Playing Birdmen in VGAP4

23rd January 2001. | Suggestions welcome

  • Overview
  • Using special racial abilities
  • Using special ship devices
  • Recommended colonisation strategy
  • Strategy suggestions
  • Latest additions since (January 2001) in red, to help folk who've read this before

    See also: Tim Wisseman's guide to the Birdmen, at and Doug & Maries' guide at


    The Birdmen are the cloaking, sneaking, backstabbing bastards of V4 (at least until the Privateers are out). They have reasonable ground assault attack capabilities, fairly capable ships; they are potentially VERY powerful when they can do what they do best, Spy and Board. To enable the boarding advantages of the Birdmen their nearly blind ships need a seeing eyed dog. To take full advantage of your spying you need to be a pretty good diplomat to negotiate with potential allies and blackmail known enemies (you can only spy on one race at a time).

    Bad points:

    Good points:

    Using special racial abilities

    See the section on how to capture ships in combat on the Combat Tips page. Bear in mind the Deth Spec has a Boarding Laser. Leave this switched on all the time, it costs nothing to run.

    The Praetorian High Guard Masters do their thing without your intervention.  They become active once your population crosses the 10 million mark.  If they succeed in the capture of an enemy universal friendly code, advance with as many cloaked ships as you can muster as the mines and ships arrayed against you will pay no attention.  Refer to the strategy section for more spying ideas.

    The Plasmatron Assault Vehicle decreases the effectiveness of enemy ground and air assault mechs.  They also work as low impact mines and smelters.  I build them in large units and move them from planet to planet mining each one out.

    You have stealthy bases and ships.  Bases have a signature of 20 instead of 800.

    You have a number of anti-Borg capabilities: recover a higher number of "killed" Borg in ground combat as colonists, nanovirus device turns Borg into natives, and Borg do not get goodies when they assimilate Birdmen.

    Using special ship devices

    Recommended colonization strategy

    The various player guides out there present several colonization options.

    1. Pods – slow, inefficient, colonists in pods don't breed. Despite your slightly higher pod speed, I don't think this is a good idea for you. Use your pods for positioning material that is primarily just stockpiled such as minerals, food, repair, and ord. Pods of people should be docked.  Your colonists, money and supplies are too valuable to send drifting along at 32 LYPT.
    2. SDSF's – This is a better idea, but is slow with low tech engines. Use this as mop up of stars you passed up as lower priority.
    3. Small Capitol Ships – You need to get your startup Skyfires out and about to scan. As long as there is only one transfer per turn, tow SDSF's with your Skyfires to seed a planet with the SDSF and Colonize with the Skyfire. In the early game establishing 6 new bases a turn will give you a great start. Have colonists loaded into a pod to restock the Skyfires. Use some of your startup equipment (FTL-5 engines) to build White Falcon's.  Since your Skyfires are fast, get them out a substantial distance and work back in a spiral. Establish some bases that will have concentrations of training centers. You will have more crew than you will need, so send them off to training center bases to become troops and highguard.

    You should try to spread your people out throughout your territory to get a marginally improved overall growth rate. More importantly, you should consider tactics for positioning your troops like others consider ordinance. Try to push them towards the front lines where they are needed most. Also, by spreading out your resources you are not as vulnerable to an assault on one of your bases. Once you have a substantial empire, make use of autopilot ships to move your resources around so you don't have to deal with the tedium. The exotic tech Pod Kicker can be used to bump up pod speed. This is most cost effective if you build up the need for a lot of pod activity and do it all at once so you don't have the tech cost. Growth of your population compounds, so boosting your rate with exotic tech may make sense to push some planets over critical 1 million, 2 million, 5 million thresholds.

    Strategy suggestions

    You have the best spying capability in the game.   Be sure to use it!


    Anti - Birdmen Tactics