*VGA Planets - HINTS - version 1994 06 26*
                             * Part 1 *

HINTS by Gary Grothman {[email protected]}.
begun by Roger Burton-West {[email protected]} as part of
the alt.games.vga-planets FAQ.

     This is a collection of submissions & strategy hints nabbed
off Usenet.  It is posted to alt.games.vga-planets approximately
biweekly.  Its main purpose is to help novice players avoid common
pitfalls & allow them to play competently in games with more
experienced players.  It may also contain some tips of value to 
relatively advanced players.  Sources are attributed, and I make few
changes, other than to correct spelling, improve readability, or 
insert my infrequent two-bits worth.  Accuracy & value of the 
submissions is not guaranteed, and we are not responsible for loss of
Empires resulting from advice taken...8-)

     Each section begins with "Subject:"; pressing  ^G  in  some
newsreaders (trn) will advance to the next section.  Also, each 
section is preceded by a line of exclamation points (!) for those of
us stuck scanning through the postings "manually".

     Players/hosts are also directed to the alt.games.vga-planets FAQ,
also posted approximately weekly.  Newcomers to Usenet may wish to
peruse the bulletins available in news.announce.newusers (& other
"news." groups...) for information on netiquette, as well as 
explanations of such net.critters as IMHO, FYI, 8), RTFM, and so on.

Subject: Administrivia

Input is invited, send mail to [email protected]

     Please tell me if you think something should be added, removed,
or if you have any corrections.  I'm not a wizard, I just maintain
this collection.  I rely largely on others to keep it relevant,
current, & correct.

     Note on attributions: sources for hints are in brackets "[...]".
If the name is at the start of a line, it corresponds to all
preceding information in that section (or up to a previous
attribution).  If the name is at the end of a paragraph, it applies to
that paragraph only.  Now you know who to blame when that suggestion
to "build only Eros class ships" leads to your downfall...8-)

Changes since version of 1994-05-01:
Added to Playing specific races:

Subject: Sections in this HINTS posting

Alchemy ships
Planetary defense
General hints (subdivided by author):
 Roger Burton-West ([email protected])

General hints (subdivided by author):
 Svein Gunnar Tjoenndal ([email protected])
 [email protected]
 Andrew Jones ([email protected])
 [email protected] (Mark Achtemeier)
 [email protected] (moz):
 [email protected] (Thomas Voigt)
Playing specific races: (subdivided by race):

Playing specific races: (subdivided by race):

Playing specific races: (subdivided by race):
 Crystals (see also part.5)

Playing specific races:
 Crystals (continued)

Playing specific races:
Dealing with cloaking

Opposing specific races:

Subject: Hosting

1)   DON'T!!  I.e. don't be a newbie and try to host a game at the
     same time.  Play in at least one game to the end before you
     decide to host a game.

2)   KEEP BACKUPS AT LEAST 3 DEEP.  Keeping backups that are more
     than 7 turns old isn't very helpful because most people aren't
     going to want to back up that far if something goes wrong with
     the game.  However backing up and redoing 1 or 2 turns will be ok.
     (And things do go wrong.)

3)   Convince everybody to do their UUENCODE/DECODE on the PC using
     the same version of the program (recommendation: Richard Marks'
     v5.21, available on SIMTEL {if you don't know what that means you
     are crazy to even consider hosting a game.})  Having some people
     doing UU on the PC and others on various mainframes is a recipe
     for trouble.

[Love that "standard" uuencoding...  I believe the encoder/decoder is
also available at ftp.ucsc.edu.  Personally I've only seen one UNIX
uuencode cause trouble, it didn't like my VMS system, or v.v.  Also,
doing the encoding on the PC's means longer modem transfer times for
us poor people...oh well.  You can always tell the players that turns
mucked up in the encoding will be skipped, and let them exercise free
will 8-) ...Editor's 2-bits' worth]

     4) DON'T PLAY IN YOUR OWN GAME. This has several advantages: 

     a) I play to win.  I don't want some less skillful player saying
     that the only reason I won was because I used my special
     advantages as host. I assume that you feel the same way. 

     b) If necessary it allows you to look at players' files without
     feeling guilty. 

     c) If someone drops out, you can play their empire for a couple
     of turns while you arrange a replacement.  

     d) There are plenty of games on the net for you to play in.  I
     would recommend that all net hosts give other hosts special
     consideration when it comes to getting  into a game (but not 
     necessarily first choice of race.)
[Dr. Dorn Peterson ([email protected])]

Subject: Alchemy ships
     One alchemy ship should be constructed  early in the game.  No
need to use extra  cash/minerals  on engines/weapons.  Have it as a
stationary builder.  If anyone can grab something at your home world
they can surely beat the shit out of you anyway.
[[email protected] (Svein Gunnar Tjoenndal)]

Subject: Planetary defense

     Defense posts have critical values, where you get more fighters/
beams/tech, and increases are only valuable at these points. So
buying D from (say) 7-}12 is worth nothing, but 12-}13 gets you an
extra fighter (4, now) and tech 2 beams.  So, build factories and
save until you go 7-}13 in one hit.
[[email protected] (moz)]

Planetary Defense has wildly varying effectiveness.  1 DP can keep a
planet from being taken over by starting ships with only 1 or 2 lasers
or x-ray lasers.  (1 DP means the planet has shields, at 0 DP it has
no shields).

But the value of planet defense above one is highly questionable.
Unless the defense is VERY high, any half-decent ship with 4 or more
beams and either some decent torps or a goodly number of fighters,
will be able to take it with little trouble.

Adding a starbase (with 60 fighters) makes a planet MUCH more
difficult to capture.  For testing purposes I used an Empire SSD with
8 x-ray lasers and 68 fighters, not until I cranked the planet defense
up to 271 did the planet win consistantly.  Adding a starbase and 60
fighters, the planet won consistantly with only 20 DPs.

Keeping this in mind, below are the 'breakpoints' for planetary DPs.
Raising DPs to a number not on this list increases shield strength,
which is of fairly minor significance; it also increases the Ground
Combat Defense multiplier, which can often be more useful.

# of planet fighter:  SQR(DP) + .5
# of beams: SQR((DP + base defense) / 3) + .5
Beam Type (not TL): SQR(DP / 2) + .5
Shield strength (untested): (DP + base defense + 100) gives ship Kt

 (defense posts, Fighters, Beams, Beam Type)

  DP   F   B   Type			  DP   F   B   Type
   1   1   1   laser			  85   9   5   heavy blaster
   3   2   1				  91  10   6
   5   2   1   x-ray laser		 111  11   6
   7   3   1				 113  11   6   phaser
  13   4   2   plasma bolt		 127  11   7
  19   4   3				 133  12   7
  21   5   3				 145  12   7   heavy disruptor
  25   5   3   blaster			 157  13   7
  31   6   3				 169  13   8
  37   6   4				 181  13   8   heavy phaser
  41   6   4   positron beam		 183  14   8
  43   7   4				 211  15   8
  57   8   4				 217  15   9
  61   8   5   disruptor		 241  16   9
  73   9   5				 271  16  10

In short, if you REALLY want to defend a planet, put a stocked
starbase in orbit above it!  If that's too expensive you can always
post a picket ship or two at the planet.  Of course, picket ships can
be robbed, or towed away, while starbases can't...
[[email protected] "Steven Chang", [email protected] (Thorsten

Subject: Starbases

[Re: choosing suitable planets for starbase construction...Ed.]
     IMHO, mineral content is more important than a large population;
you can always ship the cash there from a cash-cow, cheaply with a
scout ship, as long as it's not too far away.  You will want lots of
colonists at the base though, in case those sneaky cloaked types try
to capture the base by beaming down colonists for a ground attack
(esp. lizards!).

     The one tech worth building at a base even if you don't need it
for ships is beams; they may boost the starbases beams used in its
own defense, if the SQR(.5 * (starbase defense + planetary defense
posts)) is less then the starbase beam tech.
[Andrew Jones ([email protected])]

     Another good justification for my strategy of building as many
starbases as you can [is the 500 ship limit...see FAQ].  One of 'em
is bound to be a relatively low ID.  Of course, you could PLAN from
the BEGINNING of the game to build a starbase on a very low ID
planet... or would that be too much work?  Seems like sound long-term
strategy to me.  Build at least one starbase on a very-low-ID planet.
It'll pay off in spades if you survive to the endgame and reach the
500 ship limit.
[[email protected] (Christopher J Dewey)]

Subject: General hints
From: Roger Burton-West {[email protected]}

     When I first  started  to  play,  I  thought  the  only way to
colonize planets was by  building  ships  and  setting them to
"colonize".  Naturally enough,  I  fell  pretty  far behind in those
first few games.
Gary Grothman # [email protected] # [email protected] 
 last resort: # [email protected]
 even worse:  # (315) 652-5488
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Newsgroups: alt.games.vga-planets
Subject: HINTS: periodic strategy posting (2 of 7)
Message-ID: {[email protected]}
From: [email protected] (Gary Thomas Grothman)
Date: 27 Jun 1994 03:33:06 GMT
Reply-To: [email protected] (Gary Thomas Grothman)
Organization: Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
Keywords: a.g.v-p, FAQ, hints
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              *VGA Planets - HINTS - version 1994 06 26*
                             * Part 2 *

Subject: Sections in this segment:

General hints (subdivided by author):
 Svein Gunnar Tjoenndal {[email protected]}
 [email protected]
 Andrew Jones ([email protected])
 [email protected] (Mark Achtemeier)
 [email protected] (moz):
 [email protected] (Thomas Voigt)

Playing specific races: (subdivided by race):

Subject: General hints
From: Svein Gunnar Tjoenndal {[email protected]}

Many senior players may  be  reluctant  (no  wonder)  to give up their
favorite strategy. I will give  some  minor  spoilers for new players

     There are two secrets to success.   The first one is really no
secret.  Fighters!  "But I play the Feds",  you might say.  Fear not.
Rescue is here.  Mines.  (not the ones you build on planets, stupid).
As noted earlier I will not say anything of tactics with space  mines,
but just dropping some in enemy territory is NOT the best idea.

     Like the Cyborgs you say.  No way.  I've played them once
(barely), and no more.  They have the worst ships until the CUBES, and
cubes are always few, never being more than one place at a time
(strange?!?), thereby covering only a small part of your presumably
large empire.

     Cloaking.  Give me the Bird Men, fair start, and I'll take out
anyone, any day.

     Teams.  Try teaming up  with  someone.  Exchange ships.  Think
of it.  Privateers avec Cyborgs.  Unstoppable.

     Even though you cannot cloak, you can semi-cloak.  Stay behind
planets as often as possible.  Always defend planets so they can't be

     Be extremely careful what ships you construct.  Be even more
careful to only use your ships to what they were meant to do.  Hurling
small escorts with many  beams against large carriers,  is the
absolutely WORST tactic I've ever heard of!

     Gorbie Class BattleCarrier.  Largest in the universe.
Unstoppable.  NOT!  I've discovered tactics that can take out a
Gorbie (or Biocide or . . .), with loss of less money/materials than
it costs to construct a Gorbie.  With any race.  PS!  Hurl 100 Escorts
at it and MAYBE you'll get it.

     What one ship can't do, maybe two or three can.

     You only need lasers to shoot down fighters.  (even on

     Small mass ships don't stand a chance against torpedoes.  Flee
to fight another day.

     Planetary defense can be a bitch.  (And I think it's cheap!).

     Two good ships won't do.  Five intermediate and one good will.

     Ships with less than Transwarp Drive ain't worth diddley.

Subject: General hints
From: [email protected]

     If you want to overload a ships engines for part of a trip, do it
at the very end.  This way the engines are running inefficiently when
the ship is lighter so less fuel is wasted.  It also gives you the
opportunity to change your mind.

     Watch the scores.  They often tell you more than the deep space

     Don't just watch you neighbors, watch your neighbor's neighbors.
What's going on on the other side of their empire can impact your

Subject: General hints
From: "Andrew Jones ([email protected])"

     Don't forget that the Lizards, and Reptilian natives, mine
double.  Feds mine 1/2 (normal with reptilian natives) and always get
25 KT of each remaining mineral with }= 100 mines, no matter how
scattered the minerals are.  This last is undocumented; it makes it
useless for the Fed to build mines on homeworld, unless you can get
to about 250-300.  It does make them the best miners for badly
scattered planets, however.

     Remember the abilities of Ghipsoids, Humanoids, Siliconoids and
Amphibians (In that order of importance) to get a starbase with tech
10 starting in one attribute.  Reptilian double mining comes in
handy, too.  Amorphous natives are a bitch. You can do gather
missions off "blob worlds" and get the loose minerals.  If there's a
lot of minerals in the ground, it may be worth mining.  You'll have
to drop about 100 colonists to keep them breeding faster than the
blobs; don't tax either blobs or colonists.  To discover the climate
of a blob world, you'll have to drop 11 clans; It seems they get to
eat 5 people twice before you get to look.  If it's desert or arctic
you'll need to bring people in constantly; only the richest mineral
deposits are worth that (just another damn bug hunt...).

     Mines:  They are great for discouraging said sneaky cloaking
types from paying you a smashing surprise visit; but you need LOTS to
make the trip hazardous enough to feel "safe".  Note they are VERY
slow to sweep; this makes the colonies' ability to sweep with fighters
(and from outside the minefield, I believe) a bigger deal than it
first appears.

Subject: General hints:
From: [email protected] (Mark Achtemeier)

     Your number one goal in the opening phases (assuming your
neighbors leave you a little bit of breathing room) is MAXIMIZE
PRODUCTIVE CAPACITY.  This means (1) exploring new planets quickly,
and (2) develop enough shipping capacity to get reasonable numbers of
colonists onto the planets and regular shipments of minerals and cash
back to your starbase.  IMHO this calls for the highest engine tech
you can afford and hull tech sufficient to build the larger
freighters.  Obviously, if your neighbors are hostile, local defense
becomes a top priority and economic development takes a back seat.

[Re: Should you be building a ship per turn?]
     This is not a bad idea in the beginning, provided the ships are
useful in accomplishing the goals described above.  Later in the game
you are much better off building the highest quality ships you
possibly can (though small, cheap gunships also have their uses,
especially against fighter-based races).  I like to think of the
overall goal of the game as converting as many minerals and resources
as you can obtain into the most powerful battle fleet possible.  It's
a simple idea, but it helps you to keep your strategic focus. 

     Cash is probably most scarce at the beginning of the game when you
are trying to get your tech levels cranked up and keep your
manufacturing going.  The next thing to go, in my experience, is
neutronium.  After that, if you haven't paid attention to your mining
and supply networks, everything starts to get scarce and you can find
yourself in real trouble.

     Combat only takes place if both ships end their turn in the same
location.  In practice, this generally means you only have combat when
at least one of the players *wants* a battle to take place.  But don't
worry--this will happen soon enough!

Subject: General hints
From [email protected] (moz):

     Build factories first and always. I try to have maximum factories
on all planets all the time. Exception is bovinoids, where I will aim
for maximum defense and spend the change on factories. Build 1 defense
to deter freighters and small scouts.

     I usually put only 10 or less mines on a planet, unless it has
lots of scattered minerals that I want or something. Planets with
5000kT or more I go to maybe 40 mines, or 50 if there's 5MT or more of
several minerals. With a starbase on one of these worlds (as there
usually is quite quickly), I go for maybe 300 000 colonists or more,
and 100 mines.

     Unregistered players better hunt out (1) Ghipsoids for tech ten
engines, and then (2) humans for tech 10 hulls. Engines are vital,
and give you a big advantage over slower people. The FAQ thing on
alchemy ships is useful [hear, hear! ...Ed.], but note that you need
625kT Deut. to make one, so don't get too excited until you have the
minerals to make the ship. And, unless you are really rich, only put
tech 4 or 5 engines in it. Tow it if it has to be moved.  And, it's
cheaper to move minerals than supplies, so put it over a bovinoid
planet not a starbase (unless you have both...), and then build a
starbase there if you feel like it (or someone attacks you).

     Watch the mineral content of ships - low tech ones are heavy and
expensive, with low cargo capacity. For scouts you want light, cheap,
lots of cargo.  They don't fight except against planets.  Leave that
to ships with torps and fighters who follow once you have a few good

     Find planets by sending a light, fast ship full of colonists out
to put 1-10 colonist clans on each planet, without stopping. This
tells you what's there, and you can follow it up with a bigger ship to
fix the colony.  The idea is to make 4 or 5 good colony planets with
minerals or natives, rather than 20, half of which are arctic or
mineral-poor.  Aim for 1000 clans and a strong defense on good
planets.  Probably a ship with disruptors, to capture enemies, backed
by a planetary defense around 60-100 to trash anything big enough to
kill the defender ship.  I usually have my colonizer tow this out as I
only put low tech engines in it.  Little pests and little joes are
great for this-cheap, lots of beams, but one hit and they're history.
Usually they capture two or three other ships before they go though,
so are worth the extra cost.

Subject: General hints
From: [email protected] (Thomas Voigt)

Concentrate on building large ships. All races (except the Privateers)
have a ship that will defeat all your small ships. 
This applies also for freighters. Always use large freighters,
the medium ones are just too small to do anything good.
If you have a war, try to be always offensive (maybe except the
Crystals). It's always more difficult to defend space compared to
attacking, especially if you have the 'right' enemy with a lot
of nice, medium sized ships (Emerald, Diplomacy).

Subject: Federation

Build neutronic refinery ship(s) early. You have no fuel carriers,
so your supply will be limited.

Build an alchemy ship early - preferably before the N. refinery.
Keep it at your home world until you can build a Nebula or Missouri
to escort it to a Bovine (supply-producing) planet.

You are going to have to trade to get fuel carriers, fighter ships,
and respect. Form a stable alliance with a stronger race. Offer them
use of your Super Refit capabilities.

Despite the lack of fuel carriers, you have a good balance of ships,
mostly leaning toward torp-based weapons. Crank up your torp tech
level, and concentrate on tech 7 and higher torps.

Nebula - carries 350 torps. Good for torp transport, or can use on
long treks through enemy space dropping 50 mines 7 times to form a wall.
Sweet ship to offer in trades, but be careful who you give it to.

Missouri - good torp & beam ship, high mass, can take some hits.

Kitty Hawk - holds 65 fighters, reasonably priced. You can build a
couple of these, and send them out with other ships in a fleet.

Nova - Not bad for a tech 10 ship. I haven't had the chance to battle
test mine yet, so I can't give good advice on Nova vs T.Rex, etc.

Nocturne - Don't overlook these! They hold 50 torps - not much in a
battle, but can be loaded with torps and distributed across your
territory. In times of emergency, they can cover your planets with
small minefields (beware cloakers!), and be used to trigger planet
defenses if/when attacked.

A previous hint said that Feds lose in the long run. Without fuel 
carriers, you will lose quickly.
[[email protected]"  "Douglas White"]

The best ship may be the Diplomacy. Cheaper than a Nebula and very
effective, even with Mk4. Especially if the engine shield bonus
is on.  [[email protected] (Thomas Voigt)

Subject: Lizards

     Go out, find enemy planets you want, and land 1000's of clans to
take them over and defend them. You'll probably want 2 or 3 warm
planets to grow lizards on, and remember not to build more mines than
you need.  Use that defense bonus on ships by using small, cloaking
ships to steal ships off other people.
[[email protected] (moz)]
Gary Grothman # [email protected] # [email protected] 
 last resort: # [email protected]
 even worse:  # (315) 652-5488
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Newsgroups: alt.games.vga-planets
Subject: HINTS: periodic strategy posting (3 of 7)
Message-ID: {[email protected]}
From: [email protected] (Gary Thomas Grothman)
Date: 27 Jun 1994 03:33:53 GMT
Reply-To: [email protected] (Gary Thomas Grothman)
Organization: Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
Keywords: a.g.v-p, FAQ, hints
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              *VGA Planets - HINTS - version 1994 06 26*
                             * Part 3 *

Subject: Sections in this segment:

Playing specific races: (subdivided by race):

Subject: Fascists

     Sell D7 Coldpains to the Privateers for their Meteor class
Gravitic ships. You get good ships while they get something with a
425+ fuel tank to rob other people with.
[[email protected] (Scott Gosik)]

The Fascists' biggest advantage is Pillaging -- against yourself!
Your lead colonization vessels should be lightweight, and minimally
armed, carrying colonists only!  Cloakers are much better!

When you arrive at a planet, check for natives. They are critical to
your success. If you find them, beam down one clan, and in the same
turn, PIllage the planet. Your one clan will be gone, but for every
1,000,000 natives the planet will now have 100 supplies and 100 MCr
-- even Amorphous!  If the planet has Amorphous or Anarchy government,
you might want to Pillage twice, or more. Don't get bogged down,
though -- keep moving. It's OK to leave a planet will supplies and
MCr with no clans -- they won't disappear (unless someone else takes
the planet) and you won't tip off your opponents on the score table
by running up the planet count.

Your follow-up should be large freighters, dropping 300 or more clans
at each planet that looks worth it -- keep notes about where to go.
With the supplies and credits, these planets will instantly have all
the mines, factories, and defense you could want.

The objective is to get a jump on the competition; build up a large
fleet based on your volumes of supplies and minerals, and take on the
galaxy before it gets going!
[[email protected] (Chris Smith)]

The Fascists are a great race to play. To start off, They have quite a
collection of useful ships.  The best ships are the D7 Coldpain, Ill
Wind Battle cruiser, Valiant Class Carrier, and the Victorious Class

The D7 Coldpain's Cloaking ability, 4 Beam / 2 Torp, 100 Cargo, and
430 fuel tank make it an excellent invisible scout/terrorist/bandit
ship.  I would sit a few of these ships in enemy territory and wait
for FAT enemy freighters to pass within striking range.  Appear,
attack, and disappear tactics can be rather effective.  After doing
Recon with the D7, you can send in the big gun - The Ill Wind.  With 10
beam and 2 torp weapons, this is a deadly ship.  It is a big ship with
large fuel and cargo areas perfectly suited for planetary takeovers or
taking over other ships.  This ship costs a lot of $$$ to make, but is
very reasonable on the minerals.  Similar situation for the Tech 10
Victorious Battleship.  With 10 beam and 6 torps, this is also a very
dangerous ship.  All Fascist ships have large crews which make them
almost impossible to take over... true Fascist battle to the death.

The Fascists can stand toe to toe with most Torpedo based attacks, but
their one weakness is fighter based attacks.  The only fighter ship is 
the Valiant Class Carrier.  With 7 beam / 3 fighter bays and 80 unit
cargo hold, this ship can take out most light carriers without much
stress.  It doesn't have enough bays to fight the larger carrier ships
effectively.  Even though there are 10 beam weapon ships in their
arsenal, they don't preform well against fighter attacks as they will
usually take out 20-25 fighters before being blown up (except the big
Battleship) (an example being the Patriot carrier with low tech
weapons and 30 fighters usually can take out an Ill Wind or do enough
damage that the ship is useless).  I have had several Ill Winds
destroyed in a single battle against a RUSH carrier without damaging
the the RUSH carrier.  So, what does this all mean for strategy.
Well, I like to build D7s at first to do scouting/colonizing and also
to use them as invisible escorts (I have taken out many light enemy
ships looking to steal a freighter and finding themselves captured by
disrupters and gamma bombs. ;-}  As your empire expands, build Ill
Winds for defense and long range attacks.  When possible (i.e. when
base tech levels are built up), start pumping out the Victorious
battleships for major attacking/battle ready action.  If you have a
bovine planet near a base, or fighter based enemy neighbors, you may
want to build a few Valiant carriers for light ship/carrier enemy
attacks.  If you can make a bargain with a friendly Colonies or Rebel
neighbor to build you cheap fighters in exchange for D7 or other
ships, this could be of great advantage to you.  A fully loaded
Valiant class carrier is difficult to stop by all but the bigger ships
[[email protected] (Sean Smith)]

The following is not applicable in all cases, but it has saved a major
starbase in the past.

Coldpains have a *very* large fuel tank, and if you are being
threatened by a large carrier (remember, Fascists are susceptible to
fighter attacks!) then try and get lined up with the attackeing vessel
WHILE CLOAKED!  If you succeed, then you have a shot at towing him
away from his destination.

Obviously, this only works if the attacker is running less than Warp
9, but I have found that the number of engines on the large carriers
can make top of the line engines prohibitively expensive for many
[[email protected]]

Subject: Privateers

     Meteors are for towing, and attacking far off planets. BR4's
explore, and BR5's steal ships in the early stages, Meteors steal them
later, until both are redundant.  Build little pests to wear down
carriers, and use one with tech 5 engines to tow another with tech 1
engines into battle.  These take out 10 or so fighters, and provided
you follow up in the same turn with a solid capital ship you can
expect to trash most other newbies. (like me!) A meteor can tow a
large deep space freighter at warp 9, whilst a BR4 can't as the fuel
tank is too small.  [[email protected] (moz)]

I. Limitations.
   A. A ship can perform only one mission at a time.  This means that
      you can choose to cloak, rob, tow, or intercept; but, for
      example, you can't intercept a ship and arrive there cloaked.
   B. The 3 cloakable and accelerated ships are low mass.  This means
      that they should not fight anything but scouts and freighters.
   C. Even your "big" carrier is useless against anything with 8 or 
      10 beams and 2 tubes.
II. Advantages.
    A. Cloaking and the grav. accel. are obvious advantages.
    B. The low mass of the accelerated ships, the extra speed itself,
       and the fact that you use only half as much fuel/LY when you
       are towing with an accelerated ship make these ships perfect 
       for towing.
    C. An MBR equipped with just x-rays is capable of doing
       everything except planet raiding.  This means that new SBs only
       have to be tech 10 in engines (and even tech 7 is useful) and
       tech 5 in hulls.  This means that productive starbases are much
       cheaper for Privateers than for anybody else.
III. General strategy.
        If the rest of the empires find out where you are early they
        might just decide to eliminate a pest.  A 100 LY radius mine
        field dropped near you home world can put a crimp in your
     B. Don't ignore the necessity to expand.
        Your first 3 ships should probably be MBRs with x-rays and
        either 0 or 1 mark 4 torp.  For these exploration ships warp 7
        engines are probably good enough.  After that you will mostly
        want to build MBRs with warp 9 engines.  After the first 3
        MBRs you should build ships in pairs of an MBR with good
        engines and a large freighter with poor engines.  Use these to
        develop other SBs as quickly as possible.  You may not be the
        first empire to get 2 SBs but you should be the first to 3 and
        should have 5 or 6 before anybody else has 3.
IV. Tactics.
    A. Don't fight - ROB.  We will see occasions when a ship will be 
       used as a Sacrificial Lamb (SL) but other than that you should
       never fight anything even close to your size.  A cloaked,
       undamaged MBR is much more useful than the benefit from
       eliminating an enemy's medium size capital ship.
    B. Play the fuel game.  You will always need less fuel than they
       do.  Strip unowned planets of fuel with "gather" and whenever
       you can't steal a ship at least steal its fuel.
    C. Steal ships.  (Now we get down to the meat of the problem.)
       The following tactics are all based on the problem that in
       order to steal a ship's fuel, so that we can tow it to a SB, we
       MUST be at exactly the same coordinates as the enemy ship.  We
       can't use intercept to get there because the turn order is
       steal - move - combat.  If the enemy capital ship has enemy
       set to Privateer (if he doesn't have it set to Privateer the
       first time he will from then on), you will die at the end of
       movement and before you get a chance to steal.  You have to be
       cloaked when you arrive at the same place as the enemy ship.
       1) Wait at a planet (yours or unowned) from which you have
          removed the fuel. If you are sure that you have more fuel
          capacity than he has fuel then just set ROB SHIP and wait
          until the next turn to begin towing him back to your SB.
          You can't do this at his planet because he might transfer
          fuel up from the planet and that happens AFTER you rob.  Lo
          and behold, you end up with a very angry capital ship on
          your hands, he has fuel, you are not cloaked, and you get
          blown away.
       2) Use a sacrificial lamb (SL) at one of his planets to capture
          capital ships.  Get a cloaked ship to one of his planets
          where you know ships to be.  Pick the ship you want and tow
          it out to a waypoint where you have one or more MBRs
          waiting.  Make sure you pick a waypoint position so that if
          one of his other ships is set to intercept the one you are
          stealing, the other one won't be able to make it that far
          (also see tactic #5.)  This is called the SL gambit because
          the ship doing the towing gets pasted at the end of movement
          (you haven't stolen the enemy's fuel yet, that's what the
          other, cloaked MBRs are there to do.)  You can try to set it
          up so that your ship just runs out of fuel at the end of the
          tow but this is a little dangerous.  What happens if the
          ship takes on cargo and is heavier than you thought?
       3) Projecting a ship's course.  (Your opponent has to be very
          inexperienced for this to work.)  If you see a ship moving
          toward a planet that is more than 1 jump away, you can try
          to project where he will be on his next jump if he continues
          to move at the same speed.  If you try to do this much, you
          will start to appreciate the Pythagorean Theorem.
       4) Bait and switch.  Send a nice target, a full large freighter
          or uncloaked captured capital ship, toward enemy space.
          Unfortunately, for the enemy, it is accompanied by a couple
          of cloaked MBRs.  Make sure that the freighter is out of
          fuel at the end of each jump.  That way you don't loose it
          when some capital ship arrives with weapons cocked.
       5) The intercepted freighter gambit.  If your enemy is
          "protecting" his freighter by having a capital ship
          continually intercept it, you can easily get both.  Have a
          cloaked ship waiting at a planet when they arrive.  Tow the
          freighter with your ship but tow it in a known direction and
          tow it further than the jump range of the enemy capital
          ship.  Have a second MBR waiting at the position where the
          capital ship will end up.  Example: Both freighter and
          capital ship have been moving at warp 9.  Tow the freighter
          90 LY north.  Have the 2nd MBR waiting, cloaked, 81 LY 
          north.  The capital ship will try to follow the freighter
          but won't keep up.  You capture the freighter with guns (You
          DO put only x-rays or disruptors on your MBRs, don't you?
          After all, MBRs are NEVER supposed to fight anything but
          freighters.)  The enemy capital ship is in deep space, at a
          known position, where it is easy to ROB and then TOW.
       6) The pirates nest.  Privateers have real trouble defending a
          specific planet against a large fleet.  The best defense is
          that they shouldn't know were the SB or rich planet is.
          Second, you can spread cheap ships (they don't have to
          cloak) around your empire that always have ROB set.  These
          will rob enemy cloakers that are exploring your empire (this
          can be disabled by the host in ver. 3.1).  But assume the
          worst.  Your enemy knows where to do you damage and has a
          fleet on the way.  Don't fight back.  Set up a pirates nest
          at a planet they are likely to pass through.  This is a
          collection of cheap BR4s with warp 5 engines and some MBRS.
          The BR4s wait at the planet until the fleet arrives.  Each
          one then tows a ship out to waiting MBRs, to deep space, and
          maybe one to the SB (if the SB is capable of handling that
          one.)  This breaks up the fleet and gives you a chance to
          handle the ships one at a time.
[[email protected] (Dr. Dorn Peterson)]

- P's can use 'packs' of MBRs more effectively than described above,
for example, to rob fuel before towing ships in the same turn, very
often preventing counterattack.  Nevertheless, it is good to tow to a
remote point where other MBRs can ROB, if only to prevent a towing
P-ship from being captured in a counterattack.
- Note that P-ships can also drag alien ships to be destroyed by more
powerful allied ships.  This is a good way to dismantle massive
opposition in parts with little risk.
- Note that Robbing proceeds from low ID to higher and act
- As noted by D.P. above, you can tow ships to known locations, where
you will end up without fuel.  But you should be careful about this,
and use simulations or an exact formula for fuel consumption (because
there are program bugs).
- P's can 'intercept' alien ships which move predictably, shuttling
to the same location between worlds, or to locations which can be
predicted exactly by simulation. (In the first case, a cloaked P ship
simply waits in deep space to ambush.)
- MBR's can tow massive allied super-carriers with devastating
effects.  This combination is virtually unstoppable if played
correctly even if there are large minefields (if there are several
cheap MBRs as there usually are).  The super-ships should have their
own Transwarp engines, though; and sometimes they should tow the MBR's
(for their 'air-lift' capabilities).
[[email protected] (David Harwood)]

Just a few more things to note.  With Mark IV (or higher) torps a MBR 
can kill most planets easily and in version 3.11 you can disable
torpedoes with a friendly code.  This means you can now put Mark IV
torps on the MBR's and use them to intercept freighters with out
blowing them to itty-bity-bits and capture planets that don't have a
capital ship defending them.

If you start taking planets this way and will not be able to keep the
planet beam up all the fuel, money, AND YOUR ONE CLAN.  If you beam
up the clan when your enemy's capital ship comes back seeking revenge
you will deny him a VCR and delay him a turn since he will now have to 
beam down colonists.  Or if the planet has a native race you can up
the taxes to 100%, the native race will riot for many turns.
[[email protected] (Mark Hesidence)]
Gary Grothman # [email protected] # [email protected] 
 last resort: # [email protected]
 even worse:  # (315) 652-5488
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Subject: HINTS: periodic strategy posting (4 of 7)
Message-ID: {[email protected]}
From: [email protected] (Gary Thomas Grothman)
Date: 27 Jun 1994 03:34:34 GMT
Reply-To: [email protected] (Gary Thomas Grothman)
Organization: Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
Keywords: a.g.v-p, FAQ, hints
NNTP-Posting-Host: nextsun.ins.cwru.edu
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              *VGA Planets - HINTS - version 1994 06 26*
                             * Part 4 *

Subject: Sections in this segment:

Playing specific races: (subdivided by race):

Subject: Cyborg

     Well, as far as the Cyborgs go, their ships are garbage.  The
best solution I have found is to build one or two good ships, and
lots of B41s.  They cost almost nothing to make, and even if they are
outarmed by anything with torpedoes, you can literally saturate an
area with them.  They make good cannonfodder to soften up large ships
or planets too.  [[email protected]]

     Fireclouds can't fight enemy ships.  Sure they can take out an
all beam ship, but they will fail against much lighter ships.  So what
do you do when that Cygnus is following you?  Lay mines and stop at
the far edge.  Most of the lightweight ships that can beat a Firecloud
are in the {100 KT range.  If your opponent has his ship set to
intercept he will be traveling through the full diameter of the
minefield.  Even if he makes it, it isn't like you could have
survived.  You can scoop the mines and move again next turn.

  What if his ship is }100 KTs?  Well, either hope he hits two mines
or is damaged enough to be taken out.  Usually these ships don't beat
the Firecloud though, they totally annihilate it.  So unless you can
beat the ship fair and square, your better off facing it with just
beams and (hopefully) damaged than with lots of torps you never get
to fire.
[Warren Kurt vonRoeschlaub ([email protected])]

The Borg can expand like crazy, even the hyperdrive ship (B200) is
good for expansion.  This gives you the ability to build a lot of
Annihilations and a bunch of Fireclouds. Use your Annihilations
against large ships, and attack the planets of your enemy with
Fireclouds.  Your own planets are well defended, use a Firecloud to
soften up medium sized ships if they attack your planet.
[[email protected] (Thomas Voigt)]

Playing the Cyborgs is not that bad.  Depending on what scenario you
are playing, it can be quite a good race to choose.  An example would
be the 'ASHES OF THE EMPIRE' scenario now available where it is
everybody against the Evil Empire.  You have the ability to make
allies with your next door neighbours to swap ships/supplies.  If your
HOST.EXE program is 3.1X or higher, my favorite tactic is to build
lots of B200 probes with Tech 6 (or higher) engines, put 50 MC, 9
colonies, and 6 supplies on it.  You can use the special HYPERDRIVE
feature to expand your realm very quickly.  All you need to do is set
the course towards a cluster of planets (or at least 2 planets) and
HYP jump to it.  You can quickly set up a powerful new 'HOME' planet
from any planet with native life on it.  Put Colonist taxes up to
about 12% (still not angry at you) and usually can get native taxes up
to 8 or 10%.  In 2 turns you can refill the B200 and send it to the
next close planet or for another HYP jump.  The planet (especially if
it has BOVINE native) will come to life in about 5 turns.  If you do
this for the first few turns producing several B200 from your initial
starbase, your realm can expand quite quickly.

It is true that there are not many types of (good) ships available to
the Cyborg, but I have found nothing scarier that a fully loaded
Biocide Carrier.  And again, if you use proper diplomacy, you can
arrange a trade with your neighbour for ships.  (Can arrange to get
quite a few other ships for one Biocide or Annihilation ship.)
... I am Smorgus of Borg...prepare to be marinated.
[[email protected] (Sean Smith)]

Subject: Crystals

     Your problem is money.  I use a Ruby for colonizing, Opals at 1
colonist per planet for scouting.  Get an Avian or Bovinoid planet as
a first step, and a couple Opals for scouting then capture.  All
effort goes into the ruby with tech 10 torps that is laying a web mine
or four around your homeworld.  The idea is that by turn 4 or 5 it is
100LY across, and everyone in the game has seen one of your ships.
Use cloaking (captured) ships to lay-and-run webs around nearby home
worlds, but concentrate on 'mining' your web minefield.  Let them come
to you mostly.  Ideally you want to have your minefield(s) totally
enclosing all your planets, so that it is tricky to attack you, and
harder still to hold on to a captured planet.  (oh, tech 2 torps are
most economical if you have minerals but no money (1/2MC per mine),
tech 10 are cheapest if minerals are included as supplies per mine).
[[email protected] (moz)]

Key strategic points (some obvious, others not so):

   - Lay numerous small fields as opposed to Huge ones.  This helps
     deter mine detection.
   - Make use of the Opals defensively.  19 torps of tech 4 or above
     can produce an effective web.
   - You can only sweep the lowest ID mine field, so multiple mine
     fields of differing types can be helpful.
   - Emerald Class is best armed freighter in game.  Build these in
   - Crystal Thunder Carrier is actually a strong ship.  Ftr capacity
     is it's drawback.

All of this is for version 3.0.  Version 3.1 will make BIG changes
and make most of this obsolete since mine sweeping changed to allow
sweeping outside of the field.

The Ruby and Emerald Class ships are great armed cargo/invasion ships.
Sounds strange, but with 370/510 cargo with weapons you can do alot of
damage on the borders before the enemy races can set up defenses.
Especially by putting up web fields after you move in.  In 
unregistered games, the Emerald Class is one of the most powerful
capital ships in the game (some fighter ships with large mass can
still take this out since you don't have the tech 10 torps).

Build small freighters to tow your captured ships.  They have the
smallest mass and 1 Transwarp engine can pull a battleship 81 ly for
about 50 tons of fuel a turn.

I am currently waging war with the Rebels.  The Emerald with 8 beams
and 3 Photon 8 torpedoes can't be beat.  The beams can hold off any
fighter ship (except the big one) while the torps do their damage.
None of the other Crystal ships can survive the Rebel Patriot Carrier
(excluding the Diamond Flame of course).  Don't send any Topez ships
after fighter ships as cannonfodder.  The crew is too small and the
fighters will capture the ship!  You will have to destroy it later. A
good use for the Topez is as a mine sweeper.  Put small engines and
tech 10 beams on it and tow it with your Emerald carrier killer with 8
low tech beams.  If the enemy puts up minefields to slow your progress,
the 400 mines destroyed by the Topez make up for the fuel cost to tow

Web mines are the best defense against cloaked enemies.  I have
acquired a few cloaked ships coming up unsuspecting on web mine
fields.  I place 30 ly radius webs around some of my populated planets
on the border with a web tender ship near by.  As soon as a ship is
caught, I will keep increasing the size of the web to prevent their
leaving.  Best tactic is to lay a small field away from the planet
with a large field around the planet.  Their mine sweeps will detect
the closer field (version 3.0) and not the bigger.  They either bypass
the first or get lucky and pass thru to be caught by the second.

Cloaked torpedo ships allow you to put web mines in enemy territory,
especially over their planets.  With fuel usually in shortage, it can
significantly reduce their offense capabilities.  Great method for
catching enemy ships that the player allocates just enough fuel to
reach its destination, only to find out it runs out of fuel before
reaching its target and is now in deep space defensless.  Placed over
their base planets this is a real pain in their a*&.  All ships
coming, going and in orbit lose the 25 tons of fuel.  So they sweep
it, but I figure sometimes I am causing him over 100 tons of fuel or
more a turn.

Best advantage of web fields is to break up attack fleets.  When an
enemy is sending a fleet stacked together in space, webs can cause
the ships to be caught in different spots in space and if the gap is
big enough, it makes for easy picking.  Even small fields may prevent
all of the attackers from arriving at their destination, making the
attack fleet not as dangerous.

Nice tactic for advancing visible ships is to not increase the size of
your web mine field, but to suddenly put an explosive mine field in
the same place (or vice versa).  In version 3.0, the enemy can only
sweep the lower mine id field.  The other field is invisible and

   As you probably know, the strength of the crystals is there ability
to lay web mine fields.  This strength appears to be completely
negated in the most recent versions of the host by the Colonies'
ability to sweep 40 mines per fighter and the Robots' ability to lay
4x anti-mines.  While this is, in part, true, the crystals are still

   Did you know

   -- web mine fields drain fuel even from ships that aren't moving?

PE}  This does not appear to be true.  I laid a web field in the
PE}  Facists ID, and was consequently stuck.  I hit 1 mine and was
PE}  dropped to 7 kt fuel.  I proceeded at warp 2 for 3 more turns
PE}  without losing any additional fuel.  Therefore, I think this is
PE}  non-functional.

   -- web mine fields can be overlapped to produce even greater fuel

PE}  Because of the above experience, I doubt this will actually work.

   -- the Crystal Thunder carrier is roughly on par with the Colonies'
      Virgo battlestar?

PE}  Indeed it seems so.  I managed to wipe out a Biocide's fighter
PE}  compliment with 1 Crystal Thundar, and kill it with a Diamond
PE}  Flame.  The second battle took ALOT of Tech 10 torps though!
PE}  A tactic I am employing, but haven't gotten to battle test yet is
PE}  the use of CT Carriers in tandem.  I build 1 with Tech 10
PE}  engines, and the other with something cheap.  I load them both
PE}  with fuel, and use the first to tow the second around.  I set the
PE}  towee to Kill, and the enemy code of the tower to the
PE}  appropriate race.  This should be enough to take out most any
PE}  opponent save a STOCK LOADED carrier race tech 10 ship (Rush,
PE}  Biocide, etc.)
[...continued in next segment...]
Gary Grothman # [email protected] # [email protected] 
 last resort: # [email protected]
 even worse:  # (315) 652-5488
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Newsgroups: alt.games.vga-planets
Subject: HINTS: periodic strategy posting (5 of 7)
Message-ID: {[email protected]}
From: [email protected] (Gary Thomas Grothman)
Date: 27 Jun 1994 03:35:15 GMT
Reply-To: [email protected] (Gary Thomas Grothman)
Organization: Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
Keywords: a.g.v-p, FAQ, hints
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              *VGA Planets - HINTS - version 1994 06 26*
                             * Part 5 *

Subject: Sections in this segment:

Playing specific races: (subdivided by race):
 Crystals (continued from previous section)

Subject: Crystals {cont.}

   Here is the general procedure I follow when starting a game with
the crystals.

   1.  Up the engine tech to 10.
   2.  If there are planets within 40ly send the default ships there
       to begin colonization.  If not, recycle the default ships or
       overdrive them to the nearest planet with the mission set to
   3.  Depending on the starting funds, build either a Large Freighter
       or Medium Freighter with transwarp engines.
   4.  Alternately build opals and freighters while colonizing planets
       as fast as possible.  When you find either a bovinoid or
       insectoid planet, divert significant resources there to
       capitalize on the money making capabilities of the natives.
   5.  Build opals with tech 5 [Mark IV] torps since they are the best
       [short of tech 10 torps] in the mines/mc ratio.  Mark 2's are
       the very best but are very expensive mineral wise and not
       effective at all in battles.  If you have the $$ for Mark VIII
       torps, go for it.
   6.  The first time you catch sight of a potentially hostile race in
       the area, start mining planets on the perimeter along with
       direct flight paths between perimeter planets and core planets.
       The opals work *great* for this.  An opal with 16 mark IV torps
       lays a beautiful 20 ly mine field that will catch a cloaker
       90% of the time.  Once you snag a cloaker, you're set.  The one
       weakness of the crystals is their lack of information gathering

   Some don'ts :

   1.  Don't show the location of your home world.  [More later]
   2.  Don't piss off a cloaking race early in the game.
   3.  Don't build any Onyx or Sky Garnet's.  I've never found a use
       for them that couldn't be filled by the Emerald.
   4.  Don't try to take out a race by attacking them.  Make them
       come to you.

   When hostilities begin in earnest, create squadrons of 4 Opals
w/Mark IV photons and 1 Ruby Light Cruiser w/Mark IV or Mark VIII.
This configuration will allow you to quickly build complex minefields
without continual trips to a base.  The Ruby has great fuel capacity
and torp carrying capabilities.  The Opals are cheap and sip fuel
lightly and can be refueled by the Ruby many times.  Also, the best
method I've found is to station the Ruby in a central location and, if
there's no danger of it being swept, drop its entire load of torps as
mines.  The Opals then can re-arm without approaching closer than the
permeter of the large mine field.  When the mines are all laid, the
Ruby can sweep the remaining mines up.  Note : mines are turned into
whatever torp the sweeper has.  That is, if the Ruby has tech 10
torps, and lays a large field, the Opals w/Mark IV's will sweep up
Mark IV torps from that field.

   Emeralds with Heavy Blasters and Mark VIII torps make *great*
planet takers.

   If you have the resources, the squadrons can become 4 Ruby's and an
Emerald but these resources can probably be better utilized elsewhere.

   When confronted with large, fighter toting ships try this approach.
A Diamond Flame with x-ray lasers and Mark VIII torps.  Even the
nastiest ship will shudder when met with 24 high energy fish headed
its way.  Also, don't underestimate the power of the Crystal Thunder
carrier.  It's hampered by its low cargo capacity but does well
against even the toughest opponents.  It's also relatively cheap to
build and should never have beams of } x-ray lasers if it's going up
against the large capital ships.

   A Diamond / Thunder team will destroy a robotic golem 80% of the
time and critically wound it the rest of the time.

   Try to beg, borrow or steal a cloaking, mine layer from one of the
cloaking races.  In order of preference :

    -- Meteor Class Blockade runner
    -- BR4 Kaye Class Torpedo Boat [at least Mark IV torps]
    -- Fearless Wing Cruiser
    -- Lizard Class Cruiser
    -- Deth Specula Class Frigate

   any torp ship with cloaking capabilities will do but the
Privateers' ships really fit the bill due to their speed.  The Meteor
is fantastic since it can effectively cloak *and* lay mines since it
can always warp to a nearby planet the same turn it lays the mines.

Alliances (as we ALL know) are very key to the CP as well.  I'm
currently allied with the Robots, which make a GREAT combo.  With an
Emerald and a Cat's Paw working in conjuction, we can mass produce
mines quickly.  He lays them in my code, I scoop them up with the
Emerald, unload half the load at my starbase (1 turn away), send the
ship to his base to be captured, and he unloads the other half.
Making use of their ftr production is also nice.  One thing that I've
noted (not positive on this) is that once a web field is laid in
another races ID, it doesn't seem to be able to be scooped up.

Cloak ships are necessary if you want to be offensive with the CP.
Sending one with high-tech torps into the area you plan on attacking,
and laying a web before would be quite effective.  Just be sure to
come in with a second wave quickly to lay that alternate mine field
as well.
[submitted by "[email protected]" (Paul Enfield), including 
contributions from Brad Andrews  {[email protected]}, Paul J. Hinker
{[email protected]}, & Dave Kluch  {[email protected]}]

A Crystal Thunder is only on par with a Virgo if the Virgo has 80
fighters or less.  The CT runs out out of fighters very soon and is
eventually destroyed.  Use a Diamond Flame to drop the shields of a
big carrier and kill it with a Crystal Thunder.

It seems to depend on the host version if a ship which is caught in a
web loses fuel.  With host313e it loses fuel every turn, regardless if
it moves or not.  A ship seems also to lose at least 73 kt's of fuel
if it hits a web mine.
[[email protected] (Thomas Voigt)]

Subject: Empire

     My favorite strategy for playing the empire: build starbases
indiscriminately.  You simply can't have too many starbases and
there's not a bad place to put one.  You only have one torpedo capable
ship, the rest are carriers, so you need to make fighters like there's
no tomorrow.  5 ships per turn isn't very much, but if you've got 10
starbases, you're saving a bundle of money.  In two turns, you've paid
off your starbase, and have improved that planets defenses markedly.
If you have enough minerals on the planet to build larger ships,
that's the icing on the cake.  I imagine that many starbases would be
helpful for the other races as well, but for the Empire, they are
necessary, especially if you're up against a real fighter race.

     Each starbase ought to have one H-Ross light carrier for
transporting those fighters to your front lines.  Use the Superstar
carrier and Superstar cruiser as your working carriers.  Gorbies are
too big and too expensive to be everywhere at once, but they're great
for invasions.  Superstar destroyers just don't have enough fighter
bays to be really effective.  I wouldn't even put one up against an
Instrumentality unless I had 80 fighters in the destroyer.

     Don't neglect your Superstar frigate, either.  Build a fleet of
those with high tech torps for laying mines and taking out patriots
and other ships which might otherwise cost you several fighters in

     General strategies:  build fuel dumps on strategic planets.
Neutronic fuel refineries and fuel carriers are a must for those deep,
sustained invasions.

     Heavy phasers, and lots of 'em.  Sure, heavy blasters give you
more bang for the buck, but when it comes to sweeping mines, there's
nothing to compare with tech 10 beams.

     Don't shy away from amorph planets just because they require a
monthly ritual sacrifice of 5 clans.

     Build alchemy ships for your homeworld, but don't give 'em tech
10 engines and beams.  Tech one engines and beams will do nicely,
since you don't necessarily need to move them.

     I heard one great bit of advice about alchemy ships... use them
for ground attack ships.  They're just big, armed freighters, which
means you can transport lots of colonists for those ground-attack

     Some people will claim that if it doesn't have Transwarp drive,
it's not worth s***.  Not so.  Don't waste all your resources putting
tech 10 hardware on support ships.  Build your ships for specific
purposes... perhaps a few medium freighters to transport goods within
this star cluster.  And build escorts that the freighters might
possibly tow along, thus obviating the need for  Transwarp engines on
those escorts.

     Oh, and don't waste your money trying to mine the Colonies
heavily.  By all means mine around your planets so that they might at
least lose the initiative if they attack you, but don't mine your
space indiscriminately.
[[email protected] (Christopher J Dewey)]

Subject: Robots

They have 2 main advantages:

 1. lay 4 times as much mines per torp as the other races
 2. build fighter in space
I think the second is clear.  Just use it as often as possible.
Concerning the first there is something to say.  The main disadvantage
of the Robots is, that they don't own any medium ships.  So, if you
are attacked before you can build Instrumetalities you have only mine
laying as weapon (use it).  Even if you are able to build your big
Carriers you don't have an escorting ship (You can't escort freighters
with an Instrumentality).  So, you need mines to defend yourself.  And
last if the shiplimit is reached and everybody is able to build ships
whenever he can then your mine laying ability is also great, cause you
can lay millions of mines (money isn't really a problem at this time).

Concerning your ships there is to say that 5 are worth the building
costs (expect freighters)

- Cat's Paw ( Mine layer)
- Q-Tanker  ( Fighter builder, build at least 3 per base)
- Instrumentality (If you are playing unreg this is the best ship of
  all, otherwise you should only build 1 or 2 'til you are able to
  build Automas)
- Automa (Much better than an Instrumentality and only slightly more
  expensive, someone told me that it is even more effective than a
  Golem so it should be your main ship in the midgame)
- Golem (If you ever played against a Fighter race then you know what
  a 10 bay Carrier is worth)

BTW another advantage of the Robots is, that there are all minerals
worth the same for them and they don't depend on 1 like the Colonies
or Crystals.  They need Du for their ships and Tri and Moly for the
[[email protected] "Matthias Mueller"]
Gary Grothman # [email protected] # [email protected] 
 last resort: # [email protected]
 even worse:  # (315) 652-5488
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Subject: HINTS: periodic strategy posting (6 of 7)
Message-ID: {[email protected]}
From: [email protected] (Gary Thomas Grothman)
Date: 27 Jun 1994 03:35:24 GMT
Reply-To: [email protected] (Gary Thomas Grothman)
Organization: Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
Keywords: a.g.v-p, FAQ, hints
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              *VGA Planets - HINTS - version 1994 06 26*
                             * Part 6 *

Subject: Sections in this segment:

Playing specific races:
Dealing with Cloakers

Subject: Rebels

     Probably best for newbies. The deep space scout is your preferred
starting ship, low minerals and 4 beams, also cheap.  Next Gemini with
a fighter bay and 400 cargo room.  Patriots are good, but only 30
fighters so don't take on a base until its been well fried by the
sabotage planet mission. Concentrate on expanding with DSS's, and
using a Gemini to bulk up whilst building fighters in space. Leave 100
cargo free, and fill that space with 10 fighters (50S, 30T, 20M) to be
built en voyage. [[email protected] (moz)]

(The following are for both Rebels & Colnies):
Forget about the Deep Space Scout and your Geminies.
Have a Gemini on every starbase to build fighters, but NEVER use them
to fight.  Expand with Large Freighters escorted by Patriots.  The
Patriot is GREAT against all smaller ships, and there are few cloaking
ships that can beat a Patriot.  At the time where your neighbour can
afford Mk7 torps you should be able to build Rushs/Virgos and knock
him out of the game.

Build some large carriers early in the game, you should have your first
at turn 20 (unless you have bad luck and you can't get the money to
upgrade your hulls to 10).

Attack your non-fighter neighbours early, throw 2 Rushs/Virgos at each
of his bases and attack with some Patriots/Cygnus/Guardians.  The Iron
Lady is also nice ship because it can tow big carriers and shoot down
some fighters when it comes to fighting.  Use some Tranquilities with
Mk7 for mine laying.

I never build one of the crappy other ships in my games as Rebel/
Colonial (ships like the Little Joe, Deep Space Scout etc.).  You need
no ship to shoot down fighters, your fighters on a Rush/Virgo will do
the Job.
[[email protected] (Thomas Voigt)]

Regarding Hyperdrive ships (Falcons):

The Rebels should build a reasonable fleet of Falcons.  There are
several reasons for this.  They include colonization, exploration,
spying, mine sweeping and attacking.

In the colonization/exploration mode the Falcons can be sent out 350ly
with a full load of colonists and supplies.  Once out there they hunt
for decent planets, and plant colonies.  If you are playing in a game
with Very Long ranges this is really useful for establishing borders
far from your homeworld, so that other players will be kept well back
and away from the heart of your empire.  If the ranges are shorter
the Falcons can guarantee the continuance of your race by spreading
Rebel colonies all through space, giving you a chance to recover from
many potential disasters.  In the case of a game where you can
successfully establish a perimeter of planets 350 ly out from your
homeworld you should fill in the rest of the circle as quickly as
possible with large and even Super freighters.  Hopefully building
escorts for the freighter will not become necessary until turn 15-40.
This technique also works very well for the Cyborgs, but not for the
Empire, because their probe cannot carry enough cargo.

For spying build a Falcon with no beams (or really poor ones) and a
really poor engine (you want this dirt cheap).  Tow the Falcon to its
jump point, and Hyperspace yourself into orbit of an enemy planet.
The jump should be initiated with exactly 50kt of fuel, so that when
you arrive the Falcon will not be attacked.  This will allow you to
watch all the ship movements in the area, and if the enemy captures
the ship it will not be important, because it is so poorly equiped,
and most other races have much less use for Hyperspace than the three
who can build these ships.

For mine sweeping equip a group of Falcons with heavy phasers, and
hyperspace the group into a minefield.  In Hyperspace you cannot hit a
mine, and if you do not move once you've entered the minefield you do
not have to worry about hitting either a web or mine.  To prevent the
enemy from easily destroying all your Hyperspace ships make sure that
they do not come out of hyperspace at the same point.  This will force
the enemy to send several ships after you, and five two beam ships can
destroy enough mines per turn that the enemy will have to replenish/
replace the minefield in a few turns.  This tactic is not very
effective vs the Robots unless they are very cash poor, but vs the
other races it can make it impossible for them to keep up their

And finally their is the usefulness of the Falcon in a major assault.  
Establish "jumpoints" to every known enemy world within a reasonable
range.  When you are ready to launch an attack with Rushes move all of
the Falcons to their jumppoints, so that they all reach the points
simultaneously.  Send the Falcons into hyperspace with mission set to
Rebel Ground Assault.  If there are no ships in orbit the enemy
planets will be hurt.  At the same time as you do this send your
other ships forward (Rushes, Patriots, Guardians, etc.).  This tactic
will force the enemy to have most of their capital ships arrayed
against your carriers, and will wipe out the economy in the region.
For this the more Falcons you have the better.  Most players will not
have the resources to chase more than a few Falcons down, and if it
is part of a surprise attack any ships in orbit on the first turn of
the attack probably will not have primary enemy set to Rebel or mission
set to kill, so even planets with starbases, and many capital ships in
orbit will likely be vulnerable on your first round.  If you do find
any capital ships in orbit after a single groundattack, simply
hyperspace back towards home.  The enemy cannot capture or destroy
your Falcon when you hyperspace away, unless they iniate a tow against
the Falcon.  Be careful about chasing freighters when doing this,
because if you're not careful the Falcon could end up fighting a
planet, which is generally a waste of its capabilities (it can kill
planets with 7 fighters or less if it has decent beams).

Note that for most of these missions the Falcon (or other hyperspace
ship) needs to be mobile, so putting decent engines on the ships is
essential.  Also it is best to jump on straight vertical or straight
horizontal courses, because then you don't have to worry about
rounding errors on the 350ly.

[[email protected] (Chris Pollitt)]

Subject: Dealing with cloakers

The Situation is fairly common. You are less experienced in planets,
and you get attacked by one of the cloaking races. How to react now?

1. General problems

In most cases you first have to define your general strategy.
It is a fairly good assumption that the your first step is re-gaining 
control about your territory and ensure your expansion. If you can
sufficiently ensure those conditions, then you can start attacking the
enemy actively.

Your main strategy against cloaking intruders is therefore mining. By
that I don't mean one huge minefield covering your whole territory,
but several small to medium minefields placed strategically. Your
territory is not simply a place but is defined by supply points and
transport ways.  Therefore mine important planets and waypoints.

Your second strategy is to secure transports. You effectively have to
make it that expensive for your enemy to conquer or destroy your
transports that you win more than he does. The usual way of doing this
is Freighter Escorts. The necessary strength of escorting ships there
depends on your enemy - Birdmen cloakers are slightly more dangerous
than those of other races. Good escorts are light and very offensive.
They should at least have Mark 4 (TL5) Torps, later I would use Mark 7
or 8.

An alternative can, in rare cases, be heavy armed freighters.
Examples are the Nebula, Tranquility, Firecloud, Emerald, Cat's Paw
and, perhaps, the Gemini.

Your third strategy is selective territory protection. Find out the 
important stars in your empire and place ships and mines there.  Never
try panicly to protect everything you own. Said empire for example
tried to hunt a tiny Serpent escort which broke into his domain by a
Super Star Destroyer. He burnt enormous amounts of fuel and bound
a major ship he needed elsewhere urgently in order to hunt down a ship
that couldn't cause much real damage.

A rule of thumb I made with respect to intruders is: They won't be
allowed to cause more damage than they are worth, and they may get in
but they won't get out. And they are never, Never, NEVER allowed to
keep planets they conquer. Their lack of fuel supply points inside
your territory is one of your best weapons.

2. Privateer attacks

The main problem with Privateer attacks is that they can rob ship's
fuel and thus immobilize them. The only available counterstrategy is 
movement and superiority. Robbing occurs before movement and fighting.
Therefore P ships have to join your place in Space. This only works by
Intercept mission (in which case you can defeat them the round
before) or by waiting for you on known target points.

This means: Stop only on safe planets, and keep moving. Also
traveling by one-planet-hops is always a good idea, as long as you
can make those planets sure.

The main disadvantage of the Privateers is their lack of heavy ships.
This means that, more than with other races, that time works for you. 
This means also that you do suffer damage than usual if you lose
those big ships to them.

3. Lizard Attacks

Normally the Lizards are lousy cloakers. The Reptile isn't heavily
enough armed, and the Lizard Cruiser is too massive - it needs too
much fuel.  But they have their Lizard Ground attack, which can cause
horrific damage to your planets. Additionally this can be used while

Two countermeasures:  Develop Planet defenses to max, and place well
armed ships around endangered planets. If the Lizard conquers the
planet, you will take it back immediately. And that Planet Defense
reduces his ground combat ratio. Once one of these Lizard Cruisers
lost its Colonist load, it has lost most of its destructive potential.

4. Bird Men Attacks

Birdmen are monstrous cloakers. They can cloak nearly all, one
occasionally wonders that one can still see their planets.

Also they can, via the super spy mission, find out your friendly code
in order to steal fuel and other stuff from your planets.

Two strategy hints: change your friendly codes on endangered planets 
each round, and mine, mine, mine.

5. Fascist Attacks

Never saw one. Can someone add details here ?

6. I am %%% and get attacked by a sneakin' race, any hints ?

6.1 Fed

You are the poor guy who probably will not win by the course of time
and simple surviving. Use your money advantages to outrun your enemy
early - they will loose much of their value later. You can use your
Refit mission to overcome temporary supply shortages - simply build
the ship and refit it later when money or minerals are plentiful

Your Escort of Choice is the Loki. You can equip it with slow drives
and tow it by the freighter, if money is rare. The Vendetta does it as
well but it is a little short on Crew and tends to get conquered by
the Enemy.

6.2 Lizard

Counter-Attack. (See above)

Your Escort is the Vendetta. Since you have the 150% advantage, it is
more impressive in your hands than with the Fed.

6.3 Bird Men


Your Escort is the Bright Heart. If you want more power, use the Deth 

6.4 Fascist


Your Escort of Choice is the Thorn, or the Deth Specula (see above).

6.5 Privateer

You are the problem - do you really need solutions ? Counter-Attack...

6.6 Cyborg

You are quite lost.  Use your money advantages from assimilated
Natives, and maximize your planet defenses.  Secure your space with
mining, and if you absolutely must, use Fireclouds with good torps as

6.7 Crystalline

Oh well - nothing better can happen to you than getting attacked by
the Privateers. They are ideal targets for your webs. Use caught
cloaking ships to mine your enemy's space.

Use the Emerald for endangered transports.

6.8 Empire

You might have the impression that you can base your defense solely on 
Fighters. Well, you can't. The Super Star Frigate is necessary for
your survival. It is your only mining ship, and it's is simultaneously
THE ship to hunt down intruders, since it is not too heavy. Also use
it for escorts, the smaller ships aren't worth the minerals to build,
when it comes to battle. 

Consider purchasing escorts from an ally. 

6.9 Robots

I don't need to tell you about mining, do I?

Use the Cat's Paw for escorts if you need one. It's not optimal but
the only thing you have - all others are either too weak or too heavy.

6.10 Rebels

Stay away from the armed freighters for transport purposes. They
aren't worth it. You have plenty of fantastic escort ships. You are
the best equipped conventional power when it comes to dealing with

Escorts: Patriot (cheap and heavy), Guardian, and also Cygnus.

6.11 Colonies

ditto. Unfortunately you miss the Guardian, but the Cygnus does nearly
as well. Use the Patriots for sweeping away all minefields within your

[[email protected] (Christoph Weber-Fahr)]
Gary Grothman # [email protected] # [email protected] 
 last resort: # [email protected]
 even worse:  # (315) 652-5488
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Newsgroups: alt.games.vga-planets
Subject: HINTS: periodic strategy posting (7 of 7)
Message-ID: {[email protected]}
From: [email protected] (Gary Thomas Grothman)
Date: 27 Jun 1994 03:35:47 GMT
Reply-To: [email protected] (Gary Thomas Grothman)
Organization: Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio (USA)
Keywords: a.g.v-p, FAQ, hints
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              *VGA Planets - HINTS - version 1994 06 26*
                             * Part 7 *

Subject: Sections in this segment:

Opposing specific races:

Subject: Anti-Privateers

A. Mine.  Lots of little mine fields are better than one or two big
   ones.  It really slows Privateers down to have to be continually
   looking for mine fields.  And he HAS to look because even one hit
   destroys his most useful ships.  He is much more likely to go look
   for an unmined empire and that is just what you want him to do.
B. Use cloaked ships if you have or can buy them.  In addition to
   using cloaked ships as freighters you can use them to accompany
   freighters or capital ships you think Privateers might want to 
C. Mine Fields.  Lots of little ones.
D. Don't move in a straight line and don't go to the obvious
E. Mine Fields.  Lots of little ones.
F. Use ships with more than 285 fuel and keep them topped up.
   Obviously this gets very expensive in neutronium.
G. Mine Fields.  Lots of little ones.
H. Having an escort for your freighters keeps him from using
   INTERCEPT to catch your freighter.  But don't think that it will
   keep him from stealing it at a planet.
I. Mine Fields.  Lots of ... well, maybe you get the idea.
J. You might try your own bait and switch trap if you know that there
   are Privateer ships in the area.  Send a freighter on a path with
   an obvious destination 2 or 3 jumps away.  Have a capital ship
   intercept on the 2nd or 3rd jump.  Maybe you will catch an MBR
   trying to take the freighter.

Mainly just concentrate on counter tactics A, C, E, G, and I.  :)
It may help you against other empires too.
[[email protected] (Dr. Dorn Peterson)]

- Ally the Crystal People, and supply them with cloaking mine-laying
ships with large fuel and cargo capacities.
- Have cloaking mine-layers lead convoys - lay mines and scoop them as
the convoy 'puddle hops'.
- Use overlapping minefields to increase hit rates.
- Do not allow noncloaking ships to 'touch down' at planets - 
constantly move them (if only a few LY's) unpredictably in deep space,
and refuel and resupply them with cloaking ships in deep space
wherever possible.
- If ships 'touch down' at planets, they should unload their fuel
(except possibly for one unit for operations). And they should, as
appropriate, be set to be transferred fuel (or grab it) every turn.
This shuffling of fuel every turn will make it risky for a P-ship to
try to rob and tow ships in orbit.
[[email protected] (David Harwood)]

I played the Privateers in an extended game earlier in the year, and
while I was able to overrun some empires very easily, the tactics of
others pretty well rendered the Privateer advantages ineffective (or
nearly so).  Here are some of the counter-tactics which made life
1) Escort your freighters with capital ships (or tow capital ships
   with your freighters).  This makes it impossible for cloaked
   Privateers to intercept your freighters in deep space and blast
2) Vary your courses slightly from turn to turn.  This keeps cloaked
   ships from being able to project your course and perform a
   "manual" intercept--which is the only way a Rob Ship mission in
   deep space is possible.  This means the only place you have to
   worry about being robbed is around planets. 
3) If you are orbiting a planet, beam up one kt of fuel from the
   surface every turn.  This means "Rob Ship" missions carried out in
   orbit will not render your weapons useless--and the robbing ship
   will have to move out of orbit (uncloaked) on the same turn or get
4) Keep capital ships scattered around your empire and follow two
   rules:  Whenever you see a Privateer ship, have the nearest capital
   ship lay down a small minefield.  Whenever you see a Privateer
   ship, set a nearby capital ship to intercept it.  The combined
   effect here is to make movement extremely dangerous, and to shut
   down his ability to sweep mines.
5) If he does manage to steal one of your ships, make a note of the
   location of the starbase where it surrenders and go after it.  The
   Privateers do not have the ability to stop a large assault in a
   head-to-head encounter with their "native" ships.  If you locate
   his choke points--starbases and important planets--you can
   neutralize him early.
[[email protected] (Mark Achtemeier)] 

1)  If your ship has a high ID number, set it on enemy Privateer and
Gather fuel at your planet, with 1 KT of fuel.  If he robs you with a
lower ID # ship, you'll gather fuel afterwards and if towed, you have
a BR at your mercy - and all he got was 1 KT of fuel for his trouble
(and your mines got a crack at him).
2)  Hire the Crystals to lay web mines in your name.  Since webs are
just as good against cloaked as uncloaked ships, it works very well -
you might even capture a Privateer. ship or 2.
3)  When laying minefields in 3.x, be careful about merging; and in
3.11, try to overlap on important planets.
4)  If you can't have enough gas to stay unrobbed (maybe an option
for B-wagons stopped at gas planets, where you're not using the fuel
to move fuel), load up with junk - minerals you have too much of, or
supply points.  He may think you have a lot of gas on board; then when
he robs you, he gets junk and no fuel - if his waypoint is far enough
away, the extra ship mass and low fuel might leave him stranded.  He's
unlikely to do so if you have minefields, however, as he won't want to
run through them uncloaked for any great distance.
5)  Keep your big ships in space, and moving at least a few LY per
turn; use freighters and fuel tankers to visit planets - planetary
defense and minefields may be enough to discourage planet busting by
the Pirates.
6)  If he's trying to tow a ship out of the heart of your empire, he
might be catchable by a fast ship on the periphery,  "ahead" of him.
7)  Theft is most likely for this reason near the frontier.  Don't
leave him options like amorphous worlds to hide at - either colonize
them or plant a small DSF with warp 1's there to see if he shows up
uncloaked (to gather fuel).  In fact, keep the freighter on gather
fuel, in case he's tried to establish a secret base (by dumping gas
and supplies from cloaked ships, to be gathered by empty and/or
damaged ships later).
8)  Move minefields from the far rear by scooping them, up to the
9)  Planets don't move, and they don't cloak!  Hit his worlds, with a
battle fleet that stays in space as much as possible.
[Andrew Jones ([email protected])]

Subject: Anti-Crystals

     Warning: this is not what I have done, this is what I wish I had
done.  While it is sound in principle, I've only had small amounts of
testing done.

     If the Crystalline player is worth his salt there should be a
big web mine field around the homeworld.  This is good and bad.  It
is good because you know where the homeworld is.  If the Crystalline
player is worth his low sodium salt substitute he laid the field to
cover, but not center on, the homeworld, but you still get a pretty
good idea where the homeworld is.  Remember, mine sweeping (in
default settings) has better range than sensor sweep.

     The bad news is, nobody, especially not the host program, is
going to tell you it's a web mine.  Don't be fooled into thinking the
Crystalline player goofed up.

     So you want to sweep a web minefield, huh?  Depending on who you
ask, the field will pull 25KTs of N (unless that bug isn't fixed) a
turn whenever you are in it.  My own experience has been this only
happens after you actually hit a mine, but different hosts may act
differently.  Regardless, hang around in a web minefield long enough
and you are going to be trapped.

     The solution?  Sweep mines with a torp ship.  If you suddenly
find yourself in the position where you will probably not be getting
out of the minefield, lay mines.  Why?  Because unless the host
disables it, you can move a leeetle beet each turn, even when you are
out of fuel.  The minefield will keep him off your back until you get
to a planet with fuel (hopefully).

     In the newer hosts you can sweep from outside the field, so you
don't need those mines, right?  Not exactly.  No matter how many beams
your ship has, when you first start sweeping the Crystalline player is
going to dump alot of mines into the minefield.  The ship will be
inside for a few turns until resources get scarce.  Even if not, you
may want to lay mines as a cover when the war fleet starts heading
your way.

     What if he gets you fair and square, and starts dragging your
ship to his nearest base?  Well, you could give up, or you could play
the "from Hell's heart I spit my last breath at thee" gambit.  Eject
all cargo.  If you have any colonists on board, wait until you are in
orbit around his planet (if he stops off at an outpost, all the
better) and drop off the colonists.  If it's the homeworld you aren't
going to do much damage, but it is somehow satisfying to know you
pounded some of his people before surrendering the ship.
[Warren Kurt vonRoeschlaub ([email protected])]

It depends on which race you're playing. A number of races have ships
that can simply overwhelm anything the CP can build.  The Fascist Ill
Wind, for example, can not only destroy the CP Emerald Class
Battlecruiser, but it makes an excellent minesweeper. If you can't
afford the fuel loss of jumping deep into a minefield, just sweep
until you know the boundaries, and then move one light-year in, or
something similar.

The CP have the Emerald as their strong-arm ship, which a number of
races can better.  And their only other advantage is their web mines,
which only serve to slow down an attack by a turn, not stop the attack
altogether.  Probably the key thing if you're going to attack is to
carry a lot of fuel and supplies, to counter drainage and damage.
[Submitted by "[email protected]" (Paul Enfield), includes hints
from John Bickers  {[email protected]}]
Gary Grothman # [email protected] # [email protected] 
 last resort: # [email protected]
 even worse:  # (315) 652-5488

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