The Alliance economy climbed by forty points this turn, showing just how out of control the situation is. Even the Hydrans went up 14 EP before exhaustion (for an actual increase of 10.5 EP), with the Gorns showing the smallest improvement. After exhaustion, total income was 378.1, and repairs hit a new record, with the Gorns providing most of the increase. This was also helped by getting Orion back, which I just had had no chance to deal with last turn.

Federation: DNG, CA, CF, NCA, 10xNCL, NCD, NSC, 3xDW, 2xDWA, FFB, 9xFF, BP+, 2xFF->FFB
Kzinti: NCA, 3xCM, 3xDW, 2xFFK, 2xFKE, FF, CVL->CVD
Gorn: CCH, BC, CM, 2xHD, LTT, BD, 2xBDE, BDS, DD, BD->BDS
Hydran: MKE, HR, DWE, 4xCU, MB->BATS

The good news is that Kzinti shipbuilding is curtailed, skipping both their CV and BC. The Hydrans are mostly treading water, but are installing a BATS on their capital, which I probably won’t be able to dislodge. And of course, the Federation and Gorns are building ships much faster than I can.

Raids concentrated on the Klingons, with all four Kzinti raids hitting Klingon provinces near the capital, and three Federation raids just south of it. Five of these resulted in disruptions, and I lost a JGP and D5 and had a D5 crippled in the reaction fights. The Hydrans hit two Klingon garrisons in Hydran space, and part of the captured neutral zone. I didn’t bother responding to the last, but the increased garrison groups paid off by destroying the single existing THR. Another Federation raid hit a D5 near the Kzinti border, but good rolls and a reacting F5L killed the DNL for no loss to the Klingons. The last two were in Federation space, one which killed a D5 while a WE cloaked away from the last one. The Gorns sent one raid into west Federation space to kill a garrisoning F5, and Romulans escaped from two attempts to kill garrisons just inside Gorn space, and a last raid disrupted a Romulan province.

The Hydrans naturally attacked toward the Lyran-Klingon corner again, and I intercepted a good amount of it, but he was still able to put a good fleet of about 20 ships on 1013.

The Kzinti started driving south immediately, scattering fleet elements on anything in their way, including sending a bunch of Auxes after the garrison on 1504. The North Fleet started a fight at the NZ planet in 1506 by reaction, but further reinforcements freed up the Kzinti garrison already there. Federation forces moved into to pick off various small forces, and partially pinned the Lyran and Klingon fleets at 1810 before the Kzinti sent another wave at the Northern Reserve SB and BG Harbinger at 1611.

Then the 3rd Fleet moved to the Klingon capital. Or tried to, as NE Fleet moved to intercept… which caused consternation. Byron had entirely missed that it was there underneath the Lyran Fire Squadron marker. Since it was a heck of a thing to miss, I let him go back and rework his moves some, but no matter what, he wasn’t going to have nearly as much in the capital as he’d originally thought. Part of the original planned move was to pin the Klingon 1st Reserve on 1312 (assuming it didn’t react), which he gave up on, but I reacted it into the capital at one point anyway, as he still had good opportunities to do so with the Kzinti, and it was to his advantage to keep the capital as lightly defended as possible (I’m not sure why he didn’t spend some more effort on it, as well as the 3rd Reserve on 1209).

Over on the Romulan side of things, two major thrusts developed: one near Tholian space aimed at picking off the BATS in 3319 and retaking 3415 as well as threatening the SB, while Gorn and Federation forces also concentrated on the corner area near all three. One major thrust also went to 3612, which I stopped part of, but not enough to save the planet, since that would just make 3711 vulnerable.

Second strike at 1013.

The Kzinti flood.

Federation tidal wave.

Losing the rest of the are near the Tholians.

Gorn border offensives.

Naturally, all available reserves (three: Klingon 2nd and 3rd, Lyran 3rd) went to the Klingon capital. The Lyran reserve in Hydran space went to help near the Hydran capital, and one in 0707 had nowhere to go. I had to think long and hard about how serious 3518 was, but sent both Romulan reserves in range to make sure of the SB. Meanwhile, the 2nd Reserve went to save BATS 4010.

0916: SSC: Hydran: dest 2xCU
2008: SSC: Klingon: dest cripD5
2313: SSC: Klingon: crip F5; Federation: crip FF
2411: SSC: Klingon: dest 2xF5
2612: SSC: Klingon: crip F5
2514: SSC: mutual retreat
2613: SSC: Klingon: dest cripF5, F5S
3115: SSC: Romulan: crip WE
3412: SSC: mutual retreat
3609: SSC: cloaked evasion
4108: SSC: cloaked evasion
3319: Romulan: dest BATS; Federation; crip 2xFF
2308: Klingon: dest E4A
2309: Klingon retreat
2815: Klingon: crip D7C, F5; Gorn: crip HD
2012: Klingon: dest F5; Federation: crip FF
2215: Klingon: dest BATS, cripD5
2214: Klingon: dest FRD, SAV, cripD6, cripD5, crip F5E, E4A; Federation: dest DE, capture planet; Gorn: crip 2xCM
1507: Klingon: dest F5L
1809: Klingon: crip D6, F5; Federation: crip CA; Kzinti: crip CM
1810: Klingon: crip F5; Lyran: crip CW; Federation: dest CA
1611: Kzinti: dest FKE
1411: Klinshai: dest MB; Kangor: dest SB, 4xPDU, devastated; Kangorax: dest 2xPDU, devastated; Kangor-Ultra: dest 2xPDU, devastated; Kadrak: dest 4xPDU, crip SB, devastated; Drakis: dest 2xPDU, devastated; Shadrak: dest 2xPDU, devastated; Klardon: dest 4xPDU, devastated; Vordon: dest 2xPDU, devastated; Aradon: dest 2xPDU, devastated; Klingon: dest D5W, 2xD5, F5E, crip 3xD7C, 2xD6M, 6xD5, D5V, AD5, 3xF5, F5S, capture MEC; Lyran: dest CWE, DW, FF, crip STT, CW, CWE, DW, FCR; Federation: dest BT, NCA, CA, NCL, 3xCL, 7xFF, crip CA, 14xNCL, 5xDE, 2xDW, 8xFF; Kzinti: dest 2xMSC, CLD, 2xDW, FKE, SDF, crip CC, 5xCM, 5xMEC, CLE, DW, 3xFKE, 2xEFF, 3xSDF
1511: Kzinti: dest FF
1509: Retreat after declined approach
1504: Lyran: crip 2xCL; Kzinti: crip FF, capture planet
1506: Klingon: crip F5, F5E; Kzinti: dest 2xFFK, crip FFK
1013: Klingon: dest BATS, F5W, F5, F5J, crip D7, 2xD5; Lyran: dest MB, 2xDW, crip CW; Hydran: dest 3xRN, LN, crip RN
1815: Klingon: crip D5, 2xF5
0717: Klingon: dest F5L, E4, crip D7C, F5; Hydran: dest CU, crip HR
0816: Hydran: dest POL
2211: Lyran: dest DW; Gorn: dest BD
3518: Romulan: dest SKE; Federation: dest FFE
3612: Romulan: dest WE, SN, K5S; Federation: crip 2xNCL, capture planet
3415: Romulan: dest SP, SK, K5, crip KE; Federation: dest FFE, crip 3xNCL, capture K5, capture planet
3611: Romulan: crip SK, SKE; dest CL, crip FF
3413: Romulan: dest SNB; Federation: crip FFB
4110: Romulan: dest BATS; Federation: crip FF
4109: Romulan: dest SNB
4310: Retreat after refused approach
4411: Retreat after refused approach
4010: Retreat after refused approach

Some of the smaller combats went fairly well, including great rolls in 0916 to wipe out two CUs (who had little business taking on a DW and LTS to begin with…), but Byron managed to arrange for one retreating group to overrun the survivors of an earlier battle in 2613, and that wiped them out.

Byron put the entire pile of cripples from the destruction of the 3rd Fleet SB onto a patrolling F5V group in 2308, which sacrificed the escort to get away. This trick of finding battles for cripples so they can retrograde further has been getting common lately. The F5V was forced to retreat onto a waiting Gorn CM, but poor rolls allowed it to get away from that.

Overshadowed by other events, there was no real backup for my repair center on 2214. The Federation/Gorn force was bigger and better than what I had available, leaving me to pull some cripples out and a LAV.

I had the clever idea of using a fighting retreat to pour BG Harbinger into the capital from 1611, but of course Byron sensibly didn’t resolve that fight until later. At the capital itself, I started fighting at one system per round, determined to extract the highest bill I could over my own defenses. The outer systems quickly got stripped, and then it turned into the real brawl as he started taking on the two non-capital SBs, with me putting a line in front of both. Byron directed the PDUs over a couple of rounds, (when he didn’t drop damage on ‘6’s to force auto-kills…) while leftover damage reduced my mobile fleet to less than two lines worth. (Later on, I realized that cripples could go to the static forces of any system; handy if I wanted to sacrifice a few ships for more rounds against him… but it took a while to wake up to that.)

Midway through, I used the capital SB’s fighters to refill empty bays elsewhere on the same round that Byron captured a Lyran FF, and he took a round at Klinshai itself to blast the Lyran MB set up there, the FF aiding in a deception operation. I had command difficulties elsewhere, but but at the capital, I could bring out Insatiable, the almost-complete B10 that’s worth 19 on the line (no crippled side, so it still needed protecting in form). Another ‘6’ allowed him to kill the MB with 26 left over…. The Klingons mauled a MSC and dropped 61 with a mere ‘3’ roll. A ground attack to kill a PDU while he was there failed, and I ended up capturing the MSC. (With that damage, other ships died, but the random roll came up with the best of all of them.)

To my surprise, Byron left after only crippling the second SB. He’s correct that it’ll be a problem to repair, and isn’t worth a lot crippled, but I figured he’d want finish it off now rather than later. I picked off a couple things in pursuit, but both sides are pretty shattered. Of course, he has a lot more scattered around than I do, and the Klingon economy isn’t worth a lot at the moment…. Even after going through the logs in detail, I don’t know how many rounds this actually was, but it was probably in the mid-teens.

The fight in 1504 was interesting in that the Kzintis had 2xLAV, 3xSAV and no escorts. They ad-hoced a bunch of FFs so they couldn’t just be directed on, but it meant there was very little capable of pursuing me when I retreated (especially since I directed on one of the few FFs not busy escorting a slow unit), and Byron only realized the problem at that point.

I had the advantage at planet 1506 (where the North Fleet had reacted to) but I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to tangle with a pair of CVDs with 24 fighters to punch through. But I went in, and picked off a couple FFKs in pursuit, though crippling the F5E is going to give me trouble, since the only spare light escorts there are E4As.

The Klingons rolled three better than the Hydran on approach to 1013, doing two less damage to a decidedly superior line. (If the Lyran STL hadn’t shocked last turn in the same place, I probably would have won the approach; that round at any rate.) I forced him to go through the co-located Klingon BATS to kill the Lyran MB, and kept rolling well enough to kill ships, which is something I’ve been needing to do to the Hydrans. But now the Lyrans have almost no supply into Hydran space.

Planet 3612 was something of a disaster. The Federation force was slightly small, so I decided to damage it and retreat, but but I was a good group, and I ended up sacrificing half my group to keep the carrier group intact rather than slowly cycle it through the repair process. I should have just sacrificed one ship and left, which I had almost done.

Coalition: 413 EP (x2) + 530 (bases) + 793 ships (/5) = 1673.2
Alliance: 409.4 EP (x2) + 435 (bases) + 815 ships (/5) = 1579.8

Losing the Klingon capital was a near thing. I had set up last turn to try and hold as many Alliance ships out of that vulnerable location as I could, which is why it didn’t happen. If I hadn’t had the NE Fleet in the way (which hadn’t moved on my turn because of its position in the way of the 3rd Fleet on 1910), the capital would have fallen, and I would have surrendered the game. There’s no real recovery from losing the Klingon shipyard at the best of times, and there’s certainly no SB that the Klingons can guarantee will be out of reach of a powerful Alliance force for six turns right now.

The last several turns has been me going from one disaster to the next, but this was the first one I was… partially ready for. I had hoped to hold the outer systems better than I did, and the economy is going to be a mess. The current plan is to go on a bit longer, but this game is on a short countdown to an end. There’s not a lot I can do to push back on the large number of places that are falling apart, and those are staging points for ever-larger numbers of Federation ships to pound what’s left. Worse, important Lyran bases have been taken out, so they will be largely useless next turn (and after unless I can re-establish some).