EV and I got together on Wednesday morning/early afternoon to try out the proposed Bellows changes. I thought this would be a good time to do a blow by blow report, complete with a picture for each activation. Though it made our game much longer than it would have normally been, and will make the reporting process much longer as well, I think it will be interesting and informative. Whether or not we do anything like this again is up for debate, and the amount of work that goes in to this report will no doubt be considered. Long as the process will be, getting started is the only way to make it shorter, so here goes.
It seemed like a while since I had gamed at EV's place. I arrived a little after 11 and we probably started by 11:15. I managed to leave my bag of templates and counters in the case with my Humans, so we only had one set of templates for both of us, though it wasn't an issue. EV did a random terrain placement via some method that involved rolling dice while I was taking ships out of my case. The resulting layout was rather open which I thought would be good for the test as there would be less places for my to hide the airship, and therefore more incoming fire.
We played with 750 point lists. I wanted EV to be able to field the SM flagship, with its extra DF turret, if he wanted to. I thought about bringing a flagship myself, but in the end I decided to recycle a 650 point list and modify it slightly to bring it up to 750. I wanted to try out a full squadron of destroyers and I managed to do so easily by dropping a Kraken, making just enough room to go from 650 to 750.
Battleship - 120
Airship - 85
Cruiser/Heavy Cruiser - 135
Cruiser/Heavy Cruiser - 135
4 Frigates - 140
3 Destroyers - 135
Flagship - 155
2 Heavy Cruisers - 150
2 Cruisers - 110
3 Frigates/Destroyer - 135
3 Frigates/Destroyer - 135
Ripper - 65
EV will hopefully be dropping his own comments here, but in the meantime he said he wanted to try out running more escorts, hence the double frigate squads. His flagship roll was a 2 I believe, the result that lets you add 1d6 AD to a single attack per turn. I thought this was real nice, then we promptly forgot about it until well into the game.
I setup the airship first, then built around it. I wanted to have a covered approach for the blimp, and the southern pair of islands was the most promising for that. I had a notion to send the capital ships through the gap while the frigates and destroyers wrapped around the far island to rake. With EV deploying in the middle and north, I was concerned that I would have to drag the airship all around the table, while out in the open, to get off a bombing run. EV said something about using the contents of the pink tube to track activations, but that idea quickly fell away.
EV started the action by moving his bluff tokens.
|Turn 1, SM 1|
My northern cruisers were hiding from the camera behind the airship, but they broke cover to move further into cover behind the island.
|Turn 1, ID 1|
EV moved his flanking heavy cruisers.
|Turn 1, SM 2|
Seeing EV sending his heavy cruisers on a far flanking move again, I started watching for an opportunity to hammer half of his fleet while the other half was well away from the action. I moved my second cruiser squad, being careful to leave room for the battleship.
|Turn 1, ID 2|
|Turn 1, SM 3|
With the fleet split on, I decided that the southern bluff token was the sub. I moved my frigates up.
|Turn 1, ID 3|
EV moved his southern frigate squadron and took a long-range shot at my southern cruiser, managing a point of hull.
|First shots fired.|
|Turn 1, SM 4|
|Turn 1, ID 4|
EV moved his flagship next. This was the first instance of EV parking a ship atop a bluff token, a tactic which would become common as the game went on.
|Turn 1, SM 5|
I moved the airship before the battleship mostly so that I could slide both models as I moved them. Had I moved the battleship first, I would have had to pick up the airship and place it at the end of its movement. This wouldn't have been a bad thing, but I preferred not having either model interfere with easily moving the other.
|Turn 1, ID 5|
|Turn 1, SM 6|
And the battleship brings up the rear. I thought about angling it out to take a shot at the southern frigates, but I didn't want to get offline with my first move just for a potshot at a frigate.
|End of turn 1, ID 6|
I won initiative for turn 2. I wanted to wait for EV to move his models closer to mine so that I could then move my models closer to his and hopefully have a closer shot as a result. With an eye towards leaving a firing lane for the destroyers, I moved the frigates up to try and take cover behind the island as best possible.
|Turn 2, ID 1|
EV starts with his southern frigates, following up on the success they had in the first turn with a Hard Pounding this time.
My cruiser is already taking a beating, which is bad. That a single squadron at long range is doing the beating is worse. I drew a repair card at the beginning of the game, but it was a "repair 1 point from 3 different ships" card and I wasn't eager to waste 2 of 3 points just to fix a point on my cruiser.
|Turn 2, SM 1|
|Turn 2, ID 2|
|Turn 2, SM 2|
Determined to put a hurt on those frigates, I moved my battleship into a firing position and put a crit on the destroyer. I think it was some sort of steering crit that we forgot about.
|Reprisal at last.|
I didn't leave a whole lot of room between the end of my heavy and the beginning of my battleship, but there wasn't anything that could zoom in to block the heavy and cause a collision, so I wasn't worried about it. I've steered out of traffic jams before.
|Turn 2, ID 3|
EV parks his battleship atop his bluff token again.
|Turn 2, SM 3|
It takes some careful movement, but I line up all my destroyers on the southern frigates. Despite my attention to detail, I do no damage. I blame individual shots at 2 AD a piece.
|Turn 2, ID 4|
EV goes for more of a good thing and adds a cruiser to the bluff token parking lot.
|Turn 2, SM 4|
When I moved the northern cruisers, the faster regular cruiser was on the outside of the turn, which meant that it kept pace with the heavy cruiser on the inside, which also meant it blocked LOS for that heavy. The cruiser did just fine though, firing at the "bluff" token and doing some damage.
|Take that, token.|
|Turn 2, ID 5|
EV cuts the extreme flanking action of his northern frigates short and brings them back towards the middle. The island will still shield most of my fleet from them, so they're out of the fight for at least a turn or two more.
|Turn 2, SM 5|
The airship is the last to activate. I wanted to avoid having it shot as much as possible, which meant waiting until all the ships that could shoot at it moved. I'm thinking about turning behind the far island and coming at the Shroud fleet from behind, as I think they may be turning towards the middle, though it looks like they'll continue along behind the south east island.
|Turn 2, ID 6|
|End of turn 2, SM 6|
The fleets are closing in and about to engage. While some shots have been fired, real damage has been sparse. Things are about to heat up though, and in the next installment all sorts of things will start to hit the fan.