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

Santiago the Builder

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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.  As my AARs become longer and longer, I think that's the only way to keep this readable.  Don't worry about "interrupting".  I guarantee I can reestablish the flow with a massive wall of text and 5 screenshots if need be.

I thought a lot about why I'm disliking the past few games I've played.  One of my conclusions is that I tend to rate my progress by the number of Secret Projects I've completed.  When a whole lot of them go by that I didn't get, I don't feel that I'm doing very well.  So in this game I intend to focus on the SPs and not be distracted by peripheral concerns.

Huge map, average settings, random factions including myself.  First I get Aki Zeta-5.  I've played so many games with her recently, that I reroll.  On the 2nd attempt I get Santiago, and no Alien factions in the game.  I've just drawn the worst faction to be isolated with on a Huge map, as her Morale bonuses aren't terribly useful if there's no enemy to crush, and she has -1 Industry.  I've played "isolated Santiago" games before though, so I push down the feelings that this is going to suck.  I decide I will make a go of it, and if this ends up being a short game and a short writeup, so beit.

I'm on some kind of land mass that looks like it could be substantial, or it could be a tiny island.  If it's a tiny island, I'm likely to quit the game.  I've had quite enough of tiny island starts that require me to focus on Explore, to get ships to get off the tiny island.  That's just a "bad roll" AFAIAC nowadays, as it will invariably put me behind other factions.  I've done it hundreds of times and it's not basically interesting to me anymore.  So I set my focus to Discover, Build, figuring that if things don't work out, I'll just quit.

The land turns out to be acceptably large.  Some touching land in the northeast leads to a new area.  I also set off an earthquake in the east which extended my land slightly.  I've won the land size gamble, but it's rocky and covered in a lot of fungus.  If it looks ok to you now, that's because I've done lots of work meticulously cutting all the fungus away around my bases.  Those river systems were full of fungus.

I did not get any minerals near my starting location, nor any Artifacts until just now.  I did get lots of free Rover Scouts.  I've built more vertically than spread-y, because I had a real problem last game with spreading thin and not having substantial production.  I've got Recycling Tanks in all cities and Recreation Commons in almost all.  Not building Rec Commons and failing to have my cities get bigger sooner, is a mistake I've made in several recent games.  Not this time!

I began The Human Genome Project even without good minerals, because I figured I had to do something.  It is perhaps 60% finished and nobody else is working on it, so I might get it.  My 2 copies of The Weather Paradigm are barely started, only 15% complete.  Aki Zeta-5 is working on it as well, I can't remember for how long.  The University is working on The Virtual World.

The free Rover Scouts did their job popping pods where they could.  The remaining pods are either on rocky terrain or fungus.  I'm sending Scouts to finish those.  Then I'll be out of pods and will need to consider when I'm going to start fishing the ocean.  Unless I get The Weather Paradigm, in which case I could raise land instead, but that might be an expensive way to avoid Explore research.  Still, I'll consider it.

I find it interesting that the Peacekeepers and the Gaians are rated so highly on the graph, yet they have not begun any SPs.  Maybe they're on large land masses and are expanding like crazy.  Meanwhile the Data Angels clearly got the short stick.  I'd be in the same boat if I wasn't good at this.

Why I got Doctrine:Flexibility this turn I don't know, but it is useful.  One of my bases can start making a Transport 3 turns from now.  I need to save my cash for SPs.  Deirdre just started The Empath Guild.  Lal recently began working on 2 copies of The Weather Paradigm.  The University is working on 2 copies of The Virtual World.

I forgot that the Spartans have +1 Police, enabling me to use 2 military units as police.  My bases can get a little bigger than I thought they could.  Well for better or worse, I've got Rec Commons everywhere.  I won't make the same mistake when colonizing the upper half of my land.

I completed The Human Genome Project with cash.  I'm now beginning 2 Transports.  We started sunspots a few turns ago, so I have to be more careful about enemy SPs.  I won't get any warnings that they're about to complete.  The Believers have thrown their hat in the ring as well.

I pop Industrial Base from a fungus ridden sea pod.  That's a lot better than an Isle in the face!  Now I have some breathing room for SP completion, even if I don't get The Weather Paradigm.

I research Planetary Networks.  I switch to Planned, accepting the -2 Efficiency in the interest of getting my SPs done.  I switch to Build only focus as I've got the techs for the Discover SPs.  I don't strictly need Secrets of the Human Brain.  My inherent Morale bonus is protecting me from mindworms and Sea Lurks just fine.

I popped an Artifact in a fungal sea pod.  If I can get it back to base in time, I can definitely finish The Weather Paradigm with it.  If not, well there's still The Merchant Exchange and The Virtual World.

I am not going to try for The Command Nexus at present.  I'm conscious that more techs increases the research expense of additional techs.  Previous experience is that one can go a long time fishing around for Doctrine:Loyalty and not getting it.  I have taken on the role of a Builder this game, not a conqueror.  I don't even know if I have anyone next to me to conquer anyways.  And if there is anyone, I can now probe team them anyways.


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