After our last ASL game wrapped up, Patch and I got going on a round Space Empires 4X, while it was still fresh from our December FtF session. We went with the Large 2-player scenario, with no advanced rules, and only warp points from the optional rules. (Though we did use the expanded countermix of Close Encounters as there’s no good way to eliminate all of them from the module.)

Patch won the roll to go first, and set off with his scouts into unexplored space, with his colony ships in tow, and found two planets and a mineral. In contrast, my first turn turned up minerals, a nebula, and asteroids. As a whole, Patch found and colonized three planets during the first rounds of movement, four Mineral 5s, one of which he hauled home, a nebula and an asteroid field. I found two planets, one of which I managed to colonize, four Mineral 5s, one of which I hauled home, two nebulas, and one asteroid field.

Econ 1:
Patch: Income 20 + 5 minerals = 25 – 3 maintenance = 22. Buy 2xSC, 1xCOL
Rindis: Income 20 + 5 minerals = 25 – 3 maintenance = 22. Buy 1xSC, 1xCOL, 1xMiner

Patch found four Mineral 5s, four more planets, the home area barren and the black hole during the next set of movement turns. He also went into two of the SCs into deep space on the third turn, finding a Super Nova and Danger!, costing him two SCs (including the one lost to the black hole). He colonized one of the planets, and hauled in a mineral. I found four more planets, the home area barren, and three Mineral 5s. The new scout also found the black hole on its first exploration, and was posthumously named Red Shirt. I colonized one planet, while everything struggled to get to the further away locations.

Econ 2:
Patch: 2CP + Income 23 + 5 minerals = 30 – 3 maintenance = 27. Buy 1xSC, 2xCOL, 1xMiner
Rindis: 3CP + Income 21 = 24 – 3 maintenance = 21. Buy 2xCOL

The board at the end of the second economy phase. Of the right-most hexes, only A9 is in play. I’m blue, and Patch is green.

Patch forgot to move most of his SCs the first turn, but still found two Mineral 5s, an asteroid, and a Warp Point 1 and Warp Point 2, while colonizing a planet and delivering minerals. I finished off my home markers, finding two more planets and three minerals, and poked into deep space, finding a pair of adjacent nebula and Lost in Space, which Patch used to push my SC back. I also colonized three planets, and dropped off minerals at them.

Econ 3:
Patch: Income 30 + 10 minerals = 40 – 3 maintenance =  37. Buy Terraforming, 2xCOL
Rindis: 5CP + Income 24 + 15 minerals = 44 – 3 maintenance = 41. Buy Terraforming, 2xCOL

Patch found his final planet, but didn’t press into deep space this round while colonizing a planet. I colonized three planets, found two barrens in the first row of deep space, which was going to be handy as soon as I could get out there. As well, I lost a SC to another black hole and found two Mineral 10s on one end. Also, on the left end of the second row (E1), I found Warp Point 1! Both of us were immediately aware of the problem of a shortcut through unexplored space. I was also aware that my colonies were lagging behind, and not only was worried with defending myself but the Warp Point let out adjacent to one the recently discovered planets. I had planned on sending one COL all the way out to Rigel in C1 to start building out that area, but when the Warp Point was found, I aborted to colonizing Polaris in C3 immediately (the COL was passing through the hex), with the plan that it would become my forward shipyard.

Econ 4:
Patch: 1CP + Income 39 + 10 minerals = 50 – 3 maintenance = 47. Buy Size 2, 1xSC, 1xDD, 1xCOL
Rindis: 5CP + Income 31 + 15 minerals = 51 – 2 maintenance = 49. Buy Attack 1, 2xSC, 1xCOL, 1xDecoy

Patch colonized another two planets, found a Mineral 10, lost a SC to Danger, and found a planet near his end of the Warp Point. I found another Lost in Space, and Patch moved the SC to a black hole, but he survived, only to die to Danger on the next turn. On the other end of things, I found another barren planet next to Polaris, and forming a four hex chain of planets, which also passed near the Warp Point.

Econ 5:
Patch: 14CP + Income 44 + 5 minerals = 63 – 4 maintenance = 59. Buy Attack 1, 1xSC, 1xDD, 2xCOL
Rindis: 8CP + Income 42 + 15 minerals = 65 – 3 maintenance = 62. Buy Size 2, Defense 1, 2xDD, 1xSY (@C3)

At the end of the 5th economy phase.

Both of our fleets hastened forward to defend the frontiers, while exploration continued. Patch found the exit for Warp Point 2 in H4, not nearly as handy/dangerous as WP1, but it was adjacent to it. I put a pair of SCs and the Decoy over my end of WP1, and hoped they looked dangerous. Patch lost another SC to Danger, and we both colonized another planet.

Econ 6:
Patch: 8CP + Income 50 = 58 – 5 maintenance = 53. Buy Tactics 1, 2xSC, 2xDD
Rindis: 8CP + Income 54 + 15 minerals = 77 – 5 maintenance = 72. Buy Ship Yard 2, 4xDD, 1xSY (@C3), 1xCOL (@C3)

Patch colonized two more planets and kept exploring (losing two SCs) while a second group arrived at I6 (WP2) and merged with the first one. I colonized Babbage (D3), and grabbed a mineral from next to the warp point. With my first DDs getting close, I sent a SC over to cover the WP with the Decoy, and then sent my two ‘advanced’ SCs (+1/0) through the warp to see what Patch’s group was. Sadly, it was a pair of +1/0 DDs, which killed my SCs before they could fire. My DDs arrived at my end of the WP, and the SC moved out to die to Danger.

Econ 7:
Patch: 8CP + Income 57 + 15 minerals = 80 – 7 maintenance = 73. Buy Size 3, Defense 1, 2xCA, 1xSY (@J1), 1xSY (@J8)
Rindis: 2CP + Income 61 + 20 minerals = 83 – 6 maintenance = 77. Buy Size 3, Attack 2, 1xDD (@C3), 1xSU (@C3), 2xCOL (@C3)

I added a new DD directly to the force flying through Polaris. It seemed a shame to get the ability to build CAs without actually building any, but I also wanted some of the size-2 combat bonuses, and I couldn’t afford everything. Also, my forward shipyard was still being overloaded. The left-side unexplored barrier disappeared entirely as Patch discovered another planet out there. He sent two groups through the WP, one of which I’d seen before, and the other turned out to be another pair of +1/0 DDs, against my pair of +1/+1 DDs and the Decoy.

I forgot to check for Tactics (one group should have had Tactics 1), and fired first as the defender, killing one ship, and his return fire killed one of mine. (He also handn’t properly marked it, and combined the groups after combat.) I retreated out, and then immediately moved back in with the group of 5xDDs I’d recently built up. Patch got one hit on defense, and then I wiped his force out with three hits.

Econ 8:
Patch: 2CP + Income 65 + 5 minerals = 72 – 7 maintenance = 65. Buy 1xDD (@J1), 2xCA, 1xSY (@J1), 1xSY (@J8), 1xCOL (@J8)
Rindis: 1CP + Income 64 = 65 – 5 maintenance – 1 turn bid = 59. Buy 1xSC, 2xDD, 2xCA (@C3), 1xSY (@C3), 1xDecoy

…Despite paying for that Decoy, I’d forgotten it by the time I finished production, and never put it on the board. However, going first allowed me to put my DD force through the WP, where a Miner was sitting and kill it instantly. Patch then moved in three different groups which turned out to be 2xCA +1/+1, 1xSC +1/0, 1xSC +1/0. In the first round, I did one point to a CA, while a SC killed a DD, and everything else missed. The CAs missed again on second round, and I finished one off with my first roll, at which point I switched to the SCs, and got one. The remaining SC missed, and the CA retreated out, after which I finished off the SC. I had figured on killing a CA (with luck) and then pulling out whatever was left, but poor rolls from the CAs allowed me to push on and win.

The four remaining DDs went over to the WP2 exit, which took me towards a couple of his colonies, but also let me move through, deeper into his space, which is where I ended up going.

Econ 9:
Patch: 12CP + Income 71 = 83 – 8 maintenance = 75. Buy Move 2, 2xDD (@J1), 2xDD (@J8), 1xMiner
Rindis: 4CP + Income 70 = 74 – 11 maintenance = 63. Buy Move 2, 1xBase (@D2), 1xSC (@C3), 2xCA (@C3)

At the end of the 9th economy phase. Yellow ships have been placed to mark the active board edge.

I continued first, and the DD force hit Eccles (J6), and wiped out the colony in one turn. A SC revealed a black hole in E5 and survived, while everything else streamed towards the front. Patch moved to intercept in J5, so I headed away to Pleiades (K6) and reduced it to a ‘1’ colony. A SC revealed a Mineral 10 in E4, but the the SC from last time succumbed to a second black hole in F6. Patch’s forward force moved back to cover Cygni (H2), while his ships shadowing the DDs went to K5. My remaining SC found a Space Wreck in F5, which immediately caused a re-work of my plans. My DDs went to K7 with his ships following to K6. It was obvious I’d be boxed in after production, but I still had a shot at a couple more planets, and just all the attention they were forcing off of the frontier was giving me lots of time to move up.

Econ 10:
Patch: 14CP + Income 66 + 5 minerals = 85 – 12 maintenance – 3 turn bid = 70. Buy Size 4, 1xBC (@J1), 1xBC (@J8), 1xSY (@J1)
Rindis: 1CP + Income 76 = 77 – 15 maintenance = 62. Buy Defense 2, 3xBC (@C3), 1xCOL (@C3)

Patch spent to go first again. I had actually considered spending 1 to frustrate a bid, but was glad I decided against it when I saw his bid. Patch sent four groups against my DD force, and making me worried when I saw he had BCs now. At least it was a single +1/+1, along with three +1/+1 CAs, and a pair of +1/+1 DDs. As this was in an asteroid field, Patch’s Tactics dominated, and my DDs went after everything else. But without attack bonuses, he needed 4s and 3s to hit, and everything missed the first round, but he got two kills the second round before I could retreat, and I got no hits.

The DDs continued falling back as my next force moved forward, and Patch hit that with everything that was available in G3. This turned out to be 3xDD +1/+1 and a SC +1/+0 vs my 2xCA +2/+1 and 2x DD +1/+1. I knocked out a DD and SC before they could fire, and he got one of my DDs before it could fire. In the second round, my CAs killed another DD, and the last one retreated out. In my second move, I grabbed the space wreck, and attacked the last DD while a second CA force parked on WP2. This was in asteroids, so Patch got the first shot, but missed, while I was able to get the DD. My DD force also managed to get to Kronos (J5) and reduced it to a ‘3’ colony.

Patch then showed he had Move 2 with his BC and two DDs catching up to my DDs while he re-colonized Eccles and spread forces on other targets. It took two rounds to kill my DDs, but the one shot they got missed. I moved to cover Cobol (G3), though I’d been forgetting to move a COL towards it, and sent my revealed fleet into Cygni (H2). The fleet that had moved to protect it turned out to be another +1/+1 BC, which picked off my DD, but after my CAs got a hit on the BC it backed off. They then reduced Cygni to a ‘3’, and blockaded it going into Econ.

Econ 11:
Patch: 14CP + Income 61 = 75 – 12 maintenance – 1 turn bid = 62. Buy 1xDD (@J1), 1xBC (@J1), 1xBC (@J8), 1xSY (@J1), 1xSY (@J8)
Rindis: Income 80 – 13 maintenance = 67. Buy Size 4, 3xBC (@C3)

Naturally, all of Patch’s forces started gathering near to my forward fleets at Cobol, and I fell back while the latest reinforcements came up. However, they were still in two different hexes, and so on turn 3, I was able to move the new BCs up to the existing fleet and take on one of his forces. This turned into a major battle at Cobol where I had 3xBC +2/+2, 2xCA +2/+2, 4xCA +2/+1 vs his 1xBC +1/+1, 1xCA +1/+1, 2xDD +1/+1. Patch’s initial shots did one damage to a CA, and then I knocked out both DDs. Patch’s BC retreated out, and I only managed one hit on the CA before it too retreated out.


Patch was alarmed/depressed when he saw my line up. ‘Every time you flip a counter its a fleet’, was a exaggeration, but certainly the concentration of force I was managing with most of my markers being two ships was helping a lot. After a little discussion we decided to leave it here, though it probably would have taken some time for me get much further.

On the other hand, with colonies maxed, income looks to be 80-75 in my favor, and he was probably never going to see that. With the knowledge that my ships currently had an extra +1/+1 on him I’d be pressing forward, and with luck I’d take out Cygni, with a goal of getting Bajor (J1). Another goal was to colonize Cobol, which would then get a base and shipyard. I had successfully gotten the space wreck back, and would be getting that bonus in Econ 12, and presumably the Mineral 10 on 13.

And with how the geography worked, Patch was unlikely to be distracting me with a second front any time soon, and I could keep doing that to him. There was still a double-row of unexplored space on the right to go through. Given time and attention, I did want to establish a shipyard at Ada (D9) to start probing that from my side.

At any rate, I spent the early part of the game worried because I’d been an economic turn or so behind in getting colonies established, and knew that could turn into a real slide. But I had two pieces of real luck. First, there were three barren planets in the first row of deep space near me, while Patch had one, with a second in the second row. The warp points were a challenge for both of us, and could have turned into a game winner for Patch if he could win the initial battles since one let out adjacent to those barrens. But my second bit of luck was my DD force having a lucky break and making it nearly intact through a couple of CAs right after Econ 8. I forced him to go chase them down before the force did even more damage than it did, and that allowed me time to get production of good CAs up and going and to the front. At this point he was facing a qualitative and quantitative edge that was likely to do a lot more damage. Our main fleets were in neighboring hexes; Patch had 5 ships ranging from 3xBCs to a DD, while I had nine ships, BCs and CAs, with better technology, though only half with better shields, and the next fight was probably in an asteroid field.