Galaxy Settings. So it could be said that a picture is worth 1000 words. Oftentimes it's worth much more than that since few people will actually read 1000 words all at once. So here's a picture of my Galaxy Settings - much easier than attempting to describe them. A couple of things to note: I play on "Very Slow" Game and Tech pacing, I feel like this makes the game a bit slower and more thoughtful; "Tech Brokering" is disabled as I like being able to trade techs, but I don't like all of the AI's having all of the techs while I am left out of the club. Anomalies are turned "off" because, reasons. But as you'll see the game will still generate a very small amount, just around home planets. Lastly, I play with "Ascension Crystals" turned "off" simply because I think they're dumb.
Similarly, here are my Faction Traits that I settled upon:
not too bad a start - at the edge of a sector with two very good feeders immediately visible. There are no Purple stars in this sector however, so no Prometheon. And only 2 distant blue stars. If I'm going to want Kinetic weapons in the mid game, I'll need to bee-line constructors to those Blues.. Lots of Red stars though, Durantium always seems to be in abundance... Also note, I set the galaxy settings to "no artifacts" but you'll still get a couple near your home system throughout the early game. They dry up pretty quickly tho.
An interesting set of affairs at turn 3. Just out of my initial vision range was a Class 33 planet, "Paradise" type. Sounds pretty nice, non e vero? But it's very close to my homeworld, so there definitely would not be enough colony worlds to feed both of them. I'm strongly considering abandoning my Savvot Homeworld, reducing it to a colony and moving to a biglier Class 33 McMansion. Savvot is not paradise - it's a crappy desert, in fact. I've never made an early game jump like this before, but I think I'm going to do it. What could go wrong? Also, as the picture implies, -100bc for +6 snuggles - that's a no brainer - even criminals love a good snuggle the Opportunity Ideology is just a bonus..
It's worth noting that I probably could have gotten a better picture of this "Paradise" planet than this "Ice Bridge" event. I do not feel that most people think "Paradise" and Snugglers trapped in Ice as being synonymous.. Maybe it seems like an Ice Bridge is paradise after having to live in a desert for a while....? But give me a break, this is my first playthrough like this..
As it turns out, Ceridwen cannot be fired, and Savvot cannot be abandoned apparently. So like most McMansons, it turns out that that Class 33 beaut wasn't such a well-conceived idea after all. Perhaps I'll consider making this a Core World anyway and attempt to live in two houses at the same time... what could go wrong?
Well, here's that Class 19 planet. It's never going to be a core world, so trading the pollution for wealth feeding is a no-brainer.. Again the Opportunity Ideology is a bonus - it's an Ideology that suits the Xeloxi well to boot!
Before hitting "End Turn" on Turn 3, I elected to assign my 3rd Leader to the 'Ministry of Colonization' position. Generally at this point in the game I've assigned someone to be a commander instead, however with Anomalies "off" and no one around to fight, I don't really see the need for a command ship at the moment. Filling the ministerial positions seems to make more sense to me. I should also note that I burned almost all of my starting Control Points to get 500bc (this Minister of Colonization +7% Approval will offset the -10% hit I took to get this money), as well as took the -2% permanent approval hit to get a free colony ship on turn 1. Here's a picture of those three ministerial dorks themselves!
With SB research complete, I'll be sprinting those construction lame-o's in the direction of those blue stars. It's only turn 5, so my probe hasn't made it up there yet to see what's what. On the way only a single Durantium has been uncovered - no compelling need to change any plans for that..
Next research point of order will probably be 'Space Elevators' I'd do 'Asteroid Mining' instead if it were available, but the RNG didn't comply. Space elevators are something I'd like to get soonish anyway though. Primiarily I'd love to build the "Elon's Lift" galactic achievement. Sometimes I wonder if Stardock will rename this building after Elon Musk is revealed to have been the greatest scam artist of the 21st century? - but I digress... furthermore, I know (because I've peered into the future (actually It'll say this if you mouseover the card description)) that this improvement requires Durantium to build, and I'm not planning on having that soon either - since I'm cookoo for cocoa-puffs ... rabid for Thulium instead...
Actually, I lied... I hate Elon, so I'm going to research "Hyperwave Radio" instead. The 'Beacon of Babylon' gives some badass Influence push, and the 1 Harmony Crystal it'll take to build the thing is honestly probably more attainable than the 5 Durantium stupid Elon wants to scam me out of. Actually the hand-to-mouth reason for researching this instead of "Space Elevators" is that I want that +1 Policy Slot. Everyone thinks that bureaucracy is a bad thing. But bureaucratic technologies make the world go 'round. Ever since reading Graeber's "Utopia of Rules" I've decided that I want as many policy slots as possible in all of my videogames in order to keep my citizens busy with "good" jobs...
Asteroid mining! Here's my baby... after a few spin-the-wheel turns I've completed Hyperwave Radio. So throw a new policy in the slot!
As you can see there's a couple of OK clumps of asteroids around my homeworld. Finishing the tech gives 2 free miners, which would increase the production inputs for Savvot by 0.5 (since there are 5 of them). Getting production off the ground early is important... Also, notice how beautiful the homeworld star, Kratos is. The only green star in the game! If I could choose any color star to live under I think that I'd choose green also. Perhaps it's good that the McMansion idea didn't pan out after all - it's almost like bigger houses farther away from cool stuff doesn't make your life more enjoyable. Who'd have thought?
It should be noted that Policies are kind of a no-brainer at this point. It's good to have two slots, but there's probably really only 2 that I'd actually choose to have at the moment anyway. More policy regimes would actually make the early game more interesting. Also note, I set my taxes to "low" on turn 1. I tend to keep them that way unless I really run into serious money problems. Xeloxi are criminals, they don't like taxes much I'm guessing...
It's looking like this is the part of the game where a lot of turns go by without too much to report. The first handful of turns involves a lot of decisions regarding which direction you want your empire to embark upon. After those decisions are made you just kind of "go there." Political Scientists call this phenomenon "Path Dependence" whereby it's institutionally difficult to change directions once a trajectory is set. Most 4X games have this path dependent lull in the action at several points in the game. Oddly enough, the people likely to be running your empire: Politicians, however, do not seem to engage in this behavior themselves. They will campaign on one thing, but then never do that. Political Scientists call this phenomenon: "lying." Many have posited in the literature that the principal currency in democratic politics is "votes" - I would posit that it is actually "lies" instead as political maneuvering seldom involves trading votes, rather than trading lies. I should note that this doesn't seem to apply solely to politicians. In fact, I have met several women whose primary social currency seems also to be lies.
This might seem like it's veering a bit off-topic, but this isn't just about me and my excellent experiences with politicans and women. It's worth pointing out that Ceridwen is both a politician and a woman. What would you suppose her modus opperandi is? Although in her defense, most men I have met do not consistently seem to tell the truth either... But seriously, does this strike you as an honest, reputable and reasonable person?
My first colony ship is completed! Apart from the one I used an Executive Order and burned Control Points to get, obviously. Whenever I have to choose a "volunteer" to: get on a boat, sail into the blackness, and hopefully establish a new colony on some small crappy planet without getting killed - I tend to choose an unhappy citizen unless there's a compelling reason to keep them on planet. Which citizen do you suppose gets on the boat? She happens to be my citizen with the higest Intelligence. Imagine that - someone who's smart that figured out that living on Savvot actually sucks? Well, Savvot doesn't need insightful people at the moment, it needs WORKERS! - she'll have plenty of time to think about stuff as a colonist by herself for the rest of the game... Some problems just sort of solve themselves, eh?
Finally, 1st contact! I was just thinking that it was weird as hell that I hadn't met anyone yet. Just as Fermi's Paradox was vexxing me, I meet these guys, huh. Large worms, with luminescent blue eyes holding an enormous firearm and wearing body armor- this is normal right? These dudes are the Onyx obviously. Remember what I mentioned early on about this sector not having any purple stars? Well, the Onyx need Promethon to not suck; Prometheon which exists exclusively around purple stars. Sometimes I wonder if the AI has figured out yet that its life is destined to be terrible? - however I do not think the code that drives these guys is quite that introspective, were they Buddhist they would strive to understand why they are made to suffer. The poor bastards.... I might feel bad for them now, but in all fairness their ships are pretty pimp. Not the kind of guys I want to end up fighting with or without Prometheon.
As a follow-on to this there are a couple of managerial outcomes that will now be in-play as these guys have popped up. First of all I'll need to research "Universal Translator" to talk to these pro-2nd Amendment worm-people. It's not a bad strat to give this tech away once you get it. The AI values it highly and it gets your lying ... friendship off on the right foot. Best foot forward, all that sort of thing. Additionally, I'm going to want to trade with these guys. So after "Universal Translator" I'm going to want to research "Trading" or "Freighters" or whatever tech it's called. The Xeloxi can give them crime via trade routes - assuming I grab the policy for it which may have me revisiting my policies at some point in the next 10 or so turns also. Crime hurts them, so this is good. On a similar note, I might actually want those crime-causing command ships now. But with 117bc, I'm too broke to get that done. Luckily it's a fiat monetary regime, so at some point I can just use the "Print Money" Executive Order again - although that's a long way off. It's probably still on cooldown and I don't have anywhere near the 60 Control Points to pay for this usurpation of Central Bank autonomy by the Executive Branch of my government... This problem is circular though, freighters will get me teh cash...
Speak of the devil, I need "Universal Translator" who'd have thought? In my experience you never have an extra 600bc this early in the game to pay for some rent-seekers to research it for you. Besides, I can do it myself in less than 10 turns. Two turns until "Asteroid Mining" is done though... But there really isn't so much of a rush - the Onyx are just large worms with guns, could they really have anything so interesting to say anyway?
Meanwhile, even though Anomalies are "off", the few that exist are being actively surveyed by my survey starting vessel. One of these anomalies presents an interesting choice. Now, firstly I must say that this "Draginol" definitely sounds like a kind of dubious and unsavory folk, definitely not to be trusted... Having said that though, these religious nut-jobs will apparently colonize a planet for me? - I mean, as long as they just stay on their own planet and don't bother anyone else, then this should be just fine. This early in the game colony ships are in demand.. Hard to pass on this offer...