[DISCLAIMER: Burger and Reaverman had to concentrate really hard at playing this game to bother with such trivial things like note taking and the like...which means they entrusted me to write up the ensuing carnage...poor misguided fools. Any mistakes or errors in noting the actual game play then are mine – Hash]
The EA Sagittarius Missile Cruiser is unbeatable?
The dictionary defines “strategy” as the, “science of winning wars”, the word strategy however has become common place. It is difficult to avoid; our companies and employers have business strategies, financial strategies, even recruitment strategies. Our government departments and agencies seek to provide *strategic* solutions to our problems, and we may even subscribe to new and fashionable weight management strategies (i.e. dietary fads) as the mood hits us. We seem to have forgotten, with our eagerness in “winning wars” against flabby waistlines, financial competitors, and hiring new employees that, “war” is meant to be well…about blowing things up and stuff!
So, must we fight actual wars in distant (and not so) corners of the world merely to satisfy our voracious and never ending need for war? Of course not…well, not every weekend anyway. Luckily, for the generally less (slightly) bloodthirsty amongst us, Mongoose have created games like ACTA to satisfy our savage need to reduce opponents to broken and weeping wrecks before our unstoppable, if somewhat miniature, forces *. For it is human nature to seek conflict, we must win; the Darwinian imperative drives us to achieve again and again, outstripping our fellows and dancing the mocking victory jig ** when they fail to stop us and also to whine like spoiled brats when we lose…
So, what does this have to do with ACTA and why have I wasted time posting this??
Well, quite commonly on these boards there is the desperate cry from the newly initiated into the dark arts of wargaming, desperate for insights into the strategies and tactics required to win battles against so called "unbeatable" enemy fleets.
Reaverman and Burger however, believe that no fleet is unbeatable and they mean to prove it with perhaps the most notorious of “unbeatable” fleet selections, the dreaded EA tourney, 10 Sagittarius missile cruiser fleet!
So after that suitably abstract introduction, here are the sides for this epic conflict:
Side 1: Earth Alliance - Admiral: Burger
Burger is a seasoned ACTA admiral having commanded in his time Minbari, ISA, and Drazi. He started his tournament career in good form, coming 2nd in the ACTA tourney at Q-Con though sadly his “my stealth will save me”, strategy has been somewhat lacking of late. Still, his domestic record remains impressive and people are generally are in awe of his ability to instantly recall obscure rulings from the ACTA forums. He is by no means a “rules lawyer” though as his reluctance to purchase the main rule set has lead to his occasional lapse where he forgets the “normal” game rules… mini-beams rolling against interceptors for example.
10 x Sagittarius Missile Cruisers – Cost 5 FAP
The Sagittarius Missile Cruiser is a skirmish level ship (ref. Mongoose ACTA Tourney Pack) with a heft all round supply of Precise, Super AP, Slow-Loading, and 30” range missiles. In an official tournament with the standard 5 Fleet Allocation Points at Raid level – it is perfectly legal to select 10 of these bad boys (usually to the horror of you opponent) and Burger means to win at any cost!
Course err we didn’t actually have 10 Sagittarius models *** so you’ll just have to pretend that the EA found the Sagittarius to be so effective they retrofitted the Omegas, Orestes and Explorer with the innards! Don’t forget for the purposes of this game they are ALL Sagittarius class cruisers.
Pre-Match Comments (paraphrased)
“I’m going to wipe the floor with Reaverman with a sort of snake shuffle …I expect a lot of ‘Come About’ special orders with possible a CAF or two when I can…I don’t give Reaverman a chance in hell…”
Side 2: Vorlon Empire - Admiral: Reaverman
Reaverman has an excellent, albeit recent, tourney track record having been victorious with both Vorlons and Narn although to be fair this can be mainly attributed to using “cheat codes”, bribery, threats, and most of all, luck! Reaverman is also renowned for possessing rare artefacts known as, THE DICE OF DOOM” which he picked up from Salute 2006. In his spare time, Reaverman enjoys spending time near Alpha Emitters and of course, reading up on evolution.
1 x Vorlon Heavy Cruiser – Cost 4 FAP
1 x Vorlon Destroyer – Cost 1 FAP
The Vorlon heavy cruiser is a true behemoth, a War PL vessel, possessing a devastating Lightning Canon as its primary weapon possessing the Triple Damage, Super AP, Precise, and Beam qualities. Its secondary weapon, the Discharge Gun, is only slightly less terrifying possessing the Double Damage, AP, Precise and Beam qualities. The Vorlon vessel possesses adaptive armour and is also capable of regenerating damage making it exceptionally dangerous.
The Vorlon destroyer is a nasty piece of work also armed with a Discharge Gun however fortunately for their opponents it is also somewhat less resilient than its larger cousin.
As an ancient race using organic ships – Vorlons take damage differently from other races and as such do not take critical hits that may disable ship systems.
“I picked Vorlons to bust up this fool so I don’t have to worry too much about those precise missiles, sure they’ll do more damage but they won’t take out my engines or weapons – No, I don’t hate Burger, but I pity the fool if he thinks this is going to be easy! Get that notepad outta my face fool!”
The Match; EA vs. Vorlons
Scenario: A Call to Arms
Rules: Tournament Pack, 5pt RAID
Turn 0 - Deployment
After both players dice warming rituals ****** they rolled initiative to determine deployment order, since neither had any scout there would be no re-rolls. Burger was forced to deploy first and tactically arranged his ships in “at that end of the table” formation...Reaverman then placed his ships down...
Turn 1 – Opening gambit
Initiative went to Reaverman again forcing Burger to move his first ship, and a brief moment ensued when Burger seemed to think you could give CAF orders while turning to face his enemy...Reaverman was not amused. Soon however Burger's true agenda became apparent, focusing a full half of his broadside missiles on the relatively frail hull of the Vorlon destroyer while the remaining arcs targeted the Vorlon Heavy Cruiser.
...and it almost worked, the EA missile cruisers doing a combined 52 points of damage to the Vorlon destroyer...sadly not enough to destroy it. The rest of missiles acquitted themselves quite admirably against the Vorlon heavy cruiser doing a total of 45 damage although this would have been even higher if not for a controversial rules call that placed the heavy cruiser outside the port firing arc of the right most Sagittarius. Vorlon return fire crippled one Sagittarius and caused minimal damage to another...it certainly looked like an early bath for the encounter suit boys at this stage!
Turn 2 – Demolition derby
Incensed by Burger mocking grin and little jig, Reaverman then failed to win Initiative and moved his ships to break up the EA ship formations, hoping to force a little confusion into the enemy ranks. Burger, a cunning and devious admiral, prepared Come About orders for the fleet and making about 1 in 3. The missile banks not depleted from the previous firing round turned their attention to eliminating the threat posed by the Vorlon destroyer...
but not before it turned it's ire on the puny Earthlings, scoring 10 hits with it's Discharge Gun on the already crippled Sagittarius...KABOOM! The explosion rocked the table (Reaverman leant to heavily on the boar) and the debris caused severe damage to two other EA ships, taking out the engines on one and 7 hits inc. a minor weapons critical to another...Reaverman smiled, the DICE OF DOOM had awoken!
The Heavy Cruiser too did significant damage to the EA vessels taking little return damage due to some spectacularly poor damage rolls from Burger. Things seemed a little less certain now – the Vorlon destroyer was dead but the regenerating Heavy Cruiser was still on 45 hits at the end of turn 2. Still, Burger remained confident...after all his opponent now had but one ship vs his armada, surely victory is within his grasp...
Turn 3 – On my mark, unleash hell!
Vorlons win Initiative but with only one ship, the EA cruisers crawl over the best, turning to unleash countless (ok 6 or 2 depending on firing arc) missiles on their squid like foe.
The Vorlons demonstrated their superior technology when it came to the shooting round however causing immense damage to a previously uninjured EA ship...not enough to prevent a hail of missiles taking damage to the Heavy Cruiser to a massive 109...over half way! Is that cappuccino I smell...
Turn 4 – When the going gets tough...
EA manoeuvring to get ships into arc caused Reaverman to start to lose hope of fighting toe to toe with Burger's remaining fleet and indicated his intention to open a jump point (actually his strategy was to destroy another ship or two and then leave possibly forcing a minor win on victory points), but then thought better of it as Burger reminded him his ship would not be able to fire that turn if it did. Instead Reaverman and Burger continued to exchange fire, the Vorlons getting an edge as they de-crew one ship and cause severe damage to another...
Turn 5 – Die you big stupid squid, DIE!
Vorlons win Initiative again but at this point Burger is getting peeved, surely squid boy should be dead by now! A cunning all-stop from the Vorlons leaves the EA scrambling around to bear their broadsides to the enemy which they manage to do...
The resulting firing round is devastating to both sides, the Vorlon Heavy Cruiser de-crewing another ship and blasting a damaged one out of the sky! Still the price to the Heavy Cruiser is high, a total of 163 damage done so far...maybe another turn and it's all over, Reaverman is looking to where he can run...
Turn 6 – Who turned the lights out?
Vorlons win Initiative as the EA circles the wounded warship, Reaverman again considers running but instead opt for another all stop action.
at this point, just prior to firing I innocently walk past the light switch, nudging it slightly...which somehow DESTROYS the bizarre lighting systems in Burger's house and threatening to cut our game short due to bad light!
Fortunately however, power is soon restored and the game continues...and another Sagittarius is gone! However the Heavy Cruiser has now taken 174 damage...luckily Reaverman's regeneration rolls seem to be fairly high, can he possible survive another turn though?
Turn 7 – The wheel turns…
It should be all over now, there are still too many Sagittarius cruisers on the table and the Vorlons are on their last legs...
but by winning Initiative and taking out an undamaged EA cruiser, the Vorlon ship manages to stay alive...BARELY, taking a total of 195 damage! Burger is now 5 points away from total victory...
Turn 8 – On the ragged edge.
God this is boring, kill him already...KILL HIM! Err...sorry, got carried away there. EA positions their remaining Vessels for a shot...
It doesn't help much though and due to some fantastic regeneration rolls by Reaverman the cruiser is now on 186 total damage, the momentum has now gone the other way!
Turn 9 – Smile you son of a Kosh…
And so it all comes down to this, not quite the final turn but it's now mano o mano – One partially damaged Sagittarius cruiser vs. the daddy of the Vorlon fleet (one of the EA ships in the pic is decrewed)
Burger and Reaverman are now utterly committed to victory, prepared to comitt heinous acts to crush their opponent into dust, the question is now is not
What do you Want? Or Who are you?
But rather...Who gets to shoot FIRST?
EA win initiative! As Burger leaps to the air with joy, he picks up his special glitter dice and mutters a silent prayer, sending the dice scattering across the table...doing a paltry 5 damage.
Reaverman grins (and perhaps a little bit of relief) and takes aim with the Lightning Gun...11 hits, 7 crits and an obscene amount of damage later it's all over, the Vorlon Empire has annihilated the pathetic descendants of monkeys – 20pt Tournament Victory!
OUTCOME: VICTORY FOR THE VORLONS!
Myth: The 10 Sagittarius Missile Cruiser Fleet is unbeatable…result?
Well its true – the Sagittarius fleet was beaten but it wasn’t easy and could have easily gone the other way – but what do you guys think, did Reaverman use cheat codes? Did Burger forget something? Could you have done this better?
My work here is complete, until next time I remain, Hash.
Comments welcome…also suggestions for other ACTA play tests are very likely to be considered! ******
* Obviously some fleets (those that use FA scale for example) are more “miniature” than others; however, we would just like to state that, despite evidence generated by the statistical anomaly that has been designated “Tank’s Dice”, having a little fleet has no effect on the game at all.
** This is particularly funny when your opponent fails a stealth roll – just make sure you’re closer to the exit than he is before you try it.
*** We blame Reaverman for not getting the additional Sagittarius models – he has 3 (which everyone knows is almost 10 so he may as well buy 7 more) but he refused to buy any more, when I asked him why, he just shook his head and commented that I had “missed the point BIG time!”…sometimes I just think he does it just to spite me.
**** I’m not bitter!
***** I could tell you but then would have to kill you...
****** Or ignored depending on how bored we are at the time.