"How to design a Quick Start IT race" by Jeff Berger 1997 v2.6/7
- How to design a Quickstart IT or : I am IT Hear me roar
- by: Jeff Berger
For the past month or so the newsgroup has been riddled with posts showing huge amounts of resources being achieved with so called quickstart races. Most of these have been CA but is it possible to get these same results with other PRTs. Yes, one of the PRTs particularly well suited to this style of play is the IT.
While not able of the pure resourcepotential of CAs the IT more than makes up for it with it's mobitlity of forces. Imagine having a force of 50 gateable Armageddon BBs by 2475, some kind of testbed fanstasy you say. No, this has been achieved in actual blitz games. Doing this is easier than you may think all it takes is a little knowledge of how to use your strengths to their maximum advantage.
To begin with you must consider how any race achieves a high amount of resources by 2450. The short answer is *expansion*. You must have as much territory as possible as soon as possible if you want to do well. Of course this isn't all there is to it but if you have lots of planets, good resources are almost sure to follow.
So to start our journey look at the advantages that make the IT PRT particularly well suited to rapid expansion.
- You're starting tech provides a huge advantage. Right from the beginning of the game you can build Privateers with half-decent engines, allowing you to spread quickly throughout the galaxy.
- You start with two planets to scout from. If you use both of these planets to your full advantage it will allow you to find a greater number of habitable planets early in the game, speeding your spread throughout the galaxy.
- You start with four ships with scanners.
- You can gate colonists around so all you need to do is establish a single gate in an area of the galaxy and it could cut years off of the travel time for your ships to reach it.
Now that we have a goal in mind, expand as quickly as possible we can design a race to do that, that makes maximum use of it's advantages and minimizes it's disadvantages.
- PRT - IT, of course
- LRTs - Here I've gone through each of the LRTs and which I recommend, this is by no means the only choice and there many different combinations you can use to suit your specific tastes.
- IFE - For most quickstarts this would be a good choice but an IT doesn't particularly need it since you start with the privateer hull and a decent engine. For example, a privateer with two fuel pods and a colonizer module can travel 500 ly which is more than enough distance for the early game and since you're going to be gating all your ships around in the later game the 15% fuel reduction doesn't help much either.
- Total Terraforming - While this might seem like a good choice it really won't help you grow all that much. For one thing it is expensive, costing well over 100 points which could be better spent on improving you possible economic growth. As well, you will have to research Bio to get the better levels of terraforming and unless you're willing to sacrifice the points to make Bio tech cheap you're not going to see much benefit until later in the game. This is the real reason why this LRT doesn't do much for this design because your goal here is to get explosive early growth.
- Advanced Remote Mining - I'd recommend not taking this LRT, you'll be able to inhabit a fair amount of planets and have a relatively good mining capacity. Combine this with your ability to move minerals through your gates and you should be swimming in minerals by mid-game without this LRT.
- Improved Starbases - Generally this could be a good LRT to take for many quickstart designs but it is not necessary for the IT. All you really need is an orbital fort with a stargate and you can gate in all the ships you need. This removes the main reason for star docks and while ultra-stations are nice they're not nice enough to pay 60 points for.
- Generalized Research - I would recommend to never take this trait in any game you plan to play against humans. I could restate the reasons here but the arguments against GR are very well documented and so I won't repeat them here.
- Ultimate Recycling - This is a nice LRT to have but will it really help your early expansion? The answer here is no. Some of you might suggest scrapping fleets of ships at new planets to get them off to a good start but the return on this is very low as some recent articles on the newsgroup have shown. If you need to get a colony off to a good start shipping in more colonists is far more efficient way to get a new colony off to a good start.
- Mineral Alchemy - IMHO this is perhaps the biggest waste of points in Stars! Instead of taking this put some points into better mines.
- No Ram-Scoop Engines - Since you're going to be gating all your ships around you won't really need ramscoops and the IS-10 will give your fleet the ability to hit targets far from your gates earlier in the game than most other races. It is for these reasons, and the points as well that I recommend any quickstart IT take this LRT.
- Cheap Engines - While some like to take CE with ITs it will seriously hamper your early growth when you want to be sending out huge fleets of colony ships at a time. For this reason I never take CE with a quickstart race, in particular ITs.
- Only Basic Remote Mining - I recommend that you take this with any quickstart IT. Use the points for decent planetary mines and then gate minerals from worlds with high concentrations to those with low ones and you should be swimming in minerals by the time you reach the mid-game. Plus the extra 10% capacity per planet will give you a bit of extra growth that you will need if you want to at least stay close to those CA resource monsters.
- No Advanced Scanners - Whether or not you take this LRT will depend heavily on your style of play. Taking this LRT is not quite as big a disadvantage for you since you do get the location of any enemy starbase with stargates within range of your stargates. However, once your opponents figure out that you're an IT it is possible that they will stop putting up stargates seriously curtailing your limited intelligence. On the other hand the points from this LRT can seriously help your economic growth.
- Low Starting Population - If you don't take NAS you'll probably have to take this LRT for the points. It will set you back a couple of years but your high growth rate will more than make up for it.
- Bleeding Edge Technology - Take this LRT if you feel you need to, but generally I try to avoid it.
- Regenerating Shields - Whether or not you take this will depend on your style of play. Generally I don't take it as I don't find myself using a Barbarian horde approach to ship design but if that's your fancy go ahead.
- Habs and Growth Rate - Before setting your growth rater you must remember our goal which is to get explosive early growth and to do that we're going to need a lot of colonists. I find that a 19% growth rate works best, 20% is just too expensive and anything else is too low. For you habitability you want at least a one in three hab. I suggest you take two wide bands and one narrow one. This seems to work well for me and gives you decent planet values. You might also want to move your narrow band slightly to the right or left so that your habitability won't overlap that of other races. Other than that there's not much to setting your habitability. For now I'll skip the economic page and go right on to research.
- I suggest setting all techs to +75% except weapons which I take at -50%. Now do I hear a wait a minute, how will you ever get the any/any gate? Short answer, in any reasonable length of time it's not likely, however you don't really need it. The any/300 is good enough for the early game and the any/800 will let you move your ships across your entire empire in two jumps or less.
Even after buying a 19% growth rate you should have about 100 points left over to spend, but that's not going to be enough so I suggest you take several negative LRTs to get points, ones that work well with this desing are NRSE, a real no-brainer, OBRM, again not too bad. After this things get tough you'll either need to take NAS, a real pain, or LSP, which will slow your growth by about a year. The choice depends on your playing style but whatever you choose you should have about 300 points left to spend.
Leave the res/colonist alone, decreasing it is just too expensive and you'll want to be able to dump a load of colonists on a planets and have them grow reasonably well all by themselves. There are a couple of other things that you will need. Since you'll want to quickly build mines to get Germanium set your mines to cost 3 and build at least 17, more if possible. It's okay to drop the mines to produce 9 here since it's speed, not capacity we're concerened about. For your factories we want to drop the cost to 9, 8 if possible. Up the res/fact to 12 and the number to at least 17, more if you can afford it. I generally leave the G box unchecked, it would be nice but I don't have the points and it hasn't caused a problem with minerals.
Playing A Quickstart IT
That's it now you've got the basis of a quickstart IT, but that won't do you any good if you just sit there and do nothing you must expand to grow. On the first year send out all your ships with scanners to scout, if there's one planet that you'd have to make a big detour to reach load up your colonizer with 100 col and colonize it. For the first 3 or 4 years you'll want to set an autobuild order of 300 factories, 300 mines on your homeworld and second planet and then set your research to 0. In 2404 build a second wave of scouts and send them out. You'll want to start sending out two privateers with fuel pods and colony modules each year starting in 2408, (2410 if you took LSP). Keep your homeworld population between 30 and 36%. When you have enough factories on your HW for 1/3 of your pop start sending some germanium with your colonizers and shipping the excess G off to your colonies for factory building. Don't start building stargates until either you've maxed out the factories on a planet or it becomes a strategic neccesity. When you start to meet other races, be aggressive, you've got colonists to burn, take planets that are habitable even if they're currently owned by someone else, remember you can gate ships and colonsits to your front lines while your oppenents defenses will take a long time to arrive so take advantage of this and grab some more early territory.
Now I'm sure you're wondering if these are just some neato ideas or do they work in real games. Well the answer to that is these strategies have all been used in actual games and have worked quite well, while they haven't guaranteed a win they will make sure you're a contender. With this race I've been able to hit 25K-27K consistently in blitz games by 2450.
This race works best in a packed/dense universe where there are a high number of planets per player. However, it can still do pretty well in a normal density.
I hope you've found this article interesting and informative and hope to see you on #Stars!
Jeff Berger Wilco on #Stars!