Are there currently any other (reliable) "winning" strategies?
The most powerful strategy at the moment IMO is to build a few very very powerful ships (the "capital ships"), then several hundreds of cheap unarmed ships. This way, you still take advantage of the "initiative", but don't lose firepower every time your opponent attacks. And you can build many times more cheap unarmed ships than you could cheap armed ships. This is
a design flaw, and things will be totally different when tactical combat is implemented.
However, this depends on what kind of opponent you're fighting. The AI will never build ships beyond a certain level, so having a ship with attack power greater than their best ship's max structure is useless.
Really... you can "win initiative" (or whatever the FO term is) with unarmed
ships???!? I had understood that the system worked as follows:
If the pool of "ships that have not yet fired this turn" is non-zero:
Randomly select an insystem ship that has not yet fired.
If it can fire, have it shoot at a random enemy ship.
Remove that ship from the "ships that have not yet fired this turn" pool.
Rinse, lather, repeat.
I believe this is functionally equivalent to the weaponless ships not counting (that is, the pool of ships that can fire being limited to... well... ships that can fire
ships)); when a weaponless ship "wins" initiative, nothing happens and the next (randomly chosen) ship gets to fire. The armed ships will get their turns in statistically the same manner as if the unarmed ships weren't present...
The only real advantage (I thought) to a swarm of unarmed ships is that they provide cheap cover: they're randomly-selectable targets, so your combat ships stand a decent chance of never being targeted... Mind you, that IS a real advantage (if they're cheap enough, it might even be a decisive advantage).
Have I misunderstood something?
When there are space monsters about, more firepower on the capital ships is pretty much always better.
At present, I'm leaving the Space Monsters turned off. I *do* hope to see some awesome artwork for them, eventually...
And I can certainly see how "capital ships" are the way to go, with Galactic Godzilla rampaging around...
One flaw in the current design (note that I don't regard the above as "design flaws" -- just an intentionally-unaddressed-for-now imbalance) appears to be the Ground Combat component. I dunno, maybe this too can/will be addressed in a "balancing" stage, but... The build-up of Defending Troops can make well-fortified planets VERY tough nuts to crack; there doesn't appear to be ANYTHING to do but build huge fleets of troop-carriers, and sufficient escorts to get them to the planets. Such a coordinated assault takes up to several HUNDRED turns to assemble (e.g. multiple targets in a system, each with 80 troops); but, properly-assembled, it ALWAYS takes a system in 2-3 turns.
I don't think getting a few troop ships to a planet should be that
big of a deal. Did you design your own Troop Ships that can hold more than 5 troops each?
Hmmm. No, I haven't built large-scale troop-carriers. I'll try that...
However, it's NOT a big deal to get the ships there. It's the l-o-n-g wait to build enough ships to carry enough troops to reduce a distant target (so far as I can tell, "assault troops" are an infinitely-availability commodity... does launching a troopship reduce on-planet troops at all
?) . I presume that large-capacity troopships are a more time-efficient way to go? This could improve the situation...
That's the phase this game is now in... the AI's aren't leveraging their vast homeworld fleets; it's just a wait for my empire to build enough troopships to reduce the last few occupied colonties, then the homeworlds.
One of the AI's is pissing their fleet away against my armada of 1-shield+1-weapon swarmships. Most turns, now, they are launching 4 combat ships (I've taken position 1 starlane from their homeworld) plus sometimes some (useless, in this situation) troopships; occasionally, they take out a few of my swarmships, but the steady stream of reinforcements means that the net trend is always toward my fleet getting bigger and bigger (and at 4/turn, their combat-fleet getting smaller and smaller). The AI's strategy will eventually render it helpless against my coming invasion; already, their homeworld fleet has a substantive portion of scout & colony ships, when it used to be mostly combat ships.
The other AI is sitting and (I presume) building; I'll either have to accept the huge losses in assaulting their homeworld, or stage up another "provocative" situation (a huge fleet just one starlane from their homeworld), so they wet themselves and start pissing away, too...
But really, it's just a matter of waiting until I can amass the fleets of assault-troops; with enough troops to take the targets, the rest of it is now more or less automatic...[/quote]
Yep, no real AI opponents to speak of yet.
One other AI is still in-play; they have no homeworld left, and seem to be doing a lot of nothing; tech is developing, though: a few hundred turns ago, their 2 systems started insta-destroying any swarmship that stopped in-system; but when one of my "capital ships" (robotic hull, 4 plasma-cannon, deflector shield) stops by, nothing happens. What's THAT about?
What do you mean by "nothing happens"? If two ships from different empires are in the same system, and at least one of them is armed, there will be a battle.
Their two systems are sitting there (disconnected from one another), apparently not building ANY ships. For a long time, I kept a few ships insystem to keep planetary shields beaten down, and destroy anything they built as they built it. I pulled them for a few turns now and again, but eventually abandoned the post for a long time when one of the AI's had a threatening position I had to respond to with all-available-forces. When I could get back to those systems, my little swarmships just died as they arrived; when I dropped in a capital ship... nothing seemed to happen to it.
Their tech seems to be advancing (I assume my swarmships died from some system/planetary defense tech). I suppose they COULD be building some super-ultra-dreadnought (given the needed shipyard upgrades & their lack of resources/economy, that WOULD take a long time!), but you tell me the AI's don't build past a certain level of ship (the "Mark 'R'" class, where "R" is a Roman numeral I-VIII; right?).