In which I play Realms Beyond Orion Imperium 28
Chapter 1: Expansion, Being An Ackurate Accounte of ye First Century of the Human Starr Empyre and in Which our Tech Trie is found to be Ultra Poor
2300: First, a long look at the map.
One lone yellow star twinkling in the east. If there's an AI there it's going to get some territory. Nobody else will be able to expand out there. The worst case is that the Psilon are over there, so let's prepare for the worst and assume that star is Mentar. If there isn't an AI there, on the other hand, there's a LOT of room in the east. We'll need range tech to explore over there, though.
The entire south part of the map is up for grabs. There are at least three and maybe as many as five AIs down there. The cluster of three yellow stars closest to me almost certainly has one AI, and maybe two.
If that yellow star to the northwest is an AI, we want to colonize that west star first (assuming it's habitable), or we probably won't get it at all, and will be cut off from further expansion to the west, a Very Bad Thing. If that yellow star isn't an AI... well, we also want to colonize that west star first, because that brings the yellow star and the other stars in the northwest closer in range. No AI there means that the entire northwest quadrant of the map is ours to claim, but we must claim it quickly as we will have neighbords in the immediate south. There's a lot of empty space to the east, and some of those will be "None" systems, limiting our ability to expand in that direction, anyway. If that yellow star isn't an AI and happens to be a good planet... well!
Colship to the west red star, scouts to the east red star and the yellow star.
2302: Stalaz (No Habitable Planets) is scouted. So far, so good. I send the scout toward the east.
2303: Primodius (Ocean 70) founded. Excellent!
2304: 3 colonists from Sol to Primodius.
Excellent, excellent! The yellow star, Berel, holds a wonderful planet. This is shaping up pretty well. I send the scout to the red star west of Primodius; no need to hold it there, this is my backyard.
Romulas (No Habitable Planets) is also scouted. That scout heads across the nebula.
3 more colonists to Primodius.
2306: Just assume I'm shipping colonists to Primodius.
2309: Escalon (No Habitable Planets) is scouted. Scout to the white star at the east.
2310: Helos (Arid 55) scouted. This seems like an important star. I should be able to settle the colonies in the northwest uncontested. That's clearly my turf. This star on the other side of the nebula, though, is closer to my supposed numerous neighbors -- but not so close that I shouldn't be able to claim it and defend my claim. I'm going to park some laser fighters here.
I build six cheap scouts to patrol the border worlds.
I spot a Bulrathi scout wandering around west of Primodius, probably cruising into Escalon. Looks like the bears are at least one of my neighbors to the south.
2312: Collassa (Desert 40) scouted. Scout parks here. I have two habitables at range 4. I think this one may be at threat from the bears and whoever else is in my immediate south. There is also a risky habitable at range 5.
2314: I switch over to moving people from Primodius to Sol, we're nearing halfway full on Primodius.
2315: Ryoun (Barren 45) scouted.
2316: Firma (Jungle Poor 105) scouted in the north. Nice size world. Talas (Jungle 80) is scouted in the south. A fine planet, but this is right by that cluster of three yellow stars to my SW. If I settle this, can I possibly hold it?
2317: Moro (No Habitables) scouted in the southwest. Well! This paints an interesting picture.
Everything in initial range is scouted. Nothing is immediately colonizable, but Range 4 will get me two and maybe three worlds immediately (if Firma is in range after Berel is founded, which I think it will be). Collassa I have to claim ASAP; Berel is the next priority but the backyard planets can wait a little while factories max -- the AIs in the south don't have the range to reach those back worlds, at least not for a little while yet. Collassa could be in immediate danger, though. If I can get Range 5 and some laser fighters to Helos before an AI gets there, that could be mine. Talas is a real stretch, as the Bulrathi are right there.
Maybe Range 4 is in my tree. I stop factories for now and put everything on tech, Sol gets 83 RP of research a year. 100% tech spending to Propulsion.
2318: The Klackons arrive at Talas with an unarmed scout. Hmm. Bugs in the neighborhood, too. Yeah, Talas will be a real stretch. Probably Helos as well.
Yay, Range 4 is a choice. My only choice, actually.
2322: Researched. (Nuclear Engines is next, again, the only choice, but that will be a little while yet.)
2323: Uh-oh! The Bulrathi reach Collassa with three unarmed colony ships! They want this world. I really don't want them to have it.
This year I build six of these mighty ships in Sol, and RELOC them to Primodius.
Their eventual destination is Collassa. That's the first priority world, since I have at least two neighbors in the south I need to get something in orbit besides a scout. If I give the AIs half a chance they'll steal Collassa from under me and then the proverbial camel nose will be in the tent -- especially now that I know the bears can reach and want Collassa.
It's 7 parsecs from Collassa to Sol, 4 from Collassa to Primodius and 3 from Primodius to Sol, so there is a one year advantage in RELOCing from Sol to Primodius.
Six smalls isn't enough to face a large laser boat, but the bears IME are incredibly slow at arming their colships; they usually send small or medium laser escort first, and this is faster than the three or four mediums I'd otherwise have to build. Don't have a lot of time to amass a force here.
I set Sol to now work on a warp one standard colony ship, similarly RELOCed. Seven years to build! Darn. At least I can build a few factories while keeping the ship at 7 Y.
This is going to be close. At least if I grab this colony the other worlds in the NW should... should!... be easier.
2325: Sol maxes on population. Six laser fighters arrive at Primodius, they are now off to the battleground planet of Collassa. Four more turns! Can I make it?
2329: Laser fighters arrive at Collassa.
2330: The colony ship is built! Off it flies towards Primodius. OK, Sol, get back on factories.
2333: Oh ho!
Did they bring guns this time?
You bet they did! A single laser fighter. Wow. They retreat in the face of my MIGHTY INVINCIBLE force of six laser fighers.
If all I had was Range 5 in my tree I would have been sunk. Sunk, I say. Heh. Three more years till my colship arrives at Collassa. By that time Sol should be about to max on factories and we can begin teching in earnest.
(Bulrathi, Erratic Ecologists)
Uh-oh. ERRATIC bears. What fun. Did I say fun? Heh. I meant something else entirely.
Since I'm the humans, I immediately sign a 75 BC/year trade contract. Normally I don't bother trading with Erratic leaders at all, but the Humans turn a profit from trade much, much sooner than other races.
Collassa is five parsecs from Paranar, the nearest Bulrathi world. The bears have Range 5 already. They are 8 parsecs away from Berel or any of the other worlds in my backyard, however, so there is no immediate threat to those worlds. I still will want to snap those up soon.
Now that Collassa is founded, the green star in the west is within range. I send the scout parked at Collassa over there. I hope it's a bunch of asteroids, to keep those bears out of my backyard. They steal pickinick baskets, you know.
Primodius transports 18 million colonists to Collassa.
Sol is going to max on factories next year. I allocate the remaining BC to constructing a medium hull laser fighter with reserve tanks. This will go to Helos, along with a couple of friends. Then I'll build a colship, I'm taking Berel next.
Y KANT HUOMANS REED?
Sol maxes on factories. Sol continues building long range laser fighters for Helos.
2338: Sol is now building a colony ship, it should take four turns.
Well, uh, that green star isn't a bunch of asteroids.
But it will suit my purposes just as well.
Remember: green doesn't mean go, it means stop.
2342: The colship is built and sent to Berel, five turns away. I allocate Sol's BC to research. I equalize the tech fields, and then put a couple clicks each into Computers, Force Fields and Planetology.
Primodius maxes on factories, also goes 100% to tech research. This is convenient, just like that I have 213 BC of tech per turn.
Collassa's up to population 23, good. I wonder if the bears have scouted Collassa? Yes, they sent those colships over, but this is Impossible difficulty, where it seems the AI gets free colships and a toaster oven just for playing.
2343: The first tech choices in non-Propulsion fields are offered: Battle Computer MK 2 (over DSS), IIT 9 (only choice), Class II Deflectors (only choice), Improved Terraforming +10 (only choice), Hand Lasers (only choice). Okay, the first tech choice is offered. The light bulb on Planetology is already humming, that's a pretty cheap tech.
2347: An eventful year. IT+10 pops (Death Spores, only choice -- lovely), and Berel is founded. This brings Firma, the jungle world in the north, within 4 parsecs. Sol begins work on another colship. 22 million colonists from Primodius to Berel. The scout orbiting Berel decides to check out the purple star in the north that is now within scouting range. Also, now that the laser fighters have arrived in the south, I send the scouts there off to new stars that have come within our (slightly) increased range.
I try exchanging tech with the bears, but they are grumpy. Hey, IT+10 is pretty groovy!
2349: A look at the bear tech:
VGA SEAN CONNERY REVEALS THE SECRETS OF HAND LASERS
Hyper-X is the next choice, over Fusion Bombs. Sort of a weird tree so far.
Endoria (Nothing But Rubble) is scouted.
2351: Hey! Dunatis (Radiated Rich 30) is scouted. That's pretty rich, all right. Now, let's just keep the Psilons away...
2352: Colship built at Sol, sent towards Firma. Sol is building factories to accomodate its new population of 110 million humans.
2354: Sol maxes on factories again. Maalor (Asteroids 0) is scouted in the southwest. The scout sitting on Firma heads to the red star 7 parsecs to the east.
Hmm. Fighting for Collassa got me another planet, but it did delay maxing Sol a few years. On the other hand, there's a big difference between having Erratic bears next door with two planets, and having Erratic bears next door with three planets, especially since they're going to widely outproduce me point-for-point of population, and a world the bears lose is a world I gain.
The holes in this tree so far are troublesome. No reduced waste, no eco restoration, no range 5.
I'm wondering if going for Talas isn't a bad move here. It's wildly aggressive, and I probably won't be able to defend it if (when) the bears go ballistic. But the bears will eventually declare war on me out of the blue, and if their choice is to strike first at Collassa or to strike first at a reach colony at Talas -- closer, larger, and in all likelihood less well-defended -- they will probably go for Talas. That will give me enough warning to boost defenses at other more productive or defendable worlds, and in the meantime I get the production from the colony. The question is, is that extra production, denying that production to the bears, and the extra turns to strengthen up defense on the other worlds in case of crazy bear war enough to compensate for the cost of setting up the colony? I tend to think it is. (Note that I am not overly worried about the cost of giving up tech to the bears should they invade and take the world intact, I am unlikely to have a meaningful lead on the AI on tech at any point in this game.) A lot, of course, depends on when the bears declare: if they do it immediately after the colony is founded it was not a wise move, but then they might not declare for 100 turns after the colony is founded. This is a matter of chance. But missing Range 5, in any case, means either waiting for the next range tech, or getting enough Construction tech to fit a colony base and reserve tanks on a large hull. This is not an immediate decision and there is no guarantee that Talas will stick around long enough for me to be able to claim it.
One positive note is that the bears are Ecologists, and they might just leave Talas and other worlds there to colonize while they terraform their own worlds or prioritize research over expansion. The Klackons are somewhere down there as well, but so long as the AI has elsewhere to expand (or they aren't prioritizing expansion) they frequently ignore worlds with fleets parked over them, even when the fleets are only a couple of laser fighters. (This seems true especially if the worlds are unscouted, although I doubt very much that the bears haven't scouted Talas.)
I'm really hoping that those three-to-five AIs in the south spend their time bickering with themselves. Hey, I'm a human. I'm wuvvable!
Who wants to bet that the bugs are Erratic, too?
I want to stick more spending on Force Fields, the human specialty, where my tech points will be best spent. I'm going to need the shields anyway. One problem is that this decision is at odds with my desire to colonize Helos, which to all appearances is in a nebula. Ick, two wonderful worlds that I probably should make every effort to colonize, but either will be difficult to defend.
2356: Class II Deflectors are researched. My next selection, the only choice (!), is Personal Deflector Shield.
2357: Improved Industrial Tech 9 pops. IIT8 is next, and again, the only choice. This is a mighty thin tree.
2358: A colony at Firma is founded. I will be feeding this colony from Berel, which is just about half full of humans.
2359: I offer to trade technologies with the Bulrathi, but they are uninterested.
2361: Scouting report comes in for Denubius (Arid Ultra Poor 65). Wow.
Here's the galactic map. Only two hostiles known to me -- the Barren 45 at the east and the Rich 30 Radiated in the northwest. There are a lot of asteroids and empty space separating me from the south and the east.
2363: BC 2 comes in. I select Mark 3 as the next research objective. IRC 3 is not in the tree, either. Lovely. Just lovely.
I set my (few) spies on the bears to Espionage. Why not? That Duralloy armor would instantly make long range large colony ships possible, relations are Affable, and they're just going to go to war against me eventually.
2368: Promodius maxes on factories. Nuclear Engines at 15%.
2369: Collassa maxes on factories.
2372: Nuclear Engines finally researched. Range 7 is the only choice.
I put three clicks on missile bases at each of Collassa, Primodius, and Sol.
2373: The Sakkra attack at Talas:
A few rounds of combat establish that they have a single laser on their colship, along with (probably) shields. My fighter retreats to Helos.
(Sakkra, Pacifistic Militarist)
This rather odd combination of traits is nonetheless a welcome sight next door. Much better that the lizards have Talas than the koo-koo bears, as far as I'm concerned. And maybe when the bears crack they'll go fight somebody besides me.
In any case, I'm the humans so I go and immediately form a 175 BC trade contract. No NAP, though, I want to go for Helos still. They offer Deep Space Scanner for either warp 2 or BC 2 -- wow, the lizards must indeed be focusing on a huge fleet -- I refuse either.
I note that the bears have range 6 now. The bears offer me range 5 for nuclear engines -- uh. Hmm. Range 5 gets me Helos now, and it's not like the lizards or the bugs aren't within range. I do the trade.
I boost our trade contract to 175 BC/year and I call off my spies for the moment.
I set Sol to build a warp 2 standard colony ship for Helos. Four years, okay.
The Sakkra reach Helos, which is indeed a nebula world (see the pretty pink stars in the back!) Fortunately, their shields are useless here, it's guns versus guns. Each ship is armed with one laser, but it's easier to hit a large ship than it is to hit a medium ship, I have computers on my ships, and I have an advantage in numbers. Sorry lizards. Hurry, let's get our colony ship here!
Also this year, Personal Deflector Shield came in, and look at the stunning array of choices available to me:
VGA SEAN CONNERY IS EMBARRASSED BY OUR TREE
Wow. Just wow. We're experts in this field, but we haven't had a single choice yet. In fact, we've only had choices in the first bracket of Computers (DSS vs. BC 2) and the second bracket of Weapons (Hyper-X vs. F-Bombs). I'm wondering if this tech tree was specially selected (or edited) for maximum pain. No first gen cleanup, no first gen robotic control upgrades, no first gen planetaries, no Controlled or IT+20, no range 5 or 6, not a whole lot to work with.
The text at the top of the screen should have the word "choose" in quotes. And "focus" should maybe be bolded. HERE ARE YOUR "CHOICES", EMPEROR RBO-28. "CHOOSE" THE PROJECT ON WHICH WE ARE TO FOCUS OUR RESEARCH EFFORTS. "Uh, gee, yeah, Death Spores sounds good, I guess. Umm."
Now that I've traded for range 5, I send the scout at Dunatis to the range 8 red star in the northwest corner.
2377: Colony ship built at Sol, off to Helos it flies.
2380: Death Spores comes in, and Controlled Toxic is... just guess.
THOSE DAMN DIRTY APES
I've done what expanding I'm going to do in the south for now. I dial the lizards up and sign a NAP. MINE MINE ALLLLL MINE
2382: Rayden (no habitables) is scouted in the northwest. Let's take another look at the galactic neighborhood:
In the back lines I have a Rich, Poor and Ultra Poor world.
2384: Lizard tech is not very exciting:
IIT 8 comes in, and I am actually given a choice in Construction tech this time: Battle Suits versus RIW 60%. Uh, Reduced Waste 60%, I think. I now have enough Construction tech to design a long range large hull colony ship, which means that Denubius can now be colonized. I set Sol to producing such a ship. Three years, very good.
Helos plus range 5 brings several stars in the south into scouting range, and Denubius will bring a few more in the east into range. So I also order up some brand new warp 2 scouts at Primodius.
2385: I send a bunch of scouts to unexplored worlds in the south, and vector five over to Denubius to scout some of the east once it's opened.
2387: Long range colship built at Sol, and sent straight to Denubius.
I note that the Bulrathi are at "Peaceful". Heh. That will change on a dime one day. Why is it that the Erratic leaders love me so much? It breaks my heart.
I note that the lizards have researched Auto Repair and Ion Cannon. This "pacifist" is already at war with the Psilons and the Klackons. He's also allied... great... with the bears.
2390: Draconis (Radiated Rich 25) is scouted. It's the white star east of the Helos nebula. Great! Celtsi and Zoctan (both asteroids) are also scouted this turn. My warp 2 scouts reach Denubius just ahead of the colony ship...
2391: ...speaking of which, Denubius is founded this turn. A scout runs into the Darlok in the south:
So there's the shifter homeworld. Always gives me warm fuzzies to see battleships (plural!) at this point of the game. Not to mention the welcoming 34-gun salute. My scout bravely retreats.
In similar unnecessarily-intrusive scouting news:
We have found the bug homeworld as well! Oh frabjous day!
This means the Psilon are either at the yellow just west of Ursa, or that they are indeed at that lone yellow in the east. The yellow by Ursa is at range 9, the yellow in the east is still at range 10. If the eggheads are in the west, Moro and Maalor to the north are both asteroids, and the red just to the east is at range 9 and just out of scouting range, and they are boxed in. We still have not seen a Psilon ship anywhere, though, so that doesn't bode very well for weak boxed-in Psilons this game. If the eggheads are in the east, I comfort myself with the knowledge that they do not, yet, have Controlled Radiated, but I should expect a Fleet of Death to come from that direction at warp seven any minute now. That's an uncomfortable amount of territory to give to the Psilons.
My Poor colony Firma will seed my brand-new Ultra Poor colony at Denubius. I also fan out the scouts at Denubius to explore the three stars newly in range in the east.
2392: I boost trade with the Sakkra to 275 BC/yr.
2395: Hyper-X rockets come in, I go for Scatter Pack Vs.
Gion (Desert 40) is scouted way up in the northeast, and it's a Klackon colony. Interesting. No bases or ships defending -- it's brand new -- but I retreat my ship to avoid ticking the insects off. Crypto (Radiated Ultra Rich 25) and Ajax (oodles of asteroids) are also scouted.
The galaxy as I know it right now. I have taken the liberty of placing the Psilons in the east, as that's where they certainly are. The bugs and brains were allies. That's how the insects got all the way over here. The Psilons will most likely be the first to Controlled Radiated and they will probably nab both the UR and Rich Radiated worlds in the east. That will be... well, it will be a major problem.
No doubt. If there was any doubt at all about the location of the Psilons, well, it's smooshed. The bothersome thing about this is that the Psilon and Klackon are so buddy-buddy, and I'll give you dollars for doughnuts that the bugs are Erratic too. That's just the way this game is going.
VGA SEAN CONNERY DEFEATS THE PSILONS WITH EARTH-SCIENCE
I opt for Improved Space Scanner over Battle Computer Mark IV. The bears have researched Neutron Blaster. Hmm. I put a couple of clicks of espionage on the bears. They could come after me at any time, and I wouldn't mind having their armor or weapon or range techs. Their computer techs stink and even if they catch me relations are swell enough (and I'm the Humans) that I shouldn't inadvertently cause a war. Anything's possible, but I do need more tech to trade to my good friends the Sakkra and (my soon to be good friends) the Psilons. Hail the mighty Psilons. Surely they will allow me to help them fill in the holes in their tree. Assuming they have any.