Author Topic: Pony Express  (Read 6531 times)

Offline _K_

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Re: Pony Express
« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2012, 10:38:40 AM »
Well, in return you get a theoretical possibility of permanently putting AIP to its floor.
So yeah, the point is probably to grab as many of them as soon as possible and try to survive the first few hours while hey drain the AIP.
Which is probably not quite possible at higher AI levels.

Offline zoutzakje

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Re: Pony Express
« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2012, 10:41:01 AM »
It would be possible, but it's just the crosshatch map that makes it so hard. Trying to defend anything is a pain in the butt.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Pony Express
« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2012, 06:19:30 PM »
Interesting to see the parasite mechanic make fleet wipes so different.  FYI, just put in a change to make the zombie reclamators not cause a massive splash of (non-zombie, to boot) parasite-spread; it's entirely possible that they were largely responsible for it being such a stark difference.

Ah, mobile AI ships with tractors, so much fun :)

Not used to seeing a Troop Accelerator make such a difference, but it does make sense mathematically.

Hive Golem on the ST planet... the RNG can be a rogue with no points in subtlety.

Glad to see the Botnet provide some entertainment ;)

The Spire Civilian Leaders do seem to be a basically negative minor faction, yea.  On the other hand they can trivialize the endgame if you can manage to hold them long enough (but if you can both take and hold them all long enough to compensate for 20 AIP each then the game is probably already pretty low on difficulty).

So I guess they could be moved to the AI Plot category ;)  Though that's not so easy in code.

Perhaps the AIP-reduction could be increased, or the AIP-increase reduced.  Or some other factor mixed in.

Or maybe the appropriate strategy is to kill them asap except for the ones you can/want-to hold.
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Offline Wanderer

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Re: Pony Express
« Reply #18 on: May 07, 2012, 06:58:41 PM »
Interesting to see the parasite mechanic make fleet wipes so different.  FYI, just put in a change to make the zombie reclamators not cause a massive splash of (non-zombie, to boot) parasite-spread; it's entirely possible that they were largely responsible for it being such a stark difference.
They weren't helping, but I hunt down Zombie Guardians ASAP.  There were definate differences when one was involved but no, it's just the parasites.  As long as you don't fleet wipe you're fine.  Once a wipe starts though it cascades into a massive reverse threat-ball.

Quote
The Spire Civilian Leaders do seem to be a basically negative minor faction, yea.  On the other hand they can trivialize the endgame if you can manage to hold them long enough (but if you can both take and hold them all long enough to compensate for 20 AIP each then the game is probably already pretty low on difficulty).

So I guess they could be moved to the AI Plot category ;)  Though that's not so easy in code.

Perhaps the AIP-reduction could be increased, or the AIP-increase reduced.  Or some other factor mixed in.

Or maybe the appropriate strategy is to kill them asap except for the ones you can/want-to hold.

Right now the tactic is definately kill them if you don't know you want to hold them, but that can be tough on 80 planets.  They really get their hits in.  Now, I should note I've played them before on maps where I can chokepoint and ride a 200-300 AIP at midgame without significant issue, they just rev up the early game a hair.  When you're fighting for AIP control however and you're having difficulty getting yourself 'settled in', like on the crosshatch where creating a whipping boy would cost upwards of 100 AIP in warp gates, they're just brutal.

Some minor tweaks I believe would make take these closer to neutral curiousity, though. 
1) Don't fire off the leaders at minute 1, make them wait an hour.  That leaves AIP at 10 base for the first 'golden hour', where 10 vs. 20 points makes an amazing difference. 

2) Increment the reduction to 5 AIP/hour.  Twofold reasons.  Holding one of these for four hours (at higher levels) means you have to make sure it survives a CPA to neutralize it's own world grab.  It also means that capturing two merely offsets the other 8 in existence, something that could be reasonably achieved in the early mid-game.  Depending on the map they could easily be well protected, but in general they seem to die if the AI looks at them funny.  It costs resources usually to hold 'em.
2a) With this increase comes a cost.  5 AIP gain/death, AI Control.  This way you can't easily go hunt down the rest for free.

3) Make them exo-targets.
... and then we'll have cake.

Offline Wanderer

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Re: Pony Express
« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2012, 08:11:16 PM »
So, trying this again.  SCLs off this time.  Also minor naming convention change.  1-9 will still be accurate, but I found that the names only helped a little.  So, we'll do this the easy way.  Northwest/North/Center/Southeast/Etc.  I also realize I'm making this a LOT harder by doing a center start.  I can accept that.

Starting on Center 3, AI has Parasites, Snipers, Shield Bearers and Raiders.  AI is getting punchy with its choices again, but at least I'll have another chance to try to figure out why the parasites are seeming to constantly waste me.

Some signficantly unimpressive areas next door to the homeworld for materials.  The only decent one (2/4) is fortress protected.  The rest: 2/0, 0/3, 4/1, 0/3, 1/3, 1/3, and 0/3.  Decent, yes, but unimpressive.  Also note that's pretty danged crystal heavy.  No MK III/IV's on the edge of Homeworld, though, that's good.

Standard startup: Harvester IIIs, Warp Detector, Grav Turrets, with the eventual sniper II upgrade.

First ARS is found at North 5, and is a MK IV world with an Inter-P Munitions dump on the sucker, along with dual Ion IIs.  But it's only two jumps away and is a 3/2 system.  This will probably be a good first target.

Another ARS is found at Center 8, another 2 hopper.  This one's a MK III however and is a 3/3 system.  Problem is it's got a counterstrike.

First wave is 123 ships.  Oh, goodbye little SCLs, may you go rot somewhere.  By the end of the first wave I've got two light starships with the snipers for boosting and turn off the starship builder to allow for fleet rebuilds/more scouts.  The bombers took a bit of a beating.  Second Wave is 188.  Oh, so much better.  I open up Scout IIs to be able to get further into the universe to find targets/concerns and begin picketing the Scout Is.

Amusingly, on the tail of the second comes a little 45 ship wave at 15:55 announce (17:55 landing).  Heheh.  Guess I'll put some turrets up.  Found a Broken Arty Golem at East 6 but that's decently out of my way at the moment.

Took out the neighboring fortress in Center 6 so I had a clear flightline to Center 8.  It wanted to auto-path through there and we know how well I remember to shift-click EVERY time from the last game...  ::)  Besides, it's not bad economically to have that one anyway.

At around 28:00 I'm done screwing around and I hit the first ARS down at Center 8.  There's an EMP here apparently I woke up but on retreat it doesn't come after me.  Oh, this is ugly, there's now an EMP III Guardian just hanging around as threat.  Oh boy.

Well, they run right at the homeworld while my fleet (which ran for safety) heads for Homeworld via a different path.  The EMP gets there ahead of me but the emp'd grav turrets still functioning save my arse.  The fleet gets involved and the FFs on homeworld command come back online just as the guardian flotilla starts getting in range (they came in at a really short wormhole run).  Of course a 93 ship wave announces as they're landing, so this is gonig to get nasty.  I've got 30 Basics and 50 Sniper Turrets going and the fleet's engaging the guardians first.  Hopefully we can clean this up before the wave hits and I'm fighting on two fronts in the home system.

It actually gets cleared without significant damage, which was nice.  The ARS system has two shield posts and a FF III in it to make me crazy, but we'll get through them.  I'm really going to have to invest in bombers to clear the shield ships faster.

First Raid on Center 8 wiped out the Raid SSs but they popped the two ions and bled off some defenders (about 50).  They went to homeworld and I let the defenses deal with them.  The fleet hit Center 8 after they left and we did some solid damage.  Only popped one post but the MK III world is down to 110 ships now at 39:40.  80 ship wave prepping for homeworld, and fleet is rebuilding so we'll just chill out and help. :)

Now for some unknown reason I suddenly get a 389 ship wave coming at homeworld.  Max-Time indeed.  Alrighty then, my fleet just finished rebuilds so I was going to head out and do some more damage but we can wait.  Also, probably time to bring up 40 LRMs or so anyway.  When they finish I drop 20 Lasers around the Home Cmd for extra firepower and my power whines at me.  Alrighty, doubling up on homeworld reactors.

Ah, one of the reasons this wave was so big was 130 Raiders or so being involved.  That makes sense.  Still, their triangle fleet is roughly the size of mine.  No big deal though.

Next heavy attack at 50 minutes cost me the fleet sans snipers but basically emptied the house out.  We re-engaged at homeworld when they attacked and mopped up.  Only 34 ships down there now.  Prep another run + transport with colony/Engis.  Also send my Science II down to see what are the options.

Default is... Honeycombs.  Gods those things are sooo brutal in the AI's hands.  Not so much in mine but they are a nice damage boost to the fleet.  Alternates are Electric Shuttle and Beam Frigates.  While I'm thinking over my options I finally go Un-Braindead and remember to build off some Scout SS Is for anti-snipe.

I do love me some Beam Frigate.  I really do.  They are particularly spectacular on defense.  However, I can come up with some uses for Honeycombs (I haven't really played with 'em much, though), and that's a LOT of firepower they can produce in short order.  Alright, Honeycombs!

Okay, MK I fleet vs. FF III, Shield Bearer III, and Laser Guardian III is... painful.  Like rediculously painful.  Grr.  It stuffed my fleet till only Frigs were left.  I need Bomber II, and that means I take an 'easy' world for econ + research.  Alrighty then.  Center 6 is goin' down.  It goes down very quickly at 1:03 and we begin the real game, no more scouting, time to fight for real.  I'm not putting in defenses in this system besides a few token stop-gaps for randoms.  It's getting an Econ I for now, too.  Bring homeworld up to 15 Engi I on auto-build for the improved economy, and a third Science II for research gains.  Not happy with construction speeds I bring homeworld up to 20 default.

Just as I go after Center 8 again a wave announces for Center 6 for 392 ships.  They certainly can't stand on their own but I can't go running to protect it constantly.  I'll leave the snipers in a position to support Center 6 on a retreat from 8 when the wave hits and take the main fleet after that Laser Guardian.  Finally getting my Warp Sensor up on Center 6 the attack is coming from... Center 8.  That might not work as well as planned, heh.  We'll see.

DAMN YOU RNG.  Center 8 respawned an EMP guardian I didn't notice.  Crap.  It's amazing how well FFs can go down when you quadruple your bomber firepower though...

Running the snipers in behind the attack force didn't work as planned, they got themselves eradicated, and didn't really make a difference to the survivability of the Econ I I had there.  With 31/180 bombers left we finally pop the FF/Cmd Station Shield post on Center 8... and another 375 ship wave announces for homeworld.  Meanwhile that last wave is threatballing and what is left of my fleet is going to run into them in Center 6.

While the primary fleet dies in Center 6 making a nuisance of itself, Homeworld gets hit and we defend... pretty easily might I add.  That threatball is still hanging off of Center 6 though, ain't that just cute.  428 threat with only a homeworld.  Wheee!  I think I'm going to turret up Center 6 a bit stronger.

During the rebuild I check the forum and find out we've got an update!  Save the game and off I go. 
... and then we'll have cake.

Offline Wanderer

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Re: Pony Express
« Reply #20 on: May 08, 2012, 12:02:18 AM »
So I pull the fleet out of homeworld trying to bait in the threat ball.  It works, and it's a BRAWL.  ANOTHER 157 ship wave announces to attack homeworld during the final phase of the cleanup aroudn 1:26.  Alrighty then.  turrets should handle this.

I decide to drop a Logistics I into Center 6 this time.  It will help, at least, with me being able to get a response force there in time.  I'll also be dropping a countersnipe turret or two on the primary Turret Batteries.  The eventual power requirements for my fleet with the golems require me to have a couple of strong reactor cores.  I'll have to behave myself.

Found a core-world at SE 4.  That means HW should be SE 8.  Hm.  There's 3 golems I haven't mentioned bordering the core-world chain, looks like those are non-options for a bit.  Meanwhile, I go to pop the counter III on Center 8.  191 MK III to homeworld in 14 minutes.  I'll have to head back there in time.  Meanwhile I continue post cleanup on Center 8 for eventual domination.

I drop in another 20 MLRS and 20 Laser Turrets to Center 6 to assist in defenses while I have a bit of spare resources.

1:37 Center 8 is captured and is building up. AIP is 54, it's probably time I started hunting down a few data centers I've seen.  I'm also firing up the HoneyComb builds.  Research will bring Frigate IIs online and then the last 1k I'll sit on for a future upgrade for Raid II starships.

That AIP is seeing me get 600+ waves.  Next one's going for homeworld.  Fleet WILL be required for that one.  In the meanwhile Center 8 starts getting itself a bit of a turret buff.  20 Laser/20 MLRS/20 Snipe/20 Basic Is.  A reasonable start.  The wave is stopped pretty cold but 166 threat is now out there from escapees.  The Honeycombs did well for themselves.  I jammed them into the wave and hauled back a bunch of troops to the short range turrets parked around the cmd station while the rest of the fleet stayed on offense.  These have some value if I can micro them well enough.

Counterstrike in 4:40 when I'm done screwing around... I decide to wait...  will give me time to bring the Frig II's online/built so it works.  They're done building out at around 1:45 with 2:20 left so I just park it.  good time to finish renames and check out the map.  By the way, do these names really help any or is it visual map or nothing?

Counterstrike was stopped with reasonable ease due to good range and letting them 'split' enroute.  A couple of escapees but that's expected.

There's a Data Center in South 2 that would help with wave volume right now so I send some scouts down to 'light it up' so I can get my Raids in there without suicide.  241 units, heh.  Well, the Raids get the job done and AIP is 34 again, and the fleet eats the backwash coming into Center 8 from the attack.  They were pretty well dug in there.

A huge threat chunk + Marauders got into Center 6.  The fleet is heading back to help them out now, but 28 Marauder ships are going to be brutal.  Wasn't too bad actually, since I ran into the middle of the fight I got to flank both at once.  Just had to drop in some LRMs to deal with an unsnipable Marauder Frigate.  Threat's down to 134, which is where it hovers a lot lately.

That's better, got the waves down to 430.  Center 6 attack too.  Wonder if it'd hold... doubt it.  40 MLRS, 20 Laser, 20 LRM, 10 Sniper and 10 Basics, and 1 FF... vs. 430 ships.  I'm gonna have to go with no.  Well, at least the fleet's local at the moment. :)  I keep the fleet in another planet so the enemy will commit instead of immediately fleeing for the wormhole.  All the threat that was building up?  Half dumped in with the raid.

I decide to do a little house cleaning and open up some paths to more Data Centers before moving forward.  Happily, one of those paths has a nice ARS along it.  Of course, it's also MK IV and for no good reason had 400+ ships on it.  I'm going to have to whittle that down.  Need to be careful of the EMP guardian tho'.  To be a wise-guy, though, I decide to try employing my shiny new honeycombs.  That... didn't work.  The snipers INHALED the honeycombs.  There are 69 of them at MK IV sitting on this dang planet.  Will need to break the tachyon and get scout SS in there to sniper flare.

2 False starts and I'm able to clear the Tachyon post on the entry.  I've lost my bombers though so I need to head home for reinforcements.  I've drained off about 100 ships so far though.  I took a pretty heavy beating there, actually.  I've just brought Siege and Bomber SS online to assist the main fleet's firepower for anti-guardian.  I also swap my Scout II for a Scout I on that planet now that I don't need to boot-shove them in.

It's now 2:15 and I'm debating on if I really want to go toe to toe with this MK IV world... and realize I kind of need to, it's got my ARS.  I send a Science II up to see if I really care.  Default is Raptors.  Cutlass/SSB as secondaries.  Oh, that's a nice one.  There's a Grav Drill planet I've been avoiding that could really give me a nice econ boost.  With Raptors, I could nab it.  It'd make an awesome whipping boy.  I'll have to think on that.  In the meanwhile, oh yes, I wants me my Raptors.

At 2:25 I've rebuilt and hammered down another borderworld to the homeworld out of annoyance at the pathing going through one planet in one direction and a different one returning.  Clearing 'em both.  With the Siege Engines attached they Go REAAAALLLLYYYY SLLOOOOOOOOWWWWWLLLYYYYY... and the siege engines get sent back home.  You wouldn't think 44 vs. 36 would be THAT much more painful, but... yeah... it is.

A marauder raid hits North 9 while I'm in there so I break for North 5, the ARS I've been working on.  Between the dual Ions and the mass of MK IV, they don't last long and I fleet wipe.  However, I do manage to pop that EMP Guardian before they die and open up a little more pathing for my Raids to get in there and do some work.  The fleet, however, is obliterated.

I grab the Raids and a cloaker and head for North 5 to see if i can get those ion IIs down.  It's working, if a bit slow, however a 450 ship raid is heading for Center 6 and I really don't have enough fleet to back them right now.  One buzz too close to a MK IV set of troops and the Raid SSs are dead.  But they got the Ions.

Another wave, 650 this time, for Center 8.  Ugh.  AIP is 38, wtf?  I ship the Sniper Auxiliaries that have rebuilt to Center 6 to assist while the fleet continues to rebuild.  I blow a captured distribution node to assist in the rebuild speed.

Of course, the MK IV threat I just released hits Homeworld during all of this.  There is nothing on 6 or 8 I can't live without, they're mostly econ right now.  I can't defend everything, Triage.  We're defending the homeworld.  I pull back the auxiliaries.  I do however drop 50 Lightning turrets against the grav-well edge of the Center 8 defensive point.  I don't expect it to survive, but that should help with what I have to cleanup after.

Center 6 (borderworld) held reasonably well on its own, but there's only so much it's going to do against 40+ shield bearers, particularly once the sniper counter-turret falls.  Center 8, on the other hand, held reasonably well with the Lightning additions.  It got a little dicey when the mob of Frigates got involved but they got pushed off.  Because Center 6 never lost supply, the rebuilders kept working on putting the turrets back up.  Minimal turrets vs. Shield Bearer war is kind of amusing, actually.

On a side note, keep in mind this is 39 AIP.  I'm getting 600 ship waves.  I'm becoming convinced someone nudged the abuse meter.  Time: 2:40.  Fleet status: Still rebuilding.  Since those Lightning Turrets worked so well on close-approachers, however, I split them between Center 6 and 8.

All rebuilt at 2:43 and we're ready to take another run at North 5, the MK IV, which is down to 223 ships now.  Out of spite, a 213 ship announcement to Center 8 is announced.  Oh, right, this is the MK IV with the Inter-P Booster...  no wonder it's rediculous.  I'm making headway, but it's small.  The sniper flares on the starships are weak and apparently don't cover much area.  I'm getting sniper hammered constantly.  The wave on Center 8 is actually getting pretty damned feisty for being a smaller wave.  The 600 died a lot easier.  Odd.  It might be the shield bearers making a huge difference there, though.  That assault dragged off another 80 or so, bringing down North 5 to 133 units.  A marauder assault chasing the Wave on Center 8 may finish what the wave couldn't, particularly since the long range guys are snipe immune and I didn't have LRMs built on Center 8.

I send off what fleet I have to try to protect it but they're gonna be late.  Hunh, Bomber SS can't hit Marauder Frigates?  Not cool.  However, logistics saves the day and the fleet rams into the marauders, cleaning them off before final kill... and another wave announces for here, with all the turrets down.  It's a small one at least (127 ships).

2:57, still only 3 planets.  I've been wailing away at this MK IV for an hour now.  Making progress but it's SLOW.  Retreats and defenses all over the place are costing me too.  I add some flaks to the lightning defenses... because my negative econ needed MORE of a drain.  Finally I just turn off starships until the fleet's up and running again.

AIP 41, 732 AI ships to Center 6.  Seriously.  The Turret wall at Center 8 is almost finished rebuilding at least, and Center 6 I can respond to with the fleet if it gets too hairy, but yikes.  It's now 3:03:30 when they land.  The last couple of waves have been on short-haul Wormholes, too, so the LR stuff doesn't really come into play as long as I'd prefer.  This is another one.

200 Frigates, 140 Fighters, 83 Bombers, 280 Raiders, 2? Shield Bearers and 2 Snipers... and a leech and a starship.  Yeesh.  The sniper auxiliaries show up to try to assist.  The wave hits the lightnigns and break off.  It was quite funny.  I could actually picture the look on the pilots face.  "Oh, just some LRMs, STAY ON TARGET..."  Lightning storm shatters reality in front of him. "RETREAT!!!!"

With the majority of the wave having been eaten due to chasing the snipers who ran for homeworld, the snipers return when it's mostly just Frigates left.  Those AoE turrets are very effective in bulk against light ships.  This is done by 3:06 and the fleet's mostly rebuilt, just waiting on the tail of bombers/frigates to finish buildout.

I usually try to base the defenses against a friendly wormhole, to keep escapees from harassing back systems.  Because of the defensive spread I actually WANT that to happen now, so my bases are way up against the edge of the system in tight clusters for counter-sniper.  This is... different for me.

With the fleet rebuilt we head for North 5 again, after turning the starships back on.  Snipers went in first however and got wrecked by a mini-threatball.  Primary heads in to do some more damage.  Stupid Inter-P on a MK IV lousy son of a razzlefraggin' beetlesnatchin...  Heh, NOW the scout flares work... More consistency would help.

This run found me trapped by a grav guardian and not being able to punch through a FF in time, lost the main fleet again by 3:14.  A 250 ship wave against homeworld was ignored.  However, this run took a lot of defensive cold-storage units out and got all but 30-40 ships off the planet.  Next run should seal the deal.

At about 3:22 I decide I'm going to Transport-Scout some Scout I's into a picket point.  Well, this fires off an EMP III guardian on that wormhole that heads for Center 6.  *facepalm*  SERIOUSLY?  My luck is getting to be a BIT inane... the fleet heads over to help and more marauders.

Well, that was fun, I WAS almost rebuilt...  Next run at North 5 at 3:30 goes well.  The planet gets cleared of most of its offensive firepower and we pop the remaining guardposts, absorbing reasonable losses, though the snipers took a pretty hard beating.  I may hook some Riots up to them with FFs to help them surive longer.

Even without having a Golem, Exo fires up at 3:30 to 50%.  Another 370 ship wave is also heading for Center 6, the borderworld.  I'm going to see if they can hold their own without me, I'm busy.

Now, decision.  Do I ever want to deal with this MK IV again or do I pop the Cmd Center now even though I'm not really in the position I want to be in to control it?  Screw that, this took me an hour, it's not welcome to rebuild.  POP.

Of course ANOTHER wave is threatening Homeworld, for 681 ships.  Back to back waves?  Good time to pop it.

Lot of things going on at once here.  Watching one wave get deflected while I bring the fleet home for the second wave defense.  Meanwhile a transport and raids head to North 5 to build out while raiding a nearby Data Center eventually (need base turrets for backwash up first).  About 200 ships from the Homeworld escape to support the Center 6 wave leftovers (shield bearers, frigates, and starships).  They don't make much of a difference.  I put the fleet back together and send it up to North 5 while Raptors start construction.  I start a new dock for them so the first doesn't overload on me.

3:38 and the defenses start going up on North 5.  The Raids hit North 3 and pop the Data Center, but die to a grav guardian and being blocked off by awakened defenses.  Nice fat threat ball just waiting for me, too.  I move the fleet to push them off system to bait the threat in once the FF goes up on North 5.  Only 37 ships, nothing huge, just a lot of guardian.  I let the defenses go and see if they can hold with the fleet just off the wormhole.  AIP is back at 43.

This area's going to need heavier defenses if I want to hold it.  Any wave that comes in gets Inter-P boosted.  What works elsewhere falls here.  Hrm.  Eventually I bring in the sniper auxiliaries to help with a gate guardian that just wouldn't die.

That completed and AIP still at reasonable levels at 3:45, the Exo's at 55%. I figure I should probably get a golem or two to help with that.  There's an artillery over at East 6 I could get, an armored or a hive over in the west, and an armored + ARS in South 4 I could get, but that's got an Eye and is a MK III planet.  I build out some Riot Is for Shields for the Snipers (2x shield, 4x MG) and inspect my options.  I also bring Raid IIs online and start construction.

That artillery golem has a CSG-E on the same planet, and if I really want to do some 'eye popping', an artillery golem's the way to go.  It's 3 planets off the homeworld though, has a Fort I, 2 heavy Ions, and there's a MK IV between me and it.  Said MK IV (East 5) has 258 units.  Hrm.  It's a great Econ planet however, but it's WAAAAY da hell out there.  Maybe I'll cloaker/Transport a rebuild team in another system nearby and just let it die a lot.  Oh, yeah, to annoy me East 8 (which borders the path of East 4/5/6) has a SF Alarm post on it, just making life even more fun.

3:51:03: 309 CPA in 10:57.  Well, until that actually lands I'm going to be goofing off with clearances because I don't want to get caught in the Ozarks if it does something inane.  I think I'll clear the path through South 1 to South 4 (ARS + Armored), since that needs to happen eventually anyway and leaves me right off Center 8 for return trips/reinforcements.

Breaking the post here simply to keep it from being a few years in length.
... and then we'll have cake.

Offline zoutzakje

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Re: Pony Express
« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2012, 02:25:39 AM »
For me visual map works best to be honest. Northwest, West, etc works better than Alpha, Beta, etc though, but it still works better if I occasionally get a map to look at. In my own game I usually post a screenshot whenever there have been some serious changes on the galaxy map.
Game is looking nice so far ^^ Hope you can eventually win with starting right in the center of the grid ^^ Unless there's a botnet 3 hops away, I wouldn't be able to do so.

Offline Wanderer

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Re: Pony Express
« Reply #22 on: May 08, 2012, 04:20:13 AM »
So I hop back in after grabbing some grub and running some errands, and the first thing up is 320 ships to North 5, the Inter-P booster problem.  Guess we'll see how they fare, the fleet's headed for South 1 to start cleanups, Raid anti-Ion first.

Map is attached below to open in another window for reference, walkthrough of the colors is down at the tail of this too.

The Raids come out pretty intact, all told.  Didn't lose one for once hitting 3 Ions in a reasonably populated system (282 in MK III).  I take a minute or two and watch the fight unfold in North 5.  About this time I'm thinking it'd be nice if I could invest in a booster turret.  First thing I notice is the wave hits the turrets at an 'odd angle', and some of the range is not best used.  I'll have to adjust for that, maybe include another sniper counter.  It is able to hold the line though, if not spectacularly, within reason.  The Shield Bearers take forever to die, as usual.

With that done, I start doing full fleet + Honeycomb runs against the threatball building in South 1.  The full fleet is enough to awaken a good chunk of the planet to continue being a tractor-schmuck. CPA in 3 minutes.  A little abusive assaulting of South 1 with my Raptors and they free up the planet wholesale.  To make life more interesting, a 580 ship wave is landing on North 5 right behind the CPA landing.  This discussion not being a real option towards do I let North 5 die vs. do I let the core 3 worlds fall... Good Luck, North 5.  I'll prepare something to rebuild you shortly.

I do, however, pull the fleet back from Center 8 to Center 6 to invite the threat to visit.  Works like a charm.  A huge chunk of the CPA heads for Center 6.  This works, the fleet hits them from CEnter 8.  Since I've got breathing room I send the Raptors to homeworld, pick up spares, and send them to North 5 to help kite some of the inbound wave.

Split into half fleets, the first half distracts the Frigates while the second goes and tags the short rangers.  The first half doesn't last long.  It wasn't for lack of trying though.  With the fleet refilling back at homeworld and the immediate threat removed, I get myself prepped for South 1 again, with the eventual visit to South 4.  South 1 is pretty pounded after my last visit, and is down to 56 ships, the majority of which are guardposts and FFs.  Should be an easy cleanup.  South 4 has 212 MK III ships.  Doable.  I let the main fleet FRD run amok on South 1.  This is for a reason, I plan on using the Raid SSs to 'buzz' the bases on South 4 to release the threat so they can get at the guardposts.

Marauders in the meanwhile have hit Center 6, and I had no idea.  They tore through the defenses and laid the cmd center out.  I am 12k energy above a serious power problem here.  In the meanwhile, my Raid SSs have released an EMP guardian off South 4.  The fleet's pulling back from South 1, not having quite finished cleanup.  The EMP hit Center 8 and we nearly lost it, starting another energy cascade failure.  However, the fleet protected it nicely.

In the end, South 4 has 124 units left, South 1 has 30, I lost two Raid SSs, some fleet, and Center 6.  I need to figure out a better way to deal with long range marauders.  Rebuild on Central 6 was frustrated by me not checking for lingering threat and them popping the first of the cmd centers I tossed up.  A refilled Raptor Fleet heads back to North 5 to help with another wave.

4:23 After all of that mess, I finally have South 4 down to a single spire ShieldPost III, which will have to die with an AI Eye on the planet.  Narf.  Is all good though, we've almost cleared it.  Bankroll is looking solid, Exo is at 68%.  I should be able to build out the armor golem pretty quick.  I need to scout down some more AIP reducers though.  There's a DC up at NE 1 I could break some heads to get at, but it's 3 worlds off and a lot of investment to get into there.  I think I'll transport drop my raid SSs back there and drop the AIP.

I setup a five transport flight to try to get into the back.  Things started going south when we ran into a grav guardian.  It didn't help that I fired up a ton of threat.  I send the main fleet back to Center 6 as a response point, and get the Raptors off homeworld too.  Hopefully we can soak the threat before it becomes a problem.  In the meanwhile, the center transport dies on the Northeast 3 entry way and the Raids power through on their own.  We hit NE 3 and pop the DC about the time the first of the threat heads  into homeworld.  The fleet responds en force.  However, a ton of threat also drops into Center 6 where the fleet was hanging out earlier.  I split my fleet up again and use the Raptors (separate hotkey) to help cover homeworld while the main fleet and snipers quickly drop into Center 8 to clear it and then will head for homeworld.

Meanwhile the Raid SSs are trying to make it home and are going to end up cutting right through all the threat they awoke.  On the positive side, AIP is 25.  Oh my god, that not work so good.  The swarm at homeworld cut through the defenses HARD.  Too much MK III aggression, to little chokepoint. 

Savescum
Load up the autosave from 4:21. Okay, I was still down at South 4 with my Raids at this point.  I can handle this.  I do however pull the fleet out of Center 8 to encourage threat to come visit earlier.

This time I place the Raid SSs just inside their range against the Shieldpost and let them wear it down for now.  Letting them free target takes out the oddball mini-reinforce that occurs since I'm on the planet.  It does, however, act more like sandpaper than kill shots.

Meanwhile, the fleet has been busy clearing threat-bait.  Time to start clearing the path to NE 3.  I do need that Datacenter still.  Start with NorthEast 7, the borderworld.  It had 200 ships on it, might as well clean up the easy.  The raptors are on FRD Sniper duty while the rest of the fleet simply does cleanup.  Then they get sent towards Northeast 5 to see if they can wake up the planet and pull some threat back to NE 7.  Meanwhile, we continue to sandpaper.  4:30 sees the shieldpost III at 34%.

Well, THAT worked...  ish.  Pulled some back.  I can get a bunch of 'em hot and bothered but I can't get 'em to leave the planet, not in any kind of strength at least.  Raids are almost done.  Once I have them I can pop the ion on the planet and just hit it.  Lost one of the Raids to the Fortress parked on top of the Ion but not bad all said and done.

There, finally did enough damage to break the threat lock they had.  NOW I can transport run at NE 3.  To mess with me, a double wave launches for the one place I really don't want to see them (and over half the waves have been hitting), North 5.  Total of about 900 ships. This will require the fleet to shutdown.

Got the Data Center, AIP 27 now.  We break the waves with some hefty Raptor Micro and not much else lost.  232 threat free floating but that was to be expected.  Some pretty bad ED from a pair of Plasma Sieges, also to be expected.  Repairs are done, fleet heads for homeworld.

Time: 4:44.  Time to hit South 4 and get me a golem... speaking of, 75% for Exo.  I send a Science II down to South 4 to check out my options.  I'm not a huge fan of the Armored Golem, but hey it's free, I'm getting an ARS, it's just a bonus. :)  I haven't popped the Tach on the gate into South 4 though... sigh.  Alright, Raid SS to the rescue, get in there boys.

Well, now, here's a decision.  Vampire Claws are the default.  Melee ships have bite but they're not really what I need when I'm arguing a ton with snipers.  However, them getting underneat forcefields IS very handy.  However, Alternates are Grav Drain or Spider Bot.  I don't need the spider bot right now. That Grav Drain however could be handy.  What am I fighting right now that requires heavy gravity... errrr... hm.  Well, not a lot really.  No blade spawners, no melee ships, no.... hmph.  My usual need for a Grav drain is non-existant, and although with micro you can use the drains to help hold off bombers and fighters a little, it's not really enough to warrant them just for that (and I've got Raptors on the heavy micro right now).  Spider Bots are amazing little ships in the right circumstances... none of which I need right now, the AI isn't heavy on Close-Combat OR Swarmer OR Ultra-Light.  Well, okay, there's parasites, but since the zombie guardian fix Fleet Wipes haven't been the detriment they were.

I could use a FF immune cloaked raider though for when my Raid SSs are busy elsewhere, and I haven't played with them since the 'fixes'.  Alright, Vampire it is, decision made.

Too much information?  I figure part of why I make a decision I figure is as important as the decision I made, particularly in AARs if someone's reading to learn.  The new selectivity of the ARS makes for a MUCH more interesting game, and moments to really sit back and figure out what decisions you should be making and why.  In this case, as much curiousity as usefulness.  I'd probably take any of these three as a default though in my current situation.  None would significantly alter my game or shore up a weak point compared to the others, though right now the drain is the weakest choice (WHAAAA?!).

With that decided it's 4:47.  I should be able to take the planet by 5:00.  I'm running low on defensive turrets though.  No AoEs left, no LRMs left, and less than 20 of Basic, Sniper, MLRS, and Laser.

Hrm, you know, what if you could research a higher CAP of turrets instead of having to buy a whole new mark?  This way entire planets wouldn't go into a single mark of turret, but you could slowly reinforce the number of them you could purchase?  Or perhaps research limited edition turrets (make up your own lore) that can't exist on a planet with a standard turret of the same type?  This would give you options for multi-planet turreting that wouldn't just reinforce the whipping boy chokepoint.  Eh, daydreaming I guess.  I just dislike the 1 planet per turret mark that most of them cost.  Ends up counter productive.

However, as long as I'm pondering... (wanders across the MK II turret list)  For one planet what can I open.  well, Spider OR LRM II, only.  That's out.  Flak and Laser also run 2500, that's a bit steep for those.  Lightnings for 1500 could be handy.  Basic IIs for 750 is cheap, I like that. Basic IIIs for 1500, so I could pop open II/III for 2250.  Drop in some HBCs for 500... and save 250 for the Scout IIIs I need to open eventually because I'm running out of scouts to get to the final edges and I need to picket more.  Hrm.  Some other notes... 3k for Grav II?  Really?  2k for tractors seems a bit much, really you're just buying more cap, not an increase.  Counter-Missile at 4k which shuts down a triangle ship seems right.

I really need those LRMs, tho'.  The Marauders are getting a bit punchy and 20/planet isn't really cutting it unless I notice and can get the Raptor Response fleet there.  MLRS would work too if I had a way to cloak them until the marauders got in range... ooh, new turret idea?

Then there's the other side.  I know where there's a Fact IV already.  It has a single border to a core world down at South 3 and I don't have any MK III ships to take advantage of it with yet, so I've ignored it.  I've been barely squeaking by as it is, saving up to 6000K isn't in my immediate future.  So, options options options.

Basic II and HBC I are pretty much gimmes for 1250.  That leaves me 1750 towards the purchase of Scout III at 2250... ungh... I know it's the leader to the MK IV superscout but UGH... Gimme my multi-planet volume of scout Is and IIs and I'm a happier man.  Anyway, tangent... well, this entire discussion is a tangent right now.  So, that'll leave me 2500 after the NEXT planet I take (probably the artillery golem in East 6).  The last ARS is down in East 9, right next door to the Artillery golem, giving me a jump point to see if I even want to take that ARS/AIP.

With that 2500 I go to... what?  What helps me win at that point?  I have no scouting on either homeworld so I'm not sure what exactly I'll need to handle that.  Save for Raid IIIs or one of my ships to MK III/IV (Sniper fleet DOOOOM).  Pick up Fleet Starships and really boost up the sniper brigade?  Save for Riot IIs and Tazers?  Get a little crazy and try out some Warp Jammers?  They're incredibly expensive buggers but they'd REALLY cut... down... on... the... Oh for the love of....

I can shut down the waves up north with one of those and seriously get some better control on wave invasions and defensive placement.  With selective choices for materials I can jam up some pretty solid resource nodes (East 6 and 9 being prominent 3/4 nodes) for 135/190 of each material (55 * x for the harvesters, -20 each for the warp.  Feeding it 30000 energy requires a MK II Reactor, costing 15 material each, so really -35 of each).

With a more solid econ I could double up reactors and do some whipping boy controls.  They won't help for exos splitting all over God's creation... which is the massive kink in this entire plan.  Dammit, got my hopes up SOOOO far.  Eventually those things are going to start pouring over me.  Still, it would help deal with wave to wave.  As it is I intend to abandon South 4 (and its 0/1 resources) after I get the ARS/Golem/Research.  My econ's pretty good right now.  I don't HAVE to invest in the turrets yet, so I won't.

Hrm, back on the topic of the Warp Blocking stations; that's a hefty trade, but could be worthy.  This is the map to use them on if ever.  I'd have to soak some Warp Gate pops around the homeworld (I really don't want that as the perma-whipping boy with these wave volumes), but it could be done.  I'll have to think on it.

Time is 4:47.  And as zoutzakje so well put it: here's a map!

The Green Box is the Homeworld and the surrounding Coreworlds. Center 6 and Center 8 are below the homeworld and then one to the down-left.

North 5, my wave problem, is the red dot to the upper left of the box.  I usually cut through North 8 to get there.

South 4, the other red dot on the bottom, is where the ARS + Armored is hiding.  I had to cut through the world just north of it (connecting to Center 8) to get at it.  You'll notice I've got a signficant threat build going in Center 7 that I've been ignoring.

East 6/9 are the two in the yellow circle on the east.  SE 8, way below it and one column left, is where I believe HW 1 is.

The blue line is the NE 3 path I took that forced me to savescum when I fired up all that threat.

The purple dots are known Golems.  The three along the bottom right are untouchable right now, they border core worlds.  The two on the left is a hive in the north and another armored in the south.  I'm not in a particular rush to get either of them though the Hive would be helpful for defenses.

That's the state of the game at 4:47, with a 75% Exo built up so far.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2012, 04:27:13 AM by Wanderer »
... and then we'll have cake.

Offline Wanderer

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Re: Pony Express
« Reply #23 on: May 08, 2012, 06:10:52 AM »
So the fleet heads for South 4.  We clean it out but a Marauder unit hits while we're there.  We run for it and let them scatter, then come back in with reinforcements and take the system.  I drop a Mil I on top of the golem to protect it during the repairs.

Repairs go well and wipe out the mill I had in reserve just for this, and the golem's online before we're even done collecting the research.  I send my new Vampires out to help defend Center 6.  They make a pretty nice response fleet.

I blow the cmd center and everything else down at South 4.  Done there, we're movin' on.  57k in power to spare, that's not enough.

The Armored Golem has some pretty hefty firepower, very nice.  It was chewing up some guardians like they were toys.  The Vampires and Raptors are making a nice response force when I don't have a particular need for them.

Current Goal is to clean up some of the pathways towards the south from my area to finish scouting and get myself some breathing room.  Time is 5:12.  At 5:28 I've cleaned out 3 300+ ship systems.  Exo is at 90%.

Need to get some sleep.  About halfway through the game, by my reckoning, and a little ahead of the 6:30 mark.  Not bad.  4 more CSGs to go for sure, some scouting/cleanup to open the roads, and I should be good to go depending on how nasty those Exos get.
... and then we'll have cake.

Offline zoutzakje

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Re: Pony Express
« Reply #24 on: May 08, 2012, 08:16:01 AM »
nice ^^ looking good so far. If you win, you'll probably be done long before I will finish lol. I'm 14 hours in and still nowhere.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Pony Express
« Reply #25 on: May 11, 2012, 11:12:07 AM »
1) Don't fire off the leaders at minute 1, make them wait an hour.  That leaves AIP at 10 base for the first 'golden hour', where 10 vs. 20 points makes an amazing difference. 

2) Increment the reduction to 5 AIP/hour.  Twofold reasons.  Holding one of these for four hours (at higher levels) means you have to make sure it survives a CPA to neutralize it's own world grab.  It also means that capturing two merely offsets the other 8 in existence, something that could be reasonably achieved in the early mid-game.  Depending on the map they could easily be well protected, but in general they seem to die if the AI looks at them funny.  It costs resources usually to hold 'em.
2a) With this increase comes a cost.  5 AIP gain/death, AI Control.  This way you can't easily go hunt down the rest for free.

3) Make them exo-targets.
Hmm, that could work.  At least, if it doesn't it will probably be due to the basic idea behind them rather than the changes :)

So, trying this again.  SCLs off this time.  Also minor naming convention change.  1-9 will still be accurate, but I found that the names only helped a little.  So, we'll do this the easy way.  Northwest/North/Center/Southeast/Etc.
That did help :)

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I also realize I'm making this a LOT harder by doing a center start.  I can accept that.
Yea, it's a different philosophy of playing; I knew that, but playing a bit of Cyborg's community game last night really drove it home ;)  Nowhere is safe.  There is no border, only war.

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Parasites, Snipers, Shield Bearers and Raiders.
The last one isn't so bad, but those first three are all class-A PITA's in certain circumstances.

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No MK III/IV's on the edge of Homeworld, though, that's good.
I'm shocked, RNG, what possessed you?

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Now for some unknown reason I suddenly get a 389 ship wave coming at homeworld.  Max-Time indeed.
AI had a few too many beers and let the loop slip a few extra iterations...

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Default is... Honeycombs.
Golden.  Get some parasites, and start disregarding property rights! 

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Running the snipers in behind the attack force didn't work as planned, they got themselves eradicated
Yea, I love snipers, but they're made of cotton candy or something.

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To be a wise-guy, though, I decide to try employing my shiny new honeycombs.  That... didn't work.  The snipers INHALED the honeycombs.  There are 69 of them at MK IV sitting on this dang planet.
Yea, at a certain critical mass snipers are a "thank you for the snack" situation... 

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Will need to break the tachyon and get scout SS in there to sniper flare.
Unless you do that ;)

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Default is Raptors.  Cutlass/SSB as secondaries.  Oh, that's a nice one.
Wow, yea.  Some solid offensive options there.  But yea, Raptors just have such insane speed, plus the cloaking.  When you need several hundred laser cannons to appear out of nowhere on the AI's scanners, that's the quickest way.

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With the Siege Engines attached they Go REAAAALLLLYYYY SLLOOOOOOOOWWWWWLLLYYYYY... and the siege engines get sent back home.  You wouldn't think 44 vs. 36 would be THAT much more painful, but... yeah... it is.
"Ya want speed?", they say, "Get a transport."

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Another wave, 650 this time, for Center 8.  Ugh.  AIP is 38
Wow.  Wave logging might be called for.  But diff 9 + max-time is pretty serious, I suppose.

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Minimal turrets vs. Shield Bearer war is kind of amusing, actually.
It's a fat man race!

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Hunh, Bomber SS can't hit Marauder Frigates?
Hmm, will fix. 

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200 Frigates, 140 Fighters, 83 Bombers, 280 Raiders, 2? Shield Bearers and 2 Snipers... and a leech and a starship.  Yeesh.  The sniper auxiliaries show up to try to assist.  The wave hits the lightnigns and break off.  It was quite funny.  I could actually picture the look on the pilots face.  "Oh, just some LRMs, STAY ON TARGET..."  Lightning storm shatters reality in front of him. "RETREAT!!!!"
Hahaha, yea, it's quite some fireworks.  And Vader made a note to thank the gentleman who suggested some proper point-defense (well, his next-of-kin, anyhow).

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I usually try to base the defenses against a friendly wormhole, to keep escapees from harassing back systems.  Because of the defensive spread I actually WANT that to happen now, so my bases are way up against the edge of the system in tight clusters for counter-sniper.  This is... different for me.
Yea, there's just something about being ruthlessly sieged and slammed from at least 8 different directions all the bleeping time that just kinda, you know, makes you look at the world in a different light.  One of those little red-dot lights that come before the sniper-shot.

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This run found me trapped by a grav guardian and not being able to punch through a FF in time
I imagine one of the fastest growing source of cases for human psychologists during the war was "Grav Rage".

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Even without having a Golem, Exo fires up at 3:30 to 50%.
Yea, it's AIP-based entirely, pays no attention to what you've done with the golems, to keep out the "treadmill" feel.

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That artillery golem has a CSG-E on the same planet, and if I really want to do some 'eye popping', an artillery golem's the way to go.
Oh yea, nothing quite like the biggest gun in the galaxy (outside of FS anyhow) to make some problems have an unfortunate accident.

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Too much MK III aggression, to little chokepoint. 

Savescum
Good to know it's got some bite in it yet ;)

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Well, now, here's a decision.  Vampire Claws are the default.  Melee ships have bite but they're not really what I need when I'm arguing a ton with snipers.  However, them getting underneat forcefields IS very handy.  However, Alternates are Grav Drain or Spider Bot.
Hmm, yea.  Grav Drains can be critical, but not here.  Another case of no strong reason to spend the hack, I think.  And those Vampire Claws plus some raptops adds up to some pretty serious cloaked pain.  Snipers don't shoot what Snipers don't see.  Though I imagine the cause-of-death chart for Vampire Claws is going to see some movement from "Staked point-blank by a railgun slug travelling many times the speed of light".

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Hrm, you know, what if you could research a higher CAP of turrets instead of having to buy a whole new mark?  This way entire planets wouldn't go into a single mark of turret, but you could slowly reinforce the number of them you could purchase?  Or perhaps research limited edition turrets (make up your own lore) that can't exist on a planet with a standard turret of the same type?  This would give you options for multi-planet turreting that wouldn't just reinforce the whipping boy chokepoint.
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Eh, daydreaming I guess.
Yep ;)

On the increasing-cap, at least.  But perhaps some low-cap turret flavors could be introduced with small K costs for this sort of granular need.

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MLRS would work too if I had a way to cloak them until the marauders got in range... ooh, new turret idea?
Maybe, for shooting turrets.  Cloaked grav turrets would be obscene.

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Basic II and HBC I are pretty much gimmes for 1250.
Yea, I think HBCs probably give the most bang for the buck by a significant margin, but I could be wrong due to the I/II difference. 

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The Armored Golem has some pretty hefty firepower, very nice.  It was chewing up some guardians like they were toys.
Oh yea, it's the bear of the group; as long as it doesn't get caught out too bad and blown up it will help you win a lot of fights a lot faster than otherwise likely.  I tend to think of it as the ability to bring a Fort with my fleet.  But watch out for exos; an exo battlegroup can pick that golem as a target, and if it's already out of your territory in some kind of hairy fight and suddenly starts taking a bunch of focus fire...

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About halfway through the game, by my reckoning, and a little ahead of the 6:30 mark.  Not bad.  4 more CSGs to go for sure, some scouting/cleanup to open the roads, and I should be good to go depending on how nasty those Exos get.
Does seem to be shaping up well :)
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Offline Mánagarmr

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Re: Pony Express
« Reply #26 on: May 11, 2012, 12:03:42 PM »
O_o

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Offline Wanderer

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Re: Pony Express
« Reply #27 on: May 16, 2012, 12:45:16 AM »
*rubs hands together* Alright, where the heck was I?

5:31 in game time.  90% Exo.  AIP 52.

1 more A-Class CSG to destroy.  B/C/D/E still in existence.

Fleet is... rebuilt.  Ah, always handy.  Riot Starships are pretty useless at the moment though, the shields aren't big enough to protect the sniper fleet.  Well, a little point defense won't hurt the long range dudes.

Hm, 3k in research still.  Did I have plans for that?  I have... 159k in energy to spare total, standard planet build for reactors is 2/2/1.  I need some juice.  Hm, did I see a Z-Gennie out there anywhere?

Oooh, Shiny, I'd actually found a second Fact IV up at Northwest 6, I just missed it.  They look far too much like the Zenith Reserves.  Hm, Z-Gennie at Northeast 9 with a Weasel V and CSG-C.  Yeah, that's the only one I see.  I've still got 20 planets (of 80) unscouted, however.  I really don't want to pay up my research for the Scout IIIs, I'm being a cheap git.

So, let's see.  That Arty golem is packin' a CSG-E on it, that'll help.  Fort I and a pair of Ion (III/IV) as well.  Those would help with stragglers but any concerted attack would wreck me.  That Z-Gennie would be nice but it's not a good enough prize on its own and Weasels are... meh.  However, that Z-Gen is practically against the wall and the Fab would help to protect it.  Grrr, that's a decision I'll make here eventually.  This is going to become a game of power the golem at this rate.

Alright, first batter: Clear the path to the Artillery golem/ARS while I decide what I'm doing.

WOW, ow, Never seen a self-destruct Guardian actually WORK.  Came in and detonated about half the fleet, in particular it chewed through 130 bombers.  *wolf-whistle*  After cleaning out East 8 I send the main fleet home (Raptors and Vampires stay back to quick-defend for the moment) to get repairs/refills.

I take a look at East 9 and something rather odd appears:


Erm.  Um.  Where'd the ARS go?  Well CRAP.  I confirmed on a reload of the game, it's just gone.  G'dang it!  Alright, now I have to find the OTHER one...  I poked around with scouts, yeah, it's just gone.  I'd hoped it moved or something.  No joy.

...

... Seriously.  2 minutes later it's on the recon again?

*rubs his face in his hands* Wait a second.  Of course.  Stealth Guardpost.  Well, cleaned out a borderworld for giggles at least.  I need to clean out a pathway west anyway, so the fleet keeps heading west.  My raids head into Center 1 to pop an Ion... and free up an EMP Guardian hiding on the same wormhole.  Said EMP is taking a warped path to the homeworld so I split the Vamps and the Raptors between two worlds so they're both not simultaneously hosed.  I had to bait the EMP into Center 8 but we finally cleared him.

A 322 ship wave announces for North 5.  vamps and Raptors head up to support the wave defense.  We're still fighting back on Center I, a MK III planet that was chock FULL of pain and suffering.  Just to be cute, a 781 ship wave announces a minute later for North 5.  They REALLY like North 5.

That second wave was REALLY heavy on Raiders, so that helps make a little more sense.  We did lose the command station though, as the main fleet was busy refilling and the Raptor/Vamp crew wasn't enough on their own to hold it against a doublewave.

At 5:52 after clearing up some of that mess and two heavy worlds I'm at 99% to the Exowave and really... haven't done anything.  I'll wait out the exo for now with the main fleet, and try doing some raptor raids.

By Accident I happened to notice where the exo was coming from, North 9, right off the homeworld.  Artillery golem with a mass of Shield Protectors around it.  This could be worse.  Move the fleet to camp the inbound wormhole and wait for them to park as threat...  I just need to try to avoid losing the Armored Golem to this monstrousity.

Well, the Raptor brigade "woke" East 9... and that was wierd.   A little bit of the leading edge of the Exo came through the wormhole (6 ships) but the rest parked... then came through about 5 seconds later.  Odd.  That threat I woke up on East 9 came in through another wormhole on homeworld and with the artillery golem obliterating the home-shield... it was a VERY close thing indeed.  One more shot apparently and KABOOM.  Alright, guess I spare a few 'normal' FFs for the home station.  (Drops down 5 of them)

A huge chunk of threat is attacking Center 8, too.  I send the fleet down thataways to help out.

Clear out those 150 ships or so and I'm clear of the Exo-wave... for now.  Well, those waves up north helped me decide that I'm definately going to try out the Warp Jammer station on my next research.  A power shortage will wreck me utterly and North 5 with that Inter-P is just getting wailed on.  Up the AIP some more and I'm really in trouble.  I need to find the last CoP and raid those into submission.

Meanwhile, a MK III has 445 ships off Center 8 at Center 7.  Those need to go.  Well, we hit the planet but that was a LOT of firepower.  Woke the planet though and am dealing with the aftermath of that.  I decide to pull a stunt and use Raptors to raid from a different wormhole to pull the enemy off the defending wormhole.  In particular because I've got waves split between Center 6 and 8 coming in and one of the awakened was an EMP guardian.

With the Raptors running into Center 7 and going Ion Cannon hunting they yank the defenders off the wormhole.  What's left of the primary fleet hops in to deal with the now confused AI fleet.  That should have worked better, but a massive chunk of the threat bailed as my fleet entered and went for Center 8... including the EMP Guardian.  however, they're able to deal with that as they reverse course with the armored + a token set of fleet ships and about 2/3's of the sniper fleet.

Meanwhile, the vampires are currently playing distract and distress with the inbounds on Center 6.  Most of the primary fleet needs a rebuild now though.  Of course, once we've cleared those and the Armored and sniper fleets run for homeworld for resupply, a 40 ship threat remainder visits Center 8.  Luckily it's pretty clean and should be able to handle the MK III attack.

Meanwhile, I'm having some econ problems... mostly because token snipers keep popping my rebuilding harvesters.  I might actually go buy the cloakers for those.  Well, 750 + 2250 for scouts would use up my 3k nicely...  :-\  The fact that they stole a bunch of my Vampires and they're just chilling cloaked on those worlds isn't exactly helping either.

So, at 6:07 I've cleared the massive speedbump called Center 7 and defended against two waves.  Lost most of the fleet in the process and the Armored was down to 75% by the time that was done, forcing me to play 'range games' with anything resembling a bomber that tried to get near it.

6:15: Still rebuilding, watching a wave die on Center 6.

6:20 Rebuild is finished and I head back to Center 7 to finish cleanup and continue driving a hole into the west at West 9.  West 9 also has an armored golem I'm ignoring for the moment, I just need the pathing.  Found the last ARS at West 8, a MK IV world with 258 ships on it.  Nothing else of particular interest on it but worth a lookee-loo.  Way off the beaten path though.  I decide I'll use the remnants of the main fleet to clear the entry wormhole so I can get a Science II on it.  The Snipers on the other hand are on their way back to homeworld for now.  Vamps and Raptors are doing another 1 wave defend up at North 5.

6:30: Armor fleet finally gets home and resupplies.  I deactivate the armor and let it repair 20% for now while re-setting up my hotkey fleets and waiting for the Science II to get to West 8.  I'm purposely ignoring those Eastern planets for now, no matter how useful the Artillery Golem would be, until I find the last CoP.  AIP is 55.  Repairing the Armored inhales what little econ I had rebuilt so far.  I find two scout IIs I'd rather use elsewhere, one on the neutral planet I abandoned and another looking into the NE sector, so I blow both of them up and now have *4* spare Scout IIs.

Meanwhile, I find a core planet at West 5... right off West 8's ARS.  Oh, JOY.  Second AI HW should be at West 2 then.

West 8's options are: Default Younging Commando, Options: Youngling Nanoswarm or Tachyon Microfighter.

I don't know about you, but that crap seriously ain't worth waking a core-world for to me.  The Nanoswarms could be fun on defense but a hack, next to a core world, in deep space... no, just no.

At around 6:37 the Armored's repaired and I decide while I use the tachyon hole I just punched to get a little scouting on the west done I'm going to go clear the two Eastern worlds with my Artillery golem and ARS.  Might as well find out what's there, too.

Over at West 7 I find a massive little fabricator world.  Even packs a Z-Gennie, again against the edge.  With me intending to get Warp Inhibitor stations this might be an option.  Experimental MicroParasites, Spider Vs, and Beam Stars.... and the Z-Gennie.  Err, maybe, we'll see.

Yeesh.  AIP 55 and 775 to Center 6 in 2 minutes.  Probably another massive raider fleet.

Awesome, another Data Center over at Southwest 1.  Bit of a dig to get to it, but still.

East 9's ARS has Munitions Boosters as its default.  I really don't need to go much further than that, but with Raiders or youngling vultures as the alternates, SOLD.  Pack a pair of MK IIs into the full sniper-fleet and watch the world burn.

With the fleet still mostly viable after East 9, I decide I'm going to whomp on East 6 to prep it for later.  I have a MASSIVE threat of 532 out there and they're all over the place, well, nothing I can do about that for the moment...  Hitting East 6 was not wise, I need to clear the Ion cannons first.  It should have woken enough of the planet though to make the next assault a bit less painful.

6:50: Massive clearances completed and a wave + 200 threat dealt with.  Raid SS basically cleared out East 6 for me, but left the Fortress behind.  I'll deal with that when I head back.  In the meanwhile, the hunt for the last CoP Continues.  We head to the southwest again, there's two planets in the corner I can't QUITE reach and I'll whack that data center while I'm down there.... well, that was the plan until I poked around and realized the primary path is blocked by AI Eyes.  Unless I head allll the way down to Southwest 9/8.  That's a Fort II, a ton of Ions and bases... yeaaah.  Hm.

Well, I'm bringing my Raid SS force with me and I can afford a LITTLe antagonization of the core worlds.  While the fleet pounds on West 8 and the ARS defenses there I'll let the Raid SS's go deal with SW 1, its datacenter, and Eye... hopefully letting me push the fleet through to the Southwest.  By the way, there's a LOT of eyes.

Well, West 8, the MK IV world with 200 or so units was a bit of a heavy hitter.  My Raids let loose an EMP Guardian from SW 1 around 6:56 and it reached Center 8 around 7:00.  My Vamps and Raptors were hanging off the Center 8 to 6 wormhole so they immediately chase in the kaboom to help clear the issue.  I REALLY want to get my hands on one of these one day.  Just to clear the damned never-dying cloakers.  The EMP timed itself to land EXACTLY as a wave hits Center 8.  Cute.

Well, the wave gets deflected along with 150 random threat + a ton of MK III backwash, but another heavy is inbound at North 5.  Meanwhile I've lost 3/6 Raids down on SW 1 but there's only 2 guardposts left there, Armored's at 78% and needs repairs, and the econ's toast.  7:04 the wave hits North 5 while the 3 remaining Raid SSs try to run home.

North 5 wave is 87 Bomber, 164 Fighter, 89 Frigate, 57 Parasite, 196 Raider, 14 Shield, 7 sniper, 1 starship 1 siege 1 MK II guardian who stopped by for the grins of it.  All 2x damage.  North 5 gonna go down like a lady in a short skirt if it doesn't get some help... What do I have... not much.   The sniper Fleet's rebuilt but they can't handle coming into a pitched battle without a tank.  Raptors and Vampires are on the rebuild from deflecting the last wave while the Armored fleet slowly got out of the backfield, but they were hurting to begin with.  They're at 3/4 strength right now but that golem's gonna take a bit to rebuild.  I send them anyway.

The defenders get there after the main batteries have taken down about 200 ships at range and the bulk of the enemy fleet is closing to firing range.  As the armored fleet lands (Armored fleet consists of Armored Golem, Frigates I/II, Bombers I/II, Fighters, Spire Tractor I/II, Bomber SS, and a the 2 light starships not hanging around with the snipers) the entire enemy fleet backs off trying to run for wormholes.

The main fleet goes for a cutoff while the snipers drop way out to range to pick off what they can.  The wave is eradicated.  A beautiful defense.

Meanwhile, I find out that SW 1 has a Stealth Guardpost on it which is part of why the Eye wouldn't fall over.  Oh that's just GREAT.  Checking the obvious... no joy.  I may have to do a 'run it over' thumpage again... and I get lucky, I ran it over checking different spots with a MK I Scout SS at around 7:10.  Phew.

While sitting around staring at the golem waiting for repairs to complete I realize I'm about an hour out from a Human Colony Rebellion.  This could be handy.

The map hasn't changed since earlier.  I have taken... nothing.  I have abused... a lot of things.  AIP is 39 (I got the Data Center).  I have 15 worlds left to scout, something rather important in this scenario.  I still have 5 planets I have to pop for CSGs before I can strike at a homeworld.

It's 7:10.  Do you know where your AI is?
« Last Edit: May 16, 2012, 01:21:20 AM by Wanderer »
... and then we'll have cake.

Offline Wanderer

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Re: Pony Express
« Reply #28 on: May 16, 2012, 03:22:18 AM »
Alrighty then ya wee AI, time fer a whoopin'!

Fleet's still resupplying from the defense at North 5... good time to poke around.  Armor's at 98% so won't be too long.

There's my CPA!  280 ships in ... 10 minutes... 280 ships?  Seriously? ROFLCopter!  Alright, where was I...

Right.  Alright, I need to punch a hole into the Northwest of the map somewhere once I'm down with the Southwest.  Southwest really only needs one more run at it with the Raids and it'll open for the Fleet.  Where to punch a hole...  I'll probably want to avoid the massive buildup that's been occurring around North 5 for the last few hours... However that means I punch through an AI Eye or wander along the core worlds.  Not exactly how I looked forward to probing for Raid Engine Existance.

Final Raid on SW 1 took out 3 Raid SSs but we got the Eye down.  Time to send in the fleet.... but it's not ready yet.  I did release a ton of MK III threat though.  Southwest 5 finally got scouted as a nothing important system but it was decently defended as a MK III.  The fleet was able to clear it with around 35% losses and I get Southwest 7 finally scouted while they finish cleanup.

My gods, it's... full of stars.  Southwest 7 Has a Regen Golem, CSG-C, Data Center, Decoy and Star Bomb IV, Planetary Armor Booster.  I LOVE me some Regenerator Golem.  I'll probably be back.  Might as well pound out the Data Center now though, and it's MK IV.  Let's give it some love... errr, maybe.  It's got 3 Ions on it, a pair of IIs and a V.  This is better as a Raid Target.  Dang.  Get the Raids shipped back down, keep the fleet in Southwest 4 to harass backwash.

I really hate it when my ships come in on top of a razzlefrackin' gravity guardian.  I swear they multiply like rabbits.  AIP is now 24 though. :)  None of the backwash is heading to the fleet, they head for friendly space through the road we've paved while the Raids work on local guardposts.

After waking up 200 MK IV threat units, the Raids retreat and I figure I'll hang at home till I rebuild the primary fleet.  Somewhere out there is my CPA.  I didn't notice, I was busy.  It was 250 MK Is and 30 MK IIs.  The fleet gets back to homeworld around 7:30.  I decide Armored needs a repair from 85% and the econ's toast so we're gonna hang back.  The Response fleet heads for Center 8 to help deal with inbound threat backwash.  They don't last particularly long but they do force a ton of MK IV to move along before taking out the cmd center.  Of course, I get marauders in the middle of this inanity on Center 8.

Turn the Armored back on and send the main fleet to support Center 8.  They'll fall otherwise.  The Main Fleet turns the marauders into finly copped powder and head back to homeworld.  It's time to drill into the Northwest once Armored gets his repairs done.  In the meanwhile, I try to find a path that'll work for me. 

If I punch a hole into Northwest 9 this can work long term as it's holding a Hive Golem.  There's 3 Ions on it but those can be cleared.  It's definately an abandonable world however.  I've also already cleared Center 1 earlier and that'll avoid the massive buildup that's occurred in my absense in the area around North 5... as well as avoid a fight with the IPB involved.

That gives me immediate scout access to 3 worlds once I pop all the Tachs on NW 9.  From there I'm going to have to simply put my boot to a Coreworld and find out if there's a Raid Engine at the HW at West 1.  At least at AIP 24 I should be able to handle it.  Then we dig in from there and get a scout done on AI HW and I can push into the last few planets in the NW.  A few more in the Southeast after that and I'll have a comprensive view of the place.

Those two cloaked vampires are STILL just... chilling out... on Center 6.  There's been waves.  There's been threat assaults.  They just won't go AWAY.  Yeesh.  Shoo!  Threat's holding steady at 275 or so.  The two largest portions of that are hanging off the homeworld.  Alright, threat-ball clearance time.  It's all MK I threat, must be wave leftovers.  threat's down to 38 when I'm done.  Nice.

At 7:50 my Raids freed an EMP playing target practice with Ion Cannons on Northwest 9.  It hit my troops in motion on Center 2 about 30 seconds later and then barrelled for a borderworld, Center 6.  Response Fleet went in as a delaying tactic on the borderworld while the fleet tried to deal with getting all hosed up.  It actually wasn't too bad, since there wasn't enemies on Center 2 at the time.

Northwest 9 was a brutal war.  Over 50% of the fleet was lost by the time we cleared the massive response that entering the system incurred. 

At 7:57 I finally find the last Co-Processor on a Coreworld, Northwest 8.  Oh, Skip-ee.  Did I mention it's got an AI Eye on it too?  YAAAAY.  Also ~250 MK V ships.

The fleet having taken a licking enroute to as well as at Northwest 9 heads back to homeworld for resupply.  Northwest 5 reveals a BotNet and a Data Center.  Ever since the Botnet changed to not permanently patrol friendly worlds it hasn't been the game-owner it used to be, just really powerful.  That Data Center, however... Yum.  Time to pound through Northwest 5.  Let the armor get a bit of repairs in first though, since I'll have to wait for Raids anyway to deal with a pair of Ion cannons.

The Armor fleet hit Northwest 5 at 8:08 and cleared the gate for the Raid SSs, losing ~ 100 ships for it to the minefield and the locals.  The raids went in, cleared ions and Data Center, then dropped off to the corner for the moment.  3 of the raids didn't make it, and I'm pretty confident there's a stealth post in here.

The next assault really did the main fleet in, dropping down to 100 ships left before we cleared the main response wave of MK IV from the planet.  In the meanwhile, a ton of threat backwash ran for North 5.  The Vamps and Raptors respond.  With 86 ships left on Northwest 5 the main fleet retreats.  North 5 has fallen while I was distracted trying to make sure that the fleet didn't end up toasted.  That's a lot of MK IV guardians... and they're threatballing in North 8, a borderworld... and getting repairs, oh how lovely.

I time the Raptor/Vampires to hit the same world as the MK IV threatball as when a smallish wave is attempting to hit the homeworld.  The distraction mostly works, buying the main fleet (and golem) time to get home.

The fleet is in tatters after that operation.  Econ is toasted.  At 8:15 my golem is repairing (and is in remarkably good shape, 92%) but everything else is wrecked.  I did, however, open up Northwest 5's Tachyon net and start sending scouts into the back reaches of the Northwest.

While waiting on builds, I take a quick look at the Coreships I've witnessed the AI getting as bonuses.  Maws and Mirrors.  *blink* Holy handgrenades, RNG.

Back to scouting the Northeast: Another Datacenter, Spider V Fab, an Inter-P Munitions bordering two coreworlds... seriously?... Well, that explains why Northwest 5 was such a massively nasty battle, it's on Northwest 4... and one of the coreworlds has a fort on it.  I don't have the scout-power to punch through to the homeworld to see it at the moment... hrm.  Guess I could take down all the Scout II sentries.  Might as well.

I tell all the Scout IIs to come home.  Most of them die trying.  Best probable entrace would be through West 8 coming in from the south, just due to volume of guardposts.  Map them in and hope for the best.

Alright, the scouts are able to get into West 1.  AI Homeworld for the Bully (Blue).  Let's see what you're... good grief.  *Whimper*  SERIOUSLY?  This deserves a screenshot:


Alright: 1 Core Beam.  1 Core Neinzul Spawner.  So far so good.  3 BLESSED CORE RAID ENGINES?!  WITH AN EYE?!

C'MON MAN!

*cracks knuckles* Fine.  You wanna play dirty you lousy little...  What's your buddy got?

AI HW for the Assassin (Red) is at Southeast 8.  Having trouble getting scouts into there because I haven't done enough Tachyon Housecleaning.  It's 8:31. That's the next stop.

Rebel Colony announced on Southwest 2.  This planet has... jackall on it except an Eye.  It borders, however, the ARS planet against the coreworlds and an Armored Golem.  It's a suicide colony with 1 Metal, 1 Crystal.  Now, I adore me some Rebels, but they're gonna have to wait.  I need to see what the Assassin's got up his sleeves.

By the way, Core Raid engines are the primary reason I play at such rediculously low AIP at this point...

I decide I'll clear the way via South 3, the Factory IV planet.  Two birds, one stone.

Assassin at Southeast 8 merely has a pair of Core Boosters and a pair of Beam posts with an AI Eye.

This is going to get ugly.  It took me till 8:42 to pound a path through to the coreworlds to be able to shove those scouts in.  I have a few ideas on how to handle Bully's Homeworld and his triple-threat, but I need to neutralize a pair of coreworlds AND a good chunk of the homeworld's defenses - NOW, before AIP gets too high.

Hrm.

Taking a break here after I clean up another wave at North 5 to think it over.
... and then we'll have cake.

Offline Wanderer

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Re: Pony Express
« Reply #29 on: May 16, 2012, 04:14:13 AM »
If you'd like to follow along with where I'm at strategically, open the map below as I go through this.

First things first: that's a lot of colors.

The Red and Blue Circle are the AI HWs.  The Blue Circle (Bully) is the one with the 3x Core Raid Engines.  He's appropriately named.  The two Orange circles are the Inter-Planetary Munitions (IPM) locations causing me all sorts of havoc.  Yes, one is on *my* planet, in case you've been skimming and not reading.  I'm guilty too.

Now, the yellow dots are the two remaining ARS locations.  I still need to take out the B-E CSGs.  Golems are written in.

The horribly gaudy purple lines are my current 'roads'.  They're runs that I've cleared to get into different areas of the map of everything except the cmd station, warp gate, and Wormhole posts.  They terminate in the last system I've cleansed of that road.

There are two unmarked Factory IVs on this map.  The only one that matters is the one I can get defenses to, which is the one near the triangle of purple on the lower left of that.  It connects to Center 8 to its northwest.

P5 (there's two) are data centers.  P4 are Co-Processors.  The CoPs are all on the left side of the map, two in the Southwest, 1 on a coreworld in the Northwest, and one off North 5 in North 1.  That means I have 80 AIP reduction left to play with, in addition to my current buffer.

AIP is currently 129 - 120 with a floor of 25.  Hitting the CoPs would bring the floor up by 16, not netting me anything right now.

Finally, there's a Rebel Colony set to go off in 1 hour, 45 minutes.  That's the glowy star in the bottom right area just below the yellow dot for the ARS.  The 'Good' ARS is the one on the right side, near the Black Widow and Artillery golems.

Alright, so that's the general setup right now of the game.  I primarily control the center of the map with my little satellite up at North 5 that's causing me all sorts of grief.  It's only a 3/2 node so I will probably give that back.

I need to break the blue AI Homeworld before I let AIP progress because of the three Raid Engines.  If I can open a wide enough hole NOW, then later when I crack the CSGs I can get in there with a single artillery golem and long-shot them, or at least have a fighting chance at a transport drop.  For reference, the AI HW over there is on West 1.  West 5, to the southwest and right off my road is protected by an AI Eye but only 9 guardposts.  West 4, due south of it has a Fortress III with dual FF IIIs on it and 10 posts.  The south is not an easy fight.

Due east of the AI HW on West 2 is actually a relatively easier fight.  It's got a Spire Archive on it that I'll ignore (I'm not taking anything at the moment, just punching the hole), no Eye, and 10 posts.  It does, however, have a Core FF Gen on it which are a bear to take out under fire.

The world northeast of the AI HW with the Co Processor on it, Northwest 8, is just not an option.  Dual Fortresses, AI Eye, the works.  That's out.

The northern world, Northwest 7, packs a Fortress III but no Forcefields. 12 posts but beggars and choices comes to mind here.  There's a triple pack of Ion Cannons on that planet but I'm just going to have to live with that.

The core planets are averaging 250-300 units a piece, with AI HW sitting at 365.  That's a LOT of core ships for my little MK Is and IIs to fight, particularly if the golems set off the planet.  Remember I'm leaving my cloaker response fleet at home.  With 8 wormholes per system, they practically run over a tachyon every time they blink... or I've cleared the system entirely.  They're more useful being able to cloak through enemy systems to redeploy for friendly protection on waves.

So, where the #[email protected]#[email protected]#!!! does that leave me?

I'm not sure yet, I just wanted to present the scenario.  I'm holding my own on waves on 4 planets without response fleet right now, but North 5 can get pretty rough and one planet of AIP will make me have to use the response fleet.  Something I'd hoped to find was a Spire Archive off the other homeworld, but there isn't.  Both are against the Raid Engine so I can't sneak out a ton of research once I popped open Warp Blocking Stations.

One thought I'd had was damn the torpedos.  There's a CSG-D on West 2 with a Spire Archive off to the side.  I need to pop one of those eventually anyway.  However, that's 22 AIP + 18*5 Warp Gates to setup a Whipping Boy properly against the AI HW.  That will break me in my current state.  Even dropping out Warp-Blockers on the 3 non-homeworlds would still require 7 Warp Gate breaks, and I have other plans for those warp blockers.  So, no torpedos, the warp-gate control is just too expensive.  And holy heck if that thing goes down under 3xRaid Engine, it's +80 AIP.

I'm pretty sure I know what my options are and what I'm going to do... but what do y'all think?
... and then we'll have cake.