Yet another Fleet Engagement, this time between the Directorate (as invaders) and the Mauridians on defense. In this edition, we discuss planning, and what happens when your plan goes awry.
As usual, I’ve assigned fictional admirals to this solo playtest. In the tan corner for the Directorate is Dan, and Maurice is in the green corner.
Dan knows that the Mauridians out-fighter him, as they’ve got the best destroyer-weight carriers in the playtest in their two Ven’Taras. But every Directorate ship has got missiles, and Spreckels carries a full cruiser-load of fighters, which should be enough to fly defense.
So Dan plans to emulate Terry’s successful anti-ordinance tactics, and bring his superior number of lasers to bear.
Being a fictional construct in the same brain that houses Dan means that Maurice knows the fleet’s strengths as well as Dan. Maurice also saw what happened to Kate, and (while the Gal’Efors is a better laser cruiser than the Reträtt) wants to maximize his advantages.
The Mauridians are unlike the Kharadorn, in that they’re not big fans of spinal mounts and have armed the Ba’Negvas with mines. Maurice intends to launch the mine fields at the Directorate, and have his fighters follow them in, so as to neutralize the Directorate’s missiles.
He then intends to open the range and repeat, using Gal’Efors to counter-punch if any Directorate ships get too close.
The caption pretty much says it all. Here are some close-ups so you can get a better idea of the ordinance launched:
Here you can see the fighters launched from Spreckels, placed behind the ships they’re covering. If you look closely, you can see missiles on the ship’s bases, heading outbound.
This is the same sort of view from the Mauridians. You can see the fighters as strike groups around the Mauridian heavies, along with the mines from the escorts. The counters with the rockets on them in front are indicating where the mines are going to drift next turn.
At this moment, the ordinance in play consists of:
- 4 mine fields,
- 3 missiles,
- 6 strike groups, and
- 3 patrol groups.
If you follow the rules of four-to-seven maneuver groups, this is about as messy as the battlefield gets with ordinance and their associated counters. After the combat phase, we’ll peak at:
- 7 mine fields,
- 6 strike groups,
- 7 missiles, and
- 3 patrol groups.
In case you’re wondering what Maurice is up to here, he’s turning his fleet to get into the planet’s shadow. It looks like they’re flying away, but only because that’s where the ship’s strongest thrusters need to be pointing to make that hard turn.
Gal’Efors and Ven’Tril are actually thrusting hard enough to distort their own shields, which is why those blast markers are in the picture.
Sometimes, a picture doesn’t immediately add to the narrative. But remember this one, because you’ll be comparing it to another one later.
This is the end of the next movement phase, after all that ordinance has unwound. At this moment, the ordinance left on the board is:
- 1 missile,
- 5 mine fields, and
- 2 patrol groups.
Mellon has been disabled, which is why it’s off on its own. But what the heck happened to Dan’s other ships?
I’ve already mentioned that the ships don’t point the direction they’re going. But do you remember how these ships looked in that picture that I told you to remember?
If these ships were still going the direction they were, they’d be closer to Mellon, and they wouldn’t all be pointed in different directions. Dan has over-evaded, and now his ships are really going in four different directions.
And in Jump War, where all movement is inertial, this is a particularly bad thing. Dan needs at least a turn to get back into formation, Maurice is unscathed, and one-quarter of Dan’s laser strength (Mellon) is headed off the board.
Dan decides that there’s no reason for him to risk his fleet further in this campaign turn, and hopes that Erin can rescue his coalition’s position.