A let's play
This is my first post. I'm sure I'm breaking 99 rules.
I have no idea if this post with images is going to be successful. I hope so, because it's better with pictures.
This is a huge multi random galaxy with 9 computer players and me. Four of the computer players are set to HARD difficulty and the other five are NORMAL difficulty. Pirates are turned on. We are playing the TEC Rebels. Our goal in this game is to get the achievements for defeating 4, 3 and 2 opponents on HARD.
There are three main resources in the game, Credits, Metal and Crystal, and as with any 4x game it’s important to build and protect the economic engine that will support our military forces. The player with the stronger economy will win.
There is a hidden fourth secret – time. In this play-through I’m going to focus on making the best use out of every second of game time. I’ll be pausing a lot, but that shouldn’t be noticeable to you, right? Okay, with all that said, let’s kick this off!
This is our opening position. In the upper bar, to the right you can see that we have 3000 credits, 800 metal and 250 Crystal. At the start of the game our credit income is 10.1/sec, and we have zero metal and crystal income. In orbit around beautiful Kypria we have 2 frigate factories, 2 construction frigates and 3 asteroids, 2 Metal and 1 Crystal. If we build extractors on those asteroids we’ll start receiving income in metal and crystal. Our credit income is coming from taxing the 190 population on Kypria.
So the first thing to figure out is what the best way is to spend our C/M/K to maximize our ROI.
Clearly we will purchase the constructors for the asteroids; that will cost us 750 credits total and take 36 seconds to construct each. We have two constructors though, so 72 seconds to have all 3 built.
We also need to expand to the planets around us so we have to explore them, destroy their militia, then colonize the planet which requires a special ship. Basically, we’re going to need a navy.
Just to the left of credits is our “Fleet Supply” number. This is a limit on the size of the navy that we can build. Each ship costs a certain amount of points, larger ships costing more, and we can only field 100 points worth of ships. These ships will cost CMK to build, but they won’t cost anything to operate. The first 100 points are free of operational costs. Later we’ll increase the amount of Fleet Supply that we have through research, but that will come with a corresponding drag on our Credit income.
For right now, because there are three space lanes radiating out from Kypria, I am going to build 6 scout vessels. We’ll set them to scout automatically, and hope they go down the three different lanes. I’m building 6 because when they get to the neighboring planet I want them to be able to split up and go on their way. Basically they’ll keep exploring until they are destroyed. If the entire solar system is reveled, well, they’ll just head for the planet that hasn’t been visited for the longest time and see if anything has changed there. Each scout costs us 200 C but no M or K. Six is 1200 leaving us with 1050. It will take us 66 seconds to build the scouts, so we should have an extra 660 back leaving us at 1700. Let’s try it.
All 6 of the Arcovas have been built, and we only have 1553. I don’t know why. Did they build faster than the tool tip said they would? Am I bad at math? Both?
There is no easy way to check elapsed time for the game, but there is a hard way. If you save the game, then the load file will tell you the elapsed time. Our game has been running for 49 seconds. Three of those elapsed before I started the build of the Arcovas, so three each (2 frigate factories) took 46 seconds. That’s 15 seconds each, not 22 seconds like the tool tip says. Stupid tool tip.
OOOOOPS, that’s the time it takes to build Cobalt Light Frigates. Let’s see, the time to build Arcovas is….um….14 seconds. Never mind.
Let’s move on. I’m giving them the order to auto explore. I hope they go three different ways, but I’m not going to micromanage them.
I’m also going to order up construction of a Protev Colony Frigate and a bunch of Cobalts to protect it. The Protev costs 450/100/50/36s and the Cobalt is 300/55/0/22s. That’s about half of our money, so let’s add two more Cobalts to that. Then we’ll wait a little more.
By the way, our extractors are built and we have M and K income. Our construction frigates are idling, but I honestly don’t have the C to put them to work right now. They can chill.
[Discuss frigates versus capital ships here]
When I get to 600 C I order two more Cobalts. Our first colonization force will consist of 5 Cobalts and a Protev.
One minute and 39 seconds into the game we discover our first inhabitable planet. It’s the rocking Asteroid, Hesperia! I think I read somewhere that there’s always an asteroid close by. I think the area immediately surrounding the starting planets is relatively pre-determined and the solar system only becomes random on the second jump. I’m just guessing though.
Anyway, notice two things about Hesperia. First, it’s a dead end, which may be important strategically later. Second, notice that our auto-scouts sent four ships here and one each in the other directions. So much for choosing auto-scout. Who’s in charge around here anyway?
In the other direction is Anhui, an Ice Planet. These planets have a stronger militia protecting them, as well as require a certain technology to colonize. We’re not there yet. This militia will attack our poor Arcova as we crosses their gravity well to travel down one of the other phase lanes. He’ll probably be okay though. These guys have shields and armor and stuff.
I order two of the Hesperia scouts to head here. They’ll auto-scout after that (I think).
Here is our colonization force ready to go. I’m going to send them all to Hesperia. I’m going to send in the Cobalts first, then follow up a few seconds later with the Protev. I want the enemy militia to engage with the Cobalts before my Protev arrives.
Meanwhile, the planet “north” of us is revealed to be a Dwarf Planet. This will be our second colonization target. As soon as we recharge our antimatter from Hesperia.
Here’s what our system looks like now. The scouts are doing their own thing; I gave up trying to herd them.
We have 1022C, we should spend it!
Now there are a lot of ways we can go here. We could build our Capital Shipyard, build either Military or Civilian research centers, upgrade our planet or even build more ships. In this case, I decide to start our research. I’m going to rush Trade Ports which requires 2 Civilian research centers. I’m not sure if this is a good strategy or not, but people tell me that the TEC benefits a lot from Trade Ports so let’s do it.
I order it up and place it somewhere where I’m sure it will be right in the way later. As soon as we hit 750C I’ll build a second one.
Our Cobalts arrive at Hesperia and I order them to focus fire on the Krosov Siege Frigate. It has 255 shields and 510 hull. Our Cobalts do an average of 6 dps, so this should only take forever. Dude has 15% damage mitigation too, which I believe means if more than one ship is firing at him, that’s how much his damage is reduced. So we’ll be doing 30 x .85 or 25.5 dps. Hmm, it should take us exactly 10 seconds to drop his shields. I didn’t plan this. Really I didn’t.
Yep, that’s what happened. You can see his shield value to the right of his portrait at the bottom center of the screen. I order my Protev in. By the way, notice the sneaky little Cobalt coming around the rear. You’re next buddy.
Uh, oops. Our clever plan did not work. As soon as the Protev hit the gravity well, both ships broke off from the battle and went after it. Our frigates are giving chase but I blame them for not seeing this possibility. Our Protev’s shields are half gone by the time they reengage but that’s fine. The Krosov is half dead already and our Protev has a lot of hull.
The colony is established and the Protev flees to the edge of the gravity well, pursued by the Cobalt. The Protev doesn’t have enough antimatter to jump, so it’s just going to sit there and soak up damage until its escort can take care of the lone frigate.
As exciting as that battle is to watch, we can’t waste seconds getting this new planet on-line.
The first order of business is to upgrade the planet facilities so that it is not COSTING us Credits to hold it. The first level of Civilian Infrastructure costs 450/150/75/45s. It’s critical to do, otherwise the planet will cost us 2.0C/s to hold. As it is, it will cost us 90C income while the upgrade is built.
So our Protev is busy recharging its antimatter store reserves. The antimatter required to colonize a planet is 90 + 100 x #jumps. If the target is one jump away, 190 antimatter. The recharge rate for AM is .5, so it takes 380 seconds to recharge that antimatter. Makes the 120 second cool down on the colonize ability rather irrelevant. In our case, we need another 91am, so about 180 seconds. One of our Cobalts is still recharging his shields. As soon as their done I’ll send them ahead to mop up the militia. This Protev can come along when it pleases.
But let’s think about this whole 380 minute thing. That’s 6:20 minutes between colonization attempts. That’s not counting the time it takes to travel. I’m not sure one Protev is going to be quick enough for us. This is what people mean in guides when the say the Protev is SLOOOW.
By the way, we’re 6:06 into the game right now. I group the Cobalts into a fleet because, why not? We have no C right now and we need 600 for Trade Port research so let’s just do nothing for a bit.
At 600C I kick off our research for Trade Ports. We’re about 7 minutes into this game and we’ve colonized 1 asteroid so far. We’re going to lose this game.
It took until 08:24 for this guy to recharge his shields. Something needs to be done about this. The Protev is still not at 190 antimatter so the Cobalts are going in first. That’s the best plan anyway. I’ve got 788Cr we have to spend, but let’s have a look around first. Our scouts have been scouting and we’ve been ignoring them.
In the north we have the Anator Skavun. Vasari scum.
In the south we have the Galan Rim Union. TEC scum.
Looks like both of these guys are building capital ships. That doesn’t surprise me because it’s the normal smart thing to do. I guess we better do it too, just so we don’t get caught flat-footed. (What does that mean?)
I order up construction at Hesperia. Because it’s a penal colony I get a discount for all the prison labor and it only costs me 833c instead of 1000c. Because it’s a penal colony it takes 71s instead of 50s from all the prison labor. I don’t need it in the next 70 seconds anyway, so that seems like the right choice. The drawback is, if I’m in a hurry to build capital ships and get them to the home planet there will be an additional delay and we might be in trouble. Oh, let’s face it. If we’re in a hurry to build capital ships and get them to the home planet then we’re probably losing.
Well, here we are the next day to pick up where we left off. I’m proud to say that in day one we managed to accomplish 8 minutes and 53 seconds of game time!
The picture above is still valid. We’ve finished the tech research for trade port so I’m going to build one on Kypria and one on Hesperia. They cost 900/175/150/45s and require 4 logistic slots. Actually, that information is a little unnecessary as everything requires 4 logistic slots. Except extractors, they cost zero. The point is that I only have 2 slots open, so I either have to upgrade my planet or scuttle something. I decide to scuttle a frigate port. I think it gets us there faster.
Our Cobalts arrive at Pelion, a dwarf planet. Only two militia ships here, we should be done with this in a jiffy. Also, our Petrov has 190AM and is ready to move. I’m going to hold him back until this fight is over though.
The Capital Ship factory is complete on Hesperia. We need more logistic slots to support the trade port though. No way around it.
Done. Also, Protev on it’s way to colonize Pelion.
A third player has been discovered. This is the Jisura Nomads. They have Jarun Navigators so more Vasari.
I’m headed here next. The other planets around us are volcanic, ice, greenhouse or Terran Death Planet. However this little gem is a simple Terran world. I need to decide which capital ship to build. I can build an Aklan which will be able to colonize, or I can build something stronger and rely on my Protev for colonizing.
I decide to go for the Aklan. It will be ready to colonize in 68s. The Protev is going to be another 6 minutes.
I decide to spend my CR on expanding the final planetary expansion on Kypria. It’s 90 more pop eventually.
Pelion founded. I wait to upgrade the civilian infrastructure but I have to wait again for crystal. Pelion has a crystal asteroid, but I think I need that technology that increases crystal extraction. Working on it, got to get the extractor going first.
Meanwhile the Aklan is completed. I’m ordering it and my Cobalts to meet at Kypria. Together they will go after the militia in Liia.
I decide to spend 1250Cr training the Aklan crew to level 2. A terran planet will be heavily guarded. There won’t be any capital ships, but there will be enough frigate class ships to give us a lot of trouble. Upgrading the Aklan will help.
I have a lot of things to spend money on right now so it’s a time of interesting choices. Let’s enumerate:
· 2x Metal Extractors on Pelion (500/0/0)
· Trade Ports
· Military Lab (750/60/80)
· More efficient Crystal Sorting (700/75/125)
· Deep Core Metal Mining (400/0/25)
· Some Defensive tech like turrets and/or Hangers
· Repair platforms and cruisers
· Our Titan, Corvette or Long Range Missile frigate.
· Planetary explorations (finding artifacts for more fun)
I honestly have no idea. Well, the Metal Extractors obviously, but after that…?
Okay, we just discovered our fourth player in this solar system. This is generally how this game goes. There are 5 systems overall. The system I’m in has 4 other players. The other 5 players are spread out over the other 4 systems. You have to be kidding me.
18:52 – I’m preparing for my assault on Liira. I could just send my new Akana in there with my Cobalts and hope for the best. That’s what I used to do. But that won’t win games against hard opponents. So with a little wiki research I’ve decided that we need some Corvettes in our fleet. To get those, we need a military lab.
We build the lab, then research the Stilat, then order 5 of them. While everything is building I spend our credits queueing up Volcanic Exploration, Arctic Exploration and Repair Structures. I also queued up Laser Amplification, and the hull and armor techs.
Our force is assembled and I decide to launch our attack without saving the game.
Here’s the plan when we get there.
1. Order the Capital Ship to target the Heavy Cruiser, causing it to advance
2. Order the Frigates to hold position.
3. Once the Capital ship is engaged, order the Cobalts to take out the Garda Flak frigate.
4. Once the Garda is gone, the Corvettes will go after the LRM.
Let’s see how it goes.
Oh, I should probably pre-plan out some spending too, because fights take a while.
· Repair Platform
· Gauss Capacitors
· Hangar Defense
· Explore Planets
Okay, we spent all that money and did all that research, and explored the two planets, and our fleet is still working its way towards Liia. We lost one of the Cobalts on the way. Not much we can do about that now.
Oh, and I forgot to save.
Liia is ours. All of our lighter ships were destroyed but we barely took any damage on the Aklan. Our tactics were sound. And we have a lot of money because I have to watch the fights. I immediately order up the planetary expansions and explorations.
Oh, and a trade port. And all of the tactical slots. And then…..
Analysts have found a powerful artifact.
And then almost immediately this happens. A Marza and Sova show up and kick my ass out. I escape with 500 hull. I’m still building hangers and repair bays. I think this planet is lost.
The wounded soldier makes it home with barely any hull left. There’s a new repair bay being constructed right away.
Umm, this isn’t good….
So what happened?
Well, we were attacked by a fleet of 2 capitals and about 40 LRM frigates. We destroyed one of his capital ships but he just came right back with a second Dreadnaught. His Cap ships were level 3 also, mine were only level 2.
My planets were not very well defended. I had gambled on the huge universe giving me some time to focus on economy before any kind of fighting was required. This sadly, was not what happened.
I’m looking forward to trying this scenario again, on a different map, and taking a more defensive approach. Also, developing the military techs sooner. Defend and expand.
Good luck with your adventures.
PS. I found the real problem…
Eleven minutes into the game this guy had his fourth planet. He had 8 by the time he was attacking me.