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A Universe Without (Unlimited) Fuel

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A Universe Without (Unlimited) Fuel - 12/8/2011 6:49:29 PM   


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So I've been playing DW since it was a wee tyke 4X game, and every time I would play I put it aside after a game or two because frankly, there wasn't much challenge in it. It seemed that there was an excess of everything, including fuel, money (well, after the initial wonky economics were worked out), and strategic materials. Being a WITP player, I couldn't take a game seriously where strategic resources were a dime a dozen. To me, the point of a 4X/wargame is to fight for those resources; to make them precious and worth the struggle. Otherwise, it's simply a technology/luck race to see who can colonize the first, the fastest.

So I recently tried something new (this is on patch 5). I did a random start on a 15 X 15 map (so that fuel would actually matter a little bit) with a trying homeworld condition (never did that before) and got to it. (I was the Boskra; interesting because I don't think I would ever play them with my choice, but the LP series inspired me to go more random).

Well, the Boskras use caslon. And at first, all was well. I built the ships I needed to build, sent out my explorers, and started on my network of research station tuned to my needs. Sure, I wasn't making (nearly) as much money as I was used to in other versions, but eventually my cash flow would jump back to its customary +100K and I'd soon be swimming in stuff!

Ah, there's a pirate base up there. Nasty bastards, too; they have railguns, making life difficult for my frontier stations. No sweat. I'll just round up my Home Fleet, have them top off their fuel, and go exterminate them.

A few minutes later, after working on other things in my empire, I noticed they still hadn't left for the pirate station. And they still hadn't refueled! Idiots. I checked to make sure the space port on my homeworld wasn't terribly backed up (it can happen) but no, all bays were clear.

Something gnawed at the back of my mind. There was something different about the strategic screen. But what was it... Intrigued, I zoomed out. What was different? Then I saw it, with a sick realization:

All my refueling station symbols were gone. My empire was completely out of fuel.

How did this happen? I wondered. I've never not had fuel! But now, my empire was starting to fall apart. A colonizer ship that was supposed to refuel north of my empire was stranded because there was no fuel at that base. My picket ships were drifting aimlessly, unable to fend off the (suddenly much bolder) pirates. What had happened? Well, the pirates had picked off my (one) Caslon base in my empire, and even though I was getting a tiny amount from a neutral empire to the south, it was a drop in the bucket compared to what I needed. And without my ships being able to move at any kind of speed, my trade income plummeted - I was an importer now, and was exporting virtually nothing. My ships could barely leave my home system due to the fuel issues, and my outer holdings were easy prey for raiding parties of pirates. In other words, I was Japan, 1945.

That's the moment I realized this game could truly be amazing. I've always *liked* the game but when you have real tactical and resource considerations that actually matter.... it becomes a fight, and an achievement to crawl out of it. I think there was an AAR that dealt with something similar, and I couldn't understand how that player had let themselves get into that kind of predicament... now I know, and I commiserate. Having a trying start I think really contributed to my situation, and all future games will be started at least on 'trying'.

Thank you Eliot for finally making choices and resources matter!!

< Message edited by Texashawk -- 12/8/2011 7:06:26 PM >


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RE: A Universe Without (Unlimited) Fuel - 12/8/2011 6:55:47 PM   


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That sounds great. I've definitely run critically low on fuel in a couple of my games, but I wasn't experienced enough to know what was really going on. I just noticed that the fuel icons were disappearing, and my fleets were limping everywhere without fuel and getting picked off easily by pirates. Only later did I learn how to monitor my fuel situation.

From what I understand, they've made resources substantially less common in Legends, which may also be what's helping create a more interesting game.

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RE: A Universe Without (Unlimited) Fuel - 12/8/2011 7:09:22 PM   

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Actually they CAPED ressources. You can never get more than 200 Caslon a week per gas giant. And this is while it would have 100%.
That means in the best case - utopic, rather cut it to 60% - you get 200 Caslon multiplied with 7 usage to 28500 energy per week. Now is THIS enough? No! Build more gas mines!


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RE: A Universe Without (Unlimited) Fuel - 12/8/2011 8:07:39 PM   

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Yep there is more of a bottleneck, therefore it much more important to defend your resource nodes. In addition, that makes targeting strategic resource hubs even more effective.

Case in point, during a war vs the securans I knocked out an opposing empire's entire fuel resupply chain. Pretty soon their entire navy was dead in the water, paralyzed from lack of fuel. After that I seized their outer colonies taking them in a blitz, and then blockaded their homeworld. After I leisurely gathered my entire invasion fleet filled with veteran troops from the blitz, I took their homeworld and inherited the remainder of their fleet (about 60% of the size it was at their peak). Then I enslaved their entire race.


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RE: A Universe Without (Unlimited) Fuel - 12/8/2011 9:02:32 PM   


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Yeah the Normal game is really for novices and brainless wonders I've always said. If you want a challenging game out of the ai you have to play on harder difficulties and harder starting conditions.

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