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Re: Scytale's Possibly Abortive Distant Worlds AAR

#16
This entire last AAR is a great example of what operational-strategic thinking looks like in a space game.

The cool part is not just that you're doing it, Scytale, but that the game actually is designed to allow you -- maybe even require you -- to function at that level in order to survive and expand. You can't just think battle to battle; you have to explore to identify strategic resources suitable to your vision of growth, then generate strategic plans for acquiring/building and keeping the resource points, then implement operations to accomplish these strategic goals.

And then comes the mashing-and-bashing. :D

Good stuff!
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Re: Scytale's Possibly Abortive Distant Worlds AAR

#17
Flatfingers wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 10:24 pm
This entire last AAR is a great example of what operational-strategic thinking looks like in a space game.

The cool part is not just that you're doing it, Scytale, but that the game actually is designed to allow you -- maybe even require you -- to function at that level in order to survive and expand. You can't just think battle to battle; you have to explore to identify strategic resources suitable to your vision of growth, then generate strategic plans for acquiring/building and keeping the resource points, then implement operations to accomplish these strategic goals.

And then comes the mashing-and-bashing. :D

Good stuff!
Couldn't agree more, Flatfingers! I'm really enjoying reading Scytale's AAR, especially with the extra explanations behind his planning.

Scytale - have you considered arming your private ships? All private ships can carry 1 weapon, so it might be worth updating your private ship designs to include at least one gun. At least they'll be able to fight off little ships...?
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Re: Scytale's Possibly Abortive Distant Worlds AAR

#18
Shucks, you guys! This is a big encouragement. I must say it's a thrill to be playing with this mindset. In a continuing spirit of vagueness, it's not clear to me which mechanic it is that's allowing/requiring this. Again, I'm not sure that other games don't allow it, but it seems to come naturally here. I don't understand why. What do you think Tycow?

Using fuel as a range limiter for ships, and having it be a minable resource contributes to this maybe, and it'll play a role in later wars where I aim to make use of the fleet doctrine controls for invasion planning (something I'm really looking forward to), but it's not a concern in this current war.

Re arming private freighters: actually I haven't thought about that. Before seeing your post Tycow I was just thinking that freighters getting attacked by pirates in backwater systems was a necessary evil that was just part of the war; I'd forgotten I could arm them up to a limited extent. I had done this with the private mining stations, for what that's worth. That's a good idea.

I'm also just cognizant of resources. Given my rapid expansion to these worlds, there is a possibility that I'll hit a resource shortage because of the corresponding private sector expansion. I guess Tycow this is what you were warning about! There are so many freighters scooting around that I'm worried that a fleetwide weapons retrofit might deplete crucial resources that I'll be needing soon. There's a lot to think about here.

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For this post not a great amount of ingame time covered since the last one, I'm just thinking about the mechanics of fortifying Nemba system and other worlds in the region.

Since my failed assault on Hunughr and the subsequent need to retreat the bulk of my attacking forces to Homeworld to repair and refit, this has left a few of the Transcallestan worlds, notably Nemba, without an adequate local defence force. I was hoping that the turnaround time would be short enough that the pirates wouldn't capitalize on the absence: this was very foolish. Not long after the assault, a Haunted Daggers capital ship shows up with some destroyer escorts and destroys the in-progress orbital construction at Nemba 4, and raiders come along and plunder its tiny economy.

That's infuriating! Ok, I have three additional fleets from neighbouring systems rendezvous at Nemba 4 to chase that ship off; I upgrade my star base (a defense station, different from a star port) schematic to be incredibly powerful, send a construction ship to build one, and send every other construction ship I have to build mining stations on all resource deposits in Nemba system. I’m going to industrialize this place like no one has seen before. If I have to build a gigantic star base to defend every one of those worlds in the system I’ll do it. This place will be one of the most heavily fortified, most industrious production centres in the galaxy. One day, when the Haunted Daggers are but a distant memory, Nemba will be designated a regional capital. In the meantime, I'm glad to see that the pirates aren't now attacking the systems I just vacated to muster this force, so I have a bit of time to bring them back to equilibrium. I do this.

Here some captures showing a combined defence fleet at Nemba 4, and a larger view of the system. In the second picture, the green blob on top is my defence force around Nemba 4 itself, and the blob on bottom just to the right of the star is a patrolling force that's keeping prying tentacles away from the world destroyer derelict (there are two in the system). Nemba 5, visible to the left with some red (pirate) dudes, is a technically 'uncolonized' but somewhat inhabited world; the pirates seem to have some kind of trade going on with the locals there. At the time of taking the shot, I have just ordered my construction ships to do their thing; they haven't arrived yet.
Spoiler:      SHOW
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I notice in the meantime that there’s an awful lot of trade volume going to Kaamas system. This is not surprising, since it is the source of the geriatric spice melange Korabbian spice, arguably the most precious substance in the universe. That is also a well-defended system and a minor production centre, but I haven’t been working very hard to fortify it. As it’s on the core-ward periphery of the Dominion, it may be a hotbed of fighting in future galactic wars for its strategic position, let alone its valuable commodities. That will be a secondary objective for me.

Finally, I’ve come to the slow realization that my mass drivers as weapons aren’t really working out too great. It makes up a large portion of my apparent damage potential in fleet engagements, but it remains just that: apparent potential. I chose them because they have the chance to bypass shields. Instead, my fleet just fires off swarms of concussion missiles and stays at standoff range. When they get in close, somehow they just don’t seem to do a lot of damage, although the sound effects are pretty frightening. I think my engagement doctrines may also be a bit too conservative, causing my ships to bug out of a battle before they can do real damage at short range.

So I’m going to supplement and eventually replace my mass drivers with energy weapons. It will make my ships more expensive, since I’ll need to put more reactors on them, but as far as I can see energy weapons provide excellent raw damage. I’ll also modify my destroyers, which I’ve designed to be close-in brawlers, to have a bit more daring engagement stances so that they just charge right at the enemy and do their thing, and that they escape battle on lower healths. I’ll lose more of them this way, but to make a skull omelette, one has to break some skulls.
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Re: Scytale's Possibly Abortive Distant Worlds AAR

#19
on the civilian stuff you should definitely stay with railguns. pirates get scared when they take hull/component damage. and railguns are good at doing that through shields :D

other weapons that need to defeat shields have far lower scare away capability because they do no actual damage to the pirates with their (approximately milgrade) shielding systems
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Re: Scytale's Possibly Abortive Distant Worlds AAR

#20
Cornflakes_91 wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 12:30 pm
on the civilian stuff you should definitely stay with railguns. pirates get scared when they take hull/component damage. and railguns are good at doing that through shields :D

other weapons that need to defeat shields have far lower scare away capability because they do no actual damage to the pirates with their (approximately milgrade) shielding systems
Thanks for the heads up, that's exactly what I'd need on the civilian ships!
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Re: Scytale's Possibly Abortive Distant Worlds AAR

#21
The time-density of Things Happening has increased over the last few months of ingame time so my delta-tees are getting a bit smaller. Think of it as a CFL condition on the AAR.

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Some images:
Bacora, a system very close to Abrigadu-Fos, which you may remember held a large pirate presence. Here a local defence force is defending against a pirate raiding party.
Spoiler:      SHOW
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Nemba defence force blowing up an uppity construction ship trying to repair the world annihilator:
Spoiler:      SHOW
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Here is a suggestion from my advisors that I offer a bounty mission to blow up the large station at Hunughr to mercenaries. It's an expensive bounty and I'm holding off on it for now (I tried it once before and it failed), but it might be worth later setting this offer up and coordinating with an attack of my own.
Spoiler:      SHOW
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Brief window showing my state ship designs. I understand the orange text is not good with regard to resource availability? I'm not building to max size yet, but I think I'll design a capital ship soon. I've also completed phasor research and have outfitted my Apex class destroyer (not visible) with them. Following suggestions I put single railguns on civilian freighters for self-defence purposes. I do also note that in the course of preparing this writeup my destroyers (which are designed as close-in brawlers, armed with railguns) did good work on other vessels and were far less scared of combat. Maybe i have underestimated them. But I'm proceeding with phasor research nonetheless. Next up, 'phasor lances'.
Spoiler:      SHOW
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Things are escalating slowly, but they’re escalating alright.

I completed the industrial mining projects in Nemba, though the space station is taking a little longer, and variously moved fleets around to defend assets. The Haunted Daggers are quieting down a bit, and I’ll make sure this trend continues - I’ve spotted some of their mining stations spread through various places, and I can keep this low-intensity war going with them by methodically destroying those stations. They’re poorly defended, and by doing so I’m hitting these pirates where they have the apparent advantage: their economy, giving them that high military strength. If an all-out assault won’t work (for the time being, at least), attrition might. So far so good.

Hello, what’s this?
Spoiler:      SHOW
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Is that a Malthur Commonwealth invasion force? Hmm… it’s on its way to try to take Nemba 5…

While I’m absorbing this new development, something different happens. In one very, very brief moment, the galaxy has erupted into war. In particular, it looks like a war has developed between two major alliances. I don’t have a good head for the participants because I’ve really not been paying attention to my neighbors, but this seems to be the situation:
Spoiler:      SHOW
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Alliance 1 consists of:
The Malthur, a small civilization whose only colony I know of is at the very galactic north (that blue smear at the very top);
The Ketarov Dominion, whose location is unknown to me;
The Terak Monda Enclave, who are my northeastern ‘buddies’. I know pretty much the complete extent of their civilization; they are, again, the offensive red rash to my northeast.

Alliance 2:
The Dacshii, who have colonies corewards of me;
The Boskara Conformity, grubby little things that they are, whose location is unknown;
The Great Thela Conformity, with two known colonies to me on the far side of the core;
The Gizurea Hive, also unknown location;
The Boskar Collective, which is clearly related to the Conformity up there. Separate but equal, huh.

Everyone else, myself included, are neutral in this conflict. I’m glad to see I’m not caught in the middle of it. I’m a little nervous about the relation between that conflict and this force that’s showing up in Nemba though. I’m a bit worried that if I interfere I’ll get dragged into the war. For sure though, they’re not taking Nemba 5. It’s not happening. I station my local force there and wait for them to arrive.

They do, and I blow them to smithereens.

Some of their troop transports escape the system at the sign of trouble, and hesitantly return to scope out the area. I annihilate them too.

Having a spat doesn’t automatically declare war, so we’re still good for now. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re opinion of me has… yup, they don’t like me. They’re “annoyed”, and the biggest reason by far is “we’ve had terrible dealings in the past”.

Really?

Well I gotta say, before this moment, the rest of the galaxy was kind of a blank field. Tabula rasa and all that, and I swear I’m using that term correctly. There was a kind of diversity that I sat above because one day I’d simply conquer them all. This is a noble Dhayut view of the galaxy. The downside is that picking a place to start would take some work. I’d have to convince myself I was making a rational decision.

The Malthur have made my decision for me. They’ve put a polarity on the galaxy, and for their attempted assault on my territory, they will pay for what they’ve done. I’ll still want to do it properly; the Dhayut are known for being hyperviolent, but they’re not idiots. This just gives me a direction. Honestly though, I don’t even need to attack them first, or even their alliance (because it will, for sure, be an alliance-scale war). But I have a purpose now, beyond just enslaving everyone. The Dhayut hold grudges, my friends. They hold grudges.

During this interlude, the Nemba 5 space port has completed. It’s a medium space port, I’ll just retrofit to large size. (Question: do space ports construction yards still construct while retrofitting? Do their docking bays still work?) And then, I’m going to spend all of my scads of money to build a giant fleet and hunt down the Haunted Daggers like it’s a bodily function.
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Re: Scytale's Possibly Abortive Distant Worlds AAR

#22
Trouble in paradise: I got my fortifications up and working despite an attack from other pirates that blew up my Nemba 5. orbital shipyards; I've had to pay those pirates off not to attack me again. Them and three other factions.

I launched an assault on Abrigadu-Fos because the Haunted Daggers had inexplicably colonized a world there: I obliterated the defences and invaded it with my deathsquad spider dudes and now have an extra colony! Well, great, but my forces are still woefully underprepared to take out that large HD space station.

What's really getting me down though is noticing that the Haunted Daggers are the smallest, the weakest of the pirate factions! If I'm having this much trouble taking them on, trying to destroy the other pirates will be a colossal task. What! How are each of the pirate factions stronger than any of the civilizations?

I'm getting pretty discouraged. Maybe the best solution is to give up on the pirates, pay them off and just eat the cost, and then go and eat my neighbouring civs. Besides, killing pirates isn't getting me any closer to the victory conditions.

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