Emperor of the Fading Suns Strategy Guide Written by Eric Jensen Holistic Design's Emperor of the Fading Suns can be a bit overwhelming the first time you play. It has an open-ended style that gives a player many choices, and at first, this can be a little confusing. The game has a tutorial, but we at OGR have gone to the source to not only find out what tips the playtesters have, but also to add some tips of our own. General Tips First of all, you want to build, build, build. Cities give you tax money. The more cities, the more money. One warning: if you have a plant that is producing something you don't need, it's probably draining resources you do need. Excess can be sold to the guild, but each time you sell to it, it pays less. Farms: you want to build farms. There's nothing worse than not being able to feed or pay your troops. Farms make food and money. Mines: build mines, and remember that most hexes give you both metal and trace, in some amount. (Of course, look for concentrations.) Wells: these are also very important. Almost every complex component requires energy to produce. A singularity takes 27 energy to create -- 7 for the electronics, 10 for the monopols and 10 for the singularity itself. Wetware takes 50 energy for 10. A Cadiz dreadnought will take 500 energy to produce. 100 elec., 100 C-steel, 50 monopols and four singularities. Labs: very necessary, in moderate numbers. Three to four labs is optimal; this keeps research costs down while providing enough research for several advances simultaneously, or one very quickly. Hospitals: useful against the plague, but if you keep your food supply up and disband plagued units, they shouldn't be very necessary. Forts: these are the only places you can build advanced legions. Since the tracker legion is much nicer than a militia legion, for the exact same cost, you'll want a fort nearby to produce troops. Some advanced troops are as good as tanks in most respects. Factories: these are where you must build advanced vehicles, including all tanks. If you're launching an invasion, it's best to have several factories putting out units instead of trying to make everything in one. Don't forget that simple artillery and antitank and antiair guns can be built in any building. Starports: not necessary in the early stages of the game, since a ship can land in any city, and you can't build spacecraft until the technology is researched. Plus, most ships use monopols and singularities. Chemical plants: necessary for ceramsteel production and biochems. These should be built early and in several places. Running out of chemicals can halt all production of advanced units. Arboriums: nice, if you can get them. Be careful not to lose any in your possession, as this could severely hurt your food and exotic production. These are twice as good as farms at production. Electronics plants: electronics are necessary for wetware and monopols, and many advanced units and spaceships require many electronics. Again, make many early. Biochem plants: less useful, since many of their advanced applications are technologies proscribed by the church. If you don't care, you should make a couple of plants to meet your needs. Not too many are needed. Ceramsteel plants: again, these are used in the building of many advanced units. Have as much as you can on hand. Wetware plants: many of the applications of this resource are proscribed by the church. You may need these; you may not. They use up resources fast. Fusoriums: monopols are required in power-armor troops and spaceships, as well as in the creation of singularities. Start making these in good quantities when you have a steady supply of energy and electronics. Cyclotrons:these create singularities. Be careful because one of these can create a singularity once per turn, and you don't need very many unless you're building a fleet. Churchs:in PBEM games, the player with the most units can gain favor with the pontiff by converting planets to his faith. If the pontiff dies and your sect has many followers, the new pontiff might be of your sect. Palaces: figureheads go here. Shield generators: one per planet, protects against bombing. Put several PTS units inside. It makes enemy transports land farther away from it and gives you more time to bring your defenses to bear against the ground troops. Other tips: Look over your traits carefully. You don't get a second chance to choose them. Secure your homeworld early by eliminating rebel cities/units. They're usually well-placed, and the rebels will keep bothering you if you don't eliminate them. Expand quickly by taking over rebel cities on neighboring planets. Build/capture labs (a minimum of five to maintain all techs) to research techs quickly. Protect your labs to avoid losing researched techs. If you keep your labs well-defended, you can research any technology you want. Explore ruins as soon as possible to find useful items/units, but remember to bring a strong combat force. Stockpile resources. The best units require the most resources to produce. The best units are built-in factories, starports and forts. Build more of these cities to produce lots of heavy firepower. Every facility can produce artillery, antiair and antitank guns. Make at least one of each in buildings near enemy units. Infantry can wait. Their close-combat ability is one of the last rounds of combat. Keep your taxes low and unit pay high to increase production and loyalty. If you wish to capture important enemy units, use the feint attack. If you're hopelessly outnumbered, use the assault attack. Don't be too quick to trade tech with other houses. The farther ahead of them you are, the harder you can hit them. Don't accept a ministry without having the resources to protect and feed all the units. If you get the job of imperial eye, find your opponent's labs and give the maps to the church. If the inquisitors destroy their labs, they will be way behind in tech. Raise your tithe skim. You need the money more than the church anyway. If you destroy the agora on your planet right off the bat, you end up with a big boost in resources! When you land blindly on a planet, remember, cities grouped together and connected by roads are usually defended with more firepower than the cities off by themselves. It can be easier to take over a few remote cities and build up your forces than to bring a giant force to a planet. The sooner theurgy is researched, the sooner your relics will work. Direct research toward it from turn one For quick cash, sell map info to the Vau. If you acquire a map through diplomacy, sell it before someone else does. Units at the beginning of the game are all weak to medium-powered. Against a symbiot, you would need a 3-to-1 advantage. Later in the game, as your units improve, 2 to 1 is about the best you can do against the symbiots. Captured symbiot units are very useful. Remember that "Green" troops have 20% less armor and strength than it says. This makes "warrior ethic" a very useful trait to take. Q. Which units would you include in a "strong combat force"? A. Tanks, antitank guns, artillery and higher-level infantry are good. The key is numbers and variety. Don't underestimate the power of artillery units and antitank guns. Build units with indirect and ranged space attack, as they fire first in combat. Q. What are some units with indirect and ranged space attacks? A. Indirect -- artillery, mobile artillery (Smyter) and others. Refer to the map included for a complete list. Ranged space -- Vlad cruisers, dreadnoughts and others (see map). Hover tanks are "air" units and, according to the rules, are shot only by antiair weapons. This makes them devastating against older units. Use cruisers and dreadnoughts to bomb cities from orbit before you send in the troops. Watch out for planet-to-space defenses. Capture symbiot units. They're very strong. Q. Symbiot units? Can you explain what these are? A. Symbiots are like a cross between the "alien" monsters and the Borg. They storm through space and try to take over everything. They are located in the northwestern part of the galaxy. Attack spaceships on the ground whenever possible, defeat any ground units that protect them and capture the spaceship. The fastest way to explore your planet by land is by building tracker legions. They offer a greater spotting distance coupled with a good movement rate. Q. Tracker legions? Can you explain? A. They're like infantry, only with better move and spotting range. They also have a better camo rating and are more accurate in close combat. They are one of the first units you should build. You need to research psychosocial engineering, meditation and Prana Bindu. Don't attack other spacecraft while your own spacecraft is carrying units. Their armor is not added to your own. Protect your nobles and avoid putting them in combat. Once they're gone, you are history. Use air units to quickly reveal unexplored terrain. Remember to refuel them. (Land in a city every other turn.) Use space transports to quickly move units from one part of your planet to another. Use regular transports to get units out of cities, and use assault transports to get or put units in the wilderness. Units can be transferred from one transport to another in space. Make lots of engineers to build roads and cities. Your survival may depend on it. If your units become infected with plague, sacrifice them by disbanding them to avoid spreading the disease. With consume food on, disband weaker units (like militia units). They're a waste of precious food. Units heal much faster in cities. If you wish to quickly get units to full health, station them inside any city. This is especially important for spaceships. Historical Mode Tethys is easy to capture. House Li Halan's homeworld is rich in trace, but low in food. Try sending forces to nearby Malignatius and conquer or build farms there. Leminkainen, Ravenna, Criticorum, Vrill-Ya and Vera Cruz are all rich in resources. Tethys, De Molay and Nowhere have almost no resources. Multiplayer When you play multiplayer games, use random mode. It makes for more interesting match-ups. In multiplayer games, changing the layout of your homeworld is almost a necessity. Move your scepters and nobles. Use engineers to raze and rebuild cities. Offer your enemies a map right before you make drastic changes. If you want to be a real weeble, take mercantile savvy and spendthrift. You net-gain 10% better purchase prices with no apparent losses.