Since I have a sunken a disturbing amount of hours into this game I thought would share a bit about my most recent playthrough with some observations, questions to the forum. This game demands my brain power in an obsessive way, both good and bad. After sinking in twenty hours into this game, I didn’t regret enjoying my time with a wonderful game but I did wonder if it was worth sinking so much time into when I could be doing other things that aren’t playing a single player game. At the very least I want to take a break for a while. Twenty hours, I thought was worth some reflection.
Setup: I played as the Torians on a large scale map with 8 players, Very Fast Research Rate, Fast Game pacing. Most of the other defaults are the same, I think. AI was on normal or gifted, can’t remember.
Question 1: How do most of you all play in terms of pacing settings and why? For me its very simple, the game takes painstakingly too long to play without the fastest settings. Maybe the colony management and tile adjacency is what sucks the most time away but more on that later.
So Early game things went well for me, I colonized 2 planets in my system, and 2 outside 2 outside of it making for a pretty decent early start. 2 extreme worlds were nearby and these became an interesting flashpoint in the game for me. There were also 3 percursor worlds in my game, some of them were extremely high quality which also gave me an enormous advantage. A lot of time early game was focused on colonizing and researching trade/morale techs. The rest of it was diplomacy and basic weapons and basic improvements to mfg and research. I also spent a disproportionate amount of time to get precursor world colonization tech because of the proximity of these planets and the failure of the AI to get them.
Question 2: Has anyone observed AI colonizing precursor worlds? They seemed to stay away from them in my game for some reason.
Mid-game is where things get interesting, I was clearly ahead in terms of research rate and was tetering on the edge of production capability between 1st and second. My military power was just barely nudging out first place. Because of some poor choices early game I had very few resources and I was relying on a large number of small ships and decent fleet capacity to defend my fast growing empire. Now the 2 extreme worlds nearby. One of them was owned by the terran resistance and was a frozen world. Not understanding that I could conquer the planet(with a penalty to growth and production) I researched that tech hoping I could culture flip the planet since it was heavily under Torian influence. What I failed to realize is that the Terran resistance must be immune to culture flipping or at least have a lot of resistance. The barren world also got nabbed by my closest neighbors the Altarians.
The Altarians had nabbed that planet, as well as 2 percursor relics for manufacturing and lots of good resources so naturally they needed to go. My planets were nearing there population caps and there was only one way expand at a fast enough clip to survive the galaxy…. By conquering. So war came, and I was winning fleet to fleet battles handidly. I did make use of two commanders to beef up my ability to steamroll their fleets which turned out to be very necessary. And As I conquered there homeworld Altair I made a crucial error. That planet the Altarian’s nabbed contained a fleet a mercenary and a transport. The AI cunningly found a backdoor into a percuror planet I had defended with an extremely weak fleet. Here is the planet tiles to show you how crucial this was to my research.
Planning out this planet was fun, but with 25 tiles it gets exhausting. Every new upgrade, every new terraform… For a quick aside I really do enjoy planning out my tiles, and it is especially necessary to edge out the AI players when you have very few planets but once you get to more than 5 planets it becomes far far too cumbersome and yet I feel like I must optimize.
So, the Altarians nabbed this planet and I rage quit… hard. I went back to an autosave and recalculated. I spend money to buy my own mercenary ship which put my military into first place by a healthy margin. I researched production tech so I could build core mines(and again frickin optimize) so I could churn on ships faster. I also upgraded lots of ships that I had out in Altair territory and properly defended my planets. Lessons learned here.
So I continue conquering the Altarians and I notice another pesky AI who had the gaul to piggy-back on my invasion and was trying to steal the barren world and one of the Altair home system worlds… Not gonna happen Krysteh Clan. I declared war to wipe out their transports(which had some minimal defense). What is interesting is that they were able to send ships up as far the Altarians and myself but their homeworlds were out of range. They must have some bonuses to life support or range for that to happen. The Kryseth Clan were a formidable enemy that I had just pissed off, but taken care of for the time being.
I had saved the Matriyoska forge precursor charge that adds 21 fleet defense before my rage quit but decided to give it a try in my new start. WOW. My fleet had 71 shields, deflectors, armor. How does 21 equal that? Something is wonky with how I understand that math but boy did it change my game calculus. This fleet was able to wipe out all of their starbases. Previously I had avoided taking the starbases until I had beaten there fleets and planets because I knew those would be tough fights. My new 71,71,71 fleets had no problems taking care of these. I also grabbed a couple of precursor anomalies nearby with this fleet which definitely was a nice bonus.
So, here on out I knew I was going to win, which doesn’t happen all the time for me in this game. I had a renewed focus on precursor tech to amplify my 3 percuror worlds and get new charges. These were game breaking in a way. The AI didn’t have a chance.
Question 3: How well do the AI utilize these charges? It didn’t seem like the other AI had realized to use them. Also since I grabbed three of them I should probably move up the list on an enemy that needs to get killed.
The rest of the game went much quicker and smoothly. Most of the AI ate pavement as I rampaged across the tight clusters of the large map, optimizing tiles endlessly as I go. The Krysteth Clan managed to send a few transports and fleets my way and they were annoying. Not too difficult because I learned my lesson with planet defenses and I was producing massive ships at a healthy scale but it was nice to see them being aggressive. I wish they had gone after my ancient relic bonus starbases. I had two mfg and one economic that would have been prime targets.
Okay, okay I’m almost done three more things:
1. 1. Why does the Hot spring/healing waters have an adjacency in every category? This is far too powerful and I made use of it.
2. 2. The Torians are almost undoubtedly easier to play with because they have the fertile ability which grows the population very fast. Probably O.P. especially with healing water crazy adjacency.
3. 3. I wondered how well the AI could manage their tiles and I caught this amazing glimpse of a near perfect research planet. See below… how weirdly familiar. Hats off to Brad to making a frighteningly intelligent and efficient AI in this respect. (+3 next to +3, surrounded by research labs)
Thanks for coming to my TED Talk, hope you enjoyed. Cheers to 2021.