Third Running: Uncharted Seas Battle of the Steam Plume at Game Camp Aug 2012


(note: I was far too busy with Events Entry for HMGS’ FALL IN to blog more than semi-sporadically for most of August and September, that’s life.  I did have a humdinger of a battle report in the works, and it doesn’t matter if I release it close to the events in question — Game Camp, or not).

UNCHARTED SEAS MEGA BATTLE

Every year at Gaming Camp the big Uncharted Seas battle is the centerpiece of the week; I should routinely schedule more than one day for this as I routinely drop the Thursday activity to extend Uncharted Seas over two days.  This Camp was no exception– I pulled the Battle of the Steam Plume out of the box, which I had run at the Williamsburg Muster and Cold Wars conventions this year.  For details of the scenario, go here, the description of the Williamsburg Muster battle is at the end.  In a thumbnail, you have a huge playing surface, lots of little islands, an active volcano, and fleets from several nations trying to impede mutual progress.

If you aren’t familiar with the Steam Plume battle, here are some basics.

LAYOUT:

General layout at start: important to note are the placements of islands (and LOS implications) and where the volcano is in the center.

This game is three tablecloths long so there is plenty of sea room to play around with. I did much the same layout as at Cold Wars and Williamsburg; a central volcano and many smaller islands dotting the waterscape around it. This was to prevent a barrage of long ranging shot which would have shortened the game considerably with a competent player!

FLEETS:

Iron Dwarf:

IRON DWARVES: basic starter fleet, plus an additional squadron of 2 Heavy Cruisers and 1 additional Zeppelin.

Human:

The Imperial Human Fleet appears large but really is just a starter fleet of one Battleship, three cruisers, six frigates, three martyr frigates and a single assault balloon (which was hidden aboard one of the cruisers). They are escorting a 5 ship convoy (acting as a single squadron) of relatively worthless transports.

Shroud Mages:

The Shroud Mages had a Core Set of 1 BB, 3 CR, and 6 FR plus 2 squadrons of 3 Destroyers (of two different types). The Shrouds are excellent ram ships and hopefully this ability will come into play.

Orc Raiders:

In every battle there’s going to be spots on the board where player’s aren’t engaged. This was a problem on the Southern end of this battle, where nominal allies Dwarves and Humans were dominating the battlefield. So I put together a small Orc Raider fleet to keep them engaged constantly through the game– this is a fleet for smashing and grabbing, with three large capital ships stuffed with extra boarding parties and forward-firing weapons. Not a fleet for subtlety or maneuver.  The Orcs will hide behind the islands and look for an opportunity to pounce on the unsuspecting, ponderous human fleet.

Thaniras Elves:

Elf fleet

The Elven fleet of Thaniras is not designed for slugging matches. This fleet has more hitting power than most, having some extra heavy cruisers. The ideal tactic for the Elves is to smash and grab, and keep on sailing no matter what you do. Will the Elves go toe to toe with their neighbors or sail onward?

The humans were somewhat isolated, with the dwarves, on the far side of the Volcano. I wanted to make them part of the game and not spend the entire time sailing somewhere. So I put a scratch Orc fleet on the table and sailed at them with a few boarding specialty vessels and a couple of frigates. We mixed it up pretty well, I didn’t try to ram home more than one time, and still managed to take out a Imperial cruiser. Not a bad swap, one frigate for a cruiser… He disengaged and tried to move onward.

The Humans felt pretty picked upon, and I can’t say as I blame them very much.

The Human Convoy

Because the Imperial Convoy gains or loses victory points per each cargo ship he gets past a certain point, the convoy is always a target.  The Orcs attacked it early in the game, then the Dwarves, and the Elves were getting into the act when the game was called at the end of the day.

The Iron Dwarves attack in line, taking out cruisers

Human Frigates Swarm the Ork Battlecruiser, two WarCrocs are in the back

Still, the Human managed to launch his balloon based Da-Vinci Gliders and actually captured a giant ship that way, so he put in a great showing.

The Balloon Attack from the Imperial Humans

Balloons landing and successfully boarding the Iron Dwarf Battleship!! WOOT!

The Iron Dwarves were handled very competently by their young Commodore, however, numbers tell and the Dwarves lost to attacks where they aren’t strong– they were swarmed by the Orcs and Human attacks of various flavors and they just lost manpower.

The Dwarf War Zeppelin was shot down early.

MEANWHILE, AT THE FAR END OF THE TABLE…

It was a remarkably peaceable battle.  I don’t know what it is about Uncharted Seas.  You get people playing it and the first thing they want to do is establish treaties and non-aggression zones.  After a while, the Undead Admiral shrugged and said “SOD THIS!” in his creaky voice and started attacking the Shroud Mages, run by Gar.

FIRE ON MY MARK! CATAPAULTS AWAY!

The Shroudies fought back, setting off a savage battle at the far end of the table.   So much for Peace Treaties!  There was a huge exchange of gunfire and the Shrouds got the worst of it, especially after the dreaded snake eyes critical hit, which wiped out a goodly portion of the Shroud Mage fleet!

No captain likes to see this combination pointed at him…

The Bone Gryffons unleash Hell

The “Dead Pile” at the Southern End.

We called it a day at the end of SOLID TWO DAY GAMING SESSION.  Yes, Uncharted Seas held their rapt attention for two days of Gaming Camp.  It was quite impressive.    In terms of a “win”, I’d give it to the Humans, who handled their difficult position with competence and dash.  I give honorable points to the Volcano, which took out 3 ships!

Here’s a slide show “Story” on Photobucket:

GCamp12

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