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

Gold Rush

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My first go at an AAR, and this will be heavily spoilered as the game is an attempt at a speed run abusing a number of "features"*. I'll try to keep to the ;morgan;-ite style of storytelling, wrangling profit from disaster while being somewhat informative and entertaining.

Depech Mode - Everything Counts

(click to show/hide)
intransitive verb 1b, but moreso 3 in this AAR
With a level of ethics that'd make ;zak; blush, I'll start with the variables/settings I controlled for, in case someone wishes to do a similar experiment:
GoG Version with Yitzi's 3.5d patch applied
Start Game
Make Random Map
Huge Planet
Customize Rules
Turn on Higher Goal, Total War, Peace in Our Time, Mine, All Mine, One for All, Look First, and No Unity Survey.
The rest are off, but the important ones for what I did are Do or Die, Tech Stagnation, and Blind Research (although Blind Research can be worked around with insufficient scruples and sufficient patience).
Original 7 factions, selecting  ;morgan; to play


 He who dies with the most toys wins. - Malcolm Forbes

R.E.M. - It's the End of the World

(click to show/hide)First order of business is to start up the game until you get MY2100 (not 2101) and positioning such that your starting units can reach 4 unity pods. I ask that you suspend disbelief briefly and take my word that the most valuable option before proceeding to MY2101 is to first pop the pods for 4 comm link frequencies. The AI factions can and will spend down into negative amounts of credits in order to get comm link frequencies and techs from you, and that's not just ok, but extremely useful in this experiment.
As Morgan the optimal four seem to be (save before you start dealing with them, and get a feel for who wants what):

* ;miriam; (to trade for Social Psyche while she's still meek, although she won't go into debt to get tech like the others *gasp morals!*)
* ;santi; (also surprisingly happy to work with you on turn zero, will trade you Doctrine: Mobility and still happily shell out 25 energy credits she doesn't have when you contact her again this turn)
* ;zak; (doesn't have a stick up his butt since he can't yet have gotten Planetary Networks as his free tech, will trade you Information Networks for another tech, etc.)
* ;lal; (Will let Biogenetics go for Information Networks)
From a few attempts ;yang; thinks he too good for you with his tier 2 Doctrine: Loyalty (you actually want to avoid it anyhow), and Dierdre wants your head on a stick (and you don't want Centauri Ecology either. Put down the pitchforks, the end goal is Mind-Machine Interface.)

Some time after trading for Social Psyche you'll want to Shift-R to set your research goal to Ethical Calculus. (It's not available with every combination of tech, so try after  ;miriam;, and again after  ;santi;, but before ;zak; and ;lal;). At least for me the interface appears to be glitched on turn zero, and you'll need to do Shift-R, make a new save, Ctrl-K to check which one you got, and reload the prior save if it gave the wrong one. Can't go losing those points of research you gained from popping pods now can we? ;lol

Depending on how the "mood" of some of the AI was initialized (some appear to be random from game to game) you should be able to negotiate your way to ~340 credits and 5 technologies. Now that's starting to look like the monopolistic grasping that gives ;deidre; nightmares.

Select your units, and disband all but one colony pod. Save again, and breathe deep because you're about to take a dive.

"Don't Let it end like this. Tell them I said something important." - misattributed to Francisco "Pancho" Villa

Collective Soul - The World I Know

(click to show/hide)Since "Do or Die" is turned off, the next step is to disband that last former and end the turn. Do not save before ending the turn. That causes weirdness when you reload instead of getting a mulligan. Autosave is going to be important throughout the rest of this exercise.

MY2101 begins and you've got 2 new colony pods  ;b; , an independent terraformer  :o, and a synthmetal sentinel  ??? (probably due to Morgan having synthmetal armor prototyped for free as a bonus).

Taking a dive causes you to lose your comm link frequencies, and any military or non-miltary units.

You get Morgan's normal 10 starting energy credits and his bonus 100 from starting the game and... wait just a darned minute! Your ill-gotten credits from trading with the other factions on turn zero aren't lost because technically, no one took them from you ;) The technologies you traded for are there as well as the treaties and pacts (which can be confirmed with Ctrl-K and then reloading the first auto save)

You want to repeat the step of disbanding that last colony pod from turn zero until you get two conditions: first you want to end up in a favorable spot to settle your colony pods, and second you need to check via Ctrl-K that ;zak; didn't waste his free tech on Secrets of the Human Brain. You sold him Social Psych and Biogenetics on turn zero. It's an option for him, but appears to be bugged when chosen as his free tech, it doesn't give him the resulting free tech from being the first to discover it. Preferred options would be getting him to choose Planetary Networks or Applied Physics for his free tech, and the follow up that he then researches normally.

Another bit of foreshadowing, the game will be over before the resource caps are lifted for minerals and energy, but you will lift the cap for nutrients. Therefor, ideal starting spots are probably in or near the monsoon jungle, the fresh water sea, and if possible on a river since you're just getting the one terraformer from taking a mulligan.

I managed to get one in some nice rainy territory a stone's throw from the monsoon jungle on a river. A better start would have been 3 squares southwest, but waiting for the stars to line up for that square, and ;zak; having the tech I wanted him to take exceeded my patience.

The rest of MY2101 will be save-scumming those two unity pods to get comm links to ;deidre; and ;yang;, founding Morgan Industries, rush buying Recycling Tanks, moving the terraformer to begin road duty, and moving the other colony pod toward where it's going to settle.

Note: Convening the council to elect the planetary governor checks whether you have met all of the other human factions, not whether you still have the comm links. However with only 1 population we'll have to wait until we found that second base to steal the election. ::)

Further Note: the underscore in the saves prevents the game interfering with sequential numbers in game saves being misinterpreted as the mission year, which the game automatically tries to adjust for you... :mad:

If you build it, he will come. - A rather talkative Iowa corn field in the film "Field of Dreams"

Duran Duran - Election Day

(click to show/hide)Under Ctrl-W for warning preferences, make sure all of the "stop for" options are turned on. This will let you zoom to bases when productions are completed during the maintenance phase of the turn, switch to stockpile energy, spend 4 credits per mineral to bring it up to the initial "hurdle" (the first 10 minerals, not the same as the first row) assuming the base isn't "exhausted" from the previous turn, explanation coming up soon ;)

Some more saving, checking, and reloading the end of MY2101 yields ;zak; having picked Planetary Networks and researching Applied Physics.

Found Morgan Interstellar as the second base, and now you can abuse those pacts and treaties from turn zero to both steal the election, and regain the comm links you lost when you took a dive. Oversell some more techs and comm links to the AI for more credits and treaty/pact with ;yang; and ;deidre;.

Sitting at 400ish credits, it's time to abuse stockpile energy again. To the tune of "buying the Merchant Exchange on MY2012"  ??? Due to weirdness in Yitzi's patch, Stockpile Energy behaves like a base facility costing 2 rows of minerals, but does not halve minerals when switching from it to anything else. You can also overspend credits past the 2 rows, and keep them, including secret projects. So, having prepared Morgan Industries during maintenance to get the minerals into the current item up to the "hurdle", switch into Stockpile Energy. Spend 380 credits. Switching to the Merchant Exchange. Next turn you'll have the Merchant Exchange, and the base will be "exhausted" during the maintenance phase (meaning you get the message about "only one hurry payment per base per turn" when it zooms to the base.

Some more trading and there're enough credits to rush the Recycling Tanks at Morgan Interstellar. Thanks to ;morgan;'s commerce bonus + the governor commerce bonus, Morgan Industries is now up to a vibrant 16 energy per turn. And he hasn't even gotten to switch to Free Market yet. Adjust the tax rate a bit so that Morgan Industries will finish up Ethical Calculus next turn, and the research from Morgan Interstellar carries over into the next tech.

On to MY2103

I am confused.  Why are you including seemingly random music videos?  As for Spoilers, I think it would be better to actually describe what's occurring in your game, then have a Spoiler for the part that's actually a cheat.  Otherwise, there isn't anything to read.  Somebody might download your saved games and manually check them out, but that's not really what the medium of an AAR on a webpage is about.  It's reading about someone else's game.  I can see the saved games being useful if someone wanted to duplicate your techniques firsthand.


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