This saturday, Mark Bausman hosted a 4-player game of StarCraft: The Boardgame from Fantasy Flight Games. A random draw allotted the factions and turn order thus.
Queen of Blades (Zerg) : Tarsonis : Mark Woodson
Arcturus Mengsk (Terran): Antiga Prime : John Boone
Jim Raynor (Terran) : Bhekor Ro : Mervyn Dejecacion
Tassadar (Protoss) : Dylar IV : Mark Bausman
Antiga Prime, Home world of the Terran Arcturus Mengsk Faction:
[Admiral, Naval Intelligence, (ANI)]"What will we do my Lord? The latest intel briefing confirm the Tassadar are on Dylar IV in strength."
Arcturus Mengsk sat in his personal booth at his favorite restaurant. He had finished his meal when the ANI joined him and had just finished reading the fortune in his cookie - You will obtain your goal if you maintain your course. How appropriate Arcturus Mengsk thought but then he realized these things were always written generic enough to apply to anyone and a brief smile crossed his lips at the Admiral's question.
[Arcturus Mengsk, (AM)] "What we have always done - survived. We will prepare our defenses and defend our home world as we always have. What is the latest intel on the Zerg on Tarsonis?"
[ANI] "My Lord, the latest intel confirms the Queen of Blades is expanding toward Helios. Raynor is also on Helios."
[AM] "Raynor! Has that been confirmed?"
[ANI] "Yes my Lord."
[AM] "Good. That may be to our advantage. Let them fight each other for a change. Does the Committee agree with my view of staying out of Helios?"
[ANI] "The Joint Chiefs do but the Production Ministry says we need to expand. If the Tassadar are on Dylar, and it seems that they are, we will need to expand our production for defense but we are limited by the cystal resources we currently have. Gas will not be a problem until we start ramping up production on our heavy units."
[AM] "I realize that but sticking our noses in Helios is asking for too much trouble. I don't want the Zerg and Raynor on our backs along with the Protoss. No, I want to stay out of Helios for now. Besides if Raynor and the Queen of Blades are both on Helios we should be able to go into Braken unopposed."
[ANI] "Yes my Lord, but Helios would definitely help out with our resource shortages and allow us access to Bhekar Ro, Pride Water, and eventually Abaddon."
[AM] "A true statement and the benefits are tempting but just don't outweigh the risks right now. Have patience Admiral. Once Raynor and the Queen have depleted each other's forces on Helios we can "liberate" the system. Besides Tassadar may clean up Helios for us and if he does Dylar IV may open up for our "liberation" forces. I've made my decision. I'll tell the Committee we stay out of Helios - For now. I'll inform the Production Ministry to start transitioning to a war status at the next Committee meeting. I want our Marine and Firebat forces as close to 100% operational as soon as possible."
[ANI] "As you wish my Lord."
Antiga Prime, Palace of the Capital, Committe Meeting Room (Mid-Game):
[AM] "Status of the Fleet deployments?"
[Admiral, Joint Chief of Fleets (JCF)] "My Lord, we have not opened any transport routes to Tarsonis, Helios, or Dylar IV and the enemy has not been detected in any of the routes between those planets and Antiga Prime or Braken for that matter. Fleet transports have been reinforcing Braken routinely and we have enough reserve capacity to bring back ground forces from Braken to the the Capital if the need arises."
[AM] "Secretary of Production, what about our manpower and equipment levels?"
[Secretary of Production, Production Ministry (SPM)] "My Lord, our factories are at 80% production levels but we are limited by our work force and crystal resources. Even so our isolationist policy has given us time to attain and maintain light ground forces readiness levels at 100%. Wraith levels are now at 66% readiness."
[AM] "And status of heavy ground forces?"
[SPM] "With our crystal shortage we are at our limit just keeping the light ground forces at 100%. As you know we still have only one Ghost Battalion. Work on converting the civilian factories to military use has been delayed and the starport is still only able to produce Wraiths. Landing on Dylar would help out a great.."
[AM] "That is enough Production Minister! We are not landing on Dylar! You will have to do the best you can with what we have on Braken and Antiga Prime!
[ANI] "But Lord Mengsk, the latest intel reports confirm the Protoss have only two battalions of Zealots on Dylar IV now. If you strike now the JCF assures us of a victory!"
[AM] "And did they forget about Helios? Didn't the JCF predict Raynor and the Zerg would annihilate each other on Helios 6 months ago? Tell me Admiral the latest intel on Helios?"
[ANI] "Regrettably my Lord the Queen of Blades and Raynor seem to be happy to share the planet. There were a few skirmishes at first but they are both in force on the planet now and seem happy to maintain the status quo. Raynor is also reported to have landed on Pridewater but the initial reports have not yet been confirmed. If he is there then Raynor's economy would be very strong."
[AM] "Isn't Tassadar on Pridewater?" What does this guy have on the Queen and Tassadar that they let him run wild all over this sector? The Zergs and the Protoss should be eating him for lunch!"
[JCF] "It seems he has been very good at the negotiating table my Lord. There have been a few battles between Raynor and the Zerg and Raynor and Protoss but not any full scale war. Regretable indeed my Lord."
At this time the Queen of Blades is leading Arcturus Mengsk by 1VP with Tassadar third and Raynor last. The Zerg have satisfied their special victory conditions as have Arcturus Mengsk. Raynor needs one more territory and the Tassadar are far from satisfying their special conditions.
Antiga Prime, Palace of the Capital, Committe Meeting Room (Near End-Game):
[ANI] "The Zerg and Protoss are fighting on Abaddon and there were reports of fighting on Pridewater but the current troop deployments are uncertain. Raynor has finally been confirmed to be on Dylar IV and I'm afraid that suggests they have some type of alliance. Additionally, space sensor command confirm enemy activity on the space routes from both Helios and Dylar IV"
[AM] "Very well. I hope someone here has good news."
[JCF] "If I may interrupt the ANI, I do have some good news my Lord. The final tests were completed last week and the Admiralty and I both concur that the space defense system is ready to be activated for full operational status."
[AM] "That is good news. I don't like the fact Raynor is still on Helios in force and now on Dylar with the Protoss. Something is cooking and I don't like the smell of it."
[SPM] "My Lord, the Wraith fleet is also at 100% operational status but one of your Wraith battalions is on Braken."
[AM] "JCF I want to be able to recall that Wraith battalion immediately if need be and I want to open up the transport routes to both Helios and Dylar IV just in case we see an opening for attack into those systems."
[JCF] "Yes my Lord."
The End Game
Both Jim Raynor and the Tassadar stacked orders (presumably mobilize) on Antiga Prime so I placed two mobilize and a research order on Antiga Prime waiting for the inevitable attack. Jim Raynor did attack Antiga Prime destroying a Marine and Firebat (with ground splash damage) but the Wraith survived. I had a mobilize order on Antiga Prime but decided to pass and draw an Event card trying to get to the Third Stage and was successful. Tassadar had a mobilize order on Antiga Prime but only two Zealots that could land on the planet so would be unable to defeat my Wraiths. Arcturus Mengsk won the game by completing his special victory conditions at the third stage. The Queen of Blades lost her third VP space during the fighting on Abaddon and Jim Raynor lost resources earlier on Pridewater.
This was the second time in a row Arcturus Mengsk won with its special victory conditions. If the other players are not careful I think this faction has the easiest chance of victory in a multi-player game. I had the rather boring, military wise, strategy of arquiring one more planet adjacent to my starting planet then building up on both of them and not going anywhere else. The last three turns my four orders were a build order and a mobilization order on both connected planets. That allowed me to build then counter attack if one of my planets was invaded.
Incidentally the fortune cookie was real. Mark Woodson was eating Chinese food when I arrived and he gave me his cookie. That was the fortune inside it.