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  • #61
    Originally posted by 551262 View Post
    He's on track about running towards Intellectual Integrity, and with Spartans, 2 1-3-1*2 Police units can handle four drones quite nicely. I try to avoid rec commons. Nowadays I don't even build Network Nodes unless I have the VW, and don't bother with Children's Creches either.
    It sure looks good on paper, but I need to see this in action. I tried to play Santiago some and the main problem for her and several other non-builder factions (Pirates, Miriam, etc.) is that after first several cheap techs, the tech cost rises and if you don't do something about it, your SE screen says something like "+1 EC/turn | Breakthrough every 12 turns". This is why when I play Sparta or Pirates, I tend to switch to FM actually earlier than Morgan. The bonus for Sparta is that even under FM she still gets the upper hand when attacking native life. And Planned sucks for non-builders, it virtually kills their research. Use it only when you see the opponent and can safely probe/conquer him.

    The beeline to I.I looks cool, but it postpones any serious empire building forever. You get crawlers and then boreholes decades after other players. Yeah, you say you build more bases and police 4 drones. Cool, except you don't have condensers and most of the time you can't even feed four citizens. Especially that as Sparta, you may probably want heavy forestation. My early Sparta bases are usually stuck at pop2-3. Building farms just to increase it obviously also decreases mineral output (as you harvest 2-1-1 tiles or 2-1-2 with collectors).

    Policing sure looks good, but as I see it now, you do your meagre ICS and build police units when your opponents crank out crawlers and cash them in for PTS, VW and the like. You have no chance to be the first to D:AP, and as CEO Aaron mentioned elsewhere, quantity beats quality - you come to me with 4-1-2 Sparta units, I put my 1-2-1 Very Green units on a forest with sensor and watch you lose at least half of you health bar every time.

    All in all, sounds like a risky business to me. If you don't find and kill your opponent fast, your ICS may not make any impression on him.

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    • #62
      I think you're forgetting the key principles of Momentum play.

      As long as I get a good start, and get the Impact Rovers out the door quickly enough, I can hang along with them. I couldn't care less about the advantageous of FM or the principles of Democracy. Fundamentalist + Planned + Knowledge + Command Centers + monolith trips = elite units. Disadvantages? Well, you do have -1 Efficiency, but that's not that bad, and if it's a problem then build Children's Creches. Sure you don't have +2 Econ, neither +4 Efficiency, nor +4 Support, are lacking +4 Growth, don't have +4 Research, or +4 Industry, but it's probably the best you can do. (Democracy + Planned + Knowledge works well once you get the Cyborg Factory.)

      Building is all nice and all, but it's still vertical growth. If you're tumbling downhill from a punishing thrust of 6-3-1 troopers, 6-1-1 batteries and 6-1-2 rovers with a healthy dose of probe teams, it doesn't matter how much +Econ you get.

      That said, Momentum play doesn't really work on large excursions, but Lady Sparta can still sit down for a hundred turns and build up the empire and pop boom like everybody else. The Virtual World? You can build it, yes, I like to have it too, so you can build it and I'll take it 20 turns later. Deal? :P

      The issue with growth is solved by the Weather Paradigm. Condensors + farms = +4 nuts before Gene Splicing.

      I will say though that Momentum play is very risky. But a punishing attack on a core bases can hurt him just as bad as it does me. I'd call that fair enough, as long as I can keep up in the tech race and can push out the elite units, that's good enough for me. As for the bases of mine, Recycling Tanks, Tree Farms (when possible), Command Centers, Perimeter Defenses (if the area is hotly contested, otherwise no) and I'm set. I only bother with Network Nodes if I have a lot of artifacts to cash in (had four in the present game) or I plan on getting the VW. Otherwise, two 1-3-1 Police garrisons, and later, 1-4-1 AAA ECM coupled with a 8-1-2 SAM rover and we're covered.

      I found out just today that about three battery units can take out a impact plasma steel (4-3-4) foil. With that, I guess I won't have to bother too much with naval units, which are kind of a waste until Doctrine: Initiative and Fusion Power.

      I also found out that you can put a road, bunker and sensor on the same rocky square. This means a 50% + 50% + 25% bonus to defense. A base is better though, especially against air units. But as far as rocky mine + road + bunker goes, it could work as a stop gap solution, especially if you have mag tubes around. A sensor in a nearby square (under a base) and you're set.

      EDIT: BTW this is for CEO Aaron. 1) Can mobile airbases offer a "Aerospace Complex: +100%" type bonus to defending units against aerial attacks? 2) For early game SP "rushing" is it "kosher" to build scout patrols in the other bases, run them over to the base in question, support them there and then disband them, or should one focus on buying it with energy?
      Last edited by 551262; August 23, 2013, 14:26.

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      • #63
        I understand how Momentum works, it's just what Aaron described doesn't exactly fit it in my opinion. He specifically mentions ICS and he builds colony pods rather than assault units. This is why I asked my questions. With a beeline to II, you still need to maintain your research arm healthy, because it will take some time before you will grab any lab-boosting techs or SPs. And as my experience with Sparta says, your Robocop policemen don't have much to police in the early game.

        You can't rely on getting WP. Even if you start to build it in the first turns, a typical builder faction like Zak or Morgan can get to IA and instabuild WP faster than you complete it with -1 Industry. Besides, every strategy that relies on getting a specific SP is a bad strategy in my opinion. You never know how SPs split and you can't hastily adjust your strategy because you were beaten to WP by one turn.

        I can be quite an aggressive (Hybrid) player, but I admit I don't have much experience with Momentum strategies, partially because I find them very vulnerable to issues not always in my control. Your description above is all cool and enticing, but it goes down the drain when suddenly you discover that you're actually alone on a massive continent... And that Morgan on the next island beats you to Doc:Init, and gets MCC, and then controls marine access with 2-3 cruisers, and your elite units can only shake their fists at the sea. And did we mention that he infiltrated your coastal bases earlier and without Planetary Networks you can only watch his probe foils with awe?

        And against decent builder players, I somehow don't believe in that "pushing out elite units and keeping up with the tech race" part. Against Zaks, Morgans and Akis who go early FM/Wealth, you're going to fall behind really really fast. If they choose to go to D:AP after IA (as I would do against Sparta), you don't have much time before their jets come actually a-knocking to your house.

        In MP games, more often than not players are separated by water, so there goes the "let's kill somebody really fast" approach. What CEO Aaron presented is more a builder/hybrid approach to Sparta, which is why I wanted to compare notes. I'm not saying that early FM is the only choice, but you need to solve the problem of money against a player who can afford to rushbuild.

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        • #64
          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.

          Comment


          • #65
            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.

            Comment


            • #66
              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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              • #67
                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...

                Comment


                • #68
                  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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                  • #69
                    EDIT: sorry, double post.

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                    • #70
                      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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                      • #71
                        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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                        • #72
                          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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                          • #73
                            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.

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              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.

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                              • #75
                                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?

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