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Posted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 2:24 pm
by ElegantCaveman
Spring 2108 (Turns 15, 16, 17)

- March -

James... James... James...

What am I going to do with you, James? I just can't figure out where your head is at.


He just demanded tribute, but now he's all friendly and offers Open Borders? I don't get it. He was probably dropped on his head as a child, or something. Repeatedly.

I mean, my guys are closer to his borders than his guys are to mine, and Open Borders works both ways. So I guess now that I gave him my lunch money he thinks we're BFFs or something? I really don't get this guy.

No matter. Fine, Open Borders it is.

Mighty Vanderbilt has grown and we have a new Worker, so that Colonizer we were slowly building will be ready in 4 turns (if we hadn't gained a new Worker, there would have been 11 turns left, so that's almost a third the time!). I considered building an Automated Factory (boosts Production) instead, but I decided I wanted a new city sooner than later, to give it time to grow.

Yue Fei has finished building its Refining Array, so we'll build an Automated Factory here; it will be ready in 7 turns, at the present rate. Poor Yue Fei needs a Production boost.

Our Troopers are still exploring, and they find...



Take that, James! I'm stealing some alien ruins from right under your nose.

I realize I haven't mentioned the movement grid yet (sorry), so I'll do that now.

Very simple: the green hexes are wherever you can move and still have an action left (whether it be one final hex of movement or attacking someone/something) and the yellow periphery is the full maximum of your movement; if you move to the yellow, that unit can't do anything else. This is a useful visual aid.

In the ruins, we find ourselves a second Xenomorph Drone. Not great, but not bad. Better than stupid Food, at least.

- April -

We've finished researching Synthetic Fertilizers (which give us a Food-boosting building option), so it's time to decide what we'll research next:


We'll go with Assault Tactics for now (which I mentioned last time; the Device which gives units a +25% power bonus when attacking), but I've got my eye on Stock Exchange (the Σ next to the pop-up) for the near future. We'll pass through Xenology, which is also an excellent tech.

I'll speak a bit more about both of these as we get closer to them, but I'll say this right now: in every game I've played to date, Stock Exchange has been very important. It's quite easy to run out of money in this game if you're not careful.

- May -

Spring ends with a fair bit of exploration done.


By now, I have a pretty decent idea of what's between me and James.

A couple of hives, the Garden of Eden in the east, and the Observatory in the west. Our Troopers have also found some more alien ruins which they'll be exploring soon.

You can see some Gold Veins in the hills directly east of Haig, the Imperium's capital. A rather nice special resource which boost a nearby city's Credit output.

I do wish I could grab that spot, but it seems unlikely, since it's so close to James. That bastard.

Though I guess we can take his gold once we've killed him.

Re: [AAR] Solar Destiny (Turn 14)

Posted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 7:14 pm
by Delta66
Nice Action Replay, good job.

New Friend! (again)

Posted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:17 am
by ElegantCaveman
Summer 2108 (Turns 18, 19, 20)

- June -

Wow! James has nothing to say to us this month? I'm kind of impressed, actually.

Our Troopers investigate the western ruins we had discovered last month and gain Xenomorph Drones. That makes for three of them by now.

- July -

Yue Fei's population has grown, so now we have a Farmer, and we're no longer losing food every turn. The Former has also finished building the road, so now our two cities are connected!

Vanderbilt finishes building the Colonizer, so we send it south... I want to go build a base near the Observatory we discovered in the south-west from Vanderbilt.


Our Troopers have moved north, exploring west of the Fungus fields. Here we discover more ancient ruins, and a Mexallon Field, which is a nice resource that boosts minerals.

In the south west, we've sent our new Xenomorph Drones exploring, and they've uncovered another Gold Vein.

- August -

The end of summer brings with it an interesting surprise!


Here's Doctor Alpheus Schreiber, head of Togra University. Let's home he's a bit less of a d*** than James.

I run through the same diplomatic as I did when I met James: Praise, Non-Aggression Pact, Trade Pact, Research Pact, Share Maps.

He accepts everything, and by the time I'm done talking to him, his disposition went from Cooperative to Friendly to Generous! Awesome. Looks like we'll be getting along just fine.

Here's his bit of the map:


Interesting position to be in... rather boxed in, which makes it hard to expand easily, but easy to defend. And considering the AI doesn't expand aggressively (contrary to pretty much every other 4x game ever), I guess this'll work out nicely for him.

He also has a Noxium Field next to his city, which gives a huge boost to Minerals (biggest of all the special resources I've seen up to now).

He has a nearby Observatory which would work nicely with Togra's already-considerable Research bonus, but it's surrounded by fungus, so he'd have to deal with that if he expanded there.

Our Troopers in the north-west, near the Mexallon Field, explore the ruins and find some Food. Yay. :roll:

Democratic People's Republic of Solar Dynasty

Posted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 6:09 am
by ElegantCaveman
Note: I don't like how doing seasonal updates breaks up the year, so I'll be doing 4 months in this update. 2109 will be quarterly reports as well, but they will start in January instead of March.

End of 2108 (Turns 21, 22, 23, 24)

- September -

Of course. I'm not even surprised anymore.


Oh James...

You don't want to do this. If you fight me, you will lose. But I really don't want to waste resources on war right now. Please don't be stupid.

What I find odd about this is that his status is still "Cooperative", which is fairly positive. So I'm not sure why he's breaking our Non-Aggression Pact. Maybe he won't declare war... I don't know... but then why's he breaking the pact?

I guess we'll see.

- October -

We've finished research on Assault Tactics, so it's time to pick what we'll research next.


Xenology is quite nice. I'm not sure how alien aggression works exactly, but less of it is always a good thing.

An "Advancement" (the book icons) are a kind of tech that automatically comes into effect as soon as you research it; you don't have to build any buildings or anything.

So once we've finished researching this, aliens will presumably leave us a bit more alone than they already do. Or, more to the point, will continue leaving us alone, because they're already leaving us alone... but you get the point.

Since I'm still in an expansion/exploration phase in general, I appreciate anything that keeps me from wasting resources on unnecessary fighting.


Our Xenomorph Drones scouting near Togra's land have discovered some alien ruins, but unfortunately, there's a Devourer nearby. He should move away, so that's fine.

Mmmm, alien ruins. Full of goodies. I hope it's not Food.

There is also a Mexallon Field nearby, but I doubt we'll get to settle this corner of land any time soon, if ever.

- November -

Stupid Devourer hasn't moved, so no ruin-goodies for us yet.

In the meantime, new city!!


Welcome to Kim Il Sung. (no, I didn't choose the name; yes, you can change all city and unit names)

Even though James can't attack me yet (one can't delcare war for 5 turns after a Non-Aggression Pact has been terminated) and I'm not too worried about the nearby xenos, I'm still moving my Drones to the city and leaving those Troopers there for now.

I'm not expecting trouble, but I'd rather not take chances, so we'll station both in the city for now.

I should probably take a moment here and talk to you a bit about base placement. I recognize that this is a big update, but this is an important topic, so I hope you'll bear with me.

I actually spent quite a bit of time trying to decide where to put this third city; I had quite a few options.

The two main other ones were near the mountains just south-east of my capital, for a Minerals-focused city (mountains are the best "normal" territory for Minerals) and in the hills next to the Garden of Eden south of the mountains, east of the Observatory.

This second spot would have given some nice Minerals (from the hills) as well as a slight Morale bonus and lots of Food from the Garden of Eden.

I chose the Observatory instead because, right now, a bonus to Research is more useful than all those other things, and I can get some nice Minerals from the hills around here. I'll probably plant a forest in the plains west of the city, to lower Pollution; a farm there would give me a considerable amount of Food, but that's not necessary, and I already have a Food-focused city (Yue Fei in the north, next to the Hot Springs). Hills will be mines, though I won't cut down the existing forests unless I really need more minerals, which is unlikely as I'll be focusing this city's population into Scientists as much as possible.

When choosing a location to build a city, consider nearby special resources before everything else. Regular terrain features don't matter nearly as much as the special bonuses from special resources.


Speaking of cities, I realize I haven't spoken much about resources for a while.

We just finished building an Automated Factory in Vanderbilt, so let's take a break and talk about that right now.

You may have noticed that I've been running at a deficit for some time now (in the top-left of the screen).

The thing with Food and Minerals is that as long as you don't run out, it really doesn't matter if you're using them up. It's an all-or-nothing kind of deal. Sure, it's nice to stockpile while you can, but that stockpile doesn't actually help you directly beyond allowing you to run at a deficit for longer later.

Production, Research and Credits are different insofar as that they're not directly "harvested" from territories; Production and Research are affected by jobs (Workers and Scientists) and Credits are affected by taxes and population.

The reason why Automated Factories are so important early on is that cities don't actually produce any Production by default, and with a low population, being forced to focus on Workers keeps you from assigning your populace to other jobs.

Automated Factory gives a bonus to Worker efficiency, so the more Workers you have, the more efficient it is. But beyond this, it also gives you 2 base Production without actually needing any workers, so you can give your populace other jobs while still being able to build stuff without it taking forever.

Production also eats up Minerals, basically converting them. As your empire grows, you want to produce as much as possible, of course, so Minerals are constantly getting used up pretty fast.

The reason why I'm always complaining about Food in ruins is that since it's such a plentiful resource, it's not something you ever really run out of; I've run out of Minerals quite a few time, and it's something I need to keep an eye on, but running out of Food has never been an issue.

Right now, I'm also losing credits, so we'll bump that up a bit by switching to Wealth in our capital.

- December -

The Devourer has finally moved, so we get to raid the ruins!


Oh, now that's awesome! We had 6 turns left before finishing our research, but now it'll be done next month!

Within Spitting Distance

Posted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 6:31 am
by ElegantCaveman
First Quarter, 2109 (Turns 25, 26, 27)

- January -

Our third year on Pandora begins!

So our research into Xenology is done, and something interesting happens...


I kind of wish the timing on this was different.

As you can see on the right, there's a notification warning about a Xenomorph Spitter near Kim Il Sung.

There are too many variables at play here I'm simply not aware of to properly explain the situation, I'm afraid. When we get warnings like this, does it mean they're aggressive and are about to attack? Or is it simply passing through (with no aggressive intention) and we're simply being informed?

To compound the confusion, how will Xenology affect this situation? Xenology lowers alien aggression by 25%, but the exact mechanics of this are... well, unknown to me.

If I leave the Spitter alone, will he attack me, or not? If he doesn't, is it because I just finished researching Xenology, or he never planned to in the first place?

Normally, I would simply kill him; good target-practice for the Trooper or Drone stationed in Kim Il Sung. But I'm curious to see what will happen, so I'll do nothing for now.

As I've mentioned before, Spitters are weak, but they have a special ability that makes it so you can't fight back when they attack. So if he does decide to attack, I'll get hurt, but he won't.

We'll see what happens.


Next, we'll research Reinforced Steel Plates. This will allow us to give armor to our units, making them stronger. I've also got my eye on Infernal Pre-Igniter after that, which will basically allow us to equip Troopers with flame-throwers.

These are terrible against anything but biological units, but they're very good against biological units (all alien types are biological).

I'm getting tired of all these aliens running around in my area and I'm feeling a bit weak, so I think it's time I start gearing up. I guess you could say that I've had it with these m**********g aliens on these m**********g plains. ;)

(okay, so these specific aliens are technically in the hills, but... leave me alone, this is my AAR, I can make bad puns if I want to! :( )

Yue Fei in the north finishes building its Cultivation Facility, which gives us a Food bonus. I switch my Worker to a Farmer, so now we're not losing resources every turn: everything is going up!

I've got nothing to build here right now, so I'll switch to Wealth and get a bit of Credits.

Back in Vanderbilt, I start training some Troopers, since it's presently undefended.

- February -

Pretty quiet month, but that's actually interesting news in itself: the Spitters didn't attack, and moved on with their lives.

I'm not sure if they would have attacked me if I hadn't finished researching Xenology last month... I guess we'll never know.

I remember getting a similar warning in another game, though, with a Galeth. And the next turn, it didn't attack.

So I think that when you get the "An alien is close" warning, it just means that they're... well... close. Not necessarily that they'll attack.

Though of course, better safe than sorry. So if you can kill them without too much trouble, might as well.

- March -



I've had a Drone exploring for a few turns, and I've finally uncovered the map north-east of Vanderbilt.

Perhaps you'll recall that, early on, I guessed there would be an alien Hive there? Looks like I was wrong; there's an Observatory! (and some nearby ruins).

I kind of wish I had explored there earlier, that's a really nice spot for a city. Hills for Minerals, ocean for food, and the Observatory for sweet, sweet Research.

Gearin' Up

Posted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 2:52 pm
by ElegantCaveman
Second Quarter, 2109 (Turns 28, 29, 30)

- April -

Oooo, this is a busy quarter. So I'm just going to link to some screenshots instead of giving you all the thumbnails, there are simply too many.

First one is of Charcarodon, basically the water-equivalent of Xenomorph Drones. Pretty much the same screenshot as the last one (Observatory and ruins in the north-east), so not very interesting. But it's there if you want to look.

Exploring those ruins, we get yet another research boost!

It's probably not been very obvious up to now, but there's an invisible "research stack" which will become quite apparent in the coming few months.

You can't queue research in Pandora but when you finish researching something, if there are any Research points left over, they apply to the next tech you choose. You'll see as we blaze through the next few techs.

Right now, the Research from the ruins has given us Infernal Pre-Igniters already, so we'll pick something else.


Field Training is very nice. Let me tell you a bit about Operations.

Basically, they're kind of "special abilities"... a bit hard to explain, but bear with me.

Let's start with Field Training as an example: you "build" it like anything else, in a city (like a building or a unit), but it doesn't actually give you a... thing... it's more like a limited-use ability. Think of potions in RPGs.

Each use of Field Training (you can "build" as many as you want) gives +1 Rank to all the units in a territory. This is actually a bit overpowered if you ask me, but, whatever. It's very nice to have.

Some Operations allow you to make orbital drops with your units, or boost the Growth of your cities temporarily.

Some Operations are free to use (on a cooldown/timer, so you can't spam them), but you need to build a certain building first. One such allows you to scan territory (basically revealing the map or fog of war in a 7 hex "circle"), another example is a nuclear silo, which gives you nukes.

Anyway, Operations are awesome, and one of the things that sets Pandora apart from other games of its kind.


Oooh, I know some of you have been waiting a long time to see this... unit creation/modification!

I'm sorry it took this long, but I wanted to research a few things before we got to this. Now we have some toys to play with, so let's upgrade our Colonial Troopers!

The Workshop system is simple and elegant; those of you who have played SMAC will feel right at home.

There are four variables:
  • Class: Class is the unit type/template. In this case, we're using Troopers, though there are also ATVs (basically Hummers), tanks, planes, ships and warmechs. You -could- make some Battle-Formers or Battle-Colonizers, but that's probably not the best idea.
  • Weapon: There are various weapon types, each with their own special bonuses/penalties. In this case, we'll be equipping our new Troopers with Hellfire flamethrowers, since we want to go bug-hunting. Some weapons are better against mechanical units, some are ranged (artillery), some are anti-aircraft, and some are just good all around. Not all unit Class-types can use all weapons: only Troopers can use flamethrowers, for example.
  • Armor: Armor is simple - it raises a unit's Power; better armors give a better bonus. There is only Power, there is no Offensive Power vs. Defensive Power, it is one stat which reflects both.
  • Device: Devices are... tweaks, I guess, in a way. They're add-ons which give units special bonuses or abilities. In this case, we are adding a Device to our Troopers which will give us +25% Power when attacking, since the purpose here is to go looking for bugs, not for defending.
So there we have it, our new upgraded Troopers, with Hellfire flamethrowers, some Steel Armor, and an Assault Tactics Tweaker Device to give them an extra edge in combat.

I'm not going to refit my existing Troopers quite yet, but looking at the refit screen, I can see that they'll each cost me 64 Credits to upgrade. Time to save up on Credits for a bit.

- May -

We're already done researching Field Training (remember what I said about a lot of tech coming our way earlier?), so now we're picking our next research goal:


Rigorous Regiment will allow us to build Training Facilities: this building will give new units trained in that city an extra rank, which is always nice. Further down in the tech tree, there are similar buildings that give more rank bonuses, and these all stack.

- June -

The drone exploring in the east has discovered a very nice area!

South-east of Vanderbilt, north of Togra University's capital, Langmuir.


Okay, so there's a Hive marring the beautiful countryside, but we're much more interested in the Xenite Flowers (like we have near Vanderbilt) on the peninsula and the Gold Vein in the hills just a bit inland. Pretty much due east of the Garden of Eden we found early on.

I'm especially interested in that Gold Vein because that's a special resource we don't yet have, and in a spot far enough from the other two factions that claiming it is a real possibility.


And once again we've finished our research already. What did I tell you about our research? The boost from the Research we found in the ruins back in April coupled with our monthly Research and the fact we've been going after early techs (which are cheaper) means that we've been advancing at a very nice pace. The "invisible stack" at work.

By the way, this "invisible stack" also works for Production.

So now we can build Training Facilities (awesome), and we'll research Adaptive Fortifications next.

These will allow us to build defensive bunkers in our cities, raising their defensive value. I don't expect to need them any time soon, but I'd rather be able to build them if the need suddenly arises.

Whew, that's it for now. This has been a very productive quarter.

Speak Softly And Carry A Big Stick

Posted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 6:18 pm
by ElegantCaveman
Third Quarter, 2109 (Turns 31, 32, 33)

- July -

Doctor Schreiber, so good to see you again! James could learn a lot from you.


I much prefer being Praised than Denounced. Understandably, I'm sure you'll agree.

In the east, we take the ruins between the Gold Vein and Xenite Flowers and gain one more Xenomorph Drones. I'm not going to complain about free units, even if we can't upgrade them.

Something I forgot to mention earlier: our Former—which finished building a road from Vanderbilt to Yue Fei—is now building a road from Vanderbilt to Kim Il Sung.

"Why is he wasting time building roads? Shouldn't he be improving his territories?!", you ask?

Well, if I was playing a different 4x game, you'd probably be right. But in Pandora's case, territory improvements offer relatively little gain. And in my present situation, I'd rather have mobility than a bit more Food or Minerals.


We've finished researching Adaptive Bunker Walls already, but this is the last of our quick techs, it'll be a few months before we get our next one. We'll research Automated Recycling next, which will allow us to lower Pollution in our cities (if you'll recall, the Solar Dynasty faction produces more Pollution than normal, so this is something we'll want to take care of).

Kim Il Sung has finished building its Automated Factory (Production bonus), so now we'll build a Refining Array (Mineral Bonus).

Now all three of our cities have some basic Production power, excellent news!

- August -

Let's spend some Credits! We refit two Colonial Troopers to the new & improved models. We also start building a Training Facility in Vanderbilt so that future Troopers will start with a bit of training.

- September -


Let's talk a bit about diplomacy.

I realize I haven't shown you the Diplomacy menu yet, so here it is.

That screenshot is actually a double of it, though: I wanted to show you the tooltips as well, so I moused-over both factions and made a composite image with the two. Normally, you'd only see one such screen.

I'm not 100% positive about what the dots mean, but they seem to be a general comparison of power. It's not an absolute guide, but it gives you an idea of where everybody stands.

The tooltips are interesting because they tell you how other factions feel about each other, and not just how they feel about you.

If I'm reading this right, the Imperium thinks that I'm Polite with them (I feel the same way about them) and that Togra University is Reserved (whereas Togra finds the Imperium Polite).

We seem to be on the same page as Togra: we both feel that the other is Generous. Guess I may have found myself a BFF after all. We'll see if it holds up.

The tooltips are also useful for seeing how much other factions are getting from the Trade and/or Research Pacts you have with them: I get more Research from Imperium than they get from me, but they get more Credits than I get from them. Same with Togra.

So this tells me that my economy's doing decently compared to them (this is artificially inflated since I'm "building" Wealth in Yue Fei), but both of their Research outputs are a bit better than mine (Pacts give 10% of whatever you're making to the other faction).

So overall, I'm a bit behind... but not by much, and it's to be expected: I'm laying down the infrastructure for three bases, but they only have one each. This gives them the advantage in the short-term, but not in the long-term, as I'll be able to out-produce them.

We're still early in the game, so these values are small, and it doesn't matter much. But keeping an eye on these things can be useful later on when the stakes are higher.

Re: [AAR] Solar Destiny (Turn 33)

Posted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 11:40 am
by Veneke
Very nice and informative AAR.

I've a question about diplomacy though. In SMAC you're able to create a planetary council. I'm currently at the point in the game where I picked up the planetary government tech (or whatever it's called) and I had kinda expected something similar to that to start - I've already met all the different factions. Is there something else that needs to happen before the council is called or does Pandora not have an equivalent feature?

Re: [AAR] Solar Destiny (Turn 33)

Posted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:16 pm
by ElegantCaveman
Veneke wrote:I've a question about diplomacy though. In SMAC you're able to create a planetary council. I'm currently at the point in the game where I picked up the planetary government tech (or whatever it's called) and I had kinda expected something similar to that to start - I've already met all the different factions. Is there something else that needs to happen before the council is called or does Pandora not have an equivalent feature?
Presently, there is no planetary government equivalent. You start the game with all Diplomatic options available to you; what you see is what you get.

My emphasis is on presently, though. As SephiRok (one of the game's developers) mentions in this post, Proxy Studios still has a lot of plans & ideas for Pandora, and one of the things mentioned is Diplomacy.

A note about the tech in question: the name of the tech you mention is "Planetary Council" (in the Mechanization) and the description text is "Increases standings with every faction upon discovery." Honestly, I'm not sure if the relationship boost affects all factions, or only discovered factions (though that's a moot point in your case, since you had met everyone). That it would only affect the people you know would make sense in its own right, but it would have been simple enough for the text to specify "known factions", so I can't say for certain.

To anybody else reading this (or for the next game you play, Veneke): if you haven't met everyone by the time this tech is available for research, perhaps consider waiting until you've met everyone, just to be sure you get the maximum benefit.

Re: [AAR] Solar Destiny (Turn 33)

Posted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 12:54 pm
by Veneke
Ah, gotcha.

Aye, there are some things that don't seem to be particularly clear in terms of their precise effects. The Planetary Council tech is a good example of this, although so is xenobiology and the Terra Salvum bonus to the duration of good relations with the alien natives. I presume that there's a fixed turn limit depending on game speed and that the percentage adjusts that accordingly but I couldn't find the exact duration on any of the tooltips (I presume that it's documented somewhere - probably should double-check the manual).

Another quick question, if you don't mind, I know operations are on a cooldown but you appear to be able to store them for later use. Is there a maximum number of these that can be stored? They're a really neat feature but they strike me as being exceptionally powerful - field training in particular is very cheap and provides a pretty decent bonus and it can even be used on stacks of units.

Re: [AAR] Solar Destiny (Turn 33)

Posted: Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:08 pm
by ElegantCaveman
Veneke wrote:Aye, there are some things that don't seem to be particularly clear in terms of their precise effects. The Planetary Council tech is a good example of this, although so is xenobiology and the Terra Salvum bonus to the duration of good relations with the alien natives. I presume that there's a fixed turn limit depending on game speed and that the percentage adjusts that accordingly but I couldn't find the exact duration on any of the tooltips (I presume that it's documented somewhere - probably should double-check the manual).
Yeah, alien aggression is something else I wouldn't mind knowing more about. I admit there's something kind of fun about not knowing, though. But I wish there was a way to learn through experience/experiment instead of having to guess all the time.

For example, I started a new game with the release version yesterday, and some Charcarodon attacked my transport ship. Yet in previous games, Charcarodon ignored me. In fairness, these previous games were the Beta version, so maybe that's the difference? I simply don't know.

You also get warnings of aliens becoming more aggressive sometimes, but no indication of how long it lasts (in SMAC, for example, it told you that increased alien activity was for 20 turns). Not knowing makes sense (you're new on the planet, etc.), but it would be cool that research (Xenology, for example) could let you understand their behavior better. I hope something along these lines is one of the things they add to the game.

Maybe aggression is an on/off switch? Once you get the "the aliens are becoming aggressive" message, that's basically a toggle which stays "on" for the rest of the game?

From the best I can figure (which is really not much at all), alien aggression seems to be a mix of time and proximity. If you look at the Alien Aggression variable in game setup, for example, this is what "Medium" says: "Aliens turn hostile reasonably fast and are willing to travel moderate distances from their home territories in order to attack. Hives hatch new xenomorphs at an average speed."

Raising or lowering the aggression affects all of these things: how fast they turn hostile, how far they'll travel, and how fast they spawn.

That said, individual species seem to have individual "aggression triggers" as well. For example, I've -never- had a Galeth attack me. And Devourers generally leave me alone, but I lost one game where a couple of them suddenly decided to come and destroy my cities (which were mostly undefended at the time, pretty early on in the game). It could be related to unit types... maybe Galeths hate tanks (I pretty much never bother with tanks).

I'm fairly certain both Xenology and Terra Salvum's modifiers affect how much time you have before the aliens start "getting rowdy", but like you, I don't know the details. I also wonder if it makes them less likely to attack you when you're nearby, on an individual basis?

One thing to note about xeno aggressiveness is that as far as I know, Fungus & Pollution don't affect it (unlike SMAC).

Veneke wrote:Another quick question, if you don't mind, I know operations are on a cooldown but you appear to be able to store them for later use. Is there a maximum number of these that can be stored? They're a really neat feature but they strike me as being exceptionally powerful - field training in particular is very cheap and provides a pretty decent bonus and it can even be used on stacks of units.
By all means, questions are more than welcome, that's a big part of why I made this AAR.

Operations are very interesting features indeed. Possibly one of the most novel aspects of this game compared to others of its kind.

You can "store" as many Operations as you want. Pretty much the only limit is the actual production cost (either for the Operations themselves, or for the buildings that provide them).

For building-based Operations, of course, you're limited by the number of cities you have. But for Operations which are "built" outright (like Field Training), you can have as many as you want.

And yeah, Field Training in particular is a bit overpowered, far as I'm concerned. Especially since the AI doesn't seem to make use of it. Perhaps it should be building-based instead of something you can make as much of as you want. Or have it affect one unit instead of every unit in a territory.

I really like that we have a way of increasing unit ranks, though. That's something I wish more 4x games allowed you to do.

Note that only building-based Operations are on a cooldown, though. For the ones you can have as many of as you want (like Field Training), once you use it, it's gone.

3X Left

Posted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 6:20 pm
by ElegantCaveman
Fourth Quarter, 2109 (Turns 34, 35, 36)

- October -

We've got a pretty quiet end of the year ahead of us, no big surprises or changes.


We've finished researching Automated Recycling, and now we move on to Fungus Cultivation. This will allow us to plant/cut down Fungus.

In this case, we're interested in the cutting down of the Fungus between Vanderbilt and Kim Il Sung, where our road is going (you can see it on the right, in the screenshot).

Vanderbilt will also put that Automated Recycling to good use by starting work on a Pollution Processor, since we have a bit of a Pollution problem going on, and it's just going to get worse.


In other news, we've pretty much finished mapping most of the planet!

There's still some to explore in the west, but most of it is ocean, which I don't really care about. Of particular interest to me is being finished mapping the area between us and the other factions, which you can see in the screenshot above.

The next step will be to get rid of alien Hives and consolidate the area. I would like to build a few bases in the south-east from Vanderbilt, get a well-defined border going.

- November -

Quiet month, nothing happening.

So... yeah...

~elevator music~

- December -

Kim Il Sung's done with the Field Training it was working on, and we'll do the same thing again.


I'm also turning my Worker there into a Scientist. This puts our Minerals production into a net positive, and gives us a nice little Research boost (don't forget Kim Il Sung has an Observatory, so Scientists in this city get a +50% bonus).


Posted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 7:45 pm
by ElegantCaveman
~ Interlude ~

And so ends our third year on Pandora. We have three cities, and our rivals only have one each.

About City Growth:

An interesting difference between Pandora and other 4X games is the tendency to build tall instead of wide; the AI doesn't expand much until a fair bit later, in general, instead focusing on growing a single city.

This lowers costs by a fair bit (since you only have to pay upkeep on one set of buildings) and makes defending yourself a lot easier, since you can focus your forces.

This also lets you start claiming new territories around your city faster, since you only start getting new territories once a city grows beyond a population of 8 (and one more territory for each population beyond that).

The downside is lower Production overall: you can only ever build one thing at a time. For example, even if you had the raw Production power to train multiple units in one turn, you're not able to do so, each taking a minimum of one turn. With multiple cities, you can work on multiple things at the same time.

I've seen quite a few people suggest you focus on a single city for a while, and not expand until your capital reaches a population of 8. Clearly, this is not something that I do, but this doesn't mean that they're wrong. Truth be told, I really don't know what approach is best.

In terms of mechanics, all other things being equal, what's the growth speed difference between getting a single city to a population of 8 and getting two cities to a population of 4? Is one approach faster than the other, or are they the same? I don't know.

Anyway, just some food for thought.

A Question For You, The Reader:

I think I've pretty much covered the basics by now, as far as mechanics are concerned. This makes it easier to pick up the pace.

Shall I keep the present update scheme (3 turns per update) for another year, or shall I start moving things a bit faster?

The next format would be 6 turns per update (two updates a year), and I'd probably do this for two years before switching to 1 update = 1 year.

Re: [AAR] Solar Destiny (Turn 36)

Posted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 11:03 pm
by Rosseau
You know best. For a game without a manual, this AAR is the best we got :)

Re: [AAR] Solar Destiny (Turn 36)

Posted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 11:37 pm
by ElegantCaveman
I really don't... I have no idea what I'm doing. ;)

Though as I go along, I'll still be talking about strategy and mechanics when I feel the situation calls for it, but I'm talking more about pacing and details.

For example, when I started, I made a point to mention whenever I gave a new build order to a city. I still mention these things, but less so. Is that good, or should I still mention whenever I build something new, even if it's minor (like Field Training, for example)?

Or my Former: once I have more cities and I'm building roads to them, does anyone actually care, or should I just skip mentioning that?

What about jobs? Should I talk more about resource-management and mention when I switch jobs (like how I switched a Worker to a Scientist, recently), or is that an aspect of the game that's clear enough and I shouldn't waste time on?

Just some examples of things I can focus less/more on.

I want this AAR to be informative, but I also don't want to get too bogged down in details. We're only up to turn 36, after all, which is pretty early in the game. Of course, the pace will quicken as we go along (it's not uncommon to skip multiple turns later on when you're just waiting for something to finish building), and it's true that the beginning is more important in many ways, but I also don't want to bore my audience.

Basically, if I keep doing quarterly reports, I'll still be breaking things down turn-by-turn, at least to some degree. But once I move on to updating every six months, it'll be more of an overview.

Re: [AAR] Solar Destiny (Turn 36)

Posted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 1:47 am
by Rosseau
We should read the whole AAR, so no need to repeat things. But new discoveries, particularly regarding UI/gameplay mechanics is great. Anyway, sounds good. I am buying the game now :)

Re: [AAR] Solar Destiny (Turn 36)

Posted: Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:42 am
by ElegantCaveman
That makes sense, guess I'll move on to 6-turn updates, then.

Hope you enjoy the game! If you have any questions, do ask. :)

Re: [AAR] Solar Destiny (Turn 36)

Posted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 7:10 pm
by fortydayweekend
I've seen quite a few people suggest you focus on a single city for a while, and not expand until your capital reaches a population of 8. Clearly, this is not something that I do, but this doesn't mean that they're wrong. Truth be told, I really don't know what approach is best.
I think that grabbing special resources would in most cases justify the cost of the colonizer and the temporary population drop, so a little bit of expansion is good. It's all about marginal production - what is that 5th or 8th person doing in your capital, and would they be better working a special resource square. But you have to think ahead also - what will the 2nd, 3rd and 4th person be doing, and would they be better off in your capital?

So the special squares that give bonuses to multiple people, not just the first, seem like no-brainers for early cities - any scientist *not* working in an Observatory feels like they're wasted, so it makes sense to have an early city growing quickly next to an Observatory. Also Xenite Flowers as long as you have enough mineral production to keep up.

Re: [AAR] Solar Destiny (PAUSED)

Posted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:10 am
by ElegantCaveman
~ Pause ~

Terribly sorry about this, been rather busy lately. I should have "paused" earlier, but I kept telling myself I'd come back soon, and the days just went by.

I'll hopefully be resuming the AAR this weekend, or early next week.

Re: [AAR] Solar Destiny (PAUSED)

Posted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 8:30 am
by ElegantCaveman
Clearly, that didn't work out, and I'm a bad person for taking this long to give an update. I'm sorry. I haven't forgotten about this, but I won't give a date for when I'll start up again, as I don't know when that'll be.

Paused indefinitely; I'll revisit the situation after the holidays. Sorry about this.