Battling the Robots with a "Man in the Middle Map" (and no trading)

I recently played a Circular Galaxy. It was a “dark” one … so I just kept expanding … and eventually realized that I had an early “short-jump” path into the center, whereas others were not able to “join” me until they got more Range. I had forgotten how “HOT” the middle can be … since once players get enough Range, they come at you from all sides! :wink:

So for grins, I decided to re-create the game and actually start in the Center playing against Robots.

As a segway, some may remember that a while ago (LOL back in 2016 per this link), I created some “Twin-Ring cluster” maps where you were surrounded by Robots and had to fight your way to victory. While doable, it’s not easy when it is 1v7 … or 1v19 … or 1v32! :wink:

They key to winning is focus on Weapons Research (lots of Science) and pick 'em off one by one. So you go all-in against one Robot, while being friendly to the others, including trading tech (via cash if needed) since they are all researching other stuff and will quickly outpace your single player research efforts. This becomes challenging when you get a lead in Stars, since if you are friendly, you are reset to “ENEMY (-1)” at the start of each cycle … so gets pricey to “repair relationships.” And if you “goof” up and have a collision, you are basically an Enemy for life!

So rather than create a “Twin-Ring Cluster”, I decided to create the more typical random star layout map - see picture below along with params. But to make this challenging, I decided that I would NOT trade with the Robots - plus no sending Cash to make them friendly with 'ya.

So once again, you focus on Science/Weapons … but you quickly fall behind in all the other techs. And because Experimentation Bonuses are random, one of the Robots must have gotten Weapons hits … because they were even for the first couple levels … and they, of course, share it with all their friends! :wink:

I tried to stay friendly, but there are some collisions … plus once you lead in stars, you become “ENEMY (-1)” to everybody … and they spontaneously launch an attack on you.

If you want to try this yourself, here’s how I created the game with the modifications to the defaults.

  1. Set a password (so someone doesn’t join)
  2. Change Stars for Victory from 50% to 66%
  3. Change Players from 8 to 9
  4. Change Dark Galaxy to Disabled (since you need to pick the center position plus see if it is a “decent” map - this actually takes a bunch of tries, since you don’t want big gaps)
  5. Change Galaxy Type from Random Hex to Custom
  6. Here’s the coordinates I used for the Custom Galaxy
    [ [0,0],[0,-20.9],[14.77,-14.77],[20.9,0],[14.77,14.77],[0,20.9],[-14.77,14.77],[-20.9,0],[-14.77,-14.77] ]
  7. Change Starting Stars from 6 to 1
  8. Change Game Time from Real Time to Turn Based
  9. Change Turn Jumps from 8 ticks to 6 ticks
  10. Join game and Force Start it

Remember, NO Trading Tech (or sending Cash) to acquire technology from the Robots and/or to get friendly with them.

Note that isn’t the map I’m currently playing (I forgot to take a screen shot at the beginning ) and here is what that looks like at Tick #1008! :wink:

I’m Blue Circle … and yes, I lost my core star. While I was fighting down South, Orange went blitzo against me … and when they have many, many more ships that you, it’s a losing battle. I have a decent position below my Core and we’ve swapped a central star several times. The Robot will capture it, then not reinforce it (plus sometimes battle it’s neighbor Purple Robot which has saved me several times … but Purple has also attacked me), and I’ll snarf it back … wiping out Double Digit Economy. I’ll built a Warp Gate to reinforce … but the Robot seems determined to take THAT star back … so I end up being overwhelmed, destroy the Warp Gate, and he rebuilds all the Economy - it’s like waves in the ocean.

Yes, I’m using Warp Gates. I thought maybe I could try to win without them … but it quickly became obvious no way … since while the Robots do battle each other, their ship count quickly becomes more than you - check out these stats from Tick #1008.

On the Intel Chart, I’m the White Line! So my only chance is to HULK SMASH … and having Weapons 33 versus 23 helps … but as seen, they are at level 20 on all the others whereas mine are all single digits. As I get Exp hits in other tech, I’ll take a break on Weapons to finish 'em off, especially Manu and Terra.

Here’s a link to the game in progress. Not sure I’ll see this to completion. The Robots have a total of 331,268 ships … versus my 8,555! And even thought I have more Stars and Industry, their Manu (20 versus 9 currently) means even an individual Robot has a higher Ship Production than I do.

I was able to take out Pink … but Red hunkered down and has 22,974 ships on those 4 stars in my territory … and even with an advantage in Weapons, I can’t afford a direct assault. Good news is he is leaving me along - maybe after getting HULK SMASHED he’s afraid. But if he busts out, I’m in BAD shape. Ditto if Yellow (who also has 80,000+ ships) starts to attack - we are “ENEMY(-1)”, but so far, they are just moving/building ships around even thought we share a border.

Since I desperately need to acquire stars to stand a chance, I’m making a move against Green (who was battling with Blue Square) so between than and my attacks, he’s down to “only” 17,149 ships … so only double mine … and I’m having to shunt a lot to defend against Orange.

I admire your efforts! The AIs are tough. Maybe this could be a challenge of some kind, see how far you can get, or long you can last against them (if the AIs decide to all attack).

I’m surprised green being in the centre wasn’t one of the conditions you reset for? :wink:

Would you be able to elaborate on your situation here a little bit? While I don’t know the details, I do know that AIs don’t take advantage of WG, and don’t destroy WG when they capture a star with a WG on it. (So without any specific knowledge on the situation,) wouldn’t it be better to leave the WG active?

AIs don’t move or react above 50 stars or at 50 or 1 star (aside from the start of the game to expand off 1). They may not react at 2 stars, or maybe even up to 4. Would you be able to confirm if this AI moves off those four stars in the future?

Thanks for the comments/info @BelSon - here’s my response/analysis.

#1 The map I’m playing had the best star distribution, but yes, I would have preferred Green … :wink:

#2 Yes, my impression is when someone bails/AFK’s in a game, the AI destroys any existing Warp Gates. However, if one exists and they capture it, they won’t destroy. Which is a two-edged sword … since you can zip over there to attack them … BUT … if they decide to launch an attack against a star where you have a Warp Gate, their ships will get there lickity-split fast. So unless I’m confident I can quickly retake it, I’ll destroy it before losing … since if they put a large force there, they can make a deep strike against me … albeit not as smart as a human.

Or at least that’s I think it works … and that should be true - right?
I.e. if an AI happens to launch from a WG star to another one, should be 3X speed.

#3 think I did read something about once the AI gets 50 stars, it stops going anything - have you seen this? I was not aware of no movement if they only have a few. Here’s a picture of what RED looks like right now. I tried to snipe a star that didn’t have very many ships on it a while ago, but it defended … since it can “see” your moving coming in turn-based … advantage for the AI versus humans.

Now the 4 stars are pretty evenly distributed … but it hasn’t made any attacks … so yea, maybe doesn’t do anything at this point. While I have twice the Weapons Level, Red has twice the ships I have … and obviously in this sector of the galaxy, could easily win many stars before I would respond … even with Warp Gates.

Lucky for me they are just content to watch my ships go whizzing by! :wink:

Here’s an example of the “waves” I was talking about.

Since Tick #1008, I was able to push fairly far North … but that has really gotten Orange ANGRY (I thought the HULK was the only one who got ANGRY!) and I’m going to get pushed back real soon.

Here’s a map at Tick #1056 - I’ve got 14,801 ships in TOTAL … and Orange is sending fleets of 9238, 3220, 1554 my direction … with another nearby fleet of 8759 going across - AI must have gotten some wires crossed! :wink:

Also, Purple is taking some swipes at me - I was already “ENEMY (-8)” with him … but he’s been fairly quiet … but if that fleet of 19375 gets moving, I’m in big trouble.

Something about the center of the galaxy that really makes 'em want to fight! :wink:

TMI that here’s the map at tick #1092.

Orange is going to have 6,000 ships on the star they just recaptured in the middle right - note I killed the gate. I still have the star to the left of it … but notice in the bottom left how purple and orange are now fighting … keep it up guys! :wink:

Wowy Zowy! That looks fun and mind numbing and hair pulling all at the same time. Seems like the real skill(or luck maybe) is getting them to fight each other. If you could get fleets of 10k hitting each other, I’d bet you be jumping out of your seat!

Not sure how you would “bait” the AI to fight each other … except maybe if you could capture a star between them and they both went on the attack against you so they collide - maybe abandon a star also?

But yes, there were several times when Orange was putting the “heat” on me … and then Purple decided based on some sort of AI Logic that required them to squabble (like siblings!) and allow me to recover. Never saw a tens of thousands of ships battle, but yea, that would be ideal if it could somehow be made to happen.

I should win this game as things look vastly improved at Tick #1242 as seen in the map and the stats.

I’m up to 41,076 ships … but that is a LOT less than the combined total of 577,439 by the Robots. Heck, even Red (with those 4 stars) has more than me with 45,761. But fortunately he’s not moving … so @BelSon is right that they go to sleep. Ditto Blue Square who has two stars left in middle upper right.

I’m “ENEMY (-8)” with all of them except for Yellow who remains “ENEMY (-1)” … I guess he wants to come in 2nd place since while he’s my neighbor, has never attacked me. I can only imagine the “Robot Diplomacy” going on with the others “yelling” at Yellow to attack me!

The Weapons advantage (49-32 … defensive advantage is minimal) is helpful, but even more so is using Warp Gates to get a good chunk of my forces at a certain point to slowly grab stars. Cyan has about 140,000 ships clustered around his home star, so we won’t be attacking that anytime soon(!) … but I’m sniping some outlying stars from 'em.

So unless Yellow and Purple (and Red) start actively attacking me, it’s just a matter of slogging ships around to snipe enough “easy picking” stars to get to the 66% win-by.

Here’s a closeup of the Northern part of the map - click to see big.

Cyan actually has about 150,000 of their 174,962 ships clustered around their home star. Once I saw this, I decided to bypass that area and attack 'em out East! :wink:

Ideally, the AI should realize that it has an overwhelming advantage and just send a bunch of ships down South … since even with the Weapons disadvantage, they could easily wipe me out. Plus I’m also busy dealing with Orange … who would get my Renown Points (LOL!) since it has certainly earned 'em as the toughest Robot fighter!

BTW, here’s what it looks near the middle of the map. I did finally recapture HULK HOME … and have pushed Orange back quite a bit. But what happens if I take out those Orange stars in the lower left of the map?

So that I now encircle Purple … who has 32,686 ships on that star. He keeps launching attacks on me, but just small ones that fail. Obviously he should send a big force that I will have no chance of defending against.

Plus heading West, there is just one last set of Orange stars before I hit Purple’s territory … and he has 126,072 total ships … so it would be a challenge to capture/hold much there.

Almost done with the game at Tick #1296. I did encircle Purple (and am actively attacking him elsewhere) … so you would think he might try launching an attack with the 34,394 ships … but those must be “Turtle Space Marines” :wink:

I think I’ll “poke” him in another turn or two to see if I can get a response from that mega-armada. Semi-related to that is Yellow continues to just Turtle to my West - pretty lame considering they have over 3X the numbers of ships I have.

Speaking of responses, I confirmed @BelSon’s theory that the AI doesn’t move … or at least Red hasn’t moved with the same 4 stars it has had for a long time. Blue Square was the same with two Stars … so I finally attacked him - he just sat there and took it - no counterattack. So it almost seems like the AI “shuts off” at some point?

So I tried “poking the (purple) bear” … and the Robot just say there and took the pounding. This persisted over multiple turns and included the neighboring star. So certainly an area would the AI could do a better job to be more challenging.

And here’s the final map after 1,350 ticks … that’s a LOT of moves - not sure I should have started this as it was definitely a binge … so I’ve gotten my “NP Fix” for a while! :wink:

As mentioned, Red never moved from his last four stars. I was “ENEMY (-8)” with all players except Yellow who while still “ENEMY (-1)” and who has vastly more ships than me, never attacked.

The strongest fighter was Orange and I was going to give him Renown (LOL!) … but that option isn’t available for the AI! :wink:

BTW, when I play against the Robots, I usually quit before winning … but in this case, since so much time was spent, I did take the Win.

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Well done! Yeah, the time investment into completing that game would have been huge. 1350 ticks… that’s 225 turns. Doesn’t sound all that fun to get through.

I know that at some point (unsure exactly when) the AIs won’t attack neutral stars. This is because a neutral star past a certain point is likely a player abandoning it in order to trap the AI.

With purple, it appears that they were attacking you elsewhere, just not with the large stack isolated from the rest of their territory. So maybe AI fleets over a certain threshold just shut off? Were there any other large AI fleets that never did anything?

So we also saw from this that the red AI did nothing on four stars. I am willing to say that this is a new lower bound for the number of stars an AI will have before it shuts down. Further experimentation may be required to test this, but I suspect the number would be five or six, since six stars is the default starting star count.

Did yellow ever attack any of the other AIs? The intel graphs I see suggest not. That is strange then, that it just sat and turtled. Would you be able to send a screenshot of the ship distribution on yellow’s stars (and your border stars) at the end of the game? Maybe you kept enough ships on your border stars to disincentivise attacking, but not enough to cause yellow to move enough ships in to attack.

As for quitting before winning… quit players still get rank at the end of the game, and I’m certain they also get the win credited to them if they quit at the top of the leaderboard and all other players are AIs. That latter part I’m uncertain about.

But overall a definitely interesting experiment to undertake! And rest well, Hulk, and come back refreshed to do some more smashing in the next tournament :slight_smile:

Yea, it got pretty tiring at the end.

When you say “neutral stars” I think you mean stars not currently occupied - right? Yea, I believe I read something about that … and would explain why the AI in my game didn’t take those last couple of stars on the outer rim - they certainly had plenty of Range to reach them!

That large stack of Purple ships was isolated once I circled around it … taking Purple’s stars away from it! They did launch attacks from the 30,000+ ship star … but they were always small … like 150. Orange and Cyan (in the NE - not center as discussed below) did send several couple thousand ship fleets at me. But there were other fleets that didn’t do much - for instance, I was just South of Cyan’s 150,000 ships … and they just moved carriers back and forth between their stars.

No idea on “star count to shutdown” … but I’ll mention the starting params were just ONE star.

I never saw Yellow attacking anyone … so I presume what happened is there wasn’t a collision early on … and once the stars were all taken on their border with Purple (who they were presumably friendly with due to Tech Trades), neither Robot launched at each other.

I think it was Pink who was their neighbor to the East … but that’s where I expanded first, so similar to above, my guess is they didn’t fight.

Remember I never traded … so I was “Neutral (0)” until I took the lead in Star Count at which point I was (at least!) “ENEMY (-1)” with everyone for the rest of the game. Attached is a screenshot of the border with Yellow … I decided to just turtle my ships thinking that would discourage an attack, but there was plenty of opportunities to attack me early on before I built them up. Plus I was moving ships across the Warp Gates. The Jump Distance is Hyper2 … I saw much longer range attacks from Orange and Cyan.

Yellow had a LOT of ships … so easily could have moved some of those ~160,000 clustered around their core my direction and demolished me … but maybe Yellow … is … yellow! :wink:

What I meant about “quitting” is I actually DELETE the game (since I created it) and you don’t get any points/credit then. It would be goofy to pad your stats by beating up on Robots. Although in this case, I made 225 Submits … so felt I deserved a “W” … :wink: