Friday, 15 May 2015

Long-Range Bombardment


Another new vessel launches from the painting table to the gaming table today, as I have finished the squadron of new Yale-class Heavy Destroyers for the Federated States of America. This vessel carries a powerful Bombard Gun and not much else - but what does this bring to the already notoriously long-range Core Nation?
Yale-class Heavy Destroyer squadron
Offensively, the Yale packs a single, fore-mounted fixed channel Bombard Gun. Enhanced with Pack Tactics and Sustained Fire, the squadron can throw out twelve shots at RB3 (with a single re-roll), fourteen at RB2 and sixteen at RB1 (though beware of Primary). This is... nothing special in the American fleet, as for only a few points more the Guilford-class Destroyers or Lexington-class Light Cruisers throw out comparable amounts of fire - if not more. Individually, the vessels fire a good number of shots, but not enough to reliably cause a Critical Hit on a Medium vessel.
Longer, larger hulls and layered armour give them durability superior to Destroyers and Frigates
The powerful Bombard Gun is built into the hull of the vessel
The attraction of the Yale-class Heavy Destroyer comes from the High Angle - enabling it to join the Volley Guns across the rest of the fleet in shooting down enemy Aerial assets, and the Bombard nature of the weapon - firing Indirectly with an accuracy only matched by the Princeton-class Gunships. Two special abilities that will be useful at different stages of the battle, to be sure, but important nonetheless. As befits the name of the weapon, I think it will prove useful firing without risk of repercussion, alongside a pair of Gunships or behind a larger vessel, for example.
Princeton-class Gunships also carry immense Bombard turrets, and could work well in conjunction with the Heavy Destroyers to pummel the enemy without fear of reciprocation
Defensively, the Heavy Destroyer has the same DR and CR as the rest of the FSA Small vessels (without Small Target), but with an extra Hit Point. This may not seem a lot, but is incredibly annoying for your opponent as they would normally fire a single powerful weapon and be done with it - here, they will need to fire twice, or waste a really powerful volley on it. As a regular player with the Heavy Destroyers of the Indian Raj or against similar vessels of the Covenant of Antarctica, I can attest to the annoyance - but is this enough to justify the vessel? Would it not be better to take a squadron of Lexington-class Light Cruisers, Frigates or Corvettes? Without Small Target, this vessel will suffer if exposed, and needs to be hidden as much as possible, regardless of the extra Hit Point.
Lexington-class Light Cruisers bring comparable firepower for a competitive cost
Beyond the offensive and defensive, the Yale-class Heavy Destroyer is lacking in crew - featuring only two Defensive points of AP, but does feature three AA and CC - the highest available for anything smaller than a Georgetown-class Cruiser. Is this is enough to make the vessel an attractive choice?
Guilford-class Destroyers offer long-range rocketry to compete with their bigger brothers
Overall, I'm not as excited by the Yale-class Heavy Destroyer as I am with the other new vessels - especially the Havel-class Support Carrier for the Prussian Empire and Chany-class Attack Submarine of the Russian Coalition. It brings long-range firepower without the disadvantages of rocketry, but at low numbers that barely compete with other squadrons in the fleet. Park them behind an island or move slowly behind the main formation of the fleet, and you have a fine squadron... just nothing special.

Luckily, the models look good, and were fun to paint!

Here are some additional pictures of the ship alongside fellow vessels of the Federated States of America...
The vessels of the Federated States of America
The different aesthetics and evolutions of the FSA design - from the simple Frigate, Light Cruiser and Battleship to the expansions with the Dreadnought, Gunship and Destroyer, to the more recent Second Edition design - layered armour and more detail around the paddlewheels. The Corvette and Escort stand apart, with their single-paddle design
The Yale-class Heavy Destroyer was easy to paint, bringing little "new" to the FSA design that has not been encountered before. The layered armour and decorative star on the top of the vessel deserve extra attention, as well as the main armament
Thanks for reading,


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