TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Parts 1-2)

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ZedF
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Re: TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Part 1)

Post by ZedF » Fri Aug 22, 2014 12:10 am

fredNN wrote:> - DATarka may only use weapons that employ burst fire or submunitions.
If I understand correct this do not exclude Plasma Projector and Heavy Plasma Cannon ... if your Tarka have them.

Correct. Right now I can see heavy plasma cannon is available but not plasma projector. OTOH, I would rather get fusion first, in part to see if the fusion-era equivalents are available. Still, by my calculations, I am better off investing in Antimatter warheads than I am in getting eligible fusion-era energy weapons, so it may be moot unless I start facing really heavily armoured and hence reflective enemies.

> - May not research xenotech above level 1 or negotiate treaties with other races or factions.
Why not research? Just do not communicate. If you do not research more xenotech, you will have very very bad chance (instead just bad ;) ) to salvage tech other races have.

Then I would be able to trade with independents of that race. In this game, the Tarka are a bit too racist and view everyone else with a bit too much contempt for that. ;) Besides which, I rarely find salvage picks to be that helpful in most typical games, though there are exceptions. In this game... what am I going to salvage, a weapon I can't use? :lol:

- I agree with your thought on Stormers. If I compare its stats to standard Mass Driver, are better in just one way - DPS is better. But add simple PollySilicate armor and they lose half firepower. :( I think for your game you would need to modify them more: add 0.1 penetration, decrease dispersion by 1 and add some serious mass to them. Just Gauss bullet has 100 mass, but Stormer bullet has 18. :? Do same with Heavy Stormers and you can use them much longer, if not to kill enemys, then to push them away and kill with Sniper gun support.

An interesting idea, though I usually try to minimize the amount of modding I do in any given game. For this game, I wanted stormers to have as much operational lifespan as possible without actually changing the weapon characteristics, so I would have a reasonable window of opportunity to try them out but still have them go obsolete about at the same tech level they normally would. That was why I changed their research cost and gave out pre-requisite techs for free, without modifying the weapon itself.

- You settled lots of planets without researching very basic tech Atmospheric Adaptation. I think you did lose more money on terraforming with worse tech than you would lose if research Atmospheric Adaptation before you start serious colonizing.

Perhaps, but there always seemed to be something else more pressing to research. I usually like to get Atmospheric Adaptation immediately after Biomes. I find you don't really need it for worlds under half your max hazard rating and you want to get those settled ASAP anyway, before you can get AA quickly enough to be worth it. But about the time you get biomes you can usually get AA quite quickly and it can help a lot with mass settlement of a lot of worlds at once, as Biomes enables.

However, this game I got Biomes much earlier than I normally do (I usually get trade first), such that I hadn't even gotten Expert Systems yet, which was a higher priority. After that, I really did need to get moving on the next stage of critical cruiser-era military technologies, as evidenced by the pink Zuul beating me to Data Synergy -- I would not have wanted to put that off any longer than I did and risk maybe losing worlds if they hit me somewhere other than my main fleet staging ground at Shoni. Nor would I have wanted the Hivers to get more of a foothold than they did. Besides, faster conquest = enemy worlds colonized sooner = more income as well, and long-term income at that, not just cost savings on terraforming, which takes a finite amount of time to start with. I'll agree that Atmospheric Adaptation is nice when you can get to it, but you do have to consider the opportunity costs of delaying something else you also need, and perhaps need more urgently.

- Congratulation on good battle tactics. 8)

Danke. 8)

Warcat wrote:Hi ZedF, very nice readings indeed.

Glad you appreciated it. :)

Just to keep the discussion open, I think that focusing on improving rockets and getting some EW tech would be a bad choice, at least at this stage. The efforts to get these techs (Integrated Sensors - Advanced Sensors and Gamma warheads, to add some real punch) cost roughly the same to get Fusion into the early breakthrought area. So I'd rather go to Fusion and then SH asap, to keep the initiative, get nice strategical and tactical flexibility and open new techs and trade lines.

At this point, Gamma Warhead, Integrated Sensors, and Advanced Sensors are water under the bridge.

I picked up Gamma Warhead because I was actively using rocket-based cruisers to bombard and finish off the pink Zuul, and to fight off a sizeable Hiver gate fleet with relatively heavy armour. Especially for the latter, I wanted my point cruisers to be contributing as much damage as possible to the fight; stormer cruisers were not going to cut it, and I was finding shaped warheads to be too weak in ship-ship combat. I agree that, in hindsight, this tech was a somewhat iffy choice, but I think it's defensible under the circumstances, and it was cheap in any case. At the time I was researching this tech, I couldn't really afford to punch my research budget high enough to sprint all the way to 50% on Fusion; I was building too many ships for that and needed the cash in hand. This includes freighters; I am still filling the routes I have with just Pulsed Fission, so while the improvement from Fusion in trade route range is valuable, it isn't really needed just yet.

Regarding Integrated Sensors and Advanced Sensors before Fusion -- here I think these techs were justified by my continuing need for cash in hand (via sprint-n-drift on relatively inexpensive techs) to build ships and fill freighter networks, as well as by my need to get pickets out into the gulfs between the clusters so I can avoid being surprised by an extra-cluster enemy. Having the ability to act and react with speed 6 fleets is indeed a great leap forward, but it's going to be a while before I can first research the two techs I need and then rebuild a new set of speed 6 fleets to take advantage of that tech. Recall the restricted economic settings for this game; prioritizing economic growth so that I can research fusion-era techs at a reasonable clip and generate the capital required to rebuild fleets in a timely manner is going to be key -- even moreso than getting Fusion in the first place.

The sensor coverage issue is also significant, though. I have a pretty extensive border region with 3-4 other clusters possibly able to take shots in my direction; covering this border region with just regular scouts lacking wide-area sensors would not be very cost-effective, because I would not only need to cover a very broad area but also layer it with multiple scout layers. This would not only be expensive and time-consuming, it would also be a micromanagement pain because I don't have Hyperlink Communications yet, and would have to do it with manually refuelled tankers rather than just ERs. While I already plan to do just that for my new Deep Scan pickets, at least I only need a relative handful of those.

I am not really super-worried about the possibility of a surprise attack by the Morrigi or the red Zuul, but at the same time it is going to take me a good while to get into a position where I have not only got fusion and shaped hyperfields researched but also speed 6 fleets built and in position to combat any threat. Until then I do need to continue to rely on old speed 2 fleets, and those need warning time to be effective in a defensive role -- especially when both the red Zuul and the Morrigi could easily have Fusion fleets ready to pay a visit right now. Getting Advanced Sensors earlier rather than later puts me in a much better defensive position so I can afford the time I need to research and build more modern fleets.

All that said, now that I have clear scopes for the moment, plans in place to improve my sensor network against future needs, and am beginning to run low on trade routes that need filling, this seems like the right time to push for Fusion.
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: TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Part 1)

Post by Starknight » Sun Aug 24, 2014 1:07 pm

kjn wrote:I didn't have much to comment on straight away, and now I just got back from Loncon 3.


Me too. (Well, I got back on Thursday but didn't get caught up on this thread until today.)

It looks interesting so far, ZedF. I'm not sure I'd take on such a challenge myself (heck, I still can't reliably beat hard AI in a normal game) but it's neat to see you do these TARs.
My Morrigi fleet-speed calculator for SotS Prime
The Holy Lands - Hivers vs. the infidel Liir (and others)
Currently working on getting my board game Dragon Raiders into final condition before going to Kickstarter...

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Re: TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Part 1)

Post by Warcat » Mon Aug 25, 2014 2:01 pm

Indeed my comment was flawed by the lack of information about the situation.

With Integrated Sensor being researched, the jump to Advanced Sensor is not so money consuming and the need of cash for developing the economy justifies your choices.
I'm worried about that you have to face many turns with 2-speed ships covering as you said very broad borders. Maybe putting ready to go defensive forces in key systems along your empire could grant the cover of your borders until Fusion gets ready, even if this means maintaining more old Fission ships.
I guess you should have plenty of DE squadrons for police operations against lone scouts or small boring/gating fleets: you may lack CR sized groups to face major threats like Hiver incursions and/or sneaky attacks from Zuul and Morrigi. Here you may have to build some more ships for having Fission instead of Fusion powered fleets. Or you may bet that your enemies will sleep enough to let you build your economy and your war fleets without too much trouble...

About deep space pickets, instead of filling your borders with tankers, you may build a bunch of scouts that follow a lone tanker for every sector and keep moving the tanker along your border. A little time consuming but surely it's not so painful than manually move dozen of ships.

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Re: TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Part 1)

Post by ZedF » Mon Aug 25, 2014 11:27 pm

Warcat wrote:Maybe putting ready to go defensive forces in key systems along your empire could grant the cover of your borders until Fusion gets ready, even if this means maintaining more old Fission ships.
I guess you should have plenty of DE squadrons for police operations against lone scouts or small boring/gating fleets: you may lack CR sized groups to face major threats like Hiver incursions and/or sneaky attacks from Zuul and Morrigi. Here you may have to build some more ships for having Fission instead of Fusion powered fleets.

If you look back to the T125 pic, you can see a snapshot of my expansion cluster and its 3 closest neighbors. What you won't see in that pic is my home cluster, which is off on its own little corner of the map, hidden behind my expansion cluster. So while I do have a broad border in terms of sensor coverage -- i.e. directions from which threats can approach my expansion cluster -- the area I need to protect with my defense fleets is not so large, because I don't really need to defend my home cluster at all, except against VNs and such.

My expansion cluster is roughly triangular in shape, and about 20 LY per side. To cover that volume of space with fission-era ships, I currently have 3 modern cruiser strikeforces (each about 10 CAs & 20 DDs) which are leftovers from the conquest of the pink Zuul, 1 modern destroyer strikeforce (about 5 CAs & 20 DDs), and 4 older destroyer squadrons (each about a dozen DDs, enough for a small gate/bore fleet.) Since I am not allowed to use assault shuttles, these are all combat fleets, though only the cruiser strikeforces really have much in the way of bombardment capability. If I station my main fleets in relatively central areas, they should generally not have more than a 10-12LY or so trip to get where they need to be on defense. So I think, with enough advance warning of where they need to be, these fleets should do as a starting point.

Right now my current fleets cost about 20% of my budget in maintenance costs. So, I will probably supplement with new construction only in a limited way, until I start to see more or bigger threats incoming than my current fleets can handle. I tend to be a bit diffident about spending money reacting to unproven threats until I see proof that a threat exists. That said, I do take steps to acquire such proof; to wit: deep scan scouts and pickets! ;) It's always better to react to evidence, when possible, than to guesswork.

About deep space pickets, instead of filling your borders with tankers, you may build a bunch of scouts that follow a lone tanker for every sector and keep moving the tanker along your border. A little time consuming but surely it's not so painful than manually move dozen of ships.

I will look and see if the topography of my border region allows for that. Remember that I can't just move ships along any arbitrary vector I like; my ships have to move toward a specific star on the map. Moving each ship toward a given star in an enemy cluster and stopping part way might be considerably simpler than moving a tanker with scouts in tow partway out and then trying to move laterally, if no target stars exist that facilitate such lateral movement. So far it looks like I will need about 3-4 deep scan pickets per border region, so it shouldn't be too painful either way. That doesn't count any scouts I want to send to actually attempt to chart enemy worlds, though.
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: TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Part 1)

Post by Warcat » Thu Aug 28, 2014 12:04 pm

ZedF wrote:If you look back to the T125 pic, you can see a snapshot of my expansion cluster and its 3 closest neighbors. What you won't see in that pic is my home cluster, which is off on its own little corner of the map, hidden behind my expansion cluster. So while I do have a broad border in terms of sensor coverage -- i.e. directions from which threats can approach my expansion cluster -- the area I need to protect with my defense fleets is not so large, because I don't really need to defend my home cluster at all, except against VNs and such.

So your expansion cluster is a choke point which every enemy should pass through to reach your core worlds. A little reward for starting cornered.

My expansion cluster is roughly triangular in shape, and about 20 LY per side. To cover that volume of space with fission-era ships, I currently have 3 modern cruiser strikeforces (each about 10 CAs & 20 DDs) which are leftovers from the conquest of the pink Zuul, 1 modern destroyer strikeforce (about 5 CAs & 20 DDs), and 4 older destroyer squadrons (each about a dozen DDs, enough for a small gate/bore fleet.) Since I am not allowed to use assault shuttles, these are all combat fleets, though only the cruiser strikeforces really have much in the way of bombardment capability. If I station my main fleets in relatively central areas, they should generally not have more than a 10-12LY or so trip to get where they need to be on defense. So I think, with enough advance warning of where they need to be, these fleets should do as a starting point.

Indeed your forces seem enough to work like a strong garrison

Right now my current fleets cost about 20% of my budget in maintenance costs. So, I will probably supplement with new construction only in a limited way, until I start to see more or bigger threats incoming than my current fleets can handle. I tend to be a bit diffident about spending money reacting to unproven threats until I see proof that a threat exists. That said, I do take steps to acquire such proof; to wit: deep scan scouts and pickets! ;) It's always better to react to evidence, when possible, than to guesswork.

I agree at least when playing against AI, whose attacks are obvious

I'll wait for any news about this TAR, even if I think you should tweak your starting restrictions, as you clearly explained some posts ago.
Cheers

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Re: TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Parts 1-2)

Post by ZedF » Sat Mar 28, 2015 6:41 pm

Dakka Attakk Tarka, Part 2
--------------------------

So, here my Tarka are, sitting relatively pretty with 2 clusters almost completely to themselves. I'm guessing that thus far, none of the other factions have more than a single cluster and possibly an extra world or two carved out of someone else's territory. Only a handful of my worlds are fully mature at this point, but given time that will change, and my position will become fairly dominant -- at least, until one of the AI factions manages to grab more than just a world or two from a neighbor, and/or gets some other compensatory advantage.

Map

Now I do have some variant rules that are meant to slow my expansion down and encourage me to try new things:

1) Dakka!
- DATarka may only use weapons that employ burst fire or submunitions.
- DATarka may not use any other weapons, including assault shuttles or bioweapons.
- Basic missiles are allowed in mounts where no other weapons may be used.

2) Moar Dakka!!
- When facing rival empires, tactics are limited to "shoot the closest guy first, a lot!"
- Only the closest rival enemy ship may be targeted.
- Ships move only via CtA/Standoff/Pursue/Stop commands, except if no rivals visible on the map

3) Dakka Attackk!!!
- DATarka are xenophobic and poor diplomats.
- May not research xenotech above level 1 or negotiate treaties with other races or factions.

So far Variant Rule 1 has worked more-or-less as intended to encourage use of weapons I don't normally prioritize. Variant rule 3 has been hanging out in the background, quietly doing its job too. But variant rule 2 has been a bit of a bust, as it hasn't played nicely with Variant Rule 1, and has been more annoying than interesting to work around given the weapon set I've been using. So, I'd like to scrap Variant Rule 2... but I feel like I should then replace it with something else. Something less fiddly and annoying for snipers, but maybe something with a bit more bite to it. Something that might make it harder to translate my burgeoning economic advantage into an equivalent military advantage.

Something like this, perhaps:

4) Dakka Power, not Engine Power!
- DATarka put stock in might, not swiftness. The value of speed must be proven, else it is treated with skepticism.
- May not research Fusion until they lose a mature colony to a Fusion-powered fleet (or Antimatter).
- May not research Shaped Hyperfields until, having Fusion, lose 2 mature colonies to Dreadnought-led fleets.
- May not research Antimatter until, having Fusion, lose 3 mature colonies to Antimatter-powered fleets.
- To qualify, a mature colony must be size 4+, and have 0 CH, 100+ infrastructure, and max imperial pop.

Of course, we were just about to research Fusion, and that's probably the smartest thing my Tarka could pick to research right now. But in the interests of keeping things interesting, we're not going to do the smart thing. Instead we're going to try to keep defending our worlds, not to mention expanding, using only Fission-era technology. That's not only going to lock our fleets down to a relative snail's pace, it's also going to limit our offensive and defensive options significantly.

That said, there are still quite a few useful techs we can pick up in the late Fission era. Fusion and Antimatter warheads and Heavy Planet Missiles still pack plenty of punch. We can still get Deflector and possibly Disruptor shields if we need them, as well as Photon Torpedoes for assault sections and Heavy Plasma Cannon if we need an (admittedly not great) energy weapon. Fire Control sections are available for more accuracy, and Magnetoceramic Armour for more defense, not to mention Tarka Living Steel and Reflective Coat. Plus there are still quite a few useful economy and other non-combat techs still awaiting research. So, our scientists won't cease being busy anytime soon.

The question, as always, is prioritization, and what techs to prioritize really depends on how quickly we want to press on the attack to other clusters. It seems to me that we have a couple options. The first is to hang back and research biotechs for a while, with a view to getting arcologies and/or grav adaptation, for a further population boost and more trade routes. This would give our newer colonies lots of time to fill out and will further increase our economic headroom on top of that, but it would mean delaying defensive and offensive improvements required for a push into the center of the map, giving any other Zuul more time to strip resources and giving other races more time to poach worlds I might otherwise be able to take.

The second option is to pick up only a couple relatively inexpensive economy techs like Atmospheric Adaptation and Asteroid Mining, and then move straight into wartime techs from there, coming back for potential arcologies and grav adaptation later. These wartime techs would begin with options required to be built into every next-gen ship like armour, and end with upgrades such as improved warheads, with the goal of prosecuting war into the central cluster sooner rather than later... providing we can afford to prosecute such a war. Still, gaining control of the central cluster is a much bigger prize than the couple extra planets we could get with grav adaptation, or the couple extra planets worth of population we could get with arcologies, so I'm leaning toward bending our empire in this direction.

There is a third option, which would be to attack toward the core immediately with the forces we already have available. But I don't know what they would be getting into, and my defensive sensor network is not yet established. This could leave our navy dangerously over-extended, so it doesn't seem wise just yet. Still, in the time it takes to get Atmospheric Adaptation and Asteroid Mining researched, those sensor networks should be developed and we should have better intel on the core, so an aggressive push might be in the cards by then.
Last edited by ZedF on Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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: TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Parts 1-2)

Post by ZedF » Sat Mar 28, 2015 6:48 pm

T140

Domestic report:
The last 15 turns have been relatively quiet ones, mainly involving building freighters, sending out feelers toward other clusters, and repositioning our fleets. That said, we did manage to settle another two colonies since the last report. After Advanced Sensors, we finally picked up Atmospheric Adaptation, which allowed us to settle Marklar, a small and high hazard but high resource world. We also finally moved in and, seeing that the Hivers had brought the haard rating down into our habitable range, evicted them from Tunguska and claimed it for ourselves.

Foreign report:
Our scouts are now in good position to monitor fleets approaching from the neighboring clusters. We are getting plenty of interesting data, but of particular note is the presence and fleet dispositions of the red Zuul in the central cluster, who is currently trying to fight off several white Hiver fleets originating from their foothold in Zuul territory. Another interesting point is that there appears to be an unclaimed planet or two in the yellow Hiver cluster, which are still infested with the Swarm. We are considering potential opportunities in both these clusters.

The blue Morrigi have been very quiet, having sent nothing more than a couple scouts in our direction that we've been able to observe, but we will now get some advance notice if they do send something more significant. Thus far, only the yellow Hivers are sending significant fleets in our direction, albeit at their usual snail's pace. We have plenty of warning of these so it shouldn't be too hard to take care of them before any more gates can be established in our clusters, though this might require a significant amount of construction on our part as their fleets are considerably better than ours on a ship-to-ship basis; we need an ace to deal with them efficiently.

Tech report:
After Atmospheric Adaptation, we picked up Asteroid Mining, as planned, with an eye toward getting some war technologies next. We were originally planning to focus on options to be integrated into new construction, and did grab Recombinant Fissionables with that in mind. But then, new sensor data on the Zuul began to suggest that they are currently pinned down defensively, trying to ward off the white Hivers, and not in a position to launch attacks in our direction. This seemed like a good opportunity to move to a more aggressive posture and pile on against the red Zuul, so we diverted to pick up a couple upgrades that would help our existing fleets: Jammers and Data Correlation for an information advantage, and Fusion Warheads to give our rocket cruisers more teeth. Having picked up these techs, we are back on track with a few more new construction-oriented techs in the pipe next.

Dakka report:
There has been very little dakka to report on recently, with the Hiver immature colony at Tunguska offering only token resistance and no other notable combat to speak of. However, most of our navy is almost in position to begin making inroads into the red Zuul cluster, and what's left is about to be busy fighting off a couple yellow Hiver incursion fleets and attempting to clear out and occupy any swarm worlds to be found in yellow Hiver's territory. So we're expecting more action soon!
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: TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Parts 1-2)

Post by ZedF » Sat Mar 28, 2015 6:55 pm

T150

Domestic report:
We've begun to make some inroads into the central core, having taken our first colony world from the red Zuul known as the Faithful. It's a mid-sized world with (unfortunately but unsurprisingly) a weak resource base, and is useful more as a refuelling point than anything else, though eventually it will add to our tax base. Taking Altair also makes it unlikely that the Faithful will ever be able to mount a serious attack on our core worlds; without rend bores, they wouldn't have the range, and they have better targets to attack closer to home in any case.

Otherwise, most of our existing colonies have now got sizeable populations and full trade routes, with a couple exceptions. Most notably in the latter case, since our core forge worlds for the front with the Faithful are now safe from attack from that direction, they could start building up freighter networks. Of course, before we can do that, we need to acquire sufficient local production capacity in the central cluster to free them from military duties. We do of course have lots of plans in the works to continue our expansion, both in the central cluster and elsewhere, so that might be in the offing in the not too distant future.

Map

Foreign report:
The major action continues to be in the region of the central core, where we are concentrating the bulk of our fleets in order to attempt to acquire the lion's share of the space currently inhabited by the red zuul, before the white hivers establish too many gates in the region. The former are not that much of a threat; though they have a relatively large navy overall, it's quite spread out and our thinking is their node network is not in the greatest of shape; they seem likely to be vulnerable to defeat in detail, at least at worlds not immediately on the Hiver border. Already their capital at Soror is under assault and will fall shortly.

We will have to be cautious near the border with the white Hivers, however; their ships are likely to be very heavily armoured and costly to defeat. It's not clear when or if we will be able to evict them from the central cluster; already they have two gates and are certain to get a third at Beezaro before we can do anything about it. We'd probably prefer to claim more Faithful worlds than engage the white Hivers in a fight just yet anyway.

That said, we may be spoiling for a fight with the yellow Hivers. We have a couple destroyer squadrons and a pair of small biome colonization groups heading into their cluster to see if we can establish beachheads at two thus far unclaimed worlds, one of which is thought to be guarded by a swarm. We will need local production capability in their cluster if we want to be able to attack them in earnest one day, though there is some risk that they will attempt to take these colonies from us before they are able to build ships in their own defense. If they do... really there isn't much we can do to prevent it, given the distances involved; we can't afford a massive defensive presence in their cluster yet.

Apart from the effort to establish a beachhead in the yellow Hiver cluster, we continue to defend ourselves from significant assault/gate fleets. Tunguska is now approaching maturity and will take over as the forge world and military base for that front, as it has a very large resource base suitable for the purpose. This frees Zamara to build up a freighter network, now that it has finished supporting our initiative to develop some bases in yellow Hiver territory.

Tech report:
Our most recent investment into military techs has already paid off with handsome dividends in terms of our ability to repel yellow Hiver gate fleets. Early in this turnset we picked up Deflector shield technology and it has proven to be a substantial boon when dealing with enemy antimatter missiles, stormers, and heavy drivers. The yellow hivers use very few energy weapons apart from the occasional heavy combat laser, so deflector shields have done wonders to blunt their firepower. We also picked up mega-stripmining and Magnetoceramic Lattices more recently, and new fleets are under construction, incorporating the latter to beef up our ability to defend against the white Hivers and take the fight to the red Zuul.

Having picked up those techs we deemed required for a next gen fleet, we are now focusing our research attention back on the economy, with the goal of getting Arcology Construction and, hopefully, Grav Adaptation. We will need to grab Antimatter Warhead ourselves for a military upgrade in the not too distant future, though; we may find we need to prioritize it ahead of the latter biotech, depending on what the Hivers choose to do in response to our actions.

Dakka report:
We have had several fights recently, and expect to have more in the future. Against the red Zuul, we have been using a similar order of battle to what we used against the pink Zuul, to good effect. Against the yellow Hivers, we've been supplementing our older ships with deflector cruisers in lieu of the older stormer/rocket cruisers to soak up punishment on the front lines while the snipers work, and so far this has been sufficient to do the job. We expect it will take a while for the Hivers to adapt, but by the time they do we will be able to afford to replace more of our older fleet elements with newer models.

Though most of our navy is old and lacks armour, as long as we retain outnumbering advantage they continue to do well enough. Our older ships will not fare as well against the white Hiversand their quark armour, though, which is why our new construction will all be headed in that direction. Our fusion rocket cruisers definitely have a strong firepower advantage over an equivalent number of CP of sniper destroyers, and that gap will only widen when we research AM warheads. We'll need that firepower, and our own armoured ships, to combat the white Hivers, if (when) it comes to that.
Last edited by ZedF on Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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: TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Parts 1-2)

Post by BlueTemplar » Sat Mar 28, 2015 9:21 pm

Have you noticed that Heavy Inertial Cannon , without even considering its slow effect, seems to be actually a better weapon than Heavy Plasma Cannon.
It might make an interesting addition to your arsenal (if you manage to roll it), especially combined with other long range weapons like snipers or inaccurate weapons like dumbfire racks / stormers.

Also, I just realized that my mod (see my signature) would make a perfect combination with your restrictions.
By using it you could :
- Put Dakka weapons in missile-only weapon slots like those in Barrage and "main" defense platforms ones (so as to stay closer to the spirit of Dakka).
- Put dumbfire racks in heavy drones and CR strafe mounts
- Put large Dakka weapons (heavy stormer, heavy inertial cannon, etc...) in DE spinal mounts
- The "placeholder" "heavy beam" and "torpedo" pulsed red lasers fit the Dakka requirements (and considering the very high fire rate of "placeholder" "spinal" red laser, it could be said to fit it too).

And since the actual modding done in my mod is very light, you'll probably be able to start using it mid-game without any problems.

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Re: TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Parts 1-2)

Post by ZedF » Sat Mar 28, 2015 11:24 pm

Thanks for the reply!

I did consider using Heavy Inertial Cannon, but unfortunately I don't think it's available this game.

I'd have to look at your mod more closely to see if I'd have been interested in employing it in this game; as it turns out, I have played ahead of where I've posted and I have already got my own solutions in hand for upcoming weapons choices. Moreover, I'm generally I'm content to do my own extremely limited modding for my TARs; my variant restrictions generally require some fairly specific balancing of what I will and won't allow.

That said, your suggested choices do sound like they would fit the spirit of the variant, though. I might take a look at it anyway, out of curiosity.
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: TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Parts 1-2)

Post by ZedF » Tue Mar 31, 2015 2:43 am

T160

Domestic report:
We've acquired another two colonies this turnset, firstly the former red Zuul capital at Soror and then another nearby world by the name of Slyggia. Of the two, the latter was the more heavily guarded, and turned out to be the more valuable colony prospect. Slyggia has a surprisingly high resource base remaining for a former Zuul world, even given the presence of a rich asteroid belt. I suspect this is largely due to lack of proximity to enemy fronts resulting in node line decay (assumed because of a lack of incoming reinforcements), meaning that relatively little overharvesting or ship construction was done here. This is fortunate for us now that the world is in our hands, as it will probably become a primary forge world for us in the near future; the population is growing very quickly and I expect the shipyards will be fully online in about a half-dozen turns.

We are about to settle a third new colony, at Mon El in the yellow Hiver cluster, after having cleared out the swarm that were infesting that system. This one will take considerably longer to reach maturity as it hasn't had the benefit of alien terraforming and infrastructure development. Hopefully the yellow Hivers give us the necessary time.

Foreign report:
The vultures have started to descend on the central cluster in earnest: we've spotted fleets incoming from all three Hiver empires toward their worlds. This is going to complicate our plans to take the bulk of the spoils for ourselves, especially since we are being forced to take a short pause in our plans of conquest while we wait for ships to arrive in position for the next phase of our attack.

Ultimately I would like to start working on attacking the dark blue Morrigi at some point in the not too distant future. The biggest reason is that it's far less likely to have a lot of Hiver gates set up about the place and thus be easier to defend once taken than the central cluster will be. I had planned on waiting until I had a path cleared through Zuul territory to the point nearest their cluster to do this, to make supporting logistics easier. However, I am starting to wonder how much time I have until an enterprising Hiver decides to send a gate down in that direction -- especially since the dark blue Morrigi are allied with the yellow Hivers. I may have to consider pushing plans forward more quickly than I had previously been thinking to, economy permitting of course.

Tech report:
Not too much of import happened tech-wise during the last 10 turns, other than the acquisition of Arcology construction. Grav Adaptation is near completion, and will likely be followed by Antimatter warhead, though there is also a possibility that some energy weapon defenses like Reflective Coat and/or Disruptor Shields could be in the offing, most particularly to help with future battles against the Morrigi.

Dakka report:
No real changes in battle tactics or results in the last turnset, except that Slyggia had a large concentration of Zuul defenders, which caused more casualties than expected. We lost almost all our remaining 1st generation rocket cruisers in the battle to take Slyggia, which is why we've had to pause briefly while replacements made their way to the cluster from shipyards at and around Shoni. Fortunately, the've arrived in cluster now, though they still need to be integrated into our existing combat fleets. Further reinforcements are planned to be produced locally at Soror and Slyggia; we'll need them if we want to keep expanding in the central cluster while still shipping some forces out toward Morrigi territory.
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: TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Parts 1-2)

Post by ZedF » Tue Mar 31, 2015 2:44 am

T175

Domestic report:
Conquest of the red Zuul empire proceeds, though not exceptionally quickly. The latter is due to several factors, the two most important of which (apart from Fission drives) are the need to concentrate our fleets in relatively large formations to counter similarly large Zuul formations, and the diversion of fleet assets from the Zuul cluster to carve a foothold in Cecrops the Terrible's territory. Nevertheless, we have taken (or in the case of Iszm, are in the process of taking) almost all of the really valuable prizes from amongst the Zuul worlds, so from this point out we are in the mop-up phase as far as the red Zuul are concerned. This is not to suggest that we won't have to be wary lest the orange and/or white Hivers attempt to claim a share of the spoils.

We also have founded additional new colonies in other clusters; apart from Durla, taken from the Zuul in what should be Cecrops's territory, we have also founded Mamoru recently. However, it looks as though the Matriarchate has had the same idea, only about 10 turns too late. We have a substantial fleet arriving shortly at Mon El which should be able to make it to Mamoru in time to deal with the problem, but it likely means that the Hivers will discover the presence of our colony at Mamoru. We think they don't yet know about our colony at Mon El due to the garrison including a jammer, as they haven't sent any probes in that direction, but Mon El is now able to build additional fleet resources, should it come to that.

Otherwise, economically speaking, the home cluster and the pink Zuul cluster are now nearly fully mature from an economic standpoint. Most freighter networks are at full capacity, even with arcologies and modest overpopulation on top of that to generate a maximal number of trade routes consistent with maintaining an acceptable resource base over the long term. In order to generate additional income we will have to rely on full pacification of the central cluster, and on taking over Cecrop's cluster. We haven't yet tested the Hivers' defenses in the center (or, for that matter, the yellow Hivers'), so it may be the case that the latter is easier to accomplish than the former.

We have started to get a large number of incoming probes into our territory, most especially the former pink Zuul cluster. Fortunately these are mostly Hiver probes and so slow and easy to see coming, with our sensor network spread all about the former pink Zuul cluster and the central cluster. We are also getting a number of probes incoming from Cecrops, though these are still small fleets and not very fast. Still, we are being forced to increase the number of defensive formations we are employing, since none of them move that quickly either. We are trying to stick mostly with destroyer technology to keep ongoing costs down. However, we also have an additional threat that has recently appeared at Marklar -- an unknown but very large vessel codenamed 'Locusts' -- and there we have been forced into emergency construction of a large cruiser fleet to try to hold off that threat.

Map

Foreign report:
Apart from the ongoing war with the Zuul and the aforementioned probes into our space, the other races have been relatively quiet recently. Most especially we have seen relatively little activity out of the white Hivers, out of whom I would have expected to see more attacks against neighboring Zuul worlds. The most disturbing development we have noticed is that the orange and white Hiver empires have started to interpenetrate their gate networks, so any aggression we undertake against one of them will likely require aggression against both simultaneously. Fortunately, the yellow and orange Hivers appear to be annoyed with one another, so we might not have to deal with the same on the yellow Zuul front, at least in the short to intermediate term.

Accordingly, we are moving more forces into Cecrops's territory, both from the central cluster and from the pink Zuul cluster -- admittedly mostly biome colonizers and obsolete garrison forces in the latter case. That will leave us with three fleets in the central cluster, which we hope will be sufficient to continue pacifying it and to defend it against future Hiver attacks, though there are none incoming presently. If that trend continues, it may be possible to make a play to push the Hivers out of the central cluster altogether. On the other hand, if additional economic headroom is required to form even larger fleet formations for assaulting Hiver worlds, this might also require that the conquest of Cecrops's territory goes as well as or better than expected.

Tech report:
Our tech projects have been getting more expensive recently, so tech is coming in relatively slowly. Nevertheless, we have managed to acquire Grav Adaptation, Anti-Matter Warhead, Tarkasian Living Steel, and Disruptor Shield since the last report. The latter is of especial interest and is a key part of our strategy to defeat the Locusts. This threat appeared less than 7 light years away from Marklar, giving us little time in which to prepare defenses to meet it. Fortunately quick access to Disruptor shield technology should allow us to do so without needing 50-ship fleets. Marklar is a small world, but has ample resources; with its trade routes suspended and a little help from other nearby worlds, we should be able to get a fleet of some 20-odd cruisers prepared in time. And with Disruptor shields on many of our ships, we think it ought to be sufficient.

Our plans for future tech improvements revolve, for the moment, on techs which will upgrade our existing fleets or be of use against the Morrigi. Most notably, we are currently working on Combat Algorithms, and are considering Reflective Coat in the near future. Some other possibly short term buffs include Advanced Robotics and Hyperlink Comms. Soon enough, though, we'll be out of quick upgrades to grab, and will have to make a decision regarding what long-term tech investment would be most appropriate.

Dakka report:
We still have a lot of fleets relying on a mixture of sniper destroyers and antimatter rocket cruisers. So far this model has been sufficiently successful and cost-effective that a migration to pure antimatter rocket cruisers hasn't happened, even though antimatter rocket cruisers have been accounting for a relatively large share of the damage dealt in the most recent combats. Partly this is because the red Zuul have been using a significant amount of anti-cruiser HCL weapons and area-effect corrosive weapons, so having a sizable chunk of the fleet out of the main furball and supporting from some distance away seems to have lessened the impact of those weapons.

On the other hand, our dispersed and relatively light point defense means that we are taking more damage from enemy missiles -- especially planet missiles -- than I would ideally prefer. I am not convinced these formations could survive assaulting Hiver worlds with tougher defense forces and heavier planet missile salvos. I have started equipping a couple of our newer formations with PD destroyers to go with a primarily cruiser-based approach, to see how it fares in comparison.
Last edited by ZedF on Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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: TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Parts 1-2)

Post by Warcat » Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:44 am

Nice readings ZedF (as usual :) )
I guess how you'll manage the Locust threat with in-game restrictions. As I remember, Locusts are pretty nimble and deflector shields should fall pretty quick as soon as Locusts outflank your ships. Will you try (if the battle hasn't happened yet) the Refinery bomb tactic to blow up as many drones as possible?
Another concern regards the time needed to blow up the carrier: I fear that your arsenal is a bit too light (AFAIK AP rounds, photon torps, disruptors, snipers, HC plasma, AM warhead), except for AM rockets, provided they will not bounce against carrier's heavy armour too often to secure enough punishment before time goes up.

In case of losing worlds due to Locusts attacks, will this event satisfy one of your new variant rules (the first I guess), letting you to start researching Fusion power, for instance?
Last edited by Warcat on Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Parts 1-2)

Post by ZedF » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:53 am

Warcat wrote:Nice readings ZedF (as usual :) )
I guess how you'll manage the Locust threat with in-game restrictions. As I remember, Locusts are pretty nimble and deflector shields should fall pretty quick as soon as Locusts outflank your ships. Will you try (if the battle hasn't happened yet) the Refinery bomb tactic to blow up as many drones as possible?
Another concern regards the time needed to blow up the carrier: I fear that your arsenal is a bit too light (AFAIK AP rounds, photon torps, disruptors, snipers, HC plasma, AM warhead), except for AM rockets, provided they will not bounce against carrier's heavy armour too often to secure enough punishment before time goes up.

In case of losing worlds due to Locusts attacks, will this event satisfy one of your new variant rules (the first I guess), letting you to start researching Fusion power, for instance?

You'll see in the next report (which I might as well post now, I suppose.) I'll answer your specific questions after I post it.
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: TAR: Dakka Attack Tarka (Parts 1-2)

Post by ZedF » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:54 am

Domestic Report:
Thanks to a timely surrender on the part of the red Zuul when they were down to just 4 worlds remaining, we mopped up the remaining less valuable Zuul worlds quickly and are in the process of growing their new Tarkasian population to the point where they can be productive again. This leaves us largely in control of the central cluster, apart from three double-gated worlds occupied by the white and orange Hiver empires. Some of our central cluster colonies farther from these Hiver worlds have started building trade networks, while those closer to the Hiver threat are expected to remain tasked to fleet construction for a while.

On the front with Cecrops the Terrible, we have taken Xhokola and established our colony, and are in the process of doing the same at Lerna and Bismol. Unfortunately we lost a lot of cruisers taking Lerna, largely due to Morrigi planet missiles, heavy planet missiles, and MIRV planet missiles; our fleets in Morrigi space still incorporate a lot of older model sniper destroyers, and as a result their point defense leaves something to be desired. Fortunately, Durla has now grown to the point where it can build replacements at a reasonable clip, and Xhokola should be able to contribute as well in a few more turns. Still, it appears our offensive is likely to be stalled for a bit as a result.

Foreign report:
I would like to try and do something about the Hiver presence in the central cluster, in particular to secure our territory from potential farcaster headaches in the future, but on the other hand I can't exactly surprise the Hivers with fission-era fleets, and I don't necessarily want to escalate our cold war into a hot one before I am confident of being able to push them out of the central cluster. Still, looking into the future, I can't see how the situation is really going to improve short of my acquiring Fusion, and I am on a time limit before the Hivers acquire Farcaster tech, so I suppose I might as well see if I can't cobble together what it takes to make a real go of it.

Tech report:
After researching Combat Algorithms, we had been planning to work on a couple more quick turnaround techs to help our fleets against Morrigi energy weapons. However, after we actually acquired the tech, our plans changed rapidly: one of our research teams came forth with a proposal to expand upon our new knowledge with an investigation into the potential of Artificial Intelligence. After weighing the risk of an AI rebellion against the possibility of acquring a necessary edge against the Hivers, who are increasingly beginning to employ antimatter technology, we decided to go ahead with the project.

My Tarka in this game are not really worried about possible ethical issues involving purpose-constructed industrial-scale AI entities. They are far too excited about the possibility of using the latter to wipe out the other races in the globular cluster; as such, concerns regarding AI welfare are not high on their priority list. They aren't namby-pamby Morrigi, after all!

One effect of my avoidance of Fusion research is that conquest is proceeding much more slowly than normal. That much was deliberate, but it does mean that my enemies are going to have a lot more opportunity to research high-end technologies than I normally give them, especially with two Hiver opponents already in the Antimatter era. Ironically, my research of AI tech combined with my restrictions on engine speeds, diplomacy, and usable weapons potentially means I will also be researching a lot more high technology than I normally get around to in my own games, albeit on off-the-beaten-path techs I would not normally research due to having easier options available and fewer turns required to reach victory. In fact, this could potentially become in the end the longest game of SotS I've ever played.

Dakka report:
The largest single battle our forces have fought in the last turnset was with the Locusts. We started off with a lineup consisting entirely of PD cruisers equipped with Disruptor shields, but this was mainly to thin out the initial wave of locusts as they zipped past to assault Marklar. We were not able to save the colony, but were able to withdraw several of our PD ships as the remainder (including the CnC) approached the Locust Fleetworld. This let us field a shielded refinery cruiser, which started to move up next to the Fleetworld, and some antimatter rocket war cruisers, which stayed further back behind the remaining Disruptor/PD cruisers. Once the refinery got next to the Fleetworld it turned so its shield was facing away from the Fleetworld, so that the latter would destroy it, taking out most of the remaining locusts in turn. From that point on it was a matter of pouring enough rocket fire into the Fleetworld to eliminate it within the 4 minute timer. We refounded the colony on the following turn.

The other large battle we fought was with a Ravenous Cycle assault/gate fleet that intruded upon our territory near Talok. It took two tries to eliminate the Hiver fleet; the first fleet we sent to intercept it was comparable in size to the Hiver fleet, and still came off much the worse for wear, trading ships with the Hivers on approximately a 1:1 basis despite the power of our antimatter rocket cruisers. While the Hivers were not dishing out as much damage as our ships were capable of, they had superior Quark armour and better innate toughness to make up for their lower attack strength. This is worrisome, because Ravenous Cycle has recently made the jump to antimatter and might well have access to Adamantite armour for even more durability. We might be able to partially counter this in the future with better accuracy for our own main weapons vis-a-vis AI Fire Control, but even so Adamantite armour will still deflect a lot of rockets. Moreover, Ravenous Cycle is likely to be able to upgrade their own close combat weapons from Fusion cannon to Antimatter cannon, and/or acquire long-distance Rail cannon, while we can't upgrade our own defenses any further without access to Fusion power. So, we might need to investigate other avenues of attack in addition to our antimatter rockets.

Most other battles this last turn were against Morrigi in Cecrops's territory, as we continue to make inroads there. As mentioned, the main difficulty on that front is their fixed planetary defenses, although Morrigi energy weapons have also inflicted a fair share of damage. Reflective coat is still a possibility if necessary to help blunt the latter, but without Fusion for Quantum Chaff there is unfortunately nothing more we can really do about enemy planetary missiles apart from stacking more PD; adding more deflector shields to our fleets would just trade one set of problems for a different one. Another point of note is that the Morrigi have been using cloaking technology, but this hasn't helped them a lot defensively as they still need to come to my fleet and uncloak to attack, and I have deep scan jammers in my fleets.
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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