I’ve been playing NP1 & NP2 since the beginning. In NP1, I’d win many times. For as long as NP2 has been out, I’ve been playing it and never won a single game. This was a learning experience and I thought that it would be beneficial to discuss the game play so that others may critique and learn from my experience.
see tl:dr; at bottom
initial strategy key points
- focus on economy & industry, expecting to utilize AI and diplomacy to gain tech
- utilize divide & conquer strategy
- never attack unless the math adds up in my favor
- play the AI off the other players
- utilize circle-pickups to move fleets
The game started like any freebie game, mostly new/non-paid members with me and I think one other paid player. I’d automatically drew a decent position on the North of the map. I had the other paid player immediately to my SE - Totosaurus (Dark Blue) The other experienced player (which I inferred from their stats) was on my SW - PikaPoo (Cyan). I’m the purple player.
The first drop-outs occurred to the far South of the map. Only Mmm3 (Yellow) stuck it out. He and I initially agreed to do some trading. D.Blue, despite me reaching out to him, never said a single word, nor did they advance their infrastructure. They just sorta “turtled-up” yet still made the turn deadline… I have no clue what this person was thinking. Cyan reached out and asked if we could buddy up on tech and take out Mr. Turtle. I said sure.
Red has dropped. D.Blue is just building fleets but never moves. We have a rather small border situation. I had made advances in tech and as agreed with Cyan, I send tech with expectations that he will send back. He doesn’t. I inquire. He doesn’t respond. Ok, dude is on my shit-list. Start militarizing our border. Never talk again with Cyan…oh well.
At this point, I am keeping pace in tech, trading with the Red AI player because he costs the least. I’m also trading with Yellow. At some I decide it is not to my advantage to trade certain tech to Yellow. He had sent an advance on 3 techs. I sent one and refunded the rest explaining that it was not in my favor to do so. He’s miffed but understands. There is an uneasy peace about the situation since he has 2-3 players between us.
Eventually D.Blue is killed off & Cyan goes AI after seeing that I am about to take 2-3 key systems. Now it’s just me and Yellow playing against 6 AI players. I am in the lead by a substantial margin except for Dillypickles (Pink, AI). At this point I reestablish contact with Yellow explaining that the AI will murder us and then some if we don;t team up. He agrees. We tag team Green AI.
Cyan AI is the only AI that really has it out for me. At some point Yellow decides that I’m going to win and he starts feeding Cyan weapons to “slow me down”. No biggie… I did the same thing to him initially by feeding Red AI & Orange AI weapons to slow his expansion early on.
Shit just starts to boggggggg down at this point. I leave all the AI alone and start taking on Yellow directly. It’s slow but eventually he quits. I’m the lone human now. So there are 4 AI players left. Yellow AI(-8), Pink AI(-1), Orange AI(-1), Green AI(-8). All the -8 AIs start trading with each other. I am woefully behind on everything but weapons and manufacturing (what Yellow and I tag teamed when we were buds). At this point I am banking maybe $4000 a pay period. I have a rather long border spanning nearly the whole width of the map. Yellow and I share a large area. Green and Orange are smaller sections in my mid map area. I have 1-2 systems I share with Pink.
I can’t take all 4 players. So i keep Orange AI happy by feeding them enough to get them at a neutral status each pay period. Same with Pink AI. Yellow & Green AIs are a lost cause, gotta slug it out. At some point I have to rethink this. They’re all trading, they’re all buddies, they all have it out for me… wtf do I do? Eventually I reformulate my initial battle plan strategy (above list),
tl:dr; (new strategy)
- must build all 3 infrastructures (especially science)
- quit cherry picking industry updates
- bulk upgrade
- divide & conquer
- play the AI off of each other
- utilize tree-pickups to move fleets
I’ll explain each (in excruciating detail)
all 3 resources & bulk upgrades
Since at some point I must make enemies of all the AIs, I can’t count on them to sell/trade tech to me. Also since they’re all buddies and I only have weapons & manufacturing to offer, I know that trading with a more neutral AI will eventually find that tech in the hands of an aggressive AI player. So I initially build up my Economy… next thing I know I am banking $7500+ per pay period. At this point I can use the bulk update more freely. From hereon, I start just allocating 50% or more to a chosen resource, leaving the rest to the other 2.
cherry picking industry
I’ve never made it this far in a game so I dunno if this is sound strategy or not. Usually in the beginning, I cherry pick which systems I want to upgrade industry on. The thinking is that smaller systems make fewer ships per turn, cost more to upgrade and might not be ideally located near a border. So I’ve just always upgraded systems where I think initial action will take place.
At some point this just doesn’t work. It becomes cost-prohibitive to continue to upgrading the same systems over smaller systems that can contribute. There is a trade-off however in that now you must allocate a carrier for pickup. On limited resources this is a hard choice to make.
play the AI against one another
This was super easy once and not effective at all in another case. Because Green and Orange AI were the 2 weakest players, I wanted to use them as cannon fodder for the other 2 bigger AIs. Green was already pissed at me. I took a system that was relatively close to another of his systems as well as Yellow’s system. After taking it, I waited for Green to try to recapture while also sending fleets against Yellow. Yellow’s response was to counter attack. Green recaptures his system, and Yellow is now incoming. Next thing you know, they are battling it out the rest of the game, albeit Green gets his ass kicked a lot.
I tried this again with Yellow and Pink with much trepidation. At this point, Pink has amassed over 100k ships. He is camping on my border with him with some fleets in excess of 20k ships. My border is now spread completely across the width of the map, sharing it with a mean Yellow, my lil’ buddy Orange (which only has 6 systems) and Pink. Pink hasn’t done combat in this game at this point. He’s cruised along just building up. I try the same strategy but Pink doesn’t bite. For whatever reason, he doesn’t attack Yellow’s system that I used as bait. Instead, he is now -3 and Yellow decides to go ape-shit on systems elsewhere. Use with caution.
The circle pickup thing just wasn’t getting ships to the frontline fast enough. I eventually elected to build warp gates on big systems, and have every single system send a rotating fleet for pick up and delivery. I went from barely scraping by on the frontline to amassing several fleets of 50k ships in key areas. Eventually when I started earning $15k+ per pay period, I was able to build warp gates on all the “leaf” nodes of this tree.
The AI is merciless. Once they team up, you are toast most likely. I about gave up but since I knew I could beat it (I’m a programmer after all) I resolved myself to kicking its ass. If I were to do it over again, I would have tried to play the AIs off each other much earlier.
I noticed that once I was about 3-4 systems away from a win, Pink decides… I am going to just take a few. Yellow also demonstrated that it didn’t like me being so close to the win. 3-4 systems away from a win… the AIs get super aggressive. It was only for the fact I was able to capture 2 of Yellow’s far flung systems and 2 unclaimed turds South of Pink that I won this thing,
I’d love to hear others’ thoughts on this. It may provide some insight on Jay’s plans to revamp the AI system?