Payback… a solo playtest of a new Stars & Lasers scenario

They had killed the creature in one of their outlying sectors and towed the great ship back to the colonies jump gate to be dismantled / dissected and shipped back to Earth system to be analyzed.

Very few of these bio ships have been seen over the last 100 years or more not since the great alien wars, on occasion a few are seen travelling through remote sectors, but they normally run when they are detected.

But this one was injured and was close to death when the patrol had detected it so either it couldn’t run or was maybe tired of running, so it turned and fought.

It managed to destroy two frigates and a light cruiser in the fight before it had eventually died.

But what the humans didn’t know was that before it had died it had sent out a message of its location and that is was under attack… so now its friends were coming for some payback!!

I had another free day and so decided to get in another Stars & Lasers solo game this time going a lot bigger than before, the points for each side was around 1,600 which gave a good selection of bigger ships.

I just used what bio ships I had and pointed that up and selected a human fleet to match ( although it didn’t turn out as even as I had hoped!! ) this was better as I don’t have enough of the bio ships to use the card system in the solo rules to select their fleet and I also wanted to get to use some of the bigger bio ships in this battle.

The scenario was for a smaller force to hold off against the larger attacking force while waiting for re-enforcements to get back to help.

The way I was going to work out who had won was by the hull points of the objectives either destroyed or left, the total number of hull points of objectives on the table was –

1 x Jump Gate                   20

1 x Repair Station             20

2 x Heavy Freighters       34

2 x Light Freighters          18

Total Hull Points               92

The aliens needed to cause 47 points of damage to their objectives to win and I had to stop them.

To make things harder more interesting I wasn’t going to get all of my ships at the beginning of the game!!

 So the forces for the battle were –

The Alien Bio Ships

1 x Alien Dreadnought with extra armour and bio-spitter plus a double electropulse turret ( double laser )

1 x Alien Fighter Carrier with a double electropulse turret carrying six fighter bomber bases!!! ( these were going to be a nightmare )

1 x Alien Heavy Cruiser with extra armour and bio-spitter plus a double electropulse turret

2 x Alien Light Cruisers

3 x Alien Frigates

2 x Alien Corvettes

The Human Colonies Defence Force

1 x Dreadnought with extra armour and a pulse cannon turret with three engineer teams carrying 2 fighter stands

2 x Frigates

2 x Corvettes

And waiting to come on the table were

2 x Crovettes 1 fighter stand and 1 fighter bomber stand ( 1st )

2 x Crovettes and 2 fighter bomber stands (2nd)

2 x Destroyers ( 3rd )

2 x Light Cruisers ( 4th )

So if the Jump Gate was still working at the start of turn four I would start to get my re-enforcements without having to roll any dice.

But as soon as the Jump Gate was down I would need to roll a double on 2D6 to get any ships that turn!

So nothing to worry about it’s a walk in the park…

The Bio ships start in one corner and at full speed, my two small patrols start by the two small groups of asteroids and at half speed, my Dreadnought is stationary close to the station.

My jump gate it had to last long enough to get my re-enforcements through
The dead alien bio ship near the station
View of the table to show starting postions
Some angry bio ships looking for payback!!

Turn one, I drew a 9 from the event deck for one alien ship to get extra shots which was great as they were too far away for this to matter.

The alien carrier started to release its bombers and they rushed towards my ships, my patrolling ships turned one pair heading into a small cluster of asteroids to try and find some cover while the other pair just turned and headed back towards my dreadnought hopefully to gain its protection.

Something that became very annoying during this game was the fact that the alien bio ships were really really good at long range shooting! They managed to take out most of the shields on my four patrolling ships this turn, I started to hate the person rolling their dice…

Turn Two, I drew a two from the event deck which was a power failure in one ship’s shields which ended up on an alien light cruiser which had no effect as they don’t have any shields!

I then did my usual and failed to get back any shields on my patrolling ships!! oh great that was not a good start.

I managed to strip away a few pieces of alien armour but nothing got through to worry them, there long range accuracy continued as I saw one of my frigates spin off into space dead.

It wasn’t looking good with the early alien successes with their long-range firing, I needed those re-enforcements!

The alien carrier launched two more of its bombers this turn, my fighters from the dreadnought moved slowly forward to try and get into position to attack those nasty alien bombers.

Turn three, no event this turn.

Early shooting from the aliens destroyed one of my corvettes ( the one that never got its shields back! ) and the alien bombers started their attack runs on the jump gate, my fighters moved in and punished them by taking out one complete stand and one other bomber but this was not before the they had ripped huge holes in the jump gate, almost half of its hull points were gone already!

My dreadnought slowly pushed forward towards the alien hordes managing to get a few lucky shots off but not really making much of an impression.

Turn four, no event again this turn.

My ships failed to get their shields back again!

Then a crackling and a shimmering was seen across the surface of the gate as my re-enforcements started coming through, two corvettes a bomber stand and a fighter stand, not exactly the cavalry but better than nothing.

My dreadnought slowly maneuvered into position and opened up against two alien light cruisers, once the firing was over one of the bio ships was in a lot of pain from a close-range broadside and the other was spinning off dead after taking a full salvo of missiles.

The aliens passed their Response Check so kept their aggression level at “aggressive” oh I so wanted them to fail and drop to defensive, oh well maybe next time.

My frigate managed to get a critical hit on some vital organ within an alien frigate and saw it destroyed… you could almost hear it scream!

The alien bio ships passed their Response Check again!!

The alien dreadnought moved into position and fired a deadly broadside into my dreadnought ( the alien long range shooting was really good again ) managing to get a critical hit damaging my comm’s which the engineers would need to fix before I could give it any orders.

Turn five, I drew a three which meant one ship has had targeting failer and has targeted a friendly ship, and it was one of mine… oh please let it not be my dreadnought… please don’t let it be my dreadnought…  I rolled the dice and it was one of my corvettes who luckily had no friendly targets in its fire arc… damn that was very worrying.

The engineers on my dreadnought managed to get the comm’s system fixed so the ship was able to be given orders this turn.

Two more corvettes came through the jump gate and entered the battle followed by two more bomber stands, things were looking up.

My dreadnought slowly turned towards two alien frigates and powered into one of them tearing off chitinous armour from the little ship’s hull and the dreadnought opened fire with everything it had… one frigate disappeared in a cloud of green vapor!! The second frigate almost died as well, it then turned its weapons on to an alien light cruiser and caused it a lot of pain and finally it hit the alien dreadnought with a broadside ripping off huge amounts of its armour… that was the best rolling I have had for shooting in a very long while.

Having no more bombers to launch the alien carrier moved into position to hit the station and the freighters that were docked, it also managed to finish off my last frigate.

The alien heavy cruiser positioned itself perfectly to shoot at the station with its docked ships and the jump gate, it manages to do enough damage to put the jump gate out of action which would now make getting re-enforcements really hard and it also did some damage to one of the light freighters docked at the station.

One of my corvettes could not avoid ramming an alien frigate, the resulting crash took out both ships… the Captain and his crew will be remembered for their sacrifice.

Turn Six, and I drew a six from the event deck and so my dreadnought got a free move and decided to ram an alien corvette which lost some chitinous armour plates.

My fighters finally took out the last of the alien bombers but not before they had put a few hits on one of my heavy freighters.

My bombers did a bombing run on the alien dreadnought and the heavy cruiser and both reeled under the explosions.

The long range shooting done by the aliens was again getting silly as their dreadnought destroyed one of the heavy freighters and actually managed to get a hit on one of the light cruisers causing it to explode which damaged the station and the other light cruiser that was docked.

One of my corvettes slipped in behind the big alien dreadnought and hit it with its last missile fired at point blank range but just couldn’t do enough damage to finish it off.

At this point I gave up as there was no way for the humans to now win, with the two ships exploding in the turn and damaging the station and the other light cruiser the aliens had caused about 60 points of damage, so they had won…

The alien dreadnought and the heavy cruiser were almost dead, but it wasn’t enough the damn things had simply out shot me during the game, they had so many hits on target at long range it was… annoying!

The human ships had done really well though considering about 660 points worth of ships never managed to get into the battle.

My dreadnought was so great in the battle it poured out death and destruction all over the place, it is very scary when it gets in close and opens up with a blast from its broadside weapons, but it was outnumbered and the dice were against me for most of the game.

So for a first run of the scenario I thought it went well, I will need to “tweak” it a little but I think it will be a good one when it is done.

Maybe give the jump gate a little bit more protection or move it further away from the aliens so it lasts a turn or two longer as that is obviously the main target, maybe start the game with a couple more ships etc. etc. hey part of the fun in writing scenarios is the playtesting until it is right.

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  1. Vic Dobson

    Hi Mac,

    That’s a really good fun looking scenario – I’ll see if I can give a similar variant of it a try myself using the solo rules, I should have enough bio-ship types to field that fleet although I might use smaller ship types due to my slightly smaller playing area. Finding a ‘thing’ to represent the jump gate might be more of an issue though, but I can improvise – I’ve enough spare parts floating about to cook something up. =)

    I’m also thinking of adapting a very enjoyable scenario from another game to S&L – I no longer recall the name of it (something about a combat race!) but I do remember it was fast, fun and incredibly destructive! It needs some big ships to play it though – cruisers won’t cut it. I shall do some research on the idea …


    • Mac

      Hi Vic,
      It was a great game, but I had forgotten how hard the Bio Ships are to fight, their armour makes them really tough at the beginning of a battle!
      But it was only a playtest so I knew it would need a few tweaks.
      As always mate I would love to see any scenario ideas you have.

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