An Old Scroll – The Privateer Treasury

The Old Scrolls Series from Donovan’s Super Site:

Please note that some data may refer to earlier game versions or different host settings. 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!

Collected and edited by: Mark Wilmot in 1997

The Privateer Treasury

Intro:

As a long time Privateer fan I’ve made a habit of saving interesting Privateer related posts in my wandering thru cyberspace. I am presently working on a Privateer’s Logbook which will incorporate many of these ideas as well as my own experiences into a more easily digestable form. As part of my preparation for my strategy guide I decided to sort my mass of notes into some sort of order. Some of these are my own, most are from others. I don’t necessarially agree with all of these views, some may be a bit out of date due to changes in host since they were first collected and a few contain plain inaccuracies in places. However, all-in-all they are a good source of ideas on how to make the most of everyone’s favorite race; The Privateers<g>


THE GOLDEN RULES

1. STAY UNDETECTED
2. MAXIMIZE YOUR ECONOMY
3. ALLY
4. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE YOUR ENEMY
5. CONCENTRATE YOUR FORCES


PLAYING THE PRIVATEER, PART I
by: MICHAEL LEMIEUX (VJNK46E)

The Privateer can be one of the most fun races to play in VGA Planets. If you examine their unique abilities, you’ll begin to appreciate why. No other race is quite so capable of making off with an opponents resources & ships as the Privateer. The Privateers most potent weapon is the ROB mission. Any enemy ships occupying the same point in space as a Privateer ship can be robbed (remember, only those Privateer ships with beam weapons can ROB). What happens during the ROB is the Privateer will take all the fuel it can until either the target ship(s) are drained dry or the Privateer is filled. Next the robber will take any Mega-Credits available. Finally the Privateer will take, in order, any Moly, Trit, Dura or Colonists until its cargo bays are full. Combine a few robbing ships together & you can see how devastating this can be to your enemy’s logistics. This also comes in very handy for capturing enemy ships.

Remember that a ship with no fuel cannot defend itself & it won’t be able to attack you while you are towing it. Haul off that ship you have just drained dry to your Star Base that just so happens to have it’s mission set to Force Surrender and voila, the ship joins the proud ranks of the Privateers.Now, to plan your ROB missions, there are a couple of things that have to be considered. One is you can bet your opponents aren’t going to be too thrilled about letting this happen & they WILL have their primary enemy set to Privateer once they see you are in the area. You’ll want to keep your robbers CLOAKED so your targets can’t see you coming & can’t force you into combat. This makes robbing ships in deep space difficult. Since you can’t set your ship mission to INTERCEPT & remain CLOAKED, you’ll have to guess which point in space your “target” ships are going or risk combat (not a Privateer strong point) by uncloaking. Good luck!

So, if you gotta remain CLOAKED & can’t INTERCEPT in deep space, from where do you ROB them? At planets of course! If you pay attention to your maps, you’ll be able to figure out to which planets your target keeps going. Get your cloaked ships there & wait for some juicy targets to show up. The ROB mission is the very first ship mission to occur (which comes in handy for preventing some pesky missions like LAY MINES or even movement). It also happens before movement, so you have to be waiting at the spot you want to ROB. Once you set your mission to ROB, you will uncloak. So you’ll most likely want to move off the planet or risk tangling with planetary defenses.

OK, you have your ships at the planet & some targets have been kind enough to show up, what next? Hopefully you’ve made sure that your robbers have plenty of available fuel capacity & empty cargo bays. If you go in with everything full, why bother right? When you ROB, you will ROB the lowest numbered ship first. If you take everything off that ship & still have available capacity, you will then proceed to the next lowest numbered ship and will continue until you either fill all your robbing ships or all ships at the site are emptied. If you use more than one ship to ROB, your lowest numbered ship does the robbing first. A problem that can arise here is if you are attempting a ROB mission at a planet that has more than one race’s ships in orbit. One of them may be an ally. Unfortunately, VGAP does NOT allow you to designate ROB targets. You’ll ROB your friends just as readily as you enemies. You’ll still begin with the lowest numbered ship, no matter who owns it. So, when dealing with allies, you have to be careful & make sure communication is kept open so that you won’t leave them dead in space too.

In my next column, I’ll describe the use of the “SNATCH & RUN” tactic, using the “3X vs life” advantage, and which ships the Privateer should bother building.


PRIVATEER SECRETS – PART II

By: Steel Rat.

Now that you’ve read last issue’s column on how the ROB mission works, I’m sure those budding pirates out there are dying to know how to put it to good use. Pull up your chairs and gather ’round your kindly Uncle Rat now. He may just let a few hints slip (especially if you promise to NEVER use these against him).

The obvious use of the ROB mission is to simply make off with with some of the things you need to succeed in the game. Wouldn’t you feel better using HIS minerals and supplies to build up YOUR bases & ships? Just think of the warm feeling you’ll get when you discover which one of his planets is pumping out thousands of MCs that you can quite nobly give to the nearest charity (most likely located on the Privateer homeworld). And while you’re busy putting his resources to good use, he won’t be squandering them on his own ships & bases.

However, a far greater way to use the ROB mission is so you can liberate the ships your opponents have so kindly built for you. Since the Privateers don’t have any real heavy fighting ships they can build naturally, this is the best way to get some. It will also give you some serious taunting ammunition with which to chide those foolish enough to attempt aggression against the mighty Privateers.

The best way to haul off those prizes is through the technique I call the “Snatch & Run”. Here’s how it works. You are sitting over an opponent’s planet with your pack of 3 to 4 cloaked ships (it’s always best to operate in packs if you can). A target has appeared that you want to add to your fleet. You have enough of your ships move away from the planet with their mission set to ROB so that your “target” ship will lose all it’s fuel. How many ships you use depends on a number of factors such as: how many enemy ships and what type are present, what the fuel capacity of those ships is, the ship number of the one you want (lowest numbered ships get robbed first), and the remaining fuel capacity of your robbing ships (you can find the fuel capacity numbers in the docs). These numbers are important because you want to make sure your “target” has no fuel left. Remember that a ship with no fuel cannot engage in battle.

So, you use enough ships to drain away all the fuel (the “snatch”) and then have one of your remaining ships tow off your “target” on the same turn (the “run”). Since ROB happens after transfers between ships & planets but before movement, your “target” won’t get the chance to refuel and thus can’t attack the towing ship on the trip home (there is a way for the target to get around this, but I can’t give away all my secrets, right?).

Meanwhile, what you do with the ships that robbed depends on what you made off with. If you happened to snatch away some nifty stuff, like a few thousand MCs, they might as well head home too. If not, just jettison the stuff you don’t want, re-cloak, and head back in for another visit. The Privateers also have the ability to fine tune their beam weapons so that you can kill off those pesky crew members who so selfishly wish to keep you off their ship. Privateer beam weapons receive a 3X bonus vs. life. If you examine the beam weapons you’ll notice that 2 of them, the Disruptor & Heavy Disruptor, already do quite heavy “life” damage. Combine these with the 3X advantage and you get a very powerful weapon. Buy these beams for your ships.

When you plan to capture a ship via combat mode (i.e. using the 3X advantage), the smart Privateer will remember that before you start to kill off the crew, you must knock down the ship’s shields first. This brings you to the dilemma of having to use your torps to knock down the shields while trying to keep from blowing the ship up with the torps after the shields are down. That’s why I only recommend using combat to capture freighters or lightly armed transports. You can disable your ship’s torps by setting your friendly code to NTP (case sensitive, and BTW, this will also prevent your fighter carriers from launching fighters) and since freighters don’t carry weapons, you can use just the beams to knock down the shields and then polish off the crew at your leisure. Never try to capture any kind of decent warship this way! With your torps disabled, his torps will quickly kill your ship before your beams can bust through the shields. You might consider it with a heavy captured ship that can soak up damage, but the ships that the Privateer can build just don’t stand up well to heavy combat.

Finally, a word on which ships the Privateer should build.
METEOR CLASS BLOCKADE RUNNERS. Alright, so that was four words, but the MCBR is the best ship the Privateers have. The BR4 & BR5 ships also have uses since they too can cloak & have the Grav Drives. However, the ship that can best accomplish the ROB mission is the MCBR. It has the decent fuel and cargo capacity necessary to make robbing worthwhile. Build as many of them as you can and put the best weapons you can on them. Yeah, I know, they don’t stand up well in a fight. But if you are forced to fight, you might as well be ready to do as much damage as possible. Who knows? You may get lucky and all his torps could miss. Looking at the rest of the ships, you can pretty much figure out for yourself what uses can be made for each one. In my next column, I’ll discuss the economics of playing VGAP (kinda boring, I know. But when the boss makes a request, whattya gonna do?)


The Secrets of Privateer Warfare, Part III
By WarriorSol

If you’ve already mastered Uncle Rat’s manual of tactics, then pull up a chair and freshen up that tankard of Rum! Uncle Sol is here to teach you a few extra tricks for all you wannbe Pirates.

Speed is Life But Life Ain’t Free

1. Ship Building 101:
The first ships you build should be one of two types. Meteors and Large Deep Space Freighters. The simple reason for this is that both are the best at what they do and are relatively cheap to build in comparison. Also, you’ll only need to raise you starbase hull tech to 6 to build either of them. After tech level 6 the only hulls worth building are Merlins and Neutronic Refineries. Period. Thus, you initial starbase tech level setting should be Hull Tech 6, Engine 10, Beam 5, and Torp 5. Never, ever skimp on engines. The Privateers live and die by their cloaking and Gravatonic Accelerators. Don’t give yourself a handicap by putting anything but Transwarps on your ships (except for ships that never leave their planets). A favorite tactic of Privateer players is to tow freighters that are equipped with lousy engines. While I use this tactic also, I still equip the freighters with Transwarps in case I need my Meteors elsewhere. For an extra 600 credits and a handful of minerals you’ll never worry about a freighter being useless because something isn’t around to tow it.

2. Meteor Configuration:
In the early and mid stages of the game the standard Configuration is 4 Disruptors and 4 Mk4 Torpedoes. If for some reason you have a cash or mineral crunch you can build them with X-Rays and Gamma Bombs. The reason I prefer Mk4 is that they are the best all around torpedo to use as mines (unless you can afford to produce allot of Mk8s). Since you want your Meteors to be multi-mission capable try not to put cheap hardware on them just to produce a hull. You can always get away with putting only 1 Torpedo tube on a ship, but you can’t change your hardware unless you cozy up to the Feds.

3. Colonization:
Meteors are excellent ships to use for colonizing early in the game. With your speed, range, and cargo capabilities (not to mention cloaking) you should be able to expand as fast as any of the other races. The key is to build and send out a couple of Meteors first before you begin production of Freighters to service these planets. Dwarfstar Transports are also very useful in servicing planets near hostile neighbors since they cloak and can be used as minesweepers (6 beams). When colonizing, use the Borg trick of dropping 1 colonist and then moving on to maximize you planet count. Use either a Dwarfstar or large deep space freighter to follow in your tracks with supplies, money, and additional colonists.

4. Other ships:
Your other two important ships to have on hand are the BR4/BR5 classes. Both are equipped with accelerators and cloaks, but have small fuel tanks which make them unsuitable rob missions. The roles they are suited for are cloaked scouts, freighter interdiction, money transportation and minesweeping. Equip them to perform either multiple missions or as a special purpose vessel (a BR4 with Heavy Disruptors or Heavy Phasers makes an excellent minesweeper). Also, building the Lady Royale class is useful for generating money and playing a role in your ship stealing (which I’ll detail later). Don’t bother with the Bloodfang unless you are desperate for a ship with some offensive capability. Alchemy ships should be built only when their need becomes apparent and Super Transport Freighters are for high volume/short distance runs only (unless towed by a Meteor). Plan ahead and don’t get caught short on resources.

When building ships, especially Meteors, try stick with a specific class of torpedo tube. Putting Mk8s on a Meteor only makes sense if you are going to be laying numerous minefields and have the ample money but not allot of minerals. Never use Mk1, Protons, Mk3, Mk5, and Mk6 torpedoes in your ships. You simply don’t get the same bang for your buck with these types of torpedoes. Beam weapons follow along the same principle, except for the privateers the disrupter is the best bang for the buck. If you need to do allot of minesweeping then you should go ahead and put heavy disruptors or heavy phasers on your ships. On the low end, x-ray lasers will do in a pinch, but I’ve never really cared for them in anything other then carriers or alchemy ships.

Alliances and Enemies (Or, I never met a ship I didn’t want to steal)
Alliances are an essential part of playing and winning at VGA Planets, yet it has little to do with game mechanics and alot to do with player temperament and strategy. In every stage of the game it is critical for the Privateers to build and hold alliances with key races. Standing alone in the echo cluster is a tactic left to the overly courageous or foolhardy (with the notable exception of the “Rogue” format). Because each race has its special abilities and strengths, I’ll go over my philosophy on the best choices for allies and the best choices for enemies.

The Lizards
The Lizards are much like the Privateers in that they both have abilities that cause fear to swell up in other players. The Lizards have that nasty ground attack, 150% damage and cloaking ships. Another good reason to ally with the Lizards is their ability to build the hated Loki class ship. The Loki will decloak you and generally spoil your day and ability to rob ships. Thus, it’s much better when they aren’t being deployed against you. The Lizard Loki is even more of a problem because of its 150% damage capability. You have no inherent ships in your inventory that will take it out (when it is equipped with Mk 7 or 8 torps) except the Bloodfang! The best ship to trade for is the Lizard class, with great fuel, cargo, cloaking and decent armament. If you have to go up against the Lizards, attack their shipping and use a Meteor with Mk 7 or 8 torps to damage or possibly destroy Lokis that are escorting fleets. This is usually a suicide run, so don’t put more then 16 torpedoes on the ship. Because you have a cloaking device, you will automatically engage a ship you intercept (except if you are unfortunate enough to hit a mine).

The Feds
Since the Feds also have the Loki, it is also prudent to stay on their good side. If you need a couple of good torpedo ships they probably have the best all around assortment. Finally, their super-refit comes in handy when you need to re-equip captured ships more towards your liking. Finally, if you are at war with the lizards, cloaked ships owned by the Federation cannot be uncloaked by the Loki. (the same holds true with being allied with the Lizards but at war with the Feds). Give you friendly Fed player a couple of BR4s and have him tow those Loki’s out to waiting capital ships to be destroyed. Then you can go in and borrow all of those nice shiny Madonzilla’s and T-Rex’s from the Lizards.

The Cloaking Races (Bird Men and Fascists)
Both these races are good to have on your side as they both can provide excellent cloaking ships for you fleet. The Bird Men ships can be especially beneficial, as their White Falcon, Fearless Wing, and Resolute all cloak and have large fuel tanks for their size. The Deth Specula is a lousy for rob missions but nice to providing some punch to your fleet, Though overall, the Resolute Battlecruiser is the perfect ship for the Privateer.

The Resolute has a large fuel tank, good mass, good armament, large cargo hold and will not uncloak in Ion storms in later versions of Host (3.2+). What more could a Privateer ask for except gravatonic acceleration? Also, getting you hands on a Dark Wing would perfect addition to your cloaked arsenal.
The Fascists have fewer ships that compliment your own (in fact, you share a couple of their lousy hull designs). The D7 Coldpain is one of their few cloaking ships with a large fuel tank and enough mass and armament to give smaller ships pause. More importantly though is getting a couple of their glory device equipped ships. You can think of the glory device as a mine with engines. Not only do you get the priority points when they blow up, they will take out low mass ships easily and damage all others at that point in space (keep in mind a Loki has only 101 mass). They makes an effective counter tactic for cloaked and non-cloaked ships.

Getting into a war with a cloaking race is not usually a good idea, especially the Bird Men who can cloak almost all of their major capital ships. Your chances are better with the “rob cloaked ships” set on in the Host. This way, you can use the pirates nest technique and hope to get lucky. If they come in with guns a blazing you’ll lose a planet and they will be able to recloak before you can rob them (cloaking is one of the few ship missions that comes before the Privateer Rob). With the Fascists, their larger ships are easier targets since they don’t cloak. In the long run though, it’s always better to ally with another cloaking race. You’ll need every advantage you can get when going up against the carrier races.

The Cyborg
The Cyborg are an extreme threat once the game begins to develop, but early on they suffer from the lack of any mid tech warships. This is the time to take advantage of the situation, since you can feast on Fireclouds and other Cyborg ships with impunity. A Meteor with decent torpedoes will even destroy a Firecloud, but they are much more useful to you captured and working with your fleet. If you let the Cyborg build Cubes in numbers, you are going to be in for one wicked time. Large fuel tanks combined with the chunnel makes fairly mobile and hard for you to rob. One thing to look out for is the fact that cloaked ships will get caught up in a chunnel even if their warp speed is set higher then zero. If you are not expecting this, it may cause some serious problems, but it also can lead you to Cyborg starbases and fleet concentrations. If you manage to capture a Biocide or Annihilation, you’ll open up a new book in potential rob tactics.

The Crystals
The Crystals are the race closest to your own abilities, which is why it is good to team up with them. The combination of web mines and ship robbing might just be unstoppable. Between the two of you, you might just collect about every ship in the game. Have a Meteor tow an Emerald around laying mines while the two of you were locked in via alliance friendly codes would be just one obvious strategy. For the same reasons it is a bad idea to take the Crystals on unless you have captured capital ships to do it with. Inherently, you have poor minesweeping abilities and you best ships don’t have great fuel supplies. Added to the fact that most hosts run with “mines destroy web mines” off, you have few choices in gaining access to the wary Crystal player’s fleet.

The Empire
The Empire’s Super Star Destroyer can be an invaluable asset to any race, but the privateers can really get their money’s worth out of this ship. Since the Privateers don’t have any large capital ships, taking starbases and high defense planets can be a real task, especially when you have to use the valuable ships you have captured as cannon fodder.

Wheel and deal for a couple as soon as possible and then start putting them to good use. Remember though, SSDs are not suited for any other role then taking undefended (no capital ships in orbit) starbases and planets. The only other two Empire ships of value is the Gorbie and Super Star Cruiser Though I doubt you could trade for one, they make tempting targets for a steal mission. If the Privateers get their hands on a couple of Gorbies, other races will think twice about conducting offensive operations in your territory.

The Free Fighter Races
All Free Fighter Races are not created equal, which is an important thing to keep in mind when going up against them. Probably the hardest race for the Privateer player to take on is the Robots. Their minelaying ability is a big headache, since it’s not advisable to move around them uncloaked. Coupled to the fact that their ships have the largest fuel tanks may give the prudent Privateer player pause for thought. But, my friends, there is hope!

One of the most effective ways to combat the Tin Heads is to destroy or capture their Cat’s Paws. Capturing is more fun since they are usually laden down with torpedoes. Take away their minelaying ability and you have the battle half won.

The Rebels and Colonials have less of a defense against standard Privateer tactics. Concentrate on taking out support ships first, especially freighters. Both races’ ships have good size fuel tanks, which you can use to your advantage when going after their capital ships. Beware the Rebel Ground Attack, which will really ruin your day. Keeping a few BR4’s equipped with Disrupters will net you some Falcons the easy way.

Having any of the three races as allies can be beneficial, especially if you can weasel a carrier out of them. Warships with large fuel tanks is crucial in a couple of key Privateer strategies.

Finally, my pick for the best ally would have to be the Birds. They have cloaking ships which would make your life much easier and provide some offensive punch, not to mention the fact of the fueless cloaking of the Resolute and Dark Wing. The second race I would pick would be the Crystals, who abilities only add to the overall effectiveness of you ship stealing. For my favorite foe, I would have to pick the Empire, since their Super Star Destroyer can be robbed clean by a single Meteor and their minelaying ability isn’t the greatest. The other races pose different problems and require different tactics, but in the long run, most Carrier races are tempting targets for the Privateer’s attention.


Pirate Play Book

Now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty friends. Here are a couple of strategies for robbing you neighbors blind while keeping your own hide intact.

Snatch and Run / 3X vs. Life
If you don’t know this tactic my friends, then I suggest you go back and study up on Uncle Rat’s manual.

Nest O’ Pirates
For you patient Pirates, the Nest O’ Pirates can be a good low risk strategy. To set this up you’ll want to use an Amorph planet with the fuel drained off of it. Then you keep one or more of your Lady Royales there, out of fuel while your Meteors remain cloaked. When an Enemy ships wanders on in, you transfer 1 fuel to your Lady’s and then rob them blind. You should also have another Meteor tow it out the same turn to capture it. You’ll want to tow it to a starbase as soon as possible to recrew and restock it if necessary. In a pinch, you can use one of your planets, but either remove the colonists first or make sure it doesn’t have an ounce of fuel on it. This prevents a favorite counter tactic from being used against you.

Tow and Rob
When you run across a planet packed with enemy ships, you probably won’t have the fuel capacity available to rob them all. Thus, you are going to have to tow some of them to your waiting wolf pack. There are three variants available for the tow and rob strategy, but Uncle Sol is only going to give you two (gotta keep a few things to myself)!

1. Deadman’s Tow
Sometimes is worth sacrificing a ship to capture one. If this is the situation at hand, then you’ll want to use the Deadman’s tow. I recommend using a BR4 or BR5 for this, but if you really are desperate, the Meteor can be sacrificed (that’s why you keep a couple outfitted with x rays and gamma bombs). To begin with, you latch on with your tow mission the ship you are going to nab. Then you tow it out to your cloaked wolf pack the next turn. There you rob your target blind and then steal it. If your target has his enemy set to “Privateer” or mission set to “Kill”, you’ll get toasted. If not, consider yourself lucky this time since you get two ships for the price of one!

2. Capture Bait:
The variant on this strategy is what I call “Capture Bait”. You follow the same procedures as above, but with one special difference: You use a Meteor that has 1/4 of its normal crew. Remember that when you use a Tow Capture, part of your ship’s crew goes over to the ship you are towing. Normally, you want to recrew those ships as soon as you can. But, Meteors that have their crew reduced to 1/4 normal from multiple tow captures can be very valuable. What happens is that when you do a Deadman’s tow, instead of the enemy ship blowing up your valuable Meteor, it gets captured! Then you turn around and rob both ships with your wolfpack and tow capture both. This strategy works with most ships, except Torpedo ships with 6 or more Mark 7 torpedoes tubes. With these ships your mass cannot take the additional hits, blowing your ship right out from under you. Always run a sim before you attempt this tow strategy.

3. The third strategy is the one I use the most, with a success rate of about 75%. The nice thing about this tow strategy is that you don’t have to have low crew to use it or lose your ship in a Deadman’s tow. What is it you ask? Well, that’s for Uncle Sol to know and you space dogs to find out!

Night Lady
Uncle Sol is going to give you one last strategy. This is what I refer to as the Night Lady Strategy. Some of you wet nose space pirates might be wondering how you rob those big tanked carriers or even multiple enemies at one spot without a ton of Meteors. Well, my friends, you asked the right Privateer. Remember the “Nest O’ Pirates” strategy I mentioned earlier? Well, this goes one better! Instead of waiting on your lazy enemies to wander across your pirate’s den, you go out and tow them right to your waiting Lady Royale! She can’t be attacked the turn you tow the ship in because she has no fuel, but just transfer a drop of neutronium to her and she can use her full 669 fuel tank to rob those pesky carrier clean. Just make sure you have multiple Lady’s on hand for those really big jobs! Again, there are a couple of variants to this strategy but I’ll leave those to your imagination.

That’s it for now friends, since Uncle Sol doesn’t want to let out too many of his trade secrets! Though, with a bit of imagination (which is the Privateer’s first requirement) and a lot of intestinal fortitude (the second requirement), you will come up with your own strategies for the Privateers. Just remember, don’t be broadcasting these tips to all those other races, cause they might just find a way out your traps if you do!

Send any comments or suggestions to WarriorSol at “granteb@sihope.com”!
My thanks to SpaceNet for making this article possible and Steel Rat for his excellent Privateer docs!


Classic Privateer Tactics
by Dr. Dorn Peterson.

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. 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. 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.

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. 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?

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. 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.

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.

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.


The Personal Logs of Buck-da-Buccaneer

hacked from his on-board computers at GREAT personal risk
by Joseph Harris

There’s been a lot of discussion lately in the VGA Forum about the Privateers and the tactics to use when playing them (or against them) I’ve recently been playing as the Pirates, and have decided to divulge my info here to the Tourney members. (I break out in hives now when I see Conrad’s name in the Forum… :)

I’ll deal mainly with PLAYING the Pirates. Mainly because I’m having an absolute -BLAST- right now in my game on Wild-at-Heart BBS, where the competition is tough, smart, and persistant.

First Rule: (Sage advice here..)
Before you can play the Pirates well, you MUST play a game AGAINST them. Without this experience, you will stumble and make obvious mistakes that will ultimately lead to your quick demise. Rememeber, most players, myself included, will go gunning after the Pirates from TURN ONE if we know they’re being played competently. The Pirates are by far the most dangerous race in this game, and should be eliminated early if you hope to stand a chance against them. (Again, this assumes the Pirate player knows what he or she is doing.)

Second Rule:
Devote yourself to playing the Pirates, and playing them well. This demands a time sacrifice. If you’re a player who likes to slam out his turn in 20 minutes, then the Privateers are NOT for you. They demand a VERY close attention to detail, and a level of planning on a par with playing a game of chess against a Grand Master. The Pirates must WORK for their successes, and if you’re not up to it, PASS and play a less demanding race.

Now for the juicy stuff. I won’t bother with expansion and colonization except to say that in the early stages of a game, you should be building nothing but Meteors, and leaving them Cloaked -ALWAYS- Remember what I said in Rule number 1. If the other players find you too early, they WILL eliminate you.

When you get your second starbase, devote it to building BR4s with at least tech 6 beams. (Preferably tech 10) The reason for this is obvious. In the long run, the enemies you face will be handing you Mine Fields on an ever increasing pace.
The BR4 GUNSHIP is aptly named. She has 5 beam weapons. There are other ships in your arsenal that have more beams, and you may be tempted to build those instead to increase your ability to sweep mine fields, but DON’T! The BR4 has the enhanced Gravitonic Accelerator and she cloaks, which means she’ll be pulling double duty later in the game by robbing and hauling other ships around.

Your third starbase should be devoted to building LADY ROYALE CLASS CRUISERS. Now I know what your thinking, and Conrad- you hold your water for a minute, and you’ll all find out why I’ve stepped into the Insanity Zone. The Lady Royale, you’re all thinking, is useless to the Privateers. She can’t cloak, only has 4 beams, and only has one torp tube! Well, SO WHAT! This ship is NEVER to face combat. Build her with the worst engines you want and she’ll steal more ships than all your Meteors combined. Right- OBVIOUSLY! (at least, that’s what Conrad’s saying)

Look at the Lady Royale’s stats -real- careful like and you’ll get a hint at what I’m refering to: Lady Royale Class Cruiser (P,CM)
# Beam Weapons: 4 Fuel Tanks: 670 Hull Cost: 250
# Tor/Ftr Tubes: 1/0 # Engines: 2 Durianium: 52
Mass: 130 Tech Level: 5 Tritanium: 61
Cargo Room: 160 Crew Size: 270 Molybdenium: 83

That’s right. Look at those big whopping fuel tanks! Just two of these babies can swipe all the fuel off of a Cyborg Cube ship (1260 fuel)! Three could take a Gorbie! But she’d be pasted by the enemy ship before she got the chance! (Right Conrad?) WRONG! That’s why you’re building at least two BR4s to cruise around with this Lady. Every Lady should have her very own Sacrificial BR4s cruising the space lanes with her. I’ll stop discussing the Lady Royale now, and get to the tactics of Intercepting and Robbing enemy ships, even when in Deep Space, and even if moving in short, random hops.

INCEPT_1.ZIP is a util available on both the Tim Continuum and here on Sharenet. It automatically projects the course of all enemy ships, and tells you where they’ll be (exact XY coordinates) on the next turn. That’s your Intercept-While-Cloaked tool.

Before this util, I’d set up a test game using the VGA Planets Campaign Editor, put an enemy ship at the exact coordinates of the REAL enemy ship, and then adjust it’s waypoint until I viewed a matching heading on the ship. Then just move the ship at it’s current warp setting and voila! My Test game just told me where the enemy ship would be in my REAL game on it’s next turn. (barring the enemy player changing course on that turn, which WILL happen, but not very often.)

… …Privateer overheard saying, “…I think I’ll take that one.”


More on those Damn Privateers!

Tactics: There is no method I’ve seen employed that will stop the Privateers from taking a ship they -really- want. Several tactics can make it more costly for the Pirate, or more time-consumming, but NOTHING can STOP you. Superior PATIENCE will win over TACTICS every time, so get used to waiting. Enemy mine fields will cost you more ships than anything else you may face, but since a fully tech 10 BR4 costs LESS than 1000 credits, you should have SCADS of ships by the time you hit the 500 ship limit.

The primary enemy tactic to confound the Pirates is to only move their ships in short, random “hops”. Let’s give a recent example. A Cyborg player is determined to deny me his two prized Biocides. He’s currently too low on fuel to sustain his push into my turf, so his advance has stalled out waiting for his Fuel Carriers to re-supply him. He sets his Biocides about 10ly from his planet. He never moves them more than 5 or 6ly in a turn, and always in a random direction. He’s dropped a substantial mine field in the area, and this is a major cause for concern for my Meteor and BR4 captains.

First order of business: Get a cloaked ship to the planet he’s cruising around. He may never make planet-fall, but he -might-, so cover this possibility.
Second: Always target his current position with a cloaked ship. He may forget to move his ships one day, or he may not be able to upload his turn, and you’ll bag his ship. It’s unlikely this will happen, but it -might-… cover your ass.
Third: Get a cloaked ship to all planets within 80ly of the planet he’s orbiting. There’s nothing worse than having the enemy up and vanish on you by hiding at a totally different planet.
Fourth: If he’s doing the “short-hop” routine, do the same. If he’s consistantly moving 5ly, then target his current location, and then using the cursor keys move 5ly in all four of the major compass directions. (Obviously you’ll need quite a few ships in the area, but you should have LOADS of ships to use.) Eventually with this tactic, covering all the locations he can run to, and flooding the likely spots he may end up at, you WILL bag him. Patience is the key here. If you have enough ships then by all means, occasionally un-cloak and mine sweep. It costs you nothing to destroy a mine-field, but costs him plenty to restore it. Using the 4 methods I listed above it took me eight turns and 10 ships to bag those two Biocides. Mine fields are a bitch, however, those two Biocides immediately turned around and trashed two of his Annihilations, effectively putting a STOP on his assault into my turf. They were also equipped with Heavy Phasers, and wiped out all the mine fields he’d spent loads of cash and minerals on. So I consider the exchange well worth it. It totally changed the balance of power for the entire sector. (especially since I had stolen two Gorbies while I was playing tag with the Cyborgs)

-When the Wolves Howl-
Wolf Packs are your life-blood. The first rule of stealing ships is to never assemble your Wolf Pack at an enemy held planet. Your cloak may fail, or the enemy might be pulling the “Gather Fuel” gambit to prevent you from getting all his fuel. Enemy ships are at their most vulnerable when they’re far from home, preferably 160+ light years from home! Second rule is to always assume the enemy ship is fully loaded with fuel. Even if it’s obvious the ship is NOT fully loaded, assume it is anyway, and make sure you have enough ships to steal 200 tons MORE than the ship could POSSIBLY have in it’s tanks.

You may lose a ship or two on the way to the assembly point, and the extra breathing room means your carefully planned theft won’t blow up in your face. Assemble your Wolf Packs with Meteors, and use the BR4s and BR5s to scout out enemy planets. NOW is where the Lady Royale comes into her own.

Lady-Of-The-Night
When assembling a Wolf Pack, use your BR4-Lady Combos. Hide them at one of your planets, or an unowned planet within 1 turn of where you want the wolf pack to be. If you know you’re out of range of any enemy ships, then haul them out into the open. (In case you didn’t figure it out, the Lady is being towed by a BR4) Now, here is an example in practice of what happens when you use the “Night-Bitch” gambit. (My own name for it.. believe me, after your enemy sees this happen for the first time he’ll be so pissed off he’ll call her a bitch too.. :) Let’s say your victim, a Gorbie Class Battle Carrier is parked at his own starbase sucking up fighters. You have a cloaked Meteor at his base ready to haul him 80 ly PLUS to a point in space within easy reach of your BR4-Lady combo. (Always tow ships in excess of 80 light years, it makes it IMPOSSIBLE for the enemy ship to break the tow) Set your BR4-Lady combo to arrive in the same point in space as the victim on the next turn.

Now, the Gorbie hasn’t been robbed yet, so he’s pissed off and trashes the Lady Royale AND the BR4 towing it AND the Meteor towing HIM right?? WRONG! Actually, he only destroys the Meteor towing him. He can SEE the Lady Royale and the other BR4, BUT HE CAN NOT ATTACK THEM!!  SHIPS WITHOUT FUEL ARE IMMUNE TO ATTACK!

You see… you wiley Pirate you, you drained ALL the fuel from the Lady, and set it so the BR4 towing her would run out of fuel at the location of the Wolf Pack!! It’s easy to do. Set your waypoint at the location of the assembly point, look at how much fuel is needed to tow the Lady there, and eliminate the excess. (If you need 68 tons to make the trip, put 68 tons on the BR4) Make sure if you’re parked at a starbase that the starbase’s mission is anything other than REFUEL or LOAD TORPS. If your Lady’s ship weight changes, your BR4 will run out of fuel, and Starbase functions take place prior to movement….

NOW. Rememeber I told you to always have TWO BR4s escorting your Lady around? The other BR4 is still cloaked. He transfers 1 ton of fuel to the Lady and the empty BR4, and then set all three ships to ROB THAT SUCKER BLIND! Hehehehehehehe Told you I wasn’t insane! It would only take 3 Lady’s to completely drain a Gorbie, and you’ve only lost a piddly little Meteor in the process. CHEAP when you consider a fully loaded Gorbie would cost about 25,000 credits!! Imagine the possibility if you were towing, say, a REFINERY ship around to do this with instead of the “Night-Bitch” ! It’s more expensive to build a Refer, but if you happen to STEAL one, by all means, use him in place of a Lady and you’ll be able to rob the fuel off ANY enemy ship with only ONE vessel! Any beam totin’ ship with large fuel tanks can be used in this manner!

If there are mine fields around, make sure you send LOTS of cloaked ships to the Wolf Packs point. If your cloaked escort BR4 gets nailed by a mine, you may not have a ship there to refuel the Lady, in which case she gets stolen by the ENEMY. If the BR4 towing your Lady gets destroyed by a mine, the Lady will still arrive at the Wolf Pack assembly point. Your enemy will be pounding the keys in utter frustration at the fact that two apparently empty ships just robbed his ship blind. What do you do if your Wolf Pack is out of position? Daisy chains! Tow your victim from it’s hiding place (say, a planet) to a waiting cloaked Meteor. Your towing ship gets pasted by the pissed off enemy, but the still-cloaked Meteor runs off with the ship on the next turn. An added bonus to this is now that the ship is out of orbit and in deep space (it’s most vulnerable) It’s ship weight CAN NOT INCREASE! Now you can use the empty-tow tactic to run your towing ship out of fuel at the Wolf Pack assembly point. The fewer ships you lose while towing enemy ships the better, and it only serves to frustrate the enemy again and again.

What if I don’t get “Lucky” while chasing down an enemy “short-hopper”? Sucker him. The Bait-n-Switch is a tried and true tactic. Empty a Meteor of all his fuel and leave him stranded in enemy space. This is a VERY tempting target for the enemy. If it just sits there for a few turns, and if he’s really stupid, he may just make a play for it. Loading the ship with supplies will make it look like it’s got fuel, and he might think he can bag an easy kill. I say he’s stupid because of course you have half-a-dozen Meteors cloaked at the same location! If you’re not worried about losing the ship, then by all means leave fuel on the ship and let it sit there on Mine Sweep. You can never afford to pass up the opportunity to leave ships on Mine Sweep! A Better Bait-n-Switch: Use a Large Deep Space Freighter. Have it TOW a CLOAKED Meteor. (Conrad is just ITCHING to get me on this one)

Provided you own the ship, YOU -CAN- TOW A SHIP AND HAVE IT REMAIN CLOAKED! I’ve done it. When the enemy intercepts and trashes your freighter, steal his ship.

Dealing with Enemy Assault Forces:
This is what Privateers fear the most: Pop-Quiz A$$hole: The enemy has just launched a major assault on your turf, what do you do? Drool of course. Nothing better can happen to you than to have the enemy come AT you. It limits your exposure to movement (mine fields) and has an easily predictable course. (Read predictable as TARGETABLE)

Using the methods above HIT HIS FLEET HARD! Tow in all your Lady’s, and if you have a Refer, tow in one of those! Just remember that robbing occurs by ID# and plan accordingly. (Remember, it’s a LOT easier to intercept in deep space than it used to be thanks to Interceptor v1.0 (INCEPT_1.ZIP) ) Have the ships that go into the heart of the enemy fleet and remain cloaked tow the lowest ID ships out of the heart of the fleet first. An example is given in the next message (It’s quite lengthy)

… To find a cloaked MBR Tip 1437: “Target that explosion and FIRE!”

Dealing with the assault force: Attacking fleet:
3 Biocides (ID#s : 101, 105, 110 )
1 Annihilation (ID# : 467 )
1 Neutronic Fuel Carrier (ID# : 103 )
4 Firecloud Class Cruisers (ID#s : 109, 256, 358, 99)
Combined MAXIMUM Fuel tonnage: 7,700 tons (Whew!)

Time to impact on your favorite starbase: 2 turns from sighting the enemy. Ships you have within intercept range:
2 BR4-Lady teams (4 BR4s, 2 Lady Royales)
1 Meteor-Neutronic Refinery team
6 Meteors
11 BR4s
Fuel tonnage we can steal in one turn: 5296 UH-OH! (Combined fuel tonnage minus 1 ton per ship)
(If those numbers look inflated, rest assured they’re NOT. In the game I’m in I had 58 Meteors and 23 BR4s with 6 Lady Royales by the time I hit the 500 ship limit.. also remember, these ships move at 160ly per turn, so a privateer is almost ALWAYS within range of an enemy ship)

Set all your ships to the intercept point and pray he doesn’t change course on you. You now have one turn to deal with the bad guys before they make dog-meat of your base. By now he knows something is up. Several fuel-less ships are in the same location in space as he is, and if you’ve done this to him before, he’ll already be crying into his Cheerios, because he should know by now there is no defense against this once a successful intercept has been made.

The first thing we can see is that we’re not going to be able to steal all the fuel they could possibly have in one turn. Now these ships are all under their own power, and are burning fuel. WE HAVE TO ASSUME THE SHIPS ARE FULL! Never assume otherwise. You’ll live longer.

We’re going to have to remove these ships as a threat, while taking minimal losses, and while stealing as many of their ships as possible. First order of business: Determine ROB order. It proceeds from lowest to highest ID# Here it is: (Ship/Fuel)
1 FCloud / 440
2 Biocide/ 1260
3 Carrier/ 900
4 Biocide/ 1260
5 Fcloud / 440
6 Biocide/ 1260
7 FCloud / 440
8 FCloud / 440
9 Annihil/ 1260

Wish that damn fuel carrier wasn’t there! Even with all of our ships ROBBING, it leaves 1 Biocide, 1 Annihilation, and two Fireclouds up, active, and fighting. Some of our ships will need to tow enemy ships, so we’re likely to see at least another Firecloud added to the list of ships we missed, and possibly another Biocide.

OK. Here’s the deal. I’d set five of the BR4s to tow the last 5 ships in that list above to timbucktoo. We’re not going to be able to steal the fuel from those ships, so let’s get them AWAY from here!

A BR4 towing a Biocide won’t get far, but it’ll get it at LEAST one more turn out of our hair. DO NOT RUN THE SHIPS OUT OF FUEL! Make sure they have at least 5 tons to spare. If your enemy gets an empty BR4 it’ll only be used against you eventually, so deny him the capture of an empty BR4, and make him fight it.

… Whatta ya mean we are out of fuel?! Where’s the logistics officer?!

Dealing with the assualt: Part 2
The rest of this is all academic now. I’d reccomend towing the Fuel Carrier away with another BR4 with his primary enemy set. The last thing you need is fuel, so that ship should be toasted, or captured via combat. Set your Night-Bitches and Neutronic Fuel Refinery to ROB and run. The Meteors should also be set on a generic ROB and run. Assign the 10 remaining BR4s to alternately ROB and TOW. Move those ships AWAY from their target! If your ROB fails, and one of those ships gets to the planet, you’re toast. If you don’t have a large enough intercept force (You got caught by surprise) at least get in there and break up his assault force. He won’t know whether or not you’ve got a Wolf Pack in place, and you’ll throw a MAJOR monkey wrench in his plans. Towing his ships out of reach of their target, while also robbing them, may leave them without enough fuel to reach a planet to gain more. (Always try to tow enemy ships to remote  locations for just this reason)

Prioritize what you go after. Tonnage is king, so go for the biggest ships first.

That’s it for the personal logs of Buck-da-Buccaneer. The rest of the transmission was garbled when the Black Ice around his system almost fried my brain. In the future, I’ll post a detailed “Fed Commander” log, but only if the users here would like to see one. The Night-Bitch Gambit is by far the most lethal tactic I’ve ever used, and it’s all my own idea. You should have heard the language used on me when I first pulled that. <EVIL GRIN> Once a successful intercept is made, it’s unstoppable.

Period.

Let me know what you think of this… although Conrad is a bit harsh, his critiques are usually right-on, and improves the knowledge base, so I’d like to hear from everyone on this one. Joe. (aka Buck-da-Buccaneer, Game 3, Wild-at-Heart BBS (916) 922-2552)

… Damn Privateers!


Starting Out

As a longtime Privateer player, I’d also advise you to develop some other bases far-far away from the hustle of the center of the galaxy to crank out MBR’s and BR4’s in peace <g> You can defeat the darksense by keeping minerals/ cash on a supertransport in orbit though he’ll still detect the base he won’t know how big it is that way. Remember, most of your best ships can be built with TL6 or less, aside from Engines which should generally by TL10. Ghipsodal worlds are my favorite site for new Privateer starbases because of that. Setting up some “nests” of multiple MBR’s at key worlds along the route of his invasion can be very helpful. You should strip all fuel off of worlds aside from starbases and key depots. Dropping a few mines in anticipation of his moves can really louse up his day and shed off some smaller escorts in the process should they take minehits.

Finally, if worse comes to worse, you should have some freighters standing by to carry off whatever Population, minerals and cash you can salvage. These can be towed by your MBR’s using the fuel you’ve stolen from the oncoming Empire.

As the Privateer living to fight another day is the key to survival. Dispersing your population early to a variety of alternative bases will ensure a long and profitable existence if you do lose a few worlds and even your HW…


Here are some suggestions:
1) Initial 3-4 ships are BR4’s. Warp 5 engines. Run them at warp 8. Take 10 colonists and supplies. Explore a new system each turn with each ship, dropping 1&1. Money for defense nice extra.
2) When you find natives, use BR4 to tow medium freighter with colonists/supplies (180/20?).
3) Use MBR’s to tow Large & Supers when available.
4) Build best system to capacity first, then next best.
5) Expand QUICKLY. See point 1 again.
6) Push quickly towards your neighbours first, then toward easier expansion. Thus you get a wider slice of the pie.
7) Build starbases quickly. Even BR4’s are quite worthwhile.
8) Did you know a warp 5 engine doing warp 8 takes no more fuel than a warp 6 engine doing warp 8? Gravitionic to boot! BIG TIME EXPANSION HERE!!
9) Even a BR4 kills 15 fighters on a starbase. 3 BR4’s plus a Bloodfang takes out a lizard homestar before turn 30.
10) BE AGRESSIVE! Expand QUICKLY. Be AGGRESSIVE. Get MULTIPLE builds to everyone else’s.


The Privateers can do very well in the invasion scenario if they capitalize on their robbing advantages and lower ships costs from the start. Allowing other races to expand and settle unopposed is generally fatal to the Privateers. Especially as there are only seven players and so much space, you chould easily out expand others by pairing MBR’s with LDSF or STF’s , or even BR4’s with MDSF’s. I generally build my bases away from my borders as I don’t want my enemies finding them and knocking them off too easily. Remember with gravatronics you can cross 300 ly’s of stripped worlds in only two moves and your enemies will take at least 4 moves to reach you giving you plenty of time to evacuate your resources and set up nests to pick off the invaders while they slowly starve due to a lack of fuel.

The Russian grand strategy of scorched earth and trading space for time is one every aspiring Privateer should take to heart. You should try to build as many bases as possible at Ghipsodal worlds – others are best avoided as it costs too much money to get TL10 Drives online. Be careful about building bases where you can’t get enough minerals to keep them going. I normally build bases which are within 1 or 2 moves of at least 10 planets. These planets I rely on for generating the minerals and supplies to keep the base operational. You never want a base sitting idle, if so, you’ve not planned your logistics properly. Given the relative low cost of BR4’s with TL9 drives – 470 MC, You should be able to build a ship every turn if you started the base with sufficiend cash and minerals. Rob! <g>

Seriously, with your faster scouting with BR4’s with TL10 drives you should be able to find good native worlds fairly easily – dropping a single colonist on each of course so you can keep them as listen posts and easily strip the minerals and fuel with the vaccum clearner combo of a MBR and a STF – I built you a couple of those. This same STF can drop supplies and colonists off and decent worlds worth colonizing. If you want money REALLY quickly, you can jack taxes upto 60% on natives without throwing the world into rioting – assuming it’s happy to start. I use winplan and if you look at the build screen, you can fine tune your tax rate – see how much you’ll get and how it will impact on your population. Never increase the tax rate, if you don’t have enough population to collect more. Back to our STF – you can drop all it’s colonists, crank up the tax rate, next turn collect the cash, drop the tax rate to 0%, and pick up whatever colonists excede the cash you could collect when you tax at rate which the folks are just short of ‘angry’ – if you’re wanting to develop the world in the long This slash and burn strategy can be very nastily applied to border areas which you don’t want your enemies being able to develop. In fact, you may decide to pick up all but a single colonist and leave the tax rate on the natives high so they start rioting and go into civil war. This will deprive your opponents of the ability to easily expand into a region as they will not have any worlds which they can use as an economic base. You can keep these worlds in perpetual civil war untill whenever you’re evicted, but by then the population will be decimated and it will be quite a few turns before the happiness level can be restored – unless it’s a Liz or Reb player.

If you’re a real miser, you can tax your colonists – I generally don’t bother as I prefer the population growth to the meager mc you can eek out of colonists. The best overall economic tax policy is to tax at 30% about every three turns and leave the rate at 0% the other two. According to a gentleman on TC, who presented and tested this rather thoroughly, this will result in the greatest combo of revenue, population growth and supplies produced – assuming you max out factories. The only time I bother with managing colonists tax rates is when I play the Borg – the dream race of every CPA!


Above all else NEVER LET THE ENEMY KNOW WHERE YOUR HOMEWORLD IS…
Actually, deny him as much information as possible. At the very least, don’t reveal where your ‘good’ bases are. If you don’t have tow capture, consider building ‘dummy’ bases just to surrender robbed ships (and arrange for a ‘welcoming party’ to meet (rob) a revenge mission directed at the base, of course :).


>> > OK, so I’m a total newbie playing a shareware game as the privateers,
>> > and by some stroke of luck I have a cloaked grav. accelerated ship (MBR)
>> > cloaked and sitting on one of my opponents home worlds very early in the
>> > game (turn 4). The is a SDSF in orbit. Do I
>> > a) wait for better prey
>> > b) rob the freighter and run like heck
>> > c) tow the freighter and run like heck
>> > d) sneak off to some other planet

>I am no seasoned player myself, but the way I play the Privateers
>at the moment is:
>1. Become friends with your neightbours and grand-neightbours.
>2. Develop and colonise like hell.
>3. Don’t give the neighbours reason to attack you, but be prepared
> in case they do.
>In case it was an Instrumentality/Pawn/SSD/SSC in orbit I may have
>taken an exception to the rules above, but I’d say d) in this case.

The Privs must be able to outbuild their neighbours by a factr of three to one to win. To do this they must agressively colonize and develop their economies. They must also hit their neghbours very early and prevent those neighbours form developing their econimies. Concentrate on shipping and planets. Ignore warships for now. They are too weak to be of any use to you in the long term, and by concentrating agasint his economy, you ensure that he will not be able to develop in to a threat.

I’d ignore the above advice and wait for better prey. The minefields are not up and you have the perfect spy. You know what he has on the turn he builds it. This is valuable info and is vey hard to deal with an enemy with this sort of intel. Personally, as it is so early, IF your opponent is NOT missing turns and has not yet built an LDSF, I’d be tempted to grab the first LDSF that pops up and tow it near a planet at Jump 2 range – rob away and engage with Xrays if you must. (keep your torps off with the NTP switch – you’d prefer to take this LDSF intact). Chances are you’ll have about a 1000 colonists on board and 200 supplies when you capture the ship if he does not miss turns (if he does it may be empty). Take the nearby planet and fortify and colonize away on surrounding planets- return MBR to enemy homeworld. This loss so early on of his main space seed will be devastating to his developing economy. Cripple what is left of his freighter fleet and with a measly 2 MBr’s you should be able to destroy this fledgling empire. He will never have been able to get off the ground. Silmultaneously move on and explore your other neighbour. Move fast – make a pact with your other neighbour or rob him all to hell. Hit the LDSF’s early on and he will have a VERY hard time getting his tech and economy up to the point where he can effectively mine or stop you from running amok in his space. If you are going to play agressively – PLAY AGRESSIVELY. It is one style or the other – rarely will you succeed trying both.

As you are playing shareware, your main objective should be to scout and build a base over a Ghipsoldal planet at the very earliest opportunity to get tech 10 engines (no – that is your second objective – your first should be to register!). Without them you will not last long – Gravitonics or no.


Like all races, one of the first priorities of a game is to seek out planets which are mineral rich with good natives for starbase construction, tax farming and ship building. Take advantage of your speed advantage by sending your first 3 or 4 grav. accelerator ships, loaded with colonists, supplies (60%/40%) and a little cash for seeding worlds and identifying those planets which will serve as your cash cows and future starbases. Unless other problems arrive (usually military in nature), you should have a well-functioning planet network long before the other players have adequately identified their better planets.


As any who has played the Privateers can tell you the secret is to expand, expand, expand. Do not let the other races know where you are. Build and utilized the MBR and Torp Boat, built with Level 10 engines, Disruptors, and Level 5 Torps. Send these ships out in pairs to explore, colonize, and infiltrate the enemy. When sitting at an enemy planet, this pair of ships should be cloaked with primary enemy off. When an eney ship arrives that you want, set the MBR to rob fuel of it, and the Torp Boat to tow it away, ensuring that you set them both to the same way point. If by some chance there is to many ships at the enemy base, set both ships to laying mines around the enemy planet. IMPORTANT…stealth, speed, & secrecy are your most important weapons. Avoid head to head confrontations at all costs.

If you can form an alliance with another race, espiecally one with cloaking ships, you want to obtain one with large fuel capacity, to aid in rob missions. Choosing the right ally can win ytou the game. If you happen to capture an enemy ship with a large number of colonists, utilize this ship to colonize one of his worlds. This avoids using your own ships, which can be unknown, as well as turning his own weapons against him. Remember that Robbing, Speed, Secrecy and TOW Capture are your best weapons.


The first thing a Privateer should do once he has a fleet of MBRs or BR4s is to scout out planets with Natives. Even if you can’t colonize them right away, they are still worth seeking out. Being able to travel 162 LY a turn allows a Privateer to explore a much greater area at the start of a game than anyone else. Knowing where there are natives, is a very major information advantage. The most important thing is that you will know which of your enemies planets are the most strategically important for him. If you are unfamiliar with the particular advantages certain native races give you I would suggest reading up on it.

Within your own sphere of influence you will want to develop your planets that have natives more rapidly than those without. For Privateers it is even more important that you not waste time developing planets that have little to offer. It is better to have a few good strong planets, than a whole bunch of strongly defended yet useless colonies. This is because you don’t want to have to defend anymore planets than you need to. If you can’t make enough money or mine enough minerals from a planet, don’t colonize! It’ll just be one more target for your enemies to take over by brute force. You can bet that an enemy planet with natives will have many more ships passing through than one without. This can potentially give you a few “fat merchant” ships to rob from. Make sure a ship is large enough to justify the risk of starting a war.

Whatever you do, don’t allow your opponents to acquire as large a mineral supply they would like. If they have fuel, money, and minerals in adequate amounts they will be able to crush you with a top of the line fleet.


Diplomacy

As the Privateer, everyone wants to be your pal, or everyone wants to squash you. A smart player who finds himself in close proximity to the Privateer will either strike up a close alliance as soon as possible or do everything he can to smash you before you’ve been able to build up your empire. As other strategists have mentioned, *you* are the problem in most games. In my experience, the smartest players will seek a strong alliance with you, in hopes of trading for your gravitronic accelerator technology and sharing your piracy bounty. Be careful who you ally with; make sure you’re not dealing with a yahoo who only wants an MBR or three, and will then either abandon you or turn on you like a snake.

The following are a few basic strategies for starting off the game:

1. STAY OUT OF SIGHT: Hey, you’ve got cloaking vessels, USE THEM! The longer your neighbor is unaware that the Privateers are in his backyard, the more time you’ll have to get your empire up and running without being stomped on by some hair-trigger space cowboy who wants to rope him some Pie Rates. It also decreases the likelihood that this neighbor will start lacing his space with minefields to keep your sneaky thieving bastards from robbing him blind.

2. You can benefit from a close alliance with just about any player. As your fleet is warship and carrier weak, you want to hook up with someone who can supply you with some muscle, especially decent carriers. My personal favorite allies as the Privateers are the Evil Empire, the CyBorg and the Birdmen.

3. Yes, it’s fun to rob, and unless you master the ins and outs of piracy you will be toast eventually. However, you must be *ready* to rob. That is, you must be prepared for a full-scale war with your victim, as most players herniate them-selves with anger after they get robbed. Some will drop everything they are doing just to smash the Privateers after one freighter gets filched. This means you must have your mutual borders appropriately mined (several small fields guarding the natural thoroughfares into your empire rather than one big one), several cloaked ships waiting you rob or tow incoming attack fleets at your frontier worlds and ade- quate defenses at your important planets. After these defenses are in place, make sure you have an adequate pirate fleet deployed, so that you can rob many ships rather than just hitting a ship or two. Once he’s wise you, he’ll start mining his space like a maniac, which will slow you down con-siderably. Again, don’t provoke a neighbor until you are willing to defend yourself against a major assault of starship muscle.

4. Don’t bother to ally yourself with anyone who acts like he is doing you a big favor. Anyone who allies with the Privateers has just increased his chances of winning the game threefold. Find an ally who understands your advantages (i.e., robbing, cloaking and speed) and your weaknesses (weak warships, no cloning) and is willing to pull his weight by aiding you with battlecraft and cloning of ships you capture.

5. You may offer trade opportunities to all players (separately-don’t use a universal message) and see who offers the best deal. Always ask for your potential trading partner’s offer first, and then make a counter-offer. Don’t hesitate to offer alternate services, like towing his warships into battle with MBRs or breaking up an enemy attack fleet with towing BR4s or BR5s.


A good neighbour is better than a far-away friend.

This Dutch proverb is especially important to the Privateers. Try to have at least a firm non-agression pact with all neighbours and let them look to their other border for potential targets to vent their agression upon. This saves you, and they benefit from your assistance in their battles and/or ship trades. If the grand-neighbour gets angry at you for the ship theft, they will first have to fight themselves through your neighbour’s area. The neightbour can profit by launching a counter-attack onto the planets and bases of your grand-neighbour, thus gaining territory.


Economics

This is a very simple point, but very valuable (literally). After your initial build of multiple MBRs, you will have perhaps a couple of hundred MCs left. Rather than skip a build turn, build a Lady Royale (250MC) with your free engines, and put any old beams on it. Next turn you then have a ship that can earn 160MC a turn for life. Keep it at your starbase, with 160 clans on board and mission set to Kill. Even though it is a poor combat ship when it has low tech beams, it will kill a few fighters that would otherwise hit your planet.

Obviously the economic bonus of 160MC/turn is very useful, and guess what! 2 turns later you build another. I usually like to have 3 casinos above my HW, and a tax rate that generates about 200MC/turn. This means I can then produce an MBR *every* turn with Tech 8 engines. Early on this makes for a devastating rate of development.


Privateer Ships

> Is it a better tactic to build skyfires to Rob fuel with their 370 KT
> tank or MBR’s with 285?

MBRs, as they cloak. If you want to build non-cloakers for robbing, build the Outrider or Lady Royale (park them in space with no fuel and a cloaker parked underneath, tow an enemy ship out to them, transfer 1 kt to them and set their mission to Rob ;).

>Is the Outrider Class scout good for anything?
>How about the Small transport?
>Both ships seem like a waist to me, but then again maybe you guys know
>something I don’t when pair these ships with another.
>So what do you consider good groups of ships for the Privateers?
>BTW, “it’s already clear to that it good to have packs of MBRs travel
>together cloak read to Rob. That way one can be sure to get all the
>fuel from a when robbing ship. ”

Aside from the MBR’s, I like to build a few BR4’s, and Dwarfstars. The BR4’s are great for hunting unarmed freighters, transporting cash, and general scouting duties as the take less fuel to move. They also make good sacrifical lambs when paired with your MBR wolfpacks. They can also tow smaller ships – and even larger ship for shorter distances – if need be, freeing up your MBR’s for more important duties elsewhere. Another very useful role is sweeping mines. As they can carry 5 beams, I’ll build a few with heavy phasers and use them to clear mines for the MBR’s to exploit.

Dwarfstars make good hidden bases from at which your other ships can dump off captured cash, fuel, minerals. They also make excellent minesweepers with their six beams. I also think of them as escape pods for major bases as you can load your colonists, cash, fuel and whatever else you want into them if the base in question is facing imminent destruction. If you’re using Raceplus, you can also RECREW your ships from Dwarfstars instead of going back to a starbase.

For planetary defense, I sometimes build the Lady Royale as you can generate cash with it each turn in addition to it’s defense duties. Over the course of a few turns it’ll pay for itself easily. The rest I generally don’t bother with myself…


BR4’s vs MBR’s

My reasoning so far has been that Given a limited number of ship slots available before the ship limit hits, I wold prefer to have the more capable ships if possible. Your cost analysis is very helpful. It seems the major difference is in $ cost, as the minerals are pretty close. I have a tendency to over industrialize, however, so I tend to overlook minor mineral efficiencies. Also, the majority of my Meteors so far have no torps.

This I do because
1) If I sacrifice a ship in the ‘Wilson” manuver, I might as well sacrifice a cheap one;
2) a Meteor doesn’t need torps to rob with; and 3) if captured, a torpless ship can’t lay mines from cloak in my backfield (which I am terrified of), so I am more willing to risk them. I would certainly build a BR4 rather than forgo a ship slot, however.

I like BR4’s for the following reasons…

  1. You can start producing them immediately from any ghipsodal base w/ minimal R&D costs. MBR’s require more capital investment in R&D in hulls and torps as I rarely build MBR’s with out T5 Torps – I like them to be able to defend themselves if needed. I often build them with lower TL drives too as you can overdrive them fairly easily due to their smaller size if need be.
  2. They make better scouts than MBR’s as they are smaller and burn even less fuel. As the Privateer I always have plenty of ships so prefer to specialize. Why waste resources on a scout ship which could be used elsewhere?
  3. Someone’s gotta tow capture or be a sacrificial lamb, and I’d rather risk losing a BR4 – if they were smart enough to gather fuel – than an MBR. Which would you rather have potentially captured by an angry enemy?
  4. They make great cash couriers – at a cheaper price than MBR’s.
  5. They can tow smaller ships such as medium/small freighters, Dwarfstars reasonable distances so why tie up an MBR?
  6. They make better Freighter killers as they’ve got more beams.
  7. They make great minesweepers as they’ve got more beams than MBR’s.
  8. They are significantly cheaper, so you can build more of them.

My minimal MBR TL1 beams, TL5 torps and TL10 drives costs TRI 31 DUR 70 MOL 129 MC 938 TTL =1628 net cost.
My minimal BR4 TL1 beams TL10 drives costs: TRI 28 DUR 44 MOL 105 MC 670 TTL = 1201 net cost.
As I often use TL9 drives this is even cheaper: TRI 28 DUR 38 MOL 85 MC 470 TTL = 923 net cost.

The more ships the merrier, so I build as many bases and as many BR4’s as I can till a base is capable of producing decent MBR’s. Even then I’ll build a few BR4’s for scouts, minesweepers and small tugs. I usually use MK IV’s on my MBR’s as they are rather inexpensive and give good bang for the buck in knocking out small irksome escorts with lots of beams. I like my MBR’s to be multi-mission ships as they are the heart of my fleet. At times, I prefer to destroy or cripple freighters rather than capture them so the torps are useful for that. I can also lay mines to interdict enemy shipping lanes – great for killing those nasty Loki’s – and torps allow me to knock out medium sized colonies if no major warships are present and strip the place of fuel before reinforcements arrive. In my experience, captured MBR’s are usually pretty heavily damaged so fairly easy to recapture via rob and tow missions – or destroy. Your own minefields may well destroy the offending MBR should it somehow evade your recapture as well. While naturally I prefer to build MBR’s if I have the sufficient funds, The BR4 is a very good alternative – especially at smaller and newer bases.


A 5 minute study of the ship list for the privateers will quikly reveal that the Meteor Class Blockade Runner (MBR for short) is the privateers best ship. It has gravatoniv accelerators, cloaks, 4 torps and 4 beams, and can carry 120 cargo. A good privateer player’s fleet will be about 85% MBR’s… and that percentage will drop fast due to the flood of ships he captures :-)

It is absolutly the most powerful tech 5 ship in the game. Use it to rob enemy ships dry of their fuel, then send the boarding party over… MBR’s work best in groups of 3 or 4 (All but 1 rob fuel, last one tows).


This is a very simple point, but very valuable (literally). After your initial build of multiple MBRs, you will have perhaps a couple of hundred MCs left. Rather than skip a build turn, build a Lady Royale (250MC) with your free engines, and put any old beams on it. Next turn you then have a ship that can earn 160MC a turn for life. Keep it at your starbase, with 160 clans on board and mission set to Kill. Even though it is a poor combat ship when it has low tech beams, it will kill a few fighters that would otherwise hit your planet. Obviously the economic bonus of 160MC/turn is very useful, and guess what! 2 turns later you build another. I usually like to have 3 casinos above my HW, and a tax rate that generates about 200MC/turn. This means I can then produce an MBR *every* turn with Tech 8 engines. Early on this makes for a devastating rate of development.


Lady Royales – Fueless Non-cloakers

>Someone mentioned using a Lady Royal for Privateer robbing because
>of it’s large fuel capacity(670kt). Can someone explain how this
>ship can be used to rob when it cannot cloak? Thanks!

The key is to team it up with one or more cloakers. You have the LR empty and fuel on the hidden cloakers. When the victime arrives, transfer 1 kt to the LR from the cloakers and set it to ROB. The cloakers can ROB as well if it’s a high capacity fuel target or can tow the victim away for TOW CAPTURE if it isn’t.
Sometimes you can use the LR alone with 1 kt over a planet set to ROB if it’s territory where people aren’t expecting to run into Privateers. Or, you could leave the LR empty over the planet and then transfer up fuel if a victim arrives. Naturally, this is a lot riskier cause if the victim has PE set to Privateers or mission set to KILL he’ll wax your LR and/or planet. Of these two options, I prefer the latter as a fueless LR can usually be rescued before it could be hauled to an enemy base and captured, and most players will probably be scared to death there are other cloakers present and probably won’t try to tow it off initially anyhow<g>


>:If the Privateers had about 10 of their ships with the biggest fuel
>:tanks and beam weapons of some sort (Outrider class scouts maybe?) all
>:sitting at their home planet with 1 kt of fuel and their mission set to
>:Rob Ship. They could suck up 2790 kt of fuel in a single turn. A fleet
>:with more than the equivalent of two and a half Cyborg cubes fully
>:fueled would be needed to have any effect whatsoever.
>:
>:How effective is this defense in practise? (I’d hate to waste resources
>:on SCOUTS!!!!)
>:
>Since Robbing happens BEFORE Movement I can’t beleive that this would be at all
>effective ie:
>the turn starts
>the scouts all ROB but there is no one to ROB from
>movement happens and an enemy fleet takes up orbit
>the enemy fleet wipes the scouts
>the enemy fleet wipes the planet
>bye-bye-Privateers

Instead of leaving 1 pt of fuel on each LR, leave them bone dry and fill them full of colonists if enemey ships get within striking range leaving only a single colonist on the surface till the danger is passed. Add a single cloaker to the mix containing fuel. Leave him cloaked naturally. Set the Planet FC to NUK. Stand back and watch…

Enemy fleet will takc your planet – then you will retake it with one of you fuelless LR’s.  Next turn change the FC of the planet, beam fuel over from the cloaked ship to you LR’s and drain the enemy ships dry. If you have several cloakers standing by you can use those to tow capture the same turn.

> Or, you could leave the LR empty over the planet and then
> transfer up fuel if a victim arrives. Naturally, this is a lot
> riskier cause if the victim has PE set to Privateers or mission set to
> KILL he’ll wax your LR and/or planet. Of these two options, I prefer
> the latter as a fueless LR can usually be rescued before it could be
> hauled to an enemy base and captured, and most players will probably
> be scared to death there are other cloakers present and probably won’t
> try to tow it off initially anyhow<g>


> What is the best tactic to use non cloaking ships eg: Lady Royal,
>Saggitarious trans. (captured), or Gemeni (captured) to ROB?… there fuel
> and cargo rooms are increadible but could only rob non armed ships!

See above. Ships w/o fuel can’t fight. Transfer some fuel _after_ the enemy arrives, then rob and move.


The Lady royale class cruiser has very big fuel tanks (670 units).
It has 4 beamweapons and 1 torpedo tube too. You can capture a cloaker which is planing attacks to your planets with a Lady Royale class cruiser easily! Your enemies will learn this very fast, so it would be good to catch a good cloaker at first time.. This doesn’t work: If cloakers primary enemy is set to privateer, then the ships decloacks and attacks immediately and obviously kills the cruiser.But the idea is this: your enemy is cloaked and comes to see if it’s profitable to attack to the planet.(It’s not a good idea to attack with a single or a couple of cloaker(s), if you have some big captured battleships waiting on the planets orbit..) So, go on reading ;)

  1. Build a lady royale with any weapons and engines which you want. Mark 4 or Mark 8 torps would be good, because if there comes too many ships for robbing (fuel capasity up to 669 units for robbing..) or uncloaking ship.If that hapens, then you can try to defence the planet by dropping a minefield.It’s nice idea to put clans to the ship too, check part 3 for more information.
  2. Put the ship somewhere in a planet which probably can be attacked soon or something.. (This part is not so important, you probably know where to but the ship in your game, when you are playing … )
  3. Set ships mission to Rob Ship. The ship can make even megacredits to you same time, if you put clans to the ship. Ofcourse so much that the cargobay is full. (You probably have some torps too in the ship for dropping a minefield) The cruiser will make every turn so many megacredits that you have clans in the ship and you dont lose fuel! (You dont have to move for money)
  4. Leavy only 1 unit of fuel to the ship. … The trick is this: A cloaker comes to the planets orbit. It scans and sees, that there is only one cruiser, and sets ships mission to kill (*** WARNING: If cloaked ships attack is turned on, and he/she sets primary enemy to privateer, then your cruiser will be attacked, but your planet will be missed.He/she can kill your planet next turn! Anyway, he/she loses the surprise advantage.. ***) and thinks that “hehe, the privs will die!”, but when the next turn comes, your enemy is surprised; his/her ship(s) are out of fuel and can’t attack! In best case you have caught a Dark wing, Resolute or Cold pain! You can capture every cloaker in the game with this trick. Lady royales fuel tank is so big, that you can take out of fuel even two full loaded Dark wing! After robbing the cloaker, then you just use your tow capture and capture the ship.And remember to fix it in your SB (Crew is only 135..). So the trick works probably only against inexperienced players, but it helps you with the defense problem a bit..

Okay, after reading a previous defense strategy here, a convuluted thought came to mind. You have a starbase with 3 to 4 lady royales sitting around it, and a couple of MBR’s, which is just about ready to be attacked. Dump all fuel on the lady royales, which then makes them immune to attack. Planet dies. Ships which attacked planet are visible. You then from a friendly meteor, transfer a kiloton of fuel on to each lady royale on the next turn, and set it to rob ship, and take whatever fuel is on them(hopefully). Tow the ships with the MBR’s there, and poof, you have an attack fleet to rebuff whatever is attacking you.


>Just a thought. Your LadyRoyal or any other ship with beams has a higher ID
>than the arriving ship.
>You remove fuel from all the privateer ships and set the planet’s FC to NUK
>Now when the enemy ship arrives it will capture the planet. The FC will not
>be changed and the privateer
>ship with the higher ID will then retake the planet. Next turn you change
>the planet FC to something
>different than NUK and ATT. Now you transfer 1kt fuel to every privateer
>ship in orbit and set your mission
>to Rob. Bingo you got the ship. Best thing the ships in orbit dont have to
>cloak, because with 0 fuel they
>cannot be attacked by the enemy ship. Of course you can only do this once,
>because then the enemy
>should have a counter tactic against this. Another drawback is that the
>planet is captured and all the
>defensepost are lost; the natives are also angry about this, I think.


Ship Ship Trading Strategies

As far as ship trading goes the Privateers are at a major disadvantage: Unlike all other races (with the exception of the Crystals), the Privateers cannot clone. This means that any ship trade deal you strike as a Privateer is only as valuable as the ships you trade and obtain. However, your trading partner likely has the ability to clone an entire fleet of whatever vessel you have given him. Translation: he doesn’t *need* you anymore, at least to obtain that ship class. This means three things for the Privateers:

  1. Do not trade casually with other races unless you are getting a *great* deal. Be certain that you have a reasonably firm alliance in place before you begin trading off your technology; it could come back and bite you later.
  2. Insist on trade deals that appear lopsided in your favor, at least on the surface. What trading partners are most likely after are your gravitronic accelerator (GA) ships, the BR4, BR5 and MBR. Trading ship-for-ship is insane: you get one ship, he gets the capacity to clone an armada. I would never trade one of the above ships for less than three heavy warships, preferably carriers, with a nice compliment of fighters already on board. Some players will refuse, sputter and scream at you for being so un-reasonable. Let them moan and find a trading partner who is wise enough to see the sense of such a deal. Getting a lopsided trade is *not* ripping off your partner–it simply takes into account the circumstances with which you as the Privateer need to deal.
  3. Your biggest advantages in the game are the SPEED and LOW FUEL CONSUMPTION of your GA ships. YOU MUST STRIKE A VERY HARD BARGAIN FOR THESE VESSELS–THEY ARE YOUR ACE IN THE HOLE! With regards to trading your GA ships, consider the following (some of these points simply reiterate 1 & 2 above):
    • A. See if you can get a good trade on the BR4 or BR5 — hold on to your MBR for yourself if possible.
    • B. Make sure you get heavy battleships, or preferably carriers, heavily armed and loaded, for your GA ship.
    • C. NEVER trade GA ships, especially the MBR, with anyone you anticipate needing to squash at any time in the future.
    • D. NEVER trade GA ships to anyone who has made any threats to you or your allies, nor to anyone who has been shown to have a treacherous streak; it is preferable that you trade GA technology only with committed allies.
  4. An alternative to trading GA technology is to offer towing services in exchange for single warships; for instance, un-limited MBR tows (earmark a specific ship for the service of this partner) in exchange for a single heavy carrier or battleship. The bottom line is: GA ships are arguably the most covetted technology in the game. DON’T THROW IT AWAY. Once you trade it to one person, he can not only make more, he can also trade it to others and you’ve lost both a strategic *and* economic advantage. WHAT SHIPS YOU SHOULD TRADE FOR: The Privateer fleet is weak, from a military perspective. Any serious armada you may develop will be created through trade and piracy. For this reason, obtaining heavy warships is your priority, especially decent carriers, which you should ask for pre-loaded with 20+ fighters (especially those who receive free ones at their starbases). If you can’t build up a serious attack fleet, you’ll be toast eventually. Another type of ship you may be interested in obtaining: cloaking vessels with big fuel tanks. Look to the Birdmen and Fascists for these gems.

Robbing Questions

> 300 kilotons of fuel on the planet’s surface!… will U rob before he beams up fuel?…

Yes. Rob happens before everything else (or most everything ;)

>Does he designate a specific ship to rob, or does he rob all ships at a given location until he is full?

All ships at the same location as the robbing ship are vulnerable

>If he robs all ships, does he rob them one at a time or equal amounts from each? If one at a time, what is the order?

ID order – lowest ID surrenders its cargo first, then up the list. The priv ships also rob in ID order, btw, if more than one of their ships is in the same place robbing.

>If I have cloacked ships in the area, can he rob them and if so, how do they fall into the rob order?

That depends on the host settings: ‘Privateer rob cloaked ships NO or YES’ If cloaked ships are exempt from robbery, they are simply ignored by the rob mission

>What items can he rob (fuel, minerals, megacredits, clans, torps, fighters)?

Everything except torps and fighters. When all the fuel has been stolen, the robbed ship is helpless (usually the most important effect).

>why is it that sometimes the messages inform you of successful ROB, giving amounts transferred. But that sometimes with multiple ship theft the messages give the impression that there was no minerals or fuel transferred when Rob did take place.

The game doesn’t tell you of any subsequend rob amounts after the first sucessful one. All the rest of the ships do the rob mission and get the stuff, but no amounts are listed in the messages.

> >I don’t understand what is so great about the rob thing with the privateers. What if his HW was attacked by large carriers, he would loose it. And rob? them back? His HW would be totally destroyed, and what would he do next?

This is the big weakness of the Pirates. They do not have big ships to defend themselvs with unless they steal some. In you steal a couple of big carriers then you can defend your worlds with them. If they had no weakness there would be no reason to play anything else.  The Pirates are a stealth and cunning race not a brute force race. It is important to spread your money, minerals, fleet and people around. If you have everything at one important base, or even just a few you are dead. You must spread out. Then who really cares if you lose your homeworld. It is just one base and you have many. In the last game I played my homeworld eventually became one of the starbases that produced least. At the point you describe there is nothing for the Pirate to do.

He has already made his preperations for evacuation or he has not. The best he can do is quess. If you sent to little uncloak the fleet and fight. If you brought too much cloak everything load as much as you can on ships and wait to rob him.

A particularly nasty variant of this is to take all the people and as much money and minerals as you can onto your ships cloak and wait. The starbase will disappear so will all the other developements. Then space all but a little your fuel so he cannot pick it up from the planet and your tanks are low. Then rob him silly. Take his ships and move elsewhere. He got to get the base, but you got your money and people out and got his ships and his fuel. The bigger problem is what to do if not big carriers but big cloakers come. You can’t see them until it is too late. Also, the Gorn are really nasty. You can see them coming but they can uncloak you and you never know how many LCC are escorting.


Towing

Bandit’s Privateer Nightmare Strategy:

Pick the ship you are going to tow and choose a point in space to tow it to. Set your waypoint to that point in space and note how much fuel it’s going to take to get there (with your target ship in tow, of course). JETTISON all the fuel you DON’T NEED so you are carrying only EXACTLY the amount of fuel it’s going to take you to reach the waypoint. <Alternatively, you can transfer your excess fuel to the ENEMY SHIP, and then ROB IT BACK when you tow it out to your wolfpack!!>

Now…set your waypoint 1 LY farther than the original waypoint you chose. Keep doing that until you see “NEVER” show up in your “E.T.A.” window. That’s telling you that you don’t have enough fuel to tow your target ship that one extra light year. (You’d be surprised how many extra “1 LY” increments you can tow a ship on the same fuel load. The object is to go AS FAR AS YOU CAN on your CURRENT fuel load, but you want DRY FUEL TANKS when you get to your waypoint.> Set your waypoint BACK 1 LY, and you will have determined exactly how far your ship can tow the target ship before it runs completely dry of fuel. This becomes your ROB point. Send your cloaked MBR’s there, and wait. When your ship arrives with the target ship in tow (assuming the target ship didn’t change it’s mass>, it will be bone dry of fuel, and immune to attack. Transfer 1 KT of fuel to it from one of your cloakers, and set that sucker to rob along with the rest of your wolfpack. Sure does save on having to sacrifice ships! I’ve used the same MBR multiple times to tow enemy ships with this way. I always use MBR’s with Tech 10 engines, and low tech beams and torp tubes as tow tugs, just in case something goes haywire and they get captured.


>… Tow it out as far as you can… and if you
>want to be really tricky you can try to jettison your fuel so that you
>end up with no fuel at the end of the move (works great with winplan).

VERY risky. Do this to an experienced opponent, and they will soon start varying their cargo/fuel load to stop it. Then you either have to fight anyway, or they end up with your MBR.

>Don’t worry about losing an MBR to take out an enemy warship.

Very true – make sure the ship you are getting is worth it, though!

> … as long as you equip the MBR’s with only xrays and
>maybe a Mark 4 torp, they are of lttle use to the enemy…

Er, MBRs are VERY valuable – as tow ships or as cloaked scouts for example. Building tow MBRs with just X-rays and no torp launchers is a good idea, though.


>Why sacrifice the MBR? Adjust the amount of fuel onboard (via jettison)
>until it will arrive at the specified waypoint out of fuel. The following
>turn, the second MBR transfers 1kt of fuel to the first one and they BOTH
>rob. Works like a champ.

The other thing you can do is have the first MBR rob and the second TOW if you know the ship has less than 285 Fuel. That way the ship changes hands in one turn :-)


> One of my meteor towing a big ship to a point where I have other ships
> waiting just ran out of fuel when reaching that point, so I didn’t
> even lose the ship towing the big ship!

You can “plan” on doing that every time. Just be aware that when you tow an   enemy ship from one of their planets, the “fuel calculation” might not work if  the ship you are towing changes it’s mass just before you tow it (i.e. offloads colonists, loads up on supplies, etc). For this reason, I prefer to intercept   ships in space, and THEN tow them.


>If you are towing a ship, AND the towed ship has a waypoint set to >1
>turn ETA, then you must have equal to or greater warp drives for the tow
>to take place (assuming there’s enough fuel to go around).

That doesn’t seem to be quite right, but close. As far as I can see (after a bit of testing with host 3.22.014), to break tow, you need a warp speed set at least as high as the towing ship (gravitonic ships count double speed for this, so warp-5 counts as warp-10). You also need a waypoint set further than the tower could travel. And this is just the simple case, where one ship tows another which only tries to escape.

>Have you tested this? A gravitonic does not double the warp, but the
>speed. Doubling warp quadruples speed. It is logical that gravitonics
>would count for a sqrt(2)=1.41 multiplication in the tow break test.

That was my first thought, but it proved to be wrong . My conclusion could be wrong, of course, but bear in mind this applies purely for the purposes of the tow-break test, not for anything else in the game. The test results were :-

  • A warp-5 MBR tow could not be broken by a transwarp ship.
  • A warp-4 MBR allowed warp-8 & 9 ships to escape.
  • A warp-3 MBR allowed warp-6+ ships to escape.

You might like to test the other speeds to see what happens, but given how few MBRs actually get built with engines of warp-4 or below, it is just as easy to simply say gravitonic tows cannot be broken. In any case I stated it wrong: I said breakfree is based on *towers* possible travel distance, it is *towees* distance, of course.


To break tow, you need a warp speed set at least as high as the towing ship (gravitonic ships count at double warp setting for this, so warp-5 counts as warp-10). You also need a waypoint set further than the towee could travel in 1 turn (ie, a waypoint of >1 turn travel time). Note that both towers and towees performance was based on the speed set, not on the actual engines fitted.


Actually towing’s a little more complicated… Despite the number of times I’ve played the Privateers, I’ve never fully tested out and documented all the towing conflicts and resolutions. At one time I had a nice clipping which explained most this but it’s disappeared so the following is based on my RAM – rarely adequate memory.

The tie breakers are as follows… As I understand it

  1. One Engine – Single engine ships always lose. Some mistakenly think more engines is a factor in other cases – it’s not.
  2. Highest Warp – The highest warp speed wins. This is actually where Grav’s win as any Grav with TL5 or better drives has a higher speed than non-grav ships.
  3. Further waypoint – with any waypoint over one month’s travel being sufficient to break tow.
  4. Lower ID#

Now when you have multiple tows, things get even more confusing…
If you are trying to tow a someone who’s also trying to tow then the above process if followed. If you win, then their speed is set to 0 and they are towed off by you. If you’re trying to tow someone who’s being towed by another, than tower ID# comes into play. Tows are carried out from lowest to highest ID#, so the lowest ID# will win. In this case there’s nothing there for you to tow when your ship’s turn comes up.


> I am playing the Privateers(hold all the boos and hisses) and have
> robbed a Birdman ship. I have now towed it two times and have also
> towed it to a starbase which is set to force surrender, and the ship
> is still not mine. Any help on how to make this ship mine is appreciated.

Aarrggghh mate, bid not these weaklings to hold their cat calls and mewlings. Tiz all they can do to us. har It is good for them to put a brave face on their own deaths and makes them worthy adversaries. Wear their spite as the proud mantle of your calling, it is sure testimony to the strength of our Clan. As to your question (and you should blush to represent us so weakly in public) is that you haven’t emptied his tanks. You’re lucky if he hasn’t gone cloak on you, making correcting the situation more difficult. But the DW is one of our favorite caps, so we will see you through this.

Do not break the tow by touching the Mission button (record his ship ID# so you can attempt to reset the tow mission while he’s cloaked if it’s already broken.) You can tow him while he’s cloaked. Tow him to a wolf pack consisting of a half a dozen Little Pests with lasers and a Bloodcloud with heavy disruptors. Set all to PE Birdman. DO NOT USE MISSION KILL! Set your wolf pack attack order (using sequenced FCs) so the LPs fight first. They will absorb his weapon load and, hopefully, reduce his shields. The ‘Fang will toast the crew and cap the ship (and recap or kill any LPs that were capped.) Remember to tow your new DW to a SB to Fix/re-crew it. Of course, a simpler and more ideal (if you’re flying against a knucklehead who leaves the DW uncloaked) solution is to just rob him again and then tow/cap him again, simultaneously if you have multiple ships present.

Remember, while only our armed ships can Rob, any two engine Pirate vessel, including freighters, can tow/cap. In the future, pay close attention to your scanner reports and ships data files. You should be able to estimate within a 100 kt the fuel load of any ship or fleet. Make sure they’re empty. Don’t tow if you don’t know. It is much better to use both of a pair of Meteors to rob, rather than split rob/tow missions unless you are *sure* one can empty the ship. Much better to have a stranded enemy in the sea than a live one on the line.


: Q..what chance do I have towing a shipo thru a minefield : with a MBR as the tow ship. Most of the felds are smaller : then 50 ly across. Is there a formula for estimating survival : thru fields?

If minefields work as advertised (minehit% chance of hitting a mine for each light-year through a field), you can calculate the probability of surviving with relatively little difficulty. For simplicity, I will take minehit% to be 1%. This means that the chance of surviving 1 light-year is .99. The chance of surviving two light-years is .99 * .99 or .99^2. Therefore, the chance of surviving n light-years is .99^n. Since I didn’t write the host, I can’t tell you if this computation is accurate; but if it works according to the documentation I have seen, this is correct. To translate this to minehit% not equal 1%, take 100% – minehit%, divide by 100, and raise to the power of the number of light-years.

Sorry if I have unnecessarily confused this, but most scientific calculators should be able to perform the necessary calculations.


The Wolfpack Strategy……

There are several variation … but this is the main idea …. Have several MBR’s and a BR4 cruise around …..Once you have located a target …. and know it’s destination (via a utility) Have the MBR’s wait at some x,y within 162LY but more thatn 81LY …Have the BR4 meet the ship at that planet either ahead of it or at the same time …..Once the ship arrives…drag it with the BR4 to the WolfPack..

The BR4 will get dusted, unless you have matching friendly codes or calculate the fuel perfectly so you end up with zero reaching the “wolfpack”, then set all ships to rob ONCE the ship gets their…. the next turn you will have a enemy ship robbed of all it fuel ….Drag it home and it is Yours ……


Tips:

  • Make sure you have enough fuel capacity to rob his tanks from max
    … anything else is a calculated risk
  • Make sure you wolfpack is cloaked until the BR4 drags the ship
    ..that way you don’t fight…..Remember Robbing ships comes before fighting and moving .. if done successful .. he will have no fuel to fight or run….
  • I general have 1 BR4 … and half MBR with just beams (sacrificial if needed) and the other half with Torps
    …That way I can lay a mine field and protect the Robbing ships … Isuggest you lay a mine with one MBR thus losing his “robbing” for the turn….
  • A tactic to stop them is Dump all you fuel to the ground but 1-10 units … then set mission to beam up ….. ie …..You have 600fuel …drop 590 leaving 10 ….next turn he robbs you of 10 …you beam up fuel and then dust him….

Ground Attacks

>If two ships of Race A and B are orbitting a planet, which is owned by Race
>B, for example, but they have only one Colonist, and Race A drops 10
>colonists…
>The rules say the order is drop cargo, rob, and beam up cargo.
>If the colonists are dropped, will they fight immediately, kill the Race B
>colonists, and prevent the Race A ship from beaming anything up?
>Or does colonist combat occur later…?

One clarification, cargo dropped to an owned planet happens BEFORE rob missions. Cargo dropped on unowned/enemy planets happens AFTER rob missions. Both cargo drops are before beaming-up of minerals so yes, dropping colonists would prevent the previous owner from beaming up from the planet unless he’s got a matching FC for the planet.

As a Privateer I always try to carry a fair number of colonists on my MBR’s for exactly that purpose, as many players rely on transfering fuel to their owned planet and then beaming it up after rob missions are finished to prevent tow-captures. Boy are they surprised the first time I pull this one on them! <g>

Course this doesn’t work so well vs the Lizards or Fascists as their ground def is multiplied; and if there are defense posts, they can modify the odds too.


Gravity Wells

>Am I correct in assuming that the warp well extends from each planet 3.99
>ly? That’s what The Complete User’s Manual states anyhow.

Well, I don’t know what the &^* Manual says, but in Host v3.22.014 (and all earlier versions I know of, say 3.14 – 3.22.014) you’re allowed to move up to the planet at a distance of 3.14 LY without being sucked into the warp well. [Just set your pointer on the planet, and for example shift it 3 pixels down and 1 left, or 3 pixels right and 1 down. etc.]

>If you are moving at warp 1, you won’t be affected by the planet’s
>gravity well. This makes it a little hard to intercept his ship,
>though.

So, how do you use warp wells to hide from someone who knows what they’re doing?
Imagine this situation:

  1. I hide my merlin/firecloud/neutronic/etc. in a warp-well
  2. enemy sees it. dispatches a carrier to kill me
  3. carrier does intercept and is warp-welled into the planet. Now if I owned the planet and it was well defended, that would be one solution. imagine instead, I’m on the offensive, and have only 0 or a small number of colonists/defenses. Thus he takes the planet and is going to come after me at warp 1.

I can do two things here:

  • Run far. I’m a tad ahead of him, so as long as I keep moving at full speed, he’ll never catch me, until one of us runs out of fuel. problem : I must keep running forever, cuz there’s only a 1-LY space between us, and if I ever go to a planet, he’ll catch me.
  • Try to move around in the warp well. This will work for a brief while. i.e. if I’m 1 LY from the planet, I can spend 2 more turns moving radially outward, and he must chase at warp 1, staying behind me. However, now I’m screwed. Some simple geometry shows I cannot make more moves without being intercepted or going out of the warp well. Actually, here I can play a trick game : if I run away at full speed, he must intercept at full speed to stay with me; but if I instead head back towards the planet, he must stay at warp 1 or fall into the gravity well. Thus I have a 50% (or so) chance of pulling off a slinky maneuver at this point.

Combat

testing out different beam combo’s on a BR4 vs different favorite targetes using Winplan’s VCR SIM.

%Damage 50% Shield Bonus on/ No Shield Bonus

D= Destroyed

X rays Blast Disrpt Hblstr HDisrpt HPhsr
SMDF 1/22 18/d 10/d 18/d 8/d 20/d
MDSF 2/4 10/46 4/72 14/d 12/63 8/d
LDSF 11/8 45/67 12/18 26/48 12/28 20/36
STF 29/13 95/d 31/30 68/79 23/30 35/48

Comments:

  1. Shield Bonus on means Privateers will capture more useable freighters rather than destroying or crippling them.
  2. Heavy Phasers are a bit safer then Heavy Blasters and better minesweepers.
  3. Blasters are one of the worst choices if you want to capture but the best if you want to cripple, or destroy enemy shipping.
  4. XRays are the most target friendly – what a surprise <g>

How to attack with the Privateers

It is well known, that our beloved Orion Space Traders (or Pirates as some people call them falsely) are a race who has a difficult time if they have to confront an enemy in an open large scale battle. Unless they have äorganizedô heavy warships, they just lack the necessary firepower to confront a strong opposition. This is especially true in games without an engine- shield-bonus, because the low mass Privateer ships are especially poor combatants (especially against fighter carriers) without an engine-shield-bonus. Therefore it is usually the best strategy for our peace-loving green folks from Orion (who prefer dancing anyhow) to avoid any major fighting and to stay hidden.

If the Orion Space Traders have to defend an specific important planet against an determined attack, it takes careful planing to intercept the incoming enemy at the right places, to break up his battlegroups by towing some of his ships to hidden waiting defenders and to render the attacking ships helpless by robbing their fuel. Some clever hints about this tactic can be found for example in Dr. Dorn Peterson’s contribution as cited in the Dreadlord battlemanual. But there are times when you as an Orion commander cannot wait for the enemy to come to you and when you do not have the possibility to choose the location of the engagement, because you really want to attack a heavily fortified planet. Due to your movement advantages you should have a sound economy with plenty of starbases and enough minerals and money at each of them. In other words: you should have a clear superiority in numbers. But you still lack the real muscles, since your race just cannot turn resources into great combat vessels. And if you cannot get such ships from somebody else, you have to overwhelm the enemy by sheer numbers (and maybe by the surprise due to the lighting speed of your gravitonic accelerated battle groups).

The following battle report is from an still ongoing game (TH1 hosted by Tim Hofstee in CompuServeÆs PBM Forum) and shows how the Privateers can attack a strong enemy homeworld even without any foreign technology. It also shows that unexpected events can bring doom even to the most sophisticated battleplans. I hope that some of the readers will learn as much from reading my report as I did from planing and fighting the attack. The Crystals had started a war against the people from Orion by attacking a planet and killing all innocent colonists there. In addition to that the Crystalline web mines posed a great threat for the Orion trading lanes, and therefore the council of Orion had to decide to extinguish this Crystalline danger completely from the Echo cluster.

During the beginning of the war, the Orion activities concentrated on disrupting the Crystalline economy, harassing the border planets, destroying freight traffic and isolating the productive starbases from their supply of minerals and money. Over time, the Crystalline war fleet degenerated and the Crystals run out of resources to keep a full coverage of web mine fields around their core planets. So the time had come for the ultimate decisive battle: the attack onto the Crystalline homeworld.

The Orion council had developed a fine battleplan and prepared everything for a long time. Starbases were specifically set up, ships custom build for the attack, planets taken and supplied as intermediate staging areas and then a fleet of a total of 14 ships (which was a big fleet then given the fact that it was still relatively early in a resource poor game) launched to fly the attack against the Crystalline homeworld. The Crystals (or anybody else) did not see anything moving into position and could have been warned in advance only by the fact that their defending ships had been towed away by Orion ships for several turns. The Orion fleet appeared in attack orbit around the Crystalline home world without prior detection by the defenders. All ships came in either cloaked or towed by meteors directly from the staging area at a planet some 150 light-years away. The plan was that the Orion fleet should split into four battlegroups and attack in four distinctive waves:

  • Group 1 (the Scout Lance) had the primary role to sweep the area free of Crystalline webmines, which were deployed as a large barrier around their homeworld. They had also captured some defending ships earlier and flew a supporting attack against a secondary starbase nearby. All scout ships had already moved to their positions cloaked and were equipped with high tech beams and plenty of supplies (to repair possible web mine hits).
  • Group 2 (the Combat Lance) was to take out (or capture) any newly arriving defending ships, if they were to be build at the starbase just during this turn or coming in from other planets. It was their purpose to protect the third group from enemy ships. Therefore they fought first with their high tech torpedoes and went in cloaked, so that they could not be reached by the planetary defenses.
  • Group 3 (the Anti-aircraft Lance) had the sole purpose to shoot down the fighter compliment of the starbase. This group consisted of cheap expandable ships with enough beam weapons to handle the base’s maximum load of 60 fighters.
  • Group 4 (the Command Lance) was then to fly the final attack against the planet and to destroy it with a lot of high tech weapons. They carried a substantial amount of Mark VIII torpedoes. Unfortunately the plan did not work out fully and the battle turned out to be very costly for the attacking Privateers, although this was not caused directly by the Crystalline defenses.

So what went wrong? Just in the moment when the brave people from Orion launched their forces into the orbit around the Crystalline homeworld, another race – the Fascists – appeared and attacked the Orion fleet. Here is what happened äin slow motionô: The Scout Group swept the webmine barrier away, which allowed not only the friendly ships, but also the Fascists to move in (had the Fascists tried to move there any earlier, they would have gotten stuck in the webmines badly, which had happened to them at another location earlier in the game). Then some of the scout ships flew their supporting attack against the second starbase. The Combat Group blew the only newly arriving Crystalline ship in orbit to pieces, but these ships did not fight the Fascist, since the group was cloaked (to avoid the planetary defenses) and not set to Fascist as primary enemy, since they were supposed to attack Crystalline ships. The Anti-Aircraft Group was now attacked by the Fascists and entirely destroyed, because these ships had never been designed to fight other ships and were totally lacking any long range weapons. Only after the Anti-Aircarft Lance was gone, the Command Group started to fight the Fascist and were able to destroy the Fascist opposition (which was out of ammunition at this point of time) immediately. Now the Command Group proceeded to fight the planetary defenders. But the starbase was still filled with fighters and those fighters were able to destroy most ships of the Command Lance. Being ships of Privateer design, none of them had the mass (there is no Engine Shield Bonus in this game) or the high number of beam weapons to withstand a serious fighter attack long. Thanks to their high tech weapons, the remaining Orion ships were eventually able to bring down the starbase and planet, but only under high losses.

After the loss of the homeworld, the Crystalline opposition collapsed rapidly. The high losses during the attack could have easily been avoided, if the Orions had just added one ship to the Combat group, with primary enemy set to Fascist. That would have killed the Fascists (who did not come with strong forces, since they stumbled onto the battle field by pure chance) in the very beginning and protected the Anti-Aircraft Lance until itÆs ships would have been able to shoot down the defending fighters. But the Orions just did not expect a Fascist attack against them over the Crystalline homeworld. So the lesson is, always be prepared, that somebody will surface (come out of cloak) totally unexpected to screw up your plans. Be prepared for this possibility!


Personally, I prefer to fill an opponents space with MBR’s before he knows we are at war. This way he doesn’t make too many minefields. Then when you are ready (at least 10 MBR in his space), have them kill every freighter you can find, preferably all in one turn. He will then set some of his warships to mine, and some to chase you down. No problem. Have a few of your MBR’s set to minesweep, and have their speed set to warp nine. You won’t entirely clear a minefield, but you won’t hit a mine either. Visit as many of his planets as you can. Any that have no starbase and less than 3000 clans can be easily killed by a well armed MBR. This gives you all the cash and minerals to make torps, plus a stop off point for the next phase. Set a cloaked wolf pack to a planet that you know he has warships at. I have done this with as many as 10 MBR’s, with the Cyborg having 5 Fireclouds at the planet. Set all but 1 or 2 to rob, and hop them to a planet you have taken that you can reach in one turn. the one or two you use to tow the lowest id warships away to the same planet. He doesn’t get to see exactly where you went, you can then drop all the fuel to the planet, and do the same tactic over and over.

If you have taken enough of his crappy planets, it will taken hima while to find the right one. All of his ships that you have taken over can be set to attack his better planets. The only drawback to that is that they will have skeleton crews, so he may take them back, but by then you have used his own ships to attack him, and if he does recapture them, they are damaged. I am sure a good player could counter this, but it works extremely well against newbies and intermediates.


vs Fascists

>If you have any good tips specifically against the Fascists, please
>share them!

Build some cheap BR4’s with just TL6 or even TL5 drives to use as scouts to find those waiting glory devices.  Liberally sprinkled mines will reduce problems of his cloakers penatrating your space or of his GD ships hitting your prime worlds. Keep at least a couple cloakers over any major border base to rob and capture any of his ships which might uncloak and pillage such a base. Keep ALL your MC on the orbiting ship or you’ll lose them to the Pillaging Fascists. If you pair a cloaker with a Lady Royale w/o fuel, you can transfer 1 KT of fuel and then drain ANY fascist ship dry with the LR and tow capture the Pillager with the cloaker.

Strip all fuel and minerals from non-base border worlds ASAP. This will greatly limit the range his raiders can strike if they can’t replenish their fuel tanks at worlds he’ll invariably capture from you.


vs LOKI’s

If you are playing with any addon that allows movement, like pwarp, and this movement takes plase in Auxhost2, then this is after the second decloak!!! :->> This means you can warp your gasstation in after movment, thus avoiding decloak, and minefields!

LAM> How do you rob any ship escorted by a Loki? Is that not the only
LAM> vessle out there that is truly untouchable? The problem came about when

Mmm… Nice problem…
Some strategy’s that should work:

  • Intercept the loki in the Borgs fleet with a cloaker, like a Meteor Class Blockade Runner. Now the loki will be attacked first. BUT! If the borg are clever the loki is without fuel (being towed by another ship in the fleet) and won’t fight so another ship will kill your Meteor Class Blockade Runner.
  • Have a couple of Lady Royale Class Cruisers without fuel waiting at one of your planets. Be careful: the planet will be cought by the enemy so you can’t get fuel. You’ll have to use a waiting cloacker to transfer fuel the next turn. Now you have the problem of the loki again. If it has fuel it will destroy your cloackers, if it has no fuel there’s no problem. You can rob next turn, after transferring some fuel to your Lady Royale Class Cruisers off course. Maybe you can extend this strategy by intercepting the loki with a cloacker, so the turn the fleet arrives at your planet the loki will be attacked, if it has no fuel your cloacker gets killed and the loki survives, next turn you rob. If it has fuel the loki will be taken out first, then your cloacker gets killed, the next turn the cloacked cloacker transfers fuel to the waiting Lady Royale Class Cruisers and they rob the fleet empty.

>watch out for lokis…

It’s been my observation so far in the game’s I’ve played that the number of players actually getting hold of Loki’s tends to very limited. The fear of Loki’s greatly excedes the real risk of encountering them. Anyway, if you don’t have that fearless, carefree attitude, you’ll never be a good Privateer player anyhow <g>


>>Use cheap BR4’s to scout moving to 10 ly distance from a planet. If
>>there’s a Loki it’ll uncloak you and you’re still safely out of reach.

>yes, but on the second turn, you can be A) intercepted, B) mined,
>C) webbed.

Well this is true, but I did say a CHEAP BR4 <g> You might still get away if you run and you’re lucky <g> If you want to spend a bit more money but have a more annoying scout build the BR5 with TL4 tubes and dump a few mines yourself if you get uncloaked to cover your attempted exit. If you want a super scout, build a BR4 with Heavy Phasers and if uncloaked change to minesweeping and RUN! They’ll have to dump a lot of mines to catch you as you’ll be able to sweep 2000! This ship can double for minesweeping duties outlined earlier too..


vs SSD’s

RG> the Empire just have to drop 10 clans and boom :) He can drop 10 clans
RG> without fuel, TOO. Imagine, the ssd arrives, is robbed but still belongs
RG> to the empire. Next turn he drop his clans…

Super Star Destroyer arrives at a planet, Pirate now needs two ships: one to rob it clean (like a Lady Royale Class Cruiser), one to tow it away the same turn (like Meteor Class Blockade Runner). Second turn: Lady Royale Class Cruiser rods Super Star Destroyer clean, taking it’s fuel and cargo. This is _before_ transport, so Super Star Destroyer can’t beam down its clans any more, they should be robbed of the ship. I still don’t really understand the Rob, except for it takes _all_ fuel. Then, in the same turn, Meteor Class Blockade Runner tows fuelless Super Star Destroyer away and captures the ship.


vs Gorbie SUK [Raceplus]

>In a game I played I was the empire and I setted the SUK f.c. on a
>Gorbie of mine (there were privs around and i wanted to kill them…)
>The privateers player has setted the SUK f.c. also on all his MBRs…
>As the result, all privs MBRs were attracted by the gravity well, but
>they did NOT fight against my gorbie… so they robbed, towed and
>captured it :-((((

Good for the privs, that was most entertaining <G>.

Perhaps we should send one to Timo Kreike, he collects stories like this…
More to the point though, why didn’t the Gorbies escort ships fight and kill the priv MBRs?


vs Rushes

>I have 2 rushes heading my way. I’m the Privateers. Only got 2 turns
>before they hit an important world but what is the best way to defend?
>Glory devices? Mines? Robbing?

Just 2 Rush ships, no escorts? Do you have any estimates as to whether they are full of fuel, or if they are stretching fuel economy just to make it? If they have full fuel tanks, you probably won’t be able to rob one (Rush has . . . 1550 fuel at max?). If one or the other looks like it is consistently lower on fuel, you might try to rob one dry of fuel. Once he sees one ship drained of fuel, you would at least have him guessing.

As a last-ditch effort, you might want to waste one small or cheap grav ship towing one Rush as far away as your grav accelerators will let you. You might lose a ship, but if he was counting on having both ships for his assault, and suddenly he sees that one is unavailable for at least 2 turns (to get back to where he was before the tow), then that should at least buy you some more time. This is especially useful if you don’t have enough ships to rob him of all his fuel, but you think he is having fuel problems which will make it difficult for him to get that towed Rush back to the front (hey, it takes a lot of fuel to move those puppies around).

You could also tow one ship further _into_ your territory if you have a pack of cloaked ships which could meet at one point, and rob him there. Then suddenly he faces the prospect of facing one of his own Rush ships somewhere in your territory.

Mining would slow him down, esp. if he has crappy beams since each Rush only packs 5 beams anyway with a normal shiplist.

Glory devices will slow him down only if he doesn’t capture supply-rich worlds. You’ll have to run sims of Rush ships against those you have built and captured to see what your chances are in combat. If the planet he is attacking is not a Starbase world, I’s suggest the following:

– Remove all fuel from planetary surface – remove all colonists from planet surface – put them in an armed – Netronic Refinery Ship or 2 with empty tanks — leave 2 cloakers with full holds of clans above planet and some fuel – have one or more waiting wolf packs of 3 or more MBR’s each in deep space cloaked. Depending upon your NRS’s above the planet, you might get away with a smaller wolf pack – but I’d advise against getting shepa unless you have noc choice Turn after he comes in:

  1. Drop your hold of clans on planet – preferably user a lowr ship id than he has to do this to take advantage of any def posts on surface in case he drops clans
  2. Use NR Ships to Rob right him there, (transferring first 1 fuel to each with cloaker). The NRS is QUITE handy for draining mega fuel real fast. (Remember – the drainer needs to be armed)
  3. Tow both Rush’s to waiting wolf packs. Lose 2 x MBRS, drain Rush Carriers dry with wolf packs on folowing turn. Call it it a fair exchange and try not to gloat :).
  4. Repeat as necessary ( except for the clans part – he probably won’t be that sloppy again) in bid to win game until Rebel figures out he needs mine laying escorts very BADLY around the planets he is attacking. (But those minelayers can always be cloak-intercepted on the turn he moves in) Build all your future MBR’s with Heavy Disruptors to use as support mine-sweepers when using wolf pack tactics. Carry on and look out for the Lokis and Glory Ships which your frustrated opponent will figure out he needs sooner or later…

Beaming up all of the clans off of the surface may or may not work to prevent a beam gather. If the enemy takes the time to match the fcode of the planet first – your clans won’t be able to stop the beam gather. But then again, most players tend to be careless until given a reason not to be. If it is an important planet (but WITHOUT a BASE) this is a nice ploy. Under Host 3.2x, pulling all the clans off a starbase world removes the starbase from play (this is a big “oops”). In some circumstances you might want to pull the clans off anyway – but this in highly remote. Arm the base and duke it out as best you can with the base if forced to. With a big bovie world – you might prefer to ditch the base just to keep the natives hapy (highly unlikely – but a possibility).


> 1. MBR tows RUSH to Priv planet.
> Tower and Planet goes boom (PE=Privateer).

I’d use a BR4 or BR5 to tow you and save my MBR’s for other duties. Of course, if the MBR was the only ship available, then I’d be willing to sacrifice it for a RUSH<g>

If I were a Privateer, I’d pickup the colonists and fuel the same turn so your RUSH would arrive over an empty and uninhabited world. Therefore, you’d not attack it and be unable to beam down fuel the next turn.

> He has 6 more MBRs waiting at it.
> 2. I downloaded 1/2 of my fuel to planet, set mission to Gather Fuel.

You’d be unable to DL your fuel as you wouldn’t own the planet. There’d be no fuel to gather either. In such situations I often add a STF to the wolfpack to act as a fuel and mineral carrier the MBR’s can transfer their cargo to before ROBBING. Naturally, the STF is out of fuel as is the LR so immune to attack when your RUSH first arrives.


Minesweeping

I recently discovered an excellent tactic that can be used with any ship against minefields, especially Webmines. The times it can be used are much more often when you have Gravitonic accelerator ships. The purpose of my tactic is to Minesweep without giving away your position or even your identity. The key to it is that ships will sweep for mines before movement (As far as I know it can happen after movement too.)

What you need is a planet within 162 LY of a planet that you know is safe. If you are using a normal ship, this distance shrinks to 82 LY, for obvious reasons. The essential thing is that you are using a cloaker, otherwise the the advantage of anonymity is lost. Okay, what you do is send your ship 1 LY into the enemy minefield, while cloaked. Next turn set your waypoint to your sanctuary planet. Then change your mission to Minesweep. Voila, next round you will wiped out some mines, and be safely whisked away. Unless of course your haven planet, is not so safe anymore.

For example if you are using a MBR with 4 Heavy Phasers you will have clobbered thousands of mines. A BR4 with it’s 5 guns would be great in every minesweeping scenario except against Webmines. The 25% drain on fuel could leave a BR4 rather low on fuel. Correct me if I’m wrong, even when you use minesweep and the field shrinks away from you, you still lose fuel don’t you? For those of you who’ve never played the Crystals, the Crystals aren’t notified of their mines being eliminated. They obviously can figure it out, but you’ll still leave them unaware of where you are. Theoretically this tactic should work great against minefields protecting the enemy’s border. Mind me, I haven’t used this in a real game, only in a self-hosted, self-played game.


Are you fed up with minefields slowing (or halting) your raiding parties? Consider the Br4 as an effective minesweeper. It’s qualities are perfect for this role. With cloaking device and gravitonic accelerator, you can gain quick and easy access to an enemies minefield. Once there, the 5 beam weapons sweep at a decent rate. I suggest sending Br4’s out in packs. That way the minefield will be swept away at a VERY high rate.This will infuriate and worry your enemy. If you use seige type tactics and keep sweeping his minefields, he will eventually run out of money/minerals to build mines. And unless he likes living on a planet with no minerals, he will have to go on a mineral run sometime. At this point, you’ve basically got him! Should you lose your Br4’s in this endeavour, it is no big loss. They are cheap and simple to construct. Happy sweeping!


The Privateer Logbook

A comprehensive guide to playing the Privateers is currently under construction. The first several installments and selected excerpts will be released thru The Planeteer. The first installment appeared in issue 10.

It currently is about 40 pages in length and I’ve got quite a bit more to cover yet. I’ve no tenative target date on completing this as it’s something I do in my free time and as the spirit moves me<g> It will be made available freely once finished.


The Editor:

I will release updated versions of this file in the future. All are welcome to send me material, questions or comments. You can contact me at either:
markrendl@aol.com or mwilmot@gol.com

Mark Wilmot

6/11/97

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