02 April 2017

Outer Rim Blues

Hello everyone and welcome to the outer rim, home of devious smugglers, vicious pirates, and lonesome Imperial patrols. This past Friday I invited my good friend Simon over for a game of Metaverse. We decided to pull out my newest Star Wars models and give them a good blooding. For the scenario I picked a lone Imperial heavy cruiser on patrol in the outer rim. Rebel Intelligence has identified this ship as a prime target due to its isolation and plan an attack. Simon chose to play the Rebels which left me the unenviable job of keeping the heavy cruiser alive.

The forces available were the following:


HIMS Peremptory - Vindicator Class Heavy Cruiser Mk II
     4x TIE/Ln Squadrons
     1x TIE/In Squadron
     1x TIE/Sa Squadron (Proton Torpedoes)
     4x XG-1 Star Wing Flights (Proton Torpedoes & Concussion Missiles)

Rebel Alliance

ANS Paragon - Assault Cruiser

ANS Whisper - Quasar Fire Class Cruiser
     1x T-65 X-Wing Squadron (No Ordinance)
     1x BTL Y-Wing Squadron (Proton Torpedoes)
     1x RZ-1 A-Wing Squadron (Concussion Missiles)
     1x Z-95 Headhunter Squadron (No Ordinance)

ANS Freedom's Grasp - CC-7700/E Class Cruiser

4x CR90 Class Corvettes (ANS Beacon, Dodonna's Pride, Frazier, Quickdraw)

8x Hammerhead Corvettes (ANS Frenzy, Razor, Tranquility, Nightingale, Intervention, Actium, Emancipator, Rascal)

1x SF-01 B-Wing Squadron (Proton Torpedoes)

For the scenario objectives we decided that the obvious target for the Imperials was the CC-7700/E Cruiser. This budget interdictor was a strategic asset for the Rebel Alliance that any Imperial commander would receive a promotion for destroying. Conversely the Rebels had only one target in mind, the heavy cruiser. It was also possible for the Imperials to gain reinforcements throughout the game, something that I forced the Rebels to roll for as it seemed crueler that way.

As with any of my games we were not without the appropriate libations, in this case a 16 year old Scotch.

Sufficiently lubricated we began deploying our forces. I secretly recorded my starting position and then Simon deployed his forces on to the table. When he was done I placed my ship.

It was revealed that the HIMS Peremptory was in a standard orbit of a local gas giant.

The heart of the Rebel fleet was just over a light second away at the Peremptory's 8 o'clock.

At the Peremptory's 10 o'clock was a group of corvettes...

and on the other side of the planet were more corvettes and a squadron of hungry B-Wings.

This presented something of a tactical conundrum for the Imperial commander. With the Rebel capital ships nearly to his rear and himself in an orbital trajectory, simply turning to face them would be a fight against Newton himself. However swinging all the way around the planet would take time, letting the Rebels get organised. Analyzing the situation the Imperial commander chose what he thought was a clever solution. Still orbiting the gas giant the Peremptory began a slow climb from the depths of the gravity well into a higher orbit. This made it look as though he was going to swing out around the planet and engage the far off corvettes. Hoping for the right reaction he watched the Rebel response anxiously.

The corvette group on the far side of the planet turned to intercept the Peremptory should she orbit the planet. While unlikely to defeat the big ship themselves they could certainly distract her.

The Rebel capital ships fired their engines at full power hoping to come into range of the Imperial ship with its rear still facing them. With this the Imperial commander let slip a small grin, that is until Rebel fighters began to thunder forward. The Rebel fleet sent forth a strike mission containing a squadron of Y-Wings loaded with proton torpedoes escorted by an A-Wing squadron loaded with concussion missiles. Ahead of this group he sent an intercept mission of X-Wings to "plow the road".

As this orbital pursuit played itself out, everyone just out of range, an Imperial reinforcement arrived. The HIMS Helldiver (Arquitens Class Corvette) entered the far end of the table opposite the Rebel corvettes with an IPV-1 Patrol Corvette under tow. Far out of position, the corvettes fired their engines at maximum burn.

Looking at the Rebel capital ships maneuvering at full thrust the Imperial commander decided that it was time to enact his plan. Rather than continue around the gas giant, the HIMS Peremptory swung to port and broke out of orbit. With its own engines at full burn, the heavy cruiser managed to keep out of weapons range and continued to dump TIE fighters out of its hanger bay.

Continuing its hard turn to port, the HIMS Peremptory sent out an intercept mission containing a squadron of TIE Interceptors and a squadron of TIE Fighters. This mission was soon met by the Rebel intercept mission containing a squadron of X-Wings. The furball would remain entangled for some time.

As the HIMS Peremptory swung around to port the Rebel capital ships entered weapons range. With only its port weapons to bear, the heavy cruiser was at a firepower disadvantage against the ANS Paragon (Assault Cruiser). However, the Imperial commander knew that once he completed his turn the balance of power would swing back in his direction. Turbolasers, Ion Cannons, and Laser Cannons emitted their bolts of destruction between the cruisers, splashing shields but failing to do any hull damage on either side of the firefight. Amidst the Gigajoules the HIMS Peremptory sent out another intercept mission containing two squadrons of TIE Fighters towards the rebel strike mission and a strike mission containing the four flights of assault gunboats towards the Rebel corvettes.

With the turn now complete, the HIMS Peremptory was finally able to bear her full firepower against the ANS Paragon. Green death continued to cross the vacuum, shields flaring and nearly collapsing on the Rebel side. Meanwhile the X-Wings broke off after losing 7 of their 12 fighters, having killed  nearly all the TIE Interceptors. Desperate to chase them down, the remaining TIE Fighters came under laser cannon fire from the Rebel Corvettes. Having finished our two fingers of scotch each and two or three beers as chasers we decided to open up a bottle of wine, Gamay Noir, a specialty of Southern Ontario.

Sipping his wine, the Rebel commander decided that the B-Wings would be too late to the melee on the other side of the gas giant and turned the squadron against the incoming Imperial reinforcements. Certainly overkill to anyone counting.

Hoping that the assault cruiser could withstand the Imperials attempts to destroy her for a little while longer, the Rebel commander moved in his strike group against the Peremptory. Attempting to counter this move, the Imperial commander moved two squadrons of TIE Fighters to intercept the bombers leaving a single squadron of TIE Fighters on CAP as his only reserve. The decision making process here was taking longer than normal and we began to realize it. We had been doing more drinking than rolling dice.

Despite our inebriation we soldiered on. The two sides rapidly closed the distance and thereby increased the effectiveness of our weaponry. A large furball formed in the space between the capital ships as X-Wings, Y-Wings, A-Wings, and TIE Fighters mixed it up. Sneaking around the side a squadron of TIE Bombers moved in as a coup-de-grace on the ANS Paragon. Failing to destroy each other in that moment the two commanders realized that at their closing speed the two ships were going to scream right past each other, all according to plan so said the Imperial commander. This would place the Peremptory in firing position on the Rebel interdictor. Feeling the effects of the night on our thought process and seeing the Imperial commander's plan come to fruition we had to put the dice down for the night.

I had a good load of fun with this game proving that winning, losing, or even finishing the game are secondary to the company you play with. Having a 16 year old scotch to start the game doesn't hurt either. Next time Simon and I play I think we are going to put a little more emphasis on the game and less on the conversation, though it will be tough to do!

Thank you to Simon for coming over for a game and thanks to Jack for popping over, watching us play, drinking our alcohol, and giving critique whenever we didn't ask for it.

The rules we used can be found here: http://metaverse.battlespacepublishing.ca/

Our facebook group can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/battlespacepublishing.ca/

28 March 2017

Hotlead Pt 3

For our second and last game of the day Adam and I were adventurous. We always put on a game of Metaverse at Hotlead but have generally avoided crossing universes due to the inherent complexity it involves. For this game we bucked the trend and put Star Trek, Star Wars, Babylon 5, and BSG on the table together and the objective was a space station from Warhammer 40K. Additionally we upped our normal player count from six to eight. This was a mighty beast to wrangle. Before we started playing we set up a bunch of models at one end of the table to attract players. I cannot attest enough how much this works, take note fellow game masters!

By far not all the models in our collections but enough for eye candy.

For the scenario each faction was split between two players who must work together. Each faction started in one of the four corners, their objective: the station in the middle of the table. At the end of each turn any faction with one or more ships (still alive) within 30cm of the station got a point. Considering that maximum weapons range is 100cm this meant that any ships gaining points would be in range of each other. At the end of the game the faction with the most points won, even if they were completely destroyed.

The forces the players used were the following:

1x Steamrunner Class Light Cruiser
1x Challenger Class Light Cruiser
1x Springfield Class Frigate

Colonial Fleet:
1x Olympia Class Light Cruiser
1x Kopis Class Fast Destroyer
1x Lightray Class Missile Frigate
4x Viper Mk VII Squadrons
2x Raptor Mk II Flights - Nukes Loaded

Rebel Alliance:
1x Quasar Fire Class Light Carrier
4x CR90 Class Corvettes
3x X-Wing Flights
3x Y-Wing Flights - Proton Torpedoes Loaded
3x B-Wing Flights - Proton Torpedoes Loaded

Earth Force:
1x Warlock Class Destroyer
3x Omega Class Destroyers
3x Marathon Class Cruisers
A lot of Aurora and Thunderbolt Starfuries!

Opening moves saw Starfleet making a bee line for the Rebels.

The Rebels in turn moved their corvettes into a screening position, moving the carrier to the station.

At the other end, Earth Force and Colonial fleet began a long range firefight that Earth Force was winning.

Yet no matter how much fire they put out the "Big F&$kers" would not go down.

Starfleet decided they could not let the Rebel carrier accrue points that easily.

Closing the range the Colonials began to hurt the Earth Force ships.

A furious dogfight between Vipers, Raptors, and X-Wings erupted near the station. The Raptors did not survive.

The Rebel corvettes did their best to be the most evasive targets they could while the bombers moved in on the Starfleet ships.

As the range closed further a large group of Starfuries decided to brave the Colonial flak field.

At the midpoint of the game only the Rebels and the Colonials had a ship in range of the objective.

The Starfleet players contemplate how to deal with the jinky Rebel corvettes.

The great ClusterF*&k of the game erupted on the far side of the table. Missiles, lasers, fighters, railguns, and even a few opportunistic photon torpedoes crossed the void in a melee of destruction.

Trying its hardest not to be noticed the Rebel carrier continued to accrue points. Meanwhile the X-Wings and Vipers continue to hash out their differences.

Starfleet had by now mostly brushed aside the annoying corvettes but found that they were no closer to the objective.

The orgy of fire continued on the other side of the table with the players amazed at the destructive capabilities being tossed around.

One of the Colonial players records hit after hit as his ship sails through the maelstrom.

The Rebel bombers, with some losses, move in on the Challenger Class.

At the end of the chaos, Earth Force was decimated losing five of seven ships while the Colonials all had massive damage.

With the time limit for the game reached a tie was called between the Rebels and Colonials who had both racked up the same points with Earth force second and Starfleet a distant third.

This game was very tiring due to the inherent chaos of the scenario but frighteningly beautiful to watch. The Earth Force and Colonial players agreed that their melee was the most vicious battle they had every played in a game. The Rebel players were satisfied that their sneaky and evasive tactics had payed off. The Starfleet players had been so engrossed in their mission to kill the corvettes they forgot both the time limit and the scenario objectives.

I have to thank eight wonderful players who took to the scenario with gusto and learned the rules in short order. Many of them came up to me later and thanked me for the game, Dave even gave me a big bear hug in the middle of the hall, thanks buddy!

I think this game proved that I can run cross universe games at conventions, I just need to be ready for the chaos. See you next year!

Our facebook group can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/battlespacepublishing.ca

The rules can be found here: http://metaverse.battlespacepublishing.ca/

Hotlead Pt 2

For our first game of the day Adam and I ran Sail, Steam, & Sky. SSS is our upcoming naval game releasing this summer. The game allows players to have a flexible plug and play rule set that they can use for any period from the 17th Century forward. For our scenario we pitted a group of WWI German and British Battlecruisers against each other in the North Sea. The forces were as follows:

3x King George V Class Battleships
3x Lion Class Battlecruisers
3x Invincible Class Battlecruisers
1x Arethusa Class Light Cruiser
4x M Class Destroyers

4x Konig Class Battleships
2x Derfflinger Class Battlecruisers
1x Von der tann Class Battlecruiser
1x Moltke Class Battlecruiser
3x Deutshland Class Dreadnoughts
1x Wiesbaden Class Light Cruiser
1x Pillau Class Light Cruiser
4x G.101 Class Destroyers

The two sides deploy their forces.

With their forces deployed the players plan their first moves.

Now moving their ships the British argue among themselves over orders.

The unorthodox deployment of the German ships is evident

The German player on the right flank realizes just how slow the old dreadnoughts really are.

I assist the German players with their first attempts at firing, they quickly ran things on their own.

The British players look on dismay as shell splashes erupt around their lead ships.

Unlucky hit rolls cause a ruckus on the British side.

Further moves bring the fleets closer together while the German left wing commander contemplates the orders he has been given.

The "laser of truth" is wielded to check firing arcs.

Tactical discussion on the German side as targets are prioritized.

A flurry of gunfire leaves ships on both sides in pieces and on fire.

Condition checks for the British result in a battleship, two battlecruisers, two destroyers, and a light cruiser being lost to the deep.

The same rolls on the German side leave all three dreadnoughts, a light cruiser, and two destroyers to a watery grave.

The players survey the now emptier field moments before the British make a fateful roll that cost them the game.

Smiling faces all around.

This game was a highlight of the day for me. I had a group of six enthusiastic players who took to the rules like fish to water. Within 30 minutes I barely had to interject for an explanation or correction. Although the British lost in the end the Germans had taken a beating themselves and commented that if the British had not retreated it would only be a matter of time for them. Thanks to all who participated! Up next the space game to end all space games...

Our facebook group can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/battlespacepublishing.ca

The rules will be available here: http://battlespacepublishing.ca/