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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Q: What does it take to have a great campaign?

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
A: Two (or more) dedicated players.

For many people, tactical games eventually conjure the dream of a campaign game. A kind of "super" tactical game where the consequences of one fight are seen in further fights. ASL has long had a good answer to this dream in it's various HASL modules.

Star Fleet Battles has a number of small campaign games. I have yet to try any of them, though some are certainly interesting. But, to the point of this post, there are some very good campaigns that have extensive AARs posted over on the ADB forums, that I recommend looking at, if you have a good amount of time to spare.

The first is "The Day of the Eagle comes early", it's a modified version of the Admiral's Game from Advanced Missions played between two good players, and obviously good friends, Jeremy Gray and Dale McKee. At first they were farming battles out to other people, but now they fly every one themselves—when they have time, which has been short lately. There's still a lot of good fighting reported in those archives.

Much of the reason they're busy is the other campaign game: "The Farthest Stars Campaign", Dale is running this campaign, and Jeremy is playing the Tholians. This one has several 'admirals', each running one empire, and battles are farmed out with the expectation that players will report in as to what's happening. Lots of interesting reading in that one too.

Both campaigns use a concept from the SFB Campaign Designer's Handbook: Flexible command rating. The idea is similar to the 'command rating' introduced in F&E and used in the normal SFB S8.0 rules: You declare one ship the flagship, and the rest of your fleet is limited to what it can command. However the 'flexible' system tries to encourage the use of smaller ships by making them 'cost' less. In addition, both of these campaigns use lower flagship values, so that a 'full fleet' is around 5-6 ships instead of 10-12, making the fights much more manageable.

And while I'm on the subject, I'll point out there's a long tradition of posting reports on F&E games at the ADB forum. Some of them don't get a lot of reporting, but just stick to the higher post counts in the Active Scenarios folder, and you'll find some war stories worth reading.

(Note that all these links don't give the normal view of the forum, you're missing a left panel where all the login controls are kept, but you can't direct link anywhere and keep that window. )
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Thu Mar 3, 2011 7:32 pm
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SH124: Kroal's Illegitimate War - Part 1

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
A little under a year ago, I played this 'historical' SFB scenario with my two main gaming buddies. I was playing the Klingon force, and Mark and Patch had the defending forces. It didn't go so well for them.

In the aftermath of that, I actually started a solo play of the scenario based off of my thoughts about the defense, and adding some suggestions in the thread, to see just how differently things would go. I never finished it, but this seems like a good opportunity to pick it up again.

[For the rest of this post, I'm assuming you've read the AAR of the original play, or are otherwise familiar with the scenario.]

The main points were for all the defending LDR ships to buy as many T-bombs as possible, and construct an 'instant minefield' around the planet. The ships themselves would stay parked near the planet, offering a stubborn close-in defense. The base would activate some impulse as APR on all three Orions, so that they were no longer sucking down power just to get the shields up, and then start concentrating on the first LR.

The Klingon tactics were the same as before, but with an actual pre-plotted bombardment in place, and programming for if the target is not immediately found.

The Klingons entered from the bottom right corner, just as in the previous game, with the F5 squadron going 16, and the E4s at 15. This puts them near the planet at the end of the turn, ready to charge fully loaded for a overrun. The LDR freighters and POL sit and TAC. The CivBS blows the majority of its batteries to help generate 21 repair points, activating 4 impulse as APR (2 on the CR, 1 each on the LRs—they will all power their own shields on turn 2), and starting activation of a Damage Control Box on LR-1 (taking a chance on the only '4' box; 12 points needed). If that can be activated (with a maximum of 5 repair per on a box per turn, that's three turns) then the LR can start activating its own systems, however slowly. The first wave of drones started on the south edge, moving up directly towards where the base would be after orbiting at the end of the turn (though at speed-12, they'd still be three hexes short of that point), and programmed to look for the armed freighters.

The defenders dropped various shields on the first impulse and put up an arc of transporter bombs halfway around the planet at range 3-4 (out of explosion range of ships and base in orbit). The problem here is that there's just not enough TBs to go around. Some decoys need to be put into the mix.

During the mid-turn the Klingons start side-slipping around. The E4s are going slower, but it's been decided to put the E4J in front to clear the minefield—the hard way. On impulse 30, the drones reach the mines, and are immediately lost in a detonation. The F-AL transports a replacement mine out, and TACs the down shield away from the approaching Klingons.

From gallery of Rindis

Situation at the end of turn 1. The F-AL is in the same hex as the CivBS, underneath all the Orion ships.

For turn 2, the LDR stayed parked, the CivBS turned on the ECM, and trickling power back into the batteries, and only powering 5 repair to continue work on the LR's DamCon. The Klingons announced speed 14 for the F5s, 15 for the E4Is, and 18 for the E4J. The second wave of drones enters at the same spot as the first, but is programmed for the CivBS.

With transporters available again, the ground base starts transporting Orion crew units up to the CivBS for transfer to the ships, and more transporter bombs are put out—directly in the Klingon's path. This causes a change in plans, and on impulse 3, the Klingons start turning to direction A, away from the direct path to where the CivBS's orbit is taking it, and trying to get to the upper flank of the minefield.

On impulse 8 the E4J makes contact with the minefield, but the TB does not detonate. (And the annoyance of solo play is that I knew perfectly well why, even as the Klingons wondered, I wondered if I'd subconsciously set this up.) On impulse 9, the F-AL transported another TB in the path of the the Klingons. On impulse 10, the Klingons, not wanting to take an even longer road around,turned in with the F5P and moved the F5Is adjacent on a different facing. M1 still refused to detonate (it could have done a lot of damage right there). On impulse 11 the E4J moved further into the minefield, but the new M10 did not detonate either.

From gallery of Rindis

No boom today?

The E4J launches a drone (due to move on the next impulse). On impulse 12 the F5P and one F5I move onto M1 while the other F5I continues north, and the drone moves forward. Neither M1 or M10 detonate. F-AS-2 fires on the drone at range one and destroys it. On impulse 13 the E4s move. On impulse 14 F5I-1 continues north, skirting the minefield with the two E4Is. The other F5I and the F5P move forward.

And M10, reaching its count of 2 Size Class 4 (frigate) objects, detonates.

To be continued...
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Wed Mar 2, 2011 7:30 am
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Welcome!

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
Yes, it's another new blog using the new blog feature of BGG/Geekdo. The idea for this one was actually spawned by the excellent OCS blog that started up a couple weeks ago.

Right now, I'm (at long last) involved in an active PBeM game of Federation & Empire, so that is one of the things that occurred to me as blog subject. But even as expansive as that game is, it seemed a little limiting. So this blog is about the Star Fleet Universe background as a whole, with all the games that share this background in whole or in part being fair game as subjects for this blog.

That's a lot of games; four board games, a couple card games that I don't know much about, supplements in multiple RPG systems (as well as the original system developed for it), and a line of computer games, as well as an on-line client for the main two board games. And then there's the background data itself to talk about.

I can't do it all alone, and wouldn't want to if I could: if you're interested in contributing to the blog, get in touch, and I'll get you set up. I just ask for enthusiasm and love of the subject(s).

"We come in peace; shoot to kill."
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Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:04 pm
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