Talon Tuesday Issue #29: Talon 1000 – Heavy Battle Cruisers

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“Talon Tuesdays” is an article series appearing on InsideGMT periodically on Tuesdays.  It features articles from the Talon development team regarding the game’s design, development and upcoming release of the Talon 1000 expansion. Since Space Empires:4x Replicators is also releasing soon and there is crossover between the two development teams, Replicator articles will be featured as well.

Issue #29 Talon 1000 – Heavy Battle Cruisers

The crux of the Talon 1000 expansion is the addition of 22 new ship designs.  The new ships are all subclasses of existing ships, such as the Battlecruiser, with different weapon and shield configurations. The new variety in load outs allows for the creation of countless new fleet combinations. These new subclasses of ships not only have different tactical applications but they address an important fleet building issue in the base game. That is they address price gaps in the base game.

If you wanted to make a fleet of Terran ships that added up to 300 ship points total, you only had so many combinations at your disposal.

The addition of all these new ship types, some of which have slightly higher or lower Ship Point values which helps flesh out the number of interesting ship combinations that can go into a 300 point fleet.

Let’s unpack one of the new ship designs for the Terran and Talon factions— the Heavy Battlecruiser.

Both ships have a similar design philosophy— let’s try to put this faction’s largest single weapon on the smallest possible hull. The Talon BCH is equipped with the Fusion Cannon and the Terran BCH has the Wave Motion Gun.

The combination of the Terran BCH’s slightly lower cost and Wave Motion Gun is very powerful. They have such long range and can be so deadly they can be used to force Talon ships to keep a distance or fly wide, away from the BCH’s firing arc. The ship has some serious down side though. It is a bit of a one-hit-wonder. After firing the Wave Motion Gun there’s a long wait time and power cost to recharge the big gun. The BCH has little else in the way of armament besides the big gun; just two phasers. It has a minor defensive advantage over the base model in that it has one extra shield pip on each side.  Given that you’ll want to keep the BCH alive to use that big gun more than once in battle, you may wind up keeping this ship at a distance, particularly in the early and mid points of the engagement. This differs from the base model BC which can, and should, dive into the fray to use the double torpedoes.

While the Terran BCH creates a bit of a “Mexican stand off” as to IF it will use the big gun (then become fairly defenseless) in a given moment, the Talon BCH is all about WHEN it fires.  The Fusion Cannon, as in the base game, damages every ship in a wide arc.  You’ll want to pull the trigger when you’ve got at least a few enemy ships in the target zone, most of the time.  Don’t forget, though, that the Fusion Cannon isn’t a bad, sort of, single target weapon either— you just have to get up close and personal. At range 1 it can deal up to 11 damage.  Unlike the Terran BCH, the Talon BCH still packs some heat once the big gun has fired. It has a single Missile launcher which can shake things up if you fire it at long range before moving in. To boot it has a 3 arc double disruptor weapon as well. While the disruptors will have a bit of a recharge time, the range really helps defend this ship after it has moved in. Speaking of defense, the Talon BCH, like its Terran counterpart has an extra shield pip on the sides.

All the work the playtest team put into the base game has paid dividends for expansion development. From the get go we had not only ideas for game-changing ship variants but the confidence that they would work well since every component on a ship is cost-balanced. It’s so fascinating to see how a few tweaks to an existing ship design dramatically alter your tactical options.


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6 thoughts on “Talon Tuesday Issue #29: Talon 1000 – Heavy Battle Cruisers

  1. Just got my copy of Talon two weeks ago, thanks for the system and game
    I am a long term space gamer (played dozens from the first pocket SFB games till today) and retired USAF.

    One art quibble, the carriers should have different numbers on the hull and a few charging boxes on a few counters look like they got out of alignment during the layout phase.

    Design thoughts
    I would started the smaller ship with two or three weapons and built up from there. Put in heavy and light phasers, to have a few rear defenses. Upped most weapons effective range a little

    You wanted fast results and I respect that.

    ___________________________________________

    On to your new project…..

    Instead reusing the Star fleet battle term BC Heavy, I suggest ABC Assault Battlecruiser, Attack Battlecruiser
    or Pocket Battleship.

    WW1 had monitors, a battleship turret on cruiser sized ship for slow moving costal actions.

    A Monitor could be built on a large hull, low maximum speed, knock off the top speed line (or two) on the power curve. A heavy weapon facing forward and light weapons covering every arc. The Monitor is either a old pre FLT vessel that has been modernized, or massive container ship that has been refitted and weaponized. Monitors are used primarily for system defense in systems with two or more planets to defend. It takes two turns to enter FTL (a slower version). On each facing the shields are one or two boxes lower than expected but the hull is hefty and their is more power than expected…the design is just not optimized for FLT.

    Terran DDE: destroyer Escort, a phaser and an anti missile system with limited ammo or enough phasers to cover every arc.

    Terran CVL a half sized carrier

    A moon / airless small planet counter
    Gas Giant, should a gas giant take up more than one hex? If it does how to get in the box? A cardstock gas giant, trim and play, a PDF, print, trim and play, a mega counter or just a core counter.

    ——————————————————————————-

    Things to add someday:

    Terran CVA a really big carrier….probably needs to wait for second Terran v. Talon war
    Bombers, (think dive bombers, not B17’s) deadly in numbers but they have to fly back and land on the carrier to reload. A two box 360 shield
    Heavy Bombers, (ok think B17’s) deadly but they have to fly back and land on a Base, Starbase or large ground installation to reload, they can’t land on a carrier.

    Landing Craft to land troops on a planet.
    Armed transports
    Mines
    Ground base, lots of hull, no shields (use a small counter to indicate the hex side the base faces and keep the record off map.
    STARBASE….BIG only on a few key systems and the home world, power can accumulate twice as fast as ships (two large reactors)

    Outpost a smaller base, has a weapon or two in a 360 degree mount.

    —————————————————————————————–

    Allies both sides get an ally with different ships :

    Battle Carriers
    Missile boats
    Stealth…..if the rules aren’t too cumbersome
    Galleons, part warship part cargo ship, strong, turns very slowly.

    • Carrier numbers – we thought of it too late, but the expansion will have different numbers on the newer carriers.

      Rear defenses – We wanted to emphasize this as a game of maneuver. The rear on these ships is vulnerable on purpose. Better maneuver almost always wins the game.

      Upped most weapons effective range a little – This is also related to maneuver. There was a lot of thought put into this which improves game play. The Alpha Strike is the best strategy in the game. Since this is a fleet game, having shorter ranges on weapons makes it harder to maneuver your fleet so that you can get multiple ships in the same arc and get off a multiple ship alpha strike. In contrast, if the range of most weapons was 6-7 hexes, it would be very easy to get off a multiple ship alpha strike. Trying to do the same at a range or 2-3 takes skill.

      Thanks for the suggestions. Talon 1000 is done with design and playtesting. However, there will be other games after this one and all those ideas will go into the hopper.

  2. Wave Motion Gun questions
    Wave gun pushes ship into smaller friendly ship hex, what happens?
    Wave guns pushes ship into equal or larger friendly ship hex, what happens ?
    Wave gun pushes ship into smaller enemy ship hex, what happens?
    Wave guns pushes ship into equal or larger enemy ship hex, what happens ?

    Wave gun vs. Base does the gun move the base?

    Can the Wave gun push a ship (or base) into a planet or moon, if so what happens?
    When the Wave gun pushes a ship into an asteroid counter, what happens,?

  3. Names and Beast Scenarios

    First, the new expansion using different hull numbers on the carriers, great news.

    I think the name Midway should be saved for a carrier, I suggest famous names of Admirals instead for the BCH’s. The Nelson, Togo, Yi Sun-shin (legendary Korean Admiral) and de Ruyter are a few famous names.
    The Nimitz, Halsey and Fletcher, sound better on a large or small carriers that a ship of the line.

    A Balrog sounds like a name for something large, nasty and nearly unstoppable so what to use for a BCH Talon ships I suggest fiery names Firebird, Firestorm, Fire Drake and Fire Dancer.

    Balrog a demon of the dark…..A great name for Monster ship that can crush a lone dreadnought. Ogre is a great game to introduce to beginners because they only have one unit to command and it builds their confidence to crush several opponents at the start…then comes the desperate last push to the HQ where strategy really kicks in.

    One simple to command massive ship vs. 500 to 1000 points (the Balrogs might come in two or three sizes and the point value would have to be play tested) in ships might make a great later expansion. A simulator beast or one or two time on map rampage. Going whole hog, a few loose Balrogs could end the first war when both sides call for a cease fire to deal with the outside threat.
    The largest Balrog is based on the Yamato A,B turrets forward, X turret at the rear with disrupters, the smaller 6.1 centerline gun turrets become phasers or missiles.. A pair of forward facing fusion guns, one rear facing fusion gun, 2 fighters. Only one fusion beam may fire per phase. The fighters fire their beams once every full turn.

    Simplified power, pick a speed and turning radius during the power phase. heavy weapons fire after two full turns rest, disrupters and phasers one full turn rest. Shields recharge one box (or two based on play testing) per facing during the power phase.

    Slightly smaller eliminate the rear fusion beams and or fighters.

    Noticeably smaller, triple weapon mounts become double weapon mounts

    I grew up in a suburb east of San Diego, coming down to the bay you would see one to three carriers in the bay with their prominent hull numbers painted on islands and plethora of smaller ships tied up to the docks. There where tours of the smaller ships offered and a group acquired the USS Midway as a floating museum.