Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Empire Strikes Back (Does It really?)

Last Evening I got to play another full scale betatesting game of Pax Stellarum. This time it was a 2000 point game opposing the Galactic Empire of Star Wars to the Diplomatic Corps Fleet, from Zandris IV.

Here is what the table set up looked like:

Diplomatic Corps right flank

DC center formation: The Battleship "Guardian of Earth" escorted by a squadron of 4 destroyers

DC left formation: The carrier, along with its complement of Interceptors and Bombers, and escorted by a squadron of cruisers

The left and right Empire flanks each had a squadron of 2 Star Destroyers along with its own Tie fighters/bombers. Here I used my all-duty standard fighters to represent the Tie's, as the real ones are still on drydocks waiting their turn to get painted...

The Empire center formation had a Super Star Destroyer, escorted by a squadron of regular Star Destroyers.

The Diplomatic Corps had overall superior Spacefaring, and so the Empire had to begin the movement phase. The later had one Star Destroyer squadron on the left made a bad move, which rendered them out of range until the 4° turn (!)

This's what I'm talking about: The Star Destroyers here tried to get to the rear of the enemy by going around the planet. Instead, they should have settled for the enemy flank, and had followed their fighters. Also, note that the Diplomatics paved their way with mines all over, so to prevent the enemy flanks from getting too close.

The fighters made a run for each other and almost all got entangled in dogfighting. Meanwhile, the Diplomatic Corps made it full ahead to the Super Star Destroyer.

The DC Battleship attacked the SSD, and its escorts (2 Star Destroyers) imediatelly interrupted the enemy attack and stroke back. The interruption of enemy attack is a prerrogative of a ship/squadron commisioned to escort an ally, when such ally gets attacked.

As the Star Destroyers declared an interruptive attack on the DC Flagship, the Batleship's own escorts were allowed to interrupt that attack as well. And they did.

So we had the following situation: The destroyer squadron, escorting the DC Battleship, would attack the Star Destroyers escorting the SSD. If those Star Destroyers survive the attack, they would then attack the Battleship.Finally, if that ship remains in game after that, then it would be able to attack the SSD.

Well, turned out the Battleship escorts crippled the Star Destroyers, inflicting severe hull damage and multiple critical hits on both of them.

Here, D'20's indicate the critical hits. I'm still waiting some tokens I ordered from Litko to represent those hits more fashionly.

The Star Destroyer on the left lost one Target Control System and was also unable to fire from its Prow Arc. The one on the right had a Bridge impact, and could not perform any action until the end of that turn. Additionally, it had its Life Support System damaged, which would cause it to lose 1 crew point every turn.

With the SD's out of action, they could not go ahead interrupting the Battleship's attack, and it was then finally able to carry on that action, scoring some hull damage to its bigger counterpart.

The Empire squadron on the right flank had the idea of firing at the enemy mines so they would go off, hitting the very ships that deployed them. It worked quite well, and I learned the lesson: Never deploy mines too close to where you're going to end your movement.

As each mine pictured above was within range of each other, when one of them blew up, it caused the one next to it to do the same, and so on... 

With 3 mines exploding so near the DC carrier and escorts, they needed a miracle on Shields roll to survive.

The carrier made it, with incredible four 6's on four Shields rolls. Its escorts, however, were history...

With the path cleansed, the SD's on the right flank (left of the table) could advance and chase the enemy from the rear. The other imperial flank just realised it would have to go around the mine field and asteroid belt to get to the enemy. Targeting the enemy mines wasn't a viable solution here, as too many allied tie fighters were near it.

By the end of the 2º turn, both flagships were lost, and the fleets had to pass a morale check to remain on the field. They both succeded, and so the game went on.

On the 3° turn, both fleets got under 50% of total hull points, and so another morale check had to be passed. They both failed, and so prepared to leave the table into hyperspace on the end of the 4° turn.

The imperial left flank finally got to fire at something, but it was too late to make any difference, as they were all that was left of the Galactic forces on the battlefield, along with several tie squadrons.

At the end of 4° turn, both fleets jumped into hyperspace. The game was over, and it was time to check victory points for each side.

The remains of the Diplomatic Corps forces, clearly victorious

And here are the galactics. Don't know if they survived because they stayed out of combat for most of the game, or if the rest of its fleet died for lack of their support. Probably both.

The casualties of the DC

The casualties of the Galactic Empire

After checking victory points, the Diplomatic had the day, with 174 points against 87 for the galactics.

Overall, it was a good game. I liked the fact that many fighters survived until the end. I'm not particularly fan of the idea of fighters being treated as disposable ordnance. It's not realistic if we assume there would be people in there. Not only people, but highly skilled/trained pilots, not the kind you can afford to lose so easily.

I'm also pretty satisfied with how the Morale Checks are working. The game ends when at least one side fails to find disposition among their own ranks to stay in battle.

This allows for games that end with both sides still at considerable forces. Here again, it adds much more realism to the game than having to believe opposing sides would fight to the last ship, or near it.

The down side is perhaps the game taking 4 hours to resolve, which brings it to an average of 1 hour a turn. But as I deliberately stretched the game point beyond what I believed would be reasonable (about 1500-1850 points), I guess its understandable.

And the funny thing about that is that this second trial took the same 4 turns to be played, despite the 33% increase in points played this time. The points addition didn't caused the game to have more turns, but rather longer turns. Don't know if its bad or good.

Anyway, hope you guys are enjoyng those battle reports. More will follow soon.

*End of Transmission*


  1. Looks great! I'm probably going to steal your color scheme for the Zandris IV DC fleet when the gaming budget permits it.

  2. Dude, we have to get together so I can face the Empire with a Hive Fleet!

  3. You have a Hive Fleet? From Bergstrom?

    It on my wish list, I'll be purchasing one soon, and have being searching around for pics of painted Hive Fleets, but can't find anyone that have got those ships.

    You HAVE to show pics of your fleet! Please. :)