Part 9: All Cramped Up and Nowhere To GoAll Cramped Up and Nowhere to Go
Takeaways from the thread contributions on this game:
** Aggressive early Silicoids suck. That's familiar.
** I should built a bunch of Plantetary Missile Bases that I don't have access to and have no means to acquire.
** I should follow the mutually exclusive paths of building one big ship and a bunch of small missile ones to try and fend off/deter any further attacks.
** Too early for Space Crystal. With this I definitely concur.
SD 3511.7. Here's what we've got going on as we resume. I want to get a couple more Colony Bases done in Callisto to expand our foothold there. I do think that is out of range for the space rocks, but I still want a Starbase at Callisto IV eventually to expand our maximum fleet capacity. Sol II is our population incubator at the moment, and Sol I is going to finish the Space Academy, then get more Cheetah-class frigates to put up whatever kind of front we can against the Silicoids.
I've been dumping all our effort into industry for a while now, but I'm splitting things up more now. I don't want to get too far behind in research, which frankly may have already happened. We don't have anything to trade with the Meklar, but ...
They do agree to join with us against Geode. This could backfire if they lose territory to them, but I'm hoping it just distracts and buys us time. The spy situation is fine - no active spies for either of our rivals at the moment.
The next turn I see the fleet that smashed the outpost at Praxis heading back to Cryslon. At least they don't plan on storming us immediately.
I was initially inclined to turn this down. I plan on developing multiple planets in Callisto though - the aggregate benefit across them should be considerable. Director Felina the Naturalist is therefore hired and appointed to that task. 5-turn travel time before this takes effect.
Environmentalist reduces pollution by 30%, Farming Leader gives that boost to food output.
It'll need food in the short-term, but this gives us four active colonies.
** SD 3512.4 - Space Academy finished in Sol. Capsule Construction (Battle Pods) research was finished the next turn.
*screwed up and forgot to screenshot the next tech screen*
I agonized over this one. There are multiple possibilities. We're going to be in trouble if we can't defend ourselves in the short term, and in the long-term the economy is more important. Armor, ship range, soil enrichment, I considered all of these. Trying to blend short and long-term together, I take the Fighter Garrison for planetary defense. Spaceports boosts planetary income by 50% and are a key economic tech; the Armor Barracks basically gives us tanks in addition to infantry for ground combat. I've already started with the fighter theme though, and this will get us closer to our next industry-boosting advance.
We've got enough going on now that I'm regularly micro-managing citizen labor allocation to make the most of everything, ensure we have just enough food, etc.
This strikes me as a good deal for both sides. Battle Pods are more expensive research, but we definitely need the protection. It doesn't seem to me to be immediately useful due to the space required, but when we build larger ships I'll want them most likely.
SD 3513.3. The Silicoids have taken Praxis, giving them a half-dozen systems. Meklar have three, we have two. We've seen no further aggression and have rebuilt the lost frigates. Callisto's last colony base will be done soon. I need to try to expand further to have any hope of keeping pace, but that's easier said than done.
Here's the current situation, featuring that second zoom level that nweismuller pointed out was a thing. Options for expansion:
** Callisto I (Large, Radiated, 5 max. pop, Abundant)
** Callisto V is the small barren poor useless one.
** Galileo has a Medium Barren Poor and a Small Toxic Abundant.
** Iras - Small Desert Abundant
** Hera - Two Gas Giants and a Tiny Toxic Poor Low-G.
** Rav - Eventually, when we can handle the space crystal.
As mentioned, Hera is a good candidate for an outpost - except Silicoids. If I send our ships there to try to bait the rocks into a fight, I'm leaving Sol vulnerable. And I think that only gets us that one red star in terms of range. Callisto I could be a cheap population incubator, except that Sol II and to soon-to-be-colonized Callisto II (Ultra Rich, Radiated) are already in that role. I'll have my two productive planets feeding three others at that point, and be stretching the limits of food - unless I want to just not produce anything and purely expand, but that means research won't go anywhere. A Colony Ship for Iras is a big expense to not get all that much out of it, but extends our range while staying away from conflict, at least hopefully.
I really don't see any great options here - we're boxed in and I'm sort of just looking for the least bad way forward.
The last 40 or so turns have not been good to humanity. Most of it is in Fleet, but we're getting beat in the other two categories as well by lesser margins. I'm not at all thrilled with it, but I decide to build an outpost at Hera first and send a couple of frigates with it. Iras will come later. I'm curious what others in the thread would do in this scenario.
We now have five planets. The 'extra' population, when we get it, will now go to building up Callisto III (Large Arid).
Robo-Miners are the next level in production advance, but I don't think I want to go there quite yet due to the expense. Due to our issues with wanting more space, I could go Deuterium Fuel Cells. Soil Enrichment is still out there, the improved drive systems are also a possibility. If I'm going to get the range I need to do it now, so Deuterium it is.
Also at SD 3514.1, our new outpost ship is finished and departs with its escorts. Lacking anything better to do, I start putting funds into a colony ship for Iras. And then realize Hera is one parsec too far for the outpost ship to reach. And scrap a frigate to avoid the maintenance penalty. Grrr. All of that is an annoying and costly miscalculation.
Could have done without that. I try a tech trade with the Meklar but it's more difficult than I remember. I'm not sure of the why, but I used to be able to trade for just about anything. The only thing they are willing to part with is Heavy Armor. Good that I'm not able to abuse it, but I've still got to figure out how this works in the sequel.
These days Sol, which has switched over to a Fighter Garrison now, isn't building much. Still, this is good news.
Now we can deploy - and possibly get blown up - that outpost.
I could go Merculite Missiles for that whole MIRV thing, to start getting ready to hit Rav. We are increasingly using labor and freighters to ship food to Callisto III though, and the need for food is straining the galactic economy. I think we need Soil Enrichment next, so Advanced Biology it is. I could use Hydroponic Farms as a stopgap - I did invest the research in them - but I'd rather just have my farmers produce more.
Jarred is now a Rear Admiral. This is three times at least now I've turned him down. Dude just won't get the message.
I get a NAP out of the cybernetics, but they stop short of entering a formal Alliance. It's better to have a weak friend than none at all - and they're still stronger than we are.
An asteroid belt. Yuck.
Oh, go away. You bug me.
Great googily moogily. Eight systems. The Silicoids have seven. Looks like those two are the main competitors, as we have to fit four other races into the rest of the map. Silicoids have three destroyers coming to eliminate our outpost on Hera. Which has now proven pointless. Getting anything useful beyond our two systems is probably down to Rav at this point.
Yessireee. K'kalak appears to have this galaxy by the tail, while it ain't looking good for the home team.
I've been saving up to recruit this guy for a while. The Megawealth trait will give us +10BC per year at no cost, which frankly makes it worth it by itself IMO.
The land grab is basically over, and we're holding the short straw. Manipulating the diplomatic game and trying to find a way to gradually improve ourselves so we can get a word in edgewise seems to me to be the only play. If the rocks had better range we'd probably already be toast. I get the feeling we're living on borrowed time.