Nine Kzinti Ships Take on the Death Probe…!
December 28, 2015
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I dunno why my son was so keen on this one. He’d had his Kzinti fleet picked out for weeks in advance: five frigates, one FFK, and three war destroyers. He was convinced that his waves of thirty-six drones per turn could easily annihilate me. What he didn’t count on was the fact that the Death Probe could move at speed 32. And more… it can make two high energy turns per turn. This means that not only can the Death Probe pick the range that fire will be exchanged practically every turn. It also means that drones are all but useless against it.
Now, we did have a chance to work some more kinks out of the game. We finally had a need to mark the white boxes on some of these counters with a distinguishing color. Looking up the finer points on damage allocation, we discovered that when targeting weapons or engines, “skipped” hits don’t do any damage at all! It finally dawned on me why it was that it didn’t make sense for drones to do side slips. My son realized that being in a long line was actually a horrible fleet formation. We agreed that the rules really didn’t indicate that ships or drones would lose a hex of movement when executing a high energy turn. And finally, we figured out how these frame hits are really supposed to work so we could finally blow up some starships by the book for once.
But I have to say… this Death Probe scenario is just stupid. Everything that was interesting about that session where I fought against the gigantic B10 with a ragtag fleet of smaller ships was missing here. All of the excitement of that big plasma duel we played the other day was gone. A speed-32 ship with a couple of phase-4’s might sound awesome on paper, but in real life… it’s just lame. This is a ship that makes maneuver completely irrelevant. (Was I playing something wrong…?)
On the other hand, we discovered that handling a fleet of nine ships all at once in Federation Commander isn’t that difficult. Compared to Star Fleet Battles, you need only a quarter of the usual amount of real estate to track a ship. The cards stack nicely and the energy track combined with the weapons fired boxes make it easy to stay on top of what’s going on. As a result of this, I’m about ready to try a big fleet battle. A dreadnought with cruisers, destroyers, and frigates… all at fleet scale. I don’t care what they are as long as something gets crippled or blown up every turn.
But that speed-32 Death Probe with two HET’s a turn…? Never again!