Crossposted from the SFU blog on BGG.

Back in July, Carl Herzog went on the ADB forums and asked for a teaching game of Federation & Empire. After a little hesitation, I accepted, and also ended up with my Konya wa Hurricane game with Byron Sinor. Since then, the game with Carl has been slowly grinding forward, with lots of rules questions, clarifications, and various delays. The best delay was this:

Carl works with the USS Constitution museum, and was fully occupied for a couple weeks with the ceremonies surrounding the finish of her refit and relaunch.

Carl took the Coalition in the standard The Wind scenario, and hopefully we’ll at least get to the end of that. After a little bit of confusion on what was allowed, he ended up with a build schedule adapted from one I used the last time I started as the Coalition:

Klingons: D7C, TGA, D6, 8xD5, D5S, F5L, 4xF5, F5V, 3xE4
Lyrans: BC, TGC, 4xCW, 2xDW, DWS, 3xFF, MB, PDU

The Lyrans naturally did the typical thing  of lining up on the border, and moving against the three BATS facing them. I had a small force (CVL group + CL & FF) set up on 0803 and, except for one DF, the rest of the Count’s Fleet in the reserve. The DF reacted to 0803 as well, while the reserve went to 0703 and the Duke’s reserve went to 0701.

The six Lyran Home Fleet ships allowed closer to the border in 0707 did set up there, but ended up not moving, and later used Strategic Movement to stiffen the border. However, much of the Home Fleet was on 0608, and did move in to hit 0803.

Opening moves.

0701: Lyran: dest CL, DD, crip CW, FF; Kzinti: crip BC, CL
0703: Lyran: dest CA, FF, crip 2xCL, 2xDD, FF; Kzinti: dest BATS, capture FF
0803: Lyran: dest 2xDD, 2xFF; Kzinti: crip BC

The Lyran force in 0701 was an adequate BATS-busting force (six ships), but when the Duke’s Reserve showed up, it was completely outclassed. Carl nearly attempted to fight it out anyway, but took my advice to run while he could after I accepted the first round approach battle, allowing him to keep something.

The best Lyran force was in 0703, and it rolled well enough on the first round to direct-cripple the BATS, and then killed it on the second round. I retreated onto adjacent BATS 0803; most of the Lyran force was crippled, so I could have done a lot of damage if I stuck around, though he’d kept a crippled CA on the line, which I killed with DirDam.

After I retreated onto it, Carl was facing three Kzinti carrier groups and retreated out after the approach battle. He decided not to put non-cripples in his pursued force to prevent further ships from being crippled, but lost all his cripples that way. (I advised for putting more ships in, but he’s trying to work out for himself advantages of repairs vs replacements…. It might take another turn or two to sink in, but it is going to be expensive.)

A decent line of ships were held back, and formed the Lyran reserve on 0404, while new construction used free Strategic Movement to go directly to the line of BATS.

Overall, killing a single BATS is not bad for the initial Lyran turn; they just don’t have enough, close enough, to get through Kzinti defenses on the first turn. Carl is being nicely aggressive, and if he can keep that, he probably has a good shot at doing a lot of damage next turn when the Klingons come in. (I’ll admit I have trouble swallowing the damage necessary for a strongly-defended SB.) Watching everything he’s going through is a reminder of just how much is going on in F&E. I at least had the advantage of some solo work (ages ago) to figure out a lot of basics before I started on my Vassal gaming career.