“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.