Monday, July 26, 2010

US Battle Report - A Night of Two Games, Part One

played two games tonight against Gorgor and his Elves.  They were both 500 points and test run games for the tournament this weekend.  I think VAtank and Kairaven were doing the same, so it was a night to work out some kinks.  I had never played against Elves before, and Gorgor had never played against Dwarves, so it was a learning experience on both sides.  My main aim here was to see how the destroyers worked, as I've been considering swapping them for a heavy cruiser.  EV called off tonight, and I forgot to borrow his smoke and fire markers, so the pictures are not as pretty as usual since I was using scraps of paper as wreck markers.  Lists, pictures, the whole nine, after the break.
My list was the 500 point tournament list from a post or three ago, but I'll reproduce it because I'm so considerate.

Battleship - 120
Airship - 85
2 Cruisers - 100
3 Frigates - 105
2 Destroyers - 90
500 total

Gorgor's list:
Battleship - 110

War Dragon  - 65

2 Heavy Cruisers - 150
2 Frigates - 60
3 Crow Destroyers - 135
520 total.  I hope I'm doing some wrong math here.  I'm not sure that TW destroyers are 45 points, though I assume every race has them at 45.  A quick look at the Spartan site tells me they are 45 each.  Being down points makes me feel a little better about the result, but more on that later.  I also think you need to take regular cruisers before you can take heavies, but not 100% sure that's how the Elves work.  In any case, I knew that going in and wasn't concerned. 

I had set the table up before hand.  I went for as balanced and symmetrical a layout as possible.  Gorgor was going to bring something other than the Dragon at first, but when I mentioned that I had never played against one he swapped it in.  I knew the Elves were fast and wanted to get in close, which suited me well enough.  I wanted to use the destroyers as a rearguard, twirling around behind the rest of the fleet to take advantage of their rockets and be ready to deal with any rakers or ships looking to ram me from behind.  The wind was behind the Elves and didn't affect the game too much.

As usual, I planned to head to the center and use islands as possible.  I had a vague idea of getting to the middle, then turning and trying to use the wind island to cover my rear.  Gorgor looked set to head straight to the middle, but I assumed there would be some TE maneuvering shenanigans and they would come at me from an angle that wasn't immediately apparent.

The lines are drawn.
The first turn went as first turns go.  I lost a frigate to fire from the destroyers, but other than that it was all movement.

End of turn 1.
I didn't want to extend my frigates too much, so I spun them around to bring them back behind my battleship.  I did a point on a destroyer as I retreated.  In return, the destroyers came after my frigates, sinking one and putting a point of hull damage on another one.

Deadly pursuit.
Sinking stuff seemed like fun, so I thought I'd get in on the action with my own destroyers.

Destroyers destroying destroyers.

Seeing what you could call a "target rich enviornment," I send in the airship to drop the bomb.  Between the bomb and the gunnery attacks that followed, I put some damage on the battleship and heavy cruisers, but didn't sink anything.  This is as good a place as any to talk about dice for a minute.  My dice are generally pretty hot, but this game I had mortal luck, possibly less than mortal.  The bomb here is a witness to that.  Granted I crit the heavies and the battleship, but I did nothing to the frigate.  Most of my rolls came back below expected value, and I think I rolled more 1s in this game than I have in all my other US games combined.  I ran a friend through a demo on Friday and was concerned that he may have mojoed my dice, or myself.  Naturally enough, my streak of bad luck was matched by a streak of good luck from my opponent.  It was like I was playing against myself.  Half his dice came up 6s, every shot seemed to crit, things went poorly.  Turns out Gorgor didn't have a firm grasp on the DF rules, so only the frigates got to shoot, which is perhaps the reason why my blimp survived to drop the bomb in the first place.

The bomb, it is dropped.
My battleship is accumulating damage and my frigates are almost finished, but I'm not feeling too bad at this point.  Luck issues aside, my ships are about to have targets on both sides, allowing for multiple shots per activation.  I'm putting damage on the TE battleship as well, though it doesn't show in the picture.

End of turn 2.
The TE destroyers set to work again, finishing off my frigates.  These ships were pains the whole game.  I never really concentrated fire on them, but I did get plenty of 'bonus' shots against them while I fired on the rest of the Elven fleet.  Despite pouring buckets of dice at them, I didn't manage to do too much to them.

Frigate destroyed.

Remember when I called the destroyers pains?  They became sharp pains a moment after sinking my last frigate when they crit one of my destroyers, causing a magazine explosion.  While my battleship managed to escape damage, my other destroyer and cruisers weren't so lucky.  With results like this mounting against me, my morale is flagging a bit.

Destroyers destroy a destroyer in spectacular fashion.
My battleship gets involved.  It doesn't do much against the TE battleship, but I do manage to finish off the already damaged destroyer.  Small victory, but you take them where you find them.

Destroyer destroyed.

With the Elven heavy cruisers still clustered, I send the airship in to try and sink them, or at least do some damage.  What I didn't account for was that neither the heavies nor the frigates had activated yet, and my airship went down under their combined Defensive Fire, yet another marker of the way the current of luck was flowing this game.

Airship down?  What's going on here?

Things turned viciously on me this turn.  I ended up down two squadrons and all my remaining ships had damage on them, with my battleship leading the way with 5 hull damage (and 5 crew as well).  Things look bad here, but I'm hoping they'll turn around.

End of turn 3.
Remember that bit about things turning around?  That didn't happen so much.  After my cruisers fail to damage the TE battleship again, the Dragon swoops in to board my battleship.  I do get a bit of luck here.  I'm down to 2 crew, while the dragon is undamaged and thus rolling 4 dice in the boarding action.  I manage to kill 2 "crew," while the dragon only takes out one dwarf, so my battleship lives to fight another day.  That other day comes quickly though, as my battleship still has to activate this turn.  In that activation, I lose another crew and do no damage in return, leaving my battleship decrewed and drifting.  It's a small consolation that flying models can't prize ships.

What What (In the Butt)
Things are pretty much over after turn 4, but I soldier on.  My cruisers may be able to get a rake in on the TE battleship, so all isn't entirely lost, just most of it.  My lead cruiser took some flavor of steering crit and has been drifting forward for a couple turns, so that was probably a bit of a pipe dream, beyond my inability to do any real damage with them.  My destroyer is in an odd place because I had futilely used it to DF the dragon as it came in to take my battleship in the rear, and therefore couldn't fire this turn.  I wanted to ram the TE destroyer, but didn't have the movement to get it done.  Things could get hairy with it if my battleship drifted in front of it, but after a rules consultation we determined that you still "activate" derelict ships and they drift then, so I didn't have to worry about it after all.  Most of the Elf fleet is coming around behind me to rake, but that doesn't disturb me as much as it would have if I had more ships left.

End of turn 4.

Another marker of my weird dice in this game was initiative.  I kept winning it.  Generally I lose every initiative roll, but do well on my other rolls, which is a trade I'm glad to make.  I may or may not have won initiative this turn, but what I did do was try to ram the TE destroyer.  I say try because I didn't manage to do it, the pointy-eared buggers teleported out of the way.  I didn't get to ram, but I did get 2 whole dice of RB1 broadside on it, which was as ineffective as my shooting had been until then.  The interesting thing was that Gorgor had left the destroyer in the path of my drifting battleship.  I thought it would be fun to have them collide, which they did.  What I didn't consider was the boarding action that would follow if I didn't sink the destroyer, and of course I didn't sink the destroyer.  As a result, I effectively gave away my battleship as a prize.  Yet another shining moment from this game.

Injury, meet insult.

To add some salt to the wound, the TE destroyer rammed my destroyer.  Finally I find some luck and win the boarding action, decrewing the Elf ship for the loss of a single sailor and reclaiming my battleship at the same time.

Another very small victory.

Under normal circumstances I play games until the bitter end.  Looking at the clock, I figured we would have enough time for a second game, but only if we started quickly.  As such, I made it official and surrendered.


I got hammered in this game, that's really the only way to describe it.  For the most part, I think my tactics and positioning were sound.  I made a few activation order errors and similar gaffs, but those came after the bottom fell out in turn 2.  I had lots of double shots lined up, but couldn't make any of them count.  Meanwhile, my opponent seemed to crit with every shot he took.  I don't like to blame dice or luck for results, but I'll do it in this case.  My dice deserted me, and I ran full speed into a brick wall of 6s.  I didn't even learn much from this game.  Normally when I lose, I can tell why and derive some benefit from the experience.  I guess at least I learned a bit about how the Elven dragon works and built some knowledge about the TE deck as well.  A thoroughly disheartening result. and one that I think EV would have enjoyed watching had he been there.  Fortunately for me, things went back to normal for our second game, but that's another report.


  1. too bad about the dice rolls. Luckily i read ahead and so good turnaround! This game feels a little bit like mine on sunday when i read it, just dice not working for you and going the distance for your opponent.

  2. I see only 2 elf frigates, which makes him only 20 points over, but ya, that's a none-fleet-comp-ready fleet.

    If he had fielded 1 regular cruiser and 1 heavy instead of two heavys, and moved one of his destroyer to the frigate squadron. then he'd be ringht on 500, and legal.

  3. Heya. Love the blog. My firgate squadron was comprised of 2 frigate vice 3. Otherwise, I need to make some real fleet cards instead of scribbley notes.


  4. Like I say, I'm not too worried about imbalances. The fleet comp doc takes a bit of time to come to terms with. EV and I had a good wrestling match with it before we figured it out, and that was a half-dozen games in.

    Re: scribbly notes, EV took the "cards" on the Spartan site and printed them out. He fit 6 on a single sheet, though I think you can probably fit them all with a bit more wiggling. The sheet worked just fine until Kairaven sprung his actual card cards on me a couple weeks ago (thanks again for those).

    You can find the TE ones at: