A collection of guidelines and hints to aid you in taking over the galaxy.
Think before you spend. Do not cram your fleets full of new ships haphazardly unless you're swimming in credits. Spend where it makes sense, using credits in the best places possible. Having spare money on hand also helps during many random events.
Holding back credits will sometimes leave you with small fleets. This isn't a problem if they aren't going to be fighting anything. You only need ~4 ships in a fleet to keep it safe from being wiped out by most bad outcomes from random events.
Tyranny & The Death Ray
- The Death Ray may be fired once per turn when Tyranny is at least 80/100. Each shot uses up 15 tyranny and eliminates 1-3 ships in the targeted fleet. This weapon is enormously helpful throughout the game and should be used often.
- Any time you max out on Tyranny, consider firing the Death Ray immediately. Same goes if you have 90+ and are moments away from winning a battle or taking a new planet.
- Don't fire at tiny fleets of 1-3 ships unless they're attacking your territory where you can't defend it. Such fleets are little bundles of easy XP and Tyranny waiting to be picked up.
- 'Boost Death Ray' is one of the best empire perks in the game and makes a big difference during the final battle of any campaign.
- As Tyranny drops lower, there's an increasing chance of a rebellion starting on your planets each turn. 'Rebels' projects might look like any other Senate project, but they occur independently of whatever the Senate's up to. You may see endless rebellions during a mission or none at all depending on where your Tyranny sits.
- If a rebellion starts on a planet of yours with high defense (7 or 10+ depending on difficulty), you don't need to do anything about it. Once a 'rebels' project bar fills up, they stop causing damage.
- Economic planets yield +15 credits/turn per oppression. Science planets yield +2 research/turn per oppression. Crystal planets yield 1 card drawn per oppression. Oppression also grants +5 Tyranny (+10 during Monopolize missions), and even a failed oppression will give you some Tyranny from fighting off rebels.
- Oppression is useful, but situational. It takes a fleet action to oppress a planet, and these are your scarcest resource. Oppression can also backfire, causing the planet to rebel and attack your oppressing fleet with one of their own.
- Rebellion chances progress from 5% to 25% to 45% and beyond based on how many times you've oppressed that planet.
- All oppression bonuses are wiped out from a planet when it rebels.
- First-try oppression is reliable enough to take repeated risks with. You will get burned by it once in while. Such is life.
- Second-try oppression can be worth attempting if there's a serious need for more of that planet's resource, you don't see something better for your fleet to do nearby, and your fleet is strong enough to handle a rebel attack.
- Oppression attempts 3+ are needlessly dangerous. There may be corner cases where doing so is somehow a good idea.
- Do the easiest mission available when you can. The artifacts and empire perks you pick up along the way will make you stronger for the tougher missions ahead.
- Negate Senate control. Do missions in sectors with 2+ Senate control built up. Each mission you complete removes two of their control points.
- The Propaganda empire perk (-1 Senate control of each sector) shouldn't be needed to complete all missions unless you've failed one somewhere along the way.
- You don't need to complete every mission to beat the finale, but each one you do improves your odds.
After you win four missions, the Galactic Senate will start taking two control points at a time between missions. The Senate will not double-invade a sector where they have 2/4 control, which would end your campaign in a loss. It will look like they can after any mission when there's 2/4 build-up in a sector you aren't active in, but that's not the case. It's sectors with 3/4 control where that danger lies.
Choosing Empire Perks
For each mission you win, you get to choose between two perks for your empire. Each playable faction has its own perk tree, which are each detailed later in this guide. You have a degree of control over which perks appear...
Perk Specializations: The perk you take on the 1st and 5th choices affect what shows up later. There are three perks that can appear at these junctures, of which only two are offered. Following that choice, perk choices 2/3/4 (or 6/7/8) will contain follow-up perks similar to the first perk, as well as some generic perks which show up regardless of specialization. Perk choices 9-12 have no specialization and draw from a smaller pool of possible perks.
Rotating Star-lane Obstructions
Some star-lanes are blocked by a translucent clock face. What are those?
Here's how they work: These obstructions are attached to one star system, and rotate clockwise each turn to the next star lane connected to that system. Which system a rotating obstruction is attached to is not immediately obvious. They must be observed for a couple turns to know for sure.
Warfare - Strategic Layer
Put tanky ships in front, glass cannons in back, and balanced ships wherever. This much should be obvious.
Small ships are your bread and butter. They are cheap and cost-efficient, which makes them ideal for the first few turns when you have low income. They are also needed in high level fleets due to those having three columns of space.
Fill all gaps before tough fights. It's better to cover the back columns with frigates than buy one battleship and be left with empty space.
Dreadnoughts are a luxury. Build them when you have more credits than you know what to do with. They have the worst value per credit, but the best value per fleet space. Their buffness holds true even when you compare a dreadnought with no tech upgrades to another ship that has some.
See the ship sections of each playable faction for more details.
Assessing Enemy Fleets
One of the keys to winning Space Tyrant is learning to appraise how strong the fleets you see on the map are. You want to be able to compare any given enemy fleet to one of yours and accurately guess the outcome of a fight between the two. This can be learned through experience, despite some random elements present in the combat system.
Differentiating by Species
- Bee fleets (blocky aesthetic, painted green) are easier than the others, and are usually the weak link for you to attack first.
- Slug fleets (round & frilly aesthetic, strobe lights in combat) are average strength, though they have regenerating shield systems and some of the better ship abilities. They sometimes punch above their weight.
- Rabbit fleets (coated with rock-like armor, rabbit ear antennae) are tougher than average.
- Astron fleets (retro aesthetic, pointy in front and many fins behind) are the strongest by far. Don't expect to beat them in a fair fight.
Check the enemy leader before fighting anything difficult. You can see which leader a fleet has by holding your mouse over a hostile fleet. If their fleet composition looks like a close match for yours and you spot one of the tougher leaders (e.g. Stonehair or Hummer), your odds aren't good.
What To Do if an Enemy Fleet is Too Badass
- Engage with a better fleet later.
- Gang up on them with multiple fleets at once. Damage from one fight will carry over to the next if it's on the same turn.
- Thin out their numbers with the Death Ray, a planetary cannon, or ship-killing card.
- Use cards which buff your fleet strength or weaken theirs before engaging.
- Avoid them. If they're a defensive fleet, just go somewhere else and don't worry about it. If they're aggressive, you might still be able to delay long enough to turn the tables on them.
- Fight it anyway to knock out some of its ships. The worst option, but there are times when this play makes sense, especially as the Bzzerk Union.
Space Monsters are very dangerous. Beating them normally requires a well-equipped level 3+ fleet. Two or three smaller fleets attacking a space monster back-to-back on the same turn is also a valid approach sometimes. Note that you do not receive any fleet tactics when fighting space monsters.
- Space Shark: This one attacks with a powerful, slow charging beam that one-shots most ship types. To optimize your fleet against this enemy, replace your front line ships with frigates, which deal good damage and take a while for the shark to clear out. Carriers in the back also perform well here. Keep dreadnoughts away; their firepower helps, but losing them in two hits is painfully expensive.
- Space Hamster: Oh, how cute! Mr. Furball here is heavy on multi-ship attacks. Any frigates will evaporate in no time, and should be replaced with other ships before battle. Battleships and dreadnoughts withstand the hamster's area attacks best. The hamster's attacks start slow and ramp up as its HP drops, so hold back most of your fleet energy and ship powers until the RAGE! kicks in.
- Space Slug: This one does most of its damage with swarms of fighter-like minions. It regenerates rapidly, and will heal itself faster than you can hurt it any time it's got the upper hand, which means sending many small fleets does not work against it at all. The Bzzerk Union can roll one of these guys over with as little as 5 carriers and 5 destroyers (with Hummer leading them, or with high tech carriers) due to their fighter waves overpowering the space slug's minions. It is otherwise very tough to handle, requiring a very powerful fleet.
Warfare - Tactical Layer
Before battle, you're offered a choice between three random tactics. Sometimes you'll get to choose between several big advantages, sometimes no tactic will even be useful. Below is a listing of every fleet tactic...
- Armageddon - Destroy all but a handful of ships on each side
- Clear Sky - Destroy all fighters
- Dispel Friendly - Remove all effects from friendly ships
- Dogfight - Fighters 50% stronger for 10sec
- Entrap - Trapped ship takes double damage
- Fighter Squad - Launch three fighters per energy
- Group Hug - Heal adjacent ships for 100 HP (or 150)
- Heal Ship - Heal 50% HP (or 100%) of one ship
- Inspiring Speech - Inspire 2 (or 4) random ships
- Invasive Program - Ship fire rate reduced by 50% (or 70%)
- Jamming Signal - Cap commander energy at 2
- Laser Strike - 100/150 HP to ships in a horizontal line
- Mob Rule - All small ships do double damage
- Magnetic Chaff - All large ships deal 30% less damage
- Overcharge - +400% attack OR ship explodes
- Power Up - +4 energy meter (or max out energy meter)
- Reinforcements - Summon temp frigate per 3 energy (or 2) if there's room
- Respite - Make ship invulnerable for 10sec (or 15sec)
- Siphon Power - Steal enemy commander's energy
- Static Pulse - One ship's shields removed
- Stun - Stun a ship for 5sec per energy
- Tranquility - Destroy all projectiles on screen
- Withdraw - Remove a friendly ship from battle
Fighter Squad is the all-around best tactic in the game. Others can be situationally better, and Clear Sky counters it, but its damage output is hard to argue with.
Reinforcements is powerful, but has a delayed impact on combat. It excels at winning fights but not at preventing casualties. If you're already favored to win, something else may help you win clean. This tactic is an obvious choice when your fleet enters combat with gaps to fill.
Stun, Invasive Program, and Respite are solid tactics that impair the other side's ability to deal damage. These minimize your casualties during fights where you have the upper hand, which should be most of them.
Heal Ship & Group Hug are similar to the defensive tactics above, but not as good.
Power Up & Siphon Energy are great when you have strong abilities to unleash. Siphon can be used to delay something dangerous from the other side, such as Stonehair's meteors. Pass on these if it's a fight between two weak leaders with low-tech small ships.
Entrap is good for focus-firing a large ship at the front. Ideally, you want a battleship around to fire a beam at the target.
Laser Strike is good for immediately wiping out slug frigates (and bee frigates with LS2). It doesn't hit hard enough to insta-gib any other ships.
Armageddon is strictly for blowing up enemy ships during losing battles. It is by far the best tactic whenever you run into those.
Overcharge is a coin-flip. You can play it anytime, but I suggest only using it to make Hail Mary plays during losing battles. Charge up your most damaging ship at the start and hope for the best. Or if you hate leaving things to chance, use it to snipe at the enemy's best ship just before they finish off your fleet; there's no backfire in that.
Clear Sky counters fleets with many carriers while you have few or none. It also counters the Fighter Squad tactic as well as Hummer's ability.
Jamming Signal stops Skrunto from using that awful beam attack of his as well as various other abilities you may not want to deal with. It messes with your abilities as well, so think carefully before picking it.
Mob Rule & Magnetic Chaff rarely favor you by much. Your enemies tend to run mixed fleet compositions, and you have incentive to do so as well. Still, when the right ships are in play, these two are golden.
Static Pulse is an anti-slug tactic, and not a very strong one. Use it against a dreadnought, battleship, or carrier if there isn't a better tactic around.
Fleet Energy & Special Abilities
The basic strategy with fleet energy is to fire off your strongest powers first and work your way down from best to worst as energy recharges. Priority should go something like this:
Dreadnought/Battleship > Leader > Carrier/Cruiser > Frigate > Destroyer
There are many factors that change what powers are best to use and when to use them, of course.
Leader abilities boost your fleet's Inspiration, which slowly refreshes any expended ship powers. This means it's a often good idea to use your leader ability in between firing off ship powers, even when some of the ship powers are better, because it gives you more charges of them to fire off.
Don't shoot at protected enemies. You don't want to waste a good ship power on a protected ship. Conversely, when using one of your own defenses, turn on slow motion and activate it just before a flurry of projectiles hit one of your ships for maximum damage mitigation.
Don't waste Volley. It's easy to waste Volley on a ship that's already dying, or about to die soon. Look where your ship is aiming, look at the target's health bar, and you should be able to tell whether the extra shooting will help or not.
Destroyer Volley is so weak that it's sometimes a better idea to not use it at all. The advantage of doing so is that it prevents Inspiration from possibly being wasted on refreshing a destroyer Volley instead of something good.
Hull breaches are a distraction more often than not. Typically, a ship is either going to survive the battle anyway, or it's going to die anyway. If you fix every breach as soon as they appear, you are using your fleet energy poorly. The best reason to fix a breach is to unblock a ship power you are about to use and there isn't another ship with that same ability ready to go.
Every battle has its own randomly selected space weather...
- Open Space has no effect on the engagement.
- Asteroid Fields randomly fling rocks at ships on both teams, causing damage and hull breaches.
- Ion Storms randomly shock ships on both teams, briefly stunning them. This type in particular may swing battles one way or another unexpectedly if the surges land mostly on one side.
- Black Holes destroy ~50% of missiles and fighter craft before they connect with a target. This weather punishes fleets that rely heavily on these attacks.
- Nebulae reduce beam damage by 50% and occasionally drop nebular clouds over ships. The clouds grant +50 evasion temporarily. This weather appears as one of many colorful cloudy backgrounds.
- Evasion is a percent chance that each blaster shot fired at a ship will miss. Blasters are the most common weapon type, so this defense is used frequently. Evasion does not affect any other weapon type. Every ship has some amount of innate evasion not shown in-game that is higher on small ships and lower on large ships.
- Shields are a separate pool of HP that regenerate quickly over time until fully depleted. Shields halve missile damage as long as they are up.
- Flak gradually shoots down hostile fighters while they are attacking friendly ships. Flak is gained only from tech upgrades for specific ships.
Seek out new traits: Events during the first few missions of a campaign should be used to develop useful traits, even if that means picking self-destructive choices in the short-term. These will help you later as the campaign's difficulty ramps up.
"Improve Planet?" Yes please! Well, most of the time, anyway. Planet upgrades attach a random special ability to a planet. There are many good ones and some not-so-good ones. Improvements replace the ability to oppress a planet, which is sometimes a problem. You should never upgrade the key resource of a Monopolize mission. Landing Party cards can sometimes generate Improve Planet events; consider saving them for that purpose.
Rigelian Blood Fever: Do not weaponize the Rigelian Blood Fever, at least not if you're trying to play optimally. It gives you the Plagued trait, which causes its own harmful events periodically.
Crisis Events: These show up on three-star missions or higher after 6+ turns. The start of each crisis will give you a timed objective that needs to be solved to prevent the crisis from triggering. Every crisis has a blue option that gives you cards to help prevent or survive the crisis. Letting any crisis trigger hurts, but is not game-ending. If you don't think you can fulfill the objective, don't waste effort trying to do so. Instead, get ready to react to it 1-2 turns before it happens.
Note: You need one spare crystal ready to play the "Disarm Crisis" card after you've completed its task, and failing to play the card means the crisis WILL trigger.
Risky Events: There are a few events that are so stacked against you that you're normally better off walking away from them if no blue option is available. These are...
Skullface: This hidden character can be recruited as a fleet commander in the two events he appears in. With the Misty Maze event, you want Duelist 2 or Mogul 2. With the Camping Trip event, Psionic 2 recruits him. A Skullface event always triggers when you visit a pumpkin planet, which only spawn during October or if you have a Jack-o-Helmet equipped. Skullface's events are normally part of the event pool for primordial worlds.
Aquiring Tyrant Traits
Tyrant traits are gained by making specific choices during random events. Traits allow you to access blue options during future random events which give better outcomes for you than the default options. Most traits have many levels that can be learned, and some blue options are gated behind a higher level of a given trait. Repeating the same event choice that has already taught you a trait will not improve that trait.
Below is a complete listing of every trait in the game, where to learn them, and what they can do for you. Consider skipping this section if you are new to the game. Space Tyrant's event system is more fun when experienced blind.
Psionic: This is the strongest trait in the game once it reaches lvl 2. Psionic blue options are frequent, and they guarantee a very positive outcome on any event they appear on. Psionic 2 counteracts "Saboteurs" and "Crystal Crash", making it the only trait that helps with two different crisis events.
Psionic is taught by two event choices...
"Mesmerizing Lifeform" - (pay 50 credits) Offer the creature lavish quarters.
"Psionic Race" - (pay 50 credits) Employ psionic agents.
Scientist: This one gives you the most blue options during events out of all the traits in the game, making it highly desirable. Scientist blue options tend to reward research points or tech-ups as one might expect. Many events can yield a level of this trait.
Scientist is taught by six event choices...
"Gigantic Natives" - Study them.
"Federation Outpost" - (pay 10 research) Use experimental weapon.
"Incentive Program" - (pay 10 research) Engage them in a Science Death Match.
"Serial Killer" - Let your researchers dissect him.
"Planet Repair" - Repair the planet.
"Musashi Serum" - Expose the entire population.
Sadistic: A painful trait to learn as it requires risky event choices that are likely to backfire. It pays off later by letting you do something badass every so often. Sadistic 2 counteracts the "Sleeper Cells" crisis.
Sadistic is taught by six event choices...
"Prison Riot" - Nuke them.
"Traitors" - Space 'em!
"Idle Robots" - Smash them up and use them for parts.
"Federation Outpost" - (pay 10 research) Use experimental weapon.
"Camping Trip - Take Notes.
"Venusian Ambassador" - (discard 1 card) Attempt to drain their life force.
Destructive: Very similar to Sadistic in most ways. The events that may teach it are less common, and its blue options give even tastier payouts. Destructive 2 counteracts the "Rogue Monster" crisis.
Destructive is taught by five event choices...
"Warring Factions" - Kill them both.
"Abandoned Fleet" - Nuke it!
"Space Zombie" - Eject the Pod.
"Fortified City" - Bomb them from orbit.
"Ancient Vault" - Open fire on the doors.
Diplomatic: This one often helps out during events that most other traits aren't relevant to. Learning it is tricky, however, because it's often on the opposite side of choices that teach other strong traits during rare events. Diplomatic 2 counteracts the "Military Aid" crisis.
Diplomatic is taught by three event choices...
"Petty King" - Sit down and talk.
"Venusian Ambassador" - (pay 100 credits) Form an alliance with the Venusian Syndicate.
"Federation Outpost" - (Diplomatic 1) Send in a diplomat.
Mogul: Blue options gated by this trait always give out a big pile of credits. It doesn't come up as often as others, but the influx of money is very nice when it happens. Mogul 2 counteracts the "Market Crash" crisis.
Mogul is taught by three event choices...
"Warring Factions" - Broadcast the conflict.
"Artifacts Roadshow" - Go on artifacts roadshow.
"Rock Star" - Take over their record deal.
Hacker: Blue options gated by this trait are infrequent, but their outcomes are very positive. Hacker 2 counteracts the "Mega Virus" crisis.
Hacker is taught by two event choices...
"Cybernetics Station" - (pay 10 Tyranny) Spend time exploring the station.
"Barrier Maze" - Enter the maze yourself.
Navigator: Useful, albeit more subtle than most other traits. You have to take the most adventurous choice with space exploration-themed events to learn it, and it gives you more control over similar events in the future.
Navigator is taught by three event choices...
"Gravitic Anomalies" - Send in a ship.
"Unstable Wormhole" - Enter the wormhole.
"Downed Pilot" - Compare starmaps.
Duelist: This yields a sizable Tyranny boost every time you use it successfully. The event that teaches it is more common than most.
Duelist is taught by two event choices...
"Personal Combat" - Fight the duel!
"Personal Combat" - (Psionic 2) Cheat!
Hitman: The hitman has many applications that mostly reduce unrest or increase Tyranny. Hitmen can be killed off by certain event outcomes, reducing the Hitman trait.
Hitman is taught by two event choices...
"Bounty Hunter" - Employ him as a hitman.
"Serial Killer" - (pay 50 credits) Hire him as an assassin.
Pet: The pet can protect you during two events where someone turns on you. A minor trait, but there's little opportunity cost in getting it. Like Hitman, the pet can be killed off.
Pet is taught by one event choice...
"Leggy Lifeforms" - Capture a creature.
Curious: Level 3 of this trait gives a blue option during the Ancient Vault event. It has no other function.
Rocker: This does not appear to do anything.
Plagued: A result of weaponizing the Rigelian Blood Fever. It will cause some new negative events to spawn throughout the rest of your campaign.
Early Expansion Priorities
Find the Nearby Prison Planet
There's always a prison planet holding a captive leader near your homeworld at the start of every mission. Freeing them gives you another fleet, and therefore more actions per turn. You won't always be able to access this planet quickly, but the sooner you do, the better.
To maximize your chance of finding a prison (or anything in particular), send your fleet to explore planets with more star-lanes branching off into the unknown. More unexplored star-lanes = more chances to find your second leader.
Get More Income
Your starting income is not going to cut it. Go grab a city planet or two to fund your escalating war effort. 50-100 credits per turn more is a good benchmark to aim for.
Get More Ground Troops
Barracks planets help you invade faster and should be treated as high-value targets. Sometimes, if a barracks planet is nearby and easy to take, it can be a good call to invade one before any cities, maybe even before the first prison. There's no guarantee you'll find one anywhere near your homeworld, though. It's possible to go through an entire mission without controlling a barracks planet, but nowhere near as easy.
Hire a Militia Commander
There's another fleet commander you can recruit at your homeworld. They cost 300 credits to prepare, and you'll have to pay more later to maintain their fleet, so it's up in the air exactly when you should hire them. If you took two prison planets early, or if money is tight, maybe don't hire them at all. There are exceptions, but for most missions this guy should be a priority.
- You want to pick fights. Your overlord needs experience to level up and field larger fleets, allowing them to take on bigger challenges.
- Not every defending fleet can be beaten at the start. Be willing to go around certain planets and come back for them later.
- Invade planets with lower ground defense when possible. When you only have one leader, a string of bad dice rolls while invading a well-defended planet will burn through turns, set you back, and make the mission more difficult.
Into the Mid-Game
After getting situated, your choices open up. Economic planets become more equal in value to science planets and crystal planets. The Senate will escalate their interference against you, often forcing you to react. The best play each turn depends on countless factors, including the current mission's type, available planets to take next, Senate activity, how many credits you have, what perks and artifacts you're using, what cards you've drawn, and so on.
How to Beat Each Mission Type
Control missions are the most common and straightforward. You want to land-grab as quickly and efficiently as possible. Senate projects are fairly harsh in these mission types, so be ready to drop what you're doing and send your nearest fleet to shut them down. Don't leave planets close to your homeworld uncaptured for long, for these may join the Senate and launch an attack while you've got nothing nearby to defend with.
After enough turns go by, all neutral planets will have joined the Senate, and large fleets will start to pour out of the enemy homeworld to lay waste to your territory. Ideally, you'll have the mission wrapped up before this happens. If not, grab some more planets quickly before the incoming fleets ruin your day.
Capture & Hold
The key to these missions is in finding two of the three omega cores quickly. Knowing exactly where the cores are, how many turns it will take to move your fleets over to them, and getting a look at the incoming Senate fleets you need to beat well before you have to fight them is key.
Capturing the cores isn't something that needs to happen fast. In fact, an all-out rush is a bad idea; omega cores take 4 turns to charge up after capture, which is enough time for the Senate to bring their forces down on you. It's better to consolidate your empire for a while after two cores have been located and only strike once you're ready to defend two areas at once, or if time is running out before the Senate wins.
Don't waste time trying to take neutral planets on the edge of the map unless you see a very good one. Neutral planets won't join the Senate voluntarily in these missions and are therefore safe to disregard.
Monopolize missions have you pursue one of three key resources: Credits, Research, or Crystal. The main threat is unrest, which gradually builds up each turn, putting you on a loose time limit. Furthermore, fighting, bombing, and capturing planets give half tyranny, while oppression gives double. The Death Ray is less useful during Monopolize missions due to scarce Tyranny. On the plus side, the Senate is more passive, and will not attack your territory directly.
The way to beat these missions is to pursue the key planet type aggressively, oppress them, and skip past a whole lot of other worlds to get to them sooner. For example, if your goal is crystal and you just bombed a lab planet without getting a high enough dice roll to capture it, move your fleet on ahead next turn instead of invading that lab planet again. Keep that mindset for Senate projects and rebelling planets of yours; if it doesn't affect the mission's key resource, you're probably better off letting it go.
Your empire will be much weaker relative to other mission types. It doesn't mean you're losing, so don't stress about it too much.
The finale. This mission normally play out like so: After a brief calm, droves of Senate militia projects will usher in many large astron fleets that will barrel down on your homeworld. There will be a big arm-wrestling contest between these fleets and yours. Smash enough of them and their spawn rate will slow, allowing you to gradually push toward the enemy homeworld and win. There are a couple ways to make this easier...
- Send one fleet elsewhere to take neutral planets instead of fighting in the big mess. This will build up Tyranny, boost your economy, and maybe gain another leader from a prison planet.
- Use the Death Ray to take chunks out of every Senate fleet. When your fleets are full and theirs have holes, astrons are beatable.
- War missions always have a few cannon planets. Grab one that can reach some of the enemy fleets if you can, they make a huge difference.
- Crush militia projects before they can finish whenever possible.
- If the enemy stack-o-doom looks unbeatable with your current fleets, give up some ground and invade other planets nearby while you build up more ships and Death Ray juice. Oppressing a couple of your safer worlds is another option. It takes a while for Senate fleets to conquer planets, slowing them down enough to give you a breather.
War missions can be cheesed. It's sometimes possible to rush a fleet or two onto the enemy homeworld before they start their big push against you and win the game quickly. Pulling that off depends on getting lucky with the map spawning their HQ somewhere accessible, your fleets traveling in the right direction to find it ASAP, and your bombing dice rolling well enough to clear a path through Senate territory. You will have to fight a few astron fleets on the approach, but not that many if things go right. This isn't always possible, and is highly unlikely when playing as the Bzzerk Union.
The Hoplite Dynasty
- This faction is suited toward rampant conquest. Your fleets should be making big sweeps across the map taking planets as they go.
- Don't obsess over holding on to every spot of territory. It's often better to lose a few planets to rebels or invaders than recall one of your conquering fleets to waste turns traveling back to deal with it.
- Oppression is not a great tool for this faction. It's better to keep capturing new planets with those good bombing dice. Monopolize missions are the exception here.
- Perks/artifacts that yield credits for winning fights or taking planets are key for staying effective as the game's difficulty goes up.
- Rabbits struggle with Monopolize missions more than other factions, especially when the goal is research. Bring artifacts which improve your ability to gather the key resource if you can. You can also delay these missions until you're stronger, or skip them entirely.
- Rabbit destroyers and cruisers use missile weapons, which is sometimes a problem. Missiles deal half damage against shields, which all slug ships have, and often whiff before reaching their target when fighting in black hole space weather. Never use an all-missile loadout.
- Missions out in slug space tend to be harder than others due to slug shields. Do those later if you can help it.
- Rabbit Frigate
- Base Stats: 20 cost | 187 HP | 60 dmg per 5sec (Blaster)
A good, cheap damage-dealer. This ship's damage scales up nicely with tech upgrades. When fully upgraded, Volley can dish out quite a lot of pain! Frigates are fragile, so remember to put something else in front of them. The bunny version can pull its weight even in late-game combat, but don't mass-produce it over the big, expensive ships if you've got credits to spare. This is one of the few rabbit ships with a weapon that works properly regardless of space weather.
- Rabbit Destroyer
- Base Stats: 40 cost | 437 HP | 44 dmg per 5sec (Missile)
A serviceable damage sponge that's best used to take hits in front of your frigates and carriers. Don't use it to tank for any other ship type; the others have high durability themselves, while inflicting far more damage. The Kamikaze passive that unlocks at tech lvl 3 hits like a truck, but doesn't connect very reliably.
- Rabbit Cruiser
- Base Stats: 80 cost | 750 HP | 135 dmg per 5sec (Missile)
A powerful all-'rounder with a self-healing special ability. At tech lvl 3, the healing effect extends to one adjacent ally ship. Each upgrade to Bulwark also increases the amount it heals as well. All of the cruiser's upgrades are superb, in fact. This ship's weapon hits very hard, though it is a missile type that suffers from steep penalties in some situations. The cruiser is sturdy enough to be in front, and should always have a frigate behind it when larger fleet formations are available.
- Rabbit Carrier
- Base Stats: 60 cost | 450 HP | 12s launch cooldown (Fighters)
A mediocre damage-dealer. The carrier is a glass cannon that needs a destroyer in front of it, yet it takes up two spaces, preventing you from giving it said protection in any low-level fleet. Its auto-attack damage outpaces frigates, but not by a lot. The ship's Boarding Party ability does damage-over-time based on a % of the target's health, making it ideal against big enemies like dreadnoughts and space monsters. For general use, Boarding Party is not good until teched up. Medium ship empire perks can turn the carrier into a strong fleet addition.
- Rabbit Battleship
- Base Stats: 160 cost | 1812 HP | 258 dmg per 5.5sec (Blaster)
Another powerful all-'rounder. The Pulse Beam inflicts enormous damage and is one of the best uses of fleet energy, often surpassing leader abilities. Use it on high value targets such as enemy carriers, battleships, and dreadnoughts if they're present, or anything else if they're not. The battleship's primary weapon counts as a blaster, not a missile, making this ship a good choice to mass produce while doing missions in slug space.
- Rabbit Dreadnought
- Base Stats: 300 cost | 2633 HP | 330 dmg per 5sec (Beam)
Phew - expensive! These are incredibly powerful ships, and they make a big difference during missions that are still competitive all the way into the late game. The bunny version stands out from other dreadnoughts because of its redonkulous primary weapon, which hits like a freight train and cannot miss. The special ability of this ship is a beam attack against three adjacent targets that improves significantly with tech.
Stonehair: He's a beast in combat but has poor overlord schemes. In battle you'll mostly want to fling meteors as your first move and keep firing those off every time it comes off its short cooldown. The meteor attack gets ridiculous at high levels, but I would still recommend the other leaders over Stonehair for their much better schemes.
Greenfoot: Mediocre combat power, great overlord schemes. Pokey Patch deflects a fraction of incoming blaster shots, missiles, and certain special attacks while not affecting beam weapons or fighters. Try to activate this ability while many enemies are firing to maximize its effect. Greenfoot's overlord schemes make him ideal for Monopolize missions.
Redeye: Both his overlord schemes and combat power are top tier. Combat Stims is devastating when used on a dreadnought or battleship, while merely good on anything smaller. The ability benefits from having a nearby upgraded cruiser to heal the berserker and counterbalance its HP loss. Beware of the other team's defensive abilities before using Stims; don't use it to shoot at an invulnerable ship, or into Greenfoot's screen, or Shocktopus' guard.
Rabbit Militia: These guys have a single-target temporary defense boost that's most useful during smaller fleet engagements, and does not scale up well for large battles. Try to keep these guys from soaking up too much XP if you can help it; the named leaders are much better.
- Planetary defense buffs are among the worst cards, but even they have a few uses. These can boost a planet's defense high enough to withstand a rebellion. If you have the "Homeworld Silos" perk, stack these on your homeworld to increase its bonus. A planet with 16+ defense is needed for Greenfoot's scheme that recruits an extra leader.
- Use ship-killing cards the same way you'd use the Death Ray, where you need them the most. You may occasionally have to fire them off wherever if hand limitations force you to get rid of something prematurely.
- Anti-Capship Missiles can take out space monsters, and that's often the best way to use them.
- The generic +HP and +damage perks are valid alternatives to many of the specialty perks. Don't be shy about choosing those instead.
- Free tech levels for one ship class are decent picks. This faction has some trouble with research but they steamroll when they've got advanced tech, and starting with a freebie or two helps get them there faster.
-1st perk choice-
Small Ship Specialization (Small ships gain +30% evasion)
Rabbits have pretty good small ships, and you're more or less stuck with them for the first few turns of every mission until you get some money coming in. More early game muscle puts you on better footing for the later phases. On the "con" side of things, this perk path is more oriented toward destroyers rather than frigates, which have limited usefulness during the late game.
Medium Ship Specialization (Cruisers gain +1 shot and carriers gain +1 fighter)
There are some big buffs for medium ships on this path. Are they worth it? Yes - the cruiser is an excellent centerpiece for your fleets, and the carrier actually becomes quite good with Carrier Support (+30% damage while a fleet contains 2 carriers). Cost limits your ability to produce mediums in the very early game, and dreadnoughts are still the strongest in the very late game, but overall these ships kick butt when you spec into them.
Large Ship Specialization (Large ships gain +10% HP)
Following this path gives you a boost during both the mid-game (battleships) and late-game (dreadnoughts). These two ships are very impressive when you can afford them, and perks make them even better. The opener is admittedly rather lame, probably to keep this spec in line with the others. Don't worry, the follow-up perks are better. Don't choose this spec if you haven't unlocked both large ship classes. Otherwise, enjoy.
-5th perk choice-
Pillaging Protocols (+25 credits per combat victory)
This opener brings in money for a faction that's often starved of it, and is absolutely clutch. You might say that it improves the rabbit economy by leaps and bounds. :D The follow-up perks are similar yet weaker, and may sometimes be worse than their generic alternative.
Blitzkrieg Protocols (+25% damage and +1 siege for first 3 turns)
This speeds up the initial land-grab even more, giving you an even stronger start. With this perk, you should be grabbing a planet (sometimes two!) every turn while this buff is active. The Blitzkrieg path is a bit worse than Pillaging due to its limited duration. There are a few good follow-up perks on this path, but nothing earth-shattering.
Training Protocols (Overlord starts at lvl 2)
The least of the three choices. The follow-up perks offer similar benefits, including instant lvl 2 militia commanders. Experience points just aren't that hard to come by, especially for the Hoplite Dynasty. What good are early high level leaders if you can't afford to fill those extra fleet spaces?
The Bzzerk Union
- This faction is most at risk at the start of each mission. Choose your first planets to attack with care; when you've only got a single lvl 1 bee fleet, it's easy to go wrong. A couple mis-matched fights or a string of bad bombing rolls against a high defense planet can slow you down enough to fail a tough mission.
- Starting out, you can sometimes beat a tough fleet next to your homeworld with a one-two punch of suicide-charging into it with your overlord, then coming back again the next turn with as much muscle as you can afford. It's not ideal, but can be worth doing if the planet underneath is good enough.
- Once you've established a stable foothold over a few planets and gained another fleet or two, your position is safer. There's room for many things to go wrong if you got to this point quickly.
- You can afford to lose more battles as this faction, and probably will. Sending fleets against stronger enemies to soften them up is sometimes a good play.
- Oppression is a more useful tool for this faction due to their numerous fleets, some of which may be too small for the front lines.
- Another use for a small fleet is to tag along with a larger one for extra bombing dice.
- Perks/artifacts which improve siege ability are a big help if you can find any.
- Capture & Hold missions are the most difficult due to the Bzzerk Union's slow start and weaker fleets. Consider delaying these missions until you've got more perks/artifacts, or skip them entirely.
- Tech upgrades: A good approach is to max out any of the higher-end ships right away. This works out because the bees can afford to build their expensive ships earlier than other factions. Sometimes even dreadnoughts are viable for early upgrades if you grab a few rich worlds early. Alternatively, take two levels of destroyer tech first to get the Escape Pod upgrade, which has great payoff.
- Bee Frigate
- Base Stats: 15 cost | 125 HP | 54 dmg per 7sec (Beam)
Here's one with a rock-bottom price tag, minimal HP, and a middling amount of damage output. Its attack connects instantly and can't miss, so there's that. The bee frigate has poor tech upgrades; the first adds only a minor +5 damage, while most of the others afterward are nonsense that don't add any damage at all. Nevertheless, this ship is still the best fire support around when money is tight.
- Bee Destroyer
- Base Stats: 30 cost | 312 HP | 27 dmg per 5sec (Blaster)
They may not seem like much at first glance, but most other bee ships are much better off with a destroyer in front of them to soak up damage. Bee destroyers become surprisingly good with tech upgrades. Starting at tech lvl 3, the destroyer launches a group of fighters as it blows up. This upgrade in particular has a serious impact on the overall strength of your fleets, and should be one of your earliest research goals.
- Bee Cruiser
- Base Stats: 60 cost | 450 HP | 100 dmg per 7sec (Beam)
A mediocre damage-dealer. Think it as a "frigate plus" that's available when you've got some more money coming in. It's less cost-effective than a frigate, but stronger. This cruiser has similar HP to a destroyer/frigate pair, so while it's not durable, it sometimes makes sense to place them without a destroyer in front. Hex Shot can do pretty good damage to any ship past the front column of the enemy fleet, which is useful for sniping frigates and focus-firing key targets. Hex Shot has a bit of a wind-up time, and is less powerful than the battleship's Painful Sting. The bee battleship further outclasses its cruiser sibling by having more durability.
- Bee Carrier
- Base Stats: 80 cost | 475 HP | 9sec launch cooldown (Fighters)
Bees get the best carrier of the three playable species. It sends out a high volume of fighters that inflict great damage, but like all carriers there's a long delay before their attacks connect. Carriers are fragile and should have a destroyer in front of them when possible. You may be tempted to cram as many carriers as possible into all your fleets, but doing so makes the fleet vulnerable to black hole space weather. Tech upgrades for this ship are impressive, granting more fighters per wave and a few hundred HP in shields.
Fighter Blaze starts out as a small damage buff for one carrier's fighters with the downside of killing those fighters after its duration is spent. It's pretty bad at first, even detrimental if timed poorly. Tech upgrades improve it so that it's much better than a Volley, but worse than a leader ability.
- Bee Battleship
- Base Stats: 120 cost | 1062 hull, 200 shields | 204 dmg per 5s (Blaster)
A solid all-'rounder. It doesn't attack as hard as the carrier, but it can take more of a beating and Painful Sting is a great special. A good mid-game fleet composition has 1-2 of these mixed with many carriers. Your tech upgrades may necessitate a different approach, however. With high level fleets, you have a choice of pairing battleships with either frigates or destroyers due to the three ship columns you're alloted. I prefer destroyers in front most of the time due to Painful Sting cutting into the battleship's HP.
- Bee Dreadnought
- Base Stats: 220 cost | 1500 hull, 375 shields | 270 dmg per 5s (Blaster)
The Bzzerk Union rakes in by far the most money of all the factions and this model of dreadnought costs less to build, making it far more accessible than its cousins. This ship has a ton of HP on a roster of ships without much. The dreadnought's auto-attack is only ~33% higher than the bee battleship's, which is a bit underwhelming. Missile Strike on the other hand is a very nice multi-target attack, and it drastically scales up its coverage with tech upgrades. Enemy shield systems halve the damage inflicted by Missile Strike, unfortunately, making it poor against slug fleets.
Bzzzt: Not the best bug leader, but he'll do in a pinch. Skirmish Line varies in usefulness; it's weaker than most leader abilities, but it soft-counters defensive abilities and tactics, of which there are many. The more defensive your opponent plays, the better it gets. Up against Shocktopus with a stun tactic? Awesome. Up against Stonehair with laser strike? Uh oh. Bzzzt's best overlord scheme spawns K'Klack as a subordinate after you lose 3 battles, which happens often enough. The other two schemes have a smaller impact, but arrive quickly and easily most games.
K'Klack: She's got a pretty strong combat ability and powerful overlord schemes, although both are slow to kick in. Martyr Protocol does best during large confrontations and underwhelms during small ones. If you can afford it, give K'Klack all dreadnoughts and battleships in front, with sacrificial frigates behind them. Her tyrant schemes tend to trigger later than those of other overlords and have a long-term emphasis. Don't use K'Klack for Capture & Hold missions, that's where her slowness hurts the most.
Hummer: The best Bzzerk leader to bring to a fight, and probably in general. Fighter Squad is a very strong combat ability. Remember to unleash it early, and only stop re-using it when the fight is going to end before another batch of fighters can cross the screen. Hummer's schemes are solid as well, and especially help the Bzzerk Union keep up the pace during Capture & Hold missions.
Bee Militia: Mediocre combat ability. It's not useless though, so don't ignore it.
- Watch out for Insider Trading, which boosts your current credits by 15%. You can squeeze more out of it if you play it when your credits are at a peak. Example: Early on you won't have much money to work with, but you will want to hire a militia commander, so one opportunity to play Insider Trading well is right before you hire them.
- Expect to see many permanent planet buffs. While these are good, they're also slow-acting, and shouldn't take priority when crystal is scarce. Always check to see if any of your fast-acting cards have a pressing need before playing them.
-1st perk choice-
Defense Spending (+1 militia commander for hire)
This opener is perfectly tailored to the Bzzerk Union's weak fleets and high income. There are other spots on the perk tree where extra fleet commanders may appear if you want another chance at getting one, or if you want to try fielding as many fleets as possible. Among the follow-up perks, there's Breeding Program (-50 militia hire cost)--which is a total trap--and Fuel Depots (Start with a 'Reserve Tank' / extra move card), a nice perk that helps you expand faster. Overall, this is a good path to start with.
Crony Capitalism (+90 starting credits)
A modest opener, but it helps out during the early game hump where you need it the most. The follow-up perks are amazing. Mercenary Army (+1 siege dice while 500+ credits are banked) in particular is a top tier perk. Use this path to collect money perks to get that up and running more easily. Crony Capitalism is versatile and transitions well into any of the later perk paths.
Strip Mining Operation (+5% empire income per asteroid planet)
The odd man out. Neither the opener nor its follow-up perks are much help. The other two paths are just plain better. Try it only if you want to see something new and don't care about optimizing your current campaign.
-5th perk choice-
Swarm Tactics (+20% damage for 10sec when a small ship dies)
The small ship perk path. The most notable follow-up perk is Multi-Angle Assault, which adds +20% attack speed fleet-wide when there's a friendly fleet at an adjacent planet. That's a good one, but it needs an extra leader perk or two to pair up with. Thus, this path combos best with Defense Spending, although it's still effective otherwise. If you do take this path, don't try using only small ships to do everything, it doesn't work. A row of destroyers in front of some more expensive ships still takes advantage of this path's bonuses.
Improved Fighter Bays (+1 fighter per wave for each carrier)
The carrier perk path. It offers direct combat buffs for one of the better ship classes and works well with any other perk combo. Advanced Fighter Engines gives your fighter craft resistance to black holes; that might not sound like much, but mass carrier fleets are a lot more viable when you don't have to worry about randomly losing them to space weather. This path is at its best when you choose Hummer as your overlord, tech up carriers, and use him as your front man with a destroyer/carrier fleet. Hummer can solo a large astron fleet this way.
Real-Time Fleet Logistics (Fleet damage bonus tied to credits)
The "big money" perk path. This one gives combat buffs for having a lot of credits banked and synergizes with Crony Capitalism perfectly. It is a questionable choice without income perks to back it up, especially since the two combat buffs actually weaken your fleets when money is low. The early game is even more painful, but once you make it through you'll find yourself with an unstoppable military. RTFL and Nanobots max out their bonuses at 700+ credits, which gives your fleets +40% damage and +60% HP.
The Techno Slug Party
- This faction is more complex, but potentially as strong as the others if played well.
- Techno Slug fleets can move twice in one turn. Note that they only move twice; if you bomb/oppress anything, that's the end of that fleet's turn. The second move has a harsh combat penalty attached to it. Sometimes you should not move twice to avoid the penalty, sometimes the double-move is strictly advantageous, and sometimes it's worth picking a fight even with the penalty active.
- Take advantage of double-move by rushing toward the best planets rather than blindly grabbing whatever happens to be nearby.
- When a fleet starts its turn over a planet that's taking a while to conquer, it's often a good idea to go fight a nearby enemy fleet and come back to continue the invasion. This clears enemies out of other planets and nets you some extra XP and Tyranny.
- Being able to move and oppress in one turn is unique to this faction. It makes Monopolize missions a bit easier.
- Slugs are credit-starved due to their high ship costs. It's a harsh weakness that must constantly be worked around.
- Perks/artifacts which improve siege ability are a big help. The Techno Slug Party needs siege support even more than the Bzzerk Union does due to its fewer fleets.
- The Dispel Friendly tactic removes the fleet hangover effect. You should avoid fighting with a hangover, but if it does happen then this tactic makes for a great "get out of jail free" card.
- The Tranquility tactic is good for slugs, especially during large battles. It stalls the fight, allowing all ships to recharge shields after taking some damage. This is highly timing-sensitive, so turn on slow motion and wait for the best instant to use it.
- Slug Frigate
- Base Stats: 30 cost | 81 hull, 75 shields | 48 dmg per 6sec (Blaster)
These provide middling fire support and have very little HP. Their slight shields save them from being one-shotted by most special attacks, thankfully. Laser Strike is a glaring exception to this, and will cost you many, many frigates throughout your campaigns. Tech upgrades are unexciting for this ship class until lvl 6, where the damage amps up and suddenly even their Volley turns deadly. With lvl 3 & 4 fleets, you have to choose between using either frigates in the back or destroyers in front; frigates are mostly the better choice due to cost.
- Slug Destroyer
- Base Stats: 60 cost | 212 hull, 188 shields | 26 dmg per 6sec (Blaster)
A mediocre tank with a painfully high price tag. At tech lvl 3, this ship speeds up the charge rate of fleet energy while low on HP. It sounds cool, but it's been a negligible advantage from my experience. Slug destroyers are most useful to take hits in front of battleships or carriers. When you can afford to pay for them, that is.
- Slug Cruiser
- Base Stats: 100 cost | 393 hull, 350 shields | 154 dmg per 5sec (Blaster)
A decent all-'rounder. It's evenly balanced between HP and damage, and Party Ball gets impressive with tech upgrades. Slug cruisers are expensive for their class, but perform well. I recommend using this ship as your backbone throughout the early-game and mid-game. If you aren't sure which ship to upgrade first, upgrade cruisers. Whether those upgrades are taken all the way to lvl 6 or diverted elsewhere should depend on how much income you build up, with higher incomes favoring a shift toward more expensive ships. Note that Party Ball is nullified by the barriers used by Greenfoot and Rabbit Militia.
- Slug Carrier
- Base Stats: 180 cost | 425 hull, 400 shields | 92 dmg per 5sec (Blaster), also launches fighters
A strange hybrid carrier with both blasters and fighter bays that takes up a lot of fleet space. The slug carrier is worse than the cruiser until you tech it up. Starting at tech lvl 3, Power Drain applies a very long stun, which is the best thing about this ship. There's nothing like pressing an 'off' switch on an enemy dreadnought or space monster. Oh yes, this ship is a fantastic monster-slayer. The protection the carrier gives against hostile fighters (with its own fighters and with flak) makes it better during missions out in bug space, as bugs favor fighters more than other factions. Destroyer cover is good to have for this ship, but is not mandatory. Don't build more than 1-2 of these in one fleet; the stun is amazing but having more of it gives diminishing returns due to being bottlenecked by fleet energy.
- Slug Battleship
- Base Stats: 240 cost | 500 hull, 450 shields | 216 dmg per 5sec (Blaster)
Look at that firepower! And it only takes up two spaces! This is arguably the best ship of the slug line-up. The slug battleship inflicts obscene damage with both its auto-attack and Sweet Rail ability. Be aware that Sweet Rail is only effective while the battleship has most of its shields still up. Because of that, a destroyer should be placed in front of every battleship when enough money is available.
- Slug Dreadnought
- Base Stats: 400 cost | 1187 hull, 900 shields | 252 dmg per 5sec (Blaster)
Very much an end-game ship. It's wildly expensive and not actually that powerful until you tech it up. Once you're flush with endless credits and your tech tree is filled out, that's when dreadnoughts become doomsday machines, and even then you'll still want some battleships along for higher direct damage output. Bass Drop with the "sick bass" upgrade is what makes the dreadnought dangerous, inflicting what is essentially a short stun on the entire opposing fleet.
DJ Daze: Great combat ability. Slow Beats is a great compliment to regenerating shields, and should be spammed constantly. The skill starts out unremarkable at lvl 1 and expands its area coverage significantly afterward. His schemes are sub-par; two are tricky to access and yield only ~1 new tech each. The permanent empire-wide +20% research buff is good, but not game-changing. If you aren't running a research perk setup, choose a different leader. If you are, it's still debatable which leader is best.
Slick: Probably the best of the three. Shield Boost is another defensive ability with a similar dynamic to Slow Beats, except weaker across the board. This one doesn't start to shine until lvl 3. At higher levels there are far more ships around to benefit, and downed shields also get charged back up. Slick's schemes are great, offering extra ships, map-wide invasion support, and a tech-up for every ship type.
EzCargot: Sensor Hack is a solid damage sponge that needs some gaps in your fleet to work, i.e. after your fleet has taken some casualties. You can't afford many casualties as slugs, which means the ability often serves no purpose. The slugs get such strong ship abilities so quickly that I would argue having a situational combat power is not much of a problem. EzCargot has pretty good schemes, especially the one that steals a neutral fleet commander over to your side.
Slug Militia: Mediocre combat ability. It's not useless though, so don't ignore it.
- There are many tricky cards that are great in the right situation. There are also a few trap cards which belong in the discard pile, such as Transcendence (levels up a leader - moderate chance of killing them instead) and Troubled Genius (lab planet becomes 'genius' and 'doomed').
- One More Time (removes the double-move combat penalty) is a very common draw, and you need to make the most of it to succeed. It is otherwise not safe to double-move into any serious danger.
- Space Madness (enemy fleet moves to a random adjacent system) is best used to force the Senate, neutrals, or space monsters to fight each other. This is a great card when you catch enemies from one team surrounding another.
- For best results, go for a heavy crystal setup or a heavy research setup. Either one starts small and ramps up as more combo perks are added on.
- Show of Force (start with a battleship) gives you some much-needed early-game muscle. It isn't mandatory to beat the game, but think carefully before passing it up.
-1st perk choice-
Efficient Weapons (+1% damage per tech-up)
This path offers many perks that synergize well with +research. These perks do not improve your research capability, so ideally you'll pick up perks or artifacts for that later if you choose to start here. This perk path turns very strong later with some research support.
Global Testing (+3 research when you capture a planet)
The inverse of Efficient Weapons, this path improves your research capability but does not offer benefits for having it. There's only one other research perk besides the opener, which means you'll be choosing between more generalized perks twice.
Shield Specialists (+15% shields)
Two of the follow-ups are bad gimmicks, while the opening perk and Cruiser Specialist (Cruisers start with +1 tech) are fairly good. This path improves your combat capability right from turn 1 and does not require a research emphasis to give its full benefit. It's not an exciting path, but I prefer it when pursuing a crystal perk setup. Note that crystal perks appear on all three paths as generics, and any of these paths can be used to start such a build.
-5th perk choice-
Fresh Scientists (Lab planets you invade gain the 'Fast' trait, which gives +3 research)
The research perk path. This opener is not great given that it doesn't affect interlink planets, but there's a much better research generator afterward. "Per tech-up" bonuses are also present here. If you started with Efficient Weapons, definitely take this path next. If you started with Global Testing, Fresh Scientists is about equal with Rave Teams.
Crystal Sellers (+20 credits for each crystal unused at the end of each turn)
The crystal perk path. This opener may not sound impressive, but don't be fooled, it brings in a lot of free money when you have 4+ crystals a turn and some of your cards don't make any sense. If you're not running a crystal perk setup, choose anything else.
Rave Teams (-1 defense to sieged planets per fleet overhead at start of turn)
The generalist perk path. Its opener shores up the slug bombing weakness, which is a welcome addition to any build. Tech Traders (+50 credits per tech-up) is on this perk path, and it's a good one, but no other research perks are present. I recommend Rave Teams if...
- You tried to go full research/crystal and the path you wanted didn't appear.
- You started with Global Testing and want to finish with a quasi-research flex build.
- You rolled your eyes at my advice to go heavy on crystal or research perks. This path is for you!