In the new light of morning, the airship isn't so bad after all. I may try and touch it up some, which would be easier and less demoralizing than stripping it and starting over again. I got in varnished in time to game with as planned. EV did a random terrain setup again. He took 7-8 islands and rolled for each of them, including them on a 4+. He rolled 4d6 for inches and a scarrer die for directiion then placed the island from center accordingly, Fleets were the same as the last two games.
The terrain we ended up with was sparse and didn't really affect play much. I bunched my fleet on the far southern edger while EV was in the center. I used the island as cover to avoid first turn shots from the flagship. I wanted to bring the island into play. I had a vague notion of splitting my fleet around the island for raking shots, but nothing firm. The real token is on the extreme north edge. I wanted to bring it around behind EV's fleet to pick on frigates or cruisers when the opportunity arose. Setup:
Nothing much happened on the first turn, only movement. I had no counter cards, but EV didn't play any spells so it didn't affect the game. I want to bring the frigates around behind the larger ships, so I send them north, End of turn 1:
The Shroud heavy cruisers crit one of my cruisers, then the flagship came along and finished it off.
I considered sending the southern frigates around the island while I send the battleship and heavy frigate around in front of the Shroud fleet. End of turn 2:
We exchanged fire and dinged ships here and there. Of note, one of my heavy cruisers gets shot up, causing a smashed rudder. It'll be close whether or not I hit the island if I can turn; if I'm stuck drifting forward 2" there s no hope. At least I learned about how ships can get back to sea if they run aground. I decide to keep my fleet together and draw alongside the Shroud ships. On reflection this could have been disastrous as it would surely have opened lots of ramming opportunities. Considering EV's recent luck with ramming of late, maybe it wouldn't have been so bad anyway. End of turn 2.
As we're starting turn 3, I notice how close my airship is to the Shroud cruisers, and how bunched the fleet is there in general. I do a bit of perfectly legal premeasuring and send it in on a bombing run. EV uses his western frigates for DF, but not the cruisers or eastern frigates. I was holding Elite Gunners and noticed it said it would boost AD on any attack, but didn't specify a gunnery attack as do other cards. We decided the card would work with the bomb.
All the cruisers took damage. The rear cruiser's magazine exploded, starting another 8 AD explosion that hit the cruisers (again) and the frigates. I wondered aloud whether the airship could also fire its broadsides. I didn't think it would, but EV did, so we went to check the rules that I still need to print out. There was nothing in them that said you could only drop the bomb, so the airship opened fire. Another cruiser was destroyed along with a frigate. It was a crippling blow to the Shroud center.
After the airship, I activate the damaged heavy cruiser. I pass the repair roll and narrowly avoid the island, then follow up into the rear of a Shroud frigate. My ram roll is poor, so we go to a boarding action. EV kills two stout dwarven sailors, while I decrew and prize his ship.
I decide to move my frigates west to clear the center for the cruisers and battleship, but inexplicably move them between the Shroud flagship and my own cruisers, I scramble to accommodate this change of plan and trade shots on the heavy cruisers and flagship for taking out most of a squadron of frigates.
This turn was brutal for the Shrouds. Their center just evaporated, leaving the heavies and flagship to face a nearly full strength Iron Dwarf fleet. End of turn 4,
I play Red Hot Shot on my battleship, then hammer the Shroud flagship with a broadside. I do damage with the attack and set the flagship ablaze.
EV sends a heavy cruiser in to ram my battleship. I hits, but doesn't crit, with the ram for no damage in return. The boarding action saw my dwarves kill all the Shrouds and suffer two damage themselves.
This is mop up, and has been for a turn. I thought EV would concede here, but he followed through to the end. End of turn 5.
I decide to send my airship in first. I blame this on winning initiative, a situation I'm unfamiliar with. The Shroud flagship gets a rake on my battleship as a result, but is too damaged to crit it. It takes my battleship and some cruisers to finish off the Shroud flagship. Endgame:
The airship continues to give EV fits. This time the bomb was devastating, taking out half the Shroud fleet. I only lost a single cruiser the whole game, plus bits of damage on a handful of ships. I'm starting to wonder if the airship is particularly effective against EV, or if it's just a very powerful ship on its own. With one being as effective as it is, I can't help but imagine how effective a full squadron of them would be.