Actual AAR time.
That Heroic AI? He hurts, badly.
This is actually an interesting chain of events in play here.
Galaxy Map:Game Log
First, I had 9 of the 12 systems I had intended to take to secure my corner of the galaxy when everything fell apart.
Oddly enough, it started when I unlocked fortresses. I had been operating under a self-imposed rule this game of not unlocking fortresses or mines as I wanted to challenge the current 'everyone knows' state that fortresses and mines are the best defensive units and were not 'required', but I was having major problems on defence so I needed the punch that fortresses give me to hold the line. I guess proving that fortresses are required for any serious defence, at least multi-world. I did not manage to scrounge up the knowledge to also unlock mines before the game over hit.
I had near max resources so I start on two fortresses and get them built. I start at the north end of my defensive line so Briodaka and Smauyi get fortresses. As my other defences and my fleet are at full, I go to work on planet #10, which is a Mk IV world with a barracks. Zortooth is this Mk IV world. At this point my stored resources at at about 300,000 each after building the fortresses.
This world has been on alert for a while and it is Mk IV with 1,500+ units counting the ones in the barracks. I sneak in to pop the barracks and then pop the command center, falling back in between so I tank the threat in two waves on my defensive line. Having said that, it is still two waves of several hundred Mk IV ships so they take a chunk out of both my fleet and one world on my defensive line. Neither is anywhere near depleted but they are down to the 60-75% strength range.
Before I have a chance to rebuild either, a double wave gets announced to the world at the south end of my defensive line (Veronnoha). I move my fleet in to defend as the world has no fortress and not a strong turret presence as my turrets are spread over 4 worlds (including the one the waves are hitting) at this point. The first wave is 900 spiders, the second is 1,400 etherjets.
The spiders hit about 20-30 seconds before the etherjets and they die as they should, but not before the etherjet wave arrives, escorted by 5 champions. My defences and fleet are still trying to clean the spiders up so the champions get in close before they take damage and my command station shortly dies. Even a Mk II forcefield does not last long against 5 champions.
At this point I'm scrambling, my homeworld is now open and the AI takes adavantage. All 5 champions are still alive and they have a strong etherjet escort.
During all this, the open threat that has been piling up dumps itself into the world I tanked the Mk IV system's ships on and without support from my fleet it falls after a few minutes. This essentially guts my defensive line and I fall everything back to my homeworld.
Led by the 5 champions still alive the AI launches itself into my homeworld and while I've left some token turrets behind, they don't really help.
The two things that allows me to survive is the Mk IV Scout Starship with it's counter missile renders several hundered etherjets a non-issue and the 4 FF Mk Is I built on game start that I had not moved up to my defensive line as I had Mk II FFs for that.
I still lose 4 Home Settlements, that's an extra 20 AIP that is going to hurt in a bit, more on this later..
Having broken the AI's attack, I clean my empire up and start rebuilding. I lost 4 of 9 systems in this attack and with only 300,000 resources in the bank I am quickly broke.
I'm focused on rebuilding until the next two waves get announced and I'm not ready. The first wave to the bottom of my defensive line, most of my turrets are not rebuilt so I sent my fleet in to hold the line. Essentially without turrets to help I will need my entire fleet there.
This is a problem when the other AI launches a wave to the north of my defense line. Fortunately the north was not touched in the previous attack so it, including it's fortress, is intact. This is a good thing as my fleet will not be able to assist as they are still busy at the south end.
I think things are going okay, until the wave arrives at the north end and I see that it includes 7 Shadow Frigates. That 20 AIP from losing home settlements? 2 more shadow frigates so ouch.
That does not go well to say the least.
I now have 7 shadow frigates and most of a wave left in the north and my fleet is still tangling with the wave that arrived in the south.
It is pretty much game over at this point but I do what I can. The only real defence I have left is my fleet and it is down to about 50% so I fall back to my homeworld to intercept the Shadow Frigates.
This turns into a running engagement as the world in the south quickly loses it's command station as the south wave was not totally dead and it follows my fleet into my homeworld.
This does not work, I hold out for a while thanks to how many FFs I have over my home command but I simply don't have the firepower to knock those shadow frigates down before they tear apart said FFs and my home command station is gone.
Heroic AI? He hurts.Thoughts on this game
First, I think I'm done with this game. It is now at the 8 hour game time mark and the worlds outside my defensive line have been on alert long enough that their reinforcements are starting to form barracks so breaking out is going to be painful.
The biggest cause of this was I was using only siege engines on the attack for too long. Sneaking them around under cloak was reasonably efficient but between the rebuild times due to their high loss rate and the extra time sneaking around under cloak costs my expansion was slow
. I started making decent progress once I started bringing other units into the mix, but I only did that late in the game.
The other thing is fortresses are required for any sort of serious defence, especially multi-world. I had Military Command Mk II on all my border worlds, so +50% damage to everything in those systems and several turrets unlocked. I was still bringing effectively my entire fleet in to defend against waves so when two waves hit at once I simply got overwhelmed. The firepower vs. knowledge cost for fortresses makes them a must have as soon as your economy can support them for any sort of serious defence.
Note that the fortresses range makes them a lot more effective then their raw DPS numbers would indicate. Also why Missile Turrets are another favorite of mine.
Lastly, I did mis-manage threat in this game. In both the 2nd last and last attacks that took me out, there were several Mk IV ships that I assume were leftovers from that MK IV system I captured way back at the start of this post, I can't think of any other place they would have come from.
Overall, I think I learned several things that did not work and gave the siege engines a good test. I'm going to play a similar setup next go around, probably against a heroic ai again, that's one AI that I now have a grudge against and am going to tear apart.