I went over to Mike's place today and met up for some Star Fleet Battles. I haven't played in ages, mainly due to the complexity of the game and the fact that it tends to move along at quite the crawl. Mike had the brilliant idea to use the Cadet rules / ships which strip a lot of the wackiness out of the game but leaves the juicy SFB core intact. We playtested a scenario we will be running at Gnomecon. Two other players showed up - Steve who I have known since about 1993 and played Blood Bowl, Epic Space Marine and 40K with, and Jacob who I don't know from Adam but is a nice guy.
The basic setup was that there are two "special things" lost in an asteroid belt. Each player is trying to recover one of the items (or both) and get out of the asteroid field alive. Each player controls one ship and there are no real teams, although temporary alliances aren't out of the question.
FWIW, we were not doing Energy Allocation. Weapons always have enough juice to fire. Weapons that require charging still have to charge. No repairs possible. 16 impulses per turn.
I drove a Frax cruiser -a conjectural ship that is basically a Klingon D7 with a very nice shield layout and a broadsides disruptor layout. Mike had a Kzinti, Jacob took a Klingon and Steve drove a Fed.
The game went by rather quickly. We all started hunting for the stasis boxes amongst the asteroids. Cap'n Steve got super aggressive and went straight for the Klingon. The Klingon got hit badly and turned tail for the board edge. The Fed also got dinged up a bit. I did a bit of long-range sniping. Mike found a stasis box close to his starting position and ran off with it at the same time the Fed and Klingon also decided to get out of dodge. My ship was in great shape and I was left on the map alone with a Klingon shuttle who had the second stasis box. Mike wins, I sort of take second and Steve and Jacob get to share last place.
The Klingon and Fed get intimate. Many a juvenile comment was hurled.
Since that first game flew by, we had another go at it, but switched up ships. I took the Hydran (and cried about not having any real fighters), Steve took a Rom KR, Jacob got the Fed and Mike captained the Frax.
Our setup for game 2. Red markers are searchable locations. They are surrounded by asteroids which require you to drive slowly or risk having your ship fouled up.
We all sort of moved out, a bit more aggressively this time, but still kept with the pretense of looking for the victory doo-dads. I kept my shuttles out and close to use as fighters. Steve managed to find a stasis box right away and then got his plasma-S armed. He bee-lined it for Mike's ship and unloaded. Mike did a bit of damage to hit before it impacted but he still took a chunk of internal damage. Steve didn't even lose a shield in return. I thought this was as good a time as any to pounce, so I gunned the engines and blasted the crap out of Mike's cruiser. Two fusions and three Ph2s. I was left with a badly scratched front shield. Big deal. My only regret is that we were at range 1 when we fired, I couldn't get him at range 0.
Mike and I chased eachother around a bit while Steve fled to re-arm his torpedo. Jacob hunted for a stasis box and kept to himself. Mike eventually downed my front shield and ruined some of my weapons. My shuttles harassed him until he eventually tired of their games and killed them both. Mike's ship was in no condition to compete to he disengaged.
Jacob found the second box. Steve and I raced towards him.
Steve loosed a plasma torpedo. Cue the sad music. My ship arrived right before the torpedo. I ate a rear Ph1 through my down shield but only took 4 damage on non-combat systems. Woo Hoo! My two fusions and three Ph2s ate up his #5 shield and caused 9 internals. The bastard Romulan shot up the Fed's #6, downing it. An impulse later, the plasma went through the hole causing 22 more internals and exploding the ship.
I've made my second battle pass of the game and the Rom takes his turn at the Fed.
That's gonna leave a mark.
Steve blasted the Fed shuttle with the second box and I disengaged, in no shape to fight. He won that fight "fair" and square. Typical Romulan treachery.
I think we all had a really good time, I know I sure did. I like the idea of scaling down SFB. It's such a good game but a real beating to play 32-impulse, full rules - especially with new players. I will definitely add this "Lite" version to my mix of games.
Until next time, Good Gaming!