Starfleet Battles jargon, terms and phrases.

In another thread a member that hasn't played SFB in a while indicated that there was some jargon that he wasn't familiar with in the game. And this is understandably as the game has been around for around 37 years. There are a lot of terms that many take for granted because we've heard them so often that a new player or player that hasn't played for years may be unfamiliar with. So I thought I'd start a thread that members here can list terms that folks should know and that would be helpful to them.

*Gorn anchor:

Usually applies to the Gorn but can be used by the Romulans, ISC, Kzinti, Peladine and other races that rely heavily on seeking weapons. It involves the 'Gorn' ship catching the opponent ship in a tractor beam which prevents the opponent from using a wild weasel. Then launching all plasma (drones) at one time and hitting on one shield facing. For example, a Gorn CA/CC could feed an opponent 2 plasma S torps and 2 plasma F torps in one shot that the opponent can't 'weasel'. Thus that is 100 points of plasma hitting a single shield at the same time.

*Mizia effect:

Mizia is the last name of a player from back in the 80's. The concept is to knock down the shield of a ship and inflicting internals but NOT unloading all the weapons at one time i.e. leaving a few unfired weapons ready to go and in arc. Then firing a single weapon through the down shield the next impulse then another weapon through the down shield the impulse after that and so on. The idea is that you have a higher likelihood of hitting weapon and power on the A column of the DAC (Damage Allocation Chart) on single volleys because many weapon and power hits are underlined and can ONLY be hit ONCE per volley. Thus if you fire over several impulses each is a new and separate volley so those underlined hits on the DAC can be hit each time. Of course you need to time your attacks when the ship is unable to turn a fresh shield to you (read: keep track of the impulse chart and your opponents turn mode and ability to HET).

The ability to 'Mizia' someone can quickly strip them of weapons and power. Probably one of the very best and long lasting tactics in the game.

I love the 'anchors'. So fun

I love the 'anchors'. So fun to do.

He who would defend eveything, defends nothing.


How about firing "alpha"? Seen this in several posts and am not total sure what that is.

An alpha strike is when you

An alpha strike is when you fire all of your bearing (offensive) direct fire weapons at your opponent in a single impulse. In some cases it might imply that the player maneuvered to fire the maximal number of offensive and defensive weapons in a single impulse.

Alpha strikes are usually

Alpha strikes are usually "costly", for you and your opponent. Your opponent suffers the damage, but you suffer from having to then recharge all of, or most of your weapons.

He who would defend eveything, defends nothing.

Other Jargon

Alpha Strike
As indicated previously, an Alpha Strike high-tempo tactic most often used by crunch races, where all direct-fire weapons that bear are fired at the opponent in a single ship-wrecking blast. Some ships do this better than others, and some ranges are better for some weapon systems.
Compare to Hack and Slash, Mizia, Saber Dance, Sniping

Crunch Race
These are empires that employ a weapons suite that enables them to do heinous damage to other ships when alpha-striking. (Read: usually able to cripple the other ship when faced with a fresh shield.)
Hydrans, for example, are known as having the strongest weapon's suite if they are at a range of 2 or less, but for having the weakest weapon's suite outside of that range. Photons are known for being dangerous at a range of four and with the large phaser suite of most Federation ships, their Alpha Strike is rightly feared.
Compare to Big Plasma, D&D race

Big Plasma
This describes a race that uses Plasma Torpedoes as their primary armament. This primarily is used to group the Gorns and Romulans together, though sometimes it includes the ISC. Some argument can be made that this term includes the Paravians from module C6, as their primary weapon operates as a plasma torpedo in many respects and they have been placed in that region of the galaxy.
Compare to D&D race, Crunch Race

D&D Race
This is short for Disruptors and Drones and is used to describe those empires that employ both weapons systems. Generally this is used to group the Kzinti, Klingons, and WYN together, though it sometimes includes the Frax. Less often, this term includes those empires that employ just disruptors, such as the Tholians and Lyrans.
Compare to Big Plasma, Crunch Race

Knife Fight
This is a prolonged action at close range. Most often the ships spend a turn or more at or inside of range 5, attempting to maneuver the other ship into a beneficial arc or trying to stay out of the opponent's beneficial arc. Often phasers are fired to damage facing shields, but rarely are heavy weapons fired unless they have a very permissive arc (such as the Klingon D5 with it's FA+L/FA+R arcs, or some Lyran ships with FX disruptor arcs.)
On those cases where a facing shield is down, often one ship will look to prolong the knife fight, in order to get multiple volleys of phasers on that down shield.
Compare to Anchor

Hack and Slash
This is a technique often seen with disruptor ships, but can also be employed by other ships at the end of the charging cycle of their weapons. Phasers are fired on impulse 32 of a turn, and then heavy weapons (often overloaded) are fired on the following impulse 1. This takes advantage of the fact that the opponent's ship cannot move on impulse 1 (HETs, Tacs, or movement at speeds less than 32 cannot occur on impulse 1), so the facing shield must take the brunt of what is effectively an alpha strike. This has the further advantage that the phasers will recycle 7 impulses after the heavy weapons fire, thus allowing the firing ship to use phasers during the rest of the turn (on seeking weapons or to snipe at the weak/down shield.)
Compare to Alpha Strike, Plasma Ballet, Saber Dance

Saber Dance
This is a low-tempo technique made famous by the Klingons. The ship lines the opponent up on the hex-grain for the #2 or the #6 shield at range 15, fires their heavy weapons, and turns away. The purpose of this technique is to erode the opponent's shields while evading seeking weapons and a significant response from the opponent until the opposing shields are weak enough to warrant a close-range approach. This is best employed by disruptors, as they tend to be more accurate at long range than other heavy weapons. Additionally, the rapid-fire nature of disruptors allows the ship to return quickly and attempt to hammer the same shield again on the following turn - as opposed to needing to run on a re-arming turn.
Compare to Plasma Ballet

Plasma Ballet
This is a low-tempo battle tactic used primarily by the Romulan Kestral ships (those ships purchased from the Klingons) and the Gorns, though any plasma-armed ship might use this technique. It involves launching an enveloping plasma torpedo at moderate range (usually at range 12, though modified upward or downward by as much as 3 based on the target's speed and heading) and then maneuvering to keep out of overload range.
The target can then either run away from the plasma, or decide to take the shield damage in order to get a reasonable shot on the plasma ship. If the target runs out the plasma, the plasma-armed ship simply follows. If the target decides to "eat" the enveloper, they take a bunch of shield damage. The usual result is somewhere in between.
Once the target returns to range or runs through the first plasma, another enveloper is launched. Rinse, repeat. The aim of this technique is to erode the shields of the opponent to the point where they are vulnerable to a knife fight.
Compare to Saber Dance

this is where certain weapons are fired outside of their effective range at targets of opportunity. Usually this is employed by a few weapons at down or weak shields.
Compare to Hack and Slash, Alpha Strike

Jargon, pg 2

This is often referred to as the Gorn Anchor, but other ships (usually those packing large numbers of seeking weapons. e.g. the Kzinti, Romulans, sometimes Hydrans, and sometimes the WYN) Can use this technique to their advantage.
This it the act of using a tractor beam on an opposing ship. Usually both ships slow down, hence the term. But the tactical implications beyond maneuvering can be disastrous for the receiver of the tractor beam.
One of the primary reasons to do this is so that the opponent cannot launch a "Wild Weasel" shuttle. The obvious follow-up to an anchor is to launch a large amount of seeking weapons. This includes the use of "Suicide Shuttles", as neither ship is likely to able to evade them. The counter to this is seeking weapons launched by the anchor target, as seeking weapons (including seeking shuttles) can be launched while in a tractor beam if the target is the originator of the tractor.
Another advantage to anchoring can be found if the target of the anchor is smaller than the originator. As then the target cannot fire weapons at units outside of the tractor unless they are seeking weapons.

This is the act of launching a "Wild Weasel" shuttle. This allows a unit to shake any seeking weapons that are targeted on them, but at the disadvantage of being stopped or very slow. The opponent to the one who weaseled can usually use the time it takes to get up to speed by distancing themselves during a re-arming period or to set up a follow-on shot.
A common way to weasel is to do so at a turn break with a "4/14 split": Plot a speed of 4 during the period of the turn expected to be spent under the weasel and to cover the explosion period. Then do a plotted speed change up to speed 14 (which is the fastest one can go after a speed of 4) for the remainder of the turn. This avoids the disadvantages of an emergency decelleration and allows for a faster speed recovery.
Weasels are often launched in a direction so that any collateral damage that might arise will damage a shield that is less painful for the launching ship. Additionally, it can be worthwhile to launch the weasel at a speed that is different than it's maximum speed. Primarily the optimal speed is one where it moves out of the launching hex before the seeking weapons would strike it, as this prevents any collateral damage on the launching ship.
Often times, it is in the best interests of the opposing ship to kill a weasel with phasers, even if it might die by seeking weapons a few impulses later. Not only does this mean the launching ship will probably take collateral damage that they had intended to prevent, but it reduces the time in which the launching ship would spend under the protection of the weasel (receiving natural EW, defense from seeking weapons, and immunity from anchors). Alternatively, it can be very useful to arrange the seeking weapons to not hit the weasel, thereby putting the launcher in the uncomfortable position of voiding their own weasel and giving the aggressor a small window where the launching ship is unprepared for a knife-fight.

A formation made famous by the ISC, as their fleet doctrine is built around this formation. The Hydrans can also use this formation to great effect by forming the gunline purely out of fighters and the core out of Hellbore-armed ships.
This is a wedge-shaped formation where the most important ships or the ships with the longest-ranged weapons form the point of the wedge (called the "Core") and the least important ships form the larger line (called the "Gunline"). The wedge is "backwards", in that the larger line is closest to the enemy. After forming this formation, the fleet then attempts to "run over" the opposing ships, counting on their front-line ships to absorb the enemy fire or else be cut to shreds at short range by the gunline while holding fire for a good shot on the important ships in the formation's core.

Kaufman Retrograde: Flying

Kaufman Retrograde: Flying the ship backwards and keeping your HW (heavy weapons) facing the enemy. You can usually go moderate speed which allows you more energy to arm/fire than your opponent who expends more energy trying to overtake you/reinforce the front shields. The ship doing the Kaufman Retrograde can also drop T-bombs to further damage or inhibit or direct the enemies movement.

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

Carnivon bitch slap: The

Carnivon bitch slap: The Carnivon have several weapon systems i.e. the Disruptor Cannon, Death Bolt and Heel Nipper. The Death Bolt is a drone that is much larger, does more damage, takes more damage to destroy and can be modified with anti-tractor, armor, focused burst etc. The Heel Nipper ( Warp Field Interruption Device) can cause the enemy ship to lose an impulse of movement and also can cause the ship to turn in a specific direction. This is a timing tactic; Launch one or more Death Bolts then time the Heel Nipper to stop and turn the enemy (preferably with a weak/down shield facing the DB and weapons that could stop the DB are out of arc) so that the DB's can reach and strike the enemy ship.

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

Star Castle: Going S0 (speed

Star Castle: Going S0 (speed zero) and only performing warp/impulse TAC's. This allows you to put energy that would otherwise be used for movement into reinforcing shields and arming/firing weapons.

Turtle: Same as Star Castling basically except you are moving very slowly forcing the opponent to come to you.

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

Carnivon Claw Rake: Many

Carnivon Claw Rake: Many Carnivon ships have a healthy amount of ph-3's on the rear of the ship with an RX firing arc. The rake is similar to the Hack-N-Slash in that the Carnivon comes in straight firing the DC (disruptor cannons) and forward ph-1's on one impulse and then turning the next impulse to bring the RX ph-3's to bear (usually at very close range) and firing them through (hopefully) a weak/down shield. If timed right the Mizia tactic could then be employed over several impulses.

Note the Carvivon bitch slap and claw rake are terms I've coined. Feel free to use them. ;)

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

Paravian 'Death by a thousand

Paravian 'Death by a thousand cuts': The Paravian use the QWT (quantum wave torpedo). It's a cross between a plasma torpedo and a disruptor in that it is a 'plasma-like' seeking weapon but can be fired every turn and has similar damage to the disruptor (plus splash damage). The DBATC (death by a thousand cuts) tactic involves lobbing a wave of standard QWT's at the enemy. They then have the choice of turning away (in which case you follow) or ramming through the QWT which will weaken the shields. QWT are much more resistant to phaser fire so it is almost a waste of power trying to cut them down to size. Though not as powerful as regular plasma, they have a cumulative effect particularly since the Paravian can launch a full volley again the next turn and then the next turn and so forth. It can wear down the facing shields rather quickly while the very manuverable Paravian seeks to stay out of OL (overload) range of the enemy.

Another term coined by me ;)

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

Chuck 'n Duck

Romulan (and, rarely, Orion) tactic of launching plasma, then cloaking.

Sometimes used to refer to the act of launching plasma, followed by a wild weasel, in the same impulse


Turtle (e.g. "Going turtle", "Turtle tactic", "Turtling")
The use of a slow speed, while the balance of power is put into weapons and shield reinforcement. This is different than "Starcastling", in that when Turtling the ship employing it is moving at a speed of 10, give or take 2. On a fixed map, the ship will still be able to corner an opposing ship (it might take a few turns), but gives up maneuverability and therefore gives up the initiative (the ability to pick shields and ranges in which to engage) to the opposing ship.
This tactic has been officially banned from use in sanctioned tournaments by ADB. Use of this tactic for more than a turn can cause you to lose the game if the other player calls a judge on it.

A term used to refer to shield reinforcement, particularly a moderate to large amount of reinforcement. This can be from general reinforcement, specific reinforcement, specific reinforcement from battery power, or some combination of any of them.
The term probably first came about in reference to "a brick wall", e.g. building a brick wall between yourself and the opponent. If the opponent fired their weapons and hit a noticeable amount of reinforcement, it would be noted that they "found a brick" or perhaps more accurately, "found a brick wall."

More Jargon

Claw Rake
Used mostly in a knife fight, a Claw Rake is where a ship turns after firing some significant forward-facing weapons, to expose weapons that aim to the sides (usually with RX, RA+L, or RA+R arcs). These weapons are usually defensive in nature (i.e. Ph-2s or Ph-3s) but in sufficient numbers to be a very real danger in close quarters - particularly after the opponent's shields have received a pounding from the forward weapon batteries.
The Kzinti are the ones who made this technique famous, but the Klingons employ it when using the waist phasers on an opponent.
This is not to be confused with "Parting Shot", where rear-firing weapons are used on an opponent after an overrun.
Compare to Alpha Strike, Broadsides

The use of side-firing weapons as a main weapons strike. Usually this is accomplished on those hulls who's heavy weapons reach into the L or R arcs (via FX arcs or FA+L/FA+R arcs) and then are complimented by defensive side-firing weapons and 360-degree firing phasers. The Klingon D5 or Kzinti BC are examples of hulls that can manage this, while the FRAX have an entire fleet designed around this concept.
This differs from the "Claw Rake" and "Parting Shot" in that those tactics are a secondary attack, done in concert with the firing of a traditional forward-facing set of weapons. This tactic is used as a primary attack, and is outside of the FA and Oblique arcs.

This describes a relative direction that is off of the #2 or #6 shields (in the case of a "Forward Oblique", but this is the assumed direction if in doubt) or the #3 or #5 shields (in the case of a "Rear Oblique"). "True Oblique" is where the target is on the hex-row off of one of the described shields, while "Oblique" usually describes a target that is merely in that direction by up to +/- 30 degrees off of "True Oblique". Oblique angles are important because the FA and L/R arcs intersect on the "True Oblique" hex-row and some ships can take advantage of that for a larger volley of weapons.

Hex Grain / Hex Row
These describe an orientation on the hex-map. Hex Row describes a line of adjacent hexes that is without any bends or side-slips. From any given originating hex, there are exactly six directions that will result in a hex-row. In SFB, the six shields lie on hex-rows.
Hex Grain are those directions which evenly split between hexes in an alternating fashion. This describes a that direction in which weapons fire will be split between shields. Hex Grain represents a direction on the map which cannot be represented by hex-rows, yet is important for SFB because it's effect on how shielding and weapons-fire interact. The Hex Grain occurs 30 degrees off of a Hex Row (and the next Hex Row occurs 30 degrees after the Hex Grain.)

Zero-Energy Anchor
This is where a ship gains the advantages of an anchor (primarily that of the target ship being unable to move to avoid seeking weapons) by timing the launching of seeking weapons to strike a ship when the target ship does not move on the following impulse(s) but that the seeking weapons do. No tractor beams are used and neither ship needs to spend energy on tractor links.
An example of this would be if a ship adjacent to a target ship that was moving at a speed of 27. If the ship were to launch a speed-5 Suicide Shuttle at the target ship on impulse 19, the shuttle would enter the targets hex on impulse 20 - an impulse the target ship does not move.

Sand Papering

*Sand Papering:

As in sand papering the shields. Enveloping plasma weapons, Plasmatic Pulsar Device, Helbores and Quantum Wave Torpedoes can affect more than one shield at a time. Usually at least 3 up to all 6 shields. Sand papering the shields is where you wear then shields down all over the ship.

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser


well this thread is welcome . . . took me 25+ years to decipher most of these terms (little by little)

hack-n-slash and claw-n-rake always eluded me . . . but not anymore

i've got a brick in my front windshield - and remarkably that can be a good thing (insurance companies may disagree)

Tactics Jargon

SFB has a rich language to describe the tactical environment. Perusing this lexicon fires the imagination on things one would like to do on the next time you find yourself in a one-on-one battle.

Mizia effect = narrow

Mizia effect = narrow volley

Dumping all your heavy weps on one roll. (overloads a lot of the time) (1-5 hit)
Then followed by phasers thru the open hole.

ScatterPack: A shuttle filled with drones, a very nasty surprise for someone out of weps.

Swatting flies (with a sledge hammer): Using photons to kill fighter craft.

T-bomb: Transporter bomb. anti-matter bomb delivered via transporter.
tractor them they blow up when moved :-O

I'm A soldier, Not a diplomat