I got an email from a player named Hypocee who did two nice mini write ups of games played as the Mutants. Here is the first one. It’s a fun read.
I just finished (in a manner of speaking) my first game of Armageddon Empires. I played as the Mutants on a default map, against randomly-chosen Machine and Xenopods. I got some decent scouting but fell way behind on resources – the Xenos were stabbing around with a killer stack that my guys could hardly scratch, but fortunately they were far enough from my main base that they would have incurred supply penalties in a real stompfest, and I suspect the Machines were keeping them a little busy up north. I did a lot of boneheaded first-game stuff in the middle game, like moving units unnecessarily, counterproductively or in stupid routes (movement costs are determined by crossing color-coded borders, not just by entering a given hex, so pay attention to the “it costs X to move here” numbers, they’re real). I have a persistent problem with mistaking one of the Mutants’ midrange fighting units for one of their best recon units (similar art), so I burned a lot of time and AP putting them into scout groups, swearing and burning more AP to get them to combat commanders. I also took a big calculated risk that legitimately didn’t pan out by trying to explore with my main force of beat-up units on the way back from a resource conquest. One pack of sabertoothed wolves later, that was all she wrote for half my guys. However all was not gloom, as I had shown frankly heroic foresight, courage and restraint in building my infrastructure and committing the forces necessary to claim those resources instead of defending positional gains. They were Tech resources, the biggest limit on the Mutants, and so grabbing them really opened up the bottleneck, giving me a resurgence of units and a modest supply of augmentations as the Xenopods started turning more attention towards me.
I did some more idiotic things, like moving an extremely powerful and valuable assassin without reserving enough action points to allow him to attack and bogging down a big-stack attack by eating up all its movement points on a brown border (Seriously, pay attention to those numbers, it’s not hard 🙂 ). A very scary attack on my main production base turned out to be a Coral Sea, as it did severe damage to my forces but ate up their valuable and seemingly bottomless accumulation of Tactics cards. Soon after that I created a meeting engagement and found out that my mediocre-looking big stack of bruisers was actually significantly nastier than the two forces I’d been fearing for most of the game, thanks to the relative fragility of powerful Xeno units and better status effects from the Mutants. I prepared a missile attack for the other nearby Xeno base, walked into the border outpost I’d been fighting for, and got a message that I’d eliminated the Xenos. WTF?
I’d conquered their HQ. As it turns out, I’d rather overestimated the scale of the game, and therefore the extent of my predicament. On a default sized board, if you have three or four bases in the midgame you’re doing fine sizewise. Huh!
After that, things were looking fairly rosy. I had two sweet new bases, my genetics, technology and tactics were all laying steadily, and I could tell by the initiative rolls that I had Machine seriously outstripped in resources – and in return for spending on initiative I was moving faster AP-wise. However, by this late point in the game I had still “seen” precisely two Machine units, and they were composed of airstrikes and a hidden saboteur making nuisance attacks on my captured Xeno HQ. This was despite really diligent reconnaissance in the early-mid game covering about 80% of the board, and here’s where I made my fatal mistake: I assumed they were still centered in that undiscovered bourn. I spent the next few turns scouting around and building up my armed forces for a serious exploratory attack, most crucially by transporting a couple of old infantry from my HQ to carry SAMs against the heavy air presence.
They were the only guys left there. They weren’t strong – early-game units, demoted now to special tech functions my Giants and Dragons couldn’t carry out due to oversized or absent opposable thumbs. They wouldn’t have lasted a round against any serious assault force anyway, my HQ was very far away from where I thought the Machines could be, and I was going to put a spare big fat fella down there in two turns. It was all pretty moot since I was going to shift my HQ to another of my bases in another couple turns once my scouts found something up north to pull the trigger.
Rarely leave your HQ without a recon picket. Rarely leave your HQ without strong defenders. Never leave your HQ entirely undefended.
A squad of recon spiderbots walked in, the first Machines I’d seen in person. I lost the game. Oops! (My infantry would have spanked them, and had probably been keeping them at bay for some time.)
Still, pretty good for a first attempt and very good for the uncheaty goal-driven AI on which Davis spent most of his time. It was a tense, believable game.