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Subject: Decimated second time through rss

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Jack Bennett
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After losing as badly as I did in our first game, I decided I would take Raynor for another spin in our second, 3 player, game and see if I couldn't redeem him, and myself. I also figured I should pick one race and stick to it until I understand it bit.

Neither of those things happened...

Three players, 1 to each race. Our board set up was interesting and should have dictated what I did, but I didn't really pay much attention to it until it was too late. My home base planet was a good one, 4 areas, 1 conquest poin, 4 mineral, and 2 gas. I was adjacent to the Zerg starting planet, and had an empty planet on my other side. My third side was yet another empty planet, which then connected to the Protoss player.

In my first turn I decided not to expand to the empty planet and just to build and research. I picked up spider mines and stim packs and built the first two levels of the groud unit producing building so I could get goliaths and vultures. I also grabbed 2 more workers and a couple marines.

During set up, though, I failed to see a very important thing: the zerg player was backed in a hole. His homebase was adjacent to mine and to one other empty planet, but his z-axis went from his home base to that same empty planet. Which means he had one way out, and that was through me. His victory condition was to have bases on three planets, so I should have been prepared for the attack.

After our first game, I decided that I realy needed to be on the offense a lot more, so on the 2nd or 3rd turn I decided that, instead of advancing into the empty planet, I would try and move up into the empty planet between me and the protoss player. Best thing about this, that planet has a 2 point conquest area on it. Of course, I set that up in the same turn that the Zerg player was setting up to go after me. I had a couple of goliaths by that time, marines, a firebat, and a couple of vultures, all spread over the planet. And in he came. The zerg decimated my troops, killed everything at my base (I didn't have the base defens module yet, I'll build that early every time now). I had a build order under his mobilize, so my base starting pumping out units as fast as I could before it would be destroyed at the end of the turn.

Regrouping phase showed up and blew up my base. I drew an event from canceling my mobilize order to the planet I was going to attack and used it to spawn some reinforcements on the zerg player's home planet, trying to put a little pressure on him. I decided all I could really do now was to build up and try to go after the zerg player planet (which had 3 resources on it, putting me at the 6 I would need to win if I took them all).

On the next turn a mobilize order allowed all the units on that planet to take it back and wipe out a good chunk of the zerg's total units. I rebuilt my base, but I couldn't spend any more resources on anything because I had just built it. I sat there that turn with almost no workers used. That put me a turn behind in building troops and hurt me the rest of the game. My two marine reinforcements skirmished with the zergs base defenses, but they didn't make it.

So with close to no units to either of our names, and only 3 areas under control for both of us, we remembered something important: THERE WAS ANOTHER PLAYER PLAYING THIS GAME WITH US! By this time he had 5 or 6 more conquest points than either the zerg player or myself. He also had control of two planets (both 2 area small ones) and had moved into the planet adjacent to mine (I couldn't do anything about it being, you know, dead and all). He'd spent the last turn researching and canceling actions, so it was stage three. At the end of this turn he would have more areas then each other player, and would easily win.

And that's what happened. Our last few orders were all builds and such, so there was nothing we could do about it. By the end of the turn the protoss player had spread out to 7 areas, way more then either other player (actually, more than we had COMBINED). Protoss won it. And he never entered a single combat during the entire game. Not once.

I have to say, as much as I like this game, I still don't get it. I don't know, still, which units to build, which modules to build, what order to build them. I jumped up the tree to goliaths, but my oponents never had flying units, and they weren't that great in combat. I never made it to seige tanks since I was in combat all the time and had lost my base. In fact, I only built those 2 building the whole time. I couldn't build any flying units, and never upgraded to firebats or ghosts. I never built a single module. I built marines, vultures, goliaths, and workers. And I researched stim packs, bunkers, and spider mines. The thing is, the zerg player didn't have much more upgrades then I had, but he had numbers superiority. My units just always died, they couldn't stand up to anything. I don't know what I'm doing wrong yet, but it's something for sure.

I also need to pay better attention to the map and z-axis routes to see where players are likely to go. I think if the zerg player'd had another planet to go to, instead of my homebase, then my move against the protoss would have been successful and put me gaining 3 conquest points a turn with a whole other planet next to me to take over.

Love the game. For all my inability to play it well, I am still suprised by its originality and speed of play. Our three player game took us about and hour and half. And that's great. Hopefully someone will write up a good strategy article soon about tech trees and what's good to shoot for during which situations. Until then, I'm just going to have to get used to losing a lot.
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Hokuspokulus
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Heya

It helps a lot to know the computer game already, as well as the units and the three races' advantages and disadvantages, but I guess it's not necessary. Would just save you some learning time.

As you've already figured out, Starcraft is all about speed and tactics. In most cases it doesn't help to turtle (build units and units until you have an "invincibe" base), because the other players will use the opportunity to conquer those valuable ressource planets and victory points in the meantime. Rushing, like you did it (building up a large strike force as fast as possible and trying to overwhelm an enemy with it) is a common tactic, but a risky one, especially in a game with more than two players. As you've noticed yourself, while you were using all your ressources to fight one enemy, the other one could expand unhampered.

So you have to find the balance between fighting, expanding and keeping up your defenses. That's not easy, especially if you are threatened by more than one enemy from two or more sides. Sometimes waiting is a good option, when there's a chance that your enemies will fight each other and leave you alone. Distraction maneuvers can prove useful, too. Place an order on an enemy planet, even if you don't plan to invade, just to make the other player believe that you are going to do it. Force your enemy to pull his units back to his base and conquer his ressource fields for example.

Another thing to get a hang on is when to build which units. Every unit has a special field of operations it excels at, and before building units you should have a plan what to do with them and you should keep in mind who your are fighting against. If your enemy is a Zerg player, try to build units which are either numerous or can destroy more than one enemy unit with one attack by dealing splash damage (Examples: Firebat, Vulture, Siege Tank, Reaver), since the Zerg use light armored units in great numbers. If you're fighting Protoss, tech for units which deal more damage (Vulture, Siege Tank, Ultralisk...) or overwhelm them by numbers. If the enemy has units with ground attack capability only, like Zealots oder Zerglings go for Air Units (Wraith, Scout, Mutalisk...). If you're faced with Air units yourself, build units strong against them (Goliath, Scourge, Dragoon...). Generally speaking: Build units that make it hard for your enemy to defend against and at the same time try to forsee which units your enemy is going to build so you can come up with a counter in time.

In the game you describe for example, I'd say that building Goliaths was no necessity. Building Wraiths would have been more of a problem for your enemies, because they probably had a lot of Zerglings and Zealots. Of course having a factory level II is useful for upgrading to level III for Siege Tanks. But the resources spend on Goliath production could have been used for building a spaceport instead.

Well, there's surely a lot more to say (and I think others can do that better than I can), and I suppose that over times some strategies will get posted here. Just keep playing and I'm sure you'll get a hang on it.
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Clinton Paris
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Knowing what to build and when is pretty key. In our learning (first) game tonight, I (Tassadar) took on my son (Raynor) and it wasn't pretty. Granted, I have a LOT of games of computer Starcraft under my belt, I didn't use those strategies and teched up too quickly. I threw expensive dragoons out in front of his marines and it proved costly. I went dragoons in response to his wraith build, but then wasn't smart about picking the right battles.

I'm right there with you, Jack--we'll just keep playing until it starts to click a bit more!

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Indiana Jones
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pusherman42 wrote:
Hopefully someone will write up a good strategy article soon about tech trees and what's good to shoot for during which situations.

I'm with you on this one.

And to start the ball rolling:

I find, shooting for a Zealot + Archon + Scout strategy-build makes for an efficient combat deck when playing Protoss.

Since you then end up with only 3 unusable cards in the whole 18-card deck.

Of course, you should always be flexible and ready to build other unit types as situations demand. But the Zealot + Archon + Scout combo is a good basic build to start with.
 
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