Spaceward Ho! Tips
The first tips are from Delta Tao's newsletter, The Changing Path, issue #5.
The second set of tips are from an AOL post Matthew Dornquast made.
Ho! 3.0 Tips
We've played a lot of Spaceward Ho! We think that is a pretty impressive thing to say about a game. By the time a designer has finished writing a game, he's usually either sick of it or he knows it so well it isn't fun. This isn't the case with the Ho!, though. We still play it regularly. Anyway, we're going to share some of our strategies and philosophies for winning, both against computer players and other people.
Always make sure your weapons are at least as high as the enemy's shields. This is easy if you're winning, but hard if you start to fall behind. Your opponents won't respect you if you can't hurt them.
Speed is good-higher speed shoots first. A common strategy is to spend all your money on weapons and speed. You don't need shields if the enemy never has a chance to shoot back.
Satellites are cheap. In large quantity, they're deadly, too. Build them where you expect to be attacked.
Hit where your opponent least expects it.
Spend lots of money on Tech. Most of us spend 50%-80% on Technology.
Don't overestimate the value of Radical Tech.
Stockpile lots of metal. You can never have too much metal.
Avoid going into debt. If in debt, pay it off quickly. Instead, save lots of money. You can use the interest.
Build fleets all at once, and use them while they're new. Don't build a major fleet when your tech levels are about to go up. (You get a feel for when this will happen.)
Use obsolete fleets for clean-up operations, like reexploring planets you've abandoned. Scrap them before they're killed by some modern enemy.
Spiral and cluster galaxies are easier for you, harder for the computers. Unfortunately, they also have a lower difficulty rating.
Know your enemy. Different computer players use different strategies. Adjust your strategy to take advantage of their weaknesses.
Different boss creatures have different weaknesses. Find those weaknesses and exploit them.
Shoot everything; don't get hit.
How to beat those diabolical computers.
First, I do not consider myself an expert nor do I consider these tips to be mine. I have learned a great deal through correspondence with others on this forum, playing those diabolical computers computers and dastardly diabolical humans so most of this came directly (or indirectly through trial and error) from others.
There is no *perfect* strategy for Space word Ho because your environment can change drastically based on a number of variables. How many of *Them* are there? How smart are they? What did you start out with? And lastly (most importantly), how big and what shape is the universe?
How much you spend on technology ultimately determines the game. I will list sample technology values in order of their appearance in Ho. Example: Range 1/Speed 2/Weapon 3/Shield 3/Mini 1 would be 1/2/3/3/1
Range- Unlike any other category, there is a limit on how much you will want to develop this technology. How much is too much? Depends on the size & shape of the universe. Generally speaking, reduce spending here over time to improve in other areas.
Speed- The most important technology of all. Without matched or superior speed you are generally in trouble. Don't bother building ships or satellites in any great numbers until you are above average in this area. Speed is a *longevity* meter for the ships you build. If you build them with below avg speed, they won't last as long and are considered a poor investment.
Weapons- The best defense is a good offense. Generally, this is the second most important technology. Combine superior weapon & speed technology together in ship or satellite form and you have a winning combination. I call it *first strike* technology. If you can attack first, often times there isn't time for a response. The best part about superior speed/weapons is building satellites. A planet with 50-100 satellites built with superior spd/wpns orbiting a colony is what I call a *metal farm* because you can reap more metal than you sew. (Good miniaturization & economic power helps here to)
Shields- The best defense is a good offense. Well, not always. I have seen situations where ships with astounding shield technology seem invincible and take forever before they are shot down. Do not bother building ships with weapons technology lower than your opponents shield technology. Do not build satellites with shields. You can erect more satellites if you build them at 0/5/9/1 instead of 0/5/9/9 because they take less metal.
Mini- Miniaturization is a good middle/end game technology. Up front, it doesn't do as much good. The reality with mini tech is it's useless without support from your economy. Miniaturized ships cost more to make. (The nice thing is your enemy gets less metal from you when you loose a battle)
Radical- This is one of those crap shoots that can make all the difference. Spending here is always a good idea, but too much of a good thing can be bad. Generally, I spend 5-15% of my technology $$ here. (The more desperate I am, the more I spend here) Anyone who just had 2 pts of speed or weapons technology added to the already high value knows the potential of radical technology. It's a game winner if you get lucky.
I'm not sure there is any right way to spend on technology. It's really an extension of your strategy. One winning strategy I have found is to invest heavily in speed and weapons, virtually ignoring shields and limiting range after 8 or so.
I find I adjust range a little higher in the beginning, and lower it towards the end. I adjust the rest of the curves as dictated by the Comparison to other players. (I spend enough on weapons, shields and speed to be average or above)
How much money does tech get overall turn to turn? A general rule might be after subtracting spending on planets from your total $, 1/3rd of what is left goes to ships savings and 2/3rds to tech.
SPACE WARFARE OBSERVATIONS
Here are a list of *rules* I have made for myself over the years of playing Ho. They are in no particular order and they do not always apply. The universe is a big place.
- Knowledge is power. Compare your self every turn. It's my feeling this feature should be a floating window, not a dialog under a menu.
- Nobody likes to be the center of attention. Centers are hard to defend, corners are easier. (Range technology affects this greatly, watch it close) Still, most people think in terms of territorial edges. Focus your protection there.
- I see you-- Uh oh. Most of the time enemies spy you out first, attack later. If you have been spotted with your pants down somewhere, you had best put some on quick. Satellites are ideal for this, refer to tech spending tips in speed&weapons.
- Metal is the lifeblood of the universe. Manage it well. This means, find it, protect it, mine it when you need it. It's best to mine planets that are not yet profitable or habitable out in the Neutral Zone. Hey, can you mine in their territory? Great! more power to ya. It's a good idea to Trickle mine from your profitable planets if you have a little extra cash. Think of it as storing money in the form of metal as your savings account. When the storm hits, you'll be glad you did.
- Scrap those ol'boys. Got a bunch of ships sitting around in orbit that are 2 tech levels below average? Scrap them! You get more metal when you scrap a ship than if it falls to the surface in a burning hunk because some sly techno-scout just shot them up.
- Savings Monger. Generally, you don't want to save more in ships savings than you can spend with your present metal supply. Colony ships can be deceiving in the category.
- If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Why spend expensive development dollars on new versions of colony ships? Even the best colony ship gets the stuffing knocked out of it with a couple of fighters. Happiness is colonizing with that good ol 6-rang'in 2-weap'nin guy you built back when you were young and foolish. It hurts less when it get's the stuffing knocked out of it too.
- Know your environment. Scout quickly in the beginning, if you are there first, you can defend your knowledge of what's there by not allowing an opponent to defeat you. Always scout with fighters early in the game. They beat those wimpy scouts and since your colony ship can't go 8 units, what's the use? Only explore with scouts early if you: a)have better speed/weapon tech b)have nothing immediately around you of any use.
- It's the economy stupid. This is your chance to control your nation's debt. Don't borrow unless your have to. a little 2 or 3k per turn adds up over the long haul. It's easy to forget. If you must borrow, be smart and pay it off quickly. (Most of the time *have to* means it is vital to get something done quickly. Build 100 satellites, build that first colony ship, etc.)
- It's the economy stupid II. Being a superpower is all about economic strength. Get those yummy planets early and protect them well.
- Outpost XJ11. Sometimes it's nice to set up a metal farm right in the middle of they enemies territory. It bugs the heck out of them and usually distracts them from what you are really working on.
- A little goes a long way. Generally, it's better to take your time mining and terraforming. Spend more at first to get the planet profitable, but then, trickle mine & terraform. People are happy at 40-100 degrees, no sense rushing to 72. I usually terraform at the minimum rate once it gets to within 30deg of norm.
- Shiny happy people holding hands. Not in my universe! Life is hard and it's hard to live. No 72deg 1.0g planets till everyone's dead. That's my motto. Gives'm something to fight for.
- 8 Ball, corner pocket. Did I mention it's easier to defend corners and edges vs. the middle? Well, if even I did, it's worth mentioning again.
- Starbuck was here. Space graffiti (those 1/1 satellites orbiting useless worlds) is valuable info. Never leave any planet without some kind of warning device should someone else take interest and explore there. Odds are you are not going to get a report back anyway, so leave something that isn't worth much metal.
- Observation is 9/10ths of participation. Let the other guys fight it out, you can go mine up all the metal that's left in the wake of their great storm. War is costly, best you save up for later. Alliances help here.
- One, two- colonizing is for you. It's useful to have slow colony ships and a fast fleet of fighters. That way you can send both out at once. First the fighters clean up the enemy, then the colony ship comes in next turn. That way you don't have to leave a lone colony ship hanging around a planet for a turn.
- Three, four- go back for more. Did someone take out that little satellite you had as a warning device? Send something fast and small so you can get a report back on what's up, but not loose to much metal.
- Look Small. Every see a cat try and look small so as you might not notice it? Same is true in Ho. Don't name your ships *I'm gonna get you sucka*, you're just asking for attention. Something like *Lil'o'me just lookin* is a much safer bet. (Okay, so 100 of them attacking a planet may not be too subtle)
- Know when hold'm. In a good position economically and technologically? shoot deep and fast into enemy territory. Don't even bother scouting. Hitting two planets that are 4 apart with a range 8 ship is great. If you get lucky, you might nail $500,000 of their income before they squash you. In a bad position economically and technologically? Do the same thing. You might just sting them and you'd loose anyway on present course.. right?
- Ride the wave. Technology advances in waves, you'll notice your tech goes up once for every 2 weapons points. Whatever the pattern, try and build accordingly. Nobody likes to build 100 sattelites only to have speed go up the next turn.
Well, I'm sure there's more but that's enough to get you going. Have I missed something? Drop me a message and I'll add it to my list. If I missed a lot, I'll post an updated version.
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