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Monday, 28 January 2013

FSA Campaign - Battle Report 1

Oscar has been asking to start an FSA campaign for a while now, so at the weekend (through our collective illnesses!) we started to construct one. Using part of a star map from an old MegaTraveller boxed set, using Brian Schumacher's (DX42 for those of you who don't know) FSA Campaign rules, we crafted just that. Putting it on the PC, renaming worlds and creating bases and fleets, and we were off.


I decided to field my relthoza, and Oscar kept to his Aquan home fleets. We kicked off deploying our fleets, with written orders to introduce "fog of war", which turned out well, with a single clash in the first turn as both our 1000 point fleets met in the Aquarisum system, in which Oscar had set up a listening station and I had jumped into (meaning I wouldn't be able to use FSDs to leave the battle).


Our fleets were as follows;

Relthoza
Apex Dreadnought (6 Bombers)
Brood Battleship (with Star Admiral and 3 interceptors)
Hive Carrier (6 Bombers, 2 Interceptors)
3 Banes (3 Assaulters)
2 Squadrons of 4 Drones

Aquans
Medusa Dreadnought (Star Admiral)
Manta Battlecarrier (5 & 4 Bombers)
2 Tsunamis
3 Storms
2Squadrons of 3 Barracudas

We played with retro MARs and used Ravager's scenario generator to create the play area - we got a Blue Zone with 3 obstacles - a central asteroid field, a planet in one corner and a distortion field near the diametrically opposing one. Oscar got a flank deployment by the planet, I got line of battle, which made perfect sense for me fleet shunting in to attack the outer planet of his system. we also used my recently designed ship stat cards (which worked pretty well, we both agreed!)

Deployment
Oscar deployed in a line diagonally across the board in front of the planet, I used the asteroid field to divide my force  - the carrier and Drones screened by it to perform a flanking move around it, my Dreadnought and Battleship (with their deployed wings) taking a direct line into battle against the Aquans. The Banes deployed further back than the Carrier, ready to short-shunt in where needed and (theoretically) to board damaged ships when the opportunity arose. All ships that could cloak were deployed cloaked.

Play
The first turn saw my carrier and drones skirting the asteroid field, the Banes cruising along beside them. The DN and BB plunged straight in, blasting away but poor dice rolls and good Aquan shield rolls prevented damage. Oscars ships met this force head-on, similarly blasting back and getting a point of damage on the DN - first blood to the Aquans.

Next turn was one of the busiest and dramatic I've seen in FSA, and it didn't go well for me - the early poor dice rolls were something of an omen, whereas Oscars dice gods were definately satisfied with him - I had criticals reduced to lowly single points, solid hits shrugged off and in return had lucky torpedoes snag me, Storms put damage on my DN and other similar bad luck. Aquan energy weapons and torpedoes were finding their marks all too often, despite my cloaks. Nevertheless I still got the first kill of the game with a Barracuda falling to my asteroid-skirting force.

The battle near the planet turned really nasty, and my DN was stacking points of damage, making it less and less effective. Oscar's Medusa, on the other hand, repelled my fire, my bombers (a critical again reduced to 1HP) and my torpedoes. His Manta was similarly fierce, and my BB was also soon looking very ropey. The Banes and the Carrier were having more success, and even the Drones were pulling their weight - a Tsunami was soon 4HP down and shields out, Barracudas taking hits. I switched to pulling down his mediums and smalls, taking out a Storm and damaging the others before my offensive potential was ruined.

I was then down to the desparation of boarding actions, and managed to eventually capture a Barracuda and derelict another, plus significantly reduce the Medusas crew complement - 4CP and 0AP (after failed counter-boardings on my Apex and Brood). This pulled its teeth a little, but with STAR cards it managed to summon enough power to finally destroy my Apex, and I had nothing left to board with. My Brood was down to 1CP 0AP, and was boarded by the Manta, and lost. Things went downhill rapidly thereafter, my cloaked Carrier trying to run away was cut down by the damaged Tsunamis after a containment leak, and my remaining bombers (after managing second torpedo runs) had nowhere to go. The only ship I managed to save was the captured Barracuda, which I shunted out.

Verdict
The Relthoza invasion of the Aquarisum system was an unmitigated disaster - the loss of an entire fleet is a huge blow early on in the campaign. The capture of a Brood and the Star Admiral aboard it, as well as many escape pods, will also allow the Aquans to gain vital intelligence and resources. Fortunately the Aquan fleet was mauled, and a follow-up offensive could be mounted. Final stats were;

Relthoza:
Entire fleet lost
1 Enemy Frigate captured

Aquans:
Medusa: -1HP, -4CP, 0AP
Manta: -1HP, -4 Bombers, 0AP
Storm Squadron: 1 lost, One -2HP, -2CP, 0AP, One -2HP, 0AP
Barracuda Squadron One: All lost
Barracuda Squadron Two: Two lost, one -1HP, 2CP (from Manta AP)
Tsunami Squadron: One -4HP, 0AP, one -2HP, no shields, 0AP
Relthoza Battleship with 3CP (from Aquan ship AP)

Kudos to Oscar for completely tabling me - not what I expected! I think my main mistake was rushing my big ships into the fight - I should have hung back and used my big torpedo batteries on his smaller ships - as it was, the big hitters of his fleet (Medusa and Manta) were able to go virtually unchallened as I struggled to survive - even the Storms performed really well, and I didn't have room to fight my way out - I cut my options down to early. Silly mistake, and Oscar pounced on it and cut me to ribbons! Having said that, we both acknoledged that the dice were not favouring me, and he was rolling really well - thats just how it goes sometimes...the worst was a 21-hit on a Bane...a triple critical when it was on 1 HP....there were no survivors...

Well, the Aquans carried the day at Aquarisum, but that's one battle, not the war!