Shadow Empire Catch-All

The biggest thing that I've benefited from is to associate menus with tasks. Want to design new stuff? Call the leader of the appropriate Council and he'll throw the possibilities at you in a report. How do you call him? Upper left, MGMT button, Leaders button, find him, click him and Call. Want to build a new Asset? Right buttons, middle one, Construction button will build on the hex you've selected. See assets in your Zone? Bottom row. Resource status? Left bar, top button.

First thing to do in a turn is to look at your new Stratagem cards, then scan the reports, then make your Decisions. Then you can mess with units and road-building and the like.

But finding out where all the menus and options live, and what your Leaders can do, is the most important task when learning. Oh, and of course, reading the manual to get an idea of what is possible.

Finally discovered Light Tanks and designed a new model. Can't wait to make my first unit! Saving up right now heh heh because those heavy diesels don't build themselves.

High velocity 60mm cannon... I'm gonna tear someone a new one, when I get the chance.

Robear wrote:

Finally discovered Light Tanks and designed a new model. Can't wait to make my first unit! Saving up right now heh heh because those heavy diesels don't build themselves.

High velocity 60mm cannon... I'm gonna tear someone a new one, when I get the chance.

Woo, congratulations! Yes, tanks are an order of magnitude more powerful than the starting units. You should see the difference straight away.

If I might make a suggestion - consider arming a model with the howitzer instead of the high-velocity cannon. There aren't a lot of armoured targets early on. Even fighting major empires, the overwhelming majority of their forces are infantry and I've yet to see an AI tank with more than 50mm of armour (most have 25mm).

I just went down a rabbit hole. I started a game and went through the vidcom messages and got to a decision about forming my first organization. Well, I was presented with a bunch of choices I didn't know what they meant so I search the manual and read about the different ones and what types of stratagems they can create and other tasks they can do, the bonuses, costs, how to interact with them - it all sounds pretty cool.

I didn't do a damn thing yet, but reading about all of that got me more excited about the possibilities for the game.

Robear wrote:

Did you know that you can add in units from the top bar, on the left, to the attack? So you should not have had to change from unit to unit. I don't know why the odds changed when you went back and forth, have not seen that. Probably should let Vic know.

Yes, I was aware of that. I noticed this when I started adding units to an attack, saw the numbers not go the way I thought they should so I removed all the units and started over, removing all the units from the attack and selecting the original unit. That's when I noticed the odds were different from what they were originally. I don't know if there is a random factor being thrown into the calculation shown; I do know the odds are estimated, perhaps that is the reason. It does present as odd though.

Robear wrote:

I have not had a leader I needed to get rid of. Maybe put someone else in his slot and let him just linger in the Reserve pool? In an emergency, he'd be better than no leader at all...

Well I fired him, he is in the pool. I just don't want to see his disloyal dumb face ever again.

Mind Elemental wrote:

You can get 'retirement' cards (from the interior council, I think?) that allow you to pay off leaders in exchange for getting a 50% chance they'll retire.

I think authoritarian governments can also assassinate their own leaders

Finally, I've had one city governor retire on his own after hitting age 70.

Haven't seen that strategem yet, I will keep an eye out, it will be worth the PP to no longer see Disloyal "Capacity I" McStupidface suggested for jobs any more. Or, assassination you say? Hmmm.

P.S. You know a game is doing something right when you develop a strong feeling either way for what is essentially a random NPC/just a collection of stats.

I didn’t think about the howitzer being anti-infantry, but I was sure looking at the attack points lol. We’ll see how this goes. I have tons of good MG infantry to mix it in with, and I don’t mind getting a jump on later game armor units if they show up. Anyway, I’m the Leader, so... Yeah. We go with that.

This game really makes you feel your choices over time. And the opportunities for failing and flailing are really great.

Oh, and you get new strategems as your civ and admin levels increase. Going from level 1 admin to level 2 netted me a retirement card, I think, and when I hit Civ level 5 or so, another couple popped in. So... It’ll happen.

The randomness in the tech and strategems is brilliant, as it ensures you can’t just min-max every game like you can in Civ. But at the same time, there are general principles that will serve you well, if you understand how to adjust as your situation changes. I’m still working them out but it’s really cool that the general advice always seems good, but specifics will vary widely from game to game. That guarantees replayability.

I hope this game sells fantastically. I want to get the air and sea units added in. There’s so much that Vic wants to do if the game sells well. Right now it’s a ground forces game, but in a year? Whoo boy. I just hope the grognards and the “wait for the best sale” folks don’t kill this like they did Brother Against Brother.

Another “learned the hard way” lesson: Diplomacy seems closer to Dominions than to Civ or Imperialism. That is, minor farmer factions exist to be swallowed up by major factions, and the two major factions I encountered (both religious fanatics) both declared war on me unprovoked. I wish I had grabbed more land from the minor factions early on, before the other majors snapped them up!

Meanwhile, investing in the advanced resource buildings really pays off. With those upgraded soil de-metallisation plants, my empire has finally conquered the metal bottleneck that has plagued it all game. Last night I could finally afford the metal to raise an armoured grenadier brigade: infantry, trucks, MGs, RPGs, medium tanks and artillery, all in a single combined arms battalion. Woo!

Which council lets you design new formations, again?

Robear wrote:

Which council lets you design new formations, again?

Staff council. Annoyingly, you can't preview prospective formations from the research screen. You need to go to the report screen, then the formation report, and scroll down to formations that are "discovered".

My mainstays so far have been the basic infantry MG formation, assault infantry (light tanks attached to each unit), and their motorised versions. Siege infantry (attached artillery) and storm infantry (attached artillery and light tanks) look useful but I haven't recruited any yet. And I haven't been able to afford the metal for mechanised versions of formations (APCs).

I am rolling in metal for some reason. Not to complain of course, but I started with a metal resource right outside my city. So I'm good with armored stuff lol. I think. If it doesn't run out.

I think I need to take someone out. I've almost run out of marauders.

Gripe time: good heavens, late game turns take forever to process. Past turn 100, it takes at least 5-10 minutes to generate a new turn. I am not exaggerating! I watch streaming TV and periodically alt-tab back to see if the new turn is ready.

Turn 109, and I think I'm on the cusp of victory. I have slightly under 48% in victory points, while the #2 AI player has around 23% - 24%. (The win threshold is to have 50% in victory points while the #2 player has no more than 25%). Good point to wrap up for the night.

Once you guys run into major AI empires, I'd be interested in your impressions. How good is the AI? How varied are the diplomatic interactions? In the grim darkness of my game, there is only war. What sort of units do they throw at you?

Hey lookit guys, soundtrack!

https://tempestforanangel.bandcamp.c...

Thanks for sharing, Veloxi! I turned off the in-game music, haha. I put my own mix on in the background. Goes well with music from other strategy and tactics games.

Meanwhile, the 1.03 patch is out. Note a lot of the fixes in the patches require a new game:

Spoiler:

-Blocked AI from making double construction (for good now, v102-beta2 didn’t quite do the job yet)
-Double checking if AI is making a valid construction choice added
-Double checking if Private Economy is making double construction (Farm/Mine) added
-AI will now take the hint if a Dip Stratagem didn’t work on another AI and take a pause trying to improve relations*
-Overall the AI should be less schizophrenic (which it was in some cases) concerning what kind of relations it wants.*
-Reduced the ideal size of army and workforce for the AI in the mid to late game, but only on Beginner level. It was a bit too challenging now after all the AI improvements over the last month.
-Fixed a rare crash with opening the Management Window
-Added some protection code to prevent a rare crash with the Management Window
-Right click in cinematics no longer allowed. Fixes skipping through initial questions possibility
-Fixed disappearing Resource icon glitch on Hex after conquest (by Minor with no Zone).
-Fine-tuned the 9 “Call To X” Stratagems. Their effects are now maximized to avoid too big results in large AI Zones.*
-Fixed faulty Tech Level 4 + Initial Armies start concerning the Rocket Launcher unit which the game tried to give but was not available due to lack of the relevant Model. Is now an Independent Artillery that is given.
-Fixed glitch with buggy new Faction names (“-1”) also for running games
-Fixed possibility to go through rebel units with strategic transfer
-Fixed a logistics point cost glitch with Raise Formation and some others
-Fixed empty response on choosing “No change” when discussing the different Cults
-Added a protection for a weird crash in the Items tab (due to a Zone with no City)
-Private Construction (credits only) will no longer depend on LIS connection (production after construction will)
-Private Asset if still in connection with City, but no LIS, will only suffer half the lack of LIS penalty (Public Assets suffer full penalty)
-Mining Level had a glitch with production. Fixed. Expect some lower income in lower ease-of-mining-level mines.
-Strategic Map no longer shows depleted Resource Hexes
-Strategic Map now differentiates between unexploited and exploited Resource Hexes
-Have been phasing out the usage of the term “LIS” and replaced it by “Logistical Points”
-Fixed that famous map displacement glitch (after combat)
-Fixed some very minor glitch in Logistics calculations
-In the Logistics layer Initial and Current Points parts of roads between 2 nodes that have lower Logistical Points than both nodes will be highlighted in yellow and points shown as well
-Blocked AI from making double builds (problem caused with v1.01-betas)
-Fixed the actual cost of Railroad construction which was still on old high level and causing huge depletion of resources. (problem caused with v1.01-betas)
-Fixed glitch with the maximum stack points not being increased with concentric attacks
-Fixed glitch with the “REPLACE / MASS REPLACE” button not being available
-Tracked a rare glitch with a Rebel Regime founding a new Minor Regime and its Units not being properly transferred potentially causing weird non-friendly Units on your Hexes. Fixed now. Any such occasions remaining in your current game will be cleaned up by this patch as well.
-Corporate Taxes were actually being paid, but NOT being logged in the Corporate Report. Now they will show up there as well.
-Removed Obsolete Models from the Replacement Troops window
-Increased the cost of the Ancient Archive Fate Stratagem from 2 FP to 4 FP *
-Decreased the cost for the Chemical Team and Drone Team Fate Stratagems *
-Ancient Archive and other random Tech picks are now limited to Tech Groups you have access too. I am sorry some people liked this, but it was really more overpowered than intended.
-Propose Peace now possible from Relation 25 (was 35) *
-Returned ability of AI to give Credits but limited its repetition potential *
-Added the “Ouverture” Diplomatic Stratagem which you can use to increase Relation with power you are at war with. Difficulty is easy when the Regime in question doesn’t like to continue the war. *
-Fixed another AI crash
-Did extra QA work on AI Diplomatic Stratagem usage with Humans as well as other AIs*
-Fixed a crash during BG transfer in a very specific case (for good this time)
-Only Monitor Tank can use Tactical Nuke*

*=requires a new game start to go into effect

Did the updater get fixed in the 1.02 patch?

Apparent answer: Nope (at least not for me).

Oddly I had to run the updater from the EXE directly, not the desktop shortcut. It's very weird.

Yeah, it's supposed to, but I still had to upgrade to 1.03 manually.

I ran the updater directly and from the start screen. No luck. I just went to the Matrix site and downloaded, no big deal.

New game, not an auspicious start: right out of game creation, 2 hexes from my capital there, are 3 FreeFolk maurader units, a 19 stack, a 27 stack, and a 37 stack.

And, victory!

After 112 turns, the Sandfrost Union united the planet Vozanar Geminio and restored peace and democracy.

I played my usual 4X playstyle, insofar as that was possible in a very military-heavy game. Big, well-developed cities + technological superiority + a modern military. In battle, I pretty much used my Unity of Command playbook: Zip around enemy units, cut off their supply routes, and take cities by coup de main .

My two main AI rivals, the religious fanatics, relied on gigantic human wave armies supported by MGs and a handful of tanks and howitzers. In the case of one empire (the guys who pushed me back to my capital), either they recruited more troops than their economy could support, or something went badly wrong on their home front: their troops were consistently "hungry" or "starving". Despite my military being smaller, it was much better equipped with tanks and motor transport, which let me run rings around enemy units or blast through their lines head-on.

I had assumed this was an AI failing, but now I'm wondering if that was specific to those two players. On the very last turn, I ran into the final AI empire, a militarist government. Poking around afterward, I discovered how they had been able to defend against their much larger neighbour - lots of tanks and artillery, and even better military tech than me.

In the end, I finished before unlocking any of the really cool science-fictional toys. Most of my wars were fought with 20th century technology: rifles, tanks, artillery, and missiles. I did upgrade to Gauss small arms / MGs shortly before the end of the game, which was pretty cool. No walkers, energy weapons (other than the ones I recovered from goody huts), or nukes.

Overall I think this game is roughly where the Dominions series was in its earlier incarnations. There are plenty of rough edges, but there is a really strong, unique core beneath, and it's even more impressive considering it's the work of one man.

tboon wrote:

New game, not an auspicious start: right out of game creation, 2 hexes from my capital there, are 3 FreeFolk maurader units, a 19 stack, a 27 stack, and a 37 stack.

Yikes What happened next?

Mind Elemental wrote:
tboon wrote:

New game, not an auspicious start: right out of game creation, 2 hexes from my capital there, are 3 FreeFolk maurader units, a 19 stack, a 27 stack, and a 37 stack.

Yikes What happened next?

What you might expect - they attacked, causing severe casualties to all my formations. I quit and started a new game.

"What happened next will shock you!" lol Saw that outcome coming.

Very neat, Mind Elemental. Thanks for the write up!

Vic has a poll up on his blog asking for thoughts on what things he should focus on next.

It was shocking how predictable it was!

So, question time: nationalize the truck depot early? Costs 500CR but it seems like if you do not you are kind of hosed later. Early turns, the games I have played, I have the cash but have not done it. And later I wish badly I had because logistics ends up grinding everything to a halt but I also have no cash when I realize I should have done it on like turn 2 or 3.

Are there any other good rules of thumb for the early game (say turns 1-25) for building things? I have not quite sussed out a generic build order for the early game. Make Light Industry for more IPs? Metal mines for metal? I seem to end up in a loop where I cannot get anything done while I spend all my credits buying machinery to build things I can never get finished. It feels like I am missing something fundamental. I have watched most of DasTactic's videos and read a lot of forum posts but still it eludes me.

What I do is to use the resource arrows as guides. Whatever starts off red, or goes red the first time you build something, look at it and see how quickly it replenishes. So if it costs you, say, 200 metal for something small, and you have 310, that's fine for that, but after it is done if you only have +50 a turn, you know you need more metal. Food is especially important to keep high to feed your soldiers and workers.

I get a Light Industry as fast as I can if I don't already have one, and nationalizing the truck depot seems wise. If you are not bringing in enough money, raise taxes and maybe get a more skilled economic council director (because I think they make the relevant rolls; or maybe it's the governor). If you have the cash, consider nationalizing the Scavenger civilians.

Be careful with salaries. You can pay 1000 troops at .003 Cr, or one Council member at 3 Cr. So if you jack your 8 or 10 Council members up to 4 Cr, you just put a big hit on your budget, even though it does not look like much. Again, taxes may come into play. Or you can put off raises with medals strategically given to the whiners lol.

Don't over-commit on building things. Get a Light Industry, then save up for whatever is critical next. Maybe that's food, maybe a mine, whatever. But don't try to do everything at once. Don't nationalize the trucks until you have an actual need to do long-term operations at a distance. Oh, and improve your city and get the Office building to generate BPs, that helps you do research and accelerates model development and the like.

And, it needs to be said, put people with relevant skills in charge of the various Councils. That gives great multipliers. Figure out what each of the budget sliders do, and use them to your tactical advantage.

But again; don't over-extend early. Build your economic base as dictated by your situation, then start to go for more optional stuff. Light Industry, Offices, City Upgrade, Scavengers, Trucks, those are all good early investments. Food and metal as required.

Gunner wrote:

Very neat, Mind Elemental. Thanks for the write up!

Vic has a poll up on his blog asking for thoughts on what things he should focus on next.

Thanks Gunner! Filling the poll in now. I voted for better UI and more polish on existing features. I wouldn't mind an "other" option so I could request he look at optimising turn resolution.

Robear wrote:

What I do is to use the resource arrows as guides. Whatever starts off red, or goes red the first time you build something, look at it and see how quickly it replenishes...

But again; don't over-extend early. Build your economic base as dictated by your situation, then start to go for more optional stuff. Light Industry, Offices, City Upgrade, Scavengers, Trucks, those are all good early investments. Food and metal as required.

This. I'd focus on getting more of whatever resource is the bottleneck. On beginner I think you are guaranteed to start with nearby deposits of metal and ice, but metal is used for building pretty much everything in the game so I don't think you can ever have enough. Nationalising the truck stop will probably be a good idea sooner or later (you want lots of logistics in the capital as all resources have to flow to/from the SHQ) but might not be necessary as your first step.

If anyone reading this thread is on the fence, I just posted a more detailed write-up.

Does anyone even move their SHQ? Is there a reason to, until you get a better zone maybe?

Tboon, found out there's an Overstack Limit on forces in an attack. If you go over it, it can reduce the combat odds you think you have. But here's the kicker; it applies to the units that exceed the limit. So if you've got a 10 unit and a 3 unit, and the limit is (say) 11, my understanding is that if the 10 unit is selected first, it takes no penalty. But if it's selected second, it does, because it's now in excess of the limits.

So that could explain why changing the order of selection of units in a combat changes the combat odds estimate. (Also, the estimate is based on one simulated round of combat, with all the rolls, so you could have been getting bad rolls the second time you tried setting up the combat.)

Mind Elemental wrote:

If anyone reading this thread is on the fence, I just posted a more detailed write-up. :)

I'm expecting my 53% Slitherine/Matrix anniversary discount code in the next few weeks and when it comes this will be mine!