The Lyre War

In the early days of interstellar expansion, two rival nations established themselves in what became known as the Lyre Sector. One, the Karenlay Alliance, a joint venture between the Confederacy government and a technology corporation focused on discovering the secrets beyond known space. The other, the Fringe Defense League, a nation outside the jurisdiction of the Confederacy established as a place of freedom from overbearing governmental power.

As the two nations grew, it became clear that the Karenlay Alliance was the dominant power in the Lyre Sector. Through advanced technological methods, they were able to establish an entire world dedicated to fabrication of ships and other materials to strengthen their populace. Universities on their homeworld, Karenlay, allowed greater sharing of studies between the leading scientists and the students that followed them. Soon, another research facility was established on the far side of the sector, providing even greater learning opportunities.

However, this new facility was placed on the border of the Defense League space, and within a jump of their homeworld. The League had also run into many issues with its own expansion, finding very little in the way of resources compared to Karenlay. Seeing this new facility as a threat to their sovereignty, the Defense League struck, starting the Lyre War.

Two Defense League destroyers jumped from their homeworld into the Nova Sol system, and before it could even begin operations, the colony was taken. The Defense League immediately put it to use, both for its raw resources but also for its wonderful laboratories, conducting their own research into new production methods.

Karenlay would not stand for this. To them, the Defense League was no better than pirates or terrorists, and must be put down. A small fleet was sent to reclaim the system, but due to the League’s unorthodox methods (ramming a burning ship into a Karenlay frigate), the system remained under League control.

Recognizing the system as a massive boost to their nation, the League began to fortify it with multiple missile platforms. These platforms were a strong enough deterrent that Karenlay could not even consider a direct attack on the system. Nova Sol had been secured.

Karenlay’s military leaders began to plan for reclaiming the system. There wasn’t much between the Alliance and the League as far as other inhabited systems. The League did control a small black hole that was within a jump of Karenlay space, but due to its nature would be hard to capture. Expeditionary fleets were sent deep into unclaimed space, trying to find a way to perhaps take their homeworld. But it, too, became defended. Meanwhile, the level of military technology in the League was growing rapidly, outpacing the Alliance’s ability to fight them. Action needed to be taken.

The KAS Bulwark was commissioned as the first battleship of the war. Capable of withstanding most assaults, it was to be the key to winning back Nova Sol. Forming the largest fleet known in the sector, the Karenlay Alliance launched a massive attack on their former colony. But their admirals had misjudged the situation - the Defense League was prepared.

Between missile platforms, mercenary fleets, and their own League destroyers, the KAS Bulwark was destroyed without taking out its primary objectives, the missile platforms. Another ship, the KAS Sunstrider, was disabled, unable to attack or escape. As the battle wore on, it became clear to the Alliance that Nova Sol would not be retaken. What few ships could escape were ordered to retreat, leaving a fighter squadron and the KAS Sunstrider to be destroyed.

This massive blow to the Alliance led to a temporary ceasefire between the two nations, even as the Defense League looked to split the Karenlay Alliance’s supply lines. During the interbellum, the Alliance managed to reclaim and rebuild the KAS Bulwark, as well as a portion of their fleet. But with their systems defended, the League was able to build its own advanced shipyards, and construct more destroyers than previously possible with their limited financial resources. While the Lyre War turned cold, it would not remain that way for long.

The above story is a retelling of an actual game that I played (version 0.7.1). Compared to previous versions of the game, I was blown away that the underdog could finally make a comeback like this. This had been one of my major points of concern since version 2.4. In the past, the game revolved around a single battle. Once that battle was over, it was clear who would win, but the game itself couldn’t end because the opponent hadn’t been conquered yet.

In this version, both players were able to build up their victory points while engaging in this conflict. The Defense League was able to get more resources than the Alliance (eventually) because they were drawing additional cards each turn, while the Alliance couldn’t spend that kind of money without giving up an advantage. So even though they were ‘winning’ with victory points, they ended up getting stalled in their efforts to conquer the opponent. And that, I think, is awesome.

I’m hoping to do more tests like this in the near future, and will happily write up the most interesting ones. I realize that it’s not the best writing, but I was very satisfied with the way this game played out. Looking forward to more tests!