Home » Stars! 2.6/7 » Game stories » Once More, Into the Breach has ended
|Re: Once More, Into the Breach has ended
||Sun, 19 September 2021 10:32 |
Registered: February 2004
|Yet another very long marathon game, that worked out to be a very different game than I initially thought it would be.|
I will now try to write up my story from the Pandas perspective. It will be a long thread, so strap in for the ride.
I chose the Joat PRT for this game due to no penalties adverticed for NAS. My race, the Pandas, was also a HP race with HP factory settings (15/7/24), a good amount of mines (10/3/21), good habitability (1 in 3) but all expensive research settings.
I originally thought the game would be more of an everyone-for-himself type of game, with little tech trading and where I would have to gain tech from my enemies by winning battles via superiour numbers due to high resource count and mines. The game went in another way though, mostly due to the fact of the early HAT alliance (Horsemen, Ant and Traders). But let's start at the beginning. I should probably have taken more notes, as it's now 1,5 years or so since the beginning, so be aware that I might misremember some things. Anyway, I started down in the south-east. My next door neighbours were the HawkOnce to the east and the Space Otters to the north. To the west there was a very wide space all the way to the Gruuls. However, early on, I didn't know the space was that wide, and thought the HawkOnce therefore had a much better position than me because his space was much more dense with a lot more planets. Although the initial contact with HawkOnce was friendly, where we even exchanged our hab ranges etc, it quickly soured a bit because of this, as I wanted some planets that was closer to his hw than mine due to the much higher planet count on his side. When I finally met the Gruul though, it was through him that I learned about the big HAT alliance that was swiftly taking planets everywhere in the center.
It was after learing of this that I sent out a message to originally HawkOnce, Space Otters and Pakleds.
If I remember correctly, Pakleds were at war with HawkOnce at this point, and I had grabbed an uninhabited planet or two in hawkonce space, and were it not for the HAT I would probably have tried to join pakleds by attacking from the south.
However, due to the HAT alliance, I tried to get all of said races to sign NAP treaties instead. If we fought it out between ourselves, we would in time be swallowed by the HAT. After some diplomacy, NAP treaties were signed, and this would be the beginning of the southern alliance. Later on, pakleds also brought in the mecacommunists. And the Gruuls would also join. The alliance would at this point be a much more loose thing than the close HAT alliance though, and the Pandas, a long way from the frontlines, would not see action in a while at this early stage. We would form a close relationship with the Gruuls, and the Pandas and the Gruuls planned on having a long and strong relationship. Tech trading was set up, first with the Gruul, later it would also include pakled/MC. Tech trading was a very good thing to happen to my all expensive race.
Things progressed for some years, and then a turning point happened. Perhaps the biggest turning point for my race. The HawkOnce, disgruntled by "this is not the type of game I signed up for", decided that he did not want to be part of this, and opted out. But additionally, and importantly, he also cancelled the 5 year ongoing NAP with the Pandas. (It would end around 2452/53) Hostilities with my close neighbour loomed. This could be either a disaster or an opportunity. I told the other members about this, and as he had not cancelled any other NAPs, and the others were very much occupied with the HAT, I proposed to try to take care of this on my own. So both me and HawkOnce would be occupied with our own war against each other, while the rest fought the HAT. I would still get tech from popdrops and even received some speed trap layers to halt the HawkOnce advance. I then mustered my HP economy for total war. I knew that as long as this was a private war between me and HawkOnce, it would also give me an opportunity to expand into his territory. Compared to HawkOnce I was lagging behind in weapons tech though, and time and again had to fight him with obsolete weapons (the popdrops proved to not help here, I would most probably have gained wp tech much sooner from battles without the wp0-drops...) The war was long and hard, but I chose my battles carefully, and managed to gain ground without losing planets of my own. (At one point I was lucky, when I didn't have the advantage and had to leave a planet, only for his main force to get unlucky and hit a minefield, and the bombers didn't get to bomb because of the cruisers escorting them never closing in to kill of the sb because of battle orders). Anyway, the war turned more and more my way, and it eventually got to the point where everyone thought some of the HATs had to be nr 1 in score, but it was actually me that reached the #1 position because of newly aquired planets and all the points of the factory resources.
At the end of the HawkOnce war, he declared war on everybody, so some of my allies got to get some planets too.
After the hawkonce war, I built a big BB fleet with wp16 beamers to help against the HAT (thouse would soon be outdated though)
After the hawkonce war, some noteworthy things happened. First of all, the HAT also got diminished, as they had to fight both the north and south. The Mecacommunists had been pushing hard for nubians, but decided at this point that he would not share this technology with the rest of the alliance without getting something substantial in return. I think it was also around this time that public player scores were revealed, placing me in the lead. (I had already earlier revealed to my allies that I was #1 and not the HAT, but now the whole universe could see.) From my point of view, the scores were heavily inflated, because yes, I had a lot of resources due to my HP factories, but other people had more planets, and minerals are what counts in the end, not resources. Especially since I also was lagging behind in technology too. So all of a sudden, things could potentially look grim if people started attacking me with nubians due to my score alone (I know some people were talking about it). After the HAT alliance got dissolved with Horsemen and Traders leaving the game, the Ant player became something of a neutral Switzerland claiming to be everyones friend, but trying to play all other sides against each others. Tech trading from both the mecacommunists and pakleds were cut off for me at this point, I still had popdrops with Gruul, but he was also lagging behind in tech. So at this point I decided I had to bite the bullet and pour into research and research cons26 myself. This was a huge undertaking with +75%, and even with my hp economy it took me probably 10 years or more. So for a while, this is what I did. As the Space Otters, a minor player at this point, also was cut of from cons-research, I would also give con24 and later cons26 scrappers to him to keep him friendly, and I also got the last 2 weapon 25-26 levels from him in return.
When I finally got con26 without being attacked in the meanwhile, I researched a few more tech levels and then started building nubians. After the HAT alliance withered, the south was in war with the north, except Ants, who had agreements with everybody. Now I should probably explain a bit about the relationship between the Ants and the Gruuls. The player behind the Gruul is a relatively new player multiplayer-wize, but has played together with the Ants player before. As previously mentioned, the Pandas and the Gruuls had formed a long-term strategic relationship. But after the Ants moved out of the HAT alliance, he and Gruul started communicating a lot. In spite of the long Panda/Gruul relationship I couldn't help but notice that the focus now shifted more towards the Ant. This would eventually become the western alliance. I should probably also mention that the Gruul had allowed the MC and the pakleds to intersettle a lot in his territory. And that he now really wanted to reclaim those planets and consolidate his territory. So the western alliance was founded, and one of it's first action was to be to declare a "limited war" where said planets were to be reclaimed, either by force or my MC/pakleds evacuating. The western alliance was then to include Gruul, Ants, Myth, and the Pandas, although I don't really think Ant was 100% into the Pandas joining too, it was more because of the special relationship that the Gruuls and the Pandas had had, so Gruul insisted on that I should be invited. But I was invited, and I accepted, but was not completely happy with this. I already mentioned to MC/Ant that I would join but wanted there to be a good and fair distribution of captured planets. With the current goal of recapturing planets for the Gruul and me being in the #1 spot, I feared that I would hardly be given any planets at all, even though my forces would contribute a lot. Even worse was what I feared for the future. I feared that the alliance could work great, that we could use a lot of time and resources to slowly conquer the galaxy step by step. Only for everything to be in vain in the end-game where the 3 others would then turn upon me because of the Ant - Gruul special relationship and the "need" to then eliminate the #1 player.
Then enter a surprise offer from the Pakled player. The Pakleds and MC were in a tight spot. Still in war with the north, now the WA (western alliance) having declared itself (but at this point had not declared me to be a member yet); If I too joined the WA, they would be surrounded by enemies on all sides, with a very slim chance of survival. Pakleds therefore offered me a deal almost too good to be true, that would solve my fears about the end-game-situation with the WA: If I joined pakleds and MC instead, and we somehow prevailed in war against both the WA and the north, he would give me the victory.
This would solve the fear that my WA allies would use me and then turn upon me. And in my opinion, would also make a much more interesting and fair game. The WA in the west, the north in the north and pakleds, mc and me in the center/southeast would be an interesting and fair fight, especially since this new alliance would be in war with both the west and north, so even if I was in first place and pakled had the most planets, I thought our chances of actually pulling it off were somewhere below 50%. But it would be an interesting fight. And at this point I very much feared that both the MC and pakled players would drop if I joined the WA, as 2 players with the rest of the universe against them would not be that fun to play.
But I didn't accept this offer. Because I didn't think the host would accept it, due to the stated one player victory rules. Instead I sent an email to the host explaining the situation, and the offer, and asked for his ruling. I also explained to the WA that although I had just sort of joined their alliance, a rules clarification had to be resolved with the host before I could completely ratify the alliance.
I asked the host if this deal would be against the rules, or the spirit of the rules, and as expected I got the reply that it was not permitted. I thought that was it then, but nmid of Pakleds and Robert of the MC followed up on that thread and discussed it some more with the host, and the end result was that he would in fact allow it, (although not recommend it) but that the Pandas in that case would be referred to as the sole winner. I can probably give you the whole communication for that decission if you'd like it, but this thread is getting too long as it is.
So with that out of the way, I decided to break off with the WA and join MC and pakleds. The WA had cancelled their NAPs with MC/Pakleds at this point, and although I still had NAPs, the WA actually preferred that my NAP ended together with MC/pakleds, and that was fine by me. I don't think they knew at this point how many nubians I had been building over the last years, so I was ready to put them to use.
It was decided that we should first try to use most of our forces defending in the west. That was much closer to my back yard too. MC/Pakleds would then try to defend as best as they could in the north with limited resources. As I was not that much involved in the north at the start, hopefully eg nmid can follow up with a thread about that theatre. There was a lot of battles in the west, and at the start, MC/pakled also lost planets there, as the WA had been setting up to annex the area. But my nubian "hammer" as I understand my main force of nubians was called by some, turned the tide. In around 2515, where the turn before, my main force was going towards the gruul HW, while at the same time the base at awk was sniped so that the 1092 Ant nubians there was stranded, a pivotal battle happened at Awk when my main force went there instead of the hw to attack those 1092 nubians. Although I lost around 750 nubians myself (more than my testbeds suggested unfortunately, and including all my torpedo nubians), the main objectives were won: Destroying the main Ant fleet, and keeping the salvage. After that, the western front became much easier, and more ships could also be be sent to the northern fronts. Although there is still a lot that could be said for the years after this, I think I will wrap it up for now. Nmid stayed true to his word, although he eventually both surpassed me as #1 and triggered PPS with him at #1. And although the Pandas will claim ultimate Victory, we will name some bamboo forests throughout the universe in his name.
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|Re: Once More, Into the Breach has ended
||Mon, 25 April 2022 09:25 |
Registered: May 2008
|Short list of things that happened (and things I screwed up):|
1) I very nearly called the game The Players on the Eve of Destruction, due to the then-looming COVID pandemic (and in reference to Consider Phlebas). But even I'm not that bold.
2) I was spooked by some things a couple of people said about pre-game alliances, which is why I kept player names hidden so that I'd be able to spot you making first contact via in-game messages. Except I didn't ban recognisable names, so this idea self-immolated at literally 2400 when Raindancer spotted ccmaster's second world and immediately went to email.
3) The player numbers were determined randomly. I probably should have intervened to prevent the Puppeteers being last, as that gave away the fact that there was only one SD, but I didn't. The unequal player positions were me just taking the first universe Stars! gave; I didn't realise just how messed-up it was but I probably wouldn't have regenned if I had.
4) The Vaaqens drop was presumably because he miscalculated and overgated all but 100 of the pop on his second world into oblivion at 2402 (the starting Swashbuckler is 218kT, and his planets were over 250ly apart, so the damage from two overgates put it over 100% damage; because he'd used the repair-after-gating exploit at 2401 it appeared as less than 50% damage, so he didn't realise). He didn't say anything even when I asked him why he wasn't submitting, but given the timing one can assume it was related.
5) The Charlie Foxtrot with Braindead was a mess and I wish I could have done something better, but I don't see any honourable way I could have resolved it better (I'd previously refused a hold to someone who'd updated his OS and broken Stars - the Catalina/Wine thing, I think - on the grounds that this was within his own control; that precedent controlled what I could consistently do in the Braindead case).
6) I stand by setting off the Puppeteers' minefields around their planets and in deep space, but despite the wincon I did eventually realise that setting off the MFs around other people's planets was a step too far and was edging into sadism. So apologies to XAPBob and Star Daze for that.
[Updated on: Tue, 26 April 2022 12:37]
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