Time to reveal a few secrets that veteran players know and use to their
advantage. Hopefully there is some information in this section for all
players to pick up on and learn, new and old alike.
WHERE TO BUILD - TUNNELS AND BUBBLES
Several salty, space-faring veterans of the game use these labels interchangeably,
but there is a technical difference between them.
A bubble is a large section of space with limited ways in and out,
a minimum of 100 sectors in size. The maximum size depends on the size
of the universe being created and the number of bubbles desired by the
game operator. When Gold extensions are turned ON, a flag is removed,
and the option to create bubbles in enabled. The GameOp can then break
up the universe from one large area into several smaller ones. These
smaller areas are called bubbles.
Tunnels are much smaller, and are created in every version of the game.
Tunnels range in size from a single dead-end sector to as large as 20
or more sectors. They can have a single sector as an entrance/exit point
(called the mouth, the gate, or the front door sector), or may have
one or more one-way exits that let you leave but not return. These one-ways
are often called "back doors", but the point is that no one
can get INTO a tunnel except through the "front door".
Before you start building, mark the entrance to a tunnel as an "avoid"
sector on the Computer menu, then try to plot a course into the tunnel
from the outside. If the computer finds another way in, then it is not
a safe tunnel to build in. If the computer cannot find another route,
then the tunnel is "verified" and is likely safe to start
creating planets and colonizing.
Even tunnels that have been verified can be flawed, but not often.
In very large games where the maximum course length is short, it is
possible for the computer to not find another way into a tunnel when
one actually does exist (also clear any avoids you may have to prevent
blocking another route). Few and far between, but such games can be
created. If you suspect this might be the case, try verifying the tunnel
from different points around the universe, just to be sure. Just use
the Computer menu option [F]ind Route to save turns moving.
Once you find a nice, quiet tunnel several sectors away from FedSpace
(you don't want to be found that quickly, do you?), you can start making
planets and colonizing them. Having to move to Terra and back quickly
uses up your daily allotment of turns. A ship capable of TransWarp can
really help here. Buy fuel from a port and leave it on the planet you
want to colonize, then TransWarp to Terra, grab your share of colonists,
and TransWarp back.
Simple, right? Sure, if you already have an Imperial StarShip or a
Corporate Flagship, and trying this in a Havoc Gunstar uses more fuel
than it's worth. Here is where a Planetary Transporter can really pay
off. Use the old-fashioned move technique to grab enough of the colonists
to start making a Level 1 citadel. Once it is started, start dropping
more fuel on the planet. Once the citadel becomes a level 1 you can
buy a transporter pad and upgrade it enough to reach Terra. Grab enough
fuel for the return trip, beam yourself to Terra and grab colonists,
then TransWarp back. Complicated, but remember that beaming you and
your ship with a planetary transporter only uses a single turn, but
10 units of fuel from the planet per hop.
Red (evil) players cannot lock onto Terra directly, but they can try
leaving a fighter close by and warp to the fighter, then move the rest
of the way to Terra and TransWarp back. If you don't have the luxury
of a TransWarp drive, a planetary transporter still saves you the cost
of moving to Terra, cutting your turns used per cycle in half and doubling
the productivity of colonizing.
PLANET FARMING FOR CASH
Planets worth keeping early in the game are class (O) Oceanic planets
and class (L) Mountainous planets. Class (H) Volcanic planets are the
best for making fuel, but are very slow in building citadels (2-1/2
weeks for that Quasar cannon, and over 7 weeks to reach level 6). With
1 million units of fuel to run a Quasar cannon, they are the best planets
in the long run for tunnel defense, but slow in getting there. After
the first week, consider starting these after tunnel defenses are built
up enough to defend yourself. In an invasion, volcanics make a wonderful
But for making money, Class (O) planets are champions. They ramp up
very close to what a port can handle buying in a single day. An Oceanic
planet reaches peak production at 100,000 colonists and can produce
50,000 units of Organics a day. At maximum, a port can only take in
65,530 units a day for about 2.2 - 2.5 million credits profit. In some
games, the ports are limited to 32,000 units and offer you around 0.6
- 1.2 million in profit. Oceanics can outpace the ports!
Like colonist production, the value of products at the ports are based
on a bell curve. You get a better offer from a port at 90% than you
will from a port at 10%. Once you upgrade the port to its maximum volume,
only sell products to reach the 50% mark, and do this twice a day, or
the top 25% four times a day, to maximize your profits.
Making class M planets and farming equipment from them sounds like
a good idea at the start of the game, but it isn't. While equipment
is more valuable than organics, at best they can make 1,153 units per
day you can sell for about 100,000-150,000 credits.
PLANET FARMING FOR FIGHTERS
You might think that class (M)Earth Type planets are the best for fighter
production. After all, they have the best production formula with n/10,
right? Wrong! Remember that fighter production is based on the daily
production of FOE product. Class M planets have a ratio of 3/7/13, so
the best fighter production they can do is 30 colonists to make 1 fighter.
Mountainous planets reach citadel level 1 in only 2 days, and level
2 after another 5 days (giving it the first Combat Control computer)
AND the first Quasar cannon in a total of 12 days. Another advantage
is the n/12 fighter production with a fuel ratio of 2. This means that
placing colonists in fuel production makes really good fuel, and 24
colonists to produce 1 fighter. It's the best place for the first 20,000
colonists to go, making 1,666 fighters per day and 10,000 units of fuel.
But do not discount those Oceanic planets! What Mountainous planets
make in speed, Oceanics can beat with volume! Class (L)s might have
the advantage with fighter production of n/12, but they top out at only
20,000 colonists. Class (O) planets are five times that, and with production
only 3 points different at n/15 can make more than triple the fighters
per day at top production.
VII. CITADEL ADVANCEMENT TABLES
- IV. INVADING SECTOR &