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Galactic Trader - Benchmark with the Data Driven Gamer

The Data Driven Gamer and myself got into a friendly competition on Galactic Trader (which I reviewed here). It was very fine for me, as I had won my featured AAR by "cheating" with savestates.

So, long story short : we shared a seed at max difficulty, and promised to give one honest run without using savestate, except to avoid bugs (which are way too common in this game).

 

Our rules :

  • Difficulty is maximized at level ten.
  • One chance to finish the game. No restarting allowed.
  • The only acceptable uses of save states are so that we can take breaks and resume later, and to undo serious input errors and accidental breaks (I added "avoiding losing 50 Star Date when the toddler is running amok and I have to leave my computer without pausing", which actually saved me some Star Date since when I load my last savestate my "research" is kept. Eventually, I found out how to pause the emulator, so that was mostly in the beginning ^^ - I think I saved 20 to 40 Star Date in total, possibly more. No more than 60 though)
  • We will leave the game running and unpaused when entering data or performing related number crunching.
  • We may pause to take blogging-related notes.

The Data Driven Gamer's AAR is there.

Some additional notes :

  • This AAR is mostly for the DDG, so we compare our strategies. It may be dry if you don't know the game.
  • It assumes you read the featured AAR and know how the game works
  • Finally, in my screenshots I am not always consistent on how I write the names of the resources and the planets. I realized this after the screenshots where taken, so it will stay like this :).

 

I started in Galactica, and without surprise I did two things :

  1. Check the Galaxy Map

Note that the game has a Z dimension, so two worlds can be showed as being on the same location (same as Apple II, but it never mattered so I did not mention it in my AAR/review). In general, I pretty much ignore the Z dimension and assume that "looking far away on the map" = "actually far away".

 

2. Check the local prices :

Getting the price was fast (I converted it to "fuel price equivalent" by dividing directly by 4 for comparability in the future), getting the Galaxy Map took longer.

I did my run AFTER the Data Driven Gamer posted his AAR and as I glanced through it quickly (I did not get any "economic" information) I read that in the TRS-80 version, unlike in the Apple II version, you can check the fuel price even for materials you don't have. Therefore, I do not believe it is a good strategy to start the game with a discovery turn - you can explore as you trade.

My strategy was too take "cheap products" from Galactica, then travel as far as possible from it hoping that at least one of those products would have a much higher price. I checked the fuel calculation menu :

 

The choice was between taking 15 to Llythll or taking 20 to Yang-Tzu. I picked Llythll, bought 5 of the 3 cheapest products, converted the rest of my cash into fuel and off I went !

Once in Llythll, I checked the local fuel cartel office's prices.

Well, not great for the Tenibles, not bad for the Hemptites, excellent for the Dopae. Rhiolans in the future could become a cash machine.

So given those price, I planned to use my Dopae for fuel, and try to get a bit more Tenibles with 2 of my Hemptites, and then find a world where they would take Rhiolans for Tenibles at a "fair" exchange rate (but keeping some Hemptites in case I find the place where they just crave for that thing, whatever it is.)

But I got a pretty nice proposal from the trader for 2 of my hemptites : one Rhiolan (5 times the local value of my Hemptites!), so the trade ended up being this one :

I jumped to Yang-Tzu, and I got lucky :

 

Rhiolans were super cheap here - cheaper than Tenibles. I decided to buy as much Rhiolans as I could carry back to Llythll - I used the fuel calculator to find out that 50 Rhiolans was too much, but 45 was fine.

And therefore :

I arrived to Llythll with barely any fuel, but with 40 Rhiolans I could buy more than 25K fuel units, making me safe on this front for the foreseeable future. With the 5 remaining Rhiolans, I bartered for a bunch of different products (the trick is to trade Rhiolans for let's say Dopae, then some of those Dopae for something else, etc...

 

 

I explored Farside. It had cheap Dopae which were valuable in both Llythll and Yang Tzu, so instead of carrying 5 different resources I was carrying only one again :Dopae. I chosde Yang Tzu for my next destination, as there I could trade my Dopae for cheap Rhiolans, and sell the Rhiolans with a massive mark-up in Llythll. On the way out I explored Utopia, a world that was very close from Farside (same X Y coordinates).

After that, it was more back and forth between Llythll and Yang Tzu, using an intermediary stop on unrelated worlds to avoid the trade monopoly (the trade monopoly only triggers if you do twice the exact same route).

If you actually checked the log above, you may now wonder : Why did I buy 40 000 Tenibles in Llythll ?

Well, I had made a mistake in my notes for the price of Tenibles in Viejo, and I thought it was 10 times more expensive. Henceforth, my next trip was me arriving with a full load of Tenibles in Viejo, Tenibles that were not totally worthless but really not premium either.

Well, Viejo had cheap Rhiolans, so at least I could take these. Carrying 40 000 Tenibles had drained my fuel reserve, which was another issue. Instead of targetting Llythll, I therefore aimed for Ootsie, where Rhiolans were valuable. I had to dump some extra Rhiolans to make it :

I managed to carry 67 000 Rhiolans to Ootsie, which I exchanged for a lot of fuel (I had none left), and for Dopae so I could return to my Yang-Tzu // Llythll traditional route.

My next "intermediary stop" from Yang-Tzu to Llythll was Eventide. At that point I carried 1 millions Rhiolans ; I knew I would not be able to do the last leg with that much cargo, but I was extremely confident I could sell Rhiolas at a great price already in Eventide, and at worse finish with half a cargo.

It turned out that Eventide had great prices too :

I could exchange 900 000 Rhiolans for Fuel immediately, and then open a new trading route : Doape from Farside/Utopia to Eventide. The price difference was 1:100. This was great, because the distance between those systems was small (22 Star Date)

But in Farside the game ended : I just had too many Dopae.

I had 11 millions Dopae, too many for the game. I would have been worth 1 billion in Eventide.

 

And here is my final log :

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