|Judgement Class Battleship|
|Size Class||Large Capital|
|0-1: +1 Shield||+15|
|0-2: +1 Mv||+5|
|0-1: -1" Turn Limit||+10|
|0-1: +2 AP||+10|
|0-1: +2 Wing Capacity||+5|
|0-1: Give Turrets Split Fire MAR||FREE|
|Give all Beam Weapons Biohazard MAR||+10|
|Give all Torpedoes Biohazard MAR OR Corrosive MAR||+10|
|Gain Special Forces MAR||+10|
|0-3 Punisher or Suppresion Class Escorts||+15 each|
|0-3 Zenian League escorts||Variable|
DR 6, Mv 6”, HP 8, CP 6 and Turn Limit 2” are pretty standard, nothing special.
CR 11 is one of the best in class, especially in combination with Reinforced (Fore) MAR. With DR6 it is not hard to damage it, but because of CR 11 it is really hard to put a critical hit on it every turn. That means that it is usually worn down by many single damage hits and that time and resources.
AP 6 is a bit above average which means it can board a small or damaged medium capital ship. AP can be upgraded to 8, but it’s a bit costly.
PD 5 is not enough for this class and that means either escorts or SRS are needed. 5 PD is bad because every point of damage makes it even worse and PD4 or 3 leaves Judgement very vulnerable.
MN 7 is very good but it’s really special for a Directorate vessel as only one other Directorate ship has mines, the Nemesis Destroyer. Mines can help with board control and seriously hamper with opponent’s movement (like flanking, shunting etc.) or help to protect Judgement against close targets.
Shield Rating 1 is average, you can’t depend on it but it’s still nice to have.
Wing capacity of 1 is nothing great but it’s again something special for a Directorate vessel as it’s the only ship beside the carrier to be able to field any wings.
Beam Weapons – Turrets 9/14/6/3
Well, it’s great that they are beam weapons, but that’s about it. The worst is there are huge gaps between RB1 and 2 and between RB2 and 3 which makes it rather hard to use.
Primary Weapons – Fore (Fixed) 8/9/6/2
Fore (Fixed) is something special within the Directorate fleet. Another rarity is the use of Primary Weapons. Pretty decent numbers are downgraded by 8” range bands.
Torpedo Weapons – Starboard/Port 6/6/6/6
Although it’s nice to have some torpedoes don’t expect something special as 6AD is usually not enough to do almost anything. They can be useful later in the game though.
Although Judgement packs some decent firepower it lacks in versatility as beams are really effective only in RB2 (especially after some damage) and fore fixed primaries are fixed and without range. Judgement only shines when links primaries to beams – but here comes the problem with different range bands…
up to 8” it’s 13AD (9+4)
up to 10” it’s 13AD (9+4)
up to 16” it’s 18AD (14+4)
up to 20” it’s 17AD (14+3)
up to 24” it’s 9AD (6+3)
up to 30” it’s 7AD (6+1)
up to 32” it’s 4AD (3+1)
above 32” only beams with their 3AD
As you can see undamaged Judgement can throw some serious punch up to 24” but only in its fore fixed arc. Also as these numbers rely on linking two systems it really suffers from double degradation. Another problem is underwhelming RB1, especially after some damage, combined with slow speed. If something gets too close Judgement just can’t throw decent punch and lacks the speed to disengage and return to RB2.
Countermeasures – I actually have no idea why this MAR exists. I have never used it as the distance of 8” makes it pretty much useless. It can be maybe useful on a boarding specialized ship or in a fleet with some Decimator Warheads, but still I would say nothing that can be used effectively and consistently with some purpose.
Reinforced (Fore) – This is very important MAR increasing the ships protection. It actually pushes its CR to 12 from the front and that’s top class level of protection, especially combined with shields. So keeping the ship always with its front to the enemy is paramount – that shouldn’t be that hard as it’s also very important to use those fixed guns. If you can’t cover all enemy ships with fore arc at least cover those that are potentially capable to score a critical hit – that usually means cruiser squadrons or enemy larges. But holding enemy in the fore arc also means not using those starboard/port torpedo weapons. But that’s an issue with all Directorate ships and brings the question of use or not to use Reinforced (Fore) every single turn.
Superior Design – Another great MAR increasing the ships protection. Because of it the Judgement can’t get a hazard marker and all crew damage is halved. This makes it hard to kill its crew and then board it.
+1 Shield is a great option that makes Judgement really tough and even harder to crit. Two shields are also more dependable.
Extra movement (1-2”) would be nice and could negate the problem of disengaging, but not for a price of 10pts. per inch. Too expensive.
Lower turn limit is a great choice and really make it easier to bring those fore fixed guns to bear. Because of its price it’s almost a must have.
+2 Assault Points pushes those pretty good boarding capabilities even further, but it’s 10pts. and that’s a bit too much, especially if you consider this ship has only 6” movement, fore fixed guns and best RB2. Trying to make a dedicated boarding vessel out of it actually cancels its good firing qualities.
+2 Wing capacity is very useful as it can further increase ships protection or bring some extra AD. With 3 wings it’s a bit problematic to bring extra AD as every loss is felt immensely. At this point I would not consider taking Fighters as they offer only 6AD and even a single loss makes them useless. Also they pack only 3PD so don’t shine there either. Assault craft have the same issue. Because of that only Bombers, Interceptors and Support Shuttle are a relevant choice. With Bombers you get useful 3PD but also nice 9AD punch. Loss of a one bomber is felt but even two can harm a cruiser or a frigate, so still useful. Interceptors bring 6PD with 6” radius and that’s simply great as they can easily protect parent ship and still offer some protection to other ships around. They can also intercept other SRS, especially feared Bombers. Support Shuttles can help with ship repair and can be used together with Interceptors, like 2 Interceptors and 1 Support Shuttle.
Split Fire MAR is one of the most useless things in the game. Yes, it’s for free but still completely useless. It can be useful at RB2 against small or damaged targets but only so far as Judgement itself is without any damage. Also shooting at smalls or damaged targets early in the game means player did something wrong (he should be tearing apart big juicy targets) or it’s later in the game and Judgement already received some damage and so can’t split its fire effectively.
Giving Beam weapons Biohazard Ammo MAR is only expensive fun as this ship excels at huge linked punches with its primary weapons – so most of the time it loses the coherency effect and do nothing.
Giving Torps Biohazard Ammo MAR or Corrosive MAR is another expensive fun as those 6AD torps have a huge problem to reliably do some damage.
Special Forces MAR is not such a bad idea if its primary function is ship protection. With 6AP there is no chance to reliably do damage though boarding and even those expensive 8AP don’t help that much. As Special Forces also loose coherency effect it’s useless with assault escorts.
Judgement can be accompanied by up to three Punisher escorts. These escorts are pretty paper-thin but offer great PD boost. What usually happens is that Judgement is so well protected at long ranges that escorts are the target of oncoming attacks and die pretty fast. Opponent does this to make Judgement more vulnerable to torpedo attacks and to use his low long range shots that would be wasted because of Judgement shields. As Judgement usually closes head on escorts are also the only smalls closing like that which makes them even better target. Even though they are paper-thin they get usually ignored in later turns when better targets are presented. So if they survive first two rounds they usually survive the next two also. This can be exploited with extra AP and help Judgement to deal with close targets – more in tactics.
So what are Judgement’s pros and cons?
+ toughness (high CR, shields, Reinforced (Fore), Superior Design)
+ very hard hitting forward linked fire
- beam AD difference
- double degradation
- fore fixed guns
- low movement
- low PD
So if we built the ship with this in mind we should further increase its pros and mitigate as much of the cons as we possibly can. For that we have three hardpoints:
- Second shield boosts already very good toughness.
- Lower Turn Limit boosts manoeuvrability and negates the issue with fore fixed primaries.
- Extra wings can help to negate low PD issue, especially if we choose interceptors.
Low movement is not that big of an issue and can even be turned out to be an advantage, so no problems there. Boarding capabilities were never the centrepiece of its fighting potential so no problems there.
In 1.5 rules Judgement had to be deployed with great care and used with even greater finesse. With the narrow fore fixed corridor it couldn’t just blast its way through the middle of enemy fleet, but had to take a much more indirect route to get at least two good RB2 shots. That could be a little tricky and usually required to deploy it as the last ship on the board and deploy it a bit to the side of the main attack formation. It is pretty similar now. Judgement still needs good deployment (because of its low speed) and still can’t be the first one in the fight. Forward fleet elements usually get their first shot nice and clean but then find themselves too close as the enemy also closes for ideal shots. So they either need to get some distance again or close even more. Judgement does not have enough movement for the first and lacks firepower for the second. So it has to stay a bit back and let the opponent focus on other fleet elements, like cruisers. Now its low speed comes to great effect as it can easily move only 3” per turn and keep the enemy further than 10” longer without the need to drastically change course and so move fore fixed guns off target. The speed actually allows Judgement to maintain course and target lock for longer. Because of this it should be able to put two or even three good shots at a closing enemy ship. Two 18AD shots can seriously damage enemy BS and with some help completely rip it apart in two turns. As those shots often target the biggest threat it also keeps the fore better protected. When the fleets close the speed is a problem again as other ships outmanoeuvre it pretty easily and so prevent it from using fore fixed guns. At this stage it is usually better to just ignore those close targets and focus on more distant targets in RB2. That leaves the Judgement somewhat defenceless against close enemies but helps other fleet elements immensely. Still Judgement can deal with close targets in several ways:
1. If the target is to the side then just target it with torpedoes. Hopefully the target is at this stage already damaged and so torps are actually effective weapon.
2. If the close target is in the way to another more viable target than those good AP can be used. Just move Judgement to barding distance and fire at the distant target. The close target should already be damaged but it’s not a necessity if you have assault escorts with you. Judgement with three escorts can have up to 12AP and that should be enough for even a single undamaged cruiser.
3. Now it’s time to drop some mines to hamper enemy movement options or drop mines directly on top of them. 7AD mine is not enough for a BS but should be enough against frigates or medium capitals.
With the already mentioned in mind Judgement is very effectively used as alpha dealer against the biggest threat for the fleet. With 6” speed it can stay in the second line to bear its weapons on target easier but also speed up a bit to explore opponent’s mistakes.
So what TACs are very well used with it?
Drives to Maximum helps in critical moment to negate its low speed. This card is most effective later in the game when Judgement needs to get some distance from the enemy. It can be used early in the game to close faster, but usually later in the game the effect is more important, it’s early damage vs. survivability.
Focused Repair can be critical to repair impeded or disabled forward arc, but otherwise no special use.
Firewall Breach can be used to incredible effect if used correctly. Against large vessels it can be used to hopefully take down shields (with downed PD helping Hostilities). Or it can target the bridge to further damage crew or cancel AP to allow easier boarding. Or it can be used to target engines and slow down fast approaching enemy ship to keep her longer in ideal range.