My thoughts are scattered. My report will be brief, with fewer details than I would prefer, but the War Suns of Muaat have left me thus. Seeing their awesome power released on an unsuspecting galaxy, I am only able to piece together this meager report of the Embers rise to power.
The four races of our shattered empire rose to power as follows:
1st Speaker Todd represented the Brotherhood of Yin. His commitment to the 'Yin' was absolute.
To his right, was Josh as The Winnu. In the end, Josh's mishandling of the Winnu's mighty cultural power was the downfall of his quadrant.
To Josh's right sat Jay as the Embers of Muaat. The starting build left Jay with planets adjacent to him worth a combined total of 10 resources. Influence was never something that the Muaat people seemed to be concerned about.
The final participant in a bid for glory was Tyrel as the Clan of the Saar.
After the simulated first turn, Todd spent his peoples' efforts in the Assembly, manipulating the speaker token to Jay and then to Tyrel, all the while building his hand of action cards. The one law he brought to bear on the galaxy was a powerful impetus for battle throughout the course of the game. It was Class Warfare, and essentially left Jay resenting the awesome 3 and 2 value trade contracts he had secured for himself through use of the Trade II strategy. Class Warfare caused all trade goods generated by trade agreements to be pooled together and then distributed evenly to everyone. Any remaining trade goods were discarded. This removed any regrets Jay might have had about attacking his neighbours, and the topography of the galaxy by endgame showed this in great evidence.
In the early game, Jay managed to secure the Technology strategy cards on two occassions, and used it to quickly acquire the Embers' racial technology, and then moved quickly to Micro and Nano technology. Suddenly, Jay's War Suns were almost untouchable and each of the many planets he began to take from the wandering Clan of the Saar were brought into his massive economy fully refreshed. It was an impressive process to behold, even as Josh's Winnu failed to Mecatol Rex even when it was 2 ground forces to 1 after an impressive bombardment.
More important, perhaps, than the economic benefit Jay was gaining were the points he continued to achieve through battle.
There were 3 artifacts on the board. Jay quickly took control of 2 of them, with Josh tenously holding the third in his corner of the galaxy on Mehar Xull.
Todd led his followers to a crushing attack on the Winnu near Mecatol Rex.
Tyrel's Clan had achieved their racial technology bonus, and he did the best he could to build a wall of fighters and dreadnaughts, in preparation for the arrival of the War Suns. It wasn't enough.
When Todd used his political acumen to declare Jay a traitor to the throne, Jay took the initiative to his Tyrel before Tyrel could hit him and try to claim the reward. Jay ran slipshod over the Clan's homeland defenders, and the slaughter of Lisis was repeated. Jay's secret objective had been achieved. He was 1 point from the 9 required to claim the ancient throne of the Lazax.
Josh did take the opportunity to attack a lone Muaat carrier, and claimed the reward of 2 trade goods, an action card, and a command counter for punishing the traitor to the throne, but Jay's war machine was at full throttle. The weakened Winnnu were unable to hold Mehar Xull, and Jay was able to claim the final item necessary for his ascension to emperor.
Some brief comments on gameplay:
I am probably even more impressed with the new strategy cards after a second playing. Assembly does such an excellent job of bringing more laws, and more focused policies into play that it is great fun. A player with heavy influence can make some powerful moves through assembly.
Technology II, as we saw in this game, brings more technology into the game, which is just an inordinate amount of fun. Seeing the new Nano Technology used to full effect this game left my jaw dragging on the floor. Getting planets refreshed is really the most powerful effect of this tech, from what I saw. If there had been more than 2 War Suns available, Jay would have built them all.
One great thing about this game was that we did manage to play it in 3 hours. I credit that to the simulated first turns, experienced players, and runaway War Suns. I will always play simulated first turns. It is an outstanding variant.
We are all looking forward to playing again, probably with the new races mixed in with the old. I am pretty anxious to see how some of the new racial technologies play out in this brave new galaxy.
Aik Yong Heng
Visit me @ aikyong.com!
This is Bubbles the pig and his best friend is Panda!