Let's Play Master of Orion Classic: Part 2, Meklars part 2

Welcome back to Let's Play Master of Orion classic. When last we left off, we started the game as Meklars, ran into the Bulrathi, ran into the Guardian of Orion, built a Colony ship we plan to use ASAP, and began research.

Here's how the galaxy map looks right now. While I'm here, let's talk about the other settings on the galaxy map. Right now, we are set to the colonies view, which shows us those little flags, denoting who, if anyone, the planet belongs to.

Here we have the environments view. It still shows the flags, as you see, but also lists planets environmental type. The left half of the map key there is for planets you can colonize by default, the right half for those you need more advanced tech to do so, as well as 'none', as in there is no world in the system to colonize at all.

The letters by each planet mark their environment, corresponding to the map key, of course, while systems we have not explored are replaced by those grey dots.

Lastly, there is the minerals view, which also shows if a world has ancient artifacts on it. Like the environments view, systems we haven't explored show as a grey dot. None of the systems thus far have any of these feature types, so right now there is little point.

But we have nothing else to do in the turn, so we end turn and...

Meet the Meklar scientist. The first time you begin applying research effort to a given field, your scientist pops in to ask which technology you want. This repeats every time you complete your current effort.

In the case of Computer Technology, we only have one choice right now, the ECM Jammer Mark 1. It makes any ship we equip with it harder to hit with missiles. It's not a huge deal, but we'll need to research it to gain access to more advance tech in this case, so we start it, and...

... since we are spreading evenly across all technology fields, he wants to know for the others, moving down the list in a fixed order, thus bringing us to Construction. Reduced Industrial Waste techs pan out to more productivity. Not anything amazing here, but every bit helps, especially since we get more work from factories than usual compared to other factions.


Force Field tech. Only option is Class 2 Deflector Shields. Nothing revolutionary, but we can use it to make our ship designs more resistant to all weapons, should we equip them with such shields.

We move to Planetology, and surprisingly actually have not one, not two, but three options. Tech access is heavily randomized, from the full list you will only be able to research some of the technology and which techs is random. We could have had other options in Computers and Construction, though I'm not sure whether we could have for Force Fields or not, but we simply happen to not have access to the other early techs for those fields.

Still, you tend to get more in the fields you are strong in than the ones you are weak in, so getting three options here, where the Meklar's are weak, and only one option in Computers, where they are strong, is a bit unlikely.

Improved Terraforming +10 allows us to commit Ecological effort to increase the maximum pop cap on any of our worlds by up to 10, for five production points per pop limit. Ecological effort automatically goes in a fixed order, first cleaning up waste, then expanding pop limit if possible, and then cloning up more population units with any remaining effort. Industrial output and defense output works in a similar manner, and there's a couple things we can do with more advanced tech in terms of Ecology work, but that's for later.

Next we have Controlled Barren Environment. That would allow us to design new ships with an improved Colony Module that would allow us to colonize Barren environment worlds. We don't know of any Barren worlds, so I'm skipping that for now.

Lastly within Planetology, we could take Improved Eco Restoration. That'd effectively improve our factory production output, much like the reduced waste production would, in this case by lowering the amount of production burned to clean up the same amount of waste. While that's fairly valuable, I decide to go with Improved Terraforming, due to how small most of our current prospective worlds are.

Propulsion tech, we only have one option. Deuterium Fuel Cells give our ships a range of five. There's a less advanced fuel cell for range 4, but we don't have it yet. This would allow us to range farther out, and we'd even likely gain access to new worlds to colonize.

Even if we had other options, this would be a likely move on my part right now.

At last we come to weapons. Hand Lasers make our colonists better at ground combat. Not much better, but better.

Hyper-V Rockets, which I believe is short for Hyper Velocity Rockets but am not finding confirmation either way skimming the manual, are our Nuclear Missiles bigger, meaner brother. The next step up in missile technology, and valuable enough. They hit harder and travel faster, but we'll talk more about them when I have explained missiles at all.

Lastly, we have Gatling Lasers. They are basically four lasers strapped together, occupying less space than all four would. If we just wanted ships with piles of lasers, this would allow us to make more effective versions of the concept.

Of course, we aren't at war and neither of the ship weapons would even theoretically allow us to fight the Guardian, so for the moment I go to research Hand Lasers, largely because that will take very little time and likely unlock new options.

After getting research settled, we pass the turn and run into the Darloks. Again.

It's a scout. Just like last time. We wait for them to flee, and...

Discover Rhilus, yet another Steppe world.

With that, we have run out of new planets to have our scout explore, so...

I run it off back to Galos. See, like I said before, the AI will always retreat their unarmed ships from combat, even against unarmed ships. Colony Ships are generally unarmed, and so just parking a scout in orbit will stop everyone else from colonizing it unless they bring an armed escort. Or arm their Colony Ships, which the AI does eventually. It's not much use, but the scout ship is so tiny we aren't paying any maintenance on it, so we may as well.

You can, barely, see yellow in the light bulbs of the Computers and Weapons tech sections. That marks the degree of research progress as a rough percentage. Naturally, since the Computer and Weapons techs we picked have relatively low costs, they are the proportionately farthest along.

We pass the turn, and...

I decide to point out our Colony Ship Maintenance. Well, and the spy network cost, too. The yellow number is the amount of Production available to the world for it's own use, the green number is the total the world is producing. The difference of thirteen is from a mix of maintaining our fleets and funneling resources into the spy network, right now.

I pass a turn...

And our Colony Ship makes it. Zhardan is officially ours.

This time, I took the screenshot while the astronaut was marching out, rather than after he had planted the flag, for some variety.

Anyways. I immediately send 14m colonists from Vigaroe...

And 4m from Nordia to help get Zhardan up to speed.

Due to spy network investment rounding up to the nearest whole number, note that it's not actually building any factories because it doesn't actually have any production right now. So we'll have to wait for the colonists to arrive. Also present here, is that I went to the next turn and you can see a fleet coming from each world, since I sent some transports from each.

Next turn, and the transports are closer.

I also check on the Bulrathi. No spy report yet, but they have an Alliance with the Darloks, so they are, in fact, in contact with them.

Still one turn to go before our first spy exists.

Pass another turn, and...

Voila. Colonists on Zhardan and productivity exists.

And since my spies exist now, I check on them. They have no technology yet.

So I go back, note my spy is already dead, and decide to cancel my spying program for now. It's a waste of resources, so I slide the slider down...

And go from allocating 2% of my resources to 0. We'll come back to spying on them at some point, but knowing there is nothing to steal gives me no reason to keep it up for now.

I also happen to observe that the Bulrathi now have two Colony Ships orbiting Moro.

Then I check on my tech. You can see the Weapons light bulb is now basically full, the Planetology one not far behind, and everything else at least partly filled up. Except Computers, which has changed to a percentage.

Time to explain: research is somewhat complicated.

Okay, so not only are we splitting between different fields, but within a field, we get both the research progress we are actually investing, and also an 'interest' value on the research, which according to the manual is the lower of what we invested the same turn and 15% of the total. So if we had a hundred points invested towards the tech, we could get up to 15 such extra points, but only if we were spending at least that much that turn. If we were spending less, we'd get interest only equal to whatever we put in on that turn. If we are investing no research points in a given turn, we outright start backsliding, while I am at it.

Then we come to the light bulb: At the point at which you have invested a technologies listed price in research effort, you have a percent chance to actually get the tech each turn. This is based on how far past that price you have invested. For a technology that costs 100 RP on the face of things, you have a 1% chance at 101 RP, a 2% chance at 102 RP, and on till you get a 100% chance at 200 RP. The percent chance corresponds to the percentage of that base price you are past research it, so scientific breakthroughs are somewhat random, occurring at anywhere from 100% of the base price +1 point, to 200% of the base price (at which point it is guaranteed to happen that turn).

Once the light bulb is filled up, we're at the point where we have a chance of a breakthrough. That 13% is us having a thirteen percent chance this turn of completing the tech, and if we don't, well, we'll have better odds the next time.

All that said, I continue on...

And in another turn or so, we get the breakthrough. (Having just been doing it, I couldn't tell you exactly how many turns I passed, apologies.)

So now our scientist wants to know what next. ECM Jammer Mark 2 is just the bigger, meaner version of what we just researched.

We'll be going with the Battle Computer Mark 3, which will allow us to make our ships more accurate, if we so choose.

We check in, and see that we can, any turn now, get a weapons tech breakthrough.

Pass a turn or so...

And meet the Darloks. Hostile fellow, isn't he.

So we check the galaxy map, and... Centauri is Darlok held. That's probably how we are in contact with them...

This implies they have those fuel cells we are researching, given they are five parsecs out from our nearest colony. Or I suppose they could have a more advanced one, but I doubt it.

Then I check on the Darloks. He's a Xenophobic Technologist. The former means he hates everyone, taking mechanically twice the offense from anything that is considered diplomatically negative, while the positive effects of positive diplomatic effects he is half as pleased by as other leaders.

The latter means he tries to research constantly, with no particular focus.

So, let's talk about the Darloks, since I have met them. The Darloks are master spies, being shapeshifters. They have a better chance of successfully spying on other empires, with any kind of spy actions, and a better chance of catching everyone else's spies. They are good at researching Computer technology, and normal at every other field.

Also, they have bad diplomatic relationships with nearly everyone. They default dislike you as the AI, and if you play the Darloks almost everyone default dislikes you.

For now, I don't bother to spy on them. Like I said, they have really good odds of catching your spies, killing them and stopping them from doing successfully spywork.

Anyways, time passes...

A turn or two later, and I see I now also have a chance of a Planetology breakthrough.

More turn passing, and...


Whenever you make a Terraforming breakthrough, the game asks if you want to increase the ecology ratios at all your colonies. If you accept, it adjusts the ratios of all your planets for you. I do so to save effort, going with the +25% rate.

And then I'm informed we have invented hand lasers. Same turn, by chance.

Our scientists, of course, want new orders. The first two I covered earlier. Controlled Tundra Environment is like Controlled Barren, except the resultant module extends your options out to Tundra. The more advanced Colony Modules are tiered: Controlled Tundra can do everything Controlled Barren can do and more.

Improved Terraforming +20 is exactly like +10, except it allows us to go out to 20 more population. That's over the base, it supplants Improved Terraforming +10, it does not stack.

Controlled Dead Environment is the next tier of Controlled Environments after Tundra. It covers the same job, but even more so. Still, just like with Barren, we don't know of any Tundra or Dead worlds, so in the end I go with Improved Eco Restoration.

Then it is time for weapons research. I covered Hyper-V Rockets and Gatling Lasers earlier, so I don't need to go over them again. Hyper-X Rockets are the next tier after Hyper-V Rockets, in terms of Missiles. They hit harder and are more accurate. Theoretically, we could kill the Guardian with them, but the fleet size needed would be simply unreasonable.

Next is Fusion Bombs. They're the next step up from Nuclear Bombs. They'd be desirable for taking planets, but are not immediately relevant.

Then we have Ion Cannons. They are basically bigger Lasers, hitting significantly harder. They are a major step up, and I decide to research them, even though it will be quite awhile before we finish researching them.

Anyways. Now that we have Improved Terraforming, we take a look at our worlds. Not that the pop max is now 'pop 100+ max'. This denotes that we can do further terraforming of this world with our current technology. Likewise, the T-Form listing under Ecology is because we are currently doing terraforming of the world.

I decide to grab a screenshot of Nordia...

And Zhardan, while I'm at it.

I pass the turn...

And we can now see Vigaroe has 106 max pop. Terraforming in action. We can also see the Eco listing is +1 POP, which means we'll not only finish terraforming it next turn but produce a pop unit while we are at it.

Zhardan, meanwhile, hasn't finished any terraforming. Still 55 max pop. Also visible is a Darlok scout fleet heading for the system the Bulrathi still have a fleet parked in.

Next turn...

Vigaroe is terraformed to the limits of our technology, and now has a predicted +2 pop from ecological effort.

I pop over to Nordia and we can see it has made progress on terraforming.

And Zhardan has now raised its max pop by one.

Anyways. With Vigaroe fully terraformed, I unlock the Ecological bar and lock the Tech bar to redirect the extra work into building more factories. While raising the population isn't worthless, 'building' pop units that way is inefficient, and natural pop growth will fill it up sooner or later on its own. Meanwhile, we need a lot more factories to be done with that.

Move to the next turn...

And Nordia is now one off from max terraforming. In other news the Darlok fleet has nearly arrived.

Here I start doing something I probably should have been doing the whole time, if only to track the passage of turns. Taking screenshots of what happens when I hit next turn. You get this little zoomed out view for a moment, and all ship icons we know of make their moves. Unlike a lot of turn based games, turns in Master of Orion are simultaneous.

I'll probably not be showing all the screenshots I take of such, like I said, part of the point is to let me track the turns.

Nordia now has finished terraforming, unsurprisingly.

So we switch it to going all in, or as much as we can given pollution, anyways, on more factories. Like I said earlier, creating population via ecological effort is not a great idea, at least if we aren't going into major ground warfare.

Also, note the two fleets in orbit over here.

If I'm not mistaken, this is a consequence of them being allies. The AI will fight each other, but as I recall with an alliance they can coexist like this. We'd be able to do the same with allies.

Next turn...

And I decide to start up spying programs on both my neighbors. While the Darloks are more difficult to spy on, it's still worth doing if only to learn what tech they have.

Next turn... This screenshot is particularly dark because the screen was fading to black to accommodate a transition.

To a Galactic News Network report. This robot shows up making news reports, revealing information about the galaxy we might otherwise lack. In this case he's telling us of relative fleet strengths. Naturally, our lone scout puts us in last, but we can infer from this that the Mrrshan and Psilon empires are probably at least as large as the Bulrathi, and the Humans... Well, they probably have one, maybe two planets.

While fleet strengths won't map directly to empire size, there is a correlation, loose as it may be.

Next turn...

And I note that Nordia finally has enough factories that I am actually benefiting from the Meklar advantage. 132 Factories is more than 2 per citizen here.

It's quite the productive little world, at this point.

Anyways. I check on our research, and Force Fields is at the point of potential breakthrough right now.

Next turn...

And the turn after that...

And another turn beyond... Note that when I say things like 'three turns later', I generally mean I'm skipping showing you this, which is the screenshot version of my actual experience. One of the nice things about Master of Orion as contrasted against most 4x games is you don't have a ton of busy work. When nothing interesting happens in a turn, you generally can simply hit the end turn button and be fine. For the most part, if there is something to respond to, you will see it or be informed of it.

And I check on my spies. The mouse icon has switched to that 'who' because I clicked report. You then click the empire you want info on to get to the report screen.

The Bulrathi now have Deep Space Scanners, which is a tech I didn't have available and quite the nice one, so even aside it's status as a computer tech, I'll want to keep at the spying game on them to get it. Deep Space Scanner is the first in a series of techs that allow us to detect fleets from farther and farther away. Knowing where the ships are helps us respond effectively to enemy military action.

The Darloks, meanwhile, have both Hydrogen and Deuterium Fuel Cells over us. They also have Hand Lasers.

Incidentally, at this point I realized what is probably up with the mystery of the Centauri system vanishing from my view. See, the thing is that the AI is completely obsessive about launching ground invasions on any enemy system they have ships in orbit of. So what probably happened is that a Darlok scouting ship dropped by Centauri, they found a colony there, and immediately flooded out an army of troops and took it from the Bulrathi. Then they sat there for awhile, one assumes, and finally developed Deuterium Fuel Cells to thus enter contact with me.

Regardless, those fuel cell techs would be useful, so I'm gonna keep up spying on the Darloks as well for now.

Also, at some point the Darlok/Bulrathi alliance ended.

I also take a look and see that Vigaroe has gotten to the point of benefiting from the Meklar advantage as well. Starting to really benefit from the Meklar's industrial potential.

Three turns later...

The Darloks declare war on us, blaming me. I think I know what happened.

Yep. My spy on the Darloks is gone. They probably caught him in the act and took offense. The Darloks aren't very friendly in the first place, and with a Xenophobic leader that only gets worse. Note that the Diplomat Gone message means we can't currently talk to them of our own volition. This happens when they declare war, but we can also potentially piss them off other ways.

Speaking of pissing them off, note the red to green gradient bar thing in each empires box. It marks how that empire feels about us. Darloks used to be unfriendly, but now they outright hate us. The Bulrathi remain neutral toward us.

Our current report shows they probably indeed caught me this turn. Otherwise, the report would be a year or more old.

One of the perils of spying is the risk of pissing off other empires but honestly, it's generally worth doing anyways.

Meanwhile, the Bulrathi have invented a new construction tech I want. Improved Industrial Tech is a series of techs that lower the construction costs of factories to whatever number. So with Improved Industrial Tech 9 we'd need to spend 9 BCs per factory, instead of the base of ten. Given the Meklar's high limit on factories, this is desirable, to say the least.

At any rate. With the Darloks declaring war on us, I feel the need to get some missile bases up.

Before that, I notice that the Bulrathi and Darloks are both still in orbit over here, even though they are no longer allies. So apparently I wasn't entirely right. Perhaps it's because they are both unarmed.

Not sure what to make of that, really. Regardless, to business.

I adjust Vigaroe's ratios to get a missile base in five years...

And do the same for Nordia. Well, actually, I do this:

'MAX' on the Industry prediction tells us it will have the maximum number of factories the current population can man. Given that it's at max pop, that'd be getting to the current maximum on factories.

Zhardan, I adjust to actually get to terraforming again. It doesn't need a missile base, too far out for the Darloks to attack.

Pass the turn...

And viola, Nordia hits it's max factories. The game automatically adjusts to send all that industry effort into tech. This screen comes up whenever you hit max factories.

Given that, I go and...

Adjust Vigaroe to do more factory building. Nordia is covering some of the tech shortfall, and Vigaroe needs a lot more factories in the end.

Move to the next turn...

And we get our tech breakthrough. So. Let's talk about missile bases. Missile Bases have fifty hit points base, which is right in the middle between the various available ship sizes. Your missile bases are automatically equipped with Battle Scanners, and the best Deflector Shields, Battle Computers, ECM Jammers, Missiles, and Armors you have unlocked.

Missiles on Missile Bases have extended range and unlimited ammo, and the Missile Base carries exactly three launchers, thus firing three missiles each combat turn.

Critically, beam and torpedo weapons, which covers everything other than missiles and bombs, do half damage, rounded down, with the halving applying before shields flat reduction, to planetary targets. This means, thanks to our brand new Class 2 Deflector Shields, that our Missile Bases are now completely immune to ordinary lasers and heavily resistant to both Nuclear Missiles and Heavy Lasers. This is why I want a missile base on each planet. They are extremely efficient, especially against ships that aren't equipped to specifically take them on.

Anyways, back to research. Our only option is Personal Deflector Shields, which makes our ground troops better. We start on researching it, naturally.

I check on our tech and note that we can get both propulsion and construction breakthroughs any turn now.

I also note that our Force Fields are tech level four. Lemme explain that. Each technology has a tech level it's considered to be, which impacts when it becomes available, but also directly contributes to your tech level. Your tech level in each field is 80% the tech level value of your most advanced tech, +1 more per every tech you own. So our Force Fields tech has jumped up a few tiers because we researched a more advanced system.

Tech level causes cost reduction and miniaturization, reducing the space used on your ships, for systems in the same field. Additionally, computer tech level directly improves your ability to spy and achieve internal security against spies, and planetology tech level will increase the productivity of our workers. Construction tech level raises the available space on our ships. As I recall, propulsion and force fields have no such bonus benefits, while weapons tech increases your ability to sabotage enemy colonies.

Check on the Darloks, and note they are now allied with the Psilons. Which means they are in contact with them.

I'm guessing the Psilons are somewhere off in this direction given that fact, but I am not strictly sure.

Anyways, I pass another three turns, and...

Get Deuterium Fuel Cells. Excellent. I can now access the Darlok systems without fighting through the Bulrathi, and have access to some of those habitable worlds I saw that are still unoccupied.

Our options for next propulsion tech are Nuclear Engines, and Inertial Stabilizers. I go straight for Nuclear Engines. Engines do a few different things. First of all, they directly control the strategic speed of your ships. A ship with Nuclear Engines moves two parsecs a turn, which would mean doubling the speed we traverse the map. Secondly, they cap combat maneuverability. You have to raise the combat mobility as an additional space and resource cost, but it can't exceed the engine. A ship with a higher combat mobility is harder to hit with all weaponry, and also moves faster in combat. Though the speed is not one to one.

Our other option, Inertial Stabilizers, is the Nuclear Engines combat oriented cousin. We could equip it to ships to make them harder to hit and faster moving, but only in combat. It's definitely useful, and I'll want it eventually, but it is not a priority.

Anyways, our planets now have missile bases. Well, except Zhardan. Like I was outlining earlier, this makes them fairly secure against current possible enemy fleets, barring large numbers of bombers. So I change both Vigaroe and Nordia away from missile base production.

Since I have those fuel cells, I task Nordia to make a Colony Ship for more landgrabbing.

Vigaroe, meanwhile, is covering research and trying to get it's factories up to speed.

Pass three turns...


And get a new Galactic News Network report. The Darloks have moved from fourth to second in fleet strength, and otherwise everyone's relative positions are the same. The Psilons and Bulrathi lost a spot each, of course, because the Darloks are now ahead of both, but it's the same otherwise.

Pass two more turns, and...

Our construction tech finishes.

Since our factories produce less waste now, the game asks if we'd like to reduce the ratios to the new minimum. I take the option, because getting Zhardan terraforming again will be less effort than telling both Nordia and Vigaroe to stop the excess spending.

Anyways, we have two options now. Improved Industrial Tech 8 is just the next step in improved Industrial tech. I neglected to grab a screenshot, but it's not terribly interesting.

Duralloy Armor is the second tier of armor. It makes our Transport Ships and Missile Bases tougher, and can, for a fairly negligible price, be added to our military ships for a 50% increase (rounded down) to those ships health. Not only that, but it raises the strength of all our ground forces for free.

Armor techs are generally a priority, given that wide spread of benefits. So I go straight for that.

Then I send our newly constructed Colony Ship off to Rhilus.

End the turn...

And the Bulrathi decide they want a chat. When the AI wants something from you, the dialogue is pretty flattery filled.

As to what they want?

Trade. I accept, against my better judgement. Trade is a bit silly. Basically, we can agree to perform trade with them, with the value being no more than 25% the empire wide production of the smaller empire. The trade routes then take time to set up. At first, we'll have a negative trade effect, equal to 30% the agreed upon value, and then it will randomly improve by 0-5% of the deals value each turn. The manual says you usually won't turn a profit till 10-12 turns have passed. Once you get out the hole, it becomes a positive value. Both players suffer and benefit the same, and the trade bonus or penalty is split proportionately between our worlds. That is, a world generating half our empires total production would carry half the bonus or penalty, one producing a tenth our production one tenth, and so on.

The AI likes you more if you are trading with them, but like I said it takes awhile to pay off, and I'm still spying on them. If the AI declares war, the trade is immediately off. So this is probably throwing production in a hole.

But then, I'm the Meklars. I have production to spare. I can probably get away with this.

End that turn...

And the next...

Note I'm still building Colony Ships. I should have access to Galos after taking Rhilus.

And then our Planetology research completes.

I decided it wasn't worth a screenshot, but like with Reduced Industrial Waste, this asks if we want to reduce Ecological effort empire wide.

We gained no new technology options compared to last time. I decide to grab Controlled Barren Environment just because it will be significantly quicker than other options and none of these are exceptionally urgent.

End the turn...

And finish that second Colony Ship. I don't want a third, so...

Welcome to the ship design screen. It starts out with a scout ship design in a new game, but remembers whatever you last had it set to each time you access it.

Computer is a drop down menu for Battle Computers. Shield is the same, but for Deflector Shields. ECM is the same, but for Missile Jammers. Armor is the same, but for armors. Engine is the same, but for engines. Manuever is the same, but for combat maneuverability. The ones in the brighter colors could be raised to a higher tier, the ones in darker colors could not.

Note that we have armor options, therefore. Every tier of armor tech can be applied in a 'material type II' version (eg titanium II), which eats more space but has half again (rounded down) the normal hit points for that tier.

The four weapon slots are for different weapon types. As we saw with the Guardian, a ship can have up to four different weapons. A ship design can also have up to 99 weapons of a type in each of the four slots, provided it has the space for the job. In principal, you could make a ship with 396 of the same type of weapon, if you so desired, as while all weapons in a slot have to be the same, the different slots don't need to have different weapons.

The three special slots are for assorted special systems, including, but not limited to, Reserve Fuel Tanks, Colony Modules, Battle Scanners, and Inertial Stabilizers. While such systems use space, you also can never have more than three different ones in a single ship design.

Then we get to ship sizes. You have four. At a baseline before various modifications kick in, small ships have 3 HP, 40 tons of total space, cost 6 BC, and have a +2 to their defense compared to the expected value for the engines and other systems. Hence why this has 3 defense.

Medium ships have 18 HP, 200 tons of total space, cost 36 BC, and have +1 to their defense.

Large ships have 100 HP, 1000 tons of total space, cost 200 BC, and have the expected defense.

Huge ships have 600 HP, 5000 tons of total space, cost 1200 BC, and have -1 to their defense.

This is all the baselines, mind you, and a lot of it is misleading. Because you cannot remove engines and armor, you always have less space than technically available. You can see our small ships technically have 44 tons of total space, as I said previously Construction tech level raises the space by a percentage. And several, but not all, systems including special systems actually cost more and use more space when installed in larger ships.

In general, at a baseline you tend to want to go with smaller ships, but special systems and weapons mess with that.

I zero out the design with the clear button, and we are left with this. Like I said, even though there's nothing on it we can remove, we have 43 available space out of the 44 total.

Because, however, of the fact that basically all we can do with small ships right now is 'fighter with next to nothing other than a single laser', I'm going for a medium design.

Here's why I wanted to go for a medium ship. Class two shields.

While we could load them on a small ship, for less cost, space, and power cost, as you can see by the lights going off, we can't actually load any weapons on it in that case.

Oh, I should explain size vs power. The size of the system is how much space it uses, the power forces the ship to equip more engines, chewing up more space that way. The distinction mostly matters because of miniaturization. Engines are miniaturized under Propulsion awhile other systems miniaturize with their own fields, naturally. The space value is the actual total space cost, while size is how much we are technically commiting to the device itself as opposed to engines.

Anyways, here's the final design I settle on. Class two shields will make these disproportionately resistant to damage this early, while the mark 1 battle computer and four lasers will make them fairly lethal. I name it laserboat and pick a ship icon I like, and we have our first real warship design.

I go to tell Nordia to build some of those, to escort our Colony Ship when we have access to Galos. The '3' in the ship box tells us how many ships will be built each turn, in the event the ships are being built in a year or less. Well, I should say how many will be build next turn. If we were building two and a half a turn it would alternate between two and three.

Then I decide to send my scout off to check that world we will have access to soon, planning to use military force if either the Darloks or Bulrathi do go to Galos.

Next turn, and we colonize Rhilus.

Here we have a screenshot of the colony ship coming down, rather than it being landed. The name box appears after it lands.

This is after the landing gear folds out, which is a neat animation but wouldn't come across well in screenshot form.

Colonizing Rhilus put us in contact with the Mrrshan, who talk a big game to go with their big fleet.

Unrelatedly, the Bulrathi abruptly declare war on us.

I'm not worried.

Then we finally get to the new turn screen. We got three laserboats, but this turn it predicts only one. Probably right at the edge of costs.

Note that effort invested into ship production is retained until a ship is actually built, and can be funneled to a new design at will. So what happened here is we probably got some spill over from constructing a Colony Ship, and then got more than a turn's worth of effort going into making three laserboats, and now are at a number where we get one and some fraction of a second this turn.

This turn is just full of interruptions. Zhardan finished Terraforming, and also got to it's max pop at some point. So all it's effort got redirected to industry.

Behold, the mighty Mrsshan star empire. I'm not impressed. Fierias is the Mrrshan homeworld, and Klystron is some random world they took. That's their entire empire, though. Mrrshan are formidable in space combat. They have a +4 to their ships accuracy, making them significantly more deadly, especially against lighter ships that depend heavily on dodging to reduce damage, and have excellent weapons tech, causing them to tend to have advanced weapons. They are poor in construction tech, leading to often poorer industry and more fragile ships, relatively.

Still, we can expect them to win against equally large fleets of equally quality ships as a rule. However, as the Meklar, we have a massive advantage in industry, and can likely bury them in numbers if it comes to it.

Moving on...

The Darloks invented Ion Cannons while I wasn't looking. They are also back to being allied with the Bulrathi.

The Mrrshan have neither friends nor foes. We don't know their tech, yet, but we do now their leader is a Ruthless Technologist. Ruthless leaders are highly aggressive and see nothing wrong with throwing away fleets and colonists as long as it lets them win, and Technologists try to keep a tech edge.

In any event, we start trying to spy on them, too. I want to know what tech they have, and try to steal it while I'm at it. I'd stop trying to spy on the Darloks, but Ion Cannons are a big deal, so I'd like to try to snag those.

Also seen here; the Bulrathi still hate us less than the Darloks, even having declared war themselves.

Lastly for this update, I send the Colony Ship and escort of laserboats off to take Galos. Offscreen, I ordered some colonists from each existing world off to Rhilus. 20 from Vigaroe, 10 from Zhardan, and 5 from Nordia.

Next time, we'll try to colonize Galos and then deal with waging war and trying to hold our newest acquisitions.


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