The thing that the Reformers need to keep going and expanding is resources, and that normally means destroyed ships to consume.
They use the raw material they get from these ships and turn it into more ships for the Hive, but first they need to destroy these ships…
The Hive Mind received news from its scouting ships of a small Human fleet in an adjacent sector so it gathers as many Splinters as it can and heads off to feed.
So, tonight’s game was a meeting engagement using 1,000 points of ships each, my opponent wanted to get some of his newly painted ships onto the table, but I was not sure which of the two fleets I had with me I was going to use.
Well I eventually decided on using the Reformer fleet and left the Aquan ships in their box.
I must say now that I decided this before seeing what ships I was facing, so my opponent’s fleet didn’t sway my decision in any way, although in hindsight it may have been better to use the more basic ships for this game!
So, the forces for the battle were –
The Reformers –
1 x Hive Battleship ( the Hive Mind ) 1 x Meta Disrupter and 1 x Repair Drone
4 x Splinter “Darts”
4 x Splinter “Hammers”
The Human fleet –
1 x Fighter Carrier ( 4 x Fighter and 2 x Fighter Bomber stands ) 3 x Ablative Armour and 1 x Rail Gun
2 x Heavy Cruisers with 1 x Plasma Cannon each and Ablative Armour
1 x Frigate
The set-up saw the Human fleet set up on my opponents right towards the end of the table, with the Hive Battleship setting up in the middle of my deployment zone with a couple of Splinters in support.
The rest of the Splinters set-up on my right, because of their speed I wasn’t worrying about them being this far out, they were fairly safe from shooting and could get back into the middle of the table very quickly if I needed them.
There was a good scattering of asteroids on the table, so I knew that my very fast small ships could get around these obstacles a lot easier than my opponent could, and they would offer a good amount of line-of-sight blocking terrain, so things were looking good for the Hive.
The first moves of the game were just a little bit of me testing the firepower of my opponent’s ships, I was very concerned about getting hit by all those heavy weapons, and also my main weapon was not great at close range, so I threw into the killing zone a couple of Darts to test how great a threat the enemy ships were.
My Hive Battleship moved forward and fired off the Meta Disrupter at the enemy Frigate and although it was firing at long range I still managed to miss, also most of its lasers missed their targets as well, so I fired off a spread of missiles to try and slow the enemy ships down a little.
The returning fire hit into one of my Darts and took out it’s shields and then a couple of hull points, then those damn Plasma Cannons started to fire but luckily never managed to hit.
Also, the Rail Gun didn’t manage to hit either, so not too much to worry about so far, I just needed to get the Meta Disrupter to hit and start taking out the enemy ships systems.
Turn two saw the Human fleet creep steadily forward towards my Hive Battleship, firing several missiles in its direction, my Fighter Bombers moved closer but kept a safe distance from the enemy Fighters and PDS.
The Splinters on my right started to turn into the centre of the table and moved closer firing off a couple of long shots as they approached the enemy ships, taking out a couple of shields.
I fired again with the Meta Disrupter but because I was now a lot closer it was a lot harder to get a lock on the target… yeah and I rolled badly which didn’t help!
Those Heavy Weapons that my opponent had taken on his ships were continuing to put damage onto my ship’s hulls, but luckily, he still hadn’t managed to get a critical hit with them.
My PDS had managed to take out most of his missiles as they come into my Battleship, and his Fighter Bombers had only just been launched from his Carrier, he did have three Fighter stands on the table though, so my Bombers were keeping their distance at least for now.
I was at a great disadvantage by not having any Fighter support for my Bombers, but as the Reformers don’t have access to normal Fighters it wasn’t something new, I had to just bide my time and pick when I attacked, because the Bombers were not going to last long with all those enemy Fighters coming out of the Carrier, they would get one attack if I was lucky.
So far, I had taken two or three critical hits from my opponent’s lasers but none yet from the Heavy weapons, so things were not too bad yet…
And then turn three started, oh why did I think that, why did I tempt fate and think that things were not going too bad for my ships…
I have to say now that my opponent played brilliantly, his timing for his missile attack was spot on, I had used my PDS on a stand of his Fighter Bombers so left myself open to missile attack with no way of stopping them, he activated first and hit me with three missiles and as my Hive Battleship had already taken a lot of damage it just couldn’t absorb any more hits, so spun slowly off into the darkness dead.
I have to say that four Splinters were waiting well within range of the Hive Battleship and would have repaired it up to its full starting hull points, but they never had a chance to get to it!!
Well played to my opponent, it was a great move and at the right time, there was nothing I could do to prevent it.
Well with the biggest ship on the table gone, and with only Splinters left on the table for the Reformers things were not looking that good for me.
So with no Hive ship to repair I had no reason to hold back the Splinters any more, I turned every ship I had left on the table towards the enemy ships, I concentrated my fire on single ships to try and strip off their shields, I only had limited success, I did manage to get a couple of lucky missiles in and did do a few points of damage here and there with my lasers, but I was still being out gunned and my opponents slightly better dice rolling was starting to take its toll on my ships.
But at least those big guns were still not really hurting me, my Splinters were running rings around the bigger slower ships, and I was getting a few more hits in, but I had almost run out of missiles so my chance of doing real damage was starting to ebb away.
But the many shots from his bigger ships was starting to have an effect, I lost the first Splinter to concentrated fire from one of his Heavy Cruisers, this battle looked like it was only going to end one way, it was just now a question of how long I could survive…
I decided to attack with my Bombers now that they were within striking distance of my opponents Carrier, but it still had teeth, its PDS almost wiped out the first stand of Bombers, the one remaining ship managed to get some hits into the big ships hull.
This one Bomber was then destroyed by a stand of enemy Fighters, my second stand of Bombers flew into range of the now defenceless Carrier, and all three scored hits and ripped away huge chunks of the Carrier.
This stand of Bombers was then hit by another stand of enemy Fighters and all but one was destroyed.
So, my last three Bombers flew in and again all three manged to score hits, and the Carrier started to reel under the amount of damage being done, these managed to get seven hits!! But still not enough to take the Carrier out, I should have killed the damn thing then, but I still hadn’t manged to get a critical hit, but my opponent had managed several, one more Splinter span off into space dead, and several others were down to their last point of two of hull points.
The next turn I managed to get my first critical hit on his badly damaged Carrier, its Comms were down so he could not give it any orders this turn, this was the chance I was waiting for, his big ship was helpless for a turn, his other ships were starting to take heavy damage, victory was a possibility for the remaining Reformers…
Over the next two turns I used the speed of my little ships to try and out manoeuvre my opponent’s bigger ships, I swept around behind them as much as I could cutting down their chance of hitting my ships with the broadsides so potentially reducing the damage they could put onto my ships.
Oh well I did eventually manage to take out one of his Heavy Cruisers and his Frigate, and the game ended 6 points to 4 in my opponent’s favour, it was such an enjoyable game and was fairly close in the end.
I don’t think I did much wrong in the game, I moved too fast with a couple of my ships and didn’t get them into good positions, and my dice were awful as always, but I think that my opponent just outplayed me… oh he did fly into an asteroid with one of his Heavy Cruisers which I thought was very funny, but only caught it a glancing blow so didn’t take too much damage.
Looking back I think that if I could have activated a couple of my Splinters first in the third turn the game may have turned out totally different, they would have repaired all of the Hive Battleships damage and it would have been like having a new ship on the table, maybe next time the Reformers will get to consume some nice freshly painted spaceships…