Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri & Alien Crossfire > The Theory of Everything

Morgan Builder's primer by Ogie Oglethorpe


Faction Strengths:
starts with 100 EC's.
+1 economy.
Extra trade income from treaties/pacts.

-1 support.
pop 4 limit before hab complexes.
pop 11 limit before hab domes.
can't run planned (Pre SMAX Golden Age patch no ability to pop boom w/o Cloning Vats SP).

Morgan is considered the ultimate builder faction of SMAC. The reason is simple he is the energy King. But in order to play him right, it definitely takes some getting used to. He is weak militarily in the early game due to his poor support. So if he's not building military he is best suited building facility and infrastructure.

Points of discussion:
1) Tech Tree and Beelines SE choices.
2) base layout and t-forming.
3) SP's.

Topic 1: Tech Tree Beelines
The initial opening gambit that I heard of and found extremely helpful goes something like this. As soon as you found your first base change research priorities to Biogenetics. Set production of your first base immediately to Merchant Exchange SP. When you place your second base do the same.
As soon as you discover Biogenetics switch production to recycling tanks and use the 100+ credits you've got to rush buy recycling tanks at both initial base sites. Voila! You've now got two great starting bases primed to pump out colony pods.
Techs beelines then become as follows:
Biogenetics - 1st tech.
Industrial Econ - 2nd tech - Switch to FM ASAP.
Info Networks.
Centauri Ecology - Formers.
Planetary Networks - Probe teams.
Industrial Automation - Switch to Wealth, crawlers, and Planetary Transit System.
Then normally:
Social Psych.
Secrets of Human Brain.
Gene Splice.
Eco Engineering.
Planetary Economy.
After that beeline to tech that allow clean reactors (having a brain cramp right now and can't remember it). Once clean reactors are in play Morgan can build as many military units as he wants and now he is ready to play any style he wants.
Regarding SE's: FM and wealth is a great combination for Morgan. Deal with the drone issues as needed by converting a citizen to a doctor. Every new base you place the first thing you build will most likely be a recycling tank that is rush bought (use the 10 free mins and buy the rest). This allows pop growth to size 2 quickly and supports size 2 base size with one citizen on a forest and one as a doctor as needed. Try to stay away from Demo if at all possible until you've decided to rein in your colony expansion, reason being you want the free 10 mins and you'll kill yourself support-wise.

Topic 2: Base layout & T-forming
Nothing really special other than you don't necessarily need the +2 nut squares as you'll be relying on the recycling tanks. What this means is the first worker can go straight to a forest for decent min/energy production.
Generally speaking because of the pop limits the amount of squares actually worked will be small. So, tight base spacing is preferable as this means that new base placement will be quick, resulting turn advantage. I alternate between 2 and 3 square spacings (vs. any other faction standard as a 3 square spacing arrangement).
Most of the power of Morgan comes in the early game because of his high energy base square. Remember that the energy restriction doesn't hold for the base square. As a consequence of running FM/Wealth, the +4 econ makes base squares yield obscene amounts of energy thus powering research and funding the recycling tank rush buys. So you want to ICS (Infinite City Sprawl) with Morgan as a result.

Topic 3: SP's
All the early ones are good. Generally speaking through I recommend going for the Human Genome SP first to aid the ICS process. Planetary Transit System (PTS) for Morgan is really the jewel through, IMHO. Because he can't pop boom, any additional pop points are very important. The only problem is if you get PTS then you have to remember to have a +2 nut square else you have a turn of starvation (i.e. no production even if you rush buy the recycling tank).
SP acquisition is IMHO where Morgan really shines. After Ind Auto, Morgan should have all bases making crawlers for mins (just like any other faction), but Morgan has synth metal already prototyped. What's more he has scads of energy so go into the unit workshop create a synth armored crawler (add trance ability after SotHB) and build standard crawlers. Upgrade them to synth/(trance) and cash them in. Instantly the scads of energy Morgan has becomes industrial might towards SP's.
With luck you can get all of the early ones if not at least the majority of them. Concentrate through on the ones I mentioned and after that I'd recommend the Weather Paradigm.

Final Notes
As you probably have deduced much of the builder style revolves around getting to Industrial Auto ASAP and then having enough industrial and energy might to acquire SP’s, build facilities and respond militarily when required. For this reason I favor use of Free Market and Wealth. However, I fully recognize that it is not the only way to achieve these goals. If you find a means to run a positive planet rating (a green faction with inherent + planet, run green, or find/settle the manifold nexus) then worm hunting is a wonderful means to get free units (which may be cashed in if you so choose) or to get plenty of energy from worm hunting, find lots of alien artifacts, all resulting in ability to grow/build. Point is there is no absolute best method of being a builder.
Matter of fact the whole Free Market approach may just be the exact wrong way for you as you may need to contact others ASAP, and since the biggest penalty of Free Market IMHO is that in the early game it requires you to be a homebody and not an explorer.

Written by Ogie Oglethorpe


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