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.
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.
Jason picked the side with the pair of Class 1 Scorpions, and on rumbled his entire fleet!
Of course the brave Imperial pilots reacted just as you’d expect to this invasion…
“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!
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.
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!).
The massive Galacteer Quasar and a second Comet moved to the centre line.
Though I got a bit carried away with nice close-up shots so there aren’t enough overview pics like this:
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!
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.
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
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!
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…
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.
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!
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…
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!
Now my Gryphon is in danger and I can hardly hit anything!
The result of this….
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
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!
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!
The results of all the shooting?
Aha the Class 3 is stunned! The Manticore will make short work of it now!
And the Supernova picking up escaping prisoners?
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!
But this turn… nothing blew up!
And one Comet already picked up its VI Prisoner and the other started docking!
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!
The next turn the Manticore leapt forward in the delayed action phase striking hard!
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.
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!
The remaining Comet continues to harry the tail of the Gryphon as it faces yet more tail-gun fire from the Class 4 Quasar!
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!
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…!
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.