"Space Demolition Races" by Jason Cawley 1997 v2.6/7
by: Jason Cawley
Wojciech Setlak wrote:
> Give your minelayer orders to move in star-like pattern. It will stay
> generally in one area, but jumping here and there without easily
> recognizable pattern...
Well, might save you a bit in the less active areas. Not much work-load reduction really, though.
... if you happily stop paying attention to what the
> little buggers are doing (after all, you don't like MM) enemy will just
> close on them and kill them... so better don't reduce your MM that far.
Maybe it is less than clear to everyone what I mean by "staying unpredictable" with minelayer movements as SD. It isn't just a question of enemies intercepting minelayers - because the minelayers aren't just laying patterns of mines.
Non-SD minelayers can't lay in a turn they move, and normally you want them laying. Occasionally they move to a new field-laying location. But they are basically passive things (some exceptions for heavily cloaked ones, since they typically won't be seen the turn they move to a new field location - can make them almost as useful as SD mines sometimes).
I have seen SD players, relatively new at it, who used their mines more or less in that same fashion as other races; they just had more laying ability, more types of mines, and set fields off from time to time too. Marginally better than other race's mines - fine. But not the best way to use the SD's awesome combo of lay-on-arrival, super cheap and efficient laying power, and mines that go boom.
Because they lay on moving, you can use your mini-minelayers as a intergral part of your skirmishing force. Your layers should be at least as active as his sweeping DDs and cruisers. "Active" - abstract.
What do I mean?
I mean the baited trap - the unescorted minelayer that leads interceptors to a bigger group of your own escorts. I mean the dodge - moving to 82 or 101 LY from a likely interceptor while making progress towards a tactical objective for the following year. I mean the "drag" - the pursuer led through a speed bump field (to stop him) in the middle of a standard field set to go off. I mean "shields on" - an entire quadrant explodes that year and every mine lost to the detonations is replayed. I mean "seige" - overlapping fields of every type all around an enemy fleet, a coordinated move by most minelayers near it. I mean the "jump" - where every single minelayer leaves the existing fields to extend them 81 LY further in the direction of the enemy, each starting a new field that year. I mean the "thrower" - a well defended planet and/or fleet with dozens of minelayers stationed there, half of which jump out to lay while the other half return to it for cover - every year to relay everything swept.
The list is endless. Full use of lay-on-arrival and small cheap 2-pod layers means the layers must mate their actions with sweepers, attack fleets, interceptors. Must react to the enemies sweepers, fleets, tactics. Every single square LY could have a minelayer at it at the end of next turn along an entire front, several hundred LYs deep. He should never know where that particular layer is going; he should never know where the mines will be; he should never be able to assure that any area stays swept, or that any particular group of interceptors won't be ambushed, etc.
Done right, it is very powerful. But it is also very time-consuming.