(Composed and with appendices by Anaconda; proofreading by Thin and Gnerphk)
To save time for those who are not interested in meta, the introduction can be found in the end at the appendix.
1.2 HOW TO APPLY THIS GUIDE
This guide is meant for vanilla Planets NU, but can – possibly – also apply to TimHOST or other host programs. Planets NU campaign features, however, are not included except in passing. There are no D7b cruisers or other special ships or abilities here!
In any game where Fascists can not manipulate and hijack the build queue to steal ship slots (whatever the reason; for example a particular set of house rules) they are on the losing side from the beginning. In short, Fascists is a race based on hoarding ship slots. It is done with two kamikaze ships in the Fascists’ ship list known as glory devices. When detonated these ships deal damage to all other ships in the same spot with them. D19b Nefarious Class Destroyer is the glory device of choice. Detonating it will yield one PBP and building one (after the ship limit) costs two PBPs. In comparison, Saber Class Frigate will also yield one PBP but costs four PBP to build while the damage both of them inflict is the same. Because of the difference in yielded and paid priority points, Fascists ought to use the glory devices to their advantage when fighting heavy and powerful enemy ships and big flotillas. By detonating a couple of glory devices – in the ideal situation – Fascists win piles of priority points while preserving their own capital ships at the same time. It is of the utmost importance that Fascists always gain more PBPs than they lose, and the same is true for ship slots. Net gain in the priority points ensures control of the build queue and allows Fascists to hoard the ship slots, leaving enemies stranded.
1.4 QUICK REFERENCE TABLE INDEX
Here is the list of reference tables at the end of the guide for a busy glory device commander when in need:
APPENDIX 1: Introduction
APPENDIX 2: Related Host Order
APPENDIX 3 (link): Ships that will be destroyed with single glory device explosion
APPENDIX 4 (link): Effects of Glory Devices on Fascist starships
APPENDIX 5 (link): Enemy ships able to repair themselves after at least one explosion
2.1 GLORY DEVICE IN GENERAL
The “Glory Device” is a ship’s special self-destruct device; it destroys the ship and deals massive damage to anything else in the same spot, potentially earning glory for the captain (now deceased). Two ships in Planets NU vanilla are equipped with a glory device:
- D19b Nefarious Class Destroyer
- Saber Class Frigate
These belong exclusively to the Fascist ship list but anybody can detonate a glory device if they have it. When exploding, the glory device will inflict damage to all ships in the same spot. This explosion won’t kill any crew members.
There are two ways to utilize the glory device by means of friendly codes:
– Set it to explode if it encounters a cloaked ship:
use the friendly code “trg”
– Set it to explode at the end of the movement phase, before ship combat:
use “pop” (so-called missile-mode)
Because the activation of the device is through use of the friendly code, glory device ships can also conduct missions such as Intercept or Mine Sweep. With proper engines the glory device ships can hunt down enemy ships and so on.
While the Friendly Codes are explained later in detail, it is important to point out that the glory device is rather a crude and cumbersome piece of technology making it very difficult to use during dynamic fleet operations. There are no Star Fleet smart sensors or neuro-gel packs that would adapt if circumstances change during the host. Knowing this, a clever enemy will make targeting difficult for Fascists.
For example, a wise foe avoids flying in packs to escape from concentrated detonations and moves long distances each turn in order to avoid being towed to or caught by a glory device ship set to Intercept it. These countermeasures are effective because when in missile mode a glory device will explode even if not catching a target. When invading, an enemy will, in all likelihood, first make feints toward Fascist planets hoping glory devices will be detonated right away. If they are, glory devices are wasted; if not, they are useless in regular ship combat.
In short: there are no second chances for Fascists, making the glory device the true weapon of a warrior.
The friendly code “trg” is used to make a glory device go off, exploding the ship when it encounters a cloaker in the same spot. No race is immune to “trg”, unlike some who are immune to a Loki’s Tachyon Field. Certain criteria, however, need to be fulfilled:
– ship’s Primary Enemy has to match an owner of the cloaker (no fuel needed), or
– ship’s Mission has to be “KILL!”. No fuel needed, unlike in TIMHost.
The friendly code “trg” can trigger an explosion during two steps of the host run. The first trigger will happen if there are any enemy cloakers around after the regular movement phase. If not and a Firecloud Class Cruiser sucks the glory device with it through a wormhole, “trg” will trigger if there is a cloaker at the other end of that wormhole. (For the relevant Host Order, please check Appendix 2.)
Detonations happen in ascending order, which means the glory device with the smallest ID will explode first – and after that there won’t be any other detonations if one is using only the “trg” code. (Read chapter 3.1 AFTER GLORY DEVICE EXPLODED for more details.)
IMPORTANT: If there isn’t a cloaker to trigger a “trg”-assigned glory device, or there was a cloaker whose Cloaking Device failed before the glory device went off, the “KILL!” mission or PE will cause the glory device ship to engage in regular ship combat — if there is fuel on board.
Cloakers operated by an owner of the glory device will not trigger detonation and neither do cloakers operated by races who have been set to
- Safe Passage
- Intel Share, or
by the owner of the glory device.
So that would be both safe and dangerous at the same time. Signing Safe Passage will expose the glory device commander because his or her glory devices won’t protect him or her against backstabbing while the other player’s cloakers can move stealthed to there and back again without the commanders consent. Intel Sharing is another thing entirely, because then the commander can also track the movement.
When the assigned Friendly Code is “pop”, a glory device ship becomes a guided missile always exploding after the regular movement phase. There are several Host Order phases taking place after the regular movement phase but two of these appear important above anything else in respect to glory devices: “pop” will always detonate the glory device before ship-to-ship combat and before Firecloud Chunnel. Because of this order Fascists can’t send these “Hell Class Cache Weapons” through a Firecloud wormhole when using “pop”. For relevant Host Order, look up the appendix 2.
IMPORTANT: When a glory device equipped with Transwarp engines is 84 LYs away from a targeted planet (or closer) only a minefield or a web can prevent it from making it’s way to the planet and being detonated in orbit. This makes the glory devices extremely dangerous weapons of mass destruction against planetary targets.
While “pop” detonations happen in ascending ID-order, all glories will inflict the damage at the end of the detonation phase instead of inflicting the damage one at the time. If damage was calculated between detonations, eventually glory device ships would start destroying themselves. However, since it is not calculated between detonations, Fascists can detonate as many glory devices as they want with Friendly Code “pop” in one spot. It’s a good, if expensive, way to take out carrier fleets — if you know where they’re going to be.
3.1 AFTER GLORY DEVICE DETONATION
When a glory device detonates, a series of things may and/or will happen:
1. Explosion inflicts damage to ALL SHIPS at the same spot in space:
- all enemy ships suffer damage equal to single mine hit
- detonating a Saber will cause Fascists to suffer 10% of the damage of single mine hit
- detonating a D19b Nefarious will cause Fascists to suffer 20% of the damage of single mine hit
This damage is not split in any way. It is fixed and based on the criteria above. Formula for damage from a mine hit (in percent):
1 mine hit = 10000/(hullmass+1)
Fascists can calculate the damage to their own ships with the following formulae, depending on ships used:
Damage to Fascists’ ships with Saber = 1000/(hullmass+1)
Damage to Fascists’ ships with D19b Nefarious = 2000/(hullmass+1)
When running joint operations with other races, commanders of all races should be aware that having Safe Passage, Share Intel, and even Alliance will not reduce the damage inflicted on others. Those working with Fascists will suffer a full one mine hit damage per exploding glory device.
As a rule of thumb, ships with mass less than 100 kt will get destroyed by one glory device explosion and ships with mass of 100 kt or more will only take damage from one explosion. A handy example is the Vendetta Class Frigate (mass 100 kt) which will receive 99% damage after a single glory device explosion. On the other hand, a Sagittarius Class Transport (mass 99 kt) will get destroyed. Lizards are the exception; the Lizard Crew Bonus allows them to tolerate more damage from glory devices in the same way they tolerate more combat damage. For an example, if it was by mass (160 kt), Lizard Class Cruisers would get destroyed after two glory device detonations. However, because of the Lizard Crew Bonus, the cruiser would suffer 124% damage and live. For the complete list of ships destroyed with single glory device explosion check Appendix 3.
Unlike the friendly code “trg”, the code “pop” can be used to bombard enemies with multiple explosions. This is often far better because there is a repair phase between the detonations and ship-to-ship combat. Repair phase will force ships to consume supplies from cargo holds to repair as much damage as possible. For the table of Fascists’ ships able to fully repair themselves after explosions, see Appendix 4. Others can repair their ships too after the explosions. For the complete list of enemy ships that can repair themselves after being hit by one or more Level 6 shockwaves, see Appendix 5.
2. When the first glory device goes off all cloaked ships cease to be cloaked with all implied repercussions – no exceptions. While cloakers owned by the owner of the glory device won’t trigger any detonations, it is important to remember that those cloakers will be affected as well. They take damage and their cloaking devices instantly fail. One of the more important direct results of this is that Fascists can not rely on multiple “trg” ships to destroy enemy cloakers; the first glory device going off will cause all active cloaks to fail and “trg” will no longer meet the conditions to trigger. All cloakers who survive the first “trg”-triggered detonation can fight.
On some occasions, “trg” and one or multiple “pop” codes together might cause two or more explosions. Because detonations happen in ascending ID order, the lowest-ID glory device will go off first. If there are enemy cloakers present and the lowest-ID glory device has “trg” set, it will explode even if higher-ID glory devices have “pop”, causing two (or more) detonations. If, on the other hand, the “trg” glory device did not have the lowest ID among the detonating ships, the first “pop” explosion decloaks all cloakers and “trg” will not trigger.
3.2 DETONATING GLORY DEVICE OVER A PLANET
When detonated in orbit, 40% of enemy colonists die (the owner of the glory device, Lizards and Crystals are immune)
- 40% of natives die (Siliconoids, Reptilians and Bovinoids are immune)
- 25% of planetary structures are destroyed
- Starbases won’t suffer any damage.
Colonists and Natives left = 0.6*population
Structures left = 0.75*number of structures
If detonating multiple glory devices in the same orbit, the results are multiplicative, as follows:
Colonists and Natives left = (0.6*0.6)*population
Structures left = (0.75*0.75)*number of structures
As mentioned above, a glory device’s owner’s planets are always immune to their own detonations. This immunity will protect all native life on the planet as well (with the sole exception of Amorphous worms). However, if it was an enemy that detonated a glory device over a Fascist world, Fascists and natives alike would suffer damage like any other non-immune race.
Even if a glory device explodes while orbiting a planet controlled by a race with whom the owner has signed a treaty, it deals its full damage. Having Safe Passage, Share Intel, or Alliance won’t protect the planet.
If the glory device goes off orbiting a planet inhabited by Amorphous worms, all the natives will cease to exist no matter who owns the world. Worms will turn into supplies, with the ratio of 1 supply per 1000 natives. For example, 1 million Shai-Hulud will turn into 1000 supplies.
3.3 RAIDS AGAINST PLANETS
The commander might think pillage and the glory device could work well if combined when directly attacking a huge enemy planet, or a planet defended by a starbase, or when planning troop drop. The benefits seem lucrative; pillage and an explosion could shake the enemy’s defense grid enough to make the difference, and the commander could enjoy the spoils of pillage even if the fleet takes the target.
Unfortunately, this does not work.
The commander does not have time to pillage, detonate the glory device, and then drop troops during the same turn. Pillage comes after ship-to-planet combat, so the commander will pillage his or her own world (if he wins). Ground combat happens first of all, so you’d have to hit with pillage and/or the glory device on the previous turn.
Related Host Order:
- Ground Combat
- Glory Device Detonation
- Ship Combat
(Detailed Host Order can be found in Appendix 2.)
4.1 USING GLORY DEVICES TO STEAL SHIP SLOTS
Sit tight, this chapter is rather long. By all means, at least read the TL;DR — this is vital.
TL;DR: Before the ship limit, build every glory device you can without hurting your fleet. What the Fascists should do with their priority builds is to keep building glory devices (preferably the 2-point D19b instead of the 4-point Saber) whenever they have the chance. Fascists should build warships in the regular build queue and keep their PBP score as high as possible.
Remember, Planets is a zero-sum game, and the Fascists win by stealing as many ship slots as possible; there can be only 500. Every ship the Fascists get, even the smallest freighters, are slots kept away from enemies under whom they could — and late in the game will — become the biggest of the supercarriers. Successful Fascists use glory devices to steal ship slots from their enemies by detonating them in battles where the player gains more PBPs than ship slots open. This keeps a Fascist’s PBP count high and new ships constantly flowing into the Fascist fleet — and the regular build queue stays clogged for everyone else.
When detonating glory devices vainly, Fascists will not only lose ships; Fascists lose ship slots. Building a glory device costs Fascists more PBPs than it yields when detonated, so a successful commander will try to kill enemy ships as often as possible when detonating one — the more PBPs Fascists net per battle, the better!
Without the PBP system, glory devices would be far less useful. Fascists could use them to gain the upper hand in battles or while bombarding strong enemy bases, but at the same time they will lose ship slots. With PBPs, this is entirely different, and the glory device becomes extremely advantageous.
EXAMPLE:Cloaked D7 Coldpain Class Cruiser shadows an enemy battleship. Fascist battleship happens to be in range; fleet command decides to go for it. Muzzle to muzzle any battleship can take on a Victorious Class Battleship and the outcome would be uncertain — and who would want a surprise? Instead, the D7 will tow the unsuspecting battleship to meet the Victorious. The Fascists then detonate (“POP”!) a D19b Nefarious Class Destroyer. Enemy suffers damage equal to single mine hit. Victorious and D7 both suffer 20% of the damage equal to single mine hit. Victorious had 20 supplies on board and gets fully repaired before engaging the enemy. In the ensuing battle the Victorious has the advantage and destroys the enemy battleship handily. Even though it may suffer significant damage, victory was assured with the glory device.
- detonating a glory device will yield one PBP
- killing ship with glory device yields as many PBPs as killing the same ship in combat
- when building with PBPs, building a D19b Nefarious costs two PBPs
- when building with PBPs, building a Saber costs four PBPs
- with PBP cost of Saber Fascists can get two D19b-class ships. That is not only an additional ship, that is one additional ship slot taken away from others!
Many a commander might make mistake and start building high tech Sabers just because after the ship limit it might seem convenient; after all, on paper the Saber is a better ship than the D19b. However, when trying to control the build queue, the difference between two and four PBPs can be as vast as void between galaxies! Fascists should aim at keeping PBPs higher than 22 (more on this later). Bearing this target in mind, the successful commander considers (more precisely, he calculates very carefully) if he can afford Sabers. Remember, the Saber is better than the D19b, BUT NOT SO MUCH that it would be worth bleeding PBPs. Bleeding PBPs end up bleeding ship slots, and that must not happen! It is most likely that the commander cannot afford Sabers and is forced to build D19bs. Fortunately, each type of glory device causes the same amount of damage to its targets, so in most cases the D19b Nefarious will suffice.
BACK TO OUR EXAMPLE: When our Victorious destroyed the enemy battleship, both Fascists and the enemy lost one ship. This means at least two ship slots are now open. Who gets those slots is based on PBP count. If someone owns more than 20 PBPs he gets to build first. If Fascists began the turn with 22 PBPs, they would have now 1 (the glory device) + 4 (the enemy battleship) PBPs more, totalling 27 PBPs, and would get to build first. With two ship slots open the commander can (in an ideal situation) build two D19bs and be left with 23 PBPs. To keep PBP total above 22 is important because now the Fascist player would still be entitled to build more ships should slots open somewhere else; ideal situations rarely happen. Alternately, had the commander built Sabers they would have cost four PBPs each. Fascists would have two Sabers, true, but now the PBP count would 19, and if there were another open ship slot, the Fascists would have lost it.
This example is very crude. Real battles get more complicated by far and staying ahead of the PBP curve takes tremendous effort. However, this is how the basics work when hoarding ship slots with glory devices; in point of fact, it is the most important way to use glory devices if the commander is to win the game!
5.1 MESSAGES AND INFORMATION THE GAME PROVIDES
Third parties won’t receive any messages when glory devices explode or when those detonations destroy ships. Only victims and the owner of glory devices will receive any messages whatsoever.
One’s own glory device detonation will trigger the following message(s):
From: Fleet Command
SABER CLASS FRIGATE ID#66 has activated their Glory Device and exploded at: (star map coordinates inside the parentheses)
Friendly code: trg (or pop)
If the detonation damaged the enemy, it will trigger a different message:
From: VIRGO CLASS BATTLESTAR ID#222
Enemy Distress Call – Glory Device! We have been hit by Level 6 shockwave!
AT: (star map coordinates inside the parentheses)
Damage is at 16%
The commander will not be informed of any damage caused to his or her own ships, nor will the commander receive any intel on damage caused to planet infrastructure. Genocide of Amorphous worms will not trigger any messages for example. In those rare occasions when two or more races detonate glory devices in the same spot this might cause confusion what actually happened and to whom.
The last message above will remain the same even if the damage is lethal. No additional messages appear indicating a kill. For example Lizard ships might still be alive after the damage hits 100%. However one confusing aspect might reveal kill: the very last message the commander receives from any particular enemy ship is the one after which the ship gets destroyed. In other words, if an enemy ship gets destroyed before all glory devices were detonated (remember the ascending detonation order) there won’t be any more distress call messages from that particular ship.
Glory device messages do not reveal how many PBPs the glory devices yielded or how many points Fascists received after killing ships with detonations. In this it differs from combat messages, which include received PBP information.
When at the receiving end, the following message will be delivered:
From: D7 COLDPAIN CLASS CRUISER ID#4
Glory Device! We have been hit by Level 6 shockwave!
AT: (star map coordinates inside the parentheses)
Damage is at 22%
Damage indicated is not damage caused by the detonation but the damage total after the detonation. In this case D7 had been damaged already by the Fascist’s own glory device before being hit by an enemy glory device (remember the ascending detonation order). As pointed out above, there was no damage report from the Fascist’s own glory device. Therefore the total damage after two D19b Nefarious detonations ( 10000/(175+1)*0.2 = 11 ) goes up to 22% and that is the only message Fascists would receive.
As stated in the beginning of this chapter glory device explosions are not public. Thus the commander won’t be able to feed misinformation to third parties by giving the exploding glory devices confusing names, such as “MERLIN CLASS ALCHEMY SHIP”, or “IF THIS SHIP DIES, EVIL EMPIRE STABBED MY BACK!”. While not public, during uneventful turns it is rather easy to spot when the glory device went off by studying public data. Just pay attention to any increase in PBPs and decrease in ships compared to public explosion reports. If you find correlation based on the glory device specs, it may well be as a result of glory device detonation.
In this roster both, change in PBPs and ships indicate a glory device went off. Further evidence pointing that direction – or proving it wrong – may very well be in the turn reports, read them closely.
6.1 BUILD STRATEGY
The best glory device all things considered is D19b Nefarious Class Destroyer. It has all the merits:
- cheaper in minerals and money wise
- rather high beam weapon count, for what that’s worth
- fixed detonation damage
- cheaper in PBPs (1:2)
- tow capability
That is not to say Saber Class Frigate is useless. Sabers should be considered especially:
- before ship limit
- in ID-based build queue if nothing better could be built
Just like everyone else, before the ship limit hits, the Fascist should try to build as many ships as possible. A wise commander ought to calculate in advance what he or she should build in future, bearing logistics in mind, and plan accordingly. This is the suggested priority list:
- build a ship every turn. Later, recycle them and turn them into capital ships.
- when Fascists know they can keep building ships every turn, the commander tries to build the heaviest capital ships possible.
- when the commander can’t build capital ships the next-best choice is a Saber with good engines.
- if that’s not possible the next in line is a D19b Nefarious with good engines.
- (build freighters when needed)
A Saber equipped with low-tech engines may not be worth the trouble; the D19b Nefarious being much lighter can overdrive bad warp engines to some extent causing the same damage while an overdriving Saber is much more expensive. With very low-tech engines, overdriving becomes so fuel-expensive the heavier Saber may not reach the target. On the other hand, because a Saber causes only half of the friendly damage it is still occasionally a valuable option.
Choosing the correct beam weapons for glory device is also difficult. While it may appear to be a waste of resources (because the lifespan of a glory device is so short), there needs to be at least one beam weapon on each and every glory device. If possible make it at least X-Ray Laser. For further discussion we need to study secondary duties. (For this, skip forward to Section 7.4). However, remember that having both full high-tech beam batteries and Transwarp Engines installed into the same glory device before the ship limit hits may well be a complete waste of resources (unless you are trading the ship away, in which case read the next chapter).
After the ship limit, the ID-based build queue should first build capital ships; then, smaller warships, then Sabers — and when needed, build Merlins etc. However, if glory device tactics work well Fascists might be constantly a little bit ahead of the PBP curve and be able to continuously build heavy warships in the ID queue. PBPs, at this point, are practically used only to build high tech D19b Nefarious Class Destroyers.
6.2 TRADING GLORY DEVICES
There are multiple ships everyone wants: Cobols, Fireclouds, Meteors, and so on. Because each of these ships can serve the Fascists very well, the commander shouldn’t be shy trading glory devices away (for a good price). Admittedly black ops become harder. Trading a glory device for a special ship in demand might still be very useful. If needed, trade away the D19b Nefarious Class Destroyer with high-tech beams and Transwarp Engines.
The configuration is important, because
- D19b will get destroyed by one Fascists’ glory device detonation
- D19b will get destroyed when hitting space mine.
- D19b will inflict more damage to enemies themselves when detonated
- expensive beams and engines makes the glory device harder to mass clone
Enemies might be after cloakers but I would prefer to sell them glory devices. It is less dangerous for Fascists. We don’t want cloakers dropping webs in our backyard or pansy stormtroopers humiliating the elite Fascist forces in ground combat just because the enemy SSD campaign is supported by a Death Specula Class Frigate.
Overall it is not very smart to use a glory device against Fascists. Any gain is rather small because Fascists store supplies in their ships anyway and Fascists will suffer reduced damage no matter who detonates it. Enemies will only suffer reduced damage when they detonate their own glories meaning they do not adapt the protection.
7.1 GLORY DEVICE STRATEGY
While killing piles of enemy ships is appealing, a Fascist player must be extremely sly. A successful commander does not go after numbers but instead after mass (meaning PBPs). Smaller ships are especially vulnerable to glory device explosions. This means the net PBP gain might be overshadowed by freed ship slots, granting free ship slots to others if they can’t fill those slots themselves.
For example: destroying a fleet of three Patriot Class Light Carriers with a single glory device would yield four PBPs while opening four ship slots. Fascists can build two new D19bs with these points but while at it they also hand out those additional ship slots to someone else. In the worst case scenario, the enemy builds two new super carriers with these. The Fascists would be worse off than before, despite having just killed three enemy ships.
Of course it would be better to kill those Patriots than let them go. With careful planning the commander can alter the industrial plan for a turn and for example build back one glory device and use two additional points to build two Small Transports. This would only leave one ship slot for others and Fascists would reserve one additional ship slot. But while sometimes this is a useful method it is not very efficient. Those Small Transports are nearly useless later and the commander can – after pillaging his own backyard into ashes – use them mostly to sweep mines or to be recycled again later. So it’s not very efficient, but it might be necessary.
Glory devices are best used to gain priority points instead of opening as many ship slots as possible. PBPs mean more ship slots in the long run for Fascists and fewer ships for others. The truly magnificent commander attacks stacked super carriers, detonates several glory devices and finishes the carriers off with Ill Wind Class Battle Cruisers and Victory Class Battleships. (Or with some foreign capital ships with more weapon ports and bigger cargo holds.) This would require a lot of planning, supplies, trade, and what not. But that is how Fascists net in PBPs contra ship slots while keeping the build queue clogged for others.
Do not waste glory devices to wipe out Amorphous worms. It is a bad allocation of resources just like bombarding enemy planets with glory devices usually is (if the purpose is only to cry havoc and nothing else). Just killing worms or population with glory devices wastes
- expensive ships,
- expensive PBPs and
- expensive time
7.2 IMPORTANT SHIP CHARACTERISTICS
For joint operations, the Fascist tries to accompany glory devices with effective capital ships. Effectiveness is defined by three characteristics:
- strong weapon systems
- roomy fuel tanks
- large cargo bays
Special abilities, especially Cloaking Devices, can contribute to fleet operations but the weaponry and size of the cargo hold and the fuel tank are the nominating factors. Fascists have the cheap D7 Coldpain Class Cruiser with an excellent fuel tank to support fleet maneuvers. It is sufficient for whatever Fascists need a cloaker for. On the other hand Fascists are then short-handed with number of weapon ports in their ships.
For example, D7 and Ill Wind Class Battlecruiser each have only two torpedo tubes. Glory devices are used to tip the scales in ship-to-ship combat and high tech weapons are important to finish off enemies so that Fascists themselves would suffer as little damage as possible. The size of the fuel tank is a very important characteristic in a Fascist warship also. The fleet must have enough Neutronium to keep moving constantly: advance when beneficial; retreat when needed. However, cargo hold is the most important of these three features.
When a glory device detonates it inflicts damage to all ships before the actual combat. As noted before there is a repair phase between detonations and combat. This repair phase makes all the difference as to whether the Fascists win or lose. Their warships need only to have enough supplies on board to start the combat with zero damage. Five supplies automatically repair one point of damage. That’s not very good bargain even with reduced damage and to be successful Fascists needs piles of supplies and roomy cargo holds to store them in between battles.
It gets worse when the commander realizes Fascists needs multiple glory devices to take on heavy ships and there needs to be room in the fleet cargo holds for several battles in succession. One ship feature helping to compensate smaller cargo holds is a heavy hull. The heavier the hull the less damage from glory detonations and therefore the fewer supplies consumed. There are two tables related to this topic. First table lists Fascists ships able to fully repair themselves after glory device detonations (appendix 4) and the second points out ships Fascists can find useful in other races ship lists (appendix 6).
7.3 FLEET STRATEGY
There are two different primary ways to use glory devices in war. We’ll call these patrol duty and fleet duty to keep things clear. Patrol duty is protecting assets from cloakers (“trg”) while fleet duty is suicide missions against enemy before combat (“pop”).
The most common way to use a glory device is to give it Friendly Code “trg” and assign it to protect a valuable target — an important ship or planet — from cloakers. This works very well when moving with a fleet of warships through cloaker infested space. It does not work that well when patrol duty is conducted orbiting border planets or when escorting freighters far from support, yet this is how most players imagine glory devices should be used. Because only one “trg” can trigger in any one spot each turn, cloakers can easily attack planets or freighters protected by a single glory device — and two or more patrol Glories would be a waste of ships. Here, the only thing that could help is escorting each glory device with a warship (even a well-equipped D7 works) but Fascists simply can’t assign warships for each glory device.
Assign glory devices only where enemies can be finished off after “trg” triggers. This means fleets, large colonies with full defenses, and starbases. Freighter routes or long but peaceful frontiers are harder to defend. It would be waste of ships to send glory devices to die alone but it would also be foolish to let enemies burn your backyard or rob your freighters. It is very important to remember the commander won’t gain any PBPs from ships killed by a planet or a starbase. For example, when a glory device decloaks two Lizard Class Cruisers by exploding and a starbase kills the ships, there are three ship slots open and Fascists would only receive one measly priority point, which is not even enough to make up their own loses.
One practice that might help is to use a home fleet of sorts, or smaller local fleets (the “Zone Defense”) that run around under glory device protection or lay minefields to cover movements being able to chase down any enemy ships damaged by glory device detonations. So the conclusion is when protecting against cloakers you simply need to adapt and rise to the occasion!
IMPORTANT: When in Patrol Duty and fleet is orbiting enemy’s starbase planet, if a glory device is without fuel, enemy can force it to surrender to his starbase. On the other hand, if there is fuel on board, the glory can not have KILL!! -mission assigned or PE set to the owner of the starbase because it wil lead to useless combat.
The basic drill is to scout ahead with D7 Coldpains, locate enemies, and when the time is right tow them and pile them all up at one spot; let’s call it the kill zone. A kill zone can be located in deep space just as well as in a planet’s orbit. Rarely if ever it is in a warp well. The most common situation where glory devices are used against planets is while attacking a fleet of enemy ships in orbit (preferably orbiting a starbase planet!).
The commander orders the Fascist fleet to move in during the same turn and makes the necessary pre-combat preparations. These include:
- checking how many and what kind of enemies will be in the kill zone
- evaluating how many glory device detonations are needed to gain the needed advantage
- making sure glory devices will be at the kill zone and those needed will explode
- calculating PBP loss/gain in advance and setting starbases to build needed ships
- assigning battle order for warships
- making sure warships have enough torpedos and fighters
- making sure fighting warships have enough supplies
- assigning supporting missions such as Lay Mines or Mine Sweep
The commander needs to be sure what missions are needed. For example, if his or her fleet is moving through enemy space, minesweeping is mandatory. It is also very important to know when to use Primary Enemy and when to set KILL! Mission. It might pay off not to use either one. When the kill zone is in orbit, a sneaky commander could go in without PE set or KILL! but instead using Pillage, hoping the enemy will engage. This means Fascists don’t fight the planet. Instead the commander detonates glory devices, destroys the enemy fleet, and Pillages the planet.
Pillage is always part of a successful campaign. Any invading Fascist fleet is always in need of supplies; their ships won’t only be repairing glory device damage but also mine hit and combat damage. Pillage also helps economically while leaving only ruins behind. Because of this stolen money Fascists don’t need to ferry cash to the advance fleet to keep building more torpedos. A small amount of minerals will suffice and those minerals most of the time can be confiscated from captured planets. All in all, the Pillage mission is what keeps a Fascist’s fleet rolling!
Simplistic example of Fascists’ battleship group:
- 2-4 main warships to be used in combat
- 2-5 glory devices for both patrol and fleet duty
- 1-2 cloakers for recon and tow
- 1-2 support cruiser for sweeping and laying and scooping mines, pillaging, towing…
- (freighters for cargo and loot, and even warp 1 SDSFs will do)
Resources needed when advancing:
- torpedos (/ fighters?)
- (minerals to build more torpedos)
When conducting fleet maneuvers two things are too important to be left untouched. First, Fascists want to drop small minefields constantly to cover their movement and slow down enemies. Support cruisers are there for this. Two support cruisers with the same torpedo tube technology can adjust the size of a minefield very accurately just by transporting the excess torpedos. Fascists need then to scoop their mines up again so that they won’t be wasting expensive torpedos. The second thing is to remember to utilize the cargo space in all ships in a fleet to max. Commanders might ignore cargo bays in the glory device ships and, even worse, decent space for extra fuel in those fuel tanks.
When engaging it is worth remembering enemies ferry supplies around too to get at least a little bit back before battle. Many of the biggest ships have enough room in their cargo holds to fully recover from a single detonation while still having enough room for torpedos or fighters. Some are even able to patch themselves completely up after two detonations, no matter that it is two full mine hits! For the complete list of alien ships that can repair themselves after being hit by one or more glories check the appendix 5. However, enemies CAN BE completely leveled with glory devices if there are enough detonations; really, there’s no need for capital ships at all.
When running joint operations with other races it can pay off to give them glory devices. A Fascist’s friends suffers full damage per explosion no matter the level of diplomatic relationships. Only way to protect allies is to hand out glory devices and let them detonate those ships. This way both will suffer only reduced damage. Remember, however: this also bares both sides and your backside to them for backstabbing.
7.4 SECONDARY DUTIES
While glory devices are bred to die there are some secondary duties to consider. Let’s start with the list of not-to-dos:
- build them with both advanced beams AND advanced engines before ship limit
- use Glories to kill fighters in ship-to-ship combat (at least when NU’s exclusive “2XB” is disabled)
- use Glories to purge planets from Amorphous worms
Instead, the glory devices can
- Sweep mines
rather well, and they should always have at least one beam weapon attached for pillaging.
With Transwarp engines a glory device can Intercept and Tow. If the commander builds glory devices with both advanced beams and high tech engines before the ship limit, it’s wasting resources. Instead, build two Glories, one with transwarp engines and one with advanced beam weapons. The one with good engines tows the one with advanced beams which in turn sweeps mines. It’s even better if the towing one is a Saber because a mine hit won‘t destroy it. Glory devices can of course tow other ships also, for example Victorious Class Battleships equipped with poor engines. Maybe the commander wants to build two glories to be detonated over an enemy HW? Then build them with Heavy Blasters for mine sweep and tow them with Ill Wind Class Battlecruisers.
One particular duty glory devices are often used for is Pillage. This is the reason each and every glory device should have a beam weapon. After the ship limit Fascists of course should (if at all possible) build glory devices with both advanced beams and Transwarp engines. They should have the logistics for this, so it won’t hurt to have both good thrusters and fire power at hand.
8.1 WORST ENEMIES
Many a guide would say Fascists is a jack-of-all-trades race. Unfortunately this is not the case. Even after introducing the PBPs and glory devices, Fascists are still the underdogs. That is what makes them both interesting and challenging at the same time. While all races offer enough challenge, two races are worse than others to meet in war and at the end of the chapter we also discuss a little bit about Lizards.
First, the Federation. Fed Crew Bonus is Fascists’ nightmare. Roughly speaking no matter how many glory devices the commander detonates the Fed ships fight always better than anybody else could fight because they do not lose their weapons with increasing damage. This makes gaining PBPs in a war against the Feds immensely hard, and this means stagnation. It does not imply the Feds would be a good ally. In fact they have little to offer for Fascists. If possible, let someone else take care of the Feds and ignore them.
Another bad race to fight is the Colonies. With their minesweeping fighters they can hold minefield superiority far beyond anything even the Robots can throw against the Fascists. If unable to lay mines, cloaked operations become very hard, as well as controlling enemy fleet movement for the commander’s own benefit. This makes glory device warfare very difficult. Unlike the Feds, the Colonies can prove to be an excellent ally.
A third notably hard race to fight (especially early in the game) is the Lizards. Their economy thrives much faster than Fascists economy, and the frogs can keep bumping out cheap cloakers to force-trigger glory device detonations. However, even Lizards have little to contribute if fishing for an alliance. They have the Loki; thats about it. Later, Fascist economy is strong enough to support commander’s military strategies and industrial goals, and Lizards can not offer warships – aside from possibly the Madonzilla – that would be better than what Fascists already have.
8.2 COUNTERING THE GLORY DEVICE
Minefields and Webs
Minefields and especially Webs are the most prominent countermeasure to stop a glory device accelerating through vacuum with Transwarp engines. A single mine hit will destroy a D19b Nefarious Class Destroyer and severely damage a Saber Class Frigate. Damage or fuel drain won’t stop a glory device from detonating, however. While neither “trg” nor “pop” needs fuel to work a web hit will stop the glory device cold.
A glory device can of course be intercepted and killed. Normal ship-to-ship combat will only commence if there is fuel in the glory device’s tank and it didn’t have Friendly Code “pop”. If the glory device is fuelless an interceptor can not harm the ship.
Cloak Intercept might work. If Friendly Code is “trg” a cloaked interceptor will not trigger it; the cloaker will come out of cloak before it triggers. In any case, a glory device needs to have fuel. If it doesn’t, the interceptor will simply come out of cloak and do nothing to the glory device. If there are more ships of which at least one stays cloaked, it will always trigger “trg” and the glory device explodes. Cloak Intercept combat will not precede detonation.
Forcing the trigger
Better even than Cloak Intercept would be simple forced detonation. Send in a cheap cloaker to trigger a glory device before the main invasion. For example Reptile Class Destroyers are cheap bait to detonate “trg” glory devices.
Trying to avoid glory device detonations can be a very practical countermeasure. Simply get out of the way and move back in afterwards. It costs time and gives the initiative to the Fascists but it might save you in the end; at least, it might save your fleet and aid you in driving Fascists away later. Remember: there are no second chances for the glory device commander.
Stuffing the cargo bay
If you need to make a stand right there, try choosing ships with roomy cargo bays to store enough supplies so that they would be automatically repaired between explosions and ship-to-ship combat. For ships that can patch themselves completely up, go and check Appendix 5.
One of the biggest weaknesses with glory device is the fact it is rather puny when protecting frontier planets “trg” enabled. There can be only one glory device because two glory devices with Friendly Code “trg” won’t ever go off together and therefore assigning two would be wasting resources. However, one explosion is often not enough, and nobody — especially not Fascists — can afford a warship for every glory device. What an enemy can do to cause a ruckus is to equip a decent warship (starting from Lizard Class Cruiser) with fuel, supplies and torpedos, and simply go and take it in the face. Many a planet will fall and the raiding party can refuel and execute field repairs using the loot. Psychological effects are even more terrifying than the real threat.
Forcing the trigger 2.0
This last bullet was already mentioned in the chapter 2.1 GLORY DEVICE IN GENERAL. When attacking it might be worthwhile to burn extra fuel and move towards the Fascists for one turn making it look like you are going to invade – but then turn back. Only so much they won’t catch your ships. Stay for example 84 LYs away from the target. You can hope the Fascists detonate at least some of their glory devices in fear of battle.
9.1 TIDBITS AND RANDOM STUNTS
Borg Debris Harvesting
There won’t be debris left for Borgs to harvest from glory device detonations. So, if Fascists are “scorching the earth” under the Borg, transferring extra resources to Glories and detonating them will deny the Borg the loot.
Force Surrender/Tow Capture and the Glory Device
Starbase Primary Order “Force Surrender” will surrender fuelless glory device, or if the Friendly Codes are matched. This means if an enemy glory device ever sits above a starbase planet, it can and should be taken. At least try over the next host (Force Surrender happens before the movement in the host order). This is important because the enemy could detonate it with “pop”, or head out to detonate it elsewhere – both bad news for the enemy. In this case the ownership of the glory device changes but it will detonate anyways. Forcing the surrender won’t scramble Friendly Codes – the code stays unchanged. Because the owner of the starbase is now the owner of the glory device, the planet is protected and owner’s fleet will only suffer a proportion of the full damage. It is worth trying even if the glory device has fuel, but then you need to guess the Friendly Code.
Also, to prevent Tow Capture, the Fascists can use “pop”. The glory device will change ownership but detonates anyway. It is important to remember the implications are as they appear above; the new owner will only suffer a proportion of the full damage and gain one detonation-based PBP – but they lose the opportunity to seize a glory device.
Bending the Space-Time Continuum with Glory Device
While everybody knows Fireclouds can drag entire fleets through wormholes, a glory device also can bend the space-time continuum and perform a limited virtual FTL jump. It costs one PBP. In the ideal situation a glory device will arrive where it is wanted in one turn. With bad luck the glory device disappears into a sixth dimension and it might take few months to find a way out. Only a few know about this, but it is a very useful stunt when glory device(s) are needed at the other side of the Echo Cluster. To execute this limited FTL jump with a glory device the Commander needs:
- more than 19 PBPs (it will only cost you 1 point, however)
- starbase at the receiving end with sufficient tech levels and resources
After making sure you have enough PBPs, pick a starbase to receive the glory device. Build exact copy of the glory device there and change the starbase Friendly Code to “pb1”. If there are enough resources you can equip the glory device with better equipment. If desperately in need of a glory device, you can instead use lower-tech components. Now get back to the original glory device preparing to execute the jump and simply use Friendly Code “pop”.
If the glory device did not get lost in PBP Limbo, a glory device will be orbiting the chosen starbase at the beginning of your next turn and you are one PBP short. The neat thing is the glory device will inflict damage while executing this jump so you can hammer enemies with it at the same time. However you can not ferry cargo with this method.
Fascist Super Refit
The trick above can also be used to super refit glory devices. Low tech components can be replaced with better ones at the cost of one priority point per ship. Only remember to keep ahead of the PBP curve. Do not waste PBPs if scarce.
Merlin Class Hyper-Dreadnought
Merlin Class Alchemy Ship can be a fabulous war machine if the enemy is ignorant and the Fascist is lucky. It has a tremendous cargo bay which can be stuffed with supplies, and it has eight (8) beams that can be Heavy Phasers. As noted before, Fascists can detonate as many glory devices as they need simultaneously with the Friendly Code “pop”. This becomes very important when the Fascist is facing a supercarrier — or a full fleet of supercarriers. On many an occasion the Fascist commander just can’t find a warship with a large enough cargo bay to start the combat with his own fleet fully repaired and still able to destroy his enemies. A Merlin, however, can sustain heavy glory device bombardment and start the combat with hull and shields intact. It is just incredible if the Borg sends Biocide Class Carriers your way and you detonate eight (8) Glories right in their face (nine would kill all of them right off), cutting through what’s left of the Borg armada with a fleet of ships where the Merlin Class Hyper-dreadnought is the ship of the line. You need to test this in a viable battle simulator. Planets NU indigenous battle simulator shows every fifth or so combat will end badly for Merlin fighting from the right. Also, be advised that repair phase after Glory detonations can tip the scales a lot for the enemy.
IMPORTANT:If using Merlin in glory device warfare, remember to turn off the Alchemy with Friendly Code, otherwise you lose your supplies.
APPENDIX 1: Introduction
In the nineties VGA Planets – and the Fascists even more as a race – felt tormented by lack of well-established guides. The glory device is particularly good case study; most Fascist guides explain how it detonates, but that is all! For instance one so-called guide (practically only a vague AAR) explains how the author rick-rolled an inexperienced Colonies player with a few glory devices – Colonies whose commander seem to have had no idea how glory devices work because otherwise the player could have sent the Fascists screaming back to Qo’noS. Another somewhat reputable guide points out that “application is the trick”. Well, if not familiar with tiny details, how can you apply that trick?
In all fairness not all guides left their readers disappointed. The level of quality of the old guides fluctuated a lot. Maybe back then there wasn’t enough feedback, not enough discussion and debate to set standards (and aim) a lot higher? After being frustrated for too long on how glory devices could be used to their maximum capacity I started testing and experimenting with them, and ended up drafting a guide.
It is not my first. I wrote a long guide how to play AD Gragas in League of Legends soon after the champion came out in 2010. Gragas was underrated and thus unused, and I decided the toon needed some love because he was fun to play with! Later, with balance adjustments the guide became completely obsolete but for a while it actually got some attention because of introducing different yet playable solution how to make the fat man fly. Maybe underdogs appeal to me, because Fascists feel a bit that way too; undergunned and highly challenging (or maybe I am just a poor player).
Here I throw my hat in to the Planets NU community – I hope I don’t have to throw in the towel as well. I try to introduce a way to aggressively utilize glory devices. Keep in mind this guide is how to use the glory device, not a Fascist guide in general. If you don’t know Fascists, go and look up other guides to get the basics; this assumes you know them. When you really start playing Planets, the learning curve is very steep, completely unlike the way it used to be in the ‘90s. That is why you do not want to waste your turns and games learning like I did. You want to master the game like the pros do: in advance!
I want to thank the Planets NU community for being so friendly and welcoming. It is not too common among multiplayer game communities. I received lots of help when testing for the guide and when writing it. I can not recall all of you, so I won’t mention any – just thank you, all of you! Special kudos go to Gnerphk who proofread this for me. Also, I wanna give big hand to Planets Magazine, the best source for Planets NU intel!
Hope you enjoy, hope it helps, and please drop a comment or just point out any caveats you might find!
APPENDIX 2: Related Host Order
Copypaste from Planets NU Host Order, some irrelevant items removed.
- Most ships move (Tow Capture happens here!)
- – check for impact with debris disks and star clusters
- Cobol Ramscoop makes fuel
- Warpwell calculation
- Intercepting ships move
- – check for impact with debris disks and star clusters
- Cobol Ramscoop makes fuel
- Warpwell calculation
- Glory device ships detonate (“pop” and the first “trg” are triggered)
- Firecloud chunnel
- Loki second decloak
- Starbase Primary Orders – Refuel, Max Defense, Unload all Freighters, Load Torps onto Ships, Repair Base
- Mass check, repair & mkt
- (Depreciated: Loki third decloak)
- Glory device ships detonate (the last “trg” resolves after chunnel)
- Mass check, repair & mkt
- Ship vs. ship combat
- Borg gather debris
- Mass check, repair & mkt
- Ship vs. planet/base combat
NOTE: This post was originally published under the working title “Absolution Gap”. I’m mentioning this mainly for the benefit of search engines, just in case people remember and can’t find it.