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Scytale's Possibly Abortive Distant Worlds AAR

#1
So I decided to do an after-action-report … but let’s call it a SAGA … of a Distant Worlds playthrough. For a long time I’d decided I loved DW but hadn’t summed up the courage to actually try playing a game. So this is my first one!! And I’m going to annoy you guys with a story about it. If you want to read it. When it comes to LT Forum related activity I'm pretty terrible at finishing what I start, so there's a caveat there. I'm making an effort for this though.

For this first post I’ll just talk about why I like this game so much. If you don't care about this, just scroll down to "All alone in the dark" below. Otherwise:

DW is a real-time 4x space game. It is probably the most complicated 4x game I know other than Aurora 4x. Although I like complicated games, it’s not so much fun when they’re complicated for their own sake, and… well, your mileage may vary on whether this is true for DW. I also hesitate to say DW is a *good* game, (although I do think it is) but I do like it a lot and recognize that Games I Like and Games That Are Good are not the same set. I’ll be talking on the basis of the first of these, not the second. That way if Flatfingers comes along and asks why I think it’s a good game I won’t be left with nothing to say.

I think ahead.

But I can proceed with features that make DW unusual or even unique, and at least worth thinking about.

- This, GalCiv and Stardrive, are the only space 4x I know of that allows altercations in deep space, out of any kind of zone of influence of a star. Space is continuous between star systems.
- Unlike GalCiv though (but as I recall still like Stardrive), the star systems have a kind of geography - planets lie in their orbits and move along them in real time. I don’t know if they obey Kepler’s laws but when that’s a question you can ask we’re already at a level not really present in most other 4x games.
- It models a private sector for each civilization, which is not (in most cases) directly controlled. (!!!!!!!!) In terms of the economy, this is ridiculously unusual among 4x games. The private sector builds its own stations, its own freighters, and shimmies them around the galaxy independently. If some goober comes around and blows these things up it will hurt your economy. It’s not just for show: it’s an essential part of your state economy.
- You can play as a pirate. A pirate!! You can play as a pirate. This isn’t some gimmick where you’re a civilization that does pirate stuff: you literally own just a space port in the middle of nowhere to begin with and you go and terrorize and racketeer off actual civs. It’s apparently super hard to play. And the game deals with the resulting pirate economy specially.
- You can play a game start as a pre-warp civilization. (Can’t remember if you could do this in Stardrive?) In fact, as far as I know, most people do.

Ship design is basically identical to MoO3, for whatever that’s worth.

One thing which is often touted as DW’s greatest strength I think is actually not something to be that proud of, because it could be considered a cover-up gimmick: you can automate your civilization to whatever degree you like. One could argue that being able to do this implies not all the game mechanics are fun, or even necessary. But as I think RPS once said, this means you can basically play captain Picard with your own ship that you designed, just tooling around the galaxy doing your own thing while your empire runs itself. If you want to.

This leads me to DW’s really strongest point: it has a huge narrative potential. The degree of skullduggery you can get up to, the sheer size of galaxies you can form, the way you interact with other empires, all fits into providing the raw material to provide a good story. I think in turn the biggest reason for this is the sense of habitation in the galaxy - another thing I’ve not seen in other 4x’s. The fact that private sectors are modeled means that there’s always life, and how it behaves in the galaxy is influenced by you and the other players, but it’s not directly controlled. That’s awesome.

I also like the semi-cheesy soundtrack, which seems like it’s basically a mix between Star Wars, Star Trek, and Babylon 5, although it’s got a lot of its own personality. Very tuneful, although there are one or two embarrassing ones in there. This is my favourite.

Through the course of the game I ended up getting pretty sick of the soundtrack because it’s so short. Good alternatives are Nigel Stanford’s Solar Echoes (which also works very well for Elite Dangerous), any Solar Fields album, and Nexus the Jupiter Incident soundtrack. The Tiberian Sun menu music is also pretty close to my heart for something of this kind, but I think it’ll be best applied after I’ve nuked all life from planets here.

Gripes:
It’s a bit fidgety to pick up. I don’t like fidgety. Fidgety isn’t good. If Achron weren’t fidgety it might have seen more traction*. After a while though you get used to the UI, which is not so much clunky as “iconic”, if you know what I mean, and start to operate play the game efficiently. The game is pausable and has time acceleration controls so you can stop at any time to get your bearings. There are a lot of bearings to get.

Alright so I’m going to start the game now.

*Achron: a real-time strategy game just like any other except as well as a minimap there’s a timeline, where you can jump to any time within the last 8 minutes and wage war in the past. It’s like playing a game of chess where the pieces on the board may change in location or even existence because one of you went back in time and changed the course of the game. You can fight a battle with someone in the past, traveling along timelines at different rates, and your actions make changes that ripple forward through the timeline. This is not an exaggeration. The game engine is designed to handle grandfather paradoxes because they can arise during play. Check it out, seriously. Also has a great soundtrack. It’s just a damned nuisance to play, is all.

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All alone in the dark

The Dhayut are pretty vicious space spiders in space. They will kill you dead. Actually, a victory condition for playing them involves enslaving and conquering other dudes, so they won’t actually kill you dead at first, they will merely plebify you and feast off your manual labour. I’m playing these fellows because, as I understand it, and as you probably do now too, they’re quite aggressive and well-suited to waging quite a lot of war. Often the humans, who are reasonably balanced, are recommended for new players but a guide I saw suggested these guys and I believed his reasoning more than others. We will see how this turns out.

So what kind of galaxy did the Dhayut grow into/out of? Well, it’s an:
- Elliptical galaxy (with pretty clear spiral features) with a dense stellar population on the outer rim
- 800 stars, medium sized
- Mildly infested with pirates
- Full of giant space herpes “kaltor”. More on this later
- Pre-warp start for everyone. (I believe you can set it so there are already advanced empires out, or that everyone starts at different levels, similarly to Stellaris)
- Standard victory conditions in addition to the racial ones
- Major story events disabled, because as I understand it these will give me a very bad day when they show up.
- Difficulty scales as I approach my victory conditions. Since I plan to be a monumental asshole to everyone else, I’m sure this will yield plenty of tension.
- My government style is monarchy - this is well-geared toward war, among other things, and I want to play to my strengths.

I’m playing with 12 other empires; independent colonies can grow into their own empires as well. Other empire aggressions are normal.

The Dhayut race started out on a small desert world on the outer rim, in the galactic west, in system Undos, sector A3. The sectors are labelled alphanumerically but I’m going to use names for the alpha part for flavour. Hence, Akmazian 3 is my sector. The king of the Undos Dominion is “Ruty Fossit”, and if that’s not a name to make you shudder with disgust I don’t know what is. Anyway, we proceed.

Undos is visible on the left edge of the galaxy, the little green speck in the box labeled “3”.
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Re: Scytale's Possibly Abortive Distant Worlds AAR

#3
Interesting! I'm hoping this moves me toward deciding I do or don't want to try DW... but I look forward to reading it regardless.

Scytale wrote:
Fri Apr 27, 2018 11:18 am
I also hesitate to say DW is a *good* game, (although I do think it is) but I do like it a lot and recognize that Games I Like and Games That Are Good are not the same set. I’ll be talking on the basis of the first of these, not the second. That way if Flatfingers comes along and asks why I think it’s a good game I won’t be left with nothing to say.

I think ahead.

:lol:

(Although I guess I should wonder what the heck kind of reputation I have around here....)

Scytale wrote:
Fri Apr 27, 2018 11:18 am
I also like the semi-cheesy soundtrack, which seems like it’s basically a mix between Star Wars, Star Trek, and Babylon 5, although it’s got a lot of its own personality. Very tuneful, although there are one or two embarrassing ones in there. This is my favourite. Through the course of the game I ended up getting pretty sick of the soundtrack because it’s so short. Good alternatives are Nigel Stanford’s Solar Echoes (which also works very well for Elite Dangerous), any Solar Fields album, and Nexus the Jupiter Incident soundtrack.

Heh. Pandora has been occasionally been playing Solar Fields tracks for me -- I quite like that sound.

Scytale wrote:
Fri Apr 27, 2018 11:18 am
This leads me to DW’s really strongest point: it has a huge narrative potential. The degree of skullduggery you can get up to, the sheer size of galaxies you can form, the way you interact with other empires, all fits into providing the raw material to provide a good story. I think in turn the biggest reason for this is the sense of habitation in the galaxy - another thing I’ve not seen in other 4x’s. The fact that private sectors are modeled means that there’s always life, and how it behaves in the galaxy is influenced by you and the other players, but it’s not directly controlled. That’s awesome.

Hmm. Does this actually create a good story in itself? Or are you saying DW is particularly good at giving a human some plot points with which to create a story?

I think of "story" as a dramatization of meaningful changes in a person. DW seems to have a pretty epic scope, though. So how can these two be connected to produce a satisfying tale?

Overall, this is great -- thanks for taking the time to do this.
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Re: Scytale's Possibly Abortive Distant Worlds AAR

#4
Interesting! I'm hoping this moves me toward deciding I do or don't want to try DW... but I look forward to reading it regardless.
Great!
Hmm. Does this actually create a good story in itself? Or are you saying DW is particularly good at giving a human some plot points with which to create a story?
This is a great point and I think you're right in the second place - in itself, the story isn't there. It's rather that it provides the right raw material for a narrative. Fortuitously, I happened to say narrative potential, and because the narrative does not arise automatically. The thing is, in this sense it's no different from any other half-decent 4x game: at bottom it's the story of the rise and (hopefully not the) fall of an empire. So what makes DW different, and what more does DW provide that others don't?

I'm still trying to figure it out for myself because it's hard to pin down. As a second attempt, I think it's the sense that the galaxy, and especially your empire, will continue to function regardless of your, the player's, actions. The player has agency - in fact, as much as s/he wants, by the automation system - but if they weren't there the empire would continue to function. Not necessarily to expand and conquer, but to breathe and 'talk' to other empires, indirectly.

This is not the same as saying that DW's empire AI is "good" or competent. It's more about how there's a background AI that's always present, and always gives a sense of life in the universe that you have to interact with and over. In the end, what I see is not a collection of planets and ships, that just sit there in exactly the place I put them and move around when I shove them but rather a larger organism that responds passively and actively to my actions. My actions are still direct, but the system will respond in a not entirely predictable way.
I think of "story" as a dramatization of meaningful changes in a person. DW seems to have a pretty epic scope, though. So how can these two be connected to produce a satisfying tale?
In the sense of talking about 4x games, what I mean by a good story is the sharing of an adventure, and often an adventure that has bits that go "...and then I did this!" The prototypical example in the context of 4x games for me is Tom Francis' excellent GalCiv 2 report, which turns out to be an excellent advertisement of GalCiv2, particularly its AI. It's not the story of an individual in the game, but rather the story of a person's experience playing the game. It sounds maybe a bit conceited put in those words, but these particular kinds of stories hold a fascination for me in the same sense I used to watch my brother playing games when I was tiny.

What I don't mean is that a narrative proceeding from a game like DW can be considered material for literature. Character development has no meaning except insofar as the player can be considered a character. On the other hand, I do think a DW campaign makes a great starting point for the setting of other stories, but that's really just because of its large scope.

All this being said, I feel a disconnect between the first and second parts of this reply. I need to spend a bit more time thinking about it!
Given that this game almost never goes on sale, and when it does it's still $30, I'm still trying to figure out if I want to shell out for it. Thanks for posting this.
The publisher is "Matrix Games", and I think their policy is pretty anti-sale. Their games also tend to be very expensive. I think the reason DW is so expensive is that in its current form it's a compilation of all expansions released to the original game over the years. The publisher's logic seems to be "yeah, so you should pay what anyone who's been here from the beginning has". I don't agree with this, but it does make sense to me and there's a degree of sympathy for that viewpoint, since they do publish niche games. But that is neither here nor there: it's just expensive.
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Re: Scytale's Possibly Abortive Distant Worlds AAR

#5
It begins

I start off with a world, my homeworld which I’ve decided to call Homeworld because I’m not very original, and literally nothing else. I don’t even have a space station. So! The first order of business is to look at my available designs. I get rid of all the defaults except for a small spaceport, construction ships, and exploration ships. On the space station I take off all the weapons but stack it up with research labs for weapons, energy, and high-tech research up to my available research capacity (more on this in a second) and save the design. On my two other ships I just take off any weapons, and load them up with more engines until they can’t get any faster. Since I’m pre-warp, these ships don’t have hyperdrives, they just cruise around infuriatingly slowly around my home system doing stuff till I get the tech I need. Adding these extra thrusters just minimizes the infuriation.

My homeworld
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Aight, Homeworld is building a space port and two construction vessels. The exploration ships will have to wait till the station is done. Time to look at research.

There are three branches of research: weapons, energy, high-tech, and you research three techs at the same time, again similarly to Stellaris. The speed of research is calculated per branch based on the number of labs you have, plus any bonuses, up to a capped level. The cap is calculated according to I believe population.

The weapons branch features your usual array of scifism: mass drivers, energy weapons, missiles, graviton beams, fighter bays, and so on. I prioritize mass drivers and missiles. Energy branch has your shields, engines and a whole lot of other stuff. Hyperdrives are a starting tech on the tree, but mysteriously I can’t research them yet. A lost secret, perhaps? Something to be found in the universe? I have heard tell, whispers in the dark, that the secret to begin research on this is to um… send an exploration ship to one of the planets in the system and research the ruins, which helps you to unlock the secret. Ok but for now I’ll set shields and construction systems as my priority while I wait for my exploration ships.

High tech has a whole lot of useful systems that I will be able to put on my ships, like medical, recreation, etc. Those are the ones I’m prioritizing for now.

Alright, my first space station is done, and the construction ships, which will scoot around my home system building mining and gas mining stations, are building. Briefly, such stations will give me resources etc. More on that later, I guess. Anyway I can build construction ships on my planets but need space stations to build most ship kinds, so ok: time to explore the galaxy!

Well, the solar system at least. Ok, bam bam they’re done. It hasn’t been very long at all when one of them ‘accidentally stumbles upon’ a set of ancient ruins and what do you know, it’s got secrets of a bygone age! And just like that, suddenly the hyperspace research branch has just opened up for me. Alright, let’s set that as my research priority!

As I explore I also find a continental and ocean world in my system. The Dhayut like desert planets and they can’t colonize continentals straight away but it’s not far off in the research tree. I’ve already been researching colonization for a while on my High-Tech tree so getting continental is like, my next step. The ocean planet will have to wait.

An immediate possibility for colonization in Undos system:
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Not too long afterwards my tech for warp precursors is complete! This gives me the warp bubble generator, which sounds epic but is sadly pretty pathetic. It’s a stepping stone to the first proper hyperdrive, the “Gerax hyperdrive”, and it’s so bad compared to the next one that pretty much all guides I’ve seen suggest not even bothering to put the warp bubble generators on your ships. As in, actually choose not to put FTL on your ships.

Hyperdrive completion notification on the right: in the centre is the homeworld (have I mentioned it's a moon of a gas giant, actually?) with assets highlighted by green icons.
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The reason for this is because doing a blanket upgrade of all your ships, especially if you’re playing largely manual as I am at this stage of the game, is a lot of work. I decided to compromise by putting it on just one ship - a new one I’m going to design!
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Re: Scytale's Possibly Abortive Distant Worlds AAR

#6
Alright so my ship’s gonna be an ‘escort’ and… well, my construction ability isn’t up to snuff really so I’m just going to have to do with a very small craft size. Through latent Dhayut telepathic powers I happen to know that the very minute a hyperdrive is first used in my system, there will be an immediate appearance of a giant kaltor, which is a huge space bug, probably near an important asset of mine. So I want to be prepared with a decent little fleet to take it out.

The giant kaltor
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I add five bits of ‘standard armour’, one shield, three or so ‘long range guns’ (haha) and a concussion missile. And that lovely warp bubble generator! Alright build four of them and go blow up that giant kaltor that appears immediately oh no they’re dead they’re all dead.

Ok. Well that fleet, tiny though it was, basically bankrupted me so I’m going to have to wait a while before building another one to attack that kaltor. Actually there were two kaltors, they both blew up a research station I built on the outskirts of the system and I did kill one of them, but barely made any progress against the second one.

I need (a) better weapons, (b) bigger ships, and really, I do need (c) that Gerax hyperdrive. It’s only a matter of time before my research gets that so I’ll chill out a bit, raise taxes on my homeworld a little bit to get over the slump, and bide my time.

-------

So time goes on. I eventually get my Gerax hyperdrive and upgrade all my state vessels with it. Build a few more military ships, blow up the giant kaltor, done and done. I can’t be bothered redesigning my private sector ships so I set them all to ‘automatically upgrade’ and put that to one side. Later I’ll find out that no, I actually should do them manually because for some reason they don’t immediately automatically equip hyperdrives.

Undos system: see how busy traffic is around the homeworld! In the second image, I think I directly control maybe two of those ships, indicated by green symbols. The rest are freighters and miners scooting around the system, doing their own thing.
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Most important is my exploration ships and construction vessels. Bam! My explorer vanish from sight and before I know it have crossed the gulf between my system and the nearest other stars. I set them to explore the sector and… hey what’s this?

Dhayu system
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This star system is called “Dhayu”, and there are two planets in it populated by Dhayut natives. Huh! This must be my true ancestral home. Were the Dhayut once a mighty empire? Is Homeworld not the motherland of my species, but what was long ago an outlying colony? What happened to sunder us so? Is there an evil out there that would knock once mighty empires into the Stone Age?

That would mean they’d have to be more evil than me, so: no.

In the meantime I got my colonization all set up and had built a colony ship destined for the continental world in my home system. My first new colony! We called it Khar Selim, which, if you care about the reference, reflects the rather pessimistic view of the universe that Dhayut tend to have.

On the edge of the galaxy, the Dhayut forces stir.
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Re: Scytale's Possibly Abortive Distant Worlds AAR

#7
I’ve been put in touch with another empire by some pirates. These are the same pirates that have been blackmailing me in a racketeering campaign since I first took to space, so I have a bone to pick with them eventually, but oddly they seem to like me. They’re called the Haunted Daggers. Do not forget their name. Do not forget them. I’ve identified where their hideout is: Khandrela system. My construction capabilities grow, and it’s only a matter of time before I put together an expeditionary force to wipe them from the face of the galaxy. Until then, we’re buddy-buddy.

Here's a map of the region. My new buddies are those three red systems to the top right. Khandrela system is the star with the little pirate flag on it. Undos and Dhayu systems are toward the bottom left.
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Anyway this other empire is quite a distance away, several sectors up this spiral arm, spin-ward, as you can see. We entered into a trade agreement and traded territory maps, and inexplicably they like me. Already I see civilian passenger ships built by my private sector, filled with tourists, warping over to my new ‘friends’. It’s a long journey, you guys, but ok. You can actually see those two passenger ships on their way over, in that image: they're the three green dots just to the southwest of the new fellas.

I’m not happy to see they have three star systems colonized. I’ve only just colonized Dhayu 7 (renamed Dhayu Prime), re-absorbing my cousins into the polity. It’s time to build these colony ships fulltime. If one of us is going to grow like a cancer, it’s gonna be me.

As an aside, oddly out of the three F’s (feeding, fighting, and reproducing), the Dhayut don’t much like the third one. Or maybe they do and have a really hard time getting pregnant. I’m uh… gonna stay agnostic on this one. In any case I’m basically keeping my new colony taxes at zero percent to encourage growth (there’s a correlation by design, in this game). I want growth so that when the colonies grow to be large enough, I’ll put the tax rate on and get lots of sweet, sweet money. That money in turn will pay for my gargantuan fleets with which I’ll ‘open up’ more of the galaxy to put my people on. I’m an entrepreneur, you see. I’ll be… Genghis Khan Musk? Saladin Bezos? I’ll come up with something.
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Re: Scytale's Possibly Abortive Distant Worlds AAR

#8
Great AAR Scytale, really enjoying it. It's a great game.
😁
Arclite wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 1:13 am
Given that this game almost never goes on sale, and when it does it's still $30, I'm still trying to figure out if I want to shell out for it. Thanks for posting this.
You need to keep an eye on this thread:

viewtopic.php?f=17&t=1127

I've posted at least 3 times when it's been on sale... It's made it down to £14!
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Re: Scytale's Possibly Abortive Distant Worlds AAR

#9
So uh… things are heating up a bit. I built a fleet of frigates and things to wipe out the Haunted Daggers (the pirate faction) space port in Khandrela system, close to my recently colonized planet in Tar Murdin, and wipe it out they did. Feels pretty good, but the faction is apparently not dead yet. I’ll see more of them in the time to come. For now though I’m colonizing pretty hard in my sector. I have around ten colonies across five systems. One colony - another group of long-lost Dhayut - joined my empire as soon as I discovered them, pretty far core-wards. That system, Ziltrus, is a bit isolated from the main core of my budding empire, so I’m going to have to make it a major hub. It’s going to need a space port of its own. (Space ports are pretty expensive to maintain so I’m being quite conservative in placing them.)
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Above is the state of this region of the galaxy. There's a fair bit going on here. The green blobs are my zones of influence. The red are my recent new friends that I've been trying to out-colonize. The pink fellas to Galactic East are... actually I don't know or care who they are, but one day I will destroy them. They're not my immediate concern. (In truth as I write this I forget their name, I think they're dinosaur-dudes though.) That pink blob is as far as I know not their home system - I don't have any more information about the bulk of their galactic presence.

The circled stars are very important to my galactic ambitions. Those host colonizable systems. I'll talk more about this in a moment.

The eastern green blob is Ziltrus system, the new Dhayuts who spontaneously joined up with me, and the one I'm fortifying at the moment. I'm not anticipating any attacks in the near future, but again, its isolation makes it important. It should at least function as a staging area for any notional assaults on the northern sectors of the galaxy. Notice the heavy traffic to there from my core worlds; it's already taking a strong role in the Undos Dominion economically.

The dashed lines indicate travel vectors for state-owned ships. On the top right there's an exploration ship headed down from the Red Buddies to the Pink Nobodies to check out that system. On the bottom left there's two fleets, the 1st Expeditionary Force and Undos Supplemental, on their way back to the core worlds from Nemba system. They've just had a minor engagement there. You might also notice some unobtrusive white text down there reading "World Annihilator Project." Why, I hear you ask? Great question, I'm glad you asked.

There’s a set of five potential colonies antispinward across the Callestas spiral arm from here. They're the circled worlds that roughly form a line toward the bottom right from my core worlds. Together, their strategic value is enormous.

- Kaamas system has a “very rare” luxury resource, a consciousness altering drug, so they tell me, which will make my people very happy. This is the kind of resource that only shows up two or three times across the galaxy. I want it.
- Nemba system contains two ancient, unfinished hulks which the game refers to as, and I’m not exaggerating here, World Destroyers. Colonizing the system will give me a kind of de jure right, of sorts, to get their secrets for myself. I have to quick about it though. I’ve already had to blow up a rival civilization’s construction ship which was working on those hulks.
- Each of these systems will provide an excellent staging area to extend my empire to the entirety of Galactic South. They’ll probably each deserve a large space port of their own.
- There is a large Haunted Dagger presence in Abrigadu-Fos, the westernmost of these systems. I feel that if I can attack and destroy them in that system, that will have disabled them, and mopping them up afterwards (if I can find them) should be a relatively easy enterprise.

These colonies don’t do me very much good in terms of growth potential, only in their strategic position. Supporting them economically will be difficult in the short term, but not impossible. At this point, my 11 colonies have between them formed a private sector which is gargantuan. Although the state is operating at a heavy loss in terms of regular cash flow - my maintenance costs outweigh my tax income by far - the private sector is more than compensating for this by buying their ships from my shipyards and giving me incredible bonus incomes. As long as my resource income (from my various mining stations) keeps up, and as long as I keep colonizing (!), the private sector will keep growing and the bonus income should keep coming. Hopefully at that point I’ll be able to raise my taxes and stabilize the state economy.

I can also not colonize all these worlds at once because there’s a limit to how far I can colonize at once. Only one colony, really, is within reach, but once I have it I’ll be able to get the next down the line, and so on. So that’s my first goal: secure the colonies I can.

This doesn’t have to be a violent process, but golly I will make sure it is if anyone objects to it.

Once I’m done there, I’ll move on to Abrigadu-Fos and engage the pirates there. If I succeed with this, we the Undos Dominion will turn our eyes to our established neighbours.

Here's a similar shot to the above, but with my having just ordered a set of state vessels to explore regions around the target colonies, and I believe at least one colony ship, preparing for a massive colonization effort.
Spoiler:      SHOW
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Re: Scytale's Possibly Abortive Distant Worlds AAR

#11
Scytale wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 10:44 am
Cheers Tycow, I'm learning to appreciate the underlying ideas of the game, even through the at-first seemingly impenetrable operating mechanics and UI, and I feel like in that sense the game is able to handle the scope it projects. Of course, my opinion about this may change if I suddenly get conquered :P
I know that feeling! At least you've got the benefit of having the QoL additions the addons gave the original game; classic DW was a different beast!

The amount of times I've started, then restarted... one of the best pieces of advice I can give is to not expand too quickly. I used to just grab grab grab all inhabitable planets near me, and inevitably my economy tanked due to overexpansion. Better to stick mining stations around the place, and concentrate on a core few worlds IMO.

Bleh, it's 00:18 and now I want to fire up DW! :D

EDIT: Found a single post AAR I did when I was beta testing one of the addons for the devs... you're much more dedicated to writing than I was Scytale :D
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Re: Scytale's Possibly Abortive Distant Worlds AAR

#12
EDIT: Found a single post AAR I did when I was beta testing one of the addons for the devs...
That's a while ago! A reminder of how long the game's been around~ I shouldn't take even what's there now for granted it seems!
you're much more dedicated to writing than I was Scytale :D
Well I hope I can last through to the end of the game! It's not so much the writing that's the problem for me, but the staying power to see the whole campaign through.
The amount of times I've started, then restarted... one of the best pieces of advice I can give is to not expand too quickly. I used to just grab grab grab all inhabitable planets near me, and inevitably my economy tanked due to overexpansion. Better to stick mining stations around the place, and concentrate on a core few worlds IMO.
Thanks very much for this. The first few times I tried playing this game I couldn't figure out why I couldn't just (a) build a mining station on literally every planet, and (b) colonize every conceivable world. The costs of doing these things were not apparent. Here is how I understand it at the moment though: colonies give people, and people give money. So far so good! So why not colonize every planet? Apart from putting in resources to defend the planet? Because the private sector scales with colonies; if I don't have the physical resources to support the private sector buying all their junk off me because I'm overcolonizing, my shipyards all stall and the economy grinds to a halt. Is this right? Hence the need to expand my resources consumption at a reasonable rate; I need the resources stockpiles to support expansion. So the cycle, broadly, is:

Money (from planets) -> building mines (giving resources) -> assets (to support planets) -> money

- and the surplus money from this cycle is used to support military growth, or other projects, which are ancillary to the economy.

This is a fairly fragile understanding of the system. Do you agree?
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Re: Scytale's Possibly Abortive Distant Worlds AAR

#13
I have two of the systems, Kaamas and Tallaan, but it’s a struggle. I need full defence forces on each new colony until it gets its new star port built, because they each just keep getting raided by Haunted Dagger ships. It’s no trouble to fight them off, but it ties up my forces from the real prize: Nemba system. I just sent the newly formed Tallaan LDF (‘local defence force’) to Nemba to clear those debris fields of prying eyes, and succeeded… but it left Tallaan itself open to raids. Open assaults on Abrigadu-Fos have failed. I’ve also found the main Haunted Dagger base in the region. Hunughr system, in Akmazian 5. I wonder if I should attack the base first and then mop up Abrigadu-Fos later. I don’t feel like I’ve made any real progress there.

Here's an image of the upper 'Transcallestan region', showing Tallaan and Kaamas under Dominion control.
Spoiler:      SHOW
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Some nearby civs are whining at me so I put them under trade sanctions. Now they’re whining that they want to lift the trade sanctions. As soon as I’ve dealt with these Haunted Daggers, I’ll shut up those noisy neighbours and before long the Callestas spiral arm and its environs will be swinging gently from my bellybutton.

Since I hiked the taxes on my most populated worlds my income has skyrocketed, although I’m still on a deficit in my regular state budget. The private sector is still basically giving me a cash enema though: my income from space port purchases is greater than the empire-wide tax income. One way or another, the Dhayut war machine is growing.

In completely unrelated news, the Kurdasseans (whom I am going to brutally enslave before long, although I do like their general attitude) are probably on the receiving end of some pretty heavy espionage. Their leaders keep dying. I’ve just had like, my sixth notification in the last couple of game months.
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Re: Scytale's Possibly Abortive Distant Worlds AAR

#14
Scytale wrote:
Fri May 04, 2018 10:48 am

Thanks very much for this. The first few times I tried playing this game I couldn't figure out why I couldn't just (a) build a mining station on literally every planet, and (b) colonize every conceivable world. The costs of doing these things were not apparent. Here is how I understand it at the moment though: colonies give people, and people give money. So far so good! So why not colonize every planet? Apart from putting in resources to defend the planet? Because the private sector scales with colonies; if I don't have the physical resources to support the private sector buying all their junk off me because I'm overcolonizing, my shipyards all stall and the economy grinds to a halt. Is this right? Hence the need to expand my resources consumption at a reasonable rate; I need the resources stockpiles to support expansion. So the cycle, broadly, is:

Money (from planets) -> building mines (giving resources) -> assets (to support planets) -> money

- and the surplus money from this cycle is used to support military growth, or other projects, which are ancillary to the economy.

This is a fairly fragile understanding of the system. Do you agree?
I'd agree with that! Key is getting the private sector going strong, trading your rare resources with aliens for a big cash boost, and not going OTT on military ships & bases. They're quite the drain on the economy!
Image LT Backer Number: 647 of 5449.
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Re: Scytale's Possibly Abortive Distant Worlds AAR

#15
Tycow -- yeah, I'd like to think my private sector is up and running like a well-oiled machine, but I think I'm going to find out one way or another in my next spike of industrialization...

--------

Ok. Gotta take a few deep breaths. The Haunted Daggers are a very tough target. The 1st Expeditionary Force, of 33 ships, pretty much failed on an all-out assault on the large pirate base in Hunughr. The thing is my forces can take any ships. On class equivalents, my ships will beat theirs every time but they’re outproducing me. Looking at their total summed stats, the Haunted Daggers are 50% stronger than I in terms of total firepower. Imagine that - a pirate faction with a greater military capability than a proper civilization! And I’m more powerful than most of my neighbours as it is…

Alright, the path ahead is clear. I can hold off the pirate raids from my colonies with my existing forces. I’m not fighting these clowns on the back foot, I’m just not able to muster the force and flexibility to destroy them. The downtime between successive assaults is just too long. So I should hunker down and just build my space ports, particularly at Nemba, until this string of colonies - I’ll call them the “Transcallestas Worlds” - is properly fortified. Moreover, I want to make one of them, probably Nemba, a production centre. The Homeworld space port is the largest in the Dominion, but it’s too far away. If I could perform refits and repairs at Nemba instead, the military in this part of the galaxy will be far better able to project.
Spoiler:      SHOW
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(I love this game for this, by the way. I think this is more a comment about me than the game, but I could never see myself thinking this way in Stellaris. The galactic structure seems too rigid to provide this kind of logistical structure. Is that irony? Maybe. )

One issue is, the pirates aren’t going to get less enthusiastic about attacking Nemba. It’s a very sensitive system. Building that space port is going to take time. Even once it’s built, my private sector will take time to respond to it. In order to be useful, the space port needs to be stocked with resources it’ll use to build and refit my ships. Those resources don’t just come from nowhere: they need to be transported from the various mines in my dominion by private freighters. It’s in the private sector’s interest to do this because it gets flexibility out of an increased space port presence as well - it can extend more easily to more of the galaxy’s resources, and taps in more closely to the sphere of the galactic private economy. But it’s going to take time for all those freighters to do their thing for Nemba’s sake.

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