I've been playing in the 2017 Star Fleet Battles World League- basically an online Team Tournament, where each team is made up of 3 players, and we advance and win as a team.
I've participated in this in the past, but I'm always a bit nervous about actually joining, as I had not actually won a tournament-style game of SFB before, and the years I played, I went 0-3 in the preliminary rounds, virtually ensuring that my team doesn't advance.
However, I am a bit more mature, and a better game player in general, so I threw in my name as a member of this World League. Most of my previous tournament experience was in the Federation TCC, a ship that requires a lot of luck to win with (those damn photons are great, but miss a lot, and are so expensive to arm!), and I have certainly not been lucky with it. I considered the Orion ship, as I have been close to a real victory in that before (prior to screwing up and losing). In the end, however, I decided to go with the Wyn Great Black Shark. It's a ship with drones, disruptors, and a few option mounts (I ended up using two B-racks in my option slots, giving me four disruptors and four drone racks, total). I figured this is a fairly forgiving ship, and should give me a fighting chance in most games.
My draw ended up being against a Kzinti (lots and lots of drones), a Romulan Firehawk (plasma + cloaking), and an Archeo-Tholain (web + great turning). I couldn't really tell how 'favorable' these matchups were, but went to town working to set up my games.
My first game went against the Kzinti, piloted by Sleepy_Cat. In my head, my plan was to use my drones to shoot down his drones, close in to hit hard, and get away. He was a significantly better player though, using his phasers at the best times to shoot my drones out of space, allowing his drones (including his early scatter-pack drones) to find me and hit me. He basically destroyed me at the top of turn two. Not a great start! I need to learn to be more patient (I tried to close in way too early).
My second game ended up going to me by natural disaster- the player running the Romulan was in Florida during Hurricane Irma, and is helping out with disaster repair, and would not have time to play. Due to this, he forfeited all of his matches - which actually balances out somewhat due to the team tournament rules (ie, none of his opposing teams gains a real advantage by him doing this). Technically a win for me tournament-wise, but not one personal-wise.
My third game of the round robin round was against Erokk in the Archeo-Tholian Tournament Cruiser. I had no experience flying this ship, nor flying against it. I did re-read the rules for how webs work, and his web technologies, but I wasn't sure what to expect. My strategy here was to keep my speed at 20-ish, keeping enough reserve warp to give me flexibility in case he tried to catch me in a web (I could make a speed change to get me out of a bad situation, potentially), and use drones to try to corral him into a bad situation. For the most part, my strategy worked... helped by incredibly lucky Damage Allocation rolls in my favor. In our first pass, I down a shield, and drop one of his disruptors, then later get a few more damage in, dropping ANOTHER disruptor. Down half of his heavy weapons, he had to buy time, which his webs gave him. However, he pretty quickly got on my tail, but without the teeth to do anything to me, I managed to eventually get some distance, and moved to a better position. I did a High Energy Turn with reserve warp, putting him at really close range, and hit him for quite a few more internals, but took some decent damage in return. We went our separate ways for another two turns before I went and made another battle pass, this time firing a heavy amount of damage through a down shield, winning the game.
This marked my first ever win in a tournament game- one that I feel like I flew pretty well, but was definitely helped with good luck. Still, I'll take it!
After the round robin round, I learned that my team had done well enough to advance to the Semi-Finals, where we faced another team. My draw for this match was the Gorn. The Gorn has a lot of plasma, and can take a good beating. I am told that ships like mine are actually a tough fight for the Gorn- I can fire heavy weapons every turn, and have drones that fill a role similar to his plasma, while also not using power. I learned that AFTER the game, thankfully.
My approach in this game was to keep my distance turn one, wait until some plasma was on the board, outrun it, taking a small amount of damage from it to determine if it was real or a fake, then rush in to hit him for damage, using the drones to suck up his phasers, and to keep the distance so he didn't tractor me.
Early game, we approach, and I keep side-slipping out to ensure I have some range, and room to run. I fire my disruptors at range 12 or so, getting four hits, and moderately damaging one of his shields. He launches a single 30-point plasma (which could be a fake, I couldn't tell at this point), and I continue to maintain distance. However, near the end of turn one, he bolts both his plasma S torpedoes, and fires a bunch of phasers, doing a minor amount of internals, and letting me know the plasma on the board is a fake (he spent some phasers on drones I had put on the board as well, limiting his firepower).
I look at turn two's Energy Allocation, and decide to strike. Starting with high speed (like 25 or so), and dropping speed via Mid-Turn Speed Changes, I have enough power to fire all four disruptors, and all phasers, power a High Energy Turn, and even threw two points into my Tractors. I start slipping in, and he puts a 20-point Torpedo on the table (an F-torp, which has to be real). I get to range two.
|There is about to be a lot of damage|
From here, I use my pre-paid-for HET, and move to the upper right (I'm the yellow ship, if you're not familiar with SFB), which puts me off his previously damaged shield (it was down to about 18 at this point, from the previous disruptors). I launch four drones, attempt to tractor him (he resists, burning through his batteries), and I hit him with everything, for almost 60 points of internal damage, hitting a lot of phasers and power. I then run off, giving me distance to recharge everything, but unfortunately, giving him the same opportunity
Turns three and four, I chase him, as he is forced to go slow to re-arm his torpedoes and phasers, while I just needed to recharge my phasers. I hit him for a few random points of disruptor fire at long range, hoping to hurt shields a little, to maybe present me future opportunities. Turn five, he starts turning around, to prepare to approach me again. I manage to get at range eight of him, and fire four overloaded disruptors, hitting with only one, and I decide to pull off and run, waiting for turn six. Had I hit with three of them, I was planning to fire all of the phasers next impulse , dropping the shields and doing more internals before running, but with only one, I elected to save my power.
Starting turn six sees me in the top left corner of the map, with him starting to approach. I overload all my disruptors, and charge in. I make the mistake of getting on his center-line, around range eight, and he can, and does, fire all of his torpedoes at me, presenting a challenge- I can't actually run given my position, and there is too much plasma on the board to shoot down or power through. However, because of the weird Gorn arcs, he has to fire the plasma in two different directions, creating some separation, and I use that to eat plasma on two different shields crippling them both (and taking some internals), but allowing me to get to range three mostly intact. I fire, removing all of his phasers, and doing tremendous damage internally. With no phasers, my drones catch up, and finish him off, giving me the win.
|Quite a bit of ship left, but almost no shields|
I felt pretty good about my flying, overall. A win is always good, but even had I lost, I would've been pretty happy with my game play- I made decent decisions overall, and only a few mistakes that I could tell - keep my Wild Weasel charged until late in the game would've given me an option against the plasma he launched, instead of having to eat it on a few shields. I also could've launched some shuttles on the first pass, maybe getting a few more internals on the Gorn, and if I had spread that over several turns, maybe removing another torpedo. Usually, I use my shuttles well, but this game, I just forgot. However, I DID remember to keep an eye on tractor ranges and chances, both for and against myself, which isn't something I do well in general. I'm learning!
If either of my two teammates win their game, we move onto the finals!