25 February 2017

Battle of Minos Korva

My old friend Matt stopped by for a game last night on his way to visit family. I invited Adam to attend as well and I setup a scene from the Cardassian Border wars for us to play. For this game we would be fighting over the hotly contested system of Minos Korva with roughly equal forces.

Minos Korva III is an M class planet and the focal point of our game.

The forces available to Starfleet were as follows:


USS Kodiak (Steamrunner Class Light Cruiser)
USS Iberia (Challenger Class Light Cruiser)
USS Dakota (Cheyenne Class Frigate)
USS Herbert (New Orleans Class Frigate)
USS Thefel (New Orleans Class Frigate)
USS Mjolnir (Norway Class Destroyer)
USS Pompey (Springfield Class Frigate - Torpedo Pod Loaded)
USS Sixx (Saber Class Scout)

The forces available to the Cardassians were as follows:


CDS Gadacz (Galor Class Cruiser Type 3)
CDS Kraxon (Galor Class Cruiser Type 3)
CDS Bralek (Galor Class Cruiser Type 2)
CDS Kenzha (Galor Class Cruiser Type 2)
CDS Moddan (Galor Class Cruiser Type 2)
CDS Parn (Galor Class Cruiser Type 2)
CDS Rekleen (Galor Class Cruiser Type 2)
CDS Terak (Galor Class Cruiser Type 2)
CDS Vetar (Galor Class Cruiser Type 2)
CDS Irathrane (Lakat Class Destroyer Type 1)
CDS Otheon (Lakat Class Destroyer Type 1)
CDS Vermarn (Lakat Class Destroyer Type 1)

Adam chose to play Starfleet while Matt and I split up the Cardassians. As per the rules we began rolling off to deploy squadrons onto the table using the Command Quality of our respective flagships. Unfortunately for Starfleet the Cardassian admiral was a professional (D4 vs D2) and a series of rolls later, Adam was forced to deploy the entire Starfleet force first. Naturally, the Cardassians were deployed to make the best of this advantage.

The Lakats were deployed to the extreme left flank opposite the Starfleet flagship, the USS Thefel (New Orleans Class Frigate).

The Galors were formed up into two squadrons of four (minus the flagship) and deployed opposite the heaviest grouping of Starfleet ships.

The heaviest group of Starfleet ships included the USS Herbert (New Orleans Class Frigate), the USS Dakota (Cheyenne Class Frigate), and the USS Iberia (Challenger Class Light Cruiser). This was the primary target of the Cardassian heavy squadrons.

At the opposite end of the battlespace the Starfleet flagship was lonely, the nearest ships being 1/2 a light second distant.

The opening moves saw the Cardassians maneuvering to the right of the planet and Starfleet announcing a charge of their warp drives. The Cardassians incorrectly predicted that Starfleet would perform a Tactical Warp Jump and engage the Galors in a point blank furball. As it turned out they jumped out of the battlespace. Apparently Adam was not happy about having to deploy his entire fleet before the enemy and intended to perform some shenanigans in response.

With the battlespace temporarily theirs, the Cardassian ships settled into an orbital patrol pattern around Minos Korva III. They then awaited the inevitable return of Starfleet.

A few turns later a warp signature was detected at the far right of the battlespace. Predicting that this would not be the entire fleet, the Cardassians maintained their patrol pattern.

Moments later the Starfleet flagship emerged from warp alone. This was certainly a tempting target, however, the Cardassians judged that Starfleet may be using this lone ship as bait. Adam certainly had guile to use his flagship in this way. The Cardassians slightly adjusted one squadron of Galors' flight path to bring fire on the ship. The exchange of fire between the ships had negligible effect on each other.

As predicted, Starfleet then had the remainder of their fleet jump in at the opposite side of the battlespace. Had the Cardassians turned their fleet to chase down the flagship, they would now have the bulk of the Starfleet ships behind them.

The Cardassian squadrons began to make their orbits tighter, using the planet's gravity to swing them into firing positions on Starfleet.

Meanwhile, in preparation for the upcoming firefight, Starfleet was closing its ranks to bring maximum firepower on the rapidly orbiting Cardassians.

The Cardassian ships did not ignore the Starfleet flagship during their rapid maneuvers, at every opportunity photon torpedoes were lobbed at long range towards the lonely vessel. A supreme example of fleet gunnery (very lucky dice rolls) produced a number of hits on the flagship, tearing down its shields and knocking out its port thrusters. However not all was going well...

In an attempt to orbit as fast as possible, the Lakats had made their turns as tight as possible, too tight in fact. The CDS Irathrane skimmed the atmosphere of Minos Korva III suffering extreme shock, eventually disintegrating, and raining debris onto the surface.

While admittedly annoying, these maneuvers did swing the Cardassian fleet around the planet rapidly and inadvertently placed a squadron of Galors into a game winning position. Having suffered light damage and being alone, the Starfleet flagship decided to perform a Tactical War Jump to bring it across the battlespace and into the lines of the rest of the Starfleet force. Unfortunately, the flagship's helm officer programmed the jump a couple of nanoseconds too short (bad die rolling) and only jumped about half way. This left it in prime weapons range of four Galors. These ships opened fire and caused severe damage to the little frigate but she wouldn't go down. The famed Starfleet engineers kept her operational and the game progressed to the next turn.

The rest of the Starfleet force accelerated to full impulse and desperately tried to reach their hapless flagship.

Not wanting to waste the opprtunity, the Cardassian ships left their flanks open to the rest of the Starfleet force and pursued the Starfleet flagship. Continued fire from the ships, including the Cardassian flagship, eventually caused a warp core breach. The USS Thefel (New Orleans Class Frigate) was lost with all hands. In revenge the Starfleet force concentrated fire on two Galors, collapsing their shields and causing heavy hull damage, however, both ships managed to limp on.

At the end of the turn, with the loss of their flagship, morale checks were required by all Starfleet ships. The USS Iberia (Challenger Class Light Cruiser), USS Mjolnir (Norway Class Destroyer), and USS Herbert (New Orleans Class Frigate) warped out of the system without orders. This left only four ships to face the remainder of the Cardassian fleet. Adam deemed the odds too long and jumped the rest of his fleet out.

I have to give credit to Adam for attempting such a bold maneuver. He used his flagship as a very tempting bait to pull the Cardassian fleet out of position. Had we fallen for it the game would have been very interesting. Had his flagship jumped far enough the game would have at least been an even affair. Don't think you shouldn't try such things again, Adam, fortune favors the bold!

Thank you to Matt and Adam for a fun yet odd game.

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

11 February 2017

Imperial Guard Syndrome

I'm back with another AAR but his time of a different flavor. This week I finished up that last elements of a painting commission for Adam's Starfleet force, primarily Mirandas, Constellations, and other light ships. With the models needing to be delivered, Adam suggested we get together at our local game store as he wanted to use the models I had delivered in the last batch. Unlike most of our games which have highly detailed scenarios, objectives, and narratives, this was different.

Adam informed me of his point total and declared he was embracing the 'Imperial Guard Syndrome' and he encouraged me to do the same. For the uninitiated, the Imperial Guard Syndrome is manifested in the forces that a player builds or chooses for a game being the most elite that they can. An example of this phenomenon, and one for which the syndrome is named, would be a player that decides to build a Napoleonic French army and chooses to first collect, and possibly only collect, the Old Guard. While there were battles in which the Old Guard made a prominent appearance, it is somewhat uncharacteristic and a-historical to only every play with them.

In Adam's case he has been accused, mostly in jest, numerous times of being a sufferer of the Imperial Guard Syndrome. To his credit he has fought this instinct with great success, but evidently he wanted to throw sensibility to the wind and go all out. Feeling that this could be amusing I readily agreed. Now the question was what should I bring that would be appropriate. My choice will be evident shortly.

I arrived at the local gaming store with Adam's new models in tow (I will do a photo shoot soon) to see this deployed on the table:

Composition:

USS Advenna Avis (Sovereign Class Explorer Beta Model)
USS Abriel Lafiel (Galaxy Class Explorer Beta Model - War Variant)
USS Libertad (Nebula Class Heavy Cruiser Beta Model - Torpedo Pod Loaded)
USS Haruna (Akira Class Heavy Cruiser Alpha Model)
USS Iona (Akira Class Heavy Cruiser Alpha Model)
USS Kirishima (Akira Class Heavy Cruiser Alpha Model)

As expected this represented the cream of the crop of Starfleet and would no doubt be difficult to tangle with. As my response I brought this:

Composition:

IRW Atrox (D'Deridex Class Warbird Model D - Plasma Torpedo Variant)
IRW Inclutus (D'Deridex Class Warbird Model D - Plasma Torpedo Variant)
IRW Tekel (D'Deridex Class Warbird Model D - Plasma Torpedo Variant)
IRW V'ashan (D'Deridex Class Warbird Model D - Plasma Torpedo Variant)
IKS Vangshu'a (Negh'Var Class Battleship D1 Model)
IKS Bej'joq (Vorcha Class Attack Cruiser D3 Model)
IKS Chong'pogh (Vorcha Class Attack Cruiser D3 Model)
IKS Maht-H'a (Vorcha Class Attack Cruiser D3 Model)
IKS Vornak (Vorcha Class Attack Cruiser D3 Model)

Under normal circumstances I would have mocked someone for bringing a force such as this with no back story or scenario, Romulans and Klingons working together, never! For this game I am lazy and will simply say House of Duras!

My intention with this fleet was to create a hard hitting alpha strike group hidden behind cloak. I determined two paths to victory depending on how the game played out. If possible I would attempt an alpha strike on the Sovereign Class (his flagship) in order to induce morale rolls on the rest of his fleet and simultaneously remove the strongest ship. Failing that, I would attempt to eliminate the three Akiras as quickly as possible to remove from play their massive torpedo armament.

As a warning to anyone who reads my AARs regularly, under normal circumstances my posts are detailed and narrative driven and I hope entertaining, this game was different and shorter.

The opening deployments were simple, Adam put his Akiras in the front with his three heavies in the back, all in one giant block, presumably to maximize forward striking power against whatever target he chose. I deployed my warbirds in line in the middle with the Vorchas to one side and the Negh'Var on the other. The opening moves saw me charge the warp drives on the Klingon ships and turn to face the Federation flanks while the warbirds took their time meandering towards the Starfleet line, all ships cloaked. The Starfleet ships fired torpedoes at long range on targets they weren't really sure were there. The sheer number of tubes on the three Akiras meant one tube randomly managed to hit a target. The IRW Atrox (D'Deridex Class Warbird) took a few photon torpedoes to the bow but was not impeded in her operations. Turn 1 complete.

The Klingon ships then performed a tactical FTL jump and leaped across half a light second in the blink of an eye. This maneuver set me up for what I hoped would be an envelopment of the Starfleet line. Still cloaked I did not fire prior to Starfleet; my crew quality was uniformly higher than the Starfleet ships allowing me to normally open fire first. Adam tried his blind fire trick again but was not lucky this time.

At the last possible moment in the turn the four warbirds unleashed plasma torpedoes into the bows of the Akiras. The plasma energy splashing against their shields collapsed them and scorched their hulls. I hoped that this would motivate these torpedo boats to turn away from my warbirds. Turn 2 complete.

The next movements saw the entire Starfleet force turn to port, desperately trying to keep the damaged Akiras' bows safe. The warbirds closed the range rapidly while the Klingons turned into the Starfleet ships flanks. Success, I had boxed the Hoo-mans in. At the beginning of the combat phase I decloaked all my ships and opened fire (remember I had a higher crew quality so I could fire first). The resulting fire took us nearly 20 minutes to adjudicate. I apologized repeatedly to Adam saying this was the crucial moment of the game and the geometry was complicated, he remained annoyed.

The Klingons fired nearly every weapon they had on the Akiras, the Vorchas from the front and the Negh'Var from the rear. When I was finished rolling one Akira was destroyed outright and the other two had multiple criticals in each section of the ship awaiting his rolls. The Warbirds opened fire on the Nebula and Galaxy with abandon. Sustained disrupter fire from the warbirds and torpedoes from the Negh'Var brought down the Nebula's shields and pierced her primary hull multiple times. The Galaxy withstood the fire gallantly. My shooting was done.

Before commencing his own firing, Adam had to roll the criticals on his ships. The two remaining Akiras were rolled for first. The USS Haruna suffered a warp core breached and disappeared in a flash of blue light. The USS Iona weathered critical roll after critical roll with multiple systems going offline until finally her hull buckled and she drifted away a lifeless hulk. The USS Libertad (Nebula Class Heavy Cruiser) was next. The ship had only received damage to her primary hull but many disruptor beams had pierced straight through the saucer section. With multiple criticals to roll it was with shock that we watched Adam have a Cascade Structural Collapse on the first roll. Bag one Nebula.

Quite irate at this turn of events, Adam unloaded torpedoes and phasers from the Galaxy and Sovereign into a hapless Vorcha directly to the Galaxy's front. The firepower poured into this poor ship would have been enough to eviscerate two Vorchas but Adam seemed determined to enact revenge. With little surprise the Klingon ship disappeared in short order. It then became apparent that the Galaxy was close enough to the target that the torpedo explosions would hurt her as well. Having just destroyed the Vorcha, Adam was now forced to roll damage for his own weapons on his own ship. Photon and quantum torpedo explosions ripped through the Galaxy's remaining forward shields and tore duranium plating off the saucer section. When the die rolling was complete she was left unable to go to warp. Her flagship, the Sovereign, quickly warped out of the system. The House of Duras had a new trophy to take back to Qo'nos. Turn 3 complete.

I am not going to say that this game was entertaining for any of the normal reasons. It was short, brutal, and not in anyway enlightening, but we enjoyed it much the same. I would encourage any gamer of any period to occasionally embrace the Imperial Guard Syndrome and have a silly game. Thank you to Adam and I am sorry buddy!

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/

Smoke on the Water

Hello again, recently Adam and I sat down to do a play test of our upcoming game called Sail, Steam, and Sky. SSS is a naval wargame that can cover any historical naval battle from the 17th century forward. This might seem like a tall order for a rule set to achieve but the game is split into three distinct eras as detailed by the name. The core command and turn order mechanic remains the same such that players need not learn entirely new rule sets for age of sail, steam, or modern games but each era still feels sufficiently different and historically accurate.

For our game we decided to pull out the WWI collection and have a blast... blasting each other with the big guns. For the scenario we pulled out of the box elements of the British and German battlecruiser groups. Adam chose the Brits and I chose the Huns.

Adam's British group consisted of the following:

HMS King George V (King George V Class Battleship)
HMS Ajax (King George V Class Battleship)
HMS Centurion (King George V Class Battleship)
HMS Erin (Resadiye Class Battleship)

HMS Lion (Lion Class Battlecruiser)
HMS Princess Royal (Lion Class Battlecruiser)
HMS Queen Mary (Queen Mary Class Battlecruiser)

HMS Invincible (Invincible Class Battlecruiser)
HMS Indomitable (Invincible Class Battlecruiser)
HMS Inflexible (Invincible Class Battlecruiser)

HMS Inconstant (Arethusa Class Light Cruiser)
HMS Phaeton (Arethusa Class Light Cruiser)
HMS Galatea (Arethusa Class Light Cruiser)

8x M Class Destroyers

My German group consisted of the following:

SMS Derfflinger (Derfflinger Class Battlecruiser)

SMS Von der Tann (Von der Tann Class Battlecruiser)

SMS Seydlitz (Seydlitz Class Battlecruiser)

SMS Moltke (Moltke Class Battlecruiser)

SMS Konig (Konig Class Battleship)
SMS Markgraf (Konig Class Battleship)
SMS Kronprinz (Konig Class Battleship)
SMS Grosser Kurfurst (Konig Class Battleship)

SMS Hannover (Deutshland Class Pre-Dreadnought)
SMS Schleswig-Holstein (Deutshland Class Pre-Dreadnought)
SMS Schliesien (Deutshland Class Pre-Dreadnought)

SMS Pillau (Pillau Class Light Cruiser)

SMS Wiesbaden (Wiesbaden Class Light Cruiser)

8xG.101 Class Torpedo Boats

Prior to putting models on the table Adam and I each had to decide which and how many ships to dedicate to Pre-Battle Positioning. Adam applied the entirety of his light forces, three light cruisers and 8 destroyers to the task, I applied a single light cruiser and 4 destroyers. With that done we each had to determine the task we would apply each of these ships to from among Scouting, Screening, and Interference. The relative numbers we each applied to these tasks (in secret) would affect how likely we were to know our opponents formations and deployments, the level of orders preparation we would be granted, and the likelihood of our tasked forces returning to the fleet in time for the battle. The result of this maneuvering was that Adam got a decent look at my deployment (I had to deploy more squadrons than he did first) while I was able to issue a more concise battle plan as the game began. Additionally, the relative screening and interference efforts meant that four of my destroyers did not make it back to the fight while Adam's light forces nearly all made it back. This resulted in a disparity. I was left with two light cruisers and four destroyers while he had two light cruisers and six destroyers.

Adam began his deployment with the King George V battleships deployed in line astern with a parallel line of the Lion battlecruisers. Off to the flank were the Invincible battlecruisers in line abreast. He would later regret this initial deployment as he had accidentally put his battlecruisers on a near collision course.

For his light forces, Adam deployed on the left flank with the intention of attempting a torpedo run at some point.

I deployed my battleships and the pre-dreadnoughts in a long line astern formation heading to the right flank. Following alongside was one light cruiser and two destroyers. My battlecruisers I deployed in a line astern formation to the left of this battleship line on a heading towards the left flank.

Far to the right of my battleships I deployed a lonely group of one light cruiser and two destroyers.

As the opening moves began the German battleship line made a turn to port to close the distance and enter gunnery range. The German battlecruisers sailed at full steam on a heading that would bring them perpendicular to the British battlecruisers. Unfortunately the longer range of the British guns meant that they opened fire first, although they achieved few real hits at this extreme range.

As the opening salvos were thrown across the waves, the British battlecruisers made apparent the mistakes in the initial deployments. Flags were hurriedly flown and many curses spoken as the Invincibles disrupted the formations by sailing through the lines. Last minute diversions and a little luck prevented any collisions but much confusion was sown.

This debacle was looked upon with glee by the Germans as they maintained their straight (and thoroughly German) lines. In the distance the majority of the light forces have begun to tango. The few German forces are desperately trying to screen their bigger cousins.

The German battleship line, steaming straight towards possible danger, were getting nervous.

As the distance closed the German battlecruisers were able to respond to the British gunnery in kind. The accuracy at this range was not noticeably different from the earlier salvos of the Tommies.

Meanwhile the light forces were engaging each other in close quarters. Up to this point the few German vessels present had done a decent job of distracting the British ships and had sufficiently frustrated Adam. In anger the British destroyers let loose some torpedoes towards the SMS Wiesbaden (light cruiser). As expected none of these torpedoes hit their targets but Adam exclaimed he was simply "pissed off" at the little ship.

As the British gun line was attempting to sort itself out the German battleship group opened up with full broadsides on the confusion. This did little to help the situation and in short order the HMS Ajax dropped out of the line. Within minutes of this unfortunate event a repeat of historical events occurred. Shells from the SMS Kronprinz and Grosser-Kurfurst landed home on the HMS Invincible and Indomitable, both striking the ships' magazines. The resulting explosion was devastating, putting both ships on the bottom in short order.

However, luck was not entirely on the German side, amidst these spectacular displays of pyrotechnics, British shells struck heavily on the SMS Markgraf and Kronprinz rendering them floating hulks. This split the German battleship line in two, severely complicating command and control.

Not to be outdone, the light forces had closed the distance. While suffering moderate losses, and certainly not going to make it out alive, two of the British destroyers managed to get within a few hundred yards and unleash a torpedo salvo on the SMS Konig, the flagship. Some of these torpedoes struck home and caused some damage to the massive ship. Having more experience with WWII naval equipment, Adam was disappointed in the performance of the torpedoes but I assured him that torpedo tactics in WWI were more a case of prayer and wishful thinking.

Finally achieving something resembling order, the British gun lines turned into parallel lines and continued their shelling of the German ships. Shell after shell struck the SMS Konig each one convincing Adam that the German flagship was on the verge of destruction, but like some great bulwark the grey behemoth refused to go down.

The German battlecruisers had taken losses as well. Their entanglement with their counterparts had left the SMS Seydlitz sinking in their wake and fires to have broken out on all three remaining ships. With the losses incurred the Germans had a good chance of breaking and leaving the field. The two fleets in an SSS game have thresholds calculated as a percentage of their overall forces. For each threshold in losses reached, the chances of the fleet breaking is increased. Whenever the player makes a command roll if they roll the number of thresholds reached or less they lose. In this case the Germans had reached a staggering four thresholds. However, the SMS Konig was stubbornly holding on to life and at the last moment the HMS King George V, the flagship of the British fleet, succumbed to a salvo of German shells and was never seen again. Immediately afterwords, Adam made a command roll to issue a new order and rolled lower than the threshold he had reached. In an unexpected turn of fate, the British had lost.

This was an entertaining and nail-biting game that displayed that we are really on to something with this game. We are in mid beta testing of the game at the moment with the associated software well under way. We are on target for a summer release so pay attention. I would like to thank Adam for a most enjoyable game and our local store owner Mike for giving us the space to test SSS out in the open rather than in my gaming room. See you next time.

The rules will be available this summer at: http://battlespacepublishing.ca/
Our facebook group can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/battlespacepublishing.ca

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/
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