Star Fleet Universe

A blog for all subjects related to the Star Fleet Universe from ADB Inc. Talking about the games, the background, or its relationship with regular [i]Star Trek[/i].

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Y160

James Lowry
United States
Sunnyvale
California
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Microbadge: Star Fleet Battles fanMicrobadge: Fascinating!Microbadge: Legendary Monthly Video Game Geek Review Contest winnerMicrobadge: KHAAAAAAANNNN!!!!!Microbadge: ASL fan
Having gotten in a regular game for Y159, our group now advances to Y160 in the SFU timeline. This is where SFB originally 'started', as a lot of early materials assumed the game was set right after the original series, during the five-year missions of a couple Federation heavy cruisers. So every year from here to the end of the timeline has at least a couple scenarios and new ships showing up.

Here's my summary of the year:

The Original Series: The 5-year mission of the original Star Trek series is considered to be Y155-Y160.

The Four Powers War: There's not a lot of detail for this year, but the initial drives are petering out, and the war is threatening to turn into a stalemate, though with Coalition gains.

Scenarios:
SH3 (BS) The Coming of the Meteor Federation Klingon
SH53 (S1) Border Incident Federation Romulan Gorn
SH76 (R3) Quarantine Federation Klingon
SH176 (M) Kobol's Rock Klingon Kzinti
SH191 (R6) Returning to the Scene of the Crime Federation Orion


Showing the TOS roots of this period, the Federation is involved in four of the five scenarios for this year, and Klingons are in three of them.

SH3 The Coming of the Meteor: This is one of the original scenarios of the game, and should be good for an afternoon at some point.

SH53 Border Incident: Romulan KRs (and a WB) vs. Federation ships. I'm not sure when or with who I'll play it, but there's Romulans with Tac Warp, and we're going to see them in action!

SH76 Quarantine: A CLH has to hold off an F5J while trying to cure a disease and evacuate a colony. Could be very unusual.

SH176 Kobol's Rock: This is a ground-combat only scenario, using the more detailed rules in Module M. To my surprise, Mark expressed interest in it.

SH191 Returning to the Scene of the Crime: Something of a typical Orion scenario, showing off the FLG.

Naval developments:
Federation FFG CAR
Klingon D6S
Romulan K5R KR VUL+
Kzinti FH SDF DD BC
Tholian PR CA
Hydran LM
Lyran HFF
WYN OLR OCR OFC
ISC POL FF DD SC CL SR TUG CA


WYN Shipyard: The WYN government allows the Orion Cluster Cartel to set up a shipyard within the cluster. In return, the WYN get some of the LRs an CRs produced there, and convert the first CR into the OFC, a short-range cluster-defense flagship.

New Hull: The Kzinti DD is an all-new design, with good power, firepower, and shields for its size. For the moment, it is a better ship than the larger CL, though it would get a decent refit, and the DD is already maxed out.

Early refits: The Federation and Kzinti both start a round of improvements to existing ship classes this year. The Federation starts installing rear-firing ph-1s on CAs, and extra power on FFs. The Kzintis upgrade a damaged CS to the first BC this year, taking it past the capabilities of the existing CA design.

[It has been noted that Type-G drone racks don't exist yet, and the FFG should have a later date; instead, this would be the FF+, possibly with an ADD in place of the drone rack, but a one-box change just hasn't been worth ADB's time.]

Heavier variants: Both the Lyrans and Kzinti try getting more out of their frigates this year. The Kzinti FH is meant as a refit for the FF, but as it suffers from shock, remains a rare variant/squadron leader. The Lyrans develop a slightly larger center section to create the HFF. Tholian CAs are a C with more disruptor mounts, allowed by recent improvements to their ship-welding techniques.

Kestrals: The Klingons have been delivering older D6 and F5 hulls to the Romulans, who have reworked them to use Romulan technology, creating the "KR" or "Kestral" series of ships.

Hellbores: Hydran deployment of hellbore torpedoes continues, with the new Lord Marshal command cruiser, which replaces two of the Lord Commander's fusion beams with hellbores.

Drone Bombardment: The Kzinti combine their scout frigate and drone frigate designs into a single hull, the SDF. The DF either needs a SF or a larger drone bombardment ship (like the CD or CLD) to lead it on a drone raid for targeting. The SDF can handle this job on its own.

Heavy Scouts: The Klingons use a D6 for a dedicated scout platform, allowing it to provide good EW coverage while remaining combat-worthy.

ISC: During this year, an ISC ship witnesses a fight between Romulan and Gorn starships, and the ISC finds out that war is still very much a thing in the rest of the galaxy. All the major ISC classes have an intro date of Y160, though there probably should be some variation (most likely, the POL would pre-date this for monster patrols and the like).
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Sun Feb 5, 2017 6:00 pm
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Destroyer Demolition Derby

James Lowry
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Sunnyvale
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Somewhat to my surprise, after Patch and I finished up "Arctic Crossroads" he suggested an SFB game. He wanted smaller ships, and something other than Klingons, so I looked to a Kzinti-Lyran fight (appropriate as they're also involved in the Four Powers War right now) with squadrons using ships smaller than CAs.

The Kzinti produce their first Destroyer in Y159 (our current playing date), and I certainly wanted to show it off, as I don't think it appears in many scenarios. It's mostly known as an 'also ran' ship, as production is halted in favor of the later Medium Cruiser, and it is relegated to second-line duty during the General War. But right now, it is brand new, and effectively the one of the most advanced designs around, and certainly the best ship the Kzinti have for the tonnage. At a Move Cost of 1/2, it has 24 power, 2xdisruptors, 4xph-1, 2xph-3, and 4xdrone racks. This is more power and firepower than the larger Light Cruiser class, which it is effectively replacing (the CL will be refitted to have more power, more disruptors, and bring its drone racks up to 4, but that's a few years away still). It shows a shift from ph-3 to ph-1s, and an increase in drone throw weight (eventually, just about all Kzinti ships have at least four drone racks, but until now, that's only been true on the much larger CS/CA/CC hull as well as the seven racks on the much larger DNE).

Then I chose a Lyran Light Cruiser to lead the opposite squadron. It has the exact same BPV as the DD (after adjusting for the lack of ESG capacitors), and while larger with more internals, and it has slightly better phasers (4xph-1, 4xph-3), coverage isn't quite as good, and its shields are slightly weaker than the DD's.

Both sides' squadrons were rounded out by a pair of frigates, which also happen to have the exact same BPV, and fairly similar characteristics. Patch, as it turned out, went for a full load of Type-II (speed 12) drones, with no larger Type-Vs, for a total cost of 16 BPV. I vaguely contemplated taking some transporter bombs, and I should have, but neither of us took any.

We set up, and rolled randomly for Weapon Status (with a +1 for a war zone), and ended up with WS III. That was to my advantage, as the Kzinti don't have any multi-turn weapons, and it meant my ESGs were already fully charged. I also had a suicide shuttle pre-charged on the CL. The Kzinti squadron went speed 15 for the first turn, as did my CL, while my FFs went 16. We simply closed the range for the first half of the turn, but the DD turned off at about range 25. During impulses 28-30, we fired as ships hit range 15. I stuck to disruptors, which all missed with six straight 5s. Patch launched half his drones on each ship, and volleyed all his disruptors, which all missed with three 6s and a 4, while four phasers he fired also missed on "better" rolls (two 3s and two 4s). On impulse 32, I turned towards the Kzinti FFs to see if could engage them separately from the DD.

With ranges coming down fast, I decided to put power into overloads on CL, and EW on the FFs, and went speed 9 for the CL and speed 13 on the FFs. Meanwhile, Patch sped up to 19 on his FFs while the DD stayed 15. Patch was surprised I hadn't boosted speed as well, which I had considered, but I wanted to be prepared for a close-range pass (and the FFs stayed on regular disruptors in case something like this happened). Sadly, I only had slightly better EW than Patch, but it meant I would have even shots at his FFs while everyone else was at a +1 to fire at each other.

Patch's FFs turned off on Impulse 4, confirming my fears that he would just dance around my slower-moving squadron this turn. On Impulse 10, I turned towards the gap between Patch's forces and starting warming up an ESG to tackle the wave of drones that was in there. To my surprise, Patch turned his DD in shortly after, allowing me to get closer to it. Things started coming to a head on Impulse 15, when my FF-1 started sweeping the drones with its ESG, and my FF-2 and the DD traded shots. Both ships hit with one disruptor, and missed with the other, and had similar phaser rolls, though the ph-2s on my FF led to less damage being done.

On Impulse 18, I turned towards the DD, as it turned back away, launching its last two drones for the turn (the other racks had staggered fire over the previous few impulses). The DD scored another 4 points on the front shield of FF-2 with the 360-phasers, while the CL did 15 points to shield #3 of the DD, hitting with both disruptors and one good phaser roll (a second phaser missed entirely...). The next impulse, FF-2 announced its ESG, and I fired another three phasers at the DD. FF-1's phaser missed, but the remaining ph-1s on the CL both rolled 1s to knock down the shield and do 5 internals, including a ph-3 and two power. That was pretty much it for the turn, though on Impulse 28, the two Kzinti FFs fired disruptors at my FF-1, with one hitting, and on the next couple impulses, they launched drones.

From gallery of Rindis
Turn 2, Impulse 18, showing movement throughout the turn.

Patch's FFs slowed to speed 16 for Turn 3, but everything else sped up, with his DD going 20, while my CL went 15, and the FFs got up to 17. Speeding up meant dropping some of my EW, and the FFs only powered one disruptor each, as they started trickling power into the ESGs. I was mostly planning on trying to get the ESGs partly charged before having another real pass, and Patch was going faster than I could really catch him anyway. As soon as they cleared to fire, the Kzinti FFs fired their disruptors at the CL, hitting with one for 6 damage on shield #5, and then turned in a couple impulses later. Phaser fire knocked down the shield, but didn't get any internals. Meanwhile, I maneuvered to keep away from the wave of drones and shut down the ESGs (which each had a couple points of damage left) so I could bring them back up earlier next turn. On Impulse 25, Patch launched another two drones from the DD, and my FFs fired their powered disruptors at his FF-1, but missed with both.

Both of us were feeling out of position this turn. Patch had wanted to reunite his squadron, but the FFs were still 16 hexes from the DD (though at least I was now far behind both sets of ships), and my attempt to avoid spending power by just avoiding the drone wave from his FFs kept me from being able to engage them when they got a bit close. Instead, I lost a shield on the CL and didn't do anything in return.

From gallery of Rindis
Turn 3, Impulse 10, showing movement throughout the turn.

For Turn 4, Patch sprinted his FFs at 25, while the DD slowed to 15. However, I stayed a speed 15 for the CL, while the FFs dropped by 1 to speed 16. The phasers were completely charged, the FF's ESGs were each up to 3 power, and the FFs were able to charge both disruptors this time. EW fell off for both of us this turn, with 1 or 2 points of ECM and no ECCM on all ships. Looking at the long ranges and his high speeds, I fired all the FFs' disruptors at his FF-1 on Impulse 3, hitting with two of them.

I successfully left the previous wave of drones behind, but got into trouble with the two drones the DD launched last turn. Not paying enough attention, I ended up two hexes away with them with my FFs scheduled to move at the same time as the drones; I killed them with two phaser-3 shots each, but only after using a lab to figure out which FF they were targeted on, and play with the movement. Patch turned in towards me at the last third of the turn, and the range started dropping fast. Patch fired most everything on Impulse 25, with the FFs knocking down shield #3 on my FF-2, while the DD's disruptors did six points to the #1. With his FFs coming in fast, I turned towards them, which prompted drone launches, and then the DD turned in to close with the still separated FFs, and launched a full spread of four drones. In response, both of my FFs announced ESGs (which wouldn't go up until Impulse 1 of the next turn, when they'd have further power from my EA).

On Impulse 28, both sides opened fire, with Patch's two FFs each firing a ph-1 at my FF-2, doing 2 internals through the #1 shield. Meanwhile my CL fired its disruptors, 2xph-1, and FF-2 fired 2xph-2s at his FF-2. Ironically, the closer FF-2 missed with both, while the CL had good rolls to do 13 damage, and knock down the #6 shield.

From gallery of Rindis
Turn 4, Impulse 25, showing movement from Impulses 16 to 31.

I was a little surprised when the FF moved on the next impulse and it slipped away, but did not turn the down shield away. I fired FF-1's ph-2s at it, but poor rolls did no damage. On Impulse 32, both FFs turned in, going for a point-blank run with my FFs, with plenty of drones right there. With Turn 5 starting at everyone at close range, speeds dropped. My CL went 12, with the FFs going 10, while the DD went 14, though the Kzinti FFs slowed to 9. My CL put up 3 ECM, and 1 ECCM, but that was the only EW active. The ESGs came up on Impulse 1 (at 4 power) with the drones a hex away, but I shot up a couple of them anyway to preserve the ESGs for later and possible further drone launches.

...And FF-1 launched a new drone the next Impulse. The CL announced an ESG on Impulse 3, and my FF-2 moved onto his FF-2's down shield #6, but missed on a disruptor shot at range 2. On Impulse 4, both of his FFs slipped left, and my FF-2 moved into the hex, hitting them with it's strength-12 ESG, and FF-1 slipped to line up a similar shot. However, Patch tractored my FFs with his, more or less halting my planned battle pass (and, annoyingly, tractoring my FF-1 with his FF-2, and vice versa), and launched two more drones. I immediately knocked them down with ph-3 fire from FF-2, and did one internal to his FF-2 with horrible rolls (6,6) from a pair of ph-2s. My FF-2 took 29 internals from a ph-1 and overloaded disruptor from each of his FFs. (And I just realized that we missed doing the feedback damage of range-0 disruptors. Not a big deal for his FF-1, but that's another 2 internals on FF-2.) This pretty much crippled my FF, though it had decent weapons left.

On Impulse 5, the CL announced its second ESG, Patch's FF-2 did 7 damage to the #1 of FF-1 with a pair of ph-3s, and I did 10 internals to FF-2 with an overloaded disruptor from FF-1. On 6, the CL turned to engage the DD, while two drones hit FF-1's ESG, leaving 8 strength on it. Patch launched the final available drone, transported 3 boarding parties onto FF-2, and launched shuttles from both FFs. This time his FF-1 fired ph-3s, doing 7 more damage, and almost knocking down my FF-1's #1. I knocked down the latest drone with a ph-3, and did five more internals to his FF-2 from a disruptor fired by FF-1.

On Impulse 7, the DD approached to range 1 of the CL and tractored it while launching a full set of drones it just as a range 0 ESG came up. The DD fired off almost everything, doing 15 internals to the CL. The CL responded in kind, but missed with an overloaded disruptor to only do 7 internals. The CL mostly lost padding, but did lose the #2 ESG before it could even come up. FF-1 plinked his FF-2 for another three internals, but still wasn't getting the hits I wanted (I'd really been hoping to knock out the tractor beam). On Impulse 8, Patch dropped his tractor on my FF-1, and fired a ph-1 at each of my ships with a spare on each of his ships. This merely damaged shields on the FFs, but the CL took another 4 internals, and lost a disruptor. Meanwhile, the remaining-ph-3s on the CL took out all but one drone from the second wave from the DD, leaving it with a 4-point ESG and one drone left for it to handle. On the next Impulse, Patch dropped the tractor on FF-2, and transported three boarding parties over to the CL.

From gallery of Rindis
Turn 5, Impulse 4, showing movement from Impulses 1 to 8.

With them released from tractors, my FFs moved on Impulse 10, and FF-1 slipped in to hit Patch's FF-2 for eight points with the ESG (on the intact shield #2, sadly), and followed it up with a ph-1 and 2xph-3 shot at range 0 with good dice to do 10 internals. At this point, it only had the 360 ph-1 and a drone rack left, and all three front shields were down. On Impulse 14, Patch's shuttles are clear to fire, and they do 3 points to shield #4 of FF-2. On 15, Patch drops the tractor on the CL, which is very fortuitous timing for him. Otherwise, I would have launched the suicide shuttle which would have traveled down the tractor beam on 16 and detonated. If he'd released earlier, I may have been able to maneuver to drop the shuttle on him at this point. If I'd launched earlier, it would have smacked into the ESG before it got the drone. As it was, I never got a good chance to use it.

All shot out, we slowly worked apart for the rest of the turn; Patch kept together, but I was still trying to re-form at the end of the turn. Patch's boarding parties killed two of the four on FF-2, while I only killed one in return. On the CL, his three BPs didn't do any damage, while the nine there wiped him out.

From gallery of Rindis
Turn 5, Impulse 32, showing movement from Impulses 9 to 32.

The CL dropped to speed 9 for Turn 6 as it struggled to recharge batteries, patch up shields and put some power into the phasers and ESG. FF-1 went speed 10 with similar problems, while FF-2 was down to 5 power. It only went speed 4, partly because I charged the remaining disruptor. The DD went speed 10, Patch's FF-1 12, and his FF-2, with power but no weapons, 16. In addition, his FF-2 was only using minimum shields, and mine was using Low-Power Fire Control. On Impulse 1, Patch's FF-2 fired a drone from the remaining drone rack before pulling out of the fight. On 5, FF-2 fired the disruptor at his FF-1, but missed. On 8, Patch launched drones from the DD and FF-1, while my FF-1 fired disruptors at the DD as it went out of arc and hit with one. On Impulse 10, FF-1 fired a pair of ph-3s at a shuttle, and crippled it, though there had been good odds of killing it.

The other shuttle fired on the next impulse, doing 4 points to FF-1's #6, and the CL hit with both disruptors on the DD's #4. The latest wave of drones became a real problem as I struggled to get FF-1 in range to help the CL (who was definitely the target) deal with them. The CL got one on Impulse 17 with a downfired phaser. Then I turned the CL so that it would start drawing the drones closer to FF-1.

This was a mistake, as it also turned the down #1 towards the Kzinti, who were 8 hexes away at that point.

On Impulse 19, his FF-1 hit with a disruptor and ph-1, doing 7 internals through the down #1, taking out 3 phasers and the remaining ESG. On Impulse 22, the CL downfired the remaining ph-1s at the drones, and killed 2. FF-1 killed the damaged one and the fourth on the following impulse. At the same time, the DD and Patch's FF-1 fired on my FF-1, hitting with two disruptors and a ph-1 to do six internals through the #6 shield, knocking out two phasers. On 26, the DD and FF-1 each fired another ph-1 to do 5 more internals through the #1 shield of my FF-1, getting 4 hull... and the ESG. The next impulse, the DD fired two more ph-1s to do 8 internals to FF-1, taking out another phaser and a disruptor.

Boarding party combat continued on FF-2 with both sides killing one boarding party to reduce both to one BP left. The CL emergency repaired the second disruptor as a range-10 version.

From gallery of Rindis
Turn 6, Impulse 23, showing movement throughout the turn.

Somewhat by happenstance, all my ships ended up going speed 12 for Turn 7. The CL had lost three power on Turn 5, and one more on 6, and was slowly putting some shields back together. FF-1 had only lost two power, but needed to recharge the remaining phasers, while FF-2 abandoned the disruptor and went max speed other than shields. The DD went 10, Patch's FF-1 went 12, and his FF-2 went 18. His intact ships put up one point each of ECM and ECCM, but I had no power to spare for EW.

After the big pass on turn 5, my plan was to stick around; I was in about as good shape as Patch's squadron, and FF-2 could be a decent phaser boat, while Patch made it obvious that his was leaving. After losing all my ESGs and a number of ph-3s last turn at was at a serious disadvantage as long as Patch's drones held out. So I started preparations to disengage. The problem was that FF-2 didn't have the power to disengage by acceleration. We played out the turn, but neither of us really engaged and ended up paralleling each other in direction F at several hexes distance, with the DD slowly losing ground.

Meanwhile, Patch's FF-2 headed off to disengage, and my FF-2 headed away to gain distance. At the end of the turn, Patch's ship made the jump to high warp, and my FF-2 was at range 20 to Patch's nearest ship. Boarding party combat went well with my last BP killing his, while he did nothing. FF-2 also finished repairs on an APR that turn, so would be able to go 15 on Turn 8 (using the APR for shields, and putting all 5 warp into movement). I discussed with Patch that my goal was to keep him from going after FF-2 until it could get to 50 hex range and disengage by separation, and then disengage by acceleration, and we called the game there with me disengaging.

The victory points surprised me:

Lyran Kzinti
CL Disengaged 22.5
FF-1 Disengaged 15.5
FF-2 Crippled 31
DD Damaged 17
FF-1 4
FF-2 Crippled 35
Total 56 69


123%
Marginal Kzinti Victory

All the Type-II drones Patch had bought gave me 2 Victory Points per drone rack, and with eight racks, 16 VP was a noticeable amount of our totals. If I'd bought four transporter bombs, it would have equaled that out (and pushed Patch to a Tactical Victory), and I could have used some more drone defense. (I probably would have just bought two, if I'd done more than vaguely think about it.)

I did well in the early part of the game, but things started going wrong on turn 5. I didn't think about tractor beams, and paid for it. The plan with the CL was to overrun the DD, with the second ESG coming up at range-1, and probably hitting the DD as I moved out of its hex. As it was, I figured I'd still come out slightly ahead until the CL's second disruptor missed. With it, the two big ships would have taken nearly equal internals, and the since the CL is a slightly bigger ship, should absorb it better. Without it, I just didn't do much to the DD.

With my FF-2 still technically combat capable, I figured I still had a good shot at things, but my turn into him on 6 was a major mistake that cost me most of my anti-drone capabilities. Losing the final ESG in my squadron was what decided me to disengage. Of course, I was trying to solve two problems there; I needed to deal with more drones, and my FF-2 was lagging behind, and it looked like Patch was going to go finish it off. I saved FF-2, but at the cost of continuing the battle. The big mistake of course was assuming the battle would move away and stay away from the ship, and going speed 4 to power the disruptor. I should have maneuvered FF-2 until I knew it was safer, and then tried to get a couple shield boxes up and return to battle. Of course, that would have taken quite a while...
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Sat Feb 4, 2017 6:14 pm
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SL295 Operation Stabilize

James Lowry
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Sunnyvale
California
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Microbadge: Star Fleet Battles fanMicrobadge: Fascinating!Microbadge: Legendary Monthly Video Game Geek Review Contest winnerMicrobadge: KHAAAAAAANNNN!!!!!Microbadge: ASL fan
Just as Patch and I were gearing up for an SFB battle in Y159, I got Captain's Log #42, which featured a scenario set in Y158. Mark and I found time to give it a try this last Monday, since we were both still off work for New Year's. We had a lot of catching up and chatting to do, which was great, but did hold us to only getting four turns in.

One particular action early in the operation involved two Hydran frigates: the Brazen and the newly commissioned Catkiller. The Catkiller was one of the first of the new hellbore-equipped ships. The two frigates were returning after not having found anything worth attacking when they picked up a small Lyran convoy nearing a base station. The frigate commanders diverted to attempt to destroy the convoy before it could reach the station. The convoy’s escort, a Leopard destroyer, had been called away to another location during the earlier stages of the Hydran raids. Those Hydrans had been driven off before it arrived. It returned to its original mission just in time to attempt to protect the freighters from the Brazen and Catkiller long enough for the convoy to get under the umbrella of the base station’s weapons.

It's yet another battle that features early use of the new hellbore torpedo, though it doesn't headline the scenario the way it does for "Where Wisdom Fails" or "Catching Hell". We had to review the hellbore/ESG interaction rules, since they just haven't come up for our group before. The setup is on two maps, with the freighters about 50 hexes from the base station, and the DD actually a few hexes in front of them, while the Hydrans come on the board 26 hexes away from the freighters and slightly in advance of them. While the BS's ph-4s can reach that far, they don't do much (or possibly any) damage at that range, and lending EW only works out to 15 hexes, so it's mostly an appropriate 'end goal' for much of the game. Victory is with a unique schedule of points that mostly revolve around destroying cargo boxes on the freighters.

Mark had the Hydrans went fast the first turn, 21, while the DD went 15 with one overloaded disruptor, and the freighters kept together at speed 10 (which is the best the F-S can do without turning off fire control completely). The initial pass weakened shields, and I did a few internals to the CU, knocking out a phaser and a little power, but no more than that.

External image
The main action after Turn 1.

The second turn featured some slowing down to charge everything up. I interposed the DD between the Hydrans and freighters, and was about to announce the ESG to force him to turn off (since the hellbore had fired last turn) when Mark did so anyway. In the maneuvering that followed, he got a few internals on the DD and took out a disruptor and the ESG, which gave him greater freedom to maneuver.

External image
End of Turn 2.

Mark pounded the small freighter during turn 3, and completely depowered it. The main action over the next turn was grabbing the large freighter in a tractor and trying to haul it back away from the BS, since it was nearly to range 15, where it could loan ECM, and the ph-4s on the base would get even more dangerous. However, this was a slow process, as the F-L was larger, and still going at a good speed. Given a little time, he could depower it some more to help, but the DD would eventually come back to help. Meanwhile, the DD had tractored the F-S, and was hauling it closer to the base.

It's hard to say just where the scenario was going at the point where we had to leave it. Certainly, if Mark managed to completely destroy the F-L, he'd have 93 points (including destroyed cargo on the F-S), but both of his ships had been damaged, for a final total of 83, and a Tactical Victory. However, since the DD was in generally good shape (though with two down shields), it would not be that easy. Quite likely, at least one of the frigates would be crippled, which would drop him down to 68 points and a Marginal Victory. If I drove him off with the F-L, say, half-destroyed, that'd be... (call it 28 cargo vs. two crippled frigates) -8 for a Tactical Defeat. I'd say we were headed for a draw or Marginal Victory for him.

It's hard to properly protect the freighters, but Mark was rightly worried about the fact that they were getting closer to the BS (which is why he tractored the F-L). Sacrificing the DD will actually work if it can buy enough time to save the freighters. Mark got lucky that the ESG was hit early, before I had a chance to use it, but the HN had taken 14 internals, and the CU had taken 21, including the hellbore, and the Scanner was down to '5'. The DD had taken 11, but its shields were in better shape, and it was about to repair the second disruptor as a range-10 version. It's easy to ignore the BS in the early game, but it should be taking some potshots with the ph-4s and the disruptor, while keeping self-generated ECCM up.
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Wed Jan 4, 2017 8:00 pm
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SM2 The Space Amoeba

James Lowry
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Sunnyvale
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Last year, after running through the first SFB monster scenario, I figured I'd try to run through one of those each 'game calendar' year. Recently, Patch and I started up the 'main' fight for Y159 for us, so while I was down visiting my dad, I started up this scenario, which is loosely based on the original series episode "The Immunity Syndrome".

It's mostly an exercise in the lab and research rules. The ship needs to generate research points, and when it has enough, it rolls for a random method to win the scenario. Shuttles, probes, and special sensors can also aid in this (scouts and survey vessels have a fairly easy time with this scenario), and range to the monster matters for how much information is collected. In the meantime, the monster does damage to the ship by rolling on the same information table, but scores damage from it. It only does one point of damage to shuttles each turn, but it also has MCIDS, so they are unlikely to live at range 3 or closer.

This leads to some timing issues: You base information (/damage) off of your 'closest pass' during the turn, but don't resolve it until after the impulse sequence is over (which is natural, under the circumstances), meaning you have to record that info, and update it as the turn progresses. In this case, you also have to keep track of what shield the monster was on when you first hit that range, as that's where damage will be scored. The major question is at what point in the turn sequence is the damage done? If it's step 8C, Final Records Stage (when information from the labs is rolled, using the same table), then it happens after shield repairs are done (8A).

The minor (nitpicky and technical) question deals with what part of the impulse is range for information gathering determined in? A ship could tow a shuttle into range three, and then use the Special Landing Procedure to get it back out again (or just get it into the ship, which is also at range 3). Since MCIDS is in the Direct Fire Weapons chapter, it should fire at that point, and would get the shuttle out of harm's way before MCIDS fires (though it does specifically fire at anything about to hit it during the Movement step, so maybe MCIDS doesn't ever fire in 6D?). The only lab function that takes place during an impulse, identifying seeking weapons, happens in 6B4, which implies to me that range for information purposes might be best resolved then, which is before the shuttle shuts down as part of the landing procedure in Step 6B8.

A year ago, I was thinking of just going with Kzinti cruisers each year, and watching them upgrade. But currently I've been playing as Lyrans (I've got a Lyran squadron in the current fight, and should be playing as them against Mark soon), so I thought I'd get some time in on their CA. That may have been a mistake. It's a good combat cruiser, with a higher-than-normal BPV of 131 (reduced for being before ESG capacitors), but it only has two shuttles and four lab boxes, meaning it doesn't gain information particularly fast, but at least it has good shields. This meant that I needed 419 points from the labs instead of the normal 400.

Another wrinkle is that shield reinforcement doesn't work on damage from the amoeba, so the only way to resist shield damage is by using damage control to repair damage done. Finally, the entire scenario is on a timer, after 20 turns the amoeba splits, and information gathering has to start over on both of them. So retreating out of range for a while to repair shields isn't really an option either.

I initially approached at speed 18 to get close to the monster on the first turn, and then went speed 12 for the rest of the scenario, as that is a handy speed for managing shuttles (going faster than 12 makes it possible to kill your own shuttle once tractored, though good timing can still avoid that). The monster only goes speed 4, but moves completely randomly, meaning that it can be hard to get exactly the pass you want. With only two shuttles, and one of the possible solutions being a suicide shuttle, I flew them very conservatively to keep out of MCIDS range, and then played lots deck crew games to repair the shuttles in rotation.

By the end of turn 7, every shield had taken significant damage. #3 and #5 were nearly down, and were out of action for the rest of the scenario. A range 0 pass on the amoeba caused a 20-point hit on shield #1 while generating 40 points of information, and then I took the damage on #4 the next turn, which took out about half the shield, but only generated 4 points of information. In fact, the monster tended to roll slightly better on the table than I did for much of the scenario.

After that, I tried keeping to further passes, accepting slower information gathering (and trying to rely on the two poor shuttles more) while working the #2 and #6 shields, and concentrating repairs on them (and eventually all on #2 after a bad turn put it most of the way down, but #6 held out for a while). Turn 8 saw the use of the last probe (the fifth one being kept in reserve, as it is needed for one of the possible solutions), and I was getting worried about the time limit.

Eventually, another close pass (range 2, closer than intended) got a good roll, while doing minimal damage to shield #1 (8 out of the remaining 13), followed by two more good rolls got me to exactly the 419 points needed at the end of turn 16.

From gallery of Rindis
Log of information gathered during the scenario.

The roll for the solution... 3! Do 200 points of damage to the monster to destroy it! ...I was really glad to not get the 'try again after another 100 points of information'. Between the damage and timing, that probably would have been a loss. I had already done 34 points early in the game (up to 50 points are allowed without voiding one of the other results), and now I overloaded the disruptors, released the ESGs, and did a range 1 pass that did 154 points of damage and knocked my #6 shield down to two boxes. The next turn, I went back and at range 1 finished it off with a second volley. That also collapsed the #2 shield, and if the damage should happen before the repairs, took two internals (F Hull and an ESG).

I spent quite a while on this scenario, playing one or two turns at a time. Once through the initial setup, and done getting into the groove, it was fairly tedious, and too much of an accounting exercise to really enjoy. I should also note that the random movement of the monster also tended to be biased in direction '1'. Over the course of 18 turns, it moved from 2115 to 2001. There was a fair amount of wandering back and forth (it went 14 hexes in 18 turns at speed 4), but it did keep drifting to the top of the board, and it was happenstance that I didn't need to adjust things at the end. I don't even recommend this as a good way to get used to operating a ship, as there's too few demands on power. On the other hand, it is very good for getting used to maneuvering a ship, and possibly using shuttles more.
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Sun Dec 11, 2016 8:39 pm
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Y159

James Lowry
United States
Sunnyvale
California
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"Catching Hell" was the only scenario scheduled for Y159, so with that, our SFB group's 'clock' now goes to Y159.

Here's the summary of the year:

The Original Series: The 5-year mission of the original Star Trek series is considered to be Y155-Y160.

The Four Powers War: There's not a lot of detail available at this point, but the 4PW has already taken it's final form, with both alliances fully in the action. The Coalition generally has the advantage, and is pressing offensives forward.

And that's it. There's no scenarios set in this year, and there's no ships with a 159 "Date Available" entry. This is the last time this happens until the end of the timeline.

Now, that's not entirely true. There's a few ships with a Y159 "Year in Service", which is the date given in F&E when they truly first enter service. The SFB date is just when they're in 'squadron service', i.e., easily available. But, since this is an SFB group, I'm sticking with its internal dates for reporting.


With no 'historical' scenarios existing, it's not quite sure what we'll do. Most likely, at some point two of us will get together and do a Lyran vs. Kzinti points battle. We haven't really seen either lately, and the Lyrans have a couple classes (DNE and BCE) that go away after the war, so involving one of them would be nice.

On the other hand, Captain's Log #41 proposes a bunch of variants to T3 "The Lone Grey Wolf" (from Star Fleet Battles: Advanced Missions) one of which happens in Y160. I don't see any reason why it can't be shifted to Y159 instead, but it may be a bigger project than we want to do.

Once one of those has been done (and probably a solo session of SM2), we'll advance the clock to Y160.

In the meantime, if you're playing an SFB scenario that does not require later ships, consider explicitly setting it in Y159, and reporting what happened here!
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Sat Apr 16, 2016 5:52 pm
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SL254 Catching Hell

James Lowry
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Sunnyvale
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Patch and I recently finished off this Captain's Log scenario from the early Four Powers War that also serves as a bit of a sequel to the "Where Wisdom Fails" mini-campaign we played a year and a half ago.

It's still early in the 4PW (Y159) and wild reports have been circulating about the new Hydran weapon (the hellbore torpedo), and the high command wants one captured so that it can be studied.

"It was several weeks before a target of opportunity emerged. An F5 squadron was in position to intercept an inferior Hydran force that was believed to contain at least one ship armed with the new weapon. Fearing Hydran reinforcements if they waited for a battlecruiser (with copious transporters and marines) to join the fray, the F5 squadron commander decided to risk an attempt at capture."

The Klingons get an F5C and two F5s, while the Hydrans get a destroyer and a frigate/police ship with a random reinforcement a random number of turns later (1d6 per turn, shows up when the total reaches 13). An interesting twist is that while one of the ships will have a hellbore, the Hydran player gets to decide if the DD or the FF is the hellbore-armed ship, and the Klingon player doesn't find out what he's facing until after setup is done. The map is fixed until the Hydran reinforcement arrives, after which it goes to a floating map.

The Klingons need to capture the hellbore-armed ship for a victory, though they can still get a minor one by wiping out the Hydran force. The Hydrans treat this as a normal battle and just use normal points-based Modified Victory Conditions.

I went with the "historical" force of a Lancer DD (for the four Stinger-1s) and Cuirassier FF. Patch set up his force at the center top of the board, about as close as he could get to my setup area in the center. The LN was slightly forward and went speed 19 while the CU went speed 22. As the goal of the scenario, the CU was going to avoid direct contact as best as possible; besides, the hellbore is a good moderate range weapon compared to the point-blank fusions. The entire Klingon squadron went speed 17.

Maneuvering stayed fairly simple with me going straight and slipping out to maintain distance, while the Klingons maneuvered to my shield three and tried a volley of disruptors (one per ship) at range 12-14 on impulse 15 at the LN, with one hit. Shortly after that, I turned off for an eventual loop around to a pass on the opposite side from the starting position.

For turn 2, the LN slowed down to 13 to overload a fusion beam, while the Klingons boosted speed to 21, and the initial reinforcement roll was a '5'. On impulse 2, the LN launched all four of its Stinger-1s. I was wondering if Patch would try to get at the CU, but on Impulse 10, he turned in for a direct pass at the LN. On Impulse 13, the Klingons launched (what turned out to be Type-V) drones at range 3/4 from the LN. They then sideslipped out, and with ships going out of FA arc both sides opened fire.

I fired a fusion at the second F5, doing 1 damage at range 4, and the CU's hellbore hit to sandpaper it's shields as well as nearly bringing the #4 down. Meanwhile the F5C and F5-1 each fired two phasers and a disruptor at the LN at range 3, doing 27 damage on really good rolls (all but one phaser rolled a 1) and doing 8 internals through the #6 shield, getting all three bearing phasers.

From gallery of Rindis
Turn 2, impulses 1-13.

After that, the F5 squadron and the LN turned off, and the Stingers swept up the drones with phaser fire with some help from the LN's ph-Gs (which was when I found they where two space drones...).

For turn 3, the LN boosted speed to 20, while the CU maintained 22 and the Klingons maintained 21. The reinforcement roll was '1' for a total of 6.

My goal was to delay, since if I could hold out until the reinforcement came, it'd be 3 vs 3, but the fixed map interfered with that. Patch started turning back in at the top of the turn, while I was trying to get back around to be fighting off the right side, where the LN still had shields, and I had to be careful not to exit the board.

By Impulse 20 the range was 4 from the F5s to the LN and dropping rapidly. The F5C's ADD opened up on the slightly closer Stingers, missing the first time, but did 5 points vs St #1 on impulse 21. The F5C fired the disruptors and forward phasers at the LN doing 15 points to shield #2 with one disruptor and good phaser rolls, while F5-1 crippled St #3 with its forward phasers.

From gallery of Rindis
Turn 3, Impulses 1-21, showing positions on both 1 and 21.

On Impulse 22 another ADD missed, the disruptors on F5-1 both missed the LN, and F5-2 fired both disruptors against St #4, killing it with a pair of hits. On Impulse 23 the LN slipped closer while the Klingons started turning off to avoid range 1 to the RA ph-Gs. The gatlings got a couple good rolls and a lot of 5s and 6s to do 21 points to #2 of F5-2 (which, a hex further back, had not turned off yet), doing 5 internals.

Meanwhile all nine RX phasers hit the LN for 29 points on the #3 despite poor rolls (nothing better than '3') and a +1 shift against most of them to do 15 internals. This blew through most of the hull and took out a fusion beam (the one on cooldown), but thankfully missed hitting the phasers.

On Impulse 24 the LN turned the down shield away, and the F5C tractored it at range 2, while the squadron launched a wave of four Type-V drones. Both ships had a pseudo-speed of 10, and largely struggled against each other, drifting one hex in direction A over 5 impulses before the tractor was finally dropped. The CU got to range 1 of the drones on Impulse 29 and killed three of them with phasers while tractoring the fourth, and putting the last phaser into the F5C's #3 to ding it for 3. Patch dropped the tractor on Impulse 30, and managed to put 1 point on St #2 with another ADD on 31.

For turn 4, the CU dropped to speed 10 while overloading its hellbore torpedo and the LN dropped to 11 so it could recover the Stingers. The F5C maintained speed 21 and the two F5s slowed slightly to 19. The reinforcement roll was a '6' for a total of 12, guaranteeing that it would show up for turn 5.

The CU fired it's overloaded hellbore at F5-2 on impulse 1, knocking down the #4 and doing 10 internals through the down #2, getting one phaser, the drone rack and five power. On Impulse 2 the F5C killed St #3 with an ADD shot. The other Stingers made it to the LN's hex on 3 and landed aboard on 3 and 5.

From gallery of Rindis
Turn 3, Impulse 24, showing movement from 21 to Turn 4 Impulse 3. (Yep. Complicated.)

The F5s circled around to their left, while the F5C went right, putting the Hydrans bewtween them as the CU got itself turned around to rejoin the LN after its hellbore shot, downing the last drone on Impulse 13. The faster speed of the F5C allowed it to pass the LN and get on its down #6 while paralleling its course, putting 15 internals in on Impulse 20 knocking out the bulk of the power as the center warp engine took a bunch of hits.

The LN then turned towards the F5C and did 4 internals through the #3 shield with a decent range 2 fusion shot on Impulse 21. Meanwhile, the F5s opened up on the CU doing 8 points to the #3 shield with poor rolls on three phasers at range 3. On Impulse 22, F5-1 followed up with a disruptor but missed, and the CU dinged its shield #1 for 4 points with a phaser.

With everyone strung out in a line, the LN re-launched the Stingers on Impulse 23, after deck crews had managed to repair one point of damage on each. On Impulse 29, with the Stingers getting very close, the F5s split up, one chasing after the CU, and the other turning the opposite way to get a range 1 shot with the RX phasers at the Stingers, killing both of them two impulses before they were clear to fire.

On Impulse 31 F5-1 and the CU traded shots, with the CU doing 5 points to the #2 shield on a good roll, and the F5 exactly knocking down the CUs #5 with poor rolls on the RX phasers.

Post turn, the LN repaired a shield box on #3 and brought it's 360 ph-2 mount back on line. The reinforcement arrived, and turned out to be a large fusion-armed freighter. Worth a fair amount of BPV, a short-ranged ship wasn't what I really needed. (It's technically the second-worst roll, though Large Q-Ship would have been even slower, and I needed to move. I really needed the Lancer, pair of Hunters, or the Crusader to show up.)

The FA-L showed up 35 hexes in direction D from the ship furthest in that direction, which was the LN. It'd be worse if it had been one of the Klingon ships instead, but but it was going to be a long turn of trying to get everything together. The FA-L went nearly flat out at speed 23, charging one fusion beam, while the CU went to speed 19 and the LN limped along at 10. The F5C went 19 and F5-1 18, while F5-2 went a comparatively slow 14.

The CU took another shot at F5-1 on Impulse 2 to ding the #2 shield again. It then turned away from F5-1 to get a nearly down shield away from it, but F5-2 then hit with a range 6 disruptor shot to get 1 internal, which got a phaser. The CU turned back a few Impulses later, keeping the rear shield to F5-1, but by this point the F5C was angling in, and it hit with a disruptor on the down #3 on Impulse 13. The next Impulse, the forward ph-1s fired and did another 9 points on good rolls, knocking out the other right-side phaser and the 360 ph-G, and hit the Scanner (killing the only '0' box). On Impulse 15, the other disruptor fired, for another 4-point hit.

From gallery of Rindis
Turn 5, Impulse 15, showing movement from the start of the turn.

On Impulse 18 F5-1 flew by the LN, which emptied it's ph-Gs into it, getting 14 internals through the 12-point #2. This knocked out a little power, a phaser, and increased it's Scanner to 1. This may have been a mistake, as F5-1 then launched a drone at the LN on 20. I contemplated using the LN's suicide shuttle at the drone, but then remembered what would happen when the drone moved into the LN's hex before the either the LN or shuttle moved. So, I launched the shuttle at F5-1 before the bay could be destroyed.

The F5C fired on the shuttle on 21, but only did 3 points, not even crippling it. On Impulse 22, F5-1 slipped out to avoid the shuttle, and the LN took 10 internals through the #5 shield from the drone, which knocked out a fair amount of the warp engine, and reduced the sensors to 5. A follow-up shot from the F5C crippled the shuttle. On 25 F5-1 fired a disruptor at range 3, doing 4 internals through the CU's down #5.

On Impulse 32, the FA-L was finally getting into range, and tried a range 3 shot at the F5-C, doing no damage on a '6' with a +1 shift from EW. The Klingons and the FA-L all prepared for a turn 6 confrontation, with the FA-L overloading both fusion beams, a point of tractors, and went speed 11, while the Klingons all went speed 10. The LN turned off everything but the shields (only two were left) and went 9, while the CU maneuvered away at 16, after launching a shuttle on impulse 1.

The F5C fired an ADD at the CU's shuttle on impulse 2, crippling it, while F5-2 fired a disruptor at the CU and missed. On Impulse 3, F5-2 fired the second disruptor and hit the CU for 3 internals through the down #3, all power.

On Impulse 4, the F5C hit range 1 to the FA-L and both sides opened fire. The FA-L fired one phaser and one fusion, hoping for a range 0 shot later, and did 15 with a poor phaser and great fusion roll on the #1. The F5C's forward phasers and overloaded disruptors did 29 damage for 14 internals through the #6. The really bad news was that the FA-L's tractor beam was destroyed, which meant it would be unable to tractor the drone that the F5C had launched, and that the FA-L didn't dare go to range 0 (since it'd hit the drone).

From gallery of Rindis
Beginning of Turn 6, showing movement from Turn 5, Impulse 30, through Impulse 4 of 6.

On the other hand, the F5C then tried to tractor the FA-L, and the tractor energy I'd allocated allowed me to defeat the attempt. I fired the other in arc phaser (illegally, I'd forgotten the Impulse 32 shot from the previous session) and fusion for another 16 points, doing 5 internals.

The FA-L was still clearing its turn mode, so on Impulse 7, the F5C turned and put the RX phasers into it for 14 internals. On Impulse 8, F5-1 hit it with 2 overloaded disruptors and the forward phasers for another 30 internals. This eliminated all power of the FA-L and started getting cargo on Excess Damage hits (though we actually missed the 'Any Weapon' hits).

The one final act of the turn after that is that the CU and F5-2 did a pass, but the hellbore missed on a range 2 shot (12!), though it did 7 internals through #4 with the remaining phasers a few Impulses later.

We effectively called it after that. The CU had enough power left to disengage by acceleration at the end of turn 7, and running through things real fast for that turn showed that Patch couldn't do enough damage to prevent it. The FA-L was completely helpless, and we figured there'd be no problem taking out the LN, which couldn't disengage, and only had a couple ph-Gs.

I got a couple victory points for Patch's use of speed-12 drones, and I had gotten internals on all three Klingon ships. But, I hadn't crippled any of them, two of my ships were destroyed, and the CU disengaged for a total of 27.6 to 122.25, a Crushing Defeat.

On the other hand, Patch hadn't carried out his mission, so it was a Defeat for him too!

I think Patch stayed too cautious for this one. He had the firepower advantage, and should have been trying to swarm marines on the CU whenever he could. Turn 4 especially had a good moment for him, after I fired weapons, so lowering a shield wasn't a problem. He was worried about the odds on the combat, but the CU only has 6 boarding parties, and each of his ships had two transporters, so he could get to 4-6 odds with only two ships, and a repeat on the next turn would probably get him good odds. Also, engaging in some hit and runs would force me to divert boarding parties to guarding the hellbore instead of participating in combat.

My general plan went okay, but I found it too hard to keep my distance on the fixed map. Neither of us expected the FA-L to go down so hard. I'm keep having problems using Stingers properly (they keep just serving as target practice for Patch), though the second go round very nearly worked, and could have wrecked an F5. We really need to start using Erratic Maneuvers.
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Sat Apr 16, 2016 5:42 am
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SM1 The Planet Crusher

James Lowry
United States
Sunnyvale
California
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I've been thinking of doing a bit more SFB for a little bit. And then airjudden talked about having gone through all the monster scenarios from the Commander's rulebook some time ago, and posted a solo game against against a new one.

I've occasionally thought about trying some of the solo monster scenarios out. And with some vacation time available, he inspired me to go through with it.

This is part of my group's plays, so the date is Y158. Starting at the beginning, I went with SM1, which features a monster inspired by the episode "The Doomsday Machine" (but not nearly so tough). I've been wanting to get back to the Kzinti, and went with their main cruiser of the era, the Strike Cruiser. (The better CA and CC classes exist, but there's more CSs than CCs and CAs put together. The first BC will be converted from a CS in about two years.) This meant ignoring SM1.432, which states all drones are speed 20 (such technological marvels are a decade away).

Paying for Type II/V drones wasn't worth considering. With MCIDS swatting down up to three drones an impluse, speed 12 wasn't worth the 0.5 BPV per drone. (In general, I'd think speed 12 should be 0.25 instead of the same 0.5 of speed 20, but I suppose the idea is that ships are slower in this era.)

Speaking of slow ships, the CS only has 27 warp, limiting it to speed 28 (with the one point of impulse thrown in). And it only has two disruptors and two ph-1s; the main weapon is pretty much the drones, which I can't count on.

Starting to wonder if this was really a good idea, I looked over the details. You can't fire on the monster unless at range six or closer (there goes the idea of softening it up first). And it fires at range six or less, with no adjustments for range, and no effect from EW. At the top end, it does 35 damage—ouch! That's starting to look like a ph-4.

But the low end is only 10 damage... and it only fires once per turn. Since there's no reason not to go to point-blank range, the real primary weapon of the CS comes out: 10 ph-3s. And at speed 6, it's much slower than the CS. The robot rules move it towards the planet unless a ship is within two hexes, at which point it'll pursue that ship like a seeking weapon.

I pondered loading up on transporter bombs. It wouldn't be too hard to get the planet crusher to run over them, but the extra BPV cost would up the amount of damage I needed to do to defeat it. So I went no frills; just a stock CS with no commander's options. With a BPV of 116, the balance formula said I needed to do 186 damage to it, while I would lose if it did 200 damage to the planet it was headed for. I contemplated that if things went poorly, and I needed time, I could let it get to the planet, and chew on it for at least five turns. Assuming the inhabitants were non-Kzinti natives, this should be acceptable to the Hegemony—unless the natives were especially tasty.

With little to fear with a set up on the far side of the map (with the target planet at the upper middle; I went speed 23, charging phasers, fire control on, shields at minimum and no disruptors. I headed more-or-less straight at it, while it mostly headed straight up, with a couple hexes of direction B thrown in, ending at range 16.

I randomly rolled for all planet crusher movement that had two possibilities. One thing I'm not sure of is where in the movement order it goes. I judged it as a ship, so it went first, as I was always moving faster—except when it was in range two of me and 'pursuing' my ship, then it gets the 'no you go first' exception. It might make sense to rate it as a seeking weapon (targeted on the planet) at all times.

For turn 2, I put disruptors to standard loads, planning on overloading them off of battery unless I took a bad hit, put shields to full, and went speed 25. I immediately turned to heading F to get ahead of the planet crusher and came in, showing my #6 shield. We both moved on impulse 16 and hit range 5.

A '3' did 25 points on the 22-point shield. I spent one battery on reinforcement, planning on using the other 4 to overload the disruptors. Disaster! The two internals hit a phaser and disruptor! I took the left side disruptor and ph-1, since the next pass would certainly be off the right side.

I turned in, and on impulse 22, entered its hex. The planet crusher would have also moved, but in pursuit of my ship stayed where it was. I launched four drones and all forward-facing weapons.

Well, almost. I forgot about the two 360 ph-3s until I noticed my power wasn't balancing on the follow up shot.

MCIDS fired at the first three drones... and missed! My overloaded disruptor automatically hit at range 0 for 10, the ph-1 did 7, and the ph-3s did 15. The next impulse, the drones hit for another 48. The impulse after that, I finished my overrun and did another 21 points with the remaining 6xph-3.

101 damage and delayed the monster a hex. Not a bad turn's work.

From gallery of Rindis
Turn 2, showing Impulse 16, with movement from beginning to contact on impulse 22.

At the end of the turn, I was still at range 6, which meant I knew it would fire on impulse 1, and hit my #4 shield. I partially recharged phasers, overloaded the disruptor, recharged batteries, went speed 9 and put 8 extra power in the the shield. That would block anything but a '1', and the five batteries would stop that if needed.

A '5' did 15, putting 7 points on the shield. I turned around, executed a snap-turn (slip in one direction followed by a turn in the opposite direction, and then fired at range three on impulse 25 (which kept the weapons clear for turn 4...). The disruptor missed, but the bearing phasers did another 10 points of damage.

From gallery of Rindis
Positions at end of turn 2 and turn 3 impulse 25.

The planet crusher went in direction B for its next move allowing me to slip into range 2, and then get to range 1 on impulse 32. It moved into my hex for the end of the turn, where I launched a second set of drones, only to watch the MCIDS instantly kill three of them....

Wanting to be able to get back out of its seeking range, I went speed 13, overloading the disruptor, charging all phasers, and putting 8 onto #1 for the same plan as last time (it had been a stronger shield, until I dinged it with that overload on the first pass...).

The planet crusher did 20, putting 12 on the #1 shield, and I immediately added two more with feedback from an overloaded disruptor. That did 10, the ph-1 did 6 and the six bearing phasers did another 22. On impulse 3, I moved out of the hex and did another 15 with the rear ph-3s for a total 65 damage for the turn.

Sadly, while it followed me, it chose a direction that didn't lead away from the planet. I danced ahead of it a little, but finally got out of seeking range and paralleled its course until the end of the turn, where I turned in to get to range 2 off my shield #2.

I went with much the same plan as the last two turns, with speed 9 and 10 reinforcement on shield #2. The planet crusher rolled '6' to not even hurt the shield, and moved into it, doing another 40 damage with the right-side weapons.

Total, 216 damage. Creature destroyed.

From gallery of Rindis


It really is a pretty simple creature to deal with. Slightly random movement helps give it some more interest. I thought I was in trouble when those two internals took out important weapons, but the complete failure of MCIDS after that more than made up for it. The fact that it never rolled less than a '3' also helped a lot, but I was reasonably well prepared for that after the first pass.

I note that the rules state that the creature gets one shot per turn at each ship present (when it gets within six hexes), so I'd think taking a frigate squadron against it might be a pretty stiff challenge.
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Tue Dec 1, 2015 4:44 am
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Y158

James Lowry
United States
Sunnyvale
California
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Microbadge: Star Fleet Battles fanMicrobadge: Fascinating!Microbadge: Legendary Monthly Video Game Geek Review Contest winnerMicrobadge: KHAAAAAAANNNN!!!!!Microbadge: ASL fan
When my current group started playing Star Fleet Battles, the idea I came up with was to pick an early date, and then slowly play our way through the timeline to get a solid sense of how the ships changed over time.

The original date of Y135 (the Hydran Reconquest) was probably a bit too early. There's not a lot of interest that far back. (Scenarios are also somewhat rare, and we tend to prefer them to points battles, even if they are often not that well thought out.) Annoyingly, the dynamics of the group changed, cutting down on the amount of SFB we were playing, just as we were hitting some more interesting parts of the timeline. We've been 'stuck' in Y157 for some time now.

Anyway, "The Sally" was the last scenario I wanted to see from Y157, and our group is now 'officially' playing in Y158. Here's my summary of the year:

The Original Series: The 5-year mission of the original Star Trek series is considered to be Y155-Y160.

The Four Powers War: The Hydrans attacked the Lyran Empire late in the previous year, and early in this one the Klingons attack the Kzinti in the "Fourth Klingo-Kzinti War". The Hydrans have a treaty with the Kzinti, and attack the Klingon Empire in support of the Kzinti. The Lyrans (never needing an excuse to fight the Kzinti) attack the Kzinti Hegemony, citing their treaty with the Klingons.

Treaty of Smarba: The Treaty of Smarba is signed in this year, where the Klingon Empire provides technical assistance (and ships) to the Romulan Empire as a way of giving the Federation other worries.

Scenarios: I know of three scenarios set in this year:

SH4 (BS) Cruise Drones Klingon
SL254 (CL34) Catching Hell Hydran Klingon
SL294 (CL42) Operation Stabilize Lyran Hydran


SH4 Cruise Drones: This is a solo training scenario in Basic Set. ...I'm not going to bother with this one.

SL254 Catching Hell: This is an interesting looking Hydran vs Klingon scenario from Captain's Log #34; it's kind of a sequel to "Where Wisdom Fails".

SL294 Operation Stabilize: I didn't get the Captain's Log for this until after we'd 'moved on', but it looks interesting.

Naval developments:

Federation MS
Romulan SNS+ HK+ WB+
Tholians PDD+
Hydran CU CRU KN SRV SRG DG


Minesweeping: The use of mines/trasporter bombs seems to be getting slowly more common, with the Kzinti fielding the first dedicated minesweeper variant in Y152. Responding to a growing number of minefields along the Klingon and Romulan borders, the Federation starts converting CLs into MS this year.

Romulans: The Romulans use Klingon technology to start immediately refitting their main ship classes with phaser-1s in place of the short-range lasers, upgraded tractor beams, and transporters.

Tholians: The PDD was originally just a test of the concept of welding two small ships together to produce a larger one, but has now entered more general service. This year, improvements in welding techniques have allowed the Tholians to remove the shock penalties from the class (the 'shock refit' has no official designator; I'm calling it the PDD+), and start construction of CAs.

Hydrans: The new Hellbore Torpedo sees widespread deployment in the Cuirassier frigate, Knight destroyer, and Dragoon heavy cruiser. Also, the Crusader mixed-weapon frigate leader is deployed, which will eventually replace the older Saracen class. Finally, some of the Hydran Outrider survey ships are outfitted for combat by carrying extra fighters, or extra boarding parties and ground attack shuttles.


The current plan is to play "Catching Hell" at some point (probably me and Patch reprising our usual Hydran and Klingon roles) and then advance the clock to Y159.

In the meantime, if you're playing an SFB scenario that does not require later ships, consider explicitly setting it in Y158, and reporting what happened here!

Edit: Just discovered a new Tholian ship in CL40, and added a new scenario from CL42.
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Sun Jul 26, 2015 7:25 pm
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SH126 The Sally

James Lowry
United States
Sunnyvale
California
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Microbadge: Star Fleet Battles fanMicrobadge: Fascinating!Microbadge: Legendary Monthly Video Game Geek Review Contest winnerMicrobadge: KHAAAAAAANNNN!!!!!Microbadge: ASL fan
Patch and I decided to turn back to SFB a little while ago, finishing off a project that our group had been stuck on for a while (more on that in a bit). This particular scenario is the third of a set of three in S2 that has Klingons vs the LDR in Y157 (pre-gatlings).

"Captain Kruze had been watching the Hydran border for months, with no activity, when word reached him that the LDR had initiated hostilities. Kruze's frigate squadron was the northernmost on the Hydran border, and having just left the base at the angle where Klingon, LDR, and Hydran space conjoined, he was in excellent position to sally into LDR space. Kruze intended to raid LDR shipping and avoid a decisive engagement. He found what he thought was a convoy and moved to attack."

However, Kruze had found an LDR force of armed freighters (three small phaser-armed, and two large disruptor-armed) accompanied by two police ships. It doesn't look like much, but there's a lot of weapons in there. The Klingon squadron consists of an F5C, F5, and E4. Both sides cannot disengage at first, with the LDR only being able to disengage at all when both F-ALs are crippled or destroyed, and any Klingon ship only being able to disengage after being crippled.

I had the LDR and decided to load the POLs and F-ALs up on transporter bombs, and started each one with a suicide shuttle armed and ready to go (leaving the three shuttles on the F-ASs for point-defense and group protection if it should come down to that). I started with everything going speed 12, while the Klingons moved in at speed 19. I started in a pretty loose formation, and then tightened it up with sideslips, but Patch split off his F5C about halfway through the first turn. I turned for the larger group, as the F5C's shields are tougher. A little later, Patch hit with three out of four disruptors to nearly take down a shield on an F-AS (not bad at range 13 with a +1 shift!). The F5C followed up and got one point in (hull...). As he turned away, I volleyed all six disruptors at the E4 and nearly got shield 2 down on four hits. We both followed up with Ph-2 shots, but range and ECM were problems. The F-ASs finally got an internal on the E4 after firing all phasers, and got a lucky R Warp hit.

From gallery of Rindis
First pass.

For turn 2, the POLs picked up speed to 18, while the F-ASs slowed a bit to recharge phasers; meanwhile the Klingons dropped down to speed 15. This didn't go as I had thought. At first I continued pursuit of the F5/E4 group, while the F5C wavered between rejoining them and circling around to my rear. It ended up with my armed freighters more-or-less between the Klingons, and POLs had gotten much further out than I had anticipated (they were trying to get from the rear of the formation to just ahead of it in a pass I figured would happen around impulse 12 or so. They ended up charging at the lone F5C... with everyone else headed away.

I put everything back to speed 12 for turn three, while the F5 went 19, the E4 22, and the F5C maintained speed 15. Impulse 13 got busy as POL-1 and the F5C reached range one. I dropped a couple transporter bombs right beforehand (a few impulses later than I should have, I wanted to be clearing them as the pass happened). The F5C tractored the police ship and launched a drone, while both POLs launched shuttles. The POL nearly took down the front shield while the F5C did 5 internals with decent rolls. The next impulse, the drone hit through the down #1, leaving it with a single phaser and the disruptor.

From gallery of Rindis
Turn 3 movement, showing positions at about impulse 18.

The POLs launched their suicide shuttles, and the one from POL-1 traveled down the tractor beam to do 18 points to shield 1. The F5C dropped the tractor just as the F5 came up and put another 6 internals through POL-1's shield 5, taking out the last phaser. The F-ALs finally got turned around and put two disruptor shots into the rear shield of the F5 at range 10 on impulse 24. A couple impulses later, the F5s cracked shield 3 on POL-2 with the FX phasers, doing 6 internals.

For turn 4, the E4 dropped to speed 16, while the F5s stayed speed 15; POL-2 stayed speed 12, while the armed freighters dropped to 6. POL-1 also dropped to speed 6 and turned off fire control. On impulse 1, I volleyed the four disruptors of the F-ALs at the rear of the F5, and hit with 3 out of 4 for five internals, knocking out a disruptor and one power. Past that, we both circled around; I was using the earlier transporter bombs as a barrier to keep him from picking off the ends of the line while I tried to pull my ships back together (and was partly successful). Mostly, I was trying to get phasers recharged and give POL-1 a chance to patch itself up a little. Mid-turn, I added to the minefield just as Patch nearly took out a shield on F-AL 1 with a range 10-12 disruptor volley. F-AL 2 returned fire and exactly knocked down shield 2 on the E4 with good rolls. Patch then knocked out a shield on F-AL 2 with phasers as he hit range 8 before turning off.

The Klingons maintained speed on turn 5, while everything of mine went 9, except for the F-ALs, which went 8 (1/2 vs 1/3 movement cost...). The E4 had split off late in turn 4, and kept to about range 15 this turn as I continued around the TB barrier opposite of the two F5s. On impulse 22, the F5C was just headed out of arc when F-AL 1 hit with both disruptors, starting the process of knocking down the final intact front shield (#2). F-AL 2 couldn't swing around in time, and the F5C took out half of F-AS 1s #3 with phaser shots. Around this point, the E4 turned in from the bottom, and the F5s maneuvered for an approach run starting at the beginning of turn 6.

F-AL 2 boosted to speed 10 for turn 6, but otherwise my speeds stayed the same, and POL-1 turned fire control back on, while all the Klingons went speed 15. On impulse 5 Patch fired two disruptors at F-AS 1, hitting with one, and not quite going through shield 3. The next impulse, he followed up with another two (one overloaded) and thankfully missed with both. On impulse 7, he followed up with two phaser, exactly knocking down the shield (after spending a battery...), and I fired a pair of disruptors at the F5C, hitting with one on shield 2. Two impulses later, the F5 did four damage through the downed shield, knocking out a phaser and a power.

The E4 had finally turned in and headed for the rear of my chain, so the two POLs turned to intercept him. At that point, the E4 turned off, and towards the rest of the squadron. POL-2, being nearer, slipped into range 3, boosted ECCM to get a 0 shift and did 10 points to the #6 shield. Then the E4 turned in behind him on impulse 20 and did 14 internals through shield 5, despite missing with one disruptor at range 1. This crippled POL-2, eliminating 6 power, but only got one phaser. The rest of the turn was spent with the Klingons closing in on POL-2, including the E4 who manuevered to be in formation with the other two, and ended up at ranges 3-4 to it.

From gallery of Rindis
Turn 6, impulse 15; showing Klingon and POL movement from 1-20.

Seeing that POL-2 was about to get pounded, it turned off everything but the shields to run at speed 18, and hopefully end up somewhere safe at the end of the turn. The rest of my ships went speeds varying from 8 to 12, while the Klingons maintained speed 15. Patch decided that rather than destroying the fleeing ship, he needed to turn around and work on the rest of my force. On impulse 19 he volleyed four disruptors at F-AL 2, hitting with three, and nearly knocking down shield #2. The next impulse, he fired a ph-1 at F-AS 1, doing one hull after burning through the one-box shield and a battery. Late in the turn, I started clearing the bottom edge of the tranporter bombs, and turned towards the Klingons, who turned in towards me.

This was interesting, as waiting meant being under firing restrictions at the beginning of the next turn, but ranges were going to get very short <em>this</em> turn. Also, not only were the tranporter bombs right there, limiting maneuver, but there were three drones to deal with. F-AL 2 fired at range three before it could lose weapons, and missed with both disruptors. On impulse 30, we reached range 0 and the F-AL tractored a drone, F-AS 2 attempted to tractor the F5C (defeated, both of us burning batteries), and my three ships on the scene launched shuttles (including a suicide from F-AL 2). Patch fired two phasers at F-AL 2, doing 9 points to shield #1. I knocked down the other two drones, and fired four phasers at range 0 at the F5C, which did three points each, thanks to a +2 shift and no roll under a '5', barely managing to do three internals. The next impulse the suicide shuttle hit the F5C through the down shield, which got a phaser and a disruptor, and reduced the sensor rating to '5'. F-AS 2 followed up with another three internals from it's 360 phaser. On impulse 32 the E4 put two rear phasers into shield #5 on F-AL 2.

From gallery of Rindis
At the end of Turn 7.

For turn 8, the E4 accelerated to speed 18, while my ships largely charged weapons and went slow, with POL-2 turning on fire control and going 3, F-AL 1 overloading one disruptor while going 4, and F-AL 2 going 8, while the F-ASs stayed at 9. Patch launched a full complement of four drones on impulse 1 (thankfully not at range 0), and the F5 downfired phasers to cripple the remaining shuttles (he admitted to not thinking it through very well). On impulse 2, the E4 tractored F-AL 2 and the F5 tractored F-AS 3. (That was fun to figure out pseudo-speeds for....) Phaser fire only killed one of the drones.

The remaining three drones hit shields #5 and #6 of F-AS 3 on impulse 3, doing fifteen internals, leaving it with four warp power and no weapons. F-AL 2 fired at the E4, and got 5 internals through shield #4, but while I got a power and a phaser, I couldn't get at the tractor hit I was hoping for.

On impulse 5, the F5 sideslipped the tractored F-AS 3 into my own mines, which knocked down shields 2 & 3 despite an effective speed of 6. The F5 dropped the tractor as my F-AS 1 fired a phaser through the E4's down #6, getting another 2 power, but still no tractor. The next impulse, the E4 turned left, and drove F-AL 2 into a third mine, weakening shield #2, and destroying the tractored drone. The E4 dropped tractor. The F5C fired three phasers into F-AL 1, leaving it's shield #1 at two boxes. POL-2 fired a disruptor and phaser at the F5C as it went by, reducing shield #2 to four boxes.

On impulse 6, my shuttled opened fire, one each on the #4 shields of the F5 and E4 at range 1, while F-AL 1 put both of its disruptors into the E4 at range 2 on shield #2. The F5 took three internals, while both disruptors hit to do 11 to the E4, hitting a disruptor, most of the phasers, and crippling it. Impulse 7, and the F5 put a phaser into F-AL 1, nearly downing shield #3. Impulse 8, F-AL 1 responded with a ph-2 and ph-3 into the F5s down #4, doing 8 internals.

That was almost all of our weapons, and things were quiet while we tried to get our ships straightened out again. POL-1 tried a disruptor shot mid-turn, but missed. On impulse 24, F-AL 2 finally got turned around and fired it's two disruptors at the F5, doing 6 points to the #5. On impulse 28, the F5s started a turn back towards some of my scattered line, with the E4 following on 31, and my further ships turned to intercept.

From gallery of Rindis
Movement, impulses 8-32.

Patch's speeds dropped down to 9-10 for Turn 9, while mine continued to be low and all over the place, ranging from 6 to 9. On impulse 4, we hit range 4 and opened fire. The F5C missed with it's overloaded disruptor, but FA-L 2 hit with a standard one, doing 2 internals through the #6, knocking out the two boom phasers. The next impulse, the other disruptor hit for an other four internals. On impulse 8, the FA-Ls remaining in-arc phaser fired at range 3, doing three internals to finish off the RX phasers. On impulse 10, the F5 fired at range 2, missing with the disruptor again, but doing three internals through a seven-point shield with phasers.

And we called the game there. The F5C had no weapons left, the E4 wasn't much better, and the F5 wasn't going to carry the fight on it's own. We assumed I'd be able to cripple the F5 in short order (allowing it to disengage...) but that I wouldn't be able to prevent it from disengaging. Modified victory points gave the Klingons 102.7 VP (mostly for crippling the two POLs, but 24 points of TBs was probably excessive), and the LDR 118 VP, giving me a Marginal Victory at 115%.

Afterword:

The notes on this scenario describe it as 'interesting but tedious', and I can get behind that. This has the ability to drag out far longer than the nine turns it went for us, since it's not an easy fight for the Klingons. I did my best to lose it early, when I let my POLs get too far away from the big guns of the F-ALs. However, Patch never really concentrated fire on any one target for long, allowing me to keep the POLs in the fight after being crippled.

We're both concerned about balance, as the LDR has about the same firepower, and a lot more bulk. The Klingons certainly have the better ships, and I think they could have done better with their opportunities here.
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Sun Jul 26, 2015 1:17 am
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Where Wisdom Fails - Part 2: The Pursuit

James Lowry
United States
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[See Part 1.]

Patch and I did the second scenario of the UL2 mini-campaign this Tuesday.

I knew, going in, that this was going to be bad. It wasn't until I started looking at the DG again for repairs that I realized how bad.

The idea is that there are three Klingon ships available to counter the two-ship Hydran raid that assaulted their BATS. The raiding ships head their separate ways, trying to lose their pursuers, and the Klingons also split up. In the campaign structure, each Hydran ship goes through two follow-up scenarios, "The Pursuit" and "The Ambush" against either a D7 and F5 or a single D6.

In my case, only the Dragoon survived, so all three Klingon ships were present. As there is no time to visit a base, the only repairs allowed are the standard Continuous Damage Repair set, which on a cruiser is four boxes, and pulling out spare shuttles, which gave the DG its full complement of shuttles and a second fighter (there had been one recovered during the first scenario). And all shields are repaired, which was good, since the DG only had two left in decent shape.

I had already repaired one Warp box during the previous scenario, and so selected two more Center Warp and one of the hellbores for the rest of the CDC.

Because of the unbalancing caused by the newer base rules, I also did a round of Emergency Damage Repair as if I had done it on turn 0. There were only three labs left, so I eliminated the top '4' box on the DamCon track for chances to repair another C Warp, Ph #3 (FA+L) and another hellbore.

All three repairs succeeded, giving me 27 power (19 warp), two phasers and three hellbores. I had 10 turns to disengage by separation from all Klingon ships, which meant finding some way of slowing them down significantly.

The best I could manage was speed 14, arming all three hellbores and holding a suicide shuttle. The Klingons start 10-11 hexes behind the DG, and all went speed 22, putting up 1 ECM and one 1 ECCM.

I ran straight for a few impulses, and the D7 and F5 (which start on either side of the DG) started sideslipping in, and so I turned to the left, to bring the what I had to bear on the D7.

We both opened up at range three on impulse 11. The Klingons launched drones, and I launched the suicide shuttle. The D7 fired the five bearing phasers (mostly 5s and 6s), and hit with 3 disruptors, to do 7 internals through the #5. The DG fired both hellbores on that side, but one missed (again!) to seriously dent the weak #4 without actually bringing it down.

From gallery of Rindis
Impulse 11; too expensive, and no meaningful result.

I turned off after that, but I couldn't afford internals at all and lost 6 power, and the one bearing phaser in that exchange. I could have set up a longer range pass, but wanted the hellbores in the 15 damage bracket... not that it did me much good.

Patch took a couple of phaser shots to kill the shuttle before he reached it, and the D7 managed to get back onto the #5 shield to do another 3 internals (a '6' at range 3...) to knock out another power.

I then turned the other way to get the #5 away from him, and fire the third hellbore at the F5. I hadn't counted on the #3-5 shields being equal, so even with a hit, it didn't do much. I launched the two fighters at this point, since they had a chance of living until they could fire as long as he concentrated on the ship.

He managed to pick off one of the fighters while all the disruptors on the D6 and F5 fired on the DG with two hits at range 1 (!!) The D6 then tractored the DG and then fired bearing phasers, which rolled only slightly better and the disruptors to put 15 internals through the #4 shield. The F5 followed up several impulses later with the RX phasers for another 12.

At that point, I was down to four power, a FA ph-2 that had never been hit (never bore on anything...), a probe launcher I didn't have the power to arm, and two shuttles. We called it at the end of the turn for a Klingon Substantive Victory.

In the more 'normal' form (D7 & F5 vs a DG with about six internals) it should be a challenging scenario. The hellbores will punch through the weak rear shields fairly easily, so some lucky hits can definitely give the DG a real breather. Though its top speed is 28 (only 27 warp), so getting away from speedy Klingons is a problem.

We're going back to our usual ASL next, but hopefully we'll be playing SFB a little more regularly next year.
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Sat Dec 13, 2014 2:54 am
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