In which I play Realms Beyond Orion Imperium 9
Chapter Two: Pardon Us, We Forgot To Mention That We Have Decided To Destroy the Darlok Empire Now, or the Great Darlok War
The plan is simple. Inertial Stabilizer is coming soon, I'll try and trade with either the cats or shifters for range and engines. Nuclear are okay, but sub-lights ideal -- if I can speed up troop transports as well, so much the better. Neutron Pellet Guns are also nearly ready to fruit. Building a few NPG fighters with warp-greater-than-one will help my defenses tremendously. I'll even trade that if it gets me the range I need or new engines, nothing is off the table right now. I will need to let the new colonies in the southwest grow a little bit, and I need to let the Darloks build factories so I can take all of their technology in the invasions. There is no immediate hurry. Then, I just need to rain bears on them. It is early enough that I will have a deciding advantage in ground strength.
Once the Darloks are broken, I should have contact with the faction or factions on the other side (probably at least the Klackons), and the cats will not be in a good position to resist my might, and then the game is won. Hooray bears!
Since it's going to be war anyway, I sent a scout off to peek at Incedius, if possible.
2395: Darloks colonize Xudax, the fiends.
2396: Mu Delphi (Radiated Rich 30) is scouted; it is the single green in the southwest.
I sign a Non-Aggression Pact with the Mrrshan this turn. I have my first target, and it isn't the cats.
Range 7 is my only choice.
The Darloks colonize Quayal this turn.
That's about it for peaceful expansion for now. That leaves one colship unusable; it's sucking up more than 1% of my production in maintenance, so I go ahead and scrap it. The reserve goes immediately into Uxmai.
2400: Neutron Pellet Gun pops. I choose Merculite Missiles as the next project. A scout reaches Incedius, Arid 65.
The vote this year is bears versus birds again. Birds (5) for birds, Silicoids (5) for birds, Klackons (3) for bears, Darloks (2) abstain, Mrrshans (4) abstain, me (5) for birds. Total: 15 votes Alkaris, 3 votes Bulrathis, 6 votes abstain.
The Mrrshans refuse to trade anything interesting for IS or NPG. Perhaps they have both of these techs already? Well, poo-poo to that.
The Darloks, however, offer both Range 5 and Nuclear Engines. They will only accept IS for either, though.
"Now, Mr. Bear, you have to promise to only use these engines for good, and not for evil."
With Regulus founded, Incedius and Xudax are within transport range anyway. Range 5 will not get me into contact with the Silicoids, either. So there isn't much point in giving away the stabilizer for range 5 cells. Range 6, maybe, but not range 5. Engines, however, I need, desperately. I'm pretty sure this is the shifters' second-best but beggars can't be choosers. The earliest engine it looks like I'll be able to research myself is, at best, Impulse.
The first century (or four-fifths thereof) is over. Let's take a look around the empire and see how things stand:
The Klackons have an incoming colony ship, the single green fleet near Spica. They aren't (currently) allied with the cats or the Darloks, but I'm assuming the ship left when they were allied with the Darloks. Cheesy AI. In any case, they are just on the other side of the shifters. The east half of the map is being divided between the birds, sillies and bugs, and based on the GNN reports I'm getting and the council votes, it looks like they're pretty evenly matched!
The west half of the map appears to be neatly divided amongst the Bulrathis, Mrrshans, and Darloks, however that is deceptive. That is all bear space. Cue the music!
Nice array of Rich worlds available. One is Tundra, one is Dead. The others are Inferno and Radiated.
Only 1021 BC in planetary income? Yuck.
I'm finally about to land a spy in the cats and shifters to take a peek at their tech. It was just too expensive to do any earlier.
The Mrrshan are apparently #2 in tech right now. I'm competing in production and #1 in population. Despite the 20-year headstart the AI is looking pretty hosed.
The shifters have a bigger military than the cats? What's on those ships?
RIW 60% needs to finish badly, that will be a real shot in the arm to the bear economy. Lots of factories don't help as much when clean up costs are this onerous. And here's hoping for a much more useful third-tier Planetology choice.
The Mrrshan are about as likely to vote for the Alkari in the Council as they are to vote for Jasana's fleas. The Silicoids, though, are another question altogether; cats and rocks are BFF. I have a theory why this is so but it is not worth writing here.
I am impressed that the Darloks rate so low on tech and population. Are there really no stunted factions on this map? Strong cats and birds? The Klackons number 5 in population? This could be a bizarre game.
2402: Reduced Industrial Waste 60% pops. Zortium Armor is the only way forward.
I note that the Klackon colship has parked over Imra. Oh, that's not nice, bugs.
It's time for a couple of fighter designs:
The 2-0 is fast but can't shoot, and is cheaper. Combat speed 3 is really sweet at this point of the game. The 2-2 is a bit slower but a much more accurate shot, although it's considerably more expensive.
Spica can produce five 2-0 fighters a year or four 2-2 fighters. I build some 2-0s and RELOC them to Imra. Ursa builds can build ten 2-2s a year; I have it do so and send the ships to Imra as well. Denubius can manage thirteen 2-0s. At this point, I need a fleet, not tech. Death Spores will pop soon enough, depending on my next Planetology choices I might continue research there, but at the moment I need to think about war.
I equalize the tech fields and turn Computer tech spending down to almost nothing. I stink at that field anyway and the Darloks have IRC 3 waiting for me.
Here's the shifters. They only have lasers, Gatlings, and class 2 shields, although their missile bases are a little mean. (They don't have many up yet though, which is a good reason to fight!) They indeed have warp 3. They have Improved Eco. And IRC 3. Oh yes. For being so backwards according to GNN, Emperor Ssssomethingorother sure does know his priorities. No weapons, no shields, but delicious computers, propulsion, planetology? I should have been at war with this guy years ago.
2404: A vital tech arrives!
Enhanced Eco is my only choice. Excellent. All tech spending (minus a couple of clicks in every other field) goes to Planetology. If I capture Improved Eco it's less valuable, but we have to get a navy built first before we start to think about absorbing the Darloks.
2405: Five NPG 2-0 fighters make very fast work of the Klackon colship parked over Imra. Dozens more will shortly arrive. They will defend against Darlok ships in the approaching war.
Xudax and Quayal both have only 3 factories. By the time they have a decent number and before they erect a single missile base I'll have a large fleet at hand to steamroll their ships, and my puissant bear ground troops will clobber them. I'm up to 3.2% spending on ships, I can comfortably support a huge defensive and offensive NPG fighter fleet.
The cats have Controlled Toxic, which means they may become the temporary custodian of my Rich planets.
2408: Rotan maxes on factories.
Cats #1, birds #2, bugs #3. Yeah, that's perfectly normal.
Meanwhile, this turn...
...I surpass the cats in "Fleet Strength". I'm almost always dead last on this graph. This is Bizarro game.
2412: Talas maxes on factories.
2413: Uxmai maxes on factories. It begins building NPG 2-0s.
The Klackon troop transports finally arrive at Imra. Only 4 survive through my fleet of fighters. The bugs have Duralloy armor, Battle Suits, and Personal Deflectors. Yowtch.
Quayal has 5 factories; Xudax has 7.
2417: Imra maxes on factories. I'm up to an even 10.0% spending on ships. I boost my trade contract with the cats to 350 BC/year.
2418: Enhanced Eco is in the percentages, very good.
The Darloks have researched Duralloy Armor.
2423: Enhanced Eco comes in. Controlled Radiated or IT+40? IT+40, I think. Neither of the races I'm in contact with have terraforming, but the cats do have Controlled Toxic. I can come back for Radiated if I can't get it elsewhere.
2424: Regulus maxes on factories. That makes everybody, I believe. Despite the bare trickle of research going to Computers, IRC 3 is in the percentages. Gee, at this point I might as well just invade the Darloks, no need to wait for them to build more factories (and ships, and bases, and potentially research more defensive techs.) Despite the large spending on ships I'm out-teching them pretty handily.
There is a huge fleet sitting at Quayal. I don't think the Darloks have anything can really put a hurting on me, though, although potentially hundreds of Hyper-X missiles and Gatling lasers are still bad enough at this point of the game.
2425: Council vote. Me versus the sillies, this time.
Birds (5) for rocks, rocks (6) for rocks, bugs (3) for rocks, shifters (4) abstain, cats (4) for me!, me (7) abstain.
Fine galactic leaders the sillies would make, they can't even keep Long John Silver out of their homeworld orbit. YAR!
2428: IRC 3 pops, that gives me something new to do! Improved Space Scanner is the way forward.
2431: Class III Deflectors come in. Class V Planetaries are next. I put a slight emphasis on Force Field spending.
2432: I have held off from attacking the shifters, even though I could take them blindfolded. They were allied with the cats. AI alliances tend to be very temporary and cancel themselves if you wait long enough (obviously you might be able to void them yourself by diplo action, but that's exploitative unless I'm already at war.) Until I get my planetaries up, I don't want to risk tussling with the cats. This turn I check and the alliance is gone, however. As a bonus, the Darlok doom fleet is in the middle of flight, which means it sounds like a good time to strike:
2433: I hate you, MoO AI.
HEY HELP ME I CAN'T SEE A THING
Have some bears.
Of course you don't.
2436: A fight at Quayal, in which the shifters don't immediately retreat, anyway.
I think three hundred-some NPG fighters can handle this. These Darlok larges fire Gatling lasers.
The bulk of the Darlok fleet is parked at Xudax. This is going to be the big showdown, if I beat them here I break their backs. My ships outmaneuver everything in their fleet; we shall see. I send 95 NPG 2-0s from Uxmai, three turns away.
2438: Ursa, Denubius, Rotan, Spica and Klystron all re-max on factories.
No messing around. 251 NPG fighters fly from Quayal and 218 more leave from Regulus. Everybody, ships and troops, will arrive simultaneously in 2440, a year that no doubt will live forever in Bulrathi (or Darlok?) history.
2439: Regulus re-maxes on factories.
Seven of those large Gatling laser ships -- Black Widows -- are speeding along at warp 3 to Uxmai, it appears. They are accompanied by 3 medium Hornets, probably missile boats or laser ships. So it appears we will have two battles next year.
2440: First, the battle at Uxmai:
I have a smaller force than the fight at Quayal, versus more Black Widows. Alas, not enough. More ships will be coming in soon, however, and the Darloks can't take me on the ground.
Now for the main attraction, the battle royale at Xudax!
...Well, OK, Emperor Sssssuicide. I'll happily take your 125 Terran planet. Not like you need it.
Without shields, the missile base falls quickly. I lose no ships. Good, I'll need them.
Yeah, gloat while you can, you gigantic cowled turkey.
Notice how when I gloat, it's better.
(Silicoids, Aggressive Expansionist)
Class V Planetary Shields are at 18%. Eh, I think I'm going to need them. That Darlok fleet of death is at large, and I think it's headed for Imra.
I send 275 NPG 2-0 fighters from Xudax to Uxmai to clean up the Darlok ships in orbit. The force around Imra should be able to handle the death fleet, though... we'll see what the Huges have.
2441: Class V Planetary Shield pops. Repulsor Beams are next. I equalize the tech fields and put a couple clicks on Construction.
I go ahead and establish 600 BC/year trade with the rocks. They have IT+30 and are willing to trade for Inertial Stabilizer... Mmm. But right now I need to spend money putting these new shields up. If the cats declare it won't be very pretty.
2442: And now, the battle royale, only this time at Imra:
These Darlok ships all have slow-moving missiles. I'm also faster than all of their fleets; they have at best combat speed 2. Good! I can run from their missiles and their ships. I manage to blow up a few of their medium ships, and once they run out of missiles the bulk of their fleet retreats. The Huges have Gatling lasers on it, however, and they manage to get a few shots in.
Here you see the battle several combat rounds later. The remaining Huge is about to say good night.
This fight's really lop-sided. The Darlok are run out of Uxmai. All of their incoming troops are destroyed.
The Darloks put a fleet in orbit of Quayal; that will be eliminated next turn.
2444: Fleet at Quayal is destroyed by three hundred NPG fighters.
2445: Denubius, Ursa, Uxmai, Regulus and Imra complete their Class V Planetary Shields.
Also, it looks like another big Darlok fleet is coming to Imra for some more fun. There'll be two missile bases built by the time they reach it, however, I shouldn't even need any ships.
2447: Klystron and Spica build their Class V Planetary Shields.
I pull most of the fleet at Irma to Uxmai. From there I'm going to Incedius. With the shield and bases up, it's time to go back on the offensive!
2448: Finally, the Darlok fleet is revealed:
The ships retreat. They can't penetrate my MIGHTY defenses.
Rotan finishes its planetary shield.
2450: The Darlok attack Imra with three Black Widows and a colship. The ships in orbit retreat; I take out the Death Spore-armed colony ship.
Hard Beam is the next Weapons project.
The vote is me vs. the Silicoids. The Alkari abstain with 5 votes, everybody else votes Silicoids. The result?
I have 8 votes, so I am safe this time. However, I don't have a council veto yet. About time to remedy that.
Hi there, my esteemable Council opponent. How about giving me 4 or 5 more votes in the next election in exchange for Inertial Stabilizer, thereby allowing me to block your election as galactic overlord from now until Kingdom Come? You say, you'll do it?! Wow, you're a real pal!
While I'm at it, I pick up BC 3 from the Mrrshan for RIW 60%. They desperately need Construction tech, I need another computer.
Uxmai maxes on factories this turn.
The seven Black Widows are the most dangerous things to my fighters, I'll take those first, then blow up the bases.
The cats dial me up to complain about my expansion. Oh, boo, hoo.
2452: Bears are falling from the sky over Incedius.
The plunder: Improved Space Scanner (the shifters' best Computer tech), Mass Driver (their top of the line weapon), and one other tech:
BEARS GO ZOOM ZOOM
Great haul. ECM 4 is next in Computers research.
2453: The Darlok Fleet of Doom that looked so scary just ten years ago attacks Uxmai. Against its Class V planetary shield and two Merculite Missile bases the Darloks can do nothing, they turn back sadly for home. (Which will, of course, shortly be mine as well.)
Talas finishes its planetary shield.
An Alkari colship is flying into Dead Dunatis; it will arrive in two turns. I may soon have contact with the birds.