Monday, April 28, 2014

Interstellar Wars: The Battle of Ross 154

After a gap of several months, I was able to get to a meeting of the Friday Night Pals.  I was keen to put my Imperial Battleship through her paces, and designed a Power Projection scenario based on an incident that occurred in a game of GDW's Imperium, with a dash of WWI African history.

The scenario, set during the Interstellar Wars in the Traveller Universe, revolves around an Imperial Battleship, the Karunasborg, which has suffered a jump systems failure as a result of wilderness maintenance while in the Ross 154 system, known to the Vilani as Agidda. The battleship is in orbit around the fourth planet in the Ross 154 system, known as Agidda Delta/Rufiji. Rob C. and DJ played the Imperials, whilst Albrecht, Kenzie and myself played the Terran Confederation.

The Karunasborg and her destroyer escorts

What is it about Agidda/Ross 154 that makes it a continual combat zone? Well, it's just under three parsecs from Terra, placing it within two or three jumps distance. It's a Hi-Population world, with a technological culture, and it is anti-1st Imperium.

Scenario Background: A Terran scoutship has detected the Karunasborg and lived to tell the tale: now the Confederation has dispatched a heavy cruiser squadron with orders to destroy the Karunasborg and any important escorts.

What the Terrans don't know is that the Karunasborg has been reinforced by a detachment of light cruisers and a light carrier with a compliment of fighters. The Vilani are still out-numbered, but the odds have narrowed.

The Terran Confederation Fleet Arrives
Here's the scenario in Power Projection format:

Ross 154 - Agidda Delta/Rufij

Attacking forces must destroy damaged Imperial Dreadnought. Defender must prevent this.

1st Imperium as Defender/Native
(200 points budget)
Zirukaruna-class BB                   (52)

4 x Shamshir-class DD               (64)
2 x Shibash -class CL                 (50)
1 x Shaskis-class ECV               (25)
            with 4 flights fighters
                                                (191 points + fighters)

Imperial Objectives: 1. Defend Dreadnought for six Turns.  2.Escape 50% Fleet

Terran ConFed as Attacker/Intruder (300 points budget)
3 x New Brooklyn-class CR            (99)
1 x Regulus-class CS                    (25)
2 x Crockett-class DD                    (28)
4 x Guanxou-class CL                   (100)
                                                    (252 points)

Terran Objectives: 1. Destroy Dreadnought. 2. Damage CLs (2 threshold checks)

Native sets up at Native start point. Intruder enters from board edge B.  Native must hold for six turns and then depart via jump engines.


Damaged ship misjumps on an 8+; one shift in favour of Intruder’s victory level
Damaged ship destroyed on an 11+; two shift in favour of Intruder’s victory level

Imperial Light Cruisers, Escort Carrier and fighters

Turn 1 and 2: The Imperials held station whilst the ConFed fleet advanced at 3/4th speed. As I have written before, DJ is a cunning and dangerous opponent.  He used his heavy missile fighters to great effect, detonating a Terran destroyer, bloodying a Terran cruiser, and just being a general nuisance.  As the ConFed advanced, they had to weather a volley of Imperial missiles while being unable to reply in kind.

Terran ConFed Heavy Cruiser, Strike Cruiser and Destroyers

During the second turn, the lads finally got to see a charged particle spinal mount fire (Here's your C-beams a-glitter, Earthlings) as the BB opened up on my brand-spanking-new heavy cruiser.  3d6 damage took out three rows of structure - the only bright spot being we weren't using Tuffley's B5 mods, so I didn't have to check for structure criticals. That would have seen my cruiser collapse like an old accordion.

Imperial Light Cruiser is down

Turn 3 and 4: The ConFed had lost two ships (mine), but had managed to score some missile hits on the Karunasborg, thanks to Kenzie and my Strike Cruiser. Albrechts cruiser had also been savaged, but he managed to cripple the Imperial light cruisers and escort carrier. The dreaded particle spinal mount had missed my strike cruiser, whilst i was still busy trying to shoot down fighters.

Turn 5 and 6: As one of Albrecht's light cruisers blew up, his squadron engaged the Karunasborg at medium range, knocking out some systems, including the spinal mount. My surviving destroyer had managed to knock out another fighter flight. Kenzie was flanking around the far side of the local gas giant. t
By the end of turn six, the Imperial battleship was ready to jump. Consulting the Power Projection jump rules, we were surprised (some of us more so than others) that minimum safe jump distance was 70 inches from the planet.  Somewhat put out, amidst some degree of mirth (some of us more than others) DJ elected to jump at minimum distance of 7 inches, and rolled an 8, which indicated a misjump.  This shifted the victory slightly into the Confederations favour, but it had been a difficult fight.

Closing in for the kill

Post Game Thoughts:
Tough little scenario.  I had feared a Terran walkover, but with the Imperials standing off and firing missiles, the Terran ship advantage was trimmed down nicely. The game took about three hours, which included chit-chat and suchlike.

The fighters, which I had added somewhat as an after thought, were very effective.  We've made fighters harder to kill, by essentially giving them three hit points and three weapons batteries. A hit from a ship kills one hp and one battery. Without enough destroyers as escorts, the cruisers had a hard time fighting both fighters and enemy ships.

Some readers who play Power Projection may have noticed an absence of nuclear missile markers - in fact, I forgot to deploy them, so the game was played with standard missiles. Maybe both sides were out?...Ω