Monday, 12 September 2016

Imperial Skies - First Clash over the Baltic

Our copies of the Imperial Skies rulebook arrived on Friday - and so as we had a free evening Saturday we decided to give the rules a try. Typically we had more enthusiasm than sense so niether of us had fully read the rules before we started. However we decided on a 400pts per side game and got down to choosing our fleets. Before going further I have to apologise for the quality of the pics in this report - I was using my phone rather than a real camera, and it shows :-(

As I have Russian models for Aeronef, and Paul has British, that part was easy. I went for a Borodino Class Battleship, supported by a Light Cruiser, Destroyer, and a squadron of 3 Novik class Torpedo boats. Russian ships seem to be a bit slow (the round hull forms can't help) but have a good balance of firepower across all three gun categories.

Paul went for a squadron of an Agincourt class Battleship and three Exeter class Cruisers - clearly he was on a long range patrol and my ships had sortied to intercept. The Battleship had marginally more heavy firepower and was slightly faster than it's Russian counterpart, but had less light and medium firepower. The Cruisers were faster than the Russian but had less firepower all round. 

Our mix of forces proved very fortuitous as it allowed us to try out the target priority rules - more later. 

The game went fast and fairly smooth - particularly considering the fact both of us had no real idea what we were doing and had to constantly refer to the rules, at least at first. Both squadrons turned on to parallel courses to allow maximum firepower to be brought to bear, and the Russian Torpedo boats headed off towards the British. The poker chips are being used to represent Command Points - these are used to issue orders that can allow special actions - increase speed, turn tighter, re-roll some shooting dice etc. This is not really a new system, but in Imperial Skies it is quite nuanced.

The Russian Torpedo boats closed on their target. The British were concentrating their fire on the leading Russian ship - a cruiser, but also the target priority rules prevented them from using their main armament on the little ships - we rationalised this by saying you wouldn't waste your main guns in big, slow traversing turrets trying to hit fast moving small targets. The Borodino managed to hit the nearest Exeter quite heavily, and it dropped out of formation to play no further part in the game.

The first torpedo shots missed, fired from too far out, but the little boats pressed on and managed to score a heavy hit on the Agincourt. Return fire was not very effective and it was clear what the British really needed as a fast Destroyer sized ship to mix it up with the Torpedo boats.

Meanwhile the Russian Cruiser suffered a series of heavy hits when trying to screen the Borodino. Remember those command points? - well you can spend then to use smaller vessels to screen the capital ships they are escorting, taking some damage for them if positioned correctly. This worked too well, and a lucky hit caused the cruiser to explode from a magazine explosion.

As the range was now down to "snotty" (very close) the ships were pounding each other relentlessly. The Russian Destroyer succumbed, followed by the Agincourt, but by that point the Borodino was in serious trouble and the Torpedo craft were out of torpedoes so only had their puny light guns - this wasn't enough and the Borodino soon joined the Agincourt as floating wreckage.

That ended the game. We had a lot of fun and are keen to try it again. The target priority rules in particular worked well, meaning we both quickly recognised you cannot just rely on your big ships, you have to take plenty of escorts to stop enemy torpedo craft getting too close - a nice reflection on the historical tactics.   Looking forward to another game, but this time ........


  1. Hmmm, how much does this cost as an "entry level"
    AKA what squadron would you recommend to paint?

  2. £22 from Brigade Models and pick the nationality that most appeals to you - they all have strengths and weaknesses

  3. Brits done, Russians done ... does that leave me French, Japanese, Turk or German?

  4. or Brazilian, Chilean,Argentinian Austrian, US Turkey or ......

  5. Saw the site
    And became scarily interested ....

    Maybe for Xmas
    But methinks I may be asking the family for ridiculously priced X-Wing stuff

  6. Certainly looks fun . Not sure I can do another game system mind . Next on the list after dfc will be frostgraive I think