Mighty Mighty Miketone's Fleet:
In the classic Black with red of Chaos and Khorne,

Styx Heavy Cruiser (Carrier)
Carnage Cruiser (Gunship)
Carnage Cruiser (Gunship)
1x Iconoclast escort

Warpmaster Jeff's Fleet
In the stylish colors of Red and Blue Metallic,

Acheron Heavy Cruiser (Lanceboat) w/ Chaos Lord and Mark of Khorne
Murder Cruiser (Mixed Lance/Gunboat)
Slaughter Cruiser (Close-combat Gunboat)
2x Idolator escorts

Rognarok's Fleet
In staid and true Imperial Grey.

Mars Battlecruiser (Carrier/Lanceboat)
Lunar Cruiser (Gunship)
Gothic Cruiser (Lanceboat)
3x Firestorm escorts

Terrain: Clear 4'x4' board.
Scenario: Cruiser Clash
Set-up: Mighty Mike and Warpmaster in corners on one side, Rognarok in the center opposite.


Turn 1:
Mighty Mike: Moves his fleet toward the center, launches all four bomber squadrons and two fighter squadrons toward the Imperial Fleet.

Warpmaster: Fleet moves forward, angling the Acheron and the Murder toward the Imperial ships, and the Slaughter and escorts toward Mighty Mike's

Rognarok: Fleet inches forward to make the most of the Mar's Nova cannon, which is aimed at the Styx but scatters and wipes out all but one of the bomber squadrons Mike dropped.

Turn 2:
Might Mike: Issues Lock-On special orders, and the Styx locks on to the Warpmaster's escorts, Slaughter, and Acheron. He moves forward only as much as he's required to. One of the Warpmasters escorts becomes a dust cloud in the vacuum of space. He takes 2 points off of the Slaughter, and a few stray shots at the Imperial fleet take down a shield or two. First Blood, if you don't count his fighters and bombers, which really you shouldn't.

Warpmaster: Issues All-Ahead-Full special orders to his Slaughter and the remaining Idolator escort. The Slaughter and tiny escort careen toward the opposing Chaos fleet, firing on the closer Carnage cruiser and inflicting 1 point of damage. The Acheron and the Murder sedately move forward and fire forward lances at the Imperial Gothic, not doing much. Mighty Mike's remaining bomber squadron reversed course and made a run at the Warpmaster's Slaughter, to no effect.

Rognarok: More creeping forward. The Nova Cannon overscatters and misses everything. All guns open fire and take down shields in both Chaos fleets in an impressive display of harmless pyrotechnics.

Turn 3:
Mighty Mike: The cruisers move forward, now bearing down on half Warpmaster's fleet in the center of the board. Weapons batteries and lances lash out at both opposing fleets, scoring a single hit on the Imperial Mars flagship. The Styx launches assault boats, which tear about and head for the Warpmaster's nearby Slaughter Cruiser.

Warpmaster: The Slaughter and remaining escort move in behind Mighty Mike's ships, in a nearly classic "Crossing the T" maneuver. They both unload most of their fire on the Styx, inflicting two hits. The Murder and Acheron continue to close on the Imperial fleet, and use their starboard batteries to annoy the opposing Chaos fleet's closer Carnage, to no avail. Some lances and forward guns fired at the incoming Imperials cause the Gothic to issue the special order Brace-For-Impact, which gives a save vs all the incoming four points of crippling damage... which it passes courageously for no hits.

Rognarok: A last Nova shot cripples the Styx, taking out two more hits. Bombers are unleashed from the Mars and are able to close with Mighty Mike's closest Carnage, inflicting two hits. The Gothic looses a spread of torpedoes. Firestorms scream in to fire at the side of the Carnage nearest the Imperial fleet, inflicting a point of damage.

Turn 4:
Mighty Mike: Mike's guns take down shields on the incoming Imperial fleet, the armored prows preventing further damage. The lone Iconoclast Destroyer escort screams out into the teeth of the incoming torpedo spread, and in a fearless display of courage is vaporized, shaving two hits out of the salvo. The closest Carnage to the Imperial fleet remains in the way of the incoming spread, and turns into a flaming hulk.

Warpmaster: Acheron moves up to the Imperial Gothic, while the Murder stands off. The Slaughter and her lone escort make wide turns near the board edge. The Acheron and Murder fire all broadsides on the Gothic, then the Acheron boards in a fearsome assault that cripples her down to two remaining damage points. Mike's assault boats remove all weapons from the Warpmaster's Slaughter and mangle the engines for a point of damage.

Rognarok: The Imperial fleet closes on Mighty Mike's crippled fleet, the Gothic breaking off and limping along behind. The Mars notes a possible Nova Cannon shot on the Warpmaster's Slaughter, but fails it's leadership and instead fires on the slightly closer escort, missing it. The Lunar rips into the crippled Styx with lances and guns, shaving off more damage points.

Turn 5:
Mighty Mike: The flaming hulk of the Carnage explodes, taking the Styx with her into the glory of the Warp. The remaining Carnage has poor angles and range on most of her guns, firing on the Gothic and dropping her shields again.

Warpmaster: The Slaugther skirts the edge of the battle, it's escort swinging around next to it and firing at the Imperial escorts to no effect. The Murder and Acheron slide behind the Imperial Fleet, again in a classic "Crossing the T" maneuver, scenting blood, and take another point off the Gothic with broadsides.

Rognarok: The crippled Gothic and the escorts fly up next to Mike's last operational cruiser and reduce it to 1 or 2 hits.

Turn 6:
MightyMike: Carnage limps forward. No targets in range or arc of weapons.

Jeff: The Murder and Acheron cruisers fly up behind the Imperial Mars Battlecruiser. the Idolator fires at it from the other side, then the cruisers take off a couple of damage points. Lance fire at the Gothic ineffectual.

Rognarok: A couple of shots at Mike don't do any further damage.


Winner:

Warpmaster Jeff, by a wide margin.


Lessons learned:

The heaviest, most scary ship on the board, in this case the Styx, is a bullet-magnet best avioided in a small fleet.

While normally keeping a fleet together is the order of the day... the Warpmaster took the game by defying that theory with sound tactics. Don't be afraid to split a Chaos fleet up.

Don't completely underestimate the role escorts can play.

Keep your engines pointed away from the Warpmaster.