Claustrophobic Chaos (Full Version)

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Jim D Burns -> Claustrophobic Chaos (11/14/2012 9:12:36 PM)

I recently began a game as the Terran Republic (race = human, government = republic) that I've found pretty challenging so far and I decided it might be a good game to do an AAR of as several empires in game are considerably larger than mine, so the challenging game play may last quite a while.

It's a 1400 star 15x15 irregular galaxy map. Difficulty is very hard and aggression is set to chaos. Research cost is a custom setting, set to 999k, and galaxy expansion is set to old.

Colony prevalence is set to abundant, independent alien life is rare and colony influence range is set to 200%.

Everyone is set to excellent home system, old empire and a starting tech level of 2.

I set colony prevalence to abundant so all the empires would start with close to 20 large planets each. And with a setting of rare independent life, most of those starting planets would have their core races on them. This worked pretty good, as I started with only humans on my planets, and I assume/hope the other empires also saw few alien races in their starting systems as well.

Game start found the humans squeezed into a very narrow strip of the center right galaxy between the Da Suukha Minor Utopia (Securans) to our left and the Great Kiadian Kingdom to our right. The early years saw several incidents escalate tensions with the Kiadians as our bases shared systems and we almost went to war. To avert a war so early in the game, I gave them the contested bases and asked for nothing in return. This averted the crisis and allowed me time to try and focus on some expansion.

I also had to give the Ancient Guardians several bases for the same reason, since they started the game in my influenced territory and any system we shared instigated warnings from them for military ship presence.

Unfortunately I ran into the Akdarian Federation and Ugnari Corporation to my north after colonizing only one planet, so that left only my southern border open for possible expansion. Initially things went well in the south, until I ran into the Free Ikkuro Territory. This empire is almost twice the size of mine and very quickly began blockading my systems.


Jim D Burns -> RE: Claustrophobic Chaos (11/14/2012 9:13:11 PM)

Because I've set the aggression level to chaos, I've been very careful to try and foster good relations with everyone except the bugs. For the most part this has worked and I signed many trade agreements and 3 defense agreements, and for a while it also worked on the Ikkuro. But recently they declared war for no apparent reason and quickly gobbled up two of my planets, one at Sreloor Junction and the other at Diltak Junction.

Two invasions were also launched at Carenda and Melarean, but I had two large fleets in the area that each dumped about 20+ extra troops on each planet and the fleets plus the defending troops fought off the initial attacks.

Currently the Ikkuro are attacking Di Girrelleun, but the small fleet defending there was able to destroy one of the attacking troop ships and it appears that was sufficient to win the day as the initial landings have been wiped out and so far no more enemy transports have warped in. My small fleet has been destroyed though, so currently there is nothing to stop another attack except the 6-7 veteran ground units that just won the fight on the ice planet and the 10 or so rookie ground units on the continental planet. Both planets have lots of troops in the queue, but if the Ikkuro return any time soon I'll probably lose the system.

The only offensive action I've managed to take is to set a blockade of the Nispes system with my advanced fleet. This fleet consists of 14 advanced ships (3capital, 2 Cruisers, 5 destroyers and 4 frigates) that have been recovered by my explorers and is my most powerful force currently.

Initially my three allies went to war with the Ikkuro in response to their declaration of war on me. The Secruan's captured two low population Ikkuro planets and have made peace. The Akdarian's never got involved in the fighting as far as I can tell and have also made peace.

So currently only the Kiadians and myself are still involved in the war with the Ikkuro, which means we are about evenly matched as far as military power goes, though I am bearing the brunt of the fighting and my ships are only about half as powerful as the Ikkuro ships.

I suspect the reason the Ikkuro are so powerful is they must have wiped out some phantom pirates. The Securans recently wiped out some phantom pirates and their military power is on par with the Ikkuro, so this is why I think the Ikkuro must have hit some pirates of their own.

Unfortunately for me, this means I have little hope of winning the war. I've queued a bunch of my most powerful ships to try and give my guys a fighting chance, but those cruisers have a power rating of 96 vs. his cruisers power ratings of 196. and my destroyers rate 60 to his destroyers ratings of 105. So as you can see it's going to be a tough war.


Jim D Burns -> RE: Claustrophobic Chaos (11/14/2012 11:07:24 PM)

After giving it some thought, I decided the blockade was not a good expenditure of force for my most powerful fleet, so I ordered the Advanced Fleet to move to Di Girrelleun to take up the defense in place of the recently destroyed fleet there. Unfortunately they are still about half a sector away and a new Ikkuro fleet has just warped into the system around the ice planet Di Girrelleun 6.

A quick check of my ground units leaves me a bit embarrassed that I bragged about their veteran status in my last post. They are Ugnari Warbot units so they only start with a combat power of 7200 when freshly built and apparently their big victory only gave them a boost of 1500 points to 8700 for the veteran units, so they're still a lot weaker than the average 12000 or so strength fresh human ground units. One of them is also not finished repairing damage from the last fight, so the defense of the planet is pretty weak overall.

The only chance I have is if the Advanced Fleet can arrive and kill 1 or 2 transports before they unload, and I doubt that will happen. This area of the map is very sparse as most colonies are new, so there isn't a lot of support out here. It'll take a long time to assemble a fleet to return and try and retake this colony. But as it sits astride the route towards my Zentabia (SP?) fluid planet (it's the system in the bottom left corner of the map screenshot in the post above), it will be my priority one target for re-conquest.


Jim D Burns -> RE: Claustrophobic Chaos (11/15/2012 12:30:11 AM)

Well even though the Advanced Fleet failed to appear in the Di Girrelleun system until after the Ikkuro fleet had already departed the system, the Ikkuro only landed 73k troops on the ice planet from one of the troop ships the others did not unload any troops. My defense was 64k plus 2k from the population. It was a long fight but eventually I gained the upper hand and wiped out the attackers, but not until over half the planetary civilian population had been killed due to the fighting.

Soon afterwards another Ikkuro invasion fleet appeared at Melarean 2. This is one of the two systems I had dumped a lot of land troops on early in the war and repulsed the initial attacks, so I was comfortable with my ability to defend here. Even so the Ikkuro fleet warped in and was left in a precarious situation.

Three of its troop transports were all alone on the east side, so I ordered my small attack fleet of frigates to engage them and they managed to destroy two of the three before any troops were unloaded. The frigates (with help from the space ports guns ) then destroyed a 3rd troop ship on the west side before it unloaded, so almost half the invading force was destroyed in space.

With over 600k of troops defending vs. the 140k+ landed, I made short work of the invading troops.


WoodMan -> RE: Claustrophobic Chaos (11/15/2012 3:30:39 AM)

Wow, this is an epic scenario you got going here! Great setup!

Kalthaniell -> RE: Claustrophobic Chaos (11/15/2012 10:17:09 AM)

You're putting a lot of work into this AAR! Great job! And the game is epic. I want to see who wins.[:D]

Jim D Burns -> RE: Claustrophobic Chaos (11/15/2012 6:19:16 PM)

The Ikkuro brought in another fleet with reinforcements to try and save their troops on Melarean 2, but the landing force was wiped out before anymore troops could land. The guns of my star port then destroyed the troop ship attempting to land more troops and the Ikkuro fleet then withdrew.

After getting hammered for so long in this war I finally put together an operation to launch my first offensive. The reason things have been so difficult to get going is the Ikkuro wiped out all my fuel stations in the south, so my fleets have to fly back several sectors to mid-empire to refuel. I finally ordered a multi sector attack and the 7th Fleet headed in to Nispes.

Only a small fleet of a destroyer and 3 frigates was defending and they were dispatched with ease. My fleet then landed the 30 troops aboard and took the planet quickly. The 7th Fleet is now headed back to mid-empire to refuel and prepare for another long range attack.

I've got lots of gas mining stations queued up for construction in the south, but my constructors are taking forever to get one finished.


Jim D Burns -> RE: Claustrophobic Chaos (11/15/2012 8:18:29 PM)

One of my construction ships warped into a system to apparently try and repair the World Annihilator Project and was attacked by a small Silvermist. Looks like it'll take some manual control effort to get the system cleared of the nanobots and guarded so my construction ships can get to work (my constructors are already repairing the World Destroyer I believe). I'll leave that off until after the war however, as its prosecution is taking all my attention right now.

The Ikkuro continue to throw attacks at the Melarean system, but the efforts always bring too few troops to get the job done. I guess the AI isn't capable of remembering how many troops it faced on a planet in previous fighting.

I've switched my offensive focus from the 7th Fleet to the 11th Fleet as it has a larger troop carrying capacity. I then ordered it to make the long trek down to the Sreloor Junction system to begin the re-conquest of my lost territories. With 40 troops aboard I was thinking "great no problem". Then they arrived and dumped their troops and I found a huge defensive army of near parity was defending the planet, so the ground battle is going to be a very long and costly one, and there is a real possibility I will lose due to the defenders ability to repair some damage while the fight unfolds.

Shortly after I attacked Sreloor Junction, I got an alert about an incoming attack to the Nispes system. The Ikkuro came in and dropped 140k troops on the planet, so unless more arrive soon I should easily win this fight.

The Kiadians made peace with the Ikkuro recently and looking over the map it seems they only managed to wrest away one small population system, but it's in an area with lots of small population systems and it is possible the Ikkuro took some away from the Kiadians and not vice versa. I simply haven't had the time to pay attention to what's been going on with my allies.

With that front no longer active, I assume a lot of new Ikkuro fleets will be heading my way soon.


Jim D Burns -> RE: Claustrophobic Chaos (11/15/2012 9:38:24 PM)

With the recent cessation of hostilities between the Kiadians and Ikkuro, I pay the price as an attack fleet appears on my flank and hits the Adarluun system. Only a few of my cruisers and a medium star port defended the system and it was nowhere near enough to deal with the large fleet that warped into system.

To add insult to injury, as the battle unfolds a brand new carrier is completed at the star base right in the middle of battle and it drifts into open space with no shielding. Fortunately the targeting systems of the Ikkuro ships were already focused on other things and the carrier manages to escape taking only minor damage from secondary weapons on the Ikkuro ships as it sailed past them.

The Ikkuro fleet makes short work of my star base and then clears out the rest of my ships. The troop ships in the fleet land a large invasion force of 400k+, far too large for my defense of 250k+ to deal with I'm sure.

Up to this point I had been getting the feeling the war was going too easy, I've just been schooled. Looks like the war is about to heat up for me quite a bit.


Jim D Burns -> RE: Claustrophobic Chaos (11/16/2012 4:49:35 AM)

Over 2 years of game time has gone by and the ground battle continued to rage at the Sreloor system. Eventually I won the battle, but all but 20 million of the civilians were dead when the fighting finally ended.

During this period the Ikkuro continued launching various attacks on my systems and we traded ship casualties, with my guys getting the worse of it on a ratio of about 65:35. The most significant battle occurred when a surprise attack was launched on the Afard system which is my main refueling system deep in the center of my empire.

Curiously they attacked a mining station instead of the gas mining stations in system. I lost the mining station before my ships could help, but I did kill enough enemy ships that they fled after the fight instead of moving on to a new target.

Another large invasion was recently launched by the Ikkuro to retake the Nispes system. This is the only territory of theirs I've managed to take so far and they brought enough troops that the issue is in doubt. I also think this will be another very long battle as we have virtual parity in strength. I slightly outnumber the Ikkuro but they have a general, so I may lose this one.

Finally it's been years since I queued up orders for gas mining stations to be built in the south and still none are finished. But as I carefully inspected the systems down south, I found a station had been built by the Abrigadu-Fos Junction Renaissance (Shandar) in the Sacreya system near the front lines. I couldn't have asked for a better placed station as it's centrally located well enough to service all my front line systems nearby.

Unfortunately when I went to purchase the station via trade negotiations, the only thing I had that could afford to get it was my Super Area Weapons technology that had been found in a planetary site by one of my explorers. It was valued at 257+ million and the gas mining station was only worth about 8 million.

I've been carefully guarding this technology and hadn't traded it away even to my allies as of yet, but it's simply been too difficult to prosecute this war when my fleets use more than half their fuel just getting out to the battle sites, so I held my nose and pulled the trigger on the trade. Hopefully things will start to go my way when my fleets can stay down south now without having to spend months on long fuel trips.

I've recently reorganized a large assault fleet made up of most of my troop transports and 16 cruiser escorts. Once they're fueled and loaded with troops they will head south to conduct a serious campaign to try and put enough hurt on the Ikkuro to force an end to this war.


Jim D Burns -> RE: Claustrophobic Chaos (11/16/2012 6:15:52 AM)

Out of the blue the Ikkuro offer me a cease fire and I decided to accept it even though I've lost two planets and only taken one of his. The war has been going on for 10-20 years and has taken a huge toll on my ability to build up bases and defense strength. Better to halt things for now and build up some infrastructure rather than continue and keep using up all my resources on fighting. I can resume later once my territories are more secure.

At the end of hostilities, I looked over each of my planets and made sure they all had a defense base queued and a minimum of 20 troops built or queued as well. Once all this stuff is produced, I'll contemplate launching another war to reclaim my lost colonies.

As it turned out ending the war was a good thing. A few months later an Ikkuro fleet warped into the area where there is a world annihilator I've been doing repairs on for years. Had we still been fighting he'd have destroyed me and taken over the repairs (this is a different one from the one in an earlier screenshot).


Jim D Burns -> RE: Claustrophobic Chaos (11/20/2012 1:13:16 AM)

Barely 6 months game time went by before I get a call from the Kiadians to come to their aid due to an Ikkuro attack. Even though I really didn't want to get embroiled in another war so soon, all I need is another neighbor wanting to declare war on me, so I honored the alliance and answered the call to arms. Having just completed a long war with the Ikkuro, I decided to take a break from the game for a few days before undertaking yet again another massive war.

This time however I decided to try and give myself an advantage. I went ahead and traded away the Super Area Weapons technology to any empire that had bases or tech to trade me for it. Forget its value of 200+ million, I need to catch up to the Ikkuro to give myself an edge in the fighting, so probably 80% of the empires (not the bugs though) got the tech in exchange for whatever they had to trade for it.

In addition I called my three other allies into the war. So now the Ikkuro will face 5 enemies, so hopefully they'll be so spread out I can start to win some of these fights even though my ships are less powerful.

A short time later I got a message from the Zurbea Junction Ascendancy that directed me to investigate a system. When I arrived I found some Galactic History that advanced the Shaktur story line. I really hope they don't show up any time soon, I doubt anyone can handle them yet.

Having learned a hard lesson in the fighting last time, I sent a supply fleet to mine gas in an empty system near my and the Ikkuro's border. Unfortunately my supply ship was spotted while it was still setting up. It made quick work of the small frigate that found it, but I'll probably get attacked again soon, so I may have to move it.

When war broke out, I sent my advanced fleet to guard the world Annihilator project my constructor is working on to keep it securely in my hands. Some recent discoveries by my explorers has added quite a few ships to my advanced fleet. I sent several of the less advanced ones to the scrap yards to try and get some tech boosts, what you see in the screenshot is what I kept.

The first move I made when war broke out was send the large Assault Fleet I had assembled near the end of the last war to the Adarluun system to reclaim it. Unfortunately when they arrived I found the Kiadians had already landed a sizable force, so I decided not to land. I know neutral powers will destroy each other if they are both occupying a planet, so I assume allies will too (not sure though), so I didn't want to risk destroying a large allied army.

I've sent the Assault Fleet south to rendezvous with the supply fleet for refueling before it starts a campaign to take some Ikkuro territory along my southern border. I'll leave about 25-30 troops behind on each planet taken, so it has the ability to take 4-5 planets during this campaign.


Jim D Burns -> RE: Claustrophobic Chaos (11/20/2012 3:47:04 AM)

The first Ikkuro attack of the new war hits the Benarus system far to the south of my original empire in the expansion zone. The base only recently managed to complete its space port and defensive bases and they were still building up their fighters when this attack arrived. The only ships I had in system for defense were 2 supply ships.

My supply ships have slightly weaker firepower ratings than the Ikkuro cruisers, but by keeping them close together and adding the combined firepower of the bases, they managed to kill one transport before it unloaded. This tactic also kept me from losing any military ships (several civilian craft were destroyed), though the star port and one supply ship had damaged components by the end of the fight.

The Ikkuro brought a lot of troops, but not enough to do the job. They will destroy a lot of population however before the fight is decided.

Due to the very hard difficulty setting, I have a hard time generating enough cash to compete with the AI powers due to the large income bonus the setting gives them. So a while back when most of the galaxy was finished being explored, I queued up resort bases for every known resort location on the map I could build at. At this point I now have 16 resort bases functioning and the cash they generate is really starting to make a difference. I'm now able to field quite a large fleet without risking bankruptcy and would say I'm keeping pace with the AI powers ability to generate income now.

My recent tech trading binge where I traded away the Super Area Weapons tech for anything I could scrounge has increased my military power rating so that I'm now about 2/3rds as powerful as the Ikkuro. Though I haven't actually upgraded anything to take advantage yet, so perhaps the increase came from all the defense bases starting to come online recently.

I have a feeling once the Super Area Weapons start to come online once they get upgraded to at my large star ports, that my military power is going to skyrocket. I wish static defense weapons like these were not a part of that rating graph however, as it makes it hard to compare relative fleet strengths. The Ikkuro ships are still individually much stronger than mine, but it's probably defense bases that are changing the power graph in game for me right now. It would be great if there was a base graph and a fleet graph for military comparisons.


Jim D Burns -> RE: Claustrophobic Chaos (11/20/2012 10:58:33 AM)

The game was chugging along and I got a pop-up message that the Securans are no longer willing to trade their Loros Fruit with me. It's not a huge problem for my empires overall happiness as I have a Loros planet of my own. Curious I went in and inspected the diplomatic side of things and have found a worrying trend.

The Securans are now militarily the most powerful empire on map and it seems the further away our two power ratings are, the more our relations are going down. We are now rated at just +3, the last time I checked the rating was +40-50 or so, so things have fallen a long way fast. It looks like there will be a war with them eventually.

The Kiadians are just a few thousand under me in military strength and they too are beginning to covet my stuff. Relations have begun falling with them as well. My other two allies are still strong on the + side of things and neither one is coveting my territory yet, but they are both well below me in military power.

In addition to my allies, I've attached the Ikkuro to the screenshot for the purpose of comparison. You can see they are beginning to fall behind the Securans who are simply soaring above almost every other empire on map now in military power rating. The Ikkuro still have a slight edge in total colonies, but they're probably losing ground due to all the fighting they've been doing. As far as I know they've been at war almost non-stop and it's starting to hurt them in the ratings.

As to the numbers of total colonies everyone has, things are about to change. I've recently researched water planets and the current desert planet research just had a positive event resulting in a crash program, so they should become available soon. I generally don't touch colonization or research, so as far as I know I don't have any advantages over AI powers when it comes to colonization but the recent crash program may give me a slight edge in the race.

The Ikkuro have the largest overall territory on map, so eventually they'll probably take the lead again but for now I think in the short run they are going to fall behind me and a few of my allies.


Jim D Burns -> RE: Claustrophobic Chaos (11/20/2012 11:43:04 AM)

Think I've come across a strange bug in game. I got a message that a research base was under attack and when I went there I found the system was full of pirate ships. The odd part is the attack message came when the protection agreement I had with the Dread Claw Gang ended, so I immediately re-issued a new protection agreement to stop the attack. I then went in and had a closer look at all those ships.

I think this is one of the bases I originally gave to the Kiadians early in the game to prevent war with them. I then bought it back as part of the trade I made with them for the Super Area Weapons tech, so I never saw the events that lead to so many pirate ships in the system.

Here's the bug part: A close look at each ship shows it is part of the Phantom Fleet belonging to the Dread Claw Gang empire. But the Dread Claw Gang is not listed as a Phantom Pirate faction and I'm allowed to conduct diplomacy with them normally. So it appears that somehow an entire fleet from a Phantom Pirate faction somehow got transferred to a regular pirate faction. Looking at their home base proves they're a regular faction I believe. If not then the bug is I'm allowed to conduct diplomacy with Phantom Pirates.


Jim D Burns -> RE: Claustrophobic Chaos (11/20/2012 2:39:20 PM)

A new attack warning confirmed it, the Phantom Pirate ships are being given to normal pirate factions. Apparently the Dread Claw Gang was wiped out (no longer in diplomacy list) and the ships all transferred to a new pirate faction not seen before called the Bloody Gang and attacked me again.

Not sure if this is working as designed or an unintended consequence of a Phantom Pirate faction getting wiped out with lots of ships left on map. It also appears the ships are stuck in system even after they get a new faction, even though they have fuel aboard, since none have left or moved (unless it was to come attack my base) since I first noticed them. I assume they must have fuel, otherwise they wouldn't be able to fly over and attack me every time they go hostile.


Cavgunner -> RE: Claustrophobic Chaos (12/20/2012 3:25:29 AM)

Very good AAR. You are very descriptive as to what is happening, and your screenshots are clear and well presented. Looking forward to more!

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