Donovan's
VGA Planets Super Site

The Underground Guide To Guerrilla Warfare
Written by Admiral Kvorak

on the 28th of March, 2000
Updated by ][avok on 3/18/2009


DISCLAIMER: The strategic points contained herein are not guaranteed. Every game is different.
You will probably have to modify these guidelines (for that is all that they are) a little when you play to account for this difference.

This guidebook is designed for players of any level who are considering the use of Guerrilla Tactics. Most experianced players will already know this stuff, but they are, of course, welcome to read. If you are a begginner, I will be referencing other docs that you might want to read. You will not need to read them to understand this guide, but it will be helpful I'm sure.


Index

  1. Introduction
  2. Overview
  3. An Organized Structure
  4. Guerrilla Warfare
    1. Offensive
      1. Isolation
      2. Immobilization
      3. Harrasment
    2. Defensive
      1. Aggressive
      2. Passive
  5. Race Specific Additions
    1. The Lizards
    2. The Bird Men
    3. The Fascists
    4. The Privateers
    5. The Rest
  6. Closing Notes
  7. Advertisements
  8. Credits

I. Introduction

There is a lot of information out there about how to play the popular game VGA Planets. But there is very little information about how to play smart. That's where this guide comes in. I am not by any means an expert at the game, but I think that having a little bit of that missing information on this topic is better than not having any at all.

First question: What is Guerrilla Warefare? Well, I'll start off with a dictionary definition.

Guerrilla n. 1. A member of the military forces of a patriotic or revolutionary movement that seeks to immobilize and isolate the superior forces of an occupying enemy, strategically by means of the political mobilization of the local peasant population and tactically by means of sudden acts of harassment executed by small bands recruited in part from the able-bodied section of this population. 2. Archaic A war fought in accordance with these tactics. --adj. Of or relating to guerrillas or their methods of fighting: guerrilla warfare

Okay, that's a lot to absorb. What it is really saying is that guerrilla is a person who uses guerrilla tactics. These tactics are primarily used to "immobilize and isolate the superior forces of an occupying enemy". Your mission is to make sure that your enemy can't move and to cut him off from his allies. By immobilizing him, he can't fight you very effectively and if you cut him off from his allies, they can't help him.

So why would you use these tactics? Why not fight a full-scale war? Well, there are many good reasons for fighting like this. One of them is if you do not have enough large ships to face the enemy head on. If ou are the Bird Men or the Privateers for example. Another good reason is if you are playing with a shareware version of the game, and you can't get the big ships. If the Cyborg can't use cubes, they will have to make the other, smaller, ships in the game work. That's hard to do if you fight head-to-head.


II. Overview

My objective in writing this file, as stated above, is to make this information available to anyone who wants to learn how to fight the war.

You may notice that there some races that are better at this than others though. The Bird Men clearly have the title of #1 Guerrilla. The Privateers are also very good at this. But what does it take to be good? The best thing you can have is cloakers. To be effective in this strategy you have to be able to hit-and-run. That can be tough to do if you are visible to the enemy. The Privateer's GA (Gravatonic Accelerator) is also a very strong asset.

Troughout the course of this guide, you will see recommendations on what ships are best and how to use them to the fullest advantage. Again, any race can use these tactics, but if you don't have the rights ships or abilities, you might want to ally with someone who does, and try to get them to help you.

The section on actually useing Guerrilla Warfare is in chapter V. I know that's strange to put the main focus of the guide in the middle of it, but I will need to lay some foundation work before I can do the topic full justice. So with that in mind, we move on.


III. An Organized Structure

This section, as if it wasn't obvious, stresses the need for a structured force. Any one who really wants to win in this game has to have a structure. Some players like to build the biggest ship that they can and then fly it into enemy space and just keep fighting until the ship blows up. That doesn't usually take long. If you want to fight a smart war, you will need to have both an offensive and a defensive structure that is stronger than your enemy's. So, this section is dedicated to the concept and use of this structure called the Battle Group. I'm just going to give a bit of an overview of this strategy since covering the whole thing would take an entire document in itself, and that's what the Dreadlord Battle Manual is for anyway.

So first we need to define the term 'Battle Group'. Since the Dreadlord Batle Manual is the souce of this information, I'll use it's definition. It says, "A BATTLE GROUP of a CONVOY GROUP is a specific group of ships that complement each other in a task. By keeping the ships in each group standard, it is easier to manage you forces". To build a Battle Group, you need to decide two things: what it is for, and what ships to use. The first item may seem obvious, but it isn't really. For instance, you may say that you want a Battle Group designed to execute the Guerrilla Tactics. But what does that mean? Well, you need to decide what part of those tactics you intend this group to do. Will they disrupt shipping lanes? Steal enemy ships? Attack fringe planets? These decisions will define what your Battle Group needs to be comprised of. The second option is deciding what ships you want in it. This is discussed in more detail below. For now I will just use a quick example with the Bird Men and in the next section, I'll explain my thought process.

The Birds are the best race for this kind of warfare because they have so many small, light, cloakers which are best for some of these tactics. So let's say that you want to build a Battle Group to attack small, fringe planets. Now, you don't want anything big because the objective here is building a strong group at low cost. So you figure out, "What can I expect to face?" If you are fighting planets, and fringe ones at that, chances are your enemy does not have any of his large carriers or torp ships floating about over there. Also, being fringes, they are more for extending the sensor range and thereby giving him more warning of pending attacks than for their mineral yeild or anything, and will therefore be lightly defended (you hope). So either way, you don't need a large ship like the Darkwing. What you want to do is fly over the planets and just ground attack them to take the planet, or attack the defense systems and gain control that way. So now we decide what ships we want. The criteria for this group is: it should be able to cloak; it should have at least one ship with a large cargo hold for stolen goods; there should be one ship with decent weapons for the attack. You could fill all of these with the Resolute but that isn't really best because then you are multi-tasking the ship and that could lead to confusion later; besides, we are assuming that you arn't registered. So I'll build the group with a Deth Specula for it's cloaking device and it's good armament. We'll add a Fearless for it's cargo (remember, all ships should cloak so that the enemy can't see you coming and doesn't know how many ships you have). We'll also throw in a White Falcon becuase it has a large fuel tank and can act as the group's re-fueler so that you don't need to try to get fuel from an enemy planet.

Now that we know which hulls we want, we need to decide what to equip them with. You should always use the best engines that you can afford, and in this case, that is the HeavyNova 6. The Deth Specula is the ship that is designed for combat, so he should be well equipped. We'll put Heavy Blasters and Mk 4 tubes on him. He should also carry about 20 torps on him as well as 15 supplies. Remember to carry supplies with you since a ship with any damage at all can't cloak. The Fearless is supposed to be the cloaking cargo carrier so we will equip her with Disruptors and Gamma Bombs so that she can also capture any small freighters that we happen to meet on the way. Being the cargo ship, she should also have the following on board: 30 of each mineral (duranium, tritanium, and molybdenum), 150 supplies to repair damage with, and 420 megacredits. The minerals and money are for building more torps in space in the event that the Deth Specula uses all of his up. You can transfer this cargo to the White Falcon (who will also have Mk 4) who should have his FC set to 'mkt' and he can build the torps and transfer them to the Deth Specula. The reason that you have to go by way of the Falcon is that the DS doesn't have enough cargo space to hold all 90 minerals. You could also put Mk 4 on the Fearless and save the transfer step, but then you would run the risk of blowing up any ship that you wanted to capture (of course, there's always the 'NTP' FC but that's one more thing to remember). Last ship: the White Falcon. He should fill up with fuel at every possible stop so that the crew doesn't run out in the middle of enemy space. This ship can be equipped for with whatever kind of beam you want, but should have the Mk 4's as stated above. I would use the Heavy Blasters just to keep everything standard. You don't want to have to try and remember what goes on each ship, so just make it standard: HBlasters are normal with Disruptors for ships that are supposed to be capturers, and Mk 4's unless the Gamma Bomb makes more sense. So we have a new Battle Group, but how do you use it?

The Battle Group is supposed to raid fringe planets and cause general disruption right? Okay then, fly the ships (cloaked) over an enemy fringe planet. Do not set your missions so that you attack as soon as you get there, you want to be able to select the right ship. If, when you get there, there are some freighters there, you might want to try capturing them first. Set the Fearless' mission to 'Try to Tow' and select the ship you want. Then fly off of the panet, not far, in fact, you should only go about 3 ly's which will require you to fly at warp 1 so that you can avoid the gravety well of the planet. With your mission set to tow, set your Primary Enemy to whatever race you are attacking. This will cause you to tow the ship off of the planet, and then fight it where the planet can't interfere. Of course, you can only do this to one ship at a time. Now set the Deth Specula's mission to kill or set his PE to your enemy. Either way, you want to attack the planet. Keep the White Falcon cloaked and out of the fight. He isn't made for that. Once that's done, you should capture the ship that the Fearless towed as well as destroy any other freighters that are there with the Deth Specula who should also take the planet secureing the area. Next turn, fuel up, transfer supplies so that you can repair any damage, fill the Falcon, cloak and move on to the next planet. If you do this rgiht, your enemy won't be able to follow you.

The selection of the ships that will be in a Battle Group is very important. You will want to use the best ships that you have that can execute the desired mission. If you want to disrupt shipping lanes, you will want a ship that has enough armament to take any freighter (which anyone can do) as well as destroy any escort that might have been sent with it. If you plan on raiding planets (as we saw above) you will want ships that can fight against a planet with small to moderate defense without taking so much damage that it cannot re-cloak after. As I said above, every mission could have been done by the Resolute, but you'll notice that if I had done that, only used one ship, I could not have captured the freighter and taken the planet at the same time unless the Resoulte was equipped to caputure ships in which case it might not have taken the planet. So it is important that you use more than one ship and make sure that no ship is doing double duty unless you need it to.

Now the way that you pick your ships is important. You will almost always want at least one ship that is armed for combat. If you are playing hit-and-run tactics right, you should never need it, but sometimes the enemy may know where are going and be able to head you off and force you to fight. You don't want to caught with nothing but little ships. Also think about who you will be fighting. If you are going up against the Robots, you will want someone with a high beam count so that you can sweep his mines if you need to. If your enemy is a carrier race, x-ray lasers will do about as much good as Heavy Phasers for shooting down his fighters, and you should be dpending on your torps or fighters to damage him. Don't count on getting to use your beams. Again, having a cloaker is very important. In fact, if possible, all of the ships in your groups should cloak so that your enemy can't find you. If you can't cloak, remeber to planet hop. For instance, the Cyborg may want to play like this, but they don't have any cloakers so unless he can trade for one, or capture it, he will need to make do without. If you capture ships when you are deep in his territory, you can either use them or lose them. Despite the simplicity of the statement, that can be a tough choice. You might want to fly the ship over one your caputred planets, and set it's mission to colonize so that he can't get it back. This is also useful if the ship is to heavily damaged to be any good. Try to collect a fleet of captured ships. These ships are free he will be really ticked when you fly in and start attacking him with his own ships. Remeber to customize your Battle Groups. As long as the mission is the same, the ships should be the same, but unless you are repalcing a lost Battle Group, the chances are that each mission will be a little different. Make use of your special abilities. If you are the Birds, take 5 ships in regardless of what they do and Super Spy. If you are the Lizards, make sure that you carry a lot of colonists with you and ground attack to take the panet. Hyperdrive ships are useful for launching into enemy territory and stealing small freighters. The ship may not last long, but who cares? He's cheap and only exists to stir the enemy up anyway.

To sum this up. Decide what you want to ships to do and then try to find the best ships that you have to do that with. Sometimes a small ship is better than a large one. The small ship will cost you less and has less chance of being captured. They are also lighter and burn less fuel. Again, think about what you need and plan accordingly.


V. Guerrilla Warfare

Okay, now that you know the basics of Battle Groups and the objective of Guerrilla Tactics, let's get down to the meat of the subject: How to fight your enemy. The real purpose of these tactics is to get your enemy in a defensive frame of mind and get him off balance. If you can do that, you won't need big ships to wipe him out. There are three main sections in this kind of strategy. Immobilization, Isolation, and Harassement. These three items are the main objectives of your war. Immobilize him so that he can't move and take the offensive. Isolate him from two things: his allies, and himself. Don't allow him to call for support. And last, but certainly not the least, harrass him. Steal his ships, raid his shipping lanes, disrupt his economy as best you can. If he can't fund a war, he can't fight one. Each of these three offensive tactis will be discussed in more detail below. There are ways to play defensivly also. If you cannot immobilize him, or don't do it fast enough, you may need to know how. So I'll cover that in it's own section as well.

Offensive
The offesive game is the preferred method of play. If you have to play the defencive side I have included instructions on how below. Remember from the definition that I gave up at the top that it gave three objectives of guerrilla's? I will repeat those points here since they are the titles of this next three parts of this guide. Your objectives should be to: isolate, immobilize, and harrass your enemy. These in more detail below.

To define offensive, I mean an agressive game. You do not want to go head-to-head if you can help it, but attack him in ways that he can't counter; make him play defense. Use your abilites to knock him off balance and keep him there. Take his supplies, minerals, and resources away from him, while not allowing him to get more from somewhere else. Knock his economy flat and he won't be able to afford a war. Slowly begin to shrink his empire, take his fringe planets and small outposts; don't let him see you. If you can decrease his scanner range, he can't see you coming as soon, and that gives you the upper hand. Isolate. Immobalize. Harrass.

Isolation
I'll start with the Isolation technique. I have already said many times that you need to isolate your enemy. But isolate him from what? Well, from two things, his allies, and himself. If you can cut him off from his allies, he can't get help or reinforcements directly. He would have to send a message to them and ask them to help him beat you off, but they could not join thier forces togeher. You would just end up fighting a two-fronted war and that is often better than one war with an enemy twice as powerful. You also need to isolate him from himself. You do this by cutting off from his supplies. If he can't get to his mineral yielding planets, he can't build ships with any more minerals than he can mine for himself at the planet and chances are that would not be enough to build a warfleet with. So how do you isolate him? As far as isolation from his allies, just make sure that no ship passes that border. Install a blockade along the line betweent the races and make sure that it stays there. The best way to do this, is to gain control of all the planets along that line. That way, if he goes over the planet, you'll know. You will want to have a task force (or Battle Group) within 81 lys of any given planet. The reason for this is that if he does fly over your planets, you will need to stop him before he crosses the line. Now that taks force does not need to be a whole bunch of big warships; remember, the def up top said that they use small bands of men to accomplish their missions. You could have anyone that has two engines and cloaks fly to the same planet and tow him off to a waiting war ship. This will allow you to pick your target and make sure tha you can fight him without the others getting in the way.

Sometimes keeping a blockade up can be a full time effort. It is not unlikely that this will be the largest single factor that affects your gametime. You will need to have a good fleet set up to hold the line becuase you will be attacked regularly. Fortunately, if you are immobilizing your enemy well, you will only need to face one; his all(y)/(ies). If these races get into his space, you will have a problem on your hands. If your enemy was willing to allow them to build a base within his space (as some have done) you will have a Big problem (unless you can talk the ally into turning traitor... but that's diplomacy and not the focus of this guide). To give an example, you own 9 planets in a row along the mutual border between your enemy and his ally, and these planets are numbered 1 through 9 from left to right and are each 1 turns travel from the one next to it, you will want to have ships in the following order and on the follwing planets. Planet 1 a cloaking tow-er, 2 nothing, 3 a cloaking warship or two, 4 nothing, 5 another tow-er, 6 nothing, 7 another set of warships, 8 nothing and 9 another tow-er. What you do is if a ship comes for planet 1, you get the tower to tow him to planet two. The warship from planet 3 meets you there and blows up the ship (hopefully) and you all return to your posts. If he heads for planet 2, you can save the step with the tower unless there are more ships there than the warship can fight. In which case you will want to seperate the ships. So every other planet is occupied, and every fourth defended for a fight. The deeper the line, the more effective the blockade.

Of course, you don't have to be this thorough all the time; it will depend on who his ally is and where he is. You might get by with just watching the border and making sure that no one get's through withough having to occupy everything. But, whereas your gurreilla forces will be in the interior stirring up trouble, someone has to be on the outside forcibly installing a blockade. You also may not have to blockade everything. You might be able to simply blockade his starbases and major resource centers and allow the ally to take the interior worthless planets. Of course, that give you one more enemy who will be hunting down your guerrillas. If all else fails, you can always use the guerrilla tactics of immobalization on his allies too and keep them from coming after you, but that gets complicated. The best way to hold a blockade is to make an alliance with some of the big guns and let them hold the enemy off with pure force while you stir up trouble behind the lines.

Immobilization
Immobilization of the enemy force is a must. If you can immobilize your opponent, he will not be able to fight back. The question remains though, how do you immobilize the enemy? There is the obvious answer of stealing all of his fuel so that he can't move. You can do this by stealing his resource planets. Of course, he will be able to mine some at his starbase, but not enough to fuel a fleet. If he chooses to chase you, make him chase you for a while and force him to burn more fuel. Find out which planets of his have the highest mineral yields and take them from him so that he can't ship more in. But there is another way to immobilize the enemy; scare him. If you make the shipping lanes so dangerous that he doesn't want to fly them, he'll try to make the resources that he can count on work and leave the rest alone. Try to make it dangerous for him to move away from his starbase. Keep ships equipped with Disruptors and such at every planet that he can reach in 1 turn and make sure that no one gets any farther than that. Of course, the Cyborg have their Firecloud which can cause you major headaches in this area since you can't stop him without destroying every one of them, and that hunt could take a long time.

Making it dangerous to move requires a lot of effort. You will need to destroy his shipping lanes with small, light, and cloaking ships to such a degree that he loses more than he would have gained. If you see a Large Deep Space Freighter coming from his planet, don't ever let it get back. If you want to try and wait until he fills up, that's okay, but he must never get back to the base with his resources. Intercept him if you can, or better yet, wait for him in a place where you know he has to stop and take him there. That way you can stay cloaked and set your PE to that race. This will cause you to decloak long enough to fight, and then re-cloak immediatly after. When stealing freighters remember that if you do this for any length of time, your opponent will get smart and start sending escorts (of course, this burns more fuel which should be a commodity right now). You will need to have a ship that is large enough to fight these defending ships and still survive to cloak afterwards. This will almost certainly require that your cargo bay be filled with supplies and repllenished often. You should have a cloaking ship with good cargo room come to him on a regular basis and fill the thief up becuase if he can't cloak, you will be attacked.

Don't forget to use minefields. These are great for immobilizing the enemy and they make travel through them very dangerous. Of course, he will be building shiops with high beam counts to sweep them, so you need to be able to replenish them often. If you get to have the Robots as an ally this will be no problem, but if not, you will need to work at it. Keep ships over rich planets for the purpose of building torps in space with the 'mkt' FC. The money is not wasted at all and don't think that it is. If you can get a big minefield over his key planets and/or starbases, he won't want to move out with any ships smaller than 100kt in mass at all, and will probably think twice before doing it with even the larger ships.

Harrassment
The last main offensive objective is to simply keep your enemy off balance. Harrass him and don't let up. Raid the shipping lanes, take his border planets, and steal his ships. You will want to use small cloaking ships to raid the lanes. Your objective should be to caputure the ship if possible, but if not, you will need to destroy it because you can't let him complete his mission. You want to try to restrict the minerals on his homeworld, lay seige to him. That way, he can only use minerals that he can produce on the planet and you hope that this won't be a large number. Unless the ISTUMR is really high, it won't be, but if it is, this will not work very well because he won't be very limited unless the game is far spent. The reason that you want to lay seige is that, obviously, if he can't build more ships (which require minerals) than there are less to fight. If you can lay seige to all of his starbases, he will be incapacitated and unable to fight back. Realize though, that what he will try to do is build a large ship that can destroy whatever it is you're laying seige with. Try to hold him, but remember that sometimes, you'll commit so many resources to this, that you'll lose focus of the bigger picture. Now, this is really a lot like the immobilization at this point, but everything is so closely related in this war that one group can be accomplishing two things at a time. Now, I'm not taking back what I said above about not dual-tasking a ship, but sometimes one mission accomplishes two objectives. Now, application of this is a little tricky sometimes. You need to know exactly where your enemy will stop if you hope to stay cloaked until the fight. Thre is a tool at Tanascius' Page which will calculate this for you. But what you need to be doing is sitting there with your Primary Enemy set to whatever race your are trying to crash and wait until he stops to pick him up. You could also wait on a nearby planet that you've captrued and set your mission to Intercept, but that will only work if he has a three turn E.T.A. because if it is only two, there is a chance that he will be in a planet's warp well before you get moving. If that happens you won't be able to intercept. That third option is to wait over the planet that he's headed to. You can set that ship as your waypoint and click on the V key to scan him. That scan gives is heading and from there it isn't to hard to figure out where he is going.

For taking his border planets, something like the Battle Group listed above would be best. Again, the objective here is to steal his resources so that he has nothing to fight you with. Go in cloaked and scope out the planet first. Make sure that you know if there are any enemy ships there and deal with them first. You should also take a guess at the number of Defenses on the planet so that you know what you will be up against. The formulae for caluculating all of this can be found at Federal Headquarters in the Infolist. The point is that you want to make sure that you know what you will be going up against, because if it looks like you're going to lose if you attack the planet, it is better to move on and take all of the small ones first with this group and send a larger Battle Group to take his big planets. Just move from planet to planet, cloaked if you can, and fight the planet, beam up fuel to all of your ships, transfer torps/supplies and whatnot to anyone who needs them (that is why you want to have a cargo ship with you) and move on to the next planet and do it again. Eventually you'll need to stop, but you should have taken a lot of planets by then. And don't bother trying to keep them if you don't want to. The real point is just to make sure that enemy has the smallest amount of resources possible. If he takes the planet back, it's not a big deal, he has wasted a few turns and at least one ship to take it. Wait 'till he leaves and take it back. You can play these games as long as you like and can stand to.

The last point is really a lot like the shipping lanes, but reaches a lot further. You will want to capture his ships; as many as you can. Why? Well, for one, that's less that he has to fight you with, and for another, he may have some that are useful. Do you need a SSD? Capture it (if you can... good luck). Wait until you see a ship you want, and go get it. This of course works best with the Privateers, but anyone can do it. Sit cloaked over his starbases, and as soon as he builds a ship, tow it off and capture it. Not only does this keep him from using it, but it will really tick him off.

Defensive
There are really two kinds of defense. Aggressive, and Passive. But why should I even be covernig this? Because, in the event that you get attacked (and that isn't very unlikely) you will need to know how to defend yourself. Let's say that you, as the Bird Men are attacking the Rebels with these Guerrilla tactics and the Rebels are allied with the Federation. If you have isolated the Rebels correctly, the Federation will not be able to help him. But there is noting stopping him from attacking you solo. You need to be able to keep the pressure on the Rebels without killing your defenses. Remeber, defense is not about saving your hide. It's about eliminating the threat. That's Aggressive defense. If you can't eliminate it though, saving your hide is an acceptable alternative. This is Passive defense. But these definitions will be explained more clearly below.

Aggressive Defense
The first rule about defense is that you don't want it to ever happen. You don't want to ever have the fight come into your own territory. If it does, you'll be the one losing planets and such. Now of course, the fight has to be in someone's area, but hopefully not yours. If you do end up defending your space-loving tail and find that the enemy is getting a little agressive, you'll need to respond in kind. Again, as I said above, real defense is not only about saving your hide; it's about eliminating the threat. Don't settle with just holding what you have, not losing any more ships, and keeping him from advancing; stop him from even trying. The only way to do this is to force one of two conditions: either make a peace (not likely if he's being that agressive) or make him defend.

You will want to take the fight to his front door so that he'll have to leave you alone. To do this, you're gonna need to fight him back. Build a nice, offensive Battle Group and, while holding your own lands, start going behind his lines. Realize that if you take your eyes completely off of your 'passive defense' he might simply ignore your little pest squad and continue to fight until he reaches your HW and/or starbases and decimates you for good. The best move is to lay a lot of defensive mine fields around your borders so that he will either have to stop and sweep, or take the chance of hitting one and arriving at the battlefield already damaged. If your fields are big enough, you will only need a couple of medium ships around the planets themselves to fight the (hopefully) already injured enemy fleet. Another good use of minefields is that if a fleet of ships are attacking and there are, say, four ships in the group, if they all hit a mine, they will each take different amounts of damage depending on their mass. If a ship with a mass of 150 hits a mine, and a ship with a mass of 300 hits a mine, the smaller ship takes more damage (remember damage is measured in percents). This will cause the smaller ship to move slower than the larger, breaking the fleet up.

There is very little that your enemy can do about this. He can either carry a lot of supplies with him (increasing mass and thereby fuel consumption) so that he can repair the damage in flight, he can slow the whole convoy down to the speed of the slowest ship (which does nothing for a quick strike) or he can live with it. If the fleet is split up, then you can choose a single, individual enemy and pick them out one at a time. This will keep the guys busy while you fly the medium warships into his space and turn the tide of the battle. Realize also that the tide of a battle may (and probably will) change many times in the course of a war. You can't expect to win every fight after all. Your offensive force doesn't need to be huge either; just large enough to make him concentrate on defense.

Let's say that you know where one of his starbases is located. Don't worry about saving this ships, other targets or anything. Go in Kamikaze if you have to and take out that base. I guarantee he'll feel it. This will acutally do a few things. First, it will decrese the rate at which he can build ships to fight you with; second, it will cause him to lose a whole lot of resources since most of the time the large amount of minerals and money are shipped to the bases; and last it will deprive him of 120 points which will make him mad. If you can destroy his supply centers, he can't fight back. Of course, you should have located and isolated these locations by now. The only real hinderence here is the fact that you are also limited in your resources. The way I see it, you need to have a rock of an economy to play offense and defense at the same time because until he leaves you alone, your economy will be doing double duty.

The best way to go, IMHO, is to use minefields. You only have to build them one and they will sit still and defend your territory for you for a while. More on using them in the next section. Your offensive targets should be planets with high resources, starbases, or lots of natives. In case you hadn't noticed, agressice defese is really nothing more than a highly concentrated offense. When you are being attacked, lighten up on your offensive Guerrilla moves and start to really focus your resources on specific targets. Get those out of the way and then start playing sneaky again. The whole point of Guerrilla is that you don't let him attack you, but if his ally hits you bad enough, or he finds a chink in your armor that you forgot to cover, you may need to do a little serious fighting.

Passive Defense
The other kind of defense is a passive one. The objective is just simply to survive. There are only two time that I would tell you to use it. If you are in the process of losing and just want to hold out (or simply need more time to mount the counter-attack) or if you are attacking Enemy A and his ally Enemy B is attacking you. In this case, you want to hold Enemy B off until you are done with Enemy A (also, if you have an ally, now would be a good time to call him up). The way to play passive is to have only bare minimum number of ships on defense. This number will change every time you play depending on how many ships your enemy is throwing at you. Again, use a lot of minefields, they can save you from losing so many ships. If you didn't read the secion above, at least look at the topic of minefields and how they split the offense. Also, it is usually better to have many small fields than to have one large one. You will hear that a lot when playing the Crystals, but it holds true to every race. You see, the way the game works, the Mine Sweep mission sweeps the field that you are closest to the center of and only that one. What this means is that if you are inside three overlapping minefields and you set your mission to Mine Sweep, you will still only sweep one field at a time. When the enemy is flying through one of your fields, and there are a few that overlap, he has the chance of hitting some two or three mines on the way. Most medium ships will not be able to fight you after hitting three successive mines in one turn. There won't be any weapons left that are usable. If you have the ships (remember that you're focus in passive Defense is still to keep the pressure on your Gurrilla teams) you could also scoop and move the fields on a regular basis which keeps the enemy guessing.

As for ships, only put them around important planets. The way to tell if a planet is important can be wierd. In my opinion, if it is within 83 lys (one turns journey) from a starbase, it is at least worth keeping an eye on. If it is yielding lots of money or minerals it is worth defending. If it is in some other stragegic position (a very vauge category) you should also watch it. And of course, anything with a base is worth defending. If a planet doesn't meet at least of these criteria, I'd say it wasn't worth the resources to defend and if the quesiton comes to defend it and bring a ship from the defense of an important planet or let the enemy have it, I say he can take it. The real point here is to defend your own territory without letting up on the pressure that you should be applying to your enemy. It's kinda hard to get specific. Make the offensive resources that you have go as far as you can (i.e. try to make do with fewer torps on your ships, don't overdrive engines, use the 'NTP' code when you won't be needing the torps etc.) and then use what's left for the defense. Again, you don't want to ever have to defend, but sometimes it's inevitable.


VI. Race Specific Additions

As I said above, there is so much in strategy that depends on which race you are playing that I have saved all of such specific points for this section. As I said in the third chapter, the Bird Men have claim to the title of #1 Guerrilla, but there are many other races that do almost as well. The Fascists and Privateers are among them. I have ommitted all but the most qualified races and saved the others for the last section "The Rest". The reason is that there are a few of the races that could fight like this, but they only have one, maybe two, special points and aren't really worth mentioning in their own section. They will be discussed at the bottom.

The Lizards
The Lizard player has many ships in his armada that will perform these missions well; The Lizard Class Cruiser, and the Saurian being the best. These two cloakers can go anywhere they like and disrupt the enemy. With a cargo hold of 290 and 150 respectivly, these two ships can easily haul a bunch of colonists with them. Use these to ground attack the enemy and take his planets in tact. The Lizards are immune to the effects of the Loki and so, unless they are flying against the Fascists, they have no fear of being de-cloaked either. Take a Battle Group consisting of two Lizards and a Reptile if you are using a Shareware copy or make it a Saurian if you are Registered. Use the first Lizard as the main attacker and Colonist dropper, the second as a cargo ship and all around bad boy. The Saurian has a large fuel tank and also is a 7/4 which makes another very capable warship. If you plan on rading shipping lanes, go with light and cheap: the Reptile. He only has a mass of 60 so his fuel cost won't be to bad. For the disruption plans, the same Lizard/Reptle group will work well. Make sure to use the grond assault, since you have a very significant advantage in that area. You can also use the Loki to scare off other Guerrillas and find your enemy.

Another plus for the Lizards is their economy. Since these tactics are largly economic, you have an advantage. Use the HISSSS mission often and get a lot of money so that when you crash your enemies economy it will be really hard for him to fight you off. Remember: it's an economic game that you're playing. You can easitly win.

The Bird Men
This race was designed for this kind of fight. You have the largest selection of cloakers in the game which is of course a good thing. The Fearless and Deth Specula are the work horses of the sharware player's fleet while the registered player will want to use the Resolute and Dark Wing. These latter two have the advanced cloaking device which does not burn extra fuel while it is on. A normal cloaker uses 5 kts of fuel per turn to stay cloaked, but the Resolute and DW don't. I have not verified this yet, but I have been told that these two ships can also stay cloaked in Ion storms.

Use the Super Spy while you're at it. Fly your ships over his good planets and set their missions to Super Spy and the FC to 'BUM'. This will cause one of three things to happen. You will change the planet's FC to BUM (in which case it will beam all of the money on the planet up to your ships), you will only find out what current code is, but will not change it, or you will be de-cloaked and shot. There is really a fairly small chance of this happening, but it is worth considering.

Make use of the Battle Groups like the one listed above in the example. Make them multi-purpose but still small and thereby effective. The Dictionary said that they are small bands of revolutionaries. Don't put any more ships in the group unless you need to (for instance, with 5 ships in the group, a Super Spy mission can't fail). For shipping lane disruption use small ships that aren't too expensive. That way, if he intercepts you and blows the ship up, you haven't lost much, and the White Falcon is as good at capturing freighters as a Darkwing.

The Fascists
The Fascists have a few ships that will really help you in these efforts. Thier D7 is a workhorse and with the Glory Device ships, you can make the enemy shake. The 15:1 Ground Assault ratio is also very good for capturing enemy worlds. YOu fly a cloaked D7 over thier planets, check the number of colonists on it and whether or not there is a starbase. If it does, you will want to try to take the planet in tact. Return home and tow a fuelless LDSF to the site and Ground Assault. There are a few problems with this which I won't go into here, this not being a guide to the Fascists, but if you check out Juniper's guide to the Klingons you'll find out what I'm talking about. Use your Glory Devices, Ground Assault, and cloakers to your advantage. Realize that you are one of the only races that naturally has cloakers that isn't immune to the Loki, so if your fighting the Lizards, Feds or one of their allies, watch out.

The Privateers
These guys are clearly #2 Guerrilla; in fact, the only reason that they aren't number one is that the few cloakers that they have are small and none of them can put up with one mine hit. The Birds have the larger cloakers. But with the GA's, Rob Ship, Wolfpacks, Lady Royales, and the title of 'The Most Annoying Race in the Game' they can do a really good job here. Your GA's come in really handy allowing you to make long range strikes while still remaining unseen and without having to stop and fuel up. The MBR has a resonably large cargo bay as well, so you can carry supplies, colonists, torps, whatever you want and reasonably expect to be able to hold out for a while. Using the Rob Ship mission with the Wolfpack will also allow you to really immobalize your enemy. No fuel, no move. It's that simple. Stealing some his other large/medium warships (something you really lack) will make you able to do all of the mop up yourself. Make good use of the MBR, it's your best ship.

The Rest
Don't get me wrong, there are other races that can do well in this kind of warfare. Just because your race didn't get a 'focus section' doesn't mean that it's a wimp. The Feds have a Loki (anti-Guerrilla tactic) as well as some nice large ships. The Borg have probes: excellent ships for raiding deep in enemy space. The Crystals Web Mines are probably the best method of immobalization I can think of. The Empire's Imperial Assault will make taking enemy plantes a breeze. The Robot's huge minefields are also great for stopping him in his tracks. The Rebels have the Falcon; another great deep strike ship as well as the RGA; one of the best ways to hose someone else's economy I can think of. The thing is that most of these races would probably benefit more from slightly more... conventional means of warfare. Most of them have better ways to fight. That's all.


VII. Closing Notes

This section is where I am supposed to sum all of this up (I guess). The real point here is to play agressively, but intelligantly. Keep your opponent low on resources and make a war very expensive. Don't let his allies get involved if you can help it. If your opponent doesn't know where you are, he acn't tell his friends. Try to get onto good terms with the races surrounding your oppenent and tell them that if they can just leave you to work and guard the back, you'll make the other guy regret it. Remember, diplomacy is just as important as military expertes. The three keys are: Isolation, Immobalization, and Harrassment. This last one can be just plain fun and if you are the Privs, even easy. These are the keys to success.

I also suggest that you read the -=DREADLORD BATTLE MANUAL=- and the MAXIM: Blitzkrieg. These two files were written by Ramutis Giliauskas and are both excellent guides to general warfare in VGA Planets. So, with these closing notes, I'll close.


VIII. Advertisements

Every movie ends with the credits and every show has advertisements. Well, here they are. There are some excellent tools here that you might want to get. First, Tanascius' Utility will do a lot for your game like calculating Ground Assaults and predicting the destinations of ships based on heading and warp factor. Also, I have written the Refit program available from Admiral Kvorak's Training Center which will allow a host to change the stats of ship hulls.


IX. Credits

There are a lot of people who helped with this file, many more than I can mention and more than I can name. Especially since most of them came from the alt.games.vgaplanets.com newsgroup. Specifically, I want to thank Ramutis Giliauskas who wrote the Dreadlord Battle Manual from which the whole concept of Battle Groups was derived. Again, this file was written by Admiral Kvorak. Comments, or suggestions are welcome and can be directed to Kvorak@Yahoo.com. Please do not post this file without permission. It's not that I mind others reading it, it's just that I like to know where it is. Thank you and I hope this helps.


Guide posted at Donovan's with the author's permission.
The original can be found at here.


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