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Early Transcend strategy

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  • Early Transcend strategy

    Well, I've finally started tackling the early transcend game, and I've found it to be a whole lot harder than thinker, due to the gruelling drone caps, combined with aggressive and industry boosted AI neighbors. I play on a large, rainy, random map, which means I'm very likely to start out uncomfortably close to a neighboring faction or two. Here are some of my observations:

    Unless you start out with Centauri Ecology, you can forget about any pre-determined base-grid. The likelihood that your base sites will be confounded by rocky, fungus squares is bordering on certainty.

    I seem to only be able to place 6 bases before my first bureaucracy warning, and placement of my 7 base triggers both the warning and the drone. I was operating on the presumption that b-drones appear only _after_ the warning.

    My neighbors all have itchy trigger fingers. This is likely aggravated by my tendency to expand thin, but my neighbors invariably refuse to do anything but shake me down for tech and cash. I've tried appeasing them, but they never agree to a treaty.

    There no longer appears to be enough cash to go around. When I was playing on Thinker, I could rely on some additional energy per base, which is now tied up in doctors. This is making the rush building of tanks and commons very difficult.

    The AI is much more prompt in initiating SPs. I've already empirically proven that once the AI starts a project, its completion is merely a countdown that cannot be averted, save by the conquest of the base in which it is being built. With my other developmental woes, I'm having trouble beating the AI even to the first SP.

    I'll be attaching a few games this evening to illustrate some of my points, but I'd like to start a new thread discussing Transcend Builder Strategy in close quarters.

  • #2
    I'm on the same page with you. Just started play the transend level. I found that as a builder you can out build AIs to a SP even after they have started it if you can manage to get crawlers soon enough. Of course if you get a alien artifact or two that will ensure your win in this race.

    Energy wise you could send your scout out to hunt for mindworms before 2114. You have a very large chance of winning because mindworms fight at half strength before 2114. Be sure to bring the scouts back to the bases or build new cheap scouts at the time of the population growth to ensure the police effect on drones.

    Last night in a game I played as Hive I was approached by Zakharov with a proposal of pact of brotherhood if I agree to vendetta on Lal. Since this is really early in the game, I haven't even met Lal yet. I decided that it won't cost me anything to agree to it. So we exchanged several techs and when I ask if he is interested in trading more techs on the same term, he gave me a free tech since I don't have any more that he doesn't have. After that we both surged in the power graph. I haven't finished the game but I don't think the vendetta on Lal will become a problem to me.
    Be good, and if at first you don't succeed, perhaps failure will be back in fashion soon. -- teh Spamski

    Grapefruit Garden


    • #3
      Outproducing the AI to a certain SP usually is tough, outproducing them to all of them is rare luck. You should try for WP, HGP, and VW, probably not more on a Standard map. Playing on a huge map, I shoot for five SPs (and usually miss one or two). But with WP and one of the Anti-Drone-SP's you ought to run fine. If you are Zak, try to get VW at any price.
      Tech-wise I'm mostly a bit uncoordinated, but it seems best for me to get Centauri Ecology as the very first tech, unless I have it from the beginning. Then it might be best to beeline for Ind. Auto for crawlers. Don't attach AA's to your Network Nodes, because they rarely give the tech you need for your beeline, and so cause delay. Usually I try to get to the new base sites as quickly as possible - each turn you walk more is a turn lost for production, and a mineral. To avoid drone problems, visit your bases each turn - you'll easily lose 2 entire turns of production during the first 80 if you don't do so.
      If you're playing SMAX, keep an eye on your budget and build some more crawlers if you cannot afford to pay for base enhancements. Thanks to a bug in SMAC you get additionally what you should get deducted from your income, so there is no real money shortage for most of the time.
      The last thing: Try to play to your faction's strengths. The easiest:
      - Hive: Police State / Planned
      - Gaians/Cult: Harvest Mindworms like crazy.

      Hope that helps
      Why doing it the easy way if it is possible to do it complicated?


      • #4
        Let's see those save games, it'll make it a lot easier to see what you can improve on.

        However, it doesn't sound like you're doing anything in particular wrong. If you're going FM then it's a big help to have an AA and some cash from pods to rush the HGP; it's amazing how early the SPs can be build if you put your mind to it. The AI will not beat you to them if they're done in 2120.


        • #5
          If you play UoP, get your hands on VW asap. That will enable you to ignore drones for pretty much entire early game. With any faction make sure that you explore like crazy, not letting bases grow enough to start whining. Recreation Commons goes before Recycling Tanks. Going for Intellectual Integrity early is a good idea as well.

          I haven't played on a difficulty level below transcend since the first time I played the game though (I like challenges), so I might have a hard time seeing what is different from thinker.