Saturday, 23 May 2015

Combat missions - Round 1 - Battle for Talathen sector.

Now before I go any further i'd just like to make a few things clear. I won't be doing detailed battle reports, because they take a lot of time and note taking. So it will be highlights

I'll also mention I didn't take any photos as my camera was at the office when we played. One of our players did the photos, so it's more of a random selection than if I had set out to write a full report.

How missions work in the Campaign

Well, considering this is a narrative campaign and not a "hard points" campaign, the missions can be quite varied in the balence of points. In some cases, the rebels will be out-gunned and over-matched, but have defined objectives. At other times they will have the element of surprise, so will be able to bring greater forces against the Empire.

I start off with a preconceived idea of how the scenario will work in my head and then modify it based on the tactics roll made during the planning stage. A good roll will make for an easier mission, a bad roll ups the difficulty considerably. 

We now have proper rules for this, but these missions were done before I created those rules and were based on feedback from players. They said they wanted more control on how their planning shaped the mission. 

Now these first three missions may seem quite easy, and that was intentional. The Rebellion in the sector totally had the element of surprise on their side, and I want to use them as tutorial games to remind everyone of the different rules. As the campaign goes on, the difficulty will increase.

I'm also keeping track of technology and escalation as the campaign goes on. For example, this round of missions takes place only a month or so after the Battle of Yavin, so I didn't want Tie Defenders and Phantoms making an appearance. 

So, here is a quick rundown of the missions for round one. 

Squadron Command - Assassination mission at Talathen VII

A high ranking imperial officer, one of the Moff's general staff was making a visit to Primm Station on Talathen VII for empire day. 

The Rebellion caught wind of this and decided to send a headhunter squadron to hunt some heads. Now in order to keep things sane i'm limiting most starfighter missions to 8 ships. It's a good number to manage, while still giving each battle a "squadron level" feel to it. 12 will be the absolute upper limit for a big fight. There is also the practical limitations of only have 4 of most fighters. 

So the Rebel squadron consisted of Lt Blout, 3 Veteran z-95's and 4 rookie z-95's. All armed with concussion missiles, the only tech card that Starfighter command has. 

Due to a really bad planning roll, the Z-95's deployed first and scattered into pairs. Also, the Lambda shuttle carrying the target also had a person the rebellion didn't want to kill on it as well as the target ("rebel prisoner" upgrade) and the Tie's were upgraded from Academy pilots, to Obsidian squad. 

The objective: Kill the Lambda before it escapes off the board edge. 

The Imperial plan was simple. Push the lambda shuttle ahead as quickly as possible, and try to engage each pair of Z-95's with 4 ties and destroy them bit by bit, or force them to break away and be out of position to hunt the shuttle. 

As you can see on the right, even when flying in formation you can completely lose track of a fighter :)

My plan mostly worked, with the ties shooting down 3 Z-95s and forcing the z-95s to either park in front of their guns at short range, or lose pursuit of the Shuttle. 

The shuttle nearly got away, on the last possible round to stop it, one Z-95 (I think Blout, or his wingman) got to get one last shot on it with it's shields down. The range ruler just touched range 3 and the concussion missile did the job. 

Even though this was a "starter mission" the failure on the planning roll made it into a real challenge. Credit to the rebels, although they killed zero ties, they focussed on the one ship that mattered and killed that. 

Fleet Command - Raid mission at Nimbala

The fleet commander was initially confused when I informed him that his Fleet operation was going to take place on the X-wing scale. 

Then he remembered that I had the X-Wing corvette and got pretty darned excited about flying it into battle. 

This was another objective based mission. The goal was to destroy the enemy fighters and knock out the freighters shields to make it surrender. Or to simply blow up the freighter, but doing so would mean they go less rewards. 

The corvette was supported by 4 rookie Z-95s. Ppposing them were two tricked out Y-Wings with droids, ion cannons and torpedoes, and a well equipped firespray. 

The Scum tactics were to have the freighter quickly pick up supply tokens off the board until it's shields went, then it would attempt to flee. While it did that, the fighters would engage the corvette and use ion cannons to slow down the headhunters. 

Things looked good for a while for the scum, they had put some hits on the corvette and badly damaged/ionized the headhunters. Both Y-Wings had target locks, and while their shields were down they had been undamaged. 

However, it is worth noting that the Corvette goes before a pilot skill 2 Y-wing. 

As this was a "corvette a" I had given it some extra guns, and on this one round, they delivered. In 2 shots, he corvette did 5 damage to each y-wing, blowing them both out of the sky before they could fire torps. 

With the Firespray out of position and badly damaged, I decided the freighter would surrender in the face of the corvette closing in on it.

Logistics command were particularly happy, as the GR-75 was undamaged and will make a valuable addition to logistics commands efforts. 

Ground Command - Base raid on Korvas

Imperial assault is the game which i've done the most changes for. We are using somewhat of a hybrid of the campaign game (using chararacters and upgrades) and the skirmish game (not using threat, but using premade forces)

I may not have mentioned I picked up a bunch of Star Wars collectible mini's for dirt cheap a while back. This allows me to deploy LOADS of stormtroopers and also give players a figure that more closely matches the character they are using, rather than one of the 6 hero figures from Imperial Assault.

Here is the figure for General Kern (who was using Gideon's card as his template) 

I also got, on special, a massive pile of Sci-Fi themed maps that work for the scale (at about $4US per double sided map). So instead of having to build a map using the Imperial Assault parts, I can just place a rebuilt map. 

The Rebel Forces consisted of General Kern (Gideon), Marl Keel the mon Calamari sniper (Using the bothan cards) and Gooda Cheesa, a rodian scumbag (using the smuggler cards), they were backed up by two squads of three rebel troopers. 

This mission was straight forward. Each of the three "characters" had a bomb charge, one needed to be placed in the armoury (North west building) and one in the Command Centre (middle building)

One squad of storm troopers was on patrol, but the base was not under alert. The cards placed face down represented different squads and models (stormies, e-webs and officers only in this scenario) 

The Rebels deployed in two teams, with Kern and the squads coming from the south, and the Sniper and Gunfighter coming in from the west. 

For a while, this mission seemed like it would be quite close. The elite stormtrooper squad gunned down a full squad of Rebel troopers and chased General Kern around the map. 

However, the other rebel squad teamed up with Keel and Cheesa and started doing some real damage, blowing up the armoury and taking down two stormtrooper squads. The Sniper is also a perfect counter to the e-web and took it out with no problems. 

There was a tipping point, when rebel casualties mostly stopped and they overwhelmed the Imperials. It's worth noting just how good characters are in this game. 

With the base demolished, Kern and his men fled back into the Korvas forests. 


Three missions and three wins for the Rebels, I expected them to win these missions as they were meant to be "training runs" but I was pleased by how close they were regardless. It mean't that I picked the difficulty close enough on the first attempt. 

Next week, we start on the roleplaying game part of the round, where our players will be undertaking a clandistine operation at a resort on Samoth, that will have widespread implications for the future of Talathen sector and the wider rebellion.  

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