Chapter Three: The Battle of Four Fleets
Where we left our story last week… The Imperial rockets of the fleet of Princess Taegan, daughter of Emperor Marduk, had fought skirmish after skirmish with several groups of those scurvy scoundrels stalking the space lanes, the Space Pirates, around the planet Dormientes Draco as well as brief clashes with Zenithians. A battle between Valkeeri and Zenithians was also observed in this sector of space.
This week we tune in to discover another Space Pirate captain trying to raid this world….
So i turn up for the regular saturday gaming at the Sleeping Dragon my local game store. I was hoping to play against Jimmy, Stewart and/or Will again and there had been talk of a possible four player game with them but alas they didn’t show up today. I was starting to fear i wouldn’t get a game in this week however as luck would have it the store owner Warwick came in so Warwick got his chance to try the game i’ve been raving about.
Based solely off the concept he went with the Space Pirates, though i think he’d be playing the Imperium if i wasn’t as he was quite taken with the Imperial ships. We set up the table and planet and it’s moon for a simple shoot out like the other games i’ve gone with so far for teaching others (and learning myself) the basics. For once the first salvo didn’t take out one of my Scorpions, however swiftly Warwick developed a unique dice rolling method involving a unique pattern of shaking and a most vigorous roll onto the table and…. got a destroy result with every single roll from that moment on! I’ve never seen anyone be so lucky with my grey d10! Could there be something to the superstitions of these scurrilous star scallywags? Surely not! I definitely need to work more on defensive positioning of my ships in turns where i will be moving last to try and get at least one hit in in return but nothing would have helped much against those perfect rolls! Amusingly Warwick i’m told usually has terrible fortunes with dice so this was quite the turnaround for his luck. There were also some great moments where i positioned well for an attack… only to find myself a fraction out of range! Despite the solid loss i really enjoyed this game. Unlike other games that tended to have most rockets moving in a much more free flowing way I found myself flying my scorpions in tight formation (if only i’d turned the outer ones facing in each direction i might have got a hit back at a key moment) and Warwick certainly was making the most of keeping his rockets in close lines with overlapping fire arcs which worked well and looked great. I will have to decide on colours for my space pirates as they prove so popular with people wanting to learn the game. It will be fantastic playing this with everything painted.
Then it was time for a four-way game. Allying with my Imperial fleet was that very same pirate captain who’d just defeated me! What could drive the Imperium and the Space Pirates together? An alliance between the interstellar amazons the Valkeeri and those Invaders from another dimension the Zenithians! So it was Warwick and I versus Hadrian and Sam!
With 4 players we grabbed some cotton wool for some impromptu nebula terrain to add to the planetary (a cloud of debri, blasted metal scattered atoms and frozen crystals of atmosphere from the destroyed rockets of previous battles perhaps?) and launched right in. Sam hadn’t played any wargame at all before so took a tiny smidge of explaining as we went but as usual war rocket is a game anyone can learn in minutes. First blood went to the Space Pirates as they rushed in blasting at aValkeeri Siren and adding it’s wreckage to the nebula. However this wasn’t the first shot the pirates fired, despite the trend of the game just minutes prior Warwick’s special rolling technique had lost some of it’s charm! The Fury and remaining Sirens retaliated and the Pirate commander in his Stiletto was no more. The Zenithians rushed to try and reach where the battle was heating up on the other side of Dormientes Draco while there was a terrible clash as the Fury rushed to blast the Imperial Raptor point-blank only to be flanked on the one side by the Imperial Scorpions and on the other by the Space Pirate class 1’s the Daggers. Blasts flew in every direction (and i nearly ran out of counters! I must get some more for bigger games!) but the heavy armour of the Raptor saw it through while the Fury was sundered by the slashing atom rays directed upon it from all sides! However it wasn’t all our way, one of the Daggers too was destroyed by Zenithian beams! We only had minutes of time left so we hastened the next turn. The Space Pirates tried to get around the planet… or were they running away, perhaps with their captain dead each scurvy space-dog realised they had a much bigger share of their stash back at their secret base and were rushing back to secure it? Or were they unwilling to face the Saucer-men? The Imperial rockets held firm, braced for incoming fire and picked out their targets while the Sirens rushed in firing from close range… and with the casualty rate even it was all down to the last rolls.. and Sam in his first wargame ever won the day for the Valkeeri-Zenithian alliance as one of my Scorpions was blasted from the stars!
Another great game and it was time for the store to close and me to get some lunch. definitely my weakpoint in games is tying to get return shots in the turns where i lose the roll-off in the order phase. That and the firepower advantage other class 2’s have compared to my Raptors (i see why the war rocket book mentions it’s common to add a second gun to the raptor using the custom rocket rules, once we start using the advanced rules i think most and maybe all my Raptors will be the 17 point upgraded ones) So far luck has played a sizable factor but the games thus far have been small using just a class 2 and 3 class 1’s each side. With larger games things should even out a little more. The Sleeping Dragon is getting in some stock in the next week or two and i’ll definitely be adding a class 3 Gryphon and whatever else they get in that i can afford to my Imperial fleet (hopefully more Scorpions and Raptors) and hopefully others will have enjoyed it enough to get their own fleets started. I should get onto painting my second Raptor too and i need to figure out how I want to paint my planet and moon.
I’m interested in seeing how games including class 3 and 4 rockets change. The greater fire arcs of the Gryphon but it’s slow speed and lack of rear-facing weaponry will mean i will need to have at least some class 1 or 2 rockets behind it to intercept attempts to attack it’s weak point. I should find out in a couple of weeks time.
Be sure to catch our next thrilling instalment at this theatre next week!