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Playing the Federation in VGA Planets

© 1997, Arend Wellmann

Ver. 1.6 October 1997

ver 1.5: I've wrote a bit more in all the sections since Ver. 1.3. Also I've added a some new remarks on Add-ons, but it's still very unfinished. No major revision, but it's worth noting :-))

Ver 1.7: Some smaller typos corrected and some links added. Further work will be done as soon as I've got a little more time :-((

Preface: I'm not a native English speacker so please forgive some of the "germanisms" in the text. I welcome any suggestions regarding the spelling, the grammar as well as the hints and tips contained in this text. Just e-mail me! I used lots of stuff to compile this text and most of the time I'm not sure wether I've read them in the NewsGroups, on the World Wide Web or anywhere else. A good propotion is my own experience playing the Federation. Anytime I recall where I first read those hints I will mark it. If anyone of you reading this thinks I've "stolen" his/her intellectual property e-mail me and I will mark the relevant parts.

I hope you find some valuable things here,
Arend Wellmann

Many thanks to: Antti Lunden, Sean Kimball, Bob King, Heiko Ulbricht and Timo Kreike for their additional hints and their corrections of typing and grammar as well.

Table of Content

0. INTRODUCTION

1. SPECIAL ABILITIES
1.1 "Super Refit"
1.2 Crew Bonus
1.3 The 200% Tax Rate

2. SHIP DESIGNS
2.1 Special Ships
2.1.1 Terraforming Ships
2.1.2 The Loki Class Destroyer (Tech level 8)
2.1.3 The Byrnhild Class Escort (Tech level 7)
2.2 Fighting Ships
2.2.1 The Nocturne Class Destroyer (Tech level 2)
2.2.2. The Nebula Class Cruiser (Tech level 6)
2.2.3 The Arkham Class Frigate (Tech level 8)
2.2.4. The Missouri Class Battleship (Tech level 8)
2.2.5. The Thor Class Frigate (Tech level 9)
2.2.6 The Diplomacy Class Cruiser (Tech level 9)
2.2.7 The Kittyhawk Class Carrier (Tech level 9)
2.2.8 The Nova Class Super-Dreadnought (Tech level 10)
2.3 Disadvantages in the Ships List

3. GRAND STRATEGY
3.1. The Initial Stages of a Game
3.2. Alliances
3.2.1 Federation & Gorn (Lizards)
3.2.2 Federation & Romulans (Birds)
3.2.3. Federation & Klingons (Fascist)
3.2.4 Federation & Privateers
3.2.5 Federation & Borg (Cyborgs)
3.2.6 Federation & Tholians (Crystalline)
3.2.7 Federation & Empire
3.2.8 Federation & Cylons (Robots)
3.2.9 Federation & Rebels
3.2.10 Federation & Colonies
3.3. The Medium Game

4. FIGHTING THE OTHER'S (completely unfinished yet)
4.1 Fighting the Lizards
4.2 Fighting the Birds
4.3 Fighting the Fascist
4.4 Fighting the Privateers
4.5 Fighting the Cyborg
4.6 Fighting the Crystalline
4.7 Fighting the Empire
4.8 Fighting the Robots
4.9 Fighting the Rebels
4.10 Fighting the Colonies

5. Playing with Add-ons

0. INTRODUCTION

The Federation - No. 1 in the VGA-Planets racelist - had been taken from the motion pictures "Star Trek" as has been the Birds (= Romulans), Fascist (= Klingons), Lizards (= Gorn) and the Crystalline (= Tholians). Even the Privateers seems to have been inspired by the "Orion Space Pirates" just mentioned two or three times in the Original Series. ( 1a ) All of them renders the original Races from "Star Trek" in some way: The Gorn are a huge, reptian like and very powerful species ( 1 ) which is reflected in it's 30:1 Ground attack and 15:1 Ground defense abitilies. The Klingons are great warriors (15:1 and 5:1 ground fighting value) and - as in Star Trek they depend on their cloaking ships. ( 2 ) The Romulans are a more sneaky race heaviliy depending on cloaking ships and spy missions. ( 3 ) The Tholians in "Star Trek" created a web capable of destroying enemy ships ( 4 ) which is reflected in their "Web Mines" in VGAP.

Federation in "Star Trek" is a more or less peaceful race trying to have good contacts to anybody. Because of a treaty with the Romulan Empire, the Federation is not allowed to have cloaking devices. ( 5 ) This "original" Star Trek Federation is reflected by their 200% tax rate and their lack of cloaking ships in VGAP. The Federation is one of the most overlooked races in VGA Planets. They seem to be very weak and under-equipped compared to other races, especially the fighter races. They are considered to have no 'real' special abilities like the Rebel Ground Attack, the Klingon Pillage Mission or the Lizard 30:1 Ground Attack Ratio. Most of their ships seems to be too weak in comparrison with other hull designs. There are only few discussions on how to play the Federation in the alt.games.vga-planets NewsGroup and most of the FAQ's and strategic guidelines like " The Dreadlord Battle Manual " or the " H-Files " ( 6 ) doesn't have much to say about them. There is indeed a new and growing web-page devoted to the Federation as I've just learned. Nonetheless: The Federation is my favourite race and if played properly they are much better than their reputation.

What I'm trying to do here is to show that the Federation is a real alternative if played properly. I will discuss their special abilities and how to use them, will take a look at the Federation ships and will try to give some hints on how to play the Federation.

1. SPECIAL ABILITIES

To keep up with the other races a Federation player must recall the special abilities and exploit them to their maximum use. The Federation got three special abilities in the standard settings: "Super refit", "Crew Bonus" and "200% Tax Rate". Any Federation player should insist on an Engine-shield bonus of 50% or more. ( 7 )

Timo Kreike reminded me that most of the Federations advantages are configurable by host, namely the "Super refit" (Yes/No), the "Crew bonus" (Yes/No) and the "Tax rate" (free configurable). There are further three settings affecting ship specifications: Alchemy ships (Yes/No), Science Mission (Yes/No) and Loki-anti-cloak (Yes/No). All of those settings should state Yes. (see 2.1.1; 2.1.2 and 3.1) A Federation player should thus file carefully thought the host settings and intervene if the standard settings are changed to his/her disadvantage. Most of the Federations survivability is depending on this. In host 3.22x you will recive a message each turn on the host config settings - so check them regulary.

1.1 "Super Refit" (host configurable: yes/no)

"Super refit" is the Federation ability to re-equip ships with better weapons systems or engines. No other race can do this and I think that "super refit" greatly enhances the Federation capabilities to keep up with other races. With "super refit" one does not have to wait until all parts of a ship are produced. Just build the Hull and equip it with low tech engines. As soon as you can spare the minerals or money necessary for weapons or engines just build them and set the primary mission to "super refit". The next turn your pure hull will be euipped with watever they have found in the Starbase inventory. The only thing you can't do is to degrade ships - but when does the necessity ever arrises to do this?

You won't even have to max out your starbases: Theoretically you can produce a maxed out Nova Class Dreadnought using 4 Starbases: The first produces the Hull, the Nova will be towed to the second which "Super Refits" it with Transwarps, the third supplies the Torpedolaunchers and the forth will have the beams necessary. This is most important if you're playing an unregistered game where Starbase tech-levels are restricted to level 6 but starbases build over native planets will gain the tech-level 10 advantage.

But "super refit" is worth much more. Think of the following: You can trade a Gorbie Class Battlecarrier. A Gorbie with Transwarps and Heavy Phasers will cost you 6060 MCs to clone (double the price to build). A Gorbie with no weapons and Stardrive 1 will cost only 1592 MCs to clone. You can then build the Engines and beams at a normal rate (1800 MCs for the Transwarps and 540 MCs for the Heavy Phasers) and "Super refit" your clone. A cloned and fully equipped Gorbie will now cost only 3932 MC's. The 2128 MCs spared can be used for cloning another Gorbie or for fighter production. Thus a Federation player should always trade high-tech hulls with low tech engines and no weapon systems. As the Federation does not have much problems with MCs, exploiting the "Super refit" to it's maximum will spare lots of MCs for ship or fighter production.

After several "Super refits" your Starbase will have dozends of low tech enignes and even beams or torpedo tubes you'll almost probably won't use again. These parts are valuable too. Use the planetary friendly code of "dmp" to empty your Stabase from all spare parts and regain the minerals used for their production the next turn.

Bob King wrote the following statement. I'd never thought of using the super refit this way, but it's a good advice indeed: "One other tip I'd offer. If the Fed player builds a combatant ship (like a Nebula for instance) without weapons it will be listed as a "freighter" - however it can still be super-refitted later with weapons. This can be used to advantage to hide the true makeup of your fleet. The Host scoring program may report "20 combatants and 40 freighters" but 10 to 20 of those "freighters" could be converted to capital ships within a single turn".

1.2 Crew Bonus (host configurable: yes/no)

The Federation starships will have four fighting advantages that should never be underestimated:

A Federation ship will always fight with all it's weapons regardless of damage. So even a 99% damage won't reduce the fighting capabilities of a Federation ship. For example: A Nova with 99% damage will still fight with all of its 10 beams and 10 tubes instead of the normal 1 beam and 1 tube. Together with the shield bonus (see below) a highly damaged Nova will most probably be able to lauch a complete salvo in a consecutive battle before being destroyed.

A Federation ship will regain 25% shield strenght between consecutive battles. This feature is additional, but not beyond 100% shield strenght. So if a ships fights 3 battles and is damaged by let's say 20% in the first battle, it will enter the second battle with 25% shield strengh instead of 0% as any other race (the damage is not repaired). If the second battle is won without the shields being hit, it will enter the third battle with a shield strenght of 50%. I one of my games a Golem Class Carrier I've obtained from the Robots killed 2 Rush Class Heavy Carriers (but the second only had 60 fighters), a Tranquility, an Iron Lady and captured two Falcons and a Deep Space Scout. It lost 200 Fighters and suffered a damage of 18%.

The documentation of VGAP-Plantes states the following: Any Federation ship with 8 or less fighter bays will get an aditional 2 Fighter bays when it comes to a fight. Thus a Kittyhawk with 6 Fighter Bays will launch fighters at a rate comparable to a ship with 8 fighter bays. This will make even the Empire Super Star Destroyer a quite effective fighting ships as it will fight with 5 Fighter bays instead of the original 3. According to the latest available information provided by Timo Kreike, the Federation is even better off: Any Federation carrier will gain a plus 3 fighter bay advantage, even a carrier with more than 8 fighter bays. Thus a Federation Gorbie will acutally launch its fighters at a rate as if there were13 fighter bays. ( 6a )

Host will slightly favour ships that have the right side in a fight. The race with the lower ID will fight from the right side and as the Federation is No.1 they will always have it. So if you simlulate a battle between a Federation and an Empire Gorbie, you will find that the Federation Gorbie will win the battle most of the time (approx. 80%( 7 )).

1.3 The 200% Tax Rate (host configurable (between 0 and ???%)

200% Tax Rate The Federation will collecte 200% of the normal tax rate. This is a real advantage if you have a well developed planet with natives. You can max out your Starbase tech-levels quicker than others and you'll have plenty of money to build or clone high-tech ships. As Federation ships are a bit too weak, the Federation has to build more ships than it's possible enemies. The MC's earned will help to do this. A well developed planet with natives can easily earn 1.500 MC's a turn.

Always remember: Building mines and factories will degrade native happiness as well as colonist happiness. So even with the 70% mining rate disadvantage, don't max out mines. And, as most of the planets will be mined up after 30-50 turns, you'd sept money for nothing - and you can't make maximum money.
The lower the happiness and the higher the tax rate the less will population grow. To make maximum use of your 200% tax rate never let your population or your natives get "unhappy". Let them grow and grow and grow - and you'll earn more MC than you'll need. Use this MC's to buy ships or to help your allies.

2. SHIP DESIGNS

The Federation has several special ships in their inventory that one should keep a close look at:

2.1 Special Ships

2.1.1 Terraforming ships (host configurable: science missions: Yes/No)

The Federation has to Terraforming ships: The Eros (tech level 4) and the Bohemian (tech level 3). The Eros will cool down planetary temperaturs by 1 degree each turn and the Bohemian will heat up planetary temparatures until 50 degrees are reached. The terraforming is additional so 2 Eros' will cool down a planet by 2 degrees a turn etc. Thus the Federation can change arctic or desert planets to temperate warm planets and produce ideal living conditions. By this the Federation can take maximum advantage of any planet and get stronger and economically better planets than their neighbours. Terraforming ships are also good for trading. Most of the time one or all of your neighbours will be willing to trade terraforming ships for higher tech ships in their inventory to boost Federation fighting capabilities.

2.1.2 The Loki Class Destroyer (Tech level 8) (host configurable: Loki anti cloak: Yes/No)

A Loki Class Destroyer is one of the most valuable ships in the game as it can decloack cloacking ships within a radius of 10LY's. Decloacking takes place immediately prior and after movement. This function only works with host 3.2x. With two beams and 4 torbedo tubes a Loki with Disruptors and MK8's can kill most of the cloacking ships with the exception of the Bird Resolute and Darkwing and most of the Lizard cloackers. I always build a Loki and a Missouri to guard my Homeworld (or any other vital planet). No Fascist or Privateer cloacker can stand against a Missouri and it'll take several cloacking ships to overwhelm this defence. If the Birds are near this force should be backed up with a Nova. There are only two races that won't be affected by the Loki decloack at all: The Federation itself (if it ever have the chance to obtain cloacking ships) and the Lizards, those races which have the Loki in their ship lists. The Loki is the third ship the Federation can use for trading purposes. Almost any race will trade it in exchange of high tech hulls in their inventory. And remember: Federation cloacking ships will not be affected.

You should inform your ally, that even a Loki owned by them will decloak their cloaking ships! The only races immune to the Loki-effect are the Lizards (Gorn) and the Federation.

2.1.3 The Byrnhild Class Escort (Tech level 7)

The Bryhild is equipped with a bioscanner that will give information about native live on planets within scan range. I don't really know a real sense for this feature, but somebody might want to trade a Brynhild. A Federation player might use the Brynhild as a replacement for the Outrider Class Scout as it is armed with 4 beams, but I think the Nocturne Class Destroyer is much better for this purpose.

2.2 Fighting Ships

The Federation further has a wide varitiy of medium to heavy warships besides their special designs. One has to look very carefully at the designs to get an impression on how to use them. I have identified 8 out of the 15 fighting ships that can be regarded as being useful: The Nocturne, the Nebula, the Arkham, the Missouri, the Diplomacy, the Thor, the Kittyhawk and the Nova. The onyl real disdavantage is, that only two of the really good desings are below tech level 6. Most of them requires tech-levels 8 to 10.

2.2.1 The Nocturne Class Destroyer (Tech level 2)

The Nocturn is the scout of choice. With only one engine but 4 beams and 2 torpedo tubes it is one of the strongest but cheap small warships. A Nocturn should be equipped with x-rays (to caputre freighters), MK5 or MK6 torpedoes (to kill small ships or take over planets) and Transwarp drives. When you load 6-8 Torpedoes (3-4 salvos) you will have 42-44 KT's of cargo room left for colonists. A Nocturn will cost you about 550 MC's in this configuration - but think of the 200% tax rate.

2.2.2. The Nebula Class Cruiser (Tech level 6)

The Nebula is a good armed transporter from missions far away from your homeworld. With two engines, 4 beams and 4 tubes and a cargo room of 350 KT's it can hold 470 KT's of fuel. The Nebula can further be used as a pretty good minelayer. It has only limited fighting capabilities, but it can defend itself against most small and medium ships. The only disadvantage is that the hull mass is relatively high so the Nebula will consume pretty much fuel. I'd never max-out the Nebula. Armed with Disruptors and MK4 or MK5 Torpedoes it'll do it's job quite well.

2.2.3 The Arkham Class Frigate (Tech level 8)

The Arkham Class Frigate with a hull mass of 150 KT's is a good planet killer and escort ship. Armed with 6 beams and 3 torpedo tubes it can take almost any planet without a Starbase. The beams will keep off the fighters launched and the torps will kill the planet before comming into beam range. Used for escorting purposes it can kill most of the cloacking ships in the game, especially those of the Privateers. As it has 2 engines, it can tow a low-tech Loki to prevent the Privateers from robbing. The only shortcomming it the relatively small fuel tank of 120 KT's. The Arkham is very much alike a Diplomacy with only 3 torpedo tubes, but it is much cheaper: Only 70 MC's compared to 410 MC's for a Diplomacy.

2.2.4. The Missouri Class Battleship (Tech level 8)

With 8 beams and 6 tubes it's a small battleship, something one can call "pocket battleship" - stronger than any Battlecruiser and weaker than the 'big' battleships. The Missouri is a very good all purpose fighting ship, a perfect homeguard and a good planet killer. Only highly defended planets with a maxed out starbase will survive an attacking Missouri. In games with low minerals and low money the Missouri is the battleship of choice for the Federation. With a Mass of 395 KT's it's a bit lighter than the Fascist Victorious, but has a 25% chance of killing it. Most of the time it will damage a Victorious up to 70-90%. ( 8 ) But always remember: it's tech-level 8. Any torpedo-ship that is stronger will require at least tech-level 9 (Diamond Flame) and most likely 10 (T-Rex, Darkwing, Victorious, Annihilation) - and a Thor followed by a Missouri will kill any of them.

2.2.5. The Thor Class Frigate (Tech level 9)

The Carrier killer in the game. With only 1 beam but 8 tubes a Thor can damage a heavy carrier to 10-20% before being killed. A Thor even has a good 50:50 chance to kill ships like the Empire Super Star Cruiser.( 9 ) Followed up by a Kittyhawk a Thor will kill any medium sized Carrier. Two Thors followed by a Nova will kill any large carrier in the game with the Nova only slightly damaged. It terms of minerals and MC's the enemy will even loose more. The Thor Class Frigate is the ship of choice when it comes to fight against large Carriers.

2.2.6 The Diplomacy Class Cruiser (Tech level 9)

The Diplomacy is a fine fighting ship. With two engines, 6 beams and 6 tubes, 350 KT's of fuel and 95 KT's of cargo it's a good all prupose ship. The Diplomacy will kill any medium sized warship like the Fascist Ill-Wind or the Bird Resolute, and it will stand long enought even against Battleships to damage them to 10-20%. Two Diplomacies in a row will most likely kill any Battleship in the game with the exception of a Lizard T-Rex. The Diplomacy will also take most heavily defended planets without a Starbase. As it is relatively cheap and does not consume too much minerals (410 MC, 35D, 53 T, 79 M) it is the best chiose in the early stages of a game.

2.2.7 The Kittyhawk Class Carrier (Tech level 9)

The Federation is one of the so called "Torpedo-Races", but with the Kittyhawk it has a good medium sized carrier. With 4 beams and 6 fighter bays it can carry up to 65 fighters. In a fight it will launch fighters at a rate of 8 fighter bays because of the "Crew Bonus" (see above 1.2) thus making it even more powerful. Although a bit too small (173 KT hull mass) it can be a good fighting ship against a medium sized carrier - especially the Empire Carriers. Together with a Thor Class Frigate fighting prior it'll kill the Robotic Instrumentatity and even a Carrier like the Robotic Automa will get into trouble.

2.2.8 The Nova Class Super-Dreadnought (Tech level 10)

The Nova with 10 beams and 10 topedo tubes is the second largest Battleship in the game. Only the Cyborg Annihilation has a higher hull mass. Any other battleship is not that heavy and has less torpedo tubes. The Nova is the backbone of any Federation fleet that does not comprise of large carriers obtained by other races. The Nova is extremely expensive: 810 MC's compared to 450 MC's for a Darkwing and 410 MC's for a Diamond Flame or a Victorious. But: One by one it will kill any other Battleship with the exception of the Cyborg Annihilation.

2.3 Disadvantages in the Ships List

There are several shortcomings in the ship list a Federation player must take into accout:

First and most important: The Federation does not have a Neutronic fuel carrier. Thus it might be wise for any Federation player to build a Neutronic Refinery Ship as soon as possible. With a mining rate of only 70% this could greatly enhance the Federation ability to move ships at far distances.

The Federation does not have any cloaking ships or large carriers. Because of this a Federation player should always try to have at least one ally - either with cloaking ability or with a large Carrier. Those ships can be traded in exchange of Loki's, Terraformers and even Missouris or Novas.

With the exception of the Nova all Federation fighting ships are small to medium sized. It is therefore essential to build battle groups. As a Federation player will almost certainly loose two ships for one destroyed in a battle agains large carriers. It is also necessary to build more ships than anybody else before the 500 ship limit is reached. This is not that easy, but when the "super refit" is taken into account, this task is possible. Just build a hull with low tech engines every turn and super refit them later. This won't bring much fighting capacity in the early stages of a game, but in the long run it will greatly enhance Federation survivability.

Even building low-tech Nocturnes will add a considerable force in the defensive. A maxed out Starbase (200 Defensepoints and 60 Fighters) guarded by one or two Nocturnes (armed with x-rays and Mk3) will with a high probability survive a heavy carrier attacking. The Nocturne will fight first shooting down some 8 to 12 fighters and firing 2-6 torpedoes thus bringing down the carriers shield strength a bit. But - and this is worht much more - fighting the Nocturne will discharge the carriers beam weapons and fighter bays. It will thus enter the battle against your Stanbase with all beams and bays empty.

3. GRAND STRATEGY

The Federation in my opinion is a race that is growing stronger by time. Thus a Federation player will have to survive the early stages and expand its strenght in the medium game. If needed, the Federation can be very effective in the early stages of a game too, but attacking too early will overburden Federation economy. In the long run, only the Cyborgs can build an economy as strong as the Federation - but they will assimilate all natives, and can't exploit their special abilities. As being an economically strong race a Federation player has to rely on his economy - and build it up early in the game.

I don't know, but as I'm playing Civilization or SimCity rather than Warcraft or C&C, I tend to play the Federation defensively in the early to mid game. I think that on the defensive the Federation has its strength. Well, as Carl von Clausewitz wrote 150 years ago: "The defensive way of waging war is stronger than the offensive" ( 9a ) But being on the defensive won't win a war and leave the initiative to your enemy.

3.1. The Initial Stages of a Game

As a Federation player one will have two tasks in the initial stages of a game: Expand at maximum rate and build up a strong economy. For that it would be wise to rise engine tech levels to 10 at turn 1 and "super refit" the original ships with Transwarp engines. Use the Nocturne and the Outrider for scouting and initial colonizing, i.e. drop 1 clan and move onwards without any delay. At turn 1 and 2 build Large Deep Space Freighters with Transwarps if possible and follow up the scouts. Colonize any Desert or Arctic planet with maximum population ( 10 ), any other planet should have 100 Colonists. If you discover a planet with natives drop 3-400 Colonists for initial colonization. A Large Deep Space Frighter with 1000 colonists and 200 supplies will probably be able to colonize 3-5 planets. On your way back you should gather all minerals and transport them to your Homeworld - you will need them there.

Within the first 10 turns you should have colonized 10-15 planets with some of them having a population of 3-400. There is a high probability that you discover a planet with Bovinoid natives. This planets should be regarded as especially valuable as you can use the Merlin Class Alchemy Ship to transform the supplies provided by Bovinoids to minerals and thus balance the 70% mining rate. Any planet with native population - especially avian or bovinoid - should be heavily colonized as quickly as possible. Depending on starting conditions I recommend a population of 3-8000 colonist clans to make maximum use of the 200% tax rate.

Bovinoid planets should also be regarded as planets where starbases could be build with ease provided that a Merlin Class Alchemy Ship is present. With the supplies produced by the native inhabitants and a Merlin a Federation player would never run out of minerals. The 200% tax rate will provide the MC's necessary for warship production. A well developed bovionid planet can produce more than 1.000 KT's of supplies (=333KT's of minerals) and some 500-1000 MC's each turn depending on native government type.

The Federation player should also make maximum use of his terraforming capabilities. As an Eros or Bohemian can change climate by 1 degree a turn and thus most arctic or desert planets will reach 15° or 85° where population begins to grow by itself relatively quickly. Depending on the colonist tax rate, even a 15° planet will begin to grow. ( 11 ) I use to build 3-4 terraformers in the early stages of a game as they are cheap and does not consume much minerals. A terraformer is no fighting ship so it can be equipped with Stardrive1 and x-rays. As they are very light, they can be towed by the LDSF's without making them consume much fuel.

I don't see much use in building more than 100-150 mines because too much of them decreases the natives happiness thus forcing you to lower the tax rates. But: I will raise factories to maximum as I will do with defence posts. Factories will give the supplies and MC's needed by the Federation. The defence posts will make it a bit harder to capture your planets. And remeber that every 20 defence posts will raise the ground defence factor by 1. So 20 def.posts will give you a 2:1 ground defence, 40 a 3:1....

3.2. Alliances

After the first 10 turns the first contacts with other races will almost surely have occured. To win a game the Federation is heavily depending on alliances. It hardly can stand alone, but in any alliance the Federation's got a good chance. Thus any Federation player should at least try to ally with one of it's neighbours - better with both of them. As the Federation does not pose an initial threat to any other race and have some valuable abilities and ship designs, most of the other players will be willing to enter an alliance. The terms of an alliance should be formed with caution, but if you are in an alliance you should keep up with it. From a Federation's point of view a good ally is worth almost anything. One should think about exchanging .rst files as this would make it very hard to backstab each other and will give both partners a maximum degree of information. I never experienced a breack in alliance after .rsts has been exchanged.

Playing within an alliance requires to have some ideas on the special abilities and standard tactis used by your allied race. As most of the races are being discussed in the alt.games.vga-planets NewsGroup and there are several manuals on how to play them, try to check them out ASAP.

A Federation player should be very very cautious to backstab an ally. The Federation will not stand an combined attack by two races and thus will need an ally. Only if there's no other chance or you're sure to change into an alliance with is more stable, change your partner. And if you do: Hit him hard and don't give him a chance to strike back.

It's essential to engage heavily in diplomatic action. You will need the time to build up your ecenomy and your military strenght. When in doubt don't fight but sit back and wait. Never fight alone if possible. If left alone until the late stages of the game, the Federation becomes very very strong.

Any race the Federation can ally with has special abilities that can be combined with the Federation thus forming a very strong partnership. As cloaking races are torpedo races as the Federation is, the Feds should try to ally with one of the so called fighter races. But - in my opinion - the best ally would be the Privateers (see below 3.2.4).

3.2.1 Federation & Gorn (Lizards)

I've never played with the Lizards, but as they are immune to the Loki de-cloack and has a 30:1 Ground Attack factor, it might be wise not to fight them. As an ally their advantage would be their cloaking ships, but compared to other cloaking races their cloakers are very heavy and fuel consumpting. On the other hand a Lizard Nova Class Super Dreadnought is a terrific fighting ship and and a Federation Madonzilla Class Carrier is a real good carrier. Thus there is something to share. I never tried this, but it might also be a good idea to form combined battle groups, where Gorn and Federation ships fight together: Think of a battle group led by a Gorn Nocturne followed by a Federation Madonzilla - I guess this could endanger even a heavy carrier.

If you got some ideas on this topic drop me a line at arend@geocities.com

3.2.2 Federation & Romulans (Birds)

I've never played with the Romulans but they've got some nice cloaking ships, especially the Darkwing and the Resolute. But being a torpedo-race too I don't see very much special use for the Federation in an alliance - but the overall strategic situation will require it sometimes. On the other hand a Federation player should very carefully consider to reject any alliance request.

If you ally with the Romulans take a look at Timo Kreike's "A Birdman Guide to the Galaxy" . He describes how to play the Birds effectively - and you should know about.

If you got some ideas on this topic drop me a line at arend@geocities.com

3.2.3. Federation & Klingons (Fascist)

I've never played with the Klingons but they've got some nice cloaking ships too. As with the Romulans an alliance is of no special interest for the Federation, but in a given situation the Klingons are valuable allies. Especially in a fight against the Gorn a Federation player should think about an alliance or at least a trade treaty with the Klingons. They've got two ship designs which can explode when a cloaked ship is detected and thus forcing it out of cloak: The D19b Destroyer and the Saber Class Frigate. These are relatively cheap ships in terms of money and minerals and armed with 7 and 10 beams respectively they are also good minesweepers.

If you got some ideas on this topic drop me a line at arend@geocities.com

3.2.4 Federation & Privateers

My favourite ally! The Privateer Meteor Class Blockade Runner (MBR) in the hands of the Federation is a real good weapon: It's fast, it can cloak and it can't be decloaked by Loki Class Destroyers. On the other hand the Privateers can steal any ship design - but they can't clone it. The Federation can clone and have the MC's to do it. A Federation-Privateer alliance can have lots of ship designs on hand and if they can get a grip on a heavy carrier before the ship limit is reached it's a real challenge to any other race in the cluster. A Federation-Privateer alliance needs lots of trust in each other as you will have to cooperate much closer than any other possible alliance. You will almost certainly have to operate your ships together, will have to share the territory in a terrific intermix and so on. To give you a view on what can happen: In one of my games I'd been allied with the Privateers and we were at war with the Lizards. As the Lizards had the Loki already in their ship lists, the Privateers could not do much against their battlegroups that were accomapied by Loki's. The Privateers gave me (the Federation) some MBRs and the picture changed rapidely: I was able to sneak into their Battlegroups undetected, towed away and destroyed their Lokis. The Privateers arrived the same turn I towed the Loki, robbed the Lizards Battleships and stole them. Although the Lizards were operating several LCC's in our territory they were not able to regain the previous balance. I have to admit that this Federation-Privateer strategy had been very time consuming. Each turn we had to exchange several e-mails to coordinate our moves - but it was much fun :-))

Anyway: In an alliance with the Privateers try to exchange ship designs at a very high degree. The Privateers Bloodfang Carrier is a great Federation carrier and even the Red Wing is a good carrier in the hands of the Federation (cloaking and 5 fighter bays aren't that bad). The Privateers on the other hand are in dare need of heavy fighting ships like the Missouri or the Nova. Thus a cooperation between the Federation and the Privateers will pay off for both sides.

CHECK: Privateers: TimesSquare/3535/

3.2.5 Federation & Borg (Cyborgs)

Being a fighter Race an alliance with the Borg is of some interest for the Federation. Although I've never played with the Borg, both races seems to fit together: The Borg will need Terraforming ships and most probably Lokis. They don't have any real medium sized fighting ship (the Firecloud isn't worth much in fighting). They can bring the Firecloud (chunnel) and the Biocide into the alliance - and a Federation Biocide will kill any other large carrier in the game. In my opinion, a Biocide in Federation hands is the best carrier in the game. With lots of colonists the Borg can assist the Federation to exploit native planets to a maximum degree.

But both races only wins in the long run. As the Federation, the Borg will need time to expand and their heavy ships are very very expensive. Being allied with the Borg one should think about a triparty alliance with a race being capable of producing medium to heavy ships in the early stages like the Gorn, the Fascist or the Cylons.

If you got some ideas on this topic drop me a line at arend@geocities.com

3.2.6 Federation & Tholians (Crystalline)

Although I've never played with the Tholians they seem to be quite alike the Privateers: They can relatively easily capture enemy ships with their Web Mines, but can't clone them. Their Diamond Flame is a realtively small Battleship and their Crystal Thunder Class Carrier a medium sized Carrier - unless in Federation hands.

If you got some ideas on this topic drop me a line at arend@geocities.com

3.2.7 Federation & Empire

With the Gorbie Class Heavy Carrier, the Empire has one of the most effective Carriers in the game and the "Imperial Assault" carried out by the Super Star Destroyer sometimes is worth more that an entire fleet. The "Dark Sense", the PL21 hyperjump ship and 5 free fighters per turn completes the Empires advantages. The Empire does not have any real torpedo ship: The Super Star Frigate isn't worth much and could only be used as a mine-layer. The Federation could bring their torpedo-ships and their ruper-refit into an alliance. All in all it seems to be a good choice to ally with the Empire, but any other fighter-race will do too. From a Federations point of view it is essential to obtain heavy carriers, and even the Super Star Destroyer in Federation hands can make a good Carrier.

If you got some ideas on this topic drop me a line at arend@geocities.com

3.2.8 Federation & Cylons (Robots)

Never underestimate a Federation Instrumentality. As the Empire, the Robots lack a real good torpedo ship to exploit their double mine laying capability to maximum degree.

If you got some more ideas on this topic drop me a line at arend@geocities.com

3.2.9 Federation & Rebels

I'm currently playing in an alliance with the Rebels. I will have a look what it's worth for. Just a quick note: A Federation Rush Class Heavy Carrier is on of the best choices in the Game - and the Rebels will need some torpedo ships.

If you got some ideas on this topic drop me a line at arend@geocities.com

3.2.10 Federation & Colonies

A Federation Virgo is a real nice Carrier. Not as good as a Rush or a Biocide, but real a real nice carrier. As the Colonies can sweep mines using their fighters and can build fighters in space, they are a valuable ally for the Federation. On the other hand, their mine-laying capability is poor, so they can use some mine-layers and - as their Virgo isn't a cheap ship - can use and monetary help porvided by you.

If you got some more ideas on this topic drop me a line at arend@geocities.com

3.3. The Medium Game

In the medium stages of a game the Federation would have to concentrate on stabili zing their empire and to build up a fleet strong enough to attack or defend - whatever the situation is. Almost certainly the ship limit will not be reached yet so you can clone the ship desings you've traded. You can (and probably will) just clone a good ship as long as possible and will start to super refit only after you have a lack in minerals. And: build a Merlin at the earliest possible moment - you'll need the minerals produced.

You will have to build battlegroups to have an effect on your adversaries. But before thinking offensively you should think about defence: Guard your vital planets with a Loki (as cloacking races are near) and a Diplomacy. It will need either a very strong ship or a fleet to overthrough this defence. If fighter races are near, a good defensive fleet can consist of a Nocturne, a Thor and a Missouri or a Kittyhawk.

Any good planet should be regarded as a possible starbase. Especially after the ship limit has been reached and fierce fighting will have begun, the Federation will need any Starbase to regain strenght. And lots of starbases will give you a high probability of building a ship anywhere. As several turns can go by before a starbase is able to build a ship you can concentrate on building heavy and maxed out starships - it won't matter. But be sure to have a ship in the starbase building queue everytime - any ship being build by you can not be build by your enemies.

Lots of Starbases will further make it much harder to capture your vital planets and you will have the time to max out Starbase defences and fighters.

4. FIGHTING THE OTHER'S

In VGAP games one can't win without fighting. Indeed, there is a slight probability to play even a long game without a fight as I experienced once, but don't count on this.

To fight, the Federation has to rely on their strong ecenomy and on a good grand strategy. But to fight in VGAP requires different tactics agianst different races. I recommend to read all the anti-Federation strategy hints and the tactical hint on how to play you enemy because this will give you an insight of what an enemy can (and probably will) do: But always remember that you don't play against a computer but against other humans - and they most likely will do something you did not expect them to do...... One last thing: Never fight two or more races simultaniously and NEVER FIGHT ALONE.

4.1 Fighting the Lizards

In my opinion the most dangerous race to fight. They are immune to the Loki de-cloack, have cloaking ships and a ground attack ratio of 1:30. When it comes to a fight the Federation has to rely on "standard" anti-cloaking tactics: Mine, Mine and mine again. In a fight 1:1 the Federation will have the upper hand as their ships are stronger that any comparable Lizard ships even if the 150% damage advantage is taken into account. But the Lizards are the second race with a huge income and they mine more than twice the minerals the Federation does. I'd suggest to trade cloaking ships to attack their lines of communication and to tow away single fighting ships into a killing ground. The Lizards are fought best in cooperation with the Privateers or any fighter-race. (see above 3.2.4)

If you got some ideas on this topic drop me a line at arend@geocities.com

4.2 Fighting the Birds

The Romulans depends on their cloaking abilities - especially the cloaking abilities of their heavy ships, the Darkwing and the Resolute. But - as with the Klingons - no Romulan ship can stand against the corresponding Federation ship. On the defensive, the Federation should rely on the Loki and on mine-laying. On the offensive, the Federation should carefully take into account any possible ally and his special abilities. Offensive strategies are nearly the same as against the Klingons. (see 4.3)

If you have to fight the Romulans take a look at Timo Kreike's "A Birdman Guide to the Galaxy" . He describes how to play the Birds effectively - and you should know everything about Romulan tactics to survive them attacking or to defeat them quickly.

If you got some ideas on this topic drop me a line at arend@geocities.com

4.3 Fighting the Fascists (Klingons)

The Fascists (Klingons) heavily rely on their Ground attack abilities (15:1), their "pillage" and their cloaking ships. This make them a strong enemy, but the Federation got several advatages:

- Each Federation ship is more powerful than the corresponding Klingon ship: A Nova will kill a Victorious, a Missouri an Ill-Wind etc.

- The Loki Class Destroyer will decloak any Klingon ship with a cloaking decive thus making it much harder to use their special capabilities (i.e. dropping colonists).

- The Federation will - in the long run - be able to build more and more powerful ships because of their strong economy.

When it comes to a war against the Klingons a Federation player should first guard his most valuable worlds with Loki Class Destroyers and Diplomacy Class Cruisers or Arkham Class Frigate. With the exception of the Death Specula a Loki can kill any Klingon cloaking ship, but it will be heavily damaged and thus loosing its decloaking capability. An Arkham will do the job much better and a Diplomacy will do best against cloakers. In the second phase the Federation should gather battlegroups consisting of medium to heavy fighting ships accompanied by a Loki and begin an initial thrust into Klingon territory. Remember: No Klingon ship can stand against a comparable Federation ship. If you encounter stronger forces you should retreat and reinforce. The Federation does best if it fights out of consolidated "trenches". The third phase should be a direct thrust against the Kingon Homeworld thus eliminating most of the threat.

If you got some further ideas on this topic drop me a line at arend@geocities.com

4.4 Fighting the Privateers

Quite alike the other cloking races, the Privateers will fight expoliting their cloaking abilities and will try to steal any ship possible. The Loki anti-cloak and mine laying will provide for some degree of security in a defensive position. There's another standard tactic to minimize losses: If in orbit drop all fuel with the exception of 1 KT. Set the primary enemy to "Privateers" and the primary mission to "beam up fuel". If your ship is being robbed, the Privs will just get 1 KT of fuel and if your ship is being towed away, it'll kill the Privateer as the "beam up fuel" command is being processed after the "rob mission" but prior to movement. For further information you can check out the different "tips and tricks" playing against the Privateers.

Attacking the Privateers will require more or less comparable tactics as against the Klingons. But: be sure to have enough Lokis to guard your attacking fleet.

If you got some ideas on this topic drop me a line at arend@geocities.com

4.5 Fighting the Cyborg

If you got some ideas on this topic drop me a line at arend@geocities.com

4.6 Fighting the Crystalline

If you got some ideas on this topic drop me a line at arend@geocities.com

4.7 Fighting the Empire

If you got some ideas on this topic drop me a line at arend@geocities.com

4.8 Fighting the Robots

If you got some ideas on this topic drop me a line at arend@geocities.com

4.9 Fighting the Rebels

If you got some ideas on this topic drop me a line at arend@geocities.com

4.10 Fighting the Colonies

If you got some ideas on this topic drop me a line at arend@geocities.com

5. PLAYING WITH ADD-ONS

I Personally I dislike any add-ons to VGA-Planets, as they change the way of playing substantially - and almost never in favour of the Federation. Thus it might be that I'm a bit too critical when it comes to discus the add-ons. If you feel, that this is the case please correct me anytime.

(still under construction)

Notes:
( 1a ) See Star Trek, The Original Series, Episode "CHECK"
( 1 ) See Star Trek, The Original Series, Episode " CHECK"
( 2 ) The Klingons are well known to Star Trek fans and play a great role. There are some good Episodes which can give an insight, especially: The Next Generation, Episodes "Redemption" Part I + II and Deep Space Nine, Episode "The way of the warrior".
( 3 ) Romulans are well known too. There are several "Romulan"-Episodes especially in The Next Generation. Worth noting are Episodes: "CHECK"
( 4 ) See Star Trek, The Original Series, Episode "CHECK"
( 5 ) See Star Trek, The Next Generation, Episode "The Wounded"
( 6 ) HINTS begun by Roger Burton-West (ubte30e@ccs.bbk.ac.uk) continued by Gary Grothman (grothmag@vax.cs.hscsyr.edu), Gordy Pine (gordy@compumedia.com) and Luc Projean (buck@cedep.com). I recieved this Text via the alt.games.vga-planets NewsGroup and I'm not sure where to find it online on the Net. If you know something let me know.
( 6a ) Timo Kreike wrote on March 24th 1997: "The theory comes from Sirius/Jan Klingele - that's the one who wrote the article 'Master at Arms' in the latest issue in the free VGAP Magazine 'The Planeteer'. (issue 9) . The second part of the article will be published in issue 10 soon. I recommend reading both issues, especially issue 10 will feature some details I can't tell you right now simply because I am not the author of the article, and I do respect the author's 'copyrights'.)] Anyway, the things I can tell you are: * A Fed carrier will always have 3 extra fighterbays. This means: not 2 bays, and not to a total of 10 bays. The Fed SSD will fight with 6 (and not 3) bays, and the Fed Gorbie will have 13 bays. So: indeed a Fed Carrier with 10 bays by design will launch it's fighters faster than a regular carrier with 10 bays simply because the Fed carrier has 13 bays. (10 + 3 'bonus' bays) Clears the sky a bit, don't it?" (I think it will)
( 7 ) "ENGINE TECH SHIELD BONUS: New switch in HCONFIG.EXE, The Engine Tech shield bonus. The power from higher tech engines increases the shield power of the ship. How much? Well, a ship with transwarp engines fights like a ship that is 300 kt more massive. The cost of one engine is added to the combat mass of the to ship take in to account of the effect of the higher tech engines powering the shields. This shield bonus is based on the tech of the engines and not the number of engines on the ship. The engine tech does not effect the charge rate of the weapons. The tech of weapons does not effect the rate of weapon recharge. Remember if you don't like this turn it off." (Taken from the docs for Host 3.22x: Host32.txt) I know I've read this hint in the VGAP NewsGroup but don't recall who filed it - but it's true.
( 8 ) This number is taken from 250 battle simulations using "Bsim 2.2" and host 3.22.007
( 9 ) These number are taken from 250 battle simulations using "BSim 2.2" and Host 3.22.007.
( 9a ) Carl von Clausewitz, Vom Kriege (engl. On War), Berlin 1957, p. 396
( 9 ) These number are taken from 250 battle simulations using "BSim 2.2" and Host 3.22.007
( 10 ) See Timo Kreikes Article on Ecomomy in VGA-Planets for further information about building a strong economy.
( 11 ) On Formulas check the VGAP-info-list

© 1997, Arend Wellmann

 

 
 
 
 
 

Species Info:
Origins
Abilities
Solar Federation Fleet

Strategies:
The Solar Federation
The Imperial Federation
The Federation Player in VGA Planets
Playing the Federation in VGA Planets
 
 


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