GWJ Strategy Club Game 2: Endless Space 2

Welcome Vaulters, Vodyani, Unfallen, Cravers, and Horatio - all 2 billion of you. The votes have been tallied and our second game is Endless Space 2.

Given our two month play period, we'll play this until December 15, 2020.

Here’s the link to the Steam game page.

If you’re interested in learning more about the club, please check out the main page.

I'm in, although my start may be delayed as I'm playing with a couple other game clubs this quarter.

ES2 is in a weird space (lol) for me; I adored Endless Legend, but bounced of ES2 both times I tried to get into it before. This is despite all the talk about how it's supposed to be maybe the slickest and easiest to approach space 4x game, at least UI wise. I'm looking forward to trying to digging in and sticking it out this time.

I’m in a similar boat. I need to adjust to low unit counts, I suspect. But at least the whole “dust” resource thing makes more sense after their other games lol. Even though I think it came from ES originally.

I’ll fire this up at some point during the next couple of weeks.

I’ve put about 50 hours into this game previously and my feelings on it have mostly been style over substance. And the ‘hacking’ system (related to one of the DLC races) is confusing and obtuse. Or at least, I thought it was

However it probably deserves a second attempt.

Are there any DLCs for this that are considered "required" or "mandatory"? I did not play much of this when it came out and did not keep up with it when they started releasing DLC.

Probably better off without any of the paid DLC for the first play through.

I refuse to buy DLC for games I'm playing on Game Pass, so I'm playing vanilla

gewy wrote:

Probably better off without any of the paid DLC for the first play through.

Good to know. I’m debating which faction to choose. I love the Vaulters but the Voydlani and Unfallen look interesting as well.

I might give this one a try again. I put in a dozen hours or so a few years ago and ended up bailing because I was real bad at the game. Like, getting crushed on the easiest difficulty with the default Human faction bad. I suspect there's some disconnect between how I intuitively want to play based on thousands of hours of King/Emperor-level Civ games and how the game actually should be played.

I went with Sophons, because (a) Science Victory and (b) they remind me of the Salarians, which are the best science-race in videogame sci-fi history.

I'm ~ 6-8 hours in, and now people are declaring war on me and I realize I've almost entirely neglected the diplomatic side of my empire, so I'm rush-building warships to fight off the inevitable invasion that I know is coming.

I'm in for this one! Looking forward to it. I'm going to be the Klingons, because I already speak the language. Installing now!

jdzappa wrote:
gewy wrote:

Probably better off without any of the paid DLC for the first play through.

Good to know. I’m debating which faction to choose. I love the Vaulters but the Voydlani and Unfallen look interesting as well.

Vaulters!

I’ve never played Unfallen, but Vodyani have some weird mechanics. I’d probably save them for a future play through.

Tagging here. I’m hoping to be in, but I’m also working on Chrono Trigger, aspiring to return to Banner Saga soon — and, meanwhile, Hades has a grip on my soul.

I'm open to pushing the finish time out through the rest of the year, though I would like us to be able to vote around the time of the Winter Steam Sale and save some cash. But at any rate, welcome everyone! I know we all are in the middle of a lot of games so feel free to post updates when you have them.

For my part, I've redownloaded the game and started a Vaulter campaign. More to come.

Jumping in.

I've put 16 hours into ES2 according to Steam, but I've probably spent longer than that listening to the great soundtrack! I chanced a win with the Horatio during that time so it must be a fairly accessible 4X because I'm terrible learning these sorts of games.

Keen to get back in and re-learn the systems. It's a very slick game, with a tonne of character. It has some of my favourite sci-fi factions I've seen in gaming.

After centuries of contemplating his perfect self, Horatio began to feel lonely and bored. Knowing that he was the brightest and most handsome sentient creature ever to exist and unable to stand a less beautiful being, he decided—obviously—to clone himself. This was merely the first step of a glorious plan: beautifying the galaxy by filling it with trillions of Horatio…

Love it! This faction is literally just a society comprising of a single individual. IIRC, you had to manage your planets heavily because there would be uprisings caused by arguments over who the "original" Horatio was. Bloody clones!

Well well well! For the next 10 days, Endless Space will be 75% off on Steam ($9.99).

May be time to take the plunge ...

LastSurprise wrote:

Well well well! For the next 10 days, Endless Space will be 75% off on Steam ($9.99).

May be time to take the plunge ...

Nice! Jdzappa throwing his weight around with Steam, getting us all discounts. Most excellent.

I installed a couple of days ago, but haven't had a chance to go beyond the first few minutes of the game yet. All's working well though.

A much more pleasant start than the last time I tried it (in 2018, I think).

I'm in. Let's see if I can stick with this one. Not sure why I have such a difficult time sticking with a game. Not sure how I get sidetracked so easily. (Probably need some counseling, I'm sure!) Either way, put me down for some Endless Space 2 and we shall see how it goes.

So I just spoke with Eleima in the GW 2 Twitch stream and it sounds like there are openings for next week on the GWJ Twitch channel. Would anyone want to join me in some Endless Space 2 multiplayer?

For those not familiar with Endless Space - each faction can play very uniquely. If you want a more orthodox faction to learn the base systems perhaps play either the Sophons (think Science victory in Civ), Vaulters (think Conquest victory in Civ especially with their portals) or Horatio (this one's about collecting as many different alien populations as possible).

I went with Sophon.

I just bought Endless Space 2 and its DLC this morning, so I'm in!

I might fire up a game tonight and join in on this. It's been quite a while since I played it. I normally go Sophons and shoot for a research victory, but I might try my hand at Vaulters or the Umbral Choir.

Wow. I feel very lost in this 4x for some reason. I played a few hours of Endless Legend a few years back, but that felt close enough to Civ that I was able to just play. But this one...I feel like I’m just pushing pieces around and seeing what happens. Tutorial doesn’t seem to be helping much either. I’m sure it’s just my brain not getting in the right groove.

I know Stellaris isn’t the same thing at all, nor is Sins of Solar Empire, but I was hoping one of the space games I’ve played would help build some sort of schema to aid in understanding but nothing yet. I’ll have to find some YouTube videos or something. Maybe on my next launch, it'll click!

It doesn't help that even each faction plays vastly differently from the next.

I started a throwaway game just to relearn the mechanics. So far I tried playing as the Riftborn and I did fairly OK the first time, except I had really sh*tty starting placement and it basically screwed me. I spawned into the middle of a constellation with another Riftborn backed into a corner behind me, and a Craver with a home system at a bottleneck only a few systems away from mine. The Craver kept my fleets busy while the Riftborn aggressively expanded all the way over to my home system. I had almost no resources in my little area, so upgrading to try to push back was basically impossible (for instance, the only jade onyx I could find was one system on the other side of the Cravers, which was taken quickly by an aggressive Unfallen).

At some point one of them hacked me and started a rebellion, and the few systems I did have at that time just dropped. I couldn't keep them. I'd forgotten how to use the hacking feature, so I had to go watch a video to explain that.

I reloaded an early save on that game and started from that point, which was before the Cravers started attacking but during the Riftborn's push. I managed to get a backdoor next to the Riftborn's home system, and found they weren't running defensive programs... so I just hacked them over and over again for free techs. After about 10, I got a message saying they were about to win through supremacy, so I supported a rebellion and spawned pirates on all of his systems this time. That put so much strain on him that he offered an alliance with me, which I accepted and then started pushing through his systems killing the pirates.

But honestly, I was down to 3 systems at this point, and the only victory I could shoot for was science, and I wasn't even particularly close (I doubt I could do it before someone else hit a victory condition). So I dropped that game and I'll start another sometime soon.

I started one as the Vaulters a couple days ago. I had aspired to play through Endless Legend to get the Vaulters off Auriga, a classic case of biting off more than I can chew (as I'm also playing Chrono Trigger, Hades, Banner Saga, etc.). I made it about 50 turns in until caught between a rock (the Drakken) and a hard place (the Necrophages). So, no more of that.

Instead, I'm just going to press onto this game. It's entirely new to me, beyond an hour that I played, once, during a free weekend. I'm going to try to post it like a play log, with photos and some commentary, in the hope that my mistakes -- or my stumbling onto success -- can help others.

Our journey begins! [Pics in spoiler boxes, to avoid clutter]

Having escaped from Auriga, the Vaulters were at risk of dying in the harsh void of space -- until, that is, the Argosy (their ship) chanced upon a rejuvenation field. The Vaulters knew that they had to find safety, fast, and so settled on the nearby planet Justium I. Meanwhile, the Argosy could recharge.

Spoiler:

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/i1Rrvmq.jpg)
IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/KrZ8aAs.jpg)
IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/CepSyrE.jpg)

I loved that, from the jump, the game's text presented the idea of the Vaulters as feeling up against a wall. They have no starting homeworld, and in their initial quest, they recognized that they would be alone in a galaxy where their rivals would be more developed, more advanced, and larger. For my first quest, I made science a priority:

Spoiler:

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/NKEUATz.jpg)

Once settled on Justium I, also made it a point to explore the Senate screen. It looked like our Science party was firmly control of this fledgling Vaulter colony, with some militaristic sympathizers -- no doubt led by the Sisters of Mercy who accompanied us on the Argosy. I found I had the capacity to pass an additional law, so I instituted the Cram Exam Act. This appears to trade some discontent per citizen (-2) against some science gains per citizen (+3). I figure I'll need all the science I can get, to outpace my rivals.

Spoiler:

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/9BJu7k8.jpg)
IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/aMMrV7d.jpg)

But where to start researching? The galaxy is a vast, dangerous place, and I need to make it safe for my people. That means expanding, of course, but also consolidating support. I'm dealing with a world of technological possibilities, with which I am totally unfamiliar. So, I figured I would start by researching techs that help me settle new worlds. The game suggests that the Vaulters have 1 extra "colony limit" threshold, but that exceeding it would be bad. I still haven't found what that threshold is. So, I began by researching Machine Bacteria, which would let me colonize steppes worlds -- as there was one nearby.

Spoiler:

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/tDliLeq.jpg)

After the Argosy refueled, I sent it to a nearby system with a habitable world. But, I will have to wait several more turns for another "free" colonization.

Spoiler:

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/XxXDG00.jpg)

I assigned Petrov Judka to be governor of Justium. I recognize that name: the Petrov Judits were heroes back on Auriga. For now, I have started her down a path to oversee farming. Even though the Vaulters are not great at cultivating crops, I want to build up Justium's population, and also unlock some good production buffs down the line.

Spoiler:

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/UeHl7p6.jpg)

Now, some exploration! Spica, which is "North" of my Rejuvenation Field, is already inhabited by ... someone. Don't know who, yet. I've also discovered planet Bigeli, which has some connection to the Endless, and the Epistis, a minor civilization. But, I yet lack the knowledge of how to communicate with them.

Spoiler:

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/xMfNoww.jpg)
IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/cTrydBR.jpg)
IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/el6A4n7.jpg)

Really nice write up, LS! That Cram Exam Act is so ... Japanese.

Do you get a sense that it's important to pick excellent planets to colonize because of colonization limits, or to emphasize spreading as fast as possible without too much thought to finding the perfect planet to expand to?

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

Really nice write up, LS! That Cram Exam Act is so ... Japanese.

Do you get a sense that it's important to pick excellent planets to colonize because of colonization limits, or to emphasize spreading as fast as possible without too much thought to finding the perfect planet to expand to?

I did the latter (cos I didn't understand that there WAS a colony limit), and on the one hand, I've got colonys on crap planets, on the other hand, I mostly ran out of space to expand into around the same time I hit the colony limit.

I had like 3 decent planets and one really good one (but small) within reach, so I figured, gotta go for quality.