Rock, Paper, Scissors (SEIV)

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By Stone Mill


  1. Be on guard as to the ship designs, units, and tactics of competitors
  2. Address their strategies by employing effective counter-strategies


There is no "Uber" weapon in SEIV; although, some weapons and strategies are more effective than others. SEIV offers players versatility to counter another player's strategies by allowing you to design a force that addresses the forces thrown at you. This article addresses units/ships/fleets. Note that economic, political, intelligence factors are generally not included (which are critical factors in defeating an opponent). This is a basic list. Please add anything I have missed.

Unit Strategies / Counter-Strategies

IF your opponent uses Seekers, Drones, Fighters, Missiles, Crystalline Torpedoes:


  1. Use Point Defense (PD) on your ship designs, Design PD ships. Continue to research PD to increase damage output.
  2. If you have a lot of Point Defense Cannons (PDCs) compared to the number of enemy seekers/fighters, get in close because you can overwhelm their seekers/fighters and take no damage (Imperator Fyron).
  3. If you do not have a lot of PDCs compared to the number of enemy seekers/fighters, you can survive by moving out of range of the seekers after firing your weapons. This is also known as "missile dancing". The idea is to make the seekers move up to their maximum range. At that point, they disappear and can do no damage. Use optimal or max range (difficult in simultaneous games) (Imperator Fyron).
  4. Use satellites or fighters (especially at warp points). Missiles can't hit 'em, but be warned: fighters can.

IF your opponent uses Seekers or Drones , large amount, or large size: Fighters, Missiles, Crystalline Torpedo, Drones; missile boat fleets, carrier fleets


  1. Increase Point Defense (PD) on your ship designs, Increase the number of PD ships. Research PD V as a priority.
  2. Strongly consider using fighters.
  3. (Versus fighters) increase sensors and training so that your direct fire weapons can hit.
  4. Attack with an equal or bigger fleet, direct fire + PD, short or point blank strategy.

IF your opponent uses Mines :


  1. If sparsely distributed, early game, include a minesweeper escort.
  2. Add armor to help absorb damage. Shields don't help here.
  3. Mid to Late game, always travel with 100+ minesweeping capability.

IF your opponent uses Satellites :


  1. Use Point Defense (PD) on your ship designs, Design PD ships. Continue to research PD to increase damage output.
  2. Use armor to increase survivability.
  3. Fighters will clean them up, provided your carrier survives the initial attack and is able to launch.

IF your opponent uses Weapons Platforms or Bases:


  1. Counter whatever weapon type is used.
  2. Use short or point blank range.
  3. Ensure you have enough ships to absorb the attacks, if early game. Medium game fleets should typically overcome WPs easily with small losses.
  4. ECM and training will make your fleet much harder to hit; esp. medium to late game.

Ship Strategies / Counter-Strategies

IF your opponent uses Kamikaze ships : Including Ramming


  1. Target that ship type first in the firing strategy if feasible (i.e., "smallest, nearest").
  2. Use max or long range.
  3. Ensure you have enough ships to absorb the attacks, if early game. Medium game fleets should typically overcome suicide ships easily with small losses.
  4. Use fighters! They cannot be rammed in simultaneous gamee. (Geo, Geckomolis)
  5. Ramming ships are frequently vulnerable to engine destroyers. Ramming ships that don't move don't ram much. They tend to focus on armor for hitpoints, since the attacker's shields are not counted when ramming. Of course, they could still slip a single shield generator on there, but many forget to do this (Krsqk). Ramming does not affect the attacker's shields at all (unless a shield generator component gets destroyed, of course). A ship that rams (attacker, source) has it's shields remain at whatever level they were before the ram. All damage is done to it's hull, none to shielding. Its shields are not dropped to 0. The target ship, on the other hand, will have damage done to it's shields first before it takes any structural damage. (Imperator Fyron).

IF your opponent uses Ship Capture : Boarding Parties


  1. Use shields! Boarding parties hate 'em.
  2. Use shield regenerators... even 1 point of shields is enough to stop boarding parties.
  3. Use self destruct devices. Note: your ship will still be destroyed, but not captured.
  4. Use security stations (not particularly efficient). Also consider adding additional crew quarters. (see FAQ 6.4).
  5. Target that ship type first in the firing strategy if feasible (i.e., "smallest, nearest").
  6. Use max or long range.
  7. Consider using engine destroyers to impede the enemy's movement.

IF your opponent uses Shields :


  1. Use Phased Polaron Beam (PPBs).
  2. Use Null Space weapons.
  3. Use Shield Depleting weapons, designed so they fire first. [by adding them to the ship's design before other weapons]
  4. Lure the fleet into a shield-disabling storm.

IF your opponent uses Armor :


  1. Use Null Space weapons.
  2. Use Engine Destroying weapons.

IF your opponent uses Master Computers :


  1. Use Computer Viruses.

IF your opponent uses Phased Polaron Beam (PPBs) :


  1. Use Phased Shields. Forego using any normal shield components. Any normal shield components must be removed, or they will nullify the phased shield protection.
  2. Use Armor. Get to Armor VI as a priority. Armor III is the best for hitpoints, and armor VI is needed for the full 15% defensive bonus from both stealth and scattering armor
  3. Engage with a longer range weapon (i.e., APB at advanced levels) or with longer range mount (i.e., WPs or base mounts)

IF your opponent uses Armor and Shield Skipping Weapons: Null Space, Weapon Destroyers, Engine Destroyers


  1. Engage with a longer range weapon (i.e., APB) or with longer range mount (i.e., WPs or base mounts)
  2. Forego using many armor and shield components.

IF your opponent is not using Point Defense:


  1. In general, deploy Fighters, Missiles, Crystalline Torpedo, Drones, satellites; missile boat fleets, carrier fleets.
  2. Fighter stacks will decimate missile boat fleets, since missiles can't target them.
  3. Note: You always want to have 1 or 2 PDCs on your ships no matter what the enemy is currently using, even if they are not using missiles, seekers, and such. Because not doing so would leave you very vulnerable to a sudden change of tactics (I have seen many players in PBW fall into such traps). (Imperator Fyron )

Ship Strategies / Counter-Strategies: Special

IF your opponent uses Allegiance Subverters:


  1. Increase ship defense bonus through training, ECM, and Stealth & Scattering Armo# Shields, Armor, Self Destruct Devices, boarding parties and security stations do not prevent subversion.
  2. Use Master Computer# Even if your master computer is taken down (i.e., virus), it still is immune to subversion.
  3. Tip: If the enemy is using Allegiance Subverters, use a MC and one of each (Bridge, LS and CQ) on your ship# This will make them immune to the AS, and they will not be disabled by a Computer Virus Get the best of both world# (Imperator Fyron)

IF your opponent uses the Talisman:


  1. Attempt to wage war with a Religious foe before Talismans are available. They are expensive. You should be able to compose a better fleet with the amount of research he has foregone to do special research. If the talisman is already on the field, you have cause for concern.
  2. Avoid engaging his fleets and attack his resource base
  3. Frag his planets with lots of small fleets, each well trained with 100+ minesweeper He will have to choose to either call off his attack to protect himself.
  4. Beat him with intel [See section 17.11] Break his treaties, steal his resources, and steal his ships with Crew insurrection.
  5. Allegiance Subverters (psychic) used correctly (at a warp ambush) can be nice.
  6. Fight the battle on your terms, at the exit side of the warp point Get first shot Use fighter stacks and sats with a variety of deadly combos Engine destroyers are nice.
  7. Use a longer range weapon, and engage from a distance If you need a direct-fire weapon, consider the Wave Motion Gun +30% to hit
  8. Try to use a weapon that packs more punch.
  9. Use better shields and armor to increase your survivability.
  10. Or forego using shields and armor at all, and use the space for more weapons
  11. If you do this, ensure your ships are fast and engage at point blank range Ripper beams are a nice choice for this.
  12. Design heavy armored (preferably organic armor) ships that fight at close range and soak up damage, while your main force engages from a comfortable distance You may consider making giant organic Kamikazes.
  13. If you can't engage with superior range, (i.e., Your APB vs his PPBs) use point blank range to get the best chance to hit and cause the most damage since he'll always hit you anyway (Imperator Fyron). I have found that point blank / ram with target nearest / nearest / nearest / nearest works the best And Send in your best Direct Fire ships Tested in Games against Talisman fleets Because if you hang back and cannot hit him, his fleets sit back and destroy your fleet and gain experience at the same time A lose-lose situation (tesco samoa).
  14. Skip adding ECM. You won't need it.
  15. If he is light on PDC, lure him into a fighter/seeker trap. Preferably at a warp point. Good players won't give you the chance, however.

General Strategies / Counter-Strategies:

IF your opponent uses Point Blank or Short Range: Including Tractor Beams


  1. Use longer ranged weapons and consider repulsor# Increase your attack % and use a longer range strategy.

IF your opponent uses Optimal or Longer Range: Including Repulsor Beams


  1. If you aren't doing well at longer range, use more powerful weapons and consider tractor beam# Use a short or point range strategy.
  2. Increase ship movement to engage faster.

IF your opponent is difficult to hit:


  1. Increase ship and fleet training, combat sensors, and move to short or point blank range.
  2. Increasing ship speed may be helpful.
  3. Next time, design your empire with berserker or warrior, and soup up aggressiveness/defensivenes# Or try the Talisman.

IF your opponent is hitting you often:


  1. Increase ship and fleet training, ECM, and move to longer range (as long as you are hitting him more).
  2. Increasing ship speed may be helpful.
  3. Next time, design your empire with berserker or warrior, and soup up aggressiveness/defensiveness

IF your opponent is doing more damage than you:


  1. Research more powerful and more advanced weapons.
  2. Use ship/unit classes with bigger mounts.
  3. Consider adding armor or more powerful shields.
  4. Overwhelm with numbers.

IF your opponent is attacking or capturing your planets:


  1. Early game against small fleets; Try the usual; mines, fighter# WPs, base# Give you better rang# Add sensors and multiplex tracking.
  2. WPs can pack a nasty punch if you stack quite a few on a select plane# Usually, you can bring an attacking fleet to a halt if you significantly damage on of its ships movement capabilit# This may stop prevent "chain attacks" where he wipes out several planets in a tur# Eventually, weapons platforms will be overwhelmed by enemy fleets, so your best defense against fleets will be fleets of your own.
  3. Scorched eart# Destroy all facilities the turn before it appears you will lose the planet(s).
  4. Garrison troops to kill his troops, if he is not packing many.

IF your opponent defending the warp point entrance:


  1. Play in the simulator to see if you can devise a strategy/movement so you can get first shot.
  2. Defending the entrance is not necessarily a tactical advantage, however, the defender on average gets into firing position first.

IF your opponent defending the warp point exit:


  1. He will get first shot at close range with most or all or his units and ship# This is a serious tactical advantag# You must devise a way to ensure the survivability of your ships after his opening volley.
  2. Increase ship and fleet training, ECM, so that they are harder to hit
  3. Increase your ship size, add armor and shields (if appropriate). Design some "damage absorbers" with only a few weapons.
  4. Increase the number of ships in your attacking force (2:1 or 3:1 or better ship ratio, for example)
  5. Open another warp point, if possible.


This concludes my article on Strategies and counter-strategie. Enjoy!

Preceded by:
Combat Strategies
Manual (SEIV)
Section 17.6
Followed by:
The Early Kill