Anyone that has seen Star Wars knows the difference in size between fighters and capital ships. So with that in mind I did a little experiment. I took all my Micro-Panzer buildings for 15mm and strung them together into one long, 3 foot by 6" wide CapShip. Check the first picture to see what I'm talking about.
I chose a Zhuh-Zhuh Interdictor Class Cruiser as the ship and deployed six fighters in escort. I loaded the PEFs with Star Navy fighters and bombers and got started. For simplicity and to represent the Cruiser's ability to move, which I wouldn't actually do, I allowed them to fire all three Defensive AA Turrets whenever enemy fighters got within range.
Well the battle was fun even though I lost. The HARM missiles did their job and not being able to fire the third AA Turret when the torpedoes hurt.
The worse problems were two PEFs being randomly dropped inside the asteroid field and were so close to the cruiser it was too hard to get the defending fighters there in force.
I like the idea and could see doing this again with an enemy CapShip off the table fighting the other while the fighters mix it up.
Over on the THW Yahoo Group there's been some discussion on how to adapt FC to other universes. Well the author, Javier, has provided the answer. These are stats for Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and Wing Commander. Just follow the link and enjoy!
In the upcoming 5150: Fighter Command there are rules for combat between Capital Ships, the same classes found in Star Navy. But whereas Star Navy is all about fleet combat, FC allows for smaller actions. The action still is fast but tactics play a large part. So with that in mind I set out to do a solo variation on a Patrol Mission.
I played a Star Navy Rep 5 Cobra Class Destroyer. The Cobra mounts both Beam and Plasma Batteries as well as one torpedo tube. Add 2 Defensive AA Turrets to the armament the Cobra Class combines speed with punch.
Recently Planetary Defense Forces have encountered Zhuh-Zhuh CapShips and Fighters harassing them as well as the local merchant ships. Not enough to cause a war but enough "showing of the flag" to embarrass and weaken Gaea Prime influence. Hence the Mission.
"You are to intercept and force any Zhuh-Zhuh forces from the sector. Use of appropriate force is condoned."
How this was delivered at crew level, "We need to teach the Monkey Boyz a lesson and send them packing."
Here's a picture of the table at the start. I'll let the pictures tell the story, comments at the end..
Well that played very well. The 1st PEF was resolved as a Flight of 2 Light Fighters. Their movement, as well as those of the PEFs, were all driven by rolling on the NP Force Movement Table.
The Zhuh-Zhuh Cutter appearing to the rear of the Destroyer gave me a start and was due to Random Event. The Zhuh-Zhuhs have established a Surveillance Satellite which generated a PEF in a random location. The Cutter was a pre-loaded PEF from a previous game.
The Star Navy fired first but shot badly, the Zhuh-Zhuh shields holding. In return fire my shields were damaged, luckily the rest of the hits were ineffectual. It was obvious to me whichever ship could bring their torpedo tubes to bear first would have an advantage. Luckily my higher Rep allowed for that.
The remaining PEFs were a second Flight of Fighters and after linking up they headed towards us, again dictated by the NP Force Movement Table.
Engineering repaired the shields and firing between the two CapShips was even until the Destroyer came about and fired its torpedo. Zhuh-Zhuh Defensive AA Fire missed and the torpedo hit, causing a rip in the hull, casualties, and a drop in Rep to 3.
Rolling Reaction Tests resulted in the Cutter choosing to retire. I decided not to fire at the Cutter with my guns as the Mission was to drive them away, not destroy them. The Fighters, once the CapShip began to leave, veered off as well. You guessed it, the NP Force Movement Table.
It was as expected and very satisfying in that the NP Forces acted based on the game mechanics. I didn't have to make any decisions for them. Having cleared all the PEFs and one CapShip I decided that the Mission was done and a success.
Well that was eye opening to say the least. The Dogfighting Maneuver Table really increases the tension on the table. One minute you're in good shape, the next you're taking fire as your enemy "did some of that pilot stuff" and gained the advantage.
The mechanics are easy to learn but it's going to take some time for me to get really good at it. With the option to perform 8 Special Maneuvers and no pre-plotting of movement you get the feeling of flying these babies. Think ahead and you'll be fine, don't and you'll end up going down in flames. At least that's my personal feelings. The movement system is very fluid and things can change quickly.
I'm not much of a space gamer myself but it is quicky becoming one of my favorites. And the ability to link it with Star Navy is a big plus.
This is an After Action Report from the upcoming 5150: Fighter Command. It's getting close to release and that means intense final play testing. In Fighter Command, like Javier the writer and driving force behind FC says, "The fighter pilot is the star" and it delivers. Yes, there are Capital Ships (CapShips) in the game and rules for fighting with them in more detail than Star Navy butthe fighters are where the action is.
Combat is quick and dirty and with the Reaction Tests you'll be able to fight solo or same side. That's what this test is about, a solo furball where I'll be running the two Volunteer PDF Pilots against some mercenary Free Company Fighters. Gaea Prime Planetary Defense Forces always welcome "volunteer" Pilots with experience and they pay pretty well too. Which is why Billy Pink is here.
Billy is a Rep 5 Star with two Attributes. I chose Exceptional Pilot (+1d6 when attempting a Special Maneuver and more) then rolled Poser (roll only 1d6 when taking the Received Fire and Ship Down Tests - nothing to worry about) Billy is flying a Bee Light Fighter. Note that these Attributes only apply when flying in FC and not in other rules sets like New Beginnings.
Lafitte a Rep 3 rookie with the Maverick Attribute (let's just say he's easily distracted) flies a Wasp Light Fighter. I'm not feeling good about Lafitte.
The plan is to fly Patrol and turn back any Mercenary Free Company spacecraft.
The Black Heart Free Company had a two fighter Flight. Both Pilots were Rep 4 Grunts flying GA-16 Light Fighters.
I played them straight up with only their Navy Attributes. This is Risk Adverse or -1 to Rep when the Ship Down Test is taken.
Lafitte had just been assigned as Billy's Wingman so I wanted to get into a fight as fast as possible to get him some Fame Points.
So what we'll do in this AAR is go right down the Checklist you'll find in FC to walk you through your very first time. After the first Mission most of this will not have to be checked again. Here we go.
1 - Choose your Star. Check.
2 - Choose which Navy. Check - PDF Volunteers
3 - Reps. Check. Billy 5 Lafitte 3.
4 - Fighter Roster Sheet. Check. All the info for the ships and their Pilots
5 - Black Box - Check. This is a sheet that places all the current info of each ship in the player's hands. You do one at the start of every Mission, think of it as the flight recorder. You do not plot movement!
6 - Campaign Morale. Check. Both 3.
7 - Controlling. Check. This is a PDF controlled system.
8 - Mission. Check. Patrol.
9 - Terrain. Check.
10 - Investment Level. Check. PDF 2.
11 - Bad Weather. Check. All clear.
12 - Mission Intel. Check. Conflicting reports at first but it proved to be Good Intel. On top of that the Free Company Investment Level was known before the Mission. It was 3.
13 - Deployment. Check, We'd enter section 8.
14 - Place PEFs. Check. Two in section 1 and one in section 5, dead ahead.
And so the game begins.
15 - Three Navigation Points in sections 1, 2 and 3 to be searched.
The game starts with the PEF in section 5 resolved by Billy's Long Range Scanner. Nothing solid but passing 1d6 on the PEF Resolution Table drives the Enemy Investment Level for this Mission up by 1, to 4. This increases the odds of running into activity.
Billy and Lafitte cruise towards section 5 at the Wasp's top speed, 5".
"Look alive , we got company!" Billy said. "Two fighters at 10 o'clock. They're coming around! Stay close kid and cover my ass, we're going in!"