broken challenge

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Dr. Weird
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broken challenge

Post by Dr. Weird » Tue Apr 02, 2013 3:26 am

So I decided to go back to a game I had started back in 2.024917.4 (back when the Hiver was broken and all the Ai's didn't advance their ship designs in practice) and see if I could recover the AI's position. I was playing as Humans on the Disc map, but in order to make the AI's a little more challenging back then I was deliberately limiting my teching options. As such I had named the faction the Luddite Expansionists. Not too surprisingly even with the self imposed limit not to build any science stations and research turned down to 90%, I was having a pretty easy time of it. I got to turn 244 before realizing that to make it even less challenging the Hiver had never 'moved out' (that's when I came to the forums to discover the 'hiver bug'). So I put the game off for a while until 2.0249175 & .6 came out. Looking back at it, my position has enough of a head start that even the AI's new aggression and willingness to use new designs in battle doesn't leave me much of a challenge from my original position. On the upside Loa Ai in this game isn't suffering from the issue of getting caught in a survey loop that it does half the time currently, and although I took a disliking to it in the role of the Luddites (of course) its able to revive a bit and come out of its corner swinging again, but all the same the player controlled position has them penned-in, even if the intercept missions against its gates are also turned off (also known issue(?).

But... the Hiver position-- now that is a challenge to dig out of! On the plus side you've got a decent bankroll and it has teched quite a bit (though perhaps not all the key one's you'd want), on the downside its only got its original starting colonies and is bankrupting itself in the old .4 Hiver fashion.

The challenge is this-- swap slots and win the game (I believe the original goal was land grab for 67% of the map (?)) as the Motherless Sons. :!:

I've tried three times with mixed results. Having the AI in the former player position as the only wildcard still gives it decent variation (although naturally it doesn't adapt to a player controlled position as well as a player does vice versa).

Caveats and challenge issues:
The Ai positions have all gone negative in diplo points, I believe this is/was a known issue(?) as such only the former player controlled position can change the balance diplomatically, at least initially. To sway the balance of power outside your own sphere you're going to have to rely solely on the 'gift' diplomatic option.
The AI has left you with limited prototyped ship options-- you're free to design whatever you want of course, but your fat bankroll is going to diminish very fast with only the income of three colonies. You need to be strategic about what you're spending on, more so than usual I suppose, and that includes prototypes.
Your citizens are not too thrilled with things overall so 'tax rate to 10!' is not going to work well and/or for long.
You're also faced with a current two front war with no hope of talking your way out. On your very first turn you're going to be faced with one, possibly two key battles, using only the ships that the AI has left you.
Additionally the Hiver Ai was playing 'over-budget on admirals'. You'll start with 9 at this point even though your empire can only support 7. Lose one and you won't get a replacement until you bring the total you can support up, or drop below 7. That means you've got 9 fleets max for a while. Seems like a lot, but you've got a lot that needs doing and quickly, so its not wise to waste them less than heroically.

If that's enough of a tease, skip the rest below 8)

The final challenge is that by turn 244, the file size is 13MB, standard Zip reduces it to 2.4MB-- still too big for an upload. I can share a dropbox file however:

Holy cow, your colonizer fleet is mia/destroyed AND the AI ditched its colonizer design (seems sensible... :roll: ). You're going to want to prioritize that. To state the obvious-- you need to expand and the sooner the better as the AI's aren't shy about grabbing the remaining systems.
You also have no active command ship design, in fact the only things actively designed are the basic gateship, the contruction ship, freighters and police cutters! Again think hard about what to prioritize for prototyping as your cash gives you options, but not for long.
Checking the budget screen your starbase and your starlab are killing you financially. You'll have to break down and scrap one, and the sooner the better, but the timing is key. As noted you've got battles that need attention almost immediately, so you'll want those fleets on the move before you consider taking out their home-base. On the other side of it, even though the AI teched well up until now, its currently stagnating on the research front-- killing the starlab is not going to help those matters.
Further complicating that issue that the AI may have been using a 'cheat' to put 4 bases in a 3 base system. If you decide to get rid of the starbase, it's not enough just to scrap that base, at least not if you want the benefits of a military base at your capital- you'll need to scrap a 2nd to make room to put one back-- if that's the way you choose to go.
PS. the Flying Dutchman is still around and seemingly pissed off at you... food for thought.
On the research side of it, once you get it going again, you're almost to the 50% mark on sub-space spying. Not super useful in and of itself in the current version of the game, it does lead to tracking human node lines, more useful as the Revenge Fleet does not and will not like you. (On the flipside if you play through more than once, you'll know where they come from...).
In other matters, you may not be able to initiate diplomacy but the Luddites still can for a short window (they go negative as the game progresses). Its worth weighing whether or not you want to use some of your bankroll to kiss their butts with the 'gift' option as this position really is somewhat of a challenge, so having them decide to make it a three front war (they will get the occasional fleet to you if so, & usually with bad timing for you) may create a little too much pressure. Note too that up until that AI goes negative they can and will change their minds about you either way, depending on your actions.
You can start to diminish the -5K diplo point you have towards the positive by building new diplo stations-- if you have the budget and/or room. Even so it'll be a LONG while before you can begin to engage diplomatically so you'll have to weigh the long term advantages of that versus short term pressing needs, if like me you take that as an additional challenge.
One of the upsides is that even though the AI's weren't designing/using many new ships in .4, they didn't always use the starting armor design as their 'armor' mainstay. I'd seen a Loa once spam nothing but the basic boarding ships--not armors with boarding mods-- boarding ships (I came to think of that one as me vs the mechanical pirates). In this case the Hiver's basic design it stuck with and spammed were basic minelayers. think creatively and you'll find them much more useful than you first might- be wary of their limited tactical speed however.
That being said, the AI's do have to recover from this old .4 save and start building new designs so you'll only face the initial designs to start, so being hiver has it advantage. Still the Zuul or the Humans will come with heavy beams or something else sooner than you'd expect, so you'll need to maximize your window of opportunity.

I was tempted to post a few 'spoilers' as well, but I think I'll leave it at that for now for whoever is interested. Enjoy!
Scrodinger may or may not have been here...

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Re: broken challenge

Post by Starknight » Sat Sep 07, 2013 4:36 pm

Well, I decided to take on this challenge in lieu of starting a new SP game. So far, there have been great triumphs and moments of frustration. I was surprised at how well minelayers do in combat with the AI; I suspect that against another human, it would be fruitless.

I'm currently 200+ turns past the initial save, and I'm pretty sure I can win this one. I'll keep plugging away at it.

Saves from two points - at +100 and +200 turns - are linked below.

Turn 344
Turn 444
My Morrigi fleet-speed calculator for SotS Prime
The Holy Lands - Hivers vs. the infidel Liir (and others)
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Re: broken challenge

Post by Starknight » Tue Sep 17, 2013 2:07 am

The death of a Hiver Queen is an event which no clan wishes to think about. If there is only one strong candidate, there is no problem; but if there are several, or none, great chaos can follow such an event. Such was our fate; our Queen-mother died, and her daughters fought. This left our brothers to do the best they could, but without a strong guiding hand, is it any wonder our once-proud empire fell into ruin?

At length - some 244 cycles from the death of the last Queen - one Princess became strong enough to put down her rivals and take the Jewels. She is our new Mother, Aureate Crest. May she lead us wisely!

Coronation of Aureate Crest (CAC+0)

As Dr. Weird stated above, the economic situation is dire. Austerity measures implemented immediately include tearing down the Naval and Science stations in the home system. Other measures taken are to reform our province, lost to the interminable attacks of The Seekers and Revenge Fleet, and to assess our ship situation. Priorities include designing a new CNC (Shield Mk.1 and GOOP module), a new Colonizer (ditto), and a Point Defense ship (see previous entries).

Greatmother commands that we increase trade, but not push outward too far. Our ships are few and precious; without money to build, they will remain so for some time. New Princes are placed in command of the new fleets which we can muster, including a new colonizer fleet to spread our influence where we can.

Surprisingly, two nearby systems - Tunguska and Procyon - are found to be devoid of other life. Upon arrival, our Gate-fleets find out why; the presence of Morrigi Tholoi is made known. Cautiously engaging them at range with missiles is deemed wise, and the defending craft are cleared, allowing us to plunder the tombs - and more importantly, to settle the systems. Our trade networks are being built, but civilian response to our economic stimulus is slow at first.


Trade stations at Draco, Zenla and Pacem are generating decent trade (200k vs. ~800k colony income). The second world at Draco has been colonized, and colonies at Procyon and Tunguska are doing well, although morale problems are starting to hit. This will result in my dropping taxes back to 5 and building a civilian station at Procyon, although it will never offer more than one trade good. Still, with 3 colonies in the system, it will help to increase the Economy rating, which will help to quell the rounds of rebellion sweeping through the system. Research has picked up, and we're currently researching Casting; we've already gotten Gate Stations and Combat Algorithms. Occasional attacks by The Seekers and Revenge Fleet have been turned back with minimal losses on our part.

At her centennial celebration, our Greatmother received the praises of her Children. Under her direction, we have more than doubled the size of our Empire, increased trade, and won many victories against the destroyers of worlds. May she continue to lead us well!


The war against The Seekers (Zuul to anti-spinward) heats up. Procyon has become the new naval center, with a level 3 Naval Station to support the ships. Our combat fleets still consist primarily of minelayers, although one fleet on offensive operations is outfitted with Rizokis Hex (Disruptor/Armor) ships backed up by Chep Tiza (Shield Mk. 1/Point Defense) vessels to assault planets.

My Queen! The world at Naltor has been settled by our people! Sadly, the destroyers have left little in the way of resources, but it is still a new world for you! The offensive against the destroyers continues!

Colony income is still roughly the same at 800k, but trade has tripled to 600k. This allows more flexibility. Research has progressed as well; Casting has completed, of course, and Mega-Strip Mining and Xeno-Analysis have been researched. A few false leads have been pruned from other tech branches by poor feasibility results. (No MechaEmpathy or Telekinesis, sadly.) Current research is Security Syndication, as I was going to go for Paramilitary Training next, but it proved to be too expensive and probably should have been ignored. Sadly, due to this being an old save, Propaganda ships did not help as much as they should have, so other methods of dealing with rebellions had to be pursued.


Victory, my Queen! The destroyers have been eliminated!

The Seekers empire is no more, and the Motherless Sons are taking the fight to Revenge Fleet for the first time. Their presence has been cleared from Tiamat; sadly, before I am able to settle the system, the Tarka empire takes it over. Again; this is an old save, so... I believe this is from the period when the AI was able to send colonization missions to owned systems. They wouldn't work, but they just kept sending them; this allowed Kaan, Kokari, Kogoru to claim the system before I could. :/ He would do this several more times over the course of the game, but with the difficulties I had fighting the Humans it wasn't worth declaring war over.

Ship designs have been pruned down to those being used; a revamped Blood Princess (shielded minelayer) has been designed and built, and a few are in service. The first refits are entering service at this time, extending the utility of my fleets. The Ministry of Truth fleets (R&S plus one Propaganda) typically accompany the combat fleets on the assault to provide support.

All former Zuul worlds, save a few high-CH ones, have been settled. The economy is strong; 950k colony income + 830k trade isn't bad. Current research is Biological Transfer; Fusion Cannons and Security Syndication have come in since the last report. Heavy Fusion Cannon's feasibility came in at 21%; too risky at this time.


We take the fight to the Humans, my Queen. They fight well, but we prevail - for now.

(Yeah, that was supposed to be +300, but... I forgot.)

The war against Revenge Fleet progresses. Dorsai and Dosadi have been taken from them (and not snagged by the Tarka); 3rd Combat is in Ilona, and a gate has just been deployed in their home system of Baltar. This proved to be a bit too ambitious on my part, but up until this point I'd been doing well against their ships. They had some surprises in the wings for me, though. Ilona would be cleared - and then claimed by the thieving Tarka - but Baltar would prove to be a defeat. Fortunately, not too many ships would be lost, but this would then be the beginning of a long period of detente marred by Revenge Fleet incursions into Hiver space.

Expansion would be relegated to the other direction for quite some time to come; Tarka and Loa space would be thoroughly gated, due to their strict neutrality to me. But I'll get to that later. Economic expansion continues apace; 1.3M in colony income, 940k trade. Even with 181k colonization expenses (at one high-CH colony world), we're investing 600k per turn into research. Speaking of which; Biological Transfer has come in (and the ships are paying off handsomely), as has Reinforced Containment. Shield Mk II came in with another low feasibility; again, not worth the risk at this time. (Shielded ships has proven to be one of the best decisions I could have made; in conjunction with GOOP, they stay in the fight for an amazing amount of time.) The odds on Fusion Burst Torpedoes are good, but Heavy Ship Missiles are needed to field a Barrage cruiser, so that is what is being researched.


The Princes suggest we attack these other Humans, my Queen. They are not as hard-shelled as those following the Queen in Red, but are just as hostile!

100+ turns of steady gate-system expansion has pushed me up against the Luddite Expansionists on the other side of the galaxy. We've been at war forever, so attacking them is a no-brainer; I've been able to hold off Revenge Fleet, bloodying their noses time and again but haven't been able to make progress against them. The Luddites don't have DNs, and aren't nearly as tech-savvy as Revenge Fleet, so they'll be easier to take out.

Speaking of DNs, Revenge Fleet has been fielding them - with Armada CNC - for some time. My shielded cruisers have been able to hold the line, but it's been a near thing a time or two. I've even destroyed some of their CNC ships and maybe one or two others, but that's about it. So I am researching DNs of my own, and should have them in 9 turns or so. Obviously this means I've picked up Heavy Platforms; Fusion Burst Torpedoes, XRay Beamers, Variable Lasers, Heavy Combat Lasers, Heavy Ship Missiles and Corrosive Missiles have all been added as well. Pressure Polarization had reasonable feasibility; Quark Resonators, sadly, did not. (I have the worst luck with armor as Hivers...)

The economy has continued to grow; 1.7M colony income, 1.5M trade. Over 1M per turn is going into research, although that dips with expenses. With over 15M in the bank, my old morale problems are gone (even on new worlds), although DN prototyping and production will drop that for a time.

Strangely enough, Revenge Fleet begins sending slowboat attacks against my homeworld during this time. This gives me plenty of time to prepare. Dorsai and Dosadi suffer from being razed several times, but we continue to stubbornly resettle them. ;)


Success, my Queen! These 'Ludditezz' no longer exist as an Empire; only a few independent worlds of these folk remain. Now to focus on the Red Children!

Force buildup actually took about half the time between contact and annihilation of the Luddites. I had to prototype DNs, build up the forces, deploy them to fend off another wave of Revenge Fleet attacks, and then - finally - go on the offensive. Once I did, though, I rolled over the Luddites fairly easily. An Assault Shuttle CR - shielded, naturally - was prototyped and a fleet constituted to assist in this, and future, endeavors. Time to focus on Revenge Fleet... who have been fielding a variety of different designs. Difficult to counter without going crazy on multiple fleets; I'd rather just count on Hiver durability - especially since I'm packing everything with GOOP modules.

Economy is still doing well; 2.3M colony income, still only 1.5M trade. I haven't been building new civ stations, and the old ones are almost all maxed out for the amount of goods that can be produced in their systems. No big deal at this point, really.

Research has given me: Lancers, AP Rounds, HEAP Rounds, Armada CNC, and Dreadnought Construction. I'm currently researching Rapid Prototyping to bring the cost on my first Armada CNC to something less than 6M!

Only 6 systems remain ungated in the entire map. Most of those are held by Revenge Fleet. :)


The Red Queen has gone to join the Black Queen, Greatmother. A great day for the Children of Aureate Crest, thanks to your wisdom! As with the 'Ludditezz', only scattered independent worlds remain of the once-great Revenge Fleet empire.

Twenty rounds of gating, fleet destruction (theirs) and razing of worlds later, Revenge Fleet is no more.


Half of a millenium, my Queen! You have lead us well and wisely, and we prosper on worlds once held by our enemies. Truly, you deserve to be known as the greatest of Greatmothers, and we are humbled to be your Children.

I'm calling this game won. The Loa are only settled on three planets in one system; I could take them out easily. The Tarka haven't shown any interest in fighting me - I'm not sure if our relations are really high or really low, but in any event they're being surprisingly non-hostile for Tarka. I'll keep the last save, and maybe push it to the end at a later date, but for now this game is over.

Thanks, Dr. Weird. This was an interesting and fun challenge, if a bit frustrating at times. Let me know if you come up with any more!
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: broken challenge

Post by Starknight » Tue Sep 17, 2013 3:25 am

Dr. Weird wrote:The challenge is this-- swap slots and win the game (I believe the original goal was land grab for 67% of the map (?)) as the Motherless Sons. :!:

Victory condition from the original save is 'LastSideStanding'. I definitely don't have that, and I'm pretty sure I don't have 67% of the map (but I could be wrong), but there's not much stopping me from meeting either of those conditions. ;)
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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