Talkin SMAC by D A Rogers
Guide to Sid Meiers Alpha Centauri.
I recommend a revealed map - you arrived from orbit after all so it makes sense - its especially handy with large continents.
1) Bring about contact and conflict with other factions early in the Impacter att 4/missle att 6 era.
2) Enhance the potency of range limited needlejets and make surply crawlers more vulnerable to them.
1) Require more planning to overwhelm with needlejets, games tend to last longer.
2) Contact and wars with other faction will come later and with more bases and tech involved.
Worm abundance alters the game's pollution model - Worms set to Rare means you can have better production. Abundant worms reduces your max minerals and adds plenty of worms to capture or fight - good for gaians.
Pick lots of land and you'll have constant trench and tank wars, but plenty of room and resourses. Choose lots of water and you have islands with naval/air/amphibious combat, but a cramped island can hamper your growth.
Aggressive AI can help make the game harder, handy if you want to team up with friends vs the AI. This guide is based on Transcend AI and aggressive On.
I have the option to steal tech when conqeuring bases switched on.
I dont use the Advanced start - this can scatter you across three islands with neighbours on two.
Victory by Transcendance, diplomacy and economics can be turned off to encourage conflict.
Choose your faction:- I'll focus on the original factions without crossfire, crossfire factions have big balance problems. There are seven standard factions. Here is a summary of strengths and weaknesses, as well as my opinions about their survivability in a transcend difficulty game vs both AI and capable human opponents.
Pros: Rapid tech development.
Cons: Everyone's first target for probe teams, poor probe defence, DRONE issues.
Opinion: Above Average, Tech advantage very useful, but only if you can resist enemy probe teams No military bonuses, DRONE issues, always build the hunter seeker algorythm, then guard it well. Build probe defence for borders and coasts. Maintain a modern army at all times.
Pros: Morale bonus and no prototyping make creating modern Elite units a breeze. Police bonus controls early game drones.
Cons: Industry penalty will slow down your start a little.
Opinion: Good, An old favourite, Lots of Elite units win games. Elite buggys move 3 spaces, Elite footsoldiers move 2. Use the Cyborg Factory with high morale to build Elite units at any base. (Try using the Cloning Vats with POWER to get that high morale.)
Pros: Worm capture from turn one, captured worms dont need SUPPORT, worms dont need weapon/armour upgrades to keep them modern.
Cons: MORALE penalty isnt good, manufactured worms always need SUPPORT - no clean reactor worms.
Opinion: Above Average, Abilities like Hypnotic trance and Empath Trained, and wonders like The Dreamtwister/Neural Amplifier counter worm psi attacks. Always build The Dreamtwister and Neural Amplifier and guard them. Psi defence at bases is nerve gas defence. Higher level and 'Elite' Demon boil worms take high level tech to build - Elite troops can be made sooner and more cheaply. Worm armies can be good, if you are hosting the game choose 'Abundant' lifeforms - chances are tho if someone else hosts they will choose 'rare' - 'average' lifeforms is often the best one can hope for... This will alter the pollution model too tho..
Pros: Solid GROWTH and INDUSTRY combo gives you a racing start. Great Defence.
Cons: Small energy penalty at each base.
Opinion: Above average. Hive bases are all fortresses with a 50% defence bonus; great for bite and hold tactics. Good on big continents.
Pros: Extra energy at bases, trade bonus with friendly factions, small bases limits DRONE problems.
Cons: SUPPORT penalty hampers early development, economic victory is very unlikely against human opponents.
Opinion: Poor. Not militant enough for transcend difficulty with human enemies.
Pros: uuuummmmm? extra talents cancel drones, More council votes and bigger cities.
Cons: EFFIC penalty, not militant, the council matters little in an aggressive transcend game, more population = more drones.
Opinion: Below Average. Not militant enough for transcend difficulty with human enemies.
Pros: Fanatic bonus (25% attack) is a great military edge. Superior probe teams - Probe teams are VERY good in this game!
Cons: Mild tech delay - reduced research. Planet penalty can reduce max minerals before pollution.
Opinion: Good. Another favourite with a great military/probe advantage. Fanatic attack bonus stacks with other combat bonuses. Plenty of cons but a ton of aggressive pros to counter them. (Try them with Green Economics)
General timeline of a game...
The first city you put down should have 3 or 4 population and as your HQ perfect EFFIC. Cue to build a mix of 1/1/1 troops and 2 - 4 colony pods - use your starting cash to hurry early pods. Establish 8 - 10 cities ASAP - if a city has more then one pop build a pod. Build a few formers - have formers plant forrest scattered around your turf, it will spread in advance of your bases.
Build a tight grid of cities with one space between them around your HQ for maximum EFFIC - 1 space diagonaly above and below etc Tight one space grids also enhance production SEE Component based manufacture There will be rocky squares where you want to put bases, dont let them mess up your grid, mark them with a troop and have a former level the square, meanwhile build bases in grid formation around it, once its leveled fill the gap with a base. I love the packed in base grid, if you strongly dislike grid patterned bases then ignore this paragraph.
Establish cities then build recycling tanks all over. - build que's this early should be pods, troops, formers, recyc tanks.
Are you on a large continent or an island?
On a large land mass, send scouts in every direction to detect enemies and monitor/suppress worms. Seek out bottlenecks and narrow connections between land masses and block them off with troops, sensor towers and bases. This will secure sections of land to be developed and settled later. Find and blockade enemies, wall them in with bases and sensor towers to claim the lions share of the land. Seed the far lands with forrests to pre-estabish resourses for your empire. Build probe teams to steal tech and cash from neighbours - steal tech en-masse in one turn, you'll start a war, but you'll have the tech advantage. Build footsoldiers early then later faster tanks as your main ground army.
On an island, you expand scouts out to suppress worms and keep a lookout on the coast. Pre-seed your island with forrest, try to calculate a city grid that allows maximum base numbers on your island. Dont compromise the grid because of rocky squares, flatten them with formers instead - mark them with a scout then build your bases around them until a former can level the square. Islands benefit from coastal radar, build sensor towers on the coasts and ithmus's Research skimships earlier, build transport skimships and try to settle bases on uninhabited islands. Take formers and troops - pre-seed new islands with forrests. Focus on building a large probeteam skimship fleet to scout out enemies and steal tech. Find the player whos the king of tech on the 'whos who' readout and swarm several probeships into his ports in one turn. This will start a war but boost your tech nicely - the university is a popular target. Build slower cheaper troops as your main ground army.
Early Game - - Research biogenetics early to unlock more tech. Dont put off getting Plasma steel armour for long. Early social engineering options can be- Police state - provides support for troops, formers, transports etc - good for very early expanding, but effic penalty isnt good. Democracy - gives growth but saps support, works better later in the game. Fundamentalist - Great if your in an early war, usually best used on a war footing only. Planned - Good for early growth and quicker buildings/troops, but again effic penalties arnt good in larger empires. I dont advise early pollution and deliberate flooding as an indirect attack on compeditors. Ignore warnings about more bases reducing EFFIC, bases are power, when the nukes start flying many bases means survival. Dont be afraid to nerve staple the ignorant masses. Sanctions are only a problem for morganites with trade treaties. Once your turf is dotted with forrest, get formers making a road network using the "build road too" command - also build mines and roads on rocky squares - except those waiting to be leveled so bases can be built. These will be surply crawler targets once researched. Build anti-worm units to combat the native mind worm menace.
Are you at war with an angry neighbour, or being left in peace?
If you find yourself in an early land based war, research probes, weapons and armour - if things look bad consider using nerve gas pods to even the odds. Use probe team swarms to steal his tech and energy. Put civilian buildings and civilisation on the back burner - get every possible city making troops or energy to hurry troops. Build unarmoured footsoldiers with your best weapons as offencive firepower and keep them protected with plenty of armoured garrisons who are designated defenders. Push large numbers of garrisons and probe teams into enemy territory and use them as cannon fodder defence for your attack units. Using this cover bring a pack of attack units upto an enemy base attack the base with all of them in one turn, do this again until the base is empty of defenders. Select a very damaged unit and move it into the empty base - the base is yours - if small it may just vanish - you may get tech or cash and the unit will now be healed. Move garrisons in, cue the base to build garrisons - move your attack units on to the next city. If your offencive looses momentum, fortify the shortest line you can across a few captured bases and await reinforcment. Dont risk loosing existing gains by letting your force fight to the death. Give injured units R&R in nearby bases. Focus your empires resourses into annexing or exterminating enemy bases, use peace treaties to gain time to prepare fresh troops. If your enemy is overwhelmingly strong, try to prepare a fortifyed line across a bottleneck to hold them at bay. Enemy troops with better weapons should be bribed with probe teams and put to work as attack units. Seed conqeured turf with forrests and grids of bases, you can obliterate captured enemy bases to make way for an even grid.
If all is quiet then focus on getting Planetary Networks and Industrial Automation quickly. Once you can build probe teams do so - either land or sea based - they have no SUPPORT upkeep. When you have Industrial Automation make plenty of crawlers; Choose 1 or 2 bases to be Assembly Bases for ground troops - SEE Component Based Manufacture Remember high morale troops are deadly, Elite troops have a useful movement bonus. Dont forget to use CONTROL H to give a troop a new home, you dont want your assembly bases paying upkeep.
Enhance your HQ by useing them to harvest some solar/forrest energy and import it into your HQ which suffers no EFFIC penalties - this will boost your tech and cash. Build energy banks, tree farms, hybrid forrest, fusion labs and quantum labs in your HQ to boost cash. The Merchant Exchange also helps. Build network nodes, bio labs, super collider etc at your HQ to enhance research.
Use crawlers to speed along buildings. Use CONTROL H to give a crawler a new home - use SHIFT D at a base to convert it into 33 minerals worth of production. Use O to harvest minerals or energy for home base - attempting to harvest a square that is already harvested may cause crashes. You can harvest food too, if you need council votes you can force feed your bases for population, but remember that more population means more drones especially on high difficulties. Dont harvest so many minerals into one base that pollution occurs, you'll cause global warming and make yourself a worm target.
Feel free to nerve staple or use nerve gas weapons - these are minor atrocities and wont cause any global warming or worm attacks. The AI factions will dislike you, but there is no such thing as a good AI friend, especially on higher difficulties so dont worry about it!
Building like Rec Commons can reduce drones if you prefer, I dont use them, bit of a waste of build time - a city full of buildings is just a conquest/nuke target and takes ages to rebuild. Drones become a huge issue at high difficulties, expect to do mass nerve stapling sessions to quiet the masses.
Prepare for Mid Game - - Unless your map is all land, you will want skimship research. Explore oceans with probeteam skimships not military vessels - keep warships safely in port for coastal defence and sea colony pod escorts. Ships are expencive and vulnerable to aircraft, worms and enemy ships - only deploy them with purpose. Maintain your sensor tower coverage along your coast to spot likely targets. Skimship probeteams are a great sourse of tech in the pre-airpower era - they require no SUPPORT, use them. Have a few ports making continuous probeteam skimships - launch them in tech liberating fleets. Establish 1 to 4 Naval Assembly Bases.
Ecological Engineering or the weather paradigm allow you to raise/lower terrain. Land formers can increase the size of your landmasses and build land bridges between them, or your enemies. Seaformers can cut channels for shipping into a narrow strip of land divideing landmasses. If you can possess a sealed off ocean, your own personal lake, seaformers can raise the sea bed making it farmable. Kelp farms and tidal harnesses can both be harvested with skimship surply units, but they are hard to keep safe in the open sea. Importing tidal power into your HQ can be worthwhile.
Social Engineering now offers; Free Market - Creates massive energy income and drone chaos - only use it if you know what your doing. SEE Social Engineering Green - Great long term option, reduced growth is reduced drones and planet adds worm capture, plus production. Knowledge - Good if your using research more than probeteams, combines well with fundamentalism.
In preparation for Airpower try to establish strings of ocean bases about 7 - 10 squares apart between you and enemies on distant shores. These will enable you to ferry nukes and bombers to your enemies doorstep. Build one of these bases 2 or 3 squares from enemy ocean bases or enemy ports, that way you can zip a probeteam skimship from your base to the enemy one inside a single turn and steal tech or cash without interception.
The second you have airpower design a (ground attack/default) bomber and an anti-aircraft interceptor. Establish 2 or 3 Aircraft Assembly Bases. If your on an island you can replace one ground troop Assembly Base with an aircraft one. Mass produce bombers with a few interceptors thrown in. Bombers dominate the early to mid game, especially if equiped with Nerve Gas Pods!! 30+ Elite clean reactor/Nerve Gas Pod bombers can wipe a faction from existance rather quickly. ( Elite +62.5% Nerve Gas +50% Fanatic +25% = 137.5% bonus! ) Gas reduces populations allowing you to wipe out cities from the air. PSI Defence units or worms are the best base defence against airbourne nerve gas attacks. If you dont want to risk sanctions for using gas, its still a good idea to keep a nerve gas reserve, just in case. Bombers with weapons rangeing from missles to fusion beams, can often be enough to finish the game. Distribute anti-air interceptors around you empire, keep their weapons fairly up to date.
Your navy is very vulnerable to bombers at this stage, keep them safe until you can refit them with AAA targeting. If invading, defend your transports with well armed Air Superiority Skimships. Expect a reduction in skimship probeteam effectiveness as your enemies begin to build bombers.
The age of the nuke is approaching - prepare to box in your HQ and any bases housing a wonder with barriers of units/bases. Using nukes, nerve stapling and nerve gas makes you a likely nuke target.
Mid-game - -
When the majority of factions have Airpower and Orbital Spaceflight you enter a new age - this is often the mid-game for aggressive games - factions are often eradicated with missles, chaos guns, fusion beams and plasma shards in this era. Any wonders you have built or great metopolis's you've produced are now on your human opponents nuke hitlist! The AI seems to select its nuke targets based on cash value of assetts there - expect your HQ, wonders, big bases, nukes and troop stocked bases to be targeted first. Press F6 and make your own hitlist of enemy wonders - once destroyed they cant rebuild their wonder. Target the Command Nexus, Cyborg Factory, Cloneing Vats, Citizens defence Force and Maritime Control Centre, as these are a military threat. You also dont want a selfish enemy hogging all the tech useing the Hunter Seeker Algorithm. If the gaians are your enemy and have the Dream Twister or Neural Amplifier then get rid of it quick. If you are gaian, then build them both and defend them at all costs.
Social Engineering now offers; Power - Good with Cloneing Vats wonder, very good for spartans, combine with police state for epic SUPPORT levels in pre-clean reactor era. Wealth - Nice bonuses, terrible penalty - Useful to Morganites and Gaians. Cybernetic - Good with Network Backbone wonder, otherwise beware drone problems from low police levels.
If you suspect your human opponents of deliberately trying to flood the planet, use formers to build up ridges of high ground under core bases - nukes can create flooding too, while also making deep craters! Having some high ground is good insurance.
Hopefully you'll conquer the planet before it floods.
Nukes are a major atrocity and will add to global warming problems faster then a thermal borehole! Expect flooding and savage worms during an atomic war - create high ground and cheap anti-worm units.
Boreholes have their uses, but tend to cause invisable pollution thats hard to track and leads to flooding. Also prime targets for drop pod raids, amphibious raids and nukes, you can only build them on flat ground which is often coastal, this adds to defence problems. Use with caution. Echelon mirrors and condensors are less useful. Drilling to create a river is great for hydro power, combine it with forrest to make cheap easy to maintain energy surplies.
When you get Bio-Engineeering/clean reactor;
Build up clean reactor soldiers, ships and bombers (plus a few nukes as insurance). Make sure you have probe defence for your bases, maybe some for troops too. Blitz down enemy road networks in speeders - swarm footsoldiers and artillery - shore bombard and storm the beaches. And flatten them all with ground attack needlejet bombers. Take out some factions completely. Get aggressive enough and this becomes the end game.
Mid game Tech-
Adv Military Algorithm's; Punishment Spheres and Genejack factorys go together like police batons and good government. The factory will power your production speed in assembly bases, but make make many drones. The Sphere will bring all drones to heel, but reduce the tech income for this base - small price to pay on a few bases. You can of course just nerve staple instead of installing costly spheres - depends if micro-managing staplings annoys you. When you eradicate a faction and capture their leader, he or she will become a resident in one of your empires punishment spheres serving as an example to those who dare defy you.
Centauri Meditation Gives Gaians two wonders to boost worms etc and Isle of the deep, which is an expensive but superior troop transport.
Bio-Engineering; Bio-engineering is a priority for most factions at this stage, even the gaians can make good use of the clean reactor upgrade. Clean reactor troops dont need SUPPORT or mineral upkeep, this lets you forget about giving new-made troops a new home. Clean troops can be produced in truly epic abundance. Probe teams and surply crawlers dont need clean reactors, dont fit them. Bio-engineering is a big step toward doomsday, it allows militant factions to build far far more troops and create the kinds of armies that will flatten other large factions completely. Expect clean bomber swarms when this tech gets around. Take advantage of clean reactor to go nuts - if you havent, the winner of the game will have.
Retroviral Engineering; Retroviral Engineering gives your probe teams the power to attack the civilian population in bases, much like nerve gas attacks except the retrovirus cant remove the last one point of population and wipe out the base. It gives you the genejack factory. Probe defence for your borders gains new importance now, expect your human enemies to try and give you an unsightly disease.
Mind Machine Interface; Mind Machine Interface creates new problems and possibilities. Choppers are short range aircraft capable of dangerous multiple attacks. They can also be used as transport for troops and probe teams. Great city defence interceptors. They take a little damage each time they land, they can survive 3 hops before dying, more with good reactor tech. The Cyborg Factory is king of the military wonders. Top of both the to build list and the to nuke list. And drop pods can be put to fiendish uses too. (A faction with the space elevator wonder can drop pod troops anywhere unoccupied on the map. Dont leave a base empty for even a turn if your enemy has this wonder. This wonder is great for raiding surply crawlers harvesting for your enemy too. It comes from super tensile solids, which is quite a high tech.)
Nanometalurgy; With Nanometalurgy comes the Carrier deck, this provides a portable launch platform for needlejets, choppers and nukes. Expect nukes to be lauched at you from the sea. If using this tech, support your carrier with warships at all times and keep a ring of defence ships around it to block bombers, missles, warships and nukes. I dont recommend Strategic nuke submarines - Carrier / Submarine combos. Submarine stealth isnt great - deep radar is standard equipment for AI needlejets, these units are to expencive to risk on shoddy stealth. Carrier with AAA targeting or repair bay is preferable.
Centauri Genetics Gives the gaians the Pholus Mutagen wonder to boost worm lifecycles, also gives fungus bonuses.
These tech advances should provide you or your enemies with the tools to seize the planet in an iron grip. Remember troop morale is king - elites move further and hit harder!
Dont expect much from diplomacy or council votes at high difficulties, warmonger away. Dont be shy with probe teams either, better an enemy with equal tech then a friend with better tech!
If you use worms, focus on land armies, these are your strength, locusts can be a bit light weight. Try building a land bridge with formers, cover it in fungus and use it as an invasion path. If your enemy does this, nuke the land bridge to dust or slice it off with a well guarded seaformer. You can use conventional missles to knock out Isles of the deep too.
End Game - -
Its down to you, maybe your human allies and one or two last enemies who were furthest away or well defended and have lived to challenge you till the last. You should have a well developed a core of bases at your starting point and some occupied turf taken from a former faction or two and perhaps tendrils of well spaced sea bases around the planet to provide naval support and deliver aircraft and missles to far off targets. You have nukes but hopefuly havent seen any used yet. You have AAA targeting, anti-worm, anti-probe defenders and interceptors covering your empire. Plus cannonfodder barriers around important bases and areas.
Always try to let your enemies fire the first nuke, just to be sporting, a good atomic apocalypse is one you finish, not one you start.
Social Engineering now offers; Eudaimonia - Morale penalty means best used by gaians or with a worm army/bribe with probeteam tactics. Mind Control - With a well established clean reactor policy, mind control is all bonuses, support shouldnt matter by now. So break out the hypno-rays and brain implants.
Hopefully the world isnt flooding you to death, a council vote to erect a solar sail and cool the icecaps will lower sea levels. Remember you cant create land out of water with seaformers and sometimes the seas rise faster than you can lift ocean shelf. Nukes make holes and eventually flooding, build up ridges under your bases and produce nukes faster then your enemy. Pass your nukes down a chain of bases or carriers and into range of a good enemy city, choose targets with population or wonders. A nuke can also blast away a thin strip of land, disconnecting landmasses as an enemy horde floods across. Bigger nukes like the quantum warhead can take out multiple bases, sometimes targeting a unit amoung bases takes out more bases then hitting a base directly - the nuke hit square is the centre the destruction circle - like anything ruthless, atomic genocide just takes a bit of practice to master.
No pollution and no nukes fired ? Good, make an army and airforce of insane proportions and seize the planet. If your going to war in hovertanks and gravships then its time for the big push, you only get a ruthless dictator of the month trophy if your foes lay slain before anyone discovers Graviton Theory. Small worlds can be taken with attack 6 missle launchers. Try to focus on one enemy at a time and keep your wars on as few fronts as you can. Crush them all before they can sneak a transcendance victory.
End Game Tech - - Some of these may come in handy for finishing off the bad guys.
Adv Orbital Spaceflight If you are gaian get the Living Refinery to SUPPORT worm armies.
Self aware Machines The Self Aware Colony wonder halves building maintainence costs and boosts police - useful if you build alot of buildings like punishment spheres.
Matter Editation Nanoreplicator wonder gives a base a 50% production bonus, great for a nuke assembly base.
Matter transmission Blink displacer tech lets your troops bypass base defences - useful if your last enemy is the hive.
Industrial Nanorobotics Great Tech to give you a late game edge. It gives you Robotic Assembly Plant which boosts production. The Nano Factory wonder gives your units damage regeneration and halves upgrade costs - another top of the build list, top of the nuke list kind of wonder.
Digital Sentience The Network Backbone wonder gives research and cancels to police penalty for CYBERNETIC governments.
Eudaimonia Boldly going where no government has gone before is EUDAIMONIA, consider boldy joining them. It provides PSI defence for your units - PSI defence battleships tend to be more aircraft resistant. PSI defence garrisons prevent nerve gas attacks on your bases. The Telepathic Matrix wonder takes care of drones and boosts probe teams too - a great tech/wonder to get.
Super Tensile Solids The Space Elevator Wonder lets you drop-pod troops globally, perfect for probing or surgical strikes.
Centauri Psi Gives your units the PSI attack weapon - Psi attacks get a 33% bonus on land - nice alternative to nerve gas to boost Elite speeder attacks.
Secrets of Alpha Centauri Gaians need this to build the worm boosting wonder Temple of Planet, which also empowers production..
Thats a rough outline of a multiplayer game and the phases of its timeline. It lets you know what to watch out for and when. Its possible alot of human opponents and unusual game settings could produce a very different game. I take a minimalist approach to buildings and base populations because fancy bases are big targets - levels of building development and farm/solar terrorforming depend on personal taste. Some players or faction tactics may suit automated formers instead of forrest making.
Its worth being familiar with the games Wonders, social engineering system and unit abilities, but first I'll discuss the industrial tactic of component based manufacture and why I favour it when battling Transcend AI and human opponents.
Component Based Manufacture:
As a general rule creating vast armies of Elite units or nukes wins games. In the second world war countries like Germany and the United Kingdom discovered military factories were prime targets for enemy bombers. To avoid long term production hold ups these countires would decentralise production, making components in small factories scattered around the country and assembling them in one central location. Similar techniques can benefit Alpha Centauri players. Component based manufacture produces units quickly and cheaply at the cost of a little micro-managment.
First you need an assembly base - Choose a base surrounded by many other bases, preferably with four bases located one space away. Each assembly base is dedicated to one type of unit, and requires two buildings (Plus Genejack factory and robotic assembly plant if possible):
Troops/Tanks - Command Centre / Bioenhancement
Ships - Navalyard / Bioenhancement
Aircraft - Aerospace Complex / Bioenhancement
(Nukes - Aerospace Complex)
These are morale enhancing buildings for your troops. Elites have 5 levels of morale, each of these buildings adds +2 morale levels. The +4 morale levels from two buildings gives you commando level troops, no movement bonus there. To create Elite troops you'll want a +1 morale level bonus from SOCIAL ENGINEERING, the 'trained' unit ability, monoliths or faction bonuses. If your MORALE level bonus is +3, you can omit building either bioenhancement or CC/NY/AC. +3 Morale level bonus can also be combined with the Cyborg Factory to produce Elite troops at any base (only the Spartans can do this until Mind Control).
Ensure the mineral limit for this base is maxxed out, but short of polluting. Use supply crawlers harvesting minerals from mines and forrests to acheive this. This base is then assigned to constantly build military units - each unit once made needs to use Control H to relocate their support to another base, unless using clean reactor.
Second you need component building bases - Four to Eight+ of them - depending on whats being built. These bases mass produce surply crawlers - a few can surply minerals to the base. The rest then move directly to the assembly base and disband there, adding their 33 minerals to unit production using Shift D. Once the unit has only 1 or 2 turns of production left, stop adding crawlers and use energy to hurry it. This way a unit is made every turn (or very close to it). Making an elite unit every turn in several bases is the key to victory! Component building bases should support a few military units each, depending on your SUPPORT value.
Dont forget surply crawlers can help build ANYTHING not just wonders !!
Ok, so why not just build military units in every base instead ?? Spartans with a Cyborg Factory should do just that, but not the others. I call building units in all spare bases 'parallel production' as opposed to component based production. Parallel production is less efficent for a handful of reasons -
1) It requires several times more buildings, all of which require upkeep - component based production uses a fraction of the upkeep, this extra cash powers up your economy/tech. Ten bases with Aerospace Complex / Bioenhancement costs 49 energy in upkeep. One assembly base supported by nine support bases costs 7 energy in upkeep (saving 42 energy per turn).
2) Time saved, Setting up one base with two buildings, sped up by crawlers is much faster than making several buildings without crawler help. Abundant crawlers combined with hurrying means fast buildings, you can be ready to produce troops in a few turns.
3) Naval power - crawlers let you move minerals from inland bases to coastal ones, speeding up ship production.
4) Nuke/Nerve gas resistance - In an atomic war or total war situation you can expect to lose alot of bases - defence pods and unit barriers cant always save you from nukes. The AI wont use nerve gas aircraft but it will use nukes. Your empire needs to regenerate fast, replacement assembly bases can be built in a few turns with spare crawlers.
5) Flooding resistance - With a grid of bases you can build high ridges under rows of bases and keep plenty above therising floodwaters, each elevated square draws two bases upward.
Faction, Wonder and social engineering bonuses used together can create some amazing varieties of powerful empires. The combinations of political models, economic models, cultural values and future societies used in the game via the social engineering screen can likewise let you get creative with your empire and gain many useful abilities.
Your energy distibution bar is here...
You can use this to combat drones by putting energy into psych, but I dont recommend it. Keep your energy at 50% economy and 50% labs or you'll loose alot to ineffic. Set to 100% labs gives you a 40% penalty, so your actual gain is only 10% extra labs by sacrificing all your energy cash income.
Pressing E pops up the Social Engineering panel, where you mould your people into planetary overlords. Bottom right in this panel is your social effects readout - this tells you what your choices are achieving.
The catagories are;
Economy- Energy per base/Energy per square! - +1 Energy per square is great but tends to come at great cost. - ok+
Efficency- reduces energy lost from having umpteen bases miles away from your HQ Handy mid to late game.
Support- maintains units per base - very handy until clean reactor, maybe later if your gaian. - Great early/not needed later.
Morale- gives you better troops 1-3 morale level bonuses worth - difficult to make Elites without this. - Good
Police- helps reduce drones - negative 3 or less is bad, high difficulty games have alot of drones - ok Growth- bases increase size faster - great early on, or to regen after nukes, can cause drone probs - ok early
Planet- Gives you worm capture and lets you use more minerals at bases without pollution - both nice - Good
Probe- Better probe teams/bribe resistance - probe teams have a thousand uses around the home, use them - Best early to mid game.
Industry- Less minerals needed to make things - fundamentaly useful in a XXXX game - Good
Research- Less energy needed for tech advance - another fundamental, Scientia est potentia - Good
You tweek these social effects with Political Models like;
Police State - +2 support, +2 police, -2 Effic - police levels of -3 or less create hippie drones. Good for early expansion.
Democratic - +2 growth, +2 effic, -2 support - Good after clean reactor becomes standard.
Fundamentalist- +2 Probe, +1 Morale, -2 Science - this morale is enough to make elite troops with two morale buildings like bio enhance/Aerodrome.
And Economic Models;
Free Market - +2 Econ, -5 police, -3 planet - gives you +1 energy per square, this includes harvested surply crawler energy.
Planned - +2 growth, +1 Industry, -2 EFFIC - Used for early growth or regenerating a devistated empire.
Green - +2 planet, +1 Effic, -2 Growth - Great late in the game when growth is just making more drones.
Plus these cultural Values;
Power - +2 Morale, +2 Support, -2 Industry - The cloneing Vats cancel the -2 Industry penalty.
Knowledge - +2 Science, +2 EFFIC, -2 probe - very handy, especialy after airpower - Blends without penalty with Fundamentalist.
Wealth - +1 Industry, +1 Econ, -2 Morale - Gives morganites +1 energy per square - not so bad if your using worm armies.
Later in the game you get futuristic utopian/distopian societies.
Cybernetic - +2 Effic, +2 Planet, +2 Research, -3 Police - Network Backbone cancels penalty - Beware of having a very low police level.
Eudaimonia - +2 Econ, +2 Growth, +2 Industry, -2 Morale - Another source of +1 energy per square - good for Gaians/bribe probe tactics.
Mind Control - +2 Morale, +2 Police, +2 Probe, -3 Support - Works double plus good with clean reactor based empires. Ungood for building worm armies.
The negative effects of both POWER and CYBERNETIC can be removed with wonders.
Social Engineering MORALE and unit morale levels are two different but inter-related things. Four points of social engineering MORALE gives your units 3 levels of morale ! One unit of social engineering MORALE gives your units 1 level of morale (therefore a 12.5% combat bonus).
MORALE 1 --- +1 unit Morale
MORALE 2 --- +2 unit Morale
MORALE 3 --- +2 unit Morale, +3 on defence.
MORALE 4 --- +3 unit Morale
Fundamentalist alone is great to power up probe team skimships prior to the threat of needlejets. It also brings a morale boost to get elites.
Knowledge plus Fundamentalist gives you +1 Morale and +1 Effic without penalty.
Green police state gives +2 planet, +2 support, +2 police, -2 growth - failure to hug trees is not tolerated and litterbugs get the punishment sphere.
Police states that value Power can get supreme support levels - Base pop size = number of units supported.
Most factions with Green and Cybernetic get 75% worm capture.
Power or fundamentalist will provide the extra morale to give troops made from command center/Bio enhancement type combos elite status.
Democratic, Green, Knowledge gives a +5 super EFFIC energy network - good for sprawling empires.
Cybernetic police states have +2 planet, +2 support, +2 research, -1 police - great bonus to penalty ratio here.
Power and Mind control combine to give any faction the three extra unit morale levels for easy elites.
A freemarket, police state with mind control has +1 energy per square, with -1 police penalty (spartans get 0 police),
Green fundamentalists with knowledge have a -2 growth penalty, but +2 planet, +3 effic and +1 morale for those elites. - Tree worshiping boffin druids.
Power or police state with Living Refinery wonder gives you mega support levels - Base pop size = number of units supported. Good for worm armies.
Faction based combos ;
Spartans with Power have lvl 4 MORALE and therefore get three levels of troop morale. 5 th level is elite.
Spartans with a freemarket police state get +1 energy per square bonus and +2 support, -2 police, -2 effic -2 planet penalty. (more than -2 police is bad)
Believers with Fundamentalism are immune to probe team bribery of units or cities.
Believers can use Police state or Power in the early-mid game to get supreme support levels - Base pop size = number of units supported.
Gaians with Green get a 75% chance to turn wild worms into tame SUPPORT free worm units and 3 planet for good production.
University with knowledge has +40% research, but -4 probe makes your people cheap to bribe.
Hive with Planned, Power and Eudaimonia + Cloneing Vats gets - 50% growth bonus, 40% production bonus and no econ or morale penalty.
Hive or university with Power and Mind control - combine to give the faction the three extra unit morale levels for easy elites.
Wonders have much to offer. The Command Nexus, Maritime Control Centre, Cyborg Factory and Cloneing Vats with POWER offer good military returns. The Dream Twister and Amplifier are useful against a strong psi based opponent - like angry gaians. The Merchant Exchange built in your HQ offers good energy surply possibilities. The Weather Paradigm offers faster terrorforming and island enlargement early in the game, a cure for a cramped island.
Combine the supercollider with good labs and imported energy at your HQ for good research power.
Beware however wonders are prime nuke targets - the AI will target them and players can press F6 to veiw a list of wonders complete with locations - so expect human enemies to target them with nukes and nerve gas bombers. Orbital defence pods and unit barriers dont offer certain protection.
Try not to become reliant on wonders, if you can win games without wonders no enemy can build your favourite wonder first nor nuke it out from under you. You'll also be a popular ally in Co-operative games if your friends are free to build the wonders without competition.
SPECIAL UNITS :
Auto design doesnt offer you all the goodies, you need custom gear, some custom built units with potential are.
Half spy, half boat, all powerful. Between the time you develop boats and your enemies overseas develop needlejets these spyboats can ensure your place as the whos who of tech. See someone steal the top tech spot on the whos who readout? Send in the spyboat swarm so they can share your new tech generously with you. If the whos who calls them wealthy a swarm of probeships can take care of that too. Need to capture a port to speed up an amphibious invasion? Bribe a port over to your side with a nimble spyboat, then fill it with defences. Later if things get chaotic they can unleash retrovirus attacks on the enemies coast.
Give a probe team hypnotic trance and you've got a winner of a unit I call the PSI Corps. This is a worm suppression unit with no SUPPORT upkeep. Spam them out by the dozen. Spread them around your empire, when worms pop up or drop in, just surround them with PSI Corps and let the worms attack them. This unit is a multi-purpose allrounder, they give a base worm and probe defence. If an enemy drops off a surprise bundle of troops on your coast, the PSI Corps can bribe them over to your side. You can mix them into armies to offer protection from bribery and worms/psi troops. After researching Retroviral Engineering they gain offencive powers against enemy bases. Giving them armour makes them very costly but can add a bit of extra usefulness, I dont give them armour. I have a few bases building these guys all game from the time I get probes and trance.
Needlejets with good weapons, clean reactor and Nerve gas pods made in epic numbers can cleanse the planet of enemy scum. Based on technology developed by Pussy Galores flying circus this unit takes out military and civilian opposition concurrently, and by wiping out bases you'll be wiping out SUPPORT for units as well as a production point. When I have about 40 of these I feel much safer and enemies tend to disappear...
There are many more great combo's...