An Old Scroll – The Federation: A Guide

The Old Scrolls Series from Donovan’s Super Site:
Please note that some data may refer to earlier game versions. Although game and strategies have advanced since the writing of this guide, the provided information is more than useful for an inspired gameplay and a good base to start from. Enjoy!

Written by: Donovan in 2001

1. Introduction

The Federation, better known as ‘the Feds’, are based on the United Federation of Planets as found in the Star Trek series and movies. They have a very nice all-round fleet of ships, ready to fulfill any purpose you might think of. In the division which is often made between ‘fighter-races’ and ‘torpedo-races’ the Feds are definitely a torpedo-race, and a damn good one too. They have the widest array of torpedoships ranging from the small two-tube Nocturne to the massive Nova. This race is relatively easy to play (no dirty tricks you need to master first) and is the race of choice for shareware players (superrefit allows you to build tech 10-everything ships provided you find the right natives, and they have quite some useful ships below hulltech 7). The Feds’ special abilities are a 200% taxrate, the ability to Super Refit ships with better parts, some very nice crewbonusses in battle, three bonus fighterbays on any carrier and a good amount of special ships.

1.1 Advantages

200% taxrate
Natives love the Federation so much, they’ll gladly pay twice as much taxes as they pay to other races. Also, federal colonists are able to collect two megacredits per clan where other races can only collect one MC per colonist clan. 100 Federation clans on a planet are able to collect 200 megacredits per turn (400 with Insectoid natives) at the same taxrate as any other race would need for 100 MCs. This allows you to get more cash than anyone, except for the Lizards when they’ve devoted the bulk of their fleet to hissing their planets. What all this easy money will do for you is give you better equipped ships than others, and a pretty strong early game position. While other races in the early game are struggling to get their techlevels up to build some mid- or high-tech hulls with decent weapons, you’ll be able to build Nebulas and Diplomacies or even bigger ships with high-tech torpedoes early on.

Super Refit
The second big advantage the Federation has is the ability to refit ships with higher tech-parts. This allows you to turn early-game ships which aren’t equipped with top of the line weapons into high-tech battleships with the best possible weapons on them. An early-game Diplomacy with Mark 4 torpedoes can easily be refitted with mark 7 or 8 torpedoes, and if necessary better beams and engines. All you have to do is get that ship to a starbase which has the proper parts and set the ship’s mission to ‘Super Refit’. Next turn it will have the new parts. Old parts will be put into storage at the base, ready to be put on another ship or to be dumped to salvage some minerals. This procedure is possible for engines, torpedo-tubes and beams. Torpedoes onboard a ship that is refitted are stored at the starbase because they can’t be used with the new tubes. It is possible to tow in a completely lowtech ship, set it’s mission to Super Refit, give it a waypoint, fuel and warpsetting and it’ll arrive at the waypoint fully refitted.

Ships need to have at least one kiloton of fuel onboard to perform the refit-mission, and only “full sets of parts” can be refitted: it is impossible for example to replace ten Mk4 tubes on a Nova by three Mk7 tubes (this would be stupid too). In theory it is possible build a fully maxed out ship using four starbases, each with  one techlevel 10 you got from the natives living on the planet. There is one major drawback to that method, however: the cost in extra minerals is hardly worth the money you saved.

What the superrefit ability also gives you is the ability to build ships in numbers. Where any other race needs to build each ship exactly the way they want it and thus needs the proper amount of money and minerals to equip their ships with decent parts (or skimp on quality because resources are low), you can get away with building empty hulls (hulls with lowtech engines, perhaps a couple of beams but nothing expensive) and that way spit out good hulls every turn. Those good hulls can then later be refitted into good ships, once the freighters with recources arrive or after the shiplimit has been reached.

Bonus fighter bays
A Fed controlled carrier gains an extra three fighter bays, allowing it to spit out it’s fighters much quicker. Combined with the above mentioned crew bonus, this makes any carrier in Fed hands much more powerful. There has been some discussion if these extra bays will put more than 10 bays on a carrier and you may find people saying it’s impossible, but it will. A Biocide or Gorbie for example will launch it’s fighters from 13 bays when owned by you. This makes the large carriers very powerful in your hands, and turns mediocre carriers to good ones.

Crewbonus
This bonus, often referred to as the “Scotty” bonus, should not be underestimated. With their highly skilled crew your ships will use all their tubes, fighterbays and beams regardless of the damage the ship has. Ships from other races use less torpedo tubes fighterbays and beams if they start a battle with any damage, but yours will always use all their weapons. An example: a Nova fighting two Darkwings will get damaged to about 50% by the first Darkwing. It will still use all it’s beams and tubes against the second Darkwing. When two Missouris go up against a Darkwing, the first Missouri will damage the Darkwing to about 75%. This Darkwing will then only use 25% of it’s tubes and beams against the second Missouri, which won’t have any trouble with this crippled Birdman.

Furthermore, all ships in Fed hands receive an extra 50 Kt hullmass which enables the ships to take more hits. This especially helps your early-game, smaller ships in battle with other small ships. And last but not least, Federation ships will automatically repair their shields by 25% between battles, to a maximum of shields+damage=100 and ofcourse never over 100%. So a ship going up against multiple enemy ships might come out of the first battle with shields down and 10% damage. It will fight the second ship with 25% shields. Let’s say the second enemy ship is not that strong, and only brings the shields down to 20%. The ship will then enter the third battle with 45% shields. This especially helps the bigger Fed ships (Missouri, Nova) when taking on a string of smaller enemy ships. If you ever get your hands on a big carrier this advantage becomes truly devastating.

A word of caution when it comes to the crewbonus: this *is* host-configurable. Though seldom set to NO, it might be worth to check and see if it’s set to YES when you start a game as the Feds.

Special ships
With the Eros and the Bohemian the Feds have two ships which will either cool down or heat up a planet to a climate where it can support unlimited clans (i.e. more mines, more factories, more defense posts and more taxes earned). This enables you to colonise planets which are virtually useless to others, and can help natives grow faster to be taxed for even more money. The most obvious targets for terraforming are desert and arctic planets that cannot support an unlimited number of clans. Think of an arctic Bovinoid planet: might not support enough clans to really profit from those free supplies (unless you want to dump a lot of clans and let them eat the supplies or die), but after some terraforming it’s a great place for a starbase. The second use of terraforming is to transform a planet into a perfect temp 50 paradise, where both natives and colonists can grow happily. This however should only be done when the natives are worth it (Bovinoids, Avians, Insects or natives with a really good government) or when an outer constellation of planets is in need of a colonist-breeding planet.

The Loki is more of a tactical special ship: it will decloak enemy cloaked ships (not if they’re Birdmen or Lizards however), so other ships will be able to see them and destroy them. The Loki itself, if properly equipped, can take on the smaller and medium cloakers, but it’s better to have it accompanied by another ship to do the dirty work, since the decloaking function of the Loki fails when it’s damaged above 20%.

When gearing up for battle against a cloaking race, you should always have some Lokis in your fleet. Even though the Lokis will not be the first ships in the battle-order they should be outfitted with the best possible torpedoes, since they will be the primary target for any cloaker. Cloaked ships can use their so-called “cloaked intercept” to pick the ship they want to attack, overriding the usual friendly code battle order. And the ship they’ll attack first will ofcourse be the Loki. With Mark 7 or Mark 8 torps it will toast most smaller cloakers and damage the medium-sized cloakers enough to prevent them from cloaking, but since it will probably get damaged badly or blown up altogether it would be wise to have some supplies with you to fix damages and to have a backup-Loki. Tow the backup around without fuel, so it can’t be attacked, and start using it (put fuel on it) when the first Loki is damaged too much or destroyed.  A good idea is moving fuel and supplies back and forth between both Lokis and your other ships so your enemies can’t tell which Loki is the one without fuel. If they intercept a Loki without fuel they won’t fight it, but they will fight your other ships in the battle order you’ve picked yourself, resulting in the unfortunate death of yet another cloaker….

The Brynhild Class Cruiser is equipped with a bioscanner that will scan 20% of all planets within range for temperature and native life. Although several small scouts can often explore unknown planets and look for natives faster than the Brynhild can, it can in some situations be a useful ship.

Allying
Your main advantages (lots and lots of cash, superrefit, special ships and your bonus fighter bays) make you a very nice ally to just about everyone in the game. You can trade terraformers and Lokis for good ships, and you can offer your superrefit to your allies. Have them send a ship with crappy engines, beams and/or torps to you and you can send it back to them after you’ve put better parts on it. Ofcourse you will have cloned it first… You can let your ally supply you with the minerals and/or cash for this refit, or upgrade a ship for him in trade of another ship.

With your crewbonus, extra fighterbays and immunity to Lokis practically any ship gains strength in your hands. Most fighter races lack a good torpship to lay mines with or to soften up enemy carriers with, you lack a good carrier. The best thing for you is: except for the big battleships you might use in trades none of the ships you’re giving away can hurt you! Lokis won’t decloak your ships, terraformers or a Bioscanner won’t hurt you. and all your own ships fight better in your hands than in anyone else’s, except for the Lizards ofcourse with their ability to take 150% damage.

1.2 Disadvantages

70% mining rate
You only mine at 70% of the normal mining rate, to protect the environment of the planets you encounter. Apart from situations early in the game when you’ve had really bad luck with the planets you find close to your homeworld, it’s actually not such a big problem as it’s often thought to be. The best and only way to totally nullify this disadvantage is called the Merlin.

Missing ships
Even with the wide array of torpers for all possible purposes and your fair share of special ships, there are some ships you just don’t have which would be very nice to have. This is not a disadvantage solely for the Feds: no race has all the ships they’d like to have in their native shiplist.

You have only one carrier, the Kittyhawk. As a so-called mopup ship to clean up the mess after some heavy torper it will serve just fine, launching it’s fighters from nine bays because of the fighterbay bonus. Too bad though it holds only 65 fighters which makes it pretty limited to serve on it’s own against anything bigger than medium ships or planets without bases. The Kitty’s problem when facing the large carriers or stocked starbases is it will run out of fighters and dies.

So if you can get your hands on a bigger, better carrier, by all means do so – but keep in mind fighters will cost you 100 MCs a piece and against the bigger ships you’ll need at least 100 to 150 fighters to be effective. You get three extra fighter bays on any carrier, so it’s definitely worth to trade one for one of your bigger ships. Again, you want one with lowtech engines to clone it. Worry about high-tech engines much later.

With torpedo ships and a carrier the only shiptype the Feds do not have are cloakers. Since there are very few cloaking ships that are worth much in battle they are not so much missed when fighting enemy ships as they are on a tactical level. The power of a cloaking scout or a well-placed minefield from a cloaked ships should not be underestimated. Some cloakers are of more use than others, with the Privateer’s Meteor Class Blockade Runner being the most useful (double speed, fair cargohold). But basically any cloaker is good to have. Living without cloakers is quite possible, living with them simply adds new possibilities.


2. Your ships

As Feds, you have a pretty good fleet of ships in all sorts and sizes. We’ll go by them one by one.

Outrider Class Scout
As the name says: a scout. Fill the one you get at the start of the game with colonists for early exploration. Send it out dropping one clan per planet. After that, never build one.

Nocturne Class Destroyer
The second of your initial ships. Can be used the same way as the Outrider, has a cargo hold of 50 KT. Good thing is: it has beams and torps. Carry 10 torps and 40 clans, and use it for protected exploration. A nice ship to capture or kill freighters or take over undefended enemy planets. The Nocturne can be of some use if your neighbours are very close right from the start and either you or they are not interested in an alliance, but don’t go building a stack of these to whipe out the competition.

Bohemian Class Survey Ship
Warms planets up to 50 degrees. Unless there are millions of natives on the planet with a good government, warming a planet all the way to a perfect 50 degrees is a tad much trouble for the profit it brings. Often you’ll have other -really cold- planets to heat up. On most planets 15 degrees is fine, your clans won’t die anymore, and growth will occur. Bohemians are best used in pairs or more (one degree per turn doesn’t really get you anywhere). Build one with good or intermediate (level 7) engines, have it tow another one with tech1 engines around. Or have some towed to their destination by freighters. With x-rays they’ll capture scouting enemy freighters or probes. With better beams (disruptors) they can offer protection from Rebel Falcons jumping in for groundattacks.

Eros Class Survey Ship
Cools planets down to 50 degrees. Ofcourse 84 is low enough, unless you don’t have a better place to cool down. See Bohemian for more info. Only costs 30 MC’s, 4 duranium and 3 tritanium. Using 13 Moly it’s still one of your cheapest ships around, and your default ship to build when you don’t have the minerals to build a good ship. It will always have some use, either to cool down some planets later on, as a trading object or as a tower or moneyrunner between bases.

Medium Deep Space Freighter
A fairly useless ship, since it only holds 200 cargo. It cannot tow because it only has one engine, which is a second reason not to build these things. Large freighters are much better, more cost-effective and use up less shipslots to move your minerals around.

Vendetta Class Frigate
Four beams, four tubes, pretty cheap and doesn’t cost much minerals. Drawback is it’s weight: only 100 KT. This combined with a a crew of only 79 makes it vulnerable to be captured. Only 30 KT of cargohold makes it final: never build one. Go for Nebulas instead.

Nebula Class Cruiser
The small/medium warship and primary minelayer of your fleet. Decent mass, large cargo hold, large crew, large tank, four beams and four torptubes. A well-armed Nebula will toast any other ship in it’s class, and is great for armed transport. This is a nice ship to include in battlefleets going into enemy territory: it can carry clans and supplies to set up forward strongholds, and it’s large fueltank can carry the fuel to refuel the rest of your battlegroup in enemy territory. Nebulas are nice all-round ships, but when it comes to heavy warfare build Diplomacies and Missouris instead.

Banshee Class Destroyer
With four beams and two tubes, a mass of 120 KT and a cargohold of 80, a mediocre minelayer at best. Other than that, only useful against smaller ships or undefended planets. Nebulas will do anything this ship does better. Compared to the Nebula this baby costs only a third in $ (But money is not your problem), and about 2/3 in minerals. But ofcourse, when you’re short on minerals you’re building a terraformer and not a Banshee, awaiting your freighters to arrive with minerals. Building this ship would be a waste of a shipslot.

Large Deep Space Freighter
One of the most important ships in your fleet, this baby is responsible for keeping your empire running. Has enough cargoroom to move all the minerals needed to build a base, and one of these to shuttle between a base and it’s supporting planets will make sure the base stays operational. Has two engines, so it can tow around a small armed ship for protection, a warp 1-terraformer to it’s planet or some big hull with lousy engines to a base for refitting.

If you’re using a shareware version this is where your shiplist ends. Until you find a Humanoid planet. So just pay the lousy 20 bucks and register. Much more fun after that…..

Brynhild Class Escort
Despite the name, the Brynhild is not really an escort. It has a Bioscanner, which has a 20% chance of scanning planets within 200 LYs for natives and temperature when it’s mission is set to ‘sensor sweep’. The Brynhild is not too expensive and only uses one engine, so in theory it’s a nice scouting ship. Reality: apart from my first game I’ve never built one.

Arkham Class Frigate
Six beams, three tubes. Decent mass (150 KT), very cheap to build, doesn’t take much minerals either. Holds 120 KTs of fuel and 90 KTs of cargo (i.e. torps). Nice medium ship, excellent minesweeper and a reasonable minelayer. Not one of the stronger fighting ships, so if it’s firepower you need don’t build this one.

Missouri Class Battleship
With the Missouri you have the best tech 8 ship around. 8 Beams, 6 tubes, high mass and a large crew. A properly outfitted Missouri will kill most medium to big ships on it’s own, take out most starbases (unless they’re heavily defended) and will bring most of the tech 9 ships in serious trouble. The only drawback to this ship is it’s fueltank of only 290 kilotons. For long-range missions it needs refueling at planets or from other ships.

Loki Class Destroyer
Don’t let the ‘destroyer’ ranking fool you: this ship should never do any fighting for you. It’s far too valuable. It will decloak those sneaky cloakers, after which one of your other ships can kill them. Beware of Lizards and Birdmen: their cloakers are immune to the Loki’s tachyon field. Use it with a Diplomacy or Missouri to protect precious planets from Privateers, Fascists and whoever else has gotten his hands on a cloaker.

Thor Class Frigate
Eight torp tubes, only one beam. If you love to gamble, this is the ship to send in first against those large carriers. It will get killed, but if used on the right side of the VCR and with a bit of luck it will get to fire 30 torpedoes before it blows up. That’s enough to take down the shields and even do some damage to the carriers. If your game has an engine shield bonus of 35% or more you don’t even need luck anymore, and three Thors in a row will kill anything.

Diplomacy Class Cruiser
Six torp tubes and six beams. Holds 95 torps, weighs 180 KT and has a nice big 350 KT fueltank. These ships usually form the majority of my fleet. Great for minelaying and sweeping and it can take down any planet without a base. If your game has an engine shield bonus of 35% or more, these babies are just as good as Missouris and should be built in large numbers. A diplomacy will suffer 55% damage from a minehit and it can’t carry enough supplies to repair that, so like Thors they are best towed when the chance of running into minefields increases.

Kittyhawk Class Carrier
The Kitty is the Federation’s only carrier. It has six fighterbays, holds 65 fighters and has four beams. With the three bonus fighterbays it puts fighters in the battle at the rate of a ship with 9 bays, only one bay less than the large carriers. It’s main drawback is it’s limited cargohold: against those large carriers it will run out of fighters relatively soon, pretty often somewhere in the middle of a fight. Lasers or X-rays are the beams to put on a Kitty, to shoot down some enemy fighters.
When flying even near a hint of a chance of facing minefields have somebody tow this baby, because reading a message that a Kitty with 6500 MCs worth of fighters got blown to bits in a lousy minefield is no fun. One minehit will damage a Kittyhawk to 57%, and despite of the crewbonus a Kitty really needs full shields and zero damage to do it’s work. Since it’s best use is to follow up behind a Missouri, it is best towed by one. When the ES bonus is on and at least 35%, the Kitty forms a deadly combination with a Thor or a Diplomacy. Without ES bonus it’s still a very good mop up-ship: send it into battle after one or two torpers, and it kills even the largest ships.

Neutronic Refinery Ship
Another very important ship, though like most important ships in the Federation fleet not really a battleship. This ship converts one supply-unit plus one mineral into fuel. You’ll certainly need a couple of these to make sure your ships can even get to the battlefield, especially in the later stages of the game when your planets have been mined dry. A bonus use for this ship is that equipped with x-rays or disruptors it does a great job at capturing those nasty probes, Falcons and small recon ships.

Super Transport Freighter
I rarely build this ship, as the Feds don’t need to ship that many minerals to one place at once, and pretty often don’t even HAVE that much minerals to move around. Four engines and slightly more than double the cargospace as the LDSF, though it’s empty mass is only slightly higher than the LDSF. Theoretically one superfreighter is more economical than two LDSFs, but two LDSFs can each move in separate directions which is far more of a benefit.

Nova Class Super-Dreadnought
The biggest ship in your list. Pretty good, but on it’s own it still won’t win from any of the large carriers or the Annihilation. The Nova can mount an impressive ten beams and ten tubes. It’s high mass (650 KT) enables it to take lots of (mine)hits, and it’s cargohold of 320 KT makes sure it won’t run out of torps on a long campaign. This ship costs an absurd amount of minerals, however, so building these before the shiplimit is often quite hard.. For the same amount of minerals you can build two Missouris, or roughly six Diplomacies. A Nova will toast any Lizard, Bird, Fascist, Privateer or Crystal ship solo and I’ve only once lost one against a stocked starbase so far.

Merlin Class Alchemy Ship
After the LDSF, this is your second-most important ship. This ship will convert three supplies into one unit of mineral. Using the alt, alm and ald friendly code you can have this ship produce the mineral you need most. Don’t think this ship is useless unless you find some nice Bovinoids, this ship is vital even without Bovinoids. As the Neutronic Refinery, this ship can also protect the planet/starbase it’s orbiting from probes and other small, annoying ships.


3. The basics

3.1 General strategy
It is important to colonize planets and make maximum use of the resources and natives they provide. You should set up a very strong economy, and build a Merlin Class Refinery ship early so you can convert supply units into minerals to overcome the low mining rate. Since the Federation lacks a large powerhouse of a ship you need strength in numbers. Next to building a Merlin and a Neutronic Refinery ship as soon as possible, you have to build a second starbase soon. Keeping that pace, you should be able to build more starbases and ships than any other race. The Super Refit mission can be a great help in doing so, allowing you to build in numbers and add quality later. With some effort and attention the Federation fleet can grow into one of the largest and most impressive fleets in the cluster, at which point sacrificing two ships to kill one enemy ship is not such a big burden anymore.

3.2 Host settings
First thing you’ll do is read your messages, and pay close attention to the host settings. The most important settings to check for the Federation are:

 

    • Fed super refit YES
      Do we even need to explain this one? If it’s no, don’t play unless you like a big fat challenge.

 

    • Tax rates (Fed 200)
      Nice setting. Don’t let anybody get more than 100% unless you get something in return (higher mining rate for example), same goes for you getting anything lower than 200%.

 

    • Science Missions YES
      These MUST be set to yes. This settings enables your terraformers. When this is set to NO, you’ll have to protest like hell because you lose one of your advantages. Lucky for you the Lizards and Crystals will protest with you, probably along with all the others who were hoping to get a terraformer through trading.

 

    • Fed Crew Bonus YES
      The Federation Crew bonus makes sure you get some very nice bonuses, so make sure it’s set to YES.

 

    • Loki anti-cloak YES
      What’s there to say? Make sure it is YES, or your Lokis are totally useless and you become easy pray for all the cloakers.

 

  • Lokis decloak Bird Men NO
    Unfortunately, since host version 3.22.021 the Birds are immune to Lokis. Following the release of that host version came a storm of critics, so Tim brought out 3.22.022 one day later where this is host-configurable. Ofcourse this is a very important setting, since with it set to NO you can only stop the sneaky Birdmen through minefields, or Glory Device ships from the Fascists. NO is the default setting, something you’ll have to live with, which is possible as long as you’re not still counting on your Loki to decloak those Birds.

4. Getting started

4.1 In the beginning…
In default games the Federation starts out with one planet, a starbase, an Outrider and a Nocturne. Depending on the settings there are between 1 and 5 million colonists on the homeworld, and there are between 5,000 and 15,000 megacredits to spend. As the Federation is clearly an economical race the emphasis in the first couple of turns should be on colonizing new planets and setting up an economy. The hull-techlevel of the starbase should be upgraded to 6 so that you can start building Large Deep Space Freighters, the enginetech should be upgraded to 10 to put transwarps on all important ships.

The homeworld/starbase friendly code is best set to ‘con’ for now, to receive the game’s config and the configs of addons which may be used by the host. Setting the starbase’s primary order to ‘unload all freighters’ saves you the trouble of manually unloading all returning freighters later on. The number of factories on the homeworld should be maxed out, unless starting money is really low. Supplies generated by factories are needed for colonization and to be converted to minerals. Defenseposts are at a sufficient level, right now there are better things to invest money in. Building extra mines is hardly worth the investment: the 100 mines on the planet yield 10 kilotons of duranium per turn, building another 100 mines will only bring in 10 more per turn. Supplies and cash are better spent colonizing new planets with more favourable mining rates. Planetary taxes should be set to 0 if there is enough cash already lying on the planet. If in need of cash, yank the taxes up to 30% for a quick donation, and then set the taxlevel back to 0 for a while. This way the colonist population grows faster.

The first ship to be rolling out of the starbase should be a Large Deep Space Freighter with transwarp engines. Two additional engines are needed to refit the Outrider and Nocturne with. It is possible to simply overdrive the engines that are originally on the ships, but since fuel will soon be scarce and money will most likely be plentiful, refitting is a better option These two scouts should be loaded up with clans and then each be sent in a different direction for exploration. They will claim planets by dropping one clan only and immediately moving on to the next planet, providing valuable information where to send the large freighters first. With their missions alternating between ‘sensor sweep’  and a minesweep every now and then to scan for enemy activity they will be the first eyes and ears of your Federation. Additional fuel can be beamed up from newly explored planets, and to avoid starting a fight with the first neighbour they encounter these ships should have no primary enemy set.

4.2 Turn two
The freighter that was built in the first turn is now hovering in the starbase spacedock, waiting to bring clans to new planets. Depending on what the two exploring scouts have found it should be loaded with a mixture of clans and supplies (800/400 allows good flexibility) and if possible some cash, to inhabit new places. Right now finding a good supply of duranium is a priority, and depending on the starting money colonizing a planet with some good natives is another priority. When looking for a good duranium planet it is very important to find duranium in high densities, since the 70% mining rate low densities take forever to mine. When deciding which planet to colonize first next to the minerals in the planet the planet’s temperature, natives, native type and native government are factors to consider. Reptiles allow easier mining of minerals in the planet, Avians and Insectoids are great money-makers and Bovinoids provide colonists with free supplies.

Exactly how many resources should be dropped on a planet depends on the planet itself. A bare minimum would be 100 clans, 150 supplies and 500 MCs. This way 100 factories and 50 mines can be built the very moment the resources are dropped, and the factories will start producing more supplies to build defensposts and additional mines with. If a planet has good amounts of minerals (or even only a good amount of one particular mineral) the number of mines should be upped to 100 or 150 as soon as possible. Planets with natives deserve more clans to collect taxes, and need less initial cash (if any at all).

The second ship out of the starbase should be another Large Deep Space Freighter (from now on: LDSF). Like the first one, this one will also follow up on the scouts and start colonizing new planets. Taxes should now be set to 0% if the colonists were taxed in the first turn. The planetary FC can be changed to something random, the number of factories needs maximizing again because of the population growth. For now the first couple of turns the emphasis should be on setting up an economy by sending out more LDSFs. The amount of duranium at the homeworld plus the duranium that will be mined is sufficient to build four large freighters, after that the first freighter should return with minerals to keep production going. By that time efforts should be made to build a Merlin. Within ten turns there should also be a Loki hovering over the homeworld to make sure there won’t be any unwanted visits from sneaky cloakers (i.e. the Privateers). And as if that’s not enough, around turn 10-15 (if at all possible, even earlier) should be the time to build the second starbase.

4.3 Staying out of trouble
In order to be able to set up an economy in peace it is important to stay out of sight as long as possible. So the name of the game is “planet-hopping” for as long as possible. Basically, all planets within 84 lightyears of eachothers are fine. At warp 9 a ship can fly 81 lightyears, and each planet has a warpwell of three lightyears that will draw ships within that distance onto the planet (this is, however, host-configurable).

Once planet-hopping is no longer an option (which might actually be the case at turn 1) it’s case to conseal the routes your ships follow. A ship moving a longer distance than it’s maximum will show exactly where it’s heading to everyone within scanning range: a freighter with it’s waypoint at a planet 137 lightyears away will end up 81 lightyears from it’s origin showing a clear heading towards it’s destination planet. When seeing this enemies not only know where the ship is heading, but also where it is coming from. To circumvent this each and every ship that is unable to planet-hop to it’s destination should at least get a waypoint in deep space, and then preferably a misguiding one. When moving 120 lightyears don’t set a waypoint at 80 lightyears towards the destination planet, but either set it 80 lightyears from the destination planet to make it look like the freighter is heading for the planet it is actually departing from. Also make sure the waypoint is not in a direct line between the destiantion and point of origin. If possible make it look like it’s heading for another planet, or like it’s flying from another than the actual originating planet.

4.4 Early-game hostilities
With some bad luck it is possible to have an agressive neighbour. Especially the cloaking races (Lizards, Birds, Fascists and Privateers) have some relatively small and cheap ships that can be sent out early to hunt down freighters. An early-game Robotic Cat’s Paw laying mines in the way of one of your freighters or Rebels performing their groudattack from mere scouts and hyperjumping ships can seriously disrupt your economic expansion. On top of the disruption, resources will have to go into building some warships to counter the early agressors. Nebulas make fine “small” to medium warships, Nocturnes are good enough to escort freighters and practically any ship with beams (except for the Outrider) can capture a Rebel Falcon if it decides to drop in.

Early-game weapontechlevels are usually the Mark 4 Photon torpedoes (techlevel 5) and X-ray beams (techlevel 1). When facing minefields Disruptors (techlevel 5) make decent and cheap beams, and can also be used to capture small enemy ships with. Additional Lokis will be needed to protect planets from Privateer or Fascist cloakers, the only way to go against Lizards and Birdmen is minelaying. Since resources are limited in this stage minefields have to be strategically placed rather than big.

As far as early hostilities coming from the you go: once the second base is up and running or at least the first Merlin has been built a couple of Nebulas can be built to go and wreak havoc in a developing neighbour’s territory. While the Nebulas keep him busy Diplomacies and a Missouri roll out of the Federation starbases and head for the enemy homeworld. While most races have the ability to build bigger ships than you they often lack the medium ships to counter such an attack, or just don’t have the economy to muster enough firepower to cope with the early disruption and the hitsquad following up on it. Ofcourse the decision to take out a neighbour depens on a number of factors. Perhaps it will be better to start an alliance with this neighbour, or perhaps it is better to let this neighbour live in peace and take out another neighbour instead.

4.5 And then what?
The further development of a game depends on so many factors that it is impossible to make any further statement on it without falling into really common advices. But heck….. You should never the Federation is an economical race, so apart from all the diplomacy and warfare economic expansion should always continue. By the time the (500) shiplimit is reached you should have at least 100 ships. This may sound like a lot to a beginning player, but using theSuper Refit ability and your economic advantage this is by no means impossible. Diplomatic skills and strategic placement of battlegroups should keep the Federation clear of invaders and the economy gowing strong. Making friends and taking out enemies provide additional abilities and ships, and offer enough room to expand the Federation into a force to be reckoned with.


5. War!

5.1 Diplomacy
Even though you have always made it clear you’re a peaceloving race, some might decide to wage war against you. Heck, you’re better off killing some of them before they can grow too so you might have started a war of your own. Among others, here are some things to consider:

-You’ve got one of the best fleets of ships around, if properly equipped
-The best wars are surprise-attacks. Large surprise-attacks
-You don’t want to fight a war on two or more fronts, make sure you’re only fighting one other race

Especially this last point is very important. Let’s say the Borg are your neighbours, and you’ve decided it’s best to get rid of them now, before they can really get lots and lots of cubes into play. Fighting the Borg should be pretty easy for you, since he doesn’t have any good ships besides his cubes. He will have some fancy tricks, though, which we’ll discuss later. You start preparing for war, thinking ahead, where you need your ships to be, which clusters you’ll attack, and you’re moving most of your ships to the Fed-Borg border. Ofcourse you ARE leaving a decent fleet of ships behind to guard your territory, and while you’re attacking your starbases are building battleships, but most efforts are used to be sure you wipe out those pesky Cyborgs. You’ve thought it all through, and you make your first strike. All goes well, you’re suffering minor losses, Borg only has half his planets left, you’re about to make the kill, when all of a sudden your neighbour at the other side, the Robots, are crushing your planets and your backup fleet. Stupid! You should have made sure the Robots were friendly to you before starting war with the Borg. That’s the importance of diplomacy.

You could also use your diplomatic skills to try and find out what’s the situation between the Borg and his other neighbour. Ofcourse you’ve been friendly to the Borg when you first met them (as said, you’re not advertising your wars, you want surprise-attacks), and asked him about his situation. After all, you do want to know about his situation. If he’s at war on the other side he might just decide your part of the cluster is a good place to run to, while kicking you out. And you’d like to know of any wars going on between the Borg and his other neighbour. Might be a nice time for you to jump in and finish him off. You could try and contact the Borg’s neighbour on the other side, and set up something of a combined attack. But keep in mind he might be totally allied to the Borg, so he might be doublecrossing you. Same goes for your neighbour on the other side. Maybe he and the Borg decided it would be good for the both of them to crush you. (ofcourse both the Borg and the Robots are only example-races here)

5.2 Defense
A first word on being forced into defending against an incoming attack: you really don’t want this.
With the Fed shiplist it’s not that hard to defend your territory and kick out invaders unless they come in real large numbers, but you really don’t want to have to fight in your own territory, losing planets you’ve just started to develop and using precious resources for immediate war instead of building a very large fleet. You don’t want to have to burn extra fuel because you have to accompany your freighters with capital ships, and you don’t want to lose unprotected planets to small enemy warships.

When being invaded you want to make sure to protect your key planets first. This should be pretty easy, since you (should) have been protecting them from day one anyway. Then remember not to leave fuel laying around for whoever is attacking you to beam up from the planets, and to strip all undefended planets of minerals. If you can’t take all the minerals from it, take at least all of one sort – molybdenum being the first choice.
With the ships you have you should be able to kick anyone invading you out again pretty fast. Your supply lines are short while they have to travel al the way over to you, and you’re owning all the planets there. Needless to say your starbases will be set to build extra warships each turn if you need them (don’t go building warships when you have enough of those but really need some freighters). Don’t worry too much about beamtype, make sure you’ve got good (mark7, mark4 when low on cash/minerals) torpedoes on your ships. You can skimp on engines here and there by using one ship with transwarps to tow another ship with medium engines. Ships set to defend the base they’re built at can be equipped with tech 1 engines, but always keep in mind they won’t be able to do anything other than defending a planet until you refit them or have another ship tow them.

A nice way of ripping apart an incoming fleet is laying some surprise minefields. You can probably predict the course of his fleet, and a nice minefield dropped in it’s way (laid by a ship orbiting a planet) will result in the different ships suffering different amounts of damage, ending up moving in different speeds. Smaller ships will blow up, and needless to say fighting scattered damaged ships is easier than fighting an entirely intact enemy battlegroup

5.3 Offense
Being on the offensive as a Fed requires different tactics. Novas and Missouris are hard to use because of their limited reach, but in combination with a Nebula or Diplomacy to tow one or two around or carry extra fuel they make quite an impressive strikeforce. Most of the offensive tactics are are descrbied in the enemies section, and unfortunately there is no guaranteed way to success. Your entire tactic in attacking depends on your own resources, which enemy you’re fighting and which of his ships you will be fighting. That last point depends a lot on how early in the game you’re attacking. The Colonials, for example, are not that hard to beat in the early to medium stages of the game, because they don’t have the kind of medium-sized ships you have. But once they’ve had the time to build some Virgos and the fighters to fill them with, they’ll be quite hard to defeat. So in order to be successful in this game it is once again of vital importance to know the other races, so you can make a better guess to what you’ll be facing. Always assume the worst: maybe they’ve been really lucky with the planets they colonized so far, maybe you’re facing a very good player and maybe he has a really friendly neighbour who has supplied him with some nice ships. The point is: attack with the proper fleet. If you want to attack the Rebels in turn 15, don’t decide not to because you don’t have any Novas yet, and don’t expect to beat him with a couple of Nebulas in turn 40 or so.

5.4 Battlegroups
As can be deducted from the shiplist, although the Feds have some very useful (battle)ships you simply lack the raw firepower to thunder straight through enemy territory. You don’t have a big carrier which will take out multiple enemy ships, and the Nova -the biggest ship you do have- is rather expensive. So you will have to use combinations of ships: battlegroups.

The Dreadlord Battlemanual has a section about battlegroups: groups of ships, complementing eachother, able to take out most ships they encounter and wreak havoc on your enemies. It mentions the Nebula and the Vendetta as good all-purpose ships: ships that are useful in almost any situation. Personally I disagree about the Vendetta, because it’s far to vulnerable to being captured. It’s a nice ship to take out undefended planets, but I’d rather send out two Nebulas than three Vendettas. Diplomacies make very good ships for battlegroups as well. Both the Diplomacy as the Nebula have nice large fueltanks, a decent amount of beams and enough room for cargo. A Loki is a nice ship to have along in case you run in to some cloakers, but if you know you’re heading for a cloaking race you should bring along at least two Lokis (one fuelless). Missouris should only be put in battlegroups of which you know they’re heading for hostile space, their high fuel-consumption and small tanks make them worthless for “scouting” battlegroups. Kittyhawks are great too, as long as you have enough money to put some fighters on them. A Fed battlegroup would then consist of some torpedoships, a decloaker and a carrier.

Always remember to bring along some supplies to repair minor damage, some clans to drop on unowned planets as lookout points and enough cash to build new torpedoes with the minerals you find on conquered or unowned planets. It’s probably a good idea to bring 100 clans, 100 supplies and some cash to set up a small colony somewhere, but remember everything you bring along makes the ships use more fuel. To keep your battlegroup nicely in a convoy use the ‘fleet order’ in Winplan. Set a waypoint with one ship, and copy that to the other ships.

Depending on which ships you’re facing you arrange the battle-order through your friendly codes. If you’re facing a ship with a lot of beams you’ll ofcourse make sure the Kittyhawk doesn’t fight first, that would cost you a lot of fighters while the Nebula or Diplomacy would kill it with just a couple of torps. Ships with a rather large mass but not that many beams are best fought by the Kittyhawk. Lokis should always be set to fight last (high FC) because their only job is decloaking. Remember 20% damage will disable their decloak-function. In general, if you don’t know what you’ll be flying in to have a Nebula or Diplomacy set to fight first.


6. Allies

Personally I think allying is both fun and vital. Nobody can win the game solely on his own and even if you’re planning to you’ll probably want to form a temporary peace-treaty with someone or exchange some ships. Detailed descriptions of the benefits each race can offer you are given on the alliances page, here we’ll suffice with a short overview of the different races, without mentioning the most obvious things you have to offer to every race like Lokis, terraforming and superrefit.

The Lizards
Together with Lizard hissing your 200% taxrate can really earn excessive amounts of money from the natives. Where you only mine at 70% of the normal speed, the Lizards do so at 200% of normal speed – nearly three times as fast as the Federation. The Lizard shiplist shows a remarkable gap between their cloakers and their battleships, which can be very well filled with Diplomacies. The Lizard’s ability to take 150% damage in battles gets real nasty when the Lizard uses Missouris and Novas, and Federation Madonzillas make a remarkably nice carrier to follow up one of those Lizard heavy-hitters. A Lizard Missouri and a Federation Madonzilla for example have a good chance of taking down a Biocide.

The Birds
The Birdmen, masters of cloaking, have one big problem: money. Their cloaking ships are great for superspying and raids on freighters and lowly defended planets, but in order to be successful he needs to build Darkwings and Resolutes which are both pretty costly. Diplomacies fight much better than Resolutes, and together with your bigger ships they can offer the Birds the protection they need against head-on attacks. Cloaked ships are great to have as scouts, armed freighters or ofcourse battleships with cloaked-intercept capability, and Birdmen on superspy controlling minefield friendly codes allow for raids deep into enemy territory.

The Fascists
The Fascists are a torpedo-race just like you, but have some cloakers and their Glory-device ships to detect cloakers or be used as a weapon. Their ships have a lot of beams, so one or two as minesweepers can be a real help. Fascists can also pillage a planet a couple of turns before you or they attack it, or pillage one of your own planets for a turn to give it a jumpstart. With the ability to pillage natives for money or pop Amorphs the Fascists aren’t likely to be short on money, so it’ll be exchanging warships here. Though equipped with a lot of beams Fascist ships often have less tubes than your ships.

The Privateers
The Privateers are everybody’s most hated enemy and most beloved ally. If you’re sure you can trust them that is. You wouldn’t be the first ally to open up his RST in the morning and find the bulk of your fleet stolen right from under your nose. Having said that, the Privateers can indeed make a very good ally to you and vice-versa. The Privateer robs, you clone and refit. His gravitonic ships move your battlegroups around at double speed, and your battleships are what keeps him from being overrun by enemies. You’re just what he needs to get to the Lizard, since your Loki-immunity allows you to tow out the Lizard’s Lokis so the Privs can go in and rob his pants off.

The Cyborg
The Borg, often hated as an enemy, can also be a great ally. If you work together well you can use his assimilation as an advantage to turn low-government natives into monarchy colonists. His assimilation can provide you with enough clans anywhere to get the best out of the natives, and your terraforming comes in real handy when he starts assimilating 8 million natives on an arctic world. The Firecloud’s channel is a very nice way to move your fleets around the map, and your shiplists complement eachother perfectly. You have the small, medium and large battleships and he has the massive ones. The Borg are vulnerable early in the game, so if you can them a planet with natives safe behind Federation lines you make sure they survive long enough for the both of you to become unstoppable in the end.

The Crystal People
The Crystals can provide you with the perfect defense: webmines. They also have a very nice carrier, the Crystal Thunder which in Federation hands becomes quite impressive. The Crystals are equipped with a nice array of torpers, though most seem to be designed for minelaying and sweeping: large cargoholds and large tanks, more beams than tubes. Their top of the line torpedoship has six tubes, so some Diplomacies as “cheap” battleships might be welcome. You can provide the Crystals with money to keep the webbing up and/or build fighters, and they can save you the trouble of cooling down boiling hot planets since they like ‘em that way.

The Evil Empire
The Empire and you can form a very strong alliance. He supplies the information through his Dark Sense, you supply the medium and heavy warships and he throws in some Gorbies which in Federation hands will kill anything. You can even turn the Super Star Destroyer in to a decent carrier, though it’s use will ofcourse be to take bases alive. The five free fighters per Imperial base help filling the carriers, your money make sure those bases can also build something useful besides sitting there making fighters. Access to superrefit enables the Empire to build Gorbies with lowtech engines, so he might be able to crank out some extra before the shiplimit. Once the two of you are underway, there’s not much anybody can do about it.

The Robots
The Robots are a perfect ally to the Feds. You have torpers in all sorts and sizes, he has carriers in all sorts and sizes. His Instrumentality is a great mop-up ship, and he can build the fighters to fill them for free. Missouris to go in first before an Instrumentality, Automa or Golem will make sure the two of you can take on any ship in the game. Your money make sure he can lay enormous minefields, and you can superrefit the four, six or eight engines on his carriers so he can worry about quantity, not quality. Yes, it is a sad day when the Feds and the Robots unite.

The Rebels
The Rebels are another race with a shiplist that greatly complements yours. He has small carriers, s good hyperjumper and a large carriers, but actually misses some ships in-between. And those are what you have. A second weakness of the Rebels is that they only have two ships with a reasonable amount of beams to sweep mines with, one of which is his tech 10-carrier. In exchange for some good torpedoships and help in minesweeping Federal Patriots and Rushes enter the field. Federal taxes help the Rebellion economy, and the Rebel builds free fighters for the alliance. Furthermore, the Rebels’ immunity to ATT and NUK can be exploited and the Rebel Ground Attack can be used for offensive as well as economic purposes.

The Colonies
The Colonials are another great ally to you. Much alike the Rebels they lack some good torpedoships to fill the gap in their sihplist between the small Patriot and the large Virgo. Your many torpers fill that gap perfectly. Their Cobols generate all the fuel the two of you need, their fighters sweep all mines within 100 lightyears and they build free fighters. The Feds optimize the economy in this alliance, offer early-game protection, give the Colonials torpers to lead their Virgo and supply them with high-tech beams to sweep webmines. In exchange, you get Patriots (very cheap, nine bays) and Virgos which under Federal command become the best carrier in the game with 11 bays and 10 beams.


7. Enemies

What would a game be without enemies to shoot at? Below a short summary of things do watch out for and things to do against the different enemies this game has to offer, more detailed descriptions can be found on the enemies page.

The Lizards
The Lizards have two strengths: their groundpounding and their ability to take 150% damage on their ships and planets. Groundpounding will happen from cloaked ships, and since your Lokis cannot decloak Lizards you will have to lay lots and lots of minefields. Small overlapping fields often serve better than one big one, ofcourse small overlapping fields overlapped by a big one are better. The Lizards are very strong in the early game with their easy access to minerals and cash, and since their main ship used for groundpounding (the Lizard Class Cruiser) only has a hulltech level of 4 you can expect them even before you have the resources to lay minefields. In fact the only thing you can do in situations like that is to counterattack and take out his supporting planets, while trying to gather resources to lay some minefields. Later in the game you should be the one attacking him, since you have the better ships.

The Birdmen
The Birdman has a fine range of cloaking ships and some nice tricks to go with them. He can pick his fights, stay cloaked if he doesn’t think he’ll win, hunt down your freighters and use the cloaked-intercept to fight the freighters before the accompanying battleship. Using his superspy he can gather enough information to know exactly where to attack, and with the ability to control a planet’s friendly code he can make the planet beam up all it’s money to his ships or control the friendly codes of your minefields. That last ability is one you shouldn’t underestimate, since with the recent Loki-immunity for the Birds minefields are the only way to keep his cloakers away from your important planets and your freighters. The answer to your Birdman problem sounds simple: attack him. He simply doesn’t have the ships to fight you with, apart from his tech 10 Darkwing and ofcourse a starbase or a battlegroup he has nothing that will beat a Diplomacy. The Birds need some time early on to earn taxes and build up their empire so they can crank out Darkwings, and where the Bird has no Darkwing the Bird is vulnerable.

The Fascists
The third of the cloaking races, the Fascists use their cloaking ships mainly to sneak up on planets undetected. One of their main weapons is the pillage-mission, with which they can plunder a planet for supplies and money. To make sure their ships don’t get blown to bits by the planets they pillage Fascist ships are immune to NUK and ATT, so make sure you have a ship capable of taking out the Fascist cloakers defending your better planets. Luckily the Fascists are the first of the cloaking races you can use your Loki against. As described earlier, Lokis protect your most important planets and accompany battlegroups.

The second Fascist weapon is the groundattack. Though not as strong as the Lizards, 1 Fascist clan will kill fifteen Federal clans. If there are too many Federal clans to kill and no defending ships the Fascists can ofcourse pillage the planet somewhat first, and then drop their clans. Fascist clans are preferably dropped from cloaked ships, so here too mines and Lokis are the answer. The third and most underestimated Fascist weapon are the Glory Devices. These ships can explode, causing one minehit of damage to all ships in the same spot. They are often used to soften up big ships after which the Fascist fleet comes in for the kill. Carrying supplies to repair damages and your crewbonus (remember, all weapons work regardless of damage) give you a chance against the Fascists.

The Privateers
The Orion Pirates have the most feared special ability in the game: they can rob ships of their fuel and cargo and take over fuelless ships with a boarding party. The Nova which was so proudly defending your empire this turn might just be theirs the next. But, too bad for the Privateers, you’re one of the races best-equipped to handle them. Lokis decloak cloaked privateer ships, your other ships kill it and he doesn’t get a chance to rob. None of his cloakers can stand a minehit, and as long as he hasn’t robbed his way to some powerful enemy ships there’s no way for him to stop an incoming attack. As long as you make sure he doesn’t rob the incoming fleet blind, that is. The keyword here is Loki. Multiple Lokis, actually. Istrongly advise you to read up on Privateer tactics and anti-Privateer tactics, since this has only been the short version, not guaranteed to keep you from being robbed.

The Cyborgs
The Borg are a peculiar enemy. You can walk all over them early in the game, trash the entire Cyborg empire, find out one lousy probe has escaped and get killed by the rebuilt Cyborg fleet later on. Assimilation of natives does have it’s pros, and that is what the Borg will be concentrating on throughout the game. If you spot a Cyborg probe, get there fast an clear those planets of the Borg. If possible ofcourse kill the probe. Apart from his Cubes you can take out his ships very easily, and though probably filled with a lot of colonists and a lot of defenseposts non-starbase planets can be taken out without too much trouble too. The Borg live by their Fireclouds, which they need to chunnel their groups of cubes around. Make sure you kill the Fireclouds and you’ve won half the battle. The next step is taking out the Borg planets. The Borg need those planets to earn them money and supplies, and mine a lot of minerals so they can build their expensive cubes and fill them with fighters. If you cut off the supply-lines (Fireclouds and planets) production will stop or at least slow down severely. Remember he can use his Firecloud network to get a lot of ships in one place fast, so attack on at least two different locations.

As for the defense: make sure you spot and kill his Fireclouds a long way before they come anywhere near your important planets, because where you see one Firecloud this turn you might see a dozen cubes the next. And killing cubes is a hard thing to do.

The Crystal People
The Crystals are feared for their webmines, but the Crystalline warfleet is often underrated. Their Emerald, Diamond Flame and Crystal Thunder can put up quite a fight, and what they cannot beat they suck dry of fuel. Like the Privateers the Crystals can enter fuelless ships with boarding parties and take them over. Ships caught in their webmines lose 25 Kt of fuel per turn, and a minimum of 25 Kt per minehit too. If you’re going up against the Crystals superrefit becomes your best friend: don’t even bother sending in ships with less than six beams or less than heavy disruptors. Make sure you have enough fuel standing by, and carry some supplies to fix minehit-damage.

The Crystals’ weakness lies in their high need of molybdenum and their need of cash to keep the webbing up and the carriers filled. So probably more than most other races they’ll need a lot of supporting planets. The solution would be to take them out, but if he knows what he’s doing he’ll have your butt covered in webs before you can say Enterprise. Bottom line: use large battlegroups with lots of high-tech beams (Diplomacies work very well here, throw in the odd cheap Arkham for cheap beams), be patient and keep sweeping. In the long run you will win this cat and mouse game, since you’re sweeping away his resources.

The Evil Empire
The Empire combines power with unlimited information, a potentially very dangerous combination. All he needs is shoot in a probe set to Dark Sense, and he’ll know the strength of all your planets, he’ll know what resources you have and he’ll know where your bases are. And once he knows where your bases are, he can send out his Super Star Destroyer. 10 Clans dropped from one of those will take over any planet including the base, regardless of the number of colonists and defenseposts you have there. And if the combination of those two isn’t enough: he has the biggest ship in the game, the Gorbie, to back them up.

Now for the good side: apart from a Gorbie no Imperial ship stands a chance against a Missouri. So the key to defeating the Empire is attacking him. Battlefleets consisting of Diplomacies and some Missouris come a long way, include a Kittyhawk or two as mop-ups against Gorbies you might run into (Missouri-Missouri-Kittyhawk does it every time) and make sure he doesn’t even get to use all his information.

The Robots
The Robots are one of the better fighter-races, and also have a quadruple minelaying advantage. They can build free fighters in space, using only minerals and supplies. The key to fighting the Robots is, as with the Crystals, beams. Lots of them to shoot down fighters, and high-tech to sweep their minefields. Make sure it’s a long way from them to your important planets, since the Robotic baseships are the biggest fuelhogs in the game. Attacking the Robots will most likely be quite costly, since you’ll need lots of Missouri-Kitty combos to take out his carriers. As with most enemies, taking out his supporting planets will severely cripple his ability to build more carriers, minefields and free fighters but most likely you’ll have to plough your way through some serious minefields to reach his important planets, only to find out that they’re heavily defended.

The Rebels
Like most carrier-races, the Rebels don’t have a lot of worthwhile medium-sized ships. They have their small and cheap Patriot, which if preceded by an equally cheap Guardian can take out anything smaller than a Missouri. After that the next Rebel ship worth mentioning for battle is the tech 10 Rush. The Guardian/Patriot combination die fast in minefields but make a great defending combination. The way to hurt the Rebels is to cover their territory with minefields and disrupt their supply lanes. They have eight beams on the Iron Lady and five on the Rush, and that’s about it when it comes to sweeping.

On the offensive the Rebels are much stronger, it will take multiple Federal ships to take out one Rush. To make sure you can’t just concentrate all your forces to deal with his Rushes, a good Rebel player will shoot out some Falcons to RGA your planets. Since the Rebels are also immune to ATT and NUK you’ll need to leave some ships behind to take care of them. Lucky for you terraformers, Lokis and alchemy ships can do a nice job at that.

The Colonies
The last race in the game, but certainly not the least, the Colonials have a combination of unlimited fuel, long-distance minesweeping, a very nice carrier and some small Patriots at their disposal. Using their Cobols to tow their Virgos they can fly on indefinitely. Minefields won’t stop them, and to get to the Cobol you’ll have to go through the Virgo. Missouri-Kitty or Nova-Nova (lose the first one, the second kills the Virgo) combinations are the only way to stop his Virgos.

The key is –this should be starting to sound familiar by now- to take the war to his space, and take out his supporting planets. A Diplomacy in Colonial space can only be stopped by minefields, multiple smaller ships, a Virgo or a Starbase. So go and take out the planets he earns his money and mines his minerals on, this will slow down his carrier- and fighterproduction. Be sure to bring a lot of fuel, because a very effective Colonial defense is to strip a rather large neutral zone of all fuel, to make sure you don’t get to his important planets anytime soon. So the trek to the Colonial heartlands will be a long and patient one.


8. Closing words

I’d like to mention once again that ofcourse not every tactic and idea in this guide is my own. I used to keep a list of people who had mentioned or published specific important subjects, but I’ve decided to drop that. The list would be severely incomplete anyway, and most of the tactics which were new at the time I heard of them (or at least they were new to me) are now considered common knowledge.

After ploughing through this basic guide (really, I’ve tried to keep it somewhat brief) it might be worth the trouble to also read the separate pages with detailed descriptions of  the Federal economy, allies and enemies.

This version was last updated on jjuly 22nd, 2001. The most recent version of this guide can always be found at Donovan’s. This guide is not to be published online anywhere else (neither directly accessible nor zipped) without my permission.

Donovan

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