Tuesday, August 10, 2010

US Battle Report - Premiere Night

The turn-out at Game Parlor wasn't so hot tonight, just me and EV.  While it was a shame that we went to the store just to play each other, I think it's important to keep a presence going on Mondays, so chalk this one up to fighting the good fight.  Tonight was the debut for my Imperial Humans.  I must have been extra excited because a lot of pictures are blurry, so I'll do a blanket apology for that upfront.  Since it's late (Starcraft 2 is compelling), I'm going to cut right to the chase.  Lists:

Battleship - 110
3 Cruisers - 165
3 Frigates - 90
3 Frigates - 90
3 Martyrs - 75
530 total

Battleship - 110
Ripper - 65
2 Cruisers - 110
2 Cruisers - 110
3 Frigates/Destroyer - 135
530 total

In keeping with my desire to play with less terrain, we played with less terrain.  Wind started blowing south, though that wouldn't last long.  I setup to try and stick with the wind as long as possible, but didn't have a real strategy beyond that, other than try and take cover for the first turn.  I figured that playing Humans would be pretty different from my Dwarves, so I wanted to leave room for improvisation.

The first turn actually had some action, starting with a long-range frigate shot putting a point of damage on a bluff token, which turned out to be the actual sub.

Gogo 6s.
EV was quick to offer return fire, sinking a frigate.

Frigate down.
I moved up the other squad of frigates, and EV moved his battleship.  He shot at the newly moved frigates, taking another one out.  My finger had little to do with it, but it wanted some attention and creeped into the shot.

Another one bites the dust.
Not to be outdone, I moved my battleship and connected with a cruiser from way down town.

Keyhole shooting at its best.
As I mentioned, the first turn had some action instead of the usual positioning.  In retrospect, I should have been a little more cautious in this first turn, but I was dazzled by the super fast ships.  EV mostly moved his ships the minimum 2", which I thought was a bit odd, but he did keep his fleet together.  I suppose he was trying to keep my ships at range, which would have played into my hands if I had been playing the IH like IH and not ID.

End of turn 1.
When EV sunk the middle frigate of the southern squadron, I was worried about broken coherency.  Fortunately EV sunk one, so I didn't have to worry about it.

Another one's gone.
I was very bold with my frigates this game.  I put it down to trying too hard to get multiple shots and forgetting I wasn't playing my stunties.  Despite getting those multiple shots, I only did a point to his battleship and didn't scratch either the bluff token or the cruisers.

Of course the hardest target is the one that takes damage.
Reacting to my bold foolish frigate advance, EV came in for the ram.  He sunk the rammed frigate, and damaged the other, even if it doesn't show in this shot.

And another one's gone.
I should note the wind here.  We were unsure if wind could change on the first turn, but we rolled for it anyway and it did, moving 2 points to blow north (west in the picture orientation).  It changed again on the second turn, 2 points again, blowing east (north in the pictures).  In the admittedly few games I've played with the wind, it may have changed twice in all those games combined.  I thought this would be a trend, but it settled down after turn 2.  I changed routes with my cruisers to not run them out in front of the entire Shroud fleet.  I couldn't link on any target, so I took shots at a cruiser and the battleship instead, damaging the battleship and not the cruiser.

Battleships are supposed to be harder than cruisers, right?
I brought my battleship forward to join the fray.  I had considered turning it a bit, but EV played some magical no-turning card, so I just kept going straight.  I played Ball & Grape on his battleship and did another point.

I think the SM battleship is made of magnets.
My reckless use of my frigates is taking its toll.  I'm down to a pair of them, plus the Martyrs who I'm trying to get around behind the Shrouds.  I've put damage here and there on EV's ships, and especially the battleship, but haven't sunk anything yet.  I'm looking to wrap around behind the Shrouds and get to raking, but with the wind blowing north it'll be a close thing.  My southern frigate is attempting to turn around and rejoin the rest of the fleet after its mates got sunk.

End of turn 2.
I kept with the trend of bold frigate maneuvers, and this time it paid off.  I barely had room to run my frigate between the two SM cruisers, but I had the room, so I went for it.  I considered stopping in between the two so I could shoot them both, but amazingly sanity prevailed and I worked around for a rake, doing a point of damage.  I really like making crazy moves with frigates like that, and for once it paid off.  You'll notice the SM battleship is down to 2 damage as EV played a repair card on it.

Shooting the gap, then shooting the enemy.
EV's frigates and destroyer went back to killing my frigates, finishing off the squadron.

Another bites the dust yeah.
EV's newly repaird battleship takes a shot at my cruiser, double critting it and sending it below.  At least it didn't blow up.

I was real good at losing ships this game.
Not to be outdone, my battleship keeps advancing and sinks the damaged Shroud cruiser.  The frigates damage die also caught up with the ship, after loitering in front of the bluff token.

First blood...finally.
EV had a bit of a parking lot going with his frigates and a cruiser squadron.  When he turn around, I thought it was just to make room or head towards where my fleet was going.  Instead, he sunk the ballsy frigate that I had completely forgotten about.

So much for the frigates.
I took a bit of a beating in turn three.  It was around here that I remembered I went with the Humans to have a fleet with more range than my Dwarves, though by this point I was already in a big hole.  I had a bit of hope that I could wrap around and rake the SM fleet, but the wind would make that difficult.  Still, it was a possibility and the best option I had.

End of turn 3.
The was the first game I played against the Ripper, and it did some good.  Or bad, depending on your point of view.  It crit one of my cruisers, but at least it didn't get the extra run-underneath-and-do-more-damage attack, nor did it successfully crash dive.

Hull ripped.
I managed to fix one of the holes, but not the other, so my frigate took another point of damage and moved extra slow.  Once again I couldn't link on a target, so I shot both the sub and the battleship, damaging both.

SM battleship takes yet more damage.
EV played another repair card on his battleship, taking it back to pristine condition, except for the dead crew.  He sunk one of the Martyrs, but fortunately it didn't explode.

A not-so-glorious death.

Turn 4 was better for me in comparison to turn 3, but still not so good.  I'm down to 3 squads now, so I'm at a big hand size and activation deficit.  EV is also coming around, so my potential raking shots are disappearing.  And all the damage I put on the battleship has been fixed.  Not looking good.

End of turn 4.
Not wanting to put off the potential disaster, I activated my cruisers and fixed the hole.  Then I followed it up by sinking the still-surfaced Ripper.  I also drew Hell's Heart this turn, so I was hoping my damaged cruiser would survive to explode dramatically.

Revenge is sweet.
Turn 5 was like turn 1 usually is, lots of positioning but not a lot of action.  I had blocked my battleship with my cruisers and the Martyrs' guns didn't get it done against the distant cruisers.  For the first time I didn't lose a ship, so that was nice.  I was also hopeful that I could ram the battleship with my damaged cruiser and break up on impact, allowing me to use the exploding card.  I also hoped to get the Martyrs in amongst the cruisers, and perhaps the battleship as well.  I figured the Martyrs would get shot well before they activated, but I figured I would get at least one explosion off.

End of turn 5.
I won initiative and sent the cruiser in.  I tried to get the other cruiser clear, but couldn't quite make it since I was sailing into the wind.  The sacrificial ship did break up on impact, but the resulting explosion wasn't as effective as I had hoped it would be.  I didn't hurt the battleship or the closest cruiser, but I did crit the far cruiser with a Hard Pounding.  At least my cruiser didn't take any damage, and it even managed to put a point on the battleship as it tried to sail clear.

Stabbing at thee, with less than expected results.

I forget what EV did after the cruiser explosion, but whatever he did it wasn't sinking the Martyrs.  As such, they raced in to seize glory amidst the Shroud ships.  Only one of the ships exploded, and the other should have sank as a result, but we flubbed that a bit and instead it blew up when it was sunk by the successful self-destruct.  The two explosions took out the cruisers, but again failed to damage the battleship.  I guess it had poor armor against cannons, but good armor against blasts.

Big badaboom.
EV's frigates were very effective this game, as again demonstrated by their success against my cruiser.  They did 3 points of hull and set a fire in a single round of shooting.  Once again, one of my cruisers was in danger of sinking upon activation.

It burns, it burns!
Despite all the glorious explosions, I'm basically done.  I didn't do any real damage to the SM battleship, and my battleship got raked by the lone Shroud cruiser, a result of dead in the water.  How true that became.

End of turn 6.
Amidst all the new things to learn and unfamiliar situations, I did have one moment that I knew all too well.  EV managed to get a cruiser behind one of my big ships, ram it, board it, and prize it.  I should really see these things coming by now.  I had hoped the Human's higher crew ratings would help, but my battleship had taken a pounding before the ram and was down to 6 crew.  Combined with the steam vents, EV would roll more dice than me in the boarding action, with predictable results.  At least my boys killed two dwarves.

In the rear, once again.

The game was over after that, and really had been over for a while, but I wanted the chance to sink the Shroud cruiser and reclaim my battleship.  I had played a repair card on the cruiser at the start of the turn to try and avoid it sinking, though I only repaired a single point.  It was enough though since I failed my fire roll and took a point of damage.  The crippled cruiser couldn't finish its Shroud counterpart, and the frigates rolled in to finish the job.

It's all over.
I got pretty soundly trounced in this one, mostly because I was playing the Humans like Iron Dwarves for most of it.  By the time I remembered I wanted to stay at range I had already lost a bunch of ships and hadn't sunk many in return.  Without all the explosions I would have had an abysmal showing, and even with them it wasn't pretty.  Still, I learned plenty, mostly to keep my distance and let the long-range guns do their thing.  The battleship has plenty of power (10AD) in RB3, and the cruisers will link for decent amounts (8AD for 3) at the same range.  If I had kept my frigates intact for another turn or three instead of rushing them in to get sunk, things might have gone better.  I was impressed by the Martyrs, though they would have been less effective if I'd read the rules more thoroughly.  You have to expect some lumps when learning something new, and I certainly got them this time out.


  1. too cool. the martyr rules are a little hard to wrap your head around at first, since i dont play IH i still dont totally get them. good that yall had fun though. how did you enjoy a fast wind fleet? i find playing elves has spoiled me on speed and ill be feeling that when i switch over to ralgard on wednesday's game. Also like to hear EV's thoughts, see what he felt about being the slower fleet.

  2. The quick ships were too good really. I got taken in by the speed, especially with the frigates, and over-extended as a result. The wind will take some getting used to, as will the fleet in general, but I have plenty of lessons to take away from this first game.

    The differences between the two fleets were more apparent in this match-up than when we play ID vs SM. Once I remembered I wasn't playing ID, I felt very much like the nimble fleet that needs to dance around and get quality shots against a brick of a fleet that is hard to damage and can repair what damage is inflicted. I thought we got a narrow view of US given our initial fleet choices, so it's good to see how the other half lives.

  3. As for what I was doing in the time leading up too the Martyrs detonating-

    I shot the little buggers with every gun I could bring to bear, and only managed to put a single point on the lead ship.

    I'm not looking forward to facing this fleet once you've gotten the hang of it, and I really didn't get a chance to feel it out since, as you said, you just kind of rushed me with it. It'll be, um, "interesting" to try to pin down a faster fleet with better ranged firepower. Since just rushing you is going to get me pummeled, I'll really have to work on coming up with a viable strategy.

  4. My "strategy" of moving to the center behind cover has served me well, and I see no reason it wouldn't work for you. Being in the middle means you have to travel as little as possible to engage. Against fast fleets, the dwarven armor seems to do the trick, combined with the repair cards. I try to avoid/counter rakes and boarding when possible, but mostly I just steam into people and shoot them up. I wouldn't try to "pin down" ships, just hammer them as the opportunities arose.