Archive for December, 2007

Turn 5: Day of the Dead

Posted in A Call to Arms 1e, ACTA Campaign on December 11, 2007 by redcoat668

The ultraviolent action of Turn 4 is at an end and Turn 5 has officially begun. While this turn appears to be largely a rest and rebuilding phase after the factions tore into each other last turn, it has been marked by three important events.

First, the Drazi withdrew their claim to all the planets they had colonized in this sector and returned to their own space…but not before savage fighting between Green and Purple factions rendered the surfaces of those worlds entirely uninhabitable. In leaving they mentioned something about a “War of Light” about to take place, possibly some crazy plan John Sheridan and the rest of those wacko Babylon 5 separatists have cooked up and probably not very important.

Secondly, the Comet has arrived and the Brakiri have begun celebrating the Day of the Dead. The Great League Offensive has ground to a halt while they unload the huge boxes of skull-shaped candies and prepare to speak to relatives or friends who will arrive from beyond the grave to resolve emotional issues or impart cryptic but eerily prophetic information. EA Sociologists have yet to confirm the presence of any perky Goth girls ushering these souls back and forth, but remain “really hopeful.”

Finally, the Vorlons in their ineffable wisdom have ordered the Minbari to assault the League world of Newport for purposes unknown. Perhaps a Shadow agent or long-abandoned base lies somewhere in the system. Perhaps the Vorlons hope to disrupt the Day of the Dead. Or perhaps the Elder Races are just massive pricks who enjoy getting the Younger Races to do senseless tasks for them. Either way, disruption of the Brakiri religious festival is sure to bring a new wave of League aggression upon the sector.

So in practical terms, we’re one player down, and in the midst of random event enforced inactivity from one of the two main contenders. Day of the Dead means the League can’t attack, but that anyone who attacks them invites a Brakiri jihad and faces extra ships whenever he faces them. Thus most of us decided to stay clear…except for poor Gary who was forced by his Vorlon Imperative to attack anyway.

Click for larger image

As you can see, the clear/white pins of the League have driven deep into Minbari territory and only the Centauri approach them in numbers of systems controlled. Earth picked up the last three neutral systems on the map, and the two Narn empires remain at the same compact sizes.

There are two battles this turn:

Newport (E10, Minbari/League): The Minbari attempt to carry out their Vorlon Imperative.

Defiance (F8, Centauri/Tza’sol Narn): A Centauri fleet attempts to seize a Narn system in reprisal for the Narn attack on Sparta Hill.

Both battles are slated for the early weeks of the New Year.

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The Battle for Moshelle: Earth Alliance vs Raiders

Posted in A Call to Arms, A Call to Arms 1e, ACTA Battles, ACTA Campaign on December 6, 2007 by redcoat668

Turn/Time: Turn 4/April 2261

Scenario: Annihilation

Terrain: Four ship graveyards, one in each quadrant of the board, and one dust cloud on the northern table edge.

Situation: After months of effort, Earthforce sector command obtains a rare intelligence coup: the location of the central base used by the Raiders infesting the quadrant. Immediately, Sector Command dispatches the newly-arrived TF Guderian to the area, hoping to destroy the Raider base before the pirates learn that their security has been compromised and move to a new location.

The battlefield...too beautiful to be stained with Raider blood.

ToE

Earth Alliance:

  • 2x Omega (EAS Guderian and Demosthenes)
  • 4x Hyperion (EAS Hector, Culloden, Creon, and Seleucid)
  • 4x Artemis (EAS Lycon, Troilus, Antigone, and Ismene)
  • 4x Starfury Wing 

TF Guderian on maneuvers   

Raiders:

  • 1x Endgame Dreadnought (Endgame)
  • 2x Battlewagon (Red Dwarf and Extinction)
  • 3x Strike Carrier (Revenge, Adventure Galley, and Quedah Merchant)
  • 2x Defense Satellite
  • 1x Raider Base

Earthforce intel pic of Raider forces at Moshelle

Turn 1: The drifting hulks and debris littering the area channeled TF Guderian’s potential approach vectors to a left, right, and middle path. The Earthforce CinC chose the middle approach, hoping to force the Battlewagons and Endgame to either meet him in the channel away from the base and its sattelites  or stand by and watch them be sliced into shrapnel by EAS Guderian’s and EAS Demosthenes’s heavy lasers. Initially, the Raiders held their capital ships back while moving their strike carriers to flank – Revenge and Adventure Galley to the left, and Quedah Merchant to the right. Unfortunately, Quedah Merchant strayed into range of Demosthenes before reaching the safety of the debris field,and the Omega promptly sliced the unfortunate Strike Carrier in half with a single shot of her boresight heavy laser.

TF Guderian chooses the middle route

Turn 2: The Earthforce commander dispatched the Artemises to intercept and destroy the two remaining flankers while the rest of the fleet continued to advance on the base, the Starfuries streaking ahead of the capital ships hunting Raider Deltas. The Raiders began to move their big guns forward, realizing that the Omegas would be within firing range of the base within a turn. Guderian lined up on one of the defense satellites and let fly; her salvo destroyed the satellite and the resulting fireball vaporized the other, though it failed to even scratch the nearby Endgame’s hull. EAS Lycon, flagship of the Artemis squadron, hit Adventure Galley with a railgun shot, damaging her engines. The Raiders did, however, manage to score a hit on EAS Hector, scrambling the Hyperion’s fire control. Both Earthforce and the Pirates continued to scramble fighters.

Kicking a hornet's nest...

Turn 3: The vanguard of Starfuries hit the first wave of Raider fighters and a massive dogfight erupted around the advancing Earth fleet. The untrained pirates were no match for Earthforce professionals and equipment, and the Starfuries slaughtered almost every Delta-V they encountered. The Artemis squadron ripped into the Strike Carriers, leaving Adventure Galley a burning hulk (crippling shot to Troilus, kill to Antigone). Meanwhile, the heavy battlelines of Earth and the Raiders exchanged fire. The Raider base’s defensive emplacements caused damage, but nothing critical. Red Dwarf crippled EAS Culloden, but lost her engines to a salvo from EAS Creon. Revenge, the last remaining Strike Carrier, filled the area around her with pulse laser fire, destroying many Starfuries before they could escape. In the midst of all the chaos, Guderian and Demosthenes had worked out their firing solutions for the Raider base and opened fire with their heavy lasers. While they failed to cause critical damage with their opening salvo, it was now only a matter of time.

Close action!

Turn 4: At this point, the beleaguered Starfuries were met with a fresh wave of enemy fighters, this time the more fearsome Delta V-2s. Already exhausted from dealing with the previous wave, the Earthforce pilots were unable to recover quickly enough and died in droves (I rolled a lot, I say a LOT, of 1s). Hector lined her boresight up on Revenge and crippled her with a single shot, leaving the Strike Carrier vulnerable to a finishing shot from EAS Ismene, which destroyed her. Drifting helplessly without her engines, Red Dwarf proved easy prey for Demosthenes, which burned her out with her front arc weapons while joining Guderian in focusing her boresight firepower on the base. Guderian’s shot actually managed a critical strike, reducing the base’s firepower. Nevertheless, the base was able to burn out the crippled EAS Culloden, which became the first Earthforce ship lost in the battle. She was soon followed by EAS Hector, which was reduced to a drifting wreck by Endgame. The Raider dreadnought soon had her own problems, as a lucky hit by EAS Seleucid ruptured her reactor fuel lines.

Sir, about those fighters...

Turn 5: The battle for fighter superiority remained the one bright spot for the Raiders as they hunted down and destroyed the last remaining Starfuries before turning their attention to the Earthforce capital ships. Both their efforts and those of the base’s defense batteries caused considerable damage to the smaller Earth ships, who were now concentrating their fire on Endgame and Extinction. It was Guderian, however, that delivered the final blow to Extinction, her main batteries blowing the Battlewagon into scrap. The Artemis squadron made an attack run on Endgame’s  flank, ripping into her with their railguns but losing Lycon to her return fire.

The Raiders' power is broken...

Turn 6: Endgamewas now the only thing standing between Earthforce and the base, and the Earth fleet concentrated their fire on her in a display of calculated savagery. Guderian’s lasers broke her back and killed most of her crew, and Demosthenes finished her. With Endgame a spinning, drifting wreck, the Earthforce commander offered the pirates a chance to surrender, or suffer her fate.

Turn 7: Having dealt with the Raider fleet, the Earth forces needed only to pull their ships out of range of the base’s defences and pound it into dust. The Artemis squadron streaked back towards Guderian and Demosthenes while the remaining Hyperions broke left with Delta v-2s in hot pursuit. A final shot from the base killed Creon’s crew before the Raider chieftain acceded to Earthforce’s surrender demand. The remaining Raiders were taken off the base before it was destroyed. TF Guderian remained in the area for the next several days searching for survivors and seeding the area with mines so it could not be used as a staging ground for Raider attacks in the future.

Analysis: After consistently getting my butt handed to me by the Centauri, this battle was a needed breath of fresh air. Sure it was only Raiders, but at least my tactics were sound and my dice rolls were mostly good (except for all those Starfuries). Major lessons learned:

  1. Artemises work better as hunter-killers than escorts.
  2. Take one Omega over two Novas
  3. Even when you have crappy Delta Vs, winning the fighter superiority battle can still allow you to cause significant damage.
  4. Hyperions are the firemen of the Third Age fleet.     

         

      

The Battle for Casino: League vs Narn

Posted in A Call to Arms, A Call to Arms 1e, ACTA Battles, ACTA Campaign on December 5, 2007 by redcoat668

Turn/Time: Turn 4/April 2261

Scenario: Annihilation

Terrain: One dead world in the center of the board.

Situation: The Great League Offensive reaches the Narn mining outpost at Casino as a League fleet jumps into the system to seize its precious resources.

ToE

League of Non-Aligned Worlds:

  • 1x Takata
  • 1x Vaarl
  • 1x Ilkorta

Narn Regime:

  • 1x G’Quonth
  • 1x Shokar

The initial setup.

Turn 1: Mines kill the one frazi flight, but otherwise only minor damage is inflicted to both fleets.

Turn 1

Turn 2: More minor damage is inflicted to both fleets

Turn 3: The League, in an attempt to gain initiative, breaks the single squadron.  The G’quonth promptly cripples and skeleton crews the Ikorta.

Turn 3 

Turn 4: The G’Quonth finishes off the doomed Ikorta.  Damage continues to mount on the G’Quonth while the Sho’kar orbits the map like a second hand on a watch.  The purpose of this maneuver is to stay alive and act as an initiative sink.

Turn 4

Turn 5: More damage to both fleets, none of it telling, yet.  The G’quonth attempts to come about and fails.

Turn 5

Turn 6: The G’quonth kills the Varl.   Now the damage is beginning to show as the Takata cripples the g’Quonth.

Turn 7: Smelling blood the League sieze the initiative and then blow out on the dice, earning the G’quonth a brief reprieve.

Turn 8: The Takata, taking a huge chance, turns its back on the crippled G’quonth and fires with its weaker rear guns.  The G’quonth finally dies and goes adrift.  The reason for this change in tactic was because it had become obvious that the Sho’kar was trying to escape.  With her main guns and mines facing the little shokar, the Takata fires a full salvo.  The electronic techs break her stealth and light damage is added to the Sho’kar, nearly crippling her.  The mine crews did extremely well here and finished the little ship off before it could escape.

Turn 8

Analysis: Another close run battle.  Dice were really telling here because the Narn missed on 30+ consecutive die rolls over two turns.   Had any significant portion of these rolls struck, things would be different.  Also while using an initiative sink, don’t fail to fire your guns in anger.  The orbiting shokar was never in range to use its guns, meaning it was never a valid threat, or of much assistance to the Narn effort in this case.

Thanks to Marc for the pics and battle report!