Author Topic: Kizor words The Last Federation  (Read 6139 times)

Offline Kizor

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Kizor words The Last Federation
« on: September 13, 2014, 12:34:57 PM »
Hi there. I'll be playing The Last Federation on Nightmare, the hardest difficulty, and blathering about things those familiar with the game will already know. The second-hardest difficulty has started feeling rote, and I want to set myself up for the facepunching of the hardest one before setting myself up for the facepunching of iron man or permadeath.
Read and review, and all that.

I'll keep the combat difficulty on Hard, which is satisfyingly stompy. This does make the strategic map easier by letting me be less careful and get away with more.


Opening



This was not a start I wanted to see.

Who owns the gas giants says a lot about who will come to dominate the solar system.

Sure, a planet with trees and oceans is pretty, but we're on the cusp of interplanetary civilization. (Again.) A society that controls a gas giant can grow to tens of billions of citizens. These two are home to the Burlusts, who want to kill everybody because it's fun, and the Thoraxians, who want to kill everybody and take their stuff. They are respectively the winners and runners-up of the space race.

The player enters the picture as the Burlusts' very own space monster, the last of the solar system's former overlords. This one was a renegade, on a mission to bring manned spaceflight to the other races and replace the failing hegemony of his people with a peaceful Federation. A blast of comeuppance against his race turned his journey into a crash landing on the Burlust homeworld and made him the last Hydral. The Burlust helped themselves to his technology to win the space race. The prize was to have the Hydral hijack their flagship and shoot his way back to his quest to unify the solar system.

"Only then can we be safe from the kinds of atrocities my race committed, and the kinds that were committed against us."



Welcome to The Last Federation, where it's all fun and games until someone drops a moon.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2014, 08:25:08 PM by Kizor »

Offline Kizor

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Re: Kizor plays The Last Federation
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2014, 01:59:19 PM »
Sixth month, 3013
Thoraxian population: 5,862 m




The other races to hold gas giants are the Evucks, and in the first bit of good news, the Skylaxians.

Spreading spaceflight technology was a bigger help to the last Hydral than to the recipients. The combination of a technological base the Hydrals had suppressed, spying, and a very high difficulty level meant that all eight living races had the means to get themselves to space within four solar years. Still, all of the non-Burlust races were very grateful for the leg up, and expressed this with both cash and goodwill.



Nightmare difficulty greatly worsens all diplomatic hits. This includes the penalty for being a Hydral. Groups from several planets ended up using their new-found spacefaring ability to flee to space and get away from me. They took up piracy, preying on anyone and everyone else. In this the new spacefaring civilization is much like the old one.

I did gain the approval of the Thoraxians. Then I pushed them to colonize a moon before remembering that the Thoraxian Hive Queen resents meddling in her affairs.



Marginalizing themselves like this was the best thing the pirates could've done for me. Defending the planetbound civilizations from pirate attacks did a lot to endear me to their governments. With a few gifts of technology and raw materials, I reached a working relationship with the leaders of all races except the Burlusts. From there it's been easy to have my reputation creep upwards with aid and advice. None of the races will ever again be ruled by a Hydral, but to the extent of my resources, they're willing to hear me out.

Wars and the military

I've been spending a lot of time with the Andor parliament. This robotic utopia is based on the charred rock closest to the system's sun. I worry about their population limit, but they can punch above their weight in the political arena thanks to their willingness to make things other than shooty things and things that make shooty things. When the races were just getting into space, my spending got the Andors to negotiate a three-year stop on all new warship construction in the solar system.

Two years into the treaty, the Evucks declared war on the Burlusts, citing the reason "Because they're weak." The Thoraxians joined in half a year later. The way the game handles space power, races that reach space later do a better job of it, giving the Evucks and Thoraxians an edge over the Burlusts even without any reinforcements. I kept the Andors and Skylaxians from dragging themselves into this over honor, but there's little I can do to stop attackers who are itching to fight.

Trade and diplomacy

The beginning of the game is a rush to set wheels turning and put irons in the fire. I've been blowing my nest egg on a long campaign to establish moon colonies and trade routes. Moon colonies mean lunar mining, lunar mining means raw materials, raw materials mean trade routes, and trade routes mean slowly growing friendship and goodwill. It won't unite the solar system, but it can be leveraged for things that can. Every moment I spend doing something else is a moment not spent making the races push closer to each other.



The Skylaxians come in handy here. They're the most straight-laced people in the solar system, good diplomats, and having a gas giant gives them an abundance of moons. Once they're in the federation, they can invite other races to join if their mutual relations are high enough, giving me a possible angle on most of the races in the system.

I worry about the Andors, again. I'd really want them to have a trade route to each aggressive race to help mark them as Not Food, but with the hunk of rock they're sitting on they have a total of one. The pacifist little robots build ships as well as anyone, but train no ground forces at all. I've been pushing them to help the Thoraxians colonize moons. It's more expensive than crooning to the Hive Queen personally, but it pleases her, helping the Andors avoid death at the slavering maws of her billions of nameless monstrosities.



The Burlusts hate me. This was a given after making off with their flagship, but it's hard to describe the depths of their hate. If the word hate was engraved on every square inch of their bodies, that would be disgusting. They've already sent assassins my way, but those passed too close to the Andors and were destroyed. (I reloaded a couple of times to try to avoid this. No such luck. There's good money in dead assassins.)

On lower difficulties I could just challenge their prime warlord into a duel and kill him. The rest of the Burlusts would agree that this was very impressive and that they should be more polite, and after some internal and external warfare a new prime warlord would take up the reins. Here, the Burlusts hate me too much to duel me to the death. :o


Research and construction

The living races don't hold a candle to the Hydlars' technology, but they're quickly outstripping the Hydral's technology. I fly around in a strange mix of Hydral supertech and the equipment of primitives who'd just made it to space: powerful, but not so powerful that I don't have to keep an eye on the others.

I can combine that supertech with a planetary government's backing for joint research projects. I get paid and get some good PR, and we both get the results. I can also skip the side benefits to learn advances they already have. The first thing I researched was a way to research more effectively.



I can win more approval by giving technology to the races directly. I took the time to gather and pass out bomb shelters, planetary ion cannons, and a couple of cheap techs. Planetary defenses won't prevent an invasion, but the guns do give a homefield advantage. Whenever I can, I avoid giving out technology that helps the races advance without me. A friend takes an interest in colonial Africa, and he may have to kick my ass for this.

The war has kept me from running tech to the participants for fear of offending their enemies. I'd mind it more if the Thoraxians weren't already strong enough to terrify me. All the warring races have fortunately developed planetary defenses. Even the Burlusts surprised everyone by innovating their way out of a wet paper bag without picking over the corpses of their former masters. Speaking of, the races occasionally find remnants of Hydral constructions. They can't use them the way I can, but they can understand enough to give themselves a hand. Unless they're the Andors, who gave themselves a pesky computer virus.


Space warfare technology has reached a point where it could give me an edge, but I've been more interested in the impending breakthroughs in construction. They can make property development into a major income source, and as it is I can barely afford to populate the remaining 41 moons.

Still, I have nowhere near the resources of the living races. Their first military and manufacturing outposts have gone up. One was built by the Acutians, who actually like me enough that I could steal it and not ruin our relationship, but before I could act they paid homage to their resemblance to Crow T. Robot by crashing it into a moon. Their economy has also collapsed and they're undergoing a coup.



Fate of the World has taught me that having more popularity than I can use is a waste. And Fate of the World hates waste.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2015, 07:50:18 PM by Kizor »

Offline Kizor

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Re: Kizor words The Last Federation
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2014, 03:21:31 PM »
Nineteenth month, 3025
Thoraxian population: 22,918 m




So about those gas giants being positions of strength.

The Evucks contracted a serious disease shortly before the end of the last update. They then reached a breakthrough in biowarfare which killed half of their own people. By the start of this update their population had fallen to 53 million. Eventually it plummeted to three million, all of them children. While this was, in some ways, hilarious, I took a break from getting my ducks in a row and built them meat vats to boost population growth. Their population rose to some eight million.

Throughout this mess the Evucks managed to keep functioning. Their trade ships went out, the war with the Burlusts continued intermittently, and their highest governing body, the Elders, stayed intact and as bellicose as ever. (Races in The Last Federation only fall to enemy action.) I could help cure them, but I needed the resources of a science station, and there were none in the solar system. With the Burlusts  on the defensive, I saw no need to rush and continued researching a prerequisite to researching a research tech to speed up my research of the construction techs to speed up contracting to the Acutians and building a scientific outpost to let me capture it to let the Evucks use it.

But then the Andors built one, so I just stole that one instead.



My relations with the Andors weren't remotely good enough to withstand this, and they dropped a bit further still when I destroyed half of their retaliation. My hastily hired security force took out the rest. The Andor parliament, being Andors, would still heard my advice. (Relations would've thawed a bit if I had released and not ransomed the Andors I picked up in escape pods, but I made out like a bandit on that.)

I temporarily turned the station over to the Evucks. It'd take ten months to find the cure. The Evucks and Burlusts would remember it for much longer.

Seven months later, the Evucks developed the cure independently.

Three months after that, the research completed anyway, driving the Burlusts to new heights of rage.



Speaking of farces, morale was another one in many parts of the solar system. Low birth rates, depressed economies, and one case of a revolt against the aristocracy in a communist society ensured a steady trickle of new pirates. Their numbers growing unchecked, the outlaws from all over the system banded together and declared themselves a pirate empire. Pirate raids turned from a nuisance to a fixture of the solar system, and I had the Andors' support back before I knew it.

Still, this was a time of adaptation. Space infrastructure continued to grow, and great, free-standing installations became increasingly crucial to the power of their wielders. Trade provided the races with new goods and services. More importantly, it got them used to each other. The Andors got jet packs. The Evucks bounced back to a low, but workable 157 million, helping to ensure their continued annoyance of the solar system.

Wars and the military

The war is stable. The war is stabilizing - "punching bag" is a prime position for the Burlusts. Space battles rage over their homeworld. Occasionally the Thoraxians land ground forces, and the Burlusts kill them all. Thoraxians are superior individually, but the Burlusts were armed for this before the war even started.

Pirate attacks haven't done any major damage, but planetary orbits and the space stations' surroundings are starting to look like another war zone.



Which suits me fine.



Here's that marketing point: turn-based shoot 'em up combat. On Hard, I find it repetitive, but generally satisfying. I crush my puny enemies, but can still screw up and find half my health gone, or get in battles where I have to blow up what I can and flee. There's an autoresolve feature, and aside from utterly trivializing some mission types it works well.

If I lose, I escape but lose a year repairing my ship reload. Combat would be entirely different with iron man or permadeath. Fortunately I can't just park in front of five hundred ships and savescum them all to death: spending turns in combat spends time on the map, and I may well end up defeating an invasion wave while a second one sneaks by.

The game originally shipped with permadeath always on, but that belongs in a game with fewer gravity lances. Freaking gravity lances. I love them.



Each turn the player sets the ship's path, can fiddle with the weapon/shield/engine power allocation, and either picks a weapon and target or uses a special ability. Then the next 2.5 seconds play out. There are turrets, defense missions... it's nothing like a shoot 'em up, but it's smooth, and I haven't had very much trouble with my ship not leading its targets.

I've raided a couple of abandoned Hydral research labs over the years for weapons and special abilities. It was less exciting than it sounds, largely because my initial equipment was very good, but I now have support ships that can't cause diplomatic incidents.

Trade and diplomacy

Trade has expanded more-or-less to capacity in a proud display of obsession. The only races that refuse to trade at all are the Burlusts and the Boarines. I haven't mentioned Boarines before, and they might like it that way.



The Boarines are all right, they're just about as sociable as the average Ur-Quan. They live (at just over one person per habitable square kilometer) on an inner-system planet whose ecosystem broke. There's a replacement, but it's just not the same.

Deals with the Boarines hang on the will of the regent, and the needs of her people are the will of the regent. Those needs have actually been muted, with the Boarines stable and comfortable, so regent Specimen 3023 has been an unusual breed - a supporter of solar unity as the next step for Boarine interests.

This was completely useless. The races weren't ready for it, and neither was I influential enough to have her aid on this. Recently the Boarines had a spot of trouble that made me pour money into assisting their law enforcement and is now a small but permanent blot in their relations with all other races. This convinced Specimen 3023 to focus on infighting. Now watch as they fail to have a regent that supports unity when it would actually come in handy. Such is the Boarine way.

Andors are very diplomatic.



Research and construction

Haha, no. I don't even have those construction techs. I did get a free manufacturing station by fixing up a fresh derelict. It can't make a warfleet (which might be a faux pas anyway) but it helps with the civilian construction I haven't been doing. I leased it out on a three-year term for a marginal gain in relations. The gain used to be substantial, but this led to a particularly amusing loophole.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2015, 06:07:51 PM by Kizor »

Offline Kizor

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Re: Kizor words The Last Federation
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2014, 09:51:15 AM »
Third month, 3036
Thoraxian population: 58,665 m




It was time to start preparing for the Federation. Interplanetary trade had helped, but it'd also just been neighborly by helping to prevent violence and feuding. I decided to invest some of the goodwill I'd built up and stole two more manufacturing stations. One was surrounded by an attacking pirate fleet instead of a defense fleet, but they blew up the same way. I also scored another derelict! With the top-of-the-line construction technology I finally got from the Evucks, I could use these stations better than their builders anyway.

That Africa-liking friend will definitely have to kick my ass now.

The plan is to use civil engineering for social engineering! ha ha ha kill me

This is one detail I really like about the game: the way very different people can ultimately find common ground, whether they're warriors, intellectuals, or mother and mind to a race of monstrosities. It's light on the details, though the Hive Queen has been known to enjoy a spot of telly now and then.



Here's an attitude building. Unlike the ordinary buildings which I haven't shown, the races won't build them by themselves. They deal in culture and exports, and no matter how isolationist the governments are, the effects will get through.

If a race likes me enough, I can spend a king's ransom to bring them into the Federation. If certain races are in the Federation, I can use them to invite races they have great mutual relations with. The targets don't need to like me at all, which is incredibly handy if I attack a senate or two. If the races that can invite are dead, the game may end with blowing up planets. I'll be trying to set up both approaches. Races can join more easily if they're being crushed by a non-member, if they're militarily superior and smug, if the conditions on their planet are truly atrocitastic, etc., but these are more of targets of opportunity.

Founding the Federation will just take two races on good terms with me and each other, and a wad of cash. Forming the last Federation is going to be harder. Once everyone's in it, I win the game!



I started working on the Boarines, who hadn't really grown any more used to alien life over the past three decades. I joined my Hydral supertech and an abundance of regular tech with their resources, and built institutions for knowledge and learning that grabbed the attention of the Skylaxians and the Evucks. Plus I got them to make some sweets. Burlusts love sweets.

Like any proper chessmaster, I also worked on the Boarines by working with the Skylaxians. And that posed a problem. Building up the same institutions wasn't nearly enough in drawing the Boarines from their shell. I could lure them in with hydroponic food exports, but it'd disgust the Burlusts. I could counteract that with confectioneries, but it'd infuriate the Evucks. The Evucks would be mollified by the focus on learning, but it'd annoy the Burlusts. I went with a small amount of hydroponics that gave the Skylaxians steadily improving relations with all three races and would make the Boarines ready to join the Federation in less than thirty years. Yaaay.

Unfortunately, gearing up had made me a much bigger target for pirates.



Those ships aren't attacking. The devs could look into that.

Over the next few solar years I cultivated a shared love of knowledge across the solar system. And some confectioneries. This won races support from the Evucks, the Burlusts, and especially the Skylaxians, and it was a stable combination in the tangle of cultural exchange; that is, it guaranteed positive returns; that is, it wouldn't make anyone nuke anyone. It was the most effective in tying the Evucks and Skylaxians together, but having six races in a cuddle pile was great, and I aimed to get good use out of friend-of-a-friend esteem.



Besides, it was just so endearing.

I'd made the Burlusts start liking other races more and more, and that worried me a bit. It helped keep the violence from spilling, sure. But the Burlusts could poison races that liked the Burlusts against the Burlusts' enemies. (This was as diplomatic as they were going to get.) Just being liked by the Burlusts would soften opinions towards them. It wasn't that big of an impact, and a history of trading with said enemies was a good defense, but not everyone had that.

On the other hand, I got paid for the construction work. Being better at manufacturing lowers construction times, but not the wage per building. I was loaded like an artillery shell.

Decades have passed, and it needs to be said: Peltians!



So here's the last race, the mascots, a bunch of communist barn owls with snouts. They've been sitting on an ice dwarf being irrelevant, which for Peltians means that they've given a good account of themselves. They're not good builders, they're not good researchers, and if they're ever invaded they're dead. Each race has an effective ground fighting strength that combines their numbers, prowess, and technological development.

The Boarines have a population of 209 million and an effective ground strength of 345 million.
The Skylaxians have a population of 552 million and an effective ground strength of 550 million.
The Peltians have a population of 908 million and an effective ground strength of 9 million.

They might fall over as soon as you looked at them or get knocked down by a stiff breeze. Someone on Something Awful was saying that they detonate if handled roughly. Peltians make good partners for researching ground weapons, as an owl with a vibroblade won't be taking anything but an owl without one. I'm fond of the little guys. They know they suck, and they work around it in various ways.

Moving on. The war saw the Burlusts make (ineffective) attacks against the Thoraxian defensive fleets, but the bugs finally started throwing their weight around. The Burlust space forces were crushed, their world bombarded. In early 3034, about halfway through my construction project, I noticed that they still managed to send assassins.

I flew out to meet them.



Then I ran for my life.

When I could re-emerge with a repaired ship, it was 3036, and the races had a new reason to band together.



Wars and the military

I'm thinking "I can fix this" instead of the next part of the plan, and it's great. I'm eating the loss from the battle with the assassins, since I so richly deserve that.

The Burlusts had managed to construct a full system of bomb shelters, so only about a fifth of their population has died off. The orbital bombardment continues and the Thoraxian military is scaring the other races. I need a plan to keep the Burlusts alive. Options, options...

  • Weaken the Thoraxians. This is hard to do without attacking their forces personally. (Which I could do - they like the Skylaxians enough to be backdoored into the Federation that way, no matter what they think of me.) Burlust planetary defense guns are firing, and they have enough targets to last for years.
  • Strengthen the Burlusts. I can develop superior warship technology, and have the other races slip it to the Burlusts easily enough. The Burlusts may have tried to kill me, but they'd still let me harvest the space junk above their homeworld to boost their ship construction, and they have a lot of space junk. The main problem here is that they might turn their newfound strength on someone else than the Thoraxians. I might end up blasting Burlust armadas from the skies of other worlds, which would be pretty cool, but do no favors to our relations.
  • Redirect aggression. Making the war spill over is something I've been trying to avoid. None of the other races (save the Thoraxians themselves) have nearly the ground defense strength of the Burlusts.
  • Call a ceasefire. The Hive Queen would listen to the giant pile of money I'm sitting on, and end the war for three years. It wouldn't remove the reasons for war, and also see item #3.
  • Let the Burlusts die. Getting all eight races into the Federation is a self-imposed challenge. The game's won as soon as there are no living races outside it. The Burlusts have hated me for the entire game and I'm far from getting them to join. They're a danger to others.



    Nah.
  • Found the Federation. ...This is not a bad idea, actually. The Federation alarms everyone outside it enough to militarize by building special buildings. One per Federation planet, in fact. I happen to know that the Thoraxian Deep Tunnels and the Evuck Crystal City are purely defensive, but the Burlust War Incubator is the reason why I haven't founded the Federation before. Why yes, I have dealt with an Evuck-Burlust-Thoraxian war in previous games.

Trade and diplomacy

The Thoraxian threat has alienated the other races much more than it has made them band together. The cuddle pile wobbled but didn't fall as five races' good history with the Thoraxians absorbed the blow. The Burlusts hated the Thoraxians a little more and went on with their lives (or didn't). The Boarines, though, slipped into the negatives towards the Thoraxians. It's not a problem by itself, but I should act on that what with the mandibles and things.

Research and construction

Before the excitement kicked off, I learned and spread some techs I couldn't use. I stole another Andor science station, those are always handy.

Another thing I like in this game is how the player gathers options, whether they're technology, allies, cash, or just really big guns. (Alpha Protocol also does that, but plays a bit differently.) I can have but not actually use many of the techs, having no public to keep in good public order and no domestic economy unless the Hydral was to get really, REALLY bored. The races' technology has been diverging as they advance, so I got and spread some of their civic highlights. Skylaxian mathematics, Andor housing. The Acutians got their jet packs.

A long fight against pirates has given me a whole lot of pilots waiting to be repatriated, raw resources, possibly enough to set up a building in an emergency or patch up relations (giant piles of cesium being a friendly gesture in this solar system), and choice items like my first goat. The careful Hydral keeps a ready goat supply for negotiating with the Hive Queen.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2015, 12:45:13 PM by Kizor »

Offline Kizor

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Re: Kizor words The Last Federation
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2014, 12:10:21 PM »
Sixth month, 3063
Thoraxian population: 60,930 m


Right.

Problem #1: Skylaxian depression



Sorted.

Problem #2: Every pirate in the solar system

These guys finally got a grip and started attacking my manufacturing station. They'd already defeated my security goons. Well, criminal underbelly, taste the other criminal underbelly!



Welcome to the black market. We have many goods and criminals. With a new force of mercenaries protecting the station, I charged the pirate horde and was beaten back. With hired scientists at my call, I strengthened my ship in a flash. With the mercenaries fighting the pirates, the station was out of immediate danger, so I did nothing with my new guns and went off to play politics.

Problem #3: Slacker Hydral

The Peltians didn't have the resources for my meddling program. The parts that I did build were drawing Evuck ire.



...meh. They'd keep.

Problem #4: The Burlusts are still dying

The Skylaxian senate went to work, and the Skylaxian and Andor races were joined in the Federation for the noble purposes of solar unity and upsetting the Burlusts.



Panic building was rife across the solar system as the impact left the Thoraxian threat in the dust. Some races dug in their heels, others bolstered their armies. This showed no sign of stopping as I brought in the Peltians. With this new way to militarize the Burlusts even further, their numbers began to rise.


It's worth talking about the goal of the game, now that it's on the board. The Skylaxians, Andors, and Peltians are still separate races, run their own planets, and have their own foreign relations. However:
- The Federation prevents internal wars. This alone makes it worthwhile.
- External wars are no longer private affairs. A war with any Federation member will constantly damage relations with all of them, and with me. I will NOT want to grow the Federation as fast as possible, or the solar system may tear itself apart. I'm rearranging the map here. I need to do it with politics in mind, and I need to steer politics with growing the Federation in mind.
- By default, being in the Federation provides development aid. Some races can also take it upon themselves to strengthen their friendly co-members, some others can do diplomatic work.
- Federation members will share technology if they like each other enough. The Peltians were greeted with a rush of new tech that I didn't have but the Skylaxians did.
- Anti-Federation sentiment will begin building up. Citizens can turn into demonstrators, who can turn into insurgents, who can attack me and turn into cash and valuable prizes. This is connected to my actions: this one time I blew up a planet, and half of an entire race fled into space to become pirates rather than stay in my Federation. It was great, just the sort of radical readjustment of politics that should follow a radical readjustment of the number of planets.
- I can't steal space stations from members. :(
- The Federation is my child, and what I do reflects on it. The member races might leave the Federation if I abuse them too much.

Problem #5: Abusing the Skylaxians
This was a riot, and it might cause some too! The Skylaxians came under the threat of a massive bioterrorist attack, a threat planned in their top-security orbiting prison. There'd be no government backing on this one. Either I'd blast my way to their private facility and kill everyone there, or half their race would die.


Balls.


Victory!

Problem #6: Boarines

The Thoraxians found themselves on the solar stage, with holographic stations broadcasting adventure stories to appease the Boarines, sports broadcasts to appease the peaceful Andors and Peltians, philosophical academies to appease the sports-hating Evucks, and confectioneries to appease the Burlusts. The solar stage bears much resemblance to a quicksand pit.

Problem #7: Problem #2



Now. Full disclosure. I caused the next mess by accident while I was playing around with the save file, not recording, as it were, this update. But the plans I had would've caused it by accident in the update proper, and this is just too stupid to miss, so instead of changing plans I'm going to cause it anyway.

What I'll do next will be a problem. Possibly the second worst thing I could do aside from comedy options like "Assassinate Hive Queen." (Comedy option may not be comedy in your game. Ask your ship AI if regicide is right for you.)

I'm going to get the Evucks into the Federation.




Boom.

Forget causing alarm, the Federation was now important enough to make enemies. The Union of Independent States bound the Acutians, Boarines, and Burlusts together under the noble goal of not being in my alliance. My place as spokesman would be a constant strain of my relations with the Acutians and Boarines, but the UIS would stay polite with the Federation's member states as long as no member of the Federation was fighting any member of the UIS.

Oh, hey, the Evucks.

Now, the Evucks place just worse than average on the bastard track.



They don't hate you, but they'd prefer if you didn't speak to them and stood over there. Farther. No, farther. They will trade, however reluctantly, and admit the gains from associating with the others. But any deals with the Evuck Elders, even just aiding them, will be treated as unwelcome meddling. Getting them to agree to a three-year truce cost me an arm and a leg.

Like with the Federation, war with any member with the UIS was a problem with them all. It was even more expensive to reach a break in the Thoraxian-Burlust war before the Burlusts could drag them all down into the crushing jaws of the hive. I finally got the opportunity to use the resources and rare items I'd gathered throughout the years. Unfortunately, I used them by franctically throwing them at the black market until I had enough cash to buy off the Hive Queen.

Fortunately, the devs have added a way to deal with the UIS without multiple genocide. If its members were to despise each other more than talk of the Federation, the UIS would fracture and eventually fall. And guess who had just spent years manipulating opinions? The Acutians paid me well for my Trojan: help in establishing exports and culture that would gradually drive away the Boarines and Burlusts.
 
The next six years passed in a rush to raise the money to stamp out the war when it re-ignited. I made a profit on hunting pirates and spent a lot of time in property development. I flew joint combat missions with the Thoraxians to destroy pirate bases in the asteroid and ice belts. This was always a delight - I'd get paid to take the mission, then for destroying enemy ships and stations, and then for returning the pilots I'd picked up to their governments. If I'd had the time, I would've gone with a race that was getting too strong the Thoraxians, farted around while their ships were destroyed, and then swooped in to complete the mission.



The next set of truces didn't cost too many of my possessions. The Boarines seceded before they expired. During this time I did some (paid) work on Evuck-Burlust relations. I couldn't use the old stand-by of sweets exports - they disgusted the Evucks - but there was a way around that.

DEPLOY THE HOLOPORN!



This is one of the more surreal parts of The Last Federation. I used it in a previous game to try to ingratiate a race to an attacker. Imagine, if you will, war survivors living in their bombed-out city when a guy with four heads lands his spaceship and starts setting up studios for Debbie Does Deneb. Anyway, this wasn't a stable setup - it'd cause increasing problems with the Peltians - but potent.

Within these six years I also improved my flagship and held speeches in the Andor parliament that put their pacifier party in power (and at my disposal). This was complacency - when the Evucks and the Thoraxians attacked the Burlusts again, I could only stop the Evucks.

For the next six months I threw myself against the pirates and destroyed about a third of their bases. It didn't net me nearly enough, but then the Burlusts seceded, having done only minor damage to the others' relations with the Thoraxian death machine. I used the money to remove my destructive influence on Acutian society, after building them a few things that'd slowly let relations heal.


Toothpaste, tubes, et cetera.

The Boarine regent of the time still looked outward, and that could be a very valuable thing. I got her support (and she got her fees) in bringing the Evucks and Burlusts closer together, and the truce turned into peace.


All was well.

A long time passed, but there's not much more to tell. The war went on as it always had. The Burlust world was in a sad state, but they didn't flirt with extinction again. With my social engineering about done, I took to building hospitals and universities for cash. I once spent three years on a research project with the Boarines, and the Evucks completed it a month before us. The Boarines and Burlusts inched back to speaking terms with the Acutians, and even the Peltians' objections to Evuck tastes were muted by the ongoing trade.

I armored my ship with everything the living races had, and worked with them to develop a few things more. Then I systematically destroyed the pirate empire, and became richer than I'd been in the days before the UIS. In the early thirty-sixties, I put the minor Andor federationist party in power before realizing that I didn't need to. I visited the Boarines. Their race was thriving and their newly installed regent, Specimen 3051, was another supporter of solar unity. With some spending on my part the Boarine race soon joined the Federation. I then took to the Skylaxian senate, and their decades in the cuddle pile led to the Acutians joining.

Aside from an Acutian mass escape to space, it went over well. I was feeling jovial and had the outgoing Andor pacifiers get who they could into settling on the Andor homeworld instead of taking up piracy. Then I spent considerably more to have the Andors arrange a truce in the Thoraxian-Burlust war (yet still less than it would've cost to go to the Hive Queen - Andors really are the Swiss army knife of the system). Seven months' work and still more spending got the Boarine regent to run interference for me: she smoothed relations enough that I could deal with the Burlusts without offending the Thoraxians.

I turned over every bit of valuable resources that I still had over to the Burlusts. I gave them a suite of valuable civic technologies that they'd missed out on, and when that wasn't enough, better guns. This didn't come close to solving the old hatred, but it was enough to get the ear of the prime warlord.



I repatriated the 189 Burlust pilots I'd picked up, and gave him a set of unscannable handheld phasers. (He also would've accepted some really fine teak.) I pointed out the gap between his feeble fleets and the combined Federation armada, and the Burlusts joined the Federation. When I left they were merely disgusted with me. I ran to the Skylaxians to invite the Thoraxians.



And then they were safe. All of them.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2014, 07:31:11 PM by Kizor »

Offline DrFranknfurter

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Re: Kizor words The Last Federation
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2014, 08:05:28 AM »
I enjoyed the AAR, it made me smile and laugh (mostly at the Holographic channels comment). Thanks for sharing it.

Offline Trygvasson

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Re: Kizor words The Last Federation
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2014, 06:51:55 AM »
Thanks for a great AAR! It's great to discover one of the oh so few people who are willing and able to enjoy this mix of arcade and strategy to the point where they give it a crack at the hardcore level.

After farting around in the tutorial, I set up a Hard/Hard game, and got to the finish with a fair bit of genocide in fairly quick order(3015 I think). At that point I felt like bragging, so went looking for the forum, since for some reason the guy at 7/11 wasn't impressed.

Then I read your AAR.

Nice work, and inspiring enough to make me have another go - at Nightmare/Harder and and no genocide... Actually started off on Ironman, but had a bug issue and got stuck with a bad save, so I'm relying on self-discipline this time around. Wish me luck with the Burlust warlord.

Question: why not use the 'Stymie war production' more - eh - agressively? I'm still kinda fresh at this game, but to me it seems a few thousand credits every 3 years to prevent ALL fleet production is quite valuable.

Offline Misery

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Re: Kizor words The Last Federation
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2014, 08:58:24 AM »
Thanks for a great AAR! It's great to discover one of the oh so few people who are willing and able to enjoy this mix of arcade and strategy to the point where they give it a crack at the hardcore level.

After farting around in the tutorial, I set up a Hard/Hard game, and got to the finish with a fair bit of genocide in fairly quick order(3015 I think). At that point I felt like bragging, so went looking for the forum, since for some reason the guy at 7/11 wasn't impressed.

Then I read your AAR.

Nice work, and inspiring enough to make me have another go - at Nightmare/Harder and and no genocide... Actually started off on Ironman, but had a bug issue and got stuck with a bad save, so I'm relying on self-discipline this time around. Wish me luck with the Burlust warlord.

Question: why not use the 'Stymie war production' more - eh - agressively? I'm still kinda fresh at this game, but to me it seems a few thousand credits every 3 years to prevent ALL fleet production is quite valuable.


Aye, most people I see playing it in videos or whatever typically seem to have the game on normal/normal.  Though I can understand why, as they might genuinely find those tough, or just be totally new to the game.

My own runs have been mostly Normal/Misery so far (I swear I must be the only one that plays it with the combat on that difficulty, but there's a reason why it has that name)....  I typically find the combat at all levels to not be very tough, but then I've played bullet-hell games to death, so dealing with all of that isnt hard to me.   But I'm still learning the strategy side of the game, so that's been on normal up till now.  Though I'll up it with my next go, I think.  Dunno how that'll go.... I'm not very good at long-term planning (cant remember the plans 2 minutes later), which is kinda a necessary thing with this game...

Still, I'd like to see more AAR writeups like this, or LPs, with the game at a higher difficulty than just the default.  Makes it more interesting.

Offline Trygvasson

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Re: Kizor words The Last Federation
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2014, 09:51:15 AM »
Ah, a bullet-head. I'm more from the strategy side, but I do remember putting coins into the 'Space Invaders' machine at the mall...

How do you cope with destroying the Spy Probe on Misery level?

Offline Misery

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Re: Kizor words The Last Federation
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2014, 12:28:17 PM »
Ah, a bullet-head. I'm more from the strategy side, but I do remember putting coins into the 'Space Invaders' machine at the mall...

How do you cope with destroying the Spy Probe on Misery level?

Eh, same way I deal with everything: Dodge all the bullets and shoot everything that needs shooting (I dont remember the details of how that particular mission type works; not one I've seen all that often). And of course depending on the mission, dock with whatever, if such a thing exists.  Of course there's certain times when it's best NOT to shoot, but the dodging still remains nonetheless.  There's also ALOT of fiddling with the power distribution.  That bit is REALLY important on that difficulty. 

You'd be surprised, at what is entirely dodgeable in this.  The game overall is well designed and lends itself to the idea of having a high skill ceiling, if that's the right term.  I've never really run into an unfair situation during combat; even on Misery, something like a 1 on 20 (as in, 20 enemy flagships) can be beaten.  Though it takes bloody forever.  It'll be the same with everything upcoming in the expansion, too, despite the sheer amount of bullets the new stuff puts out.

Arcen's stuff is typically like that on the strategy side as well, definitely.  Which is likely the case with this game.  They really know their stuff with that genre.  I'm typically into strategy games as well myself, but I'm more used to traditional turn-based sorts... this one's "grand strategy" style is rather new to me.  I get a bit lost in it.

Offline Trygvasson

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Re: Kizor words The Last Federation
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2014, 05:42:55 AM »
Ah well it's a moot point now, since the spy probe mission has been redesigned. You're quite right about the high skill ceiling on the bullet-dodging side, but I'd say the strategy part is actually quite easy unless you pile on some extra challenge like keeping all races alive.

In my 3rd game overall, by year 3015 I'm on track to get the Fed going on Nightmare level, with all races alive. While i admittedly do have some strat game experience, there seems to be little challenge with keeping wars to a minimum while giving the 'good' guys a huge advantage. Barring the occasional flare-up, most of my decisions are now this-is-good-but-this-is-even-better. Thing is, Nightmare level brings a lot of grief to the troublemakers, leaving me free to focus on the Fed development needs.

Offline Misery

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Re: Kizor words The Last Federation
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2014, 06:15:24 AM »
Ah well it's a moot point now, since the spy probe mission has been redesigned. You're quite right about the high skill ceiling on the bullet-dodging side, but I'd say the strategy part is actually quite easy unless you pile on some extra challenge like keeping all races alive.

In my 3rd game overall, by year 3015 I'm on track to get the Fed going on Nightmare level, with all races alive. While i admittedly do have some strat game experience, there seems to be little challenge with keeping wars to a minimum while giving the 'good' guys a huge advantage. Barring the occasional flare-up, most of my decisions are now this-is-good-but-this-is-even-better. Thing is, Nightmare level brings a lot of grief to the troublemakers, leaving me free to focus on the Fed development needs.

Hm, did you mean the "dodge the big red orbs" spy probe mission?  I mighta been thinking something else...

If that's the one you mean, with the dropping off of initial tech, I typically just do 2 of them on Misery, and then let the other 6 races become spacefaring on their own.  The spy probe hitboxes (or circles in that case) arent as big as they look, as is typical in many shmup-type things.  I know where the actual circles are, but... ugh.  The OVERLAP.  Just looking at it is a headache waiting to happen.  It's hard to judge things like that when it's all overlapping each other (it works in actual shmups, but not in this case), and then you had to zoom around the whole mess sometimes to find the only entrance, and.... bah.  I was way too impatient to do more than 2.

But yes, that was the previous version.  Though, I honestly dont find the new version all that different... each probe now fires bullets, but for the most part they just sort of create a circular wall around each probe... the strategy becomes pretty much the same.   Well, MOSTLY circular... I can squeeze between some of them with some funky maneuvering.  Still kinda annoying though.


Also, you're right, it can be a bit too easy in the strategy side to keep problems to a minimum.  That seems to be the one major flaw with the game.  In the run I just completed, I was mostly playing a sort of reaction-based style... not much in the way of forward planning, I would mostly do useful dispatches, and whenever some event happened, stop the dispatch in progress, deal with event, and then back to the dispatch.  It's like there needs to be more going on at any one point.

On that note, if you have any ideas on how to make that aspect more challenging, consider making a topic for that on the forums here.... that sort of feedback and suggestions are very valuable to the devs. A higher skill ceiling for the strategy side would probably help to hold players' interest, like it does in AI War.

The actual shmup-ish part of the game is getting some difficulty enhancements with the expansion (the Obscura and other new ships (not the probes though) were done by me and as such are murderous, I didn't do the art/sprites for them though), and the new overall modes might add some difficulty overall as well... but the standard mode, I do think that the solar map stuff could use a higher challenge level.  I havent played on the higher levels in that, but I've seen what the differences are, and I'm getting the impression that I wont have to change up my tactics all that much to beat those as well.  Typically I'm also always trying to keep everyone alive, too.

Heck, the game seems too quick to finish, too, for that matter.

Offline SugeBearX

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Re: Kizor words The Last Federation
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2015, 04:33:35 PM »
This was...amazing! Thanks for linking to it in my SBR thread. :)