Part 2: Turn 5TURN 5
We'll use one of our Troop Transports to build an Outpost on Romulus. For the moment there is no danger of it being attacked, but if it is, we'll want to be able to upgrade the Outpost into a Starbase. Besides, we're pumping out a lot of Troop Transports anyway.
TURN 6. One of our colony Ships has arrived at Volon, just north of our systems. One of the planets is an "M" class, so we could colonize it immediately if we needed to grab it fast. However, it's more efficient to use the Colony Ship to terraform all of the other planets first and then colonize. Colonizing a system will make your Colony Ship disappear, just as creating an Outpost will make a Troop Transport disappear.
Another Colony Ship arrives south, in No'Mat. We're now expanding in multiple directions. It will take awhile to terraform these large planets. The Vulcan ship will simply observe us. Unless the Vulcans declare war (which is unlikely), they should stay out of our way. Their obsessive need for scientific data is annoying, but they are no threat.
TURN 7. We've made contact with yet another Minor Race, the Zakdorn. The diplomacy meter shows that they already have an unfavorable disposition to us. I don't know how we have such a bad reputation since we've yet to reveal our true intentions. They send us a diplomat with a disturbingly deformed face, but maybe that's how they all look.
A look at the Zakdorn homeworld shows that they could eventually become useful to us, as their system is of a decent size. Note that they have "?/1" Orbitals. This refers to Orbital Batteries, the primary defense against invasion fleets. They have one Orbital Battery in space and it's unknown whether it's powered (they take a lot of energy). If they had no Orbital Batteries it would be possible to launch a quick invasion with just a Troop Transport.
At the far northeastern edge of our current reach, our Scout picks up signs of an unknown ship, which is an Acamarian Raider. Yet another Minor Race. Still no signs of the other empires.
We continue to send gifts. We started at 30,000 credits and are down to around 24,000. The gifts are working however, since the Nausicaans have gone from "neutral" to "receptive".
TURN 9. The Volon system will serve both as a colony as well as a site for a new Outpost, because it's the only way to increase the range of our ships northward. As you can see from the blue crystal symbol, Volon also has dilithium. That will make it easier to produce multiple ships per turn, so we know exactly what the top priority will be for that colony.
The Vulcans have a frosty exterior, but even they are starting to warm up to us. I suppose their enlightened sensibilities are not immune to the effect of free money.
TURN 10. The Volon system is ready for colonization, and the outpost is a turn away from completion. With all the terraforming done we can see the maximum population for Volon will eventually be 170. Not great, but each colony is a stepping stone.
The Scout dutifully charts each system along the eastern border of the galaxy. None of the systems discovered so far have been particularly noteworthy, but they should at least be out of our enemies' reach.
Science update: We're about 1/3 of the way done with Energy Level 9. The 100% bonus we're getting to energy research from that academy on Romulus is speeding up our progress pretty well.
TURN 11. Our first new colony has been made. As the sign says, it will need a lot of attention before it's of any real use.
The point demonstrated. Our main goal will be to keep them from starving as the population grows.
We can speed the process slightly by buying structures (which you can only do one at a time). Rather than taking 8 turns to build the next factory, we can buy it for a mere 80 credits. We're down to 17,000 credits total, so you can see how much we're spending on gifts for the Vulcans and Nausicaans.
Milika is the one system that we know will have the capacity to be large once we colonize it. To save time, we can have multiple Colony Ships terraforming all the planets. We're also going to build an Outpost here, as the system will be worth protecting, and because we need to expand our ships' range eastward.
TURN 12. Our peaceful luck has come to an end, as we finally make first contact with another empire. Sadly, it's the Klingons. The other empires are more inclined to stay out of our way as they work on building themselves up. The Klingons are the most likely to pester us with unnecessary war.
The red triforce-looking thing represents the Klingon ship. Klingon Scouts can cloak, as you can see from the darkened icon. The Outpost in Volon increases our sensor strength so we can actually see the Scout, though in a battle its cloak would still give it a free turn.
The Klingon ship's position is directly north of us, so the Klingon systems are probably in that general direction. A little mystery is added because the Klingon ship happens to be next to a wormhole. In theory, it's possible that the ship traveled from the other end of the wormhole, which could be anywhere in the galaxy. Nevertheless, this development heightens our need to expand northward before the Klingons grab all of those systems.
TURN 13. This is all of the information we get before battle. Obviously the "fast attack" ship is the Scout we saw earlier. We could open hailing frequencies, but I'd rather take the guaranteed win and let the Klingons know we're not to be trifled with.
This is a switch, the enemy getting the free cloak turn. Only Klingon Scouts can cloak. (They can also cloak a ship called the "bird of prey", but the AI rarely builds those.)
The Klingon Scout uses his free turn wisely and retreats. Actually we're lucky. The Scout is pretty much the only ship that can't beat an Outpost. Despite their impressive size, Outposts can hardly defend themselves.
TURN 14. The Milika system is ready to be colonized by one Colony Ship while the other finishes terraforming the last planet. The system will have a capacity of over 315, which is the best we've seen yet (besides Romulus). Since this system is important, and since we know the Klingons are probably to the north, we're also upgrading the Outpost here to a Starbase--something that can defend itself. The destroyer will remain to stand guard.
The Nausicaans' attitude toward us has improved dramatically, and they're almost ready to join our empire. But first, we'll go through the motions of having friendship treaties with them. Same with the Vulcans.
TURN 15. It only takes two turns to make an Outpost, but upgrading from an Outpost to a Starbase takes much longer. Tasking our extra Troop Transports to the project will make a big difference, and only one of them will disappear when the Starbase is complete. This is yet another reason we're continuing to pump out as many Troop Transports as we can.
TURN 16. Both the Vulcans and the Nausicaans have accepted our friendship treaty. It will prevent us from sending ships into each others' space.
...and it also provides us with some extra cash. This is the rarely-used "economic" version of the map. You can set up trade routes with your new friends, and get some more credits per turn as a result.
TURN 17. Our Scout ship is now looking around the western front for new systems to colonize. That yellow line shows how far our medium-range ships can travel. We'll send a Troop Transport in that direction and set up an Outpost to extend our reach southwest.
It's been several turns since we made first contact with the Klingons, and we haven't seen any more of them, or any other enemy empire. We continue to expand in every direction as we churn out the Colony Ships and Troop Transports. With no opposition in sight, there is no need for a war fleet.
Our initial objective was to carve out a piece of the galaxy for ourselves, and we've already achieved it. Even if the Klingons and other empires were to stop our northward and westward expansion right here, we'd still have a good number of systems to build to our south and east. We were very fortunate in the starting location we drew.
Nevertheless, we're here to conquer the galaxy, not live in it. Our next task is to stretch our borders outward and maximize the amount of territory we can deny to our enemies.