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The Crawler Crawl

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  • The Crawler Crawl

    I recently discovered a nifty little thing about Supply Crawlers: they can be ordered to harvest resources even if they have already made their move that turn. This simple discovery has lead to the development of what I call the "Crawler Crawl."

    Most builders like to begin constructing a crawler fleet in their core bases ASAP, with the goal of using the crawled minerals to accelerate the construction of even more crawlers. Once you're producing enough minerals to crank out a crawler every turn, people either turn towards infrastructure ('tough in thhe beginning, there usually isn't much to build yet), or begin making "spares" to cash in towards a project later. Even the most dedicated crawler-builder will eventually overload the terraformed squares in the base, making successive cralwers an increasingly less appealing investment.

    But, since a cralwer can both harvest and move in the same turn, it is possible to profitably continue cranking out cralwers much later than I used to think. The idea is to rush build one base's cralwer fleet to the point where it is knocking out one a turn (let's assume Planned and Wealth, putting this magic number at 24 minerals). Once this number has been reached, continue making more cralwers, but start advancing some of your crawlers, one square at a time, in a line, to the adjacent base. The "recipient" city will be receiving one extra cralwer per turn, plus anything it produces on it's own. The "donor" city never suffers a net loss of mineral intake, since it is replacing its crawlers at teh same rate that it is giving them away. Best of all, the moving cralwes can still harvest resources for you!

    Once the receipient city has reached the 'critical mass' of 24 minerals, it begins marching its crawlers, one square at a time, to the next city, and so on. This Crawler Crawl spreads ever faster, since the next base down the line has presumably been working on its own cralwe fleet all this time. You can easily have most of your cities producing 24+ minerals a turn by the time Tree Farms become available, which makes setting yourself up for a pop boom an almost trivial task. Also, you'll be -very- prepared for the construction of SPs.

    The existance of a good inter-city road system makes this plan even more efficient. You usually have to sacrifice a turn's worth of harvesting when you bring the crawler into teh donor city. Roads and careful planning can eliminate this. As long as one donor crawler starts with 2 squares of the recipient base, and as long as there is an open forest (borehole, whatever) square on a road adjacent to the recipient base, you can guarantee that every crawler always ends its turn harvesting resources. It sounds complicated, but it is actually easy to do, as long as you are paying attention.

    My apologies if this is something y'all already knew. I'm still kinda new at this.

  • #2
    It's a great idea, but can you say "micro managment" ?

    I do a minimal amount of crawler crawl, usually only involving short distances and a couple of crawlers. It's great in theory, but IMO the amount of work required rarely justifies the increased output. The most notable exception is in OCC games, where every resource counts, so in OCC's I always use crawler crawl (it works well if you have fields of boreholes linked by roads, because usually you wont need to move many existing crawlers to "insert" a new one).

    So... crawler crawl gives free "game" resources, at expense of "real" time, compared to just moving crawlers normally (in fact it is one of the best examples of how putting more work into a turn results in more resources), this would seem to make it best suited to highly competitive games (challenges, MP). If you do that sort of thing in single player games then consider seeking professional help


    • #3
      Hmm... maybe I need help then...

      The Crawl was the only thing that allowed me to play competively against the Coailition in my World War scenario (see the World War AC thread). I must've netted over several hundered extra minerals over the course of 15 turns due to intense Crawler Crawling. I'm kind of a perfectionist builder. Efficiency kills in games like AC, and I like to try to get the most out of every resource I can.

      Strangely, although I have the patience for the Crawl, I've never been able to bring myself to try ICS or specialist approaches, simply because I didn't like the thought of micro-managing all those bases and workers. I think it's because the Crawl is a tactic better suited to small, carefully planned empires, which are the kind I like. My penchant for relatively small nations (I almost never see the b-drone warnings, even on Transcend) is probably why I'm such an efficiency freak. I have to be to survive!