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Thread: New PBEM Classic SMAC

  1. #121
    mmontgomery
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    St Jon, here is my opinion on how to get started with Morgan.

    Vel's article is very good, but with Morgan, the devil is in the details. So here is a detailed blow by blow of Montgomery's opinion how to get started with Morgan. Note that this is just my opinion; it is not written in concrete. If something does not make sense, you can ask me about it, but ultimately, you should do what YOU think is best.

    First, the start of the game is incredibly important. For you mathematicians, initial growth is exponential, at least until you hit the base/drone limit. A small slip in the early game will cost you big time later.

    One of the biggest weaknesses of Morgan is that he cannot use Planned. I guess the designers figured that if Morgan could use Planned, he would be unstoppable. This can slow down his initial growth compared to some factions, but he can use money to help speed up initial growth with rush-builds of colony pods. Not being able to use Planned also hurts the middle game, since he can't population boom with Democracy/Planned/Children's Creche. The Cloning Vats are important to overcome this limitation.

    I don't like to play Morgan if pods are on, or if abundant alien life is on, or on a small map. Morgan is very dependent upon Free Market to leverage his bonus, which means he will be weak to alien life, and Free Market has a much harder time exploring, since all exploration outside of your boundaries needs to be done with non-combat units and ships. If you have a situation where you feel you would have to play Morgan without using Free Market, then just pick some other faction to play. On a small map, Morgan may have too much pressure from nearby factions to stay in Free Market; Morgan likes large or huge maps so he has time to build his economy before he encounters other factions.

    For initial base locations, try to preference putting early bases on nutrient resources. The fast growth will speed early expansion. If you have such a square near your starting location, move a base to it and build it on top. Otherwise, build on in a square that has at least one nearby square that has at least 2 nutrient and 1 mineral. Other than special resources and rivers, you are better off building your base on the worst land around (except you can't build on rocky), since regardless of the terrain, your base will produce the same output. Special resources will provide their bonus, and rivers will provide +1 energy, so preference these squares. Otherwise build your base in barren land, and save the rainy land to harvest.

    If you managed a ordinary location, you can build a scout with your initial 10 minerals to look around, and build a colony pod (CP) next. If you happen to have build on a nutrient resource, you can build the CP first. Keep careful track of your cities. Just before they are about to grow, turn the citizen into a doctor. After growth, rush-build the colony pod, and put all of your citizens back to work. You won't get a drone riot, because the CP will decrease the population first, even though it looks like the city would riot. Keep churning out CPs with rush-building until you have enough CPs in queue to reach the limit for your map size (7 for vets map, 9 for huge map of planet, etc.)

    For technology, Beeline to Industrial Automation (IA). Period. I know you want recycling centers and formers, but wait. In a ordinary (non CNM) game, you will have no sidetracks if you go straight for IA. So research Industrial Economics first, immediately switching to Free Market when completed. Then research Information Networks and Planetary Networks, which allows probe teams to be built, a very important unit for Morgan. Then research IA, immediately shifting to Wealth. Afterwards, Biogenetics (recycling centers), Centauri Ecology (formers), and Social Psych (recreation commons) are your next research priorities, in whatever order the game allows, and what seems best to you.

    The next Beeline is to Bio-Engineering (clean reactors), which will offset your support penalty, and allow you to build as many units as you want, and allow a shift to Democracy (with the corresponding support penalty). If no one has gotten the tech bonus for Secrets of the Human Brain, you might try to get that before Centauri Ecology. Otherwise, get the techs toward Bio-Engineering in any order you want. (Centauri Ecology is not on the beeline, but it is too important to wait that long, so get it right after SOHB, or sooner if someone already got the SOHB bonus.) After Bio-Engineering, design clean formers, clean infantry, and clean versions of any other units (except probe teams and supply crawlers, which have no support cost). Then convert all of your units to clean versions, and switch to Democracy. After this, let the situation guide your choices.

    After you get your initial bases built, you want to handle the drones. Initially you can do this with doctors or psych spending. The tradeoff usually is based on how many doctors you would need, verses the resources that would be gained with no doctors and each base having psych spending. If most of our bases would benefit, psych spending is the way to go. But if only one or two bases are at size 2, then doctors are the best bet. Once you get recreation commons, you have another option for drone control. Secret projects can also be a good choice to help with drone control. Human Genome Project provides two free points of psych spending to each base. Virtual World allows your network nodes to act as hologram centers, which is a great benefit, but you have to build network nodes to take advantage of it. Planetary Transit System controls one drone for bases of size 3 or less. Once you have figured out some drone control, and depending upon other threats, you may be ready for the next round of expansion.

    For handling early threats from other players, probe teams are often your best recourse, since they have no support cost. As long as the enemy does not have units stacked, you can buy your way out of trouble. Only 25 energy can subvert a pesky infantry, and then the infantry can help you deal with other threats. Slower (infantry) probe teams can be built for only 20, and are often a good choice for subverting units approaching your bases. For dealing with mind worms, or enemy attacks that you can't subvert, armored infantry probe teams are a good choice. They can be build for 30, and require no support, so they are your best choice until you get clean reactors. They are just as tough defensively as an infantry; even more so, because probe teams use a different morale system. So while your wealth will cause your regular infantry to start very green, your probe team morale depends on other techs researched, and will typically start at hardened or disciplined, and they also get the standard 25% bonus for defending in a city. And your armored probe teams can still subvert any units that are not stacked or mind worms.

    Don't forget to build sensors, especially for mind worm defense, but they help against other players too. I don't try to build them under my initial cities, because early expansion is too important. But I often try to build them under my next batch of cities as I expand. Sensors under a city can't be attacked and removed by an enemy.

    Social summary:

    1. Switch to Free Market and stay there at least until you need to build needlejets. You can fight most defensive battle in Free Market. Once you get to the air phase, there are some tricks for building aircraft in Free Market without pacifism penalties, but we can cover that another time. As Vel said, switching to Green can be great because the +4 efficiency from Green/Democracy will mean you can divert all of your energy into research without penalty. But Free Market is better for Morgan, so I don't usually switch to Green unless the need to build a lot of Needlejets forces me out of Free Market.

    2. Switch to Wealth as soon as you can and stay there. Forget about Knowledge. Even if you are going mainly for research, the bonus from Wealth will speed your research more than the 20% from knowledge.

    3. After you get clean reactors, convert everything and switch to Democracy and stay there.

    I hope this helps you get a good start with Morgan!

  2. #122
    vyeh
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    mmontgomery,

    Nice. I would add the following (which apply to all factions).

    (1) Be aware that when you switch to Free Market, your garrisons no longer act as police and that combat units outside your territorial limits create two drones each in their home bases. So before you switch to Free Market, you have to make sure your scouts don't wander too far outside your territorial limits.

    (2) Energy credits in your account don't do much. While it is important to keep enough to switch to free market, you should be spending your credits rushing facilities and units. Facilities are a flat 2 credits/mineral, but the cost to complete units depends on how many minerals are needed to complete the unit.

    (3) A probe team, even an armored probe team, in a base or a stack is destroyed if another unit in the base or stack is destroyed and there are no non-probe teams left. If you go the armored probe route, you need to designate it as the primary defender so that it defends first.

  3. #123
    vyeh
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    mmontgomery,

    Vel posted the following at WePlayCiv.

    It has definitely been a long time since I was active in the SMAX community (tho that has been changing in recent weeks ), and no doubt, there have been further refinements/discussions that have taken place since v4's publication. Let's fire up a new thread and start kicking stuff around. We get enough new material, we might be able to make a new update!

    -=Vel=-
    I copied your material in post #121 into the WePlayCiv, crediting you with the material and linking the original post.

    If you have a problem with it, I will delete my post there.

    I was curious to see how Vel would react to your strategy.

  4. #124
    mmontgomery
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    I have no problem with you copying the material and reposting. It was very nice of you to credit me with it.

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