Short, because they're dwarves see? I'm multitasking here by finishing up the varnish on my heavy cruisers while I do up the battle report. Only two tasks though, as my paper sits idle. I'm telling myself that ideas are percolating so I can harvest them later.
Fleets are the same as they were last time and the time before. I'm not going to type up the same list again, so if you're curious just go back a report or two. As he often does, EV had the table set up before I arrived. He used a random generator of some sort (4+ and the terrain appeared, then a scatter die for where it was placed I believe), so that's why the islands are clumpy and there's so much open space. Setup picture after the break.
As you can see, we both went with a sort of refused flank. I called it the "dosey-doe" arrangement because it seemed appropriate. My general idea was to move south and take out his frigates quickly, then reform and face the rest of the fleet. I intended to bring the battleship south of the smaller island, which didn't quite work out as you'll see later. The lower bluff token is the sub.
As usual, the first turn was uneventful. A bit of fire was exchanged and I rearranged the southern cruiser squadron, but nothing eventful beyond that. It's worth noting here that I drew the d3 repair card in my initial hand. Since my battleship was going to be hanging out between EV's fleet and mine, I figured it would get used fairly soon. Turn 1:
Some of these pictures, starting here mostly, are not so hot. It happens. My airship took a shot at a Shroud frigate, critting it and sending it to the bottom.
The Shrouds responded by giving my cruiser a Hard Pounding.
I was thinking about that repair card now, but wasn't sure I wanted to use it on a cruiser when I expected my battleship to start getting hammered in short order. Before that happened, my battleship handed out some pain of its own, critting a cruiser and knocking 4AD off its port guns.
EV's other squadron of frigates put another point of hull on my cruiser, bringing the total to 3. I decided I'd play the repair card on it in the next turn, as otherwise it was probably done for. As mentioned before, I had intended to bring my battleship under the southern island instead of sending it between them. Unfortunately, I wouldn't be able to swing the turn, so I had to send it through the middle anyway. This separated my battleship from the rest of my fleet a bit and made me momentarily reconsider using the repair card, but I stayed the course. I was rather nervous though, as the Shrouds started to close in on the tempting target that was my battleship. End of turn 2:
My plans for repairing went awry as I forgot to play the card. EV moved up his frigates and shot the cruiser, doing the last point of damage. As he was moving I realized I'd forgotten to play the card. I probably could have said "Hey, I meant to play this card, can we go back for a second?" and things would have been fine, but I try not to do that sort of thing. While it meant that I would probably lose the cruiser, I'd still have the card in hand for the pounding I expected my battleship to take. To save the situation somewhat, I did a healthy bit of premeasuring from the fake bluff token while EV was moving and collecting dice. He had mentioned before the game that he intended to shoot whichever token he thought was the fake, as he had always picked the wrong one before, so I wanted to get a bit of metagaming in.
My battleship advances further into the maw of the oncoming Shrouds, as I didn't have a lot of options for it otherwise. I decided to just keep it advancing, taking potshots at the incoming Shrouds and screening the rest of my ships while they took care of the frigates and came in for support. I hoped things would work out well, but I wasn't sure they would. I picked off the already-damaged cruiser as the flagship was out of my firing arc.
You can see my Kraken, sitting out in the open next to a frigate. My ram didn't even scratch the paint, then I failed my Panic Dive roll. Fortunately the cruiser squadron following up did a little better. The heavy cruiser couldn't draw a bead on the left hand squadron, so I split fire. The regular cruiser hit the lead ship of the left squad and took it out, while the heavy fired on the right squad to no effect.
The Shroud flagship has turned south to hit my battleship with broadsides. I didn't like the idea of taking all that fire, but it split the Shroud fleet up a bit, so I was prepared to take it as a good thing. I let a couple Shroud magic cards through, resulting in a point of hull and crew damage on my battleship. I had a bunch of good cards and thought I might get lucky on the roll, but such was not the case. Sharp-eyed readers might notice that the Shroud cruisers didn't move this turn. We didn't notice it until a couple moves into the next turn. End of turn 3.
I got a little ram happy here. I saw the opportunity to apply some red ram to frigate, so I took the chance. I hoped to sink the frigate outright and then pour some band 1 fire into the flagship. The first part of that maneuver went to plan and I smashed the frigate to kindling.
Turns out the second part of the plan worked out as well. I played Red Hot Shot and actually damaged the flagship, making this a rare example of using a gunnery card and having it work out.
This is where the game effectively ended. EV sent his flagship into my heavy cruiser. I figured we'd get a repeat of the ram that just happened, or at least a lot of damage done to my heavy. I think EV rolled 12 dice of red ram against my ship and ended up with a single hit. I returned 5 dice of hull on the impact and did a point of damage. This was a portent of the boarding action to come. Both ships were decrewed in a flurry of 6s. I stopped rolling at 15 crew damage. Somewhere in the middle of this EV realized he hadn't moved his cruisers in the last turn, so they drifted 2" forward. I wonder if having them up with his flagship would have influenced his decision to ram, but I don't think it would have.
To his credit, EV soldiered on after the boarding debacle. My battleship moved up and took out another cruiser.
Deciding he would be better served by scuttling his own ship instead of prizing mine, EV sent a frigate in to do away with his flagship, but it broke up on impact. He conceded after the impact, but the game was basically over after his flagship went adrift.
I didn't get an end of game shot, or casualties or anything of that sort. This was an unfortunately quick game. I had thought the setup would lead to a good game, with each fleet circling the other and plenty of maneuvering. Obviously this didn't happen. EV seemed to commit his ships piece by piece, sending his heavies on what I can only guess was a long flanking action while the frigates faced off against my entire fleet on the other side of the board. Things could have been very different had the cruisers moved in turn 2, but even so I don't know that it would have changed that much. The whole game was in the flagship ram and subsequent boarding action, where I admittedly had amazing rolls while EV's ram roll was as bad as possible. Let's do a little thought exercise about what might have happened.
EV sent a dinged flagship in against a pristine heavy cruiser. With 12 dice on the ram, and a red ram at that, he should have done two crits on the impact and possibly three. Between that damage and the following boarding, my heavy should have been crippled at best and likely destroyed. The flagship should have taken some damage in return, possibly a heavy blow to the crew, but should have remained active and afloat. Even so, the flagship would have been basically alone in the middle of my entire fleet, with my everything still to activate. Even more so, the rest of the Shrouds were at least a turn away from relevance. EV seems to have gone a bit ram happy, something I pointed out to him, so perhaps it's appropriate that he's considering expanding into Orcs.
In the end, a win is a win, but this one isn't particularly satisfying. This one was decided by a single action where I happened to roll particularly well. I can't claim to have engineered the situation or baited EV into his actions. I think my plan was basically sound, though my battleship was far too exposed for comfort. At the end, EV still had an unmolested heavy cruiser squadron and a cruiser, plus a couple frigates, which could have made things interesting. Clearly boarding actions can change the game situation in an instant, and he has run through and over my ships before. I can't blame him for calling it where he did though, and I probably would have stopped after the double decrewing.