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

Santiago the Builder

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Lal was about to complete The Virtual World, but Zhakarov built it instead.  I always figured he'd get it.  Lal completed The Citizens Defense Force instead.  Meanwhile he and Deirdre are working Builder SPs.  I find it annoying that they're out-Building me.

This is the point in the game where my enjoyment starts to suffer.  I can't build the SPs I want, and I can't establish dominance over the other players.  Lal, I could invade, but I don't even know where Deirdre is.  If she's on the opposite of the map, then she's a runaway that I can't control.  That would be like the game I played with Morgan on the opposite side of the map, where I kept reacting to him forever and was never able to catch up.  After that I said I wasn't going to let other factions become more powerful that me, but I can't control that right now in this game.  I didn't want to play as "the invader" either, that's another thing ruining my enjoyment.

Perhaps Fundamentalism, stealing, and invasion are in my future.  But I will grow for now.  18 years until my next research breakthrough.  That's not looking good for Industrial Automation.

I walked the dog and came back to the game.  I decided I cannot win by sitting back and hoping to out-Build Lal and Deirdre.  The AI is given basic resource advantages I will not be able to match for some time.  Games are pretty much winnable "eventually" but it takes a lot more mouseclicks to get there.  I don't want to waste lots of real life time on such things.  It's sort of like grinding in MMORPGs and I have pretty deep feelings of been there, done that over the years.

So my politics have to change and I have to invade Lal.  I will try to accomplish my objectives with subterfuge, but my probe teams may be compromised and then I just have to invade the old fashioned way.

First up is I'm ditching the Planned economy in favor of Simple.  Although some of my bases need very much to grow, others are at their population limit and need less population pressure.  Perhaps at that point Deirdre will also make peace.  Before switching her attitude is Seething.  After switching her attitude is still Seething, so I guess I'll need to wait some turns before speaking to her.

Lal is sitting on the Monsoon Jungle.  That explains why he's strong.  He has also researched Industrial Automation.  I've given up the Build focus, I've switched to Conquer.  There's a chance that over the long haul, I might out-Conquer the other factions.

I am Fundamentalist Simple now.  I have 2 Elite land Probe Teams ready to go, but I didn't have a land city target to use them on.  Now I've found one, but it'll take some time to get there by Transport.  My Skimship Probe Teams aren't trained enough to do a frame job.

I still don't know where anyone is other than Lal and Miriam.  I've encountered a Gaian Isle of the Deep far to the northeast.  Her attitude is softening towards me, she's merely Quarrelsome now.  Miriam ironically is still Seething.

I've probably found Deirdre, a ways to the northeast.

I bought Intellectual Integrity from Zhakarov for 100 credits.  When I steal from Lal, I am taking a risk of war with another faction.  I want to minimize the number of times I roll the dice on that.  I'd like to obtain something "good" for my trouble, not something I can buy for a mere 100 credits.

Deirdre completes The Planetary Energy Grid.  Nothing I could do about that.  Lal is showing 24 turns to complete The Planetary Datalinks, so maybe I can steal that one and build it.  I suspect his productivity is no better for The Planetary Transit System, as he started that one more recently.

Lal had some choice words for me when he saw my Probe Team.  He's Seething, but he didn't declare war.

Who shall I frame?  Definitely not Zhakarov or Aki Zeta-5, as sometimes I buy techs from them and they're well-disposed towards me.  How about Roze?  She's the weakest player in the game, I have no idea where she is, and she's naturally Democratic.  On the other hand, I'm not doing this because I want to be Democratic, but because I need to get ahead of Lal.  Roze is Noncommittal towards me, she's not a hater.

Meanwhile Miriam is Seething despite all my good words with the Lord.  She's at war with Aki and Deirdre.  It feels right to frame her.  Especially, it's highly credible that she'd do it.  I doubt the game takes that into consideration, but it has panache from a roleplaying standpoint.  If I do it and get caught, then Miriam may annoy me with her ships, but Lal will be annoying me anyways in that case.  And if I succeed, it's very good to have Miriam and Lal at war with each other.  They're supposed to be at war anyways, they're politically incompatible.

Ok here goes.  And I promise I'm not going to save scum this.

Industrial Automation stolen.  Miriam framed!

That's almost the best possible result, because I can use supply crawlers to build the SP quickly.  It is tempting to sit back and make good on this, but I think I'd better steal the other tech next turn.  If I steal later, Lal will probably declare war when my probe team comes next to him.  Something about time passing and probe teams showing up, allows AIs to engage in instant communication with them.  I think that's a cheat, or a serious misfeature, as it's not a diplomatic envoy.  Are probe teams supposed to be trivial to detect?  If so, then why can they pull off operations like this?  Anyways it's illogical, more game mechanical than sensible.

The point is, if I steal now, and I get what I want, then I can retire from Fundamentalism.  Lal doesn't have any more techs to steal, and Deirdre already completed the Grid.  It would be reasonable to go back to Democratic Planned to complete my SPs.


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