Let's Play: Master of Orion 2 - Part 3

Master of Orion 2 is a 4X TBS released by MicroProse in 1996. If you haven't read part 2 yet you should as this post continues the story of that game (the one I started in part 1 ended in embarrassing defeat, so you can safely skip that).

Let's quickly recap the main events up to this point:

  • I got really lucky with my initial spawn and landed a Large Poor Terran world with Artifacts through peaceful expansion. It's called Phecca and it has boosted my research output significantly!
  • My initial attempts at further expansion through warfare failed, but I was in better shape than last time having built some defensive star bases.
  • Then the Great Space Eel struck and put an end to my military ambitions by blockading Phecca for many years...
  • In the time of the Great Space Eel I did get lucky by getting a colony from the Psilon as part of a peace deal for a Meklar initiated war that I joined in on.
  • Finally at the end of the last post I managed to defeat the Great Space Eel and then made a quick strike on the Darlok home world, using mind-control to integrate them into my empire and eliminating them as an independent force in the galaxy.

So let's continue and see what happens next!

The Beginning Of The End

With the defeat of the Darlok accomplished I think I can now safely say that I have reached the end game. If you look at the genre defining steps in this type of game:

  • Explore: DONE - found Orion already and have scouted most possible opponents nearby.
  • Expand: DONE - Colonised Phecca, got Pipiri from the Psilon in a peace deal, conquered Nazin.
  • Exploit: IN PROGRESS - I am continually upgrading the infrastructure on my worlds and using them to produce military ships and research to make myself even stronger.
  • Exterminate: IN PROGRESS - I've taken out the Darloks, so it's 1 down and 4 to go.

The Darlok flag waves no more!

It's star date 3525.8 and as we are celebrating the defeat of the Darlok (and an end to their annoying espionage) we hear some disturbing reports...

Antarans attack!

Good luck Humans!

It seems the old man Kronos may have been right... A small ship identifying itself as Antaran appears out of nowhere near the Human home system of Sol and sets out to exterminate them.

On star date 3525.9 a Psilon warship arrives at Nazin... I'm guessing they also wanted to conquer the Darlok, but I beat them to it and since ships in hyperspace can't be redirected unless you have very good communication technology, their ship hasn't heard the news yet. I decide to take advantage of my strong fleet at Nazin by attacking the lone Psilon ship - they are the closest and weakest race after I eliminated the Darlok, so I'll take them out next.

He didn't stand a chance!

The Psilons are of course rather unhappy...

Of course the Psilons are a bit unhappy about the surprise attack, but they probably don't have much of a fleet left now, so there's not much they can do except grumble about it...

On star date 3526.2 I complete my research into Atmospheric Renewer which reduces the amount of pollution produced by production, which effectively increases the maximum amount of production per turn on a planet.

Atmospheric Renewer may not seem glorious, but every little bit helps...

On the same turn the Meklar steal Ion Pulse Cannons from me!
Nooo - Ion Pulse Cannons!

I'll have to watch out for them as Ion Pulse Cannons are one of the most dangerous weapons in the game. The reason for this is that they bypass armour and hull completely, only doing damage to internal systems. It would be OK if that just disabled your ship systems, but what that actually means is that it can very easily deal critical damage to a ship's drive, causing it to self destruct. The only defense is shields, so I'll have to invest in some shield research. The weapon does have one drawback - it's completely ineffective against space monsters and Antarans, so while a fleet equipped with these can easily roll over your opponents it does leave you very vulnerable to the Antarans and they love attacking the strongest race in the galaxy, so it's easy to paint a target on your own back with Ion Pulse Cannons.

On star date 2526.4 our sensors detect a Giant Space Eel heading from Meklon to the Bulrathi world of Bootes... looks like Giant Space Eel Junior has successfully procreated. I'm filled with glee at not being the only one getting screwed over by space eels anymore!

Space Eels for everyone!

You may be wondering why I still haven't taken out the last Psilon world of Mentar... the reason is simple. I'm waiting for Nazin to produce some defences to make sure that I don't just trade worlds with the Psilon when my fleet leaves for Mentar.

However before I could implement my attack plan, a few things happen that force me to reevaluate my plan... If you look back at the previous screenshot you'll see that there's a hell of a lot of yellow on the galaxy map - that's the Bulrathi and it seems that they have somehow managed to expand even more than I have! So when I receive this message from the I happily pay over the money to let sleeping dogs lie.

I am a bit scared of the Bulrathi, let's not get into war with them just yet...

The second thing is that I start researching Zortrium Armour, so ideally I'd like to finish that and upgrade my ships before I send them into danger again (along with Heavy Armour and Reinforced Hull that should give my ships ridiculous amounts of HP).

The final nail in the coffin of my plans is when the Psilon sue for peace... In exchange for peace they offer me better missile technology than I currently have and which I've already bypassed in the technology tree in favour of better armour. So I accept of course - I can always conquer the Psilon a little bit later.
Nice shiny new missiles!

Another galactic council election between me and the Bulrathi looks a bit close at 6 to 8 votes, but luckily they don't have a two thirds majority yet!

Finally on star date 3528.3 - almost 3 years after I initially planned to attack the Psilon, I'm ready. My worlds are all fully upgraded, my ships have been upgraded with the new missiles. No Zortrium Armour upgrades yet - I got impatient...

My worlds can all focus on research now!

My fleet attacks the Psilon!

I manage to wipe the floor with the Psilon fleet and the defenses of their home planet, but it turns out they have a second colonised planet at Mentar, so it actually ends up taking me a few turns to finish conquering them...

On star date 3528.5 I take the last world around Mentar prime... and to my great confusion I am not greeted with a message saying I've eliminated the Psilon! It appears that at some point without me noticing, the Humans surrendered to the Psilon, so Sol is now Psilon...

Sneaky humans mean the Psilon are technically still alive...

I figure if the Psilons at Mentar were a push-over then the ones at Sol should be even more so, so I try to dispatch a fleet... Sadly my ships lack the range!
Damnit - I need better fuel cells!

So when I finish my last research project I immediately start on Urridium Fuel Cells - that should give me enough range to reach the last of the Psilons.

Nothing major happens in the next dozen turns or so... To summarize:

  • The Psilons try to sue for peace, but they're not offering anything nice this time so I ignore them.
  • The Mrrshan are feeling brave and demand tribute, I refuse, but since they know they can't do anything to me they don't declare war. Not long after they surrender to the Psilon, so 2 down and 3 to go.
  • One of the junior space eels attack me, but I'm now technologically advanced enough that they're not a problem.
  • The Antarans decide that I'm the most powerful race in the galaxy and start targeting me with their attacks - luckily their still only capable of sending small scout ships through their dimensional portals, so I can handle them.
  • Another galactic council election ends in a tie.
  • The Meklar join the Mrrshan in demanding tribute from me, I ignore them too and as with the Mrrshan they are too afraid to declare war on me.

On star date 3531.0 the Bulrathi join the long list of people demanding that I pay some of my riches to them in tribute... I refuse again, but unlike the weaker races they declare war on me!

No you can't have Pulson missiles!

Over my dead body it is then!

The Meklar, no doubt encouraged by the Bulrathi, join in on the war against me and on star date 3531.4 they launch a devastating surprise attack on Mentar II!

Bastards!

I was still building up Mentar II after taking it from the Psilons so there were basically no defences there... They follow up the initial bombardment with a ground invasion and take Mentar II from me.

Mentar II is lost...

My fleet responds quickly and I decide that Mentar II is simply not worth the time and effort to retake, so I command the fleet to wipe the Meklar from the face of the planet!

Genocide much?

I'm quite pissed off now and waiting to build up my military further is clearly no longer an option, so my fleet at Mentar immediately departs for the Meklar home world.

I already destroyed their fleet in my counter-attack on Mentar, so when my fleet arrives at Meklon on star date 3531.9 I quickly take out their defences and use mind control to coerce them into joining my empire!

Easy battle...

Easy peace...

With that the Meklar are eliminated - 3 down 2 to go! The Bulrathi and Psilons are too far away to reach me, so take a bit of a breather and upgrade my fleet some more...

The End

By star date 3534.2 I'm ready to begin my final push for victory. The Psilons and Bulrathi have been fighting each other, so they are both looking quite weak now:

Time to end this!

By star date 3536.8 I have eliminated the Psilons and I begin taking out the Bulrathi:

The start of the Bulrathi war...

Less than a year later on star date 3537.4 I finish off the Bulrathi home world:

The end of the Bulrathi war...

Victory is mine!

Score breakdown... Highscores...

Epilogue

I must apologise if the end of this LP is a bit unsatisfying - unfortunately MOO II like many 4X games suffers from the problem of the end-game sometimes being a bit of a drag... the end was a foregone conclusion not long after the mid-game was over, but it took a long time to get to the end and I grew lax in my screenshot taking, which made it quite impossible to write the ending in the same amount of detail as the start.

Work's been a bit hectic, but hopefully I'll be following this article with one on 4X game mechanics soon!