Decided to write one of these here AAR-bloggo thingies to get some stratego-tactical and setting-wise feedback. The goal is to get me to beat the game, after so long a time of always getting stabbed in the face by the AI. Difficulty is moderate, since I never beat it before, but don't want it to be easy either.GAME ONE: The Desert Fox Campaign.
- AI1: Vanilla diff 8 with Hybrids, Advanced Hybrids and Avenger.
AI2: Spire Hammer diff 7 with Avenger.
- 0 AIP/minute
- 80 Planets, realistic
- All Ships except Swallowers
- Golems (Hard)
- No Spirecraft or civilian spire leaders
- Fallen Spire
- Devourer and Dyson, but no Traders or Miners
- Neinzuls, but no Rocketry Corps
- Resistance, but no Marauders. Which is wrong, because the latter should have been in. My bad.
- No Human city uprisings
- Core Shield Posts
- Full fog of war, invisible map
- Normal caps and speed
- And most importantly: NO SAVE-SCUMMING.
I pick the Neinzul Youngling Tigers as my starting ship. It's on a planet with 4 wormholes, which suits me fine for all the scouting and marching options it gives me.Preparatory phase (hangover).
My first moves are fortifying the irreplacable structures of my homeworld - the home command station, cryo pods, settlements and, sillily, the home shield generator - with additional shield generators.I unlock hardened shield generators mkI and Neinzul Youngling Tigers mkII.
With that done, I construct additional space docks - one pumping out a steady supply of fleet ships (triangle only, at this time), one on hold but ready to shoot a faceful of hot tigers at anything that moves, and one maintaining a full set of scouts at all times.
Seeing how the engineers struggle, I import my standard settings for additional ones, and churn up the planetary setting even more. Now the resources nicely transform into a handsome starting fleet.
So far, so good. The first wave of 30 scouts get sent out on random auto-explore, revealing plenty of uninteresting worlds all around. The mkIs are then picketed onto the surrounding four planets, while the mkIIs get sent, as full-cap groups, to planets with unexplored wormholes - with an auto-explore order attached to them in advance; giving them a nice balance of macro-management easiness and deep-scouting capability.
After half an hour of simultaneous fleet-building and scouting, the triangle fleet is ready to go raiding and the map within 3 to 4 hops, with the sole exception of one path obstructed by a counter-spy, lies revealed. Also, a few turrets of all types have been built around the HCS. Within scouting range one can now find three co-processors (Of course. It had to be three.), three data centres, two Hive Golems, one Botnet Golem, a Regenerator, a Zenith Power Generator, a handful of Advanced Research Stations and Fabricators, and one mkIV Factory as well as a small number of boring but resource-rich planets. There are also a few special AI defences around, but nothing too drastic.
To finish the preparatory phase, I whirl my little fleet ball (with Tigers!) around all the neighbouring planets, knocking over all the guard posts. While doing so, I also construct two Riot Starships with lasers and shields, two Raid Starships, and a Light Starship.
This concludes the preparatory phase, which is always the same with me. I'm getting old.Operation Glass Pane
A simple trick. I load two transports with half a cap of Tigers mkI and mkII each. Then I send them to one of the Data centres. It doesn't matter if the transports get blown up along the way or not, as long as they make it to within one or two worlds. The Tigers, fast and tough as they are, can do the rest - and do it. The double transport strategy wasn't even necessary; I could've just sent the Tigers straight in. The first DC goes up in a cloud of smoke, and the Tigers do their dying duty of trying to stop a freed EMP guardian. But fail.
I scramble all parts of my fleet currently not busy with wave defence - as my HW is currently being hit by one - to intercept the EMP guardian. Two Raid Starships make it to it in time, and begin their assault...only to be shot down by all the other freed thread ships. I don't know what it is, but something here is killing my little raid monsters rather quickly. The EMP guardian arrives and wreaks its terrible revenge upon my homeworld.
Ha ha, no. The Riot Starships keep most of the attacking fleet at bay for long enough to see the Pulse wear off. The turrets take up their task, and I am now down to the AIP floor. A good start. I pack another touble transport with Tigers (excessive, considering how easily the first DC fell, but I hate it when I have to do things twice because I was too sloppy on the first try.) and send my Panzer Elite off to take down the most faraway DC, which they do without a hitch. Having be struck dumb and blind until now, I only just realise that the last DC is only one system away. Off go the Tigers to do what they were trained to do. What they were bred to do. What they were born to do. And run into a Spire Shield Generator Guard Post, or whatever they're called. Exit the tigers. Enter a new Raid Starship, onto a transport, and off to kill the DC under said shield. Success, and the Raid SS goes homewards, and dies on the way because there's an invisible pink Raid Starship killer on that neighbouring planet there.
Well, actually it's the floor. But for strategic planning purposes, it's -60 because that feels a lot better.
Operation Glass Pane was successful.
The Desert Fox Campaign shall continue with Operation Backyard.PS: For anyone who cares, here's the priority system.
P0: Do not take. Probalby has something like a Co-Processor, the Super Terminal, a freed Dyson or a Spire Archive in it.
P1: Boring. Clean the guard posts out if adjacent, take over or neuter if it's in the way, otherwise just ignore.
P2: Can be taken or is already taken, but needs to have its surroundings cleaned up.
P3: Rich in resources.
P4: A strategic resource in itself. May contain ZPG, Fabricators, low-value Golems, an advanced Factory, ARS or somesuch.
P5: A game-changer. High-value golems, usually. I often accidentally put ARS into this category; beats me why.
P6: An annoyance. Clean out, or destroy something specific here.
P7: An impediment. Counter-Spy, Black Hole Machine, gravity guardians and such.
P8: A menace. Raid Engines, usually. Might be an alarm post if it has plenty of units to free.
P9: An item of immediate interest. Data Centres, Co-Processors if all 4 are discovered, a Dyson Sphere that needs freeing, or the next step on the fallen spire campaign. Not that I ever followed the FS path, but yeah.