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Subject: Turn 1 & The Battle For Jewell rss

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Kris Miller
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For the Tactics-0 club's ninth anniversary we decided to play Fifth Frontier War again. Glenn and I paired off for a game.

This game does take a while to play, but we slowed things up further by celebrating the club's ninth anniversary and improving on some of our play aids for the game. So, we only got one turn in today, with plans to finish up at a later club meet.

One important feature of this game is that fleets use pre-plotted movement. They must plan their movement a number of turns in advance equal to their admiral's Planning factor.

Setup
We both drew the usual mix of admirals, including one Planning-0 admiral per side. (Planning-0 means you can move that admiral's fleet freely without pre-plotted movement.) These fleets make good "raider" or "rapid response" fleets. Glenn set his raider fleet up on Efate within reach of several of my systems. I set my raider fleet up on Farreach with an eye towards striking into the rear areas of the Imperium.

Zhodani Set Up
The two Sword Worlds fleets take most of the first turn getting organized. Not much set up here.

I organized the two Vargr Fleets into a conquest fleet and a raider fleet. This raider fleet had a Planning-2 admiral and was composed of entirely cruiser squadrons (CruRons).

For the main Zhodani effort, I organized the remaining six fleets into:
-1 defense fleet (in case Glenn's raider made a strike against Zhodani space).
-3 strike fleets made of CruRons but requiring one or two turns of pre-plotting.
-2 assault fleets made of battleship squadrons (BatRons) and assault carriers (AssaultRons). Their job was to conduct the big planetary invasions. Their admirals might have higher Planning numbers, but since they know where their targets are pre-planned movement is not a problem.

Imperial Set Up
Glenn is playing the Imperials so I can only speculate as to his set up.

He set up most of his scout squadrons (ScoutRons) at the Imperial scout base in neutral territory. I suspect he is going to use them to strike into Zhodani space to soften it up for the late-game Imperial counterattack. While they can't conduct ship-to-ship combat, they can bombard planetary defense forces (PDF) and system defense boats (SDB). Scouts don't have to pre-plot movement so they can move freely, forcing a pursuing admiral to try and guess where they will be in the future and tying up a fleet to hunt them down. I may have to bring my raider fleet over to deal with them.

Glenn didn't have much else to set up. What fleets he did have he kept in the core of Imperial space. It's clear he is going to trade space for time and save his resources until his reinforcements show up in turn 6.

Turn 1
Glenn was surprised when my raider went after a system instead of coming after his raider fleet at Efate. This allowed his raider fleet to load up troops and head for Vargr space. I pointed out the Efate system had too many system defense boats and I would have taken heavy losses. My raider struck at Lysen.

Here are the rather one sided battles this turn:

Battle for Lysen
The 40th Fleet(raider) quickly dispatched any defenders in space, bombed the PDF and landed a regiment to capture Lysen. No problem.

Raid on Quar
The 28th Fleet(strike) jumped into the Quar system and destroyed all SDBs there. This left the planet defenseless but I didn't have any troops on board to occupy this neutral planet. Doh! The 35th Fleet(assault), which is also attacking into neutral territory will have to stop there now.

Pacification of Ruby
A strike fleet made a quick stop at this vacuum world to leave behind a single CruRon. Having ships in orbit above the domed colony is enough to keep them in line.

"Battle" For Frond
The 35th(Assault) stopped at this undefended world on its way deeper into neutral territory. The Sheyou Colonial Brigade occupied the planet and made use of the local recreational facilities.

Coup at Emerald
Several Zhodani Scoutrons bombarded Emerald in an attempt to wipe out the PDF so that Zhodani sympathizers (Ine Givar geurillas) could take over the government. This low intensity effort was not successful this turn.

Battle for Mongo
The 68th(Strike) initiated bombardment of Mongo. The PDF was reduced to 80% strength.

Battle for Dentus
A Vargr fleet inflicted almost 80% losses against Imperial units stationed on Dentus. They anticipate pacification of the world next turn.

Sword Worlds
The Sword Worlds fleets organized this turn.

Battle for Jewell
The 67th(Strike) and the 65th(Assault) fleets jumped into Jewell system this turn. SDBs took 80% damage. Imperial ground troops and PDF were wiped out, but the 4th & 5th Guards (psionic troops) took 80% losses. The world is occupied and the system should be pacified next turn when the remaining SDBs are wiped out. (For a whopping 24 victory points! This is the jewel of the sector.)

End of Turn 1
We broke for dinner after finishing Turn 1.

I made a few mistakes but nothing too serious. My invasion may be a bit slower and more cautious than is recommended. This will either hurt me later in the game or give me more fighting capability as I'm protecting my resources. Glenn is obviously moving to pacify the Vargr worlds but I left one of them well defended. (It's worth 15 VP for him to conquer all of them.)

Zhodani: 15 VPs, Imperial: 0 VPs

Lessons Learned
-Plan carefully for which strike fleets should carry a small contingent of troops. Be aware of when an opportunity to capture an undefended world might arise.
-As the Zhodani there is a good balance between speed and saving your resources for later in the game. I'm not yet sure what that balance is.
-The Imperium must protect its assets and trade space for time until its reinforcements arrive in turn 6.

Stay Tuned
Glenn and I recorded all game information and will continue on Saturday, 6 December 2008 at our next Tactics-0 meet. The club will be playing other sci-fi boardgames also. If you are in the San Jose, California area and interested send me a geekmail and maybe stop by the meet this Saturday.

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Glenn Goffin
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I'm Glenn, defending the Third Imperium. We played again yesterday at Game Kastle, and got to the end of Turn 5, and plan to continue at a future meet. Below are my comments to Kris's report, reflecting events up to the end of Turn 5.

>Imperial Set Up
>Glenn is playing the Imperials so I can only speculate as to his set up.
>
>He set up most of his scout squadrons (ScoutRons) at the Imperial scout base in neutral territory. I >suspect he is going to use them to strike into Zhodani space to soften it up for the late-game Imperial >counterattack. While they can't conduct ship-to-ship combat, they can bombard planetary defense forces
>(PDF) and system defense boats (SDB). Scouts don't have to pre-plot movement so they can move freely, >forcing a pursuing admiral to try and guess where they will be in the future and tying up a fleet to hunt >them down. I may have to bring my raider fleet over to deal with them.

My intention was indeed to get my jump-2 SRs into Zhodani space, but Kris's raider fleet and two larger fleets moved into the DMZ, blocking them. They disengaged from two attacks by the raider fleet, with no damage. In both disengagements, they withdrew toward the Imperium. The Zhodani were able to destroy a couple of squadrons. Mainly, though, the Scouts kept the attention of the raider fleet on them and off of the Imperial raider fleet at Denotam.

I had put a jump-3 SR and a jump-4 SR at Lanth for the purpose of causing trouble in the Sword Worlds. These two squadrons are now heading across the rift to assist the Imperial raider fleet in Querion subsector. The jump-2 SRs will have to make their way rimward to attack the Sword Worlds.

>Glenn didn't have much else to set up. What fleets he did have he kept in the core of Imperial space. It's >clear he is going to trade space for time and save his resources until his reinforcements show up in turn >6.

This is exactly what I'm doing. I set up a fleet at Equus with that system's colonial squadron and my two worst admirals. That fleet is going to the Rimward Forces Box, where it will reorganize with all of the colonial reinforcments and head out, either to meet the Zhodani if they're doing well, or to crush the Sword Worlders if the Zhodani are not moving fast. I'm moving whatever ARs I have aquired to the Rimward Forces box to carry the large ground units there.

>Turn 1
>Glenn was surprised when my raider went after a system instead of coming after his raider fleet at Efate. >This allowed his raider fleet to load up troops and head for Vargr space. I pointed out the Efate system >had too many system defense boats and I would have taken heavy losses. My raider struck at Lysen.

My coreward raider fleet (as opposed to the rimward raiders at Denotam) started at Efate. The Zhodani raider's failure to attack let me load up an Imperial corps, the Efate Corps, and the PSG mercenary division and get them out of harm's way. There were too many defenders left behind in the Vargr worlds for this fleet to take all of them, so they are heading back to the Imperial Reinforcements box to give Admiral Mtume (plot factor 0, tactics factor +3) some battleships and get him into the fight.

>Battle for Dentus
>A Vargr fleet inflicted almost 80% losses against Imperial units stationed on Dentus. They anticipate >pacification of the world next turn.

Two regular Imperial Army brigades defended Dentus, inflicting damages on the Vargr all out of proportion to their numbers. The high point of this action was the attack by a single battalion (i.e., one attack factor) on a Vargr army (500 points) that inflicted, if I recall correctly, 20% casualties. SEHs are sure to be awarded.

>Battle for Jewell
>the 4th & 5th Guards (psionic troops) took >80% losses.

Here again, the Imperial forces caused as much damage as possible to the most valuable Zhodani asset.

>I made a few mistakes but nothing too serious. My invasion may be a bit slower and more cautious than >is recommended. This will either hurt me later in the game or give me more fighting capability as I'm >protecting my resources. Glenn is obviously moving to pacify the Vargr worlds but I left one of them well >defended. (It's worth 15 VP for him to conquer all of them.)

Kris let me get away with not loading my troops onto the fleets both at Efate and Denotam, so now he will have to deal with Imperial troops in his rear areas. Unfortunately, I don't have enough squadrons on the map to stand up in fight back there.

The biggest mistakes that I made were in organizing Mtume's and the Duke of Regina's fleets. Both ended up with jump-4 fleets that had jump-5 or jump-6 squadrons. That's a waste of fast cruisers. Now that both admirals are in the Rhylanor area, I'll make sure that at least one of them has a squadron composed entirely of fast (jump 5 or 6) cruisers that can refuel in zero time everywhere. That will become the next raider squadron.

>Lessons Learned

>-The Imperium must protect its assets and trade space for time until its reinforcements arrive in turn 6.

The main Imperial forces build up slowly from turns 10 to 20. The key for the Imperium is, I think, to avoid a Stalingrad mentality and just keep throwing them into the meat grinder. Rather, they have to be allowed to build enough to form powerful and purposeful fleets.

--Glenn
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