Fewer folks turned out this month, due to the impact of family responsibilities and scholastic bowling outings. Bill, Lang, and I began set-up around 1:45 down at the front room at the Digital Dungeon.
We used a conventional 3-player setup today. we placed a face-down system at each unused home position and on each coreward spot next to those systems. We placed an Artifact and a DS marker on each of those systems. We decided to use the Nexus. For seating, we went with:
• my Universities of Jol-Nar (7th game), grey (Speaker)
• Bill's Winnu (3rd game), purple
• Lang's Naalu Collective (3rd game), yellow
There were eleven blank systems (including two with wormholes) in our galaxy. Hope's End, another single-planet system, a wormhole, an ion storm (in Bill's line), and two blanks surrounded Mecatol Rex. I placed Hope's End between my opponents. Lang placed the single-planet in line to his homeword, and Bill placed the wormhole between me and Lang. Then we remembered to draw our Secret Objectives, and after checking them, we unanimously agreed to not re-do the map.
At the end of the first year, we revealed the Stage I objectives:
• I have controlled Mecatol Rex the entire Strategy Phase and Action Phase of this round
• I control five planets outside my home system
• I control planets witha total influence greater than the player to my left, AND to my right
• I have more than one Tech in at least three different colors
• I now spend six TradeGoods
• I now spend ten resources
I claimed the 3rd objective on Year 1. Each of us focused on empire building early in the game, with all three of us claiming the 2nd objective on Year 2. By the end the third year, the Stage II objectives were
•• I destroyed an opponent's Space Dock at he end of combat this year
•IMPERIUM REX• No further Stage II objective cards may be revealed this game
For the first time, we have a game with fewer than four Stage II's in play. Finally, a game where Imperial A was not going to make a difference!
I took Trade on the first two years, both to build up my TradeGoods and to deny my opponents a mutual trade agreement. Regrettably, this did not hurt them much, because both of them happened across TradeGood DS counters early in their explorations. Generally, none of the DS we found were hazardous. Only Bill got hurt by a DS, losing one Ground Force to a small 1-sized DS GF token.
The last time I played the Jol Nar, I was forced to invest in PDS-based techs to keep aggressive neighbors at bay. I decided early on in this game to never take any of those same techs this game, just to see what would happen. Bill had developed tech on Year 1, and neither Lang or I participated due to lack of resources. For the next four years, Tech was taken by my opponents, and I took Leadership as often as I could to make sure I had plenty of Strategic counters to use on Tech. The system coreward of my home was a dual-planet with both red and blue discounts, so I parked my scientists there as soon as I could, with my Admiral-commanded dreadnaught to watch over them. By year 5, I had a huge amount of technologies in play, including the bacterial weapon and fleet logistics, both of which I'd never played before.
Using my speedy asteroid-resistant carriers, I explored all four of the face-down systems lying between me and my opponents. All three Artifact markers turned out to be duds, with the 4th being in an Asteroid Field (which, we figured out later, was not a dud). The Artifact rumor on Hope's End and on the planet in Lang's line both turned out to be Artifacts (blue, and red). Shortly after this revelation, Bill booted Lang off of Hope's End. One of my carriers with one fighter and one GroundForce invaded the Nexus world and managed to conquer it. Bill and Lang took turns as the Voice of the Council. At the end of year 3, we each had three VPs after Bill and I both claimed the 4th objective.
In the 4th year, Bill found and claimed the yellow Artifact on a world between he and Lang. Year 4 also saw the genesis of Bill's WarSun fleet. Lang sent a lone cruiser and carrier over to conquer a system next to my home world, an easy task as I had zero military units nearby except for my dreadnaught. Luckily, I had many spare TradeGoods and Strategy counters, which I used to pop out some more dreadnaughts on my home world. I counterattacked Lang before then end of Year 4, restoring the security of my realm. I built a Space Dock on the Nexus world; though production there is limited, I used it to build more dreadnaughts over the next few years. Nobody claimed objectives on Year 4; we found out later I had unwittingly foiled Lang's attempt to fulfill his Secret Objective (Threatening) when I successfully counterattacked his cruiser.
We spent Year 5 building up, getting ready for a run on Mecatol Rex. Lang claimed the fourth objective this year, while I claimed the fifth. Early in Year 6, I struck at Mecatol Rex, invading with three dreadnaughts and two carriers. My fleet brushed aside the Guardians tokens, but the DS token which we'd decided to place there (contradicting the rulebook) turned out to be Settlers. I flubbed the roll and Bill wound up with control and two GroundForces on MR for free. Bill immediately launched his out WarSun-laden invasion to solidify his grasp of the former capital. I played a Skilled Retreat to get the heck out of Dodge, running back to the nearby wormhole. Lang then invaded with his own fleet, but Bill's WarSun emerged as the sole survivor. I claimed the sixth objective at the end of the year, taking a 5-4-4 VP lead.
The rest of Lang's fleet invaded MR on year 7, destroying Bill's warSun and seizing control of the planet. My retreated fleet returned with reinforcements, sweeping aside Lang's remnants and conquering MR with three GF left over. I cut off Bill's next fleet-wave by interposing a cruiser between it an MR. I had taken Imperial this year, and I used it fast to score a quick VP. Lang had begun to build a new fleet at his planet near MR, but I sent the remainder of my dreadnaughts there, wiping out the fleet, burning down the Space Dock, and taking over the artifact there. All resistance lay broken by the end of Year 7, known thereafter among my people as the Year of Glory. I claimed the only Stage II objective along with my Secret Objective (Industrial) for the win.
The final scores, in Year Seven:
1st: My Jol-Nar, eleven points.
2nd: Bill's Winnu, four points.
3rd: Lang's Naalu, three points.
This game ended at 5pm, after a mere three hours.
Bill's secret objective was Diversified. If he'd had the opportunity to build a Space Dock at MR, he'd have easily scored it. Bill had also been named Minister of the Interior, which gave him the (fortunately, for me!) forgotten power to destroy up to four ground forces on MR at any time. Bill had built up seven ShockTroops on Hope's End by Year 7, but I surely would have used my X87 Bacterial Weapon on Hope's End on Year 8, to shut him out of any opporunity to invade that year. Nothing would have been certain, but I think I could have scored either Imperial again, or the first objective finally, or taken another Artifact if pressed.
Our next game? Saturday, November 15th.
session report #06
session report #05
session report #04
session report #03