It goes to my suggestion to allow premade “fleets” that players then pick from to make or answer challenges. Not special ships that you use in a nebula only, or special ships that you use vs a particular tactic.
By “gaming” I mean that you get a challenge—for argument one that seems plausible as sci-fi story telling. Alien fleet with the usual suspects of ship types that are somewhat balanced for any possibility. The idea being that the ships that fight would be the ships you had at the time, it’s not like the USN or RN see a german or japanese task force, then custom built ships right then and there to counter it.
So to me, making a suicide armor blob that the enemy will mindlessly attack is just “gaming the game” to win. It’s not that the guy with the anchor ship has a better fleet, it’s that he knows the AI is stupid and will waste effort on it—something that might happen ONCE in RL, then they’d ignore the anchor ship.
Dunno, the whole idea of custom designing a force to beat a challenge bugs me.
To my mind, I try and make a “navy” of ships that seem useful/cool, then do the same for an enemy, then “use what I have” to develop tactics that work with them. For federation I have a couple CA types, a CV, a CVL, some missile heavy frigates, some escort frigates, and some knife-fighting frigates. I make “fighters” and “bombers” with the fighter hulls—the former tasked mostly with “space superiority,” and the latter with attacking ships.
I try to make the best ships I can, then use a mix of forces. I don’t alter my designs to beat a specific challenge, I alter them to generally improve them.
I suppose this is why I want the races less homogeneous. Right now, every race gets virtually identical everything except for hulls, and the usual paradigm is to custom-build a squadron to take on any particular challenge. Doesn’t interest me.