In the wonderful game, Bonaparte at Marengo, this is how to get nasty Frenchies out of a village.
A couple of friends and I got SFB to the table again, this time fighting over in the Omega sector of the Milky Way. The forces were my Trobrin BC and Dave's Vari CA vs. Brian's Ryn force, made up of a CA and FF, both of which ventured beyond the Ryn nebula.
This was a patience-testing 8 turn-long affair. The two squadrons started in opposite corners and sped at one another, the Ryn sending out their transporter missiles ahead of them. In our attempt to bring the Ryn to knife-fighting range, we let the missiles get close enough to fire on most occasions, resulting in my losing most of my #1 and #2 shields in the first few turns. The Ryn, effectively moving at speed 30, danced outside of our effective range, sniping with their transporter collectors and phasers.
I use "move" in a colloquial way, not an SFB way. For the uninitiated, the Ryn don't actually "move". They just sit there, dead in space, until they transport themselves some number of hexes (usually 5) to another location. They do this for free. They don't have a power curve, but a power line. When most of one's heavy weapons are siblings to seeking plasma weapons, it makes them very frustrating opponents to fight. And Brian was a maestro at conducting their manoeuvres.
While Brian's Ryn were eating away at my shields, the combined fire of my implosion bolts and Dave's particle beams and phasers broke through the Ryn frigate's armor and destroyed all the weapons on the ship, resulting in Brian pulling it out from the battle, though still close enough to control the missiles when necessary. We had few "engine" (really, transporter) hits on that ship and so we were never able to chase it down for the kill.
Rather, I started lobbing one implosion torpedo a turn at the Ryn CA, hoping to keep him at a less effective combat range. It wasn't long before I lost all three of my front shields and started taking internals, and the low damage output of Dave's Vari cruiser wasn't so much breaking through the Ryn's armor as slowly eroding it. Every few turns when my implosion bolts came back online, I tried to allow Brian to get close enough to pound him, but otherwise I had to protect the down shields. Dave's Vari had been largely left alone, but neither of us could match the effective speed of the Ryn.
Finally, though, we destroyed all the armor on the Ryn CA, and he decided to cede the area to us, leaving with both ships in good order. Dave's ship took perhaps a dozen internals, while I took around two dozen (after the Trobrin armor was accounted for). Perhaps a marginal victory for Dave and I in that, but I'd call it a draw at best.
A couple of things we noted:
- The Vari and Trobrin are tough to fly together. The Vari appear to want to saber dance constantly, with their fast-firing particle beams. On the other hand, the Trobrin want to fire, pull back and reload, and come back to fire again.
- Don't try to match speeds with the Ryn. Unless you're playing the Andromedans, you won't be able to. Brian controlled the tempo of the battle, and had his luck been better with his firing, could have done far more damage to my or Dave's ships. What Dave and I should have done was slow down, deploy and tractor our shuttles, and dare him to come to us.
All in all, it was an intriguing battle, as I'd never fought the Ryn nor seen the Vari in battle before. We all look forward to trying them again.