"Beating the AI HE" by Jason Cawley 1997 v2.6/7
Beating the AI HE by: Jason Cawley
Scribe wrote: > > Okay, I give up.
Nah, you'll try again soon - you're addicted :-)
> I consider myself a relatively competent Stars! player, but to > date, I have never been able to beat a Robotoid 1-on-1 in a small > universe, beginning at further distance (standard difficulty) > > What is the trick to defeating the trip-immunity HE players?
Blockade. The trick is blockade. By that I mean getting an area of space superiority, then locking up their pop on their larger worlds and not letting it off (hold the orbit if you can, else kill everything that leaves), while going after the smaller worlds with pop invasions and bombers.
Their individual planets aren't that large. Their future is those little worlds (and freighter pop sent to them). Blockade the big ones but don't bother trying to take them - it will take you long enough that a new little one will get big in the meantime. Close down the "pop-fountains" then kill the little ones (and exploit the terrain yourself). Kill their big planets last.
The target, in other words, is their ability to grow pop. A big overpopulated world isn't growing pop, unless it can export to another place that isn't overpopulated. Their pop growth comes from their colonies. You have to stop new colonies from being sent (blockade), then kill the colonies not the senders.
> There are many games when I get the technological edge, and win > many more battles...but in the long run, he always makes the comeback.
You have to get his little worlds while they are little. But that doesn't mean you have to drop pop on them before they get a privateer run (that is nice, but not required). You do have to stop the privateer runs, at least over wide areas.
It also helps to have a race with econ performance that would have the AIs writing your note, if they could write :-)
Other minor tactics that can help with a far-away HE AI that has space
Use fast beam ships to sweep their mines and distract them. Deny battle with them unless you know you will win (disengage orders).
Get an up front (or in their territory) gate/base, mine the place, and use it as a sally-port. Bypass other AI worlds to do this.
Use gatable cherry mini-bombers in stacks of 20 on their little worlds. Double up on bigger ones with some but low defenses. Send then via the sally port(s). (Add 20 LBU minis to crack the high defense worlds, but save that for latter).
Leave a small, fast warship on each planet cleared to prevent easy recolonization.
Mine everything you own or take. This gives reaction time - they telegraph attacks and blunder ahead. Often you can see the threat, design a counter, build, and gate the ships to the threatened point before the arrive.
Have a gate network and use a reserve. One ship that makes it to ten battles, as long as you have long enough odds to win cheaply, is like ten ships.
Sincerely, Jason Cawley