Admiral Dimitry Orlov was fuming. He barely survived the review of his performance with the Czar’s Naval Review after the last disastrous engagement with the Covenant of Antarctica. Though the Board ruled that he had not failed in his duties, they were not pleased with the outcome of the battle.
Orlov needed to prove himself. Now he was out for revenge. Rumor indicated a small force from the CoA was in this area. Orlov managed to push through a request to go after the interlopers with a superior force. His Family connections managed to keep him his command aboard the Battleship Georgy Pobedonosets ("St George the Victorious" in English). He replaced all his losses of his previous fleet and was able to “borrow” some Saransk Skyships and two of the new Pesets Submarines. This was a force that would crush a fleet similar to what he had faced before. The new target was reported to be a much a smaller fleet. It was doomed!
“Admiral! Communications from the Skyships scouting ahead of us! They have spotted the Enemy fleet!”
“Excellent! What is the composition of their forces?”
“Sir, it appears the previous reports were not correct. They report a CoA Battleship and Carrier with a few support ships.”
“WHAT??? A BATTLESHIP AND A CARRIER!?! There’s no way they would operate with 2 large assets in place like that with so little support! Confirm sighting!”
“Sir, the Scouts repeat, A Carrier, A Battleship, 8 Frigates and a circular object in the water nearby. SIR! Scouts report multiple air-born Contacts hiding in the clouds! At least 5 more Capital Class Skyships! They are closing quickly, Sir!”
The Captain of the Georgy Pobedonosets turned to Orlov. “Sir, shall we turn back?”
“No Captain. We are sturdy ships, but not fast. We could never outrun those Skyships. Ensign! Call the fleet to Battle Stations! Radio report to Fleet Headquarters we have been engaged by the CoA. Tell them we have sailed into a trap!”
So, Geoff and I played 1000 pt fleets on a 6’ X 4’ table. For a change of pace, the Russians chose one of the short edges.
The Covenant of Antarctica (CoA) fleet consisted of:
- 1 Pericles Fleet Carrier
- 1 Aristotle Battleship with Target Painter (Command Ship)
- 2 X squadrons of 4 Plutarch Frigates
- 1 Callimachus Time Dilation Orb
- 1 Daedalus Large Flyer
- 2 X squadrons of 2 Icarus Medium Fliers
- 2 X squadrons of 5 Fighter Drones
- 1 X squadron of 5 Dive Bomber Drones
(I realize the list doesn’t have any medium ships, so I either missed something or we didn’t notice (or care) at the time.)
The Russian Coalition (RC) fleet consisted of:
- 1 Borodino Battleship
- 1 X squadron of 3 Suvorov Cruisers
- 3 X squadrons of 3 Novgorod Frigates
- 1 X squadron of 2 Saransk Medium Skyships
- 1 X squadron of 2 Myshkin Bombers
- 1 X Squadron of Pesets Attack Submarines (got the blister the day before – HAD to try them out)
- 2 X squadrons of 5 Fighters
The Russians rolled table edge and chose one of the short sides, just to see how it would play. Using the deployment rules from Hurricane Season, Russians deployed most of the fleet in the main deployment zone, with the Bombers, Skyships & Submarines in the Advanced Force zone – Obscured and Submerged. Due to some poor communications, Geoff didn’t realize we were using the advance deployment rules (or I didn’t realize he didn’t realize that.. never mind) and deployed the entire fleet in the Main Deployment zone.
Russians rolled 50% & all small ships. I chickened out and selected the default 70% of enemy fleet sunk or captured instead.
Russians rolled 50% & all small ships. I chickened out and selected the default 70% of enemy fleet sunk or captured instead.
Antarctica rolled 50% of the fleet and all Medium sized ships. Counting 9 mediums, he opted to also go for the 70% default as well.
CoA got initiative – no one played any turn cards.
The CoA carrier was the first to activate. After he completed his activation, Geoff realized he should have activated it last as it “could” have had range after one of my ships had moved closer to the middle of the table. Fortunately for CoA, I didn’t have any way of really taking advantage of this error. The rest of the moves were without incident as no one had range to any other ships. The only other thing to note was that the Subs stayed submerged and the Echo separated so that instead of 2 submarines Geoff saw 4 “Echoes”. This caused a little concern on the CoA Admiral’s part as Geoff didn’t know how the rules worked. I explained that I would choose one echo to be “real” if he shot at the subs (my choice of which echo was “Real”).
With no shooting/damage, turn 1 ended quite quickly.
RC Won Initiative. No turn cards played.
RC Cruisers advanced towards the center. As soon as I was done, I realized it was probably a mistake, but was too late to worry about it. The CoA Medium Skyships on the left moved forward still obscured. RC Frigates advanced on the left. The CoA Time Dilation Orb activated and used its generator to allow the Carrier to gain an extra 2” movement. Chuckling sinisterly, I played the Generator Offline card on the Orb, disabling it!
The RC Central Frigate Squadron advanced up the center. The CoA carrier now activated and fired its weapons at the Center Cruiser in the middle of the map (told you it was a bad idea to move the cruisers first). The Carrier successfully blew passed the Ablative Armor on the Cruiser, causing 1HP. The damage was done – the Ablative Armor was gone.
The RC Battleship moved forward, but was unable to range in on any targets. CoA Medium Skyships advanced on the right. RC Fighters on the left moved forward ½ speed. The middle squadron of CoA Frigates charged up the center and managed to sink 1 frigate with torpedoes – 1st blood to the CoA! RC Second fighter squadron advanced forward at ½ speed – trying to use up an activation. The CoA Large Skyship activated, turning to present broadsides to the center. Long range fire successfully sank a frigate in the center frigate squadron. The RC frigates on the right move forward only 3” to kill another activation. CoA Fighters advance to kill more time. The RC Bombers move forward in the Center, but the CoA fighters activated next and attacked the RC bombers. The Bombers successfully shot down 2 fighters, but 1 bomber suffered an Engine Crit!
The RC activated their Medium Skyships in the Obscured level. Advancing towards the left side Frigates and Skyships, the RC Skyships dropped mines as they travelled; hoping to slow down the Frigates. The Skyships main guns targeted one of the enemy Medium Skyships, caused a Crit (Hard Pounding: -3AP total).
CoA Dive Bombers moved slowly up the center. The RC Subs (and their Echoes) maneuvered towards the center of the board. Finally, the CoA Battleship surfaces, turns to expose her rear turrets and fired, successfully damaging 1 bomber.
End of turn, the RC failed to repair the engine damaged bomber while the CoA successfully repaired the Time Dilation Orb! Drat!!!
CoA Won Initiative.
CoA Played “Pass the Tools” and repaired all the damage to the Medium Skyship.
RC Played “Tactical Aid” and picked up 2 more cards for the turn.
CoA started the turn with one Frigate squadron attacking another RC Frigate squadron; sinking 1 ship and damaging another. The RC squadron passed their Break Test. The RC Skyships advanced on the Left CoA Skyships, causing a Crit (Nav Lock) and reducing the AP to 0, then attempted to board the other playing the Stormtrooper card– but FAILED!!! :-O
The CoA Carrier played “All Stop”, moving forward the minimum 2”. It then fired at the Bombers (failing to cause any damage) and at the Skyships (causing a Crit (Engine Damage) on one)! The RC Frigates on the right advanced and managed to damage 1 frigate. The Medium Skyships on the left dropped from the Obscured level, and did a Crit to the damaged Cruiser (Hard Pounding; 4AP left), broadsides did a crit to a Bomber (Hard Pounding; 0AP left) and AA damaged a Skyship!
RC Frigates on the right slid forward and managed to damage 1 Frigate. CoA Skyships on the left dropped from Obscured to gain better firing solutions. It worked because the shooting caused a Crit (Hard Pounding – 4AP left) on the damaged Cruiser, their broadsides caused a Crit on a Bomber (Hard Pounding – 0AP left) and AA damaged another Medium Skyship!
The RC Cruisers started by playing “Running Repairs”; completely repairing the damaged Cruiser (though not the Ablative Armor; too bad). Main guns crit 1 Skyship, but shields saved all the hits of the other! The broadsides sink 1 Frigate and damaged another on the right side of the map.
The CoA Battleship decided that couldn’t be left unanswered. Moving forward, the shot down 1 Skyship with AA, missed the Bombers with their broadsides but did a Double-Crit (1 point shy of a Triple-Crit) to the Cruiser that had lost its Ablative Armor earlier – immediately sinking the unfortunate Cruiser.
RC Fighters attacked and successfully brought down the damaged Medium Skyship on the left. CoA Fighters attack the damaged bomber, successfully bring it down with the loss of 1 drone token. The RC Frigates in the center moved forward and successfully destroyed 2 Frigates, then captured the Medium Skyship that had lost all its AP, keeping it as a Prize!
The Large CoA Skyship moved to turn its broadsides towards the RC, shot down the last Bomber and successfully penetrated the Ablative Armor on another Cruiser. The RC Subs surfaced and launched an attack on the Battleship, one failing to draw line of sight (bad maneuvering on my part) and failed to damage the enemy ship. The CoA Dive Bombers pounced on one sub, sinking it with a double crit, then were abandoned in the end turn so the Carrier could launch a fresh set in the next turn. The RC fighters on the right advanced at ½ speed. The CoA Medium Skyship damaged the RC Skyship, sunk a damaged Frigate to the right and sunk the damaged Cruiser on the Left, then shot down 1 Fighter token with AA! Busy Ship! The RC Battleship moved forward, but was only able to get the front turret into range of the exposed Skyship and managed to damage it.
Then the trickery of the CoA was revealed! The Time Dilation Orb activated next; standing still, it teleported the CoA Carrier forward – almost parallel and beside the RC Battleship! As their last activation, the RC moved Frigates from the left to behind the RC Battleship, but unfortunately were too far away to attack this new threat. CoA Fighters attacked some RC fighters, killing 2, losing 1 in the process. The RC fighters would have lost enough fuel to Aborts had they not played a card that ignored all Abort results. The CoA Frigates on the left activated, but the first frigate was forced to move forward and triggered a mine, sinking 1 and damaging 2 others.
So much had happened this turn, we figured we should check our progress. The VP Count So Far:
RC = 333
CoA = 460
CoA Won Initiative.
Both sides played turn cards, then cancelled the effects with other cards.
The CoA Carrier activated first, damaged a frigate on one side with a broadside, then damaged a Cruiser on the other side with the other broadside, then damaged the Battleship with its turrets, removing the Battleships Ablative Armor.
The RC battleship needed to turn to bring all its turrets to bear on the Carrier but the Cruiser was in the way. So the RC Cruiser activated first, moved forward and out of the way of the Battleship, firing broadsides and turret at the Carrier as it moved. The Carrier’s shields prevented any damage from being inflicted. The CoA Skyship stayed out of the clouds, destroyed the Prized Skyship (not sure if we should have allowed this – we have a habit of doing it all the time), damaged the Battleship with both Fore Guns and Turrets, destroyed another 3 Fighter tokens with AA and finally boarded and captured the last RC Cruiser!
The CoA had effectively won at this point – all the RC could do was go down fighting the rest of the turn. The RC Battleship turned towards the Carrier, fired broadsides at the Prized Cruiser (again – probably not supposed to) and turrets at the Carrier. The Carrier’s shields stopped the Crit, but still allowed damage through, but the Carrier had Flash Fire played on it as a result.
The CoA then activated the Time Dilation Orb and teleported the Battleship within Range Band 1 of the RC Battleship! The RC Frigates behind the Battleship moved out to gain clear line of fire on the CoA Battleship and managed to Crit the Battleship (Systems off-line). The CoA Trap closed as the Battleship fired on the RC Battleship; causing only 1 more HP damage with its broadsides, failing to damage with the turrets, then sank another Frigate with the Battleships other broadside.
In desperation, the last RC Skyship dropped out of the clouds and fired everything it had at the Large Skyship, but the Shields blocked all hits! The Large CoA Skyship turned and fired back on the enemy Skyship, destroying it. Panicking, the last RC Sub turned to fire at the threats behind it and collided with one of its own Frigates! No damage to either ship but the Sub’s firing was haphazard and ineffective, causing no damage. The CoA activated their Frigates on the left, but the first frigate triggered another mine, sinking 1 Frigate and causing another mine to cascade explode, but failed to cause any further damage. The remaining Frigate torpedoed the Battleship (forgot I had Torpedo Breakers, should have re-directed them to the CoA Battleship in spite), causing another HP damage to the despairing Russian Battleship.
The last RC Frigate on the right sank 1 Frigate before the rest of the CoA frigates put it out of its misery, leaving the right firmly under the control of the CoA. One flight of RC fighters attempted to attack a Skyship but 1 was destroyed and the rest driven off and out of fuel by the AA. The CoA Fighters then destroyed the remaining RC Fighters.
As the last possible move, the RC frigate moved away from the sub that collided Sub.
RC = 289
RC = 289
Well, that was a mess...
Looking critically at the Russian Performance – I gave up in the last two turns, and it showed in their performance. That Carrier showing up near my deployment zone threw my mindset and all my strategy afterwards. Yes, the Russians were hampered playing “lengthwise” on the table – but I didn’t really suffer serious damage until we were entering Range Band 2 anyway! It just gave us an extra turn or two to maneuver. So ultimately – it was my fault! Great Game Geoff!
So what did I like?
To me, the Heros of the match for the Russian were the Saransk Medium Skyships. Dropping mines at the right locations hampered the CoA Frigates on my left. The Skyships were tough enough to stand some punishment, fast enough to get into range and be a threat. Finally the range of their turret made them more effective than the Bombers I would normally use. The Skyships’ added bonus was that their Concussive Barrage reduced AP on their targets. HOWEVER, checking the card afterwards, I realized I Cheated! For some reason, I converted the “Water Hunter” MAR to “Air Hunter” during the game. (I hate getting old!) I probably wouldn’t have caused as much damage as I had if I caught the error during the game. (Note to Spartan: Printing Black ink on dark backgrounds is a Terrible Idea!) Sorry Geoff! (:-} Regardless, I will probably consider replacing the Bombers in the future with a 2nd pair of Skyships!
The Pesets Submarines were fun. I had issues with the way I maneuvered them, but that was my fault, not theirs. What’s nice is they are the faster Medium choice for the fleet. I would consider having another unit of two as linking the Torpedo Turret is a nice feature. The other option is to run the subs as single choices and it’s a valid option. Using them as single units would give more turn activations. However, I think using pairs gives them more potential. I’ll continue to test both options
The Cruisers did decently, providing a distraction and drawing fire from the Battleship as long as possible. Their firepower is a threat to everyone and though they went down quickly, they acted well as a Fire-Magnet. I would maybe consider changing the squadron composition to use a Gunship as a Reinforced Cruiser squadron. It would maybe add a little more firepower to the unit without increasing the points cost too much. The other option is to drop them completely in favor of Subs (also a Medium choice and fulfilling the required Medium Naval Slot).
Bombers – well nothing much we can say about them. The fact that the Skyships were Faster doesn’t help their cause. Short ranged weapons are poor and it’s hard enough getting close enough to drop bombs on anything, let alone the Impact Attack. Past experience shows they’re a good threat and do cause damage when they work. It just didn’t work in this game against a “large” Air Force.
The Battleship. It’s Slow. It’s a Large and it doesn’t cost too much. It fulfilled the minimum 1 Large Choice a list is required. But it was too slow to get in and engage as it should have. If I had drawn a “Stoke The Engines” card, it would have been much more useful. As it was, it didn’t really have an impact on the game, though it did survive the match. The question is – What would have helped it?
Dimitry Orlov looked around the shattered bridge of the Georgy Pobedonosets. He had just been called back to the Radio Cabin when the shell had hit. The Senior Staff and Bridge Crew had been killed instantly. The enemy fleet had broken off their attack and headed away as news of a relief force was coming over the horizon to rescue the battered Russian Fleet. Still, Orlov’s pride and ship had been badly mauled. It would take some time in the ship yards to restore Georgy Pobedonosets to her former glory. Meanwhile, the crew was making repairs and rescuing sailors from the water with the Battleship’s launches.
“That’s twice the Cursed CoA have caught me off guard! It will NOT happen again! They have cost Mother Russia too much in Men and Material and I will extract revenge for all those brave Sailors who died today…”
“I’m glad to hear that, Admiral Orlov. We’ve been interviewing your crewand they seem to respect you. I can use that.”
“Who are you, Sir?”
“My name is not important. What is important is the Czar wants to know if your career is worth salvaging, and I have been assigned the task of evaluating you. I’m sure we can do great things together for Mother Russia…”