First Turns: The Missing Colonies of Man

Most games are won or lost in the first few turns. This series concentrates only on those critical few turns leading up to the Ship Limit as a key to achieving long-term goals necessary for victory.

Overview:

The Colonies have a powerful yet limited ship list, remarkable for not only its low-cost heavy carrier, the Virgo, but also the fuel-generating Cobol. They lack low-cost endgame sacrifice ships and their best shield-scratchers are the Cygnus (against battleships only), the Tranquility, and the Iron Lady, which sets them at a late-war disadvantage against any powerful foe. However, their ability to sweep space mines from a distance with fighters alone balances the entire field in their favor.

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First Turns: The Solar Federation

Most wars are won or lost long before the fighting starts. This series concentrates only on those critical few turns leading up to the Ship Limit as a key to achieving long-term goals necessary for victory.

Overview:

The Solar Federation fields a wide variety of top-end battleships, battlecruisers, and utility vessels. They lack a heavy carrier, but their diplomatic advantages, broad ship list, and above all crew combat bonus more than make up for this.

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Threat Assessment: The Evil Empire

This is the tenth in a series of anonymous reports that mysteriously appeared on the Editor’s desk. These redacted versions were approved by the Senate for immediate publication, to be read by commanders of each respective race so 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 Evil Empire: its strengths, its weaknesses, and how best to defeat it in battle.

Overview

Ease Of Command: Veteran
Difficulty To Defeat: Moderate
Playstyle: Slow

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Fleet Stacks: The Missing Colonies Of Man

Articles Of War, Supplemental

In this series of brief supplements, we examine not ships as individuals but when working together as a machine, in task groups or battle formations. These articles presume familiarity with the concepts of Battle Order and Left vs. Right Combat.

The Colonies, like four other races, field a heavy carrier that can take on any single vessel in the Echo Cluster on relatively equal ground. The Virgo has the further advantage of being cheap to build (minerals-wise) and arm (free fighters). However, the rest of the Colonial fleet is composed largely of vessels too lightweight to be allowed out on their own.

In consequence of this, in an appendix to the Dreadlord Manual of antique fame, Doug Suerich proposed grouping a Patriot with a Little Joe and a Cygnus. When employed properly, he contended, this trio could be deadly against most foes. Unfortunately, what was true in 1994 has not withstood the test of time; against cloakers, who can select their targets through Intercept, such a group can gain no advantage from stacking, and against even medium carriers, battleships, or battlecruisers, they’re often simply flying to their deaths — a gift to any adversary who chooses to seize it.

Instead, we shall focus on ship stacks that function in a group as greater than the sum of their parts.

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First Turns: The Privateer Bands

Most wars are won or lost long before the fighting starts. This series concentrates only on those critical few turns leading up to the Ship Limit as a key to achieving long-term goals necessary for victory.

Overview:

The heaviest warship buildable by the Privateer Bands is the Bloodfang Class Carrier, a passable medium warship but hardly a vessel designed to stand in the line of battle. The Privateer’s preferred venue is in fact elsewhere, in the area of speed, mobility, robbery, and ship capture. Thus, uniquely among the Eleven Races, the Privateer is in a very real sense less dependent on their own economy than their neighbor’s.

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Threat Assessment: The Lizard Alliance

This is the ninth in a series of anonymous reports that mysteriously appeared on the Editor’s desk. These redacted versions were approved by the Senate for immediate publication, to be read by commanders of each respective race so 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 Lizard Alliance: its strengths, its weaknesses, and how best to defeat it in battle.

Overview

Ease Of Command: Novice and Up
Difficulty To Defeat: High
Style: Aggressive

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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.

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Threat Assessment: The Privateer Bands

This is the eighth in a series of anonymous reports that looks like it could go all the way to eleven — perhaps even twelve. These redacted versions were approved by the Senate for immediate publication, so they can 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 Privateer Bands: its strengths, its weaknesses, and how best to defeat it in battle.

Overview

Ease Of Command: Expert
Difficulty To Defeat: Moderate to High
Style: Highly Aggressive / Swashbuckling

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First Turns: The Robotic Imperium

Most games are won or lost in the first few turns. This series concentrates only on those critical few turns leading up to the Ship Limit as a key to achieving long-term goals necessary for victory.

Overview:

The Robots have a powerful and unique, yet limited, ship list. They are remarkable not only for having not one but two effective heavy carriers, the Golem and the Automa, but also for their ability to control vast swathes of the battleground using their mass minelaying advantage by way of their lone minelayer, the Cat’s Paw. The inexpensive and relatively low-tech medium carrier, the Instrumentality, is the cherry on top.

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Steel Rain: The D19b As Artillery

“…In the midst of our joking came a bloodcurdling screech. Twenty meters behind us, white cloud mixed with clods of dirt flew high among the branches. Blasts began rolling through the forest. With troubled eyes we stared at each other, bodies huddled against the ground in a depressing feeling of complete powerlessness. Shot followed shot. Stifling gases floated in the undergrowth, smoke shrouded the hilltops, trees and branches tumbled to the ground, and the screams of incoming rounds were deafening. We jumped up and ran blindly, chased by flashes and concussion from tree to tree, looking for cover and circling huge trunks like hunted game…”
– Ernst Jünger, “In Stahlgewittern”, Battle of Les Eparges, 1915

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