Introduction: Despite my laziness and poor writing skills, I've been working on an epic AAR based on my very first real game with Galactic Civilizations. Although I finished months ago, I kept extensive notes and have used the many save files I've made to help assemble the story.
This is not that AAR.
I'm nowhere close to finishing it, but I've noted the gradual disappearance of every author from these forums, and I felt I ought to post something on here to keep the AAR forum alive. So I wrote this little bit up on my last game, another very old one I came back to and finished, mostly because I hate leaving things undone.
I don't even try to play with fancy top strategies, because I'm more interested in playing out a story, so don't look for any of that here. There will be no screenshots as 1: I don't know how to upload them to the forums, and 2: There aren't that many anyway as taking them in DL is a real pain.
Settings: (DL, version 1.53)
My race: Drath
Difficulty: Normal (I'm currently playing on Tough, but like I said, I started this a while ago.)
Opponents: 6 (turned out to be Terrans, Drengin, Altarians, Arceans, Thalans, and Iconians)
All other settings were random except tech speed which was normal. Blind exploration on, all victory types enabled. My points all went into economy and social and military production. Political party was Federalists for more economic bonuses.
Now, onto the story...
Part 1: The colony rush
Immediately upon beginning my game, I discover the random settings have given me tight star clusters with common or abundant planets (yikes). I begin my standard opening moves (buy first factory and colony ship, make a run for Trade so I can build an econ capital and stop bleeding bcs, make extensive use of survey ships), and things move smoothly along. By the end of 2226, I've met all the other major races and a few minor ones (Paulos, Andians, Scottlingas). I also have a pretty good idea as to where everybody is.
At this point, I would give you all a nice screenshot of the galaxy, if I'd bothered to take one. Since I didn't, I'll have to describe it instead. There's three large star clusters and three smaller ones. At the 'north' side of the galaxy is my cluster, which also contains the Drengin. Opposite it in the 'south' is an equal-sized cluster home to the Terrrans and Thalans. The Arceans inhabit a medium-large cluster in the east, next to two other small clusters, the more distant of which contains the Altarians (so far, I've only met their flagship). In the far west corner is a tiny cluster containing the poor Iconians, who are stuck with its three measly worlds. The Terrans and I both have around twenty and the Arceans and Thalans have about fifteen. The Altarians have twelve or so, and the Drengin, who mysteriously stopped expanding early on, have 6 or 7.
There's still plenty of unclaimed worlds; the colony rush moves in starts and stops as our economies adjust to the new planets. For such a large galaxy, there's been a shockingly low number of ethical choices. As I intend to keep my race good, I'm not complaining.
Meanwhile, the UP holds its first meetings. The first one has us all vote on whacking the Terrans with a proposal that they share their wealth with the other races. I vote yes, but my communist revolution is thwarted as everyone else, even the bankrupt Iconians, vote no. The second proposal, meanwhile, has us vote on the location of a new Galactic Prison. Now, I've become aware that this may be more trouble then it's worth - every single time, the prisoners break out and we've got pirates on the loose. Nevertheless, I vote for myself, and with Thalan support, the prison is established on the Drath colony of Hadrian IV.
I should have listened to my misgivings. Three turns later, the hoodlums stage a jailbreak, steal the prison's fighters (even though I have no military), and set out to terrorize the spacelanes. Worse, they destroy my colony ship headed for a PQ 18 world! Enraged, I vow to make them all walk the airlock, and build a few stock Defenders. The pirates, fortunately, are even weaker then the core ships, armed with only a puny Particle Beam. Shortly after that, they're armed with nothing, as my Defenders vaporize the lot.
Following the demise of the pirates, the Drengin inform me that they admire my power and wish to pay tribute to insure my good nature. Deciding not to inform them that said power is three ships strong, I accept their measly offering of 18 bc.
Part 2: No peace in our time
Eventually, all of the habitable planets are claimed. The Terrans and I are the leaders, with 30-35 planets. The Arceans and Thalans are the next rank, followed by the Altarians and Drengin. Even the Iconians have claimed a few worlds, though, managing to cross into my star cluster and claim planets I haven't noticed. Were I an evil civ, they'd need to talk to a good mortician right about then. Fortunately, I am a peaceful and benevolent race (except when I got that stupid "Bug Wars" event), and ignore the intrusion. They'll flip to my influence eventually.
Of course, peace in this game requires you to carry a big stick, and that big stick, for me, consists of a military technologically superior to almost all the other races. My "Drax'inaer' class fighters (tiny hull), "Xavin'lok" class corvettes (small hull), and "Tranisk'ar" class cruisers (medium hull) sport Phasors and Dynamic Shielding (from my newly declaring Good alignment), while no one else has advanced above plasma weapons and deflectors.
This, however, has not stopped the Terrans from a series of aggressive actions that would do Nazi Germany proud. I eventually learned that there were seven minor races; in addition to those that I've already met, the Snathi, Dark Yor, Jessuins, and Akilians all inhabit the Terran/Thalan cluster. Less than a month after I meet the last of them, the Terrans begin gobbling them up. First to come under attack are the Jessuins and Dark Yor. The Scottlingas are assaulted soon after. Although the rest of the galaxy seems content to ignore the Terran aggression, I am determined to play my good alignment to the hilt, and offer them all a number of planetary invasion techs and weapons to fend off the Terrans. It does no good to the Jessuins and Dark Yor (who don't exactly help by filling up their homeworld space with constructors), and both are gone by 2229. The Scottlingas, however, actually manage to take a Terran planet, and soon after do enough damage to force a peace. I'm impressed, enough so that, to see what will happen, I gift them a class 5 planet in my territory so that they can survive if the Terrans come after them. The Terrans, hardly deterred by this setback, turn their forces against the Snathi.
Meanwhile, though the alien Neville Chamberlains leading the other races are content to appease the Terran menace, they're hardly peaceful among themselves. The Drengin decide to pick a fight with the feeble Iconians, and it plays out right in my space. The Iconians beg for help, and get it: every single major race gifts them ships. The Drengin quickly make peace, only for the Arceans to lose patience with the Drengin's expanding sphere of influence, and another war breaks out.
While my neighbors squabble, I discover my defense of the minor races has had an unexpected effect: the Andians, Paulos, and Scottlingas all have "Close" relations with me. I forge alliances with the Andians and Paulos, but the Scottlingas pose a quandrary: from what I know of the AIs, the Terrans will almost certainly go after them again. Nonetheless, I decide to ally with the Scottlingas as well - I'm a match for the Terrans, and if they want to pick a fight, it's not my problem.
Part 3: War!
True to form, the Terrans declare war on the Scottlingas. I honor my alliance, and launch my fleets to teach the upstart mammals to pick on someone their own size.
The Terran Starfleet turns out to be a paper tiger. Within two months, every Terran fleet is gone, and so are most of their planetary defenders. The Terran Army is something else entirely - even with the Tir-Quan Training and tons of soldiering techs, the Terrans have almost as high an 'advantage factor' as I do. I'm forced to use mass drivers on most of their worlds, as the more advanced methods aren't working! Nevertheless, while they're obnoxious to fight, the Terrans are in no position to counterattack. Earth and the former minor race worlds they control go down.
As I beat the monkeys to a pulp, I remain active on the diplomatic front. Both the Drengin and Altarians have also gone to Close with me. I ally with the Altarians (my attempt to get them to give me my planet back in the process comes to naught), and broker a peace between the Arceans and Drengin before allying with them in turn. It's risky, as the Arceans and Iconians both hate them, but I'm crushing the Terrans, and I wouldn't mind a real war for a change.
Unfortunately, I get one sooner then I expect: the Arceans, the strongest AI in the game, break the cease-fire and come gunning for the Drengin. The Terrans are still alive, despite my best efforts, and I need the fleets holding them down on the front line. Furthermore, my constant use of expensive invasion methods has left me on the verge of bankruptcy. I'm forced to make peace in exchange for their entire treasury (8500 bcs) in reparations.
While the Terrans were puny, the Arceans are not. Their ships have Force Fields to my Barriers, though my weapons outclass theirs. Nonetheless, they have a lot of ships, and know how to use them. Wave after wave of fleets swarm Drengi. My ships manage to stem the blitzkrieg, but the odds look grim for the Drengin. Fortunately, I don't need them.
I grab the Arcean worlds in my cluster, only for disaster to strike. An Arcean fleet with nearly 300 shield defense smashes aside my defenders at the border world of Alshain III and blockades it. Despite my best efforts to intercept them, Arcean transports land, and the planet is lost.
I retaliate by sending my fleets in former Terran space in from their 'south'. A surgical strike takes Arcea, and I'm gaining the advantage in ships. Unfortunately, the Arceans have now completely cleaned out the shield research tree, and are fielding frigates with Ultimate Invulnerability. My ships do almost no damage, and the Arceans have begun organizing the super-frigates into fleets. At this point, I decide it's time for some sneaky Drath manipulation. My Altarian allies refuse to fight the Arceans because of their superior military rating, but the Arceans have no such hang-up. While still at war, I contact them and offer them my Total Majesty (the diplomacy bonus won't do them much good when they're dead) in exchange for an attack on the Iconians, to whom the Altarians are allied. They agree and suddenly find themselves at war with two-thirds of the galaxy.
I finally finish research on my Doom Rays and begin deploying fleets of "Ultimate Tranisk'ars". The first fleet (which I call the Alshain III Avengers) wipes out the Arcean fleet still blockading the area (with periodic raids on the Drengin), and it becomes clear that my end-line beam weapons beat their end-line shields. Although they deploy a twelve-ship fleet with 400 attack and 350 defense, a two-ship fleet of mine takes out eleven of its ships and the Alshain Avengers destroy the last. The Drengin surrender to me (after their homeworld defects to my influence), but the Arceans are gone. By early 2233, they've been reduced to a few last planets, which they surrender to the Terrans. The Terrans aren't long for this life either, so it's no problem to me.
Curiously, around this time, the galaxy floods with new minor races. The Vegans, Paridians, and some fellows called the Jarkians and Sanderons all materialize with high PQ planets. I ignore them for now, but the Altarians aren't so nice and declare war on the Vegans. They also bump off the Snathi while they're at it. Poor li'l squirrels... Ahem.
Part 4: The fat lady sings
The Terrans, clearly not ones to learn from mistakes, declare war on the Scottlingas once again. They still haven't rebuilt their military, so I order every single planet with a starport to begin building speed 30 transports. The Terrans burn like kindling as within six turns I conquer three-quarters of their planets. As I'm on the verge of cleaning out their last worlds, they surrender to the Iconians. Cowards.
By this point, I have an alliance with the Thalans, and only the Iconians stand between the Drath and a well-deserved diplomatic victory. I now face the dilemna of every diplomatic victory I've had: Do I turn on my game-long friends to win a quick victory, or do I press TURN 500 times until they randomly become "Close"?
As it turns out, the question doesn't need answering. Only a month or so after the demise of the Terrans, the Thalans declare war on the Iconians, whose military rates a 20 to the Thalan 160. The next week, the Iconians inform me that they're surrendering. I cheer their spinelessness, make the Altarians sign a peace treaty with the Thalans (let's all be friends, now) and celebrate my victory (though I'm puzzled why the cut-scene shows diplomats landing on Earth, given that I blasted it into smoldering rubble during the First Terran War).
And so concludes my first AAR, which turned out to be decently long after all. Feel free to comment/critique/complain.