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Space Empires: 4X» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Merchants in Space rss

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James Lowry
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Got the gang together again (finally) for some gaming Saturday. There was four of us (me, Dave, Mark and Jason), so we went with another round of Space Empires 4X. I managed to talk everyone into adding in the merchant pipeline (trade route) rules this time, and we kept all the options from last time (fleet markers, heavy terrain, and gates).

Initially, I (blue) got off to a very slow start, as the only world adjacent to mine was the one barren world in the home exploration zone, and it took me a while to find most of my colonizable planets. However, I was starting to find minerals, and the closest world was only two hexes away, so I built a second miner and three merchant pipelines to link the colony with the home system. As it turned out, most of the planets were in a chain from that one leading along the edge of my zone. This made extending the pipeline fairly easy, and sped up the colonization process, as everything just went down the pipeline at double-speed to the frontier. I ended up rolling money forward many times because my shipyard capacity was tied up on cheap MS Pipeline builds.

Meanwhile, Mark (green) and Dave (red) made contact in the deep space area between them, and Mark attacked, chasing Dave's scouts off. However, Dave managed to bring in an alien wreck, which gave him a size class bonus, and he chased Mark back out with new DDs. There was buildup after that, but nothing much other than that. Mark then got into a fight with Jason (yellow), and managed, with quite a bit of effort, to eliminate two of his colonies (helped by some poor die rolling from Jason in the first big fight).

I ended up interfering, and taking on Mark, with help of a gate that led pretty neatly from my area to his. The problem was that the next place to go from there was an asteroid field, which caused long-dragged out fights as I was hitting on '2's, and Mark on '1's—when we remembered. Just remembering all the modifiers normally is enough of a challenge. To a certain extent, it probably would have been better to help dismantle Jason, and try to get more out of it than Mark. But that was impossible. Jason's systems were all concentrated in the area away from me.

Also, Dave did a better job getting at mid-board systems than I had realized. I was too worried about the Markian menace to want to tangle with anything else.

Sadly, it had to be a short day. We had to call it for time just shy of the 12th economic phase. The early game had gone remarkably fast, but the later stages slowed down, in part due to extended combats. Dave ended the day with the biggest economy at 102 for the upcoming economic phase, and was paying 26 in maintenance fees. All he had was ship size (up to BCs) and Terraforming. I was up to 84 (with one colony still growing) with 15 in maintenance. I had been isolated for a while, and didn't start building a navy til late. I had just gotten up to BCs in the previous econ phase, and had +2/+2 tech, and Tactics 1 (from an alien wreck), and Ship Yards 3 (double capacity), and of course, Terraforming. I was probably going to build BCs for a while, but was contemplating throwing more DDs at my problems as well. Mark was earning 63 and Jason 55. I'm not so sure of their techs, but Jason was up to BCs, while I think Mark was still on CAs. Mark had +1/+1 tech, and hadn't upgraded that since very early on, preferring to mass-produce CAs. Jason had been at +2/+0 for most of the game, but had eventually gotten +1 defense, and had taken Exploration before the war with Mark started.

One of the side effects of the merchant pipelines was to discourage spending on movement technology, since everything was going fast within the borders, and it wasn't far to anything past that. Here's the board at the end of the day, with what I know of the pipelines marked:


No, I don't think Jason ever built any.
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Jim Krohn
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You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
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Wow. How is it that your colonies are able to coexist next to each other so nicely?

Another way to speed up the later game is to play with teams.
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James Lowry
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We're not horribly aggressive. We're not against fighting each other (we all play enough wargames), but we usually have problems with (even while enjoying) games that need you to play nasty.

In this case, the problem is that anyone who looks to be doing too well militarily is likely to get slapped down by everyone else (before they become the next target!). I've been thinking that we might want to try teams help break that up.
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David Debien
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Rindis wrote:
We're not horribly aggressive. We're not against fighting each other (we all play enough wargames), but we usually have problems with (even while enjoying) games that need you to play nasty.

In this case, the problem is that anyone who looks to be doing too well militarily is likely to get slapped down by everyone else (before they become the next target!). I've been thinking that we might want to try teams help break that up.


Hmm, in SE4X I play as agressively as my current unit stacks will allow. If I have units and a way into enemy territory, they are on the way. Even if they die over there and don't accomplish much, they at least tied up enemy resources and in SE4X you would much rather have the battles in enemy space than in your own, for Eco reasons.
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Jim Krohn
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You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
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What David said. In SE, I'm always pushing forward.

If you don't like playing nasty, then you should definitely play teams.
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Chris B
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This really makes me want to get this out and play again - its been over a year since we last played. Way too long...angry
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Ed Vena
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Curious, how long did it take you guys to get to 12th econ round? Total play time?
 
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James Lowry
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We started... oh, probably around 10:30 or so (a bit late). Lunch was pizza at the table. And we had to pick up for a hard stop at 4:30.

So, six hours max. Keep in mind there's three regular turns between econ segments, and we're not particularly fast.
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