Thursday, March 1, 2012

Play Test Battle Report

Steve and I had a chance to play a game this week.  I wanted to share the battle report.

Steve was playing a Human Colony Fleet that consisted of a Hermes Battlesun at its center with a Bezerker Fleet Escort, an Atlas Frigate, and a Hades Destroyer in support.  Steve had the legendary admiral and captain, Commodore Husker and Captain Apollo both on the Hermes, with the character engineer and gunner on the Hades.

I was playing the Qo'noS Empire with a Q-8 Assault Cruiser at the center with two Q-6 'Vort' Destroyers and a Q-5a 'Prey' Frigate in support.  My legendary characters were Admiral Chaang and Gunner Lur's on the Q-8, Captain K'mpeec and Engineer Klaav on the first Vort.  I also had a generic gunner and navigator on the second Vort and a Navigator and engineer on the Prey.

Before we even put down the figures we caught our next change.  The Qo'noS Empire sample fleet does not have any starships under 100 points.  I had 99 points which lead to the full complement of characters in a 750 point game.  I'll refine an escort to a basic ship to get a 'cheap' fill.

I lost the initiative roll, so I had to roll for terrain, which was  a standard planet and moon configuration and had to place them on the table.  Steve then got to choose the table edge he wished to deploy from.  I then deployed my forces on the other side, followed by Steve deploying his.

I was using the Klingon's on the right of the picture from ADB.  Steve was using Ninja Magic's Kikoku starships on the left.  Steve had first turn and he was pretty aggressive, but he could afford it.  Besides the basic Quality 3 on the Hermes he also had the Captain aboard that allowed a guaranteed one success.  The Hermes also has the Fleet Command Center which helped the other ships on activation as well.  This led to all his ships within 2 long distance of the Hermes testing on at least a Quality 3 and the Bezerker on a Quality 2.

Break Break - Activation and Quality Rolls - For those that have not played any of the 'Song of...' games, a figure attempts to activate on 1, 2, or 3 die.  Each result on the die that is equal to or above the figure's quality grants them an action.  So if I have a Quality 4 starship and roll a 6,4,3, I would get two actions to conduct.  Pretty easy.  The trick is that if you ever roll two or more failures on these activation rolls, your turn ends.  No other figures on your side get to activate.  In Void and Stars, the ships have to still conduct a full compulsory move to take in to account inertia, our only bow to physics in the game.  You can quickly see how a good quality is important, but points wise it gets expensive. In the write up below, what each starship attempted and got for actions is listed as (xD/xA) where 'D' is the number dice attempted and 'A' is the number of actions gained.  A (3D/2A) would mean three dice rolled for activation and 2 were successful.

Turn 1 - Steve
- Hermes (3D/3A) - After compulsory movement, Steve's aggressive play pays off.  He uses the superior quality of the ship to launch both fighter bays and a missile volley at the Vort that has the K'mpecc as the captain.
- Bezerker Escort (3D/2A) - Compulsory move, fires missiles and a long range shot at the same Vort, but misses.
- Atlas Frigate (1D/0A) - Since the Atlas had no successes it only gets its full compulsory move.
- Hades Destroyer (3D/3A) - Following Compulsory, the Hades launches its light fighters into a CAP, he then launches his missiles and shots at K'mpecc's Vort.  The shot hits from long range causing a minor hit on weapons (Weapon Damaged).

Turn Over

In Void and Stars all indirect markers such as missiles and fighters move in the turn over phase between players.  This effectively doubles their speed as they move between both players movements.  In this turn over Steve's missiles move the full long distance (180mm) while his fighters move a full medium distance (120mm).  Next four pictures show the end of the turn, a close up of my flee and Steve's fleet, and the end of the turn over.

My Turn 1

The Q-8 does not have the Fleet Combat Center (FCC) and has a Quality of 3.  I wanted to see how the fleet survived on its own or if it would become a de facto standard to a cruiser for a FCC.  The rest of the fleet had a Quality of 4.  This made me a lot less aggressive then Steve because I wanted to avoid a turn over.

- Prey Frigate (2D/1A) - Since I deployed the Prey and the second Vort on the far side of the planet, I needed the extra moves to make them a factor in the game.  Took advantage of the escort's ability to conduct a 45 degree turn both before and after movement to turn the Prey and start approaching the rest of the fleet.  After the compulsory move, I took a second move with my action.
- Vort 'B' Destroyer (2D/1A) - Again took the extra movement.  Trying to flank around the planet...
- K'mpecc's Vort Destroyer (3D/2A) - Since I had Captain K'mpeec aboard, I was able to ensure one success (Captain's base ability), so I gambled the Quality 4 on three dice. Luckily I had the Captain! K'mpeec did the compulsory move, conducted a damage control action to remove the 'Weapons Damaged' and launched a missile at the Hermes.
- Q-8 (3D/1A) - Only one action on the big guy...  Yuck!  This hurt a bit.  After the compulsory move, I took one shot with the big guns.  I should have targeted the Hermes, but for some reason I went to the Bezerker...  I don't know why.  The Q-8's Assault Doctrine gives it a big bonus on the first shot which negated any range penalty to the target.  I doubled Steve's roll and the result was a System Destroyed.

Break Break - Quick discussion on damage.  Like other 'Songs of' games you have different effects if your combat roll beats, doubles or triples your opponents combat roll. For Void and Stars if you beat the roll, it is minor hit (damage) that can be repaired, double is a serious hit (destroyed) that can not be repaired and triple is devastating hit that destroys the starship.  Damage can apply to either the ships combat value or its quality based on an even or odd number showing on the attacker's die.

Turn Over

All the missile and fighter makers move on the table.

Turn 2 - Steve

Bezerker (1D/0A) - Only a full compulsory move
Hermes (3D/3A) - Again the big guys gets 3 for 3.  I can't hold up on a 3:1 ratio!  Steve sends one fighter squadron off to CAP and one to attack.  He then launches another missile volley at Captain K'mpeec's Vort.
Atlas (2D/2A) - After it's compulsory movement, the Atlas uses the Escort Support rule to fire on my lone missile volley and hits it, removing it from play.  He then fires his own volley at poor K'mpeec.
Hades (3D/2A) - Compulsory move forward then fires missiles on the Prey and takes a direct fire shot scoring a weapon damaged.

Turn Over

On the turn over the missiles hit home.  K'mpeec's Vort takes four missile hits.  Indirect combat is pretty much the same as direct.  A starship takes a penalty to combat of a -1 for each volley after the first.  This represents the swarming effect of the native point defense systems.  As the Vort's Combat is a 4, he is actually rolling as a 1 due to all the missile hits.  Steve's missiles have a combat of 7, 5, 5, and 4.  Things don't look good at this point.  After all the combat rolls the damage ends up as a decisive hit (dead), 1 weapon damaged, 1 weapon destroyed, and 1 system damaged.  However, the Vort has a few special rules.  One is the Reinforced Armor that allows me to make a decisive hit from a missile to a serious.  This saves the Vort right away, as the decisive becomes a system destroyed (odd die roll).  Additionally the Vort has a Shield that I can be used to reduce one hit, one level.  I decide to use the shield on the weapon destroyed making it a weapon damaged.

Break Break - Cascading Damage Effects.  For Void and Stars we use a cascading damage system.  If I have two damages of the same type, you exchange them for a destroyed of that same kind.  For example a two weapon damaged would become a single weapon destroyed.  Two destroyed markers lead to either a Weapon Critical or a Crew Panic depending if it is a weapon or system respectively.

Given all the damage on the Vort and the cascading damage rules, K'mpecc is still alive, but has one each of system damaged, system destroyed, weapon damaged, and weapon destroyed.  This takes the poor Vort to a Combat 2 and a Quality of 6!

My Turn 2

Well that wasn't good...
K'mpeec's Vort (2D/1A) - I use the character engineer's ability to get an extra action so I end up with two total.  After compulsory move, I take two shots at the Atlas.  At this point, I'm hoping to snipe the little guys to force a morale test.  I hit once and cause a weapon's damaged.
Prey (1D/0A) - Stupid frigate.  Compulsory move only
Q-8 (3A/2A) - His slow compulsory keeps me plugging along, but not very fast.  He takes one shot at the Bezerker causing a weapon damaged.  Q-8 also fires his missiles at the Atlas.
Vort 'B' (3D/0A) - Really?  Compulsory move only. Grrr!

Turn Over

Steve's fighters are finally in range and redirect to the frigate, swarming the poor escort.  The hits cascade up to a Crew Panic and a system destroyed.  Crew Panic inflicts a 2 point penalty to Quality while System Destroyed inflicts a 1 point.  That leaves the Prey at a Quality 7 which is an automatic 'Jump to Warp' condition.  The Prey engages the FTL engines flees to warp speed.

My missile from the Q-8 impacts the Atlas.  The roll is a triple value and the Atlas has no specials to help out and is destroyed.

The K'mpeec's Vort takes another missile hit with the damage rolling up to a Weapon Critical that halves the Combat of the starship.

Steve's turn 3

Hermes (3D/3A) - Steve' rolled poorly with a pair of 1's on the die.  However he was able to use 'Huskers' special, Belay My Last, to re-roll once per game.  The Hermes does a wash repeat with 2 fighters and a missile volley.
Hades (3D/3A) - He pulls up towards the Q-8 and unloads.  2 shots with 1 hit on system damage and a miss.  He uses the gunner's ability to fire again for free but misses. Missile volley is also unleashed at close range.
Bezerker (3D/2A) - The Bezerker does an extra move to turn around the Q-8 and fires a missile from close range at the rear of the big cruiser.

Turn Over

K'mpeec's Vort takes on a few fighters and a missile battery that leads to cascading damage to destroy the starship.
Q-8 is swarmed by multiple missiles that limits high Combat 6.  He ends up taking a weapon damage and three system damaged that between shields and roll ups becomes a weapon damaged and a system damaged.

Break Break - Morale - The game has a few morale check points.  One is when you loose 50% or more of your starships.  Like I just did.  Morale is taken at the end of your own turn or a turn over.  Morale checks are quality checks on three dice.  1 failure gives the ship a system damage, 2 failures is a system destroyed, 3 failures is flee to warp speed.

Morale checks!  The Q-8 rolls three dice and fails on two dice.  Using the Admiral special rule I can try a re-roll and get two failures again.  That gives the Q-8 another System Damage that cascades to a Crew Panic.  Crew Panic is -2 Quality and another morale check.  Another roll causes three failures and the Q-8 warps away.  The Vort 'B', all on his own must also check.  And as is typical for him all game he fails all three and warps away.

Game Over.

Not exactly the results I had hoped for, but Steve played his force 100% on target and got some great rolls to help out.  My rolls...  Not so much...

Game Mechanics we found a few rough edges we plan to test and fix.
- Morale system will likely be modified to only a single test per turn to prevent the compounding tests that tore my fleet apart.
- Squadron Activation - We are going to tinker with the concept of squadron activation as a kin to the group activation from the other 'Songs of' games.  This may help the poor quality fleets stand up bit better to higher quality ones.
- Doctrine: Carrier - We might have made this too strong...  Needs more testing in the long run.
- Fleet Command Center - May be under pointed

I was slow, heavy armor, lower quality, but much bigger guns.  I should have focused on shooting the Hermes as the carrier has pumping out the most dangerous missiles and fighters and was providing the Quality bump for activation to the escorts.   Splitting my force also hampered me as a 1/4 of the fleet never engaged.

Look forward to any comments



  1. You used your time being ill today to great effect. The pictures with labels and such look great, and by typing out what you want to change, you and Steven have a permanent record of it. Excellent work, as ALWAYS, Mr. Palumbo!

  2. Looks like a fascinating set of rules - I'm intrigued as to how characters affect the game.

    I shall follow further reports with interest.

  3. I'm looking forward to this game. If you need another playtester, I'd be interested.

  4. Susan - Yup...

    Kaptain K - Thanks!

    Desert - Thanks to you! Shoot me an email at and I'll hook you up!


  5. You think the carrier doctrine may be too strong - I think that a Hermes within 2 Long of an Imperial MkII cruiser is a first-round triple thanks to that pesky -2 CV to direct fire ;)

    Lost my brave colonials the game that did!

    1. Hi A-Historian,

      Thanks for playing and I look forward to your groups full report!

      Curious... Were you using the -2CV for only attacking or both attacking and defending. It should only apply when you are the attacker. While defending you should get full CV value. That is suppose to represent the more defensive nature of the carrier's firepower. In your case the full CV3. I think my big problem in the game was not getting in close to the carrier sooner.

      Let me know if you played it that way or if I need to clarify the text. :)