"Territorial disputes across the South China Sea have burned hot and cold for centuries, but as the World War consumed every continent and ocean, it seemed that these old rivalries and hatreds would be ignited once more...
...the year 1872 saw the Great Dragon awaken, and following continued aggression from the East India Merchant Company and their mercenary armies, the Chinese Federation moved a fleet against several ports in Malaysia. The first attack hit Pulau Tioman, where extensive strip mining had destroyed much of the once-beautiful island and a small number of shipyards and docks had been constructed - docks currently occupied by the 47th Reserve Fleet of the Federated States of America. The Chinese objective was simple - smash the capital ships and scatter the rest, leaving the way ready for the ponderous yet unstoppable wave of Chinese and Blazing Sun invasion forces.
Assembling hastily to face the indomitable Chinese fleet, Rear-Admiral Paul F.C. Stockton ordered the merchants present at Tioman to flee and warn the Britannian command. He was confident that with the new vessels assigned to his fleet, they could slow down, if not stop the Chinese war machine. They would meet in the waters just off Pulau Tioman, in the shadows of the East India Company drilling platforms..."
- The Cauldron: War in the South China Sea
Naval Battles of 1872
Welcome to our first Battle Report with the new edition, and the first game of what I hope will be another great campaign.
In this opening game, Good Friend Ben and myself will be pitting the Federated States of America versus the might of the Chinese Federation - a fleet that has not featured much on this blog even though I painted the fleet nearly a year ago! In keeping with the reputation for faster, bloodier games, we have upped our usual game size to 1,500pts, meaning Ben gets to use lots of new American toys and I get to field almost every Chinese model I've painted.
The board was set with some of the new desert islands, and also featured a convoy fleet moving in the far corner, a ramshackle floating village and some scattered platforms to represent the strip mining perpetrated by the East India Merchant Company and their Grand Coalition allies. The FSA would take the side of the board with the largest concentration of rigs, while the Chinese Federation would attack from behind the floating village. The convoy fleet was only there to look good and would not be used in the game itself.
Drawing secret Field Objectives, Ben's FSA would have to earn 1050 Victory Points to achieve the win. I, in turn, would need to destroy or capture all of Ben's Large/Massive vessels. I decided not to change this, as I considered it would be a nice challenge! We did not know each others Objectives until the game finished.
A nice open centre but some key islands for cover across the board - this should be messy. On to the game...
The Federated States of America
One Liberty-class Heavy Battleship with a rocket battery, accompanied by two Springfield-class Escorts and upgraded with Elite Crew
One Saratoga-class Fleet Carrier with one squadron of five Dive Bombers and one squadron of four Fighter Planes, lead by an Ace Pilot
One Boston-class Submarine with six Turtle-class Attack Submarines
Three Princeton-class Gunships with shield generators
Three Georgetown-class Cruisers with rocket batteries
Three Lexington-class Light Cruisers with rocket batteries
One Squadron of four Guilford-class Destroyers
One Squadron of four Augusta-class Frigates
Two Squadrons of five Dive Bombers
The Chinese Federation
One Jian-class Battleship with rocket batteries
One Guan Dao-class Battlecruiser
Two Wodao-class Gunships
Two Chui-class Support Carriers each with one squadron of four Dive Bombers
One Squadron of four Yue-class Destroyers
Two Squadrons of four Nu-class Frigates
Two Luxing-class Air Bombards
One Zhanmadao-class Dreadnought Fortress with one squadron of four Dive Bombers
Two Dun-class Floating Bastions
Two Squadrons of five Dive Bombers
|The FSA deployment is split by the island in the centre, with the Cruisers, Light Cruisers and Destroyers holding the left flank while the rest of the fleet stays on the right|
|The Heavy Battleship and Fleet Carrier sit at the end, out of the immediate line of fire|
|The Chinese Federation deploy at an angle, aiming towards the centre of the board. The floating Bastions take a forward position in the Advanced Deployment zone - unfortunately we both forgot the Dreadnought cannot be deployed in Advance! Oh dear|
|The Merchant Navy attempt to flee the islands before they get caught in the crossfire|
|The rest of the fleet are protected by the Great Wall forming between the Bastions|
|The Liberty-class Heavy Battleship breaks the Wall and destroys the central Bastion|
|The Guan Dao Battlecruiser moves forward and turns to present all three turrets|
|The Princeton-class Gunship squadron takes the brunt|
|The Georgetown-class Cruisers also suffer some damage in the early activations. Moving forward, they damage the Dreadnought with their turrets|
|The Air Bombards fly forward, their sonic weaponry damaging the central Gunship|
|Wodao-class Gunships open fire on the Lexington squadron, utterly destroying one|
|Another angle on the loss of the Lexington|
|Augusta-class Frigates destroy the second Bastion with their volley guns|
|The Battleship and a squadron of Frigates continue the relentless Chinese advance|
|The beleaguered Princeton squadron suffers more damage, and the central vessel sinks beneath the waves|
|The Dreadnought has borne the brunt of the American firepower, and already suffered damage|
|Chui-class Support Carriers cause damage to the lead Georgetown|
|The second Frigate squadron performs well, destroying an Augusta-class Frigate and finishing off the damaged Princeton|
|Their deadly handiwork close up|
|The end of the first turn - both sides have taken damage, with the Chinese Federation losing both of their Bastions and taking damage on the Dreadnought Fortress|
Turn One seemed fairly even - the Federated States concentrated their fire on the Advance Force while the Chinese Federation split their gunnery across the three Medium squadrons, attempting to reduce the effectiveness of the turrets before they can cause too much damage.
|The Boston burns from prow to stern|
|On the other side of the field, the Yue-class Destroyers spring their attack on the Lexington-class Light Cruisers, flooding their decks with flame and leaving them in a similar state to the Boston-class Submarine|
|The Destroyers launch a boarding assault on the remaining Support Carrier, but are repulsed|
|Luxing-class Air Bombards move to support the Dreadnought Fortress, their sonic bombards destroying a Cruiser|
|A closer view of the power of the aerial Bombards|
|Dive Bombers and the Liberty-class Heavy Battleship delivers the coup de grace and send the Zhanmadao slowly drifting down into the waves|
|The Wodao-class Gunships draw a line on one of the Lexington-class Light Cruisers and cause critical damage|
|The Light Cruiser squadron moves up, but their weaponry is ineffective, merely damaging one of the Destroyers|
|Their rockets do damage an Air Bombard as well, however|
|Nu-class Frigates move close and engage the Augusta-class Frigates in a boarding assault, waves of conscript soldiers scuttling two of the Federacy vessels|
|The Princeton knocks one of the Luxing-class Air Bombards from the sky, while Sharpshooters take out some of the waiting soldiers on the nearest Frigate|
|FSA Dive Bombers destroy the remaining Chui-class Support Cruiser, leaving the Chinese Federation with no functioning Carriers|
|The Guan Dao Battlecruiser makes an entrance, firing over the Frigates to finish off the Princeton-class Gunship|
|The other two turrets turn and fire on the Georgetown-class Cruiser squadron, causing immense damage to the closest ship|
|Dive Bombers swoop on the powerful vessel, causing critical damage. Jade Armour keeps the hull holding together|
|The last Georgetown is finished by a swarm of Chinese Dive Bombers|
|Another squadron of Dive Bombers descend on the lead Lexington, leaving it damaged so the raging fires will soon consume it|
|Revenge! Turtle-class Attack Submarines launch their assault on the Frigate squadron, their Reckless crews destroying two of the vessels and killing many of the soldiers on the remaining pair|
|The Dive Bombers take out two of the Guilford-class Destroyers, leaving only a single damaged Destroyer|
|In the Endphase, both the Lexington-class Light Cruisers and the Boston-class Submarine are consumed by the flames and sink beneath the waves, leaving the American fleet in tatters. Only the Liberty stands undamaged.|
A bloody mess of a turn, no doubt! The Chinese Federation have lost their Dreadnought Fortress and their Support Carrier squadron, as well as using the bombs on several of the Dive Bomber squadrons. The Frigates have expended many of their crew in Boarding actions. Nonetheless, they are in a far better state than the American fleet, which has lost all three Medium squadrons, most of the Destroyers and Frigates, and the Submarine. The incredibly brutal flamethrowers have shown their effectiveness, and the importance of keeping crew alive to deal with Raging Fires. By the end of the second turn, the Chinese Federation have scored 1,037 Victory Points but not achieved their Objective. In turn, the FSA have scored 830 Victory Points, again not achieving their Objective. The game continues!
|In the opening stages of Turn Three, the FSA have realised the true target of the Chinese Federation, and can only hope to cause enough damage to rob them of their victory before they are overwhelmed|
|Turtle-class Attack Submarines swarm the Battlecruiser, but are repulsed|
|The Jian-class Battleship moves up, causing a critical hit on the Fleet Carrier. The Heavy Battleship is undamaged|
|Return fire from the Liberty causes minor damage|
|The Yue-class Destroyers overwhelm the last FSA Destroyer|
|In the closing stages of Turn Three, the various squadrons of Bombers launch their attacks, damaging the Guan Dao Battlecruiser and causing serious damage to the Saratoga-class Fleet Carrier|
Turn Three ends with the FSA still not having completed their mission, and the Chinese slowly running out of gunnery and bombs with which to destroy the Heavy Battleship.
|The Liberty does score an important kill with turret fire, however, and destroys the Guan Dao Battlecruiser|
|The Frigates move forward to open fire on the crippled Saratoga|
|The rest of the Chinese fleet moves up in support, trying to bring their weaponry to bear|
|The Saratoga is finished|
|Chinese Federation squadrons drag down the last few American planes|
|The end of Turn Five - again, neither side has achieved their Objectives! Things are not looking good for the Liberty-class Heavy Battleship|
|Proving it still has teeth, the Liberty causes more damage to the Jian-class Battleship and then destroys two Nu-class Frigates|
|The Jian moves close and unleashes the power of the Dragon's Breath, flooding the decks of the Liberty with corrosive fire|
|Nu-class Frigates move to surround the beleaguered vessel, causing more damage with their powerful guns|
|The Luxing Air Bombard finishes the job, emptying its payload onto the burning vessel and sinking it|
Death by a Thousand Cuts! The American flagship is finally brought down by the combined might of the Chinese fleet, and the game won. The FSA did not completely fail, however, and did score the 70% they needed to achieve their Field Objective - so both sides have completed their Objective, just unfortunate for the American fleet that they suffered such complete losses and lost on Victory Point difference.
The Chinese Federation Destroyed or Captured all of the FSA Large/Massive vessels and scored 1,605 Victory Points, while the Federated States of America scored 1,055 Victory Points, thanks in part to destroying all of the Chinese Strategic Objectives and earning some extra points in that manner. A decisive win for the Chinese Federation.
CONCLUSIONS AND LEARNING POINTS
There are (currently) THREE amendments/retractions/accidental cheating aspects for this Battle Report... the Dreadnought should not have set up in the Advance Deployment, it only has ONE flamethrower per facing and has Rugged Construction (2) instead of (1). Amazing how we managed to run the rules for that massive model so wrong... apologies all round. In my defence, it was my first game with the Chinese, and I had not prepared enough for them. Can't be perfect, I'm afraid... but we will try harder next time!
This was our first Battle Report for the new Edition of Dystopian Wars, and gave us a good chance to look at some of the changes in action. We were both very impressed with the new shooting rules, the pooling system is much simpler and fast now.
Causing damage feels faster, and both of us caused an incredible amount of damage in the first two turns - enough to end some games if we had different Objectives. Losing the Dreadnought Fortress so early was a shock, but I did place it in the middle of the board, and Ben shot everything he had at it.
Ben was very pleased with his Liberty-class Battleship, and looks forward to using it in the future, as well as trying out the new Battle Cruiser and Assault Carrier that have recently come into my possession.
The biggest change we both found was the changes to tiny flyers, the SAW tokens and squadrons. The new damage system is fast and easy, and the importance of carriers cannot be underestimated - both of us used the Carrier Points to refresh and rebuild lost tokens, and would have loved to play a slightly different set up where we use them better - as it was, my Support Carriers were destroyed rather quickly, while Ben's Fleet Carrier was out of position and could not help as much as hoped. When Ben has his new Assault Carrier things will be different, as that vessel can get into the fight properly.
Overall a nice fun game, and though it lasted a bit longer than usual, it was still the Dystopian Wars we know and love.
"...the first engagement with the Chinese Federation off Pulau Tioman was disastrous for the Federated States Navy; a huge loss for a fleet that was meant to be far from the active theatres and resting for future campaigns. The loss of the Liberty-class FSS Antares and Rear-Admiral Stockton were grievous blows, but they had caused delays to the Chinese attack, and cost them far more than they had planned to lose. Stockton and his crews had paid for this small victory with their lives..."
Thanks for reading,