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Friday, 7 August 2015

System Wars Review Part 1 - Terran Ships

Last in this first look at the System Wars ships are the Terrans - those whiny, nuke-toting imperialists who always complain about their stuff. Well, here are a few things they can't moan about.

First of all, the Solar Carrier. To start with, it's straight-up tougher than the Ares, with a 5/9 compared to the normal 5/8 and the same HP and greater PD (6 vs 5). It's faster, but has less crew and AP, and also no mines (though these are hardly a great Terran staple anyway).She only has 5 WC compared the the Ares stock 9, but she has an extra shield, making her equal to the Tyrant or Titan, and of course she gets the usual Terran trick of Sector Shielding.

Her weapons are turrets rather than the for fixed and broadsides of the Ares, but they are pretty substantial - in fact they're battleship level, and with the exact same profile as the Apollo, with the strongest RB close in at <8". So at first glance the Solar is a tough pocket battlecarrier.

Into Hardpoints, and you can give the Solar another hull point or another shield - yes these cost the Durable MAR and 1" of movement, but this makes the Solar a real tank - that's 5 sectored shields on the favoured side and still 3 in other arcs! Alternatively, you can add 1" of movements and increase the Planetfall MAR if you feel like a quick dash to the objective. For non-planetfall builds, you can upgrade her Turrets it Nuclear weapons, and even if she's caught in the blast from her own guns, she's got the shields to deflect it!

Upgrades are typically Terran, with Weapon Shielding and upgrade to Beam weapons as standard, but she also has the option for Decimator Warheads, which could be nice on those close-approach ships that are looking to board.

It's in the accompaniments though, that things really start to look interesting for the Solar. She can take the same Aegis accompaniments as the Ares, but with the option to upgrade her turrets to beams, they synergise with her much better - giving a fore weapon profile of 17/15/7/- for a full squadron. The Aegis will also synergise well with her layered shields, making it even more difficult to punch through them to the tough ship below.

She can also take a Hauberk, giving her a 14/12/5/- nuclear fore as well as some additional arcs for a non-planetfall build, or a primary linked AD of 17/15/5/- max out of one of three arcs, backed up by Bomber or assault craft attack runs. As a shunt-bomb that sounds substantial. It's also very hard to deal with - the Hauberk may be fragile, but the Solar certainly is not and its throwing out a lot of short-ranged dice by itself, and so will demand attention.

Ah Terran mediums - the worst in Firestorm? Well, despite some people decrying the Hermes and Hauberk, the Horizon is a slightly different beast. It's tougher than other Terrans Tier 2 ships at 5/6, it's fast (by Terran standards), has great PD and good CP. AP is low, but the Planetfall version you can boost to 5. In addition, it has 2 shields base and can take a third, or a 5th hull point - again making it the tankiest Tier 2 ship the Terrans possess.

What really might interest Terran players, however, is the cost - it's CHEAP. 35 points - a base Hermes is 50. A non-planetfall version checks out at 40 points, so for the same price as a Frigate Squadron you have a 15AP assault bomb. 40 points is HALF the cost of a base Templar, and most other races heavy cruisers too. It's a steal.

You can upgrade the beam weapons and give it weapon shielding, but with turrets weaker than the Templar I'm guessing most will only do so if they've spare points left over to burn. You can also give the squadron an Aegis cruiser, which does make the shield-heavy version even harder to destroy. What I expect to see is plenty of these making appearances as non-Planetfall ships in Terran fleets.

Finally, the Nadir is another 4/5 SH1 Frigate at 15 points, designed to get troops on the ground quickly. You can even make it SH2, so they are going to be hard to nickel&dime to death, especially if you've Aegis in your fleet for them to hang around. You also get the option to boost their PD, or de-planetfall them and change them to escorts. This option gives you an incredibly hard and durable escort, potentially boosting the longevity of Terran Capital ships even further. Tehy're not going to be wholesale replacements for the the Guardian or Squire, but in selected cases I can see them taking preference.

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