Gnerphk Goes Psychic: Production Queue Predictions

Look, we all know this subject is going to take place in the comments and dominate the Nu’s feed. Since no amount of discouragement is apt to eliminate this speculation — and, more to the point, since this speculation is absolutely essential to the process of creating future strategies and production tactics for use in the new system, I’m addressing it here so we can categorize the responses.

Please bear in mind that this article is entirely non-authoritative and subjective.

Purest Irresponsible Speculation: What’s Likely To Happen To Race Balance Under PQ

Overall:

  1. Fewer SDSFs will be built leading up to the Ship Limit.
  2. There will be increased starbase production in order to mine the 2 PP award pre-limit.
  3. Some players will continue to build massive ships like the Merlin for future PP mining; however, it should be observed that increased starbase production will also demand additional Merlins.
  4. Native populations, especially prime Avian, Insectoid, and Bovinoid, will become more valuable.
  5. Some players will build ships with lower tech both before and after the limit due to the randomized queue.
  6. It is probable that the Ship Limit will be reached in a much later turn than in PBP games; as a result, it becomes likely that game length will be extended.
  7. Massive fleet battles and continual combat become far more likely.

Federation: The Fed Super Refit mission becomes even more valuable than it presently is due to local cash shortages during the period immediately following the Limit. The Fed tax advantage is more valuable; the Fed mineral disadvantage is more crippling; Fed Merlins are more necessary. Late game, Fed priority builds continue to be essential, but the +1PP cost hurts them more than it will carrier races. Diplomacy, therefore, becomes even more necessary to any Federation victory.

Lizards: The Lizard ground assault bonus when used to cloak-drop-capture an enemy starbase fails to steal PP from the opponent, which reduces the relative advantage slightly. The economic advantages conferred by Hissssssing and mining bonuses become far more valuable. Late-game recycling of Hisssssers is less valuable, and the increased point cost of ships puts the lightweight Lizard fleet at a greater disadvantage late-game. Lizards, therefore, will need to be highly successful in the mid-game in order to prosper.

Bird Men: I see no advantage to the Bird Men under the new system except for the PP award for destroying starbases. We’ll see more low-end ships and Ressies, fewer Dark Wings. Overall, I predict the Birds will be at a late-game disadvantage.

Fascists: The primary Fascist weapon, the Glory Device, has lost much of its utility and power. However, the delayed ship limit will grant a moderate early superiority, and the starbase PP award will help as well. It should be noted that the Fascist fast-beam advantage will likely be active in all PQ games, that the Fascist Pillage mission is of great utility already, and that Fascist ground-immunity is tremendously powerful to any Fascist with carrier access.

Privateers: The Privateers, as before, will need to jam the queue to survive; under the PQ, this will be harder since fewer players will be aiding them in this effort. Gravitonic ships gain additional value as logistics tools. They will be at a PP disadvantage. However, since traditional Privateer power comes from the resources of other players, this is of less importance than to any other race. Privateers will need more skill to succeed under the PQ.

Cyborg: Superior Cyborg logistics will work greatly to their advantage in the mid-game; however, if the Cyborg fails to take proper advantage of his natives, the early game may become even more difficult than it now is under a reduced mineral setting. The PQ differences are of relatively little moment to the Cyborg, but the differences in standard builds can be a major advantage.

Crystals: Just like the Privateers, the Crystals will find it harder to jam the queue. This system will put them at a disadvantage, and a Crystal player will require more skill to win.

Evil Empire: The Super Star Destroyer steals no PP by drop-capturing starbases. As well, the lack of useful variety in Empire ships makes the PQ difference less important. However, classic Imperial logistics problems will become slightly more crippling given the new build queue. If the Empire can last to the end-game, the Gorbie’s superiority will weigh more heavily, but it will be far less likely to last. Automatic fighter construction will be one of the few saving graces of the Empire.

Robots: Robot logistical problems will increase; however, the Robot minelaying and fighter-building advantages will become more valuable in proportion. Little substantial change is anticipated.

Rebels: The Falcon becomes a paramount development tool, nearly as powerful as a Firecloud and arguably more so than a Gravitonic vessel. The logistical advantages conveyed by this and by fighter-building will be tremendously useful. The PQ differences will decrease the overall value-for-cost ratio of midsized Rebel ships. However, planetary immunity and the Rebel Ground Assault will gain in relative value.

Colonies: The Cobol, fighter minesweeping and shipboard fighter-building gain tremendously in value. PQ changes decrease the value-to-cost ratio of the rest of the fleet, however, and that reduces the relative effectiveness of isolated Virgos. Greater skill will be required in the endgame.

Conclusion

In general, I predict the Crystals, Privateers, and Fascists will suffer disproportionately under the new system. The Federation, Bird Men, Lizards, and Evil Empire will be at a slight disadvantage. The fighter-building races, the Robots, Rebels, and Colonies, will all have varying advantages. The Cyborg has the greatest potential for advantage but must be played with even greater attention to detail. All races will require adaptation and, until the system is fully documented, a much higher level of skill to prosper in the PQ system.

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6 thoughts on “Gnerphk Goes Psychic: Production Queue Predictions

  1. I’m stealing Andy44’s thought from the Feed: “An interesting thought. If PPs can be accumulated and the builds controlled by the ‘PBx’ friendly code, this gives the Birds an enormously powerful weapon of being able to force builds using super spy (and potentially waste people’s PPs).”

  2. I would like to hear of this Fascists’ early superiority a bit more, what do you mean?

  3. There are two aspects to the PQ change that weigh in here. The first is the high level of effectiveness of comparatively low-tech Fascist ships, as follows:
    D7: the cloaking workhorse, especially with Fascist troop drops
    D19B: the popper
    Ill Wind: fast-beam anti-carrier paint scratcher
    Deth Specula: solid all-around ship

    Even the Victorious, often considered more a heavy battlecruiser than a light battleship, has a very inexpensive cost in terms of minerals.

    The PQ will be employed exclusively in low-mineral games. Since the Fascist can create an effective fleet with a low cost per vessel, during that phase of the game in which the ship number is not limited by count but rather by the number of effective starbases, a solid Fascist player will be able to create effective large-number fleets at a time when most other players will be unable to mount an effective defense. This is the present Fascist advantage in such games, and with the longer projected period pre-limit, the Fascist will be able to function aggressively for a much longer time.

    The difficulty, of course, is the invalidation of the popper as an offensive weapon in the end game. That is crippling.

    However, I project that with proper diplomacy, fortunate positioning, and a high level of aggression, a skilled Fascist player should be able to have such a massive reserve of PP at the Limit that this will matter far less. Proper diplomacy, of course, is the trump card; I project even the most skillful Fascist facing competent opponents will plateau near 100 planets without aid from a Colonist, Robot, Rebel, Crystal, Cyborg, Empire, or Federation ally.

    “Fortunate positioning”, of course, is vital; it means in this instance not being forced to attack a Federation, Crystal or Robot in the early game or a Cyborg or Lizard in the mid-game. (Others will have other definitions of this.)

    The key aspect is low minerals coupled with the lower PP cost of Fascist warships relative to the price of effective warships of other races. Bear in mind, this change cripples almost every race made save the Borg. It eviscerates my own primary methods of wide-ranging high logistic construction. But the Fascists, from a straight combat standpoint, are slightly less crippled — meaning that only the PP return from Glories keeps this from being a beneficial change.

  4. thank you. it appears i see the whole early Fascists aggression completely different way. however i do not have experience on fast beams yet.

  5. That’s key, though in truth the Ill Wind has always been a major annoyance to a carrier race. I very much doubt that it will make much of a difference for a very fast Fascist, but close to the Limit, of course, the difference will be vast.

  6. Reminder per J-Zan: Both the Crystals and the EE have access to gunboats, which work nicely in the early game as queue jammers.

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