My second Historicon game may have been the best one I’ve run. We were running short of time when designing this scenario, so it only got one playtest before being run.
A Rebel force using mostly converted civilian ships has managed to steal a military-grade Escort Carrier (the Seeker). Since the Rebels are going to need more military vessels to give the rebellion a better chance for success. To this end, the Seeker and some converted civilian vessels (the Demon, the Loki, and the Firefly) attack a Military patrol, consisting of a Cruiser (the Glaive) and two destroyers (the Sirius and the Bellephoron). To win, the Rebels need to capture and escape with any one of the military vessels. The Military wins if they can capture or destroy the Seeker.
With Nathan commanding the Rebels and myself controlling the Military patrol, we sat down and gave it a shot.
The Loki (long-range support vessel) and the Seeker set up well outside of my range and proceeded to rain death upon the military ships. Right from the start I was facing a serious threat from Strike Craft launched from the Seeker and missiles launched from the Demon. I tried to respond in kind (missiles from the Bellephoron and my own Strike Craft from the Sirius), but the Seeker gave the rebels the edge in terms of volume – plus the Demon’s cannon was sending high-velocity projectiles whizzing past my ships while staying well out of range of my own guns.
As all that was harassing me, the Firefly and the Loki came in hard and fast. I focused on them with my return fire, hitting the Loki several times and taking out an engine. The Firefly proved too elusive to bring down and it quickly found an angle past my shields and started burning the Bellephoron.
Taking evasive maneuvers had done wonders to protect me from the worst of the incoming volleys, but things looked grim on the third turn as the Loki closed to within range and launched a boarding party at the Sirius. I was fortunate to have not many make it on board – and the damage to the Loki’s engine combined with her velocity meant she wouldn’t be getting another pass.
To dispel the impression that things might be looking up, the Military forces then suffered a disaster – a squadron of bombers broke through the point defense lines and landed some incredible hits on the Bellephoron, hull breaching two of her components. The damage proved too much for the ship and she broke apart. The Sirius had it’s hands full fighting the Rebels on board – only the Glaive cruiser remained in decent shape.
Now, the Glaive in this scenario is the 600 lb. Gorilla in the room. She’s the toughest ship on the map with the most powerful weapons. Furthermore, as a scenario rule she’s commanded by Thomas Kel, which gives her better tactical options than the other ships in the game. Estimating that the Sirius’ crew could handle the Rebels, the Glaive set course for the Seeker and the Demon.
The destruction of the Bellephoron was the high water mark for the Rebels. The Sirius managed a great feat of arms as it rapidly captured the Rebel boarders, disabled the Firefly’s weapons and had some of it’s own Strike Craft take out the Demon’s missile bay. The Demon and the Seeker together sent everything they had at the Glaive and damaged several systems, but the Cruiser would not be denied it’s prize. Once the Glaive got into range, her shots proved accurate and deadly – in short order she had smashed the Demon’s engines, and both of the Seeker’s hangars and her Reactor were in ruins. With the Seeker unable to run and unable to fight, we called the game at that point in favor of the Military forces as her capture or destruction appeared inevitable.
The playtest took about 90 minutes to play out. Both of us agreed that for the most part the scenario was good, but we added a couple extra crew to the Loki to make it’s boarding attempt stronger.
With that, I thought I had a good idea of how the scenario would play out – the Military starts out by getting the short end of the stick, but they can turn things around if they can hold out against the initial assault and get in range of the Rebel ships. The Rebels start with the advantage and need to press it to effect a capture and then get the hell out of there before the Military gets their act together and comes for them.
The convention scenario did not go according to my expectations.
The Convention Game
We had six players, three per side. The youngest was a 7-year old who wound up in control of the Loki.
The Rebel fleet started close and charged in together, leaving only the Seeker at a distance for support. The Military ships turned towards their aggressors as one and flew straight at the enemy.
The Rebels were not getting the better of the exchange. The Military ships handled their shields and angles well – the Firefly wasn’t able to get a great angle around the enemy defenses and it’s weapons proved useless. The Demon was firing for all she was worth, but didn’t inflict many hits and took more than she gave. The Loki had the worst of it – all three Military ships poured fire into her as she approached, and this time both her engines were put out of action, leaving her adrift.
Things were not looking good for the Rebels, but they were given a single opportunity for redemption as the Loki drifted into range of the Bellephoron. That 7-year old kid proceeded to roll the luckiest boarding action I have seen in my game, hitting 6 out of 7 times on a roll with less than 50% chance to succeed. Despite drifting uncontrollably through space and falling apart, the Loki had managed to put almost as many crew on the Bellephoron as she had defending her.
What followed about the Bellephoron was an epic battle for control of the ship. The Rebel’s initial attack nearly captured her outright, only to see the Military crew rally and push the Rebels back to the brink of surrender. Boarding actions in Silent Fury can often play out like this, and I love it when they do. With huge swings of fortune back and forth, it’s nearly impossible to predict who’s going to come out on top until the final man on one side drops. The kid loved every minute of it, and his luck with the dice sometimes wavered, but never abandoned him.
Spurred on by a renewed hope for victory, the Rebels fought like madmen. The Demon lost its missile bay, but continued to pour fire from its damaged cannon to good effect against the Sirius, delivering a hull breach. Strike Craft from the Seeker started several fires in the aft section of the Glaive, and the Seeker’s Captain used a well-timed Jump to nimbly evade the oncoming Cruiser and keep out of her firing envelope.
The Firefly, with one beam gone and the other having lost power, opted to make it’s own boarding attempt against the Sirius. Only one Rebel spacer got on board, but it was enough – he landed in an uncrewed engine adjacent to the bridge.
The Sirius’ bridge crew dove for cover as a large object sailed into the room, but it was too late. In the space of a millisecond the bomb went off, killing the Captain, First Mate, and most of the senior officers on board. Those not killed by the initial blast were sucked into the void and lost. The Sirius received a second hull breach, but she stubbornly held together. Even with her head cut off, she would not give up the fight.
A vengeful security team gunned down the Rebel, but the damage had been done. The Sirius became much less effective without it’s C&C as engineers and damage control teams scrambled to keep primary systems working and guns firing. She wasn’t out of the fight yet. As it became apparent that the Rebels were getting the upper hand on the Bellephoron, she started firing on her fellow Destroyer to deny the Rebels the ship.
The Glaive still stood proud, and proceeded to unleash the fury of it’s weapons against the Demon, crippling her. The Firefly was undoubtedly next on the list, but events back on the Bellephoron reached their conclusion…
The raging firefights about the Bellephoron had resulted in a fire in the port engine. This in turn resulted in an explosion aboard the ship which wrecked havoc among her crew when they were too close to the inferno.
Here, the Rebels made an audacious card play. They threw down one crew card and two Jumps. The risk is that if they had not managed to finish off the Military crewmen with that single crew card, the Military would likely rally and cause great havoc while the Rebels were busy spinning up the Jump drive. If it hand’t worked, it would have left the Bellephoron crew an excellent opportunity to take their ship back.
It paid off. The final Rebel assault took out the last of the Military crew, and left the ship under Rebel control.
With the Bellephoron’s engines crippled, the firefight had somehow miraculously left her Reactor undamaged – she could still jump. As both the Glaive and the Sirius brought their weapons to bear on their former ally, she lost another engine – but it proved too little, too late.
The Bellephoron jumped away under Rebel control, for a solid Rebel victory. The entire scenario had played out more or less the opposite of my playtest, with the initial turns seeing the Rebels taking the worst of it, and then turning the game around in their favor.
Total playtime was about two and a half hours, including teaching the rules to the new players (we had a couple veterans in the mix this time).
I loved watching that game and all those wonderful moments it had, and thank you to everyone who came out to play it. I hope everyone had a great time – I know that 7-year old did. He told me so about four or five times as we were cleaning up.
This will be the first scenario we release along with our 2.5 rules. It does a good job of showcasing Silent Fury’s various game elements, and we have the ship sheets for it revised and ready to go. If you’d like to play, look for it soon.