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Old January 3, 2001, 23:32   #1
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Questions about SMAC (thinking of getting it)
I loved Civ II and how it was so militarily challenging on King mode and above. I really enjoyed fighting huge wars with other powerful empires towards the end of the game (when the comps and I all had huge militaries to throw at each other) and trying to come out on top. It was also cool fighting modern naval battles because of all the ships you could build (destroyers, cruisers, battleships, subs, carriers).

Anyway, I never bought SMAC due to the science fiction aspect but I bought Call to Power II last week because I thought it would be like CivII (earth history) only bigger and better because of all the new units and the graphics improvements. It is just depressingly easy. The AI almost never attacks you (regardless of the difficulity you play) and builds very few units to begin with. It will almost never attempt to take back a city you have captured from it much less go on the offensive against your empire, even if you leave your cities undefended. It's just ridiculous that I spent $50 on the game and there is no military challenge to it. In hard mode, I was easily taking over the world in 1300AD with Knights and Infantrymen. I never played past the Renesaince (even though I wanted to see and use all the modern units) because there was no point - it was so easy that it was just completely boring. It makes no sense how the game could come out so many years after Civ II and have an AI that is not only not equal to CivII (which would have been good) but is in fact much, MUCH worse. There is no challenge to conquest in the game.

So anyway, now I'm thinking of getting SMAC after all. Is the AI in that game as challenging as in CivII, where the computer sends tons of units against you and its a huge war that is fun to play? That is what I am looking for. Also, is the naval aspect in SMAC good? Are there lots of different ships and do you actually have big naval battles against the comps? Are there the equivalent of Aircraft Carriers in SMAC? How many units and tech advances are there is SMAC; as many or more than in CivII, or is the game too short? Is it different enough from CivII to make it worth buying, while still keeping what was great?

Please let me know what SMAC is like; thanks for your responses.
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Old January 4, 2001, 01:58   #2
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guess what? i bought it to and its really a dud.once you fortify a base its safe...thats the game and the diplomacy doesn't see m to work. i bought alpha centauri and love it. the diplomacy and opponents are improved from civ 2. every ai opponent has thier own personality. i got the planetary pack with smac and alien crossfire. love both. tech tree seems a little abstract but its fun to learn....

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Old January 4, 2001, 02:09   #3
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I'm sure every CivII addict who has bought smac or smax has pondered these questions.

Many discussions took place in the old forums, and here are the links to some of Apolyton's archived threads on them:

Happy reading (and as one who would admit to being a smacaholic, I still do play CivII about once a month or so just for that sweeping naval battle feeling that you describe - the task force sailing to kick the enemy in the teeth, with carriers and battleships, troopships laden with tanks, supported by subs and aegis cruisers, choppers - ah - off to load up civII and play a game)

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Old January 4, 2001, 08:35   #4
Ogie Oglethorpe
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Now you've done it. Gonna have to fire up a civ2 game. Darn these addicting TBS games

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Old January 4, 2001, 09:39   #5
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As a former CIV2 addict I likewise enjoyed the naval battles but don't find that naval battles play as big a role in Smac/x for a number of reasons

1. Airpower rules (particularly choppers) and the ability to put a base at sea allows greater projection of that power

2. Naval units do not destroy land based units-- instead they act as artillery and only damage landbased units (except artillery which they battle to the death). So unlike CIV2 you cannot Battleship attack to empty a land-based city before moving in.(Also ships don't seem to make multiple attacks like in Civ2)

3. Land based terraformers can raise land out of the sea-- Its fun to cut a naval force off from its intended destination this way-- or systematically build a land link to your enemy to eliminate entirely the need for a naval landing force

4. Fungus in the water slows ships movements
5. There are abundant native life in the oceans -- essentially sea monsters that can destroy ships or at the very least leave them badly damaged
6. The available weapons are almost always far superior to available armour that can be placed on ships

All that said but there are a couple of different things as well that are different from Civ2 that make having a navy important

1. Pods in the Ocean-- essentially a CIV2 "hut" at sea-- this means exploring the sea quickly is important
2. You can build probe skimships-- these are essentially a sailing spy
3. Sea bases can be taken by ships alone
4. In Smax there is a faction that begins at sea and had a lot of naval advantages (Sven)-- if you like a naval game you will find that this guy controls the seas

the biggest thing that makes Smac/x a fun wargame is the design workshop. You asked if there are fun units-- heck there are possibly thousands of combinations since units have a weapon, armour, a chassis and then can have 1 or more special abilities (airdrop, attack enhancements, etc. The design workshop allows you to custom build units for which you have the technology. For example you can armour a spy and leave it on the frontier as a sentry

I haven't even yet mentioned psi warfare yet

Add to all this how your choice of faction (they all have strengths and weaknesses distinct from each other) and of government style can affect the morale (and therefore the strength of your troops) and you have a great wargame. I always think of it as much more than a war game as it has so much more complexity than CiV2.

The only downside is that all the possibilities seem to be too much for the AI. Some of the favorite human
military units are never built by the AI.

I could go on and on -- Oh I already did-- there is so much more to this game but hopefully this gives you enough of a flavour of the differences to decide if this game is for you.
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Old January 4, 2001, 19:44   #6
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Mudduck -
If you really, really hate anything that has to do with science fiction then stay away from SMAC. It's loaded with a futuristic plot, layout, unit design, you name it. But if you can see past this to the core game, you'll realize that it improves civ2 in every way possible. Make your own units, set specific governments, win in multiple ways ... just buy the game, assuming you can look past the scifi.
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