Author Topic: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]  (Read 1494 times)

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Offline Tayta Malikai

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2020, 02:14:35 PM »
Mission Year 2165



When the United Nations arrived on Planet, we believed that we would be able to avoid the pitfalls of Earth as we strived to build a fair and just society for all of humanity. But today, more than sixty years after Planetfall, such optimism appears to have been sorely misplaced. While the United Nations continues to stand by its hopes for a better future, the leaders of Planet’s other factions, already forever marked by their acts of sabotage in high orbit that splintered the UNS Unity’s mission, have chosen to resurrect regressive forms of government at the expensive of their citizens, in a deliberate throwback to their long dead sponsors on Earth.

Then as now, the United Nations condemns the re-emergence of authoritarianism in all its forms. In order that we as UN citizens might better banish these dark forces back into the dustbin of history where they belong, this publication will endeavour to familiarize you with the forms and mechanisms of the current authoritarian regimes here on Planet.
 
Might Makes Right: Colonel Corazon Santiago

Code: [Select]
Starting tech: Doctrine: Mobility.
+2 MORALE
-1 INDUSTRY
Prototypes do not cost extra minerals.
Pro-Power, Anti-Wealth.

The mad Colonel’s regime is a classic example of the far-right populism that became so prevalent during Earth’s final century. Having first risen to power on a slogan of “Make Humanity Great Again”, Corazon Santiago immediately sought to burnish her militarist credentials by invading and annexing territory of the neighbouring Morgan Industries. It is an all too familiar pattern that a regime founded on ideals of strength can only survive by being seen to exercise it, for the moment it demonstrates signs of weakness, its own ideology will see to its downfall.

As in many classic autocracies, the stability of Santiago’s position rests on the support of the military, which she rewards with lavish spending and privileges to take advantage of the civilian population. To coerce the citizenry into acquiescing to this state of affairs, she has declared war on the United Nations, creating an external enemy to scare citizens into compliance. This “war” also provides a convenient excuse to engage in campaigns of nerve gassing “weaklings” and other political undesirables, all in accordance with the Spartan Federation’s proclaimed Social Darwinist ideology.

Santiago’s regime will eventually destroy itself, but not before it destroys others around it in its insatiable lust for power and dominance.
 
Survival as a Service: CEO Nwabudike Morgan

Code: [Select]
Starting tech: Industrial Base.
+1 ECONOMY
-1 SUPPORT
-1 POLICE
+1 COMMERCE
+100 starting credits
-3 standard population
Pro-Free Market, Anti-Planned.

The UN would do well to remember that many brands of authoritarianism owe their rise to widely felt grievances, legitimate or otherwise, against the capitalist economic system that dominated most of Earth’s modern history. Nwabudike Morgan’s regime provides a cautionary tale against dismissing these grievances out of hand – for while Morgan and his followers cloak themselves in the free enterprise that was so vital to the prosperity of Earth’s final golden age, beneath the shining surface of Morgan Industries lies a murky kleptocratic oligarchy.

As the “company’s” self-appointed CEO and Board of Directors, they freely embezzle and plunder the equivalent of billions of UN dollars from neo-feudal holdings, allowing them to live lives of immeasurable splendour and opulence on the backs of thousands of corporate drones. One only needs to look out the windows of UN Social Council to see the gleaming luxury villas lining the coasts of Morgan Processing just across the water, readily supplied with the finest aquafarm produce and guarded by legions of corporate security – rumoured to have been outsourced to the neighbouring Spartan Federation, as “remuneration” for the territories lost in the Spartans’ invasion. Such an arrangement is more than satisfactory to CEO Morgan; indeed, it is essential for his continued reign, as his rampant embezzlement of company funds leaves him unable to fund a military force of his own.

It is believed by UN Data Acquisition that even Colonel Santiago herself, for all her talk of survivalism and minimalism, regularly visits the Morgan villas to partake in narcotics and prostitutes with her fellow elites.
 
Data’s Mandate: Provost Prokhor Zakharov

Code: [Select]
Starting tech: Doctrine: Flexibility.
-1 POLICE
-2 PROBE
+2 RESEARCH
+1 drone per 4 population
Free Network Node at every base
Pro-Knowledge, Anti-Fundamentalist.

As the United States of America learned to its detriment during the 21st century, the free flow of information is a society’s only safeguard against tyranny. With the institution of his own uniquely technocratic brand of authoritarianism, Prokhor Zakharov shows that information itself can be wielded as the mechanism of tyranny. The Provost might claim to have abolished religion, but in reality, he has merely substituted one god for another: the god of Big Data.

Every decision in the University of Planet, no matter how big or small, is made on the basis of calculations carried out by a series of networked supercomputers salvaged from the UNS Unity. Naturally, these calculations are utterly arcane and incomprehensible to those lacking the necessary intellect, which just so happens to exclude anybody outside of Zakharov and his circle of loyalists. Like the priests of yesteryear, the academicians derive their authority from understanding and interpreting the supercomputers’ output, effectively enabling them to implement whatever policy they please under the banner of irrefutable “science”.

While the talent-worker-drone model of class stratification first identified by UN Social Council exists at some level in all societies, the University of Planet distinguishes itself by explicitly embracing and codifying such divisions as the basis for its social structure. The talent class, as far as it can be said to exist, consists mostly of research assistants to the academicians, who are tasked with following them around and fulfilling their every need, both intellectual and (according to rumour) physical. The worker class is made up of those lucky citizens whose non-academic skills are nevertheless considered essential to the University’s continued running, who face exacting schedules subject to the whims of the academicians and their supercomputers. Finally, there are the drones, who lack all human rights and are relegated to manual labour, treated with contempt by those above them.

Indeed, where the high levels of poverty observed in other factions could be seen as the result of neglect on the part of their leaders, Provost Zakharov considers the existence of a sprawling drone underclass to be a desirable outcome in itself. Citing pseudoscientific studies from Earth purporting to show that such poverty leads to high rates of birth, tens of thousands of “academically underperforming” drones were forcibly resettled in the Monsoon Jungle just east of University Base, left to scavenge food like primitive hunter-gatherers in stifling humidity, while the academicians enjoy the fruits of technological civilization in air conditioned comfort. It is clear that the Provost sees his faction’s drone population as nothing more than an endless pool of test subjects for his own depraved experiments.

One Man, One State: Chairman Sheng-Ji Yang

Code: [Select]
Starting tech: Social Psych.
-2 ECONOMY
-1 POLICE
+1 GROWTH
+1 INDUSTRY
Immune to negative EFFICIENCY
Pro-Police State, Anti-Democratic.

The world held high hopes for democracy at the turn of the millennium, and nowhere was this hope more apparent than with regard to the People’s Republic of China. With the collapse of authoritarian communism showing its inadequacy as a socioeconomic model, it was believed that an increase in free trade and integration with the free world would cause the PRC to undergo a similar democratic shift. Instead, the new wealth was captured by the ruling Communist Party of China to consolidate its power and transform the PRC into a revisionist nation, casting itself as a successful alternative to democracy that became an increasingly attractive model for dictators worldwide.

In that sense, Sheng-Ji Yang is merely following the legacy of his predecessors. Behind the principles of Sheng-Ji Yang Thought that every good Human Hive citizen can recite from memory is an overwhelming obsession with the total control of every single aspect of society and humanity. The slightest facial tic or production inefficiency is scrutinized by Hive Security for signs of thoughtcrime, with those deemed guilty soon disappearing into the Hive’s recycling tanks to fuel the next generation of disposable labourers. Hive “society” could barely be described as such, for the only interactions permitted between its citizens are those involving gruelling work to fulfil Chairman Yang’s grand vision. It is everything that humanity feared it would become towards the end of the 21st century, and worse.

A megalomaniac to the core, Chairman Yang is distinct from the average dictator in the strength of his devotion to his faction’s totalitarian ideology. He sincerely believes that the fate of humanity is a boot stomping on a face, forever – and that he alone must bear the burden of wearing that boot.

Most recently, the Human Hive has embarked on rapid territorial expansion towards the Uranium Flats, an uncomfortable reminder of the nuclear exchanges that spelled the end of human civilization on Earth. UN citizens would do well to remember that it was the PRC which ultimately sparked those exchanges with its covert support of neighbouring Pakistan’s nuclear ambitions. The Peacekeeping Forces’ timely establishment of UN Enforcement Base to observe the Uranium Flats may be the only thing standing between humanity on Planet and a repeat of those devastating events.

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Offline MercantileInterest

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2020, 10:05:56 PM »
good LP  ;b;

Offline Tayta Malikai

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #17 on: July 29, 2020, 11:59:03 AM »
U.N. EXPEDITION SUNK BY ECO-MILITANT “GAIANS”

United Nations exploratory personnel were brutally attacked without provocation by members of a heretofore-undiscovered Unity saboteur faction, reporters heard at a press conference held at UN Headquarters today.

As part of UN efforts to ensure freedom of navigation and promote maritime commerce in Planet’s oceans, a multi-agency expedition was convened and dispatched in MY 2151 aboard the coastal hydrofoil UNS Curiosity to chart and monitor the Northern Ocean. In keeping with the humanitarian ideals of the UN’s mission, the crew was equipped with only personal sidearms for self-defense.

After an uneventful first decade spent traversing the ocean and following the coastlines of several islands, all of which were found to be heavily overgrown by fungus and thus unsuitable for landing, signs of human habitation were observed on the shores of Island C. A closer investigation soon led the expedition to a ramshackle outpost inhabited by a small band of humans operating Unity-type terraforming equipment. Upon being hailed, they identified themselves as belonging to Gaia’s Stepdaughters, a “community of like-minded eco-sensitive individuals committed to ensuring a peaceful and sustainable path to human development on Planet”.

The discovery of Gaia’s Stepdaughters marks the fifth Unity saboteur faction confirmed to have survived Planetfall and the intervening years of settlement.

“It was like stepping into one of those holos from Old Earth,” Matteo Piccolo, a Senior Officer in the UN Planetary Maritime Organization, told UNDA investigators following the incident. “Everything we saw was more like an agricultural commune, like they had in warzones without any government services, than any kind of professional settlement endeavour. These people weren’t even wearing uniforms; they had some sort of tie-dyed sheets and scarves wrapped around them, the ones who were wearing clothes, anyway. I saw at least two of them taking their masks off to breathe in the fungal spores. Frankly, it’s incredible that a group like this was able to survive on Planet for so long.”

At this point, concerned that these “Gaians” might be engaged in ecologically unsound terraforming activities, Nutrition and Terraforming Organization inspectors on board the Curiosity asked to see their terraforming licenses. Shockingly, instead of complying, the Gaians responded by drawing weapons and opening fire on the expedition! The ensuing firefight resulted in heavy damage to the UNS Curiosity that forced the crew to abandon ship. Relentlessly pursued by “rainbow-painted” hydrofoils, the lifeboats finally reached the safety of UN-patrolled waters last week, whereupon they were rescued and returned to the port of UN Amnesty Town.

At today’s press conference, High Commissioner Tayta promised that the Gaians would face “serious repercussions” for their role in causing the incident. “It is despicable that these radical eco-militants would attack peaceful United Nations explorers undertaking lawful maritime charting and prospecting activities. Their tree-hugging antics may have won them sympathy on Earth, but here on Planet we are committed to improving the human condition through a program of controlled industrial development. There is no excuse for engaging in this sort of ill-thought violence.”

The NTO condemned the environmental damage caused in the crossfire. “Under the UN Charter and the powers granted to us by Resolution 38, we remain the only agency with the authority to approve terraforming operations on Planet. Unlicensed terraforming by rogue actors has the potential to easily destabilize Planet’s fragile ecosystems, and these so-called Gaians really ought to know better.”

No further contact with Gaia’s Stepdaughters is known to have occurred at this time.

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Offline Tayta Malikai

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2020, 01:19:36 PM »


The 2170s marked a period of rising tensions on Planet, as diplomatic relations between the United Nations and the other surviving factions continued to deteriorate. Both found it expedient to regularly denounce each other for their alleged depredations against the human condition, making use of such belligerent posturing to stir up nationalism among their respective populations and ensure that their frustrations were directed outwards. In the Spartan Federation, citizen militias jeered the UN for its humanitarian sensitivities; the University of Planet sneered at it for crippling its scientific capabilities with excessive bureaucracy; Morgan Industries decried it for engaging in communism. It was always possible to find something to lambast other factions for, when incidents weren’t simply made up wholesale.



Cross-border incursions became a semi-frequent occurrence between the United Nations and the Spartan Federation. In one highly publicized incident in 2172, a team of Spartan commandos was caught at the border by the UN Peacekeeping Forces and handed over to the UN Criminal Tribunal, where they were convicted of espionage and subsequently executed. Both sides vowed retaliation; UN Data Acquisition soon added insult to injury by sending its own commandos to infiltrate Sparta Command and “liberate” blueprints for Sparta’s new line of mass-produced man-portable particle impact rifles. The newest development in ground warfare, they hit harder, faster, and further than the conventional ballistic weapons they resembled, all while being far more practical to use and maintain than Earth-era laser rifles. It wasn’t long until every UNPF patrol carried them, the sight of which no doubt served to infuriate the Spartans even further.




Military technology wasn’t the only field in which innovation was taking place. Every faction had struggled during their early years to build sufficient industrial capacity; now that was done, they were turning their attentions to more esoteric methods of gaining an advantage. The University in particular sought to leverage its advantages by upgrading its extensive computer networks to pacify its sprawling drone population; meanwhile, the UN and Gaia’s Stepdaughters both raced to be first to crack the human genetic code, which promised to provide incalculable pharmaceutical and therapeutic benefit for their respective populations at large.



These were interesting times, and it was in 2186 that a certain event drew interest from all corners of Planet…

----------

“An election?!” High Commissioner Tayta exclaimed, mere minutes after he’d settled down to review today’s items. “They want to run an election?”

“They were very insistent about it,” Deputy High Commissioner Sally Mitchell replied, rolling her chair over so she could reach over his shoulder and fiddle on his tablet. “And they presented a solid case: under Section 22.7 of the UN Charter, ‘If leadership of the Unity mission is found to be permanently incapacitated, new leadership will be selected by means of a popular vote of the entire mission membership as soon as it is reasonably practicable.’ Now that we’ve confirmed the survival of all the other factions on Planet, they’ve decided that time is now.”

“But I am– I mean, we are the leadership of the Unity mission!” Tayta protested. “Their refusal to acknowledge our authority doesn’t change the facts. And given that they are mutineers, they can hardly claim to be part of our mission’s membership!”

“That’s not the way they see it. Their argument is that the UNSA ceased to exist upon the loss of all its spaceborne assets, and therefore there is no legitimate UNSA presence to take command of the mission. And honestly, they’ve got a point. We can’t exactly go around calling ourselves the Space Authority these days, can we?”

“This is ridiculous.” Tayta pushed back on his chair and stood up, beginning to pace the width of his office. “The United Nations is an organization founded on the rule of law. I won’t have us be pushed around by a band of usurpers just because they outnumber us!”

“A rule of law that derives from a popular mandate,” Sally pointed out, “which, in case you’ve forgotten, we haven’t had for more than eight decades now. Or were you starting to think that this was a permanent arrangement, Commissioner?”

“O-Of course not!”

“Then you know that we can’t afford to be seen opposing this. We’ve been promising to restore democratic rule for eighty years. An entire generation has lived and died without ever casting a ballot, let alone for you. Even the High Commission’s starting to question your motives, and UNDA won’t be able to plug that leak once it gets out. In fact, they’ll probably make sure it does. Another scandal will be just what they need to convince the High Commission to vote them another tranche of investigative powers. And you don’t want that to happen, do you?”

“No, I don’t.” Tayta paused to stare outside his office viewport. The landscape beyond had once been wild and untamed, full of promise and optimism. Now all he could think of was the other factions out there, scrutinizing him for any sign of weakness.

“Realistically?” Sally added. “They’re going to run the election with or without us. And if we don’t take part, then we can kiss any pretence of us having a democratic mandate goodbye.”

“Alright, alright. I get it.” Rubbing his temples, Tayta sat down again. The rejuvenation treatments were still working, but over the years he’d begun to develop a sort of fog that ever so slowly ate away at his faculties, one brain cell at a time. So far, nobody else had noticed, not even Sally. He was determined to keep it that way. “I don’t suppose there’s any way we could actually win the election ourselves?”

“We’ll do our best to influence things, of course, but…” Sally shrugged. “Between you and me, I doubt it. Remember all that forced drone resettlement Zakharov got up to? It’s given him a voter base nearly twice our size. And we all know which way they’re going to vote.”

“Bastard. Even on another planet, there’s Russians meddling in elections.”

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

----------

ZAKHAROV WINS GOVERNORSHIP
U.N. ACCUSES UNIVERSITY OF “POPULATION STACKING”


Provost Zakharov of the University of Planet has emerged the clear winner of the 2186 Planetary Governor elections with a final count of 99 votes, almost double that received by the runner-up, High Commissioner Tayta of the United Nations.

Despite fierce campaigning by the UN Social Council to convince Planet’s citizens that voting for democrats was superior to voting for autocrats, Tayta was only able to secure 56 votes, slightly more than a third of total voters.

While the University of Planet’s population advantages helped it to secure an early lead, ultimately the election was decided by endorsements from key faction leaders, including Chairman Yang of the Hive and Lady Nevill of the Gaians. The latter came as a surprise to some UN analysts, as Gaia’s Stepdaughters have generally refrained from the sort of authoritarian measures commonly observed in other factions. Others were quick to point out that Gaia nonetheless maintains close diplomatic relations with members of Planet’s authoritarian axis, a sore point in UN-Gaian relations for many years.

At a ceremony in University Base, Zakharov accepted the post of Planetary Governor with great fanfare. “It is gratifying to see that humanity has chosen the path of scientific progress and discovery, rather than cultural stagnation and regression. The result of this election stands as a clear repudiation of those who would result to emotive pandering to incite irrational fear of the future, in a vain attempt to convince the public to cling to a rose-tinted portrait of the past.”

Tayta’s response to the Provost’s remarks was no less scathing. “Zakharov might preach his gospel of scientific advance, but at the same time he intentionally keeps his citizens in conditions of barbarity for nothing more than temporary electoral advantage. If this is the enlightened future he sees for humanity, then the United Nations will have no part in it.”

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Offline Tayta Malikai

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2020, 01:19:49 PM »
good LP  ;b;
Thanks. I was inspired by the games over at the Codex; those guys can spin a decent yarn. I find writing like this is an interesting exercise that really tests your understanding of the concepts and ideologies involved, as well as just being good memeing in general.

Offline MercantileInterest

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #20 on: July 31, 2020, 07:05:52 PM »
Surprised you fellows didn't include Auriga.

Offline Tayta Malikai

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #21 on: August 01, 2020, 12:21:26 PM »
Haven't met him, so I wouldn't know. Only started playing this venerable game last year.

Offline Nevill

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #22 on: August 03, 2020, 09:27:17 AM »
U.N. EXPEDITION SUNK BY ECO-MILITANT “GAIANS”
Meanwhile in Gaia
A transcript of a conversation overheard in communal kitchens.

Heeeey, maaan. Did you hear about the boat incident back in the 60s? That was when the blasted bureacrats from across the pond sent in their delegation to "check on us". Hah! To bring us under the yoke of UN functionaries, more likely. We didn't break away from the mind-numbing boredom of meaningless General Assembly sessions to be roped right back into it after the taste of freedom.

They just waltz in our waters, scaring the local fishermen, and demand docking rights for their rustbucket, UNS Something. UNS... Uns, uns-uns-uns! (sounds of spontaneous dancing) :danc:

Anyway, Lady Nevill doesn't turn them away and even puts together a team of entertainers to meet the guests. Nothing too fancy, just a mild laser show.*

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But these boors have no manners and no appreciation for artistry. Not only did they disturb our communal workers planting a forest for people to dance naked in, they also wanted to see the papers confirming the spores "comply with UN regulation on toxic substances". I know, right? Half a century of no contact, and the first thing they do is send a weed inspection team! We decided to go them one better and had the spore launcher give the whole ship a whiff so they would see for themselves. Who knew repressed pencil-pushers could be so vicious the second their inhibitions were removed! In hindsight, there must've been a reason the so-called PeaceKeepers were more obsessed with weapons than goddamn Spartans!** Apparently every second PK citizen dreams of shooting the other one. The whole ship went up in flames as they started settling old scores, and I tell you, nobody keeps a score better than a bureacrat. It's just another proof how the state apparatus drains the soul out of you, man.

We tried to mount a rescue mission on Lady Nevill's personal yacht, but to no avail. I don't know what kind of hallucinations the spores induced, but they were convinced we were out to get them and shot back every chance they got. We had to spend 3 years in port patching the nasty breach they gave us. They didn't let us pick up any of the lifeboats without a fight either, and even people without one were last seen swimming back across the ocean rather than to our shores. Few have made it back, but fewer still had the courage to admit what happened, and now we are blamed for the whole mess. Eh, bending the truth and falsifying the facts is nothing we've not already seen from the governments, whose ultimate goal is to have man lord over fellow men, no matter how many "democratic" ideals they hide behind.

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I mean, the notion of us being aggressors is ridiculous. We are in the middle of a sealurk infestation, and the most powerful weapon we have is a glorified laser pointer!

Now we are at war. So be it. They may take our lives but they will never take our weed!

* A (2)-1-1 artillery, to be precise. How do you use beam weapons for bombardment, anyway?
** PKs get Applied Physics as their starting tech in the mod.


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« Last Edit: August 03, 2020, 04:05:10 PM by Nevill »

Offline Tayta Malikai

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #23 on: August 03, 2020, 02:03:11 PM »
We tried to mount a rescue mission on Lady Nevill's personal yacht, but to no avail.
Recovered footage from UNS Curiosity's aft cameras of "Lady" Nevill aboard her personal yacht:


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Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #24 on: August 08, 2020, 06:41:04 PM »
Players
Tayta: Peacekeeping Forces. ;lal;
Code: [Select]
Starting tech: Applied Physics.
-1 EFFIC
-1 POLICE
+1 talent per 4 citizens
+2 standard population limit
x2 votes in Planetary Council elections
Pro-Democratic, Anti-Police State.

Nevill: Gaia’s Stepdaughters. ;deidre;
Code: [Select]
Starting tech: Centauri Ecology.
+1 EFFIC
-2 MORALE
-1 POLICE
+1 PLANET
+1 nutrients from fungus
Pro-Green, Anti-Free Market.

Two peace-loving factions going head-to-head. Who will prevail in this contest of economic might? Find out as the game unfolds!

I don't remember at which point I've changed it but latest version don't use -1 POLICE shift for *all* factions anymore. Thanks for somebody's suggestion I realized it is easier for players to install.
Tim

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #25 on: August 08, 2020, 06:50:29 PM »
I can get behind Planned but why Fundamentalist? You do not currently need the talent.
I am admittedly uncertain as to how +TALENT interacts with Psych rules, which I already find confusing enough as it is. But I figure it can't hurt. At the very least, it should let you coast on RecCommons + 1 police unit for longer, right? That seems significant given I can't run Police State and Non-Lethal Methods got stuffed all the way to the back of the tech tree.

Removed TALENT from Fundamentalist. With that it essentially becomes a duplicate of PS drone quelling power. Now all three first choices are more or less distinct. PS is for drones and support. Democracy is for growth and efficiency. Fundamentalist is for pure combat and industry to support unit building.
Tim

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #26 on: August 09, 2020, 03:11:03 PM »
Amazing report, Tayta, by the way! I've got a lot of pleasurable moments reading this. I am curious when someone is going to make a movie by this game. The game story itself is already quite well prepared for that. With all your AARs we may have a ready script! 😀
Tim

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #27 on: August 09, 2020, 03:25:54 PM »
I was quite strongly impressed by your ability to cut through AI factions without problems. Thinker already has stronger AI. With all the removed exploit in WTP it should be pretty difficult to beat them. After you claimed you were beating AI left and right in WTP thread I tried few games myself. I don't know if you guys just two heads above me in skills but it is pretty difficult to overtake other faction economically bot so much to fight them without any tactics. Of course, there are leaders and underdogs among them and sometimes I am able to squash one weak neighbor quite early but that's it. Others, especially, strongest ones are quite difficult not only to conquer but even defend against should they decide to eliminate me.

All and all, AI is still dumber than human but its current skill level combined with huge Transcend bonuses is high enough to challenge player. I think. Let me know if you believe it is still quite far from challenge level. I may continue working on AI itself. Currently I don't have plans to do it due to my own feeling of adequate challenge but may change my mind if you give me some pointers on it.
Tim

Offline Tayta Malikai

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #28 on: August 10, 2020, 01:48:42 PM »
I don't remember at which point I've changed it but latest version don't use -1 POLICE shift for *all* factions anymore. Thanks for somebody's suggestion I realized it is easier for players to install.
I'm pretty sure Nevill was the one who brought that one up at the time. xD I agreed with him, it just looked strange all around.

It may still be worth it to address faction balance as part of the mod as a whole, though. For instance, Spartans almost certainly need a buff - they were already known to be the weakest faction in vanilla, and now their main advantage of being able to conquer early got a significant nerf due to territory bonuses.

Removed TALENT from Fundamentalist. With that it essentially becomes a duplicate of PS drone quelling power. Now all three first choices are more or less distinct. PS is for drones and support. Democracy is for growth and efficiency. Fundamentalist is for pure combat and industry to support unit building.
Fine with me.

Amazing report, Tayta, by the way! I've got a lot of pleasurable moments reading this. I am curious when someone is going to make a movie by this game. The game story itself is already quite well prepared for that. With all your AARs we may have a ready script! 😀
Heh, thanks. You flatter me. Though I do agree that it could reasonably stand on its own if a reader had no idea what Alpha Centauri was about, with some editing work.

I was quite strongly impressed by your ability to cut through AI factions without problems. Thinker already has stronger AI. With all the removed exploit in WTP it should be pretty difficult to beat them. After you claimed you were beating AI left and right in WTP thread I tried few games myself. I don't know if you guys just two heads above me in skills but it is pretty difficult to overtake other faction economically bot so much to fight them without any tactics. Of course, there are leaders and underdogs among them and sometimes I am able to squash one weak neighbor quite early but that's it. Others, especially, strongest ones are quite difficult not only to conquer but even defend against should they decide to eliminate me.

All and all, AI is still dumber than human but its current skill level combined with huge Transcend bonuses is high enough to challenge player. I think. Let me know if you believe it is still quite far from challenge level. I may continue working on AI itself. Currently I don't have plans to do it due to my own feeling of adequate challenge but may change my mind if you give me some pointers on it.
It's rather difficult to explain... I found myself gaining a sense of the patterns in how the (Thinker) AI moves after playing a lot of games with them. The main problem the AI has is that while it might make good moves on the micro level, it is incapable of long-term planning and can't squeeze the optimum performance out of the game the way the player can. It doesn't launch coordinated attacks, so attackers can be defeated piecemeal. It builds defenders in bases now, a major improvement over before; but it doesn't counterattack very well, so the player can pretty much siege bases at their leisure, focusing all their forces on one base, then the next. It builds probes and does a decent job in annoying the player with them, but it doesn't leave any for its own defense, which lets the player prevent it from building up a tech or project advantage. It gets a lot of bonuses that give it a headstart, but the player can maximize their economic performance and be assured of overtaking them. Ultimately, once various tools become available in game, the player is just able to use them a lot better than the AI ever could.

Also, being willing to use atrocities helps a lot if you aren't interested in trying to force a surrender. You'd be amazed at the sorts of obstacles nerve gas and gene warfare let you overcome. Otherwise, you probably will have to use at least some tactics to speed things along.

Part of the reason I never got around to releasing my own pet custom faction pack was that I wanted to playtest them thoroughly before putting them out there to the world, but eventually I found it tedious to go through the motions of defeating the AIs over and over again to gauge the balance.

The thing is, in my experience, because it is very unlikely that AI attacks will pose an existential threat to you, the ideal strategy is to hunker down and build up your economy for a while, then pick a target and do whatever it takes to bring them down. The best time to launch the attack is when you have a tech advantage, you have enough forces to neutralize maybe a third of enemy bases, and you've identified some soft targets you can take out quickly. Then, even if your attack stalls, you've deprived the enemy of their bases and can simply build up the next wave of forces to finish the job. Then move on to the next target until they're all dead.

I would say at the moment that it takes some effort to defeat AIs, but in this game victory goes to the one with the initiative, and against AIs the player always has the initiative.

EDIT: Also, the AI's inability to upgrade or selectively disband units is a massive disadvantage.

Offline Tayta Malikai

Re: Money and the Will to Power: A Game of Economic Imperialism [PBEM]
« Reply #29 on: August 10, 2020, 02:27:09 PM »
PEACE FOR OUR TIME!
GAIANS TO JOIN U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL


Today marked a momentous occasion not only for Planet, but for humanity at large, as for the first time since Planetfall all six surviving factions from the UNS Unity agreed to refrain from hostile activities and establish peaceful relations going forward.

“The United Nations has only sought peaceful development on Planet, but these efforts were hindered by the atmosphere of tension and mistrust that has permeated for decades after the initial round of misunderstandings,” UN High Commissioner Tayta spoke at a press conference called to announce the signing of the agreement. “With the increase in free trade bringing in millions of UN dollars’ worth in energy credits, humanity is now one step closer to fulfilling the Unity’s mission conceived all those years ago.”

The seeds for this occasion were first sowed in 2192, which saw formal diplomatic ties being established between the UN and the eco-activist group Gaia’s Stepdaughters after numerous visits by envoys from both sides to each other’s territory. Shrewd negotiation tactics by the UN Envoy Corps, backed up by the personal effort of High Commissioner Tayta, soon led to Gaia’s Stepdaughters agreeing to join the newly recommissioned UN Security Council, which until now existed in only a vestigial form on Planet.

As part of the negotiations, the UN has agreed to establish a common Planetary Trust, in order to coordinate environmental preservation efforts across Planet for the benefit of all its inhabitants. In return, Lady Nevill promised to use her diplomatic connections with Planet’s other faction leaders to mediate long-standing disputes with the UN, paving the way for more cooperative developments in the future.

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