|Eat snacks and attempt to rule the galaxy!
||[Saturday 28th January 2017 at 10:00 pm]
So today I trundled round to Jonners' to "eat snacks and attempt to rule the galaxy!". Sounds fun! We managed a fairly epic 7-way game of Eclipse (using an extra player from the Rise of the Ancients expansion), and I powered the Orion Hegemony to a very sneaky win.
This was the board layout about mid-way through the game. Going clockwise from top is me in yellow, Trefor in black, David in blue, Paddy in red, Matt in white, Oliver in green and Jonners with grey.
I'd done a lot of exploration early on and kept on running into clusters of ancient ships - that hex right at the top has three of the blighters on it - which combined with failing to find much in the way of money or science resources meant I found it a struggle to do much on each turn. On the other hand I had no end of material resources so with careful trading I wasn't completely scuppered.
Looking back at it there was a lot of military posturing in the mid-game, with large fleets very carefully not engaging in combat just yet. I made an abortive attempt at one of Jonners' bases early on and one of this interceptors rather efficiently chased me back out, and spent the rest of the turns going through a succession of ancient ships - the Orion Hegemony starts with fairly decent warships, gets a cruiser at the start, and I also discovered a second cruiser early on in the exploration. Trefor and David appeared to not be up to much, but in reality were secretly upgrading their fleets to be downright nasty (David in particular stuck oodles of Plasma Missiles on all his ships and I spent most of the game very carefully not engaging them).
Alas, the peace was not to last. Jonners, David and Trefor made raids on bits of my system - I lost some ground to David and Trefor, but booted Jonners back out. Finally in the last turn all the little brush wars erupted and everyone piled into combat. Paddy and Matt decided to throw their entire fleets at each other to settle things, Jonners and Oliver fought over the centre, and I got embroiled with six different combats against David, Trefor, Jonners, and the ancients.
The undefended hex at the far left I nabbed immediately, and the ancient ships were no match for a pair of cruisers upgraded with two Plasma Cannons and two Positron Computers (giving two attacks per cruiser, +4 to hit, and two damage per hit). The rest of the battles were... less successful. I traded a cruiser against Trefor, completely failed to destroy anything of Jonners', and David blew my entire fleet away with his opening salvo of missiles. I'd once again optimised my ships as glass cannons by not bothering with shields or armour and instead relying on initiative, superior computers, and plenty of firepower. This tactic is less effective when the enemy has missiles and so gets to shoot first anyway.
Meanwhile Paddy and Matt duelled over the one hex linking their territories in what degenerated into a war of attrition, eventually settled by Paddy's fleet being equipped with computers and so getting bonuses on the to-hit rolls. And finally it was time for Jonners and Oliver to have at it - Jonners put up a strong fight, but Oliver's fleet proved too strong and handily splatted the surprisingly weak ancient ship in the centre.
In the end I managed a substantial win purely from the number of battles fought - each battle scores you a victory point tile even if you lose it, and I fought 11 skirmishes during the game (while finding ancient ships is a right pain from an exploration point of view, it's quite handy for scoring victory points).