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Opinion on styles

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  • Opinion on styles

    I was in a multiplayer TCP/IP game and encountered a new style to me. In the attached save, I played Yang, and both Domai and Deirdre were played by people. Deirdre shot to the lead and remained there for a while, until being overtaken by Domai.

    I don't quite understand how Deirdre ever got in the lead with her style, which was to pack as many tiny bases on a continent as possible, without infrastructure, crawlers, or many formers.

    I'd like some opinions on the strength of each faction's position, as well as some insight into Deirdre's success.
    Attached Files
    "Cutlery confused Stalin"
    -BBC news

  • #2
    The style is called ICS, and it's as old as the hills. If you look for the 'huge map, fast transcend' thread then you'll see zsozso transcended on a huge map at transcend level in 2193, using much the same strategy.

    Why it works - well, each colony pod costs 30 minerals and increases your productivity and growth and energy rate by ~50%. Nothing else you can build in the early game comes close, except for the occasional former.
    By packing the bases as close as possible, Gaia maximized the total early game population. If bases had been built further apart then tree-farms, creches, crawlers, rec commons, holo theatres, etc. would have been needed to get someone working every tile. Instead, the problem is solved by rec tanks and colony pods.
    Also, once the Gaians get Orbital Spaceflight, they can start launching sky hydroponics labs. Then, with a few nutrient crawlers (they still have enough land, over in that fungus bank) they will shortly be able to get most bases up to size 14, and all up to size 7. They have about 50 bases. I think you see where this is heading.

    The strengths of each faction - Domai is nicely developed, but beginning to stall in terms of population growth. If he'd packed his bases a little closer then he'd be doing very well. You're very very vulnerable to air strikes, since your economy is entirely based on crawlers. Deirdre is about to run away with the game, unless someone can stop her in the next 20 turns or so.

    Go get her.


    • #3
      One word about Gaia: Lunch!

      Her weakness is underdeveloped infrastructure. And she can't protect them all, if you launch an attack she'd have to choose which bases to protect and you could easily eat through her entire area taking those bases she can't protect.

      As for your weakness to air strikes, I don't see that as a problem. Noone (except your lunch) is in striking range and since you have the Maritime Control Center you should easily be able to prevent carriers from coming close to you. Foreman Domai has probably done a recent pop boom, but his underdeveloped land will hold him back. And you're not far behind in production despite his higher population, so I think you're in a good position.

      The river will be Deidres doom. Go deliver it.


      • #4
        Ah, so THAT's ICS. I always thought it was more specialist-focused. That is, sprawl without respect for the bureaucracy limits, building enough crawlers to keep a base full of specialists fed, with minimal infrastructure until convenient.

        Also, as you can see, Dee's terrain is almost entirely rainy. I suppose on harsher terrain ICS would build more formers and forest the whole thing. Right?

        I was keenly aware about my vulnerability to air, but she hadn't sent any planes/choppers my way, and once she did, I was planning to cram my territory full of 1-3-1*2 cheapo units, adding AAA/clean when possible.

        I was considering making Zak my research pet, since the AI is always easy to carve up, as soon as I got all my +labs/+energy infrastructure in place (hurried, of course).
        "Cutlery confused Stalin"
        -BBC news


        • #5
          Ah, you're thinking of the condensor/borehole approach? ICS can be morphed into that, if you find yourself with a load of land you don't want to build bases on, for some strange reason.

          Rainy terrain is pretty much irrelevant to ICS, since growth past size 3 is almost a non-issue; personally, I'd go for one 2-nutrient square per base and forests everywhere else to start, then build a borehole per base later on. You can thank the deities Gaia didn't use any boreholes, otherwise they'd be waaay ahead.

          Units will not defend crawlers vs air attacks, if the opponent knows the suicide trick; use a 30-mineral fusion air unit, and have it self-destruct next to the crawlers. This will totally destroy them, unless they're in bunkers. Gaia could use it to take out 3-4 of your crawlers at a time, given the way they're arranged. Domai could even use it against you post-MMI. Fusion choppers have a horrendous range, when you don't care what sort of state they arrive in.

          I don't know if Gaia is really gonna be 'lunch', unless it's the kind that gives you indigestion. With good defence of that natural bottlekneck Deirdre could hold you off for quite a while. You'll need high morale AAA units with air cover, otherwise they'll get blown away by noodles on the way in; unfortunately she has the EG, and it's going to be *really* obvious who you're coming after.
          Even if she doesn't realize you're coming until you hit her scout outposts, the terrain is awful for an attacker. I'd put your odds a lot higher if there were any roads.
          Actually, if I were Dee, I might be looking at you and thinking lunch. But then I'm an evil man. (You'll agree when you get the Lizard game turn. )

          MMI would alter things quite a bit in your favour. IMO Chop 'n drop is really the downfall of that sort of empire, especially if she doesn't get the cyborg factory. However, by the time you get to MMI and build an attack force she could be doubling or tripling your pop.

          If I were you, I'd drop the infrastructure building, and start on your attack force right away. I'd tell everyone I'm going after Zak to lull Deirdre's suspicions, then hit her hard, and bring choppers and drop troops to the front ASAP. Those forward bases need to be made almost impregnable first, though. If they get gassed away then the front line could be out of range of air support, and then the ground troops will die quickly.

          This looks like a really interesting game, make sure you tell us what happens!


          • #6
            Well, the game ended as you saw. Dee resigned because her player thought his position was not strong enough (vs the Drones I guess) and the game was dragging on. I suspect Dee didn't know several of the tricks you mentioned, especially the self-destructing.

            I also wonder if nerve gas would even be viable for Dee. She has no facilities to increase clean mins (IIRC) and probably has never had a pop, so 16 nerve gassings would reduce her to 0 clean mins, which would cause immense numbers of worms to appear. The kicker is, in TCP/IP, worms appear, worms attack, and then you get to move after they're done.
            "Cutlery confused Stalin"
            -BBC news


            • #7
              I don't think Deidre had the industrial capacity to do any of the tricks you suggested. And the terrain was fine most of the time, since there were rivers to take you halfway into her land and rolling/flat terrain doesn't help when bases are two squares apart. Yang could have built an army, Deidre couldn't. Not if Yang went for a blitzkrieg. The EG could supply some problems though, she'd see you coming. Still, a forward airfield and you're in range for 15 different bases with drop units. I wish her luck in defending them all with 6 minerals/base. Your infrastructure is rather irrelevant though, you need to get your men to build, not study.

              Boreholes would have made a huge difference, though. Many rainy squares = more boreholes. HGP, PTS, CDF would have helped a lot, the SPs she has aren't that vital for that strategy. But it's hard to judge his actions since I don't know his plan or how the game has gone. And if he has a number of fusion noodles on his front waiting to annihilate your crawlers you will probably be his lunch.


              • #8

                Dee resigned?? Damn, if I'd been in that position I would at least have wanted to go down in a hail of planetbuster fire... Gaia could probably have had 10 PBs in under 15 turns, more if the player were willing to really self-destruct.

                Interesting about MWs in IP play; I've only played a couple of IP games, and none went far enough for a fungal pop, so I'll bear it in mind. Good point, too, about the clean minerals, though it would only take a few gassings to eliminate the two bases you had in range. I guess I tend to be a bit cavalier about fungal pops, and pay for it at times, too.

                I tend to disagree about Deirdre's industrial capability. Most of her bases are producing about 8 min/turn, true; but many of CT's are only producing 11/12 a turn due to his heavy specialist focus, and he only has half the number.
                If the Gaian player had set, say, 30 bases producing missile noodles then he would have had those 30 in 3/4 turns. 4 turns later, 30 more... and there are still 20 bases to produce orbital improvement, other troops, whatever. Anything that looks like it might be heading for her gets blasted.

                You're right that if CT could drop toops in then it would be a relatively easy campaign. But that's 15-20 turns away for the Hive. By that time, a whole lot could be changed - like, say, Deirdre having an extra hundred and fifty fusion engineers and the cash to do some real damage. Or even a tactical nuking of the huge force CT was massing.

                Generally, with a hard ICS, rainy squares don't mean much to the amount of boreholes you can work. The fact that boreholes can't be built adjacent to one another means that you only get one per base. Those SPs would have been very nice, though.


                • #9
                  I played that opponent another three games today, emulating his style with Zak, Domai, and Domai. Each game was decided by starting position, which leads me to another thread...
                  "Cutlery confused Stalin"
                  -BBC news


                  • #10
                    Interesting, the Gaians have rather well implemented my tried and tested Hive strategy .... other then their total lack of crawled mines and boreholes of course

                    ICS = more pop generally, that and the fact the Gaians are a decent tech faction is why they would have appeared so high. Don't always rely on the graphs, I've seen it say people are ahead of me when i know i could produce enough military to wipe them out within 5-10yrs
                    Last edited by Lazerus; July 20, 2003, 19:43.
                    Learn to overcome the crass demands of flesh and bone, for they warp the matrix through which we perceive the world. Extend your awareness outward, beyond the self of body, to embrace the self of group and the self of humanity. The goals of the group and the greater race are transcendant, and to embrace them is to acheive enlightenment.


                    • #11
                      The beauty of the strategy the Hive is using is the ease to change strategy. In this same turn he could switch to a productive stance and get 20+ minerals in his larger bases. When Gaiains got 3 people in forests giving them 6 minerals per base. 8 When they get mineral resources. Plus, only half of Gaias land is forested so I'm guessing they average of about 5 minerals/base.

                      Meh, he hasn't got Secrets yet? Forgot that drop pods was under MMI. Very well, naval assault it is then. And pray Gaia isn't scouting the sea with noodles, or forget you've got the MCC. I'm starting to see your point now though, Curious. CT should have started the hammering earlier, before Gaia could get their stinky paws on the noodles. Instead of building those pointless fusion labs and crap he should have built an army. When you've fallen behind, war is the only way to catch up. And time is ticking for the Hive.


                      • #12
                        First off you're playing a very similar style to me when I play the Hive apart from you've got nowhere near enough bases, a base producing 10-15minerals is easy to get even when your packed tight just by crawling 1 mined rocky and having a worked borehole. Then once you get midgame you get genejack and all those other lovelies to push yourself through the roof. While your waiting for them if anybody wants to pick a fight with you then as mentioned your capability to mass produce any unit 30 times over in 3-5 turns is awesome.
                        Also more bases = more formers, its where the Hives main strength is, you can literally mould the land and continue to expand. NEVER STOP EXPANDING (ICS motto). Its the key to standing a chance against factions with a higher tech rate.

                        I can tell the Drones are rothe I had a game against him a little while ago (good player, plays drones as morgan style FM faction), i was the Hive and was in a really bad position (dry island all alone) and then add that to the fact around 6 of my formers disappeared around 2125 i wasn't too happy. I caught up and overtook though by just keeping cool and having outer bases constantly expanding with the territory with pods until it took several turns to reach the edges, then it would work its infrastructure.

                        Did you choose to build the command nexus or was it forced by being the only one left ? Weather paradigm is a must for the Hive ICS play .. well any ICS play infact
                        Last edited by Lazerus; July 20, 2003, 19:38.
                        Learn to overcome the crass demands of flesh and bone, for they warp the matrix through which we perceive the world. Extend your awareness outward, beyond the self of body, to embrace the self of group and the self of humanity. The goals of the group and the greater race are transcendant, and to embrace them is to acheive enlightenment.


                        • #13
                          I was forced to the Command Nexus. Roze played by an AI grabbed the WP in 2130, well before I was ready, since I had a slow start. Rothe got the PTS, my other choice, a few turns before I could get it.

                          A problem with continuing to expand (which I was) is that it was slowing the game down. I had over 200 units by 2200, and many of them wanted orders each turn.

                          edit: The WP is not essential to ICS, I played Zak and took the VW as my only early project, and only forested the land. When I ran out of land I went to the sea, rather than spend the time to make more land. I was running away with the game by 2190, having recently grabbed the HSA, and my opponent resigned. I could have gotten more powerful more quickly, but speed of play was important.
                          "Cutlery confused Stalin"
                          -BBC news


                          • #14
                            yeah its happened to me a few times with the speed of play thing, having 100 formers needing orders every few turns for borehole placement then with 40 crawlers and other units finishing every 2-3 turns, some games when ive been running away with it ive just disbanded everything and pb'd the enemy
                            Its easy on sit and build factions since they've got nothing to do for 10 turns while all their tree farms and stuff finish

                            Thats Zak though, the VW comes above everything for him. If you were playing the Hive the WP will really speed up the ICS play for them since you need a well developed land to get the high resource count to keep pace tech wise and out produce anybody on minerals, and then having a few formers building a new road+forest every turn for a new base is great.
                            Learn to overcome the crass demands of flesh and bone, for they warp the matrix through which we perceive the world. Extend your awareness outward, beyond the self of body, to embrace the self of group and the self of humanity. The goals of the group and the greater race are transcendant, and to embrace them is to acheive enlightenment.