Strategy: The Cylon Imperium
Well, some people who write articles about strategies how to play a race, end to only talk about that race advantage. I will talk too about them but I will try to develop on how to use them…
A) Mine laying 4x
First, more important even than their build fighters ability, is the 4X mine laying range. There is unfortunately only one ship in the robotic designs that is equipped for the duty. Fortunately, it is the Cat’s Paw… With is 120 kts tonnage, this ship will defend itself adequately against any mid-sized ships (180 kts & less). You will say, what!? A Resolute would eat it for lunch anytime, any day. Statistically, yes.
But our little friend here forgot about the 300 cargo hold of the cat’s paw… in which lies about, let’s say 100 torpedoes. Before continuing, NEVER upgrade your torpedo up to the mark 8 when playing the robots. Build Mark 7 instead since they are cheaper, pack almost the same punch and are used only for the Cat’s Paw. Now, we have our 100 mark 7 onboard, less would be an insult. That lead us to this: A decent robot player ALWAYS lay mines to fully cover is territory using overlapping technique and always mine is path when advancing toward the enemy…ALWAYS! Mark 7 are best layed in pack of 20 with the robots. It is very possible to mine entire quadrant that way.
This is to ensure the enemy will have to go through a minefield to intercept any cat’s paws making also cloaking intercepts a lot more difficult. A resolute will still be able to cloak-intercept the Cat’s Paw even with it’s escort but he will engage the combat crippled by a mine hit with a more than probable chance… The Resolute will find then the Cat’s Paw to be a formidable opponent. This technique also discourage enemy fleet intercepting since when you do intercept, you don’t minesweep. But the most important thing is that this give you supremacy of movement on the battlefield. The Robots have no equal in this domain except for the crystals webmines. But be warned, The colonies of man won’t be fooled by this technique, however they do not possess subtlety and only the Virgo can be a real threat.
B) Minerals in ships and fighters construction
That is from my point of view one of the aspect people don’t seem to realize but give to the robot a fearsome advantage, especially in games were minerals are rare. The Robotic hulls cost almost no Molybdenum, few Tritanium and almost only Duranium. That mean you can spare almost all your molybdenum (which is the rarest materials) in beam, engines and fighters construction. That mean that you can afford the Heavy Phaser to compensate the low number of beams your ships possess or at least the heavy blasters. Transwarp drive should not be a problem too even with the high number of engines required on your Baseships…
The tritanium, although there is a pathetic amount of it required in high tech parts, is only used in little quantity for the hull and thus can be spare mainly for fighters. Your focus should be on Duranium and since it is the most common resource, it won’t be hard. This wonderful minerals distribution allows also for easy build of new starbases.
C) Fighters building
Well, everyone know that the robots can build fighters in space using ships equipped with fighters bay. Unfortunately, they lack the Gemini or such small carrier with large cargo holds to be used as factory. The only one ship able to do the job adequately is the Q-tanker or literally the Automa and Golem themselves. But don’t worry, like I said, the robot can afford to spend resources in another base right from the start. Using that base, it will be easy to build as many Q-tankers as you need. Also, since you have more ships to do the fighter building, it will be harder for your opponent to disrupt your production if he manage to pass trough your minefields.
It is from my point of view, the only thing the robots have to offer in trades exchange.If any trades of this kind have to be made, you should first trade with the Borg for their Firecloud. Having you building their fighters for them will greatly help them and you will be in control of the situation if relations were to go wrong. Just stop producing. If you can deal with a race having the Loki, go for it. The privateers can be a real menace for you when attacking them, your minefields being less useful to protect your ships against rob when striking their planets. This will save you the fuel you will need to fill the enormous tanks of the first ships that could be rob.
The last advantage worth talking about are the baseships. Having only one of them on your scanner is never a pleasant view… When theses ships start to wreck havoc, it is always devastating. To make it worse, the two most powerful of them can quite easily replace fighters losses or repair damage using your own system resources. You cannot expect to exit a combat with these mechanical monstrosities without heavy losses and due to their relatively low cost, even in fighters ordnance, It is quite hard to get an economical victory using combination such as the Diamond flame and Crystal Thunder. A Baseship almost always destroy at least the equivalent of it’s own construction price.
350 kts, 4 beams and 7 fighters bays with it’s 80 fighters can take out any mid-sized ships. It’s low hull tech (6) make of it the strongest ship in the whole quadrant for this level of technology. Almost as powerful as the Automa, is main disadvantage is it’s small cargo hold that does not allow it to rebuild enough fighters by itself after combat. But it make up to be a versatile ship, being usually the one to be sent into intercepting enemy ships since it drain far less fuel than it’s bigger brothers, while packing enough fire power to dissuade most enemy captains. Speaking for itself, it’s low tech level make of it a more affordable ship combined with the fact that only 4 engines are needed. If this ship is properly refilled with fighters after combat, It is by any means the first choice of the robotic Imperium at the start of any games, especially with engine-shield bonus.
560 kts, 4 beams and 8 fighters bay with an impressive 200 fighters can take out ANY battleships and even in most case, two in a row. This ship have even serious chance of destroying the Colonial Virgo, the worst enemy of the robotic Imperium with it’s fighter minesweep range.This ship is definitively the one to send in group of minimum 2 to soften if not destroy enemy defenses. This ship should never be sent in intercept missions an should always be escorted by a Cat’s Paw while It’s primary enemy should always be on privateers if not allies since it is the perfect target for any pirates. Only the Gorbie, Biocide and Rush Carrier can stand in it’s path…
This is the Flagship… 850 Kts, 6 beams, 10 fighters bays with a possible complement of 300 fighters… This ship should be build only in small quantity to deal with any Biocides or Gorbies that would pose a threat. It is only once the 500 ships slots have been filled that it should be put in mass production. 2 Automas are in most case better than one Golem although the Golem is a real impressive ship. It’s heavy mass make of it a neutronium eater and more than often, force it to wait for refuel at planets where he can be vulnerable if not adequately protect by a minefield. In reality, it as only two uses… Orbiting an important planet or base to dissuade any invaders OR striking the more resilient enemy defenses or fleets in hoping to lost the less possible forces.
The Cybernaut, Pawn and Iron slave
Don’t build at all the Cybernaut unless you are using add-ons like nemesis. The ship is not so bad but the Instrumentality is far better and cheaper for about the same hull tech. Maybe if you want to trade a carrier but do not wish seeing enemy Instrumentalities around, it can be the good choice. Besides this, It can be build as an emergency defense platform by a new base about to be attacked which do not possess high tech and money. It can take about the same punishment of the Instrumentality but like I said, only in emergency.
The Iron Slave, well, if you need a cheap scout, this is your ship. Only one engine, 1 beam, 2 fighters bays and 70 cargo hold. Once you have finished scouting, these ships can be used to assist Q-tanker in building fighters or as fighters transports since most of the Q’s will have low tech drives. It is a good ship to send to strike outer-rim planets, since it is able to take out even planets with 100 defenses outposts if you are a bit lucky. Besides, you can afford the loss if it goes wrong…
The Pawn… Decent tonnage but really useless except for it’s wonderful bioscanner, which have a rate of 100 % natives detection. Otherwise, it’s small cargo hold of 40 don’t allow it to rebuild it’s fighters and is modest weaponry of 2 beams and 2 fighters bay don’t make it a front-line warship. But still, if you do not have money but have more than enough duranium, why not? This ship is strong enough to take out a bird of prey, do not underestimate it. I normally build only one of them, however, per game.
Well, that’s about it for the advantages. We will now discuss the basic strategies to use with the robots. There are first the ones that never change and are applicable to any races.
Always try to form “pockets” in enemy territories when planning your strategy. This method consists of using a strong task force to move directly trough enemy lines while avoiding any combat by avoiding enemy planets. You must be sure to plan enough fuel for the task force or know a specific planet where to strike where you will find the necessary resources.
Once you made trough the frontline, your enemy will realize in terror that you you are not going to strike his main defenses but simply try to make it for his inner core, probably far less defended. At this point , your enemy will try to intercept your task force if he think your fleet is able to cause enough damage.
As the robots, your advantage is that you can adequately accomplish that by easily wiping out enemy minefields by laying your owns and at same time force the enemy in sweeping your mines, denying several of their ships to intercept mission (Remember, only one mission at a time) Also, you do need to commit several ships to the task force to convince the enemy you can seriously threaten him, each one of your baseships being in itself a real danger and having cavernous fuel tanks for trip.
Now, at this point, two things can happen. The enemy seriously weaken is main defenses trying to do painfully intercept missions to not have to see you cut his supply lines and be taken on two fronts or else, his front fleets maintain position while he hopes to stop you with any core world forces. In the first case, it is now that you have to launch your main fleet. Crushing any left garrison forces should not be a problem since your enemy is now split in half that this point and probably have other important points to defend. You, on the contrary, benefit from the concentration of forces on this single point while your minefield grant you supremacy of movement.
In the second case, it is why your task force should be strong enough to take out any bases in his path and strong enough to force the enemy in forming a strong enough fleet to stop you which would take some time, enabling you to run havoc. He is letting you in, go for it! You should also engage is front lines to deny him any reinforcement from them, you can afford some losses at this point since your enemy have already one knee to the ground…
2) Concentration of Force
Any good strategist will tell you that applying strongest forces to one point than your enemy will greatly increase your chance of victory. It is true. A good strategist will always avoid combat where his forces are weaker than his enemy. You better retreat and fight another day than battle and die.
Cheer up however since once against, the robots are a good race for this. Brute force when possible should always be used and the robots possess it. Few will withstand a massive attack by the robots if they are not well prepared. Like I said earlier, rarely the robots will have the underhand in any combat, even against superior forces, they will at least bring some enemy with them if played right.
I will never talk enough about their minelaying ability that will prevent any reinforcements from coming to the help of an engaged enemy force. Or that will protect the fleet once at the planet from any cloaking-tow. Who would be mad enough to cloak-tow an Automa except for the privateers? If that last case happen, a meteor blockade runner have a 100 % chance to hit mines when traveling at more than 100 ly away. 82 % if they travel the 82 ly necessary for safety since if you were attacking privates, you have been careful enough to establish a chain-intercept between your ships. Also, you will have seen to fill your cavernous tanks with neutronium to avoid rob.
This is where I am the more efficient. A good strategist have to test your enemy in some situations and take note. Know your enemy and yourself, and you will win any war. If you can guess your enemy move, you have a big advantage. To accomplish that you have to rely on testing him. Probe him… Send a lonely ship in his territory for example, how he will react? Shall he try to capture it or simply destroy it? Perhaps he will ignore it, thinking it is no threat. That could be useful information…
If he tend for example to go around and chase everything he see, your enemy is the perfect candidate for ambushes. It will also be easy to made him loss valuable fuel in such pointless chases. If he tend to wait and defend himself, it is a good sign of a defensive personality. You have a good chance to see in this player a defensive or conservative type.
There is of course other ways to know your opponent behavior. As the robots, however, you must be imaginative since you do not have cloaking ships, which are perfect for these kind of missions. Well, it is up to you to develop your skills in this domain but it is really worth it. Disinformation is a good thing to start with.
You must know everything. If you do not know the forces of your opponents, you are at disadvantage. Use programs like Echoview for this duty and make sure to identify the more possible enemy ships, even their weaponry & engines, natives planets or planets resources, etc… neglect nothing. Information is power.
Also, in the same kind of idea, hide your information at the best you can. It will not give you anything to show your enemy what are your forces. Use planet hoping movement the more possible. The only time you can permit yourself in giving information is when you are actually attempting to affect your enemy psychologically. Attacking with 5 Golem’s and saying in a in-game message : “Sir, the 3rd fleet is moving in…” should give your enemy the creep if he does not know what your 45 other ships are… This is disinformation.
Finally, strategies to use with robots.
1) The cat’s paws…
Any battlegroup should always have two cat’s paws. One without fuel and carrying all torpedoes being towed by a base ship (but having it’s own transwarp drives for emergency) and the other laying the mines around. The reasons is simple, avoid losing your torpedo stock in an cloak-intercept attack. Also, even the cat’s paw laying mines should be towed giving a harder time to your enemy to know which of the two ships is actually vulnerable to cloak-intercept attack. With a minefield always protecting them, a 1/2 chance to end up fighting a Baseship, your enemy will think twice before hitting your mine-layers…
2) Beam Quality.
The robots ships, for most, possess no more than 4 beams. In a war against Crystallines, robots are in trouble if they neglected quality. They are in hell in fact. Their mines won’t destroy webmines if normal setting are on. They need mass amount of fuel to move and will be quickly drained. At the best they will be put in stalemate in a never ending war. I hate the crystals… It is why my ships are often equipped with heavy phasers when playing robots. Like I said earlier, they can afford it due to low number of beams and the mineral distribution in their construction plans. Molybdenum is not a problem. When you do not have access to quantity, go for quality.
3) Merlin/neutronium refinery
Theses ships are a must. You should have in the least one Merlin for 10 planets. These are the ships that will support your production when minerals resources will be depleted. You will need huge amount of fuel with the robots and neutronium refinery ships will be producing your life blood.
To support them, you will need a good transport network, Large deep freighter are the one for it. Mediums should only build when having low resources but are not the best choice since although you will support your core wolrd system with them, as soon as you will expand and that the ship slots reach 500, you will find it harder to support your empire when you will be expanding it than if you had a large freighter.
Another way is by finding Bovinoid planets… These, even if in enemy territory, should be top priority. You must control them and stop at nothing to take them. A good Bovinoid planet can support a few starbases, fighter production, ships construction without the need of a transport network.
4) Attrition war
For these who wants to play safe and do not have turn limit fixed, waiting for the 500 ship slots to be full before doing war is always a good thing with the robots. You have a carrier race, the strongest of them to be true. Each of your Automa baseships is able to take out about two battleships without talking of the Golem Baseship… If you do possess a number of base at least equal at your opponents, which should not be a problem as explained earlier, you will always build more ships than your opponent on the long term, slowly weakening him for the final blow. This is especially true in shareware games.
I used this technique against federations forces that had twice the number of ships I had… Now, Instrumentalities are orbiting their homeworld and the pitiful terrans
are working as slave for the magnificent Robotic Imperium.
Guerrilla is out of question with the robots. They lack medium ships to do the task and the cat’s paws are too precious to risk on such missions. However, if you truly need to do it, you should use cat’s paws. Reasonable fuel burn combined to huge tanks make them long range ships. With a max ordinance of 300 torpedoes, you can sacrifice cargo for colonists to establish outposts without compromising autonomy. Minefields will offer a good protection in such hazardous missions and a Cat’s Paw decently armed is able to take out most normal planets while it’s huge cargo allows for quick repair.
The only other viable ship for these operations is the Instrumentality, but it’s autonomy is far lesser than the Cat’s Paw without talking of fuel needed. More, it’s small
cargo doesn’t allows to quickly repair damage, rebuild fighters or establish outposts. However, for short term operations, it will be safer to use that ship.
IF the robots were to put their metallic hands on a cloaking ship… now, they can become a real nightmare. A cloaking ship laying mines without warning prior to an attack can wipe out in a single turn a whole medium freighter network and cripple any ships in a 250 ly radius if it does so in the core of an enemy territory. This will paralyze any ships movement and by the time they can clean the mess, it may be too late. It is also a good way to gain information on your enemy by analyzing were ships were going and leaving from… which planets are important to him.
The ideal normal fleet for robots is: 1 Golem, 4 Automa, 2 Instrumentalities, 1 Q and 2 paws, all loaded to the gill (You can afford it). Golem will act as mother ship and will have about 180 fighters to refill any ships in the fleet. It is imperative that this ship always be the last to battle, but just before the Q and Paws. However if there is an enemy Big carrier, it should go in in second just after an Instrumentality or Automa weakened it.
Automas are your weapon of choice against enemy battleships and bases. They are the ones you can send in without worrying about the consequences, you can be sure they will wreck havoc. Instrumentalities are to reach target out of your path that you are not willing to send your whole fleet to. Also, they are useful in tracking down with or without the help of a Cat’s Paw, any retreating enemy ships.
The Q is mainly there to carry supply fighters. It is not sage however to use it as tanker since the ship should be towed to avoid compromising the fighters load. Anyways, your base ships have more than adequate fuel tanks for this. It will also be useful later to build fighters in enemy territory.
The Paws, well you know…:)
Be sure to always have some supplies to repair minor damage your ships may have suffer. This may sound silly but a 1% damage on one of your baseships, on any ships in fact, will get your beams discharged and will enable enemy carrier like the Kitty Hawk to see it’s fighters waves save themselves 1 full salvo. This can seriously threaten your ship. You already have a low number of beams, do not allow this to happen.
Even if these supplies are not used for repairs, you still need them in fighters construction. It is never a bad thing to have them lying in your cargo hold and they will also be useful in building structures on captured planets if there is no one already built. I suggest a ratio of about 1/3 of your cargo hold to be supplies except for the Instrumentality, which should be loaded to the gills with fighters.
Well, that’s about all folks. I don’t pretend to have talked about all possible strategies but I have talked about the ones I used in my constant success with this race. He! It’s Tim Wisseman favorite race, no? 🙂