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Barony of Letnev (me)
Federation of Sol
Sardakk Norr
Universities of Jol Nar

Our 5th game. In the previous one I lost my unbeaten title when Naalu won with 10 points, Mentak, Sol and me (Ysarril) on 9 and Jol Nar on 8. This one would be even closer. It would also open up the game’s tactics regarding trade and especially politics, exactly how I think TI3 should be played.

I was first player and we decided to use the original Strategy Cards. We included artifacts.

ROUND 1

Letnev chose SC 5, 8
Sol chose 1, 7
Norr chose 2, 6
Jol Nar chose 3, 4

The first objective was to control 5 planets outside your home system.
The first political card was Imperial Mandate. I convinced everyone to add 2 VP because I was at 2 after choosing Imperial. Everyone else was at 0. I mistakenly said they would end up with negative points (I checked the answer online later), so they were persuaded to vote for 2 VP extra. End of round 1:

Barony of Letnev 4 VP
Federation of Sol 3 VP (control 5 planets)
Sardakk Norr 2 VP
Universities of Jol Nar 2 VP

ROUND 2

Sol chose SC 7, 8
Norr chose 1, 2
Jol Nar chose 4, 5
Letnev chose 3, 6

The next objective was to have 3 tech advances of the same colour.
Norr played Diplomacy against Letnev so he couldn’t attack Mecatol Rex, where Norr was stationed, obviously working towards a secret mission.
We approved the political card Free Trade so we’d get an extra TG when collecting goods from our TAs.
Letnev found the only real artifact in the galaxy.
Jol Nar played Privateers action card on Letnev who had 8 TG. I should have let him take them. No TG objective cards came out in the game and I had TA worth 2 and 3, but I got greedy and used a Sabotage card.

Barony of Letnev 6 VP (artifact, control 5 planets)
Federation of Sol 5 VP
Sardakk Norr 3 VP (control 5 planets)
Universities of Jol Nar 3 VP (having 3 red tech advances)

ROUND 3

Norr chose SC 2, 8
Jol Nar chose 1, 3
Letnev chose 4, 6
Sol chose 5, 7

The next objective was to have 4 tech advances of different colours.
Norr played Diplomacy on Letnev again knowing that he wanted Mecatol Rex as well. And he built a space dock there.

Barony of Letnev 6 VP
Federation of Sol 6 VP (4 different techs)
Sardakk Norr 6 VP (having 3 red tech advances)
Universities of Jol Nar 4 VP (control 5 planets)

ROUND 4

Jol Nar chose SC 6, 8
Letnev chose 2, 7
Sol chose 4, 5
Norr chose 1, 3

The next objective was to control Mecatol Rex the whole round.
Letnev would abviously have chosen SC 1 but Sol played Public Disgrace AC on him. Sol gave SC 1 to Norr instead of taking it for himself. A big blunder!
Norr was starting to build up his forces in Mecatol Rex, so Letnev attacked with everything he had. Basically it was now or never. Norr had +2 to his rolls because of his special ability and Magen Defense Grid. Letnev used 10 TG to have similar attacks but in the end, 1 Norr GF survived on M. Rex.

Barony of Letnev 7 VP (4 different techs)
Federation of Sol 7 VP (having 3 yellow tech advances)
Sardakk Norr 7 VP (control of Mecatol Rex)
Universities of Jol Nar 7 VP (4 different techs)

This was an interesting situation now. We’d all received 2 VP as part of the Imperial Mandate and 2 VP from the Imperial SC. It was going to be a tight race and Letnev had lost his first player advantage.

ROUND 5

Norr chose SC 7, 8
Jol Nar chose 1, 2
Letnev chose 3, 4
Sol chose 5, 6

The next objective was to spend 10 influence.
Letnev immediately attacked M. Rex again and this time took it.
Norr got 2 VP from the Imperial SC and saved his planet cards to spend 10 influence and so was already relishing his sure win. I was on the verge of cutting the game short and granting victory to Norr, but then...
Jol Nar played an AC which exhausted Meer, 4 vital influence points. Also having just lost M. Rex the Sardakk Norr wouldn’t have the 10 influence and the game would continue. Frustrating for the Norr player to see his win slip from his fingers.
Sol was building huge armies and he tried to invade Mecatol Rex. 2 of Letnev’s GF survived the onslaught.
Colonial Redistribution PC was approved and Jol Nar put 3 GF on one of Norr’s planets.

Barony of Letnev 8 VP (spend 10 influence)
Federation of Sol 8 VP (spend 10 influence)
Sardakk Norr 9 VP
Universities of Jol Nar 7 VP



ROUND 6

Jol Nar chose 5, 8
Letnev chose 1, 3
Sol chose 2, 4
Norr chose SC 6, 7

The next objective was to control planets with the 3 different tech specialties. Sol had that and thought he would definitely win at the end of the round. It must be noted here that Sol had on the VP track 1 more than he should have because of an error in round 2, so we all thought he was on 9. It made the game more exciting though.
However Jol Nar played Local Unrest and took away his blue speciality planet and Sol had 12 command counteers in fleet supply and no more in his command pool so there was nothing he could do about it.
Norr still thought he could take the win this round but Letnev played the Public Execution PC and Jol Nar and Letnev voted for Norr, who had to exhaust all his planet cards.
Letnev tried to publicly reason there would be another round after this one, although was secretly planning to fulfill his secret objective and a public objective and be first to claim them having the Iniative SC and so win the game. He built a space dock on M. Rex and transported 6 GF there to be able to claim the Usurper objective. There would have been a massive battle to accomplish that but Letnev convinced Sol to withdraw earlier, thinking it would be in his best interests.

BUT...
On the very last action, Jol Nar attacked Letnev at Coorneeq with 2 war suns and defeated Letnev’s forces, planting his only GF there to take the artifact and get to 10 VP. The whole game Letnev and Jol Nar had kept an alliance, both seeing it as advantageous to them and helping each other to get plenty of TGs. Game over and the win goes to Jol Nar and his trusty war suns.

Barony of Letnev 7 VP (losing the artifact)
Federation of Sol 8 VP
Sardakk Norr 9 VP
Universities of Jol Nar 10 VP (artifact)



FINAL THOUGHTS THAT MAKE ONE LOSE SLEEP (especially for me as Letnev):

I should have let Jol Nar play Privateers against me and save my Sabotage card for Public Disgrace which was far more important. Me getting 2 VP (in round 5) instead of Jol Nar (in round 6) could have made the diffference.
If we hadn’t played with artifacts, Letnev would win with his secret objective and the public one of controlling M. Rex (10 VP, holding Iniative SC thus going first).
If Imperial Mandate hadn’t come out, we’d all be 2 VP lower and the game would have continued into round 7 in which Letnev would have chosen SC 8 and the next objective card was Game Over and definitely would have won. Even worse, if Letnev hadn’t convinced everyone to approve the 2 extra VPs, Letnev would have dropped 1 VP but have collected 3 VP at the end of round 6 and be on 7 VP, Jol Nar on 9 (by winning a public objective), but Letnev would still win with Imperial SC by reaching 9 as well and revealing the Game Over card, but easily winning the tie breaker because of having more planets (same number of objectives).

In the end nobody achieved their secret objective. Letnev had Usurper, achieved it but the game ended before he could get the VPs.
Jol Nar had Keeper of Gates, control all 4 worm holes which should have been easy but he left it till too late and Sol played Diplomacy on him in the final round.
Norr had Forceful, 4 Dreadnoughts on Mecatol Rex.
Sol had Focused, 4 planets with the same tech speciality.

The whole game took about 4 1/2 hours and we finally appreciated how powerful the Political SC can be. We also saw how action cards can completely change things. It was very tense for everyone in the last 2 rounds when it really did seem impossible to stop one person from winning, then the next, then the next and yet the last one who seemed less threatening took the imperial throne.
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