Captain Ulrik Svensgaard
At a Glance:
- -1 Efficiency
- -1 Growth
- +1 mineral/square (shelf only)
- Terraform deep sea squares (with Advanced Ecological Engineering)
- Marine Detachment (with Adaptive Doctrine)
- Sea Colony Pod and Sea Former already prototyped
- Free Naval Yard (with Doctrine: Initiative).
Ulrik Svensgaard's game
Your advantages grow over time as more techs are discovered, but even with what you have at the outset, the faction is a powerhouse by any definition. First consider that you begin the game in total isolation. No one can attack you at all until they get Doctrine: Flexibility, and build a fleet. Even then, all of the important advantages are yours in terms of sea battling, and that only becomes more true as the game wears on. Next is your inefficiency. Just as with Lal, this is easily overcome via the simplest of base facilities and is not much to lose sleep over, and the Growth penalty simply keeps the faction from running away with the game. Sea bases are notoriously good at cranking out food, and when you get a few kelp farms in place, you will be able to grow like a proverbial weed in spite of the –1 Growth. In fact, you'll have such surpluses that you will barely notice it. The only thing that hurts a bit is the inability to execute an "easy" pop-boom, but again, if the Pirates could do that too, they'd simply run away with the game every time.
+1 mineral per square means that your early game mining platforms can keep you on par (and then some) with your landlocked cousins, and again, you've got an easy 75 years of pretty much competition-free expansion...probably a hundred or more before someone mounts a serious offensive.
Marine Detachment ability is huge too, enabling you to capture enemy ships and upgrade accordingly (you'll want to cover the newly captured and weakened ships with interceptors to protect them from sniping while vulnerable, but remember, once you get them back to base, they'll be recovered in a single turn, thanks to your naval yards everywhere). You can also capture transports loaded with troops (effectively making the Marine Detachment like a Probe Team that can avoid stacking limits).
It's true, before the advent of fusion power, you will pay a premium for your formers and colony pods, but on the plus side, each base you build comes with a built-in pressure dome, so even with fission reactors, they're a bargain for what you're getting.
Svensgaard, the Builder
Make use of your early game privacy to establish a ring of bases around an uninhabited large island or small continent, then send colony pods and formers to the mainland with a vengeance. This mixed approach will give you such a strong core empire, protected by equally strong coastal bases, who gain the benefits of all the coastal boreholes you built. After that, strike off the beaten path and start building deep sea bases that are worthless if taken from you. Thanks to mid-game techs, deep sea bases are good for you, and if you focus on kelp and tidal harnesses (using your highly developed core bases as cash cows), you can easily rush whatever infrastructure you need at the relatively mineral poor deep sea bases—it's important to set realistic goals here: Ten minerals at a deep sea base isn't too bad, and certainly sets you up well for rushing...not to mention the fact that in the late-mid game and beyond, you start to get Orbital Mining Stations, Robotic Assembly Plants and the like, which can turn even your modest sea bases into industrial powerhouses, enabling you to strike from unexpected directions if pressed.
Svensgaard, the Hybrid
This faction is a Hybrid player's dream, and there's absolutely no reason why you should not be in the driver's seat, diplomacy wise. You can find and infiltrate all the other factions before they make contact with each other, and with a steadily growing global naval presence, you can oftentimes dictate when or IF your various rivals will meet each other at all, simply sinking their fledgling navies as they come out of port. This kind of control over the ebb and flow of the game is key to influencing the metagame (more on that concept later) for all the players, and for this reason alone, I'd say that if any faction came close to being unbalanced, this is it.
Svensgaard, the Conqueror
Conquest is easy for Svensgaard, since you start with two of the key techs you need to go hunting. Get a good weapon (Impact), and you don't even need the rovers...in fact, if you wait until you get Doctrine: Initiative (an early-mid game tech, at best), your infantry units actually become more effective than rovers, given that a transport full of assault marines can sweep in on any coastal base from five squares out and taking the base with complete surprise, and remaining entirely out of sensor range until the moment of the attack...this, combined with your inherent ability to capture transports filled with enemy troopers (at times, effectively doubling the size of your attack force), makes you deadly indeed. Pay close attention to the section on Naval Power...you'll be making heavy use of it.
Yes, air power may well be at the top of the food chain battle-wise, but 99 times in a hundred, initial contact with a faction not on your starting continent will be made in the water. Never forget that, and never underestimate the power inherent in being the first faction in the water to pop sea pods!