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Which Faction?

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  • Which Faction?

    I am playing regular SMAC and I can't decide which faction to use. I want a reliable military (not necessarly dominant) and a good economy. Basically, I want to defend myself through Nuclear Weapons rather than a large military. Any suggestions? Thanks.
    Visit the Cold War Scenario at

  • #2
    You could easily get 14 replies and 14 different opinions on the best faction. So much depends on your playing style. That super short questionnaire may still be floating around on the Firaxis site on which of the original seven factions you may be most suited to. You may have caught the Apolyton poll results on the popularity of the SMACX factions. Still the best way is to try them all yourself and see what works for you. For games against the computer I like the SMACX random faction feature myself. You never know which of the 14 factions you will draw or who your opponents will be.

    While your nuclear deterrent strategy might work in the real world, there are drawbacks in SMAC. If someone invades you, knocking out one of their cities tends to infuriate the AI so that their attack against you intensifies and may include PBs. Nuking the whole lot of their cities tends to make Planet angry. Very angry. So unless you like sea cities or putting all your formers on terriform up mode, think twice about it.

    Some people actually enjoy the cash benefits off slaying the native life in a angry planet scenario. Not me. I like a quiet planet with no atrocities and a minimum of military conflict. I don't even build nukes in a solo game, I just keep a unit or three in my cities, add a interceptor when they become available and try for a tech lead that reduces or eliminates that chancy period when the AI has nukes and you don't have ODPs yet.


    • #3
      Thanks a lot. What I mean with the nukes is basically using them defensively. I would like a reliable military capable of defending itself and nothing more, the nukes would be a last resort weapon.
      Visit the Cold War Scenario at


      • #4
        RedFred is right that a "nuclear deterrent" strategy ignores the behavioral tendencies of the AI, but I will take your question seriously nonetheless:

        1. Industry. Missiles are one-shot items, so strong industry favors the missile

        2. Planet. Use of [nuclear] missiles provokes Planet, so a high planet rating favors the missile

        3. Morale. A morale penalty favors the missile

        4. Economy. You wanted this, too, right?


        Cult: Bad economy

        Pirates: Somewhat bad industry; Planet more likely to attack with Locusts

        Spartans: Bad Industry & good morale make missiles an unwise choice

        TLB: Support & attack advantage make fielding a conventional army more desirable, while 20% research penalty indirectly harms your economy

        Hive: Bad economy (otherwise a great missile-guy!)

        PK: Efficiency penalty harms economy

        Drones: Cannot choose "Green"


        CC: Gets most advantage from Planned economy; for nukes you want Green. However, also likely to get nukes early

        Usurpers: Planet penalty offset by attack advantage; likely to get nukes early

        Data Angels: Aversion to "Power" might theoretically make missiles slightly more desirable


        #1: Morgans: Good economy AND good planet rating with "Green/Wealth"; morale penalty mitigated by reliance on missiles

        #2: Gaians: Excellent planet rating, efficiency boosts economy, morale penalty mitigated by reliance on missiles

        #3: Caretakers: Excellent planet rating, more likely to get nukes early

        #4: UoP: More likely to get nukes early


        • #5
          Really, the nuclear deterrent concept doesn't work in SMAC. If you want a deterrent, get yourself a fleet of clean shard choppers and a few drop troopers. Anyone who tries anything gets a city chopped and dropped. Losing a city makes the AI reconsider its vendetta. If they are an agressive faction they might keep going, but if they are erratic of peaceful they will almost always offer to make peace, especially if you give them a tech. Usually you should be so far ahead in technology that you can hand out free technology like candy to keep everyone sweet without worrying about your lead.

          But if you threaten them with planet busters they'll just call your bluff. They have no fear of attacking someone with PBs because they figure that you probably won't use them because of the negative consequences. I find that planet busters are hardly ever neccesary...I've only used them once or twice in all the games I've played.

          Think Galactically -- Act Terrestrially


          • #6
            Planet Busters (SDMAC's version of nukes) are simply not a good defensive weapon (it's not a good idea to use them at all (because if you do everyone will declare Vendetta on you) This problem is limited somewhat if the Atrocity prohibitions are removed. I take it you want to use your military defensively and be a builder rather than a conquerer. If so, you can try the University, Gaians or Peacekeepers. It is really a matter of what you prefer