update on 03/15/06
By Matthias Gietl
Edited by Zaphod Beeblebrox
Since I couldn't find a good Birdman guide anywhere on the net, I decided to write one myself, and here it is:
(Prepare for some ranting ;))
This is no newbie guide, if you are looking for help on how to run your economy, or fail to understand what PBPs are, how the friendly code battle order works or how to employ diplomacy effectively, you better look elsewhere. However, this text might inspire you with some malicious thoughts.
I have come to like the Birds so much as to make the following statement:
Given some sort of economical bonus, the Birds would be my first choice in any game, because they could eat about half of the other races for breakfast and give all others a pretty good fight.
How do I come to this bold conclusion? It's easy: While all other races can only retreat a maximum of ONE wounded vessel from any site of combat, the Birdman can retreat ALL of his.
In a normal combat, both sides have a battle order for their ships, and if both sides have PE or KILL set, the first ship in the battle order of both races will fight the other first. After the first ship is killed, the second one takes on the first of the other race. The fighting continues, as both races progress through their battle order, until all ships of one race are gone.
Not so with cloaked ships on a intercept mission: The ship with the highest id will fight its intercept target, after that the second highest id ship fights its intercept target, and so on.
And which race has the only cloaking battleship? Yup, its the
birds - that is you! :)
So, also long as you have enough ships to destroy all enemy vessels, you can retreat all of your wounded ships!
Also, you have the means of taking out all support vessels with the cloaked intercept: Cheap, custom built Death Speculas will take any minelayer or special ship down.
Thus, it's your prime objective to build as many spaceworthy Darkwings and Resolutes as possible, before the shiplimit hits.
"Spaceworthy" in this context is any Darkwing that can take out a single good ship of your most likely enemy or any Resolute with good beams or torps, not necessarily with transwarps.
To achieve this, you will have to push your economy to the max. Moneywise that is. Darkwings are dirt cheap in minerals, and Resolutes, Death Speculas und Swifties can be built from the Isotope Transmutation Rate - ok, a bit of exaggeration there, but normally, you will be lacking money, not minerals.
Around the time the shiplimit hits, all my native planets are already rioting, sometimes even the bovinoid ones. If I have to decide between high tech torps for my Darkwings on a base or growth taxing my Bovos, I will definitely go for the torps, even selling supplies when the need arises.
All your bases should build a ship every turn. The only options for building are the following, all others are big NO-NOs:
-Small Deeps: One Priority Build Point. No more, no less. I will usually try to have close to 20 PBPs, when the shiplimit hits, so if I cant destroy any enemy vessels until then, i will start recycling my Small Deeps.
-Swifties: Cost one PBP to make, are ideal spies and can be used to do suicide attacks on Freighters. In my last game I had close to 100 :).
-Neutronic Fuel Carriers: Cost one PBP to make, can tow your alchemy ships, and supply your fuel thirsty Darkwings with fuel, but should not be used at the very frontline.
-White Falcon/Fearless: Only if you need a platform to lay minefields desperately. Go for one of those with crap engines, crap beams and the torps of your choice (most probably mark4 or mark7).
-Death Specula: Do your sims (Firecloud, Cobol, Cats Paw, Iron Lady, Onyx, Tranquility come to my mind) and build accordingly, Quantam Drive 7 should do in any case.
-Resolute: Your workhorse. Will superspy for you, resupply your Darkwings (fuel, torps, supplies), sweep and lay mines and can take out planets without bases.
-Darkwing: Minesweeping, some minelaying (I like to keep 100 supplies on board) and of course: fighting.
-Large/Super Deeps: I mostly go for Large Deeps, with an occasional Super Deep. The only way to run your economy. I once read a Birdman guide that advised the player to only use cloaking vessels, even for hauling minerals and colonists *shudder*.
-Merlin/Neutronic Refinery: Ya, you will need some of those. Normally, about three Merlins will do, but that depends on the settings of the universe (i.e. meteor showers ON and richness of planets). I like to build mine with halfway decent beams as little surprises for probes or sneaky cloakers.
I also like to make at least one Disruptor/Gamma Bomb Darkwing to capture special ships.
General strategy is to make your opponent's life hell. To make starbases useless for him, you don't actually have to destroy them, but just keep on 'bum'ing or 'dmp'ing, but remember that you might get decloaked. When you cant hold it, destroy it. Some dirty "burnt earth" tactics:
-Build a base, next turn beam up all clans. Good way to waste excess money. If there is too much Duranium for your needs, build starbase defense to waste it. Or build certain engines/weapons and destroy the base afterwards. (You figure out which. He said it wasn't a newbie guide ;). -ed.)
-If you need to waste large amounts of minerals, build mark1 torpedos.
-Tax the natives down to thirty something HPs, then give them one turn of 100 tax. Makes the planet unusable for the rest of the game... Also you should know that combat in orbit of a planet drops the HPs there.
-Build special Kamikaze Swifties to go after freighters.
-Set up a universal friendly code on his highest id planet and tell it to everyone in the game :).
Here is a short overview of how you will fare versus different opponents:
Always use bases as means to decimate or at least damage your enemy's ships. If fleets are too big for total destruction in a single turn with intercepting Darkwings, tow the ships out of orbit. If he intercepts at warp1 and warp9, just tow him with 1 kt of fuel to where there are other ships of yours waiting. Also be sure to make notes about enemy ships and their weaponry so that you can make exact combat simulations. Defending is also a lot easier than attacking, so you might try to rush in, take a few planets, where you can set up bases and wait for his counterattack.
Fed: Thank god they hardly ever build Novas, because those are the only ships that are a threat to your Darkwing. However, you will even trade those on a 1 to 1 basis, and will gain PBPs in the process. The only problem you might have is that he can build a lot of capital ships, so you might want to tow him or let him run into bases.
Lizard: I think a Darkwing can take out a T-Rex, but cant sim. The biggest problem is again numbers, but if he has huge numbers of T-Rexes, his beams shouldn't be that good, so you might try to outmine him. Just remember to keep colonist count high on bases :).
Fascist: Viccies are no match for Darkwings, your only problem will be poppers. Either use Swifties for those or hope for some luck and load 100 supplies (i.e. exactly one minehit) on each Darkwing.
Privs: Muahaha! Poor Pirates. Cloak, set pe: Priv and watch his ships go up. Transfer 1 kt of fuel to waiting Lady Royale wolfpacks and watch them go boom. A smart Priv should try to ally you or at least stay out of your way.
Borg: You can't gain any PBPs from them. Slow him down. Kill his Fireclouds, or even better, infiltrate his chunnel network and then kill his economy. Put lots of maxed out bases in his path. Kill cubes only when you absolutely must, it will cost you two Darkwings to kill one Biocide. But you should be able to kill his support ships and outmine him.
Crystal: Not a problem, it just takes a lot of time. Neither Thunder nor Diamond Flame are a threat to mark8 Darkwings.
Empire: Roughly the same as Borg, just with a lot less heavy carrier and no minelaying capacity at all.
Robot: Your worst enemy, together with Borg. For your cloaked intercept to work correctly, you should be outside of minefields. So let him come and lose some carriers to bases and kill his Cats Paws.
Colony: You can trade him Virgos 1 to 1 with Darkwings, which makes him a pretty nice target for you.
Rebel: Same as Colony only that he will have real problems with minesweeping. One of the easier targets.
That's about it, comments are welcome.