This is rather niche, nerdy and detail-oriented (and short!) post about battlegroup compositions.
This all started when I was building a fleet and noticed that in many cases choosing Line or Pathfinder group didn’t mean all that much – the composition I used in many case (1 medium tonnage, 1 light tonnage) could be made with either type.
Before that, I tended to prefer Pathfinder. I like to have initiative and eschewing medium tonnage meant lower strategy rating in many cases. But then I put it into a table and it became clear that the difference was not the great. Below you see a tabular view looking at the different combinations of up to three of both medium and light tonnages and showing which combinations can be made with which battle group types.
|0 Medium||1 Medium||2 Medium||3 Medium|
|1 Light||Pathfinder||Pathfinder / Line||Line||-|
|2 Light||Pathfinder||Pathfinder / Line||-||-|
First of all, only two combinations can be made with both battle groups; 1 medium tonnage and either 1 or 2 light tonnage. I also think in many non-extreme builds this is common. But the other peculiar thing is the last “combined composition”; 2 medium and 1 light. This can only be made with the Line battle group. That actually is a point in favour of Line.
What this simple table helped me realize was that unless you want to make an all-light tonnage battle group; Line is the way to go. It can handle all builds as long as there is a medium tonnage ship. However, the Pathfinder cannot say the same the other way around; it cannot handle all combinations as long as there is a least 1 light tonnage.
So in short – my lessen was that when in doubt (during the actual building) Line is the way to go.