As in any multiplayer game, there is no point in simply playing against the computer. As conflicts arise against other players the challenge is not just numerical superiority but also secreting your own planets and end-of-the-day hideout and discovering the location of your opponents resources.

To this end it helps to know how the game handles certain events. Review the weapon damage and missile scripts for exact details described in this section or use the Excel spreadsheet linked at the top of this document for all calculations.

Defensive FightersShieldsMinesGround ForcesPlanet Productivity
Xannor1-20.5 – 1unknown500:1unknown
Xannor Missiles1000-2000500-100018-183000-3300
Fighters1-20.5 – 110:1 – 1000:1n/an/a
Plasma bolts *50,000*pb^225,000*pb^2250*pb^21000*pb^2****
Mines **10-1000specialn/an/an/a
Ground Forces ***n/an/an/a0.25-2.0n/a

* Plasma bolts first hit defensive fighters, then players, cloaked or not cloaked (missiles ignore cloaked players), than any mines which may have dropped from the players, and then hit a planet’s productivity AND ground forces simultaneously. A planet will be destroyed if productivity reaches zero, even if there are ground forces remaining.

Plasma bolts dissipate their damage after the first sector. If you are firing at something several sectors away, multiply the damage by this fraction: (51 – Sectors traveling) / 50 = disapation multiplier

** There is a slight possibility of emergency warp allowing you to escape after all your shields and fighters are gone. Mines do damage first to fighters, then to shields, and then to cargo holds and do extremely random damage. 10% of all of the remaining mines in the sector detonate at a time. 1 mine may destroy 50 cargo holds or 11 mines may only destroy 1 cargo hold. Empirically a player with 9 million fighters can be killed by 25,000 mines at roughly a rate of 360 fighters per mine.

*** Ground force attacks follow this pattern:

1) Defensive forces: 1 attack (occasionally 0 attacks)
2) Attacking forces: 2 attacks
3) Defensive forces: 4 attacks
4) … go back to step 2 and repeat

Therefore it is very advisable to overwhelm the defensive ground forces by a very large margin. Typically attacks destroy roughly 50% to 100% as many ground forces as are attacking during that round. If you have a huge number of ground forces, you can typically take out any number of planets with a much smaller number. Of course it is always easier to simply find every single planet a player has, locate the player himself and destroy his ship, and then land on every one of his planets, taking them over for free.

**** Plasma bolts vary in damage based on the planet’s productivity as the damage is applied to all three fields simultaneously.

3000*pb^2 – Planets having productivity in ore, organics, and equipment.
2000*pb^2 – Planets having productivity in only 2 areas.
1000*pb^2 – Planets having productivity in only 1 area.

Therefore a planet having 10,000 productivity in all three areas will be destroyed with the same plasma bolt damage as a planet having 10,000 productivity in only one area. Cruise missile damage is completely unlike this, and is applied independently to equipment, next to organics, and ore.

Shields are exactly twice as effective as defensive fighters. To calculate the number of plasma bolts necessary to kill a player, round up the square root of [(2 * Shields + Fighters) / 50,000]

Plasma BoltsFighters / XannorGround ForcesMinesPlanet Productivity

Your main resources are your total number of available credits and also the location of your resource generating planets. Keeping credits available in case you run across an extremely lucrative sale of either ground forces or fighters on earth is a good idea. If you store your credits on a planet, it will produce for you a large daily number of missiles, mines, ground forces, and plasma bolts. You store your credit on your ship and maintain your cloaking energy, your credits will be far safer but will not be producing anything for you.

If you find a “chain” of multiple dead end sectors (585-590*-584*-588-) resist the temptation to create multiple planets at that location or store a large amount of money there. Larger the “chain” is, greater the possibility that a random Xannor missile strike will reveal it. Also a hostile player locating one planet will obviously locate all the others as well.

If you attack player fighters defending a sector with more than 10 times their number of fighters, they will all surrender. If you attack player fighters defending a sector with less than their number of fighters, none of them surrender. Between these two extremes, a certain percentage of defending fighters will surrender to you depending on how overwhelming your numerical advantage actually is. A good rule of time is that if you attack with twice as many fighters as defenders, 20% will surrender. If you attack with five times as many fighters as defenders, 50% will surrender.

The Union Police will destroy any missiles launched at sectors 1-7 but will not destroy missiles that are traveling through those sectors to another location, nor any retaliatory attacks.

Plasma bolts and missiles stop dead after hitting a planet between your sector and the target they are aimed at. If they hit a small number of defensive fighters between your sector and their target, remaining missiles may continue on to their target. Plasma bolts destroy everything, including your own planets but will hit cloaked players. Missiles will avoid hitting friendly planets but will hit team players and cause retaliatory missile strikes from them, and will not hit cloak players unless they are first revealed by scanning and detecting them or detecting them from a plasma bolt hit or Earth’s anti-cloak.

Missiles and only missiles apply a small amount of their damage (about 7%) bypassing defensive fighters and attacking a player’s shields directly. Plasma bolts, Xannor, and direct fighter on fighter attacks first exhaust defensive fighters before attacking shields. Because of this, a good rule of thumb is to have at minimum 10% the number of shields to defensive fighters. Of course any extremely good sale of shielding should be taken advantage of as far as possible because of the much greater strength of shielding compared to fighters and the inability to lose shields from the same types of damage that destroys fighters.

If a player’s ship is revealed and camped out over a planet, missiles traveling to that sector will sometimes randomly hit the planet and other times randomly hit the player. If the player’s ship has between 1% and 100% cloak and has not been revealed in that game session by plasma bolt, scanning, or by Earth’s anti-cloak they are effectively untouchable by missiles.

Attacks with fighters will first deplenish all of the player’s fighters then impact the players shields. If the shields run out as well, the player is killed.

no fighters

Mines are quite worthless for killing players in general at any number because they always lose 10% per “hit” while having difficulty destroying the ship. Most of the time, the player will be able to escape:

Having a planet in the same sector as you will protect you from Xannor random missile attacks but will not protect you from either Xannor or player retaliatory attacks. Defensive fighters will always protect you from everything first. Sitting in a sector behind a planet will protect you from retaliatory attacks, but every attack will reveal that planet’s location in the newspaper.

Buying ports is dangerous, it reveals where your planets are or near where they are located. There is no real profit to be made by trading at your own planets, only if team members trade at them. Buy ports only at profitable trading pairs (c;16) and only if none of your planets are nearby. Other than dying, there is no way to sell a port you have bought.

There is no such thing as good defense in this game, only secrecy and offense. Keep many planets, keep them in dead end sectors and hidden. Camp out with 100% cloaking in random locations away from your planets, hidden on their planets, or in dead end sectors away from all planets if there are active hostilities between players. (note all of these techniques have drawbacks) Whenever possible move planets once they have been revealed on the newspaper or else keep nothing valuable on. Never store money or camp out on “revealed” locations.

The weak point of your planets is your ship! If you are killed, any of your planets can be taken over instantly by another player simply trying to land on them. When this happens, the number of ground forces is cut down significantly.

Using missiles, plasma bolts, having enemy fighters surrender, hitting mines, having mercenaries join your defensive fighter groups, being hit by retaliation missiles, all reveal locations on the newspaper. Bribing mercenaries or fighting defensive fighters to the death with your fighters does not reveal locations on the newspaper.

Log all revealed locations of both your planets and other player’s planets including the date that they were revealed. Planets of yours revealed three months ago are fairly safe to store money on, planets recently revealed need to have all the money and resources stripped off of them in case they are attacked.

Killing another player with fighters, missiles, or plasma bolts will allow you to loot their ship taking possession of any credits, missiles, plasma bolts, ground forces, and ports that they own. For example:

To calculate how many plasma bolts are required to kill a player in the adjacent sector, use the Excel spreadsheet or the following formula:

Plasma Bolts Needed = Square Root [ (Shields * 2 + Fighters) / 50,000) ]

kill yankee trader player

For this example, it would take 20 plasma bolts to kill Jackyl. If you do not have 20 plasma bolts you can first attack with fighters, then attack with plasma bolts, and finally attack with cruise missiles.

If you do think an enemy player is hidden in a sector and do not want to travel to earth and buy a anti-cloak, fire a single plasma bolt into the sector. Plasma bolts ignore cloaking, unlike all other attacks.

If you want to kill yourself for some reason, shoot plasma bolts into the sector you are currently in.

Attacking with fighters is risky because if you are successful their mines will drop into the same sector that you are in and immediately detonate. Using cruise missiles is also risky because if you are not successful at killing them in the first hit they will fire a large percentage of their cruise missiles back towards you (typically one third to one half). Plasma bolts carry no risk of retaliation but must be fired from an adjacent sector to retain their strength as they dissipate quickly over distances. Firing at something one sector away will dissipate none of their damage. Plasma bolts will dissipate completely after 51 senators traveled

Here is an example of a deadly unintentional cruise missile attack:

If you want to attack a player with cruise missiles, or merely want to drain a player of all their cruise missiles, use the following technique.

1) Find the player
2) Move 2 sectors away
3) Create a planet, land and move that planet (using the ! command) to the sector only one sector away.
4) Fire cruise missiles at the player. Until you “[M]ove” somewhere, your ship is actually sitting safely two sectors away and will not be hit by retaliatory cruise missiles.

Alternatively: (Works for all retaliatory missiles, including Xannor missiles)

1) Find the player
2) Move to a dead end sector
3) Create a planet, land and move that planet (using the ! command) to the sector only one sector away.
4) Fire cruise missiles at the player. Until you “[M]ove” somewhere, your ship is actually sitting safely within the dead-end and will not be hit by retaliatory cruise missiles.

missile drain 1

((Missing step – [L]and and [!]Move planet from 2994 to 2996.))

missile drain 2
missile drain 3

The anti-cloak device sold at Earth temporarily disables all cloaked ships in the galaxy for that single game session. However since most players camp out on top of planets (in active warfare is recommended to camp out in random empty dead end sectors instead, unless the Xannor score is significantly higher then your own) there are two methods used to locate cloaked players. The first is to fire a plasma bolt into the sector, the second method is to continuously scan the sector either within the sector or next to it as shown in the following example:

When a player is killed all of their defending fighters in the entire universe are converted permanently into mercenaries. During the time a player is dead and before they “come back to life” any of their planets may be claimed by other players simply by trying to land on them. Typically two thirds or more of the ground forces of the planet are destroyed due to unrest, but the planet than changes ownership permanently to you:

Leaving fighters to defend your planets will prevent them from being detected if another player uses c;9;[your sector] and will prevent wandering mercenaries from bypassing your ground forces and removing all your fighters to join them. Unfortunately wandering mercenaries running into your fighters will announce on the scoreboard your fighters presence to the entire game on the newspaper.

An interesting tactic is to rename planets constantly after plagues or after creating new ones. This is useful if you have extra ground forces to make an opposing player attack a brand-new worthless planet instead of a valuable one, or to confuse your enemies by mixing your planets up with the names of other neutral player’s planets.

Missile attacks and missile attacks alone can cause small damage shields as well as defensive fighters. If you or your opponent does not have a good amount of shielding, it is possible to die before all fighters are depleted. This is also important to keep in mind for Xannor retaliatory cruise missile attacks:

Finally keep in mind that a killed player can return the same day with 500 turns (even if they used up their turns that day) and can very quickly rebuild their ship to full strength by using some stored money and items on one for more of their planets. Also if you are killed, remember that your first priority is to obtain a danger scanner as soon as possible As it is very easy to get yourself killed without one.

If a team member dies, immediately go and take over all of their planets by modifying the number of ground forces on each planet. If you don’t, opponent players may get the opportunity to take over your team member’s planets without a fight.

If you use mines to kill an enemy player, you cannot take over their planets until they actually log in and are “killed”. You also lose whatever loot you might have obtained by killing them, but they will not be able to log back in until the day after they log in, hit your mines, and are killed by them. Note that mines are very unreliable in their damage. (see Appendix C: Damage Tables)

As mentioned at the beginning of this document, the Yankee Trader Assistant spreadsheet is extremely useful for calculating plasma bolt damage exactly or missile damage:

Yankee trader calculator

It is occasionally very useful to log back in to the game even after all your turns are exhausted just to check on things. Also that you may not want to use up every single turn just in case an opportunity to fire missiles or plasma bolts reveals itself, such as an example where an opponent reveals their location or an important location on the map. This is especially true if the maintenance is not run exactly at midnight: (TOHC)

out of turns

If the other player is online at the same time as you are, you can choose to try to attack and kill them, yet keep in mind that they are a moving target. If they are carrying missiles then you can easily be killed by an automatic retaliatory wave of missiles if you shoot a missile at them. A strategy that seems to work is the following:

1) Create a planet in an empty dead-end sector, move the planet out of the dead-end sector. This provides you with immunity from a wave of retaliatory missiles from the next step. Unfortunately the first Xannor group that shoots retaliatory missiles at you highlights your position on the newspaper. If you can stay within Union space 1-7, more the better. Union space cannot be shot at by players unless they target sectors outside of Union space but make their missiles or plasma bolts travel through it. Union space does not do anything to protect against automated retaliation attacks.

2) Use the missile scripts below to start sending missiles to all sectors quickly. If a missile hits the other player, very quickly follow it up with a plasma bolt attack

3) If the player has not moved from when you’re missile hit them, fire either a huge barrage of missiles at the sector or a very large number of plasma bolts. Plasma bolts dissipate rapidly so a large number of them are needed if the sector is far away.

4) If step number three fails, run to another dead end sector and try again. Constantly check the current newspaper (F2 or equivalent should be mapped) to pick up clues to where the other player is or what they are doing. If you remain in the same sector, and the other player figures out where they are, they can kill you by sending plasma bolts into the dead end sector.

Yankee trader active combat