Early Game Strategies

Tactics & After Action Reports

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Re: Early Game Strategies

Post by Hawawaa » Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:15 pm

How is research boosting a game changer? Shave off a few turns each tech. So say you have 6-8 techs by turn 30... now maybe 8-11 techs by turn 30... Good stuff! ;p

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Re: Early Game Strategies

Post by jecjackal » Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:09 pm

Zyrtex wrote:Personally, i think that the way you start the game is dependent of the race you play but i guess that there are some common things to do for everyone.

Initial Turns:
1: Send Survey fleet out to look for good systems.
2: Research to get faster drives and longer range so I can scout and settle farther out.
3: Prototype and build a few new C&C, Armor, and Supply ships.
4: Form first combat fleet of 1 C&C, 3-6 Armor, and 1-2 Supply, and set to patrol home system.
5: If I find a good System, send Colony fleet and establish world. Allow Colony fleet to continue support.

I tend to agree with most of this. Exploration and expansions is mandatory if you want to have a slight chance of survival. In general, i go for a second survey fleet right off the start, generally a clone of the first one (same composition of ships). For Zuul, i even go straight for a third one (gotta bore those lines if we want to go somewhere). Of course it cost a lot of time and money but it's not like the Zuul need it for anything else than ship building (and they are not really affected by higher taxes so good to go :D )

For prototypes, i have tried different early setup for new ships and i can tell that the best for early game is missile boats. Just missiles, lots of missiles with a side of missiles. Just put them everywhere on your first ships, medium and large mount (you don't have any good large weapon at start so let's get some extra missiles no?). Missiles are awesome in dealing with almost everything. Swarm, asteroids, drones and even enemy ships with a combat fleet of 6 ships loaded with missiles, nothing will survive early engagements (of course when PD comes in, they are utterly useless so try to anticipate).

I think research is based on what you need. I usually start for basic economic or industry tech just for the decrease in ship cost and then i go for what i need. If i have crappy planets, biotech otherwise i usually go FTL economics for rapid trade.

Stimulus ? Except for trade, i never use it. Don't want some free colonies running around. They're mine! ALL MINE! (although i know they can come in handy to colonize hazardous planets without you paying the full price)

If i recap my early turns (1 to 10-15) it would go something like:

    - Send survey fleet on survey mission
    - Build new Survey fleet
    - Start research on economy techs
    - Send colony fleet to the systems i already have to complete colonization of all planets.
    - (Zuul) Build civilian station on homeworld. (after upgrade to level 2 you will have slaves which will boost your production)
    - Prototype Missile cruisers. Command and supply stay the same except if command is designed stupid (bunch of useless modules)\
    - (Zuul) Build a third survey fleet
    - After that, adapt to the situation you're facing

My tactic is usually aggressive ( i play zuul a lot ) and i always over extend. In the end i have too few fleets to defend and get grinded back in the dark depths of space.

Does patrolling your own system is useful beside detecting pirates and raiders ? I never use it in my system that does not have trade. I just park the fleet there.

You mentioned building a Civilian station at your homeworld. You also said after you upgrade to level 2, you get slaves. Are you saying there is a free slave generation module or do you mean you have raided other players by turn 10-15? I'm fairly bad at Zuul (never slave raided once, my discs got killed..) so i really don't know the answer.

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Re: Early Game Strategies

Post by Heart of Storm » Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:57 am

See, I'm in disagreement about the need to host a defence fleet at EVERY system.

Way I see it, 5 cutters will deal with most randoms and even enemy Survey/Strike fleets quite handily, Asteroids and Swarmers being the exceptions..

Cutters vs:

Slavers - pause the combat the second it starts, find the uncoloured sector, thats where the Slavers are, have your cutters make a beeline to that sector and intercept the Slavers before they can reach your planet (thus pulling them out of accelerated time) - set cutters to 'Pursuit' - they will align behind the Slavers who have LOUSY weapon coverage behind them. A fast intercept means that quite often the Slavers wont even reach your planet before the time ticks out.

Spectres - Deploy the cutters as close to your planet as you can, facing the outer edge of the controlled area, when combat starts simply run away, Spectres will chase you but cutters SHOULD be able to outrun them, planet missiles and lasers on your cutters will deal with the spectres, you should be able to survive with no losses.

Pirates - Pursuit mode again, focusing fire on engine sections, expect to take losses but cutters are cheap :-), with proper deployment of provinces/stations and cutters you should rarely see this one.

Asteroids - Cutters won't do much here, they can take some 'roids out but be prepared to take populations/infra loss - good news is that you'll score a bunch of resources, frankly however even a reasonable sized Combat fleet won't defend you from every Asteroid in this encounter, and in multi-planet systems there's good odds you'll end up deploying them at the wrong planet anyway, better off just sucking this one up.

Swarmers - the one encounter Cutters aren't brilliantly equipped for - a set up of PD lasers and Mass Drivers with a decent cutter swarm probably COULD deal with it, but it would be useless against the (frankly more common) spectres.. luckily swarms are predictable so it is better to have a small defence fleet in systems that are being hit by swarmqueens that you cant reach yet.

Von Neumanns - the LAST thing you want to do is take out the mothership, Seekers are nasty nasty things, luckily the VN drones tend to chase system fleets so again a policy of kiting can generally reduce damage to the planet, heck sometimes you can just get away with feeding your cutters to the drones, often the mothership will leave once she's killed all your ships, and luckily cutters are fast and cheap to build...

Enemy Survey/Strike Fleets - very simply, do as you do with Slavers, pounce on them quickly and force them out of accelerated time, however try to stay at maximum range to increase your cutters survivability - Strike missions last a single turn so you can massively mitigate the damage an enemy fleet can do by pulling them out of accelerated time quickly and forcing them to slowboat to your planet.

Only systems that need a dedicated defence fleet are those worlds being hit by enemy Invasion fleets regularly and those being hit by swarmers frequently, for everything else the humble police cutter is the cheap way to keep your worlds safe..

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Re: Early Game Strategies

Post by jam3 » Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:57 am

5 Fusion torpedo's cruisers and 10 minute combat rounds = a dead ghost ship

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Re: Early Game Strategies

Post by elitesix » Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:12 am

My Early Strategy: Rapid Expansion + Defense
Note: I tend to play Zuul or Tarka.

Rapid Expansion:

-Multiple Survey Fleets: Depending on the map size, I try to get 4-6 Survey Fleets going. My Survey Fleets always consist of 1 Command and 8 Armed Supply Ships. I try to design the supply ships to be able to sustain heavy combat and lengthy endurance. Sections are typically Hammerhead-Supply-Fusion with Poly silicate all around (sometimes only on mission and engine since I rarely see command sections being blown up). I usually give the mediums all Twin Green Beamers (good point defense). The rest to taste, although I prefer energy weapons for supply reasons. I try to beeline for the systems furthest away from other player's starting position. I will always try to survey systems with 3+ planets first.

-Multiple Colony Fleets: Depending on map size, I try to get 3-5 Colony Fleets going. My Colony Fleets are not necessarily full fleets as I often find it is more important to grab the important planets first. I usually only have 1-2 full colony fleets and the rest have 2 colonizers only for setting up colonies on the good, easy planets. Grab all planets below 300; below 400 if Zuul. eventually grab all planets under 500; under 600 if zuul.

-Level 1 Naval Outpost on all planets: All Planets have Level 1 Naval Outposts (for defense and rapid expansion - the latter because they let you relocate 2 fleets depending on size to the system). I don't spam the naval stations until my economy is going. I do place them in a way that allows me to beeline to where I want to go. If the maps looks to be large, I scrap my starting naval station (not sure if you can do it in end of flesh) to help my economy.

I don't worry about defense super early - preferring to simply rebuild a colony if it is destroyed. As such, I typically research a point defense first because I've found getting point defense is so essential to deciding your later game strategy and it helps significantly in missile cruiser battles and battles in enemy systems which is what a lot of early fights are.

-Research: Point Defense of some kind -> Heavy Drones and Drone Satellites. Basic Heavy Drones with Mass Drivers are great Drones for Satellites. They can usually fire twice in a strafing run. After that, I usually tech for a good weapon, terraforming tech, or increased command limit depending on what it's looking like I'll need.

-Static Defenses: With a level 1 naval station, you can place 10 drone satellites in the system. That's a decent amount of defense that can often delay a cruiser fleet by at least a turn or two if you place them right. They also take care of all randoms except Ghost Ship. With the basic CnC tech, you get 20 drone satellites in one system for a lvl 1 naval outpost. If you place them at edges, you can totally create a killzone around you planet. It works well unless you have multiple planets in a system, which then you need a bigger naval station with more defense points. Frankly, I use drone satellites exclusively for my static system defense needs and they are superb. Remember if they are shooting down your drones they are almost always getting nailed by your planetary missiles.


That's my early game strat. I'm playing as Zuul right now and I'm on the verge of beating Disc with 5 hard AIs on the Victory Condition: 10 Leviathans (which I think is a condition that the computer doesn't really beeline for so I think its a bit too easy). I have 2 Leviathans although I'm just messing around - I have 140million and I could have built 10 a few turns ago.

As an aside, I think a critical mid. game strategy is figuring out what weapon combos you are going to use. An essential part of this is figuring out what point defense you will be using (Gauss is the worst in my opinion, I'd much rather have interceptors, laser point defense, or emitters; only because so much of point defense is having overlapping fields of fire between ships which is hard to do with the range on guass; laughably easily with interceptors, easy with laser point defense. emitters are passable because they chain which is useful when the enemy concentrates their missile firepower on one ship) along with if you have feasibility on deflectors or disruptor shields and shield breakers and eventually absorbers. If you don't get one of the fusion point defense technologies, you gotta go with missile/drone/torpedo spam or exclusively medium mounted twin beamers/xray smalls but expect to take a pounding with the later. Also figuring out a combination that works with your energy/ballistic - if all energy them you gotta get the reactor power techs asap, if all ballistic then you gotta get the supply techs asap. The final important point being you need to get one good module for general use because you won't always need a Point Defense/Caravan/Semper Fi/Camel Module. I like the structure module, armor goop module, and psi modules. I typically like to get Dreadnoughts after getting pd, getting heavy drone satellites, getting 1-2 terraforming/economy techs, getting 1-2 solid weapon tech, and figuring out my feasibilities on disruptor shields and deflector shields and shield breakers.

Oh and also midgame for me means my trade empire is up and running. That's pretty essential for your economy. It's micro-intensive (imho, the entire station upgrading methodology is), but it definitely is worthwhile. I usually have 3-6 command + construction + supply running around to do the job. Be sure to use stimulus to build freighters!

With that being said, good luck and good hunting!

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Re: Early Game Strategies

Post by Unkn0wnx » Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:11 pm

"I scrap my starting naval station (not sure if you can do it in end of flesh) to help my economy."
Wow that's like the best idea I have seen on this forum. I never thought of that, always wonder why base maintenance is always so high. Extra 150k a turn? The starting base has limited use anyway.

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Re: Early Game Strategies

Post by Aranador » Wed Dec 05, 2012 9:29 pm

Hah - I have been doing that for like ages - unless my starting system looks so awesome that it will become my main manufacturing centre - even then I might still scrap it and rebuild it later.

But yeah, the starting station, with the new economy change, is a massive drain.

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Re: Early Game Strategies

Post by EntropyAvatar » Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:03 pm

Perhaps it should be lowered to a level 2 or 3 station. It's hard to explain why a 3-planet empire would build such an expensive piece of hardware.

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Re: Early Game Strategies

Post by Unkn0wnx » Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:27 pm

Yeah. I might keep level 3 but not level 4. Or allow downgrade of station.

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Re: Early Game Strategies

Post by ZedF » Fri Mar 01, 2013 4:15 pm

A significant consideration for this thread is that the initial base is not a problem in all games, nor is it equally valuable for all races. For example, having an out-of-the-way initial base is not a problem for Hivers; they are perhaps more likely to solve initial upkeep problems by disbanding or scrapping fleets than stations. Similarly, if you are starting with 9 planets rather than 3, you're less likely to feel the economic pinch the base's upkeep entails.

That said, given that the default tax rate for non-Zuul is now 5 rather than 6, due to morale considerations, the number of situations in which it's better to scrap the base than to keep it appears to be increasing rather than decreasing.

On another topic in the vein of this thread, I have lately been reconsidering the value of getting FTL Economics as a first tech and I find it more attractive now than I did previously. The chief reason, however, is not for trade, which can be powerful but which requires a commensurately sizeable investment to get going. Rather, I like FTL Econ for the government modifiers it allows access to. Specifically, it's difficult to cost-effectively get both freedom and morale points in quantity, without access to civilian stations. But if you are interested in choosing your government deliberately rather than unconsciously by drifting into it, then picking up FTL Econ strictly to get into cooperative government can be a very powerful choice.

Normally I am a pretty aggressive player, with similar preferences to what I imagine many MP players prefer regarding rapid expansion, contact, and conflict with rival empires. In SotS2, since every race starts with the ability to immediately and profitably employ aggression against rivals, I am generally more drawn to critical military techs for early research than was the case in SotS1, where initial economy techs seemed to have more impact. As such, getting a point defense technology early on to deal with rival kiting-based strategies (and better enable them for myself) has always been an early priority.

But I have done some research recently and I have found that, with the right plan, it's quite possible in theory to get FTL Economics, get into cooperative government, and then research point defense, and do it faster than one could get PD by researching it straight up, all else being equal. From a default start and at tax rate 5, I've been able to get into cooperative by T35 in recent SP games, and I think it possible to get there sooner, whereas in my recent TAR game (where a lot of aggression was called for) I wasn't able to acquire PD until after T50; as such I'm fairly confident that getting into cooperative first and then researching PD is at least not materially slower than getting PD straight up, when done with a well-optimized plan. Of course that's only theory and sandbox trials; in practice there are other considerations which could reasonably slow down getting into cooperative govenrnment, including how zealously it is pursued.

Naturally, the above assumes that one doesn't have a solid reason for wanting to be in some other government type, which is certainly possible, and even likely for some races. Nevertheless, if one is indeed planning to get into cooperative government at some point, it seems likely that FTL Economics should be an early priority. Picking it up as the first tech would not be amiss, even in an aggressive MP context.
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: Early Game Strategies

Post by BlueTemplar » Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:25 pm

For example, having an out-of-the-way initial base is not a problem for Hivers; they are perhaps more likely to solve initial upkeep problems by disbanding or scrapping fleets than stations.

Since the maintenance of the base is the same as the maintenance of 90! CR in reserve, I would have trouble agreeing with you...

I've been thinking about a quick rush to Cooperativism too, but I fail to see how exactly FTL Economics can help you with that. Building up trade is going to push you down-right towards Liberationism, slowly if building freighters yourself, fast if using stimulus. Or are you planning to only build civilian stations and habitats but not actually trade? But wouldn't massively building colonizers (and actually colonizing) be more effective?

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Re: Early Game Strategies

Post by ZedF » Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:44 pm

I tend to use colonizers for most of my morale points and hab modules just to touch up whatever the colonizers didn't provide, and to maintain my political graph on the morale side once I've gotten there. I use the FTL Econ to build civ stations just to get freedom points. I generally don't bother with other modules while I am rushing for cooperative gov't; I would only start building up trade routes after I've gotten there. Using colonizers to get freedom points can be done but is not very cost-effective on its own. Moreover, in a MP context, building too many colonizers too soon tends to be as likely to lead to trouble as not building enough.

You can also use diplomatic stations to cost-effectively maintain morale government position on the political graph, but I don't find it's cost effective to research Xeno-Colloquy for the sole purpose of getting enough morale points to get into Cooperative government in the first place. If you give yourself bonus techs and start with it, though, that's another matter.
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: Early Game Strategies

Post by wingren013 » Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:50 pm

Here are my opening builds:

1st turn
set taxes to 7, rush to vacuum preservation. Colonize a world in my home system. disband my construction fleet . Redesign my command, colonizer, supply and, rip bore for max endurance. Queue up a command vessel, a rip bore, and a supply at all my worlds. max overharvest for 1 turn. design a repair and salvage ship. design a scavenger and wraith abductor. remove the armors from my fleets and scrap them. relocate the survey fleets to my other two systems. Close all systems and reduce security spending to zero.

2nd turn
turn off overharvest. assemble any completed invoices and send them to the farthest planet possible. raise colony stimulus a bit. If my survey fleets have finished relocating send them to a nearby world.

3rd turn
Queue up a command, supply, rip bore, and colonizer at all worlds. keep surveying.

Next turns
Once I am done colonizing with my first fleet I send them to colonize a new system. I send out the mini colonizer fleets and start building a fleet of colonizers to support my colonies. I reform my construction fleet and send them to build a naval base at my newest system. When this is done I scrap my old one. I then scrap the construction fleets supply ships for an IO boost at the new colony. All new colonies are set at max overharvest. Keep expanding and make a colony in each system when possible. Allow stimulus to colonize the remaining worlds then glass and resettle them once they are developed. As soon as I meet another race I build a tribute station for free slaves and queue up a slaving fleet. I then build a tribute station at my newest colony and build another tribute station at my most productive colony. I relocate the slaver fleet to the newest colony and proceed to slave raid. If I am lucky enough to discover an indy I set up a slave distribution center nearby and raid them every 20 turns or so. While expanding I focus on moving straight towards the core so that I can meet other factions and exploit them for tech and slaves. Once I have vac preserve I then grab deep scan, then PD, then my next armor. I design new slaver vessels once I have these techs. I then study mecha emp and TK trying to grab both. I research a new weapon depending on the enemy I am facing. Once completed I design a new warship utilizing psi and my new tech. I overharvest my original colonies to build 6-8 fleets of these and 2 support fleets with colonizers and salvage ships. I split my war fleets and assign each a support fleet. I relocate the fleets and proceed to attack the enemy. based on my success I will either continue pumping out warships with overharvest and work my way towards command DNs or fall back and begin piracy. Throughout this I keep building naval stations at my new worlds and scrapping them once I colonize the next system.


1st turn
raise taxes to 10. set research and security to zero. send out my survey fleets on NPG missions. Use my colony and construction fleets to colonize a new world. Redesign my ships with minimum cost in mind. Max the civ pop slider in my starting systems.

2nd turn
lower taxes to 3. set research to 50%. Boost research on expert systems.

After that
I make setting up a NPG network my top priority and refrain from surveying till I grab deepscan. My colony fleet focuses on colonizing my starting systems. I boost research for at least a 1 turn change each turn. while I having developing colonies I keep my tax rate at 3. When my colonies are fully populated I set it to 5. Around turn 20 I begin setting up trade. Once I have deep scan I will research up to magno-ceramics then grab pd, and AI finance. I will then rush to AM. On larger maps I leave the armor and pd for after AM. Once I have AM I grab my new drive tech then rush to dreads. After I have dreads I start researching weapons and armor like crazy, alternating between grabbing a weapon tech and grabbing a armor or shield tech. While this is going on I mass-produce cubes in preparation for the extermination. I make salvaging missile tech a priority. If I have not met a foe by turn 150 I build stations like crazy and grab superworlds. All throughout this I am constantly colonizing to take advantage of the fact that I don't pay development costs.
The SOTS2 players guide: http://www.kerberos-productions.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=37&t=43082&p=482769#p482769
Ultimate Enemy Mod: http://www.kerberos-productions.com/for ... 01#p499101
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Re: Early Game Strategies

Post by khamul » Fri Sep 06, 2013 1:29 pm

Long-time SotS Prime player, just picked up SotS2, starting with enhanced edition

Playing with my beloved bird-dragons, and struggling to get to grips with the game start. I've given myself an easy start with 1M funds, 10 tech, 4 colonies on duel, vs 1-colony no tech default cash Zuul Horde. Send out my two starting scout fleets and reliably at least one of them is running into some kind of random threat - pirates, or swarm so far.

Either of these is taking out half to two-thirds of my scout fleet. Well, that's pretty much what I'd expect from SotS prime - except there, it was a single scout DE worth maybe 10% of a single world's turn income. Here, just the CnC cruiser itself is probably a whole turn of income - and with 17 turns expected for Expert Systems, at something like 80% research, that's not something I can afford to lose.

So what am I missing? Should a scout fleet be able to survive/clean a swarm? I can't really change the design, as they're the ships I started with - so particle beams, x-rays and plasma cannon. Formation + fighting wrong? Or is there a way to run away that I haven't spotted? Or is this normal, and I just need to suck up the loss, and find other income to compensate?

Not quite getting my head around the new fleet system. I get the admiral=fleet restriction, but command points seem to work differently to prime, and the manual doesn't really explain how. I assume there's no reserves now? Every ship in a fleet gets fielded, but CP costs are different to make up for this, so it makes sense to have combat-capable supplies and repairs in you expect the fleet they're in to see action? Again, given that means an overhead of 1 turn of income for each fleet, even if they're non-combat, that's a serious consideration. And prototyping costs of ~1M for one new design makes me think economy needs to take precedence over new weapons tech...
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Re: Early Game Strategies

Post by BlueTemplar » Fri Sep 06, 2013 2:01 pm

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

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. 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).

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