F&E Strategy of The Month [continued]
IGNORE THE SPECIAL ATTACK FORCE
When faced with an SAF (special attack force) attacking their starbase, most defenders use directed damage against it to disrupt its attack. Often, this is tactically correct, but there are some situations in which it makes sense to ignore the SAF. Disrupting an SAF costs twelve damage points and the defender's directed damage attack for that round. The benefit from disruption is simple-the special attack force will do two fewer Starbase Interim Damage Steps than if it were not disrupted. Determining whether disrupting the special attack force is a good move requires a cost/benefit analysis, which will change based on the exact situation.
There are essentially two ways to destroy a defended starbase. If the starbase is well defended, attackers may use direct damage to score Starbase Interim Damage Steps steps. Special attack forces are most often used in this form of attack. In this situation, disrupting the special attack force is essential. The extra two Starbase Interim Damage Steps steps would cost 36 damage points (or 18 mauler damage points). Furthermore, they save the attacker two rounds of fighting the extra combat potential of the starbase.
However, in the second type of attack, the attacker relies on his superior numbers to outlast the defending fleet. In these types of battles, the attacker will not be used directed damage for starbase incremental damage steps. Instead, the defender will take as much damage to his fleet as he can stand, take voluntary starbase incremental damage steps to the starbase, and retreat with a crippled base screening him. In these sorts of battles, it may make sense to ignore the special attack force. Since he is taking voluntary starbase incremental damage steps, the extra steps only cost the defender 4.5 damage points, so he is losing the exchange. In addition, attackers often put juicy targets on the line. By saving his directed damage attack, he can destroy one of these targets instead.
A few conditions should be considered. If the attacker has multiple special attack forces, ample marines, or the defender has already taken starbase incremental damage steps, it may still be best to target the special attack forces because of the risk that the starbase will go down too easily. But if none of those hold true, consider ignoring the Special attack force!