"Warship Design Strategy" by Todd Rogers 1997 v2.6/7
- War Ship Design Stratagies
- by: Todd Rogers
Here are a few musings I have on designing war ships. I'm going to talk about the use and design of multi-role ships, beamers, missile ships, and heavy ships with cannon fodder.
When you start the game you rarely know much of anything about the other races, and you're not likely to learn to much until you come in contact with them. When you contact another race, you had better have a battle fleet or hope that they're peaceful. So what type of ships should you use? I find the multi-role ship to be the best option. (Of course once you know the enemies ship designs and strategies and you decide that you'll fight a long war with him you should design new ships to take advantage of his weaknesses.) When designing a multi-role ship I like to use beam weapons exclusively in the early part of the game. A standard would be a destroyer with my best engine, best armor, best shield or best scanner, a fuel tank, a battle computer (for initiative) and two good beamers. This will hold it's own in most battles of equal numbers in the beginning of the game. Mid-game after I get the cruiser and jihad missile I'll start including missiles on my multi-role ships. I'll usually have these missile ships escorted by a few of my older beamers if they run into mine fields. In the later game, if I'm still using multi-role ships, I like the battleship with 2-4 beam weapons, 2-4 omega torps (in care the bad guys have jammers) and the rest of my weapons are my best missiles; the electrical slots are filled with my best battle computers. The beam weapons allow the ships to operate independently in mine fields so I don't have to use a slot or resources for a mine sweeper. This brings up an important concept when using multi-role ships: save slots for specific ships. When you encounter the enemy you won't be optimized to fight him, and you'll need to design more ships. In my opinion a good multi-role ship can operate independently of any other ship class. It should be able to do anything to a certain degree (the only exception to that I frequently make is scanning, scouts and planetary scanners are cheap).
Beamers will rule the battlefield in the early game because the early torpedoes are inaccurate and do little damage. Later in the game the role of beamers changes to minesweeping and cheap warships. They won't have many other uses than as escorts, spy ships, minesweepers, decoys, and cannon fodder (more about that later).
In the early game missile ships are a waste of resources. They cost more than the beamers being used and they don't have the fire power to win battles unless they mass and win by sheer numbers. However, in the mid and late game they will rule the battlefield. They are especially effective against opponents with regenerating shields (half-strength armor). Nothing strikes fear into a general like a fleet of Armageddon Dreadnoughts coming for his HW.
Now on to one of my favorite late game strategies: the use of cannon fodder. Battleships, Nubians, and Dreadnoughts are all very expensive, and I don't like losing them. They also have enough firepower that a few can wipe out most battle fleets if they survive for a few rounds of battle. So what I try to do is get my enemy to destroy cheap escort ships and leave my capital ships alone. This works especially well after you get superlatnium. Here's a real game example. I had 7 Nubians loaded with nexi computers, a bit of armor, a few shields, and 9 Armageddon missiles (they were designed to destroy enemy death stars). I also had 150 cruisers with superlatanium, complete phase shields, and anti-matter pulverizers. The enemy had 1 Death Star 150 Battleships, 40 cruisers, and about 150 unarmed ships. His ships were all basically multi-role ships similar to what's described above with the exception that they only had Valanium armor and regenerating shields (half-strength armor). My Nubians with maxed out initiative got the first shot and destroyed a few ships. I don't remember exactly how the battle went, but what basically happened is my Nubians hung back and were my last ships to be destroyed, my cruisers went in and took out the shields of most of the enemy fleet. The result was that I lost 7 Nubians (they were relatively cheap as well because they didn't have too many missiles, however in hind sight more missiles would have been better because I didn't need all that initiative), and my 150 cruisers. He lost his 40 cruisers and 98 battleships, almost as many ships as I did and his ships were much more expensive. If I'd had 10-15 Nubians I probably would have completely wiped out his fleet of over 300 ships. So the cannon fodder strategy works by sending cheap ships (usually beamers) with heavy armor in front of your capital ships. They will then soak up the enemy's attack and allow you capital ships to destroy his fleet while not being fired on. I've never tried this strategy before I got superlatanium armor, but I'm sure it would work to a lesser degree.
I hope this helps a bit. It especially helps me from using up all my ship design slots. I build multi-role ships until I know how exactly to beat the enemy. That way I don't need to use 3-5 different slots for my exploration fleets, only 1-2. Then I build specific ships to meet my needs. Finally I try to protect my expensive ships by sacrificing heavily armored cheap ships.