Any suggestions for keeping frigates alive?

Do you guys have any hints or strategies for keeping frigates alive?

I’ve tried keeping them fast by using no armor and 2 shields, no shields and 2 armor, 1 shield/1 armor. Nothing seems to help much.

I find one strategy is to keep them back using a formation order on a decoy throw away ship that will die quickly so that they show up after the cruisers have already engaged but one problem is that I can’t combine the formation order with a “keep moving” order so even when they do hit the battle they just sit around taking fire which equals a relatively quick death.

What do you guys the experts normally do with frigates and how do you design them?

(been playing predominately with the Federation so far)

Frigate cannot be kept alive.

Your only bet is hope that the other side isn’t using rocket fighters, in that case you can just mass them with keep moving.

Manipulate the range bands with your fast frigates–if you’re carrying a range 500 weapon, set range to 1000. Watch 'em dance. And die vs. rocket fighters, and die anyway when they take a wrong turn or when their speed isn’t enough to duck a cruiser volley.

Try the Escort order; slide the distance all the way up to 600.

Use the “second rank” theory–requires Formation, and vs. rocket fighters better pile on the armor and/or the AA, but again vs. rocket fighters in large numbers it is only a question of time.

Initial placement in the battle area can have an important effect on how long a frigate stays alive.

In general, Frigates often don’t live through a battle–the question is, do they get to do what you intended before they turn into so much radioactive space debris?


Thanks for the suggestions.

Do you suggest shields or armor or both?

I’ve done some limited testing and it appears they survive longer with no armor and two shields but I can’t always be sure.

As with many things in GSB, there is no single good answer to this question. Go with shields, no armor and you’ll meet the weapon that chews shield and frigates vaporize. Reverse that, same deal. For tribe, I like armor only with tribe repair. Take advantage of hull advantages; consider going armor-only for hulls with an armor boost.

Consider intended role when you make the decision, and remember it isn’t either/or. Clever use of both can work. Powered armor won’t totally kill speed. . .

For dancing speedsters, I prefer shield or shields, to help shrug off any fire that happens to catch up to it; for most frigates I put in formation behind cruisers I use a shield and one or more armor modules…speed is not so important, as a slow frigate will be as fast or faster than cruisers except in extreme circumstances (look for a thread I started about fast cruisers for more info on that topic).

Experiment, play around, good luck. . .


Shield. They will die to rocket fighters/pulse laser/beam laser regardless. No point jacking up the cost.

The only exception is if you can have both 15+ armor and over 0.8 speed. In this case beam laser stop hitting them, leaving them with just pulse laser/target painter to worry about.

The two things frigate does better than cruiser are

  1. Stun Lock
  2. Speed

If you are not using either of the 2, you better off just using a cruiser.

Frigates (with fighters) are good for small or high speed conflicts. They’re good against fast cruisers, and you can tailor them well enough to ward off fighters provided the pilot count isn’t something ridiculous.

Unfortunately, the Flavor of the Month setups (or rather, several months) have been big fights involving slug cruisers armed to the teeth with ranged weapons. Not much room for frigates until something gets those slugs moving again.

I’m holding out for super heavy .3 tracking plasma cannons.

Yeah… a few armor tank and frigates will never survive the dual rocket fighters.

This game doesn’t give much incentive to move. Rushes in general are getting less and less usable as fleet with 7 MWM can still defend off a rush.

Then, even after making a rush that can rush through a MWM/Plasma spammer, posting it is even more pointless. They can be counter simply by spamming the same short range weapons, but skip the engines. You just can’t stop people from throwing the most obvious hard counter at it.

The natural question would be “why should I put engines on my ships when the other side can take advantage of it by not putting any?” So we end up with slug battles we see today.

I’m using Frigates in my campaign games.

As a fighter lure, where a frigate with 4 anti fighter rocket launchers and two escort squadrons sit well away from my fleet to distract fighters. It seems to work so far and I can/have won battles against the main fleet with no opposition from fighters. If the frigate dies, well it was cheaper than trhe captured fighters I gain. The speed of the Frigates death seems related directly to the number of fighters it faces. I intend to cut back on fighter defences on my cruisers next.

As a LR missile platform. In the early game Frigates are easier and cheaper to build. In support (behind) Cruisers, they perform fine and seem to survive most “balanced” combats. I can get 4 fast missile launchers, armour & sheilds on a frigate for under 1000Cr & 70 odd crew. They aren’t particularly potent, but they are cheap & easy to replace.

As an occupying force a single frigate is enough to get improvements in loyalty and two is better & cheap.

As a trip wire force, currently I’m experimenting with holding back the fleet and using it en-mass where needed. Frontier systems are instead held by spare Frigates which retreat on contact with an invasion fleet. Its early days, but this strategy should pay dividends.

I’ve shied away from sacrificial roles for frigates, IMHO the campaign game is as much about husbarding resources as it is about ship design & fleet tactics.

Hopefully food for thought?

I am fairly new but so far it seems there is no really good use for frigates accept for a band of plasma launchers sitting behind a tank. Do frigates really even have a use anymore? Seems in most games I send in 10 bazillion torpedo fighters or just a bunch of cruisers.

Is there a balance issue that would help frigates become more useful? Maybe I am just missing the mark.


Thanks for all of your thoughts on this topic.

Have you ever been able to employ any time of “EMP Frigate” effectively?

I’ve built them (armed with two EMP missile launchers) and they obviously suffer the same fate as frigates in general. It’s fun watching them EMP enemy cruisers occasionally but I’ve never really been sure I’m getting value for my money… it seems I’d mostly likely just be better off having more guns/missiles on target doing actual damage instead.

Your thoughts?

I’ve always kind of thought that the only value EMP missiles could possibly have is on frigates because they seem wasteful taking up a hardpoint on a cruiser.

I’ve found that if the EMP frigs are escorting a second-row cruiser that engages close enough for them to use their weapons, they can be quite useful in locking down a fleet and can even contribute significant DPS while tanks ahead of them take the beating of whatever enemy ships aren’t incapacitated. I usually use about 2 EMP II launchers with the rest as fast missiles.

If you have either the Swarm or Nomad expansion you can create some potent fast EMP frigate designs. I keep them general purpose and go for 1 EMP II paired with an Ion Cannon a single shield II and as many engines as possible - the target speed is 1.00 +/- 0.05.

Big is not always better here and some of the smaller frigate designs give better speed and cost per gun ratios - my pick of the entire hull pool for all races here is the excellent Nomad Ummer.

Ships like this are always going to be particularly vunerable to cruiser pulse lasers and rocket fighters but get the deployment and fighter / cruiser support right and you can really spoil another fleets day.

I’ve had some luck using fed frigates in the campaign. Use them as anti-fighter/missiles to screen your cruisers from the fighter/MWM swarms that keep popping up (lots of armor+shields+ 2 anti-fighter missiles+tractor+ipoint defense). Keep them in formation with the cruisers that are your heavy artillery and you’ll notice that you’ll be able to survive missile and fighter spam much more readily.

Also, I put a line of EMP frigates behind my tanks. These play the role of completely disabling mowing down any short range cruisers/frigates that manage to get close to my fleet. Again, lots of armor+shields (2 generators) + 3 ion cannons + emp launcher II. I’ve noticed that enemies will typically target your cruisers at a higher priority than your frigates. I’ve tried replacing these with cruisers, and you actually get higher survivability from the frigates during a rush. They do obscene amounts of damage vs. fast cruisers or frigates. Protect these from fighters/missiles with your other type of frigate and you should be good.

mostly my frigates are all about protecting my MWM spam capital ships in the back :smiley:

Well, sometimes I mix my frigate fleets so that something with shields is in front, it’ll take a couple extra hits so that the ones in the middle of the group do better.

Beam + Disrupter + Vulture, or Plasma + EMP + Co-operative as frigate groups. Type A have less shields, in the back, and Type B have more shields and are put in front, using range rules for the two types of ships to keep them slightly separated. If I have to fight off fighters, I put a screen of anti-fighter frigates to take the volleys and return fire with Keep Moving or Escort targeted on some ship in the back. They usually last long enough to pull off the fighters so the slow main force can arrive and start peeling apart enemy ships.

Just make sure your frigates have weapons with compatible ranges and don’t show up before something that can take the beating. Sometimes that’s a screen of ships that are okay to lose, and sometimes that’s a ship that’s a bit more of a tank, and sometimes it is a tank.

I’ve been finding that the most infuriating part about Frigates is that I have two only two options with them:

Give them the “keep moving” order which keeps them alive for a while because they’re fast. But then inevitably they stray out on their own and get caught alone by something that shred them to pieces.

OR give them an escort order to they stay close to the pack but then they find themselves in situations where they’ll just sit in one place taking terrible beatings by everything in range. Makes me want to scream watching them - MOOOOOOVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEE.

I have been able to keep an anti-air support frigate alive for the entire duration of the Andromeda survival challenge. I think the reason is by not overloading it with firepower so that enemy ships, including fighters, do not prioritize it as a target. My AA frigate only has 3 AA missile launchers for weapons.

Finally, you still need armor and shields, because every once in awhile you get random chance shot fired at you from a fighter.

The biggest enemy to frigates are fighters with rocket launchers. They can always pierce frigate shields. You need at least 12 average armor to be able to resist their rockets. That means a fully equipped frigate needs about 4 armor plates to be able to resist their rockets. But the rockets hit often enough to lucky-shot through the armor eventually. Any frigate with less than 12 armor is toast within seconds against fighter rockets. That’s why I love fighter rockets, but that’s for another topic :slight_smile:

Frigate armor stands no chance against frigate and cruiser weapons though, so no need to give them any armor apart from countering fighter rockets.

Tribe is the only race with frigates which won’t die quickly. Instead of armor or shields they can use a frigate repair module, which are the best in the game, even better than the cruiser repair modules in speed. I’m currently trying them out in my campaign maps and most of my frigates use 4 repair modules. Frigate emp missiles are also awesome to keep your frigates alive for much longer. The repair modules do nothing to stop fighters though, you still need armored frigates for that. But Tribe armored frigates can equip repair modules in combination with them, allowing tribe armored frigates to last even longer against enemy fighters.

I also find the frigate anti-fighter weapons quite lacking, same with cruiser anti-fighter weaponry. The only way to stop fighters is to distract them with armored frigates escorted by fighters. It’s abusing the AI a bit, but there isn’t really another option.

Tribe frigate uses 1 shield 1, nothing else.

Nomatter what you do they will die to dual rocket fighters/pulse lasers. Putting a repair on it will slow them down enough to get kill by beam laser/cruiser laser also.

Using frigates in the campaign is like beating a dead horse. You can do it, you just won’t get your money’s worth.

How does speed work to keep from getting hit? I know tracking speed has a lot to do with it. But I’ve had fighters with 4.40 speed getting hit by weapons with less than 4.40 tracking speed.