Sunday, August 17, 2014

New Marauders Of The Rift: First Impressions

SeerK here.  Well as many of you may or may not know Spartan has updated the rules for the Marauders Of The Rift.  The Fleets from the old source book are now updated to 2.0 rules.  There have been some major changes and it would seem the story line has been moved forward a bit.  You can find the new rules on the Spartan Games Blog.  Well at least you could until they had some site problems and it crashed. They lost about a days worth of data, which would include the new rules.  I am sure we will see them back up Monday or Tuesday.  I downloaded a copy though just in time and printed it out.

Spellduckwrong and I tore right into the new rules and played a 1000 point game to try them out.  I decided to field a strait Oroshan Fleet while Spellduckwrong went with the biggest threat currently facing the galaxy.  I speak of course of the fleet known as only The Pathogen.  The Syndicate is back and merged with the Rift Traders.  They form the STL or Syndicate Traders League.  The fleets are still distinct though.  The STL is loosely affiliated with the Alliance of Kurak although they will still alley with Zenian League fleets, albeit at a higher points cost. STL Syndicate and STL Traders are Nautral Allies with the Terran Alliance.  Omnidyne and the Corsairs have banded together as OSO or Omnidyne Special Operations.  Both fleets are also still distinct though.  They are loosely affiliated with the Zenian league, but will work for the Kurak at a higher points cost.  The only real exception is any Works Raptor fleet cannot contain Omnidyne ships.  They are corporate rivals and would not be caught dead working together.

The Oroshan are strait up mercenaries.  They will work for anybody willing to pay as contracts have been thinning out in the Directorate systems.  The Pathogen is an entirely different kind of fleet. They have several vessels that are named as they are "full grown".  The rest of the entries are composed of stat blocks for infected ships.  They also have only one kind of SRS token.  It covers basically the job of a fighter, interceptor and bomber.  They also regenerate lost wings when they destroy an opposing wing.  The pathogen are kinda scary.  They are like a storm.  Building momentum as they go.  played right they can quickly outnumber you.  As you loose ships they add them to their ranks.

I am pretty impressed with the first presentation of the rules.  I know there may be some tweaks and changes before they see print, but there is a lot of cool stuff in this new fleet manual.  I would have to say the flexibility and ability to customize the fleet and even the ship squadrons in the fleet is what has me most impressed.  The Traders and the Corsairs have so much flavor and customization options.  Adding shields at the expense of crew, adding to the damage and critical rating at the expense of mobility. Adding wings and weapons in exchange for MARs and other stuff.  The combinations are many and let you design a fleet with flavor and a specific purpose.  Also the Reformer class Battle Station available to the STL Traders is kinda scary.  It is very similar to the old Supermax-89, which sadly is not in the book for Supermax fans.  It has Tractor beams...........that is it has grav weapons that can only be used in control mode.  With the potential of being able to move 6 inches and have launch tubes, that is kinda scary.

So back to Spellduckwrong and I's game.  As we were trying out unfamiliar fleets we opted for a strait up Border clash mission. We had 1000 points each.  I ran the following list.

Armageddon Dreadnought with 3 Grief Escorts

4x Defiler Cruisers

2x 6 pack of Slayer Frigates

1x 4 pack of Slayer Frigates

Spellduckwrong ran the following.  He has the Pathogen Section of my print out currently so forgive the lack of names.

Named Battleship

Named carrier

2x 3 named cruisers

2x 6 pack named frigates

I have to add one thing to this abbreviated battle report before I go further.  My dice were on fire and we were both using fleets that were brand new to us.  This was very apparent as the game progressed.  The Oroshan have a fleet tactics of 3 and the Pathogen 1.  I took the first activation for most of the game.  Turn one was relatively uneventful.  I managed to reach out with the beams on the Defilers and damage one of the Pathogen cruisers.  Despite not having and port or starboard weapons, other than torpedoes, I have to say I like the Defiler almost more than the Cerberus.

Being able to take them in a squadron of 4 and give them Pack Hunter is pretty awesome.  They are a DR 4 CR 7 with a shield rating of 1.  In range band 2 a full strength squadron can throw 22 beam dice.  Yeah you read that right 22 dice.  I was in range band 4 when I opened up and that was with 7 dice.  Not to shabby.

Turn 2 saw our fleets close in to lethal range.  I started lighting up Spellduckwrong's cruisers with mine and the Dreadnought got into the mix.  His Cruisers were taking a major pounding.  He did however get his 2 squadrons of frigates in and a huge frigate dogfight ensued in the middle of the board.

I managed to destroy most of the cruisers by turn 4 and I also thinned out his frigate swarm despite his capturing of 2 of my frigates.

The real clutch manoeuvre happened in turn 4 for Spellduckwrong though.  His carrier finally decided to join the show and dropped a mine in the midst of my frigate swarm.  Now a few of the Pathogen ships have mines.  They do not have real high ratings, but they do have one aspect that can be pretty deadly for small craft.  The mines can have the
Bio hazard MAR.  So if it damages your frigate it may not do enough hull points to kill it, but if it only has 1 crew point its dead.  I managed to loose almost 2 squadrons of frigates to one 3 die mine.  This tipped the balance.  In the end It was a duel between my Dreadnought and his heavily damaged carrier and battleship.  Granted I may have been on the loosing end of the duel as all Pathogen ships have self repair.  The game did not go past turn 7 though and it ended with a 12 to 2 victory for me. 

All in all I was impressed with the Oroshan and will be adding some ships to my fleet.  They pack a punch and with the addition of the Battle Carrier to their fleet roster they can actually be fielded as a patrol fleet.  I feel as though a rematch is not going to go as well for me.  Spellduckwrong is a very canny opponent.  It was very clear to him that playing the Pathogen as a standard non tentacle space herpes clear fleet was not going to work.  The real key in our game was he should have shunted his cruisers in.  This would have put them in assault range of my big ships.  Also taking a full sqaudron would have maxed out the assault points.  They have 5 each so I would have been hard pressed to repel boarders even with my dreadnought.

In closing I just want to say I love the new manual. It really pushes and tests the game mechanics.  It also adds a lot of flavor.  Now if only I can get me some Planetfall......

Until next time Crush the Alliance and as always....


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