Monday, January 20, 2014

BatRep: Firestorm Armada V2: Valhalla Set (Terrans vs Dindrenzi @ 500pt)

So, my first Firestorm Armada battle report!  Please be gentle! 

I did take pictures, but to say I was disappointed with the results is not enough.  My Terran Fleet was in its Base White colour and the lack of details painted made the fleet appear bleached out in most of the photos.  Sorry.

The Valhallan Box Set comes with two fleets, the Terrans and the Dindrenzi, both adding up to 470 points with no upgrades.  To make the battle more interesting, we bumped it up to 500 points so that we could add some upgrades.  We both agreed in advance not to bother with “Short Ranged Spacecraft” (SRS) because, quite frankly, we weren’t really ready for those!  :D

The Terran Alliance (TA) fleet consisted of:
  • 1 Tyrant Battleship with +1” Movement (5pts), +2 Point Defence Batteries (5pts) and Decimator Warheads for their torpedoes (10pts).  (I don’t think he took anything else)
  • 3 Teuton Cruiser with No Upgrades
  • 4 Armsmen Frigates with No Upgrades

The Dindrenzi Federation (DF) fleet consisted of:
  • 1 Praetorian Battleship with +2 Assault Points (5pts), Added Launch Tubes (5pts), Gained Assault Blitz (10pts) and High Energy MAR to the Kinetic Weapon (5pts)
  • 3 Secutor Cruisers with No Upgrades
  • 3 Thraex Frgates with No Upgrades

We played on a 4’ X 4’ table with 2 Asteroid Fields for terrain and decided not to add anything else.  The chosen mission was the standard “Border Clash”:  8” deployment Zones with the first person to get to 10 Battle Points being the Victor

At least, that was the idea…

The Battle Begins!

Looking at the stats of the Dindrenzi and considering my “test games” using the “training scenarios” that were included in the box set, I knew the Terrans were more manoeuvrable and better at closer range than the Dindrenzi, so I would play a “waiting game”; staying at a distance as long as I could.  Also, knowing the Terran Battleship had such a small Crew Point value, I intended to try boarding it with my Battleship with its enhanced and upgraded Boarding capabilities.

Turn 1:
Terra won the first Initiative phase and decided to keep it.

Terran Cruisers moved forward, skirting the edge of an asteroid field, only 1 ship being exposed once the movement was over.  Dindrenzi Frigates turned and aimed their weapons at this exposed Cruiser, but failed to damage the Terran Cruiser from the long range.  Terran Frigates moved to attack the Dindrenzi Frigates, successfully damaging 1.

The Dindrenzi Battleship activated and moved forward to get the Terran Battleship into Range Band 3.  The Railgun caused a Critical Hit on the Tyrant (Shield Overload) while the High Energy rule forced an extra Hazard Marker on the enemy ship.  The Dindrenzi’s torpedo attack failed to damage the exposed Cruiser.

Terran Battleship hit by Railgun!

The Terran Battleship moved forward and tried to retaliate against the Dindrenzi Battleship.  While the Beam weapons failed to damage it, the Torpedoes managed to cause a Hull Point of damage to the Dindrenzi Battleship.

As the final activation of the turn, the Dindrenzi moved forward and sniped at the exposed Terran Cruiser with their railguns but failed to damage the ship.  The Cruiser’s torpedo attack at the enemy Frigates were all stopped by enemy Point Defense systems.

In the End Phase, the Terran Battleship failed their repair roll (a 1!), thus gained another Hazard token and lost another Hull Point!

End of turn 1

Battle Points:
TA           0
DF:         0

Turn 2:
Dindrenzi won and kept the Initiative!

Trying to do the most damage and keeping my distance, the Dindrenzi Battleship moved forward its minimum distance and unleashed HECK on the Terran Battleship with the railgun, gaining another Hull Point damage and Hazard Marker (3 total each ).  Sadly, the torpedoes again failed to reach the Terran Cruiser…
The Terran Battleship moved forward and turned to port (left).  The Terran’s Battleship failed to damage its counterpart but the torpedoes managed to crit one of the Dindrenzi Cruisers (Fire – 3 CP left).  In retaliation, the Dindrenzi Cruisers made a minimal move and turned all weapons against the Terran Battleship.  In an exhibition of my infamous dice rolling powers, I managed . . nothing!  The Terran Cruisers finally came from behind the Asteroid field and blasted the damaged Dindrenzi Cruiser, destroying it!  Then almost as an afterthought, the Cruisers’ torpedoes destroyed a damaged Frigate!

1st Dindrenzi Cruiser and Frigate are Lost!

In desperation, the Dindrenzi Frigates coordinated their attacked on 1 Terran Frigate, but succeeded only in damaging it!  The Terran Frigates made a 90 degree turn and formed a Line of Battle, then managed to Crit another Dindrenzi Cruiser (Hull Breach – 2 crew left).  Things were not going well for the Dindrenzi…

Terran Frigates Attack!

In the end phase, the Terrans only repaired a single Hazard Token, leaving the Battleship with 2 Hazard Markers.

Battle Points:
TA           0
DF:         0

Turn 3:
The Terrans played the “Power to the Shields” TAC on the Battleship, gaining an extra Shield for the turn while the Dindrenzi played “Eye of Rense” TAC – allowing all leadership tests to be passed automatically this turn.

Dindrenzi won the Initiative and kept it once more.

The Dindrenzi Battleship once more made a minimum move and turned all its weapons on the Terran Battleship.  When the dust settled, the Terran Battleship had 2 more Hull Points shaved off, crippling the Battleship and giving the Dindrenzi 2 Battlepoints!  The Dindrenzi are first with scoring points and in the lead!

It didn’t last long, though.  The Terran Cruisers turned to starboard and blasted away at the damaged Dindrenzi Cruiser, destroying it.  That gave the Terrans 2 Battlepoints for destroying half a Tier 2 squadron, but the Dindrenzi didn’t need to take a Disorder test due to their TAC allowing them to pass all leadership tests.

Loss of the 2nd Dindrenzi Cruiser

The remaining Dindrenzi Cruiser attacked the lead Terran Cruiser with their railguns, gaining a Crit (Fire: 3 Crew left), though the Gun Racks failed to damage the enemy Frigates.

The Terran Battleship continued its move forward, blasting away with its weapons but failing to damage anything – the damage it had already taken affecting the great ship’s performance.

The Dindrenzi Frigates moved to fire on one of the Terran Frigates, but once more failed to cause any damage.  The Terran Frigates meanwhile maneuvered into one of the Dinrenzi Cruiser’s rear arc, but fortunately for the Cruiser crew, failed to cause any damage in another spectacular display of how NOT to roll the dice!

In the end phase, the Terrans were only able to repair one Hazard Token on the Battleship, reducing one Cruiser and the Battleship to 2 Crew Point each!  Things were looking up for that Boarding attempt!

Also, the Terrans decided to reclaim their TAC card, losing 1 Battlepoint in the process.

Battle Points:
TA           1
DF:         2

Turn 4:
The Terrans played “Power to the Shields” TAC once more on the Battleship while the Dindrenzi played “Burn Thrusters” TAC on the Battleship, reducing its turn rate to 1” between 45 degree turns.

Terrans won the initiative and kept it!

The Terran Battleship managed to manoeuvre into the rear arc of the uncrippled Dindrenzi Cruiser and managed to grind away 2 Hull Points (leaving 1), crippling the Cruiser!  The Dindrenzi Cruiser turned to engage both the Frigates and Cruisers, but managed to damage nothing.

The Terran Frigates manoeuvred into the rear arc of the Dindrenzi Battleship and shot . . at the Cruiser?  Turned out the Battleship was “too close” for optimum firing and the Terran Frigates got their best number of dice rolls shooting at the Cruiser.  It was good decision as they took out the last Dindrenzi Cruiser, earning another 2 Battlepoints and causing the Dindrenzi to lose 2!

The Dindrenzi Battleship is committed at this point.  Turning to starboard, the Gun Racks crit an undamaged Cruiser (Point Defence Systems Offline) and Boarded the Terran Battleship!  Or did it?  Nope!  The ship was down to 2 Crew Points and the Point Defence was down to 1 shot, but I bombed the attack roll again and the defending Marines drove off the attack with 1 “hit” to spare!  I did NOTHING!!!  With the new Version 2 rules, the Battleship would not be able to do another boarding action for the rest of the game!  AAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!

Boarding Combat with Overwhelming Numbers..FAILS!

Laughing, the Terrans turned their Cruiser loose on the Battleship, taking off a Hull Point (2 HP gone in total – the Battleship was still in good shape).  The Dindrenzi Frigates did another 180 degree turn and crit the last undamaged Cruiser with a Corrosion Token!

Dindrenzi Frigate Attack Run

In the End Phase, the Terrans managed repair the Hazard Counter on 1 Cruiser, failed to repair the Point Defense system on another, and failed to repair a Corrosive Effect on the last (3 Hull Points gone, 1 left).  Finally, all the Hazard Markers were repaired on the Terran Battleship!  First time since turn 1!

The Dindrenzi decided to take back their TAC card to play again (I really didn’t have a choice), loosing another Battlepoint.

End of Turn 4

Battle Points:
TA           4
DF:         -1

Turn 5:
Dindrenzi played “Burn Thrusters” on their Battleship once again.  The Terrans played “Focused Repair” on the Cruiser to repair its Point Defence System.

Terrans won and kept initiative once more.

The Terran Battleship turned to starboard and fired on the Frigates, destroying 1 and damaging the other, gaining another Battlepoint for reducing a Tier 1 Squadron below 50%.  The remaining Frigate passed its Disarray test.

Thanks to the “Burn Thrusters” card, the Dindrenzi Battleship was able to turn and fired its forward weapons on the enemy Battleship, finally destroying it for 4 Battlepoints while the Gun Racks crit and destroyed a Cruiser.  Finally!

The Dindrenzi Battleship's Revenge as the Terran Battleship & Cruiser are Destroyed!

The Terran Frigates turned and fired on both the Frigates and the Battleship, but failed to damage either.

The Dindrenzi Frigate moved to put some distance between them and the enemy, but then failed to turn around enough to get anything into their firing arcs.  The Terran Cruiser punished the Dindrenzi Frigate for its failure and destroyed it, gaining another Battlepoint for destroying a Tier 3 squadron while the Dindrenzi lost another Battlepoint for losing a Tier 3 Squadron.

In the End Phase, the Terran Cruiser failed to repair its Hazard Counter and exploded!  Unfortunately, it appeared that Dindrenzi wouldn't gain a Battlepoint for this as it was a result of an event rather than direct damage.  The Dindrenzi also picked up their TAC card again in case there would be another turn.

We messed up the Battlepoints while we were playing the game; I had forgotten to delete points for squadrons lost.  We figured the score was Terran 5 versus Dindrenzi 1.

It didn’t look like either of us was going to get to 10 Battlepoints and as I looked over the situation, there was no way I wanted to continue the fight.  A Battleship against 2 squadrons of more manoeuvrable ships.  They had already gotten into my rear arc with no difficulty once.  The Battleship would have died the death of a thousand cuts.  Realistically, I would have the Battleship fold space to escape and save an expensive resource for a future battle, so I conceded the match.

Terran Victory!

However, while writing up the battle report, I discovered that the score was actually 1 All before I conceded the match!  If I had moved off the table using the Space Fold Escape, the Battleship would count as destroyed and would cost me 4 Battlepoints while Terrans would gain 5, resulting in a 6:-3 Battlepoint win for Terra.

Great Game!

I knew the Terrans had the advantage of manoeuvrability, shields and “Knife-Fighting”.  I think I had the right idea, playing the long distance game as long as possible. 

I had some pretty dismal rolls when I needed them, but so did the Terrans.  I can’t blame it on the dice – sorry!

I think maybe I should have made the Dindrenzi Frigates disengage around turn 3, possibly hiding around the Asteroid fields, then re-engage a couple of turns later.  The Frigates weapons were all forward fixed arcs and by turn 4, they were too close to get their maximum fire power.  If I could have disengaged them for a turn or two, I might have gotten the Frigates back into optimum range (and out of immediate danger).

The other thing that would probably have helped Dindrenzi was if I concentrated all units onto the Battleship from the beginning (and hopefully crippled it sooner), then engage the other units.  I could always come back to the Battleship later as its firepower was badly reduced.  As it was, I got Swarmed by the rest of the fleet because I didn’t deal with the Cruisers and Frigates fast enough.

The Boarding of the Terran Battleship was a failure, but I think that was my fault for not doing a Targeted Attack on the Bridge first.  If successful, I could have reduced the AP value and the Boarding attempt would have been successful.  I probably should have attempted to capture one of the Cruisers instead as their AP values were lower.

Speaking of Targeted Attacks, both sides had tried them from time to time, but had no luck.  The times we tried, we failed to damage at all.  When we didn’t, we had some of the best rolls of the game.  Hmmmm…

On the Terran side, there wasn’t much he could have done differently.  As I stated earlier, the Dindrenzi plan was to attempt to board and capture the Battleship.  As soon as it was deployed, the Tyrant was marked by my Battleship.  While the Terran Frigates and Cruisers could have attacked the Dindrenzi Battleship to (hopefully) reduce the damage their own Battleship took, he would have made the same error as I did – ignoring my Cruisers and Frigates which would then have been able to attack them with impunity.  As Terra won the game, I can’t really fault him for his strategy in this case.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to my next game!  I just need to decide how to expand each fleet...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

BatRep: Covenant of Antarctica vs Prussian Empire (800pts) Highlander, Take 2

Admiral Von Shtupp was aboard the Sturmbringer Submarine U-102, hunting for more of the hated Antarcticans.  Rumour had it they were heading for one of the new Prussian Territories, recently captured in the Caribbean.  Von Shtupp was crossing the Atlantic as quickly as his task force could.

“Battle Stations!  Battle Stations!  Admiral to the bridge!”

“Status Report!”

“Admiral, our Recon flight just reported in.  They’ve spotted a task force heading our way.  It’s the Antarcticans!”

Puzzling, thought Von Shtupp.  We’re in the middle of the Atlantic.  How did they know where we are?  Was it some new invention?  Or was it just blind luck?

Regardless, they were hostile and it was time to prove once again why they need feat the might of the Prussian Navy!

Here we go again.  Graham is using the same CoA force as last time, whereas I changed fleets a bit.  Using random terrain, we rolled: NOTHING?!?!?  Can't remember the last time that happened!

Prussian Empire (PE – Top to bottom):
  • 3 X Donnerfaust Support Cruisers
  • 4 X Zerstorer Strike Bombers with the Sturmbringer Submarine + Reconnaissance flight
  • Flight of Torpedo Bombers
  • Flight of Fighters
  • Rhine Carrier with 2 Wachter Escorts, wing of Torpedo Bombers
  • 4 X Arminius Frigates

Covenant of Antarctica (CoA) – Top to Bottom):
  • 2 X Plato Cruisers
  • 3 X Diogenes Frigates
  • Aristotle Battleship with Energy Turrets
  • Flight of Fighters
  • 1 X MK I & 2 X Mk II Fresnel Cruisers with Fighter Wing
  • 3 X Diogenes Frigate
  • 3 X Diogenes Frigate

After deployment, the Antarctians rolled “Destroy all Larges and Massives”.  They elected to do the “Sink or capture70% of the enemy’s Fleet Value”.  The Prussians rolled the default 70% as well.

Start of Game

Turn 1:
Prussians won initiative for the first turn.

Realizing the Carrier was open to attack, the Prussian Frigates turned to Starboard and screened the Prussian Carrier from direct fire from the Fresnel Cruisers.

"Protect The Carrier!!!"

To try and open a gap in the Frigate Screen, the CoA Central Frigates moved forward and turned, attempting to do a torpedo run on the PE Frigates, but found themselves out of range.  The PE Strike Bombers moved forward at maximum speed at Obscured height.  CoA Fighter Drones moved to intercept the Strike Bombers but again, were out-of-range.  Killing an activation, the Prussian Sub’s Reconnaissance flight moved forward while the Antarcticans moved the Frigates on the far left moved straight ahead at maximum speed, hoping to curl in and flank in the next couple of turns.

Finally, some combat: Prussian Fighters moved forward at maximum speed and shot down 3 CoA Drone tokens for the loss of 1 and an extra fuel!  The 2nd CoA Fighter Wing oved at maximum speed, hoping to intercept the Prussian Strike Bombers next turn.  The Prussian Torpedo Wing moved forward at maximum speed, using a fuel pip.

Frustrated by the Prussian Frigates, the CoA Fresnal Cruisers moved forward, failed to activate the generator on the Mk I, and fired on the Frigates individually.  When the smoke cleared, one Frigate was sunk and two others crippled!  First Blood to the Antarcticans, but the Carrier’s screen was more-or-less intact! 

The Frigates Under Attack

The Prussian Carrier’s Torpedo Bombers moved towards the Fresnels at max speed.  The CoA Frigates on the right moved forward and shot down 1 fighter token.  Finally, the Prussian Carrier moved forward with her escorts.  The Carrier failed to damage the Plato Cruiser with a long-range barrage shot, but the escorts sank one of the CoA Frigates.

First CoA Casualty

The Antarctican Battleship moved up and turned to port, exposing all 4 Energy Beam Turrets to the Prussian Carrier.  Being a Large ship, the Battleship had no problem seeing over the Escorts and Frigates and blasted the poor Carrier, causing a Crit (Hard Pounding – 3AP left) and lighting the Fuel Reserves on fire!

The Prussian Carrier Burns!

The Prussian Cruisers moved forward at maximum speed, but the CoA Battleship’s shields saved the Antarctican from damage.  The Plato Cruisers lept forward at the opportunity and blasted one of the Donnners, causing a Crit – STURGINIUM FLAIR!!!  The hapless cruiser teleported straight ahead 5”, barely in formation with the rest of the formation!

"How'd We End Up Here?!?!?"

In the final activation of the turn, the Prussian Sub surfaced, turned to starboard and fired all weapons at the MK I Fresnel Cruiser, causing a Crit (Fusion Leak).  Unfortunately, the sub failed to make a Panic Dive test and found itself exposed on the surface. 

Turn 1 End Phase:
The Prussians were unable to put out the fire on the Carrier – leaving it with only 2AP left.  The Antarctican’s managed to kick off the Lightning Rod, but unable to repair the Fusion Leak on the Fresnel Cruiser.

End of Turn 1

PE:         61 pts
CoA:      65 pts

Turn 2:
CoA won the initiative.

The Antarctican Battleship started things off, turning its bow towards the nearest Donner and firing the Particle Accelerator at the hapless Cruiser.  The PA blasted a Crit (Raging Fire – 2AP, 1HP left).  Fortunately (for ME!), the extra dice that were used against the Sub on the other side of the Cruiser failed to damage the Sub.

The Cruiser takes a PA Shot!

The Prussian Cruiser retaliated, turning all weapons to bear on the Battleship and managed to Crit it (Raging Fire AGAIN!?!? – 5AP left) as well as sticking another Lightning Rod into the hull.  CoA Drones attacked one flight of Torpedo Bombers, shooting down 3 tokens and making them use an extra 2 fuel for the loss of 2 Drone Tokens!  Focusing on the Battleship once more, the Prussian Sub fired its weapons but only managed to do a single HP damage, then failed to do its Panic Dive again.  CoA Frigates on the right made a minimal move and turn towards the Prussian Sub for another Torpedo Salvo, but failed to damage it.  The damaged Torpedo Bomber Wing moved towards the Carrier, dropped their fish on a damaged CoA Frigate, sinking it and caused the squadron to break.  The Bombers then landed on the Carrier to re-arm, reinforce and refuel.

The CoA Plato Cruisers on the right advanced and targeted a single Prussian Cruiser, first critting it (Systems Offline), then added another HP damage with broadsides, crippling a 2nd Cruiser in the squadron!  The Carrier’s Torpedo Bombers, inspired by their brethren, attacked the damaged MK I Fresnel Cruiser, and sank it with a crit!  The rest of the Cruisers passed their Break Test.

Torpedo Attack!

The Fresnals, seeking vengeance (and a clear line of sight to the Carrier), fired on the Prussian Frigates, and sank the 2 damaged ships, but failed to damage the nearby Cruiser (with a single HP left).  The Frigates passed their Break Test.

Revenge of the Fresnels!

The Prussian Carrier moved up but failed to damage anything, though her Escorts succeeded in damaging another Frigate.  The Central CoA Frigate Squadron charged the (finally) exposed Carrier and added another HP damage.

Carrier Under Torpedo Attack!

The Prussian Strike Bombers dove from the clouds and made their attack run on the Antarctican Battleship, 3 of the Bombers getting a bead on the ship and taking advantage of the Lightning Rod embedded onto the hull.  When the smoke cleared, the great ship suffered a Double-Crit (2 X Engine Damage)!

CoA Battleship Bombed!

The Leftmost CoA Frigate Squadron raced forward to make another Torpedo Attack on the Prussian Carrier, but in an amazing display of timing and accuracy, the Concussion charges from the Carrier and its Escorts stopped all the torpedoes from hitting the carrier! 

The Prussian fighters maneuvered and shot down the rest of one wing of CoA Drones for the loss of 1 token, then landed on the Prussian Carrier.  This gave the Carrier a total of 5 tokens it could launch next turn.  The remaining CoA Drones attacked the Prussian Strike Bombers, but failed to damage any.  The remaining Prussian Frigate attacked a CoA Frigate, but failed to damage it.  And the Prussian spotter flew around as the last activation of the turn.

End Phase:
Neither the CoA nor the PE were able to repair anything.  This dropped the Carrier to 1AP left.

PE:          183 Pts
CoA:      234 Pts

Turn 3:
CoA won the initiative.

The CoA Battleship moved forward, lined up the Particle Accelerator on the Prussian Sub and damaged the Sub while the turrets finally sank the one Prussian Cruiser.

The Battleship sinks the Donner

Knowing its time was soon, the Prussian Carrier launched a full wing of Torpedo Bombers from the bits and pieces of two squadrons and the spare token.  After moving forward, the Carrier fired its Bombard at the Battleship and sank it!  (A No-No!  We’d realize it later and put the battleship back on the table with its previous damage.)

Oops!  Shouldn't have sunk the Battleship! 

CoA Plato Cruisers moved forward in Line Of Battle and fired on the damaged Donner, and finally sank the Cruiser.  
Another Cruiser Bites The Dust!

The surviving Cruiser passed its Break test, then activated, moved forward, and blasted a Plato, causing a crit, Hard Pounding – 1AP left as well as embedding a Lightning Rod.

The CoA Central Frigates made an attack on the Prussian Sub and the Carrier Escorts, but only damaged an Escort.  The last Prussian Frigate sank the last CoA Frigate from the right side.

Sinking a Frigate

The CoA Frigates from the left made an attack run on the Escort protecting the Carrier’s midsection, and sank it.

Sinking an Escort

The Prussian Sub moved forward its minimum move and turned, firing two turrets at the closest undamaged Plato, and the bombard against a Fresnel (the Platos were within minimum range).  The Plato took a crit (Weapons Damage), but the Fresnel was left undamaged.  The Sub FINALLY made a successful Panic Dive, slipping to safety beneath the sea’s surface.

The Fresnels moved forward and shot the (finally) exposed Prussian Carrier, causing a crit with their Broadsides (Engine Damage) and another HP damage from the turrets, leaving the Carrier with 1 HP & 1AP! 

The Carrier’s Torpedo Bombers moved back and landed on the Carrier, hoping to re-arm and relaunch before the Carrier was sunk.  At this point, we realized that the Carrier shouldn’t have sunk the Battleship (It can't launch planes and fire in the same turn), so we placed the Battleship model back on the table again.  (Ooops!).  At this point, we thought all the CoA activations were complete, so the Prussian Strike Bombers activated, all but 1 making U-Turns.  The other overflew a Plato, intending to drop its bombs, but was shot down by the Platos before it could complete its attack run! 

"Drop the bombs.. >BANG<"

CoA then realized he forgot his Drones and attacked one of the Strike Bombers, damaging 1.  Once more, the PE Spotter token ended the activations, floating around the war zone…

End Phase:
CoA managed to repair 1 Engine Damage on the Battleship and removed a Lightning Rod on a Cruiser, but failed to repair any other damage.  Prussians failed to put out the fire on the Carrier, so used the Commodore’s re-roll and rolled a 6!  ANOTHER fire!!!  This left the Carrier with 2 Fires, 1 HP and no AP!

PE:         386 Pts
CoA:      348 Pts

Turn 4:
CoA won initiative – AGAIN!
The (Cute Female) Store Clerk warned us we had less than 15 minutes before the store closed so we burned rubber (dice?) to get through this turn.

The Antarctican Battleship attempted to shoot the Prussian Carrier but had suffered so much damage, just couldn’t generate the required dice to make an impact.  The Prussian Carrier deck crews replaced the missing token and launched a full wing of Dive Bombers, then the Carrier moved forward and collided with a CoA Frigate.  The Carrier easily sank the Frigate under its bulk, but apparently broke her back running over the Frigate!  Thus the proud Prussian Carrier sank with the Frigate beneath the waves!  Her Escort, fired at a nearby Frigate and was already in formation to join the Prussian Sub.

What a Way To Loose A Carrier...

The CoA Plato Cruisers circled the last Prussian Cruiser, critting it (Chaos & Disarray) while sinking the last Prussian Escort.

Last Escort Gone...

The Prussian Cruiser fired everything into the Battleship – hoping to get that last hull point but failed to damage the crippled ship.  The last CoA Frigate from the Center Squadron moved forward and sank the last Prussian Frigate.

..there goes the Frigate!

The Prussian Strike Bombers overflew the Battleship and AGAIN, the Battleship avoided taking damage!  The CoA Frigates from the left moved forward but failed to cause any damage.  Getting desperate, the Prussian Sub Surfaced, collided with the Plato Cruiser and fired on the Battleship –failing to damage both!  The Fresnel Cruisers tried to target the Sub, but with all the Frigates in the way, couldn’t get a good Line Of Sight to it.  The Prussian Torpedo Bombers that launched last turn made an attack run and finally sank the CoA Battleship!  The CoA Drones attacked but failed to damage anything and the game ended as we quickly packed everything up…

PE:         475 pts
CoA:      465 pts


WOW!  A game doesn’t get much closer than that!

I took another fleet list while Graham took the same list as last time.  I am REALLY loving the new Prussian Sub and Support Cruisers.  They have great Synergy and the Strike Bombers are fun, too!  The Carrier was the main addition to the box set, providing an extra wing of Tiny Fliers and the opportunity to rearm them.  While it sank, the Carrier did reload and re-launch 2 wings (though 1 wing didn’t have the opportunity to activate).  I dropped one Strike Bomber from 5 to 4 so that I could take 2 Escorts to help protect the Carrier, though in all honesty, it was the Frigates that screened the Carrier most of the game.

The Antarcticans had the same fleet as last time.  I have to say, listening to all the whining about Energy Beam Weapons being under-powered or useless, I’m not seeing it and neither is Graham.  The only option he had that I would question was the MK I Fresnal Cruiser.  The Accumulation Generator didn’t work once and for the ship to be useful, it needs to be far more reliable than that.  Graham was also happy that he FINALLY got to use the Particle Accelerator (TWICE!) on his Battleship.  Usually, when he uses the Energy Beams, the PA is too far away or at the wrong angle to use.

So what did I do right or wrong?  I think the first mistake was leaving the Carrier very exposed on the left flank.  Fortunately I got 1st initiative and was able to screen the Carrier with the Frigate Squadron before it took fire in the 1st turn.  The next thing, I got into a Knife Fight with most of the Heavies on the right side of the table.  Finally, and it was sort of unavoidable as we got rushed, I got fixated on the Battleship which should have been sunk right away on Turn 4.  After the second failure, I was too committed to stop trying to sink the Battleship.  I needed the points it would give.

Anyway, a great game!

Legiocon is on Feb 22 & 23 in Winnipeg MB  Canada!  I'm planning to do a Dystopian Wars Day on the 23rd!  Watch this space for more info!

Just found out Legiocon was cancelled for this February.  If you're interested in 40k, check out 40Kegger in the events page!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Product Review: Battle for Valhalla Set: Part 2 (The Models)

So, seeing as I don’t have any of the models from the last version of Firestorm Armada, I guess I needed to put some models together so that I could play-test some rules…

The Models:
Dindrenzi Federation:
I started with the Dindrenzi because, honestly, they were on the table after the last photo shoot.  They needed to be done anyway!  ;)

Thraex Frigates
Nice thing about this model: it’s 1 piece!  There were 3 in the box and all I had to do was clean off a little bit of flash (excess resin) around the edges and “carve” off the pour channels on the rear of the model.  I used both a file and a sharp X-Acto knife for this.  Model sits well on the stand and we’re ready to prime!
Cleaning the butt end

Underside after all flash cleaned off

Top View

Total prep time: about 15 minutes for all 3 models

Secutor Cruisers
This is technically a 4 piece model, though one of those pieces is just the flight stand mount point.  All the Cruisers and the Battleships for the Dindenzi used the same piece.  Very little flash to clean off the main hull unit, though I did have to go between the Railgun channels on one Cruiser to clean up some excess resin in one corner. 
Cruiser Bits!

The two engine pods also had a little flash that needed to be cleaned off so they would attach to the hull correctly, but it was all done with a sharp knife.  Once I had the engines cleaned up, they were glued onto the hull with super glue and clamped.  A minute or two later and the assembly was safe to handle.
Looking at the bottom of the hull, it was easy to see where the final piece, the mounting plate, was to go.  Unfortunately, the mounting hole is off to one side, so I had to do a quick “balance” test to decide which way to mount the plate.  In the end, I chose to put the mounting hole forward, the model seemed to sit on the flight stand best that way.
Finished Cruiser

Total assembly time: 30 – 45 minutes for all 3 models

Praetorian Battleship
The “Big” Boy!  This is the most complicated of the ships in the box.  The model comes with a hull piece, a Bridge platform, 2 engine pods, 2 engine exhausts, 2 “Detail” strips and 2 Mounting Plates.
Lotsa Bits!!!

First, I had to clean off the main hull.  Most of the flash was minor at first.  Then I realized that this strange looking “detail” on the upper back hull was in fact the Pour Channel for the resin!  I ended up chopping it off in stages using side cutters and then a sharp knife.  Next, as I was checking the hull from the side, I realized I could see light through some of the detailing.  This turned out to be more flashing; 6 small squarish holes on top and a longer channel on the bottom.  After carving out the flash with a sharp knife, I realized the smaller “Detail” strip fit into the longer channel on the bottom.  I had no idea where it went before then!

Putting the last detail strip on (after the engine pods were done)

Next were the engine pods.  Again, very little flash on them.  They were clearly marked “L” & “R” to help identify which went where.  When I went to test fit the pods, they were a little large for the recessed “socket” they were to fit into.  I basically ran a knife blade at an angle of about 45 degrees along the edge to be mounted towards the Hull until they fit (very little shaving – I barely could see it, but I’m blind anyway).  Once both pods fit, they were glued and clamped for a couple of minutes. 

Cleaning the Engine Pods

While the glue set, I cleaned the flash from the engine exhaust ports and the Bridge platform.  The exhaust ports had a recessed area that they fit into quite well.  The Bridge, I just eye-balled the platform to center it and it all seemed to go together well.  Quick glue and we’re done!

The Finished Battleship

Finally, the mounting plates.  There were 2 to mount, but again, no description how to mount the off-centered plates.  I grabbed the flight base, lined up the holes to where the plates were to go.  We mounted the holes both inwards and that appears to be correct.  This, however, was also a point of frustration for me.  The two mounting plates are on two different levels on the model.  In order to use a 2 – poled flight stand, I’ll need to make custom stand with 2 lengths that won’t be usable with any other model (unless I get a second Praetorian).  Otherwise the model looks good.

The uneven mounting plates

Total prep time: about an hour without modifying the flight stand

The Terran Alliance

Armsmen Frigates
Like the Dindrenzi Frigates, the Terran Frigates are all one piece.  Very little flash to remove.  The Pour Channel was on the nose of the Frigate.  With a sharp knife, the excess was cleaned off very quickly.  Again, the model sat well on the flight stand.

Total prep time: 30 minutes total for all 4 models (I wanted to take my time as this would affect the nose appearance if I rushed).

Teuton Cruisers
Very simple model with only 3 pieces: an Upper Hull, a Lower Hull and a Mounting Plate.  Very little flash on the Lower Hull or the Upper Hull, though the Upper Hull pour channel was very obvious.

Cruiser Parts

 I snipped off the excess with side cutters and then trimmed clean with a knife.  In the photo, you can see 2 circular impressions on both hull pieces.  There’s speculation on the Spartan Forums that these impressions were meant for modelers to use small rare earth magnets so that the hull parts could be swapped for the Heavy Cruiser part.  As I don’t have those parts, I just glued and clamped the 2 hull halves together.

 The Mounting Plate also has an off-set mounting hole for the flight stand.  I found by putting the hole towards the rear the model balanced better on the flight stand.

Total prep time: 30 minutes total for all 3 models

Tyrant Class Battleship
Another nice looking model.  The Tyrant consists of the Main Hull, 2 Engine Pods, 2 “Rudders” and a double-holed Mounting Plate.

Battleship Bits

Very little flash to clean on each of the model parts.  The Engine Pods are marked “L” & “R” in the depressions that the “Rudders” fit.  Once the flash was cleaned, both pods fit easily and were glued, then clamped into place. 

Engine Maintenance

After the glue had set, the “Rudders” were glued on top and the mounting plate was glued on the bottom.  Very quick setup compared to the Praetorian and, more importantly, the Tyrant sits on the flight stand with no further modifications.

Total prep time: about 45 minutes

What’s Next?
I’ll wash all the models before I prime and paint them.  I’ll need to put all he flight stands together and customize one of the stands for the Praetorian’s stand. 

For the Terran fleet, I look at the models and I see all those classic white spaceships from the 70’s.  The Star Wars Imperial Cruisers, Space 1999 Eagles, even the original Battlestar Galactica.  I can’t help but think the Terran models need to be White or Off-White.  To help make the models brighter, I’ll be priming them with white.

For the Praetorians, I’d like something darker, but not too dark.  I’ll start off by priming the models black to help the colours stay dark.  I don’t want to leave the models black as that would be hard to see or photograph under limited or poor light.  I was thinking something like GW’s Tin Bitz or dark bronze metal.

I haven’t mentioned the space station Valhalla in this report.  I haven’t started it yet because I’m concerned that the legs won’t hold the primer or paint properly without some prep work.  The legs are made from a shiny sheet of some sort of poly.  I’ve popped the legs out of the sheet, but want to test the paint on a leg or two before I assemble the model.

Hopefully I’ll have some battle reports for your enjoyment soon.  Meanwhile, Happy New Year!