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Fledging Admirals I Sun, 08 July 2007 16:03 Go to next message
Skaffen is currently offline Skaffen

 
Senior Chief Petty Officer

Messages: 90
Registered: December 2006
Location: Germany
Hi everyone,
please forgive me for posting before the official announcement by the host. But if I donīt post this tonight Iīll probably never get around to doing it.

To sum up the gist of the game: the winning move was made in 2404 when the Culture offered an alliance to the Consulari (two ITs seeing each other from the beginning with overlapping habs). Both of us were hoping for a CA ally (of course...) but thought theyīd be hard to come by (boy were we wrong!) so we settled on what we both considered second best.

Our partly overlapping hab never proved much of a problem and the Culture with pen scans, IFE and CE for hordes of minesweepers proved a very efficient complement to the Consulari that had NAS, no IFE but con cheap.

The map in 2474 looks like this (Iīm pretty sure Greg or Altruist will post some more to show the progress of the game, hereīs only the final tally with HWs for reference)

http://www.drew.de/images/FA-MAP_2474.png

Overall, like the alliance, it was a diplomatic victory. Greg and me decided pretty early on after we learned that the Hornets were a -f CA that weīd fight our war in the middle of the BB age after more or less fully built econ and when our IT gating could be used to the best effect. And even though the Culture eliminated the Mikotaj very early and even though with PPS everyone could see that #1 and #2 were allied we were left in peace with NAPs and trade agreements with most races. No big alliance was built in mid-game to go after us which could have made a difference so we were free to follow our plan to devastating effect.

The cast of the game:
#1: Trix, a TT CA (yellow)
#2: Pingguo, another CA, no TT AFAIK (green)
#3: Ousters, AR (red)
#4: Mikotaj, another AR and early victim of the Culture
#5: Hornet, -f CA
#6: Consulari, IT (light blue)
#7: Culture, IT, (dark blue) (IFE, NRSE, CE, OBRM, 0.31-3.2, -120 - +120, 42 - 86 (1/5), 19%, 1000/12/9/14G, 10/3/14, all expensive, W cheap, start at 3 not checked, 100 leftover points (factories).

A note on CE: For most of the game not a problem at all, maybe a colonizing mission delayed for a turn or so but overall very easy to live with. Only when the shooting really started did it become very annoying and some Hornet planets survived longer than they should have because the fleets didnīt move.

As for the game:

In 2405 the first Mikotaj scout was spotted and from the 17kt weight and a warp 4 jump deduced that they were AR, soon to be confirmed. Since they were boxed in the north-western corner it was clear that thereīd be war (at least it was clear to the Culture, not so the Mikotaj who didnīt prepare for an attack, forge any alliance or offer trade while colonizing everything in sight without any communication. Not a way to make friends...)

A NAP with the Hornet neighbors to the East was forged to keep that border secure with the Consulari in the south securing that side. 17 beta-DDs were built that took out the Mikotaj HW in 22. They had one turn of warning when the planet hopping fleet was spotted but the not-even upgraded starbase was an easy victim. I was hoping to get that kill before scores became public but just couldnīt manage it.

Then things settled down a lot, Consulari and Culture were happily building their econ and trading tech back and forth while the Hornets started push south and fought the Ousters who had been running a pretty good AR econ till then, hat tip from me! No further warships were built till BBs except for some 6 or so single yak FFs and single gattling FFs that I used for minesweeping later on and planet covering guards.

The peace was sorely needed as I had run the Culture like a -f for at least 15 of the first 20 years: first elec research, then a huge wave of scouts (almost 30 in the first 10 years), then the warfleet against the Mikotaj. Obviously it paid off. With the large number of scouts in the air every planet was scanned by around year 23 or so and I had enough ships for repeat visits to keep intel updated. This also made it easy to egg people on against each other and leave us in peace... Wink

As far as we could tell the Pingguo allies never helped much in the Hornet-Ouster war and the Ousters were almost wiped out. We offered sanctuary for Ouster colonizers in our space, gave them tech (hopefully in secret... Wink ) and even built a mini-bomber fleet for the Ousters in the hope of slowing down the Hornet -f advance without tipping our hand, breaking our NAP or getting into the shooting war too early for us. Didnīt help much and the Ousters were almost wiped out.

We were pretty worried about the Hornets for a long time, especially in the 30s and 40s when their -f and RS would have been very useful against us while we were still building our econ. Thatīs why we successfully tried to keep the east at each otherīs throats and supporting the SE against the Hornets without actively joining the fight.

By then the Consulari had also struck a great deal with the Trix to obtain OAs for us and our econ received another boost. Then finally MTs arrived, the first one gave the Langston shell and was met by almost everyone. Then second one gave tech and that made us cancel the NAP with the Hornets a couple of turns before schedule in the mid-50s as they were set to meet it with 9800 kt. Another tech MT came pretty close afterwards which was missed by the Hornets so two fully built IT econs coupled with 2 tech MTs headstart met with 9800 kt made it a pretty uneven fight once things got ugly.

By then the Hornets had I guess around 300 of their Cookie Cutter CCs (CC, TGSS, 3 bears, 2 OTs, 1 jammer, 4 Mark IV) plus around 150 with sappers which with their RS is a damned powerful ship for the mid-game. They definitely taught me newfound respect for CCs and gave me quite a few headaches coming up with counter designs and testbeds. In the W16 age they are really good and are difficult to counter-design with their great speed and high init from range 2 beams, only when W20 came available they were outclassed by Dooms. Ironically they were below 150 kt in weight and with the 150/600 gates available the Hornets had equal if not better mobility than the ITs with their inf/300 gates!

Things were a bit tense till we had a counter fleet and there was a lot of hopping back and forth to cover things but while both sides couldnīt really attack time was on our side.

The Culture built 75 Mugger BBs (A8, 6 caps, OT, 6 organic, 8 LS, 8 PS, 12 HBs) which were only meant as a stopgap design because the Consulari already had higher weapon tech from the second MT. When tech 20 was traded 21 Killer BBs (IS10, 4 SBC, 3 jammer 20, 4 PS, 16 dooms, 6 organic, 8 LS) were built. By then the Consulari had enough defensive ships to cover their planets so the Culture went on the offensive on the Hornetīs eastern border with most of the above ships in a big planet killing fleet accompanied by Consulari bombers.

Then in a babarian horde style attack around 25-30 Psychopath BBs (IS10, 6 caps, 1 SBC, 6 organic, 8 LS, 4 SS, 16 Mega-Ds) were thrown at the front every turn while the Consulari also attacked from the south with bombers to assure planet killing in one turn along as well. The combined bombing attacks with Consulari Cherries and LBUs followed by Culture Cherries proved very effective. Overall 243 of the Psychopaths and 7 more Ragnaroks with Armageddons were built in the war and only 25 Muggers and 7 Psychopaths lost.

It took too long for the Hornets to catch up with tech, against the Psychopaths CCs just didnīt cut it and the doomsday BBs which finally hit the scene were too few and too late to make a difference. It was a pretty clean sweep and we opened up some of the conquered planets for the Ousters in case anyone is wondering about the red planets on the map.

The Cultureīs minesweepers proved very effective (FF with FM and single gattling) and hordes of them managed to sweep fields for both offensive navies though at the cost of around 450 ships lost to skirmishers and minefield hits. Only the micromanagement was a nightmare and in the end turns took >3 hours.

The game ended with the Hornets completely wiped out, fighting valiantly to the last planet. Great game and worthy opponent who caused us quite a few headaches. Maybe not played aggressively enough so that the -f advantage was lost when our factories were up.

In the end when we cancelled the Pingguo NAP they conceeded. They were ranked #2 with 53k resources against the Consulari 58 and the Cultureīs 48 but with 87 against our 115 / 104 tech levels and with only 21 capital ships against our standing navies with 203 / 313 capital ships and around 170 B52s and Nubs available next turn for the Consulari.

In hindsight a pretty clean sweep, but again mostly achieved through careful diplomacy and trading that gave us exactly the game we wanted and planned for. Greg and me also spent a lot of time on strategizing, ship designs, micromanaging econ and whatnot but Iīm sure the Hornets and Ousters were played just as well if not better on an operational level. It was the diplomacy that carried the day.

Thanks everyone, I learned a lot of things such as respect for CCs, the importance of loads of support ships and fear of the B-crunch which I never expected. See you again soon, well, at least when Babylon 5 is over which might take forever the way the Vorlon Alliance is playing... Wink


[Updated on: Mon, 09 July 2007 14:12]

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Re: Fledging Admirals I: Consulari perspective Sun, 08 July 2007 22:53 Go to previous messageGo to next message
gwellman is currently offline gwellman

 
Petty Officer 1st Class

Messages: 66
Registered: January 2007
Location: Seattle, WA

I'll try to build on what Andreas wrote without too much duplication. I went into this game a beginner, but I'd been reading the forums fairly obsessively so I thought I had a clue. Well maybe I had *a* clue, but I had much to learn.

The Consulari: IT, ISB, NRSE, OBRM, NAS
rather wide hab, slightly left shifted in each
(0.21 to 2.24, -140 to 116, 15 to 77)
thus, a relatively weak factory economy, but able to mine many worlds. My thinking had been that fighting might start pretty soon so I didn't want to still be building factories
(1/1000, facs 10,9,10, no G box, mines 10,3,11)
Weapons and Construction cheap, others expensive, start at 3 checked(!)

Start at 3 checked and NAS gave me good (non penetrating) planetary scanners immediately. What I wasn't expecting was to have IT gate scanning of another IT on turn 1! In a slight imbalance of information, I was only seeing Andreas' secondary world, while he was seeing my homeworld. This was good as it turns out because he could see that although I was near-ish centerline hab, my shift complemented his right shift in radiation.

Both the Trix and the Pingguo made non-planet hopping moves one turn 1 or turn 2 (presumably figuring that no one would see them that quickly, but the NAS and elec 3 combo gave impressive visibility). So, I knew I had an IT north of me and the homeworlds of two unknown races ESE and SW of me immediately. I figured I'd ally with one of them, with the Culture the *least* likely because of being the same PRT. Geography argued in favor of the Trix, while the fact that I knew John argued in favor of the Pingguo. I set out to learn more about their races...

Mark (Trix) missed my first couple of in-game messages and John seemed off to a relatively slow start (little did I know it was because he had LSP!) when Andreas proposed alliance. This was *early* like turn 5 or 6. He made a compelling case, and I've since read threads on the boards about how the only exception to the "ally with a different PRT" rule is precisely the case of ITs. We knew we were the only ITs and we'd have a big advantage in mobility. Even then we knew we would have a Mystery Trader advantage, but we didn't know how helpful it would be.

As Andreas said, we got busy trading tech - on a massive scale. We quickly had two worlds with "fast" tech trading (e.g. two invasions per turn) going *and* we also did a trick where any time one of us was going to colonize a world within reach of the other, the other would do the actual colonization and be immediately invaded by the intended owner. Thus, we often had one or two extra tech trade chances per turn. (We even had a verb for this - "Please Pinta Angst for me in 24xx".) Of my first 11 levels of Weapons, 10 came from that trade. So I just poured my research into Construction, with my eye on Ultras and BBs. We also increased the number of tech trade worlds, from the first two up to five as time went on.

My only contribution to Andreas' quick demolition of the Mikotaj was Construction 6 (Strobnium made his DDs tougher) and a few SFX. Oh yeah, some minerals (germanium for the computers IIRC).

Then things settled down and we focused on growing into the former Mikotaj space and securing our borders. The -f Hornets wanted to duplicate Andreas' feat of AR removal, but discovered the Ousters a much tougher AR than the Mikotaj had been. Again as Andreas said, we figured that quiet support of the Ousters would keep the Hornets busy and us free to grow. So I sent 3 or 4 waves of Con12 scrappers to the Ousters (and got Weap12 and a few levels of Energy in return). At this point, I switched to doing Weap research while Andreas did electrical and prop. So even though the Ousters had briefly been one level ahead in weap, I wound up sending them scrappers to get to Weap16.

Meanwhile, even from before the Hornet attack on the Ousters, I'd been trading tech with the Pingguo with slightly more flowing from me to John, the difference paid for with OAs. I won't go into the accounting concept of "net present value" here, but we agreed on a price that reflected the value of an OA as being 200/turn discounted by an inflation rate based on economic growth rates. To me this still makes sense, but others believe we priced them too low, and thus I got a good deal. Anyway, I only got a handful that way.

Then the Trix decided that they really, really wanted June, which (a) was very close to my homeworld (b) was at that time one of the Culture/Consulari trade worlds and (c) I was about to colonize for real. So I sold a planet for 20 OAs and got busy doing pretty much all the terraforming for our alliance.

Then the M.T.s came. I was first to reach the first one (headed West to East) and got Langston Shell. So Andreas caught it, and we told everyone down-path what was coming (the Hornets because Andreas had accidentally submitted orders that caused him to shoot down a few Hornet scouts, and the Ousters/Pingguo because we wanted parity in that fight). The second M.T. (South to North) came on a turn where Andreas was away, so I did his turn and readied him to meet it the next turn. It was tech, so (a) two or three turns after that, I met it with 9800kt and (b) as we could see the Hornets preparing 9800kt in unescorted freighters to cross into our space to meet it, we cancelled the NAP to prevent that.

I figured we'd be on the defensive for a few turns, but it turned out better than I thought. If Graham had struck my weakest available world (Fox Trot) immediately, he could probably have taken it out - he was naturally forking my three "salient" worlds of Philistia, Fox Trot and Dyson. But I had Ultras, a few Doomsday BBs, etc. and he probably figured if he attacked and I guessed right, I'd destroy him. And by about two turns after the official start of hostilities, guessing wouldn't matter - I had enough stuff at each of the three worlds!
By that point I had 34 "Crossbow" Doomsday BBs and 19 (and quickly building more) "Claymore" Mega-D BBs.

The third M.T. crossed East to West, and somehow Graham missed it. Perhaps he'll comment. We assumed he had reached it and had gotten something non-obvious, so Andreas went for it and got tech(!). So I quickly put together another 9800kt and got my second big tech jump. At this point I was mostly building Claymores but that jumped me to be able to build a few "Longbow" Armageddon BBs.

On the diplomatic front we had expected gratitude from the Ousters and Pingguo when we took the Hornets off their back. Indeed, the Ousters were grateful, as we also supplied them with
a number of compatible worlds deep in our space as sanctuary. They repaid us with minerals that were just starting a serious flow by the end of the game. (And in turn, when we took from the Hornets two worlds that had been Ousters, including their HW, we gave those back to them.) John (Pingguo) can comment more on what he was thinking, but he decided to take the opportunity to invade the Trix. As the Trix had offered to help against the Hornets, and had even built some cruisers to help defend my "salient" worlds at the beginning of that fight, when a few cruisers might have tipped the balance at Fox Trot, I felt a certain responsibility for the Trix' plight, as John's frigate horde(s) and minibombers took two Trix worlds. (John had a particularly nasty miniblaster frigate that was hell on any blaster-based cruiser.) I'd just also arranged two tech trading worlds plus scrappers to funnel tech to the Trix, so those arrangements were repurposed from helping him help us against the Hornets to helping him against the Pingguo. At the time of the Pingguo invasion, the TT Trix had Bio 17 but were pretty low in most other fields. So another part of the deal was that I gave back to him all the OAs we'd gotten from him earlier, and he built a few more ... so each turn I'd give him instructions on where to gate 32 OAs around the Culture/Consulari network. Having several roving bands of TT20 OAs at my disposal was nice. I actually had to create an external spreadsheet to figure out how much TT20 terraforming was left at each of our planets because of course I couldn't "see" that in the game. I then ranked planets by the product of Resource value times TT20 remaining (subject to other factors, such as gate availability, etc.) in order to give Mark the moves that would be most beneficial to us. (My contribution to the MM effort.)

Tech transfer to the Trix was agonizingly slow, and I tried to arrange him a meet with that third M.T. just before it exited the universe. But I miscalculated (actually StarsCal mislead me) and he missed it. To compensate for that, and to keep my TT20 terraforming provider alive, I transfered him 21 Crossbow BBs over two turns as I built the first Longbows. The Pingguo had built >100 of a new cruiser design with the Langston to combine with their frigate hordes in an attack on a third Trix world. He wasn't expecting 11 Doomsday BBs to be part of the defense and suffered a very surprising defeat.

Andreas did the heavy MM lifting with all the sweeping because of his CE and IFE. I just built BBs and B52s. By the end, I had built 139 of the Mega-D Claymores (and only lost 6), 34 of the Doomsday Crossbows (21 given away) and 57 of the Armageddon Longbows. No losses for the missle ships.

Final tech levels were 16, 26, 14, 25, 16, 18 (The M.T. had taken me to bio 14 IIRC, and then I wound up with the Trix bio levels from the trading planets even though the main purpose was to send other levels the other direction). I would have been building AMP Nubians in 2-3 turns. I was planning on giving away or recycling the remaining Crossbows and building a few of a new Armageddon BB (this one with a little superlat) to back up as many AMP Nubs as my Boranium supply could yield.

John was right to concede, as Andreas points out the huge tech and standing navy advantage we had. Nonetheless, the change in his resource curve (damn near straight up) once we committed against the Hornets had me concerned for a bit.

I have beautiful high res territory pictures from Xtreme Borders for almost every turn after a certain point (and I could make them for the turns I didn't). I made a Photoshop macro to clean up the weird horzontal streaks that Xtreme Borders makes. If someone tells me how, I'll post requested years.

I learned a lot. Next time I'll be inclined to go with a little narrower hab and better fac/mine settings. The minelaying/minesweeping battle was especially educational, as was all the diplomacy.


[Updated on: Sun, 08 July 2007 22:58]

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Re: Fledging Admirals I: Consulari perspective Mon, 09 July 2007 07:41 Go to previous messageGo to next message
horza is currently offline horza

 
Civilian

Messages: 1
Registered: January 2007
History is more interesting when writen by the losers...

The Ousters started off well, or so I thought. The first ~12 turns had me apparently doing well economically and technically. Lack of experience meant I didn't spot the neighbouring -f CA for what it was, and without a WM next door I thought I had the time to develop my economy further.

My two hideous strategic errors:

1) Thinking noone would form a solid alliance until PPS made everyone's position clear. From turns 16-22 I did little or no diplomacy, waiting for the picture to become clear.

2) Focussing on En and Con tech to accelerate my economy, while my Weap tech languished - when Hornet jumped me I didn't even have Weap10. I had to conceal this incompetence from my otherwise sympathetic neighbours in order to avoid being seen as another Mikotaj.

Altruist had warned me of the dangers of AR, and specifically suggested an aggressive stance, however I was unable to throw off the mindset that I just needed to sit still and look friendly in order to gain my late-game advantages. Having a small baby in the house tended to excarbate this, as well as affecting my attention to detail fairly badly.

The story from the Ouster point of view:

Having "woken up" in the early twenties, discussions with Culture/Consulari/Pingguo and ominous silence from Hornet gave me 1-2 turns notice I was about to be attacked. This could have been enough but I underestimated Hornet's level of planning - there were armed scouts throughout my empire, and I lost a lot of weak docks and freight unnecessarily. If my Weap tech had been better I could still have survived - oh mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

The following turns were enjoyable in a hanging-on-by-the-fingernails way. A full assault from Hornet would have knocked me out, however he appeared not to realise how weak I was, and took his time consolidating his early gains and not risking his early fleet on what might have appeared to be risky attacks. This was a critical mistake for him I think - as a result I had the time to get to Weap 12, and receive Prop6 in trade from the Pingguo. Having Jihads simultaneuously made my main bases capable of taking on the existing Hornet fleet solo, and gave me credibility/baragaining power with the Consulari/Culture who became my main trading partners. I talked up Hornet as a Galactic threat, while believing that C/C were actually already winners-in-waiting. The Hornet assault destroyed my chances of victory, and my only satisfaction would be in ruining their own - there was a theoretical possibility that if they knocked me out quickly they could eliminate Pingguo too, and have the space to expand and take on C/C.

I finally lost my HW when Hornets' excellent CC design made its apearance in significant numbers. After this I committed myself as a client state to the C/C alliance, and received sufficient Weap tech from them to bloody Hornets nose somewhat. C/C provided some stars for expansion and I was able to offer some En tech early and mins late as return on their investment.

Most of the remaining turns I spent in curiousity at the diplomatic situation - didn't everyone see how C/C were clearly on course for victory? I fully expected a joint Trix/Hornet/Ping assault that would have been very interesting for me to be a part of as a defender, and was disappointed when it never happened.

I'd definitely call this a diploamtic victory for C/C - they avoided direct participation in wars at the critical juncture, backed the right sides to ensure effective stalemate, and somehow avoided a dog-pile assault when they were clearly winning. Kudos to them.

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Re: Fledging Admirals I: Consulari perspective Mon, 09 July 2007 14:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Skaffen is currently offline Skaffen

 
Senior Chief Petty Officer

Messages: 90
Registered: December 2006
Location: Germany
horza wrote on Mon, 09 July 2007 13:41


The Ousters started off well, or so I thought. The first ~12 turns had me apparently doing well economically and technically. Lack of experience meant I didn't spot the neighbouring -f CA for what it was, and without a WM next door I thought I had the time to develop my economy further.


Having testbedded various AR approaches in the weeks before the game and almost joined with one (in the end I decided for IT to reduce MM since I was also playing in Babylon) I can tell you that from my perspective the econ and tech ramp was very impressive.


Quote:


I lost a lot of weak docks and freight unnecessarily. If my Weap tech had been better I could still have survived - oh mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.


Yes, that was really sobering to watch, a great econ and then several planets lost that could have been saved with a single X-ray laser on a dock / fort. There we were rooting for you to stall the Hornets and then that happened to our champion... Wink
Quote:


Most of the remaining turns I spent in curiousity at the diplomatic situation - didn't everyone see how C/C were clearly on course for victory? I fully expected a joint Trix/Hornet/Ping assault that would have been very interesting for me to be a part of as a defender, and was disappointed when it never happened.


We were waiting for that as well but fortunately Greg had cemented very good relations and trade with the Trix by then. Hornet advances to that effect were thankfully rebuffed but we did expect a full-fledged Hornet / Pingguo alliance, especially when the Pingguo obviously withdrew their warships from the previous battlefront. Fortunately for us this was only a NAP and not a full alliance, a fact which we tried to promote with several messages but never fully understood! Wink

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Re: Fledging Admirals I: Culture naming scheme Mon, 09 July 2007 14:52 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Skaffen is currently offline Skaffen

 
Senior Chief Petty Officer

Messages: 90
Registered: December 2006
Location: Germany
In case people were wondering at the Culture naming scheme, hereīs the code behind the abbreviations.

Overall the Culture was of course modelled after the same society in Iain Bankīs SF books. In case you like SF and donīt know them I can highly recommend Use of Weapons to start with (the first Culture novel, Consider Phlebas, isnīt that good IMHO but also has a lot of fans). For us gamers Player of Games is also a great one but Use of Weapons gives a better introduction into the society. Ships in the books usually have a type as given below plus pretty funny names, e.g. ROU "Frank Exchange of Views" for a rapid offensive unit.

Names were usually abbreviation plus a class (e.g. Ungulate class referring to a Rhino Scanner):

LCU: Light Scouting Unit
GCU: General Contact Unit, the Cultureīs workhorse, obviously going to the privateer
CSU: Cloaked Scouting Unit (97% galleon)
LSV: Limited System Vehicle (System vehicles are mother ships, in this case going to LFs with colony pods)
SU: Supply Unit (SFX)
LOU: Light Offensive Unit (DDs and FFs)
MOU: Medium Offensive Unit (CCs)
HOU: Heavy Offensive Unit (BBs, class-name corresponding with increaseing mean-ness and lethality: Mugger, Killer, Psychopath, Ragnarok)
HPA: Heavy Planetary Adjuster (B52)

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Re: Fledging Admirals I: Pingguo Perspective Tue, 10 July 2007 16:42 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Urticator is currently offline Urticator

 
Civilian

Messages: 1
Registered: February 2007
Location: Boulder, CO
Hi all ... John Pingguo here, under yet another alias.

I guess historical order is the easiest way to make sense
of all this, so I'll start with the race design too.

CA, ISB, NRSE, OBRM, LSP, RS
hab: 0.31-4.16, -120 - 136, 15-85 (1/3), 18%
econ: 1000/10/10/20G 10/10/10
tech: all standard exc. Elec & Bio expensive,
no "starts at 3"

The LSP is the surprise Greg was talking about.
The idea was, with the quick start, the pop
is already up into the range where growth slows,
so the LSP effect ought to wear off pretty fast.
That didn't happen, unfortunately. I'm still
surprised how long the LSP held me back ...
just goes to show that everyone was using their
population efficiently, I guess.

The hab was very wide, so much so that in the end
I only had one non-habitable planet in my space ...
and I might have been able to take it too if I'd
colonized and waited for two deep terraformings.
But, maybe it was too wide, reducing the average
planet value or something?

I'd played -f in a duel with Greg, and was
pretty happy with it, except for the part
where he got ahead in resources and there was
nothing I could do. So, I designed the
Pingguo to be factoryless at the start, but
with plenty of factory capability so that
I wouldn't be left in that same position again.
I'm very pleased with how that turned out.

The mines were a big mistake, I guess.
Perhaps I should have done more reading up front,
but I didn't want to turn it from a game
into a homework assignment, and I missed that.
It's funny that the default values are so far
off from the ideal in that one case.
I also hear that setting the factory cost to 9
instead of 10 is a no-brainer ... oh well.

About the tech, I'd heard the normal thing
was to split cheap and expensive, but I
wasn't convinced, and figured that if everyone
else was doing that, and I took standard,
then I'd be able to trade usefully with anyone,
in both directions.

I did spend the first few turns doing Prop research
to get up to warp 7, but I don't think it slowed me
down too much.

The other interesting thing in the early game
was that I made a boundary deal with the Consulari.
He got the best planets, but I got a bunch of
smaller ones, and more importantly, I got a claim
to a bunch of other planets that would eventually
all become habitable, and that I wouldn't have to
fight for. I think that was a good deal for both
of us, fairly balanced.

When the Hornets attacked the Ousters, I was way behind
in weapons tech, and so wasn't able to contribute much.
The most entertaining thing, that only the Hornets and I
saw: for my first attempt at defense, against his DDs,
I built some Blackjack frigates (LH6, 2 Wolv, 2 Blackjack),
thinking that he'd close to range 1, then I'd be lighter
(because I had 2 Blackjack instead of 3), and would be
able to close to range 0. That totally didn't work, and
I ended up chasing him around the map for 16 rounds.
(This was with something like 10-to-1 odds, so he couldn't
get through my shields.) Later I did manage to catch
a few DDs by splitting into two stacks.

But, back to the story ... even with trading help from
the Consulari, I was still so far behind in weapons
that I couldn't even field anything useful to defend my
own planets, and I lost a few before I got miniblasters
and built a ton of frigates with those. That was
the Mosquito frigate (LH6, 2 Bear, 3 MB) -- I was very
pleased with the name because like a real mosquito,
it was slow and annoying, and appeared in large swarms.
The LH6 was a careful choice against the Cookie Cutter,
that kept me out of range on the first round but let
me have the last move into range on the second, and hence
get the first shot.

That bought me a lot of time, but the Hornets brought in
a bunch of sapper cruisers that I think would have taken
me out ... but just then, the Culture (and Consulari)
invoked expiration on their NAP with the Hornets, and of
course the Hornets had better things to do then.
I could have gone after him and maybe helped a little,
but the slow Mosquitos would have been toast against
any base with missiles, so I would have had to build up
a whole new round of warships.

And, although of course I was grateful for the help
from the Consulari, it was in their interests to help me,
and it was in my interests not to help them back.
If I'd helped against the Hornets, the outcome would have
been a C/C victory even more surely than it already was.

So, I had some fleets, and a minor grudge against the Trix
for sending colonizers into my space, and also he had
all those nice juicy planets, so I went and attacked there.
Also, it was already semi-apparent that the C/C had won,
and I thought it would be fun to do a little side fighting.

Why didn't we go for a Trix/Hornet/Pingguo alliance?
Well, for one thing, the Trix were already actively
helping the C/C against the Hornets ... it was going
to be a hard sell to say, hey, why don't you totally
reverse what you're doing? Maybe we could have done
more to sell him on it, but it didn't seem promising.

Why not an outright Hornet/Pingguo alliance? Well,
we did take steps in that direction. After I'd told
the C/C, truthfully, that we had nothing but a NAP,
we later got into some trading that I'll say more about
in a minute. But, I don't think canceling my NAPs
would have helped ... I was the fast grower, and a
softer target, still weak on weapons, so the C/C
would have just put the Hornets on hold while they
wiped me out instead. Hoping the Hornets could
prolong things while I developed was our best hope.

And, a Trix-Pingguo war fit right into that picture ...
it put me into a fight that I could handle, and it
kept the Trix from helping the C/C, which maybe wasn't
a huge deal, but it was something.

At least, I *thought* it was a fight I could handle.
I'd done some extended negotiation with the Consulari
about how to wage the war without interfering with
their trade, so I had to fight while the Trix were
getting free tech, but I thought that otherwise we were
going to be left alone to fight. So, I built up
a fleet of Langston Horrors (CC, AD8, 4 Langston,
4 Mk IV Blaster, 2 Overthruster -- a copy of the Cookie
Cutter except with Langston Shell).
There were a couple of times when I was almost ready to
attack with it, but the Trix kept bringing in new ships,
until finally I had a stack of 135 that could take out
what he had with hardly a scratch, and that would have
won even if he'd brought in his other fleet, so I jumped ...
and landed on 11 Doom BBs the Consulari had donated.

That wasn't pretty. I'd seen that the Trix had some BBs,
and I'd guessed that they were probably donations,
but they'd only been given the previous turn, and I had
every planet in range on my scanners, so I went ahead.
In fact, I thought I *had* to go ahead, before the ships
arrived there. Somehow I failed to think that although
the Trix didn't have stealth, those donated BBs might ...
and of course they did, in the form of more Langstons.

So, yeah, that was a big surprise. In the absence of
the BBs, I would have broken the Trix completely ...
I could have taken out his other, smaller fleet, then
flown around over his homeworlds, at least until he
started putting Dooms on his bases from the tech trading.
That wasn't far off, I think, but I probably still had
a few turns of domination coming.

As it was, I was totally outclassed, and in fact was
just at the end putting together some counter-fleets.
The Trix flew around over some of my planets, but in
the end I only lost one, thanks to some luck with
flaky custom battle plans and some disposable BBs that
I made to take out his bombers. (Pest BB, IS10, 5 SBC,
6 Jug, 1 Overthruster -- so it got first shot with 4-6
B-17 kills, helpful and also a net resource win.)

Oh, and the one planet was one of his originally, so
it wasn't too painful a loss.

About the trading with the Hornets ... he was way
ahead of me, but there were a few little things that
I could help with, so we did some wolf-lamb trading
through gates that apparently went totally undetected.
That's what got me from Weap 14 up to Weap 23
so quickly. I was working on Prop 16 (and got there)
so that he could get that warp 10 ramscoop,
but we needed invasion trading for that, and it was
too late. In fact we did manage to get in one round
of trading, which by fantastic coincidence gave me
a round of weapons on the one turn when I forgot to
split the scrappers. (The last few rounds I was
using Bad Attitude scrappers that he'd transferred.)
That one round was 2471, at Xenon and Escalator.

Of course I also somewhat wanted Prop 16 for myself,
for the terraforming, but I'm not sure I would have
gone for it otherwise ... maybe Elec instead.

I was using the weapons tech as fast as I got it.
At Weap 20 I started a fleet of 15 Doom BBs that
was just joining up as the game ended; at Weap 22
I started cranking out BBs identical to the
Culture Psychopath except that I had an Overthruster
in place of the SBC. Not a huge surprise, since
I was using the Mugger as a model, but still funny.
So, I think y'all saw my BB development as being
slower than it was, because it started with those
slow iron-limited Doom BBs. But, I still wasn't
going to have anything in five years that would match
the entire C/C fleet plus five years of production.

Hmm, what else ... ?

Even early in the game, we could see that the C/C
were well-positioned, and in fact I tried to
organize a Pingguo/Ousters/Hornets alliance in the
east, but apparently I was just a bit too late ...
the Hornets had already committed themselves to
a southward attack.

About the winning move being made in 2404, yes,
that seems about right. Knowing how it turned out,
maybe we could go back and do something that
would have made it turn out differently, but as it
was, at every step, everyone did what they thought
seemed best for them at the moment, and it all led
straight to a victory for the C/C.

Final tech levels were 16 23 16 14 11 7. If you
look in the file I sent around, you'll see I was
working on Con (for Valanium), but that was because
I was getting Weap from the scrappers until this
very turn ... next step would have been Weap 24.
Not sure how much that would have helped me, since
I had a ton of planets and not nearly enough iron
to build Arm Ultras on more than a few. Maybe the
streaming pulverizer would have helped with some
counter-design, though.

Again, good game everyone, and thanks Altruist for hosting!

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Re: Fledging Admirals I: Pingguo Perspective Tue, 10 July 2007 19:25 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Dogthinkers is currently offline Dogthinkers

 
Commander

Messages: 1316
Registered: August 2003
Location: Hiding from Meklar
Interesting reading, from all of you. Sounds like you all had a blast Very Happy

Urticator wrote on Wed, 11 July 2007 06:42

The hab was very wide, so much so that in the end I only had one non-habitable planet in my space ... and I might have been able to take it too if I'd colonized and waited for two deep terraformings. But, maybe it was too wide, reducing the average planet value or something?


You'll get more better planets. You'll also get more worse planets. It won't worsen the average.

10 cost mines, ouch Smile Trying to keep to the spirit of the race design as much as possible, shifting to something like 10/9/14/4g 10/3/10 probably would have felt a LOT faster. Not quite as high capacity, but you would've got there much faster (Generate 24 instead of 30 resources per 10,000 pop. Costs 156r+56g instead of 300r+60g to get there.)

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Re: Fledging Admirals I: Hornet's Perspective (long) Tue, 10 July 2007 19:35 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Triple_Point is currently offline Triple_Point

 
Crewman 2nd Class

Messages: 16
Registered: June 2003
Location: not in Kansas anymore...
Hornets were a -f CA:

Hornet
CA
IFE, ISB, CE, OBRM, RS
1in3 Hab 0.33/4.40g, -116/140°C, 25/85mR
19% Growth, 1/1000 pop eff
5/25/5 Facts, G box NOT checked
10/3/12 Mines
Weapons + Con: Cheap
En + El + Prop: Normal
Bio: Expensive
Start @3 NOT Checked
100 points left over - surface minerals

I'll run through the high points of the game, as I remember them, concentrating I what thought was happening: (Sorry if some of the order is a little mixed up - I didn't keep a diary and, when it comes to it, I have trouble remembering what happened last week let alone at in March...)

The First surprise was the low G start - A nice bonus for a -f race Smile

Things went well in the early years: Not having to build factories meant I could get an initial wave of 15 DNA scanners built by 2404 and also be pushing most of my resources in Tech.

Within the first decade I'd found the Culture, the Consulari and the Ousters. I'd mentally assigned them the roles of ally, backup ally and first target. Little did I know that before my scouts were a year out from my HW, the first two options were already off the Table !

As we came in to the PPS years I tagged the Pingguo as the second target and the 'grand plan' was set. If I could take the eastern planets I would be set to tackle all comers. I'm not sure if I was specifically aware of the C/C alliance at this point - at least for a while I was hoping that they were involved in an unrestrained competition for planets - with the interesting potential to exploit this situation but as I watched it became obvious that the intersettling was co-operative, not competitive and I quickly signed NAPs with the both of them.

Mikotaj was already on the way out and the Trix were a) diagonally opposite me and b) not especially speedy in responding. (Maybe they were already aligned with the C/C ?) So I was without a potential ally.

Just before I kicked off my attack on the Ouster, the Ouster and Pingguo approached me with the offer of an eastern alliance - but I turned it down. In hind sight this was probably the turning point of the game; the last chance to build a 'grand alliance' against the C/C threat.

However, I couldn't tolerate being confined in the corner - I had to have more space so in 2426 I sent a "Cry 'HAVOC' and let slip the dogs of WAR !" message to the Ouster and the first War began.

Some early armed scouts, sent to investigate Ouster designs actually ended up killing the Ouster bases! From the Ousters report it seems I could have been a lot more aggressive at this point and made much quicker in roads in the early years of the war.

It did seem to take longer than I was hoping - and now I know I was also covertly battling the C/C alliance too Smile It was extremely frustrating to see the Ouster re-establish new planets deep within the C/C territory where I was forbidden by treaty to send armed ships, even as I was finally taking his HW.

At some point during the Ouster offensive I turned off the view of friendly minefields so I could see more clearly - unfortunately for me I left it that way, which would give me a nasty surprise later on...

I made the required War fighting tech in 2444 and began to stamp out Cookie Cutters (CC, TGSS, 3xBears, 2xOT, 1xJ20 & 4xMkIVs) these are lovely fighting ships, cheap light, good init from range 2 beams, fit through a 150/600 gate and you can build them at Docks and the mineral requirements are pretty balanced - eventually I would build just short of 300 of them.

In 2447 I declared War on the Pingguo and the second War began. Ironically again I was offered the chance to join with him against the C/C just before the war begun but again I turned it down - My growth curve had been linear for far too long, I need more SPACE and the Pingguo had plenty of it Wink

I _hoped_ I had enough years to grab a big chunk of fresh space before I had to deal with the C/C - boy was I wrong!

Around this time I happened to turn on the view friendly minefields filter and the C/C had been _really_ busy! A thick band of overlapping small minefields was carefully between us, real defense in depth stuff at least 150 LY deep, as far as my penscanners could see. Now that didn't look very friendly ! And my own minelaying was _way_ behind, it was all concentrated to the south the the 'enemy' was...

I fought the Pingguo for a while making some in-roads while he countered with a fine little mini blaster frigate - all but useless as an attacking vessel but superbly tailored as a defense against the Cookie Cutter and damn was that thing cheap - I hated it!

It was about this time that the C/C decided I shouldn't have all that lovely tech from the MT - I was sent the inevitable "excuse" message - every time you end a NAP you have to pick and Excuse Smile This was absolutely superbly done by Andreas, even as I read the partial truths and deliberate misrepresentations that the message contained, I had to appreciate the smooth way it was done - it gave me a great deal of pleasure to read, even as it spelled out my inevitable doom with the salutation: "Kind regards, former Contact Ambassador Edwin ne Dolmi (now Special Circumstances)"

The third Hornet War had begun - and the second one was certainly far from over, and to top it all the Pingguo resource curve went ballistic - he reached my resource score during the C/C NAP countdown and he was rising _fast_!

I was perhaps unfortunate enough to discover Dooms lurking on a Consulari Ultrastation and this had a devastating effect on my thinking. I test bedded any number of battles which would all go quite well (I had a _lot_ of Cookie Cutters to play with and also around 100 of a Sapper based variant) but when I ran the same battles with even a few Doom BB's the results were just awful - I hadn't actually seen and on BBs yet but I reasoned that if they were on Stations then they would be on BBs any minute now!

This contributed to me being - from the Consulari write up - _way_ to cautious in the first few years of the war and I took the decision to run for a better tech position before I invested more metal in ships. It became a race, could I get a tech parity quickly enough to produce enough fighting ships ?

Well - No, as it happens! The war degenerated into a painfully slow crawl for more tech set against and increasingly confident attacks of the C/C attack fleets with their awful double whammy of doubled up bomber fleets giving them single year kills on my planets.

This was set against the most incredibly intense minesweeper/hunter battle. I initially had a few 'conventional' sweeper-hunters (DD based, Bear shield, organic armour, gattlings) but these were woefully inadequate against the hordes of frigate sweepers - not that they were ineffective - they were great, but they were just too expensive to keep up with numbers I needed to hunt down.

I switched to my own FF design, almost identical to the Culture design but shielded to give them the edge in 1:1 fights and set about _trying_ to stop the waterfall - with, it felt like at times, a tea cup and a leaky bucket!

I could finally target every sweeper I could see, but this was no were near enough! More would appear from strongholds, the ones I was chasing would pull back to planets and I'd lose the hunters. I started giving low speed chase orders - so the hunters wouldn't reach the planets but could still intercept the sweepers if they went forward but the sweepers would group together. I started using my CCs to hunt them down - a single CC could kill a group of up to 10 FFs but then the sweepers pulled back to friendly BBs. It was carnage I killed what seemed like hundreds of the little beggars (450 from Andreas' write up!) but still they swept my fields.

I was losing planets way too fast - it was all over but still there were small victories to be had Smile A truce developed with the Pingguo, it turned into a tech trading alliance - I fed him weapons and he fed me everything else using wolf/lamb trading so it wouldn't obvious what we were doing.

Andreas produced a counter CC against my use of Cookie Cutters to kill his sweepers - to beat the init of the MkIV's it had to be a gattling and that meant a tech 20 gattling. I did my damnedest to ambush them whenever I could and got 3 free weapons levels which I passed on to the Pingguo - However, there's only so long you can hold out against an invasion that kills 4 planets a year!

Eventually I just ran out of planets...





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Re: Fledging Admirals I: Pingguo Perspective Sat, 14 July 2007 14:44 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Skaffen is currently offline Skaffen

 
Senior Chief Petty Officer

Messages: 90
Registered: December 2006
Location: Germany
Urticator wrote on Tue, 10 July 2007 22:42


I'd played -f in a duel with Greg, and was
pretty happy with it, except for the part
where he got ahead in resources and there was
nothing I could do. So, I designed the
Pingguo to be factoryless at the start, but
with plenty of factory capability so that
I wouldn't be left in that same position again.
I'm very pleased with how that turned out.


Thereīs a pretty nice race with that theme posted at AH, the Altari by Jason. They take this a bit further than your setup (very expensive factories) but the basic idea is to give the econ a later boost seems sound. Especially as IS who might capture quite a few factories through pop dropping planets instead of bombing them.

http://starsautohost.org/sahforum/index.php?t=msg&reveal =&rev=:29015&mid=&rid=1018&S=38d89fee2cc9d13 ea40967754c63dc20&frm_id=28&th=3108&start=0& count=25&unread=&reply_count=&date=#msg_29015

Of course you realized by now that -f and LSP donīt really go well together, and -f means you have to aggressively expand, otherwise thereīs no use of not building factories in the beginning.
Quote:


About the tech, I'd heard the normal thing
was to split cheap and expensive, but I
wasn't convinced, and figured that if everyone
else was doing that, and I took standard,
then I'd be able to trade usefully with anyone,
in both directions.


Basically thereīs nothing like W cheap. Everything else is debatable but unless youīre in a team game where youīre sure youīll get W-tech not taking it cheap is suicide. Thereīs a good article out there somewhere that proves how much more return you get for investment in W-tech than any defensive measures.
Quote:


About the winning move being made in 2404, yes,
that seems about right. Knowing how it turned out,
maybe we could go back and do something that
would have made it turn out differently, but as it
was, at every step, everyone did what they thought
seemed best for them at the moment, and it all led
straight to a victory for the C/C.


That was probably what made the difference: we had a game plan from almost the beginning. In the very early 20s we had already established the Hornets as the main enemy and competition and from then on worked at trying to get a fight going in the east instead of an alliance. We had set the tech targets for our warfleets for the main thrust etc. and then just stuck to the plan. In the end ships were more advanced than planned because of the tech MTs but nevertheless the division in research, the diplomatic efforts to make you go at each other etc. was planned from the beginning.

So instead of making step by step decisions which seem right at the moment we tried to plan ahead and act and not just react, sticking to our ultimate plan.

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Re: Fledging Admirals I: Hornet's Perspective (long) Sat, 14 July 2007 15:13 Go to previous message
Skaffen is currently offline Skaffen

 
Senior Chief Petty Officer

Messages: 90
Registered: December 2006
Location: Germany
Triple_Point wrote on Wed, 11 July 2007 01:35


Within the first decade I'd found the Culture, the Consulari and the Ousters. I'd mentally assigned them the roles of ally, backup ally and first target. Little did I know that before my scouts were a year out from my HW, the first two options were already off the Table !


Well, if I had known you were CA Iīd have gone for the alliance in a flash, but by the time I found out I was already committed.
That would have been a very different game!
Quote:


It did seem to take longer than I was hoping - and now I know I was also covertly battling the C/C alliance too Smile It was extremely frustrating to see the Ouster re-establish new planets deep within the C/C territory where I was forbidden by treaty to send armed ships, even as I was finally taking his HW.


Thatīs why itīs called Sanctuary! Smile
Quote:


Around this time I happened to turn on the view friendly minefields filter and the C/C had been _really_ busy! A thick band of overlapping small minefields was carefully between us, real defense in depth stuff at least 150 LY deep, as far as my penscanners could see. Now that didn't look very friendly ! And my own minelaying was _way_ behind, it was all concentrated to the south the the 'enemy' was...


He he, yes, I remember that mail when you finally realized. Smile
Quote:


It was about this time that the C/C decided I shouldn't have all that lovely tech from the MT - I was sent the inevitable "excuse" message - every time you end a NAP you have to pick and Excuse Smile This was absolutely superbly done by Andreas, even as I read the partial truths and deliberate misrepresentations that the message contained, I had to appreciate the smooth way it was done - it gave me a great deal of pleasure to read, even as it spelled out my inevitable doom with the salutation: "Kind regards, former Contact Ambassador Edwin ne Dolmi (now Special Circumstances)"


Yup, that was fun, thanks for the compliment. The situation: A tech MT was heading north (and from PPS everyone knew it was tech) and the Hornets were gathering LFs to meet it with 9800 kt at the border of my space.

Unfortunately even though it was slow it wasnīt slow enough cancel the NAP and shoot down the ships because of the long grace period we had established. Since the game was so peaceful there wasnīt even any fleet that could shoot it down, all I had were some minesweeping FFs with single gattlings I had stationed on planets as scouts to prevent planet hopping, nothing that would stand up to even a token escort should the Hornets send one in.

I was in a bit of a bind till I remembered that the NAP had been only for unarmed scouts in the otherīs space. Other ships were allowed only after asking for permission. In practice our spaces had been quite open and Iīm sure we both broke the precise terms a couple of times before without any hassle. So I accused the freighters of being invasion forces fully loaded with pop targeting my newly established yellows in that region of space and breaking the NAPs terms. Since they were illegally in my space I had the right to shoot them down even before the grace period was over and I also ran a countdown with friendly / neutral / enemy settings during the grace period thatīd mean that the freighters would have to fly through minefields in the last year of meeting the MT. Wink

So that was a huge win for us, I got a tech boost, Consulari knew it was a tech MT and could meet it with a full mineral load plus buy up on some cheap levels while the hornets didnīt meet it at all.

For the non-Banks-readers: until then the Ambassador ne Dolmi persona had always been from the Culture Contact section which is the sort of general explorer / diplomat / standby military in a pinch fraction of the Culture while Special Circumstances is the nasty secret service / special military / dirty tricks wing.
Quote:


This was set against the most incredibly intense minesweeper/hunter battle. I initially had a few 'conventional' sweeper-hunters (DD based, Bear shield, organic armour, gattlings) but these were woefully inadequate against the hordes of frigate sweepers - not that they were ineffective - they were great, but they were just too expensive to keep up with numbers I needed to hunt down.

I switched to my own FF design, almost identical to the Culture design but shielded to give them the edge in 1:1 fights and set about _trying_ to stop the waterfall - with, it felt like at times, a tea cup and a leaky bucket!


Yes, my "Clear the Path" FFs were great, even though quite costly with 450 built and lost through 10 years of war or so. But they did the job perfectly, Iīd send them out in batches of 20-30 and then split to stacks of 5 and when they were in sweeping range down to single ships. Biggest challenge was actually getting them into sweeping range even as IT. It was a lot of hassle with all those fleets and debris fields right next to planets. In the end it took me more than an hour each turn just to direct my sweepers.

I had originally planned for a conventional sweeper / skirmisher as well but your Cookie Cutters were just too good as skirmishers and to beat them I needed a lot of resources. Just not efficient so I decided to go with the throwaway ships. Of course I also ruthlessly had them jump at Warp 10 most of the time.
Quote:


Andreas produced a counter CC against my use of Cookie Cutters to kill his sweepers - to beat the init of the MkIV's it had to be a gattling and that meant a tech 20 gattling. I did my damnedest to ambush them whenever I could and got 3 free weapons levels which I passed on to the Pingguo - However, there's only so long you can hold out against an invasion that kills 4 planets a year!


Yes, I was very unhappy with that design, fortunately for me I didnīt build a lot, only around 20. Just too mineral expensive, when I designed them I still didnīt realize I was B-limited and they cost half the minerals of a BB at a lot less firepower and survivability. Should have used them more as a bait I realize in hindsight! Wink

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