Strategy: Memoirs of Rebel High Commander

By Xarius

These memoirs of mine contain valuable information on how to build the rebel alliance to become one of the echo clusters greatest races. It’s taken my whole life in servitude of our cause to gather enough data to put forth this information into something that can be passed down the generations of our conflict.

I will cover most everything from Economy, Diplomacy, Ship uses, and of course Battle Tactics. Now some of this information is very generic. It can be used for most any race. But there is some used specifically for the Rebels. Okay, time to get started, I would hate to go down in history as a windbag.

Now of course most everyone knows, fast expansion is the key to success, that doesn’t change no matter what race you are. But it does matter on how organized that expansion is. The rebels have 1 major advantage over all other races aside from the cyborg when it comes to expanding over a distance. The Falcon is the greatest means of expansion there is in VGA planets. With 120 cargo and enough fuel for 3 jumps you can hop up to 1100 light-years. Of course jumping that great of a distance won’t help you much. But 1 jump or even 2 can place you in a great colonizing position that will help you lay claim to more planets than anyone else. The Cyborg is the only race that can equal that kind of expansion, and even then they are very limited. They MUST hit a planet with natives, and that planet MUST have extra fuel on it so they can jump further since their probe can only do 1 jump at a time.

When starting out, it is best to start out setting your tech levels to 6-10-5-5 that’s the best start. If you cannot afford that then torpedoes can be missed for the time being. Never cheap out on engines.

Now, when starting out. What to build do you ask? Well that all depends on your initial start in the universe. Not all starting places are created equal. The first thing of importance are the planets nearest your homeworld (HW) Those planets will be supplying your fleet growth, which in turn helps with your empire growth. Those should always be your first concern.

I always build 1 Medium Deep Space Freighter (MDSF) in the beginning, it is good on fuel, good for short range and it will serve many a purpose later in the game. If I have 2 groups of planets on either side of my HW (a group consisting of 2 or more planets) I will build 2 MDSFs then and send them in opposite directions. My 3rd ship is almost always a falcon. I set up the Hyperjump circle in the star charts (Button labeled HYP) and find the best place to send my falcon to. Always aim it to hit a planet directly. Never let it end up in open space, if your going to do that, you might as well give your position away. 4th ship depends now. A falcon is common, to send it the other direction. Or I build a Large Deep Space Freighter (LDSF) to start building the worlds I am acquiring. As I fly around with my LDSF I use it to pull a double duty. I drop clans and then pick up minerals. If you built a falcon, then that is good as well. You can send it the other direction of your other falcon. Start colonizing planets on both sides of you quickly. Never put anything higher than a tech 7 engine on a falcon. The tech 7 engine is cheap in cost, and useful for colonizing. But if it gets captured it cannot be sent into your space to catch freighters. Since your freighters should all have tech 10 engines. The falcon would not be able to chase them down effectively.

A side note when building ships with beam weapons. There is always the debate on what to use. X-ray lasers are the best to capture freighters, that is a given, however you must ask yourself, if I capture an enemy freighter in his space, what’s to stop him from taking it back? If that happens then I have only caused an itch in his economy. BUT if I destroy the freighter then that is 1 less ship to build his economy. With that in mind, I rarely put anything but disruptors or blasters on my falcons. Only unless I don’t have the minerals to build those higher beams.

Now that you have reached turn 10 you should by now have 2-4 MDSF, 1-2 LDSF some falcons and at least 2 patriots, for defense from probes and the smaller races. A smaller race would be one where their warships are much smaller in cost than yours so they can produce many of them early on. These races are a threat to all big races. In the beginning it is easy to get attacked by small cloaked ships and such. Which is why you must be in search of your neighbors at all times. Some would think, what does the knowledge of my neighbors have to do with my economy? Well everything pretty much. Your neighbors are the ones who decide if you live or die. And vice versus. If you can find out the neighbor of your neighbor then that leaves all sorts of possibilities open. Information is the key to everything.

Colonizing is always a problem, how many clans to put where, how much to drop on good planets, or poor ones for that matter. There are several things to take into consideration when colonizing planets. Temperature, Mineral amounts and density, and of course Natives.

Temp is always important when colonizing, but for the rebels we get a break no one else does. We can colonize those ice cube worlds that most people are afraid to touch. Rebels can put around 9000 clans on an ice world with low temp. We are the only race who can do this and not lose clans. So when you hit planets, you only need to worry about high temps, those would be 84 degrees or higher. Now some host settings can affect how many clans a planet can support. The host setting also can determine what percentage of clans die each turn. Now not everyone can remember all this information, but there are lots of nice people who have put information out there for us to use. My favorite is Donovan’s VGAP info page. He has just about everything you could need.

Mineral amounts and Density, Mines and Defense
This is very important when colonizing any planet. When people see a planet with 15,000 Neutronium a lot of people become overly excited. Sure it’s great. But it doesn’t mean much of anything if the density is very low. Density is very important when your planetary mines get set up. The higher the density the better. Never place more than 200 clans on a planet without natives. 200 is the most efficient for the maximum number of mines you can build. A density of Scattered 16% would be excruciatingly slow compared to a Large Masses 98%. When you come across a planet with around 200-400 of each mineral and the densities are less than 40% I’d place around 15-20 clans on this planet. No more no less. Planets like that are just for points, they serve very little real purpose to your economy. The reason for 15 clans, is because it may be worthless, but it’s still a planet. If left uncolonized then it could be an enemy hiding point. With 15 clans you can build 15 defense. Every single probe in VGA planets can be killed by a planet with 13 or more defense. No matter what beam weapons they have. That’s a good point to always remember. Of course planets can’t attack your probes so you’ve got it good in that department. J

Now if you haven’t read about what the natives do, then you really should. Also read about their government types and what bonuses they offer when you tax them. Donovan’s Information section has a calculation you can use to determine the maximum number of clans to drop on a planet to yield the greatest income without over taxing the natives. Not everyone uses this of course as in the beginning lots of people overtax. Lizards and the feds have the best tax methods by far than any other race, but the Rebels have a little bit of a trick as well. You can collect tax as long as the native happiness level is above 30. Once it drops lower they start getting very angry. Rebels have a fix for that. Put a ship around the planet with the natives that you are over taxing. Preferably a LDSF or a super freighter. Whichever will hold most of the clans on the planet in it’s holds. Now, when it gets to the point of where the natives are angry, You are going to Rebel Ground Attack your own planet! That’s bad you say? Sure it is, but the benefits outweigh the loss. But before you get all cocky and try it out there are a few things you must do. The freighter(s) you have sitting over your planet are going to pick up all but 10 clans. Once those clans are gathered, then you are safe to RGA. You must wait 1-2 turns after you RGA before you place the clans on the planet again. Once that is done and the clans replaced, the natives are happy again. Then you can overtax them all over. This produces more cash than if you just taxed them at the regular rate. But of course it requires a bit of work to get it all figured out and organized.

Misc colonization information.
Now of course building the basic economy is easy. But making sure it’s efficient, organized and protected is where the real work is. Make sure you know where your ships will be going 2 turns ahead of time. You can’t just fly by the seat of your pants. The best protection of your shipping lanes are minefields. You know those patriots you built for protection? Place those (with fighters) at your important planets. Extra defense never hurts. A lot of people escort their freighters around as well just to be safe. That doesn’t hurt to do but it’s expensive fuel wise. Minefields are just so much easier to place down.

When I am trying to negotiate with my neighbors for borders I always try to make a non-aggression, or possibly alliance with one of my neighbors and just a regular border with the other. This is because you have to expand somewhere, and taking out one of your neighbors is the best way to go. Otherwise you’re fighting a long distance war, and those generally don’t go very well.

Diplomacy is the means to survival for every race. Even diplomacy at the tip of a sword or in this case, beam weapon can be effective. But be wary of who you ally with or pick a fight with. In the area of diplomacy, information again plays a huge role in how you deal with other players. If a player backstabs one person you obviously don’t really want to deal with that person. In this section I will include a breakdown of each race and the benefits for the rebels to ally with them.

What the rebels have to offer.
3 words, Rebel Ground Attack. This is one of our greatest weapons. Not because it hurts a player’s planets when you hit, but if you hit with precision, it can cripple a player. Just ask the Cyborg in a game I played. I hit his HW (out of pure luck) within turn 10, and by turn 25 he was reduced to 1 planet which I had surrounded. If the race your dealing with has knowledge of the players HW then you can offer to cripple their HW. No taxes for 6 turns, (except lizards) You kill off a large sum of their funds, and well everything else on the planet. The only thing it doesn’t hurt is the minerals on the surface.

Ships trades- you always have the falcon, which is the best probe in the game. Good for early trade, and some people even like to have it later. The rush being our best ship is something you don’t trade off too lightly, unless you have a very secure alliance with the race your trading it to. In the same game that I killed the borg quickly I traded a rush to my allies, the Federation. The fed shield bonus enables the rush to kill a gorbie that’s even owned by the lizards! So when trading make sure they are smart trades. Nothing is for free, but at times you can sure try.

You can of course offer to build fighters for any race that doesn’t already build fighters in space.


They are by far the greatest race to ally with for the Rebels. Their refit enables you to build weaker ships that they can refit for you later. This alliance also benefits the Feds greatly if they can coax a Rush out of you. They can help you with that cash problem that you might have when mass rush production starts. They have the Loki, which is nice to have if your fighting cloaked ships, but it won’t uncover Fed, Lizards, or birdmen ship on a standard host.

You can offer them more than they can offer you. They have the Lizard class cruiser, the only useful ship to you, while you have a rush that they need. The LCC is useful for cloaking missions, and has a huge cargo hold for laying mines in an enemy’s path. It however uses a lot of fuel. A 150% rush is really nasty to fight so they will really want one. Or two or three…..The lizards are generally too busy trying to build their rather weak fleet to help supply you with minerals or money. So the LCC is really all they have to offer. Of course the 1 Science ship is nice as well. They have the Eros, which lowers planet temps which is useful since that’s the only place where you are lacking in colonization. The loki is handy as well, but it’s usefulness is limited.

A very useful race. Good to ally with for their information retrieving abilities. They have the best cloaking battleship which if you got your hands on would be a real nasty treat for your enemies. The birdmen have only 2 ships that would be useful to you combat wise. The Resolute, and the Darkwing. The resolute is the better of the 2, large fuel tanks and decent holds help it cross great distances. The armament is very nice as well. The birdmen swiftheart and other small cloakers would serve you no other purpose other than sending them cloaked to good planets of your enemy and doing a surprise RGA. They of course want your Rush as well. They wouldn’t mind a falcon either.

A hassle to fight, since your planets cannot attack them like theirs cannot attack you, but decent allies. They have 3 ships that are useful to you. The Deth specula, which can cloak and is 6 beams 4 tubes. Very nice to have but the birdman resolute is much better. The other 2 ships are the glory device ships. One of those into an enemy fleet can do some massive damage. They would like a rush and falcon as well.

A real big pain in the butt as an enemy, try to get this player on your good side. A war early with this person will spell certain doom for you unless you can place a lot of minefields right away. A great ally. Those BR4’s BR5’s and Meteors can tow your rushes 162 light-years into battle. If you can get a meteor in trade then you do some really nasty things to an enemy. The privateer cannot clone so giving them 1 ship wouldn’t be useful to them. They generally would like more than 1 and at times it could very well be worth it.

They are always looking for allies in the beginning of the game. The borg is quite weak in the beginning so will be happy to ally. Unless he has a death wish, or a lot of friends. The borg has what you want above all other ships. The Firecloud. You want 3 of these. Minimum. Either by cloning or trade. All you have to offer the borg really is a better probe, and fighter building. If the borg is interested in your fighter abilities he will generally trade a FC for your services.

A hassle to fight with all the webmines. Not a very good ally unless you are being attacked. They can help set up a good defensive perimeter. Other than that their ships aren’t too strong. They would like fighters to be built for them, and of course a rush and falcon.

The empire are good allies to have, since their dark sense can give you all sorts of useful information. They don’t need a good warship from you since they have the gorbie. They also do not need your RGA since they have the SSD. They do however need that Tranquility you’ve got stuffed in the closet. They lack in good mine laying ships and the tranquility has one of the best cargo holds for a torpedo ship. You want to get a SSD from them. They also enjoy having you build fighters for them in the beginning of the game when their SB’s are limited in number.

These nasty minelayers are no use to you aside from covering your space in mines. Their ship list is very limited and have only 1 ship that you could need. But that 1 ship is only useful in the beginning of the game. The Pawn has a bioscanner which can scan 100% of the planets around you for natives. It’s the best bioscanner ship in the game. Other than that they have a good warship, they can build fighters in space. They might want a probe, but not likely.

They are good to have as an ally for their minesweeping abilities. You have very little to offer them aside from your falcon and RGA services. They can build fighters in space and have a few ships that you would like to have. The cobol with it’s fuel scoop is extremely helpful to have towing a rush. Burns no fuel to tow that fuel pig around. The aries is an amazing little alchemy ship. Converts fuel with only minerals doesn’t needs supplies. The cobol also pulls double duty since it has a weak bioscanner on it. The Rebels and colonials share near the same ship list with a few variations, so there is not much you can offer them.

Ship information
The following is a list of your ships that are worth building. I will also include a bit of tactical information with that ship. If the ship isn’t on the list then it’s not really worth building.

Your baby, the greatest expansion ship in the game and it can serve many purposes later in the game. After colonizing is done this little baby can pull all sorts of special duties. If you equip it with heavy phasers and put 5 of them in a group, you’ve got a good minesweeping team that can clear any minefield quickly, even a robot one. If there are no fields to clear, these ships can be used as long range transports they can move minerals 350 LY in emergencies. I also use them to bring supply units to my battle fleets to fix repairs. Since they jump in then jump out, they cannot be towed away and destroyed like a supply freighter by a cloaked ship. And of course the long range surprise RGA, the Falcon specialty. The downside of these ships are they get captured VERY easily.

A must have for any economy. Useful to re-supply planets. This should be the bulk of your freighter fleet. Cheap to build and always put a tech 10 engine on it.

A highly overrated ship. They die very quickly against any ship with a bit of firepower. They have one really good advantage. It is very useful to knock shields down on a lot of capital ships. It doesn’t work very well against anything with more than 4 torp tubes or 10 fighterbays. It works especially well VS the colonials Virgo. Next to nothing for cargo room, 1 engine and a small fuel tank. These are your sacrificial lambs. Dies with 1 minehit.

Another highly overrated ship. This ship is good till the 1st major warship leaves spacedock. Everyone claims it’s so great to use in swarms. But it gets crushed so easily by anything with 8 or more beams and a few torp tubes. It’s uses are limited later in the game. When used in combination with a guardian or Iron lady it can take out most medium sized ships. 2 patriots and an iron lady can kill an Instrument or cripple it. Dies with 1minehit

Your minelaying baby. With one of the largest cargo holds in the game on a torpedo ship this sucker can lay huge minefields. Only the robots and crystals can outlay this ship. Has a good mass as well and can defend itself reasonably.

Cygnus class Destroyer
A little tiny 4 beam 4 torp ship, it’s cheap to build and good very early in the game. I use these ships when I can’t afford anything else. I sit it around the planet where it was built and put 1 mark 4 tube on it with tech 1 engines. It sits around that planet to lay mines and act as a last defense resort with 4 lasers to kill off some fighters, Dies with 1 minehit

Neutronic Fuel carrier
This you use to tow your rushes around. That’s really it’s only purpose. It can gather fuel for you while your massing your rushes for movement. Even useful when you get those borg fireclouds. Always has a use as long as you have rushes to tow.

Not a bad little ship for fighter building. Little cheaper than the Gemini. 100 less cargo than a Gemini. 1 tech level lower, so if you need a fighter ship fast and can’t afford tech 6 this one will serve you well.

Major hauler of everything, need I say more?

Gemini transport
Your fighter factories. These pump out 40 fighters when filled with minerals. 10 of these will fill a rush in 1 turn. Of course you don’t need 10 really. I seem to do well enough with 5. Put lasers on it to act as last resort for defense for the planet it sits around. If you put tech 10 engines it can move with your fleet and re-supply your rushes.

Iron Lady frigate
The ship that’s ridiculed by most everyone because it is so light yet such a high tech. You MUST have at least 2 of these preferably 4 or 5. Put heavy phasers on them and they can sweep your minefields for you. With 8 beam weapons they are also good with lasers even, to kill fighters on planets. The 2 tech 10 engines you put on these pretty much cost more than the whole ship. But it’s light, it can tow, and it can sweep very well. It takes 2 minehits before being killed off. It can easily be captured so avoid combat with it unless your using it to kill off fighters. With 2 torp tubes it can usually get a few shots off against any capital fighter ship. With it’s 8 heavy phasers it can sweep 3200 mines per turn.

Refinery ship, Merlin
Both very useful, the Merlin is good if you have Bovinoid planets, but the refinery ship is always useful to have.

Rush heavy carrier
Your muscle, your sword, and your salvation. This is the 4th toughest ship in the game. It can easily rival the Robot Golem Basehip. It’s cheaper than the Robot ship cash wise. It needs 6 engines, the Golem needs 8. It can take a Virgo on and win just about every time and again needs less engines. But it’s 5 beams make it a terrible minesweeper unless you put heavy phasers on it.

That’s about it. There are other tidbits I might have forgotten or left out, but these ships are the core of the rebel fleet. You have one of the greatest selections of ships to use. Which is the # 1 reason I like the rebels. Well # 2 the falcon is the # 1 reason J

Battle tactics
Ok, moving right along, we start getting into the gravy of playing the Rebels. Now before we begin, you need to go again to Donovan’s Info section, To his specific VGAP info and look at the info based on the order of Host actions. This information is EXTREMELY important. It tells you what things will happen in what order. This will help you tremendously. As well you need to read up on battle order and how it works, Battle order is very important. It can mean a win or a loss. Here is a brief explanation of things. You want your small ships to get on the right hand side of the battle, which means you need a low friendly code. This gives your small ships a chance at a mass bonus which will help a lot against big ships. You then want to get your Rush on the left hand side, which is a high friendly code. On the left side you get a fighter kill bonus which helps a lot. To prove the value of the fighter bonus, A Rush VS a Golem, with the Rush on the left side, the Rush will win 85% or more of the time. The extra 200 mass the Golem has means nothing in a fighter war. But being on the left compensates for the Golem having 1 more beam weapon than you. Looks pretty good so far doesn’t it?

Now any tactics I list doesn’t mean that’s all you can do, I live simply with, if it works go for it! This is a tips and tactics bit.

First some tips

  1. Get a cloaking ship with 2 engines and a decent fuel tank, this is a must almost for any race. If someone is attacking you, you can rip apart the approaching fleet by towing off ships here and there and destroying them from the main fleet. You don’t need to kill off the big ships to stop an attack, killing support ships can make really slow an attacker down.
  2. Never bite off more than you can chew. You just don’t have the firepower to fight more than 1 battle at a time. And even if you do it is unwise to fight 2 at once. You might make small errors in one area and that could be costly, always devote your attacks to 1 target. If 2 people are attacking you, go after 1 of them while slowing down the other with minefields. Only split your fleet against two targets if you can defend both. Better to kill off one attack permanently, than have both defensive’s fail.
  3. Alliances are a must.
  4. Do not sell yourself short, and unless your seeing your neighbors turnfile every turn they take, assume they cannot be trusted. Alliances are nice with the fact that you get to see each others ships. This can be good and bad, if the ally is reliable and doesn’t sell your ship info to your enemy then your in good shape.

Ok, onto some tactics now. These I have used myself and they work well. These tactics assume that you have received no ships in trade and have only a basic fleet.

Ok, the first and most important tactic, when being attacked, Scorched Earth
Generally you should keep your border planets clean of all fuel and minerals/money. Try and keep as little as possible out there. The reason, if you get attacked the enemy cannot live off of your supplies that were left behind. When you are about to lose a planet, or will in 2 turns, raise the tax rates to 100% for both natives and colonists. This will ensure rioting which makes the planet useless for it’s new controller. Jettison the cargo into space if you cannot clear the planets entirely you want to leave nothing behind. If you have no choice then make sure to take ALL of one or two minerals. And make it the same mineral every time, so say he has no Moly to build any fighters or torps with.

Guerilla Warfare, Trading space for time.
If you get attacked suddenly, without warning. And your main fleet is no where nearby to assist or defend but smaller torpedo ships are then use those to slow your attacker. Drop surprise minefields in his path when he least expects it. Make sure that when you lay the field that it will not put the attackers inside the minefield before he moves. You want him to move INTO the minefield, since movement happens after minesweeping. If the attacker lays minefields that you want to reduce, Minesweeping works of course, but if you’ve got a lot of spare torpedoes lay your minefield inside his and it will reduce his minefield dramatically. If you lay more than what the attacker has, suddenly you’ve got the advantage of the area. Not everyone expects to see a minefield kill off the one they just laid. If you can get a couple of decent ships behind the attackers main fleet. This way you can at their re-supply ships. The attacker will pursue those ships to eliminate the threat of you killing his ships. This doesn’t work to well vs. the borg or Robots for obvious reasons.

When attacking someone, make sure to bring a few extra things you wouldn’t always think of including in your fleet. A good minelaying ship, and a lot of supply units. The defender will do a lot of the things mentioned above, so you have to be ready for them. Combat is decided by whoever is better prepared. I carry about 100 supply units on all my rushes. That fixes 20% damage. 1 Minehit on a rush does 15% dmg. I then have my falcons (on defensive) bring supplies to my ships, or a freighter (on offensive) bring 1200 supplies with my main fleet. I Intercept my freighter with a higher ID ship so it can never be towed away. Except by the Privateer.

Fighting each race there are several different tactics to use. But not everything works all the time. It takes a bit of luck to win at times too. The same principles apply for attacking all races.

  1. Always be on minesweep, unless your about to enter into combat.
  2. When caught in a minefield, always keep moving, even if only 5 light-years. This way if the defender/attacker wants to attack your fleet, they will have to set an intercept mission. That gives you the advantage you need.
  3. Always try to have your ships on the correct side you need them on, this can mean victory or defeat.
  4. As rebels, have your first ship on the combat order set as RGA if your attacking a planet. That way before you hit the planet your RGA will reduce the planets defense by 20%.
  5. Don’t be afraid to sacrifice a smaller ship in front of your big carriers. Or even a couple of smaller ships. If your enemy has a small ship in front of his fleet you may well destroy it and help your rushes kill the bigger ships.
  6. Don’t get caught without fuel. Always keep yourself supplied.

One last example of what great things minefields and a bit of luck can do when your defending.

In a game I am playing, the Robot player attacked me suddenly. I was caught off guard as I was fighting another race elsewhere. I managed to get a few rushes up to where he was attacking, and it was fairly even I had 8 rushes, he had 8 golems and 3 Instruments. He also had several full Cats paws. He was doing what Robots do best and dropping minefields. I just happened to get 2 tranquilities up to where he was and a Deth Specula that I traded off from the Fascists.

I had both tranquilities half full of torpedoes, one was mark 7, the other mark 4. The Robot player dropped 2 very large minefields, 20,000 each, and I dropped mine, which reduced his considerably. He of course had several more cat’s paws coming down and eventually his minefields started becoming more dominant. I lost a few small ships to mine hits out of really bad luck. He sent a golem and 2 instruments down one group of planets which brought the 3 ships outside his minefields. I had several small ships all along the route he was heading.

He must have not realized I had a minelaying ship at one planet and headed straight for it. In the process he hit a mine with 1 Instrument taking 28% damage, and 1 with his golem which did 13% damage. Since I had scraped every ounce of mineral and supplies off all the planets in the region he was not able to repair his ships. He kept going however. I had my Deth specula sitting at a planet waiting for him to arrive, finally when he did, I took his good undamaged Instrument and towed it to where I had a Fully armed heavy phaser Rush waiting. Killed the instrument without even a scratch.

He decided at that time, it would be a good idea to retreat. I had 2 Rushes which I had snuck behind him. I left him with only 1 direction to go and that was back from where he came. I had set one of my rushes to intercept the 2 damaged ships. After the turn ran through, my Rush had intercepted both the Instrument and the Golem and had in great skill, and a lot of luck, killed both the Instrument and the Golem, while only getting 68% damaged. The war is still going on, and it will be a good one. I am the underdog of the battle too. But so far He’s lost 2 instruments and 1 Golem in combat while I’ve lost nothing.

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