Ramcat's Campaign Tutorial

The campaign can be beaten!! I have done it. But because the campaign does impose different design constraints on your fleets there are a few tricks you need to know to get started and not get smashed by random fleets.

Chapter 1 - Rolling Thunder

  1. Don’t move off your homeworld until about turn/week 70.

  2. Build two fleets, one to hold the homeworld and one to fight headed south. I actually build them the same and vary them as the game goes on (read on).

  3. My fleet design (remember this is doubled) One tank, one carrier (with AA), as many “line” cruisers and fighters as I can build. My initial game balance is heavy on cruisers and light on fighters.

  4. At around turn 70 when you have two fleets your going to want to take Rana II and Kasheemun on the same turn. Move one fleet to each planet, and win both battles.

  5. Leave a fighter on Rana II and move that fleet back to your homeworld (Sullgobah). Spend the next few turns repairing your ships and building more (watch loyalty on Rana II and move ships there as needed)

  6. Build up for a while.

  7. Attack Besustine, and, if you can, Argoshka on the next turn (I move my whole fleet from Kasheemun). After you get these two planets, backfill Kasheemun and Besustine to build up your loyalty (to 100%).

Chapter 2 - The Fortress World (Kappalaxx II)

Now that you have a big fleet at Sullgobah and Argoshka, you are ready to expand. One thing the campaign makes you think about is not fighting trivial battles. Don’t tit-for-tat back and forth with the AI, only take a world with enough force to withstand counter attack.

  1. Take Dayamun, then all the fighters you can’t use there (Sullgobah) begin moving them toward Ryemir to bolster your resources there.

  2. Take Ryemir (I usually don’t wait for the fighters to get there but welcome them once they do).

  3. You should pause only breifly here, your force at Dayamun should be large enough to take Sublimion and Secaras IV.

  4. Now here’s the the trick. You want to take New Darwin so you can build fighters there. You need those fighters to take Kappalaxx II.

  5. Once you have a solid fleet with lots of fighters at Secaras IV move that whole fleet to Kappalaxx II. Hopefully you win.

  6. Move enough force back to Secaras IV to hold it, because Kappalaxx II is a fortress world (without shields your fighters make it difficult for the AI to retake) you need less force there.

  7. Re-enforce Secaras IV. It will be attacked in many ways so it needs a sizeable force.

  8. Don’t take Yarlvin. This is part of The Southern Push. By not taking it you can hold Kappalaxx II with less force than if you move a force to Yarlvin.

  9. Ryemir is weak to all frigate attacks be sure to secure it with your own fighters, frigates, and cruisers. A cruiser and fighter only defence can fail (did in my testing often).

Chapter 3 - The Southern Push

Comming soon…

General Principles

  1. Sullgobah is a “fortress” world because fleets comming from Dayamun cannot have fighters. This gives attacking fleets a weakness.

  2. Ryemir is also a fortress world because no cruisers can come through. With one minor caveat, there are many all frigate fleets that can eat your cruiser fleets and they will pop through Metagoros to Ryemir (and Abraxanth Prime to Secaras IV, but that is later in the game, usually).

  3. Do not take Metagoros until you’re ready for “The Southern Push” (which I will describe later).

  4. Don’t take Ryemir until you take Dayamun.

  5. Don’t attack a planet because you can beat the fleet that is on it (you probably can). Attack a planet when you can beat the next two fleets that attack you.

Reading Cliff’s development blogs, I expected a game where mobility was critical. Is it really true that you have to spend 70 turns before you can launch your first attack? Why not just give 70x more starting resources?

You can move out before then. In my play-tests, personally I go to kasheemun (As I recall, not at dev PC…) very quick so that I get some decent crew levels building up. Once I have two planets, I do wait and build up my defenses a bit.
Don’t forget you can build ships with no engines. You then can’t move them, but they can be good for defense.

Esp. on easy there’s no need to wait more then 20-25 turns, but i did and don’t regret it. it meant i needed to wait maybe 5 turns between expansions at most, just long enough to move fresh ships to the front lines

lkohime’s fighter build tactic changed how we play the campaign. But he kept telling me how he never encountered big fleets on “normal” difficulty and I on “Cadet” was hitting fleets four times my size (or bigger). I innovated and added fast Ion frigates and increased my kills and/or survivability as the cruisers who lose their shields get pounded by the dual laser Rebel fighters.

So last night I clued in to what lkohime was saying and started a Swarm campaign to test one of the things he said to me. Swarm does not have a dual laser fighter (not that I could figure out), this makes them significantly weaker than Rebels for using the fighter tactic.

But using this derived tactic from Ikohime I made the campaign even easier that it had been before with the dual laser Rebel fighter.

Here is what I did:
Build a fleet of 21 squads of fighters. Attack Rana II. You win easily.
Build more fighters at your home world.
Move fleet from Rana II to Kasheemun, again win easily.

I lost my homeworld at this point but the fleet at Kasheemun took it back. And a light went off. Never put more than 21 squads of fighters on a planet.

So I started building that way, a mix of laser and rocket fighters, but moving squads off my home world and “storing” them on Kasheemun and Rana II. Then with these 21 gun fleets I started attacking the enemy, shifting my fleets toward them. I also keep a 21 squad on Kasheemun at all times to retake my home world if I lose it.

Basically in 200 turns I took: Besustine, Argoshka, Ryemir, Yarlvin, Kappalaxx II, Sullious, Qetesh, Erriandos.

If I lost a battle I has another 21 “stack” right behind it so I would reattack (rarely lost on second attack). I never encountered the same fleet back-to-back except on Qualkat I hit the same Order fleet three times (I think because I retreated from it each time). I need to sacrafice a squad to it, so it will go away, and beat its replacement (I think).

The point of all this: lkohime found, by accident, the “sweet spot” for attacking. The fleets that the AI puts up against the 21 squad fighter groups are almost always beatable by the fighters. At least, it felt easy to me compaired to all my other campaign experience.

To make my point, lkohime never captured a cruiser - the fleets were always too small. I had the same experience, except for one Fed fleet had enough cruisers I captured one. And about 7 frigates in 200 turns, other than that the enemy was wiped out to the man.

Ramcat, one small error in your post: to date i have captured 4 cruisers.
(also i used WAY more then 21 squads :P)

Ah, when we were compairing notes I got the impression you were attacking with ~20 squads groups. My minimum I was attacking with was 42 (a full “stack” in the UI). I was usually attacking with three stacks or 126 squads of fighters.

Needless to say what you attack with is important, or how much you have on your planets is used by the AI to pick its attacking and defending fleets. At least thats what my testing shows.

I was using 2-3 full stacks of fighters.
I’ll try expanding more slowly and leaving the front lines more poorly defended to see what happens

Also: if you only control 35% of the map by turn 280, you CAN find BIG fleets. I’m up maybe 20-40 captured ships of maybe 6 designs xD
EDIT I captured 61 different designs, including several cruisers, over the course of ~350 turns. At this point the campaign crashed whenever i tried to capture the new designs xD


Using 21 squads of fighters on all my edge/border systems, and “shifting” when I want to attack (move a 21 squad fighter group to attack and another to “backfill” where the first left from), I have been able to take 41% of the map by turn 249 with Swarm (no dual laser fighter). The small fighter group tactic works because it wins against the random fleets it goes up against some 80% of the time (or better).

The order fleet I had retreated from attacked me the first turn I resumed play and I beat it.

Sorry to resurrect a thread, but this one needed it. I searched for campaign tutorials and guides, and this is the best that I could find (despite being incomplete).

I’d like to nominate this guide for Sticky-status. It’s the reason that I gave the Campaign a 2nd try, and boy am I glad that I did. It saved my game experience.

Alternatively, someone could write a better one… (hint, hint, wink, wink)

I’d be happy to write a discussion of my findings concerning spam fleets for a guide. As far as i can tell i’ve made the only true “pure spam” fleets (ie, same designs hundreds of times) that have been documented.

Yes, i am still working on the cruiser spam. I’m starting to think the reason that makes it possible for FT and FR make it next to impossible for CR

I had limited success with spam cruisers - the Tribes Plasma + 2x beam laser variety (I use mass fighters for planets where cruisers cannot go). VS mass fighter fleets I found no alternative except to either 1) keep a backup fleet of anti-fighter cruisers behind the main fleet to be used whenever necessary or 2) bring fighters of my own. This is on Cadet difficulty… so in the early game occasionally it is possible to run into fleets many times my size, in which case I quickly retreated.

At first things went well (pushing out on Turn 5 to the West), then through some miracle of chance I managed to capture a Nomad tank cruiser, which made things easier. I managed to capture 6 or so planets, a large number of fighters and frigates, and was just getting done padding myself on the back when it happened.

My main fleet of 20+ plasma+beam cruisers and the Nomad tank was idling on a shipyard word where I had sent a bunch of newly captured frigates to be repaired (I keep those as trophies). I was attacked by a Nomad frigate rush fleet. The enemy frigates bypassed my tank and cruisers to get at the captured frigates at the back, and then it turned into a total slaughter. The only ship of mine that survived the onslaught was my tank cruiser, and I had inflicted zero damage to the frigate fleet.

After that, I rebuilt my fleet and adopted the following rules which has since helped the cruiser spam immensely:

  1. Park the main battlefleet 1 planet behind the front lines. Keep only 1 squadron of fighters on my border worlds. Retreat when attacked, then retake the world on the next turn so I KNOW what is coming.
  2. Before attacking, always send 1 squadron of fighters as a scout, retreat, then attack on the next turn.
  3. Never, EVER, park a battlefleet in the same orbit as captured frigates waiting to be repaired >.>

If you have a tank, it’s not a spam. The spam fleet’s (by my definition) are all cookie cutter ships. 50,100, 10,000… number doesn’t matter, just all hulls are the same. i got great results with FT, FR, and CR are proving hard. The real problem is defense…

Fair enough…

So far the best design I found seems to be a 70% anti-fighter design with 2 plasmas and a beam… and by “best design” I mean unless you have at least 20 of them don’t expect to win many fights, even vs far inferior fleets. Maybe I got lucky and haven’t run into any huge LR fleets.

I figure if I can live long enough to build a sizable number, I might stand a chance. If quality doesn’t work, there’s always quantity >.>

Yeah, somewhere around the campaign network there’s my 60k HP tightly formed missile fleet, that just MURDERS everything that isn’t fighters or armor tanks xD
Honestly planning against FT swarms isn’t a good tactic, as mounting a dedicated defense means you lose the ability to counter/attack other types of fleet

Normally I would agree that designing for defense isn’t a good tactic in general, and that going for something that minimize loss and maximize killing power is the way to go.

However, I’ve ran into far too many FT swarms to ignore them and one of the biggest weakness of a MWM fleet is a FT spam. So my idea was if I could out number the enemy by a factor of 50%, then I should be able to overcome the inherent weakness of the design. When in doubt, throw more bodies at it.

The other idea I had was a rush CR spam… but haven’t had much success because the attrition is so high. Ah well, maybe next patch would allow a jack-of-all-trades CR design to shine.

I confess. I don’t like cruisers. I find them to be too large, too slow, and generally obsolete. Give me a mixed fleet of several frigate designs with good fighter support, and I can beat just about every cruiser fleet out there. Which is good, because apparently everyone else in the campaign universe is friggin’ addicted to cruisers, and I am frequently (well, in the early game, anyway) engaging huge cruiser fleets that outnumber me by 4 to one or better. And yes, I try to keep my fleets back from the frontier, move fast, etc. etc. But on Admiral setting, the AI doesn’t seem to care. It just keeps throwing cruisers at me. Recently, when my largest fleet was only 30K, I fought 360K of enemy fleets in the space of about 9 turns.

P.S. I tried the Uni-T mod recently, and actually, the corvette is my favorite
ship class. They are expensive (almost as much as a basic frigate), but they are FAST
and deadly. No hit points, of course, which makes them a hard-hitting unit with a
glass jaw.

It would be a nice feature add if you could just start with X resources rather then waiting 70 turns to start really experiencing the campaign.

Ramcat’s advice notwithstanding, you do not need to wait 70 turns to start campaigning. I generally kick off my first offensive around turn 20 or so. My best time to finish the campaign on Captain setting is 156 turns. At Admiral setting, I got in one campaign at 174 turns, but since then it has been taking longer. The fleets that the AI has to choose from are evolving over time, and getting intermittently better (i.e. you will still encounter lots of fleets that you can defeat easily, but then will get hit by one that really rocks you back on your heels).

An important point to make is that successful retreats in the face of overwhelming enemy strength rely on the speed of your ships. How quickly they can make that 180 degree turn to warp out is the difference between living to fight another day and remaining behind as a cloud of space dust and escape pods.