Hints and Tips

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SoulBlazer
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Hints and Tips

Post by SoulBlazer »

Hello all!

I had wanted to do a AAR, but lacked the time to do so. However, I've played several games both with past versions
and the current version and did learn a few things, which I wanted to pass on. My advise on playing this game well
as it stands in the current version (understanding some of this may change with later ones):

1) You're on a very tight time deadline. In the campaign, you have to do the moon landing by the end of 1973. Money is
too tight and prestige gained on missions too high to allow you to 'jerk around' with un needed programs. The critical ones
that you need for the moon landing are:
-- Space Plane (X-15)
-- Satalite (Sputnick or Explorer)
-- Moon Probes (flyby, orbit, landing, and soil return)
-- One Man Capsule
-- Two Man Capsule
-- 3 or 4 rockets to launch all this (including the Saturn V)
-- (OPTIONAL) Three Man Capsule

DO NOT mess around with anything else (the other Earth Satalies, planet flybys, Mars probes,
etc.) UNLESS you need the Prestige to meet budget goals and have money/time/scientists available.
Right now, in the current campaign version, time and money is too short and prestige given for
the other stuff too high to distract you.

2) Try to resist the temptation to grow the base too fast. Go ahead at game start and build
both a flight control and spacemen center, and hire all you can at that level. Hire the one extra
R&D person you have room for also. After your first budget increase in 59, expand both the R&D
center and flight control by one. You don't need to max out all 3 of these buildings. All you need
for the game are:

R&D: Max this one out at 25 after your second budget increase in 63.
Spacemen: No need to go beyond 7.
Flight Control: For 95 percent of the game, you're fine with 15 for this. There's a couple
things (like the historical Apollo lunar landing) that require more, but you can easily upgrade
this at the end if need be. 15 is enough to send up one or two missions per season.

Likewise, do the assembly building right away, but don't bother upgrading it for lunar missions
until you are ready to start doing lunar probes.

3) Be careful with your budget! It's too small and money is too tight to waste. At the start
of the game make sure not to go negative. It's okay to dip into the red (negative cash flow)
toward the end of 58, when you only have a season or two left before a budget increase. But
keep as much cash flowing in each turn as you can. If you scrub a mission you get the cash
back, also, so don't worry about that.

4) Look at your short term goals each quarter and do your best to take care of them. Plan
your budget so you can make the expensive purchases (like the two man capsule or the Saturn V)
and you can start R&D'ing them in time.

5) Rockets take the longest to R&D, followed by probes, followed by capsules and everything
else. Plan accordingly. Open rocket programs first and get your best people R&D'ing those
right away.

6) I usually R&D things to at least 85 percent and stop at 89-90 percent, unless my folks have
nothing else better to R&D that season. The rate of returns once you hit 85 is very small.
And with the new events working for your ground crew having a chance to fix problems, I have
rushed things into space with them as low 75-80 percent and they have been able to fix problems.
So gamble if you need to.

7) Having said that, TRAIN your people every chance you get, if you don't need them for the
next 2-4 turns for anything. You probably won't have a chance to train R&D people, cause they
stay busy all game. But your flight controlers and spacemen, this is critical. Max each
person out in at least one skill. It only takes $10 for each person, so go ahead and spend freely.
The time spent on your flight controlers getting their skills up will save you when something
goes wrong in a flight. Likewise, you want your spacemen being as good as they can be at
one skill. Bottom line, if you don't need to hold your people for something coming up,
train them!

8) Fitness for your spacemen is VERY important. It's used for SO much when they are doing
their missions. Get this for each of your guys up to AT LEAST 90, if not higher.

9) Be careful in closing programs. You want to do it once you've done everything you can
in it and to free up the spot for something else (I suggest most of the game you're fine
with being able to open 7 programs, expanded to 10 for the last quarter). But, as it stands
right now, if you have a rocket associated with a program and close that program, you lose
all the R&D progress you made on that rocket also. So make sure you don't need that rocket
for something else!

10) Good USA rockets to use for most of the game are the Atlas-Agena, Saturn 1, and the Titan.
These will be able to send up most of your stuff, until you need the power of the Saturn V
for the lunar landing testing and actually doing it.

11) Don't skip requirements lightly. If you try to rush a program (do a orbital before a
sub-orbital, for example) you take a -10 percent hit in quality. It's just not worth the risk.

12) Here's some ROUGH goals on where you should be at as you go through the game in order to be
able to make a lunar landing by the end of 1973. Don't be afraid to take risks if you fall
too far behind, but don't push your luck either!

-- Quarter 55-58: Space plane and satalite
-- Quarter 59-62: One Man Capsule and Lunar Flyby
-- Quarter 63-66: Two Man Capsule and Lunar Orbital
-- Quarter 67-70: More Two Man Capsule (things like EVA and Docking), Saturn V, and Lunar Probe Landing
-- Quarter 71-73: Three Man Capsule (Optional), Lunar Sample Return, and Lunar Landing
The US Navy could probaly win a war without coffee, but would prefer not to try -- Samuel Morison
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terje439
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RE: Hints and Tips

Post by terje439 »

Why so many rockets? In reality it seems to me you can get by with a mere two?
Sputnik booster (since it is researched quickly)
The biggest USSR rocket (do not recall the name) which should be good enough by the time you have the lunar probes researched.



Terje
"Hun skal torpederes!" - Birger Eriksen

("She is to be torpedoed!")
SoulBlazer
Posts: 766
Joined: Sun Oct 27, 2002 5:28 am
Location: Providence RI

RE: Hints and Tips

Post by SoulBlazer »

Several reasons for the rocket choices, Terje -- and I could have expanded on that a bit more.

For starters, I'm more farmilar with the US programs. I haven't used too many Russian ones. You're fully right that you can use just two rockets -- the Sputnik booster and the N1 (the moon rocket).

I prefer R&D'ing more, though. If you have two rockets that can send up most of your stuff, you can pick and choose between them, going with the one that is safer and cheaper (there IS a cost for using these, after all!). And if something terrible happens to set back one of your rockets, you have a backup you can go with.

You always want to have a backup plan and a backup program -- so if that something happens to your primary, you can go with the backup, even if it may not be ideal. A bad failure can you set back a year or even worse.
The US Navy could probaly win a war without coffee, but would prefer not to try -- Samuel Morison
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terje439
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RE: Hints and Tips

Post by terje439 »

ORIGINAL: SoulBlazer

You always want to have a backup plan and a backup program -- so if that something happens to your primary, you can go with the backup, even if it may not be ideal. A bad failure can you set back a year or even worse.

Good point. Guess I will need to take a new approach though, as I neer seem to have enough scientists around [:)]


Terje
"Hun skal torpederes!" - Birger Eriksen

("She is to be torpedoed!")
redcoat22
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RE: Hints and Tips

Post by redcoat22 »

"Be careful in closing programs. You want to do it once you've done everything you can
in it and to free up the spot for something else (I suggest most of the game you're fine
with being able to open 7 programs, expanded to 10 for the last quarter). But, as it stands
right now, if you have a rocket associated with a program and close that program, you lose
all the R&D progress you made on that rocket also. So make sure you don't need that rocket
for something else! "

Is this true? I thought the rocket programs were totally independent of the other programs. So if I close the Mercury program are you saying the Atlas rocket will revert to its unresearched level? That seems like something that should be fixed.

I agree with your assessment that the game doesn't currently reward a player for going through the various programs. I think it would be better if the rockets researched much faster if you go through the paces (redstone, atlas, titan, etc)and thus make that a viable options and conversely make it far riskier and slow going if you decide to "skip" programs as you suggest and as it stands currently.
SoulBlazer
Posts: 766
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Location: Providence RI

RE: Hints and Tips

Post by SoulBlazer »

redcoat, as it stands right now, yes, that's true. I don't know if this is intended -- it
may be changed later on, and I haven't asked the developers about this yet. On one hand,
it makes sence -- you can't use the probe or capsule anymore that you closed, so if the rocket
is exclusive to that program, you shouldn't be able to use that either. On the other, rockets
should be separated. It sounds like the next version of the game is going to have you
assemble your payloads and pick your rocket in the VAB (Vichael Assembly Building) so just
know this is how it stands NOW and I expect things to get changed in the next version. :)
The US Navy could probaly win a war without coffee, but would prefer not to try -- Samuel Morison
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johng5155
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RE: Hints and Tips

Post by johng5155 »

I agree with everything SoulBlazer says - if you don't ignore everything but the moon landing you are not going to make it by 1973, but it really is not much fun for me right now. The earlier build felt a lot more like a space program - exploring space. I was hoping that they would add more non-moon landing related missions. Only a couple of satellite programs of the early 60's are included. I am really looking forward to a better calibration of the prestige and budget numbers. Right now, it feels more like the Manhattan project - trying to beat the Germans to the Bomb. Frankly, it is pretty tough to test the software now, since there is not enough money to goof around a bit.
SoulBlazer
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RE: Hints and Tips

Post by SoulBlazer »

Well, there IS the sandbox mode. :) You can go nuts and experiment all you want in that.
In fact, playing your first couple games in sandbox may be a good idea, so you can learn
what works and what doesn't. And there's more then one way to beat the game, as someone
pointed out earlier, you can make do with 2 Russian rockets.
The US Navy could probaly win a war without coffee, but would prefer not to try -- Samuel Morison
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johng5155
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RE: Hints and Tips

Post by johng5155 »

Actually, all sandbox seems to do is get rid of the special tasks. The budget constraints remain, so you are basically just as limited as in the campaigns. In a sense it is worse, since you cannot pick up the extra prestige. I am not really interested in beating the game, although I have done it a couple of times in earlier builds.
SoulBlazer
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Location: Providence RI

RE: Hints and Tips

Post by SoulBlazer »

Actually, in sandbox you have no time limit. No pressure to do a moon landing by 1973. So it's quite good for doing all the launches and missions in the game, and you can also use it to test out hardware and see what works best for you and all of that.
The US Navy could probaly win a war without coffee, but would prefer not to try -- Samuel Morison
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johng5155
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RE: Hints and Tips

Post by johng5155 »

True, but the pace of the game is pretty slow - couple of missions a year. One thing I have been wondering about, do you see any correlation between the salary of personnel and their skill levels? You would think the more talented folks would command higher pay, but it does seem to be that way.
SoulBlazer
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RE: Hints and Tips

Post by SoulBlazer »

Yes, the higher skilled people DO seem to command higher prices, but it's not 'OMG what are you smoking?!?!' different.

Actually, as long as you meet the max prestige goals each budget review -- which, right now, is pretty damn easy -- by the time of 69 you're ROLLING in dough. With all that money you can set up the pace of your missions. In sandbox mode in the 70's I was launching 4-6 missions a year.
The US Navy could probaly win a war without coffee, but would prefer not to try -- Samuel Morison
NephilimNexus
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RE: Hints and Tips

Post by NephilimNexus »

Also keep in mind that, if you're playing the USSR, that the game is rigged in favor of the US when it comes to the Moon Landing victory. I've had ships with 99.8% reliability get seven failures when trying to do the landing, and even with 98% crew skill they would end up failing before making touchdown.
wegman58
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RE: Hints and Tips

Post by wegman58 »

WHY Space Planes? X-15 generated some astronauts but I don't even see Dyna-Soar or MOL in this game. I don't see what you get from the space plane - is it a critical 'skip' once you are beyond Mercury? Or is it cheap pilot training?
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seydlitz_slith
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RE: Hints and Tips

Post by seydlitz_slith »

I never do space planes. At the start of the game you don't have as much money, especially if you are playing on hard. Instead, your focus should be on getting the first satellite in space in Q3 or Q4 1958. To this end, in 1955, I do not even open any programs. Instead, I hire additional set controllers (to get me to 7) and send the starting 5 controllers to training for either one or two training cycles. Out of the first 5 controllers, 3 specialize in rockets and 2 in space probes. In fact, to save the most money, don't even build the VAB until Q4 '55 and send your controllers to 2 rounds of training. That way all will be ready Q2 '56, which is when you start the satellite program.
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