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Landmarks: The Good, The Bad, and The Stupid

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  • Landmarks: The Good, The Bad, and The Stupid

    Now, its time to discuss my opinions on some of everyone's favorite part of SMAC/X, the Landmarks. I have them divided up into 3 categories: The Good, The Bad, and The Stupid. I am looking at this from a 'starting nearby' point of view.

    The Good

    Monsoon Jungle. A real no brainer. Fill it with cities and you're on your way to a win. Nothing like a jungle full of forests for some industrial giants to make early game that much more fun.

    Garland's Crator. A city dead center in the crator will have plenty of early minerals to help build projects, prototypes, and toys for the kiddies.

    Mount Planet. The extra minerals are kinda good, but the volcano's big advantage comes from the rainy squares on its slopes.

    The Ruins. Everyone loves monoliths! Nuff said.

    Geothermal Shallows. A great place for some sea cities and perhaps even a sea energy park.

    Manifold Nexus. Even if you don't know its around, as long as its in your territory that +1 planet really helps the early game worm brigade, or even stave off some of the worms for those less then nice to planet factions.


    Uraniam Flats. Great for early energy, but they always tend to be arid, making for slow city growth.

    Unity Wreckage. All that free stuff is cool and all, and there is plenty of space for a few cities, but the wreckage itself is a giant span of arid squares, again hurting early city growth.

    Borehole Cluster. Nothing wrong with a few free boreholes, but early game this landmark is next to useless until you get some crawlers and tech to bring home the minerals.

    The Bad

    New Sargasso. A giant span of fungus. Perfect for growing mindworms just to come bother you. And a few pods just doesn't make up for the headache that this landmark creates early game.

    The Great Dunes. Oh, look at all those arid squares. Joy. Its like the Unity Wreckage with none of the free stuff.

    The Stupid. Yep, all the rest that didn't make it. And, of course, comments.

    Sunny Mesa. Woo... raised land!

    Pholus Ridge. Woo... raised land! This might have made it into the 'good' category had the energy bonuses been wider spread.

    Fossil Field Ridge. Oh boy, look, a landmark that has a stupid bonus. And you can't even raise the thing to improve the squares either.

    Freshwater Sea. Woo... water!

    Nessus Canyon. Woo... a river!

    Disagree? Feel free to comment...

  • #2
    Well, I would like to point out that you can bore hole all of stuff (well no right next to each other) like the Dunes and the Unity crash site, and the Uranium Flats. That's pretty handy for me.

    Most of the landmarks are pretty good early on (including the Unity wreckage), and have a fairly rapidly diminishing value after the early game. I do agree that some of these are pretty bland (sunny mesa comes to mind), but the variation is interesting.

    I remember one early game where I landed smack dab on the Uranium Flats with a long river running through it (and bringing moisture). I looked forward to a record game, until I ran into Domai on the same continent. He had trading tech, and got ahead on military tech while I was researching build techs and unaware of his presence. He took a rapid dislike to me and crushed me while I only had 4 cities.
    He's got the Midas touch.
    But he touched it too much!
    Hey Goldmember, Hey Goldmember!


    • #3
      Famyn: Great comments.
      I would point out that you CAN raise the fossil field ridge. I did this once with a tectonic missile. Those things are sure fun. They can wipe out enemy fleets, erase years of terraforming, provide instant drop-pod access to those stinkin sea bases....


      • #4
        You said the real benefit from mount planet is the rainy squares, but the ridge also has that advantage, yet you placed in your stupid category.

        Other than that I agree!
        Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi Wan's apprentice.


        • #5
          In general, call me slightly more optimistic than Famyn on the landmarks. I seem to have less in my "bad" and "stupid" lists. In fact, my only unequivocally bad news landmark would be the dunes.

          All of Famyn's "good" list are in my good list as well. Not sure that I can agree with the "borderline" calls though.

          Let's start with one of my favs, the unity crash site. If you explore it early you get a ton of cool stuff. The mining laser can be used for expanding your exploration team or melted down for minerals. The cash is always welcome. The chopper is great for early exploration and since I play pod scattering, can give you a line on a pile of unpopped pods. Nail a couple of early worms and your chopper will gain experience so that it is a cinch against any native life. This will net you cash throughout the game and by the time you get MMI and upgrade you should be at least a vet. The other factions' landing sites are handy to know. It can allow you to speed up first contact with other factions or avoid it for a while if you so choose. Then there is the big hunk of ripped-up land you wind up with. Rather than forest it I will typically surround it with defending cities and use it as an energy park site.

          Uranium flats. Yes, it is stupid that you can't raise the land without losing the uranium energy bonus. But you do get an easy +1 energy everywhere. All the land is low land with very little difference in height so that any rivers you create will tend to meander (good) instead of shooting off in a straight line to the sea (bad). So now you are +2 in energy in many or most squares. Plant forest, another extra energy. Usually this landmark will be at least partially bordering on the sea. Great spots for cities are the edges that meet the sea.

          Borehole cluster. This is a boon for me because I generally find the game to easy if I permit myself to make boreholes. But I am always happy to use the existing ones. I like to have two cities that have access to them with at least one borehole site "swappable" between the two. Great high production cities. If you are lucky enough to nab them before the restrictions are lifted, build anyway and get the cities well established ahead of time.

          Famyn's bad list: okay these aren't as great but I am still happy to see them.

          New Sargasso - I am a pod-popping fool! I love nailing down all those pods. You invariably hit one that causes kelp to replace a bunch of fungus making for a good sea city site. The fungus? An adequate source of navy if you are green or cash if you are not.

          The Great Dunes. In a word - Yuck!

          On to Famyn's stupid list:

          Sunny Mesa. The raised land isn't too exciting but the edges (mesa) are slightly richer in resources than the usual, so some not bad city sites are to be had on the edges.

          Pholus ridge. A few free bonus energy squares. Maybe about a similar number of squares as the crater gets for bonus minerals. Still, better than a kick in the head.

          Fossil Field Ridge. It depends. If it borders a lot of -1 to -999 shallow sea it becomes more valuable than if it is out in the high seas. I may build some sea cities on the edges. You get a slight mineral edge from the fossil tiles while you are terraforming the surrounding areas into something more useful. Then terraform up the fossil tiles to shallow sea. Sure you destroy the fossils but you can then complete the terraforming process. This is always a nice area if you are Svensgaard.

          Freshwater sea = a nice body of water that is easy to "surround" and hence a good energy park site. I will build one high food production port city on the edge and start firing in the sea crawlers.

          Nessus canyon!? - I think I don't get this one in my games.


          • #6
            The nessus canyon- what is this? It sounds like something that would be included in the game but I have only seen it in the ACT maps that zsozso made...

            The jungle is obviously the best landmark, both for size and for usefulness.

            With the sunny mesa you can build boreholes on the top squares easily, guaranteed flat land.

            The fossil field ridge is amazingly insignificant, since you need to terraform it to grow kelp anyways. If you are the pirates it is even more worthless.

            I think that the strongest point of mount planet is using it as a crawler spot. I generally put a mine on the rocky squares, yielding SIX minerals, and a solar on the other squares, which usually yields 4 energy or so. If I end up with a lot of solars I terraform DOWN and put an echelon mirror in the former center of the mountain.


            • #7
              Nessus Canyon... I have only seen it once... is just a river on the map, nothing more. Its a real landmark, just check the alphax.txt

              The Unity wreckage is good for all the free stuff you get, it's just a whole bunch of arid squares, which is bad, although the free stuff still puts it in the 'good' category.

              I never thought about using Mount Planet as a source of crawler minerals. I should try that sometime.


              • #8
                Play huge Map of Planet as Miriam. Fresh Water Sea is awesome. You will get soooo big! Unfortunately, on random maps it's always very small.

                Everyone loves the jungle, I think they should have taken that out. Can you do that to your random maps?

                Ruins, probably better than the jungle. No terraforming necessary. Returns diminish faster though.

                Mount Planet and Pholus Ridge: Put solar panels on the landmark and echelon Mirrors all around them. I know you can get more energy from a regular energy park in some cases, but with these two landmarks there is consideralbly less terraforming involved.


                • #9
                  Mount Planet makes me drool because of the 6 minerals you can get out of mines. Energy, yeah whatever. In the early game I crave productivity. I'm always thrilled to pickles to be put next to the Mount.


                  • #10
                    Nessus Canyon isn't generated by the map builder. It CAN be put into a map using the editor.

                    It's actually a pretty sweet landmark -> + 1 mineral in every square. That's the same as Garland Crater, but there are generally (at least on the maps I've played with it) more squares in the Canyon than there are 'sweet spot' squares in the Crater. Additionally, it provides the +1 energy of a river. Put a forest on it for 1/3/2 before building a treefarm. That's a handsome payoff for 4 terraforming turns!


                    • #11
                      Helium Pond-
                      That is exactly my paradigm- except that the mines are all but useless if they are not build on rocky squares. All of the squares surrounding Mt. Planet are not always rocky. On random maps Mt. planet is usually 2/3 rocky or so.


                      • #12
                        One thing to keep in mind re: the Dunes (and this also applies to the flats and Unity wreckage) is that forests tend to expand on their own like wildfire into arid squares....this can save you an enormous amount of terraforming time and, in my mind, dramatically increases their value. You can usually be assured of finding a couple of Nutrient Resource bonuses in those locations, and that coupled with the rapid forest expansion makes them pretty sweet....

                        (trying to find the silver lining? LOL)
                        The list of published books grows. If you're curious to see what sort of stories I weave out, head to and do an author search for "Christopher Hartpence." Help support Candle'Bre, a game created by gamers FOR gamers. All proceeds from my published works go directly to the project.


                        • #13
                          re: Dunes

                          Vel's right forest works well in Dunes country. Unfortunately though that appears to be the only good option t-forming wise to get nutrients. No amount of condensors will aid the raininess so a condensor/farm just doesn't cut it.

                          Conversely condensor/farms do work in unity wreckage and U-flats sites.

                          [This message has been edited by Ogie Oglethorpe (edited May 10, 2000).]
                          "Just puttin on the foil" - Jeff Hanson

                          “In a democracy, I realize you don’t need to talk to the top leader to know how the country feels. When I go to a dictatorship, I only have to talk to one person and that’s the dictator, because he speaks for all the people.” - Jimmy Carter


                          • #14
                            Nothing wrong with the great dunes. It's a bad landmark, but it's a GOOD bad landmark. It's the one you hate to see when you scout stumbles into it. No other landmark does that for me, and that's why dunes does it's job well.

                            Geothermal shallows are POINTLESS! All those deep squares are so useless, who cares about +1 minerals when that's ALL you get? Raising them by convetional methods destroys them, so what's the point? Ehhh...

                            I personally love Nessus Canyon. Mineral bonus, PLUS river energy, PLUS rich green squares from on the river means one excellenet city. Since it's got so much going for it, it can be a reserach center, industrial plaza, or all-around type city.
                            Banned on Black Saturday in the name of those who went before him.

                            Realizes that no one probably remembers that event.


                            • #15
                              Surely you mean the reef. The geothermal shallows give +1 energy and are all shelf squares making them great for either suppyly crawling or building sea bases in.
                              "Luck's last match struck in the pouring down wind." - Chris Cornell, "Mindriot"