Crossposted from the SFU blog on BGG.

After the failures in my efforts to keep the Coalition from just disrupting everything in sight, it should be no surprise that income was down again. Kzinti income dropped another four EP from 63 to 59, while Hydran income dropped nine points to 40.

The Kzinti scrapped a Lyran DW that was captured in the Coalition portion of the turn to raise another 1.5 EP. Production was limited, consisting of a CV group, an extra MEC (to replace one lost last turn), BC, FF. Repairs were even more limited, adding up to less than last turn’s. However, that repaired all the crippled escorts and a good number of regular ships, so the backlog is slightly better. I also repaired and converted a captured D5 to Kzinti technology. It would probably been better to wait until money was flowing in from the Federation, or the repair backlog is clear, as the conversion is not necessarily cheap (3 EP). But having it sit there for two turns has been bugging me, so that irritant is gone. If we were using the EW rules in Combined Operations, I would have sacrificed quite a bit to get it in service and converted to a D5S. A good heavy EW platform for the Alliance is worth quite a bit in the early going under those rules.

Meanwhile the Hydrans had even tougher decisions to make. Turn 5 is when the first Cavalier carrier is scheduled. Hydran carrier groups tend to be somewhat weak in ComPot, but they protect valuable fighter-carrying ships from harm. I wanted to build the CV, but with 10.5 fighter factors, it has a cost of 31 EP, slightly over 3/4 of the Hydran income. Free fighter factors reduce this to 19 EP, but that was still too much to be able to afford the escorts, much less more prosaic things like repairs. So I canceled the entire group, repaired a few things (pretty much everything with fighter factors), and built DG, 2xHR, and two PDUs on the homeworld.

Operationally, the main plan had been to visit the Lyran MB in 0902 and kill it before the conversion to a BATS completed. However, the arrival of three sets of tugs with PDU/MB pairs at 1001, 1202 and 1504, and four Klingon reserves in Kzinti space caused an entire re-think of the prospect.

Kzinti front

Hydran front

1601: Klingon: dest F5
1507: Klingon: dest cripF5, cripE4, BATS; Kzinti: crip CL, FF
1506: Klingon: dest F5; Kzinti: capture planet
1303: Klingon: crip D5
1504: Klingon: dest 2xTGB, crip D7, 2xD6, 5xD5; Kzinti: dest DF, crip CV, CC, BC, MEC, 2xCLE, 2xEFF, FF
1202: Klingon: crip D6V, F5, 2xE4A; Kzinti: crip CC, DD, 2xFF
1302: (Fighting Retreat) Klingon: crip D7
0819: Klingon: dest E4
0419: Klingon: crip E4; both sides retreat to 0418
0418: Klingon: dest cripE4
0519: Klingon: dest 2xcripF5L, cripF5, F5
0416: Lyran: crip 2xBC, CC, 2xCA, CL, 2xDW dest TGC, 3xCW, 3xDW; Hydran: crip HR, dest HR, 2xLN, CR
0417: Lyran: crip DW; Hydran: dest crip HN

Things did not really go as planned. Mostly because the dice decided to be disagreeable and the Kzinti failed the initial approach battle at both of their major battles. The Hydrans rolled lower than the Lyrans in all four rounds at 0416 (and the pursuit), which forced them to expend the stored fighters of the FCP just to get that far. In all cases casualties were higher than hoped simply because of the trouble in getting to the target. To add insult to injury, I couldn’t even roll the 3 or higher I needed to kill a lone D7 in a Fighting Retreat.

However, two Klingon and one Lyran tug are dead. He’s only built four since the beginning of the game (after missing them the first turn, he’s been building at the max rate of 1/year), so it will be much harder to pull this ‘four simultaneous sets of bases at once’ trick.

I had tried to distract the Klingon reserves by striking at Klingon space itself again, but he ignored it, letting me take out a BATS and (temporarily) capture the neutral zone planet. If I can keep doing that, he’ll run out of BATS and become especially vulnerable to having the supply grid in Kzinti space disrupted….

And now, I sit tight and wait for the coming storm. I’m pretty certain that there won’t be a turn 7 invasion of the Federation this game, so I’m presumably going to facing everything he can throw at me on the upcoming turn 6, and turn 7 after that will be worse. The Federation will interfere on Turn 7, but the 4th Fleet reserve won’t be able get to the Kzinti capital….