31 October 2016

A Five-Year Mission

Well, it felt like it anyway.

The Space Cadets met for their most recent episode of Star Fleet Battles on Sunday afternoon. We played a scenario that Mike had stumbled across a few weeks prior. The author's flavor text:

(SP 1966) Warsprite over Gas'Lak 
Y168 Patrick H. Dillman USS California
Background. 
The 12th planet for the Rigil system, Gas'Lak, is in a very erratic orbit that puts it inside the biozone for only about 18 months out of every two year orbit. It has some of the most pure Dilithium cystal deposits in known space and mining those deposits is only profitable during the time that the atmosphere isn't frozen into meters of snow.
As the planet leaves the biozone, the Rigilian government has sent the NG CA USS Warsprite to help evacuate the NG personel from the small ground defense base and the small fighter ground base with its six F-4s.
In orbit next to the planet and nearly done with the evacuation, a cloaked LR is discovered in orbit with the Warsprite and it uncloaks, fires a Plasma F and recloaks. The Plasma takes down shield number 3 and causes a critical hit to the warp controls and starts a fire in the starboard engine.

With all due respect to Serviceman Dillman, the mixed tense and spelling mistakes should have been a huge warning sign and I did have some misgivings going in. We carried on regardless. David drove the Orion pirate. I helmed the Guard Cruiser and Mike controlled the fighters and bases. 

Hot half-inch counter action! The stupid Orion cloaked ship made things annoying for Mike and I.

At one point I found him (the red dot) and tractored him. I let him win an 8-point tractor auction a turn later to deprive him of power assuming he'd run. He shut down engines and we lost him. Gah.

It turned into a very drawn-out game of angry cat and mouse. It took a while but we finally found him skulking, You can see how I've marked up the map to indicate where Mike and I should concentrate our efforts. I was right, as you can see from the re-appearance of the red dot of annoyance.

On turn 10 (yes ten turns of SFB!) David's XO pushed the cloak button while the commander was in the crapper. Drones were immediately launched from distant fighters and I got my cruiser positioned to blast him.

Two drones, two ph-3, four ph-1 and two photons later, the pirate ship was no more. As it should be.

The game took over 4 hours. It didn't feel like it at all. It felt more like 12-18 hours. I kid, Time flew by, really. It was a hell of a thing since we let David use hidden movement so only rarely did we have a really good idea of where he was. He'd move and stop, move and stop. It was a great tactic for staying alive but it really hurt his chances of winning.

There was no way he'd ever be able to steal the crystals from the base - because we knew his general vicinity, he'd have been screwed the moment he decloaked, which is exactly what happened. We decided that maybe he should have attempted a quick smash n' grab on the base while the cruiser was crippled and reloading its photons. Oh well. Next time, right? Good game guys!

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