Sunday, March 17, 2013

ACTA: Star Fleet - Trouble on the Kzinti Border

Jason's planned Kzinti are somewhat stalled at the moment. He has struck some kind of creative crisis and wants to do them another way. I think the way he has channeled the Kilrathi look (from the Wing Commander Universe's version of the the Kzinti) was pretty cool but in the meantime, he is using his Star Wars minis. Star Wars vs Star Trek is its own genre on Youtube - look it up - but lets pretend these mixed Rebellion and Empire ships are a Kzinti battle-group sent to oppose a Federation incursion. Kzinti pack drones (aka nukes) aplenty and my last game of this vs Orions had been a lot like Carrahe with me cast in the role of not the Parthians. Here's hoping I can keep things together better this time.

We did it with 850 pts, and no objectives, other than killing as much of the enemy as we could. I was a bit rusty on the rules but much fun was had by all:  The beleaguered Kzinti defenders were a small Kzinti Task-force: three frigates; two destroyers; and a battle-cruiser. Even the smallest Kzinti ship pack four nukes. You have to love those crazy cats. 
My Federation fleet left the useless lump of a Dreadnaught behind and instead took every smaller ship I own: the BC 'New Zealand' (NJ pattern but I had the points for the standard version)  as flag; CA 'Enterprise'; CL Otago (an Aegis cruiser); FFB (ie battle frigate) Ramius and Tanabe and then the FF Burke. I lost the roll-off so had to deploy my fleet first.

The Federation fleet has well rounded ships, with a good number of heavy phasers and then photon torpedoes as their heavy weapon. The Kzinti fleet comes packing plenty of guided nukes, some heavy phasers and a whole mess of shorter ranged phasers. The going theory is they are designed for constant internecine warfare... The Kzinti commander was a scaredy cat and opted to back line his deployment and lob a wave of nukes in my direction. the brave Federation captains raised shields and plowed forward. good thing the fleet plan was simple - comms got a bit scrambled there with all the EMP from impacting nukes!

 I actually got initiative on turn two. Hide all they want, those Kzinti were de-clawed while reloading and I had a whole mess of Photon torpedoes with which to give payback.

 There are two schools of thought on Photons - one school is to get in close range and unleash for more hits. The other is just to let loose at maximum range on the theory that what you want is 6's to sail through shields anyway so who cares if you get 1/3 less overall hits. I like the second theory. In the interests of play balance, no more than three drone/nuke armed ships can concentrate on one target - no such limitations for Torpedos.

Torpedos are great when they get critical hits. Scratch one Kzinti vessel.

Now though I had a problem. two problems actually. 1: Kzinti are 'agile' on most of their ships so turn 90 deg to my 45 deg. 2. Once reloaded and in close range - Kzinti Nukes become three times as good. Uh oh. Jason wasn't about to let the chance to bag the Enterprise go and managed to get on the tail of a couple of my battle frigates.

 I was reloading my torpedoes but did have a reasonable amount of phaser fire. However, the Enterprise was lost to a swarm of nukes and another battle frigate was seriously damaged and crippled. On the plus side, I had brought up the lighter frigate, had bagged another Kzinti frigate, and somehow the Aegis cruiser 'Otago' continued to truck on - despite some serious enemy attention. 

Fourth turn meant my turn to use the heavy weapons again. The Battle-cruiser variant I was using has six (!) photon torpedoes. If it ffires them all at once, it sustains a critical hit - but hey, if you want to make an omelate.... For extra laughs, I overloaded the torpedoes on it, on the off chance I would be targeting something within 6". Of course that didn't happen but the Federation engineering crews all did some sterling work getting those shields boosted on the surviving ships. I left the enemy battle-cruiser alone and concentrated on picking up weaker targets - it paid off. My limping frigates managed to dispatch the remaining enemy crippled frigate and then a full torpedo spread from the 'New Zealand' finished the job by smashing an enemy destroyer.

We broke contact at that point. The Kzinti had two ships worth of nukes there to get some payback, so I could easily have lost a couple of light ships of my own.... but staying engaged would have put the rest of their fleet at serious risk from the rampaging 'New Zealand'.

Seriously fund game of spaceships, thanks Jason! More ACTA tonight vs Chris and the Orions of doom. This has got me wanting to buy more ships...

Thanks for reading.


  1. That damn federation, running around with their democratic society of do gooders shooting up innocent war mongering kittens.
    Did you chip them all next?
    What's next, shots?

    Cool write up and the ships look great Jamie. I am looking forward to some Kzinti ships as well Jas.

    1. Hah! The Feds are kinda interesting in this version - their current Pres is an ex businessman IIRC and at a later point they forcibly annex a whole swathe of Kzinti (erstwhile Allies!) space by dint of unilaterally declaring the radius of their sphere of influence to be parsecs larger than before. So I am kinda getting an imperialist vibe from them alright.

      Jas struggles with hi Kzinti ships as I get the impression he'd have Klingons in a second but doesn't want to buy more ships. After last night's game vs Chris, where Chris had Klingon style disrupters on agile ships, I'd say 'get klingons'.


  2. Interesting report, and nice pictures, thanks.

    Who makes the game mat you were using?

    What did you think of the rules? I noticed they don't make a distinction between front, side and rear shields, was that an issue?


    1. Cheers Brian.

      The playing surface is just mdf boards spray painted by Jason, who can actually be quite talented when he wants to be. I think it is just spraycans so it is all in the (better than I could ever manage) technique.

      I like the rules. Quick and tactical with the exception of a very detailed crit table. I love any game with a decent crit table. It is the one thing that warrants book-keeping IMO.

      Shields do have arcs - in that you can lower shields in an arc to transport marines - but other wise you are assumed to be constantly spreading the shield power around so they use a combined score.

  3. Hello there Jamie!

    This was highly inspirational. As a Star Trek fan (well, tNG and Voyager, in fact) I must say that this looks great! I hope I can withstand the lust to buy me a bunch of Federation ships...

  4. Hi Llama.

    I am a big TOS geek as the reruns were on all the time when I was a kid. However, You can get a LOT of diecast TNG style ships on Ebay and my opponent for this game lobbied heavily to try and suck me into getting ships from that period, instead. It could easily be done, pretty cheaply.

    I love the Mongoose models though and keep having to stop myself getting more.

  5. Well now you're just making it worse "lot of ships on Ebay" ;)

    Mongoose Publishing's name was misleading, didn't know they had minis... "Federation Fleet Box" - makes my mouth water.