SFB Tactic of the month [continued]
THE HYDRAN ANCHOR
One nasty surprise Hydran fusion-hybrid ships can pull on their opponents is a basic function of their design. If you examine the Ranger, you will note that the ship is practically capable of absorbing the full alpha strike of a Federation heavy cruiser on its #1 shield and not lose any of its fighters or all of its tractor beams. This gives you a very powerful tool to use against an unsuspecting opponent.
A key element is that you must maneuver to attack your opponent before Impulse #24. You want him to feel pressured to take his best shot while there are still nine impulses (#24 through #32) remaining in the turn.
You keep your fighters snugged safely in your hangar bays, and do not arm the ship's fusion beams. The power you save by not arming the ship's fusions you put into a tractor.
Charge your opponent, take his hit at close range, pumping your own phasers into his ship to draw out his batteries to reinforce his shield.
Then, on the next impulse, snag him in a tractor beam.
Once you have him, consider carefully his available fighter defenses (like ADD racks and unfired phasers that might be brought into arc). Take an educated guess at how many of your fighters he might be able to destroy or cripple in the next eight impulses . . . or just launch all of the fighters.
With his ship anchored, it will be relatively easy for the fighters to use close combat maneuvering to reach his weakest shield. The fusions and phaser-3s of four Stinger-1 fighters at Range Zero will score a minimum of 76 points of damage, a maximum of 120 points of damage, and an average of 93.96 points.
Bear in mind that is the damage from four Stinger-1s. Four Stinger-2s would add 36 points of damage to the minimum, 48 points to the maximum and about 45.9 points to the average.
The point here is that by tractoring your opponent, after he has fired, and with enough time for your fighters to launch (from those launch tubes) and be able to fire before the end of the same turn, you optimize the value of your fighters.
Pull this on an opponent once, and he will never get close to a ship that has not launched its fighters ever again. He is also likely to maneuver violently to avoid your closing on him or not fire weapons in a single large salvo at a facing shield for fear that the fighters will get him.
You have to know your ships in order to get maximum performance out of their capabilities, and that includes how they respond to damage. Not many opponents realize how well protected a Hydran's fighter bays are, or just what that built-in redundancy in the tractor beams can mean (i.e., you can gamble that one of them will survive to apply the anchor).
So offer your opponent what looks like a good deal. A close range alpha strike on your ship while the fighters are not going to be a problem and he has plenty of room to run before their short-range weapons can come on line. Then invite him to stay for the roast!