Anyone else remember the show Earth 2?

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It only lasted one season, but I remember loving it.  I tried watching it again way back when on Netflix and it didn’t hold up.  But look, it has Mr. Krabs!  Or the bad guy from Highlander, however you want to remember him.

Anyway, that just kinda hit me as we’re getting close to our new home here.  But I’m sure we don’t need any mid-90s nostalgia (Nice hair, Krabs).

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I only have one woke human card, and it’s the crazy scientists who murdered the other scientists.  They said it was a mistake…but who is alive to prove that?

So I think I need to decant both of the “children.”  Low age keeps them free from Alzheimer risk, though neither have shields, so if we have another Grey Goo problem….

Maybe I should decant the Convicts to keep an eye on things.  Another Engineer is good, though I’ll be decanting the Frankenstein Navigators who will be Engineering, too.  Wait, no, they’re piloting.  Okay, Convicts as Engineers, Navigators as, well, navigators and Malcolm as Business until I can get him to flip and be awesome.

Okay, so let’s wake them up and put on their profession discs, and because of the Scholastic improvement, they can do their duties right away.

The Navigators slow us by a step, so we’re now down to 1/2 speed.

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So we got pretty fast, 6.5% the speed of light, but now we’re going maybe 2%.  We’re out of range that Mag-Sail braking will work, so we have to rely on Scoop and Drogue braking, or Beam-Core braking, which is basically throwing bits of the ship into the engine to make it fire backwards.

Kind of a last resort, but fun.

Oh, if you’re in an anarchy and want to commit a felony, you can throw people into the engine.  How awesome is that?

My convicts will move our Baby-making nanobots back to Age 1 through some intensive repairing and 3d printing.  And those nanobots will use our penultimate bit of biomass to create Islamic Refugees which I have to immediately put into the Vats because I already have 3 humans awake.

My mad scientists are going to promote Malcolm, and hopefully not kill everyone while doing it.  The die roll was successful, so Malcolm becomes a Renaissance Man.

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You see, he can take 5 different careers (the big three, plus Biotech or pilot in the box under there).  And out of kindness, the Renaissance Man will build the Scientists a toy to lower their stress down to 1 for the up and coming Event Phase.

Now during the Move Phase, we’re going to move our ship one step forward toward Bernard’s star, however we’re going to then put it on its side.  Next turn, rather than moving it, we’re just going to turn it back right side up.  THEN we can move it to the proper space.

By then I hope to have 2 pilots with Drogue or Scoop brakes so I can do it twice (and not blow up in the process), then I will be at a dead stop over Earth 2.  THEN I’ll need a Spacewalker to actually get us down there.  Yeah, you actually have to think ahead about that, otherwise you’re pretty much putting your humans into a metal cylinder and launching them down to the surface.  Survivable, but not bloody likely.

And the roll for events is……’1′.

Engineer Alzheimer’s check.  4 or less….’6′ Phew.

Business Mutiny check.  Renaissance Man is content.  A lot of centrists on board.

Pilot cancer risk.  Pilot is a robot.  Moving on.

Domestic Accident risk.  Only happens on a ‘1’:

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Welp, my luck ran out there.  Back to my hand it goes.  And if I reprint them, they will not have the Domestic disc.  I’ll have to reinvent that.  But I think we’re too late in the game for that.  Might try biotech if I need more humans on Earth 2.

But that’s it for Events.  We age, we move on, the wheel keeps on spinning.

To everything, turn, turn, turn; there is a reason, turn, turn, turn…

*ahem*

Welp, our ship is now 108 years old.  That means systems are starting to deteriorate.  If I 3d print any more robots, they automatically start with 2 stress on them.  Things are just going to start breaking down.  But we only have to hold on for another dozen years.  Or so.

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Now, some may say a good plan would be just to dunk everyone in the vats and wait ’till you’re at the star.  You’ve got some possible space walkers and a few pilots out there already.  Sure, there’s a possible Alzheimer’s risk in the vats, but that will only take your oldest colonists, you can still land with your youngest.

However, there’s one thing that I haven’t mentioned, and it’s called “Midwife risk.”  If you don’t have any living colonist on board when you decant someone, you have to roll a die.  If the die is greater than the rad-hardness of the colonist being decanted: BLARG.  They’re dead.  I once had 3 separate colonist cards go the way of the dodo from that move.  Not making that mistake again.

So let’s see here.  I don’t need the pilots this turn, so I can put them in the vats.  Science isn’t necessary, though flipping more cards is good just to protect people.  Engineers aren’t necessary at this point as I never got the Protium Fusion breakthrough.  So there go the Convicts.  Actually, as I’m looking at this, just leaving the Renaissance man awake is probably best.  There’s 3 risks on the event table, mutiny risk isn’t a problem since he’s content, so there’s only 2 risks, and both only affect him on a roll of 1 or 2.  And one of them only flips his card.

I think we’re good, then.  Everyone else into the vats, our Renaissnace Man will keep an eye on things.

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We are so close!

If you consider 90 million miles close.

And with an event roll of ‘2’ nothing happens. Ab-so-freaking-loooooootly nothing.

Now that our Bernal is 120 years old, our alert humans will be aging two steps per turn due to the extra exposure to radiation that the ship can no longer protect them from.  Sadly this puts our Renaissance man up to the equivelant of a 60 year old right away.  This could be bad if a cancer risk comes up, so I better decant a younger human as well.

So I’ll keep the Renaissance Man up to keep systems up and running, and wake the Islamic Refugees and train them as Spacewalkers, to get some training on how to get everyone down to the planet’s surface.

Gotta move and then we’ll be on the same space, and we have to survive another event phase.

I roll a 5, which doesn’t interact with any of our humans….and if I had any robots they would have wigged out.  Interesting.  So we age again (twice *sigh*) and here we go.

And since you can end the game at any time, even in the middle of a turn, if I can stop the ship before the events phase, this should be it.  So might as well wake everybody up and try to create the newest generation.

Now to stop the ship.  Drogue braking…how does that work?  Well, we use the gas giant to slow ourselves down.  Big gravity and big radiation.  It’s dangerous.  So it’s a Hazard.

Remember Hazards from High Frontier?  Only there is no Failure is Not an Option check.

That’s right, I have to roll a die.  If I roll a 1, the ship blows up.

If I roll a 1, the ship blows up.

Everything could end here if I roll a 1.

What? (you’re probably saying)  What a horrible game!  All that and you have to rely on this all or nothing die roll?  Well, no, really.  I could do a Nano-Reconfiguration of the Hull with the Protium Fusion breakthru which would slow me down.  I could also do Beam Core Braking, but there’s something called Anti-Matter risk with that style of braking.  I should have done the breakthrough, that’s the least riskiest outcome, but I didn’t.  So I have to do this.

Besides, I used the Sun and Jupiter to start this journey, might as well end the same way.

Siren Cybernetics Inc do the first action.

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Yay!  We didn’t crash into the sun!  But now we have to look at the radiation risk.  We roll for everything in the ship stack, and if we roll over the Rad-Hardness, the card is destroyed.

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Great, the guys who would get us off this boat.  Okay, we can still do this.  Breathe, Adam, breathe.  I have to do it again.  I don’t have enough spare mass to do Beam-Core braking (I need 10 mass for that and I only have 5 before I start throwing in humans or the living area of our ship.  I have other options for a space walker, though, so we’re not done yet.

But before I do that, I’m going to brake again.  We could still blow up.  One more time.

Just one roll.

Here we go.

1d6.

5 out of the 6 is just fine.

1 of them will end this game in flames.

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But now can we make it through the radiation belts?

Jeez.  That’s a lot of dead people.  Um.  This isn’t good.

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That’s all I have left.  My youngest colonists is 72 years old.  This is going to be a tough colony.

If we can land.

So we do have the Panthropists that can do some biotech.  They are going to create some humans.  They are allowed to do that when making a colony to represent the 1st generation on the new planet.  Shame that it has to be this way instead of “naturally,” but after the crazy way they had to stop, what you gonna do?

Now to Bail out.  I really didn’t want to do this, but I have no option.  I have to roll for each card.  This is simulating the colonists being dropped from orbit in liquid-immersion crash suits.  Some are better at this than others.  In order to survive, I have to roll 1d6 and be above their age – shields.

For some paying attention, there are colonists that will not survive no matter what.  I can’t help that.  I should have paid more attention to the radiation risk and made sure the Hablonauts were built before we got to the star.  In fact, now that I’m facing this, I’m thinking of a large number of things I should have done.  But now our pilot has his hand over the “Launch button” so away they go.

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I needed a 5 or 6 for the Convicts, so I got lucky there.  So after all of that we started with this:

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13 Mass worth of humans and 1 Mass of robots.  And we finished with 6 Mass worth of humans, only 2 of them originating from Earth.

We started as a military expedition, but switched halfway to a centrist science-forward expedition, though looking at the buttons on our colonists, they might be going back to an authoritarian governmental structure on their new planet.

The new colony has Engineering, biotechnology and communication skills to help with their expansion.  It will be very regimented at first, but I hope some domestic and business discs will be placed soon.

As far as final scores go, I get 2VPs for having 2 claim discs on 2 habitable planets, and then 1VP per mass point of human.  So 8 points total.  According to the rulebook, that means we end with zero colony growth, the birth rate equaling the death rate.

Looks like this little tribe will be sitting alone on this planet for a long time.  Don’t know if it’s worth sending out another ship to join them.

My brain hurts.

Yet I want to play again and see if I can do better.  3d print the right robots to be properly prepared for landing.

But I’d hate to bore ya’ll with another playthrough.

But I hope this gets some of you to play and I’d love to hear your stories!

If you enjoyed this and got anything out of it and would like to thank me, you can visit my ko-fi page and buy me a coffee.  If not, that’s okay too.  Thanks for reading.

I’ve been pumping these posts out quickly recently, so I’ll be taking a short break before I go into my next one.  It won’t be long, though.  All the positive feedback I’ve been getting has been fueling my desire to keep posting, so I will!

Thanks again!

 

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My ship knows just which way to go-ho-ho

So where were we?

Ah yes, the inky blackness of space.

People are freaking out because HAL has achieved sentience, but that might be okay be it (is it they, now?) says he knows how to slow down the ship.  I wonder how the humans in the vats will take it when they wake up to see their former crew mates being inhabited by their former security systems.

Mondays are rough in the future too.

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A refresher of how we stopped last turn. I have some more tough choices to make here.  3 stress is pretty rough, but I can only have 3 woke humans, and doing a full crew change just leaves my robonauts and my 2 stress robots around to do any work.  I also need to add a Pilot disc to the Security Systems if I want them to do any slowing down of the ship.

Okay, so here’s what I’m going to do….

First, I’m going to try to make new humans rather than decant old ones.  Newer and younger might help out better.  So I’ll have the Vatacan Observers do a Domestic action of Parenthood.  I have to roll > Age (4+) to get this to work, so fingers crossed.  And I roll a 2.  Nuts.

Since I’m risking everyone stressing out anyway, I’ll have my Engineers 3d print the Hablonauts again because that +1 to rad-hardness is valuable.

The networks spend its time in school learning how to pilot the ship.  The Nanobots fix the EM shield (which shouldn’t be needed for the rest of the game, but I may have forgotten a rule somewhere, so I’m doing it just in case).  And I’m decanting the “Wet Nano Seed Sail”  which I’m sure are just LOVELY people(?) to have on board.  They will be my new scientists.

I could have my Vatican Observers also do a Business action….you know what, they will.  They will do the service action on itself, to half their stress, rounding down that lowers it to 2.  I think I can handle that.

Now we move again:

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Look how close we’re getting!

Nothing else to do on the Move step, so we motor right on to the event step and I roll a 2.

Engineers have a cancer risk: Convicts are Age 3, so on a 1 or 2 they die.  I roll 5, they are okay.

Scientists are at risk of Alzheimer’s.  Wet Seed Nano folks are Age 5 so get demoted on 1-4.  I roll 2, so they get flipped back to Calypso Seed Sail.  Still lovely people.

Pilots are at risk of mutiny.  But they are content, so nothing happens.

Space walkers/Networks are at risk of accidents.  Nanobots decommissioned on a 3 or less.  A 4 keeps them alive.  Security System “bots” decommissioned on a 2 or less (since they are treated as human, their stress is the measure, not their age).  I roll 3.  We’re good.

And that’s it.  One flipped card.  I think we can handle that.  Another dozen years have passed, and I think we did okay.  I age cards and we move on.

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I think our Businessmen are going to create a baby machine now that our humans have aged themselves out of child bearing years (sure, it can be done at 48…but they probably don’t want to).

So my Halbonauts are going to move the Nanobots to Age 1 by 3d printing all new parts for it.  Then if I can roll 3 or less, the Vatican Observers will Invent a new job for them (after discarding a robot from my hand).  I roll a 3 and there’s now a domestic token on the Nanobots instead of their spacewalker token.  And I’ll do a Parent action with them since they haven’t gone yet this turn.  As long as I don’t roll a 1….nope…then I can draw a random human and put them at Age 1 with a new job token after removing a card from the Graveyard (to conserve Biomass).

I draw Siren Cybernautics Inc.  which can be an Engineer or Biotechnician.  However, I already have 3 awake humans, so I have to immediately put them into the Vats.

I’m going to put the Convicts into the Vats since they’re pretty stressed out and I’ve got new Engineers on deck.

Had I been smart, I would have done that BEFORE the domestic action.  Ah well.

My scientists can’t do an Endowment on Scholastics anymore as its not in the same politics, but I can still do “Eureka.”  So I put 2 data discs on it, and I roll 3d6 and try to get less than Age (6) + Discs (3).  And I roll 10.  *sigh*

And finally the Frankenstein Naviagtors do a Mag-Sail brake which can slow us down by as many steps as our current speed.  We’re going ‘2,’ so I lower our speed by 2 steps, from 6.5% the speed of light to 4%c.

And we’re already at the event roll.  The pain comes quickly.  The die roll comes up as a ‘1’.

Our Engineers have Alzheimer’s risk.  Halbonauts decommission on a 1.  I roll 3, so I’m okay.

Business owners may Mutiny.  The only ones are content, so no problem there.

Pilots are a cancer risk, but robots can’t get cancer, so we move on.

Domestics have an accident risk, our Nanobots are decommissioned on a 1.  A ‘5’ means we’re good.  And that’s it!

Fantastic!

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I’m getting to the point where I’m almost embarrassed to post my plays.  You see, I’m very close to the star.  I’m very close to actually getting humans on an extra-solar planet.  That’s a big stinkin’ deal.

I’m also very close to making a big mistake that someone reading this will notice and scream at their monitor: “What are you doing, dummy?”  I kind of don’t want to be called a dummy, so I really, really don’t want to make a mistake.  But so much hangs in the balance, that if one person dies of cancer, one Eureka roll doesn’t make it, I forget to pilot at the right time, this whole thing can go pear-shaped and I lose the game.

So the pressure is on (as much as a solitaire game can have pressure), and I’m starting to feel it.  THE EYES OF THE WORLD ARE ON ME!

Well, the 20 or so people that are actually following this one, it seems.

Okay, I don’t need to pilot this turn, as I’ll hit 1/2 speed when I slow down next, so I can put my Frankenstein Navigators into the vats to clear their 3 stress.  That will spare them from one of the possible problems we could run into.  I’ll decant them next turn to start slowing things down.  I can also use the Convicts Drogue breaking to surf on the gas giant that is also around Bernard’s star to get us to a complete stop.  Risky, but necessary.

And to speed up work after the Decanting process, we’ll try to Eureka the Scholastic program….again.  Now we’re 7 + 5 or less on 3d6.  And I roll a 9!  Factory Cube is now turned into insta-learning.

Wow, we’ve messed with people’s brains a lot on this trip.

The Vatican Observers will self-promote (needs a 4 or less): I roll a 6…no love there.  But I do some service to halve its Stress back down to 2.

My Halbonauts will discard a Robonaut from my hand to make another Factory Cube.  Worse comes to worse I’ll use that as mass I shed from the ship to slow it down if necessary.

My Nanobots will do their best to create more babies out of bio-goo.  A roll of 3 is a success and I get Malcolm.

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Ain’t he cute?  He’s not much, but his promoted side is fantastic, so I’m going to put him in the vats for now.

I will, however, decant the Microgravity Panthropists to keep scientists working on this boat.   I’m going to use them to try and promote the Calypso scientists who, by nature of their age, are at risk of dying from Alzheimers, but if I can flip them first, that will keep them alive for another turn or two.  A die roll of 3 makes it so, so we have our Wet Seed icky beings again.

And that’s it.  We move closer to our goal and we’re now 2 light years from our goal.

Now let’s hope we don’t all die.

We roll a 3.

Our Hablonauts may break on a 3 or less.  And they do.  Hrmph.  It’s just decommissioned to my hand, though.  I can get them back.

Uh oh, both scientists face a grey goo risk.  Going youngest to oldest, we’ve got our newly decanted Microgravity Panthropists.  Their rad-hardness is 5, so they’ll only mess up on a 6.  I roll a 5, so I just miss a nasty fate.  I only have 3 awake badges, though, so it’s possible something got into the vats.  D6 + the number of Factory cubes = 7.  Oops.  The factory cube gets removed and everything in the vats ages one step.

Now the Wet-Nano scientists will also unleash a plague on a 6.

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Crrraaaaaaappppppp.

So they’re dead, and I add 1 stress to all awake humans.  And if I roll 3 or more, they also affect the sleeping humans and age them.  Ah!  I roll a 2.  Phew.

Our Vatican Observers are at risk for Alzheimers.  And a roll of 3 kills them.  Dangit.  That’s why I was trying to promote them!

That’s the end of the Events phase, but it hurt enough.  I age what needs to be aged, and we’re looking at the next year’s field with a bit less optimism.

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Our ship is 96 years old.  Any older and we’ll start to feel the effects.  People will “age faster” (more radiation will seep through).  Then robots will start with stress on them.  Things will get harder.  You can stop your ship at a fuel planet (any rock that has the same fuel class as your engine) and send some engineers and space walkers out to bring your Bernal back to 1, but as you see, stopping ANYWHERE is a struggle.

Let’s just get to our new home.

If you’re enjoying this playthrough and it’s earned me a cup of coffee, you can visit my ko-fi page, but if not, that’s okay too.

Stay tuned for our exciting conclusion!

 

Tuned!!

 

 

 

Are we there yet?

So we’ve flown out to Jupiter, out towards the Sun, back out towards Jupiter AGAIN and flew out of the solar system.  Years have passed and work needs to be done on the ship.  And that is how we start our turns: Working.

Each Robot/Robonaut/Human on board who isn’t in a Vat can perform a task.  The tasks they can perform is based on the Profession Disc they have on them.  Luckily it’s pretty easy to know what everything is, because it’s listed right on the board:

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Got all that?  And sadly, the only way to be good at this game is understanding all of the various actions and understanding them WELL, because it stinks if you’re planning on doing a Parenthood action and realizing you don’t have a card in the Graveyard or rolling a successful Research action but not having a factory cube available.  Lucky for us, we only have three colors to worry about, and the blue discs have one action: Decant.  Which is waking the fellas up.

Getting started by making things, either alert humans or robots seems like a grand idea.  So I will first use my Hobonauts to do a 3d printing action to create a new Robot at Age 1.  I choose the Security System because it has the Network ability which will let me send an Exploration wisp to explore Proxima Centauri.  So I put that card in Age 1 and a Network token (a red disc) on it.  I place it on the left side of the card because I can’t do an action with it yet.  I put the discs on the upper right when they haven’t done anything yet, and then move it to the left when I’ve done things to keep track of actions.  The rulebook tells you to do the exact OPPOSITE, but for some reason moving from right to left felt more natural to me.

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For my Scientist, I can do all sorts of cool things, but we’ll start with Eureka.  I can put two “Data Discs” (which can be anything really) on one of our technologies:

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ALL of them are good.  I mean, c’mon, the cure for freaking cancer?  However, I’m going to put the two discs down on Neurology if only because it matches my current politics, which will make it easier to discover it down the line.  They now ask the I roll 3d6, and if I get under the age of the Scientists (2) + the number of data discs (2) then I can have a breakthrough and have that technology for the rest of the game.  However you have to discard a factory cube to do that, so there’s not point in rolling.  I guess engineers would need to build all the brain enhancing teach into the ship before the vats could give the stress releasing properties.

Speaking of stress, because a Human just did some work, we put a stress token on the card.  Stress is bad, but you’re bound to get some.  You can lose stress by chilling in the vats for a while.  We’ll see once we get to the events phase what high stress can do to us.

So that’s all of my woke passengers.  Ahem.  Now to choose which of my other humans to wake up.  I can only have 2 more humans awake, so 3 will have to stay in the vats.  After some thought, I wake up the Juiced Cosmonauts to help with security on board and to have another Engineer to help keep things running (and get more robots booted up).  I also wake up Calypso as Bioengineers due to their Promote ability.  They will be able to flip colonists to their purple sides, which will get them to last a whole lot longer.  Little messing with people’s DNA never did any harm, right?  And that ends the Operation part of the turn.

Now we’re in the movement phase.  I can move our speed by the thrust on the “Thrust Triangle” of our Starship.  Which is minuscule on our card:

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So we can move it up by one step.  Usually we’d be able to move it down by one, but “No decel” means we can’t do that.  And the zero means it costs NO fuel to do that.  So let’s move that puppy up and start moving at 4% the speed of light!  We can now actually move our rocket figure on the map into the first space (or bubble…whatever you want to call them) away from Sol.  We are officially one light year away from home and it only took a dozen years!

Now we look at the space we’ve just moved into.  If it has a blue border, that means we’re moving through a “cloud” of dust, which will pummel our EM shields and cause our Bernals to flip over to their unpromoted side.  If it’s already unpromoted, you have to discard a Bernal and lower the mass of your ship by 10.  You’re just losing it all to micro-meteorite erosion.  And if you don’t have a Bernal card?  People start dying.  Let’s hope we don’t go there.

We’re not in the Local Interstellar Cloud yet, so we don’t have to worry about our shields failing, so we now move onto the dreaded EVENT ROLL.  This is when Bad Stuff happens.  And it’s a simple roll of 1 die.  Yes, 1 6-sided die rules your fate.

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other

The colors and symbols mean: If the die shows this and this profession disc exists, then this problem may occur to that person/robot.  Let’s see it in action.  I give the die a roll and get…4.  Going down the list, I see the first 4 on the cancer symbol in the Orange/Business section.  I don’t have anyone with business on their resume, so I can move on.  Now I see it on the Alzheimer’s icon on the Red discs which is Spacewalker and/or Network.  I do have that on the Security System.  This is where the system could crash and stop working before it even got up and running.  I have to roll 1d6, and if it’s lower than the Robot’s age, I have to decommission the card to my hand.  Of course, its Age is 1, so that’s impossible, so I move on.  We now see the four on the Accident symbol on Biotechnicians.  This will kill the humans if a d6 roll is less than or equal to the amount of stress on that human.  (See how much stress stinks?)  Luckily our techs have no stress at this point, so we move on.

We finally arrive at “Starship Stack” where there’s a Glitch and I’m to decommission my heaviest black card in my Starship stack.  WHERE I HAVE NO BLACK CARDS!  Looks like I got through this turn Scott free.

So we do the final cleaning up phase, which is the Age track.  All cards move one step to the right on the Age track, unless it’s in the Vats, then it doesn’t move at all (and gets to remove a stress).  So now my Age Track looks like this:

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Woops, looks like the Network chit didn’t make it to the Security System card, but it’s there…trust me.

To start with, I’m really curious about Proxima Centauri, so let’s send a Wisp out and take a look-see.  I roll an 8, which means I would DIE if I flew past it.

Well dang.

I mean, it’s good to know, but now I need to fly somewhere else.  Looks like I’ll swing “Down” (as much as directions work in space) and head towards Bernard’s star.  I need a 4 or less to find a habitable planet there, but I can also swing back around and get to Alpha Centauri without interacting with Proxima Centauri at all that way.

On to pressing matters, my Cosmonauts do some work on the Babbage Halbonauts and move them back to Age 1.  I want to keep those bad boys working.  Those Halbonauts are going to do some Cube Nanofacturing and ditch a Robonaut out of the game.  The purpose is if I happen to, say, have a breakthrough in Neurology, I’d like to be able to have the parts to build it.

Now I can have Calypso do some promoting.  Sadly it only works if 1d6 is < its Age.  1/3 chance.  And I roll a 2!  I’ll actually have them turn themselves over as it gives them the ability to take yet another job.

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It also means if they have an accident, they just flip the card over instead of dying.  Always a good thing.  And now I have our Scientists (who kinda photobombed the above picture) do a bit more research, only this time, it’s called an Endowment.  This is handled a bit differently.  I’m only putting one Data Disc down AND I have to put it down on the tech that matches my politics.  However, now I only roll 2d6 and if that’s less than the scientists age(3) + number of discs(3) then I get to do a little happy dance.  Not a great roll, but definitely in the realm of possibility.

And I roll 6.

*sigh*

That’s it for the Operations phase that I’m planning on, so let’s go to movement.  We’ll pop up the speed again to 5.5% the speed of light (though that’s still only one space per turn).  And now we go to the event roll.  And our number is ‘2’.

First: Engineers check for Cancer.  Our Juiced Cosmonauts are killed if 1d6 < Age(3).  And I roll a 2, so into the Graveyard the Cosmonauts go.  Stupid Interstellar radiation.  Our Halbonauts don’t get Cancer, so I don’t have to roll for them.

Now we check for our Scientists to get Alzheimer’s.  It’s the same roll as Cancer in this case.  I roll a 4, so the Microgravity Pantrophists live another dozen years.  Finally we check to see if the Security System suffers an Accident and is decommissioned.  I have to roll a ‘1’ for that to happen, and I roll a 5, so all is well.

So our first fatality, but we press on.  I hope to cure cancer soon.  Was hoping to start working on that after getting Neurology this turn, but you can’t always get what you want.

Things age and we get set for the next dozen years.


And one night passes in real time, too, so I have to spend a lot of time thinking about my next actions.

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We’re down an Engineer now, so using my Robot to build another Robot Engineer is probably not a bad idea.  It gets risky if I use my Scientists again, but I would need to roll a 5 for an event and THEN roll a 3 or less in order to lose them due to stress.  Fairly specific circumstances.  Then again, I might lose them due to age first (Cancer or Alzheimer’s).  I can get more humans out of the vats, so I can get my Legacy crew out…they’re old, but they can take Engineering, Science or Business jobs (having old scientists is good…they’re smart).  And it’s a good idea to have young humans in statis.  Why?  BABY MAKING!   Now that our Juiced Cosmonauts are gone, we have “bio-mass” available, so we’re able to have more kids…who can essentially eat the leftovers.  In a completely closed system, our biomass has to stay the same, so I can’t just keep pumping out kids, because we have no way to feed them all, so we have to wait for someone to die, then we can introduce new life into the cycle.

Circle of life, ya’ll.

If I had a Business human awake, I could reduce some stress, which would be nice, and I could get that with the Vatican Observers.  The Convicts are more Engineers, which never hurt either.

Hmmm.  Tough choice.  I almost want to double down on science to get more breakthroughs and keep my aging population from dropping like flies, but we’re about to hit some interstellar clouds, so I’ll need Spacewalkers to deal with that, so I need to start printing robots in order to get that going.

Like I said, this game is hard.

Okay, I’m going to decant my Legacy Crew and hope they survive long enough to drop some data discs down and get some good rolls  (at Age 6, even their first Eureka action will be 3d6 versus 8.  Not an unheard of roll).  I’m also going to build some Nanobots to be ready to repair the outside of the ship.

I guess my Biotechnicians will try to promote my Scientists (not the Crew card, they can’t be promoted).  I have to roll a 3 or less and get a 6, so no luck there.

I send out another Exploration Wisp, but now 10 light years away to Bernard’s Star to see what’s there.

I roll 3!  There’s a habitable planet there!

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So I just have to survive for 10 light years of flight, figure out how to stop this crazy thing, and we’ve got ourselves somewhere to go!

Finally my Pantropists try to get this Neurology thing off of the ground.  We add another disc and roll 2d6, hoping for 7 or less now.  And the roll is a 4!  I discard the Factory Cube and now whenever I put someone “Into the Vats” ALL stress will be removed, not just one per turn.  Excellent.

Now we hop to the Move Segment where we are going 6.5% of the speed of light, or 2 spaces per turn.  This is as fast as I’m going to go, because I’m afraid of not being able to stop!  So I move my ship forward 2 spaces, and that puts me smack dab in the middle of the LIC.  So I flip my Bernal to the white side to show the shields are down and will need to be repaired before I hit the next cloud space.

And now…

dun dun DUNNNN

The dreaded event roll.

I roll 6.  Let’s see what happens.  The Scientist gets a Mutiny risk!  If he’s content with the current politics (red), then it’s no problem.

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Unfortunately our Scientists prefer Libertarian tendencies (Orange), and they’ve their whole lives under a strict military lifestyle and they just want to be left alone to do their research!  Perhaps the brain modification tech they just finished pushed them over the edge.  Or maybe they just have been smelling too many chemicals and it just seems like a good idea at the time.

Well, let’s look at all the other humans on board and see if anyone is content on board.

Seems like you’re either a robot, or really like robots (Purple are Centrists who believe Robots should be treated like people).  Robots like Purple, too.  So, um, yeah,  everyone is discontent with the current government.

So a whole lot of arguing later, and the politics get moved to the Scientist’s politics (why?  Because they started it).  And ALL awake humans get stress equal to the number of spaces the politics marker moved because change is HARD.

*tests political climate*

Nope, not going there.

What really stinks is Libertarian and Authoritarian are COMPLETELY OPPOSITE on this chart, which means all awake humans receive FOUR stress.  YIKES!  Looks like we’re going to have to have a changing of the guard and put some folks up into the vats for a while.

But we still have more event turn…

6 is also a “Gray Goo” risk for the Biotech Girls and Guys.  This is just a sci-fi way of saying an experiment goes awry and costs them their lives.  Either they poison themselves, something explodes, or that shot they gave themselves 40 years ago actually had a long range effect that we are simulating by removing one card.  That kinda thing.

So first I roll against Rad-Hardness their Rad-Hardness.  Luckily it’s still +1 for the robots, so it’s a 6 and I can’t roll higher than that.  That means whatever happened didn’t hurt the AWAKE people.  Now I roll 1d6 and add the number of factory cubes (which is 0 now that we had the Neurology breakthrough).  If that is greater than the number of badges on the awake humans, then everything in the Vats ages one step.

Here’s we’re making sure that if there is a problem, someone would notice in time.  Let’s check our badges.

Oh yeah, we have a Security System robot.  That’s 3 badges there.  1 on our Biotechs themselves, and two more from our other Robots.  So we’ll only have trouble on the roll of ‘6’.  Wherein the die comes out as a 1 and we’re okay.

Finally we have an Alzheimer’s risk for anyone IN THE VATS.  This stinks, but that’s the price of interstellar space travel.  I mean, think about it, we’ve been traveling for 36 years in a metal box using only the supplies that we brought with us.  Magellan ain’t got nothin’ on that.

Luckily I didn’t roll a ‘1’ on either of my sleeping babies (who are both Age 2), so we can continue on.  There is also a meteor threat that would damage a Radiator if we had one, but we don’t so Event turn over.

We age, we get ready for the next turn, we sweat a little bit.

So, clearly we have to drop some of these colonists into the Vats.  Now that we have the Neurology breakthrough, all their stress will instantly vanish (that’s some goooood liquid in there), and I can decant them next turn.  But I JUST decanted the crew card, so I kind of want to use them anyway and risk the accident/cancer/whatever.  With us in the Orange politics now, I could do an Endowment action with them, drop one disc on the Scholastics breakthrough and have to roll less than 7 on 2d6 right away.  Bonus to that, is the same turn I decant humans or build robots, I can have them act.

Although I don’t have any factory cubes right now.  UGH!  I could make one, but I only have one Engineer right now, and that would be its only action.  I’d rather build another robot.  I’d hate to run low on building power.

And I need to start worrying about slowing down.  There’s no LIC near Bernard’s star, so I can’t use a Surfer brake.  I can use Mag-Sail brake, but that’s kind of rare, and I don’t currently have any pilots that have that skill.  I’d have to start making babies.  I could also work on the Protium Fusion breakthrough which lets you slow down everytime you do a certain Engineer action (which is basically just shedding mass).  Once I slow down two steps, I’ll also be able to slow when I hit the gas giant near Bernard’s star.  It’s a bit risky, but doable.

So I think I need to get Protium Fusion or find a Mag-Braker before I get to the star, or I’m going to sail right past it, and I have 4 turns until I get there!

Did I mention this game was hard?

Luckily it’s right near my lunch break here in the real world, and I’m going to take it and mull over this problem for a while.  Do I focus on survival now, knowing I can sail past Bernard’s star and go to Alpha Centauri if needed, which will be easier if I focus on getting breakthroughs and building up that foundation, or do I get pilots and train the next generation because we’re landing in 48 years and we’ll need some young bucks to stop this thing?

I’m going to Wawa and getting a sandwich.  You have to be from around here to understand that sentence.


*burp*

Okay, so I think I’m going somewhere in the middle (which is usually the wrong choice).  So I’m going to use my science abilities to lay a good foundation, but I’m going to study Scholastics so I can decant my humans and get them to baby making right away.  I’ll get a Robonaut and Businessperson around and use the Invent action to give the Robonaut ANY color disc and fill in whatever gaps I have (including making babies…yup, you can make a test-tube baby growing machine).

That means I’m keeping my 72 year old stressed-out crew alive to go for the ~40% chance of getting Scholastics this turn.  My engineering robots are taking the Network robots apart(don’t need them anymore) to make another factory cube.  And if I’m lucky, all that happens before I decant my other two humans, and they’ll be able to go to school and then do work.

Hey, I just noticed the back of the Network card has Mag-braking.  Okay, I’m NOT taking them apart.  I’ll just ditch a card from my hand like, say, this Robonaut.  I’ve got more.  Okay, got my cube.  At some point I may have to Emancipate the robots so I can flip them to their Purple side.  One thing at a time….

Okay, I’ve done all the other bits that I can do before the big roll.  Now to see if I can get Scholastics out of the way……rolling rolling rolling….

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&*($&.  That would have made things SO much easier.  So I decant the Convicts as Engineers and take yet another risk and decant the Vatican Observers as Business AND as Domestics.  Twice the chance of an event affecting them, but I gotta get stuff done.

The ship moves 2 spaces forward and the recently fixed EM shield is again flipped back over.  No biggie.  No more dust clouds in our future.

But what is in our future is the die roll of 3, which is an accident check for our engineers.  This will decomission or Halbonaut on a roll of 3 or less.  There’s no stress on our newly decanted engineers, so no roll there.  I roll a 2 and the ‘nauts break down and go back into my hand.  *sigh*  I guess they’ve been smoothly running for, what, 72 years now?  I guess that’s better than my home PC.

3 is also a “Gray Goo” risk for regular scientists.  Sadly the Halbonauts are what gave everything the +1 Rad-hardness, so I have to roll against the crew card’s natural 4.  On a 5 or 6, whatever they made is going to hurt all the other people on board.  AAAaaaannnnddd the dice hate me.  I roll a 6.  Whatever horror they created kills the crew card and adds 1 stress to all other awake humans.  I have 7 badges awake right now, so I don’t have to worry about anything happening to the humans in the vats.  The good side of having a security system and convicts on board.

That was a weird sentence to type.

3 is an Alheimer’s risk for our newly decanted business colonists.  Let’s see if their brains liquefied in stasis.  I roll a 5, and it only would have happened on a 1, so we’re fine.

3 is ALSO (JEEEEEEEZZZZZZ) a mutiny attempt by Spacewalkers which means….

Oh.

 

Oh no.

Not that.

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robotdamian_2_hal-9000_focus_jpg

The neat thing is that if it’s a robot that mutinies, it first promotes itself.  So the card flips and becomes “Frankenstein Navigators”

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Ewwwwww, the security system injected itself into the dead crew members so they are now half human.  What’s amazing is the two other woke humans?  Yeah, they have purple voting boxes as well, so they are like “Yeah, you’re right, you should be treated as a person.”  Strangely it still causes 2 stress on the humans….and since we now treat robots as humans?  Yeah, 2 stress on the navigation systems.  (We can even put them in the vats now!)

Isn’t this wild?  We have cyber zombies on board!

And that’s the last event…thank god!  So the two people who just came out of the vats?  3 stress right off the bat.

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And another turn is presented to us.  But I think you’ve had enough for a day…..

If you enjoyed this post and have been enjoying all these playthroughs enough to buy me a coffee, you can go to my Ko-Fi page and do so as a small token of appreciation.  Or don’t, and that’s okay too.

Thanks for reading, see you 2 light years closer to Bernard’s Star!

 

Maybe that’s why these words are blue shifted!

There’s a starShip waiting in the sky…

I think I’d like to teach it, but I’m afraid I’ll blow your mind.

Now that that blasphemy is over.

Let’s talk Interstellar.  There’s a number of ways to get started with the game, which is the first barrier to actually playing the thing.  One of the ways is actually finishing a game of High Frontier and exiting the board using one of the actual exits:

Or finish using one of the Futures that specifically refer to leaving the solar system (which usually involve exiting the map anyway):

Pictures on cards are less blurry than they appear.

BUT, we won’t be starting that way.  That would involve playing a whole other game (which will take several hours) and will result in a rather hap-hazard starship, since I’ll be limited to what I could throw together in a CEO solitaire game.  So we can flip open our rulebooks to the Quickstart rules (Quick, HA!) and see we have 2 options.  We can either take an actual Starship, which is a metallic thing with an engine and cockpit and all Star Trekky, OR we can use a Beehive, which is a hollowed out Asteroid which has either been flung on its course, or has a small engine on it.  The game is VASTLY different depending on which you choose.  The scale is even different, with a crew card representing 12 people in a Starship and 10,000 in a Beehive.  I kind of want to show both, since they both create interesting challenges, but I think I’ll do a Starship since that’s what people are more comfortable with.

So, first we start by choosing which government/faction put together this mission.  It could be a

  •  – Libertarian Work Ethic
  •  – Left Wing Commune
  •  – Right Wing Family Values
  •  – Centrist (Robot Emancipators)
  • or Authoritarians

I’m going to say this started out as a military exercise, so we’ll start Authoritarian.  Don’t worry, the ship will be in space for a long time and a rigid military structure will probably break down…or not, who knows?

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It prevents me from talking to other ships (only useful in multi-player games…which this game is NOT, really…but I suppose it can happen), and helps me defend against Mutiny and any scientific accidents that may go wrong.  It also makes it easier for me to study Neurology, which is a good way to fight off stress.  I also get the Red crew card as the first members of our, um, crew. They’re old (60 years), but they brought this plan to fruition, so we bring them along anyway.

So we start with our “Market,” which is going to look very familiar with those of you who have played High Frontier before:

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The difference is most cards are starting on their upgraded side.  Much more fun that way.  Not to mention, you don’t want to travel to Alpha Centauri with stuff we could build in 2010.

The upper-right corner we don’t need to worry about as that’s our Beehive choices.  Pfft.  Who needs a Amat-initiated H-B Magnetic-intertial thruster?  It only uses 9 nano-second pulses of a hundred billion anti-protons at the Hydrogen and Boron in a 50mm pebble to cause it to burn and produce 140 giga-joules of kinetic energy.  Yeah, every 2 seconds that would make 83kiloNewtons of thrust…and .4%c exit velocity.  But who wants THAT?

BTW, the idea for the Magnetic-inertial thruster?  The paper was written in 2003.  WHY AREN’T WE BUILDING THIS STUFF?

Ahem.

So let’s get our cash for our Mission.  We start with a measly 16WT.  I’m sure the scale is larger for this, but it doesn’t seem like much.  I suppose I could raise it to make the game easier, but we’re going according to Hoyle here, so 16 it is.  Before we spend all this money, we get to search the nearby stars for planets.  If there’s no habitable planets in the area, nobody would start this silly mission to begin with.  Makes sense to me.  So we make some Exoplanet Search rolls until we find one.

Of course, we start with Alpha Centauri:

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All we do is a simple 2d6 roll.  Looking under Alpha Centauri we see if we roll a 7, we’ll find a fuel rock that can give us fuel for D, M and V class rockets.  If we roll a 3-6, we’ll find a habitable planet as well as that fuel rock.  On snake-eyes there will also be a Living Planet which is habitable and gives you double Victory Points at the end of the game.

Yeah, I don’t worry about Victory Points.  I just want to get humans there.  So we roll and we get 5!  Good roll!  So we have a habitable planet there.  Now I can continue to scan the skies for more planets, but at the cost of 1 WT each.  The government isn’t made of money, ya know.

I’m sure you’ve noticed Proxima Centauri and the skull and crossbones on it.  Yeah.  That.  Before we make it to our new planet, we’ll have to see if Proxima is actively flaring.  If it is, we can’t go there.  Or we die.  If it isn’t (on a roll of 2-6), then we’re fine.  I could spend the 1WT now to see if it is or not, but let’s make our ship first and see if we have any money left over.  I can scan the star on the first turn and then start scanning other stars as I move along.  Not the best plan, but the cheap one.

So now we use our WTs to get cards.  1 WT gets you a card off the top of a deck OR you can move some cards to the bottom of decks with 1 WT, which I HATE doing.

Here’s what I generally go with:

  • Mass 0 Robonauts are a must.  They are a free throw-away card to get you factory cubes and all sorts of other things in game.
  • Scientists are important.  Make sure to have a few.  Get low mass people, though.  Short people are good in space.
  • I’m thinking using less Bernals are better since you don’t need that many humans Active, but I could be persuaded otherwise.
  • Extra radiators aren’t a bad thing, especially 0 mass.  You can always discard them for other effects.

So the Thruster on the top of the deck is the Magnetic Mirror Beam Rider.  The fun thing about this, you don’t need to bring any fuel with you, you’re flying on a laser beam shot from Sol.  The BAD thing is stopping.  You have to figure out another way to stop.  There are many, but they are difficult.  For instance, the colonists on the top of the stack, the Juiced Cosmonauts, have one way to brake: Drogue braking.  That’s skimming the Starship over a gas giant.  Ouch.  Considering Alpha Centauri has no gas giants, that’s not an option.

But hey, it’s a challenge, right?  So let’s light this candle and go with the Beam Rider.

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If that astronaut’s to scale, I hope we’ve built a few more things onto the ship….

Speaking of which, I’ll grab a Bernal now.  Which Bernal you end up with doesn’t matter.  There’s no Faction privilege or anything, all the Bernal pretty much represents is the hull of the ship.  So it’s Mass counts, and it also counts as a limit to how many humans can be alert at once.  You can keep 1 colonist awake + 2 per each Bernal you have.  So if I only grab 1 Bernal, that’s 3 awake humans, so I’ll have to rely on Robots for everything else.  Yet another limitation, but one I’m willing to work with to make my ship smaller.

As an amazing bit, the Beam Rider doesn’t need any Radiators or anything AND it has its own Generator, which can power the electro-magnetic “shielding” that is used to keep dust from puncturing the Starship and killing everyone aboard.  That being the case, most of my mass is going to be humans and robots.  So let’s see what we have.

 

The Quantum Cascade Laser will need a radiator attached to the ship, which stinks and it is used in order to scan planets at a distance.  Or I can just grab it as mass and discard it later for something useful (just using it as an idea in our 3D printer), which I think might be better.  The Juiced Cosmonauts are engineers, which are important, they are also politically aligned with the current regime, which will prevent any mutinies.  They can also do some space walking to repair shields and radiators and do some crazy brake maneuvers.  A bit heavy, though.  And finally the smart pets can do the space walking and fix the EM shields and they weigh nothing.

If they weigh nothing, they are going into my hand, no contest.  I’m going to grab the Cosmonauts and Laser as well.  I may discard them later, but they seem okay for now.

I’m ankle deep in Engineers.  The Robonaut is mass zero, so that goes into my hand without thinking (and it doesn’t need support).

I grab the others because having some badges are good, and robots are worthwhile  So I’m 8 WT deep in already. I do this until I end up with quite an extensive hand.  Cards in my Starship Stack are on their Black sides except Colonists and Crew, which are on their white sides.  Bernals are on their Promoted sides to show that their shields are working.  We also put in our Thruster on the Promoted side, because otherwise we’d have a short-ass game.

Sadly, looking at the cards I ended up with, I’ve got way too many heavy colonists.  I leave the Siren Programmers back on Earth, and end up with a Mass of 28.  Just like High Frontier, we put that Mass on the Fuel Strip:

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We round down on the strip, which is why I didn’t want to go over 30.  You CAN shed mass as you fly, but it’s a pain in the tookas, so why not get just as close to it as possible so I’ll be able to brake other ways.  Also good considering I don’t need to bring any fuel.

And now one of the hardest choices of the game:  Exiting the solar system.  There are 3 ways to do it, with pluses and minuses:

Exit by Neptune, which has you starting the game at a dead stop.  Not too bad because being parked at Sol allows you to interact with Earth for an extra turn BUT it takes a long time to build up speed and the faster you get to where you’re going, the less chance you’ll DIE on the way there.

You can exit by the Oort cloud, but you have to make a radiation roll (if you roll higher than the Rad-Hardness of the card, it gets killed.  Fun) and do an Event turn before you get started.  It represents the long hard trek out there.

OR you can spin around the sun and Jupiter and really fling your way out there.  That gets you going the fastest, BUT you have to roll 3 dice and take the HIGHEST as your radiation roll.  However, it doesn’t affect humans in “The Vats” (more on that later) AND I have a robot that provides +1 rad-hardness to all co-located cards.

I’m going back and forth between Neptune and Jupiter.

What do you think, guys?

Neptune has a good point, water is essential to human life.  Jupiter, on the other hand, tried to kill me.  So I’m going to go big and scary and try to slingshot myself around Jupiter and the Sun (twice!) and fling myself at a crazy exit velocity.

Because why not?  And I don’t want to get hit with a lightning bolt.

Because of the radiation hazard, I’m going to change my crew a bit.  I’m dumping most of the humans into the Vats (basically suspended animation) and I’m going to disassemble my ‘bots.  They won’t get fried if they haven’t been built yet.  Of course, that means I’ll be spending the first turns waking people up and building robots, but we’ll see how that goes.  It’s honestly a strategy I’ve never done before.

So here’s what my layout looks like (The Age Track):

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On the left at Age 1 is an upgraded Bernal which represents my ship’s hull with working EM shields.  If it goes unpromoted, the shields aren’t working.  If it gets discarded that means we’re pretty much open to interstellar radiation.  And that’s bad.  At Age 2 are my pile of colonists and their “Profession Disc.”  In a physical copy of the game, you’re just using all the various discs that come with the game.  Here they are much more fancy.  Blue means that Colonist (or those colonists, since it represents 15 people or so) are chilling in the Vats.  The White disc on the Microgravity Panthropists means they will be acting as Scientists on this journey. They could also act as Biotechnicians (see the little leaf under the Scientist marker?) or even Spacewalkers (The buggy icon under the leaf), but having Scientists available is good.  They are also Rad 5, which is 6 with the Halbonauts, so they are safe from radiation from my crazy slingshot maneuver.

At Age 3 are the before-mentioned Babbage Halbonauts, acting as Engineers.  They could also act as Spacewalkers.  Finally is the crew card way over at Age 6, grumbling in their Vats.  I could give two career discs to my awake humans (or even the robots), but as you’ll see, working a lot makes you more prone to…well….dying.  So let’s not do that, shall we?

So let’s fly around Jupiter a couple times!  My results are 1,1,6.  Which would be a rad hit of 6, which would have shut down ALL of my robots and most of my humans.  Luckily I shut everything down during those slingshot maneuvers.  The good news is that because I chose the Jupiter maneuver, I can put my speed on the fastest starting point available:

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You’re still only moving 1/2 space per turn, but it’s not hard to get going at 1 a turn (or 4% the speed of light!). Then you can start going crazy speeds after that.  But one thing at a time.  Let’s just get outselves settled for our journey to Alpha Centauri.

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It is only 8 spaces to Proxima Centauri, so I have to make sure I know whether I can actually go there or not by then.  If I know by the time I hit space #2, I can turn to the right and head toward the lower half of the board towards those stars.  If not, space 5 lets me hit the left branch and head towards the top half of the board.

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There’s quite a few places to go, actually, but let’s just worry about the first 8.  So let us now officially start turn 1.

 

Yeah, that’s right, I’m 2500 words into this, and I haven’t actually started the game yet.  I mean, sure, I still had to make a ton of decisions setting up my Starship, so you could definitely call that part of the game, but the official turn structure starts now.

Or maybe they start tomorrow.

How’s that for leaving on a cliffhanger?

If you enjoy this post and want to buy me a coffee, go and visit ko-fi.com/cthulhukid.  If not, that’s okay too.  Thanks for reading.  See you in 4,730,365,236,290,400 meters.

 

Now off the cliff.

 

Getting Kierkegaard up in here.

The defense mission ended in success.

Kinda.

The last PEF contained the Hishen Planet Conquest Ship, a Class 6 monster with 10 guns pointing out of it.  It also had a ton of shields, so my Cruisers couldn’t do squat to it.  It was all on my Carrier’s fighters.

Oh yeah, there was also a Mothership launching its own fighters.  So defense was high.

Needless to say, my whole squadron (well, two squadrons) was wiped out.  I wasn’t even able to flee.  10 guns is hard to survive when you’re taking 7 hits at 6 damage each.  I did manage to take down their Mothership and a few of the Class 3 ships that were sailing along, but I got real lucky.

A fighter was able to do an Engine hit to the Planet Conquest Ship.  When your Engine gets damaged, you only roll 2d6 on the After the Mission table.  And I rolled high on that table for the Conquest Ship, causing it to go home for repairs.  That being the case, there were no Class 5 or 6 ships available to Bombard the planet.  Win!

It cost me almost an entire Task Force (I literally only have 3 ships left from the original 12), but I protected the planet of Planet.  I also rolled well on the Morale table, resulting in our campaign morale’s switching, with mine raising to 4 and theirs dropping to 3.  The tide is turning.

So I’m putting 5150: Star Navy aside for now.  I can continue this campaign later.  Another good thing about most THW games.  They’re easy to come back to later (I restarted a Red Sand, Blue Sky game that was over 4 years old).

So what now?

All these space battles got me wondering?  How did we get here?  Not in a cosmic sense…I mean, I’m always wondering why are we here, what series of biological hiccups created a self-aware species able to understand the universe.  We live on a pale blue dot and argue over who is allowed to live on which speck of land while not realizing that the whole planet is but a speck and we should be working on making it the best speck for us, and moving to other specks.

But I digress.  A little.

Let’s try to get ourselves off of this speck.  In game form.  Let’s start the VERY difficult, yet scientifically accurate (to a point): High Frontier (wait for it): Interstellar.

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This game originally came as it’s own “expansion” for the earlier versions of High Frontier.  It was essentially a new board (commonly a poster you would print yourself) and you used all the component of standard High Frontier to play this new game of trying to get colonists to a new planet around a (relatively) nearby star.

In the recent 3rd edition of High Frontier, the Interstellar board was printed on the back of one of the game boards and all the Interstellar rules were included on the cards.  There was also an included rulebook for the game, but I’ve heard many a complaint about it reading like stereo instructions, so I’ve decided to give the game a run so everyone can see how it works.

The game creates a FANTASTIC story as it goes along, but I will warn you: It is hard as all get out.  I’ve won once.  I’ve played maybe a dozen times.  I will keep playing.  I have fun every time.

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Interstellar is a bizarre mix of science and science-fiction since we really don’t know what would happen with humans staying in interstellar space for hundreds of years.  Some of the results can be silly.  Some can be frightening.  Some can just be frustrating.

But at the very least, it’s quite a ride.  And if you’re curious, Matthew McConaughey has nothing to do with the game, and the game and movie have nothing to do with each other.

So get ready to strap in for a nice long ride, when each turn is a decade of time, you know you’re in for a long one.

And if you’re looking forward to those posts and want to show your appreciation, you can always buy me a coffee at ko-fi.com/cthulhukid.  If not, that’s okay too.  See you tomorrow!

It crept upon its petty pace, but ARRIVED.

Toying with me.

When we last left our task force, we were chasing down our last PEF, when yet another PEF showed up right next to it!

So here I go, flying up to meet it with my 2 Patrol Squad fleet (I’m sending my big fleet back towards the planet in case we get a surprise attack).  I meet it and what is it?

Nothing.

Not a dang thing.

And then what happens.

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Pop!  Out comes another one!  Here I am, trying to wrap this mission up, and here the game is, trying to keep me going, keep me guessing.

Welp, I manage to catch up to the PEF in the corner (it was Rep 2, so it never got to move) and it turns out to be:

  • Rep 5 Hishen Mothership Thrust 2 Hull 12 Hangers 4 AA 4
  • Rep 4 Hishen Overseer Thrust 3 Hull 8 Shields 3 Guns 4 AA 1
  • Rep 4 Hishen Slaver Thrust 3 Hull 8 Shields 2 Guns 2 Missiles 2 AA 2
  • Rep 3 Hishen Slaver Thrust 3 Hull 8 Shields 2 Guns 2 Missiles 2 AA 2
  • Rep 4 Hishen Patroller Thrust 4 Hull 4 Shield 1 Guns 2 Missiles 1

The Mothership is bigger than anything I have in the small fleet I have gathered.  So my plan is to do as much damage to the smaller ships as I can, then beat feet and have my larger fleet meet it and deal the killing blow.

It could work!

Rather than go through the nitty gritty, I’m just going to sum up the next encounters so you don’t have to read so much.  I figure by now, you’re pretty familiar with how the game works.

The battle lasted a little longer than I would have liked, and I lost 2 Destroyers to enemy laser fire and one Cruiser to a fighter attack.  Also one Destroyer did not make it through the repair process after the battle and it was decided to scrap the ship, so after all was said and done, only one Cruiser and one Destroyer remained.

HOWEVER, the Hishen Patroller was turned to dust, one Slaver will be in drydock for many months and (this being the most important), the Hishen Mothership will have to return to the home planet for repairs and can not bombard our planet this month.

So I’m left with only a half of a Patrol Squad instead of 2, but one big threat is gone.  Now I’m down to one PEF which is right next to my big ol’ fleet.

Sadly I do not have time to tackle that today as work was very busy, but we’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Hope you’re enjoying these.  If you’re enjoying my posts and would like to buy me a coffee, you can visit my ko-fi page and do so.  But if this short post didn’t justify that, no biggie.  Thanks for reading.  Until we meet again.

 

Wiping the table clean.

We’re going to need bigger (and smaller) boats

We’re one PEF down with a successful defense against Hishen forces.  But that’s not all of them, and we have the other half of our Task Force.  The bigger half.

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Am I the only one getting sick of the color purple?  This time we have a Class 5 Carrier along with 4 Class 4 Cruisers.  The Cruisers you are all familiar with, but the Carrier is able to launch fighters which are small, nimble craft that almost act as self-propelled missiles in a lot of respects, but they can act defensively, offensively or just fight each other for fun.

And they can make their own game called 5150: Fighter Command, but that’s for another series of posts, I’m sure.

We pass 2d6 on the PEF resolution table, meaning there’s probably going to be a #$#-ton of ships.  A ship-ton?  Let’s go with that.  Yup, there will be 8 ships to my 6.  This one will be a biggie.  I’ve got 5 Class 3 ships, 2 Class 4s and a Class 5.

Hishen Task Force

  • Hishen Capital Ship Rep 5 Thrust 2 Hull 12 Shields 4 Guns 6 AA 2
  • Hishen Slaver Rep 4 Thrust 3 Hull 8 Shields 2 Guns 2 Missiles 2 AA 2
  • Hishen Slaver Rep 3 Thrust 3 Hull 8 Shields 2 Guns 2 Missiles 2 AA 2
  • Hishen Monitor Rep 3 Thrust 4 Hull 4 Shields 1 Guns 1 Missiles 2
  • Hishen Patroller Rep 4 Thrust 4 Hull 4 Shields 1 Guns 2 Missiles 1
  • Hishen Patroller Rep 4 Thrust 4 Hull 4 Shields 1 Guns 2 Missiles 1
  • Hishen Patroller Rep 3 Thrust 4 Hull 4 Shields 1 Guns 2 Missiles 1
  • Hishen Patroller Rep 3 Thrust 4 Hull 4 Shields 1 Guns 2 Missiles 1

Actually doesn’t seem to bad given their Rep scores.  Obviously the Capital ship is going to be the problem.  I will need to get as many fighters as possible on that thing.  Unfortunately pretty much everything has access to missiles, meaning I’m going to have to try and stay away from them for the most part, using my larger guns to take down the smaller craft and hope to keep them out of the fight before they can start launching against me.  This is going to be a tough fight.

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They win the Long Range Scan by one, so will be coming at me at a 45 degree angle.  Again, they’ll be coming in fast, but the off angle is good for me because they’ll have to chase me down while I pepper them with laser fire.  We’re also starting 5 feet apart, so I have a small amount of breathing room.

And I win the 2d6 vs. 3d6 roll, so I get to go first!  I hope my luck continues through this battle.  So I move and launch some fighters!  With 4 hangers, 4 fighter squads get pooped out the back of the ship and get to immediately move up to 24″!  See?  Carriers are good to have on the board.

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Yes, I have to roll to launch fighters every turn, and they have to avoid AA fire when they attack, but they’re still awesome.  But I still have old fashioned laser beams, so let’s fire a few of them off, shall we?

First shot takes a Patroller out of the fight as an Engine hit makes it useless.  2nd hit blows up the Monitor taking the lead.  3rd takes out another Patroller with 3 hits to the Hull.  4th shot missed.  5th shot blows the Missiles off of another Patroller.  Brave soul decides to still stay and fight, though.

Well, now it’s 6 to 5 in my favor.  I’m glad I got to go first!

So they fly closer, but not to the magic 36″.  However, the Carrier does not have Shields, so everyone is going to concentrate fire on the big Carrier except for the Slaver, who will use its bigger cannon to pierce the shields of the nearest Cruiser.

After the smoke clears, the Carrier is down a Hull point and a Thrust.  Could have been far worse.  The Slaver didn’t manage to get all its guns on the Cruiser, so shields were able to handle that, so it looks like all my ships live to fight another day.

On my turn, I’m not able to launch more fighters, nor are my current fighters able to contact the enemy, so it looks like just another round of guns firing.  Still 50″ away, so no luck there.

But still, another Engine hit causes a Patroller to bugger off.  8 hits to the Hull cause the other one to eat vacuum.  Now that all the wee ones are gone, even got a hit on one of the Slavers and had it lose a Hull and a Gun.  It’s still sticking around, though.  So now I outnumber them 2 to 1.  I’m liking these odds.

So on their turn, the Capital ship looses its 6 guns onto a Destroyer.  Luckily the one die showing a ‘6’ means not enough got through the shields to do any damage.

So now we go to our fighters who have arrived at the Capital ship.  Sadly they need to get past the AA fire.  Not only the 2 from the Capital ship itself, but the other 2 from a nearby ship (that’s 2″ away or less) so that each ship will have to dodge its way towards the ship before it can let its payload go onto the Cap Ship.

Oh no!  Porkins!  Each fighter is taken down before it could do damage to the ship (basically the ship has to pass 0d6 with 1d6 while you have to pass 1d6 with 1d6, not easy against a Rep 5 ship).  Oh well, I was able to launch 4 more this turn.  Now for more gunfire.

First shot gets 2 hits on a Slaver!  And both to the Shields, completely wiping them out.  Does not look good for that ship…I get lucky and second shot to the same Slaver hits with all 4 guns, and with no shields to block, that’s gotta hurt.  3 hits to the hull, another ineffective.  But the Slaver sees the writing on the wall and passes 0d6 on the taking damage test.  Bye bye!

The other Slaver’s shields are working, and absorb some shots, finishing off my turn.

And again, the Hishen have managed to position themselves to gain the 36″ advantage first.  Luckily it’s only against one Destroyer, but losing one ship is never good.  Let’s see how it fares.

Phew, one of the dice shows a 6, so I’m safe for another turn.  (only 3 guns hit, and Cruisers have 3 shields)

I should be able to finish the fight this turn…should.

I’m able to launch more fighters, and my other fighter squad have made it to the Capital ship.

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Not to scale.

Again, the AA guns from the Slaver will be able to help the beast, so the fighters have their work cut out for them.  Red 2!  Pull up!  Nooooooo!

But Wedge was able to get through!  1 Damage to the Capital ship!  And an Engine hit, to boot.  Then we roll 1d6 to see how much damage (though I guess that doesn’t matter much to Engine damage, does it?) Eh, I only rolled a 1 anyway.  And it passed 2d6, meaning NO ACTUAL DAMAGE.  Dangit.

All ships!  Take out that Slaver!

Our last Destroyer rolls snake eyes for a direct hit, doing 1 damage to the shields and one to the guns.  Lowered shields are always good!

Phew, the slow Capital Ship prevents them from getting within 18″ this turn.  No missile fire to worry about.  However, 6 guns from a Class 5 ship just hit my Destroyer.  3 Shields did their job, but that’s a LOT of damage.  The damage is to the Shield, AA guns and Hangars. So 5 damage to Shields removes all those, and its one AA gun is destroyed and there’s no Hangars.  Phew.  It survived.  However, it’s going to lower its Rep by one because if its Received damage test.  You don’t take a full on shot from a huge ship like that and walk away unscathed.

Back on my side, more fighters are launched, and we now have 5 fighters swarming the Capital ship.  With only 4 AA cannon to use, I’m guaranteed one hit.  Excellent.  And one of the AA on the Slaver misses, so I get two fighters through.  First fighter hits the Hull for 1 damage (dangit).  The second hits the Hull for 6 (there we go!).  It passed 2d6, though, so it stays around.  It only has 5 Hull left, though, so the fighters should be able to end things soon.

With its lowered shield, the Slaver is going to get pummeled this turn, so we’ll sum up.

OW!

It now has no shields, no guns, no AA and just one Missile to its name.  Yet it stays around.

Which sadly means I have another turn of attacks to deal with, including missiles.

And the first missile hits the Destroyer that lost all its AA guns last turn.  Dang.  Lucked out with no significant damage, but that means 6 giant laser beams are coming.  3 only make it on target, but that’s probably enough…

A hit to the Bridge AND to Life Support!  You’ve got to be kidding me!  Welp, that guy is out of there.  Luckily that’s all that happened.  The repair bay is better than the void.  So I’ve been told.  They have free wifi in the repair bay.

A successful launch of more fighters (those dice are treating me well) and close quarters mean the Capital ship has to deal with 10 fighters!  And with the Slaver losing all its AA guns, only two guns can take down fighters.  That’s going to be a lot of hits.  I hope I can get this thing to cut and run this turn.

2 fighters are taken out, but that’s still 8 hits.  Let’s tally the damage.

  • 1 damage to the Hull
  • 3 damage to the Hull
  • 6 damage to the Hull
  • 5 damage to the Hull
  • 2 damage to the Engine
  • 3 damage to the Shields
  • 3 damage to the Hull
  • & 3 damage to the Hull

Yup.  It’s space dust.  And it’s buddy takes the better part of valor and flees.  So another PEF cleared up.

So we’re left with this:

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The Brown pawn is the battle that was just fought.  The White is our fleet that consists of two Patrol Squadrons, and the Green pawn is a Rep 2 PEF.

But what’s this?

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Just two activations later, we have another PEF appearing!  Looks like we’re going to have to dig our heels in.  We haven’t won yet!  Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading!

If you liked what you’ve seen here on this site, I’m trying a little something.  I’m just going to put a little tip jar here.  It’s called “Buy me a Coffee.”  It’s just a little something to give me the incentive to keep these posts going.  If these posts have taught you anything, or brought you some joy and you think I deserve it, click on the link below and buy me a coffee.  I’d appreciate it.  And if you don’t, no biggie.  Keep reading.

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Slight continuation

Putting the ef in Defence

Sorry ’bout the delay ya’ll.  Got sick in the middle of writing this report.  And when I’m too sick to play boardgames, I’m too dang sick.  But I’m back, so let’s keep this campaign flying:

 

After our failed Patrol mission, our Planetary Defense Force is now on…um….Planetary Defense.  The Planet of Planet has to not get bombarded by a wave of Hishen forces that are surely to come down upon it soon.

Defense missions are fairly similar to Patrol missions.  There are a bunch of PEFs, we start in orbit around the planet and we need to respond to all the PEFs.

Differences are found in the various tables we’re rolling on.  The PEFs will move slightly differently, and when we contact them, it’s more likely for us to find more ships.  It also recommends you start with at least 6 (and recommends a full Task Force), and you’re allowed to split your Fleet to chase down the PEFs.  Finally, a Class 5 enemy ship has to spend 3 activations in the Planet square to successfully “Bombard” it.  That’s our losing condition.

So let’s grab our Task Force:

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12 separate ships this time, ranging from a Fast Attack carrier down to our lowly Destroyer we all know and love.  I rolled for all their Reps and ended up with a statistically odd amount of Rep 3s, but I got 5s where it counts, so we’ll see what happens there.

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The board is set, so let’s light this puppy.

A few Activation rolls later, the PEFs are still pretty far out in deep space, so I don’t see a need to break off anyone in my fleet.  But then we’re in this situation:

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And now I can move.  This is the point where I should break off a Squadron or two because a) # of enemy is based on the # I send in and b) if I lose this fight, there’s another fight coming, and coming soon.  So I send my two Patrol Squads into the square to the left, and the other two squads (the BIG ones!) to the upper left.  Let’s see what happens!

We’ll start small with the lowermost PEF.  I pass 1d6 and get a smaller contact.  We get 4 ships to my 6.  But what 4?  It’s a Hishen Slaver (Class 4) and 3 Hishen Monitor (Class 3).  They’re all Rep 4 with one Rep 3 Monitor, so that’s not so good.

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I have numbers, they have training.  Now let’s see who saw who first and all that fun stuff.  I roll 2 success to their 3.  Dang, I was happy when I got 2….

*facepalm*

Read the rules, dummy:

The Controlling Faction adds one success to their total.

It’s even in italics.  So now we BOTH have 3 success.  Which means we’re facing each other 6 feet apart.  Which is good for me as all 4 Hishen ships have Missile capacity.  I’m going to have to tear them up with my Cruiser’s guns before they get in close and I sick my Destroyers on them.

The Hishen are coming in as fast as they can go (8″) while I’m going at a liesurely 2″.  We roll to see who goes first, and both roll 11.  And it looks like defender goes first.  I get to go first!

So off I go….2″ away from the edge of the table.  But now I can open fire.  My Destroyers only have 1 gun and every Hishen ship has 1 shield, so there’s no point in them firing, but I have 2 Cruisers that can open up, so they shall try to take out the Slaver before it can do any big damage.  Of course, it’s at long range, so we’re minus 1 Rep.  I have one Rep 5 and one Rep 4 Cruiser, so I should be okay.  Firing right to left, we start with the Rep 4 (now Rep 3 for long distance).

PEW PEW!  It’s a hit, but all the Hishen shields are able to absorb the damage (half hit, which is enough for the Slaver’s shields to take all damage).  Now the Rep 5 Cruiser.  Same result.  Hmmm, wonder if I should try and take out a Monitor or two to lower their Morale?

Either way, it’s their turn.  Let’s see how this works.

They dart forward, upping their Speed to 11.  I suppose they could have gone to 10, but 11 is, like, 1 more than 10.  The Monitor’s guns aren’t effective against anything, so they have to wait until Missile range, but the Slaver’s two guns are effective against my Destroyers, so it fires at the closest ship.  Only passing 1d6 gives us another glancing blow off the shields.  Hmmm, maybe relying on guns getting the job done wasn’t the best idea.

So I decide to start maneuvering my Destroyers a bit to draw fire away from my Cruisers and get missiles flying on the Monitors sooner.  I add a bit of speed to the Destroyers as well, keeping my Cruisers slow and steady.  Squadrons need to keep within a certain distance of each other, so I can’t completely split the party, but I can segregate pretty well, I think.

Now let’s see if I can light up a ship or two.  Rep 4 Cruiser on the front-most Monitor.  1 hit gets through the shields (and since it’s from an upper class ship, that counts as 4 damage).  Sadly it’s a hit to non-existant AA guns, so they just have to take a Damage Taken test.  The ship is Rep 4 and….passes 1d6.  Let’s see how the Hishen takes it.  Reduces Rep by 1.  Looks like I sent some Hishen crew out into the void.  That’s better than nothing by far!

My Rep 5 Cruiser shall try to breech the Slaver ship.  Dang, can’t get through those shields.

As they fly closer on their turn, they don’t seem to be taking the bait.  They’re still all-ahead full, going fast enough to get the close-range bonus on their turn, not mine.  The Slaver fires at my Destroyer again, and again only passes 1d6.

My next turn is familiar, little movement, and Rep 4 firing at a Monitor and Rep 5 firing at the Slaver.  Only this time, no hits to the Monitor and 2 to the Slaver!  Both hits end up just being Hull hits (which the Slaver has 6 left), which doesn’t do much, but it was a moral victory for me.

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It’s hard to see here because I had to zoom out so far, but this is a Hishen slaver being almost exactly 36″ away from a PDF Destroyer.  So it no longer has the -1 Rep reduction for long range.  Nuts.  And yet, rolls a 6,1.  Off the shields!

After my movement, I am not 36″ away from the slaver…but I am from the damaged Monitor leading the formation.  So let’s have BOTH our Cruisers fire at it, shall we?

All 4 guns hit with our first ship, only 1 shield absorbing damage.  A hit to the shields, Life Support and Hull.  I don’t need to bother with reaction rolls as the Hull hit reduces the Monitor’s hull to zero.  Zero hull means KA-BOOM.

Sadly, there is no test to see if the other ships run because the Slaver is a higher class ship, and the other two ships are within 2″ of the Slaver, so they see their big brother is still alive, so they keep on trucking.  But since I don’t have the “easy target” to go after, I’ll have my Rep 5 ship shoot at the Slaver again. 1,4!  Another hit!  A Hull hit and a hit to its Missiles.  Let’s see how the Hishen crew feels about all the damage its been taking.

6.4 – Fine with it.  Stubborn little buggers, aren’t they?

Stubborn, yet unable to hit the broadside of a barn.  Which I’m okay with.

Still not close enough for missiles, but let’s have both my Cruisers try to take the Slaver out.  Bam!  Two hits to start with!  Missiles and Hull.  And two hits from the other Cruiser.  Hull and Shield.  It passes both Received Damage tests, so it’s still in the game, but losing a Shield point means I’ll be doing more damage each time, and we’re about to get into Missile territory (of which the Slaver no longer has any).

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Woof.  Things getting tight now.  And our first missiles are getting unloaded.  Eep.

Our first launch pits a Destroyer against 2 missiles.  It goes to dodge them (yes, you can do that!). Sadly, it fails to dodge any of them, so two hits.  Hull and Hangers are hit, but luckily the crew decides to stay and fight.

Now the Slaver fires its guns at the very same Destroyer.  One gun hits, which gets absorbed by the undamaged shields.  Phew.

Now the other Destroyer is the target of the missiles.  Dodge!  He is able to dodge one, and there doesn’t appear to be a ship within 6″ and a 3″ arc behind him, so no one else gets hit with the missile.

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But the other one hits the Engine!  No significant damage though.  Looks like I was able to work my way through that onslaught.  I’m going a bit too fast, so this is how we end up:

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The good news is that two of my destroyers are able to launch missiles, oh wait, three, I can see three with Hishen in 180 degree arcs.

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This should get interesting.  So I have to fire from right to left, so that’s the lower Destroyer firing missiles at the lower Monitor.  Good news, if it Evades, it’s possible it will hit the Slaver behind it.  FOOMP, FOOMP.  One missile is evaded.  The Slaver will use its AA guns to shoot the missile down.

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HA!  One missile hit to the Monitor, and one to the Slaver.  Nice shootin’, Tex.  The Monitor takes a hit to non-existent AA guns, while the Slaver loses yet another point of Hull (down to 2).  Both are fine with their Received Damage tests, but it’s just beginning.  Now two more “FOOMPS” from my other Destroyer.

Okay, I just now realize that there’s no sound in space so we would be lacking FOOMP sounds, since that sound is air going back into the barrell.  I would think in a far future sound effects would be added to space combat.  No one likes silent battles.  Pew pews would be added.

walt_disney_pepe_le_pew_wallpaper_3

Ahem.

Anyway, the Monitor is able to dodge one missile and, AGAIN, both AA guns miss the other one on the Slaver (rolled 5,6 this time!).  This is just weird!  First hit to the Monitor’s Shield, then the Slaver’s shield.  Nice, my gun attacks will be very effective when we get there.

Oh nice, that was the last shield on the Slaver!  I’d run if I were them, but they pass their tests, and it’s time for my Cruiser to open fire.  This is where my 4 guns should be able to tear through the now shieldless Slaver.  Dang, only 2 made it through, but 2 hits is 2 hits.

Both hits go to the Hull, and wouldn’t you know it, it only had 2 Hull left, so that’s all I needed to have the hull fail and have the inside become the outside and the ship to become more debris in the universe.

Our much damaged Monitor uses this as a cue to cut it and run, as does the other ship.  Victory for the PDF!  All ships remain available (not hard, I’d have to pass 0d6 using 3d6 with every ship).  So now we can chalk one PDF down and take a look at the next one.

Which you can see tomorrow….

And now it’s tomorrow (or later)

Into the garbage chute, flyboy

When we last left our heroes, they were being blowed up.

So let’s return to that.

On turn 2 the Hishen continue to fly forward towards my end of the table.  The Monitor can’t fire as it only has its Missile Launchers left, and those have a range of 12″.  The Capital Ship fires at the closest ship, which is my Cruiser, so I brace for impact.  3 Guns make a hit, but my Cruiser has 3 shields, so I survive another turn.  Phew.

And yes, that is what makes missiles and fighters so important: they ignore shields.

Mwahaha!  I finally finish my long circle around and I’m facing my enemy.  (Guns/lasers have 360 degree firing arc, but missiles have only 180 degrees)  But more importantly, my Cruiser is only 33″ away from the Monitor.  I’ll be rolling against Rep 4 to fire at it.  Bonzai!

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Well F^&* you too.  Excuse me while I throw these dice away.  Still not close enough to employ my Destroyer’s missiles, so it’s back over to the Hishen.

The enemy speeds towards me.  They are both within close laser range, though the Monitor is still slightly out of missile range.

All hands, put down your cellphones!

The Capital Ship makes  a direct hit on my Cruiser!  After shields, that’s still 3 hits for 4 damage each!  3, 11, and 6 are hits to the Engine, non-existent Hangars and to the Hull.  The Engine hit means we have to take a test to see what that does.  The hit to the Hangars mean we just have to take a Received damage test, and a hit to the hull means we lose 4 Hull points.  Since we already have to take a Received Damage test, we’re covered there.  So -4 Hull points, a Received Damage test and an Engine Hit test.  Could have been worse.

We’re Rep 4 and pass 1d6 on the Received damage test.  Ouch, we took so much damage my Rep is lowered by 1 for the rest of the fight.  I lost a lot of crew on that hit.  Now to test (at Rep 3!) for the Engine hit.  Yuck, pass 0d6.  What is it with these dice?

So the captain of this ship says “To..” wait, have to stick with format.

To hell with this.

My Heavy Cruiser is no longer on the table as he just buggered off.  He also had his thrust lowered by one.  I’ll have to see if it’s repairable.  So now I just have a destroyer, who just saw its flagship run.  Yet another test to take.  And no matter what I would have rolled, he takes the better part of valor and leaves too.

While they wait for the upcoming attack in orbit, the Cruiser is able to be repaired.  Phew.  So now we’re back on the campaign map.

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The PEF is changed to blue and I put a blue marker on the card that has the two Hishen vessels on it, so I know what is actually there.  I have to chase them away in order to win the Patrol mission.  It’s still possible, but not bloody likely.  I could also just call this a loss, hope to get some reinforcements and proceed to the next mission (which will probably be a defense mission as the Hishen will realize this planet is horribly defended).

Pfffttttt….never give up!  Never surrender!

New activation roll! I rolled a 1, but they got a 6, so none of them move, but I do, so of course I charge back at the fleet I know about, hoping for a better start.  It’s still my 3 dice to their 4, but losing by two is really bad, so here’s hoping I can get closer, or even get the low odds win:

1,4,4 vs 1,1,4,5

So 1 success vs. 2.  Still a loss for me, but only by one.  But this time, rather than coming at me from behind, they’ll be coming at me head on.  That should make my missile Destroyer a bit more formidable.  We also only start 3 feet from each other, which puts us in range for our lasers (guns…whatever) to be effective.  This will be a very short battle one way or another.

Oh!  I forgot to check for their damaged ships….you have to roll for them as well.  Silly me.  Hell, these  ships might not even exist and I have to take ALL this back.

Rolling for the Monitor: 1,5: pass 1d6.  It’s fully repaired, but will only be available next month!  It’s removed from the table!  The Capital ship: 3,5: pass 1d6.  It wasn’t damaged, so it will remain.  So it looks like a 2 on 1 battle.  I feel a little better now.

The Hishen machine is only coming in at 1″/turn because it doesn’t need to go fast to destroy me, while my two boats are going 4″/turn because I want to get close.  I either blow it up with missiles or board it with my Cruiser (only way to get past its shields).  Both risky, but Never give up!

And starting player is:

2 vs 1,4

The Hishen.  I’m shocked.  So the Capital Ship lumbers forward and turns to broadside (which is totally unnecessary, but looks good).

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It’s 6 guns fire, but are ineffective against my Cruiser.  Everyone is happy as their internet stays up and their streaming shows continue.

My two ships fly ever closer, but their lasers aren’t strong enough to pierce its shields (there are optional rules for concentrating fire from multiple ships onto bigger ones, but I’m going “old school” here).

The Hishen turns full broadside and fires again at the Cruiser.  This time 3 lasers manage to find their mark.  Luckily the Cruiser’s 3 shields absorb and dissipate that energy into the cold darkness of space.  That’s why I’ve been keeping the Cruiser closer to the Capital ship.  Hopefully it can withstand the barrage of fire until the Destroyer can get close enough.

I move ever closer, but the Destroyer is still 20″ away.  I need to get to 12″ to fire any Missiles.  Luckily the Destroyer’s speed has just been raised to 10″, so it’ll be good next turn.

Oh no!  All 6 guns have hit the Cruiser!  All the streaming videos are now buffering!  Now the very important “Where did they hit” rolls:

10 – 5 – 11

Missiles (nothing) – Shields – Hangars(nothing)

Oh no, 4 shields gone!  Now to take a Received Damage test.  This hurt, I wouldn’t blame the Captain for cutting and running.  Another direct hit would be 5 hits to the ship…or 20 damage.  That would obliterate the thing.  Though he may be relying on the missiles tearing into it next turn (though anti-aircraft protections may halt even the missile fire).

We pass 2d6 and keep at the battle.  Jeez.  This could get ugly.

But it’s my turn, and we are now 10″ and in the 180 degree firing arc of the Destroyer.  Fire both missile launchers!  For each missile, the enemy is now required to roll a die to defend with its AA guns.  It has 2, so it’s possible for it to take out both missiles.  It’s just a simple roll against Rep. 4, 3 gives us one missile making it through.  Finally, the first damage to the Capital ship!  A roll of 9 followed by a roll of 3 means we hit its guns.  So instead of 6 guns, it’s down to 5.

Not a HUGE improvement, but it’s something.  More importantly, now it has to take the Received Damage test.  C’mon boxcars!

2,6.  Drat, pass 1d6, and for Hishen if the damage was caused by a lower class ship, it stays and fights.  At least I made them wiggle on the bridge like they do on Star Trek.

The Capital ship has now turned away from the attack craft, and is slowly speeding up to try and put some distance away from the enemy.  And yet, the Cruiser is still slightly closer than the Destroyer, so it fires on it.

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Neat special effects, huh?

Passes 1d6, which is half round down, so only 2 hit.  The Cruiser’s one remaining shield does its thing, but we still take a hit.  Dangit.

Ironically it’s also a hit to the guns, so 4 Guns go down on the Cruiser.  Which is, you know, ALL OF THEM.  Even so, we pass 2d6 on the Received fire test, and I’m able to do another go at it.

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And now I have to problem of actually over-flying my quarry!  I slam on the brakes, but I think I’ll be going past him on my next turn.  I better make sure these missiles hit!

The AA batteries fire up!  And accomplish nothing!  2 Hits!

2 and 10 gives us Bridge hit and a Missile (nothing) hit.  We take the Received Damage test first, then we’ll take the Bridge Hit test.  I can’t honestly say I’ve ever taken one of those.  Curious to see how Hishen react to captains blowing up.

5,6 – 0d6 on the Received Damage test!  Hishen are stubborn aliens.  They just go down a Rep.  If reduced to 0, they’ll leave.  But that puts them down to 2 Rep, so they are much less effective now.  And now a Bridge hit test at 2 Rep:

5,6 – Jeez.  These dice are weird!  And with that, the Hishen are chased out of the system!

The Day is ours!

The Cruiser is going to be in drydock for the rest of the month repairing, but it is repairable.  The Destroyer is just fine and can continue the mission.  I guess I can change the campaign map to look like this:Capture

I only have one ship, after all.

I am going to make a command decision here for the rest of the mission.  If I make contact with a PEF and it comes up as “less than the number of your group,” I’m going to count it as zero and remove the PEF.  1 on 1 battles seem a little silly to me, and while I want them to be a possibility, doing two of them as a matter of course is just “meh,” to me.

So the next activation roll is snake eyes, which produces another PEF.  Greaaaaat.  It gets placed in 1,6 – the complete upper right quadrant of the box.  I’ll deal with that later.  Now I roll 1,6, but this time I’m the 6, so all the PEFs will move (the new PEF is Rep 5).

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Reinforcements please?  I’m able to go first next turn, and I hope towards the PEF that’s closest to the planet.  It resolves as 2 ships.  Uh oh.  Let’s see the classes to see if it’s worth playing out.  A class 3 and a class 4.  Ugh.  A Rep 4 Hishen Patroller and a Rep 5 Hishen Overseer.

That’s it, I’m out.  Stick a fork in me.  This planet is toast.  I count the Mission is lost.  I’m down one ship, but the war is not over.  So now we check our Campaign morale.  I roll 1d6 versus it.  The Hishen will be rolling 3d6.  We see how many d6 are passed.

2 vs 1,6,6 – We both pass 1.  No change.  The war continues.

Now we can check for any change in Rep of my ships.  Two ships survived, the Cruiser and Destroyer.  If it dealt damage, it’s possible for the Rep to go up, if it received damage, the Rep can go down.  If it did both, it’s possible for the Rep to go either way.  The Cruiser could go either way, while the Destroyer can only go up.  You roll a d6 – if you roll higher than the Rep or ‘6’, then your Rep goes up.  If you roll a ‘1’, then it goes down.

Rolling for the Cruiser; 6!  Rep 5!

Rolling for the Destroyer: 5.  No change.

Now I can check if I get any reinforcements in the sector.  Rolling against the campaign morale…I get 1d6 which gets me no new ships (but doesn’t lose me any, either).

And my next mission is a….Defend mission.  Yup, that was just a scouting mission for the Hishen invasion to begin.  Now I need to bring a full force to bear to defend Planet.  In Defend missions you play with at least 6 ships and it is much more likely for you to be outnumbered.  Of course, if my dice were normal I wouldn’t be outclassed so often…but there ya go.

 

So one mission down in 5150: Star Navy.  Would you like me to continue?

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Admira(b)l(e)

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So I’ve been fiddling around and playing a solo game of 5150: Fringe Space.  It’s like my previous playthrough of 5150 (See these posts), only with more updated rules and a lot more flying in space.  I’m enjoying it.  Didn’t feel the need to post about it since I already ran through an earlier version, and I’m six or so sessions into it, so trying to rehash everything would be difficult anyway.

But it got me reading other people’s play of the game, and it also got me to reading about new products from Two Hour Wargames, like their new version of All Things Zombie.  Which got me reading people’s playthroughs of that game.  So, of course, I pulled out all of my All Things Zombie stuff and started reading through it again and decided to put together a game of that.

Though, of course, as I was reading that I found a report of ANOTHER game from Two Hour Wargames called Nuts! which is their World War II minis game.  That’s a good game, too!  So naturally I started finding those books and began looking into them.

So that’s why I’m going to be running a quick 5150: Star Navy campaign here.

Naturally.

5150-star-navy-3

I’ll be honest.  I have no idea how I got to Star Navy.  It’s an older system.  It’s got a few rough edges.  It’s about big spaceships shooting each other, so it lacks the personality of games that I usually enjoy.  But it does have a really good campaign system and it plays FAST.  Maybe that’s why I wanted to do it.  I dunno.  But there you have it.  So now you have to suffer through it too.


The premise that comes with the game is simple enough.  The player(s) are members of one of the factions in the 5150 world:

  •  Free Company – The small factions that include Pirates and traders and such.
  • Hishen – “The Grays”(ish) who run slave rings and demand order!
  • Planetary Defense Force – A force that..defends…planets.
  • Star Navy – The Guys on the cover.
  • Xeog – Religious nutty aliens trying to bring back their old empire.
  • Zhuh-Zhuh – Giant ape-like mean aggressive, though oddly not human.

 

I picked the Planetary Defense Force because they seemed pretty easy to handle.  There’s only 4 different types of ship I need to deal with, and you’re always on defense when playing them, so I don’t have to worry about guilt when taking over other people’s planets.

Now we get to find out who we are at war with.  A-yup, you can roll randomly to see who is at war with who.  I love it.  Too bad there isn’t a “Who started it” table.  That would make it awesome for me.

Anyway, it would seem that the Hishen are trying to expand into my space, and the Planetary Defense Force must stop them from spreading!

I am an Admiral in charge of 57 different ships, ranging from the Battleship that is my own headquarters, down to 5 tankers and a freighter.  Rarely will all these ships be on the table at once, but it is possible, and the rules are simple enough that it’s entirely playable.  But I don’t think we’ll be starting our campaign with a full Fleet on Fleet battle.

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First, we check the Campaign Morale: how invested are the two sides in this conflict?  The charts indicate that my Morale is at a 3 while the Hishen is at a 4.  Hmmm, they want it more.  Not good.

I’m all set to go!

Mission 1 is always a patrol mission.  I will only need a Squadron for this Mission.  A patrol squadron for the Planetary Defense Force looks like this:

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That’s just a Light Cruiser (the bigger ship in the back left) and two Destroyers.  The Reputation of the crew of the ship will denote its abilities, so I roll to see what they’re like.  The Cruiser is Rep 4, which is pretty good, and I get one Rep 4 Destroyer and one Rep 5 Destroyer!  I only have to deal with these 3 ships for the first mission.  Easy-peasy.  I’m to move from orbit around the planet I’m defending (which I’m going to cleverly name….Planet) and find all the PEFs (Potential Enemy Forces) in the near space and then return to orbit.

Oh, and for you purists out there, yes, these “miniatures” are from Battlefleet Gothic, a Games Workshop game which is also of galactic spaceship battles.  The “Official” minis for this game (available through Rebel Minis) are not on Tabletop Simulator, and you’re not really held to any type of mini at all.  THW’s slogan is, after all, “Just play the game.”

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So here’s my masterfully made star-system map.  You can see the planet in the lower right box.  The white pawn is my patrol squadron.  The three green pawns are the PEFs.  They usually don’t start all bunched up like that, it’s just the one die rolled ‘3’ each time.  On the right, there, I put down the campaign morale as well, so I don’t forget.  I’m now ready to play!

So now we roll Activation dice to see who moves this turn.  I roll the red die, while the PEFs are represented by the Black die (dun dun DUUUNNN).

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The higher number designates who goes first.  So that would be me.  And I would get to move any Fleets/Squadrons/whatever that was being led by a Rep 5 or better (because I rolled a 5).  The Light Cruiser is leading the squad (since it’s the biggest ship), and that crew is Rep 4, so it will not move this turn.  So now we go to the red die, and any PEF of Rep 3 or higher will move in descending order.  PEF Rep was determined earlier by rolling 2d6 and choosing the higher die (6s were treated as 5s).  We have one PEF as a 5 and one as a 4, so they will both move.

I make a roll against the Campaign Morale of the enemy, ie. the more they “want it,” the more aggressive the PEFs will be.  For the first PEF (Rep 5), I roll 5,6 (both above the Morale of 4) – so the PEF stays in place.  The next I roll 6,3 which means 1 passes below the Morale level, and “passing 1d6” means the PEF moves one square towards the closest fleet of mine.

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Um, hi!

That’s turn 1.  Turn 2 the PEFs go first, but only the Rep 5 PEF can move.  It moves towards the planet.  Insert Jaws theme song here.  Now it’s my turn, and I’m able to move my squad, so I move it into the square with the Rep 4 fleet.  I can now resolve what it is!

Again, the roll is based on the enemy’s morale, and I pass 2d6 this time, so I bump in Hishen!  Oh no!  Luckily my roll says there are only 2 ships in that space, but they could be big ones, so let’s see what the table tells me.  It says a Class 5 and Class 3 ship.  Uh oh, it’s a biggun!

We have a Hishen Capital Ship and a Monitor.  Luckily, they both have Rep 3 crews, so with luck I can make them flee due to better training over their superior firepower.

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My ships are on the left for size comparison.

Now we work on our scanning capability to see when we saw each other, and who saw who first.  The PDF has a Long Range Scan capability of 3, while the Hishen have 4.  That’s how many dice we roll, and we see who rolls more “successes” (1,2 or 3).

3,4,4 v 1,3,3,4

My one success to their three.  That means that they have the drop on me.  They will be starting from BEHIND me.  They start 4 feet behind me on the table (because 4 total successes were rolled.  Neat mechanic there).  Then we set our speeds (attacker is at least 1 up to double their fastest ship’s thrust-defender is 0 up to their fastest ship’s thrust).  There’s a bit where the defender can try to reset their speed if they don’t like how things are set up, but in a solo game, this isn’t an issue since you just kind of set it up how you think it would happen.

So the Hishen Monitor is coming in screaming at 8″/turn, trying to get close to use it’s missiles to take down my Cruiser.  The Capital ship is coming in a bit slower at 4″/turn since it’s going to be relying on long range laser fire to whittle down the smaller ships.

Both my Cruiser and Destroyers are going their max 4″/turn because they want to be as mobile as possible.  The Destroyer needs to get close enough to use its missile launchers on the Capital ship to get past its shields.  The Cruiser will try to keep the Monitor at bay by pounding at it with its guns.

Let’s see how this goes!


So now we see who goes first.  Simple, roll the number of dice equal to your successes on your Long Range Scan roll, and who ever rolls the highest goes first.

So 1d6 v 3d6.  *sigh*

3 vs 16.  Yeah, they go first.  Shocking.

Now they just go based a pretty simple checklist.  If they have missiles, they get close and use them.  If they don’t, they shoot at whoever’s shooting at them.  It’s a little more complicated than that, but not much.  We start the turn with movement.

Strangely movement goes from “Left to Right” from the perspective of standing on the short edge of the table.  It’s simple, sure, but a bit odd.  So the Cruiser will be moving first.  It has a current speed of 4″, so it lumbers forward, trying to get within 36″ to get within a good range for its lasers.  As a class 5 ship, it is only allowed to turn 45 degrees at the end of its turn.  Not a mobile ship at all.  As it’s just going right for me, it’ll stay straight.

The Monitor is screaming in at 8″ to take down my big ship.  It can turn 45 degrees at 4″ and at the end of its move, so it’s a bit more agile.

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After movement it’s still pretty far away, but now each ship can alter speeds by up to their thrust levels.  The Cruiser will move up to 6″ while the Monitor will jump to 12″.  We have incoming! Stupid frictionless space!

Now from Right to Left, we would launch fighters and then move fighters, but neither of the Hishen ships are carrying fighters, so we go straight to the “guns” phase.  I’d like to think of them more as lasers because, well….PEW PEW!

The Captial ship and Monitor are 42 and 39 inches from the nearest ship, respectively.  So they are firing at long range.  The Monitor is firing first, so I grab 2 dice and roll against 3 (the Rep of the crew).  Because we’re at long range, we’re actually firing against a Rep of 2, so it’s a tough shot.  So the dice roll and…neither die is a 2 or less, so the lasers are not effective.  I like how it says that, so you can still say they HIT the target, they just didn’t do appreciable damage.

“Captain, the Hishen Monitor has opened fire on us.  Shields are protecting us, but are at 80%.”

“Be quiet, season two of Iron Fist just dropped.”

Now the Capital ship will fire, again rolling against a 2.  This is why I got lucky with their low Rep scores.  This time 1 die showed a 2, so half the guns fired, rounding down will affect the target.  The Capital ship has 6 guns, so 3 are effective.  The Destroyer’s shields will absorb 1 of them, so 2 are counted as hits.  Dang.  This is big, and you’ll see why soon.

Now where did those lasers pierce?  Let’s find out!  8 and 6 give us two Hull hits.  Now, because the firer is a bigger Class than the, um, firee(?) Damage is more than 1 point.  In fact, it’s the number of points of the Class of the firer.  Therefore, each hit is 4 damage!  So 8 Damage to the hull! As the Destroyer only has 4 points in Hull, my Destroyer just got cut in half!

“Your Netflix session has ended.”

Not a good start.  Due to this, we have to check if my other ships are within 6″ of the destroyed ship.  If so, we have to see how they take the destruction of their friend.  Looks like they both are.  My heavy Cruiser doesn’t need to Test as it’s a higher class than the destroyed ship, but the other Destroyer is probably worried.  So we roll against their Reputation of 4.  Both dice are 4 or less so they decide staying and fighting is worthwhile.

 

Now it’s my turn to retaliate.  Let’s do this.

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I split my ships to try and draw some fire away from the little guy so we don’t have a repeat of last turn.

My Heavy Cruiser opens fire on the Monitor.  Revenge!  At Rep 3, it’s still a tough roll, but I manage to hit with 2 beams, 1 gets absorbed by its shields, so I get a palpable hit.  It hits the lone laser port on the Monitor, sending the bits out into the vacuum of space.  It still has its Missiles, but it’s now worthless at long range.  It now has to take a Received Damage test, which might get me to breathe a little easier.  Of course I roll 3,2 – Which means it passes both dice and the ship will stay and fight.

Now my lil’ Destroyer and have a go at shooting the Monitor.  Oh, never mind.  It only has one gun, which will get absorbed by the one shield of the Monitor.  We need to get close and get missiles in action to do any of that.  Rough.

So that’s our first back and forth.  I’m down a ship.  Things are not looking good for my first mission as Admiral.  Should I just retreat and try to get a better Long Range Scan next time?  What would you do?

More pew pews!