By Akseli Mäki
A little bit about the game setup at first. Blind Blitz III was an invasion game and I was playing Rebels, first time on both. We had ExploreMap and Sphere to enrich the game, I have played with both of those before. The universe was very rich in minerals and it showed, too. The HWs were in the classic circle, of which I don’t yet have so much experience. I started in north. I didn’t know any of the other players, and none of them had really scary PHCC ranking, at least not in Lair. I know one of them was hosting in another site, so they weren’t beginners either.
So let’s get started with the story. In the very first turns I didn’t find out anything flashy. Of the first few planets I found, all sucked badly. Not the minerals, but the natives. No money makers at all. Happily found the first amorphous planet in turn 2, second planet to find. On top of that, I had only one planet within 81 LYs. Since I have had a really bad experience of not planet hopping in early turns of ExploreMap games, I wanted to stay hidden and it sure delayed my economic expansion. In turn 4 I saw two red crosses on the map west of my HW, those being both Tholian Rubies going at warp 9. They didn’t have a heading, but it was pretty obvious they had left Tholian HW from turns 2 and 3, and based on that the predicted location of his HW would be a planet I already had on my map, only 136 LYs away from my HW. So I saw two mid sized cruisers, and I also saw from the scores that Tholians were interested in building more capitals, not freighters. As for my fleet, the biggest "warship" I had was that Taurus I got right from the start, armed with 2 Blasters. It was too slow to planet hop to the next planet, and too heavy to be overwarped, so it was standing at my HW. I figured my best move was to RGA his HW for starters, and then attack him with whatever I can come up in next few turns. I set a Rush to be build at turn 4. As for the RGA, I set a Falcon for the job, HYP from far away so he wouldn’t see it coming. It didn’t work, as yet another Ruby killed it from orbit. Since my Falcon only *tried* to RGA his HW, I sent him a message asking how is he going to repay the damage of destroying my Falcon, or should I think a way of my own:). Well, I started to see more and more webs, and meanwhile I was trying very hard to build Transwarp Iron Ladies with good beams. In turn 8 I saw Empire and Orion were having fun in southeast of me. Mainly Orion was capturing Empire ships, that is. I figured Empire was going down fast. Of Orions I should mention we had been talking over ingame messages from start of game, at first it wasn’t too serious but we eventually made an alliance in turn 12, starting to share RSTs pretty soon after. Now back to my Iron Ladies. Two of those, other armed with Disruptors and other with Hblasters, launched in turn 9, other towing Cruiser(a Rush) with about 130 fighters, and other towing that stupid Taurus I mentioned before. The Cruiser’s job was to protect the other ships, since none of them had any match against the MK7 Rubies Tholians had shown to have several. At turn 11 I smashed into the first webs, still 36 LYs from the planet I had thought to be Tholian HW. I realised it wasn’t, since I started to get sensor scans from it. Make a note on my *great* HW guessing skill, I’ll come back to that later on. Anyway, I was slowly but steadily advancing deeper into Tholian space. In turn 16 I launched a second fleet, a Tranquility towing a Cruiser. This one I sent to northwest, to take care of the planets Tholians had colonised there. In turn 20 the two fleets tried to meet in Tholian HW, but the other got stuck into you-know-what, while the other managed to reach orbit and blasted away all defending ships. Next turn I attacked the base and invasion points started to flow for me. Even though it was so early game, taking them down was really hard. Distance from my HW to his was 220 LYs, and it took me 12 turns to get there. It wasn’t exactly a safe war either. There wasn’t much risk on getting my Cruisers captured, as they had enough fuel, but there was two major risks that made waiting for the RSTs a little bit exciting. First off, the Tholians could have launched a counter attack against my HW. I had left fighters back on the base, but a Diamond and Ruby would have probably killed it. And with the webs all over the place, I couldn’t have taken my Cruisers back fast if I needed to. Other risk was the two Iron Ladies. They were doing most of the minesweeping, and the Cruiser could protect only one ship per turn, since the webs tend to separate ships very easily. Tholians tried once to kill the Ladies, but he did it on a wrong turn, that turn I was regrouping back and the Cruiser could kill the offenders.
On the other parts things were happening a lot, too. Orions had captured a SSD and used it against Empires HW in turn 18, though he didn’t get invasion points as Empire managed to capture back the planet same turn. In turn 20 he managed to get hold of the planet again, this time starting to score points. Everything we did in Empire space was more or less failure. First it seemed Orions would be able to capture everything in few turns. But for every ship he captured, he usually lost a cloaker or two. And about half of the ships he captured were captured back or destroyed. He has very busy with his work and occasionally lost a turn, but that doesn’t explain the whole story as few times I made his turns, the same trend continued. Few turns after taking down Tholian HW we figured Empire wasn’t going to fall with just robbing, so I send two Cruisers to take down Empires last bases and planets, which finally worked. Empire was virtually dead in turn 34, though his last two cloakers were killed as long as turn 46, and he didn’t give up any sooner. Empires HW was uncolonized for 5 turns, as I wanted Orions to take it and he wanted me to take it. Eventually he took it. At this time my economy was running much better. I had found out good native planets further away from my HW. It took some sweet time and fuel to colonise them, but fuel was plenty and I wasn’t in hurry. With the dead Tholians on the left, and dead Empire in far right, I had room to expand. I also had luck, since the empty "HW slot" was between me and Empire.
Klingons, who lived in south, killed and pillaged Fed HW in turn 20, and colonised it next turn. Based on the explosions, Feds were an easy kill. Feds were in between Orions and Klingons so after the Empire went down, I moved the two Cruisers I had in east to Orion HW. I figured it wouldn’t take too long before Klingons try to attack him.
Romulans had plans, too. In turn 32 he took out Gorn HW, far away in southwest. The 13 explosions made it pretty clear.
Then there was an amusing(at least for me) war between Cylons and Colonies, both races being southwest of Tholians. Every now and then the Cylons sent one or two carriers to Colonies HW, and every time blowing up a lot of ships, but eventually being destroyed by Colonies. The Cylons had clearly the upper hand, but the Colonies managed to keep his HW intact every time. I was observing this war closely, while marching Cruisers to ex-Tholian HW. I figured I keep my forces hidden until the Colonies are inch away from death, and then launch my own attack, taking over first Colonies and then the Cylons. In turn 39 I launched the Cruisers from Tholian HW. Seven Cruisers to go directly to Colonies HW which was in west, and two to go bit more south, towards a planet I *thought* to be Cylon HW. I had planned them to merge the fleets before I take out Cylon HW. Before I tell how the invasion of Colonies HW went, I better talk about Klingon actions in east.
In turn 36 a sizeable Klingon fleet appeared from Fed HW, with a very clear intention to attack Orions. The space southwest of Orion HW was totally empty of planets, thus there was no buffer zone between Klingons and Orions. The Klingon fleet was composed of a Saber, three D19bs, two Vics and two Ill Winds. I don’t think he had any cloakers with him, or at least he didn’t seem to have made any reconnaissance. In turn 39 he hit the first Orion planet, only 37 LYs from his HW. By that time I had my two Cruisers at Orion HW, happily loaded with fighters and supplies. When I saw Orion RST of turn 39, I was totally unimpressed by the Klingons. First off, he had set two D19bs to attack the planet, before his Vics and other warships. The planet had about 100 defence posts, and both the D19bs had 1 laser. Not only that, his ships had damage. Orions had sent one cloaker to the planet with intention of blowing up a glory device. So, he lost 3 glories when attacking the first Orion planet, and didn’t seem to carry any supplies to repair the damage cause by his own glories. And it gets better. He sent me both an ingame message as well an email. I can’t recall for sure, but I think when I saw his ships around turn 36, I sent some kind of ingame message to tell him to back off, as he was intruding a border pact we made in turn 20. Here’s the ingame message he sent in turn 39:
"If you don't want me in your space you would be well advised to
explain to the privateer the meaning of Borders. Otherwise I will show him myself."
Now I’ll have to mention the only enemy ship I saw in my space was a Borg probe in turn 10, which I captured the turn after. As for the email, he wanted to know if I would attack him after he has taken out Orions. But the funniest part was he was trying to scare me off by mentioning that he has more bases ships and hasn’t been waging heavy wars before in the game. It didn’t quite scare me, I had two less bases and 8 less capital ships, but I was well supplied with firepower. In turn 39 I had 22 Cruisers and was pumping out 3 to 5 more every turn. So the next turn Klingons attacked to Orion HW, with just Ill Wind and Vic. Not even any glory. He attacked another planet with the rest of the fleet, and lost a glory since Orions had cloakers everywhere. Well, Orion HW survived the attack just nicely, I didn’t lose anything but little fighters. The next turn Klingons retreated with his remaining Ill Wind and Vic, and I had one Cruiser going after it. Then in turn 43 he made a nice little trap for my lone ship intercepting the fleeing ships, laid 2 overlapping minefields over my Cruiser from which it took two hits, intercepted and popped one glory, and attacked it in combat with two Vics and Ill Wind. And I won. Unfortunately the Cruiser survived with 90% damage and 22 fighters. Next turn he attacked it with D7 armed with only 4 Blasters. It was a real though fight, but eventually the D7 won with 40% damage. For the rest of the game, Klingons didn’t seriously try anything with Orion space. In end game he had some D7s flying around, but Orions had mined out his space, and every time a D7 decloaked, my Cruisers quickly intercepted it.
Back to the Colonies HW. When I had my ships within one turn away from it, the Cylons had showed up with a Golem, three Instrus and a Cat’s Paw, also one turn away from the HW. The Colonies had also ships in the air, some Cobols, Geminis and one Virgo. Turn 43 came and what had happened? Pretty much nothing. The Colonies had evacuated everything and the Cylons moved towards north, still within 81 LYs of the HW. I lost one Cruiser while taking down the base, pretty typical as it has only 5 beams. Next turn came and the Cylons had not moved at all. Then turn after that they slowly started to head towards north, taking down the fleeing Colonies ships. My fleet at the Colonies HW had the usual problem. Fuel. I had expected to lose much more ships in combat than I did, so I didn’t have any fuel to leave the planet for ages, and the Colonies had done a real great job in the evacuation, taking out every bit of fuel as well.
From turn 38 forward I had started to send masses of Cruisers towards south, with the vague idea of taking down the Klingons. I had some Meteors to tow with, thought not for, though there was only enough to tow about 33% of them. It was quite a long time I had to travel before I reached any hostile space. As mentioned before, I was in north and Klingons were in south, we were directly across each other. The distance from my HW to his was about 900 LYs, going over the center, which was totally unowned. That wasn’t a real problem with fuel, my Cruisers could carry all the fuel they needed and after all, we are talking about mineral rich game, so fuel was around. It was more like question of boredom. My first Cruisers got 56 LYs away from Klingon HW in turn 47, though at that time I didn’t know exactly which one of the few planets it was.
But before that, back to the Cylons. Eventually I got my fleet at Colonies HW refuelled, and marched them and some other fleets around to be near a planet I was 100% sure to be Cylon HW. I had tried to send a fuelless Falcon to check it out in turn 46, but the Falcon had hit a mine just 3 LYs from the planet. That planet was 270 LYs from Colonies HW, towards southeast. So in turn 51 I had 18 Cruisers little north of the planet. No sign of Cylons ships, I figured they were all waiting, which is what I wanted, too. I doubt I had enough ships to take them out by force, but that’s why I had a cloaked Orion Meteor around. My plan was to give him enough Cruisers, send them same turn to the planet, same time towing the cloaked Meteor too, so that next turn he could rob everything blind and towcapture them same time. I turn 52 I managed to send a new Falcon into the orbit, this time going directly with HYP, just to see how much the Cylons could carry fuel. And what did I see? A lousy temp 74 planet, no other ships in orbit but my Falcon. Boy was I shocked. My HW location guessing had yet again failed. Normally it wouldn’t have been a problem, just try again. But the game was running short. I still scored 2 invasion points per turn, and I was close of taking over Fed and Klingon HWs as well. There just wasn’t enough time to use robbing. But I figured game’s about to end, so I better send everything I can and watch the VCRs, even though there was no chance I could take it over. I did some new calculations and this time I got the right planet. The real location of Cylon HW was a planet 164 LYs south from Colonies HW, I was totally in the wrong place. So I put my ships at full speed, ignored all the mines and tried to get as much ships close enough as I can. In turn 54, the turn the game ended, two of my Cruisers managed to reach the orbit, killing a Golem and nearly killing an Automa. 17 other Cruisers were around, but not close enough.
As for the Klingon invasion, there I was, very close of reaching his HW with about 16 Cruisers, and then this really nasty outsider interference came. An angry ionstorm, drifting slowly over Klingon space with voltage of 151. And if that weren’t enough, Pick had a small hosting break and I forgot when it ended, thus missing a turn. Then next turn, I forgot to move most of the ships in Klingon space, and the storm starts doing its show. I lost nearly all the Meteors I had there thanks to that storm, no matter how much fuel and supplies I loaded into them, they got more and more damage. The worst thing about the storm was that it dragged my ships. Most of the Cruisers had Transwarps, so losing the Meteors was no problem but I had real hard time trying to hit the Klingon planets. I took me three turns of trying to get to Klingon HW, two times my ships ended up only few LYs from the warpwell, and finally in turn 54 I reached it. There were no defending ships, as they all had floated away. There were few Borg Biocides. He was allied with Klingons but those ships weren’t a problem, since they all had warp 1 engines, so they just floated there while I was hitting Klingons. I also found Fed HW, hit it with two Cruisers, but they both got destroyed by the defending ships and base, and third Cruiser was one turn away when the game ended.