Up to now, we have just had a look at the Big Three empires in A Call to Arms: Star Fleet, as we have started calling the Federation, Klingons and Romulans. However, there are a multitude of empires in the galaxy. More are already covered in the core rulebook, and their ships will be appearing soon. As a sneak peek though…
Welcome to the Gorn. These reptilians have ships characterised by being very ugly, very brutal, not particularly agile, but loaded with a devastating amount of firepower! Those sprightly Klingons can dance around Gorn ships all day, it won’t make any difference – they will still face a barrage of plasma and phaser fire!
Take the Carnosaurus Destroyer as an example. For a mere 115 points, you get a sprinkling of all round phaser banks, but three (count ‘em!) plasma torpedo launchers totalling enough Attack Dice to make a Romulan wince. However, with 16 points of Damage, this ship is considerably tougher than the equivalent Romulan. And being able to just turn inside a Federation Heavy Cruiser, it is positively nimble for a Gorn!
These ships do, of course, come in larger sizes…
This ship has so many individual weapon systems, it takes up an entire page all by itself in the rulebook!
Again, the phasers are a sprinkling (by usual Dreadnought standards) across all facings. But if you are a Gorn player, you are not really going to care about that. You’ll be concentrating on the massive load of plasma torpedoes that total just shy of 20 Attack Dice. Just think of that for a moment – you could be rolling 20 dice against an enemy ship and be doing that many points of damage.
There isn’t a ship in the game that can stand up to that kind of punishment.
However, there are some issues. To get those shots off, your opponent will have to be nodding, as you will need to get your Dreadnought pointing straight at him, at 8″ or less. There is nothing subtle about this fleet, and your opponent will see your tactics coming a mile off. This is mitigated somewhat by the fact that not all your plasma torpedoes need fire forward. Plenty of them can fire to the side, catching those feckless Federation and Klingon ships completely off guard as they prance around you.
As for durability… yup, got plenty of that. More Gorn Marines than you can shake a dead Orion at too.
So, to sum up, the Gorn are a slow, heavy fleet that dish out far more than they can take. The bad news for other fleets is that they can take a great deal and keep on coming.
Maybe the Gorn are not your thing. Maybe massive firepower and heavy defences are not really your thing (it is possible, I suppose). In which case, let us present the Kzinti.
It begins here, with the humble Frigate, the smallest of the Kzinti ships in the current line up. At barely 120 points, it looks quite fragile…
Well, it has a kick, all right. Just like other Frigates, it is super agile and will run rings even round a Klingon. A couple of phasers and a single disruptor seem to keep most of its firepower up front. And that is fair enough.
However, the last listed weapon system is a drone launcher. The Kzinti just love drones.
This tiny little ship packs four of them. Four drones that can be launched each and every turn. The Federation needs to field a ship the size of a Battlecruiser to get that kind of salvo going. In a long ranged drone-duel, this Frigate will own a Federation Heavy Cruiser, and it has the speed and agility to stay ahead of its prey.
Continuing the ‘little and large’ theme we started with the Gorn, this is what a Kzinti Dreadnought looks like.
This photo really does not do the model justice. The real thing is the longest ship model by far of the entire Star Fleet range, and it looks just plain majestic on the table!
It is not particularly nimble (in fact, it has the Lumbering trait) but with 3 Anti-Drone launchers and a bristling forest of phaser-3s, it is pretty much immune to any but the most determined and concentrated of drone attacks. And while the enemy is uselessly expending their energy trying to break through those defences, the Dreadnought can kick out a healthy 6 Attack Dice worth of drones every turn.
Not that this ship was built to engage only in stand-off battles. Far from it. Six disruptors up front give it some serious punch, especially if they are overloaded, while a healthy spread of phaser banks to the front and sides will finish anything that survives.
Don’t worry about enemies getting into your rear arc. They will be eating those drones of yours.
We’ll be taking another look at the Gorn and Kzinti in the very near future and, in fact, they go on pre-order within the next week or two for delivery just after Christmas. before that, however, we’ll take a gander at the two ‘mini’ fleets included in the rulebook – the famous Tholians and, the pirate’s favourite, the Orions.