Archanis Campaign - Part 1

Good morning readers. The Ado Sector Campaign I ran recently came to a close with an explosive ending putting a stop on the Star Wars fun. [Read about that campaign here] Not wanting to sit idle, I put together a Star Trek campaign and invited a different group of friends to participate, as much to spread around the fun as to see different personalities at play.

Both my and my friend Adam's Star Trek collections are geared towards the Dominion War with a host of modern ships, though not without a horde of older designs. However, I did not want to do the Dominion War proper as it is both a much more complicated environment than I want to tackle at the moment and I have a plan to run such a campaign when we are able to once again be in each other's presence.


All the relevant models for the campaign from both Adam's and my collections.

Instead I chose to model the Federation-Klingon conflict over the Archanis sector in 2372-2373. For any unfamiliar with this conflict, this Memory Alpha article should get you up to speed. This conflict is much easier to model as it is a more contained space, has only two sides, and lasted just six months. This also had the benefit of utilizing two of our more extensive collections, Starfleet and the KDF.

Drawing on the experiences of the Ado Sector Campaign recently concluded, I devised a new set of rules to govern play. Certain elements of the previous campaign proved to be clunky or often inadequate for the imaginations/machinations of the players. Also, Star Trek is a very different environment than Star Wars.

I have always held to the idea that Star Wars is a much more complex tactical environment with many interacting pieces, much like naval warfare in the pacific theater of WWII. Star Trek by comparison, while my preference in terms of narrative fiction, is relatively simple tactically, resembling aerial combat. Developing this campaign I realized that it isn't that simple. While Star Wars offers a complex tactical environment, operationally and strategically it is less so. Combat in Star Trek is, by comparison, very simple, but strategically it is much more detailed than Star Wars.

This came about as I was grappling with modelling starships with real-time FTL sensors that reach out much beyond their movement ranges in a reasonable time frame that function even while travelling at warp. This creates a witches-brew of action-reaction-counter action as starships can see each other as they are moving across great distances and can intercept and flee from each other. Breaking the campaign down into turns of discrete time does little to alleviate the headache. And I haven't even mentioned combat while at warp. Star Wars, you just jump point to point and fight.

But I managed to do it, at least sort of.


The map of the campaign showing a 60x60 light year area around the Federation-Klingon border. In its normal format this image is quite large, built with hundreds of layers in Photoshop, so large I couldn't post it on the blog. Apologies for the lower quality image.

The campaign rules:

Archanis Campaign

The Archanis Campaign is a map game whereby three players will vie for control of the hotly contested Archanis Sector and the surrounding space in 2372-2373. One player will take control of Starfleet’s forces in the area and desperately attempt to halt the Klingon advance as the Federation re-tasks its spread out forces. The other two players will each adopt the role of the leader of a Great House tasked with the invasion of Federation space. One player will be House Antaak, the other House Korath. These two players are nominally working together, but as with all things Klingon, cooperation may be difficult.

A Turn

Each turn, the three players will issue orders for their starships and task forces. There will be a number of orders a player can issue to any task force as well as a stance that task force can be set to. When the orders from each player have been received by the game master, the turn will be processed and each player’s files updated. Battles may occur as a result of the issued orders. These battles will be adjudicated by the game master with an assistant if possible. Each turn represents 72 hours. The campaign will last a maximum of 60 turns representing 6 months.

Victory

The victory conditions of the campaign are based on the Confidence of the Federation Council. This is measured as a percentage and based on the control of the various systems, starbases, and listening posts of the sectors as well as the losses Starfleet has suffered and the length of time since the campaign began. Losing any system, starbase, listening post, or starship will decrease the Federation Council’s Confidence. The specific amount that any loss will affect the Confidence of the Federation Council is not visible to either Starfleet or the Klingons but can be roughly inferred through the importance of a system and the size and cost of the destroyed starship. As the campaign progresses the Confidence will increase slowly as the Federation is given the time to mobilize its resources and vast industrial potential. Should the Federation Council’s Confidence ever drop to 40% or lower than the Council will cede the Archanis sector territories to the Klingon Empire and sue for peace. If this has not occurred at the end of 60 turns then the Starfleet player wins.

The two Klingon players will each have an Honor score. Their Honor will take into account the systems and starbases they have captured as well as Starfleet starships they have destroyed. The specific amount that any captured system or destroyed starship will affect Honor is not visible but can be roughly inferred through the importance of a system and the size and cost of the destroyed starship. Their own losses are not included in their Honor. In the event of a loss for the Federation, the Klingon player with the greater Honor is considered the victor and a grand statue of them erected outside the Great Hall. In the event of a Federation victory, the player with the greater Honor will not be stripped of all their lands and titles.

The Map

The map represents a 60ly by 60ly expanse of space along the Klingon-Federation border with the Romulan Star Empire present at the coreward edge. A grid of 60x60 squares lies across the map denoting sub-sectors of 1ly by 1ly. A coordinate system exists to aid in the issuing of orders with a two number system. The first number is the column and the second number the row. Only every fifth sub-sector is labeled to avoid crowding the map.

Federation territory is colored blue, Klingon territory red, Romulan territory green, the Romulan Neutral Zone grey, and unclaimed space clear. Notable star systems are shown with a yellow star icon and the name of the system next to it. Starbases are denoted with a red circle. Neither side may enter the Romulan Neutral Zone or Romulan territory. Starfleet has not been authorized to enter Klingon space by the Federation Council at this time. Eleven watchtower listening posts along the Klingon border are represented with a red triangle. Three nebulas exist on the map, the Paulson Nebula, Azure Nebula, and Hromi Cluster, and are given a graphic. A sub-sector is considered to be nebula if at least half of it is filled by the nebula.

Faint green lines connect various star systems in both the Federation and the Klingon Empire. These lines represent supply routes with regular traffic of freighters and transports. Should a supply line be compromised due to enemy raiders or the destination b conquered, the route will be colored red. Some systems have a battery symbol in the top left corner of their sub-sector. This indicates that the system houses a supply base capable of topping up friendly starships. Some systems have a wrench symbol in the top right corner of their sub-sector. This indicates that the system houses a repair station for the repair of friendly starships.


Starfleet task forces are represented by a Starfleet combadge icon. Klingon task forces are represented by a Klingon Empire icon. Both icons, as well as starbases and listening posts, project two colored circles, purple and red, for short sensor range and long sensor range respectively. Short sensor range for all task forces is 1ly. Long sensor range for Starfleet task forces is 10ly and 7ly for Klingon task forces. Starbases have a short sensor range of 2ly but keep the 10ly long range. Watchtower listening posts have no long sensor range but have a short sensor range of 5ly. Each side will not see the sensor ranges of their opposition.


Task Forces

Players will organize their starships into task forces. A task force is a group of starships that are given orders and moved about the map. A task force can consist of one starship. All starships in a task force are located in the same sub-sector. Task forces can be modified at the player’s discretion but only starships in the same sub-sector at the beginning of a turn can be organised into the same task force. New task forces can be created from the constituent starships of a task force at any time. Task forces will be given a number by default but may be renamed at the player’s direction.

Supply

The systems containing supply bases automatically replenish their supply capability each turn assuming an uninterrupted route can be traced through the supply lines off the map. If a supply base cannot do this, its supply inventory is not replenished and therefore finite until such time as the supply line is restored.

All starships have a supply rating representing the amount of consumables carried on board such as anti-matter, deuterium, and other necessary feed-stock and supplies. Each time a starship conducts a rapid move order or engages in any combat, its supply rating is reduced by one. A starship present at a supply base that has been given a resupply order will replenish its supply rating back to its nominal level assuming the base has sufficient supply. Anytime a starship undergoes repairs at a repair station, the accompanying supply base reduces its supply by one. Anytime a starship conducts a field repair order, it reduces its supply rating by one.

A starship with a supply rating of zero is only capable of a move, resupply, or repair order and if forced into battle cannot utilize any on-board torpedo tubes and phasers/disrupters hit with ½ their normal damage (rounded down).

Both Klingon players have the ability to establish a new supply base in a Federation system that has been the target of a successful Invade order. This supply base will create a supply line back to the player’s primary supply base. Each Klingon player may only do this once.

House Antaak’s primary supply base is the Ganalda system. House Korath’s primary supply base is the Beta Thoridor system.

System Control

All systems in Federation space are by default under Federation control. Whenever Klingon starships are unopposed in a Federation system it is under Klingon control. The Klingons can gain more permanent control of a system through an Invade order. A system that has been invaded and now controlled by the Klingons can be the target of an Invade order by a Starfleet task force.

Orders

Task forces can be given any number of orders to accomplish the player’s goals. Only one order can be issued to a task force even if not all the starships contained within it are required or capable of performing the order, i.e. a task force cannot be ordered to move to a system and invade it in the same turn. Whether task forces encounter each other or are able to intercept one another will be determined by the game master taking into account how much each task force has moved that turn and the relative speeds of the starships.

Move: A task force issued a move order must be given a destination within 3 sub-sectors of its current location. A move of 3 sub-sectors is equivalent to Warp 6. A starship can tow another starship up to twice its size (Mass Factor) with its tractor beams on a move order if required. Enemy starships will only be engaged if the move brings them into the same sub-sector. Corner-to-corner moves are not permitted. 

Rapid Move: A task force issued a rapid move order must be given a destination but the maximum distance varies. Each class of starship has a rating for Max Cruise Warp which represents the maximum number of sub-sectors the starship can move in 72 hours without damaging the engines, though this will eat through the ship’s supply of anti-matter. A task force on a rapid move order cannot exceed the max cruise warp of the slowest starship within it. Every starship in a task force that performed a rapid move reduces its supply rating by one. Starships cannot be towed with tractor beams during a rapid move order. Enemy starships will only be engaged if the rapid move brings them into the same sub-sector. Corner-to-corner moves are not permitted.

Patrol: A task force issued a patrol order will attempt to engage enemy forces detected within their max cruise warp range within the limit of it’s stance. A task force that engages an enemy task force will expend one supply rating from each of its starships for the move and one supply if they enter combat.

Raid: A task force issued a raid order must be within 1 sub-sector of an enemy supply line. The constituent starships will intercept and destroy or capture enemy supply vessels travelling this route, although this is abstracted. The supply route will be considered compromised by the enemy. Any starships conducting a raid order can replenish their supply rating by one at the end of the turn.

Escort: A task force issued an escort order must be within 1 sub-sector of a supply route. From that point forward the task force’s specific location is no longer tracked. The constituent starships will attempt to escort freighters travelling the designated supply route. If an enemy task force is performing a raid order along the specified supply route there will be a chance that the escorting task force will be present to intervene. Multiple task forces can be set to escort on the same supply route to increase the likelihood of the presence of one of the task forces at an enemy raid. The longer a supply route the lower the likelihood of any one escorting task force being present at a raid. When a task force with an escort order is issued a different order the location it appears along the supply route is randomized.

Resupply: A task force issued a resupply order must be present at a supply base. Each starship in the task force may refill its supply rating up to the maximum assuming sufficient supply at the base. If a supply base does not carry enough supplies to fully restock a task force, the player must specify priority. A resupply order can be issued to a task force not at a supply base in order to redistribute supplies among the constituent starships.

Repair: A task force issued a repair order must be present at a repair station. A repair station can repair up to 5 starships simultaneously. In the event of competing repair needs, the player must specify priority. A repair station can restore up to 20 hull hits in one turn to each starship being repaired. A missing section of a starship will take 3 turns to restore to 1 hull hit remaining. Each starship repaired by a repair station will reduce the supply inventory of the accompanying supply base by 1. Destroyed starships cannot be repaired and are removed from the campaign.

Field Repair: A task force issued a field repair order will fix damage among its constituent starships. Klingon task forces can repair up to 5 hull hits per starship. Starfleet task forces can repair up to 6 hull hits and have a pool of 1 additional hull hit per undamaged starship in the task force to distribute to the damaged starships at the player’s discretion. Destroyed sections cannot be repaired during a field repair order. Disabled systems are automatically restored at the end of a battle.

Invade: A task force issued an Invade order will attempt to wrest control of a system from the enemy utilizing ground forces. If enemy starships enter the system during the turn, the order is voided. When performing an Invade order, the total Marine rating of the constituent starships and the Invasion Difficulty rating of the system are considered in a calculation known only to the gamemaster. If successful, the system will remain in control whether starships are present or not. If not successful, the task force may attempt an Invade order again the next turn.

Tachyon-Net: Starfleet task forces can be issued a tachyon-net order. The constituent starships will establish a tachyon detection grid to discover cloaked vessels in their area. A tachyon-net order requires the task force to include at least 5 starships. Two end points of the detection grid must be specified no more than 5 sub-sectors apart. Any cloaked starship that crosses the sub-sectors of the detection grid is automatically detected. If the tachyon-net task force is set to an aggressive or determined stance, they may attempt to intercept the intruding vessels.

Stance

Task forces must have one of three stances which indicates their willingness to engage enemy forces.

Evasive: A task force set to evasive will always attempt to flee in the face of enemy vessels.

Aggressive: A task force set to aggressive will attempt to combat enemy forces of ~equal combat capability or smaller.

Determined: A task force set to determined will attempt to combat any enemy forces they encounter. Starfleet task forces set to determined will flee if the local commander believes they are outnumbered by more than 2:1 in combat potential.

Sensors

Starships and starbases have both short and long range sensors; listening posts only have short range sensors. Short range sensors are indicated with a purple circle around the source while long range sensors are indicated with a red circle. Enemy task forces outside the sensor ranges of any friendly assets will not appear on the player’s map. Enemy task forces inside long range sensors of friendly assets will appear and the number of constituent vessels noted. Enemy task forces inside short range sensors of friendly assets will have class information listed. Starships in a nebula can only be detected by being in the same sub-sector.


Starships that are cloaked may not appear on the enemy’s map. Any time a cloaked task force performs a move, rapid move, patrol, raid, or escort order that has the force move within sensor range of enemy assets, there is a chance they will be detected. The specifics of this calculation are mysterious and known only to the game master but factor in the number of starships in the cloaked task force, their sensor profiles, as well as the number of detecting starships and the power of their sensors. Cloaked task forces within short sensor range are at an increased chance of detection. Once a task force has been detected, so long as it remains within sensor range of any asset it will remain detected. The higher the total sensor rating of a Starfleet task force the greater chance of detecting cloaked ships. The lower the total sensor profile of a Klingon task force the lower chance of it being detected. Cloaked task forces that are detected with short range sensors have the number of starships revealed not their classes. Cloaked task forces that are detected with long range sensors simply appear as a task force with an unknown quantity of vessels. All Klingon task forces are assumed to be under cloak by default unless otherwise specified by the player.

Reinforcements

The Starfleet player will receive intermittent reinforcements of a progressively larger quantity as the campaign progresses. Starfleet reinforcements will arrive at the edge of the map where the three supply lines exit. The Klingon players can request reinforcements from Klingon High Command or from their own house fleets as part of their orders. Each time a Klingon player requests reinforcements from High Command their Honor is permanently reduced. Each time a Klingon player requests reinforcements from their house fleets their Honor is reduced but by a smaller amount. Reinforcements from the High Command originate from the KDF and are therefore of a higher quality than the house fleets. Klingon reinforcements arrive at their primary supply bases.

Commanders and Crew

Some of the starships under a player’s command will have a flag rank officer aboard. Rear Admirals are one command die, Vice Admirals two command dice, and Admirals three command dice. Each flag rank officer will have a rating of Poor (D4), Average (D6), or Brilliant (D8). When one or more of these commander’s are present in a task force and that task force participates in a battle, a proper chain of command will be established. If no flag rank officers are present at a battle, the captain of the starship with tactical superiority will command the fleet as a single D4 commander with all present starships reporting directly to them.

Starfleet Mission Pods

The Nebula Class and Springfield Class both have interchangeable pods as part of their design. The Starfleet player can order these starships to swap out their pods at any of the four starbases. Doing so takes up a repair slip for 4 turns. The Nebula Class can utilize either the Tactical Pod or SWAC Pod. The Springfield Class can utilize either the Tactical Pod or the SWAC Pod.

Battles

Any time task forces move into the same sub-sector a battle occurs, assuming both task forces are not set to an evasive stance. The sub-sector the battle occurs in will determine the terrain for the table-top battle. Interstellar space will have no terrain while star systems will feature terrain generated from a randomized list. Battles that take place in the nebulas will use appropriate nebula terrain. The Paulson Nebula will use the rules for planetary nebulae. The Azure Nebula will use the rules for supernova remnants. The Hromi Cluster will use the rules for protoplanetary/emission nebulae.

The setup and deployment zones for a battle will be determined by the approach vectors of the participating starships, i.e. a task force being engaged by two enemy task forces from two different vectors would likely fight a flank attack scenario. Reserves will be available in most battles at the discretion of the game master.

Warp Combat

Occasionally with one task force on a patrol order and its target at an evasive stance, warp combat may occur. For the purposes of the campaign, only a stern chase will be modeled. This will occur when one task force is being pursued by another task force of a higher max warp cruise speed and the choice is made not to drop to sub-light for combat. The two forces are deployed 300cm apart with the pursuing force facing the stern of the evading force. There is no plotting or movement as this is mostly a mathematical exercise and could be done on paper.

Only torpedo launchers will function for the battle. The evading force’s torpedo launchers range bands are doubled for the battle to represent the massive closing speed any torpedo fired would have. The evading force may only utilize aft facing weapons. The pursuing force may only utilize bow facing weapons.

The battle will begin at 300cm with a round of firing (probably only the evading force considering the range). Each subsequent round the pursuing force is moved forward 30cm per difference in the max warp cruises of the two groups, i.e. a task force with a speed of 6 is being pursued by a force with a speed of 8, each turn the pursuing force will be moved 60cm closer to the evading force. When the two sides reach 30cm, the range stops closing as this will be point-blank for most launchers. The game will end when either the pursuing force or the evading force are destroyed, or the pursuing force chooses to break off.

End of rules.

These are the constraints the three players are operating under. There are a number of things they are not privy to such as the specific mechanics of reinforcements and detecting cloaked starships. This is mostly to maintain some level of mystery and avoid gaming of mechanics.

The campaign has already progressed to turn six and I have four small skirmish battles ready to go for a deployment. A post detailing the first few turns will be coming soon. Stay safe everyone.

Part 2

Comments

  1. Fantastic!!! This is exactly what I want to do for my FASA Four Years War gaming. I resin printed about 200 ships of the period and am working on a beer and pretzels tactical combat system to make taskforce combat easy to run while drinking. This type of campaign system is the corollary to that so that a scenario is ready and relevant when we get together to play. It would encourage asymmetric scenarios, and give meaning to losses that cripple key enemy ships. I love it! I will bookmark and follow this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent, hopefully you can get some more ideas as the campaign progresses.

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    2. THIS LOOKS AND SOUNDS AMAZING! I am so excited for the coming write-
      ups!

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    3. It really has been amazing so far!

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