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Second Wind Coalition Turn 1

James Lowry
United States
Sunnyvale
California
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Well, not satisfied with one game slowly grinding forward, Belirahc and I have started a second full General War game. It is the second game, which means when it comes to a choice, we work on the original game first and let this one sit. (And it has done a fair amount of sitting while I work on the Vassal module.)

We've swapped sides, so now I get to show Bel how the Coalition offensive should be done... or embarrass myself trying. In addition, we're using the CO, AO, and FO rules for this one. I'll go into some of the extra toys available in another entry soon.

Along with other things Star Fleet Battles: Module R5 – Battleships introduced the "New Heavy Cruiser", a response to the fact that F&E was showing that by the middle of the General War, the major empires were going to be running out of heavy cruisers. While F&E isn't as centered on the CA as SFB is, they are still an important part of the fleet, being the biggest units that aren't commonly set aside as being the command element of a battle force.

The reason that this is so can be seen in my turn one Coalition builds. Including mothball activations, the Coalition has six new heavy cruiser-sized ships, but the number of actual heavy cruisers in service is technically lower than they started. Here's my first turn production:

Lyran: BC, TGC, 4xCW, 2xDW, DWS, 3xFF, MB, PDU, 2xKSP, CA->DN, 3FF->3DW
Klingon: D7C, TGA, D6M, 8xD5, D5S, F5L, 4xF5, [FV+E4A], E4, E4R, Activate 2xD6, 2xF5, 3xE4, D6->D6S, D6->D6D

The Lyrans only have one CA build slot per turn (which has been the subject of much moaning from Lyran fans over the years), and their need for tugs (thanks to needing to build a wide-ranging infrastructure, and the ability to use a large number of good tug pods and pallets) is not to be underestimated. Technically, a Cougar tug is just as good in combat as a regular CA, but a tug can't really be treated the same as a CA, because their flexibility will take them into other roles, and that makes them a valuable target if seen unprotected on the battleline. At the same time, an existing CA was converted to a dreadnought, a uniquely Lyran ability, which does allow them to start treating their heavy units as a way of constructing very dense lines, instead of task force leaders, but there is still plenty of things for extra command ships to do.

Meanwhile, the Klingons construct a command cruiser (fall turns only), two heavy cruisers (/battlecruisers), and activate two more D6s (for as long as the mothball reserves hold out). However, they have lots of different roles to turn these ships to. One CA is substituted to a TG, as there certainly aren't enough of them for my plans (though the LTT will help soon). The other is substituted to a mauler, which will be desperately needed to force ship kills on the fighter-heavy Alliance. One of the activations is converted to a scout, because the D6S is an excellent heavy scout, and the EW war is something that the early Alliance has trouble with, so I want to push that advantage as far as I can. The other D6 activated is converted to a D6D, the most versatile non-tug in the game. It can do drone bombardment, it can be the free scout, and it can go on the battleline and be just as effective as a regular D6, while also still contributing EW. (It should be mentioned that that last can be a good way to lose a D6D as an aggressive Alliance player will likely kill any D6Ds he can get at, though the scout self-defense bonus will make this slightly more expensive to do than killing a normal D6 as well.)

One of the major new rules in the game is Raids. Each power gets to put a small number of ships into a "Raid Pool" which each get to go behind enemy lines and attack single weak targets (like an unguarded FRD) or disrupt a province. The enemy gets to either react a nearby ship, or call up a free police ship to try to deal with it.

My two raids technically didn't get what they were going after, and I got a crippled BC to boot, but I did manage to kill a Kzinti BC that reacted to one of the raids. That is a nice result.

The first turn tends to be fairly boring. Some Coalition players don't even bother attacking, figuring that it just makes it easier for the Kzinti to do an effective counterstrike on their turn. Even with aggressive play, there's only three targets that can be taken down on the first turn, and the Kzinti will be able to defend them pretty well.

I went across the border and hit all three BATS. I didn't try anything fancy like pinning forces on the SB, or going after the fourth BATS in 1004 (on the Klingon border, but technically in range).

From gallery of Rindis


Combats:
0701: Lyran: crip CA, 2xCL; Kzinti: crip 2xBC
0703: Lyran: crip SC; Kzinti: dest EFF
0803: Lyran: crip 3xDW, DD; Kzinti: dest BATS

So I got one BATS and took more cripples than he did. Pretty much par for the course. I did take out a EFF with direct damage, and if I'd thought about it, I probably would have take out a second one in the third battle.
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Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:32 am
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R vs B Alliance Turn 6 in Review

James Lowry
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The Kzinti economy has stabilized at 60 EP. I seriously contemplated going for a DN this year, but 16 EP was just too much to sink into one ship. Instead I built a new CV group, a BC, 3 CMs, and repaired a full CV group as well as 4xBC, CC, CM and FF.

Economically, things have continued to go from bad to worse for the Hydrans. With my failure to be able to hit all of the blockading line, the Old Colonies were cut off from the capital. Total income was about the same as turn 5, but it was split between the capital and the off-map. This limited Hydran builds to RN, HR, CU (off-map) and a PDU on the capital. On the other hand, it meant I had a free hand to repair all the cripples that were piled up in the Old Colonies, and convert a captured D7 to Hydran technology.

For the Hydrans, the plan was simple: Hit as many targets of opportunity as possible, send the fleet in to 0416, and see if I could kill a tug or base before running out of fighters. The Kzinti contemplated something similar, but like last turn, ended up pinning a reserve on 1504 and hit another pair of Klingon border BATS.

From gallery of Rindis
Kzinti front.
From gallery of Rindis
Hydran front.

Combat:
1701: Klingon: dest D7
1307: Klingon: dest BATS, dest cripD5, cripF5, cripE4A captured
1302: SSC - Klingon retreat
1703: SSC - Klingon retreat
1602: SSC - Klingon retreat
1707: Klingon: dest BATS, F5
1504: Klingon: crip 3xD5; Lyran: crip CW; Kzinti: crip MEC, Z-D5
0117: Lyran: dest CW, DW
0118: Klingon: dest E4
0319: SSC - Hydran retreat
0416: Lyran: crip DN, BC; Klingon: crip 2xC8; Hydran: dest PAL
0417: Klingon: crip E4; Hydran: dest PAL

Things continue to go poorly for the Hydrans. Many of my attempts at 'gaming' Small Scale Combat on that front went awry, the worst case being ambushing a couple Lyran cripples in open space with a Paladin DN, and forgetting that he had plenty of spare Reserves to hit it with.

Worse than that gaffe, the Hydrans push at 0416 again had two rounds of bad rolls and ran out of fighters without getting past the approach battle. Not only that, but he killed the other PAL (a battle tug was in formation), leaving battle tugs as the only CR-10 ships in the Hydran navy. That is going to come back to haunt me.

The Kzinti did much better, with no dead ships and minimal cripples. In exchange they took down another two Klingon BATS, delayed repairs on a crippled D6V (driven off one of the BATS), and captured... an E4A.

That last will get turned in for EPs. If there's anything the Kzinti don't need, it's another 2-4 escort frigate. Now an F5E, on the other hand... that would be worth something. (In fact, if I ever manage to capture an F5, or Lyran DW it'll be converted to an escort; the Kzinti just don't get any good light escorts in the base game.)

The Hydrans have pulled back to protect the capital again, but the Kzinit have put a chunk of the navy on the starbase in 1704. It controls the on-map connection between the Kzinti and the Federation, and it is for the first time a legal target. He might force it, but with a Federation Reserve in range, I can make it hurt. On the other hand, a major push against the Hydrans may see the capital fall.

This is the end of Turn 6, and the end of the initial scenario, "The Wind". I believe Belirahc is going to do a review of the full six turns, but in the mean time, this is how the Victory Conditions break down (by my count, which is... mostly accurate. ):

For any level of victory, the Coaliation must:
A) have more total ships than the Alliance: 333 vs 191. Check.
B) have more total attack factors on those ships: 1909 vs 1223. Check.

For a Tactical victory:
A) the Alliance must have a total economy of 90 or less: 99 EP. X
B) the Coalition must destroy 20 Alliance Battle stations (SBs count as 3, and subtract out any Coalition ones destroyed): 17 BATS + 6 SB - 4 BATS + 1 BATS built in Kzinti space = 29. Check.

So he managed the overall check quite well, and killed enough bases (and qualified for a major victory there, which wants 25 BATS). The problem is the economy, which is a really tough one to manage. The Kzinti are currently managing 60 income on their own, and the Hydrans are already down to about their minimum without actually taking the capital. If he had managed his turn 4 push on the Kzinti capital better, I think he could have devastated more planets, but he really needed to devastate everything other than the capital itself (like he did in the Hydran capital). That would have barely gotten him the tactical victory.

A major victory requires getting the Alliance economy down to 75, which would seem to require actually taking one of the capitals. Possible, but not easy. "Historically", I believe the Hydran capital actually fell on Turn 7. ...which could still happen here. shake

And yes, we are continuing. Belirahc and I agreed to go as long as we can take it on this game, so keep watching for Coalition Turn 7 to show up soon. I'm pretty sure we won't see an invasion of the Federation, but it will be able to send the 4th Fleet in to help the Kzintis.
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Sun Dec 11, 2011 4:10 am
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R vs B Coalition Turn 6 in Review

James Lowry
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It is now Y171, which means the Lyrans finally get to start building carriers. I had forgotten that their limit is two per year, not one per turn, so I was a bit disconcerted when Belirac promptly built a CVL, and converted a second. At the same time, the Lyrans built a new PDU (stored) to replace the one I destroyed, and have started converting two MBs to BATS.

Klingon activity was more surprising. They canceled an entire F5 squadron as well as their 3 E4s, and substituted a TG-B for a D7. All of this helped them afford a D7V and FV group, as well as upgrading a MB to BATS, and using the upgrade method to get a second PDU on 1202.

I was expecting another turn of watching the Coalition pushing on my defenses, while I watch the Kzinti cripple pile mount ever higher. Well, I was in for a surprise.

This turned out to be the turn of repositioning and rest. Belirahc avoided precipitating any major battles in Kzinti space, since I had two good reserves there. In Hydran space, he drove to cut off the Old Colonies from the Capital, and I couldn't stop it because I couldn't keep a good line of ships all the way there with only one reserve. If I had thought to split it into a pair of small reserves, I could have done it. Lesson for next time: Always try to use all your reserve markers, even if everything fits into one; you may want the added flexibility.

It was gratifying to watch several large stacks of Coalition cripples retreating out of my space. It can be easy to forget just how much damage you're doing when you're trying to figure out how to make good your own damage.

From gallery of Rindis
Kzinti front.
From gallery of Rindis
Hydran front.

Combats:
0319: Hydran: dest CR
0119: Klingon: dest 2xE4
1702: Klingon: dest F5L

A lot of the new builds went to Hydran space, so I assume that's where most of his attention will be next turn. In the mean time, I'm going to have to see what I can do about his current round of base building.
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Sun Nov 20, 2011 10:03 pm
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R vs B Alliance Turn 5 in Review

James Lowry
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After the failures in my efforts to keep the Coalition from just disrupting everything in sight, it should be no surprise that income was down again. Kzinti income dropped another four EP from 63 to 59, while Hydran income dropped nine points to 40.

The Kzinti scrapped a Lyran DW that was captured in the Coalition portion of the turn to raise another 1.5 EP. Production was limited, consisting of a CV group, an extra MEC (to replace one lost last turn), BC, FF. Repairs were even more limited, adding up to less than last turn's. However, that repaired all the crippled escorts and a good number of regular ships, so the backlog is slightly better. I also repaired and converted a captured D5 to Kzinti technology. It would probably been better to wait until money was flowing in from the Federation, or the repair backlog is clear, as the conversion is not necessarily cheap (3 EP). But having it sit there for two turns has been bugging me, so that irritant is gone. If we were using the EW rules in Combined Operations, I would have sacrificed quite a bit to get it in service and converted to a D5S. A good heavy EW platform for the Alliance is worth quite a bit in the early going under those rules.

Meanwhile the Hydrans had even tougher decisions to make. Turn 5 is when the first Cavalier carrier is scheduled. Hydran carrier groups tend to be somewhat weak in ComPot, but they protect valuable fighter-carrying ships from harm. I wanted to build the CV, but with 10.5 fighter factors, it has a cost of 31 EP, slightly over 3/4 of the Hydran income. Free fighter factors reduce this to 19 EP, but that was still too much to be able to afford the escorts, much less more prosaic things like repairs. So I canceled the entire group, repaired a few things (pretty much everything with fighter factors), and built DG, 2xHR, and two PDUs on the homeworld.

Operationally, the main plan had been to visit the Lyran MB in 0902 and kill it before the conversion to a BATS completed. However, the arrival of three sets of tugs with PDU/MB pairs at 1001, 1202 and 1504, and four Klingon reserves in Kzinti space caused an entire re-think of the prospect.

From gallery of Rindis
Kzinti front
From gallery of Rindis
Hydran front

Combats:
1601: Klingon: dest F5
1507: Klingon: dest cripF5, cripE4, BATS; Kzinti: crip CL, FF
1506: Klingon: dest F5; Kzinti: capture planet
1303: Klingon: crip D5
1504: Klingon: dest 2xTGB, crip D7, 2xD6, 5xD5; Kzinti: dest DF, crip CV, CC, BC, MEC, 2xCLE, 2xEFF, FF
1202: Klingon: crip D6V, F5, 2xE4A; Kzinti: crip CC, DD, 2xFF
1302: (Fighting Retreat) Klingon: crip D7
0819: Klingon: dest E4
0419: Klingon: crip E4; both sides retreat to 0418
0418: Klingon: dest cripE4
0519: Klingon: dest 2xcripF5L, cripF5, F5
0416: Lyran: crip 2xBC, CC, 2xCA, CL, 2xDW dest TGC, 3xCW, 3xDW; Hydran: crip HR, dest HR, 2xLN, CR
0417: Lyran: crip DW; Hydran: dest crip HN

Things did not really go as planned. Mostly because the dice decided to be disagreeable and the Kzinti failed the initial approach battle at both of their major battles. The Hydrans rolled lower than the Lyrans in all four rounds at 0416 (and the pursuit), which forced them to expend the stored fighters of the FCP just to get that far. In all cases casualties were higher than hoped simply because of the trouble in getting to the target. To add insult to injury, I couldn't even roll the 3 or higher I needed to kill a lone D7 in a Fighting Retreat.

However, two Klingon and one Lyran tug are dead. He's only built four since the beginning of the game (after missing them the first turn, he's been building at the max rate of 1/year), so it will be much harder to pull this 'four simultaneous sets of bases at once' trick.

I had tried to distract the Klingon reserves by striking at Klingon space itself again, but he ignored it, letting me take out a BATS and (temporarily) capture the neutral zone planet. If I can keep doing that, he'll run out of BATS and become especially vulnerable to having the supply grid in Kzinti space disrupted....

And now, I sit tight and wait for the coming storm. I'm pretty certain that there won't be a turn 7 invasion of the Federation this game, so I'm presumably going to facing everything he can throw at me on the upcoming turn 6, and turn 7 after that will be worse. The Federation will interfere on Turn 7, but the 4th Fleet reserve won't be able get to the Kzinti capital....
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Sat Nov 12, 2011 4:34 pm
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Vassal Preview 4

James Lowry
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Okay, the new version of the F&E Vassal module has turned into quite an undertaking. For some reason, I've decided work through just about every idea I've had for the module and not gotten to, and put them in the upcoming 1.3.

With any luck I won't need to do this again for quite a while, because this is certainly the biggest update I've had in ages. Certainly, it has the longest feature list of any update I've done.

Anyway, last week I put in just about every legal heavy fighter carrier conversion outlined in (530.221), and not just the couple of 'common' ones that actual counters have been provided for.

Now, I'm redoing all the HDWs. I went with the AO route originally, just general counters with a box that marked what mode they're in, but not actually giving specific stats. That saved me a lot of effort, and since the module didn't give the combined total in the stack viewer at that point, it had minimal effect. Now, I'm providing a separate counter for each legal mode. I'm also putting in a sub-menu that allows quick switching between modes.

From gallery of Rindis
Who do you want to be today?

So, anyone who's waiting for the ISC War update, sorry for the delay, as all these extra things I'm doing are pushing back the release of that. The good news is the delay has given me time to notice a couple things hidden away in the rule book to put in the module, such as overlays for the new provinces the Romulans and Gorns annexed at the end of the General War.
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Tue Nov 8, 2011 5:10 am
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Strategic Manuevers - How would you start the General War?

Erich Vereen
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Leland
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Chess and bridge enthusiasts enjoy taking moments of their games and studying them to help them learn how to play better. Using only the information given them about their position in the game, they try to find the best moves to help them to win. F&E has a lot of similarities to both Chess and Bridge as it is a game of strategy and bluff. Knowing this, we can create situations and study them in order to better understand the game.

Here is the opening for a solo game I prepared. Please note, only Basic F&E units are being used for this example.

From gallery of belirahc


Fleets are as follows (Only those actually able to participate in the initial invasion are depicted)

Lyran
Gold Fang (0502) - BC, 2CW, 3CL, FF
Black Stripe (0504) - CA, 3CW, 2CK, FF, SC
Pelt Hunter (0705) - CC, 3CA, 2DD, FF
Red Claw (0404) - SC, TGC w/MB (Mission C)
Foremost (0707) - DN, CC, 3DW, SC
Silver Moon (0608) - 2CA, 3CW, 2CL, 2DD, FF
Apex (0608) - 2CA, 3CW, 2CL, 2DD, FF

Kzinti
Constable (0701) - [CV+CLE+CF], 3BC, DF
Count (0902) - [CVE+EFF], FF, SF, TGT w/2VP (Mission B)
2nd Reserve (0902) - [CVL+CLE+EFF], CC, CL
Duke (1003)- [CVE+EFF], CL, FF, SF, TGC w/2VP (Mission B)
Earl (1004) - [CV+CLE+CF], 3BC, DF
1st Reserve (1304) - [CVL+CLE+EFF], DN, CC


With the information above, how do you think the Lyrans should open aggressions against the Kzinti. Should the Kzinti have played their initial defenses differently? How could the addition of units from expansions help in the opening drive?

Feel free to discuss. I will post the outcome as played in a week.
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Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:56 pm
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R vs B Coalition Turn 5 in Review

James Lowry
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Microbadge: Star Fleet Battles fanMicrobadge: Fascinating!Microbadge: Legendary Monthly Video Game Geek Review Contest winnerMicrobadge: KHAAAAAAANNNN!!!!!Microbadge: ASL fan
Turn 5 is never pleasant for the Alliance. There's been plenty of time for the Coalition's material and economic superiority to be felt, and there's another two turns until the Federation gets involved, one way or another. However, last turn's twin capital assaults did a lot of damage... to the Coalition fleets, and it was possible I was looking at a respite because of that.

The relatively low number of things to spend EPs on means Belirahc is still trying to find things to do with the Lyran economy. The Lyrans overbuilt another 3 DWs this turn (they also overbuilt 3 on turn 3), and he's finally taking the Lyran ability to convert catamaran to trimaran ships seriously. He also accelerated next turn's CA, which leaves me wondering what he'll do next turn....

The Lyran mobile base in 0902 is now set up, which finally puts most of Kzinti space in supply range of Lyran units. He immediately paid to upgrade it to a BATS, and paid for two PDUs. From our conversations, he's obviously planning on handing planet 1001 over to the Lyrans and setting up the PDU there.

Meanwhile Klingon production is fairly boring, other than the fact that they built three PDUs of their own.

Movement concentrated entirely in the Hydran theater at first, before switching over to Kzinti space. Not entirely sure of his intentions, I mostly stayed on the capital, with only minimal defenders on the two remaining starbases. While he didn't go for the capital, he is pressing into the backfield, and the link between the Old Colonies and the capital, which I did my best to defend against. He also gave me a couple of small opportunities. A stack of crippled Lyrans passed back out of Hydran space, and I pinned one with the fighters of a BATS they were passing near. After everything else was committed, he moved a Lyran DD into 0816, possibly meaning for the Lyrans, instead of the Klingons, to claim the province. I detached a RN from the captial to squash that.

Kzinti space got very messy as he finally started trying to disrupt the provinces that he was unlikely to be able to control (such as the one the Kzinti capital is in), and tried to cut off the Marquis area from the main grid. This was a problem for me, as I didn't have much in the Barony to react with, and some of the action was out of range of the capital, leaving me to dole out ships from the fleet sitting on the major planet in 1502. By the ending parts of movement, I was surprised when he actually sent Lyran and Klingon forces into the capital, I had managed to convince myself that this going to be a purely regrouping turn.

From gallery of Rindis
Kzinti front
From gallery of Rindis
Hydran front

Combats:
0114: Hydran: dest BATS; Lyran: crip DD, 2xFF
0315: Hydran: dest BATS; Klingon: dest 2xE4
0515: Hydran: dest BATS; Klingon: crip F5
0714: Hydran: dest BATS; Klingon: dest F5
1303: Kzinti: crip CL
0415: Hydran: fighters (independent squadron); Lyrans: dest cripFF
0816: Lyran: dest DD
1701: SSC; both sides retreat.
0117: SSC; Hydran retreat.
0215: Hydran: dest SB; Lyran: crip STT, 3xCW, CL, DW
0519: Hydran: 2 PDU, crip AH; Klingon: crip 2xF5L, 2xF5, capture planet
0716: Hydran: dest HR, SB ; Klingon: crip D6, 5xD5, dest 2xD5
0319: Lyran: dest CW, DW
0718: Hydran: crip HR, 2xTR, dest HN; Klingon: crip E4, E4A, dest 2xD7, D6, dest E4
1301: Kzinti: dest CLE, EFF; Klingon: dest D5, F5L
1702: Klingon: crip 2xF5
1601: Kzinti: crip BC; Klingon: crip F5
1502: Kzinti: crip CM, dest 3xPDU; Klingon: crip D6M, D5, dest 3xD7, 2xD5
1401: Kzinti: Kzintai: FRD; Keevarsh II: 2xPDU, devastated; Vielsalm II 2xPDU; crip MEC, dest CL, capture DW; Lyran: crip CW, dest CA, 2xCL, 2xDW, DWS, DD, 3xFF; Klingon: crip D7C, D5, E4A

Overall, things went well on the Hydran front—if you can call losing most of the fixed defenses on the cheap 'going well'. The biggest problem is that I didn't have enough to keep the Klingons from taking 0519, which makes the connection between the Old Colonies and the capital tenuous at best. At the moment, it is intact, but something is going to have to be done.

Kzinti space was a real mixed bag. I wasn't able to keep him from disrupting every province on the board (other than 1801, which he can't go into), but the connection between the Marquis area and the main grid (via the Barony) is intact. He managed to kill an FRD (oops) and devastate another planet, while knocking the defenses off yet another, but the cost in ships is high, and he's already not doing too well in that department.

Belirahc still needs to figure out his carrier doctrine. He's using them, but often he's not taking damage on the fighters. Certainly, he has no reloads available most of the time, which means once the fighters are gone, the carriers are not of much use. However, with the current escorts, the ComPot density of the groups are low enough that the only real point of the carriers is to absorb damage and not need repairs afterward.

During retrograde, I'm gratified to see a nice backlog of cripples moving back to Coalition space, but this turn has pointed up that I need to do something about my backlog as well. Outside of carrier groups, the Kzintis do not have very many intact ships left.

Belirahc is getting quite serious about holding the space he has taken. The Lyrans are now setting up a MB and a PDU at 0416, and are also setting up a MB at 1001. Meanwhile the Klingons are setting up a PDU and MB each at 1202 and 1504.

At the moment, most new Lyran forces are headed for Hydran space, while Klingon builds are going to Kzinti space. It will be interesting to see what he does next turn, because if he wants to do a Turn 7 invasion of the Federation (which I'm guessing is unlikely), a lot of ships may need to pull out of other areas.
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Sun Oct 9, 2011 8:49 pm
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Vassal Preview 3

James Lowry
United States
Sunnyvale
California
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Well, when I put the mini-battle boards into the capital charts, I knew I was going to be re-doing the regular battle boards. First, there was actually a new feature to put in (the slot for plus and minus points), and then I wanted to update the look to match the much nicer style I'd achieved by starting with CorelDraw instead of PhotoShop. I think it's much nicer looking:
From gallery of Rindis


However, that left the 'Charts' the boards where the module lets you keep track of the Raid Pool, available tug pods, the Depot, and other limited items as the last bit of pure-PhotoShop graphics. While they aren't bad, they were starting to look out of step with the rest of the module. So, I've decided to re-do those too.

:sigh:

I'm still working out just how I want the new ones to look, but I think this is pretty much it:
From gallery of Rindis


As always, I'm interested in hearing opinions and advice.
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Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:31 pm
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Vassal Preview 2

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
All right, things are moving along, graphically speaking, and here's a completed version of the new capital form:
From gallery of Rindis


I'm definitely interested in hearing any feedback on this version before I release the new module.
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Sun Sep 4, 2011 2:15 am
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ISC War and other things

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
Just a few notes and a preview:

I finally got my copy of ISC War a couple weeks back. I haven't gone through it with a fine tooth comb yet, but it looks pretty good. And pretty massive, with six sheets of counters, it is the biggest F&E expansion yet.

One of the sheets was actually printed six years ago, when there was a spare slot on one of the single-sided runs. So, it is of the 'old style' with fewer counters per sheet, while the other five (actually, five copies of the same sheet) have the current, 'denser' layout, and use the newer white core counters that most MMP products have moved to. There's also several cardstock reference cards, including the ISC Capital Chart, a new econ form, and several fleet and battle line setup cards.

There's actually only four new rules in the product, which surprised me. One of them, Tactical Reserves, is a general use rule for kind of 'local reserves' that can be used by any power in the post-General War period (though the ISC gets it first).

There's notes (but nothing else) on how the ISC could be (ahistorically) integrated into the General War, and a mini-scenario that would have the Romulans and Gorns trying to keep the ISC from establishing their outer ring of bases while the General War gets going on the other side of the map (the combat damage that results could unbalance the rest of the war though). But the bulk of the rule book (25 pages!) is taken up with the Pacification Scenario, broken down into smaller areas for each border they tried to drive their wedge into. It's longer than the actual Pacification, since it is assumed for this version that it is not interrupted by the Andromedans.

I also blew a bunch of money on other things by ADB while I was at it. I got Module R11: Support Ships, which was also surprisingly thick. (96-page SSD book, instead of the more common 80.) In general, there's nothing really "exciting" in this one, but it still has some neat stuff, and there are a number of interesting short essays talking about several general ship types; a real boon to anyone interested in the background of the Star Fleet Universe.

And I got Captain's Log #36. (Yes, I am a few years behind on my collection, why do you ask?) It's a fairly standard issue, fiction, new ships, scenarios, and so on. Nick Blank has another set of great deckplans, this time for the Romulan Snipe frigate.

And now, a preview:

The next version of the F&E Vassal module is under way. I've re-done a bunch of stuff in the ISC extension to match the published version. Now I'm starting to tackle a complete rework of the capital charts. The idea is to only need those during a capital assault without recourse to the main battle mat or fleet boxes. Here's a work-in-progress preview (the full version would have another three systems):

From gallery of Rindis

The idea is to have the two battle lines in miniaturized forms right with each system display. Some of the 'bonus' slots will need stacking multiple units on occasion. I plan on making some 'tokens' that can be dropped on the defending fleet to mark if they come from the static or mobile forces. (Similar ones will be done to mark ISC Core Ships on the normal form.)

I'm still working out the color scheme and main layout, and any comments on that will be appreciated. I was originally planning for the Mobile and Attacking force boxes to go at the bottom of the form, below all the system displays. I'm wondering if maybe they should go above the systems. It would be much handier during an assault, though it would get in the way of day-to-day tracking of bases and facilities in the capitial hex.
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Sat Sep 3, 2011 4:42 am
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