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RoF vs PE- 1500 naval (text only)

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First off, apologies for a few little quirky bits of over-explanation (this is a report I originally had on another forum where DW has less "market penetration", and I'm attempting to garner some interest, two nibbles so far). 

 

Unfortunately, I didn't think to get pictures in on the Prussian/French Sortie, but it was a good'un! It marked the first time we had actually broken out a 4x8 playing surface out over here, and man, what a difference!

The game was intended to be part 3 of a "prologue" to a campaign we intend to run, tracking a series of engagements in the Canary Islands near the beginning of "the war" (for those unfamiliar, DW is essentially WWI, with steampunk, roughly 60 years earlier than actual history. There's a few other differences as well, but I encourage you to discover the world for yourself. I loathe steampunk and it managed to suck me in).

The scenario was one somewhat of our own devising- There would be 6 "command points" (objectives of various types, towers, bunkers, etc.), spread evenly 3 to a table half. The winner is the first person to control 5 of the 6 command points at the end of a game turn. Each of the 3 points in "your" half is populated with one AP (essentially the most basic defense imaginable, but you control it).

Turn 1: The beginning of the match went poorly enough for me that my noble opponent actually admitted to feeling a little bad (but the reason for this was actually sneaky French shenanigans, but I'll go into that in a minute). Prussians in general, and this prussian in particular, are a very aggressive lot, and I knew this. His early movement and positioning of his Kaiser Karl battleship and PAIR of Rhine carriers (did I mention we decided at the last minute to turn the points up to 1500?), was pretty much the "grand gesture" I was expecting ("prussia's here, B*tches!"). I burned my first activation on the far western flank moving some small frigates into a snake formation (vital to my plan later) and allowed him to take some very nasty pot-shots at my cherbourg cruiser (a heavy hitter of mine, I would have preferred not to be critted into a navigation lock but eh, whaddayado?) Mon Cherie is now on a B-line towards the beach with no reprieve in sight.

Now, those "flying battleships" are in fact Furieux scout ships (the flying battleship's coming later, you might get to see mean mr. Magenta vs. FSA next week depending on mail speed), spotter, bomber, and minelayers extraordinaire! These were also deployed along my western flank, and I ran them north mining the channel between a pair of islands that contained one of my command points, accomplishing the simultaneous goal of guarding the flank of my squishy Lyons (the lil frigates).

Prussia then made a move with it's own heavy cruiser, the Konigsburg (bourg?), taking it from the northwestern corner on a slashing route towards the middle. In doing so he did manage to do some damage to my carrier which was parked over that way, but fortunately nothing too major yet. The silver lining to this was in doing so he had committed his cruiser to a course and heading that essentially left the western edge wide open! I quickly pounced, pushing a squadron of Toulons I had in the area forward as hard as their advanced engines would take them. The intent being to blow past the CP, U-turn around the island, and shove several heat lances right up the "black forest".

*incidental movements*: during this turn there was also some minor jockeying by both of our destroyer squadrons, A squadron of Geier bombers appeared to be setting up to take a run at my battleship, And on the eastern front the tourbillon flying fortress lumbered it's way north towards the loving arms of Kaiser Karl, sharting french torpedo bombers the whole way.

Turn 2: This is typically when things get rolling, I've found (at least on this bigger table- before we were in threat range on deployment!)
I came to an amazing realization: Victory points didn't matter so long as I accomplished the objective (a liberating moment for any commander, I'm sure!). My strategy from this point forward reflected that. First thing I did this turn was position my battleship and it's itty bitty escort subs around the back of a central, CP-housing, island (my control). The idea here is I had adequate flank coverage with my 2 aerial units (scouts and tourbillon) to "spot" any incoming ships and lob fire over the island with the battleship, while the anklebiters could go ahead and deal with anyone getting in cap range of the objective. As a bonus, their "hit-and-run" ability meant that if the target was really close, they could actually pop back into hiding around the island (go ahead, chase them! St. Malo's around that corner, mein herr!).

Noting the gap in coverage to the west, prussia began to divert some forces in hopes of preventing me from grabbing the first CP. A squadron of destroyers popped around the island, and managed to turn one of my toulons into a viking funeral for it's own crew. Damning the torpedoes, the toulons pressed forward into near-boarding range of the CP, but fell an embarassing .5" short of their target 4". Additionally, he took a southern stab with a squadron of cruisers, parking them roughly dead-center and slightly advanced of his carriers. One of them managed to somehow have a shot on my sentry subs, but miraculously only scratched the paint on one of them. This is where I started "burning VP". I had the "tally ho!" card in my hand (allowing you a second, out of sequence activation of a squadron, in exchange for 60 vp to your opponent), and saw my chance. The combined squadron of tiny subs and battleship managed to put a nice-sized dent in the cruisers, while simultaneuos corrosive bombardment to the west managed to cripple the attacking destroyers. With my second activation (in a row, very nasty stuff) I pulled a trio of dieppe cruisers around the east side if "sentry island" and lay broadsides to'em. Big pain. A prussian recon plane moved to try and get this central situation under his crosshairs and... managed to get picked off by a RB3 broadside from a scout ship!
(I should mention at this point was when we realized my green dice were clearly cursed and I had moved to using the red dice...screw you this is totally a thing!)
I started to see the inevitable clash of the titans on the eastern front (Kaiser Karl vs the Tourbillon) and realized it would behoove me to draw first blood. A solid volley from the rocket batteries managed to cripple the Karl's weaponry, and things were looking good for France.

Turn 3: Game point. Prussia was on the ropes by now, and if it were me I'd be playing for a "lock-out" to try and take it on points (which I had gotten pretty reckless with). But my opponent was a soldier to the last, and I tip my cap to him.

Knowing we had settled on a four-turn limit, I decided to apply gentle neckward pressure with the toulons, closing that pesky half inch and sending in some boarders. Due to a statistically anomalous roll, everyone died (my boarders, his defender, all ded.) I think at this point prussia called that CP a lost cause (one and a half smouldering destroyers were all the toulons left in their wake, and the scout ships were putting on a pretty good clinic in air superiority up top against prussian TFTs). A lot of firepower started coming down the center lane of the battlefield now, and I believe the idea was to cause a "flinch reaction" and get me to contract my line a bit to absorb the blow. My couronne carrier did take some pretty heavy damage, and a sentry sub went down, but both of these beasts had served their purpose and were of little consequence.

Speaking of beasts of burden whose time had come, the wounded cherbourg had accomplished little so far, and I was about to steam it full ahead into the beach just to be done with it, when an equally limp-wristed prussian corvette wandered drunkenly into its firing solution. Yay! Cherie killed something (over, in fact). Retribution from Karl was swift and severe (even with halved weapon damage, that's a huge b*tch)- *tents fingers*...excellent.

You see, in taking Karl after the injured cruiser, my friend had just cost himself the match. I used my next activation to move the snaked frigates through and around the gimped cherbourgs and cap the wester point unopposed (as the defences had died in the previous raid). Some shots were fired at the tourbillon, knocking the hood ornament off and little else (1 damage). I then burned full engines on the dieppe cruisers (central strike force from the tally ho activation) towards the eastern point and went full psycho (dumping all 9 of my remaining crew into the assault).

The situation was now 5 points under my control, and the only ship with the means to retake one (Kaiser Karl and his boatload of angry krauts) had just overshot the CP to close the gap an my injured cruiser and get an effective shot. With the unwieldiness of his girth he was physically unable to attempt a recapture in his next turn. Victory France.

Reflections:
This was an extremely enjoyable game. We're definitely still learning the ropes, and there was a few things we got wrong (we both consistently ignored the rules for our special weapons, there were some unintentional destroyer shenanigans, the usual), but a lot we got right. The upgrade in table size was perfect, and I don't think I'll be able to go back (at least not for DW, mordheim and necromunda still feel ok on a 4x4 easily).
I'm learning already that the most imprtant thing in this scale of battle is to have a plan and stick to it. My first game I played a very reactionary style, and never got out of the harbour (literally). This time around I treated it more as if I was playing "the game" and my opponent was simply an obstacle to that goal, and things went far smoother (aside from some cursed green dice in the first turn). One of the major factors in this is the way the ships move, and how they draw their lines of fire. Some of the bigger ships take so much effort to move your entire activation will equate to a 90 degree turn with a 2 inch forward gain. You need a plan. Initially I was in the habit of sort of lining everybody up, nose-on to the enemy, and then blowing the whistle and letting the fleet do it's thing. Problem is, with battleships and carriers you've pretty much just wasted your first turn and any freedom you had in your deployment. For example, during this game I set up my two largest ships in a sort of "x" formation, lined up to slash through several groupings of islands with minimal course correction. This of course means a far more versatile and persistent threat than spending half the game trying to parallel park the chrysler building.
Prussians are tough, I'll give them that. Rugged construction and shields is a worthy adversary to my retardant armor and cloud generators (plus it sounds infinitely more manly! *poof* cloouuuds!). I think in a basic knock-down drag-out I might have my hands full. Of course, my other opponent is playing FSA, so no help there, either. Probably just best to avoid direct confrontation altogether.
Which brings me to why I went with France, after all my hemming and hawwing. When I read into the various factions, no other nation seemed built quite so much towards performing the dance. The jabs, feints, and rapier maneuvers (fitting, I guess). Russia breaks a bottle in your face, America blows you up from their armchair in the whitehouse, everyone has "their thing", but france... moves. Keeping you at arms length, chipping away, until you're finally ready for that coup de grace.

Anyways, a million-and-one apologies for how insidiously long this turned out to be (and to think I was writing from memory!) and the lack of pictures. Now that I'm aware of some interest I'll be sure to snap some in our next game (Monday- My Fabulous Flying Frog Brigadehqdefault.jpg

vs the dreaded 'Murica

3871725-1373030102489649.png

- There can be only one!!!)

It will be a "hot-point extraction" mission, which seems to suit my spry frenchmen just fine. I will be tasked with retrieving a high-value target from a location (under American assault) and making a hasty getaway, while the yanks will attempt to capture (or failing that, kill) said target as well. Here's the rub- The HVT is a noted antarctican scientist. Should the French get away with him, they may well be able to learn the location of a hidden sturginium refinery somewhere in the Canaries (that campaign thing I was talking about). Alternatively, should FSA be able to aquire this asset, returning them safely intact might go a long way towards bringing Antarctica (and all their yummy tech) to the negotiating table. We'll see how it goes! Pour le Roi et Pour la France!

 

-So there ya have it.  I'll attempt to throw together something a little more polished after next week's game for you all!

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Although, to drop some 'Murican History (damn near an oxymoron, I know), the song "Yankee Doodle" dates back to the Seven Years war, and was an adaptation of a nursery rhyme entitled "Lucy Locket".  Incidentally, the earliest version of the "Yankee" verses also make reference to my Frenchies:

Brother Ephraim sold his Cow And bought him a Commission; And then he went to Canada To fight for the Nation; But when Ephraim he came home He proved an arrant Coward, He wouldn't fight the Frenchmen there For fear of being devoured.

(Note that the sheet music which accompanies these lyrics reads, "The Words to be Sung through the Nose, & in the West Country drawl & dialect.")

 

So, theoretically, though the South refers to the northerners as "yanks", the world as a whole took to calling all Americans that before they were even really Amercans, just west country bumpkins!

(it was also played in it's "yankee doodle" iteration by the band at the British surrender of Saratoga, which I can infer happened in this history due to this also being the name of the FSA fleet carrier.  That alone would be enough for the name to stick in my opinion!).

 

Yes, it would seem the name is as old as us and older, Yankee Doodles we!

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Thank you very much, I promise pictures next time!(Although I caution you I haven't had an opportunity to paint my fleet yet)  I should be posting it in the next couple of days, and fighting the battle tomorrow.  It's looking like I may be getting my Magenta in the mail that day, as well (Mk. I ), so I might end up working that into my list.  It is a lot faster than other equivalent ships (ok, maybe not a lot, but every bit helps).

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