Expert Moves and Dirty Tricks (SEIV)

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By Stone Mill


Is there a strategy you have used or tactic used against you consider to be creative? List it here. The Expert moves and dirty tricks listed here will be allowable by the game interface and generally not considered "gamey."

I’ve had many of these done to me. I applauded my opponent for craftiness and tried to remember them to use if I could, and protect myself in the future.

Covert Satellite Layer

Need covert recon on your opponent(s)? Build a satellite layer with stealth armor. Lay sats with stealth armor. Deploy your layer in a team with a stealth supply ship with cargo so that you may lay one satellite at a time. You don’t have to decloak your ships to launch sats, but you will have to remember to activate the cloak on the sats. Eventually, you may cover the quadrant, until you hit a minefield.

Another great tactic is to build a sat with stealth armor and a scanner, and drop it on or near a warp point. You will obtain ship designs that way. Even better if you are able to hide it in a storm.

Stealth Bases

This can be a very annoying tactic. The gist of this strategy is to hide a shipyard capable ship or base in a forward area; preferably in a red storm in one of your enemy’s systems. This can be "sneaky drone launcher hiding in a nebula or cloaked", not to mention its even more devious cousins, the "sneaky drone launcher hiding in a nebula or cloaked and firing cloaked drones!" (Drones need to be de-cloaked to attack, such as anything else.) Or you can use fighters to snipe colony ships and transports; you get the point.

This tactic is not game winning, but the amount of havoc you cause may rattle your enemy for a while.


Lure your opponents’ massive fleet into your frontier system. Destroy the star. (It’s important to try and limit what you will lose as well, so do some housekeeping in that system beforehand, such as scrap facilities, abandoning planets). Keep your fleet in a neighboring system and follow up with an attack from whence he came.

Star-Exploding on Demand

This can backfire on you, so be careful using it. Park a star destroyer over the local star. Order it to sentry, then to destroy the star. When an enemy ship enters the system, the sentry order clears and..boom. (Phoenix-D)

Combat Colonists

How’s this for a change of pace? Use the colony ship hull for your early attack ships, mine layers and sat layers. When your opponent figures out your naming conventions, switch them around. Later in the game, design colony ships using different hulls just to keep things lively.

Also, use transport hulls for your early colony ships (Joachim).

Note that colony ships must use 50% of their mass for colony modules, and transport ships must use 50% of their mass for cargo containers. Colony modules count as cargo containers, so transports can easily take colony modules. The reverse is tricky.

All colony modules have a mass of 200 kT, and colony ship hulls have a limit of 300 kT of components. Once their requirement for colony modules has been met, they have only 100 kT remaining. In place of a bridge, crew quarters, and life support, they can be outfitted with a Master Computer III which only requires 20 kT. This leaves 80 kT for engines and weapons. With a Solar Sail III, the Propulsion Experts trait, and a basic engine, a colony ship could be given a movement speed of 5 and still have 40 kT leftover for weapons, satellite deployers, or mine laying components. This approach requires significantly advanced technology, and the combat abilities might very well be too poor to make effective use of this strategy.

The Name Game

You can play the name game by using one name for a ship design, and switching the name for another class just when your opponent thinks he has you figured out. There are many variations of the Ship Naming Game. Increase the number so the enemy thinks you have lots of that model. Name your attack ship as a "Minesweeper". The possibilities are endless.

Instant Colony Defense

Load mines into colonizers for a quick defense. They will be immediately ready to launch - and shock any plotting attackers. (Joachim)

Combat Engineers

Bring a minelayer with your main attack fleet, especially if you notice that your opponent is not counterattacking with minesweeper escorts. When most players throw together defenses in the interior against an invasion, they don’t think to include minesweepers. Take advantage of this by attacking a target, dropping mines, and sitting to bait them into a counterattack. You can attack other targets within the system, but end your turn on the mined sector. Count the number of spaces the enemy needs to travel in order to ensure you get back in time.

This move can really frustrate an opponent, and make them question every attack against your fleet. Are they willing to gamble? They will need to waste valuable production on sweepers, which, of course, means less defenders.

Also, When raiding randomly drop mines around the enemy system - that way they will just never know!(Joachim).

Early in the game, if the opponent's scout is sitting on a warp point you were trying to mine, mine around him! Lay mines in adjacent sectors and return to the same point every turn to conceal your movement (unless he checks the movement log).

Black Hole Woes

Create this trap by opening a warp point in a black hole system only a few sectors away from the center. Damaging warp points are the key; ships that take damage may be rendered helpless and sucked into the hole. You can help this process by building damaging storms on the entrance and exit of the warp point.

Trojan Gifts

Ever get that sinking feeling when you get the message "the star (or planet) in X system will explode in Y years"? No problem! Give it away in a huge trade. This is especially hilarious if you barter it into a deal against a seedy foe; faking concessions to their mighty empire. Because the event message only appears once, they will never know what hit them.

If the opponent won’t accept the gift (because you are already at war, for instance), fall back and let them colonize it as soon as possible.

Third Party Scouting

When the game setting allows you to view only empires with treaties, you can get empire information through an ally who is partnered with an opponent. You can determine data such as the amount of ships involved in defense, the amount of systems and planets, the factor of units in their defense, and whether they are using intel or not.

If you are partnered with an ally, you can also see the activity of an opponent’s empire eyes without "meeting" their empire.

Storm Staging

This because one of the most critical factors in blitzkrieg attacks against dangerous opponents, especially late in large games when all heck is about to break loose. Certain storms (usually red) offer the highest cloaking capability. [see section 9.6 for storm and nebula effects] Stage attacks by hiding in them. Leapfrog from storm to storm with your attack forces until you get behind the lines. Most players don’t do the movement replay in every system (too time consuming), so your chances of surprise are quite good.

The Intel Dogpile

Hit with intel en masse. Plan your intel attacks against a strong empire years in advance. Start running offensive projects, not allowing them to complete, until your queue is filled. If the opponent’s defense is substantial, place large projects (such as PPP) first, so they hammer down the defense first. Get all allied empires in your coalition on-board with this tactic and set an attack date, when you will unleash intel fury.

Hey! It Wasn’t me!

Break a treaty with an empire who is a growing threat, or whom you would like to cease donating 20%, but you don’t want to become hostile. Use the tried and true excuse: "Darnit! Someone ran a communications mimic against me and broke our treaty!!!"


Since a lot of people attack your fleet by attacking the first ship on the top of the list, if you want to avoid a battle that you think is imminent, break away your top ship on the list and run in a different direction to draw off the enemy fleet. Make sure you (M)ove the rest of your fleet in the other direction a couple of sectors before sending it on its original path. You can avoid this trick by randomly attacking a ship in the middle of the fleet listing.

Warp Attacks

If you know your enemy is heavily guarding a warp point, you can open another WP and go through on same turn. You can do this by having your WP opener a sector or two ahead of your fleet, give the WP opener the order to open the WP to the enemy system, and (here's the trick), send your fleet to attack or move to a place in the target system (you cannot use the "warp" order because the new WP doesn't exist at the time you give the order). When the new WP opens, the pathing routine will choose the shortest path for your fleet and go through the new WP. For this to work, you have to make sure that your fleet starts off far enough away from the heavily guarded WP so that it will choose the new one. Hope that's not too confusing.

Mobile unit restock

Any time a fleet needs to stop for a turn or more, have any spaceyard ships in the fleet emergency build more units. The "slow" build time can be spent during fleet movement.

You Captured my planet with what?

Make your carriers (or any cargo capable vessel) into Troop Ships. Carry fighters and troops and you can use it to capture planets. This works with any ship type as long as it has cargo space. Make sure the design type is "Troop Ship" and the strategy is "Capture Planet."


That concludes my article on SEIV Expert Moves and Dirty Tricks. Please add yours!

Preceded by:
Intel Operations
Manual (SEIV)
Section 17.12
Followed by: