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Subject: A seemingly small mistake triggers a huge comeback rss

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Matt Smith
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(The purpose of this session report is not to provide an extremely detailed, turn-by-turn report, but to show how what appeared to be a lopsided win for the Klingons turned into an extremely close game with a tense finish.)

Stardate 01.06.2012

My friend Bob and I decided to tackle ST:FC on a Friday evening. I had played five times, but this was only Bob's second game. He didn't find his first play as fun as he expected, but being a trooper, decided to give it another go. I gave Bob his choice of sides, and he chose the Federation. We decided to play the standard 10 VP game, with the standard board layout. Next we marshalled our fleets:

Federation: Voyager (3), Excelsior (3), Defiant (3), Equinox (1)
Klingon: Maht-h'a (5), T'ong (4), Qhondoq (1)

The Federation entered the new region of space first. Their speedy ships had no trouble exploring several nebulas, and laying down some control markers. The Voyager, true to form, couldn't avoid trouble and ran into the Nexus. The encounter occured close to the right edge of the board, so the Nexus wasn't going to be around very long.

The Klingons moved next. After exploring a nebula, the Qhondoq ran into Tyken's Rift. It layed down a control marker to boost its engines for an escape attempt next turn. Meanwhile, the T'ong moved around the Rift and discovered a Latinum deposit. I next moved the more powerful Maht-h'a into the Rift location, to ensure I could successfully free the Qhondoq next turn.

The Federation explored an adjacent pair of stable wormholes, and laid down more control markers. Bob was trying to complete a mission to have control of six adjacent locations.

After delivering the Latinum (1 VP) to my Command Post, the T'ong went back out exploring and ran smack into the Borg, who took over the ship (Alien Takeover encounter). Down one ship, the Maht-h'a powered up her engines and successfully left Tyken's Rift (1 VP) and moved toward the T'ong, with the intent to beam the Borg off the ship. Unfortunately, I choose to move through an unexplored space on my way there, and encounted a supernova! Both of my ships (and the Borg) were in range of the supernova, but only the little Qhondoq avoided taking damage. Then my ships were blown back to my Command Post. Bob and I ruled the Borg ship would stay put, because it had no Command Post to move toward. We then replaced the seven location tiles affected by the supernova, which erased my control marker and all of the locations I had previously explored. I was back to square one!

The Federation kept exploring, and kept finding nebulas and open space. Encounters were non-existent.

The Qhondoq explored toward the Borg ship, while the Maht-h'a repaired.

The Federation finally completed their control mission for 2 VP.

The Maht-h'a reached the Borg ship (T'ong) and beamed off the alien presence (1 VP). My Klingon fleet was restored to full strength! Luckily, the T'ong was now at a class M planet, and I had a mission to build a colony, so I set to work completing this mission. The Qhondoq helped build the colony, because it got an engine boost for each influence action taken. The Maht-h'a went exploring for a nearby nebula, so it could complete a science mission and get an additional VP.

Meanwhile, the Federation starting exploring and placing control markers like mad. I figured Bob must have a big influence mission, but I had no actions to waste on trying to mess with his plans. I had several science missions to complete, and a colony to build. After completing the colony mission (1 VP) and another influence mission (1 VP), I went ahead and built the starbase (1 VP). Then the T'ong went to help the Maht-h'a with a level 20 sensor test on a nebula (2 VP, +1 VP for the Maht-h'a's first science mission), while the Qhondoq hung out at the starbase.

At this point, the score was Klingons 9, Federation 3. I was feeling bad for Bob, because he didn't seem to be able to complete missions, and all of my encounters were worth VP, while his were not (he couldn't do the Nexus before it left the board). He did get the Alternate Reality encounter, which replaced the Equinox with the Yosemite. This actually helped him complete some science missions. Regardless, I was only 1 VP from winning, and I had a mission to do a level 20 test on a star. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, or so I thought.

By now, the Federation had explored a lot of the board. Bob finally gained control of over half the board, which gave him 4 VP. Now the score was 9-7 in favor of the Klingons. Bob explored a location next to my starbase (where all of my ships were hanging out, and encountered a Shockwave, which damaged the T'ong and Maht-h'a.

On my next turn, I repaired both damaged ships by skipping my movement, which saved my action tokens for performing the sensor test on the star. Here is where I made the critical mistake, and Bob played a fortunate card. Even though all of my ships were in the same location, I only used the Maht-h'a and the T'ong (total of 16 sensors) to perform the sensor test. Bob used his ship in the adjacent location to hit me with a Sensor Pulse, which gave me -5 sensors. This meant the test couldn't succeed. If I had included the Qhondoq in the test, I would have only needed to roll a 3 on the die.

In retaliation for this outrage, I sent the Qhondoq to attack the Voyager (I had a mission to destroy an enemy ship with a single, smaller ship). Hailing Frequencies preventing me from firing on the Voyager, which also allowed Bob to get another VP from a secret mission (do not take damage as the target in combat). The score was now 9-8.

On Bob's next turn, he completed a mission to perform a level 15 sensor test on an enemy ship (which I had conveniently and stupidly delivered to his location). This gave him 10 VP. But he was the first player, so I would get another turn. Because of that, he used his remaining actions to remove a control marker I had placed on a location and scored another VP from an influence mission. The score was now 11-9 in favor of the Federation. Bob moved his remaining ships as far from mine as possible, to prevent attacks.

On my turn I was able to assign a crew member to the Qhondoq, giving it +6 sensors. This allowed me to scan a habitable planet that the Federation explored, which gave me 1 VP. The score was now 11-10. All I had left to try was the level 20 sensor test of a star. The Maht-h'a and T'ong combined to have 16 sensors, and neither Bob nor I could play a card to affect the test. It all came down to the roll of one die, with a 50-50 chance of success. I rolled the die...and got a one. I had lost!

Bob had rallied from six points down, when I only needed one more point to win. It was an epic comeback, and a very exciting end to what had been a mostly lopsided game. There had been only the one aborted attack the entire game, which was very unusual. It turned out 4 of my 5 combat missions were at the bottom of my mission deck, and I never got to them. Bob also had a mostly science and influence fleet.

Bob said he enjoyed his second game a lot more than the first. We're both looking forward to more plays. And the Klingon's are looking forward to getting their revenge! devil

EDITS - Typos and grammar.
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Kearn Reif
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Re: A seemingly small mistake triggers a huge comback
Great report. I played my first game last night with my friend who loves Star Trek. We got a few things wrong but both of us can't wait to play it again.
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Re: A seemingly small mistake triggers a huge comback
Great AAR! How long did it take you to play?
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Matt Smith
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Umpapa wrote:
Great AAR! How long did it take you to play?

Just shy of two hours. But we would have been done 20 minutes earlier if I had used all three ships on that first sensor test on the star (and rolled at least a three). Also, Bob is a methodical player, so we don't typically have short game sessions. I could see this particular game taking about 90 minutes with a different opponent.
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7 of 8
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This was as fun to read as I'm sure it was to play.
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Great report. Your experience was similar to my first time (and I haven't played a second yet since this was just last Saturday.) I was winning 6 - 1, playing the Federation, and he came back to win it. The missions I pulled weren't working out for me toward the end of the gane and I just couldn't get VP's like I was in the beginning of the game. I couldn't get the Missions cycled out fast enough to pull something easy. At the end, I had 9 VP's and he had me pinned into my Command Center so that I couldn't break away in time to get one more VP and didn't have enough firepower to take him out before get got his last VP before me.

By the way, our first game took A LOT longer than two hours because we were thumbing through the rules so much, but we still had a great time.
 
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Matt Smith
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cabelos wrote:
Great report. Your experience was similar to my first time (and I haven't played a second yet since this was just last Saturday.) I was winning 6 - 1, playing the Federation, and he came back to win it. The missions I pulled weren't working out for me toward the end of the gane and I just couldn't get VP's like I was in the beginning of the game. I couldn't get the Missions cycled out fast enough to pull something easy. At the end, I had 9 VP's and he had me pinned into my Command Center so that I couldn't break away in time to get one more VP and didn't have enough firepower to take him out before get got his last VP before me.

By the way, our first game took A LOT longer than two hours because we were thumbing through the rules so much, but we still had a great time.

The first game Bob and I played took over 3 hours (my wife says it was closer to 4). The time drops significantly with repeated plays.
 
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