Sleeping Dragon’s Trial by Fire

This was to be the last saturday gaming at the Sleeping Dragon, my local gamestore, for this year. However there was a big bad heatwave going on. The weather prediction for Saturday earlier in the week? Nearly 40 degrees C which for this place is seriously roasting. Thankfully the estimate got reduced to 34 as the day approached and i decided that while it would still be a scorcher i didn’t want to miss out.

So after far too little sleep because of the night of horrid heat i bundled up my rockets and went to the dragon. Thank goodness for cans of refridgerated softdrink to keep the heat-headache to a minimum. The heat being what it was i was prepared for the likelihood few would show up and that i might not get a game in, but just hanging out and talking about different miniature lines wargames rpgs comics and movies was fun. However before the day was quite out Harry, one of the Vanguard card gamers, decided he would like to try War Rocket.

He’d seen me playing against Warwick previously so opted for trying the Space Pirates. We went with a single planet and moon and the battle was just a simple shootout. Because he was using my pirates it was a class 2 each and 3 class 1s.

The heat had taken it’s toll so i was so very thankful that war rockets rules are so simple and elegant and that my sweetheart had printed out the PDFs from Hydra so i didn’t have to rely on my boiled brains hazy memory.

As usual there were a couple turns moving towards one another where the basics of movement were learned and then onto shooting where my usual lack of luck and the loss of a scorpion on the first turn.. did not occur! The roll against my rocket was unsuccsessful. Instead one of Harry’s class1 Daggers was destroyed on a roll of a 10! Harry, with a little experience of Warhammer, was quite struck with the simplicity of the game and not at all phased with the loss of the first rocket.. closer we race our fleets and further into atomic fire!

Again in the damage phase our atomic rays lashed out, and in short order the class2 pirate Stilletto, a scorpion and another Dagger were tumbled wreckage! Another of the rolls of mine had been a 10, so my Imperial dice seemed to have bucked it’s past trend and gave me a nice run. The remaining pirate decided escape was a sensible option and hurtled toward the planet! The Imperial craft rushed after it but it survived what fre could be brought to bare and as tghe rocket reached the world with a quick improvised rule and a roll we determined it had escaped to safety!

Harry’s friend Zack had watched the end of our game and wanted to try it too. So I asked them if they’d like to try playing each other, both against me or a free-for-all and they both wanted the latter. Zack decided to use the Zenithians of mine and i explained the rules again.

With three players we put the other planet onto the table and shifted positions around, then we started moving our fleets on from different sides. Zack imediately darted behind the nearest planet while Harry and I rushed towards the centre. Swiftly firing commenced, the first round of fire resulted in a stunned Scorpion, then the second began… and was explosive! I put all my hits onto the Stiletto while Harry spread his hits around some on the stunned scorpion and some on another, and his gamble paid off! While his Stiletto was destroyed i lose two Scorpions. Alas it was time to pack up as Zacks mother arrived to take him home and the store was closing soon (incidentally Zack’s mother asked if the game was like Warhammer and seemed to be quite impressed to hear it was a whole lot cheaper). Because Harry had destroyed two 10-point rockets and i had destroyed 1 15-point rocket, and Zack had held back and so not lost or destroyed anyone, it was declared a victory for Harry and the Space Pirates!

In this game i tried to be more mindful of trying to have my Imperial rockets fire arcs complemnting each other, though i was also careful not to be ruthless with first-time players either 🙂 (still i’ve lost plenty of games to Space Pirates even from first-time players)

So finding that i was going to be moving first against the pirates this was my experiment.

The Raptor moved first and the stiletto responded making the righthand flank of the raptor vulnerable and the front/left area was most likely to be reached by the pirates class1 daggers so i moved my scorpions in to support the Raptor like this:

Raptor ………<

Scorpion…….^

Scorpion….^

Scorpion.^

This spread my effective fire-arc over the raptor’s right flank and had a good spread to the scorpions left so that the pirates couldn’t get into range easilly without facing at least one hit. There was a fair bit of overlap of each fire arc but it wasn’t hard either to place the attackers in such a way as to ensure multiple hits could be put on me and only one or two returned, which will be the case with any formation set up to cover any weakpoints. But often in turns where my class 1’s will move first i dont get to hit back at all as more agile rockets move out of my fire arcs while keeping me in thiers so the value of getting even just one hit back on the turns when moving first is massive especially when facing galacteers whose class1 Comets always move first, and with the rockets of the imperium being the slowest and least manoeverable in the game it is a vital part of Imperial tactics.

This is actually the kind of force that i’m least used to in wargaming. From my first game Adeptus Titanicus where i tended to keep my Titans light and fast, to Space Hulk where i tended to use the fast close-combat genestealers, to my battletech general preferance for faster lighter mechs and of course playing genestealer cults and then Tyranids in warhammer 40,000  and my Monsterpocalypse preferences my usual playing style is more like the Galacteers or Zenithians. However the Imperial rockets are my favourites by far and i am really enjoying the challenge of playing the Imperium and learning to play in a completely different style.

So how did Harry respond to my formation? He dove his Class1 Daggers in where the back two scorpions were all that could hit, he managed to get one Dagger to the right of the middle Scorpion, just, and just able to hit me with those wicked 180 degree fire arcs of theirs. So he concentrated more of his shots on the middle scorpion. This middle scorpion was the one that became stunned. The following turn he barely shifted focussing on the stunned Scorpion and some on the rearmost scorpion while i left the immobile rocket to it’s fate and went for his Stiletto with my Raptor and remaining Scorpions.

And a cute unrelated anecdote, while hanging about chatting in the store before the games a family came in doing some christamas shopping, looking over the Dr Who stuff for their 2 year old who is a massive dr who fan after discovering Tom Baker’s run as the doctor on cable. It was quite adorable and his father said they weren’t responsible for it despite being scifi fans themselves, it was the only tv show the kid really liked to watch. Certainly when i was little Tom’s Doctor was the most popular, and family friendly scifi shows were more common (though the amount of death in shows back then was far more than todays tv) but i found it interesting that the old slow and often moody and spooky tv show still held up for a little kid next to modern fast-paced tv.

While this was the last sleeping dragon game for me for the year i’ll try and get some games in and do more battle reports over the holidays before the sleeping dragon games reccomence next year 🙂

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