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Hello everyone. I am planning to play my first game ever of Alpha Centauri, and I would like some advice on where to start. I have read there are some tutorial scenarios, are they worth playing? Will it be better to go straight into action in a random map? Keep in mind that I never played Civilization II (which I assume it's the most similar to Alpha Centauri), so I can't rely on previous knowledge. However, I will read the manual beforehand.

Another question: is there any benefit on playing vanilla first or I won't be missing anything if I start with Alien Crossfire directly? I have seen there are some flavour texts that pop up every now and then when playing Alien Crossfire... Do they reference any lore scenario from Alpha Centauri?

Thank you.
This question / problem has been solved by T.Hoddimage
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Caesar.: Hello everyone. I am planning to play my first game ever of Alpha Centauri, and I would like some advice on where to start. I have read there are some tutorial scenarios, are they worth playing? Will it be better to go straight into action in a random map? Keep in mind that I never played Civilization II (which I assume it's the most similar to Alpha Centauri), so I can't rely on previous knowledge. However, I will read the manual beforehand.

Another question: is there any benefit on playing vanilla first or I won't be missing anything if I start with Alien Crossfire directly? I have seen there are some flavour texts that pop up every now and then when playing Alien Crossfire... Do they reference any lore scenario from Alpha Centauri?

Thank you.
You might find this thread helpful.

If you feel like jumping straight in to see what happens, you can do so - turn on tutorial messages in preferences. This makes it much clearer how to play without playing the tutorials. They and the manual are the only tutorials I've ever used for SMAX, experience in playing the game is the best teacher.

As for SMAC Vs SMAX, think of SMAX as an update or an expansion pack, there is really no reason to play without it. This said, don't play against the alien factions in your first game.
Thank you for your answer.

What's special about the alien factions?
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Caesar.: What's special about the alien factions?
The alien factions are more powerful than the human factions as you can see at the bottom of the faction ratings in this webpage. Playing with the alien factions requires a lot of stratergy, with the humans working together. This is really fun, but not the best way to learn to play the game.
Post edited July 12, 2017 by T.Hodd
Sounds like a fun challenge... for later. :)
No one mentioned one very handy trick you can do when starting out....

When you start a new game, save it, then open the scenario editor and use it to see what your territory is like. It is better to have an island to yourself, or a linkage that is small and hence easily defended. What you want to avoid, is having a large boarder with an AI

Once your satisfied your territory is good, reload the saved game from before you opened the editor.

Aliens do not spawn for some time, so you wont know where they might land. So try not to have too big a territory to yourself, because one of them is bound to spawn in next to you. If you have to know where they are going to spawn, it is possible to do, by setting pods to spawn near base sites only. The pods know where the aliens are going to spawn, so if you see a group of pods somewhere else in your territory, that's the alien spawn site! NOTE... setting pods to base sites only will severely reduce the number of pods available in the game.
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mystikmind2000: When you start a new game, save it, then open the scenario editor and use it to see what your territory is like. It is better to have an island to yourself, or a linkage that is small and hence easily defended. What you want to avoid, is having a large boarder with an AI
This will however nullify your score and your save will be marked as CHEATED in big red letters.
Attachments:
cheat.png (323 Kb)
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T.Hodd: This will however nullify your score and your save will be marked as CHEATED in big red letters.
No, it will not, as mystikmind2000 ALSO said:
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mystikmind2000: reload the saved game from before you opened the editor.
Reading is essential in understanding ;)

And just in case you don't know, the cheating flag is ONLY saved if you save AFTER enabling the editor. Hence why mystikmind2000 said the above.
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Goodaltgamer: And just in case you don't know, the cheating flag is ONLY saved if you save AFTER enabling the editor. Hence why mystikmind2000 said the above.
Yes, but that doesn't undo the fact that you cheated, marked on your save or not.
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T.Hodd: Yes, but that doesn't undo the fact that you cheated, marked on your save or not.
I do not get your point, please elaborate.
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Goodaltgamer:
Well you did cheat (That is gain an advantage by seeing what you shouldn't have seen - thus gaining an unfair advantage), although the game won't 'know' about it. My point being that although it won't have registered, you will still have cheated.
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Goodaltgamer:
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T.Hodd: Well you did cheat snip
I never disputed this, right? ;)

I only clarfied your statement.

And is it really cheating? I never understood:

You are coming from the orbit, you descent ONTO the surface and you have NO idea how your surrounding looks?????

That is surreal. The problem is that the game is based on CIV 2 where it really made sense, but not for SMAC/X. As described before, you are descending onto the surface, not getting teleported onto, not via jumpgates or similar.

And unfair advantage? Against the AI? I would agree with you if talking about MP, but single player?
Is asking a question (how this thread started) not already cheating by your standards? What about reading other tips and tricks? ;)

I play to have fun, that is all what matters to me ;)
It's good to know that this possibility exists... But I'm afraid it would take away all the enjoyement from exploring the map in the early turns. I never open the World Builder in Civ 4 either.

You can always rationalize it thinking that the Unity colonists were too busy getting into the emergency pods to take a look through the windows.
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Caesar.: You can always rationalize it thinking that the Unity colonists were too busy getting into the emergency pods to take a look through the windows.
Also, there is an option to enable 'unity survey' which tells you where the continents are which I think is the most realistic.
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Goodaltgamer: I only clarfied your statement.

And is it really cheating? I never understood:

You are coming from the orbit, you descent ONTO the surface and you have NO idea how your surrounding looks?????

That is surreal. The problem is that the game is based on CIV 2 where it really made sense, but not for SMAC/X. As described before, you are descending onto the surface, not getting teleported onto, not via jumpgates or similar.
Well, if we're going to nitpick everything, all factions crash landed on the planet, so it makes sense for them not to have a clear read of their surroundings. :P