Sunday, April 27, 2014

5150 Figher Command: The Daedalus Campaign AAR 2

The Daedalus, after surviving a Hishen ambush coordinated by the betrayal of someone on board the Free Company Ship Smuggler, has jumped into the closest system to access the Quantum Communication Net only to discover that the planet is under seige by a Hishen Overseer cruiser!   
(The corvette from Scenario 1 has a chance of returning but failed to make an appearance this playthrough).

The Daedalus and Overseer start at Range 23 (technically the Overseer is a PEF but when Daedalus launches her fighters it immediately converts, so I didn't bother).  Both ships are at Speed 0 -- the Daedalus because she has just jumped in and the Overseer because it's at a Lagrange point..  Both accelerate to 1/3 Speed.

Both ships launch fighters successfully -- the Daedalus launch bay doors jam but the EXCELLENT FLIGHT CREW is able to force them open quickly.  (Would have only passed 1d6 without the excellent flight crew attribute).
The Hishen Overseer launches a flight (3 ships) of light Hellbat fighters and Medium Reaver fighters.

Daedalus launches:
Gargoyle flight - Gargoyle and Hunter - light Wasps
Maverick (Blue) flight - Maverick and Neutron - medium Dragonflies
Iceman (Green) flight - Iceman and Jeeter - medium Dragonflies

Initiative:  Star Navy - 4; Hishen 1  

Hunter taunts the Light fighter, trying to draw them out so they can be destroyed.  Silence in reply.  These guys are professionals.  Or so we think at first.  Then...
2 Hishen lights apply afterburner and move to withing visual of Gargoyle (Moving 15"!)  This was the stupidest thing they could have done as Gargoyle gets a free FF missile shot which  takes down the lead fighter's shields and obliterates the cockpit.  First kill (hmmm, need to keep track of my kills and put together a leaderboard!  Gargoyle +1)

The Reavers follow suit and one ends up within visual range of Hunter.   Another In-sight automatically won by Hunter (I do make him roll to make sure he gets at least one success) and Hunter blows the first Reaver to oblivion. (Hunter +1)

The Star Navy goes to active fire and clears the board with a volley of FF missiles:
Iceman - Reaver shield and cockpit.  The Pilot goes OOF.
Jeeter - Kills the second Reaver with doubles (Jeeter +1)
Maverick - Kills the remaining Hellbat in range with doubles (Maverick +1)
Neutron - Kills the Hellbat that Gargoyle hit earlier with a second cockpit hit.  Ouch!  (Neutron +1)

NOTE 1:  NONE of the Hishen managed to pass more than 1d6 on the Counter Measures test (partially due to the -1 to Rep since they were FF missiles).  Bad luck and it would be fun to replay this scenario and see what happens.

NOTE 2:  Somewhere in here the remaining Reaver got destroyed.  The exact details are lost in the fog of war.

SN: 5 Hish: 4
With local space superiority established, the high initiative roll by the SN doesn't hurt in the slightest.  The Ready fighters get ready to RTB (return to base) and Daedalus launches the bombers:
Angel flight (Basilisk is her wingman) and Ozone flight (wingman Porkins).

Both capital ships are now at Speed 1 and the range is closing -- range 21!  Next turn the capships will fire as both have Beam weapons.

(Whoops, forgot to take a final picture)
Doubles for activation!  Random event --- Maverick suffers a cockpit system failure!  hmm.  What exactly does this mean?  I decide this means an automatic Out of the Fight result as if he had passed 1d6 on the Recover from Knock Down table.  He has to roll each turn to see if he can get the systems back up (and does so succesfully the next turn, so there was little impact since there were no enemy fighters on the board at this point 

SN: 2 on the reroll
Hish: 4 on the reroll

Daedalus advances -- range 20 to the Overseer.  Cajun and Dagger launch in the heavy fighters just in case.

Hishen advances.  The Daedalus and Overseer both have Rep 5 so we roll off and the Hishen fires first.  It's a BVR (beyond visual range) shot, so apply a -1 to the shot.  The Overseer still gets 2 solid hits but no damage (Impact 1 gives only a 16% chance to damage).

Daedalus takes Received Fire and passes 2d6.  Change course and fire.  1 hit, no damage.  Overseer takes received fire and passes 0d6.  She goes to max speed.

Daedalus takes her active fire.  2 hits, no damage.  
Overseer fires in response and moves forward.  No damage.
Daedalus fires.  2 hits, 1 damage!  Overseer engine hit and she drops to Speed 1.
Overseer fires in reaction.  The capships are at range 14 now and with all the movement Daedalus is about to pass the bombers she launched 2 turns ago!  Rnage 14, so the Overseer's plasma guns kick in.  Hmmm, this is starting to look bad for Daedalus.  2 beams hit, 1 plasma.  No damage.  But worse -- the second plasma near misses and causes a shield check.  Luckily the shields hold as the Engine Crew on Daedalus is also Rep 5.
Daedalus fires in reaction.  This could go on all night.  At this point I realize the Overseer only has Medium Phase Shields - oops.  This does mean that it suffers 1 more damage -- Thrusters.
Overseer gets in a devastating salvo.  1 near miss from the Beam weapon takes the shields down for 2 turns.  This is followed by a plasma hit which automatically damages.  The Daedalus Bridge is hit and suffers -2 to rep.  I use Star Power to reduce the OOF to Stunned for the Captain.  

At this point I realize I am in imminennt danger of losing Daedalus.  I choose my reaction and stop firing at Overseer.  I send the bombers in.  The 2 flights launch at range 10.  I've really no idea how to do this -- do all 5 AA get to fire at each missile?  That's how I read it.  And then they roll impact to see if they kill it?  Again, that's how I play it.    

(NOTE for other players: I totally missed the rule on page 37 that says Torpedoes only target the Hull of a CapShip -- this would have changed the game substantially.  It also brings up another question -- is that only for FIGHTER launched torpedoes?  Because it is in the Fighters Firing at Capships section.   (Which is why I missed it.  For version 2 of the rules, this should probably be repeated in the torpedo section.  I'm working on a "cheat sheet" index card to help out with this for now)

Nevertheless, with torpedoes being difficult to hit and the low impact of AA guns, 2 still managed to get through.  This causes 2 damage.  (Which I now see should have killed the Overseer and ended the game. Oh, well.  We continue...)  I'm excited to roll doubles because that would blow up a fighter -- but then I see that cap ships relocate damage down one space on the track for sections hit twice.  The thrusters (initial roll) have already been hit, so that means one transfers to the Hangar Bay and the second transfers to Shields Down.  At least she's wounded.

SN: 3  Hish: 2 -- a critical win for the Star Navy here as the Hishen Overseer could have finished off Daedalus in her wounded state
I also realize here I should have fired HARMs first to take out the AA batteries...but no matter.  The Sabres carry 2 torpedoes each and another salvo resuults in two more hits to the Overseer.  Even Bracing for Impact can't help her now as the damage locations are 1 and 2 --- relocating them still results in a section that has already been damaged, which means both relocate to the Hull and the ship explodes before it has time to fire on Daedalus.  Phew!

After Battle Thoughts
This one was a grinder.  I was very satisfied with my inital response to the Hishen fighters and was planning to follow up with a second wave like the first.  But the Hishen afterburner into visual range made that totally unnecessary.  It was kind of sad watching them rush into the storm of missiles from the Ready fighters (my first launch -- it's SOP for my version of the Daedalus).  I can see creatiing a more sophisticated decision tree for the NP -- based on range and whether the ship has missiles.  It would make sense to afterburn into visual if you had no missiles -- but if you have FF missiles that is a total waste.  I actually like this idea and I think I will develop it further.  (I'm taking a class on neural networks so I'm thinking a lot about how to create "smart" systems.)

Back to the scenario -- the game length was about right.  It took a good 3 hours -- mostly because I felt like I was making a lot of mistakes.   For instance, after the Hishen fighter rush I looked at whether they should have used the "Defend" chart instead of "Attack".  I think they should -- they are trying to complete their objective of bombing the planet.  And then I wasn't sure about the movement when the cap ships started trading shots.

But overall I think the scenario worked well -- it was actually at my limit of keeping track of everything -- and the Daedalus suffered some serious damage which is going to hurt in the coming scenarios.  (I'll have to re-read the campaign rules - I'm not sure of the long term consequences of the Bridge hit) 

After Battle Questions
Should a solid hit also cause a Phase Shield check?   The absolute best result a capship could hope for would be for one of its first shots to only pass 1d6 so that the target has a chance to lose its shields.  I haven't done the math, but it actually looks like a lower rep is better because once shields are down a capship is going to take damage from every solid hit.  With a higher rep, you get more solid hits and never have a chance to take down the shields.   A Rep 5 ship and a Rep 3 ship would make a great Hunter-Killer team -- the Rep 3 brings down the shields and the Rep 5 pours on the damage.

Did I do afterburners right? Yes  Should the Hishen have had a chance to fire?  No  (From author)

Should the capital ships also move with every Change Course?  This got weird because my capship went from speed 1 per turn to moving over 10" in reaction (and passing up fighters it had just launched).  This is right, but you could also play it as you only move once. (from author)  I'm torn about this.  As the report shows, 2 high rep cap ships with Impact 1 weapons can fire at each other for a long time without ever causing damage.  On the other hand, it felt really wrong for my carrier to go racing across the board and blow past the fighter defence that I had set up to shield it.  I'm actually thinking the simplest solution would be to adopt the rule already in place for Fighters -- cap ships don't react to reactions, so you get one back-and-forth of movement and firing and stop. 

Do all ships take the afterburner test individually?  I think so, but that means that the NP is going to have a very hard time putting together an effective attack.   (Official response: 1 roll which is then applied to each fighter.   This makes more sense than rolling individually, but I need to think about it some more.  It can still lead high Rep fighters to go high-tailing off after the enemy while their wingmen lag behind -- and that is NOT how one gets to be high rep!)
I wanted to post a picture of me in my respirator preparing to go air-brushing, but it was just too creepy. So here instead is a picture of the fleet post-airbrushing and ready for weathering. I'll be using these for 5150: Fighter Command from Two Hour Wargames. (I'm play-testing the upcoming scenario pack).

I bought this air-brush 10 years ago just before a major life event made me carefully pack everything up. It felt really good to finally really have a chance to learn how to use it.

Oh! Also, these ships are mounted on my prototype ship stands from I'm VERY pleased with how these turned out and they were a godsend to do the airbrushing. I made a few minor changes, resized them for large and small ships and placed my order for 50. Assuming the mass print goes well, these will be for sale by the end of the month.


Monday, March 24, 2014

5150: Fighter Command AAR. The Daedalus Campaign Scenario 1

 Captain's Log - Attack Carrier Daedalus - 2114.3.12

    "Negotiations with the Free Company "Rigar's Raiders" have made good progress.  After concluding a series of wargaming scenarios with the Daedalus, the captain of the flagship cruiser FCS Smuggler has invited us aboard to inspect his ship and crew.  We have met at the site of the Company's greatest victory -- their participation in the combined fleet which defeated the Hishen Armada 50 years ago today."

The initial setup:
Sector 1:     Debris Field -- PEF 1 (Hishen Corvette) and PEF 2 (Hishen Light Fighters)

Sector 3:    Dust Clouds  -- PEF Hishen Bombers

Sector 4:    Free Company Cruiser Smuggler facing Sector 9
Sector 7:    Dust Clouds
Sector 9:    Carrier Daedalus facing Sector 4

Note:   The PEFs are "loaded" so I knew what I would be facing, but I didn't know which PEF contained what until they were resolved by sensor contact.  However, for clarity in this report, I identify the PEF as what it would eventually be revealed to be.

Onboard Daedalus

    Exececutive Officer Lt. Cmdr. Michael Cho sipped hot tea while surveying the Combat Information Center.   Captain Rodgers was taking advantage of the presence of Smuggler to provide long range sensor data while Daedalus went through a much needed mainteance cycle.   Just to be on the safe side, though, Cho had ordered 2 flights of Sabre bombers on training runs which would also provide some overlap.
    "Captain, Sabre 3 reports a faint SigInt spike - AI says possible Hishen transmission."
    "Who's the pilot?"
    The crewman looked up from his sensor suite and grinned. "It's Maverick, sir."
    Cho fought not to roll his eyes.  Maverick's desire to get into what he called "real combat" was well-known.  "Ask him to re-verify contact.  Tell him to transmit the bearing, just in case."
    "I have it, sir.  Feeding it to -- Sir!  Sabre 5 now reporting SigInt hit.  AI predicts 83% probability Hishen coded transmission."
    "Triangulating...Sir, it came from Smuggler"
    "What the hell..."
    "Sabre 3 now reporting possible ship signatures in the nebula."
    "Designate possible enemy force as Dagger One. Set condition one throughout the ship.  Launch ready fighters.  And raise Smuggler - let's get the captain back aboard ASAP."
    "Smuggler confirms bogeys inbound - Vampires!  Smuggler has vampires inbound!'
    As the alarm klaxons sounded, Lt. Cmdr Cho realized that Maverick was finally going to hit his wish.



Initiative:  Both sides are active.  The Hishen roll higher than both Smuggler and Daedalus move first.

(Origin's Wing Comander via
  Daedalus applies thrust ("Ahead Full"  "Aye, sir, ahead full.  Engine room answers ahead full.  Helm answers Standard by point 3")  and successfully launches the Ready fighters -- 1 Light squadron (led by "Eagle", wingman "Falcon") and 1 Medium squadron (led by "Gargoyle", wingman "Hawkeye").

    Smuggler, the Z-cruiser, also applies thrust (1/2) and the celebration is cut short as the command crew of Daedalus runs to the Assault Boat and prepares to make a dash for the carrier.
    PEF Hishen Bombers heads for the edge of the board - clearly trying a pincer movement. ;-)

Corvette and light fighters emerge from debris field.

   Hishen light fighters PEF now moves.  Because of the Space Hulk wreckage in sector 1, the PEF emerges and resolves at range 5 from Smuggler -- within AA range!  Because of the sudden appearance of the fighters, I ruled that the AA would count as snap-firing for this round of fire only.  Because of this, Smuggler failed to hit.
    At this point, I should have moved the Corvette PEF.  Oops.  Instead I let the Light fighters fire their FF missiles.  No matter as only one hit, causing a Phase Shield test, but the shields hold.
    PEF Corvette emerges from the drifting debris and the Corvette triggers an In-Sight with Smuggler.  Smuggler rolls 5d6 for...ZERO successes!  Ouch.  Corvette fires direct fire weapons and launches a torpedo.  I resolve the torpedo first (in retrospect, should resolve Direct Fire first as the torpedoes are slower).   Smuggler accelerates and the AA fires at torpedo and destroys it.  Direct fire against the Smuggler causes one near miss and the Smuggler turns toward her enemy.
    Smuggler gets to return fire and makes the most of it.  The cruiser opens up with a Beam near miss which takes down the shields for one turn.  Plasma guns cause one hit, rolls under impact and the 2 damage rolls are devastating.  Shields are _down_ and the Bridge is hit, reducing the Hishen Corvette to Rep 2.  The bridge crew has to take a Recover from Knock Down test (at original Rep or the new reduced?  I use the original Rep) and the Corvette veers to starboard with the bridge crew Out of the Fight until next turn.  This maneuver puts the Corvette one hex away from safely hiding in the Smuggler's rear 60 degree blind spot.

The Smuggler proves her worth!
With the In-Sight over, Smuggler gets to act and fires the Beam again at the Corvette.  The Near Miss causes a Received Fire check which results in the Corvette changing course to port and accelerating to Max Speed  (note -- I assume that for both CapShips and Fighters the "Go to Max Speed" result allows it to violate the Acceleration limitation.  Which is pretty fun!  "Emergency thrust!")
    Smuggler's AA fire is devastating, now that the gunners have the range.  The lead fighter avoids damage, but fighter 2 takes a Hull damage and fighter 3 disintegrates with a cockpit and 2 gun hits.  Boom!
    Whew -- on to turn two!


Initiative:  Smuggler rolls 2.  Star Navy and Hishen roll 3  (Note: I missed the "roll again if doubles" and had the 2 sides roll off.  So while Hishen and Star Navy both activate Reps 3 and above, Hishen counted as "lower" and moved first/acted last)
    PEF bomber hits the edge of play and turns starboard, finally heading toward the Daedalus.

    Hishen light "Hell-Bats" pass 0d6 for their NP movement.  This means the Hull Damaged ship retires and the leader moves to join closest group -- which is the Corvette.  So I have him press his attack and move to guns range.  Or try to -- as soon as he twitches the AA on Smuggler open up and kills the pilot Obviously Dead with a cockpit hit.  The retiring fighter is also hit once more with a Guns damage result -- he then moves back into the space hulk debris and disappears amid the debris.  Lucky guy! Er, alien!
    Daedalus Helm reports "Helm answers Standard by point 6"  "Launch strike package"  "Hangar bay readying strike package"  The Daedalus tries to launch 2 lights, 2 mediums and 2 bombers but the Hangar Bay crew only pass 1d6 -- the package will be ready to launch next turn.
    The assault boat with Daedalus' commander launches from Smuggler and is immediately in range of the Hishen Corvette's AA batteries.  It's hit, but impact fails. 
    With the assault boat away, the Smuggler attempts to Warp away and fails.  With the plasmas still recycling, it's one beam weapon scores a near miss.   The Corvette returns fire but at Rep 2 hits nothing.


Initiative Smuggler: 3 (high - see note above), Daedalus: 2, Hishen 3 (low).
    With no reason to hang around, the Smuggler warps out! 
The Hishen bombers - all alone!
    The Hishen bombers PEF enters sensor range of "Eagle" and "Falcon" and resolves.  Eagle and Falcon move and end their turn within missile range of the lead bomber.  2 FF missiles speed forward, cause 3 damage rolls and the first bomber goes Boom!
    The Hishen corvette lumbers toward Daedalus on a suicde mission, but also prepares to warp out (retire).  (Passed 0d6 on NP movement.  Not surprising with Rep 2.  (Actually, the corvette should have stayed in combat as it had no Hull damage -- only systems damage.  I guess this Hishen was smarter than most!)

TURN FOUR - The Wrapup

    Initiative  Star Navy 4, Hishen 3. 
    Daedalus launches her strike package and ACTUALLY MOVES forward 1 hex. (It takes a while for these cap ships to get moving from a standstill!)   "Helm answers ahead Standard"
    The Hishen bombers lumber forward, but with their higher speed and maneuverability they are sitting ducks for the Star Navy.  Gargoyle and Hawkeye launch 2 fire-and-forget missiles at bomber 3 and get a Guns hit. 
Eagle's Wasp disintegrates in the lower left corner, while Falcon, Gargoyle and Hawkeye chase off the remaining bombers.
    Eagle and Falcon move into visual range and trigger an In-Sight with Hishen bomber 2.  They come off the worse for it, though, and the Hishen bomber launches an IR missile and fires its lasers.  4 hits from the lasers and 2 from the IR missile and Eagle's Wasp explodes as he ejects.  Eagle is injured from the flying shrapnel of his disintegrating fighter but he's lucky to be alive at all.
    Finally, Falcon returns fire and takes down the bomber's shields and stunds the pilot.  With time running out, I judge that he will easily be taken out by the Daedalus strike package closing fast on the following turn.  The remaining bomber will be allowed to retire as Gargoyle is a "White Knight" and won't fire on an unarmed ship.

(Origin's Wing Commander via
 Note:  Sadly, Eagle later died from his injuries  (In game terms, he took two hits to the same location during the same turn -- this generates a catastrophic explosion with no chance of ejecting).  So Falcon will need to find a new flight leader and Eagle's name gets crossed off the leaderboard.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

5150: Fighter Command: The Daedalus Campaign

I recently purchased Two Hour Wargames "5150: Fighter Command."  I've followed the development of these rules with interest since Javier (of Javier at War) wrote that the rules were influenced by his memories of the great old PC game Wing Commander.    I had only played a couple of small games when Javier offered the chance on the THW forums to playtest a campaign he's been working on.  I jumped at the chance.  I've now played through the first scenario and am about to launch the second.  AAR for the 1st scenario is written - just need to get the pix off the camera -- and will  be posted shortly (which in my life means within 3 days :))

Colonial Adventures AAR #1: Patrol Mission

We have met the enemy!

To Captain Ellsworth.  After action report.  3rd squad of 1st platoon encountered overwhelming resistance to patrol activities this 14 August.  3 casualties.  2 units of Hill Martians were annhilated.  1 unit of Royal Guard was encountered.  3 other units of Hill martians were encountered.

Father, we have met the enemy and dealt them a rousing defeat!  My chaps in 3rd squad gave them a good pasting -- killing 20 with only 3 British casualties.  More later.  Your son Richard Collingsworth

Wow - this one got nasty fast.  Every PEF converted into enemy forces.  The British were lucky to escape with as few casualties as they did.  

Sergeant Anderson led the 10 man patrol.  Rep 4.
Martian major morale 3.  

PEF A takes off and moves toward the hill each turn.  It would turn out that this PEF holds the enemy C-in-C so maybe that makes sense!  The British stayed in colum the first two turns and then moved into Line formation on turn three -- just in time as on Turn 4 PEF A charges over the hill!

PEF A converts to two units -- one of city dwellers with muskets and one of ferocious Hill Martians with melee weapons.  

The Brits score well on their Test of Wills and Volley fire.  2 hits and 1 figure runs away.
This ends the Martian activation and on the British activation a second round of Volley fire causes no casualties but passing 0d6 on the resulting received fire check causes the remaining Hill Martians to run away.  British spirits are high!  

Martian 2 British 1
The city dwellers are led by the Rep 5 C-in-C.  Let's see what they are up to.  They are on a Patrol mission, too, which converts to a Defend mission after passing 2d6 on the check.  They fire -- Rep 5 plus 1d6 for Muskets.  5 dice (1/2 figures firing) results in 1 hit, not an officer, and a Carry On by the Brisih after the Received Casualty check.

Finally, PEF C charges over the hill, too, resulting in another Hill Martian tribe.  British pass 0d6 on Test of Wills so fire normally  but are down to 4 dice due to the casualty.  1 hit and Martians pass 0d6 on casualty check so 1 in 3 run away.

The British get to fire 4 dice at the musketeers for no result at all.  With a Rep 5 leader, that city-dweller unit is going to be hard to take out of the fight.  

Martians 1 British 4
British fire again with the same result.  They probably should have run instead.....  The city dwellers fire and cause another casualty.  The British score 2d6 or "Stiff upper lip, wot, wot!".  

The Hill Martians want to charge and after checking they do!  Unfortunately the British get to fire, causing 1 hit and causing 1 in 5 to run away -- which results in 4 Hill Martians contacting 8 Brits.  Not pretty -- the British roll 10 dice to the Martian 4 and totally wipe them out for no casualties.  

With time running out (actual play time, not game time) the city dwellers and Brits exchange fire again for one more British casualty.  The British decide discretion is the better part of valor and withdraw.  We determine that the PEFs who are even now charging toward the top of the hill would have resulted in two more units of Hill Martians.   

So in one final cinematic moment, the leader of the city dwellers sweeps his sword down and they loose off one last volley as the two new Hill Martian units top the rise, their weird ululations echoing after the retreating British column.

Open-order units in cover are going to be VERY difficult to dig out.  I believe the British could have done it, but not with unending hordes of wild Hill Martians bearing down upon them every turn.  The Brits were very unlucky in that I rolled consistently highly to determine PEF reputation, which made them very aggressive.  And there was not a single false alarm!  The Martians were definitely prepared for the patrol -- perhaps one of the civilian Martians in the camp tipped them off?