Headed out to the FLGS tonight for gaming. Despite patronizing the store since it opened many years ago, I've never actually gamed there. It was a little odd inhabiting the area with the tables in it, but I got past that quick enough. There were 4 of us altogether tonight, though staggered arrivals thwarted the multiplayer game I had been considering. EV faced off against some Dragon Lords first while I took pictures and started making notes. Then more Dragon Lords showed up, so it was time to throw down. I had hoped to play a game against a wind using fleet, but such was not the case. I faced off against Kairaven from the Spartan forums. We played with 600 points, and lists were as such:
Battleship - 120
Cruiser/Heavy Cruiser - 135
Cruiser/Heavy Cruiser - 135
3 Frigates - 105
3 Frigates - 105
Battleship - 115
Dragon Carrier - 160
2 Cruisers/Heavy Cruiser - 195
4 Frigates - 120
We improvised a bit on the table, as the setup I usual play on was under EV's fleet at the time. Fortunately Kairaven had come prepared with islands. The table was 5' wide, so we walled off a 4'x5' section with cases other implements. I planned to shoot the gap between the central island and the southeastern one, then use cover as best possible while closing with the enemy. Since this was my first game against a non-Shroud fleet, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I knew the DLs had good long-range firepower, so I expected to be kited around a bit while attempting to close. Setup:
The first turn was uneventful as usual. The DLs seemed to be heading north around the center island, which suited me fine. I planned on sending the southern frigates to engage the DL frigates, and stick to the plan with the rest of my fleet. End of turn 1.
First blood went to the Dragon Lords, who sunk one of my frigates from way downtown with a battleship broadside.
I put a point of damage on a DL frigate in return, but nothing else much happened. My fleet is still hiding behind the center island. The DLs definitely look like they're going north now, so I begin to entertain notions of raking them as I whip around from behind the island. I'm also pretty curious about the Dragon Carrier, but I won't find out about it just yet. End of turn 2.
Not wanting to leave my frigates out in the open for the DL battleship to pick on, I initiate a frigate bloodbath in the south. I fire independently with each frigate, sending one DL ship to the bottom and damaging another.
The DLs respong by snaking around my frigates to rake them, destroying one and damaging the other.
Not being used to frigates that have broadsides, I setup a double shot for the DLs. They ping another frigate with the "free" extra shots.
My frigates don't like that, of course, and go in to show the DLs that there's no such thing as a free lunch. Hugging the center island to stay out of sight of the battleship, they take down a wounded frigate.
Apparently I didn't do a good enough job of hiding my frigates from the big DL ships, because the battleship opens up and finishes off the squadron. My extra card advantage is gone, having last all of 1.5 turns.
Not to be out done, my battleship joins the party and finishes off a damaged frigate. There were 6 ships in this area when the shooting started. Now there's just one, and it's damaged. Brutal turn in the south.
With the south cleared out, the battle will be in the north. I've started altering my plan, swinging my ships north behind the center island. Still no sign of the Nogdras. This shot is actually from the beginning of turn 4 after I had moved my northern cruisers as I forgot to take one at the actual end of turn 3, so the damage on those ships isn't there quite yet. End of turn 3.
Turn 4 was uneventful, sinking-wise. The Nogdras come out to play, at least 1 stand does, and I begin to see how annoying they can be. With an 18"(!) move, they have enough range to fly out, attack something, then fly back to some terrain. My frigates have turned around so they don't have to run the gauntlet of battleship and dragon carrier to link back up with my fleet, while my larger ships are heading north to begin the real fight. Our cruisers are softening each other up, but that's about it. The storm is coming though. End of turn 4.
Kairaven brings his dragon carrier into the middle, tight against the center island. While he gets some shots off at my cruisers, he also opens the door for lots of double shots. I take him up on the offer and send in some cruisers. I play Elite Gunners on the heavy cruiser for extra fun. My cruisers finish off the DL heavy cruiser, crit the dragon carrier, and put some damage on a regular cruiser as well. A good activation.
The DLs respond by bring their cruisers around to rake mine. They do some decent damage, but don't sink any of my boats. Figuring that it worked so well before, I bring in the other squadron of cruisers for more of the same. They finish off one DL cruiser and put another point onto the dragon carrier.
All the Nogdras are deployed now, and I'm really beginning to not like them. I kill one off with DF, but I'm not making any headway against them. Since they can hide so well, all I ever get against them is DF. I realize that this is how the DF rules were until very recently. However, I hit the dragons on 6s, while my airship gets hit on 5s, so there's a bit more futility for me. Of course the Nogdra aren't as tough as my airship, plus they don't have a big bomb to drop, but this is a battle report and not a discussion of the strengths of various flying models. I'm starting to like my chances at this point. While the DLs have both their big ships, the dragon carrier is in a very bad place and under heavy fire. My fleet is together and while many ships have taken damage, most of them are still afloat. My battleship has yet to enter the fray in earnest, which can only help me. Then again, the DL battleship isn't in the thick of things yet either. Still, I'm in a good position with double shots for my cruisers. Things look good, but could easily turn against me. End of turn 5.
I probably should have gotten a couple extra shots of this exchange, but I didn't. Toward the end of the turn, the dragon carrier came in to ram my battleship. It put a crit on my ship, Bridge Hit, and we both killed some crew. but the fight raged on. Not wanting to risk another round of boarding if I didn't have to, I activated my frigates and came in to finish off the dragon carrier, allowing my battleship to then activate without fear of melee fighting.
With the dragon carrier down (but those annoying Nogdras still flying around), things are looking pretty good for me. The DLs are down to 3 ships, while I've lost a squadron of frigates. My ships are banged up, but afloat, and starting to put damage on the battleship. I'm eying a ram with the heavy cruiser that's visible in this shot, but I'm just out of range. The DLs might close the gap a bit and allow me to pull the ram off, but that's just a possibility. End of turn 6.
The DL cruiser threaded its way into my fleet to rake my heavy, but to no avail. My ships remain afloat, and doom comes for the cruiser. My battleship doesn't manage to take it down, but my frigates do. They engage in a bit of ballnipping, coming around behind the cruiser to rake it and send it to the bottom. You'll note the Nogdras have set my battleship on fire last turn.
Here they go again, the hit-and-run Nogdras. This time they take out a frigate. It's not that they're very effective or a cause of great concern, its that they're able to swoop in and shoot, then run out and be safe from reprisals that bugs me about them. I wonder if this is how it feels playing against flying models in general, or if the tiny dragons are a special brand of annoyance.
The damage is piling up fast on the DL battleship, and it's basically a done deal now. My fleet is all around the battleship, there will be no escape. End of turn 7.
Nogdra! They manage a good turn of shooting and finish off my frigates. Meanwhile, my battleship is still on fire.
I didn't think it could get grimmer for the DLs, but it has. The battleship is on its last legs, surrounded by foes. My battleship managed to put out the fire during its activation, and the crew are setting their sights in anticipation of another RB1 broadside into the battleship. End of turn 8.
And so it ends, with a volley from my battleship that puts an end to the Dragon Lord menace. At least for now. Those Nogdra are still out there, somewhere, hiding behind rocks and taking potshots.
All in all, a rousing victory for the forces of good and Iron Dwarfdom. I had expected more long-range shooting from the DLs, but things escalated pretty quickly. Granted I sailed to the middle of an undersized board, so the options available for running weren't as plentiful as they could have been. The key to the game for me was getting a couple turns of double RB1 broadsides out of my cruisers. They hammered the DL ships and shrugged off a lot of damage in return. The extra point of CR stood out a couple times in this fight, something I've never noticed before while fighting other dwarves. Beyond that, I can put a decent bit of my success down to good dice. Nogdra aside, I managed good rolls for most of the game, and I threw more than my fair share of 6s. It was nice to face a different fleet for a change, even if they didn't use the wind either.