In today’s installment of the Jump War playtest reports, the Eldar Corsairs strike at another port, this time an Octan station orbiting Titan. The station will be defended by elements of the Terran Republic Navy. As usual, click on the pictures to see high-resolution versions.
Erin: “The previous battle taught me that the objective should be the destruction of the station, not just damaging it. Keep it in front of me, and use Saturn as best I can to get the job done. That means maneuver to the right of Saturn, and hit the station as its orbit clears Titan.”
Terry: “My most direct route to Titan also allows me to interfere with Erin advancing on my side of Saturn. I don’t expect her to challenge me directly, though she could still win the game by hitting my fleet hard enough. She’d get more points out of Octan Station.”
Terry: “I wanted to design the station with mines and flood the approach lanes, but the station was going to be behind Titan for much of Erin’s approach. I went with fighters instead. (Much more the Terrans’ style, too.)”
This is the first game with the refined gravity rules. They make the force of gravity stronger as your ships get closer to Saturn.
As usual, the first turn is all movement and ordinance launches.
Some notes here: the missiles are from Litko, and the fighters are BFG Imperial fighters.
These fighters are BFG Imperial bombers. The moon in the foreground is Titan, created using a composite of a visible light picture, and a NIR (near infrared) one. The planet in the background is Saturn, in visible light. All original pictures are from NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute.
The fleets continued around Saturn, and began to trade laser fire at extreme range.
Not captured in of the pictures is the Eldar firing at the Terran strike groups at range. Fire on one group was ineffective, but the other group loses four of its fighters.
At this point, I’m tempted to learn animation. I have a half page of notes describing the ordinance interaction, and no pictures. In the end, the Terrans’ missiles make their through the ordinance screen to attack Natsugumo, Hayanami, and Hananami. In all three cases, the ships’ point defense was effective.
The battle now spotlights the fleets themselves.
Erin: “I’m in a bad spot. Terry’s gotten between my fleet and the station just as we’ve passed through Saturn’s rings. With our shields distorted by the dust, we’re at a grave disadvantage.”
If the losses were just Inazuma and Alesia, Erin would be in good shape, points-wise. While Inazuma is a cruiser, the Eldar class is probably the lightest cruiser in the playtest. Conversely, most of the Terran destroyers are expensive (for destroyers), so Alesia is only 25 points less than Inazuma.
The problem is that the Eldar have also lost two escorts, and one of their destroyers (Hayanami) has been crippled by fire.
The fleets then intermingle, with fighters from Ikazuchi severely damaging Thermopylae. Thermopylae sideswipes Ikazuchi, and Hamanami sideswipes Perseus.
Ikazuchi manages to hide in Audacity‘s blind spot, but Octan Station can still reach the Eldar carrier.
Between Thermopylae and Octan Station, Ikazuchi is done for — but not before launching fighters that would finish Thermopylae. Audacity destroys Hamanami, and Young destroys Hatsukaze.
As has been typical of Port Strikes so far, both fleets suffered significant losses. On the Terran side, only Young was unscathed (though Audacity was still combat effective). Thermopylae and Alesia were gone, and Perseus was disabled.
The Eldar were in worse shape. Both their cruisers were lost, along with one of their destroyers, and most of their escorts. While Erin did inflict damage on Octan Station, it wasn’t enough to offset her losses.
Final Score: Terry 955, Erin 523. Another stunning victory for the Terran Republic Navy!
This was the first scenario with a ringed gas giant, and it made a huge difference in the course of the game. Erin ended up flying through the ring at precisely the wrong moment, which would have been bad even had her tactics been good.
Better tactics would have been to attempt to engage the Terran fleet on the far side of Saturn, before they could link up with Octan Station. It would have made a more interesting battle report, instead of “we slammed our fleets together like they were LEGO models we were trying to smash to bits.”