[note: this only applies to desert races - I started playing with the Securans and found the early game a lot more troublesome than the usual continental or marsh races]
Opening moves in DW for a desert race can make your experience with the initial "civilian ship crunch" a trivial or infuriating affair. The crunch I refer to is the acquisition of your first few colonies, which sparks a frenzied building spree from the civilian sector for freighters and such. This places an immense dampener on your expansion plans, as any military ships being built at your homeworld star port are buried in a 20-30 long queue.
So how does one go about mitigating the effects of the "crunch"?
1. Take control of ship design and reseach
Pipewrench wrote a handy article on ship design. More efficient management of ship design and research will mean your empire can weather the crunch more easily.
2. Key resources
The key resources you're likely to find to be a bottleneck on your early expansion are: steel and polymer. Other resources are needed in relatively low quantities or are abundant enough that acquiring them is not a problem.
As an analysis tool, look at the requirements for building a colonization module:
quite abundant, but often overlooked for its importance. It's used in mass quantities in every ship, and thus having at least 2 mines (depending on extraction efficiency) built as quickly as possible will make the early expansion phase a lot smoother.
a key resource used in massive quantities for colonization modules, and most ship components. As a rough guide, you'll need one polymer for every 2 steel you consume in the early game. Making this an early priority in your game will greatly ease the civilian crunch.
inconsequential. This should be produced in sufficient quantities from your gas mining operations as a by-product for your starting fuel casion.
3. build in advance
The maintenance costs for being prepared are quite trivial in comparison to the lost potential from slowed expansion due to the crunch, or the costs of having to fight for the resources you require. To this effect, your initial building targets should consist of:
- 4 explorers - ruin exploration, identification of resources and finding potential colonies, to name a few benefits. More the merrier, but how many depends on your economy and galaxy size/shape.
- 2-3 destroyers - pirates can be an incredible pain in the early game. Killing them before they can destroy your mining stations will go a long way to nipping the potential trouble in the bud.
- 2-3 colony ships - once the "crunch" hits, building colony ships will take an incredibly long time, due to the civilian ship builds competing for steel and polymer. Building them early will allow you to plant your colonies - and especially those independent colonies - before your competitors.
4. bribe pirates for information
The location of independent colonies is worth far more than the paltry 5000 credits they charge. Early acquisition of independent worlds will greatly increase your tax base, as well giving you racial bonuses and early ability to colonize other planet types. Before you blow up their base, make sure you get all the indepentent locations you can fron the pirates! Otherwise, you'll find several billion tax-payers to be paying their taxes to another empire that was quicker in locating them. Of note here - pirates like to loiter at independent worlds. If you're "colonizing", as opposed to "clononizing-in-force", send along a few ships as escort. 2-3 destroyers will make short work of most pirates around an independent world.
I'll update and expand this based on any feedback/corrections people care to add to this thread. My objective is to ease the initial learning curve for new players.
< Message edited by Kayoz -- 3/29/2011 12:46:55 AM >