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 Starfleet Command 2 - Orion Pirates

 
   
 
 
Starfleet Command 2 - Orion Pirates

 *****************************************
ISC (Interstellar Concordium) Strategy Guide
 *****************************************

by Rob "Roy_mace" 

For Starfleet Command 2: Orion Pirates (SFC2:OP) and 
Starfleet Command 2: Empires at War (SFC2:EAW)

v0.92 -- see notes under "E. Ship Reviews" and "F. Final Notes."

----------
 Contents
----------

A. INTRO
B. ADVANTAGES OF ISC STARSHIPS
C. DISADVANTAGES OF ISC STARSHIPS
D. TACTICS
 D1. Flying plasma-armed ships
 D2. Flying PPD/plasma-armed ships
 D3. Energy management
 D4. The Starcastle
 D5. Combating fighters
E. SHIP REVIEWS
F. FINAL NOTES AND LEGAL INFO


----------
 A. INTRO
----------

Thanks to Corbomite, Julin Eurthyr, and Knightstorm for help and suggestions 
on the Dynaverse forums (http://www.dynaverse.net), as well as Sífaret, whose
site is referenced and given below.

ISC starships are arguably the most capable in Starfleet Command. This is 
because they were designed to be better than the ships of other empires! 
Although certain races will be able to beat out the ISC in one or two 
characteristics, there is no other empire that has such a powerful blend of 
abilities for their ships. ISC ships are rarely balanced against a comparable 
class of ship of a different empire. A fully-refitted ISC light cruiser, for 
example, is not balanced against other CLs but instead is about equal to other 
heavy cruisers and command cruisers (based on BPV). This means that, although 
powerful, the ISC are balanced in BPV-based games; they arenít a sure win if 
you are flying as them, and they arenít impossible to beat if you are facing 
them.

All pilots keep learning, and I am by no means an ace with the ISC (so read
everything critically!). This article is written with player versus player 
1v1, 2v2, and 3v3 games in mind, with one pilot flying one ship each. This 
is the usual style of play for Gamespy Arcade, but the same strategies will 
still be useful for most Dynaverse campaign and single player games. I am 
writing this based on SFC2:OP 2.5.5.2 patch and Firesoulís OP+ 4.0 shiplist 
(http://klingon.pet.dhs.org/OP_plusrefit/). This guide is also useful for 
SFC2: Empires at War, which is essentially the same game but with different
campaign missions.


--------------------------------
 B. ADVANTAGES OF ISC STARSHIPS
--------------------------------

1. High-quality ships. This is a pretty general statement, but it is true. 
ISC ships have good shields, good chances for High Energy Turns, and they 
always have average or above average numbers of secondary systems (labs,
transporters, hull, batteries). ISC early-era ships are on a par with the 
construction of most races late-era ships as far as quality goes. For example,
the original Klingon D7 has the drawback of glass rear shields and an all-
phaser-2 phaser suite, while the Federation CA is sluggish and underpowered.
The ISC CL (about equal to both of these as far as BPV goes) has none of these
weaknesses, and is an all-around great ship for its time. In the early era,
ISC ships have all the engine power of the later ships, and they havenít been
refitted with PPD or plasma-I yet, so they can fly at high speeds while fully
charging weapons, EW, etc. 


2. Weapons arcs. The typical ISC ship can fire 2/3rds to 3/4s of its phaser-1s
out of the edge of the FH (forward 180-degree) arc, and every ISC ship can 
fire all of its phaser-1s anywhere out of the FA arc. These phaser arcs work 
perfectly in conjunction with plasma torpedoes.  And by the time the ISC get 
the Z-refit, they have plasma torpedoes pointing in every direction. This 
means that it is impossible to approach most ISC ships without facing the 
threat of crunch damage. 


3. Plasmatic Pulsar Device (PPD). The PPD may be the best medium/long-range 
direct fire weapon. It is accurate at long ranges and because it normally 
fires four pulses, it has multiple chances to hit. It also does a LOT of 
damage quickly to multiple shields. Once those shields are down, internal 
damage quickly adds up as the PPD strips the targets weapons, and by then 
outcome of the battle is already decided. Also, because the PPD attacks the 
facing two/three shields and does a lot of damage, it is nearly impossible to
reinforce against. 

ISC light cruisers and above usually only have half of the number of PPDs 
compared to other races and their heavy weapons, and the PPD takes twice the 
energy to arm. However, because the PPDs are so effective, this doesnít 
matter; two PPDs do more damage at ranges 10-20 than four disruptors or 
proximity photon torpedoes. In addition, the PPD only takes half its charging
energy to hold and its unique underload function allows a lot of flexibility
in charging (covered later in the Tactics section).

The PPD does the most damage at range 4-10, but 90% of the time it is fired at
range 15. This will be covered later also, but it means that the PPD-armed ISC
ship can do a lot of damage without being close enough to receive as much in 
return.  


4. Plasma/PPD combination. Since the PPD is a great long range dancing weapon 
and plasma torpedoes do lots of damage at closer ranges, they are the perfect 
match. When youíre flying fast and dancing at medium-long range, most 
opponents will try to close the range and overcome the dancing ship with 
crunch power. But because the ISC have plasma torpedoes (usually facing in 
every direction), anyone who tries to close the range is hit by the plasma 
torpedoes. 

This means that an opponent can either try to keep the range open 
to avoid plasma torpedoes and die a quick death from PPD, or close the range 
to avoid the PPD and die a quicker death from plasma. 

Plasma torpedoes also mean that any opponent slow enough to reinforce against 
the PPD by starcastling (flying slower than speed 6.0 while reinforcing the 
front shield(s)) will be an easy target for the plasma.


---------------------------------------
 C. DISADVANTAGES and ways around them
---------------------------------------

1. Poor maneuverability. ISC ships turn at the same speed as Federation and 
Gorn ships, so they are tied with the slowest in the game. The frigates and 
destroyers are about equal to most other races, but as you get to the light 
cruisers and above, the ISC get more and more sluggish. 

However, this is balanced by the fact that the ISC will usually face opponents
that are the next size class up (like the I-CLZ/CSZ/CMZ example above, which 
is equal to most CCs/CCHs). As a result, the maneuverability of ISC ships in 
a point-balanced match will mostly be equal to Hydran, Lyran, or Kzinti/Mirak 
maneuverability.


2. Power-hungry systems, but only average power. The larger ISC ships have to
power a large phaser capacitor, plasma torpedoes, and PPDs. ISC ships have 
decent power, but itís nothing special considering the energy cost of their 
weapons. As a result, the ISC canít go as fast as the ships of other races 
while they are loading their weapons. Another thing to keep in mind is that 
PPDs and plasma-G/S both take some power to hold when they are charged. 

The good news is that plasma-I donít take any power to hold, so once they are 
charged and you only use them when they are absolutely needed, the ISC can 
move at a good clip while using their other weapons. Also, the ISC can fight 
effectively while only using about a third of their firepower (PPD only, 
heavy plasma only, etc.), so they rarely have a need to charge everything all 
at once. As long as you are smart about charging your phasers, you can usually
dance at speed 24+ while cycling between charging the PPD and the heavy 
plasmas. 


3. Limited plasma arcs on pre-refit ships. The FF, DD, and CL series all have
FH (forward 180 degrees) plasma arcs. While this means that they can fire both
torpedoes to bear obliquely, it means that they have no plasma to the rear, 
and few phaser-1s to the rear. This makes dealing with aggressive opponents 
difficult, especially if they have more crunch power and you canít turn to 
attack them without getting clobbered yourself. 

The FH plasma arcs are a matter of opinion among plasma pilots -- some like
them because they are more aggressive, but others prefer the RS/LS arcs that 
allow the plasma user to fire nearly in any direction. The problem of the 
FH-arc plasmas is fixed with the Z refit on the DD and CL series, which adds 
plasma-I launchers to the sides and rear. 


4. Spread-out plasma arcs. The average late-era Romulan or Gorn cruiser has
two plasma-S and two plasma-F torpedoes, and can fire these from the forward 
centerline. ISC cruisers might have about the same total plasma firepower 
(since they can only fire two plasma-I at a time), but their plasma-I will 
always face different directions than the heavier plasma. This means that 
standard ISC cruiser canít throw out 100 points of plasma towards a target if 
it catches the target in an anchor, for example.  

However, the ISC cruiser can fire both of its heavy torpedoes, use a HET,
and turn quickly to fire both plasma-I (or fire the side plasma-S and 
plasma-I, then HET to bring the other half to bear). Another way around this 
on a slow opponent is to fire the heavies, turn 360-degrees, and firing each 
I-torp as it comes to bear. By the time the turn is completed, the heavy 
plasma will be almost charged again. 


------------
 D. TACTICS
------------

Note: ISC ships in the Starfleet Battles board game were designed to fly in 
an echelon. This meant that 5-6 frigates and destroyers flew in the front line
(the gunline), 3-4 light cruisers and heavy cruisers flew behind them, and a
command cruiser or dreadnought flew in the back. The gunline would destroy
any closing enemy ships with their forward firing plasma-Fs and phaser-1s.
Any ships that made it past the line of FFs and DDs would be hit by the
heavier plasmas of the CLs and CAs. The plasma-S in the echelon could also be
a threat to enemy ships in front of the gunline. The PPD armed ships (usually
the CA, CC or DN, and maybe a CS) could use their long-ranged weapons to
cripple enemy ships who were still about 10 hexes/units away from the
gunline. 

Unfortunately, the fleet system in Starfleet Command isnít good enough to
really pull off the echelon strategy. Small echelons of three ships is 
possible in multiplayer games (with one person controlling each ship), but
that doesnít come close to the classic 10-11 ship echelon. However, ISC
ships are still wonderful in single ship duels and also in point-based
3v3 matches (commonly played on Gamespy Arcade, especially with mixed 
races/empires), so thatís what Iíll focus on. 


==D1. Flying plasma-armed ships==

The plasma- and phaser-armed ISC ships donít have the advantage of the PPD,
but they are still very capable in both duels and in multi-ship matches. 
Examples include the FF, DD, CL, CW, and CF, as well as the pre-refit CM and
CA. 

It is essential to know the "Gorn Anchor" and "Plasma Ballet."
They are written well at Sífaretís Gorn website at

http://ghdar.tripod.com/phasers1.htm ,

so check up there if you arenít familiar with those tactics. Itís important
to pay attention to the plasma arcs of these ships. Most of them have twin
FH-arc plasmas, which means that no matter which side they show to an enemy on
the approach of the Plasma Ballet, they can fire either, or both torpedoes. 
The drawback of the FH-arc torpedoes is that they do not cover the 3, 4, and 5
shields at all, so if you need to run from an enemy with superior crunch 
power, you canít lob the torpedoes over your shoulder while retreating. 
However, every ship larger than the frigate gets the Z-refit, which adds at 
least two rear-facing plasma-I torpedoes, which makes up for the limited FH 
arcs of the heavy torpedoes. If you are flying a pre-Z refit ship and you need
to escape a chaser, you can always use a HET to bring the forward plasmas to 
bear. 

Most experienced players will maintain a high speed and never let you land a
plasma hit (that is, unless they are purposefully taking a bloody nose in
order to do more damage in return). This means that, while plasmas are your 
big threat weapon, your phaser-1s will end up doing most of the damage during 
the match. One thing to notice on all ISC ships is that every ph-1 can fire 
out of the FA arc. With your plasmas, you can usually force your opponent to
reveal their rear shield as they run away. As they do this, fire all of your 
ph-1 into it; this is best at range 8 or closer, but also works over time at 
range 15. After their rear shield is whittled away, they will be severely 
limited -- they can choose not to reveal that shield, but it means getting hit 
by plasma, and if they choose to keep running from plasma, your phasers will 
gut their ship slowly. This tactic is called the Phaser Enema and was first 
written on Sífaretís site as well -- . 

Again, remember to fire all of your phaser-1s into their rear shield and try 
to counter any ECM with equal ECCM; many captains know to counter individual 
idle shots with a few points of specific shield reinforcement, and your only 
chance of breaking through is if you beat that by firing every phaser-1. 
Enveloping plasma-S can be useful against slow-moving targets that have many 
weak or downed shields, but otherwise, stick to normal torpedoes. Enveloping 
torpedoes cost more energy to arm and hold, and against someone who is looking
to close in and damage your ship, you want to take down their front shield 
with your torpedoes (making it foolish for them to keep up the chase) rather 
than sanding each of their shields away but leaving them intact - a desperate
opponent with weak shields all around (but no downed ones) is very dangerous.

On plasma-Gs -- it is best not to fast-load these as plasma-Fs because the 
diminished range will make torpedo hits much more difficult to accomplish. 
Two exceptions are for when you need the torpedoes quickly -- youíre hanging 
around at knife-fighting range near the end of a match, or when someone is 
chasing you at close range and you need to lob torpedoes at them (plasma-Fs do
the same damage as plasma-Gs within range 5).


==D2. Flying PPD/plasma-armed ships==

Note: There are a few PPD-armed ships without plasma, such as the CSP and 
pre-refit DN. These ships should not be flown as solo ships because of their 
lack of plasma. Once you fire the PPDs, there is nothing to keep your opponent 
from aggressively tailgating you for the entire game. However, they are useful
in multi-ship matches, as long as one of your wings uses their plasma torpedoes
as a threat to keep the other team from closing on you.

The combo-armed ships use all of the tactics mentioned for the plasma- and 
phaser-only ships, but they also get the advantages of the PPD. Simply put, 
if the ISC captain can repeatedly get PPD hits in without taking more than 
shield damage, they will win the match. Opponents have to struggle against 
the PPD Clock -- the longer they take to battle the ISC ship, the less their 
chances of winning. Once the PPD has pounded their shields to nil and begins 
to strip their weapons, the battle is practically decided already. 

A standard PPD Peel (if repeated, you can call it the PPD Dance) maneuver 
is as follows:

1. Fully charge all of your weapons and use specific reinforcement on the rear
   shield. Once the phasers are charged, reduce the phaser capacitor to 
   0%-10%.

2. Approach the enemy ship obliquely at speed 24+ (faster if youíre facing 
   S- and R-plasma).*

3. Fire all of your PPDs at range 15, and keep the target at the edge of your
   FA arc.

4. Turn away quickly after all the pulses have fired and turn off the PPDs.**

5. Speed up to increase the range to recharge. 

6. Once you are a safe distance and they arenít chasing you, recharge (itís
   best not to go slower than 16).

*If you have ĎWeaponsí set to priority 1 on the energy panel, temporarily set
it to 5 so that you donít slow down as you fire the PPDs. When itís safe to 
charge again, you can set it back to 1.

**As long as they arenít chasing you at a high speed while you turn away, 
escape while facing your opponent with either your 3 or 5 shield. This way, 
you have less of a chance of your rear shield being picked away, which really
limits your options.

PPDs are more resistant to ECM than many other direct-fire weapons, but if you
have the energy, you should still try to fire through a shift of 0. You donít 
have to rely on your phaser-1s as much as the plasma-only ISC ships, so you 
can usually reserve them for firing through downed shields created by the PPD.
  
Use your judgment on when to fire your heavy plasma (if you have any). If you
want to convince your opponent to turn away as you fire the PPDs, launch a 
real or fake plasma-S on step 1. If you do this, itís possible to fire the 
plasma opposite to the side that youíre going to turn away to -- so that you 
can employ both of your heavy torpedoes. If you want to dissuade them from 
chasing you after youíve fired, fire a real or fake plasma-S during step 3. 
If the enemy ship is intent on chasing you, turn off the PPDs right after they
have fired. Until you have a chance to charge them safely, they are a waste of
energy while someone is chasing you. Because of their arcs, plasma-I torpedoes
canít fire on the approach, but they are superb for taking down the front 
shields of anyone brave enough to chase you. Managing the plasma-I and PPD is
discussed in more detail below under "D3. Energy Management, #2 and #3." 

As a PPD/plasma ship, the best thing you can do is to always fly fast (at 
least 24 unless your opponent slows down and is far away). Donít try to pull
off the PPD approach by going slow, thinking that your enemy wonít close 
because they are afraid of your plasmas. Although they might take a plasma 
torpedo closing in, youíll be too slow to turn and feed them the other ones 
if they do decide to be aggressive, and you will take more damage in return.

Overloaded PPDs arenít all that useful just because of the myopic range of the 
PPD (overloads only useable from range 4-8). This means that they are only 
useable on a slow target, and closing to range 8 takes away from the long 
range advantage of the PPD in the first place. Normal and underloaded PPDs are
useful at range 20, but 90% of the time, you should take the range 15 shot. 
Range 20 is mostly useful if they are running away, or you donít want to get 
too close (if youíre facing a mauler- or plasma-R-armed opponent). Firing at 
range 10 is usually only useful if the enemy has fired all their weapons and 
has nothing to keep you from closing in.

It is also important to stay in the middle of the map! This will keep your 
options open and allow you to escape and run in any direction that you need 
to. It also means that an aggressive opponent canít corner you. If you canít 
stay in the middle, run for the map edge instead of the corner -- so you can 
turn either left or right once you get to the edge. 

Finally, it is important to know what your opponents will do to try to defeat 
you in a 1v1 duel. Although some weapons, like massed proximity photon 
torpedoes at range 30, can beat the PPD at long range, the reality is that 
no opponent can expect to win by "dancing" at longer ranges; the PPD will 
simply do more damage than they can return. This means that in order to win, 
they are going to have to be risky and aggressive, closing in on you. To make
sure you live and prevent this from happening, you need to maintain the range 
by keeping your speed up (24 and above), manage your energy wisely, and use 
your torpedoes to punish them if they try to get close; since the PPD and 
plasma-S are so effective at range 15, you donít usually need to get any 
closer.


==D3. Energy Management==

The most difficult part about flying an ISC ship, especially the PPD/plasma 
combo ships, is recharging the weapons while keeping up a decent speed, so use
these tricks:

1. Keep the phaser capacitor down. You wonít really need the phasers every 
turn, so donít set it to 100% unless you have the opportunity and arenít in 
danger.

2. If your plasma-I launchers have banks of two or more torpedoes each, set 
them to "Defensive" at the beginning of the match. This means that if someone
chases you, you can fire one torpedo from each launcher, and after a turn (?)
delay, you can fire another torpedo from each launcher, making it impossible 
for someone to chase you without taking huge amounts of damage. You wonít be 
able to recharge all of your I-torps as someone is chasing you, however, so 
make sure that before you fire them you set your Ďweaponsí priority to 5 under
the Energy panel. If you need to recharge your I-torps on the run, set them to 
"Main," where each launcher functions as a single plasma-F. 

3. The PPDs take a while to charge, and youíll have a hard time charging them 
along with your other weapons while you are maintaining a high speed. The way 
around this is to charge your plasmas first, and then your PPDs (since 
plasma-I/F have no holding cost). You can also use the "Underload" function of
the PPDs -- either fire them as underloads or charge them as underloads and 
then switch to Ďnormalí once they are loaded so that you only have to use the 
full 4 points of power per PPD for the final turn of arming. 

4. Again, turn off the PPDs completely if someone is chasing you; they are a 
waste of power in this situation.


==D4. The Starcastle==

The Starcastle is a tactic where you reinforce the front shield, face the 
opponentís ship, and fly at speeds slower than 6. The heavy reinforcement 
makes it difficult for anything other than plasma torpedoes to damage you, and
you usually hold one or more Wild Weasel shuttles for dealing with the 
heavier volleys of torpedoes. Using this tactic, you can fire your PPDs and 
phaser-1 at a target while keeping your heavy plasma as a deterrent to enemies
who would otherwise close in on you. It is useful if your rear shields are 
gone, and is also useful in 2v2 and 3v3 multiplayer games if your wing(s) 
decide to slow down, making your PPD Dance impossible if you want to stay with
your team (frustrating, but it happens). 

I wouldnít use this strategy too often. Besides these uses, starcastling isnít
all that good. For one, it hands the initiative to your opponent, so if they 
donít want to come to you and get hit, thereís nothing you can do about it. 
Also, youíre giving them an easy opportunity to slow and fully recharge their 
weapons. Speed is life, and by starcastling, you are limiting your options. 
Also, slow drones and plasma torpedoes (otherwise not much of threats if you 
are travelling at speed 24+) become much more dangerous. In addition, 
starcastling is considered a "dirty" tactic in a duel, because itís a refusal 
to fight -- youíre basically saying "come here and make a mistake so I can win
the game." The starcastle, if used sparingly, can be useful. 


==D5. Combating fighters==

Even with the power of the typical ISC ship, fighters should not be 
underestimated. Just one group of several fighters can mash a shield up pretty
well at long range, and at close range can tear apart the hull of a capital 
ship. Fortunately, the ISC have some ways of dealing with them that other 
races lack:
	
1. The PPD is very effective as a fighter killer. Remember that even if a 
single fighter of a squadron returns to its carrier, the whole squadron may 
"regenerate." So you have to do your best to kill the entire group. Using your
ECCM to match the natural 2 ECM of the fighters will help you do this. After 
you fire your PPDs (again, range 15 is safest against fighters), you may need 
to fire your ph-1 to destroy any remaining fighters in the group. 

2. Shotgunned plasma-S torpedoes are effective in destroying fighters, but 
only within range 10. A shotgunned plasma-S costs 4 points of energy per turn 
to arm (as opposed to the normal 2.67/turn), but splits the torpedo into three
plasma-F torpedoes. Each of these must target a different object in order to
be fired, but the good news is that each individual fighter is counted as a 
separate object, so if there are three fighters in a squadron, a shotgunned 
plasma-S will fire one plasma-F at each fighter. This is more risky than using
the PPD to clear fighters as you need to be closer, but it is more likely to 
work. 

3. I-torps -- in "Defensive" mode, plasma-I will fire at fighters without the
turn delay between firing, but will let you fire one torpedo per turn at a 
starship. "Full Defensive" is the same, but it wonít let you fire any I-torps
at other ships. I-torps work well for fighter killing, but just as with #2
above, you have to be close in order for them to work. Also, make sure that 
you set your ĎWeaponsí energy priority to 5 before you rush in on a fighter 
squadron; nothing is worse than flying in at speed 31 only to have your speed 
drop in half when youíre empty, especially when fighters and an angry carrier 
are close by. 

4. And finally, there is no fighter-spoofing bug/exploit involving shuttles. 
Not at all. ;) -- Okay, maybe there is, but it's not intended to be in the 
game and is more of a cheat than anything else. It's fine to use in single-
player games, but don't try it on human opponents.


-----------------
 E. SHIP REVIEWS
-----------------

 -------------------------------------------
|BASE CLASS (BPV) -- full name -- weapons   |
|                   -- power/movement cost  |
| REFIT1 (BPV) -- refit description         | 
| REFIT2 (BPV) -- refit description         | 
| etc.                                      |
|                                           |
|  Comments ...                             |
 -------------------------------------------

Note: ships in **_____**  are incomplete. These are mostly carriers, and 
fighters/fighter strategies arenít my specialty. I also skipped the heavy war
destroyer series because they are very weak compared to the rest of the ISC 
line--there is never a point in chosing to fly any of them.



FF (69) -- Frigate -- 4 ph-1 and 2 plasma-F 
                     -- 15 power/0.33 MC
 FFW (73) -- FF with an additional 4 ph-3
 
  The ISC frigate is a well-balanced frigate with lots of firepower and good
shields for its size. The 4 ph-1, all of which can be fired from out of the
FA arc like all ISC ships, can heavily weaken opposing frigatesí shields
within range 8. Like most smaller ISC ships, the twin FH-arc plasmas make
dealing with chasing opponents problematic. Fortunately, the FF can pull
off multiple HETs in a match as long as it doesnít use a HET too often.
With the large phaser capacitor and plasmas, charging your weapons while
flying fast can be difficult; always try to stagger firing your plasma-Fs so
that one is usually held (pseudo torpedoes are useful for this) and manage
your phaser capacitor. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

FFE (72) -- Escort Frigate -- 4 ph-1, 4 ph-3, and 2 plasma-D 
                             -- 15 power/0.33 MC
	
  The FFE is a good escort in that its phasers alone help make up for the lack
of heavy weapons, and without any plasmas to charge, it is quite fast. 
However, the only time you would want this over the FFW would be in a 3v3 
match where your team specifically needs an escort, like if one of your wings
is flying a carrier.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

FFL (83) -- Frigate Leader -- 4 ph-1, 4 ph-3, and 1 plasma-G  
                             -- 16 power/0.33 MC

  In the echelon formation, the frigate and destroyer leaders were meant to be 
at the very nose of the gunline; although the echelon isnít often usable in 
Starfleet Command, the FFL is still good. The added shields, power, and the 
cheaper cost of arming one plasma-G compared to two plasma-F makes it an 
efficient ship. Two things against it: the high BPV cost (compared to most 
frigates) and the fact that you have half the plasma "crunch" power of the 
original FF, making aggressive opponents difficult to face; for these reasons,
the FFL is best used in 2v2 and 3v3 matches, where the added range of the
plasma-G is also a bonus.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

FFV (88) -- Frigate Carrier -- 4 ph-1, 4 ph-3, 2 plasma-F, and 4 fighters
                              -- 14 power/0.33 MC

  I donít recommend this ship. The small amount of fighters doesnít come close
to making up for the high BPV, and if you play at a high enough BPV to 
purchase good fighters, the ship is even more outmatched.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DD (81) -- Destroyer -- 4 ph-1 and 2 plasma-F 
                       -- 20 power/0.50 MC
 DDW (85) -- DD with an additional 4 ph-3
 DDZ (95) -- DDW with an additional 2 plasma-I

  While the destroyer doesnít gain any weapons over the frigate, it has an 
easier time charging its weapons and is a tougher ship (more hull and 
shields, and a total of 4 labs -- so the shields recharge twice as fast). 
The Z-refit gives the destroyer 360į plasma coverage, but otherwise pushes 
the BPV a little too high, where it is no longer a match for comparably-priced
enemy ships.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DE (95) -- Destroyer Escort -- 4 ph-1, 4 ph-3, and 4 plasma-D 
                              -- 20 power/0.50 MC

  The destroyer escort is useful in a full echelon, and is included in the 
game to make it complete, but it isnít useful in multiplayer games. Since the
full 10-11 ship echelon strategy is impossible in SFC, skip this ship.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DDG (88) -- Plasma G Destroyer -- 4 ph-1, 4 ph-3, and 1 plasma-G 
                                 -- 20 power/0.50 MC
 DDGZ (97) -- DDG with an additional 2 plasma-I

  The DDG is more expensive than it is worth. The DDGZ isnít as useful in 
2v2 and 3v3 games as the DDZ and DW because other war destroyers, such as the
Gorn BDD, have the same plasma setup but much more engine power. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DDL (106) -- Destroyer Leader -- 4 ph-1, 4 ph-3, and 2 plasma-G
                                -- 22 power/0.50 MC
 DDLZ (116) -- DDL with an additional 2 plasma-I

  The DDL and DDLZ are too expensive to use in point-based games, especially 
the latter, which is comparable in price to many war cruisers.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DW (96) -- War Destroyer -- 4 ph-1, 4 ph-3, 2 plasma-F, and 2 plasma-I 
                           -- 21 power/0.50 MC
	
  The DW is essentially a DDZ that traded one of its labs for another point of
power, and has trouble facing other war destroyers, which usually have more 
power, more phasers, or longer-ranged plasmas. However, with their plasma 
coverage (and speed, as long as all the plasmas are charged), the DW and 
DDZ work better as plasma escorts in a 2v2 or 3v3 match than as single ships 
in a duel. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CL (119) -- Light Cruiser -- 6 ph-1 and 2 plasma-G 
                            -- 32 power/0.67 MC
 CLW (123) -- CL with an additional 4 ph-3
 CLY (132) -- CLW with the plasma-Gs replaced as plasma-S
 CLZ (151) -- CLY with an additional 4 plasma-I

  After the series of so-so destroyers, the CL series of ships picks things up
again. The pre-refit CL is great in early era games, where its powerful phaser
suite and awesome power curve let it run circles around most racesí early CAs.
The CLY is good in later-era fleet games, where its dual plasma-S can be used 
to outreach most other war cruisers (with 1 plasma-S and 2 plasma-F) and other
plasma wings can cover the FH-only arcs of the CLY. The CLZ is good, but the 
CW (covered below) barely costs more and is more capable.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CE (141) -- Escort Cruiser -- 8 ph-1, 4 ph-3, and 4 plasma-D 
                             -- 32 power/0.67 MC

This ship is of very limited use--only if you are winging with someone who is 
flying a carrier. In that case, the ship does a good job as an escort and can 
also use its powerful phaser suite for offense.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CSP (142) -- Strike Cruiser -- 6 ph-1, 4 ph-3, and 2 PPD 
                              -- 32 power/0.67 MC
 CSZ (161) -- CSP with an additional 4 plasma-I

  The CSP is only useful in 2v2 and 3v3 games where you have one or more wings
armed with plasma to keep the opposing team from being too aggressive; on its 
own, the ship has nearly no rear-firing weapons. The CSZ, however, is very 
powerful in both duels and fleet matches, and is a prime ship to use the PPD/
plasma tactics outlined above.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CM (133) -- Medium Cruiser -- 6 ph-1, 4 ph-3, and 3 plasma-G 
                             -- 32 power/0.67 MC
 CMP (137) -- CM with 1 plasma-G replaced as 1 PPD
 CMZ (154) -- CMP with an additional 4 plasma-I

  The pre-refit CM isnít as good as the CLY because three plasma-G cost more 
energy and have less range than two plasma-S, not to mention all three 
plasma-G are FH-only. The P- and Z-refit medium cruisers try to merge 
mainly-PPD and mainly-plasma armaments onto the same hull, but the end result
is that the CMP/Z doesnít have the plasma threat factor that the CLY/Z has, 
and it doesnít have the long range punch that the CSP/CSZ have. Stick with the
specialized ships instead. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

**CVL** (134) -- Light Carrier -- 6 ph-1, 4 ph-3, 2 plasma-S, and 6 fighters
                               -- 31 power/0.67 MC 
  CVLZ (153) -- CVL with an additional 4 plasma-I

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CVLP (144) -- Light Strike Carrier -- 6 ph-1, 4 ph-3, 2 PPD, and 6 fighters
                                     -- 31 power/0.67 MC
 CVLS (153) -- CVLP with an additional 4 plasma-I

  How is the CVLS cheaper than the CSZ when it is the same ship plus six extra
fighters? The only thing it loses is one point of power. Although I canít see 
why this makes sense, you still might want to take the CSZ over the CVLS: the 
single point of power can make a difference, and the CVLS canít usually afford
to buy any good fighters without becoming too expensive.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

**CVP** (152) -- Patrol Carrier -- 6 ph-1, 4 ph-3, and 12 fighters
                                -- 28 power/0.67 MC
  CVPZ (170) -- CVP with an additional 4 plasma-I

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CW (157) -- War Cruiser -- 6 ph-1, 4 ph-3, 2 plasma-S, 2 plasma-F, 
                             and 4 plasma-I -- 34 power/0.67 MC
	
  The war cruiser is like a more powerful version of the CLZ for only 6 more 
BPV. The extra front plasma-F make the Gorn anchor more deadly with this ship,
and the extra power always helps. This ship, however, is somewhat "cheesy" in 
that it wasnít really used in Starfleet Battles (I think it was conjectural)
and that it is definitely underpriced for what it really is . . . so itís 
really your choice whether you want to fly the CW or not in point-based games
(after a while you might see it so much that the CLZ makes battles more 
interesting). 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CA (146) -- Heavy Cruiser -- 8 ph-1 and 3 plasma-G 
                            -- 40 power/1.00 MC
 CAP (156) -- CA with an additional 6 ph-3, one plasma-G swapped for 1 PPD
 CAY (165) -- CAP with the plasma-Gs replaced as plasma-S
 CAZ (194) -- CAY with an additional 6 plasma-I

  The CA series is a very powerful one. Just like the pre-refit CL, the CA is
very fast and is more than a match for the early era CCs of any other empire. 
Flying the CAY or the CAZ is a matter of opinion. The CAY matches the heavy 
command cruisers of most races at 165 points, but you could also fly the CSZ 
or the CLZ (smaller ships, but fully-refitted); these have either better PPD 
capability or better plasma ability, but not quite the mix of the two. Instead
of the CAZ, you could usually fly the CCY (200 points), which has more power 
and an additional PPD, but no plasma-I. Play around with these ships and see
whether you like the specialized ones vs the generalized CA-series better; 
personally, I like the specialized smaller ships better, but it is a matter
of opinion, as well as what your wings are flying (in a fleet match).

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CF (180) -- Fast Cruiser -- 10 ph-1, 6 ph-3, 2 plasma-S, and 2 plasma-I 
                           -- 44 power/1.00 MC
	
  The fast cruiser is great as both a dueler and in fleet matches at under 
200 points; by then, you should take the CCY for the PPDs. In fleet matches, 
the CF should be flown as an escort for the direct fire ships on your team, 
using its plasmas as "threat" weapons. It can also contribute using its ten 
phaser-1s.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NCA (191) -- System Cruiser -- 8 ph-1, 6 ph-3, 2 plasma-S, 6 plasma-I,
                                 and 1 PPD -- 38 power/1.00 MC

  I donít recommend the NCA because 38 points of power is just too little to
fly with on an over-gunned ship like this. It can be done, but there are much 
better ships for about the same price. The plasma-S are also on restrictive FH
arcs.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NCS (201) -- Strike System Cruiser -- 8 ph-1, 6 ph-3, 1 plasma-S, 
                                        6 plasma-I, and 2 PPD -- 
                                        38 power/1.00 MC

  See the NCA above. The NCS is nearly the same, but swaps a plasma-S for an 
additional PPD. This makes power management even worse, so you should never 
take the NCS (especially when you can also get the CCY for 200 points). 
	
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

**CV** (162) -- Fleet Carrier -- 8 ph-1, 6 ph-3, 2 plasma-S, 
                                 and 8 fighters -- 40 power/1.00 MC
  CVZ (191) -- CV with an additional 6 plasma-I

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CAA (188) -- Armored Cruiser -- 8 ph-1, 6 ph-3, 2 plasma-S, and 1 PPD 
                               -- 40 power/1.25 MC
 CAAZ (216) -- CAA with an additional 6 plasma-I
	
  Forget the armored cruiser -- it is an overpriced CA that has better shields,
some armor, and a higher movement cost. Since speed and maintaining range are 
your principle ways to avoid damage, the higher movement cost is death. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CC (191) -- Flagship Cruiser -- 8 ph-1, 6 ph-3, 2 plasma-G, and 2 PPD 
                               -- 44 power/1.00 MC
 CCY (200) -- CC with the plasma-Gs replaced as plasma-S
 CCZ (229) -- CCY with 6 additional plasma-I

  The flagship (command) cruiser is one of the most powerful of the ISC 
designs. Although the pre-refit CC leans a little too much toward a PPD 
armament (the plasma-Gs arenít enough to hold back chasing opponents), it 
is useful in early and middle era fleet matches where one of your teammates 
is flying a dedicated plasma boat. The CCY is great in both 1v1 and fleet 
battles in later era matches. So is the CCZ, as long as the BPV doesnít go 
too high into the dreadnought price range, where it is eventually outclassed
by larger ships.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

**CVD** (189) -- Interdiction Carrier -- 8 ph-1, 6 ph-3, and 16 fighters 
                                      -- 36 power/1.00 MC
  CVDZ (216) -- CVA with an additional 6 plasma-I

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

BCV (263) -- Battle Carrier -- 8 ph-1, 6 ph-3, 2 plasma-S, 2 PPD, 6 plasma-I,
                               and 8 fighters -- 40 power/1.00 MC

  The BCV is a deathtrap in point-based games. It doesn't have enough power,
even if you do manage your energy well, and the cost will put it up against
DNHs (!). Even worse, if you want your fighters to actually be good fighters,
the BPV cost will skyrocket. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DNL (269) -- Light Dreadnought -- 8 ph-1, 6 ph-3, 3 PPD, and 6 plasma-I
                               -- 55 power/1.25 MC

  The DNL is pretty fast and has a good armament, but because you could only
fire two plasma-I a turn -- not enough to scare an aggressive opponent in a 
DN. I would only recommend flying it in a fleet match where your wing has 
plasma-R and plasma-Ss. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DN (254) -- Dreadnought -- 10 ph-1, 8 ph-3, and 4 PPD 
                        -- 56 power/1.50 MC
 DNZ (292) -- DN with an additional 8 plasma-I
		
  Like most PPD-oriented ISC ships, the DN and DNZ must rely on a teammate 
with heavier plasma to lob at aggressors. Although the plasma-I are pretty 
good for deterring opponents, a determined pilot in a 1v1 match can eat the 
incoming torpedo on a side shield while lining up a range 8 shot at the ISCís 
rear shield. The ISC dreadnought has below-average power (and the PPDs are 
energy-thirsty weapons), so you must remember to use every setting for the 
weapon (underload, and offline for when you are on the defensive). 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

**CVA** (251) -- Heavy Carrier -- 10 ph-1, 8 ph-3, 2 PPD, and 16 fighters 
                           -- 56 power/1.50 MC
 CVAZ (289) -- CVA with an additional 8 plasma-I

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DNT (282) -- Torpedo Dreadnought -- 10 ph-1, 8 ph-3, 2 plasma-S, 8 plasma-I,
                                    and 2 PPD -- 56 power/1.50 MC

  The swap of two PPDs for two plasma-Ss on the DNT fixes the plasma-weak
problem of the DN/DNZ, but also significantly takes away from the direct fire
punch . . . because of this, the DNT has barely any more firepower than the 
CCZ. Again, I recommend flying the DNZ (or DNM/DNH) and relying on a dedicated
plasma wing to provide for defense.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DNP (272) -- Plasma Dreadnought -- 10 ph-1, 8 ph-3, 4 plasma-S, and 8 plasma-I
                                -- 56 power/1.50 MC

  The plasma dreadnought is a decent plasma boat, but if thatís what you are 
looking for, you should just take the Gorn DNH/DNHph or the Romulan PRA 
instead -- these have plasma-R, better phasers, and much more engine power.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DNW (291) -- War Dreadnought -- 8 ph-1, 8 ph-3, 2 plasma-S, 4 plasma-I,
                                4 plasma-D, and 2 PPD -- 56 power/1.50 MC

  The war dreadnought is like a weaker, yet more expensive DNT. While the 
plasma-D can be nice, most of the time you wonít be using them, so they are a 
waste of BPV. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

DNM (301) -- Medium Dreadnought -- 14 ph-1, 8 ph-3, 4 plasma-I, 4 PPD, 
                                   and 2 plasma-D -- 59 power/1.50 MC
DNH (306) -- Heavy Dreadnought  -- 14 ph-1, 8 ph-3, 8 plasma-I, and 4 PPD 
                                -- 58 power/1.50 MC

  The DNM and DNH are almost interchangeable and are both great choices if you
happen to be in a match that is above 300 BPV. Because both have no heavy 
plasma, they (like all of the ISC dreadnoughts) are best flown in 2v2s and 
3v3s where a plasma-armed teammate can escort you while your PPDs and massive 
amounts of phaser-1s rip down enemy shields.  

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

**BB** (341) -- Battleship -- 13 ph-1, 8 ph-3, 2 plasma-S, 4 PPD,
                              and 6 fighters -- 78 power/2.00 MC
 BBn (329) -- BB with no fighters
 BBZ (390) -- BB with additional 12 plasma-I

  I havenít had too much experience with the battleship, but it doesnít seem
like too much of an improvement over the DNM or DNH. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

**BBV** (359) -- Battleship Carrier -- 11 ph-1, 8 ph-3, 2 plasma-S, 4 PPD, 
                                       and 16 fighters -- 78 power/2.00 MC
 BBVZ (390) -- BBV with additional 12 plasma-I

  The BBV is so-so for the price, but at most games above 300 BPV, youíre just
going for the biggest ship anyway, even if it isnít efficient. In this case,
the many fighters (outfit them as the nasty Caveat-IIIs if you have the 
points) can rip even other battleships to pieces in seconds.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-------------------------------
 F. FINAL NOTES AND LEGAL INFO
-------------------------------

Although Starfleet Command 2: Orion Pirates is an old game, it is still great 
and I feel that it will never lose its loyal crowd of players, even if that
crowd is smaller than it once was. It is my hope that this guide helps players
have more fun with the ISC race and the game in general.

This guide is not complete, so I would love to hear suggestions on strategies
that you've had luck with, and any comments/criticisms in general. You can 
email me at my address below.

Finally, I encourage any fans of SFC to go to Dynaverse.net and check out the
forums. There are some great general guides here on Gamefaqs for SFC2:OP/EAW, 
but there are a number of race-specific, detailed guides that will give you
a detailed description of how to fly the Hydrans, for example.


Copyright 2009-2010 Roy_mace

All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by their
respective trademark and copyright holders.

This guide/FAQ may be reproduced in its original form without my permission, 
but if you wish to edit any of the content, please ask me first by emailing me
at:

r o y c h i p o q u a -AT- yahoo -DOT- com (anti-spam measure, just take away 
all spaces and put the real symbols in)
 

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