(the following events were played out using the basic Full Thrust 2nd Edition, with models from Ground Zero Games and Micro Machines - the 'mat' is a £7.99 shower curtain).
- "FTL drive on cooldown, all systems Green, Captain"
- "Thank you Ensign, signal fleet we have arrived and are proceeding"
- "Sensors indicate four escort class ships on an intercept course, AI flags them as three Corvette Class and a Destroyer"
- "Our usual shadow's on it's way then. Send the usual signal telling them to alter course and maintain distance. If they approach with range of secondary batteries they may be fired upon."
- "Sir, bogies are not changing course and are accelerating towards us"
- "I want that warning on regular repeat, and raise shields. Fire control, I want solutions on all targets just in case. Helm turn 30 degrees starboard."
Concerned about exposing the vulnerable drive cone, the Idaho turned into the advancing Neo-Sov flotilla, risking closing the range. Not wanting to overshoot, the Neo Sov Corvettes decelerated but maintained heading.
- "Sir, energy spike from the leading two corvettes! They're firing!"
- "Firecons are free to engage!"
The leading two Corvettes (designation X1 and X2) opened up with their 'C' batteries and the Destroyer with it's 'B', the latter taking 2 hull points off the Idaho.
Idaho's return fire was split between the lead corvette and the Neo-Sov destroyer, inflicting significant damage on the lead corvette (X1), knocking out it's point defences, but failing to damage the destroyer.
- "Helm hard starboard, fire control concentrate on that destroyer as we turn!"
Idaho turned into the attack, this allowed two of the corvettes to swing around into her vulnerable drive arc but put the USCN ship in a perfect position to rake the more threatening destroyer with a broadside.
Idaho's screens protected it from fire from corvette X1, but X2 caused further hull damage. However in return, Idaho's concentrated fire, whilst causing relatively little hull damage, knocked out the Neo Sov destroyer's 'B' and one of its 'C' batteries, its fire control system, and point defences (by rolling a spectacularly unlikely series of 6's for threshold damage!). With no Firecon, the destroyer was now effectively out of the fight.
- "Hard starboard! I want those corvettes targeted!"
As Idaho pulled a tight turn to try and unmask it's batteries on the pursuing corvettes, they used their superior maneuverability to keep in the cruiser's rear arc, although they were temporarily out of range with their weaker 'C' type batteries. With it's greater range, Idaho was able to target the third corvette, causing a point of hull damage and knocking out one of its 'C' batteries.
- "Helm - full reverse thrust, fire control prepare to fire as targets present themselves"
Wanting to close into range of the cruiser, the two pursuing corvettes accelerated while turning, only to be caught out as Idaho shook, piling on full reverse thrust. The corvettes had a brief window to fire...
- "Damage report!"
- "Sensors show only minor reduction in hull integrity, but FTL is offline!"
The corvettes' firing was just enough to push the cruiser to a threshold damage check, resulting in damage to its FTL drive. Idaho would have to fight its way out rather than jump to safety.
Idaho targeted the only enemy ship it could, the destroyer, which was just in range of it's single 'A' battery, inflicting further damage to the already crippled vessel.
- "Maintain full reverse thrust!"
Corvettes X1 and X2 braked hard and turned sharply to port and starboard respectively, trying to keep safe in Idaho's drive cone, but they were too late. X1's tight turn was just enough to confuse the cruiser's fire control, but X2 came apart under a stream of focused charged particles.
With one ship destroyed and two damaged, one to the point where it was combat ineffective, the Neo-Sovs attempted to break off. But with its velocity right down, Idaho was able to pull tight turn and finish off Corvette X before it could break away.
- "Well done all. Helm, plot us a course away from any sensor contacts. I want casualty and damage reports from all section heads. Comms, get a sitrep to sector command, make it clear we have no functioning jump capability and will need support".
Idaho had successfully fought off the unexpected attack, but was now stranded, damaged, in a now hostile system with no FTL drive...
Well, that was fun! I'd forgotten how much I like Full Thrust (I haven't dusted it off for decades!). It's such a simple set of rules in some respects, but not simple at all in terms of the results you get. This battle really showed how vulnerable the slower, larger ships are when unescorted - the heavy cruiser was in real trouble for a moment, with the faster corvettes in its blind spot. Things could have turned out quite differently if it hadn't been for that truly spectacular set of threshold damage rolls against the Neo Sov destroyer, and the success of the last ditch breaking maneuver - a fraction the other way and the enemey corvettes' frantic turns would have saved them.
I think I need to have another game soon, as the cavalry attempts to reach the stranded Idaho before Neo Sov reinforcements can arrive.