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Subject: Not another PM are OP thread rss

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Quirky One
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Please, please, please... do not derail this thread into yet another discussion about PM being overpowered, broken or perfectly balanced.

This is a thread about how to use them to their best advantage. If you think they are OP, think how you could make them more so with a good strategy. If you think they are balanced how can we use them instead of focusing how to counter them.

I would also prefer to keep the discussion to a pre meditated PM strategy and not something you jump to when all else failed or you have already won the game and want to rub it in.

What is the over all cost compared to other similar attack or turtle defense fleets - compare attack fleets to other attack fleets and defense builds to other defense builds? Are they better for early bullying, ancient fighting or late game to grab that extra system or bust or help defend a starbase hardpoint?

So a few assumptions before we begin:

- Plasma Missiles can be used as written.
- Plasma Missiles are not considered OP by the other players, so they won't go above and beyond to stop you or gang up on you preemptively.
- The other players do know how to use available means to counter a PM threat.
- The main comparison should be with other strategies that uses military force in one way or another, and if PM do a better or worse job at it.

So how should one use Plasma Missiles in a military strategy or as part of a turtling strategy? When should one grab the tech, are other tech a higher priority? Which races are an extra good fit for PM ship parts, etc?

I know this will be hard, but try to leave the PM are balanced/overpowered discussion out of this.

I want to learn the full potential of PM. When and how should they be used. Common pitfalls with using them, like building too many ships and forget about VP, building an attack fleet and never really use it, getting overrun by interceptors in the end game, sending too strong a signal that you are going to attack, spreading out too fast, people not wanting to trade and help you get an access point to them, too slow to take GCDS compared to other ship designs, Upgrade gap when you turn a working ship into a hybrid before it is fully a PM ship compared to other ship designs that can be partially upgraded and fight well during that time, etc.

Most questions are generic for other military strategies as well, so try to differentiate what makes PM better or worse compared to other weapon designs.

So if you had to (or wanted to) focus on a strategy with PM as a central component, how would you go about it? What would you do, when would you do it and what would you look out for?





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Daniel Hammond
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Typically I will buy PM when:

I have not spent a lot of actions upgrading ships with non-missile builds.

I don't want someone else who will get them to harass me with them and I have more science to spare than resources.

I don't have improved hull and it doesn't look like I can get it.

When I know I want to fight someone who has already committed to a cannon heavy build or a missile build with easily overcome initiative.

To fill out the top tech row (for research VPs).

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Well, a good defensive option is to completely deck out your Starbases with PM and at least 1 (+1 or +2) computer. That gives you 8 dice for 5's or 6's (at least) and is very good at warding off enemies in one of your sectors.
 
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Selon Thart
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I've found that plasma missile fleets depend less on materials, but more on money / actions and certain key technologies compared to other military fleets.

Key technologies include Neutron Bombs (even more than other military strategies), Starbases, Positron or Gluon Computers, and obviously the Missiles themselves

For the eary game you may want to get something of [Plasma Cannon, Gauss Shield, Improved Hull] to combat Ancients faster (Early access to Positron computer can also fix this), even though your fleet won't need it later on.

Advanced Robotics and Quantum Grid are always great for offensive strategies, but are usually sought after by everyone anyway.


In case you draw quite a number of research planets, you can go and max out the military tech tree as well as get a better drive somewhere, this way you'll be able to run with 9 energy-ships, sporting +3 computers and improved drives, netting you +2/+3 (+4 even with 2 comps) bonus iniative compared to other ships.

If research points and/or actions are rare, you might want to stick to 3 energy-ships, however you'll only be able to fit in a single + 3 computer then (or two + 2 at the price of two slots)
Keep in mind that without better drives your offense will be quite crippled

Starbases + Missiles probably produce the most frightening defense construct there is, use them both when you're turteling and atacking.

You'll (usually) need slighty less materials, because your ships are designed to either take no harm at all or force the enemy to offensively weak counterbuilds, from which you should be able to reatreat from relatively unharmed (Don't get blocked !)

However, upgrading missile tiles usually costs more actions as they need a complete revamp of your ship designs, contrary to other builds, which usually happen somewhat by improving the already existent tiles.
Moving the fleet can also be quite costly, especially if you are relying on the basic drives.

But yeah, the game state itself should tell you when to go PM. Used defensively they are a huge deterrement to any attacker, so they'd work there quite universally (If you get the techs).
If you are missing out on Improved Hulls, PMs are probably the best militaty compensation, because they simply don't need IH.

So, if you find yourself quite short on materials, but have got solid research and grabbed a copy of Advanced Robotics and notice, you'll need some military force, be it for defending or attacking your neighbor who might run away with the game otherwise, PM are a very solid choice.
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Daniel Hammond
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I really don't like any PM option with less than a 2+ to hit unless I am fighting PM builds with slower initiative.
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Matthew Hart

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I have bought PM just to keep them out of an enemies hands. In fact, I spent a lot of research last night in a game buying up techs that I thought others needed. This kept them frustrated enough as they scrambled to use others that I left.

As far as PM use I have seen a few good ideas. I like the idea of adding a bunch to starbases with a +2 computer.

In one game my sister-in-law had two sets of PM on her juggernaughts with a total of +5 from computers. This was quite effective to deterring any attack on her sectors.

You could also place them on an interceptor with a decent computer, but this renders them useless in a sustained battle. These could be quite effective as a hit-and-run attack.
 
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Gleb Semenjuk
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And a good offensive solution is a couple of PM dreadnoughts with 2 "+3" computers and a nice engine. Usually they are enough to do everything (especially if you have some good-engined interceptors to unpin dreads).
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Quirky One
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dlhammond wrote:
Typically I will buy PM when:

I have not spent a lot of actions upgrading ships with non-missile builds.

I don't want someone else who will get them to harass me with them and I have more science to spare than resources.

I don't have improved hull and it doesn't look like I can get it.

When I know I want to fight someone who has already committed to a cannon heavy build or a missile build with easily overcome initiative.

To fill out the top tech row (for research VPs).


I agree with your points (I would do the same), but this seems to be more of an "I have nothing else to do"-tactic. A second best alternative and not your primary goal. You kind of slip into the PM tactic as a respons to something else happening and a lack of other options.

What about a planned PM strategy? Is it that military strategies are so weak in general that you seldom chose them as a primary strategy unless you already are playing Orion or maybe Eridani? And their strength do not lie with PM primarily since their advantage is in other early weapon tech.

Just curious?
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Quirky One
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Military Muskrat wrote:
Well, a good defensive option is to completely deck out your Starbases with PM and at least 1 (+1 or +2) computer. That gives you 8 dice for 5's or 6's (at least) and is very good at warding off enemies in one of your sectors.


Again I agree, but is this something you plan for early and therefor skip past other weapon techs in order to rely on this. DO you choose this because it is cost efficient compared to other alternatives? Do you use it with a virtual fleet option and if so, do you fully upgrade to PM first as a deterrent or do you feel you have the time to both research, upgrade and build in the same turn? When do you go for the PM starbase defenses? First chance you can or later on if you get the opportunity to do it?

What races do you use this planned defense for? Or is it more something like, Oh shit I am lagging behind in the military build up, I better get a quick defensive fix and hope they don't get PM too?

And as a side note, if you have 4 PM and only one computer (+1 or +2), you should probably select 3 PM and two computers instead, it is mathematically better. The only advantage with 4 PM would be that it is harder for the opponent to be sure that he survives your alpha strike, so he might have to add another ship or two. But on average two +1 or +2 computers should be better.
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Daniel Hammond
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Quirky1 wrote:
dlhammond wrote:
Typically I will buy PM when:

I have not spent a lot of actions upgrading ships with non-missile builds.

I don't want someone else who will get them to harass me with them and I have more science to spare than resources.

I don't have improved hull and it doesn't look like I can get it.

When I know I want to fight someone who has already committed to a cannon heavy build or a missile build with easily overcome initiative.

To fill out the top tech row (for research VPs).


I agree with your points (I would do the same), but this seems to be more of an "I have nothing else to do"-tactic. A second best alternative and not your primary goal. You kind of slip into the PM tactic as a respons to something else happening and a lack of other options.

What about a planned PM strategy? Is it that military strategies are so weak in general that you seldom chose them as a primary strategy unless you already are playing Orion or maybe Eridani? And their strength do not lie with PM primarily since their advantage is in other early weapon tech.

Just curious?


Military takes a lot of actions, so it isn't my favorite way to go (not that I won't exploit an opening or fight to win).

Planta having missiles overcomes its biggest weakness (no initiative) which would make me seek out missiles more with them than other races.

Bottom line; I feel like I will get a better score with more disks or advanced techs so those are where I would rather spend my science. I do buy enough military tech to not be a juicy target though.

Let me ask you this, how many times do you see someone attack mid game, only to lose those hexes before game end? That is usually a big waste of actions and resources (although the resources might be made back by the occupation, influence disk(s) are used to hold the system(s)). I am not a big believer in 1 orange planet pays for itself (it makes all actions more expensive). If you are going to take a hex make sure it is one you can defend or that it has some value such as delaying an attack on more valuable systems.
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I think that an experienced player like you is not going to learn a lot more about PM's that you don't already know, but whatever, i'll write some basics for starters..

Basic ideas

The first thing that comes to my mind its the differentiation so many times done before (by you among others if i remember well) between the strengths of military strategies and the strength of PM as one of the military strategies, so all experienced players more or less agreed that PM's are not overpowered at all, just clearly the best of the military strategies avaible.

That PM's, using their original rules (and talking about mid-game/end-game combats), are the most efficient military strategy (NOT most efficient strategy in general) is more or less obvious to anybody who has played the game enough, you can't even compare them to PC or AMC because this technologies just become obsoletes against PM's (no matter how many comps or drives either), as the victims are forced to hull and shield up to survive the volley (as the really dangerous PM's ships will the ones that are fulled with PM's and comps, and IC works esentially equally than a PC or AMC, as PM boats won't have hulls or shields, they just don't need it), and even for attacking purposes(PC and AC) requires much more energy for no really better results (and easier to counter than PM's by upgrades by the defender).

To sum up, offensive vs offensive PM's destroys badly any alternative, and offensive vs deffensive is just more efficient (and being offensive strategies "hard enough" in general, you better stick with them if you really need punch). This is sad, because in games of experienced players, we all see as AC is almost never worth it, and even PC becames suspicious (its almost always better to buy some comp or just hull up). It's a shame as i said, but that's another story.

Obvious tactics

For the specifics of the use of the PM's, i think is also quite obvious for experienced players, computers are mandatory (and you don't need gluon at all for being deadly, two positron in dreads are one of the more cost effective designs of all the game..), and sometimes a drive fighting another PM's guy, there is not really much more about it. An interestig thing is keep playing with more comps or more PM tiles depending on the shields of the defender (for example, dreads with 3 or 4 PMs and 2 Positron (which are a absurdly cheap to get), you can easily play adding or retiring the comps for more PM's and viceversa (it's not a problem needing a 6 to hit if you are launching 32 missiles or more and the defender having ledd hulls because of their shields..), forcing the defender to spend even more (and all this assuming that he managed to get IH AND PS...). This tactic can also be greatly abused on starships for defense, and in cruisers a bit less effectivly.

Also, be carefull when you attack (or defend) and there is only one hex which you can retreat, as an experienced player will sneak an interceptor a deny your retreat (this is less effective that it seems, because when you get experienced using PM's learn to disply the tiles to prevent this, or even to bring you own suicide interceptors to pinning, but keep an eye on it).

Situations

So when can we get the most advantage of all this (mid/end game again)?
In a multiplayer game, mainly when you have an opponent which doesn't have IH and PS, and you can defend your system reasonably (remember that your starbases are godly for defenses), and of course have neutron bombs or some "bombers" ships supporting. If it is not the case (and many times it WONT be the case, and that's because PM are balanced against other strategies in general (NOT balanced against other military strategies, but we spoked about that before), you wont get enough point to justify your attack, and basically you are helping to OTHER players (not you, not the defender) to win the game. Most of experts says "look if the PM won, you'll realize that he doesn't won more frecuently that you thougt". And this is plain true. But i'll also say a different thing: "Look in 4-P game of more or less experiencied people, for the one who is in the opposite initial position of the PM guy". If this guy knows what is doing and you don't make enough damage, he will be in obvious advantage, that's for sure. And this is because any energy related nerf to missiles buff a bit too much to turtle/science strategies (and races). Of course, if you are the guy who does't have PS and IH and are next to a possible warmonger, PM's is thes best possible defense. In fact, the safest way to use the PM's is precisely securing a good macro position, (usually after having won some key sector) as you became practically invulnerable to others offensive strategies (watch out WG, but if you play well is becames less a problem that it seems, never forget your godly starbases).

So the conclusion it will be something like, be quite carefull going full PM's and attacking with them if you don't see that you can really take a lot of advantage from it, if you can't, you are probably making another player the winner because of you attack (as you can "distract" 1 or 2 players too much, and letting the ones which are not neighbours with you so free to macro, or even to attack with subpar ships), and that the safest use of PM's is not attacking but securing a win (all pretty obvious in fact..)

The 2-P issue

Another story is 2-P. "Battles don't won you the game, and you get exposed to other players when attack, bla bla.." This may be true in most modes, but in 2-P, each hex gained to the enemy is worth double, and here, PM's became very strong, as you became military invulnerable against your -only- enemy (unless he has PMs too). In the end, against two really experienced players, 2-P matches end being played as if PM where in table before they even appears (cannons almost never purchased, lots of IH before any PM is even out),not because their "opness", but how heavily they change the game in 2-P).

I know that you won't this post to became a "variant" issue, but i really think that, in 2-P and only in 2-P, PM's destroys all the FUN (not the BALANCE, just the interest, the fun of the match, and i have the disgrace of having to play a lot of 2-P).
So in this point, i will suggest to every 2-P player tired of this to try the "Petri's Variant" (in honor of his author ), which consists in, instead of launching all missiles tiles at once at the begining of the combat, each ship launch one tile per combat round (so if you have 2 dreds with 2 missiles each, and a cruiser with 1 missile, you will launch 6 dies at the begining, and another 4 dies in the begining of the second combat round (if the dreads survives), instead of 10 dies at once).
This works INCREDIBLY good (and so simple), because the missiles retains quite a bit of their power (specially if you distribute them in multiple ships), and it doesn't deny into oblivion the other military tech, as the no-PM guy can shot a bit between the volleys (and it makes very interesting to decide if you put some defense in you PM boats to get to shoot more missiles, or for the defender, if you put more weapons to try to deny the nexts missiles volleys, despite being more vulnerable to the firsts ones, also inititive is more relevant (good for drives), etc. In fact, if you mantain the "classic" antimissile design, with lots of defense and no weapons, missiles works almost the same that without the variant, so you just have more options to deal with missiles now! Also, because you are not touchig the energy costs, is less a buff to science races than other variants.
Although when i think that this variant really shines is in 2-P, it also work wonders with more players (not that the game becomes more balanced, but its sure more fun without the gigantic volleys and the possibility to use other weapons). Anyways, try at least for 2-P, you won't regret it!

Just my 2 cents, thanks and sorry about my bad english.


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Philip Thomas
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I wonder about running Plasma Missiles with Descendants of Draco. They don't need to worry about upgrading their ships early to deal with ancients, and the ancients provide a possible catcher if some enemy ships get through. The only downside would seem to be lack of starting tech which makes the missiles expensive. Starbase would be a good tech to pick up on route of course.

I haven't played enough to test this theory...
 
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Quirky One
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Kalaidos wrote:
I've found that plasma missile fleets depend less on materials, but more on money / actions and certain key technologies compared to other military fleets.

Key technologies include Neutron Bombs (even more than other military strategies), Starbases, Positron or Gluon Computers, and obviously the Missiles themselves

I am not quite on board with the money / actions statement. My gut feeling tells me that if you deck out your ship designs with basically two types of components, missiles and computers, you would spend less actions researching them and about the same amount of actions upgrading them and then less actions rebuilding them since they don't take casualties normally? Could it be that you feel the upgrade actions are clumped together at one time, when you get the PM or that you have to redo the upgrades if you already had other upgrades in their place like you describe below. So basically you do one strategy after the other and that cost more actions? If so, is it necessary?

Kalaidos wrote:

For the eary game you may want to get something of [Plasma Cannon, Gauss Shield, Improved Hull] to combat Ancients faster (Early access to Positron computer can also fix this), even though your fleet won't need it later on.

I think this is the key problem with PM strategies usually being a second option or sometimes costly to implement. It is redundant to first get all of the other weapon techs to fight ancients and then realize you need more fire power because you are out gunned, or really need to cut down a neighbour to size. So you need to take him on and if you can't win an attrition war you go for PM with your science and extra actions. I think this fall in the category of a second best option and not an optimal PM strategy. It might very well be the best option left to you in a particular game, but with a 20/20 hind sight it might have been better to start out that game aiming for PM.

If you really need to fight ancients early I would go with your computer tech suggestion instead. Maybe buy an extra ship and then you have less builds to do later on, less parts that needs to be upgraded and you know which designs you will use. I like that start much more.

Kalaidos wrote:

In case you draw quite a number of research planets, you can go and max out the military tech tree as well as get a better drive somewhere, this way you'll be able to run with 9 energy-ships, sporting +3 computers and improved drives, netting you +2/+3 (+4 even with 2 comps) bonus iniative compared to other ships.

A high move is usually something I connect with an interceptor fleet, getting in and slip past defenses. But I guess it might be as important for a PM fleet too. What size of ships would you go for?
I am more of a rack 'em and stack 'em guy. If I spread my missile boats out, the enemy might pin my behemots and get local superiority in half of the hexes and that can result in casualties. Casulaties can be avoided if you pick the fights carefully since PM fights are usually a binary situation - success of fail, not much in between.

Kalaidos wrote:

You'll (usually) need slighty less materials, because your ships are designed to either take no harm at all or force the enemy to offensively weak counterbuilds, from which you should be able to reatreat from relatively unharmed (Don't get blocked !)

I agree to some extent, but if you go with a military strategy you need materials. I can agree with the fact that you probably need a little less than with other military strategies, but overkill is a good thing. You can even consider opening a second front, etc. If I were low on materials I would probably rethink the whole military approach, but as a defensive measure it might still be a good idea.

Kalaidos wrote:

However, upgrading missile tiles usually costs more actions as they need a complete revamp of your ship designs, contrary to other builds, which usually happen somewhat by improving the already existent tiles.
Moving the fleet can also be quite costly, especially if you are relying on the basic drives.

I think this revamp thing is a practical problem for many people. It is very costly to go from a plasma cannon and shields with IH to a PM with computers strategy. And that is what Orion and Eridani, the two usual suspects often do when they go PM. Is this really a must? What about Hydrans, Planta or Humans? What if they go Ion cannon + computers and then upgrade to PM?

You say it is costly to move a PM fleet, but isn't it actually easier to move a PM fleet since you should have more energy for drives and PM builds usually favours larger ships? Or do you prefer interceptors or do you assume that there will be more left over energy in other IC/PC/AMC designs since they need more than the bare minimum anyways? Or is it that drives are in the other tech trees and not as readily available for the PM tactic?

Kalaidos wrote:

But yeah, the game state itself should tell you when to go PM. Used defensively they are a huge deterrement to any attacker, so they'd work there quite universally (If you get the techs).
If you are missing out on Improved Hulls, PMs are probably the best militaty compensation, because they simply don't need IH.

So, if you find yourself quite short on materials, but have got solid research and grabbed a copy of Advanced Robotics and notice, you'll need some military force, be it for defending or attacking your neighbor who might run away with the game otherwise, PM are a very solid choice.

I agree with your conlucions. A little unsure why you think Advanced Robotics will be so helpfull. Is it especially good for PM strategies or just good for military strategies in general (I do agree with that of course)?
I do think that if you have the situation that you describe above, you probably should be able to go for PM directly and then they would be a good complimentary military strategy for safety purposes that could be turned into a real threat later on if needed.
But still a second choice to IH for you, right? :-)
 
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Quirky One
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dlhammond wrote:
I really don't like any PM option with less than a 2+ to hit unless I am fighting PM builds with slower initiative.


I understand that you want to be able to calculate the odds and just apply enough force to get the job done. But one could also add another ship and take ones chances. Every fight is a chance and in the beginning you need to be able to fight ancients and half built, half upgraded enemy fleets aswell (at least if you go with a military strategy). So a risk here and there will be necessary no matter the ship design I think.

Or is it that you think that all military strategies are generally too risky and go for the safer bet of out optimizing your opponents in other VP areas? Maybe go in for the kill in the end as a last resort?

Mathematically a 2+ build is worse off on average than most others but more reliable of course. But more dice and more ships also makes the result more reliable.
 
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Quirky One
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Gleb wrote:
And a good offensive solution is a couple of PM dreadnoughts with 2 "+3" computers and a nice engine. Usually they are enough to do everything (especially if you have some good-engined interceptors to unpin dreads).


I agree but how early can you have them? Are they better than having the same amount of resources invested on other ship types with other designs and armament? Can they be built fast enough to replace other interrim ship designs?

Once you have them, what do you use them for and when?
 
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Hartm wrote:
I have bought PM just to keep them out of an enemies hands. In fact, I spent a lot of research last night in a game buying up techs that I thought others needed. This kept them frustrated enough as they scrambled to use others that I left.
...

You could also place them on an interceptor with a decent computer, but this renders them useless in a sustained battle. These could be quite effective as a hit-and-run attack.

Buying PM to deny it to the other players is a good strategy, but maybe not a PM strategy. One could reverse it a little and go for the PM strategy, buying IH just to make sure there are one less neighbour that gets it. An early strong attack on a neighbour that doesn't have IH and you have PM can be a rather bloody affair. Not as quick as an Eridani blitz, but turn four or five maybe?

Sustained battle is not the thing for PM, and when you go down the PM strategy route I think that 100% PM are the thing. Maybe play the little reaction upgrade game back and forth with a defender that go all IH on his star bases and you counter with one Ion Cannon on one of your designs that you only have one or two ships of. This is because defender wins if you end up with a PM attacker with only missiles that has fired and a defender that doesn't have any weapons at all. Which otherwise would be a stale mate.
 
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Quirky1 wrote:

If you really need to fight ancients early I would go with your computer tech suggestion instead. Maybe buy an extra ship and then you have less builds to do later on, less parts that needs to be upgraded and you know which designs you will use. I like that start much more.


If you are planning for PM's, never buy Plasma cannon or gauss shield for the ancients, positron computer is obviously the best choice (mechanema becames interesting for PM due to this), or of course IH if you can get it (one IH less in game is the best investement for future PM's), if you can't get any of them, just make more ships.

Regarding the moment to attack (besides the obvious end game turns), i think is any moment in which you can hold the hex you are attacking (and it usually depends on not being attacked in other place, as with the PM's you probably wont have problems to hold the attacked hex), look a viable choke point and remember that PM starships are beastly. Also, if there are not other PM's players you can even attack and hold the center without many problems..


Quirk1 wrote:
What about a planned PM strategy? Is it that military strategies are so weak in general that you seldom chose them as a primary strategy unless you already are playing Orion or maybe Eridani? And their strength do not lie with PM primarily since their advantage is in other early weapon tech.



I think that in an Eclipse game (specially with more players), going for a planned strategy is never a good idea (if we call "planned" to something more specific that "I'll turtle" or something too generic), i think that planning missiles without being Orion from the start is a mistake, the game will tell you if there is a good oportunity for them or not, you mostly do advices like the ones in the begining of this post to let the door open, but if you for example in a 3-P game and your two neigbours start destroying each other, or you get a quite good position for monoliths, or something like that, forget missiles and adapt.
 
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dlhammond wrote:


Military takes a lot of actions, so it isn't my favorite way to go (not that I won't exploit an opening or fight to win).


I think that this might be one of the reasons that more experience players doesn't see PM as a problem balance wise. (Sorry people I am not trying to go into the debate over OP.)
I think that a mainly military strategy is one of the weakest and they depend on other factors, like neighbours that make mistakes or takes risks and get left without defenses. So military strategies are usually a second pick when the main strategy doesn't look good enough or you get a specific opportunity.

The exceptions are Orion and Eridani of course, but they are steered away from PM by their initial tech advantage and early refits to capitalize on that advantage.

So most experienced players look for opportunities, they find one that might works, be it science, exploration, a combination of them or a laod of material planets for a monolith strategy. In order to go through with this strategy they need some sort of early security or capability to handle ancients. IH to the rescue, the fastest and cheapest way to handle both problems. And if they can't get that they turtle up and maybe even shut out the Galactic Center. If they go for a science victory they might start to look for other techs to compensate for the IH they didn't get and take one or two other techs and build a substitute fleet out of that.

In short everyone starts out with a non PM strategy, everyone focus on either buying a fleet, isolate themselves or get IH. If someone should get PH it is usually kind of late in the game, they took it to complement their science strategy or they felt they really needed a hail mary in order to catch up by attacking a well defended player or a defend against a nearby agressor.

It is seldom I have seen a PM focus from the start? Even Planta (with their enrgy/computer special ship parts and Mechanemas starting positron computer usually start out with PM. They go for expansion and orbital/monolith focus. Once they get PM they put them to good use of course but it was never an optimal focus.

In the end PM are seldom a key component in a player's winning strategy. The better the players, the more they wait and see what kind of start they get, rely on their skill with the other non military strategies and wait for good opportunities. PM can be part of these strategies, but seldom more than a curiosity or last chance attempt at rocking the boat when the real VP battle is more or less already decided.

What about a Human or Planta (that doesn't explore that much) go for PM as their first tech and then goes to war against the first neighbour that doesn't have IH? What would that strategy look like? Will it be as doomed as any other early military strategy?

If you wait for an opening and see a military opening and takes it, then it is more than likely that you have already started on a non PM strategy (and maybe even a non military strategy) and that cost you resources making the PM strategy less than optimal.

I'm not sure I am making my self clear here. Sorry for the rambling. It's like a catch 22. I only choose a military strategy from the start if I have a race with other tech than PM, or later on if I get the opportunity. When PM should be a strategy from the start in order to work at it's best. Or it should only be a complementary strategy to others and then it will never be a game changer.

On the other hand, most that do try the PM strategy early are newer players and they don't have the cunning to pull off a military strategy or do it with Orion/Eridani and their initial tech advantage is wasted. If you add to that a neighbour or two who are a little worried about the PM reputation and the obvious military strategy will of course see to it that the there is a little alliance against this player. Maybe even a stronger alliance than there would be against an Orion player.

Just my guesses as to why PM show up in force less and less often the more experienced the players are.

dlhammond wrote:

Planta having missiles overcomes its biggest weakness (no initiative) which would make me seek out missiles more with them than other races.

Bottom line; I feel like I will get a better score with more disks or advanced techs so those are where I would rather spend my science. I do buy enough military tech to not be a juicy target though.

I agree, I usually go for the Grid or Adv Robotics my self and rely on my optimization skills to come out ahead with a non military strategy and use PM as a last resort when things doesn't go as planned. But I do wonder if that really is the way to play PM.

dlhammond wrote:

Let me ask you this, how many times do you see someone attack mid game, only to lose those hexes before game end? That is usually a big waste of actions and resources (although the resources might be made back by the occupation, influence disk(s) are used to hold the system(s)). I am not a big believer in 1 orange planet pays for itself (it makes all actions more expensive). If you are going to take a hex make sure it is one you can defend or that it has some value such as delaying an attack on more valuable systems.


Oh two other important questions. :-)

In my experience a military man takes the GCDS in order to get access to a good system, VP and a good access point to several neighbours. If they stay there, they usually get to keep it. It's when you start to advance that you will loose tiles in the end. The reason is simple. You get way more systems to defend, you are most likely in the middle of the board and get way more access points, you are percieved as a big threat and even if you are not in the lead you are close enough to be hit in the last turn or two by everyone.

The only way to avoid this, and I think this is basic 101 for all military conquests in Eclipse, is to stay away from the center when you start a military campaign if you can.

If you start the fighting from the center, make sure that you don't get new access points (to other players) with every new system you take. Attack a turtle, break through his defense, and then follow up but keep the one access point to everyone else.

Finish a player off. It is better to go all the way and remove them as a threat, losing the center and maybe one more system in the process. Once you have secured your victims domain, go back, your fleet will most likely still be the largest and take back the lost tiles. But usually it is better to stay your hand and be saitisfied with two domains without the center. It is usually worth more than one domain plus the center like you had before. And then you might be the one that stabs at the center on the last turn instead of the other way around.

I would say that turtling up and only have one access point is even more important if you are going on a killing spree. Maybe one extra access point or back door to your first victim is ok, but always keep you virtual star bases ready because they will be needed when you start winning new tiles and become a threat to others. And they will feel threatened enough to strike first.

Sure fighting like this cost actions, but it also give VP, eliminate threats against you and if you are lucky and can hit the leader you can count the taken VP double. With more systems you also get a better economy and can readjust your systems better, make better use of Artefact Key and the Advanced planet techs. You don't have to influence every conqered tile.

When it comes to one orange planet pays for it self it is just a stepping stone. The advantage comes from the fact that you can take it and move on to a new exploration. They also do give VP and if yuo don't like the cost/benefit ratio, bancrupt and remove the token and reinfluence it in the last turn. The one orange planet usually comes with a little bonus as well, liek a discovery or an advance planet, and we want to have as many of those in our domain as possible so we can see what advance planet tech we should buy next. There is also that little possibility of maxing out the money track so it goes up faster than the action cost (if you use grey planet shifting, trade, etc) and then that orange planet can pay for a real planet.
All of these possibilities makes me believe that you are usually better off taking the planet to begin with than just throwing the tile away so it end up in the Planta domain instead.

But I'm detailing my own thread hehe. Sorry.
 
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Quirky One
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evilK wrote:
I think that an experienced player like you is not going to learn a lot more about PM's that you don't already know, but whatever, i'll write some basics for starters..

Basic ideas

The first thing that comes to my mind its the differentiation so many times done before (by you among others if i remember well) between the strengths of military strategies and the strength of PM as one of the military strategies, so all experienced players more or less agreed that PM's are not overpowered at all, just clearly the best of the military strategies avaible.
...

Situations

So when can we get the most advantage of all this (mid/end game again)?
In a multiplayer game, mainly when you have an opponent which doesn't have IH and PS, and you can defend your system reasonably (remember that your starbases are godly for defenses), and of course have neutron bombs or some "bombers" ships supporting. If it is not the case (and many times it WONT be the case, and that's because PM are balanced against other strategies in general (NOT balanced against other military strategies, but we spoked about that before), you wont get enough point to justify your attack, and basically you are helping to OTHER players (not you, not the defender) to win the game.
...

In fact, the safest way to use the PM's is precisely securing a good macro position, (usually after having won some key sector) as you became practically invulnerable to others offensive strategies (watch out WG, but if you play well is becames less a problem that it seems, never forget your godly starbases).

So the conclusion it will be something like, be quite carefull going full PM's and attacking with them if you don't see that you can really take a lot of advantage from it, if you can't, you are probably making another player the winner because of you attack (as you can "distract" 1 or 2 players too much, and letting the ones which are not neighbours with you so free to macro, or even to attack with subpar ships), and that the safest use of PM's is not attacking but securing a win (all pretty obvious in fact..)
...


I liked your strategies and tactical tips. I agree with most of them too. And I think you summarized the controversy of OP status nicely. It is mostly a question of semantics. Broken and OP are two different things but people use them interchangeably sometimes. And OP compared to other strategies they are not of course, since they seldom win on their own merits, but OP compared to AMC they sure are or AMC are under powered. Either way it is a semantic issue more than anything else. And they tend to distrupt the general flow of the "normal game" just as having Orion on one side and an agressive Eridani on the other would put you on the edge. :-)

Then you mention the macro situation and the prerequisites for a PM strategy to be valid, but it is mostly the same for any military strategy. If you start a fight with a slightly weaker neighbour with a decent defense you will condemn both yourself and him to less VP in the end. This goes for military strategies in general as well.

But still PM are the weapon of choice when you decide to go over board. What if PM are set up as the main strategy, the one you try from the get go, and if you run into trouble, like all your neighbours succeed in getting more ships or IH all around. Then you go to another choice and rely on your PM to be just a security measure while you pursue another victory. Will that distrupt you so much that you will loose, will your neighbours have lost more, can you catch up with another strategy just like an Orion player that gets a bad start and decide to not pursue a military vicory?

Can PM be used for defense only and be part of your other strategy from the start. In other words maybe handle an ancient or two and then be a part of a virtual fleet while you go for a science or construction victory?
 
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Quirky One
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Philip Thomas wrote:
I wonder about running Plasma Missiles with Descendants of Draco. They don't need to worry about upgrading their ships early to deal with ancients, and the ancients provide a possible catcher if some enemy ships get through. The only downside would seem to be lack of starting tech which makes the missiles expensive. Starbase would be a good tech to pick up on route of course.

I haven't played enough to test this theory...


Good thinking. I have only tried this once and was completely trashed in the last turn in a 3P game. I wrote that off as a failed macro diplomatic strategy. I went the PM way early, took total control of the center, divided my two enemies so they couldn't trade and started to kill their fleets. It looked really good until I realized they could only hit me and I was spread out with many access points. And once one of them got PM and the other hulled up I was done for.

But yes the combination was really good and no tech from the start is a clear advantage since you don't have to throw anything away that your race has payed for. The ancients help you with pinning and let's you use larger ships which is, in my opinion, better for a PM strategy. Early access to good systems makes it likelier to get hold of enough science to be able to buy PM early. No need to go for ancient killing so you can spend time on your upgrades and such. Likely access to several other players by stealing their ancient tiles.

You will of course be unpopular if you both get involved in the middle and start with an obvious PM strategy, but I kind of like the idea. Maybe you can keep people so buissy with your PM threat that they forget to kill their own ancients in the tier III areas. :-)
 
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evilK wrote:

I think that in an Eclipse game (specially with more players), going for a planned strategy is never a good idea (if we call "planned" to something more specific that "I'll turtle" or something too generic), i think that planning missiles without being Orion from the start is a mistake, the game will tell you if there is a good oportunity for them or not, you mostly do advices like the ones in the begining of this post to let the door open, but if you for example in a 3-P game and your two neigbours start destroying each other, or you get a quite good position for monoliths, or something like that, forget missiles and adapt.


I think this is the problem with PM. They are used with a military strategy that are generally sub par compared to other strategies. They are seldom the focus from the start and it is very easy to wait too long to start the strategy. I think one should aim for PM directly from the start and be ready to adjust to something else if need be, not the other way around. Starting with something else, realizing it is failing or you get an opportunity and then switch to PM. That switch is usually too costly, to waste full and too slow. And still when people do this the PM might seem to dominate the game but at a closer look you will see that often the PM are just icing on the winners cake or a distraction letting a non neighbour win instead.

Either way I think that PM need a focus from the start if they are to shine and actually have a chance to contribute to a victory. Even if they are only used for defense, one should not waste any extra tech on other armaments and start upgrading early. The only exception might be to grab an IH just to keep it out of one pair of enemy hands.
 
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Kelvin Lau
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dlhammond wrote:
Typically I will buy PM when:

I have not spent a lot of actions upgrading ships with non-missile builds.

I don't want someone else who will get them to harass me with them and I have more science to spare than resources.

I don't have improved hull and it doesn't look like I can get it.

When I know I want to fight someone who has already committed to a cannon heavy build or a missile build with easily overcome initiative.

To fill out the top tech row (for research VPs).


pretty much this. obvious and simple. no wall of text and multiple replies needed.
 
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Daniel Hammond
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League City
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Quirky1 wrote:

Mathematically a 2+ build is worse off on average than most others but more reliable of course. But more dice and more ships also makes the result more reliable.


I am all about efficiency in actions. 2 Dreads are best, 4 cruisers if I have to. More ships is a defensive strategy for me.
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John Tori
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My one tip with plasma missiles is that it is imperative not to get maneuvered into battles where you don’t have enough to wipe out the enemy first round. PM needs to be an all or nothing proposition as much as possible. The most effective way for an opponent without PM to beat you militarily is to find ways to isolate your best ships and throw down a big army with lots of hull points to beat them. One way they might do this is by using raiding forces to make you split your armies, particularly if they have an advantage in drivers or number of actions.

If you choose to attack without a very high certainty of victory, make extra sure you have a retreat route.
 
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Gleb Semenjuk
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Quirky1 wrote:
Gleb wrote:
And a good offensive solution is a couple of PM dreadnoughts with 2 "+3" computers and a nice engine. Usually they are enough to do everything (especially if you have some good-engined interceptors to unpin dreads).


I agree but how early can you have them? Are they better than having the same amount of resources invested on other ship types with other designs and armament? Can they be built fast enough to replace other interrim ship designs?

Once you have them, what do you use them for and when?


Usually, if you are PM-advanced and have some stock of materials, noone in their mind will even try to attack you. So, until turn 8-9 you are like a shark in shallow waters, looking for tastiest prey and upgrading as needed. And on last turns you can kill whatever you need on 2 hexes per turn.
 
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