Friday, April 13, 2012

"Twilight Imperium": The Galaxy Strikes Back

Two weeks ago we were supposed to continue our epic Twilight Imperium game but Dean had to cancel.  Something about "chaperoning a vendor while he fixes a refrigerated centrifuge".   *Pfffftttt!*  Whatever!  That's, like...the oldest excuse in the book.

Despite only getting three hours of sleep the night before and slogging through an eleven hour work day, Dean forged on like a trooper and had us over this Wednesday past to continue our epic galactic struggle.  Fortified by our stellar company, Dean actually acquitted himself quite nicely for someone who was vaguely delirious.

Part One right here, BTW.

    Players & Their Races

Me...Naalu Collective (Blue)
Andrew...Embers of Muaat (Orange)
Dean...Mentak Coalition (Purple)
Chad...L1Z1X Mindnet (Yellow)


Strategy Card Selection

Chad...Technology & Bureaucracy
Andrew...Leadership & Assembly
Me...Production & Trade
Dean...Diplomacy & Warfare (OoooOooo...ironic!)

The "pricky"ability of the Naalu allowed me to act first.  I played the Production Strategy Card and hastily riveted my flagship, the Matriarch together.  I also blew a Trade Good to create a Production Facility on one of my planets.  Dean built as well but Andrew and Chad had to pass.  

Andrew played the Leadership Strategy Card, collecting three new Command Counters.  He also bought three more via the card's secondary action.  Chad and I followed suit, four Production Points worth of planets to purchase two Command Counters apiece. 

Dean attacked one of Chad's well-guarded systems with a single cruiser, obviously motivated by some sort of secret agenda.  Chad countered with "Skilled Retreat" allowing him to cleanly extricate himself  from the besieged system.  Not only did this foil Dean's plan but it also set Chad up nicely for his plan to swarm the system with a massive invasion fleet.  Betraying his exhaustion, Dean later realized that he'd missed a prime opportunity to use his PDS units against Chad.    

Chad then played the Technology Strategy Card to acquire a mind-blowing racial technology called "Inherited Systems", allowing him to purchase new upgrades regardless of prerequisites!  Although it does jack up his costs quite a bit, the general consensus around the table was that the other racial improvements looked like a fucking abacus in comparison.  Andrew purchased "Nova Seed", a seemingly inexplicable move at the time.  I employed "Corporate Sponsorship" to shamelessly plaster my "Stasis Capsules" with pictures of the Quaker Oats guy.  

I then threw down the Trade Strategy Card and picked up three Trade Goods.  Dean and Chad knit their own Trade Agreements back together after their little tête-à-tête.  

Andrew then proceeded to attack Chad's lone Destroyer which he discovered on a prior turn.  His Anti-Fighter Barrage failed to be very barrage-y and Andrew's interceptors quickly made short work of Chad's solo ship.

Dean took the opportunity to shuffle his fleet around.  Chad tried to assemble an invasion fleet but realized that he needed to recruit more ground forces.  After what felts like and endless spate of logistical wrangling, I finally sent my fleet through the wormhole into the sideboard galaxy.  After activating the system I moved my armada in to encounter this:

That's right, folks.  The unexplored area of space that I'd just moved a third of my fleet into suddenly went Supernova.  In the blink of an eye two Carriers, six Fighters, six Ground Forces and my General were all erased from existence.  Instantly, Andrew became the only player to have access to the ripe-for-the-plucking sideboard galaxy.  Three of us exchanged knowing looks, confident that Andrew was about to go crazy Broadway style in his own personal sector of the universe. 

In his mindless pursuit of Victory Points, Andrew attacked my fleet in empty space from the Urta/Bereg system with a Carrier, four Fighters, and a fucking Warsun!  Hideously outgunned, I took a cue from the Desert Fox and used my racial ability to retreat from the space battle and pull back to a neighboring sector.

"But I just wanted to destroy one of your ships!" Andrew protested, acting as if I'd just done something unreasonably inconvenient.  He also promised to withdraw his fleet from the contested region on his next turn, giving me a chance to showcase my world-famous "skeptical face".       

Dean used the Diplomacy Strategy Card to lay claim to a nearby planet.  Tapped out, the rest of us just couldn't abide the steep cost of the card's secondary ability.  

Chad's armada finally managed to coalesce, challenging Dean's lone occupying ship in the Capha system.  Dean missed with his initial pot shot but hit with one of his Cruisers!  Chad fired back with his two Dreadnoughts each scoring a hit and eliminating the opposition.  Andrew, representing the planetary defenders, drew blood which Chad sustained on a Mech unit.  That same Mech successfully counter-attacked but Chad's Ground Force whiffed, despite having a +1 bonus.  A few more rounds of spitball fire occurred before Chad delivered the coup de grâce with a Mech unit!  With that, the long-contested planet was finally his!  

With the shadow of Andrew's invading fleet on my front step,  I used a Command Counter to perform a two-pronged counter-attack.  My final assault fleet consisted of my Flagship, two Carriers, a Destroyer, three Fighters and my Merc-For-Hire.  After passing up the opportunity to play any pre-battle "Space Rape Cards", I drew first blood with my Destroyer's Anti-Fighter Barrage and Andrew was similarly fortunate.  His Destroyer also hit in regular combat.  My Flagship then blasted away, landing two solid smacks!  

Andrew responded with a solitary strike from his Carriers, but I quickly countered with two successful attacks of my own!  Armed with a +2 bonus, my Fighters outperformed Andrew's counterparts with a two-to-one hit ratio.  Finally Andrew's intimidating Warsun underwhelmed with only one hit, leaving  well-compensated Merc to deliver the death-blow.  All told, thanks to my lucky rolling, I managed to inflict seven casualties to Andrew's five, successfully wiping out the incursion.  Of course, it came at a high cost: a crippled Flagship, annihilated Carriers and the loss of most of my Fighters.

Desperate to rebuild, Andrew hastily cobbled together a Carrier and two Fighters on his turn.

Dean dropped the Warfare Strategy Card and pondered the pros and cons of attacking me.  After equating this to "kicking a legless puppy", I managed to persuade him to use his "High Alert" status to do some strategic redeployment instead.  No one else could take advantage of the card's secondary ability, so on we go.

Chad played the Bureaucracy Strategy Card, receiving a Command Counter, one of the two new Objectives, one Political Card and one Action Card.  The rest of us were forced to pass on the expensive secondary action.

Without an available Command Counter to spend, I had to pass, wasting an opportunity to re-build.   Grrrrrrr!            

Andrew played the Assemble Strategy Card, nabbing one Political and two Action Cards.  All the while he continued to rail against my unmitigated gall for defending myself, claiming that his attack on me was nothing short of "harminous".  Notwithstanding the fact that he mispronounced "harmonious" I was quick to point out that root of his fictitious word was "harm".  

"I was just trying to bring some light to your dark part of the galaxy with my Warsun!" Andrew proffered. 

"Yeah, well, if by that you meant to give me a 'Golden Shower', then yes, I believe you," I spat back.  

Andrew signaled the end to the debate by playing the Political Card "Holders of Mecatol Rex", which turned out to be moot since Mecatol Rex had no holders.  He then gave the Speaker Token to Dean who proceeded to construct a Spacedock with the Political Strategy Card's secondary ability.  

After we all passed, Andrew claimed a blood-covered Victory Point for the Pearl Harbor job he did on me ("Destroy an enemy ship adjacent to it's home system").  Dean scored a Veep for attacking Chad, an opponent he had a Trade Agreement with.  The Chadinator managed to construct his fifth Dreadnought so he also clocked a Victory Point.  With my plans dashed to ruins by an ill-timed stellar explosion all I could do was look on enviously.

Just before we picked our Action Cards, Chad played "Master of Fate", distributing them as he saw fit.  Dean and I used the Refresh ability inherent to our specialized systems and gained two free Trade Goods.  



Strategy Card Selection

Dean...Leadership & Assembly
Chad...Diplomacy & Bureaucracy
Andrew...Production & Warfare
Me...Technology & Trade

I used my racial ability to gain the initiative and play the Technology Strategy Card, scoring "Sarween Tools" for free.  Dean brought out his racial tech "Mirror Computing".  Although it was clearly killing him, Andrew forced himself to pass on the option.

Dean dropped the Leadership Strategy Card, claiming three shiny new Command Counters in the process.  Andrew and Chad chose to opt out of the secondary action but I couldn't resist purchasing two more Counters to bolster my Fleet Supply up to four.  

Chad immediately went after the first of three planets hoping to score another Victory Point.  Of course, since it's Chad, the Lesab system turned out to be booby-trapped with "Automated Defenses" causing him to lose one ship and one Ground Force.  Despite the casualties, he still managed to stake his claim on the planet. 

Completely unopposed, Andrew ventured through the Wormhole, ended up on the Gravity Rift tile.  He immediately landed on the planet Cormund and his ambition was rewarded with two free Trade Goods.  

I blew a Command Counter to start cranking ships out like fortune cookies.  In order to construct three Carriers and four Fighters, I was forced to tap nine Production Points from my systems.  Meanwhile, Dean quietly assembled yet another Spacedock.

Next, Chad jumped on his second planet like Rosie O'Donnell on a macaroon.  Finally, he came away with a positive result, discovering an Abandoned Ship Factory which earned him two free Resource Points worth of ships.

Andrew used the Warfare Strategy Card to shuffle his ships around but no one else opted for the card's supplemental action.

I moved into the Tar'Mann system and experienced a Peaceful Annexation (which, in my imagination, immediately translates into gaggle of hot n' loose alien chicks).

Dean snapped up Gral and Centari.  Snagging his own Peaceful Annexation, his captains apparently got lei'd just as soon as they climbed out of their ships.         

Inspired by our good fortune, Chad went for a three-peat but encountered a horde of homicidal savages that made the Dothraki look like bunch of Mormans.  Andrew hit for the defenders, forcing Chad to retreat.  Again.  

Unable to afford his Flagship, Andrew had to be content with building a Carrier, a PDS and a slew of Ground Forces.  Chad then spent five Resources for three ships but Dean and I, being completely tapped, had to take a painful pass.  

In tabling the Trade Strategy Card I immediately made with the exchange of Generic Commercial Units (of Commerce).  

Dean played the Political Strategy Token and gave me the Speaker Token after told him that such a donation would be considered tax deductible.  We all voted against Dean's Political Card which had the negligible impact of limiting production to only one of our Spacedocks for the remainder of the turn.  

Chad picked up a Command Counter via Bureaucracy.  He also flopped an Objective Card giving a Victory Point to anyone brave enough to tap ten Influence or ten Resources.  Interpreting this as end game move,  no one seemed crazy enough to go an entire round without doing anything.  Except maybe me.        

Andrew used the Warfare Strategy Card to evoke a "High Alert" and swarm Garboza.  He also landed on Sem-Lor and encountered a bunch of Lazak Survivors.

As the turn came back to me I found myself spent, like a man forced to use his genitals like a pendant.  I had to pass and Dean found himself in the same space boat.  

Chad asked the age-old question: "Which planet can I claim that won't kick the shit out of me?"  True to his luck, he encountered a Single Fighter defender but managed to overcome it and claim Ragnaron, right next door to Mecatol Rex!

Speaking softly and carrying a club curiously shaped like two fully-loaded Carriers, Andrew attempted to invade Garbozia.  After running into some "Settlers" he rolled low, forcing his Ground Troops to go back up to the ship.  I was then given an opportunity to place two of my very own Ground Forces down for free in defense of the planet.  Unwilling to pass up a chance to be a pain in Andrew's rectal cavity I quickly jumped on this.  

In a smooth move, Chad played the Diplomacy Strategy Card to claim the same planet that had irradiated Dean had run afoul of earlier.  Way back in Round Two, Dean had landed on the planet, flipped the counter, watched in horror as his troops got microwaved and then apparently blocked this horrible memory out of his mind and never back.  Yeah, did I mention that our illustrious host was working on only three hours of sleep?    

It was then Andrew's turn to reveal his own brilliant scheme, planting a "Nova Seed" in the Cormund System.  Although it cost him a Ground Force in the process, he also succeeded in collapsing the Wormhole, effectively sealing himself up in a galactic playground loaded with a shit-ton of resources.  This immediately prompted Chad to utter the deathless line:

"We either have to get Andrew now or collectively take it in the ass later."

I passed, Dean passed and Chad passed leaving Andrew one final build action to construct a Dreadnought and two PDS units which he used to re-enforce Lor and his home world.  In a final act of defiance, Andrew then proceeded to pull out his Flagship.  And, no, that's not code for something.  

At the conclusion of Round Four, Dean made a fateful proposal:

"So, guys, whattaya say we all gang up on Andrew?"

Chad claimed a Victory Point for finally completing the hard-fought "capture three planets in one round" objective and I finally managed to get on the board for constructing my third Yellow technology.  So, at the end of our second session here are the the Victory Point standings:

Chad...Four Victory Points
Dean...Three Victory Points 
    Andrew...Two Victory Point
Me...One Victory Point  ("Yay!")
Stay tuned for session three...coming soon!  



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