Thursday, May 27, 2010
Drazi are Fight!
Mark came over today for our monthly gaming session. As a break from War of the Ring he wanted to try out his set of starship combat rules that were set in the Babylon 5 universe. Actually, they're usable in multiple universes but today it was B5. Anyone unfamiliar with Babylon 5, the tv series, should check it out. There is some great storytelling there, especially the 2nd and 3rd seasons.
The matchup was Drazi vs. Centauri, with some Earthforce ships coming in as reinforcements for the Drazi. I was playing the Centauri, who were trying to break through a Drazi squadron to land troops on a planet. Their force was built around the impressive Primus Battlecruiser supported by two Demos Heavy Warships and four Vorchans. This also gave me 7 flights of Sentri fighters. The Primus was the main troop ship and the one that had to make it through. The Drazi had a mixed force of carriers and missile ships plus some small escorts/super heavy fighters. They have names like Sunhawk, Stirkehawk, Warbird, Sky Serpent etc. There were at least 4-5 missile ships, a couple of carriers and the super heavy fighters. At some point two Earth Hyperion Beta class cruisers with some fighters would enter from a random point along the board edge.
We set up our respective fleets within a few inches of the opposite ends of the board. I was coming in through two jump points, the Primus, two Demos and some fighters through one and the Vorchans and remaining fighters through the other. I decided to close as quickly as I could and try and take out as many Drazi ships before the Earthers arr rived. The game works on a card activation system, a ship being able to move and fire when it's card was drawn from a deck. I like this better than a lot of the IGUGO systems out there. During movement you are allowed to overthrust your ships but you risk loosing thrusters in the process. My Demos and Vorchans could move 10 without overthrusting and the Primus could move 6. One of the Vorchans moved ahead 15" but the second one to move lost two thrusters and was reduced to a total move of 9". Not good. I was a bit more cautious with the overthrusting after that. The Dranzi moved forward very aggressively and Earthforce didn't put in an appearance.
The second turn brought the Primus within range of several Drazi ships. I split my laser fire between two ships, which was probably a mistake. Concentrated fire would have destroyed a Drazi ship before it could get off a shot and it took three turns for my lasers to recycle. The Drazi ships fired off a barrage of 18 missiles, which would arrive on the next turn. I swept all my fighters forward to engage the missiles that were streaking towards me, and they knocked down a few of them.
On the third turn the two Demos got to fire their torpedoes, badly damaging a Drazi ship, but the Drazi got a retributive shot back, severely damaging the Vorchan tasked with finishing it off as it was destroyed. The Demos would also have their heavier weapons back on turn 5. I lost a Demos and a Vorchan to concentrated fire from the Drazi cruisers. My Sentris were tied up in dog fights with Drazi fighters. Only a couple of missiles struck home and a small amount of damage was done to a Vorchan. I was damaging ships with my medium arrays but not killing them. Turn four was disastrous for the proud Centauri fleet when the two Hyperions rolled in, in the possibly the worst place they could have. They arrived in the 7 o'clock of my fleet with their lasers being able to hit several of my ships. One Vorchan died almost instantly from laser fire from the 1st Hyperion and its pulse cannons killed the second one. Fire from the second Hyperion damaged the Primus and did some critical hits. The last Vorchan charged 3 Drazi cruisers, scoring a lucky critical which took out most of one ship's weapons. It was promptly blown out of the sky. The Primus was down to two thrust from a critical and this would go down to one on the next turn when one of its thrusters failed, giving it a total speed of 2.
Turn 5 saw weapons coming back on line, but I was down to two ships, both damaged, and about three flights of fighters. The initiative cards where against me and the Primus was finished off by a combination of missiles which it utterly failed to shoot down, a ramming attack, and fire from Drazi ships, meaning I had no way of winning. The fact that ir got to only fire it's lasers once was quite disapointing. The Demos also went down, from a rear laser shot from one of the Hyperions which Mark skillfully maneuvered into firing position. It managed to take a carrier with it with its dying shot.
All in all, not a good day for the Centauri. I did have some very bad luck, especially with the entry of the Earthers, and the last turn was bad as my ships could not be activated before they were destroyed. I think I know some of the things I'll do differently when we have a rematch, but I can't really discuss them here as I know Mark reads this blog. Hi Mark! Mark also lent me the new Battlehost book for WOTR, which looks really neat.