The game lasted 122 turns with only six players surviving at the end.
In order of scores they were:
I played the Borg and at game end I had a fleet of 4 ships, two Fireclouds, a B200 Probe and a Saurian Cruiser. In contrast, the winning player, Rebels (David Morris) had a fleet of 233 ships. David played an excellent game, by building a strong economy he was able to roll over any opposition.
Here is a rundown of how I managed to reach the #5 position
(4th loser) with a covetous score of 1080. :)
My strategy was BLITZKRIEG! aka Maxims.
Turn one took about 5 hours to complete. Via e-mail I was able to obtain the location of another homeworld. With this knowledge, my homeworld position, pouring over the game specs and running numerous "master" and"hosts" I was able to determine the most probable locations of all the other homeworlds. Over the course of the game all these locations except one, were verified as correct.
With the XYPLAN.DAT I set up an identical universe and calculated enemy sensor ranges, possible planets my enemies would go to, etc. Also, I was able to select a route from which to attack one of my neighbours. By playing several simulations I determined I could be able to attack my southern neighbour's homeworld by turn 15.
On turn two my first firecloud started its long and stealthy journey towards the enemy homeworld.
To deceive my opponents into thinking I was concentrating on building an economy, I built B200 probes with tech 1 engines and no beams. They showed up as freighters on the scores and were ideal for confirming enemy locations, colonizing and still enabling me to expand with my strained economy. By using hyperdrive warpwells the B200's were able to move unseen
and had a range of 338 to 362 light years.
Turn 4.....enemy sighted! A B200 sights an Outrider Scout, owned by Privateer! Damn! It was coming from the HW I was going to attack. :(
Over the next turns, I only built B200's and low cost fireclouds with the intention of saving my resources for the first Cube.
Turn 11.... Annhilation Cube built.....mk4 torps, plasma beams and Nova 5 engines.
Turn 16 ....Privateer's homeworld falls to the Anni cube. Even though Privateer lasted to turn 76, he never developed an effective strategy that enabled him to recover from the loss of his homeworld and become a viable force.
During this time Birds was having problems with Crystal and Rebels surrounding him. I could see the flashes and hear the screams.
Now I turned against my other neighbour.....Colonies. Moving rapidly via pre-positioned fireclouds I chunnelled two Annihilations to begin an assault. One was the original Anni which had escaped after destroying Privateer's HW and a new Gamma ANNI. ie....Gamma torps and xrays.....ideal for capturing most small and medium enemy vessels, especially a Cobol or Patriot.
Turn 22..... A Virgo shows up and I limp away with a bloodied nose and the loss of one Annhilation. Colonies was having Robot incursions on the other side and for that reason I suspect the Virgo never followed the surviving Anni.
Over the next 40 turns Birds and Fascists are knocked out. Robots is aggressively fighting Colonies on one front and Lizards on the other. Ship limit of 500 was reached on turn 34 and my only big ships are three Biocides and one Gamma Anni. The flaw of Maxims is the long term economy suffers and when its is finally stable for large ship production the 500 ship limit has already been reached. :(
Even though the Biocides are a most powerful ship, they don't always win. With only three Biocides and the ship queue full, I couldn't take a chance on losing even one. How could I make the Biocides more powerful? I ran battle sims, read everything I could find on Borgs and came up with an option that would improve the survivability of the Biocides.
By engaging my enemies in single ship combat with chunnel, the Biocide almost always wins against a ship that arrives out of a chunnel, with beams uncharged and shields at 0%. Also, I get the PBP's which is equal to 7 for a Rush. Now, how do I coax an enemy ship into a chunnel?
Donovan came to my help with an obscure tactic called the "Frycutus Manouver". The original tactic was passive and relied on the enemy towing himself onto a Firecloud that was about to chunnel. Hmmmm...to chancy for my desparate needs.
I came up with a variation, but first I needed low id cloakers. Birds and Fascists were dead, Privateer would not be receptive to my needs. That left Lizards. So I traded loaded Biocides for low id Lizard and Saurian Cruisers. (lower id ships have a higher priority for tow and movement)
Turn 67.... Low id Lizard Cruisers towed the higher id Rushes to separate Fireclouds that chunnelled to separate, waiting Biocides. The Saurians layed large minefields to negate any minefields that the Rebel might lay and also to damage any remaining ships. Tow/Zoom/BOOM!!!!
With tow/chunnel I only lost two Biocides and destroyed 6 Rushes and two Virgos. The PBP's increased and the ship limit was no longer a problem. The tow/chunnel also worked for the Gamma Anni to capture SSD's. For some smaller/medium ships I used MBR's to tow enemy ships to the Gamm Anni avoiding the chunnel and ensuring their capture. The MBR's were captured by a Gamma Anni and Loki team.
The end was coming.....
Though effective, my tactics could not stop the Rebel Steamroller and David was becoming more innovative in avoiding my tow/chunnel. In my hands the Cubes would eventually be lost piecemeal. During the game I would transfer my Cubes to Feds and Lizards. Gianni recieved 4 Biocides with 1000+ fighters and one Anni to supplement his Lizard forces. The Fed player (first Mandor, then Schnii) received the same.
My Cubes flying under the Federation Commander would increase their launch bays to 13 and under the Lizards would be able to suffer 150% damage.
They would continue to be the deadliest ships in the Echo Cluster. Fed was involved in the demise of Colonies and aided Lizard in an assault against Robots.
While the Rebel incursions could be stopped by concentration of forces, we were unable to stop him everywhere. He would win through attrition.
Lessons learnt.... ;)
1.... The B200's should have been used more aggressively for colonizing.
2.... On remote starbases the Watcher Scout with tech 1 engines were ideal for overdriving to nearby planets to obtain needed minerals, etc to build a Firecloud.
3.... Warpwells for hyperdriving, chunnelling into and out of increased the survival of many of my ships and enabled the demise of enemy vessels.
4.... Low id cloakers are paramount for towing/chunnel.
5.... Gamma Anni's are essential part of the Borg arsenal if using the tactics from Maxims. They can capture most small/medium ships and for the few like the SSD, there is the tow/chunnel that will ensure capture.
The captured ships supplement the Borg fleet when the ship limit is reached.
6.... Since money is never a problem for the Borg, Biocides are a better purchase than Anni's with high tech weapons.
7.... When fighting the Privateers, team the Gamma Anni's with Lokis.
8.... Price for one low id Lizard Cruiser, one low id Saurian Cruiser and a Loki? ....one Biocide with 280+ fighters is fair. ;)
9.... The teams that worked well together were:
For capturing ships......Gamma Anni and a Loki
For destroying ships.....Biocide, also a Loki if I was tow/chunneling near enemy cloakers.
Tow/chunnel .......... Two cloakers and three Fireclouds when the enemy knew I was in the area, one cloaker with two Fireclouds when he didn't know I was there.
If the enemy doesn't know you are there, you will only require one low id cloaker to tow the enemy ship to the chunneling Firecloud. That firecloud lays a minefield ( to cause disruption and discourage cloakers) and chunnels to another Firecloud that is waiting with a Biocide set to KILL. I have the Biocide over a starbase so that it can be repaired if damaged, also if it is destroyed the Starbase is set to NUK to destroy the enemy ship. Sometimes the chunnelling Firecloud is destroyed, so only chunnel with 50 units of fuel ie dump the rest to avoid that problem.
If the enemy knows what you are up to the team needs to be larger.
I found two cloakers and two Fireclouds were necessary in enemy territory.
One tows/chunnels, the other lays a lot of mines and moves off the planet into the warp well. One of the fireclouds lays mines and chunnels with the towing cloaker. The other F/C also mines but it moves into a warpwell.
Next turn the minelaying cloaker and minelaying Firecloud stay in their separate (usually) warpwell and minescoop. Another firecloud and low id cloaker chunnel to the firecloud in the warpwell to start the process over again.
Knowledge of warpwells is necessary to enable your fireclouds to penetrate into enemy territory and set up the tow/chunnel teams.
X X X
X X X 3 X X X
X 2 2 2 2 2 X
X X 2 1 1 1 2 X X
X 3 2 1 P 1 2 3 X
X X 2 1 1 1 2 X X
X 2 2 2 2 2 X
X X X 3 X X X
X X X
P = planet :)
1,2, 3 = warpwell
X = outside warpwell
If your destination point is any of the numbers 1, 2 or 3 and your warp is 2 to 9 your ship will be drawn into the warpwell and arrive on the planet P.
If your ship is HYPerdriving and your destination point is any of the TWO numbers 1 or 2 your ship will also be drawn into the warpwell and arrive on the planet.
At warps 2 to 9 ships arriving at position X will not be drawn into the warp well. NOTE: a ship using hyperdrive can also arrive at position 3 and NOT be drawn into the warpwell.
To move in the warp well and not be drawn to the planet ALL warp must be at 1 (ONE). At warp 1 a ship can move horizontally or diagonally to an adjacent position.
An MBR at warp one move TWO positions
An MBR at warp one will move TWO positions horizontally. Moving diagonally at warp 1 an MBR can move two horizontally AND one diagonally. (like a knight in chess).
Fireclouds can chunnell into and out of any position in the warpwell.
When moving the Fireclouds in enemy territory I avoid planets. Instead I aim for one of the positions ( X on warpwell above ) that surround the number 3 position. It is difficult (not impossible) to see a ship in that location and next turn I lay a small minefield (md1 with mk4 torps) and move to position 3 at warp 1. It always took an enemy ship two turns to reach position 3 and this gave me warning and time to chunnel out, or chunnel in in a big ship.
I used high tech beams on B200 for minesweeping. 4 to 6 B200 would HYP into position 3 on the warpwells to sweep and assist the tow/chunnel teams.
You may not win using these ideas, however you will survive and cause your opponents a lot of grief with a small force used innovatively and effectively.