MOO Strategy Guide v. 1.0, Section 2

2. Strategies

Go to section 1: Clever Tricks

Go to section 3: Tables and Formulas


2. Strategy Guide

2.A) Introduction and caveat

Note: IMPORTANT - Many of These tips appeared on the net and have been edited only slightly. There are contradictions real and apparent in them. It should be realized that most rules are not 100% true or 100% false; they work in some domains and not in others. The presence of a tip or rule does not excuse the player from thinking. There may be good reason to violate one in your particular situation.

In MOO, each game is very different. Games are modified not just by what race you play and what races you are playing against and what size galaxy you play in, but also in things such as what tech can be developed in that particular game. Strategy can change immensely in a game where nobody gets stack- killing weapons, or auto-repair, or high-powered bombs, etc. For me, this is what keeps me coming back to MOO. If the same strategy was appropriate in every game, it would get old real quick.

2.B) Beginner tips

2.B.1) Don't destroy colonies!
It normally is better not to destroy a colony. It is better to leave some population and then bring in transports and take the colony over. This saves the cost of the colony ship. It is sometimes better to bomb them to the ground. An example of this is when they have superior technology for ground fighting and your losses would be prohibitive.

Contributed by: Dave Chaloux

2.B.2) First-game idea
A good strategy for a first game is the following. Select a medium galaxy, simple level, with three opponents. Play the Klackons. Spend money on all tech equally. Keep factories and populations maxed and grow only as fast as you can defend. Avoid wars, and when you have the resources (be sure to spend lots of money on technology) build up the missile defenses of your planets. During the time you should have only a scout or two and a colony ship when you need one.

Now you are ready to act. You should be able to outproduce anyone. Be sure that you have kept your internal security maxed out, and your planets well fortified. Now design the best ships you can, pick an opponent, and go to war!

Contributed by: Dave Weinstein

2.B.3) Using Colony Ships
Just a small thing I ran across last night. If you are expanding in an odd shape and you home worlds, where most of your colony ships are built the quickest are far away form your frontier. Find a planet that has an environment you don't have the tech for in the frontier area. Then send a colony ship there. Because you don't have the tech to colonize, it will just orbit and therefore be much closer (and quicker) to a planet you run across that you can base. My empire developed into a 'L' shape, laying down, with my main producers at short end of the L as I expand out on the longer end.

Contributed by: Donald Anglin

2.B.4) Playing Out Games with Bad Planet Distributions
I've got a tip for those who want to 'play out' those games where they are stuck with no colonizable planets within range. Scrap your colony ship! It's maintenance is about 10BC per year, so in 50 years you will have paid enough to buy a new one anyway. By scrapping it, you can build up your colony faster with the cash you get back (transfer it to your home planet on the planet screen). Build your planet up as fast as you can, then concentrate on propulsion research, and you might be able to win that game yet. This is really only recommendable if you like a challenge, but it's doable. If you're looking for a new challenge, give it a try.

Contributed by: Bronis Vidugiris

2.B.5) Maximizing Planet Production
A few notes on what to invest in to maximize production. At the start, for most races, this is factories. Factories cost 10BC generate 1BC of income and 1BC of pollution (which costs 1/2 BC initially to clean up). In 20 years, they will have paid for themselves. This is the game default, non-surprisingly.

Colonists cost 20BC to generate (via eco spending), and generate 1/2BC per year with no pollution. In 40 years, they will have paid for themselves.

Other conditions may shift the balance here too. Factories tend to get the early breaks with reductions in cost, and reductions in waste output. Colonists get later breaks, with vastly increased productivity (up to 2 at planetology tech 50), cloning, advanced cloning, etc.

Klackons start out with colonists equal in return rate to factories. I start out with colonists for a short time, but only until I get my planet(s) up to 50% of population where the natural population growth rate is maxed out. Then I shift to factories, which will start to increase in productivity earlier. (This is only with the Klackons, other races I start out with factories).

The balance definitely shifts towards building colonists when one has had a population decrease on a world which already has a lot of factories (there are a lot of potential reason for such a decrease, sending out colony fleets is the most common). The negative impact can be minimized by cranking out those colonists by spending that money on 'ECO'.

Contributed by: Bronis Vidugiris

2.B.6) Some General Observations
1. TRADE. I think most important. Especially in large and huge games. With trade and alliances I have been able to generate 1500+ BC a turn. This provides lots of funds for spying!!! Ideally, I don't establish them until they reach 300+ or whatever is the highest. This may be more race specific since I got that number playing the humans, but I still get good money playing other races.

2. EXPANSION. Noticed that some of the races will stagnate (stay on their home world only) when I expanded as quickly as I could (actually outstripped the rest of the races, no silicoids in the game). However, if I gave them (oh, so many options for "sending them on a wild goose chase") a better move, they wouldn't try and expand, even with good planets around. Hope this is a function of the average level AI.

3. SABOTAGE. This I think has hidden potential. I decided to try and start a rebellion in a Mrrshan colony. I am not positive about this, but once I got them over 15%, they really started rebelling. The next time they went to 30%!! I got bored and invaded, and I swear it seemed to FALL much easier to my troops. Any comments on this one?

4. DEATH FLEET. I do the three suggested methods of attacking.... capture factories (large amounts enemy pop, large invasion force).... bomb til almost nothing.... and DEATH FLEET. This is my favorite. By the time I use this it is pointless to take more colonies. Nothing I hate more than trying to manage that much (kinda like 50+ cities in CIV). What you do is just build a huge fleet with a lot of bombers and a few capital / large ships (maybe 30+ large, 6 HUGE) and go from planet to planet completely obliterating them. Nothing more satisfying than seeing "100 million colonist killed" ;)

Contributed by: Barry Bloom

2.B.7) Basic whole-game strategies
It seems to me that the key to winning with any race is to build a strong industrial base on at least 2 good- sized planets before committing any resources to research. To grow the fastest, keep your home planet at about 50 people for maximum growth, and ship off 2 or 3 each turn to your first colony. For at least the first 10 years, devote all resources to factory construction.

Start your research small at first, keep devoting resources to factories. Until you've maxed out, I keep at least 1/4 of each planet's production in factory building, preferably 1/3 or 1/2. I try to keep new colonies strictly devoted to factories.

Don't devote any resources to shipbuilding until absolutely necessary. When your first two planets are nearly full, build a colony ship. Keep siphoning off people from your home planets to the new colony, keeping them at about 90% capacity for speed of growth. By the time your 3rd colony is getting full, your second transport should be ready, and you are now in the expansion phase of building lotsa new colonies.

I build friendly relations with my neighbors from the earliest. While they devote resources to building low-tech fleets, I build industry and research tech. Then, when I have a strong economy (like, maxed industry on my home world) and higher tech, I start building my warfleet.

I devote at least 1/3 of my homeworld's production to shipbuilding, and usually a good fraction of my first colony's. I prefer large ships, and use heavy weapons with their 2-space range. As my tech grows, I save a few advances and then commission a new class of ships. I will usually have 3 different large warship designs current, plus a colony transport design (totally unarmed), and a long-range scout. I find that small ships are virtually useless in combat, and medium ships nearly so (but I haven't played races that get combat advantages, where I might prefer medium ships).

My very favorite specials are Battle Scanner (which gives you initiative and attack advantages, plus letting you see enemy ship stats), and Automated Repair. Combined with heavy beams (2 space range), and a combat speed of 2, I can decimate even huge dreadnoughts by dancing and keeping them at a distance, if they only have speed 1 and beams with range 1.

It is important to have at least beams and bombs in your ships. I also usually add a missile or two. Missile-only ships are sitting ducks once they expend their missiles. I put in mostly heavy beams, one or two missiles, and fill up the rest with bombs. Of course, I max out computers, ecm, engines, etc.

I usually take on the 2nd strongest race that is nearby. In my case, that was the Darloks, who I really hate cause they can steal my tech. I don't attack until I have 2 or 3 higher tech large ships, then I decimate their nearest colonies. Bomb 'em down to 5 or so, then send in the troops, at least twice as many as they have, preferably lots more, from your now-full homeworlds. This gives you an advance base. Move onto the next planet and repeat, but this time ship troops from the first planet you took. This eliminates any need for colony ships; you just eat the opponents worlds. Meanwhile, your homeworlds should be churning out warships every 5 years or so.

Keep the other races peaceful-like as long as possible. Especially with Psilons, buy them off with a non- combat piece of tech as tribute; this makes them real happy. Usually, some race has expanded like wildfire, and the council has met to decide between me and them, with no majority. Try to convince the other races to have a non-aggression pact with you, and declare war on the big bad enemy.

I have found trade to be nearly useless, unless you are playing Humans. It takes forever to show a profit, and I've never seen anything close to the agreed-on amount. Do it to make friends, but keep the amounts low. Especially, don't up it in small amounts over time; if you decide to be friendlier, just it a lot very rarely. Also, don't trade lots with your soon-to-be major enemies, just 25 or so when you first meet them, to keep them pacified until you attack.

After you've decimated or totally eradicated your first opponent, turn your sights on the big bad guy. Create a warfleet to do scorched-earth tactics, just bombing each planet to (almost) nothing. Remember to leave a few left; they're your colony base. If you have improved scanners, you may see colony ships moving to new planets nearby. Let 'em; as soon as the colony is formed, send in the troops. (I love eating the opponents new colonies.) If you see a bunch of transports heading to one of your planets, send a fleet to that planet, and you can kill most or all of them before they land.

Conquered colonies should be kept fairly small, as they may get taken back. Devote their energies to research, not factories. If you can manage to take a colony with factories, great, but don't get greedy. The best way to do this is to decimate one colony to nearly nothing, then move your warfleet elsewhere. The enemy may send a transport fleet to the decimated colony. If so, then send your troops to take the planet that sent out the transports, which is now underpopulated.

Build missile defenses only on your main colonies. By devoting a small fraction of your resources to them, you should be able to build one each 5-10 turns. With proper tactics, your homeworlds may never be attacked. But if they are, 4-10 missile bases will prevent enemies from making cheap attacks. If you see the enemy making a major attack, get a fleet there, fast. Improved scanners that give destination and ETA are a must in a serious war.

It is absolutely critical that your fleet be faster than your opponents. Research speed techs in preference to range (once you have range 4 or 5, that is). In general, high tech is critical. Ignore the 'fleet size' and 'total power' status lines; just keep production near the best, and tech higher if you can. (If the Psilons are an opponent, this is likely impossible. In that case, cultivate their friendship, and exchange tech a lot. They tend to be peaceful.) In general, exchange tech whenever possible, but I prefer to give non-combat advances in exchange. Even if you have better stuff, trade for advances you don't have, as it will raise your tech levels.

It is tempting to research robotics tech that allows you to build more factories, or terraforming tech to grow worlds. Once you are in a serious war, resist this temptation. In war, you can't afford to devote the resources to growth, you need them for ships and research. Do these things before war breaks out, or between wars in a long game. At any time, don't build expensive robotics factories until you've reduced the factory costs.

On the espionage front, keep spies on every player. When you are at war, change their missions to espionage, or sabotage only if they have no tech at all. Your computer tech helps here. I try to keep my overall espionage and counter-espionage spending at 10-15%.

Contributed by: Douglas Zimmerman

Phase 1: Send out scouts to two nearest worlds. Colonize all immediately available worlds quickly. Don't worry about anything further than 5 squares away, but make a bunch of cheap fighters and send them out to stake out planets. This will give you perhaps 2-5 planets, while your strongest opponents may have 3 times that number or more. Don't even think about being influential in the council for a while.

Phase 2: Settle in. Expand if you can, but make sure you keep your tech spending high. A good balance tends to work better than specializing. Armor tech, ground fighting, and especially terraforming and factory control will help you hold your planets and make them more productive than your opponent's larger number. Trade whenever possible. Build lots of missile bases, and no ships. Eventually you'll find yourself blocked in, probably by the groups more powerful than yourself. Make sure you get frequent reports on their tech.

Phase 3: Go to war with one of the more technologically advanced groups. Try to steal tech from them (they'll start the war). Steal tech from anyone who goes to war with you. Defend your home planets, don't attach except perhaps with bombing raids. Concentrate on building up a fleet which could hold a planet by itself. Then take a planet. You should have sufficient resources to take one planet from even the strongest player and to hold it if you wait long enough. Send transports from many colonies (not just one) and just eliminate the missile bases and ships guarding the planet, not the factories. Ideally, you'd like to take a rich planet, or one with artifacts. You'll certainly want to take a developed one for the tech you'll gain.

Phase 4: Eventually whoever your at war with will stop beating on you. Put that fleet to use on a weaker neighbour. Don't eliminate them, but steal their inferior techs to pump up your own tech levels (make components cheaper, smaller). By stealing from whoever wants to fight you, heavily defending your planets, spending little on ship-building, maintaining trade, and occasionally taking the choicest planets from your current enemies, your greater ability to assess the value of a given path of tech advancements will make you stronger than the computer.

Case in point: I just spent the last 600 years technologically inferior to the Psilons. Despite the fact that they held Orion for 20+ turns (that I HAD to take from them) and discovered a derelict, I am now (just) superior to them technologically and militarily, and am in the process of beating them into the ground. This is in a large galaxy which, at one point, they held over half the planets (I had about 6 then). I'm playing as the Humans.

RULES

  1. Never take a planet you can't hold.
  2. Never eliminate a foe. Even the weakest can give you technologies you leapfrogged, or specialize in an area where you are weak.
  3. Don't destroy many colonies in a given area unless you can keep them from being recolonized, or you're ready for a shift in the Balance of Power.
  4. Do destroy colonies in a given area if two races you are trying to get to fight are in that area in force.
Disclaimer: I haven't tried this with Sakkra or Bulrathi, or in Huge galaxies. It has worked on hard on small and medium, and average on large. The strategy is especially suited to Psilon, Meklar, Darlok, and Human empires.

Contributed by: Michael Metzger

2.C Strategies for different stages of game

Like Chess, Master of Orion can be broken into three phases: the opening, or the initial expansion phase (the computer does this phase really well), the middle game, where you hunker down and develop the worlds you have (the computer plays very poorly here), and the end game, where you try to take over at least enough to give you the win (again, the computer does not do this well. It does not follow up on its victories enough). Following are strategies for the different stages of the game:

2.C.1) Opening Game
For some reason, all of my games (Huge/5/Hard or Impossible) develop in exactly the same way:

1) I put almost all of my tech into Planetology, (for pop. and possibly controlled X environment if there are ultra-rich planets about) Propulsion, (for a high enough range to reach the stars in my corner) and Computers (for Improved production: some tech also in Construction)

2) I colonize madly until I get 15-20 stars in a corner or edge.

3) I make peace/friendship w/ everyone else by trading and giving tech (mainly because they're so far ahead of me in tech, etc.) and concentrate on population and production development.

4) I block the vote in the first Galactic Council by abstaining (I've always been in the running, but I've never had enough votes to win).

5) 4-5 years before the next vote, I get all the other races to declare war on each other (This has never been difficult: For some reason, whenever the two biggest CP rivals attack eachother, all of their alliances come apart, and everybody gets into a free-for-all). I also make NA-pacts/alliances w/ everyone except my rival.

6) 2-3 years before the vote, I attack my rival - suddenly, everyone in the galaxy loves me and hates him.

7) Before he has a chance to attack, I win the Council vote.

This strategy works very well with Humans (because of the diplomatic and trade bonuses), Klackons, or Mecklars (for the production bonuses). The big problem with this stategy, as everyone can probably see already, is that I never get to do any fun conquest - I never have enough tech or production to win a war against anyone without sacrificing my diplomatic situation or production.

Contributed by: js187@jambo.cc.columbia.edu (Jason Scanlin)

2.C.2) Middle Game
Your "mid Game" starts as soon as the majority of your worlds are industrialized and have > 10 missile bases. It generally ends when the widespread avaiability of good bombs and large fleets shifts the game balance away from the defender.

Well, a lot depends on the size of your galaxy. I'm assuming your are playing on large, and yes, 7 planets is a slow start. Suggestions for improving your initial expansion follow:

1) Place scouts over every nearby world, one per. The AI tends to colonize worlds it has explored before putting resources into arming its colony ships. By placing a scout over a planet, you deny the AI exploration and hopefully grab the colony yourself.

2) Build up your first two colonies and then start colonizing new worlds. Use one world to produce colony ships, and use the other to throw population bombs onto your new colonies. Then let them develop on their own while you colonize past them. Exception: Rich and Ultra Rich worlds are worth putting resources into to speed inital expansion.

3) Avoid building a fleet unless necessary. Most low-tech fleets are not useful against planets, thus the conquest of enemy colonies becomes a very slow process.

4) Play as the Klackons or Sakkras, both of whom will develop colonies rapidly. Alternately, play the alkaris and build fast, long range colony ships.

Tips on Rescuing a slow start:

1) Human Turtle. This works best as the humans, but can be effected with skillful bribery by almost anyone (yes, even the Darloks). Trade with all your neighbors to the hilt, and build no fleet. Maximize your tech and trade for it whenever possible. Sign non-aggression pacts with everyone and NEVER make an alliance as it may drag you into a war. Eventually, especially on Average or Hard, you can garner a tech advantage in this manner. Once that happens, its all a mop up. On impossible, this tactic will only work if your initial base is significantly larger and contains some good worlds. EXCEPTION: MOO versions below V 1.2 are quite a bit easier.

2) Balance of power: Pick the largest power you think you can deal with. Then induce a few nearby races (preferably the LARGEST power in the game) to declare war on them. Once they are heavily engaged (and likely losing), move in and stab them in the back with your own fleet. NOTE: This is dangerous unless you are prepared to finish off the race in question. They WILL hold a grudge.

3) Tech Raids: This is a gamble, but sometimes pays off if you are losing heavily in tech. Find a poorly defended, high tech world, and swarm it with troops, all of whom should arrive on the same turn. With luck, you should steal the planet out from under the missile bases. NOTES: A) Works best when missile techs are poor and your transports have good speed B) You will generally lose planets thus acquired unless you follow up with a supporting fleet, but you keep the tech.

4) Orion Hunting: Capturing Orion is a sure way to turn a losing situation into a possible winner. If it is within range, and you have at least the Neutron Pellet Gun, then consider making a play for it. Remember the rules of Orion in considering your fleet. Against the V 1.2 Guardian:

The guardian has 4,000 HP on Easy, 6,000 on Av. 8,000 on Hard, and 10,000 on Impossible.

Assuming at least a battle computer Level 5, then each NPG will do 1.5 damage. Each mass Driver 4.5.

In general, on average level, 2000 fighters with NPGs will do the job. I generally wait for the mass driver, however.

Just a few suggestions...

Contributed by pcasey@hmcvax.claremont.edu (Pat Casey)

2.C.3) End Game

2.D) Strategies for specific races

Alkari:
Pretty easy to win with. The defense bonus is a godsend early in the game. Expand hard and fast in the beginning, and put together a large fleet of small, nimble fighters and frigates (with a few fusion or omega V bombs). Then expand like a banshee. These guys work great for almost any game plan EXCEPT the pacifist technologist game plan. You need to fight to take advantage of their specials, so DO IT.

Bulrathi:
I find them rather tough. You are going to lag in computer tech, but you can offset that by stealing from more advanced races when you invade. Your +20 ground combat tech is really nice, but ONLY if you stay current in ground combat tech. The problem is that to use it, you HAVE to fight. You will step on a lot of toes playing here. I suggest a hard expansion followed by a retrenchment and then a brutal war against your most advanced neighbor. Ignore casualties and TAKE PLANETS.

Darlok:
Ok, I admit it, I like them because they have the coolest graphics (is that Stormbringer the Darlok warrior is holding?). With that said, these guys are tough to play but a blast because you can really mess with the diplomacy. Don't expand too fast or the galaxy will turn on you since they already hate you. Get computer techs as fast as you can, and turn up the spies. Use your ability to frame to turn the strong races against each other (frame them for espionage acts). Then move in to collect the pieces. Early on, you may have to accept losing a few planets to avoid going to war with the whole galaxy. Bite the bullet and do it since A) they DO hate you and B) they CAN kill you and C) any excuse turns B into THEY WILL KILL YOU.

Human:
Boring. Sorry. This is the only race I have won at through the diplomat option... i.e. getting people to vote me into office when I have significantly less than 50% of the galaxy. You are a pretty generic race other than your wonderful diplomacy so expand solidly, kill the weak and use your diplomacy to keep the strong from killing you. Eventually, you should win. You have a unique ability to concentrate on one enemy at a time since you can buy off other enemies cheaply, so USE IT. Remember, peace is just the long period of retrenchment between wars.

Klackon:
I hate these guys. You start with an insane early expansion and then end in a whimper. Your inability to develop decent propulsion techs is ultimately CRIPPLING. So, expand insanely in the beginning, and then beg/plead/steal for good propulsion techs. Only THEN should you even consider war. DON'T get involved in a premature war. No matter how strong your industrial base is, if your ships still rely on RETROs to get around then that inferior Alkari fleet zipping around on fusion engines will eat you alive by concentrating both strategically and tactically. You should have your industries up and running smoothly long before the other races do, so use the breather thus offered to A) build good defenses and B) get a lot of cool construction techs.

Mecklars:
I find these guys to be absolute cake, er, most of the time (grin). Expand early, but don't crush any toes. Remember, you don't need as many planets as all those other non-industrialized races. Keep people off your back with diplomacy until your industrial base gets rolling, and then, well, kill them. Your weakness in planetology can mean a huge waste of resources going to cleaning your planets so Beg/plead/steal any waste reduction or eco restoration techs you can. Your planets will have good defenses and you should have a nice, compact industrial base. This allows you enormous freedom in a war since you are virtually impregnable (50+ missile bases), and can strike out in any direction. Take your enemy's best planets and make them better. Research robotic controls whenever available. Fear the Doom Virus. Get the antidote.

Mrrshan:
The Alkari's weaker brothers. I find them harder to win with. Their gunnery edge is nice, but not the equal of the Alkari's defense bonus. You should go over to the offensive as early as possible, trade for good armor and construction techs with obsolete weapons and research the gauss autocannon as soon as it becomes available. Don't rely on your gunnery edge to win you battles. It helps, but it won't allow you to totally ignore the laws of numbers. Remember, you may hit them better, but THEY CAN STILL KILL YOU.

Psilons:
I know, everybody and their brother plays as the psilons because they get all the cool toys. Grab what you can early, and DON'T piss anybody off. You are VERY weak early on. Buy peace for the first half of the game while building a good tech edge, and then expand across the galaxy. If you control 15-20% of the galaxy you should be able to block anybody's election in the council until then. An interesting alternate plan I have used is to quickly acquire a tech edge in shields and weapons and exterminate a few low-tech planets. It often works, but if you get stopped, their vengeance will be terrible to behold. I usually play the former strategy.

Sakkra:
I love these guys. You breed like rabbits, AND you get all the cool planetology techs early. Well played, you can have 30% of the galaxy colonized before the end of your first expansion. Sure, you will be spread as this as, well, very thin! Anyway, as soon as your first rush in over, buy peace as long as you can, and build up your defenses, because the whole galaxy will come for you as you are almost definitely winning. Once you get your defenses going, develop a good star fleet and start a relentless steam-roller advance across the galaxy. If you fall behind in TECH, consider a few "Lizard Wave" attacks against weakly defended High Tech worlds. You can afford the casualties. Think of your empire like Russia in WWII ... No matter how many troops you lose as long as they take losses too, you are winning. Once you get cloning, and a few fertile planets, you can vat grow an invasion force every 2-3 turns. I find these to be the easiest to win with UNLESS the Psilons get entrenched on the other end of the galaxy while you and your neighbors rumble. If you don't stop them they will get a huge tech lead and Bio-Terminate your empire. If you see this happening, carve a line through your enemies, conquering planets as you go until the Psilon empire is in reach and then terminate them.

Silicoid:
Ok, I find these guys to be especially tough. You start out very strongly, and colonize lots of worlds, BUT, your low birth rate is crippling. You will have lots of poorly inhabited worlds. A well thought out counter attack can knock you off your rocker faster than you can say "Sakkra Swarm". So expand hard, but DON'T press your luck. Then develop planetology tech's like a madman. All those crappy 20 Habitability Toxic worlds look a lot better after +60 terraforming, atmospheric reconstruction, and cloning. You face another problem in your poor tech ability. YOU MUST control a large portion of the galaxy early on to offset this. You can continue expanding long after the other races have run out of useful planets since you can colonize anything. Expand as fast as your population growth will let you. Trade for any planetology tech you can get.

OK, now, I'll say it again, these are simply MY feelings on the races. I'm sure other people have different strategies and feelings. Don't be afraid to improvise, and don't take what I've said as gospel.

Contributed by: Pat Casey

OK, I have a raging headache and am stuck in a lab but I'll give a quick "this race is best" list. I don't have a manual so if I misspell a race name (or any other words) deal with it.:-)

1. Psilons, good to play with and a tough race to play against the computer with. Screwed if you have a substandard starting position. Create a 'technocore' area with high defense on the outside and little on the inside (to save credits) get a major tech advantage and then explode outword in a orgy of destruction. ALWAYS try to be in third in population so you can swing the council votes and not deal with alliances.

2. Klackons, nasty to play against, nice to play with. You produce more early on in the game so attack once you have the needed tech to do so without major fleet lose. Send out population to new planets quickly and build up populations before industry as each colonist is worth a factory.

3. Darloks - not great on either side but fun to play. When attacked early in the game be sure to have the enemy home planet rebel, this usely nukes his war effort as the computer SUCKS at getting planets back from rebellion. You can maintain the over all tech advantage by stealing from EVERYONE. Frame groups in alliance with each other etc. Only research computer tech after the first few advances and defend your planets WELL. Later in the game when everyone is fighting everyone you can start to conquest.

2. Mmrrwhaters Alkwhaters Bulwhatevers - Icky bad to play, and not hard to beat when playing against them. Their natutal combat abilities are nullified by 2 tech levels, and thats all they have. If you play them attack early cause you won't have much chance later. Fight kill blood and pray they don't develop better computers propulsion or armor than you have respectively.

3. Silicoids - fun to play but hard to win with. Slow pop growth and slow tech abilities are crushing in a war. IF you can avoid being attacked for the first 100 turns of the game you can have a chance, but planet landing tech is cheap, and after enchanced echo restoration and 60% pollution, who cares about waste. IE your advantages as a silicoid are limited. PLUS the fact that the computer can invade planets he doesn't have the tech for so even that advantage is lost.

6. Meklars - cool to play with and hard to beat EARLY in the game. Like the psilons being in third is not bad as you can equal or out produce the computer even with fewer planets. (you can't lose a game in which you are equal to the computer in strength as the computer is a moron in combat.) Meklars on ultrarich planets are fun.

7. Sakkras - I have to take back the bad things I said about them in the past. These guys are the easiest race to win with. Expand like the plague and send out about 10 colonists to a planet to kickstart growth and watch the puppies grow. This is the one race where you can be number 1 in pop early on and NOT loose the vote cause you have so many so early. Invest in planet tech and robotic controls and watch the numbers grow. These guys are also the best in ground combat (sorry bulrathi) as you can send wave after wave. My favorite is having a race near by early on and taking all their planets and home planet before they can build a fleet.

8. Humans - a dull boring race of semi-idiot people who have no concept of self interest, or long term vision. Oh, they aren't that great in the game either. You can win with them but hey you can win with any race.

Contributed by: F. Rodgers

2.D.1) Strategy for playing the Alkari
With Alkaris, make fleets of small maneuverable bombers, and go on the offensive early; keep up propulsion research and you'll be unhittable.

Contributed by: Drew Fudenber

I decided to try a game where I would use no bases at all and instead would rely on missile ships for defence. This game was Hard-Medium-3 with the Alkari. The Alkari are ideal for a baseless strategy because of the defensive bonuses they get. Most of my ships were medium size. I would put in 1 missile (size 5 if possible) and 1 beam (neutron pellet guns worked well). I would then give them the best defence, computers, engines, maneuverability and armor that I could fit. Because they were of medium size, they cost perhaps half of what a base would cost.

In the game I played, this strategy worked extremely well. I won in 2499 with none of the other three races voting for me. This was with the 1.2 version. Not having to worry about bombers knocking out my bases was a big plus. So was the fact that as my front lines changed (expanded) I could move in the defence.

It was also kind of pleasant having the fleet section of the race status screen showing me as a significant power instead of having next to nothing. I did not find obsolecence to be a big problem.

Anyway, this strategy can certainly be made to work for the Alkari and may work well for other races. Give it a try for a different kind of game. After some 34 other games, I needed to try something new.

Contributed by chaloux@mandolin.mitre.org (Dave Chaloux)

2.D.2) Strategy for winning with the Humans
I have now managed to win as humans at hard level in medium galaxy. It may have been luck, as the attempt to duplicate is still underway but here are observations:

1) I now follow several others in "screening" initial galaxies - is this cheating?

2) I attacked a few nearby weaklings in early middle game, then laid low and tried to have at most one enemy at a time - immediately bought off anyone else who became pissed.

3) Alkaris wasted lots of resources attacking well defended planets, allowing me to build up technological lead.

4) Medium size bombers with cloaking device and antimatter bombs do wonders against all but best defense; omega bombs didn't arrive till the endgame.

5) It's probably my own fault for being too conservative, but the endgame was boring- the last hour of play, I had my rich planets building ships, all else doing research. Ships were huge things-with level 9 shield, level 11 missile defense, lots of beam weapons, energy focus, 50% repair, and omega bombs. Just one of these could take on a level X shield and 20 bases, plus some ships; problem: each bombardment took a long time to play out. Anyway, I didn't want to risk having any of my colonies captured for fear of leaking a tech, so I kept a few strong fast ships at home, and tended not to colonize planets I captured- which meant I had to level a few of them several times. too bad the computer can't be programmed when to quit!

Contributed by: Drew Fudenberg

2.D.3) Strategy for winning with the Psilons
Hm, I've only played 3 times (on my 4th now) at Average, but I've never had a problem as Psilon. Maybe the racial type just fits my attitude. I prefer to leave them alone until they declare war, then wipe the floor with them -- by then I have twice the tech of anyone else in the game. By the time a vote comes around, I've "absorbed" one or two races with my superior ground combat tech.

This is large galaxy, 5 opponents, and medium, 4 opponents. I suspect I'd have a harder time of it with less space, since it would be harder to build unassailable planetary defenses on my home planet. I've always run into someone as I was working on my first or second colony.

Contributed by: Todd Perry

Yep. BTW, I only play medium and large galaxy, with 4 and 5 opponents respectively. Won a huge game once but it took MUCH too long to be fun.

Someone else already posted a long list of good strategy for Psilon so I'll just elaborate... first, I agree 100% on starting over if you don't have a good planet close by. I've only had to do this twice, though. Usually there's at least an Arid planet nearby with 50-60 max pop.

I start my first colony, throw about 1/2 my population at it to get it mostly filled up, and spend as much as possible on industry for a couple decades. However, I DO start a trickle (10RP or so) of tech going from Mentar right away -- until you do this you don't get to start selecting tech. I don't tweak tech spending much -- just a little extra in computers, construction, and planetology to start, and try to pick advancements that give you more people/factories. Be careful not to neglect ground combat advancements, in fact, I usually give them preference when deciding what weapon to pick.

I never get very diplomatic with other races -- usually feed them a few non-combative technologies to convince them to form an alliance, and ignore them afterward. Trade doesn't seem worth the effort.

Once I get above a couple hundred BC's on a planet, I *always* start throwing half my BC's back into tech. Never neglect tech; it's your primary weapon. Don't make the mistake of ignoring tech to get those extra few factories next turn -- there's such a thing as diminishing returns.

Anyway, by the time you hit your 5th planet, other races might have already gotten twice that. You should still have a production level equal to theirs, thanks to terraforming and robotic controls.

I concentrate on missile technology early in the game. Scatter packs do enormous amounts of damage to LOWER tech ships; they become useless in a few decades, so KEEP UPGRADING. I never make ships just to make them, usually I have no fleet except for the ships guarding my new colonies. It's also important to stay ahead in missile tech so your bases can wipe out incoming fleets easily.

As soon as the first race I've met declares war on me (and they always do :-) I pick the best looking planets they own, move in with ground forces and take them, and park several ships overhead to protect them. I tend to make large ships that take several turns -- with the tech advantage, you can make ships that are near-impossible to damage. Once the planets have gotten shields and are churning out bases, move on to the next group. If at all possible, do NOT bomb planets you plan to take. By the time you attack, you should have many more ground combat advances than the enemy. You can take a planet easily with 1/3 the troops they have, so don't bomb them and ruin their factories.

The most successful game I ever had was when the Meklar declared war on me a few decades in. Just afterward, they "exploded" (sent out about 8 colony ships all over the place). I walked in and took Meklon with 50m troops to their 100m -- I only took 5 casualties, and got 500+ factories! I went around and did the same thing to all their older colonies, then ran roughshod over their new colonies. 10 turns later, they had dropped from 2nd to 4th place and I had doubled my production.

As for Orion: I ignore it for a long time, since the computer's attempts to take it are pretty pitiful. About the time I get Stellar Converters I build a huge ship, fill it with converters, add adv damage control, beam extenders, and lightning shields (or displacement device if I have it) and the best engines/computers/etc, and take about 8 turns to build it. Then I stomp the guardian. By that time, I don't really NEED orion, but it's better than letting some other race get the technology. I usually win the game before Orion is a fully-developed planet.

Contributed by: Todd Perry

2.D.4) Strategy for winning with the Silicoids
I find the Silicoids to be very easy to win with. They key word for them is --- expand.

I tend to prefer planets with difficult environments. The other races can't colonize them, so leaving them basically undefended seems to work. Eventually, when other races start developing the tech to colonize them I do have to start building bases. (Those few 'good' planets I take also have to be defended of course).

Theoretically, I suppose, I'm vulnerable to bombing raids with undefended planets, but I find that other races just aren't that interested in attacking worlds they can't colonize, and they turn their attention elsewhere.

Contributed by: Bronis Vidugiris

2.D.5) Strategy for winning with the diplomatic races (Human & Darlok)
I like both the Darloks and the Humans because I like to mess with the diplomacy screen. For the humans it's quite easy (and fun) :) to have all the other races at war with each other while you conserve your resources. And if you're in a good defensive position playing the Darlok's it's fun to crank up sabotage and keep inciting the opponents' worlds to rebel.

I don't know if my strategys are very effective, but they are kind of fun.

What I do hate is the production bonus the opponents get on impossible/hard. I don't mind losing to the computer but I want to be out-manuevered, not buried.

Contributed by: disciple@u.washington.edu (Matthew Amendt)

I find it easiest to win with the diplomatic races on Impossible level. I have played 5 games on v1.3 Impossible/Large/5 with the Humans and Darloks, and I have yet to lose any of them. One of those games (Humans) had a horrible start, where I had but 4 planets most of the game, yet I still won in the endgame (Yet I have won only 1 out of 7 games with the warrior races, Bulrathis, Alkaris, and Mrrshans).

Contributed by: cox@unx.sas.com (Jim Cox)

2.E) Strategies against specific races

My notes on the other races as opponents are:

Alkaris (honorable militarists) - don't attack them unless you mean business.

Bulrathis (aggressive ecologists) - usually low-tech, Make sure you have high tech and at least 2 to 1 troops in ground attacks.

Darloks (aggressive diplomats) - the ones I love to hate. My first target, if nearby.

Humans (honorable diplomats) - try to be friends, as they won't attack first. If powerful, they may be favored by the Council; if so, outflank them and destroy their allies rather than attacking them.

Klackons (xenophobic industrialists) - no real feeling for them.

Meklars (erratic industrialists) - not worth cultivating much as friends, as they may turn on you for no reason at all.

Mrrshans (ruthless militarists) Usually the least powerful, with few worlds and no tech. I cultivate their friendship, then sic em on my enemies.

Psilons (pacifistic technos) - I got a lot of advances from them as Humans, by exchange. But in the end, they were a big threat.

Sakkra (aggressive expansionist) Haven't been a threat. They do tend to break non-aggression pacts, but they've never attacked.

Silicoids - (xeno expansionists) Usually the major enemy, with the most worlds. Definitely an enemy.

Mind you, each opponent may differ from the standard. You need to play close attention to their personalities in your game. Expansionists are almost always enemies. Xenophobes are hard to get friendly; you need to bribe them. Erratics can turn on you at any time. Honorables are better as friends. Militarists should generally be allowed to build a huge low-tech fleet.

Contributed by: Douglas Zimmerman

2.E.1) Klackons:
In my opinion Klackons are the toughest opponent in the game. When I lose, it is normally to them. They are just too efficient at getting an overwhelming position in the beginning. Furthermore, since they tend to be xenophobic, they are tough to deal with diplomatically. The two most effective strategies I have found against them are:

1) Play games where they aren't involved!

2) On a more serious note, attack them as soon as possible in the game. This is especially true if you have a ground combat advantage of some sort. If you can capture their colonies early in the game, they will keep depleting the population of their other planets to attack back. This is doubly hard on them because their population is their strength! They lose twice as much in production per person killed as the other races. You will find that even in the beginning, their home worlds will be protected by missile bases. Make sure you build some spacecraft that can take the bases out. If you can't beat them early, you are unlikely to be able to beat them later on. A little lead for them in production now tends to translate into a big lead in production and technology for them later. By the way, the Sakkras have a built in ground attack advantage that is perhaps less obvious. Specifically, they grow back faster so if you are trading population 1 for 1, they get the better of it. I have creamed the Klackons with the Sakkras using this strategy.

Contributed by: Dave Chaloux

I agree that klackons are toughest- see my recent post for request on others experience. Klackons are tough because (1) they invest in factories, (2) they will build thousands of gnats if you lack a stack-attack weapons, and, most impressively, (3) they switch to other ships (most recently medium and large-sized missile platforms) if you show up with a stack destroyer. [... editor]

Humans are good for attacking Klackons, as Klackon gnats don't have strong weapons, so shields are very effective, and propulsion tech leads to a stack -killer.-

Contributed by: Drew Fudenberg

2.F Strategies for different size galaxies

2.G Warfare

2.G.1) Ship Design
Following are different people's ideas about what kinds of ships to design:

With regard to whether it is better to build large fleets of small ships or small fleets of large ships:

Depends on the technology that I have, and the technology my principal adversary has. This is why good espionage is vital. If my opponent lacks streaming weapons, drive pulsars, or black hole generators (the principle anti-stack weapons), large fleets of tiny ships are very dangerous. If they have them (and especially if they have good planetary bases with high end Scatter-Pack missiles), look to build big powerhouses.

As I said in another post, don't make the mistake of fighting the last war.

Another tip later in the game is to build Planetary Defense Stations. This is essentially a huge ship, with the maximum armor, and retro engines. Max out the shields, ECM, and targeting computer. Spend nothing on Maneuver.

The specials should be Repulsor beam, High Energy Focus, and Automated Repair or Black Hole Generator.

Then load it to the maximum with beam weapons, especially streaming weapons. No missiles (use the planetary batteries for that). Then station one at each planet. Its entire job is to keep bombers off the planet. Because you used retros, you'll get a lot more weapons on board, and it doesn't need to move much anyway.

Contributed by: Dave Weinstein

This game appears to support the combined arms concept quite well. I usually generate a fleet that consists of several regional task forces. Each task force contains many long range missile boats (on small or medium platforms), several dedicated bombers (on medium or large platforms), several cruisers (beam/stream weapons on large platforms), and a few heavies loaded with short-range heavy hitting weapons (beams/streams/etc) (huge platforms).

In attack, the missile boats concentrate on taking out the enemy's killer swarms (lots of small/medium platforms that attack en-masse). The object is to prevent these ships from hitting your heavy ships with a massed attack.

The bombers head straight for the planet and toast the defensive systems. Usually the planet targets the larger number of missile boats, and ignores the bombers. If the bombers strike hard enough, the planet defenses will go down and any missiles launched will disappear.

The cruisers escort the bombers to the planet. It is important that the cruisers outnumber the bombers so as to make a more tempting target for any intercepting forces.

The heavy ships usually hang back until the missile boats have killed enough of the enemy to prevent mass attacks. They then swing out to take on the enemy heavy ships with any ammo left in the missile boats used for support.

Of course the plan gets modified depending on the composition of the enemy fleet, but after playing large and huge galaxies, this seems a good tactic to use. To take full advantage of this tactic you must stay current in missile technology or you will get to watch them bounce off the enemy's shields. Side note: massed missile boats make nice raiders to go in an take out poorly escorted heavy platforms.

Happy hunting!

Contributed by: Karl S. Mathias

Suggested Ship types:

The Fighter:
MAX Maneuverability and Attack. Ignore shields unless your tech level is absurd in which case strap on a low level one. Put on Either a Neutron pellet gun or a mass driver (if possible) to carve through armor. Inertial stabilizers are nice, so are teleporters.

Brutal early on, anti-stack weapons will butcher them late in the game unless you have an insane tech edge. If you are the Alkaris, ignore the above and build 'em all the time.

The Archer:
Large ship with a lot of missiles. Scatter packs are nice unless your opponents have good shields. If your battle run long, strap on some torps and hang back. MAX Shields, + attack. If you need to save space, scrimp on maneuverability. After all, you want to hang back.

Vulnerable ships, but if you get some good missiles, they can be brutal. Scatter pack VII or X are excellent against all but the best defended enemy ships. If your missile tech is lagging, skip this class entirely. Stick to the shooters.

The Knight:
Large ship with lots of good beam weapons. Max everything, armor, shields, etc. DON'T, however, use a double hull-- it eats too much space. Good weapons are mass drivers, hard beams, Gauss Autocannons (You gotta love 'em), and if you are facing lots of fighter stacks, Tachyon and Graviton rays. I avoid anything that doesn't halve enemy shields. That way the ships will still be effective in thirty years.

Resist the temptation to base your fleet around knights. Your fleet should remain BALANCED. The knights role is to clean up after the fighters and archers have chewed up the enemy. Too many of this class will eat all your fleet resources and get mauled by enemy fighter stacks which ate up your own, smaller, stacks.

The Gladiator:
Huge, top of the line death star type ships. They're fun, but hideously inefficient. For the price of one Gladiator you can buy, literally, 200 small fighters. Now, which would you rather face? The purpose of the gladiator class is to carry all the cool, huge toys you develop. This is where you deploy the black hole generators, the death rays, and the plasma torps. Also, ALWAYS put on AUTO REPAIR, and DON'T skimp on armor, shields, or attack value. Maneuverability is of secondary importance to the other three.

The gladiator is a special purpose ship. Use one with black hole generators to eat enemy stacks, preferably AFTER they have engaged your fighters. They are also very tough, especially with auto-repair, so large numbers of enemys who cannot kill it in one round are basically doomed to die of attrition.

The Bomber:
Don't build one. Its vulnerable and next to useless. Strap a few bombs on everything you build (they are small), and you won't need to waste resources on a ship which cannot fight.

Exception 1: In the opening, you may need a few dozen bombers as bombs are still pretty large.

Exception 2: There isn't one.

Ship design hint: Early in the came Computer players buy lots of ships with gatling and other lasers. A class IV shield is relatively easy to acquire and will make you INVULNERABLE to such weapons. The contrapositive is, of course, also true. So upgrade your fighters to neutron pellet guns as soon as possible.

Contributed by: Pat Casey

2.G.2) Best Weapons
At any rational tech level (I have yet to exceed 70 and I have won on impossible large a number of times), the Death Ray is an overpriced, oversized toy with no real use.

Consider that for the space of 1 death ray I can generally strap on some 20 pulse phasors. Against anything but a dreadnaught, the pulse phasors are a better deal.

Pulse phasors: 12.5 DAM X 3 X 20 = 750 damage MEAN
Death Ray:     600 damage MEAN
Mind you shields will tend to shift this back towards the death ray, but you get no points for overkill! It will still only kill 1 Fighter, while my pulse phasors could kill some 60.

At insane (above 70) tech levels, the death ray may be a better deal, but at the levels I tend to reach, it just isn't worth it. At least not the way I see things.

Contributed by Pat Casey

2.H) Vital Technologies

2.I) Diplomacy

Ok, some notes on spying in MOO.

1) Just because somebody is spying on you does not mean you will get reports. They must A) suceed at spying on you and B) get caught before your counter-intelligence types will report to you. What this means in practice is that really good spies like the Darlocks can rob you blind and either avoid being caught or frame somebody else for the act.

2) The fact that you do not receive reports on spying is a GOOD sign. It means your internal security forces are on the ball and people aren't messing with you.

3) In most Easy, Simple, and Average games, the computer doesn't use its spies well. Since it isn't spying heavily, you won't see much sucessful computer espionage. Exception: The Darlocks can do wonders with a small budget.

4) In any game with the Darlocks, DON'T be too prepared to trust all those reports about the Psilon's spying on you. Accept the possibility, even the likelyhood, that the Darlocks are actually behind it and framing another race.

5) In any Hard or impossbile game, IF you have a tech edge then you MUST play with a high internal security or risk losing it. If you are behind technically, then you can save money by not cracking down with the KGB types.

6) In my opinion, the only worthwhile use of spies is for espionage. Factory destruction is just not cost effective. Exception: IF the DARLOCKS, then try these two gambits as they tend to be cost effective. First, try forcing enemy planets into rebellion and then invading after the invariable ground battles weaken the defender's empire. Alternately, try concentrating on missile base sabotage over one planet to soften it up for invasion. Again, as anybody but the Darlocks, the cheapest way to blow up a missile base is with a cruiser.

7) Espionage is HEAVILY dependant on your computer tech relative to your target race. IF you can keep only one tech current and are counting on spies for the rest, then concentrate on computer widgets.

I hope this A) clears up some confusion and B) gives people some nasty ideas about how to use the Darlocks fully.

Contributed by: Pat Casey

Spying is fairly hard, because:

1) Your spies have to survive the initial launch (or roll) of the counter-intelligence (MI6 ? :-) forces, which is not too hard if you are not spying against Darloks or a race with much higher rate in Computer Tech. They have a unmodified 50% chance of being not stopped in their activities.

2) The surviving spies have a 15 % chance (modified by a difference in Computer Tech and the 'Darlok bonus') of actually getting something done. If you are spying a race with a difference in Computer Tech of over 15 to his advantage, you'll never succeed!

If one of your spies 'confesses' then you loose all the spies!

I found out that spying the Darloks (bonus) and Psilons (advanced Computer Tech) is extremely hard.

Contributed by: Petteri Bergius

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