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The Imperial Star Fleet

By Sharkman

RU25 Gunboat

Ship Analysis:
You get one of these at the start of the game and that should be the only one your Empire has. Overall a useless ship, uses way too much resources for its ability and is easily captured. Its roles are limited. It has a whopping 1 kiloton cargo bay so you can't even use it for colonising. But I guess if minerals are abundant you could use it as a PBP ship with teeth (as opposed to the traditional Stardrive 1 SDSFs which are up the creek if someone busts your PBP popping base (I guess a Gunboat is pretty much screwed as well in the same situation, but at least you might do *some* damage to the invading fleet (or even capture a wandering freighter since by definition a PBP popping base is a tech 1.1.1.1 base, and these usually happen to be near the front lines and not in the developed rear of your empire so an inexperienced player who simply shoots his freighters out alone may fall into an RU25). However these are unlikely circumstances, my advice would be, stay away from this ship.

Roles:
Scouting, Freighter Hunting (not very good at that either!)

Mig Class Scout

Ship Analysis:
Similar to the RU25 although it has more cargo room and better cruising range. But pretty much useless, don't build them. There are no conceivable uses for these pieces of scrap (they're even described as old piles of Imperial junk in Star Wars - I mean, the image of this ship to the left as you can see, is indeed an Imperial shuttle. Like the one seen at the beginning of Return of the Jedi. Which was described, by Han Solo, as a piece of junk).

Roles:
Scouting, Freighter Hunting (not very good at that either!)

PL21 Imperial Probedroid

Ship Analysis:
The ultimate spy ship. Excellent flight range (over 1000 ly) and coupled with darksense, you will know where your enemy is in no time at all. Best built at the beginning of the game in numbers, jet them out toward the centre of the galaxy or wherever another race is likely to be, and you can ferret out their homeworld (look for the world with similar minerals to your own homeworld).

Additional Tactics:
Keep using them throughout the game, getting information on any new bases the enemy builds and where his mineral rich worlds are. This ship is the key to planning assaults because the Empire simply hasn't got the fighter production to keep replenishing fighters lost in raids over useless crappy planets. Be selective in your targets. The Empire cannot build fighters in space and therefore cannot use brute-force-kill-everything-in-sight tactics that the true fighter races are fond of. Take note of planets which have a lot of credits, and from turn to turn, if you are really dedicated, note the change in the number of credits each important planet has. You can then figure out the earning capacity of the natives there and by doing this, prioritise your targets.

Roles:
Darksensing, Scouting, Freighter Hunting, MC Shuttling

H-Ross Class Light Carrier

Ship Analysis:
Some players claim this is the ideal fighter transporter, and one tips section I have read claims "they cost practically nothing". These same players advise you to "have one of these orbiting each starbase to collect the free fighters". What a load of crap! They cost basically the same as a White Falcon, and no prizes for guessing which ship I'd rather have. The H-Ross is small, poor range, needs 2 engines and is useless in a fight. Yet it is too big and heavy to use for hunting down freighters and small scouts. Easily defeated by cloaked interceptors - and when that happens, kiss goodbye to your 120 fighters that took so long to build.

My advice: DO NOT BUILD THESE PILES OF JUNK! Use Super Star Carriers, these have more cargo capacity and they will defeat most cloaking ships, basically any cloaker that is not a Dark Wing, a Super Star Carrier will eat for breakfast. In the words of one player who agrees with my view; "The most expensive components of the ship are the engines and the fighters. You might as well put them on the best ship possible."

Roles:
Fighter Transport, Fleet Support Vessel

Moscow Class Star Escort

Ship Analysis:
Ineffective in combat and far too little cargo space. Don't build any of these. Also extremely costly especially in terms of moly. Their only purpose would be to dupe others into believing that you're a newbie and give your opponents a semi-justifiable sense of security since these ships are easily defeated.

Roles:
Perimeter Patrol, Anti-Scout Defence (use other ships for this, the Moscow is NOT very cost-effective)

Super Star Frigate

Ship Analysis:
This ship's most serious achilles heel is the low crew count making it prone to capture. A small fuel tank and relatively tiny cargo bay don't help either. Add these to the fact that this is your only torpedo based ship and it becomes quite a glaring weakness for the Empire. Yet if you don't build them, you are in serious trouble unless you can trade/steal/extort better torp ship designs from someone else. They should be kept out of the really big fights and used in these situations to provide mine cover. You need quite a few of these due to their poor cargo capacity.

Battle Tactics:
Have multiple frigates so you can lay overlapping minefields in a single turn. Their armament is okay compared to other ships of their class but given a choice your enemy would rather fight these instead of your heavier battlewagons. So you can try a feint tactic in order to flush out enemy defenders. Send a couple or maybe 3-4 frigates out, alone, from orbit around a planet. And show a waypoint, which will usually be an enemy planet. Next turn, fall back a few light years (but stay within the 81ly radius of the target). Have something big (a Gorbie or Super Star Cruiser) intercept the frigate, and perhaps have the other frigates all intercept one frigate too. Players if they're not careful will blindly chase the frigate thinking they can kill it, when surprise! They've run right into a Death Star. Even if they cloak intercept the frigate, they still have to fly through all the mines you dropped, and even if they kill the frigate, the Death Star will finish them off. Anything which can beat a frigate is probably more expensive than it so you come out ahead. And, of course, remember to scoop up your mines either immediately or almost immediately, to avoid losing them to sweeping or decay.

Roles:
Mine laying, Perimeter Patrol, Light interceptor, Light combat ship

Super Star Carrier

Ship Analysis:
One of the more flexible ships in the Imperial fleet. Light enough to use as an escort and fighter transporter, yet heavy and powerful enough to conquer most small-medium torp ships and lighter carriers. Build these for defence earlier in the game when tech levels aren't built up yet. Be careful not to build too many; they drain more moly than you think and you'll soon find it catching up with you. Later in the game, try to keep these away from combat if possible, 4 bays isn't enough against the heavier battleships which your enemy is sure to have in the late game. You can use these for extended campaigns but they have poor cruising range and need fuel resupplies or need to find/confiscate fuel dumps.

Additional Tactics:
When they're not being used for transport and fighter storage, they can be drafted into the Imperial combat fleet, usually as a support ship. They shouldn't have to do too much fighting. But since the Empire cannot build TIE-fighters in space, you need this support vessel with its 180 fighter hangar, to provide reinforcements should the TIEs on your main combat ships become depleted in battle. Usually you should stack them with the larger ships, however against a cloaking race, especially Birdmen, I would think that it is better to have them lag one turn behind the main fleet, as if its with the main fleet, cloak intercept from a DarkWing will kill it, but if it follows, the main fleet will usually clear out the area allowing it to come in. However I have not fought the Birdmen at all in my 3 campaigns as Empire, so I'm not sure about that. Make sure it stays semi-cloaked (ie. Around planets) - do not broadcast your fleet composition to the enemy by diddling around too much in deep space! (that goes for any race)

Roles:
Medium combat ship, Fighter transport, Fleet support vessel, Heavy interceptor

Super Star Destroyer

Ship Analysis:
Along with the Gorbie, this is the pride of the Imperial fleet. Although poor in combat against the bigger battlewagons, they should be used for their awesome special mission, Imperial Assault. They can quite handily defeat the smaller classes of ships but it is a costly victory in terms of fighters, since they only have 3 bays, it takes longer for the fighters to swarm the enemy ship, which means their beams can take out more fighters. Use the frigate to deal with the smaller enemy ships.

Battle Tactics:
The key is to not allow your enemy to anticipate their arrival, and to find out the identity of key planets before the attack by darksensing with probedroids. Equip them with transwarps and try to planet hop whenever possible! This doesn't mean you can't move in deep space, you can fool someone into thinking it is headed to a particular planet then at the last moment change course and head for another planet. Never hang around, the minute you arrive at the system drop those Imperial walkers/AT-ATs and take it over! In most situations it is unwise to send them out alone, make sure there are more powerful escorts. Unfortunately this means that while the SSD is immune from planetary ATT/NUK Fcodes, the others aren't, and so you'll burn valuable fighters fighting the planet. The solution is that you must create a diversion where possible.

Special Tactics:
Case in point: In the early stage of one of my earlier games commanding the Empire, I noticed that the Crystals were putting a lot of energy into developing this border world of theirs. First one full LDSF going towards it, then another one, this one escorted by an Emerald. A couple of darksenses later, I concluded that this world had some very valuable natives because the MC count of the planet was going up by at least 2000 a turn. So I sent a Gorbie, 2 Super Star Cruisers and an SSD towards it, a 3-turn journey, deliberately showing their waypoint while in deep space (something which I do not normally do). The turn just before the anticipated arrival of this fleet, I sent a lone SSD straight towards the Crystal homeworld (which was only a 2-turn journey). At the same time, I feinted and withdrew the main fleet out to beyond the 81ly radius around the planet. As I had hoped for, there were no ships around the homeworld because the crystal player had sent them all to his native world to defend from my large fleet. Timing and co-ordination was everything! The Crystal fleet defending the native world didn't have enough time to respond to the lone SSD, even if they travelled at warp 9.

Even so, I had placed 60 TIE-fighters on the lone SSD just in case there were some lesser ships eg. Ruby or Emeralds guarding the homeworld. It was also specially equipped with heavy blasters to deal with light warships (my standard beam of choice is the disruptor since moly is just too valuable early on). I thanked the Goddess of Fortune that he hadn't dropped any webfields, dropped the 10 clans, took his homeworld, and that was the end of that. Homeworld gone, crystal player became inactive and eventually dropped from the game, and when my bases had built more fighters, I returned to the planet at my leisure, this time with fully armed carriers, destroyed the defending forces (which turned out to be 3 Diamond Flames and a couple of Emeralds) and took the planet at the centre of it all, a 9.5 million insectoid participatory planet. A just reward. As a side note for Crystal players, for goodness' sake use your Crystal Thunder! One of the super-carriers in the game (Golem, Gorbie or Biocide) will quite likely take out 3 Diamond Flames by itself! Compare this to the DF/Thunder combo which has a better than even chance to destroy the super-carrier!

Another side note; on the initial feigned attack the Gorbie had only 75 TIE-fighters and the other ships with it had NO FIGHTERS at all! They were just carrying a lot of fuel to jack up their mass and to fuel the Gorbie for the return trip home. Sure the feint cost a lot of fuel but on any given day I'd gladly spend that much fuel to eliminate a potentially pesky neighbour and gain all that airspace. Carrying no fighters does carry some risk, but Crystals are no cloaking race and with transwarps, my fighter-less ships would easily be able to run back to a base to get fighters if a threat was sighted. Morals of the story : either create a diversion FOR your SSD, or use the SSD AS a diversion. And remember, the enemy has NO IDEA what your ships are carrying (until he fights them) so use this to your advantage! Yet another moral (when is he gonna finish!?!?) if you have the fuel, keep using your PL21s as spy drones, you never know what useful information you will ferret out. It was the knowledge that the Crystals had a VERY valuable native world that he would likely defend at all costs that enabled me to mount this diversion attack!

Roles:
Special assault vessel, Light combat support, Heavy Interceptor

Super Star Cruiser

Ship Analysis:
The mainstay of the Imperial fleet, in space combat superior in all respects to the Star Destroyer. Should be a part of every assault fleet due to their firepower, reasonable cruising range, and efficient fuel expenditure. Cruiser packs are often more feasible than huge Gorbie assaults because they are lighter yet still pack quite a punch. Also should be sent out to accompany a Gorbie. Their economical mineral costs make them especially feasible if Engine Shield bonus is on. If you are able to choose, pick these over the Super Star Carrier any day. They do have less cargo, but 110 fighters is still more than they would need. They can bring reinforcements to the front lines just as well as the SS Carrier, and transfer off about 40-50 to the Gorbies, since 50-70 is all they really need for most fights. You wouldn't send one into a fight with the full load of 110, a lot of those will just blow up in the hangar when the ship goes down. Besides, how many times have you got a good night's sleep when you sent a SS Carrier on the last turn, alone, with 180 fighters on it to your main battle fleet, and your new RST is going to arrive in the morning? Don't get me wrong, the SS Carrier has its place, since you usually can't afford to upgrade every base to tech 9 or 10, but a base with tech 9 hulls should never be building SS Carriers!

Additional Tactics:
Engine Shield is particular important because it will allow them to fight at an effective mass of greater than 320 KT if equipped with proper engines, which means they only take 1% damage from an enemy fighter hit. In rare games where E/S bonus is 100%, they are simply awesome, able to kill Novas and Annihilations! If there is no E/S bonus, make every effort to ensure they fight from the right side of the VCR against another carrier, you get a 60% chance to gain a virtual 360 KT of mass hence that will put them beyond the 1% fighter damage threshold. If you don't know how to get the right side, the right side goes to the ship with the lowest battle order value, so to ensure that you get it set the Fcode to something nice and low like 003, set the PE and set the mission to KILL! This arrangement is actually quite neat and works out very conveniently for you since 1) the Gorbie wants the left side of the VCR as its mass is so high fighters only do 1% of damage and the left side gives it an advantage in the fighter dogfights, and 2) you want the Cruiser to fight before the Gorbie so its battle order is going to be lower anyway! To be safe, give the Gorbie some high battleorder Fcode, like AOL :-p and only set PE, do not have mission KILL! (if you're pretty sure your enemy is going to order his ships to attack YOU, don't even bother with PE).

Battle Tactics:
You can also use them as distractions since they are too powerful for the enemy to ignore, yet are cheap enough for you to have quite a few of them. Simply gather a couple, or a group, of them, maybe even throw in a Super Star Destroyer (which he really will worry about!) and shoot out for some far off region of his empire (not *too* far off or he won't bother worrying about your invasion!) This will hopefully divert his forces. While he's struggling with your Cruisers, charge straight for the core of his empire with Gorbies, SS Cruisers and Star Destroyers (there should be less defence since he's had to re-distribute his fleet). Read the description of the SSD for a real-game story on how to perform a diversion. If you're up against a non-cloaking race, even better. You don't even have to fill your diversionary force with fighters (which is handy since as Empire, fighters are usually in short supply) - simply move forward, then feint, move forward, and feint (but be sure to keep at least one ship nearby that is fully decked out for battle). Although this is risky, it can be useful. Once you see his ships flying out to intercept you, the time is right for that huge push toward his core! A variant of this tactic is to have one carrier with fighters, and the rest simply filled with supplies to jack up their mass. Use the fighter-filled carrier to take a planet of his here and there, and he'll likely assume they all have fighters, and think that this is quite a threat after all. But when you see the interceptors coming out, fall back, let him come to you (preferably flying through a nice large minefield of yours :-) - this is why you *need* frigates!

Roles:
Medium combat vessel, Fighter transport

Death Star / Gorbie Class Battlecarrier

Ship Analysis:
This is the Death Star. The most massive, powerful ship in the game. Your aim should be to produce these but use them with caution, being most massive also carries the somewhat more inglorious title of being the worst fuel guzzler of them all! They will crush starbases and most attacking fleets without breaking a sweat. Watch the battleship/starbase combo though, take along a Star Cruiser or three to weaken enemy ships before finishing the base off. If you're attacking a developed base (what do you mean 'I didn't know there was a base there'!!!), you should assume its defended by a battleship and perhaps some other ships, so it would be wise to set a Cruiser to fight first. A battleship/starbase combo WILL often destroy a Gorbie. Besides, if you do end up losing the cruiser to the base, at least it will weaken it so the Gorbie can slag it without taking any damage.

Battle Tactics:
A short note on combat order: when coming up against torp-based races, you should consider sending a frigate in first. But my frigate is gonna get captured, I hear you cry. Yes it may get captured, but that is a hundred times better than losing your Gorbie! Even if the frigate only inflicts one torpedo's damage on the enemy battleship shields, it has done its job (except against feds, where you need to get them below 75% shields due to the Scotty bonus!) The single torpedo hit will discharge his beams saving you a few valuable fighters (I don't need to remind you how fighters are really scarce as Empire compared to the free fighter races) but more importantly the torpedo tubes take a few crucial extra seconds to load, which means that your Gorbie will have x less torpedoes being fired at it, x being the number of torp tubes the enemy battleship has. This will usually be enough to throw a spanner in the works of your enemy's grand "Destroy the Gorbie" battleplan, IF he based his plan around the frigate not entering battle.

If it is a large battle, consider sending in a Super Star Cruiser second and the Gorbie third. The Cruiser will have a decent chance against one of the lesser battleships (Missouri, Victorious, T-Rex, Diamond Flame) but will go down to a major battleship (Annihilation, Nova or Dark Wing). If E/S bonus is say 50%, this strategy is even more effective and handsomely thwarts the Fed "Thor-Thor-Kittyhawk" or "Missouri-Kittyhawk-Nova" plans to destroy your Gorbie! Needless to say, he will quickly tire of sacrificing three ships, not to mention 6500 MC worth of fighters, just to destroy one frigate or a frigate and SS Cruiser in the case of the Missouri- Kitty-Nova battlegroup :-)

This tactic is somewhat less valuable against other fighter races, because due to the randomness of inter-fighter combat, the ensuing battle is less predictable than a carrier vs battleship fight. You can still try it, but it may not be worth the resources you invested in the sacrificed frigate. And in case you need reminding, MAKE SURE THE FRIGATE FIGHTS FROM THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE VCR!!!

Roles:
Imperial flagship. Heavy combat vessel, fleet anchor (when you execute a feint manoeuvre, its usually best to fall back to one of these).

 

 
 
 
 
 

Species Info:
Origins
Abilities
The Evil Empire's Fleet

Strategies:
Evil Empire Tactics
The Empire Probe Gambit
Ruling Through Fear
The Imperial Star Fleet
Imperial Logistics
 
 


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