On Monday, I was in a local game store, browsing the summer sale games, and i spotted a mother of a box sitting on a shelf. What's this, I wondered? Master of Orion onna table? It must be either the greatest game ever, or Teh Suck(tm). So I looked it up here, and I read about it, and read some more, and finally ended up trying to find a negative review that will talk me out of spending a crapload of cash. No such luck - the very next day I had to go and buy it.
Everyone's on vacation now, so my gaming group is pretty much non-existent. I invited my strategist friend that evening, to try to playtest the game, and at his suggestion we took two races each and played a four-side game, just to learn the rules. I got L1z1x and Naalu, he had Hacan and Mentak. Three turns and one dead L1z1x homeworld later, he had to have gone home an hour ago. But it was fun, although horribly chaotic for me, because I just couldn't hold two races worth of Action Cards, two sets of special abilities, two plans of action and four(!) Strategy cards in my head.
Two days later, a new opportunity. My brother came over and I set up a game according to Roland's 2-player rules (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/119002). He drew Letnev, and after getting Hacan, I kind-of cheated and decided to draw again, because I just couldn't figure out how to play Hacan in this variant (there being no trade in those rules). My next draw was Jol-Nar.
We both started expanding to nearby planets. When Tech came around, he got XRD transporters, and decided to jump to Mecatol Rex. On one hand, he had an objective there (don't we all? ), and on the other hand, that was just two hexes away from my (very sparsely defended) homeworlds. Luckily, from the start I figured my best bet against the Letnev zerglings was to play with politics, and I was lucky enough to draw the Ancient Artifact. The luck was on my side - boom goes the single Letnev Carrier .
Some other very nice laws were passed: I got to be Minister of War (although I never used it), and my explorations were greatly aided by Planetary Conscription. One that actually hurt me was the one that doubled the GF cost - I figured Letnev would crush me with his hordes, but he hardly made GF at all. While he developed his homeworlds for mass production of fighter swarms, I occupied my half of the galaxy, fulfilling some of the objectives, and also developing a strong base on Mecatol Rex itself.
Having churned out what he considered was enough, he moved for the strike - but he neglected to take Diplomacy. I did not. His chagrin at the realisation that his Warcraft would have absolutely nothing to do was priceless. Even more priceless was the expression on his face when he understood that the next round, I'm the speaker... and I'm allowed to pick a same Strategy twice
During his paralysis, the Jol-Nar managed to research and field two war suns on the Mecatol Rex base, but my brother was really stumped when I produced some GFs there. "Why?!? There won't even be ground combat! Besides, next turn, there's no more immunity - and I'm not attacking you on Mecatol Rex!" The confusion turned to dismay when I flipped over one of my Secret Objective cards, pushing my total to nine.
So there he was, with his four carriers chock-full of fighters, ready to pounce on me... when he realised that his Speaker token is useless - If he denies me Diplomacy, I'll just grab Imperial.
Anyway, great fun was had by all. I did not play my Imperial immediately, and I allowed him to attack me at Mecatol Rex, for the simple reason that I wanted him to try how combat rules work. It turned out that the answer was "in my favour". I did manage to pass a political action weakening all his combat by -1, and it nullified his special ability. 1 dreadnought, 3 cruisers, 3 carriers and 16 Letnev's fighters against 3 destroyers, a dreadnought, 2 war suns and seven Jol-Nar's pathetic fighters that only hit on 10s. I lost the fighters, and one destroyer. I love those war suns! (on my side, of course )
There you have it. In four and a half hours long four and a half turns, brains overwhelmed brawn I doubt I'll be so lucky next time...