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Tips and Traps

This page is dedicated to special tactics with certain ships, servers or versions, and previously little known or undocumented tactics. Some of which could be useful, many are sneaky, a few may even be considered "dirty" by some. A few serve little, if any practical value at all but merely are amusing ways to annoy your opponents. If you have any of your own, that you would like to get credit for, or if you see any mistakes, exceptions or countermeasures for any of these tactics listed, feel free to email me

Naming & Icon



Tactics & Maneuvers

Ship Tactics


Cloakers are by far, the most tactically useful ship in the game. The one thing to keep in mind, is if you are playing an aggressive enemy, who is constantly putting on the pressure, cloakers can use up much needed minerals and fuel to defend. Also the minefield is the cloaker’s nemesis. If it your opponent does not have mines, cloaker tactics can be especially deadly. Cloakers lose lots of usefulness in 3.0 games due to the surprise factor now rests with the jumpgate, which can gate in minesweeper suppport.

*all of the following tactics are found on Skias Cloaker Tactics*

Destroying an engineer to prevent it from opening a link

Destroying br1 stargates

Setting of mines, before a fleet moves in

Nuking non-builders

Harassment - Cloaking and uncloaking, forcing opponent to repeatedly build

The Grion Trick - Uncloak one cloaker, set to nuke, then uncloak one or more cloakers to support the nuke. This is the reason you want mines against cloakers. When you see a lone cloaker over a builder, you never know if its just a br1 distraction, or if it is full br cloaker with any number of other cloakers uncloaking the next turn for support!

Blasting the overbuild - This requires more luck and anticipation since most servers have invisible builds now. If you can see the planet where they would most likely overbuild (1 turn away from the threatened planet). This could still work great. Just overbuild, then the next turn uncloak a cloaker where they would be likely to overbuild

Tipping the Balance - If you have someone who keeps matching your fleets on attacks, even a br1 cloaker will allow several ships to survive, giving you the nuke. They may mistake your present tech level as well. If your opponent likes to build a couple of ships more than you, building a full br cloaker, and one at 1 br less will damage their fleet to the point where it would take 4 or more turns w/o building to reach the next br. - see superweak ships on Gooseberry's Page

* The following are not Skias Page*

Racing the fleet - Many times you may move in a fleet over an enemy world, and you opponent will build a bigger fleet next to the system with the intent to move in next turn and prevent the nuke. You may move your fleet into another system while your opponent chases, always one turn behind, never giving you time to set your fleet to nuke. If you have a cloaker, you could uncloak it in a world you will move your fleet to, the following turn. Just set the cloaker to nuke as your fleet moves in to support, leaving your enemy’s fleet one turn away with nothing more to do except watch the nuke. A fatal mistake, if the planet you uncloak over is his Home World! * This was one of the tactics that Lucky listed on Del Hart's Forum which no longer is available

Creating a double attack - There are many ways to do this. One way is to move into an opponent’s world with a small fleet and the same time, in an adjacent system, uncloak a cloaker or two. Now your opponent can cover your fleet, but what if the cloakers move in and support? He can cover your two cloakers with a mine, but what if you move your fleet in with sweeper support? Both systems are in danger of being nuked and your opponent has to guess which one to defend!

The Christmas Cloaker – This is one of the most dubious tactics of all, and I still haven’t got it to work, but one day, I will! Some of us update at work, some of us at school, and some of us at home. If you ever see a pattern when someone misses an update or if a holiday is coming up i.e. Christmas, and your desperate. Try this. When I used to work a night job, I used to find it very difficult to update sometimes on Monday, and I would occasionally miss the first update of the week. So this tactic would of worked on me if anyone had figured it out. Simply build a low br cloaker, preferably br 2 so it can take out a stargate, and keep it cloaked at some ones HW. The turn before you suspect they may miss an update, uncloak. The next turn your cloaker will be there, and all you have to do is set it to nuke. This did work once for me on an ally who started to idle. I was able to go to war, uncloak and nuke before the other players got there. ( That was my newbie days, I don’t keep cloakers in an ally’s HW very often anymore : ) ! )

Emergency Overbuild - Stargates work better for this, but if you do not have one (or if its your HW being Attacked!), and if a builder of yours is being attacked with an overbuilt fleet, normally you would just overbuild in a world that is safe, behind the builder then the next turn moving in. If you don't have another builder, this could work. Overbuild cloakers ( make sure that the servers cloakers are built cloaked!) That turn your enemy will not see nor harm the weak cloakers, but the following turn you uncloak as they reach full br. This could lead to lead to another advantage. If your opponent does not see any stargated ships nor any ships in nearby systems that could come in stop the nuke, he may be tempted to keep moving his ships and only leave enough to nuke the planet. therefore not only would your cloakers prevent the nuke, but many of them would survive as well!

In pure desperation, say if your HW is the target and the fleet is so large that even if you built cloakers, you will still be nuked, this might work. Overbuild as many cloakers as you can, maybe leave enough for a minefield the turn you uncloak in case he doesn't fall for it. (You may get lucky and get his sweeper(s) )Congratulate your opponent, tell him you are not going to resist and if he hurries, he might be able to beat some other empire in colonizing your soon to be empty systems. Your opponent, not seeing any visible threat, may pack up and leave only enough ships to insure he gets the nuke. The following turn half his fleet, including all his sweepers are gone!

False Tech Increase - If your opponent has explored your systems well and the both of you are off on a race to the next br. Building a medium size fleet and then enough cloakers so that any number crunching opponent will assume you have already reached the next br based on the ships he sees compared to your military rating. He might guess you have cloakers, but he will not be sure. He would then have to build enough ships at a lower br trying to match your fleet power. There are times in a very close game that an opponent will surrender, or make a deal if he believes you have the upper hand or have reached a critical tech first. It also gives credence to the saying from the Art of War to pretend to be strong when weak, and pretend to be weak when strong. You could also build attacks or satellites out of sight of your opponent to achieve the same effect, it would just be difficult to use it.

Credence to a Fake Fleet or SatelliteWall - Playeers well-versed in the game will keep tabs on how many visible ships you have compared to how high your military rating is, in order to ascertain your current tech level and to guess if you are using a fake fleet or cloakers. Cloakers will make your military rating seem higher than it should, a fake fleet or satellite wall will not raise your military rating, thus raising an opponents suspicion that the fleet/wall is fake. If you combine the two, it would be very difficult to discern from this method.

For example: You build a large cloaker fleet along with 2 full br sweepers and 1 br attack for every cloaker built. The ships seen will match the your military rating, thus they will not be alarmed to either tactic you are using. If you could keep your br 1 fleet dancing long enough without actually fighting, you could place your cloakers to do any number of tactics. i.e. Uncloaking one over a builder then the rest thecloakers uncloak following turn for the nuke. Uncloaking the entire cloaker fleet, the same time moving the sweepers one system away and creating a double attack. Spliting your br 1 fleet up and then uncloaking your entire fleet to support the minesweeper in it's nuke.

With a fake satellite wall, you could give your an opponent an apparent breather since you have a large number of satellites in a key system and will assume you have taken a defensive posture. Since he believes he will not be attacked, he may relax his guard and start to colonize terraform or build tech, when suddenly from out of nowhere you cloakers uncloak over recently colonized planets, destroy science, colony and terraform ships, or uncloak over several builders at once forcing your opponent to select mines or build like crazy. A variation of this would be to use a real satellite wall then send out br 1 cloakers with an occasional full br ship to uncloak and cloak over enemy systems, again forcing your opponent to select mines, or constantly build!

Cloaker Countermeasures

Here some of the more effective countermeasures for cloakers:

Never let an opponent explore you in the first place - This is by far the best countermeasure. Cloakers with few exceptions are an offensive weapon so if you prevent exploration, then you prevent many of their tactics. Be wary when taking over an opponents or his allies worlds. Also if you are racing another empire to colonize a recently expired empires systems. They now can see you so now you must take other preventative measures.

Engineer off links to your critical and unprotected systems - This is the next best preventive measure. If you close the links quickly, after you colonize an explored system, or shortly after your backfield has been explored, you can prevent many cloaker tricks.

Make smaller planets builders - If you have some planets that are accessible and have a significant number of a certain resources that are key to your economy, consider making them builders. A good example is a system with little minerals or fuel but lots of agriculture. If that is not feasible, consider making the planet a temporary builder in order to place a br 1 or 2 mine or satellite, then drop the population back down to normal levels. this will prevent unsupported br 1cloaker nukes on your system. Attacks of varying br's can be used as well, but are a little more expensive. If a full br cloaker takes out the satellite, at least you know that it is not a br1 distraction!

Always save a tech selection for mines - The worst thing that can happen is someone launches a cloaker assault and you have no way of mining your builders or Home World. It is impossible to tell if the cloaker over your Home World is a br 1 decoy, or a full br cloaker with other cloakers prepared to uncloak next turn to support the nuke. A single br 1 mine can make sure that no matter how many unseen cloakers there are, you will not be nuked that turn!

Keep offensive pressure on an opponent, especially if you know they have cloakers - Lots of cloakers hidden in your systems, even br 1's cost quite a bit of fuel and minerals. When you know an opponent is using cloakers, one of the best defenses is a good offense. Send maxed fleets at your opponents systems and keep him defending. It is very hard to defend and use cloaker tactics at the same time. If they managed to nuke a system with a cloaker, try to nuke one of their systems with your fleet.

Keep a mine in your Home World if you might miss an update or if you are going in for the kill - If you are steamrolling towards your opponents HW, it doesn't hurt to put a mine in your Home World. Especially if he has a fleet that is two turns away. Some players will uncloak a cloaker as a last ditch effort to pull out a win, so check your map carefully and build a mine at the home front.

Access the risk of cloakers and watch your opponents military rating - Constantly assess your map and see where cloakers would be most effective. Try to at least force them to use full br cloakers as opposed to br 1's. Constantly watch your opponents military rating to see if it seems higher than it should be, test satellite walls and fleets with a single attack to test if they are real once in awhile. Also keep tabs on your opponent. Some players use them a lot, some players never use them at all. If you have played this opponent many times before and they never have used cloakers, you may be a little less paranoid. Remember... Know thy enemy!



Stargates are one of the other techs that lend themselves to various tactics. The key to most of the stargate tricks, is the fact that the ships do not fight the round they are gated, meaning they could be under maintained or br1 decoy ships and your opponent would not know till the following turn

The Safe Overbuild - This is the most basic use of the stargate other than gating ships to non-builder worlds. If an opponent moves in a large fleet just outside your world, you can overbuild a defensive fleet and gate it to the enemies target destination. Your fleet will arrive after the enemy fleet and they will not fight till the following turn. Giving your ships the chance to reach full br before fighting.

If your Home world is near or at the front, try building a stargate behind you HW so you can gate overbuilt fleets to it in emergencies

Gaining the Initiative - the next most common tactic is to build a large fleet and stargate it next to an enemy planet. If you have a tech or econ edge, your opponent will not be able to build enough ships and have them heal in 2 turns. A common tactic is to build a huge fleet and attempt to colonize, even with a br 1 colony, the system between your planet and the planet of your foe. Then after that fleet is destroyed, to overbuild again and stargate it right outside your opponents system. You could also do a max overbuild (as many ships as you have fuel) that takes two turns to heal. Build the first turn and hold to allow them to heal to halfway, then stargate them the second turn, surprising a foe who has only built a 1 turn overbuild!

The Surprise Attack. - Again, you and your opponent are right next to each other. Overbuild an attack fleet where your stargate is, and in the system where you plan to attack from, build a terraformer or an engineer. They will assume you are not going to attack, so hopefully they will not build at all in that world that turn. (or they will stargate a fleet in!) The next turn, you have your one harmless ship which is at full br, move into their system while jumping the attack fleet in from behind. If they have not built anything there that turn, assuming you were busy closing the link or terraforming, you can set your one ship to nuke and move the rest of your fleet in to help.

You can also do this with cloakers. Overbuild, then the following turn (so your cloakers are at full br as well) uncloak the a cloaker or two in your enemies world, while stargating a fleet to your next-door system . 2 cloakers will hopeful destroy that lone terraformer or science they may have built, while your fleet appears from nowhere right outside their system. Your opponent will not be able to react in just one turn

The Hail Mary Rush - Can you see your opponents Home world but they can't see yours? Wait until your opponents about to move in over one of your planets, then gate in the biggest fleet you can of half br 1 ships and half full brs (include at least 2 sweepers!) over the planet as they move in The next turn, instead of protecting your Planet let him nuke it or hopefully he will try to dance with your fleet, by moving his fleet one turn further in to your systems. Now make a beeline for his systems. If he is only one turn behind you, you will now split your fleet up having the decoy br1 ships with a minesweeper going in one direction, the full br ships with one minesweeper in another. He then will have to make a decision of which fleet to go after, and if he is wrong, you get at least a couple of worlds! If he doesn't follow you right away(or if he dances by moving further in!), go right to his home world and make it glow!

The Lure - This is similar to the Hail Mary Pass except for one detail. All your ships are br 1! This time go into his systems with the hope he will follow you! You may lose the planet you originally stargated too, but if you keep him occupied long enough with you decoy fleet, moving from system to system with him following to prevent the nuke, will spare yourself the loss of another planet and allow you to reach the next tech faster. Beware, if they check the diplomacy menu they will see that your fleet is fake and not overbuilt after a couple of turns. Hopefully this gives you enough time to lead the fleet 2-3 spaces into their systems, where you can build another fleet at the front at a higher br then scatter your remaining br1 fleet every where so they cannot dismantle and rebuild another fleet at the front again!

The Mine Fire Defense - If a fleet is right outside you planet with out a minesweeper, usually you just build a mine, or you overbuild and Stargate a fleet over the planet to protect. Well do both! The mine will destroy that one or two attacks sent to set off the mine and your stargated fleet will arrive comfortably in time to defend or attack while your opponent has suffered a couple of lost ships already!

The Counterattack Defense - This works great when you don't have quite enough ships to destroy an incoming fleet. Say you have a system right next to a planet of your opponent. He stargates/builds a huge fleet there that you cannot counter (or don't want to) you only have a couple of ships in that system (you need a least one ship to start for this to work. Stargate in a fleet, but don't overbuild too much. maybe half the fleet size, make sure you will be full br the turn after the overbuild. Include a sweep if his planet next to yours is a builder. The following turn, his fleet and your stargated fleet will hover over your planet w/o fighting. While the small number of your ships that were in your system the turn before are over his world! Now your opponent has to decide whether to pull back and defend since you could set those ships in his system to nuke, and have your stargated fleet support them, or to leave enough ships to nuke your system since you could move all available ships to your system to defend. If you have at least half his fleet, and he decides to gamble, he could end up losing his planet while nuking yours, or he could lose half his fleet if you return and defend. If the planet he is trying to nuke is a builder, it makes it even trickier. How many ships can you build the next turn as well? If he merely pulls back it will take another 2 turns to move in and attempt to nuke again, thus he loses the initiative.

The Ghost Fleet - If you have a fleet at a planet, an enemy fleet is moving in next turn, and you don't want to fight yet. If you have an unexplored stargate right next to you, move to the stargate and have it send right back to where you where at. It will appear to your enemy that your fleet just won't fight his. Only a newbie probably wouldn’t figure it out though.

Hiding the Cloakers - Servers like Ahmageddon and Iceburg have cloakers that are built uncloaked. Stargates can be a great assistance in these series for those who want to use cloakers. First, since your border systems are visible to your opponent, They will see your cloakers right after they are built, and thus giving away the suprise. Second, It take three turns to move a uncloaked cloaker on its way. (build, cloak, move) With a Stargate, you can build your cloakers where they can not be seen and then gate them to your front. Also you can cloak them the same turn you gate them therefore saving you a turn before they are deployed. (build, gate and cloak)


Engineers are next on the list of interesting ships. Engineers are especially effective when operating from unexplored links, so your opponent can't see them

Creating Double(Triple) Attacks - If your Opponent has two or more systems one space from one of your systems, you have the double attack. If the link to one of these systems is closed, all you have to do is open the link! *See Gooseberry's Page on the Map Edge

Surprise Attack - Everyone can grasp this one. You have a world next to one of theirs. All you have to do is open the link and send in a fleet. There are 4 types of these attacks

1. Your system has not been explored by your opponent - you have explored the system you are opening
This is the best possible scenario. You will not only surprise them with the link opening, but they will have no idea of how many ships are coming. If you see your opponent with an engineer in that system, get ready to pour through the link he makes

2.Your opponent has not explored your system - you have not explored the system you are opening
This is not as useful. You will first have to send sciences through, with a high likelihood they will be destroyed. If you try to send more ships through, they might be able to send through their own science ship. If you close the link as you explore, they will not be able to explore your link unless they just had a science sitting there. Although a little surprise is lost, you can open it again, or better yet, wait till they get curious and try to open it!

3. Both you and your opponent can see each other’s systems. Not really a surprise here unless they aren’t paying attention. If you can afford to station an engineer there, in plain sight, it will be a distraction for enemy and could tie up some ships as he waits for you to open the link the same time you overbuild (have an engineer of at least br2 so you can do this). If you have 2 or more links of his you can open, this puts even more strain on your opponent’s nerves, since he cannot rely on satellites to defend both systems.

4. Your opponent can see your engineer, but you can't see the link your opening.
This can be dangerous. Many times, when we build an engineer and discover an unexplored link, our curiosity gets the best of us. It is wise if your opponent can see your forces and you can't see his, to either build as big as fleet as you can, or build the engineer, and just leave it sitting there for awhile. (be aware your opponent could always open it as well) If he builds a large fleet and waits for you, and you don't open it right away, he will either have to spring for an engineer of his own, or pay the maintenance of the fleet he built.

Slowing the Invasion - Not only can you close links as a fleet advances on you, but you can also greatly slow down exploration with this tactic. Build an engineer at full br and then one or two attacks to go with it. When an invader opens the link and sends in a lonely science ship, set your engineer to close the link as the science explores and is destroyed. Now the link is explored, but the link is closed again, so the attacker opens it, moves in as you close the next link. To further hamper the efforts build satellites to whittle down the fleet and possible destroy the overworked engineer(s) in you attackers fleet. If your attacker leaves the engineer while moving in the main fleet, you could move the attacks out the same turn to take care of it!

Gating the Engineer - Ever needed to close off the link to your home world AND gate an engineer to a critical system? If you have a stargate or jumpgate in the same system as as an engineer that is closing off the link, the engineer will first close or open a link, then the engineer will be gated to the specified destination. Assuming the engineer still has plenty of juice left, it could close 2 links in 2 different systems, in two turns.

Sniffing out the Map - If there is a lull in the action, or you need a decisive advantage, try building a couple of engineers and running up the length of your map. Many times you will find unexplored links, allowing you to either prepare for or launch sneak attacks. If your opponent launches a full onslaught at you on the front, you could, if desperate, open an unexplored link and launch a major counterattack into his systems. If you get lucky and find the Home world. He will have to disband his fleet to save himself.

Channeling - Channeling implies that instead of closing off the links so that your opponent has to get the engineering tech, then open the links and giving him the opportunity to finding your secret hidden links, you close off the most sensitive links, like your home world, key planets, non- builders and the sea of uncolonized planets from your latest nuke, and to channel him over easy to defend builders or measly, unprofitable planets. Many players will not build engineers unless they have too, and they will move their science ships in and explore everything you will let them. Give them something to work on, such as a chain of builders to fight, and close all the links to your more vulnerable planets and home world, leaving you in a more defensive position and less vulnerable to cloaker, and science ship nukes. You could also string someone along so that they wind all around your outer systems before they realize they are taking the scenic route. The trick is to show them something without exposing too much, if you don't show enough they will select engineers and bring them in with them.

The Hidden Planet - If you can channel an enemy well, this is a fun one to try. Lets say you both are competing to pick up the pieces of a recently expired empire. You have a slight exploration advantage, so you colonize a planet and close the link to it before your opponent explores that side of the map. With this hidden planet, you can do several things:
If there are ranges on gates, you can use this as a forward base to get the max range out of ships you jump to the area. In 3.0 games you can use builders to tunnel out and "feel" the map, perhaps finding your way to an unprotected flank. In any version of the game, you can wait till the colonizing dust has settled then you can open the link while your opponent has a large fleet elsewhere and wreak havoc on the recent colonies he established, or make a run at his more established systems. This is very effective on large maps.


Minefields are second only to cloakers in fun when used successfully. They also have some specific tactical uses other than forcing an attacker to get a sweeper or two before launching a decisive attack.

The Mine Pop-Trick – This one isn’t a big secret. Just lower all your planets populations to half, except for the planet you’re mining (the quick, easy way) or lower you the population down so that when the mine explodes you will have a Ag ratio of two. The next turn, you will be up to 50 on the planet again, just in time to build another mine.

The Advanced Mine – Pop – This one requires a little bit more thought and planning. Say you need to keep so many ships running and dropping your population in half won’t leave you with a enough fuel. Instead of leaving your builder at 50, simply times your current ag ratio times 50 and set your builders population to that number (or 1 or two higher to compensate for your lousy math skills) take the population your builder will be next turn and divide it by half, that’s the going to be the population of your planet after the mine goes off next turn. Now set all your builders to the same number, and your home world to twice the amount. You may have to do a little math with the planets that are not 50 but this will allow you to use 60% of your fuel and minerals as opposed to only half. That could be the difference between being underfueled or not or reaching the next tech one turn faster.

If you see the need to mine-pop 2 turns ahead, the first turn you could lower your population slightly on other planets while setting the population to 100 on your builder. The second turn the population will already be above 50 on that world and have a nice hefty ag ratio to kick it up even further the turn the mine is set off. That means a higher population on the planet, say 30 –35 instead of 50 after the mine explosion, so you ag ratio would only need to be 1.45 to 1.7 instead of 2.0 (don’t do the math for this in your head kids!)

Want to know what the population on a planet will be the following turn without a calculator? Say you have a planet with a population of 42 and an ag ratio of 1.25. This means that the next turn, 2 and ½ people will be added per 10 people.(.25) So with 40 people the population will jump up by 10. Add that to your population of 42, you could guess that population will be 52-53, and therefore a builder If it is was 1.15 then about 1 and ½ people will be added (1.5) or about 6-7 people, meaning you’d be just shy of a builder!

Guarding the Pop - Lets say you want to do a 1-1-1 pop with your Home world population being one for a turn. If there is an enemy science, colony or whatever that could move in that turn you might build a satellite. What if their br might be 2 and you are not, or if two enemy ships could move in that turn? The mine will go off and still leave one population of your HW. If it doesn’t go off, a br1 mine will not affect your tech too much. If you know a science is going to move in, you could double the population of your HW during the trick to so the pop will proceed right.
Beware if you have an enemy sci moving in to your HW from 2 different empires. All three ships may survive i.e. the 2 sciences and the mine, or satellite. If it’s a satellite it may be to underpowered to save you from the nuke! If it is an attack it may fight the next round under fueled as well.

Defending during the overbuild – This is by far the most common reason I get mines. Say you need to overbuild but the same turn some other emps science will explore one of your systems. Just overbuild to your hearts content and mine wherever you may get explored

Blasting the friendly fleet – I have done this once or twice in cutthroats. Say some clown is at trade with you and is attempting to colonize one of your planets, or explore your systems. Another emp you are at war with but your trading partner is truced with attempts to move in or explore the same system as your trading buddy. A simple mine will take out not only the enemy sci, but that fleet of colonies that your faithless trading partner has on the way to one of your systems.

The Mine Wall – A wall of mines has an interesting effect. Unless the wall is completely overpowered, not one mine will ever be lost. The reason why is that mines are immune to the destruction phase of combat (the first phase or DEST) and must be completely overwhelmed by 2DV (the second phase) So a wall of 10 mines can have 9 ships thrown at it of equal br and not one mine is lost. ( of course the resulting br will be much lower)
I haven’t thought of how this would work better than a satellite wall yet since mines are more expensive to build and maintain than satellites.

Fuel Savers – If you do not have the selection for satellites and are running close to your fuel maximum, Full BR Mines can be an alternative to defending a planet since they do not require fuel. 2 mines can stop a science, and will not go off if they have a combined higher br than the other ship. They can also be erected to stop a small fleet with sweepers while your larger fleet, using all available fuel, is off nuking enemy planets.

Though neither mines or satellites use fuel, if your fuel ratio is below 1.0, they will be underpowered just like any other ship in combat!

Desperation – This is everyone’s favorite. A fleet you cannot match enters your system, build as many attacks or satellite as you can and 1 br1 minefield. If you get lucky enough to take out the sweeper(s), the rest of the fleet goes with it.

A quick way to figure how many ships you will destroy with your smaller fleet is every 2 ships of yours will destroy one of theirs, if you are both at the same br

Mines work well in conjunction with the stargate – see The Minefire Defense and with the 3.0 Jumpgate and Morphers as well – see 3.0 Tips


First off, it is important to understand how troopships work, since many players are not sure, mostly due to the fact that they do not use them often. Troopships can invade a population of their current br * 10. They do not work in tandem, they attempt to invade a planet one at a time! If a troopship does not have enougth br to overcome the population, they reduce the current population by their current br * 2 ( not br * 10 or br squared) Then the next troopship will attempt to invade the now slightly smaller population. This continues untill a troopship has more than or equal to br *10 than the current population, or all the troopships are consumed trying. If successful, the invading empire gains control of the system with one half of the population that the successful invasion occurred.

Trooptricking - Everyone should have heard of this by now. You may nuke a world, and invade it the same turn The advantage of this is that the invasion will automatically be successful not matter what the br of the invading troopship, leaving you with a population of 0. This population will be 1 the following turn and will grow like normal the following turns. The nice thing is, you can immediatly us this system as a stargate jump point to resupply your invading fleets. Trooptricking is probably the most common reason for selecting this tech.

Be aware, the PHP servers (Iceburg, Ahmagedon) and Almonaster do not allow troop tricking!

Swapping Systems - Troopships can be handy when you and an ally want to swap systems to either maximize economy or to have outposts in each other territories when their are no uncolonized systems available. They could also be used to extract tribute from empires you are war with, though I have never done this. You and an ally, if hard up on tech selections, for example, terraformers are a resticted tech, could have one ally colonize and terraform worlds and then allow other allies to drop to war and invade the newly terraformed world.

Fake Home World – This would be extremely difficult to do, but could really be an ace in the hole later in the game. Troop a home world instead of nuking it, then, if your opponents have not explored either your real home world or your fake HW, you could rename this HW the name of your empire. Perhaps allow others to explore it so they believe that this is the real thing. The reason this would be so hard is because you would probably have to do this early in the game to make it believable. Invading a home world at br 2 or br 3 is virtually impossible. If someone does do this, you know that they were either given the world, by some unscrupulous player lowering his population and allowing it to happen, or the empire is using nuke babies.

The number of Troopships it would take to successfully invade a homeworld with a population of 100
br 5 - 6 ships
br 4 - 9 ships
br 3- 13 ships
br 2- 21 ships
br 1- 46 ships

How to annoy troopship users

If you can't prevent the invasion, drop your population down to 1 - When at higher brs, someone might try to invade one of your builders ending up with a population of 25 or so after succeeding. If you drop your population down to 1 or 2, they will only have a population of 1 at that world so they will have to wait a lot longer to maximize the resources of that planet and/or make it a builder.

See if you can complete a pop-trick the turn they invade - Lower the population of your systems the turn before they invade then pop your population up as high as you can. This coupled with enough ships to lower the br of the invading troopships might cause them to consume themselves with no successful invasion

Change your icon to theirs the turn they invade and fail - If this works it could be hilarious! They fail to invade, but when they go to the map they see their icon at your system, they may assume it was successful! This could work great early in the game when someone pulls out troopships early and can only see one of your systems on the map

Click here for tactics using Version 3.0 ships


Naming and Icon Tricks

To preface this, some of the tricks in here are considered “dirty” by other players. They mostly take advantage of carelessness, or inexperience of the player running the other empire. Some of these listed have no tactical use at all, but can be fun to scare the pants off a player that reads his updates carefully before going to the map!

Planet Naming Tricks – This is a trick I have found to be extremely useful in certain situations. In one 3.0 game I was playing on Stargate, me and another empire were having a heated battle trying to find each others home world first. I had closed all the links off around my home world, but after some inattention on my part, the other empire managed to open a link to my home and jumped in a science to explore the next turn. The next update, we both explored each other’s home world at the same time, so now was the dilemma. How many ships should I send in for the nuke? I knew that the other emp could possibly send in a fleet the same turn as me or defend their Home world against my onslaught. Here is what I did. I overbuilt a fleet and sent it on its way to their home system, then I named a planet next to my home world “stormer” and I renamed my home world the coordinates of the system. The next turn, I was hovering over their home world and they had a fleet gated to my measly planet that I had renamed stormer. Kaboom!

This trick works best against the jumpgate, but can be used against fleets moving in as well. Lets say a fleet is outside your home world and there is another one of your planets that the fleet could go to. Just switch names with the planets and there is a good chance that your opponent will not notice and merely send the ships based on the planet name.

There is all kinds of variations to this, if you just merely want to annoy your opponent. After he moves in over a planet, switch its name to the same name as his home world. That way when he gives the nuke order, he will see, “nuke his own empire name” or after he updates and you know he is going to nuke one of your planets, rename it the same name as one of his builders. When the update pops up for the next turn, he will see that he nuked his own planet! That will make him rush to the map to see what is going on, till he sees it’s just you playing name games. Better yet, rename on of your planets his empires name, then overbuild a fleet on it. The next update will say 12 ships of stormer were sighted in” the name of his home world”. Completely useless trick, but he may at least wet himself before he goes to the map and sees what is going on! If someone is about to explore a planet you own, why not name it stormer, and make him think he just explored your home world? Or if he can see your home world, you could name it just the coordinates of the system so that the name of planet is harder to remember, and they have to go to the map and find out where all those ships of yours where sighted. Change the name of a planet when you know your opponent is going to attack it next turn, maybe to the name of the system behind them, you never know, they may send some or even all their ships to that other location, delaying their attack for 2-3 turns!

Population Problems – Right before someone is about to nuke one of your planets, here is a way to sabotage the population. Drop the population to 1 right before it is nuked. When the player recolonizes it with lets say a hefty br 5 or more colony, trying to get it up to 50, imagine his surprise when the turn after he colonizes it, it’s at 1! You could also set the population to several hundred or even thousand, and if your opponent isn’t careful he could have a formerly nuked planet with a population of 100 + before he wonders why his ag ratio is so low! ( only works on certain servers)

*note – If you consider any of these tactics dirty, the easiest way to prevent from being used on you is to go to your map, and carefully check where you are sending your ships ect*

Ship Naming Tricks – I have never been in the habit of naming my ships, but there are several interesting things you can do with this feature. First off, you could name your ships exactly what they are…att 3, sci 1 ect, and then after your opponent becomes comfortable with this, somewhere in the game, switch it around somehow. Make a phantom fleet of br 1 ships and place a 5 or whatever your current br is to make your opponent believe that the fleet is legit, name a science, att and a br1 attack sci. Move it in with a bunch of other ships all named correctly. The next turn, the b1 attack named sci will die, giving the impression that the only science is dead. Now explore with the full br science, and later in the game, your opponent might not realize that link was explored!

The most useful trick, is to name a low br ship in a fleet “,,,,,” right before it fights. The next update, the report of the battle will look like this: ,,,,,,,, was destroyed in front
Only 4 ships were actually destroyed, but the one with all the commas was destroyed as well, giving your opponent the impression that you have sub par br ships, or you had cloakers that uncloaked during the battle.

Ship Naming is also a helpful way to distinguish newbies from veterns using a new name. Newbies are the only ones who normally name all their ships!

The final strategy for either planet or ship naming is to send short messages in a blood game with broadcast as a the only available form of communication. Just rename a ship or planet where no one else but your intended recipient has explored. (If don’t know this, you never played bloods!)

Icon Mischief

This kind of game play is a little edgy. I have never tried it personally, mostly because it would work best in blitzes where you don’t have time to double check everything, and I rarely have the time to play a blitz. I would be thrilled if someone successfully used one of these tactics against me in a game, so I personally don’t have a problem with them, but I can see why others would.

Changing your icon to that of an uncolonized planet – This could be confusing for a beginner, and irritating in a blitz, however, a simple look at the population will tell you if the planet is owned or not. This might work great if you had just colonized and someone was going to explore you next turn, they may not realize that the planet is colonized which might saved it from being nuked, or used to launch a surprise attack!

Changing your icon to match your enemies – This could either make it difficult for another empire to remember which worlds to attack, or better yet, you could do it after an invasion attempt that was unsuccessful. Your opponent might think they succeeded when they see their icon on your world. ( The less of your systems they see, the better )
An even better alternative would be to change to the icon of one of your opponent’s allies. This could be very confusing, or change to the icon of your ally, making it difficult for your enemies to remember, whose worlds are whose.

Diplomacy Tactics

Diplomacy is an important part of any game, and is one of the facets of the game you must master to win in any series. There is tricks in diplomacy like any other part of the game, especially if you want to sow confusion amongst the enemy, and keep them so busy fighting each other, that they don’t have time to fight you.

Getting your enemies to fight each other- One of the best stories I heard on how to use diplomacy was on Del Hart’s Forum. One player confessed, that in a 4-player game, he first met up and agreed to ally with the first empire he met. Shortly afterwards he met the other two players in the game and told each empire that he was allied with the other. They fought for several turns, while he and his ally built and sent a fat fleet into their systems.

Reasoning with the enemy – If you are getting attacked by two empires, you could try this, tell one of them that the other will run away with the game if you don’t gang up on him. The more true this is, the more likely it will work If this fails, try getting the other empire to join up with you. You may have to allow them to colonize or troop one of your planets, but if you can get the two empires to fight each other, you are more likely to survive. You could, if possible, convince them both of them to join you, at the same time, and see how long you can keep up the sham of being on both their sides up. If there is no other option other than war, you can throw some ships into three sided battles, telling both empires you are trying to help them out. If they catch on, they will both come after you, but if they already were anyways, then you have lost nothing.

Drop to war with your ally – No this isn't an explanation on how to backstab. However, I would only do this with someone you trust! If the alliances haven’t really been decided yet, or if you are in a game where there is more than 2 alliances, this works great. Tell your ally your plan and if he agrees, drop to war with each other. Get on the airwaves and flame each other for this and that, put on a br1 ship firework show. If those not in your alliance are already fighting, will probably take the opportunity of you two fighting to go gung ho on their other fronts while you and your ally build tech, colonize free worlds and terraform. When you are both ready, build fleets like you are going to clash with each other near another empires border, then roll in. They will be very surprised to see you and your “nemesis” together over their system.

Other advantages of going to war with your ally are that you can doomsday each others planets for each other to slow down exploration, you can allow your ally to invade you with a br 1 so he can stargate to your front. (assuming there are no uncolonized planets left) or if one of he wants to save a tech selection by not terraforming, you could colonize and terraform a world for him, then allow him to invade it. If you need to combine your fleets, in just one turn you can both be at truce again.

It is always a good idea to drop to trade when the game is winding down. Sometimes your opponents will all surrender at the same time, causing you and your ally(s) to forfeit some deserved nukes.

Fake Messages – Again, this is not very “honorable”, but then again, which recent war was won with that? Sending fake messages to your enemy like, “Build some sweepers and meet me up at front, and I’ll ‘neer it off. Might fool him into thinking you sent him the message by mistake. At one point, we have all accidentally sent a message to the wrong empire. Doing it once will be believable, doing it more will probably backfire on you. Sending a message like.” Sure, we’ll do that we’ll take out *the name of the empire you sending the message too* first then go after…” Again, even if he doesn’t believe it, it would have to make him pause and double check. One of my favorite things to do in a three player game where both empires are attacking me is to send a message to one saying, ”Sure thing, just help me out here first.” If this could break the double team, it’s worth trying.

Pretend to be a newbie - Obviously this only works if you have taken on a new name and are out sporting a shiny 0-0-0 record or something near to it. Asking in depth questions to a veteran on how to pop trick, move ships, or accuse them of cheating when they use a stargate, will cause most veterans to put down there guard and get sloppy. If you don't want to outright claim to be a newbie, but make the other player think you are, things like naming all your ships eagle, eagle, destroyer ect, sporting a few dooms days, using the server default icon and not pop tricking might cause them also to underestimate you, without you being deceitful. Wait for the right moment to surprise them and show them you are not. Make it count. Nuke a key builder or colonize some of their planets. When they realize that you are not a newbie, it will be too late! The only problems with these tactics is, if they are successful, your record will soon be so good that people won't fall for it anymore unless you chose another empire.

I once decided to start an evil empire, and made up my mind I was going to get into alliance games and try to nuke my allies. The first game I was in, some nearby empire assumed I was a newbie and took me under his wing. He actually did teach me some things I did not know about the game and he was so nice to me, I went back on my idea and let my evil emp idle out, never to play again. I guess I don't have what it takes to backstab *sigh* At least there are always bloods!

Various Other Tips

This is the miscelaneous pile of whatever doesn't quite fit into one category.

The Invulnurable Minesweeper - Thanks to Denton Troy for bringing this to my attention - Your ally can send along a br1 minesweeper along with your fleet, and it will be the last ship destroyed! This is due to the fact that the total percentage of power that the br1 ship has compared to the rest of the fleet will make it a very small percentage to be targeted by DEST.

Fighting while underfueled - Most of us get so used to checking and predicting what our ships br's are going to be the following turn, that we begin to assume that fuel might work in the same way. Well, it doesn't. For example if you have a fleet that is fighting next turn, and have a system back home to defend as well, if you are already are using all your fuel, you'd assume to that building anything other than satellites or mines this turn, will put you under the dreaded 1.0 fuel ratio and that next turn your ships will nor fight at full power.

The truth is that the ships fight with the fuel ratio from the previous turn, and the fuel ratio is not calculated untill after the battle!

This leads to 2 things. First, if you are underfueled, you do not want to fight the next turn. Even if you dismantle all your ships except one... that one ship next turn will fight at at the next turns br and the current turns fuel ratio. The next thing it leads too - you can build more ships than you have fuel for, and the next turn they will fight at normal levels! As long as you lose the right amount of ships, you can still maintain a fuel ratio above 1.00! Therefore, if you have a fleet that will fight the next turn, a couple of colonies that are set to colonize and a terraformer that will be used up next turn, you could go ahead and build more ships in anticipation of the ones you will lose the following turn due to battle, or use. If you don't lose as many ships as expected, say your opponent moves his ships where there is no fight - you will be underfueled for the following turn.

Credit to Denton Troy for explaining this to me.

Population Settings - How to control your population for maximum growth and building- This was posted by Gooseberry, August 18, 1999 on the Stellar Crisis Club on Yahoo. Post # 1866

Moreover, if you really want to play minefield games, you don't need 200 pop to do it! Learn how to do the minefield/ag trick.

Here's how it works:
Set your HW population to be 100, of course (DUH).On the turn that you expect the minefield to go off, crank the population of your homeworldto 999. At the same time, slightly lower the population of other planets you have (but keep important tactical builders).When the mine goes off, your population will not be 100/2 = 50 like normal, but it will be 100*Agratio/2, or perhaps 60-70. Now your ag ratio is pretty darn good because you temporarily lowered the pop of your other planets, so it will be back up to 100 next round.

You can use this same trick with a planet with 50 population (a nuked homeworld.) When the mine is going to blow, set its pop to 99, and lower other populations. You'll be building again on the very next turn.

There are some times to put populations higher than "normal" -- let me list a few.

(1) To make a planet a builder. DUH! You have a planet with only 30 minerals and 10 fuel, but for tactical reasons you need to build there so you set the pop to be 50/51.

(2) The ag cusion. A planet with 50 pop can turn into 49 pop if something happens to your agriculture ratio. I have made the mistake before of breaking alliance with somebody only to see it hit my ag ratio and convert builders into vulnerable 49 pop planets. Yuck! Keeping 51 or 52 pop at a planet is a safe idea when you anticipate ag problems.

(3) Temporary building - suppose you have a lush planet with 87 ag, and only 5 minerals and no fuel. Your opponent has seen it and you know he has cloakers, so you are worried. The cheapest defense is to pop-trick and set that planet to 50 pop, then build one BR 1 minefield, then lower the pop back to 5. Now you have a supply of ag which is not so easy for him to nuke, and you don't need to spend an attack ship to go on permanent cloaker patrol.

(4) Minefield reasons - as discussed above

Other than that, let me say that it is generally asinine to set pops higher than normal, and if you do this on your homeworld you might as well broadcast "I AM A MORONIC NEWBIE" for everybody to hear.

I disagree with the statement that "even good players do this." I have never seen any good player or even moderately good player with even 101 people on his HW.

Multiple Gates - Gates can be so useful in games, why just have one? In 2.9 games, you could have a gate near either front allowing you to shuttle you fleet from front to front, with out having to dimantle and then rebuild. also when at high enougth br, you could nuke someone, colonize, then build a stargate to move your fleet to the next front.Sometimes you just want ot gate ships to the front and colonize somewhere else. In games with lots of systems, having more than one gate is a must, so you can fill the void with dozens of br1 colonies in all directions to stake your claim. before you meet the other empires.

The cost of maintaining a br1 stargate is the same as a br 5 attack. Not allot really!

Multiple jumpgates are extremley advantageous. It is possible to create double attacks in any area that you have explored by merely jumping in 2 - 3 or even more fleets. who knows if your fleet is full br or br 1 decoys, or for that matter, any br in between. If you jump the fleets next to each other, will they each try to nuke a different world or will they combine over one of the two worlds!

At times, I'll use jumpgates and stargates in the same game. Sometimes jumpgates will have range divisors while stargates don't, plus its free to send ships through a stargate, but not for the jumpgate. This is especialy handy if you have morphers you want to disguise before sending them out to meet the enemy. Build the morpers at a stargate location, and change them to whatever ship you want to disguise them as the same turn you send them to the jumpgate, which is set to send to enemy territory. You can build whatever else you need at the jumpgate to go along with the morphers. This saves you from having to waste turns, of building morpher in another world, changing them and then moving them in, or sending your morphers out unmorphed and giving away to the enemy the ship type you're using

The Intimidating BR 1 Ship - One game I was in, a link appeared from nowhere to one of my perimeter builders. I had a huge fleet on another front, and I did not want to have to dismantle it. I knew a science, maybe two would come throught the link next turn, so this is what I did. I built a full br minesweeper, and Science and a couple of attacks, then I built about 8 br 1 attacks and stargated them in. The next turn, a science came through and was destroyed, and discovered what seem to be an enormous fleet waiting for him! The next turn I sent my science through to explore, and my opponent closed the link he had just opened up, even though his fleet of 9 ships would of seriously stomped on my br 1 attacks!

You can use a similiar tactic to reach the next br first and force an opponent to overbuild at a lower br. If your opponent is waiting for you to overbuild then matches you as you move in over his system, then moves and destoys your fleet before it can nuke, just overbuild again, this time with br 1 ships. Make sure you include a full br sweeper to make it look real. Move in like always, then move in one planet further. If you have now hit the next br, by not overbuilding like your opponent, this works even better. Now overbuild at your front. You can do so now since your br 1 fleet takes very little maintainance. Allow all your br 1 ships to be destroyed by his fleet but move the minesweeper back to the front. The next turn, your opponent will demolish the br 1 fleet and hopefully the minesweeper will have survived, assuming they haven't built in your front. So you now have a minesweeper you can set to nuke, with a higher br fleet the next planet over, poised to move in to support. There are varations on this. Perhaps you can move your minesweeper and a br 1 attack one space further in, so you opponent, has to send at least 2 ships after them. Perhaps you can send all the br 1 attacks over a non builder even futher away, and send the minesweeper back to create a double attack. Either way, you should get a nuke and a turn or two ahead on tech advancement.

Jumpgate Defense - Here is another use for br 1 ships... The fake sat wall - This was posted by DeathIncarnate, July 10, 1999 on the Stellar Crisis Club on Yahoo. Post # 1297

Here's another idea on the defense against a jumpgate into your homeworld subject, but this is a real gamble, and VERY un-DI-like. What if you built a bunch of BR1 sats at your homeworld? This might give the impression that it's protected, and still allow you the opportunity to send scis out in search of that jumpgate, and/or your opponent's homeworld. If you find the jumpgate, you cripple, or kill it outright, and if you find his homeworld,you're at least on equal footing again. Like I say, a real gamble, but desperate men use desperate measures.

Catching a Ship Naming Trick - This was posted by Sgt. Slaughter, May 5, 1999 on the Stellar Crisis Club - Post # 804

Yes, that's a very old trick used by crafty old veterans. It only works once and usually not even then. My opponent tried it on me in the Tourney *snicker*. It's better suited for blitz games where decisions are made quickly. However, it's too easy to spot if you are
looking. You don't even need to check the map. The spacing format is slightly different when you name a ship ,,,, as oppopsed to having 5 ships without names. Whenever I see it pulled on me it tells me my opponent thinks I'm a newbie which works to my advantage. I had one guy name his hw the same as mine (yes systems can have the same name). So during the readout it looked like he had ships on my hw, it got my attention until I looked at the map.

Gooseberry's Revised Ship Naming Trick - posted by Gooseberry, May 6, 1999 on the Stellar Crisis Club - Post # 822

Using commas in ship names is CHEATING? Oh go on, that's not cheating. The build hack is cheating. Using HTML to f**k up the ships page is cheating. But the clever us of a comma? No not at all! It's all part of the art of military deception. You must keep your enemies in a constant state of confusion (especially with regards to little details like whether
you plan on moving from truce to trade, or to war...)

But if you are going to do it, do it right.Type<space>,<space>,<space>,<space> as the ship names. People who scrunch them up are fools who think they are clever, as their hijinks stands out like a big red gooseberry.

If you like to name your ships, name them small thinks like "egg" so you can name all of your ships egg,<space>egg,<space> to make your fleet appear twice it's normal size.

If you there is any strategies misssing, contact me and let me know

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