"On Claim Adjusters" by David Vest 1996-09-10 v2.5a
On Claim Adjusters
By David Vest
I'd like to offer the following comments about CA to the group. I've played many games against AI to about turn 70 (way too boring after that) and a few games against humans with CA.
As has been mentioned before, the major advantage of CA is 35 point terraforming. I construct the race with this feature in mind.
LRT: Total Terraforming, Generalized Research, No Ram-scoops, Only Basic Mining.
Contrary to what has been posted occasionally, selecting four LRTs does not cause a penalty...unless all four give you points. I confirmed this by checking the cost of each individual LRT and noting it matched the sum of the four LRTs.
TT, GR, and Basic Mining are, I believe, central to this race's strategy. You need the TT to get down to the 35pt/1% terraforming. You need all research areas, so take advantage of the additional 12.5% research. You will be looking at a large number of habitable planets, so get the points for Only Basic Mining. No ram-scoops may be more of a personal choice...I've never felt hampered, and those extra points need to go elsewhere.
I try for a fairly broad habitability range, shifting grav and temp a bit to the right to match the distribution curve; radiation I leave centered. In any case, you don't want your range to come close to upper or lower limits...you start with the ability to shift 7% and this increases to 10% fairly quickly.
The real choice comes in the production/research tradeoff. I've had success both with +75% in all fields except Bio, taking the level three option. I take the extra points primarily in the factory to colonist ratio. I've also found that cutting the mine per colonist ratio by a notch or two doesn't hurt...but it's not that many points.
If I don't take the research hit, then I still go for 15 factory production and 16:10 factories per colonist. 8 or 9 resources per factory.
In terms of strategy, what I'm looking for are planets that could become better homeworlds than my original. In a couple of games in which the homeworld was relatively poor, the location of the homeworld is most identifiable by its geographic location...other worlds have far eclipsed it fairly early on.
I don't bother, generally, with the terraforming ships...very expensive. With a poor homeworld, you can't afford them. With a rich homeworld, they are nice for prepping hideous planets to marginals... then you let the colonists take over. You could do the same with colonists alone, however.
What happens, then, is you stay fairly close to home and rapidly develop profitable planets. Due to terraforming, they are going to be better than average for growth...and you've already selected them for minerals. Build. Wait. Build. Wait.
Before long (and, it seems, no later than others) you can build large freighters and maximize your population distribution. You can build strong and fast destroyers and cruisers (organic armor). In short, you can enter the "middle-game" with a quite viable position.
No, CA is not a super-race. But it is not Death Warmed Over, either. It requires a disposition probably opposite from War Monger. Use diplomacy to delay commitment to war until you have an infrastructure that is pumping out resources and colonists...and you know precisely whom you want to fight.
Anyway, these are my experiences with the race...and this will all be useless with 2.6. :)