Space Station Zero Challenge 16

Battle Report 7

wargame report

The end! The crew fought bravely, but they've met their final challenge with Challenge 16 of the Space Station Zero book. This battle report contains minor spoilers, although there are a lot of branches in the campaign so what happens in my campaign is unlikely to also happen exactly the same in your campaign. This is the seventh and final battle report, covering Challenge 16.

Alien ship

In this scenario, there's one enemy: an alien warship stuck in a hangar. It's unable to fly, but its weapons are still online, and it's just itching to use them.

The alien ship has three weapons and activates three times each round. Effectively, that means when I failed a roll to maintain initiative, the ship takes a turn. It has 25 Life.

Luckily, I rolled high on the terrain table and got two scatter terrain and one large terrain feature. I placed the scatter terrain just outside the deployment zone, and placed my crew behind it, granting them cover (+2 to Armour), so the ship hits on 6+. The ship's Combat stat is 7 for a solo game, so it's rolling 21 dice each round, so it's likely to hit several times each turn.

Round 1

The Veteran opens fire and rolls a Critical Success, first roll of the game! Could this be a good omen? (No.) The Critical Success doubles the hits from 4 to 8, and the ship rolls 7 dice to defend, and manages to block 3. That's still 4 damage, so not bad!

The Pilot's sidearm imposes -1 Combat, so she's literally rolling 1 dice. She does get to re-roll her Combat roll because she's with an inch of an ally, so I roll 2 dice and take the best result. She scores a hit, which is summarily blocked by the ship.

The Engineer and Soldier each have 5 and 6 Combat, and they manage to score 2 more damage between them.

Between all of its attacks, the ship hits the crew with 5 successes. The ship's scatter lasers impose 2 damage for each Success unless you succeed on a Reaction 5 test, but the best Reaction stat my crew has is 4 so it's an auto-fail across the board. All in all, it's nearly 10 damage but some of the hits are blocked, so the crew as a whole takes 4 damage.

Not a bad opening round, but also not very promising on the whole. As a crew, I have 16 Life and the ship has 25. If this round was reflective of expected damage, then 5 damage for each 4 damage is a formula for defeat.

Round 2

The crew rolls really badly this time. Amazingly, the Veteran gets another Critical Success, but even with Combat re-rolls he only manages to get 6 hits. The ship blocks 5 of those, so it takes 1 damage.

And that's all the damage the crew manages to do this round!

The ship rolls very well, scoring 9 Successes. Everyone auto-fails their Reaction tests, though, so the scatter lasers deal 6 damage. The other weapons finish off the crew.

Post game

I didn't bother rolling on the death and injury table, because popping the crew back into the room with the ship to repeat this slaughter didn't seem fun to me. Getting to Challenge 16 was (appropriately) challenging, and I'm proud to have gotten as far as I did.

I have a lot of respect for a death-trap game, but the inconvenient reality of death-traps is that if you kill everybody who enters then nobody gets to live to tell the tale, much less to even witness the tale in the first place. I actually do want to get through the campaign. I want to experience the story. But playing it rules as written looks to be impossible, or I'm doing the numbers wrong. I don't want the challenges to be easy, and I'm OK with permadeath, but unless I can get reinforcements or a Resurrection mechanic or something, I'll never be able to get through the game.

I'll absolutely play the campaign again at some point, with a different crew build, and maybe with a few stat modifications or bonuses of my own to help balance the game.

Photo by Seth Kenlon, Creative Commons cc0.

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