How Early is Early?
Some races, such as the Lizards, Birds, Fascists and even Privateers, can hit your homeworld by Turn 10 with enough cloaking, medium warships to destroy it. Granted, they have to find your homeworld first, and staying hidden really helps to buy time. However, they will find your homeworld eventually, and you need to have just enough, but not TOO much, in defenses to counter this tactic.
What Should You Do?
Scout: if you find out who the races are next to you, it’s easier to take appropriate action.
Colonize “approach path” planets: if you can push out early, dropping at least 1 clan on each planet along a probable attack route, your enemy has to bring all his fuel with him from further away. If he has to hit one of your miniature colonies to get fuel, at least you’ll get some warning of his advance.
Run Sims: to really understand how your race defends against others, you need to run simulations and get an idea of what they are capable of.
Build Defense Posts: a few additional Defense Posts each turn on your home world is affordable, and can mean the difference between a win and a loss.
Build one Defensive Ship: some races have a good torpedo or light carrier that can be built cheaply and does decently well against other medium ships. Examples include the Cygnus, Patriot, Loki, & Cat’s Paw.
Cheap Fighters? Stock up your Starbase! If you are a race that builds fighters in space, build some and load them into your starbase. The difference in power between a base with 20 and 40-60 fighters is quite a lot, and requires several more ships to beat.
What NOT to do
- Don’t buy fighters at 100 MC per fighter. You can’t afford this early game, and if you buy enough to make a difference, you’ll be so far behind that you’ll lose anyway.
- Don’t move ships into open space 81 ly away from your homeworld. Even if you hide your waypoint, it’s quite easy to figure out where the ship started from.
- Don’t overdo it. If you build a ton of defenses, and neglect your economy, you’re hurting yourself a lot, and you’ll die to a larger attack later in the game anyway.
- Don’t drop a big minefield over your homeworld. It’s like painting a big target on yourself. Most players will simply switch to harassing your shipping instead, and take note of your home world position for a mid-game strike.
I Survived! … Now What?
The first thing you need to know is that your enemy is now scared. He invested a lot into a knock-out blow, and you didn’t go down. He’s lost a bunch of ships, which is probably nearly all the warships he has, and he knows you’ll be out for blood.
Instead of trying to immediately take him out in return, which will severely hurt your early game economy, I recommend sending some ships to harass his shipping, and to force him to build more warships. He already had to delay freighter-building because of his aggression with early warships, and forcing him to build even more warships with a crappy economy will make him much easier to beat once your economy starts to outstrip his. However, you need to send at least 1-2 ships to harass him, because otherwise he might just send more ships into your space to disrupt your shipping, and you want him on the defensive, not you.
I Lost my Homeworld. Is it Game Over?
It is SO not over. Set yourself on the road to vengeance, but first, scream like a little girl and try to get some help. You will pay dearly for this help, but it’s your road back into the game. Offer whatever you need to so that another race comes to your aid and punishes the aggressor, who will now have difficulty defending all this space he’s created for himself. His warships, if any survived, will also be out of position to defend his own homeworld. If he has to build even more warships, his economy will really stink, even if he’s got your (former) space to expand into.
If you have any warships left, send them into his territory. Similar to a successful defense, you need to get him on the defensive, and building less freighters.
If you have freighters left, pull clans, supplies and money away from the planets near your homeworld, and head the other direction (or better yet, in multiple directions). You need some clans left to rebuild, and even if you have to give them to your other neighbour, at least your attacker doesn’t get them.
Many hosts will set up games such that you require a certain amount of planets or you are eliminated. Thus, try to populate a few out-of-the-way planets, which will be inconvenient for other players to destroy.