Arch Duke Fikrohn and King Rakhzan were alarmed. The political structure of the Empire relied on playing one count against another to keep the dukes from gaining too much power. If Larkhan was able to put his (presumably loyal) son on the throne of a subordinate county, his position would be much stronger, and he would become a threat to the King. If the [Democratic Dark Star County] was attached to the Foremost Duchy, or even granted a special status independent of any duke, Larkhan’s power would be reduced. When the DDSC urgently appealed for help, Fikrohn’s fleet (supported by Silver Moon County) was already en route.

The three usual suspects, me, Mark, and Patch played this SFB scenario from S2 today, but not in our usual roles. Since this is a Lyran civil war, all three sides involved are Lyrans. It was very educational, for many reasons.

As the most experienced SFBer, I got the largest fleet: Duke Larkhan trying to re-exert control over the Dark Star County; Mark (as the regular Lyran player) got the second-biggest, the DDSC forces; and Patch got the Arch Duke’s squadron. The last two are allies, and combined are tougher than my fleet. However, if I shoot up the Arch Duke, he’ll go neutral, and go home. But the only way for me to win is to defeat the DDSC.

So my plan? Avoid the Arch Duke, and go straight for the main course before the Arch Duke (Patch) can give me too many headaches in the form of an extra fleet running around. The obvious plan for them is to link up and fight as a single fleet.

Neither plan was accompanied with a look at the actual set up. It turns out that me and Patch start out at moderate range and headed towards each other, and Mark is some distance away on a different bearing. I pretty much scrapped that plan right there. So, do a passing engagement, trade a couple ships and hope I can hold it together against the DDSC…. Not good.

Then, I found out not only was my fleet speed was higher than either of theirs, I was going nearly twice as fast as Patch’s force (20 vs. 12). So, back to the first plan: turn towards Mark, and leave Patch to snipe at my rear as Mark faces my front.

This… went far better than I ever anticipated. Patch had expected a point-blank shootout and went slow to overload everything. Purely by accident (I wish I could take deliberate credit for it!), I stayed out of range 8, scraping by range 9 for a few impulses, which meant that Patch never got a shot at me.

As the range started getting closer to the DDSC, I started turning parts of the fleet to get directly into his path. He immediately turned to go the opposite way, putting my heavy hitters headed off into empty space. As it turned out, I had enough room to clear my turn mode and get back at him without being too far off. Mark had figured he’d get by me. I surprised us all by how quickly I got it sorted out and turned around. So, the end of turn 1 was a collision between the two main forces. As would be expected, Mark came out much worse. Two of my heavier ships took some moderate damage versus two of his lighter ones being disabled/destroyed.

The next turn it was pretty obvious that everyone else would be adapting to my higher fleet speed. I also got a harsh lesson in how much power a Lyran ship can drain down when reloading weapons. They’re real nice ships, the CA and CC have more power than anything else in their class. With all the excellent phaser coverage, it’s not enough. So I maintained speed and recharged phasers as I could.

We actually called it not long afterward, after destroying another ship it was obvious that I was going to be able to defeat in detail anything that came my way and we called it a bit early. Of course, historically, it was a DDSC win, and I don’t get to actually change history here… so that isn’t the end of this little story line…

That actually took slightly longer to play than to tell, so we spent some time figuring out what we wanted to do next, and they got to see some of my library. Which was nice, since we usually don’t get to just hang out too much since we get together for a game, and then want to spend out time finishing the game…. ^_^