Wednesday 22 January 2014

Full Thrust: The raid on Tessarae Major


Tessarae Major.  The ground base is just visible as a blue atmospheric shield on the far side of the planet
Always secretive, the Romulans have established a large military research base on the K-class planet of Tessarae Major.  This is a backwater world well within their own territory, but remote from all significant trade routes.  The station would have remained secret, too - if it wasn't for an independent trader stopping in the system to flush his holds of illegal contaminants.  As soon as he realised what he had seen, the unlucky merchantman fled without being detected by the Romulans.  He was unlucky because he talked to the wrong person (a Klingon agent) at his next stop...

The Scenario

Victory Conditions

It's very simple: if the Klingons capture the base (and can therefore retrieve vital military data) then they win.  If the base is destroyed by either side then it's a draw.  Otherwise, if the defenders retain control of the base, then the Romulans win.

Klingon Forces

The Klingon raiding force consists of 1 battleship, 1 battlecruiser and 2 heavy cruisers.  Should be more than enough to deal with the base, right?  2 frigates are also available as reserves, in case any of the three players lost their entire command.  The attacking fleet enters from the far end of the board, with an initial speed of 8.

Note that in order to capture the base the Klingons must land marines by transporter or shuttle.  Either way, the standard, abstract "boarding" rules require the ship to be within 6" of the base and travelling at a speed of 1 or less!

Romulan Forces

The scientists at the base have been experimenting with a very unusual defence: the reflex field.  This is properly described in the standard Full Thrust rulebook, but roughly speaking it can "reflect" damage from beam weapons back onto the firer.  Whilst the field is switched on, the base cannot fire its own phasers, so the decision to enable it or not must be made at the start of every turn by the base commander.  Note that the reflex field isn't of any use against disruptors and doesn't always work as intended against standard beam weapons!

As well as the research base (which is approximately the strength of a battlecruiser), the Romulans have 2 heavy cruisers and 2 destroyers.  The Klingons don't know about these ships, either their numbers or classes!  The defending vessels are deployed, cloaked, as follows:
  • There are 10 numbered "blip" counters scattered around the board.
  • Each Romulan ship writes down the number of the blip from which it will begin.  Also, as per the rules for cloaking devices in Full Thrust, it must decide how many turns it will remain hidden and write its movement orders in advance for those turns.
  • When a Romulan ship uncloaks for the first time, it will be placed initially on the chosen blip and then its pre-plotted movement will be executed; this gives it the final location for the uncloaked model.
Note that even though the Klingons are unaware of the defending squadron, they still have quite an advantage in tonnage over the defenders.

Our Game

As the game started, the Klingons played a Moral High Ground card.  Now the Romulans would only draw the game if they committed an atrocity, even if they held their base!

For 2 turns, the Klingon fleet came barrelling in, ignoring the occasional ripple in sub-space.  Perhaps they put these down to harmless local gravitational phenomena, or a lingering effect of the enemy's previous weapons tests?  Or maybe their sensor technicians were too junior to make their concerns heard?  Whatever the reason, the Klingons were completely convinced that they had taken the Romulans by surprise.  Victory was theirs for the taking!

The plan was that the 2 cruisers would race ahead, using their superior manoeuvrability to stop near the base and send in assault teams while the 2 capital ships provided fire support.  Some long-range fire was attempted on the Romulan hemisphere, but a freak accident sent energy back along the ionised trail of the phaser shot and inflicted minor damaged to the Admiral Kang.

On turn 3, everything changed.  The Romulan ships had been creeping in from the edges slowly under cloak.  Now they decloaked: the 2 destroyers and the cruiser Firebird were right behind the Klingon fleet, while the other Romulan cruiser, Dragon was in front of them, near the planet.

The Klingon ships hastily plotted evasive manoeuvres, but a couple of plasma torpedoes from the Romulan cruisers still landed right in the middle of their formation.  Taken by surprise, the Klingon point-defence systems failed to degrade either of the approaching warheads [they had a total of 10 dice, but didn't roll even a single '6'].  The torpedoes exploded with devastating effect [i.e. much higher than average rolls for damage!], crippling the cruiser Valhalla with a bridge hit, severely damaging the other cruiser (Asgard) and reducing  the battleship's engines to half power.

Since the Valhalla was out of control and heading towards the planet at high speed, the Romulans didn't waste time firing on her.  A few escape pods ejected from the crippled vessel before the Klingon cruiser smacked into the planet's surface and was completely destroyed.  She narrowly missed hitting the research base (by 50 miles or so), but the shock waves were felt across the entire hemisphere!

Phaser fire from the base destroyed the heavily-damaged Asgard quite easily.  Fortunately for the Romulans (bearing in mind the Klingons' Moral High Ground), the ship was only just out of action and at least some of the crew would have survived in sealed compartments within the wreckage.

To add insult to injury, the base's heavy phasers then fired on the retreating battleship Admiral Kang.  The base tried to play a "Match their shield harmonics!" to make the salvo even more deadly, but Klingon shield technicians were easily up to the challenge and stabilised their defences [i.e. they played a "That's not fair!" card of their own].  As it happened, the Romulans didn't need the extra boost; their weapons blew chunks out of the battleship's engines and rendered them completely inoperable.


We did play on for a bit after this, to fill the time.  However, the game was effectively over at this point; it was obvious that the arrival of 2 Klingon frigates wouldn't make any difference whatsoever to the outcome.  Instead of a slow, blow-by-blow account of that action, here's the final summary:


  • Admiral Kang (BB): drifted away from the fight with no engine power and few functioning weapons.  Warp drive still operational, so she can probably make it back to Klingon space.
  • Relentless (BC): Unable to make a high-speed turn, so flew off the table.  Allowed to come back a few turns later only to be crippled by both Romulan cruisers.
  • Valhalla (CA): made a big, smoking hole in Tessarae Major.
  • Asgard (CA): destroyed by phaser fire from Hawk base.
  • Warrior (FG, reinforcement): destroyed.
  • Conquest (FG, reinforcement): undamaged, though next on the target list for the entire Romulan force.


  • Firebird (CA): Slightly damaged when exchanging phaser fire with Relentless.
  • Dragon (CA): Barely scratched.
  • Lorica (DD): Armour damage only.
  • Pilum (DD): Heavily damaged by the Admiral Kang, but saved when a "Makeshift Repairs" card sacrificed the warp drive to restore control to the bridge, just in time to navigate around the planet and avoid hitting it! 
Last word: I don't think I've ever seen a game before where a single turn's shooting so completely changed the situation.  The 2 plasma torpedoes from the outclassed Romulan ships devastated the surprised Klingon fleet; not even a single defending ship was lost!


  1. Ouch ! I can only imagine the mutterings of the Klingon commanders. What a difference a single round of firing made to the game but the Romulan cloaked ships made good their advantage.
    I suspect a Kilngon retalion in the near future.

    Great read, as always

    1. Thanks. It was indeed a total disaster for the Klingons. I'd set up the scenario so that they would have a significant advantage, expecting that this would lead to at least some contention for the base, but it wasn't to be...

  2. Love the battle reports, they are a great read. Amazing that the PD guns were so bad. Just goes to show that the dice gods are not to be trifled with.

    I imagine that the Klingons would be keen to avenge such a loss as well.

    1. Again, thanks. I haven't worked out the odds of 10d6 not resulting in a single '6' (5/6^10, if I remember correctly), but it's fairly low. It didn't help that the Romulans then rolled double-6 for the damage inflicted on each cruiser. Someone must indeed have made unholy sacrifices to the dice gods!

  3. Replies
    1. Well, the Klingons took a hammering, but at least their capital ships survived. The Romulans were almost untouched!

  4. Great game report! You can see who the dice gods were favouring on this day!

    1. Thanks. To some extent, the defenders made their own luck, but their dice rolls were outrageous as well!

  5. Great batrep! Thanks for posting, and I look forward to seeing how the Romulans respond to this violation of their sovereign territory.

    1. Yes, I don't imagine that they'll be very pleased at the escalation of hostilities!