After the failure to seize the Cygnus system because of the unexpected size of the Cygnan navy, the Kzintis started a campaign of consolidating their gains and cutting off the system from all outside help, while the lead fleet elements were repaired. To aid in this campaign, a raid was planned against the major ore-extraction facility of the system, located on an unusual moon of the major gas giant of the Cygnus system. Federation personnel in the system were just as aware of moon’s importance as their own repairs depended on materials that traced their origin to the same place. So the Kzinti raiding force was surprised at the size of the patrol visiting the installation when they arrived….

This was attempt to write-up and play a scenario featuring some ships shown in CLs 20 and 24, particularly one of the Cygnan designs, which only saw action in the opening stages of the Second Federation-Kzinti War. So, it was an assault on a fixed defense, as a home-brew scenario. Since I’ve never done any sort of base fight before, balance was unlikely. But it was fun. Worried that the Kzintis didn’t necessarily even have to engage the enemy ships to win, I put on a time limit as well as BPV balancing without including what needed to be shot up (do 200 points to one side of a moon). Besides, that made sure that it wouldn’t turn into a long siege (which would be an interesting project), and with the last couple of recent sessions dragging out on-line, I wanted a chance at getting this wrapped up.

Mark and Mike took the role of the fixed defenses and the defending squadron (a Fed FF and two Cygnan YDDs), while I had the Kzinti force with a CLC (Light Command Cruiser), 2 CLs and a DF.

The first turn was mostly approach, which happened at a much higher speed than expected. This put me in a good position to pepper the defenses and moon and have a decent double-wave of drones. (They should have been tighter, and I can think of how to do it better, but I’m still learning the basics.) The main problem is that I had not realized the insane number of ph-3s that build up once you get ground bases and defensive satellites into an area. As it was, some of the drones got pretty close, even without fleet support. If I had it to do again, I’d concentrate more on the DefSats during the first round instead of hoping I could get around them. I killed one, and could have easily killed a second (of 5), if I had decided that’s what I wanted to do instead of trying to score points.

So, the fleet ended up turning away at the last moment (after firing as close as they dared), and moved away with no more than a couple down shields and a couple ships with light internals. I turned and prepared to try again, with little hope of being able to do everything that needed doing with the limited time and drone stocks.

Then, the defending squadron put itself in the way, with the moon to far away to support it. The Cygnan ships turned off and towards the moon, which was really where they were needed. The FF ended up going toe-to-toe with the CLC. The initial exchange was okay. I ended up crippling the FF in exchange for moderate internals, but it wasn’t quite as dramatic a difference as I’d hope for with a FF absorbing fire from two ships (a CL being just a hex further away).

Mistake: I had forgotten at this point that the CLC uses the expanded phaser and disruptor arcs of the later Kzinti designs. I should have pumped an extra ph-1 and Disr into him, which would have really gutted the FF at that point.

After that, it turned into running a gauntlet of drones (which the Cygnans use) and shuttles left behind by the squadron, while I tried to position myself for one more salvo at the moon. At this point the CLCs wounds became terminal as various things pot-shotted through the down shield. If not for the time limit, it would probably be possible to cover it as it puttered away from the moon, as the two CLs were not so damaged as to be unable to keep YDDs cautious.

And the DF? Almost untouched, it bravely followed some of its drones in for a final shot at the defenses before turning off. A salvo at the beginning of the next turn barely brought it down to the point where it couldn’t disengage and could be run down.

So another failure for the Kzinti. Two ships gone, and two damaged, in exchange for one DefSat, crippling the FF, and some other minor damage. I’d call it better than Tug of War, but that’s about it. The scenario is agreed to be extra-tough on the Kzinti, but not bad as a first try.

With this, we move the clock forward again, and the next fight will be happening in Y138. We’re going to be doing a frigate squadron battle, as everyone is convinced that we need some practice with handling the smaller ships.