SCOUTING THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE
More of a general strategy rather than a specific technique. Most of the effective techniques in gameplay covers the entire universe:
- Travel to every single sector in the entire universe in order to find all of the dead ends
- Travel to every single dead end in order to find the mercenary base, Xannoron, and other player planets
- Travel to every single known enemy planet to determine which of their planets have credits, find enemy players themselves, watch for changes, etc.
- Travel to every single one of your planets in order to equalize the number of ground forces, harvest fighters, replace lost defense fighters, etc.
- (3.6e hint) The latest patch of Yankee Trader disables missiles and spies, making scouting the universe fairly difficult. Once you build a list of dead-end sectors, obtain a list of “next to” dead-end sectors by running c;3 reports. You can then make a script to travel to all of these “next to” dead-end sectors and scan them sequentially, for example: c;3;2112;y;s;c;3;2114;y;s;c;3;… If another player places a planet in one of these dead-end sectors, this script will find them and since it only travels next to the dead end sector, it will not notify the other player in the newsletter that you fought fighters in that sector, shot a missile at their planet, etc.
DETECT NUMBER OF CREDITS ON A PLANET
If you are in a sector with a planet, or using [s]can in an adjacent sector, you can determine if a planet is storing credits by looking at the number of new ground forces that increase in the planet over time. Ground forces increase with two factors: first by the existing ground forces on the planet, and secondarily from any credits stored on a planet. If you account for the ground forces increasing from other ground forces, and observe how many new ground forces appear in a set period of time such as one minute, you can solve for how many credits are stored in the plant without owning the plant yourself, and having no access to the planet.
Ground forces build ground forces at a very slow rate, roughly 1 GFs a minute per 100,000 ground forces stationed on the planet. This scales up to 7 GFs per minute per 1 million GFs on the planet. Planets with more than 1 million ground forces undergo civil wars constantly so you will be unlikely to see more than 1 million ground forces on a particular planet.
The Yankee Trader Assistant spreadsheet includes a calculator that can make a decent estimate of this number. Enter the number of GFs on the planet and how many GFs increase on the planet after 60 seconds, and it will calculate how many ground forces are produced per day on this planet and make an estimate on how many million credits are stored on the bank. Note: You MUST provide the calculator with a number of ground forces on the planet for the calculation to be accurate.
[s]canning an adjacent sector or simply being in the same sector as the planet will update the number of ground forces per minute. C;9 will NOT update every minute.
One technique of utilizing this is to create a script that runs to every sector adjacent to all of your enemies planets one at a time, logging exactly how many ground forces are found, and then executing the same script a few minutes later. For example, if enemy planets are in 2000, 2100 & 2200, and adjacent sectors to these are 1996, 2107, and 2203, your script could be: c;3;1996;y;s;c;3;2107;y;s;c;3;2203;y;s
If you locate an enemy player and want to annoy them, rather than kill them (MISSILE-enabled games only) then you can use this technique to drain them of all of their missiles on their ship.
First make yourself immune to their missiles (land/create planet 2 sectors away/move planet to the sector only 1 sector away) and then repeatedly shoot 1 missile at them until they stop shooting back:
BACK TRACING THE XANNOR HQ
When you shoot a missile at a group of Xannor, the Xannor retaliate, but not from the group that you just shot. Retaliation missiles are fired from the Xannor HQ to your current location. This gives you the possibility of “backtracking” Xannor missiles to the Xannor planet. This should only be done by mid-level or above players who can survive receiving countless missile barrages attacking their ship, and obviously can only be done in games were missiles are enabled.
Players should also have considerable shielding before they do this. Some damage from retaliation missiles may bypass defensive fighters and damage your shields directly, and it is possible that you could still be killed with a large number of fighters remaining if you do not have sufficient shielding. The basic steps to perform this search for the Xannor HQ is to:
- Find a single Xannor group with a decent number of fighters, 50,000+
- Make a planet in sector 1 and place a few ground forces on it
- Go to a random sector high numbered sector or a sector that you think is near the HQ
- Create a script that shoots one missile at the known group. For example, if the group is in sector 2315 then run: !;2315;1/
- Place 1 fighter in all adjacent sectors and then press Ctrl-R to shoot one missile
- If the retaliation missile(s) hits the planet in sector 1, then you know you cannot backtrack this pathway, go to a new random sector
- Go to the sector which the missiles hit your placed fighter, place 1 fighter in every sector adjacent to this new sector and repeat
To do this quickly, cut-and-paste the string “;y;f;1;c;3;” — for example, to place fighters in sectors 5,6,7 & 8 quickly, use: c;3;5<Ctrl-V>6<Ctrl-V>7<Ctrl-V>8;y;m;<orig sector>
MERCENARY BASE CAPTURING
This is moderately difficult to do for players without a lot of resources. Some general strategies exist:
- Attempt to store as many credits on planets as possible in order to produce plasma bolts
- Alternatively attempt to get as many ground forces the possible, wait until a good sale on ground forces from Earth
- In a relatively new game, consider capturing Xannoron first to obtain the plasma bolts there
- If you only have plasma bolts, then consider waiting until the first plague hits the mercenary base before tackling it to cut down on the number of ground forces.
- Plasma bolts do damage to ground forces and simultaneously to the individual categories of ORE/ORG/EQU. If the total productivity of the planet drops to 0, the planet is destroyed even if there are ground forces left.
- If cargo exists in all three categories on a planet, plasma bolts will do 3000 damage per bolt. If it is only within one category, 1000 damage per bolt. Use one single plasma bolt on a planet to discover its current productivity, and to see how much damage each bolt is doing, then use the Yankee Trader Assistant spreadsheet to calculate the maximum number of plasma bolts you can use and not destroy the planet. For example: the one bolt does 3000 damage so you look at “Prod Max” on the spreadsheet. Let’s say the planet has 250,000 productivity so using 9 plasma bolts (243,000 prod max) is safe and will not destroy the planet. After reducing ground forces with plasma bolts, you can reduce them further with conventional missiles (damages GFs without damaging productivity, at least until all the GFs are destroyed) and finally using ground forces against ground forces.
FINDING THE TOP PLAYER VIA GROUP 20
If you are the top player, risk dropping equipment on a planet to lower your score to second-place. Ideally do this right before the maintenance runs. Immediately after the maintenance runs, log back in before other players have a chance to, check the newspaper, and “group 20” or the last group of Xannor will have attacked the location where the top player in the game is located. Hopefully this is a location of a uniquely named planet.
DE-CLOAKING OTHER PLAYERS
- Fire 1 plasma bolt into the sector
- Assume that they are camped out on their planets rather than empty dead end sectors like they should be. Of course there are downsides to camping out in empty dead-end sectors:
Especially for no missile games that provide you with 1000 turns, don’t forget to buy 3 spies at the beginning of your turns to scout out the universe. Spies have the annoying habit to sooner or later migrate to sector 1 due to all of the one-way sectors that drop you in sector 1. A decent strategy is to set the initial sectors of the three scouts at 500, 1500, 2500 or place them on top of locations of known enemy planets.
After defeating the Xannor HQ defenses, you can choose to not destroy the planet Xannoron and instead drop a ton of defensive fighters in the sector.
At the end of the day when the maintenance runs, 100% of all existing Xannor in the universe plus (the top player’s score)/500 new Xannor will attack this defensive fighter group and attempt to retake Xanneron. If you are the only player in the game, and transfer 99% of your other fighters/missiles/mines/plasma bolts/credits to planets, then the defensive fighters in Xanneron will be the primary source of your score and you can capture it for many days without refreshing the defense fighters in the sector.
This has many uses:
- Removing the roughly 20 groups of Xannor from around the galaxy, making navigation easier and safer
- Removing the random Xannor missiles launched at random sectors across the galaxy
- Denying any opponent characters from gaining extra turns by killing Xannor
- Capturing the planet and obtaining 1 million credits every day
- Making the rest of the galaxy safe from Xannor attacking groups of defensive fighters or planets — planets with small numbers of ground forces are safe, and small groups of defensive fighters covering planets will never be cleared away by Xannor — which keeps your planets safe from being detected by C;9 scripts and having their fighters stolen by mercenaries.
To stop another player from holding Xanneron, either increase your score as high as possible right before the maintenance runs, or take out the defensive fighters yourself right before the maintenance runs.
SCOUTING BY FIRING INTO BLACK HOLES
Intentionally shooting single missiles into a black hole will randomly deflect these missiles around the universe randomly. Better yet, the black hole will be considered the source of the missile and enemy players and Xannor will consider the black hole as the missile source and retaliate by shooting missiles back at the black hole instead of towards you. Xannor will only retaliate once before figuring this out and will refuse to shoot missiles for any reason until the next sign on.
Finding a black hole is easier with the missile scripts here.