//Fleet composition at higher point values

Fleet composition at higher point values

Like most players, I guess, most of the list I’ve made have been either Skirmish or Clash-sized. I have made a lot of 999p and 800p lists, and a lump of 1250p lists. But number of available battle groups are not linear with points value and I was curious to see what that means, so I did a bit of investigation.

A sample fleet

First, let’s look at a sample 3000p PHR fleet. It only includes 1 Flag and 1 Vanguard battle group, but it also only includes 1 Pathfinder battle group – the rest are Line.

  • SR17 Flag battlegroup (359pts)
    1 x Heracles + Grand Director (6AV)
    2 x Calypso
  • SR19 Vanguard battlegroup (444pts)
    1 x Agamemnon
    4 x Europa
    1 x Theseus
  • SR18 Line battlegroup (486pts)
    1 x Orpheus
    3 x Andromeda
    2 x Ikarus
  • SR25 Line battlegroup (544pts)
    1 x Orpheus
    2 x Ajax
    2 x Orion
  • SR19 Line battlegroup (528pts)
    2 x Ikarus
    1 x Orpheus
    4 x Andromeda
  • SR12 Line battlegroup (315pts)
    1 x Orpheus
    2 x Medea
    1 x Orion
  • SR7 Pathfinder battlegroup (228pts)
    2 x Medea
    3 x Echo
    2 x Echo

What is interesting about this fleet?

Well first off, when making it I quickly came to a point, where my choices was less dictated by what I thought would be useful, and more about what I could still add. All group-spots in all battle groups were quickly filled forcing me to increase group size instead – also in places, where this was not in my interest.

I would normally be rather hesitant to include two cruiser-sized (and above) ships of same class in the same battle group as I think this hinders flexibility for them too much. In this fleet I have been forced to do it no less than four times. In general, the strategy rating of the individual groups is of a size where the approach type “Distant” would make for a rather boring game since before turn 3, I would only be able to field a single group.

Could I have done something to prevent this? Not as much as you might think. Actually, the Line battle group is the one with the largest points potential (and as you see above, it is also the case in my fleet), so my battle group composition is actually tailored to give me maximum flexibility. The maximum points value of battle group PHR is as follows:

  • Pathfinder: 734 (4 x Pandora, 6 x theseus)
  • Line: 801 (9 x Theseus)
  • Vanguard: 687 (2 x Priam, 3 x Theseus)
  • Flag: 570 (2 x Minos / 2 x Heracles or a combination of the two)

So, what does this mean?

It means, that the fleet selection system starts to become strained at higher points value where instead of having more choice, you actually have less. You can only run so many of the cheaper options on a given group slot in your fleet before you risk not being able to spend all your points.

Since most matches are 999 or 1250 we don’t notice it all that much, but we will as points increase. See the graph below.

And some sample numbers:

  • 999 points: Average group size 250 points
  • 1250 points: Average group size 208 points
  • 1500 points: Average group size 250 points
  • 2500 points: Average group size 357 points
  • 3000 points: Average group size 429 points

As you can see, in the most common point values being played, average group size is more-or-less the same. But getting into mid-to-late Battle fleets average group size increase a lot and that changes how the game will be played since it changes fleet construction to a process where you’re not adding the stuff you want, but adding the stuff that will hinder flexibility the least.

Is this a really problem?

I’m not sure. I think it changes the game more than you might think as first, but I don’t think it is a problem as such – it is just a somewhat different game.

Psychologically speaking, building fleets is a lot less satisfying than for lower points since it feels more like “where can I add something that doesn’t screw me up too much” rather than “what do I actually need to add”.

In addition, some parts have clearly not been tested too thoroughly with this in mind. As noted above, Distant as an approach type is bordering unusable. There might be other quirks I have not seen yet. Traffic James will be a frequent occurance since there will be more cruiser groups with multiple ships in.

I think, that when we in our local group will start playing Battle-sized games, we might experiment with increasing the number of groups to 8 to decrease this issue somewhat. On the other hand, Dropfleet does not strike me as a game where you would often play these kind of games, and it might not matter much, that they are somewhat different.