Sirian's Restaurant of Eternity
Strategies for Galactic Civilizations

One Planet Challenge

Difficulty Rating: Masochistic
Galaxy Size: Medium
Habitability: Rare
AI Alignments: Standard
AI Intelligence: All Incredible
Political Party: Populists
Bonus Picks: +3 Trade Routes, +10 Trade
Ctrl-N: None
Spoilers: No
Replayed: No
Version: 1.12
With thirty-five completed games under my belt, and the map scroll bug in v1.12 rendering gigantic maps no fun to play, I decided to give the One Sector Challenge a try. The rules for One Sector Challenge? Never own or possess any planets or systems outside of the starting sector.
The One City Challenge has been part of the lore for Civilization for over a decade now. Can player limit himself to only one city (planet/star) and reach victory? In GalCiv, that may be easier than it appears. Why? Trade! Trade is based on distance and the population of the systems at each end of the route. Trade normally provides between a third to two thirds of income in GalCiv, all of it independent of how many planets you own. The higher the fertility, the more planets and systems you own, the larger your domestic economy relative to your trade economy.
As such, I decided to take the easiest path for my first One Sector Challenge: A map with minimum habitability (rare), and maximum trade to my bonus picks. Rather than choose Mercantile party and get +20 more in trade, though, I chose Populists, to get +20 morale and +20 diplomacy instead. I figured the extra trade routes would already have my income needs covered anyway. Industrialists might have been a good alternative, to boost how much of the money I could put to use. Technologists could have been decent, too. The others would have been wasteful, I think, although if I had cut back to +2 trade routes, I could have still had strong trade and varied the bonus picks a bit: +social production or +military production, or more bonus diplomacy.
So with rare habitability, chances were I'd actually be playing tighter than One Sector. More likely One System, and perhaps even One Planet. Well, that's what it would turn out to be. I took the first map handed to me. Earth was a PQ19. Five planets around Sol, but the extra two were junk. One other star in my sector, and I sent my colony ship toward it. No luck, all single digit planets there. So... a One Planet Challenge after all. There were three other stars nearby in adjacent sectors. Total, they had one PQ14. Ha! The joke's on the game! They only gave me one good planet to play with. Would have been a One and a Half Planet challenge even I had played this map with no restrictions. Looks like I picked a good time to go for OSC. :)
Since I knew from the start I'd never build a colony ship, for the first time ever, I went straight to research. I researched Comm Theory in two turns, Translator in one, then needed four turns to research Diplomacy! (Wow). I micromanaged each research to save pennies. I ran my taxes at the highest level that would support 100% morale (with the pop growth bonus)... although, since it was tedious to check every single turn, I changed that to running a few % below what I could spare. After Diplomacy, the government swap increased my production/research capacity, allowing me to spend more (at a higher deficit) per turn. I cranked the spending up and researched Trade in three turns. Then I halted all research and switched back to military, maintaining exactly 25 units of output to build a freighter every other turn. With my +3 routes, I could send a colony ship to each major right out of the gate, and I intended to do just that, both for added income sooner, and to start relations boosts as soon as possible. With three freighters out the door, my survey ship found the Carinoids in an adjacent sector. They lacked Trade, but had Medical and Propulsion Theories. We swapped, plus I made them throw in some change.
I had scouted out the location of the majors using influence scouting. (Checking the map to look for their influence even in uncharted sectors). The Drengin were on my right, Arceans above, Altarians to the left, Yor in upper right corner, Torians at middle distance in upper left. I sent my ships in ascending order of morality: Drengin first, then Yor, Arceans, Torians, Altarians last. This in principle since, all other things being equal, the more evil the opponent, the more likely they would be to demand tribute, and the more often. I would pick up a sixth route quickly via trading for Advanced Trade, or so I expected. Should I send a second route to the Drengin? Probably.
My surveyor hugged the map edge below, moving into the left corner. My freighters ran into the Altarian surveyor first, then shortly a Torian constructor, racing down to grab the only resource I'd found as yet. (Already?? Good grief). I traded Medical Theory to Altar for Weapons Theory. I built Soil Habitat in two turns, all the while my tax rate dipping into the 20's and then even into the TEENS to keep morale at 100% and pop growing at max rate. After soil, I bumped that up a bit and sent my spending to max, with a few points going toward research into Basic Environment while building Entertainment Center in two turns. After that was done, I could crank my tax rate back up into the 40's, for a while, though it started creeping back down again. I also went full research on Basic Environment. When that came in, I traded it to the Carinoids for Impulse Drive and Shields, and to Altar for Artificial Gravity and Phasers.
My lead freighter ran into the Drengin, found out they had two planets in two systems. Altarians had only one system, but their pop was higher than anyone else's home planet, so I assumed (correctly) they had a second planet there. Torians had four planets in four systems, and everyone else had only one planet: Yor, Arceans, the minors, and me. Torians would be the runaway AI, but they and the Altarians were already warm with me and I hadn't done anything yet.
I found Drengin before they contacted anybody, so was able to trade them Comm Theory and Diplomacy for Space Militarization, then trade that to Altar for Photons, and trade to Cari for Nano-Metal, which I traded back to Drengin for Battle Armor and Energy Focusing. No trades with Torians, although I nearly caught up with them here. Found the Arceans as I neared their planet, and passed a Yor freighter about the same time. Sold them some techs to fill in blanks like Industrial Theory and Cold Fusion, etc. Lastly, found the Alexians next to Arceans, and sold them over a dozen techs for 142 bc per turn over 19 turns. (We're in the money. We're in the money.)
My first freighter reached the Drengin homeworld in Feb 2181.
Freighters would arrive simultaneously at Arcea and Altar two turns later, but still had a long haul to the Yor. And since my relations with Torians and Altarians were already Friendly, I decided to bypass the Torian homeworld and beeline to the far upper left corner with my route to Toria.
After research Basic Environment, I built Habitat in two turns, then banking center in two turns, then I went for Economic Capital. That took about six turns, with surplus going toward research Interstellar Refining, which gives Fusion Power Plants. I built myself one of those, then a Manufacturing Capital, then went for my first trade good: Diplo Translators.
Got them!
More tech trades came available, including even a trade at nasty-inflated prices for Deflectors with the Yor, who were that far behind. (Notice in the last screenie, they had no production going. Paying tribute? Not certain).
I built a sixth freighter and sent it out, toward the Drengin. I wanted to send it to where the most likely bad relations would show up, to head that off. Torians were a prime candidate except they were already friendly, so the Drengin it became, one route to each of their systems. As late a start as that sixth freighter got, it still beat the one to far Torian planet by one turn!
I had traded with Arceans for Advanced Trade while the sixth freighter was en route. Now it was time to build some more. Manufacturing Center, then Aphrodisiac. Carinoids built Tri-Strontium, then Galactic Stock Exchange. I built Grav Accelerators. Torians got Galactic Exhibition. Carinoids got Frictionless Clothing. I research Interstellar Business with the help of two "unexplained" anomalies providing half of it, built Ultra Spices, then traded the tech around. (Torians had already researched it? Eep!) I had to trade for Sensors and Interstellar Marketing, but managed to beat the AI's to their associated wonders. I would, in fact, get all wonders and trade goods from here on out except the Galactic Monument and Nano Recorders, which both went to the Torians, and the Life Force Power, which the Drengin eventually built.
I sold techs to Alexians a couple more times and raked in the surplus cash. I didn't research much, mostly cheap stuff. Once I had managed to build Embassy, News Network, Medical Center and Multimedia Center, my low-taxes days came to an end and I had plenty of morale. Maintenance on buildings was a nonissue now. I had, and would ever after continue to have, cash to burn.

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