Interview With A Dogfighter

Dogfights 2021 Tournament – Starts March 1st! Sign up now!

Dogfights is a semi-blitz style tournament: 8 players on a 60-planet map = deadly close-quarters space combat

In sectors far far away, commanders fight galactic space wars, League is underway at Planets.nu, and a fresh era of Faction Wars spurs competition. Amidst these bloody conflicts, Dogfighters play a major role. While the Dogfights tournament was born in 2019, its current popularity earns it a position in the Nu League lineup.

Planets Magazine welcomes this year’s Master of Ceremonies, Alejop. He has teamed up with Regicide to bring to life Dogfights 2021. Season One goes live on March 1st, so he’s here today to offer some insights into what players can expect. Top Dog Alejop, thank you for your time. We’re glad to have you!

Thank you, Talespin.

You played in 2020 Dogfights. You were the Battle-Hardened runner-up and Top Dog in the Campaign season. In 2021, you’re now hosting the tournament! Congratulations!

What strategies contributed to your success?

Actually, it has all been your fault! You ran a very enjoyable tournament and I got hooked. It was a good opportunity to raise some officers levels. The format allowed you to use several different races in games that are similar to the “Lone Wolf” format. — And I love Lone Wolf (limited diplomacy options): far less work. Guess I’m lazy. lol

I played the entire tournament with a learn-from-your-mistakes frame of mind. It was a beautiful format for that, because if you died, it wasn’t long before you could start a new game! It forced you to play as many different races as you dared, and that was a very useful way to quickly learn all the basic tactics of Planets. Also, I played as many games as I was able, as they were not limited: 7 total. — Does that count as a strategy?

The goal of 2020 was to allow people to play as many games as they could and take the best scores of those games. Not everyone caught on that they could play more than the allowance. In your case, it certainly paid off and you ran away with the tournament. It looks like it was a good strategy!

When in a dogfight, which race is your favourite?

I have yet to decide. It might be the race that is the most difficult to handle. The fun is learning to play them all and discovering how to make them work. If they resist, you should insist.

What was your favourite Turn from 2020 Dogfights?

Uf. That’s difficult. — Maybe Turn 10 in this game: Game 17. It was a Second Season (Tech Evolution/Campaign) game. As he was trying to tow me, I pulled a nice counter-tow on Regicide. In some practice games, Dennis42 pulled quite a few elegant tricks that could qualify. Possibly the most fun and crazy moment was my first League dogfight last year: New Boston Sector. I lost my Homeworld on Turn 5 but managed to survive the game.

It’s been fun to see the evolution of Dogfights. Balance is on everyone’s mind these days. We all know the Lizards dominate the early game so they do well in Dogfights; however, I see that you are trying to find a way to allow other races to fight from a position of strength.

What features have you implemented to level the playing field?

After some test games, Regicide, Psydev, and I are enthusiastic about a couple of features: 1) All planets have between 1 and 2 million natives. This mitigates some of the randomness and grants everybody a few resources. 2) Games feature “Fog of War”, which limits the visibility of ships and planets. Players see only a very reduced portion of the map when they start playing: around 53 Light Years. (i.e. those planets in range of your initial Warp 7 engines) The usual ranges of Sensor Sweep, Dark Sense, Mine Sweep, and Bioscan naturally extend beyond the Fog of War and give invaluable early intel. The Federation, Missing Colonies, and Evil Empire will benefit from this.

Nu’s Admin created a set of rules for Short Format Games, specifically dogfights and blitzes; Dogfights 2021 is also using these changes. The Evil Empire and Cyborg received bonuses while the Lizards got weaker. These “small games” changes will help a great deal and this Tournament will have the most leveled ground ever.

I’m looking forward to seeing the Short Format Rules in action in our Dogfights, and I think the format’s evolution will continue into future tournaments. It’ll be exciting to see.

In what ways do you anticipate these changes will affect the tournament?

Last year, we were cheering Calbasi when he managed to survive a game driving the Cyborg. This year, I wonder who will dare to take the challenge. I don’t know if I will, yet. My personal guess is that we will see many EEs this year and a lot more variation.

Lastly, do you have any advice and wisdom for our new dogfighters?

The most important advice is to not spend money upgrading engines; instead, build as many capital ships as you can. Distances are far shorter than other formats, so your Homeworld may be targeted as early as Turn 4.

Last year, veterans recommended a very aggressive play, but my advice today would be the contrary: play defensive. Expand only after securing your first few planets, don’t drop big minefields if you play the Robot or Crystals, and don’t start sweeping too soon if you play the Colonies. At the beginning, keep a low profile and aim for survival. Gather intel, read the map, and keep an eye on the planets count to decide who to fight.

Great advice from a grizzled veteran dogfighter!


Dogfights 2021 Season One: “Battle-Hardened” starts on March 1st. You can find all the information at the Dogfights Website. There, you can learn how to sign up, study the rules and setup, and follow the scores. Make sure you keep this link!

To Alejop: Thank you and good luck with defending your Top Dog title.

To everyone else: Join up; become a dogfighter today! This format will really test you, and you might even become addicted.


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