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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."
    "Bearing?"
    "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.

   

TURN ONE

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

(Origin's Wing Comander via ign.com)
  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!
   

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.
   

TURN THREE

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 www.destructoid.com)
 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.  

TURN ONE - TURN THREE.  
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!  

TURN FIVE
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.  

TURN SIX
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.  

TURN SEVEN
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.

ANALYSIS
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?