"Cruiser Designs" by Jason Cawley 1997 v2.6/7

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Pipster wrote:

> One follow up question. Assume for a moment that you are at an early
> stage in the "jihad era" and you have reached BB construction ahead of
> the pack and have good reason to believe you will have this edge for
> several years. I'm wondering which of the BB designs you have outlined
> would best exploit this narrow window of opportunity.

First, sorry if my previous post on more general issues failed to answer the particular question asked. It happens :-)

Well, if you have them and no one else does, and only jihads are involved, I'd just make the "monsters". That is, 20 jihads, 7 SBCs, full armor and shields and best engines. You will certainly shoot first, and with only cruisers opposing you none of the jamming levels they can achieve will make much difference vs. 7 SBCs. So you will do a lot of damage, tend to knock down their shields quite fast, and generally do great execution among them :-) An unarmored cruiser with little or no jamming is not able to stand up to the first "monsters" very well.

I will add that, bearing in mind the countermeasures possible once enemies have things like juggernauts and BB hulls, etc, it makes sense to make only a modest number of these jihad BBs. 25 is a reasonable target in most games. Rarely will you want many more than that before better ones become available. They ought to be used in groups, of at least 5 and preferably at least 10. 25 of them stacked is of course much more formidable in that era. But more seems to me something of a waste of iron, since when the jugs come out they will be obsolescent (though still can be useful, e.g. as a secondary attack fleet or some such).

Consider the following about what 25 jihad BBs with 20 missles each and 7 SBCs can do to an enemy cruiser fleet - vs. no jamming - 500 fire, +92 targeting, 94% final accuracy, 39780 dp.

That's enough to kill 25 of the poor things on the first shot, even if shields hold (which they probably won't). With ~80000 fp once the shields are down (your own shields should be able to withstand the first reply).

So by all means, make the "monster" designs when you first get them. Just don't expect their period of ascendancy to be perpetual. They will manage to make older, unshielded enemy designs (e.g. DDs) obsolete (or dead ;-) almost overnight. They will make it quite hard for enemy cruisers to fight once the BBs are assembled in any numbers. But when enemy BBs of decent tech arrive, your combat power from these ships will decline seriously. So don't over-commit to the type in terms of iron spent on them or diverting resources too much from research to

ship-building. They can win an early war for you, if it is of modest dimension (e.g. against a race weakened by poor design, constrained space, or poor play). That can be quite valuable (space gained, or diplomacy sometimes). But don't bet the farm on them - that's all.

I hope this is useful.

Sincerely, Jason Cawley