The Borg

by Derek J. Kalweit


 

Contents:

1.0 Introduction
2.0 Pros and Cons of playing the Borg
3.0 Ships
4.0 Colonizing
5.0 Planet Management

5.1 Planets near homeworld/starbase
5.2 Planets on hostile borders
5.3 Planets in enemy territory
6.0 Chunneling
7.0 Battles
7.1 Basics
7.2 What ships should I use?
7.21 How should I arm my ships?
7.22 What engines should I use?
7.23 What should I carry in my ships?
7.24 How should I fly my ships?

7.3 How should I strike?
8.0 What allies should I make?
9.0 How should I deal with my enemies?
9.1 Dealing with the Feds
9.2 Dealing with the Lizards
9.3 Dealing with the Bird Men
9.4 Dealing with the Fascists
9.5 Dealing with the Privateers
9.6 Dealing with the Crystal People
9.7 Dealing with the Evil Empire
9.8 Dealing with the Robots
9.9 Dealing with the Rebels
9.10 Dealing with the Colonies
10.0 Minefields

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1.0 Introduction

The Borg are one of the most challenging races in VGA Planets to play. Many newbies make the mistake of trying to play them to early, and fail horribly, and never play the race again. Boy, are they missing out! As long as you go into playing the race with the tactical knowledge and experience required, they are one of the most rewarding races in the game to play! The only down-side, is in most games, they can take a VERY long time to play a turn-- at turn #30 in a game I was hosting with 3 other humans(the rest computer-controlled), my turns were taking over 2 HOURS EACH!!! And at a minimum of 1 turn per day, it was eating my time up! So first of all, if you'd like to master the Borg-- or even just play them respectfully, be sure you have plenty of time to play your turns! Second, be sure to play another race first-- the Borg is NOT a newbie race by ANY stretch of the imagination. And lastly, have a calculator nearby-- it greatly decreases the time you spend with your turn. I normally use VGA Planets Assistant, so some tactics require, or work best with this program(available on my web site, listed at the bottom).

With this guide, I will expect you to have a decent understanding of VGA Planets in general-- if you haven't read other generic guides-- or even the documentation--go find some, and then come back to this one when you're done.. I'm writing this guide, because there is such a lack of Borg information out there. And not because there's a lack of Borg players, either-- they simply don't want to give away their well-kept secrets. I'm a little more willing to share my knowledge of this wonderful race, as I enjoy playing ALL races(except maybe the Colonies, but I haven't really given them much of a chance), and not just the Borg. Not to mention VGA Planets 4.0 will be out this year, and this information will be almost useless, most likely. <G> Most of the information in this guide is self-taught through experience in local(against Dominate), and self-hosted games(with buddies of mine). Some tactics I have not actually done, but there's absolutely no way they can be wrong. <G> Of course this is all just my rambling-take it or leave it. :)

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2.0 Pros and Cons of playing the Borg

The Borg are VERY week early on in the game. They can easily be exterminated, but if they are, they must be FULLY exterminated, or they will grow just as large again with their assimilation-I know of a case, where a Borg player escaped with nothing but a probe, and he ended up winning the game! Their cubes are some of the best ships in the game, but are VERY expensive-- in Moly especially. They are NOT an easy race to play, and will take much of your time each day(or however often you play your turns). They are, however, one of the most rewarding races to play, when played right.

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3.0 Ships

SDSF: Actually this ship is probably more useful to the Borg than to ANY other race! You don't need to take lots of colonists with you to colonize worlds, so just send off a few SDSFs and drop a few clans and supplies(except on Bovinoid planets) here and there(I use 40 supplies and 30 colonists on each SDSF), and go on to the next planet, and before you know it, those planets will have LOTS of colonists on them. And as with most Borg colonizing freighters, they rarely must return home-- just pick more colonists/supplies up at an assimilated world. <G>

B200 Probe: You should build a lot of these to hyperjump to nearby planets for scouting, and to build outposts-these outposts can grow huge in no time with your assimilation. I put 8 supplies and 7 colonists on these, and drop all on any native world, and 1 colonist only on a planet with no natives, beam up fuel(mission-- there's usually enough), and HYP to another at exactly 350LYs away(340-360LYs using recent hosts).

Watcher Scout: I rarely build these ships. Pretty useful-- possibly escorts for MDSFs if a cloaker is picking them off.

B41 Explorer: This is a decent armed transport, however it has a very low mass and won't hold up against any torp ships.

Iron Slave: This is a completely useless ship-- not only useless to the Borg, but useless to ALL races. It has only two fighter bays which can't launch enough fighters to take out most medium ships, and a small cargo capacity which is useless for most purposes. Don't build these!

MDSF: This is just the size when freighters start to become useful to other races, and even MORE useful for the Borg. Use these for colonizing mostly(why waste a LDSF for colonizing when you can use these?). This is at about the size that an enemy(especially a cloaker in your space) would struggle with the decision-- "should I leave it alone, or is it worth showing him I'm here." Most of the time, at least for me, when I'm playing a cloaking race, they'll decide to leave it alone-- however with an LDSF, they'll usually choose to go for it.

B22 Destroyer: These are quite useful for base defense-- 7 beams are GREAT for burning fighters off carriers. Not useful for much else, though.

Quietus Cruiser: This is a useful ship as well. Can be used as both armored transport and fuel carrier. Will stand up fairly well against most scouts, due to it's torpedo tube-- use mark4 or mark7.

LDSF: This is the PERFECT ship for mineral trucks. Truck your minerals from nearby planets in the early game, and then later, once you have decent planets elsewhere, build some LDSFs with low engines(tech 4-6 or so), and chunnel them around-- you can move GREAT amounts of minerals in almost no time using only 50KTs of fuel(each way)! Great for stripping planets of minerals AND fuel(600 KT of fuel each!).

Firecloud: This is your most useful ship, PERIOD. It allows your ships to move farther, faster, and better than ANY OTHER SHIP IN THE GAME! With this ship you can chunnel minerals and money around for a better economy, chunnel battle fleets to any other firecloud on the map, etc. Definitely your most useful ship don't sell this ship, or let it be captured if you can help it. Offer services only, if you need the money(you shouldn't need money you should have plenty).

ONLY give/trade these to trusted FULL allies.

Biocide: One of the most feared ships in the game. This is your cube ship that launches fighters. Not very economical to use, however, unless you have an ally where you can get free fighters, or you've met the ship limit, and your ships have to survive longer, or you won't be able to build another. Great for stripping fuel off planets when your enemy is advancing(retreat with the fuel-- burn up as much as you can of it, as then your enemy can't use it).

Refinery: This is the fuel refinery-- load half supplies, and half minerals onto the ship, and you have that much fuel the next turn. I find I rarely have a fuel problem when fireclouds move my huge fleets most of the way, and my economy is in full swing(early if you're lucky to have nearby natives).

STSF: Super Transport Freighter-- too big for most purposes. You could use these instead of LDSFs for chunnel harvesting, but it's not recommended, as you must build them on tech 10 hull star bases(most of your starbases only need to be tech 6 hull).

Annihilations: These are your cubes with torpedo tubes. These are DEFINITLY your best ships, but require massive minerals to build(especially Molybdenum). Outfit these with high-tech beams, and decent tubes-- preferably mark 4 in the early game, and mark 7 or 8 later on. Build your torpedoes on mineral-rich planets with the mkt friendly code-- NOT your homeworld-- you need those minerals for more ships.

Alchemy: I find this ship useful in mineral-poor games, as you need a lot of Moly. Don't build one until you absolutely NEED one.

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4.0 Colonizing

The first rule of colonizing with the Borg, is don't bring to many colonists! Filling your freighters up with mostly colonists is something that the other races must do, but you don't need to do. Instead, fill it roughly evenly with supplies. This will allow your colonies to start out faster than other race's colonies. On worlds with no natives, drop 1 clan, and head on to another. This gives you a higher score, so it's easier to bluff that you're better off than your neighbors.

You should rarely, if ever, need to return to your homeworld with a colonizer. If you run out of colonists, just back-track a little, until you come upon one of your assimilated worlds, and grab more colonists/supplies. Then take another route of un-colonized planets, colonizing them along the way. In this manner, you can colonize MUCH faster than most other races.

Once you colonize a planet, tax the natives to the maximum that you can for that amount of colonists. There comes to be a point, where you must use a calculator(or spend hours doing this for each planet with natives!). Multiply your colonists by 2, and continue doing so, until you get to the number of natives currently on the planets(or just over)-- then subtract 1, and you know the amount of turns it will take before the world is completely colonized. Now look at the happiness rating. By the last turn you have natives on the planet, you should be down to 40 happiness points(on the virge of rioting). Therefore, look at the current happiness points(say, 94), then subtract 40(54), and then divide the number of turns into the number of happiness points you just came up with(difference from current and 40). Then set the tax rate so that it subtracts that many happiness points from the natives each turn. By the time you get to 40, you'll have so few natives, they will be completely gone the next turn, and therefore won't riot no matter what the tax rate is(but you won't get the $$$ either).

With all these colonists, you don't have to worry about them growing on top of that, so go ahead and tax your colonists. On worlds they will die(arctic and desert), tax them so their happiness points will go down as well never down lower than 50 or so though, as the slightest military presence, battle, or such at the planet will throw them into rioting. On your HW, however, you can leave your tax rate at 0%. This will allow you to build the maximum amount of mines and factories(don't worry about defense-- your HW is quite useless past turn 20 or so, other than building ships). Be sure to chunnel/HYP in money from assimilated worlds that won't make good candidates for starbases themselves. You should always have TONS of money on your HW-- 10-20 thousand MC's minimum.

On outposts in enemy territory(or within scanning distance of such), try not to build any factories until you can cover them with defense posts as well. Hard to do except on Bovinoid planets, but it'll make your outpost very hard to detect, and by the time they find it, it will be able to defend itself pretty well.

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5.0 Planet Management

This is where the loads of time comes in(as well as with happiness point calculations mentioned in the last section). You must manage your planets well. You must have enough defense posts to keep from getting detected, enough factories to produce loads of supplies(especially in mineral poor games, so you can use your Merlins), and mines to mine out the planet quickly, making it absolutely useless to any other race(once it's harvested). This stuff is pretty standard for every race, however you get to build every turn due to assimilation(doubling of colonists, and therefore maximum structures).

Knowing what to build, and when NOT to build are the key factors.

5.1 Planets near homeworld/starbases

These planets can be quite useful throughout the game-- you can tax the assimilated colonists and get about 500 MC per turn usually. After these are harvested of minerals, you might be lucky and get hit by a large meteor (the Borg are the only ones ASKING for large meteor hits! <G>). Then you can mine it really quickly(you still usually have millions of colonists to build mines if they were destroyed), and bring it back to a starbase to use. At the very least, these planets are useful to all but the Fascists, as they'll be stripped of minerals, and most money. The Fascists, however, can pillage you, getting LOADS of money.

5.2 Planets on hostile borders

These planets are the gray area. They're not safe from being attacked, but they're not in constant danger, either, as outposts in enemy territory are. Usually, if the planet is quite useless, I lower the happiness ratings(usually just colonists) to the virge of rioting, so if the enemy takes the planet, they'll be rioting(the battle put them there), and be of little use to him for a while. Also, build as many defense posts as possible at the very least, it will soften up an attacking fleet for your main defenses farther in your territory.

5.3 Planets in enemy territory

These are the planets that you do your best to BURN TO THE GROUND! If there's natives, you do your best to assimilate them(ESPECIALLY if they're of a good government). Try to put the happiness ratings of both natives AND colonists WAY into the gutter-- negatives are really good. That way, unless your enemy is the Lizards, they'll have to wait a good dozen turns or so to get them to stop rioting! <G> This is very satisfactory, and I even do this on my home planets if I'm being run over by another race, and I stand no chance.

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6.0 Chunneling

Chunneling is your main means of transportation over distances. It is one of the STRONGEST race advantages in the game, but unlike many other race advantages, it is one that someone else can acquire, as it's ship-specific. You must do your best to NEVER let a Firecloud get into enemy hands-- they're DEADLY. You must use your Fireclouds for harvesting planets far from bases of minerals/money and bringing huge fleets into enemy territory(or even just to the border, usually saves THOUSANDS of KT's of fuel).

One trick that I've heard used, but never actually used myself(I was going to, but the game ended first), is to bring a Firecloud outside the map about 20-40 LYs farther than the visible setting(check with Host or note first messages of game), and then travel there, to the other side of your enemy. Then, when he least expects it, chunnel in some cubes, and take him by beside his BACK side! <G> The only problem with this, is that he'll see it in plenty of time to defend, usually, and you can't planet hop outside the map.

As mentioned in the original docs, chunneled ships have their shields down when they come out of a chunnel. Therefore, try to make sure that the enemy doesn't know where your receiving Firecloud is when you chunnel to it he could more easily take out your fleet if he did.

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7.0 Battles

7.1 Basics

The first rule of war, is to NEVER under-estimate your enemy. When running simulations, unless you're SURE of otherwise, figure for a maxed-out ship.

Always OVER-estimate what you'll need to take out a battle-fleet or empire, and don't strike until all your forces are in position-- striking to early with one, and not being able to follow through with the second blow fast enough, will give your enemy too much time to prepare.

Secondly, NEVER leave your bases un-guarded. A well-planned attack can easily knock out a starbase-- even cloakers. Before I was ready to play the Borg, I did so, and had my HW taken by Lizard Cruisers very early in the game. If I had a cube or two there, I could have saved it, or better yet, I could have counter-attacked, as I knew where his, much more important, homeworld was.

Thirdly, and this might seem contradictory, don't be afraid to take risks. You'll never win by "playing it safe." Weigh the odds, the benefits, and the consequences of what you do, and make a decision based on that. If there's a lot to gain from making an attack, DO SO! Even if there's much to lose if you don't win, someone else will probably attack you anyway, and you'll lose anyway.

7.2 What ships should I use?

Many Borg novices, run simulations of their ships against other ships, and find that the Biocide fairs very well against most ships in the game. This is true, however, a Biocide with enough fighters costs MUCH more than a few good Annihilations, unless, of course, you have a nice ally that can supply you with free fighters. <G> An Annihilation also has 100KT more mass(960 than the Biocide(860). Both are gas guzzlers, and should be mostly transported simply with Fireclouds, unless you're purposely trying to burn up gas to keep enemies from using it. These ships are the backbone of your fleet, and most players know it. You must have a good economy going before you can build these(minerals mostly, but also money), so make economy your #1 priority at the start of the game.

HYP probes are useless in battle-- they will only burn off 4 fighters before being destroyed, and don't cause a lic of damage against any torp ships. Use these ships only for colonizing, money transporting, and spying.

Fireclouds do pretty bad in battle. They'll burn of some fighters, and maybe be able to throw a few torps if you have them, but not much else. Also, the chance of them getting captured isn't worth the risk of sending these into battle.

7.21 How should I arm my ships?

Beams on cube ships should be Heavy Blasters at the minimum. The chances that a race will try to use minefields to defend themselves is high, so you must be able to sweep them. Mark 4 torpedoes are good early in the game, but mark 7 or 8 is required past turn 20 or so, to do respectable damage, and last through many fights-- especially against fighter carriers. Don't carry more than 100-175 torps unless you're specifically trying to use up resources on an outpost world-- better that the torps are wasted, than for the enemy to build them, right? Same goes for fighters-- don't put more than 100-130 or so on a Biocide-- any more will simply be wasted, and at 100MC a piece, these are quite pricey to lose!!

HYP probes should be minimally armed. 2 Xrays is usually plenty-- better than putting lasers, as lasers will do more to bring down someone's shields(kill 3 versus Xray's kill 1). Be sure to put 2 Xrays, as you want to be able to capture freighters if you can-- 2 Xrays will nicely capture a LDSF-- 1 Xray will not.

I usually have Disrupters or Heavy Disrupters on my Fireclouds. This way, I can capture freighters and small ships for my own use. I usually put on Mark 4 tubes if I can help it, so I can lay minefields or similar if necessary.

7.22 What engines should I use?

On cubes, you should have a minimum of warp 6 or 7. Using Transwarps ESPECIALLY if you're chunneling them in, is wasteful at 6 engines a ship! That's 1800 MCs per ship!!! Some people use Transwarps on one, and then tow another one-- this should work fairly well, but don't put less than warp 6 engines on the one being towed, because if the tower is destroyed, you don't want the other ship to be COMPLETELY abandoned. Also, if necessary, OVERDRIVE your engines. Sometimes it's better for your enemy to think you have more than you have-- especially if the ES bonus is on, as they'll figure for tech 10 ships if they see you traveling at warp 9! <G>

HYP ships should have a maximum of warp8 engines, and an average of warp 6-7, depending on their specific purpose. If the ES Bonus is on, I recommend going lower, as you want these babies destroyed, NOT captured!

Fireclouds should definitely have Transwarps, unless they are simply a receiver at a starbase or such. Don't worry about making it easier for enemies who capture your Fireclouds(knock on wood!), as most competent enemies would be escorting/towing such a prize anyway, even after they cloned it.

7.23 What should I carry in my ships?

You should always have free room on your cubes, as when you destroy a ship, you get the minerals/fuel from it. However, don't take this to an extreme, as usually those minerals aren't to useful-- especially on the front lines. It's always a good idea to carry supplies-- maybe 100-200 per cube, as then if you're hit by a mine or Glory Device, you can repair yourself(1% for ever 5 supplies), without having to stop, and perform the repair self mission. This is ESPECIALLY important when playing against the Fascists, as they will do their best to throw as many GDs as possible at you, to soften up your fleet before they confront you with their warships. You should also carry torps/fighters of course, mention in 6.21, and maybe some colonists, and even money for making more torpedoes.

HYP ships shouldn't carry anything, except when colonizing or transferring money. If you have multiple probes, try splitting the money among numerous ships, going different routes back home, so that if one gets destroyed/captured, all of your money won't be gone. Of course this is only very useful when you're transferring large sums(20,000+). It's not worth the effort for a measly 5,000 or less.

Fireclouds should carry colonists and supplies, so they can colonize on their way to where they are going. The supplies will also help against GD hits, mine hits, etc. You might want to carry a small amount of torps as well, so you can defend better against some of the larger medium warships.

7.24 How should I fly my ships?

Planet hop whenever possible-- give your position and identity away only when it benefits you. NEVER show your heading-- make it seem like you're heading to one planet when you are indeed heading to another, etc. Fly in erratic zig-zag patterns when flying out in the open. Once in a while, travel just short of your destination in a straight line to simply frustrate a cloaker trying to intercept you! And always set your primary enemy to privateer! They are the only enemy that can do you great harm without attacking-- you DO want to pick a fight with them you do NOT want to find your ships and their ship(s) in the same place in space. Do your best to travel in ion storms to discourage cloakers from trying to intercept you(especially Privateers)-- so many cloakers forget to figure for ion storms uncloaking their ships! <G>

7.3 How should I strike?

Striking is all dependent on your style of play. I prefer to attack from multiple directions, splitting my enemies defending forces. The best way, is to send in 3 forces visibly, and then when he sends his ships to intercept, send in a 4th and possibly 5th strike from behind to attack his planets with weaker defenses. This way you win either way if he leaves his ships on his planets, you can have 5 strike forces to take care of them, and then the planet, and if he leaves with his ships, you can take the planets with your sneaking strike force(s).

Gorilla striking is very effective-- especially along the borders. Send a few ships in, capture a planet, riot it to death-- maybe assimilate some natives, and pop back out. Strike in random patterns, at random times.

Whatever you do, do not split your forces, and attack two people at once-- it will severely hinder your chances of winning each. Try to exterminate ONE enemy at a time. Fighting on two fronts is just to confusing, and risky.

When striking, be sure to set the battle order properly, so that your ships fight in the correct order. Set the friendly codes to ??1 for the first ship, ??2 for the second, etc. ?? can be any letter-- numbers will act as numbers. The lower the number, the earlier they will fight-- ships with friendly codes of complete letters will strike last.

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8.0 What allies should I make?

The Feds are a fairly good ally, as they can give you LOKIs to protect you from cloaking races-- the Privateers most specifically. They can also super-refit your ships with all their money-- they'll probably want you to provide the minerals though. If you give them a Biocide, they will have effectively 13 bays instead of the default 10-- making the Biocide even more deadly. Terraformers are very useful to you, as many of your colonists die from the climate being too hot or too cold. The Fed's bioscanner can also help you find more natives to assimilate.

The Lizards are another fairly good ally, as they can also give you LOKIs, give you tons of minerals(200% mining rate!), hiss your planets if necessary to get more money, give you cloakers for spying and colonizing far into enemy territory. They can also give you a terraformer to cool down your desert planets. A good tactic to use with the Lizards, is to have an assimilated world with a LDSF in orbit. Fill the LDSF with colonists, and a Lizard can send ships there, and you can load colonists on them for them to use in Ground Attacks-- VERY useful for a supply of colonists deep in enemy territory.

The Bird Men are good to ally with for cloakers, but other than that, and information, they're not that useful to you-- but they'll want to ally for your cubes, HYP ship, and Fireclouds. Beware of sneaky Bird Men players it's very easy for them to stab you in the back HARD!!!

The Fascist can do you good with their cloakers, Glory Devices, Pillaging (what else are you going to do with 200,000,000 colonists?!?!?!?-- isn't turning that into 200,000 supplies better?!? <G>), and of course the ground attack like the Lizards, but to a smaller extent. They also can't be attacked using ATT/NUK friendly codes, so they're dangerous enemies!

The Privateers are your worst enemy, so they'd be a GREAT ally. They grab the ships from other races, and you clone them for him, and keep some for yourself. He gives you Gravitronic Accelerated ships to tow your fleet around with, and you help him with your Fireclouds and HYP ships. They'll also give you cloakers. Basically, you don't want them on your bad side, so it's better to ally with them! <G>

The Crystal People those web mines are sure comforting to have around your empire. That's for sure. Plus he can grab ships, and you can clone them for him like with the Privateers keeping a copy for yourself, of course. They can't offer you much else, except a terraformer that heats to 100.

The Empire would be a nice ally, but not a great one. They get 5 free fighters per base, which barely covers their ships, so they can't really give you many. They have the Imperial Super Star Destroyer, however, which is VERY useful! Get a planet deep in enemy territory, assimilate it, and then get some SSDs there-- you can use that planet as a loading base for colonists, and capture plenty of enemy planets/bases! Also, why would you want to fight a Gorbie!?!? <G> They can also give you nearly COMPLETE information on enemy worlds, with their dark sense.

The Robots are a free fighter race, so they're a good ally. They can give you free fighters for your Biocide, and even give you Instrumentalities for a lighter carrier to guard your planets with. They can also give you 4x minefields to protect your space with! They can also give you a FULL bioscanner to find more natives with.

The Rebels are also a free fighter race, so they're also a good ally. They can give you the Patriot Carrier which is REALLY cheap to build/clone, and is really effective when it has a decent amount of fighters. They can also RGA your worlds to make natives happier, and also can't be attacked by ATT/NUK.

The Colonies are a nice ally due to the free fighters of course, and can also sweep mines with fighters-- even from 100 LYs away, making them VERY good allies if you have the Robots as an enemy! They can also give you a bioscanner/RAM scoop ship(Cobol) for finding natives. Their Aries transport makes fuel more efficiently than your normal refinery, and their Lady Royalle allows you to get 160MC per turn from it if you have colonists aboard-- which you'll have PLENTY of!

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9.0 How do I deal with my enemies?

9.1 Dealing with the Feds

The Feds are fairly straightforward to deal with. They don't have much anti-Borg equipment. Just exterminate them with your cubes, and watch out for possible allies.

9.2 Dealing with the Lizards

The Lizards fear you very much. They can't use their ground attack ratio very effectively, due to your assimilation. Their cloakers are VERY useful against you, as they can scout out your worlds, but they can't do too much about it, unless they have enough cloakers, or bring in their T-Rex's and Madonzilla carriers. They also are immune to LOKI's, so getting a LOKI won't help you. With their excellent and fast-starting economy they will make quick work of you if they find you early in the game-- try to stay hidden, and don't pick any fights with them early-- you don't stand a chance if they're played competently. Later in the game, however, they aren't too much of a threat. Just attack them like you would other races.

9.3 Dealing with the Bird Men

The Bird Men are the sneaky, cowardly snakes of the echo cluster. <G> These guys will probe your territory finding LOTS of info, and selling it to your enemies. Lay minefields if you can to try to capture some of these pests, and exterminate their HW if you can. They will also try to change your friendly codes on your planets to bum this will beam your money up to all enemy ships in orbit(cloaked or not). They will then try to run. This can be helped, if you change your friendly codes every turn use a random generator such as is built into VPA.

9.4 Dealing with the Fascists

These guys, to tell you the truth, are scary-- those Glory Devices can hurt you, but carry those supplies to protect yourself. Their ships don't stand a chance against a fully-functional cube of any type. They can also pillage your planets, however, which can be VERY scary-- getting a good 1000-2000 MC from each pillage! One good reason not to keep colonists on your planets needlessly-- kill them off if the Fascists might come and pillage you! They'll also be cloaking throughout your empire, spying on you, taking your freighters, pillaging where you least expect it, etc. I'd prefer to ally with them! <G>

9.5 Dealing with the Privateers

Run like hell! <G> These guys are even worse than the Fascists. They will steal your ships, and use them against you! The tactics for robbing ships are very easily figured out, and used VERY easily. Try using the beam-up-fuel method, and never move your ships in a straight line they will cloak-intercept you, and steal your fuel, and then your ship! Also, when launching attacks against these filthy barbarians, be sure to send your ships separately, as they will easily intercept your ships, and drag them away-- REMEMBER-- NEVER EVER EVER send them in a straight line! The good part about these guys, is their planets are very easily defeated-- they're power is in stolen ships.

9.6 Dealing with the Crystal People

These are a HARD race to attack. Those web mines-- once you get stuck in them, it's VERY hard to get out. Especially if you didn't listen to my advice above, and put high-tech beams on your ships! This race's ships aren't particularly powerful, so they're fairly easy to destroy, but getting there is the hardest part. many Crystalline players will even use web mines as an offensive measure, making movement VERY hard. However, with chunneling and HYP probes, it effects you less than most other races, so be happy! <G> Try towing a Firecloud into the web field-put just the fuel you need on your towing ship, so that it can't lose much. Then next turn, transfer that much more onto it from the ship being towed(which can't be hit by the mines), so that it can go another turn. If you're towing a warship, set it to mine sweep, so you at least can destroy SOME of the mines.

9.7 Dealing with the Evil Empire

The Evil Empire is a formidable opponent. Unlike you(when you have a good economy), they suffer greatly from lack of fuel. As well as lack of colonists for use in their SSDs. Take advantage of this. If they are advancing, strip all planet of fuel, and retreat. Then, when they come forward, and are, hopefully, stranded on a planet without fuel, move in for the kill! An Annihilation with merely Mark4 tubes, and Heavy Disrupters can take out 3 loaded SSDs with only 75-90 torps, and without taking ANY damage. Better torps, means fewer torps, and even less damage to the shields. Their Gorbies, however, are terrifying!

9.8 Dealing with the Robots

The Robots suffer from a sever lack of Duranium-- they require an EXCESSIVE amount of it in all of their ships. Therefore, when fighting with the Robots, be sure to deprive them of as much Duranium as possible. Not to mention Moly and Tritanium, as they need that for their fighters. The Robots have many decent carriers, however, and stand a good chance of wiping you out. I still can't understand why this is Tim Wisseman's favorite race, though. <G>

9.9 Dealing with the Rebels

Like the Fascists, the Rebels can not have their ships attacked by planets with the NUK/ATT friendly codes. They have the Rebel Ground Assault which is even more dangerous than pillaging, but at least it doesn't help the Rebels any(except the destruction of us, of course). They also have HYP ships to HYP into your space, and RGA a planet or two, and HYP back out. They excel at gorilla warfare, so beware. Their carriers are formidable opponents as well.

9.10 Dealing with the Colonies

The Colonies have good carriers like the Robots and the Rebels, as well as Lady Royale ships to make money with. They can be VERY dangerous when played right sweeping your minefields from 100 LYs away, attacking with Virgos, etc. Not a fun race to deal with, but definitely not your worst enemy.

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10.0 Minefields

Many expert Borg players use minefields extensively. The use of minefields depends greatly on your neighbors, however. A Robot neighbor will easily exterminate your minefields by placing his own to destroy them, at 1/4 the price or your's. A Fascist has many beams on their ships, and will easily clear the minefields. The trick with minefields is knowing where to place them, when to place them, and when to scoop them back up! In a recent game, I had an Annihilation come out of a wormhole, and by chance, it was in Empire territory, right next to a SSD heading for one of my outpost planets. I laid a minefield right there, and ended up hitting the SSD twice! It was crippled to over 80% damage! I then struck a couple planets, and scooped up the minefield. I meant to lay it again, but instead was destroyed when I attempted to strike a planet that was to heavily defended(quite probably, the former Fed HW). You MUST scoop up your mines using the msc friendly code once your enemy knows about them-- otherwise, he'll simply sweep them unless he's a newbie, he won't fall for getting hit by a mine in the same minefield twice.

And remember this:

"He who knows the enemy and himself

Will never in a hundred battles be at risk;

He who does not know the enemy but knows himself

Will sometimes win and sometimes lose;

He who knows neither the enemy nor himself

Will be at risk in every battle."

- Sun Tzu, The Art of Warfare

Note: Sorry for the "lack of humor" that my friend who test-read this mentioned, but I just can't come up with jokes for a lot of these things! <G> I hope you at least learned something-after all, that's what all this fun is about, right? Learning? <G>

Derek J. Kalweit

dkalweit@eznet.net (Email me anytime--especially if you want to play a plain-vanilla VGAP game!)

Derek's Web Page