Fleet battles consist of any major combat that involves significant numbers of ships on both sides. These can be encounters where 9, 10, 20 or even 100 or more ships are involved. While such massive scale combats are fairly rare in FASA, a number of such battles are listed in various RPG material – most notably “The Four Years War.” Such large battle consisting of 100 ship per side can become unwieldy and slow, especially when only a few players are available. The area of “space” required for such battles also becomes impractical, requiring dozens of maps and tables for players to accurately play.
However, this doesn’t mean that such battle are out of the realm of play. By dividing the overall combat into waves, similar to the already established phases or turns that players are familiar with, such large battle can be played and resolved in a few evenings of game play.
Before beginning the game, both sides should decide on the number of ships that will be used in each wave of the game. Players should not discuss which exact ships will be in each wave, only the total number of ships that will start that wave during the encounter. Most players are comfortable with 6 to 10 ships maximum. The total number of players can also influence the final number of ships at the start of each wave. If groups are lucky enough to have 4 or more players, each player may be comfortable with multiple ships. Or they may wish to control only 3 or 4 ships at a time. However, the total number of waves should be determined before the first battle.
Once the total number of waves has been determined, each player should download the Order of Battle for their side. This lists all the vessels that participate in the overall encounter.
If one side or the other has fewer vessels, that player (or the referee if available) may determine how many ships are allowed in each wave. Players do not need to use the agreed upon number of ships; however this does put a player at a disadvantage during the battle.
Players should then create their various squadrons or wings, dividing up the total number of ships into the appropriate number of ships to be used in each battle. Players should not share what ships are assigned to what squadrons. However, each squadron should be assigned to a wave before the first battle. Any odd ships may be assigned as “reinforcements” during any of the waves.
Players decide to play “The Battle of Sector 23-H”, a large fleet battle from the Four-Year’s War. The Federation fielded 95 ships, while the Klingon fielded 113. The players (or referee) determine that there will be 11 total waves. This means that there will be 11 total battles. Each player downloads their appropriate Order of Battle and created 11 squadrons. Both players decide that the maximum allowable number of ships is 10 per wave.
The Federation player has a greater challenge. He/she may divide his forces into 11 equal squadrons of 8 ships each, with 7 vessels as reinforcements. He/she may decide to create several squadrons of 9 or even 10 vessels. However, the total number of ships in any one wave can not exceed the agreed upon 10 ships until the reinforcement phase (See below)
The Klingon player may divide his/her forces into squadrons of 10 or fewer, with vessels not assigned to a specific squadron held in reserve as reinforcements.
Each player should record what vessels are in what squadron. Once a vessel is assigned to a squadron, it can not be reassigned. Players should not share what vessels are assigned to a specific squadron.
The first wave is play as a standard game. On Phase 1 of Turn 5, either side may choose up to 3 reserve vessels (if available) and use them as reinforcements. Once the battle is complete, both sides may assess what vessels remain and assign up to 3 as future reserve vessels. These vessels are set aside and can be brought into play in any subsequent Wave, counting toward the maximum of 3 reserve vessels. Any damage during a previous wave caries over.
2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc Wave
Each wave is played as a standard game. The 2nd Squadron of each player battle during the 2nd Wave, the 3rd squadron during the 3rd wave and so on. On Phase 1 of Turn 5 of each subsequent wave, either side may choose up to 3 reserve vessels, ships held in reserve or ships assigned to reserve from a previous wave. The same ship(s) may be assigned to reserve status if they survive any subsequent wave.
The final wave is the last encounter of the battle. It is played as is previous waves, with up to 3 reserve ships entering the battle on Phase 1 of Turn 5. However, on Phase 1 of Turn 9, each side may add an additional 2 vessels for the final battle.
Victory conditions are determined by the total number of vessels destroyed or damaged. Add the Combat Efficiency of any vessel destroyer, and half that value for vessels that suffer superstructure damage. This final number determines the victor.