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I know this has been discussed before, but I wanted to run this passed you all to make sure I wasn't missing anything...


My race recently attempted to trade goods with our neighbours. Unfortunately it became apparent that my neighbours are considerably more advanced than us and we could not offer them anything of interest. My race is 31 turns old and spent almost all the set up points - we even have a decent research modifier! Their race have presumably had oodles of SRPs to spend. So it seems that we will remain technologically inferior for to our neighbours for the duration of the game, not to mention having a poorer infrastructure and a less developed economy as a result!


So, what else did we spend our points on...

- A decent Space Combat Modifier and Ground Combat Modifier. I believe this stacks with your techs in each category, but I doubt it will improve a MkI weapon enough to match a MkII defense.

- A sizeable colonisation bonus. Sure, we can find lots of nice places to live, and we can therefore benefit from better yields than we have on the homeworld, but I'm sure some decent colonisation tech could make up for this.

- Exploration & Science modifiers. Not sure what impact these have but we get lots of breakthroughs and finds from our explorations (but very little that interests my advanced neighbours!)


As you can see I am a bit fed up with the situation :D We made our lifeform choices on the basis of the best info available at the time and presumed that whichever path we followed that there would be some inherent balancing factors. In the end our choices did not represent any extreme, so we thought our main disadvantage would be our inexperience and less than perfect gameplay :) .


The considered opinion at the time (of our setup) was that 5 or 10 SRPs was probably equivalent to about 1RC which seemed fair (I know the actual ratio is 1:1). I now regard the impact of this as so severe that I am considering restarting, but this time with at least 250 SRPs, as it appears to be the only way to compete on a level playing field with other races. :cheers:


It is a shame that the importance of keeping some SRPs back is not mentioned in the setup info. I like the pace of research (somewhat laboured) in the game and think it is a pity that SRPs allow a race to jump through the techs as quickly as they do. Anyway, enough ranting :ranting: ,all I was really after is some feedback on how worthwhile the other modifiers are and can anyone explain to me how the game is balanced and if I am missing anything.

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I hear your pain Brother Sentinent Being!

I remember my discussions with Pete before setup and on the old boards where he said that only the first low levels of tech could be bought with Saved Rps, would have been good to know that he meant the first three generations of techs and that you should save 500-1000 points...sheez...


Water under the bridge I guess, I too designed a race that kept points for modifiers, I hope these will show up in some comparison in space combat reports as I get clobbered by the new guy with 1000 saved points who bought his way up the missile tree quickly...


But there is much in the rulebook that should have been clearer, fixed or deleted that hopefully will be in the next version of it




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Hello Eldred,

Following the Ricardo principle, even when you are less sophisticated in all ways, you can still trade with a further advanced race when you have a comparative advantage.


This empire will still need improved/advanced electronics etc, and if you produce enough of them for the other party, he/she will probably be very interested to trade superior items with you, even when he/she can produce these items him/herself.


That's why the US and Europe trade a lot with developing countries, right?


A good article on this can be found on


Put yourself in Thailand's position and your friend in Indonesia's position.

You can see that there is a benefit to be gained by both!


Kind regards, Andre

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The thing that really p*sses me off about this situation is that I could be (but I assure you I am not!) the most talented and resourceful SN player that ever existed whilst my neighbour could be the most incompetent, yet I would still be at a disadvantage - somehow it just doesn't seem right does it :)

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I have discussed and ranted ( :) ) about this topic in various threads on this board. Unfortunately, I do not have much to offer you, Eldred, in terms of solace. You really only have three choices:


1. Pursue your racial strengths and persist until the edge that saved racial points has given your enemy ceases to exist. SRPs can't buy everything and will run out, while racial advantages are eternal.


2. Find something that you have that your neighbor does not and trade that, as Andre suggested. One of the features of trade and SRPs is that you can't trade knowledge, but you can trade objects. So if your neighbor spent SRPs on component technologies, you may actually be more advanced in colonization technologies or industrial production. You cannot trade Domed Cities for Mk III Nuclear Jump Drives, unfortunately. However, you can trade Ghuran Demonblood instead. :D


3. Start over. This is mutual exclusive to the other two. You will start with other 'newbies' but with the advantage of knowing what you know now.


I would suggest going with options 1 and 2 since you already have 31 turns invested in your current race. But if you feel that they are 'unplayable' or 'unenjoyable' in their current incarnation, go with option 3. After all, the point of playing is to have fun ... not be frustrated. :cheers:


-SK :ranting:

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I was where you are now with my original empire. I therefore started another one with about 700 saved points. According to the tech plan that I have mapped out I should be technologically and economically superior with my new race in about 6 months...and still have points left. Still, I can't drop the Shadowlords. They are my flagship empire and represent my learning curve. I run them for sentimental reasons even though I believe as you do that I would be no threat to anyone who saved points. My strategy in the face of this has been to concentrate on exploration and try to find the tech that I can't buy. Of course the new empires with saved points could do the same. I actually designed my new race with exploration as the main focus in my race design along with research bonuses. It does not hit with the same percentage as the Shadowlords but the extra finds only further increase the advantage of saved points.


Long ago I had voiced my opinion about the saved points being too much of an advantage over those that didn't save them. In the end I decided to just take the advantage myself with another empire. Couldn't beat 'em so I joined 'em. Probably not the answer you wanted to hear.

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Thanks for the responses. I was wondering that as it appears to be universally accepted that empires with SRPs get an undue advantage, that Pete hasn't thought to remedy the situation.


For instance, he could change the ratio of SRPs to RCs for new empires and give existing empires which have not taken advantage of SRPs a one off "SRP bonus" (like the Christmas present) calculated pro-rata depending on how few SRP points each empire started with. For example 0 SRPs saved = bonus of 120, 50 saved = bonus of 60, 100 saved = 30 bonus, 150 saved = 15, etc....


This should even things up a bit :)


(Eldred stands back and waits to be :D at!)

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The advantage is unfair to those empires that spent all their points but we all had the option to save points. Any changes now either way would just make players mad. There is no fix for this that will make everyone happy.

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Ah, the hot button issue again. Unfortunately the dangerous lizard is correct. The horse is out of the barn on this one. The only possible fix I see at this point would be for RTG to announce that SRP's will be limited and/or reduced in effectiveness starting at some future date, and that all existing SRP races and new races started before that date would be grandfathered in. There would be complaints of course, but it might be better than the current situation?


I think it's just become generally accepted by the players that SRP's are badly unbalanced and your options are to join them by starting a new race with 500 - 1,000 SRP's, or stubbornly carry on and hope you can at least make a SRP race pay dearly before you go down should one attack you. One thought though on your decision, if you've played 31 turns with 1 RC / research project you've already earned 775+ RP's vs starting a new race. Of course the new race will be near other new races so the decision isn't that simple, but it's worth taking in to consideration.


In theory racial advantages should pay off in the long term, depending on which ones are chosen and how often they are used. Massive ground combat advantages do nothing to further your race if you never engage in ground combat for example, whereas research bonuses are of undeniable benefit. But that long term can be very long indeed. There are many variables, but the payoff time is probably somewhere around 100 to 300 turns which at 26 turns per year is very roughly 3 to 12 years of real time game play.


I do think some people over simplify when they make claims of non-SRP races eventually catching up technologically. The SRP race still has all 25 RC's producing points just like the non-SRP race. The only catching up that can be accomplished is if the non-SRP race takes higher intelligence and senses than the SRP race. While the SRP race can't afford everything, they don't necessarily have to have a low intelligence. Depending on what other racial traits the two empires choose, the research advantage of the non-SRP race could be quite small meaning that catching up could take many years of gameplay.


Even when a non-SRP race "catches up" they really haven't. The SRP race's ability to quickly focus down certain key tech branches is a massive advantage, probably the most unbalancing aspect of SRP's. It also gives the SRP race advantages in flexibility and the ability to respond to problems/threats.


Someone could of course play a non-SRP and low intelligence race and have some chance of going well I think. But I also think the cards would be severely stacked against them. Not many people want such large disadvantages in a game that runs for years and costs money to play.


I too am troubled by how far up the tree that SRP's can be used. A SRP race in just a few turns can have weapons that takes even a high intelligence non-SRP race 50 or so turns to develop. In those 50 turns the SRP race can research the next weapon or two down that chain maintaining a lead for a long time. I'm not 100% sure if such a weapon advantage is a massive advantage in combat, but from the information I do have, it sure looks like it.


Sorry to be so long winded about this, but it's something that's troubled me for a long time now so I've given it a good bit of thought. I would be interested in hearing what your final decision is.

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I agree with both PhaseDragon and Paradigm in that there is nothing that RTG can really do to 'fix' the SRP issue, at least in terms of modifying the value of a single SRP. To change it now 'punishes' the new races that know the 'secret' of SRPs and does nothing to the races who had them before and have already spent them.


One of the key problems I see with the SRP issue is one of in-game perception. If you view the SN:ROTE Universe as a competitive one, the SRP 'problem' is huge. If you view the SN:ROTE Universe as a cooperative one, SRPs aren't a problem at all.


For me, the fact that SN:ROTE is billed as a wargame means that a lot of people are coming into the game thinking that they are in a competitive universe. A zero-sum power game: in order for me to have more power, someone else has to have less power.


In reality, SN:ROTE isn't much of a wargame. Most of the classic reasons to go to war, don't really exist in the SN:ROTE Universe. There is no scarcity of resources. You can make what you need from Raw Resources, if nothing else. There are no 'land' issues. The odds that two races will find the same planet to be an 'Ideal' colony site are very small. Besides, I haven't seen any indication that planets become overcrowded to the point that there is a negative impact of any kind (i.e. rioting, civil war, lowered production, lowered growth rate, etc.). The only impetus for colonization is a self-imposed one. You spent racial points giving your race colonization bonuses, so you probably want to use them. Religion? That may be coming now that Grand Cathedrals are coming into play. Knowledge? Even if you conquer someone that knows things that your race doesn't, you can't gain that information. At best you can gain an indirect advantage of any advanced structures or items they may have had on their world that you conquered. The only reason to go to war in this game is because you wanted to.



-SK :)

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Thanks for the responses. I was wondering that as it appears to be universally accepted that empires with SRPs get an undue advantage, that Pete hasn't thought to remedy the situation.

None of us know enough right now to say that non-SRP races are at a true disadvantage. No one has been in extensive enough ground combat/space combat to comment on how racial advantages come into play. (Or if they have they had better start talking now!)


Colonizer races, if they are playing smartly, could be at a huge advantage because they can have a tremdenous amount more resources from off-HW mines, whereas a SRP race would have to buy the colonizer tech (and a lot of that tech is still hidden) to get to the same point the colonizer race began at.


It makes no difference if you have Spinal Mounted X-ray lasers if you can't build them. Having the industrial capacity to produce everything is as important; I think a non-SRP race focused on colonizing could go up against a SRP race and win just by being able to out-produce ships.


The real 'problem' here is perceptional (as SK wrote): it is easy to see the effect of not having SRPs -- those empty turns where I discover nothing are depressing -- but it is not easy to see the effects of your racial traits yet. This will change over time.


So, I don't think that anything should be changed. We had our oppurtunity to spend or not spend points (I saved a few hundred because I didn't know how potent they would be and decided to be 'safe' and I ended up getting over 30 techs for that prudence -- but I didn't get everything that I would have liked to for my race...it is all a trade-off.) Now the question is "are you having fun with the race you chose?" If not, re-roll. Cut your 'losses' and move on to something else. I will also say that having those 30 techs doesn't make me feel that I could go out and ravage surrounding space. This game isn't so easy that having a tech advantage (a la Civilization) translates directly to dominance.


What I'd really like is to turn back the clock so I could undo all the bone-headed mistakes I've made simply because I wasn't familiar enough with the game... :) I know a race I started now would run rings around my core position; I wasted a lot of time doing dumb things. That isn't a problem with the game itself.


If the game were dangerously unbalanced I think RTG would remedy it. After all they are seeing everything that is going on, while all of us keep guessing at the shadows moving on the wall.


my $0.02's worth,



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I think the pro's and con's of SRPs have been well covered above - all I would say is that, having started originally without any knowledge and not knowing anything about the concept of spending 1000 SRPs and saving 1000 SRPs - I spent all 2000 on the Star League.


Because I was curious, however, I started another empire to see the difference. After 18 turns they will have caught up in total techs researched, against the Star League who will have done 41 Turns. Thereafter they will always be ahead as they have a higher Research Bonus.


However, what I did want to comment on is the apparent lack of trade opportunities and the danger from more advanced races.


Planning to be a trade organiser (and will happily mediate trade issues for any parties that desire it :D ) from the beginning I've thought a lot about this and have even 'costed' every item I know of for those purposes. Everything is costed in terms of the amount of effort needed to make the item from Raw Resources - and this is the point. Not only do you trade for things you haven't got, but you can effectively trade production capacity.


Thus assuming the situation that started this thread exists - ie there's 'nothing' that the higher tech empire wants....


Is not strictly true!


I'm sure that that empire is still producing Cargo Bays, Fuel Tankage etc (indeed anything made from Steel), or perhaps Improved Construction materials - even Ground Troops???


Now, there's no reason the 'lower tech' empire couldn't make these things for the 'higher' tech empire and receive some 'better' tech items in exchange.


Now, to be fair, there might well not be a ton for ton (or equal 'cost') exchange as there's no advantage for the 'higher tech' empire, but I'm sure an agreement could be made.....



On the other subject of the danger posed by higher tech empires, I would point out two things. Firstly the 9x 'defence' of PDCs vs fleets may mitigate tremendously against a potential agressor - even at a tech disadvantage.


Secondly, we don't know how the different generations of techs compare. What we do know is that from Poor to Fair with the Ground Tech is a 3x multiplier. However, from Fair to Adequate is only two-thirds multiplier.


There are many other such 'reducing curve' effects in this game! If the above continues, then ever higher tech doesn't confer the effects some think it might.


At some point, perhaps in the not so different future, those that spent their points might find there are significant advantages. This is not a short game......


Anyway, my thought for the day.... :cheers:


Ur-Lord Tedric and his merry men...


The Chief Trader stands ready to assist any that want it! :)

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I'll chime in :D


Sure, saved setup points are very handy. It was a sad day when my first test empire ran out :cheers: However, there are several points that muddy the issue considerably.

  • First, from the trade perspective. As AKO pointed out, it doesn't matter what you're trading so long as both sides see benefit from the interaction. You don't have to trade a high technology item to your neighbor in return for another high tech item. He might need Improved Electronics to build something (the item he gives you, perhaps), so trade thim that. Sure, you'd have to pay some sort of penalty in tonnage to make up for the fact that he's giving you Plasma Torpedos. But think of it this way: if those Plasma Torps turned out to be 4 times as efficient as your current Mk II Spitball Chucker (beloved to your populace as they might be), wouldn't it be worth it to you to trade Improved Electronics at an unfavorable ratio for Plasma Torps? You gain firepower, your neighbor gains tonnage in the form of excess Improved Electronics, and you can retire the Mk II SC's (an added bonus...cleanup after a battle wasn't exactly coveted duty). You could work out how many industries and total mass of items you're each using to construct the final trade products and set the trade tonnage ratio from there.

  • Second, from the wargame perspective. SN:ROTE wasn't actually billed as a wargame (the Introduction talks all about the many options a player has, from combat to mining, colonization, exploration etc). It's a strategic space empire-building game with options to do just about anything you like. Certainly combat is a big potential factor in games of this magnitude but there are plenty of players who, upon meeting a neighboring empire, immediately begin talking peace. They don't want to fight - they want to peacefully coexist, trade interesting technologies, set borders, or just make a friend.

  • From a lifeform perspective, there are setups all over the lot. Of course it's possible to make choices that don't work out--that's the nature of any game with a complex setup system. However, every point that you spend shows up in some bonus, somewhere. It's really a giant spreadsheet under the cover of a cool setup system. If you buy a claw, you get a bonus for it. If you never fight a ground combat, that claw turned out to be worth little in practice. It is kind of fun to put claws on a lifeform though, so even if it wasn't practical game-wise, it can still be fun.

  • Next, ground combat needs to be considered very seriously in this debate. Those of you who have been involved in ground engagements know exactly what I mean. Sure, some races took the maximum brain bonus, and then tossed in the ever-popular Tiny/Decrepit/Clumsy selection to balance out the points. It's possible to get a maximum research bonus and still have a lot of points left over by taking negatives. If your race has a poor GCM, its divisions won't have much firepower. If it has a poor DEF, your divisions will die like Altruvian Pack Gnats on Frogloi hatching day. This is no small consideration. Divisions are expensive. If your enemy is tough, he might hold off a hundred of your puny, freakishly weak brain blob divisions with only a handful of his own. And you had to build all of those wimpy blob divisions at the same cost (each) as he did, never mind the Troop Berthings to get them there. Even if you win the battle you'd lose a ton of divisions, and thus production.

  • Ground combat technologies can't be traded. This was done on purpose to introduce a decisive split between the blobs and the behemoths. Because ground combat technology represents an impressively large chunk of the total researchable items in the game, this ends up being a significant number of items that the bloboids will never research. They'll never be tough in ground combat, for a bunch of reasons. Even an average race would tear their troops up. They knew it when they set up, but probably figured they'd make up for it with technology. True to a point: they can try to gain TAC bonuses by investing massively in ground techs. That's an option, but an expensive one research-wise. Using a mercenary would be better, if they could find one close enough, and trustworthy enough. Even if they did Slot-1 like mad and picked up a ton of ground techs, their divisions would still stink. It's a tough uphill struggle that can be won, but at a steep production cost.

And therein lies the real issue: if you want to fight a war, it's a production game with technology multiplying the value of each ton you produce. Were those Plasma Torps 4 times as efficient as your Mk II SC's? Well, for weapon purposes, you'd need to build 4 Spitwad Chuckers for every Plasma Torp that your enemy produces. Or crank up on armor, shields or defensive systems to whittle away at his advantage. Maybe you'd be better off just armoring up and eating plasma, production-wise.

  • From the research standpoint, consider going nuts and doing exactly what your neighbor wouldn't do in his wildest dreams: assign a lot of your RC's to one technology. He can buy his way up a few generations with saved points. He could even do the same thing and assign a lot of his RC's to one area. So: you choose a different area, building trade right into the agreement. For instance, maybe he has decent shields but nothing that shines. Mk I or maybe Mk II Force Shields. He could go up that tree further, but he chooses to work on other things. You put 20 RC's on Mk II Force Shields and finish it. Then you switch to Mk III Force Shields. Then Mk IV's. You don't stop. Sure, your scientists have become obsessed with shields. But...that's the whole idea. You'd be the only one crazy enough to actually be working on Mk V Force Shields at hideous cost and RC inefficiency. But does it matter? Inefficiency is only a comparative issue. Your neighbor cannot buy Mk V Force Shields even if he had 2,000 saved points. He can't even buy Mk IV's. If he has a significant brain bonus and considers saved research points as da bomb, then he probably spreads his RC's out to gain the holy grail of RC efficiency. That's fine, but his progress past the can't-Slot-1 point will be much slower than the fanatic devil-may-care approach you take.

The entire concept of giving every empire something that they can develop, but cannot be captured (research) is fundamental to the setup and research systems. You can fanatic-RC your way to an item that your neighbor won't get on his own for years at 1 or 2 RC's a turn. Even if you considered SN:ROTE as a wargame and nothing else, he still might be advantaged by trading to get those spiffy Mk V Force Shields....to vaporize some other poor neighbor of his. You, in turn, do the same with his slick Plasma Torps (just scrape off his imperial emblem and slap on your proud "Spiked Mace Smashing Test Tube").

  • The brain-in-a-jar folks will be mighty sad if you land 3 really mean divisions on their coveted colony world, wipe out the 15 they have stationed there without blinking, and refuse to leave. That's pretty much it for that colony world. Do they have the production required to kick you off? Maybe, but it will cost a lot...a whole lot. And...their divisions are so bad they probably didn't station 15 there to begin with. Easy pickins'.

It's possible to trade ground combat in a way. He could hire another player to be a mercenary, build tough divisions, carry them about, and attack in return for payment (probably high tech space combat weaponry, armor, shields, whatever). The merc extracts and 2 BIAJ divisions land to capture the target. The brain can use that production more efficiently technology-wise than the merc, who receives a piece of the action in the form of high tech items. This works on paper, but in practical terms there's a lot of trust involved--the behemoth troopers might decide to stick around after conquering that juicy player homeworld....


In the end, would I save points? You bet I would. I love being able to slot-1 something each turn. Is it mandatory? Nah--nothing is truly mandatory in game where nobody really wins. But picking up tech every turn can be fun. It all depends on what you want to accomplish in the game. The points are either spent or saved. Spending them is admittedly fun, as everything purchased during setup grants a bonus somewhere, and having claws and spikes is kind of cool in any event. If I ever wanted fight a ground action without getting slaughtered, I wouldn't want to take too many disadvantages. If I wanted to maximize research, I'd have to go the brain blob route. Colonization and/or ground combat bonus usually suffer as a result of the high cost of the brain blob option.


Finally, be aware that the new space combat reporting engine will give great gobs of details on every ship in the battle. You'll have plenty of data to analyze if you consider space combat critical to your plans, and this leads back to the whole what-to-research/slot-1 concept key to saving or spending those setup points. Ground battles already give loads of details, for the same reason.


Whew. Saved points? Yeah, I like 'em too. Wish I had more. But....even my ostrich head-in-the-sand colonizers are doing ok, even if they did run out of points a year ago :)

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