Tarkas early-midgame and point defense

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Grizzam
Posts: 76
Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2009 6:02 pm

Tarkas early-midgame and point defense

Post by Grizzam » Sat Jul 25, 2009 8:07 pm

Hey guys, first post here!

I've been a forum lurker here and there, and an SotS player also here and there. I really do enjoy the game, thinking about getting the latest expansion (currently have AMoC although I think I have to download the latest patch when I get home from work today because I don't recognize some of the tech you guys talk about).

Anyways, this may have been covered, and if it has I'm sorry: but I'd like to share my solution that I have developed to a problem/complaint I've seen a few times in game and on these boards:

Namely, the tarka point defense!

Lets start off with a little background info for anyone new to the game and possibly running the version I am or earlier: the tarkas have often faced a bit of a problem with point defense, in my experience. Most tarka ships seem well fitted for the alpha strike - heavy forward firepower, a well armored command section. However, if you have played the tarkas extensively or poked at them with various weapons through the game, you'll notice that the front of the tarka ships is where you don't want to be hitting to maximize damage to them - you want to hit the back, or the mission section most often.

One command section I am very impressed with for tarkas is the HH or Hammerhead command. Besides providing the obvious movement and agility bonuses for the ships (which are important for alpha strikers), the HH section is quite huge and 'covers' much of the ship from a forward facing angle. This helps to protect your mission and engine sections just a bit extra, provided your ships are facing their ships: still every bit helps, and you really don't want your mission sections popped, much less the engines!

What does this have to do with point defense? Quite simply, the tarkas bring a lot of forward firepower but leave some vulnerabilities when the opposition is above, below, or god forbid behind the ship (there are some exceptions, for instance I find the cruiser has better firepower above it than below it, and the destroyer just the opposite with two medium weapon bays on the underside). An option for tarka point defense is to fill those forward facing guns with point defense weapons... but this subtracts from the alpha strike capabilities somewhat, and the tarkas cruisers (have not tried strafing section yet) pack a limited number of small weapons slots in the front. There is a bay of 3 weapons slots on the HammerHead that can be used as PD, but this gives us the option of trading accurate forward fire for missile defense, and only from the front. Frankly I do not find the tradeoff to be worth it, as when I need my cruisers to perform well I need every small turret I can get, and accurate, sustained medium turret fire that would be good against destroyers just isn't in my tech budget at this time in the game. (Fire Control sections do work well, but they tend to be a lot softer, smaller, and provide less small weapons needed to fend of plantary defenses. I usually get these around mid/mid-late game depending on my ship setups, but for when cruisers can first viably roll off the production lines, I need a homogonized, cheap cruiser that can take hits and support my destroyers: and I need it as fast as I can)

So, without further delay, heres the solution I came up with in the last tarka game I played!


- First and foremost, I stumbled across this 'solution' when I decided to deviate a little from the general 'brawler' tactic I tend to use with my dessies and cruisers. I decided, hey, lets build a missile fleet (something I've not had a ton of success in doing). The primary job of this missile fleet would be early-mid game colony-sweeping and harassment, falling back into border-patrol and defense as I moved in to areas my neighbors had been evicted from. I realized if I had any hope of pulling off a missile fleet, I'd have to fit point defense into the mix somewhere or else i'd slowly lose ships in planetary assaults from the combined missile fire of planets, satellites, and whatever ships were thrown in the planet's defense. Planetary assaults with a missile fleet are a mixed bag, in that I find that often missiles are not enough to finish off a semi-developed planet with some defense in a single turn, yet they let you hang back a bit and pound away with a slightly larger degree of saftey from odd-angled planetary missiles and defensive satellite fire. At the same time I needed all my small weapon bays I could squeeze in to pop ships that charged into my missile fleet, so I had to devote a very small amount of point defense turrets.

Drawing on prior experience from 'brawler' design tarkas, I realized that the tarkas destroyer and the tarkas cruiser not only have strong 'below' firepower (destroyer with armor mission section carries two medium weapons under it) and 'above' firepower (the tarkas cruiser seems to have a soft underside but a quite nasty topside weapons platform), but they can also be fitted to cover their 'weak' sections with point defense, thus covering EACH OTHER's PD-weak spots!


To elborate, the tarkas destroyer-armor section (and I believe the torpie as well) have a single, small weapons bay located on the top, whereas the cruisers have some weapons bays on their underside and towards the back they have a duo of side-firing small weapons bays. Fitting these with laser PD let me devote very small amounts of turrets to PD while keeping my 'alpha strike' weapon positions with real weapons. Further, the laser PD is long enough range and accurate enough to cover other ships in the fleet without having to cram them all together, which can be pretty detrimental at times.

Check for these turret sections when you start to make cruisers and go for the tarkas cruiser offensive! Spread your ships into a formation that is both wide and deep to ensure that no matter where a missile is coming from, it has multiple point defense lasers capable of shooting at it (I think the only direction that I do not cover is directly behind). While this solution isn't the end-all point defense, it does allow you to devote a very small amount of weapons to point defense without sacrificing any notable alpha strike capabilities and putting only the slightest of dents into your overall firepower. With a mix and match of cruisers AND destroyers (as you probably should be doing, I found out after hours and hours of rough battles with mostly cruiser-only fleets) using just a few point defense turrets, you can provide your lizard blob with well rounded point defense that they so desperately seem to need at times. It won't stop everything all the time, and it won't make you impervious to another missile fleet, but its definitely a capable solution to a common problem :)

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fiendishrabbit
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Re: Tarkas early-midgame and point defense

Post by fiendishrabbit » Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:57 am

Personally I've found that having a couple of PD destroyers in the fleet tend to fix the problem when assaulting planets. It's fairly cheap and the PD destroyer has good coverage.

As for the strafing section. Go for it! For Tarka cruisers the strafing section is superb until the point where you start to use very heavy armor (as armor multiplies the basic hitpoints of the section and not the turret bonus).
8 forward medium turrets plus the hammerheads "tripple small" spread turret configuration.
With the War section the forward firepower is insane (14 medium turrets), although the war section enhances the squishy factor of the tarka mission section (so mix it up with armor or blazer cruisers or something).

A note though is that tarka war destroyers feature their small turrets on the underside while tarka destroyer armor section feature them top-side. Often that's sufficient for early game planetary assaults.
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Solstice
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Re: Tarkas early-midgame and point defense

Post by Solstice » Fri Aug 07, 2009 4:01 am

I'm 100+ turns into a Tarka game myself, and let me say that Strafe/War Cruisers are the backbone of my attack fleets. Fourteen forward facing stormers, a pair of heavy drivers, five UV lasers (3 fore 2 aft) and a large missile in the tail... the amount of firepower they put out is downright scary. And with lasers in the nose and fore-engine slots, their PD coverage is actually quite decent. I must say that Tarkan dedicated PD ships seem to work quite well too (compared to the Human ones i've tried anyways). One of my favorite ship designs right now is actually a Strafe/CnC section. It really changes a soft little kitten (CnC) into a bit of a hellcat with all that forward firepower. Cover up your flanks with some Assault/Armor cruisers and you can really get a feel for that Tarkan spearhead alpha strike.

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LaDoncella
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Re: Tarkas early-midgame and point defense

Post by LaDoncella » Sun Aug 09, 2009 2:07 am

In my little experience with tarkas,
for pd purposes I feelt that the best are Wild Weasels (or EW), and Destroyer PD ships.
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DervMan
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Re: Tarkas early-midgame and point defense

Post by DervMan » Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:20 am

Yes - layered point defence. Combine a variety of warships and loadouts to cover most bases.

I've also tried building ships with point defence on just one side with some success too.
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Grizzam
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Re: Tarkas early-midgame and point defense

Post by Grizzam » Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:09 pm

Solstice wrote:, Fourteen forward facing stormers



wow... thats like... over 9000 shots @_@

Just curious what you named that ship?

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whatamidoinghere
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Re: Tarkas early-midgame and point defense

Post by whatamidoinghere » Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:23 pm

Looks way cooler if you stick heavy stormers in large slots.
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Grizzam
Posts: 76
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Re: Tarkas early-midgame and point defense

Post by Grizzam » Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:49 am

make way for varkona lol

Reiver
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Re: Tarkas early-midgame and point defense

Post by Reiver » Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:13 am

I've had some luck with boring ol' red lasers in a hammerhead on my CnC destroyers.

Afterall, they were supposed to sit behind the battle line anyway, and tended to get singled out for incoming missile spam... so they do rather nicely as an erstaz PDS ship in a pinch. ;)

This is, of course, *early* game. Though I've found those otherwise hopeless engine-mounted small mounts on destroyers can do well if you put PD in them and field the destroyers in groups - while none have forward coverage, they can cover each other pretty nicely. :)

Kiith-sa
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Re: Tarkas early-midgame and point defense

Post by Kiith-sa » Fri Dec 18, 2009 4:59 am

I've had my experience with tarkas and have arrived to the following conclusion:

Lizards SUCK at stoping missiles.. WW is Great to have and both Jamming and dedicated PD are a must if you don't want to get your tail cut, specially against missile heavy enemies, AKA early Zuul

As a Side note: I find the DN small loadout "Sufficient", they stop ligh missile screens but they collapse if the enemy goes into a missile frenezy
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