SW-A1324 THE ANONYMOUS GAME FROM HELL!

By Elliot Hudes


I like to pride myself on being a fairly decent player. When I want to rank or win I usually do pretty well for myself. When Iím just playing for fun (isnít this what we always do?) I still try to ensure that Iím on the winning side. Itís not often I find myself in a hopeless position where death is imminent and I have a few turns to figure out how to best occupy my time. Iíve been here before and I know that dropping out is not an option. Better to get a pointy stick and put it in your opponentís eye than to email FBI and ask to be dropped. So what did I do? Letís start at the beginning.
 

You have already read Jackís account the past two months regarding this particular anonymous game from his, the winnerís perspective. Remember, he had a small empire, poor resources and was surrounded by pirates but a game like this can turn in an instant and is much more unpredictable than a diplomatic version of Starweb.
 

To begin Ė letís keep Jackís book keeping, of which player was which. In an anonymous game the names; world numbers and fleet numbers are scrambled so that two players comparing worlds would not see the same information. This makes it hard to cheat and also a bit confusing to sort out who was who after the game.
 

As I said to Jack after reading his draft copies, ďOh my God - I'm pirate 2!!!!Ē
 

My universe (Players named as Jack named us)
 

Berserker 1 Ė Jack Fulmer (KING)

Pirate 2 = Me (MIRA)

Apostle 1 = Randell Carr (QUAD)

Player 4 = Ken Dooley (DUNE Ė Pirate)

Player 6 = Ken Andrews (OOZE Ė Merchant)

Player 7 (Then Pirate 3) = John Muije (FATE-Pirate)

Player 9 = Graham Lythell (HALO Ė Berserker)

Player 10 = Kenneth Gailliez (EDEN)
 

Players I never met
 

Player 8 (Then Pirate 4) = Steve Dooley (UNIX Ė Pirate)

Player 5 = Roberto Flaibani (JUNO - EB)

Pirate 1 = Darrell House (TOMB) (One of Jackís opponents)
 

Players neither Jack nor I saw
 

Player 11 = Gerry Paulson (ISIS)

Player 12 = David Tiffany (PION)

Player 13 = Jeff Hancock (GORT)

Player 14 = William Wymer (ROME)
 

TURNS 1 Ė 3 Expand, Expand, Expand
 

The usual rapid expansion and explore all available connections. I find just enough keys to explore each world and cannot bring home any metal. On T3 I find 2 worlds with industry and sadly a homefleet keeping them neutral. I have enough keys to explore every world, attack the neutral industry worlds and even bring 4 keys and 5 metal to the HW. It appears to be going fairly well.

 

TURN 4 Ė First Contact

 

 

This map shows my status as of T4. For those of you new to the Flying Moose Technologies Starweb Analyzer map I shall orient you. The world number appears with the owner abbreviation below it. In my case Pirate 2 worlds are labeled PR2. You will see Apostle 1 (AP1), Berserker 1 (B1), Player 6 (PL6) and Player 9 (PL9) on this map. Below this will be an ĎIí, ĎPí or both denoting these types of homefleet if they are present. The starburst in the upper left of the world denotes the HW. In my case this is W68, although it will appear with a different number on other playerís turnsheets due to the Anonymous game scramble. The little ship icon below denotes fleets in the air. On the left denotes my fleets. On the right are fleets of other players. For example you can see at W64, which is owned by [] (meaning itís neutral) that I have a fleet there and have met PL9 with his fleet also present. If you see a world surrounded with a blue glow that represents weapons fire and alerts you to view this one for some interesting fighting.

 

On two expansion arms from my HW I capture the ring 3 worlds and donít meet anyone. One of them was W166 and I plan to explore further. On the map Iíve shown the owners of the two connecting worlds already (W29, W143). The other open area is at W234 and I can see W117 which I intend to explore as well. The map appears to be made of simple squares and rectangles and runs of two connecting worlds.
 

I meet 3 players at ring 3 worlds that remain neutral. There is Berserker 1 (Jack Ė KING) at W201 who will become one of my two main opponents (and wins the game), Player 6 (Ken Ė Ooze the Merchant) at W154 (my second opponent) and Player 9 (Graham Ė HALO the Berserker) at W164. I can see their scores are 0, 0 and Ė15 so I make a note in my turnsheet log that Iíve met merchants and/or berserkers (This is a log I keep in anonymous games where I jot notes each turn in with my guesses, theories and tests (no the art didnít attach Ė heís not an AC, I was not ambushed so he declared me ally).
 

How did I handle first contact? I mistakenly thought that a merchant would want to haul for me (Player 6 never had this intention). Neither merchants nor berserkers needed worlds while I could plunder them. My intent was to score well and take out a player in the game. Honorable pirate goals I thought.

 

Player 9 (HALO/Berserker) Ė We met at W64 where he had two keys of 2 and I had a key of 5. I sent my key out for metal and brought another smaller key here to capture the world if Halo left it for me. I probe deeper (W242) as I pull out. I fully expected if he was a merchant that he would come in deeper to my worlds while dropping a CG to show me his intent.
 

Player 6 (OOZE/Merchant) and I meet at W154 with a key each where I outgun him 5 to 3. Iím very consistent and send my key out for metal while bringing in a smaller key for the potential capture. I probe deeper as I leave.
 

Berserker 1 (KING/Jack) Ė at our contact point, W201, we each have a key and Iím outgunned 4:2. In the previous cases I met the players on a two connector so itís obvious where they came from. In this case there are 2 connections B1 could be from. So I use the same trick Ė bring in another key to the contact point and send this key to one of the connections to determine where B1 came from and perhaps grab a world. I chose W25 but ultimately it turns out he owned both and W143 from my apparent open border at W166. The map reflects this.
 

I looked at my turn and thought Ė not bad. I had 13 worlds and more exploratory room. There was 40 industry and 45 mines. So I could build but I would have to look to plunders from my intended victim. And finally of the three closest players none of them were coveters of worlds and I could see me finding an agreeable merchant, berserker and one target amongst them. Boy was I mistaken :-).
 

TURN 5 Ė Things Look Good!

 

On the two expansion arms I had previously I claim a clean biconnector world, W117, so obviously someone isnít expanding or is a dropout. On the other limb I went to investigate 2 worlds, W29 and W143. I meet Apostle 1 (QUAD/Randy) at W29 and claim unprotected W143 B1 world. This was why Jack was getting nervous about me. My similar exploration from the arm we met on (W201) the previous turn also captures an unprotected world (W25) that is adjacent letting me own a Ring 2 and Ring 3 world. It is also clear to us both now that Iíve found his ring 1 world Ė W170. Similarly B1 and Apostle 1 send small keys to my adjacent world W166).
 

I hadnít intended to invade B1/Jack but I stumbled deep into his area on two fronts and captured unprotected worlds so I figured that destiny decreed that he be Target #1. Meanwhile B1 brought a new key to our first contact world (W201) Ė showing me he was unwilling to let me have it. So I decide to plunder W25 and W143, the worlds Iíve captured (remember itís a poor universe and you need to take stuff from others :-). This would alert him to my character also. I take one of the keys back to our first contact world (W201) to reinforce it and send the other deeper into B1 territory to investigate ring 1 Ė W170.
 

Now I figure I should find ways of being friendly to anyone else on my border so I donít have to worry about multiple fronts. Iíve done this in previous games, even gifting a plundered world to another pirate as a gesture saying, ďLetís be friends and find other targetsĒ.
 

So in my first attempt at being friendly to bordermates Ė I withdraw from the Apostle 1 border world (W29) and I drop the Blessed Pyramid to show just how friendly I am. Will he notice? Good anonymous players study their turnsheets for just these subtle ways of communicating.
 

Player 9 (HALO) withdrew from our first contact world (W64) letting me have it and the key. My probe of his area shows me a not too exciting ring 2 four connector world.
 

As for Player 6 (OOZE-Merchant), he does the recognizable merchant thing and moves one world in to my area (W129-Ring 2). This lets me capture the ring 3 first contact world (W154) which in itself is a friendly looking gesture but he didnít drop any CGs and he didnít put his fleet at peace. In previous anonymous games Iíve managed to get up to 2 merchants working for me but this smelled more of a player scoping out my territory than an attempt to find a merchant client. The ring 2 world (W129) he was at had 1 ISHP and 1 PSHP so I put them on conditional fire versus his 3 ship key. Remember, each odd numbered homefleet gets itís firepower rounded up so 1 PSHP has 1 shot as does 1 ISHP (a little Starweb trivia for you). I also designate an 8 ship hauling fleet to visit the adjacent ring 1 world (W199). If Player 6/OOZE comes here I will capture his key. The two keys of 1 from our first contact (W154) will come to the ring 2 world (W129). With the industry at ring 2 if he stays to fire then he will become a key of 2 ships and I will arrive and have 5 ships to deal with him. I feel that this is adequate defensive work on this front. And the world I probed W23 was a 2 industry biconnector world and would be his ring 2 which was great for his defense.

 

Another thing I did this turn was to declare all 3 players LOADERS. I figure if I watch the worlds they are at and they try to load I could see which of them was a merchant. Their scores were Ė5, -5 and 0. (Apostle 1 was 215 and easily stood out from the others). As far as I was concerned they were all merchants and/or berserkers (and I was correct) and I should have no problems with them (incorrect).
 

Hauling Ė Iím coming to the HW with 18 metal and going out for 30 which is fantastic for T5 without a merchant. I figure I will build 20 ships on T7 and be at full builds on T8.
 

T6 Ė Everything is Going My Way (Not!)
 

First the exploration arm. I have hit a 4 connector (W152) and met 3 players. We all have keys of 1 or 2 ships so nobody has much of an advantage. I see my old neighbor Player 9 (HALO) as well as Player 4 (DUNE-Ken) and Pirate 3 (FATE-John). Since I only have a key of 2 ships I decide to cautiously explore a connection (W28). This allows the meeting world to go to someone else and I figure I can get some mapping information.
 

Now how about my other neighbors? Player 9 (HALO) remains on his side of his border and I donít see him here. I can see 6 players and there are still 3 scores clumped at 5, 10 and 10. So I figure Player 9 must be a berserker (correct) cuzz if he was a merchant he sucked at it :-). Player 6/Ooze decides to send his key back to our first contact world (W154) on the way out of my area. He doesnít load, drop CGs or invade me. For the life of me I canít figure out his game plan but I figure he is benign at the moment (Wrong!)
 

Meanwhile Apostle 1 does something unexpected. He moves his key of 1 ship deeper into my area to a ring 2 world (W165). Why is an Apostle going to try and map me? I decide to fire on his key of 1 and send out haulers to ring 1 (W167) and ring 2 (W165) to deal with him if he is up to mischief.

 

It seems my neighbors are acting oddly but not overtly hostile so I can concentrate on B1/Jack. My foray deeper lands me at the ring 1 world (W170). Jack is there outgunning me 4 ships to my 1. He has retreated from our ring 3 first contact world (W201) letting me capture it but he has sent small keys to the ring 2 and ring 3 worlds (W25 and W143) I had grabbed and plundered. I left homefleet to make it harder for him to reclaim but Iím not able to send anything big in yet. I figure my first real surplus of ships will be on T7. Meanwhile I just want to tie up his ships, disrupt hauling, get a few plunders and map.
 

I only have 10 builds this turn at the HW and I commit them to the hauling effort. I manage to bring in 30 metal and go out for 30. I wonder if this could have been one of my mistakes. Perhaps if I had sent more force in early I could have been more successful. B1 already knew I was hostile and my waiting for full builds would obviously work for him too.
 

As to the scores Ė the remaining ones were 329/441/579. I presumed the 329 score was Apostle 1. Since my score was 507 this meant that Player 4 and Pirate 3 were either Pirates and/or EBs. (Remember Jack named Pirate 3 on T20 from seeing a pirate capture. I use his nomenclature so you can keep track of the characters but I didnít know he was a pirate yet).
 

Turn 7 - Still Going According to Plan!

 

Exploration Ė Lucky for Player 9 (HALO) everyone left the 4 connecting W152 meeting world. He claims the world. I stumble into the Player 4 (DUNE) connection (W28) and see his key come flying by. So I figure Pirate 3 (FATE) went home also as he flits to W224. I can surmise where they all live. This leaves W162 as the Player 9 (HALO) connection. I plan for this key to roam around mapping until it is killed so I head to the unknown Player 4 connection W198.
 

Player 6 (OOZE) continued from our first contact world (W154) back to his empire (W23). This is a good sign.
 

Apostle 1 Ė Iíve captured his key of 1 at my ring 2 (W165) and I hope he reads this as a ďdonít trespassĒ warning and not overtly hostile. After all I did leave him some apostle art and he was in my area uninvited.

 

B1 Ė He destroys my small key at ring 1 (W170), recaptures the ring 3 (W143) world but fails to capture the ring 2 (W25) cuzz Apostle 1 has blundered in with a small key. Iíve sent a key of 12 ships to our first contact world (W201) and it will be the start of my invasion. A 16 ship key goes to the common B1 and Apostle 1 border (W166). Itís for metal but available if anything happens here from either of these neighbors.
 

I send a key of 5 ships back to B1ís ring 2 world (25) again.
 

Hauling is on track Ė I can bring in 30 metal per turn.
 

Turn 8 Ė Something is not Quite Right Ė 2 Enemies?

 

 


 
 

Here is the updated map for T8 which will help you understand the descriptions below.

 

Exploratory fleet Ė I left Player 4 territory into Pirate 3 (FATE) at W198 and it was plundered. My theory that Pirate 3 is a pirate is supported. I see a connection (W224) back to our common meeting world. I decide to explore it so I have a route home with my key.
 

Player 9 (HALO) still stays on his side of the border and in fact I donít think I saw him again for the remainder of the game.
 

Apostle 1 Ė I havenít heard from him either except that the 1 ship key he had in B1 territory stumbles onto my B1 first contact world (W201) and gets pirate captured.
 

B1 Ė I have those 12 ships ready to fly in. In Jackís account he knew that I was invading cuzz he probed and saw these 3 keys here (W201). Well, he was right but not exactly because of the 3 keys. One was a hauler, one was Quadís and one was the hammer! At ring 2 (W25) my key of 5 ships is met by B1 who has 10 ships. I decide that it would be best to run to ring 1 (W170) since I would be destroyed if I stay. I also have an unknown world (not viewed yet) that connects to ring 1 (W20) from our first contact world and I decide to bring my 12 ships through to bring the fight directly to ring 1 and bypass those 10 ships he has at ring 2. Itís a risk cuzz this could be an industry world with a large ambush.
 

Player 6 (OOZE) Ė here is where I got worried. Player 6 has showed up again at our first contact world (W154) with 8 ships. Itís not a large armada but itís not at peace and it suppressed the 1 industry there so obviously Iím not on the ally list. It looks ominous but itís not a large invasion and Iím already committed to fighting B1. So I decide on an ĎEqual Forceí defense. This concept says that if I shadow a fleet with equal force and they fight, eventually both keys are dead. If the enemy keeps moving no harm is done. So I bring a fleet of 8 to meet him and another fleet of 8 ships to the ring 2 world (W129) on the inward side to my HW. If itís innocent they can haul metal.
 

Hauling is going well and Iíve plundered some rather useless worlds. I have 728 points but I can see a couple of players already into the nine hundred area.
 

Turn 9 Ė My Brain Says Iím Dead But My Body Doesnít Know It Yet!
 

Player 6 (OOZE) - Has a major invasion force in my area now. In total 115 ships on 4 keys. The first contact world (W154) has been fired on and made neutral and Player 6 reinforced. He has 41 ships to my 8. He also overflew to my ring 2 W129. I have 9 ships on 2 keys but he has 2 keys also with 84 ships. Itís going to be a rout!
 

I donít see any activity from the Apostle 1 border (this will change) or the Player 9 (HALO) border.

 

Meanwhile from that area where I met 3 players (W152) I have gotten my key to W224 which is adjacent and captured an undefended world from Pirate 3 (FATE). Coincidently Pirate 3 just came over the border to my world (W117) with a small key. I hope I havenít infuriated another player.
 

Now in B1 territory things were going relatively well. B1 robotized the ring 2 world (W25) and didnít fire on me. He brought another 15 ships to deal with me but Iíve gone! This key and the one going thru that unknown ring 2 world (W20) have arrived at ring 1 (W170). I only lost 1 ship to the homefleet at W20 and I have 15 ships at ring 1 now. My reinforcements are at ring 3 first contact world (W201) with 29 ships. They are facing the defense force of B1 Ė 2 keys with 30 ships.
 

Tactics and Philosophy or What Do I Do Now?
 

If I only had to fight B1 I think I could have prevailed. While itís true that we had equal firepower and it could have just been a war of attrition, I was already inside at ring 1 and the ring 2 world necessary for B1 to reinforce his forces facing me at our first contact world. I could have flown in deeper and faced his force with my outgoing wave. I was on the offense and I think I could have won.
 

The problem was I was now on defense and if I didnít siphon any ships to this battle Player 6 would be at ring 1 next turn and at my HW in 2 turns. To survive I had to deal with Player 6. Inside B1 I would retreat and gift a key to B1 and see if it was not too late to placate him. After all, I hadnít damaged him yet and if I cleared out of his ring 1 and left he may have similar problems to mine with multiple players and be happy to be left alone.
 

My score is 790, Iím not picking up new worlds, Iím under attack and I see scores over 1000. Survival becomes my new goal.
 

T10 Ė Didnít They Know Threeís a Crowd
 

OK, letís count. Player 6 now has 140 ships in my area. He destroyed my key at the first contact ring 3 (W154), destroyed two keys at ring 2 (W129) where I came with my last turn builds (33 ships) to the rescue. Only he has 81 ships there now on 3 keys. Iím still fighting B1 while retreating. At his ring 1 (W170) he comes out with multiple keys and 34 ships to deal with my intended blockade. I retreated to ring 3 (W201) where he reinforced and has 40 ships to my 31. Bad things always come in threes. Here it is. Now Apostle 1 has slipped over my border with 2 keys and 48 ships (W166).
 

I canít prevail against 2 opponents so what can I do versus 3? Hey Rick Ė are you sure this is an anonymous game. They sure look like they know what they are doing together ;-). This is one of the reasons Iím not a big fan of anonymous games. Luck has been given a bigger hand in these games. If you are unfortunate enough to be surrounded by warmongers and they all target you then you are toast. Besides, the players that absolutely require cooperation and will only score based on your ability to help them are in short supply in anonymous games. It makes sense. You wonít see many Art Collectors or Empire Builders here. And as Iíve found out some Merchants join for the military advantage their double hauling affords them. On the other hand, Anonymous Starweb is a nice break from endless emails from allies and opponents alike. You can play more games with less time consumed. And if itís the military side of the game you enjoy Ė this has more of it than the regular games.
 

The other small issue I noted last turn was Pirate 3 (FATE) had slipped over my border. He went back and as I got my key back to the first contact world I noticed he was firing on that Player 9 (HALO) world (W152). Perhaps thatís why I never saw these guys much Ė they may have been knocking heads elsewhere in the galaxy.
 

My plan was basically to continue to withdraw from B1 even if he took potshots at me and concentrate on Player 6 (OOZE). I determined that I would use each of my gifts in this game in the hope of getting help. This turn I gifted Apostle 1 the world he was at. He would get little pleasure capturing worlds that I would give him anyway. I decided to try to placate B1 again. I gifted another key at our common ring 3 (W201).
 

I kept my HW well stockpiled with metal while this was occurring but with 3 players moving in on me I realized that I could not let my HW fall to them intact. I was already thinking of destroying myself.
 

I decided to bring as much as I could to ring 1 in my defense. I took my fleet from ring 2 (W129) and sent it along a path away from my HW that ultimately landed it at ring 1 (W15W79W199). Since Player 6 had never made it to ring 1 he might think this key was flying home and perhaps he would take his armada in the wrong direction and afford me more time to prepare for him.
 

Turn 11 Ė Itís Three Against One
 

Itís amazing how much easier your turn gets when you have no good options.
 

Letís see Ė Apostle 1 shot at the world I gifted him (W166).
 

B1 Ė I have removed all forces from his area now and he should see my second gift. What did he do? He fired at me at ring 3 (W201) as I ran. He has 88 ships on 4 keys. I have to laugh cuzz he emptied the gift key I gave him. My forces ran to the HW except for one small key that went to my ring 2 for metal. He has started his incursion by arriving at my ring 2 (W212) with 31 ships of his own. I decide to gift him this ring 2 world and flee. This was to be my final gift to him. If he was still sore at me then tough beans. I was through apologizing <G>.
 

Meanwhile Player 6 (OOZE) is certainly taking his time to finish me off. He doesnít take the bait of going the wrong route to my HW. In fact he doesnít arrive at ring 1 at all. He brings all his forces to ring 2 (W129) to consolidate them. I left a ship on each of the two neutral keys I lost there as I fled so that he would need to expend effort to capture them. He has 135 ships on 6 keys and has captured W129. Now that Iím looking at these turns again I have no idea why I did what I did. I took the 54 ships I had at my ring 1 (W199) world between Player 6 and me and took them to the ring 1 world (W167) that was common between B1 and Apostle 1. I understand that placing a barricade or ambush at ring 1 would slow them down. I donít understand why I didnít drop some ships on the ground before leaving. I think I was trying to place as large a force at ring 1 as I could in the hope that one of the invaders would step in and give me ships in pirate capture. I brought a lot of other keys to W167 too.
 

In my retreat from the Pirate 3 (FATE) area I catch sight of another battle (W162) between Pirate 3 and Player 9 (HALO). Yup, they were busy fighting each other and not worried about me.
 

T12 Ė Under Fire At Ring 1
 

In Jackís account he doesnít understand how I could leave one of my ring 1 worlds (W210) with only 1 ship protecting it. Well, hereís why and it almost got him too. First, I could not fight at both ring 1 worlds versus three different players. Second, I thought my best bet was my Pirate capture plan at the other ring 1. The World he came to (W167), had 152 ships of mine on 11 keys and they faced his 2 keys with 59 ships. If he had 51 ships or less they would have become mine. I was very disappointed. I decided to stand and fire.
 

B1 also took the ring 3 world (W201) with 31 ships and my ring 2 world (W212) with another 43 ships. Apostle 1 also moved one of his small keys in on me but he only came to ring 2 (W165).
 

Player 6 (OOZE) crept in at his maddening pace and arrived at ring 1 (W199) with 158 ships on 6 keys. I guess it wasnít so bad that I didnít leave any homefleet ambush for him to destroy.

 

Despite all of this my HW was at full building and I even brought in 25 metal this turn. I had to make a big decision. When was I going to kill my HW. If I waited a turn and they all rushed my HW it was possible that they could capture it intact if they thought about dropping I ships. But even worse Ė both Player 6 and B1 could be berserkers and I wouldnít have the firepower to stop more than 1 key making a robot attack and they had many. I make the decision to shoot out the industry this turn. I plunder it too. Why not?
 

T13 Ė Easy Come, Easy Go

 

This map shows my status as of T13. Notice the blue glow of weapons fire at my inner core worlds and the HW. Notice the absence of the starburst from the upper left corner of W68 my exHW. Itís not a HW any longer.
 

My HW lies in a smoldering heap. Only 2 industry survive. I have a key with 56 ships and B1 manages to land with 99 ships on 3 keys. At ring 1 W167 I still have about 150 ships and many keys left. Apostle 1 had moved 46 ships to the adjacent ring 2 (W165). Meanwhile Player 6 (OOZE) has reinforced and taken the other ring 1 world (W199). He has 198 ships on 8 keys. These guys move so slowly that I risk dying of boredom before their ships can hurt me :-).
 

I decide to bring all my fleets at the HW to ring 1 (W167) with my armada to bring the number to about 210 ships and see if Apostle 1 will wander in deeper and allow me to pirate capture his 46 ships. If that works I would have beaten off one attack and 260 ships would be a nice number to throw at someone as my last dying gesture.
 

Gifts Ė well itís no use trying to buy off Apostle 1 or B1. So I look around and decide to try and give what I can to some player who could benefit. Player 9 (HALO) I thought was a berserker so worlds were not helpful to him. I decide to gift 2 worlds to Pirate 3 (FATE) for his plundering.
 

T14 Ė Big Disappointment

 

Apostle 1 didnít come in deeper so I didnít capture anything at ring 1. Even more disturbing is Apostle 1 has left my area completely and gifted me a key of 1 at ring 2. Itís been 2 turns since I gifted anything to Apostle 1 so I donít think he has suddenly come to like me. Probably something caught his attention at home. From Jackís note it appears he decided that it would be best to use his ships to score rather than fight for territory.
 

As B1/Jack points out in his note, he left my HW to the only ring 1 world that was safe (W210) with a PBB and his remaining 73 ships just as Player 6 (OOZE) arrived at the HW (W68) with 207 ships on 6 keys. And since none of us left homefleet he got to capture the plundered dead HW where I left my plastic art. One has to get oneís amusements where one can. I can see that Player 6 has fanned out to capture 4 more of my worlds and he manages to avoid my ring 1 world (W167) where I have 210 ships. How do these guys keep managing to avoid me? Player 6 goes to one of the worlds that I gifted to Pirate 3. Good, maybe Pirate 3 will see the cause of my pain and inflict a little back at him.
 

My plans now that my area is not a concern are to pick a target. My ships were on the far side of my HW from the Player 6 (OOZE) territory. I would have to fight my way through his 200 ship armada at the exHW or fight my way through my own territory to get to his. Our first contact world (W154) was ring 4 away. That made his HW ring 7 and 3 turns away if I moved slowly and took fire. This didnít seem wise. On the other hand there was B1 who fought me even as I tried to placate and gift him and our R3 first contact point (W201) was only 2 worlds away. It was a no brainer. I would need to hit B1. But I decided that since everyone had fanned out to capture my worlds as if I was dead already it might be worth a turn to go to as many worlds as I can and see if I could pirate capture anything.
 

Gifts this turn. I decide to reward Apostle 1 with a world and another to Pirate 3.
 

T15 Ė A Little Booty
 

The capture wasnít as good as I expected. I stopped Player 6 (OOZE) from capturing two worlds (W15 and W79) and I picked up two keys with 3 ships each. At the other ring 1 world (W210) where B1 was dropping his PBB I captured that key of 3 ships too but I had invested enough ships (118) to grab a lot more. He had departed for his own realm. At one ring 2 world (W173) I brought a 34 ship fleet and ran smack into the Player 6 armada of 261 ships (OUCH!)
 

Well I didnít want to waste any more time and resources. Clearly the gains I made would be more than lost by the hit I was going to take from Player 6. I decided to reconsolidate my war fleet and place as much as I could at a ring 2 and the R3 world (W212 and W201) on the B1 border. I even had about 60 ships I could place at R2 (W20) on his side of the border.
 

I gifted Pirate 3 (FATE) W173 where the Player 6 armada was so he could get a good look at the war. I also gave Apostle 1 another world.
 

T16 Ė The Final March
 

I have all my ships positioned on Ring 2, 3 and 4 worlds of B1. It is distributed as 64 ships-10 keys at ring 4 (W212), 29 ships-4 keys at ring 3 (W201) and 64 ships-3 keys at ring 2 (W20). I manage to pirate capture a couple of 1 ship keys that had been busy robotizing worlds for B1.
 

I decide to leave 1 small key at each world to fire AH. I know I canít capture the worlds but if I neutralize them then they are less helpful in supplying metal. Besides I was willing to do anything to slow down his scoring even taking away 5 point robotic worlds and I wanted to annoy B1.
 

Perhaps I was too impetuous but I decided to place as much as possible at ring 1 and hit the HW. Perhaps this type of play would catch B1 with his pants down.
 

By the way, if you are still wondering about that that small key of 2 ships, it still wanders around unscathed in the Pirate 3 and Players 4, 9 area. I stumble onto the Player 9 (HALO) HW and catch a glimpse of Player 10 (EDEN) leaving. I never see him again. The HW is W45 off of W183 Ė itís not on the map yet (sorry).
 

T17 Ė Ambushes Hurt.
 

B1 left a 9 ship ring 1 ambush at W170. (OUCH!) Jack nailed 2 keys of 6 and 7 ships and 3 keys made it through taking the full hit making the hit 40 ships which I could not afford. I landed at the B1 HW (W128) with 48 ships on 3 keys versus his 98 ships (includes builds). B1 has twice my firepower and he could easily shield his industry while blowing me away. I decide that itís better if I continue to hammer away at him as this would tie up his resources that could be out there robotizing or dropping PBBs. At ring 1 (W170) I had 55 ships on 8 keys. I had a few smaller keys around to try and disrupt B1 in his scoring but I didnít encounter him.
 

So what could I do but fire AI at the HW and bring in my reinforcements. I knew I couldnít win here unless my opponent made a mistake. He hadnít made one yet but I was hopeful I could slow down his scoring at the very least.

 

T18 Ė The Battle is Lost.
 

I had transferred most of my ships to one key at the HW (W128). The idea is to keep the ships alive and dangerous as long as possible by playing a shell game with them. The keys were expendable at this point. At the HW I only lose 15 ships and retain 33 while bringing in 46 more ships on 6 keys. B1 has me outgunned by 182 ships and 9 keys to my 79 ships.
 

Meanwhile I had another 36 ships on 5 keys scattered through B1s empire one their way to reinforce.
 

T19 Ė T21 Ė Oh the Horror, the Horror!

 

This updated map for T19 shows the blue haze of war around W170 and the B1 HW W128. Most of my area has been annexed by Player 6, Apostle 1 and B1.
 

What can I say? I just kept bringing in ships and firing at the ground, first the industry then the robots. Always B1 placed exactly what was needed to protect himself and his building capacity.
 

T22 Ė Courageous? Tenacious? Probably just Stubborn
 

I had 18 ships at the B1 HW. Do you know what I did with them? Right. I fired at the industry.
 

As a side note, do you remember a key of 2 ships that very early on had found a 4 connector (W152) that was the border of 4 empires? I never did return it to my area as planned. I got side tracked and explored into Player 9 (HALO). By T17 I had slipped into Player 6 (OOZE) domain and I continued to go 1 world at a time until the game ended on T23 and mapped 6 more of his worlds without opposition and I never found his HW.
 

T23 Ė Endgame - I made it.
 

I still had a fleet of 7 ships at the B1 HW. I would have fired if I had the chance. I ranked 11 out of 15. I didnít even come in last. I was amazed at that. Have a look at my proud empire.
 

(11) Elliot Hudes
 

[MIRA]: Pirate (Score=1985,Keys=2,Ships=9)
 

The victory score was 7404 and my chief opponent was Jack Fulmer as B1 (Berserker 1) who won it despite my attempts to slow him down. As for Player 6 (OOZE) Ken Andrews Ė he was indeed a warrior Merchant as his score was Ė109 and 13th place. (So I beat him Ė Heh!) I found out after the match that Pirate 3 (FATE) was my old friend John Muije who I had fed many worlds but he only managed a 7th place. As for Apostle 1 Ė that was Randell Carr who brought in a 6 place.
 

It was a fun game and it was one of two games in the past 10 years where I actually got whupped. In both cases I had a blast trying to do whatever I could to the opposition. But as Iíve said before Ė luck seemed to have more to do with the outcome than skill. I could never prevail over 3 different playersí invasion forces. I havenít signed up for another anonymous game yet. Iím still smarting from this one <vbg>.
 

Elliot
 

 
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