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Subject: Session Report rss

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John Lopez
United States
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Get off my lawn!
The explanation: Impossible Triangle + TW (my company initials) = my logo.
Being on a quest for an "epic" wargame caused Federation and Empire (F&E) to surface from my collection. We started off just by reading the introduction and then decided to try the programmed scenario (Lyran vs Kzinti, turn 1 of the great war). Although there are not a lot of decisions to make in this scenario, it is a great way to introduce the combat system. F&E's combat system is quite complex and contains many special cases to handle various special function ships and units. The first few battles are pretty much forgone conclusions, but the last battle can swing towards the Kzinti if they get lucky. One thing I do recommend having available are calculators, one for each player. This is to help total up combat potentials (although this is mostly just addition and can be done by hand for smaller battles) and computing inflicted damage (unless you can compute 35% of 79 points in your head -- quickly).

The damage resolution system is interesting in that it allows for uncertainty in close battles and yet very one sided battles are more about minimizing the carnage or making someone pay more than expected -- not surprise reversals. This is because the variance between a bad die roll and a good one is 15% of your combat potential: enough to swing a critical battle, but not enough to create an upset. This is a game of calculation on many levels and is far more chess/go-like than most people would guess. For example, this initial setup helps people realize that the creation/sustaining supply routes is critical: the reaction movement rules and repair rules reward those who can strike deep and yet send units back from the front for repair. In some cases the resolution *order* of battles can completely change the outcome as retreat paths are created and lost.

Overall, we had some fun just getting reacquainted with the rule set and are looking forward to trying a full rule scenario in two weeks.

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