IntroductionThe Emperor has discovered the location of a secret Rebel base; it's on a jungle planet in the Draconis system. At the same time, his latest terror weapon, the starship "Planetary Stabiliser", has just been completed. He could test the new mega-ship and crush the rebellion mercilessly at the same time. All his admiral has to do is sail up to Draconis IV and vaporise the planet!
ScenarioThere are limited local defences available on or near the planet. In addition to that, the defenders are racing reinforcements to the Draconis system - but they will arrive piecemeal.
- The attackers must use at least half their points to purchase a really big planet-busting ship (the "Planetary Stabiliser" or equivalent), plus any fighters or parasite ships desired. The RBPBS must be fitted with a spinal-mount Nova Cannon, but it may use its remaining space for any systems desired - apart from a cloaking device!
Any remaining points may be spent freely on ships to escort the RBPBS.
- The defenders may use their fleet points freely to purchase any desired mixture of ships. These will arrive piecemeal; some of them may not arrive at all. Choosing a few large ships may result in not having much on the table at all (if the die rolls go badly), while taking a lot of small ships may leave the fleet open to defeat piecemeal.
- As well as their fleet, the defenders may spend another 1/2 of the agreed points value on local, planetary defences. This could be any mixture desired of star bases, ground bases, minefields and similar fixed assets, but no ships. Note that bases may have hangars and therefore be able to launch fighters; this would be very traditional!
- Place a planet towards one end of the board, near but not quite touching the edge. The defender then positions all his/her planetary defences.
- The attackers are placed at the opposite end of the table, ideally about 48" away from the planet. Their initial speed is 10.
- At the end of every turn, roll a separate d6 for each defending ship which has not yet arrived. On a 5 or 6, place it immediately on a random part of a random table edge. Speed is 12 initially, heading is at the owner's discretion.
- To blow up the planet, the Planetary Stabiliser must fire its Nova Cannon. However, there are some additional restrictions over the usual rules for this weapon because planets are more massive targets than usual. For success:
- The Planetary Stabiliser must be no closer to the planet than 6", else it would be destroyed itself in the explosion.
- It must also be no further than 12" from the planet, because the cannon loses power with range. Planet-busting needs a lot of power.
- Also, the Planetary Stabiliser must be travelling at a speed of 4 or less at the time of firing, to give the weapon's technicians time to fine-tune it and to select the best aiming point.
- If the planet is destroyed then the attackers win.
- If the Planetary Stabiliser is destroyed, captured, driven off or rendered incapable of destroying the planet (for example, its Nova Cannon, manoeuvring engines or all fire controls are damaged beyond repair) then the defenders win.
Our Gameevent card. This enabled them to filch a potentially useful Reinforced Shields card from the Empire's set of cards. Oddly, the Imperial admiral didn't seem too bothered by this. Perhaps he simply expected treachery and was relieved that it wasn't worse!
Reinforcements started to arrive from the Federation fleet. On the right, a lone destroyer appeared, whilst the unluckiest corvette in the galaxy (USS Zhukov) warped in on the left. The TIE fighter group immediately pounced on her and attacked. They were so confident of success that one squadron saved its ammunition and didn't even bother to make a firing pass. The Zhukov managed to shoot down a single attacking fighter before being torn to shreds.
The Y-wing bombers made an attack run on the larger enemy ship...
Sadly for the good guys, plentiful damage control parties on the Planetary Stabiliser managed to bring the Nova Cannon back on line and put out the fire immediately.
ConclusionWho won? Both sides claimed a victory, of course! I think that all the players enjoyed the game thoroughly (which is a victory in itself, of sorts!). However, the Planetary Stabiliser had veered off course in a vain attempt to shake off Invincible. She'd also taken damage to the Nova Cannon and although it was now repaired, I wouldn't wish to be the weapons technician who certified it as fit for heavy duty use! On both counts, I think I'd give the Federation a marginal, if somewhat Pyrrhic, win.
Bonus points to any reader who knows the origin of the name Planetary Stabiliser, without Googling it first!