[Adapted from an old BGG Geeklist posting.]

The Lyrans came in again and hit the remaining two battlestations on their border, and sent respectable force against the starbase at 0902. The Klingons came in and hit the majority of BATS on their border, but none of the three minor planets in reach (including the one in the neutral zone), leaving the small detachment I left on minor 1504 with nothing to do. The released portion of the Marquis’ Fleet reacted to his last moves and defended 1605, and my Reserves reinforced the SB attack and 1205.

(Only a general sense of movement. Operational movement = green. Reactions and Reserves = blue. Retreats = red. Retrograde = purple.)

Full losses for the turn:
Kzinti destroyed: 5xBATS
Crippled: CVE, 2xCLE, EFF
2 SIDS on SB 0902
Lyran destroyed: CC, 3xCA, 3xCW, CL, FF
Crippled: 3xCA, CL, DD, 3xFF
Klingon destroyed: D7, F5V, E4, E4A
Crippled: D7, 3xD6, 3xD5, F5L

The big SB battle only went three rounds, but played havoc with the Lyran fleet, which struggled to absorb all the damage. Worse, I finally succeeded on a pursuit roll, and killed a crippled CC. I’m still amazed at all the self-killed cruisers.

Review (for Belirahc’s benefit as much as anything else): There were a number of problems with Coalition play this turn, though lessons are being learned. After the shortage of scouts on the first turn, some four new ones were created this time (three Lyran, plus the extremely versatile D6D), which isn’t bad, as long as constructing them at this pace doesn’t continue. Scouts are handy to have around in F&E, though the advanced rules in Combined Ops can make larger numbers worthwhile as the EW-war heats up (but the lack of offensive power means overproducing them is no good either).

The Coalition generally sent much greater force into BATS-busting missions than was called for. This siphoned away forces from doing much else. While the two places I defended I could only do a round or two of damage before withdrawing because of the size of the Coalition forces, I should really be defending more important things than the border BATS. For instance, concentrating force on the SB-assault in 0902 would probably still not made that fight any better, but it would have attracted both Reserves, instead of letting one go to 1205. With leaner BATS-busting forces, the Klingons could have hit another 2-3 BATS or planets or put just enough on the 1304 SB to give me a real choice on what I was going to reinforce.

The Lyrans showed great intestinal fortitude at the SB, by sticking it out for three rounds against great Kzinti lines (though any line backed by a SB is pretty deadly; two 3CV groups are just icing on the cake). This is a good way to extend a close battle, and overload a defender. Things were close enough, that it could have worked. However, using Directed Damage all three rounds worked against this. The use of DirDam against fighter factors on the second round could have really paid off if the Lyrans were going to stick around a while (and I’ve had SB battles that went 8+ rounds…), but on two rounds DirDam was used to score SIDS. This is a particularly painful way to kill a base, and should only be done with both fleets have plenty of reserves to handle a protracted battle, as at that point it is the only way to force the defender to kill the base. Letting the damage fall on the first and third rounds would have forced the Kzinti to dig deep into their fleet to keep going, crippling most everything, self-killing ships, wrecking carrier groups, and taking voluntary SIDS. As it is, the Lyrans are out some very good ships, and most of the Kzinti damage (including the SIDS) will be repaired on the next turn.

Which brings up the point of crippling: Crippling almost everything can be a problem as it will flood the available repair facilities. On the other hand, you can only build so many ships, and they are much cheaper to repair than to build. Every killed ship is one that you will not have later. Since fighters are replaced for free, the use of carriers as damage sponges is especially important. Due to the cost of fighters, carriers are big investments, but taking damage on fighters is how the Alliance stays in the game, and the Coalition needs to follow suit as best it can (the Lyrans never do get much into the fighter game). The escorts make it hard for the other side to get rid of these valuable targets.

The Klingons got to see a D6M in action at 1605 (the last battle of the turn), and immediately got the idea. Maulers are essential to have on the attack, and help ease the pain of facing lots of fighters. I’m sure I’ll see a flurry of construction and conversions now.