If you are in desktop version, on the left hand side of the blog you will see a WIP section of the blog. That is where I put various games I am still working on and adapting for play. Today's game is called Glittering Void and it can be found in that section of the rules.
The trading contract for the Freehold of New Arcadia will expire and come up for re-negotiation in the next rotations. Traditionally, these contracts have been held by corporate interests aligned with the New Olympians, and New Arcadia was considered within the New Olympians sphere of interests. However, the free hold is located in the Asteroid Belt, which the Earth Alliance views at its territory.
With the contract set to expire, elements of the Earth Alliance have begun aggressively courting New Arcadia. They have offered lucrative incentives, and coupled them with veiled threats. In fact, some smaller trading and prospecting vessels from New Arcadia have gone missing in the region. The Earth Alliance has cited this as a prime reason to change contracts, as the New Olympians have failed to properly protect and enforce the expiring contract.
The powers that be on NeOlympus have deemed it necessary to reinforce their alliance on New Arcadia. To this end, they have deployed a patrol ship and a compliment of suits to New Arcadia space. A Carrier arrived and dropped off just such a ship before continuing on its route. The New Olympian commander on the scene has pledged to find the cause of the missing prospecting vessels.
Investigating the last know location of one of these New Arcadian Prospecting ships, the New Olympians had unusual activity on their scopes. Interference was being thrown out by a large Radiation Band in the area. Therefore, a patrol of Suits was deployed to investigate further.
3 Ares Space Combat Suits
1 Ares Space Combat Suit
- Upgrade #2: Dual Heavy Beams
1 Polemarch Suit
- Upgrade- Combat Shield
4 Hoplite Suits
- 1 Upgrade- Rocket Tube
|Unknows on the Left, New Olympians on the Right|
Of course, today's play test will be featuring my (in)famous Paper Templates!
I use dice to raise or lower their altitude. On the table is Alpha, 1 dice is Beta, and 2 dice is Gamma level.
I also made some small paper circles for future games that will be used to show the direction travelled. A key part of this game is that you can travel one direction, but face another. Facing is based on the Front (marked with an F on my templates) and the direction of travel will be based on the triangle on the marker below the template. Make sense?
Today's mission is found in the main rulebook. In this scenario, unknown blips have been detected and combat units have been deployed to identify the unknowns and determine who they are. You can score additional Victory Points by using your sensors to "ID" a target as well as normal combat processes.
Today's game will be on a 48 MU x 48 MU board with 1 MU being one inch. There is a Radiation band that goes across the board at Alpha and Beta level. This radiation band has been making long range Identification of the unknowns difficult. It is 12 MU wide and arcs across near the center line of the board. I am using pipe cleaners to differentiate the edges.
The Unknowns are on one side of the Radiation band, while the New Olympians are on the other. All suits are deployed up to 6 MU from the board edge. The New Olympians are at various altitude bands and speeds. The Earth Alliance are all at Alpha level and coming on at full speed.
The "Unknowns" have more units, so they can activate a unit first. Each player chooses the Maneuver cards for their suits and marks it on the H.U.D. along with their speed and altitude.
Both sides speed towards the radiation belt. However, no one breaches it this turn. Two New Olympian Suits are above the Radiation Belt at Gamma altitude, but none of the Unknows are there to match them.
No one has the range for shooting yet.
|You can see the height and direction indicators in action!|
The Unknowns still have more Units, so have the Initiative.
Unknown H3 breaks the Radiation Belt at Alpha. He is met by A6 speeding up and maneuvering into the belt at Beta, while A7 (with his dual Beam Cannons) escorts him in and drops to Beta as well. Unknown H4 tries to maneuver into the Belt, but is just shy at Beta Altitude.
The New Olympian A5 breaks the edge of the Radiation Belt, and he is met by two incoming unknowns at Alpha level as well. One rotates away from him, while the other stays close by. A5 is covered by A2 at beta level.
Finally, Unkown P1 enters the edge of the Radiation Belt and pivots towards A6, both at Beta.
Unkown P1 has Pilot skill of 4+ and Initiative, so they attack first. A6 is in the proper arc and medium range. The Unknown hits once, but the New Olympian suits shrugs off the blast with its armor!
The New Olympians have a higher Pilot skill than the remaining Unknown suits, so they shoot next. A7 with the dual Beam cannons targets H4 and thanks to Extra Damage blasts the suit into inert junks!
Ares suit 5 fires on Unknown H2 at range, but the shot bounces off the Suits armor. A2 fires at Unknown P1 at range, and hits; blasting off the suits combat arm! Ares Suit 6 does not have the right arc to target H3.
The Unknowns fire back! H3 fires on A6, but misses due to radiation messing with his gun sights. H1 also streaks by targeting A6 and his Mass driver tears into the enemy suit and damages its thrusters. Despite getting attack himself, H2 is out of range of the attacker!
Both sides have the same amount of models, so they dice off. The "Unknowns" have Initiative. Everyone chooses maneuver cards.
Suits scattered as the fighting intensified! H3 and A7 rocked past each other at Beta altitude. Meanwhile A6 dodged out of the opposite side of the belt, but facing the wrong way and ending at altitude Alpha. H1 tried to pursue, but was too slow. A2 and P1 both ended up going high and breaking out of the Rad Belt, but unable to draw a good bead on each other. Finally, A5 and H1 got very close and started circling each other at Alpha level.
P1 gets to try to shoot first, but he has no targets!
A5 manages to scan Unknown H2 as he lashes out with his combat arm! He misses! The New Olympians are our of shots.
H2 tries to attack A5 back, but fails to land his punch. H1 uses his Mass Rifle on A7 one altitude up from him. He snags the Dual Heavy Beamed Ares but not enough to take it out!
The Unknowns continue to have Initiative.
The two sides are beginning to break apart, and will need to maneuver back in to continue the fight. However, there may be some opportunity fire.
A2 fires a long rang beam shot at H1, but misses. A2 and H2 exchange fire, but fail to find the mark in the Radiation Belt.
The Unknowns continue to have initiative.
H3 and H2 move back into the belt to engage at Beta and Alpha respectively. P1 also drops back into the belt to Beta. They are met by A2, A6, and A7 all coming back into the fight. H1 and A5 are dueling beyond the belt.
P1 fires on Ares A2 but misses.
A7 fires his dual Heavy beam Cannons at H3, but some how he flies on through the blast! A2 also targets H3, and damages his controls! A6 also fires but misses. A5 fires on H1, and knocks the pilot unconscious with a blast to the cockpit, taking its Pilot rating above 7+ and taking it out of action.
H3 returns fire on A6 but misses as well. H5 flies by and fires on A6 and blasts the suit into atoms with his Mas rifle!
The Unknowns have lost 2 suits, to the New Olympians 1. The New Olympians also got 1 ID on the Unknowns.
This time, the New Olympians snatch the Initiative.
The remaining Unknowns swarm Ares 2 in the Radiation Belt at Alpha level. A5 tries desperately to get back into the fight, while A7 is at Beta and can not provide covering fire. This could be the last firefight of the game.
A2 gets a clean ID of P1 and H3. He then fires at the unIDed target. The close range firepower is too much for the suit, and leaves it drifting lifeless in space.
P1 fires up close at A2. The close range Mas Rifle fire is enough and totals A2. From outside of the Rad belt, A5 fires his Beam Rifle at P1, and manages to score a hit that causes internal damage and reduces P1 Thrust by 1.
H3 no longer has any shots as A5 is too far away and A2 was destroyed.
Turn 7- Disengagement Turn
The Unknowns regain the Initiative.
P1 and H3 try to break off back to their home base. However, A5 goes head-to-head with the retreating H3 at Alpha level. A7 continues to stay at Beta and try to cover the retreat back to their patrol ship.
A5 opens fire at close range on H3 and blasts the enemy suit to pieces. Boom!
New Olympians win 75 VP to 40 VP.
Even before the patrol returned, the Intel crew were analyzing the signature IDs sent back to the Patrol Ship. It was clear that the Unknown Suits that had been engaged were Earth Alliance models, but that wouldn't be enough to pin the missing prospecting craft on them. The Earth Alliance sold their hardware to anyone with enough resources to buy them. They could just as easily been pirates, mercenaries, or rebels. More work would need to be done if the New Olympians were going to prove that the Earth Alliance was somehow involved.
So, how did the game play. If White Star/Red Star is intended to make the "flying" part of the game easier, this did the opposite! You have to carefully use your thrust to rotate facing, rotate direction of movement, AND choose the right Maneuver card to get into a position to use your weapons.
Thankfully, the 3 altitude makes it mush easier, with most suits being able to shoot up a level as well. Therefore, the "engagement" radius is pretty large but there is also a lot of maneuver you can do to try and avoid combat for a bit. It is all about careful planning and the order of activation.
The Radiation Belt made the fighting up-close and personal. I reduced the speeds to 1 MU instead of 2 MU per rating (accidentally) and that helped on a 48 MU x 48MU board. Plus, the Rad Belt slows suits down too. They could be zipping all over the board otherwise! I do not have a problem with that!
The game was supposed to capture the feel of an Anime dogfight, and I think it does that pretty well! Suits are zipping around all over the place. Guns are blazing. Suits can get special damage that impact their performance. Finally, there were several cinematic moments in the game as Mecha suits fired as they flew past each other and away, they tried to hit each other on a few close passes, and the closer you got the more deadly everything was!
I want to try playing through it a few more times before I pass final judgement. maneuvering was a bit more intensive than I normally like, BUT those maneuvers do capture the right feel of the game. The H.U.D. was also invaluable as an off board tracking system. I think I might be able to ditch the maneuver cards, but I need to try some non-suit only games before I decide. The cards seems like they will make non-suits maneuver more realistically. Finally, there are a couple niggling details to iron out as well just to smooth out play.