Strategy: The Rebel Falcon – A Galactic Broom

By Richard McAteer

It may seem like an odd title, but this is a short piece on the rebel falcon and its usefulness in an unconventional role: the minesweeper. If you have already read the Rebel Handbook by Mr. X you have been exposed to the wonder that is the falcon. If you have not read it, I highly recommend it as reading for any rebel leader; I was tempted to write a guide to the rebels, but except for a few points it would be redundant 🙂 I have included here a rundown of the falcon’s abilities and a link to the original document It should be noted that the PL21 and B200 probes (the 2 other HYP capable ships) have similar usefulness, though the falcon is the best of the three ships, without a doubt.

The Falcon is a useful ship for:

The Falcon can move 360LY per turn, and a pair of falcons can tandem jump 720 LY without fuel.
The Falcon can move money faster than any other ship, and can move minerals better than medium and small freighters. They are also more efficient than a large freighter; 10 falcons can move 1200 cargo 360 LY for 500 kT of Neutronium, and a large freight er burns 603kT on the same distance, and can’t defend itself.
Far assistance:
The Falcon has a 120 kT cargo hold and 150kT of fuel; it can thus deliver fuel, supplies, minerals and money to ships behind enemy lines. This can repair ships, refuel them, start a colony, deliver minerals and money for torpedo production.
A HYPing ship is an excellent scout, useful for hunting freighters, and with rebel ground assault can be a constant nuisance.

Now, the Falcon doesn’t seem like a good minesweeper at first glance; it has only 30 kT of hull mass and only two beams, as well, it can’t defend itself from attackers. It is nonetheless an incredible tool in the hands of a skilled rebel leader, for it can sweep from the middle of a minefield. Since a HYPing ship doesn’t travel through any minefields it encounters, the Falcons can jump to the middle of a minefield, and clear many more mines than a crew of ships on the outside can. By aiming for overlapping areas, many minefields can be swept at once; in a recent game of mine I swept 12500 mineunits with 5 falcons in a single turn, due to the overlaps.

A Falcon with heavy phasers sweeps a relatively unimpressive 800 mine units per turn. Five Falcons, however, sweep 4000 minunits in a turn, and in overlapping minefields can sweep 4000 mine units per minefield, if positioned right. This sweeping happens no matter how much the minefield reduces in size; the Falcons are generally near the center, and thus the can sweep until it is gone. In my most recent game I set an amphibian planet going early in the game with a Merlin providing molybdenum; by ship limit I had 12 Falcons with heavy phasers, and it has been a blessing. I didn’t even build an Iron Lady, as I had a mobile sweeping force that I could deliver where and when I needed it.

The minesweeping abilities are improved by the use of gravity wells; a horde of Falcons can jump into a gravity well and sweep for 2 turns without fear of retribution, and then jump out again. If you are brave, or your opponent has no cloaker you can sta y longer, aiding your offensive ships in the attack. The maneuverability counts even more highly with webmines, since one must be in the field to sweep it. Most ships have trouble with this, as they must advance slowly, generally the first sweeper pushi ng the field back further than the second sweeper can reach. By delivering the sweeping power to the center of the webmines, all the sweeping takes place. Due to the small fuel tanks, only 2 turns can be done in a single webmine field, and 1 turn in a d ouble before your fuel runs too low to jump back out. There are two ways to get into a gravity well using HYPing ships; fly in from just outside at warp 1 or HYP right in. I first started using the gravity wells by HYPing to a point 4 LY or so from the planet I was going to hide near, and then flying 1 LY into the gravity well at warp 1 (this uses no fuel, and has very little risk of collision). Later I learned that a hyperdrive ship can jump into the gravity well directly, without falling into the planet, and here’s how:

A gravity well (a.k.a. warp well) looks something like this,

. . . . . . . . .
. . . . G . . . .
. . . g g g . . .
. . g g g g g . .
. G g g P g g G .
. . g g g g g . .
. . . g g g . . .
. . . . G . . . .
. . . . . . . . .

Where the g’s and G’s are the points in the gravity well, the P represents the planet, and the periods represent normal space. The reason I have chosen upper and lower case g’s is to identify the points one can jump to without being pulled by the gravity well. Th upper case g’s are safe when your craft’s warp setting is 1. Thus there are four points one can safely jump to, each exactly 3 LY from the planet. (Go ahead, try it!)

To summarize, the Falcon allows a mobile strike force that can reach the center of enemy fields without the risk of minehits, while resupplying your warships. It can penetrate webmines without risk of collision, and while not in use as a minesweeper is useful as a freighter, explorer, scout and courier.

What can’t it do?

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