The picture below illustrates the mysterious--and possibly hostile--"final frontier."
Last week my friends Joe, Terry, Tom and I played our inaugural game of Space Empires. Each of us directed the operations of one of the interstellar contenders. These were: The Chulakian Empire (me)...
...the Vasyrian Empire (Terry)...
...the Terran Empire (Tom) and...
...the Altairan Empire (Joe).
As the scoutships ventured forth, they discovered space was full of lethal danger...
...and astrogation hazards--like asteroids, black holes, nebulae and super novas--just to name a few.
Once the loose mineral deposits were gathered and mined, each of us began developing our colonies on habitable worlds, while conducting research on terraforming.
Below, two barren planets, Babbage and Abydos, were discovered between the Chulakian and Alatairan borders.
Once our empires settled the planets within our spheres of influence, scoutships ventured out into deep space--escorted by warships.
By this time, tensions began brewing in the void. Here, Altairan and Vasyrian task forces faced-off over one of the last free mineral deposits found in deep space.
Meanwhile, Chulakian and Altairan colony ships, along with their escorts, were set on a collision course in the Abydos System.
The "Abydosian Affair" erupts.
Once within sensor range, the opposing task forces were revealed. The Altairan colony ship was escorted by a single destroyer, while a Chulakian cruiser, destroyer and scoutship screened their colony ship.
Chulakian commander discovered the Altairan destroyer had a slight technological advantage over his own ships--after his destroyer was incinerated by Altairan return fire. Despite this loss, the Chulakian cruiser made short work of the Altairan destroyer, thanks to its heavier firepower. The Altairan colony ship, then met the same fate as it's escort. There were no survivors.
Both sides claimed their opponents "relocation ships" were transporting convicts to establish penal colonies on Abydos. Terran and Vasyrian intelligence agencies were unable to verify either accusations. (Maybe because they were too busy shipping their own convicts out to inhospitable worlds).
Upon hearing of the destruction of the Altairan ships by the Chulakians, the Vasyrians decided to strike.
As the opposing task forces closed to within sensor range, the Altairan commander discovered he was outnumbered nearly 2-1, and outgunned. His force of 3 destroyers and a scoutship were faced with 5 cruisers and two destroyers. Despite this disadvantage, the Altairan was confident his ships were technologically superior and could inflict serious damage to the Vasyrian vessels. The burning strategic question was, however: Was this rock worth fighting for?
The Altairan didn't think this chunk-o-mineral was worth loosing ships over, so he ordered an immediate withdrawal. The Vasyrians blazed away into the void, but to no avail, thanks to the Altairans' enhanced defenses and electronic counter measures (ECM).
As the Vasyrians began hauling away their prized rock, the Chulakians and Altairans rushed reinforcements to their respective (penal?) colonies of Abydos and Babbage.
As the "line in space" was being drawn, Chulakian long-range sensors picked up ELINT (electronic intelligence) of a ship larger than anything in their fleet--a battlecruiser.
The armistice between Chulak and Altair continues, but the question is: How long will it last?
During the battles, I turned off the light to cut down on the glare, reflecting from the map. I took several photos of each encounter and was planning on adding some special effects. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to lighten the images very much, so I decided to post enough photos to give one the gist of the action.
Space Empires is a fairly simple, yet elegant game. The rules mechanics were easy to understand, even after only one reading. For those who don't like book keeping, this can be an onerous task, especially since one has to keep track of multiple ships of varying tech-levels. (One optional rule is that once a technological advance is made, it is available instantly throughout the space fleet).
The game's simplicity, did leave a loophole or two, that required house rules to cover. Primarily, the rules don't specify that if a ship yard is built, would it be able to help produce a starship on the same turn as it was constructed. We didn't think this was realistic, so we imposed a one-turn delay in ship construction for newly built shipyards.
We look forward to playing this again and incorporating some, if not all, the advanced rules. With a little more time and experience, we should be able to play a game to a definate conclusion.