Tabletop Let's Play
An Unsteady Peace Arises in Twilight Imperium

Paul Goodman | 25 Sep 2014 20:00
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For previous columns in this Let's Play series, click here.

Last time on Let's Play Twilight Imperium, the galaxy reacted to Justin's complete and utter destruction of Jon's already weakened empire, which in turn gave Justin a huge advantage as he potentially had access to many undefended worlds (and unclaimed resources). The rest of the players all paused their own personal vendettas against each other to focus their efforts on Justin; Greg pushed a huge fleet towards Justin's home system while Janelle positioned her own forces to attack via wormhole. Josh and Paul entered an armistice, and built up their own fleets in the hopes of also entering the fray, although neither knew for sure where they should direct their efforts.

Things over the next two rounds, however, became tense as a very important objective card was revealed - one that could instantly determine the winner of the game...

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High Priestess Janelle Bonnano of the Yin Brotherhood Says: Plans have been set and it is time to force them into motion. The end to the war with the Jol-Nar depends on it.

Taking the bulk of our forces, we hopped one of the wormholes in our territory, only to be blockaded by the Mindnet before we could arrive. Forced to stop in the wormhole nexus, there was little we could accomplish other than engage the blockade, which we could not do. This would cause our fleets to be next to the Mindnet Death Fleet, rather than on it. Doing so would throw all our planning into the nether, as the Mindnet utilizes the opportunity to take us out before we could engage on the battlefield of our choosing.

All was not lost. Taking advantage of an otherwise suboptimal situation, the Jol-Nar moved East instead, and took the Mindnet homeworld. To aid them, we jammed the Death Fleet's communication signals, leaving them stranded in space and unable to retaliate. With the Mindnet homeworld now in Jol-Nar hands, the Death Fleet is without a home to aid them, stopping their endless expansion throughout the stars.

With our battle-ready fleet suspended in space among the Nexus, we have time to reflect on our actions and those of others. We promised never to be taken unawares by the drums of war again, and now might be the time to make good on that promise. Uniting the inhabitants of the planets to our cause, our people rally against the threat our potential enemies pose. The rise of the messiah has begun and local religious leaders stand to support our growing empire. Our shipyards begin to work overtime and the recruitment efforts of our military boom, allowing us to amass ground force control of each planet in our territory.

But we cannot continue to blind ourselves by only looking inward. Peace may have been made with the Jol-Nar, but it is a tenuous peace at best. Once the Mindnet no longer pose a threat, will they return their warfaring ways to our borders? Perhaps. We cannot allow this to happen and thus, must secure our borders by any means necessary. With our ships in temporary stasis and the Mindnet forces out of reach, we decide that it is time to liberate Hercalor from the Jol-Nar occupation. Freedom spreads like wildfire, infecting the neighboring planet of Lesab. Their people rise up, casting the Jol-Nar out and destroying their ship production facility on our doorstep. All this allows us to take a deep breath, as the web of threats around our homeworld untangle and dissipate.

King Paul of the Xxcha Kingdom Says: The war against the Mindnet has gone swiftly. The Jol-Nar have seized the cyborg race's capital while the Yin Brotherhood have managed to jam communications to the so-called "Death Fleet," preventing them from quickly reacting to the loss of their home system. The Federation have pushed forward and restaged their claim to Mecatol Rex, constructing a Space Dock and fortifying the world for a possible Mindnet counter-attack, while seizing a few of the undefended worlds deep within Mindnet territory in a multi-pronged resource raid. The Yin main battlefleet sits waiting in the Wormhole Nexus, unsure of its next move, though our agents report that a proxy war fought by Yin-supported separatists have overthrown at least one of the Jol-Nar's planets through civil unrest.

Part of the Xxcha fleet awaits orders to deploy.

We have constructed a significant battle fleet of carriers fully loaded with the most technologically advanced fighters and supported by Hylar-armed cruisers our military has to offer, but our admirals are unsure over where to deploy their strength. The ion storms that blocked our route to Sardokk N'orr territory are no longer of concern thanks to new engine designs, and we are able to reach many locations lightly defended by the Mindnet's fleets. But the Federation, through what we suspect is technological espionage, now have access to War Suns.

This turns our situation dire. Our only neighbor, and in a way, our only rival, now have the ability and the means to construct the greatest weapons of mass destruction in our time. Their Commodore claims they have no intention of breaking the armistice, but we cannot trust them fully if they follow through and construct a War Sun given the horrific capacity for destruction a single ship of that magnitude can bring to bear. Meanwhile, the Mindnet are quickly reversing their advance and for once using diplomatic channels, trying to delay any further assault on their territory by the Jol-Nar, Yin and The Federation while they scramble to move their ships back into position to reclaim their lost worlds. This does leave their outer borders weakened, and several useful planets open to invasion. We could benefit greatly from their resources.

We find ourselves at an impasse. What are the Xxcha to do? Press the attack on the Mindnet and claim a few of their lesser defended worlds, and leave our home system vulnerable to the Federation's war machine if it chooses to cast its eager eye towards our borders? Or fortify our defenses and pray that any Federation aggression would be rebuffed?

This decision is one that requires great thought.

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