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Subject: Sarah and I learn Space Empires 4X rss

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Merric Blackman
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Sarah and I played our first game of Space Empires tonight; it was a very entertaining game, which we both enjoyed thoroughly.

Sarah made one mistake that would cost her when setting up: she placed her homeworld at the far corner of her territory, whilst my homeworld was in the centre back row of my domain (we were using the short 2-player set-up). Sarah quickly discovered that her exploration options were quite limited, especially as her newly-discovered ships had a long way to go before they could reach her borders.

Meanwhile, my ships were discovering black holes and being swallowed up; after two turns, I was down to 2 combat ships! This didn't seem like enough, so I was having to build replacements - but, instead of scouts, I was building destroyers! Sarah was doing likewise. At least, I think she was - the hidden research and ships were enhancing the game significantly. Sarah and I got into our first combats, and more ships got destroyed. And then, Sarah realised that she'd left a brand new colony unguarded... I moved my scout in and destroyed it, and Sarah began to slip behind.

She also was finding my discoveries in the Neutral Zone to be annoying - two wrecked ships which I towed back to my forward colonies and gave me advances in Tactics and Defense technology. Sarah, who was already suffering in production, didn't need the extra swing against her.

Then Sarah attacked using her secret weapon... A Cruiser! Where did that come from?!? The hidden technology and ship rules had worked again; the tension built. Sarah proved much better than me at attacking in force, and thus gaining the extra attack bonus to counter my better defense technology, but she wasn't so lucky with the dice and so, though I lost a few ships, mostly I was able to hold her off (or retreat before the attack was significant). Sarah was also the first to research the second level of Movement technology, which was a shock as well as her ships moved into attack from a position I thought was too far away.

Sarah was able to assemble two small fleets, and harassed me with them. Slowly, I gathered my scattered exploration fleet and began to fight back. By menacing Sarah's colonies, I stopped her moving into the far reaches of her side of the board, and the mining ships that wanted to travel there were stopped by the presence of a couple of small fleets of my own that would destroy them if they moved in too much. In fact, they were decoy fleets, but Sarah didn't need to know that!

I spent a couple more turns building up my economy and technology, and finally struck: Sarah was able to beat off the first attack, but not the second. And my secret weapon - a Battle Cruiser - was revealed. Sarah had a base, but her ships took a pounding and eventually the base was destroyed, her cruiser fled, and her colony was reduced in size.

At this point Sarah resigned, seeing the future (and it was a bleak one for her).

Despite being behind for most of the game, Sarah really enjoyed the game - there wasn't a point where she didn't (save for a few diabolical rolls). It's definitely a game that we'll play again, and we just need to see who are the right people to play it with to make a 3 or 4 player game.

Our available funds (minerals + colonies) developed as follows:

Econ Turn
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
Merric
25
32
30
32
48
50
52
54
48
Sarah
25
27
42
31
40
40
35
35
36













Technology Levels
Merric: Ship Size 4, Attack 1, Defense 2, Tactics 1, Move 2, Ship Yards 2, Terraforming 0, Exploration 0
Sarah: Ship Size 3, Attack 1, Defense 1, Tactics 1, Move 2, Ship Yards 1, Terraforming 0, Exploration 0


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David Debien
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Great report. Love the use of the decoys, I have yet to use them effectively. Looks like there were plenty of surprises for both of you. Wait until you use the advanced rules!
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Ocean Druen
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Sounds like a good short and furious game. I’ve played both the short and the medium games and it is amazing how much of a difference the extra two rows of hexes has on the game.

How much of an effect were the two space wrecks? The additional defense and tactics will give a huge advantage (more if this was with only the basic rules). Reading this it seems those two free technologies tipped the balance.
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Michael Pank
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MerricB wrote:
At least, I think she was - the hidden research and ships were enhancing the game significantly.


This.

The FoW system is one of my favorite parts of the game. Talk about analysis paralysis!
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Merric Blackman
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DarkTori wrote:
How much of an effect were the two space wrecks? The additional defense and tactics will give a huge advantage (more if this was with only the basic rules). Reading this it seems those two free technologies tipped the balance.


They might have had more effect if we'd been in a balanced position. As it was, Sarah's economy was significantly behind me in the second half of the game due to her distance from uncolonised planets. The battles we had were *mostly* balanced, with Sarah winning some and me winning some, but at the end of the game I was able to start destroying a second colony of Sarah's, and the writing was on the wall.

Cheers,
Merric
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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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This is a great session report!
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Merric Blackman
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Thanks, Jim! We had a great time. Looking forward to playing it again; with any luck, a week from now.

Cheers,
Merric
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mateenyweeny
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Great report. I'd love to hear if you could approximate how long it took to make it through the game.
 
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Merric Blackman
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About 2 hours or thereabouts, I think - with us learning the rules as we went along.

Cheers,
Merric
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Jay Sheely
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Very fun game! We played 3 player last night. I really like how no one knows what the other person has or has researched until combat - and then you'll only know part of what they have. Such a cool game!
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