Friday, January 15, 2010

After Action Report - Battlefleet Engagement on Toxo IV

Toxo IV - a nice, sulfur sheen in the healthy atmoshphere

Last night the Conscripts assembled for a game of Battlefleet Gothic. For the scenario we decided once again to draw in the hapless Imperial world of Toxo IV. Subject to numerous Ork air strikes, as well as assaults by Chaos and Tau ground forces, Toxo IV was now under a Chaos blockade.

Toxo IV has been causing the Imperial government so much trouble over the past year, many players are wondering at what point the Segmentum authorities would decide that enough was enough, and simply abandon the place to Chaos and whoever else was foolish enough to want it. Driven by the requirements for high-grade sludge which only Toxo IV can provide, however, it was decided to give saving the planet one more try...

The table showing embattled Toxo IV, together with nearby asteroid fields

Alhtough the fluff on the scenario involved a blockade, the game itself was fleet engagement, of approximately 1700 points per side. The objective was to drive off the opposing fleet by crippling or destroying enough ships, or least cripple/destroy more points worth of warships than the enemy.

The Chaos fleet featured a fearsome Desolator class battleship and a variety of cruisers and escorts. Brian and Dave V. took command of the Chaos fleet.

The fleet of Chaos Lord Kruschev the Obnoxious

The Imperial Fleet was anchored around a trusty Retribution class battlewagon. While slower than the Chaos ships, the Imperial fleet featured the heavy armoured front prows and massive amounts of torpedo launchers common to their ships. There was also one cruiser equipped with a dreaded (and fun) Nova Cannon. Dallas and Mike F. took command of the Imperials.

An Imperial Battlefleet is assembled to challenge the mighty Chaos warships

Each fleet had one battleship, several cruisers, including one capabable of launching bombers/fighters, and a squadron of escorts. If you are wondering, the answer is "yes, that is dust on some of the models". I can't remember the last time we played Gothic.

The Imperial fleet divides forces

The Imperials split their fleet, looking to divide the Chaos forces in return. Two cruisers and the escorts would proceed around the asteroid field, while the battleship would lead the balance in a head-on drive toward the enemy ships.

The Chaos fleet lurks around Toxo, attempting to wait out the initial torpedo salvoes from the Imperial capital ships

Chaos responded in a similar fashion, with Dave leading a cruiser division off to meet the flanking force, while Brian led the balance of the fleet into position to bring their longer-range guns to bear on the Imperials.

"The Shizz", flagship of Kurschev the Obnoxious, leads the Chaos battle line of cruisers

The Imperials sniped away with their Nova Cannon, but achieved little other than to land many shots right into the atmosphere of poor Toxo IV. Some stray torpedo salvoes also entered the planet's atmosphere. That place just cannot win...

The Imperial flagship "Hammer of Justice" leads the direct assault on the Chaos battle line

The battleships slugged it out. The Imperial battlewagon took a solid licking from the Chaos lances, but in the end was not crippled. "The Shizz" was not so lucky, and Imperial fire managed to cripple the Chaos battleship.

"The Shizz" struggles under the weight of Imperial batteries - the ship was crippled in the battle, but managed to survive - sans bridge; junior officers are encouraged to watch the Chaos Human Resources deparment for postings involving new bridge officers..

While there was definitely some entertaining exchanges of broadsides, the bomber pilots for both fleets figured prominently in the action, accounting for the loss of a capital ship on each side.

Chaos guns and lances return the love to the Imperial ships; the Imperial flagship took heavy damage, but kept on fighting

In addition to these losses, a Chaos Acheron class battlecruiser was crippled. For their part the Chaos fleet managed to reduce two Imperial cruisers to drifting hulks. Both sides also lost the majority of their escort squadron - but hey, that's what you get for having only one shield and one hit...

In the last turn, the Chaos gunners rolled vegas and reduce two of the Imperial cruisers to hulks; the victims are seen here at the top and the left of the picture

The Chaos fleet really pulled it out in the last turn, when their bombers and gunners consumed a Lunar Class cruiser and an Overlord Class battlecruiser, eeking out a very narrow victory over the Imperial fleet in the process.

The Imperial cruiser "Lord Daros" prepares for an extended stay in dry-dock - note the Chaos cruisers with "lock on" special orders

So while the Chaos Fleet was not defeated, it likely decided blockading the dupes on Toxo IV was hardly worth the cost. As for the Imperials, they likely had to resist the urge to bombard the planet themselves just to rid themselves of the issue. So we'll see what happens next to poor old Toxo IV...

It was really fun to play Gothic once again. The players on all sides did a great job, and the bomber pilots were (almost literally) on fire. In hindsight, I think the game was a bit too big for the evening (four ships a side would have been lots), but it was great to get the battlewagons into action. And the fact that Toxo IV still managed to suffer even more was pretty entertaining as well.

Thanks to everyone who came out, and thanks, as always, to Dallas for hosting!

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