Starting here I seem to be missing some pictures. The battery in my camera started going bad, so it's possible that it didn't save all the pictures. I ran the battery until it died before switching, so perhaps in the future I'll swap before it dies and see if that helps. It's also possible I just forgot to take a picture here and there, but I was pretty thorough, especially considering that pictures everywhere was part of the exercise.
EV starts by inching his cruiser forward and putting another point on my central heavy. I actually forgot to take a close-up for this one, and didn't remember to take this shot until I had moved half of my frigates.
|Turn 5. SM 1|
As teased in the above picture, I moved my frigates with the same intention as in the last turn: getting them to where I think the fight will be in turns to come while also getting a shot away in the process. The result is one squadron destroyed.
|Another squadron down.|
Having lost the Ripper in turn 4 and now his southern frigate squadron, EV is down to 4 squads and thus 4 cards. I'm still at 6 squadrons, though one is just a single heavy with a single hull point remaining.
|Turn 5, ID 1|
|Keyhole shooting works wonders.|
EV is again inching his ships forward, seeming to hold back on his flanking action to get a couple more parting shots off. This is something I have done many times myself and now try to guard against. While you get another shot or two off by hesitating, you also take another turn or two of fire and can potentially spread your fleet out too thin.
|Turn 5, SM 2|
With no more targets on the western side of the board, I turn the airship around to bring it back into the game. I figure I can keep it covered behind the SE island and hope to pop out from behind it and bomb something in a turn or two. This is a bit of pushing wood on my end, but I want to wait for EV's frigates to move in so I can get closer shots off.
|Turn 5, ID 2|
|SM heavies join the fight at long last.|
|Turn 5, SM 3|
I continue realigning my fleet for a meeting in the SE. I bring my battleship around and start working on the flagship, putting a point on it at range.
I thought about splitting fire into the frigates and destroyer, but I was hoping the Holed Below would take care of the destroyer. I also planned to send my destroyers in to work on the frigates, figuring they'd have an easy time of it at close range.
|Turn 5, ID 3|
|The clash in the SE begins.|
I was happy when the destroyer sank as it validated my decision to ignore it. Also it was another SM ship down. EV avoided blocking in his flagship and cruiser by activating the frigates after those ships had already moved.
|Turn 5, SM 4|
|Back to the center?|
This was a brain fart for me. I meant to send these cruisers with the rest of my ships, yet inexplicably kept them moving into the center, where the fight had been but was no more. I realized this too late, and also realized that I didn't have enough room to turn around without some fancy steering.
|Turn 5, ID 4|
|Another lackluster firing by the destroyers.|
Despite my advantages in activations and hand size, I don't feel as good at the end of turn 5 as I should. By botching my cruiser movement, I'm primed to face what remains of the Shroud fleet with a battleship and a squadron of destroyers. I can easily envision my destroyers getting overrun and my battleship boarded in short order. Hopefully that doesn't happen before I can bring down the rest of my ships.
|End of turn 5, ID 5|
The start of turn 6 didn't make me feel better about my chances with EV repairing his cruiser somewhat.
|At least it was only 2 points repaired.|
EX quickly clears his potential roadblock, sending his frigates in against my destroyers and doing a point to one.
|Turn 6, SM 1|
|Many shots, a single point of damage.|
|Turn 6, ID 1|
Another missing picture. EV moved his cruiser forward and didn't do any damage with it. I responded by sending in the destroyers. I read somewhere that they're supposed to do well against cruisers. Once again, I carefully positioned them to get full shots with each one. I didn't make the adjustment from single shots to linking yet, so I took 2 5AD shots and one 6AD shot. The result? One point of damage.
|The only thing they destroy is my patience for them.|
|Turn 6, ID 2|
Sure enough, in comes the flagship to mop up the destroyers.
|SM flagship knows how to shoot. Take notes destroyers.|
|Turn 6, SM 3|
I move my battleship forward a bit and put another point on the flagship.
|Point by point, it adds up.|
I want to stay well away from the Shroud ships until support arrives, so I don't move my full distance. I need to get better at having my big ships hang back and fire more.
|Turn 6, ID 3|
|One slightly over-matched frigate down.|
|Turn 6, SM 4|
|Turn 6, ID 4|
|End of turn 6, ID 5|
I start turn 7 by playing a repair card on my cruiser. It fixes the hull damage, but not the crew damage, so while the ship itself is sounder now it is no more effective.
EV wins the initiative and puts the destroyers out of my misery.
|Here comes the ramming.|
|Turn 7, SM 1|
|Turn 7, ID 1|
|A small portion of revenge.|
|Turn 7, SM 2|
|Maybe I'll send them this way after all.|
While my cruisers are closer to the Shroud ships now, they're further away from my battleship.
|Turn 7, ID 2|
|Shoot the smaller one!|
I move the airship up and start to eye a spot as likely for a gathering of SM ships. My non-battleships are poised to start raking the SM fleet, but they'll be doing so while that fleet rushes my battleship. Not the best position ever.
|End of turn 7, many activations|
In looking at these pictures now, I think EV may not have moved his flagship. It doesn't appear to have changed position. I can't imagine we would have missed something like that though, so maybe he just crept it forward somewhere that I haven't noticed. Looking more closerly, he did move it as it changed position from the end of turn 6. I guess I just didn't get a picture of it.
With 7 turns in the books, the endgame is approaching fast. I've managed to turn a solid advantage into an even fight at best points-wise, and a distinct disadvantage in positioning. Will I pull victory from the jaws of defeat? Or will EV pound my battleship quickly, then turn on the rest of my fleet? Find out in the final installment of this most visual of all battle reports.