Just starting a spot for some discussion. Strategy on where to invest $, at what point, etc. are common discussion themes. Perhaps we can create some tips for new users and/or generate discussion here… Maybe later a new users thread can be started and stickied…
Economy -> Money -> Industry -> Ships -> Stars -> Victory.
That’s the key to most of my victories. I’ve lost a few games with this strategy, but if you get a head start, taking you 1-on-1 is going to be hard later on. The important thing is not to stand out before you are invincible to regular threats.
I’ve also seen that you can’t get too far out in front too fast, otherwise you’re just a target.
I agree with @MattS about the target thing. I am fairly new to the game (caveat!), but I have found being the 1st or 2nd to get a lvl 2 tech means u get a head start on trading, which has whole slews of advantages. I’ve won by focusing on science, but keeping a healthy dose of econ going as well.
In my opinion no single strategy will work. It greatly depends on the players playing at the time. The only thing I have observed is that if you fall behind in tech you will almost certainly get attacked. Always be at a decent tech position, especially weapons.
Once the rules and mechanics of the game are understood, this is where the rubber meets the road. Good strategy is like a good fishing location: people are not inclined to share the knowledge publicly, lest it lose its value.
@Ernomouse, from a strictly military standpoint your progression is sufficient, but it does not take into account science/technology or diplomacy, which are also very important factors in achieving victory. Your following statement is intriguing. How does one get a head start without standing out before being invincible to regular threats?
In my (admittedly rather limited) experience, the hazard of getting far out in front quickly is relative to one’s position on the board and one’s alliances. In short, the more defensible and secure your empire is, the more you can afford to stand out as a leader early in the game.
@AliasWhatAlias, I prefer the same strategy of racing to be (close to) the first to acquire a new level of tech, especially early in the game. There certainly is a “first in wins” dynamic involved. Those who are slow to level up their technologies will find themselves with little to offer others in trade, while those who are quick to level up will be able to initiate a chain reaction of trades to stay ahead in tech, since every tech acquired in trade could possibly be traded for another. Equitable tech trades impart a great advantage, when you compare the cost of transfer in credits to the opportunity cost of the time it would take to research the techs received.
@Nemesis, it’s true that what makes a strategy effective is situational, but, as you said, there are some general guidelines to follow regardless of particular circumstances. Can you think of any other than avoiding falling behind in tech? Those would be helpful to compile into tips for beginners. I will consider the same question carefully before replying here again.
I have had some luck with going mainly industry and science while putting a little into economy. You want to start with science, economy, and carriers first. It is also important in the very beginning to expand as quick as you can. If you don’t your space will be very limited and you will have a hard time getting ahead. Industry at the start isn’t as important in the first few turns but you want to get industry quickly as other players get closer to your stars. Experimentation is also important because it allows you to get techs researched faster.
The main techs you need are experimentation, weapons, manufacturing, and terraforming in the very beginning. If you are limited in space to expand then hyperspace range is also a must and should be a priority before anything else. If you have enough targets then hyperspace range isn’t as important. Scanning should be important as you get closer to other stars and you want to start expanding into other territories by attacking. These strategies can always change. It’s very important to look at the board and see what is going on frequently. These strategies are a general idea on what to aim for and no strategy is 100% perfect.
@Zaphod, you are absolutely correct! Diplomatic connections are far more important than ANYTHING else in this game, and my post disregarded this and many other aspects of the game entirely - I didn’t have time to write the whole book back then.
By headstart I meant that while other players are producing industry and preparing for border skirmishes, you rely on your defenders advantage and instead purchase a few extra carriers, with which you can claim a few more stars than the others and get cheaper infrastructure - early on this will be mostly economy. If you are allowed to do this, you can easily catch up with industry and science during mid-game when they start to matter.
A good example of a good headstart (even if it went sour): In my latest game, I started in a corner, and was able to devour two AI empires in quick progression. As a result, during the mid-game, I had about double the Economy of the 2nd ranking player (http://imgur.com/kHMWWyW my empire was at at its peak). However, once the dust of the mid-game settled there were five players left for end-game; a 3-empire alliance, me and my only neighbor, who was busy in real life and my only potential ally. I had to strike him down to get to the rest of the lot (he didn’t have the time to contribute and I had to grow to keep up), and there was no way I could compete with the three remaining players by myself. I tried all the tricks in the book to strike a wedge between their alliance, but I failed, lost the war and placed 4th in the end.
The game left me very frustrated, because about half of the players conceded or went AFK very early, and that included most of the players I had contacted since the beginning. A few days later I didn’t have the energy to make new alliance proposals when it would still have been possible or profitable, and anyway, most of the remaining players had already engaged in some sort of alliances or trade cartels. I also made a blunder by trying to remain neutral when the biggest player by star count was devoured by the end-game alliance… Had I known of the alliance at the time, I would surely have chosen to help the other side - which by the way went AFK a few days after the war started.