Alright, the end is in sight. Well, kind of. At the 10 hour game time mark, depending on how many more nebula missions I do I'm expecting end game at about the 15 hour mark.
Scouting complete! (Wait, only almost.)
I'm left with a single Core world in the bottom right that I am not able to scout. It's only 3 hops away which in theory I could just transport-scout out.
Except that every time I poke my transports down there threat goes up by 100. 300 of my current 600 threat has been from me trying to scout that world in the last 20 game minutes.
I'll get it eventually, I don't plan to attack it and I'll just have to pray it has no raid engine.
Having said that, the RNG absolutely hates
Every A network CSG (5 of them) and every C network shield (8 of them) is on a system controlled by the Scorched Earth AI.
Fortunately that is not true of the B and D networks and I will be able to capture a system from the Special Forces Captain to take those networks out.
E-network was previously destroyed when I captured my system in the lower left.
However, since a picture is worth a thousand words, here's my current galaxy.
Click to enlarge.
I've left the filter showing the CSGs, although I'm not sure you can really tell as I had to shrink the image to fit.
In game colors: Yellow is Scorched Earth, Red is Special Forces Captain systems.
Green Circles (3): My worlds, homeworld in top center.
Red Circles (2): AI Home worlds. Bottom Right has a CPA, Bottom left has a raid engine. Neither has been on alert yet at all.
Yellow Circles (5): The systems I am going to destroy to kill the CSGs. As they are Scorched Earth systems I can not build in them.
Yellow Square (1): The 5th A network that will self destruct, destroying all the CSGs in the galaxy.
Blue Circles (2): The worlds I am going to capture from the Special Forces AI to destroy the B and D networks. I can actually build in these systems.
Green Lines: My existing highways between worlds.
Blue Lines: Future highways between worlds showing where I'm going to be moving my fleet throughout the rest of the game.
However, I do have a Champion on my side. I have 3 nebula missions complete with all 3 frigates and the human destroyer hull unlocked. I want the destroyer hull so I can't use any of the fancy tech yet as that is all neinzul or zenith hull only. I did get the Attack Boost ability for my human destroyer but I favor the shield too much to actually use it.
I'm already at the 10 hour mark however. Every nebula I do is essentially adding a hour to my game time for this setup when I reach the end game, not sure how many I am going to do. I only have 3 more available to me without having to carve a highway to them. We'll see how many of those 3 I decide to do.
As for what's been happening in game, it's been pretty boring. I've been scouting the rest of the galaxy, I had about 20 unscouted worlds at the end of my last update. There was another CPA, this one of 2200 ships which is more reasonable.
There is not a single non-homeworld raid engine or superterminal, I may K-raid in that case. I was saving my hacking budget for the super-terminal but if there is not one in the galaxy no point in saving it.
The only surprise is that transports release threat. I'm actually getting concerned about my bottom right world with the 300 to 400 threat sitting next to it. My fleet is split between my homeworld (fleet ships) and bottom left system (star ships) so I only have turrets defending that system.
I may take an hour of game time and swing my starships back over to clear that out. I really
don't want that system to fall, it would put a Core world on alert for the 30-45 minutes it would take me to get a colony ship back down to it.
Having said that, with scouting complete my strategy for the rest of the game is roughed out.
I have 3 warp jammer command stations left and enough AIP reduction in the bag already to take one more system without going above the AIP floor.
There are 3 Data Centers left alive. 2 down near my bottom left system and 1 up in the top left next to the system I am going to capture.
I am going to blow these two data centers, head up, blow the 3rd and last data center, capture the top left blue system and then head back down and capture the bottom left blue system. At this point AIP will be coming off the floor and I'll probably be at 30-35 AIP with no ways left to reduce it. I do have Co-Processors but one of those is on the bottom right AI homeworld so I'm not going to bother.
Depending on how it goes, I'll K-raid at this point.
I then have 5 systems left to destroy, 4 of those with ARS. I don't care what ships I get, they are all going into my homeworld for defence, unless I get something really special. (The yellow circles).
AIP will be in the 130-150 range at this point and I'll start on reducing the bottom left AI homeworld. It's got a raid engine so the lower I can keep the AIP the better.
Then it's off to the bottom right AI homeworld. It has a CPA post so I'll have to deal with that, but with 4 additional unlocks from the ARS beyond what I already have defending, I expect to be able to handle it.
Destroy the bottom right AI homeworld, hop back and destroy the bottom left AI and that's the game.
In theory, things never go that smooth, especially on 10/10