Tech Trade by Invasion

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Tech Trading The Invasion Way

What you want to do, of course, is set up a planet of which two of you can trade ownership, over and over. Each ownership change has a chance of giving the invader a bonus tech level. The chances of tech transfer depend on how many tech fields the invader is behind the defender in. Nothing to do with how FAR behind he might be, just how many fields the other guy leads in. Check out the article 'Guts of tech trading' for more detailed info.

Of course, the more often you can trade the planet, the more chances for tech transfer. You want to take advantage of the fact that there are two periods in each Stars! turn during which an invasion can take place.

At the start of a turn, all ships with waypoint orders for the current location are carried out. Then ships move. Then the destination waypoint orders are carried out.(see 'order of events in a turn'). Thus, at the start of each turn, one of you is going to invade the chosen planet from a ship in orbit. Then, later the same turn, the other is going to arrive with a freighter and invade right back. Next turn, same deal.

So one of you needs to have a freighter full of colonists at the planet, and each turn, manually drop 200 colonists. You can't use repeating orders, as they only work when the ship moves each turn. And you can't move the ship each turn, 'cause then the orders will be carried out at the end of the turn, and you need them carried out at the beginning. You HAVE to do it manually each turn.

The other player needs 2 freighters, which can be on repeating orders, moving to the planet and invading with 200 colonists one year, moving away again the next, and repeating. It's a two year repeating cycle, so you need 2 ships, so one can arrive like clockwork each year.

Why 200 colonists each time? Well, the smallest unit of colonists you can beam up or down is 100. So you want no more than 100 colonists on the planet at all times, so it's as easy as possible to invade. That means you have to invade with 200 colonists, 100 to be killed in the fighting, and 100 to remain for the next invasion.

At this rate, a medium freighters worth of colonists will last 60 years. That's cheap enough, dont'cha think?

When you're setting this sort of operation up, you can run into problems if you forget that the pop count you see on another players planet is only an approximation (see the little +- in front of it?) The lowest pop your scanners will EVER see on another players world is 400. So you have to communicate with your ally. Decide who's going to send the colony ship to get the invasion world up and running (with only 100 colonists, not 200, as none will be lost to invasion), decide which year you're going to start, and then trust the other guy to do the right thing, 'cause you CAN'T SEE how many colonists are actually on the planet when it's in his possession.

It's nice to pick an invasion planet within one years travel of the guy using the 2 freighters. There are several advantages to this. First, it means the freighters don't have to be full of colonists sitting on their asses when they could be hard at work, generating resources. The freighters can pick up 200 at a time on auto-orders, and ferry them to the invasion world. It also means they will never run out of fuel, and they stay under protection of any forces you have defending the planet. It also makes the process invisible to all but the most careful observer. As the invasion planet is always in the same players possession at the end of the turn, it does not appear to others to be trading hands at all, unless they take note of the ships in orbit, and the low population, and deduce the truth.

Another nice thing about this invasion method is that planets that are red to both races may be used. The only thing to remember is that the guy who invades manually at the start of the turn will be in possession of the planet when 'die-off' occurs, so if the planet is red for that player, he should drop 300 colonists a turn... 100 to die invading, 100 to die off due to climate, and 100 to remain to be killed in the next invasion.

For each invasion, your chances of getting tech can be quite low. So to get maximum benefit, you have to do it on a lot of worlds at once. Why not, if you've got red worlds just sitting there unused? The initial costs are low, and the payoff just keeps coming.

Check out the chart below. It shows the percentage chance of tech transfer per year in different circumstances. Note that since each planet yields one invasion per turn to each player, the transfers go both ways.

Numbers show percentage chance of a tech advance in a turn

 Tech levels
 you lag in  
      6   |  49     74     87     93     97     98     99
      5   |  49     74     86     93     96     98     99
      4   |  47     72     85     92     96     98     99
      3   |  44     69     82     90     94     97     98
      2   |  38     61     75     84     91     94     96
      1   |  25     44     58     68     76     82     87
              1      2      3      4      5      6      7
                                                Invasion worlds used

As you can see, the more worlds the better! With 6 or 7 worlds operating, two players can split the research duties and virtually never need to duplicate the other's efforts.