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Distinctive Diodes
Autarch's Guide to the Robots


Chapter 0: Intro
Greetings again. My name is Autarch, and this is my second guide for what I call "The Forgotten Races." These races being the Crystals, Evil Empire, and Robots. I am considering a Cyborg one as well, but we will see what the future holds. The Imperial one is half-done, but studies prevent me from doing much at this time. (4/25/98)

In this guide, I am going to give you a basic idea of the Robots capabilities, shortcomings, and how you should handle such a good race. This is Tim Wisseman's favorite race (I asked him), so there must be something good about them, right? From now on, let's call them the Bots. Much easier on my fingers for typing, and quicker for you to read. I am, by my own admission, not a Bot lover. I find them interesting, and all races deserve a Guide. Which is why I wrote this.

This guide is based on Host 3.22.16, but there hasn't been major changes that I am aware of that effect the Bots directly. I expect you to have a decent grasp of the basics of VGA Planets. I use VGA Planets Assistant (VPA), and have been playing for close to a year now. I do not claim to be an expert, and using this guide is, of course, at your own risk. But onward.....


Chapter 1: The Robots

1a.) Race Description
The docs say this about the Bots: The Robots are a race of that has survived the death of their makers. It is thought that the makers of the Robots were a race similar to the Lizards only smaller and weaker. The Robots base most their ship designs around the basestar fighter carrier design. Robots have only one ship type that can launch torpedoes. Even the Robot's fuel tanker can launch fighters. The favorite ship in the Robotic fleet is the tech 6 Instrumentality class baseship. It is the size of a battleship and can carry up to 80 fighters. The largest basestar can carry 300 fighters . They can lay mines far better than all other races. They can make four times more mine units per torpedo. This makes their minefields 4 times as larger than normal. However, only one robot ship can lay mines, the Cat's Paw Class Destroyer. All robot ships with fighter bays can build fighters in space using 3 tritanium, 2 molybdenum and 5 supply units per fighter. The Pawn Class comes with a Bio Scanner . So you can make mines for 1/4 of the cost, build fighters in space, and have a bioscanner, to name a few things.

1b.) Player Mindset
When playing the Robots, you are going to have to be a good economist. You need money and Duranium.  You also have to like the task of commanding armadas of fighter carriers. Ships that are big, heavy and powerful. You lay minefields, and use your medium ships to slam other's.  This is, by no stretch of the imagination, a newbie race. If you are a newbie, go play some more, and come back to the Bots. The Bots are a great race, but at times, they can be stressful to play.


Chapter 2: Advantages

2a.) Fighters in space
You can build fighters for 1/20 of the cost the other races have to (beside Rebels and Colonies). You use 3 Tri, 2 Moly, and 5 supplies. That's it. Find that, and you have a fighter. Real cheap.

2b.) 4X Mines per torp
You are skilled in minefields. Races can make a certain amount of mines per torp. But you can make 4X as may out of the same torpedoes. Hence, you make bigger minefields, for a cheaper price.

2c.) Ship Size
Your ships are *huge*. They are heavy, powerful and are very nasty. I have been on the wrong side of the Bots, and have paid dearly. I played the Fascists, and the Bots invaded.   More on that later, though.

2d.) Fuel Tanks
Your fuel tanks on all your ships are incredibly big. Your Qtanker has a gas tank of 600kts, for instance. This lets you go far, and fight the Crystals easier, as well.

2e.) Cloning
This might not seem to be such a big deal, but if you can get your hands on a cloaker, you'd better clone it. The Crystals and Privs cannot clone, and you can offer services for them. (For a price, of course...)

2f.) Desert Advantage
You, along with the Fascists, can survive on Desert planets with an outpost of 60 clans or so. Nice to have to use those planets better.


Chapter 3: Disadvantages

3a.) Duranium
Your ships require an absurd amount of Duranium. the bigger ships require 200+ kts of Duranium a piece. Your Golem requires 400+kts of Duranium.  In the beginning, this is going to make you life tough. Find that good Duranium planet fast. 

3b.) Poor economy
Your ships are rather expensive, as well. Couple that with the Duranium need, and you have a faltering economy. Which is why I said you need to be an economist in the beginning.

3c.) 1 Torpedo Ship
You can lay 4X as many mines per torp. But, you only have 1 torpedo ship- The Cat's Paw. You need to build these kitties to keep the minefields around your space.

3d.) Short Ship List
You have got the shortest ship list in the game, therefore, you have to make due with what you have got. But your ships are effective, so it isn't all too bad.


Chapter 4: Settings
Here is where I am going to point out a few of the settings you should look for when deciding to play the Bots. Listed is the defaults.

-Minefields: ON No explanation needed, I think You know you need them on.
-Mines destroy enemy mines: YES You can destroy other minefields but laying yours on top of theirs- at 1/4 of the price.
-Mines destroy webs: NO You'd like it on, as it makes the Crystals easier to deal with. The webs would be like regular mines.
-Robots build fighters in space: YES You need the fighters. 'Nuff said.
-Sensor Scan range: 200 lys Your Pawn can bioscan, and this is how far out it can scan planets. Longer the better.
-One Engine ship can tow: NO Doesn't bother you. Makes it easier on you somewhat. The only warship that has one engine is the Iron Slave, but you're not building that. (Explained below in the ship section.) This makes your freighters (SDSF and MDSF) able to tow.
-Cloaked Mine hit odds: .5% This is the default chance per ly that a cloaked ship will hit a mine. Higher the better, but you can live with it. Just overlap your fields for a greater chance.
-Colonies can sweep minefields: YES This makes your life a lot more difficult if they are your enemies (explained in the races section.)

Chapter 5: Ship List and Uses
Here I am going to outline your warships, and then your freighters- what to build, how to use, etc.

Cat's Paw (Beams: 4 Torps: 2)
Uses: This is your ONLY minelayer. Build 'em. Lots of them. Keep your minefields intact with these kitties.

Iron Slave Class Baseship (Beams: 1 Bays: 2)
Uses: None. Low mass, no bays, one beam- piece of junk, waste of a ship slot.

Qtanker (Bays: 1)
This is your fuel carrier and fighter maker rolled into one. Build them with crappy engines, and park them over your bases. Set the FC to "lfm", mission to "build fighters." Then you have 12 fighters next turn, per QTanker. A friend said: "It's better to not have all your eggs in one basket." These guys are vulnerable, but invaluable.

Pawn Baseship (Beams: 2 Bays: 2)
Uses: I build one first turn. Then I recycle it for a PBP, and the insane amount of Duranium I get back. This ship has a FULL bioscan, which means *all* planets in sensor range are scanned for natives. So if you see a big blank space for a cluster on the sensor logs, chances are someone is there and waiting for you.

Cybernaut Baseship (Beams: 3 Bays: 5)
Uses: I don't build this ship, or if I do, not a whole many of them. If you can build a Cybernaut, you can build an Instrumentality. And the cargo space (50kts) is hardly worth your effort. Forget it.

Instrumentality (Beams: 4 Bays: 7)
Uses: Very nice ship. Heavy, good amount of bays, large fuel tanks, need I say more? Just steam roll your opponents with this. Make sure that it is fully stocked with the 80 fighters it can carry. I use this to patrol, and to smash incoming minor fleets.

Automa Class Baseship (Beams: 4 Bays: 8)
Uses: Anything you want. <G> This is THE ship to build. It has a large cargo room, so build those fighters. It's heavy, and has alot of bays. The only major difference in building this and an Instr. is the money. It needs the same amount of Duranium as a Instrumentality. So use this to attack those large fleets, and attack those starbases.

Golem Battle Carrier (Beams: 6 Bays: 10)
Uses: I build this for the major fights. Nothing more- the Automas can do what this behemoth can do. Use this, fully stocked with what it needs, to fight those Rushes, Virgos, and Gorbies. Keep them in strategic spots around your empire, so they can defend you when you need to call on them.

Freighters
The small one is too small. The medium one is good for shuffling stuff around (minerals) your core planets. The Large one is good for colonizing, and to get planets up and running quickly. The super transport is too heavy, and a gas guzzler.

Fuel refinery/Alchemy
The fuel one is nice to have, since you have huge gas tanks. The Alchemy ship is better. Find that Bovonoid planet, park the Merlin over it, and have it make TONS of Duranium. Solves half your economic problem right there. Build these when you need them. 


Chapter 6: Allies, Enemies, and all around strategy
Here I will outline what you get from an ally, how to fight a nasty race, and basic strategies you need. I have a long experience of fighting Bots, as I fought one as the Fascists for over 40 turns in a game.

The Feds:
The Feds are good allies. They can give you the money you need (2x tax rate), and almost all their ships are torpedo ships- something you lack. They have no decent carriers, as theirs runs out of fighters quickly. Give them an Instrumentality, and it fights with 10 bays. They can clone no problem, and they can super-refit your ships. As enemies, they aren't too bad. Their can't mine planets too well, so hit them there. They have a lot of beams, but in the beginning, they have empty hulls, with a few patrol vessels. If you get a cloaker, watch out for their Loki. Use your minefields to clear the battlefield, but remember- no matter what damage a Fed ship has, it'll fight with all weapon banks. Even a 99% damaged Nova will fight will all beams and torp bays.

The Lizards
The Lizards are very good allies. They have one of the strongest economies in the game, and you need money and cash for your ships. He also has cloakers, including the LCC, though it is a fuel pig. He lacks decent carriers, and all ships in his hands will take 150% damage. He can hiss your planets, and he'd like your ships. Imagine a 150% damage Golem. Ouch. As enemies, they can be hard. They have a Ground Attack Ratio (GAR), and they can take your smaller starbases with a few LCCs cloaked in orbit. Minefields are the key here. Overlap them to get the best chance of a hit. Build defense posts to up *your* defense GAR. His tech 10 ships are no match for you, but he'll send them in pairs to assure success. Nail them with Automas, and always figure in their 150% damage in your sims (you do run sims, right???).

The Bird Men
The Birds have the one thing you'd like to have- cloakers. Lots of them. Ask for them. Deth Specula is a nice ship, though limited fuel and lack of cargo hamper it's usefulness. Ask for a White Falcon or Fearless Wing. They have large gas tanks, one tube, but that is all you need to lay mines. Resolutes are the best he has, as Dark Wings eat fuel for lunch. Ask for a Resolute, since it won't be decloaked in an Ion storm, nor uses fuel to cloak. So sit in your enemies shipping lanes, and watch for 5 turns.  Again, minefields are the key to slowing (and stopping) the Bird Men. The Birds are considered the weakest race, but they can be a pain. Their Super Spy ability let's them change the codes on your planets, and "bum" your money up. Keep your money on a ship orbit (say a Qtanker) or spread out amongst several Qtankers. This way, he snatches a Qtanker, but he didn't get all the money. Watch your planets friendly codes too. He might try to change the Minefield Fcs, allowing him to sail on in. The code would be "mfX" with X being anything. Doing this let's him have complete control of the minefields you own. Use a planet with a Higher ID number to counter it. (Of course, if the ID is 500, you have a problem....) Ask for Lokis or Glory Devices (Gds), they won't bite.

The Fascists
They have cloakers too. They also have a GAR, half of the Lizards by default. They have one carrier, which can't fight at all. They'd like a carrier from you, you want a cloaker in return. The D7 Coldpain, to be exact. The large fuel tanks lets you fly for a long time. They are immune to ATT/NUK codes, too.  They can pillage you- in other words, kill your colonists (20% per turn), leaving everything else intact. They get the money on the surface, and all supplies that won't fit onboard are sold for money, and beamed up. Scary thing is, your planets can't fight back. They have GDs, which can be used on suicide runs against your ships. If you have a cloaker snooping around, they can have one set to blow when it detects you.  They are flexible, and I enjoy playing them. I have fought a Robotic player for 40 turns as the Fascist, holding him off, 'til the Borg showed up, slamming the Bots. But I used my GDs against Instrumentalities, and Automas. I lost an Ill Wind, and two Victoriouses to *one* Automa. They crippled it, and the base finished it off. But I haven't yet (the game is still going, different Bot player) recovered from that mistake. Needless to say, the majority of the fighters were burned off, and an Instrumentality sailed in with no opposition. Your minefields will stop him, or slow him down. Keep supplies onboard to heal GD attacks. Fascists LOVE beams, so watch your fighter count. His ships are weaker than yours, so you should have a fairly good time at walking on him.

The Privateers
Everyone loves the Privs. (Well, almost everyone.) They lack good ships, they can't clone, and have stinky carriers. You can clone, have good ships and good carriers. He has what you want: Gravitronic Cloakers. Able to travel 162lys per turn, will speed you up, and allow you to make surprise attacks when you tow an Automa 150 lys to an enemy bases that thought'd it see you coming. The Privs have tow-capture, and ROBbing, so any ship he nabs, you clone, and keep a copy if it is worth it.  Watch them as enemies. If you don't use your mines, you're done for. He gets to your base with a wolfpack, he'll rob you dry. When attacking, mine your way to victory, and exterminate the space scums. When traveling, zig-zag your ships. Place mines around you. Planet hop. Change direction suddenly. Just screw him up royally. Place a 150ly minefield around his homeworld with that cloaker you should have. Or just move a Cat's Paw (not in a straight line) to the Priv HW, and drop a minefield there. Really puts a crimp on the expansion efforts.

Cyborg
Very powerful race, when played right. That's just it- they are usually never played right. But anyway... They lack medium warships, and their Biocide is useless with out fighters. You can provide fighters, and he can give you his chunneling Firecloud (Fc). Handy to move large fleets around with. He is poor in the beginning, you're not much better, but you can protect both of you in minefields. He's got a HYP probe. He's got torp ships, so ask for one. His economy takes awhile, but he'll explode really fast. As enemies, get them in the beginning. They are weak, but track them down. They can grow just as big with their assimilation. Use your Golem to smash his cubes, as those are what he'll use. All his other ships are useless, except the Firecloud. And if you see an Fc, blow it away. Otherwise, he'll chunnel in a fleet of cubes, and you have a big problem. Drop minefields, surprise him with cloakers. They (the Borg) are hard to track and kill, but you can do it. Tell everyone what you are doing, and chances are they'll help you- everyone hates the Borg for whatever reason.

Crystal People
Powerful race, bad economy. They need lots of money. And lots of Moly. Moly isn't your problem so you can help him there. He can give you powerful torp ships (Emerald, Ruby) in return. You can survive on Desert planets, as can he, but he can make do better. He's got web mines, which drain fuel, but he can't clone the ships he nabs. You can. He lacks a decent carrier- the Crystal Thunder is okay, but a low mass, small cargo, (etc) really hurt it's effectiveness. Web mines will be a pain. Use your Cat's Paw to tow your ships in. Set the towee to minesweep. Carry supplies on board the Cat's Paw to fix damage. Top off your tanks before going in. He'll use overlapping webs, to drain more fuel (the effect is cumulative.) But your fuel tanks are huge, so you should worry to much. Watch for his cloakers, if he has any. Nail his money planets, and you are sure to win. Without cash, the Crystals will collapse very quickly. He'll use his Diamond Flame with his Crystal Thunder to fight you, so make sure you mine the area, and have plenty of fighters aboard.

Evil Empire
The Empire depends alot on fighters, so you can help him. He also has one torp ship, as do you. He can dark Sense everyone -save the Rebels- and can tell you where to hit your enemy. He's got a HYP probe. His Gorbie is going to need fighters, and he also need medium carriers. His ships are expensive money wise. All in all, not a great ally- he gets more out of it than you do. As an enemy, he's not too tough. Use that Golem of yours to knock out his Gorbie. Or two Golems, probably. Lay mines, and hunt down his H-Ross carriers. They will probably b carrying his fighters back to the key planets, since he makes 5 per turn, per starbase. Make sure you knock out his starbase quickly- 5 fighters improves a base's defense dramatically. Watch for those H-Rosses leaving full- then attack. Beware his Super Star Destroyer. It can't fight, but just 10 clans can take over any planet. Even your Homeworld. Don't let him get close. He won't have the SSD fill to capacity, because he needs those clans for multiple assaults. An Instrumentality will kill it, an Automa better.

Rebels
The Rebels lack good, sturdy carriers, yet they can build fighters in space. His Rush is on par with your Golem. And he can give you fighters quicker. He can also soften up an enemy with his Rebel Ground Attack (RGA). His ships are cheap, and he has a HYPer, the Falcon class. Nice cargo for a HYPer. You can bioscan for him, too. The Empire will return Amorhpous readings on all Bioscanner, except those owned by the Rebels. Nice, eh?  As enemies, they can be tough. They can HYP in with a Falcon, and RGA a planet. If they do this for a few turns, all the factories will be blown up, and your colonists so ticked, they'll kill each other. He's got the Patriot Carrier- a cheap and mean little ship. He'll use it once, and spank your planets. It's a round of ammunition to him, and dirt cheap to build, and arm (free fighters remember?). The rest of his ships aren't much to look at- you can wipe them away. Mine your way again, as with all races, and watch for his RGA.

Colonies
These guys aren't too bad.- except they really don't need you. They can build fighters in space. They have a Cobol, which is nice to have for your fuel tanks. It's also a bioscanner, but you don't need that. The Aires makes fuel dirt cheap, which you'd like. He's got a good torp ship, the Cygnus, and he's got the Patriot too. His Virgo is on par (better, maybe) than your Golem. It's got 8 bays, 10 beams. You have 10 bays, 6 beams. Trade-off. These guys are your worst nightmare. Anybody's nightmare, actually. Don't waste the time for mines- he can sweep them away with his fighters 100 lys away, and come steaming in. Bump your defense posts up to 20, to stop the Cobol bioscan. Nail the Cobol, because chances are he'll tow his Virgo (8 engines) with one. The Patriots will come in packs, sweeping and attacking. The Cygnus will be heavily armed with top torps.  Hit him early- he has to get his infrastructure up first. Hire a cloaking race to get him early, or come steaming in right away. If you have to fight him later on, use your Instrumentality's to patrol, and destroy Patriots, etc. Run alot of simulations. Use the Automa and Golems to attack- ALWAYS play in the Colonial yard. If you are having to defend against the Colonies, your life is going to be a hard one, and probably not very long, either. The majority of his ships are light, so a surprise minefield now and then to surprise him would be okay. Don't go overboard, and scoop the field up before the decay or are swept.

General Strategies
Use your advantage: Mines (except against the Cols.) 
Play in other's yards.
Get a cloaker.
Mine somemore.
Use your bioscanner.
Get a terraformer.
Mine somemore.
Make moving minefields.
Mine somemore. (get it? <G>)
Trade- all empires survive with trading.
Get a good torp ship (Emerald) and clone the snot out of it.
Learn you enemies advantages, and weak spots (read up on them).
DreadLord Battle Manual- for instance.


Chapter 7: Summary and Info
If you like this guide, contact me. Tell me what you feel- even I you think this guide stinks. I like honest people.  If you like "plain vanilla games" contact Derek Kalweit. He's been my host for a few games, and I like the plain original game, with out all the add-ons.

If you are a Fed lover, contact me. I set up the Federation League of Admirals, and now I have turned it over to head Admiral Donovan. There is a ton of neat stuff, and you just might learn a few things when ya join! <G> I'll tell you where to go. Just want to say thanx to all my friends who helped me in the past, and will help me in the future. More guides to come, 2 more, I am sure.

Until then- I will see you in my minefields. Or if you are smart, you'll be my ally.

May we meet on the field of battle. Happy Hunting, Robotic lover.


Autarch, League Of Admirals

ewesta@juno.com

"For the enlightenment of the young, and the wisdom of the old."


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