It is if you consider my previous posts (about diferent shield stenght per side and sort of shield point at ship design). Let's say front = F, right=R, left=L and back=B. A more complete example.
I design a ship and put "Advanced cosmic shield of god" (or whatever name you choose). This shield have a base of 5 shield points. The ship size is "Medium" so it can have greater shields than a small ship, let´s say a multiplier of 3 is used for shield strenght with this size. So I have a total of 3x5=15 shield points (SP).
Now I choose to distribute them in this way: F=5, R=5, L=3, B=2 (5+5+3+2=15). I build the ship like this, note than after creating the ship design I don't need to apply any extra AI or user interface to handle the shields.
In combat now I know my ships are thought if I give the enemy my F-R side. So I position my fleet to move accordingly to this advantage (in a similar way to old naval battles, when wind made the rules for combat).
Now I get hit by 3 different beams from the front for 12, 8 and 4 damage (24 total).
Damage taken equals to (12-5)+(8-5)+(4-5) = 7 + 3 + 0 = 10. Not bad, I keep on fighting. Suddently a previously cloaked ship appears at my back and hits me with all it has. I take 2 attacks for 9 damage each (18 damage). Since my rear shield is weak I take 2x(9-2) = 14 damage (more than the combined frontal attack) and I'm in deep troubble if I cannot shake that bastard from my tail.
There you got strategy without much code and no extra user input.