Scouting continues while the fleet rebuilds. Another Data Center is found as well as a Factory IV down in one of the Southwest arms. I haven't posted a map recently because I'm kind of waiting until I've got most of it scouted before I go through the trouble to mark up an in-line map. Reviewing Ceasar there's a fortress guarding the inbound wormhole and 166 MK III ships in there that can make me a little crazy. I'll have to bait the WH clear so I can get the bombers in to clear the entryway if I want to get into the deep west.
On the east, I've found two side by side Z-Gennies at Liao and Blackstone. They're not heavily entrenched but getting past the Mk IV world Llama right now would be difficult, but something I'll have to do soonish to get near Riker. I've still only found two of the Co-Ps though.
At 4:15 the fleet's rebuilt. Kerensky has to fall for both the ARS and the stepping stone it'll create for 2 worlds deeper worth of fighting. I've found another ARS on the NE sector off Llama, this one with Spiver Vs and Speed Boosters up at Hacker. I'm not exactly impressed with the fabs but meh.
It's time to hack Kerensky, I feel. Acid Sprayers with their new upgrades are now quite viable in combat and particularly useful against the Bomber IVs that usually hose me up since I don't tend to upgrade Fighters, and the additional critical mass will help with later assaults on the blockade worlds of Ceasar and Llama. I've got 3 Science IIs waiting to help absorb the research off the planet once we're ready. I prepare a ship design hacker for transport to Kerensky.
AIP is 85. Waves are averaging 800 ships or so, with extremes of 200-1400. Time to see what a hack-job does.
I park the defenders on the wormhole heading back to safe space. The fight's not TOO bad, but they are MK III spawns. I eventually move the fleet down towards the command center to try to keep the guardians from getting significant range on me. This being the first hack not too much in rediculous is occurring.
However, the tachyon pulse + reinforcements made me 'move' the ship-hacker... resetting the timer. I reload the hacker into the transport and bring the troops home for R&R. New plan is needed.
I start building off 4 Riot Is with 2xFFs. That'll help protect the hacker when I bring it in closer to the fleet for protection. Well, that only kind of works, I'm having power problems again. Bring Macross up to 2x Reactors as well. I really need to get the Z-Gennie up. With the Riots built I head for Kerensky again with the fleet and hacker in transport.
During the second assault about 250 escaped cutlasses from a recent wave get themselves involved. They don't lay into the fleet TOO badly, but the maws required some decent micro to stay out of the way. By five minutes left half the fleet was dead. I grabbed rebuilds from Macross and shipped them to Kerensky. Those reinforcements ran into an EMP guardian and had to deal with that in Craps before continuing on. I'm going to have to Neuter Craps and clear those WH guardians soon. Particularly since a spider guardian keeps hosing up some of my fleet.
With the reinforcements heavily distracted playing chase the spider and engine problems, the main fleet had to handle the hack with whatever it had left. Micro'ing the maws was a necessity. Watching a Raid SS hare off as an Exo-attack was priceless. XD It wasn't too bad though, really, we were able to hold our own once we had established and the Maws were in position to immedately eat any cmd center builds.
Hack completed at 4:39. Fleet heads home for R&R... and to WH kill Craps, grrr.
On their way home I saw a neat little independent fleet that might be useful for general cleanups. Riot Is (with perhaps backup from IIs) and a heavy Missile Frigate upgraded fleet could hold MANY things at range while pounding through an area. It's worth a try sometime. I'm not usually a fan of ED but with that kind of range... maybe.
With the fleet pounding out WH Posts on Craps, I prep a small team to take over Macross. 5 Engi Is, Colony Ship, and the RAid SSs to pop the cmd center. I wait for a wave to pop before I unload and build out the new colony, but the Cmd station's dead. AIP is 106.
I'm looking at Craps and realizing it's alerted no matter what I do. I'm tempted to drop in a minefield in the Kerensky - Macross run, but realize I'd have to figure out a way to keep a permanent rebuilder presense in the system. I'll think on that while I screw around with other things. A simple minefield through that system would be helpful.
4:49 and it looks like the AI is waiting to do max-time waves. Bugger all. 2 WHGPs down though.
I wonder if I setup a cloaked Constructor and auto-built on the enemy planet if that would work. Well, worth a shot... hm, that'd be a no, the auto-builds for a planet only work on friendly planets. Meh.
Is it bad that not seeing a wave for 3 minutes longer than I'd expected is actually making me nervous?! XD
4:54 and 3 WHGPs down, last one to go... still waiting... Z-Gen's up to 84% though.
4:57 and a wave finally announces. 1887 ships to Macross. That's one of them. The fleet heads home as a just in case as they finish up the last WHGP... where's the doublewave? Hm.
At 5:00 the other wave finally announces, 2045 ships. I'm currently chasing down the escaped Carrier of 800+ ships in Craps while I try to get the endless minefield (that took FOREVER to setup in a straight line) up and running in Craps. With the second wave announced I can finally build out in Kerensky once I get some defenders to it.
When the second wave hits I see just how much 400+ Teleport Raiders can do to a pair of low-end FFs. Hrm. Luckily they don't last long enough to do any lasting damage. We're dealing with a massive fleet rebuild again though, however with Kerensky under control and Acid Sprayers being built (as well as research coming in) I should be alright. Pair of max-timers indeed...
I'm going to send back a cap of MK V weasels to help defend Macross. Needless to say with my economy floored again this will take a bit.
Having gotten research, ARS, and a full squad of Weasels out of Kerensky by 5:08, I blow the cmd station to remove wave-confusion. It's a shame about the fab but nothing I can do about it. In the meanwhile the mines are rebuilding in Craps for the Kerensky-Macross run...
You don't want to know how long that took.
Now, what to do with 5500 K. I wanted 6000 K but I needed those scout IIs. I've got 2.5k to play with. I'd wanted to immediately head for bomber III but perhaps Frigate MK II would be a worthy upgrade. While waiting on the fleet to rebuild I contemplate. I decide more defense is needed.
I purchase Basic IIs, HBC Is, and HFF Is, and drop them mostly on the Whipping Boy with a smattering on Homeworld. In the meanwhile, to show off, Craps has reinforced an EMP Guardian. *rolls eyes*. Nice.
5:16 and still waiting on fleet rebuild. 3250 in K left, I'll MK III my bombers after the next planet, and AIP is 107. (97 without that damnable BHG purchase by the AI!)
Meanwhile, a single frigate is killing the weasel fab. Oh, shucks. More reasonable waves are announced at 1332 ships at 5:18. However, it's double-waving now, 1332 and 1232. Niiiice... However, wathing 160 rebel ships + 107 Dyson Gatlings race to eat the inbounds is always pretty, and the minefield worked like a charm. Just need to not leave the rebuilders on auto-rebuild and wait. However, apparently Carriers are immune to mines. That's cute.
5:30 and STILL waiting to rebuild the fleet. Gyeah. A Massive buildup of troops has started to form in Shawshank and Twycross. I'm going to scour the backfield before moving forward once we're fully built. Power problems are also hassling me, I'm blowing up un-needed transports and ship hackers and the like to conserve power. With the Z-Gennie at 89% I decide it's time to finally finish the poor thing.
The two planets are cleared with minimal losses and we proceed back to the east for R&R and to continue clearing pathways for the scouts.
I screwed up and had to savescum and repeat this because instead of trying to build FFIs I accidentally unlocked FF IIs in the wrong screen.
This time a double wave of 2500 ships announces for Macross. That should be nice and ugly.
5:39: 871 ship CPA announced. Cleaning out the back is a lot more important now. Had to turn off the Z-Gennie briefly at 97% to allow the fleet rebuild to finish.
At 5:43 the Z-Gen is finally completed. Next up is the BHG on Macross so I can research and then build EMP Mines on the wormhole.
The fleet cleaned up the mess in Craps that was keeping my rebuilders and engis from rebuilding the minefield. Then the fleet hid in Macross. 421 MK II, 13 MK I, 437 MK III freed. Yep, we're hiding.
I hit Ceasar about 6:00'ish, and my Raids went in first to take down the local Ions and popped the local Data Center while visiting. They died to the Mass Driver but succeeded in knocking out the three Ions. My bomber fleet went in next to take out the camping fortress, and over half of them suffered a 2.5 minute paralysis due to the minefield on the wormhole. Ow.
The main fleet dealt with backwash and then went home. Bombers vs. Fort III is Ceasar, and the rest can't even get in the WH without losing half the fleet. I'm going to need to start sending in Fighters as fodder for the minefields on Red planets.
Mistakenly I try to take the remaining bombers on that planet and get out of the wh guardian shots... and hit another minefield. Those 50 bombers are squish. At least a good chunk of the local minefield problems and guardian protectors are moved out at this point.
Refilled with bombers at 6:06, the fleet heads back out for Ceasar, round 2.
By 6:15 the fleet had finally cut away enough of the firepower in Ceasar to get scouts through to the deep corners of the southwestern arms. And found nothing for their troubles. It was time to work our way east a bit more and see into all the dark corners other then the final bit of the Riker arm.
I snuck my Raids into one of the back corners and took out another Data Center that had been located, bringing AIP to 70 again. It was a bit of a suicide run and the raids died returning to Macross, but worth it. 3/4 CoPs located.
235 MK IV ships + 4 Ion cannons on Llama. Just great.
Finally found the fourth CoP, it's down in Desperado. They also have Plave Vs, StarBomb IVs, and Blade Spaner V Fabs... and a Raid Engine (non-core). Planet is a MK III. Mutter. If I want the CoPs I'll have to take on both the coreworld to get through to Desperado as well as dealing with the Raid Spawns. I knew I was getting off too easy. Scout map shortly, just want to dig into the east a bit more.
Well, at 6:35 ish the fleet punched a hole into LLama, but it cost me over 500 ships to do so. Two of the ions went down as well, however. The Fleet's heading home for R&R while the Raid SSs which should be about rebuilt prepare for a run. MK IV guardians enmasse are painful.
However, ALERT ALERT... 700 ships heading to HOMEWORLD on a wave. WTF?! A gate guardian must have spawned. Oh, CRAP. It's in twycross. Next stop: Blow away all the wormhole posts to remove # of guardians in backfield against homeworld. Joy.
The main fleet's running for homeworld (what's left of it, but there ain't much to discuss there. Everything I had built up at Macross ran for homeworld to help the defenses hold. Luckily a large chunk of them were Teleport Raiders, which died enmasse easily enough.
It was a desperate defense until the maws got there to save the day... and it's not a gate guardian, the damned AI bought a new warp gate off the traders. Son of a gun! AIP 76 (that's 15 AIP that Twycross has cost me in rebuilds now from the traders).
At 6:45 ish the Raids finished Ion removal on Llama and a number of guardians came out to play... and died in the minefield in Craps. It was a beautiful thing.
My gods, flak guardians under glass are NASTY to a light fleet. When I took the half-fleet that was left near the cmd center to clean off some of the enemies, I woke half the planet. The Maws took off running while the rest of the fleet did a moving rear-action to protect the maws from dumping thier cargos. There was nothing left of the fleet after trying to slow down the enemy chasing the maws.
The maws made it mostly safely to the mining run, and hauled for Macross, hoping to not dump out 100+ MK IV ships on the doorstep. On a positive note, there's only 36 ships left in Llama!
At a little after 7 hours I'm still only owning three planets, though I've popped 5. As promised, here's where I'm at right now:
The yellow dots are untaken ARSs, the blue ones are the Fact IVs. The purple circles are the CoP locations. Desperado is the Raid Engine. I'll have to deal with that one way or another before I go after Earth. At least it's not CSG protected, just need to get down there.
Blackstone has one last Data Center I can pop.
So, the CSG map:
Here's where things could get tricky. The CSG-E in the Riker arm (that's HotStar, btw) is a great jump-point to slam into Riker at exactly four worlds out. Alright, that's the CSG-E. Of the D's... well, i'm not sure yet. It might be Llama (the MK IV that feeds the Riker arm) simply because that's a 3/4 world for resources. However, I'm at 7 hours, I may just wait for the rebel colony. Of the two Fact IVs, Argyle in the Southwest is the better bet being a 3/1 planet instead of a 3/0 planet and NOT being a MK IV world. It's also in the middle of BFE, whereas Davion would be MUCH easier to hold from the viewpoint of working the Riker arm.
In regards to the ARSs, I'll get back to you after I get science scouts on them as to which of those two I'm going to take. If I end up taking the one up at Hacker, however, I'll definately be simply whacking that entire arm from Llama up, and using Davion as my Fact IV. That leaves me just the CSG-C, which is going to most likely be Desperado once I clean things up down there. Those fabricators are quite tasty and I want 'em.
However, all of this can pretty much wait until the Rebel Colony spawns at this point. I'll do cleanup with the fleet for now and finish up the brawls I've been doing but I want to wait for the rebels, as that may allow me to overlap something or make a better decision.