Empire of the Noobs - Learning to be Human

Tactics and Action Reports.
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ZedF
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Re: Empire of the Noobs - Learning to be Human

Post by ZedF » Fri Jun 26, 2009 7:00 pm

Well, that depends. :)

Some destroyers are more I/O intensive to build than others. Colonizers spring to mind as being very expensive on the I/O, while ER destroyers are generally cheap. Same goes for command and engine sections, some take longer to build than others (though the difference is usually not so dramatic.)

How much I/O you have available to build with depends on which techs you've researched. Waldos, Cyber Interfaces, and Expert Systems will all increase your I/O and reduce the amount of I/O it takes to build ships. They are all quite useful to pick up early on as the extra I/O also helps speed colony development.

Your available I/O also depends on where you have put the Construction-Trade slider. If you don't have any freighters built, it should be placed all the way over to Construction. The more trade routes you have freighters for, the further over toward trade you'll need to put it to keep those trade routes filled with trade goods. This will reduce your available I/O for shipbuilding, of course.

There are a few other ways to get more I/O, one is by mining, another is by overharvesting, a third is by having an old enough colony to get bonus infrastructure, and a fourth is by scrapping old ships over worlds that are building new ones (especially if you have Zero-G Deconstruction.) All these factors combine with the number of resources and amount of population on a given world to determine what is 'normal' for that world as far as ship production goes.

IIRC at a human homeworld at the start of a game with no techs researched, you can spit out 5-6 ERs a turn with no problems, and that this gets up to 8ish with Waldos, Cyber, and Expert Systems. However the homeworld is size 10 with double pop and double infrastructure. Without knowing the specifics or double-checking my memory by looking at a game file, I'd say 3-4 destroyers per turn for an average planet with average resources sounds like a respectable number.
Zed's TARs (sample):
Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

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Re: Empire of the Noobs - Learning to be Human

Post by GammaPaladin » Fri Jun 26, 2009 8:58 pm

Repair ships can bet set to auto-repair but I usually do it manually in order to prioritize which ships get repaired first.

I find Auto-Repair is always a good idea, because the repair ships only actually execute the auto-repair when you end your turn, so the turn after the battle you still have the option to manually repair everything, but if you forget, at least the auto-repair happens!

It's like a failsafe.

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Re: Empire of the Noobs - Learning to be Human

Post by Buatha » Wed Jul 08, 2009 2:22 pm

Greetings, my fellow Noobs!

Just to let you know, I have not abandoned the Noobs, but I have discovered that I've hit a turning point with the game. Since my play time is very sporadic, I've been trying to follow ZedF's suggestion of playing a bit before posting updates per turn as I've been doing in the past. It doesn't help that this is my first serious play session with SotS, so I'm essentially experiencing everything for the first time.

So, I've now discovered the Zuul homeworld, and I get the distinct impression they've hit their stride with the Hard difficulty bonuses. With the 4 minute timer, I can't really get to the planet with enough of a force to hurt the planet's production capacity to pretty much refresh their fleet each turn.

I've tried sending a Point Defense Cruiser to protect a bunch of destroyers, but that was obliterated immediately since the Zuul are apparently sporting Cruisers...with CnC. By the time I've killed their CnC Cruiser, their bristling Cruiser with all number of weapons, and various Destroyers, I'm at the planet with their Satellites. On average, I'm getting 10-12 Destroyers to the planet, but then it's about 30-50 seconds to start bombardment.

From reading other people's stuff, I'm behind on engine technology since I've spent most of my research on economy and biotechs. Additionally, I have nothing better than UV Lasers, so I'm not really hurting the planet very much. I can't imagine sending shuttles since it's hit or miss how many ships I have left once we reach the planet.

At this point, I think that every turn I don't mess with the Zuul, I'm allowing them to become the feared race they should be. Given what they're fielding, I'm pretty sure they've expanded on the outer rim of the galaxy since they seem to be able to churn out the ships fairly easily for only having the two planets I've seen. I think they may also have Fusion researched, too.

In summary, what the hell should I be doing for a planetary assault against the Zuul homeworld and 1 billion people of population?

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Re: Empire of the Noobs - Learning to be Human

Post by Crimsonsplat » Wed Jul 08, 2009 3:15 pm

I may be alone, but I don't like PD cruisers. Waste of the command points.

You can tell the engines of your enemy by color. Yellow is fusion, purple is AM.

Bio weapons may be an alternative. They're slow, so get close to the planet before firing.

The trick to bringing in assault shuttles or bio weapons is to leave a few ships at the entry point or a bit further in. Gather up the rest to protect the CNC, and charge the planet. When you get there, put the bio/assault ships at the top of the queue, and tell the ships back at the entry to return to the back line. Your shuttles/bio ships will come in near the CNC & planet. This isn't easy; if you're fighting for your life, or the CNC bites it, you fail. And defense sats love to shoot slow moving bio missiles and shuttles.

You can change the length of the combats with the button in the lower right. That will let you spend more time at the planet (Also, it's necessary when fighting Grand Menaces).

Bursters are good against DD swarms -- the knockback effects are excellent counters to the weapon-heavy Zuul.

You *can* play for time against the Zuul (over 50-100 turns), but it requires solid defense -- if they find a weakness in an AI player and expand, it will come back to haunt you. Staying on the attack keeps them contained.

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Re: Empire of the Noobs - Learning to be Human

Post by ZedF » Wed Jul 08, 2009 3:53 pm

If you have cruiser CnC and repair ships, it sounds like you need some better weapons. HCLs would be a good start, as well as a solid medium mount weapon, like AP drivers. Even regular mass drivers or stormers may work if your Zuul opponents are short on good armour, and especially if you have fire control. Otherwise, most of the good medium mount weapons require fusion (or in the case of DF racks, fusion warheads -- though at least you don't have to get the warheads before you get the racks as long as you are planning to get the warheads soon anyway.) X-ray lasers can sub in for a good medium mount weapon, but they are also fusion-era.

For medium mounts, I personally favour AP drivers with humans because they are for the cruiser era what lasers are for the destroyer era -- they don't excel at anything, but they are good at everything, they have few counters, and they don't require fusion to research. For humans, the lack of a requirement for Fusion is a big plus in my books, because humans often delay Fusion. With ANY, HCL Blazers are also a good choice, for similar reasons.

The reason for this is that Humans can get Node Focusing in the fission era; it's a lot cheaper than fusion and gives you superlative strategic speed for the fission era and at least average strategic speed for the fusion era, even if you don't have fusion yet. They won't help much with tactical speed; you'll have to wait for Fusion if you want an upgrade there -- though if you haven't got Pulsed Fission yet, it would help, and you'll want it anyway to maximize the benefit of Node Focusing.

If you have AP drivers (or regular mass drivers, or HCL Blazers,) they will often take care of your bombardment needs, providing you can maintain space superiority long enough to bombard the planet. Prior to that, or if maintaining space superiority is a problem, then shuttles are an excellent answer. Shuttles are the premiere planet killers of the destroyer era, and are still very useful in that role in the cruiser era. But they can require some finesse to use well. If you are having trouble powering your way through the enemy defenses once you arrive at the enemy planet, it's time to get sneaky.

There are lots of good ways to employ strategic and tactical misdirection to lure enemy defenders out of position. Strategically, you can stage a multi-pronged attack into enemy territory and hit more than one planet at a time. It's generally impossible to be strong on defense everywhere at once, unless you've only got one place to defend to begin with. Additionally, if you stagger your assaults to arrive slightly offset from one another, you can often lure enemy defenders to defend the planet of your choice (e.g. a small one,) leaving more valuable worlds exposed to your follow-up attacks.

Tactical misdirection with a fleet supported by shuttles involves having your initial attack wave not burn straight for the planet. Instead you send your combat ships toward one side and your CnC toward the other side (making sure the combat ships get in sensor range of the enemy first.) Once your combat ships have lured the enemy in the opposite direction of where your CnC is headed to, either let them die or retreat them and make sure the reinforcements are the shuttles. They will spawn near your CnC on the other side of the planet from the defenders, whereupon you can launch their shuttles. The enemy defense force will notice the shuttles launch and immediately burn to try and catch them, but if you did it right they will be much too far away to make it in time and all this will do is allow your combat ships time to withdraw to the back line if you do desire. You can then withdraw the shuttle carriers and bring in fresh combat ships to continue handing out the beatdowns, or just plain leave orbit for the round and begin again next round once you've accomplished some repairs.

You can also use shuttles as a distraction to give your ships free shots at an enemy attack force, providing the planet is still populated by the enemy. In this case you start the round with your shuttles deployed at the start line, immediately launch and withdraw them to the back line in favour of your combat ships. This will encourage the enemy to focus on killing the shuttles first while your ships take free shots at theirs until the shuttles run out. Not really what shuttles are intended for, but if the enemy ships are a bigger problem than the enemy planet, then as long as you've got the repair capacity to easily replace the shuttles, it can help somewhat.
Zed's TARs (sample):
Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

Strategy & Tactics Forum Archive -- More posts on strategy, tactics, and TARs

ZedF
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Re: Empire of the Noobs - Learning to be Human

Post by ZedF » Wed Jul 08, 2009 4:06 pm

Crimsonsplat wrote:I may be alone, but I don't like PD cruisers. Waste of the command points.
Historically they haven't been a good choice because PD works better when dispersed through the formation than when concentrated on a single ship. More access to wild weasels and alternative forms of PD (i.e. interceptor missiles) could change this in some cases, but generally I think this principle of dispersion still holds.

Bio weapons may be an alternative. They're slow, so get close to the planet before firing.

Afraid not. Not against the Zuul, at any rate. They are immune to bioweapons.

The trick to bringing in assault shuttles or bio weapons is to leave a few ships at the entry point or a bit further in.

This can help some, but in general I prefer the distraction method as it doesn't expose your vulnerable shuttles to enemy fire prematurely.

You can change the length of the combats with the button in the lower right. That will let you spend more time at the planet (Also, it's necessary when fighting Grand Menaces).

While true, this feels like cheating to some, myself included. It's not really necessarily against the Grand Menaces either.

Bursters are good against DD swarms -- the knockback effects are excellent counters to the weapon-heavy Zuul.

Bursters are a relatively long way away at this point, given where Buatha is at in the game at the moment. Bursters can work against DDs especially when coupled with fire control, but there are a lot easier and simpler options for DD control.
Zed's TARs (sample):
Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

Strategy & Tactics Forum Archive -- More posts on strategy, tactics, and TARs

Crimsonsplat
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Re: Empire of the Noobs - Learning to be Human

Post by Crimsonsplat » Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:30 pm

Well, given my results thus far, I probably should be taking notes, not giving advice.... but why let a little thing like that stop me? :lol: :lol: :lol:

However, I note that the other player advocating a bait and switch with the shuttles is working with an incredibly fast fleet, or a lot longer than 3-4 minutes of combat time, to be able to split up and bracket the planet like that. I usually have the same problem of reaching the planet just as time runs out.

Buatha
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Re: Empire of the Noobs - Learning to be Human

Post by Buatha » Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:55 pm

Thanks, ZedF and Crimsonsplat. I welcome all advice as the whole point of my T.A.R. is to learn various tactics and help my fellow Noobs.

I will try to line up the Destroyers and Armor Cruiser in front and send my CnC Cruiser with a light escort to protect against satellites around the outside of the attack line.

However, I'm not sure how that tactic will work with the planetary missles. With 1 Billion Zuuls, they launch a constant string of missles that are quite devastating. I'm sure that having my CnC Cruiser close to the planet will garner it some serious attention.

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Re: Empire of the Noobs - Learning to be Human

Post by ZedF » Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:24 pm

Against Zuul, you actually don't want your cruiser CnC to get all that close to the planet. If you park it such that you can just barely see the sat ring from iits sensors on sensor view, that should be close enough. The reason is that you want your shuttle carriers to be able to pop in from reinforcements, launch their shuttles, and immediately pop out again so you can replace them with more shuttles or with your combat ships. If you were doing this against another race, you might have to get in a bit closer so you can shoot down the satellite defenses and prevent them from using PD on your shuttles. But Zuul sats don't have many small mounts -- the light sats don't have any at all. They tend to be very bad at defending against shuttle rushes with just sats.

Staying at a decent range from the planet also helps with shooting down the planet missiles as well, since they come in at a lower angle and on a more predictable course, and you don't also have to deal with a lot of satellite missiles at once. Since the enemy ships should be far away, having been distracted by your initial wave of combat ships, it ought to be able to just sit still and shoot down most of the incoming missiles. Remember your ships are more accurate when stationary.

The main thing is just to make sure your other combat ships are closer to the planet than your CnC is, until you're ready for them to break off so you can start the shuttle wave going. This will also help split the planet missiles between your CnC side and the distraction side.
Zed's TARs (sample):
Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

Strategy & Tactics Forum Archive -- More posts on strategy, tactics, and TARs

Magnum
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Re: Empire of the Noobs - Learning to be Human

Post by Magnum » Sat Aug 08, 2009 10:35 pm

I just wanted to chime in that this TAR has had me laughing all through it as well as learning. I really hope it continues or we see other Noobian racial tars!

:thumbsup:

-Mags-

Buatha
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Re: Empire of the Noobs - Learning to be Human

Post by Buatha » Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:22 pm

Yeah, I know, it's a been a LONG time since I've visited my fledgling Noob empire, but the x-mas holidays have allowed me time to return for some more learning.

I'll admit that everything seems a bit overwhelming at this point since I've in the middle of the map, so I haven't been able to focus on either expansion, weaponry, or the economy, but instead have done a little of everything. I've basically gotten to where I can't really keep up with the Zuul since they're supporting a large number of cruisers and bristling with UVs, plasma cannons, and missles. I'm working on getting HCLs and mass drivers, but need to finish Repair & Salvage since I'm getting too far away from my colonies to handle losses against them. While they are essentially bottled up for the moment, I get the distinct feeling they're going Motie on me and will eventually explode out of their little section of space if I don't start really nailing them in the next 15 turns or so.

So read on and feel free to give out the advice/strategy again.

Turn 74

At the last minute, Grand Leader Buatha orders the fleet at Gotham to stay put until a few more ships arrive and the Tarka attack fleet to return to Kuo'Pral for repairs. The Zuul are surrounded and shouldn't pose any problems for now since we have enough colonies in the vacinity to respond to any threats should they arise (we hope). We'll try out an attack fleet of 40+ ships to see how well the Zuul are holding up under house arrest. We'll focus on the homeworld and Pacem for now to see what they've been up to for the last few turns.

The Tarka are more problematic. They seem to have more worlds and can apparently send reinforcements very quickly to Ke'Pranum, so we estimate that their homeworld must be one of the adjacent worlds for them to get 12+ ships in one turn. None of our colonies are close enough to keep up the necessary flow of ships that are being destroyed from planetary missles.

So, Grand Leader Buatha plans the Madoff-Stanford Strategy to freeze all of their income by incapacitating their less protected colonies. Once our ships are repaired at Kuo'Pral, the fleet will assault Ke'Pranum once and for all and begin taking out the outlying colonies.

The Luurwuni colony situated between the Liir and Hivers is not looking very safe. Our last transmission from the Liir diplomat does not give me much confidence.

Image


Turns 75-77
The Noobs squash another attempt from the Hivers to enter our territory. However, after our repeated one-finger salutes to the Hivers, those damn pacifist Liir veto my objections and allow them into our alliance. As soon as the Hivers attack the Liir, I will beam them a photoshopped image of Hivers opening a sushi bar in their capital. The only benefit now is that we have an accurate view of their part of space now.

Image

Data Synergy is completed and we start producing our first Strikeforce CnC ships for our attack fleets. Given that we are fielding Cruisers now, we start to scuttle our Squadron CnC ships from our large fleets since it doesn't make any sense to keep them.

We complete VRF and start researching Repair and Salvage Cruisers to allow our ships to repair from planetary assaults, followed by HCLs, Mass Drivers, and maybe Point Defense.

The rest of the turns are spent amassing more ships for the pushes into enemy territory.

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DervMan
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Re: Empire of the Noobs - Learning to be Human

Post by DervMan » Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:29 pm

Yay! Something else to look forward to over the next few weeks. ;)

Coming back to a long looked at TAR game feels like a brave decision but I'll enjoy reading this.
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Re: Empire of the Noobs - Learning to be Human

Post by Buatha » Thu Dec 24, 2009 5:48 am

Turns 78-95
Note to my fellow Noobs: I've eschewed with the normal turn-by-turn descriptions for this set since there were a lot of back-and-forth battles each turn that would have made things unnecessarily long, so I'm going to highlight the major points.

Research
After one of the Noob's lead engineers, Jim Iggy, accidentally eats a marijuana brownie, he has a mind-altering experience that helps him make a breakthrough with Repair & Salvage in one turn. Apparently, he has now been forever changed from the experience even though he can't remember it.

Image

Unfortunately, it affects the rest of the team to where almost every project runs over budget. HCLs almost goes the full 150%, while Point Defense, Mass Drivers, and Armor-Piercing rounds each go a little over. After an accounting review, I see a hidden order for one metric ton of brownie mix, so I think an intervention is in order.

On the last turn of the set, we design a Blazer Laser Turret class (BLT) with a side of Point Defense. "Would you like to fry with that?" We also create a Armor-Piercing destroyer to combat the Hivers.

Finally, we start down the road to Fusion requiring 8 Turns.

Hivers

As we tried to tell the Liir, the Hivers broke off the Alliance and commenced attacking the Liir colonies where Gate ships were deployed.

In a bizarre twist of fate, Sgt. Rico was visiting a Hiver embassy on one of the Liir worlds as part of a Noob investigatory team when communications broke down with the Hiver Ambassador.

Image

The Liir have signaled us to help, but we are not close enough and I have my own problems with the Tarka and Zuul. We sent a lone ER ship to view the battle, and before it was destroyed, we noticed the Liir stupidly attacking the planet instead of taking down the Gate ship. As I don't have the technology to view the battles, I'm guessing things will not be going well since their space is no longer Dolphin-Safe. Since Luurwuni is so close to Hiver space, I'm expecting an incoming fleet sooner or later.

A scout/gate fleet tried to enter our space again, but we obliterated it. Fortunately, we now have some Armor-Piercing Destroyers as they started sporting Reflective Coating. With the Liir most likely being removed, I'm sure I can expect some 70+ fleets to arrive in the future.

Tarka

The Noobs successfully take another one of their colonies, Kuo'Kona, that was lightly defended. Their ships have not been sporting any new advances lately, so I'm not sure what is happening within their empire. Maybe their real estate market launched a recession. That s#!t can happen, you now.

Meanwhile, we launch an attack against the neighboring Tarka colony, Ke'Pranum, and basically station a fleet inside their asteroid fields. For most of the turns, we simply stay here while they send fleet after fleet into our rock quarry of doom since their hulls don't seem to hold up very well against the fleet's UV Laser storm. Eventually, they stop sending reserve ships for us to get close enough to the planet to launch our Assault Shuttles.

Image

After the colony is established, we send a small fleet to another of their colonies, Ko'Velan, one Node away and discover it's moderately defended with no satellites, so we start gearing up a fleet for them.

Image

Zuul

Gotham, our neighboring colony next to the Zuul homeworld, has completed infrastructure build-out and will be completely terraformed very soon. Realizing that we've probably waited too long for an offensive, we launch a 40+ fleet of destroyers at their home planet, Beezaro, while simultaneously launching an attack on their adjacent colony, Pacem, with a volunteer (suicide) fleet. The hope is that they will attempt to spread their forces as initial reports showed them having at least five to six Cruisers in the area.

Image

The battles are fierce, but they initially appeared to have gone for the feint attack as they never field more than one Cruiser each turn for many turns, so we thought we may have thinned out their fleet a bit. We were wrong...very wrong.

Image

However, all was not lost as the Noobs launched the U.N.S. Reverend Jim to smite the Zuul.

Image

Grand Leader Buatha hopes that with Armor Piercing destroyers paired with the the HCL Cruisers, we can bring down the Zuul homeworld and adjoining colony before they can muster another massive force.

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Re: Empire of the Noobs - Learning to be Human

Post by ZedF » Thu Dec 24, 2009 9:00 pm

Sounds like your noobs are doing pretty well so far, fighting a 2-front (or more) war and winning! :)
Zed's TARs (sample):
Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

Strategy & Tactics Forum Archive -- More posts on strategy, tactics, and TARs

Buatha
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Re: Empire of the Noobs - Learning to be Human

Post by Buatha » Fri Dec 25, 2009 6:51 am

Thank you, Zedf, although I've been following your advice fairly closely. :)

I'd also be lying if I said I did everything perfectly the first time. For my fellow Noobs learning the game, I've reloaded a few battles where I did something stupid, so I'm not necessarily making perfect decisions at all times. Additionally, if I'm not sure what to do, I will play about ten turns ahead to see if a technology or strategy is viable. I just don't know enough yet to be able to forge ahead blindly as my games (and this T.A.R) would be very short.

Zedf, I've followed your advice of AP drivers with HCLs, but I'd like further suggestions if you would like to give them. I'm going to be at Turn 103 when I get Fusion which seems to jive in some of the other T.A.R.s I've read, but I don't know if I'm economically where I should be right now.

Image
FYI, the massive build-up of money probably has more to do with waiting for my new ship line and reducing fleet maintenance as older ships get destroyed/scuttled.

I get the feeling that you believe that economy should always be pursued if you are not having to fight or if you're not having problems fighting with your current technology.

Additionally, does the Civilian slider move automagically? I never really noticed it, but new colonies were looking like this:
Image
Do Civilians show up after a certain population of Imperials or should it always be set to the middle white tick?

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