And now things begin in earnest. With both the Lyrans and the Klingons having massed everything on the borders, the Kzinti can’t defend everything, and must pick their fights.

My usual plan is to go for the planet in 1001, so as to cut off the starbase in 0902. After a turn as a partial grid, the Kzinti have motivation to let it go. This game is the first time that I’ve had to deal with monitors, and I couldn’t juggle everything to feel like I could take on the planetary defenses, monitor, and likely reaction (or at least, Reserve) forces this time.

Lyran: DN, TGC, 3xCW, JGP-V, 2xDW, DWS, 3xFF, FRD, 2xKBP, 4xFF->DW
Klingon: C8, D7, TGA, 7xD5, LTT, D5S, 2xF5L, 4xF5, 2xE4, E4R, FRD, Activate 2xD6, 2xF5, 3xE4, D7->D7A, D6->D6M, D6->D6V

Once again, no ‘true’ heavy cruisers have been built (after conversions). There’s several new hulls, but they’re all on other duty. Worse, the life expectancy of a D7A is not great, but it’s the best stasis ship the Klingons have right now.

Which I suppose brings us to ‘new toy time’. Thanks to an episode of the Animated Series, the Klingons have ships with Stasis Field Generators, a device that can be focused on up to three targets at a time, and stops time for that target. Usually, this is done to an enemy ship, whereupon the rest of the fleet gathers near, drones are launched, and the field is dropped. The ship then explodes in a hail of gunfire and drones that hit seconds later. Or, it can be used to protect friendly ships, since it will be immune to fire while the field is up.

The problem is that the field only works at short range, and the SFG-equipped ship must be at a full stop to use the field. This is not wise when there’s other annoyed enemy ships about.

The rules for all of this in Combined Operations are very long and detailed, since there’s a lot of potential rules interactions. And it’s an interesting study in rules that gives the Klingon player full control over his intent, without letting him get everything he wants. Each (non-friendly) target is rolled for to see if the ship is frozen, nothing happens, a random target is frozen (that procedure causes a lot of the rules), or there is a disaster which leaves the stasis ship vulnerable while nothing gets frozen. The more targets the Klingons try for, the worse the chances.

With the addition of the Klingons, and still only a one-front war, the Kzinti had to suffer five raids this turn, which he called up POLs for on each one. My goal was to cause as many disrupted provinces as possible, mostly aimed at ones I couldn’t get at, and the rest at ones that would be difficult to garrison. The Klingons sent in 3xD5, and couldn’t avoid taking a casualty in each fight, so retreated without disrupting anything, with one of the D5s crippled to boot. The Lyrans sent in a CW and CF, both of which managed to disrupt provinces.

1601: Klingon: dest D5
1602: SSC: Kzinti retreat
1605: Kzinti: dest BATS; Klingon: crip 2xF5
1303: SSC: Kzinti: dest POL; Lyran retreat
1506: Neutral: 2xPDU; Klingon: crip E4, capture planet
1405: Kzinti: dest BATS; Klingon: crip SAV
1205: Kzinti: dest BATS; Klingon: crip D6, F5
1105: Kzinti: 2xPDU; Klingon: crip D6, capture planet
1504: Kzinti: dest CVE, EFF, SF; Klingon: crip D7C, D5, F5, dest D5
1004: Kzinti: dest BATS; Lyran: crip DW, DD
1304: Kzinti: 3xSIDS, crip 3xBC, dest CVE, 2xEFF; Klingon: crip D7, D6J, 3xF5, dest D6S, capture DD; Lyran: crip 2xCA, CW, DD, dest DW
0903: Lyran: crip CW
0703: Kzinti: dest BATS; Lyran: crip DW, 2xDD
0701: Kzinti: dest BATS; Lyran: crip CL, 2xFF
0902: Kzinti: 4xSIDS, crip BC, CL; Lyran: crip 5xCW, 2xCL, 2xDW, DD, dest SC, DW, 2xFF

I had thought I had a pretty good chance of taking down the Klingon border SB when I diverted a Lyran force to join in on the assault, however, I just didn’t have what it took there, and he had a pretty good defensive force.

Meanwhile, I actually did have enough ships at 0902 to have a good crack at it, but I had no specialty ships. Most notably, there was only one scout present, which Belirahc wisely took out in the first round, leaving me to fire into a -2 shift most rounds. Even so, there was a chance at it, but the dice were not with me; a final 1-5 split convinced to leave instead of digging even deeper into the fleet.

As usual, all the secondary objectives were met. But I didn’t manage any of my primary objectives (taking out a SB or 1504). I’d say this turn shows that while I’m more experienced with F&E, I’m not that experienced. The easiest thing to fix would have been to remember to put a second scout into 0902. Actually sending the Lyran Red Claw fleet there instead of 1304 would seem to have been best as well.

This is of course no more than a delay, as the Kzinti cannot hold up against this for long (and he can’t really afford to lose ships at this rate for long). But the clock is ticking. There is a lot for the Coalition to do in the early game, and not enough time. Delays like this are something that I can ill afford if there’s going to be a creditable invasion of the Federation on Turn 7.