Jovian Wars is about building a strategy when selecting your fleet and then using that fleet to achieve your objectives in a game, usually by out maneuvering your opponent and defeating in combat.
The Jovian Wars Kickstarter has new ship designs available so let’s look at how you might go about building a fleet.
The first stop in any fleet building exercise is hangars. Hangers is not a ship type or class. It’s a trait. But it’s one of the most important if you plan to still be fighting by turn six. The simple reason for this is that hangers allow you to repair Exo-Armor and Fighter models.
Once and Exo-Armor or Fighter model is reduced to half or less of their starting damage rating they are crippled. A crippled squadron is not very much use because they lose half their fire control rating and can’t make special actions other than to withdraw.
So let’s build a 250 point CEGA fleet. This level of conflict is called a Skirmish.
The first model with Hangers we’re going to choose is the new Birmingham Fleet carrier. At 80 points it’s a big part of the fleet but it can support a large number of exo or fighter squadrons and provide long range fire support with its rating 4 kinetic cannons. Pus at 80 points this ship alone fulfills our 25% quota for capital ship points in the fleet.
The second ship will be the new Constantinople Assault Cruiser. At 49 points it's not a true threat to enemy ships with a meager fire control rating of two and only two point defense but it does function as an area denial device because a Marine rating of eight has the capacity of defeating any ship short of a battleship or a fleet carrier. That makes the potential boarding zone of 7” around the front of the ship a dangerous place for enemy ships to go. This makes the Constantinople the perfect ship for dissuading direct runs at the Birmingham. I’m going to spend 2 points to upgrade the Constantinople with a fuel pod for 2 points which will allow it to have the option to automatically pass its reserve test in the second round or increase its speed for one round thus getting it into the fight faster.
The last ship is the new Hydra Defense Frigate that is about to become unlocked. At 29 points it’s very cheap and also the most fragile. But this is the ship that will protect the Birmingham from enemy attacks and help overcome the Constantinople’s lack of a good point defense. The Barrier trait provides a surprising amount of active defense for this plucky ship and friends.
We have now spent 160 of our 250 points for a skirmish level game. We have threat, and firepower. Now we need flexibility.
My first choice is a Dragon Striker. This squadron is an elite ace unit with an arsenal of weapons and the ability to attack any target. Defensively its energy armor is highly effective against the best dog fighting weapons available to most enemy exos and it's an absolute beast at range bringing Nuclear tipped missiles for capital ship targets and swarm missiles, kinetic cannon, and the beam projector for smaller targets. At 36 points it isn’t cheap but it’s a brutal war machine that every CEGA fleet should have one of. It's possibly the single most dangerous dog fighter in the game with the highest probability of outright destroying its target with a quad result [Q+] with the beam projector when rolling six dice to attack.
My next choice is a pair of Syreen Exo-Armor. For 12 points each they bring a fast interceptor which enables all kinds of tricks. A Syreen never has to remain in a dogfight it does not want to be in as the fast trait gives a bonus to breaking off. The interceptor trait means that when the Syreen intercepts an enemy model it is the one that will attack first and four fuel means a lot of attacks before the enemy can escape. A lack of sensors is not a problem since the Syreen is a very fast unit and is often able to move into a dogfight at will and then reposition itself as a supporting model boosting the point defense of other ships or being ready to intercept.
My last choices for the fleet are a pair of Fury Exo-Armors. At 12 points each they are expensive but carry a wide range of weapons capable of dealing with a number of threats. They can be considered a bomber since the mass driver plus anti-capital ship missiles together with a four fuel rating and the fast trait to avoid enemy interceptors means it’s often going to get bombing it’s target multiple time. In addition the speed of 7” means that against model targets it’s first bombing run will not cost fuel allowing for a whopping potential of five bombing runs with two attacks each. On average this should yield four to seven hits to systems and one or two structure damage. They are a significant threat and their speed allows them to get back to a carrier to get repaired quickly if crippled.
At this point I've spent 84 points on exos and the last six points will be spent giving one of the Fury Exo-Armors the Ace Pilots upgrade. This gives the Ace trait to its mass driver and increases its skill to 3. I also give it a fuel pod for 2 points which will give it fuel 6 for one round of the game potentially netting a total of seven (!) bombing runs on some hapless target.
For deployment this fleet is quite efficient. In an escalating engagement I would start with the Birmingham with a Fury unit and the Hydra escorting it. The reason I would start with the Birmingham is its speed. Deploying it first lets me place it up the board to be a threat and to get the exos into combat faster. I can face it parallel to my edge so I can either turn away from enemy ships and attack with three heavy Kinetic Cannon turrets while extending the range their ships have to travel to reach me, or I can turn into them and attack with dual missile bays too. Also the Birmingham will allow me to deploy any Exos arriving from reserve from its hangers. This can mean a devastating first strike capability as a swarm of exos move directly to bombing a target that is harassing the Birmingham.
In the second round of an escalating engagement the Dragon Striker and the Ace Fury squadron will likely appear in turn two followed by a turn 3 arrival of everything else. Having the Constantinople arrive in turn 3 allows me to deploy it towards the target it will have the most success boarding and a turn or two of boost moves will bring anything into range quickly. or if it looks like I can capture an enemy ship from the initial deployment then I can always expend the fuel pod to arrive on turn two.
So there you have it. At 8 models this fleet is compact but packs a lot of firepower. We have good defense and we can outlast enemy fleets by repairing our exos once they take damage.
Til next time when we’ll take a look at a sample Jovian fleet.