Recommend
33 
 Thumb up
 Hide
8 Posts

Star Fleet Battles: Captain's Edition Basic Set» Forums » Sessions

Subject: And Twenty Years Later... rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Jeff Johnson
United States
Harrisonburg
Virginia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Random bits overly sentimental background:

1) My earliest memory of Star Trek is some trading cards in a package of Wonder Bread that my dad brought home.

2) In elementary school I saw Star Trek II and really liked it. On HBO, they played an old TV episode after airing it: the one with the giant Alice in Wonderland bunny rabbit. I had no idea that the TV show existed then, and I figured it was some sort of elaborate spoof like Hardware Wars was for Star Wars.

3) In middle school, I used money I won from a raffle to purchase the Franz Joseph Designs Star Trek Technical Manual. I really liked it.

4) After playing The Last Starfighter Combat Game to death, I went looking for a new starship combat game. I passed on Knight Hawks and went with the game store owner's recommendation of Star Fleet Battles Captain's Edition instead. Taking it home, I realized that this was a game that brought everything in the Franz Joseph book to life. I especially liked getting the chance to take the Federation Destroyer on missions against the space monsters from the TV show in solitaire games.

5) I couldn't really find players for the game, though. I tried a few CA vs D7 scenarios with a friend, but we didn't really do anything except go to range zero and blow each other to bits. I bought more modules for the game anyway-- I *had* to know how the scout rules worked and I *wanted* to know how the weird races in the "New Worlds" modules worked.

6) It turned out that some older guys down the street played the game. I went over to play one night... it was the now classic Juggernaut scenario and the game master was parceling out bits of information to us turn by turn. I shot at the thing and got my Tholian CC hurt pretty bad as a consequence-- I wasn't coordinating my action with my "team" because we didn't have enough information yet to know that.

7) Years pass. I get rid of the game because I don't expect to play it, but then later I pick up a Module A+ for the command cards and impulse cards thinking it will make it easier to play. I play a few CA/D7 games with various people... fairly rules light... but fail to really grasp the core tactics and tempo of the game. I play other, simpler games for a while instead.

8) I get a hankering to really master the game again a few years down the road. I poured over "Victory at Origins" articles in Captains Log to try to figure out how the game is actually played when it's done "seriously". I then play a series of ten games with a variety of opponents. Each game, I try to just learn and implement one more rule or tactic. If something goes wrong or is confusing during a game, I read up on it later.

9) Months pass. I move to a new town. I play more duel scenarios with the intention to work through all the races in the Basic Set. Something clicks this time. I tractor a Klingon F5 with my Kzinti FF after closing with my disruptor unarmed. My opponent eats four speed-8 drones. I play a Romulan KRB against a Gorn CLF+. I get creamed, but I'm playing with cloaks, plasmas, and electronic warfare rules. The game just starts to come alive.

That leads us up to this past weekend.

I made the journey to a nearby city to play with a bona fide Star Fleet Battles group. I walk in and they're talking 205 BPV and commanders options on top of that. We're playing on a huge black hex map with the one inch Mega-Hex counters for the ships. I pick a Kzinti Battlecruiser for 180 BPV and pick out fast drones, a couple ECM drones, and then I load out my two B-racks with all type-IV drones. The map has a black hole in the center.

We had slips of paper with our names on them and one marked "everybody." We drew one at the start of each turn. The rule was that you could only shoot at the person listed on your slip of paper. You got one point for each point of internal damage you did to them. You could return fire on someone that damages you during a turn, but you would not get points for those internals.

The game started. An Andromedan was tailing me, but pretty far away. I had no idea how those things worked, so I kept my distance. A Hydran ship was coming straight towards me. The Klingon was on the other side of the board.

I tractored the Hydran dreadnought and pushed him along in front of me. On impulse #32, I hit him with everything, doing some internals. (I had drawn the "everybody" card, so it was good points for me.) The following turn, I think I maintained a tractor hold on him some how as the larger Hydran ship pushed me back towards the black holes. I probably dropped it for EA and then reestablished it again early in the turn. (I had luckily drawn the "everybody" card again, so things were going my way.) He picked off my turn 1 drones easily, then I let him have it again on impulse #8. On impulse #9 he fired back at me... but I had more drones then that he had to deal with. He spread his fire out on me and the drones.... My two type-IV's survived. I thought he was going to eat 48 points of drone damage there, but he used his Hellbore second fire option to deal with them. (!!) After I dropped the tractor link on the DN, he launched three shuttles at me; I tractored two of them thinking they were suicide shuttles. One was an MRS with a gatling. I lost my #2 shield to the those pesky shuttles I tractored when they fired at me.

At this point black holes were sprouting around me. Caught in their tides, I made little progress across the board. Speed 20 got me almost to the edge of the black holes' greatest pull. I used a mid-turn speed change of 31 to break out of their grasp... then dropped down to 16 for the rest of the turn. A Lyran was coming straight towards my down #1 shield, though, and I had no idea what he would do. He ended up following me and centerlining me on my rear shield that had taken four points of damage from the Hellbore perviously.

The next turn... we tractored each other! I used my 10 points of allocated tractor energy to trick him into burning reserve power in an auction. Eight points of negative tractor into it, he backed down. Later in the turn, I used tactical maneuvers to get my disruptors into arc. Half way through the turn, he raises his ESG's to radius zero. He (illegally) launched two shuttles, but I killed them with two phaser-III's each. On impulse 32 I let him have it with everything, but I didn't fire drones or shuttles at him. (I drew his name and he didn't draw mine-- that sort of thing happened three times for me in this 6 turn game!)

Meanwhile, the Klingon and the Andromedan grappled with each other in among the Black Holes. The Hydran had been taking pot shots against the Andro just before this. The Andro wiffed against the Klingon, and then narrowly navigated out of the black hole field after eating some serious return fire. At that point the Klingon's scatter pack shuttle blossomed and the drones got to range one of the Andro by the end of the turn. (The Andro was completely flatfooted by it. The shuttle was innocently sitting 5 hexes away from him just as he was crawling out of the gravity well!) At the start of the final turn, the Lyran did not draw my name... and the Klingon drew the Andromedan player... so he got full points for his kill when the scatter-pack drones exploded him.

So... I got second place. A very fun session that ran about one hour per turn. (!)

If I could do it over I would have come in with a couple of suicide shuttles armed and started loading scatter packs on turn one. I would have also converted everything over to Type-IV drones... and put armor modules on half of them. I also would have done at least one set of hit and run raids against the Hydran, too. With that kind of firepower, I may well have killed a Hydran DN.

Twenty years after buying the game, I'm playing Star Fleet Battles.
30 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Todd Warnken
United States
Harrison
Ohio
flag msg tools
I'm not crazy. My mother had me tested.
badge
Happy grandfather!!!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Blackhole Mania is a great scenario. My plays are limited to PBEM these days. I haven't even got Federation Commander to the table in ages.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dan Owsen
United States
Redmond
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Awesome report, and well done in your battle!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Johnson
United States
Harrisonburg
Virginia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
mummykitty wrote:
Awesome report, and well done in your battle!


Thank you.

My best play was when I allocated ten points to tractor against the Lyran. I'm pretty sure I psyched him into burning most all of his batteries.

If I had kept my wits, I would have tractored the shuttles and used my G-rack as an ADD against them. If they were suicide shuttles, they would just sit there until I killed them... and if they weren't I'd probably get them before they could get their chance to fire.

I've been afraid of mid-turn speed changes for years, but there's really nothing to them. Now that I've used them in anger, I see that (tactically) applying them is just about deciding when you want to go fast: at the beginning of the turn or at the end of it.

The black hole scenario really hinges on being able to maximize crunch on a single impulse. If I could have planned that better I might have scored a solid kill. Also... there might be a trick you could do with scatter packs and ATG to attack someone that isn't your target, but I'd need to read the scenario and the rules to determine if that would work.

The Klingon player was awesome, though. I couldn't follow every little nuance of what he did, but that kill with the scatter pack just as the Andro crawled out of the gravity well was spectacular.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Drew Heath
United States
Galesburg
Illinois
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Never seen the game before, never played it, but that was an awesome read. Sounds like an incredible event. Thank you!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Emperors Grace
United States
Rexford
New York
flag msg tools
Hello!
badge
All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost;The old that is strong does not wither,Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Jeffr0 wrote:
they played an old TV episode after airing it: the one with the giant Alice in Wonderland bunny rabbit.


You saw the episode "Shore Leave". Not the best episode for an introduction.

Jeffr0 wrote:
I passed on Knight Hawks and went with the game store owner's recommendation of Star Fleet Battles Captain's Edition instead.


See, I went the opposite way. Forced to choose between love of Trek and expanding the Alpha Dawn set that I loved, I chose Knight Hawks. I loved it at the time but it's no where near as crunchy.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
Greensboro
NC
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Awesome read, man! I had no idea what you were talking about (I've never played this game), but it I could feel the excitement while reading. Sounds really fun and now I want to play this game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Trey Stone
United States
Texarkana
Texas
flag msg tools
May the bikini be with you!
badge
I destroy SJWs!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Still an incredible game, a must play for both Trekkers and wargamers, especially of the grognard variety.

Just did a massive downsizing of my collection, but this was one of the old friends that has been with me through most of my gaming career and will be with me until the end.

RED ALERT! SHIELDS UP! CHARGE PHASERS! BEGIN LOADING PHOTONS! NAVIGATOR, PLOT INTERCEPT!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.