Some conflicts arose and Battletech didn’t happen last night. So, Sins of a Solar Empire did!
Last night I started a large, multi-system game in SotSE: Entrenchment. As reported in a previous post, I had recently gotten back into SotSE and found that the base game was missing the starbases. So, starting a new game in Entrenchment was my next plan.
Being gutsy, I set one of the AIs (out of 8) to Hard and most of the rest to Normal. I did not regret the added challenge. Part of the challenge of expansion in Sins is that you have to find choke points to try to defend more vulnerable systems. You don’t have the resources to defend all planets at all times. Even then, enemy forces can bypass your defenses and head directly for a weaker planet. So, you have to be smart with both static and mobile defenses.
The computer generated an interesting map with some good choke points. My big error that I made is that I set a starbase on a plasma storm map spot and didn’t realize that fighters can’t be deployed in plasma storms. I ended up losing that starbase to three huge invasion fleets who tried to take the valuable position. It turns out the best play was leaving the spot and letting three AI players beat on each other for a while.
I expanded to the “sun” in the center of our neck of the galaxy and place two starbases there to pressure any units trying to get into my “active expansion” area. This proved important because the hardest AI was in my starting area. Every ship counted and I stopped three and half hours in at a point in which I felt I had achieved a semblance of “control” of the area. I still have vulnerable spots. The AI isn’t perfect in that it will tend to pick areas of strength to target, but I do have some base defenses set up in the other areas.
All in all, Sins of the Solar Empire is in my top five all time list, for sure, of games I enjoy.
Side bar: I’ve had readers request what RT4X stands for, as I have used that gamer term on and off and its fairly niche. RT4X is short for Real Time 4X game. 4X stands for the four things you do in this style of tactical game: eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate. Other examples include: Master of Orion, Civilization, Shogun: Total War, and Heroes of Might and Magic. There are many games that are close to RT4X, but are not, as they miss some of the dimensions: Age of Empires, Warcraft, Starcraft and Star Wars: Empire At War, while all good games, are either turn-based or are missing one or more of the 4Xs.