AC early game is boring

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AC early game is boring

Postby JoeBuckeye on Tue 18 Jan 2011 20:26

So I've got a test AC game going on and I thought the universe I selected would be a nice small one to get back up to Starfire speed.

My universe is 23x15 for a total of 345 hexes (or systems). I have two races in the game. After 8 turns the races have 38 and 45 systems explored each. Of these systems 28 and 30 of them have been colonized (colonization happens 1 turn after surveying, which occurs one turn after exploring the system). I would say that I picked too large of a map to use for this first game. 345 systems means a minimum of 34,500 MC in income for the whole map just from the systems themselves and that doesn't count any planets (500MC each).

The two races are still 10 hexes apart from each other so there will be at least 5 more turns of exploration before the sides come into contact. You can only expand your frontier by one hex per turn. There is little to no reason to build any ships other than explorers and a couple of freighters (to retrieve those Rich Deposits that can be found) since there are no NPC's and the other races start off a good bit away. Even when you come into contact with other races it appears that the most territory you can lose per turn is 1 hex deep unless the other side was able to explore your other territory.

Starting at EL 1 however gives your Command Centers (CC's) an operation range of only 1 hex. You need to build more CC's to expand your op range to collect the income from those systems outside the range of your CC's. CC's take 2 turns to build so that greatly slows down the rate of how fast your income grows. CC op range only expands as your EL goes up (EL+1/2, FRU) so you get range 2 CC's when your EL goes to 2.

The only problem with this is that your EL grows very slowly (10+(EL*2)) turns. The earliest you can get to EL2 is turn 15 and then it is only a 20% chance. So by turn 31 (at the earliest) you are at EL3.

I know the rules (3.03) mention that the early game can be slow and gives a couple of methods to speed it up so I may try that.

I may actually start over with a smaller map and a higher initial EL and expand the empires by ring until they touch. The pre-game expansion rules (3.03) don't mention how many planets can be colonized pre-game or how any other infrastructure can be built (CC's and Research Labs) pre-game.

The AC game seems to be geared more for fighting than for exploring (I realize that is the point of AC) so the pre-game expansion and setup of empires to the point of contact seems to be a good idea.
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Re: AC early game is boring

Postby Starfire on Thu 27 Jan 2011 16:36

Average income per hex is about 220 MC.

Low level CC are both expensive and have a range that will increase shortly, thus the tendency is to build them 5 sH apart in anticipation of the increase to range 2.

And yes, the income growth does take a bit.

3.03
Replace point 5 with...

5) Build 1 CC for every 20 systems you own above 10 systems.
6) Colonize 1 planet free per planet your opponent colonizes. I.e. All sides agree to colonize x planets at a time. If someone wishes to stop colonization, then all players stop colonization. This allows players to not find out exactly how many planets their opponents have,
7) Deploy your forces and start the game.
Nerf rock, paper is fine. signed:Scissors.
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Re: AC early game is boring

Postby JoeBuckeye on Thu 27 Jan 2011 18:10

Starfire wrote:Low level CC are both expensive and have a range that will increase shortly, thus the tendency is to build them 5 sH apart in anticipation of the increase to range 2.


But I thought you couldn't build anything outside of CC range. You can't colonize a planet outside of CC range. The systems you find are colonized the turn after a survey is done in them but they don't generate any income until they are in CC range (or adjacent to a colonized planet with has to be inside CC range).

So to get a colonized planet more than 1 hex away from your home world requires a CC built in a hex adjacent to your home world. But each CC you build will only add the income of 3 more hexes to your treasury. Early game CC building is wasteful (in that increasing CC range will make them redundant) and expensive but it has to be done to grow the empire.

Low EL growth is slow with the 1 hex CC range. I am thinking of starting at EL 5 next time with it's starting CC range of 3 (2.5 FRU).
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Re: AC early game is boring

Postby Tamjiri on Thu 27 Jan 2011 18:53

I have not read AC but from what you wrote

The systems you find are colonized the turn after a survey is done in them but they don't generate any income until they are in CC range (or adjacent to a colonized planet with has to be inside CC range).


Does this not mean that you CAN colonize a system that is outside of your CC range by 1 if it is next to a system that you have already colonized?
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Re: AC early game is boring

Postby Cralis on Thu 27 Jan 2011 20:17

I don't have the rules in front of me, but I believe that is correct. After survey colonization is automatic but you don't gain income unless the system is in ICC range.
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Re: AC early game is boring

Postby Starfire on Fri 28 Jan 2011 07:56

Correct, the colonization is automatic (less tracking), excepting planets of course, but until that colony is associated with a government via CC, they keep all their money.
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Re: AC early game is boring

Postby Starfire on Fri 28 Jan 2011 07:58

JoeBuckeye wrote:But I thought you couldn't build anything outside of CC range. You can't colonize a planet outside of CC range. The systems you find are colonized the turn after a survey is done in them but they don't generate any income until they are in CC range (or adjacent to a colonized planet with has to be inside CC range).


Heh, ok. That should be you can not build anything EXCEPT a CC outside of CC range.

Add

6.06.1.3 Command Centers can be built outside of CC range however they must be able to trace a path of friendly hexes to a Homeworld Command Center or a Prime Command Center.


Let me know if you find anything else like that that is frustrating.
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Re: AC early game is boring

Postby JoeBuckeye on Fri 28 Jan 2011 10:24

Starfire wrote:Heh, ok. That should be you can not build anything EXCEPT a CC outside of CC range.

Add

6.06.1.3 Command Centers can be built outside of CC range however they must be able to trace a path of friendly hexes to a Homeworld Command Center or a Prime Command Center.


Ok, that should help speed things up some. And to help spread out the CC's. Right now I have chains of CC's due to the low range.

This could lead to having little pockets of your empire until you either build a CC chain out to them or the CC range increases.
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