21 February 2011

Recon Among the Rocks

A third Recon mission in our X-Cam. We wanted a relatively short game, so I held back on a challenge for a strategic match. After rolling to determine the scenario we use my new random terrain & condition generator, and we get 4 terrain pieces along with 4 shoals, so the middle of the table looked like a series of rocks and breakers. I set up my Elven force near the western edge of my deployment zone to take advantage of the wind blowing directly east down along the table. We deploy 500 point lists, neither of us taking frigates or flyers, but the Dwarves launch a new addition to their fleet, a scratchbuilt mechanical squid! The Dwarves also include a squadron of destroyers which had only been purchased from the drydocks the previous day and remains unpainted.

The Dwarves steal initiative with "Upper Hand" and carefully navigate among the rocks. The white areas are shoals which do not block line of sight, but any model moving across suffers attack dice according to the ship class. The Dragon Lord frigate in the foreground is not part of the battle fleets; it's actually a merchant vessal tied to the dock at Pencap Rock, delivering a supply of lamp oil for the lighthouse which guides ships around the end of the series of rocks and shoals in this area.
Shots are exchanged. The Elven cruisers score nominal damage against the destroyers as their weapon systems are still warming up. But the Dwarven cruisers do some serious damage to the leading Viper which is dismasted. Meanwhile, there are strange ripples among the rocks which are spotted but ignored as the Elven commander decides to concentrate attention against the real threat of ironclad cruisers at range band two rather than some bubbles in the water. End of turn 1.
The Swift Eagle Heavy Cruiser Squadron moves into better firing positions and finally take out the destroyers with a second salvo. And the cruiser aims at the H.A.S. Foe Hammer plays "Elite Gunners" and hopes for a hit, but the green magic orbs only richochet off the sloped armour plates of the large ironclad. Now the Elven battleship Mountain Fury Spirit comes about, still ignoring those bubbles in the water, and unleashes a full broadside against the Foe Hammer, playing "Ball & Grape" along with a roll which secures a critical hit, but the Dwarven Admiral Redhammer plays "Tougher than it Looks" so the battleship only takes a point of hull damage and loses some crew.
End of turn 2. Sustained Dwarven fire against the Swift Eagle Heavy Cruiser Squadron begins to take a toll. One heavy cruiser is shattered into splinters and sinks beneath the water while the other piles up damage tokens. End of turn 2.
Those aren't bubbles! A mechanical squid emerges from the waves to attack the lead cruiser of the Swift Eagles, smashing the hull before a panic dive and dragging the wreck with it using hideous ironclad tentacles.

The remaining ship of the Swift Eagle Squadron, a damaged Viper, which had repaired the mast, moves between the enemy cruisers and destroyers to unleash a double broadside. The Elven weapons are mostly harmless. But when the heavy cruisers return fire, I play "Orb Overload" and those weapon systems which have been not functioning properly lead to a blast of magic energy which destroys the last destroyer and inflicts more damage on the cruisers.
The Mountain Fury fires a full broadside into the bubbling water where the mechanical squid had just attacked a cruiser moments before, but the 13 dice are mostly wasted. End of turn 3. The mission only lasts 4 turns, and the objective is to destroy the most enemy ships, so the time has come for the final efforts of both sides to sink everything they can. The Dwarven engineers manage to repair the one point of damage on each of three different ships. Damn those tinkerers! Elven magic, in contrast, seems unreliable.
The squid surfaces again and moves to ram the battleship but fails to damage the large hull. The Mountain Fury fires another broadside, and this time the squid is smashed and sinks below the surface never to rise again.
The Elven cruiser squadron moves to tie up the heavy ironclads, one of them ramming the H.A.S. Bayonet while the other two link fire against the second heavy ironclad. Minor damage is inflicted. But the Dwarven heavy cruiser moves into perfect threat position between two Elven cruisers and fires a double broadside. The cruiser which had rammed is sunk, but the other only suffers a critical hit which leaves it afloat. At the end of the turn the Dwarven player has sunk and damaged more of the enemy fleet, so a marginal Dwarven victory is declared as the remaining Elven ships turn to lick their wounds and the Dwarves are left with control of the rocky point and lighthouse.
Dwarf: 8 Recon Points
Elves: 2 Recon Points