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Aslan vs. Solomani--Squadron Strike: Traveller battle reports

There were 3.5 online games of Squadron Strike: Traveller last Thursday, 21 May 2020. The Squadron Strike Online virtual map is free to use, and we teach Squadron Strike at no charge. Learn more about the Virtual Map

The Lion Sweeps Tonight matches an Aslan strike cruiser and three destroyers against a damaged Solomani Beijing-class deep strike cruiser and a Normandy-class heavy cruiser, which have their backs to a gas giant. It's in playtesting for the next Squadron Strike: Traveller expansion, and it's already been played several time, with bugs and balance being worked out each time.

Because everyone had played the scenario we were fixing at least once prior, we ran two sessions of it, with Leon (flying the Aslan) versus JD running the Solomani in one instance and Dave running the Aslan versus Paul with the Solomani.

Overall, changing the damage allocation on the wounded Solomani ship was a major win, and giving the Aslan a better starting vector (and an extra DDL) gave them more interesting choices than "float through barrages of Meson Gun fire before getting to range."

I think with these changes, The Lion Sweeps Tonight is a keeper.

Dave vs Paul

The Lion Sweeps again...

The engagement began with the two Aslan DD’s leading the DDL and CS in an aggressive approach towards the Solomani. As the leading DD’s entered meson range both were hit, with a direct hit on hull location 10 taking one DD out almost immediately. The second fared better but was damaged, with a swarm of missile heading towards it and a non-functioning nuclear damper!

The Solomani split their ships, sending the wounded Beijing CS out along the rim of the Gas Giant, while the Solomani CA held its ground to receive the Aslan attack. The Aslan plan was to take on the CA first as it was the ship with the greatest threat and the manoeuvring of that ship cemented that decision.

The next turn brought the Aslan CS into meson range but both shots failed to find their mark. The surviving DD just survived its missile strikes with its weapons still pretty much intact.

Then the Aslan were ready to deliver their combined strike on the Solomani CA. At range 2 the surviving DD fired into the aft of the Solomani ship – it took down its sand and scored a few internals although a significant number of its shots failed. In response it was destroyed.

The Solomani CA was at range 7 and so the CS and DDL delivered their full alpha strikes. The Aslan accuracy was poor, rolling a series of six ‘1’s. The result was a barely damaged Solomani CA. A salvo of missiles were also launched at it. The DDL took some damage but not as much as anticipated.

The following turn saw the two remaining Aslan ships turning in order to avoid impacting the gas giant and in doing so did not have many shots – the DDL had lost all its weapons that were in arc. The Solomani were not under such restrictions and their fire further damaged both Aslan ships.

Both sides now had significant vectors taking them away from each other. In order for the Aslan to previously get their best shots at the Solomani they were now vectoring along the edge of the Gas Giant and the Solomani were vectoring away from the planet.

The Beijing CS planned to keep vectoring away whilst the Normandy CA would cancel out its vectors and turn to reengage the Aslan. The Aslan ships would take a few turns to adjust to make another run… It was at that point we finished due to time.

Turn 5

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Turn 6

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Turn 7

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This fight now seems pretty well balanced. The Aslan need to be aggressive in order to get some utility from the DDs. If the Aslan alpha strike had been more effective then, the subsequent pass may have been a closer run thing. There is enough in this scenario to keep both players happy. The Aslan need to be bold and aggressive but always mindful of the presence of the gas giant. Solomani play is subtler, with small vectors and facing changes making all the difference.

Leon vs JD

J.D. took the "avoiding battle" description to heart and they ran off direction A. I was slow to catch on that he was running and expected him to turn in... and by the time I clued in he had a big distance lead and I was having to shift my vector by 180 degrees and pursue. The Anzio effectively shielded the Angkor Wat which got away. He atomised one of the DDs. My other DD built up too high of a vector and sped off map (again). The DDL got some good licks in before his vectors carried him out of range. The CS and CA began trading blows but JD got a hit on my pivot which prevented the Hriolri'ea from getting its spinal to bear. So the Slayer has taken considerably more internals (but no SI) but is running out of padding. The Anzio has taken relatively light damage. The vectors will mean both DDs are going to need to spend a couple of turns burning to even get back into range. Next turn the Slayer may have a Meson shot so it could be another turn of trading mesons after which we'll be out of range (and the Slayer's maneuver drive is down to 1 so he'll take forever to get into position to fire again). I'd call it a decisive Solomani victory (preserved the Angkor Wat, destroyed one DD). I think this version of the scenario works much better.

The Training Games

While two runs of Lion Sweeps Tonight were done, I also ran four-player teaching game for Arkein Guardia, Elliott Goddard and Neil Munro. Ken Watanabe filled in for Lonnie Barnett, who misread the start time.

On this one, I took three Zhdiaks and two Zhdavlditz CLs, and it was very nice having an experienced player on the player's side of the teaching game. We ran through six turns of combat, with significant damage to Neil's ship, but not quite dead, light damage on Elliot's and enough damage on Arkein's and Ken's that they knew they were in a scrap, but all the Zhodani were obliterated in the end, which is sort of the end-goal of that scenario.

I'm still not entirely happy with the Traveller teaching scenario, having played the teaching side multiple times -- there's not a lot of interesting choices to make as the teacher, so it gets a little monotonous to run nearly every week.

Ethan ran a teaching game for John Cunningham, who had signed up for the RocketPunk* alpha test as his first game of Squadron Strike. (Our response was: "Please, no." Ethan is now writing out scripts for making videos to teach the interface and tools.

*RocketPunk is a 1980s setting with Orion-powered ships. An Orion drive dumps a nuke out of the back of your ship, detonates it, and gets its thrust from the huge thrust plate/shield behind your ship partially turning to plasma ...
It's a great game.

I started with games like Attack Vector:Tactical and the Honourverse version of sorts Saganami Island Tactical Simulator so Squadron Strike Traveller has been pretty easy to move across too.
really looks like fun, wish I could get in on it.

You can!

Squadron Strike Online is 100% free! We teach both the interface and the game, and the interface even includes the ship data sheets you'll need. It's just a (very, very fancy) web site, so nothing to install.

Thursday at 1pm ET is the best for Traveller (there are other settings that use the Squadron Strike engine). Sunday is the other major day for training games, but you can also request a training session at your convenience at https://vtt.mikezekim.com/learn

The schedule of upcoming games is at https://vtt.mikezekim.com/events. Create an account and then sign up for games.

We use the Discord app for audio, we use the Virtual Map for the shared game play environment. You'll need a headset for Discord and you'll want a monitor that's at least 1920x1080 or so for the widescreen aspect ratio. You should use Chrome for the Virtual Map (some other browsers don't implement some web standards quite properly ...)

See you there!