Capturing Planets (SEIV)
To build troops that can invade enemy colonies explore "Construction" and "Troops"; the troops needs some weapons also, explore "Small Weapons" and/or "Troop Weapons". (capnq)
After (or hopefully, before invading) research Psychology, then Political Science. This allows you to build Urban Pacification Centers on conquered worlds that improve the captive population's happiness so that they do not riot. (kalthalior)
Deployment and Tactics
Construct troops as you construct ships, build them and load them on ships. You can now invade other colonies. Even if you do not have "Ice colony" capabilities you can invade such colonies. (Gandalph, Cynapse)
Few planets have shields. The Massive Planetary Shield does not stop troop invasion and doesn't have to be "taken down" before troop landing. (Sinapus)
Satellites or other orbiters will attack a newly captured planet__________________. You need to eliminate them before capture. Weapon Platforms will not attack troops and don't participate in ground combat.
Capture a planet on turn 29 and the Sats will only get one fire at the planet. They will hit the troops you dropped first, and you can still get the planet intact. (Parasite)
A planet will defend itself from troop invasion with militia. The number of militia is a percentage of the population. Militia statistics can be found in settings.txt. The default setting is 1 militia per 20M population.
Militia will regroup after a ground combat battle but the number of militia might be less on subsequent rounds of ground combat because some planet population is destroyed when the planet takes damage. The amount of damage required to kill 1M population is specified in settings.txt and the default is 10.
Ground combat Lasts 10 turns and is completely automated. If the ground combat is not completely resolved in 10 turns, it will continue during the next turn and the militia will not regroup. Race characteristic: physical strength does affect troops but not militia. (Foreman, Parasite)
Regarding ground combat troops in a transport: first in = first out, and first out = front line.
During Ground Combat: defenders get to fire first. defenders get 30% defense bonus above any component modifiers. (settings.txt)
Since troops are CARGO they get destroyed during ship bombardment. So you hardly ever get troops vs. troops combat. It's always troops vs. militia. After 1.84 patch, weapon platforms are destroyed first, then remaining cargo is destroyed randomly. This causes Troop vs. Troop ground combat more frequently. Ground combat can damage or destroy planet cargo.
Once the troops are down, an unarmed, contested planet is no longer considered hostile. This means that your ships should stop attacking it so they won't kill your own troops.
To pickup troops after combat and capture multiple planets in one simultaneous turn, order your planet capture fleet to ATTACK (instead of MOVE) then, load troops, attack other planet, load troops, etc. (Hank)
Bear in mind weapons on a troop transport will not fire, even when in range. Unless you change the strategy (from "Capture Planet"), and then they won't drop troops. Point defense is OK. It will fire. Will help if the planet is shooting missiles at you. (Geoschmo, Parasite)
I'm sure most of you know this, but in Tactical, if the multiple planets are adjacent to each other (sometimes they aren't and there's a row of empty sectors between them), you can drop troops on one planet, conquer it, then select the conquered planet and order it to drop troops on an adjacent planet. (Erax)
It's a well known strategy, but I'll mention it nevertheless: If you want to achieve maximum efficiency in ground combat, it's worth to design 3 types of troops: Defender, Offender and Leader. Defender's design include small shields (or armor) only. Offenders are armed with you favorite weapon (ground cannons or small shield depleters) and nothing else. Leader is equipped with shields plus small combat sensor and small ECM components. Produce them in 3:6:1 proportions (rough numbers). Now, then filling your troop transport, place Defenders first, then Offenders and Last Leaders. Being dropped to a planet, Defender will play a meat shield role, Offenders will stay behind Defenders unharmed and wipe out militia (or hostile troops) and Leaders will provide attack and defense bonus to the whole stack of troops. (Aiken)
If the planet has weapon platforms and you successfully capture it with troops, the platforms remain but are now under your control. (TerranC)
If you invade a colony you gain all that has not been destroyed in the battle, facilities and population. The population will be of the race that colonized the planet, if for example you are oxygen breathers and the colony race are methane breathers, you can move the new race to your colonies with methane. This will increase the possible amount of facilities if the new population is the only race on the planet, i.e. all breathe the same atmosphere. (Gandalph)
After conquering a world or race that breathes a different atmosphere that your own, build colony ships so that you can take advantage of worlds with that atmosphere (i.e., if you conquer methane worlds/races, use the population to colonize other methane worlds so that you can build more facilities on those worlds than you could using your own population). (kalthalior)
Transfer population from other atmosphere breathing conquered worlds/races to worlds you have already colonized that have that atmosphere, and pull your own population off to get the same effect as above with regards to increasing facility slots on worlds. (kalthalior)
Captured population (by any means) loses all of its racial attributes and is identical to yours except they retain their atmosphere breathing so can be used to populate your colonies appropriately AND they slowly get unhappy over time so you need to account for that so they don't riot (riot police, upc, etc.). They also retain their native graphic picture so you can tell what race they were originally from. The positive happiness effect of 10 troops of any type will exactly cancel out the negative happiness of having alien population on a planet.
Q: How do I set up my fleet to capture a planet: A(Geoshmo):
a. Make sure the troop transport has a ship strategy of capture planet.
b. Make sure the fleet has a strategy of capture planet.
c. Make sure the troop transport has troops onboard.
d. The target planet must have a population greater than 0. For some reason, the troop transport won't attempt to capture an enemy planet with 0 population.
As long as you do these four things then your fleet will attempt to capture the enemy planet. If the enemy has weapons platforms the attack ships will engage it till the weapons platforms are gone or your ships are. The troop transport will run for the corner while this happens. Once the platforms are gone the troop transport will make for the planet. Your attack ships will then concentrate on taking out any ships/bases/fighter/sats/drones left. The troops will drop if your transport can get there before the combat round is over. If your troops are defeated your fleet will then turn back and attempt to glass the planet. If your troops are successful and the enemy has any bases or sats left they will open fire on the planet. Sometimes, not too often in the unmodded game, the combat round will end with your troops and the enemy at a stalemate. If this happens combat will resume during your opponents next turn. If it lasts long enough to get back to your turn you can even try dropping reinforcements on the planet. In the unmodded game though this rarely happens.
Q: When you defend a planet this time, are mines, fighters and satellites stored in the planet cargo automatically launched to join the combat, or are they given to the enemy?
A(Arkcon): Units in storage of a captured planet or ship become yours. You can never capture units in space.
Q: What if you have all troop transports and no attack ships? Will they try to take the planet anyway, even if there are weapons platforms? Sometimes I want to send in a heavily shielded/ armored transport to take the weapons platforms intact.
A(Geoschmo):Yes, if there are only troop transports and no attack ships they will rush the planet straight away. The same occurs if during combat all your attack ships get destroyed or disabled. Your troop ship(s) will rush the planet, even if there are still active weapons platforms left defending it.
Q: Which units will a planet automatically launch during combat?
A: Fighters & Drones only. Weapon Platforms and Troops cannot be launched obviously. Satellites and Mines are NOT automatically launched. After 1.91 patch, Anti-Planet drones are not automatically launched in combat.
Ground Combat General
| Manual (SEIV)