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Subject: Rules of Thumb for Striking the Enemy in 5th Fleet? rss

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James Cox
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Would anyone want to contribute to this thread their estimations of general rules-of-thumb with regard to striking enemies in 5th Fleet (or the entire fleet-series of games)?

Ignoring for the moment in this or that scenario or this or that forces is sub-heavy or plane heavy, etc. Ignoring all that, presuming all things being equal, is there a preferred (or a statistically more likely to succeed) order in which to activate and attack your enemies?

For example, can we declare that it's always better to activate air first, and subs last?

How would any of these rules of thumb change by country? For example, is it always better for the SO player to start with X and the US player to begin with Y?

Or is it really impossible to make rules of thumb for this series of games?

Your thoguhts please, and don't hold back. Let's get a discussion going.
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Uel McAdorey
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Go air first if you can damage an airbase that otherwise would be capable of
launching a significant attack.
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Dan Beckler
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Hoser wrote:
Go air first if you can damage an airbase that otherwise would be capable of
launching a significant attack.


I really don't think you can separate the circumstances from such a discussion. But I'll give it a shot!

Air, when present in the right mix, is powerful in this game (as it should be). Without regards to scenarios, objectives, or relative advantages you may have, preventing air units from activating is generally a Good Thing. But depending on the scenario, your best bet to damage an airfield (and thus suppress air units), could be via sub-launched cruise missiles, surface-launched cruise missiles, or air units launching missiles or dropping bombs. So your optimal activation really depends on what you have on hand that can go after the airfield, and at the appropriate time.
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Frank McNally
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Does board version of this have any ability for both sides to CAP up on turn 1?

I wonder because in computer version it was tremendously annoying to lose an airfield to a very weak attack which could have been prevented by CAP setup on previous turn and this happened regularly if you lost turn 1 initiative since CAP was not part of setup.
 
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Colin Raitt
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Air first, then subs is good in general before you are detected. Your air bases are always detected, subs have a fair chance of not being detected but if you move your ships before his ships or subs he might place a spotter next to them so they'll be located next turn. Also you might want to move through a detection zone or fire in one which would expose you immediately.

Its not a hard and fast rule. If you are already detected you might fire and pull back. If your ships are detected, his strike planes are in range but can get under CAP you probably should. If your target is detected but you aren't you might want to pre-empt it fleeing.

Sometimes your ships are far from his but your subs are close to him but undetected, then you want subs last.

Sometimes you want to delay your planes in the hope that a target will be revealed for them.
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Jim Eliason
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Picking the order of unit types to activate is one of the most important decisions in the Fleet series of games. There are no hard and fast rules, but here are some key situations that often occur:

If most of your points are from getting convoys home, and the main enemy is subs (either for shooting directly or for spotting for bombers), and you are not strategically detected, you want to move surface last, so as to run away from subs and lose your local detection. Conversely, the opponent wants to move subs last to maintain contact.

If you are about to get hit by a strong force, like an airbase full of strong bombers, try a preemptive strike on its airbase with the strongest force you can muster, which could be an air raid or could be cruise missiles.

Similarly, if you have two forces, one of which is detected and vulnerable and another that is not, attack with the detected one first, since it may not get its chance unless you take it right away.

Sometimes you want to launch a strong air attack and will employ your CAP to help against the enemy CAP. You want to wait till the opponent has moved air so that if you lose the air battle, your base/TF will not be vulnerable to air attack.

If your surface force must move out of air cover, or into range of a strong attacking force, delay its move till the opponent has moved that force.

If an opposing force is about to move out of range or into CAP cover, hit it before it can do so.

Many times several of these apply at once, and the advice above conflicts. Prioritize. Sometimes you just have to let something go to hit another more important target or to make an attack with a higher chance of success.
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James Cox
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wedgeantilles1971 wrote:
Hoser wrote:
Go air first if you can damage an airbase that otherwise would be capable of
launching a significant attack.


I really don't think you can separate the circumstances from such a discussion. But I'll give it a shot!

Air, when present in the right mix, is powerful in this game (as it should be). Without regards to scenarios, objectives, or relative advantages you may have, preventing air units from activating is generally a Good Thing. But depending on the scenario, your best bet to damage an airfield (and thus suppress air units), could be via sub-launched cruise missiles, surface-launched cruise missiles, or air units launching missiles or dropping bombs. So your optimal activation really depends on what you have on hand that can go after the airfield, and at the appropriate time.


So... the theme I'm sensing here is I probably asked the wrong question. Rather than, 'what to activate first?' a better question would have been, 'what to kill first?'.
Seems like Air is the most potent (so far in this discussion) so countering air is the first priority (all things being equal). That countering of the other guy's air may take the form of going with one's subs first, maybe surf (where the scen gives this or that DDG only one or two cruise missile (SSM) type attacks), etc.

Sounds logical. Thanks for the discussion.
 
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James Cox
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FrankM wrote:
Does board version of this have any ability for both sides to CAP up on turn 1?

I wonder because in computer version it was tremendously annoying to lose an airfield to a very weak attack which could have been prevented by CAP setup on previous turn and this happened regularly if you lost turn 1 initiative since CAP was not part of setup.


Fascinating! I had the PC game but haven't played it recently enough to remember that as a problem. Wow, that seems like a balance-of-play altering desing oversight for sure. Talk about "gaming" the game system differently board vis-a-vis PC.

Btw, have you played your PC 5th Fleet recently? I can't get mine to run on the nowadays computers. The game seems too old to work with today's technology.
 
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James Cox
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jeliason wrote:
Picking the order of unit types to activate is one of the most important decisions in the Fleet series of games. There are no hard and fast rules, but here are some key situations that often occur:

If most of your points are from getting convoys home, and the main enemy is subs (either for shooting directly or for spotting for bombers), and you are not strategically detected, you want to move surface last, so as to run away from subs and lose your local detection. Conversely, the opponent wants to move subs last to maintain contact.

If you are about to get hit by a strong force, like an airbase full of strong bombers, try a preemptive strike on its airbase with the strongest force you can muster, which could be an air raid or could be cruise missiles.

Similarly, if you have two forces, one of which is detected and vulnerable and another that is not, attack with the detected one first, since it may not get its chance unless you take it right away.

Sometimes you want to launch a strong air attack and will employ your CAP to help against the enemy CAP. You want to wait till the opponent has moved air so that if you lose the air battle, your base/TF will not be vulnerable to air attack.

If your surface force must move out of air cover, or into range of a strong attacking force, delay its move till the opponent has moved that force.

If an opposing force is about to move out of range or into CAP cover, hit it before it can do so.

Many times several of these apply at once, and the advice above conflicts. Prioritize. Sometimes you just have to let something go to hit another more important target or to make an attack with a higher chance of success.


great answer, and alludes to others saying that my question was almost unanswerable - you cannot ignore the circumstances I was trying to leave out to generate rules of thumb.
Thanks.
 
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Frank McNally
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Kukailimoku wrote:
FrankM wrote:
Does board version of this have any ability for both sides to CAP up on turn 1?

I wonder because in computer version it was tremendously annoying to lose an airfield to a very weak attack which could have been prevented by CAP setup on previous turn and this happened regularly if you lost turn 1 initiative since CAP was not part of setup.


Fascinating! I had the PC game but haven't played it recently enough to remember that as a problem. Wow, that seems like a balance-of-play altering desing oversight for sure. Talk about "gaming" the game system differently board vis-a-vis PC.

Btw, have you played your PC 5th Fleet recently? I can't get mine to run on the nowadays computers. The game seems too old to work with today's technology.


My PC still runs NT, I run it in DOSBOX. 1830 and 3rdReich work as well.

So, are you saying in paper based game one can have cap up on turn 1 even if you do not get initiative?
 
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Jim Eliason
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> So, are you saying in paper based game one can have cap up on turn 1 even if you do not get initiative?

Yes. CAP launching is a separate phase that occurs before the action phases.
 
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