Battle Report: The Valkeeri Skirmishes

Captain Shulme ran his fingers through his beard as he scanned the rocky landscape and the ruined ancient buildings of the world Iratus Est Draco below, looking for any sign of the missing Princess Taegan. Even if they find her there was evidence from the Valkeeri that there was a chance a pod-person clone had replaced the real Princess, but Emperor Marduk is all-seeing and a counterfeit would not fool the Princesses’ father. The orders were to scour every mile of the surface of the worlds in this system, find the Princess and take her to her father. The Valkeeri had struck the watchstation orbiting Iratus Est draco in force and so it wasn’t surprising when Kurush called from the radarscope of clear readings of Valkeeri rocket-pulses. They were headed towards one of the ruined cities, like all those in this system it was smashed with what seemed to be atomic warfare and abandoned so many millenia ago that not a trace of radioactivity remained, there must be something there of value.

“Hassimir, send a message to Fleet central: Have sighted Valkeeri task force. Destroying and Investigating.”  Standard Imperial policy, shoot first, ask questions of the survivors after.

What were the Alien women up to? And did it have anything to do with the Zenithian towers, the weakening sun or the missing Princess? He would wring the information from the survivors!

“All rockets: Intercept and attack!”

I got a call from Taphyl during the week asking if I was up for another game of War Rocket and for showing our friend Mirium how to play. So I quickly gathered my  things together, remembering my camera this time, and went round for an afternoon/evening of gaming socialising and a very nice dinner. Mirium had some job applications to do first so we started with a small game between Taphyl and I.

The two small fleets, perfect for a quick game

The two small fleets, perfect for a quick game, or two!

We quickly set out some terrain on the dining room table, well, as much of the table as wasn’t being used by Miriam working on her laptop, and away we went, with a simple shoot out for control of the ruins.

One by one Rockets enter visual range!

One by one Rockets enter visual range!

Taphyl launches the Valkeeri onto the battlefield

Taphyl launches the Valkeeri onto the battlefield

The Imperial Scorpions enter visual range in a tight formation

The Imperial Scorpions enter visual range in a tight formation

Turn 2 and the Valkeeri class 1 Sirens pulse forward attacking the Raptor headlong, The scorpions swing out and in in a pincer strike where the Sirens can’t shoot back as I’m relying on the Raptor’s greater armour to weather the blows.

Attack!

Attack!

Dice are rolled… one Valkeeri is safe.. and…

The Valkeeri rocket is damaged and will be stunned and vulnerable for a turn!

The Valkeeri rocket is damaged and will be stunned and vulnerable for a turn!

And my sturdy Raptor that has withstood so much in recent games…

Oh no! The Raptor is sent spiraling into the rocky landscape below! If any of its crew survive or the rocket is salvageable they still will play no further part in the battle!  "Captain Shulme? Do you read Captain? Captain Shulme? Are you still alive?" But the only reply is static....

Oh no! The Raptor is sent spiraling into the rocky landscape below!
If any of its crew survive or the rocket is salvageable they still will play no further part in the battle!
“Captain Shulme? Do you read Captain? Captain Shulme? Are you still alive?”
But the only reply is static….

Oh no, that’s a big blow struck on the first turn! Well done Taphyl! And what’s that? A Delayed Action counter for the Valkeeri class2 Fury? Uh-oh!

The Valkeeri Fury Strikes!

The Valkeeri Fury Strikes!

With characteristic aggression and direct action the Class 2 rocket blasts to attack, pouncing on one of the Imperial Scorpions!

"Captain Shulme? Are You there?" "Watch out! Watch Out!" "Engines sputtering, weapons offline, attempting repairs! Keep them off me!"

“Captain Shulme? Are You there?”
“Watch out! Watch Out!”
“Engines sputtering, weapons offline, attempting repairs! Keep them off me!”

That was the end of the turn for the Fury, but now one of my scorpions was vulnerable and unable to shoot this turn too! The Valkeeri lost no time in turning all their force against the helpless Scorpion while the remaining Imperial forces tried to do likewise to the immobilised Valkeeri rocket.

My beautiful picture
But we both rolled low and so both rockets recovered!

The Valkeeri Fury, especially with it’s tactically brilliant commander, was far too dangerous to be allowed to continue to exist in Marduk’s universe. It must be destroyed!

The Valkeeri must be destroyed!

“The Valkeeri must be destroyed!”

The Valkeeri Fury holds action for another round of delayed-action strikes.. if she can survive my round of fire!

The Valkeeri Fury holds action for another round of delayed-action strikes.. if she can survive my round of fire!

Raked with fire still the Fury withstands the Imperial atomic blasts, as the Scorpion targeted by the Valkeeri Sirens does likewise.

My beautiful picture

“Hold it…. Hold it…. NOW!”

Yet again, paint boiled off and pocked with ray-burn the mighty Imperial Scorpion is still flying!

As the action returns to normal phases I pivot my Scorpions on the spot to try and strike the Fury… which works for two of the three but one remains tantalisingly just out of the fire arc and an Imperial rocket is too massive for the tight turns needed to bring it to bear. So I let loose with the fire I have and hope for the best as the Sirens strike again!

My beautiful picture
We roll our dice simultaneously and…

Rak-ak-ak-ak... Rak-ak-ak-ak... Ka-ZHOOOM!  The meddlesome Valkeeri class 2 Fury is wreckage bouncing across the desert sands below!

Rak-ak-ak-ak… Rak-ak-ak-ak…
Ka-ZHOOOM!
The meddlesome Valkeeri class 2 Fury is wreckage bouncing across the desert sands below!

But….

At great cost, for after all that it had been through the Scorpion at last could take no more. If the pilot survived they will get a medal, if they did not then their family will have 2 years of food and a 10% reduction of work quotas, such heroism is well rewarded in the Empire of Marduk.

At great cost, for after all that it had been through the Scorpion at last could take no more.
If the pilot survived they will get a medal, if they did not then their family will have 6 months of food and a decade long 10% reduction of work quotas, such heroism is well rewarded in the Empire of Marduk.

I won the initiative roll-off so Taphyl had to move the Valkeeri first and so moved them where he knew my wide turning circle wouldn’t reach. I swung my Scorpions off in opposite directions to hopefully close on the enemy next turn.

My beautiful picture
So for now no-one can draw a target.
The next turns initiative and again I’m lucky and Taphyl has to act first. Sensibly he tries again to ensure I cannot hit him when I move.

The valkeeri pulse here, knowing the safest place to be near a scorpiopn is behind it!

The Valkeeri pulse here, knowing the safest place to be near a scorpion is behind it!

So in response my Imperials continue their academy-drill formation flying.
“You learn these manoeuvres for a reason Cadet!”

The dance of death continues...

The dance of death continues…

Then the Valkeeri elect to hold for a delayed action attack! The Scorpions swoop in for the kill!

I try splitting my fire instead of concentrating it on one target.. but the rolls were terrible and in either case would have missed.

I try splitting my fire instead of concentrating it on one target..
but the rolls were terrible and in either case would have missed.

The Scorpions attack is cinematic but ineffective. My forces are now right where the Valkeeri want them! They strike! Two spinning and blasting one of the proud Scorpions, the impetuous and bloodthirsty third blasting it’s engines at full speed and hurtling right into the face of the Imperial fighter!

The co-pilot in the fold-out rear seat of the usually one-man fighter had but a split-second to regret he'd drawn spotter duty in the search for the Princess today as the canopy view was filled with Valkeeri Rocketship blasting atomic-rays right at him!

The co-pilot in the fold-out rear seat of the usually one-man fighter had but a split-second to regret he’d drawn spotter duty in the search for the Princess today as the canopy view was filled with Valkeeri Rocketship blasting atomic-rays right at him!

We rolled our dice…

The last sight the Scorpion pilot ever saw was the cold triumph in the eyes of the Valkeeri pilot as her rocket sheared through the Imperial craft! The co-pilot parachuting to safety with the slightly-torn wing-cloak he had the sense to don when the fighting started would be haunted by those cold Valkeeri eyes for years to come!

The last sight the Scorpion pilot ever saw was the cold triumph in the eyes of the Valkeeri pilot as her rocket sheared through the Imperial craft! The co-pilot, parachuting to safety with the slightly-torn wing-cloak he had the sense to don when the fighting started, would be haunted by those cold Valkeeri eyes for years to come!

But the impact knocked the Valkeeri rocket out of control!

Using a precision vehicle as a bludgeoning instrument is not without cost as the Valkeeri pilot struggles to regain control of her rocket!

Using a precision engineered vehicle as a bludgeoning instrument is not without cost as the Valkeeri pilot struggles to regain control of her rocket!

Eeep! I’m down to my last rocket. Things are badly against the Imperium now, but while there’s not much of a chance there’s still a chance! And the Valkeeri having all acted in the delayed action phase would not fire again this turn.

Besides, thinks the last airborne Scorpion pilot, it’s not for nothing they say that Emperor Marduk is all-seeing and desertion would mean the death of family back home. They may have said goodbye to him having celebrated the customary funeral as soon as he went off with the fleet as a scorpion pilot but it was his attachment to them that the Imperial system relied on to ensure the loyalty of the pilots of such craft that might otherwise make an easy escape to defection. And the few Scorpion pilots who survive their tour of duty return home showered in wealth and prestige and rank considered to have returned from the dead and amongst the most loyal of Imperial servants. He’d do his family proud whether he lived or died, either way a loyal hero! With courage and fire in his heart he went on the attack, not able to turn tight enough to strike the out of control rocket he swooped past them to barrage the nearest Valkeeri that he could strike cleanly.

Rak-ak-ak-ak spoke the nose mounted raygun as the Scorpion spat it's venom!

Rak-ak-ak-ak spoke the nose mounted raygun as the Scorpion spat it’s venom!

And the Valkeeri rocket answered with a series of blossoming explosions and a silent smoking spiral down into the desert below.

And the Valkeeri rocket answered with a series of blossoming explosions and a silent smoking spiral down into the desert below.

Two to one, now those are much better odds especially with an Imperial rockets armour. but I lose the initiative roll. If I move away now they may get too hard to hit, and if I turn they’ll just move out of my fire arc. I elect instead to hold in place and hope for a delayed action strike next turn. The Valkeeri merely spin on the spot and blast!

Can the tough armour of the Imperial artisan-slace-scientists hold out against the Valkeeri atomic inferno?

Can the tough armour of the Imperial artisan-slave-scientists hold out against the Valkeeri atomic inferno?

No! The Scorpion is blasted from the sky and the Imperial force is defeated!

No! The Scorpion is blasted from the sky and the Imperial force is defeated!

A well earned victory for the Valkeeri! The surviving Rockets immediately start co-ordinating repairs to the salvageable downed rockets, calling in reinforcements and assisting the Valkeeri survivors on the ground in their firefight with the Imperial survivors as the Valkeeri take the opportunity to try and enslave the Imperial rocket crews and capture the ruins for their mysterious purpose.

We take a break as Taphyll goes to watch Django Unchained with his father and Mirium and I chat while she cooks us all a most scrumptious dinner. Then, our bellies settled, I teach Mirium how to play.

Even as the Valkeeri are celebrating their victory and have returned several downed rockets to the air,  have reinforcements return the small fleet to full strength and rounded up the Imperial survivors inside the ruins, a new wave of Imperial rockets appears over the horizon. Racing in response to the message and then silence of Captain Shulme! The battle for these ruins had begun anew!

We used the same rockets as before. Mirium had only played one game of a miniatures wargame before, namely a single game of Warhammer, but the most complicated part of War Rocket is movement and that took only moments to explain. And the Valkeeri raced accross the table in two groups, a pair of Sirens and a Siren and a Fury.

The Valkeeri respond to the Imperial formation by forming two groups, one moving up the flank

The Valkeeri respond to the Imperial formation by forming two groups, one moving up the flank

I peel off one of my Scorpions to take on the two Sirens on the flank and send the Raptor and remaining two scorpions head after the class 2 Fury. The Fury and the Siren stop outside the Raptors range, so while the Fury’s second gun is also unable to fire the Raptor cannot fire back at all. So the Scorpions attack the Fury.

Not quite as bad as destroyed in the first salvo in the last game still the Raptor is stunned and vulnerable!

Not quite as bad as destroyed in the first salvo in the last game, still the Raptor is stunned and vulnerable!

The Fury however takes a lucky hit of a 10 and it's fuel goes critical and disintegrates in a huge explosion!

The Fury however takes a lucky hit of a 10 and it’s fuel goes critical and disintegrates in a huge explosion!

I always feel bad when I get such a lucky roll when teaching someone how to play, but still it’s early yet. The Scorpions must move first and I guess the best positions I can. The Valkeeri zoom in from all directions to the stricken Raptor while the Scorpions try and respond but only one can get a shot off at the Sirens as they whoosh through the sky.
My beautiful picture
The dice roll…

The Raptor escapes the combined fire but the lone Siren is downed by another lucky shot!

The Raptor escapes the combined fire but the lone Siren is downed by another lucky shot!

2 tens in a row.. my luck does like to hang on either end of the bell curve!
The Raptor recovers and one Scorpion holds in place for a delayed action turn while the other two try to get to where the action is.. and the now badly outnumbered Valkeeri blast the stationary Scorpion!

My beautiful picture

Ka-BOOM! And the numbers are brought a little closer to even as an imperial rocket is now just a fading glow in the sky!

Ka-BOOM! And the numbers are brought a little closer to even as an imperial rocket is now just a fading glow in the sky!

Mirium however loses the crucial dice roll for initiative between the equally fast class 1 rockets. She sends the Sirens behind a tower which gets them some safety from the Raptor but the Scorpions get in range to strike.

From a Terror-dactyl eye view you can see the great manoeuvering from both forces

From a Terror-dactyl eye view you can see the great manoeuvring from both forces

However the Imperial fire misses.

The Valkeeri burst away from the tower in the direction hardest for the Imperials to get, only one of the Scorpions can get a shot, and it misses.

The Valkeeri burst away from the tower in the direction hardest for the Imperials to get, only one of the Scorpions can get a shot, and it misses.

Continuing to try to evade the Scorpions and heading back near the tower as Mirium suffers a slew of low rolls for initiative I get another hit in and

Stunned!

Stunned!

The lone mobile Valkeeri Siren acts like a true Space Amazon would.
“Today is a good day to die! Ramming Speed!”
She goes in guns blazing at the Raptor, while the Scorpions pounce on the stunned rocket.

Ramming Speed
Alas the ramming attack is unsuccessful.

The consequences though

The collision leaves the Valkeeri ship out of action for a turn and vulnerable while the raptor was unharmed

The collision leaves the Valkeeri ship out of action for a turn and vulnerable while the raptor was unharmed

And the previously stunned rocket?

Destroyed!

Destroyed!

The next turn was simple, the Raptor turned to bring it’s guns to bear and the Scorpions swooped in for the coup de grace.

On an already stunned rocket that's a lethal outcome. The last Valkeeri rocket is blasted from the skies!

On an already stunned rocket that’s a lethal outcome. The last Valkeeri rocket is blasted from the skies!

A good game that was closer than it felt, and but for the initiative rolls and my lucky hits could well have gone very differently. Thankfully Mirium wasn’t too disheartened and next time she’s visiting the area I’m sure to see more of her across the table in War rocket again as well as Warhammer.

Captain Shulme held his broken arm steady as he limped forward to greet the liberating soldiers, still woozy from the strange effects of the Valkeeri soldiers.

“How many do we have left?”
“A Raptor and two Scorpions in the air, Sir.”
“Reinforcements?”
“Search Fleet Beta has finished it’s sweep and is redirected here, estimated arrival in 2 deci-hours”
“And the enemy?”
“No further sign of Valkeeri yet sir”
“They’ll be back, and in greater forces I’d wager. It’s just a matter of time.” Shulme looked around the ruined building where he and the other survivors had been herded, his head growing clearer with every passing minute.
“They wanted something here soldier, they wanted it badly. Get the high-ranking Valkeeri prisoners off to the Interrogators, the low ranking ones sent to the MacGuffinite mine on Dormientes Draco.. triple guards on all prisoners and watch each other, these aliens get into your head close-up. As soon as you’ve done all that get every available able-bodied warrior here, we need to explore these ruins fast….”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s