Strategy Tips for Noobs

#1 Let’s do the Time Warp again!

Oh no! You jumped into an enemy system only to find that the defending fleet has warped out ahead of you, moving towards one of your own starts! It’s now an hour or two away and you’ll never catch up to it! Or can you?

You now own both stars: the one you just took and the destination star where the enemy is headed. As long as he’s only one or two hours ahead of you, follow him with your fleet. As soon as he gets to one hour out from the destination star (and you’re at two or three hours out), build warpgates on both stars. You will arrive at the same time as both your fleet and his will multiply their speed by three.

This is a really nasty trick to use against pirates, but you need the cash on hand to build the gates.


#2 Don’t buy Economy until the last possible moment

Set aside a cash reserve at the beginning of a cycle and add to it all the cash you will spend on economy. Economy improvements are only useful at the cycle, when cash is counted, so there’s no sense at all in buying them at the beginning of the cycle. This will give you a cash reserve for emergencies in case any come up. Just be sure you’re disciplined enough not to spend it unless it’s truly an emergency!


#3 Defend with one ship, wherever possible

As long as the tech difference is not large, defenders fire first. This means that you get a guaranteed 2:1 or 3:1 or whatever loss rate against an attacking enemy. This is particularly nasty at high Weapons levels, where you can get a 25:1 or more loss rate. If you’re on the retreat, a series of one ship defensive stands can really whittle that pursuing enemy down.

As a corrolary, you need to constantly be on the look out to get the best loss rate possible. Because of the way the combat model works, you’ll never be able to eliminate an enemy fleet at little or no cost to yourself, given roughly equal tech levels. Likewise, having a huge size advantage over the enemy doesn’t reduce your loses in the slightest.

So let’s say you’re facing a cocky attacking fleet with 100 ships that’s coming down a line of your stars and you only have 50 ships to defend against it. You both have Weapons Tech 10. If you make a bold stand at the first star, you lose all your ships and the attacker loses 55 and gobbles up the rest.

However, let’s say you leave one ship at the threatened star and drop back: the attacker now loses eleven ships to your one and comes out of the battle with 89 to your 49. At the next star, you do the same. He now has 78 and you have 48. Better still, you’re probably falling back on your supply lines while he’s outracing his. Sooner or later, you’ll be able to take him out.

You can thus trade stars for ships very effectively and should never make a “last stand” defense unless there’s a pressing reason to do so (i.e., you need to attrit the attacker as much as possible so he’ll be vulnerable to an immediate counterattack).


#4 Always remember to turn off warpgates when you’ll lose a star
If you are about to lose a star with a warpgate, destroy it at the earliest possible moment, unless you have a good prospect of making an immediate counterattack.

You’d be surprised at how many players forget to do this.

Let’s say that you have an enemy fleet at four hours out, moving from a warpgated star to your warpgate star. You both have Weapons Tech 10 and he has 100 ships to your 60. Your star is building 2 ships a turn. If you destroy your warpgate immediately, his fleet will take twelve hours to reach you and he’ll have to fight 84 ships (60 + (2 * 12)). You will win the battle with four ships remaining.

Even if you have to lose the star, you can evacuate your ships (leaving one behind to bleed him, as per #3, above). Now not only does he take 12 hours to capture the blessed thing (giving you time to move up more ships), but he has to send resources to rebuild it, to.

A sneakier version of this, if you want to immediately retake the star, is to ABANDON the star. The warpgate continues there (also the economy), but it no longer functions. As soon as he takes it, however, it pops back up. If you can time things so that your relief fleet is three hours away when he captures the star, unless he’s on the ball and immediately killsthe gate, you will retake it. As a bonus, he gets no bennefits from destroying your economy points. They’ll still die when you retake the star, but now all the cash goes to YOU.


Thanks for the tips. Been putting some of this into practice already.

Great write up on this. I didn’t know about #1.

I’d recommend to noobs:

beginning of the game

  • invest in overall economy, maybe 1-2 science and then point-specific industry (where you need to build defenses).
  • focus is on economy.
  • Establish a few trade partners to maintain parity in tech while avoiding the high upgrade costs of science.
  • don’t piss off any AI players
  • save some money each round for an emergency fleet

mid game

  • start to build a series of fleet trees where you have central stars where fleets continually gather ships from surrounding stars and drop at a target star. Remember to leave 1 ship per @Macunaima’s tip #3
  • if possible, start investing in industry using the bulk upgrade as ever star will be culled for ships.
  • only invest in Science that’s $100 or less
  • continue to save for emergency trade or fleet

end game

  • invest heavily in all 3 infrastructures.
  • buy warp gates where possible and where they make sense