Strategy: Cutter’s Guide to the Cyborg
The Cyborg, different than any other race in the game, although every race has to have a different strategy, none is quite like the Cyborg.
The Cyborg has one of the worst ship lists in the game, but utilized properly you can do even more that anyone else. The Probe is your bread and butter, this is the ship you use to colonize, and later on in the game when colonization is all but complete, this is your money transfer system. The firecloud is by far your most useful ship, being able to chunnel to any point on the map where there is another Firecloud provides you with the fastest movement system in the game. The other two ships are the Annihilation and the Biocide. Although the Biocide is one of the most powerful ships in the game you should end up building more Annihilations. The reason behind this is that the Annihilation can be filled with torps anywhere for cheap, the Biocide can only be filled at a starbase, and will cost you 32 000 mc for a full load, plus 1600 supplies, 960 moly, and 640 tritanium. That is almost enough resources to build and load two Annihilations. The exception to the rule is if you have an ally that can provide you with cheap fighters, then you will hardly build any Annihilations. The reason I did not mention any of the other ships is because they are a waste of resources to build. Other people may argue that point, but the Firecloud can kill every one of them so why bother when you could build a Firecloud instead. The cost difference is negligible. There is also the argument that you could build them so that you can colonize them later for PBP points, but what I tend to find is that later on in the game I do not need all of those 20 or so Probes that I built, and I will colonize some of them instead. I’ll mention the Probe, how to equip it and why in the next section under colonization. Now lets take a look at the remaining ships you will build. The Firecloud you will use to take small less defended planets and lay mines, so mark 7’s are probably your best bet, and x-ray lasers are fine for taking out a couple of fighters. Your Annihilations should be built with mark 8’s and Disruptors at least, this will make a very devastating piece of equipment. On some of your Annihilations you will want to put heavy phasers for mine sweeping when you can afford them. If you find that mark 8’s tubes are more than you can afford, then use mark 7’s, they are not quite as nasty, but they will work in most cases. Your Biocides need only x-ray lasers to take out fighters of other ships or starbases, they are too important to be used for mine sweeping, they should be killing your enemies strongholds.
All of your freighters should have transwarp engines on them since they are going to be required for collecting resources. I would say that Merlins and Neutronic refineries should have stardrive 1 engines, and x-ray lasers. Chances are that they will not move much or at all, and you can chunnel them if you need to.
“If it may every be required to move under its own power then build it with transwarp engines, and nothing less.”
This is one of the places where the Cyborg is quite unique. While everyone else in the game is desperately trying to get clan to those nice planets they have found, using LDSF’s and wasting huge amounts of fuel. You will be completing your colonization with only Probes. Build them with transwarp drives and x-ray lasers. Some will say that you don’t need the transwarps on a probe, but once a probe reaches a cluster of planets you want to be able to reach all of those planets in one turn. Speed is the most important thing in this game, the faster you are, the more planets you will get, and each planet is a bowl of resources.
Send these Probes to everywhere they can reach, you want to get planets in all areas of the map, it allows you monitor what is going on in the map, and also makes it pretty much impossible for someone to kill you off. These probes should be loaded with 10 clan and 5 supplies. Drop one clan on non-native worlds, and one clan, one supply on native worlds, this is all you need to end up with a thriving planet. Later on in the game you may be able to utilize the non-native planets colonizing the old fashion way with lots of clan, but for now you are just trying to get as many good planets as you can. The planets you really want to look for is the ones that have enough minerals on and in the planet to build a starbase and at least one Firecloud. When you find one of these worlds, you may want to drop all the remaining cargo on to the planet in order to start it off a little quicker. After the planet is developing nicely, load your Probe up and continue on. Remember though, it may take 2 or 3 turns before that probe is ready to leave again, I would not suggest doing this in you own area, but if the planet is far from home then you want it to get going as fast as possible so that you can link it to your space via the Firecloud.
Utilizing The Natives
The game provides that four of the native races have the ability to give you tech ten something on a starbase over that planet. Being the Cyborg of course causes a problem in that by the time you get enough resources out of the ground to build a starbase, the natives have been assimilated, and you have to pay for that tech level. Money that could definitely be used somewhere else. What you need to do is keep the colonists numbers down until you can gather enough resources to build the starbase. By this I mean moving some of them to a nearby planet and developing that one faster. This allows you to use the resources from both planets to get a base going. Another option is to get a Firecloud there and chunnel in the resources need, before the natives are all gone. If you don’t have the ships there to complete the previous mentioned tasks, then leave the planet alone and come back to it when you can get the most use out of it. Planets that are far from your home cannot be dealt with in the previous manner, the resources wasted to perform this action would be more than what it is worth. It is better to just colonize it and pay for the tech level if you have to.
Using Your New Worlds
Ok, so you have been colonizing as many worlds as you possibly can, they are starting to put out minerals, and some of them have gobs of money from taxing the natives that used to be there. You need to get all these resources to your starbase to build more ships. Here comes the beauty of the Firecloud. You need to get your Fireclouds to these planets, if you have built starbases on some of them, then you can just build them there, but in the beginnings of the game you are going to want to start sending Fireclouds out to the edges of your empire, so that they can chunnel in LDSF’s to collect the resources. They also provide a way of getting your heavy ships to the front lines if you find your neighbor and yourself are not getting along too well. Chunneling around a small fleet of LDSF’s allows you to get the minerals to your starbases faster than anyone else in the game. This also means that you should be able to build your large ships faster, and in greater quantities than anyone else also.
The most important thing though is to set up a web of Fireclouds so that your entire space can be linked together. In this way you can utilize all of your resources for as little cost as possible. You will also use this web to move your fighting fleets around, and your enemy will never know exactly what they are up against. One important thing to remember is that the Fireclouds you use to set up this web do not necessarily need to have transwarp engines, any torp tubes, and no more that x-ray lasers. Some of these ships in safe areas may never move, other than to get away from a leaving Firecloud, so why waste the money. If the ship is expected to move to gather resources, or if it is in a dangerous area and may be forced to move, than nothing less than transwarps is acceptable. Use your judgment. Normally I put transwarp drives on every ship unless I never expect them to move, and then I use stardrive 1’s.
The Cyborg should always be in the number one spot on the score chart, you are building Probes when others are building LDSF’s and scouts. Each Probe has the potential to colonize 10 planets, and they are everywhere. Because of your ability to move quickly with your Probes, and you do not have the need to follow up with a freighter you should have more planets than anyone else in the game. If you don’t, then you did something wrong, you probably did not build enough Probes, didn’t move them enough, or were afraid that if you colonized planets 2000 ly away, you would just loose them. Do it anyway, you may be pleasantly surprised at the empire you end up with. Remember that every planet you assimilate becomes a useless world to anyone else. And no matter what anyone says, the person who has the most planets has the best chance of winning.
A Word About Hyper Jumping
The best way to select a waypoint for a Probe is to use the “HYP” button on the starchart. If you select the ship and then hit “HYP”, it will draw a 350 ly circle centered on that position. In newer registered versions it will draw three lines, where the other two are the limits of the jump, 340 ly and 360 ly. The best thing to do is land on a planet that is in between those lines, baring that you can select a planet where you will land close and can easily get there the following turn. If you choose the second option then you must be aware that you can be seen, and other players will no where your newest planet is. Try to stay hidden. Set the waypoint to the planet you want to go to, set the friendly code of the ship to HYP, don’t forget all capital letters, and the most forgotten thing is to set the speed something greater that warp 0. One other thing must be remembered as well, it will cost you 50 kt of fuel to complete the jump so insure that you have more than that on board, and if you have to move before planet fall you will need even more. The next turn you will be 350 ly, give or take, from where you were. One thing worth noting is that Hyperdrive ships are immune to minefields when HYPing, when using warp engines though, they are still vulnerable.
A Word About Chunneling
It took me a while to find out exactly how to chunnel, and the first few times I messed it up and never moved at all, so I am going to do my best to explain it to you. The first thing to remember is that when chunneling, all of your ships at the same point will be gone, so any ships you want to leave there will have to be moved, and since chunneling happens after movement, you can move out ships you do not want chunneled and move in ones you do. You can also set ships to intercept the firecloud, and they will be chunneled away. How you set the Fireclouds up is actually very simple, each Firecloud must have a warp speed of 0, their friendly codes must be set to the receiving Fireclouds ID #, and each of them must have more that 50 kt of fuel, because that is the price of chunneling. That’s it, next turn they will be in the same place, no matter where it is. You want to make sure that neither Firecloud is towing or being towed by another ship, or the chunnel will not happen.
You should know that any ship belonging to another race with warp set to 0, or any cloaked ship in the same position will also be chunneled. This can be a good way for a cloaking enemy to get into the heart of your space, and when you come out of the chunnel, the cloakers will still be cloaked. Another thing that you must be aware of is that any ship that has just been chunneled has no shields for that turn, so if you chunnel a war fleet into enemy space it will be quite easy for him to take out your ships. One way to get around that is to get your Firecloud into the warp well of an out lying planet and chunnel the fleet in there, that way the enemy can not just send in a fleet to wipe you out. Another way is to lay a large minefield from the firecloud, you will use all the torps on board because your friendly code will be set to the ID #. The mine field should slow down the enemy enough that you do not get wasted.
Early Game Defense
As the Cyborg you will not be able to get a war fleet going near as quick as your neighbors, so your best defense is to make your empire so large that no one can take you out. Fireclouds will only do so much in a battle, and your other small ships are useless. Use your fireclouds to lay some strategically placed minefields, and if you can build an Annihilation or two to protect your space then go for it. If you are desperate, go ahead and build the Annihilation with mark 4’s, but I would suggest that you use a minimum of mark 7’s. You are one of of the weakest races in the game early on, so I cannot emphasis enough how important it is to stretch out across the entire echo cluster. You can travel 2000 ly away, find a native planet, and boom, you have a new homeworld. No one else in the game can do that.
This one is pretty simple, just like any other race you want to pick your enemy apart so that he doesn’t cause a threat. You have a special advantage that no one else on the map has. You have the big guns just like the rest of the carrier races, but you also have the element of surprise like the cloaking races. When you go to attack someone, you send in Fireclouds from all directions, a smart enemy will take out as many of these as he can, but you will have cleverly hid inside a warp well or a mine field. Then you have the ability to chunnel in ships to all sides of his empire. Completely surrounding by Annihilations and Biocides, your enemy is dead. He may concentrate his forces on one spot, but you have the ability to move your entire fleet to the same spot at a moments notice, and then return it to his back door right away. This is why a chain of Fireclouds around the entire echo cluster is so important. You may find that you are receiving little opposition from your neighbors, but you see by the score that the race in the far corner is not developed very well, or is getting beat on by someone else. You have a Firecloud down there, don’t you. Well, chunnel in a fleet and either take out that weak race, or ally with him and help him out. If things get really intense back home, just chunnel them back to help out. The beauty of the fast moving war fleets is incredible, and if your colonization is done correctly at the beginning of the game, then you have unlimited access to the entire echo cluster. It can’t be beat. As for the actual fighting, well every manual ever created touches on this subject, but the truth is as a carrier race you are just going to go in and kill everything anyway. Your fleets are made up of Fireclouds, Annihilations, and Biocides. The Fireclouds lay mines, provide movement, and take out lightly armed planets. Your Annihilations take out everything except the big carriers, and that is where your Biocide comes in. The Biocide unfortunately will have some difficulty with the Gorbie, or any Federation, Lizard carrier, and you will need to send an Annihilation in first to soften them up. That’s about it, just kill everything, and if it looks like the enemy may be massing a fleet to squash yours, move it somewhere else and continue the attack. He couldn’t keep up if he tried.
I will only touch briefly on the subject of allies. I personally prefer to make non aggression deals with one neighbor and kill the other one. But I try to play the game by myself. I find that a full alliance makes it too easy to win. If the rest of the players in the game are allying then I would consider it. The best races for the Cyborg to ally with are the ones that can build free fighters. That makes you capable of building twice as many Biocides, maybe more. Every race has certain advantages that the Cyborg can use, and by reading their manuals you will be able to determine how a potential ally may help your cause. Everyone wants you for your chunneling ability, that’s a given.
The Cyborg is a fun race to play, but it takes a long time to complete each turn, perhaps not as long as the Privateer, but close. I must emphasis again, the key to winning as the Cyborg is to colonize everything everywhere, get as big as you possibly can as fast as you possibly can. The real pleasure of the game though is when you show up on your enemies doorstep with 10 or so Biocides and Annihilations and ask him politely to leave, yeah right!