Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Sensor Echo, Engage and the Valdore- A Threesome for the Ages

The below is going to be some basics on Engage and Sensor Echo, but hopefully highlights why I think Engage is a fantastic ability, and why I think Sensor Echo should be one of your go to actions on a Valdore.

Take a look at the above. We'll assume that is a ship that has moved one and then used Engage to move a straight one again. You're effectively getting a straight ahead 3. Not SO hot right, since you can already take a straight 3 on most ships in the game. Okay. Fine. I hear you.

HOLY MOLY look at that. It's a ship that has moved straight 2, Engaged, and moved another straight 2 (most ships can do this as well) and you've effectively moved a straight 5. That's a much rarer distance, and can get you to where you need to go in a hurry.

The Enterprise D gets a green straight ahead 3. Using Engage, you can go faster than a transwarp drive will allow (straight 6). The Enterprise D is with Engage can go anywhere.

The above is a ship that has moved a 1 bank, and then used Engage to move another 1 bank. See the twisting movement? See that 1 across at the bottom? That twisting movement nets you a free sensor echo in terms of placement. This is one set of moves you want in your toolbox.

Here's a pic detailing the twist with 2 banks, which the Valdore has. Move green 2 bank to the right, Engage, move 2 Green bank to the left. You just got 6 straight worth of movement AND you got a 1.5 lateral. If you need to move around a large body of ships, this is the move to get you there.

Now let's look at what Sensor Echo can do for you in a combat situation.

Two ships, just outside of range 3. Bit of joust. We're going to assume that the Romulan Captain has a higher skill.

The Valdore does a banking 2, and the Klingon ship does a straight 2. These are conservative movements in any event. But watch what the Romulan gets to do.

He's about to drop a DEADLY Sensor Echo

Boom folks. If it isn't apparent from the above, the Valdore has arc on the Klingon Ship and the Klingon ship does not and will therefore take a pass on attacking.

The close up verifies that the Klingon ship does not have arc. HUGE play for the Valdore.

Sensor Echo gives you forward lateral movement. In the case of the big play above, you got a forward 5 worth of movement, but got to control the arcs and your opponent's arcs as well. Sensor Echo is an amazing ability. Why Evade when you get get forward lateral movement out of your opponent's arc AND get to fire at them?

Some people will tell you to never forego firing. I actually don't ascribe to that when playing with a Valdore equipped with Engage. I think you can run your opponent RAGGED moving all around them that you can wait to fire until just the right moment and be in a great position to cloak up on the next turn.

The key to the Valdore is to not play a war of attrition. You're fighting on YOUR terms, and Engage/Sensor Echo are the keys to that strategy. If you start jousting Klingons, you're bound to start going down.

Anyway, I'll do more stuff like the above as time permits, but hopefully you enjoyed it. 


  1. Anyone who is playing cloaked ships that doesn't make use of sensor echo is missing out on a huge set of maneuvering options. I've used it several times to create exactly the situation you've detailed above, or alternatively to get myself out of the line of fire. I'd rather not get shot at at all, no matter how many dice I get to roll when cloaked.

  2. The flagship cards add some interesting wrinkles to the whole cloak/ghost/crazy maneuver thing. Your Klingon flagship grants free cloaking (well, to everything but the D7), which lets them Cloak and Engage or Sensor Ghost in the same turn. The Romulan one allows free Sensor Ghosting, so you can cloak and ghost in a single turn, but not also use Engage. The independent one that allows a nearby ship a free action bar action is more versatile than either, but doesn't help the flagship maneuver itself any.

    The other indie that grants an instant move to a nearby ship is maybe the most interesting of the lot. I doubt there's a single card in the game that opens up more possibilities for unexpected repositioning. It's so versatile I think you risk analysis paralysis when using it - no matter what option you choose, there will probably always be another equally good one you could have done.

  3. How does an Engage Valdore actually get shots off? The Enterprise can fly past people and drop mines and use its 360 firing mode, but it seems like it would be difficult for the Valdore to bring its narrow firing arc on target after flying past it.

  4. The idea would be to use Engage/Sensor Echo to get yourself into position to shoot and either only be shot back by one ship, or not at all. Otherwise, you preserve your cloak and if you're running Dukat, throw up battlestations if you're facing down a ship or two. It's about picking your battles with the Valdore and playing a game of cat and mouse.

    1. Aha, so the idea is to Sensor Echo if possible to fire with little or no retaliation, and if that is not possible then Engage to safety and try for the Sensor Echo option during the next pass?

      I hope the Gal Gath'thong captain has a free action power so Romulans can someday do this without Dukat. :)

  5. That's going to get harder as more ships with 180 arcs appear, and the Dorsal Weapon Array upgrades are going to complicate things too. Three dice makes them no great threat at the base level, but given the prevalence of attack die boosters in many builds, you'll be looking at 4-5 dice with 360 degree arcs and range 1-3 pretty regularly. That's poking damage through even Romulan cloaks too often for comfort.

    1. Good point there Rich. Adding more 180 and 360 to the non-Federation factions makes me concerned that the Feds are once again going to be the losers. The low evasion values on most of their ships and the lack of cloak means they're relying on shield repairs. The Sutherland might help with being able to force decloaking, but it's not a commercial release so that mitigates it's usefulness.

    2. I doubt we'll see many cloak fleets using Dorsals, although it might happen. Their arcs are universally terrible and they do have the best attack bonus captains, so they could try playing around with overflying at weird angles and shooting, then cloaking and sneaking off to recharge the Dorsals before the next pass. Be pretty expensive to pull off though, and their best builds are fairly tight already.

  6. The dorsal weapons array, while good, still costs points, and 3 ship builds are going to have a hard time finding space for them outside of resources and admirals orders- which your two ship build will have access to as well. I think two ship builds are going to become harder to make as time goes on, but for right now they're quite viable.

    1. At three points, I think you'll see Breen and Cardassians both using Dorsals regularly. The former have terrible arcs and very average maneuver, the latter just cannot get most enemy ships off their tail once they get on it. They both benefit a lot from the upgrade, although it still requires kidnapping Donatra to get the most out of them - three dice is just not good enough, especially for a weapon you have to keep re-enabling.

      At four points crossfaction, I doubt they'll show up terribly often, although having one in a Klingon Attack Fleet (most likely on Martok) would open up a lot more offensive maneuvering options for them. Five die Dorsals is a scary prospect. The Feds already have plenty of 180 options with rear arcs to boot, but Defiant might find the point expenditure worthwhile. Those little guys are quite maneuverable, and having 360 as an option makes it easier to jump out of arc while still chipping away.