Tuesday, July 27, 2010

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

The second half of the night's double-header saw a return to form for me.  I was eager to avenge my loss, but I was a little worried at the same time.  Would my dice come back to me?  Or had I undergone a fundamental paradigm shift?  Could I no longer reasonably expect to beat expected value on nearly every roll?  Would Gorgor's dice continue to make swiss cheese of my ships?  The only way to find out was to get back to it.  I ran the same list, while Gorgor made some changes, which you can find after the break.

We chatted about our fleets as we reset the board.  Gorgor talked about why he went for the Elves instead of Shroud Mages: sails.  He wanted a wind-powered fleet, a sentiment that I can sympathize with.  I picked up an Imperial Human starter fleet tonight, but that's for another post.  He swapped the heavy cruisers for regular cruisers and added more destroyers.  Given how well the destroyers had done for him in the first game, this was very understandable.  His list was as such:

Battleship - 110
War Dragon - 65
3 Cruisers - 165
3 Crow Destroyers - 135
3 Crow Destroyers - 135
610 total

Wow, that is a big points difference.  I pointed out that he needed a squad of frigates to meet the full requirements of the fleet composition document, but as usual I didn't really care what he took.  Had I realized the points difference at the time, I would have said something about that, but I didn't notice it until writing the list just now.  Chalk up another learning experience, knowing how much other fleets' ships are.

The terrain was the same as the first game.  Figuring that the south was choked with dwarven bodies and wreckage, I decided to head for the northern part of the center instead.  I deployed in such a way that I could go above of below the northern center island as the situation demanded.  I planned to cross my battleship and cruisers immediately so I could use the cruisers to screen my battleship, which took a lot of fire in the first game.  The wind was blowing towards the southwest, which meant it would actually affect things if I could keep the Elves on my left and force them to turn into the wind to come after me.  The few times the Elves had run against the wind in the first game, the difference in speed was very noticeable, so I wanted to make it an issue as much as possible.  Gorgor deployed on a slant that would allow him to cut through the middle and hit me with his broadsides as he passed, but would then require him to run into the wind to come around for another pass.

Setup.  The Dragon had already moved before I took the picture.
My first activation was already better than the first game.  My frigates moved up for a long-range potshot at the northern destroyers and managed to ding it.

Take that destroyer!
My third activation of the first turn decided the game.  I moved my battleship up and played Experimental Ammunition, a card which usually does nothing good for me.  I managed a respectable roll of 11 to determine AD, then rolled 12 successes with those 11 dice, resulting in a crit on the Elven battleship.  That was more like normal.  Then I rolled snake eyes for the crit and sent the Elf battleship down.  At a stroke, I gelded the Elf fleet.  I tried not to celebrate too much.

Take that battleship!
After the battleship went down, I peeled my destroyers off to the south to start taking shots at the dragon, which was the biggest remaining threat.  Outside of the battleship sinking, turn 1 was pretty typical.  A ding here and there, but mostly just movement.

End of turn 1.
Article two of the return of my luck: the bomb.  The Elves weren't as clumped this time around, so I only managed to hit a single squadron of destroyers, but oh how I hit them.  I sank one and critted the other two, including holing one below.  I also put another point on the destroyer I damaged in the first turn.  The airship took some fire going in, but not enough to stop it.
Gorgor made what I can only call a mental error.  He moved his dragon to the dead center of the board, leaving it out in the open.  My cruisers moved up and fired on it, dealing some damage.  Then my battleship followed suit and took the dragon out.  Two turns, two threats neutralized.  Things were going much better.

Take that dragon!
 With the Elven cruisers in range of coming around the northern central island, I moved my frigates up to take cover behind said island.  That position also allowed the frigates to fire on the bombed destroyers and take them out.
Take some more of that destroyers!
As I was taking this picture, it occurred to me that I hadn't lost a ship yet.  At the same time, the Elves were down to two squadrons.  The pendulum had swung back the other way and now I was on top.  I started to feel bad about stomping around so much, but to be fair I had just received a similar stomping.

End of turn 2.
The hit parade continued as my cruisers landed a crit on the lead TE cruiser, setting it on fire.  The fire went out when they activated, but they burned for a little bit all the same.

Take the cruiser!

The Elves finally managed to sink one of my ships by pouring fire into my damaged cruiser.  They started to run afoul of the wind here, which was satisfying as I was trying to make that happen from the outset.

First blood for the Elves.
One of the Elf destroyers rammed a frigate, but the result was inconclusive.  I lost a crew member and did no damage in return.  I had drawn Iron Shod Pointy End at the beginning of the game and wanted to send my battleship into the offending destroyer, but I was well short on range.  I brought the airship around instead, firing ineffectively at the destroyer but critting a cruiser.

Take that cruiser!
Since I couldn't make the ram work, I started to bring the battleship around towards the middle.  I had a half dice shot at the rear cruiser, which did nothing.  More importantly I had a full broadside on the destroyer that had rammed my frigate.  Having taken a RB1 pounding, the destroyer sank, freeing my frigates from future boarding actions.

Take that destroyer!
My frigates rounded the northern central island and fired on the rear cruiser, one of them in raking position.  The cruiser went down under the hail of fire.  This was the end of the turn, and Gorgor threw in the towel here.

Take that cruiser!  Endgame.
This game was as unbalanced as the first one.  My dice had returned to form, while Gorgor's were more like what he described as his usual dice luck.  Things started bad for him when I sank his battleship with a lucky shot on one of the first activations of the first turn, and things went downhill from there.  Outside of the questionable dragon move, I think he played a solid game, but again the weight of dice was crushing.  I felt kinda bad after this trouncing, but seeing the relative points of the fleets in writing this up makes me feel a little better. 

I'm on the fence about the destroyers.  Their longish-ranged firepower leaves much to be desired.  They have 3 AD each on their fore guns and rockets in RB2 which sounds formidable at first blush.  But when you consider linking, it gets a little grimmer.  The leading ship gets 4AD, while each linking ship adds only 2AD.  This means that for my 2 ship squadron, 12 potential AD yield only 6 actual dice.  That seems wrong somehow.  In considering how to make this work better, I think that I might be better off firing two separate shots, leading with the rockets on one ship and linking in the guns on another.  This yields two 4AD shots instead of the single 6AD shot from linking everything together.  Granted 4AD won't do much to anything larger than a frigate, but it's an option.  I'll probably end up leaving the destroyers in my tournament list for the extra card the squadron brings, but I'm seriously considering dropping them for a heavy cruiser now.  I'll ponder it as the week goes by.  I doubt I'll be able to get another game in before Saturday, much as I'd like to see how the list does with the heavy instead of the destroyers.


  1. amazing luck there, especially with the point disparity. as to destroyer shots, i'm not sure how you're making those fore shots work in your head, but you'd have to have a perfect alignment to get that off. how about linking rockets with guns on each destroyer for 4AD plus the possible crew killer? that should open up the possibility of more damage to more targets.

  2. Wow! I suck at points calculations. Its official. I need to put together correct fleet cards and composition rules.

    Sincere apology (embarrassed!)