There is Safety in Numbers
by Da Lok C
I have used this strategy with tremendous success with any race that is customized for heavy production. It enables your empire to quickly achieve space superiority through sheer numbers, rather than technological or military power. I initially came up with this idea using the Cynoids, but playing as a Harvester I found how brutally efficient this plan can be.
The initial strategy from the beginning is very similar to Sark’s Meklar War Machine strategy. There are also bits and pieces of other posted strategies thrown in here too. (This was unintentional, and I hope no one gets offended by any similarities.) You can use whatever race you choose, but make sure that you have customized them with the highest Mining and Manufacturing skills possible. Loose any diplomatic or ground combat extras, as you will not need them, (more on this later). Then choose the Collectivist government if possible, to gain a bonus to unrest when you start raising taxes later. I usually choose to opt out of Senate membership from the get-go as well, simply so that my home system is placed on the fringe of the galaxy and I can hole myself up on one side to minimize the amount of fronts that need to be protected.
Once the game begins, start by sending your first colony ship to another planet in your home system and sending your scout ships outward. Mark every ship on your design screen as obsolete EXCEPT for the colony ship and the system colony ship. Then design a Corvette size ship with system speed of 50 and load it up with as many PD missiles and defenses as you can. Don’t worry about the speed, the missiles should take care of anything for a while. Ignore lasers or any other extras for now too, since these ships are cheap to build and will be used later for cannon fodder anyway. Start producing these ships immediately and dispatch them in flotillas. Once your scout ships have found where the other empires rest, send your flotillas to the neighboring system, essentially barricading that particular route into your empire. Add additional flotillas as needed, but you shouldn’t need more than two or three in any one system at the beginning.
Once you have all routes leading to your home system “sealed off,” start colonizing like mad. New planets should start building planetary defenses as soon as they are colonized – these are the cheapest and quickest ways to secure your system. Once Fighter, Beam, and Missile Bases have been built, start pumping out Corvettes and colony ships. Eventually add the Planetary Shield when it becomes available. The AI usually does a pretty good job of managing your build queue, but check it whenever something has been built to ensure that no ground troops are being built. You may as well start pumping up the tax rate too. Leave the finance policy at balanced spending, and raise the planetary tax to 25-40%. You will most likely need to tweak the exact rate a little on each planet depending on the demographics, but you will begin building up a huge reserve that will be quite useful later.
Follow this plan until you have every planet colonized within your borders. By now, you should not only have a ton of these little ships to begin your invasion, but the heavy industrial planets should be able to handle slightly larger ships. Try building colony ships with 2 Colony pods per ship. This will allow you to colonize yellow planets with one ship and reds will become colonized much quicker as well to establish a firm hold on the system you are invading. Then begin adding larger warships that are as multi-functional as possible. Include as many fighters, missiles, and direct fire weapons as you can hold, but never increase the system speed higher than 250. You really don’t have to move around a lot in combat anyway when the entire screen is filled with your missiles and fighters! Also, the largest ship you are currently building should always be at least two sizes smaller than what your maximum capability is. For example, if you have the technology to build a!
Dreadnought, your largest ship should be two hull sizes smaller. This will help prevent your ships from taking FOREVER to be built, and you should also be able to take advantage of the x5 and x10 options in your build queue.
>From here on out, the plan is self explanatory! Move from system to system, utterly pulverizing any inhabited planet along the way, and colonizing every planet in the system before moving on. You will, understandably, not be making a lot of friends, but with a countless number of ships backing you up…will you really care?