MarkG88 wrote:Defenders should always have an opportunity to retreat before combat. Under "ideal conditions" (where you see the attacker coming) you should be able to retreat before a battle takes place. This can be modified by surprise (when you don't see the attacker coming) and perhaps terrain (if using warp points/jump gates etc and the attacker is between you and the exit point, you're not going anywhere without some sort of fight).
As written, and I think it makes sense, you have two opportunities to retreat. The first is when you have Initiative; at that point you can Retreat and there is nothing anyone can say about it. The second is in combat, when you order your forces to retreat as a Command Action.
The reason why a player cannot just summarily say "I retreat from the scenario" when one is generated against them is because there are situations where you just can't avoid battle, and this has to be accounted for in the rules. The Colonials couldn't just retreat when the Cylons demanded Defensive Scenarios at the Twelve Colonies; they had to retreat during the scenario, and most of them didn't make it.
Fleets with superior Engine tech can reduce the length of a scenario that way (or increase it, too). FTL tech will also provide a bonus to retreating from combat. By combining these techs, units have a better chance of making it out of a battle alive.