Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Update

Good Friends

I wish you a great Thanksgiving or any other holiday, or simply vacation you are enjoying. If you are not enjoying one, I wish that your week is going good.

I this bi-weekly update of my blog I have four items to present: A riveting SAGA battle in which I forced the first draw to the undefeatable Irish of Keith, the proprietor of Galactic Comics and Games. A battle in the age of sail, as I used Kiss Me Hardy to play a scenario based on the Action of 13 January 1797. A write up of my three year (in game time) run of a Lyran-Kzinti war for Federation and Empire. And some painting I did. Please enjoy!

1)      Clash at the Bridge
My Anglo-Saxons met Keith’s Irish in glorious combat once more! My goal was a win, and it seems that fortuna was on my side. The scenario rolled was Battle at the Bridge, which seemed to be good for my warband. I decided to go down the death-star path and took a unit of 12 Hearthguard, a unit of 12 Levy, and my Warlord. While this meant I had few Saga dice, this was not punishing since the warlord could move one unit without the need of a Saga Die. Keith also experimented, fielding Brian Boru as a warlord , with his SUPER-bodyguard (more on that later) a unit of Hearthguard, a unit of Warrior-dogs, and a unit of warriors. I definitely had the numbers.  
I decided to send the Hearthguard towards the bridge, and the levy and warlord to the ford. Keith hid Brian Boru behind a house and then sent his Warrior-dogs and Hearthguard to the ford, SUPER-bodyguard and the other Warrior unit to the bridge.
So what happened? Initially all went well! Keith had bad dice and my Levy for once more did super. They slayed the warrior-dogs and the Hearthguard and crossed the bridge with my warlord. Victory seemed mine! My Hearthguard held the bridge for a long time, surviving Irish urchins pelting them with rocks, warriors pelting them with javelins, and SUPER-bodyguard pelting them with javelins! Well they killed the Warriors and confidently attacked SUPER-bodyguard. Well that was a mistake. Fortuna likes big brawny dudes, and some good dice on Keith’s side and bad dice on mine upturned my victory. Super-bodyguard killed my Hearthguard in time to cross the bridge and snatch victory from my shaking hands.

The battle was awesome, my blood was pounding and even though I lost I failed to get victory, I had a ton of fun!

The Forces arrayed

Brain Boru hidden away from danger. He is old.

SUPER-bodyguard and Warriors vs. Hearth-guard 

Death Levy and warlord vs. Warrior-dogs and Irish Hearth-guard

Have at thee!

Have at them!

Dogs vs. Men once more!

The Levy once more shows how hard-core it is

Hearth-guard vs. Warriors, while Super-bodyguard awaits.

Run away foos! Run from the Death-Levy!

Sometimes Keith has bad dice

The Hearth-Guard fights to the death against Super-bodyguard 

Sometimes my dice are bad!

While Keith will get better dice!

The %#@$ eats my hearthguard up and crosses

To give the Irish a tie!

2)The Action of 13 January 1797 using Kiss me Hardy
I also created an introductory scenario for Kiss me Hardy bases on the Action of 13 January 1797 when the 44 gun HMS Indefatigable and 36 gun HMS Amazon took advantage of stormy weather to defeat the  French Republic Ship 74 gun Droits de l’Homme. I played the French ship while, the fellow-player took the British. The British ships started on opposing edges, with the French ship in the middle. Goal for the French was to escape from one of the two British edges. The British goal was to force the French to strike.
I built the Droits De l’Homme as a 74 gun ship. Because of the damage it had received by the weather, I started it at the 64 point hull box. I made the crew Average, and Fervently Determined (to simulate the stubbornness of the French that day). I gave them a Boarding Party (to simulate the troops it was moving) and poor sailors. As in history the ship started with it topmasts lost, speed reduced to 10cm from 12cm. The sea started choppy so its 8 firepower was halved to 4.

The Indefatigable was a represented using the Go Large option, giving it the hull points of a 74 gun ship. Its crew is Elite, Fervently Determined, while the ship is Foul Bottomed for being in station too long. The Amazon was a “normal” 36 gun British frigate.
The battle ended being a broadside to broadside duel between the Indefatigable and Droits De L’Homme. Early in the game the Droits turned towards the Indie. Then a change of weather card led to becalmed seas. The ships moving to a crawl meant that the Amazon could not reach the battle. The firefight was great! The Indie did well benefiting from the halved firepower of the Droit. Both ships exchanged powerful broadsides, but the British had fortuna on their side. In the end after a great fight, the Droits striked its colors. By the end of the battle the Indie had suffered 15 Hull hits, gone from 14 to 13cm speed, and gone from 6 firepower to 3. The Droits was hammered losing 26 Hull points, going from speed 12 to 3 cm, suffering High Officer Casualties , losing its mainmast, and going from 8 firepower to 4. A historical result and fun game!

3)Federation and Empire: A short lost war
To learn Federation and Empire I set up the short Squall scenario, but decided to play it for three years. This pits the Kzinti vs. the Lyrans. The war essentially ends because of Federation-Klingon intervention. Since the Lyrans expect theis, their goal is to destroy as much of the Kzinti defense network as they could and maybe take and hold two or three Kzinti provinces. The Kzinti goal was to defend.
Why did the war happen? The main reason is Kzinti political instability. Under the Federation brokered Amtizai Armistice, that created the Kzinti-Lyran Neutral zone, the Kzinti were required to stop hunting expeditions in Lyran space. While the Patriarch and the high council took the bitter pill in return for the Federal alliance, Prince Tharakash refused. Throughout the five year period between this war and the Accords he would launch destructive hunting raids in Lyran territory, taking advantage of the chronic political and military conflicts between the constituencies of the Lyran Empire. By Y168 the Lyran politics stabilized and they decided to do something about the Tharakash incrusions. They gave a 6 month ultimatum to the Kzinti High Council to bring Tharakash to heel. An impossible task when the Prince had important mid-level support. Thus in Spring 168, the Lyrans invaded.
Gnerally speaking the war went as this. Initially the Lyrans focused on the border bases of the Kzinti. The Kzinti focused on saving ships. The Lyrans succeeded in destroying the majority of Kzinti defenses on their common border and taking two provinces, but could not break through the two Starbases around which the Kzinti build their defenses. The next phase saw Kzinti counterattacks and attempts to expel the Lyrans from their territory. The Lyrans focused on destroying one of the two Starbases. This pahse ended with the destruction, at a terrible price for the Lyrans, of the Starbase 1304. In the third and final phase, the Lyrans made a concentrated attack in Kzinti territory centered around a massive battle fleet of 5 DNs and 2 BCs plus supporting ships. Their target was Starbase 0902. While the base was destroyed, the Kzinti counterattack drove the Lyrans back to the common border. In a final decisive battle the Lyran Battle Fleet was forced to retreat after an attack by a 3 DN, 2 BC and supporting ships Kzinti fleet. When the Fderation/Klingon mediation offer arrived, the Kzinti held all of their territory. But at a huge cost.

The Lyrans spent arou 760 economic points in the war, while the Kzinti 545.

What did I learn: a )Fleets should be built both with killer ships that provide firepower (BCs, DNs) and large amounts of small ships to take hits. The final Lyran battle saw a only capital ship fleet attacked by a mixed Kzinti fleet. While both sides dished out equal amounts of damage, the loss ratio was worse for the Lyrans who had to sacrifice BCs and DNs for the Frigate and Light Cruisers of the Kzinti.
b) I will have to find a faster way to do planetary assaults and capital assaults. Because I was a intimidated by them, I essentially ran both sides with a force-destruction operational strategy, rather than territory control. I think this is good for the Kzinti, but bad for the Lyrans. I did not use pinning as much as I should.
c) Carriers are awesome. In many battles, numerically inferior Kzinti fleets had more firepower than numerically superior Lyran fleets.
d) I cannot wait to play this with my friends.

The Lyrans overrun the Kzinti Border

A familiar view, the Lyrans always had bigger fleets.

What goes around, comes around. Kzinti counter-attacks

Massive battles!

With huge losses!

The maximum extent of the Lyran invasion

Turned back by a Kzinti counterattack

Once more in the borders

A battle of giants!

Lyran thrusts!

Kzinti counterattacks!

Massive battles among the wrecks of older battles!

The Kzinti are fighting severely outnumbered! 

Kzinti and Lyrans face off on the border

The decisive Lyran assault on Starbase 902.

The Lyrans have massive reserves 

A bloody defeat for the Kzinti Battlefleet. Only 2 DNs left from a larger fleet. But at what cost for the Lyrans

The Kzinti finally drive out the Lyrans!

4) Painting

I got some 1/2400 pre-dreadnoughts  from GHQ to see if I would enjoy painting them. I got two emblematic tumblehome ships, the French-built Russian ship Tsesarevich and the French Jarequiberry. These are pricy but beautiful models. I enjoyed making and painting them, and have decided to built the Russian and Japanese fleets at the Battle of Yellow Sea, during the Russo-Japanese War. I am also thinking of giving a try to 1/6000.

I also finished my Gor Beastmen unit for my Warhammer1000 project. Not that much left to finish the army.
And I re-painted the Klingong ships I have fro Star Trek attack wing. 

Who needs steampunk when you have these!

Opening fire!

I think they are nicer!

And here are the Gors!


Bluebear Jeff said...

I really like 1/2400 scale for the Pre-Dreadnoughts. Most of my fleets are Panzerschiffe (which I still like) but I'm switching over to the new "rapid prototype plastic" WTJ ships (which are very nicely detailed:

As for 1/3000 scale for the Pre-Dread period, I found it a bit too small . . . and 1/6000 is MUCH too small for this period (although great for WWII).

Remember too that gunnery ranges were much shorter than later with better targeting.

Enjoy yourself, sir.

-- Jeff

Konstantinos Travlos said...

Jeff, your posts persuaded me and I decided to complete the Russians using WTJ.

What rules do you suggest? I have played Quickfire.

Also, if you have any advise on where to get the three Greek-Pre-dreadnoughts of the Balkan Wars it would be great.

Sean said...

Looks like some fun games. I really like how you painted the Klingon vessels, they look how I envisioned mine so I'll probably copy you as best I can.