3) Questions and Answers


    The Stars Directory maintains a list of sites and mailing lists to help you find the right game to join.  Click here to go directly to the list.

    Stars R Us has a file that describes how Stars! is played via email. Click here to go directly to the file.

return to table of contents

    There are several Stars! related FAQ's out there.  Here are links to the Newsgroup FAQ, the Support FAQ, the Shareware Stars! FAQ, and the Stars! Support page.

    Hosting is simple, once you work out the details.  Chapter 3 of the manual describes what is required.  If you want them, there are utilities available to help streamline the process.  Check the download page at the Stars Directory.    Of course, the easiest course of all is to let the Stars Autohost  website do the actual hosting for you.  Click here to go directly to the page that tells you how to set up an autohost game.

    Your best bet would be the Stars! Newsgroup, at rec.games.computer.stars.  It is an excellent place to pick up playing tips and find the answers to your Stars! questions.  Before posting, please read the newsgroup FAQ, and, for fastest results, search deja news for past newsgroup articles about the topic; your question has probably been asked and answered already!

return to table of contents

    Click here to see the glossary at "Stars R Us".

    Click here to see the list at "Stars R Us".

    You can download a demo copy from Waypoint Zero.   It has some limitations, but is good for learning the game and playing against the computer.  For the registered version, your best bet is to order on line from Empire Interactive.  For some reason. this outstanding game is hard to find in stores in most of the world.

return to table of contents


     Stars! Order of Events

     Scrapping fleets (w/possible tech gain)
     Waypoint 0 unload tasks
     Waypoint 0 Colonization/Ground Combat resolution (w/possible tech gain)
     Waypoint 0 load tasks
     * Other Waypoint 0 tasks *
     MT moves
     In-space packets move and decay
          PP packets (de)terraform
          Packets cause damage
     Wormhole entry points jiggle
     Fleets move (run out of fuel, hit minefields (fields reduce as they are hit), stargate, wormhole travel)
     Inner Strength colonists grow in fleets
     Mass Packets still in space and Salvage decay
     Wormhole exit points jiggle
     Wormhole endpoints degrade/jump
     SD Minefields detonate (possibly damaging again fleet that hit minefield during movement)
     Production (incl. research, packet launch, fleet/starbase construction)
     SS Spy bonus obtained
     Population grows/dies
     Packets that just launched and reach their destination cause damage
     Random events (comet strikes, etc.)
     Fleet battles (w/possible tech gain)
     Meet MT
     Waypoint 1 unload tasks
     Waypoint 1 Colonization/Ground Combat resolution (w/possible tech gain)
     Waypoint 1 load tasks
     Mine Laying
     Fleet Transfer
     CA Instaforming
     Mine sweeping
     Starbase and fleet repair
     Remote Terraforming


If you see a packet will hit your planet next turn and you don't have a freighter already in orbit, there is nothing you can do; the packet will hit before you can build a mass driver or defenses and before you can get any freighter there to move the pop.

If you plan on abandoning a planet to an ally by moving a freighter to the planet with orders to Set Waypoint to 1(00) on the same turn that the ally moves a freighter to the planet with orders to Unload All, the ally will face your entire population, not just the 100 colonists you had intended (a very painful lesson).

Remote Terraformers are very effective against narrow-hab CAs since they terraform *after* the CA instaforms.

Since SD mine detonation occurs between fleet movement and production, the arriving enemy fleet can be damaged while the fleet that you produce that turn can enter combat undamaged.

If you intercept an enemy freighter going to meet the MT, you can prevent him from trading.

A fleet that you give away will still be yours until the end of combat (pre-"i" patch allowed waypoint 0 fleet transfers).

A fleet with a waypoint 0 load task in orbit around a planet that you don't own will not proceed to waypoint 1 (very painful Robber Baron lesson).

*Note that fleet scrapping can only be carried out as a waypoint zero tasks.  This means that if a ship has orders to move, and then scrap itself at the destination, the scrapping will not take place until the next turn.

* Smart bombing occurs after nomal/LBU bombing but before defences are taken down. This means smarts cannot get a 1 year kill even when combined, and are best used alone or not at all.

( Courtesy SB Posey, with a few comments (marked with *) tacked on by myself)

return to table of contents

3.2)   How many and how dense are the stars in various universe setups?

 Here is the number of planets  / density information for all
universes, credited to Leonard Dickens.

Number of planets in a galaxy.

These numbers are not exact, actual number of planets may vary by
1 in a tiny/sparse, or 6+ in a huge/packed

Number of stars
      Sparse  Normal Dense  Packed
Tiny    24      32     40     60
Small   96     128    160    240
Medium 216     288    360    540
Large  384     512    640    910
Huge   600     800    940    945

        Edge(ly) Area(ly^2)
Tiny     400        160K
Small    800        640K
Medium  1200       1440K
Large   1600       2560K
Huge    2000       4000K

Density of stars (#stars/10000ly^2)
      Sparse  Normal Dense  Packed
T/S/M    1.5    2.00  2.50  3.75
Large    1.5    2.00  2.50  3.55
Huge     1.5    2.00  2.35  2.36
return to table of contents

return to table of contents



    In Stars!, planetary population growth is affected both planetary value, and the percentage of the total population capacity present on the planet.  In order to maximize your economic growth, it is necessary to move population around.  What's the best plan?   Once again, Jason comes through with the goods!

Subject: Re: Early Population growth: rules of thumb
Date: Fri, 15 Jan 1999 22:16:48 GMT
From: jasoncawley@msn.com
Organization: Deja News - The Leader in Internet Discussion
Newsgroups: rec.games.computer.stars

In article <369F326A.87C65946@mckinsey.com>,
  joerg_weber@mckinsey.com wrote:

> To finally get it right:
>  1. Do I maximize increase in population from one specific planet by
> keeping its capacity as close to 33% as possible ?

Yes, you do.  33% gives the most pop growth per planet.

Aside - Not that that is always the thing you want to maximize - often it
isn't.  For instance, 50% or so can wind up giving more resources over the
whole period until the planet is filled, if you are using an orbiting
freighter fleet to fill it - takes a bit longer, but you get more on the
 If you only maximize pop growth you can wind up hurting your overall econ
performance sometimes (fewer factories operated, or for less time, or more
pop resources "lost in space", etc).

> 2. Do I maximize increase in overall population of ALL planets by
> 2.1 first filling homeworld to 25% and then

So far so good :-)

> 2.2 continuing to fill homeworld unless there is a planet for which:
>     Planet Value*Max.Growth rate > Current Growth rate of my
> homeworld    ?

No.  This isn't right.  See, you don't kill all your homeworld growth when
you move some of its pop somewhere else.  You get both the growth on the HW
(at some hold level) and the growth of the pop elsewhere (with some amount
having been sent, that amount being higher with a lower HW hold).  So you
aren't trading the HW growth for the other world growth (if you were, then
your 2.2 would be right, but it isn't).  You are trading the HW *marginal*
growth (the change in HW growth because of the last bit of pop, the bit you
are considering moving) for the *marginal* growth on the other world (how
much the growth on the other world would change if the moved bit of pop
where there).

To see this, imagine moving pop over the 33% level.  The HW pop growth is
not going to go *down* because you move that, it is going to go *up*.  You are
relieving crowding.  But *any* green world under 33% of capacity, that same
pop would grow *some*, thus a positive "marginal".

If the alternate *habitat* is 33% or better and uncrowded (under 25% of
capacity), then (ignoring travel time) you will get the most pop growth
holding the HW at *25%*.  25% gives more pop growing on the decent worlds
(inputs), and thus more compounding overall.  The reason for the 33% hab
figure is that the marginal growth of the HW pop drops by 2/3rds as you
cross the 25% line.

Note that just in pop-maximizing terms, the above is *always* true for IS
races, since they have 50% habitat available if they can buy freighters to
hold the amount of pop.

If the alternate habitat is *0%* (or yellows, or very long travel times)
then you maximize the pop growth holding the HW at *33%* (since when the moved
pop doesn't grow, the maximum growth happens with whatever maximizes the HW

Between 33 and 0 alternate hab, the exact best place for the HW will be
between 25 and 33, but the differences are going to be tiny and temporary.

I recommend using 25% on the HW until all the factories the population can
operate at that hold level are done.  Then let the HW grow to 50% (to get
the "resource integral", not the pop growth - as per the first aside above),
then hold it again.  That is simple and will get you close to optimal
performance; since there are trade-offs of things like pop growth/developing time vs.
resources on the way and such, close is good enough - optimals are something
of a chimera.  You can wind up getting more of what you are aiming at but
less of other things that also matter if you just maximize pop growth.

The most important thing is not to let the HW (or other good "breeders") get
very crowded (over 50% of capacity or so) before you have hit all the places
you want to live.  In the case of the non-HW breeders (since those you don't
get he HWs special mineral non-depletetion, which is a seperate incentive to
fill the HW to capacity) leaving them at 50% until all other space is filled
is a good idea.  And 25% is the proper hold for the HW early on, when the HW
pop would not operate factories right away and there is good alternate hab
available nearby.

I hope this is somewhat clearer than mud.


                                              Jason Cawley

return to table of contents



    Thanks to Art Lathrop for this excellent article.  It includes a use for chaff  that I, for one, had never heard of, or seen used!

Living with Chaff
Revised February 16, 1999

Chaff are ships that take advantage of two aspects of combat in Stars!, the targeting algorithm and the manner damage is calculated for missiles.  The targeting algorithm in Stars! prioritizes vulnerable targets (i.e. ones with low or no shields and/or jamming) and supposedly ships with high boranium or germanium content (an indicator of beamers).  With chaff you are really mainly concerned with vulnerability.  The other aspect is that missiles can only kill one ship per year (unlike beam weapons, which can kill multiple targets).  Building chaff is essentially buying one round that a missile will not hit your ships.  By buying lots of these cheap ships you can make it so that your opponent won't start hitting you with missiles for several turns.  How effective can this be?  Hypothetically, say you and your opponent are building your battleships for 1000 resources and chaff for ten (nice even numbers).  You build one battleship and one hundred chaff.  The enemy builds two battleships.  For simplicity sake, we will assume that the battleships each have twenty missiles (though many advanced players use versions that only have twelve or sixteen).  Your battleship will be able to fire for two rounds before there is even a chance that your opponent's ships will get to fire back at your ship.  If you have initiative you will fire three times before your ship starts taking hits and even then you will only take hits from one of the battleships.  Before then, you should be able to kill the enemy ships.  He looses 2000 resources worth of ships and you lose less than half of that (often much less than half).

The majority of players use scouts or frigates for building chaff.  Initially, the scout is a several points cheaper, but cost for the two is virtually the same at high levels of construction. Frigates have slightly more than twice the armor of a scout.  While this is of no use in chaff's primary role as missile bait, it does make them more resistant to other attacks. Another advantage is that the frigate has is that it carries more fuel.

If you are using the fuel mizer, you really won't need to worry too much about fuel consumption (especially since chaff usually move with larger ships).  If you are using the cheaper quick jump 5, you might consider using the frigate even if it is a little more expensive, since its fuel reserve is two and a half times that of the scout.  Some might consider placing a warp 10 capable engine on their chaff.  Note that even the cheapest warp 10 can double the price of chaff.  In most cases it will be cheaper just to build the cheapest chaff possible and then lose 10% of the ships when travelling warp 10.  There is an added disadvantage to using high performing engines.  In combat your chaff will move faster and may be vulnerable to slower enemy beamers one turn earlier.

Aside from the cheap engine and hull, you also need put a weapon on the chaff.  Since any weapon will do, the X-ray is usually the weapon of choice.  If you were to play IS you MIGHT consider using the mini-gun as once and a while chaff do actually fire their weapons.  The mini-gun with its range, extra mine sweeping ability, and initiative advantage may make it worth the one extra resource, but remember you will be building thousands of these things, so the one extra point (and minerals) can really add up.  Some advocate the gattling gun for the same reason; however, this weapon is considerably more expensive (relative to chaff that is).  In the numbers that one builds chaff, those points might be better spent on dedicated interceptors or minesweepers - though that may require an extra design slot.

Adding shields to frigate chaff offers little protection against torpedo weapons; however, it can make the chaff much less vulnerable to beamer attacks. There is one danger to adding shielding to chaff.  Large stacks of shielded chaff are not as inviting a target as unshielded chaff.  The enemy missile ships may actually target other ships before targeting the chaff.  I know of one case of this happening in a game and I have reproduced this characteristic in a test bed.  I can't say exactly when the enemy ships stop targeting chaff first; however, if the total armor and total shielding of the chaff stack exceeds those of other stacks, there is definitely a danger of this happening.

All that said, I like the fuel mizer scout design with an x-ray laser.  It is cheap to build and it can travel fair distances at warp 9 without running out of fuel.

Chaff Strategies
So you have designed your chaff, time to use them.  There are some strategic points to be considered.  You now have a much more mobile defensive fleet.  Chaff can be gated through even the smallest gates.  Not only can you produce them in some remote part of your empire, you can also shift them around in the blink of an eye.  If you time it right, you can gate in a thousand or more chaff just as your opponent attacks your planet.  If you had a reasonable fleet there before, this extra chaff can make a big difference (especially if your enemy's fleet is deficient in beamer ships).  You can also use this to temporarily cover a fleet.  Say you just lost an important battle and you have a secondary fleet on the same front.  You can gate chaff in from many different parts of your empire to temporarily increase the defenses of that fleet until new capital ships reinforce it.  Much more effective than just gating in chaff is to gate in chaff and also gate (or over-gate) in beamer ships with the chaff.  Suddenly, your fleet has grown from a moderate sized force of fourteen missile battleships and a few hundred chaff, to a much more effective fleet of beamers, the missile ships, and over a thousand chaff.  In my opinion these factors slightly decrease the power of IT, since its wonderful defensive advantage has been partially given up to other races.  This also makes HE comparatively that much more vulnerable since they cannot gate ships.

Starbase combat is another place that chaff changes the odds.  In my experience, in battles between large fleets with chaff, a starbase rarely survives.  This can be really bad news for AR.  Even with a large defensive fleet, their starbases are still quite vulnerable.  Even more discouraging is that a relatively small group of capital ships with some chaff can destroy most starbases without a worry.  If you play AR, you need to be very cautious and quite aggressive in keeping fleets with chaff away from your space.

Related to combat, you should remember that not only do battles involving large numbers of chaff tend to be one-sided (that is either you or your opponent is utterly destroyed while the other player's main losses are just chaff), but that they can be unpredictable.  In my test beds I have seen battles where my fleet won most of the time, but still could occasionally would lose the battle badly.  Chaff adds another element to battles.  Sometimes that element does not work the way you expect.

Chaff also reduces the importance of the latest missile technology.  While it is still important to get up to Armageddons as quickly as possible, remember that all capital ship missiles will kill chaff at a ratio of one missile to one chaff.  Doomsday battleships can be quite effective against Armageddon battleships as long is there is enough chaff to keep the ARM ships busy.

Likewise, chaff may motivate you to seriously alter your missile ship design philosophy.  If chaff is your main defense against missiles, will it really be worth spending the extra resources on expensive armor?  In my last game, I opted to build only lightly armored missile battleships, even when I had superlatanum (the game ended just as I started building Nubians).  The superlatanum would have given me another 7950 points of armor (I was using organic armor); however, it would have added nearly 600 points in cost to a battleship that I was only spending a little over 930 to produce.  Instead, I decided I would rather have more cheap vulnerable missile ships (or the same number and a lot more chaff or beamer battleships) than have tougher missile ships.  Likewise, you can probably forget about using jammers (though some people like to use one just in case), since the entire idea is to prevent your ships from getting hit in the first place.  Mind you, I didn't use this logic for my beamer ships, since the worst my enemy could throw at them would be hitting them.

Finally, there is one really nasty strategy for chaff I have not mentioned.  I will be upset if this comes back to haunt me later.  Advanced SS races can effectively cloak chaff by adding over-cloaking ships to the fleet.  Using this strategy an SS can cheaply cloak thousands of chaff.   Admittedly, it will cost the SS a design slot and the over-cloaking ship will use up a lot of fuel, but the strategy does exist and is far more cost effective then adding cloaking devices to chaff themselves.  Luckily, it is not really effective until Nubians are out.  Other races can attempt this strategy; however, really only SS have the power to cheaply build over-cloakers that can hide thousands of chaff.

Anti-Chaff Strategies
So, you have built your chaff and your missile ships and now you are ready to take on all comers, right?  Wrong, it turns out chaff are very vulnerable to beam weapons.  While a missile ship may not be able to kill chaff quickly, beamers shred them.  If you send out a bunch of missile ships with chaff and your enemy sends out a bunch of beamers with chaff, you are going to get creamed.  More than ever, you need to mix your fleets so that you are not vulnerable to specialty tactics.  Just in case you were thinking that you would only build beamers and chaff, remember there are effective anti-beamer strategies too.  The best ships to fight chaff are fast  (2 1/4 movement or better) beamers with high initiatives.  These ships can devastate large numbers of chaff before your missile ships waste their shots.

Mine fields can totally alter how you use chaff.  Chaff are VERY vulnerable to mine fields.  One hit and they all die.  A large fleet that loses all of its chaff right in front of the enemy's homeworld is now a large target.  For non-critical movement, you can partially address this problem by just splitting the chaff into many smaller fleets.  This "hedges" your odds and effectively guarantees that you will loose some ships; however, the number will be limited to roughly whatever the potential chance of you hitting a mine in the first place was. For critical movement, this is just too risky.

Chaff's increased vulnerability to mines gives SD an added edge.  A detonating minefield will kill off all chaff in it before a fleet that just moved into it will have a chance to sweep it with its weapons.  SD players need to make sure they don't kill off their own chaff.

Countering Anti-Chaff Tactics
SD can partially protect their chaff with the energy dampener.  By reducing the enemy's beamers speed, SD can try to set up the battle in their favor.  Of course, the energy dampener also hinders SD's own ability to kill the enemy's chaff, but it can provide an opportunity to kill off the enemy beamers before they do too much damage.

What happens if you are attacking some planet and you just have to move 26 light years at warp 6 through enemy mines?  If you split the chaff up and your main fleet strikes a mine your chaff will get slaughtered and then you are in the same situation again.  There is a rather sophisticated counter tactic for dealing with this problem.  Ships striking mines do reduce the size of the minefield a little bit.  Normally, this is insignificant; however, if a hundred or more ships strike a minefield the reduction becomes quite significant.  To execute this counter strategy, first split off a large group of chaff from the main fleet. Give orders to have this fleet move through your enemy's mine field at high warp (9 or 10).  Now split the fleet.  Merge your main fleet with the chaff that has the highest fleet number and slow it down to the minimum necessary speed to get wherever it is going.  It is very important that the ships you want to survive have a fleet number higher than the expendable chaff.  When the next turn is generated, the lower fleet numbered chaff will move into the minefield and strike the mines.  As they do, they will reduce the size of the minefield.  If enough chaff are destroyed, you can actually "sweep" the entire field before the ships with higher fleet numbers move.  How many ships do you need to guarantee safe passage?  If you are moving into the center of the field there is no way to guarantee safe passage.  In some tests, even when I used nearly four hundred fleets of chaff, I still could not guarantee that the field would be gone when the last ship moved.  That is the bad news.  The good news is that most of the field was swept very quickly.  After the first one hundred or two hundred ships move the field was quite small.  In this particular test one hundred fourteen ships needed to be destroyed to sweep a minefield with 4148 mines.  Notice, it is not that you need one hundred fourteen fleets to move into the field - you need one hundred fourteen to strike a mine.  In other tests seem to indicate that large minefields take more damage per ship that they stop then smaller minefields. In effect this provides you with a method to greatly reduce the size of the minefield you need to move through and if you are lucky even eliminate it.  You can use this to your advantage in several ways.  One you can try to use it to make a fast attack at what ever is at the heart of the minefield.  There is some risk involved, especially if the minefield is big and your main fleet must move very quickly to get to its destination.  A better use is to reduce a minefield that is not centered on your destination.  It is quite easy to reduce the field by sending chaff through its center while you move your main fleet through the area that used to have the minefield.  You can also use this to sweep minefields in large areas or to move a main battle fleet so it can easily strike a target the following year, though your enemy will definitely be on alert after seeing the streak of debris left from all the chaff being destroyed. This tactic works against all types of minefields; however, SD minefields seem to shrink less for each ship they destroy than other races' minefields do.  Before using it, you really need to be sure that you have enough chaff to execute your move safely and you need to be careful about how close you get to the maximum number of fleets allowed in the game.  There is a risk if you use too many fleets against a small minefield that you will not have enough free fleet spaces for the following year's production.

So, which PRT's benefit the most from chaff? I think that is hard to say; SD has an added threat, while SS can extend their natural advantages to include chaff. IS players that use the mini-gun gain a small combat advantage and a large minesweeping one. HE and AR are at a disadvantage now that players use chaff. IT seems to have lost a bit of its advantage.

return to table of contents

 Check out the  Mystery Trader FAQ at Stars-R-Us.

 Sometimes, the manual or help file is wrong.  For example, a CA cannot transfer orbital adjuster technology to a non-CA ally by scrapping them at his starbase, despite what the manual states on page 19-3.
 Sometimes these problems are due to errors, and sometimes due to changes in the game since the documentation was issued.  This is the one downside to playing the worlds best supported computer game!
 To minimize this problem, make sure you have downloaded the latest version of the help file from Waypoint Zero.  You can find it in the patch area.

return to table of contents

    The Stars Directory maintains a list of spreadsheets, stand alone programs, information exchange programs etc.  Here is a link to the download page at that site.

    Supernova is the next version of Stars.  It will be significantly different from the game as it is today.  Check out what the authors have to say about it on the 'Supernova' page at Waypoint Zero.
    For further hints as to what the game will be like, read 'Jeff on Supernova' It's a collection remarks about Supernova that Stars! co-creator Jeff McBride has  posted to the newsgroup, in no particular order.   I will update it from time to time, but for the freshest, juiciest info, read the newsgroup yourself, of run your own deja news power search for articles by Jeff.

return to table of contents

    The computer players (also called AI's, for Artificial Intellegences) havr the following PRT's (Primary Racial Traits):
    Macinti: AR
    Turindrone: SS
    Robotoid: HE
    Cybertron: PP
    Rototill: CA
    Automitrons: IS

return to table of contents

    Netscape often seems to have trouble recognizing Stars! files.  Click here to go to an article addressing this problem (located at 'Stars! R Us').


Subject: Re: 'EXPERT' Help wanted
Date: Sat, 16 Jan 1999 21:51:40 GMT
From: jasoncawley@msn.com
Organization: Deja News - The Leader in Internet Discussion
Newsgroups: rec.games.computer.stars

In article <36A0B37E.E7A38E49@bayesian.prestel.co.uk> ,
  Theo Clouter <death@bayesian.prestel.co.uk> wrote:
>       This is a small request for guidance, I have already spoken to Art
> this and am getting slightly better at race design, butr how do I break
> 30/50/70/100k resources after 50-70 years?

Well, let's shoot for 30k in 50 years Acc BBS first, ok? :-)

I recommend you try to do that with a fairly simple race, not too jazzed up.
The idea is to learn how to run the empire-building phase, and see what
really matters in getting the performance.  It is a lot easier to tweek a
way of doing things you know with a more complicated race than to discover
everything with one.

So, I recommend you shoot for the 30k with the Feds.  As follows -

Jack of all Trades
0.27/3.68g, -128/128C, 16/84mR
1/3 overall, eventually live almost everywhere with full terraforming
19% pop growth
1/1000 pop efficiency
10/9/13 factories
G box *not* checked
10/3/15 mines
Weapons cheap, rest expensive and start at 4.
Leaves 0 points.

The idea of the Feds is the main idea to understand in getting a big economy
by year 50 or so - sheer numbers of people.  The factory settings aren't
great, but it may surprise you how much econ you can get without monkeying
with those very much.  The Feds get a maximum planet size of 1,320,000 - the
most possible (non -AR anyway), since they get the +20% from being JOAT and
the +10% from OBRM.  With the wide hab as well, they wind up with *lots* of
space for population.  The huge planets and 19% growth rate will also grow
lots of people - 62,700 a year at 25% of capacity from the homeworld alone.
Also, the Feds get great starting tech, which makes getting going (and
moving all that pop growth) much easier.  You start with 40 LY penscanning from all
scouts, frigates and DDs, so scouting is a breeze.  And you start with
fuel-mizer equipped privateers to move pop, giving great range and speed
right from the start.

The autobuild to use with the Feds is -

auto 500 factories
auto 500 mines
auto 5% max terraforming
Don't contribute to research

You will want to make a few modifications to those orders on some worlds as
they develop, though.  First, on the HW, you want to build 100 mines after
the first few years of factory building (and any extra scouts you need) - before
you run out of starting germanium.  Just put them in at the top of the Q
when the G starts running low.  The idea is to have enough G income from the
mining to be able to build ships to move pop.

The other modifications to the Qs relate to terraforming strategy.  Here is
the way to play that with this race.  On planets with 50 or better initial
hab value, put autobuild 1% max terraforming at the top of the Q once they
get over 200 resources.  The idea is to get the best places turned into
breeders quickly, so they can export even more pop.  The second modification
applies to all worlds that get to 500 resources before the autobuild lines
turn green. For those, once they hit the 500 resources, bump up that "auto
5% max terraforming" line to the top of the Q.  The idea is to fully terraform
those places rapidly as or before they start to get crowded, but after they
can afford it.  Incidentally, they will also build up some surface Germanium
(which can be used to put up bases or for exports) doing this, since the big
terraforming order will cut off the resources going to the factories

That's it for Q modifications, so not too much to do there.

For research settings, you start with so much you can leave it at 0.  After
the HW gets through making its factories and mines (to various hold levels -
on which more next) it will bring in some research resources.  Use them to
buy the terraforming tech levels - weapons 5, then energy 5, (you start with
prop 5 BTW, because of the 4 box and +1 for IFE), then weapons 10.  That
will give you up to 25 points of terraforming to do, and isn't expensive at all -
one expensive level and 7 cheap ones, all 10 or below.  After you have all
that, you can divert to con for better ships (fuelxports and large
freighters) if you must, but the main thing should be the long slog to prop
10, energy 10, then weapons 16 for more terraforming.  In an unopposed test,
you should be able to live with the starting tech for most of the game, in
terms of ships you need.

You want starbases only on the best, "breeder" worlds - those that will be
70%+ value after terraforming with 5/10/5 tech, say.  On those, you want
their bases up before or around the time they get to 50% of capacity
pop-wise.  Then they can make their own shipping to move their pop growth
above that figure. However, earlier on you can use orbital forts with
100/250 gates on them to speed up the return runs from the farther planets (buying
con 5 for that if you need it, naturally).

The HW should just grow until it has 330,000 people - you will cross that
line on turn 6 in an Acc BBS start.  Then export the pop growth (only) to the
best places you have found.  Send 50k pop to all the good worlds and 25k pop to
every green, in order high hab to low.  If the pop rises a bit on you
because of mineral trouble, no biggie - but try to keep it under 440,000 pop
whatever happens, in this period.

Once the HW has green autobuild lines (factories or mines done next year to
the level that the pop can operate), stop exporting pop from the HW and let
it grow all the way to 660,000 pop.  That won't take long from the time you
stop exporting - 6 years or so.  The higher level will mean more mines
working, thus more G, etc.  "Hold" the HW again at 660,000 pop, exporting
the growth there. When the factories that pop can operate (858) are up, "clear"
the HW Q so that the HW is "building nothing" (expect ships to move pop and
such).  That will get you G for export, as well as the pop exports.  Export
all of it you see on the surface :-)  Only go back to building factories on
the HW when you run out of places to send pop from it, or when you stop
doing micro-management.  In a year 50 target test, though, you can let it grow and
build after year 40 regardless.

The other breeders, let them terraform after 500 resources and put up bases
on them, and let them grow to 50% of capacity.  Then export their pop
growth, too, and their free G once their factories are done (though that will take
longer for many of them).  The lower-value worlds, forget about em :-)  Or,
rather, just send them things, like more pop and more G.

You want to send more pop to the smaller places and any good places under
100k after the HW goes on its second, 50% level "hold".  As breeders come on
line, get everyone to 100k or better, and after that if you keep doing MM work
shoot for at least 250k each place.  Once a place has 250k, you can leave it alone
pop-wise - because then it will get to 500 resources on its own and
terraform itself.  If you have more pop besides that needed for all this, hit the
better yellow worlds with 66k pop each and some G.  -3 or better yellows (or so)
you can terraform right after landing, using only the pop resources.  Worse
ones, let them build factories until they have 100 resources, then terra 1% a

You will have a lot of G-running to do, and not enough to send at first.
Don't worry; with only 13 factories operated, places will get done and thus
free up more for export eventually.  But don't leave it lying idle in places
that can't turn it into factories - get it to places that can.

For scouting, use the initial 3 ships and the following design - booster, scout,
fuel mizer, fuel pod, nothing else.

Build as many as you think you need to scout *literally everything* in the
galaxy by a reasonably early year.  In tiny, before year 20.  In small,
before year 30.  When scouting, go fast - as fast as you can, burning the fuel (the
initial DD and armed probe are exceptions, since they will have warp 7
engines and not a lot of fuel per bit of weight - go warp 7 with them).  Scout by
moving between worlds, not to them, to get the most out of that 40 LY
penscan ability.

For settling, you can use a few small colonies with fuel mizers for the
closest planets, just to get them started.  Move the real pop to them with
privateers with fuel mizer and 3 fuel pods, going warp 8 or 9 all the time.
After those close in places, use a variant of that same privateer, but with
one colony pod in place of one of the fuel pods, and "crash-land" settle on
the farther places, 25000 colonists at a time.

In the early teens, the HW should be firing off those colonizing privateers
every year - 2 one year and 3 the next, e.g.  In the 20s the second, 50%
hold should be on, and the HW should be building 3-4 privateers a year
(non-colony versions for the most part, but an occasional colony version for a yellow)
to move all its pop (55,700 a year even at 50% of capacity) and G (297kt even
at concentration 30 or below).  Looping privateers from the early colonies will
give you some ship re-use early on, when the iron is likely to be tight
(because the privateers cost a lot of iron, and not many mines have been
built yet).  After the pause to go to 660,000 pop, the iron situation will
clear up (several years income without building, freighters coming back and
piling up, and many more mines operating), so don't sweat it too much if it
looks dicey in year 12-14 or whatever.

OK?  So that is a race and its how-to stuff :-)  It is straight "sheer
numbers of people", and gives a fast, smooth start (with only an early iron
crunch as a possibility to worry about, if you draw a low HW iron

There are few other races that will get the numbers of people by midgame the
Feds will.  Some, but few.  And you should see from playing them that those
numbers of people are the main thing - because they don't have great
settings for factories or anything, and yet they can fly.

Once you get used to them, you can try modifying them for more by giving up
some of the easier start things, taking extra weaknesses, and narrowing the
hab a bit - but gradually on the hab.  Like, no start at 4 box.  NRSE.  Grav
and temp narrowed to 60 wide each (click immune and back I mean).  Then put
all those points into factories - 16 operated, 11 efficiency, G box, 12 eff,
cost 8 - in that order as and if you find things you can "do without" to pay
for them.  Only keep a change if it improves the performance for you.  On no
account touch the pop growth rate ;-)  You will do everything more or less
the same with the modified races - they will just industrialize faster,
while the start will be a little harder (you will need to buy privateer tech at
some point e.g., and live with medium freighters for the close-in 2 year
runs), and perhaps have a few less worlds to land on (while getting more
from each one).

When you are done with all that, congrats - you will have mastered the JOAT
HG, one of the strongest race design ideas in stars, and one of the hardest
to shut down with early pressure in a real game.  Sure, there will still be
many things to try after - IS races, CA races, HP econs, narrower hab
schemes with or without immunities, warfighting PRT races like SD WM and SS - but
knowing the JOAT HG is a great place to start that off, and frankly many
people weaken their performance when they move away from it.

I hope this is helpful, and have fun :-)


                                            Jason Cawley
return to table of contents

3.12)   How many and how dense are the stars in various universe setups?

Here is the number of planets  / density information for all
universes, credited to Leonard Dickens.

Number of planets in a galaxy.

These numbers are not exact, actual number of planets may vary by
1 in a tiny/sparse, or 6+ in a huge/packed

Number of stars
       Sparse  Normal Dense  Packed
Tiny      24     32    40     60
Small     96    128   160    240
Medium   216    288   360    540
Large    384    512   640    910
Huge     600    800   940    945

        Edge(ly) Area(ly^2)
Tiny     400        160K
Small    800        640K
Medium  1200       1440K
Large   1600       2560K
Huge    2000       4000K

Density of stars (#stars/10000ly^2)
       Sparse  Normal Dense  Packed
T/S/M    1.5    2.00  2.50  3.75
Large    1.5    2.00  2.50  3.55
Huge     1.5    2.00  2.35  2.36
return to table of contents