Monday, November 28, 2011

Sunday Starships (cont'd): second Starfleet Wars game

After our first Starfleet Wars game of the day on Saturday, I was familiar with the fighter and starbomber rules, but I wanted to try them out with more ships on each side.  Since Chris was here now, I relinquished my player's hat and oversaw the game as a referee.  As you can see, I decided to use wisps from cotton balls to mark ships that had been hit.
The scenario I pulled out of my ass carefully put together involved the Carnivorans defending a moon against an incursion by the Avarians.  The birdies' goal was to get their ships into orbit around the satellite; the kitties' job was to stop them.
The Carnies got pretty much my entire cat fleet: a Den-class galactic attack carrier, Lion-class galactic battlecruiser, two Panther-class stellar cruisers, a Cheetah-class stellar destroyer, three Kitten-class star armored pursuit ships, and three Snarl-class starbombers.
The Avarians were fewer in number, but the ships were more powerful and included a Nest-class GAC, an Eagle-class GB, a Screech Owl-class stellar destroyer leader, and three Hawk-class SDs.
I quickly realized the birds were outnumbered, so I had some transports (repurposed pirate frigates from Star Frontiers) enter on the following turn.  If they could get to the moon, that would be good for the Avarians.
It took a couple of turns with no firing before the two fleets got into range.  Long story short: the Carnivores concentrated all their fire onto the Avarian DL and vaporized it in a single turn (68 points of damage to a ship that starts with just 36 power units).  The cats also launched fighters for two turns, so they had twice as many on the board as the birds, who just launched once.  Avarian lasers quickly took out most of the Carnie SBs and SAPS.
All but one Avarian fighter was shot down, while the Carns had several survive to launch their high velocity implosion weapons at the Av ships.  More deadly, however, were the high velocity implosion weapons on the larger ships--Carnivorans have a terrific rate of fire for their missiles, and their barrage overwhelmed the Avarian battlecruiser, even though it was twice as powerful as its cat counterpart.  The birds did take out the enemy destroyer in return.  
The Avarian carrier had kept out of the fight and escorted the transports into orbit around their objective.  With two-thirds of its fighters remaining (and the Carnivorans missing more than half of their starfighters), the birds still posed a threat.  It was about time to call it quits.  I declared the game a tie. 
This play experience taught me a couple of lessons about the rules.  First, take care of all fighter/anti-fighter combat and get casualties off the board before allowing fighters to launch their missiles (but still apply fighter missile damage simultaneously at the end of the turn along with damage from ships' missiles and lasers).  Second, even though the sides were about evenly matched in terms of total power units, numbers matter when it comes to defending against fighters.  Since each ship gets 10 CIDS rolls (even if the percentage to hit is low), the more vessels you have to shoot down enemy planes, the better. 

I'm grateful to Chris and Joe for coming over to play, and I apologize for not having a more balanced scenario--Joe had a lot less to work with than he needed.  Thanks, guys, for being such good sports.


ckutalik said...

It was a great game, even worth having to sit two hours on the freeway as they cleared the remains of the idiot drivers' cars off the road.

A few observations about strategy in SW:
1. Because you don't have more spacey things like vector movement, it plays out more like WW2 naval combat and should be thought more like that when thinking of tactics. (This took me a while to realize.)

2. There really isn't any big advantage to not getting as much as your fighter force as you can ASAP.

3. The fighters and smaller ships should move in close and fast ASAP and launch as many particle weapons as they can. No use hoping they won't get decimated, they will. Better to just overload the capital ships with the biggest bang you can.

4. It's all about concentration of fire and forces.

Don M said...

Those brown ships look vaguely familiar, think the paint job is off a bit? (LOL) Great looking game!Also my condolences for
your buddy's car trip...I know!

Gonsalvo said...

Nice report! From what i recall of playing these rules, if you let the Kitties close with you, you're gonna be in trouble after they launch all their particle weapons! The Avarians have better ships otherwise, but because of the squaring of power units needed to use them, the advantage is often more theoretical than real. Often several smaller ships with the same power total will be more effective than a single large one. It definitely takes some experience to balance SFW scenarios! Finally, Ckutalik is right, aside from any rules restricting how long the fighters can stay in action before refueling (landing on the Carrier), better to launch early to avoid losing them while still on board, plus the fighters can help counter enemy fighters themselves (same for the SAPS, of course)

maxmike said...

Our Seattle-based group will be embarking on a laser filled battle fest this coming weekend; a free for all using the original SFW rules instead of the Gal Knights version that are usually played. We'll try to get some photos of the action posted!

Desert Scribe said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone. I did enjoy the game, but ckutalik and Gonsalvo pointed out some good strategy tips.

maxmike, do you have a blog? let us know when you post photos of your game, and an after-action report would be nice, too. :)