"Wolf/Lamb Tech Trading" by Steven Posey 1997 v2.6/7
Tech Trade via Wolf/Lamb
Generally speaking, the three tech trade methods have the following amounts of delay to trade a tech:
- Invasion: 0 - You can get the tech the same turn as your ally
- Wolf/Lamb: 2 - 1 Turn to build the lamb+1 turn to move lamb to wolves.
- Scrap: 3 - 1 Turn to build lamb+1 turn to move to ally's starbase+1 turn to scrap.
Also in general, the wolf/lamb method is considered only viable in large ally sizes (3 allies or (probably) more). This is due to the MM involved in maintaining multiple wolf sites. I had a thought (untested) that would reduce the delay to 1 turn and reduce the MM. Wolfs have shields and are gatling equipped with orders to attack lamb-maker with Primary Target of Unarmed Ships and Secondary of None/Disengage. Wolves are located at the lamb-making planet (not just nearby). Lamb-maker is a Heavily shielded laser-armed Starbase.
How it (hopefully) works:
Starbase is armed, so it will not be a target of the wolves. Unarmed lamb is made. Wolves kill lamb. Wolves have no more targets, so disengage. If you need to transfer weapons tech, the wolves will have the Primary Target changed to Armed Ships and the Lamb-maker Starbase gets rid of its laser. The reason for the shields is in case someone messes up the orders. If the wolves attack the starbase, the starbase needs to survive. The starbase (if armed) may attack the wolves. Having it armed with a laser makes sure the wolves survive.
Strengths of this method:
Reduces the delay to 1 turn Lamb-maker gets the salvage back to a site that can use it immediately with no MM (use to make more lambs). Very hard to detect. No lambs are ever seen, since they don't last even 1 turn. Wolves are minesweeper ships in orbit around an allies planet (a normal situation, if temporary) If a wolf needs replacing, it can be done in situ (lamb maker makes a new wolf to give to ally) If the lamb is armed, wolves will help attack interlopers (they will defend themselves, even though their orders are to only attack the lamb-maker. On turns when no lambs are made, the wolves get Starbase healing. Since delay is just 1 turn, there are no "extra" lambs after the tech has been obtained. Once ally(ies) get the tech, stop making those lambs.
Lamb cannot be given chicken orders. This might make it more difficult to transfer missile/torp techs (lambs attack wolves). Lamb-maker cannot have freighters, etc. in orbit (could use armed Privateer/Galleon, though).