Looks like I’m done with this playthrough.
First, the tech tree is IMMENSE, and it’s not at all clear when to start building a fleet and attack the enemies. What instead happened is, the Servants came after me. We blew them out of orbit but it’s obvious, if I’m playing the super-easy mode, that I should be the one picking on them moreso than the opposite. Combine this with the new knowledge of how much hate you can generate on cinematic before the “floor” mechanic puts you over, and I clearly didn’t think through my expansion plan well enough. I should be building ships and marines to menace them as soon as possible.
The various celestial bodies end up very empty owing to the game setup I’m choosing, so I think the best strategy is to pick a good number of “the best” sites on the Moon, Mars, and Mercury; and grab the entire surface of Ceres. Asteroids are probably non starters.
The hate mechanic makes the most important thing managing hate with regard to The Servants. It’s a binary thing – it’s either on at 5 pips, or off at 4. So it’s not clear the best level to leave it alone at; I’ve never seen it at one pip, but do you want to leave it at 2,3,or 4?
Then there’s base building. After consulting the wiki and building a spreadsheet, I discover very important clues about how I should actually be doing it. Both base cores, and mining complexes, count towards Mission Control, and the amount of power you can generate and various items to add to your bases should all be considered. The three tiers are clearly shown on the wiki, and I think I should build most of this stuff and tie it all together; combine smart base building with a few platforms.
Bases are tricky. You probably want one core, and one mining complex. How much defense do I need ? Are the science modules worth the hassle ? What size should I start considering farms, which reduce the resources you need to keep the crew alive ? I need to figure out the answers to these questions next.
And, from the wiki – There is a soft limit on the number of mining bases you can have. Starting at 13 mines on different celestial bodies, extra MC is charged for each new one. As far as the mining limit is concerned, every base on e.g., Mars counts as one base only. This makes asteroid mining more expensive in terms of MC than mining on larger objects.
Another consideration is, how much fun am I having ? I don’t much like the empty Earth not controlled by any faction, and let’s face it, the Shadow President game is most of the fun. As I tried to figure out a solution for this I realized people create mods, and I found one that will let me increase my Control Points to a really high number. So I’ll use that and get a better feeling for wars, Great Nations, and struggling against the opponents. I’m not feeling good about a typical game with all those opponents yet.
Wars are interesting. The Servants build a complex web of alliances to make it harder for me to just war with them and take their states. But sometimes that’s the best thing to do, and combine that with the fun mechanic of going to war with two nations you control simply to unify them, and there’s a lot to learn and digest here.
It’s super amusing that this game, and Dwarf Fortress, both “came out” at about the same time. I’m sensing the same fun mechanic here, in that losing is half the fun. Although what I’ve done a dozen times is quit and restart, the idea is the same, and it’s awesome fun each time. But no, I’m not going to buy Dwarf Fortress quite yet.