will, unless the Hivers give up sending fleets to our cluster entirely -- we will need a better answer for their heavy ballistics and missile armament. And we'll need to come up with more powerful weapons of our own, preferably including ones that are not so liable to be deflected.

Map
Last edited by ZedF on Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Zed's TARs (sample):
Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

Strategy & Tactics Forum Archive -- More posts on strategy, tactics, and TARs

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Re: TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Part 1)

Post by ZedF » Wed Aug 20, 2014 12:55 am

And that's the end of Part 1.

Part 2 won't be for a while, as I'm taking a break from this game for now. Assuming I get back to it at some point, I'll have to evaluate what if any changes I want to make to the format and variant rules. Variant rules #1 and #2 are not really playing nicely with one another; the latter really encourages hard charging, but the former is encouraging me to make use of support weapons that don't want to charge hard at all and instead want much more controlled movement. So far this game, I've found the constrained movement options more annoying than interesting to deal with.

TBH, I'm also kind of disappointed that I didn't get any commentary at all this time around. I realize that it's a bit more dry when I'm this short on visual content, but I would have thought that some of my discussions about how my tactics and weapons choices were working out would have drawn some interest.
Zed's TARs (sample):
Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

Strategy & Tactics Forum Archive -- More posts on strategy, tactics, and TARs

kjn
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Re: TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Part 1)

Post by kjn » Wed Aug 20, 2014 1:59 pm

I didn't have much to comment on straight away, and now I just got back from Loncon 3.

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Re: TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Part 1)

Post by fredNN » Thu Aug 21, 2014 11:34 am

ZedF wrote: I'll have to evaluate what if any changes I want to make to the format and variant rules.

> - DATarka may only use weapons that employ burst fire or submunitions.
If I understand correct this do not exclude Plasma Projector and Heavy Plasma Cannon ... if your Tarka have them.

> - May not research xenotech above level 1 or negotiate treaties with other races or factions.
Why not research? Just do not communicate. If you do not research more xenotech, you will have very very bad chance (instead just bad ;) ) to salvage tech other races have.

> TBH, I'm also kind of disappointed that I didn't get any commentary at all this time around.
It is summer time. Probably we are lazy. ;)

My comments:
- I agree with your thought on Stormers. If I compare its stats to standard Mass Driver, are better in just one way - DPS is better. But add simple PollySilicate armor and they lose half firepower. :( I think for your game you would need to modify them more: add 0.1 penetration, decrease dispersion by 1 and add some serious mass to them. Just Gauss bullet has 100 mass, but Stormer bullet has 18. :? Do same with Heavy Stormers and you can use them much longer, if not to kill enemys, then to push them away and kill with Sniper gun support.
- You settled lots of planets without researching very basic tech Atmospheric Adaptation. I think you did lose more money on terraforming with worse tech than you would lose if research Atmospheric Adaptation before you start serious colonizing.
- Congratulation on good battle tactics. 8)

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Re: TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Part 1)

Post by Warcat » Thu Aug 21, 2014 1:20 pm

Hi ZedF, very nice readings indeed.
Just to keep the discussion open, I think that focusing on improving rockets and getting some EW tech would be a bad choice, at least at this stage. The efforts to get these techs (Integrated Sensors - Advanced Sensors and Gamma warheads, to add some real punch) cost roughly the same to get Fusion into the early breakthrought area. So I'd rather go to Fusion and then SH asap, to keep the initiative, get nice strategical and tactical flexibility and open new techs and trade lines.

I think there is the time to make the big jump without any real risk...
Zuul, at least the pink one, are shattered and as you stated they should oppose no more a real threat, while Morrigi should announce their presence with lone scouts first, so again the probability of a sneak attack or a large invasion from those sides is very low.
Hivers are the major threat and their fleets can be spotted many turns before they can reach a system, even with basic sensors. To compensate the lack of Deep Space Sensors I'd just add some more deep space pickets to cover the borders.
Warhead upgrades automatically apply on every ships, so I'd choose to delay these techs when I really need them, i.e. just before the start of a war. As long as Hivers have a colony on Tunguska, they will hardly send from their core worlds heavy scouting fleets, which are the real trouble. They probably will build a new gate at their fledging colony and start scouting from there. So there should be some time to grab Fusion, while keeping an eye on Tunguska, to be ready to wipe it out when it can be colonized by Tarkasian people, and on Hiver core worlds, to prevent some surprises from there (they may send a reinforcing gate fleet on Tunguska).

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