I figured it was about time I wrote about some of my games, instead of just being my semi-regular self on the forum. My current game is at a bit of a crossroads at the moment, the opening and mid section were pretty easy, where I was able to take 7 planets in a line to cover almost the whole map. However, whilst it was easy going for most of the game, the AI homeworlds and neighboring planets are a different story. Absolutely deadlocked. So whilst I mull out a strategy to break that game, I figured I'd start writing about a new game.
Map: 40 Planets - Realistic
Ships: Normal - All options turned on
Combat Style: Normal - Full Fog of War
No minor factions, no modifiers, AI progress 1/30 (I like a long and thoughtful game)
Two Random Easier AIs, both on difficulty 7 (Randomness is fun)
My bonus ship would be the FF Bearer. Yet another ship I haven't tried, and sounds like a lot of fun.
Here is the theatre of war:
Initial scout was not favourable. Most of the planets around me had virtually no resources and nothing of value to take. Getting past one hop though was proving difficult, thanks to the many astro trains that had decided to make my area of the galaxy their home. A little micromanagement later though, and things weren't looking so hot. Most of the outlying planets weren't fantastic either, although I was able to discover two ARS, however those were about four hops away and I wasn't equipped for that kind of trip just yet. I needed to secure more resources and another planet for energy.
Here's my home planet just after a small AI group snuck in whilst I was getting myself setup. The AI has impulse reaction emitters, so I may consider gravity turrets in the near future. This is just before a raid of 97 IRE ships, which was great fun to chase after. Fortunately, damage to infrastructure was minimal, and my fighters mopped them up pretty easily.
On the upside, I did find one planet next to my home planet that looked pretty good, with four of each resource. However in a continuing sign of my good fortune, it had both a planetary shield inhibitor and an AI co-processor. At this early stage, the inhibitor wasn't much of a big deal, and might prove useful later, but in order to get supply, I would have to take out the co-processor at the cost of 20+ AI progress. Not a happy chappy.
Actually, with some more scouting under my belt (although not much, Scout MK2 is on the list) all of the orange AI planets have shield boosters or inhibitors on them. No suprise what type he is then. I'm not sure about the other AI, but it's really nice not to have a Zenith Descendant as an opponent. My last 2 games were pretty much me vs. 2 AI enemies with nothing but Zenith ships (good thing I had acid sprayers in both games
Anyhoo, back to my conquest. Apart from putting FF Bearers in my initial strike group (turns out they don't work when a shield inhibitor is present, who'd have thought?
) the raid goes fairly well. It's slow going at first, as I'm holding back on more ships until my Mk3 reactor is done and I decide on my research path. 40 maps don't have a huge amount of research. There's enough to fill out offensive strikecraft forces, but not a lot for extras, so you really need to know which extra stuff you're going to need on top of offensive ships so the knowledge doesn't go to waste. I eventually go for Mk2 Fighters, Bombers and Frigates, as scouting doesn't show the need for anyting really fancy. Reinforcements start coming, and the planet soon falls. The enemy's special ships include deflector drones, Zenith Bombarders, Tachyon Microfighters and Impulse Reaction Emitters, which gives me a lot of hope for later skirmishes, unlike going against Zenith Descendants (Electric Bombers and Beam Frigates get annoying without acid sprayers, fast). The only thing that may have been difficult was the special forces outpost under a force field, but Mk2 Bombers and Cruisers make short work of it.
Blowing up the Co-Processor isn't something that hugely impresses me, but the shield inhibitor makes up for it, despite its 8000 energy usage. Resources are flowing in pretty well and are able to support Mk3 reactors on both planets, which means energy isn't a concern, although I am hoping to find a Zenith Reactor. I found one of those in a previous game and haven't looked back since.
Anyway, here's my new planet as I work on infrastructure and defence. Note the superiour strategic position of the wormholes. They're both next to each other all the way on the other side of the map. Next up is some knowledge raiding, before I upgrade to Mk2 Scouts and try to find some more worthwhile planets. So far all I have are two planets with ARS on them, but their distance away and difficulty of both planets leaves me wanting some better short term goals.