Crossposted from the SFU blog on BGG.

The carnage from the Coalition Turn 4 offensives caused several difficult choices for me. Kzinti income is down to 2/3rds normal (and down 11 just from last turn), while Hydran income dropped 25 EP to the 2/3rds mark in just one turn.

The Kzinti navy is in quite a bind, with a lot of cripples backed up at the Capital and the Barony. I had to short the repairs quite a bit, repairing my maximum in the Capital with a CC, 2xBC, 3xFF and four escorts. In the Barony, I only repaired an EFF, despite more cripples than the facilities can handle.

The other problem is that this is the Spring, a dreadnought turn. I made the hard decision to downgrade the DN to a CV. I would rather have subbed out the BC for that, and I’m worried about losing a CR-10 hull, but it did drop the cost quite a bit. I also canceled four FFs, and produced one extra MEC, which will go to a CV group without an inner escort.

The Hydrans canceled all six of their FFs and one HR, but built a PAL, RN, TR, and HR while adding two PDUs to the capital. I would have liked to build the max four, but didn’t like giving up any more quality units than I had to. Also, a HN and TR were repaired in the capital. There’s a few other cripples around, but most were not on repair facilities.

On the Kzinti front, this was a less intense turn that I would have liked. Part of it, is that I don’t have that much experience with the game, and I’m still trying to figure out just what can be gotten away with. It is also a goal to keep cripples (and therefore damage) down this turn so that the backlog can be mostly cleared next turn, which would put the Kzinti navy on a very good footing indeed. I poked at two Klingon-held planets, but not with enough to force him off after reserves showed up.

In Hydran space, most of my effort went into moving the cut off Gold Fleet back towards the capital. I also poked at the planet the Lyrans captured, to pin his ships there as I attacked a lone DN and crippled CA in 0318. If I had been smart, I would have set up cordon to catch the fleeing DN, but then, I’m not sure I could have spared ships across three hexes, especially since some of them wouldn’t get to retrograde.

Kzinti front

Hydran front

1105: Klingon: crip D5; Kzinti: crip CLE
1203: SSC – both sides retreat
1303: SSC – E4 destroyed
1202: Klingon: crip D5, E4; Kzinti: crip CL
1402: Lyran: dest crip CC; Klingon: dest F5
0301: Lyran: dest crip CA
0416: Lyran: crip 2xCW; Hydran: crip LM
0817: Klingon: crip 2E4A, dest D7C

The last fight in particular surprised me. It was a fairly massive open-space confrontation brought about by my efforts to pull the wreckage of the Gold Fleet back from the destroyed SB to the homeworld. Included in the fleet were 5 crippled HNs, which I figured would probably go up during pursuit. In the meantime, I was going to make it hurt. I put up my second best line with PAL, 5xRN, HR, and a 4UH group (best line would have had 3xHR in place of the UH), for 100 ComPot.

The real surprise was that even with a D6M on the line, there was no directing, and when I retreated, no pursuit. I had kind of thought that Belirahc had already figured out the secret of fighting the Hydrans. But now I’m going to spill it all:

The Hydrans love open space battles. They want to engage in fights where there’s nothing important. They take damage on fighters, and maybe a cripple or so until the enemy retreats, or they run out of spare fighters, then they retreat. In this fight, the Klingons took two cripples and lost a D7C (not common enough to be throwing away) in return for nothing. The way to keep the Hydrans from doing this  is to direct on the biggest thing that can be blown up by direct damage every round (preferably a fighter-heavy fusion-ship). DirDam is technically inefficient, but it’s far more efficient than letting it all fall on fighters, and the Hydrans can absorb a lot of damage just on fighters (that line had 42 fighter factors in it, and only counted 8 of them towards the three squadron limit).

This shuts down the fighter-sponge tactic of the Hydrans quite easily. The Hydrans do not have an overly-large navy to start with, and their economy is not capable of building everything on their schedule. Therefore every ship loss hurts. Worse, cruiser losses soon become terminal, and have to be minimized by the Hydrans lest they lose the very units that can make them so scary.