Tried something different (Imp1)

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Veneteaou
Posts: 280
Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2012 4:23 am

Tried something different (Imp1)

Post by Veneteaou » Thu Apr 04, 2013 8:48 am

Started a new game today, and decided to see what would happen if I spent as little money on tech upgrades as possible. Some thoughts:

- I was hamstrung by a glitch: when two major powers both hit dark green diplomatic relations at the same time with a minor nation, neither power can successfully invite the MN into their empire. As a result, I didn't have my first colony until about 25 turns past the first AI that did.
- I accidentally forgot to constantly be transporting more food and pumping out a labor force. I reached a point where I couldn't handle all of the resources minor nations wanted to sell me. It's important to have merchant marine for two reasons early:
- Be able to trade with all of your trade consulates; and
- Take everything a favored nation is selling, preventing other major powers from building relations with them.

The latter is very important, because if you can buy every last resource a minor is selling, you don't need to use anything except a 5% subsidy to out-compete other MPs.
- The AI is weak when it comes to invading from sea. Ordune and Kem were both at war with me, and they both had better armies and navies. But, they both always tried to invade the same province in the same turn. With only the military units I started the game with, I was able to repel them both for a good decade or more. I could minimize my military, spend everything on my navy, and then use a victory fleet to blockade their ports until they have no navy or merchant marine and are forced to beg for peace. In the meantime, I've protected my trade vessels by wiping their navies, I've bolstered my trade fleet by capturing theirs, and I'm also turning a profit by capturing their trade goods. Unless a human player shares a border with a major power, there is absolutely no reason in Imp1 to have military units instead of naval units against the AI. This of course is different if the opponents are human.
- I don't like how tundra works. Nations to the extreme north/south on a map will have large amounts of it, and it seems to take up prime terrain estate that would more likely have useful resource tiles in the warmer climates. In our game, we might need to make sure this doesn't happen.

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Trilarion
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Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 9:27 pm
Location: Central germany

Post by Trilarion » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:23 am

These are really important observations. In my current game I also try to take everything a favorite nation is selling but it requires a huge industry. In the Basic 1814 Scenario there is litterally 20 woods and 20 cottons/sheep wools you could buy every turn. (I think 11 wood alone from Sweden.)

Veneteaou
Posts: 280
Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2012 4:23 am

Re: Tried something different (Imp1)

Post by Veneteaou » Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:27 pm

Yeah it can be a hassle. What I end up doing is building and selling just enough finished goods to stay above zero, I don't waste money on building rail (much less depots), and I pour everything I have into merchant marine, labor, and factory capacity. Once I can afford everything just selling clothing and furniture, I stop making hardware and start stockpiling cannon.

Veneteaou
Posts: 280
Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2012 4:23 am

Re: Tried something different (Imp1)

Post by Veneteaou » Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:13 pm

Alright, I started a new game and tried something different (again). I played the heaviest forest island power I could find, and rushed for hamlet ---> village ---> city upgrades as soon as possible. A few notes:

- I'm thinking that it's not economically desirable to collect coal and iron internally, at least not early in the game. When you consider the investment (having to search for and find both, having to mine both, and having to transport both just to make steel), I think it's more economically efficient to focus internally on timber first, on cotton and wool second, and then focus on coal/iron in the trade markets. This way you can build a massive lumber industry, and take your time transporting and stockpiling coal that you don't really need until ironclads hit the world. Think of it this way: The cost of 2 lumber is 4 timber, and the cost of collecting up to 7 timber is a single depot . On NOI difficulty, the cost of 2 steel is 2 coal and 2 iron, and you don't start with a miner.

  • 2 Lumber = 4 Timber = $2000 depot + $100 for each tile of rail
    2 Steel = 2 Coal + 2 Iron = 2x $2000 depot (unless they are close enough to collect with one) + the cost of a Miner + $200 to have them both mined.


- I knew that eventually everyone would declare war on me, and got lucky that a few turns before that happened a major power declared war on one of my favored minors, which joined my empire in return for fighting Haxaco.
- I was able to stockpile lumber: I collect about 28 timber per turn internally, as well as 10+ lumber and 2+ furniture. This means I can fully fund my nation on furniture sales alone, all while stockpiling enough lumber to upgrade buildings and build ships and railcars.
- Having a cranked up industry has made me very resilient against the onslaught. I'm currently at war with 4 nations and I'm able to produce 3 Ships of the Line every 2 turns, which means I'm spanking the crap out of their raiding/invading forces (at this point in the game, I've yet to see them have a naval force larger than 3 ships). This is huge, because I've been at war for several years and they have yet to actually stifle my trade at all.

Generally, I don't make naval groups larger than 12 ships: more than that gets wasted as you sail perfectly healthy ships home to port to repair, and fewer than that can lead to big battles where you lose ships. My first fleet always goes to defense: either protecting my home port or cruising around the coast and beating down invading ships. My second fleet goes straight for my strongest enemy's capital port, where I blockade the shit out of their trade, kill their income/industry, and steal their goods and merchant marine. If they haven't begged me for peace, my third fleet will do the same. Once they crack, I move to the next strongest and so on down the line.

Eventually they will declare war on me again, but it won't matter: I own the seas. My merchant marine and labor force will be measured in hundreds, my factories have the capacity to outproduce any two major powers, and I pump out ships faster than all of my enemies combined. I sail around, bolster my economic and industrial position through piracy, and when I'm ready I start picking off the most valuable ports they have. There will almost always be a major power or two that transport half of their internal resources through engineer-built ports, and I take those. After that, the game is a chore of moving armies and fighting battles to end the game.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

This game brings some interesting questions to the table regarding our project. In Imp1, naval forces were far more valuable than military units: you could bolster industry, hamstring an enemy's industry and trade, and choke them out of competition. Basically, naval units were profitable every turn you had them. At the same time, you needed Naval forces to protect trade and merchant marine just as much as you needed military units to protect your provinces. By comparison, military units drained money and didn't provide any benefit if they weren't actively invading provinces. And since the game on harder difficulties doesn't reward a military expansionist foreign policy, military units are best kept to a defensive minimum until you are ready to invade a nation. But because naval forces are profitable in terms of piracy and controlling trade while a player is at war, there is no incentive to end wars quickly.

The end result? There is almost no reason to build offensive military might instead of naval might until you are ready to conquer the world.

All of the above issues are with the AI: being at war with two nations should be a hopeless fight, but I'm going to slam 4 major powers at the same time in my game. None of these strategies work in multiplayer games, because a human player will figure them out quickly and respond. So we don't need to change the mechanics, we just need to change the AI from doing two things:

- Declaring war together right around the same time; and
- All trying to invade the same province on any given turn.

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