Mark and Patch made it over on Sunday, and we had our first SFB game for nearly a year. (And that one was nearly a year after the previous one. We either need to get more of the rest of the group hooked, or find some way of getting the three of us together more regularly.)

The agenda for the day was SH125 Pressing an Advantage from Module S2. It’s kind of a sequel to the previous scenario we played, happening just afterwards, but with different forces involved. It’s also a very different battle. Captain Koda of a Klingon D6J (penal ship), is determined to get out of disgrace, figures it is now open season on the LDR, goes hunting for an LDR force to win some glory. He starts with a convoy of armed freighters (which are part of the LDR defense forces), and then a significant task force of regular navy vessels shows up….

The opening part of the battle (3 turns) is a distinctly uneven fight between an LDR POL and three armed freighters (two small and one large) and a Klingon force with a D6J, F5C, F5, and E4. After that is a fight with the survivors and a LDR (Lyran—no gatlings) CA, 2xFF and PSC. To encourage things from just being maneuvering with zero combat, the LDR gets VPs for turns 2 & 3 if the Klingons aren’t close enough, and the Klingons get VPs if the LDR forces aren’t close enough (they are there to defend the LDR after all). Within 15 hexes and everything’s fine. Outside of 22 hexes, both sides are getting 4 VP per impulse. The seven hexes in between gives only the LDR VPs. Lastly, the Klingons cannot disengage until the D6J is crippled or one of the reinforcing LDR ships is destroyed.

With three of us, we split the Klingons for the first two turns between Patch and Mark, since they had a bit more to do, with Mark taking over the LDR reinforcements on turn 4.

I took a look at the relative forces and ran. I would have been just as happy if we were both getting VPs because of distance on turn 2, but as it happened, we ended the first turn right in the ‘sweet spot’. The Klingon force pushed itself to speed 30 for turn 2, while I maintained speed 18, which was about as good as the small armed freighters could manage. I kept running for the first quarter of the turn, building up some VPs, and then as the Klingons got into range, a bit off the right side, I turned in.

I had hoped to turn in quick and speed past the Klingon force on a turn where they were obviously giving up weapons for speed. With a closing speed of nearly 50, I could blow by and get back to moderate ranges before even nimble Klingon ships could get turned around. Then it’d be a turn of running flat out while waiting for the regular navy ships to arrive.

Not so much.

While I was generally right, and only about half the disruptors were even armed, the firepower available at that range was more than I could really take, even with some bad rolls. Worse, the Klingons were ready with tractors powered. The POL and one of the small freighters got grabbed. I even aided the process by tractoring the E4 myself. The plan was to hold it for a few impulses so a suicide shuttle had a chance to hit. The F-AS that did that was in turn tractored by the F5C an impulse or two later, leading to the first situation we’ve had where three ships were all tractored together. The D6 tractored the shuttle (quickly destroying it) and and the POL. The other F-AS took the brunt of the damage, and the F-AL took light damage (killing all three ph-2s) as it alone made it through the Klingon formation.

There was a short tractor auction at the end of the turn 2, but my ships weren’t nearly big enough to put up much resistance. All energy went into weapons and shields. It took most of the turn to completely finish off all three ships (cargo pods make great padding), while the F-AL clawed for distance.

Damage to the Klingons was mostly shield damage, but the #1 on the F5 was nearly down, the #6 half down, and the E4 had taken internals.

Turn four was fairly boring, as the LDR forces came in at speed 24, hitting moderate range to the Klingons, who spent the turn regrouping from a scattered position, by the end of the turn. Since so little of the initial force was left, I’m in charge of the F-AL and the CA, while Mark is handling the two FFs and the PSC. A volley of disruptor fire seriously eroded the F5s #2 shield near the end of the turn, leaving it with no strong shields whatsoever. The PSC is hanging several hexes back from the rest of the force, ready to lend EW, and the F-AL has intercepted and is now escorting it.

We had to pack it up for the day at that point. Four turns for something this big is pretty good for us, and we have the setup saved to continue in the near future. Right now, the Klingons have a Substantive Victory (~220%), but it is not likely to stay that way. The situation is still very interesting, and we want to see where it goes from here.