GWJ Strategy Club Game 2: Endless Space 2

LarryC wrote:

I'll try my hand at it again, but how you play the early game of Vodyani is dictated by your surroundings. You retrofit your Arks pretty aggressively depending on what you need, and that's something a lot of new Vodyani players don't quite get. If you need Essence to exploit a good second system early, then you retrofit your initial Ark with All Must Provide (Essence) modules to provide you most of the Essence you will need. Leeching is no longer essential to Vodyani expansion. It's nice but not necessary. If you want to invade a pirate system or another player, you retrofit the Ark modules for Production using All Must Serve and make your invasion fleet that way. The Leecher platform has a lot of Utility Slots so you can make very fast scouting vessels with them as well as cheap siege fleets.

The other common hurdle is that players can research planetary habitation technology with Vodyani without looking up and preparing for the Happiness hit that you're going to get when you instantly populate 2 Lava Planets with 5 population each (-80 Happiness instantly) and it tanks one or two essential systems.

Oh I hadn’t though about using an arc as an offensive platform. I’ve got retrofitting the first arc with more Essence modules (once it’s affordable) but not using the second or third as a offence platform to take out the pirate base, which inevitably boxes you in.

I’ve not though about the happiness hit. It takes so long to research up to draft type planets anyway, I’ve not got got a campaign that far before the pirates or another faction just kill everything.

Sorbicol wrote:
LarryC wrote:

I'll try my hand at it again, but how you play the early game of Vodyani is dictated by your surroundings. You retrofit your Arks pretty aggressively depending on what you need, and that's something a lot of new Vodyani players don't quite get. If you need Essence to exploit a good second system early, then you retrofit your initial Ark with All Must Provide (Essence) modules to provide you most of the Essence you will need. Leeching is no longer essential to Vodyani expansion. It's nice but not necessary. If you want to invade a pirate system or another player, you retrofit the Ark modules for Production using All Must Serve and make your invasion fleet that way. The Leecher platform has a lot of Utility Slots so you can make very fast scouting vessels with them as well as cheap siege fleets.

The other common hurdle is that players can research planetary habitation technology with Vodyani without looking up and preparing for the Happiness hit that you're going to get when you instantly populate 2 Lava Planets with 5 population each (-80 Happiness instantly) and it tanks one or two essential systems.

Oh I hadn’t though about using an arc as an offensive platform. I’ve got retrofitting the first arc with more Essence modules (once it’s affordable) but not using the second or third as a offence platform to take out the pirate base, which inevitably boxes you in.

I’ve not though about the happiness hit. It takes so long to research up to draft type planets anyway, I’ve not got got a campaign that far before the pirates or another faction just kill everything.

You can do it both ways. You can retrofit cheaply if you already have all the modules filled up and you're only retrofitting to equivalent tech level modules. What you want to do is first retrofit to All Must Serve so you can make your fleet really, really fast. Then, before you attack, retrofit the Ark with Slugs and use it as a siege platform. Chances are, you'll have another Ark to make so you won't have to retrofit, but if you're short on Arks, you can do it that way.

Don't forget to specialize your Arks once they're docked. You'll want All Must Study Arks for the Cold systems with Science leaders, and you'll want All Must Serve Arks on Hot Systems for your fleet production. The rest can be All Must Provide, or whatever you need.

LarryC wrote:

You can do it both ways. You can retrofit cheaply if you already have all the modules filled up and you're only retrofitting to equivalent tech level modules. What you want to do is first retrofit to All Must Serve so you can make your fleet really, really fast. Then, before you attack, retrofit the Ark with Slugs and use it as a siege platform. Chances are, you'll have another Ark to make so you won't have to retrofit, but if you're short on Arks, you can do it that way.

Don't forget to specialize your Arks once they're docked. You'll want All Must Study Arks for the Cold systems with Science leaders, and you'll want All Must Serve Arks on Hot Systems for your fleet production. The rest can be All Must Provide, or whatever you need.

Yes I got my head around this last night I think and now feel comfortable playing the faction. I managed to spawn in a constellation that’s just me and one minor faction that I leeched to start with before befriending and converting them. I’ve just opened up the wormholes now and ready to go and explore / conquer. I have 2 good production arcs on my production systems which can spew out ships, and 2 more ‘essence gathering’ systems for essence.

I’m a little behind the science curve I think, but I’m building a science behemoth to orbit the Neutron Star in my Constellation, and there’s a juicy 5 planet Artic/snow/ice system just the other side of one of my wormholes. Shame it’s populated by Sophons. I wonder how tasty they are?

Finished my own Vodyani game today on Hard. Science Vic. It's one of the most reliable and easier one I get with Vodyani. Not fast. But easy and ejoyable. It becomes Progress Quest once you get critical mass, but that's more or less true of all of the VCs. The ability to specialize every Ark into Science crafts speeds you through the last 4 techs acceptably well. I think I was going 5 turns a tech with the Endless techs - ironically faster than the rate I was researching the earlier techs. Once you're aimed down the tube, you set your defenses and just gun it.

I finally understood the hacking game. Finished my Umbral game.

Basically, if your target is next to your systems and you have a fair number of systems, then you can always succeed in hacking in. The only question is how many turns you want to use passing through your own systems. You won't get traced unless there is a defensive program in place on the node. You do place your own defenses as well. Defensive programs make it harder to trace back your hacks and also themselves trace back enemy hacks. Of course, your own hack speed is important as well, but you can get by a slow hack speed by putting in even more time passing through your own systems before trying to step into a foreign system.

Just because a defensive program traced you back doesn't mean the faction will do anything about it. If a defensive program on an ally traced your hack while you were targeting a common enemy, they may or may not do anything about it.

The primary uses of hacks are these:

1. To Jam Commands to facilitate invasion.
2. To Embed Sleepers to facilitate gathering intel.
3. Stealing tech from capital systems.
4. Creating Backdoors to bypass border defenses. Obviously, a hack originating from an enemy node that has an enemy defensive program won't trigger that program itself. This can be useful as a place from which you can start hacking deeper into enemy systems. Most of my hacks into capitals come from backdoors.
5. Throwing enemy economies into disarray by changing the ruling party.
6. Facilitating offense or defense by freezing enemy fleet movement.

There are options that are open only to the Umbral Choir. Since their systems are underneath other faction's systems, then can always originate their hacks from enemy locations and can almost always use multiple Accelerate programs. They can also choose to use hacking to build Sanctuaries (Umbral Colonies) both at the start of the game and in the middle of the game.

Having said that, it can be more efficient and easier to Declare War on a faction and invade a system with many planets, especially if they're busy waging war on someone else. Umbral Choir don't usually need defensive fleets since you can move your one world around pretty fast, and it's a cloaked world. And you only ever need buildings on one world. This means you can spend a lot of that one world's production on making invasion fleets. Manpower is kind of a problem, so you will usually want good equipment (upgrade your troops) as well as very good siege fleets so that you can siege down an enemy system, jam their network and invade with almost no Manpower losses. Once you win, you Purge the system, which destroys the entire enemy colony and installs Sanctuaries on every planet on that system.

Similarly, it's often not efficient to use hacks to Embed Sleepers as Umbral Choir. It's more efficient to tech up food techs, fill your Sanctuaries with population (you can gain a lot more than one pop at once), and then convert them into Sleepers. That way, you are essentially using your Food to supplement your Bandwidth.

For all the obvious reasons, reliable and quick hacking paths into Sophon capitals are awesome. A Backdoor or Sanctuary like that is worth a lot of trouble to set up.

Turns out those sophons might be quite tasty but they are so far ahead of me in the science stakes they can blow me out of the sky before I can get anywhere near them. I’m decided to go and burn the trees instead. They taste decidedly woody.

Sorbicol wrote:

Turns out those sophons might be quite tasty but they are so far ahead of me in the science stakes they can blow me out of the sky before I can get anywhere near them. I’m decided to go and burn the trees instead. They taste decidedly woody.

I hear wood is good as Essential diet. Helps clear up your Cloth and such.

I played Hissho again at Hard. I heard they were nerfed hard so I wanted to see what the fuss was about.

Nope. Still played as before, more or less. I never quite calculated how bonkers Resource Recoverers was. This game, I beelined straight for Mining Probes 2 after settling all the planets in my home system.

Each Mine 2 adds 50% of a probed planet's FIDS to your home population. Yes. Your ENTIRE system. Every planet in it. Every pop unit in it.

So probing just TWO planets essentially adds an entire system's raw FIDS to your home system. Granted, you won't benefit from per-pop buildings and per-system and per-planet boosts. Still, that's a lot of infrastructure you save.

I think I maintained something like 5 or 7 systems probing. Didn't even bother settling 2 planet systems. Gas Giant output? Don't mind if I do!

I got a lot of Cold systems so my tech went hella fast. On top of that, I eschewed all the planet colonization techs I didn't need and even a lot of per-planet boost buildings and stuff. My tech path this game was super lean.

It's turn 120 and I'm a few turns away from starting on the Endless techs. I haven't even bothered scouting the entire galaxy.

I do have an absolutely massive space force. Not having the benefit of colonies means other factions think your planets are open season.

I liked the changes, on the whole. They now require 15 Keii to Occupy a planet (used to be free). This isn't any real impediment if you have a working core economy, but it does put a hard kibosh on war-only folks.

Interestingly, you gain Keii from battle even if you're defeated, now. As long as you get some of theirs, you get Keii. Since you don't even need to win to farm Keii from space battles, it was simple enough to make a LOT of ships and go around looking for trouble.

Retreating is still -10 Keii. It's a pretty heavy hit. Hissho do not retreat. Ever.

On account of Lava Systems and Hot Gas Giants, I also had ridiculous production. I was routinely emptying my Empire Manpower and Strategic Resources with how fast I was churning out ships.

If you feel like dominating entire spiral arms of the galaxy with the martial power of a single system, the Hissho can provide.

Well my Vodyani playthrough continues - slowly - where I’m basically trying to make up for my suboptimal choices as I learned how they worked. I’m going to attempt the Quest victory because it’s the one area I’m not miles behind. However I did manage to clear and take 2 ‘cold planet’ systems with Science based Arks and now my science output is astronomic. The Sophons have backed off massively, I entered into an alliance with the United Empire to make the Lumineris back off as well.

When I first played this game it was OK but I always felt it was much more style than substance. However as I’ve played it more and got my head around more of the systems I can see it’s more than that. It’s still a game of systems rather than a story generator like, say Stellaris is, but when all is said and done it’s an extremely well crafted & good game.

Just a shame it’s still not really connecting with me then. I suspect after this game that won’t be me coming back to it again for some time, if at all.

Awesome stuff folks and congrats Larry on your win! I have a 5 day weekend next week so will try to crank out a campaign. Am I looking at Civ 6 timeframe or EU 4 to do a play through?

jdzappa wrote:

Awesome stuff folks and congrats Larry on your win! I have a 5 day weekend next week so will try to crank out a campaign. Am I looking at Civ 6 timeframe or EU 4 to do a play through?

The game can be played on Fast or Normal. If you're playing well, a Normal game should take less than 200 of the 300 turns to complete. Maybe about 200-250 if you're playing around and not really heading for the VC. On Fast, half that turn count. Of course, a lot of the game is going around optimizing your colonies. I play on Small so I don't take too long, but Medium takes about 2 or 3 days playtime.

Won Hissho at turn 167. Science Vic. Near the end my home system was churning out something like 40 or 50k science, all by itself (boosted by all the probed systems). Every wonder was a 1-turn build. I could build 2 Carrier class ships in one turn! That was really fun.

ES2 is a fairly dedicated strategy game at heart. Not much tactics at all. The tactical part is basically picking a card - a card you choose from a set which you also have to pick beforehand. By the time you're picking that card, you already know whether you're going to win or lose a space battle. You're just picking which outcome is the best for you.

I think it gets a lot more fun the more factions you play because then you start realizing how the game plays for everyone and how best to screw over the AI. Nothing screws over the Cravers more than peace. So deny them expansions and just force peace at every turn. They burn themselves out pretty fast. In my recent Hissho win, I had to deal with a rival Hissho nation as well as a Vodyani faction. The Hissho were easy. I targeted their Economic Behemoths and simply allowed them to overexpand. Their economy stalled and I mopped them up soon after. The Vodyani always have trouble with Manpower, so I didn't even bother sieging their Arks. I just Blitzed them turn after turn until I depleted their entire pool of Manpower (each Ark draws from their entire faction pool!). Once the Manpower was gone, every Ark was ripe for the picking.

This was only on Hard, but I do feel as if higher difficulty settings just force you to leverage more of the AI's accomplishments or bonuses, much like in Civ. It skews towards conquest. While the Hissho are good combatants and seem to skew towards war, they're also powerful for Science and Economy Vics because Dictatorship and fixed happiness just gives you so much control over your faction.

New thing I learned this game:

Leaders have skills that refer to their standing as Senators. Factions have elections and that determines which bonus law you get. Changing this from election cycle to election cycle with full control is one of the key advantages of a Dictatorship. I used this by putting in Ecologists on my first election cycle so I could colonize all the planets on my home system without needing the colonization techs (I still teched them so I could get full output). This is very important for a centralized Hissho playthrough. But you can also go Pacifism to force peace or Industrialist to fund a build cycle.

The political parties that win usher in new laws and control which chief law you operate with, but all the heroes are representatives in the Senate! The way that works is that the first hero you recruit that belongs to a specific political party then becomes its representative in the Senate, regardless of whether that party wins or loses. The second Hero of that same party doesn't become a Senator. This is important because some of their powers are more relevant if they're Senate representatives. It's a good reason to have a good distribution of Heroes across the political spectrum. Hissho heroes that are Senators can allow you to field more Behemoths. Some heroes who are Senators grant all your fleets extra movement, or boost Strategic Resource output, and so on and so forth. In a Federation, each Hero that's a Senator increases your Overcolonization limit by 1 (important for Hissho!).

Politics in ES2 are an extra slate of powers you can control, depending on which actions you choose. For a Dictatorship, you can simply pick the faction that wins and the laws that get implemented. For Republics, Democracies, and Federations, you need to be more careful about what you're doing. Certain actions, researching certain techs and choosing certain ways during quests empower specific parties within your Senate. Populations do, as well, when they get to 10 pop. If you want to keep Oracle of Science during a war, you need to make sure you're leaning harder on pro-Science techs and buildings during an election cycle because every space battle and conquest empowers the Militarists.

Thinking about going for an Economic Vic next game. Lumeris or Riftborn are on deck.

Well finished my Vodyani playthrough with an economic victory as part of an alliance with the United Empire and the Riftborn. I sort of ended up defaulting to that really after a slow start with limited access to some of the strategic and luxury resources. However by mid game I felt I had a much better idea of how to play the Vodyani and I catapulted past everyone except the Riftborn in the latter stages of the game (boy does the AI know how to play the Riftborn). I was steadily churning out Arks while sustaining several fleets that were wiping the floor with anything that got near me by the end, crushed the Unfallen and decimated the Lumeris. The Sophons i ended up farming for tech as they apparently never bothered to counter my hacking efforts.

Totally didn't understand the Umbral Choir or their mechanics. I didn't find any enclaves until late game, and I had no idea what I was supposed to do about them anyway.

It is a good game that does suffer quite badly from late game drag. The other thing with Amplitude games is that in making their factions all so distinct and able to play completely differently, the game quickly becomes a matter of learning what their strengths are and how to exploit them to win the game. To be honest strategy and tactics take something of back seat once you've figured it out - you'll be steamrolling so hard through the enemy factions you can more or less do what you like.

Sorbicol wrote:

Well finished my Vodyani playthrough with an economic victory as part of an alliance with the United Empire and the Riftborn. I sort of ended up defaulting to that really after a slow start with limited access to some of the strategic and luxury resources. However by mid game I felt I had a much better idea of how to play the Vodyani and I catapulted past everyone except the Riftborn in the latter stages of the game (boy does the AI know how to play the Riftborn). I was steadily churning out Arks while sustaining several fleets that were wiping the floor with anything that got near me by the end, crushed the Unfallen and decimated the Lumeris. The Sophons i ended up farming for tech as they apparently never bothered to counter my hacking efforts.

Totally didn't understand the Umbral Choir or their mechanics. I didn't find any enclaves until late game, and I had no idea what I was supposed to do about them anyway.

It is a good game that does suffer quite badly from late game drag. The other thing with Amplitude games is that in making their factions all so distinct and able to play completely differently, the game quickly becomes a matter of learning what their strengths are and how to exploit them to win the game. To be honest strategy and tactics take something of back seat once you've figured it out - you'll be steamrolling so hard through the enemy factions you can more or less do what you like.

That's the thing I noticed about ES2. The game is robust as a multiplayer game, but as a single player outing, the other factions aren't your enemies. You farm them. The challenge isn't to overcome them but on how to attain your VC in the most efficient manner. The upwards spiraling of tech costs communicates that. Each tech makes every subsequent tech more expensive, so the best way to attain Science VC is to tech the LEAST amount of techs as possible while beelining for the victory techs.

Economic VC is all about a balance of collaboration and selfish agendas. You want to share all the Economy techs with everyone. Why? Because you need them to build Companies and Subsidiaries so that your own home companies have a lot of targets. You also need them to be prosperous with a lot of +Star System Value buildings that you don't have to pay for, yourself. You also need everyone to be at peace, so you want a lot of Influence so as to force peace every time there's a conflict.

I'm sorry to say that I'm failing pretty hard at this right now as the Riftborn. I'm steamrolling through another Riftborn faction and all of their allies, but my bank is thin and Economic VC is nowhere in sight.

It’s not just Endless Space 2 that ‘suffers’ from the faction optimisation process, Endless Legend is very much the same mechanical process. It’s just how Amplitude make their games.

It’s not a fault as such, it’s just how you play their games.

Sorbicol wrote:

It’s not just Endless Space 2 that ‘suffers’ from the faction optimisation process, Endless Legend is very much the same mechanical process. It’s just how Amplitude make their games.

It’s not a fault as such, it’s just how you play their games.

I think it's also because certain factions just have insanely amazing advantages over the AI once you know how to make the best of them, particularly because the AI never can.

Of particular example is my current Riftborn game on Hard. There is another Riftborn faction. They're no match for me, and I didn't need to wage war or do deals to get significantly ahead. I just did something the AI doesn't intentionally do - I used Riftborn and Minor populations concurrently!

Riftborn are very strong in that their pop unit outputs are bonkers AND they don't need food. In addition, they're happy on Sterile planets. Normal Minor populations are the opposite of that.

Normally, the way you'd "play" Riftborn is to just make all your pop. This is strong, but since each pop unit takes space on your production tab, it can take a while to get going. And you have trouble populating Fertile Planets.

But if you use both Riftborn and Minor populations, then you can put Minors on the fertile planets, Riftborn on the Sterile ones, and you grow both using Food as well as your production queue. And you won't have any Happiness issues on either kind of planet.

This bypasses Riftborn weaknesses (including Manpower shortages), while retaining their core strengths. You can grow your planets as fast as the Unfallen, colonize faster than the Lumeris, and your outputs are off the charts.

But you don't get to do this without knowing how pops work, how Happiness works, and how Food works (and how Riftborn pops differ in all those categories). Vodyani is the same but with Arks. Once you know how to manipulate the Arks and maximize your advantages, you can get ahead by a ton.

But Vaulters aren't like this at all. You can save on fleet creation, and on System Upgrades, but they don't have anything on the scale of an Ark.

So started Sophons and really like their flavor. I’m on easy and about to get in my first war with the Voydani so any tips are appreciated.

Overall I’m enjoying the game but can see it might not have a lot of replay value.

jdzappa wrote:

So started Sophons and really like their flavor. I’m on easy and about to get in my first war with the Voydani so any tips are appreciated.

Overall I’m enjoying the game but can see it might not have a lot of replay value.

War and battle in ES2 is strange in that it is almost completely strategic. The only "tactics" involved is basically selecting a card for deployment, and you should customize your set beforehand according to your empire situation. It's helpful to toss a sacrificial fast ship into an enemy system so you can gauge what their forces have. If you already know, then this isn't necessary. In general, shields counter energy weapons (beams and lasers) while plating counters projectile weapons (missiles and guns). Guns also count as Flak which is additional defense against Missiles. Missiles are heavy damage weapons with first strike qualities.

Range is dictated by your cards and allows you to influence enemy and friendly accuracy. This is a fairly strong influence on how much damage you do and receive.

Guns are inaccurate and only really mostly effective at Close Range. Beams are 100% effective at all ranges but have bad damage. Lasers are most effective at Medium Range but are also good at Close and Long Range. Missiles are effective at long range and do big damage, but they rapidly lose effectiveness at Medium and Close Ranges and you're going to get shredded by a Gun fleet.

Keep these in mind and retrofit your ships aggressively prior to a battle. If you can, you should always tailor your defense and weaponry to the fleet you're about to face. Make sure you have a primary Tactics card that will maximize your intended strategy but also consider having a secondary Tactics card to change it up, take advantage of enemy weaknesses, or minimize your losses in case the situation changes.

Alright. I guess a bit more detail is in order.

The Power To Shields card is a Battle Tactics card that puts two of your flotillas at a Long Range intention, and the north flotilla at a Medium Range intention. It also adds +75% to Shield Absorption. To make sense of this, we need to delve into Shields.

Shields provide your ships with a separate hitpoint pool that instantly regenerate after a combat. These are different from the ship's Health pool which must be repaired normally. Hull Plating provides a flat Health bonus. A ship with two Hull Plating modules might have a Health of 3780 where the same tech level of Shields would provide a Health of 2448 plus 1900 Shields (4348 total). However, Hull Plating also provides a flat damage reduction for the entirety of Health, whereas Shields do not.

Against Guns, Plating provides 80% mitigation, so that 3780 Health is effectively 5 times that. Shields don't provide mitigation - they instead absorb a percentage of damage to their added HP and then no longer do damage mitigation. The trade off is that hull damage doesn't autorepair whereas Shield damage does.

So. Why would you deploy Power to Shields?

Well, for one thing, if you're using Beam weapons and your opponent is using Guns, it'll allow you two entire phases where you are at maximum weapon efficacy before your opponent even gets to really deploy their weapons. That'll allow you to whittle down their ships and hopefully destroy enough of them that there won't be a Phase 3.

For another, it'll improve Shield absorption by 75% Shield Penetration by guns is usually 50% (this is high penetration). This card will boost it up to the high 80s, making sure that whatever bullets actually hits, will deplete Shields a lot more than they'll deplete Health.

This is a lot more iffy against Missiles. Missiles are high-damage projectiles and staying a Long Range where they're at maximum effectiveness is asking for a fleet wipe. The card benefit against an Energy-wielding fleet is marginal, because shields already have 90% absorption against Energy weapons, and the card doesn't actually increase Shield capacity.

You might want to choose Team Spirit instead (boost Morale) or Gravity/Plasma Distortion which increases weapon module penetration, depending on their defenses. The cards are mostly descriptive about what they're doing, but unfortunately, some of their uses can be counterintuitive, and the game doesn't explain what anything is without delving deep into the pop tooltips and guessing at what they mean.

After finishing God of War the other night, I'm back into this one. This makes my third start with the Vaulters, and I'm feeling pretty good about it. Got 4 star systems colonized, and I've also just unlocked the ability to level up my systems. I like that the Vaulters can use strategic resources to level, and get a more diverse benefit than would come from luxury resources.

I'm at about 50 turns in. I've had a couple of races - the Cravers, and some religious fanatics (forget their name) get aggressive with me. That latter group has settled right near my home system, so I think it's time for war.

I made some more progress last night and today. When last I had saved, before that, I was about to try invading a Vodyani system that had sprung up right near my capitol; I was getting tired of all their demands and insults. I marshalled a force of about four ships -- basic models -- and invaded.

I think I was up against their Ark, by itself, and in two combats came very close to taking it down. That thing is durable. They ended up breaking my offensive when they created another ship. I clashed with it, and the Ark, and ended up destroying the new ship but losing one of mine in the process. Fearing this would take forever, I abandoned my plans for invasion, retreated, and regrouped. I probably shouldn't have done that, as another combat probably would have destroyed the Ark.

In the meantime, I went into the shipyard, designed a couple new ships to counter the Vodyani's beam-weapon and hull-plated ships, and launched a new fleet to break a Vodyani siege of another system. Then, armed with a new hero and a bunch of new ships, I returned and destroyed the Ark. I took trophies, too, which led to a sweet bonus. This being my first time deep into the game, and my first time clashing with the Vodyani, I didn't realize that destroying the Ark would also prevent me from laying siege to the system and beginning a ground invasion. So, I'll have to colonize it like normal -- though unfortunately I just used the Argosy on a neighboring system. For anyone out there more experienced, what benefits should I expect from having an Ark wreck in my system?

My next big goals are:
1) To destroy pirate presence on a nearby planet, which will allow me to finish a faction quest.
2) To either make peace with the Vodyani, or take the fight to their homeworld. Not sure which I'll do yet.
3) To continue developing my military and science for a strong response to the Craver threat. These guys keep making demands of me, and they are by far the highest-scoring faction. Fortunately their threat isn't imminent, but I know I'll have to deal with them sooner or later.

Wrecked Arks provide a flat +25 Industry, Dust, and Science to the system.

Oh, that's good to know -- and, is a very good bonus. Unfortunately, while I was dealing with the space battle, I settled elsewhere, and the Argosy was not ready to reclaim this system in time to prevent it being re-colonized (by the Vodyani, no less). I eventually made peace with them; in terms of score, they're no big threat.

The biggest threat in terms of score is the Cravers, but right now, they're all bark and no bite. I don't want them to run away with the game, but they don't seem to be invading any other systems -- at least, none that I can see. There are two factions (I think) I haven't yet met, and one of them recently was destroyed.

I'm now about 100 turns in, more or less content with my economy, and unsure of what to do next. There's a lot of saber-rattling from the Horatio to my ... um ... west, and oddly, given that they aren't especially powerful compared to me, from the United Empire to my southwest. I'm not sure if this will escalate into out-and-out conflict. I am only one or two systems away from my cap, and currently working to invade a pirate stronghold, so it's probably best not to overextend myself. And I think I could probably go to war and extract some nice concessions with a truce, but I'm also not a big producer of influence.

One of the things I've been struggling with, here, is how slowly the game plays compared to a Civilization. I'm sure that's partly my inexperience with the game, as I learn its mechanics and tech tree. But between laws, and build orders, and planet specialties, and populations, and different resources used to level up systems, there are a lot of different levers to pull. I've found it helps to set myself a "20 turn plan," for lack of a better term -- queueing builds and tech research, and reallocating citizens in one big batch, and then letting my decisions play out for a while without constant micromanagement.

LastSurprise wrote:

Oh, that's good to know -- and, is a very good bonus. Unfortunately, while I was dealing with the space battle, I settled elsewhere, and the Argosy was not ready to reclaim this system in time to prevent it being re-colonized (by the Vodyani, no less). I eventually made peace with them; in terms of score, they're no big threat.

The biggest threat in terms of score is the Cravers, but right now, they're all bark and no bite. I don't want them to run away with the game, but they don't seem to be invading any other systems -- at least, none that I can see. There are two factions (I think) I haven't yet met, and one of them recently was destroyed.

I'm now about 100 turns in, more or less content with my economy, and unsure of what to do next. There's a lot of saber-rattling from the Horatio to my ... um ... west, and oddly, given that they aren't especially powerful compared to me, from the United Empire to my southwest. I'm not sure if this will escalate into out-and-out conflict. I am only one or two systems away from my cap, and currently working to invade a pirate stronghold, so it's probably best not to overextend myself. And I think I could probably go to war and extract some nice concessions with a truce, but I'm also not a big producer of influence.

One of the things I've been struggling with, here, is how slowly the game plays compared to a Civilization. I'm sure that's partly my inexperience with the game, as I learn its mechanics and tech tree. But between laws, and build orders, and planet specialties, and populations, and different resources used to level up systems, there are a lot of different levers to pull. I've found it helps to set myself a "20 turn plan," for lack of a better term -- queueing builds and tech research, and reallocating citizens in one big batch, and then letting my decisions play out for a while without constant micromanagement.

The game actually plays really, really fast. You just have to get used to not getting things. You have to be more or less determined in your goals, short, intermediate, and long term, and then commit to them. There are a lot of different levers to pull, and you'll want to pull them in a specific order for the best results. In a MOO or Civ game, you'll always want to colonize all the planets on your systems. Here, you need to ask yourself whether that kind of a tech and resource detour is conducive to your goals and in which specific ways. If they're not good or realistic, you seek alternatives. You always want to cut tech, colonization, and steps to get to your VC.

I've won a lot of games where I didn't get any of the ship hull upgrade techs and the last Riftborn game I played, I didn't have all of the colonization techs so some of my planets were just uninhabited. Boosting the output of the populations is a fairly big deal and that's something a lot of folks don't get immediately.

That is, you want luxuries for system upgrades, but you also absolutely want them to double the bonus output of your populations because those are fairly significant. Getting reliable access to a luxury that boosts the output of several key minor faction populations within your systems can speed up your early and midgame by a lot. And if you can't get them via planets, it can be worth it to research the Marketplace tech early just so you can buy those luxuries on the Galactic Marketplace for boosting purposes.

The laws should also not be viewed as nice gimmes but essential steps to an overall plan. In my Hissho game, I specifically put the Ecologists into power in the second election cycle so that I could colonize and populate all the planets in my home system without having the techs to do so - because I was planning on making a lot of Economic Behemoths and mining probes, so every pop on my home system was just gold. Gunning for specific target election wins in specific cycles can require you to research techs or plan invasions at specific turns so that the right political party gets elected when you need them (for non-Dictatorships).