Threat Assessment: The Robotic Imperium

This is the sixth anonymous report analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of one of the Eleven Races. These redacted versions were approved by the Senate for immediate publication, to be read by commanders of each respective race in order that they can review their own vulnerabilities in the face of the unknown external threat that commissioned the studies. In this dispatch we focus on that faction known as the Robotic Imperium: its strengths, its weaknesses, and how best to defeat it in battle.

Overview

Ease Of Command: Veteran
Difficulty To Defeat: Average
Style: Defensive

General: The Robotic Imperium is composed of the artificially intelligent servants of a brilliant yet long-lost species. Abandoned by their masters when they ascended to another plane of existence, the Robots quest for meaning and mastery of their own.  Their fleets are logically designed to be self-sufficient models of absolute efficiency.

Identification: The first time you become aware that you have a Robot for a neighbor is likely to be the sudden appearance of a dozen or so distress calls and minehits in your Reports, along with a massively oversized minefield overlapping your homeworld. If you’re fortunate, this will be accompanied by an offer of negotiation; if not, it will be followed by wave after wave of Golems and Cat’s Paws.

Fleet Composition: The Golem is one of the most powerful heavy carriers in the Echo Cluster, capable of standing alone against any other vessel. So too are the Automa and Instrumentality. Robots can also construct a single minelayer, the Cat’s Paw, which can readily lay a max minefield with even Mk4 torpedoes. Their fleet support vessel is the Q-Tanker, which can transport fuel and build fighters at the same time.

Strengths And Weaknesses:

Economic: Robot commanders are burdened with similar early demands for technological advancement to those of other races. Their only colonizing advantage is an immunity to radiation haloes — not exactly a major factor in most sectors. However, a Golem with low-grade engines and weapons is still deadly even when towed into battle.

Military: The Golem is nearly as massive as the Empire’s Gorbie, and its reduced number of beam weapons is no great handicap in fleet combat. Automas and Instrumentalities are solid fleet carriers with a reduced cost, similar in price (though not ability) to the Virgo. However, the Robots are weak against starbases and lack a shield-scratcher in their inventory. Even the Q-tanker is insufficiently armed to take on any vessel larger than a freighter or light probe, although even a single additional fighter bay would change this.

NOTE: Advanced Robot factions can construct new Robots aboard ship when needed, which speeds up colonization. Additionally, in a curious departure from their normally logical behavior, they adapted the nearly worthless Sage Class from the Rebel arsenal, meaning that now twice as many races as before can refuse to build them.

Key Vulnerabilities:

  • Robot ships frequently use low-grade beam weapons and have few beam slots in any event. They are thus exceptionally vulnerable to web mines and, when sufficient opposition minesweeping is present, to standard space mines.
  • Due to the high expense of multiple engines, as many as half of the early war’s Robot carriers will need to be towed into battle.
  • Due to the purely average Robot economy and the high cost of top-end hulls, an early Ship Limit can be disproportionately harmful.
  • The Robots lack any effective mid-range warships aside from the Cat’s Paw, which is too small to function as a shield-scratcher in fleet combat.
  • Presumably due to typos in the original specs (which the Robots still slavishly follow), the Pawn and Cybernaut, while otherwise potentially useful, are far too expensive to reasonably construct and too massive to risk in fleet combat. Similarly, the Q-tanker is too lightly armed to be considered anything other than a fighter factory and inefficient freighter.

Trade and Alliances:

  • Free fighter construction in space is immensely valuable, and can be performed as contract labor for allied races at a low cost.
  • Robot minelaying is a tremendously high-powered advantage, one which can deny large volumes of space to the enemy.

The Robotic Imperium, while powerful in deep space, are vulnerable at planets. They can be defeated in detail by 200/60 starbases as well as targeted attacks by cloaked vessels. They will, therefore, often be amenable to deals with those who possess anti-cloaking defenses and anti-starbase offensive capability.

Summary:

The Robots, if attacking early, are a terrifying force. However, their high production expense usually negates this ability, and their complete lack of combat-effective mid-sized ships and shield scratchers virtually eliminates any late-term capacity for warfare against a prepared foe.


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