In which I play Realms Beyond Orion Imperium 9

Chapter One: Harken, the Magnificient Bulrathi Have Arrived, or Bears in Space! (at Warp One)

2320: Royal Bear Overlord #9 wakes from a twenty-winters' nap to find that research into Reduced Century 80% has finally completed:

Remind me to use the Dayquil next time

Well, a corner start; we're going to simply expand south and to the southeast until we run into AIs. Our opponent draw is interesting -- notably, Silicoids are there to grab a large number of planets, the cats and birds are there to fight eternally until one or both is annihilated, the Klackon are there to go crazy and war on everybody, and the Darlok are there to scowl a lot and make grumpy noises.

No real choice to make in terms of initial ship deployment: the green star to the left is the only world within colship range, and the range 4 yellow and range 5 green seem like the best first worlds to scout.

2323: Oh, wow.

No, we can't land here, it's too green

That is a pretty sweet second colony. I immediately ship half of Ursa's population over to Denubius. This will stick both planets in the fattest part of the population growth curve. Just fantastic. We had a slow start -- at this point I'd normally be about to get my third colony -- but this planet is so good I think we've already made up a lot of that ground.

This means Ursa now has more factories than the population can bear, so building more doesn't make sense at the moment. What may make sense is opening up Propulsion to see what range we can grab. I'll wait until next turn, though, to see what that range 4 sun offers us.

This turn I do set Ursa to build some new cheap scouts.

2324: Darrian, the yellow at range 4, is an Inferno world. Fair size (40) but it will be a while before we can colonize it.

Ursa builds 9 Scout Is. I'm going to need more range to fan them all out though -- let's open up Propulsion and hope for range 5. If we don't get it, we'll have to beeline Construction. In fact, even if we do get it, beelining Construction might not be a bad idea here.

2325: Range 4 is our only first-tier Propulsion choice. Ouch. This will only open up one (1) new world to scout, a red to the south. Not even worth it at the moment.

The green at range 5 is Klystron, Jungle 60. Laser fighters go here yesterday. I set Ursa to building long ranger laser fighters to send there, with a trickle of research going to Propulsion.

2329: Four fighters built and sent on their way, and I readjust research priorities slightly:

2330: Our only Construction choice is IIT 9, and only Planetology selection is Controlled Bear In Environment.

Talas (Arid Poor 60) is scouted in the northeast. Yarrow (Tundra Rich 50) is scouted in the southeast. Both are at range 6.

2336: IIT 9 pops. I have a choice of IIT 8 or Duralloy. IIT 8 puts my Construction tech levels at 9. Controlled Barren will put my Planetology levels at a mere 3. That is just enough to get Reserve Tanks on a large hull colony ship. That's about the cheapest way to tech ourselves out of this hole we could ask for.

Controlled Barren is at 11%, the next choices may be interesting.

2337: Range 4 pops. Inertial Stabilizer is my sole solitary Propulsion Tier II choice. Controlled Barren at 20%.

Denubius only has 49 factories, but I set it on 100% tech spending. If I don't get a few more colonies soon this game will be much more difficult than it needs to be. I also boost Construction spending, as the Planetology project is nearing completion.

I send a couple of my many spare Scouts over to the single star that Range 4 opened up for me. Hopefully I'll get my range by colonizing new worlds, not teching.


Well, bear in what environment?

The mighty Bulrathi now have Planetology level 3! Let's hear it for the bears! Yeah, let's give the bears a hand!

Death Spores is the only choice. I guess that means almost all of my tech spending to Construction for now, then?


Ah, the first indications of what we're facing out there. Mighty bugs, it appears. And cats with claws!

2342: Spica (Minimal 70) is scouted at range 7.

2344: IIT 8 at 9%.

2345: 17%.


I chose RIW 60% over Duralloy, IIT 7, or ARS. Love the excellent Construction choices. Hooray for bears!

Well, we had to cut a few corners (off) and the crew won't exactly be flying in comfort, but the bear-sized fuel tanks just fit.

Ursa will now devote itself 100% to colship production. Denubius will go 95% to factory production, with some minimal research to preserve our investments in the three fields open. I equalize the spending in these three fields to ensure they get at least one RP a piece.

Klystron will get the first colship, Spica the second, Talas the third. Not only are Klystron and Spica good size colonies, but they both will open up several new stars to scout, which is also important now.

2348: Actually, I went ahead and polished off the last factories at Ursa this turn. We also maxed out on bears there. Hooray bears! Now awake fully 50% of the time!

2352: First long-range colship built, off it flies toward the green sun of Klystron.

2356: Second long-range colship built, off it flies toward the unusually large minimal world of Spica.


Seeded from the Fertile world of Denubius. The laser fighters at Klystron are sent to the Rich Tundra world just below. Five scout ships immediately fan out from Klystron.

2360: Another colship built at Ursa, this one to Talas. Ursa goes to research for the moment; I go ahead and open all fields.

2361: Battle Computer Mark II (only choice), Class II Deflector Shields (only choice), Hand Lasers (over Hyper-V Rockets and Gatling Laser).

2362: Firma (Ocean 70, a Mrrshan colony -- already maxed on pop, but no bases) and Primodius (no habitables) are scouted. Denubius maxes on factories, most excellent. I move my scout off of the cat planet, but not before measuring -- it is 5 parsecs away from Klystron. So no range 5 for the kitties, yet. Still, it should not be long before we have formal contact.

2363: Rhilus (Terran 90, a Silicoid colony) is scouted. Hmmm, sillies and cats next door. This colony is brand new; only 2 million rocks.

Fierias has to be one of the yellow stars just to the east of the nebula, maybe the nearest one, which my scout is rapidly approaching. Cryslon, though, could be much further out: Rhilus is a just-founded colony.

The colony at Spica is founded. Denubius is already nearly maxed out on bears again, so it'll seed Spica as well. I send scouts to the newly-opened worlds to the south.

2364: Oh, the cats are not going to like me very much.

Heh heh heh. Hello, I must be going.

No improved terraforming or robotic controls yet for the cats either. Maybe if this were at Impossible.

This same turn, Hyboria (Desert 35, another maxed Mrrshan colony) is scouted.

2366: Hand Lasers pop, NPGs are my next choice over Hyper-X Missiles or Fusion Bombs. I may want a gun.

The colony at Talas is founded, also, the colonists arrive at Klystron. I also scout a new world that isn't already inhabited! Dolz (Arid Poor 55), the red just northeast of Klystron. If I found a colony here, it will immediately get me in contact with both the Silicoids and the Mrrshans. If somebody else colonizes it, I will have contact with them; it is only at range 3.

Hmm. Decisions, decisions. Realistically, founding a colony at Dolz means either likely war with the cats (those cats must be furious already at my scouts) or possibly the Silicoids (who can certainly be erratic or allied with the cats, and who might have their geodes set at my as-yet undeveloped worlds at Talas or Klystron), and maybe two wars. And it's only a 55 Poor. I'll take one war over two at this point. Besides, it's much closer to them than it is to me; by the time I get a colship over here it could easily be gone. This isn't really the sort of reach colony I would be willing to get into early war over. That rich Tundra world, maybe. A poor desert... nah. Besides, I can't build a ship worth diddly right now, and I have no defenses on my planets -- besides the big squishy ursine ones, of course, which might be enough except for the fact they're doubling as my production base.

On the other hand, I'll have contact with both factions soon enough; leaving Dolz might not buy me much time at all. And having contact with two factions gives me twice the trading partners, which is really keen right now. Besides, early war could be a good thing: more colonies, more tech. And I am playing the bears.

Let the AI claim it. Not like I can't just take it from them.

I seed Talas from, again, Denubius. Denubius is kind of like a really big garden hose full of bears. I can point it anywhere and get that place wet... wet with bears.

Right now the $64,000 question is: what is going on in the southwest corner of the map? Anything? If there isn't somebody down there, I might have a lot of colonizing to do shortly.

2367: Rotan (Barren 45) is scouted. Wow, I actually have a reason to build a Barren colony ship!

At range 4, it doesn't need the reserve tanks. Ursa gets busy. While Dolz looks like a real reach, this one has "Bulrathi world" written all over it.


Well, there is nobody in the southwest! At least not at that yellow just below. This is fantastic news. Forget about the east part of the map, that's crowded as hell anyway. The south is where it's at. More colships will be forthcoming, hurray.


There is something in orbit in the red star west of Imra:

Aww, I can take that

Scout doesn't like the looks of that...

Dunatis (Dead Rich 50) is also scouted, the neutron star in the southeast.


We are not doing badly in terms of planet count. Rotan will be our sixth in eight more turns, when the colship arrives. Damn retro engines. Ursa is building a long range standard colony ship for Imra. Hopefully we'll manage to nab those worlds down there; warp 1 makes this rather painful.


This is just cruel. If we do manage to nab these worlds, we are sitting really pretty. We can't even get laser ships down there before colships, not that they will be much help if the AI brings in a real force at this point. Our #1 priority is getting down there with all haste, and that means that Denubius is building colships as well. There is nothing important about to pop tech-wise.

2375: Class II Deflectors come in; Class III is the only choice forward. We're teching a magnificent 14 BC a turn.

Ursa builds a colship. Denubius will produce one in three more turns. I'm going ahead and building another at Ursa. It can always go to Dolz if nothing else is habitable down there, and if there are other habitables I need to snatch them up quickly.

The new colship should arrive at Terran Uxmai... in 2388. Ouch. Nothing to do for it.

2377: Looks like the kitties will win the Dolz sweepstakes.

Nothing lost, I wouldn't have gotten this up anyway, and the planets in the south are far more valuable. The scouts retreat toward the blue star that Talas brought within scouting reach.

(Mrrshans, Aggressive Militarist)

At "Unease", could've been worse. They are allied with the Klackons and Darloks, which is very interesting information.

The cats do agree to 150 BC of trade, pleasingly. They are willing to trade ECM 1 for IIT 8... eh, no.

I start some missile base spending at Denubius and Ursa. It's early, with only class 2 shields and no missile upgrades, but I don't want to look like a really juicy target. Until NPGs come in I'm not really capable of fielding a meaningful fleet, either. So expansion and some lame missile bases it is.

2378: Another colship built, this one at Denubius. It should arrive at Imra in 2390. Denubius back to tech.


The Denubius bear-nozzle is pointed down Rotan way.

Another colship is built at Ursa; this one is sent to Uxmai, and hopefully will fly from there to some as-yet unscouted new habitable world. I send the scouts orbiting Rotan and Spica to Uxmai as well; I will of course want to scout some more once new worlds come into range.

Events enabled next turn! Prepare for the worst!

2380: No Event of Doom this turn. Cat relations are up to "Neutral", which is pleasing. Their shifter alliance is history, as frequently happens to AI alliances.

Eight turns to Uxmai, ten turns to Imra. Umpteen hundred turns to better engines. Our bears are lumbering along s-l-o-w-l-y.

2382: Romulas (Inferno Rich 40) is scouted at the northeast blue.

The cats offer Gatling Laser or ECM I for IIT 8. Ugh.

2384: We build our empire's first missile base, at Denubius. That single base sucks up 0.5% of our economy. Ouch. Denubius is off defense spending for now.

2385: Another colship built at Ursa, this one also flies to Uxmai. I'm done with the colony ships for now. I have two more than I know that I need, but with all of those red stars down there, there are probably two more habitables down there.

Three turns to Uxmai and five turns to Imra.

2386: Klystron maxes on factories. Ursa finishes a base and stops the defense spending.

I stick Klystron on research. Yes, it's close to the cats, and probably ought to have had those two bases that went on Ursa and Denubius, but at this point I need research, not bases. We have 317 BC/turn into tech. BC II is in the percentages, nothing else even has a full lightbulb. RIW 60% will be a boon, but it's pretty expensive for us at this point.

2387: Battle Computer Mk II pops. I choose IRC 3 over BC 3. We can handle the refit costs -- it's the factory waste that'll be a problem. I greatly increase our Construction spending. Now that we're teching somewhat in earnest we need to concentrate there a bit more.


The birds bring a fighter to Romulas.


I feed Uxmai from Spica, Denubius is far off and it'll take seven more years as it is to bring in the bears.

Four scouts immediately leave Uxmai for mysterious newly in range worlds, wandering toward stars all burning bright red. Hopefully they will discover destinations for the two incoming colships.



I go ahead and give them BC 2 for ECM 1. They're cats. They get +4 to computer level already, going from BC 1 to BC 2 gives them almost nothing -- not to mention that they'd have to build new ships to even use the computers. Meanwhile, I stink at Computer research and anything that will boost my levels there, even the lowest level computer tech of them all, is welcome.


I feed this colony from Denubius.

Quayal (Arid 40) is scouted just south of beautiful Uxmai. One possible destination for the incoming colony ships.

2392: Oh, wow.

Oh, dear.

BIRDS: 4 votes birds
ROCKS: 4 votes birds
BUGS: 2 votes abstain
SHIFTERS: 2 votes abstain
CATS: 3 votes abstain
BEARS: 4 votes birds

Well aren't I a nobody right now!

(Darloks, Xenophobic Technologist)

Okay, what did the Darloks just colonize?

Oh, they're right there. Okay. Have to be nice to the shifters, it looks like.

That scout that's about to intrude on Incedius and hurt our relations needlessly? It's one of my two originals. The other is sitting on Quayal, the arid world I just discovered just to the west. Conveniently, a colship arrived in Uxmai this turn; I send it on to Quayal. Then, I scrap my two original scouts. Have to play nice with the Darloks for now.

"Your mere existence makes us ill, but your money is okey-dokey."

Sweet, that's the second uneasy race I've gotten trade with immediately.

Emperor Sssssisuccatash sees little of interest in my technology, unfortunately.


....G A D Z O O K S!

Okay, that colship going to Quayal is about to make a U-ie. That is far too good to let sit and wait for the next ship.

Darlok relations are up to "Neutral" already. Hooray for trade.

2394: Regulus (Arid 70) is scouted in the south.

Bad news, unfortunately. There are Darlok fighters coming into Quayal, and scanners just picked up some shifter ships that can only be headed for Xudax. Damn it, I got here just too late to settle either. I might still get Regulus, so I don't found a colony at Quayal this turn and send the ship on to Regulus. This is irritating, but just as well, really. If this game had started in 2300, or even if I merely had nuclear engines in the tree, it would be over already.

The Darloks have good engines -- Sub-lights, I'm guessing -- and at least range 5, mebbe range 6. Ooh, that is so very not good for them. I'm going to have to fight to expand from here, and certainly if the choice is war with the cats or war with the shifters right now, I'll take the shifters. I have some very nice already-scouted worlds to gain, some important tech to capture, and besides, Darloks are bad neighbors and they suck.

Cry havoc and let loose the dogs of war, in chapter 2