Help with playing Hivers (well, help generally, please!)

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Help with playing Hivers (well, help generally, please!)

Post by Gillyfish » Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:54 am

Hello [doffs cap],

I have been something of a long-time browser of the forums here and have learnt a lot about the game as a result, but I am still..., well, a bit rubbish really. I have started many games and I think I m only just beginning to get a grip on things (although I could well be wrong).

I recently started a 350 star disc map (8 players) game as the Hivers. I'm into the early 60s in terms of turns and I appear to be second overall for colonies, so I hope I'm doing reasonably well in terms of expansion.

In terms of the political situation, I am on the edge of the disc, I have encountered the Morrigi along the rim to my left and, as yet, no other race. To my right, there are a number of worlds with a swarm infestation (which I am now gradually clearing out) and some Morrigi talos. These have hampered my exploration a bit, so most of my colonised worlds are in a crescent to my front and left.

In terms of tech (currently rated 7th amongst the races - oh dear!) I have:

Shaped Nuclear Warhead
Pulsed Fission
Long Range Fission
Recombinant Fissionables
Point Defense
Battle Computers
Waldo Units
Orbital Foundries
Gene Modification
Suspended Animation
Atmospheric Adaptation
Cybernetic Interface

Currently researching cruisers which as (typically!) gone overbudget. But what should I aim for next. I have been wondering about Fusion (c.24 turns at 50-60% research), but there are two Morrigi colonies on my doorstep that I feel I need to do something about. I haven't encountered much beyond basic tech from them, but I'm sure they must have some.

What would your advice be? What's the next best research step and should I (could I) take on the Crows without more advanced weapons tech?

I have UV lasers and photonic torpedoes available for research, but no Expert Systems or anything on the shield tree. I can research both Polysillicate Alloys and Reflective Coating (if memory serves).

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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Re: Help with playing Hivers (well, help generally, please!)

Post by ZedF » Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:19 am

I wouldn't worry too much about overall tech scores. You just need to keep growing your economy and the tech will come. You have a couple good choices open to you for that:
- FTL Economics will give you access to trade, which is a good way to grow your economy once your borders are well-established.
- Biome Colonizers will let you settle any high-hazard worlds you've ignored up to this point, or settle worlds you've conquered from rivals quickly.

Another couple good choices once you have cruisers under your belt would be Strikeforce CnC and Salvage Technology. Both are critical at this stage of the game for defense and especially for offense, though as Hivers the latter is more tricky than the former until you get into the AM era. A good weapon to pick up to mount on those cruisers would be AP Mass Drivers, having Heavy Combat Lasers available would also be a good idea. Otherwise, you don't really have any weapons suitable to use on cruisers other than missiles. AP Mass Drivers also make a good choice for destroyers if you are looking for a firepower boost for them.

Fusion is useful for getting Gate Amplifiers, which will let you move larger defense forces around more easily, especially once you have a lot of cruisers in your fleets. But it doesn't look like it should be a priority quite yet, at least not until you've researched one or both of the above economy techs.
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

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Re: Help with playing Hivers (well, help generally, please!)

Post by Gillyfish » Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:54 am

Thanks ZedF, that's very helpful.

I shall postpone Fusion for a bit whilst I bulk up my economy. I'll see if I can post a screenshot or two too.

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Re: Help with playing Hivers (well, help generally, please!)

Post by R2dical » Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:17 pm

My gameplay with hivers:

In the fission eras I propagate as many gate fleets as I can afford, these are generally gate+armour or gate+tanker depending on travel distance. I arm and armour them as best as possible and usually win in a battle with other AI races scout ships with these 2 ships. The goal is to gate as many planets as possible as fast as possible, to get that gate capacity up. This continues throughout the game and I am usually 1st in ship count from the start. I tend to be a bit picky with world selection given the Hivers great colonizing ability and their high pop count developed worlds and will try keep up with the top 1 or 2 AIs for colony count.

I usually spend more time researching economy and drive techs with hivers due to their great defensive posture, if there is low pressure from other races I grab pulsed fis, recom fis before going for fusion. Trade I always start as early as possible (when I can afford to pump freighters). For weapons techs I reserve research to hard counter enemy weapons and techs. Crusier I go for when my few weapon techs are no longer adequate. I go for fusion once I have trade up and that is followed by gate amp and mega freighters. That is followed by a period of weapon and combat tech research to counter and exploit enemy weaknesses once I gather intel on the enemies, combined with the odd economy tech that I missed or would like. I usually go DN - AM - Farcasters in one go once I sense a lull in enemy activity or I have a sustainable combat advantage for a while. I put off armour upgrades until the other races get magno, as hiver ships can take it, and compensate with fleet size tech upgrades if possible. Advanced sensors is especially important for hivers given their long travel times. Jammers and cloaking if available are also very important.

Weapons wise I go ballistic and warheads with whatever heavy beams/torps I roll and the odd beam and energy weapon to avoid getting hard countered with deflectors.

An important consideration in defence and attack is defending a gate. Hiver ships are slow and clumsy so if caught out of position can usually be flanked by the enemy. The AI will always beeline for an active gate in every combat. I arrange the fleet as far back as possible in fleet man and wait for the enemy to attack. A PD or 2 usually sit next to the gate to combat tracking ordinance, a disruptor torpedo ship there is useful too to disable an enemy brawler ship that gets through the defence lines. Cruiser gates are great for assault as they are much better at surviving the first combat round but they are expensive to maintain. If strapped for cash I replace a newly taken worlds CR gate with a DE once colonized.

I have 2 or 3 defence fleets and 1 or 2 big attack fleets all with MULTIPLE gates at all times. The defence fleets move around as needed and I constantly pump ships at my HW to replenish them. I base these defence fleets where the AI send attack fleets to save the need to move them as much. I don't bother with random menace defence picket fleets, usually 10 DE plats with sniper cannons at each developed colony work fine. I disagree about repair tech being crucial for hivers (salvage purposes is different), with enough ships to survive 2 rounds combat you can get a gate up for reinforcements. My attack fleets consist of enough ships to survive that long and a "pool" of ship types to bring in once I know what the enemy has. This also allows you to bring in speciality combat ships at first. Planet killing and support ships can come after. Jammers and cloaking tech greatly help hiver attack fleets and the AI won't prepare such a large "welcoming party".

A consideration I took a long time to learn is intelligence gathering and tracking enemy movements to anticipate attacks. This usually involves picketing a scout outside every enemy world within sensor range and retreating when the send a attack fleet but with hivers this only works well against humans and zuul. If I am worried about an enemy as hivers I constantly send waves of scouts (DE deepscan+extended range) through their territory to blanket them with sensor coverage. A couple gate fleets in the mix are useful to grab the odd abandoned world and set up an outpost in their territory :twisted: The AI will usually sent an attack fleet to kill these scouts but en-mass they work fine and since the AI leaves these interception fleets in deep space they work nicely as an attrition tactic on their economy.

Overall I tend to turtle till I get DN and Farcasters, against AI this can be fun due to their constant attacks but generally once I switch to the offensive with these techs its game over ;p

A final tip for hivers is to not be scared to pump many ships and fleets and constantly send out scouts/gates/pickets. You never know when you will need all your gate cap to move a defence fleet and these secondary missions should be constantly done when possible. This can get VERY micro heavy on bigger maps so practise those short/long term memory skills :googly:

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Re: Help with playing Hivers (well, help generally, please!)

Post by Gillyfish » Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:31 pm

Thanks R2dical, that is handy.

So, a quick update. As soon as I hit end turn the Morrigi decided to invade with a fleet of 45 ships! So my research went into weapons tech once cruisers were completed. I now have beams (to take the large slot on my cruisers) and I am working on researching Cruiser C&Cs so I can go on the offensive in due course. I may also grab mass drivers for a medium turret slot before going for at least some of the economic techs that ZedF suggested. As it was, a defense fleet of about 20DE, 9DE platforms and 1 cruiser saw off the Morrigi. They have now sent a fleet of 11 ships to another world which I am currently beating off and a third has just been detected at a newly colonised world, so I'm hoping to be able to send a nice cruiser fleet there.

Expansion is continuing and I have colonised two or three more worlds (not bad for only about ten turns played). Swarm infestations have (annoyingly) been established at some inhabited systems, but don't seem to activate when I send a fleet there, which is odd. So progress is being made. It would help massively if my scientists stopped going over-budget!!

Thank you both for your help.

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Re: Help with playing Hivers (well, help generally, please!)

Post by Abyss » Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:12 pm

Soon you'll be playing games like this before you know it!

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Re: Help with playing Hivers (well, help generally, please!)

Post by Gillyfish » Fri Apr 26, 2013 7:48 am

[laughs] Anyss, I'm not sure I necessarily want to get that good! ;)

Well, I have played a few more turns. Turns out the Morrigi have Fusion as their incoming fleets arrived sooner than expected. I was able to get a defence fleet to one colony and turned them back, but the other fleet took out a new colony. Still, I have discovered a CH300 world which is well away from the front line, so I will be able to do something to make good the loss shortly.

I'm researching cruiser C7C tech, but guess what? It's gone overbudget!

I want to go on the offensive against the Morrigi, and I'm tempted to do so once the latest etch is complete (a fleet or cruisers should work). Is it worth adding assault shuttle DEs to the mix - will they be more effective than a missile boat cruiser against a colony?

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Re: Help with playing Hivers (well, help generally, please!)

Post by fredNN » Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:35 pm

Gillyfish wrote:I want to go on the offensive against the Morrigi

Take with attack fleet minimum 3 gate ship.

Is it worth adding assault shuttle DEs to the mix - will they be more effective than a missile boat cruiser against a colony?

Missile do LOT of terraform damage. Use missile if planet is not usefull to you.
Assault shuttle do LOT of pop damage (the most of all normal weapon), but also lot of infrastructure damage and must be fired by hand and die to planet missile a lot. To remove pop I use Mass driver in CR.

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