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Subject: Muaat Nekroball! rss

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Panicky Pixies
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Great session with both new and experienced players, very agressive play, few dreads, seven warsuns on the board and very few PDS. Some really crazy things happened during this game. As the title says, the virus managed to steal the race techs from both the Muuat and Saar, creating the infamous Muuat nekroball!

The participating factions: (in order of appearance)

Letnev (winner):
Letnev is as slow starter, but was being played steadily by an experienced player. Letnev did not sport many resources, but a lot of influence planets close to home. Although the player was unhappy with this, it actually gave Letnev a good counter economy, and because of the home system he did not lack the resources to build. With Muuat to his right and Saar to his left, he managed to build uneasy truces (lots of metagaming here, yawn), and went for Mecatol rex in round four. At this point, Letnev had a very strong fleet with war suns and race techs (shields), but completely underestimated the fighter swarm and almost lost it all when MR was recaptured by Naalu. In the skirmishes that followed, shrewd diplomacy allowed Letnev to barely hold the ground and score the last vital points in round six.

Saar (eliminated at 9 points, ended up last)
The saarball has become a well known strategy to TI4 players, and while Saar was played by a freshman, he followed the recipe and built a saarball that rolled slowly towards Mecatol rex, which he captured from Yssaril in round three. At the same time, he tried to build two more balls, which definitely was one to much, and Saar was spread too thin and surrounded by enemies. Letnev to his right was too strong for him, and Naalu was defending heavily with fighter screens. His worst opponent proved to be the virus, who appeared through a wormhole and captured his home systems. Nevertheless, Saar scored a lot of secret objectives and other points, and had a shot at a shared victory in the last agenda phase, when the vote came up to let the two players in the lead have one more point (or the last players have a point). Sadly for him, this was turned down, and Letnev and Naalu took him out of the game just before the end.

Naalu (third place)
Saar to his right, Yssaril to his left. The game started with a dispute between Yssaril and Naalu about a blue tech planet, which Naalu managed to wrestle away from Yssaril. This gave Naalu a much needed tech advantage, and by round four Naalu sported an enourmous fleet of fighters, carriers, flagship and dreadnoughts (19 fighters), all upgraded with blue techs. With flanking speed (action card), Naalu captured Mecatol in a surprise maneuver, crippled Letnev and held on to it to the end - but was not able to get imperial because of Yssaril action cards. When Naalu also did not score vital early points, he really did not have any chance at victory, although having the strongest millitary presence on the board.

Yssaril (second place)
Naalu to his left, Nekro to his right - Yssaril played to his strengths in this game, being utterly sneaky and slippery. In round two, he did a crazy maneuver through a gravity rift and was the first to capture Mecatol Rex. His fleet was weak, but he managed to score all three secret objectives by round four. After round two, he managed to have peaceful and beneficial relations with Naalu that led to a lot of trade (and Naalu not suffering from Yssaril action cards and abilities). He also gained a lot from playing rider cards in the agenda phase, and lunged out at Nekro when he was weak. However, when Yssaril was about to claim the victory with imperial in the last round, his home system was ruthlessly captured by the Muuat Nekroball. In a moment of desperation and fatigue, the Yssaril player forgot to play the parley action card he was holding on to, which cost him the victory. Life is really not fair sometimes…

Nekro virus (shared fourth place)
The Nekro virus is what everybody is going to remember from this game. Stealing both the war sun tech from the Muuat, and the spacedock tech from Saar, the other players had to deal with the completely insane Muuat Nekroball (moving spacedock,dreads, warsuns, flagship and flying infantry), that rolled around and crushed everything in its path. However, he ventured too far from his home system, which was eventually captured by Muuat in round four, thus preventing him from scoring four points. In the end, Nekro thwarted Yssarils victory and recaptured his home system, but it was too late to claim any victory. Nekroball with Muuat warsuns. Wow.

Muuat (shared fourth place)
Muuat fortified in his slice of pie, and did a good job at scaring other players, but not much more. Muuat went against Nekro, and captured his planets and home system when the Nekroball was roaming around the other side of the galaxy. He definitely wanted a shot at Mecatol Rex, but could not stand up to the Naalu fighter screen. Anyway, techs and war suns cost a lot of resources, and Muuat could not afford the early points. He could (and perhaps should) have prevented Letnev from scoring points in the last round, but eventually, a Letnev victory could not have been avoided in round seven. Most memorable moment was the huge warsun battle against Nekro in round six, in which the Nekroball prevailed.

This was a really agressive and entertaining game session, and I think we have learned:

1. Scoring early points matters a lot
2. Huge, fast and dangerous fleets do not win games
3. It is important to have a good balance between resources and influence.
4. A successful player always has a plan B (and perhaps a plan C)
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Steve Williams
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Re: Muaat Nekroball! :devil:
Imsen wrote:
Saar
His worst opponent proved to be the virus, who appeared through a wormhole and captured his home systems. Nevertheless, Saar scored a lot of secret objectives and other points,


The Saar do not have to control their Home System to score public objectives (ability on Faction sheet).
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Panicky Pixies
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Re: Muaat Nekroball! :devil:
IncrediSteve wrote:
Imsen wrote:
Saar
His worst opponent proved to be the virus, who appeared through a wormhole and captured his home systems. Nevertheless, Saar scored a lot of secret objectives and other points,


The Saar do not have to control their Home System to score public objectives (ability on Faction sheet).


Yes, and so he did. Nekro Virus can only steal their racial tech (moving spacedock), not their ability to score points without owning their home system.
 
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Swan Bones
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Imsen wrote:
2. Huge, fast and dangerous fleets do not win games
I concur, but I was so surprised to find this out! We played first game last night and Jol Nar built a massive, terrifyingly high-tech monster fleet that was seemed able to reach every corner of the galaxy, yet came last. Hacan, who had been almost completely wiped out by the end, was the winner.
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Panicky Pixies
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Yet, all strategies out there are about getting a strong presence on the board. Actually, the winner in my games have been players who build less. Perhaps this is different in TI3? I only played that game once
 
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Martin Jensen
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I was the one plating Letnev in this game. This is a good analysis, but I would like to say some more about the strange relationship between Letnev and Saar in this game.

In the first round we had an understanding and mutual support for the throne, but Saar surprised me by blocking off access to Mecatol rex in round 2, delaying the invasion that was planned until round 4.

The relationship can be likened to that of the late Roman Empire and the Goth migrating tribes - Saar would swoop in and take undefended systems from Letnev, while Letnev would take systems from Saar, but there was no fighting and little hostility in these skirmishes. In the end Saar pushed too far and started taking critical systems, which provoked the Letnev to strike back with all their might and be willing to continue the war at the cost of final victory.

At this point Saar controlled almost no systems at all, having lost their systems around their home to Naalu and Necro, and their last planet in their home system was taken by Naalu, eliminating them from the game entirely.

Although trading planets with Saar might seem bad, in fact I think it helped me win as the Saar systems had higher production, which I desperately needed in the early game to potentially counter the Muaat who had the Bereg and Lirta IV system.

For the analysis I still think early points when you can afford them is worthwhile, as long as you don't trigger everyone ganging up on you. As Letnev I spent most of the game behind in score to Yssaril and especially Saar, which meant most players did not feel the need to attack me.

As for building less, that is absolutely the case and was in TI3 too - players often fall into the trap of building huge fleets that go nowhere and do nothing, while forgetting to use their resources to get points. Instead, I spent 8 influence in the 2nd turn rather than build up by fleet. And my fleet was mostly focused on mobility rather than massive strength - at most I had 2 war suns, 5 upgraded cruisers and 2 upgraded carriers, with 1 dreadnought. I probably should have tried to build more fighters, but without 2 space docks in one system that becomes hard, and due to most of my systems being rubbish the only good place for space docks was in my home system. Using secondary on construction in your home system means you don't get to build there at all that round, so that was a definite no-no.
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