How to get my ships running away?

I’m looking to run missile spam from a distance, and do a kind of ‘Parthian Shot’, using up what space there is in the battle area. At the moment, I give my ships an engagement distance of 1100, and they close to that, then sit there, and never turn around to try and get to a longer range than the enemy would like (who has shorter ranged weapons). Is there something simple I am missing?


The engagement range determine at which distance the ship will stop moving toward his target.
But it also determine the distance where it will retreat, which is half the engagement range.

Ta. I can work with that.

Ah, interesting! I’ve been puzzled over this for a long time. So in effect, each engagement order is really two separate orders:

“Move at least as close as distance X to attack enemy”
“Retreat from the enemy at distance X/2”

While I kind of wish we were able to set these two orders separately, I guess space captains can only remember so many orders :stuck_out_tongue:

But at any rate, if I wanted to achieve the behaviour Galactic Hunter is seeking in his first post, is this how to do it?

  • Have a frigate with missiles that have range 1100.

  • Set their engagement distance to 2200, and place them in such a way that an enemy will probably come within 1100 meters of them.

  • They will now constantly move away from their target while firing, trying to stay exactly 1100 meters away.

  • If they are faster than the enemy, they will stop running away at 1100 meters until the enemy moves towards them again.

  • As long as an enemy comes at least 1100 meters away from them, they will fire at them while trying to stay exactly 1100 meters away.


  • If all their target enemies are between 1100 meters and 2200 meters, they will just sit there and do nothing. Unless the enemies are farther than 2200 meters away, in which case they will just move to be 2200 meters away and stop, then do nothing. :frowning:

Am I understanding the mechanics right, or is there just no way to achieve the “Parthian Shot” in GSB? (Thanks for intriguing me into googling that :smiley: )

I’ve been trying it and it works ok, although another order (setting the distance to run away at) would be nice.

As you say, setting 2000 (the maximum, in fact), means that your ships won’t close with the enemy, and relies on them closing the gap. This can be pretty bad at times. So you might need to go for a smaller number, not necessarily 1100 though. Say 1400? That means they use their engines to come pretty close, and often close enough to get engaged. They turn and run at 700, but it takes a long time to do that, and they certainly don’t prepare for it…meaning they face the enemy until they get to 700, THEN turn around and try to run. Against a fast enemy ship, you can have a real problem.

I had some tribe MWM cruisers that can take out many challengers by using this tactic. They need some fighter escorts though, which is fine because the Tribe have awesome fighters.

Nice to hear that some kind of kiting strategy can be had :slight_smile:

So in your cases, for example the ship set to engage at 1400, once an enemy gets to within 700 meters, does your ship only try to stay 700 meters away, or does it attempt to trek the full 1400 meters away again?

Also, any idea how “Keep Moving” would affect this tactic? On one hand I’m guessing it would allow your long range 1400 engagement ship to randomly wander into effective firing range on enemies all by itself, which is good, but then again it would also wander out of range by itself… I think…

A lot of experimenting I wanna do, but the last 2 days my only quality time with GSB running has been designing ships :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for the feedback!

I believe that once a ship decides that it needs to move to restore the engagement range, it will attempt to return to the engagement range set in its orders, although I’ve never checked to see if this is the case. However, since most ships generally have similar speeds within a given class, and since long-range ships tend to be slower than short-range ships, it isn’t that likely that you will see a ship return to the set engagement range (at least, not unless something dies and it gets a new target which is sufficiently far away), and instead you will see one ship chase the other across the map. Usually, since the shorter ranged vessel is probably faster than the long-range vessel and ships (especially cruisers) take a fair amount of time to turn around, this won’t gain you much if you set the engagement range to be something too short.

Keep Moving will attempt to keep the ship within the the range band of the set engagement range and one-half of the set engagement range. Yes, your ship will wander out of engagement range at times, but this can be beneficial as it gives time for repair systems and shield regeneration to take effect without having to compete with incoming fire, assuming you set the engagement range to be greater than the maximum range of enemy weapons. Keep Moving also has the benefit of making your ships harder to hit (to an extent dependent on how fast the ships are, and whether your enemy is using missiles and target painters or something else). Furthermore, in large fleet engagements, Keep Moving isn’t that likely to move your ships out of range of all enemy ships, since it attempts to keep within a ring around a target ship, rather than attempting to stay on ‘your’ side of the battlefield. This can cause your fleet’s fire to spread across multiple enemy ships, as your vessels move into and out of engagement range of various enemy vessels (which can be good if your ships disable an enemy vessel quickly but are continuing to waste fire on it, and bad if it means that your fire becomes so spread out that you cannot penetrate enemy shields or armor in a reasonable amount of time).

One option that I don’t think I’ve seen listed here is to set your ships to follow (use the formation order) a disposable ship ahead of the formation. When it is destroyed they will revert to their engagement distances and if they’ve come closer than 1/2 the engagement distance they will turn around and try and set the proper distance. If your missile ships are relatively fast (faster than the enemy) they will then keep this distance until the enemy is destroyed or they hit the edge of the map because some how in the vastness of space there is a physical border.
I’ve seen this tactic done well with frigates since it is so easy to set the distance and they were armed with mass volleys of torpedoes.

Also - don’t tell your captains its a disposable ship - call it a Picket ship, they won’t take it so badly.

I have returned, with SCIENCE!

Thanks for the good advice, Aeson and Berny! I used to assume that the “engage distance” order controlled both moving to and retreat from distance, so now I’m realizing things are very different. Does anyone know if this “Retreat at half the engagement distance” behavior was made to intentionally balance the game by preventing Missile ships from effectively staying out of range or something?

Anyway, onto my findings, (which basically just confirm everything you guys have already been saying anyway, but this way I got to make spaceships fight for science).

I issued a Challenge to myself just so I could put this issue to rest for myself :stuck_out_tongue: I made some test targets that were slow, with big shields, and close engagements orders, as the enemy. They were intended to slowly creep up to my missile ships. Then for my missile ships, I made very fast ships with long range (1100 meter) missiles, set to engage at 1500 meters.

Without “Keep Moving,” my missile ships would move to be exactly 1500 meters away from their target, then stop (unless they already started out close enough). As their target kept coming at them, eventually when the target was 750 meters away, my missile ships would keep doing little jerky bursts to always stay exactly 750 meters away. This finally ended up with them all stuck in what I dub the Berny Spacial Boundary Corner, because the captains were under such strict orders to never be within 750 meters from the enemy, when the enemy had them pinned in a corner they wouldn’t even move to get out of the way and get farther away, because that would involve briefly moving closer to the target for a moment in order to get around them :stuck_out_tongue: Very literal, these captains…

With “Keep Moving” on, they would sort of dance back and forth to the target (not orbiting it like a satellite, but more like a wonky yo-yo coming back and forth while wiggling), pretty much always being between 750 and 1500 meters away… until they got stuck in a corner XD

SO, for situations where you have a ship with longer range weapons than your enemy, from this I can conclude:

  • If you want to make absolutely sure your ship always at least attempts to stay out of the enemy’s weapon range (provided you are fast enough and there is room for them to go), you need to set their engagement distance to more than double whatever the enemy’s effective weapon range is. (This is assuming that your weapon range can still reach them at half of whatever range you set.)

  • However, if you do this without “Keep Moving” orders, you are relying entirely on the enemy coming after you. (Or rely on, er… brave, valiant, “Picket Captains”…)If the enemy doesn’t come at you, you will never enter weapons range to shoot them :frowning:

  • If you do add “Keep Moving” orders, then you can be sure that your ship will be in firing range at least part of the time, BUT, you will also be out of firing range part of the time as well. As Aeson mentioned, this reduces your DPS, but might be helpful as it gives you a chance to heal if you need it, but also runs the big risk of your ship wandering into weapons range of other enemy ships that it’s not currently targeting, which kind of defeats the whole point of setting orders to stay far away from the enemy to begin with :stuck_out_tongue:

Perhaps having separate “engage” and “retreat” distances would be too cumbersome, but I still kinda wish it automatically made them the same value, instead of retreat always being half of engage for some reason :stuck_out_tongue:

Apologies for beating a topic to death, but it has really caught my interest since learning that engagement orders do not work they way I always thought they did. Well, at least I feel confident I actually understand how the orders really work. Now to figure out how to set them in way that makes me not lose :slight_smile:

Thanks I will try out the ‘keep moving’ order. I can make it work pretty well in a range of circumstances, even with Cruisers, but I was not doing the ‘keep moving’, and the ships just stop and prop at a distance from the enemy.

Cruisers don’t have to go faster than the enemy, they just have to go fast enough that they can’t be caught too quickly, and can kill any pursuer quick enough and move their fire to the next target.

Hope you have success with it as well!