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Just got my first ever "Stairway to Transcendence" (thoughts and questions)

Discussion in 'Alpha Centauri' started by Jarek Noschese, Mar 14, 2021.

  1. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Warlord

    May 5, 2019
    Hancock Point, Maine
    After finally realizing what was truly holding me back so much in life itself, I decided to replay Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri the way that it was intended. Iron Man, Look First and Directed Research were used. Otherwise, all of the rules were set to their defaults. My map was a randomly-generated Huge (64 wide by 128 tall, so 8192 square) one with Abundant Native Life and every other setting as it's default on Citizen Level. My faction was the University Of Planet. I won the game by Transcendence in M.Y. 2509.


    1. Iron Man (+100% VPs)

    2. Abundant Native Life (+25% VPs: Average Natives leave the score untouched; and Rare Life is -25% VPs.)

    3. Transcendence Victory = 2000 - (Current Turn*2) VPs [highest scoring bonus of any victory in the game]

    4. Larger maps have more room for building, and more time for it before you have to deal with other nations. A larger map will also slow down the AI's research and manufacturing, letting you better optimize your own.

    5. Too little ocean means that you'll have to deal with other countries before you get your defenses up to speed. Too much ocean will leave you with too little of a starting landmass on which to build up your very best cities.

    6. Too many rocks will leave little room for initial agriculture. Too few rocks results in a lack of early Minerals.

    7. Too much rain leaves us with too many Drones early on in the game. Too little rain, and our cities won't get tall enough to significantly produce anything until we can start building Hybrid Forests.

    8. On Citizen thru Talent Difficulties, the game lasts until M.Y. 2600. On Librarian & above, it ends in M.Y. 2500. Each "turn" is always one "mission year" long exactly. Games start in M.Y. 2100. In other words, you have only 400-500 turns to beat the game. Therefore, you must move both quickly and efficiently. The most important things to consider are as follows...


    PLANET: the higher this number, the less eco-damage you cause and the more native life you can breed
    RESEARCH: the higher this number, the less Energy that you'll have to pay for making new discoveries
    GROWTH: the higher this number, the less "surplus" Nutrients that we'll need to grow our base population
    INDUSTRY: the higher this number, the less "surplus" Minerals that we'll need to spend to produce new stuff
    EFFICIENCY: higher number = less Energy lost to Inefficiency, even in worldwide empires with lots of cities*
    Free Building: this denotes that a certain faction always gets a certain facility in all of their cities for free.
    Aversion: this denotes what form of government in whatever area of it a faction can never use regardless.

    *Also important for determining how much "Bureaucracy" you'll have to face after building too many cities

    Helpful, but not vital...

    ECONOMY: the higher this number, the more Energy that your cities can produce in the first place
    Random Events: these only happen with the most sprawling empires, no matter what the difficulty.
    TALENT: this determines whether you have standard happiness, extra Talents or extra Drones.

    Only helpful in times of war...

    SUPPORT: the higher this number, the more units that you can have without needing to expend Minerals
    POLICE: the higher this number, the more tolerant that your subordinates will be of large standing armies
    MORALE: the higher this number, the more well-trained and battle-ready that your troops will be

    Completely useless...

    PROBE: a higher number is supposed to mean better Probe Teams, and less vulnerability to enemy Mind Control; however, I build The Hunter-Seeker Algorithm and only use direct methods of attack; so this one is completely meaningless. Also, the enemy will only subvert your units on low difficulties, never your cities. It's even possible to create "stacks" of units, since Probe Teams can only subvert single units at a time, and not whole mounds of them at once. Long story short, it's always better to just ignore this number.

    Also critical, but not shown in-game...

    HAB: the higher this number, the taller your cities can get before they need certain buildings to grow further
    AI Surplus Cost Multiplier: this only applies to the AI, and varies with game difficulty. For humans, it's 100%.

    Theoretically helpful (also not shown in-game)…

    IMPUNITY: this denotes that a faction can always choose certain systems of government without drawbacks.
    Research Beginnings: varies between difficulty for humans, and whether or not the Believers are included

    Sometimes helpful...

    Commerce Multiplier: more Commerce means a higher Final Score for the more peaceful factions.
    Council Votes Multiplier: this merely denotes whether or not you gain those extra votes at the UN...

    Varies, but sometimes crucial outright...

    Starting Tech/s: this is only what each faction gets for it's initial technologies.

    Only matters once you start building your empire...

    Nutrients: two of these are required in order to maintain each and every "worker" at all; the surplus, if there is one, goes into producing new citizens.


    Attack Multiplier: this only matters in a time of war, anyways.

    Factions' general AI behavior...

    Agenda: this is what each AI faction will always pick, and want the other empires to use, no matter what.
    Aggression: this denotes how often that faction will (generally) declare war on the others, including you.
    "Tackling" Modifier: this only applies to the Talent Level and above. Even then, it only happens to humans.
    Priorities: these denote what each AI faction prefers to pursue, if possible, for both techs and construction.
    Unsurpassed vs. Potent: this only happens between the 1st & 2nd place states in their "greater share of the pie" race. It works slightly differently if a human gets involved. Otherwise, it always happens no matter what.
    Atrocity Prohibitions: these only apply globally if the UN Charter is kept intact. Human players in pursuit of a certain goal and/or strategy can very easily take advantage of this mechanic in order to suit their needs. The AI is basically unknown to commit atrocities if the Charter is in effect, however. A human player who does it will automatically take a hit to their "Integrity" Score. Even if the Charter doesn't apply, the AI faction who fell victim to this crime will remain that human's bitter foe until either one country or the other gets destroyed. If a human-fired Planet Buster gets used while the Charter applies, then that player is automatically and eternally ejected from the United Nations Security Council and subject to a permanent war with all remaining nations.
    Intense Rivalry: this makes AI factions behave with maximum brutality no matter how reasonable you are.

    IMPORTANT: "Integrity" only applies for human players, since they can see the difference between what is and isn't "acceptable"! Therefore, want "peace"? Then, fight with HONOUR! Only go to war if an AI faction breaks their promise with you first, not the other way around! Even then, do not, I repeat, do not use your "power" as a "valid excuse" to willfully/intellectually/morally defile the humble lives of innocent CIVILIANS!

    Specifics of the general effectiveness of diplomacy...

    Tackling Modifier... (the lower the number [unless % = 0], the more mistrustful the AI is of you regardless)

    Citizen & Specialist: 0%
    Talent: 100%
    Librarian, Thinker & Transcend: 50%
    Intense Rivalry: 20%

    IMPORTANT!: Tackling "years" always begin at Turn 100 no matter what the exact "other" specifics are! The actual "difference" is only compared to that of the second-place empire as well, and to no other countries!

    Also, Random Events will never occur before Turn 75 with the exception of "Perihelion". The same goes for those playing sessions with the "Bell Curve" rule enabled in the "Custom Rules" section of the game setup.

    Specifically, the "randomness difficulty difference" is 75 - (0-5 [*10]).

    Also, the AI always knows where and what exactly you are, regardless of either difficulty or custom rules.

    On Citizen & Specialist Levels, the only way for the human to get rid of an unwanted base is to "obliterate" it. This is an Atrocity under the UN Charter, so be careful of where and when you really want to place your new cities. Otherwise, you won't be able to undo the founding of a poorly-located city.

    On lower difficulties, human players who feel like using Probe Teams anyways will only have to pay for half of what they'd otherwise be normally paying.

    On Citizen & Specialist, "power overloads" aren't experienced when a human player goes broke. Also, the Citizen Level keeps Command Center maintenance at a flat 0. On Specialist & Talent, it's always 1. On the Librarian & Thinker Difficulties, it starts there but caps at 2 once you have Fusion Power. On Transcend, it moves on as normal, but then caps out at 3 once you have Quantum Power. The AIs can likely always be able to avoid Power Overloads, and likely always pay the flat 0 for Command Center maintenance. The Command Centers provided by the Command Nexus never require maintenance regardless of these rules.

    Every (X) citizen and after is always born a Drone no matter what...

    Citizen/AI: 7th
    Specialist: 6th
    Talent: 5th
    Librarian: 4th
    Thinker: 3rd
    Transcend: 2nd

    On Citizen and for the AIs, "failed" battles never result in lost population points.

    On Citizen and Specialist and for the AI, "midstream" base production switching causes no penalties.

    On Citizen and Specialist and for the AI, "prototypes" are free. This rule always holds true for the Spartans.

    "Change" Cost: this is determined by who's who, the difficulty for the humans and the number of "changes".

    Project Requirements: On Citizen thru Talent, both you and the AI need a project's prerequisite tech in order for the latter to even try to build it. You however, can start building where and when ever once you have the required tech.

    On Citizen, Pacts Of Siblinghood and Treaties Of Friendship seem to be less restrictive than you'd expect.

    On Citizen & Specialist, the AI countries' various "personality" traits seem to be less random than expected.

    On Citizen thru Librarian, "Eco-damage" is calculated in the normal way regardless. On Thinker and above, it gets higher for the human players only.

    However, to prevent a human from gaining too many advantages, a very slight handicap in all areas of their combat gets applied on the Citizen & Specialist Levels (likely also applies for the AI, so as to not let them get too much of an advantage on the higher levels). On Talent, the "human battles handicap" only applies in Psi Combat, and not in regular conventional battles. On Librarian Level & above, these handicaps are removed entirely.

    The Labs Costs for human players also increases with difficulty. The AIs meanwhile, always have Citizen Level tech costs.

    Even as the University, these things are always important to remember. A few things however, will always be certain: the University always gets extra Drones, especially in the early game. They also pretty much always get "Secrets Of The Human Brain" first. This might explain why multiple "Secrets" technologies exist in the game. Luckily, the later ones can definitively be first reached as anyone except for the Believers, as long as the correct strategies get optimized, regardless of the difficulty level.

    With all of this in mind, you & I can both agree: with this good of a score, there's no longer any reason for me to play on Citizen Level. However, when providing other recommendations, abide by these following rules...

    1. Iron Man: don't even think about trying to "just ask me" to play without this. Save-reload abuse is literally so effective in giving the player an unfair advantage, that you need only get a load of how forbidden it is in speed-running. Otherwise, trust me. You'll never realize just what kind of "ridiculous" it actually and truly is. Besides, this rule of thumb is absolutely critical when trying to get the highest possible scores in this game.

    2. Average or Abundant Native Life Forms: mostly, I now prefer Average Native Life Forms for practice and one city games. I'd rather have Abundant Native Life Forms for actual standard runs. I'll sometimes use Rare Native Life, but only for the quickest of military-exclusive wins. However, this is only meant to decrease the time I need in which to move my troops into position, since more native life increases it by practically tenfold. It also tends to make the Gaians more powerful, and thus, much harder to beat. If you send me a .sav file of any of your completed games, then I can only see "Rare Life Forms" if the map, in question, was beaten via standalone militarization and policing dominance. Otherwise, I will disregard the Final Score. Any other form of victory needs to have either Average or Abundant Native Life Forms. "Green" conquest games require the Gaian faction and Abundant Native Life Forms in order to be possible anyway, so please keep that in mind.

    3. No Scenarios/Editor!: I will only use these kinds of conditions for "proof-of-concept" and other test runs to prove the feasibility of certain strategies, especially on harder levels. Scenarios have a different method of calculating the Final Score than regular games. Therefore, I absolutely cannot see "CHEATED!" or even some other such nonsense in any "example" .sav file sent to me anymore than I can find the absence of the "Iron Man" (+100%) setting. If either of these conditions is the case, then I absolutely must disregard your score, no matter how high or low.

    4. Generate random maps fairly!: <24 wide, <48 tall and/or <1152 square will only be tolerated if the pursued victory was complete world domination. (The game won't allow <16 long for either dimension [<256 square] anyway.) >64 wide, >128 tall and/or >8192 square won't be tolerated, period. Otherwise, the game starts to break. >256 along either dimension and/or >65,536 square may even cause the game to begin "stuttering" indefinitely. Whacky map dimensions and/or sizes will not be tolerated! You need room to expand; and you need to keep costs as low as possible! You will always have to go to war at least once with at least one other country no matter how peaceful you are!

    5. alpha.txt needs to be unchanged!: this one's another common tactic for scenario design. I will not tolerate such changes unless they follow the same rules as using a Scenario/the In-Game Editor. If I either can't tell that you really achieved your score without such rubbish, or catch you doing so with an edited alpha.txt build file, then I will have no choice but to disregard your score regardless of how high or low.

    6. Legal copies of Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri alone only!: I need to be able to load your .sav file in the base game alone, not the Alien Crossfire expansion pack. All of my most successful games have been achieved in this way. Therefore, I will disregard any .sav file with any of the Crossfire factions. At that, software piracy is completely illegal regardless of the intended motivation. It's just as Civ1 clearly states: unlawful copycats are not the rightful rulers and/or "chosen ones"; ever!! True "legends" are not software/hardware pirates at all!

    7. Planetary Pack through GOG Galaxy is recommended: I will generally allow any version down to the GOG Offline version. Anything lower than that needs to be both legal and specified. Even then, GOG Offline is only preferred in cases without Internet, and especially if the operating system, in question, will no longer receive the support of it's creator. I must know exactly what is what: legally used OS and game, emulation or actual hardware, emulation software plus actual license if applicable, hardware specifications no matter what, etc. If legally accountable, then your operating system can't be used on multiple computers (whether virtualized or run on actual hardware). Therefore, it's safer to just use the Planetary Pack thru GOG Galaxy on a modern computer that can otherwise run the game with the appropriate operating system installed.

    8. Alpha Centauri.ini file: these are the settings that I recommend...

    [Alpha Centauri]
    Prefs Format=12
    Map Type=1
    Top Menu=0
    More Preferences=101110101111011111101001
    Custom World=4, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2,
    Time Controls=1
    Latest Save=
    Latest Scenario=
    Main Volume=127
    Voice Volume=127
    Music Volume=127
    SFX Volume=127
    Gamma Correction=100
    Custom Map X=40
    Custom Map Y=80

    "Difficulty" goes in between "Prefs Format" and "Map Type". Modify that setting according to your liking, as long as it stays within the 0-5 range (higher value = more difficult).

    9. No Faction Editor!: This one only works in full with Alien Crossfire anyway. It's also not much different from the in-game editors; so I'm disallowing it. If your game's factions have been changed in any way, then your score absolutely must be disqualified from my thread.

    10. Your scores will be checked: therefore, don't try to hide any possible edits! Not only will I download them for verification, but I will load them in the actual game itself! If anything about them is found to be awry, then your score can do nothing to help me regardless.

    Last but not least: don't gloat. This is all about the journey, not the finish line. I only came back to this game to deliver my otherwise pathetic childhood and very early adulthood the finishing blow. I only did this to reach the best "holo-book" possible, and then to break the 4X "holy grail" of 10K VPs (~350%), not for excessive amounts of Final Marks, like I somehow miraculously did here.

    Now for the faction recommendations in order of how "recommended" they are...

    Undoubtedly the best: The University Of Planet

    A little weaker, but still powerful: The Peacekeeping Forces and Gaia's Stepchildren

    A little spotty, but still possible: The Human Hive, Morgan Industries and The Spartan Federation

    For masochists only: The Lord's Believers


    The University: we can all agree. This faction will tear the game apart in the hands of a competently skilled human player. No, really. They can both get the highest scores, and win the game with the fewest number of cities with a human who knows exactly what to do.

    The Peacekeepers: overall, these guys are pretty darn balanced in general. I've beaten the 1 City Challenge as them; and they can sometimes become surprisingly powerful on some maps. If they can get The Ascetic Virtues and The Living Refinery, then they can very easily handle just about anything.

    Gaia's Stepchildren: admittedly, I've tried the 1 City Challenge as this faction. Alas, they are not meant for it. Beyond that, these folks are more accepting of the hardships of running a civilization than the other nations. They can handle any situation in the hands of a competently skilled human player.

    Morgan Industries: to be fair, the 1 City Challenge is relatively straightforward and simple as these guys. The greatest hardships only last until about the end game. At that point, it mostly becomes a real joke.

    The Human Hive: even though I've tried the 1 City Challenge as this nation too, it's clear; they aren't suited for it. Otherwise, competent human + Hive + Police State + Planned + Vats + Power = basically invincible.

    The Spartan Federation: for the quickest of military wins, definitively the best. Otherwise, this nation is just not all that great. As for Project Stacking?; you're like... insane or somethin'. Lose The Cloning Vats? Then you're in trouble. Lose The Supercollider and/or The Theory Of Everything? Then you're history. Other than that, it's at least possible to last beyond the 24th-and-a-half (M.Y. 2350) century, unlike with the Believers. It's a good thing that you have the POLICE & MORALE bonuses, because trust me. You'll definitely need them.

    The Lord's Believers: Good luck. Yes. I've tried. Yes. I got fed up, fast. Simply put, you're taking the Spartan Federation's leaning towards total war, and multiplying it by 10. Throw in RESEARCH & PLANET penalties along with useless PROBE, Attack & SUPPORT bonuses; just for better measure. You'd better get ready to race for The Planetary Datalinks. Get Fundamentalist Politics, because you'll be using Probe Teams often. The troops that you are producing will only have extra MORALE to count on. The Cloning Vats will become extremely important for Power Values. This will let you support a huge military of well-trained, but likely very ill-equipped, troops without all of the disadvantages. It's just better to always speed things up throughout the game (try to gain a militaristic head start, restart the game if you fail to do this, rinse and repeat). Better get ready to play on a smaller map with less native life forms. A Planned Economy will be needed for producing the labor source and military forces quickly. Have the patience to get both Thought Control and The Ascetic Virtues as well as airplanes; and you just might be able to win after all. At least you can now skip The Hunter Seeker Algorithm. Don't even think about letting the other nations get either The Supercollider or The Theory Of Everything. If they're built by the enemy, then take down their respective cities ASAP. Even then, Early To Mid Game Infinite City Sprawl is your only friend, because you truly cannot keep up with your many, many enemies otherwise. You'll be getting cornered by at least five other factions and possibly a sixth one if you're not careful. (Either way, it's not a pretty situation.) Letting the others get even The Market Exchange is a real gamble. Take the city in question if you need to. You're likely better off striking a deal with the Spartans, and cooperatively winning the military victory alongside them. Get the industry-improving buildings. You'll need them to produce more troops quickly. You may even need to get rid of the UN Charter if possible. This lets you Obliterate captured enemy bases without taking the Integrity hit. At the same time, bases that no longer exist can never be recaptured. Besides, you'll always be at war with at least one other country anyways. The University must always be conquered first if possible. Use their presence as your chance to steal their epic technologies if you need to. They're vulnerable to it. Don't let your bases go into Drone Riots; ever! Really, I could just go on and on explaining just what exactly makes these guys so dang weak. Were it possible to get a PARADIGM ECONOMY without any disadvantages, turning off science would clearly be the best thing to do; I'll put it to you that way. At least the Human Hive understands that killing science altogether is the fastest way to end their empire's salvation; although their -2 ECONOMY causes other problems. Even the Spartans are cautious of neglecting the feasibility of advanced equipment altogether, despite their -1 INDUSTRY being a threat to their actual manufacturing. (End of rant on why the Lord's Believers just plain old, downright suck)

    To be fair however, at least including only the six "default" factions in these calculations makes more sense than also throwing in the seven Crossfire nations. Assuming that we ban the Progenitors (because no words can describe just how powerful those guys really are), it would look more something like this...

    Best, by far: The University Of Planet

    Spotty: The Free Drones, The Cybernetic Consciousness, Gaia's Stepchildren and The Peacekeepers

    Very risky: The Spartan Federation, The Nautilus Pirates, Morgan Industries and The Data Angels

    For masochists only: The Lord's Believers and The Cult Of Planet

    Reasoning for the "other" five empires...

    Cybernetic Consciousness: Cybernetic Impunity, even without The Network Backbone. Aversion is the same as that of the University. All-important RESEARCH and EFFICIENCY bonuses, GROWTH penalty

    Free Drones: 75% chance of rioters joining their side, fewer Drones to begin with; RESEARCH Penalties can be handled with the proper strategy, ridiculous INDUSTRY Bonus; Averts the Green Economy (sadly)

    Data Angels: Averts Power Values, making direct conflict a liability; Probe Teams are still boring

    Nautilus Pirates: GROWTH & EFFICIENCY Penalties, need a map with tons of water and desert along with few rocks; maybe even decrease the native life activity, just for better measure

    Cult Of Planet: we can all agree. Being THAT devoted to Chiron ("Planet") does NOTHING. Even the Lord's Believers don't have penalties in that many of the most important aspects of running an empire. I'd rather
    play as the Believers; thank you! Absolutely nobody will want to side with you, ever. These guys are far and away the absolute weakest faction overall. Better get ready to grab up either the Manifold Nexus if you can or the Green Economy if you can't, because those Mind Worms are your only friend. Otherwise, you'll get the pudding beaten out of you in a jiffy. In fact, it'll likely be so quick and painful, that it may explain why little to no reports exist of these guys ever becoming a true threat in the hands of either the AI or a human except for (maybe) the most masochistic of human players using maps with as much Native Life Activity as possible. Hopefully, things will pick up once the Wild Aliens start getting so suspicious of any civilization, that even the Caretakers can do little to keep Fungal Blooms and/or Mind Worm Attacks quiet. That however, could mean that even you have little chance of getting the Extraterrestrial Field Beasts, to join your side either. Speeding up the gameplay as much as possible is now so crucial, that you have to see it in order to actually believe it. Infinite City Sprawl may even be necessary towards the end game as well, since you need that many bases to have any chance of being able to even compete with the other nations. Turn off any "excess" sounds and animations for sure. Otherwise, you'll get EXTREMELY bored, EXTREMELY fast. Play groovy rock & blues music in the background, and mute the game itself. You'll likely need to do this to not fall asleep during AIs' turns. Since the Free Drones love the workers' cause at the expense of Planet, your Mind Worms can likely beat the stuffing out of them real quick, giving you something to do while other nations keep you as stressed as my sister always is; just waiting for someone to offer the chance to sign a Pact Of Siblinghood with you at the expense of a faction that you've otherwise refused to sign a Treaty Of Friendship with. You'll likely need to do this with as many factions as possible. Even the Believers and the Spartans don't need this much help from the other civilizations. Always enable Unity Survey, War Spoils & Directed Research to prevent the AIs from gaining too much of an advantage. Maybe even use Tech Stag so that you have time to regroup and reorganize. A larger map with drier and smoother land can also suffice for this. As the Believers, you'd only be using Spoils, Direct & Stag and leaving everything else as it is. Either way, don't even think about allowing any victory except the military one. (The Civilized Aliens can pursue their unique Progenitor Victory no matter what the conditions.) The other big difference is that the Cult needs more Wild Life; the Believers need less. Having the patience to get the Cybernetic Future can make your Mind Worms nearly invincible, but you will need The Network Backbone in order to keep your subordinates from questioning you. At least this'll make the Cyborgs a more likely ally than most of the other factions. Keeping Planet in as pristine a state as can be achieved may even catch the "warmer" feelings of the Caretakers, providing you with better protection from the blasted Usurpers. Use Power Values to make all of your troops more effective if you can get ahold of The Cloning Vats. This'll make the Pirates more likely to side with you as well. The only "leftover" faction is the Data Angel Empire. You'll need to be a Democracy in order to keep them quiet. This'll let you better use the few resources that you can ever produce. This'll leave you with up to five "friendly" factions and hopefully not more than two "hostile" ones. By comparison, the Spartans and the Believers can very easily deal with being bitter enemies with just about every other faction under the right circumstances. (End of Planet Cult rant)

    Minor, unimportant note: like the Hive, the Usurpers hate Democracy more than anything. (I.e. they Avert it.)

    In contrast, here's what transpired over the course of my latest game...

    From humble beginnings!...: Starting off at the North Pole, I had a medium-sized landmass to work with. This let me plant plenty of good cities with which to start from. (By comparison, the best score that I know of did it on Transcend Difficulty, and started off at the South Pole. Since that game had less ocean and more mistrust of human players however, he had to start fighting against the other nations very, very, very early on indeed.)

    From Meekness To Greatness...: Luckily, he took down all enemy cities but Morgan Studios. This let him win his game via the Scientific Victory, even with the much stricter time limit. He even got the maximum number of cities allowed. I had like, a few DOZEN cities, in comparison. By then however, BOTH of us were SO far ahead that other nations could barely even question us. Suppressing Drones directly is better than doing it indirectly; so I willfully let Morgan get The Human Genome Project first. By the time that I got all of the other Projects and primary techs however, it was getting so easy that going to war was the only way to keep things from getting too boring to even be as much as enjoyable. The Morganites went down first, unsurprisingly.

    From the flesh to the stars: After another several decades of improving my domain, I got fed up again. Luck as I knew it, Miriam declared war on me during this time. She fell fast, however. I could not make the others declare war on me; but I still turned down Lal's Treaty offer. By then however, I was so strong that I needed only juggle earning VPs against Mind Worms. Otherwise, there was no longer any challenge to the game. I needed the Governors' help in order to not lose my sanity during this otherwise dull, bleak and boring era. I just had them build new facilities and manage my subjects where and whenever I possibly could. I even shut a few of them off, since all they did after that was Stockpile Energy; even though by that point, I had so much money; that I honestly did not even know what to do it. Eventually, I spent the surplus on beating the game.

    The End Of The Mortal Era: Advancing into the 26th, and final, century of mortal existence, I knew that I had to optimize getting more points from population, commerce and Transcendent Thought before I could get the Voice Of Planet, and then The Ascent To Transcendence. By this point however, I had reached 8000 Victory Points, even without triggering the "Game Over" flag; giving me the chance that I needed to reach the "holy grail" of 4X strategy scores, even though I actually SURPASSED it.

    As of still continuing to type this, I need to get some sleep. I'll be back tomorrow to explain the rest of this.
  2. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Warlord

    May 5, 2019
    Hancock Point, Maine
    First edit: I forgot to mention something else. As the Planet Cult, you’ll need The Living Refinery for sure. I’d also go for The Ascetic Virtues, if I was you. Really though, this is just meant to protect you from those factions that you otherwise cannot hope to beat; nothing else. In short, trying to play this game as the Cult is like trying to play the first Final Fantasy with one of those wanky “four-of-a-kind” hero lineups. Unless it’s four Knights, it’s nothing but hours upon hours after hours upon hours of the worst frustration and torment that one can ever imagine whilst playing an otherwise enjoyable retro/nostalgic game. Even those enemies that otherwise are of no consequence at all will now spell your doom, as they use your characters to practice their shots against the game’s broken Accuracy/Evasion system.

    Bad news: my mobile browser’s acting up yet again; be right back.
  3. Buster's Uncle

    Buster's Uncle AC2 Co-Owner

    Apr 13, 2009
  4. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Warlord

    May 5, 2019
    Hancock Point, Maine
    Second edit: ultimately, I’d rather look at a list of the infamous “worst games ever designed” only to get nothing out of it because others do not agree, than to play this otherwise timeless classic as the Planet Cult ever again.

    But, moving on!...

    Anyways, if you’re either just starting with 4X strategy games at all, this game particularly or permanently increasing the difficulty level after getting scores in lieu of 10,000 (~350+%), then the Peacekeeping Forces and the University Of Planet are highly recommended. Yes. You’ll face early hardships. Outlast them however & the rest is easy. Morgan Industries can do the One City Challenge, and normal runs. Gaia’s Stepchildren work for standard games; but not the One City Challenge. I only recommend the Spartan Federation & the Human Hive for the quickest wins. If you’re the Hive & get Vats; you can freely use Power. This makes you nearly unbeatable. As the Spartans, you’ll be going for Power Values; but getting The Cloning Vats as soon as you can will be crucial to your success. If you can’t build it; you must locate the proper enemy city, and capture it as soon as possible. The Believers need the quickest military wins on the smallest maps with the least Native Life. Even then, you’ll need a Planned Economy to produce soldiers quickly; and Fundamentalism for Probe Teams. You’ll need Tech Stag & War Spoils to compete. Don’t let the others get The Planetary Data-links! If they’re built, then the respective city must be captured! The same goes for The Cloning Vats. That way, you can freely have the MORALE & SUPPORT. Don’t let the others have The Garland Crater! Try this on Difficulty > 0. I’d LOVE to see it be proven!!!
  5. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Warlord

    May 5, 2019
    Hancock Point, Maine
    Now back to my rules about map generation...

    The multiplicative/divisive factor between the dimensions must also not be <2 or >2&19/40*. Whacky dimensions outright, whacky discrepancies between dimensions and whacky sizes are total no-no's! The game begins to malfunction otherwise. Unfair attempts to make the ICS strategy more effective for you and/or less effective for the AIs will absolutely not be tolerated; absolutely no exceptions! The largest empires have always been the first, quickest and most unpleasantly to face total societal collapse. The Bureaucracy, Waste, Disease, Mafia, Disasters, Eco-Damage and Corruption can't be handled; so there's no way to keep the people alive, let alone in line. Without production, the cities are ripe for conquest by foreigners; starting from the frontiers, & ending with the capital. The environmental destruction chews away at the most populous & productive cities first; and then makes it's way to the less populous & productive ones. Being eaten on all sides with no hope of getting foreign help, the empires disappear from the face of the planet. This then leaves their former land completely open for the taking. Unscrupulousness is not only what man averts at any cost. It's also been proven to be one of the biggest weaknesses, if not the biggest outright, of the immoral folks who refuse to dedicate their lives to managing it properly.

    Yes. Fewer oceans leave the nations at each other's throats sooner. Yes. More oceans leave them with less land to build on. This however, is out of necessity (unless an unfairly imbalanced game is what the human player wants). Even the more warlike factions can't possibly handle that much land at all, no matter who's controlling them; even with max EFFICIENCY, SUPPORT & POLICE Scores. Maximum PLANET, INDUSTRY, MORALE, GROWTH, ECONOMY, PROBE & RESEARCH Scores don't help either. With that many cities, micromanagement is unbearable. The national government just simply can't keep a close enough eye upon it's people like that. Most Americans meanwhile, are convinced that their country can somehow magically handle it. Clearly however, it can't regardless; and it's doubtful that one "really" needs to ever use more than a single brain cell of theirs to figure that out. It's doubtful that truly "that many" brain cells are also needed to realize that such a level of metropolitan OVER-development is GOING to cause INEVITABLE moral decline.

    *Reciprocally, it's >50% & <22/45 respectively.

    However, I prefer to have as much ocean as possible in order to initially build myself up in the way that I prefer to do it, rather than have very little; and thus, go to war just because I had to with a weak, imbalanced faction. Therefore, I absolutely refuse to tolerate those suggesting that I use the ICS strategy (i.e. "found" >7 cities very early on, since >10 at that point in time is definitively just too many). Such replies, and any scores contained therein, will be checked as thoroughly as I otherwise would do with the others. If they're found to even be TRYING to "workaround" these vitally important rules; then I will, once again, have no "other choice" but to completely disregard them without exceptions.

    See, what really happened here was that I willfully/intellectually/knowingly/decidedly/morally/ethically chose to disregard what was really holding me back so much in life; nothing else. Those who simply choose to live otherwise are absolutely no different from how I used to be. Humans are innately inclined to do what's right; and not to claim that anything somehow makes them righteous. It is ONLY possible to live differently if you merely CHOOSE to do so. They're internally driven to form emotional and mutual bonds between both one another, and even their natural environment.

    If however, you really ARE worthy of matching, if not surpassing outright; what I achieved: then I'd recommend no more than 3 Dozen (36) cities on even a Huge Map. (That's just about what Civ3 recommends as well.)

    My guess therefore, is that a Tiny (24*48 [1152^2]) Map can be conquered just fine with only a 12 (1 Dozen) City Empire. A Baker's Dozen (13) Cities Nation can do Small (32*64 [2,048^2]) Maps. A Two Dozen (24) Cities Faction can manage a Standard (40*80 [3200^2]) Map. Meanwhile, 2 Baker's Dozens (26) City Empires would have little trouble with dominating a Large (44*90 [3960^2]) Map. However, let's just assume that we also adjust for the Difficulty Level, like Civ3 does (rounded down)…

    Citizen/Chieftain: 100%
    Warlord/Specialist: 95% (11 for Tiny, 12 for Small, 22 for Standard, 24 for Large & 34 for Huge)
    Talent/Prince: 90% (10 for Tiny, 11 for Small, 21 for Standard, 23 for Large & 32 for Huge)
    Monarch/Librarian: 85% (10 for Tiny, 11 for Small, 20 for Standard, 22 for Large & 30 for Huge)
    Emperor/Thinker: 80% (9 for Tiny, 10 for Small, 19 for Standard, 20 for Large & 28 for Huge)
    Deity/Transcend: 60% (7 for Tiny & Small, 14 for Standard, 15 for Large & 21 for Huge)

    On the other hand, I would've otherwise "just tested it" with the Iron Man & Abundant Native Life settings; under the condition that we also build these cities up for the Scientific Victory. With less of the Native Life Forms around however, it would likely translate into this...

    Rare: 150%
    Average: 125%
    Abundant: 100%

    Right now though, I'm a little busy right now with tending to self-care, as it were. So I'll be right back...
  6. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Warlord

    May 5, 2019
    Hancock Point, Maine
    Now to try to fit all of this in...

    Rare Native Life Forms OCN...

    Tiny Citizen: 18
    Small Citizen: 19
    Standard Citizen: 36
    Large Citizen: 39
    Huge Citizen: 54

    Tiny Specialist: 16
    Small Specialist: 18
    Standard Specialist: 31
    Large Specialist: 34
    Huge Specialist: 51

    Tiny Talent: 15
    Small Talent: 16
    Standard Talent: 31
    Large Talent: 34
    Huge Talent: 48

    Tiny Librarian: 15
    Small Librarian: 16
    Standard Librarian: 30
    Large Librarian: 33
    Huge Librarian: 45

    Tiny Thinker: 13
    Small Thinker: 15
    Standard Thinker: 28
    Large Thinker: 30
    Huge Thinker: 42

    Tiny & Small Transcend: 10
    Standard Transcend: 21
    Large Transcend: 22
    Huge Transcend: 31

    Average Native Life Forms OCN...

    Tiny Citizen: 15
    Small Citizen: 16
    Standard Citizen: 30
    Large Citizen: 32
    Huge Citizen: 45

    Tiny Specialist: 13
    Small Specialist: 15
    Standard Specialist: 27
    Large Specialist: 30
    Huge Specialist: 42

    Tiny Talent: 12
    Small Talent: 13
    Standard Talent: 26
    Large Talent: 28
    Huge Talent: 40

    Tiny Librarian: 12
    Small Librarian: 13
    Standard Librarian: 25
    Large Librarian: 27
    Huge Librarian: 37

    Tiny Thinker: 11
    Small Thinker: 12
    Standard Thinker: 23
    Large Thinker: 25
    Huge Thinker: 35

    Tiny & Small Transcend: 8
    Standard Transcend: 17
    Large Transcend: 18
    Huge Transcend: 26

    In excess of these numbers, the Bureaucracy along your frontier is just unmanageable; and the Eco-Damage further into your territory becomes so great, that substantial improvements to your VP Mark become totally unattainable. This is why all the great empires historically collapsed/are collapsing, from the Akkadian to the American. These empires had/have too many cities and/or people and/or covered/cover too much of the Earth's land area. Diseases and other disasters can eat away at the empire from all directions in the meantime.
  7. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Warlord

    May 5, 2019
    Hancock Point, Maine
    Q: But what if I'd rather pursue the Diplomatic/Economic Victory?

    A: Then it's different. The VPs Bonus is now 1200 - (Current Turn*2). That's 3/5ths of the Science Win's Bonus. For this victory, it's better to play with less Native Life Activity anyway. Now even more cities is required. Therefore, we now adjust by a factor of 1&2/3rds...

    Tiny Rare Citizen: 30
    Small Rare Citizen: 31
    Standard Rare Citizen: 60
    Large Rare Citizen: 65
    Huge Rare Citizen: 90

    Also keep in mind that the game no longer comes up with automated "founded" city names after 58-59 or so cities; so please just keep that in mind. For the Diplomacy Run, the Peacekeepers are highly recommended; thanks to their improved HAB Score and x2 Votes Multiplier. For the Economic Quest, the Morganites are recommended due to their x2 Commerce/Loan Multiplier. You must now make as many friends as possible, no matter how you slice it. Vote-increasing Projects will now be crucial to your success as the Peacekeepers. The Morganites will now need Energy-upping Projects and Facilities more than ever. As always, The Longevity Vaccine and The Market Exchange must be built in your top Energy-producing Base. With as many friends & Pact Siblings as you can make, switch to both Free Market & Wealth for the much-needed +4 ECONOMY. Use Democracy so that the Energy doesn't keep getting lost to Inefficiency. Use the Cybernetic Future once you can get it, since ECONOMY doesn't stack after +5; whereas EFFICIENCY would continue to stack after +4. Avoid as many wars as you can, no matter what the cost. This is the only time that I can think of where running a Free Market Economy, particularly alongside Wealth Values, is actually a good idea. (You can't have a Planned Economy anyway.)

    For the Peacekeepers Quest, use both Democracy & Planned whenever possible to get your Bases as tall as you can. Use Knowledge Values to keep up in the tech race. Unavertable wars will require Power Values no matter what. As the Peacekeepers, switch back to Frontier Politics; and possibly back to either Simple or Green Economics. As Morgan; use either the Green or Simple Economy. Police State Politics are now simply crucial. You must get The Cloning Vats, especially as the Peacekeepers!

    Moving on...

    Tiny Rare Specialist: 26
    Small Rare Specialist: 30
    Standard Rare Specialist: 51
    Large Rare Specialist: 56
    Huge Rare Specialist: 85

    Tiny Rare Talent: 25
    Small Rare Talent: 26
    Standard Rare Talent: 51
    Large Rare Talent: 56
    Huge Rare Talent: 80

    Tiny Rare Librarian: 25
    Small Rare Librarian: 26
    Standard Rare Librarian: 50
    Large Rare Librarian: 55
    Huge Rare Librarian: 75

    Tiny Rare Thinker: 21
    Small Rare Thinker: 25
    Standard Rare Thinker: 46
    Large Rare Thinker: 50
    Huge Rare Thinker: 70

    Tiny & Small Rare Transcend: 16
    Standard Rare Transcend: 35
    Large Rare Transcend: 36
    Huge Rare Transcend: 51
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2021
  8. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Warlord

    May 5, 2019
    Hancock Point, Maine
    Tiny Average Citizen: 25
    Small Average Citizen: 26
    Standard Average Citizen: 50
    Large Average Citizen: 53
    Huge Average Citizen: 75

    Tiny Average Specialist: 21
    Small Average Specialist: 25
    Standard Average Specialist: 45
    Large Average Specialist: 50
    Huge Average Specialist: 70

    Tiny Average Talent: 20
    Small Average Talent: 21
    Standard Average Talent: 43
    Large Average Talent: 46
    Huge Average Talent: 66

    Tiny Average Librarian: 20
    Small Average Librarian: 21
    Standard Average Librarian: 41
    Large Average Librarian: 45
    Huge Average Librarian: 61

    Tiny Average Thinker: 18
    Small Average Thinker: 20
    Standard Average Thinker: 38
    Large Average Thinker: 41
    Huge Average Thinker: 58

    Tiny & Small Average Transcend: 13
    Standard Average Transcend: 28
    Large Average Transcend: 30
    Huge Average Transcend: 43

    Also; as the Peacekeepers, get as many Vote-increasing Projects as you possibly can! For those that you can't build, just take them over by military conquest!!

    End of Diplomatic/Economic (fill-in-the-blank) calculations...
  9. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Warlord

    May 5, 2019
    Hancock Point, Maine
    Q: but like... What about Random Events?

    A: Twenty-three of them exist in the code. One of them (Perihelion) always occurs, no matter what. The other twenty-two are irrelevant if the Bell Curve Rule is turned on under Custom Rules.
    Otherwise, generally speaking; the stronger your faction and/or the higher your difficulty, not only the sooner do you have to put up with them; but the worse they typically are. Conversely, the opposite happens if you find yourself in a more vulnerable position; especially on low difficulty levels. For the Diplomatic/Economic Victory, playing with the Bell Curve Rule is usually safer. So we now adjust the Optimal City Number by a factor of 1/23rd (round down if a decimal); then add that number to the "normal" OCN Result for the final result.

    More on that in a moment...
  10. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Warlord

    May 5, 2019
    Hancock Point, Maine
    And now...

    Tiny Rare Citizen: 31
    Small Rare Citizen: 32
    Standard Rare Citizen: 62
    Large Rare Citizen: 67
    Huge Rare Citizen: 93

    Tiny Rare Specialist: 27
    Small Rare Specialist: 31
    Standard Rare Specialist: 53
    Large Rare Specialist: 58
    Huge Rare Specialist: 91

    Tiny Rare Talent: 26
    Small Rare Talent: 27
    Standard Rare Talent: 53
    Large Rare Talent: 58
    Huge Rare Talent: 83

    Must eat dinner...
  11. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Warlord

    May 5, 2019
    Hancock Point, Maine
    GOOF: "Small Rare Citizen", not "Small Rate Citizen".
  12. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Warlord

    May 5, 2019
    Hancock Point, Maine
    Now, anyway...

    Tiny Rare Librarian: 26
    Small Rare Librarian: 27
    Standard Rare Librarian: 52
    Large Rare Librarian: 57
    Huge Rare Librarian: 78

    Tiny Rare Thinker: 21
    Small Rare Thinker: 26
    Standard Rare Thinker: 48
    Large Rare Thinker: 52
    Huge Rare Thinker: 73
  13. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Warlord

    May 5, 2019
    Hancock Point, Maine
    Tiny & Small Rare Transcend: 16
    Standard Rare Transcend: 36
    Large Rare Transcend: 37
    Huge Rare Transcend: 53

    Can barely think/crunch numbers anymore...
  14. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Warlord

    May 5, 2019
    Hancock Point, Maine
    Tiny Average Citizen: 26
    Small Average Citizen: 27
    Standard Average Citizen: 52
    Large Average Citizen: 55
    Huge Average Citizen: 78

    Yep... Can't think straight...
  15. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Warlord

    May 5, 2019
    Hancock Point, Maine
    Tiny Average Specialist: 21
    Small Average Specialist: 26
    Standard Average Specialist: 46
    Large Average Specialist: 52
    Huge Average Specialist: 73

    Tiny Average Talent: 20
    Small Average Talent: 21
    Standard Average Talent: 46
    Large Average Talent: 48
    Huge Average Talent: 68
  16. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Warlord

    May 5, 2019
    Hancock Point, Maine
    Tiny Average Librarian: 20
    Small Average Librarian: 21
    Standard Average Librarian: 42
    Large Average Librarian: 46
    Huge Average Librarian: 63

    Tiny Average Thinker: 18
    Small Average Thinker: 20
    Standard Average Thinker: 39
    Large Average Thinker: 42
    Huge Average Thinker: 60
  17. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Warlord

    May 5, 2019
    Hancock Point, Maine
    Tiny & Small Average Transcend: 13
    Standard Average Transcend: 29
    Large Average Transcend: 31
    Huge Average Transcend: 44

    Final results coming soon...
  18. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Warlord

    May 5, 2019
    Hancock Point, Maine
    Final results...

    Tiny Abundant Scientific Citizen: 12
    Small Abundant Scientific Citizen: 13
    Standard Abundant Scientific Citizen: 24
    Large Abundant Scientific Citizen: 26
    Huge Abundant Scientific Citizen: 36

    Tiny Abundant Scientific Specialist: 11
    Small Abundant Scientific Specialist: 12
    Standard Abundant Scientific Specialist: 22
    Large Abundant Scientific Specialist: 24
    Huge Abundant Scientific Specialist: 34

    Tiny Abundant Scientific Talent: 10
    Small Abundant Scientific Talent: 11
    Standard Abundant Scientific Talent: 21
    Large Abundant Scientific Talent: 23
    Huge Abundant Scientific Talent: 32

    Tiny Abundant Scientific Librarian: 10
    Small Abundant Scientific Librarian: 11
    Standard Abundant Scientific Librarian: 20
    Large Abundant Scientific Librarian: 22
    Huge Abundant Scientific Librarian: 30

    Tiny Abundant Scientific Thinker: 9
    Small Abundant Scientific Thinker: 10
    Standard Abundant Scientific Thinker: 19
    Large Abundant Scientific Thinker: 20
    Huge Abundant Scientific Thinker: 28

    Tiny & Small Abundant Scientific Transcend: 7
    Standard Abundant Scientific Transcend: 14
    Large Abundant Scientific Transcend: 15
    Huge Abundant Scientific Transcend: 21

    Q: Which "final results" would you recommend for the Diplomatic/Economic Victory?

    A: That's fairly simple. With less Native Life, the Gaians are weaker. This is preferred, because you really can't use the Green Economy extensively. On the other hand, the other factions are more
    powerful; but that's okay. You must strike a counter-balance. There's absolutely no "other real option". Bell Curve is also a good idea.

    So, therefore...

    Tiny Average Bell Diplomacy/Economy Citizen: 26
    Small Average Bell Diplomacy/Economy Citizen: 27
    Standard Average Bell Diplomacy/Economy Citizen: 52
    Large Average Bell Diplomacy/Economy Citizen: 55
    Huge Average Bell Diplomacy/Economy Citizen: 78

    Tiny Average Bell Diplomacy/Economy Specialist: 21
    Small Average Bell Diplomacy/Economy Specialist: 26
    Standard Average Bell Diplomacy/Economy Specialist: 46
    Large Average Bell Diplomacy/Economy Specialist: 52
    Huge Average Bell Diplomacy/Economy Specialist: 73

    Tiny Average Bell Diplomacy/Economy Talent: 20
    Small Average Bell Diplomacy/Economy Talent: 21
    Standard Average Bell Diplomacy/Economy Talent: 46
    Large Average Bell Diplomacy/Economy Talent: 48
    Huge Average Bell Diplomacy/Economy Talent: 68

    Tiny Average Bell Diplomacy/Economy Librarian: 20
    Small Average Bell Diplomacy/Economy Librarian: 21
    Standard Average Bell Diplomacy/Economy Librarian: 42
    Large Average Bell Diplomacy/Economy Librarian: 46
    Huge Average Bell Diplomacy/Economy Librarian: 63

    Tiny Average Bell Diplomacy/Economy Thinker: 18
    Small Average Bell Diplomacy/Economy Thinker: 20
    Standard Average Bell Diplomacy/Economy Thinker: 39
    Large Average Bell Diplomacy/Economy Thinker: 42
    Huge Average Bell Diplomacy/Economy Thinker: 60

    Tiny & Small Average Bell Diplomacy/Economy Transcend: 13
    Standard Average Bell Diplomacy/Economy Transcend: 29
    Large Average Bell Diplomacy/Economy Transcend: 31
    Huge Average Bell Diplomacy/Economy Transcend: 44
  19. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Warlord

    May 5, 2019
    Hancock Point, Maine
    Also, before you submit your own scores; remember! "Time Warp" (Accelerated Start) is NOT allowed either! You must build your empire from the bottom up, never the top down!
  20. Jarek Noschese

    Jarek Noschese Warlord

    May 5, 2019
    Hancock Point, Maine
    Mark Types (all scores got the best holo-book and/or played as Zak unless otherwise noted)…

    The Map Of Planet: (empty)

    Huge Map Of Planet: (empty)

    Custom Maps [not recommended]: (empty)

    1 City Challenge: My {4954} 184% [Deirdre's Lover], Agent Miles' 232% [For Dummies] {6208})

    Average Native Life/Bell Curve & Diplomatic/Economic Victory: (empty)

    Citizen Difficulty: My 431% (11,504)

    Specialist Difficulty: (empty)

    Talent Difficulty: (empty)

    Librarian Difficulty: (empty)

    Thinker Difficulty: (empty)

    Transcend Difficulty: Stone-Cold-Bluff's 4240% (45,232)

    At minimum, you MUST include the .sav file from just before you win the game. The file, in question, needs to be loadable in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri alone. I highly recommend that you include a .sav file from the start (M.Y. 2101) of your game as well, along with 1-3 others.

    Here's the OBSCENE Transcend score I mentioned, as an example:

    The fact that this guy managed to cram in all 200 cities (maximum allowed on a single map) is BAFFLING. Otherwise; the mark, in question, easily meets all of the qualifications. There's no hint of the player using the Time Warp setting under Custom Rules. Regular scoring parameters are used; and "CHEATED!" is UTTERLY ABSENT from his score. Iron Man & Abundant Native Life Forms are used. Nothing was mentioned of him modifying the alpha.txt file either. The base game alone was used; and he dared not claim that it was supposedly "safe" to get the game via any illegitimate means. The map was randomly generated; and it showed absolutely no signs of unfair tampering. The strategy used was very similar to mine. Green Economics and the Cybernetic Future were used for maximized PLANET & EFFICIENCY Scores. Knowledge Values are used for the same reason. Some bases still have extremely high Inefficiency however; since Democracy wasn't seen being selected. For comparison, any faction that's not the Believers can have +3 PLANET with either Green Economics or the Cybernetic Future and control of the Manifold Nexus. I used only Power Values, Green Economics & the Thought Control Future in wartime once I got both The Ascetic Virtues & The Living Refinery. This guarantees a maximum POLICE Score, and SUPPORT doesn't stack after +3 anyway. During times of peace; one should use both Democratic Politics, Wealth/Knowledge Values and a Planned Economy for population & industrial growth and scientific research. The Green Economy doesn't truly make sense until Chiron becomes too suspicious of the civilized world to really care. Also, both Power & Thought Control guarantee a maxed MORALE Score; even without playing as the Spartans. With that much Morale, your conventional troops can utterly decimate the enemies' conventional forces. Having The Cloning Vats on top of all that lets you wage wars without any penalties, negating the need to be a Police State. Just switch back to Frontier Politics before marching your troops out, and you win. The captured bases need Creches before they can really produce anything again, but +3 POLICE usually lets you just suppress Drones via "cops"; since not only can you have three of them, but their effect is now doubled (i.e. -2 Drones/+1 Cop, but not >3 "cops", instead of -1 Drone/+1 Cop, but not >3 "cops"). In other words, three of these "cops" now silence six Drones instead of just three.

    On top of all that, having the +2 EFFICIENCY from the Green Economy and the +1 EFFICIENCY from the Creche gives +3 EFFICIENCY. This lets all but the most poorly-located cities produce further Energy for our empire during the wars. By not committing Atrocities, I CAN'T revoke the UN Charter. Therefore, I avoid Planet Busters; and keep my Integrity Score at Noble (0 "black marks").

    Yes, I can have +2 SUPPORT (4 units freely) and +4/+5 EFFICIENCY as a Democracy; but I prefer to have as much SUPPORT as is helpful/possible during a time of war. This would let me have 0 GROWTH (default Nutrient Thresholds) instead of -2 (+20% Nutrient Thresholds). Drones make it better to take the hits to other areas. (RESEARCH doesn't stack after +5 anyway; and high INDUSTRY Scores only further aggravate Chiron: and at that point, a high PLANET Score only averts your doom rather than makes you some kind of "eco-tank"; another slight Gaian disadvantage. Besides, AFAIK; the Eco-Protections don't stack after +3 PLANET. GROWTH can't stack after +6 either; and Democracy, Planned & the Creche all give +2 GROWTH each; for the final +6 [Pop. boom] in total. Any faction that isn't either the Hive or the Morganites can achieve this no problem, even without the Eudemonic Future. The Chiron Ecosystem hates crazy-high populations with a passion anyway, making them a nasty liability.)

    Also, The Map Of Planet is 40 wide by 80 tall (3200 square); and the Huge Map Of Planet is 64 wide by 128 tall (8192 square). Both have Average Native Life, so...

    The Map Of Planet OCN...

    Citizen: 30
    Specialist: 27
    Talent: 26
    Librarian: 25
    Thinker: 23
    Transcend: 17

    Huge Map Of Planet OCN...

    Citizen: 45
    Specialist: 42
    Talent: 40
    Librarian: 37
    Thinker: 35
    Transcend: 26

    Also, smaller maps may require more ocean coverage (70%-90%) anyway. A Huge Map with the default setting (50%-70%) will easily have enough land to settle early to mid game. There's no sense in specifically trying to build more cities once you start conquering other nations. (I destroyed two, whereas Stone-Cold-Buff vanquished all but one [Morgan].) This makes the "normal" land mass total of 2458-4096 tiles on such a map basically more than necessary for reaching the Optimal City Number. Reaching the OCN Threshold in such a setting should be more than enough to give you control of roughly one-third to about one-half of the entire map outright. Again, that's likely more than you need in order to win the game outright anyway. Any attempts to get more cities/land beyond these numbers is a major liability, no matter how good you are at this game; and thusly, it's not recommended.

    (All 1-City scores played on Citizen Difficulty unless otherwise noted: randomly-generated maps with Average Native Life Forms are highly recommended for One-City games; but either The Map Of Planet, Huge Map Of Planet or random maps with Abundant Native Life Forms work too. I used the "preferred" 1-City setting, whereas Miles used The Map Of Planet itself.)
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2021

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