Admiral Dimitry Orlov was enjoying a hot cup of tea on the flag bridge of the Borodino Battleship, Georgy Pobedonosets II ("St George the Victorious II"). It was good to be home once again, back at sea.
It was just a patrol mission. A short trip around the outer defense zone of Vladivostok. Things had been quiet for the last month and nothing was expected to be seen this time about either. The Empire of the Blazing Sun and Chinese Federation had been busy elsewhere, probably doing the same as the Russians – repairing, reinforcing and replenishing their forces.
It was so quiet, Orlov was taking a “joy ride”. Rather than staying in port (doing dreadful paperwork), the Admiral was taking the opportunity to take another mission on probably his favorite ship. He had started his command on the predecessor Borodino Battleship of the same name and had continued to hone his skills and reputation on this particular ship. He had many fond memories of this ship and the class. It wasn’t fast, but it was reliable…
“Admiral! Lookouts report another fleet spotted on the other side of the island! We’re supposed to be the only Force in the area!”
“Don’t panic. Send the command to all the fleet to prepare for combat. Get me more information about the other fleet. I don’t want us sinking an ally or worse, a surprise visit from the Tsar’s Personal Yacht. Radio Vladivostok and let them know we’ve made contact with an unknown force.”
As the Aid rushed off to complete the Admiral’s tasks. Admiral Orlov thought back to his first time in a similar position. He probably was just as frightened as the young junior officer that had just run away.
He’ll mature and become a good officer one day. If he lives long enough…
First of all – Great Thanks goes to Watchdog on the Spartan Forums. Watchdog spotted an error that we’ve been making with regards to the TAC deck Victory Points that none of the people I’ve played had caught! The error: TACs that are cancelled are NOT put in the “Scrap Pile” (where their point’s value is added to the enemy’s VPs) but are DISPOSED. One of those minor wordings that everyone missed in our neck of the Frozen North that someone elsewhere in the world caught. Thanks Watchdog!
So, I was doing demos for Legiocon this last weekend, but no one was there at 9:00am (other than my traditional Victim, Graham who was silly enough to volunteer with me). So, we started a small 800pt game, just to kill some time and (hopefully) draw some interest.
Once more, the Galant Russian Coalition (me!) would face off against those dastardly Empire of the Blazing Suns! This would be a short game (HA!) so we were limited to 800 points, just in case someone else wanted to do a game.
We rolled random terrain on a 4’ X 4’ table and placed an island in opposite corners – North West and South East. The Russians won Strategic Advantage and the Empire won Operational Advantage.
Russian Coalition Fleet were on the Southern side, around the island (Left to Right):
- 1 Presets Sub with Primary Gun Target Painter (Submerged)
- 1 Fighter SAS with 5 tokens
- 1 Borodino Battleship with Rocket / Torpedo Jammer & 1 Veliky Escort
- 1 Dive Bomber SAS with 5 tokens
- 3 Saransk Skyships (Obscured)
- 4 Novgorvod Frigates
- 4 Rostov Destroyers
Empire of the Blazing Sun Fleet were on the Northern side (From Russian Left to Right):
- 1 Inari Scout Gyro (Obscured)
- 4 Yurgi Destroyers
- 1 Kiyohime Assault Carrier with 3 Kitsune Escorts, 1 Dive Bomber SAS (5 tokens) and a Recon SAW
- 1 Ika Mechanical Squid
- 2 Armoured Tanuki Cruisers
- 2 Fighter SAS with 5 tokens each
- 3 Tetsubo Interceptors (Obscured)
Start of Game!
No TAC cards were played in the TAC phase.
Russians won Initiative for the First Turn due to the number of spotters in the fleet.
(Not that I wanted initiative! The Blazing Suns had more activations to begin with and would end up with multiple unopposed activations where all I can do is watch, helplessly.)
Trying to buy time, the Russian Dive bombers flew forward a short ways. It didn’t do any good as the Suns just sent their Recon SAW buzzing around the western battle zone. Russian Fighters moved beside the Dive Bombers, in hope of providing a deterrent. The Sun’s next Fighter wing moved forward, to waste an activation and force the Russians to activate a Naval Squadron first.
If the Russian Frigates moved forward full speed, they would have no range to any foe but would be vulnerable to attack. I had to protect my Smalls as they would be vulnerable to long ranged missile attacks, so I just moved forward a minimal amount, trying to stay out of sight behind the island.
The Sun’s Scout Gyro climbed into the Stratosphere and moved forward, then turned to port.
(Actually, it had been deployed in the Stratosphere, but the rules say you can’t start in Deep Dive or Stratosphere. I just said they moved up for narrative purposes and to cover an error we made.) The Gyro had no targets in range. The Russian Preset Submarine stayed submerged and moved forward. The Ika also stayed submerged and moved forward and turned slightly to starboard.
I didn’t like it, but I had to chance it. The Russian Battleship activated, and failed its Sturginium Boost (I rolled a ‘1’!). The Battleship moved forward at maximum speed around the left side of the island and fired its main guns at the Ika. The barrage failed to damage the Ika. (I really didn’t expect to damage the Ika. Submerged, it was 5’s to hit and partially obscured, cutting the number of dice in half. However, there weren’t any other targets in range.)
The Sun’s Dive Bombers move forward toward the battle zone center. The Saransk Skyships stayed in cloud cover and moved over the south-east island in a left echelon formation. Once again, the guns failed to damage the Ika, but again, there was nothing else in range. The Sun’s Interceptors also stayed obscured and flew forward and targeted a Saransk. Rocket Fire managed to damage one Russian Skyship and set it on fire.
EotBS Interceptors set a Sarask on fire!
The Russian Destroyers activated and moved forward ~8” -again, trying to stay in the cover of the island. This was the last Russian Activation for the turn. Now the Russians (and I) had to sit back and watch helplessly as the Suns completed their activations…
Now the Sun’s Attack began in earnest. First, the Cruisers moved forward at maximum speed and made a slight turn to get the Russian Battleship in their torpedo arcs. The Cruisers then unloaded everything they had at the Battleship. The Cruisers’ rockets were stopped by the Battleship’s Rocket Jammers and AA. The Main Guns were unable to pierce the Ablative Armour of the Russian Battleship.
Next the Suns’ Destroyers made their attack run and successfully damaged the Russian Battleship, but only caused 1 HP of damage and set a fire on the ship’s deck. More Sun Fighters flew forward. Finally, the Assault Carrier and her Escorts activated and moved forward, all guns once more targeted the Battleship. Once more, the Ablative Armour prevented more damage to the Great Russian Ship.
In the End Phase, The Russians were able to put out all the fires.
The Borodino Catches Fire
Start of Turn 2
Once again, no TACs were played.
This turn, the Empire of the Blazing Sun won the Initiative.
The Empire started things off by having a Fighter Squadron attack the damaged Saransk Skyship. Fortunately for the Russians, the Fighters only caused 1 more lost HP while the fighters lost 4 of 5 tokens.
The Sun's Fighters are Decimated!
Russian Fighters attacked the Interceptors and successfully shot down one Interceptor for the loss of 1 token. Russians are first on the board!
Russian Fighters Down An Intercptor!
The remaining 2 Interceptors dropped from the clouds and made a rocket attack on the Russian Destroyers, but none of the rockets made in through the AA barrage.
The Russian Battleship activated and played “Stoke the Engines”, but it was cancelled with “Espionage”, giving the Russians another 40VP. Once again, I rolled a ‘1’ for the Sturginium Boost, but the Battleship made its turn to starboard anyway. Broadsides damaged an Interceptor on one side and damaged a Destroyer on the other while the Main Turrets double-crit one of the Armoured Cruisers (Hard Pounding; a loss of 3 AP with Concussive effects and Guns Damaged).
The Empire’s Fighters attacked the Russian Dive Bombers and shot all of them down for the loss of 1 token. Russian Destroyers turned to port around the corner of the island and fired their guns at the undamaged Cruiser and caused a Crit (Engine Damage) while their AA shot down a Second Interceptor. The last Interceptor failed its Disorder test!
Russian Destroyers Strike!
The Sun’s Ika played “Stoke the Engine” and rolled an additiona 4” movement (while the Russians gained another 40VP). The Ika stayed submerged and moved forward, then to port, lining up for an attack next turn!
In an attempt to stop the attack on the Battleship next turn, the Russian Sub first successfully target painted the Ika with its generator. This would allow the rest of the fleet to target the Ika with a +1 Modifier! The Presets then surfaced and fired its guns at the Scout Gyro and successfully damaged the Gyro. With its Piercing Ammo, the Gyro suffered Generator Offline. The Sub also dropped Concussion Charges on the submerged Ika, but failed to damage the mechanical Squid. I then played “Breakneck Maneuver”, but it was cancelled with “Radio Intercept” (and gave the Russians another 20VP). Sadly the Sub failed its dive maneuver. The Sun’s Dive Bombers punished the Preset for its failure and sank the sub with a Double Crit, which sunk the ship AND removed the Target Painter effect off the Ika – all in one attack!
Dive Bombers Sink the Presets!
The Russian Saransk Skyships moved forward and blasted one of the Cruisers and sank it with a Double-Crit, while the AA failed to damage the Interceptor.
A Cruiser is Sunk by the Saransk!
The Last Sun Cruiser moved forward at maximum speed towards the Russian Battleship. The Brave Cruiser Crew failed to damage the Russian Battleship, a Destroyer or a Saransk.
The Russian Frigates moved at maximum speed from the right to the left of the island, but were unable to move far enough to gain line of sight to damage the Ika. Once again, this was the last Russian Activation and the Russians were forced to watch helplessly, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
It didn’t take long. The Blazing Suns’ Destroyers were first to move, but they were unable to damage the Saransk Skyships that they targeted. The Gyro dropped from the Stratosphere to the Obscured level, but once more failed to damage the Saransk. Finally, the Carrier activated. The Escorts managed to sink 1 Destroyer while the Carrier’s AA fire shot down the last of the Russian Fighters. Sadly for the Empire, none of the other Carrier’s weapons were able to cause any damage.
The Carrier's Escorts Engage the Russian Destroyers!
Finally, for spite, the Recon SAW buzzed around the battle zone.
In the End Phase, The Suns were able to repair the Gyro’s Generator (though Graham realized he hadn’t chosen one when he designed the fleet, so didn’t use one for the rest of the game). Unfortunately, the Guns on the Cruiser were still damaged. Finally, the Cruiser lost its last AP as they rallied and the Interceptor lost 1 AP & 1 HP as they rallied.
The Russians had nothing to repair or rally.
VPs: EotBS: 115
Start of Turn 3
The Empire of the Blazing Sun tried to play “Battlefield Repair” on the last Cruiser. With a heavy heart, I cancelled it with the same and gave up 40VP to the Blazing Suns.
Russians won the Initiative!
Knowing I was going to get attacked anyway, I activated the Russian Battleship. Once more, I rolled a 1 – for the 3rd time for Sturginium Boost in this game! Regardless, the Battleship raced forward at full speed and rammed the Cruiser and sunk the Cruiser with a crit!
Death of a Brave Cruiser!
Having suffered no damage in the Ram, the Battleship raced forward and fired its weapons in each direction. The Battleship missed a collision with a Sun’s Destroyer by ~ ¼”! Dang! The Turrets fired at the Gyro and Crit the Airship (Shredded Defences), while the Broadsides damaged the Ika and the last Interceptor was shot down!
The Battleship Fires!
Then the moment of horrid anticipation was over – the Ika surfaced and attacked the Battleship. This was a monumental occasion as, so far, we’d never actually had a Robot Boarding action successfully happen! I’d always managed to destroy it before it had gotten into base contact.
After both of us scampering for our rule books (we wanted to make sure we did it right), the Ika damaged the Battleship on the way in with its guns, then managed to cause another crit during Boarding (Hard Pounding – lost 3 AP) and then lost another HP due to the Hull Breaker ability of the Ika. This brought the Battleship below half its hull points, stripping it of its priceless Ablative Armour! OUCH!!!
"Release the Kraken . . er . . IKA!"
Russian Frigates moved to the left of the Battleship and successfully shot down the Gyro!
Scout Gyro Brought Down By Frigates!
Blazing Sun’s Fighters attacked the damaged Saransk Skyship, but were driven off – no losses on either side.
The Russian Saransk Skyships turned to port, but in spite of the short range, the Skyships failed to damage a single Destroyer! The Sun’s Destroyers snaked around to broadside the aft quarter of the Russian Destroyers. The rockets successfully damaged one of the Russians. Then, in a really bad move, 2 destroyers tried to board another destroyer. The Russians AA fire successfully killed all the boarders from both ships – which left them defenseless!
Destroyers vs Destroyers..
..and a failed Boarding Attack!!!
In the last Russian Activation, the Destroyers made a minimal move and attacked the Carrier’s Escorts and successfully damaged 2.
Once more, the Russians grit their teeth and waited while the Blazing Sun finished their activations.
First, the Sun’s Dive Bombers flew back to the Carrier. Then the Carrier rearmed the Dive Bombers. The Escorts and Carrier made minimal moves. The Escorts successfully sank the damaged Destroyer while the Carrier sank all the remaining Destroyers! OUCH!!!
The Russian Destroyers Are Lost!
Finally, the last Fighter SAS moved towards the Carrier.
In the End Phase, the Russians repaired Engine Damage on the Saransk.
EotBS: 295pts 50% of the Fleet Value + All Smalls – Both Incomplete
RC: 440pts 50% of the Fleet Value + All Mediums – Both Complete
The Russians Win!
End Of Game!
Technically, the game ended here. However, for some reason, I thought that the game was 1000pts at this point and we started to play the next turn. Graham asked after we had rolled for initiative what the VPs were and when I told him, he pointed out I was over 50% for an 800 point game.
After I had confirmed that yes, the game was over, Graham wanted one more turn. He had greatly damaged the Battleship and it was like a dog with a bone – he didn’t want to let go until he had finished it off.
Besides, we both wanted to see if the Borodino could survive another attack from the Ika!
So we rolled and Russians got the initiative. Knowing she was gonna go down, the Battleship activated and turned hard to port, collided with an Escort (and sank it), with the Russian’s undamaged Escort finally coming out from behind the Battleship’s wake. The Battleship made a Crit on the Carrier (Hard Pounding) and broadsides sank an Escort while the Russian Escort sank the last Blazing Sun Escort. I then held my breath…
The Guns Open Fire!
The Ika turned and attacked the Borodino while on the surface, firing as it started its boarding action. While the Gunnery Attack did damage the Battleship, Graham bombed on the Boarding Roll and caused a single hull point’s damage – leaving the Battleship afloat with 2HP left.
I skipped the Russian Activation as there was no need (I had already won). Graham finished off the Battleship with the Dive Bomber Attack from the Carrier. (Though I won’t count it as part of the Admiral’s Story line.)
The Battleship Is Finally Sunk by Dive Bombers!
Wow! NASTY Battle!
First of all, I was very worried about this one from the start. Without a Carrier, I had to “predetermine” what my SAS were going to be when I first made the list – not knowing what my opponent would be (part of your standard list building rules). That meant that I couldn’t re-arm my Dive Bombers and I couldn’t replenish any SAS. But that was something I wanted to check out for myself. I hadn’t played without a Carrier in a while using anything BUT Fighters.
When I saw my opponent had a Carrier, that meant he would have more activations than me AND the ability to replenish, rearm and repurpose all his SAS. While the SAS advantages were nasty, it was the fact that he had more activations that was a bigger concern. Each turn, he was able to activate multiple units and I had nothing to react with – they were basically free, unopposed activations.
Always a risky issue.
The One thing that worked well for Graham and the Empire was the Ika finally getting in close enough to do a Boarding Action. It being the first time one of those Robot Combats happened in ANY of my games, it was an interesting experience, to say the least! The first attack proved the potential of these Ikas in my mind – I want to make sure I do everything I can to sink then as far away as possible!
So what worked for me?
Sadly, my opponent’s dice.
Throughout the game, Graham kept complaining that I had cursed his dice and even though I kept telling him he was trying to hide behind bad luck, I was starting to agree with him by the end of the game. His Dice rolling has gotten atrocious! I cannot convey that strongly enough. He concentrated fire and was rolling handfuls of dice, only to Juuuust miss the DR or CR by one or two hits – or worse! One attack he had over 12 dice and hit only once!!! There should be a 50% chance to hit with each dice! The one really good roll he had all game was when he rolled all those 6’s, just to wipe out a SAS! It was horrible!
When we finished this game, we had people show up, interested to play a demo, so we played another game @ 500pts, with me coaching the newbie and the Newbie was just cleaning Graham’s clock again! And again, it was pitiful Dice rolling for the most part (I had thought that Graham was trying to take it easy at first, but no one could do that badly twice in one day on purpose!)
The other big advantage for me this time was the island in the South-East corner. Facing off against the Blazing Sun, I was paranoid about rocket attacks. While I had Jammers and such on the larger vessels, previous experience had shown me that Small class vessels are vulnerable to rockets. While I couldn’t do anything to block Line Of Sight from the Interceptors and Scout Gyro, I could block LOS from surface combatants (and DID) with the island! I didn’t bring them out of cover until I thought that the Smalls had a chance to do something useful. Unfortunately for Graham, he had to kill my Smalls to win. To be honest, I had no idea what his Mission Objectives were until he revealed them – I was too busy trying to kill his Mediums! Sometimes, Ignorance is Bliss!
Finally, my ace in the hole was the Fire-Magnet Extraordinaire; the Borodino! While the Smalls and Mediums all had the speed to maneuver and hide, there wasn’t any such option for the Borodino. It needed to get in close to the enemy as quickly as possible and the fastest way to do that was to drive straight up the middle. At 6” speed, that’s still going to take a couple of turns, normally. Of course, the guns on the Borodino and the position on the table made the Borodino a threat and the Empire had to deal with it. While normally I would have expected more damage sooner, I knew the Borodino could divert the enemy’s attention (for the most part) and survive at LEAST 1 full turn of firing (though how useful it would be later was questionable), giving the rest of the fleet the chance to jockey for position to attack.
Anyway, I think that’s all for this round. I hope you enjoyed this battle report. Hopefully I can post something new soon! Meanwhile, Good Luck!