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Fledgling Admirals IX (FA9) Mon, 08 October 2018 20:17 Go to next message
Altruist is currently offline Altruist


Messages: 1038
Registered: August 2005
Location: Berlin

Fledgling Admirals IX (FA9) has ended.
Announcement of the game with setting, rules and special handicaps.

After a surprisingly democratic election the rulers of the remaining empires of the universe voted unanimously that the alliance of
the Cops, played by talkingbologna
the Cubes, played by mrvan
has won the game.

Persistent rumours that the election was heavily influenced by the presence of battleships equipped with armageddon missiles and mega disruptors are probably no exaggeration.

Congrats to mrvan and talkingbologna !!!

They started the game as advanced beginners (mrvan) and intermediate (talkingbologna). I reckon now we rather have to assess them somewhere in the to be feared category of higher intermediate/advanced Stars players.

Special handicaps for the advanced players dlrichert and platon79
First off I want to really thank dlrichert and platon79 who were willing to play in this beginner to lower intermediate game as advanced players to give us a suitable player number. I gave them ridiculous handicaps making it near impossible for them to win and reducing them to the role of a kind of annoying pirates... at least so I thought until I discovered that they, however, managed to build over 100 dreadnoughts (dlrichert playing WM) and the supposed to be 1-worldwonder of platon79 got to 13k resources. Thanks for this kind of shown sportsmanship against all odds.

In the announcement I said I'd reveal the special handicaps of dlrichert and platon79 after the game. Both players sent in race files with 120 leftover pts and of which I had the impression were either already tuned down or gave me 2 race files for my choosing. As a next step I added further handicaps and then sending back the race files wether they would be willing to play with "this":

platon79, S-S, 1WW: Wonderboys (157 leftover pts)
# generalized research (to severly slow down especially the start)
# hab minimized and shifted to left (as host knowing that all other players had right shifted HW... that was really mean because it destroyed all hope of taking over HWs of other players)
# factories from 15/8/24 down to 15/9/24 (additionally slowing him down)

dlrichert, -f WM: Broken (207 leftover pts)
# generalized research (to severly slow down especially the start and absolutely devasting for a -f)
# no RS (which is really ugly for a -f WM)
# 1200 colonists generate 1 res (instead 1000): crippling an already weak -f economy even further

The host's perspective and some questions
From my (always limited) host's perspective it was a smooth game with very nice, friendly and responsive players and no drop outs. Thanks also to Little Eddie to keep me updated with some emails from time to time.

I do encourage all players of FA9 to write down their perspective of the game to share it with the others.

It would be also helpful for perhaps future games I host if you could write some lines about your impression:
1) Did the announcement prepare you properly for the game?
2) Were my comments on your sent in race files in any way helpful or did I overdo it? Less, more, no need at all... or did I even give wrong advice because the game developed completly different/suited not at all your game style?
3) During the first 20 turns I occasionally sent around some emails with introductions and infos to certain aspects of Stars. Was it actually helpful for you? Did you read it? Did you follow some of the "further reading"-links? Are there any specific topics which, especially in retroperspective, were missing and you could had needed?
4) Did the turn schedule suit you? First 30 turns: 5 turns/week, afterwards 3 turns/week. Or should it had been slower, let's say 2 turns/week after turn 50?

The game
m1 Twi'Leks: AngeLwitcH. beginner, SD
m2 Broken: dlrichert, h.int/adv, WM
m3 Joroovians, TheJorrus, rusty, CA
m4 Varki, Novice052, beginner, IT
m5 Cops, talkingbologna, intermediate, IT
m6 Sabeans, LittleEddie, rusty, CA
m7 Cubes, mrvan, adv.beg, CA
m8 Wonderboys, platon79, advanced, S-S

Start of the game, 2400:

End of the game, 2468:

[Updated on: Mon, 08 October 2018 20:31]

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Re: Fledgling Admirals IX (FA9) Tue, 09 October 2018 05:00 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mrvan is currently offline mrvan

Chief Warrant Officer 3

Messages: 185
Registered: May 2014
Thanks altruist for hosting this, and thanks also to all others for a great and instructive game!

Some notes from my (cubes) perspective:

* Race design:

The cubes
CA, 60 points left (mandatory) in mincons
3x medium 1 in 7; 19% PGR
1:1000; 14/9/15/3g; 10/3/14
weap cheap, rest exp@3

Thanks to pre-game conversation with Altruist and some testbedding I decided +TT wouldn't be worth it in this game. I figured I didn't need stellar hab due to instaforming, so could afford pretty good factory settings even with the 60 points that had to be leftover. I also found out what a pain NAS is in human warfare, that will not be such an easy point mine next game Smile

* Early game

(Going from memory and old .m files here, so probably some misses and mistakes)

Did fairly aggressive scouting and settling to get a decent territory. My direct vicinity was mostly red, but there were good clusters of green planets towards Jorroo (S), Varki (SE), Cops (N) and Wonder (NW). So I immediately got into some skirmishes, popdropping some of Jorroo and Varki's early colonies and then sending in my best diplomats to explain that it was all a misunderstanding and we really wanted peaceful co-existence. An attempted landing of Zeta was thwarted by his 5 or so DDs making short work on my 2 DDs, and this established the final border between us.

Looking for possible alliances, the best options seemed to be Sheba or Cops. Varki would also be interesting but they refused to communicate other than through in-game messages, which made it really difficult to establish trust. In the end the Cops and I decided to ally because we had complementing PRTs (CA for adjusters, IT for gates) and mostly complementary hab (left vs right shifted rad), while Sheba and I shared both PRT and had overlapping habs.

* First Sabean war

This meant that there were a number of possible early targets: Varki to the SE, Sheba to the S, Jorroo to the SW, and Broken/Wonder to the NW. Varki seemed weak, but had mostly poor planets for us. So the main question was going south or northwest. We quickly found out that Wonder was 1WW and SS, and that Broken was WM, so we figured that an early war was not to our advantage as our long term potential should be much better than theirs, also knowing that they were 120 points short and had an unspecified handicap. So after some negotiations we agreed to evacuate the Putty cluster which was relatively close to W's HW and establish a NAP with 10 turn notice. I'm still not sure whether evacuating Putty was a good deal, it was close to W's capital, but of course being 1WW it would be B that was getting the planets - and the four planets were all pretty good to us. I guess the question is how the alternative (early war or skirmish there) would have panned out).

Thus, we went south. We built up a small fleet of DDs and some bombers, and hoped to get a suprise attack on Sheba's HW by planet hopping around 2425. This failed spectactularly and we quickly learned that it is really difficult to win a war when you are at tech and resource parity, as by the time our fleet arrived he had had 3 more turns to build ships, which in 2425 is a big difference.

Most of the fleet survived however, and since Varki still seemed weak we decided to send the DDs east and indeed could easily conquer his HW and second world around 2435-2440. It didn't buy us a lot of good planets, although the second HW certainly helped and it meant that the NE corner of the map was fully ours.

* The fate of the Jorrovians

After our initial differences with Jorroo we arrived at a pretty good understanding. His worlds were juicy, but there were so many other enemies and both of use were in the center of the board, so it seemed more strategic to collaborate. After he was getting attacked by Broken, we bought Truck Stop (a strategic gate location for us) for a small fleet of CCs, but we had underestimated B/Ws cruisers and they were decimated. It might have slowed down the assault though, and Jorroo never lost his HW even after his ally the Twi'Leks decided to realign themselves with Sheba.

* Second Sabean war

While conquering the Varki we built up a second generation of CC based ships. Sheba did the same of course, and no decisive advantage was reached. We did have a battle in deep space in 2438 where we killed about 30 of his CCs but decided to use that to continue developing rather than pressing a small advantage. We had also set up some effective tech trades among ourselves (Cops C for my W) and with Jorroo (N for W), so in 2445 we had the tech for W16 BBs. These were sent south and after a bit of cat and mouse, capturing Latte and especially Cetus for a strategic IT gate, we were able to confront Sheba's fleet in 2453. It was not a fair fight, with W16 BBs against W10 CCs, and we killed most of Sheba's fleet of close to 200 CCs with our 27 BBs, losing around 10 beamer BBs in the process. His fleet gone, we were able to spread out and make some quick conquests of his territory. Not too long after, however, he had BBs of himself and we had to regroup and the conquest stagnated, especially because he cleverly added some computers to his BBs so he had higher init that us. This meant that unless we could outnumber him, we would have big losses without even scratching his paint. So we regrouped everything near his HW (which we had conquered by then) but never dared attack his fleet as it was keeping pace with ours. Apparently he felt the same, so we ended up staring at each other. He did conquer the orbit of the recent western conquests (around Marge/Adam), but had no bombers.

* End of the B/W NAP

After the victory on Sheba's fleet we stopped building more ships and instead went full-on economic development and research. We got the Mega-Poly shell from the MT, and although it was a lot of research to get to N14L14, it seemed worth to us because if provided penscans and jamming, making our BBs much more useful, especially since we knew we might be facing DNs at some point, and the tech would also give us better shields and computers. At the same time we got W24 for Arms and disruptors, giving us our presumed final BB designs in 2460.

This was just in time, since B/W had given notice on the NAP in 2440, so from 2450 hostilities were fair game. This caused us to keep a relatively large fleet on Oasis and some skirmishing, but it seemed that B/W were also working hard to tech (presuambly to C16) and build a fleet. After a first feint on Oasis, Broken moved his fleet to Putty, and we gathered ours on Halsey. We would have prefered Lekgolo (since more planets were 1 jump from Lekgolo), but Halsey had an infinity gate.

* Game over

Sheba front: Most of the W24 ships were needed north right away, so we kept in defensive posture on the southern front. I did notice that the Sheba planets had no defenses built and no mass drivers on his orbitals, so I decided to fling some mass packets, killing 2 of his planets (miscalcuated on the third) and possibly McIntyre on the last turn. Together with the new recruits now being sent down this would probably have been enough to kill off Sheba, but of course we thought that a couple times before Very Happy

B/W front: After gathering fleets for at least 3 turns, it seemed to be about 100 diruptor, 10 sapper, and 15 Arm BBs against just under 100 DNs. Doing some battle sims told us this should be complete victory for us: After the beamers kill his chaff and our sappers his shields, the Arms do impressive damage. 20 disruptors with full capacitors also pack quite a punch. Interestingly, the extra armor and slots of the DNs meant that is was almost equal in terms of firepower vs dp, but our init advantage and missile support tipped the scales. So we attacked Putty (with a packet flung from Lekgolo to kill the orbital and population), but his fleet dodged to deep space.

Then we got the game over message. I guess Broken could not avoid his fleet getting killed the next (coming) turn, and Sheba was reduced to too few planets to be able to really keep up significant ship production?

* Lessons learned

- Fighting against an SD is really annoying with new mine fields popping up in mid space all the time. We did a lot of chaff sweeping, but you don't always have the chaff where you need it and they run out of fuel all the time. It helped a bit to have a dedicated throwaway sweeper in the end, also allowing us to target his sweepers while still at his planets, assuming they might move to deep space.
- Fighting against an SS is also really annoying with new mine fields popping up in mid space all the time. We had to design specialized scanner ships and interceptors, listen to mine sweeping messages, and hunt down his ships. I'm sure we spent a lot more resources on counter-measures than he spent on disruptors and he got a lot of intel all the same.
- Fighting with NAS is really annoying. I sent a steady stream of scouts against enemy worlds just to keep tabs on them, and never had an idea of what happened in the interior. After getting the MPS from the MT I built a 97-% cloaked penscan ship (AWACS), that really helped getting information. The screenshot below shows scanner coverage at 80% (ISB), not bad for a NAS Smile
- Early wars are really difficult and should presumably be avoided unless you know that you have a clear tech advantage or surprise.
- Having only mainline battleships is very limiting since there is a lot of skirmishing going on around the main battle field. If you're afraid to lose a ship it gets really difficult to react to enemy ships, scouts, mine layers etc.
- Since fleets can very easily move between planets, especially with gates, it is quite difficult to predict where an enemy will attack or defend. So attacking is difficult except with overwhelming force, and on defense I guess you just need to accept that you might lose a planet and hope that you can kill the fleet later?

Screenshot of last turn:

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Re: Fledgling Admirals IX (FA9) Tue, 09 October 2018 05:06 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mrvan is currently offline mrvan

Chief Warrant Officer 3

Messages: 185
Registered: May 2014
And a final note on RL tech use:

I'm a programmer by training (as I suspect a lot of stars! players are), and I used quite a lot of technical tricks to help:

- I set up automatic donwload, merge, sharing, and archiving of our m files (Cop/Cube and later Jorroo)
- I used wine + command line calls + R for doing a lot of battlesimming, often running multiple scenarios each 20 times and getting statistics of the results
- I used R for analyzing planet reports to calculate (1) which world would need minerals in 3 turns and which had overflow; and (2) planet values (current and terraformed) for me and Cop for all planets to divide the spoils of war and spot possible swaps.
- I got really addicted to Stars Calculator for bombing, mineral packets, and overgating damage, and ChaffSweep for, well, chaff sweeping. I wish it gave confidence intervals Smile
- I used the stars!.xls excel sheet to understand mine fields (with help from the boards to understand that the warp is actually minimal safe warp)

Any suggestions for other must-have tools are welcome, and I'll happily help people use any of the stuff I developed for sharing and simulating (see https://github.com/vanatteveldt/starstools)

Edit: resources per year:


[Updated on: Tue, 09 October 2018 07:30]

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Re: Fledgling Admirals IX (FA9) Tue, 09 October 2018 07:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
talkingbologna is currently offline talkingbologna

Chief Petty Officer

Messages: 82
Registered: November 2016
Location: 1947
I'll provide my version of the events Twisted Evil after I have the new game's race ready.

To Altrist:
1) Yes, I felt fairly prepared, as well as can be expected.
2) Your comments were invaluable. RS and gbox checked helped considerably. I'm not sure how much to share, including my race design, before it becomes hazardous to future games.
3) I'd read much of what your suggested reading in the year I'd spent learning Stars! before joinng SAH, but refreshing my memory helped my beginning game, as I'm sure it will again in Vanilla.
4) Turn schedule was fine. I assume it's the best that can be expected for a game without proper multiplayer options, including players from all over the world and different time zones.


[Updated on: Tue, 09 October 2018 07:51]

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Re: Fledgling Admirals IX (FA9) Thu, 11 October 2018 13:13 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mrvan is currently offline mrvan

Chief Warrant Officer 3

Messages: 185
Registered: May 2014
And to answer Altuist's questions:

1 and 3) Preparation and information was fine. I also (re)read most of the relevant strategy articles in preparation and during my previous two pvp games. But it's good to point this information to people as there is just so much info out there.

2) The race advice was really great. It is difficult to discuss race design in detail for pvp games on the public board because of the small community, so it's really nice to be able to talk with someone. In fact, I might mail you for advice on the upcoming Vanilla game Smile

4) Schedule until 2450 or so was fine, but I was getting really overwhelmed after that (also because RL became pretty hectic). If the game would have continued 2 turns per week would have been good for me. I guess I also need to get better at MM, but at the same time I also like having the time to talk strategy, do battlesimming, etc, so a particularly difficult turn can easily consume 4 hours (e.g. running multiple battlesim scenarios)

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Re: Fledgling Admirals IX (FA9) Sat, 20 October 2018 00:43 Go to previous message
talkingbologna is currently offline talkingbologna

Chief Petty Officer

Messages: 82
Registered: November 2016
Location: 1947
Wouter pretty much covered what went on on the viewer side of the curtain. A few additions to the drama though:

Cop troops land on Moonbeam.

"He's got a gun," one shouts.
"Stop resisting!" says another, nightstick in hand.

After the Varki have been all but wiped out, the Cops' Chief Commander holds a press conference to reprimand those cops who have been stripped of duty following their brutality. He promises that the majority of cops aren't that way, and the people should still trust local law enforcement.

Later that night, the higher ups are sitting in a lounge sipping spirits, shaking hands.

At the officers' table--seating the Chief Commander of Police, his underlings, and some Cube leaders--the Cops' Chief Scientist, a man with frizzy white hair and a pointed beard, demonstrated the latest test results for the warp 10 engine on the newest battleships.

The body of the former Chief Commander of Police is quietly disposed of in a weapons test.

For three years, the Chief Commander has been supposedly ill, not admitting any but his Chief Scientist to his bedside. A new battleship is constructed in secret for "observation."

The perfectly orchestrated coup goes off without a hitch. Anybody still loyal to the former Chief Commander is off building lives for themselves on former Sheba worlds.

The new Chief Commander, a man with frizzy white hair and a pointed beard, sits on his throne aboard his newly revealed "observational" super battleship observing the wreckage of the Wonderboys' cruisers at Putty.

The two enemy alliances send their envoys to the Joint Taskforce headquarters pleading their surrender.


Years after contact with the envoys were lost, the scientist's new giant "observational" warship, Nubian class, only one of its kind, has finally tracked down the elusive rebel fleet of hundreds of battleships and dreadnaughts, hiding behind one of the moons of Pantegruel.

The Chief Commander, with a sinister voice, booms, "Activate the doomsday device!"

Moments later, a light streaks across the black at the speed of light into the heart of the enemy fleet. After a blinding flash, the dreadnaughts are no more than a twisted heap of molten metal and debris.

Chief Commander: "Muahaahaahaahaaha HEhehehehehehhahahahahaahh!" A light under the throne illuminates his pointed beard with a haunting glow.

The ground on Pantegruel was salted, the people of Bob are broken, a massive fleet closes in on the expansive Twi'Lek minefields, and a man with frizzy grey hair and a pointed beard reclines on a lawn chair at one of the pristine beaches somewhere on 14 Coli.

School children are taught the folly of resisting arrest, citing what happened to the Broken and the cruel enslavement of the Twi'Leks as evidence.

Thanks for the awesome game guys, I hope PV2018 is just as exciting.

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