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Help me Obi-wan

Posted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 11:23 am
by spelk
As usual, I'm loving this game, but am struggling to hold it all together. A Shameful admission, but I start out with good plans, but once things start rolling, my economy goes to pot, I focus too much on the twiddling with units, and then I get steam rollered by either, the wildlife, or the AI who have got sick of my placation routine. I think the micro later on just simply overwhelms me. So like Leia pleading into R2D2, here's me asking Civ/SMAC/4X/City Builder fanatics for help, you're my only hope... on Pandora..

Shamefully, I've set up a match, with easy difficulty on everything, with ONE AI player, and they still trounce me!!! I must just be utter rubbish at this game. But I really enjoy the exploration, and the unit crafting... and the unit naming. In fact I can spend more time coming up with cool names for custom troopers "Flamekin", "Beastkin", "Steelrollers" etc.. than I spend mulling over the farmer/miner/worker/scientist rotations. Perhaps thats where I'm going wrong?

In fact if I could set up a world, where all I had to fight was the wildlife, I'd buy that for a dollar!

If anyone can outline just how to stay alive towards the mid game, without being trounced that would be helpful.

Re: Help me Obi-wan

Posted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 3:34 pm
by adamsolo
I find military power to be the key to survive in this game. You can have the strongest of the economies, the best research progress and be friends with almost everybody, but as soon as you neglect your military the AI will come to get you. And when they come it's often too late. If you want to play peacefully you still need to have a strong army, otherwise you will lose sooner or later. In fact, if you only have 1 or 2 circles in the military indicator, you'll be dead soon. Keep the military at least in 3 circles and place scouts on strategic locations (look for the extra sight device) and put them in "guard" so that at least you get a warning. Also, try to sign as much non-aggression pacts as you can. If you see an AI breaking one you know what that means. Also, focus on specializing your cities into full science, full food and a couple of production power houses and you should be fine.

Re: Help me Obi-wan

Posted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 4:07 pm
by jdmillard
Adamsolo is right.

I found that I did better when I set the alien aggression to High or Very High because it forced me to militarize sooner and to be more careful (protecting cities, formers, and colonizers). However, you have to anticipate the need to refit those early units which will require some savings which isn't hard to do if you plan ahead for it. I try to get a single tank as fast as I reasonably possible, then I wait a bit before building another. It's also very helpful if you can capture a Destroyer or Galeth (they are power:8 aliens).

It can be a challenging game, but you'll enjoy it even more when you get on your feet with a solid strategy. Good luck.

Re: Help me Obi-wan

Posted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 4:15 pm
by adamsolo
And it's actually more fun to play the game with alien aggression set to at least High. As jdmillard says, that forces you to militarize sooner and be more careful with everything you do, especially to where you expand to. That will help you later as it doesn't allow you to get lazy. Oh, and the Tank tip is also spot on. Try to produce an Avenger tank as soon as you can. In cities, with the defense device, they can withstand attacks from the most powerful aliens.

Playing with high alien aggression also lets you take advantage of the aliens more, which I think it's something very well done in this game. High alien aggression really is the way to play this game if you ask me.

Re: Help me Obi-wan

Posted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 5:03 pm
by jdmillard
Don't fall behind in technology either.

In my very first city, I keep the first laborer as a scientist. As the city grows, I keep keep all of them as scientists until I have 3 of them (sometimes 4). The capital gets some free food; combine that with food found in ruins and maybe the "Colony Ship Dismantling" tech and you don't have to worry about farmers for a while. This gives me an early boost in tech and I'm still able to produce a few infantry and a former without miners or workers. Besides the obvious tech advantage, the AI will generally accept a research pact with me because I bring a lot to the table. This does two things: First, it helps with diplomacy a bit. Second, if I have a research pact with all (or most) of the other factions I can keep an eye on their research-output-per-turn by comparing how much research they get from me to how much research I get from them. You can compare in the diplomacy window by hovering your cursor over an AI faction with which you have a research pact. If they get more from me, it means that my research output is better. The idea is to stay neck-and-neck (or as close as you can) with whichever faction has the best research output in order to not fall behind.

As the city grows I assign farmers, miners, and workers; but it won't be long before I add more scientists for a total of 5ish. Eventually I will phase out the scientists from my capital when I establish my research-specialized city (which is hopefully next to an observatory... and I purchase the research building there).

Re: Help me Obi-wan

Posted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 5:54 pm
by fortydayweekend
It also helps to keep an eye on your most likely opponent's military and build yours to suit. So if the Ascension is next door and she has lots of strike aircraft with hydra missile launchers, build a lot of AAA and missile troopers.

Like most of these games rush-buying is very powerful, any credits you get at the beginning (usually from hives) should be used to buy buildings in cities with no workers (e.g. as jdmillard says science buildings in an observatory city).

Probably the most powerful strategy though is to conquer a weaker neighbour early on. Because growth is mostly pre-determined the extra population is a huge advantage. Tanks can make this really easy if your opponent just has troopers. The game is a lot harder if you try to play without at least a bit of conquest.

Re: Help me Obi-wan

Posted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 7:07 pm
by jdmillard
fortydayweekend wrote:Probably the most powerful strategy though is to conquer a weaker neighbour early on. Because growth is mostly pre-determined the extra population is a huge advantage. Tanks can make this really easy if your opponent just has troopers. The game is a lot harder if you try to play without at least a bit of conquest.
This is very true. However, for me personally, I try to avoid too much early conflict (because it gets so much better later). So rather than focusing on executing this very good strategy, I try my best to prevent the AI from doing it so they don't get too powerful. In my current game I just barely hit the Mechanization Era. Imperium started taking all of Noxium's cities so I sent 5 aircraft down there. I got there a few turns too late (because I was bringing a tank too and I needed to escort him across the ocean) and Noxium was terminated. I arrived in force and soon conquered what used to be Noxium's island. I prevented Imperium from doubling his cities and simultaneously won them for myself.

I wish I could gift cities to other factions. If this were possible and Noxium had survived, I would give him his cities back because I don't want the game to become super easy (suddenly I have twice the research output as any other faction). Plus Noxium was my close ally anyways. I used to do that all the time in SMAC because I get bored fast when it's too easy.

Re: Help me Obi-wan

Posted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 5:52 am
by SephiRok
adamsolo wrote:High alien aggression really is the way to play this game if you ask me.
I agree! If it weren't for so many people struggling with defending their empire I'd even make it the default.

Re: Help me Obi-wan

Posted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:12 am
by spelk
Oh thanks for all the useful tips, I now have a hankering for trying them out - whereas before I seemed to be banging my Flamekin's head against a Galeth all the time. At last a new hope. Thanks again, much appreciated.