Author Topic: quickstix goes forth  (Read 1823 times)

Offline quickstix

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quickstix goes forth
« on: January 17, 2010, 10:34:00 AM »
I figured it was about time I wrote about some of my games, instead of just being my semi-regular self on the forum. My current game is at a bit of a crossroads at the moment, the opening and mid section were pretty easy, where I was able to take 7 planets in a line to cover almost the whole map. However, whilst it was easy going for most of the game, the AI homeworlds and neighboring planets are a different story. Absolutely deadlocked. So whilst I mull out a strategy to break that game, I figured I'd start writing about a new game.

Setup:
Map: 40 Planets - Realistic
Ships: Normal - All options turned on
Combat Style: Normal - Full Fog of War
No minor factions, no modifiers, AI progress 1/30 (I like a long and thoughtful game)

The opponent:
Two Random Easier AIs, both on difficulty 7 (Randomness is fun)

My bonus ship would be the FF Bearer. Yet another ship I haven't tried, and sounds like a lot of fun.

Here is the theatre of war:


Initial scout was not favourable. Most of the planets around me had virtually no resources and nothing of value to take. Getting past one hop though was proving difficult, thanks to the many astro trains that had decided to make my area of the galaxy their home. A little micromanagement later though, and things weren't looking so hot. Most of the outlying planets weren't fantastic either, although I was able to discover two ARS, however those were about four hops away and I wasn't equipped for that kind of trip just yet. I needed to secure more resources and another planet for energy.

Here's my home planet just after a small AI group snuck in whilst I was getting myself setup. The AI has impulse reaction emitters, so I may consider gravity turrets in the near future. This is just before a raid of 97 IRE ships, which was great fun to chase after. Fortunately, damage to infrastructure was minimal, and my fighters mopped them up pretty easily.



On the upside, I did find one planet next to my home planet that looked pretty good, with four of each resource. However in a continuing sign of my good fortune, it had both a planetary shield inhibitor and an AI co-processor. At this early stage, the inhibitor wasn't much of a big deal, and might prove useful later, but in order to get supply, I would have to take out the co-processor at the cost of 20+ AI progress. Not a happy chappy.

Actually, with some more scouting under my belt (although not much, Scout MK2 is on the list) all of the orange AI planets have shield boosters or inhibitors on them. No suprise what type he is then. I'm not sure about the other AI, but it's really nice not to have a Zenith Descendant as an opponent. My last 2 games were pretty much me vs. 2 AI enemies with nothing but Zenith ships (good thing I had acid sprayers in both games :P).

Anyhoo, back to my conquest. Apart from putting FF Bearers in my initial strike group (turns out they don't work when a shield inhibitor is present, who'd have thought? :P) the raid goes fairly well. It's slow going at first, as I'm holding back on more ships until my Mk3 reactor is done and I decide on my research path. 40 maps don't have a huge amount of research. There's enough to fill out offensive strikecraft forces, but not a lot for extras, so you really need to know which extra stuff you're going to need on top of offensive ships so the knowledge doesn't go to waste. I eventually go for Mk2 Fighters, Bombers and Frigates, as scouting doesn't show the need for anyting really fancy. Reinforcements start coming, and the planet soon falls. The enemy's special ships include deflector drones, Zenith Bombarders, Tachyon Microfighters and Impulse Reaction Emitters, which gives me a lot of hope for later skirmishes, unlike going against Zenith Descendants (Electric Bombers and Beam Frigates get annoying without acid sprayers, fast). The only thing that may have been difficult was the special forces outpost under a force field, but Mk2 Bombers and Cruisers make short work of it.

Blowing up the Co-Processor isn't something that hugely impresses me, but the shield inhibitor makes up for it, despite its 8000 energy usage. Resources are flowing in pretty well and are able to support Mk3 reactors on both planets, which means energy isn't a concern, although I am hoping to find a Zenith Reactor. I found one of those in a previous game and haven't looked back since.

Anyway, here's my new planet as I work on infrastructure and defence. Note the superiour strategic position of the wormholes. They're both next to each other all the way on the other side of the map. Next up is some knowledge raiding, before I upgrade to Mk2 Scouts and try to find some more worthwhile planets. So far all I have are two planets with ARS on them, but their distance away and difficulty of both planets leaves me wanting some better short term goals.

« Last Edit: January 17, 2010, 10:00:24 PM by quickstix »

Offline Harry

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Re: quickstix goes forth
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2010, 10:40:09 AM »
Nice post!  I look forward to reading more.

Offline x4000

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Re: quickstix goes forth
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2010, 10:41:24 AM »
Yes, nice writeup! Sounds like an interestingly challenging map.
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Offline raptor331

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Re: quickstix goes forth
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2010, 06:14:55 PM »
wow sounds like the AAR section is going to be a busy one, I plan on doing reports myself I guess...

Offline RCIX

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Re: quickstix goes forth
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2010, 06:50:45 PM »
Yeah i'll try and do some myself, glad to hear of a new AAR (DAR?)
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Offline quickstix

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Re: quickstix goes forth
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2010, 10:10:33 AM »
ALAS, I RETURN. ;D After a break from AI War I return to continue my struggle against the AI and blow lots of stuff up in the process.

So, coming back to this game I'm struck by a few things. One, my map looks quite bleak with very few planets of value and all the good stuff a few hops away and two, I've been rather unlucky picking FF Bearers and having one of the AIs turn out to be one that uses shield boosters/inhibitors on their planets. For my first picture, check out all the astro trains on my second planet. Turret trains are especially fun, moreso on my home planet as train routes take them through a few of my resource points, blowing them up every single time.



So, after some knowledge raiding, I upgrade to Mk 2 Scouts and set about scouting more of the galaxy. I manage to find a cool little cluster and an awesome planet down here.



Unfortunately, the fastest route down to that cluster goes through a heavily defended Mk 4 planet complete with a Mk2 Ion cannon under a force field and the planet preceeding that isn't much better either. I eventually decide on a plan, as I'm over 3 hours in with only one planet capture, which is slow even for me.



See that P9 on the right, there's an ARS there, just what I need. The path there is lightly defended as well and the wormholes between the planets are nice and close, so planet hopping isn't an issue. I can then take the lightly defended back route to the cluster of P9 planets down the bottom. Sounds pretty good then. What IS an issue however, is the lovely fortress on the planet I want to take, as well as TWO shield boosters. The plan is then as follows. Take all my Mk 2 ships and a group of FF Bearers as an initial strike group and clear out the initial resistance on the way there. Then do as much damage to the Fortress as possible, before bringing in a follow up group with newly unlocked Mk 3 bombers to finish the job.

In motion, things go much better than expected. The small group of 30 FF Bearers performs tremendously, just covering my entire group and reducing casualties on the planet hops to zero. The fortress proves a little tougher, especially powered by two shield boosters. Unfortunately my ships jumped onto the planet in range of the fortress, so I had little time to get my positioning right. Essentially, bombers at close range and all other ships retreat to a safe distance. Like so.



When the fortress became preoccupied with my bombers, I moved my frigates in a bit closer so they could take pot shots as well.



The fortress did wise up though, and I was forced to move my other ships back again. Soon after though I saw a rather satisfying explosion where the fortress used to be. My group of Mk 2 bombers was victorious! I'd also taken very few losses as well, which was great and meant I was yet to need the follow up group. Clearing the rest of the planet would prove difficult though, as the shield boosters were a bit of a pain, especially for some fixed defences and the special forces post. Mobile ships still went down fairly easily though, so I decided to take as many of them out as possible and hold position.

My follow up group arrived with 5 colony ships shortly after. This would prove a bad decision.

I decided that I'd taken out enough mobile military ships and could go straight for the command station kill. Since my defences were bulked up pretty heavily for the cross planet attack (more on that in a bit), I decided that I could take the risk of freeing all the ships to attack my home planet. It turns out though, that this one time the enemy ships would decide not to attack my home planet and go for my colony ships. The instant I saw the ships free and turn towards those colony ships, I knew I was in trouble as they weren't exactly close to my main attack group. In a last ditch effort before the last one blew up, I built a command station on the other side of the map, hoping I could get my forces over in time. For a while it worked, with my CS holding at about 33% constructed health. I would prove just too late though, as the moment my fighters arrived about 6 enemy bombers moved into range and destroyed my command station. I was slugged with +15 AIP and a not so friendly taunt from the AI, which didn't help my previous forced destruction of a co-processor. Oh well, stuff happens. At least now the reinforcements would come to a halt, and my remaining force (mostly Mk 3 bombers) could clear out the remaining wormholes. A follow up group is on the way with new colony ships.

Now, sometime during this calamity I has a cross planet attack to face. 300 enemy ships would be on their way. In a way, my slowness would be of an advantage here, as with only two planets there were very few access points for the AI. My main focus turned to my second planet, where despite not having a lot of forces there, I had a real strategic advantage. I was rather lucky this was the planet the AI decided to strike, as even though my home planet had a lot of forces on it, my ships weren't organised that well. This is after the attack, but still helps to explain.



The two enemy wormholes are next to each other and an approximate equal distance away. There's only one way into my home planet, so that's a real choke point. Unlike other planets, the only thing of real value was the single entrance to my home world, making that the major focus for defence. On other planets, usually you have stuff like capturable structures or multiple wormholes, so the ideal place to stop them is at the entrance point. Here however, is different. I decided to make my wormhole the stopping point for the AI, choking it up with tractors, turrets and my ships (I forgot to mine it, but oh well.) When the enemy arrived, they dispersed and blew up most of my resource points rather quickly, but they only had one way to go and that was through my barricade of death. This is the point where they blew up. 300 AI ships vanished rather quickly. Of all of my ships, groups of 85 of Mk1 Fighters, Bombers and Frigates, I only lost 2 bombers, 2 fighters and all my frigates, mostly due to me being stupid and putting them on the wormhole instead of leaving them at range. Pretty good work, except for the fact that after all that was done, I realised I'd left my captured shield inhibitor turned off the whole time during the attack. :P

Anyways, almost 5 hours in and only three planets taken. However with all my scouting done and a definite plan of attack, it's simply a matter of going through the motions and taking planets. This is where the real benefits of my approach start to appear, as with all my scouting done early I can simply roll through planets and reduce the amount of time the AI has to reinforce those planets specifically (ie, on alert). Things are looking up. :)

Offline quickstix

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Re: quickstix goes forth
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2010, 08:13:27 AM »
The fight continues, and things are getting better and better.

My follow up group is on the way, bringing with it some new colony ships. I've made doubly sure of the safe passage, because I really can't afford another AI progress hit. Here's a happy snap of it.



The planet I take gives me Bulletproof Fighters. I've never used them before, but it gives me more ships to use against Impulse Reaction Emitters, which have the habit of being immune to tractor turrets and destroying my resource points. More ships is never a bad thing. Even if I don't decide to upgrade to Mk2 or so, I use all of my Mk 1 ships for defence on important planets, so their addition is quite welcome.

Here are some more happy snaps of be going about my business. First is my MRS doing its thing. The recent boost to the MRS repair range has made using it a real joy, especially as they form a big part of my playstyle. Just as well, because at 2000 knowledge they are a big investment and a big decision on 40 planet maps. Knowledge raiding has become very important on this map, taking well connected planets is key, as well as hitting hard and fast so as not to increase the size of the AI, which in turn limits your knowledge spending.



Here are my FF Bearers in action. Unfortunately, their use has been severely hampered by an AI that insists on putting Planetary Shield Boosters and Inhibitors in its planets. On the inhibitor planets, my FF Bearers might as well be useless. A real shame, because I quite enjoy using them.



So my next move, apart from constant knowledge raiding, is to take the P9 planet in the bottom right. Suprisingly, there isn't much to talk about. The only real drama is a Mk 3 Leech Starship, and that blows up very quickly against my main attack force. There's also a planet with an Attrition Emitter to go through on the way there, but the distance between the wormholes is so short the emitter hardly does any damage. For those who don't know, Attrition Emitters damage all enemy ships on the planet. So I quickly take the planet, and unlock Planes in the process. Cloaked ships should make a fine addition to my fleet.



Here's a map with my updated scouting. I've found an AI homeworld in the bottom middle (left of the Mk 4 planet). Whilst I haven't found the next one via scouting, I know where it is. It's somewhere on the bottom left in the row of three planets ending in a dead end. I'm able to determine this as all the planets top left have nothing of value on them. The only notable things are some Golems, but I don't really use those. That cluster of P9 planets is still extremely inviting. On them are, an Advanced Factory, two Starship Fabricators (Beam and Bomber), two Core Fabricators (can't remember the other one, but one is a Zenith Electric Bomber) and four(!) Experimental Fabricators. The only catch is that I'll be taking on the first AI homeworld without Mk 4 ships, but I think I can manage. Maybe.



So the idea is to take the Mk 4 planet to the right of the AI homeworld. Whilst there is nothing to capture there, it's abundant with resources and will give me a good launch point against the AI homeworld. I'll be able to build up my fleet there and conduct deep raids against the homeworld, which will help keep reinforcements on that planet down. That's the idea anyways, but first I have to take this planet.



The Mk 1 Ion Cannon can be safely ignored. It only instakills Mk 1 and under ships, and I don't use them in my main fleets, only for defensive purposes. The only real damage it will do is engine damage. Besides, I can't even scratch it due to the planetary shield booster (am I sick of typing that). I also leave the special forces post alone for similar reasons. Besides, I haven't had any trouble with them in the past. Right? (Ominous music) So the idea is quick raids against guard posts, with retreats back to my planets for repairs via the MRS and reinforcements.



Before I forget, I think somewhere around here is a 450 strong cross planet attack. However, it turns out that almost all the ships involved are Tachyon Microfighters, not exactly a good ship for raiding. They're all blown up pretty quickly and it's over almost as soon at it begins. Not much to say about it really.

Anyway...

It's a tough task. The real difficulty in taking on a Mk 4 planet is keeping your ships at correct ranges to minimise damage. Fighters are especially at risk, due to their weakness to lots of long range weaponry. Mk 3 Laser Turrets have a habit of tearing large groups of fighters to shreds rather quickly and there's quite a few of them, plus Mk 4 Frigates which do much the same thing. The Planetary Shield Booster doesn't help much, but through repeated raids I slowly empty the planet out. The destruction of a data centre on the planet provides some much needed AI progress relief.

Here's some happy snaps of my ships at the wormhole. No reason, I just thought they looked nice.





So after blowing up the command station and dealing with all the newly freed AI ships (which isn't really a big deal) I start to clear out the planet in preparation for capture. After the capture, I'll have the Mk 1 Ion Cannon and be able to easily take out the Special Forces post, which has been unusually quiet. So I get my bombers and frigates to start clearing out the planet. As bombers are faster, they go for the distant stuff and my frigates hit the closeby stuff. My fighters get to sit and watch. Unfortunately, I manage to screw up capturing again, and lose yet another command station as its being built. I've tried to rush the capture in order to minimise the damage done by the Ion Cannon and ships from the command post, but in the process (and I can't quite remember how) it's been blown up, negating any relief I got from blowing up the data centre.



Almost right after I take this screenie, the AI decides that it's time to put a stop to my meddling and add insult to injury by really putting the Special Forces post into action. So out of the post come a Spire Starship, complete with Mk 4 platoon escort.



Right. Okay then. Not so good. (This is the nice version :P)

This would be especially bad if it decides to go through the wormhole to my planet. It might be able to stand a mk 4 assault, but I'm not prepared for a Starship, let alone a Spire Starship. I suppose I should be fortunate that's not the target, but instead my lovely frigates are in the firing line.

Luckily for me, I've got a full platoon of Mk 2 and Mk 3 fighters ready and rearing to go. They hit the starship hard, my 250+ fighters tear into the hull, doing significant damage. In the process, I start moving my frigates away to get some clearance. During the battle, I notice the looming Mk 4 force getting closer, so I pull my fighters back in the hope the Spire Starship decides to move away from the escort, protecting my fighters from his Mk 4 frigates. It works, and with 150 fighters left the Spire Blows up. After clearing the escort, I decide to rush the special forces post with bombers and frigates because I'm not sure I'll be able to do that again. It works, and the special forces post goes down before more ships come out and I don't take too many hits.

Eventually I cap the planet, and in addition to the Planetary Shield booster, I also get a Mk 1 Ion Cannon! I'm eager to test it out, having never capped an Ion Cannon before and it isn't long before the AI sends in some Mk 1 ships. Joyful explosions ensue.



So I've got myself a launchpad against the first homeworld. I'd like to say that things are looking up, but I have a feeling it's going to be a tough fight, especially without an Advanced Factory. I've made it this far though, and with the promise of a truckload of advanced technology on the other side, I think I might just be alright.