The title is a bit more ambitious than this article. The number of ways to make an exotic income in FOTS is much greater than the number of strategies to be scouted out here. What is here is a few of the ones that have come up in some recent discussions between John Dolan and myself for how to haul in even more RP’s in G5.
1) Milking that 6th turn bonus
Low taxes mean that, come the 6th turn, you get some RP’s back to reflect the general economic prosperity that follows the government not taking resources left and right and making ships and techs out of them. If the taxes are low enough, that 6th turn bonus can be quite a lot. Practical supply-side economics (NTV2) increases the yield of the 6th turn bonus, along with some other techs in upcoming supplements. NTV3 has a host of techs that function based on the size of that bonus, or only at lower tax levels. If you get a few of these, your overall income can be higher with a lower tax rate than with a higher one – precisely the promise of 20th century supply-side economics, at least early on.
2) Milking it RIGHT NOW
One problem with that strategy is that lower taxes now for higher payoffs later leaves you without a lot of RP’s now – which, in a violent, active game, can jeopardize having a later at all. Smooth economies (NTV3) is a tech that can be used to help that. It allows 6th turn bonuses or penalties to be spread out over the turns preceding their normal arrival time. You could get that 6th turn bonus not as one big lump at the end, but over all those six turns, for a steady income. One drawback to that, for the more patient sorts, is that a 6th turn bonus based on an economy that’s grown in those turns will be larger at once than it would have been, total, spread out over the turns in which that economy was growing. On the other hand, having those RP’s in the meantime could do a lot to make that economy grow in the first place.
An alternative application of smooth economies – although not one that’s germane to this sort of alternative economic strategy – is to spread a high tax economic penalty out over the preceding turns. In that case, having the penalty be based on the early, smaller economies will be preferable – but in return, you’re getting fewer RP’s in those earlier turns, since you’re already paying off the penalty.
3) Joyful economics
Another part of the economics rules has the satisfaction rating (SR) as a potential source of resources. If your SR is at a (pretty high) 41 to 60, you’re pulling in 2% of your RP potential from sheer public giddiness. This might represent government workers doing overtime for no higher pay rate (for example), but it might be better viewed more broadly as the excess resources generated by an economy characterized with deep, abiding approval of their leadership and national direction.
Of course, 2% isn’t yet terribly impressive approval – you can’t even normally stick taxes such a tiny increment over 0. It gets better with higher SR’s – ones you can’t normally even reach – but even then, it tops off at 16%. Here’s where technology comes in. For some of us, much of the allure of science fiction is in the promise of a better, happier tomorrow. FOTS technologies have in many cases been developed with this vision in mind. The number of techs that increase the SR grows weekly. If you have a number of these, really high SR’s become much more reachable. A few other technologies step in there to make for more RP income from those high SR’s. Utopian economics (NTV2) increases the SR based income, by up to 300%. 2% isn’t much, 16% is nothing too impressive, but 64% of your base RP potential, now that’s getting somewhere. Once you settle in on such rarefied heights of public approval, one other technology can make that Joyously Celebrating populace fling even more RP’s your way. Leveraged approval (NTV3) bumps the maximum SR-based income upward over that base 16% figure with higher and higher SR’s.
What you get is a situation in which SR’s aren’t just a way of “keeping score” of how well you’ve been doing as a national leader but another resource and a very powerful one.
4) Mixing it up
These have been discussed as separate strategies, and they are. They’re ways of maximizing two parts of a FOTS economy that are
usually pretty marginal. Few of us see really big SR income bonuses, and a remarkably large number of players never see a 6th turn
economic bonus – due to high tax rates (often due in turn to forgetting about the 6th turn penalties) or to hivemindedness or (old-style)
Harmonizing. But SR income and 6th turn bonus income have a couple of ties between them in addition. Negatively, hivemindedness,
old-style Harmonizing, and 100% tax rates all mean that you’re also not getting the SR’s required for SR-based bonuses, in addition to
no 6th turn bonuses. Positively, the low tax rates that allow 6th turn bonuses are the quickest way to high SR’s that players have.
Boom, lower the tax rate, and it’s like you just got about six or seven advances in SR-boosting techs, in effect.
So if you’re going to pursue the SR-based income strategy, chances are you’re going to be in a position to take advantage of the 6th turn bonus income strategy, even if that’s not your goal. Similarly, if you lower taxes to get the higher 6th turn bonuses, you might start noticing a small (but gratifyingly constant) SR-based RP bonus, just as a by-product. Practical supply side economics, by the way, also features a higher SR bonus for those low taxes.
Ideologically, you start getting a state that feels quite unlike the classic FOTS state, in which the government seizes what it can from a generally cranky (if not very actively so) populace that resents every RP the government takes in. You get one in which government income feels much less like government taking and more like the people just giving over RP’s freely and happily. This could be read as ST:TNG’s bizarre Federation in which everyone seems to do just what they want in a money-free society with personal motivation left pretty mysterious. It can also be viewed as a Reaganomic dream in which government’s removal of hands from private pockets causes a massive influx in the resources that can be commanded by the society to be directed (privately) toward building an all-embracing American Dream.
Myself, I prefer to think of it as building a society in which public, shared goals – the ones that we can assume the player share with the people, when the SR’s are that high – become the fulfillment of everyone’s efforts rather than merely the hoped-for result of their abuse and enslavement. That’d be quite enough to make it a compelling game goal – but with a little help and planning, it can also be a tremendously lucrative one.
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