ADVICE FOR BEGINNERS
Copyleft 2021 by Bruce Alexander Knight -- all rights reversed
Chapter One: Getting started
If you've already started your game, and don't want to know what opportunities you've missed, you can skip to the last section of this chapter for advice on submitting your Turn 1 (T1) orders. But read on if you want some clues to what good players get up to, before even joining a game.
Choose your player-type to match your personality, playing style, or whim of the moment -- or roll a die, it's up to you. I also recommend picking a game name thoughtfully. Your name can say or imply a lot about you, or nothing at all. I like game names that suggest or proclaim my type, when I want my neighbors to guess my “race” correctly (or incorrectly... bwahahaha!).
Some players prefer to use one name in all or most of their SW games, making it easier for other players to recognize them. That has its pros and cons -- old allies and past enemies will both recognize you -- but may aid in building your reputation.
Cross-game alliances (“You help me in this one, I'll help you in that one...”) and “automatic” allies or enemies are strongly discouraged. Nonetheless, your reputation will affect how some players see you. That's no issue if you never play again, but keep it in mind if you want to keep playing. My own meta-strategy from game to game is to be more fun to have as an ally than to face as an enemy, i the hope that other players will want to be my allies next time.
I recommend checking your messages at least daily, and letting your allies know whenever you'll be out of touch longer than that. Uncommunicative players can be annoying, may be left out of alliances, and could find themselves on the menu. You're better off talking with your neighbors than being talked about.
Along with these preliminary choices, your may also decide on your approach to the game before your sign up. As a rookie you won't have the experience to plot very specific strategies, but you can decide things like whether to play “in the closet” (pretending to be a different type) or to adopt honesty as the best policy.
You can also start developing your “game persona,” since RSW is a role-playing game to whatever extent the players make it so. As a Missionary you could invent suitable tenets for the faith you want to spread, for example. As any type, you can read strategy articles to give you ideas to use later, and think about ways to use your type's special abilities to best advantage.
If all that thinking sounds like too much work, RSW may not be for you. Doing your homework and adjusting your mindset will help prepare you for the challenges of the game, and that's more fun than twiddling your thumbs while you wait for a turn.
Turn 1 -- what now?
Your T1 report provides your first glimpse of the wild, wide Web -- your home world (HW) in
all its glory. Your only hints to the other worlds are your HW's links to a few of them. If you've downloaded and installed the RSW client, it will give you a map. If not, mapping the Web is up to you, but on T1 that task is trivial.
Turn 1 you need to do only 3 things: build and transfer ships, and move your fleets. I'll walk you through that process below.
Other players in your game will have HWs with identical local resources, except that Missionaries have converts and Positronix have robots instead of regular populations. The number of links to other worlds may vary, however.
Your first report will look a lot like this one, from my own first RSW game. That was an Advanced RSW game, but the guiding principles for a strong opening are the same as for Classic RSW or Starweb. I've deleted the instant-message chatter that appears at the bottom of each turn report, but I'll comment on that at the end of this chapter.
Game orthodox6o, Turn 1, Ziplines RSW Advanced
orthodox6o started 01 Jan 2021, now at turn 1.
Game type Advanced.
Runs every 2 weeks.
Uses the map set "advanced geodesic".
Initial galaxy parameters specified:
End of game score = 3 (Very high)
World 180: Ziplines
W18, W94, W199
Population / Limit:
50 / 100
Fleet 47: Ziplines
Fleet 126: Ziplines
Fleet 210: Ziplines
Fleet 261: Ziplines
Fleet 265: Ziplines
Fleet 266: Ziplines
Next turn is due Friday, January 15 at 12:00 AM PST
Click here to unsubscribe email@example.com from the RSW server.
If you've downloaded and installed the RSW server, it will provide you with a map. If not you'll have to draw your own, as in Starweb, but I prefer to do that anyway using hex or square graph paper. On T1 that's easy. Unfortunately, the limitations of this forum make it difficult to create text-based maps, so I'll omit them for future turns.
Later, as you explore and expand your map, you may want to add numbers of industries and mines or other stats to the worlds on your map, but none of that is needed yet.
Now it's time to start writing your orders. The rules provide some options that should be ignored for now. Because they get points for it, a new Emperor may be tempted to build more industries, and a Missionary or Positronix to “migrate” populations to neighboring worlds. DON'T DO IT! Your stockpile of metal should all be turned into ships, because you'll need every one over the next several turns.
Everyone's top priority in the opening should be to maximize ship production ASAP. You'll do that by capturing worlds and hauling enough metal to your HW each turn to build with all of your industries there. Your competent neighbors will be doing the same; if you don't, you'll lose the arms race.
So now I'll build 40 ships onto my 6 empty keys. “Build ships” syntax is noun-verb-noun; the first noun is the world doing the building, the verb is “B” followed by the number of ships being built. and the final noun is the unit receiving those ships (a fleet for now). How many to build onto each key depends on how many links your HW has.
W180 has 3 links, so I should start by sending one fleet to each linked world. A key is not a fleet (and can't do anything) until one or more ships are attached to it, so I start with these orders:
With 10 ships each, those fleets will have enough to transfer ships to any loose keys captured at their destinations. My other 3 fleets can be kept in reserve to send exploring on T2, but should also be built up now:
That uses up W180's 40 metal and puts 40 ships on my 6 fleets, but an I-Ship and a P-Ship (W180's “home fleets”) are idle. Since no other player's HW will be within movement range of another's, W180 doesn't need home fleets for protection yet; so they can be transferred to reserve fleets, but I'll wait until next turn.
Now it's time to write movement orders; the syntax is noun-verb, noun-verb-verb, or noun-verb-verb-verb, depending on how many links the fleet is ordered to traverse. The first noun is a fleet number, and the verbs are the world numbers the fleet is ordered to travel to or through. It doesn't matter which fleet moves to which world, so long as one fleet goes to each Ring-1 (R1) world adjacent to the HW:
That leaves me 3 fleets not sent to adjacent worlds, and an opportunity for a long-shot gambit, the “blind stab.” Though your fleets can move through 3 links/turn in theory, this turn you know only the world numbers one link away from your HW. That shouldn't keep you from trying to go farther with your reserve fleets, which have nothing better to do T1. With 3 reserve fleets, I try 3 blind stabs, guessing at world numbers beyond my R1s:
Odds are, it won't work, but the attempts cost me nothing. If they fail, each fleet will stop at the last correct link in its order. This is one difference from Starweb, where an incorrect link makes the entire order illegal, and that fleet stays where it started. But if I get lucky, I'll have an exploration edge over my neighbors and may be able to capture nice worlds before they can -- so why not try?
Having typed or pasted my orders in, I check off “Save as draft” before clicking the “Save Orders” button. Then re-examining the orders, I note that the final 3 have error warnings:
F261W18W1 <Error: No connection from W18 to W1>
F265W94W87 <Error: No connection from W94 to W87>
F266W199W200 <Error: No connection from W199 to W200>
Since those 3 orders are blind stabs, I don't bother correcting them. I can now un-check “Save as draft” and save my orders for execution. If I change my mind about any orders, I can add, delete, or correct and re-save them any time before the turn is executed.
One feature of RSW that SW lacks is instant messaging, or what I call the “galactic broadcast network.” Even before meeting other players in the game, you can send messages to everyone in the game. By custom players are discouraged from forming alliances or exchanging detailed information until they meet, but generic banter often takes place. Once you actually meet other players you can send also send and receive private messages, except in “no communications” games.
Following the principles outlined above, you should own all or most of your R1 worlds on Turn 2, and be in good position to keep expanding your empire. I'll discuss how to do that in Chapter 2.
A place for general chatter about games in progress, games completed, strategy advice, bug reports, or really anything at all that relates in some vague way to RSW.
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