This site hosts discussion and news about Star Fleet Battles and other Star Trek universe games, free of the censorship on the ADB BBS.
On the other BBS, it's been noted (again) that the Fed Tourney Cruiser is very dice dependent. Peter Bakija had noted that the range-4 shot is pretty bad for the Fed.
Most people aim for that range because the Photons go from a 50% chance to hit to a 75% chance to hit and it gets inside that always-does-damage threshold of the Ph-1s. On an average hit, (3x overloaded photons at 16 each, 6x PH-1s at 3.833 dmg each) a Fed will do 71 damage - enough to put the opponent on the shy side of crippled *on the first turn*. That's very attractive. Particularly because most ships are unable to blunt the attack by doing significant internals (e.g. kill a couple of photons and some phaser-1s) before the Fed gets his shot.
The reason this is a losing proposition, is because the Fed rarely gets the average shot. More often, he hits with fewer photons (perhaps one was killed on the approach, and he missed with one other), and ends up having done equivilent damage to what he received. This usually puts the Fed in the hole, because of his two-turn arming weapons, lack of auxiliary weapons, poor turn mode and poor position.
Peter suggested that instead the Fed should aim for a range-8 shot on the first turn. On average, he's looking at doing 48 damage and isn't in the hole very much if he only scores one photon hit. He is still able to turn out in order to open the range, and has taken about the same damage.
This seems like a good way to mitigate the Fed's dice dependence: Go for a low-tempo battle where you snipe with overloads from just inside overload range. Most opponents are likely to respect the Fed's willingness to play the slow game (on non-reload turns) because of the huge clout that the Photons demand.
I'd like to see some discussion on unusually dice-dependant Tourney ships and unusually non-dice-dependant Tourney ships. How can we reduce the dependence on dice for those ships which seem to live there. In theory, this will allow a player's skill to shine through, rather than winning or losing through the dice.