Strategy: Classic Privateer Tactics
By: Dr. Dorn Peterson
Don’t fight – ROB. We will see occasions when a ship will be used as a Sacrificial Lamb (SL) but other than that you should never fight anything even close to your size. A cloaked, undamaged MBR is much more useful than the benefit from eliminating an enemy’s medium size capital ship.
Play the fuel game. You will always need less fuel than they do. Strip unowned planets of fuel with “gather” and whenever you can’t steal a ship at least steal its fuel.
Steal ships. (Now we get down to the meat of the problem.) The following tactics are all based on the problem that in order to steal a ship’s fuel, so that we can tow it to a SB, we MUST be at exactly the same coordinates as the enemy ship. We can’t use intercept to get there because the turn order is steal – move – combat. If the enemy capital ship has enemy set to Privateer (if he doesn’t have it set to Privateer the first time he will from then on), you will die at the end of movement and before you get a chance to steal. You have to be cloaked when you arrive at the same place as the enemy ship.
Wait at a planet (yours or unowned) from which you have removed the fuel. If you are sure that you have more fuel capacity than he has fuel then just set ROB SHIP and wait until the next turn to begin towing him back to your SB. You can’t do this at his planet because he might transfer fuel up from the planet and that happens AFTER you rob. Lo and behold, you end up with a very angry capital ship on your hands, he has fuel, you are not cloaked, and you get blown away.
Use a sacrificial lamb (SL) at one of his planets to capture capital ships. Get a cloaked ship to one of his planets where you know ships to be. Pick the ship you want and tow it out to a waypoint where you have one or more MBRs waiting. Make sure you pick a waypoint position so that if one of his other ships is set to intercept the one you are stealing, the other one won’t be able to make it that far (also see tactic #5. This is called the SL gambit because the ship doing the towing gets pasted at the end of movement (you haven’t stolen the enemy’s fuel yet, that’s what the other, cloaked MBRs are there to do.) You can try to set it up so that your ship just runs out of fuel at the end of the tow but this is a little dangerous. What happens if the ship takes on cargo and is heavier than you thought?
Projecting a ship’s course. (Your opponent has to be very inexperienced for this to work.) If you see a ship moving toward a planet that is more than 1 jump away, you can try to project where he will be on his next jump if he continues to move at the same speed. If you try to do this a lot, you will start to appreciate the Pythagorean Theorem.
Bait and switch. Send a nice target, a full large freighter or uncloaked captured capital ship, toward enemy space. Unfortunately, for the enemy, it is accompanied by a couple of cloaked MBRs. Make sure that the freighter is out of fuel at the end of each jump. That way you don’t loose it when some capital ship arrives with weapons cocked.
The intercepted freighter gambit. If your enemy is “protecting” his freighter by having a capital ship continually intercept it, you can easily get both. Have a cloaked ship waiting at a planet when they arrive. Tow the freighter with your ship but tow it in a known direction and tow it further than the jump range of the enemy capital ship. Have a second MBR waiting at the position where the capital ship will end up. Example: Both freighter and capital ship have been moving at warp 9. Tow the freighter 90 LY north. Have the 2nd MBR waiting, cloaked, 81 LY north. The capital ship will try to follow the freighter but won’t keep up. You capture the freighter with guns (You DO put only x-rays or disruptors on your MBRs, don’t you? After all, MBRs are NEVER supposed to fight anything but freighters.) The enemy capital ship is in deep space, at a known position, where it is easy to ROB and then TOW.
The pirates nest. Privateers have real trouble defending a specific planet against a large fleet. The best defense is that they shouldn’t know were the SB or rich planet is. Second, you can spread cheap ships (they don’t have to cloak) around your empire that always have ROB set. These will rob enemy cloakers that are exploring your empire (this can be disabled by the host in ver. 3.1). But assume the worst. Your enemy knows where to do you damage and has a fleet on the way. Don’t fight back.
Set up a pirates nest at a planet they are likely to pass through. This is a collection of cheap BR4s with warp 5 engines and some MBRS. The BR4s wait at the planet until the fleet arrives. Each one then tows a ship out to waiting MBRs, to deep space, and maybe one to the SB (if the SB is capable of handling that one.) This breaks up the fleet and gives you a chance to handle the ships one at a time.