The Rebels are quite a well-rounded race, with a large carrier, decent medium but specialized warships, but often suffer against enemies with cloaking. Their defining ability is the Rebel Ground Assault, which does massive damage to colonist populations and structures, while leaving natives untouched.
- Many specialty ships, decent medium carrier (Patriot) and minelayer (Tranquility).
- Rebel Ground Assault
- Soften up enemy planets
- Increase native taxes
- Recover from Scorched Earth
- Planets cannot attack your ships
- Best Hyperdrive ship: Falcon
- Decent Large Carrier (4th best ship in game)
- Make fighters cheaply (5 supplies, 3 Tri, 2 Moly)
- Access to best fighter-making ship (Gemini Transport)
- High tolerance to arctic worlds
- Immune to Dark Sense of Evil Empire
- Can easily prepare against early attacks
- No strong general-purpose medium warships
- No economic bonuses (other than self-RGA, below)
- No cloakers
- No special defenses against cloakers (just regular minefields)
- Low beam count on ships makes mine-sweeping difficult
The Rebel Ship List
Rebels have a lot of useful ships, but their ships are relatively specialized in function, and should operate in groups.
Falcon – the best HYP ship in the game. It can make a maximum of three perfect hops, and then be completely out of fuel, although two hops is more common. These ships are your remote-colonization advantage; it’s not as good as the Cyborg’s assimilation, but it DOES allow remote colonies of decent size. Later in the game, you can use these as one-shot RGA machines to bombard enemy planets, forcing him to divert warships for defense.
NFCarrier – you have a fuel carrier, but most of your ships have decent fuel tanks. However, this ship is so light that it can also be used to move money around, although you have the Falcon or MDSFs for that.
MDSF – your freighter when you can’t build a two-engine ship with a larger cargo hold, such as a Gemini or LDSF.
Gaurdian – the name of this ship is “officially” misspelled, but it has the highest number of torp tubes of any Rebel ship, and makes a decent one-shot defender, as it will usually get two volleys of torpedoes off before being destroyed. Its only use is to soften up an enemy ship so that either a starbase or a Rush can take it out.
Sagittarius – this ship is usually used as a fighter-builder, or a slightly cheaper Gemini. The Sagittarius has a larger fuel tank and is lighter, so in a pinch, you could use it as a Rush-escort to supply fighters and fuel.
Tranquility – your one minelayer. All your other torp ships have pathetic cargo holds, so this is the ship of choice. You can fight with this ship, as it has decent mass and crew, but it still loses against many medium warships because of its lower armament count.
Patriot – your medium-warship killer. Only three ships can stand up well to this tiny carrier: the Resolute, the Emerald and the Firecloud. Everything else suffers heavy damage as it tries and fails to shoot down enough fighters while getting into torpedo range. Because these ships are cheap (1 engine), they should be fielded in pairs or as part of battlegroups (see below).
Gemini – your best fighter-builder. Can build up to 40 fighters per turn. Acts as a decent double-MDSF in a pinch, although it is quite heavy (more than a LDSF by 10kt).
Iron Lady – your highest-beam-count ship, and thus the best single minesweeper. Unfortunately, its low crew count means that it’s almost always captured in combat. However, you need these ships to accompany invasion fleets, to deal with enemy minefields.
Neutronic Refinery – you will need one of these, at least, to supply your Rushes with fuel. As you do not have any cloaking ships of your own, enemies are likely to see you coming, and will pull fuel off their outer worlds. To create a staging point, you can use a Refinery.
Super Transport (STF) – these are overkill in most situations. An LDSF will usually suffice, and the STF is a big target for enemy cloakers.
Rush – your capital ship, and the 4th best warship in the game (after the Gorbie, Biocide, and Golem). Similar to the Robot ships, its weakness is minesweeping (only 5 beams), so you should either escort it with an Iron Lady, or at least ensure to equip each Rush with Disruptors or better (preferably Heavy Disruptors or Heavy Phasers).
Merlin – make Moly with this ship. Moly is always the most rare mineral per game settings, and you need Moly for high-tech ship components and fighters as well.
Using Rebel Ships
The Rebels are a race that actually need a second and third starbase early, due to the fact that their medium warships are cheap, but won’t beat most early-game threats one-on-one. Thus, you will need more ships than others to survive the early game. The other additional starbase is for Falcons (of course), while your homeworld pumps out Transwarp Freighters. The Cygnus, the Guardian, and the Patriot are your mid-range fighting ships of choice, but all of them are too light and have difficulty beating some of the more dangerous medium warships, such as the Resolute, the Lizard Class Cruiser, the Ill Wind, Super Star Destroyer, and the Emerald.
For defense, you want to equip these 1-engine ships with the cheapest engines you can get away with (I recommend Nova 5’s), cheap beams (X-rays are fine), and the best torps you can afford (preferably Mark 7s). The reason for cheap beams is that they will rarely get into beam range before being destroyed. Their torpedo load should be light – enough for 3 volleys, maximum. Two volleys is usually all they will manage to fire before being destroyed. However, two of them will destroy any of the heavier ships mentioned above, which means that you lose one cheap ship, and your opponent loses a heavier, more expensive one.
For offense, you need Transwarps on every second ship, and no worse than Nova 5s on the others. As mentioned in “How to Equip Ships”, Nova 5’s still allow decently-efficient warp 8 movement, whereas Stardrive 1’s basically don’t allow you to move anywhere on a reasonable amount of fuel. If going on the offensive (and you should), make up battlegroups of 3 ships (see suggestions below), and harass different areas of space if you don’t think you can get enough together for a homeworld strike.
It is worth mentioning that against a Colonial Patriot, the Guardian will do quite well if equipped with Mark 7’s, because three Mark 7 hits tends to destroy a Patriot. Large minefields are better!
Your only good mine-layer is the Tranquility (380 cargo), because all your other torpedo ships have small cargo holds (Iron Lady at 60 cargo, Sage/Cygnus at 50).
Your only good mine-sweeper (although easily captured in combat) is the Iron Lady. You may ask “why not use two Cygnus?” The answer is that the ship with the lower ID will sweep first, and unless the higher-ID Cygnus is deep in the minefield, then it won’t get to sweep at all, as the edge of the minefield will now be out of sweeping range. Instead, you want ONE ship with a large number of beams, so that it can sweep a large chunk of mines while sitting safely at the edge of the minefield.
Rebel Battlegroup Suggestions:
- Patriot + Cygnus (Xrays + Mark 4 or 7) + Gemini (Disruptors)
- Patriot x2 + Gemini w/Disruptors
- Tranquility (minelayer) + Guardian (combat) + Iron Lady (minesweeper). Make sure all ships use the same torp type!
- Rush + Sagittarius/Gemini + Iron Lady + Tranquility
- In each of these combinations, you can have 1 ship (Patriot or Guardian) with Nova 5’s, and tow it with a heavier ship.
- At least one (1) of your three (3) ships should have Disruptors for emergency minesweeping.
- If you have multiple torp ships in a group, they should have the same torp types, so they can reload/swap payload.
In the above scenarios, the Gemini refills the Patriot after any fighting, and the Tranquility in the third group refills the Guardian, if it happens to survive combat. The Geminis or Tranquilities should also carry supplies for post-battle repairs, and for repairing damage from minehits (both the Tranq and Gem will survive a minehit, and should tow lighter ships).
In the fourth scenario, you bring both a minelayer and a minesweeper with your Rush, and you also have a ship filled with fighters and supplies. The Rush itself should be carrying no less than 120 fighters and 75 supplies (to repair 1 minehit (http://www.vgaplanets.ca/vgapcalc.php#mine_hit_damage) or glory device).
Patriots are great 1-shot ships that can take out most other medium warships, and they are very cheap to build. A set of 3-4 Patriots, with a Gemini trailing them for re-arming fighters, can do a significant amount of damage by RGA’ing planets and destroying shipping, and will require the response of even larger ships, such as carriers and battleships. If you lose a few, they aren’t that expensive anyway, and it’s often worth drawing off large ships so your own carriers can hit juicier targets.
The Self-RGA: More Taxes, Happier Natives
Yes, you can Rebel Ground Assault your own planets. Why would you do this? Simply put, it restores 30 native happiness, which allows more taxation. Here’s how you do it:
- Pick a planet with very high native tax income.
- Only build 60 factories and 20 defense posts on the planet (60 for some supply income to rebuild after RGA, and 20 defense posts to hide from scans)
- Tax the natives until happiness 70.
- Ensure the colonists are at happiness 100.
- Have a LDSF or even STF over the planet (depending on the number of clans needed for native over-taxing).
- Transfer most of the clans (all except 6-10 or so) to the freighter.
- Have the freighter RGA the planet on the next turn, killing most of the remaining colonists (60%).
- The planet will lose 20 factories (30%) and 4 defense posts (20%), which you can then rebuild.
- Native happiness will increase by 30.
- Colonist happiness will decrease from 100 to 40 (lowest possible before they start to riot).
- Dump the colonists from the freighter back onto the planet.
- Resume taxing the natives.
- Repeat 7-10 turns later after colonist happiness has recovered (freighter can go do something else in the meantime, such as self-RGA a different planet).
If you do this with several planets, you can significantly increase your tax income.
RGA – Recovering from Scorched Earth
The Scorched Earth defense is simply to leave your attacker with nothing of value – planets stripped of fuel, supplies, minerals and MC, and with native and colonist taxes at 100%. This means, generally, that he won’t be able to tax the natives for a long time.
However, you alone have a solution: if you RGA the planet, native happiness will recover at 30% / turn! You have to be careful about your own clans’ happiness, and do much as you’re doing above, with picking up and dropping clans.
Early Additional Starbases vs. Merlin
High Mineral Games:
Because you often have to field several smaller ships in groups, it’s worth building an earlier 2nd starbase so that you can get enough ships produced early, and later focus on larger ships with your home world base. At first, this 2nd starbase will make Falcons for scouting and long-range colonization, and then as you increase its tech levels, this starbase will switch to building medium warships, while your 3rd or 4th starbase will make the Falcons, or support ships such as the Gemini.
Your second starbase should probably be built around Turn 10-12, and your 3rd starbase around turn 15-20, assuming abundant minerals.
Low Mineral Games
In low-mineral games, you’ll want to build a Merlin as soon as possible, even if you’re not fortunate enough to find a Bovinoid world. If you do, maybe a second Merlin might even be advisable. Put a starbase over this Bovinoid world for better defenses, and it’s always cheaper to bring in megacredits than move minerals or supplies.
An early attack can come as early as Turn 10, and a larger attack could come as early as Turn 15. To prevent your home world from getting wiped out, consider building an early Gemini for fighter production, and possibly also a Patriot for early defense. If the Gemini stocks the starbase to 60 fighters, and the Patriot has full fighters, it will take more than 4 Resolutes, LCCs, or Emeralds (the best early ships in the game) to kill the Starbase. This is generally more than any player can afford this early. For extra defense, you could also build a Cygnus with Mark 4 torps, to be used as either a minelayer or to destroy scouts or at least damage medium warships.
Yes, doing this costs a lot of resources, and can slow down production of LDSFs that you need for fast economic development. If you can find your neighbours early enough (with Falcons, perhaps), you may be able to forgo these measures. However, if you suspect an early strike, whether due to the scoreboard (lots of early warships), diplomatic nuances, or player tendencies, then make defensive preparations!
Falcons as Minesweepers
This tactic was first mentioned on Donovan’s VGAP site in this Rebel Falcon Article by Richard McAteer.
Basically, you put Heavy Phasers on your Falcons and HYP them into a minefield as a group of 4-5, and sweep at 800 mine units / turn each. Because you can end up in the middle of a minefield when you HYP, it’s easy to have multiple ships sweeping without having the first sweeper shrink the field too small for the rest of the ships to sweep.
The best way to make these Falcons is to find an Amphibian world with Moly, put a starbase on it, and supply it with a single LDSF (and perhaps HYP money in from another Falcon, if needed).