Thursday, June 27, 2013

BatRep: Chinese Federation vs Russian Coalition (760pts – unfinished)

Admiral Dimitry Orlov was frustrated. 

His last encounter with the Italians had been undecisive.  If only the light had lasted a little longer!

Now he was stuck on the east coast while his command underwent repairs at the ship yard.  The Tzar himself had sent Orlov out to inspect fleet readiness and training at Vladivostok.  It wasn’t Murmansk, but maybe if he did well, Orlov could get a transfer of command to St Petersburg and the Baltic Fleet…

Meanwhile, Orlov wasn’t impressed with the fleet commodore he was with now.  He seemed hesitant.  Sure he made the fleet go through its drills in an efficient manner, but seemed unsure whenever Orlov asked a technical or theoretical question…

“Commodore!  A fleet spotted to the south!  It seems to be a Battleship with support ships and fliers, heading our way.  They refuse to acknowledge our hails!”

Boy this sounds familiar, thought Orlov.  The Russian Fleet Command had been concerned that the Japanese might attempt an attack at the base.  Perhaps the balloon has gone up. 

“Commodore!  What are your Orders?”

The Commodore went white, started trembling and stuttered uncontrollably.

“Commodore!  Your Orders???”  This didn’t look good to Orlov…

“As Admiral, I’m taking command of the task force!  Sailor, escort the Commodore from the bridge to the Sick Bay!  Helm – turn us towards the unknown contacts.  Communications – tell the fleet go to Battle Stations and prepare to engage!”

The relief on the bridge was evident on everyone’s face.  Orlov took over the Captain’s seat and settled in for the violent actions of war.

“Admiral, Observers from the Skyships have identified the fleet is NOT Japanese.  They appear to be a Chinese Federation Fleet!”

“My orders stand.  It doesn’t matter who they are!  We must defend Mother Russia!  Let me know as we approach gunnery range!”

“Yes Sir!”

Well, Orlov thought, I never thought the Chinese would be ready to fight so quickly.  This could be very interesting…

Graham was a “Bad Boy” – he picked up the Chinese Federation Box Set before anyone had a chance to look at it (he happened to be in the store when the latest shipment arrived).  Of course, we HAD to test them…

Chinese Federation (CF) consisted of:
1 Jian Battleship with BOTH Rocket Battery & Sonic Generator
A Reinforced Cruiser Squadron with 2 Dao Cruisers and 1 Wodao Gunship
9 Nu Frigates in 3 squadrons of 3
2 Liuxing Bombers
2 squadrons of Tiny Fliers

Needing a few “extra” points, the Russian Coalition (RC) consisted of:
1 Borodino Battleship with Torpedo Breaker
A Reinforced Cruiser Squadron with 2 Suvorov Cruisers (with Rocket Jammers) and a Tambov Gunship
2 Medium Saransk Skyships in a single squadron
9 Novgorod Frigates in 3 squadrons of 3

Chinese Deployment (Top to Bottom)

  • Frigates
  • Fighter Squadron
  • Another Squadron of Frigates, surrounding the Battleship
  • Reinforced Cruiser Squadron pointing slightly to the Right (trying to go around an iceberg in their way)
  • A squadron of Frigates with a squadron of Fighters slightly behind
  • The Bombers

Russian Deployment (Left to Right):

  • A squadron of Frigates,
  • Reinforced Cruiser Squadron, pointed slightly to the right
  • A squadron of Frigates with the Skyships and a squadron of Dive Bombers behind
  • The Battleship
  • A squadron of Fighters
  • A squadron of Frigates

After rolling for the missions, we both chose the default 70% Captured or Destroyed.
The games begin...

Turn 1:
Chinese played the “Lost Orders” game card.  I wasn’t able to counter it so I was made to throw my hand away and draw 2 more cards.
Chinese won the Initiative

The Hulking Chinese Battleship activated first, firing a Range Band (RB) 4 Rocket attack as it moved forward.  The Rocket Jammers from the Cruisers diverted some of the warheads onto themselves, sparing everyone damage.  The Central Russian Frigates moved forward maximum speed, hoping to draw out some Chinese Targets for the Cruisers and Battleship.  The Chinese Frigates moved forward, working their way around the iceberg in front of them, but had no targets in range.

Stalling for time, the Russian Dive Bombers moved forward at ½ speed, followed by a squadron of Chinese Fighters moving forward, also at ½ speed.  To tempt the Chinese, the Russian Frigates on the far right moved forward maximum speed, hiding behind an ice island.  The Chinese Central Frigates made their move; fired their Somic Cannons at the Frigates in front of them (sinking 1) and broadsides at the other squadron of Frigates.  The Central Frigates passed their Break Test.

First Blood to the Chinese Federation!

Stalling for more time, the Russian Fighters moved forward at ½ speed.  Finally, the Chinese moved their last Frigates forward on the right side of the map; played “Let ‘Em Have It” and sank 1 frigate from the Russian Right-Side squadron.  The Russians passed their Break Test.

This is what the Russians were waiting for.  With all the Chinese squadrons activated on the right, the Russian Skyships moved forward in the center, towards the right, confident that none of the Chinese could retaliate from that side.  The Skyships Main Turret sank 1 Frigate from the center Chinese squadron, but the unit passed their Break Test.

Russian Skyships sink their 1st target!

Sadly, neither the Battleship nor the Cruiser Squadron could move forward enough to get range on any Chinese targets.  Chinese bombers and Frigates on the left of the table also were unable to move close enough to get in range to the Russians.  The last activation of the turn was the Russian Frigates on the far left, who moved forward and caught the Chinese Frigates after they moved around the Chinese Cruisers, and the Russians successfully sank 2 Frigates.

Russians Continue To Strike Back!

Neither side had any Crits to repair this turn, which left adding up the points:

End of Turn 1

CF:          75
RC:         50

Turn 2:
Chinese won the Initiative.
No Turn Cards were played

Chinese bombers on the left moved forward and then fired their Sonic Barrage using Sheaf Fire (1 Blast template per bomber) at the Russian Frigates on the left, catching all 3 in the blast markers!  One Frigate sunk and the other two damaged.  The Survivors failed their Break Test!  OUCH!!!

What Sheaf  Fire looks like...

The Russian Frigates in the center rushed over to help out their stricken fellows and opened fire on the bombers from RB2 and successfully damaged 1.  I then played “Tally Ho”, activating a second Russian Squadron – the Cruisers!  The Cruiser Squadron moved forward and fired their turrets on the Chinese Battleship, damaging it, while the broadsides Critted the undamaged Chinese Bomber, but Graham played “Hard as Nails”, reducing the hit to a single Hull Point of damage.  The Chinese Frigate squadron on the left moved to point blank range to the Russian Frigates in the Center, sank 1 and damaged the other.  Fortunately, the Russian Survivor passed his Break Test.

Frigates Mixing It Up!

The Russian Battleship advanced, played “Thunderous Volley” and got a Crit on the Chinese Battleship (Gun Damage).  Chinese Frigates moved to point blank range, played “Bullseye” and fired on the Russian Battleship but failed to damage it, while their broadsides damaged a Russian Frigate on the far right.

Chinese Frigates on their Attack Run

Russian Skyships moved forward and also damaged the Chinese Battleship (4HP Damage Total – crippling it).  The Chinese Battleship moved forward but it’s AA and broadsides failed to damage anything.  Russian Frigates on the right advanced and sank 1 Chinese Frigate on the right, but failed to damage the Battleship.  Chinese Fighters on the right attacked and did a Crit to a Skyship (Shredded Defences) at the cost of 2 Fighter Tokens.  Russian Dive Bombers advanced at ½ speed towards the Chinese Battleship.  The last Chinese Fighter Squadron attacked the undamaged Russian Skyship and did a Double Crit (Weapon Damage and Hard Pounding – 2 AP left), leaving it with a single HP remaining. 

Russian Skyships harass the Chinese Battleship

Russian Fighters attempted to do the same by attacking the Chinese Bombers but suffered 2 lost tokens for no damage to the Bombers.  Chinese Cruisers rounded the iceberg and stripped the Ablative Armor (17 HITS!!!) off 1 Russian Cruiser.  The Broken Russian Frigate Squadron on the left stayed still and fired individually and successfully sank the last Chinese Frigate on the far left.  In the final Activation of the turn, the Chines Frigates in the center activated – 1 ran into the Chinese Battleship and sank itself, the other sank 1 Russian Frigate and damaged another.  The Russians passed their Break Test.

In the End Phase, both the Russians and Chinese repaired all their Critical Damages, and the Russian Frigates rallied.

End of Turn 2

CF:          250
RC:         207

Turn 3:
Russians played “Red Tape” – Chinese must play an extra Star card to play any card.
Chinese won the Initiative.

The Chinese Battleship played “Running Repairs” and managed to get the damage down to a single Hull Point!  It then turned towards the table center.  The Battleship’s rockets failed to damage anything as the Cruisers redirected 3 rockets from the salvo, but the Battleship’s broadsides managed to double-crit the damaged Russian Cruiser and sank it.  The remaining Cruisers passed their Break Test.

Loss of a Russian Cruiser

The Russian Cruiser Squadron moved forward in a staggered formation, bringing all turrets and broadsides to bear on the Chinese Battleship, played “Thunderous Volley” and critted the Chinese Ship (Engine Damage).  Chinese Bombers turned towards and attacked the Cruiser squadron, but failed to damage them.  Russian Dive Bombers attacked and caused another Hull Point of damage to the Chinese Battleship (Crippling it AGAIN) for the loss of 1 token.

Chinese Battleship continues to have a bad day...

Chinese Cruisers move 2 ships around both sides of the Chinese Battleship, each picking a separate target while 1 Cruiser was blocked by the Battleship.  The two ships managed to strip the Ablative Armor off the Cruiser but failed to damage either the Gunship or a nearby Frigate.  The Russain Battleship played “Stoke the Engines”, but clipped a Chinese Frigate as it turned to bring its turrets to bear on the Chinese Cruisers and/or Battleship, sinking the Frigate.  Gunfire managed to Crit a Chinese Cruiser (Hard Pounding – 5AP left) and broadsides sank another Frigate.

The Chinese Frigate on the far right manage to turn, narrowly avoiding a collision, then sank the last Russian Frigate on the right.  Russian Skyships, climbed to the Obscured Level, and dropped mines in front of the Chinese Cruisers.  One was dropped close enough to go off right away, allowing the Chinese to shoot down 1 Skyship with AA.  The mine explosion failed to damage any Chinese ships.  Chinese Fighters attacked the remaining Skyship, causing a Crit (Engine Damage).  Desperate Russian Fighters attacked and managed to damage another Chinese Bomber, and the final Chinese Fighter Squadron attacked and shot down the last Russian Skyship.  In the final Activation, the Russian Frigates on the left failed to damage anything.

In the End Phase, the Russians had no repair rolls to make (it was sunk or shot down) while the Chinese failed to repair the Engine Damage on their Battleship.

End of Turn 3 & Game

Sadly, the store was closing at this point – a 2nd game in a row interrupted as things were getting interesting!

CF:          362
RC:         387

Another Draw!

That was entertaining!

The Chinese ships have a number of MARS that apply to their entire fleet, unless stated otherwise.  The most frustrating was that all ships have Rugged Construction – causing me to lose an attack dice after calculating the total dice that were possible.  This seemed to make low-dice attacks more useless (especially mines at strength 5).  The shooting resulted in lots of “miss by 1s” (DRs and Crits).  I found I had to do overwhelming fire to do damage – especially to the Cruisers and Battleships.

Interestingly, both the Russians and the Chinese suffer from slower fleets (only the Chinese Frigate was significantly faster) and while the Chinese have long range rockets, they really seem to be more of a Range Band 1-2 fleet.  The real difference is that the Russians are a “go forward - straight for the throat” force whereas the Chinese really do want to use their Broadside arcs to get all weapons to bear.  Should be interesting in the future as we become more familiar with both fleets.

From the Russian Side, I liked using the Reinforced Cruiser squadron – the Gunboat added just a little more “omph” to the squadron.  The only other change to the basic box set was the Medium Saransk Skyships.  While they didn’t last as long as I hoped, I think I like them more than the Russian Myshkin Bombers.  While the Bomber's Hard Shell attack is interesting, I end up giving away points.  The Skyships are faster, have longer range and better guns and more hull points for only 15 points more.  The Bombers do have a larger bombload than the Skyship's mines, but it's harder to get to drop bombs than to drop mines.  My other option was to take the Large Tunguska Skyship.  It did really well last game and the Ablative Armor made it a nightmare to damage. 

What to take in the future?  Decisions, decisions, decisions…

Friday, June 21, 2013

BatRep: League of Italian States vs Russian Coalition (800pts)

Admiral Dimitry Orlov was content.  He was back at sea where he belonged.

He shuddered as he thought of those long hours he had been adrift at sea following his last battle.  He vaguely remembered being blown off the bridge of the Georgy Pobedonosets ("St George the Victorious" in English) just before it sank.  It was a miracle he had survived the explosion, let alone the hour in the frigid Norwegian Sea afterwards.  He didn’t remember much of the details, but Orlov did remember the bone-numbing cold!  He thought he would never get warm again…

Now he was back on the bridge of his new ship, the Borodino Class Battleship Georgy Pobedonosets II, named in honor of his previous ship, and how well it had fought to protect the rest of the fleet before succumbing to the waves.

Now, Admiral Orlov was taking his new command out for a shake-down cruise.  He didn’t expect any trouble and had no intention of looking for any.

“Admiral!  A fleet spotted to the south!  It seems to be a Battleship with support ships and fliers, heading our way.  They refuse to acknowledge our hails!”

Great, thought Orlov.  Looks like I don’t need to look for trouble.  It has already found me…

So Thurston got the “League of Italian States” fleet boxes and wanted to try them out against someone new.  (Appears the previous victim had a hard time dealing with the Italians and both needed a break)!  As I had just done a series of games with the Prussians, I figured I needed a chance to get back to my Russians.  So a few days before we met, I suggested we either play Box Sets or 800pt fleets.

Thurston texted me a day later: “My box set IS 800pts!”  That made it easy to decide the point’s value…

When we arrived at our FLGS, I discovered that someone had setup our normal table with the water-cloth and ice berg terrain pieces – we’d seen this setup before with other players doing 40K or other 28mm systems.  The table had far more terrain than we were used to.

“Wouldn’t it be fun to play a game on a table like that?”

“You know, it would…”

We looked at each other, laughed and left most of the terrain on the table…

Just a few icebergs, eh?

So, Russian Coalition (RC) Deployment, from Left to Right:

Russian Deployment

  • -          3 Novgorood Frigates, with a Pesets sub behind them
  • -          Iceberg/Island with a Tunguska Large Airship (with Ablative Armor) and a squadron of Fighters on top
  • -          3 more Novgorood Frigates, with another Pesets sub behind them
  • -          A Borodino Battleship, the Georgy Pobedonosets II with Torpedo Breaker Generator and 2 Veliky Escorts
  • -          Another squadron of Fighters
  • -          A squadron of 2 Suvorov Cruisers.

Note:  I had taken the 2 Pesets Subs to operate as separate squadrons to regain an activation I lost for dropping some frigates for some escorts for the Battleship.  I realized after the game that Pesets were “Limited Availability (750)”.  Technically, as this was an 800pt game, it was legal to take 2 units.  Normally, I wouldn’t take two units as such a “cheesey” choice in such a low-points game.  In this case, I just forgot to check the MAR before playing the game. 

The League of Italian States (LIS) Deployment, from Top to Bottom:

Italian Deployment

  • -          2 squadrons of 3 Scutum Frigate-Escorts, 1 squad behind the other, just out of sight behind the iceberg/island
  • -          A squadron of Torpedo Bombers on top of the Iceberg/Island
  • -          A Mars Battleship
  • -          Another squadron of Torpedo Bombers behind the island
  • -          3 Gladius Cruisers with a total of 6 tokens of Uccisore Torpedo Boats
  • (Tiny Tokens around the cruisers that are not touching or in formation)
  • -          3 Scutum Frigate-Escorts with a squadron of 2 Fortuna Bombers behind and to the right

Both sides were using their own STAR card decks, both rolled missions but decided to go for the standard 70% captured or destroyed default objective.  So whomever got to 560pts first would win!

Turn 1:
Italians Won the initiative
The Start of it all...

Turn 1 started cautiously.  Italian Torpedo Bombers started things off, moving forward ½ speed.  Russians countered with fighters moving forward, again ½ speed.  The Italian’s second Torpedo Bomber squadron moved towards the center of the table.  Concerned for the Battleship, the Russians moved a second squadron of fighters towards the center, to provide CAP if necessary.  Italy moved the first squadron of Frigates on the left forward.  The Russians moved their Frigates on the right of the iceberg forward.  Italian Frigates on the right moved forward and took a long-range shot at the Russian Frigates through a gap in the ice, but failed to damage anything.  Russian Cruisers moved forward, firing through the same gap at the Italian Frigates, but failed to do any damage with their broadsides at Range Band (RB) 3.  Italian Bombers then take a long-ranged torpedo shot at the closest Russian Cruiser through the gap, but the Torpedo Breaker on the Battleship redirected 3 torpedoes onto the other cruiser and neither was damaged.

To stall for time, the Russian Sub on the right dove to Submerged Depth; its Echo generator splitting the echoes to two different positions.  The Italian Cruisers advanced; played Veteran Gunners (+1 to hit with 1 ship), but failed to damage the Russian Cruisers from RB2 through the gap in the ice separating most the fleets.


The Russian Sub on the left, dove to Submerged level as well, its echoes splitting up to go on either side of an iceberg near the table center.

Echo Games!

Italian Torpedo Boats followed the Italian Cruisers, creating somewhat of a traffic jam approaching the gap in the ice between the 2 fleets.

The Dreaded "GAP!"

The Russian Battleship played “Stoke the Engines”, moved forward its full 9” firing it’s broadsides through the gap but miss the Frigates on the other side.  Sadly, the Turrets were just out-of-range to the Italian Battleship and had no arc of fire at anything else.  (I maybe could have brought a Raised Turret to shoot at the Frigates, but it may have been one of those cases where the turrets didn’t have a Line-Of-Sight, but the broadsides did.)  The Italian Battleship, sensing an opportunity, rushed forward at full speed, getting an extra inch due to “Streamlined Hull.  Her firing managed to sink 1 Frigate and damage another, but the Russian Frigates passed their Break Test.

At this point, I had a mental dilemma; The Russians had another “Stoke the Engines” card in their hand.  I had intended to play it next turn on the Battleship, but the Italian Battleship was just sitting there now…

I played the “Stoke the Engines” card on the Large Skyship, rushing forward 11” and getting the Italian Battleship in range of her guns!  After declaring 14 attack dice from the Main and Beam Turrets on his Battleship, Thurston gave the ship the Commodore Order “Power to the Shields”, giving him 4 shield dice due to the Mars having Amplified Shield Generator and the extra dice for the order.  The Italians then re-rolled a dice using Inventive Scientists, and THEN played “Hard as Nails” card, reducing the damage to the Italian Battleship down to a single Hull Point!  (Grrrr!)

Italian Battleship in peril!

In the last two activations of the turn, Italians moved Frigates from the left forward 12”, and Russians moved their Frigates forward and fired on them.  However, the Italian Frigates were 5+ to hit due to their special rules, resulting in no damage inflicted on the Italians.

LIS:         0!
RC:         37

Turn 2:
Russia Played Radio Intercept
Italy Played Tactical Aid, gaining extra cards
Russia won the Initiative!

Russian Large Skyship activated first, moving forward and targeting the Italian Battleship at RB1 and finally dealt a Crit to the Battleship (Systems Offline – no more shields!)!  I then played “Tally HO” to activate a second unit but Thurston knew better and countered my card to prevent the effect.  Thurston was going to move forward a minimum amount to shoot his main guns at the Russian Skyship, but I pointed out that his main guns would not be able to bear on the Skyship from RB1; so he moved forward a bit more and brought all guns to bear from RB2, and played “Thunderous Volley” which failed to damage the Skyship, though he did sink the damaged Frigate.  The Frigate squadron passed their Break Test. 

The Russian Battleship activated next and moved towards the Italian counterpart, bringing all turrets to bear and caused another Crit (Weapons Damaged) on the Italian Battleship (for a total of 5HP gone)!

The Italian retaliated by launching a Torpedo Attack at the Russian Battleship from the Torpedo Bombers on the left, though through bad rolls on Thurston’s part and good defensive measures on mine, no damage got through. (Thank You Ablative Armor!)  Worried about another torpedo attack from the other squadron, Russian fighters on the left went full-speed to form up a CAP over the Russian Battleship.  This forced the remaining Italian Torpedo Bombers to redirect their torpedo attack onto a Cruiser.  The Battleship was within range to divert 3 torpedoes onto the other cruiser (causing no damage to the 2nd Cruiser), and AA shot down 1 token, but the primary cruiser target lost its Ablative Armor and suffered a hull point’s worth of damage.

One of the Russian subs surfaced and attacked the Italian Battleship from RB2 with guns and torpedoes, but failed to do any damage to the enemy.

Italian Frigates on the left ran forward and successfully sank 2 Frigates and damaged the 3rd on the left, but the survivor passed its Break Test.  The Survivor would then head towards the rest of the fleet to the right, failing to damage anyone in return as it fired while retreating.
Russian Frigates take a pounding!

The Italian Bombers, crossing over the island, fired 2 separate salvos of 6 torpedoes at the damaged Russian Cruiser, preventing the Battleship from “breaking” a single massive salvo, so 1 salvo was reduced and redirected to the undamaged Cruiser (causing no damage).  The concussion charges were directed against the full strength salvo and took out enough hits to prevent further damage!  In retaliation, the Russian Cruisers shot down 1 token of Torpedo Bombers and sink a Italian Frigate with guns in the gap.

The Italian Frigates then commit to a “Hit and Run” attack against the Cruisers.  Moving ½ their movement, the frigate’s Guns crit the damaged Cruiser (Systems Offline) but the Battleship’s Torpedo Breaker redirected 3 torpedoes back into one of the Frigates that strayed too close!  Torpedoes caused no damage and the Frigates continued their 2nd half of their move to get around the corner of the island – making room for the rest of the fleet to pass through.

Start of the Attack Run...

..End of the attack run - open Gap for next squadron to come through!

One of the surviving Russian Frigates moved up beside the surfaced submarine, then lobbed mortar shells at the Italian Frigates – sinking 1!

Italian Torpedo Boats rush through the gap, successfully sank 1 of the battleship’s Escorts, but failed to damage the damaged Cruiser.  The Russian Fighters, discovering they can hurt them, blast away at the Torpedo Boats, and sank 1 token (needed 3 hits to kill 1 token).  Italian Cruisers finally came through the gap, but failed to damage the Cruisers with their guns and torpedoes, or damage the Tiny Fighters with their AA.

In the final activations, the Russian Sub on the left stayed submerged, both echoes continuing around opposite sides of an iceberg.  The last Italian Frigate Squadron attacked one of the echoes, only to discover the sub was actually at the other echo.

End of the 2nd Turn

In the End Phase, the Russians managed to repair the System Damage crit on the Cruiser (not that it needed it), and the Italians managed to repair the Weapons, but not the Generator on the Battleship!

LIS:         210
RC:         170

Turn 3:
Italy played Mechanics and repaired the shields on his Battleship (DANG!)
Italy Won initiative!

The Italian Battleship slid forward at ½ speed, headed around the iceberg, guns blazing.  She managed to sink one of the last Frigates with his turrets (5 X 6s!!!), but the Russians played “Hard as Nails” on the Torpedo Attack on the Surfaced Sub so lost only a single hull point.  The Italian Battleship then finished its “Hit and Run” move, sliding gracefully into the cover behind an iceberg…
The Italian Battleship - running...

The Russian Battleship realized it would not be able to continue the fight against its counterpart, turned slightly to the right, bringing broadsides and turrets to bear on the Frigates and Cruisers, but only succeeded in sinking the last Italian Frigate on that side.  In a moment of stupidity, I forgot to detach the CAP so that it could go after the Bombers or the Torpedo Boats – a mistake I was doomed to repeat…

Italian Torpedo Boats launched another salvo and finally sunk the damaged cruiser, then played “Tally Ho!” to activate a second unit!  The Italian Cruisers followed up and with their front turrets, managed to strip the Ablative Armor off the Russian Battleship, though the Torpedoes failed to damage anything (The Battleship redirected another 3 torpedoes into one of the Italian Cruisers for no damage).  The Italian Cruisers Rear Turrets aimed at and stripped the Ablative Armor off the remaining Cruiser.  The Russian cruiser then remembered to roll for the Break Test due to the sinking of the other Cruiser by the Torpedo Boats, and passed the test.

The Italian Double Activation!

The Russian Skyship moved next and managed to roll a Crit on the Italian Battleship . . which was dropped to a single Hull Point thanks to its Amplified Shield Generator (But I played another ”Generator Offline” Card so hopefully it won’t get any future saves!).  AA from the Skyship took down another Torpedo Bomber Token.

The Italian Frigates, upset that they had been fooled by the Echo last turn, raced around the iceberg and fired on the submerged submarine, but failed to damage it.
"Get back here, you..."

The remaining Russian cruiser moved forward slowly, sank 1 Cruiser with a Double-Crit from its turret guns, failed to damage the 2nd Cruiser with its broadside, but successfully sank another Frigate from the opposite broadside!

Italian Bombers came after the offending Cruiser, but the torpedoes failed to find their mark, though the AA crews did successfully shoot down 2 fighter tokens as the Bombers flew by.  The wounded Russian Fighter squadron strafed and sank another Torpedo Boat Token in retaliation.

Italian Frigates on the left maneuvered around the Italian Battleship – one missing a collision by Millimeters!  The Italian Frigates then proceeded to sink the last remaining Russian Frigate.
Close call...

Suffering from “Target Fixation”, a Russian Sub sailed around the iceberg to fire guns and torpedoes at the Italian Battleship, but failed to damage as the target was partially blocked by the Iceberg (1/2 Attack Dice!).

The Italian Torpedo Bombers moved at ½ speed to waste an activation, then the other Russian Sub launched a torpedo attack against an Italian Cruiser, causing a hull point of damage AND bringing down the shield generator when the Inventive Scientists rolled a ‘1’!

In the End Phase, the Russians had no damage to repair.  The Italians repaired the shield generators on both the Battleship and the Cruiser.

LIS:         290
RC:         240

Turn 4:
The Italians won initiative

The Italian Cruisers moved forward their minimum move and fired everything, but failed to damage anything!  However, they played “Generator Offline” on the Russian Battleship after it used its Torpedo Breaker to redirect torpedoes again.  Not good for the Russians as the Torpedo Breaker had been instrumental in reducing damage throughout the game!

Continuing our “Target Fixation”, the Russian Skyship chased the Italian Battleship and fired another Crit onto the hapless battleship (Nav Lock).  Italian Torpedo Boats fired another salvo at the Russian Cruiser, getting another Hull Point.  One of the Russian Subs followed the Italian Battleship around the iceberg but failed to damage it as the Inventive Scientists coaxed the extra save required from the shields to prevent damage (and sink the ship)!

"I'll get you and your little dog too!"

Italian Frigates attacked the other sub and got a Crit – Weapons Damaged!  
"Got ya!"

The Russian Battleship slowly turned to Port (Left) and fired all turrets on the Italian Battleship, but had to settle for sinking a Frigate with their broadsides.  The Italian Bombers fired torpedoes at the damaged Russian Sub and succeeded in sinking her before she could submerge and hide.  The Russian Cruiser then Played “Veteran Gunners”, but failed to hit anything!  The Italian Battleship moved forward minimum speed to avoid running into an iceberg next turn, played “Let Em Have It!” and managed to damage the sub that was stalking it.  As the final activation, Russian Fighters forgot to load their weapons and failed to damage the Torpedo Boats and the Italians played “Stoke the Engines” on the last Frigate squad, rounded the iceberg and managed to cause another hull point on the Russian Cruiser (leaving it with a single Hull Point).
Italian Frigates racing around the Iceberg!

At this point, Thurston and I realized that the store had closed (the Staff let us continue to play as they were just as interested in the turn’s results as we were)!
End of Turn 4 and Game!

LIS:         320
RC:          352

Neither fleet completed the mission.  With victory points so close, we called it a DRAW!

WOW!  Great Game!  Thanks to Thurston and the League of Italian States for a real nail-biter!

Discussing the game as we packed things up, we agreed on a number of points.

  1.        The terrain helped the Russians much more than the Italians: with the Cruisers, Torpedo Boats and a squadron of Frigates all trapped on the wrong side of an island, they couldn’t bring their weapons to bear or put pressure on  the Russians until they made a run for the Gap!  That gave the Russians time to persecute the Italian Battleship and render it nearly useless.
  2.        We agreed whomever won initiative next turn would probably win the game: The Italian Battleship was probably going to be sunk and the Russian Battleship and Cruiser had arc to all the remaining frigates and cruisers, but had lost their Ablative Armor, while the Italian Frigates and Motorboats still had enough fire power to threaten most everything – especially the Russian Cruiser.  Depending on who shot next, it would be a blood bath.
  3.        The Italians are so dependent on Torpedoes, if I had swapped out the Russian Subs with Saransk Medium Skyships (or another large Tunguska), the Italian Fleet would have had a much worse time.  At the end of the game, the Russian Large Skyship was untouched as the most potent weapons were useless by my closing within RB1 of his Battleship or too far away to get through the Ablative armor by anything else.

My personal observations regarding my (Russian) fleet.  Well, I handed extra turn(s) to the Italians when I probably could have won the game in Turn 3 IF I HADN’T GOTTEN FIXATED on the Italian Battleship!  At the end of Turn 2, I had damaged the ship enough to get half points for it.  If I had concentrated on the rest of the fleet in turns 3 and 4, I probably would have earned the required points to win the game (and save some ships)!  For some reason (I don’t know why – I had documented the ship suffered 5 HP hit) I thought the Italian Battleship hadn’t suffered ½ damage yet.  Note to self – KEEP TRACK OF THESE THINGS!!!

My poor Novgorod Frigates got mauled this time out.  Usually they perform much better (and survive much longer), but seemed totally outclassed by the Italian counterparts.  I did have some pretty bad rolls, but suspect it had more to do with numbers and deployment than anything else.

The Pesets subs did ok.  I meant to get an extra activation with them and they were a nuisance factor that couldn’t be ignored.  They didn’t do a lot, but they did enough to distract the enemy from more important ships.  In this case though, I probably would have been better off with more skyships against the Italians.  Also, the subs would have been better acting together as a single squadron to link their fire against a single target.

Suvorov Cruisers did well, soaking up lots of fire and dishing it out as well.  I saved a few points not buying the Rocket Jammers (I knew the Italians didn’t have rockets).  I would have liked to use a Reinforced Cruiser Squadron with the Tambov Gunships, but just couldn’t find the points.  If I were to do a tournament, I would include the Rocket Jammers with the Cruisers to provide that required “Fleet Coverage/Protection” – just in case…

Speaking of “Fleet Coverage”, I love the Borodino Battleship!  While the Mimic Generator is an option, I must say I prefer the protection of the Torpedo Breaker for the whole fleet.  I almost always take this option as most everyone has torpedoes in their fleet somewhere.  Add on a couple of Escorts to increase AA & CC defences and it’s a pretty hard ship to crack.  Yes, it is slower than Molasses in January, but if I keep the fleet together, who cares!  The Torpedo Breaker was able to provide protection to my Cruisers, one of the subs and one squadron of Frigates until Thurston played “Generator Offline” card on the last turn!  And if the Turrets get into range, well, I’m pretty much guaranteed to hurt something.

That leaves the Tunguska Large Skyship.  This was my first game with it and I was quite happy with it.  While I could only bring 2 turrets of the 3 to bear on a single target throughout the entire game, those turrets made a lasting impression! Very happy with the performance of the Skyship, overall.  I just should have brought it back to protect the fleet rather than continue to harass the Italian Battleship after turn 3.  One thing I completely forgot was it had a Mimic Generator!  I could have copied the Borodino’s Torpedo Breaker to provide MORE torpedo protection to the fleet OR I could have copied the Italian Battleship’s Amplified Shield Generator (not that I really needed it – the Skyship suffered no damage throughout the game).

Playing against the Italians for the first time, I had a chance to form a few opinions on how they played.  First, as stated earlier, the terrain really hindered all the Italian’s long range fire in this game.  Secondly, I think Thurston suffered mostly from bad deployment rather than dice rolls or tactics.  By spreading out too far across the table (and between icebergs), he was unable to bring the entire fleet to bear at once.  This gave the Russians 2 turns to close and concentrate their fire on a single unit – which happened to be the Battleship!  The Battleship shouldn’t have been that easy to cripple that quickly, but that was the only target the Russians had for most of 2 turns!

The other impression I got was “DANG SHIELDS!”  The Italian fleet has them everywhere.  The only things that didn’t have them were the Tiny Fliers, The Torpedo Boats and the Frigates!  Everything else, including the Bombers, had a shield and boy, did they use them!  The Amplified Shields, plus Inventive Scientists (and a lot of bubblegum and twine) were the only things that saved the Italian Battleship from the onslaught it received!  But it did survive and did deny me those extra points I needed to win the game!

Once Thurston got passed his errors in deployment, he really did show he knew how to use his fleet.  Hit & Run is an interesting rule and seems to be a nice fit with this fleet, giving them just a little bit more perceived maneuverability.  The Frigates and Cruisers did well and behaved more or less as I expected them to.  The Torpedo Boats are a neat addition.  I don’t think they’re over-the-top and it gave the fleet that extra touch of uniqueness.  Beware: it is a fool that ignores the lowly Torpedo Boat!  There is a reason they have that name!  If I had a complaint about the fleet, it would be that the bombers appear underpriced.  For 55 points, you get 6 torpedoes for RB 2-4, Water Hunter, Hit & Run, Spotter AND a Shield Generator!  In pairs, they’re ok, but I would hate to deal with a full wing of 4 bombers…

The last thing I’m going to mention is the Italian fleet appearance.  When I first saw pictures of the fleet, I wasn’t impressed.  Having seen them close up and painted, well, they’re actually quite nice!  Thurston has a really good paint scheme and the ships look good in it.  The models are quite thin compared to any other fleet’s equivalent models, but it seems to work!  If I have any complaint of the models it’s that the Frigates were so narrow and top heavy, they kept tipping over on uneven surfaces or accidental “Dice Impacts”!  You may want to get a Dice Tray!  ;-)

Anyway, Great game!  Thanks again, Thurston!  We’ll have to give Orlov another chance to fight your Admiral!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

BatRep: Kingdom of Britannia vs Prussian Empire (Box Sets - 3rd Training Mission)

Admiral Von Shtupp was back on the flag bridge, relaxed.  It had been too long since he last sailed out.  The refit took longer than expected.  But the Pride of the Prussian Fleet was once more back where it should be: out at sea!

 Now if only he could find something worthwhile to break in the new guns…

So, this was Training Mission number 3 for Graham.  1st game was just a single cruiser and frigate squad each (which I didn’t bother to record).  Second mission was Basic Box Sets, but no cards (last mission I documented).  This mission was, again, box sets, but we added the STAR Cards and the Commodore Orders.

 So, both fleets would consist of:
-          1 Battleship
-          1 Squadron of 3 Cruisers
-          1 Squadron of 2 Bombers
-          3 Squadrons of 3 Frigates
-          2 Squadrons of Tiny Fliers

“Commodore Higgins”  (Graham) would command the Kingdom of Britannia (KoB) whereas I would command the Prussian Empire (PE) once again!

Prussian Deployment (Left to Right):

3 Frigates
Battleship with the Ultrasonic Pulverizing Generator in the rear turret
3 Frigates with Bombers and Dive Bombers behind it
3 Cruisers with the Lethal Upgrade on their Tesla Weapons

3 Frigates
Squadron of Fighters


British Deployment (Right to Left):

3 Frigates
3 Cruisers with Engineers, the Battleship behind, carrying an extra Shield Generator
Squadron of Dive Bombers
3 Frigates on Line of Battle formation
Squadron of Fighters,
3 Frigates on Line of Battle formation

After rolling for missions, both sides decided to go with the Standard 70% captured or destroyed enemy fleet.  The PE fleet was worth 715pts and the KoB was worth 720.  So, for all intents and purposes, whomever got 500 points first would win the battle.


Turn 1
PE won Initiative

Except I didn’t really want to go first…

So, PE moved fighters forward at ½ speed.  KoB matched the move.  PE Dive Bombers went next, then the KoB Bombers headed forward, over an iceberg.  PE Frigates on the left, not wanting to be easy targets, moved forward only 4”.  KoB Dive Bombers started to cross to the right to the table center at ½ speed.  PE Frigates in the Center move forward 4”.  
Finally, on the left, KoB Frigates raced forward at Full Speed and fired on the PE Frigates on the left, damaging 1.  PE Frigates on the far right advanced, staying in Range Band 2, and fired on the KoB Bombers, causing a Crit (Fusion Leak)!  KoB Cruisers retaliated, moving forward and blasted the PE Frigates, guns damaged 2 Frigates, while torpedoes sunk a 3rd.  The Frigate Squadron passed their Break Test.


PE Cruisers advanced towards the table center at full speed, linked their firing at one of the KoB Cruisers.  In an amazing display of marksmanship, the PE inflicted 19 hits, causing a Triple Crit!  One of the Crits turned into a Sturginium Flare – teleporting the sinking Cruiser in a random direction.  Fortunately for the KoB, it didn’t land on any of their fleet.  The remaining Cruisers passed their Break Test.
The KoB Battleship moved forward and Graham played “Veteran Gunners”.  The Battleship damaged 1 Cruiser and Crited another (Shredded Defences).  The PE Battleship moved forward and turned towards the table center, getting a Crit on a KoB Cruiser (Engine Failure).  KOB Frigates in the center moved forward, formed a Line of Battle and sank 1 Frigate from the PE Right-side squadron and damaged the previously undamaged PE Cruiser!  PE Bombers made their attack run on the undamaged KoB Cruiser and caused a Crit (Gun Damage).  In the final activation, the KoB Frigates on the right moved forward and formed a Line of Battle behind the Iceberg, but failed to hit anything.
In the End Phase, KoB repaired all Crits on their Cruisers, but failed to repair the Bomber’s Fusion Leak.  PE failed to repair the Shredded Defences of the PE Cruiser.

KoB:       130
PE:          97.5



Turn 2:
PE Played “Radio Intercept”: +3 on Initiative roll and won Initiative!

PE Cruisers started the Activations; “Running Repairs” was played, bringing 2 Cruisers back to full Hull Points.  Moving forward, the PE Commodore gave the order “Close Gunnery” to the Cruisers, allowing the Cruisers to fire in Range Band 1 with no penalty with their Primary Weapons!  At Range Band 1, 1 Cruiser was sunk, but the Battleship’s Guardian Generator managed to save the second Cruiser from damage.


What goes around, comes around!  The KoB Played “Running Repairs” on THEIR last cruiser, bringing it back up to full Hull Points!  Maneuvering between the PE Cruisers, Graham discovered he didn’t have any Broadsides (I sympathized – I did the same thing in an earlier match against someone else).  Improvising, both turrets fired on one PE Cruiser and sank it with a Double Crit!  He then attempted to board another PE Cruiser but lost all his Boarding Parties in the attempt.


This was too good an opportunity to pass up.  PE Bombers flew forward, sank 2 Frigates with Teslas, and boarded the last KoB Cruiser, taking it as a Prize (worth Double Points)!  The Bombers then passed their tests and both were able to climb into the safety of the Obscured Level.


Or so they thought...  KoB Fighters attacked the PE Bombers – both sides played “Mad Minute” Cards and blasted away; 1 Fighter token was destroyed by AA but a PE Bomber suffered Double Crit – falling from the sky in pieces. 
The PE Fighter Squadron gunned their engines to full speed and shot down the undamaged KoB Bomber with another Double Crit at the cost of an extra fuel count.  The damaged KoB Bomber overflew the PE Cruiser with Shredded Defences.  Neither was able to damage the other.  The PE Frigate in the center moved forward and shot down the last KoB Bomber from Range Band 2!

KoB Frigates in the Center move from right to left in Line of Battle and manage to damage the undamaged PE Cruiser.  The PE Dive bomber move to the left, in faint hope of intercepting the KOB Battleship and avoiding the KoB Fighters in the table center.

The KoB Battleship moved next from right to left and played “Barrage From Hell”.  Not wanting to suffer that kind of shooting, PE discarded a card to cancel its effect.  In spite of the card being cancelled, the KoB guns managed to inflict a Crit on the PE Battleship (Hard Pounding – down to 8AP left), though Concussion Charges blocked damage from the Torpedo Salvo.

PE Frigates on the left moved forward and managed to damage 1 frigate and sink another.  The KoB Frigates passed their Break Test.  KoB Dive Bombers attacked and sunk a PE Cruiser with a Double Crit.  The Survivor passed its Break Test.  The PE Battleship moved and, in spite of its damage, sank the last two KoB Frigates on the left with guns.  KoB Frigates came out from behind the iceberg and though they failed to damage a PE Cruiser, they did successfully re-capture the Prized KoB Cruiser – turning it into a derelict.  This action gained the KoB another turn of play!  PE Frigate on the right failed to damage or capture an enemy Frigate in a Boarding Action.
In the End Phase, the PE failed (once more) to repair the Shredded Defences on its Cruiser.


KoB:       450         (If the KoB hadn’t recaptured the Cruiser, the game would have ended this turn!)
PE:          280

Turn 3:
KoB Was down to 3 Active Units (plus Fighters and Dive Bombers) so were down to 3 STAR cards.
PE Played “Broken Code” – threw away 2 of KoB’s cards, leaving them with just 1 STAR Card!

KoB Wins Initiative

KoB Fighters attacked the remaining PE Bomber, causing a Crit (Weapons Damage) for the cost of 1 fighter token.  PE Cruiser moved forward minimum move and fired all turrets, broadsides and Teslas at frigates and failed to damage anything.  KoB Dive Bombers, lacking bombs, attacked and shot down the last PE Bomber for the cost of a token.  The PE Battleship, fearing it would be damaged next activation, moved forward and fired turrets at the KoB Battleship, but failed to damage it.  The Teslas sunk 1 Frigate and the Broadsides damaged another.

The KoB Battleship activated next, turrets damaging the PE Battleship (down 3 Hull Points now), but the broadsides and turrets failed to damage.  The Center PE Frigate manages to sink 1 Frigate and capture a 2nd with Boarding Actions!  The KoB Frigates on the right moved forward but failed to damage the PE Cruiser, thus ending the activations of the KoB.

The PE Frigates on the right managed to damage 1 more Frigate, though the PE Frigates on the left failed to cause any damage.


In the Final End Phase, the PE Cruiser (STILL) failed to repair its Shredded Defences…


KoB:       562.5
PE:          347

Prussian Empire Wins!

Good game and a complete reversal of the last game's result!
This time, I managed to be patient and held back my Frigates for a turn or two before committing them to the attack.  My Cruisers held up quite well and did great (even if I couldn't repair the Shredded Defences).  I don't understand why people hate the Prussian Cruisers so much.  When they work, they work great!
The only thing that disappointed was the Battleship.  First of all, I would have been better off with either the Tesla Generator (Extra D3" movement or "Zapping" nearby enemies) or the Shield Generator.  Even leaving the guns on the rear turret would have been more useful as it could have fired on targets farther away than the limited 8" of the UPG (Ultrasonic Pulverizing Generator).  However, it did act as a fire-magnet and did manage to damage and sink Frigates when it was needed.

Surprisingly, Boarding wasn't as important in this game as last time.  Yes, I did capture a Cruiser in 2nd turn and if I could have held on to it, it would have ended the game earlier, but that was a target of opportunity, not by design.  I had intended to attack (and hopefully sink) the Cruiser with my Bombers.  However, when the British Boarding failed and left the Cruiser with no Assault Points, well, even a single Frigate could have captured it.  I probably should have held off the assault until my last activation so Graham wouldn't have had the opportunity to recapture the ship.
So what happened to Graham's British fleet?  First of all, I was paranoid about them dang Doncaster Bombers with their long ranged torpedoes and made the bombers a Priority Target.  Second, I held my ships back for most of the first turn, denying the British Frigates the opportunity to do a combination of Double Turrets and Torpedoes at Range Band 2.  Finally, I think Graham's dice deserted him at several crucial events.  Graham failed to do double crits or even damage at times by a single hit point. If he had been rolling better, chances are in, it would have been a much closer match.  I cannot really fault the British tactics.  All ship squadrons turned and formed Lines of Battle and coordinated their fire quite well.  They just weren't getting the hits they needed.  Again, my keeping my distance until I had the advantage probably was the deciding factor.

Regardless, it was a good game with Graham not giving up; fighting to the bitter end. 

I'll have to dig out the Russians as Graham has expressed an interest in fighting another fleet soon...