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

Does Miriam suck?

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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 want to play a builder game where I make a lot of SPs, preferrably most of them.  I don't want to play a tech cripped, production cripped faction.  That's what happened with Santiago last game, relative to 3 other strong research factions.  I said if I got Santiago on the random draw, I'd reroll.  I'd also reroll Aki Zeta-5 because I've done so many games with her recently and I know how she works.

Would I object to the Believers?  She's tech crippled, but not production crippled because she has piles of support.  That's who I drew.  Is that enough to make a viable builder empire?  It may depend on who else is in the game and who my neighbors are.  I've played an isolated builder-oriented Miriam before, and did pretty decently for a time.  But IIRC, then I came in contact by land to a Santiago sitting on the Monsoon Jungle.  All I could do at that point was fight fight fight, the whole builder SP thing went down the toilet.  Other factions of course did all the SPs, being far away, unimpeded, and able to get the tech to get the projects started.  No way I could steal from them because they were too far away.  And even if I could, I was at war with Santiago and couldn't afford much in the way of SPs.

So there are things that Miriam definitely can't handle.  Experience has shown that her faction power of kick butt Probe Teams, is undermined by the vast distances of a Huge map.  Only luck would overcome it, like starting next to the University for instance.

What are the other factions in this game?  I'm checking that up front and center.  The Caretakers, the Morganites, the Peacekeepers, the Spartans, the Cultists, and the Drones.  Many of those can be serious threats.  The one faction I'd like to be farthest away from me, the one I'd wish to win the "unrestricted lottery", would be the Cultists.  They never make good use of it, they are a stagnating faction.  Might have to do with their -1 Industry penalty.  Ok well, let's see how things actually are on the map.

Things look flat.  I'm probably on an island, but it might be a good sized one.  If I'm on an island, then someone is going to be unrestricted in their ability to expand.  How do I deal with that?  I'm not likely to be able to research SPs and finish things quicker than other factions.  Domai is in the game and represents a lower bound on how long anyone can wait.  Once he gets something, it gets built.

I could build The Weather Paradigm and land bridge to other factions.  However in the past when I've done this, either deliberately or accidentally with an earthquake, it can have really bad consequences if one has a violent neighbor.  One gets into a war, without a moat, and is stuck with it.  So that means I also want to explore off my island, before deciding whether to bridge it.  This is sounding like an Explore, Discover focus, because I'm probably going to want Fundamentalism and probe teams too.

The land I was given is bad.  I can hope that the pods will be good, or that some kind of good land feature is nearby.  I move a colonist onto the adjacent pod, knowing that mindworms can't harm me on turn 0.  Also if it becomes a nutrient I can put my capitol there.  I'm not going to put my capitol where I've landed, 1 square inland.

Oh good God, that's unusual, and really sucks.  I don't ever remember getting to start on a Xenofungal Bloom before.  Well I sure hope I'm next to the Monsoon Jungle or something because otherwise, this might be a pretty short writeup.  I'm not settling anywhere near this mess, and I have to leave my Scout in place so that I can extract my colonist from the center of the fungus.

That land looks so dry to the north, that it could be the USS Unity crash site.

Next turn my pod pops a Monolith.  That dry land still looks Unity-like, but it's uncertain.  I move the fungal colonist to where the Scout is, and the Scout to the river.  It will go south to pop that pod.

No exciting crash site, just crappy land.  I might have to put my capitol on the river, in reach of the Monolith.  Then find where some real land is.  This is not looking like a good start.

I pop a nutrient on Rolling terrain.  I have some difficult choices to make about that.

I could found my capitol in reach of both the Monolith and the nutrient.  However a newly minted city will only make use of one of them, which means half of my starting resources are wasted.

Also when a city gets to size 2, it is better to have minerals as the 2nd tile, not food.  That way a colonist can be made quickly.  Going to size 3 requires keeping people happy, otherwise it's just wasted.  Now, I do start the game with Social Psych, so I have options that other factions don't have in that regard.  I could rush a Rec Commons, and thereby be working with an early size 3 capitol instead of size 2.  However my experience is that building infrastructure way too early, is a good way to thwart one's colonial growth.  I don't know that the extra food makes up for taking longer to grow to size 3.

Finally, as city sites go, this is a bad patch of fungus to be next to.  I'm under pressure to get something done as I'm a few turns behind already, but considering my other options is in order.

I could risk the river gauntlet and pop that pod with my colonist this turn.  If I don't stir up a mindworm doing so.  Not a terribly safe move, but being this far behind, gambling in order to catch up might be advised.

I could colonize the river square not in reach of the nutrient, and just use the Monolith.  Then my northern pod keeps walking, probably westwards.  This still leaves me with a capitol next to fungus, but it'll be easier to snip that fungus.

I could abandon the river area entirely by moving west onto the rock.  My northern colonist could move 1 square west and settle the capitol there next turn, in reach of the Monolith.

The better land is generally on the southwest side of a land mass.  Going east is probably more dry stuff.  Since I have 2 plans above that call for the northern colonist to go west, I will do so now, and see what kind of land is available.

Well I'm somewhat glad I did that.  Obviously not a good place for a capitol, in sight of water yet inland.  With 2 lovely fungal patches for seaborne mindworms to bother me as well.

I will move 1 square up river to reveal more land, move 1 square back to my original location, and found my capitol where I am.  That at least puts me entirely inland.  The Scout will go to the river and pop the pod in 2 turns.

Notice that because of this completely crap start, my 2nd colonist is going to take a long time before it gets to anywhere useful.  That fungal bloom definitely hurt.

I bring my independent Scout home because it doesn't require support, so is better to keep.  I use my more expendable supported Scout to make it easy for him to move onto the fungus.  When I head down river, I pop a 2nd Monolith.  This feels like The Lord of the Rings!  I've got the Two Towers.  This provides a lot more motivation to make a Rec Commons.  I've been switching to that just before popping a pod, hoping to get a completion, and then switching back when I don't get it.

Wow I just can't catch a break with this 2nd colonist.  So much for the "southwest coast" theory, this island seems to be completely dry.  Is this whole world dry?  I chose Average settings for everything, but that can still have variations.  If someone is sitting on the Monsoon Jungle while the rest of us are struggling like this, that faction is going to kick our butts.

I find myself totally unwilling to ruin my nice Capitol setup by cramping it with a 2nd city in range of these Monoliths.  That's a short vs. long term choice, and I may pay the price.  This colonist is going to have a lot more walking ahead of it.  Pretty much has to backtrack all the way to the east, unless the Scout finds something worth it to the south.


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