|Pirate ships docked at Starbase-13|
In a remote part of the frontier, Orion pirates have taken over an old battle-station (Starbase 13) and are using it to refuel and repair their privateers. They have been a considerable thorn in the flesh of the Federation; twice the sector admiral has attempted to retake the station, with disastrous results on both occasions (here and here). However, the Federation are not the only government who have been stung by the Orion raids...
[I seem to be getting very forgetful these days. Last week at the Helensburgh club night, I forgot to take my camera. This week I had the camera, but had forgotten my Full Thrust event cards and all my explosion & missile markers. Oh, well - those are optional anyway, so the game can go on without them. Annoying, though.]
The Scenario"Commander, there's an unidentified ship approaching the station at high speed. Looks like an ore carrier or something like that."
"A single freighter? Must be one of our prize crews; they may have forgotten to re-tune their ID signal. Now stop worrying and don't disturb me again."
"Sir! Multiple warp signatures, inbound! Emergency - we're under attack!"
Place an Orion starbase 18" from one end of the table. It is surrounded by a thick ring of mines, 24" away from the station.
All the ships in the Orion fleet are docked at the base. Until they undock, they cannot use any of their own weapons or launch any fighters.
The Klingon fleet arrives from the far end of the table at any desired speed up to 10. The attackers don't have any minesweepers, but the resourceful admiral has commandeered a large freighter. He/she may use this to force passage through the minefield or it may be filled with marines and used in an attempt to capture the base (good luck with that!).
We played with roughly the following size of forces:
- Klingons: 2000NPV
- Starbase: 1750NPV
- Orion ships: 500NPV
- Mines: lots!
Special RulesThe Orions are partying hard, as many of their raiders have returned from successful forays at the same time. Consequently, they aren't as alert as they might be and are relying on their passive defences (minefield) more than they should be.
Every Orion ship and each sector of the starbase must track readiness for each of the following items that are fitted to that ship/sector. At the start of every turn, throw a dice for each item on each ship; on a '6' the preparedness advances to the next level:
- Weapons - level-0: cannot use, level-1: class-1 beams and point defence may be used as normal, level-2: fully operational
- Engines - level-0: cannot use, level-1: may use 1 thrust, level-2: fully operational
- Screens - level-0: cannot use, level-1: count as class-1 screens, level-2: fully operational.
- Hangars - level-0: cannot use, level-1: fully operational.
The starbase rotates 90 degrees clockwise at the end of every turn.
Victory ConditionsThis game is heavily weighted in the attacker's favour, due to the large element of surprise. So, the Klingons must capture or destroy every Orion ship and the starbase. None shall escape! Any other result is an Orion Victory.
For a variant, the Orions could improve their readiness on a 5 or 6 (rather than just a 6) and then victory would be determined by a straight comparison of points value destroyed or captured by the end of the game.
How it played for us
Quadrant-3 of the starbase reacted much more swiftly than the remaining Orion forces; its big weapons were activated just as the station's rotation turned the quadrant away from the attacking fleet. They did manage to launch a squadron of fighters, though.
One of the Orion players commented, wistfully "It would be nice if the last pilot was Luke Skywalker". He wasn't; the lone fighter achieved nothing against the enemy battleship...
By now, the Klingon fleet was charging forward. The battleship Admiral Kang and the battlecruiser Relentless kept close together and concentrated their fire on the starbase. Phasers did a moderate amount of damage, but almost all of the ships' disruptors missed. Meanwhile, the cruisers and frigates split off to hunt down the few Orion ships which had managed to undock.
In retaliation, the Klingon warships fired on and destroyed the plucky Orion corvette Pirate and the struggling cruiser Etna; neither ship had much chance against the weight of fire-power directed against them.
Due to some navigational errors, the Klingon frigate Warrior ended up well out of the fight, heading back towards the minefield. On the Admiral Kang, the flag captain's staff noted this apparent dereliction of duty but were too busy to take action immediately. Once the battle was over, the captain of the Warrior would probably be reassigned to some awful cargo run, I suspect...
ConclusionAt this point, we had to pack the game away. What might have happened next, if we had more time to play on?
The Klingon warships would have overshot the starbase quite dramatically, given the speed at which they were travelling. This is especially true for the 2 capital ships, which weren't quite as nimble as the cruisers.
Had they been able to trade blows with Quadrant-3 for one turn from their current position, they would then have been faced by the useless and totally inactive Quadrant-4 (I guess that's where the party was being held!) If this had happened then the massed Klingon fire-power should have reduced the base to rubble quite rapidly, though probably not without taking a few hits themselves.
As it was, it would be a race between the fleet slowing down and turning round, versus the remainder of the starbase (especially Quadrant-1 and Quadrant-4) remembering where they had left their weapon-arming codes and/or finding someone sober enough to man their tactical consoles! When/if the battlestation woke up properly, the attackers would have taken some real damage.
The few, remaining Orion ships were toast, really. Their chances of disengaging from the station and then escaping before being picked off were slim, I think.
Finally, I suspect that the Klingon admiral will dispatch a task force to hunt down that Ferengi trader who sold him all those "advanced" disruptor targeting controls, in order to negotiate a refund!