|AFTER ACTION REPORT|
|RBMoo Imperium One|
Galaxy: Large 2-arm
Star Lanes: Short, Many
Version: Data Patch, modified with Colin's Fix
These are my results from Imperium One of the Realms Beyond Master of Orion tournament. Click Here to visit the Imperium home page for the specific rules and goals of this event, or for more information about the tournament.
The first thing to do on starting a new game is to assess the neighborhood. Am I in the senate? If so, with whom, and how close are they? How many planets in my home system and what quality? How many lanes out of my system, what quality of stars, and in which direction should I expand first?
Imperium One starts outside the senate. We're in the southeast section of a 2-arm galaxy, near the shoulder of the eastern arm. There were a full eight planets in the starting system of Xoth. Besides the homeworld (homeworlds are standardized), there was a second Sweet Spot planet, two more green planets, two yellow planets, and two red planets.
During the playing of RBMoo SG1 (succession game), I came up with an abbreviation system for habilitability of worlds, which was improved upon by other players. The final system looks like this: One designation for habitability ring followed by one designation for gravity range. The habitability rings are: P, SS, G1, G2, Y1, Y2, R1, R2. That's paradise, sweet spot, green, yellow, red. Gravity ranges use lower case letters: g, y, r. That's green range, yellow range, red range.
So looking at the home system we have, in order: R2y, Y2g, SSy, Homeworld, G2y, G1y, Y1r, R1y
The Sweet Spot is clearly the most desirable. The G1y has pollution, yuck. That's a nasty planetary special that decimates pop growth until cleaned up, and that takes a long time. There are no worlds with above average mineral richness, and some that are poor. The only other green gravity range planet is a Yellow 2? Arrgh. A good home system, for sure, but none of the other planets will match the homeworld for productivity.
On the other hand, the SS planet has average fertility Arable! That's incredibly fertile. Biodiveristy merely average, but still! Sure to be a great farming planet, and especially helpful to the Tachidi, who are poor farmers. Also being strong miners will help in this mineral poor home system.
While I tend to use all system outpost ships to expand more quickly in most systems, in the home system there are two factors that differ from all later systems. 1) There is no surplus of population yet on any world, so migration is less attractive. 2) The home planet starts already built up, so the extra time it takes to build system colony ships is much less significant. As a rule of thumb, therefore, I normally build all system colony ships for green worlds, and I may even do it for Y1's. That gives the home world a little more time to build up its population before migration slows its progress, and I get 1100 population "for free" out of the colony ship vs less than a hundred out of an outpost. Once the homeworld has built up some population, migration becomes more attractive. In other systems, with worlds starting from scratch, the extra time to build a system colony ship is usually not worth it. Or so it seems to me. I'm looking forward to comparisons on this subject.
The polluted world is almost unattractive. It will lag behind, and in fact get almost all its early population increase from immigration. So I'm not planning on relying too much on it in the early going. That means I'll have three good planets at home: homeworld, the farm planet, and the G2, which has average mineral density. I'll probably mine all of its mountains. The Y1r is not going to amount to too much. Red gravity smashes productivity. It's very large, though, and will make for a nice future source of emmigrants, because its population will climb while its push factors remain strong. I'll probably do mostly mining and research out of there.
Turn 1: Now what to do with my ships? There are two lanes. The lane to the north leads to a fairly isolated-looking star. The lane to the south heads toward the shoulder of the arm. On the fear that the north might be a dead end, or at least have fewer lanes leading out of it, I decide to send my colony ship south. One scout goes in each direction.
Now what to do on the home planet? These Tachidi have superior mining but average manufacturing. Most races need two mines for each industry. The Tachidi seem to need less mines than that. I decided to mine the other two mountain slots in region 2, of course, then add two more industry in the last two slots. I would probably have gone with a third farm in the arable plains, but with that farming planet right next door, I can go with more production here. I'll probably be running slightly in the red on minerals at times, without a rich planet around, but maybe I'll find some nearby.
Now time for ship designs. I went in and marked everything but the two colony ships Obsolete. Won't be needing those. I check the ship techs I have... ouch! No Light Armor. At least we have Very Light. That will have to do for now. I designed four ships, my usual four: A system outpost cutter, an improved lancer scout, a light cruiser mass driver warship, and a system defense ship loaded to the gills with laser interceptors. I removed the viceroy's choices from the MBQ and queued up three system colony ships.
I turned off forced labor, set my O-meter to minimum, dropped ALL of my empire-level budget spending to zero, chose Specialized regional setting, then off we go. (Why drop the budget to zero? I always do that. Why should I tax the only planet I have just to suffer overhead costs and give the money right back? I'll save some in the treasury now and be able to push grants more once I have other planets.
Turn 4: My northern-bound scout arrives in system Ras Alget. Not good news. It's a dead end system, and its two planets are both red. Both very rich, but... red. One is R1 and I will come back to grab it some time after my first terraforming tech. Good thing I took the safer gamble and sent the colony ship clockwise. My scout turns around and heads clockwise, after the other ships.
Turn 6: More bad news. My colony and scout arrive at system Ankaa. All three planets are red. All rich (this sounds familiar) but all red. Two are R2, useless. The R1 has ancient battle damage, which means cheaper terraforming. That one will be worth grabbing. Some day. There is one lane out of the system, going southward. Well at least the homeworld is tucked safely out of the way. Unfortunately, the homeworld is tucked out of the way, so expansion beyond more than a few systems will mean long journeys for the colony ships. At least all the other players are in the same boat. This will actually makes more interesting for a first tourney game, since there will be less variation in possible openings, and we'll have more ability to compare the impacts of specific choices.
Turn 10: Eek! My ships encounter hostile forces upon arriving the Hershel system. I panick for a moment, having played a lot of Colin's mod, where empires start with two eagle attack ships. Then I remember that this is the Data Patch, and that nobody has warships to start, so I calm down. That has to be either an enemy scout or enemy colony ship. I decide to hold position, and there is no fight. The enemy turns out to be a scout, from a fish race. They must be very close, just two more hops away from this system. Could... get... interesting...
Now a tough choice. Do I keep my scout with the colony ship? Or do I leave the colony ship to fend for itself and send the scout onward? I decide on the latter. The enemy could be nasty and park in the system, but they don't seem to do that with scout-like vessels very often, especially at unclaimed systems.
This is a very nice system! Y1y, R2y, SSg, G2g, Y2g, R2r. Three habitable green gravity planets, including a sweet spot! The Y2 is rich, that will help. I want to settle the SSg of course, It's mineral poor, but has hard scrabble fertility. That the same rating as the homeworld. It may mean average fertility across the planet, but more likely means one or two farmable regions and the rest poor for farming.
Turn 11: Homeworld builds its first system colony ship. The enemy scout moves on, allowing my colony ship to land. Ooh! An alluvial plains! Very nice. That will feed a lot of little buggers. Also a fertile broken terrain, and one mountain region. I order up two mines in the mountains, two farms in the plains, one more farm, a government DEA, and two industry. I set the MBQ for three system outpost ships and flag all but the two red worlds for outposts. Oh, and now that I have a new colony, I crank up my entire imperial budget to Planetary Grants.
Turn 12: Contact!
Fishies. Their homeworld is located in system Ajax, two hops clockwise-rimward from Hershel. Uh oh. They also have grabbed a planet in system Samenia, one hop rimward from Hershel. There is going to be early skirmishing, perhaps even war. We'll see. I offer an Econ TA. Also time to order up some spies.
The farming planet in Xoth system is one of the best I've ever seen. Three alluvial regions (one of each type of terrain) and one fertile plains, out of seven total regions. Since I don't want the viceroys to go nuts with the farming, I do not fill out all of the DEA's. Instead I order two farms in the alluvial plains. There are four mountain regions. I save the alluvial one for farming, and order a mine in each of the others. I order two industry in the mountains and one military DEA. No govt DEA, going to rely on the home planet for government here. That leaves three regions blank, which all be farms eventually. I put two of my Scout L1 design into the MBQ, followed by a system defense frigate.
Turn 20: Wow, these Tachidi have the best mine-to-industry DEA ratio I've ever seen. (This is the first time I have played as the Tachidi, one of the last races for me to try). They are strong on mining but average on manufacturing, which is the opposite of the other extreme, the Meklars. The Meklars need four mines for each industry, on average. Tachidi can nearly fuel an industry DEA with a single mining DEA! Amazing. Not that that's really all that great, mind you, since the total industrial output per industry DEA is not the same as the Meklars. I'd need at least two Industry DEA's to equal one Meklar Industry DEA, but that's big picture stuff. In the small picture, the mining to industry ratio is more important in figuring out how many of which kinds to build. My home planet is almost self-fueling its four industry DEA's. That's almost unbelievable.
In other news: no progress diplomatically with the fishies. They now started a second colony in Samenia, apparently at a world yellow to them. It's almost become a colony. My forward scout has gone coreward. System Gemma-B has two green worlds: G2g and G2y. Nice! System Vivarine is kind of sad: two Y2's and an R2. Y2's on the front lines aren't a good idea. They can't feed themselves. You need Y1 or better for farming as well as for hydroponics. So a Y2 either needs a better syster planet that has food surplus, or else you've got to maintain space superiority. Maybe if I get to a NonAggression Pact with the fishies, then I'll grab them.
Meanwhile, my home system colonization ships are all done. I have four planets settled, all the green ones, and just this turn, both of my system outpost ships were completed, so the two yellow worlds will have outposts next turn. I have queued up a single MassDriver1 warship next, followed by two colony ships, one to grab the G2g at Gemma-B, the other for destination yet unknown.
Xoth V is my G2y in the home system. It has mountains and average minerals. I decided to put four mines in its two mountains, and two more mines in one of its broken terrain. A broken terrain with average minerals is as good as a mountain with poor minerals, so it has to be done. I put 2 farms in the Arable plains region. That leaves two regions. I put two industry, one research, and one recreation. Yes, I know that Hive governments are low efficieny on recreation, but just one with a cultural district office will cover the whole system, so why not. Xoth VI is the polluted planet, which also has average minerals. I decided that since it would lag in population, I'd make this a research planet. I laid out four mines in the mountains, of course put two research in the region with Rare Gems, then I added three industry DEA's (chiefly for income to fuel research) and two more research DEA's, plus one military DEA.
Turn 26: Uh oh. The fish have settled a planet in the Hershel System. Um, hello? That's MY system. What are they smoking? (Ha! Smoked fish!) Welp... plans must be changed. Instead of producing one warship and two more colony ships, I changed that to three warships. MassDriver1 designs. Those have five medium mass drivers, one small laser, and a slightly lowered system speed of 1475. Is that small laser worth the loss of 25 speed? I'm still trying to figure that out! Anyway, I have one of these deployed and on the way. The second was just complete this turn and is about to be deployed. The third is now being built, and after that, I'll go back to the colony ships. No sense building a colony ship if I can't protect the world and it only gets starved. My MassDriver1 ships are cheaper than colony ships anyway. (Very Light Armor? Ouchie! But them's the breaks).
I checked the victory panel at this point and the fish are the strongest race in the galaxy! (Not counting the N-O, but I ignore them in all such comments, just so you know). And my Imperium is second. We each have six planets. (Xoth VII just finished baking). I also have one outpost. Xoth II has ~500 pop.
My forward scout has found one green world at Ezor and three at Duven! Things are looking up. My other scout found squat of value at Cupheag, then backtracked to explore counterclockwise (hereafter CCW) along the arm, from Samenia.
I ended up changing my mind about the third warship, and moved a colony ship ahead of it. I decided from here out, for the next period or so, that I would produce a colony ship then a warship in rotation, try to keep a balance going, one ship to cover each system.
Turn 37: My forward scout has gained a lot of ground. There is a race marked by red colors coreward, just beyond system Duven. No sign of their ship type yet, so I don't know which race. If I thought it mattered, I could find out in the planet list, but I can't do anything about it so I don't bother. Meanwhile, my scout has continued clockwise (hereafter CW) past system Croth to Viharab, where I found a wormhole across the galaxy into the shoulder of the other arm. I explored up that way, to system Tleng, then onward, where I ran into a saurian vessel, which chased me off.
I finally got an Econ TA going with the fishies. I try not to pester races too much, as in MOO1 that could annoy them. I do talk a lot, though, and I believe I had been turned down for two attempts apeice at Econ and Research TA's before they caved and accepted. The Tachidi are poor diplomats indeed if they can't make friends with a fish race, but things were slowly moving in that direction. (Whatever happened to that element, by the way? I'm not sure yet if there even is a penalty for blabbing too much in MOO3. I kind of miss having to manage when races wouldn't talk to you because you had ticked them off. Gave them more personality and made the game element feel more alive, rather than just an opportunity to exploit).
My economy is also going full steam now, as I have finally gotten my mining planets decked out and gotten ahead of the mineral crunch. I'm now running a slight surplus, but still skirting the edge. I've got a huge food surplus, but we'll just wait and see how long that lasts. Xoth II has finished baking. I turned it into a research planet. I do that a lot with lower grade planets, since they can contribute fully on the research front, but not so well on the military-industrial front. I gave it two mines, two industry, and three research, plus the free military DEA. Xoth VII, the red-grav planet, has four mountains. Sadly, one is occupied by Rare Metals, which demand research DEA's to take advantage, plus the game stuck my free military DEA in the mountains. That left five mountain spots for mines. I added three industry, one recreation, and filled out the rest with research. The nasty gravity would make military spending here largely undesirable. I would probably train a lot of ground troops out of here. So we had 8 research, 5 mine, 3 industry, 2 morale. I'm looking forward to seeing what others do with this planet and how it works out for them.
My second scout is scouting CCW along the arm. It visited Sahu and Solocka, and is checking out what would turn out to be the last star in that direction now.
Hershel has just finished its third and final system outpost, so that system is now in the oven. I have one warship in orbit, one almost arrived at Gemma-B to blockade any, erm, fishy interlopers who might consider settling there, and a third is coming up to reinforce. The fish colony at Hershel is slowly starving from my blockade. Well, too bad. That's what they get for refusing to sign a NAP with me. I have one colony ship in space, halfway to Gemma-B. I've done little on the tech front as yet. Still only halfway through the first tech level.
I have 23 pop on the home planet, with 9, 7 and 7 on the next best, and migration turned on everywhere but Xoth IV. This race's spies are pretty sad. I've had several with cloak and dagger ratings of 1/1.
Turn 44: I've landed at Gemma-B. My green world at Hershel has come out of the oven, but the two yellows are still baking. I've got two MassDriver1's in orbit and one carrier frigate (system ship). The fish colony has stopped starving. They must have completed a farming DEA. I am avoiding bombardment. (What's the use, at this point?) I have a colony ship on the way to Ezor IV and another cooking to be sent to Duven.
Note that I'm back into the red with minerals, though not a major deficit. My food surplus at one point was 122 food produced, 51 needed. That's narrowing already, as you can see. I've got 6k in the bank and have finally begun some serious research effort. My scout at Kappa Ceti is heading back to Sahu to blockade the fish there, at least for a while.
I've got two leaders. The first one I've had around for some time, the Human diplomat who boosts diplomacy by 20%. (And with that help, still not making friends quickly with the fish). I've also got the Darlok spymaster leader. The fish are sad spies, too, so I haven't had too much trouble on that front yet.
Turn 52: Shortly before my colony ship can arrive, the Behrenue empire (Evons) settle at Ezor. EEK! At least the apes didn't grab the world I wanted. Still, that front is turning out to be crowded, too. There ain't much room back here to expand peacefully, is there? I stop seeking Non-Aggression Pacts with the fish, and I design some warp one transport ships and queue up a couple of those at Xoth V. I'm going to take their world at Hershel and also take over Samenia and expand out into the three stars along the arm. Incredibly enough, the apes aren't in the senate either, but I decide I want them as my friends, and the fish have drawn the short stick.
Upon contact the following turn, I immediate ask for Econ TA. Below you see the ape empire. There's my colony ship about to land, with a warship trailing, just a few turns too late to secure sole possession of Ezor.
My food surplus is shrinking, but that's actually good news. My population is exploding. I've got 103 units worth of, erm, maws to feed.
How did we end up surrounded by the two strongest empires in the galaxy, other than ourselves? None of us in the senate, either. Will senate win be possible? Too early to tell. I'm not planning to try to settle past the apes unless I either make nice with them or I run out of fish to eat.
Somewhere around this time, I don't remember exactly when, the fish sent a squadron up from their home system through Gemma-B without attacking there, because I had a Fighter base built) and up to Hershel. This resulted in the first combat engagement of the game. I had three MassDriver1 ships and one LsFtr FrigDf system ship. I believe their force was an LR squadron, and they came armed with fusion beams. I won the fight, but I actually lost one of my ships! That's a major victory for an AI. I don't lose a lot of warships early on. Not having access to Light Armor, and having to use Very Light, cost me that vessel. It would have survived if it had a little more armor, as it died right before I finished off the enemy.
The main thing this accomplished was to ratchet up my personal "alert status". No more Mr. Nice Guy.
Turn 56: After losing one ship, I decreased my ratio of colony ships and geared up for combat. The fish colony at Hershel built itself a fighter base, and I thought "uh oh". I realized I'd better not let it get around to a missile base, so I had to attack. I went in with just my two surviving MassDriver1's from the previous battle, plus I now had three carrier-frigate system ships loaded up with laser interceptors. At thirteen fighters per frigate, that was almost forty fighters. Below you can see the amount of damage one squad of interceptors did before my two cruisers shot them all down. Meanwhile, my fighters chewed up the enemy base. Apparently, even laser fighters are nothing to sneeze at in large enough numbers. 60 damage in one combat round? Wow. Yeah, maybe that's only 1.5 damage per fighter, but it got the job done before a second enemy squad could be launched.
Does anybody else think this game needs a Point Defense planetary base? Something designed to shoot down enemy fighters and missile from the planet, instead of requiring orbitals to do it? Or... perhaps if the planetary interceptors behaved as interceptors, that would suffice. This planet was a sitting duck, though.
A reinforcement TF arrived at Hershel shortly: a detachment with two MassDriver1's. Having lost one already, I decided I'd go with larger fleets. Ships are better protected that way, at least vs enemy beam weapons. Missiles might be another story.
I sent my four ships down to Samenia, leaving only the system ships on defense at Hershel.
Turn 59: I had a colony ship arrive at Samenia. I set it to colonize the fifth planet. Turn 60: Arrgh. A force of five fishy boats arrives at Samenia and my colony ship barely gets out of there alive. My attack fleet is still two turns away. Oops. Now that colony ship is delayed for the round trip to Hershel and back. Arrgh.
Turn 62: Gone fishin!
There were no defense bases there. Yet on the fourth planet, they had all three bases built yet only 600 population and they were starving. I tell you flat out, the AI is an idiot. It needs to be reprogrammed to maintain a strategic surplus. Starving its own worlds like this is just silly. Colin's Fix has this game, set to "Hard", actually much harder than equivalent settings in the data patch, with significant farming bonuses to the AI, and it is still starving. Oh well. We'll see what happens with that in the big patch coming up, and then revisit the subject later if it remains broken.
Wow, my four cruisers did a LOT of damage! 8 out of 19 buildings wiped out? That ought to set them back. I started bombing Hershel, too, setting it back a couple buildings here or there. I didn't want to cripple the planets. I wanted to invade and take them over, and keep some infrastructure in place so the planets would get up to speed faster. I wanted to keep them from getting too strong, though. I didn't want to let them build bases, so I had to kind of harass them regularly, but not to hamstring them.
On the tech front, I'm at Tech Level 3 across the board. I'm researching my first tech, hydrofarms. I'm going to need those, too, since my food surplus is rapidly vanishing. Somewhere I picked up the Cruiser tech. I don't remember if I stole that or got it from a special while exploring. It's useless without more shipyard power anyway. My Oppressometer has been set to 3 for some time now, I must have forgotten to mention that.
Oh, and things are very much picking up on the diplomatic front:
That means I have a completely secure border coreward, and also very limited chance to expand in that direction. I'm going to have to grab the habitable world out on the arm and fence in the fish back to their home system. Crushing the fish has become the center of my focus.
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