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Subject: Muaat - The Race that Warms your Heart rss

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Jonathan Solie
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I just played my first game of TI4 a couple weekends ago as the Muaat and came out with a victory. It has been interesting to see other players describe them as underwhelming and it seems like early statistics are somewhat backing that up. When I played with them, I didn’t feel like they were underwhelming at all, just a bit slower to develop. Though I would consider myself nowhere near an expert on the game (I’ve played TI3 about a dozen times, each time as a different race), I thought maybe sharing about how I strategically viewed the race would be helpful to others.

Advantages:
Begins with a toned down War Sun and an immediate ability to build more or to tech up to superior and cheaper War Suns
Most expensive starting fleet
Second highest commodity limit (tied with four other races).
Third highest resource rich home system (tied with six other races)
Top three for most desirable racial promissory note (very situational, but it would be very rare for another player to not want this promissory note at least in the early game)
Stall ability

Disadvantages:
Third lowest influence rich home system (tied with four other races)
Worst first round expansion-ready fleet (tied with six other races)
Second worst production capacity potential home system (tied with five other races)


High Level Strategy:

It’s uncontestable (at least I think it is) that the War Sun is the best non-Flagship combat piece in the game. The Muaat most likely came into being because someone thought it would be a fun idea to create a race that starts with this mega-ship and then figured out how to tone them down so that they were not overpowered. It is understanding this necessary balance that opens the door to be effective with the Muaat, capitalizing on their strengths and compensating for their weaknesses.

The Muaat’s greatest strength is starting with a War Sun. But as several TI3 strategists identified, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are the big bad wolf of the galaxy. If you toast your War Sun in the early game, you will find your starting fleet advantage to be nearly impossible to recover and will need to resort to begging to have any hope of being competitive. So the golden rule for playing the Muaat is to prioritize protecting the War Sun until you’re in a position to replace it. Now that doesn’t mean it hangs back in your home system or never engages in conflict, but that you’re not leaving it exposed enough for your opponents to be tempted to try to pick it off and that you’re only using it to attack in high probability success situations. So if the War Sun is limited as an effective early game combat piece, why then is it a strength?

I think upon first glance people tend to look at the Muaat like they do the Sardakk N’orr with a “huge” military advantage in the game. While there is some truth to that, I believe it’s actually more helpful to view the Muaat like those lovely merchant cats the Hacan. Think about it, why were the Muaat given a commodity advantage and an awesome promissory note if they weren’t intended to be transaction machines? That’s precisely what the War Sun advantage should be used for. The Muaat player should be leveraging their War Sun to be subtly giving themselves the upper hand in board position and transactions any opportunity they can. With a War Sun, sentences like: “hey, I’d like to have a strict border here and be trade partners because I intend to go the other direction,” now have a hidden meaning of: “hey, I could be attacking you with my War Sun but I’m choosing to let you thrive, so you owe me.” Or: “are you sure you want to go there because I was planning on moving there with my War Sun this round?” really means: “if you move there, I will destroy your inferior fleet.” You will have to prove it of course from time to time, especially with experienced players, but when successful that really only helps reinforce the message in the future, which should always be - it’s much better to be my friend than my enemy. It is this diplomatic edge that you should be using on a regular basis to help compensate for any areas where you are finding yourself deficient. Just remember to not neglect your golden rule. There aren’t a lot of worthless pieces on the board in the early game, so even small victories can make the statements that you need. For someone playing against the Muaat, there’s just something about watching the Muaat player roll three hits using just one ship that makes the thought of attacking them seem too risky, at least that early on in the game.

As compensation for the War Sun, the Muaat are beset with slow development so they need to be played with patience. Focus on steady expansion, no matter how slow, and doing what you need to do to stay within a couple points of whoever is in the lead. You generally have no business being the first to Mecatol, so use your negotiation skills and encourage one of your neighbors to go for it while simultaneously trying to convince them that you’re doing them a favor by not bringing your War Sun there. Hopefully they’ll end up taking the lead for the early/mid game and with it any hostile attention of the other players (which you should of course be encouraging). By the end of the game, you need all those subtle threats of your terrifying War Sun to become real, which means focusing on teching up to War Sun II.

Prototype War Sun II is the difference maker for the Muaat. It makes your opening War Sun go from threatening to downright scary and by the time you research it if you’ve kept up with your slow and steady economic gains you should have enough resources to get your second War Sun out soon (otherwise your game is probably not going well). Being able to move two War Suns around the map in a blink is a lot for other players to try to manage, especially if you stumble onto a Maneuvering Jets action card. If all goes to plan, you can upgrade on or before Round 4 and your game is ready to open up. Once this Tech is acquired, it’s time to go for Mecatol, or the home system of the player in the lead, or wherever else you need to go to get and prevent points. When I played with the Muaat we played to 14 points, so this is just an assumption, but if you’ve negotiated well and stayed on pace with your tech upgrades (and with scoring objectives of course) you should have plenty of time left in a 10 point game to achieve a come from behind victory.


Racial Abilities, Techs, Flagship, and Promissory Note

Abilities

Star Forge should be used almost exclusively as a stall tactic, which is a tremendously powerful ability to have. It’s not something you will use often (I only used it twice in a 14 point game) as a command token is quite spendy, but when you need to delay your turn to gain a tactical advantage over your opponents you will find it is well worth it. Consider the fighters or destroyer you get as a bonus. That said, in a pinch it could be used to help reinforce a War Sun if you are nervous about getting attacked and overwhelmed - minding the golden rule.

Gashlai Physiology is going to be completely situational. It could end up providing you a military advantage against an opponent or be instrumental in scoring some objectives; or you might never use it. It certainly doesn’t hurt to have.

Techs

Magmus Reactor, as with Gashlai Physiology, is completely situational. I found that my War Suns were more effective on the front lines instead of in a system with my Space Docks, so I never got a financial kickback from it. That said, I was able to use it to fulfill an objective of having ships in two systems adjacent to Mecatol Rex, as one of those systems was a Supernova. If it doesn’t look useful, skip it for Duranium Armor or exhaust a red tech planet and skip them both (though Duraniam Armor will likely be more useful to you than Magen Defense Grid depending on how early you get the red tech planet).

As discussed above, Prototype War Sun II is in my opinion what makes the Muaat shine. I’m sure there are strategies you can employ that don’t involve you getting it, but then why are you playing the Muaat??

A quick note on other techs. After you upgrade to War Sun II, I don’t believe you really need anything else. Destroyer II, Assault Cannon, or PDS II will all available to you if you feel you need more (Destroyer II synergizing with Star Forge), but it’s usually best not to go overboard on tech unless you need them directly for an objective. That said, and it’s not likely to happen but if you can somehow also get Light/Wave Deflector, perhaps through the Jol-Nar Promissory note, you will be an utter nightmare for everyone with your upgraded War Suns moving through fleets.

Flagship

The Inferno is not an exceptional piece with the strategy I’m proposing here. The ultimate goal is to get fast, “cheap” War Suns and the Inferno is not going to be able to keep pace. It is essentially equivalent to two Dreadnaughts, so it does have value in being used as a strictly defensive piece with the option of a free cruiser when you need to stall.

Promissory Note

Fires of the Gashlai is a fantastic card to have, an ace in the hole if you would, but will lead to your undoing if used incorrectly. The whole advantage of the Muaat is the War Sun. If you give another player this technology without proper compensation and before you’ve upgraded your own War Sun technology, you’ve probably just shot yourself in the foot. Offering it up to the highest bidder in the early game at a ridiculous minimum price, say eight or ten trade goods, could be a way to compensate for your slow expansion. Or using it as leverage to gain some nice favors could also work (ex: if you don’t do this for me you’re definitely not getting my Promissory Note). As the game goes on, the card loses some value, but it also creates less risk for the Muaat player after War Sun II and your other supporting pieces are in play.


Galaxy Setup

Two of the Muaat’s disadvantages can be helped by smart system placement. Resource worlds are always good and important, but the Muaat player will need some high influence planets nearby or it will get ugly really quickly. As you probably should with most races, pick which of your neighbors you want to have a solid early game relationship with and which neighbor you want to encroach on their territory. Ideally your transaction partner will have at least as many commodities as you and the one to be encroached upon is not an overly strong early game military power. If you have a Supernova in your hand - you just won the lottery! Try to put it next to your home system on your friendly neighbor’s side if possible to pair with Magmus Reactor. A red tech planet is also very valuable to you in the early game, making Meer your best friend if you can get it anywhere near you. In general, a resource rich system straight ahead of you and an influence system on one side or the other will be your ideal to pick up in round one.


Opening Round

Your main goals for the early game are to ensure the security of your War Sun, tech to War Sun II as quickly as possible, and improve your resource and influence situation - all of course while scoring objectives! In round one, that means ideally you'll be improving your War Sun fleet, acquiring Sarween Tools, and building a Carrier with an escort if possible that you can move with Warfare.

In terms of strategy cards, there are a number of paths you can take to accomplish this and you’ll have to weigh out what path you think will work best depending on all the variables. It’s fairly safe to assume that in a six player game (of which I play exclusively), Technology, Leadership, and Warfare will all get chosen. With that in mind, my order of preference would be:

1. Trade: While Trade is my top choice, it’s very situational. Trade goods are going to be of tremendous help to you in the early game and even without a neighbor, the three trade goods you get from Trade are enough with your home planet to tech to Sarween Tools and acquire a Carrier. Extra trade goods should also be used on the Warfare secondary to build a Cruiser that will go to help defend your War Sun in Round 2 and/or a Fighter escort for your Carrier. If you have leftovers they can be used for future builds or as influence to acquire more command tokens. That said, your goal is at least five trade goods so if the Hacan are not in the game or if the player you’ve identified as your transaction buddy is not able or willing to move to a system next to yours, it’d be more cost efficient to go with Technology or Diplomacy.

2. Technology: It’ll save you four resources for Sarween Tools, a precious command token, and prevent someone else from being able to get a free tech.

3. Diplomacy: Hopefully you picked up two fantastic planets with your War Sun and can flip them for more than four resources. If not, your home planet will be sufficient.

4. Leadership: Leadership is not likely to drop to the fourth pick, but if it does command tokens are hugely important and rarely in sufficient supply on your board. Presumably if you’re taking it, Diplomacy and Technology are already gone so Leadership will ensure you can play all the secondaries you’ll need to acquire Sarween Tools and build a Carrier while following with Warfare secondary.

5. Warfare: If you’re not going to have success getting Sarween Tools and a Carrier, then delay your publicly mandated War Sun improvement project by a round. After moving your War Sun out, build a Carrier and two Fighters on your home system, then use Warfare to move them. Now would be a good time to drop your fleet supply to two. I’ve seen other players suggest that you should try to stall out the other players’ ability to fully take advantage of the Warfare secondary through Star Forge. It’s an option if you so wish, or you could threaten to do it and see what offers you get from other players to play it before they have to pass.

6. Politics: When all else fails, become the speaker, draw some action cards, and set up for a big second round. In this case it’s still probably best to prioritize the Carrier over Sarween Tools.

7. Construction: I believe four player games let you pick twice, in which case building two forward space docks wouldn’t be the worst thing that could happen to you, or PDS’s if you are worried about an aggressive neighbor.

8. Imperial: Again, there are worse things than getting another secret objective. I just personally prefer not to take Imperial unless I can score two objectives in a round (or am on Mecatol Rex).

One last thing I would note about the opening round. If you feel like someone is going to go for your War Sun, don’t forget the Muaat golden rule. Better to use Star Forge to reinforce your War Sun then to go for an optimal first round, because if your War Sun goes your game is likely to follow.


Final Thoughts

I stand impressed. I’ve played about 3/4 of the races in TI3 (never the Muaat) and I would say that other than Jol-Nar (which just fit my play preferences best), the Muaat were the most enjoyable because - War Sun! They’re definitely slow to develop, but I was okay with that. One of my weaknesses in TI is a tendency to overextend and with the Muaat I felt like it was natural to use slow, but well defensible fleets to expand at a rate that wasn’t so fast that my supply chain couldn’t keep up. This slowness was a threat to victory; however, as my score was in the bottom half for most of the game, but that just made it easier to convince my opponents to all attack each other while leaving me to quietly jump into a late game lead with a well timed Imperial. A Muaat player who is a seasoned negotiator with a good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the race should have no trouble playing competitively against any other race.

Note - edited for some spelling errors.
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Tommy Roman
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Re: Muatt - The Race that Warms your Heart
Congrats on winning with a race that by its very nature is challenging to play well.

I've only played them in TI3 a couple of times, and finding the right balance between pushing fast to make the most of your early game Death Star but investing enough to protect what is fundamentally your sole asset can be difficult. Muaat don't do well during long games, since other players eventually get the War Sun and diminish the advantage.

Getting Sarween Tools as soon as possible is important because that single yellow tech contributes heavily to Space Dock II, PDS II and upgraded War Suns. Remember that everyone else can only build two War Suns, but the Muaat sorta get two & a half with their flagship.

I agree with a lot of the strategies you describe, but caution that much of that depends upon your neighbors and their intentions. I once played a game where my Mentak neighbor decided to try to cripple me on turn 2 (and fortunately rolled poorly). Grabbing red tech planets is a plus, because you can get to the upgraded War Sun more quickly.
 
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Avery Bailey
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Re: Muatt - The Race that Warms your Heart
Red tech planet is a must to attach to my home for so many races as it let's you skip Magen Defense Grid. Barony for Noneuclidean, anyone who wants Duranium armor or Dread II, and of course anyone looking for War Suns. There are very few races where I don't prioritize that red tech planet.
 
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Florian Wanka
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Re: Muatt - The Race that Warms your Heart
Interesting analysis.
Concerning star forge, in my first game
I used an unreasonable amount of command tokens to supplement my fleets and it actually paid off too - but i really focused on getting command tokens by taking leadership whenever i could.
Advantage is that as muaat you can make use of high influence systems (3 => destroyer / 2 fighters {=1g}) and cut down your production in space docks to one per turn.
 
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Re: Muatt - The Race that Warms your Heart
Thank you for that comprehensive analysis; I have only two questions as someone who never played the Embers and only has one TI4 (but many TI3) games under his belt:

1) what about a Fighter Heavy strategy? Sure, you need 2 prerequisite Techs to get to Fighter 2, but with the capacity of the Warsun and the Star Forge ability this seems like not a bad path to take. A combined Warsun/Carrier Fleet with 8 Fighters, 2 infantry and as many Destroyers as you can build (ablative armor/anti fighter defense) would seem rather interesting to me.

2) Why is everyone calling them „Muatt“, when they are called „Muaat“? Is this some inside thing I am unaware of?
 
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Re: Muatt - The Race that Warms your Heart
You can win with any races ... the most important factor being what objectives are revealed and how others are playing. But overall Muatt have a noticable disadvantage compared to other races. On my games i did a homerule to boost slightly the Muar...
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Jonathan Solie
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tommygunn2011 wrote:
I've only played them in TI3 a couple of times, and finding the right balance between pushing fast to make the most of your early game Death Star but investing enough to protect what is fundamentally your sole asset can be difficult. Muaat don't do well during long games, since other players eventually get the War Sun and diminish the advantage.

Yep, definitely a balance in the early game between expansion and protection which I think reading your neighbors and negotiation are both important and very helpful for figuring out which gets more attention at any given moment. In theory I likewise presumed that the Muaat would not do well at the end of the game (as we were playing to 14 points), but I felt like the one extra movement of my War Suns was a surprisingly beneficial advantage. I feel like for any race other than Jol-Nar, it'd be hard to tech to both War Sun and Gravity Drive.

Quote:
I agree with a lot of the strategies you describe, but caution that much of that depends upon your neighbors and their intentions. I once played a game where my Mentak neighbor decided to try to cripple me on turn 2 (and fortunately rolled poorly).

I find this to be true with most of the TI games that I've played, regardless of race, though certainly with the Muaat there is an "all my eggs are in this one basket" feel.

Kazadoom wrote:
Interesting analysis.
Concerning star forge, in my first game
I used an unreasonable amount of command tokens to supplement my fleets and it actually paid off too - but i really focused on getting command tokens by taking leadership whenever i could.
Advantage is that as muaat you can make use of high influence systems (3 => destroyer / 2 fighters {=1g}) and cut down your production in space docks to one per turn.

Fascinating. A very different approach than the one I took (I think I only took Leadership once during the whole game, though I was able to obtain systems with good influence), but I can see how that could prove effective.

GrumblingGamer wrote:

1) what about a Fighter Heavy strategy? Sure, you need 2 prerequisite Techs to get to Fighter 2, but with the capacity of the Warsun and the Star Forge ability this seems like not a bad path to take. A combined Warsun/Carrier Fleet with 8 Fighters, 2 infantry and as many Destroyers as you can build (ablative armor/anti fighter defense) would seem rather interesting to me.

You could certainly try it! I really feel trapped when my ships only have a movement of one, so I lasered in on War Sun II, but that would put you in line for Gravity Drive and Carrier II (which together with Fighter II would be just one tech more than going for War Sun II). You would be sacrificing Sarween Tools, so you'd lose that economic plus. The other thing to consider is that I was able to get away with a small fleet supply for a good chunk of the game because I had a superior ship, so my command tokens could be utilized elsewhere. For a fair amount of the game I went for just enough fighters to reasonably serve as fodder and at least one other ship to protect against Assault Cannon or other unexpected variables.

Quote:
2) Why is everyone calling them „Muatt“, when they are called „Muaat“? Is this some inside thing I am unaware of?

Nope, just me spending a bunch of time proofreading and still managing to miss a rather embarrassing mistake. I’ve corrected my spelling.

Agone07 wrote:
You can win with any races ... the most important factor being what objectives are revealed and how others are playing.

Certainly. I would add I think how you yourself are playing is the most important factor.

Quote:
But overall Muatt have a noticable disadvantage compared to other races. On my games i did a homerule to boost slightly the Muar...

Could be. As I said it seems like statistically players don’t do as well with them, but when I play a race I look at it as a unique puzzle that I'm trying to solve in order to win. This post was intended to be a glimpse into how one person was able to solve the Muaat puzzle so that folks who choose not to modify them would have some ideas of how they could play them well. Personally I felt that the Muaat were within close enough reach of the other races I was playing against (including some of the “better” or “easier” races: Jol-Nar, Hacan, and Saar) that my game wasn’t hindered by them. But if you or others want to boost them, go right ahead!
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Here's my question. What do you think of Gravity Drive / Dread2 as a Muaat fleet strategy?
 
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Jonathan Solie
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Ediwir wrote:
Here's my question. What do you think of Gravity Drive / Dread2 as a Muaat fleet strategy?

This is all just theorizing, but I’ll do my best. Also, since I’m not sure how long you’ve been playing, I’ll respond as if you’re a relatively new player.

I didn’t talk about this in my original post, but one thing that teching to War Sun II allows is flexibility in meeting objectives. Of the six objectives related to technology, the tech path to War Sun II sets you up sufficiently for five of them. At the end of the day you’ll have three red techs, one yellow tech, and one unit upgrade tech (assuming you didn’t use a tech planet). That leaves you one yellow tech away from Diversify Research, with the prereqs you need to get Develop Weaponry (through Destroyer II) as well as Revolutionize Warfare (through PDS II), one red tech away from Master of the Laws of Physics, and if you grabbed Magmus Reactor along the way you can also claim Adapt New Strategies. Assuming the game lasts six rounds, you can claim all five of those objectives for a total of six points by taking the Technology strategy card twice and ensuring you use the secondary on every other round. That said, it’s not likely all five of those objectives will come out for you in a game. The important point is that taking the path for War Sun II sets you up to claim any of those objectives if they do come out.

Compare that with a Gravity Drive + Dreadnaught II tech path. Reaching Dreadnaught II is the same four tech investment as War Sun II for the Muaat, ending with one red tech, two blue tech, one yellow tech, and one unit upgrade tech. Develop Weaponry and Revolutionize Warfare are still in reach (now through Carrier II and PDS II) and Diversify Research is still one yellow away (or a red), but now Adapt New Strategies is out since you’ve skipped your racial techs and Master of the Laws of Physics is two blue techs away instead of one red (two very appealing blue techs away, but still one additional). So strictly from a flexibility standpoint, the War Sun II path is superior for tech related objectives (note that Master of Sciences is going to be a challenge with either path).

For the most part, the rest of the objectives are related to economic development (and to be fair, the tech objectives really are as well) or direct combat. So the question is, do faster Dreadnaughts with one speedier ship per turn provide you with what you need in the late game to effectively negotiate favorable deals, deter attacks on your systems, and win combat where it’s needed? I think that all depends on the board state and the way you like to play. But to do my best at an apples to apples comparison, we must consider that the Muaat are one of the few races that could conceivably have both War Suns and Dreadnaught II’s, so the comparison needs to lie in whether Dreadnaught II’s + Gravity Drive is better than War Sun II’s.

I think Gravity Drive is one of the most useful techs in the game and picking it up is certainly appealing. Unless Jol-Nar is in, you can expect everyone else to be slow to get on the War Sun bandwagon if they intend to get on at all. The Mentak are three techs away and everyone else is four. That means within two rounds you can pick up Gravity Drive and use it to have one “real” War Sun per turn and expect no one else to be able to equal that for quite a while or surpass it for even longer (if they choose to pick up Gravity Drive as well). This does assume that you are very careful with who you might try to woo with your Promissory Note, which I think becomes more of a risk to you if you’re not going to get War Sun II.

Comparing the improvements from the Dreadnaught II + Gravity Drive upgrade path with the War Sun II upgrade path, here’s what we get:

Dreadnaught II + Gravity Drive: Dreadnaught movement increased by 1 plus immunity to Direct Hit gained, any one ship with +1 movement per turn.
War Sun II: War Sun movement increased by 2 plus cost decreased by 2.

4/80 or 5% of the action cards are Direct Hit cards so the value of immunity to it varies widely throughout the game and depends on how many action cards have been drawn, how many Direct Hit cards have already been played, how many Direct hit cards you have, and how many Sabotages you have. In reality, though the immunity does impact combat from time to time, it’s mostly a psychological benefit. That’s not necessarily bad, it just depends on how you and the other players approach the game.

Movement, on the other hand, tends to be important for the whole duration of the game. Basically +1 movement allows you to accomplish something one round sooner and thus respond to a new problem quicker. Since a new objective is coming out every round that players all need to respond to, having greater movement decreases the amount of rounds needed to qualify for claiming new objectives - which is hugely beneficial! Assuming you acquire one tech per round, the Dreadnaught II tech path gives +1 movement to one ship/turn on round two and +1 movement to all your Dreadnaughts (up to five) on round four. The War Sun II tech path gives you +2 movement to all your War Suns (up to two) on round four. So by round four up to two War Suns have three movement with a War Sun II fleet whereas only one Dreadnaught II would be capable of three movement each turn, but before round four fleet movement is painstakingly limited with a War Sun II fleet whereas Gravity Drive provides much needed flexibility by round two.

In terms of attack value, one War Sun is equivalent to four Dreadnaughts (averaging 2.4 hits per combat round). In terms of defensive value, assuming no fear of Direct Hit, a War Sun with a fully loaded Fighter escort is also roughly equivalent to four Dreadnaughts. It’s not a full equivalent because of things like Anti-Fighter Barrage, Dreadnaught losses being much worse than Fighter losses, and the chance that Direct Hit comes into play, but let’s assume those things are all about a wash. For roughly equivalent fleets, the War Sun II fleet costs 13 resources with a minimum fleet supply of one whereas the Dreadnaught fleet cost 16 resources with a minimum fleet supply of four (which could be equated to an extra nine resources). Now you need supplemental pieces in both of those fleets, but as a roughly apples to apples comparison you can see that the single War Sun fleet is superior in combat to a bulk Dreadnaught fleet.

So considering all this information, I think there are four questions you need to ask when choosing between Dreadnaught II + Gravity Drive and War Sun II:

1. Do you desperately need flexible movement options by round two?
2. Do you foresee a need for Fleet Logistics and/or Light/Wave Deflector?
3. Do you have the Gather a Mighty Fleet Secret Objective?
4. Do you need more than two strong fleets with movement >1 to manage conflict on your perimeter? One thing to note with this question is that War Sun II’s have excellent range with their movement of three, so to justify this you would need to predict 3+ heavy conflicts in a single round without the use of Warfare, all at least two systems away from your home system (assuming you keep a defensive fleet on or adjacent to your home system where movement isn’t relevant).

If the answer to any of those questions in round one is yes, then you might consider the Dreadnaught II + Gravity Drive path. Of those questions, 2 & 4 are hard to answer in round one. Question 1 could definitely be answerable based on your neighbors and surrounding systems and question 3 is easy to answer - you either have it or you don’t. Still, I wonder if instead of investing in Dreadnaught II it wouldn’t be better to focus on improving supplemental pieces to the War Sun such as researching Destroyer II and Carrier II. Even Fighter II could be an option as Neural Motivator can be very valuable. One of the weaknesses of the War Sun II strategy is that it's hard to ensure that supporting pieces are always able to move where the War Suns are going, so improving the movement of those pieces would fix that. Question 4 is I think the largest motivator to go for Dreadnaught II, but I just don’t see that being a common scenario.

So to conclude, I think it could be a viable strategy, but I would argue that it’d only prove more valuable than a War Sun II strategy in niche cases. Gravity Drive is more beneficial to the Muaat than Dreadnaught II, so developing your smaller ships might be a better option than investing heavily in another capital ship. At the end of the day though, I would say going for Dreadnaught II's is just not very Muaat-centric. In other words, I think you could find success with that selection of techs as a number of races, Muaat included, but it doesn’t mean it necessarily lends itself to the Muaat’s unique strengths. As I said in my original post, I’m sure there are strategies you can employ that don’t involve you getting [War Sun II], but then why are you playing the Muaat? That said - you need to do whatever is necessary to win and sometimes that means playing to your strengths more than a race's strengths. If you do end up trying it, just remember that the Muaat golden rule still applies. You cannot forget how valuable Star Forge is as a stall tactic, so a War Sun or your Flagship should be on the board at all times.
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Bonitatem wrote:
Ediwir wrote:
Here's my question. What do you think of Gravity Drive / Dread2 as a Muaat fleet strategy?

This is all just theorizing, but I’ll do my best. Also, since I’m not sure how long you’ve been playing, I’ll respond as if you’re a relatively new player.

I didn’t talk about this in my original post, but one thing that teching to War Sun II allows is flexibility in meeting objectives. Of the six objectives related to technology, the tech path to War Sun II sets you up sufficiently for five of them. At the end of the day you’ll have three red techs, one yellow tech, and one unit upgrade tech (assuming you didn’t use a tech planet). That leaves you one yellow tech away from Diversify Research, with the prereqs you need to get Develop Weaponry (through Destroyer II) as well as Revolutionize Warfare (through PDS II), one red tech away from Master of the Laws of Physics, and if you grabbed Magmus Reactor along the way you can also claim Adapt New Strategies. Assuming the game lasts six rounds, you can claim all five of those objectives for a total of six points by taking the Technology strategy card twice and ensuring you use the secondary on every other round. That said, it’s not likely all five of those objectives will come out for you in a game. The important point is that taking the path for War Sun II sets you up to claim any of those objectives if they do come out.

Compare that with a Gravity Drive + Dreadnaught II tech path. Reaching Dreadnaught II is the same four tech investment as War Sun II for the Muaat, ending with one red tech, two blue tech, one yellow tech, and one unit upgrade tech. Develop Weaponry and Revolutionize Warfare are still in reach (now through Carrier II and PDS II) and Diversify Research is still one yellow away (or a red), but now Adapt New Strategies is out since you’ve skipped your racial techs and Master of the Laws of Physics is two blue techs away instead of one red (two very appealing blue techs away, but still one additional). So strictly from a flexibility standpoint, the War Sun II path is superior for tech related objectives (note that Master of Sciences is going to be a challenge with either path).

For the most part, the rest of the objectives are related to economic development (and to be fair, the tech objectives really are as well) or direct combat. So the question is, do faster Dreadnaughts with one speedier ship per turn provide you with what you need in the late game to effectively negotiate favorable deals, deter attacks on your systems, and win combat where it’s needed? I think that all depends on the board state and the way you like to play. But to do my best at an apples to apples comparison, we must consider that the Muaat are one of the few races that could conceivably have both War Suns and Dreadnaught II’s, so the comparison needs to lie in whether Dreadnaught II’s + Gravity Drive is better than War Sun II’s.

I think Gravity Drive is one of the most useful techs in the game and picking it up is certainly appealing. Unless Jol-Nar is in, you can expect everyone else to be slow to get on the War Sun bandwagon if they intend to get on at all. The Mentak are three techs away and everyone else is four. That means within two rounds you can pick up Gravity Drive and use it to have one “real” War Sun per turn and expect no one else to be able to equal that for quite a while or surpass it for even longer (if they choose to pick up Gravity Drive as well). This does assume that you are very careful with who you might try to woo with your Promissory Note, which I think becomes more of a risk to you if you’re not going to get War Sun II.

Comparing the improvements from the Dreadnaught II + Gravity Drive upgrade path with the War Sun II upgrade path, here’s what we get:

Dreadnaught II + Gravity Drive: Dreadnaught movement increased by 1 plus immunity to Direct Hit gained, any one ship with +1 movement per turn.
War Sun II: War Sun movement increased by 2 plus cost decreased by 2.

4/80 or 5% of the action cards are Direct Hit cards so the value of immunity to it varies widely throughout the game and depends on how many action cards have been drawn, how many Direct Hit cards have already been played, how many Direct hit cards you have, and how many Sabotages you have. In reality, though the immunity does impact combat from time to time, it’s mostly a psychological benefit. That’s not necessarily bad, it just depends on how you and the other players approach the game.

Movement, on the other hand, tends to be important for the whole duration of the game. Basically +1 movement allows you to accomplish something one round sooner and thus respond to a new problem quicker. Since a new objective is coming out every round that players all need to respond to, having greater movement decreases the amount of rounds needed to qualify for claiming new objectives - which is hugely beneficial! Assuming you acquire one tech per round, the Dreadnaught II tech path gives +1 movement to one ship/turn on round two and +1 movement to all your Dreadnaughts (up to five) on round four. The War Sun II tech path gives you +2 movement to all your War Suns (up to two) on round four. So by round four up to two War Suns have three movement with a War Sun II fleet whereas only one Dreadnaught II would be capable of three movement each turn, but before round four fleet movement is painstakingly limited with a War Sun II fleet whereas Gravity Drive provides much needed flexibility by round two.

In terms of attack value, one War Sun is equivalent to four Dreadnaughts (averaging 2.4 hits per combat round). In terms of defensive value, assuming no fear of Direct Hit, a War Sun with a fully loaded Fighter escort is also roughly equivalent to four Dreadnaughts. It’s not a full equivalent because of things like Anti-Fighter Barrage, Dreadnaught losses being much worse than Fighter losses, and the chance that Direct Hit comes into play, but let’s assume those things are all about a wash. For roughly equivalent fleets, the War Sun II fleet costs 13 resources with a minimum fleet supply of one whereas the Dreadnaught fleet cost 16 resources with a minimum fleet supply of four (which could be equated to an extra nine resources). Now you need supplemental pieces in both of those fleets, but as a roughly apples to apples comparison you can see that the single War Sun fleet is superior in combat to a bulk Dreadnaught fleet.

So considering all this information, I think there are four questions you need to ask when choosing between Dreadnaught II + Gravity Drive and War Sun II:

1. Do you desperately need flexible movement options by round two?
2. Do you foresee a need for Fleet Logistics and/or Light/Wave Deflector?
3. Do you have the Gather a Mighty Fleet Secret Objective?
4. Do you need more than two strong fleets with movement >1 to manage conflict on your perimeter? One thing to note with this question is that War Sun II’s have excellent range with their movement of three, so to justify this you would need to predict 3+ heavy conflicts in a single round without the use of Warfare, all at least two systems away from your home system (assuming you keep a defensive fleet on or adjacent to your home system where movement isn’t relevant).

If the answer to any of those questions in round one is yes, then you might consider the Dreadnaught II + Gravity Drive path. Of those questions, 2 & 4 are hard to answer in round one. Question 1 could definitely be answerable based on your neighbors and surrounding systems and question 3 is easy to answer - you either have it or you don’t. Still, I wonder if instead of investing in Dreadnaught II it wouldn’t be better to focus on improving supplemental pieces to the War Sun such as researching Destroyer II and Carrier II. Even Fighter II could be an option as Neural Motivator can be very valuable. One of the weaknesses of the War Sun II strategy is that it's hard to ensure that supporting pieces are always able to move where the War Suns are going, so improving the movement of those pieces would fix that. Question 4 is I think the largest motivator to go for Dreadnaught II, but I just don’t see that being a common scenario.

So to conclude, I think it could be a viable strategy, but I would argue that it’d only prove more valuable than a War Sun II strategy in niche cases. Gravity Drive is more beneficial to the Muaat than Dreadnaught II, so developing your smaller ships might be a better option than investing heavily in another capital ship. At the end of the day though, I would say going for Dreadnaught II's is just not very Muaat-centric. In other words, I think you could find success with that selection of techs as a number of races, Muaat included, but it doesn’t mean it necessarily lends itself to the Muaat’s unique strengths. As I said in my original post, I’m sure there are strategies you can employ that don’t involve you getting [War Sun II], but then why are you playing the Muaat? That said - you need to do whatever is necessary to win and sometimes that means playing to your strengths more than a race's strengths. If you do end up trying it, just remember that the Muaat golden rule still applies. You cannot forget how valuable Star Forge is as a stall tactic, so a War Sun or your Flagship should be on the board at all times.


Have a closer look at the gravity drive tech card:

Gravity Drive (B)
After you activate a system, apply +1 to the move value of 1 of your ships during this tactical action.

It is essentially +1 for a war sun or carrier moving along in a tactical action with your upgraded dreads, which are also better because you can build more of them.
 
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Imsen wrote:
Have a closer look at the gravity drive tech card:

Gravity Drive (B)
After you activate a system, apply +1 to the move value of 1 of your ships during this tactical action.

It is essentially +1 for a war sun or carrier moving along in a tactical action with your upgraded dreads, which are also better because you can build more of them.

Yep, I understand. In my response above turn = tactical action. I still think "upgraded Dreadnaughts being better because you can build more of them" is situational. As I stated, one War Sun II with full fighter support seems to me to be roughly equivalent in combat to four Dreadnaught II's (and has a cheaper cost). That was where my question 4 came into play - how many fleets do you need with speed? If you need a lot of fast and dangerous fleets to win, then I agree 100% that Dreadnaught II + Gravity Drive is a better path to take. In all the games I've played, however, I can't recall a time where I've been effective with more than two main offensive fleets and one defensive fleet. It just gets to be dependent on too many command tokens. Thus the question becomes for me - would I rather have up to two War Suns that have a movement of three or up to five Dreadnaughts with a movement of two, plus any one of my ships per tactical action with a movement plus one (so one Dreadnaught at three or anything else, War Sun included, at two)? The answer for me in most cases I believe would be War Suns with three movement. The game I played with the Muaat was a perfect example of why three movement is so helpful. Sometime after I upgraded to War Sun II, I had one War Sun on one edge of my perimeter with another War Sun on the other edge of my perimeter, both 3-4 systems away from Mecatol Rex with I think a small cruiser/destroyer fleet adjacent to it. Using flank speed, I got them both there before my opponents who were amassing fleets for an invasion, decimated the small amount of Saar units that were still there, and effectively deterred the two opponent fleets from attacking. With a Dreadnaught II + Prototype War Sun I model, I would not have been able to have taken the fringe systems I did on the previous turn to score an objective and then position myself to score on Mecatol for the remainder of the game. Instead I might have gotten one Dreadnaught fleet to Mecatol and then have been counterattacked before I could get my War Sun fleet there to stabalize my position. Movement = versatility, so even though I had less pieces with good movement, because those pieces were exceptional and their movement was exceptional I could respond very quickly and effectively to the objectives that were coming out all while being more efficient with command tokens (of which I had to spend 6 to win the game). If I had taken a Dreadnaught II strategy, I can say with about 80% certainty that I would not have won that game because I would have needed more command tokens and time to accomplish the same goals.

Now I'm saying this all with a big caveat - though I've played TI3 many times I've only played TI4 once. I've never had Dreadnaught II's to play with and maybe I'd think differently about them if I had used them as things are always different in practice vs on paper. Regardless, I did try to leave the possibility open that a Dreadnaught II + Prototype War Sun I strategy could be viable - as I think it could be in the right context. I've read several posts say that blue tech are essential to win, but I disagree - there's no formula to win TI. It's all about getting yourself in the best position to claim whatever objectives are or can be available to you, to which end I can see that blue tech are very effective but by no means essential. There are other ways to accomplish the versatility you need and War Sun II is one of them. If you are the sort of player who needs the versatility that blue tech provides to be effective as a player, then I think a Dreadnaught II strategy would work out just fine. But I still think that more often than not, the War Sun II path would work out better. The question for me is more about whether Gravity Drive in round two or War Sun II by round four is better and I don't think I could answer that question without a lot more data (who are my neighbors, what are my surrounding systems, etc.).
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Bonitatem wrote:
Imsen wrote:
Have a closer look at the gravity drive tech card:

Gravity Drive (B)
After you activate a system, apply +1 to the move value of 1 of your ships during this tactical action.

It is essentially +1 for a war sun or carrier moving along in a tactical action with your upgraded dreads, which are also better because you can build more of them.

Yep, I understand. In my response above turn = tactical action. I still think "upgraded Dreadnaughts being better because you can build more of them" is situational. As I stated, one War Sun II with full fighter support seems to me to be roughly equivalent in combat to four Dreadnaught II's (and has a cheaper cost). That was where my question 4 came into play - how many fleets do you need with speed? If you need a lot of fast and dangerous fleets to win, then I agree 100% that Dreadnaught II + Gravity Drive is a better path to take. In all the games I've played, however, I can't recall a time where I've been effective with more than two main offensive fleets and one defensive fleet. It just gets to be dependent on too many command tokens. Thus the question becomes for me - would I rather have up to two War Suns that have a movement of three or up to five Dreadnaughts with a movement of two, plus any one of my ships per tactical action with a movement plus one (so one Dreadnaught at three or anything else, War Sun included, at two)? The answer for me in most cases I believe would be War Suns with three movement. The game I played with the Muaat was a perfect example of why three movement is so helpful. Sometime after I upgraded to War Sun II, I had one War Sun on one edge of my perimeter with another War Sun on the other edge of my perimeter, both 3-4 systems away from Mecatol Rex with I think a small cruiser/destroyer fleet adjacent to it. Using flank speed, I got them both there before my opponents who were amassing fleets for an invasion, decimated the small amount of Saar units that were still there, and effectively deterred the two opponent fleets from attacking. With a Dreadnaught II + Prototype War Sun I model, I would not have been able to have taken the fringe systems I did on the previous turn to score an objective and then position myself to score on Mecatol for the remainder of the game. Instead I might have gotten one Dreadnaught fleet to Mecatol and then have been counterattacked before I could get my War Sun fleet there to stabalize my position. Movement = versatility, so even though I had less pieces with good movement, because those pieces were exceptional and their movement was exceptional I could respond very quickly and effectively to the objectives that were coming out all while being more efficient with command tokens (of which I had to spend 6 to win the game). If I had taken a Dreadnaught II strategy, I can say with about 80% certainty that I would not have won that game because I would have needed more command tokens and time to accomplish the same goals.

Now I'm saying this all with a big caveat - though I've played TI3 many times I've only played TI4 once. I've never had Dreadnaught II's to play with and maybe I'd think differently about them if I had used them as things are always different in practice vs on paper. Regardless, I did try to leave the possibility open that a Dreadnaught II + Prototype War Sun I strategy could be viable - as I think it could be in the right context. I've read several posts say that blue tech are essential to win, but I disagree - there's no formula to win TI. It's all about getting yourself in the best position to claim whatever objectives are or can be available to you, to which end I can see that blue tech are very effective but by no means essential. There are other ways to accomplish the versatility you need and War Sun II is one of them. If you are the sort of player who needs the versatility that blue tech provides to be effective as a player, othen I think a Dreadnaught II strategy would work out just fine. But I still think that more often than not, the War Sun II path would work out better. The question for me is more about whether Gravity Drive in round two or War Sun II by round four is better and I don't think I could answer that question without a lot more data (who are my neighbors, what are my surrounding systems, etc.).


Yes. Three movement is great. But in The late game, systems will be blocked and defended by pds with graviton, very often. Your super warsuns will be alone and vulnerable, unless you go for cruiser 2 (which means too much tech) You will want pds as well unless you want to just defend with your fleet.

I’d rather go for this:
Tech: sarween, antimass deflectors, gravity drive, dread 2, pds 2, graviton
Units: (fleet pool of 5) 2 prototype warsun 1, 5 dread 2, 3 destroyers, 20 fighters, 5 infantry, 2 spacedocks, 4 pds. Cost: around 42 resources and several counters for stalling and secondary construction. In a regular game I would play construction, tech and leadership once. You will be well protected, and should be able to attack and threaten neighbours from round 2

Note that you will also be within reach or able to score several objectives with that.
 
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Imsen wrote:
Yes. Three movement is great. But in The late game, systems will be blocked and defended by pds with graviton, very often. Your super warsuns will be alone and vulnerable, unless you go for cruiser 2 (which means too much tech) You will want pds as well unless you want to just defend with your fleet.

Sometimes yes - it depends on who you're playing against. I agree you certainly must watch out for Graviton, Assault Cannon, and Destroyer II. I also agree that though Cruiser II would be an excellent compliment, it's too far away to make a difference (though if you're able to skip the green tech requirement you may get it in the game quick enough to make it worthwhile). As I expanded throughout the game, I strategically left ships around my perimeter. This had two purposes - 1) preventing surprise attacks on my interior sans Light/Wave Deflector or Warfare and 2) providing me the defensive cover I needed for my War Suns against those three techs whenever I needed to go somewhere. To be clear - these supporting ships are essential to a War Sun fleet, but since they are only there for defensive fodder, it doesn't matter what ships you use. What matters is that they're scattered throughout every part of the map where you have a presence so that they can reach wherever your War Suns need to go. Yes, in an ideal world, they'd be a mix of Destroyers and Dreadnaught II's, but it's not that big of a deal to sacrifice some Carriers or Cruisers in the last couple rounds of the game to keep your War Suns flying.

Personally I don't use PDS's that often - admittedly I probably undervalue them. As the Muaat I think I put one on my home system and that was it. I was running a tight Command Token game and didn't have enough tokens to keep using the Construction secondary. I do generally leave one fleet on or adjacent to my home system with a stack of ground forces on the planet(s).

Quote:
I’d rather go for this:
Tech: sarween, antimass deflectors, gravity drive, dread 2, pds 2, graviton
Units: (fleet pool of 5) 2 prototype warsun 1, 5 dread 2, 3 destroyers, 20 fighters, 5 infantry, 2 spacedocks, 4 pds. Cost: around 42 resources and several counters for stalling and secondary construction. In a regular game I would play construction, tech and leadership once. You will be well protected, and should be able to attack and threaten neighbours from round 2

Note that you will also be within reach or able to score several objectives with that.

Well thought out, that would be an effective set of forces with Gravity Drive. Including tech costs that's about 10 resources/round which I think is doable depending on what objectives come out and your expansion/deals. So would that be three fleets then? Two fleets with one War Sun, two Dreadnaughts, one Destroyer, and 6-8 fighters and then one fleet with one Dreadnaught and one Destroyer? Or would the Destroyers just be for defense since they can't keep up with the War Sun/Dreadnaught fleets?

Two questions to consider with that fleet make up. 1) How will you counter slow expansion without a round one Carrier? You will need to expand very quickly to get the resources you need for that fleet and tech combination, unless you are getting lots of trade goods. 2) How would you make an early game run at your War Sun unappealing to your opponents?

For me personally, it's more tech than I would feel the need to go for without a tech objective. After round three you'll know if Diversify Research will be in play, so that would tell me whether I should go for Graviton Laser System (or Transit Diodes if possible). To prep for Revolutionize Warfare I'd take either Destroyer II/Carrier II depending on the tech path and then PDS II if the objective actually came out. Destroyer II does synergize nicely with Star Forge.

Thanks for providing counterarguments, it's helpful to think through all of this. The more I think about it, the more it seems we're just describing two legitimate play styles.

The War Sun II path is like having flexible spears. The War Sun II's are the spear tips and your other pieces are the shafts. The tip of the spear needs to travel the farthest distance, so it's the fastest moving piece, while the shaft stays closer to the wielder (your space docks) and supports the spear tip in getting to the target. They're fast moving and excellent for ranged combat, but you must ensure the tip of the spears don't get cut off or you're left with an inferior weapon.

A Dreadnaught II + Prototype War Sun I fleet is more like having steel maces. They're slower moving, but do crushing damage when they make contact. They will not be as effective at range, but it would take a lot of force to break them.

As in martial arts, each weapon/play style has specific uses where they work better and where they are less effective. Also, each will have different users that preference one more than the other.

One last note, just as a point of interest. I looked at it further and discovered that the Ghosts and Jol-Nar can all develop the reverse set up (regular War Suns with Gravity Drive powered Dreadnaughts) on or before the round the Muaat develop Dreadnaught II (or War Sun II) while Mentak, Barony, and Hacan can do it the round after.
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Bonitatem wrote:
Imsen wrote:
Yes. Three movement is great. But in The late game, systems will be blocked and defended by pds with graviton, very often. Your super warsuns will be alone and vulnerable, unless you go for cruiser 2 (which means too much tech) You will want pds as well unless you want to just defend with your fleet.


Personally I don't use PDS's that often - admittedly I probably undervalue them. As the Muaat I think I put one on my home system and that was it. I was running a tight Command Token game and didn't have enough tokens to keep using the Construction secondary. I do generally leave one fleet on or adjacent to my home system with a stack of ground forces on the planet(s).

Quote:
I’d rather go for this:
Tech: sarween, antimass deflectors, gravity drive, dread 2, pds 2, graviton
Units: (fleet pool of 5) 2 prototype warsun 1, 5 dread 2, 3 destroyers, 20 fighters, 5 infantry, 2 spacedocks, 4 pds. Cost: around 42 resources and several counters for stalling and secondary construction. In a regular game I would play construction, tech and leadership once. You will be well protected, and should be able to attack and threaten neighbours from round 2

Note that you will also be within reach or able to score several objectives with that.

Well thought out, that would be an effective set of forces with Gravity Drive. Including tech costs that's about 10 resources/round which I think is doable depending on what objectives come out and your expansion/deals. So would that be three fleets then? Two fleets with one War Sun, two Dreadnaughts, one Destroyer, and 6-8 fighters and then one fleet with one Dreadnaught and one Destroyer? Or would the Destroyers just be for defense since they can't keep up with the War Sun/Dreadnaught fleets?

Two questions to consider with that fleet make up. 1) How will you counter slow expansion without a round one Carrier? You will need to expand very quickly to get the resources you need for that fleet and tech combination, unless you are getting lots of trade goods. 2) How would you make an early game run at your War Sun unappealing to your opponents?

For me personally, it's more tech than I would feel the need to go for without a tech objective. After round three you'll know if Diversify Research will be in play, so that would tell me whether I should go for Graviton Laser System (or Transit Diodes if possible). To prep for Revolutionize Warfare I'd take either Destroyer II/Carrier II depending on the tech path and then PDS II if the objective actually came out. Destroyer II does synergize nicely with Star Forge.

Thanks for providing counterarguments, it's helpful to think through all of this. The more I think about it, the more it seems we're just describing two legitimate play styles.

The War Sun II path is like having flexible spears. The War Sun II's are the spear tips and your other pieces are the shafts. The tip of the spear needs to travel the farthest distance, so it's the fastest moving piece, while the shaft stays closer to the wielder (your space docks) and supports the spear tip in getting to the target. They're fast moving and excellent for ranged combat, but you must ensure the tip of the spears don't get cut off or you're left with an inferior weapon.

A Dreadnaught II + Prototype War Sun I fleet is more like having steel maces. They're slower moving, but do crushing damage when they make contact. They will not be as effective at range, but it would take a lot of force to break them.

As in martial arts, each weapon/play style has specific uses where they work better and where they are less effective. Also, each will have different users that preference one more than the other.

One last note, just as a point of interest. I looked at it further and discovered that the Ghosts and Jol-Nar can all develop the reverse set up (regular War Suns with Gravity Drive powered Dreadnaughts) on or before the round the Muaat develop Dreadnaught II (or War Sun II) while Mentak, Barony, and Hacan can do it the round after.


Thinking together is good! To be honest, I have not played Muuat yet, but as you can see, I have been thinking a lot about viable strategies for them. When I look at them, the first and most obvious advantage they have is: they start with a prototype warsun! Now, this is how I would exploit that advantage:

- After the setup, look at your neighbours. Who has the best home system? Is one of them Sardakk (who will tech to exotrireme, that cancels out your war suns), or Mentak (whose flagship is a pain for you)? You would want to take them out. If one of them is Xxcha (starts with graviton, which is dangerous), Jol Nar (too many PDS), anybody with plasma scoring, choose the other one. Either way, choose a neighbour.

- In round one, take a system that is between you and your victim with your war sun. I agree with you that you should build a second carrier, of course - and take another system. I would aim for tech in the second round, so politics is a good choice in round 1. If you are lucky, you will get action cards that can help you stalling or attacking, like shields holding, sabotage or emergency repairs.

- Round two, choose and play tech right away. Get antimass deflectors and gravity drive. (antimass might actually be important, because your neighbour might have put an asteroid field to protect herself. Your chosen target will probably spread out and expand, not building in the home system as a first action. Aditionally, if your target spends resources on tech secondary, there will be less resources for building anything if your plan is reveiled.

- In you next turn, attack and take your victim's home system. No mercy. Let her whine, take no bribes. The table might look at you unfavorably, but your victim's other neighbour might be pleased, since your actions provides plenty of space for expansion. Therefore, you should also strike a Hitler/Stalin- pact and divide your neighbour like Poland 1939. You would both want a cease fire. Get a spacedock within to tiles of both home systems. If your are lucky, you also get to score a secret objective.

If you do this, and expand slowly in your own vicinity, while mopping up the rest of your neighbour's systems, you have dramatically altered the game balance in your favour. Somebody else will go for Mecatol. Your other neigbour will be frightened. Build your second war sun in round three. Make everybody fear you, and enjoy a larger pie slice.

Edit: come to think of it, if you play by the rulebook and don't use a premade galaxy, you will want to put tiles in the right place. Put empty space and anomalies between you and that "other neighbour", and get your planets close to your victim. As soon as you have what you want, fortify with PDS and build your dreadnaught fleet. Be ready for a last push turn 5 and 6
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Imsen wrote:
Thinking together is good!

Agreed!

Imsen wrote:
To be honest, I have not played Muuat yet, but as you can see, I have been thinking a lot about viable strategies for them. When I look at them, the first and most obvious advantage they have is: they start with a prototype warsun! Now, this is how I would exploit that advantage:

- After the setup, look at your neighbours. Who has the best home system? Is one of them Sardakk (who will tech to exotrireme, that cancels out your war suns), or Mentak (whose flagship is a pain for you)? You would want to take them out. If one of them is Xxcha (starts with graviton, which is dangerous), Jol Nar (too many PDS), anybody with plasma scoring, choose the other one. Either way, choose a neighbour.

- In round one, take a system that is between you and your victim with your war sun. I agree with you that you should build a second carrier, of course - and take another system. I would aim for tech in the second round, so politics is a good choice in round 1. If you are lucky, you will get action cards that can help you stalling or attacking, like shields holding, sabotage or emergency repairs.

- Round two, choose and play tech right away. Get antimass deflectors and gravity drive. (antimass might actually be important, because your neighbour might have put an asteroid field to protect herself. Your chosen target will probably spread out and expand, not building in the home system as a first action. Aditionally, if your target spends resources on tech secondary, there will be less resources for building anything if your plan is reveiled.

- In you next turn, attack and take your victim's home system. No mercy. Let her whine, take no bribes. The table might look at you unfavorably, but your victim's other neighbour might be pleased, since your actions provides plenty of space for expansion. Therefore, you should also strike a Hitler/Stalin- pact and divide your neighbour like Poland 1939. You would both want a cease fire. Get a spacedock within to tiles of both home systems. If your are lucky, you also get to score a secret objective.

If you do this, and expand slowly in your own vicinity, while mopping up the rest of your neighbour's systems, you have dramatically altered the game balance in your favour. Somebody else will go for Mecatol. Your other neigbour will be frightened. Build your second war sun in round three. Make everybody fear you, and enjoy a larger pie slice.

Edit: come to think of it, if you play by the rulebook and don't use a premade galaxy, you will want to put tiles in the right place. Put empty space and anomalies between you and that "other neighbour", and get your planets close to your victim. As soon as you have what you want, fortify with PDS and build your dreadnaught fleet. Be ready for a last push turn 5 and 6

That’s much more aggressive than I’ve ever played. I generally play with a negotiate first, shoot later strategy that has worked very well for me. I've found that the appearance of strength is often more valuable than the demonstration of it. I like the plan though, it’s very bold. There’s certainly no guarantee for success, but under the right circumstances it could definitely work.

Let me do my best to poke some holes in it. If I were your target and you moved your War Sun toward me on round one, I’d start being suspicious. You’d have to convince me that you had no ill intentions to prevent me from starting defensive measures right away. Once you teched to Gravity Drive in round two, I would be forced to protect my interests. If possible, I would tech to Graviton and that would ruin your plan. If not, I would be dismayed at the task of defending against your War Sun, but would try to intercept you if possible and then stack my home system as best as I could.

There are a few effective counters to your plan, but Graviton is really the Achilles Heel. With that in mind, and the other criteria you mentioned, this is how your targets line up. First you have Sol and the Nekro. Neither start with a PDS, a yellow tech, or Plasma Scoring; I’ll call these excellent targets. Next would be Arborec, Yssaril, and N’orr who have a PDS but no yellow tech or Plasma Scoring; I’ll call them good targets. After that would be Yin and Hacan with no PDS but have a yellow tech, the Winnu with a PDS and a wildcard tech, and the Naalu with a PDS and a yellow tech; I’ll call these questionable targets. Everyone else is a no-go (Barony, Mentak, Jol-Nar, and Xxcha all have PDS and Plasma Scoring; L1Z1X has Plasma Scoring; Ghosts are inaccessible; and Saar is a pointless venture). So judging by that criteria, you have a 24% chance of being next to an excellent target, a 54% chance of being next to at least a good target, and an 18% chance of being next to two bad targets.

Putting it all together, here are the potential pitfalls I see.

1) You can’t send an escort with your War Sun with this tactic. As I mentioned previously, that means your plan busts if your target has a PDS and Graviton by the time you get to their home system. Although odds are in your favor, there’s a 46% chance that both of the races you are next to can fairly easily get this setup (or have other things going on that would make you hesitant to attack) by the time you get to their home system.

2) To counter the first potential pitfall above, you need to convince your neighbor that you're not attacking even after you research Gravity Drive so that they don't a) stack their home system with combat ships and/or Ground Forces, b) put a ship in a system between you to buy time until next round, or 3) research Graviton. This is doable, but if they’re a good player you’d have to be exceptionally convincing. Even then, if I were your target I would probably move a ship between us regardless under the pretense of establishing a trade arrangement.

3) Without an escort, you’re depending only on Fighters and Sustain Damage to absorb hits. Likely you’ll use Star Forge once in the first round and follow the secondary of Warfare with your other Strategy Token. So if your target doesn’t get Graviton then you need to survive 5 hits. A PDS (without Plasma Scoring), a Destroyer, a Dreadnaught, a Carrier, and 6 Fighters would defeat your War Sun fleet if everything rolled to averages. That’s not an unreasonable round two defense to expect your opponent to have if they know you’re coming (and that fleet size can be smaller when considering racial abilities, like +1 to combat rolls) - all the more reason why you need to be convincing.

4) Two of your Good/Excellent targets have stall tactics and can wait to see what you’re doing (Sol and Yssaril). They can stall on their first turn in round two leaving their expansion fleets available for a counterattack or to shore up their home system. Returning fleets would be an expansion blow for them for sure, but still not exactly what you’d be looking for. Even worse with Sol would be adding more Ground Forces to his/her home system.

5) In the first turn you’ve presumably spent your four resources on a Carrier and two fighters (to protect the Carrier). Assuming you took two double planet systems, the average resource value of a double system is 2.75 giving you about 9-10 resources for round two. After you double tech, that’s 3-4 resources to use to defend your own home system and no guarantee that you’ll be able to use the secondary of Construction. If you’ve not been able to make your home system unappealing to your other “friendly” neighbor, say with a Supernova or Nebula between you, there’s nothing stopping him/her from doing to you what you’re trying to attempt with your target.

6) A Nebula next to your target’s home system makes this plan fail as does an Asteroid Field (or ironically a Supernova) placed next to yours between you and your target (which is the best place to put an Asteroid Field by the way, next to your neighbor’s home system).

7) Strategy card selection may be important. If you tech in round one, you risk tipping your hat further. If you don’t tech in round one and can’t get the Technology Strategy card in round two, you’re sunk. Well actually Warfare would work, but that would almost certainly tip your hat.

8) Retaliation will happen, so you need to be able to survive a counterattack. If your target built a forward Space Dock in round one, you could have a tough counterattack coming at the start of round three unless you take Diplomacy. This is where this strategy probably carries the most risk - wars are resource sinks and often prevent you from scoring objectives. You need a quick and decisive victory - any less and you're likely to be stuck dealing with a war through the mid game. This may be particularly frustrating if you’ve attacked the Arborec.

9) This tactic is probably a one trick pony, unless you play with different groups. If you pull it off, everyone who played with you will remember how you attacked “so-and-so’s” home system in round two. From then on out, people in your games will be weary of the Muaat doing this.

Obviously the rewards for being successful are significant as you’ve identified, so it's worth it if you can pull it off and not feel bad about it. A couple things that might help improve your chance of success:

1) If you can convince your target’s other neighbor to gang up with you from the get go, you’ll have a much easier time being decisive and circumventing counterattack. If you’re concerned about the table getting riled up with your original plan though, this would definitely do it and the rest of the table would probably be against the two of you for the remainder of the game. With your presumed resource advantage, that might not be a problem, but something to be aware of.

2) Figure out a way to build a Cruiser (or even better, two Cruisers) with the Warfare secondary in round one. I did this by taking Trade and having my “friendly” neighbor move toward me (it also helped that he was the Hacan, but we were adjacent because he had Warfare for round one) so that we could exchange commodities. If you could do that and get a Ceasefire from that neighbor, you’d be in a great position.

3) As I stated above, a good alternative to Technology would be Warfare - but then you probably just need to be forthright about what you’re doing instead of trying to hide it since it'll be hard to hide. Your target will get the time to prepare, but so will you. Warfare helps with a lot of pitfalls. A Cruiser or two could catch up to your War Sun’s advanced position, negating Graviton and potentially further strengthening your fleet; Nebula’s are no longer a problem (Asteroid fields and Supernovas still are unless you pick up Antimass/Magmus Reactor before moving your War Sun in round one); a ship your target placed between you to slow you down would now be pointless; and you’d probably have time for another Star Forge if you want/need it. Conversely, you’re still stuck needing a specific Strategy card, but in the first round you could gage the likelihood of getting Technology vs Warfare in round two and plan from there.

4) Duranium Armor could prove to be a difference maker in your assault. If you think you can get Warfare in round two, you can tech Magen Defense in round one and Duranium Armor in round two getting well on your way to enjoying War Sun II’s. War Sun II’s would also be nice with this board state because you can jump from your conquered home system to your own home system or to Mecatol Rex in one turn.

One last note, I wouldn't be afraid to abandon ship if something goes wrong. You could still achieve a number of great outcomes - a trade good concession, forcing your target to research down an unwanted tech path, delaying your target’s expansion while not impacting your own, etc. Just the fact that you can do it is a huge advantage and will force a good opponent to respond. And if they don't, then you likely get the grand prize.
 
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Bonitatem wrote:
Imsen wrote:
Thinking together is good!

Agreed!

Imsen wrote:
To be honest, I have not played Muuat yet, but as you can see, I have been thinking a lot about viable strategies for them. When I look at them, the first and most obvious advantage they have is: they start with a prototype warsun! Now, this is how I would exploit that advantage:

- After the setup, look at your neighbours. Who has the best home system? Is one of them Sardakk (who will tech to exotrireme, that cancels out your war suns), or Mentak (whose flagship is a pain for you)? You would want to take them out. If one of them is Xxcha (starts with graviton, which is dangerous), Jol Nar (too many PDS), anybody with plasma scoring, choose the other one. Either way, choose a neighbour.

- In round one, take a system that is between you and your victim with your war sun. I agree with you that you should build a second carrier, of course - and take another system. I would aim for tech in the second round, so politics is a good choice in round 1. If you are lucky, you will get action cards that can help you stalling or attacking, like shields holding, sabotage or emergency repairs.

- Round two, choose and play tech right away. Get antimass deflectors and gravity drive. (antimass might actually be important, because your neighbour might have put an asteroid field to protect herself. Your chosen target will probably spread out and expand, not building in the home system as a first action. Aditionally, if your target spends resources on tech secondary, there will be less resources for building anything if your plan is reveiled.

- In you next turn, attack and take your victim's home system. No mercy. Let her whine, take no bribes. The table might look at you unfavorably, but your victim's other neighbour might be pleased, since your actions provides plenty of space for expansion. Therefore, you should also strike a Hitler/Stalin- pact and divide your neighbour like Poland 1939. You would both want a cease fire. Get a spacedock within to tiles of both home systems. If your are lucky, you also get to score a secret objective.

If you do this, and expand slowly in your own vicinity, while mopping up the rest of your neighbour's systems, you have dramatically altered the game balance in your favour. Somebody else will go for Mecatol. Your other neigbour will be frightened. Build your second war sun in round three. Make everybody fear you, and enjoy a larger pie slice.

Edit: come to think of it, if you play by the rulebook and don't use a premade galaxy, you will want to put tiles in the right place. Put empty space and anomalies between you and that "other neighbour", and get your planets close to your victim. As soon as you have what you want, fortify with PDS and build your dreadnaught fleet. Be ready for a last push turn 5 and 6


That’s much more aggressive than I’ve ever played. I generally play with a negotiate first, shoot later strategy that has worked very well for me. I've found that the appearance of strength is often more valuable than the demonstration of it. I like the plan though, it’s very bold. There’s certainly no guarantee for success, but under the right circumstances it could definitely work.


I do this too. But Muuat is different. Their huge millitary advantage should and must give substantial rewards. I am thinking that a good production home system, like Jord, Moll primus, Mordai II, Quinarr/Trenlak (Winnu perhaps) will be perfect prizes. Come to think of it, if any of these weren't my neighbours - it isn't really worth it.

Bonitatem wrote:

Let me do my best to poke some holes in it. If I were your target and you moved your War Sun toward me on round one, I’d start being suspicious. You’d have to convince me that you had no ill intentions to prevent me from starting defensive measures right away. Once you teched to Gravity Drive in round two, I would be forced to protect my interests. If possible, I would tech to Graviton and that would ruin your plan. If not, I would be dismayed at the task of defending against your War Sun, but would try to intercept you if possible and then stack my home system as best as I could.


Keep poking! If you were my target, you would not know before I teched to gravity drive, as you say yourself. Until then, I would just ask for tribute. (which you would not be able to give, unless you are Hacan, in which case your money and trade agreement would be more interesting than your home system). Now, when I tech in round 2, you would be forced to tech the wrong path and even build in your home system as your next action. The expansion fleet(s) would be called home). This will cripple you for the rest of the game, so you would want a deal with me. In this case, I would weigh my options. What is the value of your other systems? Perhaps I should let you cripple your expansion and take another system? I would have options, but the main target should be your best production planets.
Bonitatem wrote:


There are a few effective counters to your plan, but Graviton is really the Achilles Heel. With that in mind, and the other criteria you mentioned, this is how your targets line up. First you have Sol and the Nekro. Neither start with a PDS, a yellow tech, or Plasma Scoring; I’ll call these excellent targets. Next would be Arborec, Yssaril, and N’orr who have a PDS but no yellow tech or Plasma Scoring; I’ll call them good targets. After that would be Yin and Hacan with no PDS but have a yellow tech, the Winnu with a PDS and a wildcard tech, and the Naalu with a PDS and a yellow tech; I’ll call these questionable targets. Everyone else is a no-go (Barony, Mentak, Jol-Nar, and Xxcha all have PDS and Plasma Scoring; L1Z1X has Plasma Scoring; Ghosts are inaccessible; and Saar is a pointless venture). So judging by that criteria, you have a 24% chance of being next to an excellent target, a 54% chance of being next to at least a good target, and an 18% chance of being next to two bad targets.


Graviton is mostly a problem in combination with plasma scoring, unless you have more than 1 pds. Nobody will have this in round two, except for XXCHA and Yol Nar, . One hit from a pds with graviton can be sustained by the war sun. However, what is really scary, is if the victim has a direct hit action card! That is why taking politics in the first round can be of great help. Any victim with neural motivators is also a problem, increasing their chance of drawing a direct hit card.
Bonitatem wrote:


Putting it all together, here are the potential pitfalls I see.

1) You can’t send an escort with your War Sun with this tactic. As I mentioned previously, that means your plan busts if your target has a PDS and Graviton by the time you get to their home system. Although odds are in your favor, there’s a 46% chance that both of the races you are next to can fairly easily get this setup (or have other things going on that would make you hesitant to attack) by the time you get to their home system.


Exactly. That is why I could reinforce (star forge) the war sun in the first turn with a destroyer instead of two fighters, if your victim could pull off something like that.
Bonitatem wrote:


2) To counter the first potential pitfall above, you need to convince your neighbor that you're not attacking even after you research Gravity Drive so that they don't a) stack their home system with combat ships and/or Ground Forces, b) put a ship in a system between you to buy time until next round, or 3) research Graviton. This is doable, but if they’re a good player you’d have to be exceptionally convincing. Even then, if I were your target I would probably move a ship between us regardless under the pretense of establishing a trade arrangement.


I can be tricky, but I would not lie. Two ground forces is meat for the war suns bombardment. Blocking is possible, but that requires foresight and a precious command token. I would arrange trade with the other neighbour, if possible.

Bonitatem wrote:

3) Without an escort, you’re depending only on Fighters and Sustain Damage to absorb hits. Likely you’ll use Star Forge once in the first round and follow the secondary of Warfare with your other Strategy Token. So if your target doesn’t get Graviton then you need to survive 5 hits. A PDS (without Plasma Scoring), a Destroyer, a Dreadnaught, a Carrier, and 6 Fighters would defeat your War Sun fleet if everything rolled to averages. That’s not an unreasonable round two defense to expect your opponent to have if they know you’re coming (and that fleet size can be smaller when considering racial abilities, like +1 to combat rolls) - all the more reason why you need to be convincing.


I would have an escort, if required. What kind of fleet could I be able to overcome? A war sun with four fighters or 2 fighters+1 destroyer should pull off 3 hits each combat round. I could expect to be facing something like a carrier with three fighters and perhaps a cruiser + 1 pds. I would need two rounds to take that out, and I should prepare to sustain 5 hits - just as you said. In that case I agree with you, that graviton could be a real problem, since I need four fighters to suck up the hits. The attack could of course be a gamble. I give myself 80% chance of success.
Bonitatem wrote:


4) Two of your Good/Excellent targets have stall tactics and can wait to see what you’re doing (Sol and Yssaril). They can stall on their first turn in round two leaving their expansion fleets available for a counterattack or to shore up their home system. Returning fleets would be an expansion blow for them for sure, but still not exactly what you’d be looking for. Even worse with Sol would be adding more Ground Forces to his/her home system.


What happens in turn one is not important. Remember, the threat is not real until round two. Before then, I would just act normally (which is, of course to extort and threat, look in both directions, build a second expansion fleet and take another system.

Bonitatem wrote:

5) In the first turn you’ve presumably spent your four resources on a Carrier and two fighters (to protect the Carrier). Assuming you took two double planet systems, the average resource value of a double system is 2.75 giving you about 9-10 resources for round two. After you double tech, that’s 3-4 resources to use to defend your own home system and no guarantee that you’ll be able to use the secondary of Construction. If you’ve not been able to make your home system unappealing to your other “friendly” neighbor, say with a Supernova or Nebula between you, there’s nothing stopping him/her from doing to you what you’re trying to attempt with your target.


Yes, that is exactly what I would build in round one. I would spend one strategy on star forge and one on secondary warfare (or trade, if warfare isn't chosen). Technology should be round 2, not round 1. 4 resources should give me enough to defend my home, or build another expansion fleet. 1 carrier, two ground forces or four ground forces, 2 fighters, 1 destroyer

Bonitatem wrote:

6) A Nebula next to your target’s home system makes this plan fail as does an Asteroid Field (or ironically a Supernova) placed next to yours between you and your target (which is the best place to put an Asteroid Field by the way, next to your neighbour’s home system).


Yes. Therefore, I will prioritize placing a tile in in your direction when the galaxy is set up.

Bonitatem wrote:

7) Strategy card selection may be important. If you tech in round one, you risk tipping your hat further. If you don’t tech in round one and can’t get the Technology Strategy card in round two, you’re sunk. Well actually Warfare would work, but that would almost certainly tip your hat.

Politics in round 1. Technlology round 2. If you can get hold of leadership, I can think of alternative strategies, but I wouldn't count on it.

Bonitatem wrote:

8) Retaliation will happen, so you need to be able to survive a counterattack. If your target built a forward Space Dock in round one, you could have a tough counterattack coming at the start of round three unless you take Diplomacy. This is where this strategy probably carries the most risk - wars are resource sinks and often prevent you from scoring objectives. You need a quick and decisive victory - any less and you're likely to be stuck dealing with a war through the mid game. This may be particularly frustrating if you’ve attacked the Arborec.


Who will retaliate? If I was Muuat and took your home system, your other neighbour would be delighted, since he will eat half of what is left of your pie slice. My other neighbour could attack, but if he isn't able to strike in round two, she will probably have to face your other war sun in round three. I cannot see myself being threatened by anyone, really.

Bonitatem wrote:

9) This tactic is probably a one trick pony, unless you play with different groups. If you pull it off, everyone who played with you will remember how you attacked “so-and-so’s” home system in round two. From then on out, people in your games will be weary of the Muaat doing this.


As I said, I would do this only as Muuat. My co- players will understand that this behaviour comes from a specific strategy that is available to them only. The balance of power will be altered, and the game will be a lot more fun for everyone. (except for the one losing the home system). I agree with you that this group will be more weary of Muuat in later games, which is only an advantage for any player choosing Muuat.

Bonitatem wrote:

Obviously the rewards for being successful are significant as you’ve identified, so it's worth it if you can pull it off and not feel bad about it. A couple things that might help improve your chance of success:

1) If you can convince your target’s other neighbor to gang up with you from the get go, you’ll have a much easier time being decisive and circumventing counterattack. If you’re concerned about the table getting riled up with your original plan though, this would definitely do it and the rest of the table would probably be against the two of you for the remainder of the game. With your presumed resource advantage, that might not be a problem, but something to be aware of.


If that happens, I would exchange support for the throne, thus starting a 2v2v2 game.

Bonitatem wrote:

2) Figure out a way to build a Cruiser (or even better, two Cruisers) with the Warfare secondary in round one. I did this by taking Trade and having my “friendly” neighbor move toward me (it also helped that he was the Hacan, but we were adjacent because he had Warfare for round one) so that we could exchange commodities. If you could do that and get a Ceasefire from that neighbor, you’d be in a great position.


I still think that the best option is to build one carrier and two fighters. You could star forge a destroyer and send it out for trading, but that would cost you two tokens, and is too expensive. Besides, you would want those two extra fighters instead.

Bonitatem wrote:

3) As I stated above, a good alternative to Technology would be Warfare - but then you probably just need to be forthright about what you’re doing instead of trying to hide it since it'll be hard to hide. Your target will get the time to prepare, but so will you. Warfare helps with a lot of pitfalls. A Cruiser or two could catch up to your War Sun’s advanced position, negating Graviton and potentially further strengthening your fleet; Nebula’s are no longer a problem (Asteroid fields and Supernovas still are unless you pick up Antimass/Magmus Reactor before moving your War Sun in round one); a ship your target placed between you to slow you down would now be pointless; and you’d probably have time for another Star Forge if you want/need it. Conversely, you’re still stuck needing a specific Strategy card, but in the first round you could gage the likelihood of getting Technology vs Warfare in round two and plan from there.


The trap is to lure the victim into spending resources on tech in round two, instead of paying attention to what techs your are getting. If he spends 4 resources on tech, there will not be enough left to build defence at home.

Bonitatem wrote:

4) Duranium Armor could prove to be a difference maker in your assault. If you think you can get Warfare in round two, you can tech Magen Defense in round one and Duranium Armor in round two getting well on your way to enjoying War Sun II’s. War Sun II’s would also be nice with this board state because you can jump from your conquered home system to your own home system or to Mecatol Rex in one turn.


That is just very unlikely.

Bonitatem wrote:

One last note, I wouldn't be afraid to abandon ship if something goes wrong. You could still achieve a number of great outcomes - a trade good concession, forcing your target to research down an unwanted tech path, delaying your target’s expansion while not impacting your own, etc. Just the fact that you can do it is a huge advantage and will force a good opponent to respond. And if they don't, then you likely get the grand prize.


I agree. That would be plan B. I expect three rounds of good production, at least 12, and if I am able to capture surrounding systems, perhaps 12-18. This is going to pay for my second war sun or objectives. Would I accept four trade goods, a trade agreement, one-sided cease fire and support for the throne? Probably.. But then again, I have yet to see a player who isn't too proud to give in like that.
 
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Sorry - life became very busy, but I still wanted to respond in case you’re still following this thread. I’m curious if you’ve had a chance to try this strategy?

After I read your response, I realized I had two false assumptions. One was that Graviton destroys ships (similar to Assault Cannon) as opposed to only applying hits. The second was that Destroyers have a movement of one as opposed to two (which goes to show how often I use them). That basically nullifies a few of my points, as you demonstrated.

Imsen wrote:
I do this too. But Muuat is different. Their huge millitary advantage should and must give substantial rewards. I am thinking that a good production home system, like Jord, Moll primus, Mordai II, Quinarr/Trenlak (Winnu perhaps) will be perfect prizes. Come to think of it, if any of these weren't my neighbours - it isn't really worth it.

Let’s look at those three races (I’m skipping the Winnu because the planet only has three resources). There’s only a 1/3 chance you’ll sit next to one of those races, so if you would only do this against them, then most of the time this would not be a valid strategy. But if it did happen, let’s analyze the combat potential against them.

Assumptions:
Fleet Supply Three
Five resources to spend after tech is purchased from round one acquisitions (generally a low estimate)
No action cards to impact combat on either side.
No tech that will impact the battle besides what’s specifically called out.

Sol
Antimass Deflectors makes an Asteroid Field in the Muaat player’s hand unhelpful.
7-8% chance of drawing a Direct Hit card (14-17% w 1x Politics)
Likely fleet returning from initial expansion = 1 Carrier, 1 Destroyer, 3 Fighter
Likely additionally purchased ships (production limit = six) = Dreadnaught and 2 Fighters (and maybe a PDS)
Final fleet = PDS (maybe), 1 Dreadnaught, 1 Destroyer, 1 Carrier, 5 Fighters
Without PDS - probability of clearing Sol’s fleet by Round 3 = 41% (vs losing 30%). Probability of clearing Sol’s fleet by Round 4 = 72% (vs losing 39%).
With PDS - probability of clearing Sol’s fleet by Round 3 = 32% (vs losing 42%). Probability of clearing Sol’s fleet by Round 4 = 58% (vs losing 52%).

Summary: Odds are in Muaat’s favor unless Sol has a PDS, in which case it’s a toss up. Just one more Fighter for Sol with the PDS puts the odds in their favor.

Mentak
Plasma Scoring and a decent chance of PDS II /Graviton, small chance of both or Destroyer II.
With Graviton and no Destroyer: 25% chance of losing War Sun due to PDS fire. 36% chance due to PDS II fire, 50% with two PDS’s, 65% with two PDS II’s.
4-5% chance of drawing a Direct Hit card (11-13% w 1x Politics)
Likely fleet returning from initial expansion = 1 Carrier, 1-2 Cruisers, 2-3 Fighters
Likely additionally purchased ships (production limit = six) = Dreadnaught and 2 Fighters
Final fleet = PDS, 1 Dreadnaught, 1 Cruiser (no precombat roll), 4 Fighters
With PDS I and 1 Cruiser - probability of clearing the Mentak fleet by Round 2 = 25% (vs 16% of losing). Muaat’s probability of success increases much more rapidly than Mentak’s.
With PDS II and 2 Cruisers - probability of clearing the Mentak fleet by Round 3 = 31% (vs 67% of losing).

Summary: Winnable if Mentak only brings one Cruiser back, but with two Cruisers the odds turn against the Muaat, especially if PDS II is researched. If Graviton is researched, this attack becomes all the riskier since the Muaat needs to have one less ship to absorb the likely hit(s) using a Destroyer.

Nekro
4-5% chance of drawing a Direct Hit card (11-13% w 1x Politics)
Likely fleet returning from initial expansion = 1 Dreadnaught, 1 Fighter
Likely additionally purchased ships (production limit = six) = 1 Cruiser, 1 Destroyer + 3 Fighters (and maybe a PDS)
Final fleet = PDS (maybe), 1 Dreadnaught, 1 Cruiser, 1 Destroyer, 3 Fighters
With PDS - probability of clearing Nekro’s fleet by Round 2 = 26% (vs losing 15%). Muaat’s probability of success increases much more rapidly than Nekro’s.

Summary: Odds are really good that the Muaat will win.

So in reality, this is potentially an excellent strategy against the Nekro, a meager strategy against Mentak, and against Sol it’s somewhere in between.

Imsen wrote:
Keep poking! If you were my target, you would not know before I teched to gravity drive, as you say yourself. Until then, I would just ask for tribute. (which you would not be able to give, unless you are Hacan, in which case your money and trade agreement would be more interesting than your home system). Now, when I tech in round 2, you would be forced to tech the wrong path and even build in your home system as your next action. The expansion fleet(s) would be called home). This will cripple you for the rest of the game, so you would want a deal with me. In this case, I would weigh my options. What is the value of your other systems? Perhaps I should let you cripple your expansion and take another system? I would have options, but the main target should be your best production planets.

This I think is where your strategy shines. Disrupt your opponent’s plans by forcing him or her to waste a round defending their home system while you take an open system instead, or get paid off with a large bribe.

Imsen wrote:
Two ground forces is meat for the war suns bombardment.

I was thinking more along the lines of 4-6 ground forces.

Imsen wrote:
Blocking is possible, but that requires foresight and a precious command token.

No more foresight than retreating to a home system. And it’s much less costly!

Imsen wrote:
What happens in turn one is not important. Remember, the threat is not real until round two. Before then, I would just act normally (which is, of course to extort and threat, look in both directions, build a second expansion fleet and take another system.

I meant first couple turns of the second round. Sol can stall to see what you do, giving them a chance to better react as appropriate to your tech purchase (if they’re suspicious that is, which of course you would hope they would not be).

Imsen wrote:
Politics in round 1. Technlology round 2. If you can get hold of leadership, I can think of alternative strategies, but I wouldn't count on it.

Right, that’s exactly my point. Depending on a very specific set of strategy cards is a very risky plan. This was just meant to point out that the probability of you being able to successfully move forward with this plan in any given game as the Muaat is low (below 33% for sure as we saw above, but probably below 10% when considering other factors like this one).

Imsen wrote:
Who will retaliate?

I was thinking the player you attacked (your victim). But after thinking about this more, I think you’re right. It’s unlikely they’d be able to retaliate effectively.

Imsen wrote:
Bonitatem wrote:

2) Figure out a way to build a Cruiser (or even better, two Cruisers) with the Warfare secondary in round one. I did this by taking Trade and having my “friendly” neighbor move toward me (it also helped that he was the Hacan, but we were adjacent because he had Warfare for round one) so that we could exchange commodities. If you could do that and get a Ceasefire from that neighbor, you’d be in a great position.


I still think that the best option is to build one carrier and two fighters. You could star forge a destroyer and send it out for trading, but that would cost you two tokens, and is too expensive. Besides, you would want those two extra fighters instead.

This was due to my Destroyer movement mistake. My thought was that you would need to build a Cruiser to send with your War Sun to attack the home system. It’s not relevant advice as you can Star Forge the Destroyer which you identified.

Imsen wrote:
If he spends 4 resources on tech, there will not be enough left to build defence at home.

These are all 4 resource home systems. That means there will be an average of an additional five resources left over from planets obtained in round one (plus any trade goods if obtained) for building a defense.

Imsen wrote:
Bonitatem wrote:

One last note, I wouldn't be afraid to abandon ship if something goes wrong. You could still achieve a number of great outcomes - a trade good concession, forcing your target to research down an unwanted tech path, delaying your target’s expansion while not impacting your own, etc. Just the fact that you can do it is a huge advantage and will force a good opponent to respond. And if they don't, then you likely get the grand prize.


I agree. That would be plan B. I expect three rounds of good production, at least 12, and if I am able to capture surrounding systems, perhaps 12-18. This is going to pay for my second war sun or objectives. Would I accept four trade goods, a trade agreement, one-sided cease fire and support for the throne? Probably.. But then again, I have yet to see a player who isn't too proud to give in like that.

Really my main point that I've been trying to say is that this is a strategy that could work well under very specific circumstances to snag a home system. But I do believe it has great utility to hinder a neighbor’s growth by forcing them to respond to the War Sun with minimal risk to yourself as long as you have reinforcements on the way. If I were to try this plan, your “plan B” would really be my “plan A” and if my neighbor did not respond appropriately by defending themselves, then I would take their home system.
 
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Thomas Gade
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Hi

Great reading material you´ve come to so far.

I was thinking about tech´ing 2 green/blue instead of going early for war sun II. That +1 command counter (and action card) just seems so nice to get early, especially when you can Star Forge your forward force. Id just go for destroyer 2 (and ignore teh red tech tree).
War sun I with 4 fighters 2 infantry and 2 destroyer 2´s seem like such a nice force and pretty easily obtainable on the go with star forge.
Once the destroyers clear most of the fighters that war sun is going to bring the hurt on those non fighter ship every turn.

Has anybody tried going yellow techs with Muaat? relocating infantry could spare the carrier. and you chould just focus on taking plaents with your war sun and then relocate infantry to supply the war sun with more infantry to go forward with.

Is there any sense in taking the Muaat flagship over 2 dreadnoughts as home planet defence?
I cant seem to decide what i want the most when i feel that my home planet is being threatend. (and i dont have 10/12 resources yet for the next war sun)
 
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Jonathan Solie
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Omalley69 wrote:
Hi

Great reading material you´ve come to so far.
Thanks!

Omalley69 wrote:
I was thinking about tech´ing 2 green/blue instead of going early for war sun II. That +1 command counter (and action card) just seems so nice to get early, especially when you can Star Forge your forward force. Id just go for destroyer 2 (and ignore teh red tech tree).
War sun I with 4 fighters 2 infantry and 2 destroyer 2´s seem like such a nice force and pretty easily obtainable on the go with star forge.
Once the destroyers clear most of the fighters that war sun is going to bring the hurt on those non fighter ship every turn.
I'm a bit confused by your strategy. How do you intend to go down green and blue and still get Destroyer II while ignoring the red tech tree? I think there could definitely be an appeal to going down green and blue with Muaat, as there could with any race, but if you're going to bother to get Destroyer II it seems like a no brainer to get War Sun II. You would just want to focus on obtaining/maintaining control of high influence planets to compensate for any command counter deficits.

Omalley69 wrote:
Has anybody tried going yellow techs with Muaat? relocating infantry could spare the carrier. and you chould just focus on taking plaents with your war sun and then relocate infantry to supply the war sun with more infantry to go forward with.
Haven't tried it, but could see it working. Integrated Economy paired with Transit Diodes and Star Forge should be more than enough to keep your lead force at strength. I think the con to that strategy would be an extremely slow ability to expand and react. So much of the game is about reacting, you'd have to pick up Warfare a lot and probably find a way to get Gravity Drive to keep your War Sun relevant.

Omalley69 wrote:
Is there any sense in taking the Muaat flagship over 2 dreadnoughts as home planet defence?
I cant seem to decide what i want the most when i feel that my home planet is being threatend. (and i dont have 10/12 resources yet for the next war sun)
The advantage would be savings in fleet supply. Defensive value for the flagship supported with fighters and two dreadnought I's with fighters likely favors the dreadnoughts slightly. If there's no fleet supply concern, then I'd take the dreadnoughts.
 
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