Need some pointers

Hi folks.

I just downloaded the demo, and plan to buy the game, as I love the premis, the price and the lack of DRM.

However, I need some help understanding why I can’t lose either demo scenario if I deploy well-balanced frigates, and can’t win if I deploy well-balanced cruisers. By “well-balanced” I mean the best balance I could strike between weapons, armour, energy and projectile weapons.

It seems that if I just throw in a bunch of my frigates with orders to cooperate and be vultures, I win quickly, and if I mix in a cruiser or two (same orders, or with defenders assigned) I lose.

What am I doing wrong? Are the demo battles just poor examples of the game?


hey, would you mind posting an example of the cruiser you’re using as “well balanced?” It seems likely that there’s just some problem with the way that the weapons/ stats of the cruiser you’re using just don’t work well at all in the demo arena for whatever reason.

I’ve tried a few combinations, and am finding some better ones.

It seems the highest-damage weapon is not always the best, even against other large ships.

Anyway, I’ve purchased the game (downloading now) and will post back here if I can’t find some combinations that work.

Thanks for the offer to help - I just don’t want to spoil what I suspect is the meat of the game.

Is there a ladder for scores approching zero? :slight_smile:


We bought the full version this afternoon and are completely hooked. My sons are already using the challenge system to fight one another. We’ve even figured out a way to do “double blind” battles in which neither commander sees anything about the opposing fleet, including starting position.

About your question I’ve had the opposite experience. I’ve won the first scenarios with pure cruiser forces. I deploy two missile cruisers in the rear rank and 4-5 beam cruisers in a front rank with target designators. Against the first canned scenarios that worked very well.

I used that fleet in a challenge against my 9-year old. He lost the first battle but handily won the second with lots of EMP weapons. 8-0

Yes, I’m planning a re-match…


Once I had a vague idea of what I was doing, I finished the normal game using federation cruisers - except for the shieldless one, where I used frigates.

I’ve made it part way through on the next level of difficulty, and finished a couple on the hardest. I’m stopping now - it is getting too frustrating.

Great game, just wish I understood the subtlties a bit better. Anyone have a weapon comparison chart, to figure out the best one(s) based on ratios? Will that even work?


Thank you!

Here are several tips which you might find helpful.

  • Frigates do more damage than cruisers, on a per cost basis.
  • Every extra non weapon you put on a ship removes from a potental weapon system you can bring to the fight.
  • Dont make generic ships. A ship with a mix of anti fighter, short range, long range weapons, and special equipment, will suck in all catagories.
  • You can make ships with less than full slots.
  • Size matters, smaller ships are better. Pick the smallest hull for your design. Try mixing this with the above suggestion of using less slots.
  • Anti-fighter rockets decimate fighters. Multiple ships with tractor beams are quite effective too.
  • Retaliate order tells the ship to shoot back at the ship doing the most damage to it. Thus avoiding shooting the turtle ships first.
  • Formation and escort breaks when the lead ship is destroyed. You can use this to “trigger” certain events, like holding your fighters or even your entire fleet back until your other ships get into fighting by attaching to a very weak and vulnerable ship, and having that ship go in first.

Don’t forget to consider that damage dealt is related to firing rate and accuracy, as well as the raw damage. The Cruiser Laser is one of the most powerful weapons in the game - it doesn’t deal much damage per shot, but it fires a lot of them (it’s drawbacks are low range and low armour penetration.)

Also, be especially aware of how shield penetration works. If your weapon has less penetration than the target’s shield resistance, then your shot will be reflected - i.e it’ll do no damage at all. This means that if you want to be able to kill cruisers, you need to make sure your ship has at least one weapon with shield penetration 24.0 or more (preferably 27.0 or more, in case they use reflective shields.) Frigates are much softer targets.

Similarly, it’s smart to include at least one weapon with high armour penetration, although this is less of an issue, since there is a small chance per hit to deal damage to armour that would normally reflect your shot (but this either isn’t the case for shields, or isn’t noticable due to the regen.)

This is one reason that plasma is popular - since it has a decent armour and shield penetration, and pulls a reasonable ‘damage per second’. It’s also horribly innaccurate, and fleets that rely on it too heavily are easily beaten by either speed, or range.

Thanks for all the advice. Initially, I thought plasma and general purpose were the way to go. I’ve found that general pupose failed miserably, and plasma was a close second - were I to hit anything, I’d feel differently.

I read through the spreadsheet and noted some of what I believe are the best weapons, especially when mixed together. My next strategy to try is to make cruisers the heavy-hitters, and put frigates along side that provide fighter protection and disruptive weapons.

dmg/time is multiplied by 1000 to make it readable (everything had a leading 0.0 otherwise); my chief focus was on damage/time and damage/power, with a sanity check against penetration and range

Any suggestions or criticims of the following?

Cruiser Weapons

  • cruiser laser
    max range 490
    min range 90
    penetration: shield 55, armour 15
    47 dmg/time
    good damage:power ratio
    short fire interval
    good vs shields, bad vs armour

  • cruiser pulse laser
    max range 600
    min range 220
    penetration: shield 11, armour 31
    20 dmg/time
    good damage:power ratio
    short fire interval
    good vs shields, bad vs armour

  • cruiser missile launcher
    max range 1200
    min range 340
    penetration: shield 52, armour 44
    15 dmg/time ratio

  • megaton missile launcher
    max range 750
    min range 300
    penetration: shield 51, armour 51
    23 dmg/time ratio

Frigate Weapons

  • no good missile weapons

  • consider disruptor bomb (650/300) and ECM II missiles (800/225)

  • ion cannon
    max range 550
    min range 180
    penetration: shield 38, armour 12
    26 dmg/time
    good damage:power ratio
    short fire interval
    good vs shields, bad vs armour

  • frigate beam laser
    max range 700
    min range 290
    penetration: shield 18, armour 49
    14 dmg/time
    average damage:power ratio (3x ion’s)
    good vs armour, bad vs shields

  • rapid fire laser
    max range 400
    min range 65
    penetration: shield 32, armour 9
    18 dmg/time
    good damage:power ratio
    short fire interval
    good vs shields, bad vs armour


  • laser cannon (300/20)
  • rocket launcher (450/280) (1/3 of the damage per time unit of the laser)

A couple of thoughts… Be wary of relying on your dps (damage/time) calculation to decide which weapons are powerfull… You have not taken into account accuracy. The cruiser laser is awesome, but it’s also one of the least accurate lasers (0.90 tracking.) For perspective on that number, the light plasma launcher is more accurate (1.0)

You need to include a high armour penetration weapon. The cruiser beam laser is outstanding for burning through enemy armour. Plasma isn’t too bad at this either.

There’s an error in your notes. You marked the cruiser pulse laser as being good vs shields. With shield pen 11, it cannot hurt cruiser shields. I don’t really rate the cruiser pulse laser, it’s not much good at anything. It can’t penetrate shields, it can’t penetrate strong armour, it’s not fast enough to be that effective against fighters… It does looks good for eating frigates though.

Also, take a look at the MIRV. It’s got four warheads, so I think you need to multiply it’s damage value by four. Plus it has the added bonus that it’s effectively immune to Point Defense Scanners, although I don’t think you see many of those being used.

Frigate anti-fighter missiles are excellent.

Fighter rockets are a lot better than they look. They can penetrate frigate shields, plus eat almost no power, so you can often skip having a power generator. Not a lot of use against anything except frigates though.

Here are some more of my successful strategies.

  • For the regular game, bring 1 dedicated anti-fighter rocket frigate for every squadron of fighters you see. Remove attacking fighter orders for all ships except for the anti-fighter frigates, and be sure that the anti fighter frigates have 100% priority for fighters.

Build a few cruisers that are tougher than normal, and have short range weapons and short range priorities. These cruisers should be slightly faster than your other ships. Deploy these in front. The rest of your fleet should be light on defenses, and heavy on offense

  • Put the short range ships in front, medium in the middle, and long behind them.

  • Don’t deploy in the middle. put all your ships at the top or bottom. The idea is that you only fight a subsection of the enemy at a time, as the other ships travel across the screen to get in range. If you’re in the middle, you have to fight them all at once.

Thanks for all the help and advice. I managed to finish all the maps on all thre levels of difficulty, which was better than I expected. I don’t date get into this challenge business and blow that feeling. :slight_smile:

I’m hoping we get a scenario editor at some point. I know it is a frequent request on this board, but have you seen any feedback as to whether it will happen? Are their any guides to hand coding new battles?

Every fight has a ‘special’ thing or two to consider.

In some fights the enemy starts out with sending in a wave of fighters, Build some armored tractor beam equipped laser cruisers to take them out.

In some fights the enemy uses a lot of laster frigates. So increase the priority of you cruisers to quicly take out those annoying little frigates. The same enemy had a lot of ‘low’ damage laser beams. Equipping heavy shielding and reflective shielding on some cruisers made them live forever.

Some enemies are missile heavy, add some anti missile equip and scramblers to stay alive longer.

Some enemies are shield heavy, others are focused on armor. So equip you ships accordingly.

I usualy just start out a basic setup of 3 anti fighter 3 ‘close’ range laser and 3 long range snipers and start the game. Then i adjust my ships according to incoming damage an damage dealt.

Heh, after reading this I went back and beat several missions on expert using a line of cruisers with 8 (!) heavy plasma weapons per cruiser*. See, plasma is like spam, you have to send out a lot of it before someone blunders into it. It turns out to be a blast to watch, if you’ll pardon the pun.

  • YMMV and be sure to take plenty of fighters to hit the fast moving stuff.

Cool, I’ll have to try that.

Are any other weapons good to load up on?