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Todd Warnken
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Fighter Tactics Manual is a supplement for Silent Death that will help improve your performance in the game. This 72 page book was written by Sheldon Greaves and Leland Erickson. Miniatures for the ships in this book are available separately.

This book differs from most in the Silent Death line in that it has no background information and no new systems. Instead this is a guide to playing the game better. Throughout the book are quizzes to test your skills. Fortunately there is an answer key in the back of the book.

The beginning of the book covers general topics that can be applied to many wargames:
• Superior Force Wins
• Teamwork Beats Individual Heroics
• Have a Plan
• Know Your Enemy

The next section discusses the weapons types in Silent Death. The highlight of this section for me was on evading torpedoes. Included are diagrams that show the maximum reach of a torpedo on one turn. Seeing this you discover that often the best way to avoid a torpedo is to get behind it not to run away from it. Attacking with torpedoes is also talked about. Topics include coordinating multi-ship attacks, breaking the enemy’s formation, and hiding behind your torpedoes. The section on cannons contains several tables showing the chance to hit for each die combination and DV as well as expected damage for each weapon type. While the tables are interesting it is unlikely you will consult them during battle.

Next the book covers situations that arise in the game such as dealing with lost initiative, handling damaged fighters, using attrition units, using gunboats, and fighting against a larger force. Finally there is a section on campaign tactics.

The book has some sample squadrons, three scenarios and a list of suggested reading on fighter tactics.

The one new rule section is a change to the cost of torpedoes. The basic game has one cost for each type of torpedo but there are two optional rules that affect their movement: variable speed and maneuverable torpedoes. This section proposes cost changes for each torpedo type depending on the movement rules you are using. The theory here is that the cost should change based upon the number of hexes the torpedo can reach in one turn. A table lists each torpedo and the cost changes. Another table lists all the units that use torpedoes and has new BPV’s for each. As an example the Blizzard has a cost of 19 with the basic rules, 27 when using variable speed torpedoes, 26 when using maneuverable torpedoes, and 39 when using both variable speed and maneuverable torpedoes.

Finally there are six new ships. These ships are not designed like a typical Silent Death fighter. Five of the designs have no armor. The authors of the book feel that armor is not cost effective in the game. Instead they used the space saved to increase the defensive value of the units. Also most ships have no point defense since the tactics stressed in this game are to avoid torpedoes until they run out of fuel.
The Bat is a two man fighter. It carries two dual splatteguns and four torpedoes. It is slow for its size but has the maximum defensive value along with some armor.
The Black Widow scares many Silent Death players. This heavy fighter has 3 six-barrel splatterguns and ten torpedoes. It is slow but hard to hit with a DV of 17. Like the rest of the ships in this book it has no armor. It also has no point defense. When this ship first came out many players thought it might be unbeatable. However it has been demonstrated that an equal value of small torpedo fighters such as the Blizzard can deal with it.
The Shark is a fast one man fighter. It has an impulse gun and an ion ram. Its high defensive value is offset by no armor and no point defense.
The Chupacabra is also a fast one man fighter. If has a disruptor gun and two missile launchers. Like most ships in this book it has no armor or point defense but a good defensive value.
The Stinger is similar to the Chupacabra. It carries a splattergun and two large torpedoes.
Finally there is the Nemesis gunboat. This large ship is fast for its size with a great defensive value. While it has no armor it does have a very effective point defense system. This ship has an ion ram, four splatterguns (2 quads and 2 6-barrel), a missile launcher, and 30 torpedoes.

In summary this supplement is for the serious Silent Death player who wants to improve his tactics in the game. For anyone else you are paying for six ships and an alternative cost system for torpedoes. The ships are quite interesting to fly, and were a little controversial when released. You will get a book that is well written and fun to read.
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John Lopez
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It was interesting that this was published by the company that made the game: the points about armor were clearly true, point defense perhaps a bit less so. The ships in this book outperform nearly all of the prior ships... but only in the hands of someone who understands how to fly them effectively.

I liked it, even if it exposed some weaknesses in the existing system.
 
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Todd Warnken
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If ICE ever does another edition I would like to see the construction system revised.
 
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Champion Eternal
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Great review! This is one of my favourite SD books.
 
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Donald Dennis
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Godeke wrote:
The ships in this book outperform nearly all of the prior ships... but only in the hands of someone who understands how to fly them effectively.


I'd say the ships in the book will outperform all the prior ships in the hands of someone with equal skill and tactical savvy.


Godeke wrote:
I liked it, even if it exposed some weaknesses in the existing system.


And that's one of the reasons I like it. Some folks were better able to take advantage of certain optional rules than others, by utilizing the meta game, and this book helped players understand some of those elements.
 
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Jon Snow
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meeple Thanks, Todd. Of all the expansions that have come out since my "new" second hand New Milennium Deluxe Edition, this is the one I most want to check out!
 
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