Friday, July 25, 2014

Galactic Knights at Historicon #1: Voyage of Convoy J-219

As readers of this blog will know, I have building up my four fleets of Galactic Knights ships (ex Superior Starfleet Wars line); my oldest ships were purchased at least 40 years ago, and the newest a few months ago. In my usual megalomaniac fashion, I decided to run 2 sessions of three hours each, one of Thursday afternoon, and one on Saturday evening. To make it harder on myself, I ran two different scenarios simultaneously side by side for each session. The original plan was to use the adaptation of the Star Navy 5150 Campaign system that I have been developing for the Galactic Knights rules (see previous blog posts here in that regard). A playtest with Barry the weekend before Historicon made it obvious that that was too complicated and would lead to far too much sitting around before the action got started. That is the kiss of death for a convention game, so that plan was quickly scrapped in favor of four pre-set scenarios. This is the first of the series, and was run on Thursday afternoon. George and Jeff played the Terrans, and Scott played the Terrans, ably assisted by Will, the owner of the Galactic Knights line, who was attending Historicon from Oregon!

Scenario #1:   We've got a Mighty Convoy!

Terran Ships

Squadron 1: Cruiser, 2 Destroyers
Squadron 2: Destroyer Leader, Starbomber, Armored Pursuit Ship
Squadron 3: Destroyer Leader. Starbomber, Armored Pursuit Ship
Convoy J-219: 2 each Medium Freighters , Heavy Freighters, Super heavy Freighters*

* I used designs that Mack Harrison kindly forwarded to me, as follows (no shields, armor, or weapons):
 Light Freighters (not used in game)  18 hull boxes, 16 cargo holds, Hyperdrive, 1 engine of 7 thrust. 
 5 Critica1 Hits, Profile 4
 Medium Freighters  26 hull boxes, 23 cargo holds, Hyperdrive, 2 engines of 3 thrust each
 6 Critical Hits, Profile 5
 Heavy Freighters  36 hull boxes, 32 cargo holds, Hyperdrive, 3 engines of 2,2,1 thrust
 8 Critical Hits, Profile 6
 Super Heavy Freighters  46 hull boxes, 43 cargo holds, Hyperdrive, 2 engines of thrust 2 each
 9 Critical Hits, Profile 7

Avarian Ships

Squadron 1: Cruiser, Starbomber, Armored Pursuit Ship
Squadron 2: Cruiser. Starbomber, Armored Pursuit Ship
Squadron 3: Destroyer Leader. 2 Destroyers
Squadron 4: Destroyer Leader. 2 Destroyers


Terran Convoy J-219 is on its way from Gamma Draconis IV to Hades on the frontier with the Avarian United Worlds. Supposedly carrying medicinal supplies and industrial parts, Avarian intelligence has information to suggest that the convoy is instead carrying munitions to support the launch of a new incursion by the Monkeys into Avarian Space. 

Set Up

I used a playing area 5 feet long by 6 feet deep. Convoy J-219 enters at the Southwestern table edge with an initial drift of "1".  The rest of the Terrans enter up to 12" (6 hexes) onto the table anywhere along the Southern edge, with an initial drift pf up to 1/4 the thrust of the ship with the lowest thrust in the fleet. 

The Avarians enter anywhere along the Northern table edge, up to 12' (6 hexes) on, with an initial drift up to 1/2 of the thrust of the slowest ship in the fleet. 

There is a warp point/wormhole at the far Northeastern corner of the table. The Terran objective is to exit as much of their freighter capacity off the table via the warp point as possible. Moving a ship to the warp point hex is sufficient, as long as it has an intact hyperdrive!

Victory Conditions

Terrans get 75% or more of the cargo holds off the table = Major Victory
Terrans get 51 - 74% of the cargo holds off the table = Minor Victory
Terrans get 26 - 49% of the cargo holds of the table = Minor Defeat
Terrans get 25% or less of the cargo holds off the table = Major Defeat

End of  Move 1 - The Convoy (orange ships, white drift markers) has started its perilous journey, maintaining a tight formation, with the Terran warships (white, blue drift markers) on the lookout for the Tweeties!

End of Move 1 - Avarian ships begin to streak towards the helpless merchant ships from several different approaches.

Terran ships maintain formation, as the Avarians close in.

The Convoy is making good progress, but is attacked from the rear, forcing the Terran warships to come about in order to counter the threat.

One of the freighters is destroyed, but the rest press on, as the Avarians seem a bit scattered. 

Avarian ships trying to claw back and get in effective range of the Freighters once again. 

In the end, the game was judged a marginal Terran Victory.

In the game postmortem, it was felt that the Merchant ships, although excellent targets, had so many hull boxes that they were perhaps too difficult to destroy. Cargo Holds were introduced in the 2nd Galactic Knights Supplement. I'd suggest borrowing an old Starfire rule- if a point of damage strikes a cargo hold, and the next box in that column is also a cargo hold, both are destroyed for only one point of damage. This reflects the tendency of clustered cargo holds to collapse fairly easily when hit. It also keeps them from being used as cheap armor!

The players seemed to enjoy both the game and the rules, which have a lot of potential for strategy, and Will asked to steal the scenario for future use, which is more than fine with me. I did discover that I didn't have nearly enough D10's to run the game efficiently, which sent Will scurrying off to the dealer hall and back to the rescue with two fistfuls of D10's!

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