This AAR is different from the typical AAR. There is no story line. It’s 100% about game play and decision making. It’s all about how to regularly and consistently win on a Suicidal large size or larger map. I used no uber-cheese. It had been a couple of months since I played a full game, so my timing was a touch off here and there, making it all the more useful as this strategy does have some play in it. I had the game well in hand by end of year zero, before the first war was ever fought. I built no morale buildings and almost no economic buildings. It includes links to saved game files for all stages of the game, so you can actually run the game, stepping in at any point you desire. I took shorthand notes as I was playing it, expanded those notes into a running commentary and posted them up in the Galactic Diplomats private forums as a play along with me game. I have now trimmed them a touch and reposted them over here.
I updated to 1.7 beta 1 before the end, so earlier revisions might have some problems with some of the saves.
At the bottom of the OP are a set of file links. Please feel free to download them and see what I am doing or pick one up and play the game from there.
Suicidal, Large, abundant, all map with military only victories allowed and surrenders turned off.
Very fast tech.
I used my custom Alpha race that I last used in my 900K game...So I'm pretty sure it's a good racial combo!
All races set to start friendly (except Krynn - Mistake #1)
First save file is just turn one so you can see where I am starting. I also make my second mistake on turn one, though I don't realize it till later. One of the advantages to this racial setup is that you don't really need to buy any factories on the starting turns. Just move up to 100% social and you can immediately build a factory in two turns. I end up buying one on my home planet and one on the first planet I colonize (the high PQ Andromeda that is immediately visible). I shouldn't have done this. That almost 1K would have been better spent later on. I only run at 100% approval the first turn. On turn two, I move down to 50% approval and stay there for a while. I want to get a few planets colonized and then burst them all up with the superbreeder ability, so I'm conserving every penny until I can do so. As the game goes on, you can check the population history chart to see where I do this throughout the game. Being able to see a class 15 that I can immediately colonize is a HUGE advantage that I rarely get. I immediately plan to make this a factory planet for a second source of colony ships and, later, building wonders; it's priority #1.
Feb 1 - Start research focus on Beta. Priority on all research that has innate bonuses for social and military.
These are followed by research with innate economic and morale bonuses. I pick Feb 1, because this is the first date where I can do the focus and keep building the basic factory in one turn. Note that putting just 1% in military changes it to two turns, so 100% it is.
Feb 15 - rebalanced sliders to build a colony ship on beta in exactly 3 turns (72/28) and set to social focus on Andromeda. Rearranging focus is a critical part of my game. It's very rare to have a planet without focus in one of the three categories for me. When I do, it's usually because I just forgot to adjust that planet. Doing things like setting new planets to social focus really helps get them going when you are fiddling with the other sliders for your main planets. This also marks the start of my continuous fiddling with the military/social bars to try to maximize my results.
Aug 1 - I've basically reached the point where I am ready to go to full scale colonizing. Up to this point, its been a colony ship here and there. Now I can push them from many planets. Good thing too! About June/July the game looks hopeless on the mini-map as I am barely growing and the AI is going everywhere. Now it's my turn.
While starting out the colony push, I immediately start doing everything I can to shore up my economy. I know this will break me if I don't. I make one more mistake here. I should hit the first sensor tech and set aside a planet or two for survey ships. I hit some of the other economic techs first. I make this mistake mostly because I haven't played a game in three months....Oh well, I just end up having three/four turns where I turn down some factory builds and ship builds. The survey ships make it out the block in October.
Nov/Dec pretty much finish up the colony rush. I have enough planets that I can build a decent economy. Two galactic resources (Mil and Econ) are available in the north that I can claim. Otherwise galactic resources haven't been that good. The Carnoids are sitting on two (Morale and Econ) that I can easily claim as soon as I can get around to it. In total, these four will make a winning combination.
Jan 1 - Colony rush is over. Check the population time line. The power of the superbreeder...I'm running a huge deficit in anticipation of getting to the MCC. You will notice I have completely ignored huge portions of the tech tree at this point in the game...My focus has been solely on developing my planets. The only military tech I have is via trade with minors.
Clearly my first war will be against the Yor or the Krox. I have been mentally looking at how to take them out. Right now I favor hitting the Yor, just because they have planted a goodly number of colonies that I can reach without warships. I am looking to gain tech from the first war. I am especially looking for weapons/ship building tech jumps and environmental jumps.
I get the MCC tech and lease purchase it on Feb 1. This starts a major factory build up on my planets. As the factories get laid down, I should be able to significantly increase my research via focus. The goal is to start a war as soon as the newly increased research via focus slows down.
Feb 22 - I have received a few demands for cash. Paid the small ones and refused the large ones. It’s starting to worry me though. The AI can't actually fight a war yet, but I don't want to keep taking hits to my relations...It could spell multi-front war issues later on. So I bribe the Yor into war with the Humans. Costs something like 2K and a few techs. Bribe the Krox to attack the Krynn, costs almost nothing. Get a bonus the next turn and the Iconians do a "we must stop the Yor" declaration of war. Messing up these relationships now will pay for the rest of the game.
Also decide to get a couple of crap ships built during March just so I don't look like a freebie. The artificial slave center is getting built during March as well. This means I'm ready to turn the war machine on ship production wise.
April 8 - Game crashed, so I'm doing the write up here and stopping for the night. Factory buildup has been going well. I have enough to start a war as soon as I get through more tech...Star democracy at three turns was too good to turn down. At this point I can cycle back and forth between Morale/Econ boost and factory building. It's a decent way to go as it keeps forcing the tech dev time frames down. I didn't build any economic builds until the end of March/start of April. I only built those because I'm concerned about building too many factories and shutting down my economy....And I want three plus factories on all planets. So I went ahead and built a few economic buildings on some of the middle ground planets that had empty queues. This is probably unnecessary caution. Especially since I've turned up a second Galactic economic resource that I think I can claim up along the top of the map.
I'm currently guessing three months or a touch more before I start a war. I could fight one now against either of my neighbors in a month (planetary invasion is now two turns!) and win now though.
Aug 1 - Took the two galactic resources from the Carnoids. I now have 3 Economic, 1 military, 1 morale. I've also quick purchased a handful of galactic wonders. I did do a little trading with the AI for engine tech and invasion tech. Deals where so-so. This is fairly unusual and I think only the second DA game where I have done a later game trade with a major. I don’t normally do any trading with the majors because they are so unreasonable.
My planets are now almost all full with manufacturing centers, while I have a nice sized economic surplus and I can run a 80 percent tax rate until I need to grow population. I started having all my planets build ships. There is quite literally nothing else for them to do. I would like for my ship quality to be a bit better, but it is now the equal of any AI and I can push out medium warships in just a few turns from all of my planets. It looks like the first war will be against the Krox. They are just simply too weak to not attack them. I've set up a north and south staging area to gather ships. In a turn or two, I'll switch a good chunk of planets to transports. I should have the no mercy invasion center finished before the war. I expect my current rate of progress up the tech tree will obsolete my ship designs pretty regularly for a while.
A couple of AIs made peace. Bought a new war between the Iconians and Humans. The Humans look to be the stongest AI this game.
Sept 8 - Start Krox war. I don't even see any fleets. I expect a blow out.
Sept 22 - I had another computer lock up. That worries me a bit, because I've found early lockups sometimes lead to games that I can't play forward later on.
Nov 1 - Somewhere in here the Korx must have knocked off my morale resource. Bizarre because I still had a ship sitting on it and I never saw it happen. I noticed early enough that it's not that big of a deal. I have picked up significant auxiliary tech from the Krox. They only have four planets left. The Krynn and Iconians are clearly behind me now in tech and everything else that matters. The Terrans are about even, but they don't seem to have anything worthy of the name "warship" in the sky. The Yor are still ahead. I'm making plans to take out the Kyrnn next and secure the whole 2nd to 3rd base line. They should be about as easy as the Krox. I've also gone back into 100% population growth. I figure about three turns to rebuild all my population on my original planets and get decent sized populace on the new planets. I restarted the Terran/Yor war, so that they will hopefully fall behind me. I think it's amazing to browse the new Krox planets and see just how few industrial buildings they had compared to me. I probably had close to five times the industrial might, discounting the Suicidal bonus they get. It should be all clean-up from here.
Side note: I have seen others post about the Krynn being good. I don't usually play against them...In fact, I think I have only included them once before. So far, they have been as big of busts as the Iconians (see freebie race!) tend to be. They may have just had a bad draw on this map though. They seem to be in sparse space. So far, the Thalans seem to be the AI race to beat in DA from my games. They are always doing great things in terms of getting factories laid down and always present the biggest challenge when I include them. Other than the Yor, whom I seem to always include, they are my favorite to see in a game.
Dec 22 - Massively built up my population. Made peace with Korx for all their non-weapons tech and some cash, allowing them to retain one planet. This will be turn 1 of the Krynn war. Note that if I use transports at their maximum reach first I can sweep everything to the east of the Iconian border in one turn.
Jan 22, 2228- End of night for me. The Krynn war has been a matter of how fast I can fly transports. They are already down to something like 20 planets. They should be a 1 planet rump state in about one more month. It's time to start planning the Iconian war. I expect it to be very short as well. The game is basically over now, just a matter of how fast I can roll it up. Turns are getting slower now too.
Feb 15 - Start of Iconian war. The Krynn war is still going, but most of their planets lay on the far side of Iconian space. Since the Iconians are weak, I figured I might as well conquer my way through instead of flying through. Note my attitude change! I 've started quick buying things. In particular, transports.
Mar 22 - I'm into the clean up phase of my wars. I've made the decision to pause before the next war. I want to:
1) Build up my planets a bit. Three fourths of them haven't really had much done to them since I conquered them.
2) Get some easy to reach and now cheap techs.
3) Make it to Positronic II. I should be able to get here fairly fast.
Under other circumstances, I might have chosen to move straight into the humans, but I simply had to weigh which would let me conquer them faster and be easier. Since I'm not reaching for points, the tech way is definitely easier and probably just about as efficient.
Jun 22 - Positronic II reached. I can build much faster and deadlier ships now. I note that the humans are still using mostly harpoons. Checking the tech tree, that is where they are really at! I should be able to take out all but the large fleets with new singleton ships. Not quite all of my ships have managed to move to the human border in the last two months, but most of them are there. Back to full bore war production.
Jul 1 - Got the Carnoid planet and all their money for peace. Patience does pay sometimes.
July 8 plus the next couple of turns - Human war begins. It's only two weeks since the last save, but this really shows how my civilization can now turn on a war machine. Where possible, I am using massed old ships against human fleets. Let me praise the Positronic II ships to heaven. They are cheap, so cheap I can treat them as disposable. They are also very good war machines. After reaching Warp Drive, I do a redesign with a game speed 17. The biggest advantage of this is just that I can get them to the war fast. I have to take one Positronic II off the ship, but now I have fast, cheap, disposable, and effective ship. I could lose masses of them, and the humans are only killing handfuls. I also build a faster transport, and do more quick buying over the next few turns.
Aug 8 - Planning Yor war. You will note that I always try to plan the next war before the last war is finished. I'm looking for the point where I feel comfortable sending no more warships to the current war. This lets me get the next war started a bit sooner. One thing I have noticed is that now that I am powerful, the AI will not go to war with me, despite my parking transports next to their planets all over the place throughout my territory. This is very different from early game, where the AI is notoriously touchy about anything being close to anything it owns and going to war for really no reason.
Aug 22 - I'm counting planets remaining and transports already built for end game.
Sep 15 - I start the final war against the Yor. Frankly, I fight it in a pretty sloppy fashion. Since I'm not going for points and I have an excess of ships, no reason to be neat.
Oct 22 - War can be finished next turn. The Yor have no ships left and I have a stack of transports that just needs move. There is one Krox planet up in the north. I also have one ship and one transport up there.
Summary: My final tally is 87,500K in less than two game years posted under Junta Clown (my messing around character). Based upon my gigantic map experience, it would be worth between 200K and 250K if I played it all the way out for points. That might not fully translate on a large map though. I never built a morale building the entire game. Besides a very small number of economic buildings early on, which I ended up not requiring, I didn't build any economic buildings until the very end (while fighting the Yor). Even then, I could finish boosting my population back up and I would need very few to have a balanced empire. I discovered sixty something techs and stole sixty something techs...But many of the techs I stole cost more to research than those I discovered. I'm sure I captured more RPs worth of tech, than what I developed. I also avoided all the uber cheese and played this game fairly straight.
I think I picked a reasonably balanced group of races across ethics (I started as neutral) and difficulty, although I might be a little light in terms of strong AIs. To be more balanced, I could have nixed the Krox and thrown in one more strong non-evil AI, like the Altarians or Thalans, since I intended to go evil. The only thing I would really have done differently then, would have been to get one good on good or neutral on neutral war early. The permanent historical animosity flag is enough leverage for manipulation. In a perfect map, the Yor would have been in the middle and I could have arranged a dog pile war on them (assuming they were still significantly stronger than the other AIs). With their superability, other AIs have a very hard time conquering them.
Links to download site: All Demo Game Saves.zip Demo 1 Jan 2226.zip Demo 1 Aug 2226.zip Demo 1 Jan 2227.zip Demo 8 Apr 2227.zip Demo 1 Aug 2227.zip Demo 8 Sep 2227.zip Demo 1 Nov 2227.zip Demo 22 Dec 2227.zip Demo 22 Jan 2228.zip Demo 22 Mar 2228.zip Demo 22 Jun 2228.zip Demo 8 Jul 2228.zip Demo 8 Aug 2228.zip Demo 22 Oct 2228.zip
If you dump this in the metaverse ships directory, it makes the ship designs available to you in the shipyard. If you try it, I would suggest saying no to overwriting any existing files....All Ship files.zip