A complaint I hear all too often today is that small gang warfare in EVE is dead, that PvP is a numbers game and competing on the battlefield means having the biggest blob. It almost always transpires that these people are trying to shoehorn small gang warfare into places it's not suited for like major 0.0 territorial conflicts or that they're neglecting the importance of intel-gathering scouts. Small gang warfare isn't about your gang of five ships trying to take on a blob of two hundred. It's about putting together a small, tight unit of pilots and picking your fights carefully.
Whether you're planning to pirate, fight for the Gallente Federation or declare war on your neighbours, small gang warfare is for you. Read on as I examine the small roaming gang, one of EVE's oldest and most fun avenues of PvP.
At its core, small gang warfare is about putting together a team of up to about a dozen pilots, roaming around an area of space and looking for viable targets to kill. These gangs have been quite possibly the most fun I've ever had In EVE but how to be successful in them wasn't immediately obvious to me. The first approach I found that worked well was to make heavy use of intel-gathering scouts that proceed ahead of the gang. This allows you to avoid enemy gangs that are too large for you to handle so you can stick to engaging smaller targets of opportunity.
The second approach that worked well was using disposable ships and just charging head-first into battle. Exercising a complete lack of regard for intelligence on enemy fleet movements, we would fit up a pack of cheap frigates or cruisers and set out to kill the first viable target we came across. These groups almost always ended in disaster as we bumped into a much larger gang but not before we got a few good kills and some valuable PvP experience. This approach works best if the area you plan to PvP in is close to your base of operations for quick access to replacement ships.
In both cases, one absolutely essential aspect of small gang warfare is keeping your fleet mobile. Staying in one place for too long will invite larger enemy forces to your location. Once the enemy figures out that you're camping a certain system with only a dozen ships, they'll start organising a fleet twice as big to knock the camp down.
As a small gang, your main advantages are in simplicity of organisation and speed. With a gang of similar ships such as a cruiser gang or frigate wolfpack, the entire fleet can quickly gang-warp to the next destination stargate when travelling and will stay together. Meanwhile, a larger fleet composed of different ship types has to move at the speed of their slowest member in order to keep the fleet together. With some practice and co-ordination, a small gang can easily outrun and escape from a much larger and more diverse fleet.