Wednesday, July 31, 2013

BatRep: Prussian Empire vs Kindom of Britannia (1k points – 2.5 hour timed game)

So, I’m contemplating some tournament / campaign stuff for our local group and decided to test a couple of theories that were tossed out by my brain-bucket and a few others.

First – there was some disagreement whether you could play a larger (1000+ points) game in 2.5 hours.  The “theory” was that more stuff means more casualties more quickly.  This game proved that idea won’t wash.  More stuff means more activations, meaning more time required per turn.  The only way to speed up a larger game would be to put time limits on turns, which isn’t practical in a game like Dystopian Wars where everything drifts…

So, in 2.5 hours, we only got 2 turns done. 

Second thing we tested was “Secret Orders” – missions were placed in envelopes and we drew random missions that way – not letting the opponent know what the objectives were until the end of the game (one player completing an objective).  The reason for this was that we have found if anyone chose anything other than the default “Cause 70% Casualties” – the opponent would “hide” the objective, making it that much harder.

The third thing we tested (we got a lot carried away) was to create some new objectives other than the standard defaults.  This failed as we needed 3+ turns to really test out a mission.  With only 2 turns completed – no one got to complete a mission.

(Actually, each mission we created was a Primary mission, backed by a secondary mission that was destroy all smalls or mediums – depending on which I added to the Primary mission.)

Finally (as if I didn’t have enough to test), some players are complaining about how unfair the Boarding/Prizing is for victory points.  So, I decided to calculate both VPs and “Campaign Points” from the 1st Campaign Book to see if there was a significant difference.  I’ll show those scores at the end of the report.

So, what did we bring to the table?

Prussian Empire (PE) (Top to Bottom):

3 Frigates
2 Cruisers
1 Battleship with 2 Escorts
1 Carrier with 2 Escorts
Recon and Dive Bombers deployed on either side of the Carrier
1 Squadron of Fighters
1 Squadron of Torpedo Bombers
2 Jaegers and 2 Speerwurf Zeppelin in a single squadron (Deployed Obscured)
3 Frigates
1 Battlecruiser
3 Frigates

Kingdom of Britannia (KoB) (Top to Bottom):

3 Frigates, 1 Squadron of Fighters behind
3 Cruisers with Battleship and Escorts behind
1 Squadron of Fighters with a Dreadnought and Escorts behind
2 Medium Gyros
3 Frigates

As the lists show, the Prussians had an advantage in number of Activations per turn. 
Both of us drew envelopes with our “Secret Orders” (I’ll reveal those at the end), then rolled for Initiative as we didn’t use STAR cards this time as a time-saving option.

Turn 1:
KoB won Initiative!

British Gyros advanced across the table at full speed, taking shots at the Prussian Zepps, but missed.  Prussian Frigates advanced in the center, and also failed to do any damage on the Gyros.  British Cruisers moved forward, then turned to form Line Of Battle, exposing all turrets but discovered they were all out of range.  Prussian Fighters advanced at full speed towards the British Gyros but were not in range to attack (5 fuel left).  Concerned, British fighters moved towards the Prussian Fighters, hoping to intercept next turn.  Prussian Frigates on the left move full speed, hoping to quickly get around the sandbar on their left.

The British Battleship advanced forward, turning to the left with its Escorts, then fired on the Prussian Carrier but failed to hit.  The Prussian Battleship advanced and fired on the British Battleship’s Escorts but failed to damage either.  The British Dreadnought advanced and turned right, but we realized the Cruisers in Line of Battle in front, blocked the Dreadnought’s Line of Sight!  The Dread is only a Large, and only a Massive ship can shoot over a Medium ship!  No shooting for the Dread!

The Prussian Carrier advanced at full speed then lobbed shells from its forward Bombard at a British Cruiser, damaging it!  The British moved a squadron of Frigates on the left to intercept the Prussian Frigates attempting to sneak around the sandbar.  The British Frigates formed Line of Battle, then sank 1 and damaged another enemy ship.  The Prussian survivors failed their Break Test!

Prussian Cruisers moved forward, but failed to hit the British Frigates they targeted.  British Fighters advanced.  With the threat of the Fighters gone, the Prussian Torpedo Bombers advanced across the table at full speed (5 fuel left).  British Frigates on the right moved up and sank another Prussian Frigate at maximum range! 

That ended the British Activations but the Prussians still had a number of squadrons to activate.  Prussian Frigates on the right moved forward and managed to Crit a British Skyship (Engine Failure).  Prussian Dive Bombers advanced at maximum speed (5 Fuel left), the Prussian Battlecruiser advanced and blasted the undamaged Skyship, causing a Crit (Hard Pounding – 1 AP left), and damaged the other (1 HP left), leaving a Lightning Rod stuck in its side.  Finally, the Prussian Zepps moved up maximum speed, but the Jaegers were out of range so the squadron held their fire.

In the End Phase, the British repaired the engine on one Skyship, but failed to remove the Lightning Rod.

Turn 2:
Kingdom of Britannia won initiative.

At this point we realized we would only get 1 more turn in our 2.5 hour time limit.  I knew I (the Prussians) couldn’t complete my Primary objective, so I went for the Secondary Objective – Sink or Capture all Mediums!  At this point, I didn’t know what the British Objectives were at this point.

The British start things off by having a squadron of fighters intercept Prussian Fighters, hoping to save the British Skyships from attack.  After a flurry of dice rolling, both sides lost 2 tokens and an extra fuel pip!  Prussian Torpedo Bombers, moving at max speed, attack the British Cruisers, causing a Crit (Hard Pounding – 3 AP left).  British Gyros stayed in the limited protection of the clouds and dropped mines.  Prussian Frigates on the right, turn their sterns towards a Gyro, but failed to hit it with their Teslas, though they did succeed sinking a British Frigate with their guns.

British cruisers in desperation, turned towards the Prussians, but all their guns and torpedoes failed to hit or damage anything they shot at.  The Prussian Battlecruiser advanced, did a crit on an undamaged Cruiser (Engine Damage), damaged another Cruiser, then Boarded and left a Gyro a derrilict!  (I had to recover all the boarding parties – it left the Battlecruiser with only 3 AP left to protect itself for the rest of the turn!)

The British Admiral, outraged at the damage that a single ship had caused, fired all 5 turrets that could bear from his Dreadnought onto the hapless Battlecruiser from Range Band 2!  When the smoke cleared, the Prussian ship suffered a double-crit (Fusion Leak & Engine Damage).  The Dread’s Broadsides then sank another Prussian Frigate.

Prussian fighters attacked the British Fighters for a loss of 1 token, but only made the British planes use up an extra fuel pip.  British Frigates on the right sank the last Prussian Frigate on that board side, but the British Torpedoes failed to damage the Prussian Battlecruiser.

Prussian Frigates in the center moved and successfully damaged the last British Gyro.  The British Battleship activated and turned its weapons on the Prussian Carrier, causing a Crit (Nav Lock).  This was important as it meant the Carrier could not turn to aim and fire its Bombard!  Prussian Cruisers ignored the Battleship as they charged towards their British Counterparts, firing as they closed.  The target suffered a Double Crit – sinking it immediately!  The British Cruiser squadron failed their Break Test!  Sadly, the British Commodore forced them to re-roll and they successfully passed the 2nd test!

Un a flurry of activity to end the game before we ran out of time, the 2nd squadron of British Fighters attacked the Torpedo Bombers, and lost 2 tokens to the 1 token the Prussians lost.  The Prussian Battleship turned all 3 turrets onto a damaged cruiser and sank it with a Crit!  As their final activation, the British Frigates on the left sank the last Frigate on the left. 

This left the Prussians with the problem: 2 Medium vessels left – the Damaged Cruiser and the damaged Gyro.  Unfortunately, the Prussian Dive Bombers were too far away, even at full speed to help.  The only thing close to both/either was the Prussian Light Zepps.  Neither British vessel was a candidate for boarding.  In the end, I had to attack both; assigning a Jaeger and a Speerwurf to each.  The Speerwurfs allowed for the Jaegers to use Combine Fire, plus Pack Hunter to maximize their dice.  Sadly, the gamble failed; the Prussians inflicted a hit on the Gyro (not enough to bring it down), and failed to damage the Cruiser at all.

In the end Phase, I was feeling pretty good, until Graham chuckled that sinister chuckle of his and announced he had dropped Magnetic Mines.  Sure enough, I had moved the Prussian Battlecruiser too close and both mines drifted into the hapless ship’s hull – sinking it in the End Phase!  DANG!!!

This ended the game with only 6 minutes remaining out of the original 2.5 hours allocated.

So we sat down and compared our orders:

Prussian Empire
Primary: Relief Force – get ½ the ships off the other table edge (not gonna happen with only 2 turns)
Secondary: Destroy or Capture all Mediums (1 Gyro and 1 Cruiser survived - Missed it by thaaaat much!)

Kingdom of Britannia:
Primary: Capture ¾ table Quarters (he managed to capture ½ with the sinking of the Battlecruiser)
Secondary: Destroy or Capture all Mediums (Prussians still had 2 Cruisers intact)

 As neither of us had accomplished either objective, we went to Victory Points and Campaign Points

Points Earned:

Victory Points
Campaign Points

Using Victory Points, the game was a draw (less than 10% difference in points).  Using Campaign Points, the game was a British Victory!  

Dang!  If only the Battlecruiser had stayed a couple of inches back - it would have been safe from the mines!

So we had the after-battle taunts and groans, then discussed what happened.

We decided 2.5 hours was a good time frame for a tournament (it would allow 3-4 games per day), but bigger is definitely not better in this case.  Checking the Spartan Forums and discussing with other players, we agreed 800 points would be the maximum for a timed game.  We also agreed with the general view that there shouldn’t be Dreadnaughts allowed in those games either.  Larger games should be allowed for Campaigns where time is not an issue.

We both liked the Secret Missions.  Not knowing what the other player was after left both of us with a true “Fog of war”, no idea what the other was up to.  While some thought needs to be given to some new unique Primary missions (worth 10 points each), keeping Secondary Missions (5 Points) as either simple Kill/Capture Mediums or Smalls makes it possible to complete 1 mission – no matter what fleets are in use.  By randomly choosing small or mediums, you don’t have one person hiding and protecting 1 group in the corner.

Comparing the use of Campaign Points was interesting.  While neither side had captured any ships, I can see where it makes Boarding less overwhelming - especially against smalls and mediums.  I might make Campaign Points the Tie Breaker instead of Victory Points.

Now, I need to finish painting and assembling my Battlecruisers – it was definitely one of the Heros of the match and deserves to be finished!

Monday, July 1, 2013

BatRep: League of Italian States vs Prussian Empire (1000pts)

Admiral Von Shtupp paced the bridge of his new flagship, the Blucher Class Dreadnought SMS Knesebeck.  A new ship, she hadn’t the opportunity to finish her sea trials when word came from the Fleet Headquarters: an English Battleship was seen drifting out of control in the area with only a couple of escorts tending her.  Capture the battleship and return it to Prussian Port for scientific evaluation.

“Admiral!  There’s a task force in our way”

“What?  Who is it?”

“It appears to be an Italian Carrier force.”

“Radio Room!  Find out what they’re doing here!”

“Admiral, the Italians claim they are here under contract to protect a foreign Investor’s property.  They recommend we turn back as they complete their mission.”

“Did they mention who their clients were?”

“No Sir”

It didn’t matter.  Von Shtupp’s orders were clear.  He wasn’t going to let the Italians get in his way.  Besides – they would be sure to move out of the way rather than engage the pride of the Prussian fleet.

Wouldn’t they?

I know, I know.  Italians are supposed to be allied with the Prussians, but Thurston wanted to face another  “new” fleet” with his new Italians.  Also, he wanted to try out the Italian Carrier which he hadn’t used until now.

So out came the Prussians – most off my paint prep box and strips…

The Italian fleet consisted of:
An Affondatore Fleet Carrier (and a squadron of 6 Uggisore Assault Boats) with 2 Scutum Escort Frigates
3 Gladius Cruisers (with another squadron of 6 Uggisore Assault Boats)
1 Squadron of 3 and 1 Squadron of Scutum Escort Frigates
1 Squadron of 4 Scutum Escort Frigates
1 Squadron of Cinquedea Destroyers
1 Squadron of 2 Fortuna Bombers

I figured I wanted to experiment with the Prussians as well.  The Prussian Fleet consisted of:
A Blucher Dreadnought with 2 Shield Generators
A Rhine Fleet Carrier
A Squadron of 2 Hussar Gunships
3 Squadrons of 3 Arminius Frigates
A Squadron of 2 Pflicht Scout Airships
A Squadron of 3 Jaeger Small Airships

Table was 6’ X 4’, divided into 2' X 2' sections.  There was an islands in the center and a reef in the right side of the Prussian side, and the Italians had an island in each corner and another reef in their center section.  We set up Energy Portals (a first for us), 1 in my left section, 1 dead center and 1 in the far right section.

Italian Deployment (Top to Bottom):
Italian Deployment

  • 3 Frigate Squadron
  • Torpedo Bombers
  • Torpedo Bombers with the Bombers behind
  • 4 Frigate Squadron with Cruisers behind, Assault Boats to the left of the Cruisers
  • Carrier with 2 Escorts, Assault Boats to the left
  • Squad of Destroyers in front of the Assault Boats

Prussian Deployment (Left to Right):
Prussian Deployment

  • 3 Frigates
  • Scout Airships (Obscured) with the Dreadnaught between
  • Squadron of Fighters
  • Gunships behind the island – pointed to the right side
  • Squadron of fighters with the Carrier behind – a recon flight and a 3rd fighter squadron deployed beside the Carrier
  • 3 Jaeger Airships (Obscured)
  • 3 Frigates
  • 3 Frigates

The Italians rolled capture or destroy 50% of the enemy fleet value + all Smalls as their Mission objective and decided to go for it.
The Prussians rolled “Capture the Commodore’s Ship” (the Carrier) – I elected to return to the 70% captured or destroyed fleet value.

Turn 1 about to start!

Turn 1:
No Turn cards played.
Prussians won the Initiative.

Killing an Activation, the PE Recon plane moved forward Max Speed to get pretty much all of the Italians within spotting range.  Italian Bombers moved around the reef to prevent it from interfering with their torpedoes, and unleashed a salvo at the Prussian Frigates in the center, sinking 2!  The survivor passed its Break Test.  Prussian Scoutships stayed at Obscured level and moved forward; holding their fire.  The Italian Carrier moved forward – keeping his planes on the deck.  Prussian Jaegers moved forward at maximum speed, also staying Obscured as they knew they would not have any targets.  Italian Frigates from the center activated and moved to shoot the Jaegers, but failed to hit them.

Lucky Jaegers

Prussian Fighters moved forward at ½ speed, ending their move over the central island.  Italian Cruisers advanced and fired at the Jaegers, successfully critting 1, destroying it.  The remaining Jaegers passed their Break Test.  Angry at the Italians, the Prussian Gunships advanced using Tesla Generators to boost their speed, and fired all their guns into a single Cruiser.  In a flash of light and thunder, the Italian Cruiser disappeared in a Magazine Explosion!  The force of the blast damaged the other two Cruisers in the squadron!  The Italians passed their Break Test in spite of the impressive show of force!

Cruiser go BOOM!

Italian Destroyers raced forward, guns blazing and torpedoes swimming.  One of the Prussian Gunships suffered a crit (Raging Fire) but the Concussion Charges stopped the torpedoes from causing further damage.  
Prussian Gunships Under Fire

The Prussian Dreadnaught, moved forward and fired indirectly from behind the center island and successfully did a Crit (Engine Failure) on one of the damaged Cruisers.  Italian Assault Boats moved forward, followed by Prussian Fighters advancing ½ speed near the center.  (Why are they called “Assault Boats”?  They have no AP!)  The 2nd Squadron of Assault Boats moved behind the 1st squadron.  The Prussian Carrier moved forward and fired its Bombards at one of the Cruisers, damaging it, leaving both Italian Cruisers Crippled!  Italian Torpedo Bombers moved at Max speed towards the Prussian Carrier.  Prussian Frigates on the right charged forward but only damaged a single Italian Destroyer.

Shots Traded!

Italian Frigates on the left moved across the center of the table, and damaged another Jaeger.  Prussian Frigates on the left moved to intercept but only managed to damage 1 frigate.

Prussian Frigates Firing

Italian Fighters moved forward ½ speed.  The lone surviving Prussian Frigate in the center turned around and drove towards the rear of the Prussian Carrier, looking for protection.  Finally, the Prussian Carrier’s fighters moved towards the Assault Boats at ½ speed.

End of Turn 1!

In the End Phase, both the Prussians and the Italians managed to repair all Critical Effects and put out all fires.

LoIS:      180
PE:          100

Turn 2:
Italians played “Pass The Tools” and repaired all the damage on 1 Cruiser!
Prussians played “Misinformation”, but the Italians countered it.
Italians won the initiative

Italian Destroyers moved forward at full speed, weapons firing in all directions.  As a result, the damaged Gunship was critted (Fusion Leak), the undamaged Gunship was critted (Engine Damage) and both damaged Jaegers were shot down!  OUCH!!!

Italian Destroyers Earning Their Name!

Prussian Frigates on the right moved forward minimally, sank 1 Destroyer and successfully boarded a second, taking it as a Prize!

Capturing a Destroyer

Italian Torpedo Bombers attacked the Prussian Carrier.  The Bombers lost a token to AA fire but caused an HP damage that was reduced to No Damage by the Prussians playing “Hard As Nails”.  The Prussian Gunships, angry at the Destroyers, moved forward and brought their turrets to bear.  One destroyer was sunk, the other damaged.

Gunships' Revenge

The Italians, being the devious, sneaky, scheming player that Thurston is (he writes Role Playing Campaigns as a sideline), moved their Frigates into contact with the Center Portal.  Passing the random test, they popped out again out of the Left Portal and sank a Frigate!  Grrrr!  At least the Frigates passed their Break Test.

Going in . . .

And getting the drop on the Prussians!

The Prussian Carrier moved forward slowly, and fired its Bombard at the Italian Cruisers, causing a double crit on 1, sinking it.  The surviving Cruiser failed its Break Test!  The Italians got their revenge quickly; their Assault Boats raced through the Portal on the right, popped out the center Portal, and launched a torpedo attack on the Carrier, causing a crit (Hard Pounding) but the Fuel Reserves caught fire, bringing the defences down to just 2 AP to defend the Carrier!  This is a BAD sign…

Prussian Carrier in TROUBLE!

The Prussian Dreadnought weighed in again.  Moving forward, the Great Ship pointed its bow directly at one of the enemy frigates, but fired its turrets indirectly at the enemy Cruiser, successfully sinking it.  Firing the Prow Tesla, the Dreadnaught sank the Frigate in front and successfully boarded a second Frigate!

Dreadnought In Close Quarters!

Italian Frigates moved up the center, critted one Gunship (a 2nd Engine Failure – no extra effort to repair) and critted the other Gunship – sinking it.  The survivor passed its Break Test.

Prussian Gunships in Trouble!

Prussian Fighters attacked and sank 1 token of Assault Boats.  The Italian Carrier launched a Torpedo Squadron, moved forward and, with its Escorts, sank 2 Prussian Frigates, then damaged the 3rd on the right!  The last Frigate passed its Break Test as well.

Prussian Frigates Attacked by the Italian Carrier!

(We realized later in the game that the Carrier was not allowed to fire its guns after launching a squadron of Tiny Fliers, but by the time we realized this, it was 2-4 activations later and I didn’t want to try yo redo all those activations again!  Sometimes it’s better for game flow to just shrug your shoulders, learn the lesson and carry on rather than disrupt the game flow!)

Prussian Frigates on the left attempted to shoot down the bombers from RB2, but failed to damage any.  The Italian Bombers then successfully sank the last Prussian Frigate on the right.  The Prussian Scout Airships successfully sank the last Italian Frigate on the left (probably should have captured it – hind sight being 20/20).  The Torpedo Bombers that had launched from the Italian Carrier earlier, launched their torpedo attack on the Prussian Carrier, causing a Crit (Chaos & Disarray)!  The Last Prussian Frigate on the right side, continued to dash behind the island, trying to get away from the waves of Assault Boats and Torpedo Bombers.  The 2nd squadron of Italian Assault Boats hit the Portal on the right and popped out in the center – then continued their movement and attacked the last remaining Prussian Gunship – sinking it with another Crit!

Prussian Gunship Sunk!  Carrier In Danger!

One of the Prussian Fighter Squadrons went full speed and attacked an Italian Bomber, critting it (Weapons Damage)!  Italian Fighters moved around a bit – unable to do much but waste their activation, then a second Prussian Fighter Squadron went full speed and critted the other Italian Bomber (Shredded Defences)!

End of Turn 2

In the End Phase, the Prussian Frigate Rallied, but failed to repair any of the damages on the Carrier.
Italians repaired 1 Bomber, but failed to repair the Shredded Defences on the Second!

LoIS:      590
PE:          350

Turn 3:
Italians played “Lost Orders”, but the Prussians Countered it.
Prussians won Initiative!

Prussians activated one of the Fighter Squadrons, shooting down 1 of the Italian Bombers , then played “Tally Ho”, and activated the second Fighter Squadron, shooting down the last Italian Bomber for the cost of 1 fighter token!  Italian Assault boats raced around the central Island and sank the Prussian Frigate hiding behind it – Only 2 Prussian Small Targets left on the board!  The Prussian Frigates, in desperation, hit the Center Portal, popped out the left one and ran as far away as they could.  It didn’t work.  Italian Assault Boats followed the Prussians through the Portals, and sank both frigates with torpedoes!  Italians completed ½ their Objective – all small targets were destroyed!

The Death of the Prussian Smalls!

The Prussian Carrier, with only 2 Assault Points left was doomed to be boarded, so I used it while I could.  Moving forward, the Prussian Carrier failed to damage anything with either its Bombards or Tesla Broadsides.

Carrier Failure!

The Italian Carrier then moved to “Cross The T” with the Prussian Carrier, and attempted to board, playing “Swift Strike”.  In response, the Prussians played “Stormtroopers” and managed to SAVE the Carrier (with 1 AP left)!

Still ALIVE!!!

The Prussian Dreadnaught activated and moved forward to clear the island finally, used Direct Fire with all 4 turrets at the Italian Carrier from RB3, managing to cause a crit (Nav Lock).  Sadly, it was not enough to cripple the carrier and get the Prussians the points they desperately needed.

Too Little, Too Late!

Italian Frigates then advanced and successfully boarded and captured the Prussian Carrier.

Prussian Carrier Finally Captured!

In their final action, the Italian Destroyers attempted to recapture the Prized Destroyer, but lost all their marines in the attempt! 

In the End Phase, the Fire on the Prussian Carrier didn’t go out, but still remained in Italian Hands.

LoIS:      650         50 points shy of Prussian Victory Conditions!
PE:          720         Italians successfully sank all Smalls AND over 50% of the Fleet Value!

Italian Victory!

WoW!  Great Game!  A nail-biter until the end!  We both thought it was a draw until we realized the Prussians failed to get that last 50 points it needed to get a draw!

Playing the Prussians means the Excitement Starts Turn 1!  We were trading shots almost immediately.  If this had been my Russian Fleet, I wouldn't have gotten a shot off until Turn 2!  It made for a much faster game.

First of all, let’s go over my lists and what I did right (or wrong).

The Dreadnaught: we were both experimenting with new ships and I’d never used the Dread before (I think).  I had heard all sorts of issues with using the Dread in Prussian Fleets.  The main reason I took it was I wanted to try to prove/disprove Indirect Fire.  The argument around here was that it wasn’t practical or useful.  Well, I think I proved Indirect Fire is fine – you just need enough dice!  A Dreadnaught works!  However, the points cost of the Dread made it a huge expenditure of points – especially with 2 shield generators.  So as an experiment for Indirect Fire – it was successful, but I think the rest of my fleet suffered as a result.  I needed the extra firepower from direct fire and I needed “more Bodies” in the main fleet to deal with the swarms of Italian Assault Boats and Torpedo Bombers!  I can see why people don’t think Dreadnaughts should be used at less than 1000 points.  I should have put it directly into the fight on the right side – as soon as possible or taken a couple of Battleships instead!

The Carrier: I needed the extra fighters and would have liked to have been able to swap out torpedo bombers or dive bombers, but I went for cheap Rhine carrier rather than the Skyfortress.  Also, the Bombard was more suitable to my “Stand Back and Shoot” strategy.  Surprisingly, the bombard did quite well!  I just wish I could have kept control of the carrier better.  The Carrier was probably better off on the other side of the map beside the Dreadnaught (probably following it from a safe distance).  So carrier did well, I just didn’t protect it properly.

The Skyships: I knew Thurston’s Italians had issues with the Russian one last time, so I thought I would test how bad they really were for the Italians.  Sadly, the Jaegers proved to be useless – they all died quickly and didn’t have a chance to do anything (with an RB1 weapon system, I really didn’t expect much).  The Medium Scouts on the other hand saw very little action where they were on the left side of the table.  That’s mostly because the battle was fought on the right!  So, while I don’t think I’ll use the Jaegers much, it’s too early to make a decision on the Scouts.

The Gunships: they’re more expensive than the Cruisers, but I liked the Tesla Generators for the extra burst of speed, the extra Hull Point means it takes more than 2 Crits to sink and having 2 Turrets each really seemed to help.  I didn’t miss the Tesla Guns that the Cruisers had, so I may consider this as either a straight replacement or maybe adding the Gunships to make Reinforced Cruiser Squadrons.  Yes they were sunk, but they went down fighting.

Frigates: What can you say?  The Staple of the Prussian Fleet – you can never have enough and unfortunately they got chosen as the primary target.  They didn’t do badly but they were overwhelmed by the smalls and the additional Assault Boats of the Italian fleet.

What did I think of the Italians?  They were FUN!  The Frigates have Elusive, meaning everything requires 5+ to hit them – makes them far more survivable against other small ships, but easier to Crit!  The Destroyers were nasty – I had to re-evaluate and make them a priority target far sooner than I intended. 

The Cruisers have lots of little features that makes them useful but probably the biggest thing to deal with is those Assault Boats!  A Squad of 3 Cruisers give the Italians an effective squad of 6 more Assault Boats that move and act on their own.  Worse, they’re not worth Victory Points!  You don’t earn anything for destroying them, but you really can’t ignore them either!  You need to treat them as another offensive Frigate Squadron (either in attacking with or defending against them).

Finally, the Carrier.  It’s worth the cost of some Dreadnaughts, but should be.  It has the turrets of a Battleship, the Amplified Shield Generator, the standard flight of 6 Tiny Fliers AND another 6 token strong Assault Boat Squadron!!!  You’re getting potentially 3 activations MINIMUM for each carrier and each element is a force to be reckoned with.  Like the Cruisers though, only the Carrier is worth Victory Points!  What is the bigger threat or more important?  Make your call carefully!

This was our first time playing with the Energy Portals.  It really throws a new dimension into the game and players need to think of how to use these portals correctly and when to take the chance (and when NOT to!).  I'll have to play with these a bit more before I'm comfortable with them.  Thurston caught on quickly and used them to great advantage.

Special Note: Thurston did a great job painting his Italian fleet!  My Prussians were still not complete and I’m ashamed.  I’ve had them over a year and the Italians are what, 3 weeks old???  Unfortunately, I’m not going to be able to finish them for a bit more.  Hopefully in a couple of weeks I’ll be able to get back on my painting cap.

Over all, I find the Italians to be a very effective swarming fleet.  To counter them, you need lots of weapon systems able to roll lots of dice at lots of small targets.  Very different from everything else I fought against and I look forward to fighting them again sometime soon!

Thanks Thurston!  I’ll get you next time!  ;)