|OPC: Beyond Human|
|AI Intelligence:||All Incredible|
|Bonus Picks:||+50 Diplomacy, +2 Trade Routes|
I succeeded at One Planet Challenge on the first try, on a Medium map. My second try, I bumped it up to Huge and got stomped. I tried huge/rare. I drew really bad terrain, with a yellow star next door to draw a major to me, and with no minors nearby. I only did find one of the four minors ever, and they wouldn't buy tech for cash. I had only one major close, the Yor, who had the best terrain. Despite three trade routes to them, they sent me no trade and when the grace period on relations ended, they went from neutral to war in less than ten turns. I never had a chance and got snowed under. I tried, and even had the Torians and Altarians join the war with me, but after the Yor killed off my trade routes the end soon followed.
This is my third attempt to play an entire game from Earth, never settling any other worlds or systems. I tried again on a Huge map, but this time I changed the settings to something a little easier. I traded in some of my overkill on trade bonuses for +50 Diplomacy. That would, I hoped, allow me to stay afloat techwise and economy-wise in the early game, to get past that early hump and survive to stable relations, from which, anything might be possible. My goal was to win at the most difficult victory condition for an OPC run: a tech victory. With "Alien Tech Victory" active, I would have to get to Final Frontier FIRST to win that way. If I should fail, I would settle for another kind of victory, which would still be a significant acheivement, OPC Huge.
I played with scattered stars, rare map, so the AI's would probably have between two and five systems, minors one or two. One thing I learned in my first successful OPC run: research resources are the most valuable. Their effects come free of charge, so any bonus given by them is pure gravy. I would try to acquire as many as I could, initially, then keep some constructors around in hope of grabbing more during wars, and finally, if need be, exploit the ridiculous option of trading for them if I couldn't get them any other way.
The research resources would be valuable no matter what my victory option, but of course, to pursue a tech win, they'd be indispensible. Influence resources, usually so important, would hardly matter. Economic and Morale resources would be near useless, too, although I would grab them just to deny them to the AI's, if I got the chance. Military resources would be valuable, but I doubted I'd have the time to spend on building them up. I'd try to rely on trade (only with majors -- I never send a route to a minor any more because that's a lost chance to pacify a major) to keep those AI smiles from turning down into frowns.
Alignment-wise, I would play true neutral the whole way.
OK, so here we go. Earth is PQ19. There's a PQ13 in the Sol system, which would add significant production capacity but no income, if I were to abandon my One Planet Challenge and upgrade to One System Challenge. But no, that is not the game plan. I ignored the PQ13 and merged the colony ship with earth. I set total spending to 100%, and it would stay parked on that for the entire game. I set social spending to 17bc, with a bit of remainder to research, and produced Soil first, then Entertainment Network -- one turn at 18 for that. Then it was max research into Comm Theory, Treanslator, Diplomacy (at about eight turns to complete??? OUCHIE!) and finally trade, which was aided by a successful "unexplained" anomaly reducing the amount needed by 25%. (I had three dud anomalies in that span).
Five turns for the first two buildings, and about fifteen more to research four yellow techs. A government swap, and I could reach 25bc output or more on a single turn, so I started to build freighters. I built seven in a row, so that was another 14 turns. With four of the seven out and flying, I found I had a next door neighbor, the Scottinglas.
I used influence scouting to map the locations of the majors. The Yor homeworld was very close, three sectors west, one south. Arceans were also close, four sectors east, three north. Altarians were at the top of the map, far far away. Drengin were on the eastern edge, in the southeast, Torians also in the east, but more north-central. My plan? Send two freighters each to my nearby neighbors, who would be the big threat for going to war with me. Pacify them as top priority. So I sent two freighters northeast toward Arcea, and two southwest toward the Yor, then one apiece toward the space of the other three majors.
I had not been able to get much out of Scotty. I did trade Trade for Propulsion and Cold Fusion. I had to research Medical myself. When I met the Yor, they were ahead of me, but I did get to trade them Medical for Defense Theory. Then I research Deflectors myself, and though the Yor had it, I traded it to Scotty for Advanced Trade, a good deal for me. About that time, I met an Arcean ship, and they were so sorely lacking yellow techs, I got to trade for some biggies as well as nab a drone their surveyor had found.
That drone turned out to be valuable.
I met Alex and Kwilas the next turn, and suddenly I had enough trading partners to play them off one another and stay afloat on tech without much need for my own research. I even traded for Basic Environment from Kwilas, and shifted immediately to building Habitat, then Econ Capital, then a constructor to grab a military resource nearby, then Manufacturing capital, then Manu Center, then Diplo Translators. That took a while, during which my tech-trading advanced me further but also ran out of steam. I met Torians and Altarians during that stretch, but now all the majors had all the techs I owned, and the minors were leaving me behind too! I had plenty to be building, though. My two freighters to Yor connected, as did one with Arceans. Arceans had only two planets and one system, so they didn't need the second freighter I had planned for them. That was diverted toward Altaria.
Carinoids were up near Toria. Drengin were the last race I met, about five years in.
After building Translators, I swapped to building Constructors. I built two more, to try to grab a research and morale resource to my northwest. ARRGH, the Yor beat me to the research resource by about three turns! I settled for the morale resource and then, with the extended range, sent the spare constructor farther north, into the fog, hunting unclaimed resources in the vast uninhabited northwest quadrant of the galaxy.
I had an interesting balance. Yor had six planets in five systems. Altarians had six in six systems. Torians, Drengin and Arceans each had only two planets, the Arceans both in one system. Scotty and Alex had two planets each, Kwilas and Cari one apiece, and they were both so backward, I got no further value out of them. Alex I did some selling, but not everything I had, since I kept a couple items for trade should he research anything useful.
I had still not built a single military ship. Earth was undefended. I traded for a Corvette once, plus the drone I had, plus my freighters, which were busting fog as they headed toward distant alien worlds.
I went into wonder-grabbing mode. I nabbed gravity accelerators. Altarians built Frictionless Clothing, Galactic Stock Exchange, Galactic Exhibition, while Alex built Tri-Strontium. I nabbed Aphrodisiac and then did self-research on Interstellar Business, aided by one Unexplained Anomaly clearing 25%. And yet I still lost the race to the tech by two turns, as Altarians got there first. I managed to outbuild them to Ultra Spices, but during that time they researched Marketing and then Sensors! I PAID CASH for marketing from them, then tried to build the Restaurant of Eternity (namesake of my GalCiv site here) and I failed, coming up one turn short. Arrgh! I did manage to get Eyes of the Universe, though, which greatly aided my fog-busting and increased the efficiency of my surveyor gathering anomalies.
When I researched Nano-Frequency, Altaria offered to trade me Battleships tech for it. Whew, that's one major hump I got past. I then traded B-ships around to other majors for more techs I lacked, and for some starbases. I got two bases from Arceans: a research base and an economic. I got the research base the Yor had poached from under my nose. I got a research base from the Drengin, too. And then I nabbed a fourth research base from the Torians, way up in Altarian heartland space (how did Altaria let the Torians poach that one?) So now I had possession of FOUR research starbases, and most had a few mods already installed. It would be a while before I could afford to build constructors. Besides, I needed Nano Mining and other techs to provide me the juicy modules anyway.
Here's a peek at Earth just before I got around to building MultiMedia Center and getting out from under low morale once and for all.
You can see the Drengin tried to send me a freighter, but it didn't connect. I had two routes to the Yor, one to each other AI, and some freighters, including ones I traded for recently, parked at distant worlds, waiting for more route tech to be learned. I had one incoming route from Scotty, one from Alex, one from the Yor, and um... that's all. Most of my trade was from my own freighters, for once. Guess I drew the short straw on location as a good trade target for the AI's. I still had cash to burn, though.
I researched and then built the techs for Harmony Crystals, Virtual Reality, and Repair Bots. I also pulled a coup on Altaria by nabbing Large Scale Building from Toria before Altaria got it, and then trading that plus some of my self-researched techs, plus money, to Altaria, for Star Federation almost as soon as they had learned it. I managed to build Galactic Monument, thusly.
I built three battleships to beef up my military rating (real defenses, too, not cardboard cutouts of ships). Around this time, the game started to heat up. Altaria declared war on Arcea, and after dealing them a heavy blow, Arcea surrendered to Toria! The Altarians also built a massive fleet, but one of their planets sold off all its improvements. (Can anybody explain why this happens when there is no flip threat? I understand it when a planet is about to flip, they strip it, but there was no such pressure here). Anyway, being a huge map, by this point, Kwilas morphed into the I-League, and any 1 morale planets WILL flip to the I-League, and that's what happened with one of the three Altarian core worlds.
Uh oh, more bad news. The Alexians are going to flip to the Torians? Egads. Toria had two planets, got two for free from Arcea, and are about to get two more by swallowing Alex??? Crap. That's going to make them a major power. Too bad Arcea didn't surrender to the Drengin. This is one game where I'd be happy to see the Drengin with their usual number of teeth, instead of the Yor being the major evil power. (I see strong Yor empires often. Not sure what's happening in everyone else's games, who keep reporting the Yor as perrenial doormats). Oh, and with the Arceans dying, I spoke to them and traded them pretty much all I had for Dreadnaught Tech, just before they vanished into history. I call that trading with AI's "from the grave". They're dead (wiped out or surrendered) but can still talk to me? Alllllllrighty then. Don't understand the sense of it, but it's there so I used it.
And yet, the game giveth, and the game taketh away. While the Torians are on the rise, the Altarians seem headed for a fall. After each 1 morale planet flips, they seem Hell bent to make another to replace it, and then it flips, so they strip yet another world. What a vicious cycle. Is this how it is supposed to be working? Or is something broken here?
That's the Altarian homeworld that just flipped! Only left in their central core. They settled a new planet in the NW corner, so they still have five systems, but they have now fallen behind the Torians and Yor, where once they were clearly the top galactic power. I really wonder at their self-destruction. Why does the AI sell off the ENTIRE planet's improvements? That can't be right, can it?
You can also see, the Alexians have indeed gone Torian. The first planet flipped within a couple of turns. The other held out about twenty, then caved.
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