Game 1 Over: Some observations

Astra Exodus is a single player turn based Sci-fi 4X strategy game inspired by the classics, with a multiple choice narrative driven epic campaign, top down real time tactical battles and an extensive semi-randomized research grid.
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Baron Wombat
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Game 1 Over: Some observations

Post by Baron Wombat » Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:56 pm

I just finished my first sandbox game, Version 1.00.06, and achieved a Conquest Victory on Turn 362. Played Terran, average size galaxy, with opponents Kala, Guardians of the Seed, and Okli-To Consortium. Basically I took the default parameters on everything. I chose the attributes Ancient, Peculiar, Creative, Collectivist (-2) which allowed me to select another +2 characteristic, Predator. I was very surprised I won, since I looked upon this first game as experimental, just to get a feel for how things work. For example, my “strategy” for technology research was to simply pick the brightest and shiniest object available. Around Turn 250 I realized I had made some really bad choices. Anyway, what follows are my observations and reactions.

Things They Don’t Tell You:

1. Ships and ship designs have no shields—to get shields you have to research them. I wasn’t paying attention, so I didn’t notice until around Turn 250.
2. It is possible to move population from world to world. You can use the “Board” button to load them onto freighters just like you would Infantry. If no fleet is present a little icon pops up to the right of the star and you can select the destination just like a regular fleet. If there is already a fleet present the population becomes part of the fleet, and this can get very confusing sometimes.
3. Scrapping planetary installations gets you $20 each.

Strategy and Tactics—very subjective. Everyone will have their own opinion.

1. I didn’t meet any other factions until about Turn 70, give or take.
2. Okli-To Consortium declared war on me around Turn 160. My only provocation was to refuse to trade star maps.
3. Fleets containing large numbers of different types of ships are not economical. At one point I had a fleet of 6 (obsolete) Titans, 7 Battleships, 10 Cruisers, 11 Destroyers, and 12 Frigates. Total might = 10800. Upkeep = $777. I was going broke. If I had a fleet of 6 upgraded Titans, might 8000, the upkeep would have been $354. I kept noticing that I had a fleet of 30 or 40 ships, and all the other factions only had 5 or 6 ships, but they were stronger than me. All they ever built was very large Titans.
4. I found it impossible to have a large fleet engagement, the reason being it takes too long to get anywhere. They see you coming with one or two turns warning, and if they don’t want to fight, they leave. The most ships I ever faced was a couple of frigates or orbital forts. I chased the Okli-To fleet all over creation and never caught him. Ditto with the seed people. On the other hand, that left all their worlds unguarded so I took them. For me, conquest turned out to be blasting the orbital forts and taking over unguarded worlds, not wiping out fleets. (Well, except for the Okli-To. I nuked 3 or 4 of his worlds, but only because I had forgotten to load infantry onto my fleet. But, whatever).
5. Speaking of which, the diplomatic consequences of bombarding a world were not that bad. The other factions all had a fit, but they got over it.
6. I didn’t think researching galactic events, plague and whatnot, was worth it. They seem to last 8 or 10 turns and the one time I did the research it took 5 turns of spending all my resources on research and then it went away anyway 3 turns later. Just grit your teeth and ride it out.
7. As one of the other commenters on this board mentioned, there are never enough resources. Both minerals and money are almost always in the hole. I ended up “binging:” I would set the entire population to mining for 3-4 turns, then building for 3-4 turns and then you were out of money so everyone had to be shifted to trading and paying taxes. Throughout this whole cycle I kept getting messages that I didn’t have enough freighters or the people on Draco IV were starving. I was never able to get the economy “humming” and it was very frustrating. I would like to see this tweaked in an update. (On the other hand, maybe I just wasn’t smart enough to efficiently allocate my resources).
8. Colonizing small worlds is not economical. I colonized several small worlds because of their minerals, but when 3 or 4 is the max population you’ll never get enough minerals out to make it worthwhile.
9. Heroes: Mixed bag. Spies weren’t worth it in my opinion. They always failed their missions. Plus, an unassigned spy will give you a readout on enemy ships and colonies, which I found more valuable than sending them on a mission. On the other hand I had a great governor that really helped with production, and an admiral that could cut the travel time between stars by one or two turns. Both worth the cost.
10. Ground combat: Never got the hang of it. I tried, but finally gave up and just used autoresolve for that.
11. Tech: Lots of fun playing around with this. Based on my mistakes I think anything that gets you more people and more food will help. As far as ships and weapons—shields plus large generators to power a Titan. Basic armor and hulls seemed sufficient. A few basic weapons, nothing fancy. Production technology seemed helpful, mining technology did not. Technology to lower corruption didn’t seem to do much. Getting the stock exchange tech finally helped the money crisis. I put a lot of research into increasing mineral production but it didn’t seem to help (worlds were too small I think).
12. Genetic Traits: Another fun area. I really like Ancients—you get the whole map which really helps with knowing the primo worlds to colonize first instead of blundering around in the dark. Peculiarities were all quite valuable so it’s nice to have one on your homeworld. The traits that give you combat bonuses might be over-rated; it’s cool to be a “predator” but being a farmer might have a bigger payoff.
Bottom Line: I like this game and intend to begin a new one tomorrow, trying out things I learned from my mistakes.

AtomicKaiser
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Re: Game 1 Over: Some observations

Post by AtomicKaiser » Thu Apr 23, 2020 12:52 pm

Baron Wombat wrote:
Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:56 pm
I just finished my first sandbox game, Version 1.00.06, and achieved a Conquest Victory on Turn 362. Played Terran, average size galaxy, with opponents Kala, Guardians of the Seed, and Okli-To Consortium. Basically I took the default parameters on everything. I chose the attributes Ancient, Peculiar, Creative, Collectivist (-2) which allowed me to select another +2 characteristic, Predator. I was very surprised I won, since I looked upon this first game as experimental, just to get a feel for how things work. For example, my “strategy” for technology research was to simply pick the brightest and shiniest object available. Around Turn 250 I realized I had made some really bad choices. Anyway, what follows are my observations and reactions.

Things They Don’t Tell You:

1. Ships and ship designs have no shields—to get shields you have to research them. I wasn’t paying attention, so I didn’t notice until around Turn 250.
2. It is possible to move population from world to world. You can use the “Board” button to load them onto freighters just like you would Infantry. If no fleet is present a little icon pops up to the right of the star and you can select the destination just like a regular fleet. If there is already a fleet present the population becomes part of the fleet, and this can get very confusing sometimes.
3. Scrapping planetary installations gets you $20 each.

Strategy and Tactics—very subjective. Everyone will have their own opinion.

1. I didn’t meet any other factions until about Turn 70, give or take.
2. Okli-To Consortium declared war on me around Turn 160. My only provocation was to refuse to trade star maps.
3. Fleets containing large numbers of different types of ships are not economical. At one point I had a fleet of 6 (obsolete) Titans, 7 Battleships, 10 Cruisers, 11 Destroyers, and 12 Frigates. Total might = 10800. Upkeep = $777. I was going broke. If I had a fleet of 6 upgraded Titans, might 8000, the upkeep would have been $354. I kept noticing that I had a fleet of 30 or 40 ships, and all the other factions only had 5 or 6 ships, but they were stronger than me. All they ever built was very large Titans.
4. I found it impossible to have a large fleet engagement, the reason being it takes too long to get anywhere. They see you coming with one or two turns warning, and if they don’t want to fight, they leave. The most ships I ever faced was a couple of frigates or orbital forts. I chased the Okli-To fleet all over creation and never caught him. Ditto with the seed people. On the other hand, that left all their worlds unguarded so I took them. For me, conquest turned out to be blasting the orbital forts and taking over unguarded worlds, not wiping out fleets. (Well, except for the Okli-To. I nuked 3 or 4 of his worlds, but only because I had forgotten to load infantry onto my fleet. But, whatever).
5. Speaking of which, the diplomatic consequences of bombarding a world were not that bad. The other factions all had a fit, but they got over it.
6. I didn’t think researching galactic events, plague and whatnot, was worth it. They seem to last 8 or 10 turns and the one time I did the research it took 5 turns of spending all my resources on research and then it went away anyway 3 turns later. Just grit your teeth and ride it out.
7. As one of the other commenters on this board mentioned, there are never enough resources. Both minerals and money are almost always in the hole. I ended up “binging:” I would set the entire population to mining for 3-4 turns, then building for 3-4 turns and then you were out of money so everyone had to be shifted to trading and paying taxes. Throughout this whole cycle I kept getting messages that I didn’t have enough freighters or the people on Draco IV were starving. I was never able to get the economy “humming” and it was very frustrating. I would like to see this tweaked in an update. (On the other hand, maybe I just wasn’t smart enough to efficiently allocate my resources).
8. Colonizing small worlds is not economical. I colonized several small worlds because of their minerals, but when 3 or 4 is the max population you’ll never get enough minerals out to make it worthwhile.
9. Heroes: Mixed bag. Spies weren’t worth it in my opinion. They always failed their missions. Plus, an unassigned spy will give you a readout on enemy ships and colonies, which I found more valuable than sending them on a mission. On the other hand I had a great governor that really helped with production, and an admiral that could cut the travel time between stars by one or two turns. Both worth the cost.
10. Ground combat: Never got the hang of it. I tried, but finally gave up and just used autoresolve for that.
11. Tech: Lots of fun playing around with this. Based on my mistakes I think anything that gets you more people and more food will help. As far as ships and weapons—shields plus large generators to power a Titan. Basic armor and hulls seemed sufficient. A few basic weapons, nothing fancy. Production technology seemed helpful, mining technology did not. Technology to lower corruption didn’t seem to do much. Getting the stock exchange tech finally helped the money crisis. I put a lot of research into increasing mineral production but it didn’t seem to help (worlds were too small I think).
12. Genetic Traits: Another fun area. I really like Ancients—you get the whole map which really helps with knowing the primo worlds to colonize first instead of blundering around in the dark. Peculiarities were all quite valuable so it’s nice to have one on your homeworld. The traits that give you combat bonuses might be over-rated; it’s cool to be a “predator” but being a farmer might have a bigger payoff.
Bottom Line: I like this game and intend to begin a new one tomorrow, trying out things I learned from my mistakes.
Hey Baron. It seems like a pretty good first run! I just wanted to comment that based on your feedback and others, we will rebalance a bit the size and mineral worth of non terran planets, to make them more attractive to colonize and to make it easier to get a humming economy mineral wise. The AI will also, in the upcoming massive update, consider more heavily what is optimal(vs it's default preferences); when building ships. This will mean it will make more smaller ships on the early game. However it'll still avoid a fight if it thinks it cannot win. I suggest increasing the difficulty, if you want bigger fleet battles, as the AI will be more prepared then. I'll be also increasing the duration and amount of the consequences when bombarding planets, as I agree they are too bad enough now. Regarding spies, they get better and better the more you use them, even when they fail their mission. If you manage to level up their relevant skills, they can get a maximum of 50% chance on their missions. Just make sure you use them for the mission they are actually good for.
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Teppic
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Re: Game 1 Over: Some observations

Post by Teppic » Sat May 09, 2020 8:53 am

Baron Wombat wrote:
Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:56 pm
I just finished my first sandbox game, Version 1.00.06

1. I didn’t meet any other factions until about Turn 70, give or take.
Round 70. That is very late imo, for a regular sandbox. I would expect round 20-30 to be regular to meet 1 faction.
Baron Wombat wrote:
Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:56 pm
1. Ships and ship designs have no shields—to get shields you have to research them. I wasn’t paying attention, so I didn’t notice until around Turn 250.
Thats a point. The UI ship designer could be changed for the the designation as such:
descr ship def..png
descr ship def..png (323.77 KiB) Viewed 717 times
Maybe discussion on that topic in here?
viewtopic.php?f=558&t=95121

Teppic
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Re: Game 1 Over: Some observations

Post by Teppic » Sat May 09, 2020 10:16 am

Baron Wombat wrote:
Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:56 pm
I didn’t think researching galactic events, plague and whatnot, was worth it.
They seem to last 8 or 10 turns and the one time I did the research it took 5 turns of spending all my resources on research and then it went away anyway 3 turns later.
Just grit your teeth and ride it out.
Yes and no. I think it depends on the GE. In the beginning of the game it is unwise to spend so many ResearchPoints and Rounds to do it.
New players esp. the casual players may be jumping at that information/event and think: "Oh the game tells me something new and I have to resolve that, now."
So to speak more responding and not thinking over it. One way of resolving that could be the advisors.
In AE we have also advisors, they look different from each other but are not really vivid. Giving them an opportunity here to play a role could benefit the game.

I am looking at a Best practise from the 90thies. I think of civ2 and 3 they had very good approach on that problem as it implemented advisors also played by real actors.
They had them comment on players action from their viewpoint:
The player had a city and was asking himself what to build there. He could turn to the 5 different advisors and get their opinion. The military advisor would recommend a unit or city walls whereas the economic advisor was opposed to the unit production and wanted to have a market build, the research advisor a university, the happyness advisor was always a nice view (Elvis Presley) and acting.
advisor.png
advisor.png (76.61 KiB) Viewed 712 times
You pointed at another thing with the galactic events - how severe are these events really?
Imo A very good event is the Hyperspace Flux/Anchor which prohibits space travels for some turns. There you have full information access what it is doing, how it affects the players actions and at what cost you can shield yourself against it. It could be a game breaker, too and prone for savescummers, so maybe introduce a one turn flux before bringing it into full effect 5 or more so turns later and also an advisor estimation an how often it might return and how long it may last. (Comparable with the game Endless Legend/Amplitude and its winter feature).

Well normally AE gives you not the right amount of informations, yet. Does it matter if there is a mindprobe (esp. when I don´t have heroes)?
Why should I spend Research points on the mind probe event anyway. Ok, it seems to halt the progress of my heroes, that´s a bummer, but as Baron Wombat pointed out:
"Grit your teeth and ride it out." In the sandbox game v 1.00.06, imo it´s only a RP-trap - so not helping the gameplay-fun, really, on the other hand a good story telling addition to flesh out the universe.
There are events you really might consider to shield yourself against later in the game as they may come back, but right now lacking the information/ evaluation on how expensive/ how many ressources your faction loses because you are not shielded against it, f.exe. the Pan-galactic metall-eating microbes or corruption/politician event. Is it too early to research an antivirus now? An estimation by an advisor may help the player. The estimation could be false or really good (esp. when having the dump faction perk).

I would suggest to bring 3-4 galactic events (see game setup option) before turn 100 with a span of duration under 3 turns. Now players know which events will trigger again in this game and which section of their gameplay it might weaken them later in the game. After the ending of the event + 2-4 turns advisors ( or earlier when f.exe. the intelligent perk was choosen) come around with a solution. Only then players have the possiblity to shield themselves against the event recurring later in the game. So players will not run into having spend research points initially on an event which ended before their research has ended.

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