AAR: Drazi vs. EA (5 Pts. Raid)

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AAR: Drazi vs. EA (5 Pts. Raid)

Postby Democratus » Thu Nov 10, 2011 5:08 am

Battle 3: Drazi vs. EA (5 Points Raid)

This was our third battle in the campaign. Both of us had a few ships that survivied previous rounds and got some upgrades. But most of the larger ships were making a first appearance.

Fleets:

Drazi Freehold

Image

I built my fleet with the expectation of heavy enemy fighter presence. My primary strike ships had 21 dice of beams so I was ready if an Omega managed to squeeze into the opposing fleet. I also had ten ships, which seemed like enough to init sink well.

Command
Firehawk Advanced Cruiser, Fencer
This was my nominal flagship. I've been wary of fielding Firhawks because I worry about the all-or-nothing nature of having only two weapons (one slow loading) on a "real" capital ship. But this ship can put out fantastic damage if the dice are kind.

Strike Squadron
Jumphawk Command Cruiser, Alpha (refit - Extended Range on main Beam)
Warbird Cruiser, Brawler (refit - +2 AD & extended range on main beam)
Strikehawk Battle Carrier, Marcus Cole

I wanted this to be my main strike element. I've always enjoyed the shock value of massed squadron fire and these ships compliment each other well with similar speed and weapon range.

Bombardment Squadron
Darkhawk Missile Cruisers, Far Fist and Spear

Darkhawks are like little Sagittarius cruisers and are excelent init sinks since they actually have an FA weapon. The plan is for these guys to sit back and throw 10 AD of missile every other turn.

Guard Squadron
Guardhawk Battle Escorts, Flyswatter and Bugstomper

Heavy presence of EA fighters will make these a necessity. While on 'Concentrate Defensive Fire' they can lend a combined 24 dice of Anti-Fighter. I hope it's enough.

Scout
Eyehawk Scout Cruiser, Sneak
Primarily for assisting the missile ships and possibly breaking stealth of enemy Oracle scouts.

Assault
Sleekbird Assault Cruiser, Party Crasher
This veteran has survived both previous battles. It's a patrol ship with Skirmish toughness so I use it as an init sink. Sometimes it even has a target close enough to hit with the 4" range guns.

Fighter Detachment
Star Snake(6) wing
Sky Serpent(3) wing

My fighters primary duty will be to engage enemy fighters and use lent Anti-Fighter dice for punch. I'm bringing along 4 Sky Serpent (one is on the Marcus Cole) because I want to see how well they perform in combat.

Earth Alliance

Image

Once again my oponent managed to suprise me with his composition. He took far more ships that I'd anticipated - exactly the same number that I did. So much for init sinking.

Carrier Squdaron
Avenger, Iwo Jima
Olympus x2 (Olympus 001, Olympus 002)

I knew this was coming. The avenger was no suprise. The Olympus are a new addition to my friend's traditional EA fleet but they performed very well in our last battle so he brought them along.

Clarke Squadron
Oracle Scout Cruiser, Clarke
Hermes x2 (Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin)

Lewis Squadron
Oracle Scout Cruiser (Lewis)
Hermes x2 (Douglas Fairbanks, Hermes #4)

These squadrons could be quite effective at mid range. On top of the scout channels there were 5 dice of missile in each squad. The presence of multiple scouts meant I was going to be fighting uphill in the EW arena.

Explorer
Explorer Survey Ship (Cook)

And here was the suprise. Though in hindsight it isn't a bad choice. Command bonus, scout channel, and a pile of fighters on a ship that simply will not be killed in a battle this small.

The EA fleet has a combined fighter compliment of 18 flights, enhanced by his Fleet Carrier.

Set Up:
EA wins setup roll.

The Drazi set up with Fencer out front, Strike Squadron next, Guard Squadron in the center, with Bombardment Squadron, the scout, and Party Crasher taking up the rear. The entire fleet was in the forward center of my deployment zone.

The EA set up directly opposite the Drazi with the Avenger Squadron and Explorer to his rear. In front on either side were the two Scout Squadrons.

Image

Turn 1:
Drazi win initiative

Move Phase
EA Cook lumbers forward (Scramble!...failed)
Drazi Party Crasher moves to init sink (CBD)
EA Carrier Squadron (Scramble...failed)
Drazi Bombardment Squadron moves minimum forward (CBD)
EA Lewis Squadron (my left) forward (CBD)
Drazi Fencer moves to centerline Scout 1 (NO ORDER)
EA Clarke Squadron (my right) forward (CBD)
Drazi Strike Squadron moves to centerline Scout 1 (CBD - secondaries are out of range)
Drazi Sneak moves minimum forward (CBD)
Drazi Guard Squadron move up to cover fleet (CBD)

EA Fighters move forward into a pack surrounding the Avenger, waiting to pounce next turn.
Drazi fighters form a line behind the attacking wave, staying out of explosion radius

EA Scouts paint the Alpha for redirects. My scout attempts to break the stealth of Scout 1 and fails.

Fire Phase
I want to try and kill his scouts first to even the field and damage the Hermes with the explosions.

Image
Guess who's the target...

The Firehawk makes the stealth check (success) and fires on Lewis, missing with all 4 dice of the solar cannon and getting only 1 hit from the beam, which does one damage.

The EA fires missiles from Lewis squadron at Alpha and does light damage and a Speed -2 crit after Dodge and CBD.

Strike squadron fires next at Lewis. Alpha botches its stealth check so doesn't fire. Brawler and Marcus Cole fire a combined 9 dice of beam and scores one hit. The follow up roll is a 1 so no damage! At this point I have done 1 point of damage with ships totaling 21 AD of beam due to poor dice. I am dissapointed to say the least.

EA Scout squadron #2 also fires at Alpha and does more damage, scoring a critical that takes out the Boresight arc (all weapons).

Bombardment Squadron fires on Lewis. Far Fist fails its steath check. Spear scores 4 missile hits which are reduced to 1 hit after interceptors. One point of damage scored.

EA Carrier squadron fires (Olympus missiles) at Alpha, scoring only two hits, but one is a 6/5 critical which does enough to cripple it. The ship looses its Dodge trait.

The rest of my ships have no target in their boresight and so firing for the turn is over.

End Phase
Iwo Jima launches its remaining 4 fighters and Cook launches 1. There are now 14 Aurora flights on the table.

This turn could hardly have gone worse for me. My entire fleet fired at a single enemy ship and scored 2 points of damage. In exchange my command ship has already been crippled.

Turn 2:
Drazi win initiative

I am searching for any way to salvage my situation. I look at my crippled Alpha and decide that it will not survive the turn. I form a desperate plan.

Move Phase
EA Cook moves foreward again. The biggest init sink in the galaxy. (Scramble!)

Drazi Alpha breaks off and orders Give me Ramming Speed! It slams into the Avenger Iwo Jima doing 6 AD (TD/SAP) and taking 20 AD of the same. Iwo Jima takes light damage and suffers a -1 AD crit to its guns. Alpha takes so much damage that it explodes and kills 6 fighter flights, lightly damaging the two Olympus corvettes nearby. Good dice rolls allow the EA player to rescue 4 of the 6 squadrons with his Fleet Carrier. Blast!

EA moves Clarke Squadron (my right flank) forward (CBD)

Party Crasher moves up to centerline the Hermes Chaplin at range 4" (no order)

Iwo Jima breaks squadron and moves forward minimum (Scramble)

Guardhawk squadron moves forward to cover the whole fleet and orders Concentrate Defensive Fire! due to the high density of EA fighters on the board.

Lewis squadron moves left, toward the EA center in order to target my Guardhawk Bug Stomper

Brawler calls All Stop, as it has no viable targets that won't carry it out of escort coverage.

Fencer is too close to the Lewis Squadron to move and then attack. So it declares Start Attack Run! against Lewis. It misses with all beam attack dice. However it fails to pull out of the attack and rams the Lewis, causing it to explode. Fencer survives but is heavily damaged. It banks right, putting Clarke Squadron in its sights and, more importantly, staying in range of the escorts.

Image
Oops...should we exchange insurance information?

Marcus Cole moves up to target one of the Olympus, staying just within extreme coverage of the escorts.

Sneak turns off and flies away from the fight, keeping eveyone just inside sensor range.

My fighters then move agressively up. The heavy Sky Serpents move to attack the Clarke while the Star Snakes move up to fire on Chaplin.

The remaining EA fighters take the bait and engage my Star Snakes and ships. I plow through them with 24 combined dice of Anti-Fighter - killing 5 more fighters. The fleet carrier rescues 3 of them.

Scouts now act. Fencer is painted by scout channels. Drazi scouts fail to paint an EA ship.

Fire Phase
My heavy fighters fire on the Clark, doing heavy damage.

In the following Fire Phase the EA manages to cripple Fencer thanks to the scout redirects. Fencer is now down to one damage point. Far Fist lands a missile strike on Clarke, crippling the ship. It retains the Scout trait. Marcus Cole misses with all beam AD (I see a pattern developing here) and all hits with the particle repeaters are stopped by interceptors.

I'm going to have a talk with whoever sold me those bad laser targeting systems once this is over.

End Phase
Cook launches two fighters.

Image
Knife fighting!

Another turn where I scored no damage with my beams. An accidental ram has left my biggest ship on the edge of death. And most of the fighters I worked so hard to kill are refueling on the enemy carrier. On the plus side, I've killed one scout and crippled another.

Things are looking grim for the Drazi.

Turn 3:
Drazi won initative.

Move Phase:
EA Clarke moves forward to target my bombardment squadron. This is unfortunate, as I had planed on ramming clarke with Fencer.

Drazi Fencer declares Ramming Speed! against the Hermes Mary Pickford. Both ships are destroyed and explode, which sadly kills 3 of my fighter flights. But I have the satisfaction of killing a ship which has survived the entire campaign thus far. Pickford had a lot of nice refits.

Sensing an opportunity, my opponent declares Ramming Speed! against Bug Stomper with the surviving Hermes Chaplain. The ship isn't crippled so it has to make a CQ roll. It makes it. Now it has to successfully ram an Agile Drazi ship. I roll a 1, he rolls a 6. Blast! The ram destroys both ships (taking half my escort protection) and kills all of my remaining fighters except one.

At this point I am pretty much down for the count. I've lost my fighter cover, my command rating, half my escort points, my 'big ship' is dead and my enemy still has the majority of his firepower sitting on the board.

End Phase
Iwo Jima launches 4 fighters.

Image
Where did the Drazi fighters go?

Turn 4:

The rest of my ships try to get in one last attack, again missing with all beams.

The Olympus and other ships begin to close in on my rear eschelon and cripple Spear.

Image
Two very unhappy Drazi Darkhawks.

I decide it is time to run. I may have a good deal of firepower still out there, but I have nothing to stop his fighters from abusing me once the Flyswatter goes down. Defeat is inevitable and I still have more battles to fight.

Outcome

Drazi:
Destroyed: Fencer, Alpha, Bug Stomper
Crippled: Spear
Withdrawn: All other ships
-------
Points: 33

EA:
Destroyed: Clarke, Mary Pickford, Chaplin
Crippled: Lewis
-------
Points: 13

Result: Decisive EA victory!

Observations

Wild luck featured heavily in this game. From the first turn where the Drazi failed to scratch the paint on a single ship with 21 AD of beam to the lucky ramming rolls of the Hermes in the Third turn - nothing seemed to go right for the Drazi fleet. Credit must be given to the EA player for properly exploiting the opportunity.

I was very impressed with the Star Snake fighter. Eight dice of damage from beyond AF range is very impressive. I didn't have enough time to truly evaluate the Firehawk or the Darkhawks. My guardhawks paid for themselves many times over. They are prime targets on the battlefield due to their ability to kill Starfuries in droves and will die quickly. They will always be needed in numbers.

I'm finding it very difficult to fly a fleet so tied to the Boresight arc. Once the battle gets in close init sinks are just killing me. Many ships are simply unable to fire on a given turn without exposing themselves to concentrated enemy attention. Squadrons tend to loose cohesiveness after attacking a target because they have to attack in a concave arc (so they will all have boresight) and thus fly over the target ship next turn flying in different directions.

My opponent has learned to love the Olympus. It's a great all-rounder, with good traits on its turret-mounted weapons. He has also come to see the value in missiles. Their Precise trait makes for piles of criticals.

Ramming seems a common thing for a crippled ship since there is no CQ check to attempt the order. I think this will be less common in a normal campaign where ships are more precious. For the Drazi it can be a useful tool, especially with the +1 for Drazi Agression and a further +1 for any Agile ship.
Last edited by Democratus on Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: AAR: Drazi vs. EA (5 Pts. Raid)

Postby Target » Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:17 am

Olympus is probably one of the best skrimish ships. They rarely let you down
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Re: AAR: Drazi vs. EA (5 Pts. Raid)

Postby Da Boss » Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:52 am

Great report - and great pics too - most interesting so see how it all worked out.

shame about the beams - where you using the RAW system or one of the official variants?

Ramming is now much more likely- I think in my last game against Greg at the tournament I rammed at least 4 other Minbari ships with my own - mainly as he was chewing them up with his gunfire and it was pretty much the only thing I seemed able to retaliate with.
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Re: AAR: Drazi vs. EA (5 Pts. Raid)

Postby Greg Smith » Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:40 am

Excellent battle report and photos.

It makes me want to play real ACTA again. :lol:
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Re: AAR: Drazi vs. EA (5 Pts. Raid)

Postby Democratus » Thu Nov 10, 2011 1:42 pm

We use the original RAW rules for beams. In our next campaign we have decided to use one of the official variants. Any favorites out there?

This was a crazy battle. But as I said in another report, I'm really enjoying how we are using smaller ships in our encounter because of the nature of the campaign. My opponent, in particular, had always been prone to buy big lumbering ships. After having to play several battles with smaller faster ships his skills have really sharpened.

I'm still struggling with how to best use the Drazi. At this point I'm just hoping for average luck with the die.

Tonight we fight the next round: 5 Points Battle! Should be rough. EA only gets better as the ship sizes increase. I'm anticipating at least one Omega and possibly a Poseidon. Drazi don't exactly have best-of-breed ships at Raid/Battle/War level.

I'll let you know how it goes!
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Re: AAR: Drazi vs. EA (5 Pts. Raid)

Postby Greg Smith » Thu Nov 10, 2011 1:51 pm

Triggy's beam system has become standard with us.

ie 1-2 miss, 3-4 hit, 5-6 hit and reroll.
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Re: AAR: Drazi vs. EA (5 Pts. Raid)

Postby Da Boss » Thu Nov 10, 2011 1:52 pm

hmm the favoured Offical version (in P+P) is this:

D6 roll for each beam

1-2 Miss
3-4 1 hit
5-6 1 hit and roll again on this table

This makes it much more liekly to get your average number of hits the beams are balanced on with still occassional total misses or big hits...

not really played Drazi alot so not a lot of help on the fleet selction

:)
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Re: AAR: Drazi vs. EA (5 Pts. Raid)

Postby Democratus » Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:08 pm

That's my favorite of the alternate beam systems. I'm going to suggest that for our future campaigns. Thanks!

Just finished building my fleet. Here's what I think I will take tonight:

Command Squadron
Nightfalcon (Coriana Glory)
Guardhawk x2 (Flyswatter, Raid) - Refit: Flyswatter CQ 5

This squad will be the center of my fleet, until it inevitably dissolves into a scrum.

Fire Squadron
Firehawk x4 (Admiral Tok, Shuggie, Uppercut, Roundhouse)

This squadron's job is to attack the largest enemy ship every turn possible. With just average dice, they should be able to bring down an Omega in a single turn.

Strike Squadron
Warbird (Brawler) - Refit: +2 AD beam (6AD), Extended range beam (Range 22 @ 3AD)
Jumphawk (Pack Leader)
Strikehawk (Marcus Cole) - Refit: CQ 5

This will be my "mini Fire Squadron". They will attack smaller ships or finish off wounded monsters.

Support Squadron
Dark Hawk (Far Fist) - Refit: Turbo Weapons. Missiles now DD, AD reduced to 4
Eyehawk x2 (Sneak, Rogue)

Stay in the backfield and support the ships.

Assault Squadron
Sleekbird (Party Crasher) - Refit: Anti-Fighter 1
Claweagle x2 (Wrestler, Scrapper)

This squadron will try some boarding action. Oracles look particularly vulnerable since they have no troops.

Fighter Support
Star Snake(6) x2

I'm hoping to pull off the same trick as last time. Use my fighters to engage his and then use lent Anti-Fighter to kill them.

Any friendly advice is much appreciated! Drazi morale could use a victory. :)
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Re: AAR: Drazi vs. EA (5 Pts. Raid)

Postby Greg Smith » Thu Nov 10, 2011 5:57 pm

To be honest I think you have got a lot of the tactics down.

Ganging up.
If you can't fire, do an attack run, or close blast doors.
If only one weapon is in range, close blast doors.
Use fighters to defend, and give them AF from your escort.
RAM!

Use your lucky dice for beams. :twisted:
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Re: AAR: Drazi vs. EA (5 Pts. Raid)

Postby AdrianH » Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:36 am

Democratus wrote:That's my favorite of the alternate beam systems. I'm going to suggest that for our future campaigns. Thanks!
It's an official system, published in both S&P and P&P. The average number of hits is the same as the original system, i.e. 1 hit per AD, so using it gives no advantage or disadvantage to either side (unless someone has loaded dice which keep rolling 3's or 4's :)). So you could switch to using the system in this campaign.

I would suggest that if you do "Start Attack Run" then beam hits are confirmed by rolling 4+ regardless of which beam system is used, original or any of the optional ones.
Just finished building my fleet. Here's what I think I will take tonight:

Command Squadron
Nightfalcon (Coriana Glory)
Guardhawk x2 (Flyswatter, Raid) - Refit: Flyswatter CQ 5
I've rarely played Drazi except in small numbers or as part of the Army of Light, but I'm uncertain about using the Nightfalcon. You could have another Firehawk, another Warbird (or other Skirmish ship of your choice), and either two full fighter wings or one fighter wing plus another Guardhawk. You'd lose the Command bonus but get another init sink, and you could have 6 Star Snakes or 3 more Sky Serpents instead of the Nightfalcon's 3 Star Snakes.
Support Squadron
Dark Hawk (Far Fist) - Refit: Turbo Weapons. Missiles now DD, AD reduced to 4
Eyehawk x2 (Sneak, Rogue)

Stay in the backfield and support the ships.
If that Darkhawk is the only thing firing from your side, it won't do much against the EA's interceptors. You'll either need another Darkhawk to wear them down or wait until some of your other ships have engaged. (Possibly get the second Darkhawk as part of the package deal instead of the Nightfalcon.)

Good luck!
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