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


- 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.


- 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.


- 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)


- 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.


- 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)


- 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.


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.

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.

Matthew Dornquast

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