Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Ferengui after a prize

I played another match of Pax Stellarum, trying out some rules I hadn't put to test yet. This time, a 500 point game where the United Federation of Planets faced the Ferengui.

In the Federation-Ferengui border, on Federation side, a small detatchment of Ferengui D'Kora marauders found an unidentified ship, apparentlly abandoned for long. The Ferengui quickly saw the opportunity of some profits with the eventual selling of that space treasure, and started "towing" the ship with its tractor beams over the ferengui side of the border.

Meanwhile, the nearest Federation outpost detected the alien activity on its border, and knowing the kind of neighboors the ferengui are, immediatelly sent a small task force to find out what was going on.

 Here, we can see the Federation forces, just after arriving at the eventfull sector. The ferengui side (4 D'Koras)  were caught midway in their attempt to get to their side of the border. The Federation asked (nicely) that the space hulk was left there, and that the ferengui returned to their territory.

Above, we see the Ferengui, pondering abou their options here...

The mysterious dark ship...

In the end, the Ferengui unique market vision (a.k.a. plain irrational greed) led them to decide to fight for their prize. They immediately called for support from nearby marauders, promissing a share of their prize. 2 ships responded and set course to that sector.

And the Battle begins...

The Federation side had 4 Defiant class corvettes, and 2 Galaxy class cruisers, one of them the Enterprise itself. Now, you may be asking what is the in-game difference between the two. Basically, the Enterprise, having a heroic captain, has got better Spacefaring, and since it is the Flagship of the Federation side, it becomes even more advantegeous.

Additionally, Legendary ships (tha is, ships that have got heroic characters on them), are able to reroll one die every turn, anyone die, or force the opponent to reroll one die when performing an action against such ships.

It represents the amazing talents of these characters, that enable them to find solutions in places/circunstances where no one else would.

The Ferengui side had 6 D'Koras, 4 of which were on the table, and 2 were reserves, meant to arrive during the game. I was testing this rule for the first time here.

The Enterprise advanced towards the Ferengui formation and launched its complement of shuttles. Here they are treated as fighters. Not very effective ones, since we don't see them doing much fighting on the Series, so I gave them average stats.

Above, we see the Enterprise launching the fighter squadron through its stern arc of fire. The positioning of launch bays is important, because no weapon may be fired on a turn through the same arc where a launch bay is launching or collecting a squadron. Sticking to the Series, I placed the launch bay on the rear of the ship (!)

The shuttle squadron moves to cover, behind an asteroid cluster. It couldn't reach the enemy in one turn of movement, so it was better to advance halfway and stay safe until the next turn, last the enemy torpedoes could ruin their day pretty bad.

Some exchange of longe range fire and the first turn was done. Not too much damage, only one Defiant destroyed, if I remember correctly.

On the second turn, The reserves roll Spacefaring tests to check if they would arrive on that turn. One of them succeeds.

On the pic above, I show the exact spot the D'Kora intended to enter the game board at, and the place where it did actually ended up arriving at, after the scatter roll. Still in good position to attack the other Galaxy cruiser from the rear (I was aiming at the Enterprise's rear, at first).

Meanwhile, the Federation figthers started doing business. The yellow D6 keeps track of the number of turns the squadron has been on the table. That particular squadron had a limit of 4.

The fighters' attack was not enough to damage the D'Kora, but the marauder depleted its Shields defending those hits, and was therefore pretty much defenseless for the rest of the turn. Of course, the Federation took advantage of it...

On the other side of the gameboard space sector, the Ferengui Flagship got outmaneuvered by 2 Defiant corvettes, which soon began punishing it heavily.

After one corvette finished attacking, the Ferengui already had a "Shields Collapse" critical hit, and was down from 5 to 3 hull points. The second corvette finished the job, destroying the marauder. (Here I used the mine tokens to keep tract of what ships I had already activated. I realised I'll have to have specific tokens for that, as it becomes really easy to forget which ship has attacked/moved already when you play with several models per side...)

With the Flagship destroyed, the Ferengui had to pass a Morale test, but failed it, and so prepared to leave at the end of the next (third) turn. The second reserve didn't manage to get on the table by then, and so never got to participate on the game.

By the end of the third turn, the table was almost completely free of Ferengui presence, with only a single surviving D'Kora (still intact, by the way).

(The table, at the end of the third turn. On the middle, we can see one Galaxy at 4 hull points, half of its initial condition. Also, one fighter had been destroyed, leaving the squadron down to 5 fighters.)

It was an obvious victory for the Federation. The game lasted 1h10. Which means an average of 23.3 minutes per turn. 

I'm not happy with the fact that the game lasted only 3 turns. I realised I made a tactical mistake in exposing the Ferengui Flagship. I should have kept it protected behind the first line of combat. When a fleet loses the Flagship, there is a great chance it won't continue the battle.

But still, even if the flagship hadn't died, or if the ferengui had passed the test even so, the game wouldn't have lasted more than 4 turns, simply because there would be no more ferenguis to fight (!).

So, I'm thinking of some options here. On one side, I could improve the ships' defenses, thus rendering them more resilient, which would make the game last more turns. On the other hand, that would mean more playtime, unless I change the requisite to a Morale Check on hull points destruction from 50% for, say, a third....

That would cause a fleet to have to begin taking morale tests for hull losses before, increasing the possibilities of it leaving the board sooner, thus balancing the additional number of game turns.

Hum... I'll have to give more thought to that...

But the good side is that the other rules I was testing worked just fine. The reserves rule is sweet. It gives you the chance to bring reinforcements in on a great position. On the other hand, there is the risk that they simply don't make it on time, and in low point games such as the one I just played, any ship makes a great difference!

I'll be posting aditional playtestings on the next days. Hope you guys enjoy!

*End of Transmission*


  1. I'm enjoying the reports! Was it your intention when you designed the rules system for the game to only last three turns? It does seem to limit the tactics etc that you could employ perhaps?

  2. Hi, Samulus,

    It was not my intention, its just that weapons turned out too effective.

    That's why I making a little adjustments on that matter.

    I believe 5-7 games turns would be reasonable, right?!