The Lion-class Battlecruiser was released by Independence Games in February 2021 and is a product complementing its Earth Sector setting. The book is 55 pages in length and can be purchased from DriveThru RPG or the Independence Games webstore for $7.99 as a PDF or softcover book for $19.99. The book describes a 5000 dTon Battlecruiser operated by the United Kingdom Royal Navy and is the newest ship in the fleet, with an in-service date of 2346. The ship is designed to provide heavy support for cruiser squadrons, as a flagship or escort duties. The ship was designed as a countermeasure to the increasing numbers of similar class ships being produced by other countries navies and to ensure that the United Kingdom’s interstellar interests are protected. The ship incorporates some of the latest weaponry featuring torpedo bays, meson guns, fusion and plasma barbettes, railguns, missiles, lasers and probably even sharp sticks…! The ship also carries a small complement of service craft, besides its 48 officers, 224 enlisted crew and 25 Royal Marines.
First impressions of the ship design from the illustrations provided by Ian Stead are that this really looks like a mean, aggressive wedge-shaped ship that you would seriously think twice about taking on in combat. Several colour and monochrome images are provided throughout the book, along with the service craft.
The book begins with a summary of specifications and some background on how the Battlecruiser concept came into being at the turn of the twentieth century, along with the modern design process and tender by Armstrong Millen Engineering. Page 10 progresses with a look at how the ship is constructed from Hull and Armour, Engineering, Command Section and Armament and Defenses. Three pages identify where the various armaments are located with ship silhouettes. Crew and Accommodation is followed by Other Internal Components and finally the four service craft including the Ships Boats, Captains Gig and Admiral’s Barge. Game statistics for the ship are detailed on page 21 through to page 31, interspersed with a number of isometric illustrations of the ship.
The bulk of the book is taken up by the large number of deck plans (illustrated by Michael Johnson), from page 32 to page 49. Even though the ships wedge-shaped design makes it look quite thin, there are actually four decks to house the huge number of weapons and everything (including the crew) needed to support and operate them. You get a sense of the scale of the ship in the way that the deck plans are comprised. Each deck is illustrated but because of the huge size of the ship, it is divided up into parts (such as main deck 2 port aft section on one page, main deck 2 starboard aft section on another page etc).
Pages 50 and 51 round off with a description and statistics of the two types of capital ship torpedoes used by the ship. These are pretty deadly types of kit, using two variations of the same principle ie. a shotgun type effect to overwhelm a ships defences. This creates a huge amount of damage over a large area and is very difficult to apply countermeasures to.
The way the book is written, it gives a sense of how impressive one (or several) of these ships would look if you were to see them with your own eyes. Though there aren’t any ‘historical’ descriptions such as actions or battles the spacecraft was involved in (as in other Independence Games ship books), this is simply because the ship is too ‘new’. However there is enough background about how the ship came into being and the author Michael Johnson has made the book an engaging and interesting read. This is a really tough opponent to come across and would be more than a match against another similar ship or battlegroup. This would prove to be a useful spacecraft to use in a game as something that would look something so overpowering, the players would surrender immediately. They could then expect a contingent of Royal Marines to be knocking on the docking hatch door – and I don’t think they would be too friendly!
This was an enjoyable book to read and I think is definitely worth a purchase for your Earth Sector or Cepheus Engine games; I would like to thank John Watts of Independence Games for kindly sending me a copy of the Lion-class Battlecruiser to review.
Fans of Zozer Games’ ‘Hostile’ may be interested to learn that a new PWWY (Pay What You Want) book has been released, an ‘Introduction to Hostile’ which provides over 31 pages a short summary about the game and what you can expect from the setting.