The Feds are a balanced race, and have both powerful medium and large ships. They have both resource bonuses (MC) and penalties (mining). They have one smaller carrier, and a smaller battleship, which fight very well together.
- Good choice of ships
- Many utility ships (terraformers, anti-cloaker)
- Strong torpedo ships
- Fighter bay bonus (ship fights as if has +2 fighter bays)
- Crew bonus (shield bonus)
- Taxation bonus (double tax income)
- Super-Refit (can re-equip existing hulls with better engines, beams and tubes)
- Low mining rate (70%), or 30% less than other races.
- Most powerful battleship is very expensive.
The Feds’ main weaknesses, aside from being a torpedo race without cloaking, are that they find it very expensive to go toe-to-toe with carrier races late in the game, and they need a Merlin because their mining rate is 30% less than other races. The Feds are vulnerable to early strikes, especially before they can get Loki ships built and positioned, and their military power can fade off later in the game as big carrier races reach their full potential. Thus, while you don’t have a particular Achilles Heel, you aren’t particularly strong against any one race, either. Your natural enemies are therefore those who won’t consider you as an ally, or those that sabotage your existing alliances.
Federation Opening Strategy
Similar to other races, you can start with two LSDFs (large freighters), or alternately, you can build two Nebulas, and send them in opposite directions, and THEN follow up with LSDFs when you know where the good planets are. The nice thing about Nebulas is that they have nearly twice the cargo capacity of MSDFs, and they are among the most powerful medium-size ships in Planets. Per my analysis below (Equipping your Ships), it is best to equip Nebulas with Blasters or Disruptors, and Mk7 torpedo tubes – it is worth the investment, as you will be able to take on almost any other races’ medium ship and win. Since the value of a ship is not only its cost, but also its location (i.e. you’ve invested time in moving that ship to the edge of your empire), it is worth it to be able to dominate your opponents’ ships and claim the territory, especially early-on, as borders are established.
One primary Federation strategy is to crank out many under-equipped ships before the ship limit, and then later retro-fit those ships with the best components, as time allows. Thus, early additional starbases, if you can support production of good hulls, will help you. However, with your limited mineral income, you have to be sure that you’re not building starbases that can’t be productive, or that you’re not sacrificing better hulls (especially the high-tech ones) to build starbases (which aren’t nearly as good as ships).
Your main strategy, as I mention with many races, is “get an ally”. Ideally, a carrier-based ally. You should do this early in the game, and do your best to protect them in the early part of the game, so together you can dominate later in the game.
Equipping your Ships
Most of your ships are torpedo-based ships. Early in the game, you are going to have to choose between Mark 4 torpedoes (the most mineral efficient for their damage), and Mark 7 torps (the most money-efficient for their damage).
Here are some considerations when equipping two of your most common ships: the Nebula, and a smaller patrol / raider ship, the Nocturne.
4-beam, 4-tube heavier ship with large cargo and fuel capacity.
- Fed Nebula wins against any 2-torp-tube ships, and wins regularly against the lighter 4-tube ships like the Cygnus, Deth Specula, Meteor, and Loki, regardless of torp choice.
Fed Nebula vs. Lizard LCC – LCC wins if both ships have Mk 4 torps (Blaster vs. Xray does not matter). Nebula wins 100% if Mk 7 vs. Mk 4, or 97% if both have Mk 7.
Fed Nebula vs. Lizard Vendetta – Feds win 100% unless inferior torps, in which case win rate drops to 91%.
Fed Nebula vs. Lizard Loki – Feds win 100% unless inferior torps, in which case win rate drops slightly to 99%.
Fed Nebula vs. Birds Deth Specula – Feds win 100% unless inferior torps, in which case win rate drops slightly to 98%.
Fed Nebula vs. Birds’ Resolute / Crystal Emerald – Fed wins 83% if both have Mk 7, or 100% if vs. Mk 4. Or 99% if both have Mk 4. Birds win 69% if Mk 7 vs. Fed Mk 4’s.
Fed Nebula vs. Patriot – Fed wins 65% if Mk 4’s (with 30% shields left), or 91% if Mk 7’s (with 50% shields left on average). Highly dependent on torp hit randomization.
Fed Nebula vs. Ill Wind – Fascist wins 100% if better torps, 87% if both Mk 4, or 55% if both Mk7’s. Fed wins 97% if Mk 7 vs. Mk 4.
Fed Nebula vs. Empire SSCr – Empire wins 92% even vs. Mk 7’s.
Fed Nebula vs. Empire SSD – Empire wins 99% vs. Mk 4’s, or 52% vs. Mk 7’s.
Fed Nebula vs. Empire SSCa – Empire wins 100% vs. Mk 4’s, or 68% vs. Mk 7’s.
Fed Nebulas(2) vs. Empire SSCa – Empire wins 98% vs. Mk 4’s, and 53% vs. Mk 7’s.
Fed Nebula vs. Robot Instrumentality – Robots win 100%, and only take 15% more hull damage on average vs. Mk 7’s.
Fed Nebula vs. Cygnus – Nebula always wins. The Cygnus just doesn’t mass enough to stand up to it.
Fed Nebula vs. Rebel Gaurdian Destroyer – Nebula wins 100% except with inferior torps, where win rate drops to 83%.
Fed Nebula vs. Patriots(2) – Patriots win vs. Nebula 93% of the time if Mk 4’s, but only 58% of the time if the Nebula has Mk 7’s.
Fed Nebula vs. (Cygnus + Patriot) – If Both Mk4’s, Colonies win 73%. If Feds have Mk 7’s, Feds win 69%. If both have Mk 7’s, Colonies win 67%.
Fed Nebula vs. (Patriot + Cygnus) – Very similar results to above. Colonies win 67% if both Mk 7’s, Feds win 67% if better torps, and Colonies win 72% if both Mk 4’s.
Fed Nebula should be equipped with Mk 7’s if facing Lizards, Birds, Fascists, Empire, Crystals, or Rebels/Colonies. Rebels and Colonies don’t have a torp ship capable of standing up to a Nebula, and typically, two Patriots will take out a Nebula, but the Nebula has a much better chance if they get lucky with Mk 7 torp hits. However, the Nebula is floating debris if it happens to run out of torps against another torpedo ship, and uses 3-7 torps per engagement against a light ship, 4-9 vs. a medium ship (Emerald), or as many as 9-15 vs. heavier ships (like an Ill Wind or Empire Carrier). Although the Privateers, Borg and Robots do not have a medium ship capable of standing up to a Nebula, the Neb takes far less damage if using Mk 7’s against the 2-tube torp ships and lighter 4-tube ships.
Fed vs. Birds/Crystals – if the enemy ship is equipped with Heavy Blasters and you only have X-Rays, your win rate drops to 67% if you both have Mk 7’s. However, beams greater than Blasters don’t matter much on the Fed side – the torps do most of the damage, and the beams only fire a couple of times (but the initial blast can make a difference).
Fed vs. Robot – Mk 4’s are probably fine vs. the Robots’ ships, in favour of better beams for sweeping, or you should invest in counter-minefields, using Mk 7’s or even Mk8’s.
Fed vs. Empire – You’re better off waiting for the Missouri w/Mk7’s to engage his carriers, especially with the Miss’ higher beam count vs. their low bay-count. Even TWO Nebulas don’t have a good chance of winning (47%) against an SSCa. However, two Nebulas with Mk 4’s have no chance at all…
A light, 1-engine ship, with 4 beams and 2 tubes. Fuel capacity is adequate for its light hull and cargo space.
Nocturne vs. Cats Paw – Nocturne wins 86% with Mk 4 vs Mk 4, 76% with Mk 7 vs Mk 7, but only 23% winrate with inferior torps.
Nocturne vs. ColdPain – ColdPain wins 97% with Mk 4’s (76% if D7 only has X-Rays vs. Nocturne Blasters), 87% with Mk 7’s (74% if D7 only has X-Rays), and Feds only win 56% with superior torps (80% if D7 only has X-rays). The ColdPain’s higher mass makes it a tough opponent, but superior beams can make quite a difference.