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OK. I've been playing MoO1 recently, but I simply cannot stand it. Every little thing has ended up annoying me to no end. The UI is really bad with the imprecise sliders, only being able to change the planet sliders in the main map (not planet screen), and being unable to disband just a single ship (rather than all of a class) just to name some of the more egregious issues. And this is sad because Civ1 and MoM have much better UIs. On top of that, the AI cheats more than I've seen in most other games, including Civ1. How is it that by the time I can have 3 planets, the AI can have 10? Diplomacy is awful (something a lot of 4X games suffer from, but this one pretty badly). Why does a non-aggression pact only apply to ships and not captured colonies, but only in favor of the AI? I've lost way too many planets this way, and it was really aggravating. Finally, the galactic council seems to artificially limit the time span of the game way too much. My last game, which was my best, I was playing as the Meklars, had a reasonable territory, but the humans had nearly 30 systems and won the council vote in 2445 (which is I believe is only 145 turns in). I hadn't even gotten past tech level 15 in anything at that point, so what's the point of the later tech levels if the game is going to force an end so soon? The thing is, is that I've tried at least a dozen games over the past week, all on "average" with a "huge" map and 5 AIs, and they've all played out rather similarly to this. I have never been able to even come close to getting a reasonable position against the AI for really dumb reasons. Compared to other 4X games, even those of the time, it feels like it's simply trying to make you lose rather than provide a reasonable difficulty, and all of this is due to excessive AI cheating.

So, apart from playing on a lower difficulty, which would indicate that the difficulty settings are broken, what am I doing wrong? I expand as quickly as I can, but I can never get a leg up on the AI. The galactic council has ended every game really quickly, and I never really have a fighting chance. I'm always behind on production and tech because I can't have as many planets as the AI, which means that if I try to focus on them, I can't have a fleet or defenses. I've tried several different strategies, and none of them turned out even remotely well. Is this normal, is there some special strategy that needs to be used in this game that is radically different than others, am I just having terrible luck, or is the game actually broken and really not that good? My experience so far makes me think that it's a broken game, even compared to other 4X games of the time.

I keep playing it, trying to like it, but I can't. I'm not trying to be overly harsh on it, but I find these to be real problems that hinder my enjoyment, and I have to believe that I'm not the only one.
If the lack of precise micro management in MoO1 turns you off, there are many other games out there that I think are more suitable for you, MoO2:BaA is one. I like the simple UI a lot myself but of course every game is not for everyone.

Yes, the AI is bad and must resort to cheating to give the player a challenge. This holds true for MoO2 as well.

Any planet you take, you must also be prepared to defend. There are rare exceptions for some special strategies.

The galactic council and the faster than possible colonising AI players force the human player to play in some certain ways. How not to lose in the council: Keep % of colonised planets below the treshold (can be pushed back under to stop voting if it goes above). Sadly, I forgot the %... OR, make sure you sit on MORE than 1/3 of the votes yourself (votes based on population, playing Sakkra helps here) OR befriend some races and make sure they are not on friendly terms with those you do not want them to vote for OR if all races but one + you are dead, the voting will stop OR you can always choose not to accept the ruling of the council and enter FINAL WAR, after all, what is 5 in an eternal alliance all against you when you are so powerful (I always end up here when I play Darloks) OR maybe there are other ways that I cannot think of now.

After saying all that, I still admit the most common way I lose, if I lose, is sitting on 30-33% of the votes and everyone else voting for the other candidate and the exchange of tech, due to Final War, between the enemies makes me fall behind too much so I give up.

Let me add a reminder about the blue box bug: if your empire finishes building too many things in one turn, the game cannot manage to clean up afterwards so you will need to go through all your planets.

Also, important to make every turn count in the first 120+ turns (or whatever is needed to get into the lead). You have alll the time in the world to complete every turn but you do not have all the turns in the world before you are over run.
Post edited April 29, 2016 by Themken
MoO 1 can be frustrating due to how the AI works, and because of the huge starting bonuses the other races get.

It gets less tedious if you know how the AI works. For example, if another race at any time has a ship in orbit around your planet (even if you have non-aggression pact), it usually will immediately send transports to it.
So in the beginning it's vital that you don't allow this. Park a scout around every planet you control. This will repel scouts and early (before they are built with weapons) colony ships.

Also park scouts around every planet you can reach with scouts. This will slow down the other races' expansion; they will need armed colony ships or an armed escort.

To get good relations with other races, establish trade agreements. It will take some time to be profitable, but it will improve relations and increase chances of races that are "on the fence" will vote for you.
Always keep tabe on who's leading in population and who their friends and allies are, to avoid an early diplomatic loss.
Post edited April 30, 2016 by PetrusOctavianus
This is weird. I've been playing this game so long that I can't even think of any advice to give. If you're playing the original non-patched version immediately make new Colony Ship and Scout models, they will be cheaper to produce than the ones you start the game with! Also, like was said above, spam those scouts and leave one in every system you can reach. Also, play as Klackons or Psilons, easily the two most powerful races. The races are NOT very balanced. If you're playing as Mrrshan and not doing it for a challenge, you aren't going to have a good time.
Post edited June 15, 2016 by wyrenn
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wyrenn: This is weird. I've been playing this game so long that I can't even think of any advice to give. If you're playing the original non-patched version immediately make new Colony Ship and Scout models, they will be cheaper to produce then the ones you start the game with! Also, like was said above, spam those scouts and leave one in every system you can reach. Also, play as Klackons or Psilons, easily the two most powerful races. The races are NOT very balanced. If you're playing as Mrrshan and not doing it for a challenge, you aren't going to have a good time.
LOL ah eh ho ho ha! Mrrshans ah yes, Bulrathi not much above them and Darlok are hard on the wrong map setup or if you do not know the game that well. I feel Sakkra third easiest after Psilons and Klackons.

Now that I think about it, learning how to do smart research must take time but is crucial. Unlike in MoO2 it is not so easy to say do this one then this one as it all depends on the situation. In my games I conquer planets to make up for me colonising a lot fewer than the AI so unless I am Sakkra, I reallly want that cloning tech.
I'm not sure what you're doing wrong since I don't really know what you're doing, but this is a good tutorial! (Allergy warning: 90s web design) It also explains what people like about this game, though you might find the gushing tone annoying.
I have played big amount of MOO1 games - I like to play SMALL maps on IMPOSSIBLE with 5 opponents.
Sorry, I do not like to manage 30+ systems (and die clicking).
CPU is cheating, yes. But the more difficult the game is and bigger the challenge is :)

I think first of all you have to expand. Then try to defend your planets. Build small ships. And, of course, use your race bonus. Be diplomatic! And save games very often :)

I finished MOO1 on IMPOSSIBLE for every race. Some of them are easy, some of them very difficult (depends on enemies).

Maybe you can post your savegame - I can check if it is doable or not.
Either be Psilon or be friends with Psilon. On impossible difficulty they are the only race that usually destroy me.
MoO1 was not yet a matured game, play MoO2 instead, the good MoO for me.
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Infin8ty: .
Not sure if you still interested in hints, but I do it anyway:

The good and bad thing about MoO are the racial traits:

Each race has its pro and contras. The biggest advantage of the human race is their diplomatic bonus. Can you counter it? Yes for sure, either by brute force or using spies to spy on their friends and then frame the humans (this works best of YOU are the darloks)

Psilons, worst enemy to have (hence I like to play them myself ;) ): Reason is again rather simple, they have a huge tech advantage, they progress much quicker as the others. As better tech means also better spying, better diplo, better (I think you get the idea) they are really hard to beat AFTER early game, so longer they can prosper so stronger they get.

Klackons/Saccras/Mekklars: THOSE really depends on pure luck. If they have the right planets next to them at start they can get a really tough opponent. IIRC there was one game I played were only ONE planet made the difference between winning or loosing, it was a ultrarich/hostile. In one save I ignored this planet and was smashed....Yes I reloaded and colonised it myself and that made me win the game.

Darloks: I find them only annoying, but not really a threat, but that might be because I play the Psilons.......

So far for the races

Now, lets have a look at some other points:

SPIES: Don't underestimate them. If you do not have any decent defense network of spies, you will be screwed!!!! Why, because the AI IS using spies. Ever wondered why an ally was pissed of at you? Reason quite simple, one AI spied on this ally and framed you for it.
Further, if you use spies to your advantage, this helps as well. Best you can achieve is using your spies to get the others to fight each other (evilgrin).
For the human player, the worst thing which can happen is peace, if everybody is at peace you will normally loose. War is the way to go, no not yourself but keep THEM fighting against each other.

War by yourself shall have an easy goal: X, Expansion.

Why is it so important? If you are lagging behind in tech, you will get free techs while invading those planets, don't worry about loosing them in this case. If you behind in tech, you will not loose anything, BUT you will gain tech.
If you DO gain tech and others don't have them yet, TRADE them immediately!!! Otherwise the AI will do it anyway. And trade them with all possible races. I refrain only from trading crucial techs which I don't wont to spread to quickly, but best example those planet improvement techs are really great. Give them away and the planets you conquer will be in a much better state and you had made the AI pay for the development. One tech (i.e.) not to trade is cloning!!! The quicker YOU can clone the faster you can conquer new planets.

In the beginning:
MOVE your colonists around!!!!!!!!!!!!! Reproduction is quicker if the planet is still more empty and your home planet will never grow above the max pop, but you wasted free income! NEVER let you planets reach max!!!! Only do it for your keyplanets, like this nice ultrarich or your production hub.

Yes this means a lot of micro management in the beginning.

Further, if you find a weak AI in your surrounding, roll over them, annex whatever possible. The cost of the colonyships in the beginning are horrendous, Colonists are cheap (evilgrin). Just make sure to have a fleet in orbit as this decimate any colonists arriving from the enemy.
Missile bases: GET THEM!!!! just like one or two in the beginning, they will also slaughter those pesky enemy fleet transports and don't under-estimate their upgrades: SHIELDS!!!! They can make your planets invulnerable, only exception biological weapons. Funny enough, if you use them, you will get a rather huge diplo-malus, the AI doesn't.

Missiles: early game breaker especially the scatter missiles!!!!! Try to get them ASAP!!!!

Don't waste too much money on big ships, BUT ONLY in the beginning!!!!! The small ones are cheaper and have a better defense. later on they are still good cannon-fodder or better to say extra shields for your better ships ;)

Location, location, location: Yes there are some games which can NOT be won because bad luck with the surrounding planets..... like (yes happened to me more than once) only 2 planets I was able to reach, one a hostile, unable to colonise, the other a 30 pop planet which led into a dead end and afterwards I needed range tech 5 to get out of this trap. I was so much behind in tech, that I gave up. I had no way of winning anymore.

About tech, just jumped to my mind: Unlike other games MoO1 has a specialty: The tech tree is NEVER the same. Worst thing I ever had, I got tech II for factories in the tech menu, but nothing till after tech VII (IIRC), I had to get those from somebody else.

To clarify this point a bit: All techs are rated from I till XX (ok not all.....), but the game at the beginning decides which ones will be in your tech tree, so for example Shields: They exist in V, X, XV and XX, but you will only be able to research X and XX. Not having the V Shield IS a huge disadvantage.

I hope it helps to enjoy this good game (despite the design flaws you mentioned)

Ahhhh: One last thing about cheating, it might look sometimes like cheating, but in reality it might be something else as the AI is using quite all means, like trading techs, using spies and similar.

ABout spies (IIRC F9 is a really good key to use): This is the only way to see information about spies.
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Goodaltgamer: About tech, just jumped to my mind: Unlike other games MoO1 has a specialty: The tech tree is NEVER the same.
That, and the ubalanced races, is why I love MoO. No two games are the same, while in for example every game I played of Civ 2 followed the same pattern.
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Goodaltgamer: About tech, just jumped to my mind: Unlike other games MoO1 has a specialty: The tech tree is NEVER the same.
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PetrusOctavianus: That, and the ubalanced races, is why I love MoO. No two games are the same, while in for example every game I played of Civ 2 followed the same pattern.
Yup. That's why I still play MoO over other newer 4x games, including MoO2.