The game continues to be about the rapid frontier grab, as well as solidifying borders next to other empires.
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.
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.
The Meklar retreat and we own the space over Urul.
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.
The Meklars continue to fight back.
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.
We take Urul !
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.
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 !
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The western expansion is getting close to the edge of the galaxy but isn’t quite there yet.
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.
Now this is an interesting trade.
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.
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 ?
The bomber design works. One set of bombs and the missile base was destroyed.
Cancer is taken away from the Meklar.
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.
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.
Galactic council about to meet ! I think it will be turn 350 – 5 years from now.
I was correct.
I certainly learned a lot from writing that, and darned if it wasn’t a ton of fun !