Learning to play as Morrigi

Tactics & After Action Reports

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Learning to play as Morrigi

Post by Onidom » Sun Sep 06, 2015 8:33 am

I'm on my third game, playing as Morrigi, vs two Ais, Tarkas and Humans. I'm on turn 50 and since turn 37, Tarkas have being attacking my outer systems every two turns, one after another. I guess I have already done something wrong for me to be in this situation and I would like to learn what. The game is set up in normal AI difficulty, everything at default but without menaces and random encounters. First I want to learn to handle other empires.

So, my steps till turn 50. After reading some topics about Morrigi gameplay in this forum, I spent first 10 turns doing feasibility studies of technologies that required about 8 turns, so that I could make the study in just one and get some money in the process. Then, I've studied enviromental tailoring, drone satellites (after first alien contact), material applications, FTL economics and dry docks. Now I'm researching heavy planetary missiles.

I have 11 colonies in 10 systems and 130 ships, though only 2 drone carriers, 2 armor and 2 more on the way. All systems have 4 police cutters, one of them has a drone platform and, after I finish building my first strike fleet, I plan to build more, as soon I'm out of debt (currently it's -700k).

I already have two civilian stations with 2 freighters, bought by civilians. All my planets have the slider of population at 50%, since in my previous game as Liir I could tax them at 7 because of Empathy technology. I'm not at that point yet, and current taxes are still 5.

Since I'm learning, I loaded the game as Tarkas, to understand how the are playing. When war started, at turn 37, they had 40 ships and 10 colonies. Now, they have 50 ships and 15 colonies in five or six systems. They seem to have only two attacking fleets and they seem to order to strike my colonies and, after each attack, they reorder a new strike without coming back to base. Despite their fleets only have 3 endurance, they are able to chain five consecutive attacks on my colonies, since their fleets are damaged before each attack.

My plan now is to keep Tarkas busy attaking my outer systems, recolonizing them if they are destroyed, while I set up defenses in the inner systems. Once that is done, I could go on the offensive. The problem is that they are growing unharmed, so the supposed Morrigi research speed advantage could disappear. Besides my morale drops -3 every time they destroy a colony and maybe I'm still 30 turns till getting Empathy. I could attack their newer colonies with my 2 scout fleets, though those fleets could also be used to face them at my planets and hunt their command ships, using the support of the police cutters armed with missiles.

So, what I have done wrong up to this point? How can I improve my gameplay? Some tips about how to handle the AI? Thanks in advance and thanks to Kerberos for this game. I come from playing Distant Worlds (200 hours more or less), and I found out that SotS 2 is a jewel, where each race, weapon, design and battle really matters.

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Re: Learning to play as Morrigi

Post by Shiolle » Fri Sep 11, 2015 8:31 am

Probably you already got over this situation, but I think there are pieces of the puzzle missing in this picture.

First, your huge debt suggests your economy may be struggling to support the war. Why did you have to go so far into debt? Judging by the number of freighters your trade infrastructure is still a long way from paying off.

So, how is the war going? How many ships are you losing per tarka ship you destroy? What weapons does he use against you? How are you countering them or plan to counter them? Why do you feel the need to spend resources on building defensive infrastructure in the inner systems? Have you probed any of his systems?

The AI will be doing just that: a) build and send new fleets to your planets he is aware of to keep pressure on you; b) try to discover more of your colonies; c) adjust his designs to counter whatever you field against him as fast as he can. If you strain your economy, and don’t put any pressure on the AI, your situation will only get worse over time. Unless of course AI can’t afford that many fleets either, or that your debt is due to some one-time payment and you will be in the green again in a couple of turns.

I’d recommend holding your ground in those systems he’s attacking, ideally by basing a fleet in each and sending reinforcements in advance through reserve transfer to offset your losses, if any. If your ships get damaged and the colonies where the fighting is going on can’t repair them in time for the new round of fighting you have to have more fleets to be able to relief damaged ships and bring them back for repairs before you start losing vessels.
Second, you gave the number of colonies you have, but there is one other key piece of information missing: how many of them are giving you profits. When you are learning the game, it is easy to colonize a lot of high-hazard colonies in peacetime to put your economy in such condition that any disaster or additional financial drain, like war, will put you in debt almost immediately. If there are no wars or major disasters, you are good: after a period of tight budgets you will have a flourishing empire and that makes this tactics very attractive. That is also precisely why AI has to send those fleets to your planets to be able to put up any fight. It is also very attractive to place your research slider high early on to get that sweet technology advantage at the expense of savings, but the problem is the same as with colonization rush.

Perhaps good players would prefer risky tactics like the ones described above (I am by no means one of them), but I prefer to have certain amount of reserves (around one and a half to two billions) before I encounter other empires: to be able to afford a rapid force buildup without going into debt.

What also surprised me is the amount of police cutters you have. I’m not sure I understand completely the situation with your fleet. You said you have 120 ships and 4 police cutters per system. With 10 systems it’s 40 police cutters or 20 cutters per freighter. What made you build so many of them? You also said you have 2 drone carriers and 2 armor. That’s not all your forces, right? What kills tarka fleets then? And what ships comprise the other half of your fleet? By the way, I personally don’t find drone carriers all that effective, even as morrigi early in the game.

On the subject of colony development, I read on these forums it’s more effective to put your terraforming slider to 0, and your industrialization slider to max immediately after you colonize a world, and when infrastructure rating reaches 100, terraform the world in a couple of turns. But I rarely follow this advice myself, except for maybe my first one or two colonies in a game. What I do however is keep supporting colonies with a fleet until they reach about 30 infrastructure.

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Re: Learning to play as Morrigi

Post by Onidom » Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:49 am

Yes, the match is already finished, but thank you very much, Shiolle, for taking your time to answer my question. You have posed many questions that will help me to rethink my strategy for the next game.

In case it's helpful for some other new players, I will try both to answer some of your questions and explain my conclusions after analysing what happened in the game.

At the start of the war, all colonies but two where giving me some money. Those two exceptions cost me 300 credits to develop, they were almost done. I was doing 1080k credits in total from 11 colonies at tax level 6. I colonized only planets with a development cost lower than 100k, leaving those with a higher cost till I have biomeds and some technologies that increased planet industrial output, mainly at the Industry tree.

The ship count is so high because the game includes drones. I had 43 cruisers, mostly colonizers, suppliers, command ships and extended range ones for scouting. I had only 2 armor and 2 drone carriers, plus those 31 cutters and some others finished one turn later till complete the goal of 4 per system.

Why so many cutters? Because my latest warship design, CA Dragon Mk. 2, costed 254k. It was a BB/Torpedo cruiser equipped with photon torpedos. I wanted to build a fleet with two armor, two torpedo and two drone carriers, following the advice given here: viewtopic.php?f=43&t=51090.

The opportunity cost of that cruiser was 4 police cutters, cheaper to build, each of them with two missile launchers. I also saved the cost of another command ship (243k). Since I couldn't stop Tarkas on the first attack, they could chain up to 5 consecutive attacks with same fleet on the first wave. That was half of my empire. I didn't know how the AI behaves, I didn't know where they were going to stop. So protect every system with 4 cutters per system were cheaper than 1 command and 1 CA Dragon Mk 2 per system. Beware also I was playing in the wave map, a small one for 3 players. So the outer systems were about 25-30ly far from my home world. In theory, Tarkas could reach any system they wanted.

Cutters were also cheaper than the first version of CA Dragon (174k), equipped with plasma cannon and particle beam. However, considering how well my suppliers, colonizers and extended range performed equipped with missiles, I should have designed at turn 1 a BB/Armor cruiser full of missiles. Tarkas didn't start to use Phalanx PD till turn 120-130, though they've researched much earlier than that. Besides Tarkas' PD coverage isn't very good either.

As you advised, Shiolle, I stopped all scout and colonization missions and deployed those fleets in the outer systems. Those fleets supported by cutters should stop Tarkas. But I didn't know how to deploy them effectively in the battle manager. I deployed close to the planet. Then, I found this post by Heart of Storm: http://www.kerberos-productions.com/for ... 37&t=37675. That was a game changer. I started to deploy cutters close to the enemy fleet entry point. I forced them out of the accelerated time and could save my colonies, for the price of one cutter or two. Besides, either I destroy their CnC in the first attack o at least I could hurt them enough so that the whole Tarka fleet was lost in the second consecutive attack. I also found this video: http://www.twitch.tv/terrakus/c/4529699, where the player splits his force and put some ships behind the enemy, so he can catch the enemy CnC better.

Tarkas lost 2 combat fleets and a survey fleet on the turns 50-60. After that, there was some peace, still turns 74-80. They came back, with missile cruisers. Yeah, I love how the AI in this game adapts to the player strategies. However, I also had a new toy for them: mines. A fleet composed of six minelayers CL Lizard class and 1 PD cruiser CL Turtle class. I turned back as soon as the enemy was in sensor range, I activated the mines and move on zig zag, to force the IA to navigate through the mine fields. I saw this tactic here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmBQ_BB ... d&index=25 .

Those minelayers and PD ships were also equipped with shields Mk. I. Tarkas were still using Gauss cannon as PD, so they lost another 3 fleets. Later I also found that, as Morrigi, a drone carrier with escort riders give more PD coverage than a dedicated ship with a PD mission section.

After that, the game was much easier to handle. In essence, the game changer was to deploy cutters or fleets if available close to the enemy entry point so that AI doesn't have enough time to destroy the colony or even reach it. I hope that helps someone else, because I haven't seen that tip on the few LP's I've found on youtube.

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