Capital Ship

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From the Stars! in game manual:
Capital Ship

A ship with a power rating of greater than or equal to 2000.

Capital ships serve little practical purpose in a game short of providing higher score margin at late game. It can still be useful as game winning conditions since both the score and a set fixed amount of capital ships can be used as such when creating the game.

Score Calculation

Again, from the Stars! in game manual:
A Capital ship has a power rating of greater than 1999. For each capital ship, you receive points calculated by the following formula:

8 x #_capital_ships * #_planets / #_capital_ships + #_planets

For example, if you have 20 capital ships and 30 planets, you receive (8 x 20 x 30) / (20 + 30) or 48 points for each ship.

Capital Ship Missiles

From the Stars! in game manual:
Capital Ship Missiles

Damage: From 85 to 525 damage points
Range: From 5 to 6 squares
Initiative: From 0 to 3
Accuracy: 20% to 30%

These powerful torpedoes do more damage than normal torpedoes and have a longer range than any other weapon. Due to the poor accuracy and the fact that a single torpedo can take out at most one enemy ship, these missiles are best mounted on starbases and battleships with a lot of Battle Computers. Their ideal use is against large ships and starbases.

Capital ship missiles do twice the stated damage if the enemy ship has no remaining shields.

The in game manual can be quite confusing at times so here is the translation: the stats from the first part simply describe the range of all missiles available in the game, dubbing them "Capital Ship Missiles" for some reason even though they are unrelated with the actual capital ship definition above. The entry then continue by stating that missiles are more powerful than normal torpedoes with the drawback of a lower accuracy. More importantly, the entry end by stating that missiles will deal out 100% more damage to enemy ships if those enemy ships happen to be without shields or have been deprived of their shields earlier in the battle.

Example of a capital battleship sporting jihad missiles. This ship missiles would have a base accuracy of 91%.
Example of a capital cruiser sporting doomsday missiles. This ship missiles would also have a base accuracy of 91%.

Creation and uses of Capital Ships in battle

Capital Ship Design

The in game manual is pretty obscure on how power ratings are calculated. The easiest way to know about a ship power rating is simply to look at its entry on the ship creation menu which will be found to the lower right of the window once you add weapons to the design.

As a general guideline, capital ships are remotely seen before the age of the batleships hull huge arsenal. Using the first generation of the highest power weapon in the game as a template, the jihad missile available at weapons 12 and propulsion 6 require 16 units to exceed the 2000 power rating minimum for capital ship status. You can see an example of such a design to the right, sporting a total power rating of 2040.

Eventually, as better and more powerful weapons get available, smaller ships can in turn become capital ships for all uses and purpose. At your right is a followup example, this time of a late game cruiser with a total power rating of 2240.

Because of the advanced computers used in this design, the battle nexus, the cruiser in this comparison happen to have exactly the same base accuracy of 91% than its battleship counterpart. Since the battleship example use earlier technology, it is however important to note that a battleship of the same era would most probably use the same available technology and thus become far more powerful.

It is also important to note that those two examples are not in any mean the best or most common designs available or seen on the course of a normal game. Designs and counter designs of a multitude of variations abound and their relative power are usually very situational.

Capital Ships in Battle

Capital ships are used exactly in the same way or manner than a ship of the same type sporting similar weapons. The only real difference being in pure destruction power mounted on a single hull. Many players prefer to build more of a weaker version of a ship to spread out the damage done to the stack and to benefit from shield stacking.