Well the first wargaming of 2016 and once again it was Grand Moff Jon in command of the might of the Imperial navy against my plucky Rebel fleet in another battle of Armada. After the fairly dismal performance of the Rebels in their last outing Rebel high command had rethought their strategy, particularly concerning the employment of the new MC80 Star Cruiser.
This time each ship within the fleet had a clearly defined role, with the MC80 a pure command and control vessel that would increase the efficiency of the fleet as a whole. This was backed up by two highly specialised damage dealing Neb Bs – Salvation which is a pure gun turret, and Yavaris the ultimate pocket carrier of doom. Finally Jaina’s Light is just too good to not take all the time. The Squadrons are going back to Episode IV, pure X’s and Y’s. Not fancy, but having suffered at the hands of Jon’s TiEs I felt that the Bs just weren’t pulling their weight.
Jon had managed to pick up one of the new Imperial Raiders which he thought he ought to use so he fielded that in conjunction with the ISD, and his two favourite Gladiator Star Destroyers. Picking up the Raider left him short on squadron cover by his standards with 4x TiE Interceptors and 2x TiE Fighters.
Again both of us went for the full 400 so we diced and I won, picking the initiative and Jon’s Dangerous Territory mission – thank goodness for Jaina’s Light!!!
Deployment was interesting due to the mission which makes placing the obstacles quite tactical – my game plan was to grab at least two with Jaina’s Light (who ignores the obstacles and doesn’t take damage) while maybe going for the third. We also managed to end up with an odd asymmetric deployment – I was banking on Jon putting Demolisher to grab the right hand objective so placed my own Salvation wide to the right to preempt that. But Jon sneakily stuck Demolisher down to the left of his ISD.
With Garm as my admiral I was able to throw navigate commands at everybody which let me slow my central ships and speed up my flank to execute a ponderous fleet-wide wheel. Jon on the other hand was gunning his ISD I in at speed 3 (which is just frightening that it goes that fast) and it was pretty obvious what his target was!!
With the inevitable turn 2 squadron clash in the forefront of my mind I selected Yavaris as my first ship, activating a stationary Dutch Vander with a squadron command for two attacks that remarkably blew away two TiE’s!!
However despite the spectacular outcome of the squadron command I had badly misjudged Yavaris’ trajectory and she landed squarly on the debris field, claiming the objective but knocking her rear shield projector out of alignment in the process. To make matters worse Jon then capitalised by activating his ISD and barreling at full speed straight at my MC80. With this maneuver he was able to trap my MC80 in front of his ISD – not a great place for any ship to be!!
To complete the trap he then moved both Gladiators forward to flank the ISD, closing the jaws shut on the hapless MC80! The only glimmer of hope I had was to try and kill Jon’s exposed Gladiator – my MC80 and Salvation both landed solid hits but I had to bring it down with my first activation on turn 3 as it had the MC80 double arced at close range.
Yavaris once again was first out the gate – with Jon’s Gladiator crashing through the squadron engagement I had been able to extricate both Y-wings from the furball so they immediately launched a stationary double attack on the Gladiator. But the dice were not kind – the Gladiator lived.
…and immediately punished my MC80 with two successful attacks – supplemented by Assault Concussion Missles I think the final tally was 10 damage!! Revenge was swift with my Corvette finishing the Gladiator with the next attack – first blood to the Rebels but it was a hollow victory.
The ISD then gave the MC80 the forward battery treatment of 3 red, 2 blue and 3 black dice – needless to say my Brace was swiftly discarded! Ramming inflicted even more damage on both ships, adding to the MC80s woes. The MC80 opted to target Demolisher with both arcs in the hope of inflicting a lucky crit – but the dice completely failed – inflicting negligible damage. It was then Demolishers turn to seal the deal, and he did – moving to unload a broadside that overwhelmed the few remaining shields of the MC80, destroying the Rebel flagship in a colossal hail of missiles!
The final activation of the turn was Salvation, who laid into the ISD, inflicting considerable damage with his front armament supplemented by a concentrate fire command.
With Yavaris almost certain to die this turn (she had lost another couple of shields on the debris field) I activated her first in order to inflict some damage on my way out. With both Y-wings in position to launch unopposed attacks on the ISD they let rip with the Yavaris fueled double attack – and absolutely hammered the Imperial flagship with multiple hit/crit results!! With the follow up from Yavaris’ own guns and the scars from multiple collisions with the MC80 the ISD was now heavily wounded with only 4 hull points left!
Jon immediately responded with Demolisher, crossing the aft of Yavaris and obliterating her in another hail of assault concussion missiles.
Salvation then seized the moment and launched a blistering long range bombardment on the ISD, backed with a concentrate fire command the dice came up with a whopping 5 damage plus an accuracy!!! That meant that even the Brace couldn’t save the ISD as it finally succumbed. All was not lost for the rebellion!!
With the game now delicately poised it would be decided by the next person to lose a ship. I had an opportunity to punish the Raider with Salvation on my first activation but my dice whiffed this time. In turn the Raider took a chunk out of Salvation but being previously unscathed this wasn’t too troubling. Gladiator however was concerning – but without Screed to provide assistance the black dice whiffed and the ACMs didn’t go off.
The squadron battle was finally concluded this turn – despite the great start my X-wings had subsequently struggled to finish off the slippery TiE’s – however bereft of a carrier my remaining squadrons were unable to really contribute further to the battle.
With no real opportunity to inflict further damage both fleets drifted apart to lick their wounds after the brutal encounter.
We had both secured 3 objective tokens each for 45 bonus points. Tallying up the remnants of our fleets we came to an astonishing 3 point differential in favour of the Rebels – but heck even Pyrrhus couldn’t call that a victory!!
Post Match Thoughts
What an absolute bloodbath! Last week had left us both thinking these big huge capital ships were pretty hard to kill. But turns out when you ram them into each other and shoot every single ship in your fleet at them they die! It takes a couple of turns – but they DO die…
Firstly full credit to Jon – he flew his Imperial fleet very effectively. The Gladiator up the middle died – but not before both shielding his ISD from fire and also dropping massive pain on my MC80. Demolisher again was a nightmare. I’m struggling to deal with him and he consistently dumps good damage every game. The ISD again was beautifully thrown down my MC80s throat. The only mistake Jon made, and the only thing that kept me in the game was leaving my Y-wings free to drop two turns of Yavaris bombing runs on his cap ships – that completely turned the game around for me.
For my part I flew my MC80 and Yavaris like a complete Gungan. despite Garm and the turn 1 navigate command I still stuck them in a stupid place – I blame the MC80’s giant butt. Which I’m still not used to – when you execute a turn the large base really swings out a lot and due to the way I had positioned Yavaris I was actually unable to execute the left hand turn I needed to clear the ISD. So another lesson learned on how NOT to drive the MC80.
I also think my fleet composition was much better this time around. Yavaris was an absolute beast, as was Salvation. I still need to improve my Corvette flying skills as I missed some shot opportunity towards the end of the game.
Anyhow what else can I say other than another great game of Armada!!