Imperium Fourteen: Ursine Archaeologists

Bulrathi, Hard, Medium, 5 Opponents

This report details my results from Realms Beyond Orion's Imperium Fourteen. To find out more information about RBO and the Imperia, please click here.

RefSteel sponsored this Imperium, the first one created by a community member (ie, not me). It was a nice change to play a non-spoilered game that would actually count in the results! Unfortunately, while playing I became caught up in some heavy involvement in the Apolyton Civ4 Demogame (serving as the turn player for the Realms Beyond team) and the CivFanatics Civ4 Demogame (where I was tabbed to serve as the impartial map creator). These two endeavors sucked up an enormous amount of my gaming time, forcing me to cut my Imperium Fourteen game short and take the first possible victory. I also didn't have time to write up a full report, so rather than leave this game unreported, I'm simply posting my turnlog produced while playing. Sorry about that!

For those who didn't take part in this Imperium, the variant involved never being able to target planets with any kind of weaponry. No bombing, and all invasions had to be done via suicide Bulrathi transports. Killer space bears, yah!

2300 Nice to be a normal player for once, rather than the Sponsor! I send the colony ship to the red star, playing the percentages. One scout goes to the blue star also at 3 parsecs. I send the other Scout due south to one of the reds there, since there are two yellows in that direction and a likely AI starting position.

2303 The red star holds Zoctan, Arid 70. The blue star held Spica, Steppe 70. Guess it didn't really matter which one I went to! Obviously I go ahead and settle Zoctan. Move the excess Scout south, to serve as a blocking dummy against a possible AI race. Order up the usual complement of Scout2s.

2505 Well, well. What have we here:

My Scout left on the FIRST turn of the game to get to this planet, and I arrived there five turns later. The AI will never colony without scouting first, so even if there is a colony ship en route, I will have delayed the felines from landing here for some time. It turns out the world is Hostile (Inferno 35), but the principle remains the same. Elsewhere, I finish building Scout2s and begin offloading population to the second world. I'll probably send 15m in five groups of 3m.

2306 Find Gienah, Arid 60. Will be a nice planet, and the cats definitely will not beat me there.

2308 Find Phantos (Steppe 50) and Rana (Inferno 25 Ultra Rich!) to the northwest. Already looking like a nice little starting neighborhood.

2310 Last three scouting reports come in: Uxmai (Dead 20), Selia (Minimum 30 Rich!), and Xengara (Dead 50) where I chase away another Mrrshan scout. The kitties either started at the eastern yellow, or built their second colony there, in order to have range to reach that far. I am going to have to push to the south quickly. Hopefully Range 5 will be available, because Range 4 won't quite reach all of those planets (though it will get some of them, and wouldn't be a total loss). Need 10 turns of factory building first, then can start to trickle some research while building the first colony ship.

2321 Ursa goes over 150 factories, a good time to open research. I split it 2:1 in favor of Propulsion over Planetology, seeding research with 137 RP to start.

2322 I have Improved Eco with no choice (OK!) and a pick of Range 4/Range 5. I go with Range 5, since I'll need it to reach the Minimal Rich world in the southwest.

2328 First colony ship produced and routed to Spica. Range 5 is about halfway done and proceeding nicely. I'm topping off the remaining factories at Ursa while finishing the research. Zoctan already built several more batches of scouts to expand out further when range tech comes in.

2331 Spica founded. Zoctan sends 14m to get it started. Surprisingly, this brings Gienah to within 3 parsecs. I pause to max factories at Ursa (it's at 181) for a turn, then start cranking out more colony ships again. Zoctan continues to trickle research for Range 5, which is sitting at 6%. Crossing fingers.

2333 Silicoids already out to 6 planets...

2338 Second colony ship finished. Well, Range 5 has gotten all the way up to 21% without popping. Hmm. I'll inject additional research from Ursa, and hopefully the darn thing will go soon.

2339 That did it. I pick Nuclear Engines next, not that I have a choice... Scouts move out.

2342 Find Ryoun (Desert 20) far to the west. Maybe I'll get there, depends on where the other AIs started.

2343 Chase away a Silicoid colony ship from Celtsi (Terran 90!) on the same turn that I get there! Wow. What a huge break. Now I may be able to get there first myself. Very nice luck there.

Gienah also colonized, bringing contact with the Mrrshan. Ruthless Militarists - oh yeah, we're fighting at some point. They have five planets, and have mostly cut me off in the south. Fortunately, I already have a colony ship en route to Selia, the Minimal Rich that will hopefully form the point position on a defensive line facing south.

2345 Improved Eco done, yay! Tough, tough choice between Terraforming +20 and Controlled Dead up next. I'd like to gamble that Controlled Inferno will be available at the next tier, but if it's not... Hmmmm. Since two of the border worlds near Mrrshan space are Dead, I don't have a choice. Has to be Controlled Dead, and hope that +30 is available at the next tier. Really tough guessing here! I also go ahead and open up the rest of the fields now.

2346 Pick BC II, Reduced Waste 80%, Class II Shields, and Hyper-Vs. No choice on anything except the last, over Gatling Laser.

2349 Chase off another Silicoid colony ship in the northwest, and settle Selia in the southwest:

2350 Phantos colonized. New colony ship is routed to Celtsi, the sweet Terran 90 on the borders of Silicoid space. It's been a good couple turns for the bears. Too bad the Mrrshans keep refusing to sign any trade agreements. Because I'm paranoid, I decide to pause expansion for a couple turns to build some laser fighters and send them down to Selia. Hopefully they will never be needed.

2352 Chase the Darloks away from a Radiated Ultra Rich in the far west. That will be a juicy prize someday... if I can keep the Silicoids away from it! Awful far from my core, but maybe.

2355 Find Dolz, a Terran 85 in the deep southwest, right next to Mrrshan space. Perhaps I can get here first? It's 6 parsec range, but with some additional tech, I might be able to field a LR colony ship. Maybe. We'll see what happens, gotta grab the closer/easier planets first.

2358 Build the colony at Celtsi. Woohoo! I feel as though I did a pretty good job at expanding to get here ahead of the rocks. Settling brings me in contact with them:

The rocks are Aggressive Technologists - not their usual Expansionist focus. Perhaps that's why they haven't colonized a single world in the past 30 turns? (Of course, I chased them away from three different planets, hehe.) The other three AIs - Sakkra, Darloks, and Meklar - must all be crammed in the southwest corner of the map. Excellent.

2359 Found Orion, guess that explains why the Silicoids hadn't settled there! The Guardian eats two scouts. Also found a non-Hostile world in rock space that they inexplicably haven't colonized, send a colony ship up there pronto. Kitties draw the first bad event, as their world of Imra goes mineral Poor.

2360 Find Incendius, a Rich Desert 35 world down in Mrrshan space. If I can research Reduced Waste and Controlled Dead, I should be able to reach it with LR Colony ships. Still a little ways away though. I did manage to get minimal trade with both other races eventually though.

2364 I settle Ryoun, and apparently that's enough to initiate the first Council! My bears against the Silicoids.

Silicoids vote for themselves (4 votes)
Sakkra abstain (4 votes)
Mrrshans abstain (4 votes)
Meklar abstain (3 votes)
Darloks vote for the Silicoids (4 votes)
I cast my votes for the Silicoids (4 votes)

Pretty even all around. I'd like to increase my vote total to feel safer though.

2366 Meklar put an end to my dreams of colonizing Dolz by arriving there with a colony ship and armed escort. Just couldn't get there fast enough, not in the southwest and the northwest. Oh well. Reduced Waste 80% -> II8 (no choice).

2367 Plague hits Spica. Pretty bad luck, as this is my most-developed world aside from Ursa. Sigh. Nothing to do but clean it up...

2368 Class II Shields and Hyper-Vs come in together. I have no choice on Personal Deflector Shield, and take Fusion Bomb over Hyper-X and Ion Cannon. Wait - d'oh! That was really dumb. Should have taken Ion Cannon.

2370 Man, Spica has lost 10m people in two turns from the plague. Getting some bad dice rolls here. Argh.

2371 Colonize Firma in the far northwest. This is probably the last planet I'll get until Controlled Dead, and takes me out to 9 planets.

2375 Second election, again me versus the Silicoids.

Silicoids vote for themselves (5 votes)
Sakkra vote for the Silicoids (4 votes)
Mrrshans abstain (4 votes)
Meklars abstain (3 votes)
Darloks vote for the Silicoids (4 votes)
I must abstain with my 5 votes

Nothing much going on here, rocks only pulled votes because they lucked into two early game cheeze alliances. Quite safe right now.

2377 Plague finally ends on Spica. Thank god. Now I can actually start doing research instead of just plowing everything into the planetary Reserve.

2379 BC II -> ECM II. No early Robotics, it seems. Not a surprise given our poor ability with Computers.

2380 Nuclear Engines -> Sublight Drives. I take warp 3 over Range 7, because it will double transport speed. Could be a big deal for this variant.

2382 Because I'm really hurting in the terraforming department, I go ahead and trade Hyper-Vs to the Silicoids in exchange for Terraforming +10. Minor benefit to both of us. This will especially help my Rich world, with a base population max of 30.

2390 II8 -> Autorepair, over II7. Also chase a Silicoid colony ship away from the Radiated Ultra Rich world. Pretty quiet right now, just waiting on Controlled Dead to finish. It's in the percentages.

2391 Controlled Dead arrives... and the only choice to move forward is Controlled Inferno. D'oh! Guessed wrong there. Still, I think it was the better pick based on the knowledge I had at the time. And by trading for +10 Terraforming, I softened the blow of lacking +20.

I planned ahead, and have Dead colony ships ready to go for next turn. I can also now build LR Colonies, only there's no place to send them! Sad but true.

2393 Personal Deflector Shield -> Class IV Shields. No Planetary Shield V in this tree, hmmm. Also colonize Xengara, the planet I felt was most at risk on the Mrrshan border. They haven't so much as sniffed in my direction so far, which is fine with me. Time is on the player's side against the kitties.

2394 Uxmai colonized. I now have 11 planets, easily the most. Silicoids I think are closest with 7 planets.

2396 Fusion Bomb -> Scatter Pack V, over Mass Driver and Neutron Blaster. Hopefully I can grab the Fusion Beam at the next tier. That's one of my favorite weapons for going on the offensive.

2399 ECM II -> ECM III. Wow, my Computer selection is... Poor. Heh.

2400 Silicoids bring a Large ship against my 38 Lasers defending the Ultra Rich Radiated world. Hmmm. It all depends on what goodies that ship is packing. Looks like Heavy Lasers. I try my best, but after losing two dozen ships and only taking away 50/150 hp, I recognize a lost battle and retreat out of there. Oh well, can't protect them all.

Council time, me against the Silicoids for the third time.

Silicoids vote for themselves (5 votes)
Sakkra vote for the Silicoids (4 votes)
Mrrshans abstain (4 votes)
Meklar abstain (4 votes)
Darloks vote for the Silicoids (3 votes)
I have to abstain with my 7 votes. Seven out of 27 total votes - getting closer to a veto block.

2403 The Silicoids are trying to sneak a colony ship to the Ultra Rich Inferno within my core. Uh uh. Not gonna happen. The surrounding worlds are building laser ships to drive them off.

2405 With improved computers and manueverability, my new-design Laser2s blow the Silicoid colony ship and escort out of the skies. Another planet successfully protected!

Discover warp 3 engines, go ahead and pick warp 4 (Fusion Drives) over Warp Dissipator and Energy Pulsar. I like the Dissipator, just can't justify it over combat speed 3 and faster transports. Also trade Improved Eco to the kitties for Deep Space Scanner - the cats already had Reduced Waste 80%, and I need all the help with Computer tech I can get.

2408 Autorepair -> Zortrium. There is a huge Meklar fleet incoming to the Inferno planet in the far southwest. If they can colonize it, I can't stop them, even though I have about 70 laser fighters over the planet.

2409 Controlled Inferno -> Soil Enrichment. Not bad! Still, I'd like to trade or steal something better than +10 Terraforming. +30 would be perfect if I could somehow get it...

The Meklar (Xenophobic Technologists) take over Berel 3 turns before I would have gotten there. Dang! The price I pay for going with Controlled Dead over +20 Terraforming. Bad guess, it seems. Just have to do a little more conquering, is all.

2411 Colonize Tao. I am the first to 12 systems, sayeth GNN. For whatever reason, the Meklar have way more tech than anyone else. They're almost where an Impossible AI would be. I go ahead and trade them Reduced Waste 80% for Hand Lasers. After all, they had Improved Eco and a bazillion other Construction techs already.

2412 Scatter Pack V -> Fusion Beam. One of my favorite Weapons tech jumps! Once I get this gun ready, I'll be in great shape to go on the offensive. (Aside from only having BC II, that is.) Colonize Ultra Rich Rana for my 13th planet.

2414 Meklar get hit by the Comet event. Better than happening to me!

2419 Class IV -> Class V Shields. Pretty boring Force Field tree so far.

2420 ECM III -> BC V. While I like the improved Battle Computer option, the lack of better scanners or Robotic Controls is getting a little worrysome. Maybe I can loot some from the Silicoids or Mrrshans?

2422 Wow, way to go Meklar. Largest fleet in the galaxy, and they can't even stop the Comet from destroying one of their own planets. Idiots!

2425 I go against the Silicoids in the Council for the fourth time.

Silicoids vote for themselves (6 votes)
Sakkra abstain (4 votes)
Mrrshans abstain (5 votes)
Meklar vote for the Silicoids (5 votes)
Darloks abstain (4 votes)
I cast my 8 votes for the Silicoids. Still improving my vote count, but need more worlds to qualify for the 1/3 veto block, it seems.

2428 Soil Enrichment -> Cloning. Ugh. Really missing out on the good techs in this tier. Love to steal Atmospheric from someone. I'm starting to get population warnings from the other races because of my size. That's both good and bad at the same time.

2431 With all my planets maxing out from Soil Enrichment, I trade the tech to the Mrrshans for Improved Robotics III. That fills a significant hole in my tech tree, and allows me to continue cranking up the economy.

2436 Zortrium -> Armored Exoskeleton, over Reduced Waste 40%. Usually I would not make this call, but for this variant, must have excellent gropo equipment.

2440 Total income from planets has just about doubled over the past dozen turns, from about 2000 to almost 4000. In international news, the Darloks have managed to get into wars with just about every other race in the galaxy. As usual. I'm planning to go after the diplomatically isolated Mrrshans first. Just waiting on Fusion Drives and Fusion Beam techs (both in percentages) to finish.

2441 Fusion Beam... ugh. No option other than Anti-Matter Torpedoes. Then again, they might actually be useful in this game, since there's no attacking planets.

2444 Fusion Drives -> Range 9. I think I do need something better than Range 5! Draw up a Fusion ARS Huge design, put it into production at large planets. I will be ready to invade someone right after the 2450 vote.

2445 I get hit by the Computer Virus event, and hit hard. Lose 15,000 RP towards my Computer research (BC V). That's a major, major setback.

2450 Council time, me against Silicoids for the fifth time:

Silicoids vote for themselves (6 votes)
Sakkra abstain (4 votes)
Mrrshans abstain (5 votes)
Meklar vote for the Silicoids (6 votes)
Darloks vote for me (4 votes)
I go ahead and abstain with my 10 votes, since I'll be at war with the rocks on the next turn anyway.

I send 250 Bulrathi transports to invade Rha. It has 8 bases. Let's see how many bear marines survive...

2451 In combat over Rha, my ships are too heavily shielded to be damaged by the 8 Hyper-X bases, so I hold position and wait until the max number of rounds are reached. 65 out of the 250 marines make it through the gauntlet, to face about 65 defenders. And for Bulrathi marines (+20 total ground combat), that's all I needed. I loot Class V Planetary Shield and Ion Cannon, the first of which is a major deal indeed! Obviously the Silicoids declare war.

2452 Shoot down a Silicoid attempt to retake Rha. Now standing it up and building Planetary Shields everywhere. Feeling pretty good right now.

2458 Class V Shields -> Class VI Shields. Wow, what a tree. Good thing I managed to steal Planetary Shield V in an invasion.

2460 Steal +30 Terraforming from the Silicoids. Woo hoo! That was THE tech I wanted from them, and got it on the first try (at 50/50 odds). Excellent.

2461 Silicoids try to attack Rha with one of their fleets; the motley group featuring Ion Cannons is not a threat. One ship did have Death Spores on it, though not in great numbers.

2462 Cloning -> Advanced Soil! Now, if only one of these AI civs can turn up Atmospheric Terraforming for me...

2463 Trying to build a colony over the disputed spud world of Klystron. This would open a path into the western half of the galaxy... would be a major shift!

2464 Shoot down a major Meklar fleet over Klystron. It's looking more and more like I will get this planet.

2465 Steal Battle Computer III from the Silicoids, and colonize Klystron.

2466 Defend Klystron against a huge Meklar stack, through skillful dodging of slow-moving missiles. Hehe.

2467 Steal Improved Space Scanner from the Silicoids. Score! Now I've gotten everything useful from them. I could invade more worlds, if only I had Advanced Space Scanner to scout worlds.

2471 Battle Computer V -> ECM V. This Bulrathi Computer tree gives a whole new meaning to "Poor". In other news, I'm missing Advanced Space Scanner, which means I will have to steal it or trade for it with the Meklar if I'm to make any real progress in conquering the galaxy. Hmmm. Looks like I'm on a collision course with the Meklar next.

2474 Armored Exoskeleton -> II4. Manage to scout Obaca, a Poor Darlok colony that had no bases. Transports dispatched, four turns to arrival.

2475 Antimatter Torpedoes -> Scatter Pack VII. Tough call over Pulsons and Auto Blaster! Why couldn't I have gotten something like that at the last tier? Anyway, I need an upgrade to my missile bases, and that's the tech to do it. Also time for the vote, still me against the Silicoids.

Silicoids vote for themselves (8 votes)
Sakkra abstain (6 votes)
Mrrshans vote for me (5 votes)
Meklar vote for me (6 votes)
Darloks vote for me (4 votes)
I can win a diplomatic victory with my 14 votes (29/43).

* * * * *

Originally I planned to turn down the diplo victory and play on. Then I moved on to other projects, and kept putting off coming back to this game... and then it was report day. Ooops. Put me down therefore for a Diplomatic Victory in 2475. That won't be particularly impressive in the scoring, but better that than no submission at all, right?

Thanks to RefSteel for coming up with such an impressive scenario.