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.

After Action Report on ROTP -Part 4 – FINAL

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The game continues to be about the rapid frontier grab, as well as solidifying borders next to other empires.

We’ve found the Humans

The Humans, playing the diplomatic game, are surrounded by their allies the Alkari.   So I have about 1/5 of the galaxy remaining uncolonized, meaning I need to keep up the expansion westward, then crawl “up the wall” on the westward edge of the map.

I’m finding that turning spying on and off is more effective than a sustained push.   This is due to the mechanic that when a spy is caught, the remaining spies get some kind of penalty to their spying capability – “The Meklar have captured one of your spies, who confesses” – and the AI seems to try and catch your spies if it suspects they are operating.

Year 14531

We’re going on the offense.

Neither Urul nor Yagak – the colonies the Meklar bombed and recolonized – are defended by missile bases, and I’m accumulating a lot of fighter type ships here.   Neither planet finished missile bases.   So I’ll try and put ships in orbit here.   If I’m successful I can follow up with ground troops and test their ability to defend.

Year 14532

The Meklar retreat and we own the space over Urul.

I send 18 transports who are two years away.

I send more warships to Yagak – hopefully they will be enough to bomb this place down, the colony has 30 population.   In the meantime the Meklars also have transports en route to Urul.

I also finally remember to use colony reserves.   The current game state has this screen get bugged into late game – it is too slow and unstable to use, getting steadily worse the more stars you own.   So I spend myself down from 55k reserve to 40k and giving planets in this area a big boost.

Year 14533

The Meklars continue to fight back.

That’s 16 transports two years out from Ulag

I’ll counter by moving transports from Shagral (Fertile Jungle 115 max pop) of the same amount.  They’ll also take two years to get there so that will work.

My current research on propulsion suddenly seems much more important (Impulse engines).   These move your ships 5 per turn, and your transports move 4, twice as fast as mine are currently moving.

Year 14534

We take Urul !

A numerically inferior enemy inflicts about 33% casualties on our troops.

Many of the Meklar transports on their way (I didn’t see them, for whatever reason) land on the planet despite my orbital fleet.   I don’t know if I blew any of them away or not.

Meanwhile they are building up quite a fleet at Yagak and many ships are on the way to Urul.   I boost Urul with planetary reserves and move additional ships on the way, waiting for more ships to move up.

Year 14335

It looks like next year’s Yagak battle will be 19 of my mediums vs 13 of their large ones.   If that’s it I don’t like my chances, will probably run away.

All transports invading Ulag were destroyed in space.   Good news !

Year 14336

I called the battle correctly – almost.    They were 12 mediums and 1 large ship.   We are victorious !   16 ships survive my first battle.

The Alkari ask for peace and I oblige them.   That will be nice while I try to expand up onto their frontier.

Meklar transports are on their way to Urul, but I’m expecting them all to be destroyed.

Year 14337

The usual AI tricks.   The Alkari declare war against us.   One turn after they had previously requested peace.    This is a constant thing with the game development at this stage and should change at some point.

Bulrathi transports are 6 years out to Yagak.    It would be 48 to 29 which should mean a win for us, and technology looting since I have not bombarded the planet; its factories are intact.

Year 14538

The AI can be so weird.   Meklars send a bunch of transports FROM Yagak (currently targeted for invasion) to Urul where they will be wiped out by my orbiting fleet.   A total of 75 are inbound, but I again expect them to be wiped out.

I am going to lose this colony however

New Dulfish is being targeted by 107 transports, and orbited by about 300 small Alkari ships.   So I send my population to planets next door.    Defenses will be strengthened once the rally train to New Bugharz gets fully into effect; at least 4 years.

Year 14540

We lost New Dulfish.   The Alkari do give me a bit of a break, sending most of their ships there to a Meklar colony for whatever reason.

The Meklars are being very ineffective.   I’ve even targeted one of their systems (4 years out) along with Yagak (3 years out) and expect to take both with little problem.

Year 14541

I am waiting with baited breath for Impulse engines.   It’s time to design a new replacement for my Hard Beam ship, plus a bomber; and my transports should be faster.    Currently 27% chance.

Year 14543

Yagak has fallen !

My troops took bigger losses than expected.    In 14542 I got Fusion Rifles and I had hoped they would lead to my troops being armed with them, but no.   Bug or feature ?   I’m not sure.   It seems like a feature.

We loot planetology and shield tech from the planet.    And finally we discover Impulse engines !    So it’s off to the Designer I go.

First is the Radiated colony ship with Impulse engines

The new Fusion Beam ship to replace Hard Beamer, armed with three weapons and other upgrades.

And let’s try something new.

Often I build Bombers in small frames and send a mass of them after a colony.   This time I’m going to put them in a large ship.   I get 70 Fusion Bombs on there with high level jammers etc and we’ll try building a few of these guys to support the warships and take down the missile bases.

I set two colonies to build the bombers and the remaining ship-builders to the fusion beamers.   The intent is to scrap the old colony ships once appropriate, at the latest when they are all gone, or maybe sooner depending on how deployment goes.

Year 14544

I take the Meklar world and rename it – since the Meklar names irritate me – to Cetacean.   One Bomber built is on its way to Yagak for deployment soon.   I decide to try two bombers against the first Meklar colony as I continue to expand northward in a roughly genocidal campaign.

Starting to beat back the Meklar menace.

Also, the Alkaris are kind enough to ask for peace and I accept, with no change in strategy as I expect them to declare war next turn.

I set Meklar spying on the lowest spending level; I have successfully stolen all their unknown research so I will probably have little use for spies, especially given the war.

Moving Outward

The western expansion is getting close to the edge of the galaxy but isn’t quite there yet.

Year 14545

I was wrong.   The Alkari are still at peace, I hope it lasts for awhile since I have enough to do wiping out the Meklar.

Year 14546

Now this is an interesting trade.

What I’ve wanted from them most is Planetary Shield X.

I have to give up a high computer tech; making it harder to spy on them.   I could get the Megabolt Cannon, an awesome weapon.    It’s a stressful decision but I take the X shields.

Year 14549

The Alkari’s new devotion to peace pleases me.    Our spies keep getting caught (and then told to hide), but they’re trying very hard to trade away their Megabolt Cannon.   So far I’m not interested in their trades.

Fleet on the way to a new Meklar world.   It used to have 5 missile bases; today it only has one.   Alkari sabotage perhaps ?

Year 14550

The bomber design works.   One set of bombs and the missile base was destroyed.

Year 14552

Cancer is taken away from the Meklar.

Year 14554

Cancrous is taken away from the Meklar.

At this point it’s more a question of properly defending new acquisitions, and moving ships in, than anything else in the Meklar war.    I’m not building a lot of ships as planets are coming up to speed again after technology.

Year 14555

I’m spending a ton of time on perfecting planets.   It seems important.   I want a good industrial engine cranking out ships to keep the Meklar down and out.    The colony ships are moving outwards and ever closer to the Western Wall.    Victory seems certain.

Doesn’t that look like 50% is already colonized ?

Year 14559

Galactic council about to meet !   I think it will be turn 350 – 5 years from now.

Year 14564

I was correct.

And The Win !

I certainly learned a lot from writing that, and darned if it wasn’t a ton of fun !

After Action Report on ROTP (Part 3)

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So far, this game has gone through two phases and is firmly into a third.

  1. Starting out (Haha, I’m playing a game!)
  2. Difficult expansion (Everything is out of range!)
  3. Colonize Everything (The only limits are travel time)

Year 14490

Forty years later, the territory grab continues.

Still no other empires found.

Year 14494

And now we have the Meklar to deal with.

The good news is we are much bigger than they are.

Year 14495

The Meklars are way ahead of us on tech.   I set research priorities to balanced (to get weapons and shields moving) and start spy espionage.

Hopefully we’ll be able to start grabbing these via espionage.

Their warships are moving in on two of the planets I have colony ships heading to.   I don’t think I’m going to just get all of them.   Especially since I have no warships of my own.

Always take Computers first. Computer tech level is spy level.

Year 14499

Good, these ships they are sending my way appear to be warships and not colonizers.   I can hopefully grab more colonies before conflict begins.

Ushnar should be colonized first.

Year 14501

Oh this is useful !

Spending set to 50% for factories due to this

Year 14506

After stealing a ton of technology from them the Meklars have enough and declare war.   With the newly stolen Hard Beam I make a few ships under construction, but this will undoubtedly go badly for us until I can build up further.

Year 14508

Oh my.   Now I see why the Meklars had not expanded so well, the Alkari are beating them up.

My Western side is a bit exhausted with colonizing but we keep it up.

From the Alkari diplomatic panel I find out the final race I’m dealing with – Humans.    So the political situation is the Alkari are at war with the Meklar, don’t like me very much, and are allied with the Humans.   I’m at war with the Meklar as well.

Year 14513

I knew this was coming

One of three colonies the Meklar are hanging around and bombing with single ships.   In the meantime, my backlog of colony ships continue to arrive in the neighborhood and create more new ones, while warships are still 7-8 light years away.

The tactical situation

Year 14516

2nd colony lost to Meklar bombs.

Year 14517

The Spying campaign is going so well against both the Alkari and Meklar that I decide to tick up computer research spending and reduce all other categories one tick.

So far, the power levels are probably good.   With some time my planets should build up enough to create a deadly war machine.

Year 14519

Too much spying has pissed off the Alkari who declare war on me.   I’m not too close to them so hopefully it’s one of the phony wars the AI creates every so often.

Still haven’t encountered the Humans.

Successful expansion continues

The Westward frontier is suffering from success.   The planets building colony ships continue to be far away and waiting for the right colonies to build up enough to take their turns building ships.

Year 14520

The first of my warships have arrived at the frontier near the Meklar, at Ushamf and Ulam.

Battle at Ushamf is an immediate retreat; one medium versus one large is not a good idea with nearly equal technology.    But it doesn’t matter.

I will now enter the phase of controlling the space in and around both my colonies, and the Meklar (and Alkari?).

Year 14521

The Alkari seem to catch a lot of my spies.   I ratchet down spying and hide for the Alkari, ratchet up spy defense, and ratchet up spying on the Meklar.   Let’s see how the AI behaves if you do that for a bit then turn it back on.

Year 14522

That’s more like it !    6 warships in orbit at Ushnar, and the Meklar have retreated rather than fight.    More colonies are coming online and building, and a steady trickle of my medium sized ships move towards the frontier.

Year 14525

The Meklar are trying another tactic – scouting non-bordering colonies and probably bombing their rich factories away.   Including one of my rally points.

Colony Yagak is an ultra rich world they bombed away and recolonized.

I don’t yet have enough ships to defend the area, and judge that it’s probably best to wait and let additional ships arrive, then send them to these colonies to chase off the attackers.

Meanwhile, despite their ships showing up on the west, I’ve still not “met” the Human empire.

And that looks like enough for this installment.

After Action Report on ROTP (Part 2)

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Year 14319

Well now I’m hosed.

There’s nothing in range.

All I can do is build up my factories, and wait for something to change via research.

Year 14326

Thankfully, Deuterium fuel cells were not far away.   I have two systems in range now and scouts are on their way.

I’m researching Irridium cells now, and getting antsy about missing either Warp 2 or 3 drives (Nuclear or Sublight).   My ships move pretty slow.   On the plus side I hardly care about that nebula.

Year 14332

Jungle planet discovered and the spare Colony Reserve is on its way, with a new one under construction.

Year 14342

New Colony Reserve moving towards probable planet sightings.    I can’t see making more than one “spare”.    Still waiting for colonization which will take 3 turns.

Year 14345

It’s starting to look like I’m trapped in the corner.

And most everything is just out of range

With any luck, those systems north of Bogrum will be colonizable and will lead me out of the dead space nearby.   It shouldn’t be disastrous anyway, Irridium cells are halfway researched, and that might put things in range too.

Year 14348

Naturally.

The system I need has no planets.

So it’s time to turtle up and wait until something gets researched.    Maybe the scout will find something useful south of Bogrum.

Year 14350

Nope.   Toxic world near Bogrum.

Year 14353

Robotic Controls III is researched, and I add +50% to the IND slider for all planets.   This boost of production should eventually help me research my way out of the corner.

Year 14365

Irridium Fuel Cells are at last 0% ready.   How soon until I get that lucky roll and discover it ?

Year 14369

Irridium Fuel Cells bring two additional planets in range.

On the east, I’m not even sending a scout, the Colony Reserve is heading straight there.    On the West one scout is on his way.

Meanwhile, this same year colonies are finished up with 3x factories so I reset Ursa to build a new Colony Reserve.    Down to a mere 5 years for construction.

Finally, good news on the engine front – I am now researching Sub Light drives for 3 warp speed for ships and 2x speed for transports.

Year 14371

Terraforming +20 comes online.   Given the squished start I have been stuck with I put 50% resources on terraforming to keep my economic engine growing as fast as possible.

Year 14376

This is seriously getting cruel.

Nope, not going to land on that one.

The current Planetology tech being researched is more eco restoration, so no help on the horizon there.

Colony Reserve completed at Ursa and sent on its way.

Year 14378

I catch a break at last, the world in the nebula is a jungle planet, which should allow me to break out of the dead space ghetto I find myself in.

But 12 years to go until arrival.

Year 14387

I now have two “spare” Colony Reserves on their way towards the Nebula.   Ursa goes to back to research.

Year 14390

There we go !    Many worlds in range now.

I should have built scouts before and sent them to Brokil.   Oh well.   I will build 3 and have the existing scouts survey for the moment.

Year 14397

I have a colony ship on the way to another planet, scouts swarming the area, and additional colony ships on their way to the Nebula area to complete both settling the area and expanding our space.

Pretty busy right now

Year 14399

We discover sub light drives.   I establish a moratorium on building new ships.    I’ll let the existing scouts figure out the West then scrap them; and the existing colony ships can hopefully colonize everything I’ve found then I’ll scrap them.

Year 14400

This is a bit of luck.

Even higher fuel reserves

Year 14408

No planetary landing techs at all, until the most important one pops up.

Irradiated means you can colonize everything.

I tweak our research priorities again, making everything besides planetology barely register, at least until this one pops up.

This definitely makes sense considering not a single alien race has been encountered yet.   So far, I’m playing against the map and against RNG.

Year 14418

Irradiated Environment is complete.   Research reset back to the Big Four (Computers, Planetology, Construction and Propulsion).

Year 14419

The last colony ship I was waiting for, makes a colony.   Now the empire map looks much better.

Lots of space to expand into.

Time to dive into design of new ships.

After scrapping my scouts for a whopping 18 BC of reserve credits, I make new ones with Sublight engines for a 3x movement rate across the galaxy.   I’m even able to cram a laser in there thanks to miniaturization.

I call this “Scout Sub”

Next I redesign my Colony ships to have Irradiated bases.

Pleasant surprise ! I can fit colony base, and reserve tanks, into a Large ship frame this time.

So for shipbuilding, I set Lumdum to make scout ships, Ursa makes Radiated Colony, and Durzol makes Radiated Reserves.    We’ll see what gets built out to the max first.   The colony ships do not take long to build so the skies might get crowded quickly.

Year 14422

As expected I build needed scout ships first and send them on their way.    Colony ships begin filling in the holes in my empire.

Fly the Crowded Skies

Year 14433

The great colony grab is in full effect now.

Scouts are becoming redundant with how fast the frontier grows.

Year 14440

Planet Brokil, on the West side of the nebulas, begins cranking out colony ships too after being fast tracked with reserve money to full industrial output.

Year 14450

By this point, the empire is filled in and colony ships fly as fast as they can to other worlds.   All colony ships are actually the Reserve versions since only they can reach the planets found.    This is with three planets cranking out a ship every 1-2 turns.

And that is enough for this installment of the playthrough.

After Action Report on ROTP (Part 1)

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Back in the dawn of gaming history – maybe 1994 ? – we would write after action reports.    These were generally text documents, possibly transcribed to that newfangled World Wide Web thing.   I posted some on Compuserve, a kind of pay-by-the-character BBS.   All of mine are assuredly gone today.

I loved doing this with Master of Orion, so I’ve decided to do an AAR blog-style for Remnants of the Precursors.    Caveat : This is based on the Alpha so things could change from the final release version or even the Beta version.

There are many race choices to select, and each one gives an interesting flavor to the game.    I decided to go with Bulrathi since most of my games involve a lot of invasion of enemy planets.

Bulrathi

I have gotten comfortable enough with the game to do Normal difficulty; before I was using various Easy flavors.   The difficulty has an effect on production within the game.

  • Easiest: -50%
  • Easier: -25%
  • Easy: -10%
  • Normal: No change
  • Hard: +10%
  • Harder: +40%
  • Hardest: +100%

Which world size to select ?

  • Tiny 25
  • Small 50
  • Average 100
  • Large 250
  • Huge 500
  • Massive 1,000
  • Insane 10,000
  • Ludicrous 100,000
  • Maximum (This is based on the maximum memory available on the PC and to the Java middleware software.   Mine shows 810,720)

The larger sizes sound really cool.   They may end up being fantastic at a later development point, but today I find them wanting.    Tiny can result in a REALLY fast game.   I decide to go for a Huge map since I do want to finish in a reasonable time, but I still like big maps.

There are different shapes for the galaxy to come in, but Star Field is the classic and the only one I’ve tried.   I picked 3 random opponents – for the moment, you can’t force it to pick any opponent.

The Galaxy options screen

And then, I begin the game.    Now normally you start and see what you get, and restart the game but since I’m documenting I’m going to go with whatever random chance gives me.

The Bulrathi Start screen

Each race has a start screen like this which will tell you more about that race, and their reasoning and temperament and philosophy.

What’s also fun is the year shown – it’s different for each race.    The Bulrathi year has a bug in that it’s either year 14215 and the text is wrong, or it’s year 142/143 and the .15 refers to a fraction of the year.

And my starting position

What I get looks pretty good.   4 Orange, 2 Red, and one Blue star in reserve tank range.   Pretty sure the ones in normal range will be hospitable, and hopefully the others too.

The range indicator (Not an empire territory indicator!) consists of the blue area telling me what is in normal range for my empire.    The blue circle around it all tells me what’s in range for reserve tanks.    There is a nebula to the galactic west.

Year 14215

Send scouts off to the red stars and the colony ship to the orange.    I’m leaving the planetary bars alone for the moment, ie, no research immediately.

Year 14218

The Orange star is Terran as expected and we colonize it.    Red star, unfortunately, is Inferno and will not be colonized anytime soon.   I need to research such that colonization is possible.

My first colony

I send transports off from Ursa to Durzol with 8 million colonists.

The Transports screen

The funny thing to me is how confusing the transports screen was in Moo1.   I read the manual, tried to do it on screen, and could not get it to work no matter what I did.   I went as far as looking up SimTex’s phone number and calling in and asking.

Whoever answered the phone – it was probably Steve Barcia the designer – was rather suspicious and told me to look in my manual.    When I said it wasn’t clear he said “Yeah, right”.   But he did get me going in the right direction somehow.   I later noted in the first patch that transport language was improved, called out as a patch modification,  and I wondered….

Year 14220

Nearby Red start is Irradiated.   Blast it.   Can’t colonize that.

Year 14224

Two stars are scouted in reserve range, and these are better.   Shura is a 75 pop Jungle planet, while Lorzub is a 60 pop Steppe with the Ultra-Poor penalty.    Now I have two targets for colony ships when my industry is ready.

Year 14231

Two more systems scouted.   One with a Desert planet (Colonizable) and one with no planets.   At this point the scouts are done until something changes.

Time to build factories and Colonizers

And at this point it’s time to design ships.

Ship Design

The game gives you several prebuilt designs in case of early war, but the way I have set the game up I do not expect that.   So I scrap the three warships and add a colony ship with reserve tanks so I can colonize the nearby worlds.

Year 14236

Ursa is almost at full population and maximum factories.   So I begin to build the new Colony Reserve ship.

Year 14239

All Ursa production is going towards the Colony Reserve, 8 years to go.   Durzol is continuing to build up population and factories.

And completed on time.

Year 14253

Shura is colonized.   4 years until a new Colony Reserve is completed.   Now there are new systems in range; I move one scout to explore them.   I also move 8 transports to Shura from Durzol.

Year 14257

Colony Reserve is completed and on its way to Lorzub.    At this point, I have no new destinations for colony ships.   I decide to build one additional one as I wait for scouts to hopefully find me more.

Year 14260

Durzol completes all factories possible and starts spending on cloning enough people to fill the planet.   System Gul is explored and is Inferno.

Year 14263

Research begins as Durzol fills up.

The Bulrathi scientist is a panda 🙂 .

We select the following to research :

  • ECM Jammer 1
  • Industrial Tech 9
  • Class II Shields
  • Improved Eco Restoration
  • Hydrogen Fuel Cells
  • Hyper – V Rockets.

I also tweak research priorities.   No other races have been found, so Shields and Weapons are set at a low priority versus the other four branches.    You need them for Factory Controls, Factory Costs, Colonization, and Propulsion ranges.

The Research screen, with unequal priorities

Year 14263

Lorzub is colonized, bringing one more system into “range”.

Year 14264

Dead world is discovered.   I sure hope this last world is colonizable.

Year 14267

Colony Reserve ship completed.    Since I can’t colonize anything yet, I change the world to have one tick on ship construction (410 years to complete, hahah), and the remainder into research.   Looks like ECM will be done soon.

Year 14270

ECM researched.   I pick the super useful tech Robotic Controls III as the next computer research project.

Year 14274

Colony ship on the way to a Terran world, which should also bring a big group of systems into range.   Ursa switches back to constructing Colony Reserves.

Year 14284

Colony established on Bat, and additional colony ship on the way there.   We’re beginning to switch to the “Mass Colonize” portion of the game.

Year 14286

Hydrogen Fuel Cells researched.   This brings two new worlds into range.   An additional scout ship is set for construction next turn to explore one of them.

Year 14297

A second world is now filled with factories and population, and adds to research.    Only one world in range remains to be explored.

Year 14310

Improved Eco Restoration is discovered permitting increased productivity on all worlds – less resources need to clean up pollution.

Year 14314

A ship is on its way to the two final colonizable worlds in range, and Ursa will build one extra colony ship.

The Empire Expands

And that’s the first few hours of the game.

Remnants of the Precursors

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I have been monitoring a curious game development – a MoO clone which is “communitized” through a Reddit subreddit.    It’s been under development for a year plus, and I’ve read the various Dev Diary posts put out and waited for the guy (a lone wolf developer, apparently a Java expert) and a couple of weeks ago the developer made the Alpha available.    The word “Alpha” scared me quite a bit but I went ahead and downloaded it.

The Galaxy Screen for ROTP

THIS IS THE GAME !    This is Master of Orion 1, updated graphically but not design wise, and it works FANTASTIC !

All the best design elements are in here and retained.   Research tree is semi randomized, with a few guaranteed selections.    Each planet is managed abstractly, via INDustry ie factories, ECOlogical effects, DEFensive shields and missile bases, TECHnology research, and of course ship building.    You have six design slots for ships, not unlimited, introducing the conundrum of keeping your existing fleet or scrapping some for a new design.   Tech levels and miniaturization are there, so by late game you might be able to squeeze huge old weapons into tiny ships for fun combat possibilities.   Each race is good at something and they all make a big difference to one aspect of the game; although, the production and research advantaged races still tend to be best.

Room for more ship types in my fleet

Now, suppose the developer gives up and never updates this FANTASTIC project again.    You will still have quite a fun game to run through on your PC.   No hooks into Steam, other remote servers, or any of that.   It really is 1993 all over again in the best sense of the word, along with 2020 in terms of graphics and supported hardware/middleware.    The only thing I had a lot of trouble with was setting a shortcut to the game; I couldn’t seem to get one to link to a JAR file stored in a local folder.   I eventually settled on having a desktop link, the only one I’ll permit on my machine.

Things I wish I had bothered to read/remember before starting the game :

  1. Manual Page 35 –
    To win in Master of Orion, the High Council must declare you to be
    High Master of the Galaxy by a 2/3rds majority vote. The High Council
    is formed once more than half the galaxy has been colonized, and each
    race has 1 vote for ever 100 units of population it controls. You can
    win by conquering 2/3rds of the population yourself. However, more
    diplomatic players can also win by having enough allies to provide the
    2/3rds majority vote needed.
    
    
  2. Because of the victory conditions, ie settle 50% of the map, the late game becomes a real slog if you set it up like I usually like to – large maps with few other empires.   Do you think it’s impossible to become bored with a game like this ?   I did.    Then I played War Worlds, and I found myself bored.   The same thing can happen here, but this is also curable with development effort.    AI optimization is not finished but it’s on the developer’s roadmap.
  3. There is no “Empire border” in Master of Orion.    ROTP will display a range indicator as to where your ships can reach, but this is not meant to be a border.   The indicator disappears once you research Thorium Cells (meaning your ships have unlimited range).
  4. F2 and F3 are the legacy keys to move from one planet to another.    Given this, you can play 90% of the game with a keyboard if you want.   I’m a keyboard fan, but the mouse support remains strong too.

This is an extremely large galaxy. Two AI empires along the border and my Bulrathi in middle.

I am trying to decide if I want to do the old school playthrough thing again with this – write out a series of blog posts on how the game went.    Nowadays all the Damn Kids will do video playthroughs, but I seem to be a blogger.   For Life.

In any event, head to the /r/rotp subbreddit and get involved.    Or just get the current alpha by following this link.