Friday, February 27, 2015

Operation Hornets' Nest: Galactic Knights AAR

I've played a number of starship combat games over the past several years--and even co-authored my own rulebook, 5150: Star Navy--but the set of rules that first lured me back into gaming was Galactic Knights. Last weekend I had a chance to play GK for the first time in a long while.

I've had the starting rulebook for quite some time, but I acquired the expansion for the insectoid race, Entomolian Invasion, more recently. This was the first game I played using the new rules additions. My friend Joe hosted the game at his place.

I came up with a quick scenario: A force of Terran Transsolar Federation starships enters an Entomalian Empire planetary system with one large hiveworld, one earthlike satellite, and one airless moon. The attackers' goal is to conduct planetary bombartment on two of the three worlds, but the defenders don't know the targets and start out with their forces spread between the three celestial bodies. Before the Bug player sets up his ships, the Terran commander designates his primary and secondary targets and writes down where and how his attacking ships will enter the map.
Joe chose to play the attacking Terrans, while I was the peace-loving Entomalians.  He brought in two of his capital ships, the battlecruiser Marshall Plan and the galactic dreadnought Princeton, along with three Mars-class starbomber escorts (Patton, Frederick, Yamamoto), on one long edge of the map, headed toward the large hiveworld at the center of the planetary system. His flagship, the super galactic dreadnought Chancellorsville, and the remaining escorts emerged at a corner of the map near the airless moon--their primary objective.
The Entomalians had stationed the attack carrier Regina Apis with one Sting-class starbomber (Penta) and one Louse-class armored pursuit ship (Aspis 1) in orbit around the hiveworld. The Mantis-class dreadnought Prophet circled the earthlike world, accompanied by another SB (Hexa) and APS (Aspis 2). The Roach-class battlecruiser Palmetto and two more starbombers (Blank and Violetta) orbited the airless moon, and the Scorpion-class battlecruiser Chlorotoxin patrolled the middle of the planetary system.
When the Ents saw the Terrans enter the system, they began to break orbit toward the invaders. The Chlorotoxin and the Regina Apis launched fighters against the battlecruiser and galactic dreadnought, while the Prophet and Palmetto fired missiles. The Chancellorsville and the Marshall Plan responded with fighters of their own, while the Princeton unleashed its missile salvoes.
Some Mosquito starfighters attempted to intercept the Terran antiship missiles attacking the Scorpion-class ship, while Terran Meteors added their shots to the stern of the Roach-class battlecruiser.
Some escorts were also set to shoot at each other (with both Ent starbombers eventually destroyed), but first we had to resolve the fighter and missile attacks, which can get complicated.
Luckily, Galactic Knights includes a battle board so players can sort out the fighter and missile and point defense attacks. It makes resolving large furballs relatively simple. Below is how it looked during the action around the Princeton. The Terran starship and fighters took out the missiles but suffered a few hits from the Gnat starfighters--which according to the rules are kamikaze craft that inflict 6 points damage per hit!
Meanwhile, the rest of the Entomalian fleet was closing in order to make use of their gravity guns, which aren't stopped by the Terrans' shields.
The lighter escorts have a much higher thrust rating than the ponderous capital ships, and can therefore get across the board much quicker. However, it takes the same amount of thrust to slow down, so be careful you don't fly off the board!
The Entomalian Barb missiles don't cause much damage, but they do contain a homing beacon that makes it easier for other ships to target a craft that's been hit by them. The Marshall Plan took two such Barb shots, as indicated by the green tokens.
The trio of starbombers attacking the moon (the Ho Chi Minh, the Napoleon, and the Atilla) inflicted some damage on the defending starships and poured some of their plasma torpedoes into the surface of the moon, fullfilling their orders to nuke the world from orbit. The Chancellorsville then approached to add its heavy particle beams and plasma laser batteries to the bombardment.
Speaking of torpedo salvoes, Ent starbombers unleashed their grav torpedoes into the Princeton, destroying the galactic dreadnought.
Moments later, another Sting did the same thing to the nearby Terran battlecruiser, At this point the attackers had just their flagship and one or two escorts remaining.
The Terran super galactic got its licks in against the moon, dealing over 100 points of damage to the unfortuate satellite. However, it took hits from three enemy missiles giving Entomalian attacks a 90 percent chance of success.
We called the game at this point, with the Terrans retreating in disarray: they lost two capital ships and four escorts, while the Entomalians suffered just two destroyed escorts, and one heavily damaged battlecruiser. Operation Hornets' Nest had failed.


Ski said...

Very nice - it is good to see your ships being used as nature intended. I've been playing Star Fleet Battles a lot lately and need to get my own game, Star Dust, back on the tabletop.

Gonsalvo said...

Great to see a GK write up, Mack!

The Entomalian Grav guns are tough, especially in a scenario where it is hard for the Terrans to keep their distance, which is their main strategy in "open s[pace" combat against the "bugs".

HoldFast said...

Very creative ship names, and the Entomolian ships look really good.

Desert Scribe said...

Thanks, everyone.

Joe came up with the names of the Terran ships, while I christened the Entomalian vessels.