Turn nine has been a turn of surprises for me. The Klingons actually cancelled a couple ships this turn, so they could support maximum carrier builds (D7V, D5V, F5V).
Meanwhile, the Lyrans are rolling in EPs.
Movement was much shorter than I figured. More cripples pulled out to better repair facilities, and the Coalition went in for the Third Battle of Hydrax.
Meanwhile, he pulled back to defensive positions on the Kzinti front. I'm all too aware that my forces are getting spread out, now that there's more things to protect, and I refused to take the few reactions I could, since I didn't know what was coming, and what location he might try to pick off on the cheap.
As it turned out, nothing was coming as movement ended.
0119: Hydran: dest RN; Klingons: crip 2xD6D; Lyrans: crip CW
0617: Hydrax I: 3xPDU; Lyrans: crip BC, 3xCW, 3xDW, dest 2xBC
0718: Hydran: dest AH; Klingons: capture planet
If I had examined the forces that went into the Hydran capital, I might have acted differently. The Lyrans had a decent force, and I assumed the Klingons had a fleet just about as big as the Lyrans, but it was only a few small ships.
As it was, he spent one round stripping PDUs over the capital, crippled almost all his big ships and retreated.
However, he has now taken the major planet in 0718, reducing the main grid to the capital and a disrupted province.
I've been starting to wonder if I should just abandon the capital shipyard and voluntarily start on a new one in the Old Colonies, but have held off to keep his attention focused down there.
Well, it's working. The vast majority of his new ships and repairs moved into Hydran space. The Fourth Battle of Hydrax will likely be the last, save any Hydran attempts to take it back.
When I saw ships pulling out of Kzinti space, I was wondering if he was starting preparations for an invasion of the Federation. Not yet. Instead, he used field repair on the new Lyran cripples, moved more ships into Hydran space, and sent money to the Klingons. I've been hinting that he should be doing that, but I think watching me do it in Second Wind has brought it to his attention.
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- [+] Dice rolls
Well, this one is a minor update:
Download it here:
-Fixed GCEs (copy and delete commands)
-Added R-NHBH and R-FHBH
-Improved Empire reporting on H- & L-shipyards; F-Fighter chits
-Overlays no longer report in the unit summaries
-Updated (603.U) setup to eliminate some minor errors
-Re-worked Battle Mats to have space for BIR/DRMs for each side
-Added CPF and CPX chits to all empires (except Feds)
-Fixed L-Base Module (not reporting fighter factors correctly)
-Fixed stats on L-PF marker
-Fixed F-, K-, R-, Z-, H-MC (no fighter property)
-Fixed T-Base Module art
-Fixed R-4CNV (bad fighter reporting)
The first item was the reason for the new release. It was found that Independent GCE markers could not be deleted. Along the way, I found a number of minor problems that likely no one else has ever seen.
One of the few feature requests left that I can do was for specific CPF and CPX markers (casual PF flotillas from AO), so they've been put in. Also, just about all the saved files have been updated to take advantage of the improvements.
I am hopeful that this is everything. All the bugs worth worrying about squashed, all the features that the current module can handle have been added. No need for a 1.3.2 or especially a 1.4.
(Wait, did he say current module...?)
- [+] Dice rolls
Largely thanks to repairs, the Kzinti are running a bit low on cash already. They built everything, but the ending total was 4.25, which is less than he received in salvage during my Turn 2.
Kzintis: CV, 2xMEC, DD, FFK, FKE, FF, 4xPDU, MB->BATS, FF->FKE
With the inclusion of the first three expansions, a lot of new ship types are added to the game, both in new base hulls, and in variants. Most of the base hulls show up mid-war, but the Kzinti get an important one right off the bat: the Killer Frigate (FFK).
Because of the way damage and repairs work, ships with odd numbered factors are considered very important by experienced players. This is because the crippled factor usually rounds up, so a 7-point CW is just as tough when crippled as an 8-point CA. More importantly, repair costs are based on the difference between the uncrippled and crippled values, making a 7-point CW no more expensive to repair than a 6-point CL or DD, even though it absorbed more damage in the process of being crippled.
Most empires have at least one ship type in each slot from 4 to 10 points. The Kzinti were one of the empires missing the efficient 5-point slot (along with the Hydrans and Tholians). Federation & Empire: Advanced Operations introduces the FFK, the Kzinti's last attempt at getting better performance out of their frigate. It is actually introduced right before the General War, but it also has a variant of its own, the FKE, or escort version, that gets introduced on turn 2. The FFE is a pre-war design, and is a 2-4 escort, the FKE is a much more effective escort at 4-5.
Production of both versions is extremely limited (two of either type, three total), causing the Kzintis to get a slow trickle of good small escorts and a few of the 'efficient' FFKs while managing the shrinking budget. Personally, I think it adds nice little bit of interest in the early Kzinti shipbuilding schedule
I was surprised when both Raids hit Lyran territory. Both disrupted provinces with no loss to the Kzintis.
Belirahc fell afoul of a beginner mistake during movement. He initially just started a bunch of small battles against province raiders, and tried to raid anything I had captured, and I reacted ships out to handle them. When he ended movement without doing anything more, I pointed out that I'd just move my reserve onto any battles that were close and just pound his one- or two-ship forces. He then decided to pick a few larger battles to attract my reserves. This worked, but some of his forces weren't really in a shape to get into a large battle.
0701: SSC; Lyrans: retreat; Kzinti: dest FF
0903: SSC; Lyrans: retreat; Kzinti: crip FF & retreat
1203: SSC; Klingons: crip F5L & retreat
1602: Kzinti: dest FF
0802: Lyrans: crip CW, 2xDD; Kzinti: dest EFF
1305: Klingons: crip F5; Lyrans: crip CW; Kzinti: SF captured
1505: Klingons: crip 2xD5, F5, dest F5L; Kzinti: dest BC, SF
1305 was particularly rough on him. The force was still missing escorts from my turn, so he ended up feeding the fighters forward without the carriers on the line, while I had toys from the starbase assault left over in the hex. He tried to go EW heavy, but I had decided to abuse my D6S and D6Ds, and beat him 8 to 4 on that as well.
I'm not sure what I'm going to do with an SF. All my scouts are better than it, and I really don't have a need for a 1 EW scout. Possibly the best thing to do is to scrap it for the money (1 EP). Though I might convert it to a SDF for DB duty (3+1+2 = 6 EP... oy). At least he isn't salvaging it.
Overall, the Kzintis are down seven frigates through the course of the full turn, and lost two CVEs and a BC. The lack of SFs and EFFs is going to be felt in my turn 3 attack.
- [+] Dice rolls
Federation aid to the Kzinti is really making a difference, as their economy jumped from 61 to 74.2 EP this turn. In addition the Federation had sent 20 EPs of financial aid last turn, some of which was absorbed by drone bombardment costs from last turn.
All in all, the Kzinti had 87.9 EP to play with, and were able to build their first new DN in three years, with no ships being canceled. The backlog of cripples is still a problem, however.
The Hydran on-map economy, meanwhile, shrank from 20 EP to 16. They built a HR, a CU (off-map), a new PDU and repaired a SIDS, in addition to repairing all off-map cripples, and converting a DG to a LB.
The Federation built its second CVA, and an FV. The Limited War provisions really tie their hands. No overbuilds, and no new tug pods. Pity, they can build a very nice heavy carrier pod (VAP), and have the money to do it, but it will have to wait. They did upgrade every DN in Star Fleet to DN+.
I had initially thought to strike at the Klingon minor planet in 1407, but Belirahc reacted off of 1504 as my first strike force went by. At that point, I shifted gears and hit the three planets under Klingon control in Kzinti space. This allowed me to use the Federation Carrier Fleet 1 (centered around the CVB), as it had been out of range of any targets in Kzinti space on the original plan.
1605: Klingon: cripF5L destroyed
1504: Klingon: dest 2xD5; Federation: crip FF; Kzinti: capture planet
1505: Klingon: dest D5; Kzinti: dest FF
1303: SSC; Klingon: crip 2xF5 & retreat
1202: Klingon: dest PDU; Kzinti: dest SF
1105: Klingon: dest F5; Kzinti: capture planet
0418: Klingon: dest D5
0519: Lyran: crip CW
The Kzintis lost two ships and took no cripples. That certainly helps with the cripple situation. Though I need to remember to get another couple of scouts soon, Belirahc is starting to go after them, which means I probably need to use the much tougher MSC in place of the SFs.
And another quick look at the numbers says that the Alliance is up another 19 ships, mostly from 11 Federation new builds. The Kzinti are up 7 ships and the Hydrans up one, for a grand total of 240 (only including released Federation ships). The Coalition is up 22 ships for a total of 368, fairly evenly split between the Klingons (10) and the Lyrans (12). Since the Klingons have the bigger build schedule, this points up the fact that they are tending to take the losses at the moment, something that will presumably accelerate when the Federation gets fully involved in the war.
- [+] Dice rolls
Well, it's been quite a while since I've reported in on this game. Sorry about that, some of that is my fault, as I generated some technical snafus and challenges with Vassal, and some is the fault of Belirahc's job keeping him too busy.
The bulk of the turn was watching him move a very satisfying number of cripples out of Hydran and Kzinti space. The rest of the turn saw very limited attacks in Alliance space.
In Kzinti space especially, he avoided any confrontation that the Federation could aid with, hitting 1105 (out of range of all Federation ships and defended by a lone CM), and 1506 (in the Kzinti-Klingon neutral zone; the Federation will only help in Kzinti space proper as long as Limited War holds).
In Hydran space, the Lyrans pinned my on-board reserve at 0118 (again) while the Klingons reworked their garrison network and hit the major planet in 0718.
The CM in 1105 was a sacrifice to force him to send something more important than an E4 or two, so both Kzinti reserves went to the neutral zone planet to save it.
0119: Hydran: crip LB; Lyran: crip 3xCW
0718: Hydran: 4xPDU, planet devastated; Klingon: crip 2xD6, D6M, F5L, F5, F5V, 3xE4A, dest 4xF5L, 2xF5
1506: Kzinti: crip CC; Klingon: dest F5E
1105: Kzinti: dest CM; Klingon: crip F5, capture planet
0718 showed that Belirahc is learning his lessons. The fleet wasn't too great, but he stuck it out three rounds to kill the PDUs and devastate the planet, seriously reducing what little economy the Hydran capital has left to it.
Most of the Klingon new ships went to Kzinti space for the assault on 1506. Lyran production all went to the Hyrdran front. The Kingdom isn't going to be able to hold out forever under this pressure, but it's a slow, hard grind at the moment.
- [+] Dice rolls
Again, long after I thought I'd be done and get it out the door, I've released the next version of the Federation & Empire Vassal module.
Download it here:
The changelog for this version is longest one yet; it's a pretty massive update. Here's a quick list of the highlights:
* The ISC extension is updated for the actual published version of ISC War.
* The scenarios are now bundled into the module, so the zip is just the module plus extensions as separate files now.
* The capital charts are completely reworked so that you should be able to run a capital assault just from them.
* The racial charts and battle mats have been updated and look better.
* A lot of markers have been added as memory aids for combat. This includes handling hidden information functions such as which of multiple maulers is actually mauling.
* Added a bunch of carriers with heavy fighters, and separate counters for all the HDW (and similar) modes.
* New squadron counters for the Theater Transports, for when they're working as a permanent team.
* A new extension ("Extras") includes just about every unpublished ship that I have official stats for.
So, go download and enjoy! ...And tell me what bugs and mistakes remain.
Oh, and I should warn you that the combined module & ISC extension are a pretty huge package. The main ISC scenario ("Driving Winds") is also pretty massive, so you will need to give Vassal more memory space than the half-gig default. Go into the Vassal module manager, and the the module itself and select "Preferences" from the File menu, and change "JVM max heap" to 1024 (from 512). Otherwise, you'll probably be able to load, fiddle around, but not save anything big with the ISC....
- [+] Dice rolls
And now things begin in earnest. With both the Lyrans and the Klingons having massed everything on the borders, the Kzinti can't defend everything, and must pick their fights.
My usual plan is to go for the planet in 1001, so as to cut off the starbase in 0902. After a turn as a partial grid, the Kzinti have motivation to let it go. This game is the first time that I've had to deal with monitors, and I couldn't juggle everything to feel like I could take on the planetary defenses, monitor, and likely reaction (or at least, Reserve) forces this time.
Lyran: DN, TGC, 3xCW, JGP-V, 2xDW, DWS, 3xFF, FRD, 2xKBP, 4xFF->DW
Klingon: C8, D7, TGA, 7xD5, LTT, D5S, 2xF5L, 4xF5, 2xE4, E4R, FRD, Activate 2xD6, 2xF5, 3xE4, D7->D7A, D6->D6M, D6->D6V
Once again, no 'true' heavy cruisers have been built (after conversions). There's several new hulls, but they're all on other duty. Worse, the life expectancy of a D7A is not great, but it's the best stasis ship the Klingons have right now.
Which I suppose brings us to 'new toy time'. Thanks to an episode of the Animated Series, the Klingons have ships with Stasis Field Generators, a device that can be focused on up to three targets at a time, and stops time for that target. Usually, this is done to an enemy ship, whereupon the rest of the fleet gathers near, drones are launched, and the field is dropped. The ship then explodes in a hail of gunfire and drones that hit seconds later. Or, it can be used to protect friendly ships, since it will be immune to fire while the field is up.
The problem is that the field only works at short range, and the SFG-equipped ship must be at a full stop to use the field. This is not wise when there's other annoyed enemy ships about.
The rules for all of this in Combined Operations are very long and detailed, since there's a lot of potential rules interactions. And it's an interesting study in rules that gives the Klingon player full control over his intent, without letting him get everything he wants. Each (non-friendly) target is rolled for to see if the ship is frozen, nothing happens, a random target is frozen (that procedure causes a lot of the rules), or there is a disaster which leaves the stasis ship vulnerable while nothing gets frozen. The more targets the Klingons try for, the worse the chances.
With the addition of the Klingons, and still only a one-front war, the Kzinti had to suffer five raids this turn, which he called up POLs for on each one. My goal was to cause as many disrupted provinces as possible, mostly aimed at ones I couldn't get at, and the rest at ones that would be difficult to garrison. The Klingons sent in 3xD5, and couldn't avoid taking a casualty in each fight, so retreated without disrupting anything, with one of the D5s crippled to boot. The Lyrans sent in a CW and CF, both of which managed to disrupt provinces.
1601: Klingon: dest D5
1602: SSC: Kzinti retreat
1605: Kzinti: dest BATS; Klingon: crip 2xF5
1303: SSC: Kzinti: dest POL; Lyran retreat
1506: Neutral: 2xPDU; Klingon: crip E4, capture planet
1405: Kzinti: dest BATS; Klingon: crip SAV
1205: Kzinti: dest BATS; Klingon: crip D6, F5
1105: Kzinti: 2xPDU; Klingon: crip D6, capture planet
1504: Kzinti: dest CVE, EFF, SF; Klingon: crip D7C, D5, F5, dest D5
1004: Kzinti: dest BATS; Lyran: crip DW, DD
1304: Kzinti: 3xSIDS, crip 3xBC, dest CVE, 2xEFF; Klingon: crip D7, D6J, 3xF5, dest D6S, capture DD; Lyran: crip 2xCA, CW, DD, dest DW
0903: Lyran: crip CW
0703: Kzinti: dest BATS; Lyran: crip DW, 2xDD
0701: Kzinti: dest BATS; Lyran: crip CL, 2xFF
0902: Kzinti: 4xSIDS, crip BC, CL; Lyran: crip 5xCW, 2xCL, 2xDW, DD, dest SC, DW, 2xFF
I had thought I had a pretty good chance of taking down the Klingon border SB when I diverted a Lyran force to join in on the assault, however, I just didn't have what it took there, and he had a pretty good defensive force.
Meanwhile, I actually did have enough ships at 0902 to have a good crack at it, but I had no specialty ships. Most notably, there was only one scout present, which Belirahc wisely took out in the first round, leaving me to fire into a -2 shift most rounds. Even so, there was a chance at it, but the dice were not with me; a final 1-5 split convinced to leave instead of digging even deeper into the fleet.
As usual, all the secondary objectives were met. But I didn't manage any of my primary objectives (taking out a SB or 1504). I'd say this turn shows that while I'm more experienced with F&E, I'm not that experienced. The easiest thing to fix would have been to remember to put a second scout into 0902. Actually sending the Lyran Red Claw fleet there instead of 1304 would seem to have been best as well.
This is of course no more than a delay, as the Kzinti cannot hold up against this for long (and he can't really afford to lose ships at this rate for long). But the clock is ticking. There is a lot for the Coalition to do in the early game, and not enough time. Delays like this are something that I can ill afford if there's going to be a creditable invasion of the Federation on Turn 7.
- [+] Dice rolls
The Coalition failure in the Second Battle of Hydrax has left me a lot more breathing room than I expected, but there's still a number of serious problems.
First off, the Coalition is in the middle of upgrading three BATS to SB in Alliance territory. This really surprised me, because of the expense involved, but while I can't afford letting them all go up, because of the expense of killing them later, I wasn't sure I could afford to take care of any the BATS now.
The Kzinti front was especially troublesome. Two of the three SBs were going up there, and there's another BATS behind them. The real problem is that they're all on the 'west' side, towards Lyran space, while my offensive has been directed towards nailing down the 'east' side, adjacent to the Federation.
In the end, the major Kzinti effort went to smashing the Klingon BATS/SB at 1202, though I made a stab at 1504, aided by Federation forces. On the Hydran front, another attempt sallied out to challenge 0416, and once that was pinned, several crippled ships transferred from the capital to the off-map area.
The Klingon presence in Hydran space has become very attenuated, if I wasn't desperate to stop the SB upgrade, I would have cleaned them out of Hydran space.
1705: Klingon: crip F5L; Federation: crip CA
1402: Klingon: crip F5L
1506: Klingon: crip 7xE4; Kzinti: crip FF, capture planet
1105: Klingon: dest F5; Kzinti: capture planet
1504: Klingon: crip 4xD5, dest D5; Federation: crip 2xFF
1603: Klingon: crip F5, dest D6; Federation: crip NCL, FF
1202: Klingon: crip D7, D6, D6M, AD5, 2xF5, F5E, E4A, dest 2xD5, BATS; Kzinti: crip CV, 2xBC, 4xCM, MEC, CL, CLE, FF, EFF, dest BC, CM, CLE, cap D5
0216: Lyran: crip DD
0918: SSC, both sides retreat
0818: Klingon: crip D7
0416: Lyran: crip CA, 3xCW, dest BATS, CA; Hydran: crip LB, dest DG, HR
Altogether, things are going well. Two BATS have been destroyed, and a lot of EPs have gone down the drain in the form of incomplete Starbase upgrades. The Kzinti have taken neutral zone planet 1506 again, and reclaimed 1105, all of this should start contracting the Klingon budget, as the EPs from conquests is fading. However, the Kzinti fleet still took a fair amount of damage, and there's only so far they can push before catching up on repairs.
A quick look at the numbers shows that Alliance ships are up from 191 to 214, but only because of released Federation ships being counted toward the total. The Kzinti are up 6 ships and the Hydrans are down 7. Meanwhile, the Coalition total is up from 333 to 346. This is entirely due to the Klingons; the Lyrans are down 12 ships from 100 to 88.
- [+] Dice rolls
As expected, the only Federation involvement in the game so far is sending the 4th Fleet across the border to aid the Kzinti. Belirahc tried striking into the Marquis area, but it was pretty obvious where things were headed, so I was able intercept some of it, and none of his attacks got anywhere.
On the Hydran front it was different. Well, it was still pretty obvious where things were going, but I couldn't do anything about it. He pinned the reserve in 0119, and established a pretty strong cordon separating the Old Colonies from the Capital (3-5 ships per hex), hit the minor planet at 0519... and poured approximately 200 ships into the capital.
1803: Federation: crip CC, CA; Klingon: dest 2xF5
1602: Kzinti: crip MEC, CL, dest EFF; Klingon: crip D7C, dest 2xE4A
1503: Kzinti: crip MEC, EFF, BC; Klingon: dest F5L, 2xF5
1506: Kzinti: dest FF; Klingon: crip E4
1502: Kzinti: crip MEC, EFF; Lyran: dest 3xDW
0119: Hydran: dest HR; Lyran: dest 2xDW; Klingon: crip F5
0519: Hydran: dest LN, 2xHN; Klingon: crip F5
0617: Hydrax I: 2xPDU, 6xSIDS; Hydramax I: re-devastated; Hydramax II: re-devastated; Anthraxan I: re-devastated; Anthraxan II: re-devastated; Hydran: crip DG, 3xKN, HN, dest 2xKN, CR, 2xCU, 2xHN; Klingon: crip D7V, D6M, D6V, CVT, D5V, 4xAD5, 4xF5E, dest C8, TG-A+2BP, D7, 4xD6, 2xD6D, D6M, 10xD5, 4xF5L, 2xF5, F5S captured; Lyran: crip 2xDN, STT, 2xCVL, 2xCWE, 2xDWE, dest DN, CA, STT, CW, 4xDW, DWS, SC, 5xFF
In the end it was a very bad turn for the Coalition. The Kzinti position is getting stronger, and Hydran capital held out yet again, with the loss of an incredible number of Coaliton ships.
He should have taken it. I was at best a round or two away from having to abandon the capital rather than cripple the best parts of the Hydran navy. But he was nearly out of Lyran ships, and had no Klingon ships with a CR better than 8 (and they were going fast). He could no longer do the damage he needed to get anywhere.
So what went wrong?
The first thing was a poor use of command points. Everyone involved used two command points (Klingons, Lyrans, and Hydrans). With everything other than the capital already devastated, it was pretty obvious that all the real fighting would be in the capital system itself. So, extra command slots are of much better utility there. Knowing this, and knowing that this was likely going to be the last stand of the Kingdom, I spent two points for two slots in the main system. Belirahc spent two points per empire so that they could have one extra ship in each system.
Conventional wisdom says that when assaulting a capital planet, the thing to do is to use Directed Damage to knock down the Planetary Defense Units on the planet. This is damage inefficient, since PDUs normally have a defense of 3, but this is increased to 5 when using DirDam (doubled to 10 if not using a mauler). The good news is that PDUs, unlike ships or normal bases, do not have a crippled side, so that 5 points does eliminate it—also, DirDam can kill four PDUs each round as one attack.
The problem is that each PDU also has 6 fighters. If there are no friendly units that have spare fighter capacity, these fighters will die at the end of the round, and can become "Involuntary Minus Points", which will be subtracted out of the attacker's damage next round. It is quite likely that the second round will be spent earning off the minus points accumulated in the first round. This tends to make the entire idea look like a bad deal. However, even on a round where you are just earning off minus points, you are still receiving less damage than otherwise, because those minus points are from ComPot that would have been on the line otherwise.
Here's the record of actual Hydran ComPot and damage by round, with what it would have been if he had directed on the PDUs (and the Coaltion damage):
Actual Directed Coalition damage [after minus points] (DirDam+leftover on fighters = minus points)
288/79 288/79 36(30+6 = -18)
280/77 253/70 30(10+2 = -10)
269/81 233/70 24(10+4 = -8)
270/88 216/70 37(20+9 = -9)
270/54 189/38 25(10+6 = -6) *at this point there are no more PDUs
263/53 171/34 16
I am assuming that he had and used a mauler every round here. But he actually came in with five of them, so the odds of having an uncrippled mauler every round is actually very good.
If you look closely, you might see my mistake. I did not crank up my BIR until round 3. I was leery of just how much damage I might have to take all at once, without really thinking through the fact that I want to cause as much damage as possible early on, when my ComPot is still very strong.
Just over the course of the six rounds it would have taken to clear the PDUs (and a round to start dropping damage on the fleet & SB), Belirahc would have saved 71 damage. As it was, the combat dragged out another three rounds after this with my ComPot partially lowered because he had directed on my fighters and ran me out of reserves.
The Hydran capital is not in good shape. To do this, I did take 3 self-inflicted PDUs, nearly crippled the SB, killed a good number of non-fighter carrying ships, and piled up a good number of cripples. It will take time to recover from this. But they can recover, and every ship he uses in not letting them recover is making the liberation of Kzinti space easier, and allowing the Federation time to gear up production.
- [+] Dice rolls
Faced with the Lyran navy solidly packed behind its defenses, and the Klingons massing on the border, Belirahc didn't make any attacks on his half of the first turn, making it very fast to go through.
At least his raids went better than mine. He picked on little out of the way places with no defenders, and handily defeated the police ships that I called up to defend myself. As a result, two Lyran provinces are disrupted for the next turn (lowering their economic output).
And now a few words about new toys:
The Kzinti are the primary carrier-using race. They start off with more carriers than anyone else, and can be counted on to build at least one carrier per turn. So, they rely on using fighters to take (free!) damage on, as well as to keep their offensive potential up. Once the fighters are gone for the turn, the Kzinti navy isn't nearly so much of a threat.
The problem is, even with all those carriers to operate as spares, it only takes a round or two to start running out of fighters.
So, Advanced Operations introduces the FCR, Fast Carrier Resupply ship, which can carry, but not operate a squadron of fighters. These provide reloads, allowing carrier forces to operate longer, and the Kzinti to fight longer while only burning fighters which are replaced for free after combat is over.
Of course, the Kzinti aren't the only ones to get them. The Klingons find them every bit as useful, for instance, though it takes longer for the Klingon carrier force to really become worthwhile.
I was slightly surprised at Belirahc's actual builds:
Kzinti: CV, CLD, DD, FFE, FCR, MON, 4xPDU
The CV and the FCR are there, but he didn't bother building a full escort group for the carrier. The Kzintis start the game without enough heavy escorts to go around, and this is putting himself further behind. I'm guessing he's planning on just putting everything on MECs as fast as he can after they start showing up next turn, but it takes a while to get enough medium cruisers to go around. In the mean time, I'm going to have to lean on his escorts as hard as I can.
On the other hand, his only light cruiser was built as a CLD, which is about as good of a EW platform as he's got right now. It's still only 2 EW points, but he just doesn't have anything better at the moment.
(I should also note that he didn't get any new heavy cruisers either.)
- [+] Dice rolls