Battle Report: Cruiser Clash
Welcome back to a very special joint post on Palladian Guard, as today we not only have a new Battle Report but today marks the start of a new game covered here on the blog! Me and Headologist have been long-time 40K players, and we've dabbled in a few Battlefleet Gothic games in the past. But while Headologist has always been a big fan of naval warfare I'm relatively new to it all - drawn in no doubt by the hours of Silent Hunter 3 over the last few months.
So the last time we crossed paths, I dug out four old Imperial Cruisers, and H got his wonderfully painted Chaos ships and we had a trial game of BFG. I hadn't played in a long time, so we stuck to the basic rules. In H's living room, complete with copious cups of tea/coffee, we set out the field of battle. This would be a straightforward Cruiser Clash scenario. I should mention here that we took notes and H drew up some lovely charts to illustrate the battle - each one is a beautiful work of art in its own right, I shall futilely attempt to supplement the pictures with a bit of writing.
Kasr Lutien, St Gaven Parkway - Tyrant Class
Retribution - Lunar Class
Sword of Orion - Gothic Class (Affectionately known as the Sword of Onion)
Hydra, The Drowned - Murder Class
Triton, Kraken - Carnage Class
Admiral Scipio drew himself up a little taller. He wanted the holographer to get the best recording for his piece in the Sector Newsreel Review that week. He had his best Navy blacks, resplendent with medals, dress plates, gorgets, gloves, sword, his good cap (without the amasec stain)... he spared a thought for his younger brother, a Colonel in the Guard. Crawling through some ditch, up to his epaulettes in mud, no doubt.
His pleasant ruminations were interrupted by the Officer of the Day. "Sir! Sir, contact bearing 020!" With a little reluctance, he hurriedly dismissed the holographer and took up position on the bridge. "Mr. Ramirez! Heave to! Copy signal to Retribution. Send Orion and Lutien about that asteroid field, 40 nm!" He spared a wink for his Fourth Lieutenant signalman. "Don't worry son, we'll flank 'em!"
* * *
After a suitable pause, Amaroth released his grip on the gun-captain's skull. The shocked silence around the bridge satisfied him; he had made his point. He couldn't afford to let any upstarts question his judgement - not when three other claimants wanted his seat on the bridge.
He let the lifeless corpse slump to the ground. Thanks to the distraction, those dogs of the False Emperor had closed - he couldn't hide behind the asteroid field together. He stared intently at the holoslate ... the dots closed towards him, until suddenly they split. "All ahead full!" he snarled, "close on the port grouping ..."
TURN ONE - Headologist
TURN ONE - Scipio
TURN TWO - Headologist
Headologist: "It was with equal parts dread and delight that I watched the pefectly aimed torpedos tear through the Hydra's hull like.... a torpedo through a hull. At the opening of my turn both bases of 6 torpedos were sat about half an inch away from the ship's base. I couldn't turn anywhere, I had to make my minimum move forward traight through them. I should have "Braced for Impact" but I went to a Naval College that considers that "sissy". Instead, I hoped I could minimise the damage with the turrets, and if I recall did lessen them slightly, but still took 4 hits, crippled in the first turn. Davey Jones' Void-Sealed Locker was beckoning. The Drowned took revenged on the Gaven Parkway, taking another 3 hull points off and crippling her too. The threat was far from diminished though.."
Scipio: "Phew! Just managed to get those torpedoes to hit with some cunning aiming off. Secretly, I was hoping Headologist braced, for this would reduce his retaliatory firepower a bit but he didn't and took the full hits. Luckily this was still enough to cripple it ... but before I could celebrate the Parkway was crippled in turn. One and a half ships each on that flank!"
TURN TWO - Scipio
Scipio: "Hmmm. The torpedo barrage had nicely crippled the Hydra, and this turn I started on the Kraken. But I quickly realised I'd misjudged the positioning of my two groups of ships. The flanking group would take some time to come round the asteroid field, and until then the Retribution and now-crippled Parkway would have to face the Chaos ships alone..."
Headologist: "I was hoping that a failed Reload Ordnance reload or two would buy me some time to maneouvre past front arcs of Scipio's ships, whilst I believe the Gaven Parkway succeeded, Retribuion failed, and this time some lucky turret rolls reduced the Parkway's torpedo barrage (as did a blast marker not shown I believe. What a dumkopf I am!)"
TURN THREE - Headologist
Headologist: "Although the positioning wasn't ideal, I tried to break up the two ships further and generally sow a bit of... chaos... at close range. It could have gone a lot better, but I did manage to knock another hull point off the Parkway and cause the Retribution's first and only wound of the game. Now I needed the Retribution to fail another Reload Ordnance, and get myself back into something resembling a formation."
TURN THREE - Scipio
Scipio: "That was a very ugly pass - although my ships survived. A sucessful Reload order meant the Retribution could unleash another barrage of torpedoes which finished off the Hydra and damaged the Drowned as well! Still, heavily outnumbered until the other two could get back in the fight."
TURN FOUR - Headologist
Headologist: "This would be a turn of maneouvre mostly, so I knew it'd be a pretty quiet turn as most of the enemy ships would be out of my firing arcs. Some bad rolls meant that The Drowned's broadside abeam of the Retribution sailed harmlessly past."
TURN FOUR - Scipio
Scipio: "A fairly quiet turn - I managed to survive without too much more damage and hit the drowned a bit. And the Onion-Parkway combo (sounds like a rejected flavor of Subway sandwich) were coming around to finish them off ... I have to confess I was quietly confident at this point."
Headologist: "Eek, the two stranded ships were getting back into the action quicker than anticipated, and I wasn't getting to the other side of the asteroid field too quickly."
TURN FIVE - Headologist
Headologist: "A lucky bit of shooting took out the Gaven Parkway in the penultimate turn, knowing we were close to the end of the game I was just hoping to equalise and survive at this stage..."
TURN FIVE - Scipio
Scipio: "Arg! There goes the Parkway ... and the Retribution needs to turn, so he'll probably be effectively out of the fight for now. The Onion and Parkway got off their torpedoes, which finished off the Drowned ... now it was basically 2 vs 2!"
Scipio peered out the escape pod's stern viewport, and watched as his flagship careened off into outer space away from him. He saw bright, fiery veins spread through the ship as it began to blaze uncontrollably and shed parts of the superstructure. The last that he saw of the Gaven Parkway was when the heavy armoured prow began to come loose - it peeled up and over as the ship disintegrated, pulling the ship's interior with it. The Parkway disappeared behind an impenetrable cloud of burning gas and wreckage.
* * *
At that point, sadly, we had to call it a game due to time constraints. Gah! I would have loved to finish the battle but we agreed that it had probably been a narrow Imperial victory, with three working ships against two. We realised, however that the Chaos ships also had their dorsal armament which we completely forgot about. The outcome of that close pass would likely have been very different ... but then that's what these practice games are for! Looking forward, the plan is to get a full fleet painted up in the next few weeks and start a proper campaign. Look out for further briefings and posts in the next few weeks!
(Headologist) The fact that I managed to miss a firepower 6 dorsal armament on two ships in three games definitively proves that I'm an idiot. But whilst I'd certainly have had more opportunities for firing, Scipio's torpedo sniping would still have been deadly and the outcome could just have easily been the same. As Scipio said, that's what these practice games are for, with the proper camapaign about to start I'm sensing a naval arms race in the air.. or the void.
Thanks for reading, and so long!
The Colonel and Headologist