The Klingon 14th Battle Squadron has been dispatched to the Kzinti border, where there are rumours that a hostile task force is trying to break through the frontier. Both fleets have spread out their ships so they can search wider volumes of space. Near the 5th planet in the uninhabited Felixis system, contact is made between the lead elements of the hostile squadrons. Reinforcements are summoned immediately, but they'll take some time to arrive. Which side will build up their forces quickly enough to overwhelm their enemies?
For this game, I decided to take the "escalating engagement" scenario from Battlefleet Gothic and adapt it for Full Thrust. So, here's how it goes:
- Each side chooses ships to a set number of points value. Their fleet is then split into 4 separate groups. Each group must have at least 1 ship in it, but the groups do not have to be of equal value (note that there is a risk in having highly asymmetric groups).
- For deployment purposes only, the board is split into 1/3rds lengthwise. The central 1/3 is neutral. Each player places 4 "contact markers" in their own 1/3 of the board.
- To start the game and at the beginning of each of turns 2 and 3, one group from each fleet arrives. Note that only 3 of the 4 groups in the fleet will arrive by this means. The 4th group is lost, delayed, recalled, breaks down or otherwise fails to appear. I told you that there was a risk to making your groups widely different in capabilities!
- The side which has lost the initiative resolves their arriving group first, followed by the initiative side.
- To resolve an arrival, choose a group and a contact marker, neither of which have been tested before in this round and roll a dice. On a score of 5 or 6, the group arrives at that point, following all the usual rules for FTL exit in the proximity of other objects. On any other roll, the player must try a different group and contact marker pairing, until either he/she is successful or all groups/contact markers have been tested. If the latter occurs then start again [ultimately, a 5 or 6 will be rolled and a group will be brought into the game].
- Contact markers may be moved up to 12" after orders are written but before ships are moved, so long as they stay in their 1/3 of the table. This is to prevent an unscrupulous opponent from parking frigates on all available entry points and causing your battleship to have a potentially catastrophic warp accident on arrival!
We played this scenario using my Klingon
fleets, to a value of 1000 NPV.
Klingon 14th battle Squadron
- Relentless (Battlecruiser, 358 NPV)
- Ragnarok (Heavy Cruiser, 285 NPV)
- Valhalla (Heavy Cruiser, 285 NPV)
- Victory (Frigate, 74 NPV)
Kzinti "Far Reach" Carrier Group
- Shadowcat (Carrier/Battlecruiser, 580 NPV)
- Claw (Light Cruiser, 181 NPV)
- Leopard and Panther (Destroyers, 2 x 81 NPV)
- Tiger (Destroyer, 81 NPV)
As can be seen from the above, 3 of the 4 Klingon groups were somewhat above the average points value for a group (250 NPV), whereas the Kzinti had 3 weak groups and 1 very powerful one.
I (as Klingon commander) chose to test for the Relentless
first and was immediately successful - the battlecruiser was placed on the table first. Then the Kzinti player (my son) diced for each of his groups in turn, finally getting a success for his last
choice - the destroyer Tiger
. This looked like a very uneven match-up, but perhaps the Tiger
could play hide-and-seek around the gas giant until help arrived? At least the 2 ships were initially out of range...
As the Relentless
accelerated towards the small Kzinti ship, reinforcements started to arrive. For the Klingons, the cruiser Valhalla
warped in, while the Kzinti gained another 2 destroyers.
Despite the best efforts of the smaller ships to scatter, the 2 large Klingon vessels tore them apart. Only the Leopard
survived the initial volley, though this was something of a mixed blessing as she took a bridge critical hit and was heading straight for the planet of Felixis V!
Just before we determined the 3rd and final groups of reinforcements to arrive, the Kzinti played a Mines event card
. He rolled a '4' for the number of such weapons left over from a previous war and gleefully deployed them around my 2 remaining possible entry points.
The Klingon cruiser Ragnarok
duly arrived. Fortunately for me, she scattered 4" away (backwards!) from her FTL exit point (mines have an activation range of 3" in Full Thrust). Unfortunately
, she was now heading straight at the mines. The captain immediately ordered a full deceleration and spent the next few turns pivoting on the spot until she could move away slowly from the threat. Ragnarok
played no useful part in the remainder of the game.
Predictably, on the Kzinti side their last reinforcement was the light cruiser Claw
. Despite being heavily outnumbered (1 CL vs 1 BC and 2 CA), she attacked the Klingon battlecruiser, launching missile salvos as fast as she could! The Klingon captain was somewhat taken aback by this and ordered that all weapons which were capable should fire on the missiles. Consequently, return fire at the bold Kzinti ship was light and she took little damage. Indeed, on this turn one of the missiles breached the defences and the Relentless
actually received more hits than she gave out!
As the Kzinti destroyer Leopard
finally ploughed into the planet, the Claw
and the Relentless
circled each other. The smaller Kzinti ship was firing missiles for all she was worth and would soon empty her magazines - but what else could she do? If she let the Klingon battlecruiser get a clean shot at her then the light cruiser wouldn't stand a chance at this range!
Even as she launched her final volley of missiles (all of which missed or were shot down), the Claw
received massive damage from the enemy flagship. The Klingons, impressed by the way she had fought, held their fire while the Kzinti crew abandoned ship. However, before the Klingons could board the crippled Claw
and claim her as a prize, her damaged warp core blew up!
Sometimes, life just isn't fair! For the Kzintis, their weakest ship arrived first and their strongest one didn't arrive at all. For the Klingons, it was exactly the other way round.
What could the Kzinti have done differently? Perhaps a more balanced fleet composition would have helped, though it's worth pointing out that if the gamble had paid off and the Shadowcat
had arrived first then the outcome might have been quite different. Alternatively, each Kzinti ship that arrived and saw that it was hopelessly outclassed should have attempted to go straight back to warp. This might not have been successful in all cases, but at least some of their ships might have escaped!
I love Klingons. Thanks for a very entertaining batrep.ReplyDelete
Glad you enjoyed it. I thought it was worth sharing, if only as an example of a very uneven contest.Delete
I really do like this scenario and can imagine that it could be replayed many times with many, many different outcomes.ReplyDelete
It also springs to mind that this could be a very useful mechanic for fleets arriving in a campaign game situation too.
For the Kzinti it was unfortunately a case of putting all their eggs in one basket !
Thanks, Joe. The only real issue is that it encourages "all or nothing" gambling [such as we saw from the Kzinti player]!Delete
Excellent scenario. I agree with Zabadak, it seems infinitely replayable and an excellent mechanic for an ongoing campaign. Good card play by your son as well. I bet a few choice words in Klingon were uttered.ReplyDelete
Yes, the mines were annoying, even though we were fortunate enough to avoid them. However, it works both ways: *I* had an "Intermix Ratio" event card that could delay a ship from exiting FTL travel for 1 turn. If the furball carrier had been due to arrive then I expect we'd have heard some choice Kzinti epithets when it was postponed :-) .Delete
Full Trust is such a good set of rules. Always nice to have a Full Trust AA.. Not into Trek so no idea who/what Kzinti are but despite that I did enjoy the write up.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Clint. The Kzinti really come from Star Fleet Battles rather than from the TV show, though they did appear in the Trek animated series. In SFB they're part of the grand alliance along with the Federation, Gorn and others. Their fleet is heavily dependent on drones (missiles) and fighters.Delete