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The Planet Handbook - By Paladyne

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THE PLANET HANDBOOK
(version 1.01)

written by Paladyne
(updated 10/27/02)

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

II. A NOTE ON GAME SERVER MODES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

III. PLANET TYPES & DESCRIPTIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
CLASS M, EARTH TYPE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
CLASS K, DESERT WASTELAND . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
CLASS O, OCEANIC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
CLASS L, MOUNTAINOUS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
CLASS C, GLACIAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
CLASS H, VOLCANIC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
CLASS U, VAPOROUS/GASEOUS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

IV. GOLD EDITION PLANETS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

V. PLANETARY DEFENSES & CITADEL LEVELS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
LEVEL 1, THE PLANETARY TREASURY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
LEVEL 2, COMBAT CONTROL COMPUTERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
LEVEL 3, QUASAR CANNONS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
LEVEL 4, PLANETARY THRUSTERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
LEVEL 5, PLANETARY SHIELDING SYSTEM . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
LEVEL 6, INTERDICTOR GENERATORS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

VI. THE PLANETARY TRANSPORTER SYSTEM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

VII. THE CITADEL ADVANCEMENT TABLES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

VIII. TIPS, TRICKS, AND CASHING IN ON PLANETS . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
WHERE TO BUILD - TUNNELS AND BUBBLES . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
COLONIZING TRICKS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
PLANET FARMING FOR CASH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
PLANET FARMING FOR FIGHTERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

IX. INVADING SECTOR & PLANETARY DEFENSES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
ORDER OF EVENTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
THE PHOTON ADVANTAGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
BIG MOTHS, LITTLE MOTHS, FULL-SCALE WAR . . . . . . . . . . . 13

I. INTRODUCTION

Planets are major assets toward the end of any Trade Wars game. They can make or break a player or an entire corporation, and more often than not decide who wins and who loses. It is very difficult to win a game without owning at least one planet, and some games are played with planet destruction, capture, or ownership for a certain number of days the deciding factor. Where you build or hide your planets, and how far you advance them in levels, can decide how well you finish in a game.

In this chapter you will find both general and specific information on each standard planet type, citadel descriptions and advancement tables, as well as a few tips and tricks to use planets effectively and profitably. A BIG thank you to Traitor of tw-cabal.com fame for pointing out some of my errors.

In this chapter you will also find the term FOE. This doesn't refer to the enemy, but instead it refers to the trade products produced on planets and sold to and bought from ports. These products are of course Fuel Ore, Organics, and Equipment. The first letter of each product becomes F/O/E, or simply, FOE.

II. A NOTE ON GAME SERVER MODES:

Trade Wars Game Server (TWGS) can operate in 4 different modes. There are differences between how each mode operates, and what is available for the GameOp to modify. These 4 modes are identified as:

Game Mode identified as being...
-------------------------- -------------------------
TWGS (Gold extensions OFF) : version 3.11.xx
TWGS (Gold extensions ON) : version 3.11.xx Gold
MBBS (Gold extensions OFF) : version 3.11.xx MBBS
MBBS (Gold extensions ON) : version 3.11.xx MBBS Gold

The TWGS versions are the result of the rewrite by John Pritchett for playing Trade Wars over the Internet. The 2 versions for MBBS denote games that are similar to the Major-BBS version that made Trade Wars so popular. The Gold extensions allow the GameOp to customize the ships, planets, and/or aliens. The game mode can be identified on the [V]iew Screen from the Command prompt, and also on the title screen when you enter the game. The most recent release is version 3.11.55 (TWGS10155.EXE) and the date of release is 
February 14th, 2002.

III. PLANET TYPES & DESCRIPTIONS

There are 7 types of planets when a game universe is created. Most of them have a unique characteristic that sets them apart from the others, making it desirable, while some have no purpose except to waste Genesis torpedoes.

These descriptions for the planets are taken from the Planetary Specs database on the Computer menu. The description for each planet is listed, but below each description you will also a find helpful chart for each planet type, showing the production ratios, maximum population, and maximum capacities for each product. The daily production of FOE products is based on a bell curve, so the maximum production occurs at 50% of the maximum population. The recommended levels are also shown below. Colonists below the 50% mark tend to multiply and increase, while over the 50% mark tend to die off at a proportional rate. Some fluctuation also occurs due to weather patterns and the severity of the atmosphere.

Fighters cannot be produced directly, meaning you cannot designate any colonists to produce them. Fighter production is a percentage of the total daily production of products, and the formula is shown for each planet type. For example, if you placed 1,500 colonists under Fuel Ore on a Class M planet (FOE= 3/7/13, n/10), the colonists would produce 500 units of fuel and 50 fighters per day. If you added another 700 colonists to produce Organics, you would get 500 Fuel, 100 Organics, and 60 fighters per day.

NOTE: The value for fighters under the heading of "2 produce 1" on the Planet menu shows the number of colonists required to produce one fighter with the current population and production levels. Using the above example for a Class M planet, with 1,500 colonists under Fuel Ore production, the "2 Produce 1" column shows a value of 30. When the 700 colonists are added to produce Organics, the "2 Produce 1" column shows a value of 36. This number changes with population and production level selections, so it is more of an efficiency value for tweaking fighter production.

CLASS (M) EARTH TYPE PLANETS

Thick Oxygen/Nitrogen atmosphere. Specific gravity within 0.7 to 1.3 Earth normal. Random, but mostly manageable weather patterns, with temperatures ranging from 0 to 40 degrees Celsius. Fertile soil, excellent for Organic production. Mineral deposits, very good for Equipment production. Chemical elements good for Fuel Ore. Class M planets are excellent for human colonization and promote an excellent population growth curve as well as a very good population harmony quotient. They have an above average "habitability band". Drawbacks include overpopulation problems, political unrest, and human-induced destruction of the biosphere.

Maximum for Max. Product Max on
Catagory Ratio Colonists Prod/Day Max/Day Planet
-------- ----- --------- -------- ------- --------- 
Fuel Ore 3 30,000 15,000 5,000 100,000 
Organics 7 30,000 15,000 2,142 100,000 
Equipment 13 30,000 15,000 1,153 100,000 
Fighters n/10 --- --- 829 1,000,000 


CLASS (K) DESERT WASTELAND PLANETS

Thin Oxygen/Nitrogen atmosphere. Specific gravity within 0.5 to 1.5 Earth normal. Weather patterns are mostly dry and hot with temps ranging from 40 to 140 degrees Celsius. Little area of fertile soil, very bad for Organics. Very little precious metal making it bad for Equipment production. Common chemical traces making it great for Fuel Ore. Class K worlds are average for humanoid colonization but an arid and hot climate requires specialized colonists. Narrow habitability band but a generally stable political environment as the population must depend on each other to survive. Higher fatality rate than Class M worlds.

Maximum for Max. Product Max on
Catagory Ratio Colonists Prod/Day Max/Day Planet
-------- ----- --------- -------- ------- --------- 
Fuel Ore 2 40,000 20,000 10,000 200,000 
Organics 100 40,000 20,000 200 50,000 
Equipment 500 40,000 20,000 40 10,000 
Fighters n/15 --- --- 682 1,000,000 


CLASS (O) OCEANIC PLANETS

Dense Oxygen/Nitrogen atmosphere. Specific gravity within 1.1 to 1.8 Earth normal. Random and occasional violent weather current patterns, with temps ranging from 20 to 50 degrees Celsius. No land mass to speak of, making mining for Ore more difficult. Organics production quite good (one of the best), but a poor environment for building Equipment. Class O planets are more challenging to habitate, but are almost as safe as class M. Good population growth curve and decent population harmony. Their entire surface is habitable with proper gear with the only drawbacks being the costs to settle and build citadels.

Maximum for Max. Product Max on
Catagory Ratio Colonists Prod/Day Max/Day Planet
-------- ----- --------- -------- ------- --------- 
Fuel Ore 20 200,000 100,000 5,000 100,000 
Organics 2 200,000 100,000 50,000 1,000,000 
Equipment 100 200,000 100,000 1,000 50,000 
Fighters n/15 --- --- 3,733 1,000,000 

CLASS (L) MOUNTAINOUS PLANETS

Thin Oxygen/Nitrogen atmosphere. Specific gravity between 1.0 to 2.2 Earth normal. Weather patterns are wet with temperatures ranging anywhere from -30 to 50 degrees Celsius depending on the width of the habitability band. Excellent Mineral and Ore deposits but harsh conditions only permit avg to below avg Equipment production. Soil is excellent, providing higher than normal organics production. Colonist specialization is necessary to maintain population. Good - very good population harmony quotient. Above average "habitability band" but only medium population growth. Drawbacks include hazards to equipment and occasional severe weather conditions.

Maximum for Max. Product Max on
Catagory Ratio Colonists Prod/Day Max/Day Planet
-------- ----- --------- -------- ------- --------- 
Fuel Ore 2 40,000 20,000 10,000 200,000 
Organics 5 40,000 20,000 4,000 200,000 
Equipment 20 40,000 20,000 1,000 200,000 
Fighters n/12 --- --- 1,250 1,000,000 

CLASS (C) GLACIAL PLANETS

Extremely thin Oxygen-Nitrogen atmosphere. Specific gravity from 0.5 to 1.7 Earth normal. Meteorologically unstable causing violent conditions. Temps range from -10 to -190 degrees Censius. Full life support necessary for colonies and death rates are high. No workable soil base so hydroponic Organics are limited. Modest mineral and chemicals exist so production of Ore and Equipment will be below average to none. Class C planets NOT recommended for colonization, their violent conditions makes it extremely hazardous. Some class C planets have been adopted by the Federation and used as prison colonies and used with very effective results.

Maximum for Max. Product Max on
Catagory Ratio Colonists Prod/Day Max/Day Planet
-------- ----- --------- -------- ------- --------- 
Fuel Ore 50 100,000 50,000 1,000 20,000 
Organics 100 100,000 50,000 500 50,000 
Equipment 500 100,000 50,000 100 10,000 
Fighters n/25 --- --- 64 1,000,000 


CLASS (H) VOLCANIC PLANETS

Extremely thin Oxygen / Nitrogen atmospheres. Specific gravities are within 0.8 to 2.6 Earth normal. Climate patterns are violent with temperatures from 45 to 400 degrees Celsius. Full life support required for colonization. Zero workable soil and harsh conditions make Organics production impossible. Good trace elements for equip but conditions make production a gamble at best. Excellent Ore production possibilities as material is often ejected by volcanic activity and found on the surface. Very dangerous for colony growth as unstable planetary crusts often lead to the complete loss of a colony. The Federation has been known to use Class H planets for defense of key sectors due to their large Ore base.

Maximum for Max. Product Max on
Catagory Ratio Colonists Prod/Day Max/Day Planet
-------- ----- --------- -------- ------- --------- 
Fuel Ore 1 100,000 50,000 50,000 1,000,000 
Organics - --- --- --- 10,000 
Equipment 500 100,000 50,000 100 100,000 
Fighters n/50 --- --- 1,002 1,000,000 


CLASS (U) VAPOROUS/GASEOUS PLANETS

Heavy ranging to very thin atmospheres consisting of various elements, mostly comprised of helium or of hydrogen. Specific gravities can range from 0.2 to 8.0 of Earth normal. Climate patterns usually extremely violent with temps ranging from -200 to 400 degrees Celsius. Full life support required at all times. No production can sustain itself on a class U planet. Some miners have hinted at very valuable products that they have extracted from class U worlds but the Federation does not have them in its "Official Guide to Mining". Class U planets are not recommended for colonization as the environment is harsher than being in space itself.

Maximum for Max. Product Max on
Catagory Ratio Colonists Prod/Day Max/Day Planet
-------- ----- --------- -------- ------- --------- 
Fuel Ore - 3,000 0 0 10,000 
Organics - 3,000 0 0 10,000 
Equipment - 3,000 0 0 10,000 
Fighters - --- - 0 1,000,000 


IV. GOLD EDITION PLANETS

With the creation of the Trade Wars Game Server (TWGS) Gold Edition, planets can be completely customized. If the GameOp wants to change a class (M)Earth Type into class (E)Earth Type, they can do so. If they want to add new planets to the list, the can, or they can even delete planets from the list. They can even change the colors that are displayed for a particular type of planet, or the violent effects of weather patterns on colonists.

The game operator (GameOp) can control almost everything about a planet. They can change the values for colonists to produce a FOE unit (Fuel Ore, Organics, or Equipment) or they can change the fighter production. They can change the maximum values, and they can modify the amount of goods needed or time required for each citadel level.

However, there are limits that a GameOp cannot control. For example, they cannot change the order that citadels are built. An interdictor generator is always level 6, and a Treasury is always Level 1, etc. 

They CAN change all the requirements for each level, and they can also limit how advanced a planet can get. For example, a GameOp can allow a class (M)Earth Type planet to advance up to level 4 in a single day, with only 1 colonist and whatever amounts of FOE are given when the planet is created, but can also limit the planet to level 4 and not allow levels 5 and 6.

If nothing else, remember that when Gold extensions are turned on, a GameOp can modify the default settings of planets. The information given in the planet tables in section III (Planet Types & Descriptions) as well as section VI (Citadel Advancement Tables) are for when Gold extensions are turned OFF. With Gold extensions turned ON the settings can be different if the GameOp see fit to change them. Watch how each planet you create will progress to know for sure whether it has been modified or not.


V. PLANETARY DEFENSES & CITADEL LEVELS

Players can build defenses on a planet to deter or prevent another player from invading. These defense levels are referred to as Citadels and advance from 0 through 6. Each new level builds upon the previous one and adds new defensive (or offensive) capability. These Citadel levels are:

0- no defenses
1- Treasury
2- Combat Control Computer
3- Quasar cannon
4- Planetary Thrusters
5- Planetary Shielding
6- Interdictor Generator

EXAMPLE: A planet with a level 3 Citadel has a Treasury AND a Combat 
Control Computer AND a Quasar Cannon.

If the GameOp turns ON new player planets, you might start with a new planet that already has a few colonists on it, along with FOE product. When you launch a Genesis Torpedo and create a new planet, it will not have colonists on it and usually no FOE product (the starting product is a setting the GameOp can modify, using the Gold-edition extensions, to help you get started). New planets always start off without defenses, though, so they are considered level 0 on the citadel scale. Once you acquire the colonists and products, you can start building a level 1 citadel.

LEVEL 1, THE TREASURY

Level 1 citadels have no defenses against invasion, but instead create a planetary Treasury for you to place credits in from trading, robbing, Tri-Cron winnings, etc. The 2nd Galactic Bank at the Stardock can only hold 500,000 credits. It is a nice start, but they also keep the interest. A planetary Treasury, however, has a maximum of 999,999,999,999,999 credits, and you earn 2% interest per day (a small percentage every second) on whatever balance you have there. You can also park your ship in the citadel and remain overnight if you so desire, but there is no safety there yet.

LEVEL 2, COMBAT CONTROL COMPUTERS

Level 2 citadels add the first defensive ability, the Combat Control computer, and the first planetary combat variable, the Military Reaction percentage. The Combat Control computer gives fighters on a planet offensive odds of 2:1 or defensive odds of 3:1 against anyone trying to land and invade or destroy your planet. The reaction level determines what percentage of the fighters on the planet are offensive. This percentage of fighters react to the invasion by attacking the invader at 2:1 odds. The fighters left behind on the planet defend it using the better 3:1 odds. An invader must survive the offensive wave of fighters, and destroy all the defensive fighters, before they can land.

LEVEL 3, QUASAR CANNONS

Level 3 citadels have the dreaded Quasar cannon, one of the nastiest weapons in the game. Powered by Fuel Ore on the planet, this weapon can fire at opponents that enter the sector, or fire a more damaging blast at anyone trying to enter the atmosphere and land. The values represented by the atmospheric cannon setting are different between the TWGS games and MBBS games. This causes a great deal of confusion by their similarity and simple appearance. Both formulas take into account the designated percentage of fuel, but they use the percentage differently. Sector shots will do 1/3 of a point of damage for each unit of fuel used, while atmospheric shots will do 2 points of damage for each unit of fuel used.

NOTE! Watch the differences between the percentage settings, the damage done, and the fuel used in the following examples. The settings for Sector fire have the same effect in both TWGS mode and MBBS mode, but the Atmospheric cannon fire is different under the TWGS mode.

SECTOR EXAMPLE: A planet has 10,000 units of Fuel Ore and a quasar cannon setting of 10% for sector fire. When an invader enters the sector, the cannon will use 1,000 units of fuel and blast the ship for 333 points of damage. This leaves 9,000 units of fuel, so a 2nd sector shot would use 900 units fuel and do 300 points damage.

ATMOSPHERIC (MBBS) EXAMPLE: After the planet above fired once in the sector shot, there was 9,000 units of fuel remaining on the planet. If an invader tried to land on the planet with the atmospheric set to 10%, the cannon will use 900 units fuel and do 1,800 points damage.

ATMOSPHERIC (TWGS) EXAMPLE: After the planet above fired once in the sector shot, there was 9,000 units of fuel remaining on the planet. If an invader tried to land on the planet with the atmospheric set to 10%, the cannon will do 900 points damage and use 450 units fuel.


DISCUSSION NOTE: When Trade Wars Game Server was first released, this atmospheric cannon setting difference was a hotly-debated issue. After many emails and notes passed through discussion groups, it was decided to keep this difference to keep the TWGS version true to the original Trade Wars. 

When someone invades a sector, they usually come armed with a planet scanner and scan the planets below before landing. The Qcannon Atmospheric setting is revealed to a planet scanner, and instead of removing this column from the scan, it was decided that the atmospheric cannon setting could instead be set to twice the sector fire to equal the same effect. Check the game version you are playing in to see how these cannons will act, and choose your Q-cannon settings carefully.


LEVEL 4, PLANETARY THRUSTERS

Level 4 citadels add planetary thrusters. These are very similar to transwarp drives for ships, allowing you to literaly drive your planet around the universe. However, each target sector must have a fighter in it to lock onto, and the planet uses 400 units of Fuel Ore for each sector you jump, so you might not want to move it very often. Also, you cannot "blind warp" a planet like you can with a ship, but you can move it from port to port and trade large volumes easily. This is known as "Planet Trading" and can be quite profitable, as it saves Sell-to-Port turns by using the Negociate option.

LEVEL 5, PLANETARY SHIELDING SYSTEM

Level 5 citadels add a planetary shielding system. When traders holoscan the sector, the appearance of the planet looks very different, as it is surrounded by arrows and says that the planet is shielded, even if you have not added them yet. Because planets are so much larger than ships, it takes 10 ship shields to make one planetary shield. If you placed 1,000 ship shields into the shield generator, they become 100 planetary shields. The reverse is also correct, that removing shields from the shield generator can only be done in units of 10.

An invader must defeat planetary shields at about 20:1 odds against him (doubling the value placed in the generator). Another advantage is that 200 planetary shields will protect your Quasar Cannon from being dampened by a photon missle attack, and will also save your ship from getting damaged (i.e. you losing your turns) if you happen to be on the planet.

LEVEL 6, INTERDICTOR GENERATORS

Level 6 citadels save the best for last, the Planetary Interdictor Generator. This device prevents a trader from moving or warping out of the sector, at a cost of 500 Fuel Ore per attempt. Once the planet is drained of fuel, the interdiction fails and the trader gets free, but each failed attempt gives the Quasar Cannon another opportunity to blast the invader with a sector shot.


VI. THE PLANETARY TRANSPORTER

Once you have built a citadel on a planet, you can enter the citadel and order a Planetary Transporter system. These very useful devices will normally cost 50,000 credits for the first hop and an another 25,000 credits for each additional hop. The credits are taken from you, not your planetary Treasury.

Similar to the transporter pads aboard ships, these will transport you AND YOUR SHIP to any sector within range that you have a fighter to lock on to. The transporter will power itself by using Fuel Ore from the planet at a rate of 10 units of fuel for each sector in the jump, but you are only charged 1 turn for its use, regardless of the distance.


VII. CITADEL ADVANCEMENT TABLES

The tables below show the total product from each catagory necessary to build citadels through Level 6, and the breakdown for each level. Again, these tables are for Gold extensions turned OFF, or for when Gold extensions are ON and the GamOp did not modify them.

CLASS (M) EARTH TYPE PLANETS
L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 L6
Totals Col = 6,000 | Colo 1000 2000 4000 6000 6000 6000
Used F/O = 3,300 | F/O 300 200 500 1000 300 1000
in Org = 3,300 | Org 200 50 250 1200 400 1200
Making Equ = 5,000 | Equ 250 250 500 1000 1000 2000
Citadels Days= 43 | Days 4 4 5 10 5 15
--------------------------------------------------------------------

CLASS (K) DESERT WASTELAND PLANETS
L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 L6
Totals Col = 8,000 | Colo 1000 2400 4400 7000 8000 7000
Used F/O = 3,500 | F/O 400 300 600 700 800 700
in Org = 2,980 | Org 300 80 400 900 400 900
Making Equ = 5,050 | Equ 600 400 650 800 1000 1600
Citadels Days= 36 | Days 6 5 8 5 4 8
--------------------------------------------------------------------

CLASS (O) OCEANIC PLANETS
L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 L6
Totals Col = 8,000 | Colo 1400 2400 4400 7000 8000 7000
Used F/O = 3,000 | F/O 500 200 600 700 300 700
in Org = 2,850 | Org 200 50 400 900 400 900
Making Equ = 4,750 | Equ 400 300 650 800 1000 1600
Citadels Days= 36 | Days 6 5 8 5 4 8
--------------------------------------------------------------------

CLASS (L) MOUNTAINOUS PLANETS
L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 L6
Totals Col = 7,000 | Colo 400 1400 3600 5600 7000 5600
Used F/O = 3,250 | F/O 150 200 600 1000 300 1000
in Org = 3,200 | Org 100 50 250 1200 400 1200
Making Equ = 5,100 | Equ 150 250 700 1000 1000 2000
Citadels Days= 37 | Days 2 5 5 8 5 12
--------------------------------------------------------------------

CLASS (C) GLACIAL PLANETS
L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 L6
Totals Col = 9,000 | Colo 1000 2400 4400 6600 9000 6600
Used F/O = 2,600 | F/O 400 300 600 700 300 700
in Org = 2,980 | Org 300 80 400 900 400 900
Making Equ = 4,750 | Equ 600 400 650 700 1000 1400
Citadels Days= 34 | Days 5 5 7 5 4 8
--------------------------------------------------------------------

CLASS (H) VOLCANIC PLANETS
L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 L6
Totals Col = 10,000 | Colo 800 1600 4400 7000 10000 7000
Used F/O = 9,000 | F/O 500 300 1200 2000 3000 2000
in Org = 6,000 | Org 300 100 400 2000 1200 2000
Making Equ = 12,000 | Equ 600 400 1500 2500 2000 5000
Citadels Days= 52 | Days 4 5 8 12 5 18
--------------------------------------------------------------------
CLASS (U) VAPOROUS/GASEOUS PLANETS)
L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 L6
Totals Col = 8,000 | Colo 3000 3000 8000 6000 8000 6000
Used F/O = 3,200 | F/O 1200 300 500 500 200 500
in Org = 1,200 | Org 400 100 500 200 200 200
Making Equ = 4,800 | Equ 2500 400 2000 600 600 1200
Citadels Days= 34 | Days 8 4 5 5 4 8 
--------------------------------------------------------------------
VIII. TIPS, TRICKS, AND CASHING IN ON PLANETS

Time to reveal a few secrets that veteran players know and use to their advantage. Hopefully there is some information in this section for all players to pick up on and learn, new and old alike.

WHERE TO BUILD - TUNNELS AND BUBBLES

Several salty, space-faring veterans of the game use these labels interchangeably, but there is a technical difference between them.

A bubble is a large section of space with limited ways in and out, a minimum of 100 sectors in size. The maximum size depends on the size of the universe being created and the number of bubbles desired by the game operator. When Gold extensions are turned ON, a flag is removed, and the option to create bubbles in enabled. The GameOp can then break up the universe from one large area into several smaller ones. These smaller areas are called bubbles.

Tunnels are much smaller, and are created in every version of the game. Tunnels range in size from a single dead-end sector to as large as 20 or more sectors. They can have a single sector as an entrance/exit point (called the mouth, the gate, or the front door sector), or may have one or more one-way exits that let you leave but not return. These one-ways are often called "back doors", but the point is that no one can get INTO a tunnel except through the "front door".

Before you start building, mark the entrance to a tunnel as an "avoid" sector on the Computer menu, then try to plot a course into the tunnel from the outside. If the computer finds another way in, then it is not a safe tunnel to build in. If the computer cannot find another route, then the tunnel is "verified" and is likely safe to start creating planets and colonizing.

Even tunnels that have been verified can be flawed, but not often. In very large games where the maximum course length is short, it is possible for the computer to not find another way into a tunnel when one actually does exist (also clear any avoids you may have to prevent blocking another route). Few and far between, but such games can be created. If you suspect this might be the case, try verifying the tunnel from different points around the universe, just to be sure. Just use the Computer menu option [F]ind Route to save turns moving.

COLONIZING TRICKS

Once you find a nice, quiet tunnel several sectors away from FedSpace (you don't want to be found that quickly, do you?), you can start making planets and colonizing them. Having to move to Terra and back quickly uses up your daily allotment of turns. A ship capable of TransWarp can really help here. Buy fuel from a port and leave it on the planet you want to colonize, then TransWarp to Terra, grab your share of colonists, and TransWarp back.

Simple, right? Sure, if you already have an Imperial StarShip or a Corporate Flagship, and trying this in a Havoc Gunstar uses more fuel than it's worth. Here is where a Planetary Transporter can really pay off. Use the old-fashioned move technique to grab enough of the colonists to start making a Level 1 citadel. Once it is started, start dropping more fuel on the planet. Once the citadel becomes a level 1 you can buy a transporter pad and upgrade it enough to reach Terra. Grab enough fuel for the return trip, beam yourself to Terra and grab colonists, then TransWarp back. Complicated, but remember that beaming you and your ship with a planetary transporter only uses a single turn, but 10 units of fuel from the planet per hop.

Red (evil) players cannot lock onto Terra directly, but they can try leaving a fighter close by and warp to the fighter, then move the rest of the way to Terra and TransWarp back. If you don't have the luxury of a TransWarp drive, a planetary transporter still saves you the cost of moving to Terra, cutting your turns used per cycle in half and doubling the productivity of colonizing.

PLANET FARMING FOR CASH

Planets worth keeping early in the game are class (O) Oceanic planets and class (L) Mountainous planets. Class (H) Volcanic planets are the best for making fuel, but are very slow in building citadels (2-1/2 weeks for that Quasar cannon, and over 7 weeks to reach level 6). With 1 million units of fuel to run a Quasar cannon, they are the best planets in the long run for tunnel defense, but slow in getting there. After the first week, consider starting these after tunnel defenses are built up enough to defend yourself. In an invasion, volcanics make a wonderful prizes.

But for making money, Class (O) planets are champions. They ramp up very close to what a port can handle buying in a single day. An Oceanic planet reaches peak production at 100,000 colonists and can produce 50,000 units of Organics a day. At maximum, a port can only take in 65,530 units a day for about 2.2 - 2.5 million credits profit. In some games, the ports are limited to 32,000 units and offer you around 0.6 - 1.2 million in profit. Oceanics can outpace the ports!

Like colonist production, the value of products at the ports are based on a bell curve. You get a better offer from a port at 90% than you will from a port at 10%. Once you upgrade the port to its maximum volume, only sell products to reach the 50% mark, and do this twice a day, or the top 25% four times a day, to maximize your profits.

Making class M planets and farming equipment from them sounds like a good idea at the start of the game, but it isn't. While equipment is more valuable than organics, at best they can make 1,153 units per day you can sell for about 100,000-150,000 credits.

PLANET FARMING FOR FIGHTERS

You might think that class (M)Earth Type planets are the best for fighter production. After all, they have the best production formula with n/10, right? Wrong! Remember that fighter production is based on the daily production of FOE product. Class M planets have a ratio of 3/7/13, so the best fighter production they can do is 30 colonists to make 1 fighter.

Mountainous planets reach citadel level 1 in only 2 days, and level 2 after another 5 days (giving it the first Combat Control computer) AND the first Quasar cannon in a total of 12 days. Another advantage is the n/12 fighter production with a fuel ratio of 2. This means that placing colonists in fuel production makes really good fuel, and 24 colonists to produce 1 fighter. It's the best place for the first 20,000 colonists to go, making 1,666 fighters per day and 10,000 units of fuel.

But do not discount those Oceanic planets! What Mountainous planets make in speed, Oceanics can beat with volume! Class (L)s might have the advantage with fighter production of n/12, but they top out at only 20,000 colonists. Class (O) planets are five times that, and with production only 3 points different at n/15 can make more than triple the fighters per day at top production.



IV. INVADING SECTOR & PLANETARY DEFENSES

Invading another person or corporation's tunnel is a dangerous matter to deal with, as the costs are often high. You have to weigh the advantages against the disadvantages, the prize versus the cost, well before you reach a decision. Maybe its to gain their colonists, maybe its a deterrent to keep them from advancing while you build up your own forces and sectors. Whether you are defending a sector or invading one, you have to understand the order of events during an invasion.

ORDER OF EVENTS

Let's assume a worst-case scenario: a Level 6 planet, with some fighters and a Military Reaction percentage set, fuel ore for the Quasar Cannon, some planetary shielding in place, and Interdictor Generator is active. The sector has fighters, Armid mines, Limpet mines, and some NavHaz (from previous attempts). Here's what happens, one event at a time, until you are destroyed or victorious:

SECTOR EVENTS
1- NavHaz might be hit.
2- A Limpet mine would attach to your ship.
3- Armid mines will detonate.
4- Quasar cannon will fire at Sector level
(multiple planets with Quasars fire in planet# order).
5- Sector fighters (1:1 odds) attack (if set to Offensive) or
challenge (if set to Defensive ot Toll).
ATMOSPHERIC EVENTS
6- Quasar cannon fires at Atmospheric setting.
7- Planetary Shielding must be defeated at 20:1 odds.
(after shields are defeated Quasar gets another Atmos shot)
8- Military reaction fighters attack at 2:1 odds.
9- remaining fighters defend the planet at 3:1 odds.
10- You land on the planet.

If you are still alive after the Sector events, remember that the Interdictor Generator will not let your ship leave. You can, however, use your transporter pad to get into another ship if one is in range. If you attempt to back out of the sector or TransWarp out, the Interdictor will use 500 fuel ore preventing you from leaving, and the Quasar will fire again at the Sector level. If there is less than 500 fuel on the planet the interdiction fails and you escape.

THE PHOTON ADVANTAGE

If Photon Missiles are allowed and you are quick enough, several of the steps above can be skipped. Below a level 5 citadel, or less than 200 planetary shields are in the shield generator, then:
3- Armid mines WILL NOT detonate.
4- Quasar cannons are dampened and WILL NOT fire Sector shots.
5- Sector fighters WILL NOT attack or challenge.
6- Dampened Quasar cannon WILL NOT fire at Atmospheric setting
8- Military reaction fighters WILL NOT attack
9- ramaining fighters WILL defend.

The defenses that are not skipped and must still be dealt with are-
1- NavHaz might be hit.
2- A Limpet mine would attach to your ship.
7- Planetary shielding (if any) must be defeated.
10- You land on the planet

If the planet has a level 5 citadel and 200 or more shields, then:
3- Armid mines WILL NOT detonate.
5- Sector fighters WILL NOT attack or challenge.

An invader still has to deal with all the planet-bound defenses. When the photon wave expires, so do the advantages. 

BIG MOTHS, LITTLE MOTHS, FULL-SCALE WAR

Fuel Ore and fighters are the commodities of war, whoever has the most wins the battle. War-by-fighters goes to whomever has the most on hand and better odds, so its Offensive in nature. War-by-Ore is a matter of surviving the Quasar cannon blasts, so its more Defensive in nature.

Entering a sector with a Quasar cannon for the purpose of draining the planet's fuel is called Mothing. Because Sector shots use up fuel ore on the planet, and do little damage for the volume, some invaders will chew up defenses before launching their main assault.

Big moths are strongly-defensive ships. They have lots of shields and fighters to kill before the ship is destroyed. This eats up more sector fighters and fuel ore from cannon blasts. If the sector fighters are defeated, but the planets are still strong enough, an invader can move out and back again, taking Sector blasts from the Q-cannons and depleting the Fuel Ore. If a level 6 citadel is present, this goes even faster by using up the added 500 units from interdiction.

Little moths are the opposite of big moths. These are small, cheap, and disposable. Use big moths for lesser defenses they can survive, and little moths for extremely strong defenses. Why get into a big War-by-fighter battle with a Quasar cannon? It fires based on the fuel available, not the size of your ship. You can get podded twice per day and survive, but the third podding will destroy your ship and leave you out for the rest of the day. Several corporation members (other corps can join in, too!) can really drain fuel reserves in this manner.

Full-scale war is just what it says. Fighters get shredded, fuel gets burned, and Quasar cannons get red hot from use. Just when the tide turns, the Grimy Trader shows up and starts charging admission (just kidding)! Everything comes into play in a big way, and win the day or flee in frustration, someone will win the battle. Just try to remember its a game, a game of Trading and War, Warring and Trading, a game called "Trade Wars 2002".

The Quasar Cannon on Ferrengal locks onto you and fires!
Your ship is destroyed.

Have a nice day!

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