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R vs B Alliance Turn 9 in Review

James Lowry
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The Kzinti continue to recover, with their economy up to 78.2 this turn (plus 24.6 treasury, thanks to the Feds). They built a full schedule and replaced a PDU on 1502 (which had been reduced to 1), as well as converting a CVL to a full CV. Cycling the repairs is continuing, and the end of the backlog is in sight.

On the other hand, the Hydrans lost another three economy in the Capital grid, reducing it to 13 EP. Seeing the writing on the wall, I repaired another SIDS, built a TR, a pair of CUs (and a third at the off-map SB), and repaired a spare AH to bring the UH group up to full (overstuffed) strength, leaving 0 EP left in the treasury. The Old Colonies didn't have much to do, and is now sitting on 58 EP.

I considered attacking a broad swath of northern Klingon space, mostly to keep some of the Coalition reserves out of the way, but ended up sticking with the main plan: I hit a few other targets to try and sweep the Klingons out of the 13-15 columns, and then sent the Home Fleet in to 1202 to try and retake the last Klingon-held planet in Kzinti space. He reacted out a sizable force to hold some of the fleet away, and then sent in the Lyrans from 1001.

Meanwhile, available Federation forces that I haven't actually moved into Kzinti space have moved closer to the Klingon border, and in range of a few bases in Klingon space.

The Hydrans contented themselves with kicking the Klingons off of 0519 with overwhelming force (I was expecting the Lyran reserve to come in and force me to take damage, but nothing doing), which was about all they could do without the nearby Klingon forces reacting in.

From gallery of Rindis
Kzinti front.
From gallery of Rindis
Hydran front.

Combats:
1106: Klingons: crip F5
1107: Klingons: crip D5; Kzinti: crip 2xMEC
1305: Klingons: dest D5
1505: SSC: Klingons: dest D5; Federation: crip FF, retreat
1202: Klingons: PDU; Lyrans: crip BC, CA, 2xCW; Kzinti: dest SF, capture planet
1303: Klingons: crip F5S
1302: Klingons: dest D6M; Kzinti: crip BC, MEC, dest CLE
0519: Klingons: dest F5L; Hydrans: capture planet
1807: Klingons: dest F5, BATS

I was expecting to see a hard fight for 1202. The Kzinti fleet is getting pretty impressive, but it was fighting over Coalition defenses for a change, and he needs to start slowing the Kzinti down.

Belirahc has been shooting SFs every chance he gets, and I am feeling the effects. I'm going to have to start building MSCs just to make it more expensive (though most of the CMs are still going to escorts...).

This marks the end of the second scenario of the General War, "The Tempest". Here's how the Victory Conditions break down:

For any level of victory, the Coalition must have more ships than the Alliance (only counting Federation ships in released fleets):
Lyrans: 109; Klingons: 276; Total: 385
Kzinti: 150; Hydrans: 63; Federation: 61; Total: 274 Check
(The totals are adjusted for three Klingon ships that have been captured, which I forgot last turn.)

For a Tactical Victory:
A) The Alliance must have a total economy of 250 or less: 281.95 EP X
B) The Coalition has destroyed 35 Alliance Battle Stations: 29 X
(see the Turn 6 wrap up for how bases are calculated)

Even with the Federation economy at 75%, it counts for 165.75 EPs. The other two are only going to be under 84.25 if the Coalition has used the opportunity to really lock up Hydran and Kzinti space. And generally if it can do that, there will be a invasion of the Federation to cut it down to size before its build schedule kicks in.

Again, the 35 bases is going to be hard to do without invading the Federation (which should make that total easy). It's still possible, as the bases left in the Marquis zone, which I've concentrated on keeping him out of, are worth another five. Combine that with fewer losses on the Coalition side, or more new bases built in Alliance territory, it's not hard. And that's not even considering the SBs in the two Alliance capitals.
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Fri Sep 28, 2012 5:13 am
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R vs B Coalition Turn 9 in Review

James Lowry
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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.

From gallery of Rindis
All quiet on the Kzinti front...
From gallery of Rindis
Hydran theater

Combats:
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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Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:39 am
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R vs B Alliance Turn 8 in Review

James Lowry
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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.

From gallery of Rindis
Kzinti theater
From gallery of Rindis
Hydran theater

Combats:
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.
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Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:07 am
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R vs B Coalition Turn 8 in Review

James Lowry
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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.

From gallery of Rindis
Kzinti theater
From gallery of Rindis
Hydran theater

Combats:
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.
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Thu May 24, 2012 7:20 am
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R vs B Alliance Turn 7 in Review

James Lowry
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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.

From gallery of Rindis
Kzinti Theater
From gallery of Rindis
Hydran Theater

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.

Combats:
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.
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Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:06 am
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R vs B Coalition Turn 7 in Review

James Lowry
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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.

From gallery of Rindis
Kzinti Theater. The Federation is getting sucked in....
From gallery of Rindis
Hydran Theater

Combats:
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[12](10+2 = -10)
269/81 233/70 24[14](10+4 = -8)
270/88 216/70 37[29](20+9 = -9)
270/54 189/38 25[16](10+6 = -6) *at this point there are no more PDUs
263/53 171/34 16[10]


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.
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Wed Jan 18, 2012 7:34 pm
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R vs B Alliance Turn 6 in Review

James Lowry
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The Kzinti economy has stabilized at 60 EP. I seriously contemplated going for a DN this year, but 16 EP was just too much to sink into one ship. Instead I built a new CV group, a BC, 3 CMs, and repaired a full CV group as well as 4xBC, CC, CM and FF.

Economically, things have continued to go from bad to worse for the Hydrans. With my failure to be able to hit all of the blockading line, the Old Colonies were cut off from the capital. Total income was about the same as turn 5, but it was split between the capital and the off-map. This limited Hydran builds to RN, HR, CU (off-map) and a PDU on the capital. On the other hand, it meant I had a free hand to repair all the cripples that were piled up in the Old Colonies, and convert a captured D7 to Hydran technology.

For the Hydrans, the plan was simple: Hit as many targets of opportunity as possible, send the fleet in to 0416, and see if I could kill a tug or base before running out of fighters. The Kzinti contemplated something similar, but like last turn, ended up pinning a reserve on 1504 and hit another pair of Klingon border BATS.

From gallery of Rindis
Kzinti front.
From gallery of Rindis
Hydran front.

Combat:
1701: Klingon: dest D7
1307: Klingon: dest BATS, dest cripD5, cripF5, cripE4A captured
1302: SSC - Klingon retreat
1703: SSC - Klingon retreat
1602: SSC - Klingon retreat
1707: Klingon: dest BATS, F5
1504: Klingon: crip 3xD5; Lyran: crip CW; Kzinti: crip MEC, Z-D5
0117: Lyran: dest CW, DW
0118: Klingon: dest E4
0319: SSC - Hydran retreat
0416: Lyran: crip DN, BC; Klingon: crip 2xC8; Hydran: dest PAL
0417: Klingon: crip E4; Hydran: dest PAL

Things continue to go poorly for the Hydrans. Many of my attempts at 'gaming' Small Scale Combat on that front went awry, the worst case being ambushing a couple Lyran cripples in open space with a Paladin DN, and forgetting that he had plenty of spare Reserves to hit it with.

Worse than that gaffe, the Hydrans push at 0416 again had two rounds of bad rolls and ran out of fighters without getting past the approach battle. Not only that, but he killed the other PAL (a battle tug was in formation), leaving battle tugs as the only CR-10 ships in the Hydran navy. That is going to come back to haunt me.

The Kzinti did much better, with no dead ships and minimal cripples. In exchange they took down another two Klingon BATS, delayed repairs on a crippled D6V (driven off one of the BATS), and captured... an E4A.

That last will get turned in for EPs. If there's anything the Kzinti don't need, it's another 2-4 escort frigate. Now an F5E, on the other hand... that would be worth something. (In fact, if I ever manage to capture an F5, or Lyran DW it'll be converted to an escort; the Kzinti just don't get any good light escorts in the base game.)

The Hydrans have pulled back to protect the capital again, but the Kzinit have put a chunk of the navy on the starbase in 1704. It controls the on-map connection between the Kzinti and the Federation, and it is for the first time a legal target. He might force it, but with a Federation Reserve in range, I can make it hurt. On the other hand, a major push against the Hydrans may see the capital fall.

This is the end of Turn 6, and the end of the initial scenario, "The Wind". I believe Belirahc is going to do a review of the full six turns, but in the mean time, this is how the Victory Conditions break down (by my count, which is... mostly accurate. ):

For any level of victory, the Coaliation must:
A) have more total ships than the Alliance: 333 vs 191. Check.
B) have more total attack factors on those ships: 1909 vs 1223. Check.

For a Tactical victory:
A) the Alliance must have a total economy of 90 or less: 99 EP. X
B) the Coalition must destroy 20 Alliance Battle stations (SBs count as 3, and subtract out any Coalition ones destroyed): 17 BATS + 6 SB - 4 BATS + 1 BATS built in Kzinti space = 29. Check.

So he managed the overall check quite well, and killed enough bases (and qualified for a major victory there, which wants 25 BATS). The problem is the economy, which is a really tough one to manage. The Kzinti are currently managing 60 income on their own, and the Hydrans are already down to about their minimum without actually taking the capital. If he had managed his turn 4 push on the Kzinti capital better, I think he could have devastated more planets, but he really needed to devastate everything other than the capital itself (like he did in the Hydran capital). That would have barely gotten him the tactical victory.

A major victory requires getting the Alliance economy down to 75, which would seem to require actually taking one of the capitals. Possible, but not easy. "Historically", I believe the Hydran capital actually fell on Turn 7. ...which could still happen here. shake

And yes, we are continuing. Belirahc and I agreed to go as long as we can take it on this game, so keep watching for Coalition Turn 7 to show up soon. I'm pretty sure we won't see an invasion of the Federation, but it will be able to send the 4th Fleet in to help the Kzintis.
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Sun Dec 11, 2011 4:10 am
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R vs B Coalition Turn 6 in Review

James Lowry
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It is now Y171, which means the Lyrans finally get to start building carriers. I had forgotten that their limit is two per year, not one per turn, so I was a bit disconcerted when Belirac promptly built a CVL, and converted a second. At the same time, the Lyrans built a new PDU (stored) to replace the one I destroyed, and have started converting two MBs to BATS.

Klingon activity was more surprising. They canceled an entire F5 squadron as well as their 3 E4s, and substituted a TG-B for a D7. All of this helped them afford a D7V and FV group, as well as upgrading a MB to BATS, and using the upgrade method to get a second PDU on 1202.

I was expecting another turn of watching the Coalition pushing on my defenses, while I watch the Kzinti cripple pile mount ever higher. Well, I was in for a surprise.

This turned out to be the turn of repositioning and rest. Belirahc avoided precipitating any major battles in Kzinti space, since I had two good reserves there. In Hydran space, he drove to cut off the Old Colonies from the Capital, and I couldn't stop it because I couldn't keep a good line of ships all the way there with only one reserve. If I had thought to split it into a pair of small reserves, I could have done it. Lesson for next time: Always try to use all your reserve markers, even if everything fits into one; you may want the added flexibility.

It was gratifying to watch several large stacks of Coalition cripples retreating out of my space. It can be easy to forget just how much damage you're doing when you're trying to figure out how to make good your own damage.

From gallery of Rindis
Kzinti front.
From gallery of Rindis
Hydran front.

Combats:
0319: Hydran: dest CR
0119: Klingon: dest 2xE4
1702: Klingon: dest F5L

A lot of the new builds went to Hydran space, so I assume that's where most of his attention will be next turn. In the mean time, I'm going to have to see what I can do about his current round of base building.
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Sun Nov 20, 2011 10:03 pm
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R vs B Alliance Turn 5 in Review

James Lowry
United States
Sunnyvale
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Microbadge: Star Fleet Battles fanMicrobadge: Fascinating!Microbadge: Legendary Monthly Video Game Geek Review Contest winnerMicrobadge: KHAAAAAAANNNN!!!!!Microbadge: ASL fan
After the failures in my efforts to keep the Coalition from just disrupting everything in sight, it should be no surprise that income was down again. Kzinti income dropped another four EP from 63 to 59, while Hydran income dropped nine points to 40.

The Kzinti scrapped a Lyran DW that was captured in the Coalition portion of the turn to raise another 1.5 EP. Production was limited, consisting of a CV group, an extra MEC (to replace one lost last turn), BC, FF. Repairs were even more limited, adding up to less than last turn's. However, that repaired all the crippled escorts and a good number of regular ships, so the backlog is slightly better. I also repaired and converted a captured D5 to Kzinti technology. It would probably been better to wait until money was flowing in from the Federation, or the repair backlog is clear, as the conversion is not necessarily cheap (3 EP). But having it sit there for two turns has been bugging me, so that irritant is gone. If we were using the EW rules in Combined Operations, I would have sacrificed quite a bit to get it in service and converted to a D5S. A good heavy EW platform for the Alliance is worth quite a bit in the early going under those rules.

Meanwhile the Hydrans had even tougher decisions to make. Turn 5 is when the first Cavalier carrier is scheduled. Hydran carrier groups tend to be somewhat weak in ComPot, but they protect valuable fighter-carrying ships from harm. I wanted to build the CV, but with 10.5 fighter factors, it has a cost of 31 EP, slightly over 3/4 of the Hydran income. Free fighter factors reduce this to 19 EP, but that was still too much to be able to afford the escorts, much less more prosaic things like repairs. So I canceled the entire group, repaired a few things (pretty much everything with fighter factors), and built DG, 2xHR, and two PDUs on the homeworld.

Operationally, the main plan had been to visit the Lyran MB in 0902 and kill it before the conversion to a BATS completed. However, the arrival of three sets of tugs with PDU/MB pairs at 1001, 1202 and 1504, and four Klingon reserves in Kzinti space caused an entire re-think of the prospect.

From gallery of Rindis
Kzinti front
From gallery of Rindis
Hydran front

Combats:
1601: Klingon: dest F5
1507: Klingon: dest cripF5, cripE4, BATS; Kzinti: crip CL, FF
1506: Klingon: dest F5; Kzinti: capture planet
1303: Klingon: crip D5
1504: Klingon: dest 2xTGB, crip D7, 2xD6, 5xD5; Kzinti: dest DF, crip CV, CC, BC, MEC, 2xCLE, 2xEFF, FF
1202: Klingon: crip D6V, F5, 2xE4A; Kzinti: crip CC, DD, 2xFF
1302: (Fighting Retreat) Klingon: crip D7
0819: Klingon: dest E4
0419: Klingon: crip E4; both sides retreat to 0418
0418: Klingon: dest cripE4
0519: Klingon: dest 2xcripF5L, cripF5, F5
0416: Lyran: crip 2xBC, CC, 2xCA, CL, 2xDW dest TGC, 3xCW, 3xDW; Hydran: crip HR, dest HR, 2xLN, CR
0417: Lyran: crip DW; Hydran: dest crip HN

Things did not really go as planned. Mostly because the dice decided to be disagreeable and the Kzinti failed the initial approach battle at both of their major battles. The Hydrans rolled lower than the Lyrans in all four rounds at 0416 (and the pursuit), which forced them to expend the stored fighters of the FCP just to get that far. In all cases casualties were higher than hoped simply because of the trouble in getting to the target. To add insult to injury, I couldn't even roll the 3 or higher I needed to kill a lone D7 in a Fighting Retreat.

However, two Klingon and one Lyran tug are dead. He's only built four since the beginning of the game (after missing them the first turn, he's been building at the max rate of 1/year), so it will be much harder to pull this 'four simultaneous sets of bases at once' trick.

I had tried to distract the Klingon reserves by striking at Klingon space itself again, but he ignored it, letting me take out a BATS and (temporarily) capture the neutral zone planet. If I can keep doing that, he'll run out of BATS and become especially vulnerable to having the supply grid in Kzinti space disrupted....

And now, I sit tight and wait for the coming storm. I'm pretty certain that there won't be a turn 7 invasion of the Federation this game, so I'm presumably going to facing everything he can throw at me on the upcoming turn 6, and turn 7 after that will be worse. The Federation will interfere on Turn 7, but the 4th Fleet reserve won't be able get to the Kzinti capital....
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Sat Nov 12, 2011 4:34 pm
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R vs B Coalition Turn 5 in Review

James Lowry
United States
Sunnyvale
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Microbadge: Star Fleet Battles fanMicrobadge: Fascinating!Microbadge: Legendary Monthly Video Game Geek Review Contest winnerMicrobadge: KHAAAAAAANNNN!!!!!Microbadge: ASL fan
Turn 5 is never pleasant for the Alliance. There's been plenty of time for the Coalition's material and economic superiority to be felt, and there's another two turns until the Federation gets involved, one way or another. However, last turn's twin capital assaults did a lot of damage... to the Coalition fleets, and it was possible I was looking at a respite because of that.

The relatively low number of things to spend EPs on means Belirahc is still trying to find things to do with the Lyran economy. The Lyrans overbuilt another 3 DWs this turn (they also overbuilt 3 on turn 3), and he's finally taking the Lyran ability to convert catamaran to trimaran ships seriously. He also accelerated next turn's CA, which leaves me wondering what he'll do next turn....

The Lyran mobile base in 0902 is now set up, which finally puts most of Kzinti space in supply range of Lyran units. He immediately paid to upgrade it to a BATS, and paid for two PDUs. From our conversations, he's obviously planning on handing planet 1001 over to the Lyrans and setting up the PDU there.

Meanwhile Klingon production is fairly boring, other than the fact that they built three PDUs of their own.

Movement concentrated entirely in the Hydran theater at first, before switching over to Kzinti space. Not entirely sure of his intentions, I mostly stayed on the capital, with only minimal defenders on the two remaining starbases. While he didn't go for the capital, he is pressing into the backfield, and the link between the Old Colonies and the capital, which I did my best to defend against. He also gave me a couple of small opportunities. A stack of crippled Lyrans passed back out of Hydran space, and I pinned one with the fighters of a BATS they were passing near. After everything else was committed, he moved a Lyran DD into 0816, possibly meaning for the Lyrans, instead of the Klingons, to claim the province. I detached a RN from the captial to squash that.

Kzinti space got very messy as he finally started trying to disrupt the provinces that he was unlikely to be able to control (such as the one the Kzinti capital is in), and tried to cut off the Marquis area from the main grid. This was a problem for me, as I didn't have much in the Barony to react with, and some of the action was out of range of the capital, leaving me to dole out ships from the fleet sitting on the major planet in 1502. By the ending parts of movement, I was surprised when he actually sent Lyran and Klingon forces into the capital, I had managed to convince myself that this going to be a purely regrouping turn.

From gallery of Rindis
Kzinti front
From gallery of Rindis
Hydran front

Combats:
0114: Hydran: dest BATS; Lyran: crip DD, 2xFF
0315: Hydran: dest BATS; Klingon: dest 2xE4
0515: Hydran: dest BATS; Klingon: crip F5
0714: Hydran: dest BATS; Klingon: dest F5
1303: Kzinti: crip CL
0415: Hydran: fighters (independent squadron); Lyrans: dest cripFF
0816: Lyran: dest DD
1701: SSC; both sides retreat.
0117: SSC; Hydran retreat.
0215: Hydran: dest SB; Lyran: crip STT, 3xCW, CL, DW
0519: Hydran: 2 PDU, crip AH; Klingon: crip 2xF5L, 2xF5, capture planet
0716: Hydran: dest HR, SB ; Klingon: crip D6, 5xD5, dest 2xD5
0319: Lyran: dest CW, DW
0718: Hydran: crip HR, 2xTR, dest HN; Klingon: crip E4, E4A, dest 2xD7, D6, dest E4
1301: Kzinti: dest CLE, EFF; Klingon: dest D5, F5L
1702: Klingon: crip 2xF5
1601: Kzinti: crip BC; Klingon: crip F5
1502: Kzinti: crip CM, dest 3xPDU; Klingon: crip D6M, D5, dest 3xD7, 2xD5
1401: Kzinti: Kzintai: FRD; Keevarsh II: 2xPDU, devastated; Vielsalm II 2xPDU; crip MEC, dest CL, capture DW; Lyran: crip CW, dest CA, 2xCL, 2xDW, DWS, DD, 3xFF; Klingon: crip D7C, D5, E4A

Overall, things went well on the Hydran front—if you can call losing most of the fixed defenses on the cheap 'going well'. The biggest problem is that I didn't have enough to keep the Klingons from taking 0519, which makes the connection between the Old Colonies and the capital tenuous at best. At the moment, it is intact, but something is going to have to be done.

Kzinti space was a real mixed bag. I wasn't able to keep him from disrupting every province on the board (other than 1801, which he can't go into), but the connection between the Marquis area and the main grid (via the Barony) is intact. He managed to kill an FRD (oops) and devastate another planet, while knocking the defenses off yet another, but the cost in ships is high, and he's already not doing too well in that department.

Belirahc still needs to figure out his carrier doctrine. He's using them, but often he's not taking damage on the fighters. Certainly, he has no reloads available most of the time, which means once the fighters are gone, the carriers are not of much use. However, with the current escorts, the ComPot density of the groups are low enough that the only real point of the carriers is to absorb damage and not need repairs afterward.

During retrograde, I'm gratified to see a nice backlog of cripples moving back to Coalition space, but this turn has pointed up that I need to do something about my backlog as well. Outside of carrier groups, the Kzintis do not have very many intact ships left.

Belirahc is getting quite serious about holding the space he has taken. The Lyrans are now setting up a MB and a PDU at 0416, and are also setting up a MB at 1001. Meanwhile the Klingons are setting up a PDU and MB each at 1202 and 1504.

At the moment, most new Lyran forces are headed for Hydran space, while Klingon builds are going to Kzinti space. It will be interesting to see what he does next turn, because if he wants to do a Turn 7 invasion of the Federation (which I'm guessing is unlikely), a lot of ships may need to pull out of other areas.
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Sun Oct 9, 2011 8:49 pm
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