Sunday, 18 February 2018

5150 Campaign – S2b – Reconnaissance Mission



The X Wings and Y Wing keep coming straight at Achilles, intent on launching their torpedoes. The X Wings slow to 3 cycles to keep in formation with the Y Wings and to remain outside of the range of Achilles’s anti-aircraft batteries. The Y Wing’s maintain their velocity of 4 cycles.
The newly arrived X Wings accelerate to 4 cycles and move to engage the front of the fleet.
The Hishen Corvette, now identified as Scipion, accelerates to 2 cycles and moves straight toward the fleet.
The Hishen Destroyer, identified as Formidable, begins to accelerate, moves dead ahead and turns to port. 
Jackie commands in a calming voice, “The fleet is to maintain course and speed. All fighters move up to attack speed and engage the enemy small craft. Ready the Raptors for launch.”
“Fire long range beam batteries at the Hishen Destroyer Formidable as they bear,” Jackie commands.
Flashes of light erupt across the sky as Ajax and Achilles open fire.
Achilles’ shot is accurate and hits the ship. The beam weapon punches through the light phase shield of the Destroyer and damages it’s thrusters.
Ajax’s shot is close and impacts near the hull of Formidable. The phase shields shimmer from the impact of the fire as they collapse for 2 rounds.
With the enemy in arc of his weapons but his guns out of range, Old Sarge pushes open the safety cap over the missile fire control button and fires a Fire and Forge missile at the closest X Wing. This projectile detaches from the Viper and rockets towards it’s target. The X Wing pilot jinks to the left and the right and avoids the missile and he loses formation as he is pushed 1 cycle to aspect 2 and is turned 60 degrees to the starboard but he evades the missile.
Apollo and Da Gobbo fire another two Fire and Forget missiles at the same pilot. He throws his X Wing around in a desperate attempt to evade the deadly warheads. His craft is moves violently being forced 2 cycles to aspect 6 and spun another 60 degrees to starboard from the force of the action. Shrapnel from one of the missiles hits the cockpit and the pilot is knocked unconscious. His ship sideslips 4 cycles to port. 
With their fire resolved, the captains and pilots of the Star Navy brace for the return fire of their enemy.
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I thought I’d write up some quick notes on the game to explain a few features of 5150 Fighter Command and the game so far.
The more observant readers might have noticed that in the last graphic that the change of position and aspect of the X Wing wasn’t effected in the picture. That’s because I took the picture a couple of days ago and at the moment I’m not near the game table, which has been left set up. When I get back to the table I’ll make the changes as appropriate.
The move sequence is quite different from other Two Hour Wargames and it is as such:
-      The side which has the lower activation score moves first followed by the side with the higher activation score. This enables the side with the higher activation to get into a better firing position. There is no shooting or any other actions during this part of the round just moving.
-      Then, for the ships which are active this round, their actions are resolved in the order of their activation score. This means that those that moved second get to fire/use their active actions first, followed by those that moved first and are active (and thus those that moved first fire second and those that moved second first first). Those that aren’t active can only react.
This really puts the player, especially fighter pilots, at the mercy of the activation die. But this is where Ed’s mad genius again kicks in. When the pilots get to 5 inches (or cycles as I’ve referred to them in the battle report) they enter visual range and they start to dog fight (all guns have a range of 5 inches or less but missiles have a longer range as we just saw in the battle report). This breaks up the sequence considerably as individual pilots take in sight tests and act and react to each other. Now we haven’t seen this yet but it’ll happen pretty soon given the proximity of the pilots.
Some folks may have noticed that Old Sarge fired a missile after he afterburned. That is a unique feature of the Star Navy as they have better equipment. The Hishen’s can’t do this and so it might be a bit of a tactic for the Navy boys to exploit moving forward (I only really discovered this tactical advantage by accident during the game play).
In 5150 Fighter Command the action and re-action tests are quite easy to remember (compared to All Things Zombie) and the game plays quite quickly. It may appear that it’s taking me a long time to play the game but that’s more a function how long it takes me to pull together the graphics and write up the battle report. If I wasn’t posting the battle on the net, I’d probably finish the game in less than 2 hours but writing it up, pulling together the graphics and checking the rules (as this is my first game) is taking me about an hour or two for just one turn. It’ll get quicker as I go along and the battles will be resolved faster as I get more experience but for the moment I’m quite enjoying the pace and watching the battle evolve.

17 comments:

  1. Although I have most of the 5150 rulebooks, including the ones you're using here, I haven't played any starship combats with them. Thus, I am very interested in how they play and I do appreciate you taking the time to explain the rules.

    Posting batreps on a blog is always time consuming, so I fully understand you taking your time to get everything right. Once again, it is appreciated, Tim.

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    1. Thanks Bryan. Once I get through the first mission I'll probably write up some of my findings from the first game and I've started on a little cheat sheet to help me speed up the game a bit so I'll design that up and post it at some stage.

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  2. I can only echo Bryan's comments Tim, and add my own thanks for your time and effort in putting this AAR / Tutorial together.

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    1. No drama. My pleasure. As we all know sharing this stuff is very rewarding for the author and the reader. All good.

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  3. Hi Tim - I didn't expect to but I'm finding this fascinating. I think it's the striped down nature of the board so that every move is apparent and tactics are everything and are so transparent.

    I'm thinking why did he push Appolo and dA Gobbo wide out on the starboard side and then when Scipion appears have them swing back to port leaving their tails open to fire from Scipio and allowing Scipion to close with the main fleet unopposed.
    Why aren't Old Sarge and the other 3 not forming a screen in front of the fleet but coming in on the port side of the X and Y wings leaving the big ships open to strikes.
    I'm sort of assuming that the fighter bombers are capable of sinking a big ship and that you safeguard your capital ships at all costs but loose your fighters without a bat of the eyelid because their only job is to protect the big ships and act as long range guns.

    Please don't answer these questions because it probably sounds as if I am questioning your admiralship and that's not what I mean. This game is getting me thinking more about tactics in a fight than any other game I've read for a long time and I'm finding that fascinating.

    I'm very curious about how the opposing fleet makes it's movement decisions because that will make or break the battle.

    You are doing a good job of taking us slowly through what's happening so that there is time for me at least to think about what is going on.
    Cheers

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    1. Sorry Tim I got carried away there. :-)

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  4. Yeah I purposely used a striped down board for just that purpose. Originally I also thought that it would photograph better as well if the hexes were subtle and there was a high level of contrast between the ships and the board. As it's turned out there is almost too much contrast for the camera to handle (I'm just using an iphone and photoshop at the moment) so I might have to bring my good camera with me at one stage and see if I can get better results.

    The idea of pushing Apollo and Da Gobbo out was to threaten the rear of the enemy and to get them to potentially focus on them rather than the capital ships. Didn't really work through because they just kept going straight at their original targets. Also I was aware (which wouldn't be apparent to you guys yet unless you read up on the rules) that the X Wings have superior head to head firepower in that they've got a range of 3 hexes/cycles/inches compared to the Vipers range of 2 and so I was a bit scared of a head on attack. And lastly, I didn't realise how far the after burners would take them until I kinda did it.

    With Old Sarge et all, I again after burned them to get them into the action quicker. The after burn takes them 1.5 to 2 times their normal top speed of 5 inches so I dunno maybe I'm just over shooting the mark a bit and I need to be a bit more conservative in my moves. Time will tell.

    I really don't want to lose anything but I'd prefer to lose the fighters rather than the capital ships. I figure that if I lose the carrier Warspite that the campaign is pretty much over as I'll struggle to get through to the planet to launch the ground attack if I'm at the mercy of enemy fighters.

    The Y Wing's have 3 torpedo's each and some heavier cannon which are able to damage a capital ship. The X Wing's have 1 torpedo each. If the ships lose their shield protection (such as what has happened to Formidable at the moment) than fighters can damage the capital ships using their normal weapons.

    In terms of the opposing fleets movement decisions, there are tables for it but having said that for the opening moves of this game I just went straight at it just because I wanted to see how everything worked (plus I randomised the X Wing response to the Vipers getting on their flank, I just rolled 50/50). Once we get to dog fight range (5 hexes) the fighters will go crazy I suspect with all different types of maneuvers.

    Thanks for your kind feedback.

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    1. Not at all. That's why I post. I love to talk about the game and the tactics etc. It's been a really interesting game so far, trying to work out what to do. It's a very dynamic and complex environment with the ships all having very different types of capabilities.

      Ohh I forgot, the re capital ships ability to hurt the fighters. They've got AA batteries which have a range of either 5 or 6 hexes (I pretty sure it's 5). So Apollo and Da Gobbo don't have anything to fear from Scipion at the moment.

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  5. Cheers - thanks for the insight i think this is going to be fun.

    I did meen to say that i liked the explosions and torpedo strikes, nice touch but i forgot duhh. Also the text on the photos helps tremendously in keeping track of whats going on.
    Just waiting now for the next report ;-)

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  6. The one time that we tried 5150: Fighter Command, we found that the "In Sight/Dogfighting" rules took over completely. Firstly, they were complex and time-consuming to resolve and secondly they removed a lot of the player choice by providing forced reactions.

    Having said that, we did only play once and maybe we misunderstood something, or perhaps more familiarity would improve game flow. It'll be interesting to see how your experiences compare with this...

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    1. I can understand your frustration. I should get to the dog fighting pretty soon so we'll see how it goes. The reaction is a bit of a key feature of Two Hour War games isn't it and it doesn't necessarily work for all player for all the games.

      If I don't like that aspect I'll probably either just choose the maneuvers myself or I'll just drop the dog fighting section. But I'll give it a bit of a go and lets see what happens.

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    2. From my own experience with 5150 FC the in sight checks work great... when playing solo! But in a two player game the rules definitely get in the way, it's not helped by a definite lack of proofreading. I've had the author tell me about rule changes via the forum that didn't make it into Fighter Command (they may be in Carrier Command but I don't have that yet) You can also see traces of playtest ideas that didn't work out and got changed in the book. Don't get me wrong I do like it I just think it really could be improved upon quite a bit.

      Robert

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    3. I have no idea why the computer thinks I'm Teena French

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    4. Yes I must admit that I found a number of inconsistencies in the book and I agree. One of the advantages of playing solo is that I could just decide which way to go myself rather than to try to have a debate with another player.

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    5. In the end, because I was playing solo, I worked out that it gave me two options to think about and decide. Which I found ok because I could easily tweak the rules to the way that I liked them.

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  7. Nice game report. It all looks fabulous. Its an interesting game that covers the different fleet elements.

    The pictures you've done for the report are really good. Keep up the good work.

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    1. Thanks for the feedback Simon and I'm glad that you're enjoying it.

      Yeah I kinda wanted to get just about everything in the first engagement just to try it out. Capital ships, carrier based operations, fighters, a little of the 5150 campaign setting and system and hell why not add a little Battlestar Galactica and Star Wars whilst I'm at it.

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