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VGA Planets - HINTS - version 9 - Nov 1994.

Various Authors

HINTS begun by Roger Burton-West ubte30e@ccs.bbk.ac.uk as part of the alt.games.vga-planets FAQ.
Previously Continued by Gary Grothman grothmag@vax.cs.hscsyr.edu.
Continued by Gordy Pine gordy@compumedia.com

This is a collection of submissions & strategy hints nabbed off Usenet. It is posted to alt.games.vga-planets approximately biweekly. Its main purpose is to help novice players avoid common pitfalls & allow them to play competently in games with more experienced players. It may also contain some tips of value to relatively advanced players. Players/hosts are also directed to the alt.games.vga-planets FAQ, also posted approximately weekly. Newcomers to Usenet may wish to peruse the bulletins available in news.announce.newusers (& other "news." groups...) for information on net-etiquette, as well as explanations of such net.critters as IMHO, FYI, 8), RTFM, and so on. I [Gordy] am not appending contributor names/siglines at this time, as I’m pulling these hints out of my files, which are nameless... But thanks to ALL those that have (and will) contribute to this work.

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CONTENTS:

GENERAL PLAYING/HOSTING TIPS
A. Hosting, General Tips
B. RTFM
C. Conglomeration of thoughts, Playing/Hosting

II. PLANET-SIDE/STARBASE TIPS
A. Planetary Defense
B. Starbases
C. Conglomeration of thoughts, Planetside/Starbase

III. SHIPS, GENERAL TIPS
A. Alchemy Ships
B. Dealing with Cloakers
C. Conglomeration of thoughts, Ships

IV. MINE FIELDS, GENERAL TIPS

V. RACE SPECIFIC TIPS
A. The Solar Federation
B. The Lizard Alliance
C. The Bird Men
D. The Fascist Empire
E. The Privateer Bands
F. The Cyborg Collective
G. The Crystalline People [Tholian]
H. The Evil Empire
I. The Robotic Imperium 
J. The Rebel Confederation
K. The Lost Colonies Of Man 

VI. NATIVES

VII. ANTI-xxx WARFARE
A. Anti-Federation
B. Anti-Lizard
C. Anti-Birdmen
D. Anti-Fascist
E. Anti-Privateer
F. Anti-Cyborg
G. Anti-Crystal
H. Anti-Evil Empire
I. Anti-Robot
J. Anti-Rebel
K. Anti-Colony

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I. GENERAL PLAYING/HOSTING TIPS

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A. Hosting, General Tips

1) DON’T!! I.e. don’t be a newbie and try to host a game at the same time. Play in at least one game to the end before you decide to host a game.

2) KEEP BACKUPS AT LEAST 3 DEEP. Keeping backups that are more than 7 turns old isn’t very helpful because most people aren’t going to want to back up that far if something goes wrong with the game. However backing up and redoing 1 or 2 turns will be ok. (And things do go wrong.)

3) Convince everybody to do their UUENCODE/DECODE on the PC using the same version of the program (recommendation: Richard Marks’ v5.21, available on SIMTEL {if you don’t know what that means you are crazy to even consider hosting a game.}) Having some people doing UU on the PC and others on various mainframes is a recipe for trouble.

4) DON’T PLAY IN YOUR OWN GAME. This has several advantages:

a) I play to win. I don’t want some less skillful player saying that the only reason I won was because I used my special advantages as host. I assume that you feel the same way.

b) If necessary it allows you to look at players’ files without feeling guilty.

c) If someone drops out, you can play their empire for a couple of turns while you arrange a replacement.

d) There are plenty of games on the net for you to play in. I would recommend that all hosts give other hosts special consideration when it comes to getting into a game (but not necessarily first choice of race.)

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B. RTFM (Read The F*%$ing Manual)

READ THE DOCUMENTATION! "When I first started to play, I thought the only way to colonize planets was by building ships and setting them to ‘colonize’. Naturally enough, I fell pretty far behind in those first few games."

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C. Conglomeration of Thoughts, Playing/Hosting

There are two secrets to success. The first one is really no secret. Fighters! "But I play the Feds", you might say. Fear not. Rescue is here. Mines. (not the ones you build on planets, stupid). As noted earlier I will not say anything of tactics with space mines, but just dropping some in enemy territory is NOT the best idea.

Teams. Try teaming up with someone. Exchange ships. Think of it. Privateers & the Cyborgs. Unstoppable.

Even though you cannot cloak, you can semi-cloak. Orbit planets as often as possible. Always defend planets so they can’t be surveyed.

Watch the scores. They often tell you more than the deep space scan.

Don’t just watch you neighbors, watch your neighbor’s neighbors. What’s going on on the other side of their empire can impact your side.

Your number one goal in the opening phases (assuming your neighbors leave you a little bit of breathing room) is MAXIMIZE PRODUCTIVE CAPACITY. This means (1) exploring new planets quickly, and (2) develop enough shipping capacity to get reasonable numbers of colonists onto the planets and regular shipments of minerals and cash back to your starbase. IMHO this calls for the highest engine tech you can afford and hull tech sufficient to build the larger freighters. Obviously, if your neighbors are hostile, local defense becomes a top priority and economic development takes a back seat.

[Re: Should you be building a ship per turn?] This is not a bad idea in the beginning, provided the ships are useful in accomplishing the goals described above. Later in the game you are much better off building the highest quality ships you possibly can (though small, cheap gunships also have their uses, especially against fighter-based races). I like to think of the overall goal of the game as converting as many minerals and resources as you can obtain into the most powerful battle fleet possible. It’s a simple idea, but it helps you to keep your strategic focus.

Cash is probably most scarce at the beginning of the game when you are trying to get your tech levels cranked up and keep your manufacturing going. The next thing to go, in my experience, is neutronium. After that, if you haven’t paid attention to your mining and supply networks, everything starts to get scarce and you can find yourself in real trouble.

Combat only takes place if both ships end their turn in the same location. In practice, this generally means you only have combat when at least one of the players wants a battle to take place. But don’t worry—this will happen soon enough!

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II. PLANET-SIDE/STARBASE TIPS

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A. Planetary defense

Defense posts have critical values, where you get more fighters/beams/tech, and increases are only valuable at these points. So buying D from (say) 7-12 is worth nothing, but 12-13 gets you an extra fighter (4, now) and tech 2 beams. So, build factories and save until you go 7-13 in one hit.

Planetary Defense has wildly varying effectiveness. 1 DP can keep a planet from being taken over by starting ships with only 1 or 2 lasers or x-ray. (1 DP means the planet has shields, at 0 DP it has no shields).

But the value of planet defense above one is highly questionable. Unless the defense is VERY high, any half-decent ship with 4 or more beams and either some decent torpedo tubes or a goodly number of fighters, will be able to take it with little trouble.

Adding a starbase (with 60 fighters) makes a planet MUCH more difficult to kill. For testing purposes I used an Empire SSD with 8 x-ray lasers and 68 fighters, not until I cranked the planet defense up to 271 did the planet win consistently. Adding a starbase and 60 fighters, the planet won consistently with only 20 DPs.

Keeping this in mind, below are the ‘breakpoints’ for planetary DPs. Raising DPs to a number not on this list increases shield strength, which is of fairly minor significance; it also increases the Ground Combat Defense multiplier, which can often be more useful.

Formulas:
# of planet fighter: SQR(DP) + .5
# of beams: SQR((DP + base defense) / 3) + .5
Beam Type (not TL): SQR(DP / 2) + .5
Shield strength (untested): (DP + base defense + 100) gives ship KT equiv.

(Defense Posts, Fighters, Beams, Beam Type)

DP F B TYPE DP F B TYPE
1 1 1 laser 85 9 5 heavy blaster
3 2 1   91 10 6  
5 2 1 x-ray laser 111 11 6  
7 3 1   113 11 6 phaser
13 4 2 plasma bolt 127 11 7  
19 4 3   133 12 7  
21 4 3   145 12 7 heavy disruptor
25 5 3 blaster 157 13 7  
31 6 3   169 13 8  
37 6 4   181 13 8 heavy phaser
41 6 4 positron beam 183 14 8  
43 7 4   211 15 8  
57 8 4   217 15 9  
61 8 8 disrupter 241 16 9  
73 9 5   271 16 10  

In short, if you REALLY want to defend a planet, put a stocked starbase in orbit above it! If that’s too expensive you can always post a picket ship or two at the planet. Of course, picket ships can be robbed, or towed away, while starbases can’t...

There are a variety of utilities that also give you your planet(s)’s current defensive strength (such as, Crystal Ball, Informer, VPUTIL...etc...)

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B. Starbases
[Re: choosing suitable planets for starbase construction...Ed.]

IMHO, mineral content is more important than a large population; you can always ship the cash there from a cash-cow, cheaply with a scout ship, as long as it’s not too far away. You will want lots of colonists at the base though, in case those sneaky cloaked types try to capture the base by beaming down colonists for a ground attack (esp. lizards!).

The one tech worth building at a base even if you don’t need it for ships is beams; they may boost the starbases beams used in its own defense, if the SQR (.5 * (starbase defense + planetary defense posts)) is less then the starbase beam tech.

A good justification for the strategy of building as many starbases as you can [is the 500 ship limit...see FAQ]. It’ll pay off in spades if you survive long enough to reach the 500 ship limit.

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C. Conglomeration of Thoughts, Planet-Side/Starbase

Planetary defense can be a bitch. A Strong Planet is worth the investment.

Build factories first and always. Try to have maximum factories on all planets all the time. Exception is Bovinoids, where one aims for maximum defense and spends the change on mines.

Put about 10-20 mines on a poor-mineral planet. Up to 100 mines/factories is a good max, as over that amount is usually detrimental, as your taxing rate will be compromised.

Unregistered players better hunt out (1) Ghipsoldals for tech ten engines, and then (2) humans for tech 10 hulls. Engines are vital, and give you a big advantage over slower people. The FAQ on alchemy ships is useful, but note that you need 625kT Deut. to make one, so don’t get too excited until you have the minerals to make the ship. And, unless you are really rich, only put tech 4 or 5 engines in it. Tow it if it has to be moved. And, it’s cheaper to move minerals than supplies, so put it over a Bovinoid planet not a starbase (unless you have both...), and then build a starbase there if you feel like it (or someone attacks you).

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III. SHIPS, GENERAL TIPS

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A. Alchemy ships

One alchemy ship should be constructed early in the game. No need to use extra cash/minerals on engines/weapons. Have it as a stationary builder. If anyone can grab something at your home world they can surely beat the shit out of you anyway. (Best placed at a good Bovinoid planet—supplies...)

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B. Dealing with Cloakers

The Situation is fairly common. You are less experienced in planets, and you get attacked by one of the cloaking races. How to react now?

In most cases you first have to define your general strategy. It is a fairly good assumption that the your first step is re-gaining control about your territory and ensure your expansion. If you can sufficiently ensure those conditions, then you can start attacking the enemy actively.

Your main strategy against cloaking intruders is therefore mining. By that I don’t mean one huge minefield covering your whole territory, but several small to medium minefields placed strategically. Your territory is not simply a place but is defined by supply points and transport ways. Therefore mine important planets and waypoints.

Your second strategy is to secure transports. You effectively have to make it that expensive for your enemy to conquer or destroy your transports that you win more than he does. The usual way of doing this is Freighter Escorts. The necessary strength of escorting ships there depends on your enemy - Birdmen cloakers are slightly more dangerous than those of other races are. Good escorts are light and very offensive. They should at least have Mark 4 (TL5) Torps, later I would use Mark 7 or 8.

An alternative can, in rare cases, be heavy armed freighters. Examples are the Nebula, Tranquility, Firecloud, Emerald, Cat’s Paw and, perhaps, the Gemini.

Your third strategy is selective territory protection. Find out the important stars in your empire and place ships and mines there. Never try to protect everything you own. Said empire for example tried to hunt a tiny Serpent escort, which broke into his domain by a Super Star Destroyer. He burnt enormous amounts of fuel and bound a major ship he needed elsewhere urgently in order to hunt down a ship that couldn’t cause much real damage.

A rule of thumb I made with respect to intruders is: They won’t be allowed to cause more damage than they are worth, and they may get in but they won’t get out. And they are never, Never, NEVER allowed to keep planets they conquer. Their lack of fuel supply points inside your territory is one of your best weapons.

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C. Conglomeration of Thoughts, Ships

Be extremely careful what ships you construct. Be even more careful to only use your ships to what they were meant to do. Hurling small escorts with many beams against large carriers, is the absolutely WORST tactic I’ve ever heard of!

You only need lasers to shoot down fighters. (Even on battleships). Small mass ships don’t stand a chance against torpedoes. Flee to fight another day.

If two good ships won’t do, five intermediate and one good will. Ships with less than Transwarp Drive aren’t worth diddley.

If you want to overload a ships engines for part of a trip, do it at the very end. This way the engines are running inefficiently when the ship is lighter so less fuel is wasted. It also gives you the opportunity to change your mind.

Watch the mineral content of ships when you build them - low tech ones are heavy and expensive, with low cargo capacity. For scouts you want light, cheap, lots of cargo. They don’t fight except against planets. Leave that to ships with torps and fighters who follow once you have a few good planets.

Find planets by sending a light, fast ship full of colonists out to put 1-10 colonist clans on each planet, without stopping. This tells you what’s there, and you can follow it up with a bigger ship to fix the colony. The idea is to make 4 or 5 good colony planets with minerals or natives, rather than 20, half of which are arctic or mineral-poor. Aim for 1000 clans and a strong defense on good planets. Probably a ship with disrupters, to capture enemies, backed by a planetary defense around 60-100 to trash anything big enough to kill the defender ship. I usually have my colonizer tow this out as I only put low tech engines in it. Little Pests and Little Joe’s are great for this-cheap, lots of beams, but one hit and they’re history. Usually they capture two or three other ships before they go though, so are worth the extra cost.

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IV. MINE FIELDS, GENERAL TIPS

Mines: They are great for discouraging said sneaky cloaking types from paying you a smashing surprise visit; but you need LOTS to make the trip hazardous enough to feel "safe". Note they are VERY slow to sweep; this makes the colonies’ ability to sweep with fighters (and from outside the minefield, I believe) a better deal than it first appears.

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V. RACE SPECIFIC

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A. The Solar Federation

Build Neutronic refinery ship(s) early. You have no fuel carriers, so your supply will be limited.

Build an alchemy ship early - preferably before the N. refinery. Keep it at your home world until you can build a Nebula or Missouri to escort it to a Bovine (supply-producing) planet.

You are going to have to trade to get fuel carriers, fighter ships, and respect. Form a stable alliance with a stronger race. Offer them use of your Super Refit capabilities.

Despite the lack of fuel carriers, you have a good balance of ships, mostly leaning toward torpedo-based weapons. Crank up your torpedo tech level, and concentrate on tech 7 and higher torpedos.

Nebula - carries 350 torpedo's. Good for torpedo transport, or can use on long treks through enemy space dropping 50 mines 7 times to form a wall. Sweet ship to offer in trades but be careful whom you give it to.

Missouri - good torp & beam ship, high mass, can take some hits.

Kitty Hawk - holds 65 fighters, reasonably priced. You can build a couple of these, and send them out with other ships in a fleet.

Nova - Not bad for a tech 10 ship. I haven’t had the chance to battle test mine yet, so I can’t give good advice on Nova Vs T.Rex, etc.

Nocturne - Don’t overlook these! They hold 50 torpedo's - not much in a battle, but can be loaded with torps and distributed across your territory. In times of emergency, they can cover your planets with small minefield's (beware cloakers!), and be used to trigger planet defenses if/when attacked.

A previous hint said that Feds lose in the long run. Without fuel carriers, you will lose quickly.

You are the poor guy who probably will not win by the course of time and simple surviving. Use your money advantages to outrun your enemy early - they will loose much of their value later. You can use your Refit mission to overcome temporary supply shortages - simply build the ship and refit it later when money or minerals are plentiful available.

Your Escort of Choice is the Loki. You can equip it with slow drives and tow it by the freighter, if money is rare. The Vendetta does it as well but it is a little short on Crew and tends to get conquered by the Enemy.

They can Super Refit ships, for profit.

That’s why the Solar Federation is sooo powerful! ;-)
(Another "ally" tip)
(Meaning? --- Ally w/ the Feds, send them your old ship , have them "REFIT" it with upgraded stuff. They return it to you. Work out the $$ yourselves a great alliance tool)

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B. The Lizard Alliance

Go out, find enemy planets you want, and land 1000’s of clans to take them over and defend them. You’ll probably want 2 or 3 warm planets to grow lizards on, and remember not to build more mines than you need. Use that defense bonus on ships by using small, cloaking ships to steal ships off other people.

Normally the Lizards are lousy (or so-so) cloakers. The Reptile isn’t heavily enough armed, and the Lizard Cruiser is too massive - it needs too much fuel. But they have their Lizard Ground attack, which can cause horrific damage to your planets. Additionally this can be used while cloaking.

Two countermeasures: Develop Planet defenses to max, and place well armed ships around endangered planets. If the Lizard conquers the planet, you will take it back immediately. And that Planet Defense reduces his ground combat ratio. Once one of these Lizard Cruisers loses its Colonist load, it has lost most of its destructive potential.

Your Escort is the Vendetta. Since you have the 150% advantage, it is more impressive in your hands than with the Fed.

 

If you had a Lizard ship orbiting a planet and you upped the tax rate to 100% and the Lizard ship had the HISSSS Mission set would that mean that you’d get major $$$ without any risks at all or would the population riot? I know the HISSSS mission will stop civil wars, but will it stop people from rioting?

Nononononononononono.

Don’t raise taxes to 100%. Dumb. Civil war for turns & turns, even with 3 or 4 ships on HISSSS orbiting the planet. HISSSS only decreases unhappiness a little bit. You’d need multiple ships Hisssing! To manage 100% taxes I have one planet with 15 mil Ghipsoldals at a 40% tax rate and 7 ships Hissing! and they’re stable at ‘Unhappy.’ (host 3.11)

The number of ships needed to keep your planets not rioting is not directly proportional to your tax rate. Unhappiness is more like geometrically related to tax rate (I dunno what the exact deal is). HISSSS! does not stop riots immediately. You can have a planet rioting while ships HISS! at it. Such planets will just stop rioting quicker. You can also HISS! at planets you don’t own and it’ll work. HISS! at your allies in exchange for better ships... ...

Nope, sorry. I tried that, ONCE. It took two turns with taxes at 0% and two ships in orbit with the HISSSS Mission going, to recover from bumping taxes up to 100%. Thank God I did that early in the game so it didn’t hurt me. (FYI: This was on version 3.0d) So for all you Newbie Lizard players out there, Do NOT set your taxes up to 100% and think the HISSS mission will make everything o.k. the following turn.

 

For all you Lizard People out there that have played for quite a awhile, How are we supposed to beat anyone?? This is my first game, my ships suck, I’m over extended in planets, because my lizards mine too fast then get angry, I have to build all freighters to send them back to my two starbases which are already sucked dry. This means I have a few escorts, and my biggest ship is the size of the Robots tech 6. Not only that they are about to attack me, and they can at any given time, because I don’t have any mines, all my Mo are in my freighter’s hulls, and the freighters just ship Supplies back and forth. Meanwhile I have to let the ULS Patrick (Merlin) to rune seven or eight times just so I can build another one, and build torpedoes. How am I supposed to beat a swarm of fighters from the Robots anyway??

As a successful Lizard player, there is one thing you have going for you: Money, Lots and Lots and Lots and LOTS of it! If you’ve got it, and Alchemy ships, build starbases to defend your planets. If you haven’t had time to set up a strong intimidation based economy (Love that hiss mission), I cant help you much..

 

For all you Lizard People out there that have played for quite a awhile, How are we supposed to beat anyone?? This is my first game, my ships suck, I’m over extended in planets, because my lizards mine too fast then get angry,

Mining faster then everyone else is GOOD. The reason your natives or colonists are angry is because you are taxing them to high. The lizard HISSS mission will help solve this problem.

 

I have to build all freighters to send them back to my two starbases which are already sucked dry. This means I have a few escorts, and my biggest ship is the size of the Robots tech 6. Not only that they are about to attack me, and they can at any given time, because I don’t have any mines, all my Mo are in my freighter’s hulls, and the freighters just ship Supplies back and forth. Meanwhile I have to let the ULS Patrick (Merlin) to rune seven or eight times |just so I can build another one, and build torpedoes. How am I supposed to beat a swarm of fighters from the Robots anyway??

From your description you probably going to die if the Robots want to kill you. You have to be careful with your minerals from the start of the game all I can say is think ahead several turns. Your ultimate goal is to find Bovinod planets and put Merlin alchemy ships in orbit around them for an unlimited supply of minerals.

 

How do you kill someone with the lizards?

Build lots of lizard class cruisers with high tech torpedo tubes. Put lots of torpedo's and clans on board, go into enemy territory cloaked, drop clans off on his worlds. It takes over 900 clans to get planetary defense up to 80 so most worlds will have 60 or less defense which will make the lizards ground attack ratio 30:4 instead of 30:1. So 200 clans can kill 1500 enemy clans. That's 2 or 3 well developed worlds or as many lightly populated worlds as you can reach. Since the lizard cruiser cloaks the only way to stop this attack is with mines. That's why the cruisers have high tech torps to lay mines to destroy enemy mine fields. Its a bitch for the enemy to take back the planets because lizards can take 150% damage (yes even the planets) and if they don’t build up the planetary defense then it makes it that much easier for the lizards to take.

Unfortunately the Robots are the lizards worst nightmare only the lizard battleship (and alchemy ships) have more than 4 beam thus fighter races have an advantage. And the robots mine 4 times better than everyone. The only thing the lizards can do to stop a direct attack is build lots of battleships with x-ray lasers and high tech torps.

 

What kinds of ships are best at Hissing? And how much over amounts can I get per turn, safely?

Build Escorts. Lots of them. With 6 or 7 in the air you can get taxes up to about 75%!!! The T-Rex is small but only requires 2 engines. It is therefor cheap to build. Build a fleet.

Use the LCCs as planetary attack ships. Cloak and drop colonists. Even captured freighters can be used as assault ships by Lizards. Capture the freighters and then drop the colonists (if that is what they are carrying on a planet. If you have enough you get the planet. If not you dropped his population by a big margin.

 

Do the Lizards have to be offensive early on?

I’ve never played the Lizards, but they are oriented reasonably well for defense: with your 30:1 ground combat ratio when attacked, it’s darn hard to take your planets away from you. For offense, I think you’d do well to slowly advance your borders outwards, crushing enemy frontier worlds by dumping massive numbers of colonists onto them.

The 150% is only really important in the battle where you get to that figure; but it’s quite impressive there. I have taken on many Rushes with T-Rexes and it generally requires 2 T-Rexes lost and the third damaged; that’s 1 less than the usual number of Victorious/Diamond flame b-ships usually lost. This carries over into the other Liz. ships as well. The Lizards real problem is the lack of ships with many beams, which makes them vulnerable to carriers; they fare well against torpedo races like the Feds and Fascists. But that’s symptomatic of the greater strength carriers have against all torpedo ships. A 1-1 kill ratio is nothing to sneer at! The Lizard cloakers are generally light in combat potential, but cheap in minerals, tech levels for the hull, and credits. Thus, you can crank T-Rexes at old established starbases, while making cloaking ships at the new frontier bases. They do have good cruising range, and excellent cargo capacity for assault troops, supplies for repairs (important when penetrating minefields) and torpedoes (for extended raiding campaigns and mine laying). 2 of the cloakers can survive a mine hit (the Liz cruiser 2 hits). When loaded with supplies, they can be in pretty good shape after that hit. They are not intended to be heavy combat ships, but are quite adequate at planet-busting and convoy raiding, as well as planet-taking ground assault. The Reptile is strictly a scout; but it’s fine against freighters, and can take a small frontier world with 50 colonists in the cargo hold. They have cloaking and that is nice. The ground attack is also nice.

Take them on the offensive and conquer new worlds by hand-to-hand combat! But, do it early in the game.

Agreed, be quick out the gate. But not only the ground assault - the double mining and HISS mission give them the cash and minerals to build starbases and reach high tech levels early.

 

On the defensive Lizards suck.

Why? Lot’s of other races won’t have their cash to lay minefields, or a ship to match the T-rex, and they never have to worry about ground assault. They can afford starbases to toughen their planets better than most, as well. Sure they don’t have huge ships, but can’t you think of something to offer a neighbor (or a neighbor’s enemy) from their stock of goodies, to get a ship in trade?

 

To do well you probably need a good starting position and build lots of starbases quick so you can get massive numbers of the pathetic ships.

The ships are not pathetic-they’re as good as most Fed except the high-end, which with 70% mining the Feds have trouble building; are comparable with Birds (except their B-ship doesn’t cloak); better than Fascist, Privateer (except the speed), Cyborg (except the cubes), Crystal (except the expensive Crystal Thunder), and not too shabby against the Rebels and colonies, except the Pat, Rush and Virgo - and as I said, you just have to sacrifice some T-Rexes. The 500 ship limit is their biggest enemy; fight it by building lots of bases, and destroying the bases of your enemies (or capturing them!). That demands either treachery, or a little homework. They aren’t any good at simply walking over the enemy, like the Cyborg in the end-game, but what fun is that?

If you concentrate overrun type missions on key enemy planets, it can be very successful. Imagine being able to take the enemy’s starbase just with an overrun (possible in games where all sides start with very low populations)! Being able to do it from a cloaked ship means you’ve got deep penetration on your side, except against the Privateers (who can anticipate where you will try to strike, and Rob you blind) and people who build minefields.

The FAQ suggests finding warm planets to breed lots of Lizard colonists. Sounds like a good idea.

 

On the defensive Lizards suck.#2 

One thing in your favor is that your planetary defense is boosted by that 150% bonus. A "depth" defense where you build up a lot of well-defended planets and wait for the enemy to attack works best for you than for any of the other race.

Lizards - Have pretty good ships. The 150% damage ratio can help, but only if you can get a few more torpedo's off in those last few seconds of life. The Lizards need LOTS of cruisers and LOTS of colonists, as that is they’re only defense against the big fighter races. They just don’t have the Fascist plethora of beams. All-in-all, a good race if played properly. They’re mining ability and HISS mission make finding natives and good planets essential. In a bad position, the Lizards will find it tougher than most to be strong. In a good position, they can be dominant.

Yes- the Lizards can arrive cloaked, drop colonists, and leave, without ever uncloaking. The only defense against this type of attack is to lay mines and hope he hits one. Web mines are especially good. The Privateers have the option of leaving ships in orbit set to "rob", although this won’t catch the lizard ship until after it’s dropped its marines.

The best defense, of course, is not to let the lizard get close enough to do this to many planets at once. Don’t keep much fuel on the ground at any border planets.

In my game as the Lizard (in turn 130 something, with 103 ships ‘ruling’ the space lanes), I can confirm this, more or less. Lizard ships will survive battles if they are damaged 100%. If they are involved in multiple battles, they will go on to fight the next battle even if damaged 100%. However, they will have negative shields for this battle. e.g. a 130% damaged ship will have shields of -30%. A neat bug. I’ve never had a ship with negative shields survive a battle, though, so I don’t know what happens. However, after all battles are done, the ships 100% damaged do indeed seem to disappear. This stuff is more than likely host-version dependent.

Lizard ships who hit mines to be damaged 100% do not disappear, though. So this would be the way to test the capture scenario. Since the scenario mentioned involved the Crystals, this is probably what happened. This is one of the things I love about the Lizards- the Lizard Cruiser can survive two mine hits (damage of %124) and still move off at about warp 6. One hit (62%) and it can still do warp 9. [If a Lizard ship, at 99% damage, if captured by another race, WILL blow up., Ed.]

 

What is the best way for the Lizards to counter a Gorbie? What about a Super Star Carrier (or whatever the name was). I have plenty of resources and was going to through T-Rexes at them, but the thought just hit me to use Escorts to take out fighters, since they are dirt cheap. I will also be mining quite a bit shortly. What are the best Lizard ships overall? Someone had suggested the Madonzilla carrier, but I always thought they had too few bays for a carrier. The Lizard Class Cruiser also looks very good for mine laying. I believe it held something like 290 mines.

Generally given equal strength empires, The Empire will cream the Lizards, so your best options would either to surrender or try and placate the Empire player. If you have plenty of Credits, offer 10-30 thou to him, maybe he will attack someone else instead.
Note: If the Empire has purchased bulk Meteors from the Privateers, and is towing his Gorbies from deep within his Empire into battle using them, then he will have substantially lower fuel costs than normal and can also counterattack with rapid and deep thrusts at your starbases. If he also owns half a dozen bovine planets with starbases then he can turnout a couple of Gorbies each turn, which could make life considerably more difficult and a prolonged war futile.

The LCC is a good ship to lay mines and dump colonists on enemy planets, but your main battleship is the T-Rex. Since you have to play against a fighter race you should fix them with X-Rays and Mk7 or Mk8.

The fighter production is slow for the Empire and the Gorbies are expensive. Assume a T-Rex takes out 35 fighters on a Gorbie, so if you have an average of one battle per turn he needs 7 bases to reproduce the fighters. If you add some Escorts he will need even more bases. (Of course never, ever attack a Gorbie with just one T-Rex).

Use wolfpacks of T-Rex, 3 T-Rex should kill a Gorbie. One T-Rex should also beat a SS Carrier/Cruiser. Go for his planets with LCC’s full of colonists so he will need 2000+ clans on every planet to hold them (esp. his bases). Go for his bases with T-Rex if he has many colonists on his bases. He will have a tough time to move his Gorbies to defend the bases (and he will need lots of fuel). He will need also 60 fighters at every front base to defend the base. Capture his freighters (stay cloaked at planets and wait for his freighters, tow them away and capture them). The Empire needs lots of minerals (for the expensive ships and all those bases), so capturing or destroying freighters is an effective way to weaken him. The Empire is strong if it has 10+ bases and lots of ships, otherwise the torpedo ship is too light and fighters are rare (so it would be a good idea to use some Escorts to take out fighters).

If they have comparable starting positions the Lizard is clearly superior to the Empire. (This of course changes quite a bit if the Empire produces more free fighters per base, say 10+.)

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C. The Bird Men

Birdmen are monstrous cloakers. They can cloak nearly all, one occasionally wonders that one can still see their planets.

Also they can, via the super spy mission, find out your friendly code in order to steal fuel and other stuff from your planets.

Two strategy hints: change your friendly codes on endangered planets each round, and mine, mine, mine to keep the Birds off your territory!

Your Escort is the Bright Heart. Want more power? Use the Deth Specula.

 

Now that planets can have friendly codes of ATT and NUK, what good is the Bird Men Super Spy Mission? Is there still anyway to steal from planets?

Well, since when a Bird Man is on a Super Spy mission, cloaking is part of the mission, it is kind of hard for a planet to NUK or ATTack something that for all planetary sensors that is not there...

Birdmen - The strongest race in the game by far. The new hosts have brought the Robots off of the throne with the limits on minefields (a welcome change). People talk about the cheap Fascist battleship, but the Birdman battleship costs a few dollars and a few moly more for two more tubes and CLOAKING. This ship can decimate any race’s defenses if used properly. In addition, all the little ships have good cargo space, torps, and cloaking which makes them great explorers/colonizers. They don’t have a carrier worth crap, but who needs carriers when you have fleets of Darkwings? The greatest weakness of the Birds is finding that big money planet so they can boost their technology. Once the economy is strong, this bunch will take over, Golems and Gorbies aside...

 

One thing about this is that if you Super Spy, then aren’t you open to being attacked by the other player’s warships? Surely you lose any element of surprise? If you attempt it on a planet with a...

No, you are still cloaked while you Super Spy, which makes it one of the more useful race capabilities in the game.

 

How many DarkWings can a task force of two Biocides, with about 110 fighters each, expect to beat? Best case? Worst case?

For my 2c, I reckon the two Biocides will take out 5 DarkWings. I know a Virgo can take out two and still be only about 50% damaged, so a Biocide might take out three, hence a second Bio will take out numbers four and five (assuming number three is badly wounded by the first Bio, even if it isn’t destroyed). Sorry about that .....

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D. The Fascist Empire

Your Escort of Choice is the Thorn, or the Deth Specula.

 

kill the ships, then take over the planet with your sabotage mission still set, you will lose the planet because of sabotaging your one token clan. I’ve (as the Fascists) pillaged to death a single clan before. And purely because I didn’t bother to simulate the situation first. Simulation is the best answer to these sorts of questions.

Actually Rebel sabotage is somewhat more predictable than Fascist Pillage. In a recent game of [3.11d] I have found that Pillaging an Amorphous planet is highly unpredictable. In one case I had 20 clans and after pillaging had 7. In another case I had 50 clans, but they were all wiped out and I had to re-colonize. This has continued and I have found repeatedly that the number of clans you need to start with in order to survive pillaging varies all over the map.

It isn’t explained by the disposition of the natives, they have remained "calm" for 15 turns. I know Amorphous natives tend to eat 5 clans per turn, but on some turns it seems they have a smorgasbord.

 

pillaging had 7. In another case I had 50 clans, but they were all wiped out and I had to re-colonize. This has continued and I have...

Are you dropping the clans in the same turn you pillage? The only other factor I can think of might be climate. I have been using pillage more of ten recently, and was hoping to do something like "drop 10 clans, pillage (and lose 6 clans), drop 6 clans, pillage, etc" to wipe out unsavory native populations. The pillaging I’ve done so far seems to have been fairly consistent, but I haven’t tried an intense pillaging cycle yet.

Sell D7 Coldpains to the Privateers for their Meteor class Gravatonic ships. You get good ships while they get something with a 425+ fuel tank to rob other people with.

 

What good is the Fascist Pillage mission? What do other people use the pillage mission for? On which planets does pillage work? I tried it on an Amorphous world, where I had no colonists, and nothing happened on the first turn, so I left. Is pillage any good, or should I ask the Rebels to use their ground attack

You can’t pillage unless the planet has colonists on it (yours or someone else's). What I use it for is to help the Fascists expand faster. When I find a planet with a native population I beam down 15-20 clans and pillage the planet. You get 100 supplies and 100 MC for every 1 million natives, you also kill off 20% of your clans and 20% of the natives. Next turn beam down more clans their should be plenty of money and supplies to build factories and mines. Beam up excess money and supplies to use on planets that don’t have native races. Plus you can offer your pillage skills to the Cyborgs since they often have an over population problem.

 

on which planets does pillage work? I tried it on an Amorphous world, where I had no colonists, and nothing happened on the first turn, so I left.

There must be colonists on the planet. For example, you could unload 6 colonists onto the planet and Pillage in the same turn (all the colonists will be killed), and then repeat the procedure the next turn, systematically exterminating the Amorphous natives. Unless there were very few natives to start with, you can’t really hope to clear the planet entirely. But since you don’t usually build on Amorphous planets you don’t care whether the natives hate you, so you can happily build up several thousand units of supplies and money with repeated Pillages.

For offense, the Rebel Ground attack is superior, but Pillaging is by NO MEANS useless for offense—it just can’t be used as well on a hit and run basis. On a planet that has no starbase, plundering will give the enemy money and supplies, but since the population is dying, the defenses, factories, and mines will SLOWLY dwindle (dependent on the structural decay factor), and there will be nothing to spend the money on (unless he has enough minerals to make a starbase). You can detail a little ship to do this that couldn’t hope to beat a planet with D10! Strategically, this forces the enemy to come to the rescue, and to claim all that cash. This can make minefields put in his way a very useful strategic option.

It can also be used for besieging a starbase with heavy defenses but few minerals. You put your fleet on pillage, with a couple of troop-laden freighters. (This works unless starbases are allowed to ATT/NUK fascists in orbit). The enemy can now attack only with his ships, which you can hopefully handle. He will have quite a few turns to reinforce, so you have to plan this well. If he has enough minerals, you may be forced to fight some of his heavies—he’ll have plenty of money. If his struggles fail, once his population is below a thousand clans or so, you should be able to land your troops, and capture a starbase loaded with cash and supplies, although the population will take a while to calm down. Easier said than done, but it is one of the few ways a home planet starbase can actually be captured.

In a game in which population is more important than cash, hit-and-run pillaging on a home planet may also have some limited success.

 

Recently people have been referring to incidents where mondo carno warships have been destroyed by smaller ships like the Victorious. Does anyone have VCR files that show this happening?

It depends on what you mean with taking out big ships. It’s quite easy for Fascists (for example) to destroy an Instrumentality. I did it yesterday: two Deth Specula's with light beams and Mark 8 Photons. The Instrumentality has about 20 per cent damage. The last attacking ship was a Victorious. No more baseship.

 

I was initially depressed, but after the recent discussion about strategy vs. powerful ships I’m hopeful that there is a way to kill such heavy enemy ships. Using a carrier myself (like the Valiant Wind) seems to be the most useful approach, but how long would a small carrier last against 10 torpedo tubes?

Do not use Valiant Wind. Victorious is much better. No baseship with only three bays is no good in battle.

3) Fascists - Good in a bad position and excellent against fighter races with all those cheap beam platforms. Pillage can get a lot of goodies out of those worthless amorphous, and the Deth Specula is one of the best first-strike planet busters available, especially with good torpsedo's. The Fascists will win by numbers and not with quality. Not the best race, but not the worst race. Robots hate these guys cause they kill fighters so fast and the Robots best fighter maker is the Golem.

 

I had a ship in orbit with PILLAGE PLANET mission plus movement. Since special missions come before movement, the foreign planet must have been plundered. But I didn’t receive a message. What happened?

Pillage planet definitely does not happen before movement. Sad thing for the Fascists and what a relief to the other races.

 

I thought I once heard someone mention pillage un-owned planets, but I tried pillaging an amorphous planet, and I didn’t get any pillaging message. Is it only possible to pillage a planet that is owned by another player?

You cannot pillage a planet which is has not been colonized. However, you can pillage an amorphous planet if you drop a clan every month.

PILLAGE comes after movement, so does the Rebel GROUND ATTACK (sabotage).

You can PILLAGE planets owned by anyone, but there must be at least 1 clan of colonists. You can’t PILLAGE an un-owned planet.

Also (here’s one for free) you will get unpredictable results pillaging Amorphous planets. Nominally you should kill 20% of the colonists and 5 clans should get eaten. However, more colonists die in this situation than you anticipate. Sometimes. For example, if you PILLAGE an Amorphous planet with 45 clans you would expect about 30 clans to remain. Psych. They are ALL killed. Sometimes. Sometimes about 20 clans survive.

D7a Painmaker Class Cruiser - DOES NOT CLOAK
D7 Coldpain Class Cruiser - CLOAKS

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      E. The Privateer Bands

      Meteors are for towing, and attacking far off planets. BR4’s explore, and BR5’s steal ships in the early stages, Meteors steal them later, until both are redundant. Build little pests to wear down carriers, and use one with tech 5 engines to tow another with tech 1 engines into battle. These take out 10 or so fighters, and provided you follow up in the same turn with a solid capital ship you can expect to trash most other newbies. (like me!) A meteor can tow a large deep space freighter at warp 9, whilst a BR4 can’t as the fuel tank is too small.

Limitations.
A ship can perform only one mission at a time. This means that you can choose to cloak, rob, tow, or intercept; but, for example, you can’t intercept a ship and arrive there cloaked.
The 3 cloakable and accelerated ships are low mass. This means that they should not fight anything but scouts and freighters.
Even your "big" carrier is useless against anything with 8 or 10 beams and 2 tubes.

Advantages.
Cloaking and the gravitonic acceleration are obvious advantages.
The low mass of the accelerated ships, the extra speed itself, and the fact that you use only half as much fuel/LY when you are towing with an accelerated ship make these ships perfect for towing.
An MBR equipped with just x-rays is capable of doing everything except planet raiding. This means that new SBs only have to be tech 10 in engines (and even tech 7 is useful) and tech 5 in hulls. This means that productive starbases are much cheaper for Privateers than for anybody else.

General strategy.
STAY OUT OF SIGHT If the rest of the empires find out where you are early they might just decide to eliminate a pest. A 100 LY radius mine field dropped near you home world can put a crimp in your expansion.
Don’t ignore the necessity to expand. Your first 3 ships should probably be MBRs with x-rays and either 0 or 1 mark 4 torp. For these exploration ships warp 7 engines are probably good enough. After that you will mostly want to build MBRs with warp 9 engines. After the first 3 MBRs you should build ships in pairs of an MBR with good engines and a large freighter with poor engines. Use these to develop other SBs as quickly as possible. You may not be the first empire to get 2 SBs but you should be the first to 3 and should have 5 or 6 before anybody else has 3.

Tactics.
Don’t fight - ROB. We will see occasions when a ship will be used as a Sacrificial Lamb (SL) but other than that you should never fight anything even close to your size. A cloaked, undamaged MBR is much more useful than the benefit from eliminating an enemy’s medium size capital ship.
Play the fuel game. You will always need less fuel than they do. Strip un-owned planets of fuel with "gather" and whenever you can’t steal a ship at least steal its fuel.
Steal ships. (Now we get down to the meat of the problem.) The following tactics are all based on the problem that in order to steal a ship’s fuel, so that we can tow it to a SB, we MUST be at exactly the same coordinates as the enemy ship. We can’t use intercept to get there because the turn order is steal - move - combat. If the enemy capital ship has enemy set to Privateer (if he doesn’t have it set to Privateer the first time he will from then on), you will die at the end of movement and before you get a chance to steal. You have to be cloaked when you arrive at the same place as the enemy ship.

      1) Wait at a planet (yours or un-owned) from which you have removed the fuel. If you are sure that you have more fuel capacity than he has fuel then just set ROB SHIP and wait until the next turn to begin towing him back to your SB. You can’t do this at his planet because he might transfer fuel up from the planet and that happens AFTER you rob. Lo and behold, you end up with a very angry capital ship on your hands, he has fuel, you are not cloaked, and you get blown away.

      2) Use a sacrificial lamb (SL) at one of his planets to capture capital ships. Get a cloaked ship to one of his planets where you know ships to be. Pick the ship you want and tow it out to a waypoint where you have one or more MBRs waiting. Make sure you pick a waypoint position so that if one of his other ships is set to intercept the one you are stealing, the other one won’t be able to make it that far (also see tactic #5.) This is called the SL gambit because the ship doing the towing gets pasted at the end of movement (you haven’t stolen the enemy’s fuel yet, that’s what the other, cloaked MBRs are there to do.) You can try to set it up so that your ship just runs out of fuel at the end of the tow but this is a little dangerous. What happens if the ship takes on cargo and is heavier than you thought?

      3) Projecting a ship’s course. (Your opponent has to be very inexperienced for this to work.) If you see a ship moving toward a planet that is more than 1 jump away, you can try to project where he will be on his next jump if he continues to move at the same speed. If you try to do this much, you will start to appreciate the Pythagorean Theorem.

      4) Bait and switch. Send a nice target, a full large freighter or uncloaked captured capital ship, toward enemy space. Unfortunately, for the enemy, it is accompanied by a couple of cloaked MBRs. Make sure that the freighter is out of fuel at the end of each jump. That way you don’t loose it when some capital ship arrives with weapons cocked.

      5) The intercepted freighter gambit. If your enemy is "protecting" his freighter by having a capital ship continually intercept it, you can easily get both. Have a cloaked ship waiting at a planet when they arrive. Tow the freighter with your ship but tow it in a known direction and tow it further than the jump range of the enemy capital ship. Have a second MBR waiting at the position where the capital ship will end up. Example: Both freighter and capital ship have been moving at warp 9. Tow the freighter 90LY north. Have the 2nd MBR waiting, cloaked, 81 LY north. The capital ship will try to follow the freighter but won’t keep up. You capture the freighter with guns (You DO put only x-rays or disrupters on your MBRs, don’t you? After all, MBRs are NEVER supposed to fight anything but freighters.) The enemy capital ship is in deep space, at a known position, where it is easy to ROB and then TOW.

      6) The pirates nest. Privateers have real trouble defending a specific planet against a large fleet. The best defense is that they shouldn’t know were the SB or rich planet is. Second, you can spread cheap ships (they don’t have to cloak) around your empire that always have ROB set. These will rob enemy cloakers that are exploring your empire (this can be disabled by the host in ver. 3.1). But assume the worst. Your enemy knows where to do you damage and has a fleet on the way. Don’t fight back. Set up a pirates nest at a planet they are likely to pass through. This is a collection of cheap BR4s with warp 5 engines and some MBRS. The BR4s wait at the planet until the fleet arrives. Each one then tows a ship out to waiting MBRs, to deep space, and maybe one to the SB (if the SB is capable of handling that one.) This breaks up the fleet and gives you a chance to handle the ships one at a time.

      - P’s can use ‘packs’ of MBRs more effectively than described above, for example, to rob fuel before towing ships in the same turn, very often preventing counterattack. Nevertheless, it is good to tow to a remote point where other MBRs can ROB, if only to prevent a towing P-ship from being captured in a counterattack.

      - Note that P-ships can also drag alien ships to be destroyed by more powerful allied ships. This is a good way to dismantle massive opposition in parts with little risk.

      - Note that Robbing proceeds from low ID to higher and act accordingly.

      - As noted by D.P. above, you can tow ships to known locations, where you will end up without fuel. But you should be careful about this, and use simulations or an exact formula for fuel consumption (because there are program bugs).

      - P’s can ‘intercept’ alien ships which move predictably, shuttling to the same location between worlds, or to locations which can be predicted exactly by simulation. (In the first case, a cloaked P ship simply waits in deep space to ambush.)

      - MBR’s can tow massive allied super-carriers with devastating effects. This combination is virtually unstoppable if played correctly even if there are large minefields (if there are several cheap MBRs as there usually are). The super-ships should have their own Transwarp engines, though; and sometimes they should tow the MBR’s (for their ‘air-lift’ capabilities).

      Just a few more things to note. With Mark IV (or higher) torps a MBR can kill most planets easily and in version 3.11 you can disable torpedoes with a friendly code. This means you can now put Mark IV torps on the MBR’s and use them to intercept freighters with out blowing them to itty-bity-bits and capture planets that don’t have a capital ship defending them.

      If you start taking planets this way and will not be able to keep the planet beam up all the fuel, money, AND YOUR ONE CLAN. If you beam up the clan when your enemy’s capital ship comes back seeking revenge you will deny him a VCR and delay him a turn since he will now have to beam down colonists. Or if the planet has a native race you can up the taxes to 100%, the native race will riot for many turns.

      The main problem with Privateer attacks is that they can rob ship’s fuel and thus immobilize them. The only available counterstrategy is movement and superiority. Robbing occurs before movement and fighting. Therefore P ships have to join your place in Space. This only works by Intercept mission (in which case you can defeat them the round before) or by waiting for you at known target points.

      This means: Stop only on safe planets, and keep moving. Also traveling by one-planet-hops is always a good idea, as long as you can make it to those planets for certain. The main disadvantage of the Privateers is their lack of heavy ships. This means that, more than with other races, that time works for you. This means also that you do suffer damage than usual if you lose those big ships to them.

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F. The Cyborg Collective

Well, as far as the Cyborgs go, their ships are garbage. The best solution I have found is to build one or two good ships, and lots of B41s. They cost almost nothing to make, and even if they are outarmed by anything with torpedoes, you can literally saturate an area with them. They make good cannon fodder to soften up large ships or planets too.

Fireclouds can’t fight enemy ships. Sure they can take out an all beam ship, but they will fail against much lighter ships. So what do you do when that Cygnus is following you? Lay mines and stop at the far edge. Most of the lightweight ships that can beat a Firecloud are in the 100 KT range. If your opponent has his ship set to intercept he will be traveling through the full diameter of the minefield. Even if he makes it, it isn’t like you could have survived. You can scoop the mines and move again next turn.

What if his ship is 100 KTs? Well, either hope he hits two mines or is damaged enough to be taken out. Usually these ships don’t beat the Firecloud though, they totally annihilate it. So unless you can beat the ship fair and square, your better off facing it with just beams and (hopefully) damaged than with lots of torps you never get to fire.

You are quite lost (without altlist3). Use your money advantages from assimilated Natives, and maximize your planet defenses. Secure your space with mining, and if you absolutely must, use Fireclouds with good torps as Transports.

 

I’m playing a game where I’m the Cyborg. The birdmen are sending their ships and mining the area around my starbase and planets. They are also tracking down my freighters. Now I've played with the sim program, and basically I don’t think I have a chance. Except perhaps for the Firecloud ship. Any suggestions?

Lay your own mine fields, register its only 15 bucks, build some cube ships, and start looking for another game because your probably toast.

Well, if you can build any cubes, you might want to try a frontal assault. Otherwise, it sounds like you’re hosed. You may want to see if you can become friendly with whoever is on your other border and see if they will lend assistance. (Once you’re fallen to the Birdmen, they may be next).

Why don’t you mine your own space, to discourage free movement of cloakers. And use Fireclouds as freighters, at least temporarily, or organize your freighters into escorted convoys? One advantage the Cyborg have is that planets where natives were assimilated, with lots of defense posts, are hard to take, so you needn’t waste ships defending those worlds...

Well, as far as the Cyborgs go, their ships are garbage. The best solution I have found is to build one or two good ships, and lots of B41s. They cost almost nothing to make, and even if they are outarmed by anything with torpedoes, you can literally saturate an area with them. They make good cannon fodder to soften up large ships or planets too.

 

Hello... I’m currently playing my first game as the Cyborgs. It’s very early in the game (<10 turns), and I’ve found a humanoid world. I frantically shipped minerals to it (poor minerals on the planet), and it is now constructing a starbase. I’ve already seen empire and reel ships flying around, mostly freighters though. My question is, where should I go from here? (btw, I also have another planet, no natives though) I think I should go find some mineral-rich worlds, and start some heavy duty shipping of minerals to that humanoid starbase, so I can make some tech 10 hull ships. (cubes this early in the game should be nice to have). What do you more experienced players think? If you are unregistered or the game is unregistered then you are doing well.

If you are registered then you wasted your minerals building a starbase because you only need 3000MC to get from tech 6 hulls to tech 10 hulls. You’ll waste that much building the new starbase and getting some decent torpedo and beam weapon tech on the new base. The problem with the Cyborg is it takes huge amounts of minerals to build the cube ships. The solution is to build an alchemy ship or two to make supplies. Once you have assimilated several planets with large populations you should be able to make lots of factories to keep the alchemy ships well supplied.

 

I have two worlds that have reached the eating supplies point (Cyborgs assimilating 8-9M natives). Two questions: Exactly what happens, do they eat all supplies produced on the planets? (That seems to be what is happening) or is there some formula for how much gets eaten?

They will eventually eat all of your supplies. There is no way to stop this unless you can have someone kill off your population. A downfall of the Cyborg race .. one of the few :-) They won’t riot or anything .. unless you tax them too much. BTW you can tax them all you want ... they still grow. Even at 20-30%

 

What's the best way to get the pop. back under control? I have already asked my friendly Fascist neighbor to help but I haven’t gotten a response as of yet.

Ask your friendly neighborhood lizard to crush your planet for you if the defenses are low enough.

 

If there are not enough supplies will the pop go down?

NO

 

I really don’t want to cause a riot since I’ll lose all my factories and mines...

Your mines will still operate, unless you throw them into a riot. Basically, on high native planets get the max mining you want out of it and don’t worry about the factories since they will eventually become useless.

 

I have already set taxes to "Hate You" in hopes of stopping growth...

Forget it. Let them be happy or at least accept you as their leader.

 

This is a problem that I frequently run into with the Cyborg- seems that I can pretty count on half my planets not producing any supplies after I’ve owned them for any length of time. The only solution seems to be to make friends with the Fascists and get them to pillage your planets.

Look, when the population hits 7 mil set taxes at 25-40% (depending on their original mood and the climate) and wait ‘till they get "Very Angry". Then set taxes to max green value. Sometimes they still grow, but it’s pretty slow. If the planetary temp is 50 you can get up to about 10 mil. If you stop a little over the limit you can pull off some colonists and dump them on amorphous. The real problem is when you assimilate 10 mil natives on a desert world (or similar situations). The only cure I know is to start a riot.

 

Now, if the Cyborg only had an even half-decent warship other than the cube, I’d be happy. The Fire Cloud makes a nice armed transport, but hardly counts as a warship. Even something like a Cygnus-class destroyer would be highly useful to them.

Yep, the Fireclouds aren’t that good. But, they do make descent escorts and the quietus makes a good minelayer. It has good range, and withstand a meteor impact with ~50% damage, and carries plenty of torps. Plus it is rather cheap.

 

Does anyone ever make Annihilation Cubes (the torpedo ones)? Or do Biocides (the carriers) seem like better deals?

A Biocide loaded with 100 fighters is more expensive then two Annihilations with 100 torps each. (Translating MCr into supplies and using the Merlin 3-1 ratio). Plus a small ship like a patriot will eat up 20 or so fighters, whereas it takes 6 torps (including misses) to destroy.

 

Question, when the Cyborg assimilate an entire native race, can they still receive the "native race tech bonus" if they build a starbase there?

Only if you build the base while natives still live on the planet.

 

I enjoy playing the Cyborg , but they don't have many advantages, So could someone tell me any good strategies for playing the Cyborg and how to exactly dispose of specific other races, and do the Cyborg actually take minerals from ships that they destroy?

Last question first, yes they do (if you free cargo holds in your ship).

As far as strategies, your only good ships are the cubes. The Firecloud makes a decent armored transport. There’s a HOST option (depending on the version of HOST) that can allow/disallow ships with one engine to tow other ships. If allowed, the B41 is a good tow ship—more fuel than the Watcher and 4 beams for minesweeping. In fact, the B41 is a good, cheap ship that you can use for running money to your starbases and testing enemy defenses.

Your primary mission is probably going to be assimilating natives. On worlds with good climates (temperate and tropical) you can amass the largest populations. Why? You need to build factories. The most popular strategy seems to be build factories, factories, factories. You need Merlin's bad to convert all those supplies into cubes. And Neutronic refinery ships to filling up those guzzlers. You’ll run into overpopulation problems, so keep in mind you need worlds to dump excess colonists on. Tax ‘em at 100% and let ‘em kill each other, you can take the taxes back to your starbase to pay for all those fighters you need in your cubes. Use Watchers or B41s with transwarp drives to tow around your Merlin's and Refinery ships—you don’t want to pay for that many transwarp drives in those big ships. You’ll need lots of super freighters to haul all those supplies back to your starbases. Build a bunch of starbases, almost one at every world where you’ve assimilated natives, by leap-frogging Merlin's: Get a Merlin to a world with a bunch of supplies, convert enough to build a starbase, then convert enough to build another Merlin, move first Merlin on to the next planet. Keep a Merlin in orbit at starbase worlds (and eventually a Refinery ship too) to keep converting those supplies into the minerals and fuel you need.

Ally yourself with someone else; a cloaking race is good. If you use a cloaking ship as an exploratory probe, you can drop a few clans of colonists on a planet with natives, which quickly turns into an outpost world for you with lots of factories and defense posts. If you can get a Merlin there...

Do not build any Iron Slaves. They’re basically worthless and will lose to almost every other ship in the game. If you can’t build cubes yet and feel you need a carrier, trade one (or more) of your ships for someone else’s carrier. If the HOST supports the HYP friendly code, you can trade B200s to races that don’t have a hyperspace ship. (When using hyperspace in a B200 you have to be careful. It takes 50kt of neutronium to hyperspace, then you’re left with only 30kt to move with, and depending on the engine tech, you could be lost in space.)

 

Help! I’m stuck playing the dreaded Cyborg I couldn’t help it, and am turning to all you Wheel-Chair Generals, Strategists, and Tacticians.

The Cyborg seem very powerful in the END game- they have a 10-bay, 10-beam carrier second only to the Gorbie in size, and with the huge numbers of colonists they assimilate, they will have enough cash so that filling them with fighters isn’t a problem, even without any fighter bonus. The problem is surviving until the endgame, since they have no good ships below tech level 10. The Firecloud is a nice armed transport, but not a warship. The B222 is good for burning fighters off of a small carrier, but that’s it.

The only real solution: ally with someone else! Preferably once of the races who doesn’t have a heavy carrier. It will be an uneven swap at first- you don’t have much to give them at first, but they can give you some decent ships to protect yourself. About all you can promise your ally is to not attack (anyone without a heavy carrier will appreciate not having to fight Biocides) and a promise to give or lend them a few Biocides.

The Cyborg are very defensive- they can easily have many, many planets with a starbase and a combined defense of 600-700. On top of the 60 starbase fighters, such a planet takes a huge armada to destroy. You don’t even have to bother keeping ships in orbit. Wait for an enemy to attack, let them expend most of their fleet defeating a starbase or two, then mop up with a Biocide.

One thing that nobody’s mentioned in either of these "How do I play the Cyborg ?" threads is how bloody useful the B-41 really is. Yes, it is a very useful tug (if one-engine towing is on), and a reasonable mine-sweeper and cash convoy, but it is also the cheapest mobile anti-carrier ship in the game. By that I mean that if you figure in the cost of its drive it is the cheapest ship in MC per beam weapon. Only the Colonies’ Little Joe comes close.

So, all you Cyborg players, take the foregoing advice by all means (particularly the bit about allying with the cloakers - that’s a must really, especially if it’s the Privateers !), but do build LOTS of B-41s. Especially if it’s a game where the 500 ship limit might be reached - build a B-41 every turn at every base if you’re not building freighters, alchemy's or cubes. Then you will have fleets of 20-30 of them with which to divest Gorbies and Virgo's of most of their fighters, which of course saves you plenty of MC because you don’t have to waste yours on them.

[on controlling the growth of the Cyborg (assimilation problems)]
When the population is two or three turns from maxing out (I had to eyeball it, but someone actually posted a formula recently) boost taxes to 20%. After two turns the population should be "very angry". Drop taxes to "The colonists are undecided about you" and population will remain constant (or change by only a few clans a turn). You don’t really need to do this on desert and arctic worlds though.

As for what to do with overpopulated worlds, I hate to say it, but population reduction stops the second you lower taxes, even if they are still rioting. That means you have to keep the taxes up, but try to do it for as short as possible since the riots will go on for a long time if you leave the taxes at 75% for more than four turns. Once they get down below the planetary max drop taxes to zero until they are very angry. From there it is usually rather easy to decide what to do.

Note that this applies equally well to other races, they just don’t have as much opportunity to use it.

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G. The Crystalline People [Tholian]

Your problem is money. I use a Ruby for colonizing, Opals at 1 colonist per planet for scouting. Get an Avian or Bovinoid planet as a first step, and a couple Opals for scouting then capture. All effort goes into the ruby with tech 10 torps that is laying a web mine or four around your homeworld. The idea is that by turn 4 or 5 it is 100LY across, and everyone in the game has seen one of your ships. Use cloaking (captured) ships to lay-and-run webs around nearby home worlds, but concentrate on ‘mining’ your web minefield. Let them come to you mostly. Ideally you want to have your minefield(s) totally enclosing all your planets, so that it is tricky to attack you, and harder still to hold on to a captured planet. (oh, tech 2 torps are most economical if you have minerals but no money (1/2MC per mine), tech 10 are cheapest if minerals are included as supplies per mine).

Key strategic points (some obvious, others not so):
- Lay numerous small fields as opposed to Huge ones. This helps deter mine detection.
- Make use of the Opals defensively. 19 torps of tech 4 or above can produce an effective web.
- You can only sweep the lowest ID mine field, so multiple mine fields of differing types can be helpful. (defunct in later host.exe's?)
- Emerald Class is best armed freighter in game. Build these in force.
- Crystal Thunder Carrier is actually a strong ship. Ftr capacity is it’s drawback.

The Ruby and Emerald Class ships are great armed cargo/invasion ships. Sounds strange, but with 370/510 cargo with weapons you can do a lot of damage on the borders before the enemy races can set up defenses. Especially by putting up web fields after you move in. In unregistered games, the Emerald Class is one of the most powerful capital ships in the game (some fighter ships with large mass can still take this out since you don’t have the tech 10 torps).

Build small freighters to tow your captured ships. They have the smallest mass and 1 Transwarp engine can pull a battleship 81 LY or about 50 tons of fuel a turn.

I am currently waging war with the Rebels. The Emerald with 8 beams and 3 Photon 8 torpedoes can’t be beat. The beams can hold off any fighter ship (except the big one) while the torps do their damage. None of the other Crystal ships can survive the Rebel Patriot Carrier (excluding the Diamond Flame of course). Don’t send any Topaz ships after fighter ships as cannon fodder. The crew is too small and the fighters will capture the ship! You will have to destroy it later. A good use for the Topaz is as a mine sweeper. Put small engines and tech 10 beams on it and tow it with your Emerald carrier killer with 8 low tech beams. If the enemy puts up minefields to slow your progress, the 400 mines destroyed by the Topaz make up for the fuel cost to tow it.

Web mines are the best defense against cloaked enemies. I have acquired a few cloaked ships coming up unsuspecting on web mine fields. I place 30ly radius webs around some of my populated planets on the border with a web tender ship near by. As soon as a ship is caught, I will keep increasing the size of the web to prevent their leaving. Best tactic is to lay a small field away from the planet with a large field around the planet. Their mine sweeps will detect the closer field (version 3.0) and not the bigger. They either bypass the first or get lucky and pass through to be caught by the second.

Cloaked torpedo ships allow you to put web mines in enemy territory, especially over their planets. With fuel usually in shortage, it can significantly reduce their offense capabilities. Great method for catching enemy ships that the player allocates just enough fuel to reach its destination, only to find out it runs out of fuel before reaching its target and is now in deep space defenseless. Placed over their base planets this is a real pain in the ass. All ships coming, going and in orbit lose the 25 tons of fuel. So they sweep it, but I figure sometimes I am causing him over 100 tons of fuel or more a turn.

Best advantage of web fields is to break up attack fleets. When an enemy is sending a fleet stacked together in space, webs can cause the ships to be caught in different spots in space and if the gap is big enough, it makes for easy picking. Even small fields may prevent all of the attackers from arriving at their destination, making the attack fleet not as dangerous.

Nice tactic for advancing visible ships is to not increase the size of your web mine field, but to suddenly put an explosive mine field in the same place (or vice versa). In version 3.0, the enemy can only sweep the lower mine id field. The other field is invisible and unsweepable.

As you probably know, the strength of the crystals is there ability to lay web mine fields. This strength appears to be completely negated in the most recent versions of the host by the Colonies’ ability to sweep 40 mines per fighter and the Robots’ ability to lay 4x [anti]-mines. While this is, in part, true, the crystals are still formidable.

- web mine fields can be overlapped to produce even greater fuel draining?
- the Crystal Thunder carrier is roughly on par with the Colonies’ Virgo battlestar?

 

Indeed it seems so. I managed to wipe out a Biocide’s fighter compliment with 1 Crystal Thunder, and kill it with a Diamond Flame. The second battle took ALOT of Tech 10 torps though! A tactic I am employing, but haven’t gotten to battle test yet is the use of CT Carriers in tandem. I build 1 with Tech 10 engines, and the other with something cheap. I load them both with fuel, and use the first to tow the second around. I set the towed to Kill, and the enemy code of the tower to the appropriate race. This should be enough to take out most any opponent save a STOCK LOADED carrier race tech 10 ship (Rush, Biocide, PE etc.)

Here is the general procedure I follow when starting a game with the crystals:
1. Up the engine tech to 10.
2. If there are planets within 40ly send the default ships there to begin colonization. If not, recycle the default ships or overdrive them to the nearest planet with the mission set to COLONIZE.
3. Depending on the starting funds, build either a Large Freighter or Medium Freighter with transwarp engines.
4. Alternately build opals and freighters while colonizing planets as fast as possible. When you find either a Bovinoid or Insectoid planet, divert significant resources there to capitalize on the money making capabilities of the natives.
5. Build opals with tech 5 [Mark IV] torps since they are the best [short of tech 10 torps] in the mines/mc ratio. Mark 2’s are the very best but are very expensive mineral wise and not effective at all in battles. If you have the $$ for Mark VIII torps, go for it.
6. The first time you catch sight of a potentially hostile race in the area, start mining planets on the perimeter along with direct flight paths between perimeter planets and core planets. The opals work great for this. An opal with 16 mark IV torps lays a beautiful 20 LY mine field that will catch a cloaker 90% of the time. Once you snag a cloaker, you’re set. The one weakness of the crystals is their lack of information gathering capability.

Some don’ts :
1. Don’t show the location of your home world. [More later]
2. Don’t piss off a cloaking race early in the game.
3. Don’t build any Onyx or Sky Garnet’s. I’ve never found a use for them that couldn’t be filled by the Emerald.
4. Don’t try to take out a race by attacking them. Make them come to you.

When hostilities begin in earnest, create squadrons of 4 Opals w/Mark IV photons and 1 Ruby Light Cruiser w/Mark IV or Mark VIII. This configuration will allow you to quickly build complex minefields without continual trips to a base. The Ruby has great fuel capacity and torp carrying capabilities. The Opals are cheap and sip fuel lightly and can be refueled by the Ruby many times. Also, the best method I’ve found is to station the Ruby in a central location and, if there’s no danger of it being swept, drop its entire load of torpedo's as mines. The Opals then can re-arm without approaching closer than the perimeter of the large mine field. When the mines are all laid, the Ruby can sweep the remaining mines up. Note: mines are turned into whatever torp the sweeper has. That is, if the Ruby has tech 10 torps, and lays a large field, the Opals w/Mark IV’s will sweep up Mark IV torps from that field.

Emeralds with Heavy Blasters and Mark VIII torps make great planet takers. If you have the resources, the squadrons can become 4 Ruby’s and an Emerald but these resources can probably be better utilized elsewhere.

When confronted with large, fighter toting ships try this approach. A Diamond Flame with x-ray lasers and Mark VIII torps. Even the nastiest ship will shudder when met with 24 high energy fish headed its way. Also, don’t underestimate the power of the Crystal Thunder carrier. It’s hampered by its low cargo capacity but does well against even the toughest opponents. It’s also relatively cheap to build and should never have beams of x-ray lasers if it’s going up against the large capital ships.

A Diamond / Thunder team will destroy a robotic Golem 80% of the time and critically wound it the rest of the time.

Try to beg, borrow or steal a cloaking, mine layer from one of the cloaking races. In order of preference :
- Meteor Class Blockade runner
- BR4 Kaye Class Torpedo Boat [at least Mark IV torps]
- Fearless Wing Cruiser
- Lizard Class Cruiser
- Deth Specula Class Frigate

Any torp ship with cloaking capabilities will do but the Privateers’ ships really fit the bill due to their speed. The Meteor is fantastic since it can effectively cloak and lay mines since it can always warp to a nearby planet the same turn it lays the mines.

Making use of their ftr production is also nice. One thing that I’ve noted (not positive on this) is that once a web field is laid in another races ID, it doesn’t seem to be able to be scooped up.

Cloak ships are necessary if you want to be offensive with the CP. Sending one with high-tech torps into the area you plan on attacking, and laying a web before would be quite effective. Just be sure to come in with a second wave quickly to lay that alternate mine field as well.

Oh well - nothing better can happen to you than getting attacked by the Privateers. They are ideal targets for your webs. Use caught cloaking ships to mine your enemy’s space.

Use the Emerald for endangered transports.

It was brought up that the Crystals don’t start on their homeworld with an optimum Climate (Desert) and that they should consider building an Onyx Class Frigate as soon as possible. I tried this out and it takes 35 turns before the Temperate-warm climate reaches a Desert state once the Onyx has been built!!!! I believe this needs to be changed so that the Crystals and the other unusual races (which are they again?) all start out on a homeworld with the most suitable climate. After all, it’s only fair....

 

Take a look at the latest host...Crystals now prefer very hot desert worlds, as do Siliconoids. Note that this implies player 7 now starts out the game with an unsuitable homeworld! Guess it’d better build an Onyx class ship as first priority.

True, Crystals are place and a planet that is "hostile". Hopefully this will soon be corrected. [Crystals can support 5 million pop on a Temp-Warm (50) planet, according to Tim Wisseman, Ed.]

 

Again, look at the latest host...Bohemian Class, Eros Class, and Onyx class ships now do limited terraforming. Actually, does this really work? It would be nice to see a message reporting on terraforming progress...

So far, seems that terraforming is a slow process. But one worth the efforts (especially if you’re Crystal or Lizard). [Messages are sent, and multiple ships will speed up the terraforming process, Ed.]

 

Also, is there a way to determine the climate number (1-100) for your own planets? Exploration will now report this for uninhabited planets, but how can one tell when one’s world has reached exactly 50 so the terraformer can move on?

Pay attention to messages, they will state the climate. Also, some "after- market" utilities (vput199x in particular) will allow you to learn more about your planet(s) than just the game will.

Well, the crystal people are difficult to play with the new hosts when the setting "mines destroy mines" All one has to do when caught in a web, if they have torps, is to lay them. Immediately you are released from the web mines, and you can be on your way. And If you do not have a torp ship, just have another ship with torps come close, and whammo all the web mines are destroyed when you lay them. [Hopefully a future version of HOST will defeat this and allow Web Mines to be free from the "mines kill mines" option.

I have no idea how you concluded that the Diamond Flames were bad ships. It takes only 3 to 4 Diamond Flames to waste a Gorbie. The Diamond Flames are much cheaper to produce than the Gorbies as well.

In my experimentation, I fairly consistently used a Diamond Flame to cause 5-20% damage on a Golem or a Biocide, and used a CT to take it out after that damage. Only once has this combo not worked... even with x-rays as beam. Be careful not to waste torps though.

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H. The Evil Empire

 My favorite strategy for playing the empire: build starbases indiscriminately. You simply can’t have too many starbases and there’s not a bad place to put one. You only have one torpedo capable ship, the rest are carriers, so you need to make fighters like there’s no tomorrow. 5 ships per turn isn’t very much, but if you’ve got 10 starbases, you’re saving a bundle of money. In two turns, you’ve paid off your starbase, and have improved that planets defenses markedly. If you have enough minerals on the planet to build larger ships, that’s the icing on the cake. I imagine that many starbases would be helpful for the other races as well, but for the Empire, they are necessary, especially if you’re up against a real fighter race.

Each starbase ought to have one H-Ross light carrier for transporting those fighters to your front lines. Use the Superstar carrier and Superstar cruiser as your working carriers. Gorbies are too big and too expensive to be everywhere at once, but they’re great for invasions. Superstar destroyers just don’t have enough fighter bays to be really effective. I wouldn’t even put one up against an Instrumentality unless I had 80 fighters in the destroyer.

Don’t neglect your Superstar frigate, either. Build a fleet of those with high tech torps for laying mines and taking out patriots and other ships which might otherwise cost you several fighters in battle.

General strategies:
- Build fuel dumps on strategic planets. Neutronic fuel refineries and fuel carriers are a must for those deep, sustained invasions.
- Heavy phasers, and lots of ‘em. Sure, heavy blasters give you more bang for the buck, but when it comes to sweeping mines, there’s nothing to compare with tech 10 beams.
- Don’t shy away from amorphous planets just because they require a monthly ritual sacrifice of 5 clans.
- Build alchemy ships for your homeworld, but don’t give ‘em tech 10 engines and beams. Tech one engines and beams will do nicely, since you don’t necessarily need to move them.

I heard one great bit of advice about alchemy ships... use them for ground attack ships. They’re just big, armed freighters, which means you can transport lots of colonists for those ground-attack campaigns.

Some people will claim that if it doesn’t have Transwarp drive, it’s not worth s***. Not so. Don’t waste all your resources putting tech 10 hardware on support ships. Build your ships for specific purposes... perhaps a few medium freighters to transport goods within this star cluster. And build escorts that the freighters might possibly tow along, thus obviating the need for Transwarp engines on those escorts.

Oh, and don’t waste your money trying to mine the Colonies heavily. By all means mine around your planets so that they might at least lose the initiative if they attack you, but don’t mine your space indiscriminately.

You might have the impression that you can base your defense solely on Fighters. Well, you can’t. The Super Star Frigate is necessary for your survival. It is your only mining ship, and it’s is simultaneously THE ship to hunt down intruders, since it is not too heavy. Also use it for escorts, the smaller ships aren’t worth the minerals to build, when it comes to battle. Consider purchasing escorts from an ally.

 

I am playing the Empire under the latest host version. The game is still in its early stages (around turn 15-16), but my neighbor is a computer player (Crystalline) who will almost certainly make a nuisance of itself. So far, I’ve been building RU25’s and Super Star Frigates. The SSF is a decent ship, while the RU25 is very lightweight, and won’t fare well in the Crystalline minefields. The Crystals have some powerful small ships, such as the Ruby, Sky Garnet, and Emerald. My Question: what would be a good strategy for dealing with the Crystal people before they get too powerful? I am tempted to build a couple Super Star Destroyers or Super Star Carriers and just...

*DO*NOT* build any Star Destroyers. These ships are worthless. They are far too heavy, don’t have enough fuel, don’t have enough cargo, don’t have enough fighter bays. The only thing they’re good for is to put 8 Heavy Phasers on and mine sweep. Instead, build Star Cruisers - cost more molybdenum, but far more cargo & fuel, and especially an extra fighter bay. The Carriers are okay for low-key action.

 

...launch a full scale invasion, but I hate to waste fighters against small ships with lots of beams. I know you can disable torps with a friendly code so as not to waste them. Can this be done with fighters? If anyone can offer some advice I’d appreciate it! (This is only my second game, and I didn’t get to finish the first)

My suggestion: build several H-ross light carriers, fill them with fighters, but leave your main carriers empty until you need the fighters, at which point you transfer them from the LCs. Keep the LCs back somewhat from the main action, so as not to lose your fighter reserve. Also, put Heavy Phasers on all your Star Cruisers - great for clearing webs.

Since the Empire is pretty much only a fighter-based race, I’ve found that I spend more time supplying my starbases with extra minerals so that they will continuously produce fighters. The Empire ships are not worth much without a nice complement of fighters (ie., you will never have too many fighters). I’ve never wanted to not produce fighters and thus save minerals. I guess if that ever came up, you could just put 60 fighters on the starbases that you want to halt production. If they are full, they won’t make more.

 

I am pretty much a complete newbie at this game, and am in the middle of my first game. I am playing the Bird Men and am thinking of going into the Empires area. Can he spot my cloaked ships with his dark sense? It seems that if he can it completely negates my super spy mission but maybe I am wrong. I prefer response by email but if others will benefit please post as well. Thank you and keep up the great discussions.

Nope, the Dark Sense only tells him the cash and minerals on PLANETS (and whether there’s a starbase there).

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I. The Robotic Imperium

I don’t need to tell you about mining, do I? Use the Cat’s Paw for escorts if you need one. It’s not optimal but the only thing you have - all others are either too weak or too heavy.

Well, whoever has the Robots as one of his/her races can make ENORMOUS mine fields, essentially for free. In case you haven’t seen other posts on this, Here’s what you do: Robot sends torpedo ship to Starbase of ally. Ally’s starbase set to LOAD TORPS. (Friendly codes must match). Robot lays mines in ally’s identity, getting 4X bonus. Ally sweeps mines, puts them back on starbase. Repeat. Each cycle gives you 4X as many mines, leading to an enormous minefield.

In the world of VGA planets, the three ‘true’ fighter races held the edge in frontal assault, and out of the three, my personal favorite is the Robots. Why? Because I feel that the Robots have the best offensive and DEFENSIVE mix out of all three major fighter races. So I would like to share some strategies with you would-be Robotic masterminds out there.

1. Ships

The robots have a limited selection... and out of all of them, only four types of ships are worth building (besides the freight and alchemy ships): Golem, Instrumentality, Cats Paw, and the Q tanker. Golem is the king of the battlefield, and not much more needs to be said about it. Instrumentality should be your backbone because they are ‘relatively’ cheap compared to other carriers of yours in term firepower and cost ratio, and also because 2 instrumental together can annihilate almost ANY ships in the galaxy (assuming the instrumentality are fully stocked, that is) Cats Paw is the ONLY ship of yours that can carry torp and mine, so built LOTS of it and mine the galaxy. Q tanker is your fuel carrier and fighter factory rolled in one, so have a lot of it.

2. Ships you REALLY want to get...

1) Gemini class freighter... The Rebel and he Colony e an edge on you because of it. Acquire a few of them and your instrumentality strike group won’t need 4 Q tankers anymore.
2) Cloakers with sizable cargo and big fuel tanks... like the White Falcon, Fearless wing, Lizard Class, MBR, Coldpain, etc. Use the cloakers to mine the hell out of your opponents. Nothing hurts more then having one’s major resupply routes mined to hell.
3) MBR. Someone mentioned using MBR to tow super carriers to battle. This could especially create an element of surprise if you have a cloaked MBR meet the carrier task force at a planet some 81+ - 162 light years away from its target. Then use the MBR to tow the carrier through to the strike target... You got there a turn earlier then expected. There goes his planet. But this trick usually only works the first time, once they know you got a MBR, game’s up.

3. Great things to do as the Robot:

Go exterminate the privateers... The Robots are dangerous opponents to the privateers, almost as bad as the crystals. So hire out to exterminate the space scum. The way to eliminate the privateers as the Robots is
1) Use cloaker to mine if possible.
2) Mine a lot.
3) Use shitty ships sacrifices to find out where are the privateer starbases
4) Mine some more
5) send in STRIKE GROUPS of instrumentality with fuel carriers who are perpetually transferring fuel to destroy privateer starbase.
6) Mine some more. With the Robots, mine your way to victory. I found small fields with diameter of 50 LY is about optimal.

Oh, one last thing... Find a cloaking race to be your friend, you need those cloaking layers.

 

Thanks....I play the robots...hehehe How about a planet with 100 DP and a starbase with 60 fighters?

In one of my games I play the Robots. Few months ago I destroyed the home planet of the Bird Men. One Instrumentality was quite enough. 100 defense posts is a piece of cake. This planet had about 200 defense posts and 200 at the base. My ship took 70 % damage.

Here is some strategy tow the Instrumentality (I usually do since it needs four engines) with a Cat’s Paw Destroyer. If you run into a mine field use the Cat’s Paw to lay a bigger one remember that x4 mining advantage. Towed ships can’t be hit and the cat's paw has enough cargo space to repair itself in space with supplies.

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J. The Rebel Confederation

Probably best for newbies. The deep space scout is your preferred starting ship, low minerals and 4 beams, also cheap. Next Gemini with a fighter bay and 400 cargo room. Patriots are good, but only 30 fighters so don’t take on a base until its been well fried by the sabotage planet mission. Concentrate on expanding with DSS’s, and using a Gemini to bulk up whilst building fighters in space. Leave 100 cargo free, and fill that space with 10 fighters (50S, 30T, 20M) to be built en voyage.

Stay away from the armed freighters for transport purposes. They aren’t worth it. You have plenty of fantastic escort ships. You are the best equipped conventional power when it comes to dealing with cloakers. Escorts: Patriot (cheap and heavy), Guardian, and also Cygnus.

 

My Rebel colonists are overpopulated and they eat supplies! What is the best way to kill them?

The best way? Have your Fascist player come in and pillage you. You lose 20% of your population, they riot, but you get about 6000 supplies and money just from that one action... But of course, remember to thank your Fascist for being in the neighborhood.

 

HELP! I’m playing the Rebels and the Robots sitting on my doorstep have decided to send an Instrumentality Baseship against me. He’s moving pretty slowly so I have a few turns.

Use your Patriots. As others have mentioned, against any serious opponent, don’t think of a Patriot as a ship, think of it as a round of ammunition. They’re so cheap, you can afford to lose a few. Put a good engine on one, fill it with fighters, and have it tow another with Warp 1 engines into the face of an Instrumentality. You’ll probably loose both, but the instrumentality will not be a combat vessel by the time the last fighter dies.

More anti-privateer tactics that I tried a long time ago: As the Rebels, you can use disposable ships as weapons. Prepare cheap ships such as Falcon-Class Escorts and Small DSFs with tech-3 or 4 engines. Tow them very close to their starbase with 1 or 2 good capital ships, e.g., Patriot, Guardian. Launch the disposable ships toward planet with mission set to Rebel Ground Attack! Do it one by one. Recall that special missions happen before combat, so the ground attack happens before the ship gets destroyed or captured. The second ship will be enough to cause a civil war. Keep the other ships moving but still close to the starbase. That way, they can’t intercept and rob. If they choose to intercept, the Patriot should toast them. Wait around the starbase for around 10 turns then launch the third ground attack mission. This will keep them in civil war and should be able to kill off the rest of the population on the planet. You might want to have another freighter in the convoy with 100+ colonists. Who knows, you might end up capturing the starbase.

If you’re not the Rebels, try hiring them. The Fascists are also O.K., but this takes longer and you’d be giving them lots of supplies and money (in which case the Privateers might be happy to oblige). Of course you might also want to ask the Lizards to help so you can speed-up the process.

It might be useful to bring along a good mine-laying ship too if you’re playing with the newer host. If they lay a minefield trying to stop you just lay yours (around their starbase) to cancel theirs. Good hunting.

 

Am I still able to cloak while doing the Rebel ground attack?

No. They are both missions, and you can only do one mission at a time.

 

If he has his ships orbiting that planet, will I still get to do my Rebel ground attack? (His ships set to primary enemy ‘rebels’)

Apparently the ground attack happens before combat.

 

If I can do my rebel ground attack can he attack me, if I then cloak the next turn? (Bit cunning but would be good if that worked)

If you do the ground attack, he can attack you and presumably will waste your ship. So you won’t have an opportunity to cloak the next turn.

Probably best for newbies. The deep space scout is your preferred starting ship, low minerals and 4 beams, also cheap. Next Gemini with a fighter bay and 400 cargo room. Patriots are good, but only 30 fighters so don’t take on a base until its been well fried by the sabotage planet mission. Concentrate on expanding with DSS’s, and using a Gemini to bulk up whilst building fighters in space. Leave 100 cargo free, and fill that space with 10 fighters (50S, 30T, 20M) to be built en voyage.

 

For rebel ground attack to work you need to land colonists at the same time?

This is not true. Don’t believe any thing posted to this newsgroup unless you have tried it yourself.

 

For rebel ground attack to work you need to land colonists at the same time? #2

This isn’t quite right. You can ground attack without dropping colonists, but for some strange reason, this is done AFTER fighting, so once I destroyed my own planet where I wanted to move after the attack.

You have to avoid combat to use the Rebel Ground Assault. That means make sure any ships going in to RGS are not set to Primary Enemy of whoever owns the planet. If he has ships in orbit, you will have to fight and destroy them. A logical strategy is to send in one warship set to "kill", and another set to RGS. Hope that the "kill" will destroy the defending ships and then be blown up by planetary defenses, allowing the other to RGS. It’s tricky, but the only way to use RGS on a planet with a defensive ship around it. The easy alternative it to only use RGS on planets that have no ships in orbit.

 

A hint: RGA becomes VERY nasty if used by a cloaked ship: you cloak, enter orbit, THEN set to RGA and leave. You get to attack the planet and the owner of the planet has no opportunity to fight back, except by laying mines and hoping you hit one. This is EXTREMELY powerful, and is why the Rebels don’t have any cloaking ships of their own.

As with all advice, TEST this first. When I was running sims with the Rebels to find out what they could do to me (they were attacking), I discovered that the ground assault occurred after movement and after ship combat. As I moved the "test" ship from planet to planet, the assault was launched against the new planet—not the planet just vacated. The cloak will allow you to get to a planet undetected, but I think you will have to survive 1 turn in orbit to get the ground assault to work.
[This is most likely the case, haven’t tested it myself. Ed.]

Well, I don’t know about the Rebels being the weakest race around, but you can sure kick ass with the Rebel Ground attack if you find his home-base early in the game and you’re playing with medium money and population. Totally wasted my privateer neighbors in an ongoing game :). If you combine this with the long range the falcon has, due to hyperdrive, you can force a player to guard all his planets worth keeping, since 3 rounds of attack will destroy from 49 to 94 percent of anything on the surface. Not bad. I haven’t tried it out yet, but this will probably force a rebels enemy to deploy some ships to his defense, way beyond the front line.

You can rebel attack yourself. I discovered this the hard way. Set a ship on ground attack and sent it home. It seems to have attacked both planets in one turn, but I’m not sure. The player I intended to attack complained, but I didn’t get a message. It toasted a planet of mine, too. I won’t be making that mistake again!

Ground attack takes place after movement. BTW, it is no mistake to use ground attack on your own planets. Ground attack makes natives happy and if your colonists are happy they will be very angry after ground attack, but who cares ? The growth slows down a bit, that’s all.

If you have a planet with good natives and minerals, build mines and ground attack one time after the minerals are out. The mines will be destroyed (60% I believe), the natives will be happy and you can raise your taxes. You can also ground attack to calm down angry or rioting natives (but make sure that your colonists are happy before you ground-attack).
[or remove your clans after GA and replace them 2 turns after g-attacking, Ed.]

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K. The Lost Colonies Of Man 

For an escort use the Cygnus. Use the Patriots for sweeping away all minefields within your range...

A friend of mine has a saying: "Don’t think of a Patriot as a ship. Think of it as a round of ammunition". One Patriot can take out a respectable sized torp ship, but can only do that once. Unless you refill it with fighters before the next battle, it’s scrap metal.

 

Ever consider what a Gemini Class or two can do if they are in the company of a Virgo class? Talk about never running out of fighters, and with the 400 hold capacity, just think about the mine sweeping potential these guys have.

Or for refilling a fleet of Patriots, chewing up Coldpains, and similar ships. The enemy ships need to kill the fighters before they get to use torps (from actual battle experience, not the simulator). As long as the Patriots don’t get low, they’ll chew they hell out of those Cruisers and Destroyers...

Remember their is no reason to put 8 tech 10 engines on the Virgo, much cheaper to tow it. There is no reason to fill the cargo hold full of fighters 100 to 150 should be more than enough and only if you have minerals to spare should one put beams better than tech 1 or 2 on a Virgo.

The free fighters are terrific when attacking other races. Enough said :)

Well, I’m biased for the Colonies. The minesweeping is very handy. Ever watch a Gemini toast a minefield? I’ll admit it caught me by surprise that ALL the fighters got into the act. (pity I only had 40 on it). The Patriot is small, but in the early game, 6 bays are nice, and they are cheap. Toss a Gemini outside the starbase, and you can fill the Patriots as fast as you can make them. (and fill up the starbase). Sending 4 patriots, 1 Scorpius, and a Little Joe, does make an impression)

The only drawback I can see, is that they really don’t have any good medium ships. (Now if the 6 fighter bays were on the Scorpius, that would be different. Methinks they got them backwards with the Patriot).

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VI. NATIVES

Remember the abilities of Ghipsoldal, Humanoids, Siliconoids and Amphibians (In that order of importance) to get a starbase with tech 10 starting in one attribute. Reptilian double mining comes in handy, too. Amorphous natives are a bitch. You can do gather missions off Amorphous worlds and get the loose minerals. If there’s a lot of minerals in the ground, it may be worth mining. You’ll have to drop about 100 colonists to keep them breeding faster than the amorphous; don’t tax either amorphous or colonists. To discover the climate of a Amorphous world, you’ll have to drop 11 clans; It seems they get to eat 5 people twice before you get to look at the planet. If it’s desert or arctic you’ll need to bring people in constantly; only the richest mineral deposits are worth that (just another damn bug hunt...).

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VII. ANTI-xxx WARFARE

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A. Anti-Federation

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B. Anti-Lizard

Remember to max out your defense posts in order to reduce Lizard ground attack ratio. Also, ship more colonists to the endangered planets... lots more colonists. Reduce Lizard ground attack ratio even more. Mining alone won’t do. Also, a capital ship in orbit for destroying the Lizard ship and for retaking the planet, if necessary. If you can’t possibly hold off the Lizard ground attack, beam as many colonists into orbiting capital ship and let Lizard take the planet w/o force, THEN attack their ship and newly captured planet, THEN put your colonists back down a turn later.

 

New player here (second game) need help. I am next to the Lizards. He has a cloaking ship that can hold 290 [LCC] Do planetary defenses help ?? Starbases defense??

Starbase defense does nothing versus ground attack. That 200 defense starbase is a nice juicy target if the planet has only 1dp...

Here are an option to prevent or at least tone down the impact of a lizard ground attack on your home planet. Build a mine field around your starbase ASAP.

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C. Anti-Birdmen

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D. Anti-Fascist

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E. Anti-Privateer

A. Mine. Lots of little mine fields are better than one or two big ones. It really slows Privateers down to have to be continually looking for mine fields. And he HAS to look because even one hit destroys his most useful ships. He is much more likely to go look for an un-mined empire and that is just what you want him to do.

B. Use cloaked ships if you have or can buy them. In addition to using cloaked ships as freighters you can use them to accompany freighters or capital ships you think Privateers might want to steal.

C. Mine Fields. Lots of little ones.

D. Don’t move in a straight line and don’t go to the obvious destination.

E. Mine Fields. Lots of little ones.

F. Use ships with more than 285 fuel and keep them topped up. Obviously this gets very expensive in neutronium.

G. Mine Fields. Lots of little ones.

H. Having an escort for your freighters keeps him from using INTERCEPT to catch your freighter. But don’t think that it will keep him from stealing it at a planet.

I. Mine Fields. Lots of ... well, maybe you get the idea.

J. You might try your own bait and switch trap if you know that there are Privateer ships in the area. Send a freighter on a path with an obvious destination 2 or 3 jumps away. Have a capital ship intercept on the 2nd or 3rd jump. Maybe you will catch an MBR trying to take the freighter.

Mainly just concentrate on counter tactics A, C, E, G, and I. :) It may help you against other empires too.

- Ally the Crystal People, and supply them with cloaking mine-laying ships with large fuel and cargo capacities.
- Have cloaking mine-layers lead convoys - lay mines and scoop them as the convoy ‘puddle hops’.
- Use overlapping minefields to increase hit rates.
- Do not allow noncloaking ships to ‘touch down’ at planets - constantly move them (if only a few LY’s) unpredictably in deep space, and refuel and resupply them with cloaking ships in deep space wherever possible.
- If ships ‘touch down’ at planets, they should unload their fuel (except possibly for one unit for operations). And they should, as appropriate, be set to be transferred fuel (or grab it) every turn. This shuffling of fuel every turn will make it risky for a P-ship to try to rob and tow ships in orbit.

A PRIVATEER CAPTAIN’S NIGHTMARE I played the Privateers in an extended game earlier in the year, and while I was able to overrun some empires very easily, the tactics of others pretty well rendered the Privateer advantages ineffective (or nearly so). Here are some of the counter-tactics which made life difficult:

1) Escort your freighters with capital ships (or tow capital ships with your freighters). This makes it impossible for cloaked Privateers to intercept your freighters in deep space and blast them.

2) Vary your courses slightly from turn to turn. This keeps cloaked ships from being able to project your course and perform a "manual" intercept—which is the only way a Rob Ship mission in deep space is possible. This means the only place you have to worry about being robbed is around planets.

3) If you are orbiting a planet, beam up one KT of fuel from the surface every turn. This means "Rob Ship" missions carried out in orbit will not render your weapons useless—and the robbing ship will have to move out of orbit (uncloaked) on the same turn or get toasted.

4) Keep capital ships scattered around your empire and follow two rules: Whenever you see a Privateer ship, have the nearest capital ship lay down a small minefield. Whenever you see a Privateer ship, set a nearby capital ship to intercept it. The combined effect here is to make movement extremely dangerous, and to shut down his ability to sweep mines.

5) If he does manage to steal one of your ships, make a note of the location of the starbase where it surrenders and go after it. The Privateers do not have the ability to stop a large assault in a head-to-head encounter with their "native" ships. If you locate his choke points—starbases and important planets—you can neutralize him early.

 

1) If your ship has a high ID number, set it on enemy Privateer and Gather fuel at your planet, with 1 KT of fuel. If he robs you with a lower ID # ship, you’ll gather fuel afterwards and if towed, you have a BR at your mercy - and all he got was 1 KT of fuel for his trouble (and your mines got a crack at him).

2) Hire the Crystals to lay web mines in your name. Since webs are just as good against cloaked as uncloaked ships, it works very well - you might even capture a Privateer ship or two.

3) Try to overlap your mine fields.

4) If you don’t have enough gas to keep yourself from having your fuel tanks robbed empty (maybe an option for B-wagons stopped at gas planets, where you’re not using the fuel to move fuel), load up with junk - minerals you have too much of, or supply points. He may think you have a lot of gas on board; then when he robs you, he gets junk and no fuel - if his waypoint is far enough away, the extra ship mass and low fuel might leave him stranded. He’s unlikely to do so if you have minefields, however, as he won’t want to run through them uncloaked for any great distance.

5) Keep your big ships in space, and moving at least a few LY per turn; use freighters and fuel tankers to visit planets - planetary defense and minefields may be enough to discourage planet busting by the Pirates.

6) If he’s trying to tow a ship out of the heart of your empire, he might be caught by a fast ship on the periphery, "ahead" of him.

7) Theft is most likely for this reason near the frontier. Don’t leave him options like amorphous worlds to hide at - either colonize them or plant a small DSF with warp 1’s there to see if he shows up uncloaked (to gather fuel). In fact, keep the freighter on gather

8) Move minefields from the far rear by scooping them, up to the front.

9) Planets don’t move, and they don’t cloak! Hit his worlds, with a battle fleet that stays in space as much as possible.

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F. Anti-Cyborg

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G. Anti-Crystal
Warning: this is not what I have done, this is what I wish I had done. While it is sound in principle, I’ve only had small amounts of testing done.

If the Crystalline player is worth his salt there should be a big web mine field around the homeworld. This is good and bad. It is good because you know where the homeworld is. If the Crystalline player is worth his low sodium salt substitute he laid the field to cover, but not center on, the homeworld, but you still get a pretty good idea where the homeworld is. Remember, mine sweeping (in default settings) has better range than sensor sweep.

Keep outside the mine field while sweeping, to avoid losing fuel! Sweep mines with a torp ship. If you suddenly find yourself in the position where you will probably not be getting out of the minefield, lay mines. Why? Because unless the host disables it, you can move a little bit each turn, even when you are out of fuel. The minefield will keep him off your back until you get to a planet with fuel (hopefully).

In the newer hosts you can sweep from outside the field, so you don’t need those mines, right? Not exactly. No matter how many beams your ship has, when you first start sweeping the Crystalline player is going to dump a lot of mines into the minefield. The ship will be inside for a few turns until resources get scarce. Even if not, you may want to lay mines as a cover when the war fleet starts heading your way.

What if he gets you fair and square, and starts dragging your ship to his nearest base? Well, you could give up, or you could play the "from Hell’s heart I spit my last breath at thee" gambit. Eject all cargo. If you have any colonists on board, wait until you are in orbit around his planet (if he stops off at an outpost, all the better) and drop off the colonists. If it’s the homeworld you aren’t going to do much damage, but it is somehow satisfying to know you pounded some of his people before surrendering the ship.

Dependent on which race you’re playing... A number of races have ships that can simply overwhelm anything the CP can build. The Fascist Ill Wind, for example, can not only destroy the CP Emerald Class Battlecruiser, but it makes an excellent minesweeper. If you can’t afford the fuel loss of jumping deep into a minefield, just sweep until you know the boundaries, and then move one light-year in, or something similar.

The CP have the Emerald as their strong-arm ship, which a number of races can better. And their only other advantage is their web mines, which only serve to slow down an attack by a turn, not stop the attack altogether. Probably the key thing if you’re going to attack is to carry a lot of fuel and supplies, to counter drainage and damage.

 

What is the best way of handling those damn web mines! In a game I’m playing, The Crystal’s spewing them out everywhere - as far as I can see, you lose fuel while in a web minefield, but the only way to mine sweep them is when you are in it! Arrgghh!! It’s rather unfair, as he’s sitting in the mine fields I spew sweeping away as happy as can be..

Get a big baseship with 10 level 10 Beams and go minesweeping with warp 5. From the doc’s this is the strategy I would use. Sweep the mines using tech 10 beams. The Crystal Player will need a large amount of money/minerals to keep his minefields. Also he needs a great number of ships to tow out the enemy ships without fuel.

Try to disturb his supply ships and he will not have the money/minerals to keep his minefields. Move your ships without fuel at low speed (someone called it Impulse speed :-)) so he must use one ship of him for each captured ship to keep it under tow until it will be forced to surrender.

 

In a game I’m playing in the Crystals are likely to be the biggest problem. What are the best strategies for attacking them please? They are already getting into laying LOTS of minefields.

Now watch me shoot myself in the foot, I’m playing the Crystals in one game.

1.) If normal mines destroy web mines, fly into his web and lay a bigger mine field. (Or you could wimp out and fly to the EDGE of his minefield)

2.) If #1 is not true (latest hosts allow it to be selectable). Make a bunch of high beam (Ill-wind, Little Joe, Little Pest, etc) ships with Heavy Phasers and sweep them away. To keep the Crystals at bay while you do this, lay some normal minefields of your own that overlap his webs to restrict his movements while you sweep his webs.

In short, webs are only really useful against people in a large hurry to invade your territory, or as a nasty surprise to drop around someone else's home territory. It might help to think of webs as low damage normal minefields, that just happen to stop a ship’s movement for the turn if it hits one. If you try to overrun a prepared Crystal area, you are going to give him lots of your ships. (come into my Parlor, said the Siliconoid Spider to the fly...)

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H. Anti-Evil Empire
Gorbie Class Battlecarrier. Largest in the universe. Unstoppable. NOT! I’ve discovered tactics that can take out a Gorbie (or Biocide or ...), with loss of less money/materials than it costs to construct a Gorbie. With any race. PS! Hurl 100 Escorts at it and MAYBE you’ll get it. What one ship can’t do, maybe two or three can.

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I. Anti-Robot

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J. Anti-Rebel

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K. Anti-Colony

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