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Subject: Going for a new high campaign score! rss

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Brian M
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Thornton
Colorado
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After overcoming the initial learning curve of Space Alert and managing to frequently actually keep our ship alive through a mission, we've made it a goal of setting high scores by keeping it alive through multiple missions, flying a campaign.

So far, our record isn't so good. We usually have new players to train, and don't get to play a campaign. Our first campaign had a great first flight - 38 points and a simply smashing second flight. As in, our ship was simply smashed - 8 measly points. The second game we were destroyed.

So, even though we had one new vict...er, player, and got nearly destroyed on the preceeding play, we decided to settle in for a campaign with our goal to beat the 46 point high score we'd set.

We were playing with both the regular and advanced threats mixed in- why make things easy? Our new player, Amber, had been nominated Captain. (The captain has the nice benefit of getting priority in elevators). I was handling security, Lisa was, as usual (she can actually keep track of everything) the comm officer, and Nikki and Ashley were the...er...other crew who don't get specific titles but are nonetheless invaluable.

Mission 1
Out into deep space. Hopefully a nice peaceful flight ahead. And look, no enemy ships. Just Maelstroms and Energy Vortexs and Contaminations inside the ship. Yikes! We got off to a nasty start. At least we knew the shields would be being drained early so we didn't bother powering them.

The Contamination was a big worry. It infects four sections at once, and you need use the battlebots to fight it in 3 different areas to get rid of. Internal threats tend to be the trickiest part to handle, and we needed two people. And someone did mess up - me, the veteran security officer! Aack! More accusations of treachery would be coming my way, I'm sure. Luckily, my mess up was to think we needed to clear all four, so I just wasted some moves.

The gunnery crews deftly coordinated fire to dissipate the threats. Nasty aliens followed in their wake, inclduing an Armored Grappler and a Pulse Satellite. However, our stalwart crew - actually, perhaps to be more accurate, our completely trigger happy crew (Amber and Lisa kept pouring on the fire after blowing apart the enemy) - managed to destroy them all, leaving us taking no damage at all!

An excellent flight, scoring a whopping 36 points. Now, there was the minor detail that we noticed afterward the ship was fully charged with a grand total of 1 energy cube. No shields. No energy in the main reactor. No fuel rods. One lonely energy cube the port reactor. But hey, a perfect win is a perfect win right?

But we wanted a higher score. On to the next mission!

Mission 2
Apparently, one should be careful when reloading rockets in deep space. We promptly had them start malfunctioning, and had to rush to fix them. Luckily, Ashley was an ace engineer and we speedily repaired them. Meanwhile, it looked like we'd drawn some really hostile attention, as a huge Man of War bore straight down on our ship.

And somewhere in there, we got a nasty surprise on our ship - a little, cute, going to grow up in a few seconds and eat us all, alien.

Just to pile on the badness, our foes decided the Man of War needed some defense, and a Cryoshield fighter came zooming in. Being busy with minor issues like the growing nasty in the lower deck, I wasn't aware how bad our situation was until we finished the planning phase and Lisa pointed out that the Cryoshield fighter would be overtaking the Man of War, and she had no idea what would be happening in there. Uh oh.

One of the best parts of Space Alert is the tension of watching what happens in the resolution and discovering surprises. Usually, those surprises involve things going horrifically wrong. Sometimes they are just funny - like how Nikki coincidentally 'ran' from the Alien when it appeared.

And sometimes its just awesome. The Cryoshield fighter zoomed in from behind the Man of War. Damage piled up on it, but not fast enough. The Cryoshield fighter zoomed to the same space - exactly as a final volley of cannon and pulse laser fire destroyed the Man of War! As an added bonus, the pulse laser handily destroyed the Cryoshield on the fighter as well.

We had one worry as the last attacker was about to hit us, but Ashley, paying close attention to our earlier warnings that the fighters were often no use thanks to their short range, launched out and dealt the extra damage we needed to blow it apart.

Second mission - still not a single hit on the ship! We scored 44 points on this mission - a new high.

Obviously, this was a competent, clever crew. Clearly, this was the time to set a new record. Some protested, but they were overruled and we flew valiantly onward.

Mission 3
Yeah, you know where this is going, don't you?

First, a force of troopers boarded our ship. This isn't the worst internal threat, but it takes 2 hits to defeat. And it fights back. Lucikly, Amber had a Battlebot heroic action, so she could stop them pretty easily. Except for one minor detail - she had no blue movement cards.

We waited. Incoming data - no blue. Another - no blue. Where were the data transfers?

Now we had an outside threat to deal with to. A huge Juggernaut heading straight for the middle of the ship. This thing was huge, nasty, and would make it very risky to fire our rockets - they always target the Juggernaut, and after they hit, it gains +1 Shield!

With the first phase almost done, it was pretty clear we weren't getting a data transfer. Amber took the second phase cards - and still had no blue!

Nikki decided to deal with the threat herself, took the battlebots toward the end of phase 1, and beat up the troopers a little. Then she just needed to fix the battlebots, which shouldn't be hard since she was at the battlebot station. Except for one minor detail - she had nothing but a hand of B's!

Ashley was helping with the main reactor. I headed red to get the other battlebots, but it soon became apparent it was going to take me too long to get back.

More threats appeared. Remarkable few threats actually. Only a grand total of 5 in this mission. However, they were all nasty. On the port side, a Major Asteroid was hurtling toward us. On the starboard, a Frigate followed by...something else that eludes me at the moment.

And we were still obsessing over the Troopers and Juggernaut, sure they would destroy the ship. I was desperately trying to figure out how to get to the center of the ship in time to use my B special action to power the shields for +1 in the hopes that it would save us, but Lisa needed more power to destroy the Asteroid.

When it all came to resolve, we were a bit shocked to discover that Amber, trapped and unable to go right, had, in fact, blown the Juggernaut to bits with repeated blasts.

However, we'd almost completely ignored the frigate! It barrelled down at us. Turned out Nikki, the one in the best position to fight it, had no A's either! Nothing but a bunch of B's! (Not to be confused with a bunch of BS). It sliced through our hull like a lightsaber through a stick of warm butter.

Kaboom!

So close...so close. We really lost it in the last round. I've seen this happen before in Space Alert - the team can't deal with the first threats right away, and then winds up focused on them for the rest of the game, invariably to be destroyed by later threats.

Ah well. Next time. Next time we'll...possibly be smart and quit after mission 2!
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Glen Graham
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Thanks for this session - very entertaining! I can't wait to get my copy for my birthday in a couple of weeks.
 
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