AAR: Kish System, Battle for Demeter


Sadly, the pictures turned out horribly. I'll include what few even make sense.

Last week, the Dilgar captured the agricultural world of Demeter. Rather than bother themselves with an extended assault and occupation, they virus bombed the planet from orbit. This left the planet devoid of sentient life while retaining the infrastructure and crops needed to feed the Dilgar war machine.

Once word of this atrocity reached Earth Alliance headquarters General Carstairs decided he had had enough. He summoned up the entire Expiditionary Fleet, led by his personal flagship Winfield Scott, and made for Demeter to visit justice upon the vile Dilgar animals.

The Dilgar, having seen this kind of reaction before, were waiting with the bulk of their fleet to greet the humans. War Captain Tor'han took command of his dreadnought Incorruptable in order to receive his guests properly.

There was to be no subtlety or ambushes here. This was a straight up fight for supremecy of the skies over Demeter.

A Call to Arms (9 Points, War)


Earth Alliance:
Orestes x2 (Winfield Scott, Alexandar Suvorov)
Nova x3 (Poseidon, Chronus, Charybdis)
Hyperion x4 (Khartoum, Veracruz, Delhi, Richmond)
Hyperion Missile (Marrakesh)
Hyperion Assault x4 (Houseman, Guan Yu, Vostok, Erinyes)
Artemis Escort x4 (Crescent, Hawk, Swift, Wyvern)
Olympus Gunship x2 (Chase, Victoria)
Oracle x5 (Hind, Spartan, Curran, Malachi, Mulhill)
Tethys-M x3
Tethys-L x2
Hermes x2
Raider Modified Freighter (The Red Scream)
Beta Wing (Nova Starfury x5)
Breaching Pod x4 (9th/252nd Marine Assault Wing)


Command Pentacon:
Mishakur (Incorruptable)
Tikrit (Reaper)
Omelos (Ruthless)
Ochlavita Ki (Demagogue)
Jashakar Tae (Rifle)

This is the hammer. It can put out a hail of missile and bolter fire that will crumple any enemy ship.

Strike Pentacon:
Targrath x2 (Slayer, Omen)
Ochlavita Ki (Dogma)
Jashakar Tae (Hurlbat, Thrower)

This is the flank force, all ships are speed 12 or faster (thanks to refits) and firepower is good.

Assault Pentacon:
Wahant (Terror)
Kahtrik (Footfall)
Rohric x2 (Zha'Zo Gate, Broken Shore)
Garasoch (Fury)

This is the distraction force. It will fly right dow the throats of the enemey.

Missile Pentacon:
Jashakar Tae x5 (Archer, Longbow, Needle, Chakram, Hurler)

This will start off as a barrage, then break up into knife-fighting init sinks.

Scout Pentacon:
Ochlavita Ki (Discipline)
Jashakar Vi x3 (Assassin, Rogue, Whisker)
Jashakar Tae x1 (Crossbow)

This will provide scout functions to multiply the firepower of ships and (especially) torpedo fighters.

Total Fighters:
30 Dartfighters (20 deployed at start)
27 Torpedofighters (22 deployed at start)

The enemy has many escort frigates. I will have to be very careful in moving and attacknig with my fighters.

The Table:
Terrain was very simple. The planet Demeter in the center. In the right flank of each player's starting zone was an asteroid field.

Setup: (Initiative: Dilgar)
Earth set up first in a solid block of ships stretching across the center 1/3 of the board. The left flank (my pov) was anchored by an Orestes battleship (Winfield Scott), a Nova dreadnought (Poseidon), and two hyperion cruisers (Veracruz and Khartoum). The right flank was the same. The center was held by a third Nova (Charybdis)and a quartet of Hyperion assault cruisers. Scattered throughout were the remaining support ships, with tethys frigates on the right and hermes transports on the far left. Two scouts were deployed on the left, two on the right and one in the center. The entire fleet had a heading slightly to my right, about 20 degrees. Fighters were scattered throughought the formation.


Knowing that many earth ships are slow to turn, I set up the bulk of my strength on my left in a classic "refused flank" formation. This would allow me to move into the shadow of the planet and hopefully avoid some of the firepower of his right flank. It would also force him to try and turn half of his fleet in to get to grips with my most powerful pentacons.

To my extreme left I put the strike pentacon, hoping it could loop around and attack the enemy rear. I then placed my command pentacon to the mid-left. The center was occupied by the Assault pentacon. Their job was to race into the center of the enemy and look dangerous. With Hull 6 and good damage ponints, I hoped that they would "play Narn" for me and soak up fire. To the right I placed the missile pentacon. They would try to harry the enemy right flank and keep them busy for a few brief but crucial moments. Finally, on my extreme right was the scout pentacon hiding behind an asteroid field.

I put my torpedofighters into two large groups on each flank. The dartfighters were scattered throughout my deployment zone.


Turn 1: (Initiative Dilgar)

Despite having 5 pentacons to do a "pass", the Earthforce fleet had too many init sinks. After several tethys and hermes (and one raider freighter) moved, I was forced to show my hand. Scout pentacon held position behind the asteroids, assault pentacon headed straight forward toward the planet, command pentacon moved along to the left of assault pentacon, staying a bit behind to be less of a tempting target. This had the secondary effect of putting the planet between these two pentacons and the right half of the EA fleet. The heavy carrier Fury broke from this pentacon and loitered in the rear, failing to give a Scramble! order. Finally, the missile pentacon moved up to the middle of my right flank, daring the enemy to engage the tiny ships. All ships gave CBD orders as only missiles would be used this turn.

Earth did a general but cautious advance. He knew that I had a massive volley of missiles to unleash this turn and held back much of his forces. His battleship Winfield Scott boresighted my flagship, Incorruptable. He moved his Olympus gunboats (with big lasers) forward to boresight two of my missile frigates. His tethys missile cutters also moved within range. Two of his Hyperions, Khartoum and Veracruz moved forward to boresight Terror. I winced and hoped my flagship would fare well. Everything else stayed too far to engage. All earth ships gave CBD orders.

Earth fighters moved to fill the gaps between his ships. He didn't use them as escorts as losses were heavy last time he did this. I moved my dartfighters to have one escort on each ship. Torpedofighters moved to be in range for a strike next turn, one pile on each flank.

Earth scouts paint several of my ships, including Incorruptable, Terror and several missile frigates. Dilgar scouts paint an Olympus gunship and the Hyperion Khartoum. Sadly, Veracruz is out of scouting range.

Having initiative, the Dilgar struck first. Command pentacon unloaded a cloud of missiles directed at Khartoum and Veracruz. Khartoum was destroyed and exploded, damaging the scout Mulhill and killing two fighter squadrons. Veracruz was damaged but survived the onslaught thanks in large part to a lack of scouts to paint her.

Veracruz responded with a beam shot into Terror, getting a runaway beam and scoring 10 hits. The massive assault ship lost the starboard arc as fires burned out of control. Assault pentacon responds by firing on the Veracruz, doing moderate damage.

The massive laser on the orsetes battleship Winfield Scott struck my own flagship, Incorruptable, scoring 5 hits and 2 "-2 Speed" criticals and a "Fire only on 4+" critical. Ouch!

Strike pentacon fired on the Veracruz and managed to cripple, but not destroy, the tough little ship.

After this it became a general exchange of fire from individual ships. Missiles fired at both Terror and Incorruptable are intercepted by fighters. Hurlbat is destroyed by long range missiles from Marrakesh, but it doesn't explode and take out a pile of fighters as the EA hoped. The two Olympus gunshps each hit a missile frigate, destroying Archer and heavily damaging another. In exchage, the frigates moderately damage a single Olympus due to outstanding interceptor performance.

No fighter activity this turn. But now there is blood in the water.

Losses for Turn 1

Hyperion (Khartoum)

Jashakar Tae x2 (Longbow, Hurlbat)

Turn 2: (Initiative Dilgar)

This turn would see the distance between the fleets dissappear as they met in the center.

Both of us burned as many init sinks as possible. But the human fleet still had far too many for me to force anything important to move first. I split up missile pentacon and had them close to point blank range with the right flank of the enemy fleet. The humans did a general advance, trying to turn the right flank around but having difficulty with Come About! orders. So instead those ships moved in to surround my poor missile boats. I moved assault pentacon and command pentacon up snug against the planet, using a slingshot manuver to get closer. Now only a small portion of the EA fleet has a clear line of sight to my two core squadrons. The EA moved the nova Poseidon up into range of command and assault pentacon, angling to have each in a different firing arc. Veracruz soldiered forward to join Poseidon. Winfield Scott again lined up a boresight shot on Incorruptable. Even the scouts got directly involved as the oracle Mulhill moved to boresight Terror. On the right, two oracle scouts Hind and Curran boresight one of my missile frigates. Two assault Hyperions (Guan Yu and Houseman) plow into the center of my missile boats to maximize multiple arcs. I respond by moving my scout pentacon into the asteroid field and within range of the scout Hind. All other EA ships again move to close the distance but most are stuck without a decent target due to the planet in the middle of the board.

Dilgar ships give CBD with the exception of Incorruptable which gives an All Hands to Deck! order.

Fighters then move. The EA fighters move to defensive positions around major ships. I move my torpedo fighters into position around one ship on the left (Poseidon) and one on the right (Hind). Seeing that there are too many fighter defenses to close and shoot the core of the enemy fleet, five dartfighters fly directly into the side of the nova dreadnought Charybdis scoring a massive 6,6 critical and bringing the ship within a few points of crippled.

My scouts paint the Hind, the Poseidon, and the Veracruz. EA scouts paint the Incorruptable, Terror, Reaper, and Omen.

Torpedofighters heavily damage the oracle Hind and lightly damage the hermes HTR-521.

It is initiative that saves the core of my fleet from suffering at the hands of Poseidon. Command squad fires first, pouring 30 AD of bolters into the Poseidon and 20 into the wounded Veracruz. Thanks to scout channels, both ships explode spectacularly and damage many nearby ships including the Mulhill.

After this it is another mad melee with ships firing on targets of opportunity. My right flank collapses as a torrent of volleys destroys Crossbow, Archer and Needle and cripples Chakram and Hurler. In return they cripple one tethys and skeleton crew another. Scout pentacon finishes off the scout Hind from within the asteroid field. Mulhill is destroyed by fire from Assault pentacon and the hermes HTR-521 is destroyed by the Strike pentacon. The Incorruptable is struk again by Winfield Scott for moderate damage but another critical sets it adrift.

At end of turn, Incorruptable repairs all criticals from turn 1 but is still adrift.

We are trading ships in near even numbers, but I'm loosing frigates while he is loosing cruisers, scouts and dreadnoughts. Furthermore, I have the remainder of his left flank isolated with little hope of assistance from the far side of the field. The EA right flank is in chaos after chasing down the missile frigates. My command, strike, and assualt pentacons are intact and ready for battle.

Losses for Turn 2

Nova (Poseidon)
Hyperion (Veracruz)
Oracle (Hind)
Oracle (Mulhill)
Hermes (HTR-521)

Jashakar Tae (Archer, Needle, Crossbow)

End game:
Earthforce decides not to press the issue and quits the field in a spectacular display of Jump Points and high-G engine burns.

Dilgar victory. The Dilgar retain control of the planet Demeter.

Despite having five scouts to my three, Earth forces were unable to win initiative through the whole affair. This allowed me to unleash the command pentacon first in both turns - eliminating the most threatening ships in the enemy fleet. My primary tactic of using the planet to take on his fleet piecemeal was also a rousing success. Had the battle continued I'm confident that I would have inflicted even heavier losses on the enemy, though I would most likely have started loosing some very expensive ships. As I have a campaign to prosecute, I was happy to watch him turn tail and run.

While the earth fleet enjoyed a massive number of init sinks, the lack of any squadrons meant that no single volley of fire was overwhelming. Squadron fire can allow you to destroy a key ship before it is ever able to bring its guns to bear. This can be critical with heavy hitters like a nova dreadnought.

Campaign Status:
The Dilgar have run rampant over the system of Krish, capturing six of the ten strategic locations on the map. The cost has been heavy. They have lost twenty ships during the campaign.

The Earthers have suffered heavy and expensive ship losses over the last three turns, holding on only to their mining outpost and a ship graveyard.

The Centauri have run a middle ground. They too only hold two locations but they are prime real estate, an industrial world and a garden planet. Furthermore they have avoided heavy combat thus far and have lost little in the way of ships or resources.

More to follow when we continue to turn 8!


Nice one Demo!

and here I thought that campaign was over? Time for me to pull out the Dilgar again and rethink that campaign.



I miss playing campaigns :-(, but short of travelling to a distant location regularly, it ain't gonna happen


Cosmic Mongoose
Well written dude. It looks like it was a fun battle.

The battle's end did reflect something I noticed when we played a campaign last year. You tend to value your ships more, and sometimes it can be a bit of a relief when the person you are playing against jumps their fleet out.

I guess it comes down to the desire to have a fleet left for the next game. :lol:


Yeah. The end of this one was the combination of two factors.

1) It's a campaign so I don't mind sheparding my forces, especially with such a wealthy and undamaged Centauri force lurking in the system.

2) Any wargame should be over the moment it isn't fun for one of the players. Life is too short for that. Insisting that the EA player actually play out the rest of the scenario would only have killed enthusiasm for the enterprise at large.

The thing I like best about campaigns is how each battle has a context. What use is it to win a battle but loose so many ships that you can't sustain your operations? It also encourages you to utilize tactics that you would never otherwise consider. For example, in my last campaign I fought several battles where I purposefully lost - retreating after destroying a key ship or asset. Though I lost more battles that I won, this attrition allowed me to win the overall campaign.


nothing wrong with a strategic withdrawal at all, been there done that, I sacrificed 2 hyperions to open jump points for other more precious ships to use, my opponent didn't understand why I withdrew my biggest ships in a rather one sided battle, and stayed to fight with a few small ships. Next turn he got it, as my better ships arrived to blow up his space station. warlocks and Marathons pointing TD beams at a stationary target are quite effective.


I miss playing in campaigns too, might have to try and do one next year when I get back from the hot and sandy.