Versions 3.2 and earlier of Yankee Trader was a far different game, with far less automation and features. The carefully balanced system of plagues and civil wars to limit planetary production and ground forces did not exist. The all-powerful plasma bolt with its quadradically increasing damage also did not exist and many bonuses were given to players who kept all of their money and resources on a single planet. For those familiar with the last version 3.6, the essential differences are:
- 1000 sectors, not 3000 sectors
- No plasma bolts
- No mercenary planet
- money on planets does not increase production
- mines and missiles could be purchased from Earth
- no civil wars lowering ground forces
- ground force attacks do not show up in the newspaper
- ground forces on planets grew drastically faster and are never reduced by plagues or civil wars
- planet banks have 5% interest per day instead of 1% meaning large amounts of money stored on planets grows drastically faster
- the /r repeat command works up to 30 times properly with no bugs
- Sensor robots can be sent to any sector of the galaxy, reporting on what they find along the way
- no spies
- no danger scanner, autopilot was actually dangerous. Black holes do not even show up when scanning adjacent sectors so sending robots along autopilot pathways is always highly recommend to avoid black hole meltdowns and mines
- cannot buy production on planets by spending credits, must transfer cargo and spend more time building planets
- fighter production on planets is only one third of what it is in 3.6
- Missiles destroy an average of 15 ground forces each instead of 12.5 ground forces each
- ports are extremely expensive to purchase late in the game
- It is not possible to see what ports enemy players have purchased in a nice list, so purchasing ports does not reveal your location as it does in 3.6
- Mines, useless in 3.6 with their unpredictable damage, inability to kill players even with huge numbers, and ease of avoiding them due to the danger scanner are actually very effective in 3.2.
- There is no cap on the number of turns that could be accumulated from killing Xannor. This means that you can accumulate huge number of turns immediately from killing Xannor and then spend them all later.
Being forced to manually transfer cargo to planets, scout every autopilot trip with the potential of running into something catastrophic if you don’t, manually check every single port pair to see if trading between the ports would be worthwhile made this version far more down-to-earth than the smooth automation in version 3.6.
Bugs (or lack thereof!) different from 3.6:
- Xannor do not stop firing missiles after they fire a missile into a black hole. This bug only appeared later in 3.6.
- Is impossible to to remove a number of fighters from a planet greater than 999,999 by explicitly typing in the number of fighters. You must either remove all of the fighters, or repeatedly use a script such as 4;999999/
- Repeat terms are not bugged between 10-20 repeats and are capped at /r30 instead of /r20
- Xannor missiles do not penetrate Xannor groups of fighters, they stop and do no damage. This occasionally occurs even after you have destroyed all of the Xannor in a particular sector.
- Move planets only a short distance. If the planet explodes, you will still be penalized for all of the extra space is the planet did not move:
General strategies are somewhat similar to those used in 3.6:
- Search for ports selling huge volumes of equipment for 1-3 credits each and transfer huge volumes of equipment to a planet.
- Move planets to ports buying huge volumes of equipment a high price and build a huge pile of cash to use on a sale at Earth.
- Move planets to dead end sectors to keep them hidden and safe when not doing either of the above.
- Play the lottery and kill Xannor to achieve good sales on fighters, shields, and ground forces. These items may only be purchased in effective numbers from Earth.
- Map out all dead end sectors both to find other players and to find Xannor. Send robots to this list of dead-end sectors daily if you are searching for Xannor to increase your number of turns.
- Reduce with missiles extra large Xannor groups down to as close to 125,000 fighters as possible, since 125,000 fighters killed by your fighters returns the maximum reward of 500 turns. A good rule of thumb is that missiles destroy between 2500-3000 fighters each. Dividing a very large group by 3000 often will give you close to the right number of missiles to fire at them.
- Locate good empty dead sectors not containing planets to hide from other players within at the end of the day.