Making the Grade: On Prowess, Vol. 2 — Deadliness

Napoleon Bonaparte possessed the mind of a genius of war. He gained his prowess by studying the traditions and theories of the military leaders who came before him. He was inspired by them and harnessed their wisdom to become one of the most ruthless, offensive-minded generals of his time. There is no other role model as perfect for this study on deadliness in VGA Planets.

“With speed, surprise, maneuver, thorough planning, dictatorial power over military affairs, and a boldness unmatched by any soldier of his generation, Napoleon wrecked army after army that the European powers hurled against him.”

(Teters, 2004, p. 14)

This second volume on prowess evaluates each empire’s fleet on its ability to kill, as measured by combat mass, warship armaments, and the class of ships in each fleet.

Combat Mass

A ship’s capacity for resisting damage is based on its hull mass and other bonuses. Each empire’s combat mass rating is the total of all its battleships and carriers with more than two hundred hull mass. This rating gives an indication of how deadly each empire’s fleet can be, as it takes more firepower to destroy more mass.

FederationNova + Missouri + Kittyhawk1,368*B
LizardsT-Rex + Madonzilla752*C
BirdsDark Wing451C
Fury (Fascists)Victorious + Ill Wind726C
CyborgAnnihilation + Biocide1,820A
CrystalsDiamond + Crystal Thunder771C
EmpireGorbie + three medium carriers1,750A
RobotsGolem + Automa + three medium carriers2,360A
ColoniesVirgo + Scorpius940B
*Federation Crew Bonus grants an extra 50 combat mass.
*Lizard Crew Bonus did not make a significant enough change to affect ranking.

Warship Armaments

Each warship has its own unique set of armaments, of which many are affected by hull size, the ship’s technology level, and the resources available to the fleet. The most deadly warships have the most beam weapons, torpedo launchers, fighter launch bays, and space in the cargo hold.

FederationMissouri, Nova, Arkham, Thor, Kittyhawk, Diplomacy87*A
LizardsT-Rex, Madonzilla, Lizard Class Cruiser38C
BirdsDark Wing, Resolute34D
Fury (Fascists)Victorious, Ill Wind53*B
PrivateersBloodfang, Meteor22D
CyborgAnnihilation, Biocide, Firecloud59A
CrystalsDiamond, Crystal Thunder, Emerald49B
EmpireGorbie, SS Cruiser, SS Carrier, SS Destroyer61A
RobotsGolem, Automa, Instrumentatility44C
RebelsRush, Iron Lady30D
ColoniesVirgo, Iron Lady33D
*Fury ships have 2x Fast Beams
*Fed carriers have +3 bays

1pt per beam weapon
1pt per torpedo launcher
1pt per fighter launch bay
1pt per 100 kiloton or portion of cargo space

Ship Class

The types of combat vessels in each fleet can shift the evaluation of deadliness, as a fleet with a larger number of heavy class warships can be deemed more deadly than a fleet with lighter warships. A ship’s class is based on its design and role: frigates, destroyers, light carriers, medium carriers, battleships, and heavy carriers.

Federation3 frigates, 5 destroyers, 1 medium carrier, 2 battleships16A
Lizards1 frigate, 3 destroyers, 1 medium carrier, 1 battleship9C
Birds3 frigates, 3 destroyers, 1 light carrier, 1 medium carrier, 1 battleship12B
Fury (Fascists)1 frigate, 3 destroyers, 1 medium carrier, 1 battleship9C
Privateers3 frigates, 2 destroyers, 1 light carrier, 1 medium carrier8D
Cyborg1 frigate, 1 destroyer, 1 light carrier, 1 battleship, 1 heavy carrier15A
Crystals3 frigates, 1 destroyer, 1 medium carrier, 1 battleship9C
Empire1 frigate, 2 light carriers, 3 medium carriers, 1 heavy carrier18A
Robots2 frigates, 2 light carriers, 3 medium carriers, 1 heavy carrier19A
Rebels3 frigates, 2 destroyers, 3 light carriers, 1 heavy carrier17A
Colonies4 frigates, 1 destroyer, 3 light carriers, 1 medium carrier, 1 heavy carrier19A
1pt – frigates, destroyers, light carriers
2pt – medium carriers
3pt – battleships
9pt – heavy carriers

Deadliness Grades

When it came to raw killing potential, it was not surprising that carrier races filled the top ranks. The Cyborg, as always, proved to be one of the most deadly races in the game. Among those which made the A list was the Solar Federation, whose special combat bonuses boosted their firepower. The Evil Empire scored straight A’s, but this might be deceiving as they were frequently hindered by a lack of fighter bays and a documented quirk in the fighter-launch Random Number Generator.

Due to a lack of armaments and variety, the Robotic Imperium, Rebel Confederation, and Missing Colonies of Man earned only B grades. If not for their heavy carriers, these races would be in trouble. With more beam weapons and battleships, these races could move from the slow-moving black cloud on the horizon to the explosive lightning storm above your roof.

The majority of the torpedo races landed at the rank of C. The Lizard Alliance, Hordes of Fury, and Crystalline Confederation had significant armaments, but their ships lacked the combat mass to compete toe-to-toe with the heavier battleships and carriers. The Empire of the Birds also received a deceiving grade of C. It was arguable that the Dark Wing was one of the most deadly battleships in the entire game, but since it was the only true combat vessel in the Bird fleet, their grade dropped drastically.

Lastly, there were the poor, helpless Privateer Bands. Their killing power was abysmal and deserved a lowly D. On second thought, perhaps feigning weakness was a part of their plan from the start.

recap of deadliness grades

In summary, the killing power of an empire is determined by the combat mass and armaments of the fleet, as well as the class of ships in the navy. Deadliness scores are a tool for players to measure the strengths of each empire’s military, and these values can be combined with other Making the Grade evaluations to determine an empire’s overall combat prowess.

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Thanks for reading. – TS

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Teters, K. A. (2004). Dissecting the mind of a genius of war: an examination of the strategy and tactics of napoleon bonaparte. Perspectives in History, 11.

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