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Subject: Armchair Admiral 112: Aim and Weave rss

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Will Sanchez
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Welcome back students! Today I'm going to talk about a few more tips and information that's worth it's weight in gold-pressed latinum and you should all be aware of when maneuvering your vessels. Take note because some of these may be important in the future!

The 4 bank and the 6 forward
With the release of the Koranak and the The Excelsior, ships will start having the ability to pull 4 bank and 6 forward maneuvers. These follow about the general pattern as was mentioned in AA102.
There are however still specific things to note.


The 4 Bank maneuver is roughly the moving "distance" of a slightly bent 5 Forward. Positioning wise however, you'll end up as if making a 4 forward, and then also a little less than a 1 straight to the side (and at 45 degrees of course). This is important because you don't want to cross paths with another nearby ship moving straight and bumping.

The 6 Forward maneuver is once again a ship-base length further than the 5 Forward. Of note here is that you can almost the entire range ruler instantly with this move. If you and an enemy ship were just outside of firing range, a 1 forward maneuver will bump your 6 forward maneuver. Be careful, because this also means that the 2 forward to the fairly common 3 Come About maneuver will place the enemy ship behind you.


If you have a high skill captain, this is a strategy you can use: The Transwarp Drive upgrade (which allows the 6 forward) is optional. If you reveal a 4 forward into an enemy ship that was just outside of range the previous round, and they reveal a 3 come about, do NOT take the 6 forward. Be content with the 4 straight even though you'll bump (unless other relevant nearby ships would make that an eve less wise choice).

90 degree firing arcs
A minor implication that few players are aware of: even though we call them 90 degree firing arcs, the truth is, they are not. Notice how the arc goes from the center of your ship chit to the corners? Notice also how the ship chits are not square, but rectangular?


The actual firing arc of most ships is closer to 80 degrees (just 5 degrees short on either side). But what does this mean? While it may seem like only a minor difference, there are times it will come in to play. The biggest difference is noticeable at range 3.


Many ships square of facing broadsides to broadsides. This also mean when you bank, you'll be at a 45 degree angle, but only be able to pull back 40 of those degrees to aim at a ship that is otherwise "in line" with you. While you should still clip the corner of a ship that is also at 45 degrees, you will often just barely miss one that is still facing straight at you.

The Weave
This leads me to my most important demonstration for you today. I call it "the weave". This formation has some of the same principles that martial artists use in hand to hand combat, and surprisingly, can be effective even in deep space. As some may have noticed by watching some of my battle reports, my formations are typically set up at an angle. I set them up purposefully at as close to a 22.5 degree angle as possible.


Some of you may cringe at this picture because setting up in limited space will put the ships uncomfortably close. HOWEVER, if done correctly, even when turning your ships will not bump. There may be some corners in notches, but no bumps!

Now that's 22.5 may be an oddly specific number but if you think about it for a second, that's exactly half of the 45 degree angles that most people can achieve when placing their ships in a regular square formation (or some kind of 45 degree diamond pattern). But how significant is this minor change? Well let's look at what you can do with it.


The first thing to note of course is that at 22.5 degrees you can still move "straight". By choosing a bank maneuver (which turns your ship 45 degrees) you effectively move forward by the degree of the maneuver +1. A 1 bank is like taking a 2 forward. A 2 bank is like taking a 3 forward. No matter how large a bank you choose though, you should still be in line with where your ship previously was.


Now combine that with your firing arc. Consider how often you want to shoot something straight ahead of you. At a distance, how much of that firing arc do you really need? Even if you had just a 30 degree arc straight forward, you can still hit any ship in a relatively close formation at range 2 or greater. And that is exactly what the weave gives you. If you were to weave back and forth, you essentially have a straight forward arc of about 40 degrees with an additional 40 degrees that switches from side to side as you maneuver.

As you maneuver though, you are the one though that controls which side you want that extra firing arc on. If you set up directly across from your opponent "Jousting Style" you have the advantage of finer adjustments. If you're relatively in line, you can pull those straight maneuver instead of banks. As we've seen already, at long distances a ship that is facing you and then banks may not have you in line at long range. With the weave, you've got your extra 22.5 degrees to work with, more than enough to hit anything a little off to the side, no problem!

As you get closer you retain advantage- if you're off to one side, you just simply bank into the enemy. Now you're at close range and all of your ships are facing into the main body of the enemy, maybe even with some advantages.


even with facing vaguely away from the enemy,all three Romulan ships have arc and can focus on any of the enemy vessels, while all three klingon ships can only focus one


even in less favorable circumstances, all three Romulan ships have arc on two enemy vessels, while the Klingon ships again can only focus one

And this is to say nothing about the biggest advantage you can give a ship in this kind of formation: sensor echo. Let's look at two similar situations-


When weaving, it's possible to find an angle where you can shoot and the opponent can't. If you're facing dead on, you can choose whether you both shoot, or neither of you shoot, but that's not nearly as advantageous.

The last thing I want to show you is after the engagement, and specifically how it interacts with ships with 180 degree arcs. Again, comparison pictures:


that added 22.5 degrees may not sound like much on paper, but as you can see in practice, it can be very powerful. It may not work every time, but with experience you can do more to maximize what you get out of it.

There's a lot to be said for he weave, but even without counting up dice an attacks and defense, I think the advantage can be seen just through the firing arc situations above. Now some of you may wonder why I compared it to martial arts above and I will say it's because of the simplest geometric shape: the circle. Martial artist use the circle to redirect energy in a way that is to their advantage. Circular movements allow greater flexibility than straight movements. You are faster to get the enemy in your sights when turning around without the come about. You have better choices in targets with superior firing arcs. You have more options for slipping through the enemies lines of fire while maintaining your own.


And sometimes you'll just have more options than your opponent, and more options is always good.

While the weave may be a little advanced for some, with practice, it is a powerful tool to add to your arsenal, especially against an opponent who charges straight in.

==========

Thanks for reading, if you would like to catch up on any of the previous armchair admiral classes, take a look at the curriculum!

Tactics:
AA-101: Academy Basics
AA-111: Courses of Action and Choosing Targets
Maneuvering:
AA-102: Flight Training
AA-112: Aim and Weave
Fleet Composition:
AA-103: Engineering and Categorizing a Fleet
Card Evaluations:
AA-104: Someone's extracted all the latinum from these cards!
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Will Holsclaw
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From now on, I shall dub thee The Professor. Very well done indeed. I for one appreciate the obvious work you did with this.
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Paul Kitchin
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fascinating!!
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Charles Silbernagel
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Very good article. I had some trouble in my last event that this sort of maneuvering would have really benefitted from.
 
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Isaac Whitehair
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man! I knew something was off! I thought I was bumping my figures that I couldnt shoot straight from doing a bank... This is going to screw with any Xwing player that knew what he was doing.
 
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O B
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This is the best one of these articles you have written! Bravo!
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Kristoff Bergenholm
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Quote:
A minor implication that few players are aware of: even though we call them 90 degree firing arcs, the truth is, they are not. Notice how the arc goes from the center of your ship chit to the corners? Notice also how the ship chits are not square, but rectangular?


Hah! I'm glad someone else noticed that. I was tired of being called crazy.
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Henry Durand
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Great article! I will be spending all evening setting up ships at 22.5 degrees and running tests to get the hang of it.

Your articles are required reading at my house (the kids play STAW as well), and this is the best yet.
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Michael Kelmelis
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Great article - fascinating read.

How does the weave change the way you approach Green/Red maneuvers? Are there any fleets that are at a disadvantage here because they lack many green bank maneuvers and therefore have a harder time shedding Auxiliary Tokens they acquire through Red maneuvers (or dirty Ferengi tricks)?
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Will Sanchez
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wrabbit37 wrote:

How does the weave change the way you approach Green/Red maneuvers? Are there any fleets that are at a disadvantage here because they lack many green bank maneuvers and therefore have a harder time shedding Auxiliary Tokens they acquire through Red maneuvers (or dirty Ferengi tricks)?


Actually it's a bit of the opposite. The 1 forward that every ship has is not that far off between whether you are weaving or not if you need to proceed slowly. On the other hand, since most bank maneuvers are as long as a longer straight maneuver, you can often cover -more- ground for positioning when using one.

Every ship has at least the 1 banks, 1 forward, and 2 forward as green maneuvers, but the few that have 2 banks as well can actually go farther "forward" -or- farther to the side if you need to turn away, almost like having a green turn maneuver at your disposal. If you look at the last picture again at the edge of the board, you can imagine both of them having aux power tokens. A basic ship that's weaving would have (at least) 4 green maneuvers it could take, but on the klingon side there would only be 3 since the opposite bank would send him off the board (assuming you were careful and banked to face the right way when you knew you were getting close to the edge).
 
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Michael Kelmelis
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delta_angelfire wrote:
Actually it's a bit of the opposite. The 1 forward that every ship has is not that far off between whether you are weaving or not if you need to proceed slowly. On the other hand, since most bank maneuvers are as long as a longer straight maneuver, you can often cover -more- ground for positioning when using one.

Every ship has at least the 1 banks, 1 forward, and 2 forward as green maneuvers, but the few that have 2 banks as well can actually go farther "forward" -or- farther to the side if you need to turn away, almost like having a green turn maneuver at your disposal. If you look at the last picture again at the edge of the board, you can imagine both of them having aux power tokens. A basic ship that's weaving would have (at least) 4 green maneuvers it could take, but on the klingon side there would only be 3 since the opposite bank would send him off the board (assuming you were careful and banked to face the right way when you knew you were getting close to the edge).


Thanks for answering - good analysis. I'm going to have to pull out the ships and try out some maneuvering with them like this. Good thing I'm coming up on a four-day weekend.
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Will Holsclaw
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Good points about the green/white/red maneuver factor. It didn't occur to me on my first read of this brilliant article, but on most ships, the bank maneuvers get you further with a green than their comparable straight white maneuvers. There are some exceptions to this, though (notably, the Enterprise-D).
 
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Nick Hawkins
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Excellent analysis of a rather gamey tactic
It almost makes me think that the whole flight-path movement system is broken as a representation of big-ship combat

I'm going to have to make some kind of adjustments for my thematic house rules, thanks for pointing out this quirk of the system.
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Erin OConnor
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I dub thee The Drunken Master.
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O B
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NickH wrote:
...
It almost makes me think that the whole flight-path movement system is broken as a representation of big-ship combat :(
...


Say what?!

A) How is this relevant to large or small ships?
B) How is this broken?
 
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Nick Hawkins
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adorablerocket wrote:
NickH wrote:
...
It almost makes me think that the whole flight-path movement system is broken as a representation of big-ship combat
...

Say what?!

A) How is this relevant to large or small ships?
B) How is this broken?

Reasonable questions if rather intemperately put.

So what did I mean by big-ship combat?
The flight-path system was developed for space fighter combat (X-Wing) that is 'small ships', or possibly 'boats' in naval speak.

With a few exceptions the ships from Attack Wing are 'big ships' of cruiser size or above with large crews and generally massing more than 100,000 tonnes.

Thematically small ships/boats/fighters rely on evasive manoeuvres for defence whist big-ships rely more on counter-measures and greater ability to soak damage. The different stats between X-Wing and Attack Wing represent this reasonably well.


How/Why is the Flight-Path system broken for big-ships?
I'm not saying the game is broken but that the full implications of the standardised turn templates had not dawned on me before I read this article.

What the article points out is that every model is restricted to pointing in one of only 8 different directions depending on how it was deployed onto the table. It also explains how a careful player can exploit any difference between the directions chosen by themselves and an opponent. If it helps imagine paying on a circular table, with 22.5 degrees difference between the 2 sides the 'weave' effect is greatest, also note it can work both ways.

My reason for thinking that the flight-path system is thematically broken is that real-world ships (and even TOS starships) can make minor course corrections more or less at will to dock with a star-station, join a formation, get the best shot at an enemy Etc. As the rules stand it is very difficult to get a model to join a formation it did not start the game as part of. I find this hard to believe.
YMMV


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Paul Kitchin
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If you really want to correct course so badly, you can get pretty close to being in formation by strategically bumping your own ships.

(when they dock, they're probably not doing it under fire, and in game terms they are probably "bumping", i.e. taking time that could be spent on other tasks to carefully avoid actually crashing into the other object)
 
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Brian Compton
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Good analysis job as always, Will! And thank you for saying what many of us were thinking, NickH.
 
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Rob Tsuk
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It's not what I was thinking. I think the game is thematically great just as it is.

I also don't understand how a space combat game where the ships are restricted to play on a single plane is thematically broken by their inability to have arbitrary facing. This pattern indicates two-dimensional thinking.
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Will Holsclaw
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NickH wrote:


What the article points out is that every model is restricted to pointing in one of only 8 different directions depending on how it was deployed onto the table. It also explains how a careful player can exploit any difference between the directions chosen by themselves and an opponent. If it helps imagine paying on a circular table, with 22.5 degrees difference between the 2 sides the 'weave' effect is greatest, also note it can work both ways.

My reason for thinking that the flight-path system is thematically broken is that real-world ships (and even TOS starships) can make minor course corrections more or less at will to dock with a star-station, join a formation, get the best shot at an enemy Etc. As the rules stand it is very difficult to get a model to join a formation it did not start the game as part of. I find this hard to believe.
YMMV




Is there a tabletop game out there you think does any better? Older Star Trek space combat games used hex-grids, which only allow 6 directions of movement.

Perhaps you'd rather have a game that includes protractors for measuring all the movement?
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Nick Hawkins
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paulsk wrote:
(when they dock, they're probably not doing it under fire, and in game terms they are probably "bumping", i.e. taking time that could be spent on other tasks to carefully avoid actually crashing into the other object)

That's a decent abstraction for docking, doesn't work as a mechanism for joining a formation though

the_triangle_man wrote:
And thank you for saying what many of us were thinking, NickH.

You're welcome

rtsuk wrote:
I also don't understand how a space combat game where the ships are restricted to play on a single plane is thematically broken by their inability to have arbitrary facing. This pattern indicates two-dimensional thinking.

A third dimension in space combat adds little more than complexity unless you are playing a full-on physics simulation like Attack Vector: Tactical (no thanks).
Unlike in aerial warfare all 3 dimensions have similar properties.

In my opinion Attack Wing is a good game with a significantly different feel from X-Wing, my thematic house rules project is about ensuring it is still the club's go-to rules for Trek in 3+ years time when all the hype has worn off (and WizKids may have lost the licence).

Illyth wrote:
Older Star Trek space combat games used hex-grids, which only allow 6 directions of movement.

I completely agree that hex grids make for a very poor representation of tactical space combat. I think it's the combination of standardised movement distances AND fixed 45/90 degree turns that gives rise to the black-white bishop feel (as in Chess) the game can have.

Illyth wrote:
Is there a tabletop game out there you think does any better?

Yes, most miniatures games that do not use hexes, however it is usually at the cost of too much complexity.

Illyth wrote:
Perhaps you'd rather have a game that includes protractors for measuring all the movement?

Isn't that what the movement templates are? It's just that they don't have very many graduations


I don't think the game's movement system needs much tweaking to ensure long-term playability among old-grognards, maybe just some kind of 'fudge' action that could allow ships to adjust their facing but can only be used when outside combat range?
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C. E. Freeman
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I think the conceptual/thematic space flight issue comes from the fact that Will is flying his capital ships in fighter formations, tightly packed together, with amazing skill I might add. I would think that a looser formation would be more thematically correct for capital ships.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with what he is doing and it is effective. I am speaking strictly from the perspective that in my head I see a squad of fighters flying when I look at his formations not a fleet of Star Trek capital ships. This is just my perception and could be misleading since the game never defines lengths or distances in real world measurements, nor does it need to.
 
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Rob Tsuk
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NickH wrote:
A third dimension in space combat adds little more than complexity unless you are playing a full-on physics simulation like Attack Vector: Tactical (no thanks).


Agreed, but the same argument could be made for sticking with 22.5 degree turns and countering your objection to them as breaking the game thematically. And while the flexibility of turning wasn't ever really addressed in the shows or movies, Star Trek II's final battled turned on the use of the delta-Z, hence my quote about two dimensional thinking.

So I just can't agree with you that STAW is broken thematically. I think it is a fast playing, surprisingly deep space ship combat game that evokes the theme of Star Trek extremely well.
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Nick Hawkins
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rtsuk wrote:
NickH wrote:
A third dimension in space combat adds little more than complexity unless you are playing a full-on physics simulation like Attack Vector: Tactical (no thanks).


Agreed, but the same argument could be made for sticking with 22.5 degree turns and countering your objection to them as breaking the game thematically. And while the flexibility of turning wasn't ever really addressed in the shows or movies, Star Trek II's final battled turned on the use of the delta-Z, hence my quote about two dimensional thinking.

My take on that was that's it's just another example of Treknology, only a plot device to support a dramatic ending and show off the latest special effects

rtsuk wrote:
So I just can't agree with you that STAW is broken thematically. I think it is a fast playing, surprisingly deep space ship combat game that evokes the theme of Star Trek extremely well.

Sorry that's not what I meant:
NickH wrote:
It almost makes me think that the whole flight-path movement system is broken as a representation of big-ship combat

My comment was really aimed at the movement system that was inherited from X-Wing, apologies if that wasn't clear blush

I don't think the game, as a whole, is broken thematically or otherwise.
The strongest condemnation I would offer is that it was compromised by the need to conform to the Wizkids business model.

Put it this way, I wasn't interested in playing Trek battles until I found out about Attack Wing.
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Dan Evans
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NickH wrote:

My reason for thinking that the flight-path system is thematically broken is that real-world ships (and even TOS starships) can make minor course corrections more or less at will to dock with a star-station, join a formation, get the best shot at an enemy Etc. As the rules stand it is very difficult to get a model to join a formation it did not start the game as part of. I find this hard to believe.


How about something like this:

 
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