Master of Orion II - The -10 challenge

After learning the game mechanics, beating impossible isn't that hard, even if playing one of the non-optimal standard races. What's the next challenge going to be? This document describes the -10 challenge, where you have to use a custom race with -10 worth of penalties but no positive abilities.

The challenge rules
Choosing what racial penalties to take
Various race suggestions
     -Growth, -Food, -Industry
     -Growth, -Food, -Spy
     -Food, -Production, -Ship Attack, -Ground Combat
     Low-G, -Food, -Ground Combat
     Repulsive, -Ship Attack, -Ground Combat
     Worst possible pick?
Challenge games played
     Low-G/Food/Ship Defense
     Food/Industry/Ship Attack/Ground Combat
     Food/Industry/Research/Poor Home World/Cybernetics

The challenge rules

The table below lists the various rules of this challenge. It is possible to create rules to make the game even harder, but I want to keep the fun parts of the game still in the challenge.

Playing without tactical combat is a lot harder as you can't take advantage of bad AI ship design and combat tactics to win. Ship design and tactical combat are fun parts of the game though, so I wan't to keep it in, and rather make it harder otherwise.

With an advanced start, you have managed to keep up with the AI up until the starting point, and that makes the game a lot easier. Especially in a small galaxy, where you can just refit your ships immediately and take out the opponents without producing or teching anything, just taking advantage of bad AI combat tactics. Starting pre-warp, the AIs get the longest time to take advantage of their impossible bonuses before you are ready to attack them. Additionally, I think that is more fun, as you get to control the game from the very beginning. The game is thus set to start pre-warp.

Starting pre-warp with a -10 race, in a small galaxy you will have issues staying alive until you have proper defense in place. Enough issues that a small galaxy might be considered the hardest option. However, if you manage to stay alive until you are ready to strike,you can finish the game fast and fairly easy taking advantage of bad combat tactics. I like epic games where you can reach any part of the tech tree, so this challenge will be played in a huge galaxy.

On a huge map with a slow start, playing against many opponents might be an advantage. First of all, the AIs may fight between each other, and secondly, some of them will start fairly close. The latter is very useful as you can trade, spy or demand techs, and create trade and research agreements for AIs you want to stay at peace with for a while. Additionally you can attack some early in the game, enabling you to conquer their colonists and possibly overcome some of your penalty picks and/or boost your civilization with colonists that has racial bonuses. I feel the game is intended to be played with lots of players. Traits like Repulsive or Charismatic doesn't matter if there's only a few. Having multiple opponents is fun, so I always play with all eight players and will so too for this challenge.

The game could also be made more challenging by picking negative traits to create worst case combinations. However, one of the most interesting aspects of the game is to lay out a grand plan and try to figure out what traits are optimal. Leaving it open for choice, leaves at least some racial options and different strategies open.

Challenge ruleExplanation
Victory condition Reach one of the victory conditions in as few game turns as you can manage. The council vote is typically the one you'll hit first, and by the time you can win by that, you should have the game in your pocket, so if you choose to play on it's just a matter of time before you will get to the others. As it's typically good to attack the AIs as early as possible, you will likely not be able to win against the Antarans before you reach the other victory conditions. Each condition will be scored separately. being voted Emperor. Keep a savegame for the very first turn and for the last turn before you reach the victory condition.
Race Use a custom race (using any portrait you like) picking -10 points and no positive ones. At the end of the game that will multiply your score by 3.0, or 3.4 if you get evolutionary mutation. If you get the mutation, you're not allowed to pick any points with it. (No way to see if you have only picked -6 to begin with and then use evolutionary mutation to get to -10 if you do so)
Difficulty Impossible. This is supposed to be a bit tricky.
Galaxy size Huge. See above for reasoning.
Galaxy Age Average. Probably doesn't matter that much, but just to have different games being slightly more comparable.
Players Eight. See above for reasoning.
Tech Level Pre Warp. See above for reasoning.
Tactical Combat On. See above for reasoning.
Random Events On. Adds flavor, but shouldn't alter difficulty much.
Antarans Attack On. Adds flavor, but shouldn't alter difficulty much.
Game version The official 1.33 version is fine. The unofficial 1.40 patch without any command line options to alter the game is fine too. I'm guessing 1.50 is also, but I haven't checked if it contains any changes that might be to the players advantage.

Choosing what racial penalties to take

Some racial penalties are harder to work with than others. To limit the the discussions on what to pick to the most relevant picks, I'll first list the ones that are likely good to avoid.

The worst picksValueReasoning
-1 Research-3

-33% research to begin with. A major penalty that isn't that quick to work around. If used, should be high priority to improve. Disaster in combination with Feudal government. There are better options to pick than this one unless you're in for an extra challenge.


  • Research boosting technologies like Research Laboratories, Supercomputers and Autolabs make this static penalty less relevant the more you get of them, but you will research slow until you get them, so this will be a very noticeable hit prior to that time.
  • With luck, you can find AIs that you can trade/demand/spy/steal research techs from early so you can reduce the penalty before having had to spent lots of turns teching slowly.
  • Conquering colonists without the penalty will eventually remove the penalty if you grow them to replace your original colonists.
  • Colonizing artifact planets will help considerably. However, these are hard to find, and as far as I know always protected planets, so that will not happen early game.
-0.5 BC-4

This penalty in effect halves your income from colonists, which is usually the major source of income. The researchable improvements all adds percentages after these penalty is subtracted, so this will stay as 50% reduced income from colonists for the rest of the game.

If you go for this option, you may need to build a lot of trade goods to counter, and you will have to prioritize the economy extra and be careful of what you spend money on. There are easier penalties to live with than this one.


A -50% research penalty is harsh in this challenge. You can't blitz your opponents in the early game to win. Neither can you pick Democracy, Ancient Artifact home planet or spying bonuses to counter the penalty. A disaster together with -1 Research. Stay away unless you want a big challenge.


Being uncreative, what is researched at each level is random. Some of the most important techs are alone at their level so they are guaranteed, but a lot of useful ones are not. In theory you can be lucky and by random mostly get the best options, but in practise you are likely to miss out on many great technologies. Backfilling techs through the AI isn't that easy as they often suggest only poor trades, demands quickly lead to war, and depending on spying without starting with spying bonuses, nor being able to pick all the spy bonus techs will be hard.

Possibly the worst single pick of them all in this challenge. If you're lucky and you get most of the good early techs anyhow it could be manageable. If trying it, you need a plan to fill out other techs. Probably combining spying and trading.

Of the remaining penalty picks, some of them are tied to the colonists on the planet, and thus can be overcome by conquering enemy colonists and grow these and possibly replace your own. That means that they are mostly early game penalties. However, keep in mind that the early game is critically important to not end up lagging too far behind the AIs, These picks are not automatically the best picks.

Picks tied to colonistsValueReasoning
-50% Growth-4


  • Grow building housing instead. (Early game you often have access to planets that are not very useful for other purposes)
  • Conquer alien race to get access to better colonists not affected by this growth penalty, and grow them instead.

This penalty is a noticeable early game penalty, but as you start with a bad race and many of the AIs are likely to have great racial bonuses you can take advantage of, you'd want to conquer a neighbour fast regardless. This thus sounds like a decent place to get -4 penalty picks in this challenge.

-0.5 Food-3


  • Sacrifice growth to have almost same free colonists for workers/scientists. To begin with, if you don't have growth penalty, you can run with 4 farmers about 2 of 3 turns to stay at zero growth.
  • Food enhancing techs like Soil Enrichment and Weather Control Center drastically reduce the effect of this. So will a farming leader.
  • If you're lucky you can get access to a normal gravity gaia planet early. Even possible to start with one in same system as your home world so you can build colony base immediately.
  • Conquering an alien race, you can use colonists of that race to farm instead.

Similarly to the growth penalty, this is a noticeable early game penalty, and the early game is important, but it is fairly quick to overcome. Especially easy if you get a lucky start with a normal gravity gaia planet in your home system. It sounds like a decent penalty to take in this challenge.

-1 Production-3


  • Conquering an alien race, you can use colonists of that race to farm instead.
  • If you're lucky you can get access to a normal gravity rich or ultra-rich planet early, even in your home system accessible immediately through a colony base.
  • Production improving technologies like Automated Factories and Robo-Miner Plants and production leaders and similar make this penalty less and less noticeable.

This sounds like a terrible option. But as you'd really want to get colonists of other race to grow instead of your own anyhow, this penalty will disappear long term, and in the early game you can counter this penalty well if you have a rich or ultra-rich planet available early. Thus, the option isn't as terrible as it might sound, especially if you have a bit of a lucky start to find a good production planet.

Low-G World-5


  • Research and build Planetary Gravity Generator.
  • Conquer alien race that is not low-G.
  • Have a lucky start with many low-G planets around. (They are unlikely to fit many colonists though)
  • Get the techs that gives bonus to ground combat to try to get away from the ground combat penalty.

This trait is not entirely linked to colonists. The ground combat penalty will count for tactical combat boarding and planet combat regardless of what race colonists on planet is. But I'm listing it here, as I think the colonist linked part matters more.

Your starting planet will be good regardless and as soon as you have invented planetary gravity generator this is a minor issue, but in between you're slowing down your progress. Larger planets are better than smaller planets as they can fit more colonists. They are more likely to be normal or high G, so having this trait makes it less likely that you get a really lucky start. Not a bad choice for -5 points, but other options might be easier to overcome earlier, at least with a lucky start.

Lastly, we have the various options that stick with the player and thus can't be totally neglected. However, many of them are fairly minor, and doesn't hinder the critical early game, so they may still be good options.

Picks tied to playerValueReasoning
-20 Ship Defense-2


  • Use a hit first strategy where you kill of opponents prior to them hitting you.
  • Use extra defensive options on your ships and use more ships to counter for less space in each ship for offensive weaponry. This is both expensive and requires more command points though.
  • Counter with more production to replace more ships than you otherwise would need to.

One great attribute about this penalty is that it doesn't slow down your early game. To begin with, one good strategy is to fight with missile boats, and then you will finish combat fast and a reduced defense may not matter.

There's no good workaround to be able to ignore this penalty. However, it only applies to tactical combat, where you can take advantage of the stupid AI, and if you're lucky this penalty will only reduce your safety margin. The attack penalty sounds a bit easier to bear, but this one should also be doable. Not a bad option for a penalty.

-20 Ship Attack-2


  • Use weaponry that hit regardless of attack rating.
  • Use more ships to counter for each ship having less chance to hit. This is both expensive and requires more command points though.

One great attribute about this penalty is that it doesn't slow down your early game. To begin with, one good strategy is to fight with missile boats, and these hit independent of ship attack as far as I know. Late game, Mauler Devices are great weapons which always hit regardless of ship attack. If you want to use other weapons, that might still work if you have teched a good enough computer.

Sounds like a decent penalty to take in this challenge.

-10 Ground Combat-2


  • Prioritize ground combat bonus techs.
  • Bomb more before invading or use extra transporters in the attack.
  • Equip ships with troop pods to carry more marines. This takes up a lot of space in ships though.
  • Use ship weapons that kills enemy marines, such that they have less marines available to board your ships.
  • Kill of enemies prior to them having a chance to board you.

This seems like a no-brainer to grab. You can always just bomb defending units until there are so few left that ground combat bonuses have little to say. However, needing to bombard more, you'll also destroy buildings and colonists you may want to keep. Additionally, ground combat is also used when boarding ships. Note that this penalty will stick with you, even though a planet is only populated by other races which does not have this trait.

Not a bad penalty to live with. Invasions can be done by just bombing a bit more first, and boarding in combat is at least done in tactics screen where you can outsmart the AI in many ways. Also livable in combination with Low-G, but if doing that, take extra care in tactics combat to defend against boarding.

-10 Spying-3


  • Build more spies.
  • Prioritize tech giving spy bonuses.

With a spying penalty it gets considerably more difficult to steal techs, and also harder to defend against spying. It can be countered by building more spies, but those cost production to build and money to maintain.

Spying is a limited part of the game, and working with a spy penalty is not that bad, and won't slow down the critical early game. But it will stick with you for the rest of the game. There might be better alternatives.

Poor Home World-1

Hinders early production the same as the -1 production penalty, but is worth only -1 instead of -3. It doesn't affect production on other planets, but if you conquer other planets rather than colonize new ones with your own race, that doesn't matter. A horrible choice together with -1 production, and in my mind a worse choice than the -1 production penalty given the small value. Similarly to the -1 production penalty though, it can be countered quickly if you have a rich or ultra-rich normal-G planet close, and this effects you less if it takes a bit more time to conquer alien races.


Repulsive is a massive -6 points, which does not affect the early game prior to getting in contact with the opposition. This makes it a very interesting choise. But it also mean that there will be no diplomacy options available for you. You cannot demand technologies from the AI, you cannot trade technologies, you cannot create trade or research agreements, nor non-aggression pacts. Additionally you will have a lot harder time to keep opponents happy with you, which I assume means they are more likely to go to war with you.

If you end up getting in contact with few at a time, only finding more once you conquer others, or many of the AIs are Repulsive themselves anyhow, diplomacy won't be that useful anyhow, and this sounds like a great choice. However, as you invent better fuel cells, you'll probably get in contact with AIs faster than you can deal with them. Getting a colony in a central place, or conquering an AI in the middle of the galaxy, you'll suddenly get in contact with most or all of them. In those situations, it is very useful to be able to avoid an all out war with all of them at the same time.

It's hard to measure the effect of this compared to more specific penalties in known game mechanics, but my gut feeling is that other penalties, might be easier to live with in the long run if we can work around them fairly early.

Various race suggestions

There are many alternatives for what to pick to get your -10 race penalties. Below some suggestions are listed. There are

-Growth, -Food, -Industry

This combination gives only penalties linked to your colonists, which go away once you conquer alien races and use them as colonists instead. The alien races have lots of good traits you can take advantage of, so this is a powerful strategy regardless of whether you have racial penalties or not. All in all, you will go from a very poor race, to one that is more powerful than the AIs in the game.

To get there though, you have to start of with 3 penalties that are all slowing down the early game. However, with a very luck start, you can start close to an AI with good colonists to conquer, and have other planets available in your home or neighboring solar systems that can boost food production and production so those penalties are overcome quickly. If you end up conquering an alien race fast anyhow, whatever growth you have until then doesn't matter that much. You'd want to replace your colonists anyhow.

I think this may be one of the better combinations if you get a lucky starting position. However, with an average starting position, and especially if it takes too long to conquer the first AI, this slows down early game too much and you may be in trouble. Then there should be better options.

-Growth, -Food, -Spy

This is a variation of the above, where you take a spy penalty instead of an industry penalty. Taking away the industry penalty makes an average start much more livable, and the spying penalty doesn't slow down the early game. You should still be able to defend against spying fairly well so if stealing techs isn't crucial to your strategy, this may be a good tweak.

-Food, -Production, -Ship Attack, -Ground Combat

Another variation of the first alternative, exchanging growth penalty for permanent ship attack and ground combat penalties. Both farming and production penalties can be helped early with a lucky start. Ship attack shouldn't slow you down early game running missile boats, and ground combat odds can be fixed by bombing more. This allows your bad race to grow faster until the time that you conquer an alien race, to hopefully slow down the early game less than with the growth penalty.

Low-G, -Food, -Ground Combat

Low-G is an interesting option. It doesn't slow down your home world that starts Low-G, and if you're able to conquer an opponent fast, or tech gravity generator fast, before having time to build many other colonies, we can overcome the gravity penalty in time to not suffer too much. Having other useful low-G planets close will help considerable. Early on you don't have that high a population, so it doesn't really matter if your planets aren't that big yet.

You'll need a plan to counter the -20 ground combat penalty. When invading you may need extra transports, and you may need to bomb more before invading, and also you might want to prioritice ground combat techs more than you otherwise would.

Repulsive, -Ship Attack, -Ground Combat

An interesting option, that doesn't put any colonist penalties on your race. You will be less reliant on capturing alien races, and as neither penalty matters until first contact, your early game will go as fast as it can. The question is whether the increased early performance will make up for the lack of diplomacy options and the minor combat penalties. That is likely game dependent.

Worst possible pick?

Just for fun, what may be the worst picks possible to make? One bad combination I can think of is -Industry, Poor Home World, Uncreative, -Ship Defense.

Uncreative by itself will make it hard to get to the good technologies, which makes a lot of difference for your games. Additionally, your home world will have a ridiculous 1 production point per worker, which will seriously slow you down to begin with. With a normal G rich or ultra-rich world in your home system you can get away from the production penalty fairly quickly, but getting a good planet in your system, while also rolling a decent set of technology picks will be tricky. If you don't start a lot of games to find the best candidate, this should get tricky.

But maybe we can do worse than that by reducing the chance of getting a lucky start to help you out. Rather start with Feudal, -Research and -Production and you will only get one research point per scientist. As we start pre-warp this will waste a lot of turns before inventing research labs. Just did a test and I had researched labs and factories by 3506.7. But the game gave me 2 +5 research leaders. Didn't sound like a coincident. Maybe you're more likely to get helpful leaders if lagging.

Challenge games played

Game 1 - Low-G/Food/Ship Defenseo

My first attempt of the -10 challenge was before I started writing up this page, and in this game, I just finished at the council vote as by then I had total control of the game. Sadly I can't seem to find savegames from that game so I have a hard time to dig up details. I'll update if I find them by accident later. As can be seen from victory screen, I took advantage of captured colonists.

Game 2 - Food/Industry/Ship Attack & Ground Combat - Starting next to rich gaia planet

I picked food and industry penalties, hoping I could nullify the penalties early using conquered population, and minimize penalty before that by getting a good start with gaia and/or rich planet. To avoid other early penalties, I'm trying out Ship Attack and Ground Combat penalties instead. I'll never nullify those, but they don't sound that serious. To begin with I'll be using missile boats that hit independent of Ship Attack. The player has a good advantage over the stupid AI in ship combat, so that should hopefully counter for ship attack penalty too. A penalty in ground combat should be manageable by bombing a bit more or using an extra transpot when attacking. Just watch out a bit for boarders in combat.

I managed to get this awesome start with a medium, normal gravity, rich, gaia planet orbiting my starting solar system. This will help a lot to counter food and industry penalties.

I restarted the game quite a few times to get this lucky start. There's also a gas giant and a medium, barren, abundant, normal G planet, with only 4 max pop but which can be useful as a housing factory for instance.

Game StrategyExplanation
Use money to boost production

With -1 industry, production is not fast. Pollution will also hit if we start alotting many workers. To begin with, 3 workers on the abundant planet will provide 6 hammers, while any extra worker will only add one production point. That means that we can maximum get 6 hammers while using colonists efficiently. After selling the star base, we will have an income of 9 BC. If we only rush buy buildings already built half way, we can rush buy 1 PP for 2 BC, and thus get an extra 4.5 PP per turn from money on top of the 6. That's a huge improvement and will pay of to speed up these early turns. We will try to save up money to rush buy last part of colony base, marine barracks, research labs and automated factories. To keep the income after having built buildings we should try to keep population growth going, and think twice before hiring an expensive leader unless we can make use of him early.

Build colony base

The first priority is to build a colony base. Once it completes we can get 2 food per farmer, nullifying the food penalty we have for now. Once marine barracks are complete, we'll get 2.5 food per farmer. Likewise, we'll get 3.2 production points per worker, and 4 after marine barracks, which is better than the regular 3 on abundant home world. Note that research will only be 2.4 per researcher until marine barracks, so if I want to research while building marine barracks home world may still be best.

Freighters are not needed to transfer population between planets in the same solar system, so once built we can instantly move over all colonists but one. One farmer on home world will farm 1.5 food will round up to 2, so having two colonists on home world will work out pretty good too.

As a colony base will help us so much, it sounds good to sell our initial star base, so we can rush buy it. In addition to giving us 200 BC instantly, we'll get 2 BC less maintenance per turn until it is rebuilt. This is especially good in this game, as we'd want to build our initial ships on the rich colony base, so the star base on the home planet is only needed once we need the extra command point.

Note that after we finish the colony base, we will be researching to get to labs, which the new colony isn't any better at doing. We'll need four farmers to get population growth. Three workers will create 6 hammers, while a fourth will create one production point and one pollution which sounds wasteful. Especially as the next priority is to research. Thus we'll rather leave the last colonist to research.

With 6 production points, we'll produce 102 PP in 17 turns. Once we get to 100 PP we can rush buy rest for 2 BC per PP. We could have rush bought it earlier but then we'd use a lot more money, and in the long term we'd rather save money to rush buy labs and factories, and possibly hire a leader if a good one comes along.

Once the colony base is built, we need a marine barrack. With 6 PP, that is 5 turns to build 30 PP and the rest can be bought.

3500.0: Use 3 workers to produce 6 PP so we can build half a colony base in 17 turns. Rest currently need to be farmers due to bad farming skills. Sell Star Base immediately to get money to rush buy base later, so we can also avoid 2 BC upkeep cost.

3501.4: Captain Jarred offers his services for 200 BC and 2 BC a turn. Helmsman, Navigator, Weaponry and Diplomat. Not too bad, but too early to pay 2 BC upkeep when we want to use money to rush buy. Dismissing him to get him out of the way and allow AI that may get him to pay upkeep early. Also got population expansion and now have 9 colonists.

3501.7: Rush buying remaining 98 PP of colony base. Reassign the three workers to be scientists.

3501.8: Administrator Kimbuzzi offers his services for 30 BC and 1 BC a turn. He is a +10% farming leader. That's not enough to matter currently, but as we get more population it will, and he is likely to level up to improve. Better than no leader at all. Will likely hire him, but awaiting a bit until it looks like it'll free up a colonist. Also built colony base. We have no freighters yet so I leave one farmer in old colony, and leave another one as scientist to use the second food. (Luckily 1.5 food rounds up) We need 2 workers on new colony to get 6 PP, to produce half a barrack in 5 turns. I could have used a third to get it done in 4 turns, but all in all we research faster leaving him as researcher as we otherwise pollute and overshoot 30 PP by 2. That leaves two scientists on new base and four farmers. At this point it doesn't matter what we produce in old colony as we have no shields at all there.

3502.3: Built half a barrack. Rush buying rest. At this time we have a decent percentage to finish. Moving some researchers to start collecting PP for later laboratories. Storing 6 PP for old colony and 8 PP for new, but getting -27k growth this turn.

Game StrategyExplanation
Research/build Research Laboratories

We need to research quite a lot early on, and we do that a lot quicker with Research Laboratories. We even get some resource without having research allotted.

We want to minimize time to labs are built, and are willing to use money to rush buy. If we manage to build 30 PP we can rush buy the rest. Due to pollution effects, that may mean running some workers while researching. While we may research slower, we'll need less production points when we are done researching. Don't slow research to get more than 30pp unless we can't afford to rush buy rest though. Also, it's slightly more ideal to invest in production at the end of the research period while we have a chance to finish the research. That way, we can avoid wasting too much research into growing our chance up towards 100%.

Research/build Automatic Factories

Once we have research labs in place, we need to improve production. Research through Reinforced Hull to factories, and hopefully have at least 30 PP saved up at that time to be able to get factories a turn after invented.

3502.4: Reserched Electronic Computer. Research Laboratories next. Finished building Marine Barracks on new colony too. Without the moral penalty, we can now get away with 1 farmer on old colony and 3 on new. (Without farming leader which we have yet not hired) Using the rest as scientists we can get 18 RP per turn. We'd like to get more shields for labs too though, but putting all as scientists for now.

3503.0: Population growth on new colony. Automatically put as farmer as otherwise we would not have enough food. Hiring the farming leader won't help either as we produce less than 10 food and is barely rounding up as is. Growth drops from +84k to +34k if I assign him somewhere else, but I'm willing to take this growth reduction to hopefully get to labs quicker. Assigning him too as scientist.

3503.1: Commander V'Larr asks to be drafted. A helmsman, navigator, weaponry ship officer with megawealth. He wants 180 BC. Bringing in 10 BC a turn he pays for himself in 18 turns only, and will help economy drastically after that. Signing him on now will leave us 45 BC remaining with +19 BC income, just a few turns before we hope to buy two labs for 60 BC each, but we haven't managed to store up half yet, so it may delay before we can do so anyhow. With +19 BC income we earn 75 BC in less than 4 turns, so it might not matter. Signing him on. Assigning one worker per colony to start to save up shields.

3503.4: Researched labs. Starting to research Reinforced Hull towards factories. Have stored up 30 PP exactly on Tellus III (new gaia colony), so buying labs there. We look to have stored up 16 PP on Tellus II. If we put four workers there we can build 14 PP in 2 turns. To avoid losing population that means we have to assign 5 farmers there and still be one food short, but with still +17k growth so we avoid losing population. That leaves 1 farmer and two workers on Tellus III. Prioritizing working over research now, as we'll research more efficient after labs are built and we need to store up production for factories at some time too.

3503.5: Labs built on Tellus III. Putting workers there to research.

3503.6: Rush buying labs on Tellus II. Now got 24 BC left, but +20 BC income. Moving colonists again, leaving one farmer and one worker on Tellus II, and four farmers, 6 scientists on Tellus III.

3503.7: Labs built on Tellus II. That leaves us 30 RP having one worker on each colony.

3503.9: Researched Reinforced Hull, next up Automatic Factories.

3504.5: Researched Automated Factories. Managed to store up 31 PP on Tellus III so I can rush buy that one immediately. Tellus II only managed to store up 24 PP, so I need 6 more. Putting in extra worker to get there in one turn.

3504.6: Finished factories on Tellus III. Rush buying last 30 PP on Tellus II. Moving colonists so there's 1 farmer and one scientist on Tellus II and four farmers and 7 researchers on Tellus III. Now I'm one food short, and producing ten food, so +10% leader would actually help, and dang, it's still 2 turns until he leaves, so I just make it to hire him. Need to decide what to research next now, as I'll already get percentage chances on a 50 RP one if I pick one of those. Running all scientists I now have 42 RP available.

The distance map above shows the distance between solar systems in the galaxy. Up to 4 parsecs are marked green, up to 6 yellow and up to 9 orange. We get nowhere with the default 4 parsecs range. We don't want extended fuel tanks on our warships, so we need at least Deuterium Fuel Cells to go to war. There are yellow/green paths to get just about anywhere in our end of the galaxy, but there aren't that many paths to choose from. Some of these solar systems may hide systems with no orbits to build an outpost on, or being protected by a space beast we can yet fight, so we may still get stuck if unlucky though. Irridium Fuel Cells will be very welcome, but we should hopefully be able to pull of first war with Deuterium. (We can fly outside the paths of course, but we can only fly a given amount of parsecs away from one of our colonies or outposts.)

At this time we have not contacted anyone yet, but getting ready to attack takes time, so we need to start early. To get there we need to reach several objectives, so we need to know what they are and try to prioriter the best order. They are:

The above minimum consist of 1080 RP and 1947 PP with pollution processor but no outposts. That's quite a big RP and PP investment, so only doing the above might leave us lagging behind in other aspects. Several sidegoals listed below are useful, as many of them pays, at least partly, for themselves by speeding up our ability to finalize the above.

The star base and warship has to be built by our production world. That's 1692 PP. If we manage to max out pop at 15 and run 9 workers (the rest is needed as farmers), that's 30 PP/turn. 20 PP/turn is lost due to pollution. At 30 PP/turn, that's 57 turns until ready. However, we're not at max pop yet, and that leaves no scientist to work on the 1080 RP. Moving all the workers to scientists we get 50 RP/turn. That's a minimum of 22 turns to research. In practise that has to be more, as finishing the listed RP for a tech, only starts percentage of success to zero and you need to invest more to actually succeed. Likely more than 30 turns are needed. Thus, all in all, we estimate that we need maybe 90 turns to be ready even if that is the only priority.

To avoid 57 turns to build ship, we'd like Robo-Miners. To research Robo-Miners quickly together with all the other stuff we'd want to research, we want Planetary Supercomputer. But if we do that, we will use a bit longer, and Soil Enrichment and Biospheres will probably pay off.

Going through Soil Enrichment first, we will use ~16 turns extra for research and spend 120 PP more, possibly on both planets, but that will free up 2-3 colonists to do other jobs than farming, which if researching will add ~12 RP per turn. That pays itself back in ~65 turns if we think research alone, and 16 + 65 is less than 90, so if we start with this, it may be close to paying itself back before we're done. Also bear in mind, that going through Biospheres we may get another 2 colonists per colony extra, which will also increase our efficiency.

Similarily, going to Planetary Supercomputers will take a long time to research, as that is 1300 RP in itself, but once we have that, we will research a lot more efficient. That would increase the 42 RP we could get now to 78 RP. With almost double the research, we could research the other bits a lot more efficient. It will delay readyness some, but we will then be free to research further, rather than wasting a lot of turns afterwards to research.

It's hard to know what's optimal here, but it sounds good to go through most of the sidegoals here. At least Supercomputer and Robo-Miners. It will leave us in much better shape if it takes time for us to find an enemy to fight.

3504.7: Finished factories on Tellus III. Researching freighters. As we know have factories on Tellus II too, and it has no critical bits to produce at the moment, it sounds good to start producing housing to get more colonists. We could always start to save up for a later production, but as it may take a little while prior to needing it, it would be good to increase worker count first. Tellus III will be our production planet, and it has many citizens so housing is less efficient. Leaving it to store PP for now. (That is, building something expensive we can exchange later if we want to).

3504.8: Finished researching Freighters. Building some on production planet but only alotting a single worker to avoid pollution. No rush. Tempting to research Power or Chemistry to be able to build scout/outpost/colony ships, but if we manage to do some of the bits that speeds up later first, we'll save on total time. I'm wagering that we'll get enough time to scout prior to being able to finish war ship regardless, and we won't have time to build 500 PP colony ships soon anyhow. Going for Biospheres next. (Going to Supercomputer first would have bigger gain, but also take quite a bit more time.)

3505.0: Finished building freighter fleet. Can now speed up housing by moving farmer from Tellus II to III, at the cost of 1 freighter (0.5 BC). However, that also leaves me with a +1 food surplus which gives me 0.5 BC income, so nothing has changed but housing speed, which is up from 148k to 176k.

3505.1: Got pop growth in housing factory. Moving to Tellus III.

3505.2: Finished researching Biospheres. Soil Enrichment next. Building Biospheres.

3505.5: Finished building Biospheres.

3506.3: Finished researching Soil Enrichment. Grew a bit more pop while waiting. Now at 16 pop total. Have only managed to store up 50 PP. Will produce 10 more before buying next turn. Neural scanner next.

3506.4: Rush buying Soil Enrichment on Tellus III.

3506.5: Soil Enrichment built. One farmer less needed for now.

3507.4: Neural Scanner researched. Planetary Supercomputer next. Now at 18 pop.

3507.9: Captain Sparky offers to join. Engineer/Ordnance for 200 BC and 2 BC per turn, bringing along Advanced Damage Control. Probably going to hire him just to get Advanced Damage Control, but can wait a few turns.

3508.1: Got to 20 pop total. Housing not very efficient anymore at 3 pop as new worker doesn't add more than 1 PP due to pollution. Starting colony base, though we'll likely switch in supercomputer first later.

3509.1: Captain V'Larr gains a level. Now +10 helmsman/weaponry.

3509.4: Mrrsshan get a lucky conversion to Ultra-Rich. So they are in the game at least.

3509.7: Finished researching supercomputer. Researching Transport.

3509.8: Built supercomputer in both colonies.

3509.9: Finished researching Transport. Chemistry next.

3510.0: Finished researching Chemistry for standard ship bits. Battle pods next. Building a ship on Tellus III (As I want II to get colony base soonish)

3510.3: Finished battle pods, spaceport next.

3510.6: Farming leader gets a level and is now 20%. Another farmer freed for other tasks.

3510.8: Hiring sparky to get Advanced Damage Controls. Firing him right after.

3510.9: Spaceport finished researching. Robo-Miners next. Not so long to Robo-Miners so want to save production to instantly build those. Inserting Spaceport on Tellus III to delay Star Base.

3511.0: Inserting Spy into building chain of Tellus III, to delay Star Base until we research Robo-Miners so we can build those instantly.

3511.7: And we have our first contact. The mysterious Darloks. Needs investigating.

We were hoping for our first conquest to have colonists with decent bonuses we could take advantage of, but the Darlok has none. But at least they don't have penalties, so still an upgrade. Being a Ruthless Industrialist with stealthy ships with bonuses and spy advantages, it would be nice to get them out of the way ASAP.

Nazin is their home world, so the other ones are likely poorly developed. I'm guessing there's an AI below and above us too. Their closest planet Min, is 10 parsecs away. I can scout it, but they can't attack me as of now unless they have extended tanks on their warships. I need to build ships fast, and may not want to extend towards them prior to having one. Conquering is cheaper anyhow and gains me more, so will ignore colony ships for now.

The Darlok has Irridium Fuel Cells, which explains why we got in contact with them at this time. Additionally, they have both Merculite Missiles and Pollution Processor, indicating they have another contact, as they could not have researched both themselves. (Unless possibly there's a leader with one of those techs but I can't remember any) Hopefully we can acquire fuel cells from them, and attack Min through a single outpost. Doing that, even if they destroy our outpost prior to us conquering Min, they won't be able to move onto our home world without creating a colony/outpost themselves, which I doubt they have ready. We have a target. Start the countdown.

Doing surprisingly well compared to the Darlok, with this being Impossible. They have a poor race that gives them no early bonuses, but I still expected them to be at least on par with me. I guess there's other races I haven't met yet that has come much further though. Might meet some more soonish now that I've got good fuel cells and starting to scout outwards.

We have a single scout and reach one bar on the fleet graph. If the graph shows command points used, Darlok thus use 12. That could include several war ships which can appear anywhere. Defending newly acquired colonies will be difficult. Likely I just need to hit and run fast, trying to take them by surprise and leaving them with their ships on defense or out of the way.

Game StrategyExplanation
Get ready to attack the Darlok

What's left before I can go to war?

  • Star Base, ready in maybe 10 turns. Can rush buy it, but I guess I can just as well wait and see if I want to rush buy ship or not instead.
  • Warship. 1292 BC will take a while. With 50 PP, that's still 26 turns. Might want to rush buy when I can.
  • Transport. 100 PP. Can build with other colony.
  • Tritanium Armor. Can be researched pretty fast.
  • Pollution Processor. (Or Merculite Missiles) to get MIRV upgrade. Unless I manage to trade for both from Darlok.

That's all that's required. Though, some more power tech to get a faster drive would be nice. Space Academy, and Alient Management Center will be useful when we start fighting. I should start teching into Physics and Force Fields soon too. Bottle-neck is likely to get battleship ready. We'll priotize that high and see what else we can fit in.

3511.9: Finished researching Robo-Miners. Putting on top of build list. Director Androgena offers to help. +20% farming, financial, labor and medicine. Sounds great. 220 BC now and 3 BC per turn. Hiring and replacing farming leader. Keeping Kimbuzzi for now as he's only 1 BC per turn at level 1. Might want to use him on another solar soon. Demanded to get Irridium fuel cells and got them :D. Can now research armor instead of fuel cells. Starting to up production on Tellus III. 5 turns to Star Base if I keep my 5 workers there. About time to get a warship.

3512.0: Demanded pollution processor of the Darlok and they willingly gave us that too. They also have merculite missiles. If we manage to get that too, we can save the 650 RP. Maybe we should try to get in contact with another AI too. Putting in pollution processor on top of build list of both colonies. Before pollution processor, Tellus II produce 30 PP, getting 9 pollution from 4 workers. The 8 workers assigned to Tellus III to build Star Base quickly, are currently producing 51 PP, wasting another 31 in pollution.

3512.1: Built pollution processor in both colonies. Tellus II now produce 36 PP if I assign 4 workers there. The 8 workers on Tellus III are now producing 68 PP with another 14 points in pollution. Quite an improvement. We can now allot many workers to finish fast without wasting that much production. The Darlok keep on giving. They accepted me demanding Merculite Missiles too. With pollution processors built, we can assign all colonists to workers without throwing away too much production as pollution. To get ready as soon as possible we assign all non-farmers as workers for now. Three turns to star base and 5 to colony base. (Want a base now so we can start housing in 3rd planet and populate Tellus II fully)

3512.2: I see Darloks have acquired Ion Drive now too. That would be cool to get our hands on too, but currently they won't speak to us.

3512.4: Our scout reach Min. There's a huge heavy-g abundant gaia planet there they have populated with 5 pop and a star base. A destroyer and a cruiser is orbiting, accounting for 5 of their command points. There's also an uncolonized poor medium barren planet. We might consider creating an outpost on it, so if we have to retreat from combat here, we go nowhere. We have also scouted three worlds close to us as can be seen from map above, but none were much interesting. Completed Star Base. Designed a Sabre worth 1292 PP, and started building it. Will have to redesign once we have last techs. At current build speed we can finish in 14 turns. We may actually be able to rush buy almost half if we really want though. Currently at 1093 BC with 19 BC income/turn.

3512.5: We finish researching Tritanium Armor and we got next level for free as we had demanded both techs. We need a tech plan going forwards. Redesigned MBoat to have MIRV upgraded missiles and Tritanium Armor. Was able to contact Darlok again. Traded hydro farms for advanced damage control. We will kill of their ships in one go, so that doesn't hurt us. Hopefully they won't trade it all over the galaxy before we invade, but we're planning to take out enemy vessels in one go later too anyhow.

Game StrategyExplanation
Research plan

The next research boosting tech is Autolabs at 2750 RP, requiring a level before for 1500 RP in addition. The question is, what techs are worth researching prior to going there. They should be reasonably cheaper to research.

  • Sociology gives Space Academy (150 RP), Alien Management Center (650 RP), and then Planetary Stock Exchange (1150 RP). All sounds good, but none critical at this time.
  • Biology gives us Telepathic Training (900 RP), Terraforming (1150 RP) and then Weather Control System (1500 RP). These would also be good. Terraforming is a nice tech to trade/demand for though, as it's only tech in that level. We're not in need of Terraforming yet, but will get there soon. Weather Control System would be nice to use even less farmers, but currently we don't need that many.
  • Force field gives us various interesting options at 250 RP and 650 RP, but hard to say which are best to have. But while Class III shield would be nice next at 1150 RP, Planetary Radiation Shield is hard to ignore. There's a 1500 RP level, and at 2000 RP, the awesome defense tech Warp Interdictor comes. We won't wait that long before going that route, though we likely want to go Autolabs first as it gets expensive.
  • Physics gives basic tech at 50 RP, Fusion Rifle at 150 RP, Tachyon Communications at 250 RP, Neutron Scanner at 900 RP and the interesting Planetary Gravity Generator at 1150 RP. The latter will be required to make the Min gaia planet good, so this sounds like a priority soon. Beyond gravity generator, there's a very interesting level at 1500 RP with both Jump Gates and Sub-Space communications. We want both, but may have to go for Jump Gates to be able to defend our planets with a small force.
  • Chemistry gives us Atmospheric Renewer at 1150 RP, and Zortrium Armor at 2000 RP. Both good options.
  • Of the above, we will prioritizing going down Physics to get gravity generator and then Sociology to get Alien Management Center and Planetary Stock Exchange. But first priority now is not research, but getting ship ready.

3512.6: Finished Colony Base, and colonized barren Tellus I orbit. Now we have filled all orbits in home system apart from a gas giant. Moving over two workers to get 6 PP towards factories. Building Transport next on Tellus II. Will rush buy factories later, but don't want to waste 240 BC on it.

3512.7: Finished researching physics basics.

3513.1: Short 2 BC to rush buy warship. Well. Rushbuying tons of PP in our best production planet doesn't sound too smart. Rush buying half the factories on Tellus I now instead. Think I'll let the ship build normally and save the money to rush buy factories and robo miner plants on invaded colonies later. Demanded Battle Scanner from Darlok too. They're still giving it away.

3513.3: Research Fusion Rifle. Tachyon Communications next. Finished building an outpost ship. Going to red star east of us. Building another, which can be used to make outpost on neighboring planet in Min, so I have the option of retreating without waiting a long time to get back. Sadly that will put us one above max command points though, which will give us -10 BC for a few turns.

3513.5: Got in contact with the Meklar.

The Meklar race has +2 industry and Cybernetic, which is both traits we can take advantage of if we conquer them. That'll be +3 industry compared to my native colonists. But one war at a time, and I think I'll like to get rid of Darlok first regardless. The meklar are Erratic Industrialists, but I think it will be easier to keep a peace with them than with the Darlok if needs be. At least, I can see their ships if they come.

The meklar performs like Darlok on the graphs, and they have some bonuses that will be good early on at least. But I'm still guessing there'll be some AIs out there that's far ahead of us. They seem to have a notable fleet too.

The above shows the techs we can attempt to demand from the Meklar. Nothing critical, and nothing we will risk going to war on at this time, but ECM Jammers and Fighter Garrison might at least be a bit interesting techs.

3513.6: Built another outpost ship. Setting course to Min. Starting Soil Enrichment on Tellus II.

3513.7: Darlok comes demanding to get our outpost between us. We refuse of course and they declare war. We planned to kill of the right enemy first. Our missile boat will be finished next turn, and then we'll attack at force. Our outpost might be killed of in the meantime, but as long as we manage to set course for Min first, we should be fine. Sending my scout to go reach Min the same time as our outpost ship, so if we get into battle we can hopefully retreat rather than getting the outpost ship killed.

Game StrategyExplanation
Attack first enemy

Once we have a missile boat together with our scout we have a good force to go on the attack, especially with our Iridium fuel cells. Preferrably, the enemy would have cool racial traits we can take advantage of, but getting rid of an enemy and getting colonists without penalties is still a good gain.

Having an enemy to attack, we're ignoring colony ships for now. Rather producing transports to take advantage of the window where we can use our missile boat to kill of enemies.

3513.8: Missile boat completed. Building more transports, to not slow down war too much, though sadly, we'll get several negative command points.

3514.0: Our missile boat takes Min. Bombarded to be sure of taking the colony. Built Soil Enrichment on Tellus II. Can now buy remaining production for Robo-Miners on Tellus I for 2 BC per PP. Doing that. Star Base next om Tellus II. Research Tachyon communication, so currently at 0 command points again, though building more transports. No PP produced at all on Min. Awaiting to buy factory, as I'll be moving on soon without defending it.

3514.1: Building a transport, sending it to Min. I notice Darlok is now at war with Meklar too. Are we able to grab Psi Gamma before the Meklar?

3514.2: Meklar and Darlok seems to have declared peace.

3514.3: Meklar seems to get Psi Gamma from diplomacy.

3514.4: Took Nazin. As the Darlok gave away Psi Gamma that was their last colony so they are gone. Taking Nazin also got me in contact with the Sakkra.

Score! A subterranean race with +100% population growth, +1 food production, high gravity and tolerant. In total 32 racial traits I can have some use for. The Sakkra are Aggressive Expansionists currently at war with Psilon. They have Zortrium Armor, but otherwise nothing else interesting technology wise. Being uncreative, repulsive and -10 spying, doesn't make researching the useful bits easy. They sure will be a tempting target to attack, but doing so with the Meklar just below us will leave us very open for attack on the heartland before we have gotten Warp Interdictors to help defense. We may settle for attacking the Meklar first.

Expansionist with +100% growth and subterranean/tolerant to boot. Population is surely booming. The Sakkra needs to be contained at some point. Having more buildings comes with having more colonies, and their fleet doesn't look scary apart from the Zortrium armor. With their massive population though, they should have good capacity for production and research, but the poor suckers don't have any production or research boosting techs for now.

Game StrategyExplanation
Keep offensive pressure while setting up a good defense and developing new colonies.

We will defend with ships to be able to avoid wasting lots of production and credit upkeep on planetary defense tech. That also allow us to take other picks in the tree. For that to work, we need ships to get to where they need to defend. The key here is the Warp Interdictor tech, which slows down ships close to your colonies to 1 parsec/turn. This typically give you at least a three turn warning on incoming ships, and you should be able to get anywhere you want to defend in three turns. Late game you fix that using Star Gates, but earlier, you need to get a fast drive, and possibly boost it further with Jump Gates or a leader that speeds up your ships.

There's 18 parsecs between Tellus and Nazin. To travel that distance in 3 turns we need to move 6 parsecs per turn. Now we move at 5 with the navigator bonus. We can speed that up with a drive and/or jump gates. Setting up in the middle of our solars we should be able to reach about everywhere in 3 turns.

Keeping a separate defending and attacking fleet might slow you down quite a bit though. It can sometimes pay off to leave your systems defenseless a bit while you ravage offensively. It is risky though. Sometimes you can get away with a small defensive force, or rush buy some planetary defenses if you see enemies coming in while your defense is gone on offense.

We currently don't have range to attack the Sakkra, and defending a territory right across the galaxy with other AIs on all sides will be hard. Think we'll do a first strike on the Meklar instead. Awaiting transports to get in range to hit Psi Gamma. Once we take Psi Gamma, that is the only colony the Meklar has range to get to to attack us back. Once we get to Dunwich they only have range to get to that one.

3514.5: Finished factories on Min. Robo-Miners next. Rush buying rest of Star Base on Tellus II to avoid some of the command point negatives.

3514.6: Finished Star base and our first spy. Biospheres and Spaceport next on Tellus II. Adding in another freighter fleet in prod planet cycle. Only -1 command point now that base is up.

3514.7: First Darlok citizen no longer revolting. Sending him to Tellus I to produce housing with him instead of our own race. Sending our force to Psi Gamma to attack the Meklar. Demanded fighter garrison that we got, and then ECM Jammer which we did not. They declared war. So be it.

3514.8: Took down 2 cruisers and invaded Psi Gamma. A Meklar battleship is incoming in one turn. Waiting a turn to greet it before moving on. Buying last 30 PP of factories on Nazin. Finished spaceport on Tellus II. Building spies on both Tellus II and III while concentrating more on researching up to Autolabs. Moving our forces south to Dunwich.

3515.1: Invaded Dunwich. Awaiting a turn for another transport and then moving on to Meklon.

3515.3: Invaded Meklon. Warship that had been and bombed Psi Gamma incoming in two turns, so have to wait for that one to not let it bomb Meklon too. Stole ECM Jammers when invading Meklon.

Starting to get many colonies. Will stop reporting every build.

3515.7: Invaded Riwand. Only Suji left of the Meklar.

3515.9: The Meklar are no more.

Some scouts to scout the systems we've yet to be at would be good, but going towards Sakkra sounds higher priority than mapping our internal territory. We have two command points free now, but only one transport. Trying to keep momentum, we will create two more transports now, and scout later. We have one scout in war fleet which should scout ahead to ensure we don't accidentally jump into Orion, which is bound to be one of these middle planets.

We plan to get factories, robo miners and barracks all over the new colonies. Will find some colonies to be housing factories with Meklar colonists. Others will try to develop to become useful. Need more freighters to be able to move colonists around as they are grown elsewhere.

We got a good chunk of population here, and once they assimilate and we can start housing factories, we shouldn't be that far behind Sakkra. At least not if we can successfully attack them. Their tech level may be close to ours but as uncreative they have lots of bad choices in there. The biggest worry for whether we are able to invade any of them is that they have Zortrium armor, so we may need more firepower. Also, they are high-G with Zortrium armor and anti-grav harness. They will have a big ground combat bonus over us.

3516.0: Researched Cyber-Security Link, giving +10 spying, on our way to Autolabs. Once we have autolabs, we should be able to really up research now that we have lots of colonies to build it in.

3516.2: Mrsshan and Sakkra go to war. I guess that might bring Sakkra fleet away from colonies facing me.

3516.5: Our spies stole Class III shield from the Sakkra. The Sakkra is a prime target for stealing some tech as they have spying penalties together with Feudal and no spy tech. That means their ships have both Class III shields and Zortrium Armor. More firepower is indeed welcome. Built an outpost so we have range to some of their colonies. Trying my luck at Rex. We just manage to kill of their star base, but they have too many marines, so we just bomb some and await later to invade. Got two more transport incoming, but they'll use some turns getting here. A sakkra battleship is heading our way here too. Lets see if we can just kill that too. Also contacted Mrrshan and Trilarian when we got this far into the galaxy. They are further above.

Starting to get a layout of the galaxy now. In addition to these, Sakkra reported to be at war with Psilon earlier, so I guess they are in lower right corner. And then it looks like it may be space in north west corner for the last AI. Mrrshan and Trilarian both is a bit away from us for now, so until more advanced fuel cells than Iridium is teched, we shouldn't need to defend in many places yet. The Mrshan are ruthless industrialists with no active spies and no wars nor alliances. The Trilarian are erratic expansionists with no active spies. They're at war with the humans, so I guess those are the last AI up in the north west corner. The mrrshan has Terraforming and Dimensional Portal and Gyro Destabilizers. All interesting tech. I see no spying bonuses among their techs, and they are feudal, so we should get some spies in here. The Trilarian have Terraforming, Radiation Shield, Missile Base, Dimensional Portal and Gyro Destabilizers. Also looks like a ripe spy target. They have +10% being a dictatorship but I see no spying techs elsewhere.

The Trilarian looks like a bigger thread than the Mrshan but none of them look scary. I'm guessing the humans are not that scary either as we haven't seen any systems of theirs yet they have not expanded far. The psilons have both some space, and can tech a lot, so they could be formidable, but they are usually fairly peaceful and won't be able to stand against us when we are a lot bigger.

We are already on top with buildings starting to get factories and robo-miners on new colonies. Only Sakkra is ahead of us on population. While our tech graph isn't on top, we have the best set of techs by far among those we can see, and the others fleet isn't scary given that noone has more than twice our fleet, and we have just a single battleship. This game looks to be in the bag.

3516.6: Hiring Captain Diablo that came some time ago to get an extra 4% spying bonus. Sakkra rerouted their battleship to Dannu below us. Don't they dare oppose us?

3516.7: V'Larr gets a level. Now a +2 navigator. That'll be helpful. Our spies steal dimensional portal. Not exactly much useful to us as our single nuclear missile boat isn't exactly ready to tackle the Antarans yet :)

3516.8: Invaded Rex after bombing it down to zero marines. They have so awesome marines, that it's hard to kill of even with a huge number advantage. If I hold Rex until I can breed a sakkra colonist I can send of, we have awesome colonists to grow everywhere.

3517.3: Managed to house a sakkra colonist after buying factories. Transporting to Min to start producing sakkra colonists to the rest of my colonies.

3517.7: Took out Star Base on Dannu, and bombarded until they only had 1 marine left. With a +47 bonus against our +10 though, we luckily manage to kill him off after we had lost 7 of 8 of ours. Very barely managed to take out star base with 2 volleys of missiles. Need more firepower before I can blitz further. But main goal is met. We now have Sakkra population to grow. Also met the Psilons as Dannu is closer to their territory.

As expected, the Psilons are in bottom right corner of the galaxy. They have a pretty nice race with plus to both food, industry and research and as always they are creative. Think I would prefer growing these Psilons over the Meklar as my above ground colonists. Maybe if Hydrae is a captured world, I could get access to Psilon colonists without going to war. Thinking I might want to ensure peace with Psilons while hacking at Sakkra and Trilarian first. The Psilons are Pacifistic Technologists, so shouldn't be too hard to keep peace with them. Unless they end up mad due to us trying to spy for techs.

We've got a tech lead, soon to become bigger as we invent Autolabs. We got the most buildings as we have teched a lot of useful ones and have lots of colonies. Sakkra still has x3 our fleet, but my solo ship should be sufficient for defense for now. Getting command points for a second ship here though, so building a second one soon. We're still behind Sakkra in pop, but we now have more solars and colonies, and they're a feudal, uncreative race lacking lots of great techs, so I'm not worried at all. This game should be in the bag unless I start being careless.

The Psilons have severel tech we are interested in (in addition to quite a few more which aren't really that interesting):

3518.1: Finished researching Autolabs. Score. Building all over where we already have robo miners. Killed star base of Sakkras main planet in Sssla. Guess we should create some more transports to take advantage of it.

3518.3: Got in contact with the Humans. They seems to think I'm aggressive. I dunno why :) Anyhow. That's the final race.

The humans are all up in the corner. I guess they just colonized Goi as we got in contact. That's still 12 parsecs away from my home world. Humans are good food producers, but otherwise nothing special.

Even with their +50% research bonus, the humans are lagging seriously behind in technology. As they don't dominate anywhere else either, they are lagging behind in total. We should have nothing to fear here as long as we keep some defensive capability close. We see that we have almost caught up to Sakkra in pop. We're leading in tech and just invented Autolabs so this is looking very bright.

Even though they are lagging behind in tech, they have some techs we'd like to have anyhow. Nothing critical though. Dauntless Guidance System sounds like the most interesting one.

3518.4: An election for emperor was held. We had most votes with our 10 of 34 votes. Sakkra had 9 votes. All the others abstained.

3518.7: Our spies stole Gyro Destabilizers from the Trilarian. They were not happy.

3519.1: Finally our spies stole Zortrium Armor.

3519.8: Invented terraforming.

3520.1: Made non-agression pact with Psilons. We also have trade and research agreements with them. Traded to get heavy armor for class III shields.

3520.3: Invented radiation shield.

3520.6: Both Trilarian and Mrshan declare war after trying to demand Biospheres first. Not worried about Mrshan as they can only attack where my fleet already is, but the Trilarian have just colonized Bestia and have Nazin in range.

3520.8: Trilarian attacked on Nazin with 2 battleships and a cruiser, but my single star base managed to fend of. Killed one battleship and the cruiser and then the other battleship retreated. The Trilarian only have Titanium armor so got little survivability once we get through the shield. I want to get some decent defense on Nazin, but fleet needs to be where it is to defend against Sakkra and Mrshan. But maybe I can clean up a bit there so I can move on. Anyhow. Building a third ship to stay at Nazin and soon teching Warp Interdictor. Good that nobody have more than Iridium Fuel Cells currently.

3522.0: A bit pressed with attacks from Sakkra and Trilarian at the same time. Let Sakkra bomb away one of the colonies I stole from them earlier at Barcada such that I could bomb their last colony to nothing to get them out of the game. Had no transport available to steal it. Anyhow, that has created a buffer zone between me and Mrshan with empty planets for now. No big loss. Now I'll go after Trilarian to remove their chance at hitting at me. Removing Endoria first, to remove their range into eastern bits of my colonies.

3522.4: Removed colonies on Endoria and San San, such that Mrshan is out of range. Want to move on to Bestia, but I guess we should go down and take out the space eel first.

3523.7: Humans also declare war. Trilarian are losing ground. Mrshan passified for now. Psilon getting angry for my spying though. Might go to war too soon. Have stopped spying on Psilon now in hopes of delaying war there while I fight the rest. They don't have much I want anyhow.

3524.8: The humans are no more.

3525.2: 3 Antaran frigates incoming to Sssla. We wiped them out on entry with a nuclear missile battleship.

3525.9: Two trilarian colonies still alive. They're missile bases suddenly got so sturdy that my ships didn't manage to take them out. Seemed like a bug. I killed of their ships and star bases easily. Took first Mrshan world left this turn. Hadn't touched Psilon yet, but they would have been easily killed of. Took the vote victory. As seen from graphs, game have been in the bag for a long time.

Even with a -10 start, I managed to blitz my way through all AIs but one using battleships with only nuclear missiles in them. Didn't thought I'd manage that before they had good enough defenses so I had to do something better. Were close to getting to doomstars with tons of good stuff, but no need.

Game 3 - -Food/-Industry/-Research/Poor Home World/Cybernetic

Took up a challenge for this race. It's not a -10 race as it includes Cybernetic, but it includes cybernetic to make the start rough, using up most your very meager early production for food, so the pick is supposed to make it harder.

The penalty to food I'm not that worried about. Food production isn't essential for cybernetic colonists as they only need half the food. Not too worried about the research modifier either. It isn't nice to begin with, but once we've got research lab it helps considerably, and when we have planetary supercomputers it doesn't matter much anymore. Poor home world together with minus industry is bad though. Especially together with Cybernetic. We need to prioritize a colony base to colonize something better than the poor homeworld.

While these penalties can be worked around, they all will make the early game slower, so we will have issues getting a good start. To help, I managed to get this promising start with a medium, normal gravity, rich, gaia planet orbiting my starting solar system, together with a huge, radiated, poor one and a large, barren, poor one. While the two poor ones will be slow to produce to begin with, they will still be useful, for instance to hold extra science buildings.

The middle galaxy start looks a bit daunting. Not only are we in the middle, but the start position looks a bit challenging fuel cell wise, as there seems to be plenty space among many of these stars. To top it of, the likelyhood of Orion and other space monster guarded solar systems to be close is also high, leaving less paths to explore.

With 2 farmers and 4 workers, I get 4 PP, that all are used to feed the people, and 3 food that is one too little to feed 8 colonists. But it still leaves us with a small positive growth. With the last 2 colonists I can either get 2 PP or 4 RP, or I can halve that and increase the growth somewhat by adding another farmer. Growing doesn't help though, getting to 9 or 10 colonists will only get me in trouble as pollution hits and makes it even harder to get surplus production. We need to get out of this as fast as possible, so build colony base, sell star base, and rush buy the instant we are able to.

3502.1: Administrator Garron offers his services. +10 Megawealth, diplomat and -60 BC famous for 100 BC investment. At this time we're close to being able to rush buy rest, but even though it may delay a turn or two, getting the leader now will be great for income.

3502.6: Administrator Draxx offers to join. 40 BC and 1 BC per turn. But not willing to start paying maintenance for spy leader at this time.

3502.9: Finally able to rush-buy rest of colony base creation. 410 gold for 142 production.

3503.0: Building colony base. Starting to build marine barracks. Aiming to build 30 PP in 4 turns. Two turns with 8 PP and two with 7 PP.

3503.4: Rush buying marine barracks.

3503.5: Built marine barracks. Saving up 30 PP for research lab while teching it.

3504.2: Invented Electronic Computers. Research Laboratories next.

3505.2: Commander Gizmo offers to join. A +5 research leader is nice at this point.

3506.0: Research Laboratories researched. Reinforced Hull next. Rush bought rest of labs.

3506.1: Build Research Labs on both colonies.

3506.5: Researched Reinforced Hull. Automatic Factories next.

3507.1: Researched Automated Factories. Freighters next. Building factories.

3507.2: Rush bought both factories. Director Ailis offers to join. Environmentalist, medicine, spiritual leader. Could have hoped for a better leader, but probably worth the 140 BC cost and 2 BC per turn. Hiring him.

3507.3: Freighters researched. Biospheres next.

3507.4: Built freighter fleet. Now old world up to +155k growth then

3507.6: Biospheres invented. Chemistry next for basic ship bits.

3507.7: Biospheres built.

3507.8: Invented basic ship bits. Starting on Neural Scanner towards Planetary Supercomputer. Designing cheapest possible scout to scout neighboring planets.

3508.1: Scout looked north, and that is Orion. Guardian wasted our scout immediately of course. With north neighbour being Orion, it looks like we are kind of walled in towards all sides but the south side, until Iridium Fuel Cells are known.

3508.7: Finished a colony base. One more left to create.

3509.0: Neural Scanner researched. Planetary Supercomputer next.

3509.2: Buying rest of automated factories on new colony.

3509.3: Automated Factories built on new colony. Marine barracks next.

3509.5: Colony base built on last planet in home solar.

3509.9: GNN report. Bulrathi stumble upon Advanced Construction. So they are in the game at least.

3510.0: Able to buy factories on last colony.

3510.1: Finished factories and marine barracks. Starting marine barracks on last and labs on next but last. Supercomputers not far away. Should save money from now on for that.

3510.7: Finished labs on 3rd planet. Storing PP for supercomputer.

3510.9: Finished barracks on last colony. Labs next.

3511.4: Finished last research lab. Storing PP.

3511.5: Got in contact with the Trilarian. Looking at the report, they are pacifist industrialists. They have researched past us, and have quite a bit of interesting tech. They also have multiple techs from some areas, indicating they have been trading or otherwise acquiring techs too. For instance, they have Dauntless Guidance System, Hydroponic Farm, Pollution Processor, Heavy Armor and Tritanium Armor and Deuterium Fuel Cells. Pollution control will be great for our cybernetic race, and is still some RP away for us. Heavy Armor would be useful to create ships with high survivability, and if we manage to aquire both Tritanium Armor and Deuterium Fuel Cells we could skip using RP for that block at all.

The Trilarian are west of us, and has grown quite numerous already. Their race is filled with early game bonuses, so no wonder, but the don't have any decent long term bonuses. Not very useful colonists to breed. Their home world would be a nice grab though.

We aren't lagging that bad. Our early colony basing have kept us following fairly close on population growth. Selling our initial star base, we lag a bit on buildings, but nothing much. Fleet is not surprising as we have none. Tech doesn't look good, but as we shall see, they have gotten Dimensional Portal, likely from a leader, and that tech is considered very good and probably make up for the big bend upwards in that graph as of late.

In addition to the techs above, I just demanded Pollution Processors from them that they happily gave us. We see they have quite a few techs more than us, but nothing really scary.

The Trilarian are Pacifistic Industrialists. That likely mean that we can be able to keep the peace with them for a good while, and as they don't have great traits to boost them after early game, and they don't have great colonists for us to breed, I think it would be nice to keep the peace with them and hopefully have a safe neighbor in that direction.

3511.5 continued: Demanded Pollution Processor and Deuterium Fuel Cells from them, and made a trade agreement. Hopefully we can keep the peace with the pacifists.

3511.6: Captain Caern offers to join. Helmsman, Navigator, Ordnance, Security and Weaponry. 120 BC and 2 BC per turn. Don't need him now, but lets consider in 29 turns.

3511.7: GNN: Double population growth on Gnolam colony. Also our scout ends up on same solar as a Silicoid Colony Ship.

3511.8: Researched supercomputer. Battlepods next. Setting colonies to build supercomputers. Made non-agression pact with Trilarians. Now have all three agreements. Hopefully able to keep peace with them for quite some time.

3512.0: Finished supercomputers on all four colonies. Now at 70 RP without any researchers assigned and we'll get 5 RP per researcher used. That pretty much eliminate our research penalty, and soon we will have researched robo-miners to get away from production issues.

3512.1: Found space crystal with scout, which killed my 2nd scout. Pretty surrounded with space monsters here.

3512.2: Invented Battle Pods. Space port next.

3512.6: Spaceports invented. Managed to get Robo-Miners from Trilarians. Teching transport/outpost ship next.

3512.7: End in population boom for Gnolam.

3512.8: Teched transport.

3512.9: Built two robo-miner plants.

3513.0: Teched Trilarium Armor, Merculite Missiles next.

3513.1: Finished a spaceport and third robo-miner plant.

3513.3: Finished last robo-miner plant and another spaceport.

3513.6: Star Base built on rich planet. Starting to build missile battleship. Should be ready in 20 turns or less if we rush buy at the end. Overtime to start an offense somewhere.

3513.8: Merculite missiles researched. We have all tech we need for first battleship. Redesign and prioritize completing it. Let other colonies build transport and outpost in time for battleship completion. Where's the other AI? Would be ashame to attack the Trilarians at this time.

3514.1: Captain Nhagg offers to join. He seems boring. Letting him go. But maybe we should grab Caern soon. 5 turns left until he leave, and we soon have battleship ready. A navigator wouldn't hurt. Made contact with the Silicoid just south of me. Looks like a ripe target.

Ooh. The Silicoid looks like a ripe target. First of all, they have a great race to breed once we get them. Tolerant, Lithovore and population growth for a total of 23 racial trait points we can make use of. They're also perfectly located just south of us. If we create an outpost on Bussola we can reach their closest systems.

The Silicoid is quite a bit ahead of us on every level. Lets hope we can still outwit them in combat and take them down.

The Silicoid are Repulsive so we can't see what techs they have through demand screen, but from report, we see that they have for instance Anti-Matter Drive and Iridium Fuel Cells. They also have both labs, factories and robo-miners. These needs to go down quickly or they can rage havoc in the galaxy. They have class-I shields, but only Titanium Armor. They are Xenophobic Industrialists.

3514.2: Managed to trade Merculite Missiles to Trilarian for Heavy Armor. May come to be useful later. Especially as Cybernetic means ships self-repair.

3514.3: Soil Enrichment researched. Laser cannon next.

3514.4: Laster bits researched. Fusion Rifle next.

3514.5: Finished Soil Enrichment on home planet. Waiting to build on gaia one until missile boat is complete. Also finished transport on other colony. Now have scout, outpost ship and transport waiting. I need more transports, but I also need more command points. Teching towards tachyon communication and we should build some more star bases, or maybe tech battlestations and build those instead. 6 turns to sabre is complete, though a might be able to rush buy a few turns if wanted. Hiring Caern.

3514.6: Teched Fusion Rifle. Tachyon Communication next.

3514.7: Trilarian and Silicoid just declared war. Sounds interesting. That might have the silicoid ships occupied once I'm ready to attack. Sabre ready in four turns and can be rush bought soon.

3514.8: Rush buying battleship.

3514.9: Yay. Battleship built. Will attempt to conquer some Silicoid colonies. Building Soil Enrichment next. Also finished a pollution controller elsewhere. Apart from pollution controller on one colony, I've got no more buildings to build apart from star bases.

3512.2: Attacked Ecber. Star Base have Warp Dissipator, which can become scary for my missile boat not being able to retreat. But took it down and survived the hit, and now have a Silicoid colony. We had +20 ground combat against their +10 (+12 with AI bonus), so they're not that hard to fight on the ground. Starting to build some spies on main production planet, awaiting command points for more transports. When we took Ecber, we also met the Psilon. The Trilarian approached us for an alliance but we refused. Space Academy was stolen from the silicoid from the ground combat.

The Psilon are in the corner. They are pacifistic technologists. Sounds like we should have a fair chance to stay at peace with both Psilon and Trilarian for a while, giving us time to take the Silicoid and maybe some more before we need to face them and/or defend much against them. Surprising to see Psilon with +10 espionage. They will be rough to steal techs from in this game. Their colonists are great researchers, but all in all, the silicoid colonists looks better. Too bad neither is subterranean so we could have both.

The Psilon are lagging behind on everything but tech, and their tech score is high due to Dimensional Portal. Would be nice to get that tech for myself so the graph made more sense to compare.

The Psilon have quite a bit of tech that would be nice to get hold of. Holo Simulator for once, but they are unlikely to want to trade for it.

3515.2 continued: Made trade and research agreements with Psilon and managed to get a hold of Iridium Fuel Cells from them.

3515.5: Invaded Patera. Stole Fusion Beam in ground attack. Trilarian and Psilon has signed non-aggression pact. Gave Psilon Soil Enrichment to get non-aggression pact with them myself.

3516.4: Continuing onslaught on Silicoid, we stole Zortrium Armor when invading one planet in Cryslon system. We managed to trade Battlestation for Missile Base with Psilon, which we have used to defend new conquests against raiding Silicoid ships.

The Humans are up in north east corner and Alkari down in south east corner. GNN has reported of Gnolam and Bulrathi activity, so they should be the two remaining factions. At least one, likely both, should be in north and northwest sections. Both humans and Alkari looks like nice targets to spy on for tech. None of their colonists bears any interest as we have silicoid ones. I don't think Alkaris ship defense bonus helps against our missiles, but I'm not 100% sure.

We are doing great after almost wiping out the silicoid. We're far on top of population (though quite a bit is still unassimilated colonists), which we should be able to turn around to create a good lead. Our building count is shooting high as we now have many colonies. Fleet is still low as we only have one efficient ship, but we see that others are not much above. Once we get us some more command points we can easily mass the biggest fleet too. We're behind on tech according to the graph, but a lot of it is due to lacking Dimensional Portal. We also have the most useful tech, so we're probably at least on par with most of the other AIs, and with all the colonists we've gotten recently, we should be able to do well here going forwards.

The list of techs they have that we don't isn't that big. Most of it are just bits we can tech to ourself fairly soon, though a few bits could be interesting as there are several levels where we may want multiple tech bits. Also, if we can get our hands on terraforming for instance, we get 1150 RP for free as there's nothing else to tech on that level. The list of techs they'd want from us is longer and more interesting. The humans do not have automated factories, research labs, supercomputers, zortrium armor, pollution processor, spaceport and tritanium armor to name some. The list is not that different from the Alkari one.

Game StrategyExplanation
Wipe out Silicoid. See if we can move on to Alkari and then Humans

We're close to wiping out the Silicoid. We should finish the job, and then move on to the Alkari if we can, and then the Humans. That leaves the smallest border where we need to defend ourselves. Lets build star bases or battle stations for more command points once planets develop so we are able to defend better, and get a larger fleet. Try to take advantage of humans and alkari now while their armor is still bad.

They are also good spying targets now, being a Democracy. Not that they have anything critical, but it's nice to get all the tech one can get. Demanding and trading tech with them isn't that bad either. They declaring war isn't that bad if that should happen.

3516.9 continued: Demanded Terraforming and Anti-Matter drive from Humans and Alkari.

3517.0: Finished researching Alien Control Center. Building it everywhere with many unassimilated silicoids.

3517.1: Stole Dimensional Portal and some other tech from Humans and Alkari. They are not happy I'm spying at them.

3517.4: Emperor vote. Me and Trilarian are candidates. 35 votes total. I have 10 votes. Trilarian was voted on by 2 other AIs for a total of 13.

3518.1: Got in contact with Gnolam, north of us. Bulrathi likely in north west corner. The Gnolam is lagging far behind. Trilarian stole Alien Control Center from us. I guess we can make some more defensive spies. Teched Pulson Missiles. Redesigning second missile boat I'm building to get more missiles in it.

3518.6: Finally built another missile boat. This one with heavy armor and a few more missiles after having reduced their size by teching another Chemistry level. Last Silicoid system have been resistant as they've had both battleship and star base guarding it, with warp dissipators to boot. Now I should have the firepower to take it down unless they've improved their defense also. At -4 command points due to it, but 2 colony ships will be at their destinations next turn to reduce to -2. Need to boot 2 scouts too to get in line unless waiting for next battlestation being built in two turns. Booting one scout that wasn't centrally placed for now. Managing to trade for Holo Simulator, Gravity Generator, Cybertronic Computer, Jump Gates and ECM Jammers. Awesome.

3519.1: Finally wiped out the Silicoid. Invented Cyber-Security Link. Autolab next.

3519.6: Magistrate Mentox offers to join for 360 BC. He's a +45% science leader with +22 research. Saving up cash for him.

3519.9: New emperor vote: 37 votes total. Me and humans. I have 13 votes myself and got votes from Psilon and Trilarian for a total of 23. That's 62% of the votes. Close call.

3520.3: Wiped out the Alkari. Got some more space to colonize. Humans next I reckon.

3521.7: Wiped out the Humans. Gnolam next.

3521.8: Took down Crystal at splinter colony at Volans, where there is a large rich low-g gaia planet. Shoulda done that long time ago.

3521.9: Building warp interdictors in the developed systems facing the Psilons and the Trilarian.

3522.4: New emperor vote between me and Trilarian. 44 votes total. I had 25 of those, which is still not enough. I've been slow-playing here, doing too much planet improvements rather than keeping flow of transports and warships up to wipe out the rest.

3523.6: Gnolam's wiped out. Teched Deep Core Mine. Bulrathi looks wiped out by Trilarian. Ursa is just empty.

3524.8: Won Emperors vote with 52 of 61 votes. (Psilon voted for me too)