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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Peter Ebbesen

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The YOR Years

raceheader.jpg


- Chapter the first –

contemplations on getting out of bed, the unpredictability of explorations, the lamentable state of minions these days,
the arrival, assumption of power, the gall of rebel scum, a response in kind, size does matter, start of a race.


Some days, it does not pay to get out of bed - or the stasis chamber, as the case might be. Not that I’m complaining, mind you, but things didn’t turn out quite like I expected when I left my galaxy behind for this quest into the unknown, to boldly go where I had never gone before, to explore strange new worlds and meet interesting people, and, most importantly, to escape the rebel scum. But that’s all water under the bridge, and we’ve all passed a lot of water since then. More precisely, I have done so – my minions, now, that’s another story, and it is this story I’m about to relate in a most dreary monologue. Why monologue, the listener might rightfully ask, were there any listener with the ears to hear and understand? I blame my minions. As I said, some days, it does not pay to get out of bed.

Ah, my minions, my minions. Loyal to a fault, intelligent, hard-working, vicious, rational, and fairly compact, they really have only two major flaws. One, they are, when all is said and done, mere calculators with delusions of grandeur, and two, their major focus of development prior to my arrival was “improving the planet quality”. Their good-for-nothing previous calculator-in-chief had reasoned that since he and his merry mechanical brethren were confined to one world, the rational choice would be to focus on utilizing as much of the world as possible. Some would call their ability to improve planets almost magical, others would call it obsessive-compulsive, an army of clock-workmen gone haywire, and the latter description is certainly more apt.

As such, it really was to their own best that I took over their leadership, world, and destiny.

What started as a run-of-the-mill crash-landing, accidental destruction of the seat of government, fire-fight in the streets of the capital, escape through the sewers, assault on a research facility with a prototype infiltration suit allowing me to assume the form of a native, assuming a local name, raising of a rebel force, and the inevitable assumption of power once the dummies had been done away with, these things happen all the time, you know how it goes, turned interesting once the humans showed up and shared their secret of the hyperdrive.

Yeah, right, THEIR secret. I would have gotten around to teaching my minions how to do soon enough, once I’d finished industrializing the planet. As all sentient beings know, I’ve got a heart of gold, but rebel scum belittling MY accomplishments – that’s simply unacceptable, so while I might otherwise have been willing, in the spirit of amity, to let bygones be bygones, there was really only one thing to do: Add humanity to the “To Kill” list.

To facilitate that inevitable outcome, construction of factories and colony ships was begun forthwith and I was confirmed in my knowledge that size does, indeed, matter, as the compactness of my minions and the lack of safety features that more risk-averse cowards would have insisted on, such as back-up life support, allowed the creation of ships faster than any the opposition could boast. I directed my minions to forget all about research for the nonce - with the spread of hyperdrive technology to all and sundry there was a colony race going on and I, for one, intended to win it.


Notes:
GalCiv II v1.2, huge galaxy with 9 tough opponents and the Yor collective with some slightly unusual ability picks and political choices ready to take on all comers. All victory options except research enabled and no tech trading. Screenshots of the other settings will be shown in the next installment. Posting will be infrequent and the game will end when I get bored of it, I get beaten, or I win.

I didn’t restart until I got one of those “ideal” homeworlds we all love and adore with huge manufacturing or research bonuses, so the going is a bit slow at start. I’m some years into the game by now and it looks decent enough. That inherent +25 miniaturization bonus is incredibly powerful in the early colonization game and by cutting all research early in favour of production and just building factories and entertainment centers, swift colony ship mass production was a reality… The economic implications of mass colonization without economic backup of any sort should be obvious to the reader… well, let’s just say that this isn’t intended as a “how to play GalCivII the best way” AAR… After all, I chose the Yor as the race to modify into PQ-fanatics based on their colour. :D)

racestats.jpg
 
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Zanza

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Good start. I like to play the Yor too. They've got two great bonuses, the loyalty and the miniturization. It's strange that the different races are so imbalanced...
 

Peter Ebbesen

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Chapter the second

raceheader.jpg

- Chapter the second –

contemplations on a lack of imagination, the nature of the galaxy, a lack of humour, of small fluffy animals, a changed world, a dreary list, of vileness, the benefits of neighbours, minion failings redux, machinations of lust, economical woes, backpack problem.

To give you an idea of the brain-numbing lack of imagination of my minions, when I asked the foremost scientists of the Yor Collective, “So, fellow calculators, just what sort of galaxy would have 58% intelligence-boosting cross-species-bonding low-tech pod-beings living on what is probably the single most expensive bit of real estate?” they answered “A huge galaxy with tight-clustered uncommon stars, common planets, common habitable planets, common anomalies, a very slow tech rate, and way too many organic meatbags, and it isn’t ‘real estate’, but a PQ26 planet pre-colonisation.” I’d been hoping for an “It’s a rum old galaxy, sure enough” or perhaps a “beats me, guvnor”, but no such luck. They are severely deficient in humour.

These days, of course, the paradise world of Russom I, where small fluffy animals and pod-heads lived in harmony with nature and suchlike, is no more. The seat of government, the world-city, the scientific utopia, you cannot throw a stone without hitting a legal alien or a scientist, and sometimes both, thus handily combining business with pleasure, so I felt that a more appropriate name was in order and renamed it Babel.

But I digress.

The initial wave of colonisation didn’t just encompass Russom I, though that was without shadow of doubt the single greatest find, it encompassed 7 planets, the core that fuelled the war effort to come. They were:
  • Rossum I, renamed Babel. PQ31, inhabited by podheads, otherwise no special features. In due time this became the technological capital as well as the new homeworld for the Yor.
  • Altros I (12) & II (12), renamed Fleet Alpha and Fleet Beta. A most accomplished gang of space pirates were living near the precursor mine of Altros II and following spirited negotiations they joined the winning side – my side. Altros II is rich in rare minerals useful for construction, so let’s just say that the choice of this star system for major fleet construction was self-evident. Fleet Alpha is now not only the manufacturing capital of my little space empire, it is THE naval yard, launching powerful fighter-craft every week, and Fleet Beta provides not insignificant backup.
  • Haber V (13), this world was utterly boring, so I packed the most boring scientists on a colony ship and launched it towards Haber V – a perfect match. These days it is a research powerhouse. Well, not compared to the might that is Babel, but compared to everywhere else.
  • Iconia (12), the old homeworld was relegated to a half-arsed manufacturing/economic backwater after the founding of Babel.
  • Kerchen III (24) & IV (6). Kerchen III, which was once inhabited by some silly lifeform vastly increasing the quality of life on the planet for my minions and stacking with their own horticultural PQ-boosting skills (it looked to be a mere 16 from the outside, but one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, nor a planet by its PQ), was the answer to the Great Economic Woes of 2225-2226. When the newfound colonies strangled the economy and the state lacked funds, all planets were ordered to start producing advanced markets to increase revenues. Unlike other planets, I never told Kerchen III to stop, and in due time it became the Economic Capital of the empire and I renamed it Avaricious. Kerchen IV, that ugly dwarf planet, was colonised because the ship marked for Martin I got pre-empted by the dastardly Drengin empire, that nicked the planet just one week before my ship’s arrival. Most vexing. On the positive side, every realm needs a dump, and Kerchen IV is most definitely mine.
  • Vitellus II (7). Boring with a capital B, nothing good ever came from Vitellus II

Ah, the Drengin. So vile and predictable, they are in many ways the best of my many neighbours. Primarily because they keep fighting everybody else and, especially, because they help keeping the mighty Altarians in checks. With the Drengin and the Torians surrounding the Yor and the core realm established, it was time to fight the humongous deficits.

As mentioned in the previous, my minions have many positive qualities, but being economic is, alas, not one of them. Now, one would think that that mattered little – after all, they are loyal to a fault, so it isn’t as if a bit of deficit spending would lead to rebellion and one could reasonably assume that an inflationary tactic of printing more money would solve the situation, but the Yor have one quaint limitation.

Now, you might have wondered how the Yor, being sentient machines, breed. I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say that money is involved and not in the way you would think. As a result, continuous deficit spending leads to a lack of “approval” and, once the “approval” is too low or the currency too “soft”, as they say, they stop breeding.

To cut a long story short, though it is probably too late for that, to rescue the bleeding economy every single world halted its military production and switched to building advanced markets all over the place. Eventually the population grew, the empire prospered, and it became time to start research, but it took the remainder of 2225 and the better part of 2226 to turn the realm around.

By then, the Drengin were already fighting the Torians, the mighty Altarians were busy attacking the Dark Yor and the Snathi, and the Yor? Well, my loyal minions were busy breeding while my loyal scientists were experimenting on selected volunteers in an attempt to solve a variant of the backpack problem, namely, how to best stack Yor for the troop transports that they promised would surely be invented any day now.

map22270115.jpg
 
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Inostra

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Ebbesen going evil? Well that is unexpected :rolleyes:
 

Amric

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You have my attention, sir. This is fascinating reading, I'll say. Nothing like idiot minions to muck up a good empire. At least you managed to get your economy turned around rather quickly. I shudder to think what might have happened if you hadn't. But I needn't worry. I expect great wars and swathes of destruction once the Yor go on a conquering spree. Always do enjoy your work, Peter...
 

Peter Ebbesen

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Thanks, all. I'm not really all that good at GalCiv 2 yet and haven't played the Yor before. My purposeful combination of mostly useless political party and ability picks coupled with very slow research speed and no tech trading is giving me a couple of lumps. It is amazing to realise just how much I've come to depend on tech trading and (comparatively) quick tech from normal techspeed and tech or economy picks, and how I've come to rely on a strong economy for the following starbase-rush (it doesn't really help all that much to build more economy starbases if you cannot afford the extra production made available :D). :)

On the other hand, while my starting planet was mostly useless, I've gotten a handful of really nice planets from my expansion rush. Babel at PQ 31 with a research bonus is the largest planet I've seen in the game yet and will in the distant future once terraformed be PQ 37, (would have been even funnier with an extra +PQ bonus event but that would be just insane - just what is the largest pre/post-improvement planet you've seen?), Avaricious (already size 16) grew to 24 by event and my base bonus and Fleet Alpha with a 700% mnf tile and a +58% starship bonus is the single best fleet producing planet I've ever had. In due time it will get artificial slave centre &etc. :) Also, my 20% PQ bonus really makes it more fun to develop even otherwise uninteresting planets - most planets are large enough that you have to make interesting choices. :)


Amric - the economy was really scary for a while, running at about 50% spending going to 100% social production of advanced trade centers on all worlds except Babel that got research. (Fortunately Yor has Xeno Economy). I fucked up a bit because I kept producing scouts to try to map the vast expanses of space in the hope of finding goodies to mine (I made massive scouts: a cargo hull with engines, sensors, and a bit of life support - with Yor's initial Ion Drive and +25 miniturization bonus you can make some really impressive scouts this way :D) for some time after the last colony ship - resources that (at that time) in restrospect would have been even better spent on the trade centers. OTOH, if I had found an economic or morale resource this way (which I did not), I'd have concluded that it was the right thing to do. Hindsight is so damning. :)

Inostra - I beg your pardon! I most certainly haven't gone evil! Nor have the Yor. (Well, ok, I tell a lie. The Yor DID go evil in ethical choice, but not by 2227)

Zanza - Imbalanced and imbalanced. I do agree that some races start out better than others, but except for two losers (Arceans and Iconians :D) it can be damned hard to evaluate - much depends on the specific game type and e.g. the Drath are much better on paper than in practice. Take loyalty. Is it a great pick? In some circumstances yes, in others it is worth nothing whatsoever. Is +100 loyalty twice as good as +50 loyalty? Most likely not. Unlike, say, an economy bonus that is always useful because it affects your entire baseline of production and research. The miniturization bonus, however, I'm really, truly, starting to love, and it goes very, very, well together with the starting Ion Drive for Yor. :D
 

Garuda

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Nice to see another GC2 aar going. I'm sure you mentioned somewhere that your research speed is set to very slow. This is the only setting I've ever used, it seems to move quick enough for me, otherwise my ships would be out of date before I finish building them on faster research speeds.

Good luck, I hope this aar continues.
 

Amric

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Yes, the initial gluttonic rush for planets has a nasty tendency to surprise us all at times when the economy crashes. You did the right thing with fixing it though and you shouldn't have too many more problems with it now. The massive amounts of scouts, which now unfortunately you can't do much with if you've gotten the whole galaxy mapped, you can either scrap or refit to something more useful.

Be careful on fleet size though. It is costly to have massive fleets and do nothing with them. You'd be surprised at how much they cost to maintain and if the economy is still fragile, which it might be depending on how much you get each turn, you can find yourself in economic peril once more. Just because you HAVE a massive ability to build large amounts of ships doesn't mean you SHOULD.....But I am thinking you probably already know that...With slow tech advancement for everyone you shouldn't need to upgrade your fleet or fleets all that often I think.

Just be aware of other races placing a bunch of starbases in your territory. They can influence your planets over time and even 'flip' them to themselves, losing you a planet in the process.
 

Director

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I like this one. :D Just keep a careful eye on those minions, they;re like puppies and you never know what they're going to get into. :)

In my games I always get a financial slowdown once the initial money runs out, but I usually go for impulse drive and trade early on, then step up the ladder of financial improvements. 10 or 15 bc may not sound like much, but it does help! Dialing back on the money sent to the factories is so frustrating...

I am astounded and droolingly envious of the great planets you found. I've never ever seen the PQ improvement event, either. Wow!
 

Hakkapeliitta

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Awesome. A new Peter Ebbesen AAR. And this time with GC II! (I guess it's only natural -- A GC is just a sum of WCs, after all.)

Amric said:
It is costly to have massive fleets and do nothing with them.

I think he'll come up with some use for any massive fleets floating around.

[Subscribes]
 

Peter Ebbesen

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Amric said:
Just be aware of other races placing a bunch of starbases in your territory. They can influence your planets over time and even 'flip' them to themselves, losing you a planet in the process.
No, they cannot my planets that way. There are two good reasons for that. 1) I enforce a strict "no enemy starbases in MY territory" policy, and 2) I have +100 loyalty. :D
 

e-stab

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Peter Ebbesen said:
Zanza - Imbalanced and imbalanced. I do agree that some races start out better than others, but except for two losers (Arceans and Iconians :D) it can be damned hard to evaluate - much depends on the specific game type and e.g. the Drath are much better on paper than in practice.
I think that Stardock is well aware of the imbalances between the different races. But they're not that important because it isn't a multiplayer game. If the player wants to play the (perceived) super-strong race, then just do it! (The player will always find out the strongest combinations sooner or later, so it doesn't matter that much to balance things in a singleplayer game.) But you could play the handicapped underdog (a.k.a. Iconians IMHO :)) as well. As for the Yor, I liked to play them in the beginning as well, but I found them boring after a while. Then I switched to the Thalans because of their nice PQ 15 starting planet. Now it's the Torians or Drengins which are the most powerful when trying an "economic ownage" strategy (native +25% morale). I don't know who and what will be next. :)

P.S. I forgot to mention: Loyalty is useless crap in my opinion. :p Great AAR otherwise, though.
 

Peter Ebbesen

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I'm not disagreeing with you on loyalty: If I need a loyalty bonus to rescue my bacon, or, to be more precise, to prevent my planets from defecting - I feel I've done something wrong in the first place. That does suggest to me that there are probably facets of loyalty that I'm unaware of, something that allows a loyalty bonus to be an integral part of some strategy I just have not discovered yet. For damn sure I don't agree with the evaluations of racial pick values in Castellon's otherwise excellent FAQ (but that's a topic for another thread, really). As for some races being better than others? Of course they are, but, as you note, that's just part of the game - players aren't supposed to start on an equal footing. :)
 

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Damn, for the second time today I come in expecting an update, only to be disappointed. :( Less chit-chat, more updating please. :) It is a very nice read!

(GCII looks like an interesting game and I would buy it if my gaming time wasn't still more that filled out with WoW.)
 

Peter Ebbesen

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Chapter the third

raceheader.jpg

- Chapter the third –

Of motives and madness, of metaphors mangled, the proper stacking of troops, politics of greed, a righteous assault, the fleet triumphant, a small step for H-347-39-Q7, a dastardly assault, the fleet less triumphant, advancing in retrograde, crash research, the weapon of the future, the future.

What motives can one ascribe to what can best be described as rank idiocy? What sort of logical faculty leads a supposedly sentient being to launch a thousand ships on the wine-dark sea to topple the very nearly topless towers of a neighbour over something ephemeral and inconsequential?

I have no idea, but the idiot in this case was a Torian.

Let there be no doubt: Despite the occasional ineptitude of my minions, I love each and every one of them as much as he deserves. Especially when stacked properly in a troop transport with dreams of conquest resonating in their tiny minds as they are prepared for… delivery. It was thus with a certain amount of pleasure that I crated two billions of them and shipped them off destination unknown in the first baby-steps of galactic conquest. Unknown to the world at large, that is, very well known indeed to me. The target? A quite decent planet, really, in the galactic east-by-north-east, owned, populated, and immortalised in popular song as the “cesspit of the galaxy” by the inhabitants, a minor race with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, whose name I erased from the history books on general principles post-conquest.

Lying squarely within the Torian zone of control, their planet had long been a tempting target indeed for those squishy Torian imperialists, as they controlled a nearby galactic research resource, but I pre-empted their aggression by liberal application of mine own. 75% of the navy, three full fleets of four Defender II’s, my most modern fighters with up to date laser weapons of strength 2, were tasked to the conquest and, as expected, they swept the skies of all opposition and on schedule the invasion troops were uncrated, undefeatable, and uncommonly compact. It may have been a small step for H-347-39-Q7 who was the first trooper on the ground and whose horrible death is an inspiration to us all, but it was a giant step for Yor.

But I digress.

I was discussing Torian failings, foremost of which at this time was probably that the boneheaded Torian leadership decided that my peacekeeping force that had just pacified their unruly minor neighbour was “preparing to invade” their dump of a world in that system, as a result of which they pre-emptively declared war on the peace-loving Yor Collective with immediate effect.

Apparently, the Torians had been investing quite a bit in logistics, the vicious, deceitful, and untrustworthy bastards that they were, for their fleets were not only slightly better armed than those of the Yor (though with missile weapons rather than our much more colourful and impressive lasers) – they contained more ships as well… Seven versus our four, to be exact. Casualties in the opening exchange were… above estimate.

On the positive side, that saved on upgrade costs, and my survivors advanced in retrograde bravely fighting the puny Torians with ever greater force the closer they got to my supply lines.

The entire economy was put on a crash war-footing and devoted to improving weaponry and anti-missile defences… If my ships were to fight outnumbered, they should surely not fight outgunned. A short run of Defender IIA’s (armoured Defender II’s) halted the Torian advance and, within two months, Fleet Alpha and Fleet Beta began churning out Defender III’s, the weapon of the future against which none, at the time, could stand.

Defender III 1389, from the yards of Fleet Alpha
weaponsoftorianwar.jpg

3xLaser III, 1xECM II, 2xImp.Drive III, truly an awesome ship!

The Torians never stood a chance, their fate preordained when they crossed my path, and over the next year they were all defeated, their power broken, their empire scattered to the winds.

Elsewhere in the galaxy the powers that be were arming for battle...
 
Last edited:

Garuda

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I feel compelled to raise a glass and make a toast to the memory of H-347-39-Q7.

*Wipes tear from eye*

Excellent update. I hope many more readers, like me, will bully you into delivering us more.