Crossposted from the SFU blog on BGG.

Alliance survey rolls were strong this turn; especially the Kzinti who got 16 (+2 from a PT) on three dice, after rolling 15 last turn. Overall Alliance income was up, mostly from the Federation, which had regained a bit more control of their own territory.

Federation: TG, NCA, 12xNCL, 4xDW, DWA, 11xFF, DN+->CVA, CW->F-CWE
Kzinti: TGC, 2xCM, LTT, 4xFFK, 1xFKE, 3xFF, CVL->CVD
Gorn: DNG, BC, CM, TG, HD, LTT, 2xBDE, 2xDD, FCR, CL->CV, CL->CLE, CL->CCH

The Alliance continued showing the signs of a cash crunch by subbing a lot of ships to smaller hulls, and much to my surprise, building no new carriers. Instead the Federation converted an existing DN+ into a CVA, while the Kzinti converted a CVL into a CVD. I’m used to seeing the Kzinti occasionally convert their CVLs into the larger CV, but not having played with CVDs before I hadn’t considered that conversion.

As usual, Alliance raids went well. The Hydrans raided province garrisons and the THR took out two Klingon ships for no losses, while the Lyrans fought off the raiding RN with three ships for no losses on either side beyond fighters and a wounded PT. (We recently realized that PTs get wounded much more often in SSC than we’d thought. Raiders with PTs on board is a good way to get a lot of them wounded.) The Kzinti raided two garrisons in their space, killing a DW, while forcing another to cripple and retreat. However, he’d meant to force my garrison off of planet 1202, and there was still a HDD there. The Federation hit two province garrisons in their own space as well as a G2 patrolling an ’empty’ province in the Empire, killing it, a DW, F5, and crippling a second F5. The Gorns hit a Romulan province garrison in Federation space and one in their own space; both ships missed their evasion rolls (again), and were destroyed.

Movement started with the expected every-other-turn Hydran move onto their capital, while also pinning down the Lyran reserve in the area. The Kzinti force in 1001 went after the Lyran SB on their border, leaving pinning forces on the BATS in front of it, and fighting the Lyran garrison in Kzinti space. Next, a force moved out of the Barony, picked up some extra ships over in 1802, and then headed back to the major planet in 1502.

And then everything turned into a disaster.

I had expected (for the last few turns) moves against the string of supply points from the Klingon border into Kzinti space. Certainly, a major move against 1504 was going to happen at some time soon. With how comparatively weak the North Fleet had gotten, I expected to see it last turn. This turn, I had some good reserves in the area, and expected to hold enough things to get the reshuffled FRD facilities into operation. But I had blinded myself to the fact that though I had forces blocking a direct move from the 7th Fleet on 2106, the 4th Fleet could easily pin all of that, allowing Byron to hit the Northern Reserve SB in in 1509, which is just what he did at this point.

Then the 3rd Fleet set out for 1611 again, diverting a few ships to claim NZ hexes and join the 4th Fleet along the way. If I had thought of it at the time, I could have reacted a ship into 2111 as he left, and then sent a reserve to that hex to win the fight, which could have blocked retrograde for the 3rd Fleet (he’d likely retreat off the planet to get in range). But I didn’t think of that until I was looking at reserves.

The western Gorn-Romulan border turned out to be less active than I thought as the Gorn 5th Fleet moved in towards the border, and then stopped to pick off a single SNB, while the Romulan navy stayed in place in case someone else went for the BATS later. Instead, he hit three of the four BATS further away from the Federation frontier.

Hydran offensives.

The Kzinti Strike Back

Further trouble in Klingon space.

Limited offensives.

Most of my reserves were pinned, but all three Romulan reserves were free to shore up defenses at three of the four spots he hit. The one free Lyran reserve was needed to save their starbase, and the one free Klingon reserve had two choices, but wasn’t sufficient for either one.

0519: SSC: Klingon: dest F5L, F5
0418: SSC: Klingon retreat
0718: SSC: Klingon: dest E4A
0716: SSC: Lyran: dest FF
0715: SSC: Hydran retreat
0703: SSC: Lyran retreat
1202: SSC: Lyran: dest HDD
1103: SSC: Lyran: dest cripDW
1503: SSC: Lyran: crip CW; Klingon: crip E4
1703: SSC: Klingon: dest E4
1907: SSC: Klingon: dest TGA
2308: SSC: Klingon: dest F5L
2407: SSC: Klingon: dest F5
4009: SSC: Romulan cloaked evasion
4808: SSC: Romulan cloaked evasion
3313: SSC: Romulan cloaked evasion
3314: SSC: Romulan: crip SNB
2810: SSC: both sides retreat
0617: Klingon: dest E4
0517: Klingon: dest D6M; Hydran: dest LN
0518: Klingon: dest F5E; Hydran: dest LN
0115: Lyran: dest 2xDW, FF, crip CW; Hydran: dest TR, crip CU
0404: Lyran: crip NCA; Kzinti: crip SF
0504: Retreat after denied approach
1407: Klingon: 2xPDU, MON; Kzinti: crip BC, capture planet
1506: Klingon: crip D5, F5; Lyran: dest cripDDG, FRD, crip STT; Kzinti: dest FFK, capture planet
1405: Kzinti: dest cripFF
1307: Klingon: dest BATS, crip D6, 2xF5W; Kzinti: crip 3xCM, 2xDD, SF
1504: Klingon: dest D6M, E4A, LAV, crip D7C, F5, FTL, FTS; Kzinti: crip LTT, SAD, dest CLD, SAD, capture planet
1502: Lyran: crip BC; Kzinti: dest FFK
1509: Klingon: dest F5J; Lyran: dest FRD; Federation: crip 2xFF
1708: Lyran: crip CW, DW; Federation: dest NCL
1611: Klingon: 2xPDU; Federation captures planet
2006: Klingon: dest F5E; Federation: dest NCL
2505: Klingon: crip D6; Federation: crip FF
2610: Klingon: dest MD5, F5L, crip D7C, D5; Gorn: dest CCH; Federation: crip 2xNCL, capture planet
3311: Romulan: dest SKE; Federation: SKE captured
3415: Romulan: crip FHF, KR; Federation: dest 2xNCL, crip FF
3315: Romulan dest cripSNB
4310: Romulan: dest FHF; Gorn: dest HD
4710: Retreat after declined approach
4910: Romulan: dest BATS, WE; Gorn: crip HD
4809: Romulan: dest SK

The small battles around Hydran space picked off a number of ships, but a poor roll in 0715 left the Lyran squadron there, though it couldn’t do more than force a retreat on a good roll. An E4A sacrificed itself over the planet in 0718 while the D5 retreated into the province proper, holding it for the next Coalition turn. The capital battle didn’t follow quite the same script as last time, with the Hydran force staying in place after taking it, even while retreating back to 0416 after the main pinning battle in front of the hex.

I had thought the HDD had survived the battle in 1202 (crippled), since he only had two ships to pursue with. However, he pursued with just a BF, and since the ‘entire force’ was fast, it could automatically catch the cripple and kill it.

The Kzinti had put just enough on 1001 to be able to kill a SB, and as I expected, they hit the Lyran SB in 0404, forcing me to send a reserve to save it. Since the retreat had to go over the BATS 0504, I retreated with him to save that base too, but it forced me to move my cripples off the repair facility as part of the retreat.

I expected Byron to make sure of the Klingon FRD in 1504, during slow retreat if nothing else. But instead he dropped damage at the planet (when it wasn’t even in form) and took out the LAV and its E4A escort during pursuit. This had been the major Klingon staging point for the front, but there was more than enough Kzintis to take the entire (reduced) North Fleet, with 96 fighter factors available.

The Federation had way more in 3311 than the Romulans, who still had too much to withdraw easily, so the left behind a KR as the flagship and two SKEs and K5S, and everything successfully evaded other than one SKE, which was promptly captured. Overall, not too bad for the odds involved, but the capture still stung.

I was surprised by the places Byron did and did not pull out of after combat. The Klingons are in a lot of trouble, with the Kzinti hanging on to the planet in Klingon space they’ve captured, and the Federation leaving a five-ship force on 1611. However, there’s no Gorn ships left in Romulan space. The good news is that the Kzinti reserves are two ships each, but the Federation has reserves full of NCLs and FFs. I’m going to have to find some way to break his momentum in Kzinti space….

Coalition: 436.6 EP (x2) + 575 (bases) + 811 ships (/5) = 1772.6
Alliance: 333.8 EP (x2) + 490 (bases) + 744 ships (/5) = 1455.2

We are solidly into Major Coalition Victory territory now, and I expect the VP slide will continue for a bit yet, and the question is where will it bottom out. Both sides are losing some bases (the Coalition more than the Alliance, naturally), which shows we’re still headed for the middle-war period where offensives are confined to the ‘dead zones’ that are mostly supported by captured planets as sources of supply. At least, I can hope so; this turn has shown that major Coalition offensives are probably over; we’ll see about Alliance offensives. The real worrisome part is that all three Coalition navies are down ships from a turn ago, and worse, about half the Lyran CWs and DWs are currently crippled, with little prospect of getting them all going soon. Meanwhile, the Kzinti stayed at 197 ships, while the other three Alliance navies grew, with the Federation (naturally) leading the way, growing by 15 ships. I’m generally maintaining quality, with new carriers and and FCRs ensuring longer-term survivability, but I’ve got to get them in use better.