Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My first Starfleet Wars games

With all my blathering about Starfleet Wars, it might surprise you to learn I'd never actually played the game.  I remedied that over the weekend, as Brad, the Crusher of Skulls, was kind enough to come over and play a couple of rounds to help me get a handle on the SfW rules before I run a scenario at the South Texas Mini-Con.
A pair of Wasps attempt (and fail) to sting a Lion.
The first game was a one-on-one matchup, galactic battlecruiser v. galactic battlecruiser.  Brad picked the Carnivorans, just 'cause he liked the way the ship looked, and I picked the Entomalians, for the same reason (and because I was tired of playing the Terrans all the time).  I told Brad about my house rule that all ships must have names, so he quickly christened his Lion-class BC the Rust Bucket, while I designated my Scorpion-class battlecruiser the Ugly Jaws.  We started off far apart and quickly closed to weapons range:
I landed several hits on my opponent, while he only tagged me with a few shots.  Unfortunately for him, one of my starship's thermonuclear darts hit his craft, granting me a roll on the particle weapon special damage table.  As you can see, I rolled pretty good:
I rolled a double-zero--what are the odds of that?! (I know; one in a hundred).  The 100 result meant the target lost another 40 power units--and added to the 50 I had already inflicted, it destroyed the Carnivoran vessel in the fourth turn of the game.  Brad was pretty impressed that we fought a starship duel to the finish in less time than it takes to get through a single phase of a Starfleet Battles turn, and so we decided to play another round, this time with multiple ships.  Sticking with the Carnivorans, Brad brought forth the galactic battlecruiser Devastator, accompanied by two Panther-class stellar destroyers, the Lion-O and the Panthro:
I rechristened my GBC with a name that evokes fear in the heart-analogues of Entomalians everywhere: the Orkin.  The escords (Wasp-class SDs) had monikers with similar resonance in the insectoids' culture: the Raid and the Black Flag:
As the first few turns went by, I concentrated all my fire on a single enemy and scored some lucky hits on the Lion-O (but not enought to take it out of the fight).  When the enemy commander ordered his battlecruiser to separate from the escorts, I secretly rejoiced at my opponent's folly in splitting his forces.
The battlecruiser closed, and all three Carnies unleased all their beams at the Orkin.  Brad rolled (using the BOX O' DEATH™) seven shots.  Five of them hit.
BOOM! No more battlecruiser!
At this point, the game was over, as I decided the escorts would engage their hyperdrives to bug out (pun intended) after the loss of their flagship.  So in the next turn, the destroyers closed on the enemy BC, scoring a couple of hits and each suffering massive damage in return.  As they still had the power available to make the jump to light speed, they fled the battle and I conceded the game to Brad.
It was nice to finally play this game after obsessing over it all this time.  The practice helped me get a better idea of how to explain the rules during my con scenario, and it also has me thinking my ship record sheets are a little too complex.  I will try to simplify them to the point I can put five ships on a single page instead of just two. 

My thanks to Brad for driving all the way out here to play fun games.  It was fun, and I'm looking forward to running Starfleet Wars again.


RavenFeast said...

I've never played the game; just collected the ships.

pahoota said...

Great write-up; I always prefer battle reports that mention dice rolling and game mechanics.

How did you like the gamed compare to Galactic Knights?

Brad said...

I split up my forces and won; who woulda thunk it? To be perfectly honest, you telegraphed your tactics a bit, so I took a gamble that paid off. The fantastic rolling on my part didn't hurt, but I guess that was payback for the lucky 00 shot.

We played two games in as many hours, with around 45 minutes of looking at the minis and going over the rules. I like how all the ship's systems are essentially abstracted into Power...makes for a fast paced game that simulates detail with only one stat. Power allocation is handled in such a way as to create major tactical choices; there were at least three instances that lacking 1 or 2 points of power kept me from attacking or pressing. Overall a pretty fun starship game.