Introduction to Deadlock

Wow it's an EldritchEvil BR, call your wife and kids.

This year I will be reporting on a game called Deadlock, developed and published by Accolade Entertainment in 1996. It's a turn-based strategy game where you guide your chosen species (one out of seven) for control of one of the last resource-rich planets in the galaxy, Gallius IV. Since each species is, like, totally against the idea of another atomic space war (the last one blew up most of the resource-rich planets, killed trillions of sapients, and was considered by everyone to have been a bad idea) they have decided that this little planetary dispute will be solved by low-level involvement.

Specifically, each species gets to land 500 colonists and one big city center on a chosen sector of the planet's surface. They will then breed (which they do very fast, considering that each turn is one month), research technology (you start with nil so the playing field is level), gather resources, build up a military and conquer their neighbors.

In a single-player game there is no real diplomacy. You're all at each-other's throats from square one, and there are no alliances or peace treaties or any of that hippy shit. Play hard and play fast, the computers are no fools. Mouseover the images and yellow text, etc., go go go.

Deadlock Tutorial

When you start a game, you get to set the rules. For this BR, my rule setup looks like this.

1: This is the measure of how difficult the game will be, on a scale of 0% difficulty to 100%. Obviously, I have chosen the most difficult game setting possible. Let's look into why.

2: This determines the number of players in the game, including you. I guess the more people trying to kill you, the harder it is to survive.

3: This sets how many cities are needed by any one player to win. A note on victory conditions: you can either win by killing off everyone else, or by being the first to build (x) city centers. You start with one. Five is what the game considers to be the most difficult, for these reasons: If you go higher, you don't have to worry about city center victory from your opponents until very late in the game. If you go lower, you can rush city centers and win before your opponents have a chance to react. Five is a good medium.

4: This determines how smart/overpowered/handicapped your opponents are. I have made it as hard as possible, as evidenced by 6.

5: Random events are exactly what they look like. Plagues, fund raising, mutiny, land caches... For good or ill, these make the game more entertaining.

6: These are the "cheat" options for the AIs that supercharge them. They start with more resources, build things faster, have twice the amount of workers that you start with, see everything and start with four or five technologies over you. The only option I haven't selected is the one that makes the computer AIs not fight each-other, because that gets ridiculous really fast.

7: These are the "handicap" options for the AIs: no tech, and make stuff slower. I don't do that sort of thing, because it is all kinds of lame.

Next, you get to choose your planet size. I picked Huge, for a longer and more epic game. After that, you get to pick your species. But which one? Let's profile them.

The ChCh't are an insectoid species that are very powerful. They are best suited to a fast, hit-hard and expand-hard early game player. They breed the fastest out of all species and land a higher number of beginning colonists. Their factories are 50% more powerful than any other species'. Their military units can also move faster in combat. Their spy units can steal food, which is unique and pretty worthless -- if you have the resources to make enough spies to starve a city out, you might as well just destroy it with military units. The weakness of the ChCh't shows itself in long, large games -- their technology research rate is considerably below average. Since this is a long, large game, and since the enemies start with a tech advantage, I will not be picking the ChCh't.

The Cyth are, many feel (including myself), the most powerful species; bordering on overpowered. Morale is a big deal in Deadlock, ESPECIALLY on high difficulty levels, where your people become rioters at the drop of a hat. Rioting colonists don't work, which means you have less resource income. And since you need to devote working colonists to culture production to get rid of low morale, you have even LESS resource income, meaning your production gets badly crippled.

Since the computer players start with such an insane advantage, you're playing catch-up from the start. Widening the gap is a bad thing. Back to the Cyth -- the Cyth stay at a respectable 80% morale regardless of anything -- be it starvation, overpopulation, or those pesky Re'Lu spies. That means that your productiveness also stays at 80%. Although it is possible to guarantee 100% morale from culture with the other species, it takes considerable allocation of colonists. And in the early game, you just don't have those colonists to spare. Having 20% of your population rioting at all times is worth it. Furthermore, the game designers considered that 20% to be enough of a handicap to forgo giving the Cyth a real disadvantage. In addition, you can set the highest tax level without hurting your morale one iota, making Cyth cash income very very high.

As if the morale advantage wasn't strong enough, Cyth Command Corps have a very accurate Mind Blast ability with a respectable range that deals enough damage to one-shot any infantry up until the very strongest, and destroys tanks in a few shots. And I guess their spies can poison stuff. Since the Cyth are so strong and the difficulty level so high, these guys are definitely a contender for my species choice.

The Humans are a strong species. They get a large bonus to their cash income, which allows for more Skirineen dealings. The Skirineen are the remnants of the Skirineen Empire, the biggest player in the last atomic space war. They were so ruthless with their big, planet-busting weaponry (not like anyone else had a clean record in THAT regard, but the Skirineen were the worst) that everyone else temporarily allied to kick their butts all across the galaxy. The Skirineen aren't allowed to land colonists on the planet, but they WILL sell the people that are stuff. You can buy and sell resources, as well purchase technology and elite mercenary military units from them that can give you a vital edge in the struggle. The two catches are that they are ridiculously expensive (although prices on new techs go down as time passes), and that if you're caught dealing with them (a random chance based on how much you buy/sell and how valuable it is) you take an enormous morale hit in whichever territory you placed resources or units (or your entire colony if you buy a tech and are found out.) The Cyth are conveniently immune to these. Also conveniently (or not), the Human disadvantage is that they are very scandal-prone. They discover your Skirineen dealings very easily and it takes longer for the morale hit to go away. Humans are good at finding flaws in their leaders.

In addition to their improved cash-flow, it also costs Humans less money to move resources (which is VERY valuable in the early game although advanced techs make this obsolete) and military units from territory to territory. Their Infantry units can also "berserk," giving them a large stat boost in exchange for their lives, regardless of whether they die in the fight or not. A costly but effective way to take valuable territories. Although the Humans are a decent choice, they simply aren't powerful enough to carry me through such a difficult game, so I won't choose them.

Maug are perennially depressedly, chronically ill... Things which live in space suits. The Maug are a strong race in low-difficulty games, but a weak race in high-difficulty games. This is because of their pronounced disadvantage, which is that they are very susceptible to morale problems. They take a good deal of culture to cheer up, and take HUGE hits when bad things happen. This becomes very crippling very quickly -- even the AI Maug has problems with it.

Their advantages are very fast tech research and very good saboteurs, allowing them to get technological and infra-structural leads quickly and easily. They also have slightly faster military unit production. Due to their morale problems, I will not be choosing the Maug.

The Re'Lu are the most unique race in the game, with a very different dynamic than the others. Their playstyle is more subtle, less direct and "gung-ho!" than their enemies'. The ugly bipedal thing to their right is the "Lu" half of their species, from what I gather. Anyway, Re'Lu have the ability to see into every territory on the map (a power that is dubious in its effectiveness -- what good will it do you in the early game? many ask, and in the late game you get technology that does the same thing.) Their real power is in their Command Corps. Their special ability is to mind control any enemy military unit (although not colonists or defensive towers) and bring them under your banner. Since there are low caps on the number of units that can be present in a territory per species, this makes both winning fights very easy and reduces your opponent's military very quickly. Higher level military units are more resistant to this power.

They also have the most interesting spies, which sit in enemy territory and make their colonists unhappy. The AI uses this to great effect, and nothing is more pesky than having to deal with unhappy colonists that your culture can do nothing about. To compensate for their mind-control ability, the disadvantage of the Re'Lu is very damaging: all their military units and defensive towers (including ones you take from other people) are considerably weaker than average. Re'Lu are the true "zerg" race, not the ChCht as might be expected, because they need to use more troops to achieve the same effect as another race. I like the Re'Lu, but their disadvantage is too much for me to consider picking them.

The Tarth are highly amusing giant lizard-dogs that rate as one of the strongest species in Deadlock. Their land-based military units are noticeably more powerful than everyone else's, giving them a huge advantage in combat. Their infantry, like the Humans, have a special command called Juggernaut. They get massive stat bonuses, but instead of attacking the unit type they're ordering to attack, they run around like crazy and kill whatever's closest. Good for damaging enemy infrastructure, since they like to blow up buildings. Their naval units are poor, but who cares about those? They also make the most food of any species, which is always nice. Starving colonists are unhappy colonists. The only other disadvantage the Tarth have is poor spies, but since their spies don't do anything special anyway this can't truly be considered a downside. The Tarth are certainly contenders for my species pick.

The Uva Mosk are a weird-looking race with an extremely annoying voice set. They are deeply spiritual, and believe that the planet needs to be protected from other, more exploitive races. Since they are so close to Gaia, they produce a LOT of resources -- much more than any other race. Their Command Corps can create special bonus resource squares within a territory. Their spies are also extremely difficult to catch. The downside of the Uva Mosk is that they have very low cash incomes, due to their opposition of taxation. This means you have less income to make buildings and military units, which is what you use your resources for in any case, so what's the point? The Uva Mosk are mediocre, and not an acceptable choice for a game this difficult.

So I have two species choices: the Cyth, and the Tarth. I picked the Tarth. Although the Cyth are stronger, they're almost TOO strong, and I want this game to be even more challenging than it already is.

This is the "landing site selection" screen. The order of selection is random, and as you can see the Uva Mosk and the Humans got to pick before I did, but I drew a respectable third. This world was randomly generated and is very blue. The map is divided into jigsaw-piece-style territories. The outlined territory is the one I chose to land in. It is back up against the map edge so I can't be surrounded, is close to many different territory types and is unlikely to have many enemies nearby. Light, uniform-blue colored territories are ocean, roughly textured territories are mountains, flat dark blue are plains, green is forests. Dark rough blue is swamp. Each territory type has its own advantages: plains are good for making food, forests have lots of trees (duh,) mountains have much iron and swamps have a lot of energy. Let's talk about resources.

This is your Resource Box. It's positioned on the lower right of the screen, below the minimap. As you can see, there are ten resource types: four basic types, four specialized types and two produced types. The number directly below each resource is your stockpile. This represents how much of that resource exists in your colony. The green/red number below that is your income for that resource -- it compares how much is being produced against how much is being used for your next turn. In this example, I am at a "-4" income rate for food, meaning I will lose 4 food from my stockpile next turn. Let's talk about each resource individually.

Food is a basic resource that is produced by farms. Very intuitive. Food is consumed by workers at a 1:1 ratio per turn. If you have 10 workers (NOTE: 100 colonists = 1 worker) you will use 10 food per turn.

Wood is a basic resource that is also produced by farms. Wood is used to make basic, low-tech buildings and is an important (and usually scarce) early-game resource.

Energy is also a basic resource, used to power and produce buildings. Energy is generated by power plants. Energy is easy to make but very important. Buildings that don't have enough power function at 10% productivity. Energy can be converted into anti-matter by advanced power plants.

Iron is a basic resource produced by mines. Iron is used to make buildings and military units, and is useful throughout the game. Iron is a strange resource -- you either have too much or too little. Iron is converted into Steel by advanced factories.

Endurium is a specialized resource. Endurium is produced in advanced mines, and is used in some buildings and units, but not many. Endurium is converted to Triidium by very advanced factories.

Antimatter is a specialized resource produced by advanced power plants. It is used in advanced buildings and in almost all high-level military units, making it a necessary investment. It's also worth a lot to the Skirineen, who will pay top-dollar for it.

Steel is a specialty resource make by conversion of iron in advanced factories. It is no doubt used in something, but mainly is a stepping stone to Triidium.

Triidium is a super-hard alloy made from Steel and Endurium in very advanced factories. It is used in high-level buildings and military units. Triidium is worth a lot to the Skirineen.

Electronics are made at your city center and in advanced technology buildings. They are used in high-level buildings and in many military units, making them very valuable.

Art is produced at, uh... Art centers. Yeah. Each piece of art in a given territory improves morale by one percent. Skirineen pay a lot for these.

Let's take a look at the minimap, and see where everyone ended up. Each flag represents a base, and the color tells you which species it is. White is Human (there is a racist remark in there somewhere,) blue is Maug, green is Uva Mosk, teal is Re'Lu, black is Cyth, yellow is ChCht, and I am the red Tarth. The lighter-colored territories are territories that I have vision into (by virtue of being next to them), and the red rectangle is the vision of my game-map. The map looks fairly nondescript so far, save that humorous lonely island down south there. My closest concern are the Cyth. They are very strong opponents and are disconcertingly close. Before I begin to formulate battle plans, I need to show you the rest of the game interface.

This is the game view. As you can see, territories are clearly defined. Above my great settlement of Tarth Landing is an oblong shaped unit called a Colonizer. Although the image is small and blurry, you can see that each territory is named -- e.g the Creepy Mountains to the southwest of me. The big black wedge is the Edge of the World. From this screen you can order military units to invade, move resources and colonists around, and observe the movements of your foes.

This is the territory inspection screen. From here you can order buildings built, units and resources produced and move your work force about. This, specifically, is the Tarth Landing territory. The tiny red demons are Tarth Workers. You assign workers to buildings, and the production of the building increases. As you may have noticed, there are what look like construction sites all over. That is exactly what they are -- I have built things. What did I build? Let's see.

You need five of these City Centers to win. They produce Trade (money,) Culture (morale), Electronics with the proper research and they are the only buildings that can make Colonizers, Scouts (spies) and Command Corps.

These basic farms produce food and wood. They can upgrade to Hydroponic Farms with the appropriate technology.

These basic factories produce Trade, with the proper research Steel and Triidium, and manufacture all the land based military units save Command Corps. With the proper technology, they upgrade to Automated Factories.

These universities produce Technology and Electronics with the proper research. With the appropriate technology, they upgrade to Tech Labs.

These basic nuclear power plants produce, well, power -- energy. With the proper technology, they can make anti-matter, and upgrade to Fusion Power Plants.

These are housing units, that automatically upgrade to Apartment Complexes and then Luxury Housing. I like to think of them as all the residential zoning -- hospitals, supermarkets, homes, etc. -- in one tiny package. The more of these you have, the faster your population grows inside that territory. They also increase the maximum population of the territory, although you can't go over 5000. Note that since the advisor people are dirty racists, the picture is of the Human housing. Tarth housing looks different.

I have built one farm, one factory, one university, one powerplant, and three housing units. Also on the map are stands of trees, rocks, and cracked ground. A farm that has tree squares under it produces more wood, a mine with rocks under it produces more iron, a power plant that has cracked ground under it produces more energy. Buildings take up a certain number of "squares" (you can see those in the screenshot) that each produce a certain amount of resources. The largest buildings take up four squares, the smallest take up only one.

The amount of resource or work done on a unit, etc. a building does each turn is determined by the amount of workers working there. Each building has a worker cap where it reaches maximum production. Upgraded buildings are more efficient (more production with less worker allocation,) usually take up less space and always produce more. Since upgrading a building reduces the amount of workers required to maximize production, it's ALWAYS a good idea to upgrade when you can.

Now, I have a Colonizer so I might as well use it. I take a look at the surrounding territories and find only one that looks like a clear choice -- Stubble Prairie, just to the south of my landing.

This is prime territory. The resource icons you see are bonus squares that produce a greater amount of the resource indicated than a normal square would. Stubble Prairie is going to be a great food and energy producing territory. Another reason it's a good spot is that it's right next to the Cyth landing. Having a colony in "melee range" as it were gives me a nice jumping-off point for my eventual subjugation of that evil species. It could also block their expansion north and east; AIs like to put their new vulnerable colonies far away from enemy strongholds. Not always, but usually. On the other hand, the Cyth could also try to expand into Stubble Prairie, which would mean our colonizers would battle. Since the Tarth land units are so boosted, it is a battle I would win, damaging Cyth expansion. All around, it's an intelligent move on my part.

Military units are divided into five categories: Infantry, Tanks, Ships, Planes and Missiles. Infantry are cheap and easy to produce, tanks are powerful but expensive. Ships go on water, planes fly and have special missions. Missiles are one-shot building destroyers. The Colonizer is the weakest Tank in the game. It deals pathetic damage, dies easily, has an incredibly small range and moves at a crawl. On the other hand, it is the only unit that is capable of colonizing a new territory.

With all of this tutorial out of the way, the game can begin.

Turn One

At the beginning of each turn, your adjutant gives you a summary of the events that occurred while the turn was processed. My colonizer (pictured) made it into Stubble Prairie uncontested and founded a new city there. Additionally, my three housing units in Tarth Landing completed. Surprisingly, the Cyth Colonizer is still hanging out in Cyth Landing. Oh, well. Anything to let me expand faster. At the moment, I only have 35 credits to my name (a consequence of building so much infrastructure in Tarth Landing) so I cannot do anything with my new territory; only bide my time and wait for the money to roll in.

Turn Two

My nuclear power plant in Tarth Landing completes, and energy begins to roll in. Mmm, sweet sweet energy. Nothing else happens, and the Cyth continue to not expand. Fine by me. I order construction of a Laser Tower in Stubble Prairie. Although I have enough credits on hand for it, Stubble Prairie has no iron stockpiled in it. I will have to move some from Tarth Landing. It costs two credits per resource per territory to transfer things -- now you see the advantage of that Human transport cost trait. Fortunately, I have enough income to move the resources next turn.

Laser Towers are stationary defense buildings that are slightly stronger than a Laser Tank. Although their damage is equivalent, the towers fire faster, have a longer range, are more accurate, and are harder to destroy. These are good early-game investments for a weak territory, as otherwise you could lose it to a couple infantry.

Turn Three

The farm in Tarth Landing completes, yay food. More construction. The Cyth Colonizer vanishes to parts unknown -- probably expanded West beyond my sight. Good, maybe they and the Re'Lu will kill each-other. Onward.

Turn Four

The University and Factory in Tarth Landing complete. I will begin research next turn. In the mean time, I start work on a Laser Squad in the factory.

A Laser Squad is the first factory-produced Infantry unit in the game. It is stronger in combat than the Command Corps and the Scout, but weaker than everything else. They have very low range and weak attacks, and might as well be unarmored -- most things kill them in one shot. The benefit of the Laser Squad is that they are cheap and fast to produce, and that they take no resources beyond simple cash to create.

Turn Five

Research comes online this turn, as pictured. Out of the four technologies, I choose Nuclear Fusion. This will allow me to build/upgrade to Fusion Power Plants, as well as opening the path to Fusion Cannon technology, which obviously allows me to build Fusion Cannons.

Fusion Cannons are the second factory Tank, and are what I consider to be the first "real" military unit in Deadlock. Laser Squads and Laser Cannons are cute, but they die too easily to basic tower defense and militia to be a truly effective fighting force. Fusion Cannons are a whole league above, capable of killing six to eight militia each before going down. One of them can wipe out an entire battalion of Laser Squads. Rushing a pair of Fusion Cannons and crushing your nearest opponent is a time-honored opening in Deadlock, and works especially well for the Tarth. Early Tarth Fusion Cannons can wipe out entire colonies by virtue of their tremendous mass. Compare this strategy to a dragoon rush in Starcraft, only the dragoons kill things in one shot.

Also this turn, the Cyth produced another colonizer in Cyth Landing. Not to be outdone, I order up a new one as well.

Turn Six

This turn passes completely without incident.

Turn Seven

My Colonizer finishes, and I tell it to build a new base in No Heal Marsh to the west. It has an energy bonus, and I do need some energy. The Laser Defense in Stubble Prairie completes, and I order up a farm there.

Turn Eight

Gasp and alarm! The Cyth have build a new base in the Great Plains, a territory southwest of No Heal Marsh. They have a Laser Defense already built, so it'll take a little more than a Laser Squad to capture it. But a Fusion Cannon should more than do the trick. You'll be mine soon, Great Plains.

Turn Nine

One of those random events I allowed has occurred in my favor. A handy 50 cred for no effort is always nice. Nuclear Fusion finishes this turn, and I quickly move on towards Fusion Cannon. I start a Nuclear Power Plant in Stubble Prairie, as my energy reserves are running low due to my focus on production and research over resource income.

Turn Ten

My Laser Squad completes, and I send it to guard No Heal Marsh. My factory begins to produce more trade, so that I will have a larger disposable income to build things with. I also order a Cultural Center in Tarth Landing to stave off any low morale.

Turn Eleven

I move a worker from Tarth Landing to Stubble Prairie to assist in energy production. I am now breaking even at 16 energy stockpiled. Meanwhile, I order another nuclear plant (this time in No Heal Marsh) only to discover I am short on iron. No matter. I'll buy some from the Skirineen.

Turn Twelve to Turn Seventeen

Iron purchased and placed in No Heal Marsh; work begins on nuclear plant there. Fusion Cannon technology completes next turn. I'm just a few credits shy of starting a Fusion Cannon immediately, due to their high cost. For my next tech I choose Metallurgy, which paves the way for Automated Factories, which are the unit-pumping building of choice until much later in the game.

The Cyth have a Laser Squad sitting pretty in Great Plains. More power to them, I say. I need Iron to build my fusion cannon -- 150 creds worth. I should have it in a turn or two. The Cyth seem to be starting military production as another Laser Squad shows its betentacled face. One more turn and I'll start a Fusion Cannon that can take out their whole military. I also start researching Automation. The Cyth sent me a threat, indicative of their feelings of power over me. Let them think that. I purchase the iron and work begins on my Fusion Cannon.

Turn Eighteen

I got caught buying the iron and took at 26% morale hit; fortunately I came prepared and my cultural center is working to make people happy again. Five turns until my Fusion Cannon completes. However, the Cyth have produced a Laser Cannon, and their standing army is enough to destroy No Heal Marsh completely should they so choose. I start a Laser Defense there in an attempt to scare them off until my Fusion Cannon completes.

Laser Cannons are the first factory-produced Tank unit. They hit harder than their Infantry cousins, but require iron and more credits to produce. They are also slower, but can take more hits.

Turn Nineteen

"Ooh, bad thing happen today," mourns my adjutant as I walk into the War Room. And indeed it is so -- as predicted, the Cyth invaded No Heal Marsh. It's three on one, and although my soldier fights valiantly (as pictured), it is to no avail. He forces the two Laser Squads to retreat with a couple of well-placed shots, but the Tank rolls right over him and the defending militia unit. No Heal Marsh is now under the control of the Cyth.

It's not a HUGE loss, as I only had one worker there, but it is an energy hit. More importantly, it's a pride hit. Your time will come, little squidlings... It will come.

One thing I don't like about Deadlock, or at least I feel could be better, is the combat. Instead of being turn-based, or real time, or any sort of thing where you have control, it's automated random numbers. The resolution is fast, but it can be frustrating sometimes. The developers wanted more emphasis placed on base building and resource management, I suppose.

Turn Twenty to Turn Twenty-Four

The Cyth military abandons No Heal Marsh, causing all the buildings there to vanish, and returns to guard Cyth Landing. I fear for Stubble Prairie, should the Cyth gain another Laser Cannon. In the mean time, a ChCht Laser Cannon appears to the north. Probably a scout.

The Cyth military moves into Creepy Mountains. Brrr. Don't mess with me. I start a Surface Mine in Tarth Landing, and begin to upgrade the Nuclear Power Plant in Stubble Prairie to a Fusion Power Plant. Let's investigate them.

This impressive structure takes ore out of the ground and turns it into stacks of nickels. Useful for making things. These can be upgraded to Mantle Drills with the proper technology.

This oscillating building is a Fusion Power Plant, a more efficient, more powerful version of the Nuclear Power Plant. It caps out at three workers, instead of five, and produces 75% more energy. These buildings will provide ample power for your colony until late game, where the Anti-Matter Power Plants become necessary.

Not much else happens during these turns. The Cyth military runs silly patrol exercises between Cyth Landing and Creepy Mountains, but it has two Laser Cannons now -- enough to pose a threat to Stubble Prairie if they commit all of their troops. Then, two good events: Automation technology researches and a new Fusion Cannon is built. A good turn for me. I start to upgrade my factory to an Automated Factory so I can really start to crank out the troops, and I begin to research Electronics. At the moment though, a full army is too much for one Fusion Cannon to destroy, so the Cyth will have to wait.

This is an Automated Factory. They are much more powerful than a regular factory, and have a slightly lower worker cap -- meaning they need less workers to get maximum production. The true advantage is that they only take one square worth of space -- you can have four of these where you could only have one factory. Mass production at work.

Turn Twenty-Five

"You real smart," my adjutant cheerfully remarks today, and he is correct. The Cyth decided to send a pair of Laser Squads and a full battalion of Laser Cannons in to attack Stubble Prairie. The power of the Tarth military shows itself as the Laser Tower immolates the lead Laser Squad in one shot; a blast of charged, focused light incinerating the Cyth squad where it stood. The Tarth militia (note: each worker is also a militia, a super-weak infantry unit that only exists on defense) rush ahead, firing randomly with their pistols. The enemy Cannons open up, sending a wave of laser blasts into the packed Tarth masses, slaying a hundred and fifty civilians in one volley -- but to no avail. The hulking Laser Tower fires again, punching through a Cannon brigade's armor like it was so much cloth. The militia laser pistols gun down the vastly outnumbered Cyth infantry, and the last remaining Laser Cannons turn and flee, leaving behind smoldering wreckage and stinging defeat.

Maybe not so dramatic, but it will look good in the press release. This was a crushing blow to the Cyth military and a huge win for me. One worker in exchange for two Laser Squads and a Laser Cannon is a fantastic deal. The Cyth still have half an army in Creepy Mountains, so I invade it with my Fusion Cannon. I also start work on Chaos Computers technology this turn.

Turn Twenty-Six

The Cyth left near a full battalion of Laser Squads in the Creepy Mountains. Captain Shv'urrghlyy, a highly respected military leader, was changing the filter on his atmospheric mask when the first unexpected shots rained down into the camp. Giant shielded rounds arced over a hill, landed in the camp and set off a fusion charge; in essence a tiny atomic warhead, instantly killing over a hundred troops. The Cyth responded quickly, over a thousand soldiers rushing into battle formation, charging to meet the brigade of giant tanks rolling down into their midst. One squad to each flank, with Shv'urrghlyy's elite corps in the center.

Despite their quick response and good discipline, the tanks killed dozens of men with each volley. Their thick armor and advanced shielding repelled the laser blasts of the Cyth rifles, and in short order the Cyth were destroyed. More than a thousand soldiers slain without a single Tarth casualty. That'll look good in the papers. I pulled the Fusion Cannon brigade back to Stubble Prairie for repairs (it took some damage, that first Laser Squad lasted a long time.)

Turn Twenty-Seven

The Uva Mosk sent me a threat, but there's a good deal of space between me and them so I safely ignore it. Meanwhile the Maug are bragging to everyone -- I guess they're doing well. I take a look into Cyth Landing and see something peculiar -- all their workers are sitting on their housing units not doing anything. Very strange -- I have no idea why the AI would do this. Maybe they're trying to hide their real activities from me. I'm sure there's a good reason.

Turn Twenty-Eight

Cyth Landing goes back to normal production values this turn so who knows what they were doing. They also send a Command Corps, a Laser Squad and a Laser Cannon to Creepy Mountains, so I promptly send my newly-repaired Fusion Cannon to crush them.

Turn Twenty-Nine

"This could be much trouble," my adjutant warns today, but his fears are unfounded. The Cyth foolishly left only a token Laser Cannon in Creepy Mountains, which is an easy two-shot kill for my Fusion Cannon. Even better, said Fusion Cannon reaches Veteran status with this next kill. Units in Deadlock gain experience when they are victorious in combat. They rank from Green, to Veteran (denoted by a blue star), to Elite (denoted by a red star). The higher the rank, the more accurate the unit gets. An Elite unit is 30% more accurate than a green unit, and a Veteran unit is 15% more accurate. After the battle, the Cyth sent me a complaint ("How did your colony grow so... Powerful?") which indicates that I am doing well. I also get Chaos Computers this turn, and start to work on Synthetic Fertilizer -- a path to Molecular Bonding, which I need to boost my poor iron production. I begin to upgrade my University to much improved Tech Lab.

These Tech Labs are upgrades to Universities. Not only do they produce twice as much research and electronics, they only take up one square -- an extremely valuable trait.

Turn Thirty

A minimap update. Not much has changed yet, but events are being set into motion.

Turn Thirty-One

Now we have something. My second Fusion Cannon completes and Operation: Cyth Landing or Bust begins. I move both Fusion Cannons into Creepy Mountains, preparing to take the Cyth territory of Great Plains.

Turn Thirty-Two

Cyth and Tarth forces clash in the Creepy Mountains, with a Cyth Command Corps, Laser Squad and Laser Cannon getting destroyed in about four seconds. The Tech Lab in Tarth Landing completes, and the Tarth war machine gets into gear. With appropriate Iron resources, I can make a Fusion Cannon every two turns. I invade Great Plains.

Turn Thirty-Three

"Us got weak spot here," my adjutant grumbles. He is such a pessimist. I open up the battle viewer to see what happened.

A full army of Tarth Fusion Cannons is a force to be reckoned with. Two batteries of Laser Defense towers and an army of Laser Cannon tanks stood watch, while near two thousand civilians took up their pistols and prepared. The plain was flat, and the advance of the Tarth army was clearly visible. Cyth commanders held their shots until they were within range.

The Tarth shot first. Concentrated energy blasts shook the entire colony as the thick armor of the Laser towers dissolved away. The battle raged for an hour, but the inferior technology of the Cyth military was no match for the well-equipped Tarth army - but that army was no match for the overwhelming numbers of Cyth militia. The Tarth retreated with their scaly tails between their legs, but they left behind a wasteland of craters and smoke. A thousand Cyth died that day, and they knew that the Tarth would be back.

Turn Thirty-Four

A Fusion Cannon and a Colonizer are built, and I move both to No Heal Marsh, ready to reclaim the territory the Cyth stole from me many turns ago. I also start researching Molecular Bonding, and upgrading my farms to Hydroponic Farms.

Hydroponic Farms are upgrades from regular Farms. They produce 50% more food and wood than their lesser cousins, and they cap out at two less workers. Not a terribly exciting upgrade, but necessary.

Turn Thirty-Five

The colony at No Heal Marsh is created, but my citizens in Stubble Prairie are starting to feel crowded, and begin to become unhappy. A cultural center is ordered there. In addition, my two Fusion Cannons have finished repairs. I order them to attack Great Plains once again. I also notice that I have a lot of excess energy in Stubble Prairie, so I sell 300 of it (for 300 credits) to the Skirineen.

Turn Thirty-Six

"That a great thing you did there!" cheers my adjutant. Maybe he'll gain some confidence yet. Great Plains was in our hands, four hundred colonists moved from Tarth Landing to settle there. We had lost a Fusion Cannon, but it was well worth it. The battle went like this:

The Cyth moved their entire standing military to defend. The Veteran Cannon took out a Command Corps, then began gunning down the milita. The other took on the newly-built Laser Defense tower and a Cyth Laser Cannon tank. It destroyed the Laser tank, but the Defense tower did some heavy damage. The Tarth tank exploded as it tried to retreat. Meanwhile the Veteran tank took out every single militia without a problem, as it was out of range of the Laser Defense tower. Then it playfully destroyed a Cyth apartment building, and destroyed the Laser tower in four shots. The trade of a Fusion Cannon for a new territory is a good one, especially when your new territory looks like this.

Four(!) visible Food bonuses in one territory is a LOT. In the top-right corner of the picture is the minimap. As you can see, I now have sight into the Re'Lu territory of Swamp RS-16 and the Human territory of Jarta Heath. Point of interest: Human Landing is four territories away from Jarta Heath! The Humans must have expanded fast to get this far south. Quite worrisome, and definitely justification for invading and claiming Jarta Heath as my own. Another point of interest is that the Re'Lu have Energy Defense towers in Swamp RS-16. They seem quite interested in defense technology.

Energy Defense towers are the second-tier defensive structure. Energy Defense towers are comparable to souped-up Fusion Cannons. Energy Defense deal the same damage, but have a larger range, fire faster, are more accurate and have more armor. Although these seem like a good buy, they require Endurium to build and a special tech that grants no other advantages. They are a waste of resources and research better spent on mobile units and such.

With all that in mind, I send the Fusion Cannon guarding No Heal Marsh to invade Jarta Heath. Jarta Heath has only two militia defenders -- piece of cake. I feel comfortable leaving No Heal Mesa undefended, as there are no enemy military units within range this turn.

Turn Thirty-Seven

Jarta Heath falls without incident and I move some colonists into it. The updated minimap reveals some interesting details. The two ChCht flags are military units, including an Elite Laser Squad. They've been scrapping with somebody and winning. My bet is on the Humans -- another Human colony, this time unexpectedly southwest of where they I feel they should be. I guess the ChCht expanded west of their landing, forcing the Humans south. At the moment, my immediate concern are the ChCht forces north of my new, vulnerable territories. The Humans have no military visible this far south. The Re'Lu have a fairly strong army in that far west territory of theirs, but they have no reason to attack me and are probably defending themselves with it -- in any case, Re'Lu military is weak. The Cyth have one territory to their name, and are no longer a serious player in this game.

I decide to invade Verga Heath, which is a territory just west of No Heal Mesa controlled (but not settled by) the ChCht with the Veteran Fusion Cannon sitting in Great Plains. My other one will continue to defend Jarta Heath, and if I lose No Heal Marsh, well, no great loss. Molecular Bonding completed this turn, and I set my next project to be Hoverways. Hoverways cuts the cost of moving resources, colonists and military units from territory to territory by half. Since my colony is growing larger, I feel it's a useful investment. Meanwhile, with Molecular Bonding finished, I begin to upgrade my Surface Mine in Tarth Landing to a Mantle Drill.

A Mantle Drill is a very good upgrade. 50% more production and a lower worker cap -- but the real benefit is that it only takes one square.

Turn Thirty-Eight

Now here's something I didn't expect. Verga Heath was abandoned by the ChCht, and imagine my surprise when Tarth Landing was attacked. It turns out the ChCht have decided to produce a very versatile military, complete with planes and missiles. They were shot down without mercy by my militia (laser pistols > attack planes), and although four or five were killed and my city center was damaged, nothing else came of it. I consider this a victory. Now, let's profile the two new military units.

Scatterpack Warheads are the basic Missile type unit. They fly at high speed into the target territory and blow up whatever you tell them to target. Although they are fast (and will kill most weak units in one shot) they are fragile.

Turbo Wing Fighters are the basic Plane type unit. They are fast and have a high rate of fire, but low range and are easy to destroy. Furthermore, their ATS (Air To Surface) weapons are not impressive; these planes are mostly useful for shooting down other planes, specifically the lumbering Starflare Bombers.

The Re'Lu are moving troops East into Swamp RS-16, making me nervous, so I pull the Veteran Fusion Cannon back to defend Great Plains until I can get another one out of Tarth Landing.

Turn Thirty-Nine

Grrr. Frustratingly, the Cyth attacked No Heal Marsh, killing the four militia and taking the territory. This cuts the eastern half of my colony off from the western half. With my new Fusion Cannon I move to retake the territory. Hoverway finishes this turn, and with my new Tech Lab in Great Plains that I captured from the Cyth, my research powerhouse turns towards... Anti-Matter Containment.

Turn Forty

I retake No Heal Mesa without combat -- once my City Center is repaired I will re-colonize it (and defend it!) More buildings upgrade, and I finally get a positive resource income in all areas.

Turn Forty-One

I start work on a Command Corps and a Colonizer in my city center, and continue building infrastructure. The Humans send a complaint: "Yes, yes, we all know how great and powerful your colony is!"

Command Corps are an expensive special Infantry unit that require electronics to produce. They are fragile, slow and have a weak, low range laser attack. Their strength comes from their "aura," which boosts the accuracy of all friendly military units in the combat by 10%. Cyth, Re'Lu and Uva Mosk Command Corps have special attacks or missions.

Turn Forty-Two

Anti-Matter Containment completes, allowing me to build/upgrade to Anti-Matter Power Plants and manufacture Anti-Matter. I begin researching Anti-Matter Rifles, fully engaged in offensive technology at this point. Anti-Matter Rifles will alow me to build Battle Troopers, which are very effective heavy Infantry units, and opens the path to Disruptor Beams, at which point you can basically go to town offensively. At this point I decide to finish off the Cyth, and send two Fusion Cannons and a Command Corps to Cyth Landing to begin the final subjugation. Cyth Landing has two Laser Defense towers and 47 militia, so I won't be taking it this turn, but I should damage it sufficiently to take it in one or two more rounds.

Turn Forty-Three

"Ubergeneral, us got busted up real bad," moans my adjutant. I wave his complaints away -- he does not understand the subtleties of war, which is why he is adjutant and I am Ubergeneral. The battle went respectably well, with 17 militia and both Laser Defense towers destroyed. The enormous explosion in the screenshot is of the Fusion Power Plant in Cyth Landing getting blown to smithereens. Unfortunately, my Command Corps got aced in the attack, as it ran in front of the tanks like an idiot, and got gunned down. Both Fusion Cannons made it out alive, and will attack again when they are repaired. In the mean time, I set both factories in Tarth Landing (I have two!) to "Full Military Production" mode. Every two turns, I will make a full army of Fusion Cannons. Good deal. In the mean time, I order a Fusion Cannon from Jarta Heath and a Colonizer to retake No Heal Marsh.

Turn Forty-Four

For some reason my colony order didn't take, whatever. In any case, my Fusion Cannons (both are Veteran now) invade Cyth Landing once again. The Cyth built a Fusion Cannon of their own, but I have doubts about their military prowess. Onwards!

Turn Forty-Five

"Ubergeneral, heh heh, laugh at the little damage," my adjutant smiles. I'm not sure if he's talking about our damaged tanks or the tiny impact they had on Cyth Landing. The Cyth tank did surprisingly well, forcing one of my tanks to retreat, then working with the Cyth militia to beat back my second one as well! A parting shot from my second tank destroyed it and killed a couple militia, but overall it was a weak offensive. Fortunately, two brand new Fusion Cannons have rolled out of Tarth Landing and can take up the attack. On an even more positive note, one of the veteran Fusion Cannons has become Elite.

Turn Forty-Six

The attack on Cyth Landing resulted in six dead militia. Soon it will be totally reduced -- my Elite and Veteran Cannons are fully repaired. Also, I have upgraded my Fusion Power Plant in Tarth Landing to an Anti-Matter Plant.

Anti-Matter Power Plants are the end-all energy production building in Deadlock. With a worker cap of two and a humongous production capacity (one of these on an Energy bonus can power six or seven Tech Labs) these are the ideal power plant to have. Also, they make huge explosions when they die.

Turn Forty Seven

The Fusion Cannons rolled into Cyth Landing and gunned down the desperate militia at range, wiping out nearly the entire colony before retreating. More than three thousand Cyth colonists were killed, leaving a bare four hundred in Cyth Landing. I ordered the second pair in to finish the siege, and turn my attention elsewhere. My closest enemies are the Re'Lu, who own the south shore. Although their have advanced defense towers, I am confident that I can take out their small colony fairly easily. Pitting Tarth and Re'Lu forces against eachother in equal numbers is like throwing 3/3 Zealots at unupgraded Zerglings. The Re'Lu also don't have any Command Corps visible (probably due to their very poor territory selection -- swamp and mountains are bad for population growth) so I figure it'll be an easy conquest.

Anti-Matter Rifles completed this turn, and I fire up Artificial Intelligence research. Why not Disruptor Beams as planned? Artificial Intelligence is a lower-level tech, so it takes less time to complete, and opens the road for some important production techs. Disruptor Cannon tanks are very expensive in any case, I couldn't afford to mass produce them right now. I can begin to make Battle Troopers, though. Let's take a look at them.

Battle Troopers (ignore the huge map on the right) are the first Infantry unit that aren't mere cannon fodder. They are in every way improved from a Laser Squad -- their guns are bigger, their armor is bigger, they run and fire faster, and they are more accurate. When I say "their guns are bigger" I mean "they hit harder than Fusion Cannons." They are the first Disruptor (green shots) weapon-toting land units you get access to. Appropriately, these are also pretty expensive lil' dudes, costing 200 credits and a decent amount of electronics and antimatter to produce. I order my factory in Stubble Prairie to begin producing these.

Anyway, now pay attention to the map. I have the largest standing army on the screen, with the Re'Lu coming in a close second in terms of numbers, but way behind in terms of strength. Two Fusion Cannons are invading Cyth Landing, two experienced ones are repairing. One is guarding No Heal Mesa. Tarth Landing is offscreen to the right of Creepy Mountains. My next target of attack is Swamp RS-16: it's the closest territory, and it threatens Great Plains, making the Re'Lu front three territories large. If I take Swamp RS-16, it will be two territories.

Other points of interest are the battle-honed Cyth troops running around east of my colony, and the Human armies defending their southern interests.

Turn Forty-Eight

"Veil Lord..." muttered the Cyth adjutant as the man in question watched his city burn, "we have... a severe problem." The Veil Lord killed him with a mind-blast. He had never liked him anyway. He briefly considered running to the escape pod, but the Cyth Emperor was not known for his compassion, and having to explain to him that the Cyth Empire was now cursed to a slow death of starvation isn't something that would be pleasant. Better a quick death from the Tarth tanks now making their way up the streets. The Veil Lord sipped his wine and waited.

Au revior, Cyth. One foe down, five to go, and the Re'Lu are next to feel the Tarth hammer blows. Cyth Landing had a ridiculous stockpile of Iron -- well over 1,000 units stockpiled. Neatly solves my Iron problems for the forseeable future -- I quickly sell 800 to the Skirineen. Ah, conquest and the fruits to be found therein. I order some more infrastructure build with my newfound cash, and look to the military side of things. Swamp RS-16 is well defended by nearly a full army of Re'Lu troops and four Defense towers (two Laser, two Energy.) It will take some time to reduce the territory, but I might as well get started. I move a new Fusion Cannon from Tarth Landing to guard Jarta Heath from reprisal, and move my two high-experience tanks into Swamp RS-16. No time to waste!

Turn Forty-Nine

Blech. The ChCht send three Turbo Wing Fighters and a missile into Tarth Landing, and they were dealt with harshly. The Re'Lu moved their army west, leaving Swamp RS-16 without mobile defense, but their towers proved too much for my tanks -- they fled quickly, only succeding in damage one tower. Hmph. I send in the veteran Cyth Landing tank army and a new Battle Trooper battalion to continue the assault.

Turn Fifty

Hmph. We'll see about that, mister Re'Lu emissary. They moved their army back to defend Swamp RS-16, and fended off my attack with it, losing a Fusion Cannon and a couple Laser Squads in the process. The Uva Mosk send a complaint ("Our colony is so barren...") and the Maug an insult ("You display all the strategic ability of a paramecium!") which, considering their proximity to eachother, indicates that the Maug are kicking the Uva Mosk's butts. I'll deal with them in time. Artificial Intelligence completes, allowing me to upgrade my Automated Factories to Robotic Factories.

Robotic Factories are upgraded from Automated Factories, and are over twice as productive. They are a very strong production unit, allowing you to pump out an army in no time flat. These have enough production points that, in full build mode, they can build a Fusion Cannon once per turn -- provided you have the resources.

I order the two elite Fusion Cannons to attack the Re'Lu, and I realize I have more Fusion Cannons than I need in this area. I send two green tanks from Tarth Landing north into the Wasta Meadows, to scope out the ChCht who keep attacking me.

Turn Fifty-One

The battle went respectably well, with the Re'Lu losing a Laser Cannon, two Laser Squads and two militia. The Elite tanks retreat, and I send in two Veteran tanks and two Battle Troopers to attack. Meanwhile, I spot a huge ChCht territory (max population) with relatively light defense to the north of Wasta Meadows. I could begin to siege it, but I'm busy with the Re'Lu. I continue to scout.

Turn Fifty-Two

Swamp RS-16 fell without a single casualty on my side, and I add it to my list of territories. Excellent. Next stop: the Re'Lu territory of Last Gasp Ridge. It's defended by five Energy Defenses and has 38 militia, so it will take a good deal of time to reduce. The Re'Lu are playing a defensive game, no doubt because of their weak position and weak military. I move a pair of Elite Fusion Cannons into the territory.

The scout party up north discovered that ChCht landing was extremely lightly defended, with only a paltry military force and two Laser Defense towers to guard. I guess the slow ChCht research pace affects the AI, too. It's a tempting target... I have a lot of spare tanks, so I move two more up to attack.

Turn Fifty-Three

Well, that didn't go so well. On the Re'Lu front, the tanks killed a few militia and damaged a tower before barely escaping with their lives. On the ChCht front, the tanks were swarmed by the super-fast militia and slaughtered. I decide to leave off high-pop ChCht territories for now, and to kill off their smaller bases. I invade!

Turn Fifty-Four

Shown: a mind controlled Tarth Battle Trooper aces his brother trooper as a tank fires at him. The attack on Last Gasp Ridge was a sound defeat, resulting in the loss of both Troopers (the mind controlled one fell to the tank shortly after) and the only damage incurred to the Re'Lu was the loss of a Command Corps and a couple militia. Blech.

The Uva Mosk and the Maug both send out complaints, indicating that they are killing themselves in that war of theirs. The Humans send out a brag ("Surely the size of our colony must intimidate you.") and with the newly-taken ChCht territory giving me vision, I can see why. The ChCht are down to two, maybe three colonies with no military to speak of, whereas the Humans have some veteran units running around and at least four decently-sized territories, as well as a lot of free land beyond my sight. It sounds like the Humans will be my only serious concern, militarily.

Turn Fifty-Five

I send in my tanks, they run away immediately. I, uh, forgot to fully repair... Heh heh. In any case, it seems Last Gasp Ridge is out of energy, so hopefully their towers won't be hitting as hard. The Humans send me a brag ("Awww, you seem so bad off! That's really terrible.") and in retaliation I attack their small territories of Humble Woodlands and Fresh Air Prairie, both of which are relatively undefended. I also continue to attack Last Gasp Ridge.

Turn Fifty-Six

Humble Woodlands lost over a thousand militia and a defense tower, but killed my inexperienced Fusion Cannons. I make two more every turn so I didn't bother retreating. Fresh Air Prairie was taken easily, but Last Gasp Ridge continues to be a very tough cookie... It may take a zerg tactic (rushing many many units to one spot, ignoring potential casualties) to win. I continue to press the attack, sending three Fusion Cannons to attack Humble Woodlands. I ignore Last Gasp Ridge to let my damaged tanks repair.

Turn Fifty-Seven

Humble Woodlands falls without trouble. I lose one of the tanks sent there to the unit cap (any units over the cap disband when you win), but this causes the Humans to simultaneously send me a threat and a request for peace. Uh huh. I decide to turn my War Machine on the lightly-defended ChCht territory of Nameless Hills. Six tanks roll in to wreck the population.

Turn Fifty-Eight

"These plans of yours are pretty good," my adjutant cheers as the ChCht send an insult across to me. "You selfish, plant-grabbing scum-sucking freak!" they screech. Whatever. Nameless Hills fell without incident, the line of Tarth battle tanks destroying massive sections of land with every volley. I had to disband four tanks in the end, though. A waste of resources, you might say, but remember that I produce two Fusion Cannons per turn, and I could theoretically produce up to six throughout my colony (although that would quickly bankrupt me.) I now have almost twenty thousand colonists in my enormous colony, and things are looking well for me. So well that I feel comfortable selling 700 food units and purchasing the Skirineen Disruptor Cannon, the Bloodmaker 4, that is for sale. Speaking of Disruptor Cannons, my Disruptor Beam research completes. I set my sights on Metal Replication as my next tech, and begin to produce Disruptor Cannons from my Tarth Landing factories. Let's check them out.

Disruptor Cannons are the third-tier factory tank unit. They're decently quick, with a good range and very high damage. These are expensive to make, however, with high credit and antimatter costs.

I decide to zerg the Re'Lu into oblivion, and move three Infantry and six Fusion Cannons to take Last Gasp Ridge turn after next.

Turn Fifty-Nine

The attack begins.

Turn Sixty

The Tarth forces crashed into Last Gasp Ride like a tidal wave. Battle-crazed Infantry yelling "aaaahhh" throw themselves into buildings, annihilating the town as a line of Fusion Cannon artillery obliterate wave after wave of civilian militia. Defensive towers fire again and again, but the Tarth offensive is too great to be stopped... Or, is it? Experienced tank commanders see the tide turning as the lines of Infantry fall, too frenzied to defend themselves, and leave the battlefield. Less veteran soldiers continue on, wiping out every civilian they see and destroying every building. The last line of defensive towers, though, proves too much for the damaged tank battalions. The Ridge grows silent, but the few Re'Lu still alive know... The Tarth will come again.

In the mean time, Metal Replication finishes and I start to work on Cortex Scanner. Metal Replication allows me to make (intuitively) Replication Stations. In world diplomacy news, the Maug sent me a complaint ("Our plans... Have broken down... Like our machines.") and the Uva Mosk a threat ("We, the guardians of nature, shall claim this world!") which means I guess the balance of power over there has shifted. I move a pair of elite Fusion Cannons in to finish off Last Gasp Ridge (how appropriately named it is, I might add) and profile the Replication Station.

This grim-looking Replication Station is the ultimate factory. Twice as effective as a Robotic Factory, these can churn out a Disruptor Cannon once per turn, or produce enough funds from trade to build a dozen Anti-Matter plants. With these in your control, you can take over the world with sheer force of numbers.

I begin to upgrade half of my factories to Replication Stations, noting with frustration that I have an Iron problem. Although my income is relatively high (106 per turn) I use up about 400 per turn in military units. Something must be done! I lack the credits to order more mines this turn, though. On the military side of things, I order two elite Fusion Cannons to finish off Last Gasp Ridge. The Re'Lu have another, smaller territory to the west called Mesa of Dreams. While looking into the Human territories, I notice they are having some pretty bad morale problems, with many citizens rioting. Good for me.

Turn Sixty-One

Hmph. The Energy Defense towers in Last Gasp Ridge chew my Fusion Cannons to pieces, although every Re'Lu militia was slain. I move two Disruptor Cannon tanks in to finish the job, and order up three more Mantle Drills to feed the furnaces of my war factories.

Turn Sixty-Two

Those Defense Towers deserve a medal, driving off both of my Disruptor Cannons. However, there are no Re'Lu colonists in the territory any more (I killed them all!) and so it becomes... No-man's land, and I quickly move a force in, preparing to assault Mesa of Dreams.

Turn Sixty-Three

My troops in Last Gasp Mesa kill a Re'Lu colonizer, and I take the territory for my own. It had a huge Iron stockpile of 900, so I won't be worrying about Iron any time soon. I order my troops to attack Mesa of Dreams.

Turn Sixty-Four

Pictured: a Tarth Battle Trooper tries to take on two Energy Defense towers by himself. It does not work. Although both Tarth Infantry were lost, many Re'Lu militia were killed. Those Energy Defense towers don't mess around, driving off the quick tanks and sniping the troopers as they try to flee. Cortex Scanner research completes and I move on to Assault Armor, and I begin to upgrade my Tech Labs to Collective Tech Labs.

Collective Tech Labs are the top-of-the-line research facility. Although they take a lot of energy to run, they can discover even high-end techs very quickly, and produce enough electronics to make a dozen Disruptor Cannons.

Turn Sixty-Five

The two Disruptor Cannons that attacked Mesa of Dreams this turn put the smackdown on an Energy Defense and about five militia before escaping. Most excellent. Predicting that I will have energy problems shortly, I sell off a bunch of food and wood to pay for many new power plants throughout my colony.

Turn Sixty-Six


Turn Sixty-Seven

I think that huge collage neatly sums up the situation. Mesa of Dreams got it's rick rolled by my Disruptor Cannons and taken over. I am going to have to do some serious zerging to take Re'Lu landing, so while my forces build up I shall invade Human territories in the north. Tally ho!

Turn Sixty-Eight

The territory of Black Hills is my first target, with a Disruptor and Fusion tank invading. The Fusion tank gets scared off, but the Disruptor Cannon (pictured) destroys almost every defender before retreating. I order two fresh Cannons into the Black Hills, and turn Tarth Landing into a Super Military Complex that produces a full army every turn -- two Disruptor Cannons and four Battle Troopers. Terrifying.

Turn Sixty-Nine

Black Hills belongs to me, now. The ChCht attacked two of my territories (Nameless Hills and Tarth Landing) with fighter planes and missiles, none of which did any damage. I guess they don't like factory units. Fools. I move a massive army (13 tanks and 2 infantry) in to position to take Re'Lu landing turn after next.

Turn Seventy

The Human commander whines, "If I lose, how will I deal with all the bad press?" I don't know, but I do know that Re'Lu landing is going to die, as you can see from the humongous army in the picture.

Turn Seventy-One

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So here are five of them in an animated sequence. The victory over the Re'Lu was so total and so complete as to be heralded as the greatest military victory in history. Although I disbanded eight tanks after the battle, the Re'Lu were forced off the planet. Two down. Four to go.

Re'Lu Landing held the stockpiles of an empire's last hope, and with due respect I sell most of it to the Skirineen. This gives ms 2,275 credits to spend -- enough to pay for my military and resource transportation for a good long time. With the subjugating of Black Hills, I have discovered my first Uva Mosk territory -- the swamp of Teal Mudpits. It has 40 militia defenders and a Laser Defense tower -- easy pickings. Since I sacrified so many Disruptor Cannons to Re'Lu Landing, the assault will have to wait. I have a fresh army in Tarth Landing waiting for orders, so I sent it to take the ChCht territory of Jartus Steppe. Six Battle Troopers and two Disruptor Cannons should make short work of it.

Turn Seventy-Two

Or, as fate may have it, not. As before, the endless supply of super-speedy ChCht militia quickly overran, surrounded and butchered my high-tech army. The obvious solution is to build an even higher tech army, which means making use of my brand-new Assault Armor tech and building Assault Troopers. I set my research teams to discover Anti-Matter Beams, which will allow me to make the most powerful weapon in Deadlock.

The Assault Trooper is the most powerful Infantry unit in the game. They wield anti-matter rifles, run like Speedy Gonzales, have enough armor to withstand a dozen laser blasts and can destroy lesser units in a single shot. One of these can outfight a Disruptor Cannon tank, or a pair of Battle Troopers with ease. Although very expensive compared to other Infantry, if you have the means, build these.

With the tanks that survived the Battle of Re'Lu Landing fully repaired, I begin to move troops in place to siege Teal Mudpits.

Turn Seventy-Three

I find myself lacking the credit income to produce as much military as I am (a whole lot) and move the resources that my territories need (a whole lot) around every turn at the same time. I'll have to be more careful with my military, and increase my tax rate. Whee. Forget the ChCht, I say, and move a new army to attack the humans. Meanwhile, die, Teal Mudpits!

Turn Seventy-Four

I get slammed with "lol u need money" messages and alarms and I am forced to shut down my military production while I get my economy back in gear. My standing forces are all I have to work with now -- six Disruptor Cannons, six Assault Troopers and four Fusion Cannons. Is it enough to conquer the world? We'll see. Meanwhile, my anti Uva Mosk team dealt a huge blow to Teal Mudpits, killing some 2,700 colonists (27 militia) and escaping with their alives despite being swarmed by the militia (pictured.)

Speaking of conquering, I move a pair of Fusion Cannons (the first and third I ever build -- true veterans) to finish off Teal Mudpits.

Turn Seventy-Five

The Fusion Cannons mowed down the Uva Mosk militia like a pair of diesel powered, 1950's no-environmental-laws smoke-spewing industrial grade lawnmowers over a wheat field outside of Topeka, Kansas. Not the most versatile metaphor, bsut I like it. A status update on my foes: the Uva Mosk seem to be having energy problems since I took their swamp away from them, and the Humans are rioting en masse. The ChCht, at least, seem to be doing relatively well. I move an army (Disruptor Cannonx2, Battle Trooperx2, Assault Trooperx2) into the Human territory of Deadmen's Swamp.

Turn Seventy-Six

Here, a minimap for you. As you can see, I control the entire south half of the map except for that pinisula way west of me. The ChCht, Human and Uva Mosk territories are clearly defined - the selected territory is Deadmen's Swamp, and it is from where I will be making my attacks. Speaking of that territory, the attack went flawlessly. A single Assault Trooper drew the fire of all the Defensive towers and the militia while the rest of my soldiers destroyed everything in sight. The Assault Trooper earned a medal. I order a pair of Disruptor Cannons into the Uva Mosk territory of Tilted Prairie.

Turn Seventy-Seven

Pictured: after burying a dozen militia, the Tarth military flees the scene. Both units became elite this turn. I have enough cash in my reserves now to build another army, so I set the Tarth Landing factories to work. I sell off some excess resources, and the use the money to purchase the most terrifying weapon in Deadlock from the Skirineen.

The Holocaust Cannon. In terms of pure mathematics, this top-level Tank is three times as well armed and armored as a Disruptor Cannon, is much quicker, and has a completely insane attack speed of 10 shots per second. The Disruptor Cannon fires twice per second. A Holocaust Cannon has fifteen times the destructive potential of a Disruptor Cannon. In terms of psychology, though, this Tank is more powerful still. The sight of this massive, chunky tank rolling through your base obliterating your entire military in four seconds would send any colony commander to the local bar for a few rounds of short term memory loss. The cost is prohibitive (800 credits, 250 iron units, loads of antimatter, etc.) but the reward, is, well... Read the paragraph again.

I put the new weapon of horror to work by sending it in with an army to attack Titled Prairie. In the mean time, I move an army in position to attack Human Landing.

Turn Seventy-Eight

Pictured: a Holocaust Cannon and an Assault Trooper hard at work. Titled Prairie was taken without loss of life on my part, with my top-level troops gunning down over four thousand civilians and destroying most of the base. Anti Matter Beams research completes and I can make Holocaust Cannons of my own now, which I promptly order up. I begin to research Teleporters, which will allow me to move resources around for free. Yay. Unfortunately, my purchase of the Holocaust Cannon from the Skirineen was discovered, and now my workers in T'Por Forest are very unhappy with me. I zerg two Disruptor Cannons, two Fusion Cannons and two Assault Troopers into Human Landing.

Turn Seventy-Nine

Human Landing gets zomgpwnt, and the Humans send me an insult. "Is insomnia hurting your reason?" the Human commander questions. Since it is you, my friend, who have just lost your strongest territory, I would think that it would be better to question your own mental faculties. With Human Landing out of the way, there are three weak Human territories to conquer. I seperate my armies into discrete bunches, and let them loose. I also send a fresh, full army from Tarth Landing north to attack the ChCht. It's cleanup from here on out.

Turn Eighty

Calm Meadows, Open Sky Mesa and Dentrana Plains are added to my colony, which is now so large as to absorb other, smaller colonies with its sheer gravity. Masses of elite Tarth troops roll into Human and Maug sattelite territories, while Uva Mosk Landing feels the heavy hammer blows of half a dozen main battle tanks.


This text - the text which you are now reading - is being written three years after the text you read in the paragraph preceding this one.

I opened up my account the other day to put some stuff for a new BR inside it (!) and began looking through my old files for nostalgia's sake, only to discover/remember that this one was literally finished* when the computer which my copy of Deadlock ran on, an old 2001 Mac G4, decided that exploding was actually what I wanted it to do (instead of, you know, play games and surf the web). So I lost it, and thus the ability to finish this report.

*This asterisk here denotes that this BR was almost kind of finished. I had a note here in this paragraph saying "just make a big ol' gif and wrap it up," so clearly there was work to be done yet, but the game was basically over. Even if all the remaining AI were suddenly united under a single banner, the Tarth control so many resources at this point that the only metric by which we could measure their (the AI's) success is by how many turns it takes for the Tarth to kill them off. Since it makes absolutely zero sense to let this 97%-done BR sit in the warehouse and never see the light of day, I've decided to post it. And since this kind of expository ending is hugely anti-climactic, we'll end it with a bit of narrative.

The last escape ships rocket away from the surface, fleeing the endless advance of Tarth troopers and battle tanks - fleeing into the waiting maw of the main Tarth armada, swollen to near bursting by the shipments of resources sent home by the successful colony. Auxilliary Tarth fleets engulfed the other species' observer stations as emergency distress signals conjured up fast-talking diplomacy amongst the other six empires. United as one to stop the unstoppable, they warp in all the ships they can muster; six fleets. But these fleets are old, worn-out, broken; the beaten-up debris from centuries of conflict, and with little resources to make repairs, they're in a sorry state. Meanwhile, the Tarth armada is fresh, new - the collected energies of an entire planet set to work crafting machines of war that existed prior only in the nightmares of veteran's children, abstract images passed on by a kind of genetic horror felt only by those who have Been There; the literal schema of hell, brought from that world into this by Satan's engineers.

The sum-up of millenial conflict ends in seconds. All hail the eternal hegemony of the Tarth.

Last entry in the journal of great Tarth folk hero, Ubergeneral Gallius: "Today I stepped out onto the veranda with my adjutant to watch the sun set. It was especially pretty today because the shattered soverignty of six other sentient species was falling from the heavens, broken - in a distant way - by my own works. 'That a great thing you did,' my adjutant says. I clap a meaty hand on his shoulder and say, 'Sure is, kiddo. Sure is.'"