10 August 2015

August Star Fleet Battles - Fortune Hunting or... Thar She Glows!

The Space Cadets met again at the McDonald's at exit 36 in Brunswick on Sunday afternoon for another riveting game of Star Fleet Battles! This makes it a year now that we've been convening to do battle in the vast vastness of spaaaaaaace! I have to admit, I didn't think it would last this long! I'm very pleased that it has though.

This month's mission: raiding the wreck of the Titanic IV. Rumor is that there is a McGuffin* on the wreck of the Titanic IV worth zillions of space bucks. As soon as the wreck was spotted a few days ago, every scumbag within spitting distance was ready to go loot it. The four ships that arrived first are the Battle Wagon, the Rattlesnake, the Black Sun and the Final Elvis - four Orion ships crewed by men who care very little for other pirates.

The ships:
Battle Wagon (James) -  Battle Raider w/ 2 Photons, 1 A-Rack, 2 Ph-1 and a Stinger-F replacing a shuttle.

Rattlesnake (Mike) - Heavy Raider w/ 2 Plas-F, 2 Ph-1 and two F-16s replacing two shuttles.

Black Sun (David) - Double Raider w/ 2 C-Racks, 3 Disruptors, a F-20 and Z-V replacing shuttles.

Final Elvis (Me) - Medium Raider w/ 2 Plas-D Racks, 1 ESG, 1 Ph-1 and a Gladiator FSF replacing a shuttle.

The ships are a real mixed bag. The Double Raider is the joke of the bunch, having paper shields. I had a blast putting the ships together. There were seven to select from and all were randomly assigned, as were starting positions on the map, which leads me to...

To start with, me, Mike and David plotted pretty conservative speeds - in the 12-16 range. Mike had his two F-16s out and tractored - lots of gatling phasers for defense. James however popped off with a speed 27! Obviously he'd get to the wreck first and get dibs on what part of it to search first.

I skulked out to the right edge, wary of Mike's F-torps and really bothered by the damn F-16s that would neuter my little D's before they could do their work. His ship > my ship. I play better as a skulking sneak anyway... no sense rushing towards my death!

Mike and James sandwiched the Black Sun and caused considerable damage with phasers and photons.

Mike and I tentatively agreed not to wreck each others' ships - this is about boarding and grabbing the Coure de Mer or whatever it is we're all after.

It should be obvious that James succeeded in landing three BPs on the Titanic long before anyone else got to it.

It's officially a mess. Mike is closing in on the wreck, James is running as fast as he can from plasma and drones and I've decided that skulking is still a worthwhile tactic.

A bit further in, Mike sends a short-lived shuttle** to the Titanic. I've left the shadows and turned towards the target. James continues his long hook maneuver in the interest of staying alive.

 The scrum hits its stride. I've launched my fighter, hoping to bag the Stinger. Mike and I manage to not shoot each other - it wasn't easy to restrain. The Stinger manages to stay alive due to some truly miserable shooting by David's Z-V pilot.

The Black Sun approaches Battle Wagon's Stinger and slaps a tractor on it. Comedy ensues. Mike and I beg him to pull it into the shuttle bay, repair and rearm it, then send it back out to give James a taste of his own medicine. As GM, I ruled that this was perfectly legal since everyone is a shady sell-sword anyway. David however wanted to death-drag the thing, so he kept it in tow.

The Captain of Battle Wagon fired defensive phasers at the Stinger to keep it out of enemy hands. Typical pirate scum move.

 Turn three quickly degenerated from this...

To this. I'd popped my ESG on impulse 28 of turn 2 so it was ready to rock! Time to go whump something! Unfortunately, me being a novice ESG user hit the Titanic and Battle Wagon at the same time, spreading the damage and only bonking James' ship for 7 damage. I also launched two Plasma Torpedoes (Ds) at James and unloaded five phasers into him. James' Battle Raider took a bunch of internals. He returned the favor, downing my #1 shield and getting one internal - a PHASER! Dammit!

Another shuttle bravely launches from a ship. It is quickly obliterated. I don't have a picture of my shuttle also being dispatched, by the Rattlesnake, the crook!

At the end of turn 4, this is where we were. Mike and I had landed 9 boarding parties each onto the Titanic, Dave had placed 7 and James, a lowly 3. David's and James' ship were pretty heavily damaged, I was without my #1 and a phaser and Mike was effectively unscathed, the bum.

The game was a lot of fun. It was great being stuck with unfamiliar ships and weapons. The addition of scavenged fighters was well-received. We like using them and for Orions having one or two in the hangar makes sense. The next game will begin with the boarding party combat and search for the treasure item. After that, it becomes a matter of getting away with the item. It should be wild!

* McGuffin
** no shuttles successfully landed on the Titanic.

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