Last night at the club I put on a game of Stars & Lasers for a couple of friends, one had played before and the other this was his first time.
Normally I only do “meeting engagements” when it’s a first game but the guy that had played before wanted to try a simple scenario, and he wanted some sort of breaking a blockade type game…
So, the story was… a large powerful fleet was blockading a planet just beyond its ring of asteroids, the planetary force decided that they would take this no longer and launched as many ships as they could and hit in several different locations at once, and this battle was just one of those locations.
The forces were for the blockading fleet –
1 x Battlecruiser
1 x Light Cruiser
3 x Destroyers
3 x Frigates
2 x Corvettes
And for the planetary force –
1 x Battlecruiser
1 x Fighter Carrier ( 3 x fighter and 3 x bomber squadrons )
1 x Heavy cruiser
2 x Frigates
4 x Corvettes
The victory points for this game were this –
For each ship that the planetary force managed to get off the end of the table they received 10 points.
For each ship that the blockading force destroyed they received 10 points.
Set up and the table was simple the planetary force set up fist with in 6” of the table edge and the blockading force set up anywhere the other side of the asteroid belt, all ships chose the speed they would enter the battle.
The planetary force set up with its big ships in the centre with the Corvettes and Frigates running a screen on their flanks.
The blockading force set up with its Battlecruiser facing one of the flanking forces and the rest of the ships spread out across the table.
And so, turn one began and both fleets rushed towards each other…
The flanking force on the left raced towards the enemy Battlecruiser and fired off missiles, the Fighter Carrier moved forward and launched two squadrons of fighters to give some extra protection against enemy missiles.
The Battlecruiser and the Heavy Cruiser move to the left adding their missiles into the attack against the enemy Battlecruiser.
The flanking ships on the right sped straight ahead launching missiles at the distant enemy ship by the asteroids.
The blockading force all moved forward and launched missiles at the planetary force ships.
A few long-range shots were fired but not many found their mark, and those that did only took out a couple of shields.
At the end of turn one I counted 18 missiles on the table!! This was going to be one hell of a battle.
Turn two saw the blockading Battlecruiser somewhat on its own facing most of the planetary ships, and most of their missiles as well… it was early in the battle and it wasn’t looking great for this ship unless it could get some sort soon.
Note: I have played many games of Stars & Lasers, but I don’t think that I have ever seen this many missiles on the table in one turn!
Almost all the missiles on the table flew into striking distance of their targets, and so all across the table PDS was working overtime, and somehow the blockading Battlecruiser managed to escape most of the deadly missiles aimed at it, several other ships were not as lucky.
The Fighter Carrier launched two bomber squadrons this turn to add to the blockading forces problems, now as the forces got closer more and more lasers started to find their targets and damage was starting to build up on both sides.
Turn three saw the final two squadrons of fighters and bombers launch from the Carrier, the bombers were within striking distance of the blockading Battlecruiser, but two were lost to PDS before they managed to hit their target, the last bomber hit with devastating effect causing huge explosions on board, but the Battlecruiser was not beaten yet, it managed to poor in a deadly broadside of its battle lasers into the fighter Carrier, stripping off its shields and paying back some satisfying damage.
The blockading Heavy cruiser managed to get off a couple of missiles into the planetary Heavy Cruiser and hit it with a few lasers, it also manged to worry the planetary Battlecruiser with a blistering broadside.
Turn four saw lots of shots being taken by both sides, and a couple of the smaller ships on both sides finally span off and burned up in the planet’s atmosphere.
Turn five saw the valiant blockading Battlecruiser take a massive internal explosion, and it had taken hits to it targeting systems, but still it kept going.
It moved in close and hit the fighter Carrier with everything it could target it with, but still couldn’t destroy it.
The blockading Heavy Cruiser and two Frigates hit the planetary Battlecruiser with everything they had and managed to pile on some more damage but not enough to take it out.
Turn six saw the blockading Battlecruiser finally die, it had taken its final hit and quietly span off into space.
The remaining blockading ships all took masses of hits this turn as their engineers just could not get their shields back up.
Turn seven and that was the end of the blockade in the sector, the last blockading ship was destroyed by a devastating broadside from the planetary Battlecruiser…
That was so much fun to watch.
I was amazed by the number of missiles on the table in this game, it was crazy!!
The game was so close, at the end the blockading force had scored 40 points and there was 50 points of planetary ships on the table, so they only lost by 10 points ( one ship )
The planetary force made the choice to stay and fight rather than run for the table edge, I think it was the right thing for them to do.
The blockading force had so much trouble with their shields, they failed so many times getting them back up, this was not good for them.
They also never managed to get a critical hit all night, but the planetary force manged three or four, and their missiles were so deadly, most of the early damage was from their missiles.
Both players seemed to enjoy the game, even though it was very frustrating for the planetary force player as he just did not roll well all game.