From the Ancient Days of Era 2: Wayward Device's Diplomacy Guide

General discussion for the game Anacreon
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Wayward Device
Militia Lieutenant
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Reposting from the depths of Watch TV's Anacreon Era 2 Gameplay Guide and FAQ at Imperator's request. I wrote this as an Ancreon diplomacy guide a little over 700 cycles ago (that's over 2 years in meatspace time) but in the rereading it holds just as true today as it was then. Not even considering the impact of the improved diplomacy features around gifting worlds/ships we are likely to get in the upcoming Era 4 if the community gets it's way. So turn your sensory organs to the wisdom of cycles long passed, a time of high adventure where the wily Finnians forged the Barricade Pact to oppose the might of the Great Powers of the day, a time where a pack of ragged Dholes learned to hunt the Tiger and where the Republic of Reason first learned the harsh lessons of empire that let it bestride the stars with 100 million swift Helions.

Wayward Device's Diplomacy Guide
This section was written by Wayward Device, leader of the Republic of Reason

"The Comm-Burst is mightier than the Basilisk Cannon"- Nameless Rumourmonger

So, you've set out to build an empire to make the very stars tremble. You've read the facts and the figures, you know how to to set up your economy, what ships are worth making and what simple but devastating errors to avoid. Maybe you even have a plan for your star-straddling imperium, some cunning strategy nobody has thought of before or, better yet, maybe you begin things with an advantage, a giant remnant fleet under your command or a small pocket of independent worlds ripe for the taking. But when you start to look around the tiny portion of space surrounding your new homeworld a feeling of dread starts to seep in. You are surrounded on all sides by enormous empires that smother your chances for growth and could crush you like a toddler in a hydraulic ram if you tried to take what's theirs. What's a young upstart empire to do in an overcrowded galaxy?

Well, first of all, both giving up and trying to attack everything in sight have historically had a 0% success rate in establishing a galaxy-spanning empire. So put those plans aside for now. The first and most important thing to understand about diplomacy in Anacreon is that it slow game. This is also true for war and economics but particularly so for this catch all term Diplomacy under which we will discuss the rise and fall of empires and how they relate to each other. As of the writing of this guide, the game year is Cycle 4374, 353 real days since the server started running this version. A lot has happened and the galaxy is very, very full. And unless you happen to start a new empire at the same time as a server reset there is always going to be somebody out there with way more power than you. Probably many someones. Since I've already told you that giving up or trying to take on empires with many orders of magnitude more forces than you could hope to muster is out of the question, that means we are finally going to start getting to the point:

New Beginnings

Surrounded? Incredibly Weak? Massive Empires? Creeping Despair Feeling? Ok. Here's what you do. First, in the next few Cycles you probably won't be doing much epic space conquering. Maybe a little if things go well, but going full space Mongol is currently out of the question. For the purposes of this guide I will assume that you have had the worst possible start, say surrounded completely for hundreds of light years by the most powerful empire in the galaxy.

First, set you homeworld production to 25% Explorers, 25% Stinger Jumships, 25% Transports and 25% Infantry if it's not already. You won't be using to those Jumships, Transports or Infantry for a while but it's important to have them ready. Lucky people who haven't had the worst possible start and actually have some independent worlds next to their homeworld with low enough defenses to take, this is the bit where you take those and properly use them to your economic advantage.

Anyway, start sending out your Scouts in all directions in groups of 200. It can be a little boring but you need to do this until you have explored the whole galaxy. You don't have to go nuts and remove every fog of war hex but you do need to find as many empire Capitals as possible, especially those of the empires that surround you. Once you've found an empires capital you can send them a message by clicking on the capital, going to the Empire tab and clicking the Send Msg button on the right, pretty simple.

Assessing the Situation

As you start to get a rough picture of the galaxy and can send messages to the empires with any real power (I'm assuming you didn't just give up after only exploring a few thousand square light years) start asking them question and try and figure out what's up. Introduce yourself. Somewhere out there is a patch of worlds just right for you to expand into. It might be the empty space were an old empire has just collapsed, the remnant worlds captured in an ancient war, even a gift freely given by a larger established empire for reasons of their own. It doesn't matter how, you need to find the best likely candidate. It may not be perfect, you may even have to accept somewhere hundreds or even thousands of lightyears from your homeworld. But everybody has to start somewhere, so start asking people things. There are definitely going to be places that seem safe to expand into but are really are not. Some empires will hold claims over certain territories and be aggressive about it and most established empires will be quiet annoyed if you take a world that they use that happened to rebel while they were sleeping.

Why would anyone help me?

Well, there are a multitude of reasons. Empires die all the time, as much to players getting bored and quitting as to war or economic disaster. Some players are in it for the long haul though and often want to keep up friendly relations with empires that might potentially visit them with a few million ships in 30 or 40 cycles time. Maybe they need fresh blood to keep their alliance strong. Maybe they want a puppet state to act as a spy for them. Doesn't matter. You need to find out what people are offering and take whatever you can get.

The Mighty Lord of Two Dozen Worlds

So you've arrived. Nearly 50 billion people call you emperor (well, except those pesky rebels, damn them!). You've got a jumship world and a starship world, even some dedicated ground forces production! But you're still weak on the galactic scale and can't take on anybody with something you actually want. Sure, you can laugh at the small one world empires, but you know in your heart that you are barely better than they. So kept up the diplomacy. By now you should have a good picture of the current state of the galaxy and have some resources to actually take advantage of a fortunate situation. Cultivating your diplomatic ties will also help you know when an opportunity to expand happens. It's one thing to join the scrabble for independent worlds when an established empire abdicates and another to find out that your invincible neighbor has been weakened by a recent war and couldn't stop you pushing their borders.

A Great Emperor This Way Comes

So you're a power now, a real one. A million swift jumships answer to your command, legions of soldiers shout your name, zappy shooty space guns without number (ok, with quiet a big number) protect your worlds. I knew I could write a good guide.

Now, if you want, you can rampage across the galaxy with fire and explosions and megadeaths and all that stuff. Or you could forge your own alliances, seek to corrupt galactic institutions, raise up fledgling empires as your puppet spy false flag minions, seek to promote peace and harmony in the galaxy, try to ban the use of jumships, try to get empires to agree to a naming convention for different types of world, spread rumours and lies that leads to a war that engulfs the galaxy, create your own galactic institutions or, you know, whatever.

Anacreon is what you make it to be. One thing is for certain, treating it like an RTS instead of a grand strategy with real opponents will leave you bored pretty fast.
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Thanks for bringing this back! I have added links to this to my Era 3 reference. I think it is good for this to get its own thread so that you can maintain and update it as you see fit, rather than for me to include it as a section of the reference guide like I did during Era 2.
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I think that the "best" way to play this game is to roleplay it.

Playing to win is just exploiting the incompleteness of the game, a lot of effort, and not much fun.

I find it more entertaining to plot, cooperate, trick, conspire, bully, and otherwise interact with other people with a set goal of being the tiebreaker who tips the scale in the manner of Cosimo de' Medici, rather than the big conqueror amongst the barbars like Alexander the Great.

It is possible, of course, to enjoy it the other way, but aren't there a ton other probably better games out there more suitable for that job, if that's your interest? This is like "Risk", the game is just a frame of combat rules, but you must do all the fine diplomacy and - much like real life - it's up to you to stay true to any treaty you sign. There's nothing preventing you to backstab your closest ally who trusts you with a surprise attack, if you're that kind of (awful) person. :mrgreen:
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