IntroductionAt the weekend, I finally received the finished version of my Full Thrust event cards from the printers. That being so, there was only one choice of game for this week's club meeting! [For my ATZ fans, I know it's been a long wait, but good things are coming. Soon...]
|Sa'Vasku bioships entering human space|
The ScenarioRight, I'm not a great fan of "line 'em up and shoot until everyone bar me is dead" games, so I needed to come up with a scenario for the game. Here's how this one goes:
So far, this is just a regular day in the Caledon system, but sensors have picked up the rapid approach of some alien vessels. The good news is that the Federation have a significant squadron of assorted light cruisers and heavy destroyers present; these were due to take part in the "Solar Freedom XXVI" exercises next week.
The bad news is that the Federation have no idea what the alien creatures want. Are they just passing through (migrating)? Are they trying to make contact? Or are they planning to attack?
- Federation forces may not fire on the Sa'Vasku until either they approach within 12" or until the aliens make a hostile action. To compensate for this, the Federation have a larger force than the biofleet [by a ratio of about 5:4 in points].
- Sa'Vasku have 3 possible objectives; they must secretly choose just 1 before the game and that will set their victory conditions. The Federation win if the Sa'Vasku fail to meet their chosen objective. Note that the Federation player(s) don't even know what the possible objectives are, let alone which one has been picked by the Sa'Vasku.
- Objective A: It's spawning time! To win, at least 3 out of the 4 alien ships must release spores into the planet's atmosphere. They may accomplish this by entering planetary orbit; the ship may then spawn [release spores] in place of firing on any subsequent turn. Note that this will probably render the planet unsuitable for human habitation thereafter, though it might make a good scenario for a ground-based battle.
- Objective B: Curious! The space factory has been emitting some strange radiations; the Sa'Vasku wish to find out more. To win, they must board and capture the facility, then take away at least some of the crew as prisoners. Captive human factory workers may be moved to a nearby Sa'Vasku ship at the same rate as boarders, so if the ship has 4 boarding parties then it may transport 4 "items" per turn, either boarding parties, groups of captives or a mixture. Bonus points for capturing all the workers from the factory!
- Objective C: Hungry! The Pride of the Orient has spilled some of its cargo; the Sa'Vasku can consume this to win. Initially, the spillage is clumped into 2 x size-4 "asteroids" or chunks. These may be fired upon; 4 points of damage will split a size-4 into 2 x size-2 asteroids, each placed 3" in a random direction from the "parent". Similarly, 2 points of damage will split a size-2 into 2 x size-1. A size-1 chunk may be consumed by a Sa'Vasku ship that flies over it; the ship may repair 1 lost biomass box when it does this. If either a Sa'Vasku hits a size-2 or larger chunk, or a Federation ship hits any chunk then the ship must dodge or take damage as normal for an asteroid field. To win, the aliens must consume at least 4 x size-1 chunk.
Damage was taken by both sides over a couple of turns of shooting. In particular, one of the 2 Sa'Vasku "cruisers" was badly hurt and the smaller Sa'Vasku "destroyer" lost all maneuvering and shooting ability. On the other size, the Federation cruiser Callisto was damaged significantly. Indeed, Callisto and her sister ship Phoebe, along with the destroyer Sable all took hits from leech pods - a particularly pernicious bio-weapon that clings to the hull of its target and continues to gnaw its way through in further turns unless it is killed.
On turn 3, the 2 damaged small Sa'Vasku vessels drifted forward, but the other pair of bioships suddenly accelerated. Their battlecruiser turned towards the planet at high speed and ended up face-to-face with the small (and trembling!) scout cruiser Endeavour. Endeavour gave her best shot and certainly hurt the beast that was bearing down on her, before she took 11 points of damage in return out of a possible 12. With life support failing and the command bridge in disarray, the gallant ship was abandoned and left to drift.
Despite being troubled by a leech pod, the destroyer Sable and her undamaged sister Oryx threw down some massive salvos on the monster and caused it a lot of injury in return.
As the other undamaged Sa'Vasku ship accelerated, the ship's counselor on the Phoebe had a premonition. "Captain, it's going to fly right past us!" she exclaimed.
The leech pod attached to the Callisto chewed its way into the engineering section and accidentally caused a warp core breech. Panic ensued, though in the end the ship's structural integrity was compromised by the leech: she fell apart before she blew up!
At the same time, the leech attached to the Sable also ate its way through the hull and destroyed the smaller ship.
Meanwhile, the leech that was attached to the Phoebe was running rampant! For 3 turns in a row, mixed teams of security and engineering tried to contain the thing and flush it out into space, but it just kept on dissolving its way through deck after deck. It even managed to destroy the navigator's manga collection!
- Los Angeles: survived
- Toronto: survived
- Phoebe: moderate damage
- Callisto: destroyed
- Endeavour: drifting hulk
- Sable: destroyed
- Oryx: survived
- Battlecruiser Cisplantin: destroyed
- Cruiser Zoloft: badly damaged
- Cruiser Carboplatin: survived
- Destroyer Zofran: destroyed
Overall: Federation Victory! The Sa'Vasku player was not familiar with their special rules; had he understood their capabilities better then this could have been a very different game!
[Update: a second game using (almost) the same scenario is available here: http://colgar6.blogspot.com/2013/07/full-thrust-return-of-spider.html]