Saturday, 18 October 2014

AAR - The Federated States of America versus The Chinese Federation

"As pressure mounted on the fleets of the aggressive Chinese Federation, they deployed more and more of their warships in an expanding circle, pushing into territorial waters of almost every other nation with a coast on the South China Sea. Their allies in the Empire of the Blazing Sun and their former benefactors, the mysterious Wani, also contributed support in their attacks against the Grand Coalition.

In response to the losses suffered at Pulau Tioman and Banda Aceh, fleet commanders for the Federated States of America ordered a punitive retaliation against the Chinese Federation. The movement of Battle Group Ulysses away from the on-going fleet maneuvres in the Pacific Ocean was questioned and quietly condemned, but the orders of the Vice-Chief of Naval Operations could not be countermanded. 

The movements of the Federacy fleet were followed by Imperial Bond spies, and a counter-thrust made at Balabac Island, where the American fleet was moving into the south-eastern waters of the South China Sea. Appearing from behind a long-dormant volcano, the Chinese fleet made their attack amid the shallow waters, their fleet an image out of some fantastical nightmare, led by ghostly Terror Ships and monstrous Dragons..."
- The Cauldron: War in the South China Sea
Naval Battles of 1872

Welcome to another installment in the on-going Campaign for the South China Sea, featuring old foes Mike and myself taking on new challenges with fleets we're not used to - specifically Mike will be running the Federated States of America, and I will be using the Chinese Federation, who gave me a thoroughly good game last week under Good Friend Ben's command. 

As well as running the giant Armoured Dragon Robot, I decided to field the Yurei-class Terror Ship. The Wani had been instrumental in modernising the armies and fleets of the Chinese Federation, and though their alliance was at an end, I decided it would be cool to run a Wani ship alongside them "for old times' sake." Plus, I wanted to use the cool see-through model, and had not painted enough Blazing Sun forces to run them as a fleet yet. 

Drawing Secret Objectives, the Federated States of America would have to break the Chinese fleet, destroying all of their Medium vessels. This would be difficult given how many I had decided to run! In turn, the Chinese would have to destroy the two Large vessels. Potentially difficult, given their tendency to sit back and shoot, but hopefully I would be able to smash through the front lines fairly quickly. 

With the Objectives secretly chosen and the board set up, we prepared for the game!


The Fujian Fleet, accompanied by a Yurei Terror Ship of the mysterious Wani
My Fleet
The Chinese Federation
One Jian-class Battleship with rocket batteries

Two Guan Dao-class Battlecruisers
Three Dao-class Cruisers
Three Chui-class Support Carriers each with one squadron of four Dive Bombers

One Squadron of four Yue-class Destroyers
Two Squadrons of three Nu-class Frigates

One Tian Long-class Armoured Dragon Robot

Two Squadrons of five Dive Bombers

The Empire of the Blazing Sun

One Yurei-class Terror Ship

Battle Group Ulysses, seconded from the Federated States Pacific Fleet
Mike's Fleet
The Federated States of America
One Liberty-class Heavy Battleship with a Shield Generator, upgraded with Elite Crew
One Saratoga-class Fleet Carrier with one squadron of five Dive Bombers and one squadron of four Dive Bombers

One Annapolis-class Battle Cruiser with rocket battery and Shield Generator
Three Georgetown-class Cruisers with rocket batteries
Three Lexington-class Light Cruisers with rocket batteries
Three Lexington-class Light Cruisers with Shield Generators

Two Squadrons of three Guilford-class Destroyers
Two Squadrons of five Revere-class Corvettes

Two Squadrons of five Fighter Planes


The Chinese Federation are split by an island in the centre of their deployment zone
The Cruiser squadron, Dragon and Ghost Ship make the port-side a big threat
The American fleet is concentrated in the centre, ready to smash past the derricks and into the Chinese formation
The Federated States present a solid wall of ships, with the Fleet Carrier and Heavy Battleship anchoring the port while the Georgetown squadron and the Annapolis-class Battlecruiser hold the starboard
The American Corvettes and one Destroyer squadron hold the port-side 
Battle is joined!

The Destroyer squadrons take the first hits, long range fire from the FSA Corvettes and Destroyers raining down upon them
Chinese Frigates turn their broadsides on the Corvettes, destroying or damaging three of them. Long range fire from the fore guns is less effective against the Guilford squadron
The skirmish heats up as the Destroyers unleash their flamethrowers upon the second Corvette squadron and a Nu-class Frigate is destroyed
A fusillade from the Jian-class Battleship obliterates a Corvette
Around the islands, the FSA open fire with their turrets against a number of targets, scoring several good hits on the Ghost Ship
The Battleship and Battlecruiser also suffer minor damage
In turn, the Chinese Federation concentrate their fire upon the Annapolis-class Battlecruiser, and also bring down one of the Destroyers
The Lexington-class Light Cruisers advance through the narrow strait
A wide shot of the opening moves show both sides exchanging long range fire, with very little definitive damage

The Corvettes launch themselves into the Frigate squadron, Reckless Boarding parties causing havoc but not destroying any of their targets
Flamethrowers and a vicious Boarding action see the Guilford squadron suffer severe damage
Guilford-class Destroyers negotiate the carnage but are ineffective at this close range
The Nu-class Frigates move into the melee but cause little damage
The first Lexington squadron moves forward
The damaged Battlecruiser is destroyed by their concentrated fire
The surviving Battlecruiser passes the narrow strait and enters the fray, turret fire crippling two of the Light Cruisers
The second Lexington squadron moves into range
Their turrets damage the Support Carrier squadron
Chinese Cruisers finish the American Battlecruiser with their sonic weapoonry
Fore guns from the Destroyers cause no damage to the Cruisers
Their rockets do damage the mighty Dragon, however
In return, the Dragon unleashes the flame breath against a Destroyer, causing flames to spread across the ship
Retaliatory fire from the Georgetown-class Cruisers smashes the Cruiser squadron
Nu-class Frigates advance and damage one of the Cruisers before their Boarding parties scuttle the undamaged Destroyer
The Fleet Carrier slowly grinds forward
Powerful broadsides damage the Battlecruiser
The Ghost Ship slips past the Cruiser squadron
Rocket fire destroys a damaged Lexington
Corvettes launch themselves into the Support Cruiser squadron, but their turret fire and Boarding parties are largely ineffective
Dive Bombers launch forward to open the way for the Battleship to advance
The Battleship moves forward, but is still not in optimum range, and has exposed itself to a brutal counter-attack!
The Heavy Battleship opens fire, causing a critical hit on the Chinese flagship
Smoke billows from the stricken vessel, but the Jade Armour protects any vital systems
Dive Bombers create more misery for the crew of the Battleship
Another squadron leap upon the Battleship, hitting the crew compartments and scattering the conscript-soldiers
Behind the front line, Chinese Dive Bombers scatter the Corvette squadron
The Support Carrier advance, refuelling and rearming their charges
Their sonic cannons shake one of the Lexingtons, as American Fighter Planes shoot down an entire squadron of Chinese Dive Bombers
Flames consume the Destroyer
Fire spreads out of control on the other side of the islands, claiming another Destroyer
A better view as the two fleets close upon one another
From the sky, we see the maelstrom swirling around the shallows between the islands
Closer to the dormant volcano, the Georgetown squadron faces a strong flotilla of Chinese vessels alone
On the far side, Corvettes, Frigates and Destroyers engage in close fighting

The Battlecruiser resists pot-shots from the lone Light Cruiser as it moves to block the path of the Battleship
The Battlecruiser cripples one Lexington and finishes off another. It is unable to destroy the ship blocking the path of the flagship, however
The counter-attack from the Light Cruisers is unable to break through the Rugged Construction of the Chinese Battlecruiser
The Frigates pursue the Corvettes, their weapons bringing down two 
Counter-attack from the Destroyer sinks a Frigate
The Destroyers finish the job, flamethrowers ruining both remaining Corvettes while the broadsides smash the Guilford
The Frigates gamble and lose, their Boarding parties failing to make an impact on the Georgetown squadron
In return, two of the vessels are destroyed, scuttled by a brutal counter-attack
The Ghost Ship glides into the shallows between the islands, flamethrower dousing the Heavy Battleship in flame while the ordnance destroys a Lexington-class Light Cruiser
The Cruiser squadron advances upon the Georgetowns, sonic weaponry tearing apart the starboard vessel and damaging the others
Dive Bombers remove yet another Lexington-class Light Cruiser sacrificing itself to blockade the Chinese advance
As the turrets traverse, Sharpshooters from the Liberty pick off Wani elite soldiers aboard the Ghost Ship
Turret fire and broadsides smash into the Chinese Battleship and the Support Carriers
Boarding the Ghost Ship, the American troops are beaten back, but succeed in Sabotaging the ship and killing off the last of the crew
The Dragon crests the island and unleashes the Dragon's Breath, adding further horror to the deck of the Liberty
The Fleet Carrier begins the vital task of re-arming and re-fuelling the Bomber squadrons
The Jian-class Battleship gets close to the Liberty and floods the deck with even more fire, staining the sky black
The centre of the American fleet is a burning ruin, but they still have some teeth
The Liberty-class Heavy Battleship is wreathed in burning chemical fire and though the crew manage to salvage a great deal of the ship, it stills suffers hideous damage
A wide shot of the carnage
The flamethrower-equipped vessels of the Chinese Federation and their Wani allies have turned their focus upon the beleaguered Heavy Battleship

A brutal round of shooting from the Georgetown squadron destroys the central Cruiser, and then their Boarding parties attack the Ghost Ship, Sabotaging the vessel and destroying it. They also attack the undefended Cruiser, rendering it Derelict
The Chinese Battleship moves into close range to burn the Fleet Carrier, while the last FSA Light Cruiser blocks the path of the Battlecruiser. The Dragon descends upon the Liberty-class Heavy Battleship, forgoing the Dragon's Breath flamethrower to rip apart the ship with its claws - a task it is unable to achieve! Hubris costs the Chinese Federation dearly here
Dive Bombers detonate the magazine of the Support Carrier, showering everything in the vicinity with debris and causing massive damage, a lucky result for the Americans
The Chui-class Support Carrier try to blow the Lexington out of the way, but are only partially effective
Dive Bombers empty their holds onto another Support Carrier, smashing the vessel
The crippled Cruiser still manages to finish a Georgetown-class Cruiser
The Jian-class Battleship is finally overwhelmed by American firepower, breaking apart 
Burning from prow to stern, the Liberty-class Heavy Battleship is finished
The battered remnants of the two fleets have still not achieved their objectives, and circle one another for the final assault
The few surviving American vessels struggle to resist the Chinese onslaught
The Dragon bears down on the Fleet Carrier, the flamethrower setting the deck alight
Destroyers finish the last Lexington-class Light Cruiser with their powerful flame-weaponry
The Georgetown-class Cruiser tries to damage the Battlecruiser, causing minor damage
The Battlecruiser cripples the Fleet Carrier with punishing turret fire
As the Dive Bombers return to their ship for refuelling, the Support Carrier comes close and opens fire with sonic weaponry. American Boarding parties, holding their nerve as their ship burns around them, launch onto the ship and smash the systems, Sabotagiing the lower decks and sending the ship beneath the waves
Dive Bombers descend upon the Battlecruiser, ripping it apart
The Dragon tries to grapple the Fleet Carrier with its claws, and pours liquid fire into the ship. The vessel is still not destroyed!
Dive Bombers scream down over the back of the Dragon, finally bringing it down. The beast collapses into the ocean, wreathed in fire
Chinese Destroyers flood the decks of the Fleet Carrier with even more flame
Constantly harassed by the Nu-class Frigate, the last Georgetown-class Cruiser careers into the island and is destroyed
The Fleet Carrier is finally consumed by the flames
The battle reaches a conclusion, American bombers circling the area as the remaining Chinese ships return to port
The last surviving ocean-borne vessels escape from the wreckage-strewn shallows to report the mutual annihilation
What a bloodbath! In the wake this mutual annihilation, and with all the extra points earned from the Strategic Value of ships like the Support Carriers, the Battlecruisers and the Fleet Carrier, the Federated States of America achieved their Objective and scored 1,565 Victory Points, while the Chinese Federation achieved their Objective and scored 1,595 Victory Points! With such a close game, we could only call it a DRAW.


  • Isolated Systems continues to be a life-saver - ignoring all those potential Critical Results is incredibly useful for the Chinese fleet, where they can take the damage but would be quickly rendered ineffective by a bad Critical result. 
  • I got greedy with the Dragon, charging it twice into a Boarding attack where hanging back and shooting would have won the game faster. I just really wanted to rip them apart in combat! In a more competitive situation, I would favour shooting, but in a narrative game intended for a Battle Report like this, I want to show off the Dragon doing something awesome. 
  • The American fleet was strong and largely resilient, but the Shields on the Lexington-class Light Cruisers and the Heavy Battleship were largely ineffective. Overall, both these choices were more-or-less wasted - the Light Cruisers existed to get in the way, and the Heavy Battleship achieved little. 
  • Boarding was not an effective as usual in this game, and we did not end with half a dozen Derelict hulks drifting across the ocean. I guess American vessels are just not built for it as well as the Prussians, Chinese and Indian Raj. It is important to note that the loss of the Corvettes early in the game prevented the Americans from being particularly aggressive on that front. My own inexperience with the Chinese made me focus on flamethrowers and shooting rather than Boarding
  • The flamethrowers were, as usual, unbelievably good. The amount of tokens they require is silly. 
  • Some poor choices in Deployment limited the impact of several Chinese vessels, and also left many ships out of position. I will be careful when looking at the terrain to watch where the bulk of the enemy fleet is going to sit, especially a potentially slow fleet like the FSA. 
  • Battlecruisers - their fragility makes them a liability, it seems. The Annapolis may be the exception as it comes with a Shield Generator compared to the Konigsberg or the Guan Dao, but in this game it suffered a Generators Offline result early - the deathknell of any shielded ship. 

"...the mutual annihilation amid the North Balabac Strait was brutal, and a stern lesson for both sides in the war. The losses incurred by the Federated States of America were decried as a shameful waste by the American Congress and General Staff, while the Chinese Federation were rapidly facing the fact that too many opposing nations were pouring resources into the South China Sea. It was discussed, in private conversation of course, that the Empire of the Blazing Sun and the elite Wani were allowing the Chinese to expend their resources to exhaust their enemies, and that they would launch the final killing blow and claim the spoils for themselves. 

Whatever the truth, the war in the South China Sea was a broiling cauldron, and both the Imperial Bond and the Grand Coalition were running out of ships to pour into it..."

Thanks for reading,



  1. Great AAR as always, but could it be that you forgot that the Flamethrowers have the lethal munition?

  2. Yeah, looking it up we did forget that! Always a learning experience....

  3. Very nice report, thank you for taking the time !
    How much were the fleet values (didn't see it I think)

    Your fleets are awesome. Yet the islands look very basic considering your skills, don't you think ? I suppose the shape is voluntarily flat for game purpose, but still its a bit homogene and not quite realistic. :)

  4. 1500pts, so the final scores show how messy it was. The islands are basic as they're used as hills in other games, I like to put the effort into the derricks and buildings. I might do some more islands one day, but Infinity terrain is distracting me ATM

  5. Great battle report, thanks for sharing. Do you have any thoughts on the Chinese Federation cruisers versus gunboats?

  6. Personally, I prefer running a pair of Gunboats in support as the firepower is brilliant. I've only ever used two, however, as we only have two drop-ins at the moment. Three might be too expensive. The cruisers have the extra crew and are cheaper, which is great, but we did not get the best chance to show it off in this game as they were unable to launch any major Boarding actions.

    Against long range fleets like the FSA, the Gunship is probably preferable, but I need more experience with them both.