Saturday, 3 November 2012

Star Fleet: some envisioned scenarios

First of all, I take no responsibility for determining whether or not these are balanced. I have had some ideas, not necessarily original, mind you, and I'm popping them up here for the benefit (or to the detriment!) of you folks before I have looked at them thoroughly myself. Back in August I had a bit of a think about WWII naval settings, and two battles struck me right away: The River Plate and The Denmark Strait. I grabbed a set of 1890-1945 rules I have, which contain points costs, and I tried to get something to work in ACTA: SF. I reiterate that this is a preliminary, thoroughly untested bit of stuff. OK? Good.

The Battle of the Plate System:
In the Fed corner we have 3 Ortega-class War Destroyers, individually outclassed and out-ranged by their opponent. In the dark grey corner we have a single Klingon D6 Heavy Cruiser. This is the set-up I am most concerned about. The D6 does out-range the smaller Federation vessels, but I suspect that the discrepancy might be insufficient, given the movement speeds in ACTA: SF, and that a D5 War Cruiser or a D7 Battlecruiser might be better choices.

The Battle of the Denmark Nebula:
On the side of the forces of loveliness and sweetness we have a pair of Federation Dreadnoughts. I suspect that it would be worthwhile classifying one as having a poor Crew Quality score. That is no intended impugning of the brave folk on HMS Prince of Wales, but reflects the fact that she hadn't had much of a shakedown when she and the Hood took on Bismarck. On the Klingon side is the pairing of a C8 Dreadnought (standing in for Bismarck) with a D7 Battlecruiser (as Prinz Eugen).

In both of the games above the Klingon forces need to flee their Federation pursuers, and so consideration must be given to table size and which board edge the Klingons must reach. Simply ordering the ship to Warp is an option that must be disallowed. There has to be a balance between the Federation ships trying to catch and kill the enemy, and the fact that the Klingons are outmatched. Abandoning history for a moment, a few scenarios also come to mind from the TV show.

The Ultimate Computer:

When the brilliant Dr Daystrom pops his latest crazy machine on the Enterprise, hilarious hijinks ensue - or the computer attacks other Federation vessels, and kills the crew thereof. On the one side we have Enterprise, and on the other Lexington and a pair of regular Constitution-class vessels. Some situation-specific rules should be employed. First, Enterprise's targeting should be perfect. Her attacks will hit automatically, but roll as normal, a 6 will penetrate shields as usual. Alternatively, apply a +1 modifier to all rolls for Enterprise. Second, during the first turn in which Enterprise opens fire no opposing ships may have raised shields. Finally, from the turn following Enterprise's first attack, roll a D6, adding 1 each subsequent turn. On the roll of a 6+, Kirk and Scotty have successfully disabled the M-5 with a logical paradox or some well-wielded spanners: the game is over. So the objective is for the M-5 to smash as many ships as possible while it remains viable.

Balance of Terror:
The diabolical Romulans, led by Spock's dad, er, by a chap who is played by the actor (Mark Lenard) who later played Spock's dad, have attacked a Federation outpost. The scenario has an optional first half, in which a Romulan War Eagle Cruiser attacks a Federation Mobile Base. In the latter half a Constitution-class cruiser pursues the Romulan vessel as it returns to the Neutral Zone. In order to give Enterprise a chance to shoot down the Romulans, it might be a good idea to have a comet crossing the table, the tail of which has the same impact as a nebula, disabling the Romulans' cloaking device. Given the slow speed of a cloaked vessel, this should be quite a tense game for the Romulan player.

I hope to give a few of these ideas a try ere long. I will report back!

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