By Timo Kreike
You're playing the Birdmen, and you're fighting against the Borg (or in general against a race with FireClouds). The 'Birdmen Chunnel' describes a way to chunnel your fleet deep inside the enemy territory using captured FireClouds.
Invade the enemy territory with a Dark Wing and a few Resolutes filled with supplies as support ships. Use the Dark Wing to capture FireClouds. You will use these FireClouds to preform a 'Birdmen Chunnel': chunnel your fleet deep inside enemy territory.
A Special Equipped Dark Wing
To capture the FireClouds you need a Special Equipped Dark Wing. Use the new Windows based battlesimulator called PACT, sim every one of the 110 possible battle outcomes of a X equiped Dark Wing vs a 6/10/10/10 FireCloud (FC with tech 10 engines and weapons) at the Engine Shield Bonus host config setting used in your game.
At an Engine Shield Bonus of 50% a Dark Wing with 10 Disruptors and 8 Gamma Bomb tubes would win and capture the FC any time! PACT gives you a perfect estimation of the worst case battle, the best case battle and the average, and the maximum number of torps you need in the worst case battle. When you know the worst battle outcomes of the battle of your Dark Wing against the best equipped FireCloud, you know how much supplies you need to fix your Dark Wing when all tech 10 torps of the FireCloud hit. And the number of supplies you need to fix the FireCloud when you've captured it.
The escorting Resolutes
The escorting Resolutes are pretty important. They carry the fuel, they carry the supplies to repair the Dark Wing after a battle, and much more.
For every special equipped Dark Wing you need at least a set of three or four supporting Resolutes. The Resolutes need high tech weapons. High tech torps to capture enemy planets, and high tech beams to sweep enemy minefields.
Tasks of the Resolutes:
1. Super Spying on enemy planets for supplies, cash and supplies, and at the same time
2. search for FireClouds. If a Resolute finds a FireCloud, it should
3. tow the FireCloud to the Dark Wing. At the same turn all escorting should
4. make a rendezvous with the Dark Wing and the FireCloud to offer supplies for repairs.
Depending on the strategy you choose, you might want a Resolute to
6. tow the captured FireCloud to your territory.
After the battle you need Resolutes to:
7. capture enemy planets to restock your supplies. Before you can use the Dark Wing again, it will need minerals and cash to make new torpedos in space, and supplies to repair the initial damage. The supporting Resolutes will need lots of supplies and a few torpedos too.
When you scout a group of enemy planets, keep the Dark Wing in the middle. Use the Resolutes at the flanks. Make it so that when the outer left or outer right Resolute finds a FireCloud, it can meet the Dark Wing at the center halfway in one turn.
R1 ------------> <------------ DW ------------> <------------ R2
81 LY 81 LY 81 LY 81 LY
R1, R2 = Resolute 1 and 2, DW = Dark Wing.
If you use two Resolutes on the flanks of the Dark Wing, you can cover a 4 * 81 LY = 324 LY area of planets (not including a warp well) at maximum, and still get the FireCloud in a single strike.
When the Dark Wing finds a FireCloud in orbid of a planet, it will tow the FireCloud out of the orbit and capture it the next turn. Set the primary enemy, and its mission to kill.
If a Resolute finds a FireCloud, it must tow the FireCloud to a set of coordinates where the Dark Wing can reach in one turn. If the 'Cloaked ships attack' host setting is YES, set the mission of the Dark Wing to cloak, and give it a lower friendly code than the Resolute. The cloaking mission will reduce the chance of hitting an enemy mine. Fly the Resolute and the Dark Wing to the same location. The Dark Wing will capture the FireCloud next turn.
You might want to use the Intercept mission on the Dark Wing to capture a lonely FireCloud in mid-space. This can be risky if your opponent has set a trap and intercepts his own FireCloud with a large battleship - you will certainly loose the Dark Wing. A better option is to tow the FireCloud out of the orbit of a planet.
If the FireCloud has a stationary orbit, it will have a warpspeed of zero when you see it in orbit. There is a high probability that this FireCloud is part of a stationary chunnel route, and you can tow this ship without much risk. If the warp speed is not zero, it might be so that this FireCloud just arrived on this planet. It might move on. Towing a FireCloud that will move the next turn is no problem at all when:
the FireCloud is moving at a slower warpspeed, preventing it from breaking tow. (Eary-game FireClouds and 'stationary' FireClouds don't need high tech engines, and they occasionally move to another planet...)
the FireCloud is flying at an equal warpspeed as your towing ship and has set its waypoint less than one turn flying away. So if the FireCloud is moving at warp 9 in a dense group of planets and all nearby planets are less than 81 LY away, there is an high probability that the waypoint of this FireCloud is one of the nearby planets, and you can tow it without an high risk of the FireCloud breaking tow and escaping. And vice versa, if the gaps between planets are large, towing a moving FireCloud might get risky.
After a battle
The Dark Wing can make 50 torps every turn. That is about the same number of torps you need to capture a FireCloud. Let the Dark Wing generate new torps using the mkt FC after it is repaired. * Fill the Dark Wing with the maximum number of torps as predicted by PACT (about 50 torps). Use the remaining cargospace for supplies: they will repair the Dark Wing right after the battle, and your Dark Wing will already have had some repairs when you get your .RST file. If the maximum number of torps you need for the battle is 50 you can put 100 supplies in the cargohold, this will decrease the ships damage by 20%.
Repair the Dark Wing in mid-space after the battle. Make a rendezvouz with one or more Resolutes in mid-space, preferably in a warp well.(Fly at warp 1.) Keep the Dark Wing save in the warp well til it can cloak again. Repairing the Dark Wing till zero damage might take 2 or 3 turns. Remember at the turn the damage of the Dark Wing will get lower than the 'Cloak Prevent Damage' percentage host config setting the Dark Wing can cloak again. In that turn, load it with supplies and get it moving again!
What to do with the FireClouds...
Tow the first FireCloud you capture to your territory. There is no need to repair this FireCloud in mid-space. Repair it at one of your starbases. Use a Resolute to tow this FireCloud to your bases.
1. If you got MBRs, you might want to consider using one (or two) of these to tow the FireCloud(s) home. It will speed things up.
2. If you got some supplies spare, do repair the FireCloud to some extent and set its mission to Minesweep.
3. Obviously: once you have towed the first Firecloud to a friendly starbase, start cloning it immediately (until the game hits the 500 ships limit).
When your FireCloud is repaired fly it to the battlegroup you gathered to invade your enemy.
When you've captured the second FireCloud is captured in the regular way :-)
there are two options:
Chunnel the entire battlegroup the following turn deep inside enemy territory.
Chunnel the second FireCloud to the first, repair it, and capture a third FireCloud. These three FireClouds can be used to set up a stationary connection.
The first option is most closest to a surprice attack! On the other hand, you won't be able to retreat your fleet as both your FireClouds are inside enemy territory.
The second option is more safe. The FireCloud captured second is quickly fixed with supplies and chunneled to your first FireCloud at your base. Maybe you can chunnel some captured freighters back home too. (Have them waiting in a warp well, flying at warp 1, filled with minerals taken from a captured planet...)
When you've captured your next FireCloud, repair it in mid-space with suplies and use the first FireCloud to chunnel your waiting fleet from your bases to deep inside enemy territory.....
The Birdmen Chunnel!
Copyright Timo Kreike