I just played a battle in galactic conquest that I had to describe here just for it’s bizarre events.
The fleets: Both sides playing long range slow cruisers with heavy fighter support. We both had a handful of frigates, but they were all wiped out in the opening. I had 16 plasma cruisers high on shields, only one plate of armor each, one engine. He had 6 standard slow MWM cruisers. My fighters consisted of 2/3 my own laser fighters and 1/3 captured rocket fighters from the previous battle. He had about the same amount of fighters, but they were all laser.
The setup: He was in the standard everything in the middle approach. I stuck my laser fighters in the middle to draw off his, and put the rest of my fleet in the top left corner.
The insanity: He left the engage fighter order on his cruisers.
The battle: Everything starts fine for me. Big dogfight in the middle, cruisers steaming at each other, frigates getting knocked out etc. Then it starts to go wrong, my laser fighters get eliminated, but most of my rocketeers still remain to distract the enemy fighters. Then the lower three enemy cruisers start behaving erratically, constantly shifting directions, but generally heading south. My cruisers knock out the top three enemy ships, and slowly start to head after the enemy.
About three minutes later at 4X speed, my last rocketeer is destroyed. His cruisers head back to my lines … but so do his fighters. By the time his fighters wiped me out the cruisers were still out of range by about 1000 meters.
The moral: Always make sure you have enough fighter support. And make sure you aren’t counting rocketeers.