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  • Curiosity
    replied
    Gufnork,

    Raiding is pretty unattractive in MP. The sequence would tend to be, you take 1-2 of my bases, I load up some defenders/formers to stop you, you give up, then I send as many impact rovers as I can build to wipe you out. You need to put the other guy out of the game almost as soon as you attack.

    There is certainly a segment of the game where what you're talking about is possible, in that occasional case where you get a couple of rovers from pods and we start very close - as CT said, I've done it to him recently. However, even if he had built some defenders, I would still have come in all guns blazing in another 10 turns, as the strategic situation meant he had to go. If it hadn't, then I wouldn't have attacked him - I would have tried to pact/trade tech etc. because I'm looking for the greatest overall advantage, not just to kill one of the three opponents.

    So, IMO, early defenders will very rarely make much difference. I'm more worried about the other 19 games out of 20, where they'll slow me down to the point of not being able to compete.

    USC,

    You can see where the main landmasses and continents lie on turn one by the distortion in the map grid of black squares, and the start positions are chosen according to landmarks and continents. E.g., In my game vs CT I saw a particular landmark, knew the generator was likely (~50%) to place another faction to the north of that, and shot over there, turning up CT about where you'd expect.

    Open up SMAC and generate about 20 games, and look at each start position in the scenario editor. It differs between SMAC 4 and X I think - I find it much more predictable in SMAC - but you'll get a feel for it. It's an intuitive thing, as much as logical.

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  • Gufnork
    replied
    Curiosity, I'm not talking full assault. I'm talking sending your scouts on a raid. Even a scout patrol has a good chance of defending against a scout rover and you can't afford attrition, so the wisest thing is to give up if they have any defense. Or pop their formers.

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  • UnityScoutChopper
    replied
    Curiosity, what do you mean when you write that the map generator is semi-predictable about how it places the players? Other than suspiciously often placing my Morgan starts next to a homocidal maniac? :-)

    USC

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  • Curiosity
    replied
    Hmm, lots of interesting discussion.

    Bottom line, if someone hits you with no warning early in the game then it's a very bad situation. Scout patrols, even synthmetal garrisons, don't make much difference. Impact weapons aren't hard to get, and lasers will eat up synthmetal with a little attrition. Defenders are pretty damn useless in SMAC, you need forces to kill his rovers on the way in and counterattack with.

    However, someone shouldn't - generally - be able to do that. If you start reasonably close to someone then it's obvious by the borders being distorted. Also, the map generator is semi-predictable about how it places the players, and you can scout the most likely occupied spots on your continent. Once you've located someone, you ideally either pact with them or infiltrate, so there's not much chance of them sneaking up on you. Not unless you fall asleep.

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  • Chaos Theory
    replied
    The first thing every base of mine does is make a terraformer, preferably rushed. The second thing many bases do is make a terraformer. Multiply that by many cities and you get a horde of terraformers. The number of cities in my empire is proportional to its radius squared, but its circumference is proportional to its radius, so I end up with a great many formers at my periphery.

    Of course, exactly what year are we talking about possible conflict? On the early extreme, 2115, I'm vulnerable, but even if I had build garrisons they'd be out popping pods. On the late extreme, 2150 or so, you can't make a dent with most forces.

    Also, TCP/IP games start slightly accelerated: your HQ has a rec tanks, rec commons, and 2-4 population (2 for Zak and Morgan, 4 for Dee, I think 3 for all others). You also get a free extra scout rover and terraformer. This makes it all the easier to defend against an early attacker.

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  • Gufnork
    replied
    You must terraform much faster than me, if you're able to have sensors and forest everywhere that early. But if you feel that comfortable with your strategy, by all means continue. We're not likely to meet on the battlefield anyway.

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  • Chaos Theory
    replied
    Mongoose: you're correct about the scout patrol, of course. I'm not used to being able to profitably hurry one thing and switch to another.

    I'm pretty sure that non-simult TCP/IP games still have all players complete construction before anyone moves. You can twiddle your cities before your turn comes up, and you can't change what they produce before your turn comes up, after the start of the turn. However, it has been a while since I played in these conditions. In simult TCP/IP, you complete construction even before comps/natives move, so if a mind worm or something appears next to your base, you can rush a defender. There's a nasty cost for this advantage, however:

    PBEM: you complete construction, ecodamage causes a pop with worms, your units move and attack, remaining worms move and attack
    TCP/IP: you complete construction, ecodamage causes a pop (not sure about the order of these first two), worms move and attack, your units move and attack

    This has the important consquence that an empath scout rover is NOT adequate defense against huge pops in TCP/IP, whereas it is in PBEM.

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  • Mongoose
    replied
    CT, you overstate the cost to rush build a scout patrol.

    - The first 10 minerals of a facility cost 4ec/mineral.

    - Construction may be freely switched, even from one category to another, up to 10 minerals.

    Rushing the scout in the circumstances you describe above will only cost you 24 ec, if done correctly...set production to a facility...spend 24 ec to rush 6 minerals...change construction to the scout. The six minerals are not reduced by the switch. The scout completes the next turn, unless one of your forests is occupied or destroyed.

    The only time this approach becomes problematic is in your HQ if you have already built all facilities for which you have the tech. All other bases can use 'Relocate HQ' as the facility to 'build'.

    The move sequence you describe in TCP/IP depends on whether simultaneous moves are being used or not. If not, the only difference from PBEM in the sequence of play is that all the AI take their turns at the end of the game turn, at the same time as the native life.

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  • Chaos Theory
    replied
    Sensors see worms before they smack your bases. Forests clear fungus. Formers clear fungus. Formers are EVERYWHERE. Any worms that appear will kill a former first. After that, I simply move all the vulnerable formers out of the way, and into vulnerable bases. No, native life doesn't worry me (Exception: hordes of locusts produced by pops in certain conditions).

    Gufnork, I think you underestimate my typical cashflow in the scenario you're proposing. I'm not sitting on a pile of cash. I might have 50 or so ecs unless I'm saving up for a project. But I'm making 20-40 on up a turn.

    Your 3 scout rovers cost you ~60 minerals directly, plus the support or reduced former count. If they're unity rovers, obviously, this cost is negated, but then I have unity rovers, too.

    When they reach me, if they're just scout rovers, they'll be greeted with scout patrols. Your rovers will have small areas that they threaten, given the amount of forest I like to plant. I can simply pop out scout patrols in the threatened bases at minimal cost. Worst case, in a fresh base I'll have 3 mins/turn, so a scout patrol would cost me 6/9 * 44 ecs = 30. Whoop-de-doo.

    If you get your hands on a base, you probably obliterate it, because it's probably size 1. In doing so, you cut several percent off my size, but it's nothing irreplaceable. If you grab a size 2, it'll be a size 1 kept out of drone riots by the very unit that captured it. Size 1 bases in hostile territory aren't very productive, and leave you vulnerable to probe raping. In fact, I might even let you take one for that purpose.

    Actually, another factor in this is whether the game is PBEM or TCP/IP. The sequence of builds and attacks varies.

    TCP/IP: (Each player finishes construction), then (each player can attack)
    PBEM (AFAIK): Each player (finishes construction then attacks)
    with parens indicating grouping

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  • CEO Aaron
    replied
    I'd much rather sacrifice a turn's energy income on turn 40 than a 3-5 turn's mineral output on turn 20. Especially if it turns out you don't find me, which, on a huge map, is pretty likely. Yes, eventually I will have to build defenders, and I'll usually have them built in most of my bases by the time I've completely finished expanding.

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  • Gufnork
    replied
    Worms can come out of nowhere and smack your base.

    Compare the cost of 3 scout rovers to rushing synthmetal in each base and you find out who comes out on top. Add any minerals you lose on changing production to defense. And if I can get my hands on even one base, I've gained from it.

    1-2-1s or 1-3-1s in bases on sensors will slow you down greatly
    No, it will turn me around. Once you get them my objective is achieved, you've lost all the money you for some weird reason hadn't spent already. Mission accomplished, now they head to scare another sucker.

    But if you can afford to rushbuild all that military, you don't have turn advantage. Spending your money gives you turn advantage.

    But do you really think I rely on this in a game? This is just something to give me an edge. And if I happen to find a pair of unity rovers from pods, it doesn't even cost me anything. And it's not one of my most common strategies, since I rarely manage to find someone I feel I can screw over with this.

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  • Chaos Theory
    replied
    You won't take my bases so swiftly because I have sensors at the periphery. 1-2-1s or 1-3-1s in bases on sensors will slow you down greatly, and they can be rushed cheaply. Terraformers in bases with sensors hose native worms.

    If you force me to build garrisons, you merely force me to return the turn advantage I had gained by skipping them. However, I'm returning it much later, so I'm coming out ahead anyway.

    Worst case, you force me to struggle for survival. If there are more than two players in the game, everyone else pulls ahead while we pour resources into war. You lose. I lose.

    If you find me far too late, I've pulled far ahead of you. You lose. I can win.

    If you find me at an intermediate stage, you might convince me to help you out in exchange for not fighting you and falling behind. We both can win. This window is kind of narrow.

    You can only win if you scout me out without tipping me off to your existence, and swarm me with rovers and probe teams. Better hope I don't stumble on you before you're ready.

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  • CEO Aaron
    replied
    If your entire strategy is founded on blundering into my undefended bases with 2-3 rovers, I don't see how you're relying on luck more than the guy who waits for attackers before building defenders. I've got sensors to see you from afar, and can cancel what I'm building in my border bases to rush-build some synth garrisons. If your offensive turns out to be too large to withstand, I'll sell off my upgrades and cut the roads leading to my other bases, and rely on the fact that I've still got 3-6 more bases built to keep you from consolidating your gains.

    On the other hand, if you don't find me, you've blown all that early turn-advantage for nothing, and with IA safely under my belt, I'll be long-dogging it toward rushed wonders, tree farms and clean reactors.

    It seems to me that the truly conservative approach is to expand naturally and explore aggressively. Once you've found your rivals and probe them, you can find out which faction is unprepared for your assault and build sufficent attack units to make the outcome of the engagement beyond doubt.

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  • Gufnork
    replied
    I'll take half your bases in one sweeping motion. After that you're screwed. Of course, careful terraforming would help. And keeping resources to speedbuild defense. Heck, if that's the way you run things I could just run a rover up to your front door, shout boo and you'd be screwed out of the game while desperatly trying to defend. You don't think I'm dumb enough to concentrate my forces at one spot early so you'll have an easy time defending?

    Of course, I need to spot your weakness early. If you want to risk losing the game before 2150 to get turn advantage, by all means. I don't see how it's worth the risk. Worms and nasty people (like me) can screw you over too much. And I never rely on luck, it always fails on me.

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  • Chaos Theory
    replied
    You MUST defend as little as possible in MP until given incentive not to, or you lose turn advantage. Your scout rover would be spotted by my sensors or terraformers before it could take a base, ideally, and even if it grabbed one, I could immediately construct defense in my vulnerable bases after that.

    The exception is when someone hits you so early that you don't have formers and sensors, or expendable bases, as Curiosity demonstrated. He nailed my capital in 2115, coming from the direction I hadn't yet explored. That's just a risk you have to take.

    As for worms, build sensors, and be careful when popping pods. If you lose some dinky base, oh well, make another. All your important bases should be shielded by new expansion.

    Incidentally, I'm a big fan of hyper-early FM, excepting Zak (gets to Wealth by the time he has 40 energy), Dee, Yang, and sometimes Domai (+3 industry ROCKS, and you need the +2 growth to keep up).

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