Sandy Hemenway on "TC Ship Balance"

This topic contains an article on tournament ship balance by Sandy Hemenway, a.k.a. by his SFBOL handle as "Firemane."

I contacted Sandy and he graciously gave me permission to repost any articles I could find of his on this website.

"TC Ship Balance" By Sandy Hemenway

{rescued 5/8/2013}

TC SHIP BALANCE
by
Fleet Captain
Sandy S. Hemenway

[The following was an analysis I did back in late 1993 regarding the
contention that the Orion TBR was WAY too powerful - and final decisions
over what to do about the 2-gat phaser boat were still being discussed.]

Attached is a graph of the Origins Final Four for both Fleet Captains
and Patrol Tourneys from 1984-1993. The 1987 semi-finalists I'm not certain
about (the races were left off the Captain's Log synopsis), but I'm pretty
sure Hault has only played ISC, and I remember '87 being the year of the
Orions (when they could choose options AFTER finding out which race they
would be facing).
During these 10 years NINE different races have won one or the other
tourney. The only races with NO wins are the Tholians, Lyrans, and Andros.
The Orions haven't done too bad, (tied for 3rd overall), and have won 2 out of
the last three Patrols, but most of the hemming and hawing has all but ignored
the Orions primary weakness - SIZE. It's a War Cruiser, not a Cruiser, and
as such gives up about 20 internals to everyone but the Andros. It also takes
internals whenever it doubles, whether the opponent fires or not. I truly
believe that the tourney ships are about as balanced as they are going to get,
and if any changes need to be made they need to be to the Andros, Tholians,
Lyrans, or ISC (who have been abysmal since 1987).
[Ed. Note: The Andro rules have been completely revamped along with the TC,
the Tholians got the ATC, which has all but supplanted the NTC, the ISC got
their p3 upgrade, and the Lyrans got their one-shot UIM since this analysis.]
BUT -- the final four chart does not take into account the number of
entries for each race in the tourney. The number of people playing a given
race has a definite impact on tourney performance, and historically if a ship
is 'upgraded', a large number of players will try it out because they BELIEVE
it is overpowering. Also, the ability to reenter after losing plays a part,
as in 1987, when many players got beat by Orions, and then turned around and
re-entered playing Orions.
As to the final decision on the Orions, I personally have always felt
that gattlings should be 'better' than phaser-1's, simply because they are
more expensive (6-5) on the cost of repair chart. However, I do not think
the rule will make a very large impact in the majority of games, since two
fair sized volleys through the #1 screen will kill the gattlings anyway,
since the rear phasers cannot be hit due to directional rules. Conversely,
if you do two volleyes from the rear, you can't hit the gattlings anyway.
'Nuff said.
[Ed. Note: ADB eventually went to the one-gat-only Orion limitation]

The Orion dispute aside, I would like to point out a few things
about tourney performance of the races.

1) GORNS -- The data would indicate if any ship is unbalanced it would
be the Gorns, as they are the ONLY race to win both Fleet Captains
and Patrol in the same year ('90), and they have had as many as 4 out
of the final 8 spots taken in a single year ('91). However, this
'unbalanced' ship didn't get a single representative to either Final
Four in 1993, so I think that point is moot.
2) KZINTI -- is NOT overwhelming. Yes, they have won 3 Gold Hats, but
they've NEVER won the Patrol.
3) WYN-AUX -- Though solid, they are not unbeatable, as they have NEVER
won the Gold Hat, and have not won the Patrol since 1988. [Ed. Note:
The WAX has won at GenCon, and since this analysis has been restricted
to TWO local option mounts.]
4) ROMULAN -- (see KZINTI comment).
5) ORION -- Haven't been unbeatable since 1987, just frustrating.
6) FEDERATION -- Always a popular TC and still demonstrating the ability
to compete after two decades.
7) KLINGON -- You'd think with better power, stronger phasers, and that
darned eternal UIM they'd perform at LEAST as well as the KZINTI.
(Maybe if they quit disrupting their weapons officers into oblivion
for poor marksmanship they'll get a second Gold Hat soon).
[Ed. Note: And they did in '95 - after the addition of the ADD.]
8) HYDRAN -- The race ought to be renamed the HYMANS, because 5 of the
6 Final Four appearances by Hydrans were Eric Hyman. Though the lone
Patrol winner was someone else. A hard ship to win with because of
weapon attrition (only 6 phaser hits), but Eric proved they can win
consistently with an excellent Captain in charge.
[Ed. Note: With the added 360 p1, the ship has become a fixture in
the Patrol Semis.]
9) ISC -- My personal favorite for the 'we-need-help' award. Since they
were cut from 8 ph-1 to 6 in 1988, the ISCies have but one Final Four
appearance (3rd in '89). The difficulty they have in consolidating
their damage generally means they blow up all over their de-shielded
opponent. Opponents they have real trouble with: Everyone.
[Ed. Note: Of course, they added the p3s, which concensus seems to
agree makes this a solid ship - but still no Hat.]
10) ANDRO -- The revised rules seem to have just about balanced them. I
think they were just a bit too small until then. A 2nd and 3rd in
the 1993 Patrol indicates they CAN win, but CAN be beaten.
[Ed. Note: In '96 the got their Hat and in '99 another AFTER being
downgraded slightly.]
11) THOLIAN -- It's really a good ship, especially with the Snare getting
hit on Drone to protect the WC. There just aren't enough good pilots
to get them the wins they are capable of.
[Ed. Note: The ATC seems to be the Tholian of choice these days, tho
in HR4, the few people who fly the NTC seem to do okay.]
12) LYRAN -- A good ship, suffering from lack of play, but I suspect
plasma is preventing them from doing better. If the ESGs get close
enough to damage a Gorn or Rom, he's probably eating 70-100 points of
plasma, PLUS phasers. They probably need a late war refit (when the
ISC show up in the General War) that allows ESGs to do damage to
plasma -- maybe at something like 2/1 or 3/1.
[Ed. Note: These guys are curious in that general opinion says its a
pretty good ship - but performance simply doesn't back up the feeling,
and seems to be destined for an upgrade of some type soon.]

STARFLEET BATTLES TOURNAMENT WINNERS (ORIGINS)
Note: Column U represents the Unique TCs among the final 8 for each year.
This is to aid in examining the "Year of the XXX TC Trend. It should be
noted that prior to '93 only the 12 Classic TCs existed with 6 added in
'93/'94 - though it did take a couple of years of tweaking before they
settled down. It would stand to reason that the uniqueness of the Final
8 might increase with the field expanded from 12-18. Take a look for
yourself.

FLEET CAPTAINS PATROL
YEAR U 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH

1984 FED GORN FED ROM N/A
1985 6 KLINGON KZINTI FED WYN WYN ROM ANDRO KLINGON
1986 6 ROM KLINGON ORION KZINTI HYDRAN GORN HYDRAN+ ORION
1987 5 ORION ORION ISC??? ORION??? ISC KZINTI HYDRAN+ KLINGON
1988 5 KZINTI HYDRAN+ WYN KZINTI WYN ROM FED ROM
1989 6 ROM HYDRAN+ ISC FED FED GORN WYN ROM
1990 6 GORN WYN HYDRAN+ FED GORN ROM FED KZINTI
1991 5 ROM FED GORN GORN ORION GORN GORN LYRAN
1992 6 KZINTI WYN FED WYN KLINGON THOLIAN GORN GORN
1993 5 KZINTI ORION KLINGON KZINTI ORION ANDRO ANDRO LYRAN

+ --- Eric Hyman

[ENTRIES FROM '94-'98 ARE NOT INCLUDED IN TOTALS BELOW]
1994 6 FED ROM ROM ORION FED WYN ORION ISC
1995 4 KLINGON ATC ORION KLINGON KLINGON GORN ATC KLINGON
1996 4 ANDRO WBS ISC ANDRO KZINTI ISC ISC KZINTI
1997 6 WBS KZINTI KZINTI ANDRO ATC LDR ORION ANDRO
1998 6 ATC KLINGON ORION ROM(KR) HYDRAN HYDRAN HYDRAN KZINTI
1999 6 ANDRO KLINGON ISC ANDRO WYN FED HYDRAN HYDRAN

[TOTALS HERE ARE FROM 1984-1993]
FLEET CAPTAINS PATROL
RACE 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH
PTS*
GORN 1 1 1 1 1 3 2 1 25
KZINT 3 1 0 3 0 1 0 1 22
WYN-AUX 0 2 1 2 2 1 1 0 21
ROM-FH 3 0 0 1 0 2 0 2 21
ORION 1 2 1 1 2 0 0 1 21
FED 1 1 3 2 1 0 2 0 18
KLINGON 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 2 14
HYDRAN 0 2 1 0 1 0 2 0 13
ISC 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 6
ANDRO 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 5
THOLIAN 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 3
LYRAN 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2
* The points are distributed as follows -- 1st = 4
2nd = 3
[note 3rd and 4th are both technically 3rd] 3rd = 1
4th = 1

[TOTALS HERE ARE FROM 1994-1999]
FLEET CAPTAINS PATROL
RACE 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH
PTS* DIV
KLINGON 1 2 0 1 1 0 0 1 16 11/5
ANDRO 2 0 1 2 0 0 0 1 12 11/1
THOL-ATC 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 12 7/5
FED 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 11 4/7
KZINT 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 2 10 4/6
HYDRAN 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 1 10 0/10
WYN-GBS 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 7/0
ISC 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 1 7 2/5
WYN-AUX 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 7 0/7
ORION 0 0 2 1 0 0 2 0 5 3/2
ROM-FH 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 4 4/0
GORN 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 0/3
LDR 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 0/3
ROM-KR 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 1/0
LYRAN 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ---
THOL-NEO 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ---
SELTORIAN 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ---
ROM-KE 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ---

* The points are distributed as follows -- 1st = 4
2nd = 3
[note 3rd and 4th are both technically 3rd] 3rd = 1
4th = 1

[TOTALS HERE ARE FROM 1984-1999]
FLEET CAPTAINS PATROL
RACE (*=New)1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH
PTS* DIV
KZINTI 3 2 1 3 1 1 0 3 32 22/10
KLINGON 2 3 1 1 2 0 0 3 30 19/11
FED 2 1 3 2 2 1 2 0 29 16/13
WYN-AUX 0 2 1 2 3 2 1 0 28 9/19
GORN 1 1 1 1 1 4 2 1 28 9/19
ROM-FH 3 1 1 1 0 2 0 2 25 17/8
ORION 1 2 3 2 2 0 1 1 25 15/10
HYDRAN 0 2 1 0 2 1 4 1 23 7/16
ANDRO 2 0 0 3 0 1 2 1 17 11/6
THOL-ATC * 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 12 7/5
ISC 0 0 4 0 1 1 1 0 12 4/8
WYN-GBS * 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 7/0
LDR * 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 0/3
THOL-NEO 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 0/3
LYRAN 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 0/2
ROM-KR * 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 1/0
SELTORIAN * 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ---
ROM-KE * 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ---

* - TC Added after 1990

The points are distributed as follows -- 1st = 4
2nd = 3
[note 3rd and 4th are both technically 3rd] 3rd = 1
4th = 1

[NOTE: In 1983, the Romulan FH won the Hat, but no other info is available,
so that win is not included in these figures. However, this does make the
RFH the only 4-time TC in the Captain's Tourney.]

Note on formatting of previous article

Unfortunately the column formatting for the tables in the previous rescued article I just posted didn't reproduce well on this forum. The spaces need to be expanded to tabs.