5 Dive Bombers and 5 Fighters
2 Armored Cruisers
2 Escorts (attached to the BB)
10 Dive Bombers
Ski, Blazing Suns
1 Squid Submarine
5 Torpedo Bombers, 5 Fighters
The battle opened with everyone making some rather obvious moves - the Japanese and Antarcticans moving towards the British exit zone and the Brits making a bee-line to the edge. The South Pole Corvettes zipped right into the middle of the central channel but three salvos of rockets from the Japanese cruisers quickly sank three of them. First blood, me!
The British submarine closest to the Japanese fleet surfaced and took shots at a cruiser and a frigate but couldn't find its mark, and worse still, failed its Panic Dive. The frigates took advantage of the hapless U-Boat and devastated it with 15 hits from their combined broadside. That sank the immediate threat to the Empress' ships. There was plenty of other movement and shooting but nothing noteworthy.
Turn two began with one of the Agincourt Gunships blasting one of the Imperial Cruisers and causing critical weapon damage. The CoA Battleship's ray gun tore into one of those Gunships causing a Sturginium flare which sent the ship leaping through the ether, straight ahead. The Japanese and Britannian tiny fliers all got involved this turn as well, first the Imperial torpedo bombers made an attack run on the HMS Hood, causing minor damage, then the fighters swept into the King's dive bombers. The gunners on those dive bombers were mighty impressive as they managed to destroy four of the five flights of Japanese fighters, to only one of their own number lost. The Royal dive bombers then dropped in on the remaining Antarctican corvette which was right in front of the Hood blocking its path. The planes made swift work of that swift boat. Their brothers in the fighter corps tore into the Imperial torpedo bombers, wiping them out to no loss of their own.
Beginning of turn 3. The game is turning into a melee in the center.
The Japanese cruisers swiftly cruised forward to surround the Agincourt that had gotten separated by the Sturginium flare and caused critical engine damage on the ship. The Hood fired its guns at the Aristotle and one of the Cruisers, damaging both. The Aristotle replied by pulling alongside her, blasting one of the Gunships to the bottom of the Indian Ocean and initiating a boarding action against the Battleship. The Covenant's boarding parties were wiped out, but left the Hood with only three units of marines. The remaining Gunship let loose on the wounded Jap Cruiser and finished it off. Not to be outdone, its little sister, the remaining Frigate, torpedoed another Japanese cruiser, fouling its rudder.
Start of turn 4. A mess to say the least.
The Aristotle fired its guns at both the Hood and the frigate which was blocking the movement of the Armored Cruisers. Each target took one point of damage and the Heavy Cruisers were still hemmed in. In an attempt to win the game, I boarded the British Battleship with marines from two cruisers (one of which had just wrecked into the last Gunship) but again the boarders were repulsed, leaving one marine unit on the big ship. The Hood pushed ahead, almost free of its pursuers, inflicting minor damage on one of the Japanese Cruisers. The Ika which had been rather quiet to this point sped into the Hood and attacked it, killing the remaining defenders but unable to capture it. The game would be decided by the next action: the first of the Armored Cruisers lurched forward into the British Frigate - if the collision caused enough damage to sink the Frigate, the other Cruiser could board the Battleship and secure an Antartican victory. If the Frigate held, the Japanese Frigates could swoop in and unleash their boarding parties. When the dice stopped bouncing, the Frigate was sunk and the Covenant marines were able to capture their prize! Another victory for the blasted Icemen.
This was the first run-through of this scenario so was a major playtest experiment. I think it worked very well. Forces had to be selected before anyone knew who would be the "Runner." We all agreed that maybe the Runner should get a bit of an advantage, maybe an extra 100 points (20%) or so to spend after determining who is doing what. I'll also need to set scenario specific rules that disallow submerging / obscuring for the vessel carrying the prize.