Grand Battle: LTD vs. Darth Veggie - A Glorious Collection of Wrong Decisions, Part I

After publishing my Grand Battle rules here, I found quickly a person I could persuade in playtesting them with me on VASSAL. The poor fellow that agreed to test this accumulation of half-baked epic play rules is Dave from Australia, known as LTD on the FFG boards and within the VASSAL community.

When I started playing Armada on VASSAL in spring 2016, LTD was one of the first persons I have played against - and is since those times one of my favorite recurring VASSAL encounters. Hence, I was especially happy when he agreed in playtesting the Grand Battle rules (and I have a score to settle: our first game I lost against him and his despicable Ackbar Conga Line he used to play in those days; so I hoped for an epic revange).

Because he also has a blog (click here) where he writes reports of his matches we decided on that we both would commentate on our Grand Battle on our blogs, each of us offering our individual perspective on the match.

We choose to play Grand Battle level III (1200 fleet points per side) in order to make it possible to field a fully equiped Executor II-class SSD and still be able to field some other ships.

Because LTD always and only plays the rebel side, I choose the Empire. The fleet I came up with tries to be a well balanced approach to epic play:

  • It is commanded by Darth Vader himself on a fully decked out Executor II-class Star Dreadnought - a massive 520 point sink! In addition it includes:
  • A Cymoon
  • An Interdictor
  • Demolisher
  • Squall
  • The Hand of Justice
  • 2 Gozanti
  • 7 Squadrons

This fleet tires to combine the following strategies:

  • Fielding a close to invincible Executor (thanks to several upgrades throughout the fleet: Damage Control Officer, Capitain Brunson, Shields to Maximum!, Executor-title, Projection Experts, Targeting Scramblers, Interdictor-title, Hand of Justice-title, Repair Crews, Comms Net)
  • Making it difficult to avoid the front arc of this Executor (thanks to several tractor beam upgrades [on the SSD, the Cymoon, and on both Gozanti], and G-8 on the Interdictor)
  • Assuming many large rebel ships, I decided not to use XI7, but to wear down enemy shields via Heavy Ion Emplacements.
  • In order to deal with the rebel bomber hell, I choose my squads simply to take out enemy squads without serious bomber capabilites on my side (apart from Captain Jonus for triggering my Quad Turbolaser Cannons). Those squads should be pushed by my Quasar. For even more anti-squad fire power I included Agent Kallus and Quad Turbolaser Turrets on the SSD.

This seemed to me a well balanced approach. What would LTD bring to the table? Guess what: the longest Ackbar Conga line you can dream of: 10 AFMK II with Gunnery Team, Enhanced Armament and Electronic Countermeasures. For guaranteed Accuracies he included a MC80 Command Cruiser with nothing but the Home One-title. Ackbar himself sits on a Pelta with Intensify Firepower! and some other upgrades. No squads at all.


Yeah, that meant I would have wasted a lott of points in my fleet, not to mention the opportunity costs:

  • The entire anti-squad strategy was worthless; this means nearly all my squads and a fully decked out Quasar; in addition Agent Kallus and the Quad Turbolaser Turrets are totally superfluous.
  • The tractor beams on the Gozanti (meant to slow down these quick rebel small base ships) are also wasted points

Because I have a lot of dead weight in my fleet, I hoped that I could swing the situation still in my favour by taking out Ackbar early. Allthough I had no bombers, I hoped that my squads could at least help a little bit when hunting down that Pelta. A clever drop of Demolisher from my Hyperspace Reserves should do the rest to this flagship. This was my plan, before we started the game setup.

During setup I chose LTD's objective The Droids that you Search (an improved version of Capture the VIP). He chose my Ambush (an improved version of Fleet Ambush). I was elated this allowed me to force him to place his flagship in the ambush zone. I hoped to kill Ackbar already in round 2 - which would even be sweeter, because it had all his Droids that I do search for on board (worth of 300 victory points).

This was the state of the board after the game setup:

LTD set aside as Hyperspace Reserve 3 of his Assault Frigates. I set aside  the Cymoon, the Interdictor, Demolisher, and the Hand of Justice. My reasoning for this was the following:

  • The Cymoon should be deployed later in a way that guarantees at least two enemy ships in its front arc.
  • Demo should later go on hunt for Ackbar behind the enemy lines.
  • The Interdictor is meant to be dropped close to the front of the SSD in order that its scrambler can do its work, but also that the enemy ships close to the SSD are in range of the Interdictor's G-8.
  • The Hand of Justice should also be dropped close to the SSD, but in a way that allows for it to survive for some rounds.

This is maybe not a a perfect plan, but a decent one, right? Now, you need to look where I have placed my Hyperspace tokens. One is in the upper right corner, one behind Home One, and one middle to left side, but far from the place where I later dropped my SSD. I deployed my fleet in a way that all the ships that need to be close to the SSD could not be dropped close to it. You think this is stupid? Wait and take a closer look at the token in the upper right. My Grand Battle rules demand that ships dropping out of Hyperspace need to overlap the tokens with their front shield dial. But this token can only be overlapped in such a way, when you drop a ship in way that it flies of the board with its very first activation! That is true stupidity! Never think that someone who has written a rule is able to play according to them...


LTD placed his Pelta to run for Ackbar's life. My squadrons were ready to chase him (we decided as squadron placement rule for the SSD that they have to be within distance 5 of one's player edge and within distance 2 of the ship) 


Round 1 was already a disaster for me. LTD first moved the Pelta in a way that only two my squalled squads could reach it (for only 1 shield damage). With 1 shot LTD managed to take the Quasar to hull 1. Because I stupidly used the pass mechanism of the SSD the Comms Net Gozanti died before it ever activated (and thereby rendered the Executor-title as useless as all the anti-squad upgrades). The Ambush objective I had picked turned out to be a total catastrophe: the Ackbar volleys hit hard already in round 1, but Ackbar was immediately in his deployment zone with nearly no damage. At the end of the round I had lost the Gozanti, the Quasar, and the SSD got some minor scratches in its shields. LTD had lost nuttin, but Home One lost some shields and one of his 1´0 Assault Frigates is severly harmed (and will most likely die very soon).


But he achieved an enormously important navigational feat. Let us take a look at the state of the board at the end of round 1:

Take a look at my Hyperspace token behind Home One. Yes, it is overlapped by HIS AFMK II. If you keep in mind that I need to overlap it with at least one of my ships I want to deploy there, you recognize that I cannot use it for deployment in round 2. The other one in the upper right corner I cannot use anyway. That leaves for me only the one far from the action. In effect that means that I cannot bring in my Hyperspace Reserves at all, whereas LTD has two spots for nice deployment. Round 1 was dark for me. But, oh boy, it was nothing compared to what will happen to me in round 2.

Hopefully, Vader has some dark side carrots with him!


P.S.: For LTD's perspective on the match click here!

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Kommentare: 1
  • #1

    LTD (Mittwoch, 20 März 2019 02:17)

    Lies! All lies!
    I am the underdog here!