Inventive Dingo forums

Mayhem Intergalactic => General Mayhem => Topic started by: flap on July 24, 2011, 08:13:12 pm

Title: Strategies discussion
Post by: flap on July 24, 2011, 08:13:12 pm
Lads, now that we play since a few years, I think that it would be high time to discuss of Mayhem Intergalactics strategies.  ;D

Well, on my side I have only played alone against the AI, but at least I have developed some strategies which make playing against it particularly easy.

Gathering knowledge
A fun part with the game is that we have very little information about the enemy. However, data gathering is crucial to plan correctly our invasions and to survive !

Data available
It took me some time to realise that we do nevertheless have a lot of information about other players :
- When clicking a planet, we know how ships are being produced
- For every battle, even if you are not being involved, we see the number of ships involved for every player. The reports tells how many survived.
So basically, if you were carefully noting all these numbers, you would know for every player how many ships have been created, and how many have died. And thus, the size of their army. I reckon, I have never really done it. But there still is some interesting information to be gathered there : if you see a giant battle early in the game, involving tens and tens of ships from both sides, you can guess that both player might be left quiet weakened in that region.

Even more useful : whenever there is a fight somewhere, you know how many ships survived. Thus, it is very easy and relatively cheap to send 1 ship every turn to every neighbouring enemy planets. Once you keep the flow of ships going, you can easily follow what is going on, even if you are sending them from far away.

That monitoring would let you know the number of ships on those planets, and thus let you plan your invasion (taking into account the creation of new ships). And if you continuously monitor a planet, you will also be able to know if a massive fleet has been launched from that planet.

(By the way, a new "scan" button to have the planet automatically send 1 ship every turn to another would be pretty useful, Chris  ;) )

Conquering planets

Conquering neutrals
This is the easiest thing to plan : every turn, they will add 2 ships to their population. So, when turn 13 has just finished (you can read that on the report, to the left), and a neutral planet is 3 turns away, there will be (13+3)*2= 32 ships when you arrive. So if you send 40 ships, you should be pretty safe (unless the enemy is sending some at the same time). Note that neutrals are growing much slower than enemy players (for a player, the minimum would be 5 ships/turn), but every ships stay on the planet. So it is sometimes easier to conquer enemy planets (especially if you use the technique described just below)

Cheap conquest
The computer is using a very poor strategy (sorry Chris...) : when it is attacking, it sends every armies; leaving the planet unprotected. That is bad, because ship production is done after the fights. And thus when  scanning enemy planets, you are very likely to conquer some planets at a low cost : losing 9 battles with 1 ship, but conquering 1 planet, is much more efficient that conquering that planet with 60 losses during a terrible battle (however, be aware that in first case, a strong enemy fleet is probably travelling somewhere...)

Planning attacks
You have been scanning a planet, and now you want to attack it. Don't forget that every turn, new ships will be built on your target planey. Take that into account when you send your ships. Especially if there are a few turns of travel (I like huge maps with few planets, so it happens often to me). If you have regularly scanned that planet, you might have noticed that the population doesn't increase as quick as ships production would allows : it might regularly send ships to another destination. You might take that into account, but be aware that this behaviour might change, or it might receive some huge supply. So when I can afford it, I tend to send more than what would be required. When I can't, I use the "Cheap conquest" by keeping sending 1 ship every turn. Just in case it decides to leave...

Coordinating attacks
Okay, there is that planet with a massive enemy army lying there. You have to send armies from very far away. There are different ways to bring them (see "moving armies"). But one solution could be to send packet of armies from different directions. While playing those huge maps I like, I sometimes send armies from a planet 5 turns away. I know that it will not be enough (population would have grown on that planet by the time these ships would have arrived). But I have some other planets much closer (3 turns away, or even 2 turns away). Those don't really have enough ships yet, but I know that by the time the fleet arrives they will. So I just coordinate their supply and attack so that every convoy will arrive at the same turn.
There is quiet a gamble there, because you can not be sure that during those 5 turns, the situation would not have drastically changed in that area. So be really careful of you supply, and keep some other option in case everything goes wrong !

Protecting your planets

Never alone
Don't be silly : do not ever use to computer's strategy and leave a planet unprotected. Ships can be sent to any planet in the map. So even in the heart of you territory, a reduced fleet could conquer your planets.

Leaving enough Protection
Okay, you need to leave some protection, but how many ships ? Usually, I try to guess how many ships might arrive from neighbouring enemy planets (lets say from 1 planet. I have not very often seen coordinated attacks from the AI). Often I don't have enough ships, or need to send them attacking somewhere else. Then, to know how many I can use, I check if there are many friendly planets in the neighbourhood which could be used to conquer back that planet if it was lost. A lonely planet is much more at risk than one surrounded by others. I have never really used that strategy on purpose, but it might be useful to have one central planet with high protection, designed to reconquer its weaker neighbours.

No over protection
However, you might able to free more ships than you would think at first from a planet. Because, if the ships are being built after the fights happen and thus are not taken into account, friendly ships do arrive before the fights. And thus they count for protection. So if you estimated that you need 40 ships to be safe on a planet, and know that you will receive 20 ships next turn, then you can leave 20 ships only.

More protection far from the fighting lines
It might sound rather unintuitive, but it is often better to leave more ships on remote planets than close to the fights, due to previous fact. Lets imagine 4 planets, A, B, C and D supplying each other (A supplies B, B to C, C to D and D is the final destination). Each planet produce 5 ships and sends every new ships produced to the next. B will receive 5 ships, C 10, and D 15. So if you thing that the correct number of ships for protection is 40, A will actually need 40 ships to be left every turn, B 35, C 30 and D, the closest to the enemy, 25 only !
Well, I reckon, I will usually want D to have more, but it is still important to understand that remote planets do receive little supply and thus are weak.

Increasing remaining ships over time
Note that army size (and thus fleets) tend to increase as the game progresses, mainly due to planet upgrades. Lets imagine that you have happily set up a rally point early in the game from the heart of you empire. Don't forget to increase the number of remaining ships once in a while, otherwise, you will have a very weak spot in your empire.

Defending against massive fleet in your backyard
Argh. A massive fleet has just conquered a planet right in the centre of your empire. Now you have that monster lying in the middle of your juicy ship producers. Your first reflex could be to strip naked every neighbouring planets to build a huge convoy and smash the planet conquered by the ennemy. That might work. But it is even more likely that this huge army will move to another planet, thus the huge army that you have just built would have been useless and left neightbouring planets particularly weak.
So, first thing I do, is to send 1 ships to the enemy planet : it might be enough to conquer that planet back in case the ennemy had decided to move. Then, I stop all ships movement from these planets and let them grow slowly : if the monster army moves to one of these planets, it might be weakened, and thus easier to kill. If the monster stays there and doesn't move, be aware that you have more planets, and thus you have more production in that area than he does : so, time is your friend. Once you feel that you can gather enough ships from every neighbouring planets to crush him but also leave enough ships home to hurt it if it decided to move, just finish him off.


Hoping from planets to planets
Ha ! There is a nice straight line to reach that planet at the other side of the map. "Lets go" would you think!
Well, before sending your ships for a few turns travel, try to see if there is not another path, hoping planets from planets with the same length of time. Firstly, these travelling ships will take part of the defence of the planets they go through. Secondly, you will be able to reroute them if something unexpected happens.

Supply to planets to be conquered
That is risky, but could make you save some precious time : you have launched a massive attack far away (ha, those large maps with few planets I like...). To reinforce you beach head you can decide to sends some supplies to that planet to be conquered (before being sure that your first attack has been a succes...). It will allow you to quickly reinforce your position in that area. However, if the original attack fails, the whole expedition might simply be a disaster...


Upgrading low production planets
I don't know if there is a huge strategy involved in the improvement of planet production. But, just note that the turn a planet is being upgraded, it does not produce anything. So, when you upgrade a planet producing 5 ships per turn, you loose 5 ships. If it is one producing 10, you loose 10. So, I prefer upgrading planets with a low production. That is pretty obvious, but still worth noting. (An upgrade adds 3 to the quantity of ships being produced. So, it will take 2 turns for that 5 ships producing planet to make a benefit, while it will take 4 for the 10 producing planet). There might also be a point in the game, when it is not really worth it to keep upgrading (close to endgame, is it really worth is to upgrade a 20 ship producing planet ? Will really the game last 7 more turns ?)

Upgrade and frontier
Also, don't forget that it would usually silly to massively upgrade a planet which is taken back by the enemy.

Upgrade to weaken a planet
That might sound weird, but in some case it might be clever to upgrade a planet when it is very likely to be conquered by the ennemy : if it actually conquers it, no ships will be produced on it's first turn there. Which will make conquering it back easier. This works better with high production planets, and when you are confident that you will be able to conquer that planet back on next turn or the turn after.
I use that technic in the rare case I want to strip a planet from every ships to conquer a strategic planet, but don't want to make it too easy for the enemy if it decides to get tp the planet I just left.
However, if the enemy hasn't conquered that planet this turn, be aware that you weakened it.

Ending the game
Some player seem to find annoying and terribly difficult to finish off the enemy, when there is just one massive army, jumping from planets to planets. That's the reason why I tend to accumulate ships on every planets. When I know that a massive fleet is moving somewhere, I also tend to reduce transport as much as possible, so fleets are accumulating. Then I use the strategy described  in "Defending against massive fleet in your backyard"

Well, that's it. Feel free to comment ! I am sure that strategies against a human player could be pretty different.

Title: Re: Strategies discussion
Post by: flap on July 16, 2012, 08:31:59 pm
1 year later... I have made a tiny update : Upgrade to weaken a planet. A trick where you upgrade a planet to lower your opponent's production.

Title: Re: Strategies discussion
Post by: Chris on July 29, 2012, 05:23:35 am
Nice thread ;D That upgrade trick is one of my favourite little loopholes.