Early Game Strategies

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khamul
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Re: Early Game Strategies

Post by khamul » Fri Sep 06, 2013 3:32 pm

BlueTemplar wrote:What % of plasma cannons? They aren't exactly the best anti-swarm weapon there is...


100% on the armour. (A) I didn't know I'd be meeting the swarm, and (B) I didn't design the ships. These are the starting scout fleets - they only have x-rays because I gave myself a 10-tech start.

Is swarm supposed to be survivable/escapable with a starting scout fleet?
The cost to replace a lost scout is a lot higher than in Prime.

BlueTemplar wrote:
1-colony no tech default cash Zuul Horde

Starting default is 3 colonies... With 1 colony you probably won't even be able to pay your maintenance.


'they' not 'me' - I set the AI Zuul player up deliberately weak, to not make my first game too much of a challenge.
Sounds like I might have overdone it though.

BlueTemplar wrote:Starting is much harder than in prime, you need 20 colonies with some trade to really get the ball rolling (like you would in SotS1 if you were starting in Fusion with similar techs).


Good to know that my economy is supposed to be this bad. Colonisers to MAX then.
I'm used (sots prime) to turtling my way up to fusion/cruisers, and I don't really know what to do with a CR without at least a couple of armour techs, PD, and a decent medium weapon.
I might not know what I might know,
But you don't know what you don't know.

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Resok
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Re: Early Game Strategies

Post by Resok » Fri Sep 06, 2013 4:09 pm

It will help against swarm if you set your Particle beams to PD on the approach to the swarm nest (swap them back when you get close to the nest).

Generally my biggest suggestion is to not crank research early on especially on the duel map and instead fill out your survey fleets with a gravboat and more combat ships to counter some of the early threats. These early survey fleets end up being your skirmishing forces as well as early emergency defense fleets.

As Morrigi you may lose some ships against swarm but as long as you take out the Hive then it wasn't a wasted effort. If you field a max fleet you have much better chances of not losing ships in my experience as the swarmers damage gets spread out more amongst your ships.
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Aranador
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Re: Early Game Strategies

Post by Aranador » Sat Sep 07, 2013 5:30 am

For early game research, other than disruptor torpedoes, I'll pretty much just do feasability studies for the first 20-30 turns.

As for the swarm - with your starting surveys - I'll charge the nest and kill it, and then go back and fix my ships. Usually I wont loose any, but if I do - meh - they were crappy ships :P

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djfinex
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Re: Early Game Strategies

Post by djfinex » Sun Jan 12, 2014 1:41 am

Some tricks I've learned along the way:
Note, I tend to play humans exclusively, so these tips might not apply to other races.

- In the first couple of turns, I tend to research the hell out of biotech with an emphasis on colonization techs and try to grab as many planets as possible while being able to defend those colonies (this is the choke point) meaning, every colony gets a defense fleet without exception. Also, stacking both transport and biome colonizers speeds things up, so having several colonizer ships per fleet should be a given.

- Overall, money is the name of the game, which means that it gets priority over research at the beginning. While this may be counterintutive, when you have a larger economy, and more money in the bank, your research becomes easier, and you can then go for techs that you need faster once your pockets are deep enough. Mind you, research will be ramped up, even to max to get economic and industrial benefits on a case by case basis; things that increase economy can be pursued faster as the sooner you have them, the sooner your money situation improves - even to the point of mild debt incursion - though debt that you cannot dig your way of quickly will put the brakes on your empire for a very long time, in fact, there is a breaking point at which even if you recover, the lost time and money will put you critically behind everyone else. Another exploit which I am sure everyone knows about is to research a new tech up to 50% completion quickly and then level off and even reduce the slider so that every turn you get a chance of completing that tech early, thereby saving money. Another note, keep researching salvaged techs as much as possible, and stick with techs that you have a high probability of researching successfully which saves money in the long run.

- Stations and constructors - Stations I tend to build one civilian for the terraform, then naval for strategic systems and then science. Science stations are all specialized - so I tend to try to build one for every tech tree branch which saves money in the long run and for the later game, you will have several level 5 for the research bonuses. Constructor fleets each have several constructors to save time in their projects as the more you have in one fleet the faster the construction is completed.

- I tend to try to drop ships off at new colonies by inserting ships into colonization fleets that will be transferred during the strategy turn. Simply load what you need into the colonization fleet (built at the colonization fleet homeworld), and drop the ships into the reserve of the new colony and then create a new fleet and voila. Also, in multi-planet systems, I tend to build a civilian station first, so that I can get the terraforming slots for the secondary planets.

- Industrial, Energy, Drive and then Energy Weapons are the secondary research importance - these ramp up massively once the biotech gives me a larger range of worlds and an easier way of colonizing them manifests. Once I start meeting enemies, they become first priority. This is also once the fleet building starts. I tend to have a couple of expeditionary fleets with the best tech possible, and as I research better and better, the older ships get transferred back to the homeworlds for a second life as part of system defense fleets - older tech gets recycled as I do this. Another thing, I tend to leave the research like improved missile and ammo types for later as they are automatically loaded onto older designs - like researching things like AM missiles can help out but it is better to leave this last because it does not require a new design to take advantage of. In addition, I find that researching the best weapons prior to upgrading size classes tends to work out best for me, as I like to have the best weapons possible to outfit dreadnoughts and eventually leviathans - there is nothing more pathetic then a dreadnought with heavy combat lasers and particle beams - never mind a Leviathan with low tier weapons - which is a waste; but of course these are really not an early game concern.

- Trade starts pretty much right away to boost income, but I tend to do this through stimulus rather than building my own freighters. The pirate issue (I find that auto-resolving these is the best strategy) is really a bummer and even in late games it becomes a hassle, but each systems gets police cutters to slow down the carnage. Researching better freighters, and building at least one of the new type allows civilian business interests to build that type for newer trade routes.

- In terms of diplomacy I tend to only fire first when my colonization plans are interrupted otherwise I let the enemy fire first - but once they do, I throw everything at them. Never mind if they try to colonize a choke point - as human, if they try to colonize a planet that limits my node travel into the greater galaxy, they are done for. My aim is to build a large body of colonies to give my empire and economy the depth to withstand the large wars that can happen in mid game.

- Survey and explore, this really is the first priority of fleet actions in the early game. Get the lay of the land so that high priority worlds can be found and colonized early, but again, these need to be defended otherwise all the effort is wasted.
A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.
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Karu
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Re: Early Game Strategies

Post by Karu » Sun Jan 12, 2014 8:38 am

@djfinex:

Pirate attacks can get minimized by building a naval and 1 police cutter in systems with the trade station.
If no zuul or Pirate base is nearby, you should get 1 fight every 100 turns per 10 systems. Thats good enough in my book :)

I normaly kickstart my trade by building 3 up to 12 freighter, then going stimulus, works better in the early game as you get faster income and trade can finance itself.
For transporting ships take reserve transfer (relocate were it should go, then transfer from reserve).
On that note use full colonizer fleets. An early grab on pressure polarisation make your colos stable earlyer, helping them grow faster.

I start with enviromental tailoring (tax 7!) until half done, then going down tax 5 and going to 25% research while filling the first colofleet and building 3 more. That puts you on the far left side in the government helping your people growth even faster. After that directly trade (FTL eco still with 25% research).
Sadly the construction fleet has nothing to do the first 30 rounds, so i use it to scout emty systems or dissolve it to save some money.

Dont forget to set your colonies on 100% civ pop if you don't plan to build in that system. That will help your economy out in the long run.
(More people = more tax, more trade goods and more planet missiles ^_^ )


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Re: Early Game Strategies

Post by BlueTemplar » Sun Jan 12, 2014 5:39 pm

- A defense fleet on every single colonized system seems really expensive.

- How does mixing transport and biome colonizers speeds things up?

- In my experience, making and upgrading civilian stations for the terraforming module only pays off if there are several colonizable planets in the system (or a very high CH one, but this doesn't apply to early game), since otherwise the planet will be basically "done" before you have the time to build the terraforming module.

- Science stations are simply not worth it in the early game for their research bonus compared to their build and maintenance costs. They might be useful as a potential "tribute" to the ghost ship if you don't plan to put a naval, civilian or diplomatic station in that system later.

-You generally don't need more than 1-2 constructors per fleet for lvl1 and lvl2 stations.

- Trade stimulus is slow, and if you're using small freighters, much more expensive than building them yourself.

- Since civilians give twice the tax income of imperials, and considering that having more civilians will open more trade routes, you might want to max the civilian slider even on systems from which you plan to build (to maybe reduce it later, depending on your IO needs).

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Starknight
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Re: Early Game Strategies

Post by Starknight » Sun Jan 12, 2014 6:06 pm

BlueTemplar wrote:- How does mixing transport and biome colonizers speeds things up?


Over transport colonizers alone, it makes terraforming faster. However, I tend to go with wholesale replacement when I get biomes, as long as I can afford it.

- Trade stimulus is slow, and if you're using small freighters, much more expensive than building them yourself.


Generally 2-4 turns per freighter (I usually invest 50-60k at most). And if your freighters cost 50k to build yourself, and 200k from stimulus, that 150k differential is eaten up by 30 turns of support. Since most of my freighters last longer than 30 turns, stimulus actually saves me money overall.
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Karu
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Re: Early Game Strategies

Post by Karu » Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:27 am

Selfbuild freighter are cheaper early and cost more in the long run. Thats why mixing both systems is imho better.

Math - Stimulus:
4 turns @ 50k for a 3 slot = 600k credits stim, 4-7 turn 10k, 8-11 turn 20k, after 12 turn 30k.
Investment: 600k, Return (including turn 12) : 120k. To get even you need you need 16 turns from turn 1.
Makes it break even after 28 turns.

Math - Building:

Turn 1: 160k investement, full trade from the start = 30k/turn.
Investment: 160k, upkeep: 5k each, total trade plus: 15k
Break even: turn 11.

At turn 28 you are 270k credits "ahead" with self build freighter, after 18 more turns (read: turn 47!) your stimulus trade is better then selfbuild trade.


What the math doesnt tell that smaller investments are better early game as you need to balance your budget more (read: you have credit problems).
So cheaper early game solutions are better in the long run. And you can allways delete your self build freighter when your trade is running strong so it finance itself.


about civpop slider:

For every turn you are over 50% civ pop you loose resources, in midgame every resource is ~2 prod. In production systems you do not want to loose any precious resource. But in the end it is a balance between "need money now" vs "need prod the whole game".
Still, civ pop needs long to growth (maxgroth is 20 mio turn / planet) so it's needed to start early.
Reducing the slider that civilians are "overpopulationg" result in moral drop. So be carefull of that.


about coloniser:

Colonizer gives infrastructure (trans colo) or a biohazard bonus (biome colonizer) at initial colonisation and a reduced amount of it every time they support.
I only use Trans colos. Hazard slider is at 75% to 100%, and the colos are used to build up the infrastructure. It seems to be the fastest way to get a colo stable (no hazard, full infra).
When my memory is correct, every race has different "support values" for it though.
For trade worlds I would recommend to overharvest to speed things up too :)



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ZedF
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Re: Early Game Strategies

Post by ZedF » Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:23 am

BlueTemplar wrote:- Science stations are simply not worth it in the early game for their research bonus compared to their build and maintenance costs. They might be useful as a potential "tribute" to the ghost ship if you don't plan to put a naval, civilian or diplomatic station in that system later.

Define "early game". Straight off the bat, I agree that science stations don't pay for themselves quickly, but once you have an average of 500k income devoted to science per turn (not a very large number and well within the scope of what I'd call "early game"), level 1-3 science stations pay for themselves in enhanced research pretty quickly, assuming you are researching something they provide a benefit toward. This last assumption is pretty key, however, so I tend to view investments in science stations as a very specialized form of investment (typically in energy weapons or ballistics that will be revisited repeatedly throughout the game), whereas trade is a more general-purpose investment.
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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BlueTemplar
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Re: Early Game Strategies

Post by BlueTemplar » Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:14 pm

Karu wrote:Reducing the slider that civilians are "overpopulationg" result in moral drop. So be carefull of that.

No, it doesn't, it would seem that this feature hasn't been implemented yet.

Colonizer gives infrastructure (trans colo) or a biohazard bonus (biome colonizer) at initial colonisation and a reduced amount of it every time they support.I only use Trans colos. Hazard slider is at 75% to 100%, and the colos are used to build up the infrastructure. It seems to be the fastest way to get a colo stable (no hazard, full infra).

No, it's a lot more complicated than that. Transport colonizers give terraforming bonus on support too. The fastest way seems to be to put the sliders on 100% infra, except when the colonizers are about to make a support drop, when you switch it to 100% terra.

lvl1 Science stations - I did the math for Hivers, shouldn't be too different for most other races :
6k/turn maintenance, provide 1% bonus to research : you need to spend on average 600k on research just to break even the maintenance cost
OR
120k to build + 2*54k for modules = 228k, 4% bonus to a specific tree : you need to spend 5700k on that tree to break even, that's a 45.6k research cost for races & governments with the base 80% research efficiency. (For example, Rapid pulse lasers costs 40k research points.)

(I'm getting a bit confused in the math here : maybe going from 81% to 85% for the first station (you'll build the general research module anyway for that extra general 1%) should be an effective 1/81%-1/85%=5.8% bonus?)

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Re: Early Game Strategies

Post by ZedF » Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:21 am

When I did the math (admittedly quite some time ago) a level 1 science station provides a 1% benefit to all fields, and a 3+3+1=7% benefit to a specific field you are currently researching, not a 4% benefit. With an upfront cost in the neighborhood of 250k, and assuming you are researching that specific field with a research budget of ~500k per turn, it pays for itself in ~9 turns. That's pretty reasonable, all things considered; there are not many investments you can make in the game that pay off faster, though of course it does depend on just how much research you are pumping through it.

This is not too far off from the numbers you were using earlier, just approaching from a different angle (payoff horizon.) If you look into the costs of trade, for instance, you'll see that while trade and research are significantly different in terms of costs/benefits and pros/cons, overall when used to their potential, investments in either tend to have pretty similar payoff horizons.

Of course, just because there aren't many investments that will pay off faster or more handsomely, doesn't mean there are none. If your choice is between expanding and grabbing more colonies, versus building extra science or trade stations, generally it's better to expand. But there are physical limits on how fast you can expand, based on how fast your racial drive is and on how many ships you can afford to build and maintain, whether you have hostile neighbors nearby, etc. So at some point science and trade stations should come into the picture.
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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BlueTemplar
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Re: Early Game Strategies

Post by BlueTemplar » Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:35 pm

Last time I checked, each Lab module provided a 2% to a specific tree, not 3%.

I think it makes sense to consider the time in which the station will pay for itself for the general 1% bonus (but don't forget to factor in the station maintenance cost!), but not really for the specific tree bonus : here IMHO it makes more sense to consider how much money will be saved by researching specific techs on a specific tree. Later in the game it might even pay off to scrap the station and build a new one with different labs.

Also, 500k into research (on average!) seems to be a bit high for me at the start of the game?

Otherwise, I agree with the rest of your comment.

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Re: Early Game Strategies

Post by Selak » Wed Jan 15, 2014 12:02 am

they racial habitation modules on a science station gives +1% to all fields. that is probably where the 3% may be coming from.

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Re: Early Game Strategies

Post by ZedF » Thu Jan 16, 2014 3:08 am

BlueTemplar wrote:Last time I checked, each Lab module provided a 2% to a specific tree, not 3%.

Look again. I just started a game, built a science station, built 2 energy weapon modules, nothing else. In the research screen it says I have a 6% bonus to energy weapon research, no bonus to any other tree.

I think it makes sense to consider the time in which the station will pay for itself for the general 1% bonus (but don't forget to factor in the station maintenance cost!), but not really for the specific tree bonus.

I don't think the general research bonus is really worth considering much. Generally all it will do is pay for the maintenance cost of the station, so it's pretty much a wash. (Assuming you have a big enough research budget that it's worthwhile to build science stations in the first place.)

The only reason IMHO to build science stations is to dig deep in a specific tree that you are interested in focusing on at the current point in time, with the intention of revisiting that field frequently. Here, "deep" is a subjective term based on how much you can afford and for how long you can afford to maintain that focus, but the main thing to remember is science stations are for focused research. If you want to be doing general scatter-shot research, don't rely on the science station general research bonus; instead you may find putting your money into trade to be a better enabler for that purpose.

As far as scrapping science stations goes... I can't imagine being in a situation where I would really want to be doing that. If I've built a bunch of science stations to really pump my research in a particular field, then until I've got that field completely researched, that's a big investment to be scrapping. I can't imagine a game going long enough to completely tap out a tech tree without someone reaching a winning position first.

Also, 500k into research (on average!) seems to be a bit high for me at the start of the game?

Turn 1 with your default 3 colony start? Absolutely. But it's easily possible to afford 500k in research by turn 25-50, depending on circumstances. I would still consider turn 25-50 to be early game.
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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BlueTemplar
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Re: Early Game Strategies

Post by BlueTemplar » Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:43 am

ZedF wrote:
BlueTemplar wrote:Last time I checked, each Lab module provided a 2% to a specific tree, not 3%.

Look again. I just started a game, built a science station, built 2 energy weapon modules, nothing else. In the research screen it says I have a 6% bonus to energy weapon research, no bonus to any other tree.

Oh, you're right. I hadn't actually checked the bonus in the tech tree, I just looked at the module description, which says 2%. One of many instances where the description information is misleading/outdated I guess...

(Assuming you have a big enough research budget that it's worthwhile to build science stations in the first place.)

That was my main point.

EDIT : So now it's :
lvl1 Hiver Science Station :
120k to build + 2*54k for modules = 228k, 6% bonus to a specific tree : you need to spend 3800k on that tree to break even, that's a 30.4k research cost for races & governments with the base 80% research efficiency. (For example, Rapid pulse lasers costs 40k research points.)

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