Tactics in Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock [Part Two]

By Joe Robinson 24 Aug 2017 0

Welcome back to our two-part guide on tactics in Battlestar Galactica: Deadlock, the upcoming space combat/strategy game from Slitherine. You should now understand some of the core principles on how fighting battles in the game works – it’s time for some practical applications! Please note these strategies are mainly geared towards fighting in the campaign - in Skirmish & Online Multiplayer you have instant access to the full array of ships, and so the tactical options are more open.

All information is correct as of Version 1.0.

Early-Game Strategies

Broadsides & Adamant Swarms

You unlock the ability to build & use the Adamant-class Cruiser quite quickly in the campaign. While a modest vessel, this quickly becomes the back-bone of your early fleets and either work along side your Manticore Corvettes in a support role, or replace them entirely if you so wish. It only has guns on the Port & Starboard side which can fire up & down at a limited vertical angle. It gives the Adamant the air of an Age of Sail ship-of-the-line in the sense that they specialise in ‘broadside’ tactics. They also come equipped with one slot for ordinance, and one slot for fighters.

An excellent early game strategy is to form a tactical unit of 2-3 into a vertical stack (one directly above the other) and move them around in sync with each other. This mobile 'wall', if you will, becomes very cabable of giving out powerful broadside barrages either side of it, bring a respectable amount of firepower to bear on a single spot. Coupled with the base manoeuvrability of the class, as well as the verticality of the weapons, you command a large zone-of-control.

Broadside 

The trick is to keep this formation moving and re-form it as needed to face any target, as well as preventing one armour side from taking too much damage. When you’re in the heart of the enemy formation, you’ll want to shift your ship's posture to full ATK and focus fire on individual vessels at close range. Outfitting them with Torpedoes for short range barrages will soften up the armour facing closet to you, allowing your guns to tear through the hull.

Case & Point: In Skirmish I built a fleet of 7 Adamants and composed a 3-1-3 formation, so two vertical stacks with a mobile centre unit to support either flank as required. With seven ordinance slots across the fleet AND seven fighter slots, this low-cost build can take on Cylon fleets that feature full-on Basestars. In fact, it beat the largest pre-made Cylon fleet load-out the game has (just shy of 8000 points) while only losing one ship.

The Manticore – Scout vs. Packs

The Manticore Corvette will be the other staple of your early campaign fleets. It's best described as a light scout ship, and has a single Ordinance slot with guns on the fore and aft. It's incredibly fragile, and will quickly get out-classed by the beefier ships as you unlock them (and as the Cylons bring stronger craft to the table). So far, there are two main strategies you can employ with these ships:

Wolf Pack: This works more in the early game, as when you progress to mid/late game strategies you’ll want to replace this formation with an Adamant grouping or something with a bit more firepower. Still, if you get 3-4 Manticores in a decent formation on high ATK posture, you’ll be tearing through the enemy light-ships with ease, and this formation is incredibly mobile.

Wolf pack 

Forward Scouts: The Manticore has respectable DRADIS capabilities, and due to its manoeuvrability can be quite zippy – using them to scout ahead of the fleet and reveal the DRADIS contacts will allow you to employ your missile ordinance early. Around the mid-game you will unlock Rangers, which are missile frigates that have two ordinance slots and reload those slots faster than everything else in the game. Getting a Manticore out front to reveal those targets ASAP will allow you send off some volleys before the fleets close into combat range.

Generally, which ever method you choose, you'll want to keep your Manticores out of the thick of the fighting as they can get taken out quite quickly. Saying that, so far I’ve noticed the AI tends to prioritise striking the larger ships and/or your Battlestars if you have one. At this point, you’ll want to use them a bit like your Fighters – skirt the edges of the battlefield and simply pick off weaker/smaller opponents. A high ATK posture is key.

Cyber Wars

This is more something to watch out for than it is something you can do yourself (although if you’re playing Cylons in Skirmish or Multiplayer, do pay attention!)

The Nemesis is the first enemy ship you meet in the campaign. They’re fairly weak, even in a pack, but their primary reason for being is that they can ‘hack’ enemy ships. This is represented by a wavy red line that will extend from their ship to one of your ships. There is a Cylon fighter class called Wardrivers that can also hack ships.

BSG Hackers

On Colonial vessels at least, the ‘Firewall’ will be your first & only line of defence against this (we haven't tested what happens if Cylon ships hack other Cylon ships). It is governed by the Tech Bay sub-system, and is of a fixed/finite strength. Once it’s gone, the Nemesis will start doing direct damage to whatever sub-system it’s trying to target. There are only two main things you can do with regards to hacking:

  • Dock a Raptor to the ship being hacked, which will provide a boost to the firewall (doesn’t work with Battlestars).
  • Go into a high DEF posture, which will increase the rate at which your firewall regenerates although doesn't make the firewall itself more resilient.

Sub-system damage doesn’t affect the hull (a ship’s HP), but depending on what sub-system is being attacked you will find your ship becoming less effective. E.g., if your Fire Control sub-system goes down to 0, you can’t fire your weapons or missiles, or even issue the Focus Fire command. Similar negative effects can happen to Navigation, Engineering, Hanger, Armoury, Tech Bay or the CiC. You can repair one sub-system per-turn, which will regenerate health turn-by-turn depending on your Engineering sub-system's effectiveness. A sub-system is considered offline while it is being repaired.

This means that a flock of 3 or more Nemesis can actually be pretty dangerous, especially to larger capital ships. If they all hack the same vessel they will demolish that firewall pretty much in a single turn, and the sub-system itself won't be far behind. If they keep knocking through sub-systems you be left with a near-useless ship quite quickly. In testing, we’ve witnessed a flock of these completely shutting down a Jupiter-class Battlestar, leaving it at the mercy of everything else.

Anti-Ordinance Tactics

Active anti-ordinance strategies only really come into play during the campaign’s mid-game. Game elements that actively target missile ordinance are:

  • Sweeper Squadrons – Fighter units that don’t really do much other than release Chaff, which can set off missiles early if you position it properly.
  • PCMs – Missiles you fire out that create a ‘zone of control’ of sorts. When missiles pass through this zone they set off the PCM and detonate all the missiles (note this may not get all of them). If anyone's played Star Hammer, you'll recognise this.
  • Flak – Artemis & Jupiter-class Battlestars can create Flak screens that will destroy any missiles (or fighters) within the area.

None of these things are available to you at the start of the campaign, although assigning Viper squadrons to ‘Defend’ a ship means they will try to intercept enemy Ordinance as it comes in. To be honest though, there are better uses for your fighters. 

Ordinence 

As far as the beginning of the campaign goes then, you have to just roll with the hits as they come, but there are some tactics you can employ to help with this:

  • Keep your ships mobile, and move them around so that healthier armour segments are facing the enemy.
  • Marcello ‘Ironsides’ Perricone has a strategy where he will pair damaged ships with healthy ones, and use the healthier vessel as a human shield, of sorts.
  • Try to dodge. Torpedoes are easier to evade than Guided Missiles, but you can enable boost and do a dive to try and avoid the latter as well.

Identifying which ships are firing the ordinance and killing them ASAP is the most effective strategy – in the early game it’s usually just Nemesis as Talons don’t have Ordinance capabilities. The Arachne-class, when they show up, also fire out ordinance, as does most of the classes above that.

And that's it for this week's BSG update. Next Thursday will be our official review, so make sure you keep an eye out for that. This is already shaping up to be a very solid tactical space combat game, and it can only get better from here (unless it doesn't, but then anything could happen).

Battlestar Galactic Deadlock will release on PC & Steam on August 31st, 2017. This article covers a game developed and/or published by members of the Slitherine Group. For more information, please consult the About Us page.

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