Monday, 26 November 2012

Battle of Polemos III

My brother and I decided to play the scenario Explore A Strange New World again, this time with a different array of forces, and on opposing sides. He took defensive side with the Federation: USS Lexington was his flagship, and three Constitution-class Heavy Cruisers, Enterprise, Constitution (marked with a pink D4) and Hood (marked with a ruby D8). On the Klingon side I attacked with four D6 Cruisers and two E4 Light Frigates. The Federation fleet, with a Command ship, Lexington, had the same opportunity for activation as the Klingons, but the superior numbers of the scurvy Klingons meant they had the opportunity to force the Federation ships into unfavourable manoeuvres, especially given that every Klingon ship was far better at turning than any of the Federation ones. I had a vague plan for once. I popped the E4s on the left flank, intending to use them as a distraction, while the D6s would scan the planet to fulfil the victory conditions. My brother's plan was to divide his forces with a weak left and a strong right, and envelop me when I reached the planet, catching me in a deadly crossfire. One of our plans worked out.

The first turn saw the Federation win the Initiative roll. All the Klingon ships ordered All Power to Engines! While every Federation ship launched a suicide shuttle. This was that I did last time we played this scenario, but I quite forgot to move them into range, and a blob of shuttles hung uselessly in orbit while the warships duked it out. That didn't happen this time. The second turn saw a Klingon Initiative victory, with some long range Disruptor fire at Enterprise from the D6s, while the E4s blasted a pair of shuttles. By the third turn my Klingons had reached the planet. I kept one E4 in close, and sent the other on a wide flanking manoeuvre, hoping it would provide a distraction for Lexington on my brother's right flank. USS Hood circled the planet, hitting the forward shields of D6 Silver (silver stripes, you see), damaging her hull and shields. Enterprise found herself outmanoeuvred by the Klingon D6s, and was eliminated with massed firepower. A few remaining shots hit USS Hood, the Lexington, and another couple of shuttles. In the End Phase Klingon Labs acquired three quarters of the information points they needed to about the planet. It looked as though the Emperor would be well pleased by this mission.

Turn 4 saw the Federation again take the Initiative, Hood reloading her photon torpedoes, while Lexington and Constitution boosted their shields. I elected to distract the Federation from attacking the main body of my fleet, and swung the slightly damaged D6 Silver around the planet as a decoy, and E4 Green to perform the same duty. Both were lost, but they did the job. In the End Phase the remaining Klingon ships managed to boost knowledge of the planet 20% higher than required, so all they needed to do was stay alive one more turn to win. In turn 5 the Klingons won the Initiative, and all bar the remaining E4 ordered Maximum Warp Now! This would see them depart in the End Phase, and the game end in victory for the Klingons. Every Federation ship boosted shield power again, the captains wary of suffering Enterprise's fate. A fierce gunnery battle ensued, resulting in the crippling of D6 Pale Grey, but by the end of the turn no Klingon ships had been destroyed, allowing them all to escape.

We shook hands, and I realised that I should have been recording Information Points for each ship, not for the fleet as a whole. D'oh! Still, we had a good game, and it was interesting to compare the  different fighting and movement styles of the two fleets. Federation ships tend to have weaponry that has boundaries at 0 and 180 and 90 and 270 degrees, whereas Klingons use 45 and 225 and 135 and 315 degrees as their boundaries. This is a bit of a change to get used to, and my first attempts with Klingons, trying to fly them the same way as Federation ships, didn't go well, as their flank and rear weaponry tended not to find a target. This time I was able to deploy ships so that they could bring to bear weapons on ships in different arcs, and I have a cinematic image of how the Klingons should operate en masse in my head. They barrel toward the enemy, reliant on heavy forward shielding to protect them, blasting away with all guns. Once past the enemy they use superior agility to turn and get on their enemies' tails, using their flank weaponry as they make the necessary turns. We should see that soon.

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