On Saturday I got together with Andrew and we played once more a game of Twilight Imperium. Here is the custom map we made. Sorry, no pictures; we were wrapped up in the game and no time for luxuries like cameras... or heat.
Although it felt like we booth got into a good start (see image below) Andrew had a bit of good luck in finding a free space dock on a powerful 5 resources world adjacent to Mecatol Rex (see green below) and wisely set up another spacedock and base beside wormhole A. With those two forward based installed, and a wise use of some hostile neutrals to cut off my advance for a turn, I lost a step in the game and he pushed hard to keep me from coming back.
Image 2 - Early turns. I was in the blue base, Andrew in the green.
As we progressed into the mid game it became apparent that despite the equal number of objective points, I was in trouble. As you can see from the third map, the big battles were mostly in my territory and numerous blockades of key systems and my inability to mount small clearing attacks due to his racial ability costing me twice as many command counters to do so meant he was able to build up an impressive lead in resources and logistics.
Image 3 - Key battles.
As we entered the end game I tried several things to come back and secure objectives to win but my empire was crumbling leaving me with few resources to do so. Andrew easily reached our agreed level of twelve and then beyond, securing what can only be described as a major victory in the process. And my first loss in 3 games.
In hindsight, I think it was a combination of Andrew's small bit of fortune on getting that early powerful spacedock base near Mecatol Rex (AND able to build on it due to Production strategy card later on that turn) along with some small misteps on my part on not securing my empire well enough. Plus it always felt like I was short fighters or infantry and constantly scrambling around to get both. Once behind a step I never really caught up.
Despite the crushing loss, it was a damn fun time and I really liked the map layout. It felt like there was good reasons to go multiple directions and use the different wormholes as well as go directly at Mecatol Rex. With a few minor changes, I would definitely replay this map and game again.
Next time Andrew, foul Arch-nemesis, next time! *shakes fist threateningly*