“Walk on road. Walk right side, safe. Walk left side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later, get squish, just like grape.”Mr. Miyagi
There are two ways to win as the Horwasp: the fast lane and the slow lane.
The fast lane is when your opponents are inept players. An inept player is one who hasn’t read my SIR MF article and/or is not able to build 20-30 tech 10 war ships prior to the ship limit.
In this scenario, you can simply spread and win; you send out pods, namely Nests and Stingers, and later on war ships which you build by the bushel. No need for Hives unless some poor soul manages to counter-attack with a tech 10 ship and you need to block it… although it will be an overkill, as the ship probably has only 60 fighters or 20 torpedoes and you could just swat it with a Brood or two. Around turn 60 you win. You can’t make it faster because your ships and pods are just that damn slow.
The slow lane takes place when your neighbours or your neighbours’ neighbours are not inept players. Then your victory is not about quickly smashing everything, but instead carefully cherishing your war ships and collecting ship slots.
There is no middle lane.
From Hero to Zero
In the beginning of the game the Horwasp thrives: build a Brood, load 900 clans in it and Abracadabra! You now have tech 10 beams and torps plus a dung load of fighters. Move at Warp 7 to the closest enemy. Booyah!
Horwasp warships are very tough. See from this list – https://planetsmagazine.com/2021/06/18/standard-ship-list-from-stronger-to-weaker-revised/ – 23rd is Brood, 27th is Soldier and 34th is Jacker. But there are a lot of ships there that win against them one-on-one. Horwasp warships move slowly and can’t cloak. The enemy sees you coming, can decide where the combat happens and can decide the battle order. Around the ship limit, heavy carriers crush you, cloakers snipe you, and special abilities bamboozle you so badly your feelers whirl.
It is most likely you can’t get 1:1 victories in battle; at best you’re probably 2:1 Horwasp ships are needed to win against an enemy ship. And if against a starbase you place a Jacker in front and win by sacrificing it, your maximum gain is 3 priority points stolen, but a new Jacker costs 5 priority points. Yes, 5: it used to be 3 points for a Brood and 4 for a Soldier or Jacker, but since 1.1.2023, it seems to be 4 points for a Brood and 5 points for a Soldier or Jacker (noticed by Tom Graves). In short: keep on pushing with war ships, and you start to lose warship ship count — in other words, ship slots.
The less warships you have, the more ships your enemies are able to build. If you keep on pushing with warships, then soon the overwhelming numbers of warships you managed to build before ship limit are not that overwhelming anymore, as your more industrious opponents have hundreds of stored priority points they have gotten from empty starbases prior to the shiplimit, and can keep on building.
Not a Sword, but a Bayonet
I won a game on the fast lane in the Ice Planet Sector: https://planets.nu/#/sector/340698 .
But then I faced a stinging defeat in the Vulcan Sector: https://planets.nu/#/sector/422899 . And Gamma 400 Sector: https://planets.nu/#/sector/444879 . In both I started with the idea that the war ships are the key to Horwasp victory. I simply believed “I will build a superior number of war ships and hit enemies with them until they die.” Well, they are the key, but for another reason than what I thought.
Because Gnat war ships are not a sword, they are a bayonet:
“You probe with bayonets: if you find mush, you push. If you find steel, you withdraw.”Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
Your war ships are very potent ships which possess a valuable ship slot away from the enemies. So they are like porcelain swords, powerful yet valuable and fragile. You shouldn’t waste them. So you keep on attacking until it cannot be done with close to zero casualties. Then you hit the brakes, and fortify with Hives.
So, instead of crashing on the fast lane, you notice the upcoming obstacle and switch to the slow lane. You start to preserve your war ships and build more, and then do two things: build up for the opportune moments and overwhelm with pods.
The Horwasp Prima Nocta
In a later article I will present a collection of traps and tactics Horwasp can use beyond pure warships — the combined arms use of pods, Hives, and warships, with the aim to reduce enemy ship count in order to build up overwhelming position against your adversaries.
But you especially need to build up and exploit fully the Horwasp Prima Nocta.
The what, you may ask? Well: There is a special Horwasp rule in the game not many are aware of.
If after ship limit a player is FOFed, and the ship limit goes under 500 total ships, the Horwasp player gets ALL the regular builds he is able to get that turn from the FoFed player. Yes, it really works, even with the rbX queue and all.
You can check my past Robot game to see what it looks like if the Horwasp does it properly: https://planets.nu/#/sector/478712 on turn 75 the Lizard is FoFed, the Horwasp gets +21 warships.
In that sector Vindicator had a warship being built on most of his planets. He had been preparing for it for a long time.
Smart opponents see FoFs coming and collectively keep the number of ships high enough so that the Horwasp cannot exploit this Prima Nocta. And not all Horwasps realize they have the right. But usually enemies want to treasure their priority points and won’t dare to spend them, making it possible for the Horwasp to do this.
Ask yourself: “What Would Batman Do?”
But how does one win a high DM game on the slow lane as the Horwasp? Batman shows you the way.
In his game in the Alpha Sector https://planets.nu/#/sector/498307 on turn 81 you see him having 881 pods. The opposition surrendered and agreed to finish the game.
But he had “only” a bit over 80 warships. It was enough in comparison to the amount of pods he was able to create; the point in the slow and the fast lane is this: When you meet enough opposition to endanger your warships, hit the brakes. And then start to create Pod Hell as only the Horwasps know how. Wear down the enemy. Wade into them; spill their blood!
And as you use your cunning and tenacity, at some point, you start to feel the front start to crumble somewhere at some point. And as it does – there, you hit the fast lane again. You start to push with the bayonet. And start advancing again.
And don’t forget diplomacy. For example a high DM campaign game has been won with the help of a Borg ally. The Horwasp has lot to offer to anyone – it’s a tough position to sell as there can’t be an ally win, but especially if the other party is about to be killed completely, a deal with the devil becomes far more interesting. But most importantly: Horwasp is weak against multiple race combos, so even peace treaties can take you a long way. If a single player proposes peace, you usually should take the offer.
” One to one problem, yes. FIVE to one problem, too much ask anyone. “Mr. Miyagi
Horwasp wins a long high DM game when it has captured so many ship slots that the opposition cannot protect all areas and Horwasp manages to overwhelm defences with effective use of combined arms, mostly sacrificing pods which are not hindered by the ship limit.
To gain the ship slots, the Horwasp needs to:
- Build as many war ships as practicable prior to the ship limit.
- Advance on the fast lane: first send nests and stingers everywhere mainly to scout, then press with warships. But when it can’t be done without casualties, hit the brakes, build Hives, fortify.
- On the slow lane use a lot of combined arms, with war ships in a support role more than as in main role; when in the slow lane, put pods first, war ships second.
- Fully exploit each FoF situation with Horwasp Prima Nocta.
Build up your Horwasp empire making it possible to spit out pods from all planets all the time. And when the enemy front starts to crack at some point – exploit the situation there and hit the fast lane again.
“Secret of punch is to make whole power of body fit into one inch.”Mr. Miyagi
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