My ongoing F&E game with Byron continues to go slow; both of us have delays, though I’ll admit to being the bigger source of them.

The overall Alliance economy grew 32EPs this turn (after exhaustion effects. The Kzinti capital came out from devastation to pump another 13 points into their economy (before exhaustion), the Federation is still liberating their territory and picked up 23 points, and the Gorns picked up a province. The Hydrans lost a point, but the situation there is becoming more and more untenable for the Coalition there, and there is now a Hydran BATS over the capital.

Federation: DVL, BC, TG, NCA, 10xNCL, NVH, NSC, 3xDW, 2xDWA, 5xFF, 4xFFE, NCL->NSC
Kzinti: CV, NCA, 2xCM, MEC, 3xDW, 4xFKE, CV->CVH
Hydran: LGE, RN, MKE, DWE, 3xCU, PGC, PDU

Despite having a couple B10s available, the heavy ship situation is sliding away from me with Byron building two excellent heavy raiders, and the Gorns already having their DNH. He’s also getting into heavy fighters, though I have a few of those already thanks to the Lyran CSV.

The Hydrans moved the LGE and new PGC into the Raid Pool and concentrated on picking off garrisons in their space, killing a LTS, crippled F5, and F5S as well as disrupting a Lyran province. The Kzinti disrupted one Lyran province, one Klingon province as well as hitting a Lyran-held Kzinti province and killed a Lyran DW garrisoning Kzinti space. The Federation put the DVL into the Pool and hit three garrisons in their space and disrupted three Klingon provinces. The Gorns hit two ships in their space (one of which evaded, and the other was lost), and two more in Federation space. A DNL took a lucky hit from the Klingons to be crippled, while a WE reacted out of a Federation Raid to a Gorn one (targeting a SNB), the WE then evaded, but the SNB failed its cloak roll and was killed.

There is always some gratification in seeing a fair number of crippled enemy ships heading out of your space for repairs; sadly he has the money and facilities to make sure they return while I continue to struggle with my backlog. And another note to show how things are going is that Byron moved the Kzinti FRD in the Barony into the capital.

The Hydran fleet moved out to Klingon space, overwhelming my remaining pinning forces again, and hit the next BATS in line. The Kzinti mostly occupied themselves fighting in their own space on the supply line to 1407, but also sent a fleet back to the Klingon capital. Meanwhile, Federation moves concentrated in southern Klingon space, largely going after my depot in 2014 (original Klingon border BATS + Lyran BATS + auxiliaries), as well as the minor planet in 2216.

On the Romulan border, Federation forces shifted back northward (not everything shifted, but there were no offensives in the SW ‘wing’ of Romulan space), putting a large number of ships on the two Federation planets just within their border. The Gorns tried to draw the Romulans out with moves that stopped just short of the border. One happened late, and landed on the NZ planet with intent to take it, so I reacted out to defend it. Over in the east, he pinned a force on the last BATS in line while moving a fleet unopposed to the 4812 SB.

Hydran theater.

Kzinti theater.

Klingon theater.

Romulan theater.

While the Romulan priority has been to try and hold on to the planets at the corner of Federation space, the SB trumps that and two reserves went there, leaving only one to go to 3711. Similarly, two Klingon reserves went to their capital to try and keep the Kzinti out while the mess there is cleaned up. A Klingon and Lyran reserve went to save 1506, and one Lyran reserve was out of range of all combat (the third one was already at the Klingon capital).

1505: SSC: Klingon: dest F5L
2515: SSC: Klingon retreat
3514: SSC: Romulan withdrawl + cloaked evasion
4009: Romulan: dest SN
1013: Klingon: dest F5; Hydran: dest CU
1214: Klingon: dest BATS, 2xcripF5
0916: Lyran: crip CW, DWG, FF; Hydran: dest CU
0816: Klingon: dest E4; Hydran: dest DG
1404: Lyran: dest DWS
1506: Lyran: dest FF; Kzinti: dest EFF
1411: Klingon: crip F5E; Kzinti: dest FFK
2216: Klingon: dest 2xPDU; planet captured
2213: Klingon: dest cripF5
2014: Klingon: dest BATS, LAV, 2xFTL, crip AD5, E4A, capture NCL; Lyran: dest BATS; Federation: dest NCL
2114: Klingon: dest D6; Gorn: crip CMC, capture D6
1914: Klingon: dest D7; Federation: dest FFE, crip FF
3515: Romulan: crip SKE; Federation: dest FF
3612: Romulan: dest KE; planet captured
3711: Romulan: dest NH, KRC, KE, 2xSP, SKE, 3xSN, crip SPB, SPM, SK; Federation: dest CF, crip 2xCA, 5xNCL, DW, DWA, FFB, FFE, planet recaptured; Gorn: dest DD, crip CLE, COM, 2xBD
4309: Romulan: dest SKG; Federation: dest 2xNCL
4710: Retreat after refused approach
4809: Romulan: dest CE
4812: Retreat after refused approach

The Gorns tried to pick off a pair of D5s in 2515 with a HD, BD, BDS squadron (giving me a -4 disadvantage in SSC), but the Gorns were way too overconfident (‘2’ on 2d6…) so the Klingons pulled out with no damage to find a better day to die.

Mostly the Hydran front was a bunch of walk overs where they sacrificed frigates (often with half their line consisting of such, including one ad hoced into the outer escort slot of a carrier) for better damage, but in 0816 a good Klingon force, good die rolls and a heavy EW advantage allowed me to kill a cruiser.

The Alliance’s return visit to the Klingon capital took some thought. My reserves plus BG Harbinger was a good force, but the Kzinti fleet was also large (though bulked out with FFs) with good fighter reserves. I eventually decided to accept approach and try to do some damage before he came in to finish off the crippled secondary SB. I managed a denser line (B10V Insatiable was a big help), and a 1-5 split on the die rolls allowed me to do twice as much damage, and the Kzinti left. With my denser line, I had an advantage on approach, I had a D5M to kill ships, and if it went the full three rounds of approach, the Kzinti force wouldn’t be very effective when he finally got to the defenses.

Klingon infrastructure continues to collapse with the Federation taking a planet in the southern Empire, and the loss of the dual BATS (Klingon/Lyran) in 2014. I still had a number of auxiliaries staged there and lost them all for little more than fighters. I did have enough to direct on an NCL the first round, and a lucky ‘2’ captured it, and it survived pursuit. In the next battle, the Gorns returned the favor to capture a D6. Byron isn’t too big on using captured ships (…and he is building enough already), so he may scrap it. Certainly the expense of turning it into something good like a D6S seems a bit excessive.

The Romulans aren’t entirely out of Federation space yet, but Byron did a good job getting them off of the two planets there. I had a single small line at 3612, and retreated out rather than see half of it crippled, giving up a KE in the process (I had hoped to evade out, but the VUL failed on the first roll). The combined Fed/Gorn fleet over 3711 was a lot bigger than mine, though my fighter reserve was a little bigger. I stuck it out a few rounds, forcing him to take decent casualties with overall good rolls, while losing ships to the DNT. Byron crippled an entire SPB group on the first round, which gave me a real problem as it was going to be vulnerable in a retreat. Stuffing a BHF into the group and going for -3 leftover points helped, but I did also run him out of a lot of ships including parts of his carrier groups and all the fighters.

Meanwhile, in 4309 we had a round of combat that neither of us wanted over the neutral planet in the Gorn-Rom NZ. Byron was going to retreat out after offering approach, but I didn’t want him stripping the defense PDUs to make seizing it easier later, so I accepted. I certainly came out ahead, but the Romulan navy is still feeling a bit fragile.

Coalition: 381.3 EP (x2) + 520 (bases) + 795 ships (/5) = 1600.6
Alliance: 446.4 EP (x2) + 445 (bases) + 860 ships (/5) = 1681.8

So not only has the tide turned, but the Alliance is now officially winning on VPs, much earlier than I had expected. This is a combination of the Coalition economy contracting at a furious pace, and the Alliance picking up about 100 VPs. Most of that is also the economy, and the fact that most of that is the unreduced Federation economy just makes it worse. Overall, my ship count is almost exactly the same as last turn, but the Romulans lost 8 ships overall, which was made up for by the Lyrans having a quiet turn. The Alliance has picked up 45 ships overall; more or less spread around, though the Federation alone is up by 23.

The good news is that I had no real disasters this time. Losing the double-BATS at 2014 for relatively cheap hurts some, but it was certainly an important target, and I do have bigger worries. I’m more surprised that the Kzinti did not spend any real effort trying to take half their space back from the Lyrans, or that if they were going to to go for the Klingon capital again, that there was no Federation help.