the Philosopher - Feature Article by Thierry (Xichiro)
of the more complex characters in Imperial Wars is the Philosopher.
Unlike the Trader, who makes allies easily because of the services
he or she provides, the philosopher has to work to get allies, and
work even harder to maintain them. If players allow philosophers
access to their worlds, the population will begin to convert, eventually
taking over the planet.
like all characters in Imperial Wars, there are benefits to having
a philosopher as your ally. First, they are wealthy, and can be
convinced to share the wealth. Second, unless you are a Baron, owning
planets isnt really all that important. As a warlord, you
can recapture your own worlds and gain more points. As a raider,
you can ravage, and as a terminator, destroy them, all without making
an enemy, since the philosopher gains points for martyrs.
a player in the first Universe 101 beta test, played a philosopher
and was the winner. This issue, he shares some of his experiences
and tips for playing the Philosopher character.
lucky enough to be chosen to play in U101 after I met Larry at a
game developers conference. He told me about IWars - turn
base strategy meets diplomacy - That sounded good. Some months later,
I was chosen to playtest in the first beta, and was assigned to
play a philosopher. My goal: convert population into minions - no
need for conquest, no need for greedy expansion, just convert the
whole galaxy - that sounded even better.
game started. At first, I mostly just moved my fleets, exploring
the universe. Then I began to meet other Starlords - Gobla Tem,
the mighty Warlord, whom I feared at first, but learned to respect
the warriors ways. Athena Silverdance, a Houri, who was cautious
at first, but later turned out to be a great ally. Loki, the friendly
trader, was soon supplying my worlds with raw material, and myself
with information. Leto Atreides, Ekoe and Justinian were greedy
Barons that wanted their share of my planets. Let's be nice to them,
I told myself, and maybe they'll let me convert their population.
And it worked great. I was officially allied with 6 other Starlords,
and was spreading belief all around. The development team was calling
me the Teflon player because I was avoiding trouble. It did require
some juggling, especially when two Starlords were battling each
other, and I was a friend of both. But I was able to stay neutral
in most conflicts. Then my minions started appearing everywhere
and other Starlords realized I had too many minions. They started
killing them - but my score just soared higher and higher because
of the martyrs. By that time it was too late. I had reached the
point total to finish the game. Personally, I did not want the game
to end. The whole universe was so alive that I would have given
up all my points to keep it going, but that was not meant to be.
Instead, I rejoice knowing that I'll encounter other Starlords in
the future in parallel universes.
tips for philosophers
in the game
- for at least 4 turns, you should have only one concern - explore
every possible world you can, so that you can grab as many fleets
as possible (and worlds, and gems, and relics!). Fleets are the
most important things. Every player needs them, and they are limited
in number. The more you have, the easier it will be for your empire
to prosper. Philosophers need them to convert minions. Each fleet
will convert one population into minions every turn, so your conversion
rate is directly linked to the number of fleets you have. Be friendly
- While a philosopher can be prosperous in either a peaceful or
wary universe, you will need allies, and it is better that your
fleets convert population into minions instead of fighting.
your minions evenly in the known universe
- A lot of worlds with a reasonable amount of minions are better
that a lot of minions on a small number of worlds. Other Starlords
tend to be afraid of your minions. If you keep minionizing the
same planet, you will soon take over some of them. As a result
some Starlords might start killing your minions - and you dont
want that until late in the game. A dead minion might be worth
2 points, but a live one is 1 point/turn - try to keep them alive
as long as possible.
best planets to minionize are either very low population (<
5) worlds, and high population worlds. Very low population worlds
will be fully converted very fast, giving you more points. But
they are usually of low value to other Starlords, and shouldnt
cause any hostilities when they fully convert. High population
worlds can, by definition, accept a high number of minions, and
wont convert until later in the game. At this point, martyr
points will be of greater value, so it wont matter as much
if they are killed.
away your worlds - you do not need them. Your homeworld
will be the main source of money for you (and plentifully - you'll
be one of the richest players!). Of course, spread your gifts
among other players - you do not want to give every world to the
same Baron - they will get too powerful. And by giving to different
Starlords, you'll make more friends. The more allies you have,
the easier it will be to spread minions.
some worlds from other players-
That might seem to contradict the previous point, but not really.
In U101, I found myself to be Gobla Tem's client (a warlord),
and would receive every world he conquered for about 5 turns.
At first, I didn't care about them, but in the long term, it turned
out to be a very good thing. First, no Baron benefited from those
worlds. Second, I could give them away to whomever I wanted. At
one point, the warlord was attacking Ekoe (a Baron who was an
ally). As Gobla Tem captured Ekoes worlds they became mine
and I gave many back to the Baron. I also found myself managing
Loki's homeworld (a trader). Again, no Baron benefited from this
world (and a homeworld is worth a lot for a Baron), and it secured
a long term alliance between me and the trader.
should not attack a terminator unless needed
- I attacked a Terminator in U101 because he was threatening my
ally, and he had a stack of gems on his homeworld, but I had too
many fleets over robotized worlds at the end of the game, and
robots cannot be converted into minions - this is a missed opportunity
to convert more population into minions.
you are in a war, do not be afraid to declare your enemy a holy
- Of course, when you declare a holy war, any minions you lose
in the war wont be martyrs, so you will lose martyrs benefits
against him or her, but you will earn more points by killing your
enemys populations - and there are more populations than
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