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[FT-AAR] a NAC/NI AAR - "Wargames"

From: "Stop the car?? This is a car chase! I went through considerable trouble to set this up." <KOCHTE@s...>
Date: Sat, 23 Jan 1999 13:54:33 -0500 (EST)
Subject: [FT-AAR] a NAC/NI AAR - "Wargames"

[ WARNING: message contains a VERY long After Action Report!! - the game
13 turns, after all... ]

		After Action Report: NAC/NI Wargames

Prologue (damn, I hope I don't devolve into writing a 'trip report'
here!) :
Noam 'Iceberg' Izenberg and I discussed getting together again one
(he 'only' lives ~30-35 minutes away) and doing another game of FT. We
found a spot where our schedules meshed together, and set it up. The
we ultimately decided on was a NAC/NI (New Israeli) 'wargames'
encounter. The
point spread was to be about 1600/side.

Now I had *just* finished my first draft of a NAC Fleet Order of Battle
post it in a seperate message if anyone is remotely interested), so I
Cruiser-Destroyer Squadron 20, which consisted of: 1 MONTANA-class BCN,
VANDENBURG-class CA, 1 SENECA-class CM, 1 FURIOUS-class CE, 3
DDs, and 3 TACOMA-class FGs, for 1598 pts. (note: I had also just
designing several new ships for the NAC fleet - in this case the BCN and
were represented - so not all ships used were FleetBook Standard). The
BCN is a
variant of sorts to the MAJESTIC - basically I ripped out the SML &
and added a 3-arc P-torp (why?), a Needle Beam (may opt to replace this
with a
3-arc Class-2 batt), and an extra PDS. No point change. The CM is a
variant to
the FURIOUS, but in this case I tore out the ADFC to widen the Class-3
to 3 arcs (saved 2 pts this way). I have designed a BCE, wherein I
removed the
SML & magazine, as well as one FireCon, and reduced the arcs of the
batts by removing the aft side arcs, and in the now-open space put in 2
5 more PDS', a 3-arc Class-2 battery, and 1 more point of Armour (total
was 2 extra pts). As BCEs are generally part of Carrier Battlegroups or
Battle Squadrons, I would not have the protection of a BCE this game.

Noam brought to the battle 5 ships: 3 cruiser/carriers and 2 escort-type
cruisers (for the specific stats, see Noam), for I think 1579 pts.
his ships had weak hulls and Stealth-2 (as did his freaking fighters).
His main
weapons were Class-3 and Class-2 batts, using offset firing arcs (eg,
ALL his
weapons were set F/FS/AS). All his ships were high-thrust (I don't
remember if
his cruiser/carriers were thrust-4 or 6, but his escort cruisers had
His cruiser/carriers had 1 hangar bay (hence the 3 squadrons of ftrs).
escort cruisers were loaded with PDS'. Natch. The idea of his ships is
to fly
at high speeds and circle around the opponents, picking them off at long
while using the Stealth to keep the effective range of the enemy weapons
to a minimum. His fighters with their Stealth-2 were acting as if they
had 2
levels of screening, which made it a true pain to take them down. I got
only once (see Turn 8).

With the forces decided, we set up, using his floor instead of his
table (a heck of a lot more space there! :)  We set up off-axis from
other, approximately 60-70 inches (units) away. Before knowing the
Noam asked me what our starting speeds were. I suggested 10. We then
began the
game, deciding this was an exercise scenario the NI asked the NAC to run
them to help train their crews. The NAC agreed to this, and apparently
(as was
revealed by the later die rolls) sent out a bunch of greenhorns.

Noam's ships were set in a *tight* 'star' formation:

		CA  CA
		  CE   -->
		CE  CA

whereas mine were more spread out, with the heavy frigates up front,
a few inches by the destroyers, then by the heavy cruiser, followed
by the battlecruiser. The medium cruiser and escort cruiser took up
positions ~5 inches to either side of the heavy cruiser.

Turn 1 was basically an approach turn. My ships accelerated, as did
Note, we were not heading directly for each other, mistake on my part,
realizing his arc-limited batteries.

Turn 2. I slowed my accelerations and started turning my FGs towards his
His fighters closed with where I would end up but did not enter
engagement this
turn. My CM and CE pulled a scissors action to bring themselves closer
to the
center of the squadron, while the CA and BCN accelerated to catch up
with the
DDs. The NI turned away with a 2-point turn this turn, but since their
have aft-starboard arcs, he took some long-range shots and whacked one
of my
heavy frigates for 3 pts. Threshold! Lost a FireCon (this was the start
of a
trend). With his Stealth-2 my effective range of my Class-3s was 24
inches, and
my Class-2 16 inches (my Class-1s had a range of 8 inches, but the few
times I
*did* manage to close with his ships this game to less than 8 inches I
have any Class-1s left!). My forces looked on impotently.

Turn 3. The NI veer to the starboard, realizing they had turned too far
last time. My forces attempt to swing starboard to catch his, but he's
accelerating hard. His fighters move in and pounce on 2 heavy frigates
and a
destroyer (all out of the ADFC umbrella of the CE). One fighter squadron
had to
burn an endurance point to get to its target ship. This would force it
depart from combat 1 turn earlier than the other two fighter squadrons,
which I
would be just as happy about. My anti-fighter fire is utterly and
ineffective. He batters my small ships with his fighters, and then with
ships heavily damages several of my frigates and destroyers, totally
one of my destroyers. Already I lose a ship. He also moderately damages
my CM,
forcing a threshold check. His ships are *barely* in range so I fire
I possibly can. I chip away by '1-pointing' his one cruiser/carrier into
first threshold check (remember, these are weak hulls; only took 4 or so
to do that, and *that* took my entire fleet! I rolled a LOT of 1s and 3s
another trend that would continue through most of the game). I run
control on the CM, but they fail to repair anything.

Turn 4. The NI continue to accelerate and slowly swing starboard, while
slower forces (I'm moving an average of 16-18 here) turn tighter than
his ships
and start to slip behind him. This limits who he can fire at (happily
for me!).
I also manage to close with my smaller ships, but end up paying the
price. His
fighters, however, are well-placed to attack several of my larger ships.
I get
the initiative, so one of the NAC frigates fires everything it can at
already-damaged CA, forcing a second threshold check! This is the
closest I
will come to Noam's ships this game with functional weapons. One of the
then smashes into my frigate with 3(!) PDS hits, forcing the *2*
checks on the frigate.

Needless to say it was gutted hard. FireCon got fried, many systems

Luckily the NAC CA hits the already-damaged NI CA for several points,
yet a 3rd thresdhold check. The remaining NI ships attempt to swat the
from the skies, but miss, a lot (boy those level-1 screens paid for
they also paid for themselves most of the game). The NI fighters had
opted to
take on the BCN, so when I got around to activating that ship, the
stormed it. The limited anti-fighter fire the BCN had (the CE was *just*
out of
range to protect it!) was 4 PDS' and 2 Class-1s. I knocked down 3 out of
fighters. The rest...forced the BCN to take a threshold check (but
nothing shorted out). Then it's the BCN's turn to fire on the NI ships
... and
it utterly misses (1s and 3s).

Turn 5. Noam announced that his fighters were going to 'sustain attack'
on my
BCN. We quickly discussed this, as it's not an 'official' rule in FT,
but we
both figured that if the fighters are close enough to be attacking a
ship, they ought to be able to *follow* it and continue attacking it (I
something about this to the list last year, but no one really responded
to the
suggestion/thought/idea). This would, essentially, be like fighters
screening a
ship, except instead of defending it, they were assaulting. As much as I
rather they *not* sit on my BCN, I went for it because that's what made
to me. Anyway....   the NI continue acceleration and 1 point turns,
while I try
to come up from behind or inside his turn the best I can. I plot well
that the CE can now support the BCN in anti-fighter fire. Not that it
With 7 PDS' and 3 Class-1s you would THINK I could whittle the fighters
down a
little - I killed *1*. 1!! That was it. <sigh> The fighters fortunately
do not
overly maul the BCN, only hit it to within a point of it's second
check. Next the BCN and CE fire what they can, actually destroying the
NI CA, and forcing a 2nd threshold check on the damaged NI CE. The BCN
try to fire its pulse torp, but at the range we were at, needed a '6' to

I rolled a '1'. Heh.

The NAC CA is nicked a little by the NI (all armor removed). No other
are further damaged this turn.

Now it sounds as if I'm not doing too bad. Well, understand that half of
small ships are now heavily damaged or crippled, most have had their
shorted out and are suffering damage to their thrust engines. My BCN is
to take a 2nd threshold check, and if the CM is hit for 3 or so points,
suffer a second threshold check itself. And everything else I fire this
totally misses.

Turn 6. This was a sad turn for the NAC. The NI ships split, with the
pulling a 3-point turn and accelerating to 27, the CAs pulling ahead to
speed 30 with a 1-pt turn. The NI fighters sustain for another turn. The
forces begin to get strung out, since so many have engine threshold
hits, but
try to give chase as best as possible. I get initiative, so the NAC CA
everything it can at a fresh NI CA. 1 pt damage. The NI respond,
the NAC CA for 10 pts, 5 of it from rerolls. The CA loses ALL its
FireCons, and suffers an engine critical. No other fire from the NAC is
effective in any way, sense, or form (1s and 3s, 1s and 3s - all I could
were 1s and 3s!). Noam was beginning to wonder if the NAC were here to
his forces, or just play with pretty lights from their gun batteries.

The BCN finally activates, which activates the fighters. Again, 7 PDS'
and 3
Class-1s fire at the incoming 14 fighters. 2 are hit, but the rest do
damage: the BCN is forced well into and past the 2nd threshold check.
proceeds to lose 1/2 of its weapons (naturally all the ones which would
normally have the NI ships in arc), and ALL its FireCons. So no
weapons fire from the BCN this turn.

At this point I'm now rolling damage control for 8 of my 9 remaining
All repairs are ineffective except for the CA's screens and the CM's
(finally!). I don't know exactly what Noam had been losing, but from the
sounds he was making he was getting a lot of successful repair rolls.

Turn 7. The NI fighters break off!! (thank God!). One squadron of
heads for a cruiser/carrier as it's used up its combat endurance rating.
other two are still viable threats. The NAC forces hit the brakes, as
they are
really getting scattered. This leaves only 1 NAC ship in range to hit
the NI:
a frigate! And it not only hits the ever-so-slightly damaged NI CA, but
gets a
REROLL which forces its first threshold check! NI return fire is
Damage control repairs for the NAC (out of 7 rolls) was to get one of
FireCons on the BCN back up. Again, Noam was making excited noises, so I
only presume he was repairing things at a furious rate. It dawned on me
the NAC forces must be made up primarily of green troops. <sigh>

Turn 8. The NAC continue slowing down and turning inside the NI, who
to accelerate and turn (their speeds are now in the low-to-mid-30s; we
using a substantial part of the floor here, and have taken to moving
things laying around the room in order to prevent collisions). The NI
position themselves where they have a choice of targets: the BCN, the
CE, the
CM, some smaller ships...they opt to jump on the CE, to see if they
can't knock
this thing out (the CE is the ONLY ship I have at this point which is
undamaged! much less the only one who hasn't suffered threshold
checks...). 2
squadrons of 7 fighters (5 and 2) barrel in a spiral pattern, arrowing
in on
the CE. The CE, with only 3 PDS' and a Class-1, unleashed a Holy Fury
upon the
squadron of 5 fighters - and rolled a bunch of 6s! Wahoo! Rerolls...and
allowed for another 6! That's 4!! One more...a 5! WAHOO!!! All 5
fighters from the one squadron were knocked down! However, the remaining
fighters inflict 3 pts damage, first damage the CE suffered. The
fighters also
ran out of combat endurance at this point in time and would no longer be
threat (unfortunately, unlike the Tom's Forge-Worlders, we cannot use
our PDS'
or ADFC-guided weapons to attack non-attacking fighters). No other
occurs this turn; all ships are out of range/position from each other.
It is at
this point Noam realizes he cannot land his other fighter squadron, not
with my
ships still flying around out there being a threat. And he was going too
to slow down for his fighters to catch up, so the fighters just kinda
sat in
the 'middle' of the floor and watched the fight continue around them.

To this point in the game the NI have had a large number of weapons fire
the NAC about half as many. The NI have gotten in quite a few rerolls,
some to
devastating effect. The NAC had only 3 rerolls before this, and of those
one yielded 1 more point.

Damage control this turn for the NAC: somehow one of the FGs got a
Class-2 back
online and one of the DDs with damaged thrust repaired it. The BCN, with
damage control parties, can't even replace a lightbulb; neither can the
2 DCs
on the CA.

Turn 9. The NAC attempt to slow drastically and regroup (being spread to
hell and gone), while the NI maintain low-30s speed and wagon train
tactics. NO NAC ship is within range of the NI, so no NAC fire. The NI
now use
their weapons with impunity. They decide to target the nearest ship to
the most undamaged FG on my side (has only taken 1 pt so far). The two
CAs hit
it hard enough to force a double threshold check, and in the process,
EVERYthing on the FG shorts out except for a lone Class-2 battery.

Damage control rolls for the NAC: only a DD gets thrust repaired.
Nothing else
fixed for anyone else (in fact, the DC parties on the BCN drop the box
of light
bulbs - and manage to break every one of them!)

Turn 10. A 'quiet' turn. The NAC swings in, but can't close the range
The NI uses all long-range fire and targets the BCN - and with screens
(one of the few systems on the BCN that WASN'T knocked out so many turns
the BCN weathers the storm for no damage (otherwise it could have been
threshold check by now). Damage control repairs for the NAC yield only
the BCN
getting a weapon - the starboard side Class-3 battery - back online
again. The
NI have almost totally repaired all their threshold damaged systems at
point. <sigh>

Turn 11. The NI continue circling at high speed, while the NAC undercut
with slower movement, turning inside and all but centerlining the NI CAs
the BCN, CM, and CE (the CA is way in the 'back' of the field, trying
desperately to turn with damaged engines). The NI CEs are facing a NAC
FG and
have the NAC CA in their sights. The NI gain initiative and smash into
the CE,
causing a threshold which takes out the PDS' and reduces the drive by
half. The 
CE replies with a torp (need a 4 to hit!) and beams. The torp misses
(got a 3)
with the beams all doing a total of...1 pt damage. The NI fires on the
BCN but
misses (screens! :). The BCN returns fire but does 1 pt to the lightly
NI CA. The CM gets a threshold hit on the earlier-nicked NI CA
(threshold #2;
most all damage suffered will be repaired).

On the 'other' side of the field (where the NI CEs have ended up wrt the
the NI CEs have a couple of targets in range - and if I had had any
weapons and FireCons...!  The NI CEs target a FG and the CA. They smack
the CA and all but kill the FG (all my small ships at this point have
only 1 or
2 pts left). The ONLY reply I can give back is the Rapid-Fire Dynotron
Laser (a PDS) from tha CA. The NI applaud the pretty display of lights
that the
CA shoots out.

Damage control rolls : only the two FGs not anywhere near anyone get
FireCons back up. That's it for the NAC.

Turn 12. With the NI CEs swinging around behind my main combat-capable
and knowing their weapons are all on the starboard side, most of my
attempts to swing *port*. This would also allow me to bring to bear MY
port-side weapons as many of my starboard weaps have died from threshold
checks. One of me FGs finds itself going head-to-head with the two NI
(oops!), and...the NAC get initiative! This was *vital* for this turn,
for only
the FG can fire on the NAC side. So, fearing the worst, the FG targets
the more
damaged-CE of the two...and *tha-wunk!*. It hits, hard, forcing a 3rd
check on that CE! The CE proceeds to lose all weapons and FireCons
The remaining CE takes revenge on the FG, removing it from the board,
and then
reaches out and damages another FG (reducing it's engine output to 0 on
3rd threshold check; fortunately it's at speed 8 so it may stay around
enough to get control again). The NI CAs dink the BCN.

Damage control rolls for this turn: only the BCN gets a FireCon back

Turn 13. The Final Turn (partly called because I had to leave since it
nigh midnight and I had to be at work at 7am this morning, and partly
because the NAC had clearly lost by this point). Movement: the NAC all
scattered to hell and gone again. The NAC CE gets a shot at the NI CE
and hits
it (first damage this game!). The NI CE replies by shooting ALL PDS' and
Class-2 battery at the NAC CA - forcing the 3rd threshold check, which
the screens and reduces the thrust output to 0. The NAC CA is going to
the map at speed 20 (however the FTL is actually still online, so the CA
prep to FTL out next turn). The NI CAs hit a NAC DD, forcing it to its
threshold check. The NAC CA actually hits the NI CE for 1 pt with a PDS
(hah! teach YOU to laugh at my 'pretty lights'!). No other fire.

At this point we called the game. It was a harsh game, frustrating, and
seemingly impossible to maintain range, even 'long' range, with the NI's
Stealth-2 tech ships. Mistakes were made on both sides, but die rolls
a lot to do with much of the inability of the NAC to hurt the NI (and in
some cases, especially in the latter third of the game, ditto for the NI
trying to hit some of the larger NAC ships - screens played a serious
there!). The NAC got their money's worth out of the FGs. Much of the
the FGs were just flying around, trying DESPERATELY to get their
back online. The NI opted to ignore them instead of popping them when he
had the chance. It was a gamble on his part, and one that allowed me to
a couple of close-in shots with my FGs. Would have been nice, though, to
a little more often. But alas...

  Fleet Statistics at the end of the game:

NI: 1 CA destroyed, 1 CE crippled and departing, 1 CA heavily damaged
accumulated 'plink' shots), 1 CE lightly damaged ("you call that damage?
hahahaha!"), and 1 undamaged CA. Of the 3 fighter squadrons, 2 remained
with 2 fighters, the other with 5). Of their internal system damage, all
were almost 100% fresh (damage control worked overtime there; only the
departing crippled CE had not fixed its FireCons or batteries).

NAC: 2 ships destroyed (FG & DD), 5 structurally crippled ships (2xDD,
and the CA), 1 heavily damaged (BCN), and 2 moderately damaged (the CM &
As for internal systems, only the CM and CE were viable fighting ships
at this
point; all other ships had at LEAST 50% (in most cases 75%+) of their
systems blasted.

Basically the NAC surrendered the system at this point. Against the
covered fresh CA and lightly damaged CE there was no way the NAC could
them. If the NI were smart he would then over the next two turns pop
each and
every NAC cripple on the board, and finish off or cripple the BCN. The
CM and
CE would not be much of a factor (especially since the CM was 1 pt away
threshold check #2...and with the way I had been rolling threshold
The NI made the encounter a *very* expensive learning experience for the

I got to fire my p-torps twice - and missed with both (once badly, once
a near
thing). Noam fired more often and more weapons than I did throughout the
game, even with his missing more often towards the end. And while many
of you
deride the existence of smaller ships (frigates and whatnot), I have
demonstrated that they have value in combat, and they *can* give an
of themselves. I actually was hoping that Noam would fire at a couple of
FGs which were running around with a point or two left and no FireCons,
at worst it would mean he wouldn't be firing at my other ships. He opted
to, and when a couple of lucky repairs came through, paid for it.

I'm not sure if the Needle Beam on the BCN is warrented or not. Against
NI, no. I could not close the range enough. Replacing it with a Class-2
have given me a couple more die to throw against his ships...or maybe
not. No
matter, for the time being I'm going to leave it on there. Switching it
later would cost no Mass or points.

I'm unsure if the Stealth-2 system is balanced or not. A quick
discussion gave that Noam felt the tactics he used (high speeds
circling) is
what the NI ships need to do - to keep the range open and keep the
opponents in
his firing arcs. It's hard to judge how the NAC could have been handled
because of initial die rolls. Basically they want to try and close, but
was nigh-impossible. Getting behind Noam for a couple turns was a BIG
break -
but the die rolls did not allow for complete exploitation of this break.
All it
did was give me a moment's reprieve from his battering me while I dealt
his fighters (a whole 'nother can of worms in and of themselves!).
Getting as
spread out as I did didn't help, but some of that was due to the unlucky
threshold checks which starting tolling on the engines of thrust-6
ships. Noam
felt that in the granularity of FT we had, in the noise, fairly balanced
forces. Me, I was getting too tired last night to think deeply on it. 
(sorry, Noam; been a long week). We might try doing this scenario again
like to, see if the results come out similar or skew another way; maybe
switch sides  ;-).

End of the AAR. Hope you enjoyed it.

M 'Indy' k
All that is gold does not glitter,
     all those who wander are not lost.

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