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The Ship Denial Strategy
by: Phloydius

    The strategy of "Ship Denial" is not very common, and has a limited range of uses. However, in the right setting can be very effective. The standard game settings allow for only 800 ships but this can be changed by the Sysop when setting up the game. Once the maximum number of ships in a game has been reached no new ships can be created. This has several key effects:

  1. No new ships can be purchased at Stardock,
  2. Alien ships can not be captured,
  3. New players can not enter the game,
  4. Players who have been #Ship Destroyed# can not re-enter the game.

    However, the second a ship is destroyed or sold, an available ship becomes open, and all four effects listed above are no longer in effect (until the maximum number of ships is reached again). Therefore it is important that any player (or corporation) that is trying to execute Ship Denial need to constantly check the availabilty of ships.

When is the strategy useful?

    There are two times when this strategy is most effective: (1) On games with high priced & easy to capture alien ships; (2) On games where large numbers of moths are needed to invade a sector / planet; (3) On games where sector defenses have the game at a stale-mate.

    The setting for how many ships can be in the game is an easy setting to discover. Before entering the game, press * at the menu (shown to the left), and the game stats will be shown. Down the list the line "Ships=800" indicates that the maximum number of ships in the game is 800.

- Strategy Highlights -
  1. Each ship has to be purchased at Stardock and towed to a safe sector. Tow the ships with Twarp (to avoid limipts), and to save turns.
  2. The ships purchased are important: Even with a Twarp drive, moving almost 800 ships can be turn intensive. If possible purchase ships with a low Turn-Per-Move rating, such as the Merchant Freighter. If cost is a limiting factor, purchase the cheapest ship that will suit the needs. So that the ships can be used as moths if needed, ships lacking an escape pod (such as the Scout Marauder) may not be a good selection, despite the low cost and turns per warp.
  3. Ship Denial conducted by Red Traders is very difficult. Despite the danger of being at Stardock, the lack of a Twarp ship with a large number of holds (for ore) makes logistics a problem. The Havoc Gunstar can only go about 8 sectors from Stardock for a round trip on one load of ore, and the Corporate Flagship can go about 14 sectors but can only be used by the Corporate CEO -- which leave all the work with one player. By far the ISS is the best ship for this task for Blue Traders.
  4. Secrecy in planning is key! If enemy traders discover someone is stockpiling ships they will stockpile ships themselves. This will cause most of the effects of the strategy to become effectively useless. Only stockpile ships when no one is online (or active). Buy at least 25 (or preferably 50) ships and leave them at Stardock. Those 25-50 ships will be assigned the lowest ship number open. Then start stockpiling ships and transporting them to safety. When someone comes online or a break is needed, sell off the 25-50 ships at Stardock. This way, if the enemy purchases or captures a ship, they will get a low ship number they were expecting. If the enemy sees a sudden jump in ship numbers, it will alert them that someone is purchasing a large numbers of ships.
  5. The safe sector with all the ships needs to be in a protected bubble or sector. As soon as players discover that there are no more ships available, hunting empty ships will become a higher priority.
  6. Having 700+ ships listed every time X is hit to transport can be a pain. A bigger pain is having 700+ ship listed every time a Holo Scan is done. An even bigger pain is having 700+ ships shown each time the sector information is shown. Consider this when selecting where to put this massive ship yard. Having to wait for the scroll to finish while an enemy is attacking can be deadly.
  7. A ship from the stockpile will need to be sold at Stardock each time a new ship is needed to be purchased from Stardock or captured. Do not do this while other players are online, else they may end up with the new ship.
  8. Check the log often to see if any ships have been destroyed. Visit Stardock often to see if another ship can be purchased: Especially when other players are online.
  9. When blowing up an enemy ship, jump to Stardock quickly to buy a replacement ship to keep the enemy from replacing the ship.

What does this strategy look like in the game?

    If the maximum number of ships have been reached, and a trader tries to purchase a ship at stardock, an out of stock message (shown below) will appear after agreeing to the price of the ship:

    If a trader tries to capture a ship while the maximum number of ships has been reached, a message (shown below) noting that the ship self destructed will appear:

    If a new player trys to join the game while the maximum number of ships has been reached, a message (shown below) explaining that the maximum number of ships has been reached will be shown:

How to defend against Ship Denial

    The best defense for Ship Denial is to have plenty of spare ships prior it the strategy being implemented. Because Stardock being destroyed is always a (more likely) risk, it is generally good strategy to have spare ships on hand at all times anyways. Having a sector of 20 to 50 moths is not unreasonable, nor expensive.

    After someone has initiated a Ship Denial strategy, ship numbers become an important commodity. If an enemy unmanned ship is found, either capture it or destroy it right away and return to StarDock to purchase another ship. On any trip to Stardock, go to the ship yards and try to buy a ship.

    Go to Stardock often to see if ships can be purchased. Ship Denial is a strategy so often un-used, that many players will not understand the importance of buying ships right away, so a free ship here and there may be collected.

    If a corpmate becomes #Ship Destroyed# wait as long after extern as possible before trying to have the corpmate rejoin the game (to reduce the risk of another player getting back into the game). One player in game must go to Stardock and sell a ship, and have the corpmate immediently try to rejoin the game (If Stardock is destroyed, then other methods of disposing of a ship must be used).

    During Ship Denial, it is important that at least one member of the corporation does not sleep anywhere near the home sector and when logging off has a full load of Fuel Ore and cloaks at night. If every member of a corporation is killed during a sector invasion (or otherwise), then no one is able to get back into the game to defend the assets, rebuild, or seek revenge.

    When Ship Denial is active, the risk of Stardock being destroyed skyrockets. Make sure the corporation has plenty of Mines, Etherprobes, Genesis Torpedoes, Atomic Detonators, and Photons (if enabled).

Advanced strategy for Ship Denial

    Blowing up Stardock after Ship Denial has several benefits. (1) If another team is using the Ship Denial strategy, destroying Stardock levels the playing field. No one will be able to buy moths nor sell alien ships. Although this hurts all players, it keeps the Ship Denial corporation from gaining an edge. (2) In games where large numbers of moths are being used to invade sectors, destroying Stardock keeps them from being replaced. Although this hurts all players, it hurts the Ship Denial corporation least.

    When Ship Denial is in effect, if all members of a corporation can be killed, they can be restricted from rejoining the game, leaving thier defenses unmanaged and ready for plunder. The name of the game changes from destroying and invading planets, to being the only player left who is not #Ship Destroyed#. Victory is assured to the only player left in the game when no one else can join!

Does using Ship Denial voilate a truce?

    Typically the answer would be yes. As far as begining game truces, this strategy should be classified the same way as a blockade of Stardock. Therefor, if blockading Stardock during a game truce is against the rules (which is almost alway is), then so should Ship Denial. However, this should not limit the ability to use this strategy in games where Stardock blockades are completely forbidden (after the truce is over)!

What is the best quote of the game?

    "Well if that don't beat all, looks like we don't have anymore ships in stock! You'll have to come back some other day to get one." is a special service wholly owned by Several Companies, Incorporated..