Author Topic: A Land War In Asia (aka "This time, certainly!")  (Read 2052 times)

Offline Shrugging Khan

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A Land War In Asia (aka "This time, certainly!")
« on: March 20, 2012, 01:47:15 PM »
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.

Oh my.

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.

The end.

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.

AIP: -60.
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.

Offline TechSY730

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Re: A Land War In Asia (aka "This time, certainly!")
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2012, 01:54:23 PM »
Any particular reason you turned off swallowers and spircraft? EDIT: and traders?

Not that I am complaining, but I am wondering if there is a reason you did not want to play with this in this specific setup.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: A Land War In Asia (aka "This time, certainly!")
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2012, 02:19:34 PM »
  • AI1: Vanilla diff 8 with Hybrids, Advanced Hybrids and Avenger.
    AI2: Spire Hammer diff 7 with Avenger.
  • 0 AIP/minute
  • 80 Planets
  • All Ships except Swallowers
  • Golems (Hard)
  • No Spirecraft
  • Fallen Spire
  • Devourer and Dyson, but no Traders
  • Neinzuls, but no Rocketry Corps
  • Resistance & Marauders
  • No Human city uprisings
  • Core Shield Posts
  • Full fog of war
  • Normal caps and speed
Fixed that for you.  No-savescumming is just taking your "anti-face-stabbing" mask off ;)

Quote
with an auto-explore order attached to them in advance; giving them a nice balance of macro-management easiness and deep-scouting capability.
I'd never thought of that, but it does sound like it helps a lot.

Anyway, will be interesting to see what cooking method the AI prefers when serving fox :)
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Offline zoutzakje

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Re: A Land War In Asia (aka "This time, certainly!")
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2012, 03:07:45 PM »
dyson sphere and hybrids.... good luck with that :P
what map type are you playing on?
http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,10328.msg100587.html#msg100587

Me? Wrong? Never! I thought I was wrong once but I was mistaken...

Offline Shrugging Khan

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Re: A Land War In Asia (aka "This time, certainly!")
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2012, 04:12:47 PM »
Answering time! I'll fix the OP before recounting the further eventments.

Any particular reason you turned off swallowers and spircraft? EDIT: and traders?
Swallowers because they are such a profoundly unrewarding, yet aggravating annoyance to me. Or have been, so far. I might actually change that for the next game; but before that I need to check the wiki so see which ship types are immune to them. Traders because they keep giving the AI items that will cost AIP to clear away (and this is a zero-AIP-over-time game, because I'm slow like that sometimes (read: when drunk (read: most of the week))). Spirecraft because I don't like the look of them, find them annoying to get, and, most of all...they break. Permamently. I don't like cowards like that, that will flee from the fight just because they happen to have died once. Boo hoo, cry me a river you white little counts! The Tigers never complain about dying!

Quite generally speaking, I just like low-tech, no-nonsense units more than the fancy-pantsy ones.

dyson sphere and hybrids.... good luck with that :P
what map type are you playing on?
Yeah. Those two are my particular personal challenge in this game; because they ended ub being the facestabbers the last three times. This time, though, with the new announcement mechanics...!
Realistic, no hubs. Forgot to mention that one, will edit it into the OP right away.

Fixed that for you.  No-savescumming is just taking your "anti-face-stabbing" mask off ;)
Big man, my Neanderthal brain does not understand. What meanest thou?

I'd never thought of that, but it does sound like it helps a lot.
It helps to make me bother with scouting, by making it a little les heavy on the micromanagement.

Anyway, will be interesting to see what cooking method the AI prefers when serving fox :)
Well Gatling'd, usually  :o

Offline TechSY730

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Re: A Land War In Asia (aka "This time, certainly!")
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2012, 04:43:57 PM »
Answering time! I'll fix the OP before recounting the further eventments.

Any particular reason you turned off swallowers and spircraft? EDIT: and traders?
(...)
Quite generally speaking, I just like low-tech, no-nonsense units more than the fancy-pantsy ones.

That's a pretty good reason to keep them off actually. If you don't like silly, gimmicky (but can be effective) mechanics, why spawn a game "shoving" them in your face?
I personally like these things (though they could use some balance), but hey, each according to their own. That's why those options are in the game. ;)

Offline Shrugging Khan

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Re: A Land War In Asia (aka "This time, certainly!")
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2012, 05:23:50 PM »
It's the same thing with the Fallen Spire campaign. I don't even like most of the spire things (with the sole exception of the Spire Stealth Battleships. Fun times with those!), but I want to see their big modular ships. Curiosity and all that. It's never been enough to actually get me to play beyond the first shard, though.

First images are up.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: A Land War In Asia (aka "This time, certainly!")
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2012, 07:12:10 PM »
Ha ha, no. The Riot Starships keep most of the attacking fleet at bay for long enough to see the Pulse wear off.
Great to see the cops keeping order  :D "Bad boys, bad boys, whatchya gonna do..."

Quote
there's an invisible pink Raid Starship killer on that neighbouring planet there.
I think the mapgen chuckles every time it puts down one of those.


A sound opening DC gambit, it sounds like.


Good thing the Hybrids don't care about AIP ;)
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Offline Shrugging Khan

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Re: A Land War In Asia (aka "This time, certainly!")
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2012, 09:14:56 PM »
Riots are a must-have for me. Put them full of lasers and whatch the enemy flail helplessly with no way to ever get closer than frigate range. The shields help, too. Never bothered much which tractors though, seeing as micro-management works like garlic to me...well, more like a stake to the heart, actually.

And the hybrids. Oh my. I don't know what's happened to them, but they're a joke now.
Is it because I play with 80 instead of 120 planets these days and there's fewer facilities to get them going? Is it because I used to have two diff 8 AIs with hybrids active on both, as opposed to 7/8 and hybrids only on the 8er? Or is it because I no longer spend six hours working on that perfect homeworld defence setup, and go rushing around the world with the PzKpfw instead?

Used to be they'd just straight up murder me in my sleep. Hell, until the Antagoniser came around, they used to be my one true nemesis. Nowadays though, I don't even bother with cleaning them out anymore. I just stomp the into dust every time they bother to show up...it's an almost sad display.

In any case, I shouldn't even be here right now. Operation Backyard will be told of soon, but not today.
Good night, gents.

Offline TechSY730

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Re: A Land War In Asia (aka "This time, certainly!")
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2012, 09:29:20 PM »
Agreed that hybrids could use a buff. Their behavior is pretty smart, but individually, they don't statistically really live up to the standards of Mk. V modular starships. Their modules, although no slouches for low mark modules, aren't really enough for them to pull through well planned defenses.

Offline zharmad

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Re: A Land War In Asia (aka "This time, certainly!")
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2012, 02:34:29 AM »
The balance scale with hybrids is pretty simple, if very unstable: never allow them to accumulate and mature, and they're never a threat. They don't carry enough drones or modules to matter at mark I, in any battle. So, everything that you did differently contributed to their demise: PzKpfw warfare being the most important, IMO.

When a fresh hybrid is spawned it is more or less a mark-I modular starship branded at mark-V. If Keith tweaked this to show the marks of its modules, it will be quite obvious that the 30 Hybrids hanging out outside your house are actually pushovers.

Offline Shrugging Khan

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Re: A Land War In Asia (aka "This time, certainly!")
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2012, 03:53:01 PM »
Operation Back Yard



Objectives:
  • Take the North-Eastern neighbouring planet.
  • Take the ARS on that planet two hops away from the HW (to the east, tagged with a P5.)
  • Get scouts past the counter-spy on the P1 to the north-east.
  • Destroy every guard post on every adjacent planet.
  • Get my Priority tags in order, because they're all wrong.

First step's the easiest, since the planet is already taken out. I direct a steady stream of Tigers onto that world, then send in the rest of the fleet to mop up the leftovers. The station goes pop, mine goes up, and the world is mine. I rename it to Skandza for its boreal location. While defensive and economic measures are being installed on Skandza, the ARS planet with the P5 is subjected to the hungry Kittens. The mkIII ships on site give them trouble when just pouring them in one by one; but reverting to wave tactics supported by brief visits by the main fleat breaks their reistance, the the Felines are left to their devices - blowing up all the guard posts.

I then turn my attentions to the further north. It's the P1 planet with the two unexplored wormholes now, and that one is a tough bugger. It's mkIII as well, but with two shield generators and three spire shield guard posts. I try standard tactics and find myself unfit for the task at hand; flooding the system with tigers and fighters, bringing in the main fleet to draw the enemy's attention to the access wormhole...but to no avail. Yet. I identify the enemy viral shredders as the main threat to my ships, and act accordingly.

I unlock fighters mkII and PzKpfW mkIIIs.

With both my target saturation and massive assault capabilities tremendously increased, as well as a counter to the shredders established, I turn my entire economy to flooding the enemy world with every fighter and Tiger at my disposal. Furthermore, the fleet is ordered to risk its structural integrity, and gives proper cover to the bombers and tigers - which are now given precise orders to focus their attacks on anything that looks like a shield. It takes a long while to take down everything in the place, over an hour actually, but eventually it does fall. The counter-spy still intact for future purposes, I pack scouts into transports and send them on peacefully. They discover a black widow golem five hops from my Homeworld, and a little planet with bountiful resources but not much else.

With this main obstacle in the path of Operation Backyard removed and my offensive capabilities greatly augmented, I move onto the ARS world, take it, receive shield bearers, and rejoice. I always wanted to try those; but so far my soldier's honour would not allow for me to pick them on purpose. Defensive devices, after all, are for cowards. Still, I will use them...even though I never asked for this. Well, they might still be useful.

The last adjacent planet gets a face full of claws and teeth and sees the last of its guard posts. I rename the former ARS planet Pharos, for the protective light it presented me with. The priority ratings on all planets are reviewed and corrected to fit the list posed in the OP.

Operation Backyard, modest in scale as it may have been, was yet another success. To worlds taken, a new ship type unlocked, the north scouted, and the only price to pay - AIP still being at the floor - was most of my knowledge. Now that the wealthy west may be marched upon, I rename my Homeworld KADESH, in honour of the Gardeners' memory, and their struggle to the last.



The fleet regroups at KADESH, and makes ready for the conquest of the west. Also: Update .031. Harrr.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: A Land War In Asia (aka "This time, certainly!")
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2012, 07:46:47 PM »
Shield Bearers are excellent for the production of many kinds of cheese :)

Wondering when the AI will wake up from that quart of tranquilizer you shot it up with ;)
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Offline Ranakastrasz

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Re: A Land War In Asia (aka "This time, certainly!")
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2012, 10:51:23 PM »
Shield Bearers are excellent for the production of many kinds of cheese :)

Wondering when the AI will wake up from that quart of tranquilizer you shot it up with ;)
Well, Whenever that happens I dont expect the result will be pretty......

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: A Land War In Asia (aka "This time, certainly!")
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2012, 08:04:13 AM »
You know, I don't remember hearing how Schrodinger died...
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