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I feel what you're getting at, though the solutions make things a lot harder to understand for new players.

I want bullets to basically say - "I destroy". It's easier to read. Gauss doesn't do that, hence the melee approach.  I've added the ability for gauss to feed the new gauss clouds I'm adding. They are small benign clouds that will detach blocks, so you can use them to rearrange your ship. This lets you create a defensive net or disassemble your ship completely. Perhaps the block could also have a 2 tile range and use the new pushing code to instigate a pull, I will experiment with this. I agree the block needs support but projectiles is too messy.

The astro-fac has its uses. When the fac is pointing at your rear, it provides the perfect defense against pursuers. Hopefully, the new opportunities to rearrange might make this block a bit easier to use. Perhaps a charged state for rocks would let them glide for a turn - but I want to keep it consistent with the bomb-fac, which is hard to do when the top use for bomb-fac is pump-and-bump. I think the block is more situational than outright bad, but the situations definitely insist on one direction only. For now, I'll keep an eye on it, perhaps try to come up with new synergies with rocks  so that they can have more utility.