Author Topic: Need Strategy Advice?  (Read 31647 times)

Offline x4000

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Need Strategy Advice?
« on: April 15, 2009, 10:26:55 PM »
If you're a new player, please make sure to start with the four in-game tutorials.  They walk you through everything you need to know to get started.

If you're still having trouble, or if you're trying the harder difficulties for the first time and finding them overwhelming, take a look at our ArcenWiki or our online Video Tutorials.

If you still have questions, ask away right here on the forums!  Arcen Games staff, or often other AI War players, are always happy to help newcomers.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2011, 11:32:08 AM by x4000 »
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Re: Need Strategy Advice?
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2009, 08:46:16 AM »
Having just completed my first, easy, multiplayer game (2 players, 40 planets, level 3, 4 Easier Random AIs), I'm about to embark on a 2-player, 80-planet, level 7 Moderate Random AI game. (I did do the tutorials and watched the video, but some things take a while to sink in at my age.)

Apparently the strategy I used in this game (take everything, kill everything until you kill the home planets) doesn't work in the "real world." I ended up with a (1.008-style) AI modifier close to 600.

From reading the boards, I have surmised a typical advanced game strategy. I would appreciate it if the community would let me know if this is a reasonable strategy to form the basis of a "normal" difficulty and size game?

Key idea: Leave AI Modifier as low as possible while clearing more and more of the universe's planets of enemy ships.

  • Take only certain planets. Planets that have either a strategic value (e.g., choke-points) or material value (e.g., lots of metal or crystal) should be taken. All others should be cleared and have the command posts and warp gates left alive.
  • Destroy only certain warp gates. I'm not really sure what the point of the warp gates are (despite the intermediate tutorial) but apparently enemies attack periodically through them. Leave them be except on strategically important planets, even though some attacks may come through. (This suggests a ship/station idea, "warp suppressor" which prevents a warp gate from operating or reduces its capability.)
  • Link up with ally. Take the planets between your home bases so as to provide a solid, safe base of operations.
  • Build defenses. The enemy is going to send waves at you regularly, so make sure you pay attention to the wave alerts and have appropriate defenses in place. (What do the wave alerts mean exactly? Do all attacks only come in waves, or can enemies just move through wormholes like normal?)
  • Have a "mobile front." Don't build everything in your home planet and then send it to the front; the world's too large. Periodically pack up and move so your supply lines are shorter.
  • Research. Raid planets for research and carefully consider what you and your partner research. (Giving ships to partner: What are limits on that? What if they can't build them themselves?)
  • What else?

Thanks!

Cheers...

Offline x4000

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Re: Need Strategy Advice?
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2009, 09:21:10 AM »
Just going to respond to the places where I have a difference of opinion.  Otherwise, the above is great!

Key idea: Leave AI Modifier as low as possible while clearing more and more of the universe's planets of enemy ships.

I wouldn't try to clear every planet of enemy ships.  Just whatever is relevant for your goals.  Otherwise, even if you leave the warp gates and command stations alone, and the AI Progress stays nice and low, you'll be in for an incredibly long game with 80 planets or more, when it doesn't really need to be that way.  More on this below.

  • Take only certain planets. Planets that have either a strategic value (e.g., choke-points) or material value (e.g., lots of metal or crystal) should be taken. All others should be cleared and have the command posts and warp gates left alive.

Yes, just take whatever is of strategic/material relevance (material value, choke points, as well as data centers, advanced research stations, advanced factories, or other special ships that you find that are desirable to capture).  For the others, there's not point in clearing them -- they will rebuild themselves over time if you leave the command posts there.  That's what lets them do the reinforcements to the planet (those, and special forces command posts).


  • Destroy only certain warp gates. I'm not really sure what the point of the warp gates are (despite the intermediate tutorial) but apparently enemies attack periodically through them. Leave them be except on strategically important planets, even though some attacks may come through. (This suggests a ship/station idea, "warp suppressor" which prevents a warp gate from operating or reduces its capability.)

Warp Gates let the AI warp waves into your planets (either the planet of the warp gate, or the neighboring planets).  You'll want to destroy most warp gates near your planets, when possible, and warp gates that are not near your planets have no relevance to you, so are probably a good thing to skip.  There's some more info in the wiki about this:  http://arcengames.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=AI_War_-_Gate_Raids

Also, this in general about priorities:  http://arcengames.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=AI_War_-_Starting_Out

The primary way to prevent warps against your planets is by destroying the warp gates, which comes at an AI Progress cost.  If you want another way, there is indeed already a Warp Jammer style of Command Station (you can unlock it, then build it with your colony ships).  That comes with a steep metal/crystal cost, though, and you only get a few of them per player.  All in all, an AI Progress of 600 is not bad for the end of an 80-planet game, though it is a bit on the high side for a 40-planet game.

  • Build defenses. The enemy is going to send waves at you regularly, so make sure you pay attention to the wave alerts and have appropriate defenses in place. (What do the wave alerts mean exactly? Do all attacks only come in waves, or can enemies just move through wormholes like normal?)

AI players can come through like normal, if you destroy the ships they are guarding, or if they are just patrolling around.  However, the primary way they attack you is with the waves, which are new ships coming in from outside the galaxy.

  • Research. Raid planets for research and carefully consider what you and your partner research. (Giving ships to partner: What are limits on that? What if they can't build them themselves?)

You can't give a ship to your partner if they haven't unlocked that ship yet, or if giving them the ship would put them over their ship cap.  Otherwise there are just far too many avenues for abuse, as my alpha players demonstrated for me. :)
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Offline Revenantus

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Re: Need Strategy Advice?
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2009, 10:47:28 AM »
Take only certain planets. Planets that have either a strategic value (e.g., choke-points) or material value (e.g., lots of metal or crystal) should be taken. All others should be cleared and have the command posts and warp gates left alive.

This is absolutely true. As destroying Command Stations and Warp Gates, along with a few other structures, increases the AI progress level, a planet is only worth conquering if the benefits gained from such outweigh the increased strength of the AI. As you've already suggested, the main factors affecting a planet's value are;

  • Economic Value, measured by the number of resource points a planet contains. It is also worth considering the metal:crystal ratio of a world if your resource gathering/demand is somewhat biased.
  • Position. Is the planet an effective base for launching future scouting missions? Would holding the planet form an effective buffer between you and the AI, reducing your number of fronts and allowing you to concentrate your defensive forces in a smaller area? Would taking the planet bring you closer to the AI's homeworld? Does the planet hold logistical benefits in linking areas of your domain together? Additionally, you must consider how difficult it will be to defend the planet once it is taken, does the planet contain links to a large number of hostile worlds?
  • Special Structures. The presence of Advanced Research Stations and Advanced Factories immensely increases the value of a world. Although a double edged sword, the presence of Ion Cannons can increase the value of a world in many cases, given that they can make defense of the system considerably easier if captured.
Unfortunately, there is not always a clear choice of world to attack, in these cases you just have to accept the lesser of the evils.

Destroy only certain warp gates. I'm not really sure what the point of the warp gates are (despite the intermediate tutorial) but apparently enemies attack periodically through them. Leave them be except on strategically important planets, even though some attacks may come through. (This suggests a ship/station idea, "warp suppressor" which prevents a warp gate from operating or reduces its capability.)

If the AI has a warp gate in a system adjacent to one you control then it can warp ships into your system via the corresponding wormhole. Consequently, it is often worth launching Gate Raids, in which you specifically target the Warp Gate on the AI world and then leave upon its destruction. This is an important reason for considering how many adjacent AI worlds a system has, so you can determine how much you would have to raise the AI progress level in order to make the system secure. Bear in mind that destroying a Warp Gate does not mean that no ships whatsoever will come through (especially against Special Forces type AIs) and so you will likely still need some form of defense at the wormhole.

You may also choose to launch raids against Special Forces Command Posts and Astro-Train Stations.

A strategy that can sometimes work well is to only leave a single adjacent AI world with a Warp Gate. This way you will always know exactly where the AI's warp waves will come in. A minor caveat on difficulty 7 and up - destroying all adjacent Warp Gates will cause the AI to warp it's waves into one of its own systems, and then fly them to attack your worlds. Since the AI is not warping ships directly into one of your systems you will not receive any warning that the wave is on its way.

Link up with ally. Take the planets between your home bases so as to provide a solid, safe base of operations.

This is beneficial in that it generally reduces your number of fronts, and allows your forces to support each other. Good tip.

Build defenses. The enemy is going to send waves at you regularly, so make sure you pay attention to the wave alerts and have appropriate defenses in place. (What do the wave alerts mean exactly? Do all attacks only come in waves, or can enemies just move through wormholes like normal?)

AI ships can, and will, come through wormholes regularly, even when not being warped in via Warp Gates. For this reason I generally place a few turrets on each wormhole, including a couple of tractor beam turrets. Placing a few ships in free-roaming defender mode (V+Right Click) can also be very handy in this regard (Once we get our Garrison Commands this will be even easier :D). Remember that as the AI progress level increases your defenses will have to be upgraded accordingly - planets that were safe at the beginning of the game may begin to falter under the pressure. Consider building Harvester Exo-Shields on worlds that are under sustained attack.

Placing engineers in systems will help to maintain your turrets, particularly from those evil Astro-Trains on the higher difficulties. If you place the engineers into free-roaming/attack-move mode they can maintain a number of wormholes by flying between them, however, flying between wormholes takes time and it may be necessary to deploy multiple engineers. Investing in the Tech II teleporting engineers eliminates this problem. Engineers cannot repair themselves so they function synergistically in pairs. You could also invest in counter-negative energy turrets to protect against Astro-Trains.

Have a "mobile front." Don't build everything in your home planet and then send it to the front; the world's too large. Periodically pack up and move so your supply lines are shorter.

Placing space docks in multiple locations is useful for emergency defense. I'll quote a post I made in a previous thread that addresses a couple of the issues here - any criticisms you may have of the argument would be appreciated.

Quote
My argument against your engineering shuffling strategy is as follows;

First, let's assume that I have invested in 3 engineers and I am accelerating ship construction at a dock in system A. I now want to move production forward a single system to system B. I therefore construct a space dock in system B and start flying my engineers there. My engineers reach the system and start accelerating the second dock. The problem is my engineers have been doing nothing useful in the time they have been flying to system B. If I had decided to continue producing ships using my engineers in system A and then flying the ships to system B, there would now be more ships in system B. No matter how long I continue to produce ships in system B the total number produced will always lag behind what I could of had by continuing production in system A. The point here is that engineer travel time is detrimental to production. Suggesting that the engineers could just stay in the one place is again a net loss as using the raw resources to directly construct more space docks would have been more efficient in that case.

Consider the alternative strategy of placing a space dock in every system you control (or even just building all of them in your home system, although this slightly dubious, as I will come to in a moment), it follows from the above argument that constantly constructing ships at each dock and ordering them to your front line will result in more ships than could be obtained by shuffling engineers forward. Having a space dock in each system is also useful for defensive purposes should a scenario requiring emergency reinforcements arise. Even if I hit peak production capacity using this method I will still have achieved it more efficiently than if I'd used engineers for assistance - a net gain.

The argument against this building strategy is the reduced level of reactivity, in that it is harder to quickly change your ship mix, as the resulting changes from editing dock production schemes will not come into effect immediately as a number of your ships are having to travel to reach you. Your reactivity is reduced more significantly the further your docks are from your front line, which is often a long way from your home world, hence massing all production there is questionable. Fortunately the effects of this reduced reactivity can be greatly mitigated by good planning.

Now, I will almost always have an engineer on a planet that is adjacent to a hostile world for maintenance purposes, and if he is not doing anything else then he can assist the docks - this is useful but does not affect the points above. Constructing lots of engineers early and dropping them off one by one on planets ties up a large number of resources early that could have been used for military ships, and the huge amount of resulting engineer travel time is very damaging. Also I often have engineers with the fleet to repair ships, these can also be used to accelerate docks when not doing anything else but again don't affect the points above because any engineer that were to leave the fleet to become a production assistant would require replacing, which would cost more than a space dock etc...

By the time I reach the end-game the cost of constructing a few extra space docks near the AI home world to boost the fleet is negligible next to the cost of all those unused engineer hours caused by shuffling them forwards.

Research. Raid planets for research and carefully consider what you and your partner research. (Giving ships to partner: What are limits on that? What if they can't build them themselves?)

Knowledge is by far the most valuable and scarce resource. 'Guerilla Research' is a highly effective tactic. Bear in mind when doing this that Mk I Science Labs are not immune to Ion Cannons, whilst their Mk II counterparts are. The Mk III Forcefield excels in this area, although it is extremely expensive. While it may seem obvious, be extremely careful what you spend your Knowledge points on. Investing in something that you don't really need and then realizing that those upgraded bombers would have been pretty darn useful right about now is a pain (trust me, I know).

What else?

Be wary of targeting the AI Command Station in a system too early - it can occasionally be a good way of drawing all the AI ships towards you for quick destruction, moreso early on, but when it goes wrong it goes really wrong. As you may already know, when the AI Command Station is destroyed there is a 50% chance that the AI ships guarding command posts will desert and attack you. Where possible, they will travel through the wormhole network and wreak havoc on your worlds. In a particularly powerful AI system this can spell doom. There is also a 50% chance that AI ships will desert their posts when your own Command Station completes construction.

Become familiar with the relative strengths of each ship type. Effective positioning and targeting will greatly minimize your losses. A good example of this is ordering groups of fighters to fly off and attack AI cruisers before they come into range of your main fleet, thereby protecting ships such as bombers. This tactic is especially important when the range of the relatively strong ship type is shorter than the weaker one - if the fighters were to stay cocooned in the protection of the main fleet they may never come into range of the cruisers that are attacking your flanks.

Where possible, capture Ion Cannons rather than destroying them.

Build forcefields over Advanced Factories, having these destroyed in bombing raids is dire.

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Re: Need Strategy Advice?
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2009, 11:03:23 AM »
Very interesting post, Revenantus, thank you. Makes me wish the Wiki was open to everyone so we could start building a set of "player strategy" pages. (I'll leave it as an exercise for the Moderator on how to integrate the SMF and MW user databases for SSO.)

A minor caveat on difficulty 7 and up - destroying all adjacent Warp Gates will cause the AI to warp it's waves into one of its own systems, and then fly them to attack your worlds.

Interesting. So, the waves will come no matter what; they will just go into some (unknown) system and fly to attack me if there are precisely zero warp gates adjacent to all of my planets?


I'll quote a post I made in a previous thread that addresses a couple of the issues here - any criticisms you may have of the argument would be appreciated.

Quote
My argument against your engineering shuffling strategy is as follows;

First, let's assume that I have invested in 3 engineers and I am accelerating ship construction at a dock in system A. I now want to move production forward a single system to system B. I therefore construct a space dock in system B and start flying my engineers there.

The main thing that I don't understand here is why do you fly the engineers there at all? Just destroy them and rebuild them in the new place. That will happen very quickly, but cost 90% of the resources to build them.

My "forward mobile base" I envisioned as perhaps 6-18 engineers and 6-12 constructors. When I want to move them, I'd just destroy the old ones and build the new ones in situ. This way would lose only a few minutes of construction and cost a bunch of resources.

Starships, given that the later ones take upwards of an hour to build, would be built on a safe, well-defended planet and then flown to their destination.

Become familiar with the relative strengths of each ship type. Effective positioning and targeting will greatly minimize your losses. A good example of this is ordering groups of fighters to fly off and attack AI cruisers before they come into range of your main fleet, thereby protecting ships such as bombers. This tactic is especially important when the range of the relatively strong ship type is shorter than the weaker one - if the fighters were to stay cocooned in the protection of the main fleet they may never come into range of the cruisers that are attacking your flanks.

This is a great tactic. I sometimes do this as it is, although not with such a fine grain understanding of the strengths and weaknesses. Usually I'm sending the fastest ships off against something I really need to get killed right now.

Thanks, and cheers!

Offline Revenantus

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Re: Need Strategy Advice?
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2009, 11:26:57 AM »
A minor caveat on difficulty 7 and up - destroying all adjacent Warp Gates will cause the AI to warp it's waves into one of its own systems, and then fly them to attack your worlds.

Interesting. So, the waves will come no matter what; they will just go into some (unknown) system and fly to attack me if there are precisely zero warp gates adjacent to all of my planets?

Precisely, so it's actually detrimental to destroy the last one.

I'll quote a post I made in a previous thread that addresses a couple of the issues here - any criticisms you may have of the argument would be appreciated.

Quote
My argument against your engineering shuffling strategy is as follows;

First, let's assume that I have invested in 3 engineers and I am accelerating ship construction at a dock in system A. I now want to move production forward a single system to system B. I therefore construct a space dock in system B and start flying my engineers there.

The main thing that I don't understand here is why do you fly the engineers there at all? Just destroy them and rebuild them in the new place. That will happen very quickly, but cost 90% of the resources to build them.

My "forward mobile base" I envisioned as perhaps 6-18 engineers and 6-12 constructors. When I want to move them, I'd just destroy the old ones and build the new ones in situ. This way would lose only a few minutes of construction and cost a bunch of resources.

As you say, scrapping the engineers costs you 90% of the resources required to construct them - this adds up, as would time lost flying them about. Constructing all your ships on your front lines is only hugely beneficial if you're also losing ships at a high rate, which seems to occur as one nears the AI home world. Personally, I feel that for most of the game the distributed construction scheme provides better returns - only towards the end do I set up a forward construction base.

Also note that boosting docks with engineers is not the most efficient method of construction. Building a single dock and boosting with 3 engineers cost 8200 Metal and 4100 Crystal and allows you to build a Tech III Cruiser every 7 seconds. For 8000 Metal and 4000 Crystal I could build 8 space docks, this allows me to produce a Tech III Cruiser every 3.75 seconds - obviously this is much more efficient.

Engineer assistance is, however, very useful in an emergency where you need to boost production in order to defend a system but do not have time to construct additional space docks.

Even boosting each dock with a single engineer (which provides the greatest returns) is less efficient than multiple space docks.

Quote
Starships, given that the later ones take upwards of an hour to build, would be built on a safe, well-defended planet and then flown to their destination.

Agreed.


Offline x4000

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Re: Need Strategy Advice?
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2009, 12:30:23 PM »
I've set up a new community wiki that anyone can edit.  Have fun!  http://arcengames.com/communitywiki/index.php?title=AI_War:Fleet_Command
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Re: Need Strategy Advice?
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2009, 02:26:47 PM »

Offline Revenantus

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Re: Need Strategy Advice?
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2009, 04:11:38 PM »
Great start on the Strategy Guide btw.

I've just finished my article on factors affecting the strategic value of systems - I see you've already started a section on this topic in your Strategy Guide so I've added a link in the 'Don't Capture All Planets' section.

Here's a link to my article - improvements/suggestions appreciated!

http://arcengames.com/communitywiki/index.php?title=Factors_Affecting_The_Strategic_Value_of_Systems

Offline x4000

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Re: Need Strategy Advice?
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2009, 10:18:19 AM »
Looking good, both of you!  I'm quite impressed.  :D
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Strategy help requested
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2009, 11:05:23 AM »
Hi all,

Last night's play session was a tough one. It was our first game with 80 planets, all ships, 1 AI Progress per hour (irrelevant, we played only six hours), and two level 7 AIs (Random Moderate and Random ModerateEasier). A few questions on strategy came up which I wanted to get the community's feelings on.

First, I just don't know how to "leave a planet uncaptured" safely. As soon as I was able to survive all the incessant waves of incoming raiders, I killed all the warp gates near me (save one) and then captured the two planets which connected my partner and my home planets. Then, we picked the "remaining warp gate" planet and strongly reinforced the wormhole there. (Since it was a level 3 planet with an ion cannon we couldn't really attack it anyway at that point.) Then, we went on an expansion spree, where our intent was to kill the remaining scary warp gates and leave the orbital command posts.

My friend spent about three hours attempting to do this. He's a big turtle and just couldn't get satisfied that he had "his" planet (with zero resources) locked down, and after several hours just said "screw it" and killed the command post so it wouldn't keep reinforcing. Okay, that's all well and good, but...

I cleared out (except for the command post) one planet on my way to a good sector (with 7 resources). When I finally locked down the farther planet, the interim (AI controlled) planet somehow built up a really large defense. (It also had lots of V/Core ships according to the Intel summary, though I didn't see any except "A" ships, so maybe that's a bug.) I noticed this as I attempted to get my colony ship - and then a small fleet of mobile builders (both with escorts) through and the first attempt got eviscerated.

So, how do you deal with having a non-owned sector just sitting right there in the middle of your planets? How do you keep it secure for travel, etc?

Next... Every sector I attacked had several (sometimes 7) "Special Forces Command Posts." What exactly are these, and what does the AI use them for? I can take them out easily enough with a fleet of cruisers (while defending against everything else), but still, they were annoying.

Finally, I think the Engineer logic may need work. They really should repair each other as the highest priority when they are near each other and they could repair one another. For whatever reason, I never once saw an engineer (Level 1) repair another one during yesterday's play session in enemy territory. I might have not been paying attention, but they just kept getting picked off, although with a slightly lower priority than those captured "reinforcement" ships that make all the ships around them stronger. (I love those.) They should also rebuild higher-value targets first, or at least repair starships first - after engineers and mobile repair stations, that is. What exactly is the Engineer "fix stuff" algorithm? I not infrequently see them decide to fly somewhere far away when there are plenty of ships nearby to fix. Can I have the game display to me their current intended flight pattern when they're automated?

Is there a mobile counter-sniper unit? Why is there such a heavy limit on counter-sniper turrets even though you can have some crazy number of sniper turrets and sniper ships (well, the enemy has the sniper ships anyway)?

Anyway, it was a great, but very frustrating game. I took 4 planets, but only wanted to take 3 because I couldn't figure out how to leave that forth one secure but not taken.

Thanks, and I welcome insight, corrections, criticism, and help!

Offline x4000

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Re: Strategy help requested
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2009, 12:25:52 PM »
First, I just don't know how to "leave a planet uncaptured" safely. As soon as I was able to survive all the incessant waves of incoming raiders, I killed all the warp gates near me (save one) and then captured the two planets which connected my partner and my home planets. Then, we picked the "remaining warp gate" planet and strongly reinforced the wormhole there. (Since it was a level 3 planet with an ion cannon we couldn't really attack it anyway at that point.) Then, we went on an expansion spree, where our intent was to kill the remaining scary warp gates and leave the orbital command posts.

That sounds good to me -- also killing the Special Forces Command Posts that are near your planets can make it so that you have fewer ships wandering into your planets.

My friend spent about three hours attempting to do this. He's a big turtle and just couldn't get satisfied that he had "his" planet (with zero resources) locked down, and after several hours just said "screw it" and killed the command post so it wouldn't keep reinforcing. Okay, that's all well and good, but...

It's very difficult to have perfect security on a planet unless you completely take all of the adjacent planets.  Then those bear the brunt of warps, etc.  For turtles, starting with a small number of hostile wormholes and then taking all of the adjacent planets is usually the best way to feel comfortable -- that's what I do, as a semi-turtle myself (moreso in other games than this one), incidentally.

I cleared out (except for the command post) one planet on my way to a good sector (with 7 resources). When I finally locked down the farther planet, the interim (AI controlled) planet somehow built up a really large defense. (It also had lots of V/Core ships according to the Intel summary, though I didn't see any except "A" ships, so maybe that's a bug.) I noticed this as I attempted to get my colony ship - and then a small fleet of mobile builders (both with escorts) through and the first attempt got eviscerated.

If you don't kill the command station, it will keep reinforcing at the command station itself and at the wormholes.  You'll want to kill the command post if this causes too many problems for you.  The anti-starships arachnids (A) are actually Mark V, so that's all fine.  The AI brings those out when you threaten their planet with too many starships.

So, how do you deal with having a non-owned sector just sitting right there in the middle of your planets? How do you keep it secure for travel, etc?

The only way to do that is to kill the command station.  Then the planet can be non-owned by anyone, which has the benefit of not opening you up for raids (and that it is relatively safe for travel, except whatever happens to wander through), but the downside that you don't get the resources there, and yet you upped the AI Progress by 10 by taking the command station.  Trying to keep the AI Progress too low is not needed, in my opinion, except for extremely advanced play (for instance, on difficulty 10 I can't think of any other way that someone could possibly win).  For regular advanced/intermediate play, I would expect the players to take 20-30 planets on an 80 planet map, with all of the AI Progress increases that entails.  Whether the players choose to actually occupy all said planets, or whether they take some of them and then leave them empty as buffer planets, depends on the map and the players.

Next... Every sector I attacked had several (sometimes 7) "Special Forces Command Posts." What exactly are these, and what does the AI use them for? I can take them out easily enough with a fleet of cruisers (while defending against everything else), but still, they were annoying.

Looks like you were playing against at least one Special Forces Captain.  I've added this to my list for the wiki, but basically the special forces command posts are command posts that are not guarded, but rather feed the "wandering" ships that the AI uses.  All AI ships are either (1) guarding, (2) special forces / wandering, or (3) actively engaged in attacking you / pursuing you through your planets.  When there are a lot of special forces command posts, you'll have almost no guards at that planet, but a lot of the special forces units wandering through their and your planets.  That can make wormhole defense a lot harder, but it can also make it comparably easier for you on the attack.  Most AI types only have a single special forces command post per planet, and not even at all planets -- but the Special Forces Captain uses all special forces posts, no regulars.  That can make for a very difficult early game, in general.

Finally, I think the Engineer logic may need work. They really should repair each other as the highest priority when they are near each other and they could repair one another. For whatever reason, I never once saw an engineer (Level 1) repair another one during yesterday's play session in enemy territory. I might have not been paying attention, but they just kept getting picked off, although with a slightly lower priority than those captured "reinforcement" ships that make all the ships around them stronger. (I love those.) They should also rebuild higher-value targets first, or at least repair starships first - after engineers and mobile repair stations, that is. What exactly is the Engineer "fix stuff" algorithm? I not infrequently see them decide to fly somewhere far away when there are plenty of ships nearby to fix. Can I have the game display to me their current intended flight pattern when they're automated?

Holding the Ctrl key will show you where they are currently headed; they don't think any further ahead than that.  I'll look at this to make sure that they are actually able to repair each other, and to make sure that there isn't anything wonky with the rest of the logic.  If your ships are all being shot a lot while the engineers are trying to repair, however, then that will really mess with their logic -- they can't repair anything that has been shot in the last 3 seconds, including themselves, so that makes them a lot less effective during actual battles, as opposed to after.  If you want something that is highly effective during battles, you want the mobile repair station and the space tugs that come along with it.  Those also have specialized ones for yanking just starships, which can make a big difference there.  Engineers are really more meant for non-combat situations by comparison.

Is there a mobile counter-sniper unit? Why is there such a heavy limit on counter-sniper turrets even though you can have some crazy number of sniper turrets and sniper ships (well, the enemy has the sniper ships anyway)?

There is not yet a mobile counter-sniper turret, but that is already on my list for future DLC.  All of the counter-shot ships are rather limited, because they provide perfect protection in the range of their effect.  They are limited in the same style as force fields or fortresses for this reason, rather than being treated like regular other turrets.

Anyway, it was a great, but very frustrating game. I took 4 planets, but only wanted to take 3 because I couldn't figure out how to leave that forth one secure but not taken.

Sorry it was frustrating, but I think a lot of that probably came from just wanting to take too few planets.  Securing your hinterland around your core planet (or other heavy-resource planets, occasionally) tends to supersede most other rules about which planets to take.  The main thing to avoid, when taking planets, is just taking a planet for no reason.  Don't just strike out in some direction because there is low resistance, for instance.  And it's also good to hop over hostile planets that you don't need, but which guard something you want to capture.  But protecting your borders is important, and you shouldn't feel too constrained in that regard.
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Offline Admiral

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Re: Strategy help requested
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2009, 12:49:42 PM »
Thanks for all the info. I read on the other thread about the fact that the two players need to work/attack together. That would probably help too. We basically treated it as we had done in a 2 player v some # of AI SupCom game, where we independently did our own thing most of the time with the occasional gifting of resources.

Speaking of which, what about adding gifting metal and crystal directly, instead of just ships? Maybe at some reduced rate? Also or alternatively, set a threshold above which part (or all) of your income goes to the other player(s), aside from the 300,000 standard?

I will probably try an 80-planet game this weekend, solo. I wouldn't mind an option saying "choose randomly from among these AIs" when you do your super-advanced multi-page options release. That way I can turn off annoying AIs like the Special Forces Sleazoid. :D

The anti-starships arachnids (A) are actually Mark V, so that's all fine.  The AI brings those out when you threaten their planet with too many starships.

You might want to review this? I started seeing them all over the place (and their annoying engine destroying power) when the only starship I had was a scout starship - which is my preferred scout. Later, I had 3 Light Starships as well, but they killed one off (probably due to my inattention). I don't know what "too many" means in this context.

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Offline x4000

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Re: Strategy help requested
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2009, 01:01:10 PM »
Thanks for all the info. I read on the other thread about the fact that the two players need to work/attack together. That would probably help too. We basically treated it as we had done in a 2 player v some # of AI SupCom game, where we independently did our own thing most of the time with the occasional gifting of resources.

Sure thing.  And that sort of strategy can work sometimes -- each of you doing your own thing -- but for the bigger planets in particular, you'll want to work together.  The need for teamwork increases the more players you have.

Speaking of which, what about adding gifting metal and crystal directly, instead of just ships? Maybe at some reduced rate?

There was a lot of discussion about this in older threads, and this is on my list -- basically, via a Trade Post or something similar.  There was a lot of discussion about whether to do this at a reduced rate or not, and in the end we decided not.

Also or alternatively, set a threshold above which part (or all) of your income goes to the other player(s), aside from the 300,000 standard?

This, on the other hand, is not on my list.  I like it.  I'm adding this as a later addition for the Trade Post concept.  Most likely I'll implement the other first, and then this as part of a later DLC update.

I will probably try an 80-planet game this weekend, solo. I wouldn't mind an option saying "choose randomly from among these AIs" when you do your super-advanced multi-page options release. That way I can turn off annoying AIs like the Special Forces Sleazoid. :D

Option to avoid certain AI types for random selection -- got it. :)

The anti-starships arachnids (A) are actually Mark V, so that's all fine.  The AI brings those out when you threaten their planet with too many starships.

You might want to review this? I started seeing them all over the place (and their annoying engine destroying power) when the only starship I had was a scout starship - which is my preferred scout. Later, I had 3 Light Starships as well, but they killed one off (probably due to my inattention). I don't know what "too many" means in this context.

It depends on how paranoid the particular AI is, usually.  And often, leaving a starship at their planet for a long time will cause them to reinforce with more and more of them.  So I imagine this is working correctly, except the AI really shouldn't consider Scout Starships when they are making these decisions.  So I'll make that adjustment, and you won't be seeing so many of these after that. :)
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Offline eRe4s3r

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Re: Need Strategy Advice?
« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2009, 05:11:36 PM »
Ok, i need strategy advice  :)

- First off, i have a really painful enemy combination (Fortifying type with LOTS of MK3+ defenses and Snipers Mk3's everywhere (which also leads to yet another AI where constant cross-planet attacks with MK3+ come about

What is there against snipers and deflectors? You might say they don't do a lot of damage, but i have seen snipers decimate my 500 ship fleet to 300 just while i was research raiding! The Heavy defenses take forever to go away and the AI seems to prioritize my cruisers and bombers (only thing that has decent damage against MK3 snipers ~.~) so always constant attacks specifically on my cruisers. Also there are sniper and long range missile turrets everywhere

The only way for me to even destroy my targets (spec ops posts/gates for now) is to send in massive amount of MK1 and MK2 tanks (god are those heavy hitters) and snipers seem to do little against them, usually at least my mk2 tanks come to the gate and spec ops.. but getting them *back* is impossible ;p

Ehm, help? What to best do against the Fortify type AI ? DIF 7

Also, does the handicap also change my damage values? Because i was playing at 50% recently and it all seemed to die much faster than now (the anti-blob function does the rest ! ~.~)

Also my first ADV Lab gave me.. Snipers.. i rolled on the floor - Now i can do a sniper battle but sadly that doesn't really help me much (they die like flies ;p) and they do nothing against spec ops posts ;p

Just scrolled a bit up - That answered the rest of my questions already ;p
« Last Edit: July 30, 2009, 05:21:47 PM by eRe4s3r »
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