VGA Planets Super Site

The Dreadlord Battle Manual
by Ramutis Giliauskas

Dec. 18, 1994
(HTML and revision by Donovan, September 2000)

This was written to help players survive, be more effective, and more innovative
when playing VGA Planets.

Target audience: Beginner (one game) to Intermediate (five/six)
This can also be a good reference text for experienced players.

Table of contents

  1. Preamble

  2. Aggressive Decision Making

  3. Battle and Convoy Groups

    A. Definition
    B. How to Create
    C. How to Use (example)
            D. The Colonies of Man's Ships
            E. The Colonies of Man General-Purpose Battle-Group

  4. Mass, Weapons, and Planetary Defense

            A. Ship Mass
            B. Fighters
            C. Beam Weapon Selection
            D. Torpedo Selection
            E. Planetary Defense Table

  5. Basic Conservative Strategy for the New Player

            A. On the First Day
            B. Expanding Your Empire with Planets
            C. Defense of Your Empire
            D. Attacking the Enemy
            E. Freight Movement
            F. Movement
            G. Scouts, Observation Posts, and Forward Supply Bases
            H. Native Races

  6. Specific Strategies

            A. Lizards
            B. Birds
            C. Fascists
            D. Cyborg
            E. Empire
            F. Robots
            G. Rebels
            H. Colonies

  7. Strategy for the Privateer and Crystalline Races

    A. Privateers
    B. Crystalline

  8. Blitzkrieg

            A. Theory
            B. Teams
            C. Tech Levels
            D. Guerrilla Force
            E. Strike Force
            F. Conclusion

  9. Team Play

  10. Proverbs and Other Miscellaneous Ideas

  11. Documents and Utilities

  12. Hyper-Drive
            1. Launch and Guidance
            2. Use
            3. Assorted hyperdrive utilities
            4. Impulse or no-fuel drift

  13. The -=DREADLORD=- Battle Manual ver. 8

            1. Credits for the -=DREADLORD=- Battle Manual
            2. You Want More?

  14. Changes in this version

I.    Preamble
Contrary to popular belief, there is only one way way to win VGA Planets. The strategy and tactics were written 2500 years ago by Sun Tsu in "The Art of War", translated and rewritten by Samuel B. Griffith. Though the first part is quite dry, the latter third of the book has all the principals of warfare that apply directly to VGA Planets. During the last 12000 years, the only thing that has changed is technology. Successful strategic and tactical ideas have never changed. They were the same in 500bc China, 400bc Greece, 100bc Rome, 1200ad Mongolia and during Napoleonic times.

The rules for winning a war are simple but seldom followed. Victories against forces larger and more powerful are usually due to skillful application of these two principals of war - surprise and concentration of forces. In the history of warfare speed and daring has always won the prize.

II.    Aggressive decision making
When to attack or not? A bold operation is one that has no more than a chance of success but which, in case of failure, leaves one with sufficient forces in hand to be able to cope with any situation. This type of operation gives the best promise of success. A gamble, on the other hand, is an operation which can lead to victory or to the destruction of one's own forces. When defeat is merely a question of time, when the gaining of time is pointless, then the only chance lies in an operation of great risk and a gamble can be justified. Normally there is no ideal solution, but each possible course of action has its advantages and disadvantages. Select the one which seems the best from the widest point of view, then pursue it, and accept the consequences. Any compromise is bad.

III.    Battle and Convoy groups by Doug Suerich

A.    Definition
A battle group or a convoy group is a specific group of ships that complement each other in a task. By keeping the ships in each group standard, it is easier to manage your forces. Keeping track of 30 ships is hard; however, if the ships are placed into similar groups of 3 ships, the task is much easier.

B.    How to Create

1. Ships
When trying to pick out ships that will work well together, first decide on exactly what you want them to do. In the example that follows, we are trying to create a battle group that will be able to run along the border of enemy territory and take out most ships that it meets, causing general disruption, destroying enemy ships and resources, and putting the enemy into a defensive frame of mind. After choosing a purpose, we will try to weed out the useless ships in our arsenal from those that can be put to good use in our battle group.

a. Ships to Consider for your Battle Groups
There are certain criteria that will make a good general-purpose ship.

  1. Cloaking
    A vessel that cloaks will allow you to go undetected in your activities, and is especially useful for spying on your enemies. A cloaking ship can sneak into enemy territory and attack undefended freighters. If the cloaker has two engines, it can tow small capital ships or freighters right off of planets, into space, and then attack and defeat them. After this the ship will recloak, enter into orbit, and grab another ship! There is, however, a way to counter this. If the enemy sets one of his capital ships to intercept the ship that you tow, he will intercept the ship you towed, and, since you are in the same place as the ship you towed, you will get blown up. Also, you won't be able to tow a ship that is set to warp 9 and has a waypoint that is more than 81 light-years away.
  2. Large Cargo Hold
    With a large cargo hold you can carry enough torpedoes or fighters to last a long attack. You can also carry supplies to repair in space. 5 supplies will repair 1% of damage on any ship. A large cargo hold can also be used for freighting.
  3. Large Mass
    A hull that has a heavier mass will have a better resistance to beam and torpedo damage, as well as to deep space mines.
  4. Large Crew
    A large crew size will prevent you from being captured. Crew size is not a problem on most large ships, but on the smaller ships the crew is sometimes small enough that a determined enemy can capture your ship, and use it against you.
  5. Firepower
    A large number of beam weapons can knock down fighters. When you are planning to capture planets, ships that have 8 X-Rays, and 3 Mark 6 or Mark 7 torpedo tubes will work well, for the simple reason that planets depend on fighters for defense--they can't launch enough fighters to overwhelm a ship with 8 beams. The torpedoes will capture the planet before you have to worry about the planet's beams damaging your ship. Fighters can destroy large ships. Torpedoes can help in the capture of vessels. Determine what type of weapons your ship will need in order to be effective in its planned role.

b. Good All-Purpose Vessels
Here are some good all-purpose vessels:

Best overall freighter: Large Deep Space Freighter

Solar Feds Nebula Class Cruiser
Diplomacy Class Cruiser
Lizard Reptile Class Destroyer cloaking
Lizard Class Cruiser cloaking
Birdmen Swift Heart Class Scout cloaking
Fearless Wing Cruiser cloaking
Deth Specula Class Frigate cloaking
Fascist D7 Coldpain Class Cruiser cloaking
D3 Thorn Class Destroyer cloaking
Deth Specula Class Frigate cloaking
Privateer BR4 Gunship cloaking, accelerated
BR5 Kaye Class Torpedo Boat cloaking, accelerated
Meteor Class Blockade Runner cloaking, accelerated
Dwarfstar Class Transport cloaking
Cyborg B200 Class Probe hyperdrive
Firecloud Class Cruiser
Biocide Carrier
Annihilation Class Battleship
Crystalline Ruby Class Light Cruiser
Emerald Class Battle Cruiser
Evil Empire PL32 Probe hyperdrive
H-Ross Class Light Carrier
Moscow Class Star Escort
Super Star Frigate
Super Star Carrier
Robot Cat's Paw Class Destroyer
Instrumentality Class Baseship
Rebel Falcon Class Escort hyperdrive
Gemini Class Transport
Patriot Class Light Carrier
Guardian Class Destroyer
Lost Colonies Gemini Class Transport
Tranquility Class Cruiser
Patriot Class Light Carrier

Whichever ship you select, know what role you will use it for and build it with the weapons that will be most effective. Don't mix and match. Having 7 identical ships is easier to plan with than having 7 non standard designs of the same ship. When you start building battle groups keep them standard as well. A battle group is a collection of ships that complement each other as a fighting force. All ships are designed for a specific purpose, and when used for that purpose are very effective.

The above list is a general guide, other ships may be more cost effective and better suited to your needs than those shown above. Remember, obtaining an effective fleet may take take 21 to 28 days. Because of losses due to battles, after 21 days your initial 7 capital ships will probably be gone, thus the need for planning ahead.

2.    Uniqueness
Next, we will decide on exactly which ships will be in our battle group, taking into account what we are likely to be be fighting, as well as our unique resources and circumstances. It is particularly important to be able to put our race's special advantages to use, and to take advantage of our enemies disadvantages. In our example, we will be putting together a fairly general-use battle group, and neither our enemy's special disadvantages or our unique circumstances will have a large effect.

C.    How to use
If you have several capital ships travelling together, also have a supply ship. On this ship carry extra fuel and supplies. By carrying supplies, repairs can be made to damaged ships far from a starbase. Five supply units repair 1% damage. Always carry the minimum fuel and fighters/torpedoes required for battle on a capital ship so that if the capital ship is destroyed your resources in the form of extra fighters/torpedoes and fuel aren't lost as well.

D.    The Colonies of Man's ships
The Colonies of Man are an often overlooked race in VGA planets; here is a short lesson on how to use their ships effectively. For the purpose of this supplement, it will be assumed that you are using an unregistered version. First off, it is vital to know about the better ships in the Colony arsenal. Here are some notes about the best Colony ships:

1.    Patriot Class Light Carrier
    - 6 Fighter Bays
    - 2 Beam Weapons
    - 30 KT Cargo Capacity
This ship is a deadly killer. It can destroy virtually any small to medium sized ship and take no damage. The secret to its effectiveness lies in its 6 fighter bays. In a battle, an opposing ship will only be able to fire each of its beam weapons twice before the first fighters arrive; in this same period of time, usually 18 - 20 fighters will have been launched by the Patriot. Therefore, unless the opposing ship has 9 - 10 beam weapons (which is rare), you can be certain of causing damage to the enemy. Against a medium size ship, if only 10 - 12 of the Patriot's fighters are destroyed, the remaining fighters are usually sufficient to destroy the victim; therefore, unless the ship has an extremely high mass, a Patriot Class Carrier can destroy most medium sized ships with less than 7 beam weapons, and 2 Patriot Class Light Carriers working together can destroy virtually any tech 7 or below ship that does not have fighters of its own. Best of all, it is a component of the Colony battle group, described below.

The Patriot Class Light Carrier is virtually useless unless it has 30 fighters. Although you may be able to get away with 25 or so, with much less you are giving up the only advantage the Patriot has - the ability to put a large number of fighters in the air very quickly.

If you need to save money, you can get away with tech 1 beams on the Patriot - it rarely uses them, and when it does, it is to destroy enemy fighters (and for that tech 1 is as good as tech 9).

2.    Gemini Class Carrier
    - 1 Fighter Bay
    - 4 Beam Weapons
    - 400 Cargo
This capable little ship is great for 2 missions:

  1. Transport:
    With 400 cargo capacity you can load a lot of minerals onto this ship, and, with its Fighter Bay and 4 Beams, it is capable of defending itself against smaller ships; therefore you can send it on short journeys unescorted.
  2. Fighter Production:
    When it comes to building fighters, nothing beats the Gemini. To build a lot of fighters quickly just put a Gemini around a mineral rich planet (preferably one with a starbase), and either set the ship's friendly code to 'lfm' or do the following:
    i. Load these on board:
        120 Tritanium
        80 Molybdenum
        200 Supplies
    ii. Set the mission of the Gemini to `Build Fighters' (not necessary if the friendly code is set to 'lfm')
    iii. Next turn you will have 40 fighters! Without paying even a single mega-credit!

3. Tranquility Class Cruiser
    - 2 Torpedo Launchers
    - 4 Beam Weapons
    - 380 Cargo
The Tranquility is a hardy ship that is also a good transport; slightly more powerful than the Gemini, it can be trusted to move cargo to anyplace you need it to go. 'Nuff said.

4.    Little Joe Class Escort
    - 6 Beam Weapons
    - 20 Cargo
The Little Joe is an excellent ship, but only if used properly and never when used alone. Proper use of the Little Joe is described below, in the Colony battle group section.

5.    Cygnus Class Battleship
    - 4 Torpedo Launchers
    - 4 Beam Weapons
    - 50 Cargo
This ship is the third component of the Colony battle group described below. It is the perfect addition to this battle group because it's a cheap torpedo carrier that holds enough torpedoes to last a long campaign.

E.    The Colonies of Man General-Purpose Battle-Group

1.    Ships

  • 1 x Patriot Class Carrier with 30 fighters and tech 6 Beams.
  • 1 x Little Joe Class Escort with Disruptors.
  • 1 x Cygnus Class Battleship with tech 6 Torpedoes and Beams.

These 3 ships, when sent out together, combine to form one of the most powerful battle groups available to the unregistered player, if used properly. When this battle group is about to attack an opponent, set the ships to attack in a certain order that depends upon the type of ship being attacked.

2.    Against a torpedo carrying ship
Set the attack order to the following:

  • Patriot 1st
  • Cygnus 2nd
  • Little Joe 3rd

This is for an obvious reason; the Patriot can destroy most ships, but if it does not succeed, the Little Joe would be mincemeat against a TORP ship.

3.    Against a fighter carrying ship
Set the attack order to the following:

  • Little Joe
  • Cygnus
  • Patriot

The Little Joe will likely be destroyed, but it will take a lot of fighters out with it. Then the Cygnus with it's 4 beams and 4 torps, can clean up.

4.    Against a beam only ship
Set the attack order to the following:

  • Cygnus
  • Patriot
  • Little Joe

In this situation you don't want the Patriot to attack first, since you could expect to lose a lot of its fighters needlessly.

5.    Against an unarmed ship
Send in the Little Joe first. This is the reason why the Little Joe should be armed with disruptors: so that it can capture enemy freighters. Obviously against an unarmed ship, no other ships will enter the battle. If you want to boost the number of ships in this arrangement, you should first add an extra Little Joe to the group. The Little Joe is likely to be destroyed first, and it would also be helpful to have 2 Little Joe's around for stripping fighters off of large enemy fighter carriers.

IV.    Mass, Weapons, and Planetary Defense

A.    Ship Mass
Every race has the Neutronic Refinery Ship (mass 712) and the Merlin Class Alchemy Ship (mass 920). Above a mass of 180 there are only 23 other ships, all the remaining 145 ships have a mass below 180.

B.    Fighters

1.    Use
At weights lower than 180 the beams and torpedoes are very effective, but as the mass increases their effectiveness decreases. Fighters have the same effect on every weight of ship after destroying the shields. Between masses of 450 to 980, the fighters are more effective at destroying ships than the beams or torpedoes.

2.    Ordnance - How Many?
On a large carrier, carry at least 80 to 90 fighters, while a smaller carrier about 30 to 40 fighters is sufficient. However, if you are attacking several targets with a single ship (not wise) more fighters may be prudent.

C.    Beam Weapon Selection
Against fighters the Laser is fine; however, it is wise to choose the X-ray laser in case you need to capture a freighter. In ships that have a mass up to 180 use 4 Blasters as a minimum. The Blaster is the best value for your money. For masses 180 to 450 a higher tech and a larger number of beam weapons should be used. Above 450 never rely on beam weapons alone to destroy a ship; you will need fighters or torpedoes to supplement the beam weapons.

D.    Torpedo Selection

1.    Which Type?
As a general rule torpedoes are more effective at destroying the shields of a ship than causing hull damage. The best torpedo for both shield destruction and hull damage is the Mark 8. Unfortunately, though, your resources at the beginning of the game are limited, and are often best used elsewhere. Above 450 mass, a minimum of 5 torpedo tubes and high-tech torpedoes, to destroy the shields, are needed to do any appreciable damage. It is possible to use Mark 7 or 8s to destroy the shields of a very heavy ship (ex. Fed's Super Nova), and then to use Proton Torps, which always do at least 1% damage, to destroy the hull, but the conditions needed to make this worthwhile are rare. Above 450 mass carriers with fighters are the best choice.

There are only 5 useful torp types.

  1. The Gamma Bomb
    The only real use for the Gamma Bomb is putting it on on ships (often low-mass cloaking ships) that will be trying to steal freighters.
  2. The Mark 4
    For destroying ships that have a hull mass up to 180 the Mark 4 gives the best bang for the buck, but, in the long-run, the amount of minerals needed may offset this. However, at the start of the game it is best not to be overly-worried about the long-run, or you may not be around to see it. The money saved by using Mark 4s at the beginning of the game can go elsewhere and be better used (than on Mark 7 or 8s), usually. Besides, you may regret having upgraded your HW torp tech level to 10 when you find a Siliconoid planet that is perfect for a starbase the next turn.
  3. The Mark 6
    The Mark 6 can provide a useful amount of explosive in a package that, while not as efficient as the Mark 4 or Mark 8, does not have a large start- up cost; to upgrade from tech 7 (the Mark 6) to tech 8 (the Mark 7) costs 700mc or 2400mc to upgrade to tech 10 (the Mark 8). The Mark 6 is the torp to use in a one-time application that requires something with more BANG than the Mark 4. If you are not planning a one-time application, consider the Mark 7. This is also the minimum torp to use if you are destroying ships with a mass of 180 or more.
  4. The Mark 7
    The Mark 7 offers almost as much BANG as the Mark 8, and at a much lower start-up cost (1700mc less). This torpedo can easily replace the Mark 8 in most applications. The Mark 8 itself, however, is a must if you have lots of money, few minerals, and weak ships.
  5. The Mark 8
    Switching from Mark 4s to Mark 8s (or Mark 7s) can make an incredible difference in under-180 mass ships; however, it is only worth the extra money if you are on a Siliconoid planet, or if you are planning to produce a lot of Mark 8s. When producing over-450 ships, the heavier torpedoes (Mark 6, 7, and 8) are almost always used in favor of the Mark 4.

2.    How Many Launcher Tubes?
In most torpedo ship combats, usually two salvoes will be fired. To get the most damage from these salvoes the following MINIMUM combination is recommended for targets that have a mass less than 180:

Ships with 4 torpedo launchers: Mark 4 photon
Ships with 3 torpedo launchers: Mark 6 photon
Ships with 2 torpedo launchers: Mark 7 photon
Ships with 1 torpedo launcher:  Mark 8 photon

For logistics and planning, it is best to not choose torpedo types at random but rather to have well-designed battle-groups. Also, see the section on defending your Home World with small capital ships.

3.    Ordnance
For torpedoes, 7 times the number of torpedo launchers should be adequate. So, on a ship with 3 torpedo launchers have 21 torpedoes. On real naval carriers, the compliment of aircraft is about 85 aircraft on a big carrier and 35 aircraft on a smaller one. Submarines (ships that cloak) carry 18 to 24 torps, while a destroyer will have 6 to 12 torps (the more launch tubes, the more torpedoes).

4.    Minefields
If you only plan to build one small mine field surrounding your starbase the Mark 4 photon is cost effective. A radius of 50 light years will cost 1300mc and use only 100 torpedoes. Up to a radius of 100 light years the Mark 7 photon is better because it uses fewer minerals than a Mark 4 PHOTON. Building more than one minefield or fields larger than 100 light years use the Mark 8 photon because of the tremendous savings in minerals.

The important thing to realize is that once you have upgraded the torp tech level on a starbase, you should use the same tech level of torps on your all ships. If you are really interested in winning, you can even build starbases dedicated to producing a certain tech level of torps\beams\engines\hulls which will take advantage of native races. You can use the starbase RECYCLE command to spread the high-tech parts throughout your empire.

The following is a mine-laying efficiency listing of the various torps. Torpedo Cost (not launcher) to lay _1_ mine unit:







Mark 1 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1 1
Proton torp 2.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1 2
Mark 2 0.56 0.11 0.11 0.11 3 3
Gamma bomb 1.11 0.11 0.11 0.11 3 4
Mark 3 0.75 0.06 0.06 0.06 4 5
Mark 4 0.52 0.04 0.04 0.04 5 6
Mark 5 0.86 0.03 0.03 0.03 6 7
Mark 6 0.71 0.02 0.02 0.02 7 8
Mark 7 0.56 0.02 0.02 0.02 8 9
Mark 8 0.54 0.01 0.01 0.01 10 10

The formula for number of mines laid is: mines_laid = number_of_torpedoes * type^2
Number of torpedoes times the torpedo type level squared will equal the number of mine units laid.

Assuming that one torpedo was used, divide the cost for one torpedo by the number of mines laid by that same torpedo to find the cost per mine. Note that this is for comparison purposes only; do not try to calculate the cost of laying a minefield with this, because you will likely end up with an incorrect answer due to rounding. Do not dismiss a difference of 0.02, or 0.01.

When you start laying 25 or so torpedoes every couple of days, it adds up FAST! An important factor not included in the mine-laying efficiency stats is that if you use the torpedoes for battle, it is a great deal of help if you have a high torp tech level (although, this does not mean that all your torps have to be high-tech torps; it means that you should use high-tech torps when they are available). Since you will always be using the highest tech level of torps that you can produce, the only question is what tech level to upgrade to. If you're on an Siliconoid planet (which gives your starbase automatic tech 10 torp level) you will be building only Mark 8s or Gamma Bombs (except for a few, rare scenarios where you may need to use a different type of torps). If there is no starbase on a Siliconoid planet nearby, you will have to choose a tech level to upgrade to. For the 5 useful torp types see the section on choosing torp types.

E.    Planetary Defense Post Tables

DP Ftr Bm Clans Tech DP Ftr Bm Clans Tech
1 1 1 1 1 85 9 5 1257 7 *
3 2 1 3 1 91 10 6 1710 7
5 2 1 5 2 * 111 11 6 3740 7
7 3 1 7 2 113 11 6 3987 8 *
13 4 2 13 3 * 127 11 7 5940 8
19 4 3 19 3 133 12 7 6897 8
21 5 3 21 3 145 12 7 9027 9 *
25 5 3 25 4 * 157 13 7 11445 9
31 6 3 31 4 168 13 8 14151 9
37 6 4 37 4 181 13 8 17145 10 *
41 6 4 41 5 * 183 14 8 17672 10
43 7 4 43 5 211 15 8 25890 10
57 8 4 95 5 217 15 9 27855 10
61 8 5 165 6 * 241 16 9 36435 10
73 9 5 567 6 271 16 10 48780 10

`*' denotes a beam tech level increase.

NOTE: Having 181 Defense Posts means that when the planet is attacked it will use Heavy Phasers in its defense; it does not mean that a starbase over the planet will have a tech 10 beam level. In other words, just because the tech level of beams used to defend a planet against attack increases due to a high number of defense posts does not mean that the tech level of beams that a starbase can produce goes up.

NOTE: The tech level of beams used to defend a planet will not be lower than the beam tech level on a starbase above the planet; however, it may be lower.

V.    Basic Conservative Strategy for the New Player
The following is what can be referred to as standard practice. It is not necessarily recommended; it is just standard, conservative play that you can use as base for more complex, innovative, and effective strategies and tactics. Make sure that you also read the section on Convoy and Battle Groups.

A.    On the First Day

1.    Race Choice
For the novice player, a cloaking race such as the Lizards or Birdman would be a wise race choice. Cloaking ships have the advantages of usually being low-tech, as well as forcing you to become a better player. Cloakers can also get away with low-tech engines easier than most other ships. The Robots would also be a wise choice, especially in a short game.

2.    Home World Development
Bring your defense posts to 21: guaranteed to not be detected by a bioscanner or a sensor sweep.
Bring your factories up to max: supplies can be sold for money and are needed to colonize. Free fighter races also need supplies to build fighters.
Bring your mines up to max: this will let you get a quick start on colonizing as well as in defense/small raids.
Bring your tax rate up to 9%: you can usually increase taxes to the first level of "They are angry at you" without any adverse effects. Money is needed to get a quick start in the game.

3.    Home World Defense
Do not bring your starbase defense level to 200 right away. Doing so will waste 1800mc, and 180 Duranium, a precious commodity early in the game. Neither should you bring your starbase fighters to 60. This will waste more money than you can spare this early in the game. If you are a free-fighter race (Robots, Rebels, and Colonies) you should bring your fighters up to 60 with caution, always making sure that you will have enough minerals for the ships you will soon be producing.

Later on, as minerals become more common, colonization less important, and the threat of attack more menacing, you will likely want to raise your Home World defenses as much as you can. However, do not totally neglect defending your HW (Home World).

During the first two weeks, while building ships, increase your planetary defense posts, starbase defense strength, and add fighters. Work toward getting the number of fighters on your starbase to 60 (max) and the planetary defense to max within 20 to 25 turns. This is your last line of defense. Always make sure your defense posts are 100+ so that your planet's industrial activity is guaranteed to be shielded from long range sensor sweeps. Obviously, if your HW is closer to your enemies, defense will be more important sooner. A starbase with 30 fighters, 100 planetary defense posts, and 100 starbase defense strength is equivalent to a carrier with a mass of 300kt, 40 fighters, and 6 phasers (section 2.4 and 4.1 docs).

Small Capital Ships for Defense

  1. Reason
    One of the other tools for defending your starbases should be several low-cost ships with beam weapons and torpedoes. When a carrier attacks a small ship, the small ship will usually get to fire off two salvoes of beam weapons and two salvoes of torps before it is destroyed. So, if it has 4 beams and 2 torp launchers, it will shoot down 8 fighters and do a little damage to the carrier. Several of these expendable capital ships may weaken the carrier sufficiently that the starbase to survive.
  2. Construction
    Use tech 1 engines with one kt of fuel on board. Put X-RAY LASERS on board, and use the most explosive torpedo that you can afford but load only 2 or 3 torps per tube.

4.    Starbase Tech Levels

  • Hull - tech 6
    I find that this level gives a good complement of ships. The ideal freighter being the Large Deep Space Freighter.
  • Engines - tech 10
    Most fuel efficient on all ships.
  • Weapons - tech 3
    The blaster offers good explosive damage for its cost, use in minerals and cost in tech level.
  • Torp - tech 5
    The Mark 4 in all weight ranges is the best bang for the buck. On ships with only 1 or 2 tubes the Mark 8 or the Mark 7 offsets the disadvantage of few tubes and the 35% chance of a miss.

5.    Planning and Calculating Ahead
You can plan for most games to last about 40 to 60 turns. The first major battles will likely occur around turn 20 to 30 with a couple races knocked out. Turns 30 to 50 usually see a few more players knocked out with the game winding down after turn 50. Prepare your strategy. Even before you begin the game, review your race's advantages, and plan a strategy that you will use. Then, be sure to stick to your strategy. You will likely have to wait until you know who your neighbors are before you can get too specific about your strategy. Also, be sure to leave room for change in your strategy. Do not leave it so open-ended that you fight an undisciplined war, but do leave room for change. This is easy to forget as you progress in playing ability.

When following through with your strategy, use aggressive tactics that are specially designed and customized for the task at hand. As an example: if you are planning to distract the enemy and then launch an attack to his side the following tactic could be used to distract the enemy... (example) Object: To put the enemy into a defensive and frame of mind by disrupting freight lanes and through the use of a sudden, large number of attacks (sweeping a minefield can be considered an attack in this case).

Birds as offending race, Robots as the defending race.

  • 5-10 Swift Heart Class Scouts with X-Rays.
  • 4-7 Resolutes with Disruptors (one Resolute sweeps 800 mines per turn), Heavy Disruptors (one Resolute sweeps 1984 mines per turn), or Heavy Phasers (one Resolute sweeps 3200 mines per turn).

Explanation of Requirements:
The Swift Heart Class Scout is a cheap cloaking ship that you can sacrifice for the purpose of taking out a freighter along with you. You may want to use beams with a smaller crew-kill factor. The number of Resolutes needed depends on the beam weapon used. Disrupter, Heavy Disrupter, and Heavy Phaser are the levels to consider upgrading your starbase tech level to for the purpose of minesweeping. Disrupter is the minimum to equip your minesweeping Resolutes with. Remember that if you spend a large amount of money on a tech upgrade to get full use out of it.

Line up all your Resolutes as close to the border of the Robots existing minefield as possible. On one of your Resolutes, have enough torpedoes so that you can drop a minefield of your own as a quick way to remove the Robot's minefield. It is possible that you can achieve the same quick-removal effect through regular sweeping, but that method is limited in the area that can be cleared of enemy mine.

When all the Swift Hearts and Resolutes are as near to the minefield as they can safely get (they're all cloaked, of course!) you will drop a minefield from your Resolute prepared for that purpose. This same turn that you dropped your own minefield move your Swift Hearts (cloaked) to, or as near to a planet as they can get. You will also begin the following with your Resolutes. The Resolutes are used to mine-sweep when Robots drops mines. The main purpose is to put the Robots into a defensive frame of mind. The Resolutes must cloak and move a few light-years, and then uncloak in order to mine-sweep. They then cloak and repeat. Be sure within reach of the Robot's mines, and to always have at least two Resolutes uncloaked and sweeping mines so that the enemy knows he is wasting his resources laying mines, and also so that he knows that if he stops laying mines, the Resolutes will sneak in and attack (they would attack using a tactic similar to the one the Swift Hearts are currently using).

The Swift Hearts will attack anything they can damage, destroy, or steal every turn until they are gone. The Resolutes can continue sweeping mines ad infinitum, or at least until they run out of fuel. When you feel that you have the enemy playing the most defensively, you will launch your attack with properly designed attacking ships. (end of example) Try to always have a 7 day plan. Be aware of the cost in mega-credits and minerals for the fleet you are building so that you will not be caught short. See the section `Documents and Utilities' `BUILD1_1' for more information on fleet planning and design.

Once you own more planets, take a look at the mining surveys and calculate the number on minerals you will have in 7 days, 14 days and 21 days. By looking ahead you can see where your weakness in minerals is, and when you might run out. You will also see which ships you will and will not be able to build. First determine what you would like and how much it will cost.

For example, to build 10 WHITE Falcon Class Cruisers consider:
Cost of raising the hull tech level to a minimum tech 3.
Cost of raising the beam tech level to a level desired.
Cost of raising the TORP tech level to a level desired.
Cost of raising the ENGINE tech level to maximum.

Cost in mega credits and minerals for 40 beam weapons.
Cost in mega credits and minerals for 10 torpedo launchers
Cost in mega credits and minerals for 20 engines
Cost in mega credits and minerals for 10 hulls
Cost in mega credits and minerals for 100 torpedoes (10 per ship)

Amount of fuel required for 10 full tanks: 4300 neutronium.

Now, from the mining surveys you can determine if some of the minerals you are short of can be transported from other planets. Or maybe your ships can be just as effective with tech 1 beam weapons which are cheaper and use less minerals than higher tech beam weapons. Maybe tech 2 torpedoes could still perform in the role required, but are cheaper than higher tech torpedoes. Maybe have only 3 beam weapons instead of four, or no torpedo launchers instead of 1 on board. As your resources improve you could plan a fleet replacement and purchase the ships you truly desire.

Whatever your strategy is, plan for 7, 14 and 21 days ahead and ensure you have the resources in supplies, factories, minerals and mega credits to fulfil it. Whatever you plan, be innovative, cunning, and read up on tactical warfare. Strategy by B.H. Liddel Hart and How Great Generals Win by Bevin Alexander are but two of the many excellent books available at your local library. Field Marshal Rommel's tactics with the Afrika Corps in North Africa can be used here with astounding results.

6.    Ships

a.    First Ships
Unless Home Worlds are close together, you should first build an LDSF (Large Deep Space Freighter) for colonizing. After building this, you may have to rest a few turns to let your Duranium stores build up again. In the case that Home Worlds are close together, you may want to build a suitable capital ship or two first. If possible, build one with a large cargo capacity (350 or more) so that it can act as a freighter.

When Home Worlds are close together, you do not want to risk losing a valuable freighter to a scout with only 2 X-Rays. If you cannot build a capital ship that can act as a freighter, always be sure to escort your ships. If you are playing in a game where many of the planets you find will not be worthwhile, you may want to build an MDSF (Medium Deep Space Freighter) so that you can scout out the good planets. Once the MDSF's job of scouting has been finished, it can be colonized or put to use in small cargo transport.

If you plan to colonize it you may choose to build a Smallie (Small Deep Space Freighter) instead. For the first seven days you should likely build the cheapest craft with the highest number of cargo holds. This is usually the Large Deep Space Freighter. Consider using the Large Deep Space Freighter for colonization, and the Medium Deep Space Freighter for mineral movement at this early stage in the game. Do not forget that you may have a capital ship that will function in the role of colonization or mineral movement more effectively than these two freighters.

Be sure to equip your first ships with tech 10 engines so that they can remain out of sight of the races that have hyperdrive ships (Cyborg, Empire, Rebels). These ships can be aimed at your planets (see section on the Hyperdrive) to capture undefended freighters from you in less time than it takes to send a capital ship to save your freighter. You will also have to make sure that you produce enough capital ships to defend a minor exploratory attack on your growing empire. Unless you're planning a sudden surprise attack, stay away from large expensive ships that will hinder your colonization. Large expensive ships also have the disadvantage that they can only be in one place at a time. An attack may strike just far enough away from your large expensive ship that you could be wiped out, even if you currently own the most powerful ship in the game. Take note, Cyborg.

b.    More Ships

i.    Criteria
Whatever ship you select, KNOW what role you will use it for and build it with the weapons that will be most effective in that role (taking into account your resources, too, of course). Having 7 similar ships is easier to plan with than having 7 non-standard designs of the same ship. When you start building battle groups keep them standard as well. A battle group is a collection of ships that complement each other in fulfilling a single role. ALL ships are designed for a specific purpose, and when used for that purpose are very effective. Do not ignore any particular ship because it is traditionally not used, or seems to be too wimpy. Even the most useless seeming ships can sometimes have valuable purposes in your empire. Also, see the section on battle or convoy groups for a list of important criteria for general-use ships. Also, see the section on Battle and Convoy Groups, which contains useful criteria for selecting ships. From turns 7 to 14 you should start building your main capital ships. If you empire is running smoothly, you should be able to produce almost one every turn, so that by turn 14 you have a fleet of at least 7 capital ships. Between turns 21 and 28 you should have developed an effective fleet.

ii.    Outfitting

x.    Engines
It is important to remember that this is just basic strategy. If you are daring and plan to win, you will have to be more innovative than this, have enemies that play poorly, or just be very lucky. If you are registered, put tech 10 engines (the Transwarp) on all of your ships. This is the most fuel efficient, will allow you to easily chase down enemies, and let you spend less time in space while en-route to your destination.

xx.    Weapons
There are two primary theories to weapons. One is to use the most powerful weapon you can (ex. Mark 8), and the other is to use the most efficient weapon (ex. Mark 4). The best solution is a combination of both. The reasoning behind the biggest BANG theory is that if your ship survives because you spent more on weapons, then the extra money was worth it. The reasoning behind the most efficient weapon theory is that by using cheaper weapons, you can produce so many more ships that it's worth losing a few more battles. The best solution has to be tailored to your particular circumstances (enemy, abundance of minerals, abundance of mega-credits, race) as well as to your playing style. For a more detailed discussion on weapons see the appropriate sections.

B.    Expanding your Empire with Planets

1.    Colonizing
You will often want to send a small scout ahead of you so that it can find good planets and you can plan ahead for them. For example, if your scout has found a planet that can generate a lot of money is only a bit farther on, you may want to hold off on colonizing the in-between planets so that you can tax this high-revenue planet sooner. You will want to put 100 clans on most planets that you colonize. The reason for this is that 100 clans can sustain enough mines for most planets as well as build 100 factories. Over 100 clans, you can not build 1 factory for every clan.

For most races the best colonizing freighter is the Large Deep Space FREIGHTER. Remember to include about 25 supplies and 100mc for every 100 colonists. If resources are scarce, you can go to 10 supplies and 50mc. Planets that have natives (other than Amorphous ones) can generate their own money, and you do not have to supply these with mega-credits to get started. Try to make the warps between planets in one turn so that you will not be seen. This is especially important if everyone knows that you are a rookie. If you are experienced, they may assume that you believe you are strong enough to repel an attack.

When you have a ship over an unowned planet do a mineral survey. To do this, select the ship that is over the unowned planet. Then press F4 and the F5. You can now unload some colonists onto the planet. If there are natives (other than Amorphous ones) you need only to unload supplies and colonists and your freighter can move to the next planet in the same turn. If there are no natives, your ship will have to wait there until next turn when you own the planet so that you can give it some mega-credits. The reason it does not need mega-credits if there are natives is that you can tax the natives and the planet will generate its own mega-credits. You may have to stay in orbit, even if there are natives on the planet. Your ship may be short on fuel, in which case, you can gamble that there will be enough fuel on the planet's surface to get you to the next planet. To gamble like this, set your mission to `G'ather Neutronium and before you leave the planet's orbit, your ship will automatically beam up all the neutronium on the surface. You may be forced to wait at the planet until another ship can refuel you or until you have mined some neutronium from the planet.

2.    Development of Planets
When colonizing, do not neglect planetary defense posts on newly-owned planets. There are three primary types of defense--capital ships, planetary defense, and mines, usually in that order of importance. Of the three, planetary defense will be the most important defense against small scouts with 2 X-Ray beams that wander into your territory looking for unguarded planets. In order to prevent small scouts from taking over your precious new planets and destroying many of the factories and mines as well as stealing any money on the planet you need about 13 defense posts.

It is generally safe to let a planet go without 13 defense posts for the first few turns that you own it. After that, you will want a minimum of 13 defense posts to defend from small scouts or small hyperdrive ship attacks. The 13 defense posts should be increased by a couple every turn. Don't build mines until you have maxed out the number of factories you can build (unless you urgently need some minerals). By the time you have about 25-50 mines built (if you have decided that the planet is worthy of that many) you should have your planetary defense to max, or almost there.

3.    Building a New Starbase

a. What for?
Do not think that you will never have to build another STARBASE. If someone attacks and destroys your Home World, you will need another base to survive in the game. A starbase can also be used as added defense for a valuable planet. You may find that your Home World starbase is overwhelmed by the need for new ships in your empire. You may need ships to be produced nearer to your enemy's heartland. Maybe you need a supply of torpedoes or fighters closer to the action.

Moving minerals from far away to your Home World is also very wasteful of fuel, and a starbase nearer to high- production planets will save fuel and effort. Once the 500 ship limit is reached, he with the most starbases has the best chance to win. Do not build a starbase simply for the sake of building a starbase, though. Whenever you build a new starbase, have a specific purpose for it in mind that is part of your over-all strategy.

b. About Building a Starbase
You may need to build a Large Deep Space Freighter, to transport any materials and colonists required to the chosen planet. To defend the new starbase you will need one to three capital ships, at least until it has full defense posts and max fighters.

For building a starbase you need the following:

  • 900 mega-credits
  • 402 Tritanium
  • 120 Duranium
  • 340 molybdenum
  • colonists

A Large Deep Space Freighter or a couple of capital ships with a lot of cargo holds can deliver these minerals. The ships can also be used to deliver additional colonists and minerals after the starbase is started. You will also need supplies and more mega-credits to build factories, mines, and defense posts. Do not leave only 100 clans on your starbase. A cloaking race (especially the Lizards) may find this out and beam colonists of their own down. Suddenly, they'll have your starbase for free! You will need at least 500 clans to be fairly safe. Before you can feel really secure, you should have several thousand clans on your starbase.

C.    Defense of your Empire
With hyper-drive potentially in the hands of any race you can be attacked from a 1000 light years away only a few days after the start of the game. Get your HW (Home World) defense posts above 100, keep your ships hidden and don't lay a minefield until it is absolutely necessary (minefields can be detected from a large distance away). Every day check to see if any other ships are orbiting any of your planets. Always be watching for any sign that your enemy (or your ally) is planning an attack. Always be thinking about how you would attack if you were your enemy. Prepare your defense for this. You can second-guess yourself forever. For every tactic there is a counter-tactic for which there is a way around by using a different tactic. Choose the type of attack you expect and prepare for it. Do your best to prepare for every possibility, though. The Parker Bros. game "Risk" was called so for a reason. You can't play without being aggressive, taking risks, and gambling and still hope to win.

D.    Attacking the Enemy
Always plan out your attacks. Avoid an all-out battle of attrition. Use your forces with daring and stealth. See the section on hyperdrive ships. See the section on battle Groups. Battle groups can make effective forays into enemy territory that can put him into a defensive mood, as well as destroy valuable ships and resources, especially when used in an organized and thought-out manner.

1.    Your Enemy
See the section on team-work. Avoid a two fronted war by having one enemy at a time. Negotiate with the others for an alliance or truce so that you can use your forces on a single enemy. In this way you can concentrate your forces against one opponent. If possible, use your ally to help destroy the enemy. Two against one is always better than one on one. Working in a team is even better. With your resources pooled you will be more effective. If my race cannot build fighters cheaply (i.e. just use 3 TRI, 2 MOLY and 5 supply, no mega-credits) then I will build ships that carry torpedoes.

Unless I can do a quick kill on their starbase, I will avoid conflict with races that can build fighters cheaply. Instead, I will aid another race by providing some ships/credits to do my "dirty work" for me. This is similar to the strategy the Byzantine (500ad) and the British Empires (18th century) followed. Be ruthless and aggressive to effectively carry out your plans of universal domination. An opponent who isn't completely destroyed can rebuild. Spare no one. The U.S. Navy in World War II had a motto--"HUNT THEM, FIND THEM, SINK THEM!".

Even if your opponent has a fleet stronger and larger than yours, never despair. All the great Generals in human history won their battles with forces that were greatly outnumbered and outgunned. How? They concentrated their forces and struck at their enemy's weakest areas. Attacking where least expected and with more forces than your opponent has in that area will allow you to survive, and eventually turn the tide. Never do what your opponent expects you to and never be where he thinks you are. In any situation, determine what is most the most obvious course of action to follow and what is LEAST obvious. In most cases, do the least obvious. Always mystify, mislead, and surprise your enemy. Never underestimate any player. Always be sure to correctly estimate the effects of your attack on your enemy.

2.    Targets
It is usually best to try and avoid head to head conflicts involving the loss of ships. Attack the resources that supply, build, and fuel these ships. By avoiding battles against large ships you can commit your resources to smaller capital ships and have economy of force. Remember to try and do the unexpected, but at the same time be sure to keep in mind that certain operations are simply more worthwhile than others. In order of importance, here are the primary targets.

  1. Home World
    Whenever possible ALWAYS destroy your opponent's HOME WORLD. As well as being his source for building ships, mega-credits, supplies, and colonists a blow here can also knock him out of the game. Psychologically the loss of the Home World can cause a player to give up and stop playing.
  2. Control of the Battlefield
    If you can take control of the battlefield, you can call the shots. Bully the enemy if you can. The safety that freedom of movement generates will usually pay for itself.
  3. Planets
    By capturing enemy planets you deny him observation posts. This can be done by unloading colonists onto the planet for ground war. Watch enemy movements with cloaking ships, as well as from a distance. See if you can find his primary planets. Attack a couple of these over a spread-out area can weaken the enemy greatly. Attacking lesser planets that the enemy is using primarily for the 100 supplies per turn it generates can also force him to either spend a lot of money on a minefield (which you will just sweep), force him to spread out his forces, or force him to lose these planets. If he decides to sacrifice these lesser planets, you can use them as FORWARD SUPPLY BASES.
  4. Freighters
    Destroying enemy freighters denies the enemy the minerals needed at his starbase.
  5. Capital Ships
    Destroy enemy capital ships ONLY when your losses are minimal and his losses are maximum or when it gives you a commanding control over the battlefield

3.    Attacks
Time your attacks carefully. Timing can make the difference between success and failure. Before you attack know what your target has for defense. If you are attacking ships that are in space, check to see what you will be attacking by using `L' and `V'. After you have identified the enemy ships, use the program PROSIM.EXE (with SIM.EXE) to see if you will be successful in a conflict. Determine which ships and in which order you will send your ships in to attack. Set the ship's mission to "intercept" or KILL and input the Primary Enemy. The ship with the lowest friendly code (numerical) will attack first.

To change the order of attack change the friendly code. For example ship A is to attack second and ship B first. Set ship A code to 2xx and B to 1xx. Read the Doc "HOSTxx.ZIP" for more info. When attacking or defending, do not waste your forces piecemeal. If you want a target, then commit enough ships to be successful. It is a waste of resources to send 3 ships and lose them, even if the target is destroyed. Send 6. That way, although you still lose three ships, you have 3 left to control the area. Remember, you must have sufficient ships to win, as well as to repel any counter attack. Know what your target defenses are, and then use the best combination of weapons against it. You will lose ships in an attack, anticipate this. Carriers are the most efficient way of attacking a starbase, but only when used as part of a battle group.

E.    Freight Movement
Bringing minerals to a starbase can be done with capital ships that have large cargo holds or freighters. Using a capital ship that cloaks is ideal, because no one can see what your route of travel is.

F.    Movement
If you are using a ship that doesn't cloak, try to travel from planet to planet in one turn. When in orbit around a planet your enemies cannot see you. When you cannot make a move in one turn, be sure to avoid telegraphing your moves. Don't move in a straight line from one planet to another. Zig zag so your opponents are not sure of your destination.

1.    Convoy
To protect your ships have them travel in a convoy. Set the to travel at the same speed, moving to exactly the same location each turn. This is accomplished by having all the ships intercept the lead ship in the convoy. To travel to a distant cluster of planets have several freighters travel in a convoy with an escort. Their path should closely resemble a firecracker on the 1st of July. All the ships travel together for as long as possible and then suddenly the convoy breaks up with each ship travelling a very short distance to its assigned planet. Using several freighters, a large number of planets can be checked out quickly.

If the distance between planets is too great to be done economically because of fuel concerns, have some escorts standing on station at certain locations. Sitting on station at warp 0, the escorts will not use valuable fuel. The convoys can then move to these stations for extra protection. If your resources are low, you can tow a ship and put StarDrive 1 engines on it. For example, a Large Deep Space Freighter with high tech engines could tow a capital ship that has only tech 1 engines. The cost of the capital ship then is minimized.

2.    Or the Lack There-Of
When NOT moving - unless your capital ships are on convoy duty they should be in one of two locations.

  1. At the starbase to maximize the defenses or somewhere else standing by to face any enemy action.
  2. In a strong, single strike force moving to attack the enemy.

3.    Fuel Burn
The heavier the ship, the more fuel it will burn. When selecting beam weapons, engines, torpedoes, torpedo launchers and fighters check the weight. A positron beam weighs 3 KT and a blaster 4 KT. Carrying 60 fighters will burn less fuel than 80 fighters. Having 150kt of fuel weighs less than 200kt fuel, therefore the ship will burn less. The biggest advantage to registering is that you will be able to build tech 10 engines, and move further and faster than before. A tech 7 engine is the minimum size engine that should be used on most ships. Lesser tech engines can be used on ships that are just staying and protecting the starbase.

G.    Scouts, Observation Posts, and Forward Supply Bases
A SMALL Scout with high-tech engines can move rapidly and economically around the universe looking for enemy ships and planets. By leaving one colonist clan at each planet, this planet becomes an observation post on enemy activity.

By leaving several colonists with supplies and mega- credits, some factories and eventually some mines can be built to provide fuel and supplies to ships operating far from your own territory. This planet is a forward supply base. With colonists on the planet you can use `v' to look at other ships that come close. Also use 'L' to list the ships if they are travelling in a convoy; then cycle through using 'V' to see which ships are there. Depending on which version of PLANETS.EXE you have, you may have to use the lower-case of `l' and `v'!

H.    Native Races
A number of planets with good native races can win the game for you. Native races to look for:

  • Avian and Insectoid are a good source for mega credits.
  • Reptilian help with mining.
  • Bovinoid make extra supplies.
  • Ghipsoldal gives tech 10 engine technology when building a starbase.
  • Humanoid - tech 10 hulls with starbase.
  • Amphibian - tech 10 beams with starbase.
  • Siliconoid - tech 10 torps with starbase.

A tech 10 advantage race can save you 4500mc and is the only way that unregistered players can achieve anything beyond tech 6. Note that natives, just like you, grow (on planets with the right temperature!). Taxes have the same effects on them. A good government, though, can greatly increase the taxes you will earn. Also, note that on some planets it is not wise to build too many mines or factories, since that will decrease the maximum tax rate, which will in turn, decrease the amount you will earn. Remember, you can only mine a planet once, but the taxation factor is forever. For example, on an Insectoid planet with 10 million natives that is earning 300mc a turn, building 100 factories and only 25 mines will likely lower the maximum tax rate by 1%. 1% will cost you 300mc a turn, or 900mc in 3 turns, or, the cost of 60 fighters in 20 turns. Serious business. Make sure you are certain that further development on a planet is what you want.

VI.    Specific Strategies

A.    Lizards
DAY 1: Engine tech level to 10 ........transwarp drive
             Weapon tech level to 3 ........blasters
             Torpedo tech level to 5.........mark 4's
             Hull tech level to 4.........
             Tax level to about 18%....10 levels above the green....which is usually around 8%. The 18% requires one ship on HISSS mission.

1.    Strategy
The small freighter I will colonize on my home planet and the Serpent Class Escort will go on HISSS mission above my home world. I will usually build 6 to 8 Lizard cruisers. For the first 10 days I will send the Lizard cruisers out to planets solo, always cloaked. After that they only go in pairs. If a planet is close enough to be reached in one turn, then by about day 6, I will increase my hull tech level to 6 and build 2 large deep space freighters to haul colonists and minerals.

Around day 10 I will keep 4 to 6 Lizard cruisers and the serpent escort above my home planet on hiss rate for 7 ships on HISSS is 7 x 5 = 35 + 13 = 48%. I will now increase my hull tech level to 10 and build at least 2 T-Rex's. I use Blasters on both the Lizard cruisers and the T-Rex's and keep 21 torps on the Lizards, 60 torps on the T-Rex's. To destroy a fully defended starbase will require 7 Lizard cruisers as long as there are no other ships present. 2 T-Rex's and 6 Lizard cruisers should be able to destroy any ships, the starbase and still have some surviving ships. If I discover an enemy's newly built starbase, I will drop colonists onto the planet, so that I can capture the planet and starbase. At combat odds of 20X it doesn't take too many colonists to take the planet and starbase.

The Feds are ideal allies. The Thor Class Frigate and Diplomacy Cruiser as Lizard ships are very deadly with 150% damage capability. If the Fed player is 500+ light years away, I will try to buy or steal some hyperdrive or accelerated ships from nearby enemies. These ships can sent to the Feds and back, so that we can build starbases near to each other in order to produce fleets with ships that work well together.

B.    Birds
Consider a fleet of 6 cloaking Swift Heart Class Scouts, moving through enemy shipping lanes, observing enemy ship movement, and orbiting enemy planets & starbases. They could be used for Super Spy mission and to guide in your offensive force of 5 or 6 Fearless Wing cruisers and Bright Heart Class Destroyers for capturing and destroying enemy planets, weakly defended starbases and ships. Captured minerals, mc, and ships can be sent home to increase your own resources.

As the battle escalates, you may find that you have to increase your firepower and go to the Deth Specula Class Frigate and Resolute Class Battleship. If you are registered, the Dark Wing Class Battleship and Red Wind Class Carrier would make a good combination for destroying starbases. By using a fleet of cloaking ships you can prey on shipping lanes by staying right over top of enemy planets undetected. Dropping colonists onto enemy planets while in a cloaked Swift Class Scout can force an enemy to commit more ships to defense, while you have your main force elsewhere.

C. Fascists
The Fascists' biggest advantage is pillaging against yourself. (The idea of self-pillaging is from Chris Smith, FAQ0313). When I arrive at a planet, I check for natives. Beam down one clan, and in the same turn, pillage the planet. The one clan will be gone, but for every 1,000,000 natives the planet will now have 100 supplies and 100 Credits. If at all possible, I will ally myself with the Evil Empire, Rebel or Cyborg to have access to a steady source of hyperdrive ships. By using a hyperdrive ship in the same manner as the Rebel player, I can launch into a planets orbit unseen. With the mission preset to pillage and no enemy specified I can kill off 20% of the natives and colonists. This is very useful against the Cyborg.

If I ally myself to the Privateer, I will use his accelerated ships to tow my battle groups to the enemy faster. You can also use the tactic of self-pillaging with hyperdrive ships in order to easily develop starbases on very distant planets. Use enough hyperdrive ships to send about 115 colonists, find a planet with lots of natives and some minerals, self-pillage, and then you can quickly build mines and factories. Four Deth Speculas and 2 D7 Coldpain cruisers make up a battle group. The Deth Specs are armed with 24 MK 4's torps, 11 colonists and a mix of blasters and x-rays beams. Both D7's carry 70 MK 8 torps and 30 colonists. The colonists are for establishing damage repair and refueling bases in enemy territory. I also rely on captured freighters to help build a starbase near the enemy and provide me with captured colonists. The D7 is ideal for carrying extra fuel and by laying a minefield with the 100 Mk 8's I can destroy most enemy minefields that would normally cause my cloakers grief. I will then re-scoop the minefield with my D7 or to rearm the Deths.

If I find a starbase I will try to identify which ships, if any, are defending and then tow them away from the planet. My towing ships will have no enemy race specified as the enemy, UNLESS I know I can defeat the ship being towed. One ship will be left above the planet to PILLAGE, while a D7 will lay a minefield. The towing, laying of mines, and PILLAGING will be planned to happen all during the same turn for maximum effectiveness. The next turn I will cloak all ships and watch which ships are destroyed in my minefield. Then, I will re-scoop the minefield.

D.    Cyborg
1.    hyperdrive Ships
*see section on Hyper-drive for more info.*

One of the first ships I build is the B200 Class Probe which is then loaded with 12 colonists and 3 supplies and used to colonize. If I plan to use it for scouting, I will instead load 10 colonists, 5 supplies, and 70 mega- credits. When colonizing, the only planets you will be able to colonize with such a small cargo capacity are the ones that have natives that you can assimilate. A few supplies will build the first factory and mega-credits can be generated from taxation. For scouting, you will be wanting to establish small repair and resupply bases. You may want to do this on a planet that does not have natives to assimilate. If you do, you should use all ten colonists, 5 supplies, and 70 mega-credits on this planet.

2.    Strategy
In a long game NOTHING can overwhelm the Cyborg.... Finding natives races to assimilate overcomes the limitations of a small cargo hold for carrying colonists. From DAY 1 build lots of these probes and hyper-drive them out to planets within 350ly to find natives. By assimilating natives the colonists grow quickly and new starbases can be started very easily. Money can be transported very easily on the PROBE. With this money it is possible to build starbases on planets with natives close to enemy Home Worlds, and upgrade the tech levels in ONE day to produce the Biocide or Annihilation cube ships. In a very short time it is easy to have a LOT of planets and a lot of starbases.

The short range of the Probe (one jump and then only 30 units of fuel left) can be overcome by having planets set up as fuelling stations. Then by jumping 350ly from planet to planet the probe can still move quickly and be unseen. PWI350LY has "JUMP ROUTES" for planets that are 350ly apart. Without using the hyper-drive this race is a real dog. But...all its limitations are overcome through the use of this tiny ship. By colonizing planets with natives ALL OVER THE UNIVERSE.....this race becomes unstoppable. As the starbases are being built the ideal ship to build is torp carrying Cube. My fleet usually constitutes of a mess of probes, some torp carry Cubes, and some Fireclouds for towing or generally purpose transport. With the ability to make free fighters the Colonies makes a good ally.

E.    Empire

1.    hyperdrive Ships
*see section on Hyper-drive for more info on using DARK SENSE*

PL32 Probe Cargohold: 20
Fueltank: 180
Crew: 1


Cargo configuration: Colonizing: 20 colonists
Scouting: 10 colonists
10 supplies
70 megacredits

With three jumps totaling 1050ly and 30 units of fuel left over, the PL32 Probe has an excellent operational range.

Turns 1 to 10
Build 10 probes and position 4 around the starbase on DARK SENSE. Send 2 probes to an ally and the remaining 4 to the edge of the universe to build a couple of starbases there for Probe production. Turns 10 to 20....send out the probes in groups of 5 to clusters of planets near the center of the universe near enemy races to find planets with natives. Ideally build a starbase that can have tech 10 ENGINES automatically. By upgrading the hull tech to tech 2 the H-Ross carrier can be built. With the free fighters small offensive operations can be launched from here.

With DARK SENSE the Empire can be selective in his planet targets, thus offsetting the disadvantage of only having 1 beam on the PROBE. Any starbase locations can be passed onto Rebel. With his Falcons on RGA, it is possible to knock a player out of the game within the first week if he doesn't check what is in orbit around his Home World. Best ally.....Fascists for the pillage building probes for the Fascists, he can hyper-drive directly into a planet's orbit with mission preset to PILLAGE. Since the Host is normally configured to NOT ALLOW planets to attack Rebels and Fascists on their special missions .....BINGO..... a planet in trouble! Unless the enemy has ships set to KILL or the enemy set to fascists, the Probe will not be attacked.

2.    Strategy
Don't be afraid of building too many bases; each of your bases will pay for itself in the free fighters it produces. The Gorbie is the most powerful ship in the game. It makes for great intimidation, especially against less experienced players. Be sure to use it wisely, making sure that when you use it, the correct ships are used along with it so that you get the most out of your investment.

F.    Robots
DAY 1 Engine tech level to 10 ........transwarp drive
            Weapon tech level to 3 .......blasters
            Torpedo tech level to 10 .....mark 8's
            Hull tech level to 6 ..............LDSF and Instrumentality
            Tax level to about 13% .......5 levels above the green.

1. Strategy
I will mine the area surrounding my planet with the 300 mark 5 torps and at the same time mine-scoop with a Cat with MK 8'S. If the Cat that is mine-scooping has a low ID, then this will avoid giving away your position to anyone else who is minesweeping. I colonize the SMALL Deep Space Freighter and recycle the Cat's Paw Class Destroyer that come at the start of the game.

The ships I build during the first 10 days are:

  • 2 Cat's Paw Destroyers with blasters and Mark 8 TORPS (turns 1 & 2)
  • 2 Q-tankers with tech 1 (one) engines (turns 3 & 4)
  • 1 Instrumentality Class Baseship (turn 5)
  • 2 Cat's Paw Destroyers (turns 6 & 7)
  • 2 Large Deep Space Freighters (turns 8 & 9)
  • 1 Instrumentality Class Baseship (turn 10)

By not spending money to build fighters or torpedoes or upgrading above hull tech 6 till much later in the game (if at all) I have a formidable force. Depending on the game configuration (if there are a lot of minerals, but little mc) I may choose to use Mark 4s until the minerals in the game have been depleted. Again, depending on game configuration, I may choose to make the 2 Large Deep Space Freighters before turns 8 & 9. The Instrumentalities each get 80 fighters that I build from the Q-tankers.

When invading I mine the area with 100 MK 8 mines. This destroys any enemy mines and makes the area hazardous for enemy shipping movement. The Robots make minefields 4X other races, so at a reasonable cost I have control of the battlefield while invading. Best ally is the Privateer. With the accelerated ships for towing the Instrumentality Baseship and the Cat's Paw (for mining) I have a strong and fast moving strike force. The accelerated ships can also be loaded with Mark 8s and sent deep into enemy territory to make for a nasty surprise when someone gets up in the morning, and, lo and behold, half of their ships that they thought safe from mines (because they were so far from the front lines) have just hit mines!

One of your convoy groups could consist of the following:
    Large Deep Space Freighter
    Cat's Paw Class Destroyer
    Instrumentality Class Baseship

G.    Rebels
Starbase Tech Levels:

DAY 1     Engine tech level to 10 ........transwarp drive
                Weapon tech level to 3 .......blasters
                Torpedo tech level to 5 .......mark 4's
                Hull tech level to 6 ..............
                Tax level to about 13% .......about 5 levels above the green.

1.    hyperdrive Ships
*see section on Hyper-drive for more info*

Falcon class escort Cargohold: 120
Fueltank: 150
Crew: 27


Cargo configuration: Colonizing: 120 colonists
Scouting: 110 colonists
10 supplies
70 megacredits
Rebel Ground Attack 50 colonists

This is the best of all the probes. With an operational range (hyperdrive) of 700ly, and a 120 cargo holds it is useful for colonizing and bringing rare minerals to starbases as well as the same tasks as the other probes. BUT!!!! It is its deadliest when set to Rebel Ground Attack (RGA). Launched from less than 700ly away, this guided missile comes into a planet's orbit unseen. Planets cannot attack Rebel ships on RGA, so unless there is an enemy capital ship set to KILL or has Rebel as its primary enemy, that planet will be in trouble.

This can be a double edged sword....if you attack from 350ly away, you enter orbit with FC set to HYP. If you try to jump away from a planet hat has a base and the starbase is set to FORCE SURRENDER and the planet FC is HYP..... you are captured! For a surprise attack launch a lot (5 to 10) of these probes at the same time at planets in the same area. Why? As soon as your victim realizes what you are doing and who you are, he will set his ships to KILL. When attacking 5 planets, send 10 ships, two to each planet. By having one ship on RGA and one to KILL, you may capture a ship at the planet as well as doing the RGA with the other. You will not get a second chance to capture ships in this area as the planet will probably destroy your ship that is set to well as the captured ship. That's ok....your loss was small. Use captured ships for RGA, strip them of most of their fuel and hyper-drive to another target.

As players catch on to your tactics you will have to upgrade your weapons. I had several Falcons with heavy phasers knock out small capital ships that were hunting my Falcons. For hunting and capturing freighters I arm the Falcons with x-ray beams. These freighters can then be used for colonizing or RGA.

2.    Strategy
I try to be on diplomatic terms with Empire (Dark Sense) to find the location of enemy starbases early in the game. Then I fire off Falcons with hyperdrive to land on the planets with starbases to RGA AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE. To reach a starbase 1050ly away in 3 days I will send out 2 Falcons and transfer fuel after the first jump. For Probe production, I will build a couple of starbases at the edge of the universe.

The Guardian Class Destroyer with 3 blasters, 6 mark 4 tubes and 20 torpedoes used with the Patriot Class Light Carrier armed with 2 blasters, 6 fighter bays and 30 fighters are a very deadly battle group. This is ideal for use on the RGA mission. I will build a Rush and stock it with fighters from the Gemini for Home World defense. When attacking an enemy starbase I find setting the Rush to RGA mission for a few days before the attack to weaken the defenses enables me to suffer less damage.

Crystalline makes a good ally. By providing Falcons to this ally to build starbases near enemy starbases, Opal and Ruby Cruisers can be build to disrupt shipping with web mines, while I use Falcons on RGA. The cost for both is minimal while causing a lot of grief and havoc to our selected enemy.

H.    Colonies

1.    hyperdrive Ships
The Colonies of Man have a cheap but useful capital ship in the Cygnus Class Battleship. If the Colonies have some friendly neighbors that can produce HYP ships (Rebel: Falcons, Empire: PL21 probes, and Cyborg: B200), the Colonies can purchase some in a trade deal and send them, along with colonists, supplies, and a few Mega-Credits to a planet near the edge of the universe.

If they can find a planet with Siliconoid natives, they can build a starbase there and produce a number of the Cygnus Class Battleships cheaply to launch a small offensive from where the enemy expects it the least.

2.    Enemy Mines
One more thing you should know about the Colonies of Man; do not be afraid to enter an enemy minefield if it is in your way. If you have a fighter carrying ship, you can sweep the mines using the fighters on that ship, and I have yet to encounter a mine field that cannot be completely destroyed by a pair of fully loaded Patriots in 2 turns. Sweeping mines with fighters is performed by setting the mission of the ships to "sweep mines".

VII.    Strategy for Privateer and Crystalline

This is from FAQ0313 and was so good I included the information here.

A.    Privateers
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. [[email protected] (moz)]

I.    Limitations.

  1. 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.
  2. The 3 cloakable and accelerated ships are low mass. This means that they should not fight anything but scouts and freighters.
  3. Even your "big" carrier is useless against anything with 8 or 10 beams and 2 tubes.

II.    Advantages.

  1. Cloaking and the gravitonic accelerators are obvious advantages.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

III.    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. B. 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.

IV.    Tactics.

  1. 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.
  2. Play the fuel game.
    You will always need less fuel than they do. Strip unowned planets of fuel with "gather" and whenever you can't steal a ship at least steal its fuel.
  3. 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 unowned) 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 a lot, 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 90 LY 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 disruptors 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.
      [[email protected] (Dr. Dorn Peterson)]
  • 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.)
  • MBRs 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 MBRs (for their 'air-lift' capabilities).
    [[email protected] (David Harwood)]

B.    Crystals
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). [[email protected] (moz)]

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.
  • Emerald Class is best armed freighter in game. Build these in force.
  • Crystal Thunder Carrier is actually a strong ship. Fighter capacity is it's drawback.

All of this is for version 3.0. Version 3.1 will make BIG changes and make most of this obsolete since mine sweeping changed to allow sweeping outside of the field.

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).

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 Topez ships after fighter ships as cannonfodder. The crew is too small and the fighters will capture the ship! You will have to destroy it later. A good use for the Topez 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 Topez 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 30 ly 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 their a*&. 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 un-sweepable. 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.

Did you know....
    - web mine fields drain fuel even from ships that aren't moving?
    - 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?

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. 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 torps 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. 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.

Alliances (as we ALL know) are very key to the Crystal People as well. I'm currently allied with the Robots, which make a GREAT combo. With an Emerald and a Cat's Paw working in conjunction, we can mass produce mines quickly. He lays them in my code, I scoop them up with the Emerald, unload half the load at my starbase (1 turn away), send the ship to his base to be captured, and he unloads the other half. Making use of their fighter production is also nice. One thing that I've noted (not positive on this) is that once a web field is laid in another race's 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.
[submitted by "[email protected]" (Paul Enfield), including contributions from Brad Andrews, Paul J. Hinker, & Dave Kluch]

Subject: Dealing with cloakers
1.    General problems
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.

Good escorts are light and very offensive. They should at least have Mark 4 (Techlevel 5) Torps, later I would use Mark 7 or 8. An alternative can, in rare cases, be heavy armed freighters. Examples are the Nebula, Tranquillity, 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 panickly 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.

Subject: Anti-Privateers

  1. 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 unmined empire and that is just what you want him to do.
  2. 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.
  3. Mine Fields. Lots of little ones.
  4. Don't move in a straight line and don't go to the obvious destination.
  5. Mine Fields. Lots of little ones.
  6. Use ships with more than 285 fuel and keep them topped up. Obviously this gets very expensive in neutronium.
  7. Mine Fields. Lots of little ones.
  8. 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.
  9. Mine Fields. Lots of ... well, maybe you get the idea.
  10. 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.
[[email protected] (Dr. Dorn Peterson)]

  • 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 non-cloaking ships to 'touch down' at planets
  • Constantly move them (if only a few LYs) 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.

[[email protected] (David Harwood)]

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.

[[email protected] (Mark Achtemeier)]

  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 2.
  3. When laying minefields in 3.x, be careful about merging; and in 3.11, try to overlap on important planets.
  4. If you can't have enough gas to stay unrobbed (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 cacheable 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 fuel, in case he's tried to establish a secret base (by dumping gas and supplies from cloaked ships, to be gathered by empty and/or damaged ships later).
  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.

[Andrew Jones ([email protected])]

VIII.    Blitzkrieg

A.    Theory
It is important to strike and destroy another player's starbase while they are still weak and not expecting an attack. During the first 10 days of the game, you can build a strike force with this capability by having a partner and sharing his mega credits, minerals and ship building capabilities. So that your opponents do not have time to build, you must find and attack their starbase as early as possible. Within 10 days of the game starting is the goal. Ask Empire to provide some starbase locations. In using the tactics suggested here, your weakness will be the defense of your starbase. By not building up the starbase defense and not using fighters for starbase defense you can use these resources for your strike force. NOTE: as the game progresses it will be necessary to protect your starbase.

B.    Teams
In the use of any strategy CAPITALIZE upon the unique characteristics of the two races so that they compliment each other. A two man team is adequate to devastate any opposition if planned properly. For this strategy one player is designated as the Guerilla force and the other is the Strike force.

C.    Tech Levels
During the first several weeks of the game tech 3 beam weapons (blasters) and tech 5 torpedoes (mark 4's) are able to handle any enemy ships. For most battles the Mark 4 and the Blaster are deadly enough to be effective for the whole game. Generally any torpedo other than a Mark 4, 7, or 8 are useless.

Use small minefields as your primary defense. These can be "scooped- up" when your team-mate sends you ships, etc, or when you start to run low on torpedoes. Do not spend money or materials on fighters for starbase defense, or adding more defenses to your starbase, as this can be done later. Tech 10 engines are ideal, but with money being tight use tech 7 engines. As long as your partner has established forward bases that have fuel available it is possible to travel at warp 9 with the lower tech engines; the only penalty is a higher fuel consumption.

D.    Guerrilla Force
This individual is to use cloaking ships (about 4 to 6), build forward supply bases, continually spy, harass, set traps to entice enemy ships, attack lone freighters, and in any way possible tie up enemy ships and force the enemy to develop a defensive role. Only attack capital ships when you are POSITIVE that you will win the battle.

Use the following codes to be effective in mine-laying:
        mdh.....mine drop half your torpedoes
        mdq.....mine drop one of your torpedoes
        md5.....mine drop 50 torpedoes worth of mines
        msc.....mine scoop up a field that you own and convert the mines back to torpedoes.

By converting torpedoes to mines and back again, it is possible for one ship to bring a lot of torpedoes to the forward areas so that the other ships do not have to return to starbase to get torpedoes when they run out. You can do this to move torpedoes if fuel is scarce--produce the torpedoes at your starbase, lay them in a minefield, and the same turn scoop them by a ship at the edge of the minefield. Obviously, don't do this if the enemy will mine-sweep a chunk of the mines before you scoop them (always use the lowest possible ID # ship for scooping mines to avoid letting the enemy sweep the minefield too). The mine-field decay-rate will not cost you any mines when you do this.

In every instance ships are to operate in pairs and NEVER solo. It may be necessary to sacrifice a ship in order to destroy an enemy vessel so that you can obtain an advantage. Usually 2 ships are enough to harass a single player around his starbase. With ships that cloak the registered player will find that the tech 7 engine is sufficient and for the unregistered player use the tech 6. DO NOT go above these levels....the money is better spent on the building of ships and weapons for the player that has the Strike force. When your resources improve then upgrade the engine to tech 10 levels.

When scouting look for planets that contain these natives and set them up as forward bases: source of supply units...
    Reptilian.......doubles mining rate.....good for fuel...

Later, when you wish to start another starbase, these planets will save you 4500 mega credits: 10 engines... 10 torpedoes...

The primary advantage here is to upgrade your ship engines or torpedo launchers cheaply by recycling your ship. On your home starbase use a small minefield and have a single ship with torpedoes for defense. Bringing your defenses up to maximum can be done later. It is more important to get a strike force up to a strength that can attack another starbase as soon as possible. ALL your resources and extra ships are to be made available to your team-mate. You are only to use ships for guerrilla activities outlined above. When you find a starbase that is weakly defended, advise your partner, BUT DO NOT attack or in any way let the enemy know you're spying. Have your partner attack as soon as possible. Save your forces until ready to strike or for tying down another player's forces. Surprise and concentration of forces will ensure success.

E.    Strike Force
Building a strong, fast offensive striking force that can overwhelm a Starbase and its defending ships AND still be able to repel a counter attack, is the prime and only purpose in this player's un-glamorous life. When moving to strike at another player's starbase send a cloaking ship ahead to the forward supply bases that your partner has started. "Capture" the planets by dropping colonists onto the planet while staying cloaked (or have a common friendly code). This way your main force does not have to attack these planets to get the fuel, etc off the planet in one turn as it moves towards its objective. If it is important that the planets remain in the hands of your partner, you can match the friendly codes of your strike force and the planet in order to beam up fuel. Use the `G'ather mission on ships to do this.

In all cases a battle group containing ships with a lot of beam weapons, carriers, and ships with torpedoes is essential. No single type of ship can be effective in attacking a starbase that is defended by different types of ships. The primary ship for the attack should be a carrier. When your resources allow it, start another starbase as close to the enemy as possible. Another starbase will allow you to build twice as many ships as a player with one starbase. By having the starbase close to your enemies, you can use a lower tech engine to engage your enemies in combat faster.

F.    Conclusion
Always be prepared to use every ship to obtain a decisive result. Most of the time your starbase will have minimal defenses; this is a risk that the other players will assume (hopefully) you will not have taken. The shock value here is the rapidness of your attacks. The other players should be surprised (and stunned) into inaction or a defensive frame of mind. "A battle lost is a battle which one thinks one has lost."

Always attack your enemy whenever and wherever possible so that he develops a defensive frame of mind. Even when he is on the offensive, it is still possible for you to retreat offensively. When one or two starbases have been knocked out, some of the other players will probably become more defensive and keep there ships closer to home. This will enable you to still fund most of your resources to the strike force. If your enemy builds another starbase, try to take it over by dropping colonists onto the planet from a cloaked ship as soon as possible. The colonists on this starbase may be few in numbers. By combining rapid mobility, firepower, concentration and surprise these tactics can be very effective. However the use of these aggressive tactics is not for the faint of heart.

IX.    Team play
Before deciding to fight any enemy always see if you can align any support behind you. Twist any arms you have to. Two against one is always better than one on one. Working in a team is even better. With your resources pooled you will be more effective. Having a trustworthy ally has a lot of advantages. It enables you to minimize your race's disadvantages and utilize the strengths of another race to become a far more powerful force. By sharing in the work of defense, you can afford the risk of holding back far fewer ships when attacking. By carefully selecting ships from each race's portfolio you can create a strong fleet for a lower cost in minerals and credits. By attacking the same enemies, you can overwhelm most single opponents.

Here are some examples of races that will work well together.

Feds & Lizards
-2X mining rate
-several ships on HISSS mission above a Fed planet can make a lot of money
-access to cloakers
-as Lizard ships the Thor Frigate and Diplomacy Cruiser are cheap and pack quite a punch

Lizards & Rebels
-Free fighters for Madonzilla
-Lizard Guardian, Destroyer, Patriot Carrier and Rush carrier are more formidable with 150% damage

Lizards & Cyborg
-hyperdrive to drop colonists for ground attack almost anywhere
-endless supply of colonists for invasions
-cubes that can take 150% damage

Lizards & Empire
-dark sense
-150% Lizard Gorbie

Lizards & Birds
-Lizard Darkwing Battleship at 150%

Lizards & Fascists
-Plunder over enemy starbases and then take over by ground attack using Lizard colonists from overhead cloaked ships

Birds & Rebels
-free fighters

Birds & Privateers
-accelerated ships

Fascists & Empire
-dark sense and hyperdrive for pillaging
-Gorbie for pillaging heavily defended enemy starbases

Fascists & Rebels
-hyperdrive for pillaging

Fascists & Cyborg
-hyperdrive for pillaging
-Cubes for pillaging heavily defended enemy starbases

Fascists & Privateer
-three ships with accelerators for pillaging

Fascists & Birds
-access to a greater variety of cloakers for pillaging

Privateers & Robots
-MBRs to cloak an lay distant minefields where they are unexpected

Privateers & Fascist
-to plunder planet with natives

Privateers & Empire
-Dark Sense -hyperdrive

Privateers & Rebels
-hyperdrive to be able to strike anywhere in the universe (beams 3X)
-free fighters

Cyborg & Robots
-free fighters
-minefields to make up for lack of medium-size ships
-Instrumentality and Cat's Paw to make up for lack of medium-sized ships

Cyborg & Colonies
-free fighters

Crystals & Privateers
-accelerated ships for faster towing
-accelerated ships for web minefields in unexpected places

Crystals & Rebels
-free fighters for Crystal Thunder and captured enemy fighter ships

Empire & Fascists
-pillage mission
-cloakers for Dark Sensing

Empire & Robots
-free fighters for Gorbie

Empire & Colonies
-free fighters for Gorbie

Robots & Birds
-cloakers for laying mines in unexpected areas

Robots & Lizards
-cloakers for laying mines in unexpected areas

Robots & Empire

Robots & Cyborg

Rebels & Crystals
-web mines

Rebels & Empire
-Dark Sense
-Gorbie for Rebel Ground Attack mission (RGA) against heavily defended enemy starbases with few colonists

Colonies & Empire

Colonies & Cyborg
-Biocide Cube

X.    Proverbs and other Miscellaneous Ideas

Some of these are from the FAQ0313. These ones have been noted.

Reread the section on Basic Strategy!!!!!!

Scan each planet everyday by using `L' and `V'--you may have some unwanted visitors. An enemy ship who cloaks will not be seen, unless his cloaking device fails.

The Russian Navy has some ships based on the "one shot principal". These are a large number of small ships with powerful weapons, but that can be destroyed very easily. The advantage: no need for ship repairs due to battle damage; ships cheap and easy to replace; greater coverage of tactical areas; for the enemy it is a lot harder and more expensive (fuel) to hunt down lots of smaller targets than several larger ones.

Always make a universal announcement each day. Games where all the players are quiet are very boring. Never be afraid to say what you please. Suckholing will never save be aggressive, speak up! If the other players are more competent, they will still have to beat your forces to shut you up........and if you plan effectively, they may not be able to do it.

Flee to fight another day!! Which is more psychologically damaging--losing a couple ships every day, or losing a major battle? ALWAYS be on the offensive!! Even when retreating!! NEVER get pushed around. Apparently minor things could be a major part of the enemy's master plan! Learn from your enemy's mistakes, your enemy, and his losing. Getting even is -=NOT=- worth losing!

Follow the Golden Rule -- Do unto your allies as you would have them to unto you.......
At least, follow the Golden Rule until you need them dead!

Trade!! Exchange!! All great empires throughout history existed because of trading!!
"A bribe is a charm to the one who gives it; wherever he turns, he succeeds" Proverbs 17:8 (Solomon).

Can't be hit by a mine when you're being towed!!

"Don't just watch your neighbors, watch your neighbor's neighbors" FAQ0313 (kv076EDU.IASTATE).

"Two good ships won't do; 5 intermediate and one good will" FAQ0313 (Svein Gunnar Tienndal).

XI.    Documents and Utilities

Print ALL documents out and read them. Have a copy of the ships available to each race as a handy reference. Same goes for other text files (such as this one).

Contains the simulator sim.exe. This is excellent for seeing how ships with various weapon configurations battle against each other. It gives you an idea how your ship will handle itself against another ship.

Allows you to print out messages received.

Is an excellent utility for determining the cost in minerals and credits for building specific ships.

Shows sensor ranges, minefields, meteor strikes, location of distress calls, JUMP routes, chronological map of past turns, Jump and Build utilities, lots more.

Unassorted hyperdrive utilities.

Has info on what is available in the game, e.g. hyperspace, attack codes, planetary codes, etc.

For determining which order your ships should do battle and have a better chance of success against a known enemy battle-group.

I use VGAPTRAK to help keep track of enemy movement, planets, minefields, location of where a ship was destroyed (distress call). I run a mine-sweep and sensor sweep missions to find the location of the enemy. This utility is the same as keeping notes...only a lot easier.

VSIM or PROSIM is the combat simulator. I normally use the Lizard Class Cruiser, T-Rex, Annihilation Class Battleship and the Gorbie Class Battlecarrier as the standard ships and compare other ships with them. But the most useful utility is BUILD1_1.ZIP by Gary Hogarth. This gem allows me to calculate many days ahead what I will need in minerals and credits to build the ideal fleet. All these utilities are constantly being improved upon. Fleet Designer (BUILD1 under a different name) should succeed BUILD1_1 early 1995. At the time of writing VGAPTRAK ver 1.2 is current. PWI350ly should be updated soon. FINDONE was recently improved a little. To get the latest versions of these and other utilities continue reading after the next section!

XII.    Hyper-drive

Throughout history rapid movement, surprise and innovative tactics have always beaten opponents many times larger who use conventional methods of warfare.

VGA Planets
Why is hyperdrive so important?
The universe is 2000ly across, a ship travelling at warp 9 will take about 25 days to cross it. The Privateer can cross this distance in 13 days. A ship with hyperdrive and Tech 1 engines can cross it in less than 6 days! The use of these ships has shrunk the universe and allows a far more offensive game. Combining the use of these ships and aggressive team tactics, games will be more fun and more decisive in a much shorter time. Through the use of surprise and speed we have the ability to wage a Blitzkrieg.....a Lightning war.

1.    Launch and Guidance
The Winplan and VPA client will allow you to make exact hyperjumps between 340 and 460 lightyears, by setting a waypoint between those distances. To make exact hyperjumps through DOS Planets, you will need to use a utility like VPA because DOS Planets won't allow you to set a waypoint that far.

2.    Use
Hyper Drive is available to 3 ships:

      Cargohold Fueltank Crew
1 Cyborg B200 Class Probe 15 80 6
2 Empire PL32 Probe 20 180 1
3 Rebels Falcon Class Escort 120 150 27

By setting the friendly code to "HYP" and the ship's waypoint to a position 20+ly away, setting the warp to other than 0 (warp 1 is best) the ship will jump 350ly, burn 50kt fuel and avoid all minefields. So, how do we use this fast ship?

a.    General
By building starbases that are no more than tech 6 technology, costs can be kept to a minimum while still having effective ships. The hyper drive ships are ideal for transporting colonists long distances and building a starbase close to an enemy in a very short time.

i. Scan the Universe
Generally, all races are placed with their back to an edge of the universe. That is, they are usually 400ly from the edge of the universe with no other race in between. To scan and control roughly 20% of the universe in 6 turns: With a sensor scan range of 200ly, place 4 ships in the following locations...preferably over a planet....

                              EDGE OF UNIVERSE

      Probe                      STARBASE <------------->Probe<------->
                                                400ly           200ly

                  Probe                          Probe

                             MIDDLE OF UNIVERSE

The distance between the starbase and the Probe being 400ly, with each scanning 200ly the total range of scan from the starbase to the scan range of the Probe is 600ly. ( about 1/5 of the universe.) For Empire set the mission to Dark Sense.

By using VGAPTRAK and displaying sensor range you can find any blind spots. With VGAPTRAK you can keep track of the location and headings of enemy ships. Now anything that moves you should be able to see: If it is a freighter, just warp a ship from the starbase to the planet the freighter is headed to. It will take 2 turns and the hyperdrive ship has a range of 700ly in those 2 turns. With mission set to KILL or the enemy race a ship captured. The enemy freighter will not even see you coming and if you capture one with colonists you can start a base for refueling/repairs nearby.

ii. Testing Defenses
Want to find out what a ship's or planet's defenses are?.....launch a probe with tech one engines and beams and have it set to KILL....your loss is minimal. How alert is the enemy? Launch a couple probes into his territory and see what happens.

iii. Starbases
To pump out a fleet of these hyperdrive ships, locate a cluster of planets near the edge of the universe and build the base with no defenses and no fighters. Since they are tech 1 (or 2) hulls the cost for setting up the base is minimal and the chance of an attack is quite remote. After all, when was the last time you went to a group of planets near the edge of the universe?

More powerful starbases from which offensive operations can be launched are better located near an enemy Home World. Kill his Home World and usually he is out of the game. See the Basic Strategy section for native race advantages. By the judicious use of minerals, credits and placement of allied starbases on planets with natives it is possible to get a lot of bang for the buck.

b.    Allies
If your ally is unable to build these ships, send a HYP ship to his STARBASE, let him force a surrender on it and fill it with colonists. He will then warp back to the cluster planets where you are building HYP ships and build a starbase there to force surrender of more HYPers.

i. Fascists
Fascists set for the pillage mission....the Fascists can hyper-drive directly into a planet's orbit with mission preset to pillage from 350 light years away. Since the Host is normally configured to NOT ALLOW planets to attack Rebels and Fascists on their special missions .....BINGO.... a planet in trouble! Unless the enemy has ships set to KILL or the enemy set to fascists, the Probe will not be attacked.

ii. Lizards
Another good ally is the Lizards. By building ships for Lizzie the player is increasing his strength by 50%. For example, any of the smaller EMPIRE ships being owned by LIZZIE can now sustain 150% damage. The Lizards can send these HYP ships into orbit above enemy planets where their cloakers cannot reach (because of mines or fuel) and make a ground attack which will put the enemy into a defensive frame of mind, as well as being a royal pain.

iii. Robots or Crystals
If your ally is the Robot Race or Crystal Race, they can build a starbase near any of the cloaking races (especially Birds and Privateer) where they severely disrupt enemy operations with minefields.

c.    Other Ideas
Here are some strengths and weakness of these tiny, light scouting ships...

  Strengths Weakness
1 very cheap to build, left as "bait" it is possible to see who is in the area and with a cloaker nearby you could get an easy kill destroyed very easily
2 great for scouting new planets, enemy territories fuelling bases required
3 ability to disrupt enemy shipping, freighter movement, several HYP ships   can force an enemy into a defensive state of mind no good against a planet or ship that has weapons
4 hard to intercept or capture no good as a fighting ship
5 attack a larger ship to see how many torps or fighters are on board  
6 can start a starbase close to the enemy quickly and possibly without his knowledge small cargo holds
7 leave false trails as to your real location  
8 can be very effective in an area when working in groups of 4 to 6  

So.....these are just a few ideas.....please let me know of improvements or any ideas you have.

3.    Assorted hyperdrive Utilities

Find One is a small utility which will find all planets within 350ly of a ship's position. For see a Cyborg Probe at location X,Y...input it into FINDONE. Find One will then return some planets that the probe may have jumped from. Or you may have only 50 units of fuel and want to find a planet to orbit. Just give Find One your current position and see if any planets are within 350ly of you. Conversely, if it is a Rebel, Lizard, or Fascist ship, you may be able to find out which planet the enemy is planning to attack.

b. Jump Routes
Hyper-driving across the universe is fine....however other players can see you and find where you are jumping from. By using PWI350ly it is possible to JUMP between planets that are 350ly apart and be unseen. This is especially important for the Cyborg...or if you just want to sneak up on your enemy unseen.

c. JUMP1 and JUMP2.EXE
These can be used to find JUMP co-ordinates to almost any planet you want to jump to. Their use is explained in general under section 1--Launch and Guidance. For a more detailed explanation see their documentation, or the latest version of HYPDRV.TXT.

4.    Impulse or No-fuel Drift
By using the advantage of no-fuel drift it is possible to still play aggressively. To move the distances listed below with no fuel, set the waypoint NO FURTHER than the distance the ship can travel in one turn. The word NEVER will tell you when the distance is too far. I use

Mass Distance traveled with no fuel and tech 10 engines
75-118 12 - 8 lightyears
66-74 14
55-65 16
46-54 19
35-45 25
26-34 33
24-25 50 ( Empire PL32 Probe plus 1 X-Ray laser )
10 81 ( Neutronic fuel carrier )

XIII.    The -=DREADLORD=- Battle Manual ver. 8

This was written by Ramutis Giliauskas. There were unassorted contributions from various other individuals. I am also indebted to all the other users of the VGAPBBS series of BBSes.

1.    Credits for the -=DREADLORD=- Battle Manual
Doug Carmichael ....
Gary Hogarth ....
Larry McCarthy .... VGAP I BBS sysop
Doug Suerich .... VGAP ][ BBS sysop
Tim Vanderhoek ....
Richard Zimmerman ..
Ryan Langs .... VGAP ]I[ BBS sysop
                        905-648-9288 ancaster
                        183 Fallingbrook Drive,
                        Ancaster, Ontario Canada L9G 1E7
                        Internet: [email protected]
Ramutis Giliauskas.   2030 Foster Ct, Burlington,
                                Ontario Canada L7P 4P4
                                Internet [email protected]
                                Local bbs's I can be reached at: VGAP ]I[ BBS
Ben Tremblay (original html) [email protected]

2.    You want more?
If you thought that this text was useful, and would like to see other texts and utilities that have been written by the VGAPBBS users, would like to download some of the utilities listed under the Documents and Utilities section, or would like to download the latest version of this text, call the VGAP ]I[ BBS! The numbers for the BBS are listed in the above credits section under Ryan Langs. You can also reach most of the other people in the credits list through the VGAP ]I[ BBS! We have over 10 home-grown, useful utilities!

XIV.    Changes in this version

  • New HTML layout
  • Removed most words in CAPITAL LETTERS
  • Spell-checked
  • Fed all-purpose ships: listed Diplomacy instead of Vendetta - Vendetta gets captured too easily, Diplomacy packs more punch and more cargo
  • Fix in text about upgrading defenseposts at turn 1 (16 are enough to block sensor sweeps)
  • Fix in minelaying formula (type^2, not tech^2)
  • Fix in Hyperjump / force surrender text (force surrender before movement, not after)
  • Fix in battle-order mentioning (friendly code instead of ID# determines who fights first)
  • Added humanoids to list of natives to look for when building bases
  • Added 'lfm' text to 'the Gemini' in the Colonies of Man's ships
  • Basically removed 'launch and guidance' paragraph from Hyperjump chapter - exact hyperjumps are quite easy these days, as opposed to 1994 :-)
  • Removed chapter XIV (terminator autobuild utility) - Randmax and other programs are available already

Copyright © 1998-2017 unless otherwise specified. All Rights Reserved.
This website may not, in whole or in part, be sold, reproduced, published or redistributed in any medium, directly or indirectly,
for any commercial or non-commercial purpose without the express written permission of the owner. is owned and operated by and all inquiries should be addressed via the contact link.
All other material © of their respectful owners.
This fansite is not affiliated with VGA Planets or Tim Wisseman.
VGA Planets is Copyright © 1992-2017 Tim Wisseman