A quick game of Stars & Lasers…

Well I decided to get a quick game of Stars & Lasers tonight, mainly because I have sent out the first draft of my new rules to a few friends to proof read and maybe play test and I am now just waiting to get back all the criticisms and faults so nothing to do until then.

So the game tonight was going to be just a simple meeting engagement of two equal forces ( again because I just wanted a real simple game ) they consisted of a fairly chunky lump of a battleship and fighter carrier with a heavy cruiser to back them up, and some frigates to give some supporting PDS and missile fire.

The two sides forces were from two waring colonies out by the edge of the Gralion system, the green ships were from the Meekin Colony and the brown ships are from the Tarlorn Colony.

The set up was fairly basic with both forces opposite each other on a slightly smaller table than normal 6’ x 3’ just so the fighting starts really quickly as I didn’t have a lot of time.

Turn one and both fleets powered towards each other ( no real subtlety in this game! ) with lots of long range shooting from the Meekin force stripping off most of the Tarlorn frigates shields.

In response the Tarlorn force fired off a large barrage of missiles into the oncoming enemy ships with most targeting the Meekin carrier.

Turn two and the Tarlorn engineers were having real trouble getting their ships shields back up, not a great start for them.

The Meekin fighters flew forward to intercept some of those missiles heading towards their carrier and took out four, a flight of Tarlorn bombers were destroyed by the Meekin carriers PDS but then the missiles came in!!

The Meekin Battleship and the closest frigate used their PDS to take out another three missiles which meant three got through to the carrier doing huge damage… ( they did seven hits!! )

The Tarlarn heavy cruiser moves forward and fires everything it has at the Meekin carrier including three more missiles, the carrier is now in a bad way, it still has fighters waiting to launch so it needs to try and stay in one piece for a while longer.

A frigate tries to block the Tarlarn advance on the carrier by flying at their battleship and carrier, but a Tarlarn frigate moves forward and finishes the carrier off with two missiles, oh dear that’s not good losing the carrier was bad but losing all the remaining fighters and bombers is really going to hurt.

A huge explosion which is almost instantly extinguished in the vacuum of space and all that is left is the dead hulk of a carrier slowly spinning off into space…

The Meekin heavy cruiser moves to come at the Tarlarn carrier from the side and fires everything it has into the big ship only managing to hit with its railgun which damage the carrier targeting computers but not much else.

The Meekin battleships PDS fails to stop a missile fired from an enemy frigate and took damage to one of its missile launch tubes luckily it didn’t have a missile in there ready to launch or it might have been a lot worse.

The Meekin battleship turned towards the enemy carrier and opened up with all of its weapons including three missiles and ripped huge holes in the carrier’s side but it was still in the battle, the battleship then fires a broadside at a nearby enemy frigate and almost cut it in two ( the shots took it down to its last hull point!!! )

The Tarlarn battleship moved into point blank range and fired at the enemy battleship and blasted away huge sections of the big Meekin battleship but couldn’t destroy it.

In amongst the huge ships a lone Meekin frigate managed to squeeze past everything and put two missiles into the badly damaged Tarlarn carrier and that was it, all the Meekin crews could be heard cheering across all the ships comms… the carrier and its last two flights of fighters were lost.

Turn three and well at this point things are not looking good for the Meekin force, their carrier already destroyed and with the engineers on their battleship doing all they can to hold the big ship together, they definitely are in a lot of trouble…

The Tarlarn fighter bombers were not having a good time! Meekin fighters took out one flight and the battleships PDS took out almost all of another and then survived their bombing run.

The Meekin battleship slowly turned and brought her full broadside to bear on the Tarlarn battleship and managed to take out one of its missile launch tubes and also did some serious damage to the big ship’s engines, the Tarlarn battleship then returned fire with a broadside of its own, but the Meekin battleship somehow managed to keep flying.

The Tarlarn heavy cruiser moved around to add its lasers to the fight and finally the Meeking battleship was out of the battle, all its systems were down, and its crew were lost.

The Meekin frigates seeing their battleship destroyed started making missile runs at the now very slow enemy battleship, these missiles took out the big ship’s engines totally, could they actually manage to finish the ship off and pull back into this fight… the last frigate maneuvered into position and fired its lasers into the now stationary ship and that was it, the big battleship slowly rolled over and took no further part in the battle.

The rest of the turn saw frigates firing at as many targets as they could with one Tarlarn frigate causing huge explosions on board and enemy frigate which somehow survived!

Turn four saw a desperate move by one of the Meekin frigates, its Captain realised his ship was all but finished after some huge explosions almost destroyed it so he decided to make the ultimate sacrifice and ram his ship into the Tarlarn heavy cruiser and actually managed to destroy it, the Tarlarn frigates seeing their remaining big ship destroyed simply FTL’ed out of the sector.

Well that was a brutal game, the Meekin force were really suffering for the early part of that battle, but somehow managed to turn their almost certain defeat into a victory.

It may have been a little different if the Tarlarn bombers had managed to get through to do more damage, but the dice were against them.

I had some interesting critical hits during the game as well, the Tarlarn battleship had critical hits on its engines twice which meant at the end of the battle it was just a firing platform, and a very badly damaged firing platform!

I only managed to take out two lots of missile hardpoints on a couple of ships as well which was very disappointing, the best one I had all night was huge explosions inside a frigate which almost destroyed it one go… being that damaged made the ram an obvious choice, it was at a disadvantage by ramming a big ship but it only had to do one point of damage to destroy the heavy cruiser so I went for it.

My dice were behaving well, and the frigate did one point of damage and destroyed the heavy cruiser but sadly it was destroyed as well.

The fighters in this game didn’t do very well, most were destroyed when the carriers were destroyed but the few that made it into the battle were taken out by fighters or PDS which is very annoying as it is good fun watching bombers rip the big ships apart, oh well maybe next time.

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  1. Vic

    Hi Mac,

    Great Bat Rep – it even looks brutal in the pictures! I’ve had a few games where both sides have been ground down like that, with the balance of victory tipping one way and then the next.

    I must admit I prefer fast pass style combat (a legacy of SFB I think!) rather than that style of close range knife-fight combat. Fast passes may not been a quickly decisive but you tend to keep more of your ship when doing it!

    It’s odd that the fighters didn’t do as well as they’d normally do – I found that one of the best counters to fast pass style combat is to have fighters (drones/missiles/torpedoes) meet the enemy as they come running in. Maybe the close range action saw too many PDS concentrated in one small area?


  2. Mac

    Hi Vic,

    You are correct about the PDS being more concentrated when the ships are so close but the fighters also did extremely well in destroying the bombers before they could attack.

    I think one of the fun things in Stars & Lasers is when you get a big ship in close and in between all the smaller ones and fire everything it has, and see most of the smaller ships vaporised by all the point blank shooting ;O)

    I think the “fly-by” tactic works well with some ships, destroyers work well with this tactic because of their missiles and obviously most of the bigger ships as they have huge broadside capabilities, but it is also fun to just get in close and mix it up with the enemy ships… just like in the movies :O)


  3. Vic

    Hi Mac,

    For me, frigates aren’t meant to mix it up with the big boys – mine tend to spend their time fighter hunting, screening bigger ships (at a safe distance) and lobbing missiles at the enemies escorts – I figure that the enemy escorts will be too busy covering their assigned big ships with their PDS to spare any for their own defence.
    A nicely set-up time on target attack that combines missiles with a large number of fighter bombers can work wonders in overwhelming the enemy PDS at a crucial moment …

    A large number of frigates or corvettes, formed into ‘wolf packs’ can swarm an enemy force, but it’s a bit hard on the frigate/Corvette crews (most of whom won’t be coming back), and unless the result is decisive you risk ending with nothing but destroyed small ships (mostly your own!) for your efforts.

    I wouldn’t want to be on a frigate, watching the enemy fleet of battle wagons & cruisers turning broadside on before opening up with concentrated fire …


  4. Mac

    Hi Vic,
    I agree with you about the use of frigates and corvettes, I do normally use them as shields / screens for my big ships or hunting fighters / bombers but the game sort of quickly turned into a scrum in the middle of the table and I lost any chance of screening so just gave up trying.

    I have ended a few battles with all my smaller ships lost on some silly daring attack that didn’t work, but when it does work it is lots of fun.

    And I agree about not wanting to be in a frigate on the receiving end of several broadsides!! concentrated fire in Stars & Lasers can really give a Captain a bad day ;O)


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