This weekend, Rick and I played the scenario Rescue of the Maria Celeste for the second time. This time, I was the Andromedans, and I didn’t have any better success than Rick did in destroying the captured Andromedan ship in time. We both like the scenario, but we both think it’s a pretty tough fight for the Andromedans.
Turn 1: I entered at base speed 16 so that the main ship would stay with the satellite ships, who are limited in speed after being launched. As the scenario starts with the Andromedans 26 hexes from the base, this means that the Intruder can only get within reasonable combat range of the base on turn 1 if it leaves the satellite ships behind. I chose not to do this, but (based on a suggestion from the Facebook Fed Commander group) chose to approach the base using evasive maneuvers, something that Rick hadn’t thought of last time. The Federation base and ship still fired phasers at my ships on the last impulse of the turn, and I don’t think that using evasive saved much damage: the major benefit was that it was completely unprofitable for the base or the ships to consider launching photon torpedoes at my ships on turn 1.
Turn 2: I continued using evasive maneuvering for the Intruder at speed 24 but not for the Mambas at speed 16, and had all three ships travel very fast. My plan was to continue to make it unprofitable to target the Intruder and also to have the Intruder bypass the ships as much as possible. At the end of impulse 1, this set up the following situation.
The NCL was faced with the unattractive choice of firing on the incoming Mambas or doing minimal damage to the rear PA panels of the Intruder. Rick reluctantly chose to fire on the Mambas, which was probably the sensible thing to do. One Mamba took 68 points from the NCL, which filled the PA panels but did minimal other damage. In return they managed to wreck the NCL so that it wasn’t much of a factor for the rest of the game.
Meanwhile, the Intruder continued toward the base. On impulse 2 I ended evasive maneuvering, closed to range 3, and announced that I was firing and using the displacement device on my ship. This forced a range-3 shot with photons from the base, and here I was very lucky: three of the four bearing photons missed, resulting in only 12 points of damage. Still with damage from phasers the Intruder took 58 points of internal damage and only inflicted 35 points on the base. After this, I displaced out of engagement range and the Mambas broke off. The rest of the turn was uneventful as I had literally spent all the power on all of my ships and fired every weapon available.
Turns 3-4: The Mambas were mostly okay, but the Intruder had lost all of its batteries, and was in tough shape with only 21 power left and full PA panels in front. I spent two turns repairing batteries and dissipating power from the panels before moving back toward the base on evasive toward the end of turn 4. One thing I didn’t do was repair the one TR beam that I’d lost. This was probably a mistake but I was scrounging for power everywhere I could and adding one more power sink didn’t seem profitable. We ended up at range 17 from the base at the end of turn 4. I received a pot shot from the base but it only did 12 damage.
Turn 5: I had the Mambas, which had mostly full batteries and clear panels by now, run in toward the base ahead of the Intruder. The Intruder stayed on evasive the whole turn but the Mambas closed to range 3 and took a shot at the base. The result was that the previously damaged Mamba 1 died, but Mamba 2 was still just fine and together they did about 50 points of internal damage to the base. This started to cut into the power and weapons advantage the base had.
At this point, I felt really good about my chances. The remaining Mamba was going to get a second shot with phasers at the down shield on Impulse 1 of turn 6. The Intruder had managed to clear a lot out of its panels and it would probably have been able to get a good shot at a down or nearly-down shield, and the base would probably not be able to blow up both the Mamba and the Intruder without photons available. Unfortunately, the scenario has a built-in time random time limit, meant to simulate the Federation effort to research and understand the captured ship. When the Federation player has drawn more than 40 points in cards the scenario is over. At the end of turn 5 Rick revealed that he had indeed drawn 3 face cards (10 points each) plus a 9 and an 8, and I had lost.
It would be easy to blame the loss on bad luck, but I knew it was a risk on my part to spend two entire turns recharging and repairing. Plus, I had been plenty lucky with die rolls (see the comment I made about escaping photon damage on Turn 2). I think the truth is that this is a really tough fight for the Andromedan player, who has to be relentless and very effective to win, and I didn’t do that. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to play the Andromedans, but be prepared to have to work hard to win.