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Subject: Plasma, plasma everywhere... rss

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Jeff Johnson
United States
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**Gorn BC and 2 CL's vs. 3 Romulan War Eagles**

This was my biggest Starmada game yet. Three ships on each side... and we still clocked in at about two hours or so. The game is very easy to teach to new folks-- you go over shootin', then you go over movin'... then you mention a few minor quibbles. No sweat!

The Romulan War Eagles have better engine ratings than their Gorn counterparts. They have powerful "R" torpedoes which give them a range advantage. Their shields are also very good. All of their weapons line up into the "AB" arcs, so they fly like fighter planes. Throw in the cloaking device and you have the ability to control the tempo of the battle so that your strong points are usually put against your opponent's weak points. Nice little ships, there.

The Gorn BC is a tank able to absorb tremendous punishment. It positively bristles with weapons, however they are pointing in all directions. The plus side of this is that you will always be able to fire *something* at your enemy-- but unless you centerline him, you will never be firing all that much.

The Gorn CL has wimpy shields. It has almost exactly the same phaser array as the Romulan War Eagle... but it has the plasma firepower of the Gorn BC! While it is easy to get a lucky hit on the Romulans to take out their single Plasma-R, it is much harder to disarm the Gorn CL. With those wimpy shields, though, it is going to be much easier to blow up the CL altogether!

(I chose these ships because I have counters for them in the Captain's Star Fleet Battles Basic Set. Minis have arrived and... once painted... we shall see some new ships hit the hex map.)

I chose to use a standard Star Fleet Battles map this time instead of the "regulation" Starmada map described in the basic Starmada rules. This worked much better. I put the Gorns and Romulans across from each other on the short sides of the map. This gave the Roms a chance to leverage their range advantage without overdoing it, I thought.

On the first turn the Romulans ended up in range with their plasma-R's and outside of Gorn weapon ranges. Perfect! I fired the plasma in torpedo mode just to see how they would do. The plasmas closed in. And got one lucky weapon hit on turn 2. The Gorn player chose to use just his facing phaser-3's on the plasma on turn 3... but as the plasma damage would "hit" on only 6's, they ended up doing no damage. Statistically, bolting at long range would have done better, but it was fun to give the Gorn a little something extra to think about-- and also to encourage him to keep his distance just a bit.

The game was played with combat only on the odd turns. The Romulan fleet would cloak on even turns and try to come up in a good position. Although... once the Romulans had lost most of their R-torpedoes, they should have stopped cloaking altogether! If they could keep the Gorns in their AB arc, then the would have a huge firepower advantage if the Gorn plasma was reloading...! (I didn't think of that during the game!)

Damage in the game:

War Eagle #6 took 5 hits on turn 3.

War Eagle #4 took 4 hits on turn 5... and was blown away with 16 hits through a down shield on turn 7!

War Eagle #5 took 3 hits on turn 7 and 9 hits on turn 9.

The Gorn BC took 4 hits on turn 3 and 3 hits on turn 9. The only plasma on the ship was a single plasma-S after this... and the phaser battery was majorly dented on the "AC" side.

Gorn CL #5 took 1 hit on turn 5, 8 hits on turn 7, and was blown up with 10 hits on turn 9.

Gorn CL #4 took 2 hits on turn 3, 3 hits on turn 5, and 7 hits on turn 7. Due to rolling lots of 5's and 6's rolled on the damage rolls, this left the ship with only a single phaser-3.

We called game at this point. It looked like the Romulans had a pretty good edge in firepower, so we didn't bother playing out the endgame. The Romulans got lucky on one turn and flanked the Gorn fleet-- allowing them to concentrate all of the phaser power at short range on a single ship. That was pretty cool.

After-game rules clarifications:

There was a question of how to declare attacks. The rules state that the players take turns resolving fire on a ship by ship basis. A ship declares *all* of its fire before rolling... but will be able to make that decision "knowing" how previous ships have fought. Weapon hits (and the facing impacted) are recorded, but damage is not allocated until all ships have fired. (Hint: use the check box on the record sheets to track which ships have resolved their fire. Use the notes column to record hits.)

Starmada "Gotcha" #1: Seeking weapons "hit" when they get to a *neighboring* hex. Resolve damage as each torpedo completes its movement-- so if muliple plasma "flights" are being resolved on a single turn, shields can be degraded *between* plasma impacts!

Starmada "Gotcha" #2: In Star Fleet Battles, captains will often determine the mode of fire (ie, bolt or torp) at the moment of fire. In Starmada, the weapon mode is secretly declared when movement orders are made! Choose wisely!
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