(written by Veldan)
The first article all about minefields sure was exciting, was it not? If you haven’t read it please take a look at The Nine Attributes of Space Mines. This second article in this three-part series delves deep into the host order for any minefield related host actions. The objective is that with the first two articles in the series complete, the ground work will be laid for the third article to discuss more advanced minefield topics. Veterans out there may want to give this article at least a skim, you never know what can be found.
28 Space Mine Moments in the Host Order
Host is what happens around the time that all players click ‘turn ready’, or when the timer expires on your turn. Host runs through a turn in a very well defined and predictable manner. The order of events in which host processes a turn is referred to as the “host order”. The host program parses through all of the commands that each player set and adjudicates the outcome of those actions. Space mines have at least 28 sections in the host order that are relevant to some outcome a player may want. Imaginative use of the host order can lead to some very complex and tricky play.
- Client Side Actions — The first commands processed by the host (i.e. client side actions), are what you do when you “play” the game. Any orders done through friendly codes (i.e. ‘mkt’ ), have their own host phase and do not process with client side actions. It is important to note that diplomatic settings also occur during client side actions.
- Superspy Deluxe (Friendly Code Change) — The Superspy Deluxe mission allows a Bird Man to attempt to change the friendly code of a planet. This is important because a Bird can set the ‘mfX’ universal friendly code, change the local friendly code, or duplicate the local friendly code and allow his ships access to your minefields regardless of your diplomatic settings. This overwrites changes made in the client phase.
- Minefield Friendly Codes Established — After client side friendly code changes and any possible Bird Man Superspy Deluxe manipulation, the minefield friendly codes are established. For most minefields, this is the only phase that matters for establishing friendly codes. But as planets change hands during the turn, your minefields could possibly go through several different friendly codes.
- Cargo Drop (Imperial Assault and Ground Combat) — Cargo drops to foreign/unowned planets and any resulting ground combat means a planet can exchange ownership very early in the host phase. Ground assaults can be accomplished through an Imperial Assault from a Super Star Destroyer, or just a good old fashioned clan drop. Keep this in mind for #12 where friendly codes may change again prior to movement.
- Foreign Ship Transfers — Beam transfers, ‘gsX’, ‘bum’, ‘btm’, ‘btt’ friendly codes can transfer cargo, ships, cash, and torpedoes from a foreign ship to another foreign ship for all sorts of purposes.
- Command Ships Move (Campaign Only) — Command ships can move before new minefields are laid and before any minesweeping actions take place.
- Lay Standard Mines — Ships and starbases (if enabled in campaign mode) will lay their torpedoes as mines by ship ID, followed by planet ID. Minefield ID numbers begin with 1 and progress on to ∞. Remember there is a soft minefield limit of 500 active minefields of any type.
- Lay Web Mines — Ships and starbases (if enabled in campaign mode) owned by the Crystal Confederation can convert torpedoes into webs. This occurs in order of ship ID, followed by planet ID. Minefield ID numbers begin with 1 and progress on to ∞. Remember there is a soft minefield limit of 500 active minefields of any type.
- Ion Storms (All Ion Storm Actions) — An ion storm can move during this host phase to cover the center point of a minefield thereby rendering the next host action (sweep mines) ineffective (except for the Colonies’ ability to sweep with fighters).
- Sweep Mines
- Ships and starbases (if enabled in campaign mode) with beam weapons that have their mission set to minesweep will detect minefields within a radius of 200ly, will send a report to the player, and show each minefield as a circle on the map.
- For ordinary minefields, ships must be within 5ly from the outside edge of a minefield in order to sweep.
- For webs, ships must be inside the minefield in order to sweep.
- For ordinary minefields, the formula for the number of mine units swept: 4 * (number of beams) * (beamslot) [See the table below for the value of “beamslot”]
- For webs, the formula for the number of mine units swept: 3 * (number of beams) * (beamslot) [See the table below for the value of “beamslot”]
- Minesweeping will result in destruction of enemy minefields unless one of the following conditions is true:
- a diplomatic setting of “safe passage” or higher is set by the side attempting the sweeping.
- the ship matches the friendly code of the minefield.
- the center point of the minefield is covered by an ion storm.
- Carriers belonging to the Missing Colonies of Man have a special long-range minesweeping ability. When the ship’s mission is set to minesweep, it can sweep mines from up to 100ly from the edge of the minefield using its fighters. Each fighter will sweep 20 mine units from each minefield within range. Carriers without beam weapons still can sweep mines with their fighters. They can also sweep minefields that are in an ion storm.
- Colonial fighters cannot sweep webs.
- If multiple ships are sweeping the same minefield, or multiple minefields, the ships will sweep in order by ship ID and will sweep the minefields by minefield ID. Ship 1 will sweep minefield 1 – 500, then ship 2 will sweep, etc.
- If there are multiple minefields nearby, a ship will use its full sweeping power on all minefields within range.
- Mine Decay — Each minefield decays at a rate of 5% per turn. There is no first turn amnesty for a minefield. You automatically lose 5% of the space mines you lay the turn you lay them.
- Mines Destroy Mines — Mines will destroy mines at a 1:1 ratio until one minefield is completely eliminated. This is processed by minefield ID. If opposing minefields are found to overlap, the larger minefield is reduced by the number of units of the smaller minefield, and the smaller minefield disappears. This operation does not occur if both races share a diplomatic setting of “safe passage” or higher. Regular mines do not destroy web mines.
- New Minefield Friendly Codes Established — A new minefield has no friendly code prior to this phase. It will establish the current universal minefield friendly code and local friendly code, if you want to lay a minefield on top of another players minefield, you must use the diplomacy settings of “safe passage” or higher.
- Web Drain — A ship will lose 25 kt of neutronium per web it is inside, unless the ship has safe passage through diplomatic status or friendly code.
- First ‘mkt’ and Repair Phase — This phase is important because a ship can drop its entire torpedo payload and still make new torpedoes prior to fighting. Also a ship with damage can be repaired prior to movement.
- Towing Ships Move — Ships with the tow mission set move first in order of ship ID, host calculates a mine hit chance for each light year traveled. The statistical probability of not hitting a standard mine in a single minefield is equal to 0,99^(total ly traveled) if uncloaked, 0,995^(total ly traveled) if cloaked, and 0,95^(total ly traveled) going through a web field. These mine hit messages will show up first (i.e. at the bottom) of the mine hit listing.
- Most other Ships Move — Ships without the intercept mission will move next in order of ship ID, host calculates a mine hit chance for each light year traveled, as above. These mine hit messages will show up second (i.e. in the middle) of the mine hit listing.
- Intercepting ships Move — Ships with the intercept mission are the last to move in order of ship ID, host calculates a mine hit chance for each light year traveled, as above. These mine hit messages will show up last (i.e. at the top) of the mine hit listing.
- Glory Device Detonation — Glory devices go off after most mine sweeping/laying actions and after movement, but before chunnel.
- Chunnel — Ships traveling by chunnel are safe from minefields; however because minesweeping happens before movement, if the chunnel brings them into a minefield they will not be able to sweep it on the same turn.
- Starbase Primary Orders — Specifically the load torpedoes onto ships and refuel missions can be handy here.
- Second ‘mkt’ and Repair Phases — A ship that hit mines during movement can be repaired prior to combat.
- Ship vs. Ship Combat — Ship vs. ship combat occurs after mine laying/sweeping, ‘mkt’, and movement.
- Third ‘mkt’ and Repair Phase — A ship damaged in ship vs. ship combat can be repaired before attacking a planet.
- Ship vs. Planet Combat — Planets fight ships in this phase.
- Last Minefield Friendly Code Established Phase — Minefield friendly codes are changed to represent the current map layout after all planets have finally changed hands. The net effect of this minefield friendly code phase is largely symbolic since the friendly code gets established very early on in the next host phase before anything important happens.
- Amorphous worms eat clans, riots, civil wars, climate effects on clans — It is possible that a minefield will have its friendly code established at a planet that will start the next turn unowned due to civil war, worms, or climate.
- Last ‘mkt’ and repair — A ship damaged at all with any supplies will be repaired prior to the end of hosting.
As you can see the host order has a huge impact on the life of your minefield during a single turn. Those who have read these first two articles should have a basic layout of what exactly defines a minefield, and how that minefield lives, grows, changes, and dies during a turn. One key feature to planets is for a player to understand not only what defines a ship, planet, starbase, minefield, etc… while they are looking at it during the client actions phase of a turn, but also to understand how exactly that object can be changed during a turn. If you understand how your actions change or define a minefield, you can then begin to understand how your opponent may want to change it, and develop some counters in order to thwart their efforts. Stay tuned next time for the final article in this series which focuses on the tactics and strategies of minefield use.
* The Beam Slot # referenced in the above formula refers to this table;
|Beam Slot #||Beam Type|