Alpha Centauri 2

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri & Alien Crossfire => After Action Reports => Topic started by: bvanevery on February 17, 2018, 05:34:10 PM

Title: Cha Dawn braves the unknown
Post by: bvanevery on February 17, 2018, 05:34:10 PM
My last game sucked.  As the University I got bottled up by both Aliens and was ultimately dispatched by one of Marr's probe teams.  Even though I had prudently researched all needed conquer techs to steamroll him.  I simply never had the productivity to make good on it, and failure to come up with my own probe teams proved my undoing.  So this game, I have a lot to think about as far as fighting Aliens at close quarters at the beginning of the game.

Huge map, average settings, Transcend, random factions including myself.  I draw Cha Dawn.  I start on pretty good land with a bunch of pods around.  I don't settle immediately because I notice a pod on the coast.  If it turns into a profitable resource, I wouldn't have been able to use it from my initial position.  In fact it would have been a "miss", no city would have gotten to use it.  Delaying my capitol turned out to be a smart call as I popped a mineral.  I also cloned my scout, so my 2 garrison units aren't costing me anything.  I built 4 Formers, leaving exploration to the mindworms.

The radar looked like I might be on an island, although it wasn't easy to tell.  Out of caution, and lacking a brain for what the heck else to do right now anyways, I opted for Explore only focus.  It's been awhile since I've played either Cha Dawn or the Gaians, so I'm not sure what the best way to proceed is.  I do remember that relying overly much on mindworms for one's army, does not actually build an effective army.  It takes a long time and one doesn't end up with all that many units.  They can also end up far away from where they're needed.  Whereas, colonizing a "core" empire with sufficient cities is always a safe strategy no matter what the faction.

To the west, I set off an earthquake.  This may have caused land masses to touch that were otherwise separate.  I will never know for sure.  The presence of a Monolith that I didn't pop, is sinister.  The Usurpers are in this game, and not the Caretakers.  Am I about to get a rematch with them?  On the graph the Usurpers are very strong, and all the human factions are weak, like myself.
Title: Re: Cha Dawn braves the unknown
Post by: bvanevery on February 17, 2018, 05:43:46 PM
Dingy dang, that's the Monsoon Jungle!  And it is surely occupied by whoever popped that Monolith.  I must try very hard not to make any political contact.  I may be able to settle this corner of the Jungle innocently, before anyone can protest that I took over their land.  That's a lot of land and fungus to get through though.  I do have Doctrine:Mobility though, so Doctrine:Flexibility may be just around the corner.
Title: Re: Cha Dawn braves the unknown
Post by: bvanevery on February 17, 2018, 05:55:52 PM
I meet some Spartans.  We trade lasers for formers and sign a Treaty.  Now I can make some Recon Rovers.  I am doubting that they are the occupants of the Jungle.  They claimed ignorance of Marr's, Zhakarov's, and Roze's comm frequencies.

I've got 2 Artifacts now.  One is in my capitol already.
Title: Re: Cha Dawn braves the unknown
Post by: bvanevery on February 17, 2018, 06:21:03 PM
I think I just answered the question of who's next door to me.  It's as I feared.  They must have walked over all the fungus to the west, while I was busy defeating mindworms with my own to the south.  Small possibility that they came by sea, but an overland journey is a more likely explanation for the wounds.  Well I hope he doesn't start shooting immediately, and I'll try to stall him with Scouts until my mindworms arrive.  Better a wounded Ogre than a full strength one!

Title: Re: Cha Dawn braves the unknown
Post by: bvanevery on February 17, 2018, 06:25:03 PM
He didn't speak immediately, but chose to move his Ogre 1 square away.  Next turn he moved to some fungus I presume.  And then he decided to speak.  Without potential for interruption or gainsay, this is all he had to say:

marrimminent
marrimminent

Ok.  Guerrilla war it is then.  At least he gave me a little bit of time to get my mindworms closer to home.  My spore launcher has begun shelling him, although I don't know if it does any good.  I've rushed an untrained Recon Rover that only needed 2 turns to finish, so I don't think his Ogre should be able to harm my bases.

My tech outlook is not good.  14 years until the next breakthrough, and I don't have ships yet.  That's with pursuing Explore since Turn 0.  This is a forced situation, I've not been given any choice here.  I can't control earthquakes, I can't control getting Marr sitting on top of the Jungle next to me.  I guess I can talk to Santiago and see if she has anything to trade.

Well indeed she did: Doctrine:Flexibility for Social Psych!  Now I'm switching to Discover focus.  I've already got Biogenetics and Secrets of the Human Brain.  I'm not making the same mistake I made last game, having no probe teams.  With ships I also stand a chance of contacting other factions for trade, although who knows how far away they are.

Title: Re: Cha Dawn braves the unknown
Post by: bvanevery on February 17, 2018, 06:40:06 PM
I have a mindworm and a recon rover ready to strike the Ogre next turn.  This incident will resolve in my favor shortly.  I find that spore launcher shelling does also scratch the Ogre a little.

Probe teams in 11 years, with luck.
Title: Re: Cha Dawn braves the unknown
Post by: bvanevery on February 17, 2018, 06:58:07 PM
The Jungle may be empty.  Marr may have just taken a very long walk with the Battle Ogre from somewhere else.  Or maybe he did come on a slow Transport.  I've left my strong mindworms and spore launcher behind a line of fungus, forming a natural border.  I have a weak mindworm scouting back and forth.  I cloned my Recon Rover while I was at it, so the free one is heading back to base.

Unfortunately I researched Ethical Calculus.  I traded it to Santiago for Information Networks.  She hasn't claimed any knowledge of other factions, despite my best prodding.  I'm too busy colonizing to worry about putting ships to sea right now.  Next tech in 18 years.


Title: Re: Cha Dawn braves the unknown
Post by: bvanevery on February 17, 2018, 07:15:07 PM
The Monsoon Jungle looks unoccupied, but it seems to have been cleared of pods, perhaps by Marr's Ogre.  If he walked through this, it could be part of a vast landmass.  Or he could have landed on a slow Transport with the Ogre and walked it.

While waiting for tech, I decided to talk to Santiago again.  She didn't have any but agreed on a Pact.
Title: Re: Cha Dawn braves the unknown
Post by: bvanevery on February 17, 2018, 07:27:47 PM
Not completely cleared of pods after all.  Perhaps Marr came from the north, made a more or less straight line south, then turned east.  That would explain the sinister Monolith I found.  How he managed to elude me on my own lands with my mindworms running about, remains a mystery to me.

Lacking a credible threat, I started using the larval mindworm as a scout.  The rest I've kept back as a defensive line.  The larva ran into another larva and killed it.  Then it healed at the Monolith to become pre-boil.  I will still scout with that, as it's the weakest mindworm I have.  Now it also has a screen of scouts to more or less accompany it.  I replaced all my garrisons with Hardened Trance Scouts.  That won't help against Marr, but it will against mindworms.

I've begun The Human Genome Project in a "food and forests" city.  The Usurpers and the Drones have been working on The Weather Paradigm.
Title: Re: Cha Dawn braves the unknown
Post by: bvanevery on February 17, 2018, 09:03:48 PM
Santiago seems to have verified that the Jungle is all mine.  Provided nobody interlopes before I actually colonize it.  I figure Marr arrived by transport, but where from is a mystery.

Santiago got me in touch with Roze.  Santiago was sporting Planetary Networks at the time, which had me a bit concerned about Roze being unwilling to trade it again.  But sure enough, she was in the giveaway mood, and I got it for something dumb.  From Roze, I got Chairman Yang's frequency.  Who was also in a giveaway mood and traded me Doctrine:Loyalty for something done.  So I've clearly got some priorities now: build build build!

Yang wanted me to fight Roze, but I refused.  He swore a Pact with me anyways.  Yang has the USS Unity crash site in his territory, so now I know where Domai and Zhakarov are.  They are the 2 bright dots on the minimap.  Domai is at the left side of the map southwest of me.  Domai is at the bottom of the map, south-by-southeast of me.

What to research now?  I wasn't expecting to get probe teams this quickly.  Well, how about Explore?  I don't need to be Green, but I might want to make my own mindworms.  Now that I know the immediate threat is not coming from the land, I should get some ships in the water and try to capture some Isles of the Deep.
Title: Re: Cha Dawn braves the unknown
Post by: bvanevery on February 17, 2018, 09:20:15 PM
Zhakarov shows up.  We traded something and signed a treaty.  He sold me Domai's frequency.  We signed a treaty.  I could hold an election now but I couldn't win it.  Roze and Domai both have more votes, and it would be between them.  I have 2 allies but if they aren't voting for me, it doesn't help me.

So, I am only at war with Marr.  Nobody knows where he is yet.

I've decided to spread the comm frequencies around, to see if any map data comes back to my allies, to tell me where Marr is.  Yang didn't like that I wouldn't go to war with Roze.  To shut him up about that, I asked him to stop fighting Roze.  They signed a Treaty.  I'm sure that can't last but it'll buy me blessed silence for now.  Perhaps I should have made a move on that before, instead of waiting for Yang's attitude to shift to Noncommittal.  Either of them could actually be a long term ally, I have flexible choices that way.  But I can't have both.  Right now, Roze is more powerful than Yang on the graph, but not by much.  Nobody is terribly powerful, not even Marr.  He's almost even with me, and I'm Unsurpassed.  I'm just barely ahead of everyone else though.

Ah hell, let's see what Marr says!  He says he wants 75 credits.  Screw you Marr.

Santiago did pick up a map of Free Drone and University territory.  That's useful, but Marr is nowhere to be seen.

I talked to Yang again.  He didn't ask to buy a comm, but his attitude is now Solicitous, which is good.

Talked to Santiago yet again.  Sold her Zhakarov's frequency.

Talked to Roze again.  Sold her Zhakarov's frequency.

Talked to Yang again.  He didn't want anything.

Talked to Santiago again.  She didn't have anything further to report.

Talked to Domai again.  He's still Ambivalent and whining about wanting my tech.  I think that's it then.  I've learned all there is to know.

With some of the cash I made, I rushed a couple of Recycling Tanks.  I need to colonize!
Title: Re: Cha Dawn braves the unknown
Post by: bvanevery on February 17, 2018, 09:32:46 PM
Next turn someone called an election.  We elected Domai.  He's my southern neighbor and Ambivalent towards me.  I'm not happy about that, but Yang voted for him, and I agree that Roze should be kept weak.  If only so that I can choose which of those two I wish to ally with long term.  Also if Domai gets too strong, it's easier for me to invade him.  Roze is pretty far away.

Domai and I each have 7 cities.  However mine are in a tighter grouping than his.

The weird thing about Domai is he doesn't have to be a natural enemy.  He cannot go Green, but as a human, I'm not bound by what my faction does when it's an AI.  My exclusion is Wealth and there's actually no faction in the game that requires people to be Wealthy to be happy with them.  Someday down the road, I'll need to choose between Santiago liking Power and Zhakarov liking Knowledge.  Just realized, nobody in this game cares what my Economics are.  Only my Politics and Values.  Domai will care about a Future Society someday if he lives that long.

Oh, well I guess Marr cares about my economics.  But he already declared war so I don't care what he thinks.  My economics are that Alien skins are good for holding water, and mindworms will eat anything in the pits.



Title: Re: Cha Dawn braves the unknown
Post by: bvanevery on February 17, 2018, 09:55:38 PM
I complete The Human Genome Project using 2 Artifacts and cash.  Roze, surprisingly, trades me Industrial Base for Polymorphic Software.  Well maybe it's about to be finished by someone.  I sell Zhakarov Marr's comm frequency.  Hey, knock yourself out!  Maybe we can find this weirdo.  Is he in that ocean spot west of my lands, with the edge of a city showing?  Or is that something Domai settled?  I guess I'll find out eventually.  Is he in this big dark mass in the middle?  There's definitely some major islands in there at least.

My allies Santiago and Yang aren't very happy with me anymore.  Roze loves me.  Must be the comm sex.  You know, Cultists have a way with pink worms.
Title: Re: Cha Dawn braves the unknown
Post by: bvanevery on February 17, 2018, 10:11:14 PM
Zhakarov did obtain a map from Marr.  Yep, he's holed up in that spot just west of my lands.  That explains where the Ogre came from.  Just landed on my shores on a slow transport and walked roughly east to west, popping pods as it went.  Nearly dead by the time it got to me.

Santiago traded me Nonlinear Mathematics for Polymorphic Software.  I have little to fear from Marr, but I shall get some skimship probe teams in the water to steal his armor.
Title: Re: Cha Dawn braves the unknown
Post by: bvanevery on February 17, 2018, 10:56:54 PM
A new election is called.  We pick my ally Santiago.  Domai tried to bribe me, but I'd rather have her than Domai.

Some SPs got built.  I'm working on The Citizen's Defense Force, which I don't think anyone else has yet.  It'll be awhile though.

I have 9 bases and got a Bureaucracy warning.  I don't really have road capacity so am going more vertical for now.  I'm building a number of skimship probe teams and they are starting to deploy.  One got completed fast by a pod.
Title: Re: Cha Dawn braves the unknown
Post by: Geo on February 17, 2018, 11:05:24 PM
Probe teams in 11 years, with luck.

Something I never tried: can an Ogre be bribed by a probe team?
Title: Re: Cha Dawn braves the unknown
Post by: bvanevery on February 18, 2018, 12:52:15 AM
I assume so.  It's just a unit, nothing special.  But I didn't have any probe teams to do that with.  I can't remember if I've ever done Roze vs. an Alien at the beginning of the game and bought the Ogre.  Maybe.

I researched Centauri Empathy and went Green.  As I had The Citizen's Defense Force in progress, I switched to The Empath Guild and immediately completed it.  This saves me the trouble of infiltrating 4 other factions.  Roze, Yang, and Zhakarov are quite far away, and that would have taken a long time.  I was about to infiltrate Marr but now I don't need to.  Instead I will carefully scrutinize my approach options with the new intelligence and then steal from him.  I already stole from Tusk and Claw and got Plasma armor for the trouble.

Using my Empathic knowledge of other faction techs, I realized Zhakarov had Adaptive Doctrine.  I traded him Gene Splicing for it.  Roze has got Adaptive Economics but of course isn't going to trade it.  Otherwise I need to steal Synthetic Fossil Fuels and Field Modulation from Marr.

I shall make a Trance 3-Pulse Hoverboat, with only handguns, to prototype the armor.  Somehow in all this time, I forgot to make any military units to stir up Isles of the Deep.  Well to be honest I have a lot of colonization pressure, trying to get to the Jungle.  I'm not going to go Police State along with Green because I actually need the +2 Efficiency.  I'm halfway across my lands now, about to settle next to the sinister Monolith.

I can't hold an election until 4 turns from now.  When I do, I should win easily.  I have way more votes now than anyone else, and Yang is still my ally.  Santiago ditched me, but I'm at peace with everyone except Marr.  That's the other reason I didn't declare my Politics: it will piss off either Roze or Yang.  I'd prefer to keep both non-pissed at me for a time yet.  I'm definitely not ready to go Democratic, as I have a lot of cities to settle and I want the free minerals on settlement.

In addition to the Monsoon Jungle, there's the Uranium Flats to colonize as well, just north of me.  It's actually closer to my capitol than the Jungle, but separated by water.  Although, I will probably move my capitol once I get the Jungle settled, so I should probably regard the Flats as a secondary priority.
Title: Re: Cha Dawn braves the unknown
Post by: bvanevery on February 18, 2018, 02:04:31 AM
This is weird.  Marr has an outpost of 3 bases very far to the north of his capitol.  Maybe he put a colonist on a slow transport at the very beginning of the game?  He completely missed the Monsoon Jungle, which he did become aware of at some point.  What possessed him to settle on this seemingly piece of crap land up here?  I need to steal his map to find out.  Unless I've actually got his map already, that I bought from Zhakarov awhile back.  In which case he looks like a moron.

I didn't notice this cluster of bases earlier.  The skimship probe team in the area, was just on "exploration duty" twiddling his thumbs after I built The Empath Guild.  The original mission was to infiltrate the Data Angels or the Hive.  Well, I seem to be in the right place for a map theft.  I just stole his 2 techs this very turn, so nothing's in the way of it.

Except the probe team sitting in that port city.  Grr.  I'll try sailing around to the other side, north and counterclockwise.  Glad I checked for the probe team.  I really hate it when I run up to some base and get killed.

Eventually I did come around the side of the island.  There was another city there.  I stole Marr's map, and this island is exactly as lame as it first looked.  I guess if I need to steal more techs from him, I'll come up here sometime.
Title: Re: Cha Dawn braves the unknown
Post by: bvanevery on February 18, 2018, 02:45:27 AM
The Spartans declare war on me.  Maybe they think I'm weak.  In some ways they'd be right, except that they planned their offensive against me rather badly.  She put one of her impact skimships right next to my probe team without destroying it.  That's actually how she declared war.  So next turn, I subverted her ship.  I happened to have that lightly armed "Isle of the Deep stirring" ship in the area, so now I have a task force that can take a base.  If she thought I was weak for still having Scouts in some cities, well she's got that problem too.  Fleet Anchorage is defended by only Scout and it's about to finish building an Aquafarm.  So I think in 2 more turns it's mine, and there's not a darned thing she can do about it.  Unless she's got backup ships at sea, and I doubt it.

She did sink one of my Transports farther south.  That ship took wounds doing it, so is not a major threat anymore.  She's going to try to shell one of my cities with another ship, but I have an artillery piece on the other side of the channel.  Once that weakens her, I'll come out with my own Impact Skimship and destroy her. 

I think I'll just take her base and try to make her go back to peace again.  I don't gain anything by invading Sparta right now.  I've got lands to settle and SPs to build.

Yang ditched me as an ally awhile back, so I don't have anyone else to call up for a war with Sparta.  I'm the only one she's warring with.

Title: Re: Cha Dawn braves the unknown
Post by: bvanevery on February 18, 2018, 03:16:40 AM
Well SOB she had a backup ship.  She killed the Impact Skimship I stole from her.  But she's not going to like what I do next, because I brought along that better armored pea shooter unit and put them all in a stack.  She didn't harm my skimship probe team in any way at all, so guess what's happening now?  I've got 295 credits in the bank and I don't remember it costing more than 180 last time.

Well SOB this one costs 600 to subvert.  She's gone Fundamentalist, maybe last turn.  Fine, I'll steal her map and shell her base.  In her wounded state, I actually have a better chance ship-to-ship if she attacks me.  I could flee but it's possible I might take this base.  Her Scout is already badly wounded from the previous shelling I gave it.  Worst case I can tie her up and be a PITA for a few turns yet.  She'll get wounded even if she destroys me, and I don't need this ship.

Her map doesn't reveal much more than I already knew.  Some areas north of her at the end of the map, that's all.

To the south, I picked up an Artifact in the water.  Now I have the burden of getting it home safely.

The AI was sensible enough to put its wounded ship into port with the wounded Scout.  So now I'm shelling Admiralty Base, which also only has a Scout.  She's changed production there from an Aquafarm to an Impact Skimship.  So I'll get that in my face next turn, probably.

Zhakarov has started working on The Citizen's Defense Force.  That's annoying.  I only just re-began that myself.  Even though his base has lower minerals than mine, it says it'll take him 30 turns and me 35.  I guess that's my -1 Industry penalty.  I can remove 1 minerals worth of unnecessary support to speed things up.  Or Santiago will remove it for me, as that's my ship out fighting them.

I suppose a bigger worry is if Roze gets a free tech from us both having it.  However I don't see how she could have infiltrated either one of us.

OMG!  That reminds me I've totally forgotten to vote myself Governor.  Got interrupted with dinner or something.  Hmm, not having allies, I don't know if I'm going to win this.  Well, gonna try anyways.  Fortunately, everyone else abstained.  I'm da guv!  9 years later than I could have been, but whatever.

Sunspots set in the very next turn.  That would have really annoyed me if I had forgotten to elect myself, and then had to live with it for another 20 years.

Sadly,  my ship was killed without doing much harm.  So I'll be at "coastal war" with Santiago for awhile.  Couldn't knock her out early.
Title: Re: Cha Dawn braves the unknown
Post by: bvanevery on February 18, 2018, 03:56:59 AM
Marr attacks a poorly guarded southern city unexpectedly.  One that I never got a road down to.  I wounded him with some artillery, but not enough to prevent him from taking the base.

Examining Marr's current tech level, he's researched Doctrine:Air Power and Superconductor.

To be honest, I don't like this game and am quitting.  I've found a lot of this to be extremely tedious.  I think part of the problem is I've been seduced by the percieved necessity to colonize the Monsoon Jungle.  It is not actually all that useful.  Especially, it has stretched me out and kept me from garrisoning anything properly.  I feel like I've had poor productivity this whole game.

This is probably stemming from poor growth from going Green earlier.  I've had that happen with Aki Zeta-5 many times, but with her I know how to compensate.  Just go Planned, and don't even think about Green with her.  With Cha Dawn a solution is not so obvious.  In this stage of the game, I still need to settle and make wars.  I cannot afford Democracy right now.  Well I guess I've learned the annoying way that I can't really afford to be Green either.  The tech was useful for getting The Empath Guild but I shouldn't have gone Green.

Yes I could recover from this umbrage.  But why bother?  I don't like how my empire is laid out or garrisoned and it feels like a big waste of mouseclicks.  This hasn't felt like an effective empire, despite my leading status on the board.  It has felt like stagnant / doing poorly.

Objectively, since 2 other factions have the same power as myself, and a 3rd is nearly so, my feeling is probably correct.  Later for this.  Continuing with such games, and especially such narratives, is time intensive and I could do better.

I'm beginning to get annoyed at doing poorly 2 games in a row.  What is up with that?  In Zhakarov's case, partly it was boredom.  I didn't want to play him the way I knew he needed to be played.  I paid the price for that.  I don't like games where the environment constrains me to only do X.

In this game, I shouldn't have gone Green, and I'm not used to the slowness at which Cha Dawn produces things.  It makes SPs sluggish.  I let a lot of SPs go by, that I feel I should have secured more of.  I had the techs, but not the ability to make good on them.

I also think the lack of action from Marr for such a long time, lulled me into a false sense of security about whether he'd ever attack at all.  I know that garrisoning vs. doing other things is a "press your luck" situation.  But that doesn't change the fact that feeling paranoid about needing to garrison, isn't enjoyable.  I think I wanted to be able to enjoy what Cha Dawn was doing, and I really didn't feel that the whole game.  Just felt like struggling the whole time.

So this game and narrative used up an entire day of my life.  Only to suffer a base walk-in?  WTF!!  Why bother?  Really, probably put 10 hours into this, why bother?  Other than to make a record of events of a game, I'm not really seeing the justification.

Title: Re: Cha Dawn braves the unknown
Post by: bvanevery on February 25, 2018, 09:58:54 PM
EPILOGUE:

I blew off this game.  A viable game; hey, I made Governor.  Clearly I could have retaken that 1 city.  But to get to that point, used up an entire day of my life.  That's not quality gaming time spent.