Ardennes ’44 took me and my Dad some time to go through, but we still had a couple days left afterward, and so I introduced him to Space Empires 4X for the end of my vacation. We’re both space 4X fans, and I introduced him to Stellaris a couple years ago. Overall, it was easy to teach, and went pretty fast; the one trip-up was the difference between ship size tech and the size of a ship for yard capacity/maintenance/hits purposes (same as with Patch…).

We stuck with a small map and the very basic rules, though I touched on a few things before and after. Overall, the game went to a surrender just before the 11th economic turn (which would have been followed by an assault on his home planet). The early game went as normal, with home area exploration, followed by slow work into the two rows of deep space between us. About the time we made contact, an Alien Wreck showed up on my Dad’s side of the board. As I started reacting to that, another one showed up adjacent to it.

Naturally, that became the initial focus for conflict, and I managed to get my Miner in there and haul out the first one as the build-up got going, and got Move 2 from it. However, despite scaring him off long enough to do that, combat quickly turned against me, and I was losing DDs to my Dad’s cruisers (and a few DDs, and the spare SCs… basically everything other than CAs quickly evaporated).

As the war gets going.

However, the field of battle stayed generally on my Dad’s side of the map, and things started shifting as my navy built up. My Dad got to 0/+1 CAs and generally stopped there as he fielded more ships, while I had +1/+1 CAs, and the extra chance to hit started telling (generally 3 to hit vs 2, so long-drawn out combats where I had a 50% better hit ratio). Things were pretty grim as the initial fleets ground down, and I nearly had to face a 2-1 advantage against me, but I managed just enough hits to keep it from happening.

The early offense and extra Move also helped me keep the action near his colonies, and I slowly ground them down, allowing my economy to support shipbuilding and a limited amount of upgrades. I finally thought I’d run out of CA counters (I had one left that I’d misplaced; also, they were all tied up with singletons), so shifted to +1/+2 BCs (who natively are +1/0 compared to the CAs), which really started upending the odds, though it took a bit for the advantage to really be felt.

Between the gunnery advantage, and the economic one of raiding his colonies, I ground him down for the win already mentioned. My Dad certainly enjoyed the game, and hopefully we’ll do this again next year as well.