Here’s hoping everyone had a pleasant Thanksgiving and spent some quality time with there loved ones! Ok, that’s over now time to spend quality time with ones Mini’s!
To celebrate Black Friday several of us from the Bengal Club and others from the Northern realm of southern California gaming decided to refrain from competing with hoards of shoppers and have an early afternoon of pleasant gaming at my place. We thought about WWII but opted for some Space Fleet combat using the full Thrust rules. Many of us over the last few years have been building ships for this game. The game is really quite simple but the maneuvering and timing of attacks can get quite involved when big numbers of ships are involved and you want to win! I consider it lots of fun and a nice diversion from normal Historical gaming. In our group we still carry over the real world history by designing most of our forces after their real life nationalities. It gives me a chance to project Imperial Germany or the Soviet Union (aka commies in Space) into the future 500-years away. I get to stretch the boundaries of what they would look like appearance, a nice change. They are also fairly easy to paint and it does not take many to have a force for combat.
So Doug Kendrick, Matt Denny, Steve Gausche, Kevin Walker, and I (Bill Witthans) got together for a “Black Friday” battle. Doug was to team with Matt and bring Doug’s “newly painted, shhh, shhhh, shhh, super secret, never before seen fleet” (given his propensity for all things Japanese I figured it was a Japanese space fleet, it was!) Steve, Kevin, and I would counter with my ever growing Soviet Russian fleet. It would be the 3rd Russo/Japanese war the Battle of Tsushima #3, 2205!
The Soviets form a “Grand Battery” in preparation for the Japanese assault. Some of my “Russians” are from the “Firestorm Armada” line, did not like the rules, loved the mini’s! We settled on about 3,000 points apiece, about 14 ships and fighters for the Imperial Japanese Off world Fleet (IJOF) and using bigger ships the Soviet forces had 9 ships plus fighters/torpedo bombers in their CCCP Space Force. As Russians we knew we would have a tough fight on our hands given that Doug usually comes prepared and knows the rules and his forces capabilities, as the Russians we had a good chance but were a bit unsure as to what tactics to us to defeat the first couple of hammer blows the Japanese were sure to throw at us. We felt we had the staying power should we be able to defeat his deadly fighters and missile salvoes early, defeat one wing and then concentrate on the remaining wing.
Forces were deployed and opening moves made the Russians came in at a moderate speed the Japanese slightly faster. The next turn saw both the Japanese and Soviets trade some long range laser weaponry and begin to maneuver forces prior to contact. Turn three saw the deployment fighters/attack fighters as well as more long range laser attacks. As the Russian commander I had very “cold” dice and most of my heavy long range lasers did little damage. As we were counting on getting some good hits in on the Japanese before they could close this was not good. Swarms of fighters issued from both the Japanese and Russian carriers The Japanese fighters out numbered the Russians and had the deadly advantage of being able to select from turn to turn what type of fighter/attack ship each squadron be, sort of a “transformer” mode fighter, expensive points wise to buy but very powerful. This gave Doug the ability to select “interceptor” mode for most of his ships and pounce on my fighters and Torpedo attack fighters with a +1 advantage in shooting! However good shooting by my pilots evened things out and perhaps the Russians even came out a bit ahead on the exchange.
Just after the fighter fur-ball mid game Whats left of the Japanese close to close quarters with the Russians.
The next turn saw an explosion in midrange combat with all the remaining fighter attacks going in on the capitol ships as well as the very powerful but uneven salvo missile attacks by the Japanese. The Russian ships are quite well equipped with beam weapons (lasers, Phasers) for mid range combat and started to hurt the Japanese with better die rolling by some of the Russian players, it was still not up to what we should have been getting. The Japanese fighter and missile attacks went in but great effort (and die rolling) by the Russian defending “point defense” weapons crews succeeded in destroying a large percentage of the Japanese fighters and missiles. The Japanese fighters had once again switched modes and were attack fighters now. The Russian guns in succeeding turns now began to pound the Japanese fleet and one after another their ships began to disappear from the Russian screens. It looked bad for the Japanese….
My last group of torpedo attack craft during a run on Doug’s Battleship, they were shot to pieces by his PDS defense lasers.
At this point the Japanese reserve or second wave that we Russians had not paid any attention to moved from its start mark at high speed towards the Russian right flank(well after a slight delay caused be the crews interest in a passing Freighter loaded with “Schlitz Beer). Close in Salvos from these ships began to take there tolls as the first Russian ships began to disintegrate (great rolling by Matt). Kevin and Steve battled hard but damage was mounting.
The Soviets still had the upper hand as their flag ship; the massive Kharkov was still barley scratched and was delivering knock out blows left and right. It was about this point that the Russian commander (me) ordered a round of Saurian System Vodka to the bridge to celebrate the coming victory when sensors showed the small reserve Japanese force had broken through and was coming around on his tail. The Russian commander worried little as he knew his ship would be just out of their firing arc but they would be in his. He was so confident he ordered another wave of Torpedo Fighters launched to the attack. As he raised his glass in victory he noticed that his order to turn to Starboard was not being executed! He bellowed “Why are we not turning Checkov?” “But commander to launch fighters as you ordered we must travel straight” blurted out his helmsman, “I change the course to reflect the new orders from you!” At that moment Sensor alarms blasted the bridge as his forward screens showed he had allowed his ship to get to within 6 MU’s of the Ice planet and its magnetic field was now affecting his ship! “Hard to Starboard” he screamed but the die roll simulating the planets gravity said 2 points to port! This had the effect of swinging the big ship around and putting its stern directly in front of the oncoming Japanese reserve fleet of Frigates armed with deadly sub munitions packs!
Matt’s Japanese Frigates fired and once again he had great rolls taking my Flagships damage past its first threshold check. System damage was light a medium Phaser beam, a shield, one of three fire controls, and I was about to breath easier when on my last 3 system damage rolls Matt commented “it would be a shame if you rolled a bridge hit, hee hee” I rolled, a 6!!! Command Bridge hit! Damage roll….3 turns out of control!!! Game over, Japanese pulled victory from the jaws of defeat thanks to my last turn blunders…. We figured that in three turns of forward movement the Kharkov would be pummeled into submission and could not gain enough speed to escape before having to strike their colors or be vaporized. All in all a fun time was had and we all looked forward to the next time.