Bought GS way long back, played a bit and tried recently the campagin mode again (on captains difficulty). - Iam no expert in this game - just read a guide here and there after ~10 losses on campaign mode. However I still find it really frustrating and hard. It’s not supposed to be “easy” on medium difficulty, but for me it seems to be impossible to expect the unexpected.
Maybe I would stand a chance if I could repair my ships between battles. The first 2 planets are no problem (w/o heavy losses even keeping all my cruiser designs…) but then I need to repair some of them - flying them back and forth between the planets. Each turn I build a ship or two defending my territories (consisting of 3 planets at most) borders until a stronger fleet shows up that utterly crushes me.
I try to balance the ship designs trying to assign some roles , shield breakers , armor piercing ships, giving them at least 0.3 speed but in the battle it never turns out good and one lost battle means game over anyway, because you never get to rebuilt an army.
There is also no real learning effect because I cannot really see what kind of design the opponent has used, that I cannot hit (or only with heavy plasmas or shield disruptors)
Sorry, I know it’s just a rant and probably all hope is lost and I should switch to an easier difficulty …
perhaps you should look at some of the shipbuilding threads, but in the meantime explain your tactics more, i find that in my experience, its best to spam cruisers, with fighter escorts, or other cruisers dedicated to anti fighter.
most importantly in the beginning you have to play like turtle, and spam the next turn button, you shouldn’t start aggressively attacking planets, until you can control all the chokepoints (if there are any) with a fleet that could easily take another planet, while that’s happening you want to build up more fleets so you can rotate them, NEVER leave a front unguarded. thats about all i can say with the amount of information present,
oh and about the ship building thread comment i’m relatively confident that a top speed of a cruiser being .3 is not good, but I haven’t played in awhile
I would be very wary of creating specialist designs as the core of your fleet in the early portions of the campaign. 5 or 6 missile or plasma spam cruisers with the occasional antifighter weapon thrown in is going to perform much better on average than the fleet that has 3 laser cruisers + 2 beam cruisers + 3 antifighter frigates in the long run, mostly because you don’t need to worry about your fleet performance being crippled by the loss of one or two ships.
Also, one or two lost battles isn’t necessarily game over. It depends on what your position on the map looks like, where your other fleet(s) are relative to where you’ve a battle, how much space you can afford to give up, and how much of the enemy fleet survived the destruction of your fleet. While I have not played a campaign game out to the end, I have managed to stabilize the situation even after losing all currently active ships that I had - it just takes patience and the ability to make a halfway decent small(ish) fleet, and you have to hope that whatever beat your original fleet suffered during the fight.
One more bit of advice - keeping your giant fleet of doom on your border is a bad idea, unless it’s advancing. Enemy fleets will be generated to be comparable (with difficulty-based modifiers) to the fleet or fleets you have stationed at your borders, and keeping your largest fleet at the border is just a challenge to the game to keep throwing fleets at it until it finds a similarly expensive fleet that can beat yours. Far better is to keep something like a lone frigate or a squadron of fighters at the border, and keep the big death fleet one jump away. That way, the enemy fleets generated will be intended to face something similar to a frigate or fighter squadron (note that you’ll see fleets that outclass that fairly badly - the game will not usually send only a single frigate or a lone cruiser or something like that against you even if you’ve only stationed a single fighter squadron at the border - but your lone frigate or fighter group can run away easily, and you get to see what kind of fleet you have to fight, which means that you can then decide whether or not you think that it’s reasonable to risk your big fleet against it, and the fleet that does come through is also going to be weaker than it would be had the computer generated something to match your big fleet).
One final note - campaign difficulty is extremely variable. The enemy fleets are pulled from the online challenges, with the campaign difficulty settings adjusting the relative value of the fleet selected to oppose your own. I believe that there might be a factor in the opposition selection that tries to choose challenges with a lower difficulty rating on the easier campaign difficulties and vice versa on the higher difficulties, but I’m not certain of that; what I am sure of is that the game tries to match the credit cost of your fleet with the credit cost of a reasonably balanced challenge fleet (i.e. no pure fighter swarms), with the target cost modified by game difficulty. If there’s been a recent surge of Rebel-based challenges, you’re more likely to see a lot of Rebel fleets in the campaign (unless you are playing the Rebels), while if there have been a lot of Tribe-based challenges you’ll probably see a lot of Tribe fleets; similarly, if there was a surge of new players recently (like on a Steam free weekend) you can expect the average difficulty of an opposing fleet to be somewhat lower than normal.
Take 3-10 turns building a nice fleet which can deal with rush, anti-rush and fighter spam.
This means in most circumstances a cruiser-based fleet with 5+ Cruiser Plasma, 1-2 Beam Lasers, heavy shields, a little armor and decent speed. Throw in a Scrambler as well for good measure. (This means 7+ Weapon Slots).
Fighter defense in the form of frigates and fighters. The frigates should have a Ion Cannon so that they can help defend against other frigates and cruisers that go in close.
Cram them all closely together in a Formation and assign the fighters to Escort one of the anti-fighter frigates (which should be placed -behind- the cruisers), depending on how many fighters, increase Escort range.
At least two of the maps have a nearby planet that is a dead-end. Take this planet. If not, aim for the nearest dead-end planet and in one sweep, without thinking about re-inforcements or defense, go all the way there. Each planet you conquer will give you some remaining fighters or frigates that are damaged or useless to you. Send one of those into the next planet in line to see what they’ve got. When you’ve got all of them, you have an empire that must be attacked from the outside. Make sure you have no more than TWO such “entry points” at a time, and that each one of those can be attacked by no more than TWO (preferably one) other planets. This is why time is of the essence when you are on the offensive, because at that point you by definition have three or more entry points.
Distribute remaining forces on one conquered planet at the time while defending the border as outlined in the post above; this will ensure that loyalty increases quickly. Just move that “security force” along once you’ve got full loyalty on the conquered planet.
Meanwhile credits, pilots and crew have all built up nicely and you can now make a new fleet (similar, if you want) completely in just a few turns.
You can now either reinforce the existing fleet or use the new fleet to take another strategic planet/acquire a dead-end string of planets.
As an addition to the good post above, you can use “anomalies” to your advantage. The best anomaly for defense is “no shields”. That’s laser fighter fodder, and given that attacking fleets are random, there’s nearly zero percent chance that the attacking fleet will be as specialized as that. “no cruisers” = beam laser frigates + fighter defense, or laser fighters + rocket fighter/target painter combo.