A trip through the fantasy worlds I enjoy

Update 1.05 added Survival Mode to Multiplayer. In Survival mode, all the AIs are locked in permanent war with the human players and allied with each other. They also receive bonuses that increase over time. The AI will win, the question is, how long will you last? Or in a MP game, which human will last the longest?

But you don't need other humans to play MP in GC4, so I setup a Survival mode game to play all by myself.

 

 

My settings are all fairly typical, one large sector, normal difficulty. I should probably have disabled Tech Trading. Since I am locked at war with the AI, I will never be able to trade techs with them, but they are free to trade with each other.

 

 

I decide to play as the Drengin. Their strong military command ships and a volcanic homeworld with lots of manufacturing power should help me fend off early rushes. They also have a few policies which may not be enjoyed by my citizens, but these are hard times we are living in and only the strong will survive.

I pick out a batch of my favorite bad guys to go up against. It feels right to have the Yor, Festron, and Xeloxi coming after me early. I leave the Mimot off the list, I don't mind losing, but it's embarrassing when it's to a gremlin.

 

 

I have about 25 turns to spread out before I start to run into the AI players. I've found 2 other good core worlds and quickly got starbases in place to start mining Promethion (for research missions) and Durantium (for ship upgrades). I'm also against the edge of the sector, which is good. I was worried that I would start in the middle. This should be easier to defend.

(and I just realized there is a typo in the above entry, I'll fix that while I'm here).

 

 

By turn 28 I feel settled. I've gotten a few economic techs and now I'm starting to make the switch to military ones. I haven't hired any commanders yet, I'm making my leaders governors instead and trying to figure out when to switch my two new core worlds from infrastructure to making shipyards. Spoiler: it should have been earlier, even a few tiny military ships could have gotten out and started picking at my enemy's colonies to slow them down instead of waiting for them to come at me.

Credits are my biggest bottleneck. I want more leaders and I want to rush production and I can barely do one or the other. (from a balance perspective this makes me wish there was a greater cost variance for bad leaders, some guys up there that are just garbage but at least they are cheap. I might have to look into that).

 

 

Turn 45... where things begin to fall apart...

The Festron have begun picking at me, coming from the "west/left". I need commanders and fortunately, Drengin leaders have excellent Resolve so it's not hard to find good ones. But money is an issue so I issue the Print Money edict to make it happen. My people don't like it, but the alternative is becoming egg sacks for the Festron.

That's expected. But do you see that beautiful class 30 world unowned world to the far left of my empire? It's so far out, but how can I resist a planet that good, even if all the bugs are coming from that direction? I use an executive order to make a colony ship as soon as I spot it and send the colony ship out alone. We all know what happens next, the bugs grab it. But I have a command ship that can help and I swat the bug and take back my colony ship.

But, do I realize my folly at flying halfway across the sector for a new world and send my colony ship to a nearby mediocre colony world instead? No... I press on with my command ship playing escort.

Or it survives a bug attack. It even survives the second bug attack. But the third... well, it was a bad plan.

 

 

Note that my colony ship was really close to the perfect world when the Festron finally destroyed the escort and took it. So close in fact that they quickly used it to colonize the perfect world themselves. So I spent an executive order, many turns, lost a command ship and fought several battles and the end result is the Festron got a nice new beautiful world.

From here things get rough. The Festron and the Yor begin laying siege to my colonies and start flipping them. I lose three while I fight ship battles before realizing that this is a ground war. I have to retake the colonies one by one or I will fall apart. I fall back to my borders and begin to purge all my enemies and retake the worlds I've lost. After I have them I start to spread.

 

 

By turn 69 I have all my original worlds back and I've even taken a Festron colony to the west of my empire. I'm about to discover Railguns and every turn, and every ship movement has mattered to get me here. Artifacts I gathered early on have been helpful, especially those that repair the fleet. But unfortunately, I can't spare my survey ship to collect more, it's a war vessel now.

 

 

By turn 80 I'm beating larger and larger fleets. The festron have tried to send in escorted transports to capture my core worlds but I took those out quickly. The Yor are the real problem, their 941 power is more than all the other players put together. If I could just get a little time to beat the Festron and claim their resources I might have a chance to take on the Yor. This is typically where I dip into diplomacy to work out a deal. But that isn't an option in Survival mode. The Yor will kill me, how much longer can I last?

 

 

My game is in trouble. But the real nail in the coffin comes in turn 84 where the Yor, Xeloxi and Festron come together and destroy one of my two shipyards, knocking my ship production in half.

I think this game is over. I lasted 84 turns, I probably have another 20 before the AI wipes me out.

Can you last longer? This is the save for this game on turn 84: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jYlLIg7J1czTZQR1gDDoReFXbh7PmEBh/view?usp=sharing

If you want to try it the save needs to go into your \My Games\GalCiv4\MPSaves\ directory. Then to load it you have to go into Multiplayer and select "Restore Session".

Good luck and let me know how long you last.

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GalCiv IV Journals


Comments
on Sep 02, 2022

I don't mind losing, but it's embarrassing when it's to a gremlin

I feel like this quote applies to me when I happen to win at a board game with you at the table.   

That said, this is a solid playthrough. Getting to turn 45 before things fall apart is a new life goal for me - stuff usually starts disintegrating on turn 1 when I play.

But, do I realize my folly at flying halfway across the sector for a new world and send my colony ship to a nearby mediocre colony world instead? No... I press on with my command ship playing escort.

This has some Trickle Delight vibes, friend.

I like the intensity of survival mode. While it may be a while before I can match your turn count, I think I'll give it a whirl next chance I get!

 

on Sep 02, 2022

I don't play multiplayer, but I decided to download your save and check it out. I played without much of a problem. The AI were sending ships to attack my colonies and the Festron were sending lone transports to attack my core worlds. I could destroy them without too much trouble. I would lose a colony occasionally, but I could take it back soon after. I would lose some ships, but I could replace them without much trouble. Things got better when I built some caretaker ships to speed the repair of my ships. I decided to save at turn 130 and take a break.

When I restarted, the gameplay was just like it was before. Then about turn 143 I noticed a difference. The AI were sending more ships to more areas, which made it harder for me to do all I needed to do. It wasn't a real problem yet, but I definitely felt more stress.

The Xeloxi and Festron kept sending more medium ships, but the Festron also kept sending lone transports. The Yor were different - they began sending large ships with lots of firepower. Only a few of the ships were in fleets, or I would have been in trouble a lot sooner.

Then the AI began destroying my starbases and shipyards. I could build new shipyards, but I had to forget about starbases. The AI eventually sent enough ships to be able to destroy my shipyards one or two turns after they were built. I couldn't build ships that fast, so I began running out of ships. All I really needed was a tiny ship with one attack to destroy the lone transports the Festron kept sending, and I could usually rush-buy that ship.

Then the Festron began sending transports in a fleet with a large military ship. I destroyed one or two with the larger ships I had, but I also lost a lot of those ships doing that. The other AI ships could easily destroy what was left of my ships as they also kept destroying my shipyards. I couldn't do anything to stop the transports in a fleet after that. When my remaining ships were destroyed I couldn't do anything but wait for the inevitable defeat.

I lasted until turn 185.

I was expecting a notification that I lost, but I didn't get one. I then realized the game was still running. Two turns later I saw this.

I guess the alliance was broken when I was defeated. I stopped the game after that.



I did see the Xeloxi do something that looks like cheating or a bug. I had conquered one of my colonies that the Yor had taken from me. When I clicked the turn button, a Xeloxi fleet took the planet on that turn. I thought there was a minimum of 3 turns to take a colony in all cases.

I believe someone has mentioned somewhere that this happened in a regular game. This is the first time I’ve seen this.

I will make a separate post with more details and a link to a save that shows this.

on Sep 04, 2022

Looks interesting! Is there a way to restart from turn 1 to see how long we can last, or do we just have to move forward from turn 84?

 

As I think about a survival game with no diplomacy available, my go to races would be Festron, Xelosi, Yor, or Mirmot. Each has a strong benefit early and is good at war. 

The Xelosi are probably the strongest if you abuse 'Precursor Anomalies', access to ships with 40+ of every shield and 48 weapons is extremely strong. One of my recommendations to stop these shenanigans if multiplayer becomes a thing is instead have 'Precursor Anomalies' guarded by Monsters instead of Pirates. If this trick isn't used or gets fixed I think they drop down a tier.

The Festron are my vote for next most powerful. Their tier 1 and 2 command ships are excellent and Festron leaders seem to be high resilience and diligence. By immediately picking up 'The Mantis' and then aggressively looking for ships to destroy you can make a LOT of money early game. Having a +20% approval policy is insane, and 1000 credits every time you conquer a planet pushes you to go to war and be reckless. It's okay if you lose a colony for 3-4 turns because when you get it back you are 1000 credits richer. In fact, I would sometimes intentionally let my opponents capture a colony just to get more credits. Just be careful its not class 16+, otherwise the AI may turn it into a core world.

The Mirmot are clearly busted, Proliferation is excellent in war. Their +3 growth rate per citizen is likely a touch too high when combined with there 'Fertile' ability. Some back of the napkin math puts a more balanced growth rate for multiplayer at +2.5. I know their stats aren't great on a per citizen basis, but in my experience food is not as big a problem as it seems.

The bottom of my top tier are the Yor. Adaptable can be real strong, letting you grab a core planet you wouldn't have otherwise had access to. No approval penalties means you can be pretty aggressive creating more Yor, and strip mining your planets. Finally, it pulls Yor out of the hands of the AI who slowly get manufacturing boosts (1% a turn). That last part can be solved though by just not letting them be an AI.

Next tier would be: Arcean, Iconian, Drengin. Each of these races has a clear strength, but in my mind its a step down from the above 4.

  • Arcean are fine because of how important leaders are. Getting free culture points by hiring ships (something you are heavily incentivized to do already) is great. The Vigilant ability let you use Starbases to help protect your empire even if they aren't military.
  • Iconian in theory seems fine to me. Xenophobic is a huge research boost, and Paranoid lets you play defense very well. If you believe there is actually a chance for the humans to win on Survival, these guys aren't going to get you there, but they might help you survive a lot longer than anyone else.
  • As Derek mentioned, the Drengin defend themselves (free approval), have good command ships, and some useful policies. Derek liked that they are on a volcanic planet for the manufacturing boost tiles, but I hate the pollution! Underlying tiles increase manufacturing by 1%, which you can definitely argue is a fifty percent increase in the early game, but workers are between 4-7% each. Growth rate matters. I am also not a big fan of them because I think keeping their approval high is too hard. In my experience the number #1 way to improve your win rate is to maintain 96% approval on your core worlds. You leave a lot on the table when its not. 

-Third tier: Krynn, Manti, Torian, Human Alliance/Resistance.  These 5 are all fine, they aren't handicapped as the bottom races, but are much better in a game at peace by default, not war. No specific comments other than that Manti and Torian are acquatic which is a punishing.

-Worst would be: Onyx, Corporate, Drath, Altarian, Batarak. What can I say about these?

  • Onyx has no growth without Promethium. Banking promethium is hard, especially if you are at war and need to spend it. Getting to 100 to be on par with other races... pass.
  • Corporate/Drath are trading races, no trading when you start at war.
  • Altarians are excellent diplomats, not so excellent at war.
  • The Batarak.... I confess they are actually my favorite core race, I played them on my first game, but the pollution penalty to approval seemed soooooo punishing. I won that game easily by focusing heavily on research because that didn't push my pollution up high. Eventually I was on large ships when only some of my opponents had medium ships and I rapidly crushed those that did. I used my command ships and tech to help control the pollution and it worked okay. Maybe these guys arn't last tier, but they are tricky. 

Finally, settings matter. If you mess with the resource availability or planet availability you can try and compensate for a weakness or enhance a strength of any of the races.

It would be fun to have a save posted from turn 1 to let us all play the same galaxy and see how far we can get, almost like a monthly challenge. A save could be posted on the first of the month each month with a different race, settings; then we all have a month to play from turn 1 and see how long we can go before being wiped out. I understand that by gaining hidden information (like playing through again once you've found all the good planets/resources) you will clearly have an edge over someone's first time, that's fine. I care more about even with that hidden information what can you do, how long can you last?!?!

on Sep 06, 2022

Old-Spider

I don't play multiplayer, but I decided to download your save and check it out. I played without much of a problem. The AI were sending ships to attack my colonies and the Festron were sending lone transports to attack my core worlds. I could destroy them without too much trouble. I would lose a colony occasionally, but I could take it back soon after. I would lose some ships, but I could replace them without much trouble. Things got better when I built some caretaker ships to speed the repair of my ships. I decided to save at turn 130 and take a break.

185 was a good run, longer than I lasted.

I'll check out the defeat screen not being triggered (that must be a MP thing).

on Sep 06, 2022

Muse27

Looks interesting! Is there a way to restart from turn 1 to see how long we can last, or do we just have to move forward from turn 84?

I think that's a good idea. Next time I'll grab a turn 1 save and we can all play from the same starting position and see who can get farthest.

on Sep 06, 2022

DerekPaxton


Quoting Muse27,

Looks interesting! Is there a way to restart from turn 1 to see how long we can last, or do we just have to move forward from turn 84?



I think that's a good idea. Next time I'll grab a turn 1 save and we can all play from the same starting position and see who can get farthest.

 

Awesome! I decided over the weekend to start a new game to give it a shot! I used your settings from above, but with one change that you discussed, turning AI tech trading off. I decided if multiple people were all going to play the same world, reducing the randomness of how the AI trades, if at all, is reasonable.  I used the same 4 races in the game, but decided the Festron would be my race of choice.

Here is the game if anyone wants to see how long they can last. I will write up my tale, but not tonight! 

September 2022 Survival Festron - Turn 0.GC4Sav

 

on Sep 08, 2022

Muse27

Awesome! I decided over the weekend to start a new game to give it a shot! I used your settings from above, but with one change that you discussed, turning AI tech trading off. I decided if multiple people were all going to play the same world, reducing the randomness of how the AI trades, if at all, is reasonable.  I used the same 4 races in the game, but decided the Festron would be my race of choice.


Here is the game if anyone wants to see how long they can last. I will write up my tale, but not tonight! 

September 2022 Survival Festron - Turn 0.GC4Sav

Love this, thanks for sharing your game.

on Sep 08, 2022
All right! So I hop into my game with the Festron and look around the map, and it's not a bad starting point. There is a red star 2 systems away and another 3 systems away. A purple star is also 2 systems away, and there's a black hole just at the edge of my system. That takes care of Durantium, Promethium, and Antimatter. I'm of the opinion you don't need Elerium or Thullium early, but there are blue stars close by anyway for thullium, and I'm sure I'll find some Elerium if I look hard. Elerium as our planetary resource is pretty ho-hum, I'd rather have just about anything else, but the artifact isn't bad, a free warship!
 
Be aware - there will be spoilers from this point on! If you don't want to have hidden information, stop reading until you've played yourself!
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still with me? Okay! 
Turn 1 for me is almost always the same. 'Draft Colonists' take both planets, send the probe to explore, then look at the leaders. As you can see, we got very lucky with good leaders we can afford. We are blessed with a 10 Diligence 12 Resolve leader who is warforged, they are going directly in 'The Mantis', the other 2 become Ministers of Technology and Exploration IIRC. Getting 'The Mantis' going is key, as that's how we are going to pay for everything we need at 100 credits per battle, we want to go to war! So 'The Mantis' and our survey ship start by surveying the artifact in our system. We select 'Starbases' as our first research, plop down 'Industrial Center' as our first building, and start a 'Colony Ship' at the shipyard. Then begins the "hurry up and wait" portion of the early game. 
 
A few turns later our Constructor's are sent out towards the Promethium and Durantium, and our colony ship takes a good (3 production / 3 science) planet. A 3rd constructor is built and takes the Antimatter in our system. I am within the Economic relic's range, but have no intention of building a Xeno Archeology Lab - Economic relic is an F for us. Next up for tech is Asteroid mining as we have 12 asteroids in our home system. By turn 10 we've started mining all 3 important resources, and have a colony with 2 more ships heading towards decent planets! Unfortunately, there's no good Core World colonies within 50 sectors (I keep wanting to call them parsecs!!) There is a class 21 world which is ho-hum, but next to it is a minor civilization with a class 27 world, Bingo! Bonus, it is something to farm for money with 'The Mantis'. So around turn 10 is when I realize I need to rush for Planetary Invasion, so that's what we do.
 
First contact is with a Yor Probe around turn 25. I start back-tracking from where the probe came from to eventually find a few naked Yor Core Worlds over the next dozen turns. By turn 30 I have finished Planetary Invasion, and on Turn 40 'Obreron' has fallen to me. From there my Transport starts the 10 turn journey to the first of Yor's 2 unprotected colonies. The entire time 'The Mantis' has been getting in as many fights as possible and found me my first Core World - a nice class 31 world I take in the next few turns that's about 70 sectors away. A few turns after I take my Core World, the Drengin's take a class 19 in the same sector and immediately turn it into a Core World themselves. 
 
On Turn 50 this is what everything looks like.
 
Turn 50 - map
 

 
Turn 50 - score
 
 
Along with getting Planetary Invasion, I have grabbed Railguns, the first Railgun upgrade, Defensive Studies, Orbital Manufacturing (for small hulls), and Orbital Repair on the path towards medium hulls. My focus over the next 20 turns is to make a bunch of small hulled gunboats (4 railguns) and start my campaign against the Yor. My tech interest switches aggressively - I take Leadership Recruiting, Ministry of Defense and Finance, and start taking Research and Planetary Improvement techs. Why? My ships are significantly more powerful than the enemy but realistically only Caridea can make them efficiently. The rest of the planets need to bulk up their modifiers by building Supply Ships to support the individual planetary production - and they need nextra tiles, upgrades, and buildings to do that effectively. 
 
By Turn 69, I've taken over the entire Silnra system including the planet from the Drengin, invaded the first Yor Core World and am a turn away from beginning the second. Colony ships with small gunboats and medium Command Ships as escorts are on the way to the area to bolster my new class 32 Core World and I'm but a few short turns away from a new class 34 Core World. This game feels like it's going great. I'm flush with money from 4 planetary invasions and too numerous to count battles with 'The Mantis' but I'm being careful not to rush too many things because honestly the -10% approval hit for so many turns is crushing for things on the planets and I don't need more warships currently. In hindsight I could be rushing supply ships to pay slightly more and avoid the approval hit, but I didn't think of it. 
 
Here's the galaxy on Turn 69 and the score.
 
 

Turn 69 - map

 

 

Turn 69 - score

 
I decide to start allowing the Xelosi and Drengin to invade the occasional Silnra planet by leaving the worst one undefended, then re-capturing it immediately for the 1000 credits. I let them do it 3 times for an extra 3000 credits. In hindsight, completely unnecessary - but it cost almost nothing and had immense benefit. Over the next 23 turns, I continue to diversify my tech choices - The whole Railgun tree up to Pulse Cannons, Secret Police solves my crime problem, Hyperdrive Optimization/Warp Theory to speed up my jaunt across the galaxy, Fusion Power Plants for the production, Armor/Energy Defense Theory for my Starbases. I focus on strengthening my defenses along all fronts, including building a few Military Starbases, then mobilize the rest of my massive warfleet to the front lines of the Yor and plan the invasion of their homeworld. I even brought a Constructor along to make a Military Starbase in their home system to further solidify my advantage. My first few medium hulled frigates (7 railguns, 1 foundry or 6 railguns, 1 foundry, 1 hull reinforcement) are starting to pour out of Caridea and Silnra. Silnra's are defensive for now, with Caridea's being sent towards the front lines of the Yor. Honestly, with over 7500 credits, I don't know why I didn't stomp a little harder on their neck and rush out some frigates closer to the front lines - at 544 or 432 credits they are a steal, but sitting on the credits feels safest - I'm more afraid of needing to spend them quickly in a few turns if suddenly the Drengin and Xelosi come with too big an army, or if the Yor are more powerful than I think. This invasion could have probably started 10 turns earlier had I been more aggressive, but c'est la vie.
 
Here's the galaxy on Turn 92 and the score. It looks even more lopsided.
 

Turn 92 - map

 

Turn 92 - score
 
I expected the Yor to put up more of a fight, but an army of small 28 attack gunboats, my two level 3 medium Command ships, proved far too much to handle. Seeing how well things go over by the Yor, I build a second Transport from Silnra and start bringing the fight to the Drengin. On Turn 99, Iconia falls, and their last Core world will fall a few turns later. Drengi is going to take over 10 turns to siege!!!! But no matter, I've taken its feeder worlds and can continue to kill it's shipyard every time they rush one. 
 
Turn 103
 
Turn 103 - map
 
I finish the invasion of Drengi and head for one of their other Core worlds. After defeating the Yor around turn 107 the invasion fleet turns and heads towards Savvot which I've discovered by building the 'Eyes of the Universe' to continue my thirst to get more ahead. I continue to grab any tech that upgrades my planets, manufacturing, or research to - you guessed it - get more ahead. My military is so oppressive right now and large hull ships are too many build points to be necessary, but I get Precursor Origins to unlock my last 2 Commander Ships and start leveling them up, just in case... Importantly, throughout the entire game I never took Universal Translator. Why? Zero of the tech's it offers are worthwhile in a game like this, and it replaces a single tech that randomly appears *rarely* with 3 common ones! On turn 123 I'm simultaneously invading 5 Xelosi planets including their homeworld, and my second transport is heading towards the two remaining Core Worlds to conquer. Savvot is going to take 10 turns, like Drengi, but it doesn't matter.
 
Turn 123
 
Turn 123 - Map
 
Sad, but I haven't seen a single Ocean planet the entire game. I won't belabor the point any more, in 12 more turns I've captured all of the remaining planets and the game ends in a victory for the good guys!!! I mean .... bad guys .... whatever. 
 
Turn 134 - map

Turn 135 - score

Turn 135 - Victory!!

 
Some thoughts as I reflect on the game and how I played it...
 
I certainly played too defensively from turn 69 on. I wanted to guarantee a win instead of rush for the quickest win possible. As you can see I ended the game with over 20,000 credits, I could have pushed harder and faster. Given that the AI gets a small bonus every turn the game goes on that may be the smarter way to play. However, I feared a tipping point, where if I pushed recklessly that they might just hold, and then I'd have over extended by not having the production or research to be on even footing if they ever broke the attack and started a counter attack.
I was pretty sure I was outclassing their small bonus turn by turn by continuing to climb up the tech tree and aggressively improving my planets, which meant I could continue to reinforce with more and more powerful warships in higher numbers than they were capable of producing even with their bonus. It probably didn't matter at this low difficulty of Normal, but perhaps at Genius or Incredible by not stomping on their throat quicker they may have turned the tables. Or maybe trying to stomp on their throats at harder difficulty would have lead to a loss. I've never tried to win in the fewest turns possible, I just wanted to guarantee the win in what is supposed to not be winnable. Maybe that'll be for next month's playthrough!

 

 

 

on Sep 12, 2022

I cant wait to try your game. And I'm skipping reading the spoilers until I do.