As is told in "Dread Lords", the Drengin Empire had bided their time as the humans and their allies dealt with the Dread Lord menace. No alliance of convenience would be necessary. Kindar, the war leader of the Korath clan, counseled to let the Dread Lords and the sub-Drengin wear themselves out and the Drengin Empire would crush the diminished victors.
And so it came to pass that it was the humans from Earth who proved to be most most lethal in warfare to the Dread Lords. The Drengin Empire had begun to suspect that the diplomatic humans were nothing more than velvet over an iron fist. In the year 2215 when the Terran Alliance utterly and ruthlessly crushed the Xendar (events that occurred between the return of the Dread Lords and the Altarian Prophecy) the Drengin recognized that the human claim of fellowship and peace was a fraud.
What the Drengin didn't realize was that the humans from Earth who lead the Terran Alliance were repentant warriors. Falsely assuming that any civilization advanced enough for interstellar travel would have cast off war to a bygone era, the humans have pursued a cultural revolution of harmony and pacifism. That era came to an abrupt end during the Xendar wars and since then, the humans had become diplomatic but militarily powerful.
The Dread Lords, while few in number, had inflicted terrible losses upon the humans and their friends. Their allies, the Arcean Empire, had seen vast losses in their military strength owing to the wretchedly ancient ships in their fleets. Whereas the humans were newcomers to the interstellar club, the Arcean Empire had had an advanced civilization for thousands of years (just as the Drengin Empire). Technology would have likely remained stagnate if it weren't for the invention of Hyperdrive which allowed ships (and ideas) to travel great distances in short amounts of time.
The Drengin Empire attacked in the wake of the Dread Lord menace. One of the most famous battles was the battle of the Ar-Siron quadrant. It was a classic duel between the the Drengin Empire and the Terran Alliance.
AI notes: The game below was test game #12 using Galactic Civilizations II: Dark Avatar map "Duel Supreme" with the player playing as the humans and the Drengin set to "intelligent" (tough difficulty) which is the highest intelligence setting before the AI receives economic bonuses.
Commanding the forces for the Terran Alliance was Admiral Aaron Hawkings. For the Drengin Empire, Kzain'Talan would be in command. This after action report is a study of the strategies employed by both. Each side had equal resources at their disposal and allows us to discuss the mistakes and triumphs of each side in this classic duel. For the purposes of this recount, the sensor logs are in full use so unlike the players at the time, no "fog of war" is present.
The battle began in January of 2226, one year after the events of "Dread Lords".
The Terran Alliance base was on the planet Poseiden. Named after the long range explorer who founded it (as opposed to the Greek god). The key knowledge was that the Drengin Empire had an outpost in this quadrant and that there were two planets in-between of unusual quality. in the Xasica system.
What was unknown at the time was that the Drengin too knew about the Xasica system.
The scout ship Thangir was in the area. Fortunately, Admiral Hawkings was working on that assumption and was fast moving colony ships into the area.
Hawkings made the tactical decision to damage short-term economic growth in an effort to get both of the planets. That meant using the Terran Alliance standard colony ship blue-print as opposed to designing something more sophisticated.
The Drengin always design new ships (The AI does anyway). The only difference is that their version is slightly cheaper.
It turned out to be a closer thing that we had envisioned. The Drengin nearly got both of the planets. They rushed as quickly as we did.
Xasica Prime turned out to be a wonderful world. A class 13 world with rare artifacts on the planet. What we would learn later, is that Xasica Thrall (the Drengin twin) was not quite as nice (no special bonuses on the planet).
The other key thing about this quadrant were the two galactic resources. One provided special properties, that when mined, would make the population significantly more content. The other provided rare economic value. Controlling them would be important as well.
By the summer of 2226, the quadrant was evenly divided. One thing we observed is that unlike most human governors, the Drengin will tax their people incredibly harshly. In the later analysis of sub-space communication, we learned that the Drengin had a tax-rate of over 90% even though the approval rating was less than 20%. It was a temporary spike but one they employed to boost early production.
Drengin (red) have the same population as the humans (blue) do but nearly twice the income. The Terran Alliance maintained a tax rate of around 49%. The question is, however, is this a good strategy? The Drengin were sacrificing population growth (few citizens were migrating to these worlds given the tax rate).
By the end of the first year, the Terran Alliance had surpassed that of the Drengin Empire in this quadrant and income was catching up quickly. The Drengin captured the morale resource while the Terran Alliance occupied the economy resource. That situation didn't last long as Drengin fighters quickly destroyed the Terran Alliance starbase.
The first battle in the quadrant took place between a Corvette squadron of "Super Dominators" (basically mercenaries that the Drengin go to sign up with them) vs. two Terran Alliance fighters.
The Mark 1 Terran Alliance fighter was no slouch. Armed with a Westinghouse Fusion powered laser cannon (Mark III) it packed quite a punch. It 60 meters in length, it was a fairly larger sized fighter and required a crew of 5 to man it (2 pilots plus 3 weapon specialists).
By contrast, the Drengin Empire's first-generation fighter in this war was tiny. A crew of 2 manned the 38 meter long Kiklar fighter armed with a missle of the same name.
Though outnumbered, the Terran Alliance came out on top in the first encounter. The poor quality of the Drengin ships represented a general weakness in the Drengin economy. They began to adapt to the changes but not before the Terran Alliance had gained a significant economic advantage.
(author's note, at this point I turned on the force high CPU option in Dark Avatar to help the AI do more analysis and become even more challenging).
By the end of 2228, the war was relatively at a stalemate. We had taken turns wiping out each other's star bases and had now managed to fortify rebuilt ones. No planets had changed hands and both sides were essentially building up for an assault.
The battle of spies, however, was heating up.
The Drengin were trying to sabotage my economy. More to the point, they wanted me to use precious income to acquire agents. The battle between economic and morale resources was on. Which was is better?
The Drengin had upgraded theirs to give them a +24 point boost to morale throughout the quadrant which enables them to get away with higher taxes.
The Terran Alliance had done the same. The main difference was that the Drengin hadn't put on any real defenses on their starbase but instead kept a fleet nearby. The Terrans had no ships to spare but had armed their starbase.
After a lot of back and forth fighting, the Terran Alliance managed to take out the Drengin's key morale starbase.
The tide was turning. Xasica Thrall was liberated. It would be renamed Xasica Liberty from here on out.
Leading the way was the F-10 Tigershark with its Raetheon G-X Plasma cannon.
The war was now at full power. The Drengin wiped out a number of my key starbases as well.
My remaining military starbase in the Xasica sector managed to slow down the Drengin forces while I moved in my military might.
The Drengin ships were increasingly resistant to human weapon of choice (beam weapons). But Terran lead in technology due to their economic mistakes early on more than compensated. The Drengin policy of taxing their population into oblivion early on was coming back to haunt them.
My goal was to take full advantage of the Drengin's early mistakes before their Mark 5 Frigate started to be produced in quantity.
The Drengin designs on ships had improved over the past year. Their 200 meter long Frigate took a crew of 30 and had an attack rating of 15 and a defense of 4 against the Terran Alliance's beam weapons. It outclassed the significantly larger Terran Alliance frigate ("Punisher"). The Raetheon Ion-Plasma weapon was state of the art at the time of the ship's design but had fallen behind the latest Drengin designs. The humans had the advantage of having more Punishers out there though.
The Terran Alliance had the edge. But the Drengin were coming on strong.
Meanwhile, the Punishers cleaned through the Drengin fleets that were so outdated by this point.
The fight over the Xasica system continued for considerable time. The Drengin M5 frigates went up against my fortified force of Tigerhawks.
The Drengin Frigates had a pretty decent defense now against Terran weapons but were out outnumbered by them.
It was a key battle and my force, while nearly totally destroyed, the humans were victorious. The Xasica sector was firmly under Terran control. Now is was time for bold action. A strike at the heart of the Drengin economy in this quadrant. This is where humans surpass Drengni -- tactical boldness. The Drengin Empire military campaigns can best be described as being an avalanche of power. Humans, by contrast, tend to make tactically bold strikes. When successful, humans can cripple their foes as was the case in the Xendar wars.
For this special mission were two new ships that were only available in small quantity.
The F-20 fighter and the Numenor class frigate. They were incredibly lethal. But they were also few in number. The Drengin were still developing their Mark 6 ships. The humans, in essence, had beaten the Drengin to the punch.
The falcons would get their chance against the Drengin Mark-5's. The state of the art Terran Alliance ships went up against the formidable Drengin frigates. Unfortunately...
4 fighters, even ones that were quite powerful, were not enough to defeat the M5 Drengin frigates.
Meanwhile, life on Xasica Liberty was interesting. The locals, mostly Drengin colonists still, did not think much of humans referring to them as "vile".
The bold plan by the humans was indeed bold. Bold in that "bridge too far" kind of way. The Drengin saw the threat and moved ships into orbit of their base world.
The result was the death of the entire Terran invasion fleet.
But the Drengin were frustrated in their attempts to retake the Xasica sector. While they came close, they had to send back their veteran Frigate for repairs.
The Mark 6 Frigate had arrived.
Armed with "Fravker'Siathi" extra-dimensional missiles (which humans call "photon torpedoes"), it had an attack rating of 30 and a defense of 4. The Drengin had, once again, leap-frogged the humans in technology.
But for the Drengin, their doom was already ordained. Their failure to take the Xasica sector back quickly meant that the humans had a decided economic advantage. The Drengin strategy of attrition was no longer viable. If the Drengin were to have any hope, they would have to make bold and unexpected moves.
This is where the fog of war not being on allows us to see the Drengin strategy change. Normally, the Drengin Empire leaves star bases alone to focus on their attrition strategy. But now, recognizing their disadvantage, they did something...unusual. They sent a strike force to eliminate the massive Terran Alliance economic starbase.
This analysis was due to the new MCore AI algorithms (i.e. option to make use of more CPU in order to do more advanced strategies). On my dualcore CPU, it added no time at all since it all happened in a thread.
Their strike was devastating. The Terran Alliance economy was hit hard enough to be back almost even with the Drengin Empire's despite having the extra planet. The Terran struck hard at the base Drengin planet and in a massive battle that involved dozens of ships, the humans prevailed.
The Drengin commander, Azurelas, asked for a cease-fire.
It was a race now. With the economic starbase wiped out, the Terran economy was broken. Could the Terran Alliance win the day with the ships they had at hand. It was time for another human gamble.
Andersona I went down.
It was all but over for the Drengin Empire now. As certain as Terran victory was, the closeness of it was not known until later. The Mark 9 Drengin ships were ridiculously powerful.
The Mark 9 Drengin defenders had 12 attack, 4 defense.
The Drengin base world was taken by the Terran Alliance.
Terran Victory was at hand. A close battle but a decisive victory for the humans.
This is where they went wrong. The Drengin Empire taxed its citizens too aggressively early on which slowed their population growth and in fact wrecked it. They effectively handed the Terran Alliance a full year of free development that the Drengin could never recover.
The AI has been modified based on this.
It was a lot closer than it should have been, however. Because of the new CPU option being used that's in the Dark Avatar expansion, the AI was able to formulate much more sophisticated strategies, design better ships sooner that were more optimized and take on more complex tactical strategies.
The Drengin Empire continued to make mistakes that it will need to evaluate for the future. While it normally escorted its transports, it still did not effectively keep them from being destroyed when outgunned. This is something that, given enough analysis time it should be able to avoid causing the humans to have to hunt transports rather than shoot them in a barrel.
The Terran Alliance continue to grow as a major power in the galaxy despite their relative inexperience. The Korath high command within the Drengin Empire have begun to make preparations to deal with them...