Sandy Hemenway on "SFB Tourney Cruiser Personality Profiles"

This topic contains a series of articles on tournament tactics 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.

In this series of articles classifies tournament ships by a description of the the offensive and defensive tactical approach that may be best suited to that ship. Then, he classifies players but a description of their prefered approach to the game. He then analyzes of how the various clasesses of players may match up with the various classes of ships, both in theory and in practice. Lastly, he makes an analysis of TC complexity, which in some ways is a stand alone concept, but was originally grouped with this series of articles. The sixth article, "What traits does a good Captain need (and rank! them)" may not have been finished, and I have not found a copy of it yet. Perhaps it was a rhetorical question to the reader.

While perhaps the terminology "Personality Profile" evokes a certain whimisical tone, I think the observations are bascially sound, and a rather unique perspective that is definitely the reader's consideration.

Contents from Sandy's Original Site:

1. TC Personalities (as opposed to Captain personalities)
2. Captain Personalities (as opposed to ship personalities)
3. Melding of personalities: Theory (which Captains fare best or worst in each ship)
4. Melding of personalities: Reality (which Captains fare best or worst in each ship)
5. TC Complexity (clues as to how hard it is to master a TC?)
6. What traits does a good Captain need (and rank them!) {this section appears to have never been completed}

"1. SFB Tourney Cruiser Personality Profile" By Sandy Hemenway

SFB TOURNEY CRUISER PERSONALITY PROFILE

By

Sandy S. Hemenway

February, 4, 1999 {rescued 5/9/2013}

A favorite topic of conversation among SFB enthusiasts is "Which TC is the best?" This debate will likely rage forever, since some players will not only laud a certain ship, but will do quite well with it, while others loathe the same ship and lose constantly, even while remaining competent in other TCs. This leads to the question, "Why?" Why can some players, often skilled veteran Aces, perform so well in certain TCs, while remaining unable to master other ships, even if those ships are viewed as balanced?

It is my contention that a key factor often overlooked when examining Tourney Cruisers is the personality of its Captain. I believe that each TC has a personality of its own, and if placed in the wrong hands, a personality clash can result, thereby minimizing performance of both the ship and its Captain. So, in order to best pair up the TC personality with its Captain’s personality, we must examine the ships to see what traits will tend to play to strengths and/or guard against weaknesses.

It must be remembered that there are few absolutes, as it is quite possible to go against standard doctrine and still be victorious. However, this essay hopes to explore the general tendencies of the ships and their Captains, perhaps hoping to help those newer players in choosing a ship they are suited for, or perhaps even helping a more experienced player understand why he has been unable to master a ship. The conclusions may be highly subjective, but even then, if they open a new avenue of exploration for an experienced player, or aid a newbie in selecting a TC he is more suited to, then I believe the effort will not be wasted.

BASIC PERSONALITIES

First, we must classify the personality of each TC. This is primarily a subjective assessment, though I will include my reasoning. The reader may, of course, draw his own conclusions. In attempting to do so, however, we must first create some likely categories. Here are four potential candidates with brief, generalized descriptions for what each personality entails:

Attacker – Basic ship design encourages aggressive approach to combat. These ships will generally dictate the flow of battle and/or will need to press the action rather than wait.
Evader – Basic ship design encourages a more defensive or ranged posture. These ships will generally do better in longer contests.
Reactor – Basic ship design is versatile, offering reasonable potential success with either an aggressive or defensive posture and/or the ability to change between approaches quite easily. These ships may often allow the opponent to initiate the combat flow and counter-punch or change up strategies to throw off the enemy.
Robot – Basic ship design leaves extremely limited room for tactical surprise. These ships generally have few (or one) simple, basic approach(es), which if employed optimally will result in success the majority of the time.
When beginning this analysis, it immediately became apparent that many TCs do not fall obviously into a single category. Therefore, I will provide what I see as the top two personalities for each TC. Of course, this is only one man’s opinion, and I encourage all readers to discuss the author’s conclusions in hopes of reaching some form of concensus.

TOURNEY CRUISER PERSONALITIES:

FED TCC – Attacker/Robot. The Fed’s crunch power is feared by almost everyone. As such, the Fed tends to dictate the flow of battle. The Fed’s few weapon hits (14) make it a risky counter-puncher, and being pure direct-fire, it is lacking in alternative attack methodologies.

KLINGON D7TC – Evader/Reactor. The long-ranged disruptors, UIM, limited phaser power and fragile hull design all encourage the Klingon to wear down an opponent, while the drones tie up critical enemy resources. While lacking the Fed’s crunch power, the Klingon is an admirable knife fighter with every weapon being single turn arming, so he is highly capable of taking quick advantage of an enemy gaffe, especially if he has succeeded in creating weak shields.

ROM TFH – Reactor/Attacker. Plasma ships are difficult to categorize, as in general, they will be launching before the enemy is firing. The fire-first nature of plasma makes it seem that they would naturally fall into Attacker class. In truth, almost all the plasma ships are reactionary, since much is dependent on what option the enemy takes in avoiding plasma, (speed, phasers, weasels). For the TFH, the FP heavy torps and solid hull configuration lend themselves to bolting and/or anchoring, which encourages slightly more aggressive play than its Romulan counterparts.

ROM TKR – Reactor/Evader. As a plasma ship, the Captain will need to be prepared for the various plasma defense strategies of his opponents. The split heavy torp arcs, extra point of power and superior turn mode all lend themselves more toward a ranged attack, possibly with envelopers. The thin forward hull also makes the power systems more vulnerable, so the TKR is less suited for anchoring than the TFH.

ROM TKE – Evader/Robot. Regarded as one of the weakest TCs, few play the ship, so there is little practical experience to base opinions. However, the general theory behind this ship is one of lobbing plasma from range, and using the cloak much more than the other Roms. The weak phaser suite and low number of heavy weapon hits severely compromise the ship in anchor situations, despite the plus of armor. Since two thirds of the time the entire heavy torp suite will be off-line, the TKE does not lend itself well to reactionary practices.

KZINTI TCC – Reactor/Attacker. The impressive drone power of the Kzinti is feared by most TCs, and as such, it is hard not to reverse the personality order. However, typically the Kzinti must wait for the opponent to reveal how it intends to deal with his drones before fully committing to a course of action. Kzinti drone play is often determined by which TC is across the board, as the 10-drone stack vanishes against cloakers and Andros. The Kzinti is probably the disruptor ship most likely to forego disruptors, waiting to see its opponent’s plan before commiting. The incredible durability of the ship makes it a fearsome opponent, once it is in close, allowing it to act very aggressively and take a serious slap in order to win.

GORN TCC – Reactor/Evader. As a plasma ship, the Gorn tends to react. But, unlike its Romulan cousins, the Gorn has no cloak for playing hide and seek. Instead, the Gorn gets a massively solid hull arrangement and the most p1s in the tourney. The limited p1 arcs, though, limit the lizards’ offense to a degree. The split heavy arcs make anchoring for the 100-plasma shot difficult, so in the end, the Gorn is a bit better at the ballet than the overrun. One aspect of the Gorn is that in some situations, it can fly as well backwards as forward. (Perhaps I should add Bipolar to my personality list). I must admit that my initial thought was Reactor/Attacker, but perhaps the Gorn is actually Reactor/Reactor.

THOLIAN ATC – Evader/Reactor. The web must define the Tholian TCs, and as such in most cases, is employed defensively. Though the Tholian design is defense-first minded, its Captain must often be prepared for various responses to web casting, (diving in, HETing, spreading seekers).

THOLIAN NTC – Evader/Reactor. In truth, there is little to separate these ships personality-wise. In general, the ATC does what the NTC does, but just a little bit better.

ORION TBR – Attacker/Robot. The time clock on the TBR, due to engine doubling, along with the movement superiority to every other TC mandate that the TBR take control of the game. This ship should always be picking the range at which combat takes place. The robot classification may seem odd, but once the option mounts are picked, (whatever they are), the TBR should have an optimal strategy, which it should definitely have the power and movement edge to employ. Typically, the Orions I have seen who get in trouble are those who over think the ship.

HYDRAN TLM – Reactor/Attacker. The long ranged ability of the Hellbore versus the short ranged wallop of the fusions definitely push the TLM toward Bipolarism. Its ability to get in close where the fusions can wreak havoc is more often than not controlled by the enemy, since the Mizia-vulnerable weapons suite causes pause when one knows he must fly through the enemies killing zone to reach the TLM’s. Like the Gorn, choosing the 2nd personality is rough, as if shields are down on the enemy, and Hellbores still exist, evasion is a solid choice, though fusion overruns can end games quickly. This may, in fact, be another Reactor/Reactor class ship.

ANDRO KRAIT – Robot/Evader. The Krait has the fewest weapons, and fewest tactical choices of all TCs. The SC Andros have made a living from playing a very well designed strategy with little room for finesse and little need for variation. Many already refer to the Krait as a robot TC. Its fragility, lack of crunch power and ability to clear panel damage all combine to classify it as an Evader.

LYRAN TCC – Reactor/Robot. Perhaps the hardest of all TCs to classify, the Lyran is defined by its ESGs. The ESGs, though, are defined by what race it is facing. Against HBs and/or drones, the ESGs become a 7th shield. Against direct-fire and plasma, they become an offensive threat. The personality of the Lyran, is essentially, determined by the ship it is facing. Then it becomes something of a robot, as changing up strategies versus an opponent is nearly impossible.

LDR TCWL – Attacker/Evader. The LDR shares the same Schizoid personality of its larger cousin. But, the LDR actually has greater crunch power in close than the Lyran and being a CW hull, some advantages in getting close. But, because of its smaller hull and lack of phaser padding, the LDR needs even more than the Lyran to avoid getting crunched by the crunch boys. The LDR Captain must be a chameleon, as in half his games, he will be spending every effort to get close, and in the other half, he will be desperately trying to avoid doing so.

WYN AUX – Attacker/Robot. The Aux Box, regardless of mount choices, is defined by its movement limitations. As such, the ship simply cannot afford to react to its opponent, lest the opponent get behind the ship and pound it into mulch. The Aux Box must take control of the game and force the action, and the incredible power curve and internal fortitude of the ship combine to make that very plausible. The option mounts, though, typically result in very clear and obvious tactics, (most of which lean toward close and hose methodologies).

WYN SHARK – Attacker/Reactor. While the option choices will change this ship’s flavor, it typically still needs to control the action, and whether it’s got 4 drones or 8 p1s, it probably will. The p3 design takes away many defensive concerns, allowing concentration on offense. The durable hull design is also a plus in this regard. The disruptors though, offer the option of long-ranged sniping, while the drones offer possibilities for overruns.

ISC TCC – Evader/Robot. The PPD, wrap-around torp and phaser arcs and inability to consolidate damage make the ISC the ultimate Evasion ship. No other TC gets as big a ‘time is on your side’ bonus as the ISC TCC. While not impossible to surprise an opponent with a successful overrun, this is almost always an opportunity shot, and not something the ISC is designed to do.

SELTORIAN TCA – Evader/Robot. The lack of crunch power and multiple-shot (low probability) PCs encourage a longer game. With no seeking weapons and a D turn mode, the Selt simply doesn’t have many tactical choices, (like the Fed and Andro), and must simply rely on an ability to pump out more direct fire damage than its opponent.

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So, now that we've categorized the 18 TCs currently around, what are our results?

TOURNEY SHIP PRIMARY PERSONALITY SECONDARY

FED ATTACKER ROBOT
ORION ATTACKER ROBOT
WYN-AUX ATTACKER ROBOT
LDR ATTACKER EVADER
WYN-SHARK ATTACKER REACTOR

ROM TFH REACTOR ATTACKER
KZINTI REACTOR ATTACKER
HYDRAN REACTOR ATTACKER
ROM TKR REACTOR EVADER
GORN REACTOR EVADER
LYRAN REACTOR ROBOT

KLINGON EVADER REACTOR
THOL-ATC EVADER REACTOR
THOL-NTC EVADER REACTOR
ROM TKE EVADER ROBOT
ISC EVADER ROBOT
SELTORIAN EVADER ROBOT

ANDRO ROBOT EVADER

"2. SFB Captain Personality Profile" By Dederer/Hemenway

SFB CAPTAIN PERSONALITY PROFILE

By

Andrew Dederer with some help from Sandy

February, 18, 1999 {rescued 5/8/2013}

SFB CAPTAIN PERSONALITY PROFILE PROPOSAL
Having built a basic structure for examining the TC 'personality' types, it is now time to begin classifying ship Captain personalities. To do so, Andrew Dederer put together a list of six traits to assign. The traits consist of three pairs, addressing different underlying tendencies or views. They are grouped such that each trait is something akin to the antithesis of the trait paired with it.

The authors know, and hope the reader understands, that these are by no means perfect opposites. The definitions are meant only to classify tendencies, and are not designed to (nor could they) completely sum up the infinite complexities of the sentient minds and personalities of all SFB Captains.

We do not know if the exercise will result in any astounding new revelations regarding SFB play. However, we do hope the journey may at the very least open some new doors for further exploration into what makes a good SFB Captain. If such knowledge can be found, it could be invaluable in helping newer players accellerate their SFB growth. It potentially may aid current players who feel they have plateaued discover new routes of improvement. It may even explain to Ace players in certain ships why they have trouble in other TCs.

We look forward to comments, criticisms, and additional input.

CAPTAIN PERSONALITY TRAITS:

AGGRESSIVE/DEFENSIVE

Aggressive/defensive splits tend to occur over general style of play (and thus ship selection), and also on how they plan to win.

Aggressive players seek to take advantage of of errors by their opponent to win quickly. More to the point, they attempt to forrce these errors by aggressive and/or unusual play. Aggressive players believe that "a good offense makes the best defense", they usually depend on controlling the initiaive to protect them from their opponents' own tricks. They may use attrition strategies, but generaly only as a change of pace (a pull up jumper to go with the usual drive to the hoop).

Aggressive players favor firepower and knife-fighting power above all else, the idea being to win imediately on even a small mistake. Favorite ships include the kings of crunch (Fed and Hydran), from the drone group, the Kzinti is a favorite (though the Klingon CAN work), while in plasma land the Firehawk and Gorn lead the pack. A ship that seems to fit this personallity but really doesn't is the Orion (It lacks single-turn firepower and has no business getting close).

Defensive players are less concerned about their opponent's mistakes than in making sure they do not make any. Defensive players are content to do average damage at a favorable range and wear away the target over serveral turns. Hopefully this slow grind to victory will prompt the target to make a rash (and fatal) mistake. Defensive players win on adjudication far more often than anyone else (though usually not as the result of stalling). When chosing a ship defensive players favor long range fire and evasion abilities. Favorites include Roms (especially the KR), the ISC, Andro and both Tholians.

CALCULATOR/INTUITIVE

Calculator/Intuitive splits most often show in energy allocation and between turn planning.

Calculators base most of their planning (and they tend to plan a lot) on what is possible. They quickly reconstruct the enemy's EA form (even before they write their own) to see what CAN be done. They then attempt to do something that can't be stopped. They tend to make tactical choices in EA, and are more prone to commit to a plan early.

Intuitive players concentrate on figuring out their opponent, rather than their EA form (though some do this as well, at least mid-turn). They aim to do two things: read the enemy's mind, and mess with it. They will go for suicide anchors on occasion (when they opponent least expects it), launch shuttles at odd times, feint with ESGs, and generally try to get their opponent to think too much. Their EA forms tend to be flexible, (at least in the early stages), unless they feel they have a good idea of what their opposition has in store for them. They will also change up their tactics at the drop of a hat if for no other reason than to insure the enemy cannot read their mind.

GAMBLER/MINIMIZER

The gambler/minimizer split covers two aspects of play. Firing weapons and taking damage. Usually a player's personalities will be in agreement on both counts, but not always.

A gambler is someone who knows the odds and is willing to take fairly "iffy" chances. Gamblers will base plans on firing from range 6-8, HET without a second thought (and use the second nearly as quickly), and ignore the odd few internals. Most gamblers will weigh risk versus expected benifit and take longer risks for greater gains. Gamblers love the Fed, and like powerful ships with accuracy and/or Mizia problems (Orion, LDR, Hydran).

Minimizers HATE rolling dice. They dislike randomness beyond their control, and work to eliminate chance as much as possible. Minimizers like to shoot from close range (4 in), LOVE seeking weapons "seeking weapons don't roll dice", fire 2 P3s at all drones, (or preferably, move to allow phasers to be be fired over two impulses at range one), and avoid HETing as much as possible. Minimizers love "padding" systems and will always try to have some. Minimizers almost never fly the Fed (most of them even hate flying against the Fed), and NEVER fly Seltorians.

Favorites include the Plasma boats (they almost never bolt), Kzintis (drones making up for the chancy disruptors), and the Andro (though they REALLY hate the DD).

Assigning each trait a letter we get three pairs and eight personalities. (We will assume order is not a factor in combining these traits).

ACM - Phoenix Aggressive, Calculating and cautious. Expects to take damage, but intends on outlasting the enemy by superior planning. Will trade damage for superior positioning (think - sacrificing one's Queen in chess).

ACG - Kamikaze Aggressive, Calculating, and a Gambler. Wants a quick game, but will work to get his one shot and to keep his ship intact long enough to do so.

AIG - The Kirk Aggressive, Intuitive and a galaxy class gambler. Will change up tactics in a heartbeat - always keeping the enemy off-balance, forcing the enemy to react to him and is loathe to let the enemy *lead* the dance.

AIM - The Hound Aggressive, Intuitive, but cautious. Relentless might best describe this Captain. He will pound and pound and pound away, but is very reluctant to overextend himself or take big risks.

DCG - The Fox Defensive, Calculating and a gambler. The antithesis of The Hound, the Fox uses cunning and guile to encourage his foe to overextend himself, then jumps at the first opportunity he sees to rip out the Hound's throat.

DCM - The Vulcan Defensive, Calculating and cautious. The Kirk's counterpart is perfectly happy to spend 20 turns beating you into mush and knows that he'll average 1.378 more boxes per turn destroyed than you will.

DIG - The Puppeteer Defensive, Intuitive and a gambler. Next to impossible to figure this guy out, since his plan is to survive until you make a mistake. THEN, he'll kill you. (or die trying).

DIM - The Caveman Defensive, Intuitive and cautious. Attempts to lull the enemy into a false sense of security by playing the good Vulcan until it feels like the right time to change things up and catch you off guard.

Note: I tried to pair the anti-types to be memorable.

Fox/Hound
Kirk/Vulcan
Phoenix/Puppeteer
Kamikaze/Caveman

"3. Melding of Personalities: Theory" By Sandy Hemenway

SFB TC/CAPTAIN PERSONALITY MATCHING GUIDE: THEORY

By

Sandy S. Hemenway

March 25, 1999 {rescued 5/8/2013}

The purpose of the SFB Personality research is to attempt to gain a better understanding of what makes each TC 'tick', which Captains are best suited for which TC, and what personality 'flaws' a Captain may need to address in himself in order to excell in TCs that are not necessarily ideally paired with his inate personality.

To that end, we have created some basic TC personalities and some basic Captain personalities. Though neither task was simple, both are child's play compared to locating ideal matches between the two lists. Determining optimal TC/Captain mates is much like finding a perfect spouse. It is not always possible to easily define what makes an ideal pairing, but if nothing else, the search should be fun.

We could begin by trying to define some parameters of what makes a good couple (TC/Captain). Does one get better results enhancing strengths or covering weaknesses? Or we can simply examine some basic questions in regards to achieving a better quality of play. Can a TC help a Captain improve his game? We could also (perhaps) create a personality test for SFBers, so they can more readily identify what their basic personality is. But, there are so many questions to ask, like "What's the best method for choosing a TC?" or "Under what circumstances should a player admit that he has chosen the wrong mate and divorce himself from a TC?" In the end, we can only attempt to open the door to a vast realm of unexplored questions, which we hope others shall venture to address in the future.

It is a sad truth that many players simply select a ship which 'looks' good to them.
"Man, that Hydran TLM really puts out damage!"
"Hey, look at the engines on that TBR!"
"Wow! The Klingon delivers every turn!"

And just like real life dating, most matches which don't work out are due to simple personality clashes. Perhaps the data provided can help some lucky souls find the TC of their dreams.

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WHERE TO BEGIN?

We have defined our basic types already, so let us take a look at them.

BASIC TOURNEY CRUISER PERSONALITIES

TOURNEY SHIP PRIMARY PERSONALITY SECONDARY

FED ATTACKER ROBOT
ORION ATTACKER ROBOT
WYN-AUX ATTACKER ROBOT
LDR ATTACKER EVADER
WYN-SHARK ATTACKER REACTOR

ROM TFH REACTOR ATTACKER
KZINTI REACTOR ATTACKER
HYDRAN REACTOR ATTACKER
ROM TKR REACTOR EVADER
GORN REACTOR EVADER
LYRAN REACTOR ROBOT

KLINGON EVADER REACTOR
THOL-ATC EVADER REACTOR
THOL-NTC EVADER REACTOR
ROM TKE EVADER ROBOT
ISC EVADER ROBOT
SELTORIAN EVADER ROBOT

ANDRO ROBOT EVADER

SFB CAPTAIN PERSONALITY PROFILES

DCG - The Fox
AIM - The Hound
DCM - The Vulcan
AIG - The Kirk
DIG - The Puppeteer
ACM - Phoenix
DIM - The Caveman
ACG - Kamikaze

If one makes the assumption that aggresive Captains need to be in Attacking ships, and Evaders want defensive ships, (which may or may not be true), at least you have a place to start. So, what do you get? Let's start with the ATTACKER group:

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PROPOSED
TOURNEY SHIP PRIMARY PERSONALITY SECONDARY CAPTAIN

FED ATTACKER ROBOT Kirk
ORION ATTACKER ROBOT Hound
WYN-AUX ATTACKER ROBOT Kamikaze
LDR ATTACKER EVADER Kirk / Vulcan
WYN-SHARK ATTACKER REACTOR Phoenix

ROM TFH REACTOR ATTACKER Hound
KZINTI REACTOR ATTACKER Phoenix
HYDRAN REACTOR ATTACKER Kamikaze

AIM - The Hound
AIG - The Kirk
ACM - Phoenix
ACG - Kamikaze

THE ATTACKERS

The FED is at heart an Aggresive Gambler, with the crunch power of the photon forcing the action. Kamikaze is another likely choice, though in general I would say the Fed needs to be more intuitive than calculating, as the lack of a tertiary system simplifies the Fed's mid-turn choices greatly. Besides, it just makes sense that the FED TCC would need a Kirk at the helm.

The Orion TBR must be a Hound, for in most configurations it lacks the one-turn punch to win. Yet, it must press the attack to prevent death by Cocaine effect. In a bizarre twist, the TBR too seems to be more Intuitive than Calculating. Yes, its doubling allows it many options, but in truth, it can (for awhile at least) elect to have enough power to cover all options, rather than needing to choose a specific tactic during EA. Of course, an Orion can take mounts to fudge the ship's personality a bit, but the low number of internals makes playing the Kamikaze or the Phoenix very tricky.

The WYN Aux-Box is probably more dependent on mount choices in determining optimal mating than the Orion. The forgiving ship design makes Phoenix seem like an obvious choice. However, Captains climbing into the Battle Pig are immediately gambling that they won't need to HET. The movement problems also indicate a Calculating Captain may be better suited, as the WAX Captain needs to think ahead in order to make those speed 20 drones work well with his speed 27 ship.

The LDR, as noted previously, is a bi-polar ship, requiring one defensive personality and one offensive personality. The Kirk seems to be the best offensive fit for the ship, as anyone taking this TCWL is gambling on winning despite absolutely no weapons padding whatsoever. ESG use also screams for an Intuitive Captain. The Hound may also be viable as Captain. But, one must remember that personality in the Lyran ships is predicated on which TC happens to be across the board. In matches where defense is the priority, the Vulcan may be appropriate. But, all in all, this is one of the hardest of all TCs to classify.

The WYN-Shark is perhaps the most forgiving TC out there, (with a respectful nod to the Kzin). Phoenix thus is a near no-brainer for this ship. While the aggressive/minimizing nature is fairly self-evident, as with most disruptor ships, EA is critical, and is where many choices must be made. But, the Hound can probably do reasonably well flying the Shark, too.

The Romulan Firehawk seems best suited for the Hound. The cloak indicates a somewhat cautious Captain, though the FH plasma indicates an aggresive posture. Plasma, in general, seems more compatible with an Intuitive player, so the Kirk may work well in this ship, also.

The Kzinti TCC is perhaps the ultimate ship for a Phoenix Captain. Most of this ship's major choices come in EA, deciding what (if any) disruptors to arm, and how to get in close without being decisively damaged. The Kamikaze can probably fly the ship quite well, also.

The Hydran TLM is much like the Kzin in its desire to get in close to win. But the ship's fragile nature requires a gambler at the helm, (so Kamikaze seems the best fit), as the Captain here is betting that he can get enough use out of the Stingers (either offensively or defensively) to make up for the TLM's vulnerability to weapons hits. The ship also requires careful thought in EA, as choices between overrun or sabre-dance must be made before the turn starts. Still, a Kirk can probably fare decently flying the TLM.

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THE EVADERS

PROPOSED
TOURNEY SHIP PRIMARY PERSONALITY SECONDARY CAPTAIN

ROM TKR REACTOR EVADER Puppeteer
GORN REACTOR EVADER Caveman
LYRAN REACTOR ROBOT Caveman / Kamikaze

KLINGON EVADER REACTOR Puppeteer
THOL-ATC EVADER REACTOR Caveman
THOL-NTC EVADER REACTOR Puppeteer
ROM TKE EVADER ROBOT Fox
ISC EVADER ROBOT Vulcan
SELTORIAN EVADER ROBOT Fox

ANDRO ROBOT EVADER Vulcan

DCG - The Fox
DCM - The Vulcan
DIG - The Puppeteer
DIM - The Caveman

The Romulan TKR requires an intuitive Captain, (as most plasma ships), but the fragile Klingon design shows the heart of a gambler. The ship is great for ballet, with lots of defensive weaponry on the rear and wide plasma arcs, but begs for a Captain who can recognize a mistake and take advantage swiftly, so Puppeteer appears to be the best candidate. However, plasma to some degree is a minimizer's toy, so any "IM" personality (Caveman or Hound) may also be viable.

The Gorn TCC is a tough call. The wrap-around phasers, solid hull design and wide plasma arcs seem well suited to a Minimizer. With plasma typically needing Intuitive Captains, the Caveman is the obvious choice. However, the author admits to a desire to marry the ship with a Vulcan captain, or for the aggresive counter-part, the Phoenix. The Phoenix personality seems ideal for those Gorn Anchor enthusiasts.

The Lyran, like the LDR, is an enigma. Against droners, the Caveman seems appropriate, while against non-droners, the Kamikaze may be called for. Suffice it to say, the Lyrans are best suited for Chameleons.

The Klingon D7TC requires a bit of a gambler, as the power systems are fragile, the SP is tricky to use effectively, (but must be used in order to win), and the lack of single-turn crunch means you know you're going to have to survive awhile to attain victory. The B-turn mode is a plus in the hands of an Intuitive Captain, though a Fox may also fare well flying this ship.

The Archeo-Tholian is similar to the Klingon in many ways, but has much less the gambler's feel. The WC can be used offensively or defensively at whim, while the overall hull design is rife with redundant systems, making the ship a Minimizer's dream. Caveman thus becomes the prefered mate for the ATC.

The Neo-Tholian is essentially the gambler's version of the ATC, accepting a little less defensive reduncancy and shields for a few more internals. The Puppeteer seems to be the NTC's ideal mate.

The Romulan TKE, generally reviled among the TCs, is based on a number of gimmicks. Armor, t-bomb, cheap cloaking, all are primarily defensive, while the R-torp puts so much offense in a single area, that the 'D' and 'G' seem almost undisputable. While plasma generally requires an Intuitive Captain, the need to plan three turns ahead for this ship, knowing when to cloak or not, appears to make Calculation more important. So, the Fox gets my nod for best mate for the King Eagle.

The ISC TCC in most ways is a minimizer's dream. The always reliable PPD, the uniquely survivable phaser suite, and overall balanced ISC design all mask the minor downside of having only five heavies, hit on Torp AND Drone. But, the real question that troubles me is whether the ship needs a Calculator or an Intuitive captain. Having flown the ship myself, (and admitting potential bias), the ship requires a master of power management, as after the first pass, (when capacitors are all full and weapons are armed), this ship MUST make choices during EA. The D-turn mode is just another indication that the Intuitive personality may not be optimally paired here. Therefore, it seems that the Vulcan is the . . . logical choice for the ISC.

Assessing the Seltorian is extremely difficult, having little hard data and practical experience to draw on. However, the lack of crunch invites the Evader, the D-turn mode and lack of seeking weapons indicate that Calculation is more important than Intuition, and the dicey PCs point toward a Gambler. The Fox seems the best fit here, though much more real world data is needed before any remotely reliable conclusions can be drawn.

The Andro Krait, defined by those who have mastered it as a nearly Robotic ship, seem an obvious pairing for Vulcan Captains. However, the iffyness of the DizzyDev seems to attract many gamblers to this ship, making the Fox a nearly equally likely mate. In the end, I selected Vulcan over Fox based on the generally higher level of success by those Andro Captains who actively try to avoid "die-on-a-six" situations as much as possible.

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You may have noticed that in some analyses above, some decisions are based on more on actual play versus general feeling than others. I am hoping for more real data on performance and personality to come in from you, the reader, in order to support or refute the contentions noted above.

"4. Melding of Personalities: Reality" By Sandy Hemenway

SFB TC/CAPTAIN PERSONALITY MATCHING GUIDE: REALITY

By

Sandy S. Hemenway

May 21, 1999

The purpose of the SFB Personality research is to attempt to gain a better understanding of what makes each TC 'tick', which Captains are best suited for which TC, and what personality 'flaws' a Captain may need to address in himself in order to excell in TCs that are not necessarily ideally paired with his inate personality.

In our previous chapter, we advanced our theory by predicting which TCs and which Captains would most likely fit. Since that time, we here at the SFB Institute for Matching Personalities (SIMP) have gone to great lengths to gather real-world data regarding this topic. After an extensive net search we have compiled data from seventeen (17) Captains, who took the time to do a self-analysis, (based on our Captain profiles), and then provided which ships they actually do or don't excell in.

We would like to thank these subjects for their time and effort in helping us with this research. We would also like to remind them (and the reader) that any changes in behaviour, performance, health and general welfare that one may experience after examining this research is in no way the responsibility of SIMP, and we hold no liability in regards to current, future or past tournament performance.

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WHERE TO BEGIN?

To aid the reader, we will restate the basic TC and Captain types, and then compare our predictions with the results from examining real world data. Original theories are in black, while new conclusions are displayed in blue.

BASIC TOURNEY CRUISER PERSONALITIES

TOURNEY SHIP PRIMARY PERSONALITY SECONDARY

FED ATTACKER ROBOT
ORION ATTACKER ROBOT
WYN-AUX ATTACKER ROBOT
LDR ATTACKER EVADER
WYN-SHARK ATTACKER REACTOR

ROM TFH REACTOR ATTACKER
KZINTI REACTOR ATTACKER
HYDRAN REACTOR ATTACKER
ROM TKR REACTOR EVADER
GORN REACTOR EVADER
LYRAN REACTOR ROBOT

KLINGON EVADER REACTOR
THOL-ATC EVADER REACTOR
THOL-NTC EVADER REACTOR
ROM TKE EVADER ROBOT
ISC EVADER ROBOT
SELTORIAN EVADER ROBOT

ANDRO ROBOT EVADER

SFB CAPTAIN PERSONALITY PROFILES

DCG - The Fox
AIM - The Hound
DCM - The Vulcan
AIG - The Kirk
DIG - The Puppeteer
ACM - Phoenix
DIM - The Caveman
ACG - Kamikaze

If one makes the assumption that aggresive Captains need to be in Attacking ships, and Evaders want defensive ships, (which may or may not be true), at least you have a place to start. So, what do you get? Let's start with the ATTACKER group:

One item discovered based on real data is that in many cases the Aggressive/Defensive trait of Captain and ship are optimal when paired in complementary rather than cohesive pairs. It seems that in some cases a 'defensively' oriented ship needs an aggressive Captain at the helm, while a ship which seems to scream aggression, in fact, performs at a higher level with a defense-first minded Captain.

To allow the reader to draw some of his own conclusions, it is necessary to briefly discuss the methodology used. With such a small sample to draw from, it was necessary to link traits (good or bad) on an individual basis with each TC mentioned. The results were then totaled, which gave a positive or negative score for each trait. The higher of the trait pair was then deemed 'optimal' for a given ship. For example:

The Fed was mentioned by ten of the respondents. Three ranked themselves as good in the ship - seven as bad. The good players were AIG, AIM, and DIG. The poor Feds were ACM, ACM, AIM, AIM, AIG, DCM, DIM. 'Good' player values were listed as positive, 'poor' players as negatives, and then the results were totaled for each individual trait. The final tally looked like this:

FED A C M D I G
-3 -3 -5 -1 -1 1

Since there were more negative responsdents, the cumulative totals were obviously low. However, when comparing the trait pairs, A/D was -3 vs. -1. This shows a clear bias against aggresive players. C/I was -3 vs. -1, which shows the same level of Intuitive bias, and M/G was -5 vs. 1, showing a very substantial bias toward the Gambler mentality. We will include the totals for each ship as we expand the analysis below.

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PROPOSED
TOURNEY SHIP PRIMARY PERSONALITY SECONDARY CAPTAIN

FED ATTACKER ROBOT Kirk
ORION ATTACKER ROBOT Hound
WYN-AUX ATTACKER ROBOT Kamikaze
LDR ATTACKER EVADER Kirk / Vulcan
WYN-SHARK ATTACKER REACTOR Phoenix

ROM TFH REACTOR ATTACKER Hound
KZINTI REACTOR ATTACKER Phoenix
HYDRAN REACTOR ATTACKER Kamikaze

AIM - The Hound
AIG - The Kirk
ACM - Phoenix
ACG - Kamikaze

THE ATTACKERS

The FED is at heart an Aggresive Gambler, with the crunch power of the photon forcing the action. Kamikaze is another likely choice, though in general I would say the Fed needs to be more intuitive than calculating, as the lack of a tertiary system simplifies the Fed's mid-turn choices greatly. Besides, it just makes sense that the FED TCC would need a Kirk at the helm.

Well, two out of three ain't bad. From actual data, it appears the DIG personality (Puppeteer) performs best in the Fed.

FED A C M D I G PUPPETEER
-3 -3 -5 -1 -1 1 DIG

Minimizers almost universally stay away from the Fed. However, there was one aggressive minimizer who was a good Fed player, indicating that a balance can be achieved with the ship. Our conclusion regarding why a defensive Captain is best suited for the Fed is probably a combination of needing to be patient to get a 'good' first shot, plus the need for solid defensive skills in order to survive for a second shot, (always problematic in the power hungry Fed).

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The Orion TBR must be a Hound, for in most configurations it lacks the one-turn punch to win. Yet, it must press the attack to prevent death by Cocaine effect. In a bizarre twist, the TBR too seems to be more Intuitive than Calculating. Yes, its doubling allows it many options, but in truth, it can (for awhile at least) elect to have enough power to cover all options, rather than needing to choose a specific tactic during EA. Of course, an Orion can take mounts to fudge the ship's personality a bit, but the low number of internals makes playing the Kamikaze or the Phoenix very tricky.

Bingo! Hound gets a minor nod for the Orion. In truth, it's a dead heat between ACM/AIM, making the TBR a Hound/Phoenix. But, from the numbers below it is obvious that there was not a strong bias toward any one trait - and the overall Orion response was extremely small.

ORI A C M D I G HOUND/PHOENIX
1 0 0 -1 0 -1 AIM / ACM

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The WYN Aux-Box is probably more dependent on mount choices in determining optimal mating than the Orion. The forgiving ship design makes Phoenix seem like an obvious choice. However, Captains climbing into the Battle Pig are immediately gambling that they won't need to HET. The movement problems also indicate a Calculating Captain may be better suited, as the WAX Captain needs to think ahead in order to make those speed 20 drones work well with his speed 27 ship.

Only one respondent listed the WAX as a 'good' ship for themselves (a DIG "Puppeteer"). So, the bulk of the analysis is based on anti-WAX players. However, D and G traits are heavily weighted, which does seem to indicate the Fox and Puppeteer personalities are the most likely to be successful in the WAX.

WAX A C M D I G FOX
-6 -2 -6 1 -3 0 DCG

The LDR, as noted previously, is a bi-polar ship, requiring one defensive personality and one offensive personality. The Kirk seems to be the best offensive fit for the ship, as anyone taking this TCWL is gambling on winning despite absolutely no weapons padding whatsoever. ESG use also screams for an Intuitive Captain. The Hound may also be viable as Captain. But, one must remember that personality in the Lyran ships is predicated on which TC happens to be across the board. In matches where defense is the priority, the Vulcan may be appropriate. But, all in all, this is one of the hardest of all TCs to classify.

This appears to have been a blown call, (though we did say this was a hard one to classify). Not surprisingly the A/D difference was minimal. The real eye-opener is the lean toward Calculator, (which in most cases has been very close). Perhaps it is more important to know what you plan to do with ESGs at the start of the turn, then in actually picking the impulse they go up. But my own personal bias against this ship makes the resulting CapType seem appropriate - as I can readily agree that anyone choosing the LDR as their TC is something of a Kamikaze.

LDR A C M D I G KAMIKAZE
-1 0 -3 -2 -3 0 ACG

The WYN-Shark is perhaps the most forgiving TC out there, (with a respectful nod to the Kzin). Phoenix thus is a near no-brainer for this ship. While the aggressive/minimizing nature is fairly self-evident, as with most disruptor ships, EA is critical, and is where many choices must be made. But, the Hound can probably do reasonably well flying the Shark, too.

Seems the analysis was pretty solid for this ship, tho the spread for C/I and for M/G are both minimal. But Phoenix and Hound both appear to be excellent matches for the Shark.

WBS A C M D I G HOUND
3 1 2 0 2 1 AIM

The Romulan Firehawk seems best suited for the Hound. The cloak indicates a somewhat cautious Captain, though the FH plasma indicates an aggresive posture. Plasma, in general, seems more compatible with an Intuitive player, so the Kirk may work well in this ship, also.

Okay. So, we're not perfect. All of the Romulan TCs fall into the DCM category, showing patience is more a virture for plasma plyaers than we first thought. However, in defense of our initial assessment, the A/D and C/I traits were minimally weighted. The TFH is obviously the ship for a minimizer, though.

RFH A C M D I G VULCAN
1 2 4 2 1 -1 DCM

The Kzinti TCC is perhaps the ultimate ship for a Phoenix Captain. Most of this ship's major choices come in EA, deciding what (if any) disruptors to arm, and how to get in close without being decisively damaged. The Kamikaze can probably fly the ship quite well, also.

The Phoenix (ACM) was just slightly off from the Hound, as determined from the data. The dominance of intuitive vs. calculating is an interesting finding, though one interesting aspect of the Zinti findings is that NOONE listed themselves as poor in this ship.

ZIN A C M D I G HOUND
6 2 5 1 5 2 AIM

The Hydran TLM is much like the Kzin in its desire to get in close to win. But the ship's fragile nature requires a gambler at the helm, (so Kamikaze seems the best fit), as the Captain here is betting that he can get enough use out of the Stingers (either offensively or defensively) to make up for the TLM's vulnerability to weapons hits. The ship also requires careful thought in EA, as choices between overrun or sabre-dance must be made before the turn starts. Still, a Kirk can probably fare decently flying the TLM.

Rather than Kamikaze (ACG), the TLM appears optimal for the Phoenix. Perhaps the weapons fragility of the ship requires a Captain who works to protect itself from that weakness. It does appear to be a AC_ basic personality, though the M/G weight is minimal, indicating the Kamikaze should also be viable.

HYD A C M D I G PHOENIX
4 2 2 -2 0 1 ACM

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THE EVADERS

PROPOSED
TOURNEY SHIP PRIMARY PERSONALITY SECONDARY CAPTAIN

ROM TKR REACTOR EVADER Puppeteer
GORN REACTOR EVADER Caveman
LYRAN REACTOR ROBOT Caveman / Kamikaze

KLINGON EVADER REACTOR Puppeteer
THOL-ATC EVADER REACTOR Caveman
THOL-NTC EVADER REACTOR Puppeteer
ROM TKE EVADER ROBOT Fox
ISC EVADER ROBOT Vulcan
SELTORIAN EVADER ROBOT Fox

ANDRO ROBOT EVADER Vulcan

DCG - The Fox
DCM - The Vulcan
DIG - The Puppeteer
DIM - The Caveman

The Romulan TKR requires an intuitive Captain, (as most plasma ships), but the fragile Klingon design shows the heart of a gambler. The ship is great for ballet, with lots of defensive weaponry on the rear and wide plasma arcs, but begs for a Captain who can recognize a mistake and take advantage swiftly, so Puppeteer appears to be the best candidate. However, plasma to some degree is a minimizer's toy, so any "IM" personality (Caveman or Hound) may also be viable.

We mentioned just about every other personality, but like a poor marksman, we just kept missing our target. Well, okay, the C/I mix was a dead heat, so Caveman appears to be viable. Again, we see a ship with a fragile hull design performing better in the hands of a minimizer. Perhaps we are on to something here.

RKR A C M D I G VULCAN/CAVEMAN
0 1 3 2 1 -1 DCM / DIM

The Gorn TCC is a tough call. The wrap-around phasers, solid hull design and wide plasma arcs seem well suited to a Minimizer. With plasma typically needing Intuitive Captains, the Caveman is the obvious choice. However, the author admits to a desire to marry the ship with a Vulcan captain, or for the aggresive counter-part, the Phoenix. The Phoenix personality seems ideal for those Gorn Anchor enthusiasts.

Wow! With the missfires on the Romulans, we came pretty close for the Gorn. Plasma ships appear to be Minimizers above all, but show no strong tendencies regarding A/D or C/I traits (though the Calculators do hold a small, but consistent edge).

GORN A C M D I G PHOENIX/VULCAN
1 2 4 1 0 -2 ACM / DCM

The Lyran, like the LDR, is an enigma. Against droners, the Caveman seems appropriate, while against non-droners, the Kamikaze may be called for. Suffice it to say, the Lyrans are best suited for Chameleons.

With a dead heat on M/G and a minimal weight for A/D, the personality profile is little help regarding the Lyran. It does appear to definitely require a calculating Captain, and oddly appears to require a slightly more defensive-minded Captain than the LDR counter-part. But, it does appear that the general theory that Lyrans require Chameleons is quite probably an accurate assessment.

LYR A C M D I G VULCAN/FOX
-2 0 -1 -1 -3 -1 DCM /DCG

The Klingon D7TC requires a bit of a gambler, as the power systems are fragile, the SP is tricky to use effectively, (but must be used in order to win), and the lack of single-turn crunch means you know you're going to have to survive awhile to attain victory. The B-turn mode is a plus in the hands of an Intuitive Captain, though a Fox may also fare well flying this ship.

The _IG guess was on the money. However, it appears that disruptor ships in general and the D7TC in particular need a very aggressive Captain at the helm. (So much for sabre-dancing your way to victory). Of course, someone's going to have to explain what Kirk is doing flying a Klingon ship.

KLI A C M D I G KIRK
5 0 0 -3 2 2 AIG

The Archeo-Tholian is similar to the Klingon in many ways, but has much less the gambler's feel. The WC can be used offensively or defensively at whim, while the overall hull design is rife with redundant systems, making the ship a Minimizer's dream. Caveman thus becomes the prefered mate for the ATC.

The need for aggresiveness in the disruptor ship shows up again in the ATC. The C/I choice (Intuitive) supports the initial guess. But the finding that gamblers do better in the ATC is interesting.

ATC A C M D I G KIRK
1 -1 -1 -1 1 1 AIG

The Neo-Tholian is essentially the gambler's version of the ATC, accepting a little less defensive reduncancy and shields for a few more internals. The Puppeteer seems to be the NTC's ideal mate.

A little closer on this one, as the Kirk (AIG) is the aggresive counterpart to the Puppeteer. Of course, with every trait being a minimal weight to one side or the other, the NTC data pool is too shallow to expect reliable results.

NTC A C M D I G KIRK
0 -1 -1 -1 0 0 AIG

The Romulan TKE, generally reviled among the TCs, is based on a number of gimmicks. Armor, t-bomb, cheap cloaking, all are primarily defensive, while the R-torp puts so much offense in a single area, that the 'D' and 'G' seem almost undisputable. While plasma generally requires an Intuitive Captain, the need to plan three turns ahead for this ship, knowing when to cloak or not, appears to make Calculation more important. So, the Fox gets my nod for best mate for the King Eagle.

In truth, the RKE was lumped in with general plasma in most cases, resulting in the standard Romulan Vulcan profile. The reality is almost certainly different with this ship - but so few attempt to play it getting decent data to analyze will be extremely difficult.

RKE A C M D I G VULCAN
-1 2 2 1 -2 -2 DCM

The ISC TCC in most ways is a minimizer's dream. The always reliable PPD, the uniquely survivable phaser suite, and overall balanced ISC design all mask the minor downside of having only five heavies, hit on Torp AND Drone. But, the real question that troubles me is whether the ship needs a Calculator or an Intuitive captain. Having flown the ship myself, (and admitting potential bias), the ship requires a master of power management, as after the first pass, (when capacitors are all full and weapons are armed), this ship MUST make choices during EA. The D-turn mode is just another indication that the Intuitive personality may not be optimally paired here. Therefore, it seems that the Vulcan is the . . . logical choice for the ISC.

Another minor surprise in that the ship is flown better by aggresive Captains. The other traits were minimally weighted, so it may be that the ship can be flown decently by any aggresive captain, which goes against the standard book for the ISC of needing to play defensively to win.

ISC A C M D I G Kamikaze
2 1 0 -1 0 1 ACG

Assessing the Seltorian is extremely difficult, having little hard data and practical experience to draw on. However, the lack of crunch invites the Evader, the D-turn mode and lack of seeking weapons indicate that Calculation is more important than Intuition, and the dicey PCs point toward a Gambler. The Fox seems the best fit here, though much more real world data is needed before any remotely reliable conclusions can be drawn.

Oddly enough, the hypothesis seems to hold true for the bug. Still, until more people start playing the ship, the assessment will remain highly suspect.

SELT A C M D I G FOX
-2 -1 -4 -1 -2 0 DCG

The Andro Krait, defined by those who have mastered it as a nearly Robotic ship, seem an obvious pairing for Vulcan Captains. However, the iffyness of the DizzyDev seems to attract many gamblers to this ship, making the Fox a nearly equally likely mate. In the end, I selected Vulcan over Fox based on the generally higher level of success by those Andro Captains who actively try to avoid "die-on-a-six" situations as much as possible.

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Another fairly accurate assessment for the Krait. The defensive and calculating traits are clear winners, while the M/I pick is minimally weighted. Fox gets the minor nod based on real data, though the two winning Andros who responded were AIM and DIM. But a number of AIM/DIM players indicated they were poor in the Krait. It is quite possible that the Krait simply does not fit well into the Personality Profile architecture due to its unique nature.

AND A C M D I G FOX
-3 0 -2 0 -3 -1 DCG

You can see that the accuracy of the initial pairings was somewhat hit and on miss. To help the reader see where theory and reality meet and/or diverge, we have included a table below showing the original predictions beside the results obtained from gathering actual data. To judge how accurate the original impressions were the MATCH column shows a zero to three, indicating how many of the traits matched correctly between hypothesized best fit, and those based on actual data.

PROPOSED ACTUAL
TOURNEY SHIP CODE CAPTAIN CODE CAPTAIN MATCH
(theorized) (based on data)
LDR AIG/DCM Kirk / Vulcan ACG Kamikaze 2/1
ISC DCM Vulcan ACG Kamikaze 1
HYDRAN ACG Kamikaze ACM Phoenix 2
ORION AIM Hound ACM/AIM Phoenix/Hound 2/3
GORN DIM Caveman ACM/DCM Phoenix/Vulcan 1/2
KLINGON DIG Puppeteer AIG Kirk 2
THOL-ATC DIM Caveman AIG Kirk 1
THOL-NTC DIG Puppeteer AIG Kirk 2
KZINTI ACM Phoenix AIM Hound 2
WYN-SHARK ACM Phoenix AIM Hound 2
ANDRO DCM Vulcan DCG Fox 2
WYN-AUX ACG Kamikaze DCG Fox 2
SELTORIAN DCG Fox DCG Fox 3
ROM TFH AIM Hound DCM Vulcan 1
ROM TKR DIG Puppeteer DCM Vulcan 1
ROM TKE DCG Fox DCM Vulcan 2
LYRAN DIM/ACG Caveman / Kamikaze DCM/DCG Vulcan/Fox 2/2
FED AIG Kirk DIG Puppeteer 2

On the plus side, there were no complete whiffs regarding the matchups. The most obvious area where the initial analysis was off is in regards to the plasma ships. Two of the Roms, the ISC and the Gorn (sort of) only matched on one of three traits. This appears to be mostly an error in thinking that plasma ships need intuitive Captains, as without exception the Calculators were best-suited for plasma ships (even the ISC).

The need for the Roms to be defensive was universal, demonstrating a need for cohesive Captain/TC personality traits in that regard, while the ISC went counter to that trend, showing a need for an aggresive Captain, in a much more complementary relationship.

The trend for disruptor ships to be aggresive rather than defensive was also an interesting find. In many cases where two traits matched between the analysis-based findings versus the fact-based, the third trait regularly was only one away from being a dead heat. We believe this demonstrates that the important traits for a particular TC are not always equally weighted. It is also important to note that in many cases matching two of three traits may be enough to create an effective pairing.

In our next installment, we shall try and group the TCs by weighting the importance of individual traits in an effort to create groups of Compatible TCs. Such a list may help those interested in selecting new TCs to try which are suited to their playing styles.

"5. Learning Curves" By Sandy Hemenway

SFB CAPTAIN PERSONALITY PROFILE: LEARNING CURVES

By

Sandy S. "Firemane" Hemenway

March 10, 2000 {rescued 5/8/2013}

SFB CAPTAIN PERSONALITY PROFILE: LEARNING CURVES

The purpose of the SFB Personality research is to attempt to gain a better understanding of what makes each TC 'tick', which Captains are best suited for which TC, and what personality 'flaws' a Captain may need to address in himself in order to excell in TCs that are not necessarily ideally paired with his inate personality.

In our previous chapters, we have defined TC and Captain personality types, advanced our theory by predicting which TCs and which Captains would most likely fit, and then gathered real world data in order to see if our theories and reality matched, (with moderate success). Since that time, we here at the SFB Institute for Matching Personalities (SIMP) have continued our five year mission to seek out new worlds of theory to analyze into the ground, to boldly posture where no MAN has postured before.

This installment of our research delves into an area of SFB heretofore ignored by most: Learning Curves! We claim no magic bullet to turn a novice into an Ace, but only hope the theories proferred here can open windows on the future, which will aid the novice player (and maybe even some Aces) in understanding and appreciating the vast complexity of SFB. We would also like to remind the reader that any changes in behaviour, performance, health and general welfare that one may experience after examining this research is in no way the responsibility of SIMP, and we hold no liability in regards to current, future or past tournament performance.

We look forward to comments, criticisms, and additional input.

SFB LEARNING CURVE ISSUES:

OVERVIEW

Complexity is a . . . well, complex issue. Any player with experience flying multiple SFB races certainly have opinions on the difficulty in learning new races. However, individual perceptions are often biased by the route taken in exploring the SFB universe. So, rather than polling SFB experts and doing a statistical sampling of some sort, instead we have decided to create a methodology for determining complexity. Mind you, the methodology could be flawed, and the values thrown into the computations may be debatable. But, we hope by providing the methodology, the reader may (if s/he so chooses), develop alternative strategies for measuring SFB learning curves. As always, we welcome external input.

A MADNESS TO OUR METHOD?

The approach we have chosen is to create a list of separate complexity issues, assigning values on a system by system level, and then combining them to get an aggregate total. The bulk of the explanations below will be in showing our reasoning for the values assigned on a system level. In the end, we will use the system to rate the tourney cruisers to see what comes out the other end. The reader, of course, may elect to use these numbers as a starting point and tweak them where they feel they are in error. In the end, one should be able to compute complexity values for ANY ship, (though our system list may not be complete, which would require adding to the list we have created). For simplicity, we have used only whole integer values, and readily admit that some systems might be better measured with a finer scaling. But, we trust the reader can make his own judgements regarding accuracy of the system as a whole.

One point to emphasize is that the purpose of this exercise is to measure the complexity of LEARNING a new ship. The data may also be useful in examining the difficulty in mastering a ship. However, we readily admit that these measures are at best rough guidelines, which hopefully may aid the reader in seeing why s/he may be having difficulty flying a particular ship. Perhaps a more useful result of this research is that the reader will take the time to break down his understanding of whatever ships s/he flies, and in doing so, improve his performance.

WHERE TO BEGIN?

As we stated, we will be examining complexity at a system level. In doing so, we first want to define what makes a system complex. After careful thought, we have come up with four complexity issues for any system. These are:

DIVERSITY
TIMING
RULES
POWER

Diversity is a measure of the various methods or modes a particular system has available to it. For example, the Disruptor can be fired standard, overloaded, or go unarmed. A Plasma-S, on the other hand, can be armed normally, enveloped, shotgunned, fast-loaded, down-loaded, or bolted. We will show the values we placed on each system's diversity below, and explain our reasoning in some cases, where the final number may be debateable.

Timing is a reflection of a number of issues. Arming cycle is the most obvious. But, also included in this value is an assessment of difficulty in proper timing to get optimal use from the system. In some areas, this is an objective assessment. But, we do admit that timing issues in other areas are much more subjective. Again, we will try to explain our reasoning.

Rules are the core of any game system, and SFB rules can be daunting. But, we will attempt to weight the rules complexity for each system. This is almost certainly the most subjective area of the scale, but we hope the experienced player can make his own adjustments, (if he feels they are needed), and hope the novice will trust our judgement.

Power requirements encompass not only the power required for a system, but also reflect the difficulty and/or ease that power issues present for a given system. We expect some may dispute our judgements in this area, but feel that the discussions in this area will be as or more valuable than the actual data and conclusions.

COMBINATION

After the system analysis is complete, there will be two additional values to go into the final calculation. One is simple and objective: the number of systems concerning the ship. The second is almost purely subjective: the complexity of effectively combining the systems the ship has. This value addresses areas like firing arcs, overlapping weapons ranges, ship design criteria which may have been excluded from the system list, etc.

SYSTEM COMPLEXITY

SYS Div. Time Rules Pow. Tot.
ADD 2 1 1 0 4
AndBat 0 0 1 0 1
Armor 0 0 0 0 0
Cloak 2 2 7 1 12
Dis 3 1 2 2 8
DizDev 1 2 2 2 7
double 3 1 1 0 5
Drone 1 0 1 0 2
ESG 4 3 6 3 16
Fighter 3 1 3 0 7
F-torp 2 3 2 2 9
Fusion 3 1 3 1 8
Gat 2 0 0 0 2
G-torp 5 3 4 3 15
HB 3 2 4 4 13
PA 4 1 6 6 17
PC 3 1 3 3 10
Ph-1 2 0 0 0 2
Ph-2 2 0 0 0 2
Ph-3 1 0 0 0 1
Photon 4 2 3 3 12
PPD 3 2 3 4 12
R-torp 5 3 5 4 17
SC/WB 2 1 4 2 9
Snare 1 2 2 1 6
SP 2 1 2 0 5
S-torp 5 3 4 3 15
t-bomb 1 0 1 0 2
TR 1 2 2 3 8
UIM 1 0 0 0 1
WC 3 2 4 3 12

* since all ships have phasers, rules complexity is ignored for all ships
* F-torp rules complexity values are ZERO for ships with larger torps

SOME EXPLANATION

Certainly some readers will take exception to a number of the values shown above. This is understandable, as it is extremely difficult to completely purify the figures by truly objective methods. That said, we do want to show where our heads were at when coming up with these numbers.

Armor is on the list but is all zeroes, which would seem confusing. But, since the total NUMBER of systems is a part of the final calculation, this allows us to include Armor as a complexity issue for the RKE, but at the absolute minimum value of one (1), (it exists). In some cases, in order to balance a system on the whole, an individual trait may be slightly inflated or deflated in one area, in hopes that the overall complexity for that system will be more accurate.

The diversity value for plasma torps may actually be a bit low. Since this list was drawn from tourney ships, and shot-guns are practically useless in the tourney environment, an over-simplification was done, and the 5-rating is based on: Standard, Overload(EPT/ShtGun), Underload/Fastload, Bolt, PPT. An argument that modes for plasma should actually be seven (7) could be made. In any case, plasma ends up being among the most complex systems analyzed.

The PA panels values were difficult to quantify. But, rather than just up or down, (like standard shields), the reinforced level is an integral part of the system. The importance of understanding BANK vs. all PA levels is also critical to the system, hence the four (4) in diversity: Standard, Reinforced, Down, Split. The power concerns start with single turn arming, which for PAs is 5/8. Six (6) may actually be high for this value, since PAs are a part of housekeeping. However, galactic housekeeping (4), which is not included, (since everyone EXCEPT the Andro pays the same), is much lower than the 10 the Andro must pay when reinforced.

One item to note is that the overall complexity of the Photon (12) is higher than the disruptor (8). Only after the fact did we notice that the photon got one higher in each of the four categories. The Prox mode is an obvious addition, (but what about UIM, you ask???). Well, since UIM is counted as a separate system, (since Zintis and WYN don't use it), it doesn't show up in the disruptor calculation. The timing aspect is fairly obvious (1 turn vs. 2 turns). However, drones receive a zero, since no decision is needed during EA. Photon rules ARE a bit more complex, especially when considering the variability of the overloads and holding costs. The value may be low, but only slightly. The power concerns taken on a one-turn basis are the same for disruptors and photons. But, photon ships typically do not have the luxury of foregoing arming on torps (if they hope to fire them again). The NEED for OLs is much stronger for photon ships, but is mitigated by the ability to hold any type of warhead. The three (3) rating for power is a bit of a compromise.

In the end, there will certainly be questions, and we implore the reader to ask about the reasoning behind specific point assignments on a system level. Also feel free to tweak these values toward your beliefs and see if they make a difference in the eventual findings shown below.

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AND THE WINNER IS . . .

Having created our system by system values, it is time to take a look at the TCs, and determine the complexity factor for each. The math is extremely basic. We simply identify the systems present on a given TC. The NUMBER of systems is our first factor. Then we add in the values for Modes (diversity), Time, Rules, Power for each of the systems present. Finally we add in a Combination value. Note that we only count each system ONCE, regardless of the quantity of said system on the TC. Perhaps a more complex mathematical model could be used, but for now, we're sticking with straight addition.

TOURNEY SHIP COMPLEXITY

RACE Num. List Modes Time Rules Pow. Comb. TOTAL

WBS 4 Dis,p1,p3,dr 7 1 3 2 2 19
FED 3 Pho,p1,p3 7 2 3 3 1 19
ZINTI 5 Dis,p1,p3,dr,SP 9 2 5 2 2 25
SELT 4 PC,p1,p3,SC/WB 8 2 7 5 2 28
GORN 4 S,F,p1,p3 10 6 4 5 2 31
KLINGON 8 Dis,p123,dr,add,sp,uim 14 3 6 2 3 36
LDR 4 Dis,p1,gat,ESG 11 4 8 5 5 37
LYRAN 5 Dis,p1,p3,ESG,UIM 11 4 8 5 4 37
TH-ATC 5 Dis,p1,p3,WC,Snare 10 5 8 6 4 38
TH-NEO 5 Dis,p1,p3,WC,Snare 10 5 8 6 4 38
HYDRAN 5 Fus,HB,p1,gat,ftr 13 4 10 4 5 41
ANDRO 6 PA,TR,p2,DD,bats,tb 9 5 12 11 1 44
ROM-FH 5 S,F,p1,p3,cloak 12 8 11 6 3 45
ROM-KR 5 S,F,p1,p3,cloak 12 8 11 6 3 45
ISC 5 PPD,G,F,p1,p3 13 8 7 9 5 47
ROM-KE 7 R,F,p1,p3,cloak,tb,arm 13 8 13 7 5 53

ORION 4+? p1,p3,cloak,double 8 3 8 1 0 24
WAX 4+? p1,p3,dr,noHet, 4 0 2 0 0 10

The WYN-Shark and Fed end up in a tie for first place. The drones of the Shark manage to exactly cancel out the added complexity of the photons versus disruptors. The Fed ties the Andro for the lowest Combo rating. With every weapon being direct fire, there are few timing issues for the Fed. The GBS, on the other hand, must work a bit to coordinate his drone usage with his direct fire.

The SP is all that makes the Zinti more complex than the Shark. But the extra six points of complexity are important to both of the SP races. The Selt is snug in 4th place, mostly due to a more complex rules set for the PC and SCs.

The Gorn is the simplest plasma race, thanks to the lack of cloak or other system. Meanwhile, the Klingon comes in 6th, the last of the drone ships. Only after tabulation did we notice the glut of drone ships at the top of the chart. While we recognize that the system may not measure all the important aspects of a given system, within the tourney environment, drones are about the simplest of all systems to learn and utilize.

The middle third of the TCs include both Lyrans, both Tholians, the Hydran and Andro. This was a bit surprising, as expertise in the Lyran and Tholian ships seems hard to come by. Perhaps the values for ESGs and WebCasters are too low, or maybe the Combo value should be increased. But, these would need to be significant jumps to move these ships downward. The Andro is a hard ship to get a bead on, being both severely complex in so many ways, and yet so simple to run in others. I must admit, too, that I was surprised to find the Hydran in the middle of the pack, rather than among the 'most' complex. But, this may be more to do with the lower third rankings than the Hydrans.

The plasma ships, with the exception of the Gorn, sunk to the very bottom of the list. The complexity of plasma is bad enough, but the Rommie ships also have the cloak to be concerned with. The ISC, though lacking the cloak, has the PPD to contend with, along with the plasma-F restrictions and arcs which make combining systems very taxing. The RKE ends up being the most complex of all the TCs, with minor extra concerns to deal with over its brother Roms, like the small mine, armor, and the fixed direction R-launcher.

Without specific option packages, I did not bother to include the Orion and Wyn-Aux in the rankings. However, the basic systems that the ships come with are included in the chart, allowing the user to experiment with different packages to judge their complexity. Of course, one would want to add in the very CHOICE of option mounts into the combination aspect of these ships. The only obvious conclusion drawn from the base hulls is that the Orion is a much more complex ship than the WAX, regardless of options taken.

The generalities of the exercise result in drone ships being simple and plasma ships being complex. This may or may not be true, but perhaps the next time you sit down with a novice player, it would be best to draw ships from the top of the list for them to learn first, which will hopefully ease their entry into the world of SFB.

Notes on formatting

I apologize that the formatting of the tables that Sandy prepared in these articles was not preserved in the reposting.

Article 4 also included some text that was colored blue, which may have differentiated the "reality comments" from the "theory comments". The coloring of the text was unfortunately lost in the reposting.

I don't fit any of these classifications

because they are all based on different positive traits. We need some negative traits, like Kamikaze Moron, or Caveman
Airhead, or the Kirk Masochist. Maybe then I could pigeonhole myself.

Very entertaining and interesting though. Thanks for posting Dave.

You are welcome, Andy.

You are welcome, Andy.

I think that while the nomenclature is a bit humorous, Sandy was being very serious in his intent. When I read through the traits I kind of think some of them address the same emergent phenomena in the game, even though superficially the player style seems different.

Humorous Metagaming Captain Personalities

While Sandy was being serious, the opportunity for more humor is almost irrestible. There is a lot of opportunity for humor at the expense of the meta-gaming characteristics certain players may have:

Mr. Stinky: In desperate need of a bath, Mr. Stinky is counting on his body odor to turn your stomach and so induce you to quickly end the game on his terms to avoid the retching.

The Psychotic: With eyes darting like the crazy man in the prison, the Intimidator mention's his favorite character from the Lord of the Rings is Smeagol, and refers to his favorite dice as "my Precious". Just what exactly does he keep reaching for in his pockets?

The Overclocker: The Overclocker advances through the impulse chart at four times the speed you are comfortable with hoping to rush you into a mistake.

The Committee Chairmain: While the tournament tree shows you playing only one opponnet this round, the Committee Chairman is surrounded with 6 of his buddies who advise him on every move.

The Fake Fool: Your opponent mentions twenty times that he just started playing SFB a few weeks ago, and yet seems to have the rulebook memorized.

Mr. Elsewhere: He's talking on his cell phone while playing the game, making plans to go drinking with his buddies later in the evening. Seeemingly distracted, and yet he instantly notices if you miss a move on the impulse chart.

The Acccountant: The Accountant dillegently tallies every point of power possibly consumed by you in a fancy ledger. And checks it twice. Every impulse.

Bernie Madoff: Why do your energy allocation for the coming turn when you can do your energy allocation for the last turn instead? After all, you know exactly what happened.

The Cloaker: The man gets a little bit ahead and then goes to the bathroom for 1 hour and 45 minutes until the time for the round has expired.

Mr. Forgetful: Ever notice that if you happen to forget to announce an increase in speed and "just do it on the next impulses to make things simple" you might gain a move you never paid for, even though you were moving *slower* for that extra impulse? Now you know.

Mr. Possessive: He really, really doesn't want you to touch his stuff. You might have cooties you know. Especially keep away from his dice. You know, the dice that always seem to roll 1 2 or 3.

The Loud Talker: You really don't need megaphone. We are only 3 feet away from each other. Inside voice please.

The Low Talker: Seemingly the cousin of the Loud Talker, but often a man with a much more insidious plan. He establishes you can barely hear him. Then wait, "Didn't you hear me that I wanted to launch a wild weasel before you shoot into my down shield?"

The Saver: Just when you seem to have the momentum, the Saver has an unexpected interruption and has to save the game. You don't think he might be studying the game, do you?

Mr. Ejection Seat: Uh oh, power outage and no valid restore point. Funny how that happens so often when weapons are facing a down shield. Often shares the same MO as the Saver.

The Auditor: Sifts through the victor's EA with a fine tooth comb every time he loses. Every point of power missallocated is 5 internals by rule, correct?

The Charmer: A really pleasant guy who tells a fascinating story about hiking in the Sierra and being chased by a bear, or something like that. Quite a nice chap, really, he always invites you for a beer after you lose.

Tommy Vu: Brings a babe to flirt with you during the match. Too bad she has a boyfriend. And she's busy anyway - she has to watch her boyfriend's next match. This particular character probably hasn't been seen since the days of the larger tournaments.

The Joker: Never stops laughing during the game. Whenever he rolls a pair of ones, he bellows: " Ho ho ho: Narrow Salvo!" That never gets old - ahh, those jokes just slay me.

The Old Hand: I've played this game for 30 years. Back in the day, we had to shoot plasma torpedoes up hill - both ways. Did I tell you I played this game for 30 years?

The Name Dropper: Hey, did you know he was on some sort of staff and he knows QVC's phone number? Ask him if he knows that "Today's Special Value" is 4 overloaded photon torpedes right up the - well you know where.

God's Gift to SFB: Proclaims that he is the "Greatest Of All Time". Well yes indeed, he is a GOAT.

Mr. Hidden Agenda: Want to buy a timeshare? Amway? Join my church? Vote Democratic? Vote Republican?

Rules Lawyer: Almost forgot this guy, but we all know him, right? Just look in the mirror.