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My wife and I love to play games together. Join us for the journey!

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Federation Commander Ship Tournament: Hydran vs. Frax

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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In order to better explore my favorite game and see how the various factions line up against each other, I am doing a little tournament to see which ship comes out on top. Right now, we are in the first round.

The Empires

Hydrans: The Hyrdans are one of the most unusual races in Federation Commander. They are methane breathing aliens that have three legs, cylinder shaped bodies, three tentacles, four eyes, and two mouths. They Hydrans border the Klingons and the Lyran empires. Later, the Hydrans bordered the Vudar. The Hydrans are a bit of a whipping boy in the Star Fleet universe, they seem to always get beat but they never get completely annihilated and bounce back.

The Hydrans have two completely different types of ships. Fusion beam ships use the powerful fusion beams. These weapons deliver a lot of damage, but only at close range. Even at medium phaser range these are not so good. Hydran ships also use Hellborne cannons. Hellborne's are devestating weapons that envelope the enemy ship and damage all shield faces. Of all the heavy weapons in the game the Hellbornes have the best range, but they also require enormous power. An overloaded hellborne cost nine power and the weapon only fires every other turn. The final trick in the Hydran arsenal are the stingers. The Hydrans were the first Empire to use fighters, and as of now they are the only ones to use them in Federation Commander (that is changing soon-ish though).

The Frax: The Frax are a simulator empire. They were programmed by the Klingons to use in war games. The Frax are made to be a more Klingon version of the Klingons. They use the same weapons but have incredible fire arcs. It does not matter where the enemy ship is, the Frax probably have several weapons in arc. Based off of "wet navy" ships, it is no surprise that the Frax have the most devastating broadside barrages in the game.

The Fight
The Hydrans plotted a course at speed 16 so that they could conserve energy to power up their hellbornes. The Frax went at speed 24 to get initiative. The Frax did a maneuver to fire out of their rear arc, the thought being they would turn faster for the next pass than the Hydrans. In the middle of this maneuver, the Hydrans fired some phasers and a single hellborne to create some weaker shields to exploit later.

Towards the end of the turn both sides fired their alpha strike at close range. Both sides took a decent amount of internal damage. The Hydrans actually took one or two more points internally, but because of the nature of the Hellborne, the Frax were carrying a lot more damage on their shields. As the ships passed one another, the Hydrans launched their single Stinger and the Stinger managed to take out the rear shield and cause minor internal damage.

The Frax manuver did work and they were able to turn and get in the chase posistion of the Hydrans. The Hydrans were very defensive this turn, declaring evasive maneuvers as soon as possible. They Hydrans also used some energy to regenerate shield boxes, so that during the repair phase they could cycle their shields to strengthen their previously downed one. The Frax fired two phasers at the Stinger. It was not destroyed but very crippled. As the Frax chased the Hydrans it fired at close range, but the Evasive maneuvers negated the danger of that attack. As the Frax closed in at range one, the Hydrans ended their evasiveness and fired phaser-Gs. Both sides did shield damage to one another. On the last impulse, the Hydrans declared emergency deceleration and came to a stop. The Frax moved into range 0 and against all odds, the Hydrans recovered their Stinger.

On the start of the third turn, the Hydrans moved at speed 8 . .. in reverse! The Frax were in a world of hurt, and the Hydran alpha strike was more than they could handle. Because the Hydrans were going the wrong direction, they could not pursue the Frax. The Frax successfully disengaged.


Observations and Lessons Learned

I have only played the Hydrans a couple of times, but I think they are my favorite race. I love their starship designs, and the way they launch fighters out of launch tubes. The Hellborne is also a devastating weapon. The Plasma-R may deliver more damage, but I think the Hellborne may be the most powerful weapon in the game.

The mistake I made with the Frax is that I should have targeted weapons. Based on the rolls it would not have mattered. However, the Hellbornes were a threat. If the Frax could have knocked those out and utilized their fire arcs, they could have picked the Hydrans down once the big weapons were out.

I mentioned I like the Hydrans, but I also liked the Frax. So far in this tournament twelve ships have fought, and these two are probably my favorite.

Moving in reverse was nasty trick. When the Frax maneuvering worked to get the Hydrans right where they wanted them, I had to think of a way out of it. Moving in reverse was the best option, and I saw it in time to declare emergency deceleration on impulse 8. Since I was playing both sides, I had to fudge it a little bit. I am fairly certain if I was playing the Frax against a human opponent, I would not have thought of them going in reverse so I tried to play as if I did not know what was about to happen.
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Thu Aug 25, 2016 9:14 pm
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Isle of Skye (One Couple's Review)

sean johnson
United States
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Indiana
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Several years ago we found a great deal on plane tickets to Scotland. Being young and without children, we jumped on it. We landed in Edinburgh and then headed north, staying in youth hostels and small bed and Breakfasts. The location we spent the most time in was the Isle of Skye. We thoroughly explored the area around Kyleakin, took a car tour around most of the island, and then came back to the island by ferry to visit Armdale castle. So last year when this came was announced by title alone it became a "must get" for us. However, my wife was pragmatic. At Gen Con Mayfair has done their ribbon hunt for several years, and one of the payoffs is a 50% off coupon. Last year, Isle of Sky was excluded. We collected the ribbons and decided to wait. This year they still did the ribbon hunt, so I took the ribbons we saved for a year and got the game at 50% off. So was Isle of Skye worth a year's wait?

Game Overview
In this game players will be using tiles to build their own piece of the isle of Skye and score points. At the beginning of the game five scoring tiles are picked out. Each scoring tile has an unique condition or way it scores and over the course of the game's six rounds each tile will score three times.

Each turn follows the same flow. First players collect income based off their castle and how many trade goods are connected to their castle by roads. Next players draw three tiles. At the same time all players simultaneously decide in secret to discard one of their three tiles and then set prices for the other two.

Once this is all set everything is revealed, and starting with the start player players go around buying tiles. A player may buy a single tile from another player by paying the set cost. If a player does not buy a tile then they must pay the set cost and place it themselves.

The next phase is the tile placement. There are three terrain types: fields, mountains and water. When a tile is placed the terrain types must match. Players will be acquiring tiles and placing tiles to meet certain scoring conditions. These conditions might be having the most of something or it could be something like every cow connected to the castle by road is worth two points. The final thing players do each turn is score the scoring tiles for that round. The first couple rounds only one tile is scored but in the final couple of rounds three are scored.

Some of the tiles have some optional end game scoring such as every two sheep is a point. If those tiles are part of an enclosed, completed area then the scoring conditions for the tile double. The player with the most points wins.


Our Thoughts
As a reminder we rate games on our own 5 point scale. When our scores are added together, it is where we as a couple theoretically rate the game on the BGG 10 point scale.

My Rating: 4 ( like it)
My Thoughts: I really like how much longevity this game seems to have built into it. The way that the scoring tiles will always be different will ensure that no two plays are alike. This is a very tactical game, but the tactics are always framed by the strategy of meeting the scoring conditions. This makes for a very interesting game. I also like games where i get to build something, and this is no different. It is fun to build my own little corner of a Scottish isle.

Her Rating: 4.5 (like it)
Her Thoughts: Like all euro games where the title is the name of a place, the theme is only kind of there. However, I love the Scottish theme of this game. I also enjoy playing the game. I think it is extremely clever. It feels like a step up from something like Carcassone. I do have a hard time visualizing how tiles are going to be placed, but despite that I enjoy the puzzle like feel to this game as I try to figure out the best place to put a tile.

Verdict
Combined Rating: 8.5
I think I have mentioned before that our gaming sweet spot is the area around heavier light games and lighter medium weight games. This game clearly occupies that territory. We both can see why this game is award winning, and we liked it quite a bit.
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Thu Aug 25, 2016 3:52 am
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Federation Commander Ship Tournament: Romulan vs. Seltorian

sean johnson
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Edinburgh
Indiana
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In order to better explore my favorite game and see how the various factions line up against each other, I am doing a little tournament to see which ship comes out on top. Right now, we are in the first round.

The Empires
Romulans: The Romulans, known from Star Trek, are a Vulcan offshoot who believed emotions were too important to sacrifice to cold logic. The Romulans left Vulcan behind and developed their own culture. Romulan society is based around noble houses. The intrigue of these houses drives Romulan development but also hinders progress more often than not. The Romulans are a proud, duty bound race with a bit of a superiority complex. They actually have three unique classes of ships that are a bit unique in their layout.

All Romulan ships have a couple of features that set them apart from the other factions in the game. Romulans are another plasma using race, and they have the incredibly strong Plasma-R torpedo. Romulans also have the famed cloaking device. This does not render a ship invisible, but it does make a ship much harder to hit.

Seltorians:
The Seltorians come from the same distant galaxies as the Tholians. The insectoid Seltorians were used by the Tholians as slave labor, but they revolted and committed genocide on a galactic scale to destroy the Tholian oppressors. It is escaping this genocide that led the Tholians to flee to another galaxy. A group of Seltorians followed, and they were allowed to colonize a few planets in Klingon space in exchange for their help against the Tholians.

Seltorians have a couple of unique weapons systems. The particle cannon is an odd weapon. It cost 1.5 energy to fire, and it can actually be fire twice a turn if enough impulses are between firings. The weapon can be overloaded, but the damage is not great. They also have web breakers/shield crackers. These are great against Tholian Webs and a less than ideal use of energy elsewhere. Seltorians do have more transporters and marines that any other empire, so boarding parties can always be a threat.

The Fight
Both ships start advancing at each other in a dangerous game of chicken. The Seltorian ship was bringing a lot more weapons to the fight, but the Romulans had bigger guns. At range five, the Romulans shoot two Plasma-F torpedoes, turn off and cloak. The Seltorians are not scared off by the Plasma and use their phasers to mitigate the damage. They close into range one and fire a barrage at the Romulans. The cloak mitigates the threat of close range. By the end of the round both sides have damaged shields and little else. However, the Seltorian shields are a bit weaker after the initial exchange.

On the next turn, right after the Romulans complete fading back in, they cross behind the Seltorians. The Romulans get the Seltorians in a tractor beam to do an anchor maneuver. Both sides do tactical maneuvers to get weapons in arc. The Romulans unleash a Plasma-R that will do massive damage. The Seltorian fire is not insignificant. IT completely buckles a shield, punctures the Romulan armor and does decent internal damage. A Seltorian marine raid takes out the Plasma-R launcher.

The two ship continue to engage in a knife fight on the next turn as the Romulans fire their recharged plasma-F torpedoes and the Seltorains put everything into an alpha strike. Again, both sides come out bleeding, but the Seltorians take more internal damage.

With the damage mounting, the Seltorians make a desperate gambit with a high energy turn, but a Romulan deceleration and turn get a better shield facing. The Seltorians do more raw damage, but the small Romulan return goes through a downed shield. The Romulans came out better in the exchange, but they now have the Seltorians on their tail and can not shake them.

The Romulans spend the fifth turn running and taking fire to their back shield from the Seltorians. Attempted Seltorian marine raids to destroy weapon systems fail. On the sixth turn, the Romulans execute their High energy turn and shoot Plasma-F torpedoes again. The Seltorians had few weapons left and their response does not even penetrate shields. The Seltorians were unable to generate enough power to outrun the torpedoes and the dual hits break their back. The Seltorian ship is completely out of weapons.

With no possible way to continue the fight the Seltorians attempt to limp off the map, while the Romulans make turn for another pass. During the first impulse of the seventh turn, the Romulans fire another Plasma-F torpedo. This parting shot was just shy of enough and the Seltotrians disengage. Including frame boxes, they only had nine boxes left on their ship.

Observations and Lessons Learned

The King Eagle is a very unique ship and I kind of liked flying it. Compared to similar sized ships it does not have many internal boxes and few weapon systems. However, its defense is incredible. It has 30 shields on every side, and armor to soak up hits the first time the shield is downed. This extra defense saved the Romulans in this fight and let them win out a war of back and forth punching, as the picture shows:


With plasma I think it is a good idea to fire in waves instead of shooting it all at once. Until weapons went down, it would have been possible to fire Plasma every turn. Doing so requires the opponent to be extremely defensive or willing to take some hits.

Early in the game, the Seltorians has the option for the high risk-high reward option of capturing the Romulan ship. After the Romulan shields were downed, the Seltorians could have lowered a shield and beamed over six marine units. The Romulans only have eight total. A good roll favoring the Seltorians in marine combat could have kept enough alive that on the next turn capture became a possibility. This attempt would have had long odds. However, in a fleet engagement, two Seltorian ships working together are a serious threat to capture a ship.
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Mon Aug 22, 2016 4:19 pm
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The Sudoku Game (One Couple's Review)

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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At Gen Con after the math trade I made a trade for a couple of my unwanted games for a couple of a friend of mine. The main game I was trading for was Vampire Hunter, but this one came along for the ride. I was willing to get it because my wife loves Sudoku. In our pre-board game days it was not uncommon for us to spend an evening in the same room. I would play video games while she burned through Sudoku books (personally I prefer spending evenings playing games together). I never cared for Sudoku as much as my wife did, but I was willing to try a game that was based around the puzzles she liked. So did this game solve the equation for being fun or were mistakes made?

Game Overview
This game comes with a collection of sheets that contain sudoku puzzles in multiple difficulties. There multiple copies of each puzzles. There are several different way to play. This ranges from the silly simple (whoever completes a puzzle first wins) to their multiplayer rules.

In these rules each player does the same puzzle. When a player finishes, everyone else stop. Each player then checks their answers and gets one point for each question they got right. The player with the most points wins.

Our Thoughts
As a reminder we rate games on our own 5 point scale. When our scores are added together, it is where we as a couple theoretically rate the game on the BGG 10 point scale.

My Rating: 1 (do not want to play again)
My Thoughts: I am not sure what I was expecting, and I do not know how you could make an actual game out of Sudoku. This is not it though. This is just a Sudoku book printed on small individual pages. The "game" is silly too. Barring major mistakes whoever finishes the puzzle first will win. The whole scoring system is just to figure out who finishes second. There just is not much of a game here.

Her Rating: 1.5 (do not want to play again)
Her Thoughts: This game is silly. It is just a race to finish sudoku first. Any puzzle could be done like this and call it a game. I love Sudoku but I just do not see ho this is worth playing as a game.

Verdict
Combined Rating: 2.5
Honestly we were not expecting a whole lot of this, and that is what it delivered. It is not really a loss though, because my wife can enjoy solving the puzzles.
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Sun Aug 21, 2016 3:24 am
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Maze Racers (One Couple's Reviews)

sean johnson
United States
Edinburgh
Indiana
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My son, like a lot of first graders, likes mazes. Back in the early Spring we ran across this game at a bookstore, and my wife thought it could be a good family game. A few weeks later we almost bought it when Amazon.com had it on sale. I finally got to play the game in May at Geekway to the West. I legitimately enjoyed the game. At Gen Con this year I had a set amount of money left to buy games and I had a short list of four items to possibly get. Even though this was not a hot new game I went with Maze Racers, in part because the Gen Con price is the cheapest I had seen it for. My wife finally took the time to play this game, so does this game find its way or did it take a wrong turn?

Game Overview
There are a few different ways to play this game, but this will go over what I would consider the "default" two player way of playing. Both players get a set of components. This includes a magnetic board with four quadrants on it, a small wooden pillar, a ball, and a whole mess of foam, magnetic pieces.

Players agree on a quadrant to be the starting quadrant and a quadrant to be the ending quadrant. On "go" players use the foam pieces to build a maze. Players do this in real time as fast as they can. They can use the wooden pillar as a way to test to make sure the maze is not to narrow for the ball to get through. When one player is done, they turn over a sand timer and the other player has until the time is up to finish their maze.

Both players trade their mazes and then instantly go and try to solve the opponent's maze. The player that finishes the maze first wins the round. If a player makes an illegal maze that does not have a valid way to solve it, then they lose the round.

Players will then decide on a new start and ending quadrant and begin again. The first player to win two out of three rounds is the winner of the game.

Our Thoughts
As a reminder we rate games on our own 5 point scale. When our scores are added together, it is where we as a couple theoretically rate the game on the BGG 10 point scale.

My Rating: 4 (like it)
My Thoughts: This is such a clever game. It is a simple but brilliant idea, and the components of this game execute it really well. I like the speed element. I love the built in creative element. Most of all I like this game because even if I lose I feel happy because I built something.

Her Rating: 4 (like it)
Her Thoughts: This is one of the concepts that is so good but so simple it is hard to believe someone has not done it yet. I knew the concept of this game before playing it, but I found it to be more difficult to do than I thought it would be. I think real time games are stressful but exciting. I liked this game and I found it incredibly engaging.

Verdict
Combined Rating: 8
My wife originally thought this would be a good family game, but now we are not so sure now. This would require some handicapping or modifying to make it a family game. One option is that my wife and I both make a maze and give it to our son to solve. Which ever maze takes him longer wins. I think our son will also enjoy it as an activity where he can make mazes.
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Fri Aug 19, 2016 2:02 am
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Federation Commander Ship Tournament: Federation vs. Lyran

sean johnson
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In order to better explore my favorite game and see how the various factions line up against each other, I am doing a little tournament to see which ship comes out on top. Right now, we are in the first round.

The Empires
Federation: I think everyone is familiar with the Federation. The United Federation of Planets is the staring faction of Star Trek, and it is from them that the Star Fleet Universe gets it's name. The Federation is a democratic collection of planets that is also an economic powerhouse. The Federation includes the humans, Vulcans, Andorians, and a wide variety of other alien species.

The Federation is in the middle of the alpha sector as such they border the Klingons, Romulans, Gorn, Tholians, and Kzinti. The Klingons and Romulans are the traditional enemies of the Federation, and the Gorn are there only firm allies. In general, Federation ships tend to be less maneuverable that most. The Federation also have the photon torpedoes which are one of the most powerful weapons in the game. They can be double overloaded to do a lot of damage, but they area hit or miss weapon that can only be fired every other turn.

The Lyrans: The Lyrans are a feline species that bare some similarities to the Kzinti, but the two feline races are mortal enemies. The Lyrans are allied with the Klingons and the two empires fight against the Hydrans often.

Like several of their neighbors, the Lyrans use phasers and disruptors. However, the Lyrans have their own unique system of the Expanding Sphere Generator. The ESG can be used defensively to take out drones, fighters, or shuttles. It can also be used offensively to deliver a lot of damage, and it is a guaranteed hit. The downside, is that it only works at range zero.

The Fight
At the beginning both sides moved slower. The Lyrans went slow to conserve energy and fully power up the ESGs. The Federation did the same to load their photons. On the last impulse, both sides fired at range range 6. Due to dice rolls, the Lyrans took the worst of it. The Federations also fired drones

In the second round both sides sped up. The Federation accelerated, closed the range as much as they could and fired all four photons as double overloads. Three of them hit, along with a full phaser barrage. It did not help the Lyran cause that all of the phaser rolls were low, which means they did high damage. It also did not help that the Lyran return fire rolled bad and did low damage. The Federation followed up with second salvo of drones.

The Lyrans were able to maneuver, so that they ended in the same space as the Federation. The Lyrans tractors one of the drones, and saved the ESG to use offensively. The other drones took out one of the shields and did minor internal damage. The Lyrans used their ESG and damaged the Federation ship, but the Federation used their remaining phaser-1 and phaser-3s.

The Lyran bad luck continued, as every single roll on the damage tables came up six. This is the damage table that impacts weapons the most, so by the end of the second turn the Lyrans had all of their weapons systems destroyed and significant power damage. With no chance at victory, the Lyrans sought to disengage, but the Federation got in a parting shot on the back shields. The Lyrans survived, but it is clear they lost:


Observations and Lessons Learned

I think this is the first time I have used the Lyrans, and they were tricky to fly. They are armed like Klingons but they fly more like the Federation. The ESG is well suited for fighting Kzinti and Hydran,s but it was not a good match for the Federation.

I think I just need to put a post it note by the board to remind me to use Evasive manuvers, because it really would have benefited the Lyrans. Had they been moving evasively, it would have forced the Federation to hold the shot or fire at reduced odds. In this specific case it would not have mattered, because the rolls were so good. However, I need to better about using those.

The Federation Strike Cruiser is an amazing ship. It has as much firepower as the heavy cruiser (the ship class that the Enterprise is in), but it uses less power for speed. This freed up energy to make firing double overloads much easier.
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Tue Aug 16, 2016 4:58 am
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Federation Commander Ship Tournament: Orion vs. Peladine

sean johnson
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Edinburgh
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In order to better explore my favorite game and see how the various factions line up against each other, I am doing a little tournament to see which ship comes out on top. Right now, we are in the first round.

The Empires
Orions: The Orions are the pirates of the Star Fleet Universe. The Orions are the green skinned aliens seen in the original series, but not all Orion priates are Orions. As pirates the Orions have a few unique thing about them. The Orions have a stealth coating that make them a little harder to hit. In game terms this means that attacks tend to do less damage.

The Orions also have the unique ability to double their engines. For a point of engine damage, the Orions can have double their warp capacity for a turn. Unlike most of the other empires, the Orions do not have an unique weapons focus. Instead their ships have weapon mounts that can use a wide variety of weapons. This feature combined with the engine doubling, give the Orions as incredible amount of versatility.

Peladine:The Peladine are a "lost empire." The Peladine are collection of two aquatic races that lived on a planet in Lyran territory. The Lyrans conquered and subdued the Peladine when they first left the planet. In a recent Captain's Log (the periodic journal for all Star Fleet Universe games), there were some "what if" ships publsihed for the Peladine. Since there are only fourteen factions in published expansions, I had to look to the Lost Empires for the other two slots of the tournament. I went with the Peladine because their ship cost was the most in line with the other ships in the tournament.

The Peladine ships have nothing unique but combine systems in unique ways. Specifically, they have both Plasma and drones. They also have phaers, including two very powerful 360 phaser-1s.

The Fight
The Orion ship was equipped with a Phaser-G. These are one of the of the more powerful weapons in the game, so it is common for a player to put that on an Orion ship. The phaser-G and another Phaser-1 were in the nose weapons slots. On the wing slots, the Orion pirates had two disruptors.

As both ships charged at each other, the Orion opened fire at range six. This did not do much more than dent the shields. As the Peladine got closer, they shot their phasers and they also just did shield damage. However, the Orions were now in a position to run from launched items if shot.

On the second turn the Orion player doubled their engines. This gave a ton of extra power that allowed the Orions to move at the highest speed possible for the turn. This gave the Orions the ability to fly circles around the Peladine. When the Orions had a position where they could be behind the Peladine, they executed a high energy turn and fired an energy strike at range two. The Peladine have a large center hull, but only minimal system boxes so this strike did some serious damage, especially to the engines and power systems. The Orion ship kicked the Peladine while they were down by beaming marines over to destroy one of the Plasma tubes.

The Peladine, had two loaded Plasma torpedoes going into turn two. However, their power situation was critical. They bolted their plasma at the Orions and managed to cause a modest amount of internal damage. The Orions responded by maneuvering to get close and catching the Peladine in a tractor beam. Stuck, the Peladine were defenseless as two drones from the Orions slammed into their cruiser through a downed shield. For all intents and purposes this strike finished them off, but a couple of tactical maneuvers later the Orions made the destruction official.

Observations and Lessons Learned

I need to remember that one of the things Plasma can do is control enemy movement. The mistake with the Peladine is they did not fire because the Orions could outrun the plasma torpedoes, and the Peladine could never get a good shot. However, when the Orions first turned off if a torpedo was fired then to outrun it they would have to advance towards a corner, cutting back to the middle would have let the torpedo get them. Getting the Orions stuck against a map edge, would have made plasma more dangerous.

The Orion Engine doubling is ridiculous. One point of engine damage is worth being able to do everything for a turn. The disadvantages of the Orions are that their energy resources are low without doubling and they lack some system boxes likes labs that can help soak up damage. However, I feel like the advantages of engine doubling, stealth coating, and optional weapon mounts more than make up for that.

This is the first blowout. Holding Plasma too long was the big mistake, but he compared to the previous bouts the Orion ship was not badly hurt:


I have only used the Orions a couple of times in the past and then always in multi-ship fights or scenarios with odd victory conditions. One on one, it seems the Orion pirates are hard to beat.
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Mon Aug 15, 2016 4:26 am
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Federation Commander Ship Tournament: Gorn vs. Klingon

sean johnson
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In order to better explore my favorite game and see how the various factions line up against each other, I am doing a little tournament to see which ship comes out on top. Right now, we are in the first round.

The Empires
Gorn: The Gorn are green reptilians best known for their single appearance in the original Star Trek. In Federation Commander the Gorn border the Federation, Romulans and ISC. The Gorn and the Federation are the closest thing to true friends in the Star Fleet Universe. Conversely, the Gorn and Romulans are bitter enemies.

Like all of the factions in their section of the universe, the Gorn use plasma torpedoes as their primary heavy weapon. Plasma torpedoes are the hardest hitting weapon in the game, but because they are launched weapons (as opposed to direct fire) they can be outran and weakened.

Klingons : The Klingons in Federation Commander are a bit different than Klingons most are now familiar with. These Klingons still have smooth foreheads. They are belligerent, nationalistic, and militaristic. However, they are not mystical viking warriors who challenge one another to death on the bridge of minor offenses to their honor.

The Klingons are one of the most versatile factions. Unlike most factions they do not have a specialized weapon. They use phasers, disruptors, and drones. What the Klingons lack in unique fire power they gain in two special advantages. Klingons have some of the best weapon arcs of any faction and they have some of the most maneuverable ships.

The Fight
Both began going at speed 24. With Plasma, which moves speed 32, as a threat the Klingons had to go fast. The Klingons fired at range 9. This was not close enough to do real damage, but it did begin stressing the shields. The Klingon cruiser then turned off to keep some distance. As the Klingon ship competed its maneuver, the Gorn fired at range four. The Klingon ship was in a position to run, so the Gorn ship bolted two Plasma F torpedoes, but only one hit. At the end of the round drones and a Plasma-S were launched.

As the new turn started, the Klingons found themselves running from the Plasma and getting caught in a corner against the edge of the map. The Gorn ship was able to get in closer, but the Klingons used their weapon arc to really bash the Gorn Battlecruiser on the nose. This meant the Klingons scored the first internal damage. The Gorn in response launched their second Plasma-S. The Klingons were out of space and they took both torpedoes at the same time, but thanks to maneuvering they hit on different shields. At this point both ships were low on energy, but the Gorn kept enough back to anchor the Klingon. However, due to damage to the warp core the Gorn ship did not hold the tractor beam over the turn break.

On the third turn, the Klingon ship used deceleration to get a perfect firing position and they let lose with an alpha strike. Fearing that the Klingon ship would be able to outrun a torpedo, the Gorn bolted two Plasma-F torpedoes again. They both hit, but the Gorn came out worse in the exchange. Later in the round, the Gorn maneuvered to cut off the Klingons and launched a Plasma-F torpedo out of an S-tube. The Klingon ship was able to successfully turn so that the torpedo hit and crumpled a fresh shield.

On the fourth turn things started off looking good for the Gorn. Both sides exchanged phaser fire, but because of a downed shield the Klingons got the worse of the exchange. However, the Klingons responded with a marine raid that successfully took out a partially loaded torpedo tube. Worse for the Gorn, is that the Klingons got in a behind position and the slow turning Gorn ship could not shake the Klingon ship.

At the start of what would be the last turn, the Gorn were hurting and they could only muster speed eight. The crafty Klingons set up their attack by making sure a non-downed shield was facing the Gorn. The Gorn took it down but they also took the Klingon fire straight into the haul. The Gorn had one more trick up their sleeve, a plasma-F. It hit and managed to move the Klingons to a crippled state, but the Gorn ship could not outrun the Klingon drones. It also did not have any weapons left to fire defensively, so it exploded.

Observations and Lessons Learned


The greatest strength of the Klingons is how they can maneuver. This has less to do with getting fire positions, but more to do with keeping downed shields out of danger. In this fight, the Klingons actually took more points of fire. However, they were able to keep taking it on a new shield as the picture shows:


It could just be I am not very good with it, but plasma is tricky to use. Even when it hits, it is not as catastrophic as I would like. On a couple instances the Gorn did hit a full strength Plasma torpedo, but on a fresh shield only a small part of that energy got through.

I did find myself being a big fan of the Plasma F torpedo. It cost five energy and it can fire every other turn. When bolted, the odss to hit are not terrible and a bolted torpedo does 10 damage. This is 2 less than an overloaded photon for 1 less energy so that is not a terrible cost ratio.

I know the Gorn have a reputation of being one of the weaker factions, and I kind of felt that. The plasma is strong, but the weapons that back the big hitter up are not as potent. A Klingon alpha strike is scarier proposition than a Gorn phaser barrage.
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Sat Aug 13, 2016 2:24 am
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Federation Commander Ship Tournament: Vudar vs. Kzinti

sean johnson
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In order to better explore my favorite game and see how the various factions line up against each other, I am doing a little tournament to see which ship comes out on top. Right now, we are in the first round.

The Empires
Vudar: The Vudar are a reptilian race found on the outskirts of the Klingon Empire. They occupy a sector of space that contains dangerous level of radiation for the Klingons, but which the Vudar are well suited. For years the Vudar were a fairly independent vassal of the Klingons, maintaining their own fleet and even holding parts of Hydran space. Eventually, the increasinly independent Vudar declared their independence.

The Vudar specialize in ion weaponry. They have two weapons unique to them. The Ion Cannon, works a bit like a Photo torpedo. It can only be fired every other turn, and it can be overloaded once. The single overload means it does no do as much damage as a photon, but it hits a bit more reliably. Their other weapon is the Ion pulse Generator. This is a defensive system that takes out shuttles, fighters, and drones.

The Kzinti: The Kzinti are a proudly carnivorous feline species that border the Klingons, Federation, and Lyrans. The Federation find the eating habits of the Kzinti offensive and early on went to war with them. However, they soon became allies against the Klingons.

The Kzinti use the same weapon as Klingons (phases, disruptors, and drones). However, the Kzinti put a lot of their effort in to drones. A Kzinti cruiser has four different drone racks. It is the standard Kzinti tactic to launch waves of drones and then follow in behind with their disruptors at the ready.

The Fight
Both sides went baseline speed 16. The Vudar wanted to use power to charge up their weapons, while the Kzinti wanted to keep their distance. On the last impulse of the turn both sides fired phasers at distance, and both sides only scored a couple of points of shield damage. On impulse 8, the Kzinti launched a drone wave

The fireworks started turn two. The ships closed to range four of each other and the Vudar fired before turning off. The overloaded ion cannons completely destroyed a Kzinti shield and scored a lot of internal damage. The Kzinti response the following turn did knock out a shield but barely scratched the internal boxes. The Vudar IPG easily knocked out both drone waves.

On the third turn the Vudar maneuvered to buy time to reload, but the Kzinti pursued and the Vudar ship hit the map edge. The Vudar phasers did minor damage, but the Kzinti disruptors punched through another shield and did internal damage. Most damaging, was the loss of one of the IPG. A marine raid failed to take out the other one, but the Vudar was still in trouble when it came to the Kzinti drones now coming at it.

On the fourth turn, the Vudar managed to make another big strike, and again caused a lot of internal damage. However, they were also exposed. The downed IPG meant they could not deal with all of the Kzinti drones, and one drone wave destroyed a shield. The Kzinti at one point left a down shield in arc of the last two phasers of the Vudar within range one, and the Vudar ship took the opportunity fire. However, as I got to the other functions phase I realized the mistake I had made. The Vudar had spent their last points of energy to fire. The Kzinti had power left, and tracked the Vudar in a tractor beam

At the start of the next turn, the tractor was dropped, but the Vudar were not in a good position and ate more drones. The rest of the turn was maneuvering. The Vudar were in a good firing posistion behind the Kzinti, but the Vudar would have to deal with drones.

As the next wave came, the Vudar now completely out of IPGs, had to turn to reveal full strength shield facing to the drones. This meant they lost their firing position. They fired at a range that was less than ideal, and bad dice rolls really vexed the Vudar ship.

At this point, the new turn saw the Vudar ship with only enough power to go speed eight, a single phaser, and no tractor beams. The ship did not stand a chance against the next wave of drones.

The Kzinti won, but as you can see they earned the victory with the lives of their crew.



Observations and Lessons Learned


With both sides I made some maneuvering mistakes. One of the things I have to keep in mind, is deceleration can really mess up the ideal firing position.

In general, I need to do a better job at remembering evasive maneuvers. For instance, after dealing with drone waves early on the Vudar should have gone evasive to avoid the disruptors. The were also a few instances whee the Kzinti could have benefited from being evasive as well.

The biggest mistake I made with the Vudar, is I should have rushed in on turn #1 and attempted to do damage before the drones were fired. With weapon targeting, it would have been possible to knock out a drone rack before it fired.

I also learned the Vudar are a bit of a glass cannon. Going into it, I thought the Vudar had a big advantage because of the IPG. However, once that system got knocked out the Vudar were in trouble. They do not have ADD or many defensive phasers. I did not count boxes, but it felt like the Vudar had less squishy internal boxes like labs to soak up damage from engine and weapon systems. Once the Vudar started to go down, they went down fast.
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Fri Aug 12, 2016 1:40 am
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The Federation Commander Ship Tournament

sean johnson
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Edinburgh
Indiana
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My wife informed me that for about the next two weeks we will not play many games together. This is because she loves the Olympics, and every four years she watches as much of it as she can. I will watch them some, but my zeal for swimming, gymnastics, and track is not as high as hers.

I could use this extra evening time to play Fallout 4, but post Gen Con I am all hyped up to move some pieces and roll some dice. That leads me to this little project.

In case you just stumbled upon this blog, I love Federation Commander. It is my favorite game. I have everything made for the game, and my wife has pointed out that I will never play with it all. She is probably right, but I will still try.

I am going to take ships from 16 different factions and put them against each other in one on one duels in a single elimination tournament format. This will allow me to explore some of the factions I am not very familiar with and fly a wide variety of ships.

I plan on writing about this little tournament to give others a better feel for this game, its factions, and maybe a small sense of why I love it so much. Unless I can rope a few people into playing with me, most of these plays will be solo. That means I will probably also end up playing sub-optimally, so I look forward to comments telling me how I messed up. I actually kind of mean that, because then I can improve at playing the game.

If this is not your kind of thing, then please hang with me because in a couple of weeks I will get back to our regularly scheduled blog post of writing about the games we play. We have a whole slew of Gen Con games to experience together.

I am looking forward to diving more into my favorite game ever, and I hope you enjoy coming along on the journey with me.
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Thu Aug 11, 2016 1:13 am
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