I'm so antsy to see the scores from the official challenge, I keep reloading the page every hour!
I'll just jump the gun, since I want to hear about other peoples' scores and strategies.
O: DD - F: FFS - M: DFF - S: FS
5.5 (The last one was penned in, marauded constantly, and basically ignored); 3 Forest, 1 Swamp, 1.5 Desert
I went mainly for Pear orchards early-mid game, then (Coffea-Papaya)-Onyx in swamp and Onyx-Cinnamomum-Tea in the desert.
[SO MUCH DETAIL version]
I had several attempts in the mid 2k range, but I kept hitting a wall of being well below my total potential prosperity at 30 mins, so for this run, I focused much more on border growth in the early game. I used the data Yatima provided
to basically keep my plant-wielding giants moving so there was (more or less) always a plant on each town's edge(s) until the border-growth-curve for each town started to get steep. I did some rough math and placement optimization to take a guess that my ideal number of cities to max was 5, with enough space for a stunted 6th to fit in.
Another huge change was keeping the towns always below max prosperity; in my early attempts, I spent way too much time trying to build up one village, then move on to the next. This will definitely stunt your score, but the trade-off is that keeping your giants always moving will also make it really hard to get off the best combos (more on that later).
Terraforming: Another key for me was starting off with desert-heavy ambassadors and then terraforming the second desert into a swamp. I went D----D(m)F---FO----O(m)D----DF----FO----OF----F(m)(m)(m) [I hope that makes sense to some of you, lol]. The second mountain was flattened after I harvested its adjacent desert's first ambassador, and turned into a swamp; the set of three mountains connecting to the beginning space was flattened to make room for the 6th city about 10 mins into the game. It took some real planning to get the biomes all the right sizes from the beginning, given I planned to terraform them (like making the second Desert town very short so when the mountain came down, the swamp it left behind would be the full length) and wanted no wasteland. My plan at the outset was to have 2 forest cities and 2 swamps as my primary focus, but the time was never right to convert the second forest. I spent about 10 minutes trying to work out a plan that involved using resources on mountains to spawn the towns, then using Ocean to flatten the mountains, in an effort to get the towns exactly
where I wanted them, but it was too fiddly, wasted too many crucial minutes in the setup, and ultimately, it just wasn't fun, so I stopped, and let the nomads do their own thing.
I used basically no animals except to fill the oceans, and in the very early game. I almost completely ignored greed and awe, except to squish an occassionally very powerful army that would kill its neighbor (as Rabbit suggested here
I really like the 30-minute challenge length
. You have to make so many more complex decisions about what aspects/resources to pursue, and what not to, and where to spend your time. The distance giants have to travel is a huge factor, much moreso than in the 60 or 120 min challenges, and I think by spamming the Aurora ability on cooldown I could have gotten another 500 prospecity over the course of the game. I chose this overall build because it allowed my 'support' giants to be really effective while my 'money' giant (Forrest) did the heavy lifting, which appeared to be impossible (from an opportunity-cost perspective) when dealing with minerals or animals. For instance, using the swamp to set up l2 herbs which could eventually be converted into fruit trees (in the swamp and mountain biomes) when the Forest had time, and leaving large patches un-buffed so I could move the forest to spawn more plants on his W cooldown, then come in with the ocean giant later to Monsoon when they meet. The border and prosperity growth become such important limiting factors this way, also.
I love how complex this game is, and I really appreciate the finely-tuned balance the devs have built. It feels like an ecosystem
, with every part interlocking in very interesting ways. This challenge just brought that home even more for me, since you can't use spammy (but ultimately, boring) combos to 'win.'
I'd love to hear in detail how other people approached the challenge, and how you did/what you did/found successful/would do differently!