POPI Bombing

The re-invention of modern warfare is upon us. Populous has given corporations a new way to wage warfare: Population Bombing. Simply put this ‘devastating’ (actual impact is subjective) weapon involves the precise and mass movement of the population of an entire planet by establishing a full base just before the shuffle. This then steals the workers for a whole week. Done in optimum conditions it can see production collapse to around a half for a week. A few tactical strikes along a supply chain with a corporation could see this bring a large company to their knees.

How does it work?

In an ideal situation a company has a single industry base on a planet. They are the only base on this planet. Likely there is no POPI as they are only using Pioneers, but they may be maintaining very precise infrastructure for a higher task. The planet makes up a vital piece of their galaxy spanning operation. Likely producing a luxury consumable for much of the galaxy.

The attacking company then would ship in the required items to build their own base of the required industry tier. Preferably secretly. BMP likely being the best if it is a T1 target. The required base cost and shipment costs are the only permanent costs to the attacker. Though this could involve a high investment if it is a high tier target.

They would then construct the whole base as near as possible to the POPI calculation time. As the POPI clock ticks over it will instantly redistribute the available workforce on the entire planet. Some will have been brought with the construction of a new base, but this will make little effect. Both bases will receive 50% of the total workforce. A full base of BMPs is not necessarily required, just enough that the workforce demand is at least doubled.

Say the targeted base has a highly effective setup of 1000 Pioneers. The addition of 600 new worker demands would cause the first base to suddenly only have 600 workers. 200 would have arrived with the attacking base raising the workforce to 1200. This may be higher as the brief demand would bring in some more workers. But this would be split in half exactly. This would result in a sudden overnight drop to ~60%.

The larger the targeted base the more impactful the attack. A base of 2000 Pioneers for instance would drop to 55%. The population has now been stolen and production slashed. The targeted player hopefully has not even noticed.

At this point, a second after the shuffle, the attacking player would then demolish all their buildings. If they had only built them a few moments before the reshuffle they will receive 100% of the materials of the buildings back. The workers they have, however, will stay as theirs for the rest of the week. Idly sitting by, perhaps even starving as their colleagues struggle to run their factories at around 55% workforce requirement. For the rest of the week the attacked base can do nothing but accept the reduced workload. They will have lost roughly 3 days’ worth of production over the week.

When the next shuffle comes around the attacker can either stay idle to allow the decay to kick in. In a few weeks’ time they could then redo the attack for the same effect after population has decayed back to 0% unemployment. Or they could rebuild their base to deprive the target of some production for another week. Though this will vastly increase the reset time as decay is far slower than growth.

Is it worth it?

Probably not. Depends why and the specific political situation. If the targeted player has slim margins, or rarely checks an isolated base, it could prove costly for them. They could have brought a ship to an isolated base expecting a weeks’ worth of production to move but there’s only 4 days’ worth to take on to the next base. It could cause a costly ripple up a supply chain. Targeting a couple bases along a supply chain with other corporation companies could massively increase the effect.

It is more to highlight that as things currently stand it is theoretically possible to directly ‘attack’ another players production.

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