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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Peter Ebbesen

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With Malice Towards None…

race_header.jpg


- Chapter the first –

When the 27th Regiment stormed the Skytowers and broke the defences of the Lord, killing him and his Council of Twelve, we thought we had won. With the False Lesser Consensus broken in the Fall of the Skytowers, the Greater Consensus knew peace, and we moved in force on the remaining holdouts of the Technocrats. Little did we know what was yet to come.

With the detonation of the core bomb, the earth shook and the winds raged, the flitters were torn from the skies as if by the hand of an angry god and the cities crumbled. One last act of destruction wrought in desperation by the surviving Technocrats, a doomsday weapon designed in the dark madness of the Lord’s Night of Tech, now turned on an unsuspecting world that had first accepted, then rejected, and finally turned against the Lord Technocrat Supreme, his Cult of Science, and his Technocrats’ perverse vision of the future, a future of cold logic and colder emotions.

Billions dead for the crime of the Lord ignoring in his arrogance that the Greater Consensus is mightier than the Lesser, no matter the cost to the individual. It is worthy of pity, worthy of tears, and it bears the stigmata of greatness, but in the end, so are all matters of import and we are the stronger for it as a race: We endure.

Did the Lord’s madness begin with the acquisition of Hyperdrive technology from the Terrans and the spread of that knowledge to all the Star Nations? Did it begin with his plans of conquest – or were they a mere logical necessity in a bigger game of thrones, a means rather than an end? In all likelihood we will never know, now. Whether we like it or not, we are bound by the consequences of his actions, as all are bound by the acts of the Lord be they moral or immoral. The Lord was a good man and true, once, and his soul burned for our sake, but his desires grew foreign to us and he became…. Alien.

It is worthy of reflection.

The Greater Consensus is mobilising now and in time our world will live and breathe again, the wounds healed and the scars mere memories of the follies of ages past. For now, the Lesser Consensus assembles, the brightest souls shining though the mass of the Greater, and the thoughts of the Consensus are clear:

Item: The Long Night of Tech is over and the Dawn of Dreams is upon us. We shall shun the Tech that stems from study but welcome that which springs from practical applications: There shall be no more Technocrats, no more Research Facilities, no more trading in the Tech of the Alien, for their ways are not ours. Through our own hard labour, only, shall progress be made.

Item: We shall leave our adopted Cradle, we shall multiply, and we shall bring life to the dead worlds.

Item: We shall not strike first. We shall assume good faith and act with malice towards none and charity for all.

This is the will of the Greater Consensus as understood by the Lesser. It will be so. And of the Lesser Consensus, as has always been, time without end, one shines brighter than the rest: One soul burns with the accumulated power of the race, transcending for the first time in its life the boundaries of man and assuming the properties and duties of the Lord.

Behold! The Lord walks amongst us and hears our prayers! The Consensus is achieved and we are one!

The Legion is whole again.





---

GalCiv2 Beta 1.3.2, Drath on crippling difficulty, gigantic map, no research facilities, no techtrading (others may techtrade, though, should they desire it, but it is not the will of the Drath), no starting wars against others without very, very, good reason, and a couple of other interesting choices of strategy.

Updates will be infrequent. While certainly interesting, this is a bit of a bitch to play. :D

Stats are up… If I survive to have tough ships, my ships will be very tough. Tough, and lucky.

race_stats.jpg
 
Last edited:

Storey

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Peter Ebbesen said:
---

GalCiv2 Beta 1.3.2, Drath on crippling difficulty, gigantic map, no research facilities, no techtrading (others may techtrade, though, should they desire it, but it is not the will of the Drath), no starting wars against others without very, very, good reason, and a couple of other interesting choices of strategy.

Updates will be infrequent. While certainly interesting, this is a bit of a bitch to play. :D

I can't imagine why. :D Looking forward to this Peter.

Joe
 

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Yes, I can see that this one will be a bit tougher. :eek:

The contrast between the title and first sentence is bracing; still, I suppose 'more in sorrow than in anger'.

I think the game plays better with no tech trading, or with tech trading for the AIs only; I look forward to hearing your opinion. But... NO tech centers AND no trading? Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

I've never played the Drath, but I understand they have a nice mix of abilities.

Anyway, here's wishing you the best!

Now - where did I put that popcorn?
 

Peter Ebbesen

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Director said:
I think the game plays better with no tech trading, or with tech trading for the AIs only; I look forward to hearing your opinion. But... NO tech centers AND no trading? Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
Note that I'm not doing a no-research game. I can always divert military/social production to research by the focusing ability or use the base 10 RP/colony with spending on research; Though neither of these are exactly what you would call efficient they do, eventually, get the job done. It was a bit of a kick the first time I built a factory on a precursor Library, though. It just feels so wrong. :D

I've never played the Drath, but I understand they have a nice mix of abilities.
Yes - on paper, they have the best ability bonuses of anybody. In practise... They are still amongst the best but their +50% espionage bonus is worth next to nothing due to the nature of the espionage system and, for this particular game, their base +25% diplomacy is not all that useful either as I will not be techtrading. Their huge base +50% defense, however, is really, really, good if you expect to survive long enough to research (heh :D) good defenses and base your navy on mixed attack/defense designs instead of the pure-attack that is often more powerful - but not always, and is the reason that I chose them over the other good races. :) My Drath are also very, very, lucky - I think I might need that. :D

The first post will be updated with ability choices soon.
 

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Peter Ebbesen said:
... It was a bit of a kick the first time I built a factory on a precursor Library, though. It just feels so wrong. :D


you could make an exception in those few cases, no?
 

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Soulitaire said:
you could make an exception in those few cases, no?
He could, but knowing something of his reputation and style, I am sure he won't. After all, it's the point of his game to see how well he can play with these self-imposed, insane penalties.

Mr. Ebbesen: I look forward to seeing how this pans out. Hope you'll survive for a while (I know, I know, damn my lack of faith ;) I really ought to know better, based on your past exploits), because whether you'll succeed or not (oops, there I go again...), the writing will be entertaining of itself.
 

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Stuyvesant said:
He could, but knowing something of his reputation and style, I am sure he won't. After all, it's the point of his game to see how well he can play with these self-imposed, insane penalties.

agreed, but allow me to strengthen his resolve by tempting him with an oh so tiny shortcut... everything would be so much easier :D
 

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Well, he said he might just occasionally declare a war (if he has a very good reason - whatever that means!) so I guess it is not impossible. Just infinitesimally unlikely ;)
 

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Looks interesting, Mr. Ebbeson, these self-imposed rules should make for a very interesting game.
 

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I wonder how good a reason would have to be to declare war, but it should be possible to go through the game without declaring it.
 

Peter Ebbesen

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Chapter the second

With Malice Towards None…

race_header.jpg


- Chapter the second –

…In the wake of the “Hyperspace Incident” the Legion, like the other Star Nations, began a careful program of controlled expansion into space, exploring the vasty deeps and starting colonial settlements where profitable. Just as our first expeditions set forth from Earth to claim the stars in the name of man so too did the Legion send forth its bravest and boldest.

But where Earth sent untried youths hungry for personal fame and everlasting glory, the Legion, emerging from the Drath Civil War of 2224 AD, sent the survivors of the Fall of the Skytowers, battle-hardened Drath acting as agents of the Consensus, who, while certainly not averse to individual gain (for it is a vile slur upon the character of the noble Drath that they have no true individuality but are mere herd-beings as the Drengin and certain lesser anthropologists assert) felt the true pleasure of serving the interests of the race.

Initially expansion took place in a sedate tempo, but with the colonies proving successful wildly beyond expectations, the colonisation of space turned into a rush, a scramble to claim ever more worlds in the name of the Star Nations, staking out natural borders in a mad free for all, and none did so more efficiently than the Legion. While the Korx, entrepreneurs one and all, spread quickly from world to world, the Drengin began building the great star forges to fuel their dreams of conquest, the Altairans, logical to a fault, expanded at a steady pace taking a commanding position in the galaxy, and our own “Boys in Blue” planted the flag wherever fortune took them, the Legion quickly established a perimeter and the Lord of the Drath declared all worlds within the perimeter Nah-al-Drath. (A unique Drath concept, the literal translation would be “Part of the Legion of the Drath” but it is not a legal claim or statement of ownership as much as a statement of fact, a declaration of what is – anybody non-Drath occupying/owning something that is Nah-al-Drath is not deemed to be in violation of any laws of the Drath – he is just considered to be at temporary variance with reality, something that is cause for pity and observation.)

Thus, while nine Star Nations scrambled to expand as rapidly as possible, one had already chosen its borders and began methodically to fill them out, one full Regiment, man, women, and children all, leaving the homeworld for each new colony, and while nine Star nations slowly charted the heavens, one sent forth a fleet of converted cargo carriers retrofitted at great cost with surveillance equipment and mighty ion drives, driven by the veterans of the 27th Drath Regiment. As time would show, the one had it right. – excerpt from “Colonial Race – Bradley’s Folly”.

map_22250715.jpg


“I am unbound. My will is my own, my thoughts safe. My soul is Drath. Soul-to-soul, Drath-to-Drath, Greater to Lesser, Lesser to Lord, Lord to Drath. When need arises, I choose Drath and, by choosing Drath, I am Legion.” – This is the most common form of “The Invocation” – The Drath have no formal church nor, to the best of our knowledge, theology, but they have this invocation, which is invoked by some Drath when angry, others when feeling joy, and yet others when seeking comfort – it appears to be an all-purpose prayer perhaps hearkening back into the deep mists of their origin on our world Altair, a legacy of their exile. Rarely, the traveller will hear a larger gathering of Drath intoning the invocation together; when finished, the Drath will move in unison with a grace at odds with their natural clumsiness and great works will be performed. This phenomenon is suspected to be an advanced case of cultural self-suggestion and it is currently being studied by the department of Applied Psychology. - Excerpt from “The Drath Cultural Companion”, University of Altair Press 2228.




…Are the Drath moral creatures? In the view of this author, the answer is a clear and undoubted yes. [Objectivity needed! – ed] As anyone who has lived amongst the Drath for some time knows, each individual Drath has a strong sense of morality that guides him in his decisions. What then about his leaders? The shadowy council known as the “Lesser Consensus” whose membership is unknown and ever-changing? [Mere mysticism!? – ed] According to one who claimed to be a former member [oh, that’s a reliable source all right! – ed], and who might, or so he said, be one again should he so desire, they are as moral as the common Drath. He cited examples both of common governance and of such recent examples as had cropped up during expansion: The pre-industrial aliens of Yadel V and the submarine aliens of Necro II with their splendid underwater cities, all of whom were left to live their lives in peace, the mysterious Sentient Pods of Caprica II that were sheltered from Drath interference, the majestical Precursor device of Nestor III that could, with but a small sacrifice of life had turned that world into a crown in the Legion, but the Legion does not sacrifice individuals for convenience, only for need. In all these cases, he said, the Lesser Consensus chose for the Greater Consensus [if you mean “all Drath”, just write it, dummy! - ed], and the decisions were moral. [In other words, they lacked the guts to exploit what fortune gave them unlike our bureau of colonisation – essential this be noted! –ed]

I then asked him of the ruthless extermination of the earthworms of Lacaille II, which turned that world into a true paradise amongst worlds, and asked, “Was that moral?” He answered: “It was the will of the Lord”. I asked, “were the Lord not a Drath and hence moral?” He said, under his breath “I choose Drath and, by choosing Drath, I am Legion.” and answered me: “The world was Nah-al-Drath and the Lord of the Drath is amoral: He does not choose Drath, Drath chooses him”, much to my puzzlement. [More mystical nonsense!? Why am I not surprised! –ed]

He was reluctant to expand on the issue, but upon my earnest entreaties he tried to explain the situation thus: “So long as a Drath is the Lord of the Drath, he is outside the sphere to which moral judgements apply. His actions may appear moral or immoral to the Drath [or, indeed, other people! – ed] but they are, quite literally, beyond judgement: They are fact, part of the world as it is. He is the Lord. Only should the Lord lose the power of the race [religious claptrap! – ed] – as was the case of the late Lord Technocrat Supreme – can his judgements be called into question.” - Excerpt from an unpublished article on “Drath Morality” from an unidentified Terran correspondent, found in the ruins of Mars after the Great War..

map_22260715.jpg




--

Gameplay notes:

While the Drath homeworld isn’t anything special (it only has research bonus tiles :D), there are lots of resources nearby, as you can see – especially the military resources will prove useful in what will for a long, long, time remain a low-tech game. I usually do not pay all that much attention to the order in which I research things, but in this particular game choosing right in the beginning is vital as I have to divert almost all resources from military/social production to research by using the “research” focus, thus seriously slowing down production (and yes, this is much more efficient than diverting spending to research and using the base 10RP per colony). The particular order was Sensors (to allow my fleet of Cargo Survey Scouts), Impulse Drive (go faster!), then Planetary Improvements (better production), Xeno Economics (more money), Base Logistics (to allow for more starbases – need to tag all resources nearby as soon as possible), Space Militarization (better production), Xeno Communications, Universal Translator, Diplomatic Relations, and finally Trade – this allowing the needed diplomatic bonus and trade to keep the Altairans and Terrans happy and to snag the Diplomatic Translators and Restaurant of Eternity early on. As you can see from the screenshots, Planetary Improvements (#3 on the list) was gained after half a year of play – the rest of the initial bunch took another half year to achieve, and by mid 2226 I’d only researched 7 techs more, getting the very basics needed for a little “Stinger” armed missile boat, just in case. On the positive side, I’ve never had as good production and upgrade capabilities on all planets as in this game and once you get going it is surprisingly refreshing to just be able to keep research spending at 0% and then juggle the “focus” on/off for select planets operating with immense production bases. It also had the amusing result that I ended up making one planet, Patrokles III, both my manufacturing and technical capital. :)

It hurts to make that many “good” decisions, though. I got two planets with the “precursor lifestealer PQ enhancement” that I had to turn down, and the same for all the other “offers you can’t refuse” that involved sentient beings; fortunately, the earthworms were not quite clearly sentient, so the Lord nuked ‘em till they glowed, then shot ‘em in the dark – and I got a PQ 35 planet out of it. :D

In many ways, the starting position is unfortunate – it is unlikely that there’ll be any great tales of derring-do in the near future; with only good/neutral nations next door and my halo shining like there’s no tomorrow it is completely safe to do next to nothing while the other races take the lead in the tech race and start warring. Fortunately, I have a plan for non-territorial expansion. :)
 
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J. Passepartout

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I wonder who the editor was, or is. Obviously a good judge of objectivity. :)

EDIT: I notice both of my remarks in this thread thus far have the preface 'I wonder'.
 

Peter Ebbesen

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Storey - hang on, this is actually rather easy going, not nearly as difficult as it could have been. I got lots of resources and, since I researched Sensors first (and nobody else did), I got most of the anomalies in the galaxy.

Soulitaire - No exceptions for research! Not a single dedicated RP producing building will be built and any conquered will be torn down immediately. Stuyvesant got it right in one... Also, I might note that from a practical perspective, there'd be no point in a research RP building at all, not even on a precursor library... In order for it to work, you have to assign research spending in the first place. I gain more research from having 0% research spending and diverting military/social producting to research as needed than I would with a few RP buildings running part time on research spending.

Stnylan - Yep, there are a (very) few situations under which I might declare war, but not many. And no, I'll not write what they are. You'll just have to wait and see - or not see, as the case might be.

J. Passepartout - sometimes, we wonder about you as well. :p


I almost do wish I'd restarted though - those Altairans are just too much of a security buffer against a hostile world. Good AI nations practically never attack other good nations and none of the other nations has the ability to project power through that territory to reach me. Even worse, the final tally of resources in Nah-al-Drath turned out to be four military, two morale, one economic, and one research resource, and I capped them all.

They are not upgraded a lot yet (I do not have the tech for that, of course), but the production techs are definitely a high priority for me after the initial expansion rush (they are my primary source of increasing research, after all :D) and now that high populations and the finishing of tile improvements on many planets means I'm again turning a small surplus I'll soon be able to research them - and leave trade/income techs for later. (Unlike usual, where I rush the trade/income techs, but since I can only use a tiny fraction of my total production for research, I desperately need to raise the production ceiling, as it were). I am currently aiming for every single planet of size 6+ to end up (eventually) holding 5K+2xFarm population, so (lacking farm resource tiles) each planet gets something like 2xmorale building, 2xfarms, 1xStarport (if unmodified 10+ planet), 2xeconomic building, and then the rest industrial. (With local variations, but that's the general idea) - even planets without Starports end up with lots of production - that's how I get research, after all. :)
 

stnylan

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The editing notes were quite fun. But the whole business of the 'Great War' has definitely picqued my interest there.
 

Director

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I admit the bit about the ruins on Mars made my ears perk up.

So if I read this aright you made a lot of 'good' choices and one 'evil', winding up neutral. In my games it seems that one evil choice can be balanced only by many good choices; two evil choices and you're committed, no matter how many good choices you make after that.

I like the way you bring the Drath to life as an alien race.
 

Soulitaire

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Director said:
... So if I read this aright you made a lot of 'good' choices and one 'evil', winding up neutral. In my games it seems that one evil choice can be balanced only by many good choices; two evil choices and you're committed, no matter how many good choices you make after that.

the choices, wether good or evil, simply move you one way or another by a pre-defined amount. Some choices more - some choices less. That seems to fit my own casual observation and it's also listed here at the Galciv2 Wiki.


meanwhile I failed horribly stepping in Peter's (large) shoes, even at a not so crippling difficulty. Oh the hurt! :eek:
 

Peter Ebbesen

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Director - Soulitaire is right; Alignment changes are on a linear scale and the movement (if any) is by a fixed amount per choice depending on action. In general, evil choices have a larger modifier than positive ones do - i.e. it will take more good choices to outweigh an evil choice, and some evil choices are much worse than others, but in the end, a linear scale is all it is. In fact, at the end of the colonisation phase with one evil and 12-15 good choices the halo shines bright - the Drath are considered Saintly. (Indeed, it should be obvious that the Drath were not neutral from the last screenshot - that's the GOOD robot. :)) That's also the cause of the major "problem" - the more "good" your nation is, the less likely it is that good (and to a lesser degree, neutral) AIs will attack you - and in my starting position I ended up with a thick shell of the good and the neutral between me and any threat.

Soulitaire - Let me let you in on a secret: I did stack the deck in my favour by setting anomalies to abundant. That allowed for a controlled expansion living on the proceeds of my cargo survey vessels during the second phase of the colonisation, i.e. when you have colonised the choiciest parts and are building up infrastructure everywhere while colonising the smaller planets in your sphere of influence and waiting for your population to grow enough to support your new infrastructure on its own. It would be much harder with rare anomalies. Not impossible, mind you, but it slows things down a lot. As is, I only had about 3-4 months at 50% spending at the worst of times, and that's perfectly okay so long as it happens when you have colonised a lot of worlds and are, fundamentally, waiting for the taxpayers to breed like bunnies.
 

Soulitaire

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Peter Ebbesen said:
... living on the proceeds of my cargo survey vessels during the second phase of the colonisation.

your cargo survey vessels are just smallish craft with the survey module on it, or perhaps some combination with other modules such as colonizing or trading?

I likely shot myself in the foot by setting the star density and research speed down a notch, which REALLY hurts when your stuck on one world for way too long.
 

Peter Ebbesen

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Soulitaire said:
your cargo survey vessels are just smallish craft with the survey module on it, or perhaps some combination with other modules such as colonizing or trading?
No, no, no! They are HUGE craft and exactly what I state, the single best early-game investment you can make in a large/huge/gigantic galaxy with a fair amount of anomalies. Fundamentally, they are a 1 HP cargo hull (hull size 55, available from start) with a survey module, as many engines as you can possibly fit on, and then with supplies to extend range using whatever space remains (possibly none - in the first generation of cargo scouts range is not all that important)

Build a number of them as soon as you have Sensors and Ion Drive (quite possibly your first priorities in research) and send them off looking for anomalies in different directions, then autosurvery. They are inexpensive to build and cheaper to maintain (due to having no weaponry or defenses)

They'll also unveil a bit of the map for you as they survey. They are faster, have better sensors (because medium+ sized ships have better base sensor values than small ships), can fly further than any scout you could build on a small unit frame - and are fairly cheap to upgrade; Part two of the plan is that at a time when they have found most anomalies within range, you'll have researched basic miniaturization, perhaps the impulse drive, or better life support, and then you spend 1-2K credits to update all your active 6-8 survey cargo vessels at the same time to have a really long range using the space freed up, and they just continue searching in the area that they now have access to. Over the first two years of gameplay or so and 2-4 upgrade cycles of cargo scouts you'll end up getting 80%+ of the anomalies in the galaxy, most of the map mapped, and loads of cash - again, depending on the anomaly setting, but it pays off in all but the very rarest settings and the incidental early mapping puts you at a great advantage where grabbing galactic resources and prime planets are concerned as well.

Finally, if a survey cargo scout finds a galactic resource far from home that you really must have but doubt you can get a constructor to in time (this does happen frequently in the early game where fast constructors are not an option) - you can pay to upgrade that scout to a constructor (1-4 weeks) because it is built on a cargo hull and use it to take the resource with, something that you could not do with a standard scout hull.

I've only built 1 standard scout in my playing career, in my very first game where I tried building some of the standard designs - my survey cargo scouts are superior in all ways: price, efficiency, utility. Sure, they may only have 1 hitpoint, but anything that would kill them with 1 hitpoint would kill them with 10 as well as they are entirely defenseless.

I thought everybody used this strategy - it is so wonderfully obvious and easy to implement. :)
 
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