Ship Mission: Each ship that is equipped with two or more engines can tow any other ship that is visible at the same location. In order to tow an owned or enemy ship the ship’s mission must be set to ‘Try to tow’ and then the towing target must be selected. The fuel consumption when towing the other ship is predicted in the starship screen.
A ship needs fuel on board to tow an enemy ship, and will tow as far as it’s fuel allows it (or how far the waypoint is set). Ships that run out of fuel while towing another ship will immediately release the tow lock.
Ships that are towed have their warpspeed set to zero, and their waypoint is reset.
To escape a towing attempt (break the tow lock) a ship needs to have at least the same warp speed as the towing ship and at the same time a waypoint further away than one turn of travel. Example: To break the tow-lock from a warp 9 tow attempt, a ship needs to have warp 9 and a waypoint beyond the 81 lightyears set.
- It is impossible to break tow-attempts from ships with gravitronic accellerators that have a warp speed of warp 5 or more, as their speed counts double.
- Ships with less than 25 kilotons of fuel can not escape a tractor beam.
- Neither can ships with only one engine.
- It is possible to tow a cloaked ship if it is visible to you by other means (own or allied cloaker). Enemy cloaking ships can only be towed if they are uncloaked. It can happen that they cloak away in this very turn they are towed and that it will be impossible to tow them a second turn as they have become invisible.
The ‘Try to tow’ mission is processed in order of ship ID. If multiple ships at the same location are attempting a tow mission, the lowest (towing) ship ID tows first (if it follows the rules above) causing tower and towee to move away. Then that the Host checks if there are any influences from a warpwell and the towing process is repeated for the next lowest towing ship ID.
- A ship that tries to tow another ship can be towed away by a lower ship ID before it even gets to try to tow.
- A low-ID ship can escape a tow attempt by towing another ship (Both ships move away before any other ship can even try to tow them.)
- A ship can tow another ship into the warpwell, both then be pulled back to the planet and then one (or both) can be towed by another ship.
- If two are ships are attempting to tow each other, the higher warpspeed wins.
For more in-depth understanding of the towing rules please read this article by ECV