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Definitive and in depth look at Morgan's opening

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  • Definitive and in depth look at Morgan's opening

    I'm the guy that does a LOT of research, in everything I do, so this is the approach I took to developing my favorite faction.

    I've read countless threads on builders and countless post from CEO Aaron, Sikander, Oogie and other great builders.

    However several things are yet not clear and not in consensus.
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    The currently best opening that most agree on is the Rec Tanks first for the extra FOP's and making more pods faster, and then ICSing to max density.

    This gives you ton of energy with FM/Wealth as all those bases start with 7 energy per base square, and with 1 forest you are making 8, which means 20% to Psych gives you one 1 talent, enabling you ICS even more without HGP or facilities. The downside is you get a lot more Bdrones, you have so very few workable squares, and you have a ton of former work on your hands for that many bases. When you get IA you won't have almost NONE free forests to even crawl for minerals, all will be worked, and this is counting in making 2 or more formers per base. (I inevitably crawl in mins to a few bases and set them to constanly produce formers).

    Now the questions:

    1. How much B drones do you handle before you start putting in Rec Commons? How much bases do you aim do build in the early game, sans facilities, relying on just doctors and 20%psych. What changes when HGP shows up?

    2. How do you even Boom with that many B Drones from ICSing that dense? And how do you even Boom with so few workable squares? Some bases don't even get 3 squares to work, when you consider space constraints pushing you to plant coastal bases and consider you want to mine at least one BoreHole per base?

    Crawling in all your Nuts from from a Condenser Farm (CF) is viable but making that many is terribly former time intensive, especially since you can get ready to boom pretty much as soon as you get your Tree Farms.

    What bothers me the most is that max ICS seems to work right up until I want to pop boom, and I want that as soon as I reach Tree Farms which is very very soon. When I do, if I haven't done max ICS I can sustain my boom easily from just working forest tiles, and with planting in Hybrids mid boom.

    Not only do I boom sooner allowing more workable squares that each bring in 2-3 energy, I can work more boreholes at the same time!!! I cannot stress this enough. This early boom comes so fast that you don't have the time to set up all those CFs for max ICS and work boreholes. If you want to boom as fast as possible it's an either/or situation.

    Going with Hybrids allows a sustainable, very fast boom while at the same time working from boreholes at every base. I fail to see how this doesn't absolutely dwarf the max ICS approach that needs ton of CFs, especially since Hybrid forest give you 3 nuts and a CF, a much more former time intensive work, only 1 more.

    In the end I don't see the benefit of an early max ICS, because I'm stuck with size 4 bases for much longer till I get Condesers in place and crawl each of them to my bases. Having bigger population much sooner when you rely on Hybrid forests seems to completely negate the max ICS density benefit, because those 4 or 5 population more are all working forests for 3 energy a piece, bringing in a lot more money than your initial 7 energy base squares did?

    How do you guys resolve this? I'd be delighted if the CEO himself could chime in as I'm sure he dwelled on this dillema for a long time himself before deciding that max ICS beats the simplicity and low former intensive growth of a slightly bigger spacing and Hybrid forests, which Hendrik did amazingly in his game in the "Sikander's Builder Game" thread. I especially noted that your position on this issue changed over time (CEO Aaron), and you became a 1 space apart ICSer.

    Bear in mind I'm only interested in SP and maybe this max ICS density is what I suspect a purely MP proposal. My typical Morgan game with Abundant Native Life has me building upwards of 3 to 4 formers per base (some bases build more, some less, depending on available mins) just to keep up on:

    1. planting forests and roads
    2. making boreholes
    3. clearing fungus (Abundant)
    4. raising land
    5. leveling rocky NUT specials

    I'm up to my neck in former work and by the time I reach Tree Farms the only thing that is delaying my boom is my tight ICS spacing for which to compensate I now also need a ton of CF's, outside base squares, and making all those crawlers to crawl them in as opposed to placing in Tree Farms, initiating a boom, and mid boom placing in Hybrids to sustain it further. Bear in mind that I use CF's even in that approach since I want to boom to Hab Dome limits in one sitting, even higher(AV sp).

    Hendrik executed a beatiful Morgan game in the Sikander Builders thread and showed the power of this approach magnificently. He used to looser spacing and did a huge Hybrid Forest boom that eventually came close to even Sikanders University Transcendence time, another great player, playing the fastest tech faction to its reasonable best, using the specialist approach since he can't rely on Morganic Trade income which can get ridiculous in bases that work many squares and boreholes, providing a few treating in place or the most disgusting of all, having a few submissive's, plus being Governor, plus having Global Trade Pact.

    If Hendrik used max ICS density approach his boom would have been delayed significantly and his bases wouldn't have been as monstrously productive so quickly.

    The crucial thing is, however, he had a ton of space to settle in. More often than not, using Large Map and Abundant Life you don't have a third of that space.
    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ________________________
    But I digress, here's the math for prereq NUTS for max pre Hab Domes base sizes, I'm assuming looser ICS, but I'm still being conservative on base squares available accounting on shores, boreholes, other obstacles.

    Nutrients needed for size 13 bases : 26

    3 (base square) + 18 (6 hybrids)= 21, need to crawl in one more CF + 1 forest. Even 6 squares for HF is a lot, I'll need to crawl in 2 CF's most often.

    ****Let's compare this to max ICS**** :

    Goal 26 nuts.

    3 (base square) + 3-4 HF (9-12 nuts)= 12-15 nuts, need to crawl in around 3 to 4 CF's to reach 26 pre satellites. Consider how prohibitively slower this is, and considering that max ics confers its benefit only before you can pop boom, I can't justify it since it delays my boom so so much.

    To sum this up:

    How is max ICS approach more beneficial to a more loose spacing with less bases consider one can use the second approach to instigate a very early pop boom and at the same time work multiple boreholes, enjoying multiple hybrid squares of 3 energy each and all those boreholes.
    Last edited by bojsi12; November 2, 2018, 07:11. Reason: Clarification

  • #2
    I've done further testing today, and played a game a lot like Hendrik's (see above) where I did ICS to over twice my B-size but I insisted on at least 2 space apart on the diagonal or even 3 where the settling sites were that good to justify an extra turn to reach.

    I am very pleased with the results, I was booming as soon as I reached Tree Farms and I reached max size at 13 with AV and Hybrids done almost without stopping at ALL or building ANY condenser farms. Even if I wanted to, I didn't have time to, since I am playing on Abundant life, and my formers were busy putting in all those forests, clearing fungus, making roads and raising land on multiple sites to enable a looser spread.

    I surmise that a faster, tighter ICS would indeed have more bases, and would reach IA a bit faster, but then it would stall there for quite some time, in order to set up a boom. The looser approach makes for a very quick pop boom to max size, giving you in effect over 3x as many bases, and a TON of extra energy from working so many extra squares, each giving +1 energy from being Hybrids on top of +1 from Free Market.


    • #3
      The Morganites are the worst faction of the original game, bar none. Their -1 SUPPORT is absolutely crippling. They're bait for militaristic factions, who will soon show up to overrun them. They're the only faction I've deigned to offer bribes to get others to leave me alone, at least early game.

      All this is gone in my SMACX AI Growth mod! SUPPORT penalty, gone. Habitation size penalty, gone. ECONOMY bumped to +2. Don't howl about that, you haven't met all the other factions yet. It's what he needs to keep up. Now when the AI plays him, he does keep up. At least on a Huge map where he can get an empire going before the militants come for him. This isn't your granddaddy's CEO, these are the new Morganites!

      Not to mention that Free Market isn't for pacifists anymore. If Morgan wants to play just like the good old US of A, he can.

      At the risk of derailing your analysis of the original game, I encourage you to try the new Morganites in my mod, to see what you think is needed vs. everybody else. Hey maybe with all your micromanagement, you can actually pull off an early Economic Victory? Just be advised, you won't be doing that with satellites. They come late. All Secret Projects come later and cost more too, so it'll be awhile before you get a Planetary Energy Grid. Those constraints should really test whether your boreholing ICS tactics have merit. You might just be eaten by mindworms...


      • #4
        I've read your entire post about the mod in the modding section, sounds interesting, and I'll give it a go. Many people think Morgan's biggest weakness is the reduced base size, but I think you've correctly identified it as SUPPORT penalty. It is much more pervasive, and even though we learn to deal with it, it's effect on turn advantage and industry is actually huge. You CAN compensate for it somewhat with the advent of crawlers but even then it's an expensive deal. You waste a lot of turns if your plan is to crawl 2 additional minerals for each base. Turns that other factions don't waste and that can cost you an early SP, or the game.

        And all the way up until then, all your builds are accruing turn disadvantage over 50 or more years if you play with tech stag or blind research. Support penalty is actually a very real industry penalty. Everything you build, you build with one (or more) minerals less, turn after turn. In the extreme examples having 1 mineral vs 2 minerals, means building twice as slowly. Hab complex penalty is still severe but can to an extent be circumvented by more aggressive expansion. Still that can be a weakness in itself. A play style forcing such an aggressive expansion can leave you with a very unstable, unguarded and collapsible empire early on, without time to have even worm protection.

        All that being said most of us Morganites still love the faction because we like to struggle to overcome our weaknesses and to pronounce our strengths. I think a part of the charm is feeling you're playing the underdog and the other part is, rush building is as addictive as crack

        Going to play a game with your Morganites tonight, see how what your vision was. I've read in your post that AI Morgan can actually stand a chance now?
        Last edited by bojsi12; November 7, 2018, 16:53.


        • #5
          Can't play without a penalty, too bland, too boring for me. Also while the penalty is severy in the early game, it's only the AI that can't deal with it. A player can definitely cope in a multitude of ways depending on your situation, ranging from sparing on garrisons, playing around with PS when severly pressed early on, deciding when to switch to DEM, using crawlers etc.

          Point is penalties can definitely be overcome. For the bonuses, you increased ECONOMY to +2. This has big implications on the late game, because you can forego FM for Green while at the same time get FM bonuses. This is HUGE, I bet Morgan's the fastest researcher on Chiron as well now. BUT, and there's a but, it's only a thing in the later stages of the mid game and late game, when you have large energy income, lot of commerce and you want your efficiency to the max.

          In the early game, +2 is almost the same as +1, there's no real difference, because you want to hit +4 ECO to get 5 energy at base squares. You do that by going +1 ECO, +2 FM and +1 Wealth.
          Now +4 ECO becomes +5 which is the same thing except for some commerce income, which there is none in the early game.

          Conclusion: +2 is BIG advantage in the mid/late game, no real difference in the early game.