This weekend saw Richard and I embark on another adventure into the world of Mechaton in space, or “Spaceaton” as I’ve rather unfortunately taken to calling it.
Our chief change to the rules thus far has been the use of “vector movement” indicated by a couple of d8s at the base of each ship, and the use of different sizes of ship, from one-white-die “Corvettes” to giant three-white-dice “Dreadnoughts”. You can read more about our first space-foray here.
This time around, we were trialing another departure from the core Mechaton rules – torpedoes. Both Richard and I are fans of the old GW game “Battlefleet Gothic” (despite its failings), so when Malcolm suggested torpedoes that actually stay on the table and take several turns to reach their targets, we were right on board. Torpedoes work like this: Instead of declaring a target, when you roll dice you can try to launch torpedoes instead. Each Torpedo Tube attachment gives you a single red die for the purpose. Once you’ve rolled, you can assign a five or a six either from white dice, or from your red dice, to launch a torpedo. Only fives and sixes count – you either launch a torpedo or you don’t. You place torpedoes at direct fire range away from your ship. At the start of the next turn, the torpedo gets an initiative die. On its initiative, the torpedo travels 2d6 towards the nearest enemy ship. If it hits the ship, it counts as a “six” hit against that ship.
So how did it go? First, let me outline the battle.
The Free Worlds Confederation – a plucky alliance of planets independant of the Whole Galaxy Empire was escorting a cargo freighter and a ship full of refugees to one of the more far-flung free worlds.
But they were ambushed by a patrol of Red Faction Corsairs! The dastardly Red Faction is always doing the Empire’s dirty work, when they’re not themselves preying on the Empire’s shipping.
My Confederation ships were pretty comprehensively beaten by Richard’s Corsairs. I foolishly sent my corvette off in a mad plan to sneak behind the enemy and capture their long-range sensor platforms. The plan failed when I foolishly engaged in a firefight with one of Richard’s cruisers, rather than drifting on past.
From there, his Dreadnought continued its slow drift towards the rest of my fleet, and obliteration was inevitable. Still, it was a fun game. Torpedoes added a fun and random element, where you were never sure if you’d get the initiative to speed away from the torpedo before it impacted with your ship. I think some provision for shooting down torpedoes might be in order. This would encourage teamwork more, and give another role to the otherwise puny corvettes.
Next time we’ll be trialling rules for fighters – allowing ships to act as carriers. We’re still working on the rules, but I’m being drawn towards a modification on the current one-shot-rocket rules.