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Early Game Transport Fleets
by NotoriousPraetorious

This is a companion piece to the one on missile boats.

Early game transports want to be frigates, so that you can build them anywhere.

The most convenient size of ground force in the early game is an experienced corps. Therefore, you want a pair of these frigates to have four tport pods between them (each transport pod carries 4 units, and an experienced corps is 16 units total.)

A ground force smaller than a corps is generally insufficient to take out even the militia on a reasonably new enemy colony with any surety.

The cost savings for stripping off armor may look attractive, but it is not. When one of these ships blows up, you lose the production cost of the troops on board, as well. So, when designing transports, put on your best defenses; heaviest armor, large shield generator if you have it.

Speed provides some additional defensive advantages, but you'd rather have a large shield generator. A speed of 250 will do.

Early in the game, fighters are the chief threat to your transports, other than missile bases. You're probably better off with point defense guns, rockets or interceptors than with speed. A single point defense volley can be extremely useful, but be careful not to order your transports to fire it at the enemy planet (because they will).

If you put decent armor on them and can convince the AI not to sit around while enemy fighters grind the tports to powder, they are fairly survivable. However, an enemy planetary missile volley will always reduce one of your task forces. Therefore, you should ALWAYS bring an extra tport taskforce, beyond the number you need, when attacking an enemy planet.

I generally wait to get some physical sciences before I actually attack someone, but if I were going to start gearing up on turn 1 this is what I'd field:

Zortrium Light Armor
2 Troop Pods
6 Point Defense Nuclear Warheads
combat speed: 250



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