VGA Planets Super Site

Empire Tactics
by Mag
Updated 19-01-2000 by Donovan

The Empire is probably one of the most played races in the game. At least, everyone seems to like to play them. One of the reasons for this is that the Gorbie is the strongest ship in the game. The other reasons vary, but the Empire is a great race to play and if you plan right, you can win playing them.


Lets look at the shiplist to start:

RU25 Gunboat
You get one of these to start. The ship has no cargo room and no tubes which make it practically useless in a game except as an armed scout. I find that I never build these ships because it’s more effective to use a SDSF to scout.

MIG Class Scout
If you must build an armed scout, the Mig at least has a 20 kt cargo bay and a huge fuel tank. I don’t build these either.

PL21 Probe
This probe has the best range in the game. You can HYP three times and still have fuel left to continue scouting. Build this ship with low tech engines to keep it from being captured. I do outfit some with Transwarp drives, but I try to be very careful where I send it. The PL21 has many uses. I use it to darksense, resupply my SSD’s with clans, even refuel any cloakers that I might have gotten from someone else.

H-Ross Carrier
This ship is useful to build at almost every Starbase that you have. It is a tech 2 ship and can store 120 fighters on board. I build them with Transwarp drives and use them for shuttling fighters, or build them with tech 6 engines or below and use them as an added fighter storage capability. You don’t need to let your starbase’s max out there fighters!!!! EE gets free fighters per turn, and if you max you fighters at your starbase’s you lose fighters every turn. Build with tech 1 engines at you cheap starbase’s.

Moscow Class Escort
Useless!!!! Don’t build it.

Super Star Frigate
This ship is your only Torp ship and therefore you will need to build some for mine laying capability. Invest in good beams, ie Hblasters, and put just one Mk4 or Mk7 tube on board. This is not a fighting ship unless your enemies are extremely weak. Use it for laying mines where you need them, but if you have Starbase Plus add-on in your game, you can lay mines more effectively with your starbase’s.

Super Star Carrier
Outfit this ship with good beams and engines and use it to shuttle fighters to your Gorbies. It holds more fighters than a H-ROSS and one load of fighters is a good load for a Gorbie.

Super Star Destroyer (SSD)
This ship, although not a very good carrier, is you bread and butter ship. Outfit this ship with the best possible beams and use it for it’s Imperial Assault mission. If used in small packs with a cloaker or two it can be extremely deadly. Refer to the Strategy paragraph for more details.

Super Star Cruiser (SSC)
Outfit this ship with the best beams you can and use it for fleet operations. Refer to Strategy section for further details.

Gorbie Class Battle Carrier
The best ship in the game!!! Build this ship with the best beams you can afford and make sure you build a lot with Hphasers if you are using Race Plus in your game. The Gorbie Well Generator is the best thing since French Toast!!! Don’t be afraid to build Gorbies with tech six engines. Tow them with SSC’s in the early game to project your awesome power!!!

Early Strategy

The first part of any strategy is an economic one. In order to build Gorbies you must have the minerals and money to do so. Use your Probes to HYP out to the fringes of your empire to darksense and scout out good planets (note: Dark Sense will not detect natives or minerals on unowned planets). Look at all planets carefully for the best mineral accumulations and also check the mining rates. Find all the good native races and exploit them to the max. Use the probes to visit and drop marker clans on many planets, then follow up with freighters and concentrate on the most useful planets first. Refer to The Joys of Taxation for tax strategy. Plan your mineral routes!!!!

Arrange with one of the cloaking races to trade Darksense info for a cloaker and then clone the crap out of it. I will explain it’s use later in the text, but one thing to look for is a large cargo area and a large fuel tank. Get it with tech 6 engines and 1 Mk4 tube and Blasters. If you get one that is any better, you will not be able to clone as many. After the ship limit is reached, you won’t be able to clone anymore so it is imperative that you make this arrangement early.

Build as many starbases as you can during the entire game!!! This is a key point to winning in any game, but more so with the EE because all your fighters come from your starbases. The more starbases, the more fighters you will have for your Gorbies. If you can’t build anything substantial at a starbase, build Small Deep Space Freighters and recycle them for Priority Build Points (note: in host 3.22.026 and later, colonizing does not earn priority points anymore). You will need them to be able to build after the ship limit has been reached.

If using starbase+ in the game, upgrade torp tech to 5 or 8 depending on the minerals on the planet and the MC available. Get your good starbases up to an accumulated tech of twenty so that you can use the Mega Credit transfer. Build a lot of MDSF’s to use to transport ship components to other starbases and build a couple Merlins as soon as possible and make molybdenum, as you will need a lot. These things take a lot of planning so use the best planning utilities you can get. I use Echoview and find it indispensable.

Build up the necessary freighters you will need to shuttle minerals and money, but don’t forget to build your firepower as early as you can. Build small fleets of SSD’s and SSC’s and get a cloaker to use with these SSD fleets. Planet hop as much as possible into range of enemy starbases that you darksensed earlier and then tow the cloaker in with you, running out of fuel as you get to the planet. Your SSD won’t fight any ships in orbit and the next turn you transfer fuel from the cloaker, download 10 clans to the planet surface and move off. You now own the starbase without a fight of anykind. Have probes standing by in position to HYP in clans for this new starbase of yours!!! If the enemy had the starbase set to NUK, he might even do battle with his prior starbase, even winning it back in some cases, but I guaranty he will have newfound respect for you!!! I also use the SSD to Imperial Assault one planet then set Primary Enemy and move to another planet, thereby gaining two planets in one turn with one ship. One thing to remember is that the SSD _WILL_ fight a planet if you have the PE set or set it's mission to KILL. Use your probes to resupply clans to your SSD’s in space.

If your enemy lays mines in his defense, you will probably have to change your fleet requirements to be able to use the same tactic by towing the cloaker with a high ID# ship and using a powerful mine sweeping fleet. Experiment with it, but don’t be afraid to lose SSD’s, they’re cheap to build.

All the while you are using your SSD’s, don’t forget to build Gorbies!!! Try to have at least four Gorbies built by the ship limit. Depending on the economics of your game you might be able to double that figure. If you build one Gorbie with tech 6 engines and then one with Transwarp drives, you will be able to build more. Team the Gorbies up with each other and make sure the lower tech Gorbie has good beams for mine sweeping. Its a good idea to run fleets in at least six pack strength in the beginning of the game and go to 8-10-12 packs at the later stages. Fleets should be made up with a mix of your fighter carriers and have a SSF or better mine laying ship with it. You absolutely must plan to resupply your ships with fighters and have a follow on fleet assigned to escort LF’s in with clans and minerals. Plan to keep the territory you take from the start!!! Remember that you will have knowledge of the area you are assaulting prior to your offensive by using your probes for darksense info.


Above all things in the game of VGAP, alliances are the key to winning!! Alliances aren’t as much as what your ally has to offer as,’ is he willing to communicate, plan, and then follow thru with the plan’. An ally that doesn’t communicate is only as good as his hardware. An ally that follows thru on plans made by the alliance and keeps his part of the alliance up is worth his weight in mega credits.

All races have abilities that can be used effectively with the EE, though there are a few that are better suited, but communication is the key!!! Combined with communication is the exploitation of the add-ons that are in use in the game. In order to win you must use all the technology available to you.

Probes make alliances feasible even over vast distances. Give your ally a probe and he can HYP into your area and take control of a Starbase that you give him and build ships for you. Of course, he must reciprocate for this to be effective. If he doesn’t reciprocate, you should SSD your starbase back and look for a better ally. Here is a brief list of what the other races have to offer you.

Build tech 1 Gorbies and have your Fed ally refit them for you. You can double the number of Gorbies in the game by doing this!!! When facing other large carriers (Biocides, Rushes, Virgos, Golems) it might be a good idea to give some Gorbies to the Feds - they will launch fighters as if they had 13 bays instead of the normal 10.

Cloakers, ground attack, 150% damage, Hiss mission!!! Need I say more? Lizards are everyone’s best friend or worst enemy!!!

Cloakers and general mayhem!!! Dark Sense in combination with Super Spy is the ultimate in 'knowing thy enemy'. First Dark Sense where your enemy keeps his money, then use Super Spy to make him 'bum' it to you.

Cloakers, ground attack, Race Plus mission, Torp ships, Glory Devices!!! Also, Fascist ships can not be attacked by planets, making them perfect for doing Imperial assault on heavily defended planets. A fleet of Fascist ships (no primary enemy, no KILL mission) move in, including one Fascist SSD. All other Fascist ships have friendly codes lower than the SSD, so if the enemy ships are looking for a fight they will be killed by the Fascist battleships. However, the planet will not be engaged in the battles so when the dust settles the Fascists can neatly drop 10 clans from the SSD to take the planet and move on.

Tow and Rob, Tow and Rob, Tow and Rob!!! Plus ofcourse their double speed. A gorbie travelling towards you with 162 lightyear per turn is everyone's nightmare.

The Chunnel is a mighty weapon, and so is the Annihilation. Biocides are only slightly weaker than Gorbies, and the Borg also have to pay for their fighters. They should have a lot of money and supplies from thei millions and millions of colonists though, and having an instant homeworld in newly gained territories can be worth a lot.

Webmines for defense, a nice cheap Carrier, Race Plus mission!!! And not to forget a nice torpedoeship: when facing large enemy carriers, having a Diamond Flame fight before the Gorbie saves a lot of fighters and makes sure the Gorbie gets away with less damage. There's always the choice however between losing a lot of fighters but no ship, or losing the Diamond Flame but less fighters.

Fighter building and mines!!! Robots, along with the Rebels and Colonies of Man, can build fighters for no money onboard their ships. This really helps fill up the Virgos. As far as race-characteristics and abilities go, these races add less to what you already have than cloaking races or other torpedo-races do.

RGA, fighter building!!! Rebels also can not be attacked by planets, so the same goes for them as for the Fascists. Perfect owners of an SSD.

Colonies of Man
Fighter building, Cobols!!! With these guys you will never have to worry about running out of fuel, running into mines or running out of fighters.

As I said earlier, without a commitment from an ally to communicate and follow thru with plans, any one of these races is only as good as his hardware so know who you are allying with!!!

End Game

By the end game you should have many Gorbies and SSD’s along with a strong fleet of freighters. Although there are a lot of variables involved with battle, one of the keys to winning is following up with a strong fleet of freighters to take max advantage of any territory gained.

Don’t be afraid to lose Gorbies in battle, but don’t waste a Gorbie just to attack someone. There is no loss of honor in falling back to regroup, but you must have a plan to use or a strategic retreat can suddenly turn into a route. By far, the Borg and fighter building races will be the hardest won fights. With the Borg, you must pick off his Fireclouds and kill them. This is hard to do, but some add-ons make the task easier to accomplish. The GWG in Race Plus is an excellent way to do it.

Guide updated and posted at Donovan's with the author's permission.

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