Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri & Alien Crossfire > After Action Reports

Svensgaard is a douchebag

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Comments and questions about the strategies I'm using in this game, are expected and encouraged.  Please make them in this thread.

I really couldn't enjoy the last game I played with Cha Dawn.  Even though I had the nominal lead position nearly the whole time, it was a nominal lead and nothing really felt like it was ever working.  Well maybe getting a Battle Ogre in your face early on will do that to you.  Yes I killed it, but it made me feel cautious and reactive for quite a long time.  And then when I eased up... I got a walk-in!  Well I'm going to try harder not to have things screw with my mind this game.

Huge map, average settings, random factions including myself.  I draw Svensgaard.  He's such a douchebag.  I've never liked him, I thought he was this stupid pretty boy not even vaguely credible cartoon cutout thing.  Who dreamed this crap up?  In later years I came to appreciate the Pirate faction as a game mechanical idea, but I've never, ever liked Svensgaard.  Also whoever they got as the voice actor, sorry, never sounded like a pirate.  Sounded like a nice young man wearing a sweater reading old literature, or pretending to.

If I had been thinking about it, and unfortunately I wasn't, I would have renamed this guy "Ragnar Lothbrok".  I'm not sure I can do that afer the starting screen.

The good news is I've played a lot of specifically Pirate games in the past.  It may have been awhile, but I shouldn't forget "how to do Pirates" too badly.  Also Pirates have a natural moat, so it's difficult for other factions to mess with them if I don't want them to.  Finally, a few games I did think about playing the Pirates and drowning everyone.  I'm not sure if that's worth the work, but I may explore it to some degree.  If I can stay interested long enough, which in recent games has been a non-trivial challenge.

I start as usual in the middle of deep ocean nowhere.  Fortunately I'm not an AI so I don't have to stupidly settle my capitol in the most worthless squares ever.  I can see a pod, so I'll pop it with one of my Sea Colonists.  If it's an Isle of the Deep, on the 1st turn it's not gonna kill me.  It may not even scratch me.  Huh, sure enough, an Isle.  With 1 move remaining I attempt to move out of the way.  Maybe it smells fresher meat somewhere on land.

One thing I remember about the Pirates, is it's a really bad idea to settle one's first 2 bases in widely different places.  The base away from the capitol inevitably is inefficient and under-productive.  Better to keep them in roughly the same area.

To the north is the end of the map.  It would be better from a spreadout standpoint to head south.  There are some land masses to the south.  Also to the west, but they are farther away.  To the east is the Isle, not going that way right now.  South it is then, with the other Sea Colonist.  I find a nutrient and a pod.  I can land on either for my 4th move.  I can't settle a base with no moves, and I don't know if that's optimal anyways, so I pop the pod.  It is... another Isle!  Well I guess that one will take a beating.  Fortunately, my ships are far enough apart that they can't get hit by two Isles.  I've never really tested that scenario in the early game before.

I'm left with my Scout ship.  I should probably investigate the nutrient before choosing an exact site for my capitol.  For instance, if the nutrient is actually out at sea, it's better to be next to land.  It's touching a crap piece of fungus covered island, not what I'd call exciting.

The touching Isle wounded my colonist, reducing it to 2 movement.  The non-touching Isle found something better to go after.  This is going to have a strange synchronizing effect as my northern colonist heads south and catches up with my southern colonist.  The scout ship finds a bunch of shallows and that might be an acceptable place to nestle the capitol, in reach of the nutrient.  As of turn 2 I still haven't founded my capitol, for lack of movement points.

The scout ship finds some minerals in the water, but they are covered in fungus.  Also a budding fungal stalk on the land mass, which is not at all helpful as it will put fungus in the water until I kill it.  I also see another pod in the water, but I can't reach it now.  I'm thinking that I really need to nestle up against this coast though, that the nutrient is too far out at the border of deep ocean.  Capitols need to be somewhat centralized to be most effective, and putting a capitol next to an ocean that can't support anything, isn't smart.

It's looking like in practice, neither of these resources is actually useful right now.  I'm going to need to accept an imperfect spot on the coast, in the interest of time.  The wounded colonist goes south 2 squares and finds dry, hardscrabble terrain.  That's really not going to work.  I guess there's only 2 ways to go around a coast, which means the wounded colonist shall go west, the unwounded shall go east.  Although, I worry that in practice, this will put my capitol on the drier side of the island.  Er, continent?  It looks pretty damn big.

I think instead, I will send both colonists west.  The full movement one, I'll position to pop yet another pod next turn.  My luck has to change with the Isles, right?

Popping the pod gives me a sonar reading.  I have 3 moves remaining, so I will pop the pod that's in reach.  It gives me 100 credits.  The scout ship moves west and finds more hardscrabble, as well as a lot of fungus on the coast.  This is not good land.  I may not be able to do any better than the hardscrabble I already found near my wounded colonist.  If I must settle my capitol next to the fungal stalk, I will at least nestle it deeply towards the river squares.  Another turn lost, but in the long run that's a better place.

Scout sails west around some sea fungus, and it's still crap out there.  Well my capitol is going to sit next to a fungal stalk, which I must immediately spend time trying to kill.  First I will found the capitol, then I will pop the pod and hope that I get a Transport completed that way.  Early pod popping to complete stuff, is one of the tricks for getting the Pirates ahead of the game.  Once my colonist has popped the pod, it will settle on the nutrient and make sea colonists.

I got another sonar readout, so I'm going after the pod that was revealed.  That may seem like I'm putting my settlement speed in jeopardy, but my experience is it really is important to get Transports completed instantly.  This gives me a chance to do that.  If I can start putting Scouts on the land mass right way, I get to kill that stalk, and I pop more pods.

I choose Discover, Build focus as I think I want to just sit back and build SPs.

When moving my scout ship, I didn't see that the pod I was positioned to pop, was sitting on fungus.  I've got an Isle while sitting on fungus myself.  This is a serious test of how much immunity is granted at the beginning of the game.  Is it too much to hope to not be scratched?  If I survive and am badly dinged up, I still have to backtrack to get healed, or sit in place.  Both lose me time.  If I blow it off and move forwards, I move slowly.  So please, pretty please, don't hurt me.  Probably too much to ask.

Hot damn!  Barely scratched.  Proceeding as normal.


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