(written by dtolman)
In part 1 of the VGA Turns in 30 Minutes or Less series, we focused on three of the most powerful time saving techniques – ready checkboxes, waypoints, and automating planet builds. In part 2 I’d like to focus on commands that allow you to start working on next turn – now – so you can spend less time clicking next turn, and more time having fun.
Use the “beam up” Ship Missions for time saving advantages!
Readers of this are (hopefully) aware of ship missions, but one class of mission can help move up your actions – particularly in the early game. I’m speaking of the “beam up” mission – which works for enemy planets you match FCs with, friendly planets, and unowned planets as well (with or without a matching fc!). A lot of new players will have their ships wait a turn, drop a clan to take possession of a planet, and then transfer fuel (or minerals over) the next turn.
Why wait? The “Beam” missions occur before movement, so you can drop clans, set the beam up fuel mission (or other beam up mission), and move to your next destination – all on the same turn!
Using Starbase Missions to Save Time (and your Ships)
Almost everyone knows about ship missions – but did you know that your Starbases have missions that can automate otherwise manual processes, and move forward actions from next turn to this turn? To get to them, click on any Starbase in the map, and select “Primary Orders”. For most commanders, this is the place you set Force Surrender – but those other missions could be slashing time from your turns! Starbase missions actually take place _after_ movement and build, but _before_ combat. This makes them very powerful. Lets take a look at each one individually:
Refuel – Having a ship moving to a base, and plan on filling up the tank? Or want your new ship to start with a full tank of fuel? This mission will fill up the fuel tank of any ship in orbit _after_ movement and builds – meaning that this is one less action you may have to take next turn. It also means that newly built ships (or any potentially unfueled ones) will participate in ship-to-ship combat, so it also has a strategic advantage as well
Max Defense – This will build Starbase defenses up to a maximum of 200, automatically. Not to be confused with Planet Defense Posts, Starbase Defenses cost 10 MC and 1 Duranium each, and are built in the Starbase Defense view. Like planetary defense posts, they will improve the quality of your defenses when a planet is attacked.
Load Torps onto Ships – As the name says, any torps on your starbase will be automatically transferred over to ships in orbit – including newly built and newly arrived ships (even other players – if they match the planet Friendly Code). A great way to get a new ship up and running immediately (especially if enemy ships may be in orbit the same turn as well!).
Unload All Freighters – A powerful time saving mission, this will move all cargo off incoming freighters, saving you from the trouble of doing it later. Since this happens after movement, but before combat, it also guarantees that the cargo will make it down to the planet, even if cloaked warships or pirates are waiting overhead.
Repair Base – Will repair 5% of Starbase damage automatically, without using supplies.
Force Surrender – Not just the only useful Starbase mission as we’ve just learned, its still very powerful – forces ships without fuel or with matching friendly codes to join your empire.
Friendly Codes can be your time saving friend!
Hopefully most players are aware of the powerful friendly codes that can be used by planets and ships in VGA Planets. If not, a complete list can be found at Donovan’s VGA Planets site. Here are some of my favorite time savers.
BDM- The ship code to Beam Down Money. This code is useful in two situations, and can be a huge timesaver for players.
1) Have a Lady Royale generating money each turn? Why waste time transferring money down each turn? Set the FC to BDM, and it will beam down the money automatically!
2) You just transferred clans and supplies to an uncolonized planet. You want to transfer money to – but the transfer screen won’t let you. No worries – just set the ship FC to BDM, and the ship will beam down any money onboard before you move. Set the ship mission to Beam Up Fuel, and now you have no reason to stick around at all!
MKT – Don’t wait for a starbase to make torpedoes! Just put on the right mix of money and minerals, set your ship to MKT, and it will make torpedoes before movement (and combat). For example, load 10 Moly, 10 Trit, and 10 Dur with 130 MC onto a MKIV equipped warship, and you’ll build 10 torpedoes automatically!
MSC – Another great way to get get torpedoes in a hurry – set your mission to minesweep, your FC to MSC and if your ship is in one of your own minefields, it will convert the mines back into torpedoes.
GS0,GS1,… GSB – I’ve seen players go through lots of convoluted steps to trade ships in vga planets. Don’t – its simple. Want to give a ship to someone? Then set your Friendly code to GS# where # is the player number your want to give your ship to (so 1 for race 1, 2 for race 2, 3 for race 3, etc. Only tricky ones are A for race 10 and B for race 11). The receiving player just needs to have a ship with 1 or more clans on it, and the ship will be traded for you.
LFM – Hopefully everyone running a fighter race knows this. Certain races (Rebel, Robots, Colonies) can build free fighters in space. LFM will make the ship automatically beam up the necessary minerals and supplies to build free fighters for you. Great time saver that every free fighter race should use.
MF# – Most players think of planetary friendly codes as NUK (attack all ships), ATT (attack fueled ships), or maybe the occasional BUM (Beam Up Money) and DMP (recycle spare parts in starbase). But there is another code that can be useful – and dangerous. Want to let someone pass through your minefields, but don’t want to give them Safe Passage… or change all your planetary friendly codes? The MF# code (where # is any letter or number) lets you specify a universal minefield code so that ships can pass through all your minefields if they match it. So set any planets FC to MFA, and now anyone with a ship set to MFA can pass through your minefields… without safe passage. This code can be very useful – but dangerous as your enemies can take advantage of it if they figure it out somehow. Use carefully!
That’s it for this installment – stay tuned for Part III – the Power of Visualization!
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