The United Earth Federation captain watched as the pirate ships moved slowly towards his position inside the asteroid field, he gave the order for his fighters to be launched and moved forward closing the safe gap into the asteroid field.
Three more frigates came in behind the pirates closing the trap on them, this was going to be easy he would sit back keeping out of range of the pirates rocket packs hitting them with his ships lasers while his fighter bombers went to work on taking apart the pirates ships…
But then he watched something happen that he had never seen before, fighters being launched form a pirate freighter!!!
He had often seen pirate clippers being launcher ready to board enemy ships but never fighters, this changes everything…
Today I had a run through of a new scenario I will be releasing soon, it is a simple trap mission where a UEF carrier and her escorts attack a pirate fleet trying to get back to the safety of an asteroid field, but things go very wrong with the plan when the pirates start to launch fighters.
Forces on the table:-
1 x pirate heavy freighter with single laser turret and 6 x fighter stands
2 x pirate converted civilian liners
1 x pirate converted light freighter
UEF carrier group
1 x fighter carrier with single laser turret, 3 x fighter stands and 3 x fighter bomber stands
5 x frigates
The basic set-up is with the carrier and a couple of escorts and the fighter group block the entrance to the asteroid field and a second force hit the pirates from behind.
The pirates are steadily heading towards the asteroids and safety.
Turn one sees the pirates move over to the left of the table with the smaller ships keeping close to the big freighter, two flights of pirate fighters leave the launch bays on the freighter’s sides.
The frigates scream into range of the trailing pirates ship and only manage to take down one of her shields, the pirate ship turns and fires her own lasers and takes down both shields on one of the frigates.
The carrier and her group move forwards behind the fighter screen.
Turn two and the fighters meet, the older pirate fighters manage to get in some good shooting taking out five UEF fighters!! without any losses of their own, so a great start for the pirates, but will it last.
( I saw the pirates as having older fighters, probably less well maintained than the UEF fighters so I ruled that they would always go second in the fighter phase, but the simple AI for the UEF fighters forced them to advance as fast as they could into range of the pirate fighters, next turn it will be a lot different )
The single pirate converted civilian ship whipped around behind the advancing frigates and let off a rack of its rockets and ripped big holes down one side of the closest frigate and stripping away another’s shields.
The UEF frigate swiftly turns and fire two missiles of its own towards the pirate ship, even though the pirates PDS stopped one of the missiles the other got through and put a huge hole in the ship’s hull.
The pirate light freighter turned about to help the other pirate ship and managed to put a shot into the frigates hull.
The pirate heavy freighter turned slowly away from the advancing carrier group and headed towards the second group of frigates adding its firepower to the fight and actually managing to cause damage to one of the frigates life support systems!
The last pirate ship swung sharply around and added its firepower to the fight and took out the badly damaged UEF frigate, a cheer could be heard on all of the pirate ships, but this fight was far from over.
The last frigate of the group moves in adding another two missiles to the attack on the large freighter and manages to strip away another shield with its shooting, but the pirate freighters PDS takes out three of the missiles before they get too close.
Turn three… I have to say at this point I rolled some of the worst fighter attacks I have ever seen, seven UEF fighters attacked four pirate fighters and only managed to destroy two!! Oh dear this was not looking good, the UEF fighters have the advantage of activating first so they should have cleared at least two stands of pirate fighters… and now the pirates will get to attack!
The fourteen pirate fighters only managed to destroy one fighter bomber and three fighters so again some bad shooting from the fighters in this battle, although the PDS from the carrier group was doing a good job of keeping the pirate fighters away.
The pirate heavy freighter moved around to close the gap between it and the UEF frigate and hit it with everything it could ripping huge holes in the frigates hull, the UEF ship was still in the battle.
Another pirate ship moved around and came close taking advantage of the frigates recharging PDS and send a rack of its missiles in to destroy the UEF frigate, the explosion was quickly extinguished by the vacuum of space and the dead frigate slowly spun away…
As the carrier group moved past the pirate fighters their PDS tore into the old fighters destroying seven, that should help with the coming fighter engagements.
Turn four and some more terrible shooting by the UEF fighters!! then as a couple of pirate fighters flew to attack the UEF fighter bombers the UEF carrier opened up with its banks of PDS and…. missed!!
A UEF frigate manages to get off two missiles into the rear of a pirate civilian liner and it spins off a dead hulk into space.
The carrier moves steadily forward and fires off a broadside into one of the pirate civilian liners causing huge damage with fires now burning around the shield generators things are not looking good for the ship, pirate engineers can’t get the shields back up until those fires are out!
The pirate heavy freighter turns around trying to keep well away from the UEF ships and also now heading towards the asteroid field.
Turn five and the remaining five UEF bombers move in to destroy a pirate civilian liner, the pirates on board didn’t stand a chance, a flight of four UEF fighters made a mad dash across the battle area trying to get within firing range of some pirate fighters, but they got caught by the UEF carrier’s PDS which cut them to pieces as they flew past!!
The remaining pirate liner and the heavy freighter started to run towards to asteroid field as fast as their engines would take them with the UEF ships chasing and firing into the running pirates, I think at this point it is all over for the pirates I don’t see any way they can make it to safety with that many UEF ships attacking them.
Turn six and somehow the remaining pirate fighters managed to take out the list three UEF fighter bombers after the bombers had only managed to put point of damage on the small pirate ship, now that was a bit of luck that I never expected, even though the pirate fighters all died they will be singing songs about their sacrifice in all the pirate bars for ages to come!
The pirate civilian ship powers towards the safety of the asteroids leaving most of the UEF ships behind, the pirate heavy freighter moves slowly towards the asteroids as well but ends up in the middle of three UEF frigates and opens up with everything it has… and manages to do heavy damage to one frigates engines slowing it down for the rest of the battle, but only managing to get two rockets though to hit another frigate doing light damage.
Turn seven and the remaining UEF fighters go back to land on their carrier’s flight decks as their job is done for this battle.
The small pirate converted liner poured on the power even more as it fled the battle area and making it to safety, but now will the heavy freighter be able to do the same.
The heavy freighter moves forward again bringing its weapons to bear on one of the badly damaged frigates and puts it out of its misery! Then manages to get a critical hit on another frigate’s weapons systems putting half of the ships lasers out of action for the rest of the battle.
Upon seeing another of their frigates destroyed the UEF fleet’s attack posture changed to a more defensive one, will this change make it possible for the heavy freighter to make its way to safety…
The UEF carrier turned to chase the heavy freighter and put three long range shots into its shields giving the pirates a gentle reminder that this battle wasn’t over.
Turn eight and the freighter powered forwards again slowly making its way to the asteroids and safety, the frigates had to do some fancy flying to get through the asteroids in this section of the battle area and still manage to hit the big ship with their weapons.
Turn nine and not the best time for the pirates to have trouble getting the ships shields back up!! This turn will hurt.
The UEF carrier continues to chase and hits the freighters weapons control system taking out most of the big ships weapons!!!
The freighter took a few more hits from the frigates but was able to absorb those hits in it’s huge bulk and didn’t slow it down.
Turn ten and the freighter is almost there, unless there is a real unexpected disaster, I can’t see it being stopped… and the freighters engineers failed to get the big ships shields back up again, so again it will be defenceless.
And that was it the big old freighter moved across the edge of the asteroid field and made it to safety, the UEF ships turned around and left the battle area.
Oh that was a close one, after totting up the points the pirates came out on top by just 60 points!! 😊
I am not sure my tactics at the beginning were correct, did I do right by turning back towards the three frigates to deal with them before the carrier and its escorts arrived or should I have just pushed the engines to their max and just powered through to the asteroids… well that I guess will be for next time.
My dice rolling for the pirate fighters was diabolical, I had so many misses it was silly, if my ships PDS hadn’t taken out a few of the fighters the UEF fighter bombers would have torn my pirates apart.
The three bombers that did manage to get through made short work of the first pirate ship that they came up against, but although my dice rolling was as bad as always they were still fun to use and did give the pirates another option on the table.
And making them go last gave them an odd feel, but it did make them really interesting to play, by making them go last it meant that every other fighter on the table went before them and did all their shooting first which made the pirate fighters very easy to destroy if played wrong.
But by going last it also gave them an advantage as they at least knew exactly where the enemy fighters were and this allowed them to pick their attacks.
All in all a great fun game and a good victory for the pirates, even if it was only a very small victory.