Armada 2526 Supernovanewbie AAR – Turn 1

Co-operative play in a small galaxy far far away, with Martok at my side..

I’ve been dabbling in this turn based 4X strategy game, Armada 2526 Supernova, on and off, for some time now – but never really getting anywhere with it. On most plays, I’ve often thought I’d love to co-operate with another sentient race (player) against the Alien horde. After a brief chat in a thread over at wargamer.com, here we are. Martok (once again) took up the offer and we’re now setting out on a journey across the great expanse of space to conquer the Galaxy!

I wanted to be jack-of-all-trades Human, the Terran, the Earth Alliance. So The Human Union it was. Here are the blurb, and the racial traits.

 

Here’s the initial portion of the Galactic map that shows our home-world (Earth) just South of a spiral constellation and some dramatic dark nebulae for atmosphere. Most of our neighbouring systems are Red Giants, and ultimately useless for further colonisation. We’ll have to look further afield than the “Red Belt” to expand our Galactic presence.

The giant hex lines you can just make out, on the periphery of the screenshot, is our current boundary of space-flight and thus expansion. In Armada 2526, you have to find and colonise suitable planetary systems within this range to be able to extend it. This in itself, limits the path you will take to some extent, however, you can choose to settle in less-than-ideal systems to act as stepping stones into more fruitful territory. This mechanism also creates choke-points that can be hotly contested by your enemies!

Here we have our current state of readiness on Earth. Our finances are limited, but at least expenses leave us some income overspill to push into production and research in the future. Happiness seems ok. Population growth set at 2%.

My initial thoughts are on expansion, and we need to find suitable candidates to scout and ultimately colonise. So I use the handy “Finder” feature to scan through the planetary systems available to us.

First I look towards explored Rich systems. The finder allows you to filter the systems around you based on certain criteria, and it lists them in a handy box, with further visual details placed above. As you can see we have one Rich system, Nu Octantis – colonising this will yield big bonuses for Taxation, Mining and Production – so this could be a potential industrial hub for the heart of the Terran Empire (Human Union – sorry!).

There are four Normal systems, that might be worth investigating. None of which I like the look of right now.

Next I look to unexplored Stars. We find there is one Yellow Star, Alpha Australis, that has a Good chance of containing Ideal planets for colonisation. Ultimately, we’re looking for Ideal planets, so this Yellow Star MIGHT be worth the effort of scouting early on.

I look over the Orange Star systems, and we have two in proximity. Orange Stars only have a low chance of yielding an Ideal Planet, so they might be worth looking at, some time in the future (when we become desperate!).

Looking at the information we have on Nu Octantis, we can see that it is an Eccentric Planet (so far from Ideal) because its ability to sustain life (with all the stats involved in the process) changes over time – down to a strange orbit – these sort of planets were added to the game in the Supernova expansion (I believe) and they add an element of variation in the colonisation model.

The Rich system provides bonuses for our Industrial aspirations, and also it has an Asteroid Belt and an Oort Cloud that could be very profitable if we can a decent mining setup together. The planet also has an unusual system feature of containing Natural Wonders, which I’d imagine could be capitalised upon for tourism, although extensive mining operations might dampen the appeal somewhat.

Take note of the Habitability Range, currently set to 3 (and it’s falling), but can lie between 0 and 7. I’m not sure exactly how this will affect a growing startup colony, but I guess growth would be affected markedly if we colonise when its at its lowest value of zero!

Here’s the Yellow Star, Alpha Australis that has caught my eye, with a hope to finding an Ideal planet. It should be noted that locationally, this system is very much in the far extremes of the North Western Galaxy, and would be a secure rearline outpost in any Galactic War.

Looking over the Technology Tree, partly fuelled by my lust for making the Rich system an Industrial powerhouse, I decide I want to get  the ability to mine asteroids (and even Oort clouds) as soon as possible – the Tree says I need to begin research in Advanced Mining immediately.

I dutifully set Advanced Mining as my initial Research Project for the Lab jockeys to begin their work on.

Here’s the blurb on Advanced mining. I like the sound of “Deep Crust” mining.

I decide its time to setup my initial scouting operations, so I send a small flotilla of ships Westwards on a journey to Alpha Australis. As you can see the estimated time of arrival is something like 5 Turns. Each green arrow on the path to the system, indicates a Turn of play. It’s a long journey, I hope it pays off.

I attach a scout, with two Corvettes for protection alongside the main Ark ship – that will be used for colonisation, should the opportunity present itself.

Meanwhile, I set another sister flotilla off Easterly to secure my claims to the Rich system in Nu Octantis. This journey is going to take 3 turns, it seems.

This flotilla only has a single Corvette and an Ark Ship. Regardless I want to colonise this Rich system, no scout necessary (mainly because I haven’t another Scout available, my only one being use to scan the unexplored Yellow Star to the West!).

Checking my planetary resources and infrastructure, we can see that Earth has a Research station (where the lab boffins are held captive), a Workers factory, and a ship factory (left panel). I also have a few defensive missiles and militia available (middle panel). Lastly (right panel) you can see the spacecraft orbiting the planet.

I want to set up some production immediately to get the ball rolling. I decide to add a Light Industry upgrade to the queue, to allow me to build bigger and better facilities and equipment later on. Earth will become my initial base of operations until I have secured somewhere else.

I also set about constructing some replacement ships for the ones I have sent on. I want another Scout, another Ark and finally another Corvette for protection. The queue shows that only the Scout will be purchased on this turn, the others will take future turns to finish.

Lastly, I browse over the financial situation. We’re ok for now – with 183 income, and a projected 10k in the bank next turn.

With all my actions done this turn (things can be a little slow to get going, simply because you have limited resources, planets and places to go early on) I run the End Turn sequence and the game file is mailed off to Martok for Turn 2 processing.

Join me next time, for the rest of the journey among the Stars.

  • garion333

    Unexpected. Everything I’ve heard about this game is that it’s utterly mediocre. I’ll be interested to see if the expansion adds enough to make the game more appealing.

  • http://www.matchstickeyes.com Peter S

    Hi Spelk,

    I’ve read bits and pieces (and the few reviews out there) about Armada 2526 — how would you say it compares to other games within the genre? It never seems to have attracted the cult following of, say, Distant Worlds.

    Thanks!

    Peter

  • spelk

    @garion333, I think the expansion certainly adds a few new layers to the game, but if you’re not sold on the original Armada, its not going to change your mind on it.

    @Peter, I think if I had to sum up Armada, I’d say it was “manageable”. I personally found the game easier to approach than some of the other 4X games available, and I felt comfortable with the UI early on. It’s not pushing the boundaries, like Distant Worlds, but I was totally overwhelmed by that game, so I like the familiarity and approachable nature of the Armada game. I’m not an authority on 4X games though, and my forte is not with Grand Strategy, so I chose Armada because I found it easier to play and enjoy. The battles are a bit basic (if a little clunky and uninteresting) but I usually auto-resolve them.

    I can’t recommend Armada over other 4X titles, but I think if you like Master of Orion, then you’ll feel right at home with Armada.

  • http://www.matchstickeyes.com Peter S (Mind Elemental)

    Thanks Spelk!

    I only came to Distant Worlds after it had two expansions’ worth of polish, but I found it remarkably playable. Post-expansions, it’s worth a second look if you get the chance. 😀

  • JonathanStrange

    Hi! I’ve played a little Armada myself; looks interesting.

    Where’s the projected (turn 2) 10K income coming from?

    My Armada experience suggests not having too much money in the bank as it’s more useful powering up your civilization through new buildings and upgrades.than having cash.

    If your galaxy is a small one, I think you’re more likely to need firepower early. I’d recommend prioritizing research labs upgraded to Weapons labs sooner rather than later.

    Anyhow, I like Armada’s old-school juggling act of wanting more labs or more mines or better weapons or etc. – but having to limited space/time to do it all.

    I hope you all continue the game for many turns!

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