Saturday, March 10, 2018

Ascendancy - Part 2

Ascendancy - Part 1

The Great Nimbuloid-Fludentri War continues in Part 2 of my Ascendancy playthough.  "Great" may be too strong of a word since nothing has happened yet, but I can tell those shifty Fludentri are going to be a tough opponent.  They look like toothpaste.

In this post, I hope to capture the essence of war in Ascendancy with ship-ship and ship-planet battles along with planetary invasion.  I should see some of this pretty soon since it did not take long for the Fludentri to declare war on me after we made first contact.  I can also start to show some of the weird tech tree gizmos that the game encourages me to place in my ships.  I will try to provide occasional overviews of the galaxy map to allow readers to follow along and understand how my Nimbuloid empire is progressing as well.  Hopefully we can conquer the other galactic denizens and spread our strange, gaseous cloud people to the farthest reaches of the galaxy!  To continue reading about Ascendancy, click below!

Here is the state of the galaxy when I last left off:

Nimbuloid empire is green
The green circles are solar systems I have colonized planets in, an orange circle means the hated Fludentri have a planet in that system, and a dot without a circle around it means no one has colonized any planets in that system.  Looking at the map above, the Fludentri have colonized a planet right in the middle of my empire in a system called the Lanesend system.  I have it selected in the screenshot above.  Let's take a look at it and see what kind of planet it is:

This is a weak colony
They chose...poorly.  In their defense there wasn't any good planets to colonize in that system, but still.  So they have this tiny planet colonized in the middle of my empire, I should be able to handle this.  I don't know what the rest of THEIR empire looks like, but I should be able to deal with this.

The first thing I need to do is build some warships and invasion ships.  Unfortunately, it's early in the game and everyone is low on the technology tree so the weapons I put in my ships are going to be fairly shitty.  But so will everyone else's.

For this first warship, I have 2 engines, 3 powerplants, 1 starlane drive, and 4 Uberlasers.  The Uberlasers are not very "Uber", but they are the best I have right now.  Since there are no stats in the game, I know they are better because they are further down the tech tree.  Also, the relative strength of items seems to be listed from top (worst) to bottom (best).  On the right of the above screenshot, the Proton Shaver powerplant is worse than the Subatomic Scoop.

The name inspires confidence
 Right now the Fludentri only have 1 system, Lanesend, in the middle of my empire.  But they aren't staying put, it looks like they are on the move:

Fludentri leaving Synthos
The little orange triangles in the middle of the screenshot above indicate Fludentri ships moving along a star lane towards a neighboring system (Synthos), which just happens to be a system where I have colonized planets.  None of my planets in the Synthos system have orbital defenses or much in the way of planetary defenses.  Speaking of defenses, I should probably mention how attacking a planet works.  In a planet's orbit, you can build a certain number of structures.  One of the structures you can build is Orbital Shields.  These create a...shield....around the planet that must be destroyed before a ship can move into orbit and launch an invasion.  The strength of the shield depends on how many orbital shields you have built in orbit.  The more shields you build, the better protected your planet will be but the less space you'll have for orbital weapons, shipyards, etc.  Once a ship has destroyed the orbital shields, it can enter orbit to launch an invasion.

Whether the invasion is successful or not depends on if/how many surface defense batteries you have.  A ship uses an "Invasion Module" to invade a planet.  It takes 1 invasion module to successfully invade a planet, but surface defense batteries can destroy 1 invasion module.  So if a ship has 2 invasion modules and it tries to invade a planet with 2 surface defense battery, the invasion will fail because all the invasion modules were destroyed.  If the ship has 4 invasion modules, the invasion will be successful and the ship will still have 2 invasion modules left over.  However, each surface battery is destroyed when used to destroy invasion modules and needs to be rebuilt.  Later in the game, ships can also use bombs to bombard the surface before launching the invasion. 

Crap!  That's a good system with good planets
Well crap, it turns out Synthos is a good system.  I've colonized 3 relatively good planets here, but I have not had time to build any defensive structures.  The Fludentri ships have free reign to invade them and there's nothing I can do about it.

The Fludentri ships move in for the kill
Looks like they are going for the biggest planet first...

It turns out my AI had actually built some surface defense batteries, so the invasion of Synthos II used up all of the Fludentri's invasion modules, so I only lost 1 planet!  Not bad!  I'm going to focus on retaking the Synthos system for the Nimbuloids and then moving on to eradicating the Fludentri gelatinous fiends.

Here is a map of the galaxy again with Synthos now having an orange AND green ring around it indicating there are now Fludentri colonies in the system.  Also, notice the new yellow triangles moving along the red star lane to the left of the screen and the new yellow circled system at the end of that star lane.  It looks like I have a new species to contend with.

Please don't declare war on me right away
I've completed my new invasion ship so it's time to retake Lanesend and Synthos:

Alright, now I'm in pretty good shape.  I've taken care of the interlopers so I can now focus on fortifying my border systems, researching better technology, and sending out invasion ships to expand my empire by force.  Like a true superpower, the peace-loving Nimbuloids are spreading our cloudy, gaseous form of democracy through strength and violence.  My next target is the system of Aquila, at the end of the red star lane seen in the shot above.  There is a series of 3 systems that have Fludentri colonies that I want to invade, starting with Aquila.  While I do have colonies in those systems as well, none of the planets have enough industry to build a ship in a reasonable amount of time, even with my species' special ability of speeding up building projects.  So my first step will be to amass a small armada in the Algarond system, at the other end of the red star lane (you can see a green triangle in the system in the shot above, indicating I already have at least one ship there).

My armada of the "Crappy" line of ships grows
Nothing strikes fear into an enemy like an armada of "Crappy" ships!  Here is a look at the Algarond system with my armada:

Let's take a look at the Aquila system I am going to invade:

Orange ringed planet is the Fludentri
It looks like the Fludentri have one colony there and it is protected by at least one orbital shield.  We can get a closer look by selecting the planet.  As long as they haven't build an orbital shield or a surface shield, I will be able to see what they've built on the surface and in orbit.

They've got 1 orbital shield, 1 orbital missile battery, and 2 surface batteries.  I need to destroy the orbital shield battery then move into orbit and invade, but I need to make sure I have at least 3 invasion modules because the surface missiles will destroy 2 of them.  Let's see how it goes:

Lining up for battle
The battle
I took 1 shot from the missile battery, but they aren't that powerful so I wasn't too worried.  My invasion ship doesn't have any weapons because I needed the room for invasion modules, so I moved in my Crappy Fighters first to destroy the orbital shields, then I moved in my invader ship.  It was successful, so I now own Aquila II, and the Nebuloid empire continues its expansion.

I moved north with my invasion ship and one of my Crappy Fighters, but left the other Crappy Fighter in Aquila because I have not explored two of the Star Lanes leading out of the Aquila system and I'm guessing the Fludentri have more colonies from those directions.  Not long after, a Fludentri warship arrived and I had a quick fight against it.  Luckily my Crappy Fighters have long range, but relatively weak, weapons that allowed me to destroy the warship before it got in range.

Destroyed like I destroy jello at Thanksgiving
Unfortunately, before I could finish clearing out the Fludentri from the other 2 systems to the north of Aquila, I ran out of invasion modules because the had built a significant number of surface missile batteries.  Instead of building all new invasion ships, I just finished researching Orbital Docks so I can refit my ships.

Now my goals is to refit my ships with new invasion modules and then finish clearing out the last Fludentri colony in my empire before moving on to exploring further to the south of my empire and finding more Fludentri to fight.  I'm also hoping the Chamachies don't declare war on me.

I still have 2 species left to encounter
And just after I took this screenshot, a new ship entered one of my systems:

I forgot to mention that each species has their own brief theme music that plays whenever I interact with them through diplomacy.  Most tracks are pretty good and give a good impression of what kind of species you are dealing with.

The theme music for these new Marmosians sounds like battle drums, so I am not hopeful about my future relations with them.  You can see in the above screenshot their ship represented by the brown triangle in my system at the end of the long red star lane.  They came from that red star lane, as did the Chamachies.  So it makes the most sense for me to keep fighting the Fludentri while also making sure I fortify the hell out of that system at the end of that red star lane that have Marmosians and Chamachies at the other end.  The system in question is called the Brilliance system and there are 2 planets, only one of which is worth anything.  My AI has done a good job of fortifying the planet so far:

I will probably build an orbital docks and I may go ahead and colonize the other tiny garbage planet in the system just so now one else can.

I let one turn pass and then this happened:

I did nothing to them!  I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the giant, metallic centipede monsters declared war on me, but still.  I am a species of floating cumulus clouds, how am I offensive to anyone.  Time to start building more warships and invasion ships like crazy.

And I guess I shouldn't be surprised by this:

Things might be getting a little interesting now.  The only silver lining I can see to all this is that my empire is relatively free of internal enemy systems, so I should be able to just fortify my border systems and focus my inner systems on industry and producing war ships.  Things could get interest though because I am getting farther along in the tech tree and there are some weird technologies in the mid and later game.  There are techs that let you warp around a system map, enlarge a star to increase its gravity and drag ships into it, slingshot ships way out into the outer system, paralyze an enemy ship, canabalize an enemy to increase your own health, and more weird stuff.  Techs like those can really shift the balance of a battle so I'll have to stay on my toes.

I'll wrap up this post for now.  Next time I'll continue the Nebuloids war against everyone and hopefully finish up my look at Ascendancy.  To be honest, I am loving this game so far and that is why my posts have had so much detail and why I keep playing the game instead of moving on to the next one.  The game is FUN.

Go back to Ascendancy - Part 1 to see the start of my playthrough.

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