Crossposted from the SFU blog on BGG.

Bel surprised me by cancelling a number of smaller hulls across all three empires on his turn. The Klingons are struggling with a massive cripple backlog, but there was spare money left in all three treasuries.

My stat tracking shows this is the highest amount of stored EPs the Coalition has had since turn 2, and Bel’s comments indicate that he’s looking forward to the shift to 75% economy on turn 16.

Bel naturally leaped on the out of supply Hydran fleet, and swiftly reclaimed planet 0518, while the Lyrans sent a tug over to the Hydran capital and started setting up a MB at Hydramax.

After that, the next goal of Bel’s movement was to engage Federation forces in the central Klingon Empire, and force them off of the two planets I’d captured. Notably, he pulled the five ships (including a C8 and D7C) still administratively marked as the North Fleet out of Sector C to help deal with this. There was very little movement near Kzinti space, only picking on a couple ships outside the range of all my reserves.

The Romulans continued their invasion, heavily hitting everything around the 7th Fleet and 6th Fleet SBs. They did not drive further into Federation space, instead aiming to widen the gap in the frontier.

The kicked anthill

Activity in the central Klingon Empire

The Romulan invasion continues

0519: Planet captured
0418: SSC: Hydran: dest KN
0317: Hydran: dest LN; Klingon: crip D5
0908: SSC: Kzinti: retreat; Lyran: retreat
0705: SSC: Kzinti: dest FF
2518: Fed: dest CL, FF; Klingon: dest D5, recapture planet
2214: SSC: Fed: retreat; Klingon: retreat; planet goes neutral
1714: Fed: dest NCD; Klingon: crip D7C, D6, D6M, F5E, capture NCD & planet
1815: SSC: Fed: dest FF
1715: SSC: Fed: dest FF
1713: Fed: crip NCL, CL, FF; Klingon: crip 3xF5
1514: SSC: Fed: crip FF, retreat; Klingon: crip F5, recapture planet
3613: Fed: dest BATS, CL; Romulan: crip SP
2816: Fed: dest BATS, crip 2xNCL, FF, FFS; Romulan: crip SP, SPB, SK, 2xSKE, 2xBH
3016: Fed: dest BATS; Romulan: crip SP, SN
2915: Retreat after refused approach
3611: Retreat after refused approach
3711: Fed: crip FF; Romulan: crip KRC, FH, SP
3612: Fed: crip CC, CA, FF, dest FF, 2xPDU; Rom: dest SKB, SKE, K4, crip KE, WE, capture planet

I would have loved to re-open supply to the main Hydran fleet with the Hydran reserve, but I realized that combat supply is only re-evaluated at the moment that battle hex is resolved. If I picked a fight to re-open supply, and that hex was evaluated first, I’d have to win the fight so as not to retreat back off map, and the reserve wasn’t that big. So I reinforced the fight with a few ships that were at full combat power, and luckily only lost a DD this time, and have retreated into supply.

1714 was our first fight between CVAs (USS Napoleon and C8V Vindicator), but the Klingons had about a half-line of reserves, while the Federation was a ship short of a full line. As it was, I had a slightly higher ComPot, and rolled one less to do the same damage. Bel’s second ship capture in as many turns is annoying, but is still a long ways from the seven ships I’ve captured.

Bel ended up retreating out of both SB battles without fighting. In one case, I had no fighters to take damage on, and in the other, he had a fairly heavy line he could put up. I expected him to come in for at least a round on both, so held out for the extra firepower of the SB. In the second one, he was thinking of overrunning an adjacent planet, but since there was an alternate hex free of my forces, he had to go there or do a fighting retreat. Since the planet was where my second reserve had gone, that wouldn’t have worked out.

BATS 3612 had minor forces from both of us, and dragged out across five rounds of largely crippled lines as it could go either way. He had a bit more in the hex, but I took my damage to preserve ComPot, and had the bigger line for a couple rounds. Damage rolls were even until ComPot was too low for it to matter much. In the end, I had to retreat, but the three survivors are on the 6th Fleet SB, where they can be repaired.

While I can’t be happy about losing more border regions to the Romulan navy, the invasion is going much slower than I feared. I figured there’d be a major fights over both SBs this turn, leaving them with a lot of damage and cripples to try and make good.

In Klingon space, I’ll say that I had held onto things longer than I expected, and Bel is having to focus a lot of attention in the central empire to kick me out, while Kzinti and Federation forces continue to strip the northern empire of bases.