uf GD is right

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Azqa
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uf GD is right

Haven't played GSF in awhile and wanted to give it a solo shot as a refresher while trying to come up with a good spin on it for either of my usual game groups.  It'd been long enough that I'd forgotten that if I want a quicker game, I need to go after the flagship early regardless of the success or failure of the venture.

I was playing Bjarlspire and Tharendim with sectors of the Lyccidfelth Belt, Proto-star Y'dera, and Saeunn's Forge.  Saeunn's Forge started with two opp ships while the others started with one each.  The two Strike Force ships started in the non-Forge sectors and the UFGD deployment put the Resource Gathering mission into Y'Dera.  The Forge was overrun on the second turn, the starting mission got scrapped, and Vindicator came out.  I'd also pulled both SF ships into Y'dera as it seemed the least damaging / most helpful of the sectors.  Between the Aftermath effect of the Vindicator (play the top card of the Opposition ship deck in the sector with the fewest ships), the Installation effect of Resource Gathering (flip the top card of the Last station deck in this sector and put it into play Opposition side up), and the boosts from sectors I left alone, I'd clear out that sector only to have 3-4 ships in it at the start of the next turn.  While I was really glad that Tharendim could handle 2-3 a turn, the requirement to have at least one unengaged SF ship in the sector at the start of the Aftermath phase to get rid of the mission card meant that I spent about 3 hours just trying to slog through that in an attempt to not get a third sector overrun while building up.

(In retrospect, perhaps I should have tried to reclaim the Lyccidfelth Belt when I had good hands rather than try to outpace the mission + Vindicator sending out forces.)

Finally I was at a point where I thought I could snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.  Thematically, the UFGD had taken over a lot of space around me, and they kept sending in troops where I'd made my home (ironically, after a closer look at the UFGD description, THEIR home is Y'dera...whoops) but I kept making them pull back bloodied stumps while my crews just got more and more deadly.  At last we were ready for our final strike - if this didn't work, the UFGD would claim all of the local space.  My one hope was to take out their flagship in single combat.

There were three opp ships in Y'dera after the Travel phase event, so the sector would be overrun if I didn't win.  My two ships moved over to the Forge.  Requisition phase was pretty meaningless, and I thought Installation would be too...but I'd forgotten about one of the flipped station cards that was an opp ship.  It had an Installation phase event that triggered if there were two or more SF ships in the sector - it'd flip each of the station cards and play them in that phase.  First one was a ship that was scrapped due to the fleet limit.  Second was a boost that gave all opp ships one more defense.  That made the margin of success much smaller but it was still there.  Third one had the opp ship with the most Defense travel to the sector with the fewest ships....

I escalated my cursing at that point.  It would have been close, but between the Battle event from a Pydro EMP Sentry removing two Defense from Vindicator, Zairichi's Feint and Moravi's Strike to each remove one Energy, and the 28 Weapons that Tharendim would've had, I would've just barely one-shot Vindicator if it had still been there.

Next solo GSF game I play, I'll probably go with kinder sectors rather than random ones and swap out Bjarlspire for something that's more of a flagship killer.  I'd like to get comfortable enough with the game to be able to bring it back to either group I play with regularly and reassure them that this time we won't spend 4 hours struggling before an anticlimactic finish.