16 February 2011

Escape to Base!

We rolled up this mission according to the X-Cam document, and then we rolled off to determine attacker. Then we rolled to determine wind direction after placing the island, and I realized I would win this scenario because my ships would easily out sail the pursuing Dwarven fleet in no time. I decided I would make an effort to put up a good fight and maybe pick up some extra VP by sinking some of the Dwarven ships so set up to one side, upwind of the island, but with room to come about to deliver some Elven "Weight of Metal" against the Dwarves. I had 265 points in my force of a green dragon, a pair of cruisers, and three frigates. We played on a 3x5 foot table, the Elven ships already 24" inches in from the far side, only about 28"-30" from the nearest edge of the island. (The dragon was a shy bit closer which proved helpful in eventual escape.)

Not the best shot, but a good illustration of the three suns above the Uncharted Seas. The Dwarven fleet had a heavy cruiser squadron and two mixed frigate/destroyer squadrons for 400 points. The Dwarves, holding the wind gauge, took the initiative (played "Upper Hand") and before the Elves could take action a salvo of smoothbore carronades at close range blasted a frigate into a cloud of splinters. This event proved to motivate the remaining frigates which took damage but otherwise escaped without firing a shot the entire encounter.
The Elven cruiser squadron turns to port and unleashes a powerful array of magic orbs, denting some of the Dwarven armor of the destroyers. The Elven commander in the lead cruiser orders the squadron to fight a rear action while the rest of the fleet escapes. The green dragon, already damaged by some fire from a pair of frigates, decides to flee for the island rather than risk death.
At the end of turn one the Elves have lost one frigate, taken damage on another, and the dragon flies away with a wimper after suffering a cannonball puncture in one wing. Only one Dwarven destroyer has taken damage from the cruiser barrage.
During turn 2 the dragon goes to roost on the island, but the frigates fleeing downwind with all sail set (the Dwarves took initiative again, but fortunately targeting the frigates only resulted in some minor hull damage) don't quite reach the island (the mission states clearly that a model must touch the island before being removed from play as safe and counted for the defender's victory). But the cruiser squadron, activating last, takes the brunt of the hurt dealt by the Dwares: one cruiser is sunk and the other suffers a critical hit to steering. The force commander on the lead cruiser, stepping over the killed helmsman, takes the wheel in his own two hands and turns to starboard to take full advantage of the wind and head for safety.
Start of turn 3. Even the Elven cruiser is at range band 3, and winning the initiative secures the remaining ships of reaching the island in safety without another shot fired. The Dwarves called them cowards, but I called them prudent.
This was my favorite mission so far, although I enjoyed playing the next, "Running the Gauntlet," even more.
Dwarf: 1 Recon Point
Elven: 7 Recon Points