IntroductionThe remote Kzinti farming planet of Eridani Prime has been plagued by minor raids from Orion pirates for some time. However, worrying news has just come from a spy; the Orions are planning a much larger assault that will overwhelm local defences. Hurriedly, the Kzin gather what ships they can muster and prepare to leave, but just as they set off sensors indicate the arrival of a number of unknown vessels!
|Beginning of turn 1. Half the Kzinti forces are leaving the planet, but Orion raiders are poised on the left and the right.|
- The defenders have about 400 NPV of warships and a large number of assorted freighters; any of their ships that can reach the far end of the table (and still have a working hyperdrive!) are deemed to have escaped. To prevent overcrowding, half the defender's ships will leave the planet (i.e. arrive on their baseline on the table) on each of turns 1 and 2.
- The attackers have about 600 NPV of warships and will arrive on turn 1, on any edge in the further half of the table.
- The enemy killed your brother! Vengeance will be yours! Destroy as many enemy warships as possible. Nothing else matters!
- Look at all that loot! You’re going to be rich! Capture at least one merchant ship. Nothing else is important!
- Don’t take risks with your nice, new ships! It would be nice to stop the convoy, but you must try to avoid getting damaged!
- It’s not safe here! You might get killed! Run away! Exit your ships from the table. However, you must wait until at least one other ship has left; otherwise you’ll be accused of cowardice!
- Save the children and women! Use whatever means you can to protect the merchant ships!
- Treachery! At least you’ll go down fighting! Destroy as many enemy warships as possible. The merchantmen can look after themselves!
The rest of the Kzinti warships came on in the second turn and were controlled by Pack Commander J. His squadron comprised the destroyers Panther, Leopard and Lynx and his objective was to "Save the children and women!"
The Early Turns
The Kzinti light cruiser launched a salvo of missiles at her Orion counterpart but badly overestimated the enemy ship's speed; the missiles were well short of the target. The Orion heavy cruiser managed an immensely lucky long-range shot with her beam weapons and gutted the leading Kzinti destroyer (Tiger). So much for her commander's secret objective of "Run away! You might get Killed"! This did trigger some retaliatory fire from the Kzinti fleet; whilst the shots didn't cause any systems failure on the Erebus, they unwittingly hurt the admiral's victory conditions of "Don’t take risks with your nice, new ships!" by bending the hull plating.
On the other side, the Orion's Erebus unleashed a full cruiser volley at the bulk carrier Pride of the Orient. She survived, but took terrible damage. Most of her systems were wrecked and her holds breached. Since she was determined to be carrying flour (see here), she left a long cloud of fine, white particles in her wake.
Other exchanges of fire between the various warships left several of the smaller combatants on both sides scarred. In particular, the closer Orion squadron suffered as the Magician was reduced to a hulk and the Sorceror took an unlucky hit to her fire control (and thereafter played no useful part in the game).
The Trap is Sprung?
ConclusionSo, who won? Let's see:
- Orion Rear Admiral G was fuming because of the minor damage to his flagship (Erebus) and moderate damage to the corvette Pirate. He hadn't wanted any risk to his shiny, new ships.
- Orion Commodore A failed to capture anything and was left without any loot.
- Kzinti Strike Leader M (in the light cruiser Fang) did manage to run away, but his other ship (Tiger) didn't make it.
- Kzinti Pack Commander J tried to protect the women and children in the merchantmen, but couldn't prevent the destruction of the Pride of the Orient, Olympic and Martian Princess. At least he beamed the crew off the former before she was destroyed.