Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Armada Blog Showdown!!!

A couple of weeks ago Matt (BiggsIRL) from the Armada blog at asked if I'd be interested in playing a game on Vassal that we could both write about on our blogs.  I thought this was a great idea.  He's much more active on his blog than I am and writes some really great stuff, so I certainly don't mind riding in his coattails a bit.

There was really just one problem.  I'd never played a game on Vassal before!  😱

So, I went about getting the software installed and configured, but the realities of life would mean that our game would be my first on Vassal.  No pressure, right?

Just to make things more interesting I decided to break from my usual Rebel gun lines and play some squadron-heavy Imperials. You can read about how I built my list here: How I Build Fleets

Once we got setup for the game I was pleased with my choice.  He was playing a Rebel list similar enough to my usual that it may not have been a really interesting battle report.  I won the roll-off and for some reason chose to go second.  He selected the Most Wanted objective and we started to deploy.  Did you read my post on how I built this fleet?  If so, you know I had a plan that went with this fleet.  Well, as soon as we started deploying all semblance of that plan went straight out the window.  Not that he did anything to mess me up.  I just failed to stick to my plan. 

He started with a deployment in the corner.  Forgetting that I didn't want to be flanked, I deployed in the middle expecting him to keep his ships together.  I really did not expect him to split his fleet.  He did.  Oops.  There went a big part of my plan.  

I also deployed with asteroids directly in front of me.  I wasn't used to flying VSDs and had forgotten how hard they are to maneuver.  He deployed his Savation directly in front of me with assault frigate on either flank.  

This is where I preceded to make my next mistake.  I declared his Gallant Haven as my Most Wanted target.  It was the furthest ship from me, but figured on heading that way.  Again, I overestimated the mobility of the VSDs.  My plan was to hit the Salvation first, before attacking the Gallant Haven on the right of the board.

He made a great choice and started kiting the Gallant Haven away from me.  This lead to my final mistake where I hesitated from my plan and straightened out.  Now flying straight between his assault frigates.  I would be able to ill the Salvation, but had no chance at either Assault Frigate now.  Had I stayed committed early on to going after the Gallant Haven I would have had a better chance.  As it was, I never even shot at it.  Wasting my advantage from the Most Wanted objective, while he used the objective to good effect in killing Motti's ship.

The lead VSD didn't have enough firepower to kill Salvation in one round and the bombers weren't in position to support it.  This lead to it getting more shots on my flagship helping in its demise.  After my intial poor deployment and then indecisive flying I spent most of the game horribly out of position.  He did a great job of capitalizing on my mistakes and making me pay for them.

In the end, I lost my flagship, which was also the objective ship, while only killing his Salvation.  It was a good game and a fun experience, but I wish I had stuck to my plan.

Some thoughts:
  • Having 12 squadrons is fun.  I had never played that many before and it really is great to have that large of a swarm.

  • TIE Bombers aren't B-Wings.  They can do some nice damage for their points, but can't take a ship on their own the way that B-Wings can.  Sadly, my VSDs weren't in a position to really support them.

  • TIE Fighters are just brilliant.  They hit plenty hard for their cost and are just cheap enough that I don't care when they die.  The numbers I had were sufficient that he really didn't even try to stop or tie up my bombers.

  • Vassal is a neat tool, but I need more practice with it.  Playing from the top was pretty disorienting for me.  I wish there had been a way to flip my view.

  • We were both really light on upgrades.  The more that I play, the more that my fleet building leans that direction.

  • This was fun and BiggsIRL definitely has bragging rights in the Battle of the Blogs.  I encourage you all to listen to his tactical advice ahead of my own.

Even though I lost pretty badly, I do like the fleet and believe it can work.  Look for another battle report from a game played in the real world with this same list tomorrow.  Will I stick to my plan next time???


  1. Thanks for the battle report - I read both yours and Biggs' strategy articles all the time, so great to see two skilled players in action!

    Do you think the game was a foregone conclusion from deployment? The only way VSDs can compete with Assault Frigates (in my view) is keeping close to the edge (as you mention) and using the navigate command to turn much faster than they expect, giving your opponent a choice between going off the table and a front arc to the face.

    1. Not a forgone conclusion, but I definitely dug myself a hole in deployment. I think if I had used Most Wanted on his flagship and charged hard at it, it would have at least been closer. It was really the three early mistakes that compounded to doom me.

    2. I'll agree that it could have been a bit better in terms of deployment. My goal was to give you a choice of which ship to go after, with the others hopefully flipping around to the back. I think the bigger issue was making the Gallant Haven the objective ship, instead of making it my flagship and chasing that down.

    3. For the record, you can find my side of this engagement at