The Cyborg


The Cyborg are everyone’s favourite enemy. Because with assimilation, they can literally rebuild from anywhere, and once they are up and running, they can defeat any race in the game.  The Privateers are the only ones who really give them trouble, but massive minefields can often solve that problem.  The main problem the Cyborg have is getting even as far as the mid-game without someone killing them off.

Strengths:

  • Assimilation of natives.  Turn any natives into “Feudal” colonists (100% rate).  Turn any native world into a new home world, and enough clans to resist any ground attack.
  • Cube ships:  the largest battleship in the game (Annihilation), and also the 2nd largest carrier in the game (Biocide).
  • Self-Repair Mission:  even without supplies, repair 10% per turn.
  • Firecloud Chunnel:  move one Firecloud to another, along with any ships at the same location as the moving Firecloud.
  • Hyper Probe:  scout the opposition, or start a new homeworld anywhere on the map.

Weaknesses:

  • Terrible small and medium warships. Even the Firecloud loses to most torpedo-based races’ medium warships.
  • Very expensive capital ships
  • No defenses against cloakers (other than regular minefields)

Borg Strategy

  • Get an ally:  you need one of your neighbours to be your ally ASAP.  Pretty much any other race can beat you until you have your Firecloud network running, and at least 2 Cubes, and even THEN some of the early-attack races (Fascists, Lizards, Birds) can still make your life hell.
  • Minefields:  Although it’s generally a bad idea to put a big minefield over your Homeworld an announce its location, if you find out that either of your neighbours have cloakers, I would recommend you do exactly that.  Otherwise, he’s going to use cloaker tactics to pull away your big defending ships, and kill your homeworld.  Chances are, even without the minefield, he’d have found your homeworld anyway.  However, don’t drop the minefield before about Turn 8.
  • Start up a early second starbase quickly, preferably at the other end of your empire from your homeworld.  Choose a native planet, and you basically have a new homeworld.  Use two LDSFs – one with colonists to quickly assimilate most of the natives, and another LDSF as a starbase-in-a-can, to get this world established.
  • Send out probes:  these should find native worlds in the middle of the map, and also sensor sweep for your neighbours’ first colonies.  
  • Remote second homeworlds:  If you try for a “second start” with nothing but a probe, your best choice is a Bovinoid world, so that you don’t have to bring supplies, a Ghipsoidal world, so if you manage to build a starbase, you can build a Transwarp LDSF quickly and start feeding your starbase, or a Humanoid world, so your starbase gets Tech 10 hulls for a faster Firecloud.  Surprisingly, one of the best places to hide a colony is on the isolated worlds behind your neighbours.  Just keep in mind that if and when they find you, you’re going to have to make friends pretty fast.  You need to start these colonies all over the map, hoping that at least one will stay unnoticed for long enough to get you operational again.
  • You need to use your Fireclouds to boost your efficiency, even from the very beginning of the game.  One of the issues that other races struggle with is how to move clans off their homeworld efficiently – you don’t have this problem.  Instead, use early LDSFs to move minerals around to create second and third early starbases, for probe production, and if you can find an early Humanoid planet, possibly an early Stardrive 1 Annihilation for defense (fighters for Biocides are too expensive at this point).
  • If you are on the defensive, try to avoid getting your Fireclouds captured and cloned before the ship limit.  This generally means that you want to avoid combat with your Fireclouds for as long as possible, and reinforce with Quietus Cruisers if you need warships and can’t afford Annihilations.

Assimilation:

Assimilation Rate & Probe Drops:

1 clan, 1 supply 17-19 turns to assimilate; 11 turns to 100 Factories.
7 clans, 8 supplies 14-15 turns to assimilate, 6 turns to 100 Factories
14 clans, 1 supply 13-14 turns to assimilate

A little chart to help you out.

Turn Clans Population
1                        1                        100
2                        2                        200
3                        4                        400
4                        8                        800
5                      16                     1,600
6                      32                     3,200
7                      64                     6,400
8                   128                   12,800
9                   256                   25,600
10                   512                   51,200
11                1,024                102,400
12                2,048                204,800
13                4,096                409,600
14                8,192                819,200
15              16,384             1,638,400
16              32,768             3,276,800
17              65,536             6,553,600
18            131,072           13,107,200
19 Max Pop  Max Pop

Assimilation gives you both a boost to supplies (Factories) and minerals (Mines).  Whereas most races are going to have 100-130 factories per planet, and a normal maximum of around 200 mines, you’ll be easily able to build 300+ factories and 300+ mines on any world that you’ve assimilated.

Colonists vs. Natives.  While other races may benefit from taxation of native populations, all your natives turn into Colonists, which are technically Feudal government clans.  However, your assimilated natives also add to your capacity to build structures.  I believe that this results in a net gain over other races that can only tax the natives.

For example:  a 5-million native population of, say, Amphibians, with a Unity government at 9% (safe) tax, generates 810 MC / turn, plus the 100-130 Factories (typical).  A 5-mil colonist population at 9% (safe) tax generates 450 MC/turn, but can also build 323 Factories, giving 450+323 = 773 MC / turn, only a 37 MC/turn difference.  (Note that the 9% tax stays safe for Colonists even with the 323 Factories and 100 Mines, assuming a planet of 45-55 degrees).

Taking the same numbers (assuming safe taxes):

Bovinoid Anarchy = 120 Factories + 500 bonus supplies + 20 MC/turn = 640 MC/turn

Insectoid Feudal = 600 MC + 114 Factories = 714 MC/turn

Amphibian Feudal = 300 MC + 114 Factories = 414 MC/turn

Thus, on the “average” planet (not Bovi or Insect), we gain 773-414 = 359 MC/turn, or 86% more!  Otherwise, we’re in the ballpark – Bovi planets will be better, but we’re about tying insectoid planets when they don’t have superior governments.

So where do we start to lose out?  Well, if you find a really, really good native planet, such as a 8 mil+ Bovinoid or Insectoid Unity, then you won’t be able to take advantage of it for very long.  Furthermore, you will lose out on the Tech bonuses unless you drop down a Starbase within the first 12-13 turns.

Really good planets (at 9% tax):

8 mil Bovinoid Unity = 1296 MC + 800 +100 factories = 2196 MC

8 mil Insectoid Unity = 2592 MC + 100 factories = 2692 MC

8 mil Colonists = 720 MC + 383 factories = 1203 MC

Thus, “really good” planets, with 2/9 chance of having the best native life and depending on the host settings for native government, you’ll get roughly half the income from those planets, but you’ll also permanently deny them to your enemies.

Borg Tactics:

Chunnels

Guard your major chunnel points with cubes.  You do not want to accidentally chunnel some Darkwings to a well-developed area that could easily be destroyed.

If you want a bi-directional chunnel, you actually need 3 or even 4 Fireclouds.  Ensure that you don’t accidentally chunnel two of them back at the same time – thus, you should have separate “leaving” and “arriving” chunnel planets, to be safe.  Your “arriving” chunnel planets should be decently guarded, and protecting it with a minefield helps as well.

Offensive Colonization

You can actually use your probes offensively from the beginning of the game, by sending them to the borders of other players’ clusters, and ruining the native life there.  With 14 clans (and 1 supply), you only need 12-13 turns to completely wipe out any native life, and you might even be able to NUK a freighter or two with the planetary defenses, further slowing your opponent.  Doing this also gives you good recon, and if you approach a player as a ally, you have a ready-made base in his territory (just don’t NUK any of his freighters first, and if you ruined his Bovinoid Unity planet, don’t expect him to thank you for it).

Remote Colonies

One of the best places to drop clans are on the remote planets at the edges of the map.  These give great vision of ship movement within most clusters (especially where there’s open space to traverse), and can serve as come-back points if your home cluster is wiped out.  Another good place to do this is the center of the map, where it will take most players a little while to get there – you might even have a starbase or two set up by the time they arrive!  Humanoid worlds are ideal for this, as you can quickly produce a Firecloud and send more ships to develop the area – you just have to manage to do it before assimilating all the native life!

Allies:

Your best allies are early-game races that agree to protect instead of kill you (Lizards, Birds, Fascists).  Other good choices are Feds (super-refit of low-tech cubes), and Privateers (MBRs towing Fireclouds can really expand your network quickly).  However, don’t be too choosy about your allies – if the other player is good, can win you the game regardless of his race.

I would always choose an adjacent neighbour as one of your allies, no matter which race it is, because you need at least one border protected – you will easily fall if both your neighbours decide to attack, even if they aren’t actively working together.  However, you can usually do decently well against ONE enemy by giving ground, laying minefields, and stalling for time until you’re ready.

Enemies:

Pretty much everyone hates you, largely because of your assimilation ability.  The hardest races to deal with are those with cloaking, as you have no specific defenses against it.  One thing you CAN do if you suspect cloakers are orbiting a planet, is to use Chunnel tricks, such as having a Firecloud chunnel from that planet to one with good defenses, and within or behind a minefield.  By doing so, the cloaked ship will be displaced from their hiding place, although still cloaked, but hopefully at a location where they are less dangerous to your fleet, and hopefully also trapped in a minefield.

Against the Borg

The main problem with fighting the Borg is that they ruin all the native life in their developed zone.  Thus, what you gain by conquering them is a moneyless wasteland, where you have to truck in all your money, or hope that you generate enough supplies to build a ship or starbase here and there.

Thus, what you really need to do prior to an invasion is send planet-killer ships, where you can repeatedly wipe out Borg colonies before they assimilate too many natives.  The more you can do this, the slower the Borg will develop, and the more time you will have before the area becomes barren of life.

You need to explore ALL planets near your territory if you truly want to prevent Borg infestation.  Even dropping 1 clan with scouts will give you advance warning that a probe has taken the planet and a Borg colony is forming.

Most races will have a terrible time dealing with Cubes.  While they are very expensive for the Borg to make, they are also very difficult for other races to destroy.   Whenever possible, you want to out-maneuver cubes, and destroy their Firecloud network.  Because of the extreme fuel costs of moving cubes around the normal way, the Firecloud network is critical to Borg aggression and positioning.

Do not allow Fireclouds anywhere near your territory unless you have a firm and permanent alliance with the Borg.  Otherwise, Fireclouds should be killed on sight, without warning, if they approach anywhere that you don’t want cubes visiting.  I would also caution you that any Firecloud should be intercepted with either something that will barely kill it, or something that will kill both it and a cube, because if a Borg “shows off” a Firecloud, it could just be a trap for you, where he immediately chunnels in a cube to destroy your interceptor.

 

Borg Strategy by Faqudi:

All right. Let’s start with the basic strategy: go as wide as possible.

As Borg, keep your close planets as the second priority for like 5 first turns and go wide – very wide. Instead of building freighters and stuff like that, spend your first few turns building B200 Probes (Transwarps preferable) and send them in every direction (try to hit a planet to keep them hidden) with 7 clans + 8 supplies. On every planet which doesn’t have natives, drop one clan and beam up fuel. When you find a planet with natives you can assimilate, drop one clan and 2-4 supplies (depending on how many you have left). After dropping the clans on a native planet, jump away to another place. Later on, send another probe with more clans and supplies there and let it scout the nearby planets for more native life.

That way you’ll end up having a planet or a few here and there, but you’ll be assimilating natives all around the map. Your goal is to have a SB which can build a Firecloud (any engines and weapons) on most of those native planets.

Near your HW, keep your ships hidden by planet-hopping. You don’t want your neighbors to know which race is there.

After building a few probes, build LDSF or two (or three, you’ll need quite a lot of them eventually) and start developing your nearby planets. If you found a planet with natives, drop a few clans and a batch of supplies there, to jump-start the process. If you find a decent mineral planet without natives, send a couple of hundred clans and supplies there and start mining those minerals as fast as you can.

About taxing: tax your natives (while they still exist) to happiness level 50, or even 40. You should probably take a look at planets.nu Planetary Management Plugin for setting the correct tax levels and building mines, factories and defense posts on all planets with just one click.

You don’t also need to let your colonists grow very much, so you can easily tax them down to happiness level 70. If there are a lot of colonists on a planet with too cold or too hot climate, don’t let them grow at all and tax them to happiness level 50.

That’s the basic strategy for the first 10 or so turns for Borg.

Next part: ships.

Your most important ships (in this order) are: B200, Firecloud, Biocide, LDSF, Quietus, Annihilation, Merlin, Neutronic Refinery.B200 is used for colonizing, money transport and scouting.

You should have a Firecloud stationed at every SB (can be low-level engines and weapons, they don’t need to move much) and one with Transwarps for every fleet you plan to make.

Biocides are the bulk of your fleet firepower.
LDSF is the best mover of resources.
Quietus you should build for minelaying (Mk7 torps if you can, Mk4 if you can’t afford Mk7) and as an armed freighter. Build it instead of MDSF, as Quietus has larger cargo space and can tow other ships if necessary.  You also don’t want to send Fireclouds off alone on mine-laying duty, in case they get captured.
Annihilations are pretty good, but not as good as Biocides. Make them with best torps you can afford (Mk7 is usually a good choice, Mk8 if you have lots of money) and build one for every three or four Biocides you have.
Merlin and the Refinery are self-explanatory. Build a couple of both, and use Fireclouds to move them around and convert supplies to minerals and fuel.
You really don’t need any other ships in your fleet, so there’s usually no need to build any Watchers, B222s or B41s, although the B222 with high-end beams makes a pretty decent minesweeper. But then again, Biocides and Annis have 10 beams, so they’re pretty good at it too.

Against the Privateers:

1) Make an ally with a race which can protect you. Crystals are an obvious choice if they are nearby, as Privs hate Crystals. Fascists have POP ships – just one Nefarious or Saber can kill a whole Privateer pack. Feds and Lizards have Lokis, and Lizards have cloakers and ground combat advantage which can capture a lot of ground from the Privs and they can’t do anything about it. Robots can lay huge minefields cheaply.
Other races are not that great as an ally against the Privs.
2) If you can’t ally yourself with the races, buy the necessary ships. Trade a Firecloud for a Loki. Trade a Firecloud or even a Biocide for a Nefarious or a Saber, and clone them like there’s no tomorrow. Even a small cloaker which can lay mines or tow, can be of use against the Priv. Pay pretty much whatever it takes, otherwise you’re just a sitting duck.
3) In case you can’t ally or trade, spend your (excess) resources laying lots of overlapping minefields against the Priv border and hope that they don’t get through. This is actually what I’ve done in my current Borg game, as the Privs have stolen everything on one side of my space and I can’t build any ships there, or send any freighters to bring the resources back to starbases, etc. before I can trade a Loki from the Feds. Luckily there’s a whole other cluster of planets far away from the Privs where I can roam freely and build up my Biocide army and clone cloakers I traded from the Bird.

Generally about diplomacy:

Don’t antagonize anyone in the early game. They already hate you, because after you have had a planet for about 20 turns, there’s nothing left for them to gain. So try to chat everyone up and make them consider you as a friend and not a threat. That way you’ll more likely survive until that point where the ship limit hits, and you can start plotting the endgame with your armada of Biocides traveling from one side of the Echo cluster to another in just one turn.

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