Engineering Good PvP

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Your career in Fortnite is also an interesting topic.    Compare this with your PvP game of choice.

I started out as a clueless newbie who had seen nothing more than my daughter running through a virtual world much as I have done many times over the years, and/or watching her fall from the sky in a fantastic skydive / glide combination before hitting the ground and starting the real match.

You control your direction and the speed of falling. You eventually deploy a glider which falls slowly but has lots of lateral movement.

And I played my first game.   I got killed, I think.   I followed my daughter and obediently listened as she explained nuances of the game.    I stepped back and let her turn on the feature “If you’re handicapped and can’t hear well, we will show you where the sound of footsteps is on the screen” – right up my alley considering the amount of silent gaming that I do.    (If you play on a PC, turn this on.   Super helpful.)    And her friends were all amused at the Silent Dad fumbling his way through the game and helped protect me.

But after a dozen games I was on my own and solo, and I’d figured out the first pieces of the game.   How the weapons work, how to build a wall, where the controls were.   And a funny thing happened – I won the game.

Wow, am I good at this or what ?

No, I definitely suck at this game.    It turns out that Epic has added bot players to the game, and then there are the people trying to play on devices which Fortnite was never meant to be played on, like smartphones, or where control issues are present.    And I merrily pickaxed them, shoved shotguns in their faces, and avoided anyone who looked like they were building structures, until I was the last man standing.

People build crazy things like this contraption at the speed of mouse clicks. I’m much slower.

And I really enjoyed it.   I had come out on top, after all.     And in my mind it was all those years of shooters via the PC (Wolfenstein, Doom, and the rest) that made me victorious.   So I played another solo game.

The COVID 19 lockdown convinced me to keep going and stop being such a cheapskate, buy the $10 pass, so I did.   And I kept winning.    Almost every game.

I’m not sure when, but at some point I only managed to keep in the top 10 or top 5 where I have stayed ever since, but that has to be the gentlest introduction to PvP I have ever been exposed to.    And in a 100 person murder simulator no less.

No sense of loss at all.   Earn XP by doing well at the game, and carefully managed by the designers, so you don’t earn too much or too little and follow their intended path to Max Level.    Move up and down skill tiers based upon how well you do in the game (The formula has not been shared with The Internet).

I can compare this well with Ingress.

  • The first day I played I could not touch anything the other players were doing, because I didn’t understand the game and their power was logarithmically higher than mine.
  • My attacks the first day were laughably weak and didn’t do any damage.   Not that I understood that, I just noticed that nothing was happening.
  • Every defense was a loss.    Both on my first day, and on my last day – it’s impossible to defend, leading to a losing experience.   Sure, you just rebuild, but in the moment you lost, if it was a portal or field you wanted to keep up.
  • Every bot account was player created and dedicated to spying or cheating.

What a different experience than I’m used to for anything PvP.   New players are just fresh meat to be beat up on until they can rise to the occasion; or just beat up on until they quit.   Not Fortnite.   Epic carefully holds peoples hands and skillfully matchmakes them to create enjoyable experiences.

I think I’m hooked now, for the moment anyway.    And a lot of it comes back to that intoxicating feeling of beating 100 other people at The Hunger Games – whatever the truth of that is – and gives me a window in the success of Epic.

 

Discovering Fortnite

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An advantage to having adult kids in the house is the games they discover might be fun.    Such is the case with the everpresent Fortnite.

I have heard about this game for a year and a half from all the muggles of the world.    “Oh my god, my kid is playing Fortnite too much !”    Being busy with Ingress at launch time and other priorities since, I have never investigated further and simply sneered at the idea that the game might be interesting.    This is just for kids !

Then my daughter got an Xbox.    And she LOVES Fortnite.    She’s been playing for about six months and is pretty good, and has some unusual priorities as far as I’m concerned – her favorite thing is the skins and wraps and whatnot that the game has.  She immediately told me I should play it, but also threw out mixed signals since she didn’t want me partying up with her crew (a bunch of real life friends), especially after they all started telling her how cool I am.   I didn’t want to screw things up for her.  But she convinced me to try it out, and I journeyed and persevered through figuring out

  • What is this game exactly ? (Well, that’s easy, 100 player Battle Royale)
  • Where did this come from again ? (Not a Gears of War player, never played an Epic game)
  • Why is this fun ?   What’s the progression ?   How to do this cheaply ?

And so here’s what I figured out, credit to Wikipedia for most of it :

Back in 2017 Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds – PUBG for the initiated – came out and was a huge success.    I was tempted to buy into it, but PvP has never been my thing and it cost around $40 I believe.    Having a huge Steam backlog keeps me from buying things nowadays.

Also in 2017 Epic was putting together a free to play game called Fortnite.    This game sounds like a bunch of gamers getting together in a conference room and talking about what their new game should have :

  • Fully destructible world
  • 4 player coop (See Left 4 Dead)
  • Zombies
  • Free to play with microtransactions
  • Tower Defense concept
  • Buildable structures in support of tower defense
  • Scavengable representation of the real world

And they went ahead and realized their game.   It was OK.   RockPaperShotgun was not very complimentary, making it sound like microtransaction hell.

But when PUBG came out, they realized their game was pretty close and a good fit in the Battle Royale era, so they threw their hats in the ring.    In a super short two month timeframe they created “Fortnite Battle Royale”, which now has become Fortnite.    With the success, the titles have switched.

 

Fortnite BR is now a multi billion dollar success.    They have the entire teen universe playing this plus God knows how many other gamers.  After you get past Battle Royale the game has features including :

  • Free To Play.   Want to try it ?   Just put it onto your device.
  • Chapter and Season content.   I keep forgetting which is which.    But the Season 2 introduced a new map with a hugely varied set of areas for you to kill each other on.   I have to hand it to their mapmaker(s), it’s really well done.
  • Want to pay ?   Buy a Battle Pass which is good for one Chapter.   $10 is pretty reasonable.   This permits you to unlock a few characters, and get all the rewards for levels 1 – 100.

My team. They’re just skins, absolutely no in game benefit.

  • Cheapskate ?   Play through the chapter and acquire V-Bucks (premium currency).   Hold onto them and you can buy the next chapters Battle Pass.   Ad Infinitum.
  • Whale ?   Buy a Battle Pass and keep buying V-Bucks.   You can spend them on Skins, Wraps, Songs, Gliders and other weird things, that all look really fun.
  • Don’t wait !    Each item is only available for a limited time.   Artificial scarcity with the skins, I am sure, drives a lot of impulse buying for whales.

I would love a bunch of X-Men outfits but shelling out $30 isn’t going to happen.

  • Many platforms.    I have seen Xbox, Switch, Android, IOS, and PC.   There are a lot of concerns with these different platforms all being matchmade together, which probably doesn’t matter too much because :
  • Skill Based matchmaking.   Everyone wanted to party with me when I was a newbie because the opponents are easier.    As you build up a record, they get harder, if you do well.   I can clearly see my opponents are harder than at first.
  • Like Progression ?    It’s there.   Season 2 Chapter 2 includes several unlockable skins for the “normal” progression, and the ability to unlock gold versions with each level you increase above 100.    For example, I unlocked a Brutus skin, and as I level up his head is gold and it’s trickling down until his entire costume will be 100% gold.

  • Want achievements ?   These exist, not really well done, but it’s kind of fun to try and pick them up.
  • Spy Theme.    This is exceptionally well realized and assisted greatly by the fantastic score I hear playing the game.   There are techno versions of music too, maybe that works for the kids, but I love the 60’s James Bond vibe I get from this.
  • Don’t like PvP ?   There’s no sense of loss in this game.   Lose a match, and just jump into another one.   No big deal.   The cartoony aspects of the game help a lot here.
  • Building based shooter.   I don’t build much (I think I’m called a Grounder for that reason).   Most of the match winners build structures as fast as you can click a mouse and it’s weird to watch.

Have I mentioned the main game yet ?   Why, no I haven’t.  It will be familiar to anyone who knows the Hunger Games universe.   You skydive onto an Island along with 100 other players and fight.    Find weapons tucked away in different spots on the map, acquire resources and build up little structures and rooms.  A “Storm” continuously closes in and keeps the players from just hiding out far away from each other.    Eventually a couple of players are squooshed into a small area and the last person standing wins.

The “Lobby” is where everyone shows off their cool skins and emotes, just before the match starts.

You can play solo (my preferred version), or Duo with two people, or Squad with four (My Daughter’s favorite).   Voice coms, which I have avoided with all the determination of an old bastard hating on new technology, are well implemented and inescapable.   And there is NO COMMAND LINE TEXT CHAT.    You can only talk with your teammates….. with your headset on.   By voice.

It’s fun.   It’s super hard to win.   But it’s all the game aspects behind the Battle Royale that make it a big success.

Then there’s the tweaky things I noticed.   XP is an interesting one.

  • You want to level up to unlock the next reward on the Battlepass.   But the vast majority of XP comes from Missions.    These come in a couple of flavors and are limited to a few at a time.

Yes, I have completed all the missions for the XP.

  • This, of course, pushes you to play daily (Daily logins !    Investors etc want to know this ) and not to play after they expire.   Pretty neat mechanic as well to keep teens from spending less time in the game.
  • Being a grinder, I managed to figure out a good way to play without missions.   I fish and scavenge.    Catching fish, strangely enough, gets you nearly as much XP as opening a chest.   Avoid other players, open chests, and fish for the best XP.   Having said that, it’s just the best available.
  • Grinding XP for four hours gets you about the same XP as a mission that takes 15-20 minutes.

And there are no rewards for winning the game.    No rewards for first place, second place, whatever.    Very little career tracking other than this.

3 Wins to my name

I remember each of these wins clearly.    It’s a fun sense of accomplishment.

So for now I am a daily player contributing to the juggernaut that every muggle parent exclaims against.

Fishing. For XP and Health with bonus Legendary weapons occasionally.

D&D Gaming Memories – Idle Champions

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Idle Champions is a new idle game that came out in March 2020 on Steam.    It’s apparently been in Early Access for three years.

The main screen, with your party

Fans like me of AdVenture Capitalist can immediately relate to the game after running through a few times.    You go on an adventure, and hopefully you can complete it.    Either complete or incomplete, it should earn you Favor with a deity (Angel Investors) which boosts you a % amount for your next run through.    With this boost, it’s easier to level up your characters for the next attempt at the game.

Unlike a traditional RPG, your characters do not keep their levels from reset to reset.    So they’re the Businesses in AdVenture Capitalist.    Levels don’t mean much, and neither does money.    You earn gold to level up your characters with and pass higher and higher levels in an attempt to earn more Favor.     The more dungeon levels you pass, the more gold you earn and therefore the more Favor you earn.  Spend Favor (not too much now) to earn additional bonuses like extra damage or shorter cooldowns for your party.

The writing is kind of fun and there are scripted conversations that the characters have as you go through the adventure.   Adventures are a new and obvious feature.    Achievements, as far as I can tell, are tied exclusively to passing various adventures and progressing the campaign through to the end.

Other new features include gear.    Each champion who makes up your party has six gear slots which can hold one of four gear rarities.

Bruenor has gear of each rarity (color) plus the Shiny special

Gray, Green, Blue, and Purple gear are kept for each champion/character, with a vast gulf from one level to the next.    Your champion uses the best gear automatically.    This drops as you adventure, and can also be purchased (by buying chests) through the game store.

Your gear can also be “Shiny” like Bruenor’s green ring.   His rings increase his Rally ability by 37.5% (Gray), 131.3% (Green), 225% (Blue), and 412.5% (Purple).    Shiny increases your gear by 50% and Golden by 100%; but it sounds like it doesn’t matter until you get to Purple gear.    If you pull a duplicate item, your existing item gets a buff, so I suppose with enough duplicate Gray Rings Bruenor might end up with over 412.5%, but I wouldn’t count on it.

So the way you play the game is threefold.

  • Progress the campaign(s)
  • Unlock / Buy new champions
  • Rack up the Favor
  • Gear up your champions

The premium currency is Gems, earned as you go through the campaigns or bought.  You can buy a number of familiars with it, and familiars are unexpectedly useful.   They click for you.    You can set them to do damage, or they can press the level up button when offline to keep you charging deeper into the dungeon without you needing to personally do anything.

Idle Champions also has campaigns (Planets).    Each one has its own favor.   I have 4 or 5 unlocked but am working mostly on the “Grand Tour of the Sword Coast”.    If you recognize that reference, you probably play Dungeons & Dragons, and the game is based on the Forgotten Realms campaigns from there.    Other campaigns unlock as Events which may or may not earn you extra champions.

There are the main campaign scenarios (Waterdeep Tour) and the challenges (Lost in the Deep, etc)

The final AdVenture Capitalist reference; spend less than 1% of your favor.    The game will permit you to spend more, and it may even be a good idea in some cases, but this is a good place to start.

So far I’ve earned 6 billion favor for the first campaign and have unlocked 5 additional champions, and have a smattering of purple gear for them.    And am enjoying every minute.

 

ROTP aka MoO 1 Version 2 is at hand

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Heads up that Remnants of the Precursors (ROTP) is heading to Open Beta.

Download page is here

https://rayfowler.itch.io/remnants-of-the-precursors

You can’t go out for Easter, and the Egg Hunt in your backyard will be finished in an hour or two, so make sure and download the game and enjoy.    And if you’re the type that likes feedbacking developers and assisting in game balancing aspects, drop by the Subreddit for this.

Ingress

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As I sit worrying about about employment, sickness, and health during the COVID-19 scare it got me thinking about Ingress.   It’s now been almost 6 months since I’ve played the game.

I am no longer playing.   The game I used to play is gone; there are plenty of resources that let you learn about Scanner Redacted and Prime and the technical challenges faced.    My experience was simple : since the game isn’t fun anymore, I don’t play.    The Prime scanner ruined it.

But Oh My God.   I miss this game.   I used to enjoy going places – real places, you know, in the real world – to find out what portals I could capture, and how I could protect the human beings in a specific place in the real world.    The absence of enemy fields, or better yet a protective field over the area.    The ragtag group of other players – IE, other secret agents – all working together to defeat the other team.     The discovery aspect of going some place you would not normally travel to, just to pick up a portal.    Traveling for whatever reason and you’re standing at a game location, time to take action.

There are all kinds of “Augmented Reality” AR games out there but they all follow a Pokemon Go model.    Here’s that model to me : Go someplace in real life, and take actions on your phone.    There’s no real connection between the place, and the real world.    Sure, you can get that Water Pokemon by finding a river, but that’s only a tenuous connection with the real world.    Harry Potter and Minecraft Earth all struggle to bring the same kind of magic back that exists in Ingress.

It seems like it’s mostly a question of teamwork and planning.   I loved poring over the Intel Map, looking for openings to create this field or that.   I loved coordinating with other players as teams tried to create Big Ass Field (BAF’s) that would cover huge areas.   I managed one covering Santa Clarita and the City of Burbank.   They were GLORIOUS things to do.    I also failed to create one covering the entirety of Southern California, and it was fun in its own way.

Then there were the BAF’s which I participated in for some other players.    They usually weren’t successful, but never because of my group – it was always somewhere else.   That’s a fun record to look back on.    And then there was the time the entire Ingress world was watching me stop a multi state BAF from coming into existence.

Somebody has to bring that gameplay back into the world.    It’s still there, in Prime, but the client is awful for technical and artistic reasons.   But most of all, because it’s not fun playing the game any longer, since the client sucks that bad.

Someone has to design a game that :

  • It’s like Ingress
  • Territory control battle between teams
  • Keep it friendly and competitive, but not angry and vicious (this was a real problem)
  • Sense of discovery
  • Impetus to travel
  • Rewards for cooperation
  • Connection to real world
  • Enslaving humanity and/or protection of the world
  • Bonus points if you can set it up so each team thinks the other one is the bad guys.   Ingress did a fantastic job with this.

 

Summoners War Update

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Summoners war continues to be the best game I’ve never played.

Nearly all game events can be autoed – but they auto in real time.    So you hit start, let a game event finish like running a scenario level to level up your monsters, and you ignore it for a couple of minutes.

PVE milestones include beating the scenario (Done), Tower of Ascension (No Problem – you do this monthly), S rank in all the rifts (Done), and having various dungeon teams to run for runes (Done).

There is a fantastic tool for sharing your profile which has gone through several technical challenges.    It requires you to use Bluestacks, but Bluestacks has decided to stop working on my machine.   It complains that “The Engine cannot be started” and no amount of googling can help me figure out what’s wrong, nor Uninstall/reinstall, so I’ve given up.   My profile is here.   I had to do it manually and it took forever, plus it’s missing runes since manually inputting those would be insane.  It’s current as of a couple weeks ago.

One milestone I’m still working towards is 100% on arena towers.   These make a really big difference in every aspect of the game.   I have just one or two levels for the light and dark towers left to achieve.

Another milestone is the Hard version, Tower of Ascension.   I have beat it once at level 100, but beating it consistently has eluded me.    It’s too hard, like falling off a cliff hard, compared to level 99.    And the other levels take several minutes to complete, while manually doing 100 takes around 20 minutes.    I could be happy with the time if I could beat it, but it doesn’t happen.    So for the moment I’ve given up.

And another milestone is the Tartarus guild dungeon.    There are four difficulty levels, and I can beat some levels on the 3rd.  Many I can only beat on the 1st (Easy), to my chagrin.   So I keep working on my stable of creatures to see if I can get some that will make this work.

The final milestone is probably guild flags.   Mine are at level 8, and I have four of them I’m trying to get up to level 10.    Like arena towers, the flags give you a big advantage in any guild environments, like Tartarus.

I don’t really enjoy the PvP.   It’s a bit like being a puppy and getting stepped on.   I don’t grind my runes for days and days looking for an extra 2% HP, so I don’t do well.

I have somewhere around 85 six star monsters (the best quality level) and am working on a whole bunch more.   Maybe 25.   It’s quite a bit of fun in that idle manner.

The monetary policy in the game is so weird, that some of it needs another post.   My carefully considered opinion about spending real life money on the game boils down thus :

  1. None of the hyped packages are even close to worth it.   Would you spend $100 for a 5% chance at a good monster ?    And “good” monsters only help your game like 1%.   Bad idea.
  2. So the devs spend a ton of effort tricking the players into spending money on things that don’t matter, while giving them the illusion that just another $100 will unlock that last thing that you need.    It’s predatory and insane.
  3. At the same time, the devs are careful to balance the game for maximum enjoyment and they do a pretty good job, all things considered.    Strange considering #2 isn’t it ?
  4. The daily pack for $5 gives a good amount of crystals.   I don’t buy these because I’m drowning in crystals but your mileage may vary.

I’ve been at this for 2 years and it’s anyone’s guess as to how long I’ll continue to spend time being distracted by my phone while I’m sitting in front of the computer doing something else.

Losing the Galaxy, Part 4 – OMG I won

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Next Galactic Council vote is year 3617.

Year 3598

And something has changed in the relations with all the other empires.

The “Too Large” penalty is gone for everyone

So I’ll keep playing nice.    Except the Aviari, who I have successfully built towards, gotten fleets to, and have started bombing their planets down.

Ise – formerly belonged to the Aviari

Year 3604

The war is going well

I have to scramble a bit with moving my warships around to counter whatever he does but so far it’s not anything approaching a problem.   Colonies to the south continue to feed population and ships towards the north, and so far I’ve just bombed the Aviari colonies out, not feeling confident about low population ground attacks on a technologically superior opponent.

Year 3617

And I am so close to victory.

260 votes needed –

But really – isn’t that close enough ?

So I’m going to be done with the game.    The lesson learned is, the AI improvements that Ray has promised us are definitely needed.

No more AAR’s until the Beta release is upon us.

 

Losing The Galaxy, Part 3 – Galactic Votes

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Year 3537

Scouts built, colonizers begin moving and getting built, and the crowded universe keeps moving along quietly.

Year 3539

My concern has been the AI’s will see my small fleet size and decide to pounce on me.   It hasn’t happened, so I scrap the super useless Fighter design to build more, and modern, ships.

Fighter III designed.   This one upgrades to fusion engines, sports a shield and Zortrium armor, and a computer upgraded to Mark II.   I start building a few in a couple areas.

I also have built up a lot of BC in the Treasury.   I blow all but 5,000 BC on frontier planetary development.

Year 3547

Peaceful development continues.   We discover soil enrichment and set all colonies 50% to use it.   The eastern frontier is getting settled and pushed out finally.

And I just notice – my largeness penalty is gone, for diplomacy.   No wonder none of the AI’s has declared war on me.

Year 3549

There’s nobody in the corner.

Eastward expansion almost complete.

So the question is how much farther I can go north on the eastward map edge.

Year 3555

The Silicoids have done this twice.   They send scouts to one of my baby colonies with 2 pop and 10 factories or so; they bomb it once; then fly off.   This is the extent of the AI initiating combat on me.

I mean, it works as far as playing the game.   I will continue to build up my planets and expand, and once I get boxed in and developed I’ll initiate my own war.   But this is anything but what I was expecting.

Year 3562

Oh wow.   The vote is happening “soon”.    I believe this means on a “25 turn”.    Thankfully I am at good relations with all my neighbors and population wise, I am first !

This year equals turn 189, so probably the vote comes in 11 years.

(Frantic save – next turn a whole bunch – practice vote)

Seems I was wrong.   The vote occurs in five years, Year 3567.   With this bit of cheating, I also find out my opponent is the Psilons.   I’ve managed to stay on the good side of the other races that I’m in contact with.

So time to attempt to win the game.   What’s my strategy ?    Give away the farm to Silicoids, Klockans, Humans and any other races that appear.   They want a tech, they can have it.    And hope that others like me enough to vote for me.

Year 3563

I trade the Humans a very high computer tech for the fusion rifle….. and their alliance with the Psilons is broken !

I also meet the Aviari along the corridor I am trying to expand into.

That is not recoverable from.

The first contact penalty will disappear with time.   The Expansion penalty, probably not.   I don’t understand why the other races do not show that one.   In any event, it won’t matter for the vote and so I have probably met the race I am going to be warring with.

My tiny little fleet (Literally – my warships are the small “Fighter III” class) is on its way to their space.

Year 3565

The Klocks refuse my offer of alliance.    That’s a shame.

Year 3566

It’s war with the Aviari.

Aviari in Red. I have nothing but scouts in the area.

Well let’s see how well they can roll me up, unless I win the vote.

Year 3567

Apparently 160 votes required for the win.

53 Votes for Klackon

36 Votes for Psilons

Silicoids vote for Klackons, 31 votes (84)

Darloks abstain (25 votes)

Humans vote for Klackons, 22 votes (106)

Klockans vote for Klackons, 18 votes (124)

Mrrshan vote for Klackons, 18 votes (142)

Aviari vote for Psilons, 15 votes (51)

Bulrathi vote for Klackons, 10 votes (152)

Meklar vote for Psilons, 7 votes (58)

Alkari vote for Klackons, 4 votes (156)

Sakkra abstain (4 votes)

Neither leader has a 2/3 majority…….

Rats!    Now that was close.   Can I grow my way to 2/3 and/or take away votes and worlds from the Aviari ?   I set my spies on Espionage on them.

Year 3568

Well that harmony is unlikely to last long.    All the newly introduced races have very low relations meters.   None of them accept my request to trade, but amusingly, I renegotiate my trade agreement with the Psilons.

In the expected 3592 vote I will have much less support.

Year 3574

Class XV planetary shields show up on the tech list.   I set everything besides force fields to the minimum, this will be a key tech to hold onto my planets if it comes to that.

So far, not much of an Aviari invasion, but I’m trying to move up towards them.

Year 3579

I discover the XV shields, and trade with my best friends the Klockans and get Advanced Soil Enrichment – to further boost my population numbers.

Some races have lost the penalty for “The Klackons are too large” and are on the low to middle range of the relations meter.   I can hope, I suppose, for victory.

600 Fighters on the way to Techoh

Year 3581

I am unimpressed by the Aviari war machine.   He sends 8 small ships against my 25 fighters with 8 scouts, and does no damage while losing 5 of his ships.   My first battle is victorious.

Year 3583

A fight over Ise, the Aviari world, results in a victory for our forces.   Traded 50 or so fighters for 100+ of theirs along with 8 large ships.    I retreat back to our planets since I have no troops in the area and our bombing was ineffective.

Year 3592 – 2nd Galactic Council

200 apparent votes needed to win.

Klackons (88 votes)

Psilons (37 votes)

Klockans vote for Klackons (30 votes, 118)

Darloks vote for Klackons (28 votes, 146)

Humans vote for Psilons (27 votes, 64)

Silicoids vote for Klackons (26 votes, 172)

Mrrshan vote for Klackons (25 votes, 172)

Hey – there’s a bug in there somewhere.

The vote ends inconclusively, 183 – 121.    The final math is right, but I saved over the vote file too quickly.    I think the Mrrshans voted for the Psilons instead of Klackons.

Can the Klackons pull off the impossible, and get voted to victory ?    That will have to wait 25 years and also for the next installment of this AAR.

Losing The Galaxy, Part 2 – Still Playing

My second opponent has made their appearance.

No surprise it’s the Silicoids

These guys expand well in the early game so I tend to meet them earlier on.

This changes the strategic calculus a lot.   I am obviously going to try and keep the Klocks as sweet as possible and leave them room to expand (if they ever get around to it) to the west.    We’re on the south border and the Silicoids are to the north.

So it’s a land grab northwards (hopefully without pissing off the Silicoids.    Any war is deadly for me) and expansion eastwards until I meet up with whoever is out there.

Year 3487

Land Grab In Progress

The Klocks have doubled their world count to six after trading for Irridium Fuel Cells with me.   What worries me is I have enough worlds now to start getting the penalty for “Their empire is too large” with both my opponents.

Year 3497

And continues

It seems I’m going to hit a point I have to ask myself – do I stop expanding solely because the AI’s are going to have too big a diplomatic penalty ?   I don’t want to do that, nor do I see a victory path that includes that kind of tactic.    I don’t know.

Year 3509

The Psilons make their appearance.   They are at least as big as the Silicoid empire..

Year 3520

Everything but the East is closed off to me.   I’m very confident some empire is lurking just a few systems away.

Year 3530

Irradiated Colony is finally discovered, waiting a few turns for about half the colony ships to arrive at stars and will scrap the remainder.

Year 3536

I scrap my colonizers and my scouts, leaving the outdated fighters.    Time to fill in the last few worlds and keep moving east – the east nebulas are making that pretty difficult.

So – what happened to getting my butt kicked ?

Losing The Galaxy, Part 1 – Except I’m Winning

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What will happen when I try Remnants of the Precursors on the hardest difficulty setting ?    I thought it would be fun to try out.

The clear choice for easiest race to play as.

Game options set as :

11 Rivals (Because 12 players in a game is a cool number)

Huge Galaxy

and the scary Hardest difficulty.

The expectation is, I will get my butt kicked.   But you never know until you try, do you ?

Year 3374

Well now. That’s a good start.

I send my colony ship to the Orange star and scouts to the white ones.

Year 3377

Oxtankah colonized, an Ocean world.   The white stars have Barren and Dead worlds.   7 transports sent to the new colony.

My now traditional settings for the beginning of the game at research :

Just two ticks into Force Fields, and Weapons

Neither of those categories matters too much until you have contact with the other races.

Year 3381

Well that didn’t last long !    I have met my first alien race.

That’s some good luck.

This is not.

The Klockans are nearby, diplomatic relations are not yet established.   Even though I’m doing no research yet, I equalize all the sliders.

Year 3389

My scouts are finished.   I have the Artifact and a Minimal world in “Long range range”.

I switch Kholdan to 150 RP per turn.   It’s almost got all its factories but needs more population to use them all.    Reserve Colony ships are very expensive and so I won’t try to build one until it’s maxed out.

Year 3390

The notable technology I start researching is Barren Landing, which will let me colonize that one world in my normal range.    The Klockans set a scout over a nearby ultra rich world (Inferno).

Year 3394

With Kholdan finished, I set the research at 50 RP per year and the remainder to ship building.    Colony Reserve will be ready in 10 years.

Destination world highlighted.

I wonder if I’ll get it ?

Year 3404

Ship finished.   Six years to destination.

This brings up the interesting decision of what to do next.    I want to get the Minimal world, which should be in normal range after this.    But if I’m wrong, I build a ship that won’t reach the colony and will probably be useless for a long time, thus eating up critical maintenance dollars.

I decide to take the chance.   With Kholdan at 50 RP level it will take four years until it’s completed.

Year 3407

Colony ship built.   3 years to Tikal.   Kholdan goes all in on research and forgoes building the early missile base, or any warships.

Year 3410

And now we have official relations with the Klockans.

I set spying to one tick.   I pretty much know what he’s got at the moment.

My colony gamble has paid off as Pestac is in range, colony ship sent.    Scouts start moving as well.

That looks like a bug.

I think it should say “Klackon Hive” instead of “Termitton Hive”.   It says the same thing under the Klackon tab.

Year 3411

A closer look at the Klockan start

He got a REALLY bad start.   I assume that white star between them and Tikal is something radiated.   I wonder if I’ll be able to knock this guy out quickly ?   For the moment we keep building peacefully.

14 transports sent to Tikal.

Year 3412

There it is again

Year 3415

Halakal is a rich Tundra world between Tikal and the Klocks.  I figure it will go to them.

Barren has been researched so I recreate my colony ships – one reserve, one not; one large, one huge; with Barren colonizers.    Each also has one laser; they’re cheap and I may want them with a tiny bit of armament to defeat a small Klockan warship.

Pestac is colonized.    Transports sent from Oxtankah where we “build” more colonists.

Year 3416

We capture a Klockan spy.   He’s being aggressive with them.   I tick up counterintelligence one tick in response.   My first spy is apparently six years out still.

Year 3417

Oxtankah is full and now works on research.   We’re getting 92 RP for each category.

Transports finally arrive at Tikal.   Gotta hurry; the Klocks have built a warship (Hornet) which is maybe on its way to Tikal.

Year 3419

I now have the total picture of my neighborhood.

System Muluch is a minimal world !

That world would be the key to getting moving into the rest of the galaxy.   Deuterium Fuel Cells are not here yet.   But that world has to be 15 light years away from Kholdan; so I’m talking about 25 years until I can arrive.   Maybe I should send from my closer colonies.   I decide to keep researching right now.

I tick up spying two more ticks (Guaranteed spy next turn).

Year 3420

Oh ho !    He has the Dead environment researched but no computer technology.   I set my spies to espionage and hope to pick it up.

That makes it obvious why his ship his heading to Halakal, it must be a colonizer.    So that’s gone as expected.

Armed with this knowledge I decide to go with the 25 year plan, and set Kholdan to building a barren reserve.

Year 3422

He took it. And he changed the name !

I thought the AI’s just took the world names as they come.   Seems I was wrong.

Year 3425

Oh no.   I am dumb.   I forgot all about colonizing my Barren world !

And so close too

There’s no help for it.    I’ll wait the three years for the Reserve ship to be finished then build a normal colonizer for this world.

I also set Tikal and Pestac to building one tick of the standard fighters.

Year 3428

Barren Reserve is 9 years to Muluch.

My spies appear to be dying at a fast rate, without getting me tech, but it seems like the smart thing to do until a diplomatic penalty shows up.

Year 3429

Non Aggression pact signed.

Year 3430

Barren colony on the way, Kholdan builds three scouts to look eastward.

I hope he’s serious about that Nonaggression pact

My navy remains tiny compared to his.

Year 3431

Not sure what I can do about his military might.   Kholdan goes back to research for the next couple of turns.   I could try to build more ships but it seems like I need to gamble if I want to keep the game going.

Year 3433

I christen my barren world “Trecok”, and send 18 transports to it from Kholdan.

We get Deuterium Fuel Cells and so scouts are on the move again.

Year 3436

Klockans request a tech trade for Deuterium Fuel Cells.   Not a chance buddy.

Year 3437

My gamble paid off again !   Muluch is our world now.

This looks pretty good all things considered.

All scouts have destinations.   Meanwhile my tiny two-fighter navy orbits Tikal nervously looking at nearby Tohcok with its 50 fighters.   Both Tikal and Pestac are nearing “completion” and should probably build missile bases.

I decide to build a few more fighters to chase away the Klocks from my Dead and Inferno worlds.

Year 3438

Terran world near Muluch !   And in normal range !   Kholdan starts building a colony ship.

Year 3440

Tikal maxes industry.   I wonder how many missile bases I should build ?   I’ll just do the default, one.

I see that he has a Deep Space Scanner now as well.    Did he steal it from me or research on his own ?

Year 3443

Minimal planet found, Colony Reserve under construction to get it.

Year 3444

Tikal keeps a tick or two into fighters but puts the rest into research having maxed out, plus its missile base is complete.

I want to be more equal. Working on it I guess.

Year 3445

Oh my.   This is a good trade.

I need Sublight Drives

Time to redesign almost everything.

My new fighter plus a Barren Reserve

Fighter II (I am not very imaginative apparently) sports a computer and sublight drives unlike its first iteration.

Barren Reserve is so close, but doesn’t quite make it into a large frame.   Darn the luck.   That would make it possible to construct so much faster (about 3 years versus 10).    Kholdan will have one done in 6 years, probably due to not completing the previous iteration of the ship.

My existing Barren Colony is five years out, and my factories have plenty to build, so I decide not to scrap it mid flight.   Fighter II’s under construction near Tohcok.

The skies are busy with ship movement.

I also decide I better accept that spying isn’t working for me.   I set them to one tick and have them hide.   We’re researching Dead environment on our own anyway.

Year 3446

My scouts complete their missions, so I reward them by scrapping them.    New scout is designed.   I start building some at Pestac.

Year 3448

I decdie to burn planetary reserves at Kholdan to get the needed two colony ships going faster.    Hope I don’t get a disaster !

Year 3450

Halakal colonized and normal colony ship updated with sublight engines.   I have two yellow worlds in “normal” range so the new plan is build one more Barren Reserve at Kholdan, then Barren Colony ships and send them there.   Maybe scouts will reach it first, these are also under construction at Pestac.

Year 3456

This is working out better than I had any right to expect.

Four colony ships on the way !

One more Colony Reserve under construction (Will head to Xupa).

Year 3457

Gumarcaj colonized, breaking us out of the nebula on the east and opening up a lot of possibilities for scouting.

We also research Robotic Controls III which will boost our production substantially.

Year 3461

The Klocks asked several times for Robotic Controls III.   I traded it to them for Toxic Colony base and have upgraded out Colony designs.   Only Radiated left to worry about.

Will I keep winning ?    I can’t believe that would happen, but I sure am doing well so far.  Next installment on the way.