Early Construction – An Opinion

This article reflects my own opinion about what to build on the first turn.  In a previous post, I asserted that a Large Deep Space Freighter (LDSF) with Transwarp Drives is always a safe choice to build.  I reaffirm that it is acceptable to build the LDSF on the first turn.

In my opinion, however, there is a better choice for everyone.  Every race should build a capital ship (a ship with weapons – also known as a warship) on turn 1.

In the very earliest turns, these should be your priorities – in rough order of importance:

  1. Finding natives
  2. Finding your neighbors
  3. Wide positional expansion and colonization
  4. Obscuring your homeworld
  5. Defense
  6. Having the ability to attack something far away
  7. Building two-engine ships with low ID numbers

On the first turn, every race that can build a cloaker should build a cloaker.  This satisfies every single criterion above.

On the first turn, every race that can build a bioscanner should build a bioscanner to find natives, since this is priority number one.

On the first turn, every race that can build a HYP ship should build a HYP ship.  This satisfies and #2, #3, and #4 above.  (Top secret: if you don’t build a HYP ship on turn 1, certain early-game expert players such as Thin will be more likely to find your homeworld very quickly.)

Now without further ado, here is my opinion of what each race should build on turn 1, with notes about the following turns.

Fed – Brynhild Class Escort.  Use this ship for the bioscanner and light colonization.  Low tech is fine.  On the next turns, you will build LDSF or other ships with large cargo holds to start moving clans.

Lizard – Lizard Class Cruiser.  This is your very best ship, so build it with Transwarp engines and decent weapons.  Look for natives, find your neighbors, and expand.  This is the ship you want on your outer planets at the beginning of the game.  If you don’t find good natives on the following turns, continue to build LCC until you do.

Bird – Resolute Class Battlecruiser.  This is your very best ship,  With transwarp engines and decent weapons, it will be the strongest ship in the entire sector on turn 2 (along with the Crystals’ Emerald which has very similar specifications).  Unlike the Crystals, however, you will be sneaking around and expanding far and wide.  If you don’t find good natives, continue to build Resolutes until you do.

Fascist – D7 Class Cruiser.  Sneak around and establish your position.  When you find good natives, build LDSF to export clans.  Campaign games: The Armored Ore Condenser with Transwarp engines is a great choice for the first turn because you can increase mineral densities on the planets you visit while colonizing.

Privateer – Meteor Class Blockade Runner.  Build with Transwarp Drives, X-Ray Lasers, and no tubes.  Sneak around very far from home.  On the next turns, build LDSF when you find natives.  The Lady Royale with Transwarp Drives is a good choice for basic colonization of contiguous planets, but try to build as many Meteors as possible.

Cyborg – B200 Class Probe.  Build with mid-level engines and weapons.  Far and wide expansion and finding natives far away must be the first priority, but don’t give away the position of your homeworld.  On turns 2 and 3, build LDSF for moving clans and exporting starbases.

Crystal – Emerald Class Battlecruiser.  This is your very best ship and has a great cargo hold, so it can serve nearly as well as the LDSF for exporting clans.  SpaceSquad’s video explores the Crystal opening in depth.  Campaign games: I would seriously consider building the Sapphire Class Space Ship on the first turn.

Empire – PL21 Class Probe.  Build with mid-level engines and weapons.  You get to discover your neighbors before anyone else.  Just don’t jump out into space exactly 350LY from your homeworld right away.  On turns 2 and 3, build LDSF for moving clans and exporting starbases.

Robot – Pawn Class Baseship.  This is an incredible ship and it would be foolish not to build it for its 100% bioscanner.  Low tech is fine.  The reason that people hesitate to build the Pawn is its extreme mineral cost.  High mineral cost is a very silly reason not to build a great ship, since you get 100% of minerals back when you recycle it.  You won’t be keeping this ship for the whole game anyway, so recycle it when you run out of Duranium.  Campaign games: There’s a new and improved Pawn available and it’s much cheaper.

Rebel – Falcon Class Escort.  Mid-tech engines and weapons are fine.  You need to establish position in the cluster, and this is the first step.  Do not jump into deep space 350LY from your homeworld immediately.  On turns 2 and 3, build LDSF for moving clans and exporting starbases.

Colony – Cobol Class Cruiser.  This is your best ship.  Build with Transwarp Drives.  You can travel far and wide with no need for fuel.  Set the mission to Bio Scan and when you find natives, use LDSF to export clans.  Also, the Lady Royale with Transwarp Drives is a good choice for basic colonization of contiguous planets, but try to build as many Cobols as possible.

In conclusion, I’d like to reiterate the assertion in the Q&A section of Straight Talk About the Tractor Beam that all players should build two-engine ships in the early turns, with the exception of those races that build probes.  This is important because you need a few ships with very low ID numbers that can tow.

I expect to get lambasted by some who say that the Cyborg/Empire/Rebel should not build a probe on the first turn, or even should wait until the second starbase to build probes.  Again, what I have written is an opinion and I will restate that the LDSF is a good choice (just not the best choice) for everyone on turn 1.  The LDSF indeed may be a better choice for those three races if your opponents are all beginners.  With advanced opponents who study the map, you want a probe.

Please, leave comments stating your agreements, disagreements, or questions!

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37 thoughts on “Early Construction – An Opinion

  1. Sorry, my post was not clear enough. Of course it´s nonsense to lay a web in turn 3 if you do not know if somebody is out there. You can not attack with a Sapphire, but you should not be afraid to jump to an unknown planet in the beginning. As a Crystal you have to raise your torps anyway ( I go to MK7 at turn 1) Load 5 torps, clans and capture that nice 10planet cluster you would never reach in time without the Sapphire. Worst case drop a web and run, for sure you will win some time until your main fleet is in position. And a web in enemy space is always nice.

    Good point on the SB killing, I always used captured ships, SSD or Diamond Thunder combos so far. Killing SBs late in the game is very hard for Crystallines if they have to use their own ships.
    Do the guboats start with full beams after the first got killed?

  2. I would like to comment about robot´s & starbases issue. I think robots can destroy bases in late game almost just like other races. But, lot of instrumentalities is needed, because you lose instrumentalities against bases.

    Usually, 2 instrumentalities take out well defended base. (130 planet det, 200 bd and 60 fighters). Instru + Golem takes this base 95% a time…. Offcourse, base killing is not easy for a robot, BUT to whom is it easy?

    Feds? Nova lose against stocked base…
    Birdmen? DW loses against stocked base…
    Privateers? Captured ships… yes… if there is suitable ones
    Borgs? I have recently noticed that capturing a stocked base is like 50% losing a BIO
    Colonies? Virgo has slightly better chances against base than golem…. offcourse you can send small ships first… but… you lose something

    For a liz, it is not so easy though if base has lot of clans
    Klingons have advantage on this, but if there is carrier protecting the base, it is not so easy
    EE has SSD, but they can be destroyed
    Rebels have planet immunity, rushes and ground attack. They have really better base killing power!

    After all, i think robots do not have so much worse SB killing power than other races. The biggest problem for robots, in my opinion, is the FUEL..

    -T

  3. But, for a first turn. Robot has 3 options. LDSF, Cats Paw or Pawn…;) What I usually build depends on MAP situation (where nearby planet clusters are), and especially it depends on the mood I am…. :)

  4. If you’ve ever played a long game where you have to lose one ship for every starbase you conquer, it is a severe problem, mainly because you gain no PBP for the destruction. Think about the math. 500 planets and 500 ships. You give up one ship to get one planet and only have a small chance of building a ship in its place.

    I’m going to maintain that your best choice is the Pawn because you have absolutely no time to waste. If a Golem can only beat a starbase 37% of the time, you have to get across the galaxy as fast as freaking possible, and to do that you need money first, and to get money you have to find the natives. If you wait, you are dead. If you have experienced opponents who will not drop out, you simply can’t afford to be slow when your fleet is so handicapped. You’ve got to go blow them up before they get strong.

    You’re right about the fuel problem. My recommendation is to travel in only one direction. You neither have the time nor the fuel to go back and pick up stuff you miss, or to approach another war front.

  5. Aa… I completely agree with you, that expanding and getting money FAST, is the key to victory for bots. BUT, is the 1 turn Pawn best way to do that, i am not 100% sure.. (i mean there MIGHT be slight advantage in some situations building cat´s paw first, then pawn, then LDSF… or even Paw, LDSF and then pawn)

    The reason why i should expand fast with the bots is not that they are worse than others in attacking – the reason is they are master at defence!

    Which races ( if i do not count races that can do some ground attack) can destroy a base without losses?? Even BIO & Gorbie lose 50% a time against stocked base… birdman may need 3 DW:s to do that…

    AND nova drive 5, Plasma bolt, base killing kamikaze instru before Golem is cheap as shit :) it is 4 victory points, but opponent do not get them if base kills instru. AND offcourse bot has to have numerous SB:s to compete in BQ

    I DO NOT completely disagree with you, but i just think that base taking is hard for other races also… and hardly ever can not be done without losses

    -T

  6. I just got back from vacation so I’m just now checking back on this.

    Campaign Crystals: Thanks for your thoughts SS. It gives me a better understanding of the importance of the Emerald. It inspired this template for my next campaign game:
    **CRYSTALS (ALT)**

    SHIPS:
    Emerald 30
    Diamond 20
    Crystal 30
    Sapphire 40
    Imp. Topaz 25
    Onyx 15
    TOTAL: 160

    ABILITIES:
    Desert Habitation 10
    Webs 150
    Tow Cap. 30
    SB Mine Laying 30
    Lay Mines 70
    TOTAL: 290

    GRAND TOTAL: 450

    I don’t see the Emerald and Gunboats in direct competition at all. They aren’t an either/or and I’m not building one over the other. They are completely different tools. If anything, I was comparing the Emerald with the Ruby and deciding which tool I could do without since they perform similar functions. The question was really whether you could get away without having the Emerald because you could build (more) Rubies instead. The deciding factor for me is that Emerald will eventually cost 4 PBP while the Ruby costs 3, and that extra PBP for the extra performance makes the Emerald worth it.

    My biggest dilemma with the Emerald is whether to start with mk4 or mk7 torps, but I’ve settled on mk4. Building two mk7 Emeralds early on costs an extra 2400mc over the cost of two mk4 Emeralds. I could build two more mk4 emeralds for the money saved (or whatever else I need, like another SB). Granted, later on minerals will be more valuable than the money, but money is extremely valuable early on and the mk4 Emeralds can just scoop mines from mk7 laid fields to conserve minerals.

    Another note about Large Minefields: Crystals can and should drop this. It only restricts how big your REGULAR minefields can be. Crystals can always lay large webmine fields, even without this advantage. Yes, it feels like cheating=)

  7. Now something completely on topic: early game priorities

    Colonists = cash, mines, and factories. The most important of those right out the gate is cash. You need to get as many colonists to nearby natives to act as tax collectors ASAP. No matter which race it is, I try to identify a taxable planet early and move up to two LDSF full of colonists there. Once the natives are taxed to mid-60s happiness, I leave them alone and start moving those colonists to the next farther taxable planet and repeat. So far, this has proved to be the most efficient way to collect money I have found in the early game.

    The problem with it is you do not end up land grabbing a bunch of worlds early on like many suggest. I may end up with 6 planets on turn 8 while someone else has 12-16. IMO, it doesn’t matter because it allows me to build more and better ships and star bases sooner, which will greatly fuel my expansion after these initial turns. It allows you to set up better supply lines and preserves fuel by giving every ship a target. Yes, you end up moving back and forth between your home world, but you depopulate your home world faster than anyone else, and that depopulation means more of everything in the long run.

    I agree with Emork here. My ultimate early goal is to be in the best position possible when the ship limit hits. That really means having more and better ships, not necessarily more planets. The planets will come because you’ll have more and better ships. You’ll be able to push your neighbors’ bargain bin ships around with minimal losses and colonize the new territory faster. With any luck, your neighbor did some explosive early expansion and hasn’t had the opportunity to move the fruits of his outlying planets to star bases. Those resources can be yours for the taking, and you never had to construct a mine or factory to claim them.

    ECV: you seem to imply that making return trips to you home world is bad thing. My question in return is: how do you avoid it? You need to spread colonists out to good worlds. Do all your ships only make one-way trips from home? If so, how has this worked out for you when the ship limit hits?

  8. Welcome home Stone! This is such a great discussion.

    Are you serious that large minefields doesn’t count for webs?!?!?! Omg. Well I guess we can have our cake and eat it too!

    I haven’t started a new Crystal game recently, but Spacesquad’s videos have definitely had an impact on me. My standard first-turn build has usually been Emerald / Xwarp / Plasma Bolts / Mark 4. The reason for such an economical Emerald is exactly what you mentioned, Stone: the tech is so expensive, and even the tubes cost more than I really want to spend.

    I will defer to the judgment of the Emperor that it is better to splurge on the Mark 7, and I probably will in my next game, for all the reasons he has detailed. However, here’s one thing to consider: Mark 4 and Mark 7 torpedoes are known as the most efficient, and that’s why everybody uses those two only (add Mark 8 for heavy fighting, and Gamma Bombs for capture ships). You’ll (almost) never see a good player using Mark 3 or Mark 5 or Proton Torps because they have looked at the charts and have done the math. But the reason Mark 4 and Mark 7 are the best is for two different reasons: Mark 4 are the most efficient in money, and Mark 7 are the most efficient in minerals. Spacesquad’s argument is that, in the end, you will run out of minerals but you will have enough money, and therefore the Mark 7 is the tube you want all through the game. However I do think that different circumstances might lead one to make a different choice. For instance I am in a low natives game (I’m the Borg, not the Crystal), and I would imagine that in that setting I would want to build Mark 4 for webbing for most of the game, because there’s not enough cash even for the tech and the tubes, much less for loading up the webs. As folks experiment with different starting scenarios (and I assume that more options will someday become available) it might be good to be open to different possibilities.

    To respond to the “one-way trip” comment: I didn’t mean freighters – I meant with carriers. I was responding to the question about Robots running out of fuel from Golems. There’s always enough fuel to travel one direction, just not necessarily enough to circle back. I think it’s important to think in the long term about where you want to fight and what direction you want to go. Colonies don’t have the fuel problem, nor do the Borgs, nor do the Privateers. But for Robots, Rebels, Birds, Fascists, Empire …. fuel problems can really cripple your progress. Robots have no time to waste. Find the natives, tax them, build Golems, and then pick a direction and go. To wait, or to turn around, means that your opponents have time to build better ships.

    Clans: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Those people are doing nothing for you on your homeworld (assuming you max out your factories and mines on turn 1, something on which Spacesquad and I disagree). The end goal of the entire game in a standard planet-count scenario is to take those 2 and a half million people, facilitate their reproduction, and cover the entire cluster with them. How does this relate to construction? People produce revenue, revenue builds ships and arms them, and ships conquer new worlds and win games. People also create factories, factories create supplies, supplies create minerals after the mines run dry, minerals create fighters and torpedoes, fighters and torpedoes destroy your opponents and conquer planets and win games.

    This is THE reason that the Emerald is such a great ship, along with the Resolute and the LCC. You always get to carry clans. Everywhere. How many clans? Lots and lots and lots. The Borg is the only exception.

    I totally agree with you and Emork that the goal of the opening is to be in the best position when the limit hits. There are other worthwhile early goals, however, such as trying to prevent your neighbors from constructing early. Thin is the expert on early strikes. Just pray that you never start next to him. :)

  9. The uselessness of the Home World presents a conundrum: Early ship builds are important, but expensive-costing resources you could use to build a more useful base on a nearby planet instead.

    The advantage of building a LDSF first turn is you only spend money on engine and hull tech, costing 3900 of your initial 10k. You could then use your extra money to set up a second base on a more worthy world, using your home world to produce freighters. Don’t forget the option to build extra LDSF with crap engines and tow them with other ships (even other LDSF). Doing this may not be sexy, but if you can quickly identify good neighboring worlds, your economy will take off like a rocket.

    As a comparison, it costs 7700 just in tech to be able to build a Disruptor/mk7 Emerald, then another 1454 for the ship itself. Assuming you max factories, you’re spending another 471. Your total first turn expenditures are 9625mc so far, and you haven’t even built extra mines. If you’re taxing like I do, you’ll get 1390mc on the following turn (57%, -37 happiness) and buy 63 (252mc) mines so you stay at +7 happiness mod when you don’t tax next turn, allowing your population to grow. 63 mines is an efficient number both because of the happiness mod, and because going from 162 to 163 increases your mine output by 3 minerals a turn. Grand total for first turn? 9877mc. Ouch.

    This will leave you with 1513mc (plus whatever you are willing to sacrifice in supplies) to survive until you can find natives to tax, or the 7 turns it will take to get your HW population back to 100 happiness to tax them again (you’ll make more money/colonists in the long run if you are disciplined about waiting to tax until 100 happiness). 1513 MC is enough for two good LDSF builds or one more good Emerald, then you are basically broke unless you dip into your supplies or find natives, but even if you find natives it will take a few turns to tax them and return the money for more ships.

    I much prefer the less expensive mk4 option. It allows up to four Emerald builds (if you want that many), after which I would build crap engine LDSFs and tow them with the Emeralds (who all have TW engines). You will be able to get a lot more done in your economy with this setup than with two gold-plated emeralds. You could use some of your savings to set up an early second base on a world with good natives.

    Incidentally, you could save even more money with Rubies and using them to tow LDSF. I would feel much more comfortable with a mk7 Ruby first turn than an Emerald, since the individual ships are quite a bit cheaper to build.

    I know this discussion wanted intended to focus to heavily on one race, but I think the in depth analysis is portable to the process you should go through with any race. I would rather have this specific discussion than speak entirely in generalities. Thanks for keeping it going ECV! The more we work through, the more I think we agree on the general principles, and working out the details forces me to consider my choices more honestly.

  10. As we can see, Planets is a good game because there are many different ways to victory.. even in the first turn. :)

  11. UPDATE: You can no longer lay large web mine fields unless you have the “Lay Large Mine Fields” advantage. No more bonus 30adv for Crystals=/

  12. This is a good article for consideration. I usually play the Lizards. Economy is our game so I will build a LDSF right off the bat. However, most of my games I do build a LCC on turn two. I even tech it up to M7’s and Disruptors to capture ships(or HB). Then I send it off into deep space toward a cluster in the center or one I know is closer to my enemy on one side or the other. It never returns. In the early game that LCC can take planets that HYP ships or Borg colonized and destroy all smaller ships or bigger ships with M4’s. With it’s large cargo, it can set up a nice planet in the far away cluster and repair with built supplies. In this method you can secure a cluster early on and then the other players are the attackers if they move in. It also hurts the other players who did not send good ships and it will take them awhile to send in a fleet. Hopefully you have sent a few reinforcements and build a SB by then.
    The down side is building such a good ship right off the bat destroys your home economy for a few turns. If you have a few good planets nearby, then that is short. If you can’t find that gem of a planet, then I build hissers for a few turns (which I need). So, I have tried a few games where I built just M4 ships and sent them forth. This saved my economy for a few turns at the beginning of the game. But then I didn’t overpower any other ship I came across, or I got hurt.
    Oh the decisions. I guess there is no great answer then, huh?
    Keep up the thought process. -DD-

  13. ECV, I’m not going to lambast you, but I am going to have to disagree with building a probe on the first turn. My main reason is that I can’t stand building low tech ships at my homeworld. It irks my sense of efficiency to not be using the tech levels I have there (or will have soon, so the money’s as good as spent). Much like Stone and Emork, I’m of the philosophy that the main purpose of the HW is to crank out LDSF and some mid-level warships (with 2 engines) when you can afford them, everything with transwarps. I guess I’d even go a step further and say that I’d prefer NEVER to build a probe at my homeworld (or terraformers, cynguses, patriots, swifts, opals, and other cheap stuff). I agree that you want probes fairly soon, but would rather advocate the “starbase in a can” method. ie:

    Turn 1 – Build LDSF
    Turn 2 – Load LDSF with minerals to make a starbase + about 1100mc (or more if you can spare it) + about 100 supplies + the remainder with clans. If the planet your MDSF discovered has any reasonable native life send it there. If not pick another one. Drop everything off there and build a base. Go back to HW for more clans.

    This way you have a probe (or terraformer or whatever) factory setup and you’ll start getting a ship from it every turn starting on turn 5 or 6 (depending on whether you followed the MDSF or colonized a new planet).

    I think getting a second starbase setup is near top priority for everyone, but if you’re planning on building a lot of “junk” ships with bad engines (a strategy I support), it’s even more urgent, because you don’t want to use your HW to build them. I would say the following races should all consider the “starbase in a can” strategy: Feds, Lizards, Borg, Empire, Rebels.

    For the other races, getting a second base should still be top priority, but they’ll likely want to wait a little longer for a “good” planet, which I consider generally in this order of desirability:

    1. Ghipsoid or Humanoid – Engine tech benefits everyone, and everyone has higher tech ships they can build without engines and tow when needed. Even if you can’t build a big carrier or battleship or merlin right away, a super transport with sd1s is always nice to have. You can tow it full of clans with an outgoing warship, to colonize the fronts while leaving your LDSFs free to work the home economy.

    2. Siliconoid for some races – The robots and crystals mainly (because they can make good use of their cheap, low-hull tech mine-layers), unless urgent minefields are needed, or sit in place defenders.

    3. Any other planet that can make good money – If it can make 2000+ in taxes for a couple turns (this is why you built all those freighters, to get the clans here and get that money), you can get techs up to mid-levels pretty quickly, and then building the ships is usually pretty cheap. Works for races like the fascists who just need to get hull tech up to 6 to build poppers.

    So I think I’ve strayed a little from the main topic here, but I guess what I’m saying is, build those freighters and get that second base up as fast as you can. Even if you don’t have enough money to get a great build out of it at first, I’m not ashamed to say I’ve built MDSFs with sd1 engines to act as a 200 cargo trailer, or even the much despised sd1 SDSF for recycling later.

    And use your homeworld ONLY to build things that need transwarps.

  14. Beefer: I certainly don’t feel lambasted. My column is only an opinion. And bear in mind I never said it was wrong to build the LDSF. The whole point of this is to get a debate started and we can all learn from it. Having just played 20 turns of a DIE HARD game against you, I’m 100% aware that I have much more to learn from you than you have to learn from me.

    I like the starbase-in-a-can method also, as you say, although I recommend delaying it until the second LDSF in all cases. I really think that first LDSF needs to be loaded with 1200 clans (or 1150 or 1000 or whatever). It’s got to go straight to that good-natives planet and start cranking revenue. The way I see it, the sooner you start the better. The second LDSF (especially for Cyborg or Empire) can be the base-in-a-can as you say – and that second base builds probes only.

    Dedicating starbases to specific things – especially based on the natives – is true sage advice in my opinion. Looking back, I’ve made the mistake of raising the engine tech level too high on secondary starbases in a few of my games. In retrospect, ouch! That old “wisdom” of always building transwarps (or always using heavy blasters or whatever) is quite silly, especially in a community like Nu where your opponents are so good that they know how to fight for every last ship slot.

    Spacesquad and I had a conversation a while back about the second starbase. I recall him saying that he thinks it’s often good to delay it. Maybe he’s still watching this thread, and if so, perhaps we can get more of the Emperor’s wisdom on this topic. I ruined my economy in one game when playing Crystals by building the second starbase early (like turn 4 or 5). That’s perhaps a race-specific problem, however, since Crystals enjoy far less benefit from low-tech bases than other races.

    Thin has a really terrific article about fighting carrier fleets as a cloaking race that is being published here on planetsmagazine.com within the next few days, and it will relate closely to this discussion about early preparation for combat. In particular, as soon as you identify your opponents, you ought to consider starting to customize your own fleet to fight whoever your enemies will be. Watch this space!

  15. Really enjoy this discussion! Personally I vary my opening slightly depending on planet proximity to my homeworld, but generally I delay the “Base Building LDSF” as EC does, at least for a few turns. I want that gas guzzler to know where it’s going, hopefully to a Ghip or Human planet I’ve found during those first 5 or 6 turns.

    Cash is my first concern, and I’m looking to drop 1000 clans to get tax money fast. Beyond that, I’m hoping to find Duranium to beam up and bring home. Seems like I’m looking for Duranium, or mining it, until turn 20 since that first Merlin needs about 650 of it.

    Another great tool for new players is to visit a finished game played by some top players. I learned about the “Base in a Box” tactic from using the “Time Machine” on a finished game.

  16. I think the early “base in a can” strategy is the best option for the races that can build truly dirt cheap, but still useful ships, primarily probes and terraformers. Things that are so cheap, and require so little tech (usually just raising the hull tech a small amount), that the cost to build the base and tech and several ships is really not much more than the cost of one “good” build at the homeworld. For building these kinds of things, I’m suggesting you don’t wait to find the humanoid/ghipsoid/rich planet, because you don’t need it. Building and running a base like this puts such a small dent in your economy (more so in minerals to build the base than cash), that by the time you find that “good” planet, you’ll likely be ready to build another base anyways.

    But this is a race-specific, depending on what kinds of useful super-low-tech ships the race has. Some races don’t get a useful “cheap” ship until about tech 6 or so (think fascist d19s and rebel/colonial geminis) and they will likely wait a little longer to find a better planet or at least generate some more cash before building a base. Torpers like the birds and crystals will likely wait even longer, holding out for that hum/ghip/sil planet, because the buy-in cost to upgrade techs to get a useful ship makes it more expensive.

    ECV, I see good logic in using the 2nd LDSF for the “base in a can”. What I would no propose is to build the LDSF the 1st turn and look at the planet you find with the MDSF. If it seems good, load the base stuff onto the LDSF and send it there. If not, load with clans for colonization as you noted and send it to a different planet. Then build another LDSF, load it with the “base in a can” and it can follow the first LDSF. You’ll actually get the base built just as fast doing this, since the second planet will already be colonized when you get there.

  17. You already said it, in my eyes, the second base is race specific. Crystalline do not have low tech cheap ships they need to pump out early. You need either TW or Mark7 or Hull 8 (Terraformer) . I would prefer to build a base in a can on a humanoid planet, as it will allow me to build Onyx and SD1 Thunders. I rather raise my HW torps to Tech 8 and therefore leave the hulls at Tech 6. The cheapest ship that is usefull is a Ruby MK4 with Warp 6 used as a armed local freighter. If you find a good money planet, better build your second base there as you need more then just a native tech bonus. In general i like to have 3-4 planets supporting a base with minerals, and i only build a base if i can support it so that it can build a ship every turn.

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