May 11, 2010
In Master of Orion for me, at least, the only two races worth playing are the Psilons and the Meklar. The others make interesting opponents, often very challenging opponents, but their racial advantages don't really work as well for me as a player.
But yesterday I wondered if that really was true, so I tried a game as the Silicoids. Playing them really requires a significant change in strategy.
The Silicoid advantages are that they can colonize any kind of planet without any of the advanced Planetology technologies, and they don't care about industrial wastes, so you don't have to research the technologies which reduce technological wastes, and you don't have to apply any production to Eco except when you're terraforming a planet.
The disadvantage, and it's really a big one, is that Silicoid population growth is half that of other races.
The early strategy for the Silicoids is to spread like weeds. When you get a couple of decent planets and start building up, build lots of colony ships and grab just about every planet within reach. More planets means more places to breed people, and you're gonna need them.
My opponents ended up being the Sakkra and the Psilons, just about the most dangerous possible for the Silicoids to face. The Sakkra are the opposite: they breed twice as fast as normal, four times as fast as the Silicoids. And the Psilons have the edge in tech, if they utilize it.
I was playing on a Huge playing field, and I didn't encounter the Psilons for a long time. I had nightmares of them being way ahead of me technologically and also spread like weeds, but it hadn't happened. I couldn't go looking for them, though, because I was caught in a finish fight with the Sakkra, and couldn't really stop.
As the Silicoids, once you find an opponent you've got to kill them off. If you let them alone, they'll out-breed you and then out-everything-else you. All the Silicoid advantages become less and less important as the game continues, and the opposition gain technologies giving them the same things. But your breeding disadvantage continues for the entire game.
I kind of hoped that when I got Atmospheric Terraforming (turn all planets into Gaias) that it would help, but was shocked when it turned out I couldn't use it. If you're the Silicoids, once you have it, it gets ignored. I also got cloning but never even tried it; I bet it wouldn't work either. Besides which, that one comes very late and by that point I didn't need the help.
But through most of the game, most of my planets weren't full. Between shipping colonists to newly-colonized planets, and shipping soldiers to one planet that revolted, and all the cases where I conquered enemy planets, I ended up running behind on bodies all through the game. It was kind of freaky, actually.
Actually, now that I think of it, maybe the Bulrathi would be fun to play. They get a huge advantage in ground combat, and that could be interesting.
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Also, I hate unsolicited suggestions and advice. (Even when you think you're being funny.)
At Chizumatic, we take pride in being incomplete, incorrect, inconsistent, and unfair. We do all of them deliberately.
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