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A New Beginning Sun, 23 February 2020 20:54 Go to next message
ricks03 is currently offline ricks03

Master Chief Petty Officer

Messages: 98
Registered: January 2012
Location: NC
Much like all of my recent games, this Stars! game was hosted on TotalHost, a Stars! web hosting platform I created. This is the 7th game hosted on TotalHost. While designed much like Stars!Autohost, TotaHost includes additional features: game creation; dynamic player management; built-in player delay ability; a shared news feed; detection (and even correction in some cases) of common Stars! cheats; recover a lost .H file; restore from backup; automatic inactive player inactivation; race upload, storage and display; reset a dropped player password. Other features (like generating a movie at the end of the game) are imminently pending.

This game came about as the direct result of the end of Miles from Nowhere. Miles had two players drop out within two turns of one another in the late 30s. We'd had one player who hadn't been ready to start when Miles started, and another player who was interested in playing, so I just started over. Super frustrating, as my new battle cruisers were coming on-line!

New Beginning had five players in a small universe, slow tech, dense, distant players with Accelerated BBS. The game victory condition was 100% of all planets (so the game victory conditions wouldn't trigger), but the agreed upon convention was uncontested ownership of more than half the home worlds (so 3 of 5).
We normally play that two single turns go by (2400, 2401), and then I force generate two turns at a time until year 2430. I used to play force generation until a couple of people asked for it to slow down, but determined over the years that Year 30 was the same time every time.

The Early Years
I'd selected a fairly generic HP JoaT (handicapped some 300 points). I started off in 2400 just south of center of the map. I had a huge gap to the east, a larger one to the west, and another air gap far to the north. In 2401 I was in first place--there were likely no PP or IT in the game.

With NAS I detected my easternmost neighbor by 2402, also pinpointing their home world and suggesting they were either JoaT or WM. I also discovered an 80% planet 63 ly of my home world with a high germanium content, and a 45% world 47 ly out.

By 2404 I knew the player to my east was not experienced--his ships were moving Warp 4. I could see my neighbor to the north, providing a good grasp of the general location of his home world as well.

In 2406 I identified another 80% planet two years away. In 2408 my eastern neighbors (the Luddites) were aggressively scouting my way. I found another 80% planet far to my north, and immediately sent my colony ship that way, to establish a northern border. Still in first place, I was happy.

In 2410 I found a 90% planet along that northern border. I'd told my colony ship not to colonize with precisely that expectation, and redirected it. By this point the Luddite were scouting on my side of that air gap, and I started negotiating borders. In 2412 I also encountered and destroyed a scout of presumably my western neighbors (the KuoToa) identifying them as Stealth given the advanced scanners on their scout. It was this turn I hit Con 4 yet still below 50% population. Time to start moving people out on Privateers. But I dropped to 2nd place.

(My scouts and general borders for much of the game without the .h file data)
2414 started a pattern--each year build enough transports and colony ships to move enough people (and germanium) out. I still had no colonies, but a number of choices to be selected by distance and germanium content. The Luddite to the west suggested a border that was on "our" side of the air gap. I needed to buy enough time to get colonies (and an established border) up. The Luddite also found our home world. I dropped again, now in 3rd place; not a great sign.

In 2416 the Adivani sent their initial greeting and I exchanged pleasantries. At that point I know of two of their colonies, and could extrapolate back to their home world likely at Beta. The cluster of stars to our north fell right on the obvious border.

By 2418 I still had one player I had zero contact with. I had the Luddite to my right, the Kuotoa to my left, and Adivani above me. That left the upper left and upper right for the remaining 5th race. Either way, the Adivani (now known to be HE) was going to have 2 "Sectors" of space likely uncontested. Not a good sign. Time to start rallying those on their borders against them. We'd finally established a preliminary border with the Luddite to our right. I had no real contact with the Kuotoa to our left, but they'd already started laying minefields. At the same time, I wanted to get as far north as possible, and relations with the AdivanI was promising from our side.

By 2420 I had three colonies and was still holding on to 3rd place. Shipping people and minerals was at full swing.

In 2422 I received good news - I'd moved into 2nd. In a game with a resource curve, that was a good sign. The Gargle, in the upper right corner, warned our scouts away. The Luddite suggested the AdivanI was tri-immune. A tri-immune can be scary, but not if I could rally others against him. HE also have a major flaw--no star gates. Even in a universe this size he'd have a problem concentrating firepower.

In 2424 I moved into first place, a position I would never again relinquish. I had seven planets all starting to ramp up. I could see the Luddite whenever they sent ships across the gap, so I always knew where they'd be. I had managed to set a reasonable border between us and the Adivani to the north. We'd negotiated borders at this point that gave us more space than each of the associated neighbors. The only exception was the Adivani, because they had an entire region of space to themselves.
We had at least interest from all of our neighbors to trade tech as well. But I was starting to reach the point I needed a war. We'd grown up to our borders. The AdivanI was, really, very far away. Our hab ranges were different enough that they were willing to provide planets (although still well out of reach of our travel range). I offered them planets that weren't in our space. Turns were still generating two years at a time, providing a surprise advantage I was loth to give up. Actually I needed two wars. I needed to get the Adivani under attack. By this point I had everyone else agreeing they were a threat. Once they were under attack, I could go to the left or right of me without having to worry about the Adivani coming after us! I wase also seeking wormholes. By that time I'd scouted much of known space. At the time I believed there should be two pairs (later learning only one) and I hadn't found anything.

By 2431 the Luddite were starting to colonize right along our proposed eastern border (on "our" side of the gap). That would be a real problem once star gates were in play. The Luddite were starting to invest in warships and bombers to go after the Adivani (hopefully). But the Kuotoa and I was still haggling over borders. By 2432 I'd decided to go to war with the Kuotoa, although still in conversations and negotiations with everyone. I'd also noticed an odd fluke in the scoring windows. While our victory condition was "Own 100% of the planets", I'd attained the default "Exceeds second place score by 20%"; I was now 20% ahead of whomever was in second!

By 2433 I knew the Luddite were well ahead of me in Energy. The Gargle and the AdivanI was at war. I had 13 planets. While the Kuotoa were a better opponent (as our hab ranges were similar), the Luddite were FAR closer. I continued to foster fear of the Adivani.

By 2435 I could see a huge Luddite fleet headed to Adivani space. I had offered the KuoToans the option of either joining us, or being our target, and they'd (wisely) chosen to join us with 5 year terms. I began to trade tech, intermittently gaining electronics from them for years afterwards. I was also coming to terms with the Gargle. Far enough away from us to not be a problem, but nice to have that out of the way. I was trying to gain them as allies against the Luddite, but having encouraged an active war with the Adivani, I couldn't quite talk them into another one!

By 2437 the Gargle were trying to arrange a 3-way alliance between me, them, and the Adivani. The Adivani had started providing us Energy tech, the Kuotoa Electrical tech. Ostensibly the Luddite were sending us tech as well, but I had plans for other ways to gain tech from them. At this point, rightly or not, our best guess was they were in 2nd, also making them an ideal target. And I had concluded them WM (based on intel from the Kuotoa), and attacking before they had battle cruisers seemed like the right choice. The Gargle had committed to attacking the Adivani on 2441 which should take both of them out of play for bothering me. I was starting to gain tech from all over, Energy from the Adivani and Luddite, and Elect from the Kuotoa

2440 The main Luddite battle fleet stopped at Squidcakes, on the upper right corner of our space. Ostensibly to refuel on the way to the Adivani, but there for 5 more turns--a potential threat. I was working at racing up the tech tree for coloidial phaser for frigate stacks. I spent the next few turns girding for war, building up a bomber, frigate, fuel, and mine-laying fleet.

2442 The Gargle informed us they would attack the Adivani in 2 more years. I agreed to a 5-year treaty with them, explicitly excluding the Luddite

2443 I began construction of frigates (wolverine diffuse shields and colloidial phasers) .

2444 Complete construction of 91 of those frigates with gates to consolidate them. Learned from the Gargle that (in theory) they had tech 3-6-5-8-1-1. I was at 7-11-5-8-5-4. The entire Luddite fleet was still hanging off our border. I could see the Gargle fleets at war with the Adivani, which should keep both of them tied up. Given the Luddite lack of minefields, their closeness (known to have the tech for mass drivers) and that our best guess was they were in second, our fleet started to move--towards the Luddite. Hopefully I could recoup the cost of war from gaining their Energy tech.
This was a game crux point. I had a solid alliance with the Kuotoa, the Adivani and Gargle were at war (and our relations with both were relatively solid). If I could quickly knock out all the Adivani on "our" side of the gap, we'd be able to see any Luddite response coming for at least 2 years. And if I caught their main fleet, I'd wipe it out and they'd have nothing left. Fast enough and I could get to their home world with the second wave of ships.

2445 With the frigates consolidated and on the move, time for the next fleet. I was thinking I'd start having to deal with missiles and star bases, so started constructing a cruiser fleet (roughly the same tech as the frigates).

2446 I STRIKE! With some careful chaff sweeping of the minefield, the fleet takes Squidcakes from the Luddite. The Luddite fleet finally moved on the Adivani, so I missed in by one year. Darn it! But other strikes along the border take Icarus to the south, and Lunkadoo in the middle.

2447 I finally found wormholes which connected my far east flank to the middle left/west edge of the board, on the edge of the Adivani space. If the worm holes were to hold long enough, I'd be able to strike the Adivani from two separate borders.

2448 The Luddite fleet retreated from Adivani space, and from us. That left that fleet completely out of play (and indeed, it was never really in play again, except for a threat I had to consider when going after their home world years later). I moved on to take another two Luddite worlds (and badly damage more)

By 2449 all the Luddite planets along our border were gone (but one 400 colony I left for a potential future snack). Our two main fleets were close enough to consolidate while crossing the gap towards the Luddite home world in 2-3 turns. The Adivani and Gargle entrenched in war. No idea what the (SS) Kuotoa were doing, but overall their growth was stalled, and I was playing well with them. We'd gotten a steady stream of Electronics and Bio tech from them in trade for a variety of other techs.

In 2451 I was sitting one year out of Crabby, the Luddite HW, with 41 cruisers and another 60 frigates. Even if they overgated their entire fleet that had fled Squidcakes, our victory was assured. Even so, I stalled one year to clear out the minefields (I think, don't quite recall, except that I didn't have enough ships I was willing to chaff sweep with), and see if that fleet was going to show up. Gargle reported their tech as 3-7-5-9-3-2, where I was at 10-12-5-9-6-4.
2453 I gain orbit of the Luddite HW, although with its heavy defenses it would take a while to bomb out. I warn the Gargle I now claim space formerly known as Luddite. The Kuotoa report tech of 7-7-5-9-8-6, where I are at 10-12-6-9-6-4.

2454 With the Luddite surrender, I tried to talk the Luddite into mostly evacuating the planets I could live on, so I could rapidly capture those planets intact. I even change our battle orders to not attack their unarmed ships so they can withdraw. By this point I'm in no hurry; I was researching and growing. There are few Luddite worlds left, and no immediate need for that fleet elsewhere. The plan was to capture a world, build a gate, and gate the fleet home. The Adivani and Gargle are invested in war (both reporting the war as going well).

2455 The Adivani report they are 3rd with a score of 328 (ours at 935).

2458 The Luddite show up to evacuate their home world, but I destroy their freighters. Oops. I fix the battle orders. With a minefield up and troops on the ground at Crabby, time to clean up the surrounding planets. With a guardian force of 50 frigates protecting the bombers and minelayers, the main fleet moves on to capture nearby Taton which I can live on.

2459 I prep Taton for colonization, and move on to capture Nod.

2460 DISASTER STRIKES. When I adjusted my battle orders, the main fleet was not instructed not to not fire at unarmed ships, but to not fire at anyone! While I had overwhelming military superiority, that matters little if my fleet never opens fire. My entire offensive military presence erased.

In the end tho, it really didn't matter. The Luddite were crippled and appeared to know it. They never mounted a counterstrike, and I held their space. I pulled all the support ships back out intact (to later join the fleet(s) headed thru the worm hole). Instead of building a new fleet, I held off for research (and for any potential counter design). The Luddite were at least 3 turns out from any populated planet. Those worlds of mine the Luddite might reach we'd see coming, and they had no military of consequence. It did mean that I just left the Luddite alone after that.

In 2462 I started construction of Juggernaut BBs. Instead of maxxing them out, I cloaked them 80% in the hopes not only that I could strike the Adivani by surprise, but delay awareness by other players. If for some reason the Luddite became a problem, there'd also be a surprise waiting for them. With a north border of the Adivani, and a southeast border with a wormhole to the other side of the Adivani, I began construction to strike the Adivani from both sides. In 2465 I launched my offensive against the Adivani with 14 BBs across 2 fronts, and 2 types of bomber fleets--those designed to remove all factories, mines, and defenses from worlds I couldn't live on, and those designed to capture planets I could live on intact. If I got pushed back out, I could at least cripple to buy time. Shortly behind that fleet was an upgraded, uncloaked fleet in case the other weaker fleet had to deal with jammers or more computers.

But it wasn't necessary. A multi-pronged attack across three fronts with packets backing them up? The Adivani planets folded underneath the fleets. With the Adivani having no gates (HE) once I'd wiped out local resistance the fleets needed little support to spread out and destroy. I eventually lost the wormhole, but it was too late for the Adivani. I started taking multiple Adivani planets every year starting in 2466.

One (hopeful) advantage of striking through the wormhole with cloaked ships was the Gargle not realizing until too late that while they were at war on one side of the Adivani, the other side was disappearing. In 2471 I took the Adivani home world. The players ceded that there was no way to recapture either the Adivani or Luddite HW, and the game ended in 2472 with me as victor.

For most of the game I had the entire universe under scan, and much of it pen scanned. I'm used to using NAS for the points. I wasn't used to the sheer amount of intel NAS combined with JoaT provided.

I normally play with a point handicapping system I've developed over the years. This game convinced me to remove one of the penalties - 50 points for playing a race played before. While that does impact me a fair amount (having played them all) it's also less of a handicap for me, as I've played a fair amount. But for players who have not, encouraging them to play a different race disproportionately handicaps them.


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Re: A New Beginning Mon, 24 February 2020 07:00 Go to previous messageGo to next message
iztok is currently offline iztok


Messages: 1192
Registered: April 2003
Location: Slovenia, Europe
Congratulation on winning!

> For most of the game I had the entire universe under scan, and much of it pen scanned. I'm used to
> using NAS for the points. I wasn't used to the sheer amount of intel NAS combined with JoaT provided.
Yeah, that's why in most games JoaT isn't allowed to take NAS. JoaT doesn't lose much with NAS, but gains a lot.

BR, Iztok

[Updated on: Mon, 24 February 2020 07:01]

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Re: A New Beginning Mon, 24 February 2020 10:39 Go to previous message
ricks03 is currently offline ricks03

Master Chief Petty Officer

Messages: 98
Registered: January 2012
Location: NC
iztok wrote on Mon, 24 February 2020 07:00
> For most of the game I had the entire universe under scan, and much of it pen scanned. I'm used to
> using NAS for the points. I wasn't used to the sheer amount of intel NAS combined with JoaT provided.
Yeah, that's why in most games JoaT isn't allowed to take NAS. JoaT doesn't lose much with NAS, but gains a lot.
Recall that mention of a handicapping system? I'd "paid" 120 points to be a JoaT with NAS. So I gained a lot, but I did pay a bit more for it than you might expect.


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