after the outstanding succes of our previous lecture we have decided to give you another class. This time the topic is 'Politics and Targetting', which also is a part of our grand theme of 'Competent Planetarion'. This time it is not about some mathematical exercise, but it is about the meta-game.
By now you should have understand some concepts of the meta-game. Planetarion is not about 'picking the best race and thus performing', it is often also the case of picking a strategy (race, ships and so forth) that makes you flexible (gives you a lot of potential targets) and at the same time unattractive to most of the universe.
A good example is Apprime round 34 where they almost always had their BS roiding fleets spare while 2 fleet defending, while Ascendancy, who was in a similar position, only had their CO fleets to attack with. This whole situation would have been different if the whole universe would have gone for FR/DE, then Apprime would've been forced to constantly keep Tycoons home and Ascendancy could've tried to dodge the FR/DE waves with their Fi/Co. How you influence this meta-game (if you can) can be critical for a round.
Now that the concept of the meta-game is fresh in your mind, we go to politics. As it is also competent to keep your options open for attacking, it is also with politics. You want to keep your options open. (f.e. Ascendancy's choice of round 34 by allying Apprime and fully integrating the channels/bots/bookings/intel with them was in that aspect a very shit move to make, as it limited Ascendancy's playing field for the rest of the round)
Lokken has stated it very nicely here
Another element is metagame (politics). In the past few rounds when JBG has been in charge, I'd say Ascendancy has pursued something that I would coin 'negative politics'. This has basically involved not hitting alliances who can't win but can block your path to #1 (DLR is a prime example), and to basically let your rivals do the hard work for you by upsetting them, even at the cost of a roid lead. If you're aiming for #1, going for alliances that aren't capable of finishing #1 while being a threat to you makes no sense. Never mind the fact that if your opponent X has been hitting alliance Y but you haven't, your negotiations with Y are a hell of a lot easier.
This has meant that politics usually ended up swinging naturally in our favour, with us having very few enemies except those who really counted, so they just ended up getting shredded. Under JBG's leadership we actually had very few titanic struggles, mainly because his strategy was so effective. Last round was an absolute masterclass by JBG - Apprime were shit generally but politically they were dead by the pt 400 to 500 period.
On targetting: Targetting is the policy of what targets you set or allow for your alliance. This usually is in the early stages of a round (nowadays tick 25 until tick 150 or 200) means for most alliances that members should just get their own targets and roid at will. During this period alliance defence usually is scarce too, as are people with the correct ETA. (A small hint to 'minor' alliances, try and find out how many planets in a certain alliance have proper travel time research and then notice that during the first week(s) they are so very vulnerable, especially if they have a lot of planets that are research hampered (Xan for instance).
Later on targetting becomes a choice of those running the alliance. This can be done by 'random gal raiding' as it is known, just pick a galaxy that has a lot of roids compared to its value and try and roid it. However as you pick targets, politics will start to shape. (You can imagine that if a galaxy with a lot of ziks is your preferred target due to the race set up of your alliance and alliance B is zik heavy, you inevitably start hitting them more then other alliances).
You can also focus on an enemy; Hitting galaxies that are dominated by alliance A. Or hitting galaxies that are dominated by your own alliance, but targetting only the planets of alliance A.
Later on you can go for 'Planet targetting' an alliance where you only put up targets that are in alliance A.
Hand-in-hand with targetting are those 'orders' or 'guidelines' that an alliance gives its members with respect to 'solo-ing'. The targets that should be attacked by those who did not get a target due to missing the 'target pick' or those that kept fleet home because they thought they would get incomings and so forth. When targetting a certain alliance (or group of alliances) it is wise to limit the group of targets for those soloing. Although Planetarion is all about keeping your options open, it is also about making choices.
When targetting a certain alliance it is very wise to let almost all attacking fleets focus on that alliance in order to:
- Deplete their defence pool (increase chances of landing; at some point defence just 'dries up' and any fleet launched on a planet then is 'through', unless his galaxy magically covers him)
- Lower their morale
- Exhaust those organizing defence
- Keep their fleet occupied (is somewhat correlared with (1))
But when do you stop targetting alliance A?
This is in military terms easy: When alliance A is destroyed or when a far greater threat emerges. A big but however does ring: You should stop targetting alliance A when politics dictate it. When you need alliance A, who has now been weakened enough not to threat you alone anymore, to take down alliance B could be a good reason. However the estimation of what alliances are capable of, we leave that to another lecture.
Combining politics and targetting we can come to a simple conclusion: They influence eachother, however politics should be in charge of targetting and not vice versa. This means that if you are pursuing some political goal (for instance the destruction of alliance A) then targetting should follow this. However, if targetting shows that 'the destruction of alliance A' is not possible, then those politics should not be pursued.
Now where are the dangers? What usually goes wrong?
One thing that we have seen in the last 10 rounds is that targetting and politics do not go hand in hand. A lot of alliances give their members a 'night of' or let them solo on planets while half-assed attacking 'Enemy A', this only means that Enemy A has a complete def pool for only half the incomings. Full defensive coverage and lowering of morale (willingness to attack Enemy A) is a logical consequence, while at the same time giving Enemy A to attack back with far more fleets. This gives away the initiative (or at least temporarily) and is a very bad move. Especially if you consider Enemy A to be more active and 'better players' than your own alliance.
This is what we would call a targetting error and is very easy to spot. It usually goes hand-in-hand with poor member discipline (soloing on 'newbie planets', poor attacking coverage).
On the other side is a political error. Forcing yourself in a position that you cannot move out of. The last two rounds have we seen Ascendancy making this error and the last two rounds we have seen Euphoria and DLR making this error. If you set yourself in a certain position where you cannot move out of then you also force the hands of other alliances. For instance this round early on P3nguins got forced to side with Apprime as DLR/Euphoria and at times CT and NewDawn teamed up again. The politics of DLR/Euphoria and CT/ND (DENC!) are in that respect made of failure.
The worst mistake however is to pursue the wrong political goals and at the same time not consequently targetting those you should target. Readers of this post should now be able to give examples of that themselves.