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  1. #1
    magic9mushroom
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    magic9mushroom's strategy questions...

    Well, I've finally gotten "into" AC enough that my questions are outstripping the circles I frequent and my Google-fu. Apropos, I've registered here. Here's hoping I don't accidentally start any flamewars.

    So, without further ado:

    1) Playing as the Pirates under Svensgaard, it seems to me that restriction lifting would be more of a priority than IndAuto, since Frontier/Planned/Wealth will kill his research dead and he hits nut and energy restrictions the moment he starts terraforming at all. Can someone either confirm this, or explain to me why it's not so?

    2) Which faction has the fastest ICS start? To me Marr looks like it - he has +1 Growth, free recycling tanks, energy grid from turn 1, and starts with CentEco and Biogenetics, not to mention the free colony pod - but I don't see much about him in guides, and the "fastest transcendence" records (which are seriously mind-boggling) seem to all use ICS Zakharov. What am I missing here?

    3) Again with Svensgaard (I like!), what ratio of mining platforms to tidal harnesses do you people find works best? Or do you rely on boreholes for minerals?

    EDIT: 4) How do you use colony pods to increase the size of a city? Is it just normal "disband" or is there something special you have to do? I tried it once or twice and it didn't seem to work.

    (And yes, I know I'm a lazy bastard and should hammer these out for myself, but I'm a slow player. If I have to, I will, but I figured I should "probe" as many answers as I could before I hit the research. )

    Thanks,
    m9m

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    gwillybj
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    Quote Originally Posted by magic9mushroom View Post
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    4) How do you use colony pods to increase the size of a city? Is it just normal "disband" or is there something special you have to do? I tried it once or twice and it didn't seem to work.
    Press "B" (for Base) and the colony's population will increase by 1. Be sure you have enough nutrients to feed them all.
    Coffee's on.

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    waab
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    Quote Originally Posted by magic9mushroom View Post
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    1) Playing as the Pirates under Svensgaard, it seems to me that restriction lifting would be more of a priority than IndAuto, since Frontier/Planned/Wealth will kill his research dead and he hits nut and energy restrictions the moment he starts terraforming at all. Can someone either confirm this, or explain to me why it's not so?
    I would agree with you, it was however a long time since I played SAMCx as I never really enjoyed it as much as SMAC. What is the cost difference between a sea crawler and land crawler?

    Quote Originally Posted by magic9mushroom View Post
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    2) Which faction has the fastest ICS start? To me Marr looks like it - he has +1 Growth, free recycling tanks, energy grid from turn 1, and starts with CentEco and Biogenetics, not to mention the free colony pod - but I don't see much about him in guides, and the "fastest transcendence" records (which are seriously mind-boggling) seem to all use ICS Zakharov. What am I missing here?
    Most people doesn't play with the aliens because they are overpowered. I think the idea was that AI aliens would make it hard for experienced players.

    Quote Originally Posted by magic9mushroom View Post
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    3) Again with Svensgaard (I like!), what ratio of mining platforms to tidal harnesses do you people find works best? Or do you rely on boreholes for minerals?
    I have never played that much with Svensgaard, but I would probably have a couple of bases focused on energy and some on production. The energy bases would just have enough production to produce energy banks, network nodes and so on; those bases will be the backbone of your economy. The mineral bases would then have punishments spheres, naval yards and other war buildings to construct your army and navy.
    What do I care about your suffering? Pain, even agony, is no more than information before the senses, data fed to the computer of the mind. The lesson is simple: you have received the information, now act on it. Take control of the input and you shall become master of the output.

  4. #4
    Lord Avalon
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    Quote Originally Posted by magic9mushroom View Post
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    1) Playing as the Pirates under Svensgaard, it seems to me that restriction lifting would be more of a priority than IndAuto, since Frontier/Planned/Wealth will kill his research dead and he hits nut and energy restrictions the moment he starts terraforming at all. Can someone either confirm this, or explain to me why it's not so?
    Haven't played much Sven lately, but I'll take a stab. You can get to Gene Splicing and more food relatively easily, so that might be worth it, although a couple kelp farms give you two 2 nut squares, and they spread, so is food/growth really a problem? Environ Econ is a level 5 tech, so takes longer to get to. How much does lifting energy restrictions gain vs. just having a lot of bases? Info Net leads to Nonlinear Math as well as Planet Net, which gives you probe foils as well as Planned, and with Ind Auto you have Wealth and can build supply trawlers if you're trying to build Secret Projs.

    Planned is the killer with -2 efficiency on top of Sven's -1 (Creches will be important). I'd have to play around with Soc Eng to see how bad it is on research, but there's nothing that says you have to adopt Planned. I'd want to get Planet Net at least for the probe foils for no-support exploration and infiltration, if not tech stealing. Wealth seems important for the +1 econ and +1 industry and crawlers/trawlers. If you're not so interested in Secret Projs, if you've settled just off the coast, your crawlers can pull mins from forests, and maybe a min bonus if you're lucky.

    Edit: I found an old Sven game at Talent where I reached the next century and didn't touch Soc Eng. Onemoreturnitis, I suppose. So it's 2210, I have 15 bases - 3 each of size 7 to 3 (I have Planetary Transit System) - only 3 Children's Creches, Human Genome Project, Weather Paradigm, Virtual World, Planetary Energy Grid, 1051 energy, net income 57, breakthroughs in 12 turns with 7 Net Nodes.

    So you're right, Frontier/Planned/Wealth is bad, reducing income to 21 and increasing research to 22t. Wealth alone gives 60/10t. You could use Dem to offset Planned, also giving 60/10t, but you take a Support hit (although there's plenty of energy to rush buy, at least at Talent*). Dem/Simple/Wealth would be 82/10t, and Dem/Free Mkt/Wealth 117/7t. I'd have to check on military before taking the Police hit of FM.

    *I don't know if I beelined Ind Auto. 3rd level techs are Ind Auto, Gene Spl and Adaptive Econ; 4th level Doc: Init and Synth Fossil Fuels; researching Field Modulation. So I haven't even lifted min restriction, much less energy. At Talent, I suppose that's not as important. /edit.

    2) Which faction has the fastest ICS start? To me Marr looks like it - he has +1 Growth, free recycling tanks, energy grid from turn 1, and starts with CentEco and Biogenetics, not to mention the free colony pod - but I don't see much about him in guides, and the "fastest transcendence" records (which are seriously mind-boggling) seem to all use ICS Zakharov. What am I missing here?
    Not sure about fastest ICS start. Marr does start with more techs, but per Vel's Guide, aliens are despised by humans, so have less commerce income. I presume Zak's +2 research plus commerce would lead to him passing Marr.

    3) Again with Svensgaard (I like!), what ratio of mining platforms to tidal harnesses do you people find works best? Or do you rely on boreholes for minerals?
    I try to build just off the coast; hopefully no one is occupying the land. That way you can build forests and mines (and crawl mins), and eventually boreholes, and farm/harness in the sea squares. Otherwise I have a mix, not sure of ratio. I think platforms are more important early, so you can build stuff more quickly. Haven't tried what waab suggested with base focus per se, but off-the-coast bases will of course have more production focus.

    Quote Originally Posted by waab View Post
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    What is the cost difference between a sea crawler (aka trawler - LA) and land crawler?
    Basic crawler is 30, trawler 50. 27 & 45 with Planned or Wealth, 24 & 40 with both.

    I have never played that much with Svensgaard, but I would probably have a couple of bases focused on energy and some on production. The energy bases would just have enough production to produce energy banks, network nodes and so on; those bases will be the backbone of your economy. The mineral bases would then have punishments spheres, naval yards and other war buildings to construct your army and navy.
    Sven gets free naval yards with Doc: Initiative.
    Last edited by Lord Avalon; May 11, 2012 at 22:37.
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  5. #5
    magic9mushroom
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Avalon View Post
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    Haven't played much Sven lately, but I'll take a stab. You can get to Gene Splicing and more food relatively easily, so that might be worth it, although a couple kelp farms give you two 2 nut squares, and they spread, so is food/growth really a problem?
    Well, Sven has a hard time ICSing or pop-booming, so he needs to hard-grow cities to significant size quickly.

    Environ Econ is a level 5 tech, so takes longer to get to. How much does lifting energy restrictions gain vs. just having a lot of bases?
    Well, Sven can get an easy 4 energy per square with Tidal Harness/Thermocline Transducer (god-damn, those have to be one of the most broken facilities in the game). That's pretty good, IMO.

    Not sure about fastest ICS start. Marr does start with more techs, but per Vel's Guide, aliens are despised by humans, so have less commerce income. I presume Zak's +2 research plus commerce would lead to him passing Marr.
    You've never played as aliens, it seems.

    They don't get commerce at all. Instead they get the "Energy Grid" which gives +1 energy per two facilities, rounded UP (and every alien base has Recycling Tanks, so there's always at least +1). Commerce ends up more powerful in most cases, but only once you get going properly.

    Starting with 2 colony pods instead of 1 is also rather a boost. As Caretakers, I can generally look to get Secrets of the Human Brain around 2112 despite the late start.

    If we were to compare Zak and Marr's relative tech positions at game start (after founding initial colony pods), here's what we'd find.

    Zak has 2 bases, both size 1 (though one may be getting close to size 2). Given one of them's working a river, he's got, let's say, 3 energy at HQ base and 1 from his secondary. With his Network Nodes, that's 5 research, which is boosted to 6 by his +2 Research.

    Marr has 3 bases, all size 1. Given one of them's working a river, he's got 5 energy at his HQ base and 3 at his secondaries. That's 7 research, and outside of research all the advantages belong to Marr anyway.

  6. #6
    Bailey
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    Quote Originally Posted by magic9mushroom View Post
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    2) Which faction has the fastest ICS start? To me Marr looks like it - he has +1 Growth, free recycling tanks, energy grid from turn 1, and starts with CentEco and Biogenetics, not to mention the free colony pod - but I don't see much about him in guides, and the "fastest transcendence" records (which are seriously mind-boggling) seem to all use ICS Zakharov. What am I missing here?
    I think you forgot that Marr can't run democracy which is a huge weakness. It means that to pop-boom he needs to both be in planned (-2 efficiency!) AND to dope his citizens into golden age (without +2 econ!). I don't think it could be any harder than this... You probably have to rely on crawling nuts and using lots of doctors/empaths, but I expect it would still be rather hard (haven't played him because of this). With Zakharov it's easy as pie. Even with Morgan (who I usually play) pop-booming is relatively easy because at least you don't lose much energy and can get +4 (edit: wait, no +5!) econ to boot.

    In my opinion caretakers are much more powerful than usurpers (because of democracy, plus their initial techs are more useful for a builder), however they can't achieve transcend victory...
    Last edited by Bailey; May 24, 2012 at 23:38.

  7. #7
    magic9mushroom
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    Well, I didn't forget it, but running pure ICS it's not that much of a handicap IMO.

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    CEO Aaron
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    Quote Originally Posted by magic9mushroom
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    Which faction has the fastest ICS start?
    Gaians. Formers on turn one, the ability to feed off xenofungus, and the higher base limit (for baselimit 'N', base N+1 and beyond produce drones when they're founded) is most pivotal to a fast ICS. Build a former, Seed a forest, then start clearing roads to your new base sites. Early research goals are Biogenics for tanks/HGP, Social Psych for commons, Secrets of the Human Brain and Centauri Empathy for Green Economy, which, you guessed it, raises your base limit. Commit found artifacts to building HGP, it will allow you to get a second round of bases before you need to devote resources to an immediate garrison/commons (ie: double your baselimit).

    Once you're at the base-limit x2, you start planning for your population boom, getting Creches, Planned, Democracy and Habs. Your faction immediately mushrooms to the highest population, now is a good time to grab Empath Guild and sew up the Governorship, and likely the game.
    Last edited by CEO Aaron; June 7, 2012 at 10:44.

  9. #9
    magic9mushroom
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    Quote Originally Posted by CEO Aaron View Post
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    Gaians. Formers on turn one, the ability to feed off xenofungus, and the higher base limit (for baselimit 'N', base N+1 and beyond produce drones when they're founded) is most pivotal to a fast ICS. Build a former, Seed a forest, then start clearing roads to your new base sites. Early research goals are Biogenics for tanks/HGP, Social Psych for commons, Secrets of the Human Brain and Centauri Empathy for Green Economy, which, you guessed it, raises your base limit. Commit found artifacts to building HGP, it will allow you to get a second round of bases before you need to devote resources to an immediate garrison/commons (ie: double your baselimit).

    Once you're at the base-limit x2, you start planning for your population boom, getting Creches, Planned, Democracy and Habs. Your faction immediately mushrooms to the highest population, now is a good time to grab Empath Guild and sew up the Governorship, and likely the game.
    The aliens also start with formers and +1 nutrients, and with HGP bureaucracy will NEVER give you drone riots in a size 1 base, Gaians or no Gaians.

  10. #10
    Ogie Oglethorpe
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    Been a while since I played Sven and no longer have AX (aor at least a version I can find to run on my machine). However I seem to recall that having SVen go land side helps. Build a land transport (infantry based) and use it to move you formers about thus allowing some turn advantage for your former activities. You'll want Weather Paradigm as that allows condensors which are a way around the nutrient restruictions pre-gene splice. Given his growth penalty you need to make up for it with lots of nutrients. (obviously Planetary transit helps.)

    Going to land allows nutrients pre-genesplice and more importantly access to mins which are otherwise scarce on the sea (unless you are building expensive sea formers.) Sven also has one of the best chances of exploring and finding the monsoon jungle.
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    CEO Aaron
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    Quote Originally Posted by magic9mushroom View Post
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    The aliens also start with formers and +1 nutrients, and with HGP bureaucracy will NEVER give you drone riots in a size 1 base, Gaians or no Gaians.
    False. Once you start passing double your base limit, you'll eat into the HGP talent thanks to super-drones. More to the point Bailey already addressed the fatal weakness of the Aliens: No trade income. Also, I believe that the Aliens land a few turns later than other factions, which should not be discounted. But the real reason you don't want to play Aliens is nerve gas. The human factions will suffer no consequences for turning your bases into a roach-motel.

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    magic9mushroom
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    I do not believe the first citizen can be a super-drone. Bureaucracy has been tested and maxes out at base size. A size 1 base has 1 non-drone worker, who is rendered a normal drone by bureaucracy and then made a worker again by HGP's 2 psych -> no riot. If it was a captured base, then you would indeed have problems, but we were discussing ICS and bureaucracy, not conquest.

    And no, humans don't suffer any consequences for gassing aliens. Aliens suffer no consequences for gassing anyone. Advantage: Aliens.

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    Elok
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    Not really. I mean, I don't have SMAX, but if six out of every seven factions can gas you with impunity, that puts you at a disadvantage compared to them, since they can't gas each other without problems. The fact that you can retaliate in kind doesn't sound like much consolation, since pretty much everybody will have a +50% attack headed your direction and nowhere else. I mean, suppose seven of us have a pillow-fight. If we use a pillowcase stuffed with rocks on somebody, we get a five-minute time out, unless we hit you. You're allowed to hit back the same way, when you're not curled up in a ball crying. Does that sound like the odds are in your favor?
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  14. #14
    magic9mushroom
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    The problem is that you have to spend time putting down the normal pillow and picking up the pillowcase stuffed with rocks. I don't. Also, in my case it's not a pillowcase stuffed with rocks, but an AK-47.

    Since you haven't played Crossfire; aliens start with an extra colony pod, a 6-3-1 unit (in addition to their standard scout), get Recycling Tanks free at every base as well as limited commerce from turn one, and have five techs at game start including Centauri Ecology and Biogenetics. The downsides are that they start five turns later and that their commerce-equivalent will eventually be outstripped by the normal kind assuming the humans don't use that pillowcase stuffed with rocks on each other.

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    CEO Aaron
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    Quote Originally Posted by magic9mushroom View Post
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    Their commerce-equivalent will eventually be outstripped by the normal kind assuming the humans don't use that pillowcase stuffed with rocks on each other.
    In my experience, the point at which the energy grid falls behind commerce is quite early, and the early leverage the Aliens get due to free tanks and tech also evaporates pretty soon. The only lasting strength they get is the +25% to attack/defense, balanced against a truly mediocre set of SE bonuses/aversions. My point is that while they have a strong start, they have weak fundamentals.

    Also, your AK-47 analogy doesn't really hold up in practice. The trouble is that in the early-midgame in SMAC, you know who your neighbors are, and you build your army and choose your tech appropriately. Without trade income polishing up the merits of peaceful coexistence, the human factions invariably treat them as a clear, unambiguous threat.

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