Prime Function Aki-Zeta 5
At a Glance:
- +2 Efficiency
- +2 Research
- -1 Growth
- Spoils of War
- No penalties for Cybernetic Social Engineering choice.
- Aversion to Fundamentalist Social Engineering choice
Aki-Zeta 5's game
-1 Growth is a pretty huge penalty for a landward faction, but it does not even compare with the benefits this faction has. The efficiency (and ability to run Market), combined with the Research bonus makes this group a powerhouse by any definition, but when you add in the tech-steal ability, what you get is a faction that can stand up to any of the original seven, and then some! Their aversion is one you'd not run anyway (Fundamentalist), so essentially what you get is Deirdre's efficiency, Zakharov's research, and none of their crippling disabilities (Deirdre's lack of cash via market, and Zakharov's drones). That puts the faction in a position to do amazing things. So what if you have to build your own network nodes...with techsteal, active probes, and your inherent research bonus, getting and keeping the tech lead will not be difficult for this faction, growth penalty or no. The "no penalties for Cybernetic" thing is of little consequence, as by the time you are able to make that switch, the game is pretty well won or lost. Still, it's an interesting footnote that you don't need the Network Backbone to get around Cybernetic's negatives when playing this faction.
Aki-Zeta, the Builder
Played this way, you take advantage of your Techsteal ability by not taking advantage of it. Nobody will want to attack you for fear of your being able to rip down a base and steal their proprietary research, so if you're content to play nice, they'll probably be content to let you, and you can make good on your threat any time you like...just go for Nonlinear Mathematics pretty early on (that being about the only deviation from the more Builder-oriented techs), and you can make good on the implied threat...since you start with Applied Physics, you're only one step away, which is great for you. As the consciousness, of course, you want to get those lab-enhancing facilities built as quickly as possible to further enhance your native +2 Research bonus, but that will mean building at least some energy banks and the like to help pay maintenance, so if you pursue the Builder path, then do it with a vengeance.
One thing that will help your Builder game is the Growth penalty. Bases won't be springing up to size in an uncontrolled fashion, and in general, you will have plenty of time to get all your Rec. Commons in place before it becomes an issue.
Aki-Zeta, the Hybrid
Impact weapons, Mobility, and Flex, and you're armed and doubly dangerous, as each one of your troopers is as good as a probe team too, if he's the one who moves into an enemy base. That, combined with your ability to do something other than fight (+2 Research) and do it efficiently, makes you a terrific choice for Hybrid style. Since you'll probably keep a standing army at the ready as soon as you get the techs to put something decent together (and you'll get those techs at a pretty good clip, thanks to your inherent strengths), you'll be in a much better position than your Builder cousins to make good on the threat of ripping down their defenses and stealing their techs(an ability which, by the way, lets you selectively ignore certain tech paths, knowing full well that when you get in a war, you'll be netting those techs anyway). Simply put, you will be hard pressed to find a better Hybrid faction in the game.
Aki-Zeta, the Conqueror
Again, your techsteal ability is pivotal to your entire game. In this case, ignore the juicy Builder techs entirely...you'll get them anyway when you tear down their bases. Just get a core group of mobile, heavily gunned attackers and make everybody else pay. Even without focusing on Network Nodes right away, you will still out tech everybody but Zakharov in the game, which means you can have your prototype Impact Rover rolling off the assembly lines before most folks have their prototype Synth-garrisons in place, and the math is very much on your side.