Space Demolition

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Space Demolition
One of the primary racial traits. Space Demolition races excel at laying minefields, and have the unique ability to remote detonate their own minefields.

SD races are time-consuming to play, due to the amount of micro-management required to manage all the minefields. They even more time-consuming to fight against, due to the effort of constantly sweeping the SD minefields.

Starting Advantages
  • Tech level 2 in propulsion and biotech.
  • One scout
  • One colony ship
  • Two mine layers (one standard, one speed trap)
Exclusive Hulls
Exclusive Components
Exclusive Abilities
  • Mine fields act as non-penetrating scanners. Cloaks work as an absolute percentage against mine scans.
  • Can travel through opponent's mine fields at two warp speeds faster than the limit stated in the Technology Browser
  • Can remotely detonate standard minefields
  • Minefields decay at a rate of 1% a year per planet enclosed in the field. All other player's fields decay at 4% a year per planet enclosed.
  • Learn the exact design of any enemy ship that detonates one of your mines

Appendix D:Space Demolition

More Stars! Strategy Guide chapters...

Contents

File:Bomb.jpg

War is hell, at least in Stars!. Early production hits from a premature border war can have long term repercussions. Players tend to form uneasy borders early in the game, wondering when a surprise attack will come, and grow within, engaging in war once they run out of room within their own borders; many races are not at their best in this situation.

A race based on the Space Demolition trait, on the other hand, is ideally suited to deal with this problem, as the more time they have to prepare, the more defensive they get, and borders can slowly expand with minefields while remaining within a protected perimeter.

Advantages

The Space Demolition trait is considered by many to be very weak. Their racial cost is the lowest of any Primary Racial Trait. They start out with only four tech levels, the ability to travel quickly through minefields, a few other abilities related to minefields, and need to invest in Biotechnology which is not critical for most other races. Their most powerful abilities are detonating their own minefields and using their minefields as scanners.

All of the Space Demolitionist’s advantages focus on minefields.

Technology

File:Smine.jpg Higher speed despensers for Standard Mines
File:Hmine.jpg Dispensers for Heavy Mines
File:Bmine.jpg Dispensers for Speed Bump Mines
File:Layers.jpg Mini Mine Layer and Super Mine Layer hulls that lay mines twice as effectively as other hulls and are immune to their own minefield detonation

Abilities

  • Minefields act as scanners
  • Minefields decay slower
  • Detonate standard mine fields
  • Lay minefields while on the move
  • Travel safely and quickly through opposing minefields at approximately double the normal safe speed (2 warps) of other races.

That's quite an impressive list, affecting every usage of mine laying in Stars!.

Minefield Expertise

Standard Mine fields are basic fare for every race but one, functioning as an effective defensive weapon, as a delaying tactic, and as a strategic modifier (opponent are more likely to attack with one large fleet, as small fleets can get split apart when hitting minefields). However, in the later game, standard minefields begin to lose part of this effectiveness, as they can't do enough damage to seriously harm large fleets of heavily armored ships. Up to half of the damage caused by a mine is first assigned to the shields. Minefields do stated damage per engine, so the larger ships take proportionately more damage, but they tend to have more armor as well. Increasing the fleet size also distributes the damage across all the ships of the same design which brings the minefield's effectiveness back down.

This is where Heavy Mine fields comes into play, causing a vast amount of damage to faster-moving ships. Many players routinely move their fleets at speeds much higher than Warp 6 (warp 9 is almost three times faster), so Heavy Mines can be quite effective. Heavy Mines are not intended to be used as a tool to slow down your opponents. Speed Bump Mines are much better for that job since they’re ten times more likely to be hit than even Standard Mines.

Space Demolitionists should build mine-laying ships using their special mine-laying hulls whenever it is possible and economical. These special minelaying hulls double the laying effectiveness of the minelayers within, making them twice as effective. In addition, Mini Mine Layer and Super Mine Layer hulls are immune to their own minefield detonations.

One of the best defenses in Stars! is to lay a perimeter of Standard Mines. Post one or more minelayers in each field along the perimeter laying Standard Mines. Set each field to detonate, which will automatically repeat every year. Make sure that the mine laying fleet is capable of replacing the mines that detonate (25% of the field per year). This can give you a perimeter of constantly exploding mines. Anyone attempting to enter at full speeds risks hitting the mines, if they are traveling slow enough to avoid hitting the mines, the mines will detonate anyway. If you make your freighters from those same special hulls by adding cargo pods, ships can travel freely about in space where nothing else can move safely.

The Space Demolitionist in particular fares best laying many small minefields (keeping in mind the 512 minefield per player limit), instead of starting out laying huge ones, as is common among Stars! players. Most Stars! players build a few mine-laying ships (typically scouts or frigates), and lay out a few huge minefields. While practical in keeping down the number of ship design slots and fleet numbers devoted to mine layers, and in decreasing micro-management, large minefields are not the best mine field design, especially for this particular race.

Laying mines of a similar type inside an existing mine field only makes that particular mine field grow larger. Placing a mine layer in an overlapping area of two adjacent minefields adds mines to the one with the closest center point. It is possible to lay up to three seperate minefields at the same location, each with an additional chance to be hit, if each minefield uses a different type of mine: Standard, Speed Bump, or Heavy.

Huge minefields are vulnerable to reasonably quick and easy mine sweeping, particularly if someone (like a Super Stealth race) sneaks a well-cloaked minesweeper deep into the field, then starts sweeping. The Space Demolitionist deters this stealth-sweeping tactic in part through their intrinsic minefield scanning ability.

When a Standard Mine field is detonated, it decreases by 25%. Smaller minefields lose fewer mines when detonated, and are less likely to catch friendly ships in the explosion. Be careful about which of your ships you have in an exploding minefiled, though: as a Space Demolitionist only your mine-laying hulls are immune to this type of explosion.

Finally, a large minefield is much easier for your opponent to keep track of and know where its edges are. Once an opponent detects a minefield (either by scanning or hitting it), they can watch the far edge of it grow and shrink, even if the other side is out of scanner range. Having many small minefields helps ensure that there will be fields your opponents won't know about and increases the probability that they'll blunder into them.

Ideally, the Space Demolitionist should create small, overlapping minefields of one type, overlaid with small overlapping minefields of one or more of the other two types. Once space is covered with these, place one or two larger minefields in the center and increase their size (by laying mines of the same type in their area) over the smaller minefields. Most players don't overlap their minefields, because then enemy ships can sweep more than one mine field at once(in the overlap area). However, the benefits of overlapping minefields outweigh this disadvantage, as there will be more small minefields ahead which will have to be swept separately, and because each type of minefield performs a separate function.

Heavy mines seriously damage fast-moving fleets. Speed Bump Mines prevent ships from striking quickly, giving the Space Demolitionist more time to prepare. Standard Mines perform an intermediate task, since because they can detonate, enemy ships don’t want to remain there long, so they move at high warp, and are more likely to hit the Speed Bump or Heavy fields. The combination of mine types forces opponents to try to get through quickly only to hit Heavy Mines or be unable to get there (due to the Speed Bumps), and all the while get hammered by the detonating Standard Mines.

Overlapping minefields of different types also increases the number of chances that ships traveling through will run into one of them (although only once chance for each type of minefield). Additionally, since each type of minefield performs its own independent check, overlapping minefields of different types increase your chance of detecting cloaked ships within those fields. While your enemy's ships try to sweep, you can detonate the standard minefields around them (as long as you remember that any given fleet, it is affected only by one detonation, so detonating multiple standard minefields in one year on one fleet will be wasteful). Small Standard minefields also provide a selective perimeter of exploding mines that can be turned off in order to give safe passage to friendly ships (like an opening in a defensive shield) without damaging them. Be sure all the nearby fields are no longer detonating, or ships will be slowed down, take damage, and possibly be destroyed.

The fairly basic strategy of flying heavily cloaked ship(s) into enemy space to place minefields for the unwary becomes particularly effective for this race. The Super Mine Layer hull in particular has plenty of room for cloaking. Make sure fleets are adequately cloaked, and/or that care is taken to avoid entering scanning range of planets and ships nearby. Second, lay minefields on the move and at random, so that if minefields are detected, the mine laying ship isn’t there when the sweeper arrives. Since Space Demolitionist ships can lay half-minefields each year they move, they don't have to stop and are thus harder to intercept. Place minefields with the center far away enough that enemy ships don't immediately notice them helps (cloaked 82% to normal scanners), and try to make sure these mine fields are out of range of penetrating scanners (which will detect them automatically) on planets and ships.

As your opponent sends single ships to reinforce their fleets, some of them won't make it as they hit the various small (previously undetected) minefields. This tactic is particularly effective against Hyper Expansionists, who cannot just gate around the fields. Additionally, hitting mine fields will destroy most colonizing ships. Dropping these surprise fields just before a large enemy offensive is particularly effective, as their incoming war ships will lose time removing or hitting these surprise minefields. Heavy minefields work particularly well for this task, as few players fly ships less than Warp 6 anyway, and the Heavy minefields do four to five times as much damage (depending on fleet composition). If you come under attack by an opponent who uses ships without Ram Scoops (to decrease the amount of damage taken from hitting minefields), be sure to target the unarmed fuel transports.

Offensive Strategies

Space Demolitionist abilities can be adapted for offense in several ways. First, Space Demolitionist attack fleets can come in approximately twice as fast than normal, even through the densest minefields. Second, the Space Demolitionist can encroach on an opponent’s space by expanding its border with detonating minefields. Detonating Standard Mine fields take out freighters, fuel ships, and light-weight scouts, as well as ships attempting to sweep (although a stationary ship with enough sweeping power to keep the mine field from going past point X will not be affected by remote detonation). Placing a detonating ring of standard minefields around a star base can damage or even destroy the ships in orbit, although the mines won't affect the star base. Star bases sweep mines, but many players don't put (enough) beam weapons on their star bases to prevent this.

Even in an area where the space is heavily contested, the Space Demolitionist can expand his border minefields by setting a distant point to lay mines and after his minelayer lays a half size field while travelling to the distant location, re-direct it back to avoid interception. A collection of minelayers doing this semi-randomly while backed up with one or two small fleets to discourage enemy interceptors will both expand the minefield wall, and give their opponent fits. This approach can be somewhat micro-management intensive, so should be used sparingly.

Race Design

The Space Demolitionist has no special design needs. He does need more Germanium than the average player. The Space Demolitionist excels in a defensive game, even when all of his borders are hemmed in, so be sure that planets can be terraformed when space to expand without warfare is gone. Habitability, production, and research specifics can be better covered more generally on the tailoring of these abilities, with one caveat. As the Primary Racial Trait with the most starting advantage points, the Space Demolitionist can be designed to out-produce any other Primary Racial Trait in a direct planet by planet comparison.

Lesser Racial Traits

Basic Remote Mining is preferred for this race over Advanced Mining. Basic Remote Mining lends itself to only a few (or even one) mining ship design(s), leaving more room for mine-laying ship designs. Although the mining is very limited, once the tech levels get higher, the cost of these ships are minimal. If it takes a long time to recoup the cost of the remote mining ship, remember that remote mining ships are still useful. Planetary mines cannot be moved and utilized on other, more resource-rich, planets. And with Total Terraforming, the Space Demolitionist should be living on most planets anyway.

Total Terraforming works well with this race since the Space Demolitionist normally invests more in Biotechnology than other Primary Racial Traits anyway (in order to acquire the higher mine laying ability). Additionally, there’s normally less danger in establishing smaller colonies than usual, since random invaders will have to go through the minefields to get there.

As this race does best in a passive environment, Generalized Research works fairly well, since there's not that much of a hurry to get anywhere, and they can use the resources that most consider wasted in Biotechnology. The same can be said for Bleeding Edge Tech, particularly since this will make the older but still useful ship designs (remote miners built with Basic Remote Mining, mine layers with a simple Warp 6 Ram Scoop and a complement of low-tech mine layers) cheaper due to the increased miniaturization.

Selecting No Ram Scoops for a race that usually has ships running about laying mine fields (particularly on the border) that keep needing fuel makes life difficult. And your opponents aren't going to be able to utilize any greater speed advantage from No Ram Scoops, as they'll be going slowly (whether they want to or not) anyway. Improved Fuel Efficiency can provide early on engines for those long-term mine laying ships.

Of the races to select No Advanced Scanners, this is one of the better ones. Minefields don't exactly act as penetrating scanners, but they increase ship-tracking (and stealth-detecting) abilities more than normal. Space Demolitionists normally also already have a large number of ships moving randomly in their space that can serve the second purpose of detecting enemy ships and mines.

Unlike many of the other races, few players actually fear this one, particularly nowhere near the scope of the <insert current most-feared race here>. Even other players knowing the Primary Racial Trait being played is not particularly detrimental (and waiting and concealing the Primary Racial Trait for this race is costly defensively). The worst problem with players knowing your race is the accounting for it in their travels, making it difficult to detonate standard minefields in their path. On the other hand, once they know who you are, they'll tend to avoid your space anyway.

If you like a low conflict game, this is one of the best races to foster that attitude, as you can form a border very difficult to penetrate. There are few who play this race, and even fewer who play it well, but for those who do, not fearing them is a mistake. Playing the Space Demolitionist well can involve a lot of micromanagement, a lot of waiting for enemies to come to you, and a slow crawling advance. But with patience, it's well worth the wait.


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