Author Topic: Defending Archipelago empire tips?  (Read 2484 times)

Offline undefind

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Defending Archipelago empire tips?
« on: October 15, 2015, 08:53:56 AM »
i was doing some searching and came across this thread. i was wondering if anyone could elaborate on defending an empire with multiple hostile wormholes. obviously, you would want to keep AIP as low as possible, but i dont see how that is possible when there are so many entry points to my empire.

pumpkin mentioned using mkII turrets to defend, and that seems fine and all, but if you have multiple wormholes scattered across a planet, that doesnt seem so viable as a best defense strategy since the kill zone can be so small. and even if i do gate raid, (eliminating the low AIP objective) what about threat/CPAs? they dont care if a planet has only 1 hostile gate, they jump in wherever they please.

then there is the problem of defending friendly wormholes on friendly planets to protect the weaker planets in the rear. i use FF generators on those wormholes, but a lot of times it has minimal effect against a 4k+ CPA.

am i missing something? i dont like playing maps with many connected planets for this very reason. its far too difficult to defend the home planets.

"X" map types are the only maps that provide more balance to me, but i am getting bored of that and wanted to broaden my skills by playing something a bit less linear.
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Offline Shrugging Khan

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Re: Defending Archipelago empire tips?
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2015, 10:50:36 AM »
Don't defend everything, I'd say. See which systems you can lose without losing anything permanently, and then recapture and rebuild later on. Concentrate your defenses on everything else.
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Offline Toranth

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Re: Defending Archipelago empire tips?
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2015, 11:10:56 AM »
As always, time to mention Kahuna's defense guide - an excellent guide to building defenses within your system, even when the wormholes are positioned... unfortunately.

Gate raiding is AIP expensive, and when you are playing archipelago-style, you usually want to avoid as much as possible.  So, it's better to just accept that almost all of your systems will be taking waves, and deal with it.  That means turrets, and lots of them.  Mk II turrets are good.  Better is quickly finding and either hacking or capturing the Mk V turret controllers.

But, as you said, that doesn't help with CPAs of 3K or 4K ships.  Of course, not much really does... except warheads and attrition.  For those systems that you REALLY want to keep, you can build and keep a warhead or two there, in case the CPA decides to visit.  Or, if you have the power, you can beachhead the surrounding AI systems - placing a full set of turrets on each system the CPA would need to cross before it gets to your occupied system will cut huge chunks off the CPA strength, and delay it, too.

But sometimes, it isn't enough, and your reinforcements can't get there in time.  In that case, you lose the system.  But if it isn't your Homeworld, so what?  Come back later and rebuild.  Yeah, you might lose a fabricator or something, which sucks, but you can always recover.  And if it a unique that is REALLY important to keep, you can hack it instead of capturing.

Here's a picture of a Honeycomb map I played a while back.  This shot is from right before the second homeworld assault, and it shows some of the damage remaining from the CPAs:


As you can see, I tended to capture systems in groups of two or three, so they can provide mutual support.  Most of my beachheads had been lost at this point, but you can still see the ~200 human units in AI systems next to my Homeworld or the cluster at the bottom - those are there to kill off Threat and CPA units.  The Yoquinvo/Pela/Terminus group was probably wiped out completely 4 or 5 times during the game, anyway.  But as soon as the Threat was gone, it was Rebuilders to the Rescue!

Also, as you can see, Honeycomb maps can provide both highly-connected and easy-chokepoint maps - a mix of the two, like here, or on the Microcosm maps, may be what you need to shift from being comfortable with chokepoints to be comfortable everywhere.


Here's probably the most minimal, most archipelago map I've ever played:


The systems marked P7 were the ARS systems, the 2 P9s were the Spire Archives - One had an ASC, the other a Fab.  The CSG-D and CSG-E were on the two systems next to that.  Even after destroying one AI HW, here, the AIP was still below 150.  I just took the absolute, bare minimum of what was required.  That left it scattered, but since AIP was SO low, it wasn't hard to defend.  It was also very fast, so the time-based Exowave and CPA multipliers had no time to add up.

Offline Kahuna

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Re: Defending Archipelago empire tips?
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2015, 03:34:35 PM »
Here's an example of a defensive perimeter. I think the image is quite self explanatory. I forgot to add "AI planets to be gate raided" but whatever.
http://i.imgur.com/GJ7XIIV.jpg

So just see what routes the AI has to your planets and how you could block them. If you can't completely block the path you can still probably place obstacles like beachheads. If you have gate raided, neutered and disconnected AI planets you don't have to care about them at all. They barely even get any reinforcements. They might spawn a Warp Gate Guardian like every couple of hours or so.. or not at all. And yes there are such things as gate raided, neutered and disconnected AI planets because (on high difficulty levels) you can't afford to capture every single planet. Not even inside your own empire. If the planet is not important/worth taking then it's better to leave it be. Even if the planet is not yours it can still be useful as a beachhead planet. Although mostly it's better to just ignore them. In that image there's player planets in addition to the homeworld. That's already 10+240=250 AIP which means (on 10/10 difficulty) normal waves will have thousands of AI ships each. If I remember correctly probably something like 2000-4500 depending on ship type. That shows you how important it is to not take every single planet. 20 AIP is actually quite a lot and it adds up quickly. Capturing the first 3 planets in a game increases the starting AIP by 700%.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2015, 03:56:04 PM by Kahuna »
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Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Defending Archipelago empire tips?
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2015, 02:59:29 AM »
Hm. I realize this post should go there instead. Should I copy-paste it there?
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.

Offline undefind

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Re: Defending Archipelago empire tips?
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2015, 04:03:38 AM »
Here's an example of a defensive perimeter. I think the image is quite self explanatory. I forgot to add "AI planets to be gate raided" but whatever.
http://i.imgur.com/GJ7XIIV.jpg

So just see what routes the AI has to your planets and how you could block them. If you can't completely block the path you can still probably place obstacles like beachheads. If you have gate raided, neutered and disconnected AI planets you don't have to care about them at all. They barely even get any reinforcements. They might spawn a Warp Gate Guardian like every couple of hours or so.. or not at all. And yes there are such things as gate raided, neutered and disconnected AI planets because (on high difficulty levels) you can't afford to capture every single planet. Not even inside your own empire. If the planet is not important/worth taking then it's better to leave it be. Even if the planet is not yours it can still be useful as a beachhead planet. Although mostly it's better to just ignore them. In that image there's player planets in addition to the homeworld. That's already 10+240=250 AIP which means (on 10/10 difficulty) normal waves will have thousands of AI ships each. If I remember correctly probably something like 2000-4500 depending on ship type. That shows you how important it is to not take every single planet. 20 AIP is actually quite a lot and it adds up quickly. Capturing the first 3 planets in a game increases the starting AIP by 700%.

that picture is super confusing but, i have some questions.

1. how do you know the path the ai threat fleet is going to take? by the looks of the picture you have indicated that the threat fleet will take a specific wormhole over another despite the fact that taking either one has the same number of hops.

2. is there a trick to finding out the path the threat fleet takes?

3. i am playing on 9/9 now because 8/8 was far too easy for me. but i find that 9/9 is exponentially more difficult. wave sizes are huge! and they tear through my mk2 turrets like paper. additionally, my economy is a wreck trying to balance energy, metal, K, etc...i still only have 1 type of mk 2 ship (bomber) and was forced to research mk2 econ station leaving me with a pitiful assault force. how do you cope with this?

i think the answer to number 3 lies in the main problem which is large wave sizes (waves are mk2 despite AIP being in mk1 territory). if i can bolster my defenses with better turrets i think i can concentrate my K in the places that matter. i am finding K to be extremely rare and vital to my survival, more now than in any other difficulty i have ever played.

4. i know that i am only supposed to take planets that matter, but the planets that matter are more often than not a mk4 planet or behind 1 or 2 mk4 planets. i believe the solution is the same as number 3. if i can get higher mark turrets i will be free to research higher mark ships/econ unlocks.

thanks,

-undefind
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Offline undefind

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Re: Defending Archipelago empire tips?
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2015, 02:07:33 AM »
Hm. I realize this post should go there instead. Should I copy-paste it there?

sure, a consolidated thread on the subject couldnt hurt.
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Offline Kahuna

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Re: Defending Archipelago empire tips?
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2015, 02:44:25 AM »
1. how do you know the path the ai threat fleet is going to take? by the looks of the picture you have indicated that the threat fleet will take a specific wormhole over another despite the fact that taking either one has the same number of hops.

2. is there a trick to finding out the path the threat fleet takes?
Although the AI can take any path the AI will usually take the shortest. It also depends on where the threat fleet is located or where the CPA carriers spawn.

3. i am playing on 9/9 now because 8/8 was far too easy for me. but i find that 9/9 is exponentially more difficult. wave sizes are huge! and they tear through my mk2 turrets like paper. additionally, my economy is a wreck trying to balance energy, metal, K, etc...i still only have 1 type of mk 2 ship (bomber) and was forced to research mk2 econ station leaving me with a pitiful assault force. how do you cope with this?
In my opinion defenses take priority when spending knowledge because they're what keep you alive. I think "fleeter" kind of play style works too but I have more experience being defensive. I have many times had Mark II Bombers and Mark I others at the time of attacking the AI homeworlds. That or 1 Mark IV unlocked and Mark I others. The bonus ship you choose when starting a new game can have a huge impact. Munitions Boosters and Youngling Neinzul Tigers being the most powerful in my opinion. If you get neither of those you will probably have to get Mark IV Bombers (which isn't a bad thing) to get trough the AI Force Fields and such. Anyway you can manage with a small fleet until the end game by utilizing Assault Transports. Do small surgical strikes with the Bombers and/or Raid Starships and/or Plasma Siege Starships etc. You can first send Fighters in Assault Transports to take out Tachyon Guardians to create tachyon guardian free "highways" deeper into the galaxy towards the AI homeworlds and core shield generators etc. That will also expand the life time of said Assault Transports when doing the raids.

If you haven't already I recommend you checkout my defense guide for proper turret and minefield positioning etc. Whether or not the AI tears trough your Mark II turrets depends on said positioning, the ship types the AI sends and the turret types you have unlocked. Which turrets have you unlocked and which ships do the AIs send? How big are the waves as in numbers? About economy.. Try to avoid using Matter Converters. They're okay as a temporary solution but having more than 3 or 4 for long periods of time starts to hurt. 4 of them already consume 800 metal/second. Turrets cost a lot of energy so if you know you will (have to) unlock a lot of turrets then it's probably best to go for Mark III Economical Command Stations. Unlocking Mark IIs with the first 10000 knowledge when the game starts. If you go for a bit more fleet ships and/or have a good map for chokepoints and/or you have access to a Zenith Power Generator then you can go for Logistical/Military Command Stations.

i think the answer to number 3 lies in the main problem which is large wave sizes (waves are mk2 despite AIP being in mk1 territory). if i can bolster my defenses with better turrets i think i can concentrate my K in the places that matter. i am finding K to be extremely rare and vital to my survival, more now than in any other difficulty i have ever played.
Strong defenses allow you to focus elsewhere. So get those Hardened Force Fields, Area Minefields and Laser, Needler, Missile/Sniper/Spider Gravitational and Tractor turrets. When the waves get big enough the game combines some of the Mark I ships to Mark II ships to keep the performance better. On 10/10 difficulty level you get Mark IIIs and IVs.
Yep that's one way the game gets harder. On higher difficulty AIP gets more deadly which means you won't be able to capture as many planets which means you will have less knowledge.

4. i know that i am only supposed to take planets that matter, but the planets that matter are more often than not a mk4 planet or behind 1 or 2 mk4 planets. i believe the solution is the same as number 3. if i can get higher mark turrets i will be free to research higher mark ships/econ unlocks.
That's when the Assault Transport raiding comes in. You first get rid of those Tachyon Guardians and then send a raiding group to pop the Command Station or whatever is your target.
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Offline undefind

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Re: Defending Archipelago empire tips?
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2015, 03:36:42 AM »
thanks for the advice. the map i am playing on has some pretty good chokepoints, so there is that. i do refer to your strategy guide quite frequently, and i have been doing mine, turret, tractor, gravs, FF gens according to that guide.

i did my first hack (knowledge) and the ai response was pretty ridiculous compared to lower difficulties. i survived but, when i did a follow up hack with the starship constructor (i prefer to hack those so i dont have to take the system and defend the constructor), the ai response wiped me out. i couldnt believe it. i was all the way up to mk3 turrets but i will confess, the wormhole placement in my home systems is awful! the ai has direct access to the weaker systems without having to pass through the majority of my turrets. but if i rearrange my turrets to compensate, the kill zone diminishes greatly and i am stuck with low-moderate defenses.

i did manage to take 2 power gens, so maybe ill ditch some econs for mils.

anyway, I'm just rambling right now and i think i screwed myself by taking too many planets already. i think ill shore up my defenses near the constructor, hack it, and increase whipping boy defenses (my whipping boy cant take on CPAs alone and i have to micromanage large battles, which usually last at least 2 wave announcements from each ai).

thanks,

-undefind
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Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Defending Archipelago empire tips?
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2015, 05:47:48 AM »
Hm. I realize this post should go there instead. Should I copy-paste it there?
sure, a consolidated thread on the subject couldnt hurt.
Mkay, lets do this.

I think the key is to fragment the ai's worlds and go more of an archipelago style (is that correct? archipelago=less connections to your empire?)
Yes, this is correct. However, disconnecting the AI empire isn't the goal of such strategy. But it could be an interesting side-effect. A !!fun!! side effect when the Hunter plot is enabled.

Quote
but i think that would cost a lot of AIP if you took out all the warp gates between all your planets.
1) false: a gate cost 5 AIP; a whole planet cost 20 AIP. So gate-raiding 4 planets is more interesting in term of warp-dampening that taking one planet for the same price.
2) this isn't how to go archipelago/damn-low-AIP (IMO). Just let the waves hit the isolated planets and defend them independently. This is a bold strategy, but with a damn-low-AIP level, it's manageable.

Also, don't forget/hesitate to hack for knowledge, because with such strategy, you'll be short.
Oh, and I almost forgot: only hit planets with a CSG. The ultimate goal is to capture the fewest planets, so the minimum is 4 to take down 4 out of 5 CSG A-prime, plus one per other CSG network: B, C, D, E. B-planets can be taken twice because they have AdvFacto and Adv Starship Constructors, and sparing enough Knowledge to hack one of them is... complicate. Anyway, you need your HaP for K-hacks.

Quote
i have never really understood how to defend when i have multiple hostile wormholes, so i tend to do a lot of gate raiding leading to high AIP games.
Yeah. It took me a long time to master that, and I'm still not perfectly safe with this "outfit". I'm "enough challenged" at 8/8 in a regular playstyle, but 8/8 with archipelago is a little bit ahead of my current level. The thing is: Kahuna-style defense isn't reliable on a planet with many hostile wormholes. I often use military (MkI, because I can't afford MkII) and long range turrets (missile, sniper). Capturing the MkV sniper/spider controllers is a must-have, and may justify 20 more AIP.

Last advice: for a slightly more resilient strategy, try to pair your planets: if one falls, the other one still provide supply to its turrets and don't let the offending fleet escaping (and joining threat-fleet) unpunished.

Quote
i only have a moderate knowledge of the game and strategies to use. i often spend hours on pause trying to figure out what to do next. reminds me of a game of chess.
This is why I love this game too.
 ;D

Maybe I'll do a full-blown strategy guide for "Pumpkin's Archipelago Playstyle", one day.

Now I have some questions for Kahuna (or anyone that know this playstyle enough to answer, of course).

How can you take a homeworld with low mark fleet ships? Is the assault transport that broken? I never use them, and not because of playstyle: I think they're totally imbalanced (and IMO not very fun). The question become "can you take a homeworld with low mark fleet and no assault transport?"

Now about the turrets. I'm often shy paying K on turrets, mostly because I'm a fleet-style player, but essentially because I feel safe with some MkV turret controllers, and I feel I wasted K when I find a controller later in the game.
Maybe MkV turrets need to be like MkIV fleet and starships: you have them if you capture the thing and unlocked the MkN-1. But then capturing and defending one controller is less powerful than capturing and defending an AdvFacto or an AdvSShip. So we can come up with a unified MkV turret controller that unlock all MkV turrets for which you have K-unlocked the MkIV version (and is seeded in CSG-B planets). But then it's just bland and lame, because it's just the same system as fleet/starships.
Damnit! I'm lame at game design! Such a shame! :'(

TL;DR:
- Is it possible to take a homeworld with low-Mk fleet and no assault transport?
- Is it worth spending K on turrets when MkV controllers are laying around?
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Offline Kahuna

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Re: Defending Archipelago empire tips?
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2015, 09:16:51 AM »
- Is it possible to take a homeworld with low-Mk fleet and no assault transport?
- Is it worth spending K on turrets when MkV controllers are laying around?
Yes.
And yes. More turrets means stronger defenses which is a good thing. Although in difficulty levels below 10/10 you might not need that much so that's probably why it feels like a waste.


When I talk about using Assault Transports I almost never mean utilizing it's attack power.

Assault Transports are powerful and their attack power (which I rarely use) is probably a bit too much. Still I don't think they're as powerful as people seem to think. I'd not care if their ability to attack would be removed entirely. Their ability to go 1 more hop, unload instantly and stealth is what I use them for. Their health could use a nerf too.

For example.. if you want to destroy a Data Center that is 2 hops away and under a Force Field you would first get rid of all the Tachyon Guardians on the path to that Data Center. Then you would load some Raid Starships into an Assault Transport and send it to the Data Center.. unload the the Raid Starships.. pop the Data Center and load the Raid Starships back into the Assault Transport and then fly back home. So you do not actually attack the Data Center (and the Force Field) with the Assault Transport. That would be much less efficient. The same could be done with the normal Transports+Cloaker Starships. Assault Transport is just faster and more convenient.

Nothing like that can be done on AI homeworlds. AI homeworlds require the use of full caps of lightning and armored warheads cloaking super boosted by at least Mark I and II Cloaker Starships. Preferably also Mark III Cloaker Starships. Yes AI homeworlds have a planet wide tachyon coverage but the Cloaker Starships' purpose is to buy enough time to make use of the warheads. Armored Warheads are very tanky so they can often survive on their own for a while but lightning warheads are made of paper. In some cases using a nuke or two is okay too. For example if you're playing against the Raid Engine AI type and know entering the AI homeworld will trigger something like 4 Raid Engines (which send 5k ships each) using a nuke to get rid of those waves is okay.

You might also want to be capped on metal and have easy access to distribution nodes so you can keep spamming ships from the Mobile Space Docks during the attack.

So what you're gonna wanna do is to use the Lightning Warheads to destroy the AI's strategic reserve as soon as it spawns. Don't be afraid to spam so use 5 Mark III Lightning Warheads if you need to. Usually 1 or 2 is enough. Then send the Armored Warheads to destroy the core guard posts. While Armored Warheads make their way to the guard post your fleet (and Mobile Space Docks) keep hammering the Force Field protecting the AI home Command Station and the Fortress. Some of the Lightning/Armored Warheads can also be used to damage the Force Field(s) and the Fortress. You might also want to keep some Lightning and EMP Warheads behind you on one of the Core (not homeworld) planets to stop the Special Forces.

The thing is: Kahuna-style defense isn't reliable on a planet with many hostile wormholes.
Please elaborate and propose an alternative strategy.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2015, 09:21:19 AM by Kahuna »
set /A diff=10
if %diff%==max (
   set /A me=:)
) else (
   set /A me=SadPanda
)
echo Check out my AI War strategy guide and find your inner Super Cat!
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Offline Toranth

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Re: Defending Archipelago empire tips?
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2015, 12:05:55 PM »
The thing is: Kahuna-style defense isn't reliable on a planet with many hostile wormholes.
Please elaborate and propose an alternative strategy.

I think he's referring to situations like this one:



Since your Home Command Station starts in a fixed location, you don't have the opportunity to place way off to one side where you can minimize the arc between wormholes.  You should rarely have this problem if you are building a colony - usually you are choosing between protecting the Command Station, in which case you place it way off to the side, or defending a specific exit wormhole, in which case you don't care about where the AI is coming FROM, you just dump all your defenses on top of that wormhole.


So what to do about it?  Take a look at those wormholes, and figure out which will be used by what.
Here's the galaxy map for the system above:


Well, the most troublesome wormhole, Rexrae, is on the opposite side from where CPAs or Exowaves will come.  Gate raid it, and ignore it.
Ellugio and Cetethermb are the next two troublesome wormholes, but neither is a likely CPA ingress route.  If you capture either Michko or Foraye, it basically eliminates Ellugio as an option entirely.  So you can gate-raid and forget it.
Cetethermb is not a likely CPA ingress point, but it is possible.  If you capture or beachhead it, however, the likely of it being used as one goes way down.  Beachhead, gate-raid, forget.

Now you've only got three wormholes left - and all three are in roughly the same arc of space.  The Kahuna Method works fine from here on.


Now, it occurred to me that maybe he was talking about cut-though traffic, where the AI enters the system through one wormhole, but ignores your defenses to beeline to another wormhole and exit.  That's not going to happen on your Homeworld (with a few very rare Exowave exceptions).  Any other system, you can place your Command Station (and thus your defenses) on top of, and covering, the wormhole you want to prevent the AI from using.
If you've got more than one exit you need to block... well, consider capturing other AI systems to shape AI traffic movement better, add some beachheading, or just learn to lose and rebuild certain systems.

Offline Kahuna

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Re: Defending Archipelago empire tips?
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2015, 03:15:14 PM »
The thing is: Kahuna-style defense isn't reliable on a planet with many hostile wormholes.
Please elaborate and propose an alternative strategy.

I think he's referring to situations like this one:
-snip-
True. That is a nasty situation but for me "kahuna-style defense" still works better than any other method in any situation.

That seems to be homeworld so there's no way to affect the positioning of the Command Station. If it was a non-homeworld the player could place the Command Station on edge of the gravity well etc into a safer position.

You might want to unlock Hardened Force Fields and Mark II Tractor and Needler Turrets and gate raid Rexrae right at the beginning. Then you could capture Michko, Phicoqa and Cetethermb to protect the homeworld. Preferably place their Command Stations on top of the homeworld's wormhole. Make sure to have enough Metal stored and a lot of Science Labs to get the Knowledge as fast as possible. Then unlock more turrets and other defensive options and build them as fast as possible. While the new defenses are building you might want to gate raid Eligio and Linlar. Depending on how their wormholes are positioned on Michko and Cetethermb. Using 1 or 2 Mark I Lightning Warheads to stop the waves can acceptable at this point. Beachhead and neuter Foraye, Yunet and Fenwig to stop them from gathering reinforcements. Then you might want to scrap the beachheads to prevent their neighbour planets from gathering reinforcements. Or you could either neuter or ignore them. Ignoring and destroying their Tachyon Guardians would probably be the best option. Now you have gotten 9000 additional knowledge and the AIP is at 85. Now you would probably want to clear the "tail". After taking care of the "tail" properly CPAs would never come from behind. They would always come trough Michko, Phicoqa and Cetethermb. CPA carriers only spawn on AI planets which are at least 2 hops away from human or neutral planets. So you would want to destroy (and gather knowledge from) either Tunevar and Cevarver or Eligio/Rexrae and Napi. Later when you can neuter and gate raid the rest of the planets in the "tail" and capture the planets you destroyed. Now you have a decent empire with 3 chokepoints and you're good to go. Push further into the galaxy by clearing Tachyon Guardians and scouting as far as possible. Send raiding groups to take out AIP reducers.

What are the seed and settings of that map? If and when I find the time and energy I could try to do what I just said. On 10/10 difficulty level.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2015, 03:54:13 PM by Kahuna »
set /A diff=10
if %diff%==max (
   set /A me=:)
) else (
   set /A me=SadPanda
)
echo Check out my AI War strategy guide and find your inner Super Cat!
echo 2592 hours of AI War and counting!
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Offline Toranth

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Re: Defending Archipelago empire tips?
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2015, 04:19:20 PM »
The thing is: Kahuna-style defense isn't reliable on a planet with many hostile wormholes.
Please elaborate and propose an alternative strategy.

I think he's referring to situations like this one:
-snip-
True. That is a nasty situation but for me "kahuna-style defense" still works better than any other method in any situation.

That seems to be homeworld so there's no way to affect the positioning of the Command Station. If it was a non-homeworld the player could place the Command Station on edge of the gravity well etc into a safer position.

You might want to unlock Hardened Force Fields and Mark II Tractor and Needler Turrets and gate raid Rexrae right at the beginning. Then you could capture Michko, Phicoqa and Cetethermb to protect the homeworld. Preferably place their Command Stations on top of the homeworld's wormhole. Make sure to have enough Metal stored and a lot of Science Labs to get the Knowledge as fast as possible. Then unlock more turrets and other defensive options and build them as fast as possible. While the new defenses are building you might want to gate raid Eligio and Linlar. Depending on how their wormholes are positioned on Michko and Cetethermb. Using 1 or 2 Mark I Lightning Warheads to stop the waves can acceptable at this point. Beachhead and neuter Foraye, Yunet and Fenwig to stop them from gathering reinforcements. Then you might want to scrap the beachheads to prevent their neighbour planets from gathering reinforcements. Or you could either neuter or ignore them. Ignoring and destroying their Tachyon Guardians would probably be the best option. Now you have gotten 9000 additional knowledge and the AIP is at 85. Now you would probably want to clear the "tail". After taking care of the "tail" properly CPAs would never come from behind. They would always come trough Michko, Phicoqa and Cetethermb. CPA carriers only spawn on AI planets which are at least 2 hops away from human or neutral planets. So you would want to destroy (and gather knowledge from) either Tunevar and Cevarver or Eligio/Rexrae and Napi. Later when you can neuter and gate raid the rest of the planets in the "tail" and capture the planets you destroyed. Now you have a decent empire with 3 chokepoints and you're good to go. Push further into the galaxy by clearing Tachyon Guardians and scouting as far as possible. Send raiding groups to take out AIP reducers.

What are the seed and settings of that map? If and when I find the time and energy I could try to do what I just said. On 10/10 difficulty level.
It was a 10/10 game, Honeycomb, 100 stars - but I didn't keep it, and didn't record the seed.  Sorry.
What you describe is very close to what I did, except I left Phicoqa in AI hands but beachheaded it, and captured Foraye.  Unfortunately, I had left Dire Guardian Lairs turned on.  They added a little too much 'excitement' to the second CPA, since there were 2 free-floating threat DGs at that point, and I rage-quit.
I'd actually gate-raided the entire tail, which in hindsight may have been a bad idea, as it jumped AIP a bit too much, even though there were Data Centers in reach that helped a little.  I didn't know that CPAs wouldn't spawn adjacent to neutral worlds - I though only the Human Homeworld had that special benefit.  I'll have to keep that in mind in the future.

Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Defending Archipelago empire tips?
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2015, 05:24:56 AM »
Whoa. Toranth and Kahuna debating 10/10 strategy. That was awesome.

(...) but for me "kahuna-style defense" still works better than any other method in any situation.
You are Kahuna.

Anyway. That was not Archipelago as I think of it. But before I delve into unfolding this weird playstyle, I want to highlight two little points:
- My "comfortably challenged" level is 8/8. IIRC, I succeeded with this strategy at 7/7 without true difficulties (aside from long rebuilding). I bet I can take it at 8/8 if I didn't achieved it already. (I don't remember.)
- This is not my default playstyle; it's some sort of experimental playstyle, an edge of the AI War's gameplay. I bet it's unreliable at 10/10. But 10/10 is also another edge of the game. (Heck, "difficulty 10 winnable" was considered as a bug in the patchnotes!)

Well. Here we go.
The strategy is to capture barely only CSG planets. This leads to few resources (metal, energy and knowledge) but damn-low AIP. Managed well, never going ahead of 50~ish seems achievable (I often set 0 auto-AIP for this playstyle, because fleet rebuilding with such few metal can be long, but I'm sure some experienced player of yours can go with the default 1/30 min). I almost never gateraid or capture planets for defense purpose. As a result, my planets tend to be rarely adjacent to ally ones. Pairing them when possible is a must: more on that in a sec. I use only military stations, put them on the edge of the well, and use (and K-unlock) only the long-range turrets (missile, sniper and spider; MkV controllers of those are invaluable) (beware the leech starships: they're immune to both sniper and missile). I use no mines, tractors or kahuna-style blockades, because there is too much wormholes. For MkV constructors/controllers and AdvFacto/AdvSShip, I may build a blockade if I'm lucky with the wormholes positions. But for other planets (A-prime with nothing to defend once the ARS is done), it's ok to lose them for a while. (Don't play with sharks.) This is where planet-pairing comes in handy: when one falls, its twin provide it supply and the turrets are able to retaliate even when the OCStation is gone.
This defensive setup may seems fragile and unreliable, but we're playing below 50 AIP there. Even CPA are lightweight.

The other pillar of this playstyle is raid. I personally use (and abuse) the high-mark raid starships, but what Kahuna said with the assault transport is fine too. The goal is twofold: AIP reduction (even preventively: don't be shy to go "negative" AIP) and neutering. Missile immunity of the MkII and higher is invaluable. Neutering is vital to carve rescue-path for your fleet to join isolated worlds. Raiding also leads to scouting. I often hesitate to unlock the MkII scouts, but I know I shouldn't. Anyway, I never unlock MkIII scouts in this setup: neutering and tachyon raids are enough. Once done, scouts are used for map control. This is why MkII are not a waste of K, because tachyon carving + MkI scouts is enough to explore the entire galaxy, but 10 eyes isn't enough for surveying it all.

As a side-note, I learned that a MkV sniper cap is deadly to Dire Guardians. The trick is: if you must capture a planet adjacent to a DGLair, do it, then beachhead the DGLair planet, clean it (or clean it then beachhead, it's up to you), and crack the Lair open. I did that with MkV sniper & spider plus a high mark of missile: the guardians were slaughtered. I repeated it on several other DGLairs in the same game: same result. I bet it's achievable without the MkV turrets, but still with a good bunch of high-mark long-range turrets.

The truly tricky part is, IMO, to take the first world(s). It's often the nearest A-prime or other CSG. Capturing one (or two :-\) worlds adjacent to the homeworld is... "acceptable". The true problem is metal at first, then energy when the need for turrets increase. While I'm talking about resources, beware the brownout. Losing a world is common in this playstyle. (At least for me. Maybe one of you will refine this method and use it at 10/10 with sharks... :o :D)
The other tricky part (still IMO) is the very endgame: coreworlds and homeworlds. The knowledge may become a scarce resource then, this is why I save my HaP for K-hack at this point. I often K-hack the planets adjacent to my homeworld, because they are MkI planets and just near the space docks. This last K-grinding is used to buff up the fleet before the final countdown assault. But if Kahuna says it's okay to assault a homeworld with a MkII fleet, why not. But with so few metal (and energy), I bet armored warheads will be hard to get.

I think hope I forget nothing.
Maybe I'll do a separated post, more organized and developed. However, this playstyle is so experimental I don't think it would be as worth as a Kahuna defense guide. Anyway, we'll see.

Now, tell me.
Do you think it's bullshit and unreliable?
Would you do things differently?
Well, maybe first you won't play like that at all. And it's sane.
But taking damn-low AIP as a starting point, where had you go?
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.