Author Topic: Pony Express  (Read 6530 times)

Offline Wanderer

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Pony Express
« on: May 03, 2012, 09:35:42 PM »
Why?  Because I needed more Ponies.

So, I decided I haven't cracked open AI War in far too long, having gotten involved in two massive projects at work and filling my spare time with AVWW.  It's time.

Since the Crosshatch is so popular, I figured I'd fire up a 9/9 myself.  However, I realize reading through the AARs it's hard to envision what's really going on from discussion via planet names.  I'm going to help correct that by creating 'sectors' so that it'll be a *little* easier to envision as you follow along with the trials and travails.  An 80 planet map sets itself up into 9x9 sectors very nicely... a little suduko-ish, actually...

So, the first laugh you get is I had a beta update I needed to do.  Okay, yes, FAR to long.

Now, let's see, what do I want to play with here...
AIs: Red is Assassin, Blue is Bully.  9 / 9  (I'm green... and it's not easy)
All Ships - Complex
Normal/Normal/high Perform/Full Fog

Hm, Plots. Well, I like my schizos, so that's for sure.
Let's see... Human Colony Rebellions with Marauders for balance.
I haven't touched Golems in an age, Hard-Golems it is.
No Zenith anything... in particular, no dyson.
The Neinzuls usually just annoy me and they'll be headdesk levels in this, I believe, they're out.
Hm, Civilian Leaders... I usually find this horrifyingly annoying to play with... but 'eh, what the hey!  Let 'em in.
Spirecraft- No thanks.

So: Colony Rebellions, Marauders, Hard-Golems, Civilian Leaders.  AIP 1/30 with schizo waves.

AI Plots.  Hrm.  Nah.  Avengers are annoying, Hybrids could be fun but not here, Astro Trains are more annoyances than anything, and Beach-heads... hrm... Beach Heads.  Nah.

So, no plots.

Alright, map.  80 planet crosshatch, all expansions, Conquest.  First map I get has... ewww, we're dead center.  Well, heck with it.  Let's play Crosshatch!  Ooooh, I haven't had a chance to play with snipers in a while.  Sold!

How I laid out the sectors (after spending 10+ minutes renaming everything on the map...):  The planet layout in each sector is:

1  2  3
4  5  6
7  8  9

The Sector names:

So the upper leftmost planet is Alpha 1 and the bottom right-most is Gold 9.  upper right is Bronze 3.  Etc.  I'll post pics along the way here, I'm sure.  the Homeworld is at Delta 4.  Dang near dead center.  This should be interesting.

Still paused at the first second, I research up harvester IIs and Advanced Warp Sensor, and load my control scheme.
For those curious:
Ship Movement offsets to Group-Move
Formation Move offsets stick
Auto-FRD Engineers
Multi-Planet FRD Patrol
No Evade on Friendly
Brave Scouts
Reclaimed ships rally
Prevent Warhead FRD

I grab one of the starter scout IIs and map him to take a look at all border planets.  The other one I send on a suicide dive towards Bronze 3.

I setup initial builds and drop in 10 Engi Is to assist primary.  Turn off the merc docks for now and build an advanced warp sensor.

Unpause.  Let's play.

Nope, the II's weren't worth it.  Immediately upgrade to harvester IIIs.

Of the nearby stations, there's a black hole generator in one, an Alarm in another, a fortress in a 3rd and a Co-P in a fourth.  Nothing of particular interest otherwise.  I'm bordering a 3/3 and a 3/4 material point and since the first worlds are usually econ-purposed those will probably be first targets, not sure yet... but I've GOT to pop the danged Alarm first over in Blue 3.  Delta 1 and Delta 7 are the best bet for those minerals, btw.  Suicide Scout didn't get far and didn't find anything of interest.  I'll have Scout Is producing here shortly and they'll start patrolling.  In the meanwhile, I continue to build the MK I fleet.  It's 1:15 in so far.

Oh, heh, look, they're done.  Scout away boys!  I send them en-masse towards... meh... let's see what's over in Blue sector.  Head west young men!

I also pop up a Science II to help with research gathering just shy of 2:00.  Those poor scouts only got one world out past the initial non-tach worlds.  Well, this will probably be a habit.  Well, we'll see what's out there.  Another CoP at Blue 8....

3:50 A Data Center over on Blue 7.  Comes with a lovely AI Eye.  Down at Yellow 3 There's an ARS.  Oooh, shiny. 
5:00 Yellow 4 has another CoP and a NanoSwarm V Fab.  Second MK IV world found at Yellow 2.  Still building primary MK I fleet.

The Blue 3 wormhold is practically on top of the home command station.  That needs a nerf and a warp-gate removal.

6:00 MK I fleet finally finished building.  Turn on Light Starships to support the primary fleet.  Continue scouting, I'm having trouble getting into Blue 1 and 4, time to look in different directions.  I also get my troops organized on their hot keys, Snipers on separate hotkey from the main battle-mass.  I'll attach a starship to the snipers to boost them later.

Peparing for the eventual wave, I drop an extra pair of FF Is on the home station.

Hey now, SuperTerminal found down at Omega 4.  That might come in handy later.  It's AI Eye protected (so is the route from Homeworld to it) but that could be handy.  I STILL haven't found a Golem.

7:40 The first Light Starship comes online and is attached to the sniper fleet.  I've got just enough Research to bring them to MK II, so I do and begin production of Sniper II.

8:24 First wave announced.  276 ships + 3 starships to Delta 4 in 2 minutes, the homeworld.  Guess I should actually look at what the enemy's sporting for firepower, 'eh?

Spiders, Laser Gatlings, and Armor Boosters.  That's an interesting combo.  I don't have enough research yet to pop open Grav Turrets (but I will eventually) so I'll just have to weather this one.  My econ is still being hammered by the 10 engis trying to build out the snipers and light starships so I don't bother dropping turrets into play yet.

It takes two Light Starships to fully boost my Sniper Unit so they get the second Light Starship for support as well.

10:26 the wave hits.  Something I didn't see them owning previously was Vultures.  Oh well, no biggie.  Definately need gravs though.

12:00 or so the wave is killed with minimal losses, but for some reason I ended up accidentally turning on Auto-FRD Military.  That needs to be very off, heh.  Whoops.  Scouting continues and has been continuing.  Still no Golem.  There's an Exo out there with my name on it somewhere, considering AIP is already 20 from the Spire Civilian Leaders and I haven't even moved (nor found one of them... after 24 planets scouted).

12:36 the other wave announces for Delta 4.  Roughly the same size.  However, this time I have gravs and build off a few.

Finally find the first Civilian Leaders up at Alpha 4.  It's protected by an Eye enroute and a Fortress on the planet.  Great.

16:00.  I've defeated the second 'starter wave' and can start looking to attack the world.  I've begun buildup of resources (50k ea) and let the fleet rebuild after defenses.  I drop off 10 snipers on homeworld for now and look to see what I want as my first target.  ARS it is.  Besides, cleaning that out a bit will let me get scouts deeper into Yellow sector in the Southwest.

Found another Civ Leader back in Red 4 and Red 6.  Fact IV back on Red 4 too.  Decisions decisions.

Just as I move the majority of trooops off planet some threat (77 ships) crashes into Delta 4.  I shouldn't surprised.  I retreat the sniper unit while the main attack squad continues to clean up Delta 7.

20:00 Threat removed without significant concenrs but I can't see much further with the scouts without doing some tach clearances.  I start up Raid Starships for their eventual need.

I realize I'm going to have a problem with the spiders.  They're going to constantly force me to scrap/rebuild pieces of my fleet or I'm going to need Mobile Repair.  This might be the perfect game to try out the new MRS.

24:25  A 200 ship wave announces for Delta 4.  Raid Starships are done, but I don't have a target I actually care about for them yet.  I decide I'm going to use them to clear off the AI Eye in Alpha 7 to get at the Civ Leaders in Alpha 4 (and their Eye as well).  That's going to encourage some reverse firepower so I start building up more turrets (and bomber SS) on Delta 4 while my main fleet is out galavanting.

Found another ARS down in Yellow 4.  That's a long trip but it's the direction I was heading for the first ARS anyway.

30:00 Attacks north of me into Alpha with the Raids have lit up a lot of threat and I'm blind because I haven't been picketing.  I open up Scout IIs and start picketing the I's on surrounding systems, using the IIs for scouting.

Threat's not as bad as I'd thought, but there's some meaty chunks of it.  Next wave announces for 350 ships.  The fleet's at home, has been since last wave.  They got all their bombers toasted and I needed to return for resupply.  Stupid lousy zombie guardians.

Finally found my first Golem, a Black Widow.  It's 4 hops away down in Yellow 8.  Dang, yellow's just loaded with toys...

Had to turn off the starship constructor for the fleet rebuild.  Losing the Raids was a bit brutal.

I decide to send the Science II down to the ARS on Yellow 3 and see what my options are.  Electric Shuttles are the default, with Tele-Leech or IREs as my secondary options.  IREs could be VERY handy against Exos later.  I'm not a fan of Electric Shuttles in general, more of a defensive unit then I prefer, but they could have some value if I ever setup a whipping boy.  This ARS will wait until I've checked out a few others.  I'm going to have to drill into Yellow and check out the other one before I decide what I'm doing with this one.  In the meanwhile... Black Widow, I wants it.  I haven't played with them since the new paralyzer beams went into effect.

Though, right now I'm killing time waiting on a fleet rebuild.  Afterwards the MK IV planet off the homeworld at Delta 2 is at 170 ships and has enough bases to become a significant threat.  It's time for a nerf.  Of course, it's got a Fortress to annoy me.

Found another ARS in Omega 6, this one comes with a Blade Spawner V factory as a bonus.  Shiny!

45:00 in I still haven't taken a planet, still arguing with that MK IV world.  It's got a counterstrike and D-class on it though... HMMM.  Taking out an early counterstrike would be nice.

Another ARS found, this one with a Broken Armored Golem.

1 Hour in, Civi leaders push me to 36 AIP.  I've just hammered on Yellow 5, a MK III world, to wake it and start finishing clearing the way to Yellow 8 with the Black Widow Golem.  Wave is now 700 ships.  Greeeaaaat.  I slap up a bunch of LRMs, Snipers, and Basics on homworld.  Now packing about 70 of each.

Due to power problems, I've been deactivating the Home Human Settlements.  At 8k in power a piece they're a bit much for 50 m+c total a piece.

1:25:00 750 ship wave with half of a MK III planet backing it up obliterates the primary fleet at homeworld, which is still mostly Mk Is.  I'm still trying to pound my way into the Black Widow but I might have to foresake it for an ARS planet.  I'm basically avoiding taking any of the homeworld connections and trying to take strategic targets only.  I'm also going to need to do a Data Center hunt at this rate.  AIP is still 36.  I've only found 3/4 CoPs.

I decide to pop a Distribution Node and find a Trojan, lovely.  Luckily the econ was already in the floor.

Curious as to how much low firepower havoc I can cause, I send out the sniper + Light Starship team to harass Yellow 5, attempting to clear the path to the ARS and Black Widow, while the main fleet hangs back to help defend from a smaller 400 ship wave.

The Raids take out one of the Data Centers to try to stabilize things for now.

The snipers are hung up trying to take down a Spire Shield Guard Post III, and are at 25% done when I look back.  Not bad, let 'em at it.  The main fleet is dealing with the backwash the Raids fired up.  I've recently adjusted the local 'always have built' for Engi Is to 15 for the homeworld, since I'm basically doing spike builds and I want them to build asap.

1:50 or so and we've cleared Yellow 5, and I reinforce the snipers with a few lost friends.  A Warp Gate Guardian spawns up and two caps of Snipers and 2 Light Starships barely dent it.  It ravages the sniper fleet.  What's left manages to get to Yellow 8 and get completely obliterated, they can't even get off the wormhole.  Rebuilding again.  Still one planet, but at least we've made some distance.  Just need to get the fleet involved and we'll be able to clean up.  Raids died again working on Alpha 7, but we've made some headway against the planet and removing the Eye.  Really need to get at the Civ Leaders but there's only so much I can do.

2 hours.  The worst case wave happened, they came in the closest wormhole.  With the fleet rebuilding and there, wasn't a problem they chewed up the wave.  The Raid Is just can't really handle raiding alone, I need Raid IIs or they can't do much against even a simple Bomber SS II.  AIP is at 30 after I popped a DC and Civies once again popped up the AIP.  I've done NOTHING except nerf some systems on the way to systems I actually care about and scouted half the map.

I've attached the 2 hour map.  I'm not done with these bad boys yet. :)
... and then we'll have cake.

Offline madcow

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Re: Pony Express
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2012, 10:21:26 PM »
I have to say, I think its hilarious that you can deactivate the Home Human Settlements. "Sorry last humans left alive, we need to turn off life support, its using too much power."

More related to the game, is it typical the length of time you've taken just to scout and neuter without taking a single planet?

Offline Wanderer

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Re: Pony Express
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2012, 10:32:26 PM »
I have to say, I think its hilarious that you can deactivate the Home Human Settlements. "Sorry last humans left alive, we need to turn off life support, its using too much power."

More related to the game, is it typical the length of time you've taken just to scout and neuter without taking a single planet?

At 9, no.  At 10, yes.  I'm defaulting to 10/10 habits, much to my economic chagrin.  It'd be working better if the Spire Civies weren't screwing up my AIP.
... and then we'll have cake.

Offline Diazo

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Re: Pony Express
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2012, 11:57:27 PM »
All these crosshatch 9/9s, I guess I'll have to get on the bandwagon in my next game.

*keeps reading so I know what to expect.*


Offline Wanderer

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Re: Pony Express
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2012, 12:11:43 AM »
Oh AI War, how I've missed you... and beer.  Let's combine the two!

A warning, the rest of this AAR is going to have me getting drunk along the way.  I make no excuses for my stupid mistakes while enjoying myeslf with harmless electrons.  *Cracks first beer*  Have at it!

Hmmm... Theme Music.  I think I want to hear some Shelley Barratt.  No, I wouldn't be surprised if you haven't heard of her.

*sips beer* Now, where were my little devils at?  Oh, right.  I wants spider golems!  Well, after we finish rebuilding.  Flip off the SS constructor (dead raids) while fleet rebuilds.  Turn 'em back on as I leave for war.  Slap a few Cloaker Is into the SS builds so they're handy if I feel a need for 'em.

Poking around the map I've got a few massive locations of buildup.  A few 400+ ship areas.  Oh, well, joy?  I'll get you my pretties!  Later.  Of course, they're ALL the MK IVs... what the hey?

My golem's got a counterstrike on it.  Yep, that's gotta go.  D-Class there instead of off the homeworld, I'll live.  And ANOTHER 400+ MK IV found... really?

Still having power problems, turn off all the Basic Is on homeworld... and *1* Marauder attacks Delta 4.  Amusing.  and a 121 ship wave.  Snicker.  Raids are rebuilt so they head off to join the main fleet for Ion Cannon hunting.  Still trying to get the second/third ring of scout pickets up, too.

Definately need to do something like the MRS or Engi IIIs, I keep suiciding a ton of ships out of annoyance at engine damage.

Whoops!  Woke the planet up, that hurt.  RUN little snipers, run!  2:10 and we're heading home for reinforcements.  Took about 1/2 of Yellow 8 down though, so that's good.  MK I fleet is rebuilding.  There was a sniper guardian I didn't see at first that was pounding down my Bomber SSs and a bad choice in pathing woke up 3 guardposts at once.  It's all good though, it got them to come at the HW as threat and get eaten by the turrets during the rebuild.

2:15 we're out and running again.  Raids hit Alpha 7 in the meanwhile and got another guardpost.

Another wave coming in from Blue 3, the 'dangerous' wormhole right on top of the cmd station.  I may have to do something about Blue 3 soon, and its alarm post.

With some engi Is working the primary FF and rarely getting a chance to re-beef it, the turrets handle the 270 inbounds with panache.  Only a few sniper turrets lost.  Meanwhile the First Fleet with Sniper Support has hit Yellow 8 again, playing 'lets get the sniper guardian under glass'! :)

Hm, first beer's almost gone already?  Dang.

Well, sniper boy and his buddies TORE through the bomber fleet, starships too.  Well, damn, that FF IIIs tough to my little MK Is.  My Sniper Auxiliaries and the Frigates have to finish it off on their own.  In the meanwhile, time for another Raid SS run on Alpha 7. 

2:23: 647 ship+3 wave inbound on Delta 4.  Uh oh!  Well, most of the fleet's been sucked back to Delta 4 anyway due to needing to be rebuilt, soooo... meh?  Of course, they're still rebuilding...  And I forgot I sent the Raid SSs up to Alpha 7.  When I look for them, they're dead.  Joy, waste of half a mill in crystal. *sigh*  Fine, need a fresh beer.

Btw, Keith: Missile Redirection from turrets works NICE.  Thanks for that.

2:26: Attempting to pull back the Sniper Auxilliaries via the path I built after finally popping the sniper guardian, I forgot to shift-click them through the path and sent them through AI-Eye +fortress hostile territory.  All hands lost.  We did, however, stop the wave with the sacrafice of the majority of the main fleet.  Since I've got spare energy, turn the Home Settlements back on for a bit for some extra resources.  Econ is still on the floor.

During the rebuild at 2:30 a 330 ship wave announces.  I've got what is politely termed: Jack-all.  Maybe 150 ships including a cap of fighters and the snipers.  Yeaaaah.  At least the turrets are still up.  Well, it's amazing how well things can go when you're paying attention to micro... :)  Most of the fleet that got built are still upright at 2:32 and the wave's deflected.  Now we finish the rebuild, flip SS's back on, and try to finish up down at Yellow 8.

2:33 Twiddle twiddle twiddle...
2:34 Twiddle twiddle twiddle... send scouts... twiddle...
2:35 SS constructor back on and we're heading for Yellow 8!  You know, the names make sense for discussion but DAMN they're boring.

2:37 the fleet makes it to Yellow 8 and begin re-engagement with the FF III that was protecting the missile post and Sniper... with now dead sniper.  Time to clean this up.  amazing how fast it goes down when your bombers aren't dead...

Next up, pop that Counterstrike III.  Not bad, only 264 ships.  With that I finish cleanup and take out the cmd center at 2:42 or so.  And I trigger a Special Forces Alarm post.  Just GREAT.  RUN FOR HOME BOYS!!!  Oh, yeah, I forgot that was sitting on Yellow 7.  I'm gonna trigger it again for Yellow 4.  heh, whoops!  Mark that with P1 so I remember...

AND I DID IT AGAIN, right through Yellow 6 with the fleet.  Well, they got chewed to bloody pieces.

Threat's at 106.  Hm, that SF post could have been a LOT worse I guess.  At 2:44 it's 9 out to the Counterstrike.  I build off a quick set of transports and a colony ship for the eventual conquering of Yellow 8.  They'll hang back for now though, I want to wait for the fleet and the counterstrike before I split my attention (and resources).

AIP at 53.  Going to boost again in 15 minutes from the Civilian Leaders.  Alright, they're annoying me now.

Build off five Engi Is and shove them into the transport with the colony ship.

Talk about needing to pay attention.  750 ship wave rams into Delta 4 at 5 minutes to the Counterstrike.  Yeeeesh.

2:50 Hook up the transports with the cloaker SSs and ship them to Yellow 8.  This time on the RIGHT path, not the uncleared one... *facepalm*  They make it safely (with the 4-stop transports blowing up right at Yellow 8) and I tuck them into a corner for the moment.. Counterstrike in 1 minute... and well, no M/C and the golem's sitting on top of a wormhole.  So far my luck hasn't been great.

30 seconds out the fleet finishes rebuilding.  SSs are off again, so it's basically just fleet ships.  I hold near the base, hoping I can space them out.  they come in from an odd angle and REALLY space themselves out.  they also came with a Raid SS that had to get popped ASAP.  Glad I chilled the boys out local.

Of course, a 700 ship wave threatens during the defense.  2:55.  Civilian boost coming shortly.  A second wave of 300 for backup is landing a minute behind it.  Pause.

alright, dual wave, PERFECT TIMING!  Drop the Econ I out on Yellow 8 now that I've got a 5-10 minute gap in the festivities.  Time to get my Widow!

At 3:00 we've defeated all the waves, Widow's up to 38%, I'm dropping a FF1 on the Econ/3xPower stattions, and we're doing fleet rebuilds.  I send the sniper team down to Yellow 8 to help protect the rebuild.

AIP at 64 due to Spire Civvies.

Tune Switch: Tartanic... :)

Twiddle twiddle... c'mon Black Widow.  hmmm, need more beer.

3:06 55%... twiddle twiddle.  This is gonna suck I eat a wave.

3:07 I send the primary fleet and sniper replacements to Yellow 8.  60%

3:09 they get there, lost all the missile frigs enroute but they make it.  67%.
Of course, now the homeworld is competing for resources for a fleet rebuild, and I'm just going to accept that.  Homeworld having some fleet is a good thing.

Hm, only one Light Starship left, and it chooses what to boost oddly.  You'd think it'd work all Sniper IIs, then work down to Is, but no.  I'd say it's... 50/50?

3:11 75%  Twiddle and hope, Hope and Twiddle.  You know, i'm gonna get a CPA soon at this rate.

3:12 77% Hm, consistency would be NICE here y'know?  *Drinks beer and listens to bagpipes*

3:14 83%  This damn thing better be worth it...  *bobs head to the drum and pipes*  YARRRRGH!!! *SLUGS BEER*  Nope not done... YEARRRGH!!! *bangs head a bit more!*

3:15 <invents new dance to bagpipes in office waiting for golem>
3:15:05 <wrings beer out of shirt and continues to dance>

3:15:30 710 ship assault on Delta 4.  Majority of fleet is in Yellow 8.  This is gonna get UGLY. 93% at 3:16
3:16:16 Bugger is pulling in another 744 ship wave a minute behind it.  OH CRAP, GO FLEET GO!  Run for home!  *oh lords, I'm gonna die*  *drinks more beer*


Well, crap.
... and then we'll have cake.

Offline Wanderer

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Re: Pony Express
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2012, 01:04:57 AM »
Round 2.  New seed (651907268).  Hm, Blade Spawners out in the open (Silver 7) or Snipers down in Gold 7...

That's not an option... Right in da middle dammit!  Blade Spawners it is.

(and side note, listening to the Charlie Brown theme song on Bagpipes is always a little... odd)


Let's get this party started!  I'll clean up the map during one of those sleepy times instead of headbanging to the bagpipes... XD

Same basic start, Harvester IIIs with Warp Sensor and a looping scout while building the MK I fleet out.

Start is on Silver 7, Gold 1 has a CoP... and somehow my scout died without a tachyon involved.  Wha?
Sentinel Frigates, Shield Bearers, Raiders, and Spiders.  Oh, THIS is gonna get interesting.

Grab the first 10 Scout Is and auto-picket them.

Nothing special nearby except a 4/4 world with the CoP on it.  I'm not making the same mistake as last time, we're getting a powerful econ up fast.

Pop up 2 Science IIs at 3:15.  Take the fighter flock into Gold 1 to start the abuse.  I'll soak the CoP for this.

Found another CoP down on Gold 5 at 6:18.  Expecting first wave around 10:00 and we've popped two posts down on Gold 1 so far.  Gold 4 however is a MK IV world that's ALREADY at 288 units.  SERIOUSLY!?  AI Eye to boot.  Gyeah.  Gonna have to deal with that.

7:30 the Main fleet's built and I start on Raid SS.

I'm now waiting on the first wave set before I go have to deal with the FF on the Cmd Station in Gold 1.

Dammit, Misclicked.  Well, now I have Engineer II along with my Scout IIs.  Because, what I really needed, was to waste 1000 knowledge on Engineer II this early... *facepalm*

202 ship wave inbound, arrive at 10:35

9:40 pop grav turrets and drop a small cluster arond the homebase.
Found a Fact IV and Civ Leader in Gold 9.  Not overly protected either, just a ton of bases.  Shame it's a 0/2 material point.

13:00 I realize I forgot to turn on auto-create for Engineers and Rebuilders.  Whoops!  Get them going at 15/2 for the locals and get everyone/thing repaired for wave 2... landing in 10 seconds.   :o   :D  50 or so snipers are trying to complete while the wave lands and start finishing during the assault.  Ya know, those siege starships are annoying in that my converters don't repair unless they're active, so they never seem to really get fixed. 

Oooh, ARS (with counterstrike) down in Omega 6.

Well, my interface for notes has gone... funky.  Not showing the cursor, double clicking by accident, reset the game sounds like a plan to me!

Yep, that fixed the doubleclick on the world ontop of the save button.  Alright.  Back to Gold 1!

Another ARS up on Silver 3.  Boys are still working a spirepost + FF 1 on gold 1 at 22:02.

24:34 Econ I starts building on Gold 1.  4 Engi Is stolen from HW to help out.
Of course it's destroyed by... something.  Try two.

Time to start beating down Gold 4 before the MK IV get nasty.
Wow, that's some nasty sniper fire... and Gold 1 dies AGAIN.  Sheesh.

Errr, I just woke the MK IV planet with a vengeance.  This won't end well.  Nailed by an EMP IV too at 27:23.  OW.  That's a 40 sec paralysis.  Oh boy.

Interesting, the grav turrets still work.  I don't usually let EMP guardians get anywhere near me.  No FF + sniper AI = Cmd station ALMOST dead.  Oh, we're so screwed.  181 MK IV on the homeworld.  with guardians.



Alright, that's a hint.  I'm goofing around too much. XD  I'll come back to this another night. :)
... and then we'll have cake.

Offline zoutzakje

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Re: Pony Express
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2012, 10:05:05 AM »
hehe fun stuff ^^
9/9 crosshatch games seem to be populair these days :P Hope I get to be the first one to finish one :D
You should really start at an corner or edge probably. Less planets on perma-alert from the start and less chance on having mk IV worlds right next to you. Heck, I'm 14 hours in my crosshatch game and the inside of the grid still scares the crap out of me lol.
I admire your bravery of playing with civilian leaders though. The constant AIP increase at the beginning would kill me really fast.
good luck ^^

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Pony Express
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2012, 04:14:15 PM »
Crosshatch... Check.
9/9... Check.
(what the) Middle-of-the-map start... Check.
(oh no) Beer... Check.

This could not have ended well.
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Pony Express
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2012, 05:34:57 PM »
And indeed it did not ;)

Btw, Keith: Missile Redirection from turrets works NICE.  Thanks for that.
You're welcome; I think it was from me reading too much Honor Harrington and not wanting to provide more examples of thousands of multi-million-dollar devices flying off into the distance because the first target died.

I thought it'd be funny to have "overkill" missiles with no target stay in flight for a certain period of time and be able to acquire a new target later on from the firing ship, but that probably would have opened up a can of worms in the code.

Sentinel Frigates, Shield Bearers, Raiders, and Spiders
Sounds like the RNG is getting a little punchy too.

Gold 4 however is a MK IV world that's ALREADY at 288 units.
I'm actually kind of surprised to not have seen reinforcement logs submitted with "what happened here?" reports ;)  But the magnitudes seem to have been pretty low in general.
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Offline Wanderer

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Re: Pony Express
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2012, 10:58:06 PM »
Gold 4 however is a MK IV world that's ALREADY at 288 units.
I'm actually kind of surprised to not have seen reinforcement logs submitted with "what happened here?" reports ;)  But the magnitudes seem to have been pretty low in general.

Honestly, I had purposely left them off for the moment.  It's only 9/9, c'mon! :)

And yes, middle of the map start.  If you're gonna go big, GO BIG!  I think next time I'll try it without the beer. XD
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Pony Express
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2012, 09:54:29 AM »
And yes, middle of the map start.  If you're gonna go big, GO BIG!  I think next time I'll try it without the beer. XD
Yea, the AI posted a bit of a whine that that last couple of games felt really easy, and the RNG reminded it that the game doesn't really start getting challenging until well above Beer/Beer difficulty.
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Re: Pony Express
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2012, 06:26:25 PM »
New game, same settings, center start.  AI has Blade Spawners, Autobombs, Chameleons, and Parasites.  Erm, hm.  Start point is Alpha 9 with Snipers.

Deep MK IV worlds apparently start pretty heavily reinforced now, not sure why, since the border MK IV is only 150 ships or so.  This one had nearly 400+ ships with no alert at 2 minutes in.  I've only got a single MK IV hanging off the homeworld.  Best Econ world hanging off the homeworld is a 2/3.  I'm not impressed.  Also have a CoP in one of the border worlds.

3 ARSs scouted out in striking distance by 7:30, 22 planets scouted total.  One of the ARSs is a 1/2 with Data Center, Chamelon 5 Fab, Botnet Golem, Spire Civilian Leaders.  That is a SHINY system right there.  The other two are non-spectacular.  One's a 4/0 with nothing of note on it and the other has an Eye.  First wave announces at 8:24 in 2 minutes with 196 ships.  I've just started Light Starship production.  Those Civilian Leaders really could use a break at first, maybe make them wait an hour before they fire up a doubling of the AIP out of the gates?

I've brought up 25 Basic Is and 40 LRMs by the time the second wave is landing at 14:30.  First wave ate about half the main fleet.  This one will have Blade Spawners, however, always a pita in the early game.  It gets whacked easily enough though and I finish refilling the fleet and getting my sniper IIs built.  I need to decide on my first target, and I think that BotNet Golem is my best choice (it's also the only one I've found so far).  That's 3 systems away, however, and will take a little work.  I can't seem to push the scout Is any further at the moment, either.  A shame.  I set them up for pickets and open Scout IIs.

At 20 Minutes I realize I don't have Raid SS yet for anti-Ion and start production.  Going through Alpha 5 then 4, without heavy scout presence past the borderworlds, I Find an EMP II guardian in Alpha 4.  I retreat to try to engage what I woke up back in Alpha 5 before I get curbstomped again.  A tractor Guardian decides otherwise... and takes off with half the fleet, I can't kill it.

The EMP is woken up and hits Alpha 5 while I was trying to figure out what to do with the Tractor Guardian.  25 second paralyze to wait out, this won't end well.  I'm also getting shot by my own dang snipers due to the parasites.  It's a pile on in Alpha 5 and I'm expecting that portion of the fleet to end up dead, really.  We're going to have to defend at homeworld.  I slap up some grav turrets near the inbound wormhole to help buy me time.  It'll take a bit, the econ's trashed right now.

Due to parasites, my entire fleet is now hunting me.  Great.  It's a desperate battle at the homeworld and only my gravs really saved me.  However, there's just too much firepower after having my entire fleet rampaged and converted with a ton of guardians involved, too.

I savescum back to the 20 minute mark via autosave, right before I head into that world.  Okay, a few things learned.  One: Fleet wipes are no longer 'meh whatever', not with the enemy running parasites.  That's a lot of pain being reversed.  A MK III Tractor Guardian is also dangerous as hell right now.

Okay, need to approach this differently.  First, sacraficial lambs go in first.  Oh, Fighters!  That worked, woke up some of the locals and we engage at Alpha 5.  There's enough firepower that I do a fighting retreat back to homeworld before I get a fleet wipe and threatball my own engagement point.  I'll return the favor shortly.  Of note, I do NOT wake up the emp this time with the tractor guardian driving my ships past it.

Alpha 4, the MK III planet I was abusing, has 284 ships on it.  That would explain a few things.  I really need to remember to picket the flight-line.  I finally figured out why I've got so many units out there though, there's a Troop Accellerator at Red 9.  That's going to make taking Red 6 for the ARS/Botnet rather painful.

I've started hitting energy problems again.  I send in the primary fleet (without snipers) to annoy Alpha 4 again, with a primary target of the EMP guardian and an Ion I cannon.  Meanwhile I double up on reactors on the homeworld.  Time is now 26 minutes and a new wave is inbound.  I send the sniper fleet home to help deal with the inbound wave.  The Alpha 4 strike team succeeds, but fleet wipes.  This will be nasty.

A Laser Guardian makes a right royal mess of things on the homeworld but only the autobombs actually can get near the FFs for the homeworld, so I'm cleaning up again.  Alpha 4 is down to 250 ships and I've gotten rid of two major threats on that planet.  I've also finally got my three Raid Is up again for Ion Cannon support for the main fleet.

Econ's still in the hole and I've got 80 Snipers built now on homeworld to help with defenses.  Main fleet's still rebuilding, sadly.  To help with the defenses I place two of my Light STarships near the LRMs to boost them, and drop a few more grav turrets into play.  Having time to kill I start renaming planets and get Red and Blue Sectors done... and find I'm still waiting.  Heh.

Finally getting scouts to stick to Red 6, there's 304 ships on there and it's a MK III.  This is going to be a brawl after brawl.  That Troop Accellerator's really making things nasty.  I start picketing the other ARSs looking for alternatives.

The one with the AI Eye is a MK II  and has 188 ships, the Northern one is a MK III and will perma-alert one of the worlds attached to the Troop Accellerator.  Oh, joys.  Right, Silver 5 it is to the SE.  Get some firepower and then head back west.

Brawling down at Silver 1 gets a little nasty with all the Blade spawners and autobombers, but we clean it off well enough.  I lost about 30 ships so I head back to HW for a second to get replacements.

Silver 5 on the other hand is a mess.  I bring in the Raids and they loop around the main force and pick off two posts before dying.  However, there's an EMP Guardian I've woken up.  The main fleet makes a run at them and get themselves fleet wiped before killing it.  The stand off snipers finish the job but are eaten by the blade spawners, so only half the snipers make it out for home.  So, we'll be rebuilding but there's only 1 post left keeping the Eye alive, I'll have Silver 5 soon enough, there's only 80 ships left and ~20 of those are wormhole posts.

However, a double wave announce just fired up at 47:00 for ~500 ships.  That'll be the primary for now.  They're cleaned up by 50:30 and the fleet's almost finished rebuilding.  Well, they're getting there.  I'm still doing planet renames to kill some time.

Down at Silver 8 I find a Hive Golem, SuperTerminal, and Tiger V Fab.  Hmph, not entirely sure if i want to fire up the ST to get at the golem.  I'll think it over.

In the meanwhile, I get my Science II down to Silver 5 to take a look at the available options.  Paralyzer is default, with Sentinel Frigate and SSB as alternatives.  Oh, that's just some delicious tasty all over the place.   What I desperately need right now though is firepower.  SSBs would give me raid potential and some significant fleet firepower boosting.  The Sentinel Frigates would boost the sniper fleet.  The paralyzers would help make sure the primary fleet lasts longer.  Oh, decisions decisions.

I decide I need firepower and research NOW.  I can't get bogged down in a hack job and my fleet's really not up to the task yet anyway.  It'll have to be the paralyzers.

The fleet hits Silver 5 and we end up in a brawl with the Eye.  The main fleet races for the last post while the snipers hang back for kill-fire.  They win with about 2/3s of the primary fleet intact, but we're getting parasite wiped again.  Snipers start retreating and fight near the wormhole home.  They end up with about 40% fleet left and we head for the cmd station.  A little 100 ship wave gets eaten at homeworld.  We pop the locals and the cmd center, and can't quite kill a warp gate guardian that escapes my grasp.

A transport with colony ship heads for Silver 5 at 1:00:00  AIP is is 55 now when the Civilian leaders are done annoying me.

I find a Data Center I can hit down at Gold 2, and a Civvie Leader with Eye at Gold 3.  That Data Center needs to take some priority, I need to get AIP down again from the Civvie Leaders.  The raid seriously aggravates Gold 2 and the forces flood Silver 5, which has a token pair of FFs and not much else.  The fleet races to its defense.  They're too late.  But AIP is at 35 and I can rebuild.  There are now 435 enemy ships in Silver 5.  Mother of...  They're engaged in Silver 1 but they're gonna hit the Homeworld eventually.  I beef up defenses with 30 more LRMs

My gods, they're actually threatballing the HW entry... basically with my own damned ships, too.  They won't commit with 300+ ships however.

300 on the HW wormhole, another 200 threatballing the neutral wormhole.  Yeesh.

I've found one of the coreworlds.  AI HW in Gold Sector... somewhere.  At a guess it's Gold 9.  Gold 4 has a botnet as well, but it's hanging off two core worlds.  Defending against a wave, it's funny.  Watching a mass of paralyzers shut down an autobomber assault is hysterically amusing.

With paralyzer help we're able to clear out all of that threat with reasonable losses around 1:19. At 1:26 I had to save scum due to an energy brownout dropping the FFs at homeworld.  I don't know what got under the FFs but they laid waste to the entire energy build.  Paralyzers + Turrets were holding their own till that point though.  Was odd.  I'm not entirely sure HOW that happened, really.

I pop a distribution node to help with the economy that's been failing lately.  Waves respawn, 150 to Homeworld, 300 to Silver 5, since I'm rebuilding the cmd center.  Well, fleet's here, they'll deal with it.  I pop 25 MLRS on the most common inbound front for Homeworld for additional support.  They'll also help protect the LRMs.  I also drop 20 snipers and 20 basics on Silver 5 to help with randoms.  A lot of the 300 ship fleet escapes Silver 5, and now there's 225 threat kicking around out there, spread out all over the place.  Ah, Blade Spawners.  Well, know what happened to my reactors.  That was silly of me.  Guess the Grav Turrets went down.

Time to start cutting my way into the BotNet golem again, I wants it now that I've upped my firepower.  I've also researched Bomber II to pick up the main fleet's firepower.

Found another Civvie Leader up at Red 2 once again protected by an Eye.  Great.

The Alpha 4 assault woke the planet up, and they're all comin'.  The sniper fleet is already retreating for homeworld, and we've emptied the planet.  Most of the sniper fleet didn't make it, so it's turrets against 500 ships, including a ton of guardian.  They flooded me.  Bad idea, I should have retreated earlier after wakening the planet instead of engaging in Alpha 4.  Save scum to 1:30, right before I leave to hit it.  Same general plan though.  Those parasites REALLY screw me up in fleet wipes.

Waking some of the system then gate-camping in Alpha 5 works a LOT better.  Didn't empty it though, so we try again.

Screwing around a bit I finally wake the entire planet and run for Alpha 5.  I can only hold for a little bit there so we end up doing a homeworld retreat as well as the damn parasites take their toll.  A ton of threat pours into homeworld to support the Alpha 4/5 ships that are engaging me.  Well, better here than Silver 5, I've got pretty significant TurretPower here.  With modifications to the build order and heavy pumping of the Paralyzers, we hold without significant damage to anything permanent.  Rebuilding though.

Alpha 4 is down to 56 ships from its  previous 300+ and we're looking strong-ish.  Once the rebuild is complete I'll finish nerfing Alpha 4 and head for Red 6.  My fleet is amazingly metal hungry.  If I get the chance I'll have to balance it for crystal with the next ARS grab.

Silver 5 is getting a wave, the boys head down to defend it.  Second wave announces for Silver 5 as the first one hits.  I have a feeling I'm going to get really tired of patrolling my territory.  A massive Human Marauder unit is also in Silver 1, off the homeowrld and is cutting off reinforcements to Silver 5.  GREAT.... Hunh.  They split up and went all over... primarily into AI worlds.  Hm, that could end up handy.  Well, two waves defended against and the fleet fully rebuilt, Silver 5's forces head back for homeworld, and then U-Turn to deal with escaped threat on Silver 5.  With the mass of it shut down, the little bit that heads in when the fleet leaves again I leave to the clean-up turrets.

1:55  Seriously, not 10 minutes later another 175 ship wave announces for Silver 5.  *sigh*  Fine.  Silver 5 is going to fall, I'm busy.  To give them a fighting chance I drop 40 Laser Turrets and 20 MLRS to compliment the 20 Basics and 20 Snipers.  Good luck guys.

The fleet heads for Red 6 to try to pull some enemies out.

Hunh, Silver 5 held, even with the turrets dealing with blade spawner spam.  Nice.  The rest of the wave high-tailed it after a good chunk of them died.  Meanwhile, the fighting at Red 6 got NASTY.  500 ships down to 100 while trying to deal with three Laser Guardian III's + parasite claims.  Ugh.  Retreating for rebuild.  All I've got left is most of the sniper fleet and half a cap of Frigate Is.  Did pull 70 MK III ships and guardians off the planet though, that's something.

2:01  AIP is 48 from Civvie leaders, need another Data Center.  I may NEVER turn these guys on again.

2:03 another mini-wave heads for Silver 5.  My Raid SSs head to Red 6 and hit the ion cannons + a Data Center, pushing AIP down to 28 again.  At this point I've managed to basically just cancel out the Spire Civvies.  My Raids start 'waking up' guard posts for the fleet to engage in Alpha 4.  I'm very careful NOT to wake the EMP.

After draining the area down to ~120 ships (and dead raids) the fleet heads in... and finds not one but TWO EMP guardians in there that need concentrated fire.  They go down.  While we're in there a HUGe flock of Human Marauders comes into play.  Time to leave, they can do cleanup.  Besides, Fleet was taking a beating and a huge chunk of them are engine damaged.

LOL, just as the marauders are almost finished doing cleanup, a reinforce goes into Red 6.  They leave it behind for me to mop up.  I popped the ARS on Red 6 without even looking.  Whatever I get, I get.

I drop a Mil I next to the Civvie Leader on Red 6 (and Alpha 7 wormhole).  I get laser gatlings.  Oh, that's new.  An immediate -3 for getting the Civvie Leader.  Nice.  The options would have been grenade launcher or Youngling Commandos.  Both would be useful but I'll survive.

AIP is at 46.  20 Basics and 16 Snipers (all I have left) are building to help with defenses, but we'll be here a bit helping to protect the Bot-Net until it's up and running.  Meanwhile we're building off a cap of Chameleon Vs too.  Might as well get 'em before I lose the fab.  This fleet is becoming almost pure cannon fodder.  If you don't believe me look at the build price/flimsiness of the paralyzer.  Fighters last longer! XD

To Be continued...
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Offline Wanderer

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Re: Pony Express
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2012, 07:52:57 PM »
Well, first thing up at AIP 46 is Silver 5 getting hit with 328 ship wave.  We'll see if it holds.  This is part of my concern.  I'm already running low on turrets and I'm only reinforcing 3 worlds from waves, and one of those is relying pretty heavily on the fleet at the moment.  There's no way I could significantly turret up more than 3 worlds really, not without blowing a TON of research.  I really wish that 'turrets per planet' idea had gone through.  Ah well, whine whine b1tch moan, I know.

Okay, that's odd.  I just saw a placement glitch.  Somehow or another a blade spawner and something (died too quick) jumped in underneath the grav-ball net.  Wierd.

414 heading to Red 6 while Silver 5 tries to survive.  I doubt it.  I drop a FF over the still building Bot-Net.  Hunh, Silver 5 held again, barely.  2/3s of the turrets were dead at one point in that fight.

I take the Laser Gatling fleet up to Alpha 2 to start prepping the next ARS grab.  They're cannon fodder, they might as well go act like it.  They clear off a little threat that was building up enroute on a border world as well at Alpha 5. 

Well, that stirred a Bees Nest up, and Alpha 3 woke up too (MK IV) because of a tractor guardian runner.  Homeworld's gonna get ugly for a bit.  There's 382 threat now.  Bot Net's only at 53% so far.  Oh, figured out how that 'jump-spawn' occurred, they're coming in from the wormhole that's camped by the station.  Heh, whoops.

Threat's back down at 113 units and I reactivate the Bot-Net to build since I'm no longer scared of not having enough forces on homeworld.  I send a Science II to Alpha 2 to see what my hack options are.  Default is Munitions Booster (nice...) Unlocks are Raptors and Etherjets.  I do adore me some Raptors but I don't really need them at the moment.  Muntions boosters would add some significant firepower to the sniper fleet and can help buff up the rest of the main.  I'm gonna go with default here.  I've got 3500 K at the moment and I'm doing alright with what I've got.  Poking around I see a few options I could unlock here.  For 1250 in K i could unlock HBCs and Basic IIs, upping my available turret count for defenses.  This seems like a good choice at the moment.  I could also unlock my favorite Fortresses and make a mess somewhere.  Another option is Frigate II, leaving me 1000 to play with.   With Munitions Boosters inbound, upping the damage makes sense.  Alright, Frig IIs.  Now, with that 1000 I'll pop open HBCs for 500 to up my available choices and then chill.

I drop 2 HBCs on Silver 5 and another 2 on Red 6.  I also drop two more HBCs over by the fab with a grav turret to hopefully keep that a little longer.  20 MLRS also get dropped on Red 6.  Start construction of Frigate IIs (that'll help balance off the Crystal too) while the BotNet continues to try to finish.  74% now and everything's fighting with each other for resources.  Ah well.  I do a Raid SS run against Alpha 2.  It's got an Ion on it that needs to die.

I turn off the golem at 82% to get some repairs and builds done all over the place, including getting the HBCs online.  This is roughly 2:50, and AIP is going to civvie jump on me again.  Oddly, de-powering the golem does NOT stop the engi's from trying to work on it.  Wiiiieeeerd.

AIP 47, 632 ships to Red 6... Civvies haven't even fired up yet.  Ugh.

Found another ARS over on Red 4.  This one's got a Regenerator Golem with it, a Translocator Fab, and an AI Eye.  MK III world.  Think I'll get the munitions first.  This is problematic.  The attack is coming in at the wormhole the Golem is repairing at.  It's only at 90%.  Hm.

I send the Raids out to quick-pop a neighboring distribution node and it's a Trojan.  Oh, thanks.  2/3 trojans so far.  Found another one, 2/4.  Cost me the raids but the Botnet is going online midfight in Red 6.  MUAHAHAH.

OH DAMN that was fun, dropping in the fleet to cover the BotNet into a MK IV and just CHEWING on people.  Wheee!  LOL, poor suicidal zombies...

AIP at 59 from teh Civvies at 3:01.  There's four more Civvie Leaders up in the Red Sector I could claim too.  Tempting.  At a guess the other AI HW is in Yellow 3.  Exos will start soon now that I have a Golem.  BotNet needs repairs after I got a little too aggressive with it so I park that on the homeworld.  The fleet heads for Alpha 2 for the next ARS.

51% to Exo at 3:10.  little 441 wave going for homeworld too. Gaining a percent / 30 seconds or so.  About 20 minutes then. 

3:29 with 78 AIP is landing me 1000 ship waves.  This one at Alpha 2.  I'm going to have to save out here because I need to get ready to head out.  See ya next time!

... and then we'll have cake.

Offline Wanderer

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Re: Pony Express
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2012, 05:51:40 PM »
I had a long post that I hit ESC and apparently lost it, but that's besides the point.  This game is lost due to having an autosave during two 800 ship waves at AIP 80 + 550 ship CPA + Exowave landing all around the 4 hour mark at once.  The enforced fleet split is just too much to handle and I end up in a brownout spiral that lays waste to everything.

Civilian Leaders are OFF for the next attempt at this.  They are... not worth it, and never BECOME worth it.  They need to be reviewed in my mind.  A good chunk of the lost post was this discussion and what I was doing to counteract them anyway.

A civilian Leader ups the level of difficulty very early in the game.  Alright, so far so good, they're supposed to 'pay it back' later.  They never do.  Upon taking a Civilian Leader you have incurred 20 AIP just to take their system, it will take them 7 hours to 'pay it back'.  Thus, you only keep Civilian Leaders on the planets you would take for other reasons.  You kill anything else if you don't want to incur wrath for little gain.  At 1 hour/3 AIP, these little monsters even when you take them aren't worth the effort you have to go through to try to protect them.  They're primary targets for a lot of things, die if you sneeze on them, and they just don't have enough gain for them.
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Offline zoutzakje

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Re: Pony Express
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2012, 09:53:31 AM »
yeah I figured SCL would be deadly. In games where you can make progress quickly it's ok. But in games like this... The early game doesn't need to be made any harder than it already is.