05 February 2017

In & Out

Having had such a great game Friday night I wanted to play with my new Star Wars models again so I called up Kevin to come over for a game. Rather than just do another straight up fight I designed a clever (in my mind) scenario. Kevin would command a Colonial squadron of ships while I would command the Imperial group.

Twenty years before the second Cylon War, as part of an ongoing campaign against outlying Imperial systems, the Colonial fleet has been performing hit and run attacks against minor Imperial installations. BSG 42, centered on the Battlestar Athena, has had a string of successes over the last week and is due to return home. However, the commander of the Battlestar Group, has received intelligence indicating the presence of an Imperial ore refining station in a remote system and has decided to make one final raid before returning to base. The problem the commander has is a lack of intelligence of the specific defenses and associated assets in the station's vicinity. This is where our scenario began.

The forces available to Kevin were the following:

Athena - Columbia Class Battlestar Block 2 (8xViper Mk III Squadrons, 4xRaptor Mk I Flights)
Carnac - Admiral Canis Class Cruiser Block 2
Solaria - Olympia Class Light Cruiser Block 2
Basilisk - Kopis Class Fast Destroyer Block 2
Iapetus - Kopis Class Fast Destroyer Block 2
Acropolis - Lightray Class Missile Frigate Block 1
Pythia - Lightray Class Missile Frigate Block 1
Rycon - Lightray Class Missile Frigate Block 1
Victorious - Lightray Class Missile Frigate Block 1

The first decision the commander had to make was whether or not to deploy Raptor flights to recce the battlespace before the arrival of his group. The commander elected to send two flights of Raptors on a snap FTL jump into and out of the area to gather intelligence. Each raptor flight, given the short time they would be present, were only able to scan a limited area with their DRADIS.

The first Raptor flight jumped into the vicinity of the ore refining station. Their DRADIS got a cursory scan of the station and detected a large hypermatter fuel carrier, an ore freighter, and two IPV-1 patrol vessels around the station.

The second Raptor flight jumped in a light second out from the station and detected a small weapons platform...

and two more IPV-1s on patrol.

The Raptor flights then jumped back to the Battlestar Group's assembly area and the commander had to make his next decision, where to jump in. The ships of the group could enter the battlespace anywhere they liked at any time but the Raptors had not seen the entire battlespace. Additionally, by jumping in the Raptors the commander had given a limited warning to the Imperial defences. This meant that I could perform some limited movement with my forces, both hidden and detected, prior to the arrival of the Colonials.

The Battlestar commander chose to bring in his Battlestar, both cruisers, and both destroyers close to where the second Raptor scanned. Curiously, the missile frigates did not jump in, presumably with a plan to jump in somewhere else later in the battle.

A more detailed DRADIS sweep by the Battlestar Group revealed a TIE Fighter squadron on patrol at the far end of the asteroid field, one more weapons platform opposite the table, another fuel carrier, and another ore freighter headed to the station. Their appeared to be no military vessels larger than the IPV-1s already detected. However, the sensor officer on board the Athena (Columbia Class Battlestar) reported intense HoloNet communications from the ore station heading out system. The clock was ticking.

The Athena (Columbia Class Battlestar) immediately launched four squadrons of Vipers and two flights of Raptors, forming them up into a strike mission and an intercept mission. The strike mission started heading towards the ore station and the intercept mission towards the TIEs.

As the Colonial ships moved into weapons range of the patrol vessels the TIEs began moving parallel to the strike mission 0.75 light seconds distant. The Viper intercept mission tracked with them.

The two IPV-1s started performing the most intense evasive maneuvers they were capable of in order to avoid the wall of shells sure to head their way. After a disappointing salvo from the Iapetus (Kopis Class Fast Destroyer) targeted at one of the IPV-1s, the Colonial ships switched targets to the nearby ore freighter. The long range fire from the Colonial batteries was quite inaccurate, but the target was only a civilian freighter. The few hits scored quickly knocked down the civilian grade shields and tore up the hull. A lucky round hit the hyperdrive that was charging for a jump at the time (the civilians were naturally trying to get out of the system). The resulting feedback explosion crippled the freighter knocking out both the sublight engines and the thrusters. The freighter would spend the rest of its existence (quite a short one) drifting. In a hypocritical tone the Imperial commander asked "What kind of monster shoots at civilians?"

Desperate not to meet the same fate as the freighter further out in the system, the docked civilian vessels released docking clamps and began to move towards a hyperspace vector. The two IPV-1s moved to intersperse themselves between the Colonials and the civilians. This was an uncharacteristic move for the Imperials.

Within a couple of minutes of the Colonials tearing apart civilian freighters they detected a hyperspace entry point, the first of the reinforcements had arrived. 1 1/2 light seconds from the Colonials, behind the ore station, the HIMS Thunder (Broadside Class Heavy Cruiser) joined the fray.

Within moments she flushed her concussion missile tubes and sent the swarm towards the Colonial interlopers.

Trying to stay alive amidst the thousands of shells being tossed around, the IPV-1s performed a ballet of evasive maneuvers. Amazingly, not a single round hit these small ships; a good thing considering a single battery on the Colonial ships would destroy or cripple them in one shot. In frustration the Colonial gunnery officers switched their fire to one of the weapons platforms. While they did not destroy it in the short term they did cause enough troubles for the platform's crew that no return fire was seen for several minutes.

So far the situation was favorable for the Battlestar Group, they had received ineffectual fire, the threat of their batteries had kept the IPV-1s worried more about not dying than doing anything else important, they had shot up a weapons platform, the crippled freighter was finally destroyed, the fuel carrier was beginning to take damage, and the HIMS Thunder (Broadside Class Heavy Cruiser) was too far out to have an effect as of yet. However, at that moment more Imperial reinforcements arrived. Four Arquitens Class Corvettes emerged from hyperspace near the damaged weapons platform putting them within turbolaser range of the Colonial ships.

With the salvos of missiles from the HIMS Thunder heading towards them and four more corvettes having arrived, the Colonial commander started to think about leaving. As it stood the forces at his disposal could easily deal with the threats present. However, more reinforcements were bound to be coming. Additionally, the Colonials could not just leave whenever they liked, there was a charge time on their FTL drives. The commander made the decision to start the charging process committing him to a FTL jump in four turns. How much chaos could he ensue in those four turns and how many losses would he suffer?

As the Colonial FTL drives began their charge the battle continued. The Arquitens mimicked the IPV-1s and performed evasive maneuvers like their lives depended on it. This did have an effect on the accuracy of their turbolaser batteries but they were also firing at barn doors. The green bolts began to hit the Basilisk (Kopis Class Fast Destroyer) causing a slow accumulation of hits, nothing threatening as of yet. Amidst this firefight the Viper strike mission closed with the HIMS Venom (Arquitens Class Corvette) but they had no major ordinance, relying solely on their railguns. This would prove to be nothing more than an annoyance for shielded Star Wars ships. The first furball appeared with the TIE fighter squadron closing with the Colonial intercept mission. Twelve TIE Fighters were about to tango with forty vipers.

At the other end of the battlespace, 2 light seconds distant, the Colonial missile frigates jumped into the battle. Seeing the situation they immediately started charging their jump drives in order to exit alongside their brethren. With no targets in their immediate vicinity (the fuel freighter having just been destroyed in a spectacular hypermatter explosion), the frigates began to meander towards the battle lines.

A brave IPV-1 captain (probably a Lieutenant) closed to within hull scraping distant of the Colonial Battlestar hoping to penetrate her thick armour at close range. This captain most likely disregarded the size differential between the two ships, or he just wasn't a very good captain.

Not wanting to waste any of her railgun batteries, the Athena (Columbia Class Battlestar) elected to lob a few ship to ship missiles at the brave/stupid corvette. As these missiles streaked across the short distant the Athena's DRADIS screen flashed a bright white. Lucky turbolaser fire from the Arquitens corvettes hitting the core of the Basilisk (Kopis Class Fast Destroyer), and the HIMS Thunder's (Broadside Class Heavy Cruiser) missile barrage hitting her bow caused the destroyer's Tylium reserve to detonate.

The resulting explosion tore the Basilisk asunder and propagated out from the center point with terrifying ferocity. The three nearby IPV-1s blinked out of existence amidst the fireball, the nearby Solaria (Olympia Class Light Cruiser) had her bow plating scorched and her forward DRADIS array wrecked, a salvo of nukes from the two Colonial ships were destroyed seconds after launch, and the impending furball of TIEs and Vipers disappeared in a flash. The carnage this explosion wrought forced us to take a 10 minute break to process what had just happened.

Regardless of the horror that had just occurred, the battle continued. Surprised by the effect their turbolasers had on the Colonial destroyer (it was mostly the missiles) the Arquitens corvettes felt like giants and charged at the Solaria (Olympia Class Light Cruiser). A second set of salvos from the HIMS Thunder (Broadside Class Heavy Cruiser) streaked towards the light cruiser as well.

Sensing it was time to commit his reserves, the Colonial commander launched the remainder of his Vipers and Raptors loaded with nuclear anti-ship missiles. These strike packages were more than a little intimidating to the Imperial ships.

As the Vipers were launching, the missile frigates entered engagement range and started loosing ship to ship missiles. Any of these missiles that hit an unshielded target would ruin its day.

After one terrifying explosion we assumed we had seen the highlight of the game, generally a detonation like that occurs only once every few games, but we were wrong. The salvo of concussion missiles heading towards the Solaria (Olympia Class Light Cruiser) flew through the ship's flak field, losing strength, but those that got through soared home. The single critical inflicted did not seem to be enough to cause significant harm but a long sequence of bad rolls later (and excited laughter from the Imperial commander) the second Tylium explosion of the game occurred. The Solaria was transformed into a cloud of dust in a moment but this time there was less collateral damage, only the HIMS Eternal (Arquitens Class Corvette) was hit causing her forward shield to collapse and her hull to be burnt. As if to raise an insulting finger to the Colonials, the HIMS Thunder (Broadside Class Heavy Cruiser) unleashed yet another salvo of concussion missiles.

The loss of a destroyer and a light cruiser disappointed the Colonial commander but the arrival of the HIMS Peremptory (Vindicator Class Heavy Cruiser) behind his missile frigates put him in a foul mood. For the first time in the battle the Imperials had a decent sized ship and had an equal or better ratio of starfighters, and there were still two turns until the FTL drives were finished charging!

As if reaching out in anger, the remaining Colonial ships began to inflict serious losses on the Imperial ships starting with a strike mission of Vipers and Raptors loaded with nukes taking on the HIMS Helldiver (Arquitens Class Corvette). The little ship could not stand up to the energies released and was destroyed.

In response the HIMS Peremptory (Vindicator Class Heavy Cruiser) reached out with her turbolaser batteries and eviscerated two of the missile frigates.

Not to be outdone the Colonial gun line opened up on the HIMS Thunder (Broadside Class Heavy Cruiser). The torrent of incoming shells battered the shields into submission and wrecked the starboard side of the heavy cruiser. Following behind the shells was a salvo of nuclear and conventional ship to ship missiles. High on these successes the Colonial ships loosed the remainder of their ship to ship missiles at the Arquitens Corvettes.

Desperately trying to help the rest of the fleet, a strike group of TIE Bombers and XG-1 Star Wings closed the distance to the Colonial ships.

This strike mission could not prevent the carnage about to be wrecked as the Colonial missiles drove home. Each of the three remaining Arquitens corvettes took massive damage and were left mostly inert. Critically, the salvo of nukes slammed the HIMS Thunder (Broadside Class Heavy Cruiser) in her starboard side and tore into the heart of the ship. When the flash had subsided, the wreck of the ship drifted lifelessly.

The Imperial command ship looked on at this wanton destruction from too far a distance to effect its outcome. Moments after the missiles had found their targets the Colonial ships disappeared in a flash of FTL energy. The battle was over.

But not for everyone. In his haste to exit the battle, the Colonial commander had forgot to recover a group of Vipers and Raptors that were sent to attack a weapons platform. While the Raptor could jump out on its own, the Viper pilots would become POWs.

With the battle over Kevin and I tallied the losses. The Colonials had lost a fast destroyer, a light cruiser, and two missile frigates. The Imperials had lost a hypermatter fuel carrier, an ore freighter, a weapons platform, all four IPV-1s, an Arquitens corvette, and the HIMS Thunder (Broadside Class Heavy Cruiser). You can decide who won the battle!

The rules we used can be found here: http://metaverse.battlespacepublishing.ca/
Our Facebook group can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/battlespacepublishing.ca/

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