Ship Tactics (SEIV)

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Ship Tactics


You cannot retreat from combat, combat ends after 30 combat turns. (Silent Sorrow, Derek)

Capital Ship Missiles

Be careful you don't run out of supplies on your Capital Ship Missile ships - each CSM V uses 20 supplies.

Can I use X component in combat?

Emergency Supply Pods, Emergency Propulsion Pods, Self Destruct Devices, Stellar Manipulation components, Repair Bays, and Space Yards cannot be used in combat.

Tractor Beams

Tractor beams can only pull in smaller sized ships. If the target ship is larger than the firing ship, nothing will happen. Planets count as having infinite mass, and cannot pull or push each other, but will always win against a ship.

Point Defense Cannons

Point Defense Cannons (PDC's) won't fire automatically unless you or the target moves and is in range; but they can be fired manually at fighters in tactical combat. While point defense cannons can be modded to target ships and planets, they will only trigger on unit movements during the enemy turn.

Even though PDC's don't require multiplex tracking, if you fire them manually before normal weapons in tactical combat, you lose 1 multiplex "slot" for that turn.

Computer Virus

Computer virus attacks skip armor and shields and only damage Master Computers. They do NOT take over control of the ship, and will not harm any components without the Master Computer ability. If the enemy ship has no Bridge/Lifesupport/Crewquaters aboard as backups for the computer, their speed will be reduced by a factor of 16 (1/4 * 1/2 * 1/2), dropping them to 1 move in all but extreme cases.

Movement Weapons Damage Shields

In addition to moving the target ship, as far as damage goes, Tractor, Repulsor, & Wormhole beams will damage shields equal to their damage rating, but nothing else will be damaged, even if shields are down. Mounts will increase the damage to shields.

Energy Dampeners

Energy Dampeners, if they hit, disrupt all target's weapons for the number of turns equal to the "damage". Mounts will increase the "damage" so larger mounts will increase number of turns disrupted. Multiple hits from ED's will add together - example: 2 hits from a normal mount ED-III (damage = 3) on the same turn will disrupt all target's weapons for the next 6 combat turns.

Organic Armor

Organic armor will regenerate only in battle, not in strategic mode. If got 1 left, engage immobile target and just sit there to regenerate. This is fixed in the v1.84 patch and now all Organic Armor on a ship will regenerate after a battle so long as there was at least one that survived. Strangely, Organic Armor will only regenerate after a battle, but not after other damaging events like hitting a minefield, a damaging warp point or storm.

Seeker Defense Modifier

Seekers get a defense modifier of 40% (settings.txt)


Ramming a drone before it rams you may damage or even destroy the drone without making the warhead go off. This is much easier to do in tactical combat.

Component Damage Distribution

The chance of hitting a particular non-armor component is equal to the hitpoints of that component divided by the total hitpoints of the ship. (Think of it as a lottery system). Components with the armor ability, on the other hand, are almost always damaged in order from fewest hitpoints to most hitpoints.

Ramming Fighters

A ship can do considerable damage (usually destroying it) to a fighter group by ramming it.

Combat Movement Speed

Combat movement speed = 1/2 normal movement speed, rounded up.

Targeting Unarmed Ships

I have played a few games where I was up against unarmed ships, usually mine sweepers. First thing I do is to make unarmed ships a priority target; that will often kill the mine-sweepers even when you lose the battle. This has a slowing effect on the opposing fleet, as they need to replace the mine-sweepers or risk running afoul of mine fields. Adding a single weapon will defeat this tactic. It looks like this is a mistake that lots of new players make. (Thermodyne)

Ramming Warp Points

You can ram warp points (and planets and stars) in tactical combat! Very occasionally useful if your ship is crippled, has no Self Destruct Device, and you can't let it be captured at any cost. (Suicide Junkie)

Undetectable Cloaking

A small thing perhaps worth mentioning: red nebulae (and cyan nebulae too) grant you the best kind of cloaking, which cannot be bypassed by *any* stock sensor. This can be used to help your natural paranoia, or to have a nice secure system when striking against another Empire. (Alneyan)

Crystalline Opponents

If fighting a crystalline opponent, pay extra special attention to how crystalline armor works. All I can suggest is to use REALLY REALLY BIG guns. Shield depleters followed by the largest thing you can muster seem to work the best. Toss in engine destructors and battle warpers and you have a chance. (Rathar)

Warp Weapons

Warp Weapons on Heavy mounts are a nice way to break up an enemies fleet so they fight piecemeal. However, such a strategy makes your unarmed ships that run to the corner much harder to defend. I suggest you spread out your mine sweeping capability if you use these. You also need to spread out minesweepers if they target weakest in case you put one weapon with max range on your minesweepers. Repulser beams are better at pushing enemies in a consistent direction, but they do not work against bigger ships like Warp weapons do. (LGM)

Learning Ship Designs

If you want to find out the makeup of an enemy fleet, a trick you can do is to attack the fleet with a single ship, fighter or drone. You will then gain all of the enemy ship designs in that fleet. You can view them in the combat replay or in the Designs screen. Then if you want, you can test your fleet against the enemy in the simulator.

Fighter Combat Strategies

I've put quite a bit of thought into fighter combat strategies. One thing I find works quite well for keeping your fighters alive is to have your carriers escorted by a few Missile Ships. As the name implies, these are ships (usually CRs or BCs) loaded to the gills with CSM's [Capital Ship Missiles]. When in combat, I have them spread their fire across as many targets as possible, and send my fighters in about 1-2 squares behind them. The AI uses up all their PDCs on the missiles, and the fighters can swoop in to attack unmolested. Each fighter usually carried 4 Rocket Pods so 400 damage potential per fighter (modified sizes, but the principle is the same), and a Heavy carrier can launch about 250 fighters. So 250x400=100,000 damage points. And that's a lot of hurt in anybody's books. Using this tactic, I usually send out hunting packs of 2 heavy carriers, 3 Missile BCs and one spaceyard ship with cargo comps to ensure my carriers are always fully loaded. It works brilliantly against the AI, but not so well against humans, since I haven't figured out how to use the 'Missile Screen' tactic in Strategic Combat. (AgentZero)

Preceded by:
Space Combat
Manual (SEIV)
Section 6.1
Followed by:
Fleet Formations