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Contact Victory: the Hardest / Easiest


Oct 21, 2004
Chelsea, MI, USA
After finishing my quest to win each affinity victory with each leader, I decided to look at Contact victories. Along the way I had won a few while trying for an affinity victory. "How about," I thought to myself, "trying a Contact victory with the others?"

I will document the details of this game in my other thread, but here are some thoughts / strategies that I want to test out.

Fixed Timing: Once one has ignited the Beacon, the waiting period can't be shortened: 45 turns can feel like a LOOONNGG time.
The Harmony/Transcendance victory can be sped up through buildings that must be completed before the Mind Flower is finished.
The Purity/Promised Land victory can bring in 1 settler each turn -- a minimum of 20 turns. Depending on how long the settlers must travel to get clear of my cities, some might require two turns to reach their destination. The Supremacy/Emancipation victory requires sending 1 unit per turn through the gate. If one sends units with strength > 50 each turn, the victory could be achieved in 20 turns or so.

Influence of Luck: Yes, one needs to build the Decode Signal project (fixed amount of production) and build the Beacon wonder itself (fixed amount of production). But getting the two parts of the Signal is *not* fixed. Researching Transcendental Math and buiildng the Transcendental Equation project gets you one part. That tech is available relatively early, so that I often research it while building up my empire before turn 150. Even if you produce 4-5 Explorers and hit all of the Progenitor sites, you're not guaranteed to get one of the parts of the Signal. In many of my games, I do find part of the Signal in the ruins. When that doesn't happen, one needs to change the research path to include Orbital Automation (a leaf tech) and Astrodynamics (branch tech). Neither of those are associated with an affinty, so they are not helping promote my military units.

Competition: I play on Soyuz level and pursuing affinity victories means that the game often lasts until/past turn 300. If the AI leader has a decent fertile starting location, at least one AI will be chasing their own affinity victory. This means that you may need to fight an additional late game war to prevent them from winning as well as fighting with the factions that objected when you started the Beacon.

Research Path? This area will be my focus in my next attempt. How to quickly get to Transcendental Math then Orbital Automation, so that I can get both parts of the Signal. If I get lucky with a Progenitor Ruin, I might have an off-ramp. Following the suggestions of others here, focusing on Computing early to enable spies may be very profitable. Stealing Science can accelerate the path to Orbital Automation.
I suspect that my early game research may follow a similar path to my affinity victories:
  • Unlock the Ultrasonic Fence, to protect trade convoys
  • Unlock the techs to improve the resources
  • Unlock the Spy Agency to start stealing/siphoning
Researching Genetics enables Cytonurseries and Pharmalabs, which are useful for improving health. After that, my research path has followed my affinity choice for victory... which doesn't apply here.

Affinity Preference? Which affinity (or hybrid affinity) is helpful? I really like having range 3 ships and subs for my late game wars. Getting tier 3 aircraft requires level 16 in one of the affinities, which I also like.
What's the right balance? Having at least one hybrid improves health. Do I delay increasing my affinity -- following @Tiberiu recommendation in this thread https://forums.civfanatics.com/thre...y-got-a-118-domination-v-in-first-try.676552/ so that I can build cheap units (which will be buffed later)?
Hello, and thanks for the thread.

I want to comment that finding a part of the signal in a ruin can be more easily done on some map settings than others. What map type will you go for ?
What virtues are you going for? I think Prosperity suits the needs of this victory quite well because if you get a free colonist, you get to found an early city for extra Supply in order to spam a lot of Explorers. Which is good in most cases anyway.
After that, depending on how things go in the game and how many Dig sites are available and doable, I'd consider Knowledge 2 for Explorer science from excavations. While it's a small amount, it can add up to unlock an important Tech earlier than normal.

Looking forward to see how you play.
First game, to fill in where I haven't won a Contact Victory with this sponsor. PAC on a Fungal Terran map, Soyuz difficulty.
Diplomacy was very interesting in this game; the AI continue to surprise me.

Early Game: I watched the sequence where each AI lands, writing down the terrain type and estimating how far they are from me. Mostly, I want to know if anyone is spawning nearby, for potential early war. I started fairly far north, with a mountain range and canyons to my south. Good for repelling any invaders who will try to interfere with my Beacon. On Turn 1, someone landed on a one tile island (Tundra!) to my south. Ouch! But on turn 5, someone landed only 8-10 tiles west of my capital. This could be trouble...

By turn 100-110, I had met everyone. My near neighbor was Brasil; to the south on my landmass was Franco-Iberia, with KP on that one tile island to her west. On the other landmass, ARC was on its west coast (to my east), with Polystralia further east on the north coast. Kozlov was on the southeast coast of that land mass, and Al Falah solidly controlled the southern portion of the other landmass.

Diplomacy: ARC was hostile towards me in the early game, even though we were separated by dozens of tiles and on separate land masses. She DOW'ed me on turn 95... and turn 136... and turn 177. Each time, I sank some of her ships and negotiated peace. Brasil decided -- for reasons only he knows -- to play a one-city-challenge (OCC). Literally. He never settled another city, though he built some ships, explored, and fought some naval skirmishes with SF. I was able to get to Cooperating with AF, FI, Polystralia, KP, *and* Brasil by turn 210. I was really interested to see if/when Brasil would expand.

Search for the Signal: I played the first 150 turns emphasizing explorers, trying to hit Progenitor ruins where I could find them. Didn't seem to work, this game. By turn 179, I had one piece of the Signal, but I had also finished the Transcendental Equation by then. I diverted my research path to build the Deep Space Telescope, launched on turn 271, which yielded the second piece on turn 282. Finished decoding the signal on turn 295, while setting up the trade route network to my capital to boost production of projects.

Affinity Choice: This game, I emphasized Harmony. It seemed to fit with my playstyle, getting the extra health bonuses to deal with my expansion and conquest. I ended up also doing well in Supremacy, so the level 3 buffs for my units were hybrid. I got range 3 on my cruisers (Wrath), but not on the subs.

Late Game Diplomacy: Polystralia had several wars with ARC, along the northern coast of the other land mass. By turn 257, they were dead. ARC eliminated them, while declaring on me again on turn 218. She agreed to peace on turn 233, but I had enough of her nonsense. Moving my navy into place, I declared on ARC on turn 271, conquering her last city (one of Hutama's IIRC) on turn 282. Al Falah expanded well, with ~10 cities and started building the Emancipation Gate on turn 288. Brasil, yes, maintained his status as a single city empire; not even any aquatic cities. The smaller powers kept declaring on each other -- not on me, after I wiped out ARC.

Objectors: I started my Beacon on turn 300, which felt late compared to my other affinity victory games.
AF: 4/7/16 #2 in score. WAR. I declared on her on turn 298, since she finished the gate on turn 298
ARC: 13/6/6 Dead
PAC (me): 18/7/9 #1 in score, having conquered ARC and the former Polystralia
FI: 4/5/8 Cooperative
SF: 4/12/5 #3 in score
KP 4/4/3 Cooperative
Brasil: 9/5/5 Cooperative, still running a OCC
Objectors were: FI and Brasil, both Cooperating at the time.
I rolled over Brasil, while performing a full scale invasion of AF. She had built her gate *in the water*
but she seemed to understand that, sending ships through. I destroyed the gate on turn 305, after she had sent almost 300 points through.
Note: I found it helps to save the game, exit, and restart to reset the victory stats. After doing that, AF was listed as starting to build the gate again.
Brasil was dead on turn 320. AF actually made peace with me on turn 313. She declared again on turn 330 as a OCC, plus an outpost on my land mass. I found that a coastal outpost may be attacked from the sea, but not conquered with a boat until it matures into a city.

LOONNGGG End Game: I ignited the Beacon on turn 316, with 45 turns to connect. One of the objectors was dead (Brasil) and FI was much, much weaker. I waited for Elodie to make her move. She sent some troops north, toward me.... but they were going on a bug hunt. It was comical, to watch them wander around, taking miasma damage, and not attacking. Finally, on turn 361, my Beacon connected. FI never declared on me. All three surviving AI factions kept skirmishing among themselves.
One of my better scores -- I set nearly every city to produce culture, with citizen emphasis on food. I moved a couple of aquatic cities to get more tiles to work, while building traders when a city grew enough.

Trivia: One quest, "Radio Silence," asks you to build another city for the affected people. I plopped one in the water, which turned out to be a mistake. The next step asked me to build a Vivarium, which may only be built in land cities. Oh well.
Good game!

My apologies but did you mention your seeding settings? What bonuses did you take for your colony? Also what Virtues? Artifact bonuses?

Makes me want to try out a game with the same settings.

Weird stuff about Brasil not expanding. A reasonable assumption must be that he attacked the aliens and then their colonists were killed off...
Also too bad about that quest bug, not your fault. The quest maker should have prevented this stuff by making only land cities evolve the quest to the next stept and making it clear that you need a land city.
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