Strategic Game Tactics

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Adaptive AI

You know a bad day is getting worse when...

You are the Liir trapped against a larger, stronger Hiver Empire. You are trying to stay low and research hard when a 3 pronged attack appears on sensors. A 3 prong attack against not only the two contested border worlds you have been trying to hang onto but also the further back production world that you have been using to build and throw desperately need reinforcements into various battles. You do the math and realize that in between 5 and 9 turns in the future, over 180 Hiver ships will be hitting these 3 worlds.

It gets a li’l better when you realize the Hivers have been purely ballistic so far and that you have JUST enough time to research Deflectors and build shielded cruisers before the wave hits.

The day gets amusing when you see 3 of your cruisers outfitted COMPLETLY with small and medium emitters enter a cloud of 25 Hiver destroyers. And over the course of about 10 EPIC turns you repulse the Hiver invasion with the loss of one world which you then hit and run attack to keep the Hiver gate and colonization plans off balance till you have the strength to throw them completely off.

Then it all turns to crappola as another wave comes in... and it only has 15 ships in it and you laugh and configure a defense fleet of deflector armed beam ships to cut what must be another batch of Hiver ballistic cruisers and one dreadnought apart. Battle commences...you see from sensors that your guess was right...you spread out your cruisers to flank the dread command and tear into its flanks, careful to keep your noses pointed directly at it....and the you yell WTF as the command sections of your cruisers are all blown off in the first 30 seconds...and you realize the beams and fusion cannon blasts are NOT coming from your cruisers...but HITTING them. The Hivers AI has responded to your shields and built a generation of dreads and cruisers using nothing but beams and cannons as good as yours.

You lose the planet and 8 cruisers while the Hiver only loses 2 cruisers.

*sigh*

fricken AI --Mecron

End Game

There will not be a "mop-up" phase. The game doesnt really play that way towards end game. It's more like a series of desperate battles where your opponent either throws you back or you crush them. The AI will surrender an untenable situation or make an all or nothing move. Colonies need money to support them, so without a functioning profit world, its over. --Mecron

Defensive Postures

Sword of the Stars is rather unique with respect to the drive technologies of each of the races. The practical downside, from a defensive standpoint, is that you never really know where the next attacking fleet is going to come from. Even on cluster or rift maps, you can never be entirely certain that some enterprising player won't take the long way around trying to catch you unawares. This doesn't even take into account the many, many surprises that will be thrown at you over the course of a game in the form of Unknown Encounters or meteor showers.

For these reasons, it's good to keep both a guard fleet and as many defense satellites as possible in orbit over your worlds. My defense fleets typically consist of about a dozen destroyers in the early game, replaced by a handful of cruisers and several destroyers as time goes on, and backed by at least two CnC ships. I always take the time to build every defense satellite I can, even when I think there are more pressing things to be done. Building these fleets and satellites will be a drain on your resources and occupy turns you could spend building attack fleets. You should do it anyway. That way, when the Hivers finally show up, or the Tarkas/Liir come charging out of deep space, or the Humans finally manage to get down some ridiculously long node line, you'll be prepared.

This is slightly less the case for both Humans and Hivers. Human node drives are ridiculously fast when fully upgraded, and it's possible to swap defense fleets back and forth in a cluster of colonies. The only things you really have to be careful of are Unknown Encounters and other Humans. Hivers have the advantage of potentially being able to move every ship they have to a world on their gate network in one turn. The only thing really limiting a Hiver player from reinforcing their colonies is their gate capacity. Therefore, if you're playing with the Hivers, protecting your gates and researching Gate Amplifiers becomes very important. Unfotunately, this still leaves Hiver players somewhat vulnerable to Unknown Encounters.

In situations where I know a world is going to get hit many times over the course of a game, my guard fleets grow exponentially. I've played games where my defense fleets for key worlds were twice as large as the fleets the AI was sending to attack me.

-- Reynor

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