Part 27: Turn 1THE FEDERATION
Our Federation game will use very different settings than the Romulan one. First of all, the Ferengi will essentially be a Minor Race, since we're setting them to tech level 1. They can still colonize planets, but reducing their power will allow our Cardassian, Klingon and Romulan enemies to take center stage instead.
There will be no Minor Races this time. That means the Federation's main bonus, its superior diplomacy, will be useless to us. No more conquest by bribery. It's just us and the enemy empires. We'll be playing in a medium size galaxy, which will put us much closer to our neighbors as well.
We'll be playing on Impossible, the maximum difficulty setting. I usually play on Hard level, so it will be interesting to see the difference. On the plus side, Random Events will be disabled. While this means there will be no threat of Borg invasion, it really means we just won't have comets randomly resetting our systems' population. The difficulty will come solely from our competing against our enemies.
The victory condition is still the same, Domination. We must conquer or colonize about 75% of the galaxy to win.
The citizens of the Federation have very different attitudes than the Romulans. We will be severely penalized if we declare wars, break treaties, or bomb planets. We'll even be penalized for conquering the systems of enemies who declare war against us! None of our ships have cloaks, and our intel strength is weak compared to the Romulans. But at least we are good at research. Since we're starting at the Advanced tech level, this advantage will be smaller than normal.
We are the United Federation of Planets. We are absolutely committed to peace. Our expansion will come in the form of colonizing unexplored worlds, not conquering our neighbors.
Even our warships look peaceful. They are built to end wars, not start them. We respect the independence of other lifeforms, and are committed to spreading our enlightened ideals through example, not force. We are the good guys, and our montage proves it.
TURN 1. Earth is a beautiful place, and Pluto is recognized as a planet. Our home system, Sol, has been placed in the middle of a cluster of systems. There are two nebulae and a wormhole nearby, which may impede our scan strength a bit. Borka and Quazulu are our two other starting systems, and they should be well-developed.
Borka is a fairly good system to begin with. Once the "O" class oceanic planet is terraformed, it will support a population of over 200. The "P" class polar planet will give us free +100 energy when we build charge collectors.
We're luckier than we were in the Romulan playthrough. Quazulu is even better than Borka. Once the large polar planet is terraformed, it will support a population of well over 300 units--more than Sol. The only thing we wish we had was a second system with dilithium. Since only Sol has it, we can only build one ship at a time. We don't have the Romulan singularity plant, so we can't add +2 dilithium at the beginning and churn out Colony Ships and Troop Transports.
...But we weren't so lucky in our location. Instead of being nestled in a defensible corner position, we're pretty much right out in the open. We're likely to run into our enemies, and we risk sharing hostile borders.
Federation systems can build one Trade Center, which increases our income (i.e. credits, money) from a system by 50%. This is a pretty big deal, and we'll need one on every system we have. We'll also build a shipyard here, though only Sol will be building them for now.
Borka will also build these basic structures. Another special structure we'll want to put in every system is the subatomic simulator. It provides a free +150 research, though you need 80 energy to power it.
In Sol, we have some special one-per-empire structures. There's a structure for +1 morale for the whole empire (not currently being used), as well as a structure for a 100% bonus to computer research (not used yet either). One unique building is the Utopia Planitia, which gives a small bonus to shipbuilding construction and also allows you to build certain special ships, such as Dreadnoughts.
The first order of business is to find and colonize two more systems with dilithium so we'll have enough for all three of our starting systems to build ships. We'll also need Troop Transports to begin building Starbases to defend ourselves.
Now to determine what we'll research. Our ultimate goal is to invent the Heavy Escort. But this is a cold description of such a beautiful ship. It is more commonly known as the Defiant. It's powerful and can travel 4 sectors per turn--faster than anything I know of. But we'll need many more tech breakthroughs to invent it.
In the meantime, we'll invent the next ship in line, which shares prerequisites with the Defiant. The Heavy Cruiser II will need three more tech breakthroughs, and is somewhat similar to the Romulan Battle Cruiser II (without the cloak).
To start with, we'll devote all of our research capability to Construction Level 9. Heavy Cruiser IIs do not require Computer 9, so that Federation special structure with the 100% computer bonus will be useless for now.
It's time to make one major strategic choice: In what direction do we expand? We want to avoid contact with our empires, because then we'll need to devote resources to internal security to avoid sabotage. We want to carve out a portion of the galaxy of our own. Since we're closest to the northwest corner, we'll expand generally in that direction. We could run into enemies there, but the odds say they'll be to our south and east. All our ships will move north and west, looking for dilithium-rich systems.
TURN 2. Our Destroyer discovers a good system called Holberg 917G. It will be useful later, but contains no dilithium.
TURN 3. Our Colony Ship discovers another good system nearby, Kaelon. We'll want to colonize here, but it contains no dilithium so we'll pass it by for now.
We've found a small system with dilithium to our north. Its name is Rhymus Major, which is eerily familiar. We will colonize the system as soon as possible to build a dilithium factory.
Our "Science Vessel" (Scout) has discovered another system, Kenda, with dilithium in the far northwestern corner of the galaxy. Our plan is to colonize Rhymus Major first, get a shipyard there to extend our range, and then colonize Kenda as soon as possible to produce dilithium. Then all three of our starting systems can build ships at once.
TURN 4. Humans are difficult to please. The Federation citizens in every system are already "apathetic". We'll have to activate some special structures with morale bonuses.
The Colony Ship we started with arrives at Rhymus Major and wastes no time terraforming the polar planet. We don't even want to waste a turn terraforming the "L" class jungle planet before we colonize. Every turn that goes by with only 1 dilithium is a turn that we can't use for building ships--and we desperately want to have Starbases up before our enemies make contact with us.
TURN 6. Ugh. Of all the species in all the galaxies, we run into one that loves war.
The Klingon ship that makes first contact with us is a Colony Ship, so it looks like they intend to expand their empire right up to our border--two sectors from Borka. Couldn't they have gone colonizing to the south, or even to the east?
Our Scout also spots a Klingon Outpost under construction with a couple ships. We hate to hear this news, but our analysts suggest that this is likely the Klingon homeworld. It's only 4 sectors away from our own. We have no defense fleet to speak of (come on, it's only turn 6!), so we hope the Klingons do not behave aggressively just yet.
Without hesitation, our Colony Ship on Rhymus Major orders colonization. Time is against us even more than we anticipated. We previously built one Colony Ship on Sol, and it is headed for the dilithium-rich system of Kenda, though Kenda is barely out of range.
We have one Troop Transport, and we'll move it to Borka to build an Outpost. Borka is closest to Klingon territory, so we must fortify it immediately.
We get one free snapshot of an enemy empire's status upon first contact. Since we both just came into existence, we are almost even in every respect. However, the Klingons have already colonized a fourth system--and a dilithium-rich one at that. Seems they have the same strategy we do. And the Klingon empire is "content", whereas our people are already getting restless.
TURN 7. With no races to bribe, we'll use all our money on buying structures for our fledling colonies. This saves us the trouble of having to wait the turns to build stuff. In many cases, our colonies will be useful immediately.
The Klingons correctly guess that we're to the northeast of them, and their Destroyer immediately moves to start sniffing us out. They're awfully curious about us.
TURN 8. The Klingons immediately ask us to pay a bribe or else something bad might happen to our systems. They'd probably see payment as a sign of weakness, so we ignore their demand.
With the free +100 energy from the charge collectors we bought, we can power the dilithium refinery, which we'll also buy. We haven't spent any time building factories or other infrastructure for this colony but it's already pulling its own weight.
TURN 9. We have our Destroyer and a Scout sitting on Borka with the Troop Transport. The Klingon Destroyer arrives in the system, but no combat occurs because both sides open hailing frequencies.
The secondary dilithium source, Rhymus Major, is up and running. Quazulu may now build Troop Transports. We need Starbases, and quickly.
Our remaining Colony Ship is just out of range of Kenda, where we plan to get our third dilithium source. To extend ship range, we'll simply buy a shipyard on Rhymus Major. This is easier than building an Outpost. The charge collectors are sufficient to power both the dilithium factory and the shipyard, with energy to spare. What a useful system!
TURN 10. The Klingon Destroyer insists on harassing the Borka system. Luckily, not only do we have a Destroyer of our own, plus the Scout, but we also have the Outpost that was just completed.
Our Scout, Destroyer, and our Outpost all open fire. The Klingon Destroyer zips right past our two ships. He concentrates his own fire on our Destroyer, scoring a direct hit.
The Klingon Destroyer performed impressively so far. Our Outpost gets a reading on its shields, which have barely been touched. We order all weapons to fire on him again.
Our Destroyer, though badly bruised, will comply.
The Klingon scores another direct hit and kills our Destroyer; it also begins firing on our Scout.
There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today. The Klingon casually flies past the Scout and kills him, too. Now it is our Outpost versus the Destroyer.
The Klingon gracefully circles back around in an arc and starts shooting the Outpost. The Outpost launches another barrage of torpedoes at the Klingon, but doesn't manage to get a hit. A blue torpedo that narrowly misses him can be seen in the bottom of this photo.
We have underestimated the power of a lone Klingon Destroyer. His weapons find their mark and devastate our Outpost. The Klingon was barely scratched throughout this entire battle. Our military's publicists are going to have a heck of a time explaining this one to the public, which is already apathetic. Our plan to build up defenses on our key systems has been completely scuttled by a single ship.