In order to clarify some of the more basic concepts involved in the articles on advanced tactics for the Cyborg, it is necessary to have a basic guide to the art of chunnelling.
To chunnel, you’ll need two or more Firecloud Class Cruisers and some spare neutronium (50kt or more).
- Choose one Firecloud to be your destination and another to be your origin.
- Set the waypoints of both Fireclouds to zero distance and the speeds to Warp 0.
- Make sure neither ship is towing or being towed.
- The origin Firecloud will need to burn 50kt of neutronium to initiate the chunnel.
- The destination Firecloud must have at least 1kt of neutronium to receive the chunnel.
- Set the friendly code of the origin Firecloud to the ship ID number of the destination Firecloud. If it’s under 100, add leading zeroes to fill it out to three digits (i.e. to reach Firecloud #86, set the Friendly to 086).
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP: Make sure the destination Firecloud or any passenger Fireclouds don’t have a friendly code set that could accidentally chunnel everything a second time.
At the end of the turn (specifically, just after the movement phase in the host order), the origin Firecloud will chunnel through space to the destination Firecloud.
- The origin Firecloud and every ship in its location owned by that player will pass through the chunnel after their regular movement orders.
- Allied or enemy ships will also pass through the chunnel if they meet one or more of four criteria: (1) the ship has a speed of warp 0, (2) the ship is cloaked, (3) the ship is out of fuel, or (4) the ship has its friendly code set to the ID number of the destination Firecloud.
When ships emerge from a chunnel, they will have no shields active.
No chunnel can take place over a distance less than 100ly. I’m also informed that no chunnel can take place over a distance further than 5000ly, though I must confess I’ve never had occasion to try that. (Note: These distance restrictions can be overcome through “chain-chunnelling”, described below.)
Also, if a tow is locked onto either Firecloud, the chunnel will fail. This will give cloaking races (and/or backstabbing allies) an excellent opportunity. A Firecloud can also never open a chunnel if it is on a tow mission itself.
Now, there are several details and basic tactics that ought to be discussed; the tactics, at least, ought to be known by all.
- Cloud Stations: There’s a full article on this method, but it can be stated briefly, as follows: Whenever you chunnel, have three Fireclouds: one destination, one origin, and one to sit very near the origin so you can go back there someday. This is pretty simple in concept, but it’s invaluable in practice.
- Chunnel Washing: Since you can easily pick up a cloaker when you chunnel, you don’t want to go from the battlefront directly back to your logistical hub. Instead, take your returning fleets into a protected outpost a long distance away, then move all ships (using their engines this time) to the same point — either in or just outside of the warp well. In all likelihood, no cloaked ship will have followed you unless you are extremely predictable. For even better results, do this in a friendly field of webs; failing that, a standard minefield will do fine.
- The Anti-Chunnel: If you can put a cloaked ship in with an enemy fleet, just tow off the Firecloud and it won’t chunnel. Simple, neh? Of course, it will then fight your now-uncloaked ship; even worse, if the towee expects this, he might just be ready to Intercept. Be ready for this and you’ve got a killer tactic.
- The Frycutus: Some players put substandard engines on their warships, towing them around to wherever they might be wanted. These towed ships, if set to Warp 0, will go through your chunnel just fine, but the ships doing the towing will be left behind. This can be a great way to divide the enemy’s force (leaving the chunnelled half without shields!), though it is easily countered if anticipated.
- The Cloaked Frycutus: This truly evil maneuver requires that the Cyborg player have a cloaking vessel with enough engines to be able to tow; a large fuel tank is helpful as well. This ship tows an enemy capital ship to your waiting Firecloud, which promptly chunnels it away to a waiting Biocide pair. It will have no shields and no support, so if you can’t kill it it’s very likely your own fault. Be aware that your Firecloud will necessarily have a numeric friendly code; this may cause it to fight early, so take steps to ensure its survival.
- The Chunnelnize: Since chunnelling takes place before other missions, if the origin ship is set to land and disassemble, it will do so on the destination planet. This can be very useful for purposes of rapid expansion using sub-par ships, but it is quite expensive.
- Chain Chunnelling: Sometimes you’ll want to assemble a large fleet in one place; sometimes you’ll want to gather up enemy cloakers; sometimes you’ll want to chunnel to a destination 91ly away. This can be done. Chunnels take place in order of ship number, with the lowest numbered ship chunnelling first. If it moves to a Firecloud that then chunnels, it will follow to the new destination, and so on until all the chunnels are complete. This happens accidentally all the time, but sometimes can be extremely useful — and there are more purposes than just those I’ve listed. Use your imagination.
- Tow-Drop Chunnelling: This no longer works at Nu; if you’re intellectually curious, it involves placing a tow-lock on a Firecloud by a moving ship that will run out of fuel, permitting a later chunnel during a turn when the Firecloud is moved. Like I said, this no longer works; any tow beam will now negate all chunnels.
- Only Fireclouds of one race can chunnel to other Fireclouds of that race.* In campaign games, the mere existence of the Dungeon Class Stargate can alter this condition but only regarding itself. Chain chunnels can be used with great impact here, however, so take care near 0-fuel “bait” Fireclouds with races that can access cloaking ships.
- Chunnelling takes place after all other movement and ship missions (with a very few exceptions). There are some fun complex interactions here, and it’s worth exploring them.
- It’s also worth mentioning that glory devices will detonate after movement but before chunnel. This is extremely important, especially with respect to the relative flimsiness of Fireclouds.
There are a few more details worthy of notice; the host order will reveal most of them. (Rule #1: Never get involved in a land war in Asia Rule #3: Learn the Host order completely.) Anything you’d like to add, feel free to detail it in the comments below. I’ll also do my best to answer any questions.
Thanks especially to Jobo for his assistance in preparing this article, without which it would be far less complete — though I should add that any remaining errors are my own.
* We have determined that, when a ship changes ownership during the Host order, it becomes eligible to create a Chunnel that very turn if the other requirements are met.14