|One of the primary racial traits. Super Stealth races have excellent cloaking abilities, making their ships very difficult to spot. They are therefore very good at surprise attacks.|
Appendix A:Super Stealth
Most races normally need to leap out and advance. Introduce yourself now to the darker, quieter side. If you want to win popularity contests, do not play this race. Super Stealth races are expensive to create and are among the most difficult races to play, excelling only in a universe where they have space to roam and time to develop.
If guile, careful planning, long-ranging tactical ops, surprise and terror are for you, read on. Of all the races, the Super Stealth are the best for drawn out protracted negotiations, interminable border wars, and that never-ending irritating neighbor: built-in racial advantages give the Super Stealth Primary Racial Trait the opportunity to excel under these conditions. The Super Stealth move safely through minefields faster than any but the Space Demolition, and all of the ships and packets have built-in cloaking. Additionally, the Super Stealth have more special unique gadgets than any other, a hefty starting jump in technology, and an on-going technology advantage.
The most obvious Super Stealth advantage is the 75% built-in cloak in every ship, mostly useful only early on for any type of exploration, although that 75% cloak also gives that extra push without a design slot for high-end cloaking. Although many players expect this lesser cloaking (75% to 90%) to be useful, its primary use is in hiding your own resources; its not normally enough cloaking to hide in enemy space. A ship cloaked at 98% is cloaked fifty percent more than one at 97%. A 98% cloaked ship can be within 25 light years of a planet and be almost undetectable (regardless of tech level) and yet close enough to move safely in one year through standard minefields at the planet at Warp 5.
For only the Super Stealth Primary Racial Trait does cargo not affect cloaking—a valuable much-unnoticed talent. When other Primary Racial Traits build cloaked ships, their cargo ships’ cloaking is greatly reduced, almost to be unusable. The Super Stealth can show up, steal a cargo of minerals or drop off a load of colonists, and then flee only to vanish, even fully-laden.
Another Stealth feature often overlooked is packet cloaking. All Stealth packets are cloaked at 75% when not flung faster than the mass driver’s rating. Although this mostly limits their effectiveness as an offensive weapon, it can help to hide mineral transfers, and can replace bombers for striking nearby undefended enemy perimeter worlds with low-speed packets. Careful players should remember that Packet Physics races can detect all packets in the universe.
The Super Stealth race gains free resources in each Tech every turn, each equal to half of the average resources spent by all races on that Tech. This makes the Super Stealth much better off at 50% less cost for research than other races, particularly if many others are using 75% extra. This ability also allows the Super Stealth to guess what the rest of the universe is researching.
Super Stealth starts out with Tech 5 in Electronics, giving an early scanner boost, exceptionally useful in determining where other players are in the start of a game, particularly with No Advanced scanners. This information should be used to decide where to scout, and where early border requests can (and should) be negotiated, long before others have an idea of where the Super Stealth are. If enemy ships are discovered early in the game, their paths often lead directly back to opponents’ home worlds.
Travelling through minefields faster than the recommended safe speed is less likely to cause harm to the Super Stealth ships. The Super Stealth Primary Racial Trait moves through minefields safely at one warp faster than the minefield is rated (Warp 5 for Standard, Warp 6 for Speed Traps, Warp 7 for Heavy Mines). Besides the almost 50% speed increase, the Super Stealth can therefore pass from outside scanner range to attack range within a minefield with relative safety. This also means that you are less likely than other races to hit minefield when exceeding even that safe limit.
The Super Stealth get two special defensive gadgets, the Shadow Shield and Depleted Neutronium. Both are useful primarily early on before you get the Ultra-Stealth cloak.
|Depleted Neutronim provides a heavy armor two tech levels earlier than Neutronium, and the extra weight helps to add cloaking to other ships in the same fleet.|
The Super Stealth get three special scanners—the Chameleon, the Pick Pocket, and the Robber Baron.
The Rogue gets 500kT of cargo space, and more than half the armor of a Cruiser and almost four times the fuel, yet is slightly cheaper than the Cruiser and has plenty of electrical slots for cloaks, all a tech level earlier than the Cruiser. You can build two Rogues for only slightly more than a Galleon, and end up with a lot more versatility three tech levels earlier.
|The Stealth Bomber hull is somewhat expensive and its advantages over the B-17 Bomber, except for the increased cloaking capability, may not be obvious.|
The Stealth Bomber has the same bombing capability as the B-17 and the ability to cloak up to 98%. Due to the way that cloaking works, the heavy bomber will help to cloak the other ships in the same fleet. For an explanation of how ship mass affects cloaking, see the help file topic "The Guts of Cloaking."
|The Transport cloak can be very useful early on, as it can be used to hide early ship movement, and can be placed on all mining and freighter hulls to make it very difficult for opponents to determine strengths and weaknesses.|
|The Ultra-Stealth cloak makes it very easy (when combined with the inherent 75% cloak in all ships) to get ships cloaked at 97-98% with only a few design slots.|
Because of the built-in resource gathering ability of the Super Stealth Primary Racial Trait, the Super Stealth benefit more than any other race in having research set to 50% less, particularly in a universe where many other races are set to 75% more. +3 Tech will give a bit of a head start, but you’ll gain these quickly enough from others (esp. those who start at +3), so it’s not normally necessary.
Lesser Racial Traits
Along with the Jack of All Trades, a race based on Super Stealth can use No Advanced Scanners to its advantage, as the Chameleon Scanner (only Tech 6) and Robber Baron Scanner (both penetrating scanners) come with the racial package.
Since the Super Stealth tend to design ships with long-term goals (sending ships far into others space), Bleeding Edge tends to be less harmful to the Super Stealth than to other races, and will help to decrease the cost of building those ships long-term (since many Super Stealth ship designs can be used long after surpassing their tech level). However, since the Super Stealth excel in the same type of scenarios that have technology max out, keep in mind that choosing this Lesser Racial Trait means that all tech items requiring Tech 26 will always be doubled in cost.
Super Stealth has, in essence, a built-in Generalized Research bonus. Generalized Research can provide an additional resource bonus, but the points are better used elsewhere.
Improved Fuel Efficiency can give early on far-flung ships that have some speed as well, very important towards striking and getting your ship back out of scanner range. For that reason Cheap Engines is even worse than usual; a ship on the run doesn’t need an engine to balk. For the same reason, No Ram Scoops can be particularly detrimental; the Super Stealth needs ships that you can leave on reconaisance duty indefinitely without worrying about fuel.
Strategic placement of heavily-cloaked ships deep in enemy territory is important. Having those be optimal designs that you won't want to scrap or replace soon is equally vital—ships sent deep into enemy space tend to take a long time to get there, and you don’t want to tying up design slots to replace them. Because of that, long term ship design planning is a must. The best opportunity you have for ships that are useful until end game is at Prop 12 (overthrusters), Construction 8 (Rogue hull), and Elect 12 (ultra-stealth cloak). This provides you with the framework for Rogue hulls that can run away at 2.5, and cloak easily at 98%.
In designing ships to roam about the Universe, ships should be cloaked a minimum of 95%, and the instant you can design ships cloaked 97%+, ships intended to operate with any stealth in enemy space should be so equipped.
Besides the normal ship design notes, any type of raiding ship designed to terrorize enemy space should also be fast, and move at 2.5. With the Battle Plan set to Retreat, these ships can escape before beam weapon ships can fire in pursuit, which forces your opponent to use up a design slot to combat this menace.
There are few Stars! players who doesn't occasionally get frustrated with keeping production on-line while maintaining mineral supply lines and distribution of remote mining and minerals. Well, all that's about to change for the worse for the player who happens to run across the Super Stealth. Suddenly packets never seem to arrive on time, mining fleets wink out of existence, minefields appear out of nowhere, colonists just never call back, and my goodness, where'd that fleet come from!?!
In Stars!, good first strategies normally include concealing your race from your opponents. However, the race in Stars! designed for stealth is the only race that enemies, regardless of their own Primary Racial Trait, can determine the Primary Racial Trait from the very start (the built-in cloaking, don’tcha know). Indirect confrontation and time therefore become two things all-important to this race. The farther apart the stars are, the better, spreading out those planetary scanners. However, since closer stars also means more places to hide in planetary orbit, planets density has its merits as well. Closer planets are manageable, but require more micromanagement and math on the players' part (fortunately for your enemies as well).
Wormholes are the bane of other races when playing against Super Stealth races. The Super Stealth can quickly drop a large number of heavily cloaked ships (scouts, mine layers, raiding ships) deep in an opponent’s space with no warning. Any who gate into Super Stealth space will normally be seen and dealt with, due to the normal No Advanced Scanners and the inability to see the Super Stealth’s own picket line; opponents will most likely not have that luxury as cloaked ships wreak havoc.
There are several roles that penetrating ships should take, whether they arrive through a wormhole or through conventional space. The roles include trading and transferring, laying minefields, sweeping minefields, thievery (of ship, planetary, and packet minerals), scouting, and assault. Usually one ship design can perform multiple functions, normally using the Rogue hull.
If you are trading/transferring with an ally, the Super Stealth have several advantages. Concealing trades from other players is a lot easier, as even the cheapest hull is 75% cloaked. In trading technology, the Super Stealth tend to be several tech levels ahead of everyone in Electronics. When designing a ship to transfer to an ally, remember that it will lose the inherent 75% bonus when transferred.
The merits of laying minefields in your own space are obvious. However, laying minefields in enemy space is equally important. Have cloaked penetrating ships lay a minefield for one year and move on. These minefields disrupt enemy shipping, and provide a screen to run through when fleeing enemy interceptors. When enemy ships will be plotting an intercept course, make a dash into or through your own minefield. Normally one year is enough to get back out of scanner range, and being able to flee through your own minefield to slow, stop, or even destroy pursuit is invaluable.
Sweeping enemy mine fields before an attack is usual for all races. However, it’s normally also a dead giveaway that an assault might be coming. For this reason, and to give your raiders some room to run, it’s important to keep enemy minefields swept on a constant basis, from all sides. This also leaves your opponent more vulnerable to attack from other players. Having a large number of ships sweeping enemy mine fields also helps to conceal your overall battle strategy.
The Super Stealth Primary Racial Trait can steal minerals from others packet, the same as other Primary Racial Traits. However, heavy cloaking gives the ability to steal by surprise. And, instead of stealing the entire packet, stealing all but a few kilotons leaves the visual impression that the entire packet is still there. If the unwary enemy has the "A packet has arrived …" message filtered out, they might never notice any duplicity.
From a strategic standpoint, use the Super Stealth special scanners to steal minerals from your enemies with a focus on disrupting their production. If the raiding ship does not have the cargo capacity to steal all available minerals, make sure the mineral(s) stolen is/are the mineral your opponent will need most (Germanium from a starting planet, Ironium from a planet building warships, etc.). Take the minerals and run, and then jettison the excess into space. The time it takes to return the minerals back home is usually better spent stealing more minerals. Large freighters cloak easily to 97%; merging this design with a cloaked Rogue gives you a 98% cloaked fleet with a lot more cargo capacity, although these freighters are normally not fast enough to escape destruction.
If attacking unescorted enemy freighters, empty them instead of destroying them, and let them be on their way; many people don't even bother putting scanners on their support ships (although after you encounter ships you should keep track of exactly how far they CAN see). If you do quickly destroy an enemy fleet that has no scanners, your opponent won’t even know who attacked them.
Knowing where your opponent’s ships are located is half the battle, and the Super Stealth can have the best view in the galaxy. Ships with penetrating scanners scattered throughout space can give the Super Stealth the best information network. This information can be used to determine where is best to attack, and can be traded with others for their own assaults. I can also help to determine who might be at war with whom.
When planning an attack, several other things can help the Super Stealth. When attacking, ships can move from 25 ly out (far enough to be difficult to detect normally) from a planet to orbit in one year with no fear of hitting a minefield. Opponents have less time to prepare than against another cloaking-impairing opponent. For fleets with more than one type of ship design, splitting the fleet, with one part of the fleet cloaked poorly, and the rest cloaked well (particularly easy if the well-cloaked fleet has stealth bombers in it) can be quite misleading. Although this strategy is possible for all races, it’s easier for the Super Stealth Primary Racial Trait, and can lead opponents to underestimate incoming (and defending) fleet strength. Even once opponents become aware of this tactic, they will never know which fleets are the ones with cloaked backup. It’s therefore much more effective to have part of the fleet cloaked at 75%, and the rest at 98%, than to have the entire fleet cloaked at 80-85%, particularly if an opponent will detect it anyway. At the same time, having one large fleet split into two (or more) fleets can make it difficult for an enemy to intercept the more heavily cloaked fleet.
The Rogue hull has enough cargo capacity to transport colonists enough to take out a poorly populated planet. In border wars, make sure Rogue ship designs leave on patrol well-stocked. These should be able to take out or badly damage weak starting worlds of your enemies. This can lead to tech levels gained deep within enemy space, by capturing worlds opponents considered unnecessary to defend.
It will be important to keep track of approximately where other races are in Electronics so as to estimate how good their scanner technology is. It’s usually best to guess they are at least two scanners ahead of expectation. This also helps to figure out if someone is using No Advanced Scanners; if they’re foolish enough to respond to a ship outside of the expected scanning range, make a note of it.
All of this said and done, what can be done in defense? What strategies work against this race? First, scanners, scanners, scanners. A heavy picket line will help, or a large number of randomly-moving scouts. Placing a ship in orbit of all nearby unoccupied planets will help, to prevent (or detect) the Super Stealth from leaping from planet to planet. All of these options will use up a LOT of your 512 fleet capacity. Don’t allow Super Stealth minefields (or anyone else’s for that matter) in your space, as enemies can use these to retreat into after tactical strikes. Always expect Super Stealth ships to be cloaked at 98%: when playing against a Super Stealth Primary Racial Trait, remember to change your scanner range to 25% or less to pick out scanner holes in your perimeter.
One of the most important items to have if trying to combat the menace of a Super Stealth opponent is a scanning ship equipped with a tachyon detector. Frigates work particularly well for this, and even at moderate tech levels can mount a scanner which effectively reduces a 98% cloaked fleet to 90% cloaked—typically not enough to be effective. Tachyon detectors are available for and from an Inner Strength player at Electronics 14. The effort is well worth it if ships equipped with them can be produced/procured in quantity.
Strangely, one of the races considered the weakest (the Space Demolitionist) is in the best shape to combat this menace. Space Demolition mine fields act as non-penetrating scanners to help detect enemy ships, and any stealth ship with beam weapons that flies through or parks in a minefield will announce its presence by auto-sweep unless its battle plan is set accordingly (this tactic, by the way, works for non-Demolitionists as well). Additionally, cloaked ships hitting a detonating minefield will stand out like a sore thumb.
Poorly played, the Super Stealth are a race that can't excel. The only advantages this race provides have to do with being where they’re not expected, and having the wherewithal to take advantage of it. But when you do....
|Stars! race design concepts|
|PRTs||HE · SS · WM · CA · IS · SD · PP · IT · AR · JOAT|
|LRTs||IFE · TT · ARM · ISB · GR · UR · MA · NRSE · CE · OBRM · NAS · LSP · BET · RS|
|Other||HG · HP · -f · QS · 1WW / OWW · Immunities · Habitability · Economics · Technology · Abbreviations|