Month 5

The continuing saga of Example Ernie's Earthling Empire.

Month 5

Ernie is guided through a month by the Strategic Turn Sequence of J2. This month, Ernie learns about PTU/PU conversions in colonization, allows an R&D project to go into shortfall, and orders construction of a new ship class.

Economic Phase

Population Growth

Ernie first calculates the growth of his various populations, which grow at 1% per month as per L1.04.1. 75 colonization PTU were added to Eden last month.

All new populations are below the max PU thresholds for those worlds, and so Ernie updates the population numbers.

Calculate Revenues

Next, Ernie applies those new population numbers to determine the income they generate for the imperial treasury. IU on Terra grew by 3: one purchased plus those that Gov created for free due to his "Industrialist" specialist power.

Ernie has 2961.2 MCr of revenue from his populations and industries. Each line of the table is a GPV (Gross Planetary Value) from L3.01. Summed, they represent the GSV (Gross System Value) of the Sol and Centauri systems; the Sol GSV is 2811.0 MCr and the Centauri GSV is 150.2 MCr. The sum of all GSVs represents TGI (Total Gross Income), which is used in R&D calculations. TGI plus any income from trade treaties represents the GEV (Gross Empire Value), which is used in CFN calculations.

Another source of revenue is from imperial freighters (i.e. player-owned) that are leased to the CFN. We take as a given that leased freighters will pay out at standard rates (this will be borne out by later calculations), as this was easily the case last month and no new freighters are being leased. Ernie’s total leased freighter revenue is therefore 192.4 MCr.

There are other sources of wealth that Ernie needs to consider. He earns 2% interest on any funds remaining in the treasury from the previous month (29.2, which earned 0.5 MCr in interest). He could sell IU (which sell for the same 30 MCr they cost to purchase), but he chooses not to at this point. Other sources of wealth include scrapping units, (CC) revenue, pillaging invaded worlds, and monetary transfers from other empires — none of which are currently relevant.

So, Ernie’s total revenue for the month is 3154.1 MCr, plus the 29.7 MCr remaining in the treasury from the previous month. The Earthlings have 3183.3 MCr to spend this month. It bears noting that sources of wealth, such as IU sales and scrapping, do not factor into TGI or GEV. As such, Ernie can work his way through his plans for the month and sell IU or scrap units to have more cash on hand without altering his shipping or R&D numbers (which depend on GEV and TGI, respectively).

Transfer Freighters

Ernie doesn’t want to transfer any freighters to or from the CFN, but this is a good place to note the sizes of the CFN pools, which are found in Table L4.02.

Ernie’s Base CFN pool has 592 H and 296 Qv of capacity. Last month's totals were 570 H and 285 Qv. This growth comes from the Extra Pool if available, and otherwise is abstractly constructed by civilian industry. The Extra Pool is empty and so these gains represent new construction.

The Commercial CFN pool represents the other 90% of the CFN, and so its H and Qv sizes are 9 times those of the Base CFN pool. Costs to hire capacity from this pool are tripled.

The Extra CFN pool starts out empty. It only gains H or Qv when the Base or Commercial pools shrink. As those pools are tied to GEV, the Extra CFN pool typically only accrues H or Qv when an empire is at war and losing systems or population.

The Government pool are imperial freighters leased to the CFN — Ernie’s government pool has 42 H and 94 Qv, per the leasing arrangements above. As noted in the Calculate Revenues section, these values are well below those of the H and Qv values of the Base CFN pool, and so they generate full lease income.

Dangerous System pools are established on a case-by-case basis to account for systems that the CFN will not transit. See section W for such terrain types. They can also be established if Ernie wants to ensure that only imperial freighters service a particular route, such as a trade circuit with another race.

In-System CFN pools exist on a system-by-system basis and are based on the GSV of that system rather than on the overall GEV. They are used for in-system colonization or other such shipping, and cannot transit WPs (though they can serve all components of a multiple-star system). The Sol system has 281 H and 28 Qv available this month; Centauri has 15 H and 1 Qv.

Maintenance Payments

Maintenance represents the first functionally-fixed expense that Ernie needs to account for. It serves as a de facto cap on the size of a military that any empire can field. Ernie's maintenance payments are unchanged from last month, including the System Defense Fund rebates marked here. Ernie’s maintenance expenses are:

The Earthlings, therefore, devote 1238.9 MCr to maintenance.

Spend Available Resources

Ernie can spend the rest of his funds in a variety of ways, but another near-constant expenditure is R&D.

Research and Development

R&D costs are a function of TGI, which was calculated above (2961.2 MCr).

Ernie continues his EL advancement research. Each EL RP costs 69.2 MCr (N6.01), and Ernie wants to pursue EL R&D at the maximum rate, so he buys 10 EL RPs for 692 MCr. No R&D facilities are needed for the EL R&D project. He has 40 RP from previous months, but 50 RP accumulated are substantially less than the project's RP target of 110 RP. No completion roll will be made this month.

Three months ago, Ernie got a positive result on his breakthrough research. He did not break a knot, but he is allowed to then use the breakthrough to accelerate R&D on a project; he chose the Y SL2 project last month: for three months, he may buy an additional RP Rate of RPs for that project at normal RP cost (by default, acceleration RPs cost 400% of normal cost) (N11.04 B, N9.02).

Ernie continues his tech tree SL projects. He has Elec SL2 assigned to (SA) #1 and Y SL2 and I SL2 assigned to (SA) #2. All three projects have purchased an RP Rate's worth of RP (10) at double cost, and so all remaining RP in each project will be at normal cost. All of these SL RP cost 3 MCr each, and so maximum rate R&D will cost 90 MCr total for these projects. Each project will have accumulated 50 RP against a target of 30 RP (a 20% chance of completion), and completion rolls will be made this month. However, Ernie realizes a bit later that he wants a few extra MCr floating around this month, and so he opts to shortfall the I SL2 project and only purchases 7 RP (thus reducing the overall cost for these projects to 81 MCr, and the success roll for I SL2 to 17%).

Shortfall rules are in N5.03. In effect, the program is proceeding at full rate but without funding. Ernie will have to later either forfeit the shortfall RPs or buy them at elevated costs. The upside of shortfall, though, is that Ernie can make those purchases over and above the usual RP rate. Ernie's initial shortfall pool for the I SL2 project is 3 RP and 9 MCr (the cost of those RP). At the end of each month, the MCr cost of the shortfall pool will increase by 20%: next month these RP would cost 10.8 MCr; the next, 13.0 MCr; the next, 15.6 MCr. Ernie can purchase and/or forfeit any number of shortfall RP each month, with each RP worth an evenly-split portion of the shortfall MCr total. For example, in a pool of 5 RP costing 13 MCr, Ernie could purchase 2 for 2.6 MCr each and forfeit a third that is worth 2.6 MCr. Ernie would pay 5.2 MCr for his two purchased RP and the shortfall pool would be left at 2 RP costing 5.2 MCr. New shortfall RP can be added to an existing pool at any time; simply add the new RP quantity and their current cost to the shortfall pool. No attempt is made to track what RP cost when they originally entered the pool; all withdrawals are made at the current evenly-split rate. If a project completes, the shortfall RPs are all forfeited; they cannot be carried over to any other project.

Updating the Y project with the allowance for breakthrough acceleration, Ernie purchases another 10 RP at list cost (another 30 MCr total). Y SL2 will now be at 80 RP against a 30 RP target, and so will roll against a 50% chance of success (N8).

Ernie next takes advantage of his breakthrough on the R SL3 knot last month to begin an Rb/SL3 combined project. With the completion of Lb/SL2 last month, (RDS) #1 is open; Ernie assigns Rb/SL3 there. This is Ernie's first project executed above his current EL, and so RP costs and targets are adjusted per Table N6.05. Note that, when Ernie's EL changes, all active projects are recosted and retargeted based on the new values at N6.05. All told, this project has cost modifiers of 125% (for combo), 200% (for elevated SL), and 200% (for first-month costs). Rb has an item cost of 34 MCr, and so the base cost of one Rb RP is 6.4 MCr. The base cost of one R SL3 RP is 3.5 MCr. Summed and multiplied by the factors above, one Rb/SL3 combo RP costs 49.4 MCr this month; full-rate R&D on this project is therefore 494 MCr. The project target is 42 RP, meaning that at least 5 months of investment will be needed before results can be seen.

Yep, 500 MCr (~1250 MCr by the time success rolls are started). Combo R&D above EL is hellishly expensive... but with Rb being only 75% the size of Ra, a quick success here can really boost the throw weight of Ernie's fleet at long range.

Finally, Ernie continues to not attempt random breakthrough research this month at (SA) #3; he reserves his money for colonization efforts. However, Ernie updates his Breakthrough Objectives to account for last month's results. He lists a new priority tree as follows:

Several of these knots are not yet eligible to be broken because their prerequisites are not met, but any listed knot would become eligible following a related successful R&D roll. For example, the Elec SL3 knot and the Z Branch knot would both have all prerequisites met by a successful roll on the Elec SL2 project.


Ernie has colonized Eden to the upper portion of the Settlement population size; once Eden crosses past 180 PU into a Small population, colonization will have a substantially lower ROI as one PTU colonized will no longer equate to 1 PU producing income. Ernie's per-PTU colonization costs to Eden are the same as last month, but the calculations are repeated here:

Ernie considers the cost to colonize 1 PTU (L5). He must pay 6 MCr for emplacement, but the CFN hiring costs are halved for being colonization (L4.09.7) and the quantities required are halved for the colonization distance (Terra to Eden) being 1 StMP (L4.10.3). Each PTU therefore pays 1 MCr for using 2 H of shipping and 4 MCr for using 5 Qv of shipping. All told, each PTU will cost 11 MCr to colonize on Eden.

A note on where PTU are drawn from: Terra, as a world with a Large or larger population, generates colonization PTU each month (L5.03.1). If they are not used, then they are ignored — in effect, they are fictitious PTU that exist only as a bookkeeping aid. Actually drawing colonists from a Very Large world (at the 1 PU to 500 PTU conversion rate) would effectively amount to a difference equivalent to rounding errors, anyway.

Next, Ernie considers his CFN capacity. Restricting himself to the Base and Government Pools (the portion of the CFN for which the above cost estimates hold) gives him 634 H and 390 Qv available; Qv is the limiting factor (higher usage by colonization and lower availability in the CFN). Ernie can ship 78 PTU (156 H and 390 Qv) before exhausting the Base and Government Pools. That much colonization would cost 858 MCr (78 * 11), more than Ernie can afford. Cost is therefore the limiting factor.

Eden currently has 150 PU; at 180 PU, the ROI for colonization will be halved (because it will require 2 PTU settled, rather than 1, to result in 1 PU producing income). Colonization to this point has had a 9.1% ROI, which is very good. The reduced ROI of 4.6% is still reasonable, and so Ernie is not worried about exceeding the Small threshold slightly. He opts to colonize 40 PTU (a cost of 440 MCr) to ensure that Eden's population rises firmly into Small.


Ernie continues to track progress on his CL prototype, which starts the month with 42 of 90 HS of work completed (it will progress to 56 of 90 HS this month). As noted before, he will need to commit to and pay for a system design for the CL in month 6. Ernie decides to order construction of a new ship class for lease to the CFN. This pure-Qv FT2 will have a higher ROI than the pure-Qv FT4s he built at the beginning of the game, and will serve as the basis of Qv-oriented CFN construction moving forward.

CFN-Qv-S-class FT2    (AC)    16 HS / 12 TS

[2] (Ica) Hb Qv×10 Qa (Ica) [4/4]

Trg: 1    Def: 0    Cost: 128.3 / 9.7    SL 1


The cost of this unit is increased by 20% since it is the lead unit of its class. At 16 HS, it will complete at the end of Month 6.

Ernie also trains 28 more Qt at his (QTF) on Terra and builds 25 Hv to stockpile with them

Ernie’s income and expense report is now complete:

Remaining Tasks

Still remaining in the Economic Phase are three steps: supplying Qt (only during invasions), recording economic changes (such as trade treaties coming into force), and making/paying for political offers with other races. Ernie needs to do none of those things this month, and so his Economic Phase is complete.

Information Phase

Ernie has no intelligence data to evaluate this month. His Information Phase is complete.

Monthly Activities Phase

Ernie now manages his various units, issues orders, and responds to messages that have arrived during the prior month.

Receive new units

Ernie receives 28 additional Qt on Terra this month.

Write movement orders

Survey Flotilla 1 continues surveying Centauri for warp points. It will collect 45 SP this month to add to the 121 SP previously collected. This survey is expected to complete at the end of Month 6.

Survey Flotilla 2 continues surveying Eridani for warp points. It will collect 45 SP this month to add to the 175 SP previously collected. This survey is expected to complete after StMP 2 of this month. WP Probe SOPs need to be finalized in this month's orders.

Survey Flotilla 3 continues surveying Pavonis for warp points. It will collect 45 SP this month to add to the 175 SP previously collected. This survey is expected to complete after StMP 2 of this month.

Survey Flotilla Planet will complete the Asteroid Belt survey of Centauri (17 SP in StMP 1 added to 34 SP previously collected) and then move to Pavonis to conduct a Survivable Bodies survey in that system (StMP 2 to Terra, StMP 3 to Pavonis, survey begins Month 6).

First Fleet is ordered to conduct training maneuvers in Terra’s sH (2 StMP). There is no particular benefit for conducting training maneuvers at this time (all units are BG, and Adm’s LG grade is not high enough to further train units in peacetime), but it demonstrates how units will be trained in the future.

Other imperial units remain idle at their current positions.

Interlude: SM Feedback

At this point, events pass from Ernie’s control to Steve the SM’s. Steve implements Ernie’s orders and notes what information passes back towards Ernie’s capital. What response Ernie receives from Steve can depend on things like Ernie’s SOPs (does a fleet regularly report its status, or is it operating under radio silence?) and distance/time (a message may be generated this month, but not received by anyone with authority to act on it this month — in which case Ernie will not be notified yet). Steve will also note whether any tactical combats occur, and consult Ernie on those as appropriate. This month Steve reports that nothing has gone amiss.

In-month Resource Adjustment

This is an opportunity to adjust resources (personnel, wealth, ammunition, maintenance, etc) that arrive (or fail to arrive) via freighter during the middle portion of the month. This might represent wealth that must be convoyed across a dangerous system (thus not being part of the regular CFN, which assumes an instantaneous distribution of wealth production throughout the empire) or wealth lost to enemy raids. Mid-month adjustments are comparatively rare.

Respond to Alerts and Communications

SM feedback that occurs sufficiently early in the month may allow Ernie to provide some mid-month order updates, based on Steve’s determination of the time scales involved. No alerts are received this month.

Political Phase

As Ernie has not made contact with any other races, no political phase activities occur this month.

Record-Keeping Phase

Based on Steve’s feedback, Ernie finalizes his records for the end of the month.

Record Unit Losses

Ernie lost no units this month.

Record Population, CFN, etc Losses

Ernie lost no other resources this month. Note that CFN losses may trigger government liability (L4.10.4.3).

Record Survey, Exploration, and R&D Discoveries

The Asteroid Belt survey of Centauri was completed; it is a standard Rich Ast-B belt.

Ernie's WP Survey results will go here.

No new systems were explored.

Ernie's R&D results will go here.

As a consequence of rising to a Small population, Eden will roll to see if it gains a graded Governor (S4.02). The roll is a '10', and so no Governor is created.

Record CFN Shipments at Destinations

No CFN shipments were made.

Economic Level Advancement

EL did not advance, so no adjustment is made (L1.04.3).

Ernie’s fifth month is complete.

Final Records and Forms

Much of what Ernie needs to report is already laid out above, but should be re-organized by report.

Previous: Month 4        Next: TBD