(This is part of my journey playing through Master of Orion. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lanes page.)
One of the things I love about Master of Orion is that you really do have to think ahead and accept that the galaxy is a board game with many moves, most of which take time to perform. It’s nail-biting to see enemy fleets come your way while you figure out if you have enough turns to muster a defense or re-route ships to come to your aid.
Here’s the map of the galaxy at the beginning of today’s session:
As you can see, I’m enjoying a very nice lead in the size of my empire, dominating the top third of the map. However, there are a few drawbacks: I am starting to run out of planets to colonize that aren’t already taken, I have a lot of territory to try to defend, and about half of my empire’s planets are far too young to be seriously contributing.
I do get a tech upgrade to my factories, allowing even more of them to be built if I upgrade the planets. I like how MOO gives you the option to set all planets to do this right away instead of having to click on them one at a time.
Despite the Sakkra aggression, I think the Alkari are going to be the biggest threat. They have the most planets second to me, and two of their colony ships blast away my scouts that were holding dips on colonizable worlds.
We then take a short break to vote on who will be supreme galactic emperor: me or the bird-beak guy.
While I am digging the “Emperor Syp” moniker, these votes are a total farce. I guess it’s one of the possible win conditions, but I’ve never, ever used it. Syp doesn’t rule by democratic diplomacy. Syp rules by stepping on your neck until you give him your Oreos. And just look at that smarmy birdbeak guy up there… thinks he knows it all. Well, we will see about that!
I really don’t know what to make of the AI in this game. I don’t recall if computer-led factions ever go to war against each other, but the Alkari are definitely up to something with fleets full of colony ships and large destroyers. In the meanwhile, my standing fleet at Ocho grows and I found the new colony of Werit. That’s what you get when you put in a plug for a planet on Twitter!
Planet Arbitrary becomes my 18th planet, cementing my lead (according to GNN). But now I’m fretting about the Alkari. I think they should be my first and primary target when I go to war. If I can break them and conquer their planets, I’ll have a vast majority of the galaxy and a clear path to victory. But I have to be absolutely sure I can win, otherwise I’ll become weakened and ripe for the plucking. So the question is, how long do I wait? Do I try to build up forces and see if I can out-tech them, or go for a quick strike before their colonies get stronger?
I’m going to wait. I think I could do some damage now, but I still have very slow engines on my ships and can’t really respond as fast as I’d like to any counter-attacks. Generally, what I like to do is build up two fleets: One for the invasion and a smaller response fleet to deal with enemy transports and counter-attackers.
But I’m not going to be still. The Darlok empire only has three planets and one of those has to be a resource-rich one. I’m going to take them out and see if I can’t grow my advantage some.
My fleet arrives at Escalon and engages in the most one-sided fight ever:
Aw yeah, I like those odds. I then proceed to bomb 7 million Darloks to death, after which the Darlok ambassador messages me to say that I’m endangering our friendship. Wow. What do you have to do to make enemies here?
Oddly enough, the Alkari are the ones severely offended and withdraw their ambassador. I guess nobody likes Syp. Oh well.
Events start happening pretty quickly. I continue to guard Escalon for the upcoming invasion while the Darloks make repeated attempts at standing up to me before retreating. The Alkari target Werit and begin bombing the crap out of the planet. I divert seven Barracudas to hopefully reclaim that airspace. And amidst all of this, my 19th and 20th colonies, Aggronaut, is founded.
I think I was far too hasty in declaring war. The Darloks come back with a whopping 150 ships (!), forcing me to retreat from Escalon. On top of that, the Alkari bomb Werit so hard that it… well…
With three of the four other empires at war against me, I have no choice but to crank up the war machine 100%. I turn all of my ship-producing planets to full production and hope that I can turn the tide. Each turn after that I start pumping out 17-18 Barracudas.
It looks grim, however. The Alkari are hitting me all over the place. A force attacks Ocho, and my 35 Barracudas go up against it, holding their own. While they destroy two large ships, the remaining large ones bomb the planet and then retreat.
It’s all or nothing right now, unless these empires vie for peace. I’m going to need to start winning some major battles.