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  • 551262
    replied
    Gotcha. But why rovers (Assuming 1-1-2*1 Scout Rovers) over Scout Patrols?

    I haven't found out how many minerals you get from cashing Alien Artifacts. In fact I usually cash them for tech, not sure if that's really a good idea or not. I suppose if you're way ahead of everyone else, then it probably doesn't matter.

    Super Drones are only found in SMAC-X? I don't think I've encountered them.

    Have you spent much time running Sparta in Free Market? The Wealth hit is there, sure, but is FM a pragmatic option for Sparta? I'm along the lines of either Dem/Planned/Knowledge or Fundy/Planned/Knowledge.

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  • CEO Aaron
    replied
    Originally posted by 551262 View Post
    Okay so the edit feature isn't working properly.

    The question then becomes if Sparta can grow horizontally better than Yang. I doubt it, by default the growth, industry and Police State works well to manage drones.

    But then what else can you do?
    Where Sparta beats Yang is making the transition from Horizontal to Vertical, and having a better economy. Yang will never get a positive efficiency. While they're protected from the worst effects of Planned/Police, they'll still never see a positive efficiency value. They also have a really hard time making a population boom, being unable to run Democracy and having -1 Econ. To say nothing of Sparta's morale bonus.

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  • CEO Aaron
    replied
    Originally posted by 551262 View Post
    Glad to be back.

    Haven't seen you active on alphacentauri2 forums, wondered if we might loose our dear CEO.

    Tell me, if you were gunning for an early SP rush before Industrial Automation, would you build scout patrols, transfer ownership to the target base and then disband them or would you try to buy it with energy credits?

    Also -- horizontal expansion -- yes, probably about the only thing you can do with Sparta when you don't have anybody nearby to bully. I'm not sure how many drones you can quell with two police garrisons in respect to the bureaucracy drones. A rec commons and two garrison units will handle six drones, sure, but what about the third or fourth warning? Two warnings isn't hard to get on Small maps when you get a nice landmass, but with the smaller maps, ICS really does make a difference.
    Welcome back.

    The only SPs I gun for in advance of IA are the Command Nexus (crucial) and Citizen's Defense Force (mainly to keep the enemy from getting it). For those, yes, I will build rovers and disband them, if I have to, but for the most part I'm happy just using an alien artifact to boost production. Rushing with money just doesn't work well because often you don't have much to spare.

    The beauty of police over psych is that they quell regardless of the type of the drone. So-called super-drones (the deep red faces) require double the psych to keep mollified, but one jackbooted thug doesn't care whether your malcontents are merely miserable or on the verge of outright armed rebellion. The same is true of drone-quelling facilities like holo-theatres or rec commons. So the upshot is that with NLM and +1 police rating, 2 1/1/1 police units will quell 4 drones. Add in a rec commons for 2 more. Everywhere. Third bureaucracy warning, fourth bureaucracy warning, tenth warning, it doesn't matter.

    Now you will lose some worked resources to inefficiency, even when running Demo/Green/Knowledge (+5 eff). But nutrients are immune to efficiency, as are resources from specialists. Yes, you'll lose some minerals and a fair chunk of energy from to the mafia, but the marginal gains are still immense, and only get more absurd as your population (and specialist count) grows.

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  • 551262
    replied
    Okay so the edit feature isn't working properly.

    The question then becomes if Sparta can grow horizontally better than Yang. I doubt it, by default the growth, industry and Police State works well to manage drones.

    But then what else can you do?

    Leave a comment:


  • 551262
    replied
    Glad to be back.

    Haven't seen you active on alphacentauri2 forums, wondered if we might loose our dear CEO.

    Tell me, if you were gunning for an early SP rush before Industrial Automation, would you build scout patrols, transfer ownership to the target base and then disband them or would you try to buy it with energy credits?

    Also -- horizontal expansion -- yes, probably about the only thing you can do with Sparta when you don't have anybody nearby to bully. I'm not sure how many drones you can quell with two police garrisons in respect to the bureaucracy drones. A rec commons and two garrison units will handle six drones, sure, but what about the third or fourth warning? Two warnings isn't hard to get on Small maps when you get a nice landmass, but with the smaller maps, ICS really does make a difference.

    Leave a comment:


  • CEO Aaron
    replied
    Originally posted by Kirov View Post
    Wait a minute, so as Sparta you don't beeline to IA? Even without Wealth, you still need those crawlers in place. The only situation I would stray from IA is early rush. But even I'd like to get on the track as quickly as possible, i.e. after AppliedP or NLM.
    Yes, I'm delaying IA for NLM. You can't play Sparta like a palms-up builder faction, they don't have the chops to do the same tricks as Uni or Morgan. With their inability to run Wealth and their -1 Industry penalty, they'll just do what the true Builders do, only worse. I've spent a lot of time thinking about my Spartan game, and while I don't profess to be an expert, I think I've come to some sound conclusions as to how to get the most of them when you're in a position where you don't have neighbors to abuse.

    Obviously, if you're up close and personal with someone else, go ahead and rush for impact weapons, that's a no-brainer. But if you're far off, you're not going to be able to mug your neighbors for bases, cash and tech. So, what to do? Well, you can't out-tech the builders going vertical. The have better advantages and you have significant DISadvantages. -1 industry and no wealth SE choice hurt, BAD. What non-combat strengths does Santiago have? +1 Police and early access to rovers (and one tech away from foils). That lends itself quite naturally to spreading like a virus. No, you won't win any tech races, and yes, you'll wind up giving up many a secret project up to your rivals. But the resources you DON'T spend rush-building early SPs you'll be investing in base expansion, which should put you in a strong position in the midgame when you unlock your pop boom.

    Remember, technology is ephemeral. Tech parity is often just a few probe actions away, especially if your exploring units can make early contact and you can play tech broker among several factions. In a world where everyone's beelining to IA, it shouldn't be that hard to trade or probe to. And since you're not running FM, it's not really in your best interests to make nice to everyone. Need I remind you? This is SPARTA.

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  • Kirov
    replied
    I played Miriam a little but need to do it much more. The main issue here, as for every Momentum faction, is how to establish an economy which allows even to pick up a fight with other factions. Early 2 formers per base look like a thing. As for SE, I wonder if PS may come useful. I'm always very much against Power, which I consider the most useless setting even for total war purposes (I go for Wealth 100% with every faction that can).

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  • 551262
    replied
    I'm playing Miriam right now, the University is throwing his weight around. Almost 2300 and we're still on Gatling weapons. I'm running Fundamentalist + Planned + Power, which gives me a nice morale benefit, +4 support, +3 Probe, at a cost of -4 Research (I'm getting 1 tech every 8 turns, already got Fusion Power, beat the University to it) -1 Planet, -1 Industry and something else minus. Probably efficiency. Elite troops aren't out of the picture, as I haven't build the Cyborg Factory yet but they're coming out as commando right no.

    Pacted with the University and focusing on some light building and lots of infantry, rovers and batteries, the Believers are deadly. If you don't bother with research (I'm having to do it now because I need to get Chaos Guns to swat the University and Spartans out of the picture) like if/when you were pacted with University then you could kick butt pretty hard. Ideal faction for offensive purposes against the alien factions, if present -- their Alien Offensive and Alien Defense means that elite with +4 support + big bases + 25% belief bonus is ideal. Size 14 bases with three garrisons and every fourth base with four or five* means you can get support 11 units for FREE. Don't even need Clean Reactors. Multiply that by a wicked ICS strategy, let's say you have 22 bases, that's 352 units for zero support. That, is to be feared.

    *: Bases with three garrison units in the ...oh, mid-game: 1-4-1*2 AAA ECM x 2, 1-4-1*2 Police Trance. Bases with four to five garrison units can have same as previous but with 10-1-2*2 SAM rovers with a chopper or a rotor. Interceptors aren't needed in the center core bases, but having needlejets around for long range interdiction isn't a bad idea. Even a well-defended base with six 1-4-1*2 AAA ECM, one 1-4-1*2 Police Trance (primarily for drone control, if mind worms are to expected then 1-1-2*2 Empath Trance with Elite morale is ideal, except they can't take on Locusts of Chiron -- if you see waves of those coming on, then just build 1-1-2*2 SAM Empath rovers), two 10-1-10*2 choppers, three 10-1-2*2 SAM rovers and a couple of cheap 4-1-10*2 SAM needlejets costs >zero< in support. Add an Aerospace Complex, Perimeter Defense, Tachyon Field and that base should be able to take a handful of conventional missile strikes. As a Believer with +3 Probe you won't have to worry about probe teams either -- but I'd keep elite probe teams one base back from the front to counter-attack with (so his probe teams can't squabble with yours). This also means that if you are a target of battery units or needlejet bombings then you could loose quite a few mineral resource squares, as long as you can feed those 14 citizens, you'll be set.

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  • Kirov
    replied
    I'm trying and I just don't see this beeline to II. I've just finished as Sparta with a diplomatic victory, enslaving all but one faction in 2227 (standard map). The deal is, either you push out colony pods more or less all the time, except for some army and basic infrastructure, and then almost no base reaches pop5 and you don't need non-lethal methods (Police State is enough to quell 4 drones with 2 units), or you build upwards, but then even with WP you need to focus your terraforming on food rather than industry (once I can, I almost always build boreholes first condensers later) and your mineral output, with specialists fed by condensers, is desperately low all the time.

    You can of course mix the approach and improve core bases while expanding more distant ones, but then the benefits of non-lethal methods are wasted on remote bases where PS effects are more than enough to quell all drones.

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  • Kirov
    replied
    EDIT: sorry, double post.

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  • Kirov
    replied
    All right, thanks for the info on CRS.

    Drop units need to start their drop in your base or airbase, so I'm afraid there is no safe way of popping distant pods apart from using more units.

    It's hard for me to find a decent opening for Sparta, as the AI rolls over and dies too quickly. But so many aspects of SMAC have been thoroughly researched, I think I could give a try to less often used factions and another gameplay.

    The Believers, Spartans, Pirates and Cult of Planet call in my opinion for different openings than in the case of the builders, so don't get discouraged with that. At least those factions are very often for the taking in MP and you can always surprise and instill fear in your opponents.

    I remember I played Sparta, Pirates and Cha Dawn some, but my impression was they are worse off than the other, so taking them counts as a handicap. Not so sure about Miriam.

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  • 551262
    replied
    I notice total worm surroundment happens with higher frequency in later stages. This calls for drop troopers to pop distant pods -- if trouble arises, just hop out.

    Re: Chronic Researcher's Syndrome...

    The University of Planet (Prokor Sartory Zakarov):

    Your labs are your life. They are your only advantage in the game, and if you don't use them well and wisely, you will find yourself in trouble very quickly. As such, you must focus the bulk of your efforts on increasing your energy output, as it is energy that drives your labs. Game notes: As the University, you've got four manageable problems, and one HUGE advantage. First, your troops are utterly average. Nothing at all to write home about. But, with technology as your ace in the hole, that need not frighten you. Play that card correctly and your average troops will outgun anything your opponents can bring to bear on you. Your second problem is a chronic difficulty with drones. The solution to this is a steady program of expansion (which can almost turn your problem into an advantage). Expansion is good for you for two reasons. First, it partially solves the drone problem you've got as your population is kept in check by the creation of new colony pods. And second, every time you make a new base, you're getting a network node for free in the bargain (and maybe a hologram theater!)....this is extremely efficient from a cost-per-facility-basis (for the price of one colony pod, you're getting a new base, a network node, and possibly a hologram theater....I think you will be hard pressed to find a better value for your money anywhere in the game), not to mention the effect it will have on the number of research points you can generate. Your third problem is Probe Teams. They generally have a really easy time infiltrating your datalinks, which, as you might expect, is bad for you. This can be overcome by posting your own Probe Teams around, but that is far from a perfect solution. Finally, you've got a less tangible problem I like to refer to as "CRS" (Chronic Researcher's Syndrome). What this means is that, yes, you're getting a bunch of technological advances, but until you turn those advances into tangible things for your empire, they don't do you any good, and they certainly won't stop Chairman Yang's forty-three Impact Rovers that just sauntered into your territory. As a University Player, you need to focus on turning your tech advances into things: base facilities, new weapons, and the like. Only then are you really getting the most out of your abilities.

    Since so many base facilities center around controlling drone problems or increasing Lab output (both of which should make a University Player salivate in Pavlovian style), this is an ideal faction for Builder-play, but some interesting variants crop up if you try the other styles.

    If you focus on increasing the overall energy output of your empire at all though, it is very easy for you to simply run away with the game, from a technological standpoint. You can do things that will make the other factions green with envy. Once you've infiltrated everybody's datalinks and have rendered yourself immune to their Probe Team actions (you DID get the Hunter-Seeker, yes?), you can monitor the production queues of all enemy bases, and if they start making something you don't care for, missile the base garrison to death and orbitally insert your own troops. Presto!

    Recycling tanks are first, but not by much. Recreation commons almost has to be second, and then you'll need an Energy bank to help pay maintenance. After that, go for any lab-enhancing facility (Research Hosp. Is the next one you'll have available) you can get your hands on, and defensive improvements as you can (keeping an eye on your drone situation and ready to drop a Hologram Theater (or use police units if not running Market) if needs be).
    http://www.gamefaqs.com/pc/96102-sid...auri/faqs/2480

    Late game SE settings I talked a little bit about in the previous page with all the photos. I won't profess to be an expert on Spartan gameplay. I just find them to be the easiest faction to play (haven't really bothered with the Hive, although he might be better suited to me, dunno) although I would like to have a good trial period with the Believers. It would really help to get Centauri Ecology nice and quick though...ugh...10 turns before research plus -2 research AND another like what, 12 turns before E1? pffft...

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  • Kirov
    replied
    I gave it a try until 2187. I admit I wasn't really focused on the game, just clicking around. Grabbed the lead in 2150, by 2187 had 33 bases with a decent yet far from impressive energy output (63 EC/7 turns). Police State, later Green (You can't really combine PS with Planned until you rely on specialists).

    The game would be a piece of cake, as single player games tend to, but I noticed I can't really combine ICS with any vertical development. Building colony pods + only a handful of farms (you really need forests as Sparta) means your bases don't have a chance to grow upwards and host specialists. If I did that, I'd probably have half the number of bases.

    To comment your post - my initial rover died surrounded by worms popped in a distant pod and I have the impression that it's a commonplace (these days I can hardly play single player).

    Morgan is a very demanding faction, maybe even the most, but can also offer many yields. CEO Aaron was the master of it.

    And what is that Vel's Syndrome? I read his guide, but many years ago.

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  • 551262
    replied
    True. Momentum play really stalls when the going gets rugged, or if it gets over stretched. Spartan forces are meant not for total war (Hive, Believers, assuming +4 support and big bases) but are more of a hybrid-momentum combo.

    From the start, (I never figured out why sometimes I got two colony pods, rather than one, or vis-versa) Spartans start with a rover, as we all know. This means a exploration rate (I don't reveal the map, but I do enable spoils of war) double that of a single scout patrol. And then that unit starts out as hardened, which is better against early mind worms than green units. In some games I've been lucky enough to get four Independent rovers roaming around finding out the best locations for bases, where is the enemy, popping pods, et cetera. After a few squabbles with mind worms, they should be veteran or commando, which isn't bad, not to mention they are free. So in that department, they are unmatched, although Zak can catch up pretty quick (you can get Secrets of the Human Brain in like four turns, allowing you to make up for lost time), plus you have an easy route to throwing out the gun foils for sea pod popping earlier than everyone else.

    As for MP, I'd love to have a Sparta+Hive+Believers against Morgan+Zak+Gaians/PKs game. Should be interesting. Another one would be Spartans+Zak+PKs against Morgan+Hive+Believers or something like that, basically can tech + military win over money + military.

    As for the Industry penalty, yes it does hurt, and it doesn't go away until you get Planned.

    For being stuck alone on a continent, the Spartans will probably figure that out faster than anybody else, thanks to the rovers. I'd take that over finding yourself as Morgan next to the Hive...as was my first game as a Morganite. Could be very rough indeed...

    Let's also not forget about as Vel says, Chronic Researcher's Syndrome.

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  • Kirov
    replied
    One more thing: I'd love to develop some neat hybrid/momentum strategies for war-mongering factions like Sparta, Miriam, Pirates etc., but I must say I honestly believe they are underdogs compared to your typical builders. I want to start an MP game as Sparta and not adopt a risky strategy, because if it secures you only 50% of victories, there is a lot of room for improvement. I don't want to be beaten to every imaginable SP except CC because I'm surrounded with water or because there is a huge fungal patch and tower on my way to the enemy. I'm all ears to reliable strategies which don't assume too much about the map or other kind of settings like spoils of war. I was working on it several years ago and I remember early FM convinced me for Sparta and Pirates. But I'm sure there are more/better techniques to pull it off.

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