Strategy: I, CYBORG

By WarriorSol

Cyborg. The name conjures images of planets laid to waste by fleets of cubes while natives are cruelly assimilated into the Collective. Most players loath going up against a well heeled Cyborg player because of the awesome combat power of the Cube ship. Yet, this race is by far the most difficult to play, since before the ‘borg can ever become a threat the player must develop a superior economy and build an effective fleet.


In the pages to follow I’ll examine some basic strategies that will help the Cyborg player achieve dominance.

Of Economics and Assimilation



The first key to survival and eventual domination is for the Cyborg to expand rapidly and in all directions. Probes should be built liberally and sent into every corner of space while your first few freighters are colonizing your local area. When colonizing with probes, two school of thoughts prevail:

Small drops: The mix I use on Probes is 10 colonists and 5 supplies. Every planet I find that has natives I will drop 2 colonists and 1 supply to begin the assimilation process. Normally I will skip non-native planets early on unless the planets has very good mineral potential.

Dump and wait: Another method is to dump all of you colonists and supplies at the first native planet your probe finds. This jump starts the assimilation process but you have to wait to re-supply your probe with colonists and supplies before moving on.

Either method will work and which one you use depends on the length of the game, proximity of your neighbors, and the quality of planets you find. Using both types can also be a good way to rapidly expand your empire.

Probes should be built liberally and normally be equipped with only Nova 5’s or HV 6 engines on them. Putting transwarps on probes should only be done when you are forced to move often without Hyperjumping. This can happen when you attempt to colonize multiple planets that are fairly scattered from your original hyperjump point. On occasion I will even arm them with blasters or disrupters to take undefended planets or freighters. Sometimes X-rays just don’t cut it, especially when you have only two.

One mistake I made when I first played the Cyborg was to recycle my probes later in the game. Keep them and use them for intelligence gathering or harnessing enemy shipping (or whatever else you can think of). You really don’t want to build them later in the game, so keep the ones you have built handy.

Freighters and Empire building

Once your probes have been built and dispatched you’ll want to start building up your local space by producing freighters. As the Cyborg, you can not have too many freighters! The build of choice is the Large Deep Space Freighter, which you’ll need plenty of. First, you want to get you local space developed, keeping the money and minerals flowing to your homeworld. Don’t give in to temptation and build a Cube ship too early. Nothing will slow you down faster then building a Cube when your infrastructure isn’t ready for it. While you are building up your local space, make sure to dispatch a freighter to areas recently colonized by your probes. You need to do this early, since it is usually a long trip. The reason for this is that most planets will not have enough of minerals of each type to build a starbase. Without a freighter to pull resources in, you’ll be stuck with clusters that should have a starbase, but can’t because the minerals are just sitting on each planet. Also, to get the native advantage for you starbase you’ll have to build a starbase before the natives are all assimilated. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, since most planets don’t have the optimal mining rates or minerals to get your there alone. Missing out on a native race advantage will cost you time and money, neither of which you can afford to lose.

Another reason for the heavy building of freighters is the voracious need for minerals, money and supplies to fuel the Cyborg War Machine. You have to constantly move these resources to your starbases from sometimes distant planets to keep cranking out ships. Also, since the Cyborg assimilate useful natives, such as Bovinoids, you will have to rely on high factory and mine counts to make up the difference. Except in certain cases, I always max out the number of factories on every planet I own. Mines are a different story, as you should build mines to optimize the mine rate of the planet as well as the quantity of minerals in the ground. For example, if a planet has a 90 mine rate in all the available minerals, but has only about 300 of each in the ground, it would be a waste of money and supplies to build more then 100 mines on the surface. Conversely, a planet with a low mine rate and high quantities screams to have as many mines as possible. Use common sense and long range planning to find the optimal mine count for each planet.

Pick planets that will hold your starbases wisely. You’ll need at least two other planets to support one starbase, especially if that starbase is low in any of the elements (I usually use at least 4). You should be constantly hauling in minerals, money and supplies into your starbase, even if you don’t need it at that very moment. All it takes is one or two cube builds to suck the resources out of even the best stocked starbase. Don’t overlook climate either, since even the biggest assimilated population will die off in droves if the climate is lousy.

Since the Cyborg do not have a fuel hauler in the normal ship build list, I use a Super Transport Freighter to haul fuel. These ships aren’t cheap, but they do have large fuel tanks and can be used for normal freighter duty if needed. Also, chunneling the STFs will eliminate a lot of fuel loss, especially when the fuel is destined for a waiting fleet (not to mention the fact that you can load up minerals, colonists and supplies too!) Normally though, I will go out of my way to trade for a Neutronic fuel carrier, since you will soon have a pressing need to keep those cubes ships fueled, especially when your opponent is using a scorched earth defense. They are cheap to clone and will allow you to move fuel more efficiently.

The last basic tenant of Cyborg empire building is to never overlook a planet! It’s easy to pass over a planet that isn’t in a big cluster, but if you don’t take it, your neighbor will. The Cyborg is a race who must constantly expand to survive and overlooking what could be a well stocked planet may come back to haunt you later

One last bit of advice: Avoid an early fight! When exploring beyond your sphere of control use a warship such as the Quietus or Firecloud (good cargo hold and good fuel tanks). The Cyborg need to concentrate on infra-structure and logistics first before they can deploy a fleet to strike fear into the hearts of inferior species. Getting into an early fight will only distract you from this, eventually paving the way for your downfall.


Cyborg Ships (or lack thereof)

A review of the list of Cyborg ship builds will reveal a very important fact: They have no warships below Tech 9 that pose an offensive threat. This is why I stress the importance of infrastructure and logistics in Cyborg strategic planning. Fortunately, the Cube ships are extremely powerful, albeit expensive to build. With this in mind, I will point our the low tech warships that are actually useful to build.


Not as good as the Empire probe, but crucial too the Cyborg strategy anyway. You should know why these need to be built in force during the opening stages of the game. If not, reread the the Economics and Assimilation section.

An okay scout ship, but when you have a Hyperjumping probe, why waste the money on building one?

Not a good combat ship, but this is the only fighter freighter the Cyborg have. You’ll need a couple for resupplying your Biocides with fighters since an aggressive player will chew through their fighter supply fairly quick (and you don’t have the luxury of building free-fighters). I recommend 1 to every 5 Biocides you build.

No redeeming qualities (in other words, don’t build them, they are worthless). Klingon translation: A dog is a dog.

A seven beam ship, this hull can be useful for mine-sweeping duties or as a cheap lead in for chewing up fighters. The low mass makes it a suspect choice for either, as they are destroyed by a single mine hit and get fried pretty quickly by fighters. Building this ship is a tactical decision based on your game conditions.

Good fuel, good cargo, poor armament. Best suited for long range exploration or mine-laying, but anything a Quietus can do, the Firecloud can do better. This is an essential build if your game has Race Plus running since the Super Tractor beam can only be used by this ship. If not, build fireclouds, since you get an extra tube, more beams and a larger cargo bay (not to mention the ability to chunnel).

The most versatile of the Cyborg ships, the Firecloud has a good fuel tank, lots of cargo room and ok armament. It suffers from a low mass, but at least it can take a mine hit and survive. Best of all, the Firecloud has the ability to Chunnel ships. I’ll discuss chunneling a bit later, but the quick overview is that “Chunneling is the process where a Firecloud Class Cruiser uses a temporal rift in the subspace time continuum. This rift is a maelstrom of tachyon energy formed in the shape of a tunnel.” (WinPlan Help Docs). In other words, you can move a fleet from point A to point B in one turn as long as you have a firecloud at each point, both have at least 50kt of fuel, and neither of them is being towed. This gives the Cyborg a mobility that other races lack, allowing you to put fleets instantly to any spot. These ships will become the linchpin of both your colonization and military strategy. Sending out a Firecloud will not only let you have a armed ship for forward scouting, but you will then be able to project force into that sector at will (as long as your firecloud stays alive).

Remember, a Firecloud is a multi-mission ship, including mine laying and mine sweeping. Don’t skimp on beams and torpedoes if you can help it.

The Biocide in the undisputed Queen of Tech 9 Ships. This is an awesome 10\10 carrier and is only rivaled by the Gorbie and the Golem. You will need to build Biocides in force, but beware, a fully equipped Biocide comes with a high price tag in both minerals and money. You have not cheap means of producing fighters, so equipping these behemoths will be tough. The upside is that you don’t have to raise a starbase to Tech 10 to in Hulls, Torps or Beams to produce and effective fighting machine. In fact, putting X-Ray’s on a Biocide is perfectly acceptable, though I prefer disrupters or better yet, Heavy Blasters.

The Annihilation is the largest torp ship available and though it is tech level 10, costs about half the price of a Biocide to fully equip. I’ve noticed many Cyborg players who do not build Annihilations, choosing to concentrate only Biocides. To me this is a grave mistakes, since the Annihilation take out any other torp ship and all but the largest carriers (Automa, Rush, Virgo, Golem, and Gorbie) and is much more economical to build and use. Every race can build torpedoes from raw materials, which means you can restock you Annihilations on the spoils of war. Also, the Annihilation makes an outstanding platform to sweep mines (including webs) and should always be equipped with the best beams possible. Finally, the large cargo hold makes the Annihilation a superior minelayer.

As a rule of thumb I build 1 Annihilation for every 3 Biocides. If minerals and money are tighter, then the ratio goes up to 1 to 2. In any case, you should always include Annihilations with your Biocide task force. Their multi-mission capabilities will only enhance your overall firepower.

Fireclouds and Chunneling
The Cyborg’s biggest weapon is not the Cube ship, but their ability to move via Chunneling. A rule of thumb I use is to keep one Firecloud at EVERY starbase I have. Optimally I will keep two at each starbase and use the rest with my fleets. The reason for this is to have a rapid means of moving newly built ships off the starbase and to the area they are needed. If you have no Fireclouds, you will be forced to expend fuel and time to move your ships around. This is counter productive and will cost you in the long run. With at least one Firecloud at your base, you’’l be able to chunnel in a second firecloud to move your fleet with. With two Fireclouds available, you’ll be able to move out that same turn as the build occurred. In VGA planets, mobility is one of the greatest keys to victory, especially when you need to bring fresh ships to a battle. As the Cyborg, you’ll be able to rapidly assemble large fleets and meet new threats with the proper use of your Fireclouds. This should allow you to maintain local fleet superiority, even while deep in enemy territory. Fireclouds will also allow you to stage a force close to enemy territory without them detecting your movements or the size of your fleet till it is too late. If you are not familiar with the mechanics of Chunneling, I suggest you review the help section of WinPlan carefully. An improper chunnel (which I have done on more then one occasion) can really screw you up. Always double check the warp setting and friendly code of the Fireclouds doing the Chunnel. This will save you a lot of grief the next turn.


Coming in Part II: Assimilate your Neighbor for Fun and Profit

The follow up to this Article will discuss various Cyborg strategies, including specific race strategies. Until then, start warming up you phasers and polishing your fighters.

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