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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Smokez83

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Ok, so this is my first AAR. I've been toying with the idea for a while now and decided that I'll give it a whirl and let's see how it goes. This part will set out the backstory then I'll load up the game, probably play around with the hive a bit and the game rules then dive in. I'll endeavour to tell the story from the perspective of the Hive Queen, and will cover major events, as opposed to each single discovery, anomaly etc. So, without further ado, let me introduce the Tchikenthi Hive:

The Hive has always existed. The Queen casts her mind back to when she achieved dominance over her sisters. The Tchikenthi must survive and to survive they had to unify. The pain of the war still lingered and she had to always be on her guard, but eventually she was able to exert her will over the other hives. With the planet unified, the Queen restructured. She created new drones, giving them more free will. The aim, to find new ways to expand the hive. She created new, stronger, soldiers and seeded them throughout her sisters territories. This way, she had strong defences set up planet-wide as well as an insurance policy, protecting her from any attempt to seize her power. Her sisters could be useful, if her plan went well...

She felt a sense of excitement from one of her autonomous drone teams... They had discovered a way to reach the stars. She sent back her approval. It would take some time, she knew. Time to explore the... Distance? Beyond? No, Cosmos, yes. The... Stars, that was the word her science drones had used. What was out there, she wondered to herself. A thought came from one of her sisters, one of the few who had accepted her rule without a fight. Can they be trusted? The Queen pondered the meaning. Yes. The drones are still under my control She sent back. Defences. We must protect the Hive she sent to her science drones.

Time.. passed. She could feel the excitement of her science drones as they saw their projects taking shape. A new structure in orbit of the planet, a starbase they named it, and ships to explore, to defend. Early in the project to reach orbit, it was established that new methods of construction would be required. To that end, the Queen began to utilise drones to mine more minerals to build these 'ships', as well as for the station they would guard.

Now was the time. The hive has always existed. Now, the hive would expand...
upload_2018-12-15_3-49-45.png

The Tchikenthi Hive
 

Smokez83

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So, the game is set up as follows:

Mods:

NCS 2 Season 2 Finale
Epic Explosions
Enhanced Vanilla Palette (2.2*)
Extra Ship Components 3.0
Kurogone 2.X Ships and Stations
Real Space - New Frontiers
Real Space 3.2
StarClans Emblems
TNO Faction Flags
Updated Flages: Emblems and Backgrounds
United Flags
Gigastructural Engineering & More 2.2.

Game Rules:
Galaxy Size: Large (800 Stars)
Galaxy Shape: Spiral (4 Arms)
AI Empires: 6-12
Advance AI Starts: Off
Fallen Empires: 1-2
Marauder Empires: 0-1
Tech/Tradition Costs: 1x
Habitable Worlds: 1x
Primitive Civilisations: 2x
Crisis Strength: 0.5x
Mid Game Start Year: 2400
End Game Start Year: 2700
Victory Year: Off
Difficulty: Ensign
Scaling Difficulty: Off
AI Aggressiveness: Normal
Empire Placement: Random
Advanced Neighbours: Off
Hyperlane Density: 1x
Abandoned Gateways: 1x
Wormhole Pairs: 1x
Guaranteed Habitable Planets: 2
Ironman Mode: On
Game not eligible for achievement: Checksum Changed (Owing to mods)

I am in no way an expert at this game, so I expect many of my decisions during play will be wrong or not be the best/most efficient way of doing things. I have also not used several of the mods that I will be playing with before, so this will be a good way of me seeing how they all work in terms of gameplay. Without any more intro, let's get the game going!

Edit: Started the game. Real Space - New Frontiers has a catastrophe mode that you can enable or disable at the start. Decided to enable, so should hopefully get some good flavour events!

Edit: Added a new mod, Gigastructural Engineering. Not sure if it will show in the save game or requires a new game, but we'll see.
 
Last edited:

The Shacks

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I like the concept. Initial bit gave me vibes of Ender's Shadow Series by orscon scott card, the Formic queens. I like it, I'll keep an eye on this one.
 

Smokez83

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Thank you! Yeah, I will admit that was my main influence on them. Fantastic book series!
 

The Shacks

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No shame in using inspiration for a Stellaris AAR, Stellaris is practically just a great collection of Scifi tropes anyway. Im leaning heavily on The Expanse in my AAR currently xD
 

Smokez83

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The Fleet is ready. The message formed in her mind, the Queen could feel the excitement coming off of the science drones. Good. You will lead the expedition. Go, and report back what you find. Take the Seeker vessel out the Queen Commanded. Switching her thoughts to the constructor she relayed her instructions there. Begin to exploit the resources of our system. We do not know what is out there and we need to be prepared. Opening her mind to all her children and sisters she stated, simply: It has begun.
upload_2018-12-15_4-16-46.png

Our place in the galaxy
 

Smokez83

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We have found... something. It appears we are not the first to discover this system. By chance, the first system we entered on leaving our own has remnants of another culture. From what we can gather, they called themselves the Irassian Concordat. We do not know too much about them yet. Drone 32 reported. Interesting the Queen replies. She opens her thoughts to her sisters, having come to rely on their advice. Thoughts, sisters? She asks. We must explore this. Is this their hiveworld? If not, what knowledge must they have had? Where are they now? We must learn so that we can thrive! All these replies came at once. The Queen sent her agreement. Their thoughts mirrored her own. Good. Proceed. Designate this system Trystra. Learn about these... precursors, and uncover their hiveworld.
upload_2018-12-15_4-31-34.png

Precursor pretty much straight away...
 

Nikolai

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Interesting start. :)
 

stnylan

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Welcome to AAR writing. Very nice introductory chapter. It reminds me actually of a different AAR some time ago which you might like to peruse The Thoughts of a (Hive) Mind.
 

Smokez83

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The Hive is thriving, sister. We have extended our territory well. Her sister, Beta Queen's as she thought of them, spoke to her. Yes. Our territory continues to grow. But with each system, new challenges are granted to us. The Queen replied. That was why she connected her mind to her sisters. There were many things that needed to be thought out and she often enjoyed sounding ideas off of her Beta Queens. The research problem? One replied. Yes. It is slow going. We need to be making better progress. The Autonomous Science Drones keep thinking all these ideas, yet the actual implementation of them... They knew the issues. It was not the first time they had discussed it. Maybe... Our external facilities, these Research Stations? What if we utilised these more? One pondered. It was an interesting idea, the Queen thought to herself. Yes... It is a good plan. To facilitate this, we will expand our space fleet. She opened her mind to the drones Begin construction on a new Seeker and Builder vessel. I want them ready soonest. No reply came, but none was expected. She could feel the stirrings of the drones as they began the work ordered. Will our fleet protect our territory? Her favourite sister asked, Beta Queen 1 as The Queen thought of her. Of course. There is nothing we have encountered so far to suspect... She stopped. She felt excitement and... fear? coming from her Science Drones on Seeker 1. Opening her mind, she got visions of small, fast creatures followed by one large creature, heading towards the vessel... What are they? she wondered. The creaturesbegan to attack the vessel! Withdraw. Regroup at the nearest system. Ignore that system for now. Research these creatures. Now. She felt satisfied that the ship would survive. Yes, sister, we need to work on our fleet as well. This universe is full of surprises and who knows what could be next...

Time... Passes...

An image came to the Queen. A gargantuan, ruined structure. What are we seeing? She asks Seeker 2. Newly commissioned and already providing gains for the Hive. We are not sure. We think it may be some sort of antenna. Initial investigation suggests it could... Yes, the readouts confirm. It is a sensor array. A very large and powerful one. If we can repair it... The drone reported. She could feel its excitement. Yes, if we can repair it... Take that system for the Hibe. We do not have the capabilities at the moment, but we will repair that device. Her instructions sent, the Queen pondered who, or what, could have built such a device. Little time left to ponder it though as Seeker 1 asks to connect. Opening the link, The Queen sees another one of those creatures, this one smaller... We found this in the clouds. It seemed to be playing, yet when it saw us it decided to follow us. We think it believes us to be its family... The drone reported, the curiosity that marked his designation type so clear in his thoughts. A useful find... We could use it... Let it follow you. If able, indicate it is to return to the Hive. We can use such a creature... Yes, with the fleet being built up, we can turn it on its own kind...


Our Renegade, all grown up!

Something.... Strange. A connection from a drone, but the words are not Tchikenthi... Ah, there are others. We are the Caravaneers. I am Chief Executive Officer Nagg, Son of Polt, of the Racket Industrial Enterprise. We ply the stars giving out deals to all, including you! The voice felt odd, almost grating on her consciousness. Caravaneers? I? What is I? And son? What are these strange designations they are giving themselves? Our latest offering, the Orbital Trash Dispersal System, yours for a low, low price of 300 minerals! The Queen ponders. She opens the link to her sisters, briefly relaying what was said. I do not understand... it wants to give this... thing? One asked. Yes, I think so. And it is asking for minerals? The Beta Queens were all equally confused. When the Hive needed something, it was made, or given. This.. trading? of resources and items was a truly alien concept. Ah, its thoughts grate on our psyche! We will take his offer, maybe then he will leave our territory! Such an alien mind! Beta Queen 1 replied. Yes, I can feel the discomfort of the drones in the space station it is at. His strange noises are messing with their sensory nodes. We will take the deal. Get rid of him. Satisfied with the outcome, she cut off contact, leaving her to ponder some of the strange impressions she received from the creature. What a odd galaxy it is...

We are building up the fleet, as ordered. However, we have run into an unprecedented issue. Stockpiles of the stronger minerals, which we have named alloys, are running low. This could pose problems in the future. Autonomous Naval Drone 1 Reported. A new type of drone, this one was bred to lead the naval drones, improving the co-ordination of the fleets. It allowed the Queen to issue commands to one drone alone. She considered his report. Yes, it was with little forethought she ordered the expansion of the fleet. But with the discovery of metallic creatures, which her teams have named as mining drones, blocking their expansion as well as those amoeba creatures previously encountered, a strong naval presence was needed. Acknowledged. We will consider this for the future. Sister, step up production of alloys within the Hive. We must be able to remain strong. The Queen thought carefully. Send the fleet out as soon as it is ready, this Ravenous Horde. Take Renegade with you. The creature could prove useful in the fight. I want those creatures out of the Busim system and the system claimed for the Hive. If we are to step up production, we need to ensure we have ample materials supplied. Her instructions sent, she closed the link. She would wait. When the fleet reached the system, they should overwhelm the creatures there, opening the system up for expansion. Our first battle awaits, and it will be a glorious victory for the Hive! She sent to the Hive. Yes. We would free up that system and then expand. The Hive thrives!

Our first glorious battle!


The state of the galaxy
 

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Smokez83

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Interesting start. :)
Thank you!

Welcome to AAR writing. Very nice introductory chapter. It reminds me actually of a different AAR some time ago which you might like to peruse The Thoughts of a (Hive) Mind.
Thank you! I'll have a look at that one. I'll admit, I'm having some difficulty trying to create a sense of alien for things we hold normal, such as speech. Maybe this will other AAR will help!
 

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Starting to spread out and deal with unknown forms of consiousness.
 

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Analysis of those.. beings encountered is complete. The Caravaneers. They do not communicate in a fashion we would consider normal. The problem affecting the drones sensory nodes is brought about by the noise they make to communicate. There may also be something in the manner in which their appendages move. Through contact with another of their kind, we can establish that this is called talking. We recommend a change to our stations to try and accommodate this communication method. The report from the Science Drone ended. The Queen pondered this strange galaxy. Yes. Change the stations. We will begin creation of new drones to serve as communicators. Maybe we can create a designation that is capable of this talking. We will consider this. She sighed inwardly. So far all they had encountered was these Caravaneers. Their traditions seemed to revolve around the transfer of one good or service for another. What a dull life it must be, to not have the Hive to provide and provide for. To constantly strive for... what? More minerals? Energy? These beings appear almost primitive in their social structures. They are what was the word, ah yes, individuals! Is this all we are to find out here? She spoke to her Sisters. Agreement followed. None could imagine life without the Hive. Even though the Queen had changed the structure of the species, the adjustment into their roles was swift. Yes, the Queen ruled over all, but the Beta Queens were there to advise. Any resentment that had been felt over this change had soon been replaced by their innate duty to the whole.

The Queen stirred suddenly as a new feeling came upon her. The Queen shifted her thought to Seeker 1. The image of the current system they had entered, Jolderuun, came to her. Something was coming through the starlane. A ship... This one felt different... No, it was definitely not another Caravaneer. A sense of constant anger, of superiority emanated off the crew of that ship. Investigate that ship. We can test our new communications equipment if they turn out to be similar to those traders. She sensed the agreement. They would soon make contact. What manner of creature feels that way, though... We must consider our defence. We have grown lax lately. How stand our supplies? She enquired. Still low. We have built new facilities to expedite alloy production. Beta Queen 1 reported. The Queen sent her approval. The fleet had worked well so far. It would not fail them.

A short period later, the drones relayed a message. Contact had been made...

Vhemm Contact.png

Contact with the Vhemm...

Greetings. We are the Tchikenthi Hive. The Queen relayed the message to the new Diplomatic Drones, bred to communicate. The response that came back was short and threatening. Contact was soon cut off. This does not bode well, sisters. Seeker 1, finish your exploration of the Jolderuun system. A station must be established there. Explore other routes into our space. Fortify those positions. No sooner had her instructions been received than contact was once again made with the Vhemm. Perhaps a more friendly overture this time... No, it was not so. A message informing us that our fleets are banned from their territory. Very well, reply in kind. Continue with the fortifications of the Jolderuun and Hhabban systems.

Vhemm Rivalry.png


Inwardly, the Queen raged. These Vhemm creatures had halted the Hive expansions! Trapped as they were, they needed to direct resources to those machines blocking the other lanes. Well, once the defences are up in the new Border Stations, the fleets can be redirected to deal with those metal drones. Still... War is fast becoming inevitable... A new communication came to her. Ah, finally. Something the Tchikenthi can understand. The Vhemm are showing their true selves! A declaration of rivalry has come in. We shall prepare for war! The Queen broadcast to the whole Hive. How do we wage war against such creatures? One of her sisters asked. The Queen felt the uncertainty in her other sisters as well. She smiled, conveying humour to them, calming them. Sister. We have our defences. We shall hole ourselves in and let them smash their ships against our them. Then we shall sweep out! They lay claim to our territory. We shall take their territory instead! Proceed with the fortification and build up the alloy reserves. I have a feeling we will need them. Switching her thoughts to her science drones, Are the starlanes truly the only way we can move around this galaxy? She asked, knowing the answer already. Yes. There are no known ways outside of the lanes came the disappointing, yet expected reply. Investigate any possibilities that may arise. It was not that long ago that it was impossible to move out of our system. Things can change. And look to our defences. Our bases are adequate for now, but let's not leave it there. If we are to act on the plans, we need to do so from as strong a position as we can. The acknowledgement was tinged with the excitement the science drones always got when they had new ideas to toy with. Yes, these Vhemm could prove a fascinating challenge... Take the fleets. Send the Ravenous Horde to support the Border Station at Hhabban. Renegade can support at Jolderuun. Naval Drone one relayed acknowledgement and again she felt the excitement. A different kind, this time. A new challenge to explore.

The Hive is thriving still. Population continues to increase and whilst we have ample space for now, we may wish to consider other options.
Beta Queen 1 reported. Yes. Seeker 2 has found a planet, in the Boldoon system, that has been determined to be 70% compatible to the Hive. We shall ponder the question of a new colony. The Queen replied. Yes, despite the Vhemm problem, The Hive remains strong.

State of the Galaxy.png

State of the Galaxy
 

Kylia Quilor

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things heat up. Also, how on earth did you get to 10k minerals? I'm always having to spend them constantly to build up my worlds.
 

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The first true challenge for the hive.
 

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things heat up. Also, how on earth did you get to 10k minerals? I'm always having to spend them constantly to build up my worlds.
I rarely have an issue with minerals. I often find I struggle to get enough energy and alloys lately. I've been balancing this one out though and concentrating on mainly building districts rather than actual buildings. Other than that, building mining stations has helped.

The Hive World:
upload_2018-12-16_3-20-40.png


upload_2018-12-16_3-21-3.png

All my resource stations

I also have not built up very quickly. My extension has even felt slower than normal in this playthrough.
 

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Might be the less construction of buildings you're doing, though also, you've got a heck of a lot more minerals (relatively speaking) in space than I've gotten in 2.2, especially at your stage.