F&E Strategy of The Month [continued]
WHEN CASH FLOWS ARE TIGHT . . .
When maintaining carrier groups, in times of need, or when superior escorts can be built in the near future, only build/convert half as many escorts as you actually need.
Both the Klingons and Kzintis are "blessed" with a truly poor light escort, the humble EFF and E4A. So why build them?
Well apart from the obvious two (CEDS are protection of the actual carriers), there is not much reason to buy lots of them!
Consider the following: D6V, E4A, E4A. The escorts only add a measly two offensive ComPot each to the group, and yet cost the princely sum of 3.5 economic points each. By replacing the middle E4A with a standard E4, you save one economic point, but only lose one ComPot. By moving the E4A to the inner or outer escort you can adjust your CEDS ability, or preserve the more important escort hull.
On the Coalition turn, the Carrier group can be, D6V, E4, E4A, so either the E4 can be hit by directed damage (as it is an ad hoc escort) or the outer escort, the E4A, is hit by directed damage. If the E4 is killed, you do not get CEDS (but you can place another standard hull in the group for the next battle) and you only lost a 2.5 economic point hull. If the E4A is killed, you do get CEDS, and have the usual choices.
On the Alliance turn, having the E4 as the outer escort ensures only the non-CEDS-able E4 can be hit by directed damage (but as your turn is next, you can send a replacement hull to the group if required!), saving the more valuable E4A hull from damage.
However, most importantly, to kill the carrier group as a whole, is not made any easier or more difficult (other than the fact you might do less damage to the enemy!).
Lastly, when better escorts come along, you can build them and are left with:
Poor (but cheap) cannon fodder/pinning ships
The usual method leaves you with
Poor escorts which are used for cannon fodder/pinning ships AND you had the pleasure of spending your (very limited) hard cash on something which probably will not now use that ability!!!
Which do you prefer - pinning ships, or pinning ships plus money?
The Kzintis, with their EFF/FFs are in the same position (they do have better heavy escorts at least, but it is also true that CLE/CLs only lose one ComPot over the escort version!).
Once war cruiser/five ComPot frigate escorts are available, the cost difference is still only one economic point, but the ComPot loss is doubled to at least two, making this tactic less valuable.
So in times of need, do not convert the FFs and E4s to EFFs and E4As; leave them to die as they are!