On Double-Edged Swords

EDITORIAL

For a while now, I’ve had a personal, private theory about why it is that the Evil Empire keeps losing. After all, on the face of things they do have the single best ship in the game, a wide variety of support carriers, free fighters, a hyperspace courier, and an innate advantage that gives them complete information about the static defenses of their rivals. On paper, there’s simply no reason for them to ever lose.

Except, of course, they do. A lot. And I’ve got a theory about why — one that’s made me unpopular a time or two.

Here’s my premise:

“The Super Star Destroyer should never be traded by the Evil Empire to any other player. In fact, a wise player would almost never even construct one except under carefully controlled circumstances. I have come to believe that trading them is the factor that kills the Empire more often than not.”

I figure that, because of all the advantages that the Empire has, all that a player needs in order to win games is the capacity to take pains with logistics, maximizing their strengths. Gorbies and fighters eat up a ton of minerals, and moving them costs a lot of fuel, so having a bunch of alchemy ships is vital. The down side is, there’s always a Privateer somewhere, but then again isn’t that why minefields were invented in the first place? As for the other cloaking races, let ’em eat Gorbies.

It’s a simplistic philosophy, I know — but it’s worked for me so far.

Bear in mind: I’ve played as Empire a handful of times, but I’m certainly no specialist. On the other hand, there are a lot of players with a better record than mine, so I put my theory to them in order to see what they had to say about it.

Talespin

I don’t disagree with that at all. I would sound the trumpet on that myself.

Hm. I thought this would be controversial. Let’s continue:

Batman

I agree with you about the Evil Empire and the Super Star Destroyer. I now disable the SSD in campaign games.

In my opinion it’s difficult for the Empire to use the ship effectively against an active player. Cloaking races can use the SSD much more effectively than the Empire can, which makes it dangerous. The ship is great against inactive players, but that’s all.

Lord Pollax

I’ve done it both ways now, and find I’m much more effective when I don’t build the SSD, at least until later in the game when I know my survival is no longer in question. Even then, I build no more than one or two, often for taking out players who are not doing turns so I can gain their bases.

With the campaign Empire, there is zero need for the SSD. I never offer them up for trade either, unless I am going to gain more than I risk. Birds… could frankly just capture the SSD at will, so a trade… is a win for me. It also perfectly describes why I don’t build them. On demand only and via a trade with a trusted player.

…[U]sing the SSD and building lots of them is a viable option too. You have to forget their lack of bays and just use them aggressively, with at least 60 fighters onboard. They are not terrific at this, but they are dual purpose and have high beam counts which helps. Their mass keeps them alive pretty well, and they die about the same time their fighters are gone if fighting bigger stuff. Expensive to use them this way, and does pose a risk of capture/theft. But if playing against lesser experienced people, it can work…

Your premise is I think the better option however, as the Empire can do other options that cost less and have lower risk. The campaign gunboats with the campaign Moscow are life changing. One last blurb on the EE: The Super Star Frigate is underrated. Yes, it can be captured. But yes you can set your combat up to account for that and get all the priority points killing it plus the ship that captured it. And the SSF fights pretty well if properly equipped with the best tops you can afford (Mk7 +). Nice little minelayer too for small field defenses.

So we’ll take that as a yes and no. Fair enough. But now for some disagreement:

Joshua

I disagree… In general, I think the power of the SSDin the hands of others is overstated. The reason for this is that even if it were to fall into the hands of your enemies, if you manage your early development and war correctly, putting yourself into a winning position, then it will rarely if ever be possible to use it against you. Meanwhile, putting the Empire in a position to win requires a couple of key things: First and foremost it requires a clean opportunity to develop through the first 25-30 turns. This time is essential to getting out enough Gorbies (at least 5-10) to provide sufficient combat power and to build enough starbases (again at least 5-10 before limit and another 5-10 immediately after) to be able to arm them.  In addition to this build time, the second most valuable thing that can be acquired by the EE to help them win are some cloaking ships.  

Fortunately, through its PL21 probe and Dark Sense, the Evil Empire are one of the most effective races in arranging early alliances and trades. The big question is, why would anyone trade with you or give you the early time to grow?  This is where the SSD comes in.  It’s perceived value is extremely high to almost all races, and its real value is also very high to particular races — especially those which are most dangerous early on.  Immediately getting generous with your SSDs will win over many friends and is an easy 1 for 1 trade with almost any other ship. It’s reasonable to trade an SSD for any high quality cloaker, an LCC, MBR, Resolute, even Coldpain or White Falcon would be very reasonable as long as the trade can be performed early enough to permit a decent amount of cloning before the limit. The opponent only needs 1-2 of these, while the EE may be able to clone 6 or 7 high quality cloaking tow ships, which can be combined later with Gorbies to devastating effect.  This trade has a double benefit if it can be performed with at least one neighbor: Providing an early safe side – especially from a cloaking early game threat.  Quite honestly, without being generous with an SSD with a nearby bird player or privateer gives almost no reason for them not to consider immediately attacking and attempting to take you out early.

So. That’s a “no”, then.

Now, you’ve heard from us; what do you think? Are you in favor of the SSD or opposed? Let’s have some discussion.


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1 thought on “On Double-Edged Swords

  1. Strongly disagree.

    The Empire is a weak race which desperately needs help in a non-teamgame setting. And an SSD is a prize for which other races are usually willing to pay a lot for. For example, in the second Classic Invitational, I was perfectly willing to offer a permanent refit base in exchange for an early SSD. A Pirate would kill for it. A Lizard would kill for it. A Bird would kill for it. Why are you refusing to utilize its strength if you can collect so many abilities from other races in return?

    So, I’m all on Joshua’s side here.

    Like

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