Wednesday, 8 April 2015

The Storm on the Horizon - A Call To Arms Star Fleet Battle Report

Columbia under attack by TheFirstFleet
Scenario Background
Conducting a routine survey in Sector 3715 Earth Starfleet ship Columbia (NX-02) is charting an asteroid field in a previously uncharted star system when it receives some unwelcome visitors...
This scenario is loosely based on the Star Fleet Battles scenario The Mighty Hood goes down.
  • Open space non-floating map.
  • The Romulan deployment zone is in the top right corner of the table. The Starfleet deployment zone just outside the asteroid field on the other side of the table (see set up photo).
  • An asteroid field stretches across the map. Density is randomly determined and extends 2 inches (2.45cm) beyond the outer asteroids in the field.
  • Not expecting any danger, the Columbia does not have its photonic torpedoes armed and so will take one turn to arm them after the Romulans appear.
Special Rules
  • The Columbia must escape by exiting the left side of the table. Exiting any other table side, once the Romulans reveal themselves, will result in a loss for the Starfleet player. However Columbia cannot attempt to escape until the Romulans reveal themselves by decloaking.
  • If Columbia exits the table edge opposite to where it begins the scenario before the Romulans reveal themselves, then Columbia is deemed to have outpaced the Romulans and they loose their chance to take her out, loosing the scenario.
  • The Romulans will not pursue the Columbia once it has left the system.
  • The Romulans begin the game cloaked and have the Initiative. All weapons are fully loaded.
  • Columbia has the Pulsed Phase Cannon upgrade on all its Phase Cannons, and the extra F/S & F/P Photonic Torpedo tubes are operational giving it 2AD for both the F/S & F/P Photonic Tubes (see post here).
House Rule - Slow Reload
This house rule redefines the Reload rule as meaning that a weapon takes one turn to reload (re-energise etc) rather than requiring a Special Action. So in effect, the weapon becomes a Slow Reloading type of weapon rather than requiring a Special Action to load up the weapon. So in this scenario, the Reload rule indicates slow reloading. Slow Reloading means that the weapon can only be fired every other turn. So if you fire the weapon on Turn 2, you can't fire it again until Turn 4. The new version 1.2 of ACTA Star Fleet fixes the original Reload rule to be basically what I am using above. However as I'm still using the version 1 rules and haven't finished reading the version 1.2 rules yet, the Reload rule being used for this scenario is as defined above.
Romulans have the initiative. Asteroid Field is determined to be of Density 8.
Movement Phase
Columbia continues on its rout scanning the asteroid field, unaware of the presence of the Romulans.
Romulans cloaked...
...move to intercept Columbia, weapons hot!
Attack Phase
No action at this time.
End Phase
No action at this time.

Columbia has the initiative.
Movement Phase
The Romulans disengage their cloaks...

...and are spotted by Columbia.

Columbia's scans of the Romulans reveal that their weapons are charged. Columbia's captain orders a turn to port and an escape through the asteroid field before the Romulans get into weapons range and cut them off.

The Columbia enters the asteroid field but elects to move no more than a total of 8 inches this turn. Checking for the effects of the asteroid density of 8, the Columbia rolls a total of 3 for its Crew Quality check. Having a crew quality of 4, the result is a 7. The result is a fail on the Crew Quality check for Columbia. Having moved a total of 8 inches this turn, Columbia receives a total of 8 attacks from impacts from asteroid debris. Rolling the attacks, and applying the results, a total of 7 hits are scored to Columbia's polarised hull plating shields!
Attack Phase
No action at this time.
End Phase
Columbia commences loading their torpedoes in anticipation of a fight.


Romulans gain the initiative.
Movement Phase
Columbia moves only 4 inches this turn in an attempt to reduce the damage from any asteroid debris impact. The crew quality check results in a pass and Columbia avoids any serious impacts.

Attack Phase
Only one Romulan warbird is in range of Columbia with its F/P Plasma F. However as Columbia is at extreme range it would be a wasted shot for the Romulan captain. The Romulan captain holds fire until in a better range.

End Phase
Columbia finishes loading its torpedoes.


Columbia gains the initiative.
Movement Phase

Moving to intercept Columbia, the captain on Romulan Warbird 3 enters the asteroid field at full movement of 12 inches hoping to avoid impacting any asteroid debris and get ahead of Columbia, cutting off her escape.

The crew quality check for Warbird 3 results in a success, with no damage being suffered by the Romulans.

Meanwhile, Warbirds 1 & 2 chase Columbia...

...hoping to either shepherd her towards the third Warbird or to catch her in the asteroid field and pummel her.

Columbia's captain, sensing the danger as the Warbirds close in, orders "All Power to Engines" electing to forgo any energy to fire torpedoes this turn.

Checking for asteroid collision, Columbia's crew quality check is a roll of 5! Phew, with a total Crew Quality Check of 9 against the asteroid density of 8, Columbia powers through the asteroid belt exits without incident, thus gaining good distance between it and the Romulans.

Attack Phase
Columbia's movement puts them out of range of the Warbirds and in the clear of the asteroid field. So no combat occurs this turn either.
End Phase
No action at this time.


Columbia gains the initiative.
Movement Phase
Romulan Warbird 3 heads at full movement pace of 12 inches (successfully passing her crew quality check to avoid asteroid debris) in an attempt to close the distance to Columbia and attempt to disable her before she can escape.

Warbirds 1 & 2 entre the asteroid field at full movement pace of 12 inches (also surviving their crew quality checks for the asteroid field) in an attempt to catch Columbia.

Columbia's captain orders "Maximum Warp Now" moving only six inches straight ahead, ready to jump to Warp 5 at the end of the turn and escape the Romulans who can only reach Warp 4.3 at top speed.
Attack Phase
The Romulans have yet to open fire on Columbia. Columbia's captain, wishing not to start the shooting, holds fire until provoked. So although Columbia has the initiative, the captain elects to not fire this turn.

The Romulan Warbird 3 opens fire with both forward plasma F's and both forward disruptors. The plasma's miss their target due to asteroid debris interference. However the Warbirds disruptors are on target, hitting Columbia. The disruptors Multihit 2 quality deals 4 more points of damage to Columbia's polarised hull plating, leaving it with only 1 more point of shielding.

End Phase
Columbia makes it escape to Warp 5 intact, leaving the Romulans behind.


Final Thoughts
This was an interesting scenario to play. The key for the Columbia was to escape as soon as possible. The Romulans could have surrounded her before decloaking but revealed themselves too early to properly spring their trap. The asteroid field proved to be a crucial addition to the scenario, making it the best place to obstruct the Romulans but also proving potentially lethal if crew quality checks failed. I suspect that any denser a field would prove fatal to moving too quickly through the asteroids.