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Subject: Space Empires Small 2 Player Map Session Report rss

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Jim Krohn
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Scenario - Small 2 Player Map
Playing Time - 1 hour
Rules - We played with all the advanced rules, but none of the optional ones except the Doomsday Machine (which did not come up)

While this is a session report, I will give a bunch of thoughts on strategy along the way in order to help prepare you for your first game of Space Empires.

Nomenclature: To refer to a specific turn, I will use this format - (the last economic phase completed).(turn #). For example: 5.3 means the third turn after the 5th economic phase (remember there are three turns in between economic phases).

Pictures: I'm still playing with primitive playtest counters and map so I have opted not to include any pictures at the moment. However, later in the week, I may recreate some board positions using the game artwork to give you an idea. I also want to type in the production sheet.


My son and I were pressed for time (work and school have wrecked havoc with the availability of my favorite playtester), but we wanted to get a game in so we opted to play on a small map. Playing on a map this size is a bit of a knife fight and you have to be on your toes. It is more unforgiving and you don't normally get very far into the tech tree.

As in all games, the early turns were used to explore and expand our empires. I found a couple of planets right next door to my homeworld. This encouraged me to buy MS Pipelines. While I ALWAYS buy pipelines in a game with a large map, I sometimes don't in small map games. I ended up with a nice little cluster of planets that I connected with pipelines to move my ships forward. This also meant to me that, on this small map with pipelines, forward ship yards would not be a priority.

My son ended up with a lot of planets all along his back row. This encouraged him to take a longer term strategy than you normally would in a small map game. He settled the back row and only pushed his empire forward slightly. His idea was to build up his technology to have significant advantage before we met, but he carried it too far. His research emphasized Fighters and he was at Fighter 2 by the time we fought. As it turned out, it would have been better to only research Fighter 1 and build his first carrier group a turn early.

The 4th economic phase turned out to be fairly pivotal. I built 3 DD as well as researching Attack 1. When I placed the DDs on my home planet, I noticed that he did not produce anything at his Ship Yards. This, I feel, was a mistake on his part. He needed to build something, scouts, decoys, anything in order to discourage my aggression. I could see how far back his planets were, I had a suspicion that he might try for a longer arc, and this just confirmed it. I spent the next three turns pushing my scouts forward and using my pipelines to get my new DDs on the outside edge of his space.

In the 5th economic phase he builds his first carrier group (although I don't find this out until later). It immediately becomes the most deadly thing on the board. Were I to combine the 3 DDs and 2 SCs I have in his space into one force, his carrier would easily win. His problem is that the carrier can only be in one spot at a time. I split into three groups. The 3 DDs stay together and the 2 SCs split. Over the three turns there is a bunch of maneuver. I use a SC to kill a pipeline near his fleet. He in turn whacks the SC with his carrier full of fighters. I thought it was a carrier, but I wanted to make sure before the next economic phase so I knew whether or not I had to research Point Defense. I also wanted to draw his carrier to that system.

With his carrier there, on 5.3 I was able to hit his lone forward planet (Vulcan) with my 3 DDs. It had grown to Colony 3 and would have been full strength after the next economic phase. My 3 DDs (all with Attack 1) got two hits on the colony and eliminated it. I was able to pull this off because the DDs were at Move 2. My other SC hits another pipeline further disrupting his income. The Scout can't do too much damage on his own, but he can chase pipelines and harass his colonies. Meanwhile, the ships I built this turn (2 CAs) are now outside of his space.

Also this turn I hauled in a 10 point mineral from the center area of the board. This is one of the benefits of controlling the center like I did.

In the 6th economic phase I naturally research Point Defense and build Scouts to put it on. He builds another fully loaded carrier. BTW, because this has shaped up as a Carrier force verses a more traditional force, researching Tactics has become unimportant. Also, on this turn I bid 2 for turn order and win it so that I can go first.

My lone SC goes to one of his colonies (Orion) and starts working on reducing it. My 3 DDs maneuver to keep a Black Hole in between them and one of his carriers. On 6.2 they hit one of his colonies (Odyssey) and on 6.3 finish it off. One of his carrier groups then kills all 3 DDs with no losses on their part. In this game it is almost always worthwhile to sacrifice ships (not sure what their crews think about this) in order to destroy colonies. My CAs dance around some asteroids and move to help the SC working on Orion. He could pursue with his other Carrier, but instead pushes it toward my space. My SCs moving up from my home planet eventually meet them in the deep space portion of the map and win the day. The CAs and the SC finish off Orion.

At this point, he is down to just his home planet and 2 colonies. He is not bringing in any minerals and he has no trade income. The game is basically over and he surrenders the game (it would have probably taken me 2 more economic phases to finish his home planet).

Normally, games on the small map last a few more turns than this. In this one, I got up on him early and kept my foot on his throat. However, we played a little slow and were distracted by some other things (I was writing notes for this report, etc.). I would say that this scenario between experienced players will normally run an hour to an hour fifteen. For new players on the first time through it will probably take 2 hours. Of course, with Space Empires, there is always the chance that you have an epic game. There are times when the game will just perfectly see-saw back and forth. On those times, any scenario will go about an hour or two longer than normal.

It was a fun game and we were both itching to play again. We got another game in the next day on a larger map. Later this week I will write up that session report.
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Jonathan Harrison
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I have this game pre-ordered with GMT. Can't wait!
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Michael Pank
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Jim Krohn wrote:
In this one, I got up on him early and kept my foot on his throat.


Vicious! This sounds very exciting; can't wait for it to come out!
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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Jim Krohn wrote:
While this is a session report, I will give a bunch of thoughts on strategy along the way in order to help prepare you for your first game of Space Empires.

Thanks for providing that warning at the outset. I'll come back and read this after I've played enough games to develop my own ideas.
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Leo Zappa
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I can't wait! This is the most eagerly awaited of the half-dozen or so games I have on pre-order. SE4X sounds so freakin' awesome - MOO2 in cardboard! I love that the planets have cool SciFi sounding names like "Vulcan" and "Orion"!
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Paul - the
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Very excited about this game. Love that it can be played with 1-4 players. From your post it seems that you need different strategies for different numbers of players and that it's very dynamic. What's not to like.
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Jim Krohn
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You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
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Ahhh....my misspent youth...
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Quote:
Very excited about this game. Love that it can be played with 1-4 players. From your post it seems that you need different strategies for different numbers of players and that it's very dynamic. What's not to like.


Map size changes your strategies as well as how far you can get in the tech tree before first contact. It means that every scenario plays differently.

Then you can always mix in optional rules...
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Jim F
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I have zero interest in the final frontier but I must admit this game is starting to pull me in. It has a kind of old school/computer game feel to it and I think I can get some non-wargaming friends to give it a try. I really like the idea of developing different strategies through pursuing different tech trees. Ugggg. More expense...
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