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MP logs... kinda anticlimactic...

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  • MP logs... kinda anticlimactic...

    So, I just got finished playing two Multiplayer games, against friends of mine who are far less experienced with SMAC. I kept these logs, expecting that the games would go a lot longer than they did. In both games, I quickly rose to such dominance that my opponents resigned. I realize now that I should've anticipated this and made things a little harder for myself, but oh well. Anyway I put a lot of work into keeping these logs, and so I'm gonna post 'em. I hope they entertain some of you, and I apologize to those they bore to death. Oh yeah, if anybody spots big flaws in my play-style and wants to give me tips, please do.

  • #2
    This is the journal of a game against my friend Chris. I played the Hive and he played Lal.

    Journal of Honky Honk Sinister Pout of the Chime Warrens
    (Renaming of the Hive)

    MY 2161
    Starting up with what looks like a nice-sized island to myself, and another landmass nearby with a University base on it. I have the Virtual World (+1 Talent), which is handy, but my human opponent has the Command Nexus (free command centers), which is un-handy. I have not played as Yang much, this will be interesting. Since I don't take efficiency penalties, going Planned and Police State has no downside beyond straining diplomacy with the AI. This gives me very high Industry, and very high Support, which makes it tempting to build a large army and go brawling. I should at least subjugate Zak as soon as I can.

    MY 2167
    My first attack team, a 4-2-2 rover and a 1-3-1 garrison, is ready to land on Zak's shore.

    MY 2168
    Blast! Zak has ECM units defending, making my rover useless. I'm glad I've saved my money: hopefully I can upgrade my garrison to an infantry next turn. The invasion is going to be slow, because it takes two turns for my transport to go between shores. But what am I worried about? I'm fighting the AI as Zak. It's just a matter of time.

    MY 2172
    One University base destroyed so far. I wish I could have taken it over but it was at 1 population, and it just died. I've landed 4-3-1 infantry and a 1-3-1 garrison outside another base, Monitoring Station. My rover, useless as he is, hasn't caught up yet. Zak attacked me from the Station and lost a unit against my Plasma armor. Unfortunately, I hadn't set the garrison unit to defend, so the 4-3-1 infantry took the hits. This meant I had to upgrade the garrison to be an attacker. But there were only two defenders left in the base, and I've got more support on the way, so this shouldn't be too hard. I just hate losing the money.
    Miriam has appeared. She's plopped a base on the Easternmost peninsula of my island. I'm more concerned with Zak right now, but Miriam's never a good neighbor. I'd built a probe team, hoping to steal tech from Zak, but right now it's needed to defend me from the Believers.

    MY 2173
    Monitoring Station down! That was easy. It was big enough that I actually took it over, too, so now I've got another base, and that's swell. And even sweller? Zak has become my dog. Took two bases, and he submitted. A nice bundle of techs, a nice sum of cash, and lookee, I'm on top of the chart. Call me Un-sur-passed.
    I guess I should let Zak live. I have such poor energy production, I need him to do my research. But folks on the Forums always say that in multiplayer, there's no point in leaving the AI factions alive. I'm not quite sure why this is so. They generate commerce, they get tech... I'm gonna let him be. We'll see.
    I sent a scout over to check out Miriam's base, Judgement Seat. It's empty! She offered a treaty, and I accepted. Now, Vel's guide says that Miriam responds to threats, if I recall correctly (I didn't actually go check), and so I tried to get her to agree to a Pact by threatening her. It didn't work. Oh, wait, now I remember, Miriam responds to offers of tech! Darn. I've never successfully threatened anyone, and I'd like to. Where's that Santiago? Anyway, if Judgement Seat is still empty by next turn, I think I may have to just take it over. It's too tempting to refuse.
    Phooey. Zak gave me the comm for Deirdre, and she got all bossy and demanded tech. I refused, and now we're at Vendetta. Seeing as she's my next nearest competitor on the power graph, I guess that's inevitable, but I hate being at war with a faction I can't even see.

    MY 2174
    I can't get Miriam to declare war on me, no matter how much I pester her to remove her troops. I hate to lose a Noble reputation by just attacking. I don't know why, it's not really in character. Grrr.
    I gave Deirdre a level 1 tech, and we're at peace.

    MY 2178
    Finally got Miriam to declare Vendetta. Freakishly, just last turn she offered to Pact with me, even though her mood was Obstinate and her bioscan was red. She was just scared, I guess. I refused the Pact, but not after thinking about it a long time. I would rather get her out of the way as soon as possible.

    MY 2179
    Well, kicked her cheesy butt off my island, but now I've got no idea where she is, having done no ocean exploring at all. But there's other worries: Deirdre. Got her comm from Zak. She's now risen to equal me on the power graph. This probably means she'll declare Vendetta sometime soon. I need to get out on the oceans. I wonder if there are pods in this world? I may have been wasting precious pod-popping time! To the sea!

    MY 2186
    I still haven't materialized a respectable fleet, but I've managed to land a 4-2-2 rover and a 4-1-1 infantry on an island of Miriam's, which is basically the Garland Crater. Miriam has the largest population on the info display, so I worry that she has the Monsoon Jungle also. It'll be at least three turns until I can get reinforcements to the scene. I didn't manage to take a base. My troops are easy pickins. Oh well, at least I can destroy some terrain.

    MY 2192
    Deirdre has declared her predictable Vendetta. Miriam has been wiping out my landing troops, but I've taken out two of her cities. Chris (Lal) is actually pretty near me, just a bit north-west. Should I begin attacking him at once? I don't see why not. I enjoy a builder game, but I'm a warlike faction. Although I'm not quite sure why I think I'm a warlike faction. My bonuses are in industry and growth; seems like I should spend my time building awesome cities. But I can also crank out them troops, too. Hmmm. Lal's strengths, according to Vel, are very dependent on the person playing him. I'm not sure what Chris's play style is, but my suspicion is that he focuses on infrastructure, wanting to get his bases in good shape before building a military. Therefore, I believe it would be to my advantage to storm him. The problem is, I've also got wars going with Miriam and Deirdre. I don't want a three-front war. I think I'll concentrate on Miriam, hold Deirdre off, and attack Chris after I get Miriam to submit.

    MY 2196
    And the world reveals itself to Honky Honk Sinister Pout! Chris apparently had everyone's comm, because in MY 2195 he called a Planetary Election, which he would have won if I hadn't bribed my puppet Zak and the surprisingly amiable Santiago into voting for Miriam. Why move the vote towards Miriam? My thought is, I'm about to take Miriam out, so she may as well get the Governorship. Actually, my main motivation was to deny Chris infiltrator data on me. I've already infiltrated him with a probe ship, so I can see that he's never even built a probe ship, which means there's no way he could have infiltrated me yet. The election was a three-way, between Lal (Chris), Miriam, and Deirdre. I didn't want Deirdre to win because she's in the lead as it is (she passed me on the power chart about ten turns ago). Santiago asked for something like 134 credits to buy her vote, which I balked at, but it was cheaper than the ridiculous 788 Morgan asked for (numbers approximate, to the best of my recollection). So I took Santiago's offer.
    And now, having everybody's comm, I've managed to get a good look at most of the map. I actually am pacted with Santiago! That seems odd to me, but I guess the lowest person on the power graph (which Santiago is) naturally wants an ally. It only took a few meaningless techs.
    So, now, here's my reappraisal of the situation: Miriam is going to be a tough customer. Transporting the troops while I still only have the foil chassis is enough of a problem on this mostly-water planet, but Miriam also has the Planetary Transit System, which starts all her bases at size three, and she has apparently been smart enough to make many many bases. Not to mention that she has the Garland Crater. It won't be any quick coup.
    Chris has the Uranium Flats. Morgan has the Monsoon Jungle, and also a surprisingly large number of bases. Each faction appears to have an island all to themselves: Miriam is to my West, near the South Pole (as I am), Morgan and the jungle are above Miriam, roughly equatorial (which makes sense for the jungle, come to think of it). Morgan is #1 in wealth and territory. Deirdre, despite being #1 overall, seems to have not expanded very much. Of course, she's the only one I can't fully see: I bought maps of everyone else. Deirdre and Chris are kind of smoonched together to the north-east of me, Deirdre more northerly than Chris. She appears to have Mount Planet, which would account for her pre-eminence (that's my favorite landmark). Dopey old Santiago is having a hard time, stranded up on a little island in the northeast corner of the map. Having no neighbors to dominate, she's stuck with her lousy industry rating, having to build.
    An unexpected side effect of having Zak as my puppy is the pride I feel every time he builds a new base. Usually my slave factions just sit there and mope. But Zak is actually on the move, and seems to be about par with Chris. And I haven't even been helping the guy out! Way to go, Provost.
    Zak has dutifully handed over the tech for Gatling weapons, which as far as I know, no one else has. That's put me back at the top of the chart. Nice. But also, thanks to new tech, I've got the Power vs Wealth dilemma. Wealth is quite attractive, as it would make my total industry rating +3! Think of the swarm of troops! But, to actually send those troops into battle, I need to have Power, which gives me +2 morale (whereas Wealth puts me at -2!). Last turn I switched to Wealth, to rush-build my transports for storming Miriam. But then she landed troops on my island! So this turn, I've had to switch to Power, to fight her off. Each switch is costing me 40 credits, and I can't afford to do it much more!
    As for the war on Deirdre, I've landed a very green 4-1-1 Squad and a hardened 4-3-1 Infantry right next to a base called Lily of the Valley, which is on the West slope of (what I guess to be) Mount Planet. This was a blind attack, just a jab. The base is garrisoned by two 4-1-2 rovers, which doesn't look like good news for me. I expect my troops to die valiantly, but soon. I need to infiltrate her before I make any more assaults.
    All in all, this game is shaping up quite interestingly. Miriam is a bigger threat than I anticipated, Morgan may become a worry if he keeps playing as smart as he has been, and I'm struggling to keep ahead of Deirdre on the power chart. Nice. Now things are really going to get dirty.

    MY 2201
    I've decided to move against Chris. He's leaving this one nearby city so undefended, I can't resist. It will only take two rovers to grab it. I must.
    Meanwhile, Miriam continues to be a rough customer, partially because I am dumb. She took out one of my Impact Foils, and I quickly moved my Transports away and unloaded their troops. I also brought another Foil near, to guard them, carefully counting the Believing Foil's range of movement so that I'd be just one square out of reach. I totally forgot that naval units bombard! So, naturally, Miriam just picked off my other Foil, leaving my transports undefended. Harrumph. That'll teach me.
    Am just starting to pump out crawlers to boost my mineral output. Deirdre and I still neck and neck for top dog on the chart, still too far apart to really get in a scuffle.

    MY 2203
    Took Chris's city (U.N. something-or-other; I renamed it Sullen Godson). I really couldn't help it. I offered to call off my assault if he joins me against Miriam. I doubt he will; Chris hates to be strong-armed. But my thinking is a) if I do conquer Miriam, I'll be so big he'll concede the game, and b) it's more fun to fight a human.

    MY 2204
    Game over. Chris has resigned. Kind of a let-down, but I understand; I was too far ahead in power for him to compete. I should have left him alone, I guess. The war with Miriam would probably have taken me to at least 2250, and perhaps he'd have built up his military by then. As it was, he was completely defenseless. Ah well, ah well. That'll learn me to be a big bully. I should've picked on people my own size.


    • #3
      And this is a somewhat similar journal of me as the Believers against Chris, who is Lal again, and Brett, who is playing Morgan. I should note that Brett almost kicked my butt in a one-on-one game, which justifies the trepidation I show about attacking him.

      Journal of Nutbuster Barking Cinder of the Dynamic Gubernatorial Solipsists (Believers)
      Multiplayer game against Brett (Morgan) and Chris (Lal).

      MY 2164
      Planetfall, and the first sixty years of colonization: uneventful. I have the Plantery Transit System, four bases, and proximity to the Monsoon Jungle. With the Jungle's rich nutrients and the Transit System's extra citizens, I can start bases at size three, in the most fertile region on Planet! Excellent.
      I seem to be on a large landmass, but have seen no neighbors yet. I am glad for the land. However, I need to find other factions, to trade tech. Luckily, I have Doc:Flex and can build sea units. Right now my bases are all producing either colony pods or command centers; I intend to soon have the largest population, and also the fiercest army, on Planet.

      MY 2167
      A lone scout encountered a University base, Zarya-Sunrise, to the East. I was nervous about what diplomatic stance to take, knowing that I'd soon have to attack in any case, but Zakharov instantly declared Vendetta. Fool!
      He has a single 1-3-1 garrison in the base. This calls for a sudden shift in production; every base that can afford to change is now working on weapon prototypes. Five turns or so should see me with Impact weapons. Goodbye, Zarya-Sunrise.
      It's unfortunate for my opponents, that Zak should land so near me. He will soon be my slave. All my research troubles will disappear. I say a prayer for a quick and decisive victory.

      MY 2182
      I tore through three of Zak's bases and found myself in full posession of the continent I'm on. Unfortunately, Zak appears to have more bases elsewhere. I rush-built a dopey little transport, but the fastest place to build it was clear on the other side of the continent, so now I have to wait for it to come all the way around before my troops can take this war across the water. Luckily, there's only a one-square river between the two continents, so I can move units across quickly. I hope Zak hasn't developed better defenses by then.
      Where is everybody else? I now have two gun foils out on the seas, looking for other factions. It looks like this planet is at least 50% land, probably more. That's good for me; my large land army will soon terrorize everybody. As it is, my victories over Zak, and my rapid expansion, have made me Unsurpassed. But I'm alarmed at not meeting anyone else yet. Maybe they're all on a small continent together, and are fighting each other right now, making them weak and easy to conquer. Good.
      I've explored the continent I'm on to the South, West, and East. All that remains is the North. I have a squad of four Impact rovers going up to reconnoiter. I hope there's some tasty bases to sack; plucking Zak's sweet little bases from his grasp has made me thirsty for more conquest.
      My current policy is that each base build a former, a defensive scout, and two impact rovers--maxing out its freely supported units--and then start popping out colony pods. Usually a base will be just about to grow by the time it builds the first pod, so I essentially get one pod "free" before I have to take population loss to build another. When bases get to size two, I set them to build facilities while they re-grow. I'm building my bases ICS style, aiming for two spaces between each base. Soon I will have a great many bases--I already have thirteen--and I'm worried that the management will become tedious. But it seems like ICS (Infinite City Sprawl) is the only option in multiplayer, because if you don't do it, someone else will. Sigh.

      MY 2191
      It's taking too long for me to cross the river. Zak just discovered Gatling Lasers, so I've taken a sharp dip on the power graph. At least, I hope that's the reason. I made peace with Zak, but threatened him for tech, which put us at Vendetta again. Zak has an Impact Skimship sitting right outside the coastal city from which I need to make my crossing, and I don't have any escort for my troop transport. This may be sticky.
      There are no "tasty bases to sack" on this continent; I appear to be sole inhabitant of this large landmass. And my foils still haven't made contact with any other factions. I need to get tech, badly! At the very least I need probe teams.
      I need to stomp Zak, smash him, batter him, pound him! Zak must die! Zak must die!

      MY 2192
      Found Brett. He's playing as Morgan. I see a small base to the northwest, on a landmass I don't know the size of. I've proposed Treaty, and I'm building a new transport with which to storm his shores.

      MY 2196
      Found Deirdre a couple turns ago. She's on what looks like a huge island to the south. She's testy but hasn't declared war.
      Am negotiating with Brett over some comms, he wants to pay me 100 for both Deirdre and Zak. I'm thinking the same way as I think when the government fines corporations huge amounts of money: if they're willing to pay that much, they must have a lot more. Anyway tech is more important to me right now.
      I've decided to try a bit of strategy with Brett. I'm going to make three landings. My plan is to make one landing on the west coast, and draw all his troops westward, then make two more landings--my real attack--on the east, hopefully catching the eastern bases when they're lightly defended. The only trouble here is, he has the Citizen's Defense Force: automatic perimeter defenses. So it's risky. Plus Brett is a very good tactician and may smell a rat. We'll see. I've grown lazy playing against the computer, which requires no such planning to take out. This is my first attempt at a tricky move against a human. Have to time my treachery precisely, I'll only get one shot.
      Zak is using his puny miserable Impact Skimship very well. He scared off my transport with it, and is now bombarding Titanium Pot-Belly, the coastal city that's housing all my invasion troops. I don't have artillery tech so I have no defense! I have a command center there, so they'll all heal quickly, but they won't heal at all until I get rid of that damn Skimship. I've upgraded one of my exploratory gunships to be able to take it out, but it's still a couple turns away.
      When he chased my transport away, I disbanded some of the troops in Titaium Pot-Belly in order to rush-build another transport. I probably should have done that from the start. The transport can take two troops across the channel, unload them, and get back to base in one turn, so it's safe from naval attack. However, due to the bombardment, the troops are a little damaged. Nonetheless, I now have two 4-1-2 Rovers and two 4-1-1 infantry on Zak's island. The end is near.
      It was 2167 when I said a prayer for a quick and decisive victory. With luck, it'll happen before 2210. I have been a lazy commander, I need to move quicker.
      I now have 22 bases.

      MY 2199
      A big turn. I seized University Base and made Zak my dog. A huge sigh of relief as the new techs poured in. He won't communicate with me any more this turn, but hopefully I'll be getting some new comms from him next turn.
      By the way, Brett upped his offer to 150 for the comms I have, which I couldn't resist. But also, a transport coming off of his island has spotted my decoy landing party, before I've gotten fully in position. In retrospect, it probably was just fine to let him see them, make him worry, and land a couple turns later. But I panicked, and moved the transport in to make a landing next turn. My other two transports--the "real" invasion--are about two turns away from reaching their positions. And in fact, the decoy had to land closer to the actual target than I wanted. For this to work, the decoy needs to land as far away from the real target as possible. Oh well. Hopefully I can still pull this off. We'll see.
      Getting Zak's maps revealed a lot more territory to me. Now I see about half the map, but no Chris, no Santiago, no Yang. Where the heck is everybody else?

      MY 2200
      Made my move. I disembarked two rovers near Morgan Interstellar, on Brett's west coast, and took out the two garrisons there, so it's now empty. I have two transports, each with a 4-3-1 infantry and a 4-1-1 rover, ready to land near the eastern city of Morgan Gravitonics next turn. I probably could have landed them both this turn, in fact, but I've been so attached to my sneak attack idea, I had to wait. I am hoping that Brett puts all his defense into Interstellar, which I've just emptied, and then gets taken by surprise when I sack Gravitonics. This technique would work better on a larger island, too; Interstellar and Gravitonics are only four squares apart, so it won't be that hard for him to muster defenses from one side of the island to another. My one worry is that sea fungus does not protect units from view like land fungus; one of my transports is hiding in the growth near Morgan Gravitonics. If he can see it, he's probably ready.

      MY 2201
      I've caught Brett with his pants down. All the defense he could muster at Morgan Interstellar was one Supply Crawler and one Probe Team. Both of my rovers were injured from their previous attacks, but I still easily took the city. On the other coast, Gravitonics fell with little more resistance. One Rover landed and took out the garrison, one Rover landed and captured the city, and then I moved both 4-3-1 Infantries into the city to guard it. My only worry now will be probe teams. I have not switched to Fundamentalism, because some of my cities need the extra police powers from Police State, so my cities will only be expensive, not immune. If Brett has been playing Morgan right, he'll have lots of cash, so if he's got Probe Teams ready, this may be an issue. I should switch to Fundamentalism next turn.
      Sunspots are disrupting communications. Rats. I'd like to get messages of Brett swearing at me.
      But aside from evil feelings of victory, I'm kind of hoping this won't be as easy as it looks. I'd like a good fight, but I'm so very far ahead on the power chart, I don't know if it's possible. Especially considering that Brett only had 1-2-1 Garrisons, which implies that my tech is better than his! Thanks, Zak.
      So what should I do, leave him be? That just doesn't make sense. I have to play as well as I can, or else I'm insulting them. I just wish it didn't feel so... mean. What with me being so huge and all, I feel like a bully. Yeah, poor me, right.

      MY 2202
      Well, I got my wish. Brett e-mailed me the turn with this message: "what $@#$ luck you have. I have lost every troop (6 units) and you haven't lost a single unit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! W#$%#$@%@#$ %^@" I wonder at his math, though, because the game only told me I won 2 battles in the previous turn. Hm. Of course, it's well within probability for the game to have a bug.
      Took out a 2-2-1 Infantry and a 1-2-1 garrison he'd moved next to Interstellar (on the west). Could've moved my attack up and taken another city, but wasted some movement points scouting with one of my Rovers. Hopefully next turn.

      MY 2204
      Brett has resigned. Drat! Looking at his empire, it doesn't look as hopeless as he probably thought it was, but I must admit the power graph makes me look very frightening; I'm SO far ahead of everyone else. Apparently he threw all his available troops at me--can it really have been TWELVE?--and my two 4-3-1 garrisons killed them all. I guess that would demoralize me too. I expect Chris, who I've never even met, will resign also, seeing as he's so low on the power chart.
      Well, that was anticlimactic. Should I have left Brett alone? How could I justify that? I'm wasting my attack bonus if I play as a builder. What do you do when you have a huge lead? I don't know. Victory, no thrill.
      Monsoon Jungle, Planetary Transit System, Zak as my dog; elements of a washout. Have to think of a way to make things more competetive next time.


      • #4

        Finally got Miriam to declare Vendetta. Freakishly, just last turn she offered to Pact with me, even though her mood was Obstinate and her bioscan was red.

        I didn't know this actually indicated anything useful?
        The church is the only organisation that exists for the benefit of its non-members
        Buy your very own 4-dimensional, non-orientable, 1-sided, zero-edged, zero-volume, genus 1 manifold immersed in 3-space!
        All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his.
        "They offer us some, but we have no place to store a mullet." - Chegitz Guevara


        • #5
          Yep, the bioscan flashes blue, yellow or red, indicating the anger of that particular faction, independent of their mood. I didn't realise until I looked at it about six months ago......
          We're back!


          • #6
            Well, you learn something new everyday.
            The church is the only organisation that exists for the benefit of its non-members
            Buy your very own 4-dimensional, non-orientable, 1-sided, zero-edged, zero-volume, genus 1 manifold immersed in 3-space!
            All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his.
            "They offer us some, but we have no place to store a mullet." - Chegitz Guevara


            • #7
              I actually never knew that either. Well hell, you do indeed learn something new every day!
              Speaking of Erith:

              "It's not twinned with anywhere, but it does have a suicide pact with Dagenham" - Linda Smith


              • #8
                I wasn't aware that the bioscan was independent of the mood; I thought it was just a graphic representation of the mood. Has anyone ever had it show red when someone was Magnanimous, or blue when someone was Seething?


                • #9

                  Yeah, bioscan is totally independent of the mood - for instance, you would be hard-pressed to find Miriam or Yang in anything other than red, even if their mood doesn't always represent this. Blue happens when they like you, and have little or no intention of attacking you. Yellow - they're not really sure.

                  It can be useful to gauge a faction's true opinion of you, for instance, if you've traded a couple of techs with Yang, he may be Magnanimous, however, his bioscan will still show up as red, because he doesn't like you....
                  We're back!


                  • #10
                    Lopsided games like this are an occupational hazard when one side plays builder and the other side plays momentum-style. I've been on the other side of it a couple of times: the momentum player starts half-way around the world and clobbers a couple of AI's, while in one game I was playing such a pure builder that the Morgan AI was landing troops on my island and holding me up for tech at gunpoint! But, in both games, I was (just barely) ready for the momentum player by the time reached me, and once I'd beaten off his initial attack I was able to cruise to victory on the strength of a far superior economy. But if they'd started off near me I'd have been crushed while I was still building up.

                    About letting the AI's live in multiplayer: It depends on a number of things, such as the difficulty level, the size of the map, and your particular situation. Generally the higher the difficulty level the longer the AI's will be important, and the larger the map the longer the AI's will be important. I played one game at Thinker on an average map; the AI's were becoming irrelevant by the time it ended in the 2150's. In another game at Transcend on a huge map the AI's were still very significant in 2270.