The battle was in open space, so we used "Deadspace", getting 2 obstacles - a distortion field and a comet, both on the extreme left edge of the board. Oscar got LoB deployment along the bottom edge, I got Flank at the left, which was ideal as (although too close for comfort), at least it gave me some cover.
Aquan "Deep Blue"
Medusa, -1HP, -4CP, 0AP, 3 escape pods
Manta, -1HP, 0AP, 4 escape pods
Tsunami, -4HP, 0AP
Storm, -2HP, -3CP, 0AP
Storm, -2HP, 0AP
Barracuda, -1HP, 2CP (from Tsunami AP)
Captured Brood, -6HP, 1CP
Hive, 6 Bombers, 2 Interceptors
Bane Squadron- 3 x Banes, 3 Assaulters
Drone Squadron 1 - 4 Drones
Drone Squadron 2 - 4 Drones
I started with the Carrier and Banes deployed as far back in my zone as possible, all cloaked with the interceptors between them providing PD cover. Drones all deployed in front of them, either in or behind the distortion field.
Oscar deployed his Storms, Manta and Medusa in a line from the left edge of his deployment, uncomfortably close, hoping to repeat the glory of his fleets first encounter. Tsunamis were deployed further right, and the Brood and Barracuda well to the right out of harms way.
I won initiative and moved the bare minimum 3" forward with my carrier, letting off a torpedo salvo at the damaged Storms (no effect) and deploying my bombers. Oscar powered up his Medusa and Manta using a Dual Maneouvre card, first destroying a lone Drone, then ripping into the rest of the squadron, completely destroying my first Drone squadron before it even moved, as well as dropping his bombers out of the Manta for further damage potential this turn (due to quick launch). This wasn't looking good!
The came my Banes...dropping their assaulters before short-shunting forward towards the Medusa, two arrived perfectly and one way overshot, arriving next to the Tsunamis. Link firing on the most damaged Tsunami with the two near the Medusa, my torpedoes ripped the ship apart. I then boarded the other Tsunami with my lone Bane, and the Medusa with the other two. The dice gods are fickle, and wanted blood - almost all my spiders arrived on the Medusa, and even halving their AP, they tore the Medusa's defenders apart for the loss of only two - the Dreadnought was mine! Not only that, but the Tsunami fell to me too - suddenly the balance had swung!
The Storms attempted to strike back but had no luck. Using "Punch the Boosters" and rolling a 6, my bombers surged forward and attacked the Manta, losing a single wing to PD, they landed a nice critical on it, setting it on fire.The Brood and Barracuda both turned away from the battle and started powering up FSDs, whilst my second Drone Squadron moved forward nicely into RB2 of the Manta and blasted it again for a Hard Pounding, my interceptors providing PD cover again. His bombers attacked the captured Manta, but the excellent automatic defences cut down 60% of his attack, making the resultant torpedo run ineffective. The assaulter moved in, barely avoiding the comet's movement at the end of the turn (oops!).
It seemed incredible that this was only the end of turn 1! Turn two saw Oscar win initative and use a damage repair party, but fortunately I had a counter card that prevented the Manta regaining potency. Nevertheless, the battlecarrier performed a 180 turn and blasted one of the Banes with a critical (hard pounding -2CP) and damaged another, before powering up its FSD. The Banes short shunted as far as possible away and into the path of the Brood & Barracuda, reforming their squadron perfectly...these guys were in for medals for sure! I managed to pick off the Barracuda before it jumped, but the captured Brood was shunted out...damn! The Storms had an ineffective round of firing at their former comrade Tsunami, and activated their FSDs as well.
As for wings, my assaulters attempted to board the striken Manta, but even with damage it's PD shot all but one of them down, this being repelled by the intensive barrage. My bombers went off to refuel at my carrier, also flying directly into the comets path and escaping death by about 1cm! What is it with these flyboys? My interceptors came in to mop up his bombers, and the two flights wiped each other out.
Turn 3 saw my Banes swing back into action, short-shunting in front of the Storms perfectly, blasting them to smithereens before they could escape. The Manta then shunted out, bringing the game to a close.
It was a gamble, but it paid off! I didn't rescue my Battleship, but I got a Dreadnought and a Heavy Cruiser in exchange, plus I rescued some of the crew from the first disasterous battle - not a bad result. That Battlecarrier is a marked ship, and even though it escaped I can't allow it to survive! Unfortunately trying to assault it in an Aquan-held system with a facility and its defences is probably more than I'd want to try and risk, so I think consolidation is the best course of action for me right now. The Banes were definately the lynch-pin upon which my strategy won the day - it could have easilt gone the other way, especially with Oscar's pinpoint accuracy in the first round of blasting Drones out of a distortion field! I think he timed his exits well, and only lucky dice meant I got away with denying him the Barracuda and Storms. His firing dice wer good, but his torpedoes sucked in that game - mine were pretty good, and his PD and shields were really bad.