tony brotherton
United Kingdom
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I played this for the first time with one of my regular guineau pigs in two player mode. After I selected mimbari and Paul the Earth Alliance, it took a while for us to actually get the game underway. A lot of time was spent analyzing the rulebook trying to work out the basic game starting deck construction and which rules sections apply. This is a fault of the interwoven structure of the rules combining multiple levels of play in the same section rather than outlining the basic game in one section and adding rule variants in another.

Once the first few turns were completed and we both got a feel for the turn sequence a few flaws became apparent:

1. Space isn't particularly large and each map tile is crammed with planets/hazards making movement awkward and complex.

2. Clarification and extended descriptions are required on some of the basic concepts of play. Particularly with regards to deck construction and deployment/movement of squadrons.

Once the game settled into a rythmn we both began to exlore the map and build bases until I decided to make the first offensive move attacking an Earth Freighter docked at Babylon 5 with my Mimbari War Cruiser. Hopelessly out gunned the freighter dissapeared in a shower of sparks without much in the way of retaliation thanks to the out of sequence combat.

Paul's retaliation volley with a cruiser and Babylon 5 left me unscathed and Paul quite aggrieved that the combined firepower couldn't even reduce me to cripped status. Damage application is over simplified and features only three states (UNDAMAGED/CRIPPLED/DESTROYED).

It became apparent that the only way to damage a large ship is to use volleys of shot aginst the same target. This can be difficult to achieve because of the overpopulation of map tiles with planets and hazards, so getting arc of fire and range with both weapons is tricky.

The game was unresolved after three full hours of play and the gameplay was quite mechanical. There is potential there, but I suspect it comes in 3,4 or 5 player games where the political aspects of the game come into play. If you follow the rules for a two player game it becomes a war off attrition rater than stratgey.
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