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Strategies and Tips for Version 2.8/2.9

From the Beginning
All right, you know the basics of every ship, you know how to pop trick, and you can overbuild and be at full BR the next turn in your sleep, what else is there to know? First off, you go to Gooseberry's Stellar Crisis School, and learn everything there is to know there. This is a great overall strategic tutorial on how to wage a successful campaign under almost any circumstance. Now let's talk about some of the specifics of the points that Gooseberry makes, and expand on them.

This is the biggest edge of all. None of the other advantages can overcome a whopping econ edge. For this reason, experienced players all agree that to win, you must colonize, and colonize, and colonize

This is elementary to you by now. Remember those newbie days when you would not build for the first 20 turns trying to reach br 6 before most people reached br 4 and go out and conquer the universe? Then only to find that a tech advantage is only useful if you are at least in the same ballpark as your opponent in terms of econ. To expand on this topic a little, there are several types of economic edges:

Potential Econ Edge
A Potential Econ Edge means that if you can colonize and max all the resources that only you have access too, you will have a larger econ than your opponent(s). Perhaps you control a key choke point in a grudge game with more than your share of systems behind it, or maybe you have allot of systems with low population and need to terraform to get them up to their full potential. Many times a player next to me will be nuked or ruin while I'm fighting on another front, making it difficult to colonize fast, or with high BR colonies, but unless another empire plows through my front, they will not be able to colonize there either.

Gaining a Potential Econ Edge
Looking at the series info is critical in any game. If you see in a grudge game that each player is supposed to have 8 systems per player and you have explored 9 or 10 systems, chances are you could gain this advantage. By finding and colonizing your opponents systems before they do, is almost a guaranteed win in a grudge game and can give you an temporary economic edge in a blood game where your neighbor will have to fight for someone else’s planets. Each planet you take a way from your opponent means a little more to your economy and a little less for his. Even if at the moment, he is dead even with you in econ, with time and patience you will eventually will have more. Even if you cannot hold on to the planets that belong to them, they will have to nuke their own planets to reclaim them or waste an early tech on troopships.
In multiplayer games, attempt to colonize and pop on planets as close to your neighbors as possible, that way you can hold your front and colonize the planets behind your builders. Also, sometimes it is a good idea to spar with your neighbor till you can explore his Home World. That way, when you make a major offensive, you can go right in and nuke the player out of the game as opposed to nuking their planets on the frontline and cutting those planet resources in half and reducing your econ when you re-colonize them. The key is to turn a potential econ edge into economic dominance, and then the game is yours.

Temporary Econ Edge
A temporary Econ Advantage is similar in chess, to being more developed than your opponent early in the game. Even though you both still have the same number of pieces, if you have more out in the middle where they can defend and attack, you have a temporary advantage. If you can turn this into a long-term advantage i.e. in chess capturing pieces or stellar crisis, gaining an econ or potential econ edge on an opponent, it can help win the game. If not taken advantage of, your opponent will normally catch up in a few turns.
This can happen several ways, the most common is if you manage to destroy one of your opponent’s colonies and keep yours alive. Maybe you pop while your opponent for whatever reason can't, and your shiny, brand new br 2 ships find his colonies at a low population, other times you have plenty of agriculture where your opponent has to terraform. This can lead to a temporary situation where your opponent has an econ of 4 and you have a developed econ of 5 or 6.

Taking Advantage of a Temporary Econ Edge
In order to make use of this situation, you must immediately overbuild and attack, because this edge will only last several turns, or the first lull in the action where your opponent can trick. Usually if you have just finished your pop and your opponent, right next door hasn't yet, a huge overbuild will at least allow you to explore some of their territory, if not nuke the next door planet. Keep in mind that at low tech levels, that satellites are almost free. Make sure you build more ships than they can build satellites in one turn! The goal here is to cash you higher econ into either a long-term econ advantage by colonizing or nuking opponent’s planets, or gain an exploration advantage while your opponent is attempting to defend their resources.

How to Gain a Temporary Econ Edge
The best way to gain the initiative is to build attacks and send them along with your colonies in games where you are likely to meet someone in the first two or three turns. This will allow you to destroy a single science ship if it happens across your colony, and prevents you from having to rebuild colonies. 2 br1 attacks cost the same as a br 1 colony or science, are cheaper to maintain, and in an emergency, can even be left on standby to destroy an incoming science during a pop trick. They can also be sent into an opponents system while you pop to prevent them from popping them or overbuilding on that planet during the turn you can't build. If 1 attack is left during a 2-1-1 pop, you won't get the full tech development, but you won't be left in the Stone Age either. (Like times you forgot to dismantle a science ship!)

Another way to gain a slight econ advantage is to colonize better planets than your opponent. A good example of this is a situation I encountered in the Lugdunum tournament. I started with two links to from my home world. The second turn, my science exploring south met with Lafrog and we both were destroyed. The planet to the west was puny and did not have enough ag to really trick off of, but the planet over where I had met Lafrog was absolutely gorgeous. 74 minerals, 76 fuel, and 38 agriculture. It was also only 1 space away from an opponents HW so if I didn't get it, he would. I had built 2 colonies and 2 attacks on turn 1, and I figured if I could just have that one planet, I would be econ ahead of the surrounding players and have a good chance of nuking Lafrog as the game went on. So I sent all 4 of my colonies and attacks south to the planet, rolling over 2 ships of Lafrog and a science of Goth in the process. After exploring all 3 links branching of my new planet, I finally saw a chance to pop, then with patience I built satellites to protection and terraformers to take full advantage of all my resources and went on to do very well in the game. Selecting this one planet took away a bunch of econ from Lafrog, gave me a temporary econ edge over Goth and Lafrog , and a base on which to launch my attacks.

The Tech Edge

A word about a technology edge: while it is a powerful advantage early in the game, as the game progresses it becomes less important. This is for several reasons. First, the opportunities for reaching a certain BR before your opponent thins out--instead of happening at 9, 16, 25, 36 (about every 10 turns) they happen at 81, 100, 121 (about every 20 turns) and of course it gets even worse. What's more, the relative value of the ships starts to become about even. While a BR 3 ship is 225% stronger than a BR 2 ship, the BR 11 ship is only 21% stronger than a BR 10 ship.
For this reason, keep in mind while playing high-tech games that in these games, long-term technology advantages are quickly eroded. If you are ahead in tech and behind in econ, your only hope is to mount an immediate attack. If you are behind in tech and ahead in econ, do everything you can to delay the major confrontations until later in the game. If you want to win by a tech edge you must do so in a timely manner, for if you wait too long, your advantage will disappear. - Goosberry

The Chart below demonstrates the power of tech represented by the maximum fleet you can maintain with 100 minerals and 100 fuel.

Maximum Fleet Power per 100 Mineral/Fuel

Maximum Fleet Power per 100 Mineral/Fuel

Fuel Per Ship
Max # Ships
Total Fuel
Remaining Fuel
Total Build
Mantainance. Ratio
Ratio in 2 Turns
Maximum w/o OB
Maximum Fleet BR
2 r.28
2 r.2
1 r.36
1 r.19


  • * At br 7, there is enougth fuel left over to have 2 of the attacks be Minesweepers or 1 br 4 attack - (in parethesees)
    Fuel per ship is how much fuel an attack uses at listed BR
    Max # Ships is how many attacks you can mantain with 100 fuel
    Total Fuel is how much of the 100 fuel would be used, Remaining Fuel is how much is left over. If you have some extra fuel you could use it to build one more ship (like in the paretheses of BR 7) 8 fuel will give you a minesweeper to go with the Fleet
    Total Build is how much minerals would be required to build the maximum number of ships.
    Mantainance Ratio of the ships the turn you build them
    Mantainance Ratio of the ships 2 turns after built *Note all but a Max Build at BR1 would be at or very near full BR after 2 turns
    Maximum Fleet that could be built without overbuilding (per 100 minerals)
    Maximum BR of Fleet at full BR

A Couple of Things to Note about Technology
First, The maximum fleet power approximately doubles every time the tech doubles. Even though a br 2 ship is 4 x as powerful as a
br 1, the difference in max fleet is only 2 x as much. At br 4 you can build a fleet that is twice as powerful as at br 2, a br 6 fleet is 2 x as powerful as a br 3 fleet. Notice the pattern? Notice that a br 6 ship is also 4x as powerful as a br 3 ship.(36 - 9) That is because a ship that has twice the br is 4 x as powerful but requires 2 x the fuel and minerals to maintain.

Gooseberry tells us that a br 3 ship is 225%stronger than a br 2 ship, and a br 11 ship is only 21% stronger than a br 10 ship. But a br 3 fleet is only 150 % stronger than a br 2 fleet, and a br 11 fleet is only 7% stronger than a br 10 fleet! Thats why closing off your links to your Home World and waiting till BR 5 never helped you much when you were a Newbie!

Econ x Tech = Max Military Power
Want to quickly know if your econ of 8 and tech of 6 will be able to defeat your opponent of econ 10 and tech still at 5? Times your econ and current tech and compare it to the product of your opponents tech and econ
The result will be you: 6 x 8 = 48 and your opponent: 10 x 5 = 50, so assuming both of you have approximate ratios of fuel and minerals in your econ and you ignore satellites and the need for minesweepers, science ships etc, if both of you clash with maxed fleets, you will lose by a very small amount.
If the techs were you at br 4 and your opponent at br 3 then you would score 8 x 4 = 32, your opponent 10 x 3 = 30. At this lower tech under the previous conditions, you would win by a tiny amount!

How to use a Tech Edge
Gooseberry is right on the money, if you want to take advantage of a tech edge, it must be done quickly! Seldom is it wise to forego Econ or potential Econ for the sake of moving up the tech development a little faster. A higher tech is only an advantage in an all out one-on-one braw, if your econs are within 10 - 20 % of each other. Second, when mounting an attack, the key to using your tech edge is how many turns ahead of your opponent you reach the next tech.

1 Turn Ahead - Not a huge advantage. If you do a 2 turn overbuild, the next turn you opponent will see it and reach the next tech. Since you might wait one turn before moving in, your opponent can match you. If you choose to move in before being at full BR, your opponent could decide not to overbuild and wreak havoc on your fleet as it moves in

2 Turns Ahead - This is a pretty big advantage. In order to match your fleet, your opponent will have to overbuild at a lower br or wait till you move in to reach the same br. This is a good way to get a quick nuke on a border planet.

3 or More Turns Ahead - If you overbuild at this tech level it allows you more time to travel before you get to your destination, and almost forces your opponent to build at, and stay at a the lower tech level, or lose a planet or 2 in the process.

Tech Selections

In the beginning of games and in Low Tech Fares, Tech selection can mean the difference between victory and ending up as glowing ball of hot ashes. Never, waste your techs at any time, and especially in the beginning of the game. Your friendly neighbor could get the best of you and you will have an urgent need for a mine or some satellites, and not have the options left.
Getting to the next tech level in order to get a desperately needed tech might be the exception to sacrificing some econ for tech.
Here are some rules of thumb to saving your selections:

Using Tech Selections
The key to successfully using the tech development is to first match the selections to either your style of play or the type of game you must play, as well as with the availability of tech. Gooseberry goes over the different styles of play you could use based on your tech selections in his description of the Desert Blitz Detail. In games where those new tech developments don't come very often, planning, flexibility and most of all, grabbing opportunities when they present themselves are critical.

Here is a good example of some common, unnecessary tech selections that veteran players make

- Building satellites when attacks would do
- Troopships in the beginning of the game?!
- Selecting dooms-days or cloakers before essential techs such as minesweepers, terraformers or stargates
- Selecting minesweepers before being able to mount a significant attack
- Picking terraformers before BR 3 ( they don't help econ much at low BR levels)
- Selecting stargate when there are builders on the front

The main reason these tech selections may be ill advised is that in the first 3 tech selections, you pick your capabilities and resistance to attack with these first 3 techs. For example, Lets say in the first few moves of a blood game you manage to colonize a couple of good builder worlds and pop. Both your builders could use a little terraforming so you select terraformer and build a terraformer and a science or 2. The next turn you discover an opponent moving in with a small fleet, in order to destroy it you would need to either build a couple of attacks and move your sciences into your world, or get a mine. You chose the latter and now have no tech options for another 2 turns or so. Your mine explodes killing the fleet and then lo and behold your science discovers the enemy fleets HW. You have a whopping 5 to 3 econ advantage but no tech options for a minesweeper. So you decide to wait a couple of turns to reach br 3, then you select sweepers and build a nice little fleet and head towards the void. To your dismay however, you see your weakling enemy close off the link to his HW. Now you will have to wait to br 4! Your little fleet has nothing to do, so you go back to work exploring and colonizing. A couple of unexplored links close before you can get to them and you see your targets econ start to rise as he colonizes the closed off worlds. Now you meet another empire on your other front. He finds one of your builders, and launches an all out attack from an unexplored link, which you could of stopped... if you had satellites. The builder is nuked, but you finish off the fleet before it can do more damage, all is not lost if you can launch a counter attack. You re-colonize the planet just as you reach br 4, but the only way to get some sweepers and fresh br 4's to the front is with a stargate, and that means you'd have to leave the first empire alone till you reach br 5. You could engineer of the second empire and go for the kill on the first, but without a stargate, it would take too long to get the engineer to the second front.

None of the tech selections were really bad, but a couple were unnecessary
You might of been able to hold off on terraformers, if there were high ag planets near by, colonizing a planet you normally wouldn't because it has a high ag but nothing else with a br 1 colony, can make a great substitute for terraforming in the first part of the game, and allow you to use another tech till you can breathe a little and max out your economy. Although mines can stop a fleet w/o out a sweeper cold, it might of been better in the long run to stop it with ships you already have and/or could build. One of these techs might have been alright, but using up all your available techs can completely hamper your play. Remember, your opponents can count, and if they see you running around with nonessential techs early in the game, they know you won't have a sweeper, engineer, minefield, or satellite when you really need one. Even if you never choose one or more of these techs in a game ( you would have to choose minesweeper eventually), it is important for you to have the ability to select one of these techs in an emergency.

Getting Along With Fewer Selections

- Don't Select Minesweepers until reasonably sure your opponent would have to/be able to resort to a minefield
- Use an engineer to stop and slow down an attack instead of satellites and mines
- If an enemy has already selected minesweepers and never attacks w/o them, why select mines?
- Satellites are very effective at low BR, but become less "cheap" as the game progresses. At higher BR's just use attacks
- Create builders instead of using a stargate
- If the map has worlds with high ag, but low on the minerals, colonize them with br1 colonies and keep the population down at 1, so you can maximize other planets and create builders in strategic locations. Don't terraform early on unless you
have to!

In general, don't waste techs early in the game on troopships, doomsdays or cloakers unless it leads to an significant economic or tech difference or gets/prevents a nuke

Now what you all have been waiting for... rating the techs by importance!
This is a list of the importance of techs based on your standard multiplayer 2.8/2.9 version game

Tech Selection Rank

Essential - If you want to win you will have to have these

- Minesweeper - Try nuking a HW without them
- Engineer - I never surrender, so you have to come find me! Great for both offense and defense

Important - Key to a strong economy, which is key to the game

-Terraformers - To win the game you need to maximize the resources. Just not at br 1 or 2
- Stargate - It would be hard to colonize, terraform and attack if you had to do it all from builders

Useful - Handy in many types of game situations

- Minefield - Forces enemies to select sweepers, defend and overbuild at the same time, tech saving
- Satellite - can save your butt early in the game, save your fuel later on. Allow you to defend while fighting far away

Toys - Handy in specific situations, usually not wise as the first 3-4 selection choices

- Cloaker - Cloakers can be very useful for surprise attacks, creating double attacks and desperation if losing
- Doomsday - If all you want to do is slow down or take away econ from your opponent
- Troopship - If you need every scrap of econ while troop tricking is good for rapidly advancing into territory

What does this all mean? First off, In most multiplayer games where attacks, colonies and sciences are predeveloped, you will need to reach br 4 to get all the essential and important techs to win the game, any of the 5 techs after that will delay your victory by 1 tech level. For example if you select both satellite and minefields as early defense and later on select cloakers to do a surprise attack, it will be br 7 before you have all the tech options you need to subdue everyone. Every tech option you can do without is one more option you have during the middle or the end of the game when things can change in a hurry.

Gaining and Using a Tech Selection Edge
Now that you know what not to choose, here is how to force or lure an opponent to use his selections and to take advantage of the opportunity if they don't the ability to develop a certain tech.

Engineering off a link requires the enemy to develop engineers if they want to get at what your closing. It can be simple as you closing a link before an empire with a superior fleet can reach your planets, thus delaying the inevitable, or engineering of links to a recently expired empire, allowing you to colonize at your leisure. If the other empire cannot or decides not to develop the tech, their fleet must either be disbanded or wait outside your borders till the tech is developed and brought to the front, or they must allow you colonize the planets you have sealed off without a fight. Also if you have engineers and your opponent doesn't you can discover unexplored links and map information, leading to double attacks - see Gooseberry's Page about the double attack and launch surprise attacks without your opponent being able to close/open the links.

Force a player to choose minefields early on. Usually the mere threat of mines keeps most empires honest by placing minesweepers in their fleets, however, it isn't required to have mines, only to have the selection for emergencies and advantageous situations. For example, if you hit br 3 and still have a bunch of br 2 attacks around, why not throw them at your opponents builder? BR 2 attacks require hardly any maintenance, and chances are, your opponent will not be sure of their BR rating. Most players get off on destroying 5-6 ships attacks at once with a br 1 mine, they don't need to know that they were br2, maybe even br 1's attacks that were neglected, underpowered, under fueled and destined to be dismantled anyways. Selecting the mine tech at br 2 or 3 might deny them terraformers, minesweepers, a stargate, or something they really could of used! You were going to have to build sweepers eventually anyways, might as well make sure they have the bomb, if you have to invest in the cure.
If you both are at early br 3 and you notice that your opponent doesn't have the tech options for minefields, i.e., they have sweepers, terraformers and a stargate. Maybe this is the time to do an attack and science ship rush or even more fun, select cloakers and nuke their builders with some cloaker tricks! You always want to have the option of selecting mines, when cloakers are overhead!

Coax a player into selecting cloakers or troopships. Cloakers are most deadly when they are a surprise. Once you know your opponent has them, they either have made an impact or they are a wasted tech. Try keeping some small pathetic world, with little econ. where your opponents can see conspicuously unguarded. Defend it like normal against regular invasions, but pull back when no threat is visible. the temptation will be too much for some players and a few turns later the planet will vanish in a flash of nuclear fire, spoiling any further surprise attacks and wasting the an early tech on cloakers. Be careful with this one, because a player who knows how to use cloakers can be deadly with them.
If you get a chance to colonize a planet that belongs to your enemy early in the game, and you will not be able to hold it. Keep the population on it low and try to entice him to troop it as opposed to nuke it. Maybe you can even make a deal with him that he does something for you (like engineer off the link and doomsday the planet between the two of you!) that you will let him troop it. He then will waste a tech on what, in my opinion, is the most useless tech in the game, and if you have an evil bent, as he sets the troop ship to invade, you could either pop the population way and above what he can invade, forcing him to nuke and troop it, or if his BR is a little higher, say at 3 or 4, you could set the population down to 0 the turn he invades, leaving the planet with no population and an easy target for a future assault.

Force a larger empire to spend selections on defense, and coax a smaller empire to spend tech on offense. See if you can force a larger empire to defend something with mines, satellites, and engineers. Lure a smaller empire to get sweepers, cloakers, and troopships

Tell a newbie that the only way to nuke a HW is with a doomsday. This is just a joke, but if you ever get someone to believe it, let me know. : )

The Map Edge

If you haven't already, or even if you have, go back to Gooseberry's Stellar Crisis School and read the section entitled, The Double Attack.

This perhaps the strongest tactic available in the game. Here Gooseberry describes one instance of a double attack, but there is more than one way to create this type of threat in an average game. One way is colonize early and pop on planets that have two or more links leading to your enemy. Even if you don't manage to colonize and hold the adjoining systems yourself, your opponent will be put immediately in the same position as was described by Gooseberry. Another way to create or destroy double attacks is by opening and closing links to create a double possibly even a triple threat. When you do roll into an opponent’s territory using this tactic, try to keep this mentality. When you are playing pool, you not only want to hit the ball that your aiming for into the pocket but you also want to set up yourself for an easy next shot. For an example, if one of the planets has another 2 links off of it, maybe you can not only nuke that planet, but immediately set up another double attack as well!
Another way to create a double threat is with cloakers. For example lets say you roll into your opponents builder with a small fleet that he could defeat in one turn. Perhaps your two turns ahead of him in tech, so he supposes he will just build some attacks there the next turn and chase you around till he catches you. Surprise! On an adjacent world to the builder, uncloak several cloakers. You can either set the cloakers to nuke and move in your minesweeper and attacks, or you can move in your cloakers to support your sweeper and attacks set to nuke. Either way, you opponent can't build enough to prevent both possible scenarios. Time to toss a coin! The most simple multiple threat with cloakers, is if your opponent is defending his backfield with attacks. Just have two or three cloakers all uncloak one link from each other, you could set all three cloakers to nuke or have one of the other cloakers move in to support one of the others, your opponent will have to cover all the possible scenarios or risked being nuked.

Exploration Edge
Another advantage that is mentioned but not really expanded on other than the phantom army trick, is if you can see more of the map than your opponent. Tactics and tricks aside, there are several reasons why this would an advantage. If you see allot more of the map in the beginning, you have a better idea of which systems to control in order to have the most systems on your side of the fence, also you can see the best planets to colonize first, and perhaps can find away of colonizing that maximizes your agriculture ratio, and/or allows you to prolong or avoid terraforming all together. It also gives you a chance to see which techs your opponent is choosing, and allows you to select the order in which you invade his systems. (Setting up double attacks, one after another.) Finally, if you can see where their Home World is, and they don't have a clue where you are yet, It gives rise to all kinds of strategies, from Cloaker-Over-the-Home-World-You-better-have-Mines, to the desperation, Hail-Mary Rush of the enemy Home World when losing.

Tactical Uses for an Exploration Edge

Surprise from unexplored systems
Lets say you and your opponent's sciences destroy each other. Your colony likes where it is at so you immediately disband, colonize and trick while your opponent moves his colony to the world you both had just explored and pops as well. So now you have a builder, and he will the following turn, the difference is, that you are one turn ahead in terms of building, and He can't see you! Well first off, while he is popping, you are overbuilding. There are several ways you can do this. First you can build several sciences and a couple of attacks and a sweeper. The following turn you move in all your ships except the sweeper, you will immediately run over his science or two he has built to explore his links. The following turn you can explore all the links connected to his builder set the attacks to nuke and bring in your lone sweeper. It is almost a sure bet that your opponent will build a mine since all he sees are sciences and attacks and you will nuke the builder, explore the links beyond and if your science ships find themselves alive over another system of his, you could set the science to nuke, and move your fleet in to support. If you have 2 not just one science you could explore further with one and set the other to nuke while ordering your attacks and sweeper to cover.
If you are not in a hurry, and want to be careful, why not keep all you ships there, and bring in the sweeper? That way if your opponent ops for satellites you will still nuke the builder. If your really lucky, he will use his only two remaining tech selections on satellites and a minefield, and you will still nuke him! If he somehow gets your sweeper, and sets off the mine, no problem. you have a builder next to a non-builder and your next onslaught will do the trick.

This wonderful ploy is due to the fact that your opponent colonized where he could not see the links beyond, this would generally be a no, no, but sometimes is unavoidable. Taking advantage of knowing what your opponent can and cannot see can lead to some huge advantages. A great example of a trick pulled on me was in a 4 system per player Blood. I just had nuke a smaller empire and had digested them. My neighbor to my north had kindly engineered us off in order to avoid being double-teamed. After a few turns, I started to get bored and had the urge to open up the link, and to explore a couple of links while my neighbor was busy elsewhere. I built a small fleet, using about 60-70% of my fuel then gated in an engineer to open the link. On my engineer menu, I noticed that there was an unexplored link to my west and I immediately got excited. I had previously met another empire and I knew he was somewhere near since he had uncloaked a cloaker in the system where my engineer was, so I also knew that he could see my systems. Well, since I couldn't resist, I opened the link and sent my science ship in and was met with a nasty surprise, my unseen opponent had built a fleet as large as he could handle and he destroyed my fleet in the first blow. A few turns later he had nuked a couple of my worlds, and brought me down to about the same econ as him, and finally, after a couple of clashes, I manage to destroy his fleet. In the process I was forced to nuke a couple of my planets he had nuked and colonized in the onslaught, leaving them at 1/4 their previous resources.

Another ploy to use that involves unseen systems usually works best on really large maps. If you find you have a colony deep into unexplored territory that your opponent has the best chance to colonize, pick a planet with only one link to it. Colonize, and gate in an engineer to close off the link. As your opponent starts to explore and colonize, you hopefully will be able to see a good portion of the surrounding planets. This only works if there are plenty of planets in another part of the map for you to colonize, or else you will start losing the battle of the econs. You can use this planet as gate, if there are range restrictions on stargates/jumpgates and at anytime you deem appropriate you can build a huge maxed fleet and cut through the visible systems like butter before you opponent can mount a defense to stop you. Being right in middle of the map allows you to do double, triple and possibly even quadruple attacks on his visible systems, throw in a bunch of br1's and cloakers, it will be quite a few turns, if ever, before your opponent can clean up the mess you made! I got a nuke using this once!(make sure you colonize some of the worlds as you nuke them so you can keep gating in reinforcements!)

The Hail-Mary Rush, " Dubious" and Deadly
Lets say there is a bottleneck that your opponent controls. You have a slightly smaller econ, but where he only has explored a system or two into your territory where you have explored quite a few of his systems. For kicks, lets say he has manipulated the populations of most if not all the worlds you have explored and has turned them all into builders, plus he is constantly throwing huge fleets at you so, cloakers is not the way to go. Here is what you do. Make sure you have a stargate and engineers, and mines would be nice as well. If you can afford it, engineer off as many links as you can before you begin. preferably where he can't see so that he won't suspect a thing. Wait till he decides to overbuild a really huge fleet and head out of the bottleneck. As he moves into your first world, stargate a large fleet of attacks and one engineer over the same world. Make sure you have a couple of sweepers and colonies and one engineer. Your ships will hover over your world and his fleet when they appear. Now your fleet will not be enough to save your planet, but that is all right the next turn you move your ships, into his territory. Hopefully he will take the bait and nuke your front builder and then move further into your territory. If he hesitates just one turn then you can engineer off your escape into his territory. If he decides to move on to your next world, seal the link behind you and nuke the his first world, then it should turn into a nuke contest. He will nuke one of your planets, you'll nuke one of his, the idea is that you have the advantage because you don't have to explore, then move in, because you have an exploration advantage. He will soon come across your closed links and realize that he will have to not only explore, but also open the link first! The mines are useful since you can keep your fleet running in his territory and mine your planets as he attempts to explore, costing him time and science ships. Soon your opponent will have to either dismantle and defend his homeland, giving you time for another nuke or two or allow you to nuke 2 worlds for his one. If you can see his HomeWorld, or happen to find it, then viola! Your Hail-Mary Pass won you the game. What if your opponent nukes your front world then merely follows you into his territory? Here is a handy cloaker trick that can still get you at least one nuke, perhaps the HomeWorld if done right!

The Scatter
This is one of my personal favorite strategies in those large 2.8/2.9 games at Regansburg. If you have explored allot of your enemies territory behind his Front Line, build a huge fleet of colonies, sciences and minesweepers and launch an attack. Instead of nuking the first world you can, just keep moving till you are in an area of his map with 4 links going out in different directions. Now scatter! Send ships in random directions, then after a couple of turns, have some of the ships nuke, some come in from adjacent systems to support the nuke, some to wander off over non builder worlds. As soon as you manage to nuke and colonize a world, Stargate in reinforcements. To make it even more effective, have some at full br, most at br1 and a few at whatever br in between. Whenever you colonize, once again gate in 4 or more ships of varying br's and scatter! br 1 mines are little defense as 1 in 3 ships is a sweeper, plus if a mine does go off, there is some ship that could move in and try to nuke the planet while it no longer is a builder. The best defense against this tactic is to engineer off worlds well ahead of time, if you know your opponent can see large blocks of your territory.

Gaining an Exploration Edge
In order to use the tactics above, you need to find away to see more of the map than your opponent. Most people build 1 science ship per link that they see, and in my opinion, this is the minimum. There is nothing worse than a science ship coming into your Home World via an unexplored link, while your are overbuilding or popping. Also the link you don't explore is invariable the best system to pop off of from your home planet. In 3.0 games, having your HomeWorld explored at any time usually spells the end for you since your opponent may jump a fleet in whenever they feel like it. So first, explore every link off your Home World and secondly build extra sciences if you can. With one link, 2 explores is good, 2 links you could use 4! One thing I frequently do is build 3 science ships, allow the first two to explore, then make a decision on where to move the third science, based on the links to the newly explored systems. Next, to prevent your opponent from gaining the exploration advantage on you, send out attacks with your colonies. a colony and an attack paired together, will stop an incoming science cold, and will allow you to destroy an incoming science while popping as well. Make sure you do not build so much that your sciences are under maintained. Even if you are at .98 maintenance, if your science runs into another, yours will be destroyed while your opponent will get at least on more link explored.

Delay Pop Tricking
If your sciences are doing a great job exploring, and if you have even managed to destroy one or two of their sciences with your colony/attacks pairs, why not let them go for a little longer? Lets say you are attempting a 2-1-1 pop (2 on your home world and 2 br 1 colonies)That is a total of 4 fuel, enough for 1 attack, but nothing else. If there is not danger, let them colonize without popping and keep your sciences running. The next turn your colonies will be at population 2, then the following turn they will be at 4. You now can do a 8-4-4 pop which will allow you 16 fuel, or enough to keep one science ship and one attack. So those two turns you can get an extra 2 turns of exploration out of your sciences and then keep one alive through your pop!

Sending more than on Science through a link
Lets say you move a small fleet into a world that has two unexplored links. Normally you would take 2 science ships and explore each link. Too Predictable. Why not bring in 3 science ships? You could send 2 through one and 1 through another. Your opponent will have to prepare for the possibility that either link could have 2 science ships coming through so now instead of building one attack on the other side of each link, he has to build 2! He could select mines as a tech, but that may first of all, not be possible, and second the player may not want his builders population to be blasted in half if you have a fleet right next to it. And if he does select mines, and blasts the incoming sciences, it may have prevented him from getting engineers, to close those links, or terraformers, to boost his economy, or minesweepers to counterattack till the next tech increase. Finally, many players like to meet an incoming sciences ship with 2 satellites or attacks anyways, so that the defending ships are not destroyed. Now the player will lose both defending ships in one direction, forcing them to have to replace those two ships. If there are three links, how about 4 science ships, for the same effect. Now the defender has to prepare to meet 2 science ships in three different locations. If you really want to screw them up, send all your science ships in through one link! If they haven't built a mine, chances are that you will rollover any defenses they have set up, you can set one of the sciences to nuke, and have the other 2-3 explore deeper in. Your fleet behind you will cover the nuking science, and you could always send some more science ships in from behind to explore the links you missed.

Select Engineers as a tech fairly early on
Assuming that you can find all the systems are yours, why not try getting engineers after popping and hide some critical planets? Good planets to hide are planets with only one link near the front - See the surprise attack from unexplored links-, your home planet, and maybe route the links so that any incoming enemy sciences will be directed over builders, giving you a more defensive position and making cloakers less of a menace. Finally, you can use your engineers as "sniffers" to get a sense of what the enemy map is like and find those unexplored links. This will allow you to launch surprise attacks and explorations into their territory, in a deadlocked game, and help counteract potential 'neer ambushes that your opponent may launch. Engineers are handy in 2.8/2.9 games of Stellar Crisis, but if you don't get them early on in a game with jumpgates(version 3.0 +), then you are just asking to be nuked.

Explore Trading Partners and Allies
Explore your allies, it makes them a little less likely to double-cross you, and you can help them out if they get in trouble. In Blood games where there is truce or trade, try to trade with everyone, and explore everything they will let you.
See Blood Game Etiquette

*Note* I don't condone, in an alliance game, of using trade to scout your opponent, then immediately going to war with someone. However, it is up to that player to realize that they are being taken advantage of and to do something about it

If you do not want an empire to explore your territory while at truce or trade in a blood game, you have two options, go to war with that empire or use engineers to close off what you don't want them to see. If you allow someone to explore you without doing one of these two things, its your own fault when they come rushing your Home World at the most inopportune time. The second part of this, explore as much as you can while at peace. Many times you can't be sure what worlds are yours or theirs so explore as much as they will allow you to see. Perhaps they are too busy to stop you as they are fighting another front, but when it is time for the both of you to fight, you should have a nice exploration edge.

Putting It All Together

In conclusion, even if you are an avid player 3.0 games with the new ship types, I believe that it is important to master the 2.8/2.9 games. First they last longer, and they teach you how to defend and use interesting ship types that you normally might select in a game with jumpgates. It's hard to learn cloaker tactics when all you have to do is jumpgate your whole fleet over an enemy world to get a nuke, and why troop trick when you rarely even use stargate tech? Most of all they seem to be the standard at most tournaments.

Just as Gooseberry quoted the fact that Steinitz showed how small advantages could add up to a superior position, just think how easily it would be to win a game where you had just a little bit more econ, could see a little more of the map, and were one turn ahead in getting the next tech? A good player could easily turn this into a win.

Hopefully Gooseberry won't sue me : ) for referring so much to his webpage, I owe allot of my playing style to his ideas, and allot of my tactics I have came up with on my own were discovered while using Gooseberry's strategies.


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