Sleeping Dragon Prison Rescue

Listen up Galacteers, we lost some good men against the Imperials on Dormientes Draco and some of them were carrying some vital Intel in their heads about what is going on with the MacGuffinite on that world. Now that the decoding department have translated the latest batch of Imperial internal propaganda broadcasts, they’re bragging that many of our men were taken prisoner and are being made to mine the MacGuffinite! We can’t let that insult stand! Also with the knowledge they now have from working with the… stuff, might at last explain what the Zenithians have been up to; the secret of Dormientes Draco and its high content of MacGuffinite. We will rescue them all eventually, but right now we need that Intel so we’re going to risk many lives for few to get at the secret of that world and with any luck we might find out what we need to stabilise that region of space and push the Imperial expansion back to their own turf. So Galacteers, to your rockets! To the RESCUE!

Saturday was time once more for another chapter of fun playing War Rocket at my local game store The Sleeping Dragon. Jason was eager for a game and while I’ve been working on some satellites for one of the missions in the main book Jason was keen to try and rescue some of his brave Galacteers taken captive and forced to work in the MacGuffinite mines from our last game.

So once more, dear viewers, we take you to the barren plains of that lost world Dormientes Draco, perhaps the richest source of MacGuffinite in the entire galaxy!

We see that the strange ancient ruins, with their weird Zenithian technological enhancements, have continued to draw clouds of MacGuffinite ore from deep underground. The strange process causing strange ice-teroids to form around the ore in increasing clouds of dangerous debris.

Or in other words Jason’s generous partner Sam gave me another massive haul of the excellent plastic fishtank stuff! And seeing as it was so great last time we really piled it on this game.

I couldn't resist adding little swishing tails to most of the clouds i set up as we readied the playing field.

I couldn’t resist adding little swishing tails to most of the clouds i set up as we readied the playing field.

Jason and I rather improvised the scenario for the rescue. The towers were as they were last game, and the aim for the Galacteers was to try and get 5 prisoners out of the towers. To try and balance that out I was only to start with my Class 1s and 2s on the field. On the 2nd turn I’d roll for each of the remaining two powerhouses, the Class 3 and Class 4, and on a result of a 9 or 10 they’d enter play. This would improve each subsequent turn as a 7+ then a 5+ etc. And I would roll randomly to determine which of the two long sides these would come in from. Also I’d set up my Class 1’s and 2’s first before Jason would decide which of the two short sides he would enter from.

So I set up two patrols, a pair of Class 1 Scorpions and a Class 2 Raptor paired with another Scorpion.

The rockets of Princess Taegan's Fleet circle about the strange towers guarding the prisoners as they slave in the radioactive mine

The rockets of Princess Taegan’s Fleet circle about the strange towers guarding the prisoners as they slave in the radioactive mine

Jason picked the side with the pair of Class 1 Scorpions, and on rumbled his entire fleet!

Enter the Galacteers!
Jason’s Fleet sure does look menacing arrayed like that…

The Galacteer War Rocket Fleet

Whooooosh!

Galacteers

Jason sends his Fleet into battle!

Of course the brave Imperial pilots reacted just as you’d expect to this invasion…

Hey, hey guys, the enemy is back there, you're going the wrong way, oh 'a tactical redployment' is that what they are calling it these days?

Hey, hey guys, the enemy is back there, you’re going the wrong way; oh ‘a tactical redeployment’ is that what they are calling it these days?

“Alert, Alert, Now learn this: We are under attack! Repeat, We Are Under Attack! Redeploy and prepare to fend off Galacteer assault. Delay ‘till reinforcements arrive. Repeat, Reinforcements In-bound! Hail Marduk!”

I pull back my smaller patrol so that my two patrols can combine their forces and try to bring the enemy down with concentrated fire when they strike, and onwards the Galacteers come.

So, next turn and we start by seeing if either of my big rockets shows up. The roll for the Class 3 is unsurprising but for the Class 4… Wow! A 10 right at the start! Seriously lucky. And so that means…. Dun Dun Daaaaaaaaah!

The Imperial Class IV War Rocket, the Manticore!

The Imperial Class IV War Rocket, the Manticore!
(And yes, I made rocket engine noises as I moved it onto the table!)

It’s only had its first lick of colour over a white spray undercoat but it’s already looking awesome!

Ok now that changes things! As we move from the slowest to the fastest, I split my speedy Class 1 rockets up, each peeling away in a neat move. On my right, one turns to escort the mighty Class 4 Manticore, on my left the other to make a swift assault, groups with the other Scorpion and Raptor.

A quick reposition is in order!

A quick reposition is in order!

Actually, I felt a bit bad with this piece of luck – worried that the early arrival might mean the hastily cobbled scenario would be unbalanced in my favour. But as Jason was fine with things we continued.

Jason took this new development swiftly in his stride, splitting his force into 3 teams. The swiftest being a Class 2 Supernova and Class 1 Comet darting down my left flank skirting the tiny handful of pages that comprise most of the games rules (that’s not record-keeping folks, the rules are super-simple so the strategy can be as simple or complex as you want!).

We're skirting the edges of a strange two-dimentional structure, be careful cadet!

We’re skirting the edges of a strange two-dimensional structure, be careful Cadet!

The massive Galacteer Quasar and a second Comet moved to the centre line.

Galacteer Class 4 Quasar
While the Pulsar took the right flank.

Que the dramatic music with the horns and kettle drums!

Que the dramatic music with the horns and kettle drums!

Though I got a bit carried away with nice close-up shots so there aren’t enough overview pics like this:

Tactical overview, a bit under-utlilsed view in todays blogpost, sorry folks!

Tactical overview, a bit of an under-utilised view in today’s blogpost, sorry folks!

As the next turn began I rolled again for the Class 3, this time needing a 7+, a much better chance but still lower than 50/50 and… Bad news for the Galacteers rescue plans!

Time for the ominous bass music, it's The Class 3 Imperial Gryphon!

Time for the ominous bass music, it’s The Class 3 Imperial Gryphon!

My Class 3 arrives on the other flank! Very lucky for me! At this point I’m thinking it’s unlikely the Galacteers have much hope of rescuing their imprisoned comrades.

The Class 3 Gryphon moves towards the swiftest of the Galacteer groups.

My beautiful picture
Meanwhile the Class 4 moves in towards the Pulsar

The massive class 4 begins it's slow but inexorable path towards the Galacteers

The massive Class 4 begins its slow but inexorable path towards the Galacteers!

Both ships have a tiny speed, able to move a mere 3 hexes at a time, and that’s if they don’t make any turns! Still with that much armour that’s a whole lot of mass to budge!

The Class 3 Galacteer Pulsar responds by ducking through the tail edge of an Ice-teroid field

Enter the Ice-teroid field!

“Enter the Ice-teroid field!”

Each side keeps roughly in pace with the big ships unwilling to put the smaller faster ships at too much risk early on without back-up.. Till I decide to send my swift rocket-group to try and take down the Class 4 Galacteer Quasar coming in mainly from the front flank section, the weakest part of its fire-arc!

Charge!

Charge!

Alas one of the Scorpions can’t get into the safety zone and bears the brunt of the majority of the earthling firepower!
My beautiful picture

We roll our dice, I’m hoping for a lucky hit to take down the powerful Galacteer rocket, and I’m expecting the Scorpion in the forward arc to get some hurt…

Good shot side gunner!

Good shot Quasar side gunner!

But it’s the underslung wing turret of the Class 4 Quasar, supplemented by the Class 1 Comet that gets a result and one of my Scorpions is stunned!

Then, the action still on the left so far, the massive flying wing the Class 4 Quasar moves past the Imperial rockets, ignoring them. The Raptor commander, incensed with this insult, pulls in right behind the Quasar trusting to the Rockets extraordinary armour, the equal of the huge Galacteer rocket, to protect it from the rear-facing gun turret while trying to score a telling hit with its single firepower attack. One Scorpion hampered by the large turning circle of the heavier Imperial rockets ends up at the edge of a patch of Ice-teroids unable this turn to get a strike while the stunned Scorpion is left at the mercy of a lone Comet.

Surely we cannot miss at this range!

Surely we cannot miss at this range!

Meanwhile, the Comet escorting the Class 2 Supernova zooms past the Class 3 Imperial Gryphon into the safe zone behind it and while it’s not able to get a shot lined up itself it does start making the Imperial rocket crew sweat!

They're behiiind yoooou!

They’re behiiind yoooou!

The point-blank exchange of atomic light between the Quasar and Raptor fail to do anything more than superficial damage, the lone Comet on the stunned Scorpion needs a 9 or 10 to take down its prey…

Ka-Boom! The wing of the Scorpion explodes in molten metal sending the wreckage spiralling tumbling down to the cold red desert below!

Ka-Boom! The wing of the Scorpion explodes in molten metal sending the wreckage spiralling tumbling down to the cold red desert below!

The next round I make a significant mistake. Expecting Jason to tackle me headlong, my Raptor moves into a position somewhat beside the Quasar… only for the Galacteer Class 2 Supernova to dive past the onrushing rockets to dock with the nearby tower, brave Galacteers blasting their way through the towers corridors to rescue the prisoners from their radioactive fate!

Oh Drat!

Oh Drat!

Now my Gryphon is in danger and I can hardly hit anything!

The Quasar's firepower is indeed formidable!

The Quasar’s firepower is indeed formidable!

The result of this….

Not the Raptor! Those side-gunners must be some of the Galacteers best shots!

Not the Raptor! Those side-gunners must be some of the Galacteers best shots!

Alas, my favourite miniature of the Imperial rockets (each and every one a classic) is taken out of action! Again not the victim of the massive barrage of forward guns but those canny and skilful wing-turret gunners! I must get my Imperial spies to discover what they are being fed for breakfast! I bet it’s Wheat Chex; Rice Chex; and Instant Ralston!

Meanwhile on the right flank an exchange of broadside blasts was about to commence

My beautiful picture

The shooting was ineffectual on both sides, but the move was to be an important one!

Next turn the Class 4 Manticore turned to give chase to the Class 3 Pulsar which lacked any rear-facing guns to shoot back, and the escort Scorpion zoomed in between the two adding its firepower to the forward blasters of the mighty Manticore!

The huge Manticore was just to the right of this image

The huge Manticore was just to the right of this image

While back on the left flank my Class 3 Gryphon went to get a good side-gun shot on the docked Supernova, supplemented by an attack from a Class 1 Scorpion, while the Class 4 Galacteer Quasar put its rear turret gun blasts into the gryphon along with the Comet!

Broadsides

The results of all the shooting?

Stunned!

Stunned!

Aha the Class 3 is stunned! The Manticore will make short work of it now!

And the Supernova picking up escaping prisoners?

With no ride home the Galacteer commando's will now be guests of Emperor Marduk... indefinately! Mua-Ha-Ha-Haaaaaaa!

With no ride home the Galacteer commandos will now be guests of Emperor Marduk… indefinitely! Mua-Ha-Ha-Haaaaaaa!

The Quasar pulled away, circling behind the nearest tower and while one Comet harried the vulnerable Gryphon – back the other two went to try and rescue prisoners whilst my force was too far away to intervene!

My beautiful picture
Confidant in my firepower I poured blast after blast into the stunned Class 3 Pulsar…

My beautiful picture

But this turn… nothing blew up!

And one Comet already picked up its VI Prisoner and the other started docking!

They're getting awaaaay! Prisoners escaping, repeat, prisoners escaping!

They’re getting awaaaay! Prisoners escaping, repeat, prisoners escaping!
(The spare dice is the impromptu prisoner’s marker)

The Pulsar able to move once more became an issue, if it turned left or right after my Manticore moved it could easily avoid the big guns. So I elected to hold the Manticore for a turn and strike in the delayed action phase of the next turn! Meanwhile the Quasar struck headlong into my Class 3 Gryphon! Look at all this firepower!

But all this fire did... Nothing!

But all this fire did… Nooooooooooothing!

The next turn the Manticore leapt forward in the delayed action phase striking hard!

Another stun! But still the Pulsar remains intact!

Another stun! But still the Pulsar remains intact!

Stunned again as its crew are forced to patch venting atmosphere; fuel leaks; shorting circuits and quenching fires, the second Comet takes on a freed VI Prisoner and the other starts sneaking around behind the Manticore’s back.

My beautiful picture
The Quasar flies over one tower, but it’s not enough to shield it from the Gryphon or the Gryphon from it!

But both Jason and i are plagues with a run of low rolls!

But both Jason and I are plagued with a run of low rolls!

3’s; 1’s; the bell curve for the good rolls early in the game reasserts itself forcefully as we both have quite a run of bad luck. Especially galling at one point was one roll that seemed to hover for a fraction of a second on the edge of rolling a 10 only to collapse back onto a 3!

Both Comets are now racing at their extraordinary speed down the edge of the table, and I must admit there’s no way to stop them! Instead I find I must focus on preventing the rest of Jason’s forces from liberating any more Galacteer prisoners!

Nothing can touch a racing Comet on full burn! These prisoners are already free!

Nothing can touch a racing Comet on full burn! These prisoners are already free!

The remaining Comet continues to harry the tail of the Gryphon as it faces yet more tail-gun fire from the Class 4 Quasar!

Still to no effect!

Still to no effect!

While in the background the Pulsar continues to lead the Manticore and escorting Scorpion well clear of the escape path of the prisoner carrying Comets!

Chase, or Lure?

Chase, or Lure?

Lure definitely. And a good tactic from Jason helped by the slew of poor rolls effecting us both!

Again my Manticore holds back for a delayed action attack on the Pulsar next turn. My Scorpion goes in for a lone shot in the interim. And the Quasar receives a sidegun hit from the Gryphon while the Scorpion on the other side dives into the weakest arc of the Quasar, receiving fire from the only unladen Comet in return. But before we roll the dice we get the 10-minutes-to-closing warning from Shane! So this will be the last turn! The dice roll… at the fight with the Quasar, no damage is done to either side. (But I doubt there’s much left of either side’s paintwork by this point and any non-vital areas of all the combatants must be full of holes!)

The last roll of the game.

The single lone shot from the Scorpion against the brave; courageous Pulsar that has used itself as bait to get the Comets the chance to free two vital VIPrisoners…!

KA-BOOOOOOOM!!!!

KA-BOOOOOOOM!!!!

Despite the jinking; weaving; evasive manoeuvres of the skilled Galacteer pilot, at last one of the ray-beams of the pursuing Scorpion hit a vital fuel line, blasting apart much of the engine and causing the surviving Galacteer crew to have to Abandon Rocket as the huge machine plummeted to the cold hard ground below!
Because the loss of the Pulsar in the last moment of the game put me in a position of significant advantage if the game had continued, we called it a draw. But with two Comets almost off the table; with nothing I could do to stop them; the dice going any which way and Jason showing some darn good strategy, it could still have gone well against me.

All in all another fantastic game, with good sportsmanship and a fun light-hearted and exciting game.

Listen up Galacteers, we paid a heavy price today to get those people back, and now there are more of our people enslaved by the Imperial! But now we know more of what’s going on in those towers, Dr Zahn might just have figured out what the Zenithians are up to. It looks like the Imperials don’t know what kind of powder keg they are sitting on and that’s a big bad deal right there. We have also discovered the Imperial Princess Taegan is missing on Dormientes Draco, most of her fleet is scouring the desert for her and if we find her first it might just give us the leverage we need to force them to hand back the rest of our troops and heed us about the danger the whole Universe might well be in….

‘Til next time folks.

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