Archive for June, 2007

The Battle for Saguntum III: Centauri vs Earth Alliance

Posted in A Call to Arms 1e, ACTA Battles, ACTA Campaign on June 20, 2007 by redcoat668

Turn/Time: Turn 3/January, 2261

Scenario: Annihilate

Terrain: Two 8″ radius Density 6 Asteroid fields in the middle of the table.

Situation: An EA task group jumps a smaller Centauri carrier group during scouting of an unexplored Major System. Outnumbered, the Centauri must cause as much damage as possible before withdrawing.

ToE:

The Earth Alliance:

TG Acheron, consisting of

  • 1x Omega (EAS Acheron)
  • 1x Nova (EAS Vauban)
  • 3x Hyperion (EAS Aeneas, Clio, and Omdurman)
  • 2x Oracle (EAS Delphi and Pythia)
  • 4x Artemis (EAS Artemis, Telemachus, Chimaera, and Manticore)
  • 2x Olympus (EAS Pompey and Scylla)
  • 2x Starfury Wing (1689th and 1776th Combat Wings)
  • 2x Thunderbolt Wing (1066th and 98th Assault Wings)

EA fleet

The Centauri Republic:

  • 1x Primus
  • 1x Balvarin
  • 1x Darkner
  • 1x Dargan
  • 2x Corvan
  • 1x Vree Xixx

The Centauri fleet

Setup: The Centauri set up their forces in a compact line towards the center of their table edge. I split TG Acheron into two sub elements, one based on Acheron and her escorts and one based on Vauban and hers, and placed them roughly on either side of the asteroid cluster. I placed the three Hyperions in the middle of my edge as a mobile reserve.

The initial setup...  

The Battle:

Turn 1:  Screened by their stealthed Corvan scouts, the Centauri fleet stayed clustered and rapidly closed with Vauban and her group, which likewise strove to come to grips with them as quickly as possible. The 1689th’s Starfuries actually reached effective weapons range of the Centauri fighters, but the stealth systems of the Rutarians completely frustrated the more primitive Earth tracking equipment and no lockons were achieved. In the meantime, the Centauri were busily concentrating their superior ranged firepower on the EA capital ships and EAS Pompey went up in a ball of expanding gasses without even firing a shot. Acheron and her escorts strove to close on the flank, but were hampered by the rocks and debris of the asteroid field. Fortunately, the fighters of the 1776th and 98th were not similarly hindered, and streaked through the tumbling asteroids towards the enemy.   

The inital exchange

Turn 2: The right half of the battlefield became a chaotic mess of furious dogfights as the Starfuries closed in to deal with the Rutarians ship to ship. Once in visual scanning range, the Centauri cloaking was useless, and the Earth fighters tore into their opponents with a vengeance. A battle laser from the Darkner smashed into Vauban’s engine room and drastically reduced her speed, leaving her helpless in the front arc of the advancing Primus. Unable to escape, Vauban’s captain turned her broadside to the enemy and prayed for a lucky critical. Sadly, his prayers went unanswered: the broadside shot did minimal damage and the Primus’ salvo blew Vauban into flinders. She was soon avenged, as concentrated fire from Omdurman and Clio, who had joined the fight, shredded the Darkner (identified from wreckage as HMS Sestarii) who had doomed the ill-fated Nova. Prowling the edge of the battlefield, the intrepid captain of the Pythia lined up his boresight laser on the Xixx and fired, crippling the unlucky Vree. Beyond the fray, the Balvarin continued to clear her fighters for space as fast as possible.

The right flank heats up

Turn 3: Though the newly launched fighters from the Balvarin continued to engage the Starfuries, the Earth Alliance had effectively gained fighter superiority, and the 1066th and 98th’s Thunderbolts began their missile runs on the Centauri capital ships. Though they failed to score major damage, the Thunderbolts did whittle down the Centauri interceptor defences. Acheron was rapidly closing on the Centauri left flank, and their Admiral realized this was his last chance to cause major damage before the trap closed. The Dargan lined up carefully on Omdurman and ripped into her with both her frontal and starboard weapons, tearing her apart. Hungry for vengeance, her sister ship Clio trained her own beam weapon on the Dargan (identified from wreckage as HMS Gallico) and blew it in half. One fragment tore into the already crippled Xixx (identified from wreckage as VCS Lawgiver) and destroyed it, while another slammed into one of the Corvans, causing massive damageA salvo from Pythia killed the last of the Corvan’s crew, rendering it dead in space.

The trap begins to close   

Turn 4: As Acheron closed in, the Centauri Admiral gave the signal for his group to scatter and withdraw. The Balvarin slipped off the table edge and escaped, while the remaining Corvan ran for the side of the board. This left the Primus without support, and her captain opened a jump point and trusted the sturdiness of his relatively undamaged ship to see him through it. At first, it seemed as though the captain’s gamble would pay off as the railguns of Acheron’s Artemis escorts hammered at the Primus’ hull. His luck ran out, however, when Aeneas hit  her magazine (Vital Systems, Secondary Explosions), and a cheer went up throughout the Earth fleet as the Centauri battleship (identified from wreckage as HMS Emperor’s Wrath) blew apart.

The Emperor's Wrath meets her end

Turn 5: As the Starfuries mopped up the remaining Centauri fighters, the last Corvan silently slipped off the board and escaped.

Analysis: Tough battle. I tried for a classic Billy Howe pin ‘n flank, but thanks to the asteroids couldn’t quite pull it off. The terrain kept Acheron from closing in a timely manner, and as a result poor Vauban got to face the Centauri alone for three turns with fatal results for her crew. While my Thunderbolts didn’t have the overwhelming effect I was hoping for, they did good service in reducing interceptor values, and I’d definitely continue relying on their presence. Still, despite the loss of the Nova, I have the Strategic Target, a largely intact TG, and he has one less Primus…not a bad trade all said and done.

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The Battle for Flux: Centauri vs Raiders

Posted in A Call to Arms 1e, ACTA Battles, ACTA Campaign on June 18, 2007 by redcoat668

Turn/Time: Turn 3/January, 2261

Scenario: Annihilate!

Terrain: None

Situation: Having discovered a nest of Raiders in the Flux system, the Centauri fleet moves in to destroy them and secure the area in its first campaign engagement.

ToE:

The Centauri Republic:

  • 1x Primus
  • 2x Sulust
  • 1x Corvan
  • 1x Altarian

The Raiders:

  • 2x Battlewagon
  • 1x Strike Carrier
  • 1x Modified Freighter
  • 2x Bellerophon Battle Sattelite

Setup: The Centauri deployed their ships in a tight pack on their table edge. The raiders deployed one sattelite at each end of their table edge and their ships in a line strung out along it, one Battlewagon anchoring each flank:

The opponents face off

The Battle:

Note: Turn headings are color-coded according to which side won the initiative.

Turn 1: The Centauri rolled poorly and the Raiders won the initiative, forcing the Fanheads to set up and move first. Both fleets closed, but did not end the turn in firing range, and the Battlewagons and Strike Carrier used the time to get their Delta-V2s into space.

They close...

Turn 2: Both sides maintained their formations, and began to exchange fire. The Centauri concentrated their battle lasers (using Concentrate All Firepower) on the Battlewagon on the left flank with their Corvan scout directing, and the weight of their firepower wreaked tremendous carnage. The combined battle laser damage crippled the hapless Battlewagon, with the Primus causing an additional�Weapons critical which reduced her enemy’s firepower. The Raiders returned fire with their own beam weapons, but their ships were so dispersed that they could not concentrate for effect. The Primus also managed to clear one of her Sentri flights for space…just in time to face the oncoming horde of Raider fighters.

They close...

Turn 3: The tilting point of the battle had now been reached as the fleets closed to knife-fighting range. The V2s swarmed over the larger Centauri capital ships, but their tiny guns were completely ineffective. The right flank Battlewagon tore into the Primus with her boresight laser, causing thruster damage and slowing, but not stopping, the Centauri flagship. Her escorts returned fire with more effect, one Sulust finishing off the crippled Battlewagon while the other pumped all the firepower of its front arc weapons into the Modified Freighter, blasting it into a glowing fireball. The Raiders’ Strike Carrier managed to get a lock on the stealthed Corvan and destroyed its engines with a single lucky shot, rendering the scout dead in space.

Turn 4: Centauri fleet handling and concentrated firepower had wreaked a dreadful toll on the Raiders. Now the remaining pirates could only sell their lives as dearly as possible. Fighters continued to swirl around the Centauri capital ships, but with little effect as the Lion of the Galaxy stalked his prey. One Sulust damaged the lone Strike Carrier while the rest of the fleet concentrated on the remaining Battlewagon. A final front arc volley from the Primus tore into her hull and left her a dead hulk running endlessly into the void on her own inertia.

The Centauri mop up

Turn 5: With the Raiders reduced to one capital ship, the Centauri began to methodically clear fighters from the area. Both lucky shots from their shipboard weapons and the work of their outnumbered Sentri squadrons destroyed several Delta-V2 flights. The carrier was not neglected, however, and fire from the Sulusts crippled the delicate ship.

The battle winds down...

Turn 6: Crippled and with no chance to escape, the last pirate ship on the map struck her colors when so ordered by the enterprising Captain of one of the Sulusts.

Turn 6 Small

Turns 7-8: With the Raider fleet destroyed or captured, the Centauri destroyed the defense sattelites at range without taking any return fire.

Analysis: A resounding Centauri victory, due primarily to poor initial placement by the Raiders. The pirates were too far away from each other to provide supporting fire, and their defense sattelites didn’t even�factor into the battle. While the Raiders were able to maintain fighter superiority (largely due to numbers), their absolutely abysmal dice rolls unfortunately removed any advantage this might have given them. The Centauri were simply able to do what they do best – kill things with massed battle laser fire.

Turn 3 EA Retrospective: Is the Best Defence a Good Offensive?

Posted in ACTA Campaign on June 1, 2007 by redcoat668

If Turn 2 was my stepping stone to the stars, Turn 3 begins my fight for the right to stay there. I expected to throw down in multiple systems, and the universe clearly decided to cater to those expectations.

It was, of course, inevitable. When you are a tiny power next to a large and expansionist power, and in particular when said power is run by Rich (whose rapacity in other strategy games is legendary in our local gaming circles), you’ve got a fight on your hands. Rather than reacting as the defender, therefore, I sought to bring the fight to him in as many places as I could achieve local superiority.

In essence my plan is not to “win” against the Centauri, a feat which is currently impossible given the huge disparity between our economies. Instead, following the examples of great military thinkers such as Sun-tzu, Mao Tse-tung, Che Guevara, Ho Chi Minh, George Washington*, and the guys from Gundam Wing, my objective is to make it so difficult and painful for them to achieve anything that they give up and go somewhere else.

Will it work in these circumstances? Here the Magic 8-Ball returns “Answer Unclear”. Most “low-intensity” opponents succeed because they had outside help from someone more powerful. Mao and Guevara had the Soviets. Ho had China. Washington had the French. I, on the other hand, have the equally tiny Minbari.

They all also had something else in common: opponents whose systems of government were based on at least some degree of popular support. While the Centauri, of course, have the Centaurum, the Centaurum’s not going to intervene in any meaningful sense in the context of this game. If Rich decides I have to die, then die I will no matter how many Fanheads I kill or how many Centauri ducats the Emperor has to squeeze out of the nobles. I have to break his will, not just enough of the Centaurum’s collective resolve to force a peace.

As a result of this strategy, the map didn’t change a whole lot:

EA Space on Turn 3

At the bottom of the screen is Saguntum III, where TG Acheron is contending with a much smaller, though still sizeable, Centauri force (1 point at War priority to my 4). In Caesar’s Folly, TGs Leonidas and Pegasus  have combined into a massive War(8) priority force in hopes of eliminating the sizable Centauri fleet concentration (War(4)) there. I also fortified the Agricultural world I hold in that system in order to secure the supply point and make it that much more resource – intensive for the Fanheads to evict me.

The main problem is that by concentrating on the Centauri I’ve had to leave my Raider issues in Moshelle completely unattended to for now. While the RR drain is annoying, the real problem is that without securing Moshelle I can’t move on to claim the Major Systems (Turbanos and Da’Valk) beyond…systems I badly need to jump-start my economy. 

*I can’t believe I used “George Washington” and “great military thinker” voluntarily in the same sentence. My Loyalist street cred just took a nosedive.