So, I got KA, made some data cards and decided what better way to try the game than to straight into the Day 1 mini-campaign. The Klingons have decided to attack an ill-prepared Federation and have staged a series of near simultaneous attacks in order to cripple Starfleet ensuring success for the Klingon Empire.
The Day 1 campaign has you select two fleets from the Federation, the Klingon Empire, or the Kzinti. I'm sticking with the traditional Feds vs. Klinks. Each side splits their fleet into three groups and selects a group for each of three battles. Each battle has a progressively higher victory point threshold. In the game I played, both sides achieved this threshold in the same turn, so in the absence of anything specifying what to do in this situation I awarded "victory," however pyhrric, to the side that killed more points. The fourth battle is a base station assault with point values determined by the total of victory points earned by each side throughout the campaign.
The fleets were arranged as thus if marked with an * it means I don't have a mini and am using the 1" counter from Federation Commander:
F5 Heavy Frigate
C7 Heavy Battlecruiser*
D6 Heavy Cruiser
D7C Command Battlecruiser
D6 Heavy Cruiser
F5 Heavy Frigate
For the first battle I chose the third division from each fleet as the point cost the largest ship in both fleets was just under the victory threshold meaning that at least two ships would have to be destroyed to win and with the force make up, one of them had to be a heavy cruiser or better.
Deployment consisted of the Feds forming a group in the center while the Klingon's had the D6 and F5 in the center and the D7's on the outer flanks, hoping to force the Fed's to split the heavy cruisers between them.
(click image for larger pictures)
Federation Division III
Klingon Division III
Turn one saw the Federation escorts move ahead of the heavy cruisers to screen the expected drone wave while the heavys pulled alongside each other and laid in a course for the D7C. The Klingon D7s moved slightly forward to get the Feds into the long range band of their disruptors. The D7C fired and established what would be a trend throughout the game for that vessel, no effect. The Klingons launched a wave of drones, 7 targeting the CC and 3 targeting the CA and that was the end of the turn.
In turn two the Feds accelerated towards the D7C, who realizing he was going to be in range of far too many overloaded photon torpedoes the captain decided that discretion was the better part of valor. Unfortunately this didn't leave him with many targets in his available fields of fire. The F5, with its annoyingly short ranged disruptors charged forward in an effort to close within short range of the frigate hoping to take it out as well as absorb shots that would otherwise have been used against the drones. The D6 maintained station and the D7 bolted forward in an effort to come at the Feds from behind.
The drones moved inexoribly closer to their targets, but during the firing phase, the Federation escorts destroyed two flights, concentrating all but their photon torpedoes on them. The Light Cruiser hit the D7C with both torpedoes and crippled her engines...not good for the D7C who needed to get away desperately. The F5 and Frigate engaged in a game called Mutual Assured Destruction, except the Fed frigate was saved by the fact that the Klingon rolled one less hull hit than needed to destroy it. The D7 finished the Frigate, and took a few pot shots at the CC, causing marginal damage. The Fed heavies concentrated on the D7C and took out a good number of weapons and several hull boxes, and to add insult to injury more engine damage. The Light Cruiser launched two shuttles targeting the D7C and its drones targeting a Klingon flight. The D7C fired its remaining drone and all the remaining Klingons launched suicide shuttles, all targeted at the CC. This did not seem to be going according to Klingon High Command's plan.
Turn three, the Feds moved further forward concentrating on the D7C, the D6 maintained position again as the targets were expected to move into range of overloaded disruptors, and the D7 continued its flanking move.
The first wave of seekers hit their marks, the CC was able to either destroy or weather the attack well, only taking a couple of damage points. The CA wasn't so lucky, it took several hull hits and it's photon torpedoes were gutted. The CC opened up on the D7C and it blossomed into a cloud of gas and debris. This satisfied the victory conditions, but I figured that since damage is simultaneous and doesn't occur until the end of the combat phase that the rest of the ships should get their fires in. The D7, sensing a kill fired overloaded disruptors and all phasers at the CA. She almost went down, but had two hull remaining. The CA fired at the D7, doing minimal damage. The D6 then finished off the CA, and the CL fired at the D7 almost taking it out.
So, three turns, two ships dead on each side, and a slight victory for the Federation. The Emperor will not be pleased. VP totals are: Federation: 478, Klingons: 430.
What did I learn? Well, the weapons on the F5 are annoying. You have to get into range of the Feds to use them. It should've stayed with the D6, then the ships would've most likely ignored the F5. Klingons need a lot of manuevering space. I may need to take my mat upstairs where I can spread it out to full width on the dinner table. Overloaded photons are brutal, have to time them right though. If escorts focus their phasers on the drones launched beyond their movement rating the Feds can weather a fairly substantial drone wave. Vice versa, Klingons should wait until they are with in the movement envelope of their drones. This is problematic though as this is inside the overload range for photon torpedoes. This was great fun and played quickly despite my having to go pick up the kids from school in the snow. Looking forward to the next game, hopefully I can get my wife to run the Feds next time.