“Blue Devils to Imperial Fleet, Blue Devils to Imperial Fleet. Over”
“What is it Galacteers?” growled Imperial Commander Kurigalzu. Things were not good. Captain Shulme had discovered more strange devices on Iratus Est Draco and had nearly lost his life battling the Valkeeri for it. Then that damned Dr Axon, more robot than man, had sent him off dangerously close to the sun to get more readings pulling the fleet every which way leaving all manner of vital assets vulnerable or tied up and then the Watch Station in orbit around Iratus Est draco had gone silent but for a momentary static signal. Now as his fleet was heading to the watch-station Ace McGuire’s fleet had turned up to really ruin his day.
“This systems sun is in terrible danger, something is using the MacGuffinite of Dormientes Draco to turn it into a Black Hole! You must allow our scientists access to the ruined towers of Dormientes, the entire Galaxy is in peril.”
“This is an internal Imperial matter. Imperial science will resolve this. You have no jurisdiction, this system is now part of the Empire of Marduk. Leave now or you will be destroyed!”
Ace McGuire slammed the bottom of his fist against the wall.
“The idiotic fools! This is no time for pride or nationalism or other such petty squabbles. This black hole would threaten all of us!”
“So what do we do now Ace?” asked Commander Jason.
“There’s only one option. If we can’t get the scientists there with permission then we will do so without it! All ships, prepare to punch through the Imperial fleet!”
But out in the depths of space another force had heard the static-like signal. Sleek rockets slid through the void like hungry sharks ready to descend on the Imperial Watch-station in a feeding frenzy….
As Jason hadn’t been able to play in the saturday game at the Sleeping Dragon game store and had gone a couple weeks without a game of War Rocket and was super-keen to play we played at Taphyls shed on a sunday.
Taphyl had to feed some animals first, but wanted to see our class 3 and 4 rockets in action so i quickly devised a scenario to cover that. There were several objectives. The Galacteers were firstly trying to get scientists, carried on the class 2, 3 and 4 rockets, to the Zenithian towers on planet Dormientes and the Empire wanted to stop any Galacteer interference. There was also the matter of the Watch Station and it’s ‘secret’. The players hadn’t yet seen much of The Missing Princess serial story so didn’t know the Princess was on the station and that this game could direct the story! I told them every faction could gain from that secret and the station was a valuable asset to hold. The Galacteers and Imperial fleet would start at the opposite end of the large table from the Watch Station and Taphyl would get to bring on his force once the game was underway from any table edge once he was able to join in.
Notice the awesome new asteroids! Well these were a gift from Jason! I’m downright spoiled!
For several turns Jason and I moved across the table, and as we did so we roleplayed the dialogue that opens this battle report.
When…… Dun Dun Daaah!
Taphyl’s force arrives. But this time it’s not the usual Valkeeri nor the Zenithians he played yesterday. Instead it’s…..
With the Galacteer’s class 4 Quasar rocket lagging behind after travelling the other way round the usually baking hot world of Parva Draco, now receiving it’s first falls of snow away from the Ice Caps in millions of years, the Galacteers find the Imperial fleet moving between them and their destination, the strangely ice-ringed world of Dormientes with it’s strange and dangerous ruins.
“This is your last warning Ace McGuire! Leave this system or be annihilated!” Commander Kurigalzu roared into the astro-radio. Furious as his astro-radar operator informed him of the Pirates just moments away from the Watch Station pulling his loyalties in different directions and forcing him to prioritise when he had know way of knowing if the events at the Watch Station were significant or not to the great threat to the empire that the ruins represented and the last thing he needed was legendary meddler in the Emperor’s affairs Ace McGuire interfering in the vital work of Dr Axon!
But the Galacteers make it clear they aren’t leaving the system as ordered and headed straight for the forbidden planet!
While conflict in the orbit of Dormientes becomes inevitable the Pirates slip in to dock with the Watch Station!
The Galacteer’s Class 3 Pulsar, Class 2 Supernova and one Class 1 Comet dive right in amongst the Imperial forces in a swift and desperate attempt to punch right through the Imperial fleet before the sluggish Imperial rockets can react effectively!
But while the Comet, swiftest rocket in the Galaxy, reaches the Ice-teroid ring the Pulsar bears the brunt of Imperial fire. Blasting it’s guns into several of the imperial rockets to keep Imperial attention on it. However the Supernova with it’s cargo of precious scientists and instruments still is raked by the side gun of the massive Class 4 Manticore and the sharp sting of one of the swift class 1 Scorpions.
We place our counters to maximum effect to shape our odds and then it is down to the dice..
However the Supernova and other Imperial craft survive the massive barrage of shots. The Comet makes it through the ice rings unscathed and the Supernova goes to follow as it’s blasted further from the Imperial fleet.
The Supernova slips through, the agile pilot luckily avoiding the incoming fire and the mighty boulders of ice. Could this be the ship Ace is piloting?
Meanwhile Taphyl, having learned of the dangers from poor reactor shielding on Pirate craft from the space pirate pdf’s background info declares that the pilots of the Daggers are all crazed with long term radiation exposure induced SPACE MADNESS! And have all turned Kamikaze.
They ram their small swift ships straight into the massive mighty class 4 Manticore!
Manticore, Gryphon, Raptor, Scorpions, a Comet and the Daggers all firing every which way meant that for the first time since we started playing war rocket we ran out of hit counters! (not helped by one recalcitrant counter base that never liked to stay together cracking when Taphyl tried to get the top to fit into it). So we had to deal with some of the attacks before placing all the rest of the counters.
So first we had to deal with the Daggers attack on the Manticore.
But a ram favours the more massive ship, and it’s firing as they attack as are the ships alongside the Manticore. How do the Pirates Class 1 Daggers fair?
On to the second Dagger
And the third?
And the Comet that joined the fray from behind fails to take out the Scorpion and is shot by the side gunner of the Gryphon the Anzu II as well as the turret of the Manticore
Back at the Watch-station the Pirates find the outer hatch coated in a layer of ice and were struggling to force their way inside.
The Galacteer Quasar continues to slowly catch up towards the Imperial force but is unable to get the Manticore in range in time to make use of it’s increased vulnerability.
Also out of range is the Comet within the ice-ring of Dormientes. Yet this is also the moment of Galacteer triumph!
And on the other side of Dormientes near the worlds moon the other remaining Comet takes on a pirate Class 2 Stiletto alone!
The mighty Galacteer Class 4 Quasar finally catches up with the Imperial Class IV Manticore. Blasting all it’s forward fire into the tail of the Imperial juggernaught with the Manticore’s small turret, the sidegun of the Gryphon and a shot from a Scorpion combining to retaliate.
Dice clatter across the table…
And the other roll…
And after many turns of trying Taphyl’s space pirates managed to board the Station
But just getting in is half the trouble, the pirates now need to find the valuable secret inside!
I use delayed action to try and get my Scorpions into range of the Comet but only one reaches
Then the Supernova which had delivered Dr Zahn safely to the planet intercepted my class 2 Raptor only to be attacked by my lead Scorpion
and worse, the Space Pirates had uncovered the stations mystery! Firstly that some strange alien force had attacked, killing all of the stations personnel some time ago but also that Princess Taegan and Commander Lightyear had boarded, dealt with the vile creature that had slaughtered the crew and had been waiting for the eventual Imperial rescue and when they realised pirates were attempting to board they had hid.. but have now been found and are held under highly armed guard! There’s nothing like a Princesses ransom!
The Supernova turned towards the Station, The pursuing Scorpions blasting it, while the comet whipped around to attack my Raptor! And the Pirates docked Stiletto captain decided a princesses ransom is no good if you can’t keep the Princess, and left the armed boarders to watch over the captives so that the dangerous rockets that might prevent a getaway might be destroyed.
Dice clatter loudly across the table..
Seeing themselves the last Galacteer rocket in the area the Comet pilot tries a desperate stab at diplomacy, offering a truce to help the empire take back the station and drive off the pirates.
“The Empire would be willing to grant you such an amnesty, lasting 20 seconds further than the lives of the last pirates to give you a small chance at fleeing back to Galacteer space before we destroy you for trespass!” Offered the captain of the Gryphon benovolently but authoritatively. But the Galacteer found that too fine a margin for survival despite the Comets immense speed and instead turned towards planet Dormientes to see if he could assist the scientists there with whatever they may be facing.
With several rockets on both sides on delayed action The faster Imperial Rockets raced towards the station, intending to return to the planet and deal with those interfering Galacteers later. First the pirates must be stopped! But the pirates were ready and the Stiletto’s and faster imperial rockets struct at one another at speed.
Then finally the Anzu II Gryphon arrives
The stiletto’s charge round to attack the Gryphon on it’s side where only one side gun can be brought against them, the Scorpions leap to the Anzu II’s defence!
My roll is ineffective, Taphyl’s…
Vengefully the Raptor on a delayed action leaps forward to attack
The Stiletto’s ignore the stricken Gryphon to strike instead at the Raptor
The Gryphon remains stationary, which surprises the pirates who were expecting it to move, but when the pirates could easily move to attack the Anzu II’s vulnerable aft inaction was more useful than action. The pirates likewise stayed put allowing the Gryphon to shoot with at least the sidegun and the Scorpions put their all into the strike against the nearest Stiletto to the Anzu II while the pirates, with the salvage value of all that Goldrantium in their eyes poured ray after ray into the Gryphon…
The fleets on the table were shrinking suddenly at breakneck speed! And having just lost my class 3 things were looking bad for the Empire. Stiletto’s always cause me endless troubles. Could two Scorpions take down the Stiletto?
Reporting back to headquarters the situation so that rescue crews could collect the surviving Empire soldiers and collect more slaves for the Radium and MacGuffinite mines the Raptor headed towards the station… would this finally be the end to the saga of the Missing Princess? Finally reuniting her with her fleet?
Getting on board the station was now just a matter of time.. but it took me about 20 rolls!
Finally, his oxygen supply nearly exhausted the Scorpion pilot managed to cut his way past the locked hatch and enter the station.. only to engage in fierce combat with a squad of scurrilous space-rat pirates!
For two turns the roll-off between pirates and Imperial soldier were a stalemate, each needing to roll very low numbers indeed. Where were all those 1’s my dice are always notorious for?
And with that the game is over! The Galacteers have got their scientists to the towers of Dormientes and the Pirates now control the Watch-station of Iratus Est and have Princess Taegan and Commander Lightyear hostage! But a maximum of two people can travel in the Imperial Scorpion docked with the station.. the pirates eyes narrow as they look at one another…..
Be sure to keep reading further battle reports and fiction posts to find out what happens next!