Tactics are the small things that can change a battle situation in your favour. Here are a few things you can do on attack and defense to give yourself an advantage.
While mines around key bases can actually serve to give away the location of a key base, it may be better to have the minelayer present at the base, but out of fuel. If someone comes calling, put some fuel on the ship from the planet (or better, a cloaked ship), and drop a big minefield. In all cases, one must try to drop a minefield at the last possible moment, but not too late! The longer the minefield sits around, the higher chance that the enemy will sweep it away, go around it, or it will simply decay to an insignificant size.
It is often better, especially when facing fighter-based defenses (starbases and carriers), to send in a smaller, beam-heavy ship to whittle down the enemy’s fighter loadout before sending a bigger ship in. The smaller ship could have lots of beams, or beams + torpedoes. The small ship should have a very small loadout of the best Torps you can build, 3-4 torps per tube at the very most (more like 2 torps / tube), and cheap beams (X-rays). This tactic will often result in a weaker battleship beating something that it wouldn’t have otherwise.
Counters to Intercepts from Cloak
There is a feature in planets that is somewhat of a misnomer and referred to often as the “cloaked intercept”. What this means is that a ship that starts the turn cloaked can intercept another ship and fight that ship FIRST in the subsequent combat, regardless of the other player’s friendly code settings. This means that the Cloaker can specifically target the ship that it intercepts. While it might lose to any other ships at that point in space, it is guaranteed to fight, and most often destroy, the ship it chose to intercept. Using this tactic, races that own cloaking ships will often attempt to destroy a towing ship in an attempt to strand the towed ship. The counter tactic is to put just enough fuel on the towing ship such that it runs out of fuel at the end of its movement for that turn. You do this by having the (stronger) towed ship act as the fuel depot, adding fuel as needed to the towing ship. For example, you might tow a Virgo on which you’ve put low-tech engines, with a Gemini. A birdman player might use a Resolute to intercept the Gemini and destroy it, thus stranding your Virgo. However, though the Resolute decloaks and the Gemini would fight first in battle if it had fuel, instead the Resolute will ignore the fuel-less Gemini, and the Virgo will instead massacre it, and then the Gemini will happily tow the Virgo along next turn. Transfer all fuel off, and tow your support ships with a larger ship (such as an Automa). If cloaking enemies intercept your support ship from cloak, instead of being able to target that ship first, they will instead be forced to fight the larger ship. Especially in the case of the Robots and Empire, who each only have 1 minelaying ship hull, it is easy for enemies to shut down your minelaying ability completely, at the cost of only a few cloakers. You should escort all your fleets with minelayers, whether you’re the Robots or not. Minefields are an important tool for offense as well as defense. See also : Cloaker tactics