26 September 2011

You Sunk My Battleship

I organized a game for my group at the mess this Saturday. We played a game of my new starship battles rule set called Metaverse. This scenario was based in the dominion war and saw a Federation/Klingon task force take on a large Dominion/Cardassian force centered on a Dominion battleship.

The two fleets arrayed for battle.

The Federation task force consisted of the USS Venture (Galaxy class), Thunderchild (Akira class), Appalachia (Steamrunner class), Thomas Paine, Rutledge (New Orleans class), Crockett, Malinche, Potempkin (Excelsior class), Lantree, Horatio, Brittain, Nautilus, and Majestic (Miranda class) along with 24 Peregrine class attack fighters. The Klingon task force consisted of the IKS Maht'Ha, Qu'Vat, Drovna, Yavang (Vorcha class), Pagh, Koraga (B'rel class), and 36 Birds of Prey. The Dominion forces consisted of 1 Battleship, 4 Battlecruisers, and 80 Attackships. The Cardassian forces consisted of 10 Galor class.

The Dominion Battleship and its escorts.

USS Venture and its squadron.

USS Thunderchild prior to her fiery grave.

The two sides faced off against one another with the Klingons beginning cloaked. The two sides began their advance at flank speed. This would prove to be a mistake on the part of the Federation as the Dominion entered weapons range with the Klingons still under cloak. This left only one target. The Federation forces represented only 1/3 of the combat potential of the fleet and were therefore outgunned. One of the primary targets for the Dominion was the USS Thunderchild (Akira class) as they did not want here releasing a torpedo salvo on the battleship. The Thunderchild took a hefty beating during the first segment of the game and managed to perform miserably in her return fire. In short order her starboard shields were penetrated by the phased polaron beams of a squadron of Attack Ships which then pierced through the saucer section of the ship and left her dead in space. The USS Malinche (Excelsior class) followed her larger cousin in less than a minute.

The USS Malinche has already been eliminated from this squadron.

The Federation Attack Fighter wing was destroyed before making it into close range.

At this point the two other Federation squadrons centered on the USS Venture (Galaxy class) and the USS Rutledge (New Orleans class) decided to try their hand at the Picard maneuver. Unfortunately they miscalculated their jumps. The USS Venture (Galaxy class), Crockett and Potempkin (Excelsior class) jumped nearly 150,000 km behind the Dominion lines leaving them at longer weapons range firing out their rear arcs. Doubly unfortunate for this squadron the Dominion had predicted this move and turned a squadron of Attack Ships 180 degrees. This group of pesky little ships tore through the aft shields of the Venture and eventually penetrated them and skewered the port warp nacelle leaving the big Galaxy class starship trailing drive plasma. The USS Rutledge's (New Orleans class) squadron also jumped behind the Dominion lines but within 30,000 km of the aft of a Dominion Battlecruiser and two Galor class ships. This firing was much more equal as the Dominion and Cardassian ships are not as well equipped to fire aft as the Federation designs.

The USS Venture and her squadron having not lived up to Picard's maneuver.

The USS Rutledge in a close quarters battle after her tactical warp jump.

At this moment the Klingons decided to join the fray and decloaked. This classic maneuver had its historical effect and gave the Klingon squadron a moment of surprise. Most of the Imperial fleet engaged the Dominion at medium range and seriously hurt their shields. One squadron, however, displayed the virtues of Kahless and decloaked and fired at the Dominion Battleship at less then 80,000 km. The IKS Maht'Ha and Qu'Vat (Vorcha class) unleashed a torrent of torpedoes and disrupters which took down the massive ship's starboard shields and utterly wrecked its starboard nacelle even bleeding some damage to the core of the ship.

The next turn of the game saw the scenario decided. The damaged USS Venture (Galaxy class) made the Dominion pay for its damage to her nacelle by bringing her powerful forward dorsal and ventral phaser arrays to bear and tore a hole in a Battlecruiser in just a few salvos of fire. The IKS Drovna and Yavang (Vorcha class) each claimed a Dominion Battlecruiser they had been pecking at. Finally, sealing the deal for the Alpha Quadrant Alliance were the IKS Maht'Ha and Qu'Vat (Vorcha class) who closed to within 30,000 km of the wounded Battleship and continued to fire. The Battleship had lost all its starboard thrusters to the earlier barrage by these ships and thus could not turn effectively nor roll to present the port side. The point blank fire from these two Klingon beasts proved too much even for such a massive ship as it was consumed by plasma fire in magazine breachs and internal buckling. All that remained after the destruction of the Dominion command ship was mopping up the remaining Attack Ships.

The Klingons finally decloak and join the battle.

The game was entertaining both in scope (by god that's a big ship) and in the tense moments that occurred such as the Battleship suffering a horrible critical check roll and being consumed by internal plasma fires. And the one lesson that was learned by all is that when used correctly Klingons are a very dangerous foe.

19 September 2011

A Few Good Blokes

I put on a game for the club this weekend and in typical style it was large... really large. The game was a test of my new rule set I am developing called "Contest of Colonels", a battalion level game for the era of mechanization. Expect more on these rules as I polish them up in the next few weeks.

The scenario took place in September, 1985 with a cold war gone hot theme. A Warsaw Pact category B infantry division (Czechs) had achieved a breakthrough, routing a German forward unit. The remnants of the Czech division were ordered to continue forward and establish a bridge head across a canal some 3km further in. Following the Czechs was a Category A Guard Tank division intending to exploit the breakthrough.

The Czech battalions stretched out towards the bridge, infantry leading.

Responding to this breakthrough were two different BAR units; a squadron from a recce regiment and an armoured regiment. The recce squadron was first on the scene with the armour some 2 km behind.

The British armour races to the recce all the way at the bridge.

The battle began as a Czech infantry battalion advanced towards the only bridge across the canal (though they could ford with their APCs). The recce squadron, not normally intended for this kind of work, quickly took positions and opened fire with what little weaponry they had across the canal. In short order the expert British gunners had begun to rack up a toll of BTRs using the 30mm autocannons and 76mm cannons on their few Scimitars and Scorpions. The three Striker AT missile vehicles managed only a couple kills (including an unknowing T-62) before being silenced by long range fire.

Two recce troops from the squadron adopt positions facing the bridge.

Accurate fire from the British light tanks begins to whittle down the horde of APCs.

Within a couple minutes (game terms not playing time) the Czechs had reached the bank and the bridge and even had some vehicles in the water. The recce had taken a beating, being only a few hundred meters from an entire infantry battalion, and retreated into wood lines not far behind them. Within minutes an artillery strike hit their positions and the recce was ruined as a fighting force. However all was not lost as the damage had already been done on the Czech battalion and it began to retreat en mass just as its objective was within reach.

What remained of the recce squadron (burning wrecks), their sacrifice would end up to be key to British victory.

The T-72 battalion advances to cross the canal as their infantry brethren retreat past them.

During this prelude the British armoured regiment had been racing towards the canal at best possible speed. Simultaneously A Czech armoured battalion of T-72s had been filling in the gap left by the infantry battalion. Behind this stretched out over a few kilometers of highway were two Soviet tank battalions of T-80s. The British needed to get into position and open fire on this long column of tanks and APCs before it had time to deploy and cross the bridge.

The British armour races to get into position in time.

At the last moment the first British squadron achieved this requirement and begun popping T-72s at less than 1500 meters. Within seconds the Czech tanks were in disarray with burning hulks all around them from the infantry and their own companies. As the first of the Soviet tank battalions rolled through the village 1km from the canal they emerged into a sea of chaos with burning Czech vehicles all the way to the bridge and a rag tag group of retreating men and vehicles. Across the canal sat nearly half of the British's Challangers in positions ready for long range fire on any advancing unit. At this point the Soviets decided that this was not the point in the line where a breakthrough was to occur and halted their advance.

British Challengers sweep into position.

Now in position they begin to do what British tankers do best, long range gunnery.

The Czech column advances right into the death zone.

The Soviet units see the death raining down upon the Czechs and decide that today is not a good day to die for socialism.

This game saw a large smattering of different people playing, observing, criticizing, ogling, and commenting, pretty much the normality for a game like this. A few minor issues came up with the rules that I am correcting prior to our next game. I will be running two games at Council Fires in two weeks so expect battle reports on those.

Other Cool Pics:

Challangers take up positions next to the burning recce vehicles.

The lead T-72s start popping.

A Hind makes a run at a troop of Challengers and bags one.

The many kilometers of Soviet vehicles.

Challengers fire from a hill top.