Thursday, October 20, 2016

Ship Combat tactics: PHR

Employment of your Space Assets 

Tactics are a way of life, a thought process that one does not always have the ability to dig too deep. In this series, I will be going into those weeds for you. I will have pictures, concepts, and things to consider when you use your PHR fleet to cleanse the Cradle Worlds of the uninitiated. 

Let us go into some ideas to consider when using your PHR!

Now remember that these are just general ideas to use in your games. Adjust them, mix them up and try new things. Let me know what you come up with!

Combat Ships:

The PHR have combat ships but they have a basic issue with being broadside heavy. They have lesser firepower in terms of Lock value than other factions and that means you will be chipping at ships more than carving into them. Watch for that against you. Your opponent can carve through your tough armor with their weapons more often than the other way around so plan accordingly for that. 



PHR Frigates are specialized in a few areas. They all enjoy pack hunting like normal frigates beu we have some interesting aspects to consider. 

The First is the Pandora. You can use the Pandora to Active Scan an opponents ship and then shoot your Supernova Laser to flash the target giving it a Major Spike. As before I personally prefer taking 3 of these but if you wish to use that plan then 2 should work well. Toss some Strike Carriers in the Battlegroup or even an Orpheus in and you have a battlegroup that can hunt and trouble many different ships while not appearing to be a huge threat. 

Think of the Pandora as your Light Cavalry. A force that can move and attack and cut right through an opponent and forcing them to react. 


The second Frigate to consider is the Europa. Now the Europa is one of those ships I do not mind just "spamming" which for those new to wargames means that you take just a bunch of this unit. You could even make an entire battlegroup of 12 of these and have it as your Hammer Battlegroup that can threaten really anything. . . I mean, 36 dice is just plain scary!


The last Frigate to consider is the most underwhelming and that is the Andromeda.

The Andromeda is the truest form of a pocket carrier. Being able to hunt with their bombers they don't provide any one major threat and will force people to split their strength to deal with them because if they don't, those bombers will start eating most things alive. 

What a group of Andromeda can do if not dealt with


As I have stated in the PHR Fleet Expansion guide, Cruisers are an interesting mix. They are specialized and need to be used effectively both in building battlegroups and employment.


The Theseus is pretty much like a standard calvary, a mix of Light and heavy this unit can charge in a group of 2-3 and laying waste with your broadsides followed by a hard turn and coming back in from another direction. These are almost perfect sortie ships. They have the speed, they are cheap enough to take 3 of and not hurt you heavily and can be another Hammer.

Francis (Ajax):

Francis is a good ship, it is more of a Flank protector to me though. It can secure the flanks while using one of its broadsides or its Supernova Laser to thrust. Think of them as your front line.

Iron Francis?

The Francis is almost like a Pikeman. They thrust back with their laser to keep ships reeling and can use their broadsides to prevent the Frigates from getting too greedy. 


The Orion is your Line Holder. This ship is meant to get suck in and hold the line from breaking while you push forward, taking those precious Clusters. In the Hammer and Anvil this could be a piece of that Anvil. 

Looking at this handy dandy chart by dread2005 we can see that compared to a standard cruiser with 100% in all stats the Orion is more survivable, has the same speed but a bit less power due to its Lock Value and the amount of shots it gets. 


The Perseus is a hunter. He wants to be out there in a group and tackling Heavy ships and slowly weakening them. Keep the group to the side and work in and you will have a nice slow advancing force that can take a beating but also whittle away most opposition.


The Vanguard Carrier is like the Andromeda but with guns. The Ikarus feels like she is primed to harass weakened ships on her own or in a small group it can take on other cruisers and heavy cruisers while providing support to the fleet. 

Heavy Cruisers:


The Hector takes the roll of the Orion and the Francis and combines them. Suddenly you have a Centurion type of Line Holder that can take a beating and deal it back without flinching. The Hector can be a cornerstone of your Anvil and be that hard surface that just rebuffs your opponent.

The Hector staring down an Obsidian 


The Achilles is a specialized hunter killer. Where the Perseus needs to hunt in a group the Achilles can maneuver and combat heavy Cruisers on up on its own. It does not have the weaponry stamina though so you have to select its target and then go after that. Do not get greedy, hold back if you need to and then make your strike. If you plan on taking multiple Achilles, you may want to double up on a target with those torpedoes. Typically those targets are Battlecruisers and Battleships though.


The factions true Auxiliary ship. The Bellerophon wants to be in the back. It has no side armaments like the Ikarus or the Scipio so unlike those ships, you want to keep it in the back and let it go to
work. Watch arcs and be aware of spikes because the Bellerophon will be a prime target for your opponent.


The PHR Battlecruisers are just Immense Light Cruisers. They specialize in a thrust of 10" that lets them flank drive straight in and even become a solid small hammer

The Leonidas is a force unto itself. Learning to drive him into the enemy and cutting a swath through the enemy like a sortie of Heavy Cavalry will be a lesson unto itself. While the Scipio will take the role of the Andromeda and the Ikarus and double it. The Scipio is well suited to being a harrying force and provides strong flank guard.


The Heracles is the one I suggest the most. It can function as a secondary line and auxiliary ship that can hunt ships of heavier tonnage or snipe ships of lighter tonnages like cruisers. You really don't want to be using the Dark Matter Cannon on frigates due to it lighting you up for everyone else to see.

Why I dont recommend the Minos? Well currently the Minos is too easily thwarted. With such a big signature and a slow thrust you can be dodged for your main weapon and even the dual torpedoes are only really suited for either hitting 2 cruisers or 1 heavier target to guarantee the best results. The expense of the ship is the second reason.

Launch Assets:


Torpedoes are great at hurting bigger ships but they have the draw back of only being once use. I personally would not overload a list with just Achilles and a Minos to launch torpedoes when at best you will have 6 torpedoes that will take time to hurt an opponent and while killing/hurting cruisers you would have to double up on Heavy Cruisers and Battlecruisers and maybe even triple up on a Battleship to get a sure thing or as best as one can be determined.


The Second part to Launch Assets are Fighters and Bombers. Now the PHR have hands down the best bombers in the game. At a 2+ to hit with 2 dice per bomber you are hitting with a crit with every bomber on average. That will strain Point Defense to breaking with enough bombers. It takes on average 6 Point Defense dice to cancel a single crit form a Close Action Weapon, now multiply that by 4 for just a Scipio, a Bellerophon, 2 Ikarus, or 4 Andromeda and you will see ships just shred under the assault. 


You will notice that ships of the heavier classes were used in the same types of uses as the Frigates. Well this is the type of flexibility that the PHR has to call on. Be careful though. When you start using ships for jobs they are not suited for you will start to take casualties and that could spell disaster. Remember that the game can still be won even if you lose in space.

As requested by my friend Kyroxis


  1. Hey! Me again. Good articles :)

    However, please fix this: "The last Frigate to consider is the most underwhelming and that is the Andromeda."
    => what you wrote means the Andromeda is worse than what one would expect, yet you continue talking as if it is better. XD I think the world "underwhelming" is throwing you off there.

    1. Actually it was intended as such. Most people I talk to look at the Andromeda unfavorably (even myself at for a time). The reason is because it is Launch 1 and no other weapons besides its poor close action.

    2. I don't have all the rules as of yet, but I do think it has a lot of potential from what I've seen so far. Especially if craft can easily change layers. Also, when can you launch craft, is it limited by some special orders?

      But then I would put a sentence or two about how it's seen as underwhelming before going on with all the good comments you have on it. :)

    3. *I don't have any rules yet except what I read from you and various videos.

  2. Replies
    1. A decent enough ship. It's ability is great against any single shot that wants a crit.

  3. Hey mate!
    I was thinking that perhaps you should include how the weapons are linked in the strategy guide.
    I mean the links allow you to shoot two+ weapon profiles as one on a standard order, right? And without using them PHR ships are worse than UCM gun-wise.
    The thing I noticed is that the links on PHR ships are done in two ways: either port-starboard or one side.
    For example the Theseus has weapon profiles linked one side, which suggests it is better suited for flanking and exposing one side to the enemy (without weapons free order that is).
    Leonidas/Aggamemnon has two weapon profiles linked separately port-starboard, so it would be better as a line breaker ship rather than a heavy cavalry flanker.

  4. The colour scheme makes its really hard to read your blog :-(

  5. Like your blog. Very helpful. Confirms a lot of my own analysis of the capabilities of the ship types for PHR. There are obviously enough ship types available so that other mixes could work for different scenarios...but..the core fleet as you have mentioned is definitely a good start point. Just bought the PHR Battle fleet box and added a Heracles to it. John