Yesterday, MadDrB and I met at the Game Vault to pit my Republiqe of France forces against his Blazing Sun fleet for the first few games of this fall’s DWVA X-Cam. For those of you who have never heard of it, the X-Cam is a set of campaign rules that are designed to allow players to link their games together in a very simple and easy way. These rules were invented and refined by Russ and Craig of the D6 Generation podcast, and you can find them over on Craig’s blog. Since we were just starting out, we decided to play 3 Recon missions, which are limited to 400 points. Given the small game size, we were able to squeeze in 3 games in an afternoon! Read on to see out it turned out.
The first game was played with naval forces, with me being the defender and MadDrB being the attacker. We rolled for the mission, getting Reconnaissance. This mission had some interesting twists; first of all, MadDrB would only have 300 points to my 400. Secondly, he had an interesting secondary objective that required him to scan my ships instead of shooting them. If he was able to do that successfully, he wold get bonus VP. My force consisted of a Magenta Mk II battleship, 2 cruisers, and a squadron of 4 frigates. MadDrB’s Blazing Sun fleet consisted of 2 cruisers, one squadron of 4 frigates, and one squadron of 3 frigates. Unfortunately, things started going poorly for the Blazing Sun almost immediately; on Turn 1, I managed to get a critical hit on one of MadDrB’s cruisers, and rolled the dreaded Magazine Explosion result. The resulting detonation managed to sink two of his frigates as well! Suffice to say, it was downhill from there for the Blazing Sun, and my French managed to completely destroy the rest of the Japanese task force. The final tally from this battle was 12 Recon Points (RP) for me and 5 for MadDrB.
This time, we decided to go with all flying forces. Mine consisted of a large airship, two scoutships, and two heavy interceptors. MadDrB brought his large airship, two bombers, and a squadron of 3 small flyers. Our mission this time was Meeting Engagement, which is much more a stand-up fight than Reconnaissance in that there are no special scoring rules. This battle was another victory for the French, but in the end the Blazing Sun airship managed to slip away with heavy damage thanks to the 4-turn game length! The final RP tally for this game was 9 for the French and 3 for the Blazing Sun. This was a very interesting game; it was the first all-air game for me, and I’m pretty sure that it was for MadDrB as well. We both agreed that the Blazing Sun small flyers under-performed; they were brushed aside without much damage to my forces. Part of the problem is that MadDrB moved them up independently on one of his flanks, exposing them to my fighters and heavy interceptors.
For the final game, we decided to switch back to naval forces. As luck would have it, we wound up with the Meeting Engagement mission again. My force was very similar to the list I ran in the first game; the only difference is that I swapped out the 4 frigates for 3 destroyers. MadDrB’s fleet consisted of a battleship, two gunships, and two frigates. We randomly generated the terrain like the first two games, but it so happened that this time the terrain effectively walled off one part of the board, leaving us with a 4’x3′ area instead of a 4’x4′. This game was very closely fought, but in the end the Blazing Sun managed to pull out a win by heavily damaging my battleship. This was due in part to me managing to completely miss with two shots from my heat lance! My tiny flyer torpedo bombers tried to insert some last-minute heroics by making a torpedo run on the Blazing Sun battleship that resulted in a critical hit, but it wasn’t enough to affect the outcome of the game by end of the 4th and final turn. The RP tally for this game was France:6, Blazing Sun 12.
This was a really fun afternoon! I managed to carry the day 27 RP to MadDrB’s 20. Interestingly, you’ll notice that despite losing the first two games, MadDrB managed to accumulate a decent number of RPs. This seems to be a really nice feature of the X-Cam system as it currently stands; it does not overly punish players for having one or two bad games. You might also notice that the scores were a bit lower for both of us on the second game; that was due to the fact that both of us were playing with unpainted models, meaning neither of us got the 3 RP bonus for having fully painted fleets! I really like this mechanic, as it definitely encourages players to get their stuff painted.
Overall, this was a great way to kick off the Autumn 2012 DWVA X-Cam! Stay tuned to this space for further updates.