For some time, Stephen and I have talked about trying out the campaign rules of A Call to Arms: Starfleet. To that end, we each assembled a 1,500 point fleet last night and had at each other, introducing crew quality and scout rules, since those play a large role in the campaign game.
It's a good thing this was a test run and not the beginning of our actual campaign, because boy, the Klingons came at my fleet with fangs bared and made short work of us, losing only one small ship while wiping out all eight of my starships. The way I see it, I made three fundamental mistakes:
1) Though I considered it, I decided not to field a scout ship. Steve fielded two, which gave him a consistent bonus to initiative and the ability to jam my ships, reducing their defensive and offensive firepower. Against this, I had no defence.
2) I spread my ships out in a not-so-clever attempt to flank the Klingons, while Steve held his ships in a well-disciplined line. This allowed Steve's Klingons to pick off my ships one-by-one.
3) I recognized one turn too late - and possibly two turns too late - that the battle was lost. Had I attempted to retreat one or two turns earlier than I did, I might have saved three or four of my starships. As it was, I lost all eight. Actually, even worse - given the shape the ships were in at the last turn, you'd probably have to consider the last three ships not destroyed, but captured - including my dreadnought and a Constitution-class heavy cruiser. Admiral Woods will be lucky to keep his job after this..!
Despite this humbling result, it was great fun managing a task force of this size and experimenting with the various strengths and weaknesses of the different starships. I'll try to keep this experience in mind when Steve and I start the real campaign later this year.