Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Space Empires 4X Doomsday Machine Session

I've had a vicious desire to play Space Empires 4X lately.  Sadly, it's a complicated and lengthy game, and that means finding room in everyone's schedule for it.  So this week I decided I wanted to try the Doomsday Machine scenario again.  It's a solo scenario where several Doomsday Machines will be sent against your empire over the course of the game.  They'll devour planets along their way, healing damage in the process.  I had tried it before on the easiest difficulty level, and on a small map.  So this time I thought I'd try it on normal, but still on a small map.  That way it plays in about 60 to 90 minutes.

All ready to play!

Turn 1.  I lucked out this time with lots of close planets.  I nearly lost a scout to a black hole, rolling a six.  Any closer and there would have been no escaping the gravity well!  I also got an early start mining, which will do a good job of funding early expansion.  I decide to further pursue mining with a second Mining Ship.  I also purchase the first wave of Colony Ships to begin spreading across my home sector.

Beginning of turn 2
Turn 2.  Since my planets are so close together, I decided to get some Merchant Ship pipelines out.  It'll be some easy income, and I've also had good luck using them to rapidly respond to Doomsday Machines.  Their movement bonus to ships moving along them is invaluable.  Although I do worry about over investing in them.

Turn 3.  I had a lot more mining going on, but lost 2 scouts to deep space. I decided to replace one of the scouts I lost since the left side of my empire desperately needs exploring.  Perhaps I should have focused on my home sector before venturing into deep space?

Beginning of turn 4
Turn 4.  Steady expansion continues.  I found two more planets to colonize now that I've turned my attention towards the left of my empire.  I've also expanded my Merchant Ship pipelines.  

Beginning of turn 5
Turn 5.  I lost my last 2 scouts to deep space, but my mining continues apace earning me another 10 CPs.  .  I also founded what is likely to be my last 2 colonies.  The first Doomsday Machine appears in 2 more turns, so its time to start gearing up!  I'm debating if I want to focus on Battlecruisers or Battleships.  An enormous swarm of Battlecruisers worked quite well the last time I played.  Either way, I decide to research Attack 1 and Defense 1.

Beginning of turn 6
Turn 6.  My last 2 colonies continue to mature.  I researched attack and defense again, bringing both up to 2.  I think I've made a huge mistake.  I'll only have the 7th economic phase to build enough ships to fight off the Doomsday Machine!  I'm not sure I'll have enough income, or production capacity to build a large enough fleet.

Beginning of turn 7
Turn 7. My mining opportunities have dwindled quite a bit.  But they have provided enough resources to field a decent sized fleet.  I have built a modest squad of 3 Battlecruisers fully upgraded.  The Doomsday machine has appeared in the upper left, and it's time to take the battle to it before it can destroy any of my colonies!

Beginning of turn 8
Turn 8.  I took advantage of my Merchant Ship pipelines to rapidly defend the threatened colony.  I rushed into battle and crushed the Doomsday Machine. It needed a 4 or lower on a 10 sided die to score a hit, and after 12 attacks it only managed to score one! I needed a 6 or lower, and after 12 attacks had managed to land 7!

Before the battle!And the results.  What a success!

Without any need to replace my fleet or upgrade my ships, I'm going to research ship size and defense and go for Battleships after all.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to get Attack 3 or Defense 3 at first.  But I decided I wanted my ships to be more survivable than be more likely to score hits.  I sincerely doubt I'll have a chance to research both.

Turn 9.  Nothing to do this turn but let the economic phase occur, and move my fleet to a more central location.  I also built 2 Battleships and a 4th Battlecruiser to augment my fleet.

Beginning of turn 10
Turn 10.  The second Doomsday machine has appeared at the right edge of my empire.  I engaged the DM at the end of the turn with 6 state of the art warships.  I still have firing priority as well!  Its weakness was mines if I had brought any with me.  With so little time to discover a Doomsday Machine's weakness and respond to it on this small map, the advanced techs aren't much help.

I should get six shots off each round before it goes!My Battlecruisers have seen better days.
I decided it made the most sense for the Doomsday Machine to focus on my weaker ships.  It savaged them, destroying nearly one per round.  Both myself and the Doomsday Machine only needed a 5 to score a hit!

Now its the final economic turn of the game.  First I roll to see where the last Doomsday Machine appears, and it's in the same spot again.  I decide to forgo research and build a Base at the Doomsday Machine's first target, along with 2 more Battleships for reinforcements.  I only hope its enough.

Beginning of turn 11
Turn 11.  Once again I engaged the DM at the end of the turn.  This time my last remaining Battlecruiser and my Battleships needed a 4 or lower to score a hit!  Thankfully my Base only needed a 6.

It's the final countdown!I built some sturdy Battleships
My last Battlecruiser was shot down before it even had a chance to fire.  One more Battleship fell in glorious combat.  The Base hit rather reliably, however I was lucky to score a single hit off my Battleship group.  Still, in the end my high defense kept the Doomsday Machine from scoring too many hits, with the Base and Battleships both needing a 4 to be hit.



  1. Thanks for this great session report. SE4X is my first 'war' game and with no group I've been struggling through the solo game. I was having the worst time trying to comprehend combat against the doomsday machine (and having the worst luck with my die rolls too, I think). This report really helped clarify the general insecurities I had about whether I was comprehending combat. Thanks! I'm looking forward to actually beating the game at some point.