August 24, 2002

Today is a big day. I intend to launch my first wave of 200 class ships (liners and submarines) to carry civilians to my new islands, and to discover even more islands which are beyond the range of PT Boats launched from headquarters. The success of these exploration and colonization ships will be the primary determinate of my ultimate success or failure as a nation in Empire. Let me stress that again...

"Exploration, not battle, is where games are won or lost." - Chief Ranger -

First, I need to gather a little information to plan my fleet launch. I will be printing (yes, hardcopy) the next few images to help me stay on track. First, a good map of the world as I know it.

Then, a visual of my home island, where I'll be launching my fleet from.

A TROOP report of my docks.

and an ISLAND INDEX to help me mark up my map.

Whoa! Did you notice island #155 on the index (above)? It used to be undiscovered, now it is flying the flag of Armageddon! I have another neighbor, this one to my southwest. So now I have Sysop[1] to the east, Armageddon[3] to the southwest, and Blisstonia[20] to the northwest.

Remember, like any time I intend to update, I use my movement time first, then designate sectors, and then update. I noticed on my dock troop report that I have a couple of 99% docks with less that 100 civilian workers, let's fix that.

Now shown here is some general housekeeping like moving civilians into more 99% mines, activating a few more industries, etc. I end up using 10 more time units to tidy up my economy. When I'm done, here is what the ANALYSIS shows. Note the actual excess ore per update of 53.5. This is good, I want a lot of fuel.

I want to use more movement time, so I'll continue to expand into new territory on my home island. I left a collection of civilians at 34,11.

Here is the final SPREAD.

Here's how it looks after I DESIGNATE.

I've used enough time, I quickly check my capitol to make sure I don't waste too many people with the update. I'll enlist 500 (since I'm sure to max out at 9999 when I update).

Before I launch my ships, I want to discuss exploration/colonization strategy.

The ships I prefer for exploration are teams of 1 submarine and 1 liner. The sub travels ahead of the liner discovering islands and establishing capitols (exploration). The liner (being slower) follows behind dropping off civilians (colonization). By the time the liner arrives, the island will have a lot of accumulated time, and the newly arriving civilians can instantly SPREAD and UPDATE to bring economic life to the island. Once you have established yourself with a large number of sectors, with civilians on an island, it is hard for another nation to dislodge you. General rule...

"It is easier to occupy unowned land, that to take away another's territory" - Chief Ranger -

I prefer submarines as the exploration half of the team, due mainly to the range (750 units). Destroyers are a little faster (30 verses 25), but their range is only 250. Subs also have the advantage of stealth. If the frontier grows hostile, they can slip under the waves and avoid island based aircraft. I prefer to run them on the surface when possible, because they are much faster on the surface (25) than when submerged (18).

I try to send submarine/liner teams in all compass directions. Even if I can't see any islands in a given direction, submarines will sail far beyond the radar range of my present island based bombers. I'm just going to assume that by launching early, and staying on course, good things will happen.

When I say ALL compass directions, I actually mean 8 general directions (45, 90, 135, 180, 225, 270, 315 and 0/360). I usually have a little drawing near my world map that looks something like this...

315 ! 45
\ ! /
270 ----+---- 90
/ ! \
225 ! 135 180

If I send a exploration/colonization teams (sub/liner) in each of these major 8 directions, I'll get fairly good global coverage. To do this, I would need to launch 8 submarines, and 8 liners. Today, I only have enough production ready to launch 5 ships. So I'll pick when directions I will initially send ships to. With three neighbors, sending ships straight at their home islands may not be the best use of precious dock production. If a neighbor sees my submarines landing on their islands and establishing capitols, and then seeing liners approaching to drop of civilians, they may feel insecure - and they may react by bombing my helpless liners. Bombing liners is pretty much instant war, so instead of finding undiscovered islands, and colonizing them, you end up with no colonization fleet, and a nearby enemy. This is bad.

Bottom line, the first ships I launch will be primarily liners, and I'll dispatch them to islands where I have already established capitols with PT Boats, and I hope I can make it to those islands without any of my neighbors getting trigger happy.

The best way to avoid nasty little "you bomb my liners, I bomb yours" exchanges, is to be respectful and non-threatening to your neighbors. A friendly little mail note from time to time is entirely appropriate.

I took the printouts from the first part of this session, and sketched out a new plans for where I will sent my initial ships.

Now I'm ready to LAUNCH ships. I've got 5 sectors capable of building 200 class ships.

I had moved artillery and explosives into 18,17 anticipating building a submarine.

I'll scoot my new submarine along the south coast.

Then set course for island #106 - which is still undiscovered.

One way to gather intelligence on other nations is to track the NAVIES report. You can see with the construction of just 1 submarine, my naval power leaped to 618. Here's how the power was calculated...

400 Sub Hull
100 Guns
40 Torpedoes 5 Military 73 Fuel
618 Power

Understanding this helps you estimate what other nations have. It appears that only Mountainia and Tyland have 200 class ships so far. I'm now the third nation to launch exploration ships.

All the rest of my launches will be liners. Note the use of GATHER TO SHIP in the image below. By using GATHER instead of MOVE we save movement time.

We pick a target landing spot prior to setting COURSE.

Leaping ahead, you can see the exploration/colonization ships I built today. They all have courses set. I can also use the SHIP DATE command to see when each ship is expected to arrive. I can convert the expected arrival date into a human understandable date/time with the DATE command.

I quickly check the news (to see if anything exciting is happening in the world), and then I RELEASE my home island. Normally I would strongly advise against releasing your home island to everyone, but since my nation's life is an open book anyway, I might as well let other nations know exactly where I am relative to their home worlds.

I saw Armageddon had discovered an island just south of Yellowstone. I want to quickly check Yellowstone to see if they also landed in the park, and yes - just 1 time unit ago, he did dock in Yellowstone Park. I'll just keep an eye on him.

There was a power report since my last session, so lets see how I'm doing. Now bad, I moved from 7th place to 5th place, and I'm tied with Mountainia for most islands.

Not bad on the NAVIES either (see above).

Now that I've got explorations ships active, I should plan on daily sessions until exploration is complete. This will take weeks, but is critical to long term success.

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