Why? Because I needed more Ponies.
So, I decided I haven't cracked open AI War in far too long, having gotten involved in two massive projects at work and filling my spare time with AVWW. It's time.
Since the Crosshatch is so popular, I figured I'd fire up a 9/9 myself. However, I realize reading through the AARs it's hard to envision what's really going on from discussion via planet names. I'm going to help correct that by creating 'sectors' so that it'll be a *little* easier to envision as you follow along with the trials and travails. An 80 planet map sets itself up into 9x9 sectors very nicely... a little suduko-ish, actually...
So, the first laugh you get is I had a beta update I needed to do. Okay, yes, FAR to long.
Now, let's see, what do I want to play with here...
AIs: Red is Assassin, Blue is Bully. 9 / 9 (I'm green... and it's not easy)
All Ships - Complex
Normal/Normal/high Perform/Full Fog
Hm, Plots. Well, I like my schizos, so that's for sure.
Let's see... Human Colony Rebellions with Marauders for balance.
I haven't touched Golems in an age, Hard-Golems it is.
No Zenith anything... in particular, no dyson.
The Neinzuls usually just annoy me and they'll be headdesk levels in this, I believe, they're out.
Hm, Civilian Leaders... I usually find this horrifyingly annoying to play with... but 'eh, what the hey! Let 'em in.
Spirecraft- No thanks.
So: Colony Rebellions, Marauders, Hard-Golems, Civilian Leaders. AIP 1/30 with schizo waves.
AI Plots. Hrm. Nah. Avengers are annoying, Hybrids could be fun but not here, Astro Trains are more annoyances than anything, and Beach-heads... hrm... Beach Heads. Nah.
So, no plots.
Alright, map. 80 planet crosshatch, all expansions, Conquest. First map I get has... ewww, we're dead center. Well, heck with it. Let's play Crosshatch! Ooooh, I haven't had a chance to play with snipers in a while. Sold!
How I laid out the sectors (after spending 10+ minutes renaming everything on the map...): The planet layout in each sector is:
1 2 3
4 5 6
7 8 9
The Sector names:
So the upper leftmost planet is Alpha 1 and the bottom right-most is Gold 9. upper right is Bronze 3. Etc. I'll post pics along the way here, I'm sure. the Homeworld is at Delta 4. Dang near dead center. This should be interesting.
Still paused at the first second, I research up harvester IIs and Advanced Warp Sensor, and load my control scheme.
For those curious:
Ship Movement offsets to Group-Move
Formation Move offsets stick
Multi-Planet FRD Patrol
No Evade on Friendly
Reclaimed ships rally
Prevent Warhead FRD
I grab one of the starter scout IIs and map him to take a look at all border planets. The other one I send on a suicide dive towards Bronze 3.
I setup initial builds and drop in 10 Engi Is to assist primary. Turn off the merc docks for now and build an advanced warp sensor.
Unpause. Let's play.
Nope, the II's weren't worth it. Immediately upgrade to harvester IIIs.
Of the nearby stations, there's a black hole generator in one, an Alarm in another, a fortress in a 3rd and a Co-P in a fourth. Nothing of particular interest otherwise. I'm bordering a 3/3 and a 3/4 material point and since the first worlds are usually econ-purposed those will probably be first targets, not sure yet... but I've GOT to pop the danged Alarm first over in Blue 3. Delta 1 and Delta 7 are the best bet for those minerals, btw. Suicide Scout didn't get far and didn't find anything of interest. I'll have Scout Is producing here shortly and they'll start patrolling. In the meanwhile, I continue to build the MK I fleet. It's 1:15 in so far.
Oh, heh, look, they're done. Scout away boys! I send them en-masse towards... meh... let's see what's over in Blue sector. Head west young men!
I also pop up a Science II to help with research gathering just shy of 2:00. Those poor scouts only got one world out past the initial non-tach worlds. Well, this will probably be a habit. Well, we'll see what's out there. Another CoP at Blue 8....
3:50 A Data Center over on Blue 7. Comes with a lovely AI Eye. Down at Yellow 3 There's an ARS. Oooh, shiny.
5:00 Yellow 4 has another CoP and a NanoSwarm V Fab. Second MK IV world found at Yellow 2. Still building primary MK I fleet.
The Blue 3 wormhold is practically on top of the home command station. That needs a nerf and a warp-gate removal.
6:00 MK I fleet finally finished building. Turn on Light Starships to support the primary fleet. Continue scouting, I'm having trouble getting into Blue 1 and 4, time to look in different directions. I also get my troops organized on their hot keys, Snipers on separate hotkey from the main battle-mass. I'll attach a starship to the snipers to boost them later.
Peparing for the eventual wave, I drop an extra pair of FF Is on the home station.
Hey now, SuperTerminal found down at Omega 4. That might come in handy later. It's AI Eye protected (so is the route from Homeworld to it) but that could be handy. I STILL haven't found a Golem.
7:40 The first Light Starship comes online and is attached to the sniper fleet. I've got just enough Research to bring them to MK II, so I do and begin production of Sniper II.
8:24 First wave announced. 276 ships + 3 starships to Delta 4 in 2 minutes, the homeworld. Guess I should actually look at what the enemy's sporting for firepower, 'eh?
Spiders, Laser Gatlings, and Armor Boosters. That's an interesting combo. I don't have enough research yet to pop open Grav Turrets (but I will eventually) so I'll just have to weather this one. My econ is still being hammered by the 10 engis trying to build out the snipers and light starships so I don't bother dropping turrets into play yet.
It takes two Light Starships to fully boost my Sniper Unit so they get the second Light Starship for support as well.
10:26 the wave hits. Something I didn't see them owning previously was Vultures. Oh well, no biggie. Definately need gravs though.
12:00 or so the wave is killed with minimal losses, but for some reason I ended up accidentally turning on Auto-FRD Military. That needs to be very off, heh. Whoops. Scouting continues and has been continuing. Still no Golem. There's an Exo out there with my name on it somewhere, considering AIP is already 20 from the Spire Civilian Leaders and I haven't even moved (nor found one of them... after 24 planets scouted).
12:36 the other wave announces for Delta 4. Roughly the same size. However, this time I have gravs and build off a few.
Finally find the first Civilian Leaders up at Alpha 4. It's protected by an Eye enroute and a Fortress on the planet. Great.
16:00. I've defeated the second 'starter wave' and can start looking to attack the world. I've begun buildup of resources (50k ea) and let the fleet rebuild after defenses. I drop off 10 snipers on homeworld for now and look to see what I want as my first target. ARS it is. Besides, cleaning that out a bit will let me get scouts deeper into Yellow sector in the Southwest.
Found another Civ Leader back in Red 4 and Red 6. Fact IV back on Red 4 too. Decisions decisions.
Just as I move the majority of trooops off planet some threat (77 ships) crashes into Delta 4. I shouldn't surprised. I retreat the sniper unit while the main attack squad continues to clean up Delta 7.
20:00 Threat removed without significant concenrs but I can't see much further with the scouts without doing some tach clearances. I start up Raid Starships for their eventual need.
I realize I'm going to have a problem with the spiders. They're going to constantly force me to scrap/rebuild pieces of my fleet or I'm going to need Mobile Repair. This might be the perfect game to try out the new MRS.
24:25 A 200 ship wave announces for Delta 4. Raid Starships are done, but I don't have a target I actually care about for them yet. I decide I'm going to use them to clear off the AI Eye in Alpha 7 to get at the Civ Leaders in Alpha 4 (and their Eye as well). That's going to encourage some reverse firepower so I start building up more turrets (and bomber SS) on Delta 4 while my main fleet is out galavanting.
Found another ARS down in Yellow 4. That's a long trip but it's the direction I was heading for the first ARS anyway.
30:00 Attacks north of me into Alpha with the Raids have lit up a lot of threat and I'm blind because I haven't been picketing. I open up Scout IIs and start picketing the I's on surrounding systems, using the IIs for scouting.
Threat's not as bad as I'd thought, but there's some meaty chunks of it. Next wave announces for 350 ships. The fleet's at home, has been since last wave. They got all their bombers toasted and I needed to return for resupply. Stupid lousy zombie guardians.
Finally found my first Golem, a Black Widow. It's 4 hops away down in Yellow 8. Dang, yellow's just loaded with toys...
Had to turn off the starship constructor for the fleet rebuild. Losing the Raids was a bit brutal.
I decide to send the Science II down to the ARS on Yellow 3 and see what my options are. Electric Shuttles are the default, with Tele-Leech or IREs as my secondary options. IREs could be VERY handy against Exos later. I'm not a fan of Electric Shuttles in general, more of a defensive unit then I prefer, but they could have some value if I ever setup a whipping boy. This ARS will wait until I've checked out a few others. I'm going to have to drill into Yellow and check out the other one before I decide what I'm doing with this one. In the meanwhile... Black Widow, I wants it. I haven't played with them since the new paralyzer beams went into effect.
Though, right now I'm killing time waiting on a fleet rebuild. Afterwards the MK IV planet off the homeworld at Delta 2 is at 170 ships and has enough bases to become a significant threat. It's time for a nerf. Of course, it's got a Fortress to annoy me.
Found another ARS in Omega 6, this one comes with a Blade Spawner V factory as a bonus. Shiny!
45:00 in I still haven't taken a planet, still arguing with that MK IV world. It's got a counterstrike and D-class on it though... HMMM. Taking out an early counterstrike would be nice.
Another ARS found, this one with a Broken Armored Golem.
1 Hour in, Civi leaders push me to 36 AIP. I've just hammered on Yellow 5, a MK III world, to wake it and start finishing clearing the way to Yellow 8 with the Black Widow Golem. Wave is now 700 ships. Greeeaaaat. I slap up a bunch of LRMs, Snipers, and Basics on homworld. Now packing about 70 of each.
Due to power problems, I've been deactivating the Home Human Settlements. At 8k in power a piece they're a bit much for 50 m+c total a piece.
1:25:00 750 ship wave with half of a MK III planet backing it up obliterates the primary fleet at homeworld, which is still mostly Mk Is. I'm still trying to pound my way into the Black Widow but I might have to foresake it for an ARS planet. I'm basically avoiding taking any of the homeworld connections and trying to take strategic targets only. I'm also going to need to do a Data Center hunt at this rate. AIP is still 36. I've only found 3/4 CoPs.
I decide to pop a Distribution Node and find a Trojan, lovely. Luckily the econ was already in the floor.
Curious as to how much low firepower havoc I can cause, I send out the sniper + Light Starship team to harass Yellow 5, attempting to clear the path to the ARS and Black Widow, while the main fleet hangs back to help defend from a smaller 400 ship wave.
The Raids take out one of the Data Centers to try to stabilize things for now.
The snipers are hung up trying to take down a Spire Shield Guard Post III, and are at 25% done when I look back. Not bad, let 'em at it. The main fleet is dealing with the backwash the Raids fired up. I've recently adjusted the local 'always have built' for Engi Is to 15 for the homeworld, since I'm basically doing spike builds and I want them to build asap.
1:50 or so and we've cleared Yellow 5, and I reinforce the snipers with a few lost friends. A Warp Gate Guardian spawns up and two caps of Snipers and 2 Light Starships barely dent it. It ravages the sniper fleet. What's left manages to get to Yellow 8 and get completely obliterated, they can't even get off the wormhole. Rebuilding again. Still one planet, but at least we've made some distance. Just need to get the fleet involved and we'll be able to clean up. Raids died again working on Alpha 7, but we've made some headway against the planet and removing the Eye. Really need to get at the Civ Leaders but there's only so much I can do.
2 hours. The worst case wave happened, they came in the closest wormhole. With the fleet rebuilding and there, wasn't a problem they chewed up the wave. The Raid Is just can't really handle raiding alone, I need Raid IIs or they can't do much against even a simple Bomber SS II. AIP is at 30 after I popped a DC and Civies once again popped up the AIP. I've done NOTHING except nerf some systems on the way to systems I actually care about and scouted half the map.
I've attached the 2 hour map. I'm not done with these bad boys yet.