Shadow Empire

Shadow Empire

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Threat assessment 101 - What to do before you do anything
By maerchen
This a guide intended to help you decide what to do on turn zero when you start with supreme council commander only, not knowing how the map looks like and have no other councils installed yet as this is my popular choice of game start.

I will focus on borders, leaders and council opportunities.

Work -in-progress!
The file - Turn 0
As you finished your planetary generation phase, and before you start it, the game will show you some summary like this:

IIRC, This is the only time you will see how many major and minor regimes are present!

Write it down, make a screenshot, and press Start Game. Now you should name your regime and wisely choose your profile preferences!

Borderline Syndrome
Until you are establishing diplomatic contact, borders are fluid with all but the major regimes, as these have an established government just like you and are wary of you.

The minors will ignore your territorial claims, that is your hexes, unless you

a) go to war with them attacking their units , then they reevaluate their cohesion and need to go after you after you sent them some heads back without body,

b) play the 5PP Propose Peace stratagem on them and establish formal contact and a border from now on or

c) a minor faction wants you to establish formal contct with them and you recognizing their border via a national decision. This can boost one or two of your profiles.
Good neighborhood, bad neighborhood: Using the strat map and chosing the first council
As you did your profile setup - we skip this for now - You will see your Empire. Now, let us switch to the Strat map, or strategic map. Mind that we do not have any recon on anything.

You can get something like this I got on a small moon:

You see that there is a major regime border right next to the capital and one huge zone of unaligned forces. This is bad.

I rolled this planet with three majors and one minor, minimal population. This is even worse. Guess which profile preferences I chose:

Autocracy - Enforcement - Fist

Conclusion: I went full aggro. The moon is so small, I better kill this one off. I am recently playing this and I wrestled the major down to be next to his city, he has no water or food source, but another major is creeping up so I better hurry.

As my first council I chose the model council, as I got really good structures on my units and the field testing would come for sure. The infantry is upgrading to only carbines and environment suits but now has collected 20 field test points. If I win isn't sure yet, but this is a viable strategy.

WARNING: Do not play moons if you are inexperienced. You will suffer. A lot.

Another example: Many neighbors
This is the 11 major, 81 minor world. Here the strat map:

That are four minor regimes and a major right next to me. One of the minors is a "Territory" indicating a zone without city but with nomads, slavers, hostile robots or arachnids. We want to keep these away.

What profile preferences would I chose?

I would go with meritocracy, as it comes with a +30 diplomacy bonus - we're a senate, after all - and 80 minors and 11 majors are a lot of diplomatic opportunities, commerce for the happiness and mind for better research.

Conclusion: This is a game that would benefit from a foreign affairs council as first council. It is a bit of a gamble, as there is a major bordering, but you can appease them early and getting the minors as protectorates is cheap in PP, relatively easy and gives you buffer zones against the major regimes.

I won a very similar game on a smaller planet, AAR is here:

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