In Y155, an Orion “Horde” attacked and destroyed Federation outpost K4. This was a prelude to a massive smuggling operation in which weapons and contraband purchased from the Klingons were smuggled into Federation space.

The three usual suspects (me, Patch, Mark) just finished playing this scenario from S1 online, with Mark taking the Federation and Patch and I splitting the Orions. It’s an interesting scenario, as it’s written to complicate a fairly straightforward situation. Also because of it’s nature, it caused us to pay a lot more attention to a few parts of the rules than normal.

I didn’t want to say too much before the game started, but I did warn everyone before the game started to look over the victory conditions very carefully. The victory conditions work off the normal Modified Victory Conditions, and relative victory points gained thereby, but the points are redefined from the standard BPV. All the Feds have is a Battle Station, and with the number of ships against it, it will be destroyed. Worse, the Orions get to send in a large Q-ship first, and the base isn’t allowed to do anything until it can get its first shot off. However, destroying the BATS is 5 points. Destroying the Q-ship is 10. So, if the BATS destroys the the Q-ship, the Orions lose—unless they can capture the BATS, which is worth 20 points.

Patch had the initial Q-ship, and the two LRs in the force that shows up after it fires. I had the CR and CA that show up with the LRs. The Q-ship came up and fired point blank towards the end of turn 2, downing shield #2 and doing a good number of internals. An impulse later, the suicide shuttle hit. The base is allowed to start with weapons active, and took a fair chunk out of the Q-ship, and slapped on a tractor beam. After the end of turn 2, there was a tractor auction where the BATS maintained the tractor for 13 points of power, which at least drained some of the BATS’ reserves.

Naturally, the BATS carved up of the Q-ship’s hide at the top of Turn 3, while the Orion force moved in at moderate speed. To my surprise, instead of preparing to finish it off, he beamed a couple of boarding parties over, and followed this with more on Turn 4. Luckily, a couple of the transporters had been knocked out in the initial volleys, and he was unable to get an advantage over the Q-ship’s crew, which in fact beamed a couple back on board the BATS. I slowed to speed 8 and got to range 12 from the base at the end of the turn. Patch went faster in the LRs, but swung wide towards the north of the map above the station.

Boarding party combat reduced Patch’s BPs to one on board the Q-ship, and both on board the BATS died. However, they did take one with them.

Mark’s attempt to take over the Q-ship mystifies me. I suppose, if he’d gotten control, he could have tried to limp it off the map, and pretty much guaranteed victory by getting double points for it, but it was pretty much a drifting hulk by this point, and we probably could have grabbed it and towed it somewhere convenient for recapture on its way out. 20 points would certainly have guaranteed a draw at minimum though. If he could cripple a ship or two, it might even be a victory. But, I was quite happy to see him frittering away his BPs on the effort, as it had become obvious that we were going to need to capture the station to get any sort of victory at all.

Obviously, the points are set up so that the Orions must preserve the Q-ship if they don’t want to face a boarding action (and with 25 BPs starting on the BATS, it’s not a fun prospect). To do that, I would think either the Q-ship needs to be able to keep from being tractored as the BATS pounds it to pieces. I’m not sure if it’s possible to keep it from getting crippled (which would still be 2.5 points—half of what the Orions get for destroying the base—a tight budget), but sticking to range 2 or three when firing should make the power exchange uneven enough that the BATS probably can’t afford a determined auction from the Q-ship.

As it was, it was time for my attack run. The CR doubled both engines, bricked #2 and went speed 16. The CA doubled one engine, went 15, put a good brick on #2 and a few points on #1 just in case. By my calculations, the downed #2 on the BATS would come back around about when I got there. Thankfully, Mark did not change the rotation speed and mess that up. The plan was to show him #2 until he fired, then turn the #1 to him, centerline him at point blank, and then show him #6 at the end of the turn. The big worry was that he’d wait until after I had to turn to make the run work and gut me at point blank with an unreinforced shield.

The skirmishing continued at the Q-ship as it emptied it’s last phaser capacitor into the weak #2 (bounced off of reinforcement), and the base transported more BPs on board. Also, Mark fired early and did a mere 20 points to the CA (18 of which bounced off the brick) with 3 ph-4s.

Towards the end of the turn, I hit range 1 with the CA on the weak #2, range 2 with the CR and Patch’s LRs. Even with the EW advantage of the BATS, we did something akin to 98 internals, and thoroughly wrecked things. This was a a means to an end, as the real point was killing more boarding parties on the base (1 per 10 internals taken) right before transporting ours aboard, followed up by three shuttle-loads of further BPs (one loaded at the non-combat rate).

The turn ended with a 5:1 situation on the Q-ship. Mark only generated one casualty, and Patch gave up control of the ship, and preserved his BP with the understanding that there’d likely be help arriving the next turn. Between casualties and transfers to the Q-ship, the BATS was down to 6 BPs, and we had 15, +4 that couldn’t participate until the following turn. We did 6 casualties, effectively silencing the opposition.

Then things got confusing. Mark was thinking of self-destruction, but thought that he couldn’t do it with more than a minimal crew on board; he missed the provisions for if there’s more enemy than friendly BPs on board. If I’d been thinking about it, I would have have burned four of the casualties inflicted in taking over the two-box bridge (the only control spaces left).

As it was, the last two ph-4s spoke one last time, hitting the rear of the CR, and destroying the Q-ship, which exploded on the shield of the CR that just went down. Thankfully, it’s big enough that it could take it without crippling.

The final tally was 20 to 11.5, which worked out to a Tactical Victory for us.

The next SFB game is scheduled to be “The Federation Exchange”, which will probably be played between Mark and Patch.