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Fighting your enemies (Federation style)
by Donovan

Ofcourse, you can't ally them all, and some just don't want to live in peace. Some are better killed off early, while you have the chance, and some might simply stand in the way of further Federation glory. In fact, after the Lizards you should be the race with the best ships during the beginning and medium stage of the game: the Birds won't have their big cloakers yet, the Fascist have pretty weak small and medium ships, and the same basically goes for all the other races.

The only advantage the Lizards have over you is they mine at three times the speed you do, and have an unlimited cashflow with their hissing. One on one their ships still don't stand a chance against the corresponding Fed-ship, but they'll have more ships and bigger ships than you. Unless you feel like allying both your neighbours -maybe they can both help you with some great ships- you're better off killing one of your neighbours so you’ll have more room and resources, and one less problem to deal with later on. A Missouri accompanied by a Nebula or some more ships should come a long way during the early stages of the game.

Later on most races will be able to build bigger and better ships than you can, after which killing them will be much harder. If you want to know how it can be done, just keep reading. Use the menu on top of this page to navigate through the tactics against the various opponents.

Ofcourse, any good general knows getting your information from just one source is often not enough, so you might want to check the tactics section and some links as well.

Lizards    Birds    Fascists     Privateers    Borg

Crystals     Empire    Robots    Rebels     Colonies

The Lizards
The Lizard captain who hasn't seen the benefits in allying you and intends to attack you is a very dangerous Lizard captain. He'll be able to outproduce you from day one, with his hissing ships and 200% mining rate. His primary weapon will be his groundattack: he'll use cloaked Lizard Class Cruisers and Saurian Class Cruisers to drop clans on your planets. A couple of things to keep in mind: his LCC's won't be decloaked by your Lokis, and each of his clans will kill 30 of your clans. Since LCC's hold up to 290 clans, this can be a very dangerous weapon. The number of clans to have on a planet and be relatively safe from groundattacks is 3000: this will enable you to build 100 defenseposts, upgrading your grounddefense to 6:1. The Lizards will then have a 5:1 groundattack leverage, with which even two LCC's (580 clans) aren't enough to take over the planet. They will still kill about 2900 of your clans however, which really hurts.So it's best to keep him from dropping clans on your planets at all.

Several things are to your advantage: LCCs use lots and lots of fuel, so he'll have to attack from pretty close distance in order to get to your planets cloaked. He can use other cloaked ships to refuel them in deep space, however. If he does so that means he’s using ships to attack, ships to assist the attacking ships and some ships to hiss to make sure he can keep producing his cloakers. Which doesn’t leave a whole lot of ships for defensive duties, ofcourse. Because he's loading his ships with clans, he's less likely to carry around supplies for repairs or torpedoes for attack/defense. Once he hits a mine he'll be damaged and unable to cloak. Since he's not carrying supplies he's unable to repair the damages so he will stay decloaked. Once you can see him, a Nebula will kill a LCC with similar armament about 90% of the time, assuming he's even carrying torps at all. And ofcourse if he's already damaged before you start the fight, he won't stand a chance.

So the main thing to do is to prevent him from arriving cloaked, and making sure you have a Nebula or a better ship waiting for him. The only way to damage/decloak him is minelaying (assuming you're not allied to the Fascists), so lay lots and lots of minefields. Not just one huge one, but lots of small and medium ones. Lay them, scoop them up and lay them again in slightly different location – preferable closer to his territory, so he’ll fly into them while he’s expecting not to reach them yet . This way he'll have a very hard time scanning your minefields and moving into position to sweep them away.
Apart from his groundattacks the Lizard has only two real weapons: The T-rex (five tubes, ten beams) and the Madonzilla (five fighterbays). With the Lizard's ability to take 150% damage these ships are nothing to sneeze at, especially if he uses them in battlegroups. If you see these ships coming your way you can expect to have a couple of cloaked Lizard ships one turn ahead of them or already over your planets, ready to tow ships out of your battlegroups so he can kill them off one by one. To counteract this, you guessed it, lay a bunch of minefields. Keep the ten beams on the T-rex in mind, he'll use them to sweep your fields.

Attacking him requires more or less the same tactics as defending from him, because you don't want your battlegroups to be ripped apart by his cloaking ships. The shiplist is in your advantage, because you have the better ships. His tech 10-ship, the T-rex, is about equal to your Missouri (the T-rex will win every one on one battle to the Missouri, but will have over 100% damage after which it's an easy kill for any of your ships or automatically blows up if in orbit of a planet). His strongest ship combination is the T-rex/Madonzilla/T-rex fleet, a pretty dangerous combination.

You'll want to take out his planets as quickly as possible, probably taking down a lot of hissing ships as well. If you don't have the power yet to take out his starbases, concentrate on the planets surrounding it. They will be used for supplying minerals and cash to the base, and the base will be severely limited without them. Now that you're in his territory however, your newly conquered planets are more vulnerable to being taken over by groundattacks. Now he doesn't have to travel the long distances with his LCC's and you don't have that many clans there. Taxburning won’t help you a lot, since he can hiss those natives right back to being happy.

So you're gonna have to lay more minefields, and be selective in which planets -if any- to defend. He can cool planets down, but cannot heat them up, so arctic planets are not that useful to him. So if you have to chose between defending an arctic planet or a normal/desert planet, go for the normal or desert one. Ofcourse, he can have his mined-dry planets without natives right back while you hold on to those with natives. Just make sure you strip all fuel off the planets and try to take as much minerals as possible, or all minerals of one kind. Don’t worry about getting it back home, just jettison it into space.

Be sure to secure your position and be aware of the possibility he's sneaking cloaked ships past your newly formed border, into your own territory to cause some damage there. Bring in some more clans, torpedoes for new minefields, more ships if you need them and have them, and continue your attack. As with any race, it's better to keep attacking. Once you’re on the move with a nice battlefleet you should be able to keep on moving until you reach the other side of his empire.

The Birdmen
The Birds are the best cloaking race around, with a very wide range of cloaking ships. The Feds used to be one of the races best equipped for dealing with the Birdmen, with some nice minelaying ships and the Loki in the shiplist. Since the latest host-versions however the Birds are immune to the Loki, so you'll have to keep them off your back the same way you're keeping the Lizards out the door: lay lots and lots of minefields. This serves a number of purposes: it forces the Birds to either sweep the mines, which means exposing themselves, it will slow them down, and it will blow up some ships, since most Bird ships are relatively lightweight. It is possible however to fly trough a minefield without getting hit, since the chance of hitting a mine while cloaked is 0.5% (host configurable) per LY. This to show that it isn't safe to rely solely on your minefields either.

The Birdman’s special trick is the Superspy mission: he can put a cloaked ship over your planet, and using this mission it will tell him how many colonist you have there, how many structures you've built, how much money you have there and how much minerals there are in and on the planet. This makes it possible for him to attack at the most important planets, not even bothering the minor planets. And then there is the other feature of the superspy mission: the ability to change the planetary friendly code.

Using five ships, the Birds can change the FC on any of your planets. This offers him the possibility to make the planet beam up all it's money to all ships in orbit (and with your 200% taxes you’ll be a primary target for this trick), to make your starbase dump all it's stocked shipcomponents and some nice little other tricks. One thing especially useful to him is the universal minefield friendly code. A planetary FC of 'mfX' will make that the friendly code for all your minefields, allowing ships with that same FC to pass through them. The X in the code can be set to any character you like, by the way. If multiple planets have a 'mfX' friendly code, the planet with the highest ID number will be the one to set the minefield FC. And there lies the key to protecting yourself from this trick: have a good look at your planetary ID numbers, and use a planet with a high ID (make sure it's in a safe place in your empire) to set a minefield friendly code. Be sure to use some weird character on the place of the 'X', and change this code every couple of turns. Be sure to protect this planet from being superspied, because the friendly code on this planet is now the key to all your minefields. This way if the Birdmen set the friendly code on another planet to, let's say, 'mfb' and all their ship FC's to mfb as well to safely pass your minefields, this will be overruled by the 'mfX' code on your higher ID planet. Sit back and watch the exploding Birdmen ships.....

The Birds have two weak points: their economy and their shiplist. Because they don’t have a very strong list of ships and their reputation of being annoying to have as neighbors, they prefer to stay cloaked at all times. And since freighters do not cloak, they might be using cloakers to move clans and minerals around. This will seriously hurt their economy, so if you can force them into using cloaked ships instead of freighters you’re on your way to defeating the Birdmen.

The Birdman shiplist offers a wide variety of cloakers, but most aren’t all that good at fighting. His main weapons next to his superspying and otherwise disrupting your economy will be his Resolutes (three tubes, eight beams) and his Darkwings (eight tubes, ten beams). The Resolute will lose to a Diplomacy, the Darkwing only to a Nova. Missouris do a lot of damage to a Darkwing, making sure it won’t cloak anymore and leave it as easy pray for one of your other ships. These ships are advanced cloakers, meaning Ion storms won’t decloak them and they don’t burn fuel to stay cloaked. These two ships can be quite a pain, especially if the Birdman you’re facing knows how to make best use of them (i.e. cloaked-intercept, pulling certain ships away from planets or battlegroups, surprise minefields).

There’s really only one way to keep the Birds off your back, and that is to attack them. A fleet of Diplomacies and some Missouris can only be stopped by Darkwings,a starbase or minefields. Ofcourse you’re laying some minefields yourself here and there to eliminate his fields an mess up his economy at the same time. You should have more resources than he has so you should be able to lay more and bigger minefields.

The Fascists
The Fascists are the second race with a groundattack-advantage: they have a 15:1 groundattack ratio. Their battleship with the biggest cargohold is the Ill Wind, which can contain up to 260 clans. This ship is pretty impressive in battles, even though it has only two tubes (but ten beams). It's biggest advantage is it's high mass of 275 KT, making it hard to destroy. The Fascist will have to compromise somewhere between taking as much clans as possible with him and bringing some torpedoes. A Diplomacy will kill this ship most of the time, even when it's loaded with torps. 260 clans will kill 3900 of your clans, when you haven't built any defense posts. You're pretty safe once you have 1000 clans on a planet, and have 80 defense posts. His groundattack ratio will then be brought down to 3:1, so he won't be able to take over the planet with one Ill Wind. Losing 780 clans still hurts ofcourse, but at least you won't lose the planet.

The best way to prevent losing your clans is ofcourse simply killing his ships. And the good thing is, the Fascists don't have very good ships. Their main weapon are their glory devices, included in two of their high-tech shipdesigns. Glory devices explode, causing damage equal to one minehit to any of your ships in that position. The amount of damage caused by one minehit depends on the hullmass of the ship, and is calculated using the following formula: Damage% = 10000 / (hull mass). This means a Nebula for example will suffer 10000/170 = 58% damage, a Diplomacy 56%. Missouris only take 25% damage, so are a much better bet than the other ships. A GD explosion will also damage a Loki to 99%, making it totally useless. There might just be some cloaked ships sneaking in the turn after a GD ship hits one of your planets. The Fascists can set their GD ships to explode after movement, so it's a common strategy for them to send some in before their battleships: The explosion will destroy the smaller ships and cause shield loss and damage to all other ships. This is the actually the only way his ships stand a chance in battle.

So what you're gonna have to do to prevent this is make sure he can't send his ships into your planets or battlefleets unseen. Apart from damaging your ships GD explosions also kill colonists, natives (not Reptilians, Siliconoids or Bovinoids) and structures on the planet. This doesn't just mean checking all your planets for enemy ships every turn, but checking for Fascist ships within 84LY of any planet every turn. You should also be sure to spread your ships over your planets. No need to have six ships over one planet, where one GD ship can damage them all. The Fascist have three cloaking ships, all with limited cargoholds (the Coldpain can transport 100 clans, the D3 and the Deth Specula 40 and 35). He'll need to put multiple ships over your planets in order to drop enough clans to take over the more important planets, but they'll do quite nice against minor planets with less clans on them.  Another Fascist specialty is to pillage the planets he cannot take over yet. Since the Fascists are immune to NUK and ATT you’ll need a ship to take care of the ongoing plundering of your planets. This doesn't have to be one of your bigger ships, since it will most likely be facing a Fascist cloaker. Nebulas will do fine here.

Attacking the Fascist you'll need some of your better ships, with high hullmasses to stand a change against the minehits the GD ships cause you. What will happen is this: The Fascists will be waiting for their enemies to attack by protecting their most precious planets with some GD ships. If he sees you coming he might set up a GD ship or two to explode at the end of the turn, which will be when your ships are there. What you can do to annoy him is head for his planets, and then wait one turn before attacking. He just might lose a ship exploding for no reason at all. What he will do to counteract this is to set one or more of his ships to intercept (mission) your ships, set to explode after movement (FC 'pop'). There is ofcourse also a way to counteract that: Head for one of his planets, and stop within 81 LY from it. The next turn you move a couple of lightyears away from that planet, making sure you end up between 81 and 84 lightyears from the planet. His ship will come flying out, but will stop and explode at 81 LY. Your ships, 83 LYs away, won't get hurt. You can then fly into the warpwell and onto the planet, starting the fight without damage. Ofcourse he will probably have another ship there set to intercept your ship and explode, but you've at least gotten rid of one ship without even fighting it.

Remember you have better ships as the Fascists, comparing them at the same techlevel. So be sure to use some high-tech ships (i.e. Missouris) in your attack, and the Fascists will have a very hard time stopping you. Kittyhawks are of little use against the Fascists, since most of their ships have a high number of beams. Because of that the Fascists are also very well equipped to sweep mines.

And here, just like when fighting the Lizards or the Birds, you'll have to beware of cloaked ships flying past your strikeforce and doing a counterattack in your territory. A nice Fascist counterattack or even an early Fascist attack would be him plundering your planets, preferably with cloaking ships so you won't see him coming. Any Fascist ship with one or more beams on it can plunder. Here's what the Winplan helpfile says about plundering: "When a planet is plundered 20% of the population (native and colonist) is killed off and their personal belongings are converted into supply units. Plundering for around 6 turns will cause riots. Plundering for about 11 turns will cause a civil war, but very few of the inhabitants will still be alive." In other words, make sure he doesn't get a chance to plunder your planets. Vital planets should be protected by a Loki and a capital ship. The Fascists cloaking ships aren't the best of fighting ships, a Nebula will protect you sufficiently. If he gets the chance he can plunder (pillage) your planet for one or two turns, killing colonists, and then drop clans on the colonists that have survived, using his 15:1 groundattack ratio.

The Privateers
The Privateers are a fearsome enemy, but if you play out your strengths correctly they’re not all that dangerous to you. Their strength lies in their special ships, and one in particular: the Meteor Class Blockade Runner. This ship, as well as two of the Privateer's smaller ships, has gravitonic accelerators, enabling them to travel at double speed. This allows the Privateers to expand their economy at a very high speed, and to attack from long distances. To complete the advantages of the MBR: it cloaks, too.

Privateers are feared for their robbing capabilities and their tow-capture. They can simply rob the fuel out of your ships (happens before fighting), and once your ship is drained of all it's fuel it can be boarded and captured by simply locking a towbeam on it. This means he can capture that ship in the same position, put fuel on it and use it against you. The only way to prevent this is to kill his ship the same turn it is in your position (so set your PE to privateer an all your ships, though you still won't fight anything that's cloaked), or to make sure they don't even get that close. The latter option you will need minefields for, and you'll need Lokis to decloak and kill his MBRs. Good thing for you MBRs often don't have tubes when they're used for robbing/stealing ships, because the Privateer doesn't like to run the risk of losing a cloaked minelayer to his enemies. The Loki itself will kill it most of the time, but ofcourse you're always letting another ship do the fighting for your Loki.

When you find yourself in a situation where ships have to be at a planet which isn't protected by minefields or Lokis you can make life somewhat harder for the privateer by dumping all but one Kt of fuel on the planet and set your ship's mission to 'beam up fuel'. This way the Privateer will rob you of your one kiloton of fuel, you'll beam up fuel from the planet and then the second ship will tow you in an attempt to board you. But since the ship isn't fuelless it won't be boarded so the Privateer ship and you end up in the same position, you with fuel, weapons and PE set to Privateer and he probably without very impressive guns. Result: one less MBR. This might work very well on smaller ships, since the Privateer may not bother to use a so-called 'sacrificial lamb' to steal a Nebula for example.

If he really wants to get his hands on one of your ships -let's say a Nova- what he'll probably do is send one ship cloaked to the planet with the Nova and simply tow it. The Nova will then totally destroy the tower, but will be at the same position as a cloaked Privateer wolfpack which will rob it empty and capture it the next turn. Now imagine you had the Nova set to that 'beam up fuel'-trick: it has just beamed up 560 KTs of fuel from the planet which now goes to the Privateer, crippling your own economy because you're now left with less fuel. The way to make sure he doesn’t get his hands on it is to jettison the lot, so he won’t actually rob any fuel from you.

The Privateer can also use this 'trick' of yours to his advantage: let's say you have a planet with a Nova and two Diplomacies, and no Loki. The Privateer can now fly in some MBRs, and rob those ships. To counter that you'll dump all but one KT of fuel from each ship on the planet and set your ships to beam up fuel. The Privateer sets one ship to rob, and robs each ship of it's one KT of fuel. Then your ships beam up fuel. This beaming up happens according to ship ID, where the lowest ID beams up first. Let's say one of the Diplomacies has the lowest ID, so it beams up 350 KTs of fuel. Then the Nova beams up fuel, which just happens to be all the fuel left on the planet. Now the Diplomacy with the highest ID is just hovering there, fuelless, ready to be towed and captured. Not a pretty thought. Ofcourse the first time this happens the Privateer won't know this has happened, but he just might figure it out and take the gamble. To counteract this problem you can set only the highest two IDs to beam up fuel, exposing the lowest ID to the same danger. Still tricky, but at least it makes it more of a gamble to the Privateer.

Now, if those tricks didn’t sound very comforting to you, make sure your anti-Privateer defensegrid is airtight. Bottom line is to make sure you have enough Lokis in your fleet to protect your planets and your battlegroups and lay a whole lot of minefields (Privateer cloakers explode upon the first minehit).

The Privateer doesn't have any impressive fighting ships. To give you an example: his tech 9 carrier will lose to a Nocturne (yes, a Nocturne) with mark 4 torpedoes. His tech 10 carrier loses to a Diplomacy around 50% of the time, you won't need anything bigger than a Missouri to be safe from the entire original Privateer fleet.
Until he has stolen some nice battleships from the other races that is. With some planning and bringing ships to the right location, he can steal any ship he might need, including the large carriers. So if you want to kill the Privateers, you'd better do it in the early to mid-stages of the game, when he doesn't have the ships to beat you yet. But how? Like fighting the other cloakers, Lokis and minefields are the key here. If the Privateers are attacking you, put some Nebulas on minelaying duty: have them lay medium sized minefields, scoop them up again and re-lay them on a slightly different location. This way the Privateers won't have the time to bring minesweepers to the edge of your fields, and you'll probably catch some incoming cloakers by surprise.

Ofcourse at least your more important planets are protected by Lokis. If you suspect the Privateers to be in your territory, you'd better look after your freighters. If you send one over to a planet, always keep in mind there might just be a MBR waiting in orbit, ready to capture it. So make sure your freighters have safe places to travel from and to. There's no use in intercepting your own freighters with capital ships, since he'll simply tow them away too far for your warship to reach it.

When you are attacking the Privateers, Lokis are vital to your success. Since they’ll be the main target for cloaked-intercepts, have them heavily armed, try to include at least two into any battlegroup you're sending over to the Privateer territory and carry enough supplies to repair damages. You might also want to lay one huge minefield (81 LY radius would be fine), then move through it, and scoop it up at the end. Then lay the next field etc. The main idea is to keep those cloakers away from you, and if they do get through the minefield unharmed you still have your Lokis to decloak them. Also make sure the privateers will never know where your ships will end up the following turn: never travel more than 81 lightyears in a straight line. If he knows where you will be the next turn he'll be there too, cloaked. And when both you and him are in the same position and you don't have a Loki decloaking his ships, he'll set his ships to rob yours the next turn. So bring a Loki or two, decloak his ships and your fleet will kill them.

Once you have successfully invaded his territory, you'll want to be sure the newly conquered planets won't be taken back lightly. You can expect him to try and steal some of your ships, so be sure to keep them either over a planet with a Loki (so he can't cloaked-intercept anything) or inside a minefield. Or both. Lay some minefields, bring in some more ships, and always keep in mind the Privateers travel at double the speed you do. They are the ones who are most likely to sneak past your battlegroup, or attack it from behind. It is also relatively easy for them to outrun you, if their territory is big enough. They can simply run away from you at their border, reinforcing their vital planets in the center awaiting your attack. Too bad for him even that won't help him if he doesn't have some good ships.

Since there are a number of dirty tricks the Privateers can pull on you to rob you blind despite your Lokis, I strongly suggest you read the Privateer strategy guides available.

The Cyborgs
The Borg in short: kill them early, or they’ll kill you. Their strong points are their huge cubes and the Firecloud with it's warp chunnel, enabling an endless number of ships to be transported over an unlimited distance, burning only 50 KT's of fuel on the chunneling Firecloud. Furthermore the hyperjumping probe in his shiplist combined with his assimilating capability makes the Borg very hard to exterminate, since one clan left alive on a probe somewhere is enough for them to assimilate entire planets, giving them millions of clans, and from there on lots of money/mines etcetera, with a chance of rebuilding an empire if left alone long enough.

In the early stages of the game the Borg cannot produce their cubes yet, or at least not the fighters to fill them with. Without the cubes the Firecloud is the strongest Borg ship, and it only takes a Nebula to kill one. So as soon as you have some of these babies you can start invading the Borg territory. You'll need some bigger ship (Missouri) to take out his starbases, but a fleet of Nebulas (or better yet: Diplomacies) will come a long way in Borg-space.

One thing to keep in mind: he's probably able to shoot out some hyperjumping probes with clans to a quiet part of the Echo cluster, and if he's left alone long enough there a couple of clans are all it takes for him to get back on his feet. After which he will be very angry with you, so beware. Be sure to eliminate him totally, or let all the other races know where his probe went to. It's in everyone's best interest to kill the Borg, so you'll probably get all the assistance you need there.

As soon as he has a couple of Cubes he only needs to spread around some Fireclouds, and he can keep his cubes way back in his empire where they're safe and protecting his better clusters. As soon as he sees you coming, he can chunnel his cubes to where you are, and then you'll have a very hard time fighting them.
To keep the Borg from attacking you it is important to destroy his Fireclouds, because the fuelhungry Cubes have no chance in hell to get somewhere on their own. If you see a Firecloud coming, kill it as soon as you can and as far away from your vital planets as you can. You don't want to give him the chance to chunnel in some Cubes. A couple of surprise-minefields are always nice, too.

There are a couple of ship-combinations to take out the cubes (mainly Biocides, the carriers). What you have to remember is that torpedoes are more effective to bring down the shields, and fighters to do the damage. The perfect ship to take down the shields is the Thor. Eight torpedotubes are the key to it's success. If used right it has a 60% chance to fire about 32 torpedoes before the Biocide's fighters blow it up, regardless of ES bonus. Don't fill it up with torps, 32 is plenty. It rarely gets to fire more than four rounds, and after that any torpedoes still in the cargohold will blow up with the ship. If gambling on bonus-mass for Thors isn’t your favorite pastime. Missouri-Missouri-Kitty combinations might be more to your liking. The Missouris will drop the shields on the cube and cause some damage, after which the Kitty can nicely mop up. This succeeds in roughly 90% of all battles, so don't count on it altogether.

The Crystal People
The Crystals are feared for their webmines: where other races lay minefields to destroy your ships, they lay webmines to capture them. Webmines suck 25 KTs of fuel from your ship's tanks every turn you're stuck in them. Fuelless ships can be boarded and captured, and you’re suddenly facing your own ships in battle.Webmines can only be swept from within the field, and are swept at 75% of normal sweeping range. On the good side, the Crystals don't have a very strong fleet of capital ships. Apart from his tech 9 Diamond Flame and the tech 10 Crystal Thunder his ships only very rarely survive a battle with a Nebula, and don't stand a chance against anything bigger. But once he has drained and captured some good enemy he'll have all the ships to fight you with and the webs to hinder you.

The Diamond Flame Class Battleship is a pretty impressive ship: a Diplomacy doesn't stand a chance against it, and it will even kill a Missouri in most cases. You'll need either a Nova or a combination of a Diplomacy and a Missouri to kill it. And even then there is a chance the Diamond Flame comes out on top. The Crystal Thunder Class Carrier, with it's eight fighterbays and six beams, is one of the weaker tech 10 ships, but it will still take out a Nova occasionally. A Missouri roughly has a 75% chance against it. A Thor will nicely strip this ship of it's shields if it gets the bonus mass, as it can be used against any of the larger carriers. These two ships together (the infamous Diamond Flame / Crystal Thunder combo) make a very strong combination, so watch out for them.

When you see the Crystals coming your way, or actually as soon as they come within sensor range, you'd better start thinking beams. Lots of them and high tech beams.Good minesweepers/websweepers are your Diplomacies, Missouris and even Arkhams. And ofcourse Novas, with their ten beams. If you haven't been putting high-tech beams on your ships since day one, now is the time to start doing so and to start refitting your ships with high-tech beams. A base over an Amphibian base is a nice place to do that, but simply raising the techlevel on one ore more of your existing bases is probably easier and certainly more cost-effective in minerals. We’re talking heavy disruptors or heavy phasers here, anything less is virtually useless.

Similar tactics apply when attacking the Crystals. Webmines are an excellent defensive measure, and will slow down your attack severely. Don't go running around after every ship you see, because he's bound to lay a few webs between you and him right before you start intercepting him with warp9, and the following turn you are stuck, losing fuel, and his ship is still happily flying around. Start sweeping his webs, and be both very cautious as well as very patient. To sweep a web you’ll have to be inside the web first, so the trick is to scan them in time and then fly a couple of lightyears into them. Do’t forget to take the natural decay into account or you’ll end up just next to them. Use battlegroups (I prefer the term sweepfleets in this context) of Diplomacies and if you can spare one a Nebula with supplies. You’re bound to hit a web sooner or later, and this will damage a Diplomacy to 30%.

The Evil Empire
The Empire's primary weapon is information. with his Dark Sense he knows exactly what is going on at all your planets. He knows where you are, how much money you have there, if you have a base, you name it - he knows it. And all he needs to spy on you is a simple probe. He can build one for 30 MCs, put a cheap engine on it and do three hyperjumps in a row with it without having to stop for fuel. The range of the Dark Sense is 200 lightyears by default, and with hyperjumps of 350 lightyears he'll be able to cover a large territory very fast.

After he's sent out some probes there are only a couple of good ships in the Empire's shiplist. His tech 4 Super Star Frigate is comparable to your Nebula, slightly weaker in battle. His next three ships in line are all medium carriers, with three or four bays and a mass of 250 or 270 KTs. In battle against a Diplomacy their chances are about 40%, and against a Missouri they die an almost certain death. He has one other special ability though: the Super Star Destroyer can take over any planet, no matter how much clans you have there, no matter how much defense posts it has, by simply beaming down 10 lousy clans from this ship. They will kill all your colonists and destroy all defenseposts, but leave everything else unharmed. If you had a starbase there, it's theirs. And combined with the Dark Sense, he will know exactly which planet to take over, and where you have your starbases. The only way to prevent him from dropping ten clans and take over your planet, is to damage or destroy the ship. It has three fighterbays and eight beams, a Nebula has a 50% chance of killing it, a Diplomacy will almost certainly kill it. The ship is immune to the ATT or NUK planetary code, so it will NOT be attacked by your starbase. So unless you like losing bases, defend them with at least one ship if you suspect the EE is coming your way. The same goes for planets you don't want to lose, defend them.

And then ofcourse there’s the top of the line Imperial battlestation: the Gorbie. This is the largest carrier in the game, with ten bays, ten beams, and a cargohold to contain 250 fighters. With it's 980 KT mass it’s also the heaviest ship in the game, and you're in big trouble when you see one coming your way. Killing it will be pretty hard. From quick simming the minimal combination with a decent chance of success is a Missouri/Missouri/Kittyhawk.

The Robots
The Robots are one of the better fighter-races, and also have a minelaying advantage. They can build free fighters in space, using only minerals and supplies. The key to fighting the Robots is, as with the Crystals, beams. Lots of them to shoot down fighters, and high-tech to sweep their minefields.
The Robots have the shortest shiplist of all races, but a sufficient one. They have one torpedoship, the Cat's Paw Destroyer. This ship has only one possible function: minelaying. It has only two tubes, which makes the ship lousy in battle, but two tubes are enough to lay enormous minefields using the 300 torpedoes it can carry. I suggest killing every Cat’s Paw you see, but if the Robotic commander knows what he’s doing his Cat’s Paws are both safely within large minefields and backed up by a carrier or two.

All other Robot ships are carriers, or as they like to call them, baseships. The Pawn has a 100% bioscanner, meaning it will scan 100% of all planets within reach (unlike the Brynhild, which only scans 20%). He can use this ship to sniff out your planets, and if you've been so smart to put 20 defenseposts or more on each planet, he'll notice there is a very large area he cannot scan, and conclude there has to be someone there who has colonized and defended the area.
The ship to kill the Robot ships with is the Kittyhawk, with a Missouri (or in case of a nice ES bonus a Thor) fighting before it to strip the shields. Above techlevel 4 all the Robotic ships have hullmasses higher than 329 KT's, making your torpedoes ineffective. An example: the Cybernaut, a ship that my not seem that impressive with it's five bays and only a 50 KT cargohold, will still beat a Diplomacy 60% of the time and has a 50% chance against a Missouri. It has a 10% chance of surviving two Diplomacies in a row, where you lose an average of 1.2 ships, he'd lose 0.8 ship. With a Thor/Kittyhawk combination the Cybernaut rarely survives, you lose half the Thors and in very few cases the Kittyhawk. Which means you lose 0.5 ship, he loses 1 ship. A Missouri/Kittyhawk will beat any Cybernaut, but there’s a 50% chance you will lose your Missouri.

The Instrumentality has seven bays and can hold up to 80 fighters, and will take the same combination to bring down. The Instrumentality has about a 15% chance of surviving a Thor/Kittyhawk. The largest of his carriers, the Automa (8 bays) and the Golem (10 bays) are best fought in the same manner, but have much better chances of surviving the Thor/Kittyhawk. Having that combination backed up by another Kittyhawk improves your chances of success, a Thor/Kittyhawk combo backed up by a Nova is pretty safe too.

Now, let’s talk minesweeping. The bulk of your fleet probably consists of Diplomacies and Missouris, which are both fine minesweepers. Always put disruptors on them at least, and better beams if you can afford them. Especially after the shiplimit you shouldn’t have too hard a time refitting some of them with high-tech beams, after which you’ll basically be blowing up Robotic resources.

The Rebels
The Rebels' main weapon is the Rebel groundattack, as described in the Winplan helpfile: "Any of the Rebel's ships can land a very small team of saboteurs onto the planet's surface. The team will destroy 30% of the planet's money, 40% of the planets supplies, 20% of the defense outposts, 60% of the mineral mines and 30% of the factories. In doing so 20% of the colonists on the planet will be killed off. This will really upset the colonists! If there are any natives on the planet they will be very pleased about everything being destroyed. Rebels can "self-destruct" their own planets if they wish by using this ground attack mission."
And he can do this for several turns, if you don't have a ship close enough to deal with his ship. The Rebels can not be attacked by your planet, ATT or NUK will not work against them. Two consecutive turns of RGA will destroy 50% of your money, 74% of your supplies, 36% of your defenseposts, 84% of your mines and half your factories. Not to mention 36% of your colonists. This can really hurt your economy. There is one simple way to avoid being groundattacked, and that's having a ship there.

The Falcon, a hyperjumping ship, is his number one RGA ship. A simple terraformer -as long as it has decent beams- will do the trick. A Bohemian with disruptors for example will capture any incoming Falcon, even if it has Heavy Phasers and will even capture both if he sends two to the same planet (all assuming no ES bonus).
A nocturne can be used here, basically any ship except for the Outrider or a freighter will do. If you have a Merlin somewhere (with x-rays or disruptors on it ofcourse), set it's primary enemy to Rebel and it will protect your planet. Same goes for Neutronic refineries and Lokis. Ofcourse it’s not necessary to have a ship over each planet, just make sure your important planets (those with lots of money and/or supplies laying around) are protected, and make sure you have one defensive ship in each cluster of planets. Check your planets and see from where the Rebel can HYP in undetected, starting from a planet.

The Rebels can also build free fighters in space, without spending any MCs. They can use these to fill their Rush Class Heavy Carriers. With ten fighterbays and five beams it's one of the larger carriers. Killing one requires similar tactics as the Biocide, Golem or Gorbie. Send a Missouri in first, then a Kittyhawk and then something to mop up the remains, if the Missouri/Kitty haven't done the trick.

On a happier note: other than the RGA and the Rush, he doesn't have a whole lot of ships that can endanger you. His Guardian Class Destroyer has six tubes, but holds only 20 torpedoes and has a very low mass. It has about 1% chance of surviving a fight with a Nebula. The same goes for the Cygnus: four beams, four tubes, but only 50 KT cargohold and a 90 KT mass. The Patriot is a nice ship to fight planets with (six bays, holds 30 fighters), but doesn't stand a chance against anything with six beams or more(Diplomacy, Arkham, Missouri or Nova) and has only a small chance of overwhelming a Nebula before it gets blown to pieces. Even a Thor with it's one beam has a good chance of killing it, because the Patriot doesn't have the mass to absorb the torpedoes fired at it from eight tubes.

Beware of the Guardian/Patriot tandem though, that combination has a 50% chance against a Diplomacy and will kill anything smaller than that. Both have only one engine and the Patriot is only hulltech 6, so they can be thrown at you in large numbers and from the very beginning of the game. Luckily for you, both tend to die rather quickly in minefields.

So apart from their small and nasty ships the Rebels basically need to be left alone for a while to gain strength. They need some time to build their free fighters to fill a lot of patriots, ready to take over a lot of planets in one turn. Meanwhile he can keep groundattacking hostile neighbours and expand very far very fast with his Falcons. You can win from the Rebels by attacking him. Simple as that. Take over his planets, kill his patriots, freighters and fighterbuilders. Send in some heavy ships to take down the Rushes and bases; he won't be able to stop a decent battlefleet containing some Diplomacies, Kittyhawks and Missouris until you reach his Rushes or bases. When attacking the Rebels you don't need to move bit by bit, you can just keep on going. As long as you keep supplying fuel and torpedoes, he simply doesn't have the ships to strike back. Be sure to take at least all the Molybdenum or Tritanium from the surface of planets you conquer, make sure he can't build any fighters if he takes those planets back somehow. It would also be wise to attack with multiple battlegroups at different places at once, in case he sends a Rush to one of the groups.

Defending yourself against Rebel attacks is not that hard. Make sure you have some decent ships scattered around your territory. It's impossible to have a ship over every planet, but you should be able to reach any planet you own in one turn. That way if he's sending a swarm of Patriots your way or when he's RGA-ing your planets, you'll be able to reach that planet the next turn and kill his ship. And he has a good chance of attacking one of your defended planets, which means losing a ship. Ofcourse your most important (native) planets are protected, either by a Loki, some small ship like a terraformer, a Merlin or Refinery ship or even a half-built ship (some big warship, waiting to be refitted but already equipped with disruptors).
Have some of your heavier ships standing by to deal with incoming Rushes, just in case he starts a head-on attack. Another nice way of defending from an incoming Rebel fleet is laying minefields. Lots of them and overlapping. Rebels don't have a whole lot of beams, other than on the Iron Lady, and Patriots blow up on one minehit.

The Colonies
The Lost Colonies of Man consist of humans like yourself, but that is ofcourse no reason not to fight against them. The Colonies have some very nice ships, their main battleships being their Virgos and Patriots. They have one special ship, the Cobol. This ship has a bioscanner and a ramscoop, making it perfect for two things: scouting and colonizing. It has two tubes and four beams, which gives it a decent chance in a fight with smaller ships, and it's ramscoop scoops up fuel in deep space, by simply flying around. It scoops up more fuel than it uses, so it can fly on forever. Even when towing a filled large freighter it never runs out of fuel. That is what makes this ship such a great colonizer: just tow around a freighter, and off you go. It also give the Colonies a great attacking advantage, since a Cobol/Virgo combo can fly on and on and on.

The Patriot Class Light Carrier is often called the torper's nightmare, but unless the game has an ES bonus you don't have to worry about it that much. It holds 30 fighters, but it's strength lies in it's six fighterbays. With them the Patriot often brings a lot of fighters into battle before getting blown to bits. A couple of sims (all assuming no ES bonus) showed that the Nebula will win in about 85% of all battles against the Patriot, Diplomacy 99%, Thor 90%, Loki 50% (better keep them away from Patriots) and the Missouri, Kittyhawk or Nova just laugh at the Patriot. What the patriot can do is kill a lot of freighters, undefended planets and terraformers. It is after all very cheap to build, so the Colonies can send them out in large numbers - they don't have to pay for the fighters they put on them. Three of them in a row have a fair shot of killing a Diplomacy, for example.

The Virgos are a much bigger problem: you will need at least two Novas to kill one Virgo, or ofcourse go with the Missouri/Kitty combo which should be backed up by another ship. The Colonies are quite a hard race to defend yourself against. Minefields are useless against them, because they can use their fighters to sweep mines. Colonials can fly in from very far away and don't need to beam up fuel anywhere, since they have their Cobols towing their Virgos around. A typical Colonial attack would be a couple of Patriots to do some scouting and taking out some ships and planets, followed by Virgos. Lots of them. And the only way you can stop them is with two Novas, or two Missouris and a Nova. You could try it with a Nova or Missouri backed up by a maxed starbase, but you really don't want to let it come that far.

The only possibilities you have to change this horrifying perspective is to try and get some cloakers to cloaked-intercept his Cobols, immobilizing him, or try and get the Crystals to lay some unexpected webmines for you. Don't count on any Cobol being drained out of fuel, since it will arrive in the web with full tanks and the towed Virgo has ten beams to sweep the web, but it just might slow them down enough for you to get your defenses up. So unless you can get your hands on some cloakers or a cloaking ally, you'd better start building Novas. Lots and lots of them. And the only way to achieve this is by out-colonizing him, and making sure you have more starbases. Your 200% taxrate should give you the edge you need, but he'll have a very easy time colonizing by towing LDSFs or even Superfreighters around with Cobols. And since he has Cobols flying around there will be plenty of fuel on his planets for his other ships. That way he can easily put thousands of clans on native worlds.

And that's where you can hit him. As soon as you have a Diplomacy (safe from Patriots, and about a 99% chance against any planet without a base) you can start taking out his planets, killing his clans. A diplomacy will also kill a Cobol and the freighter it's towing around. If you put x-rays or disruptors on them, you might capture some freighters, possibly filled with clans. With those clans you can immediately groundattack another planet. The point is to disrupt his economy, killing as much clans as you possibly can. Don't even worry about defending your newly conquered planets, just put some clans on it and yank the taxlevel to 100%. You want rioting natives, he will probably recapture the planet soon. And rioting natives don't bring in money for quite some time, and Virgos are very expensive. Also try to get rid of as many of his minerals as you can, at least all the minerals of one kind. If you capture one of his freighters with minerals, jettison at least one mineral into deep space. If you can get rid of all the molybdenum for example, he can't build any fighters with it. Any MCs onboard go onto your warship, to build new torpedoes from the minerals you've found, or to make sure the money gets blown up rather than recaptured. In general, with the Colonies more than any other race: wage the war in his territory, don't let it come to a fight in your empire.

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