Last night we played a 4 player game in Vassal. I got to start and the races taken before me were Orion, Hydran and Descendants. Double copies of both improved hull and advanced robotics were available, so I needed to take a race, which could instantly pick improved hull, so Orion would not get it. I chose Eridani.
I researched Improved Hull and luckily Hydrans did so as well, which meant that Orion had to go without.
I explored just a single tile in ring I, it had a single ancient guarding 1 science, 1 money and 1 adv. materials. It's probably my favourite sector to find, as it's also worth 3 VP's and it has an artifact symbol.
I upgraded dreadnought with shield and improved hull for the next round. Then I passed, because I wanted to get advanced robotics on the next round before others take it.
Orion (my neighbor), built a 2nd cruiser, but didn't attack the ancients he found in ring I yet. Hydrans changed ambassadors with both Orion and Descendants. They also moved an interceptor 2 spaces away from their homeworld, so Orion could not rush to Hydran homeworld on turn 1.
Me and Descendants researched advanced robotics, so Hydrans had to go without. I built dreadnought, upgraded improved hull to interceptor and dreadnought and moved them to the ancient sector. Interceptor is not needed in that combat and there's a risk that it would get destroyed, but I wanted to save half an action by moving it there now.
Meanwhile both Hydrans and Descendants found a lot of sweet discovery tiles, which were mostly used for points. Orion attacked his ring I sector with unupgraded cruisers and won without losses. Orion also explored ring II sector between us, hoping for ambassador exchange, but he found an ancient instead.
Orion starts the turn by moving 2 cruisers to center, which was my plan, but now I'd have to forget that plan and come up with something else. I researched neutron bombs, hoping that Orion would leave his sectors defenseless while attacking the center, but he didn't.
I explored ring I and found a system with 1 science and 1 material. I upgraded my interceptor with fusion drive to be able to use the neutron bombs if opportunity comes and dreadnought with plasma cannon. Then I move them to the single ancient Orion explored on last turn.
Interceptor almost gets destroyed in the combat, so it had to flee, but dreadnought clears the sector. Orion is lucky against GCDS and wins with no losses using 2 cruisers with a plasma cannon. We exchange ambassadors with Orion. Now I'm producing 2 materials, 8 science and 6 money each round. It's not horrible, but it's very much less than what Hydran or Orion get each turn.
I explored ring II and found 2 ancients guarding 1 science, 1 money and 1 material. Very nice sector, but I need to upgrade my dreadnought slightly to destroy the ancients comfortably. I pick Fusion source and upgrade it to the dreadnought with 2nd plasma cannon and then move dreadnought to the ancients.
Meanwhile, Hydran purchases Positron computers and Plasma missiles (he already had bombs) and betrays Descendants, destroying a pair of their dreadnoughts and takes one Descendant system in ring I. Orion sees this as an opportunity and betrays me by attacking my ring I sector with 2 cruisers. He could do that because Hydrans and Descendants were pinning each other.
My interceptor flees from the combat against Orion to my home sector and the dreadnought destroys 2 ancients, Orion bombs my ring I sector, which actually helps me because otherwise I would've had to bankrupt my other ring I sector.
I start the turn by picking up last available Positron Computers, which meant that Orion didn't get any computers before they have science to Gluon. It also meant that my dreadnoughts could easily wipe out Orion cruisers now. I upgraded a pair of computers to my dreadnoughts and Orion fled from my ring I sector to center and to my other ring I sector.
I had 7 materials and 14 science, which meant that I could either build 2nd dreadnought or take quantum grid, but not both. It seemed that I didn't need 2nd dread right now, so I just moved my single dread to my ring I sector, now held by Orion, and purchased the grid. I also moved my interceptor from my home sector to the empty ring II sector between me and Orion. My plan was to adjust production with the white cube slot and to use the system later for Artifact key.
I also made my interceptors slightly more threatening by upgrading plasma cannon and fusion source into them. Orion bombs my 1 material, 1 science sector, helping me yet again economically. But after graveyard cubes were returned, my material track drooped to 0.
Meanwhile, Hydrans took another Descendant sector with their plasma missile Cruisers easily.
My production was now ridiculously low, I had just 7 cubes on the board for 10 money and 8 science production and nothing else. I had 9 materials and 12 science stockpiled, though. The only adv. production tech which had been available so far was advanced labs, which nobody wanted, so others were not producing huge amounts either, but more than me. Descendants had also some troubles, having lost two valuable sectors and dreadnoughts against Hydrans.
I explored ring III sector north from my double ancient sector. The sector itself was useless, but this also gave me a route to Descendant / Hydran area, although the distance was long. But it was quite safe to make that route, as Hydrans had no energy sources or drives researched.
I research artifact key for 10 science and 5 materials and then build 2nd dreadnought and 1 interceptor. I prepare some attacks by upgrading my dreadnoughts' drives to fusion and plug in 2nd fusion drive to my interceptors.
Hydrans betrayed Orion and attacked center with his cruisers. I see my opportunity and attack the Orion home sector with a dreadnought after Orion has moved some of his ships from there to center. Orion tries to defend both sectors, but fails at both.
I had a lot of actions, thanks to low number of systems and quantum grid, so I could perform my moves after my opponents. Hydrans built some defense, but my interceptor with movement 4 found a defenseless Hydran sector between center and Descendant homeworld and bombed it away.
Descendants built 2 dreadnoughts next to the system, which I had taken from Hydrans. I had no material production, so I moved my interceptor back to my own area and also attacked double ancient sector behind Orion homeworld with one of my dreadnoughts. Orion of course then took his home sector back, but I didn't care as I would retake it on the next turn.
Hydrans attacked my 2nd dread in my ring I sector, but I had a plan for that. I researched plasma missiles and upgraded them to my dreadnought, beating Hydran cruiser initiative. He realized his mistake and attacked Descendants instead, but lost 1 cruiser against my dreadnought.
Advanced economy also became available on this turn, so I researched it and filled the world with orange cubes, taking influence action 3 times. This maxed my money production, which was important because I wanted to do actions after my opponents.
Hydrans destroy a pair of Descendant dreadnoughts again, but they don't have enough discs to take over the system.
I start the turn by moving my interceptor to the pile of Hydran cruisers, so he doesn't get to influence that system now. I also upgrade missiles to my interceptors, beating Hydran cruiser initiative, so he has to waste upgrade actions by putting hulls to his cruisers.
I also research tachyon drive, because it ensures that I will win initiative wars against Hydran ships. Then I retake Orion homeworld using my dreadnought. Hydrans attack and take the Descendant homeworld.
My brave interceptor lost against Hydran cruiser with 25% winning odds.
I'm in a comfortable position, because I calculate that I will win the game by keeping the current positions. So I just spend the turn by threatening to take the center with my high-initiative dreadnoughts. Hydrans have to spend their actions in an unproductive initiative war and don't get many extra points on that turn. Descendants build a pair of dreadnoughts again, attack their homeworld and Hydran homeworld, but lose both battles, because the dreadnoughts were optimized to fight missiles and Hydrans decided to drop the missiles in the end.
This turn I just research some tech for points and take one of remaining Orion sectors for 2 additional points with an interceptor.
Eridani: 17 systems, 14 reputation, 8 tech, 6 discoveries = 45
Hydran: 15 systems, 9 reputation, 9 tech, 6 discoveries, -2 traitor = 37
Descendants and Orion both had about 22 points.
There may be some minor errors in that map, because I reconstructed it today from my memory. I figured it'd be quite hard to follow the session report without a map, so that's how the world looked like on turn 9.
a classic game showing you why you are highly unlikely to get a high quality game on vassel
I'd be interested in what errors you feel folks made!